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Energize With Almonds

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Here’s a surprising health hint: Don’t exercise. At least, not unless you’ve properly fueled up first. Nutrition expert Keith Ayoob, author of “The Uncle Sam Diet: The 4-Week Eating Plan for a Thinner, Healthier America” (St. Martin’s Paperbacks), offers answers to some common questions on nutrition:

How can I eat for energy before I work out? 

Eat a mixture of carbohydrates, protein, and healthy unsaturated fat about two hours before you work out. The protein and fat will help you feel full and the carbohydrates provide quick energy, increasing the effectiveness of your workout. Try a slice of whole-grain bread with a tablespoon of almond butter and a few slices of strawberry or banana.

I often hit a mid-afternoon slump… what should I eat? 

Not salty, high-fat snacks that are void of essential vitamins and minerals. Try a handful or two of almonds-they will help keep you fuller longer, during the workday, and at the gym. A one-ounce handful of almonds offers heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, protein, fiber, magnesium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, and iron, all in 160 calories. Almonds also contain the antioxidant vitamin E, which can help repair muscles. Plus, research shows almonds can help lower LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol, and may play a role in losing weight. 

Try this before a workout: 

Ginger-Glazed Almonds with Dried Fruit

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 11/2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 11/2 teaspoons peeled and finely grated fresh ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 cup whole blanched or natural almonds
  • 1 cup dried berries, cherries, cranberries, mango, apricot, apple, pear or other dried fruit

Preheat oven to 300°F. Line a baking sheet with foil and coat with cooking spray. Melt butter in a large skillet on medium heat. Stir in sugar, water, fresh ginger, salt, and ground ginger. Cook until sugar dissolves, then stir in almonds. Spread almonds onto foil, and bake 25 to 35 minutes, stirring once, until almonds are golden (cut one open to test). Transfer almonds on foil to a rack and cool completely. Loosen with a spatula and combine with dried fruit. Store airtight for up to 3 days. Serves 10.


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