Ashley's realistic, real-life tips can help you take 2018 to the next level.
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As a dietitian, I am asked all the time if snacking is healthy. I’m here to tell you the answer is a resounding “Yes!” Snacking on nutrient-dense foods that are high in nutrients and low in calories will also help you increase your intake of crucial vitamins, minerals and plant chemicals called "phytochemicals."
In fact, snacking is not only delicious, it is important for keeping you satisfied throughout the day so you don't overeat at meals, as well as replenishing your energy stores before and after exercising. But what about snacking on cookies, chips, and candy?
Remember that there is no such thing as a “bad” food. Instead, think of foods as “always” or “sometimes” foods. You can absolutely eat your salty, sweet or high fat snacks as well, but choose them in moderation, or about 1-3 times per week. Try planning your “always” and “sometimes” snack foods ahead of time and keep more nutrient-dense filling snack foods handy for when you need them. If you need some ideas of what types of snacks fit the bill, here's a list of my favorite healthy snacks!
Popcorn without a lot of additives and ingredients can be a great snack. It is extremely filling, full of fiber and low in calories. Pop it yourself and add your own spices: I like to add a bit of garlic and onion powders to mine, with a dash of salt. If you can’t pop your own, healthier options at the store include the Buddha brand and Trader Joe’s olive oil and herbed popcorns.
2. Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are a delicious anti-inflammatory addition to your diet. Try mixing your own trail mixes from your stash at home or buy premade mixes at the store. Watch out for the trail mixes that are high in sugar and salt, and stick to the ones with whole ingredients that you can recognize and pronounce.
While they can be expensive, berries are a very filling and satisfying snack that packs a nutritional punch! Try blackberries for a good dose of fiber or strawberries for a snack high in vitamin C.
4. Banana with nut butter
This is one of my go-to fast and easy snacks. I usually grab a spoonful of almond butter and have a little with each bite of banana. This is a great high protein post workout snack.
5. Peanut Butter & Dates
Once I discovered this flavor combination, I was completely hooked. This is definitely a rich and sweeter snack option that can double as a dessert.
6. Clementines and Apples
These fruits are great because they are so easy to pack and take with you. Surprisingly enough, research has actually proven that eating an apple a day can help keep the doctor away! Both of these fruits are amazing snacks and full of important nutrients to keep you energized throughout your day.
7. Hummus & Bell Peppers
Some of you may not be on the raw veggie bandwagon yet. I had to force myself for a while until I started loving my veggies every day. I found that bringing cut up veggies to work increased the likelihood that I would actually eat them. So start taking all types of cut up veggies with you: sugar snap peas, jicama, celery, bell peppers, cucumber and more!
8. Baby watermelon
Cut a baby watermelon in half and cover it with plastic wrap if you are taking it to go. It is easy to eat with a spoon and it's especially delightful on a warm day.
9. Granola Bars
Granola bars and protein bars in general tend to be a “sometimes” food because they tend to be high in sugar content and artificial ingredients. However, there are better options on the market, including Larabars. Larabars are a great option because they have wholesome ingredients high in vitamins, minerals and fiber.
10. Chia Pudding
Chia pudding is a delightful treat filled with fiber, calcium, protein and heart-healthy fats. Check out this delicious and easy recipe that has the consistency of tapioca and is only sweetened with natural sugar from fruit.
11. Roasted Garbanzo Beans
Roasted garbanzo beans perfectly satisfy your craving for a crunchy, salty snack. You can easily make this snack by yourself or buy them at the store.
12. Avocado on Whole Grain Toast
This is a very versatile snack that you can get creative with. Add the avocado to toast in slices, or smash it onto the toast with a fork. This is good with a sprinkle of taco seasoning or with greens and tomato. This snack is not only delicious, but is also very high in heart-healthy fats!
Edamame is a fancy word for whole soybeans. You can buy them frozen and heat them up in the microwave in their shells or you can also buy them without the shell to save the hassle and mess! I do recommend buying organic since conventionally grown soy is typically genetically modified. Sprinkle with a touch of salt or garlic powder for extra flavor.
