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Disclosure: This blog post is sponsored by Life Extension. All opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that make this blog possible. Probiotics and the microbiome are hot topics in the world of nutrition, but these scientific words can conjure up confusion and leave you feeling overwhelmed. If you’ve ever wondered what the heck probiotics really mean and whether or not you need them, I’ve got you covered with a simple explainer article that delves into everything related to the microbiome and nutrition. What is the microbiome? The gut is home to trillions of microorganisms, which make up the microbiome. Probiotics are the microorganisms that reside in the gut are actually good for you and contribute to overall health. These good bacteria, also known as probiotics, have their own unique DNA. While most people share similarities in 99% of their human DNA, microbial DNA is only about 10% similar from person to person. Because of the sheer number of microbes and DNA, many refer to the microbiome as an “organ.” The microbiome contributes to many important bodily processes, such as: Production of amino acids, short chain fatty acids and vitamins Breaking down plant fibers Promoting healthy balance of […]

The post Probiotics: Moving Beyond The Gut appeared first on Nutrition à la Natalie.

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Disclosure: This blog post is sponsored by U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council. All opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that make this blog possible.  Blueberries are the star of the show in these No-Bake Homemade Blueberry Granola Bars. With just a few simple ingredients and no oven required, they are the perfect nutritious snack to whip up in the heat of the summer. With all the running and working out I do (especially during marathon season), I’m no stranger to granola bars. As a matter of fact, granola bars are my go-to pre-workout snack because they contain oats, which provide long lasting energy. But not all granola bars are created equal. Some are full of added sugar, and many are really lacking in the protein department.  Since I like my granola bars customized to my taste and energy needs, I decided to create my own batch. This brand new recipe for No-Bake Blueberry Granola Bars is loaded with fresh and juicy blueberries and has just a little bit of added sugar. And the absolute best part is that there’s no baking required.  Before I tell you how to make them, let me explain why I chose fresh blueberries […]

The post No-Bake Blueberry Granola Bars appeared first on Nutrition à la Natalie.

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Confused about what to eat before and after a workout? You’re not alone! This list of snack and meal ideas will help you fuel and recover properly so you can see the most gains from your workout! Think of your body as a vehicle, where your muscles are the engine and the food you eat is the fuel. In the same way that you would fill up on gas before a long road trip, you need to give your body the fuel it requires before your workout.  There are certain foods that you can include in your pre and post workout meals to help you recover quickly and boost your performance. Think of carbohydrate rich foods, such as fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes and whole grains, as the gas that makes your car go. Carbs provide energy for exercise, and your body converts the carbs you eat into glucose, which is stored as glycogen in your muscles. When you engage in high-intensity exercise, your muscles use this glycogen as the primary fuel source. Protein is also important to provide long last energy, and it helps with muscle recovery after a workout. Let’s get a bit more specific… For more specifics and […]

The post What to Eat Before and After A Workout To Build Muscle appeared first on Nutrition à la Natalie.

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These Ricotta Stuffed Zucchini Boats are a simple vegetarian main dish that is fantastic for meal prepping, tastes amazingly cheesy and scrumptious and is high in protein and low in carbs. In the life of a food blogger, there are two types of recipes– the kind you meticulously plan and photograph and the kind that you just throw together with food from your fridge. These Ricotta Stuffed Zucchini Boats are the latter, but they tasted so good that I made them again and again and again. Eventually, I realized that although they aren’t the prettiest and most blog-worthy dish, they are scrumptious and deserve to be put on the blog. Let’s talk about what inspired these simple zucchini boats. First, I’ve been trying to increase my protein intake while marathon training, and ricotta cheese helps me do just that. Second, zucchini is in season right now [check out these Zucchini Tacos with Radish Salsa], and I have a ton of it in my fridge. It’s not really my favorite piece of produce on its own, but it makes a fantastic vessel for stuffing. Third, my windowsill basil plant is growing uncontrollably, so I’m always looking for new ways to use […]

The post Ricotta Stuffed Zucchini Boats appeared first on Nutrition à la Natalie.

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If you’ve found this post, chances are you’re a tofu lover, a plant-based eater or someone who is trying to add more tofu to their diet. Good for you because you’ve come to the right place!  First, I encourage you to read everything you need to know about tofu, then dive right into these 17 game-changing tofu recipes. There are options for lunch, dinner, dessert and beverages, so you can eat tofu all day long. Drop me a comment below and let me know if you try any of these! And don’t forget to pin them for later! Lunch Recipes Butter Lettuce Salad with Tofu Croutons by Nutrition à la Natalie This tasty vegan salad makes a vibrant and tasty side of simple or nutritious lunch. It’s a refreshing combination of sweet and tender butter lettuce, fresh corn, bell peppers and tofu croutons, topped with a lime vinaigrette. Smoky Roasted Red Pepper and Gouda Soup by Snacking in Sneakers   This red pepper soup is perfect for the tofu-hesitant, since the rich flavors of the roasted red peppers and smoked gouda mask the flavor of the tofu. But the silken tofu makes the soup creamy and packed with protein. Tofu Kale […]

The post 17 Tofu Recipes For Every Meal Of The Day appeared first on Nutrition à la Natalie.

