Snack Like an Olympian

Posted: 7/29/2012

Posted July 29, 2012

Are you ready for some Olympics? If so, don't be a couch potato. Snack like an athlete.

Skip the creamy dips and chips. Forget the fried fish and chips, a favorite in London, the host city.

Why not take a cue from the athletes? As more than 2,000 of them get ready to compete, they'll rely on good nutrition to provide the energy needed to run, swim, bike and sweat through beach volleyball.

Dietitians say lean protein and moderate amounts of good carbohydrates are safe bets for snacking.

You can serve lean meats in the form of kebabs. Or choose nuts, which provide protein plus a long-lasting energy boost.

Amy Gluck, MS, RD, a clinical nutrition supervisor at Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital, says nuts are a handy, easily portable choice. "But they should be eaten in small serving sizes because they are high in calories," Gluck says.

And, of course, you can't go wrong serving any kind of vegetable. At London's Olympic Village, more than 330 tons of fruit and vegetables will be served.

Gluck, 40, an Ironman triathlon competitor, says a veggie tray with hummus dip is a good idea.

"Vegetables have a lot of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals," she says. "The hummus has protein and fiber."

A substitute for hummus is our ranch dip made with no-fat Greek yogurt.

You might hear athletes talk about eating foods high in carbohydrates, such as pasta, before a big event. But, Gluck says, "excess carbohydrates will be stored as fat."

So what's a smart way to scale it back? Try our Spicy Roasted Chickpeas or a modest serving of Sesame Noodles.

And as you enjoy some healthy treats (plus the Lemon-Earl Grey Squares in honor of the host city) as you watch, don't forget to add a few cheers for the good, old US of A.

Contact Susan M. Selasky at 313-222-6432 or sselasky@freepress.com.

More Details:

SESAME NOODLES Serve hot or cold and add cooked chicken or shrimp, if desired.

--Cook a 12-ounce package of fresh Chinese or Japanese noodles according to package directions. Drain and add to a large bowl. Add 3 sliced green onions, some thinly sliced carrots (or sliced red peppers, if desired) and cooked chicken or shrimp, if using. In a glass measuring cup, whisk together 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, 3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, 1 tablespoon sesame oil and, if desired, 1 teaspoon minced garlic. Pour over noodles and toss to coat.

NO-FAT RANCH DIP A welcome change from standard dip made with sour cream. (From Amy Gluck, MS, RD, a clinical nutrition supervisor at Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital.)

--Mix 1 package ranch dip seasoning with a 16-ounce container of 0% fat Greek-style yogurt. Chill about 30 minutes before serving. Serve with baked chips or baked pita chips, or an assortment of cut-up vegetables.

SPICY ROASTED CHICKPEAS Chickpeas are a carbohydrate known to gradually raise blood sugar, not spike it. (Recipe adapted from www.wholeliving.com.)

--Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drain and rinse one 15-ounce can chickpeas and spread them out on a rimmed baking sheet. Whisk together 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon ground hot paprika and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Pour over chickpeas. Roast, shaking pan occasionally, until chickpeas are golden and crunchy, about 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely.

CHILI-SPICED ROASTED MIXED NUTS Use a mix of walnuts, cashews, pistachios, almonds and walnuts.

--Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk 1 egg white and 1 teaspoon sugar until foamy. Spread out 12 ounces of nuts on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour egg white mixture over nuts. Sprinkle with 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and 1 tablespoon brown sugar. Bake for 10 minutes. Stir and bake another 10 minutes or until nuts are dry.

©2012 the Detroit Free Press

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