If you’ve ever taken a hot yoga class, you know it’s always going to be one thing—outrageously hot. Not the “let’s hang by the pool and get that sun-kissed glow” kind of hot either. I’m talking that “I can't believe I have this much sweat in my body” and “I may or may not pass out” kind of hot. It’s nothing to mess around with, and after a year or so of not being able to go, it’s easy to forget just how serious that heat can be.
To get the maximum enjoyment and benefits out of your heated yoga classes, you need to prepare yourself before and take care of yourself afterward. Luckily, I’ve been taking some classes (sweating enough for the both of us) and I’ve listed my five favorite must-dos to help you readjust to your heated classes and get back to the hot yoga summer that we all want.
Heated classes are difficult in nature. The normal difficulty of regular poses is mixed in with the added challenges of sweating and dealing with the humidity and the heat (at times, I’ve seen the thermostat climb to 108 degrees—yikes!). Depending on what type of yoga class you’re taking (sculpt, Bikram, power vinyasa), the difficulty level and temperature are going to vary. It’s also important to remember that each person in the room is going to practice in a way that’s unique to them. Hours slept, hydration levels, food intake, and different lifestyles are all contributing factors that make our practices different. What you practice on your mat is your own––trust your body and only do what feels right to you. And remember, it’s okay to take breaks!
The rise in temperature mixed in with the humidity that we all know and love creates the perfect recipe for sweating—like A LOT. You go into a heated class dry and come out feeling like you just took a dip in the pool. Before heated classes, I had no idea it was physically possible to sweat that much. If you’re going to a heated class, especially after a long break, it’s easy to forget just how much you might sweat. Is it possible to lose that much water if you haven’t consumed it first? Trust me, going into your heated class super hydrated is going to make a world of difference and help you feel good throughout your practice. And don’t forget to take some sips of H2O while you’re practicing!
Heated classes are challenging, but I can’t stop going. Nothing quite compares to overcoming the challenge— and experiencing the cleanse my body feels after I’m done. It’s the perfect blend of hard and rewarding, but I couldn’t do it if my body wasn’t properly nourished. On the days I know I have a heated class booked; I like to make sure I am eating right. I make sure to take my vitamins and fuel my body with fruits, vegetables, and my favorite superfood shake. I hold off on food about an hour before my practice, so I feel comfortable. After the class, I like to replenish with a big protein shake (boosted with collagen to aid with muscle recovery and skin elasticity). There is no one-way path for properly nourishing your body but making sure you’re fueled for the challenge of a heated class is essential for getting the most out of your practice and feeling good on and off your mat.
Increasing and maintaining your water intake on the days you take a heated class is important, but sometimes you need something a little extra. If you’re sweating that much, you’re basically an athlete (at least in my book) and if you’re performing like a rockstar yogi, you need to hydrate like one as well. That means replenishing those lost electrolytes. Reward yourself and your body for the hard work and treat yourself to your favorite drink. I switch off between electrolyte-boosting drinks and coconut water depending on what I’m in the mood for that day. Adding these to my post-practice self-care routine has helped me feel more hydrated after and ready to take on the world again after especially sweaty classes.
Usually, a yoga mat is all you need for your practice––but heated classes are a different ballgame. I’ve gone with just a mat, and I’ve slipped all over the place. Let me tell you, there’s nothing worse than having sweat drip all over the place while you’re trying to hold a pose that makes you grip your mat for dear life (never again). Make sure you bring a towel to place over your mat, this will help with support and grip. Bringing a smaller towel is also a good idea. You can use the smaller towel to dry yourself off during water breaks or whenever you’re feeling just a bit too sweaty. This is a small step that makes a world of difference during those super-hot classes.
So, there you have it. Five of my favorite tips (more like lifesavers) that have helped me readjust to those heated classes I love so much. Getting back into it is a challenge for us all, so know you’re not alone. No matter where you’re at in your practice, remember to be kind and gentle to yourself––celebrating your health and your body’s ability to do what you love. We’re all just getting back out there, together.
Ready to jump back into your hot yoga routine? Browse Mindbody to find the perfect class for you.
While you’re at it, check out some Intro Offers near you that can help you get back to your cadence of hot yoga classes.