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Sure signs that spring has arrived are starting to emerge. Crocus and daffodil plants are peeking through the warming soil. Daylight is stretching into the evening hours. Gardeners are prepping their soil and starting seeds. Blue jays and robins are feverishly building nests. And families are heading out on Saturday mornings to the soccer field, baseball diamond or even school track.
It’s sports season for young athletes! Time to dust off the cleats, helmets, gloves and shin guards as mom and dad begin the weekly shuttle to after-school practices and early Saturday morning games.
Raising happy and healthy little athletes is more than just making sure they are safe and well equipped on the field. It’s also about making sure their growing bodies are properly fueled.
“Kids who eat healthy, well-balanced meals and snacks will get the nutrients needed to perform well in sports,” according to KidsHealth.org.
Keeping that soccer or softball player energized and ready for that next goal or home run is vital but can also be challenging whether you have just one athlete in your family or five. Spring sports season can make for a harried few months rushing from one game or practice to another.
Luckily, there are some great protein-packed recipes perfect for helping your sports star fuel up and then recover in a healthy, delicious way, all whipped up easily in your favorite kitchen blender.
Nutty No Bake Energy Bites
These bite-sized snacks are perfect to toss into a baggie ready to refuel worn-out athletes on the drive home from weeknight practices.
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- 1/4 cup almond butter
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
Instructions1. Combine all ingredients in the blender jar. Pulse blender 10-12 times until mixture becomes well incorporated, yet not completely blended. Mini chocolate chips should still be intact. 2. Form into 1-inch sized balls. 3. Arrange on a baking sheet and refrigerate until set; about 10 minutes.
Strawberry Banana Smoothie
Are you tired of those packaged protein shakes, yet know they are perfect for fueling up? This recipe is a great way to add some refreshing, icy flavor fun.
- 5.5 fluid oz. vanilla-flavored protein shake
- 1 banana
- 1 cup frozen strawberries
- 1/2 cup ice cubes
InstructionsAdd ingredients to blender jar in the order listed and blend on “Smoothie” cycle. Pour and enjoy!
Hummus Protein Dip
This snack recipe provides all the enjoyment and deliciousness of conventional dips, but with a healthy boost of protein that will help you feel happy about snacking.
- 1 can chickpeas (15.5 oz.)
- 1 cup nonfat cottage cheese
- 1 tbsp almond butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 garlic clove
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley
- 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
- Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
- Paprika (for garnish)
Instructions1. In a blender jar, combine all your ingredients. Select “Dips” setting, or blend on medium-low speed for approximately 30 seconds, or until the mixture reaches a uniform consistency. 2. Garnish with a dash of paprika. Serve spread on toast or as a dip for fresh vegetables. Keep refrigerated.
Vanilla Mango Protein Bars
Snacking healthily can be a challenge—especially when you’re on the go to the next game or practice. These protein bars are a great option for a grab-and-go energy boost.
- 1/4 cup dried mango
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/2 cup almond butter
- 2 oz. vanilla protein powder
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1 cup crushed cashews
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Instructions1. In a blender jar, combine all ingredients and pulse until everything is mixed together. Don’t blend too long or at too high a setting or you might end up with a mango vanilla paste instead of protein bars. Keep a close eye on your ingredients as you blend.
2. Spray a 9-by-9-inch (or similar-sized) baking pan with cooking spray.
3. Evenly spread your batter into the baking pan, and bake for approximately 7 minutes at 350°F.
4. Remove from oven, and test with a toothpick (poke a toothpick into the center of the mixture and remove it; the mixture is done baking when the toothpick comes out clean) to ensure a thorough bake.
5. Allow everything to cool, and then cut into bars.
6. Refrigerate for later use.