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The sub 2 hour half marathon requires hard work, proper planning and mental tenacity. Runners seeking to run a half marathon in 1:59:59 or faster must sustain 9:09 per mile or 5:41 per kilometer. This post provides 8 practical training tips to help you run a half marathon in less than 2 hours. Guest Post by: Nathan Pennington How can you minimize slowing down and finish faster than you started? Why do some runners make it look so easy? Are they more talented than you and I? Perhaps. That being said, some  good, old-fashioned smart and hard work can help! My goal in writing this post is to help you leverage your training to master the 13.1 mile distance. These 8 tips will teach you how to use the training methodologies that the best runners are following and work smarter, not harder. Tip 1: Practice running at and below 9:09 per mile or 5:41 per kilometer If you want to run a race at a 9:09 pace, you need to train at that pace. If you are patient and persistent in your preparation, you will exceed what you currently think you are capable of. Try incorporating speed work and strength […]

The post 8 Tips To Break The 2-Hour Half Marathon appeared first on Nutrition à la Natalie.

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This tasty vegan salad is the perfect summer side of simple and nutritious lunch. It’s a refreshing combination of sweet and tender butter lettuce, fresh corn, bell peppers and tofu croutons, topped with a lime vinaigrette! The joy of summer is almost upon us! My favorite part of the beach season is the produce– corn, zucchini, berries, watermelon, oh my! It’s all so good that each item can stand alone as a tasty snack. Well, maybe you don’t want to bite into a zucchini, but you get my jist. Today I’m embracing that sentiment and bringing you a summer salad, featuring corn, peppers and lime with a special topper– tofu croutons. This salad came together on a hot day when I didn’t want to turn on my oven. Living in a small apartment in NYC means that firing up the oven makes the temperature in my apartment rise by about 10 degrees. That’s not ideal in the warmer months. Not to mention that summer salads taste refreshing and come together in such a short time. Plus, this salad’s vibrant colors invokes a summery vibe and makes you want to eat your veggies. It all starts with some butter lettuce. If […]

The post Butter Lettuce & Corn Salad with Tofu Croutons & Lime Vinaigrette appeared first on Nutrition à la Natalie.

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You can get enough iron on a plant-based diet, and this list shows you how with 12 vegan sources of iron! Iron is an essential nutrient for everyone. But its ability to deliver oxygen to working muscles makes it especially important for athletes. Without enough iron in the bloodstream, you can suffer from iron deficiency anemia. [Read more about how to detect an iron deficiency.] It may not sound all that serious, but iron deficiency anemia is accompanied by extreme exhaustion, lightheadedness, headaches and frequent infections. Doesn’t sound fun, does it? The recommended daily intake for iron is 18 milligrams (mg). If you think you’re not getting enough, talk to you doctor about checking your iron levels. Too much iron in the blood can actually be toxic, so don’t take a supplement unless it’s necessary. Many vegetarians and vegans are prone to iron deficiency anemia, since iron from plants is not as well absorbed as iron from animals. As a matter of fact, there are two types of iron. Heme iron: This is the iron found in meat, such as chicken, beef, pork and seafood. Heme iron is more easily absorbed by the body. Non-heme iron: This iron is found […]

The post 12 Ways To Get Iron, Besides Eating Meat appeared first on Nutrition à la Natalie.

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If you’ve always wondered what the heck are macros and how do I track them, this all-inclusive guide is for you! Learn the basics about macros and how to determine your macro ratio. If you’ve ever been brave enough to venture into the weight room without headphones, you’ve likely overheard people talking about crushing their “macros”. Although it may sound like a scary, the word “macro” is an abbreviation for something simple—macronutrients. Yup, those beefy guys and cut girls that are constantly chatting about their macro breakdown are just referring to the ratio of carbs, protein and fat in their diet. Now that that mystery is solved, here are the basics about macros and whether or not you should be tracking them. Macros 101 Counting calories is out, and counting macros is in. But following a macro eating plan requires a good grasp on, well, the macronutrients. Did you know that each macronutrient contains a specific number of calories per gram? Protein and carbohydrates both have 4 calories per gram, and fat has 9 calories per gram. Before you decide if you want to count macros, you should have a basic understanding of each one. Carbohydrates Carbs get a really […]

The post What Are Macros and Should I Be Tracking Them? appeared first on Nutrition à la Natalie.

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This post is sponsored by Florida Department of Citrus. Thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible! Finding the time for fitness isn’t always easy, and many find the early morning hours to be the only suitable time to get a workout in. Since sleep is a precious commodity, it’s likely you hit the snooze button as many times as possible, only to roll out of bed, throw on your workout gear and head out the door. But doing so means neglecting a key element from your workout –fuel! In honor of National Orange Juice Day, I’m sharing some of my quick and easy strategies for fueling a morning workout in less than 5-minutes. Why you shouldn’t workout on an empty stomach Working out on an empty stomach is like trying to make a car move without gas in the tank. Sure, you can push it along, but it’s going to be a painful task that requires maximum effort. The body is an amazing machine that can store fuel in the muscles and liver in the form of glycogen. After fasting for 8+ hours while asleep, these glycogen stores are basically depleted. In order to have the […]

The post How To Fuel For An Early Morning Workout appeared first on Nutrition à la Natalie.

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