Clean eating has become a top priority at the Minnesota Twins Academy since hiring a registered dietitian. Chia seed pudding with freshraspberries and shredded coconut, and cocoa infused homemade sports bars are as close as it gets to dessert. From time to time we will have brownies or cookies, often with a healthy twist, but generally at this level foods are eaten with the focus of fueling for sports performance.
When players and other clients are craving something they often ask: How often should I indulge in my favorite food or dessert? What can I make at home that satisfies my sweet tooth? Are there certain treats that are healthier than others?
For athletes focusing on sports performance my rule of thumb for healthy eating is 80-20. Eighty percent of the time you focus on good nutrition, fueling your body before workouts and after for recovery. Eating with the goal of increased energy, muscle growth and reduce inflammation. On the flip side, twenty percent of the time enjoy the foods you really want to eat while celebrating after a big win or on a day off so it doesn’t have a huge affect your performance.
It may be different for professional athletes because it’s their job to perform and keep their body in peak shape, but generally speaking eating healthy 100% or 90% isn’t always best. We are real people; humans like to have indulgent meals and desserts! There’s nothing wrong with that either, so don’t beat yourself up over it. It’s not worth the mental stress!
I’m not one to promote a complete “cheat day,” or weekend for that matter, but rather enjoy little indulgences from time to time so that you don’t overindulge when you really want something. One food or occasion won’t greatly affect you but several consecutive meals may have a significant negative affect on your body, performance and recovery.
Specifically, added sugar really has no positive affects other than fulfilling the desire to eat something sweet. The ingredient provides added calories without added nutrition. Sugar intake is linked to a significant increased risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality, both of which I don’t think you’re looking for.
When you want to stay on track with healthy eating but crave the “fix” here is one sweet recipe that may not only do the trick but also improve performance for athletes. It’s super nutrient dense, easy to digest and high in carbohydrates for energy. Forget added sugar; cocoa powder is rich in flavor and antioxidants and may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. You can make this no-bake recipe in bulk, keep them in the fridge and enjoy a bite from time to time. They often disappear in my house within 24 hours, and I’m totally cool with it!
Add water to 3/4c oatmeal and heat for 2 minutes or until fully cooked
While oatmeal is cooking, mash bananas in a large mixing bowl until thick and mushy
Drain any excess water from oatmeal. When you make it for this recipe, it may not be how you typically would eat it (thick vs. watery). Make sure all excess water is removed, then add the cooked oatmeal and the rest of the dry oatmeal to the mashed bananas and mix
Add the almond butter to the mixture. It can be cold or room temp, as it will start to melt and fold into the warm oatmeal
Add coconut oil, flax and cocoa, mix again
With your hands roll into bite size balls, no larger than the size of a golfball
Gather up your toppings of choice, then roll each ball into either topping until its entirely covered
Place on cookie sheet and freeze for 10 minutes until cool and hard but not frozen
Remove from freezer and enjoy!! Store uneaten treats in a sealed container and place into fridge if they last long enough
For tips on how to ditch added sugar check out my latest article on Mindful by Sodexo.