Energize With Almonds

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Here’s a surprising health hint: Don’t exercise. At least, not unless you’ve properly fueled up first. Nutrition expert Keith Ayoob, author of “The Uncle Sam Diet: The 4-Week Eating Plan for a Thinner, Healthier America” (St. Martin’s Paperbacks), offers answers to some common questions on nutrition:

Q. How can I eat for energy before I work out?

A. Eat a mixture of carbohydrates, protein and healthy unsaturated fat about two hours before you work out. The protein and fat will help you feel full and the carbohydrates provide quick energy, increasing the effect of your workout. Try a slice of whole grain bread with a tablespoon of almond butter and a few slices of strawberry or banana.

Q. I often hit a mid-afternoon slump…what should I eat?

A. Not salty, high-fat snacks that are void of essential vitamins and minerals. Try a handful or two of almonds-they will help keep you fuller longer, during the workday and at the gym. A one-ounce handful of almonds offers heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, protein, fiber, magnesium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus and iron, all in 160 calories. Almonds also contain the antioxidant vitamin E, which can help repair muscles. Plus, research shows almonds can help lower LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol and may play a role in losing weight.

Try this before a workout:

Ginger-Glazed Almonds

with Dried Fruit

Cooking spray

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

11/2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar

1 tablespoon water

11/2 teaspoons peeled and finely grated fresh ginger

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

1 cup whole blanched or natural almonds

1 cup dried berries, cherries, cranberries, mango, apricot, apple, pear or other dried fruit

Preheat oven to 300

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