4 High-Energy, Healthy Foods for Spring

Spring is in full swing, and as people look toward summer, many of them are beginning to take up new and healthy activities like hiking, biking, swimming, or jogging. Some people do this to lose weight, others to enjoy the warm weather, but no matter what, doing high-performance activities should come with a change in diet to accommodate your new energy output. Saint Francis Healthcare recognizes that the most important part of an active person’s diet is not calorie counting, but nutrient density.

High levels of energy output means your body will need as many vitamins and nutrients as you can eat. Read below for a list of great foods that are packed with nutrients to help power your way through any demanding workout or high-level activity in the spring.

#1: Watercress

Named by the Centers for Disease Control as one of the most nutrient-dense foods available in the U.S., watercress is a peppery green packed with vitamins K, A, and C. More of a topping than a standalone food, adding watercress to salads or as a garnish for a stew can add a great deal of nutrient value with hardly any caloric addition. It’s also delicious, packing quite a punch in terms of flavor.

One great use for watercress is making a soup. After sweating down a few handfuls of spinach, put the cooked spinach, olive oil, and water in a blender and blend until smooth. Afterwards, add a handful of watercress and blend again. To add a protein-packed garnish, serve hot with a poached egg dropped in the soup.

#2: Salmon

Salmon is one of the most accessible and popular varieties of fatty fish, which contain a nutrient known as Omega-3 fatty acids. Fatty acids have been linked to the prevention of heart disease, increased joint health, and increased overall well-being. Salmon also provides magnesium, potassium, and other vital nutrients your brain and body needs.

If you’re planning on doing strenuous, muscle-building activity on a regular basis, be sure to eat fatty fish like salmon at least twice a week—this will provide a large share of the daily protein and nutrient intake you’ll be needing to rebuild your body after a workout!

#3: Clams

Clams are an amazing source of vitamin C, potassium, selenium, copper, and iron, but its greatest advantage is the amount of vitamin B12 it offers. 100 grams of clams provides more than 2 weeks’ worth of B12, which helps the creation of red blood cells, helps improve brain function, and is a vital part of other important bodily needs.

If you suffer from anemia, clams are a great way to supplement your anemia medications. It contains more iron than a porterhouse steak, and is less likely to contain contaminants than most farmed fish. It’s also a pretty amazing treat when it comes to delicious, “treat yourself” food.

#4: Kiwis

Kiwis are a small, sweet fruit that packs a great deal of fiber and vitamin C into a very small space. Vitamin C boosts the body’s immune system and improves respiratory function—perfect for when you’re pushing your limits on a hard run or hike! It also helps prevent cancer while maintaining the vibrancy and youthfulness of your skin.

Kiwis are a great addition to salads, or just eaten whole. The skin contains a great deal of the fruit’s fiber and nutrients, so don’t let the fuzziness put you off—eating kiwis whole is the best way to get the most out of this tropical fruit.

There you have it—4 amazing foods to kick-start your new, high-performance routine (or to help you reach the next level in your health goals). Packed with a variety of different vitamins and minerals that your body needs, add these foods to your next meal plan for a nutrient-dense diet.

For more information about healthy meals and menu planning, give the Saint Francis Registered Dieticians a call at 302.421.4121.

Categories: Blog, Food