Ask An Expert: Best Workout Recipes

April 17, 2013 5:00 AM

(Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

(Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

The benefits of exercising stretch way beyond weight loss. Exercise helps you sleep better, stay healthier and be happier. A good fitness routine will keep your body and brain running at its optimum level. It doesn’t matter whether you’re an athlete or a novice, in order to keep your body moving, you have to fuel it with the right nutrition.

Nikki LaBarbera
Nutrition Specialist and Yoga 500 RYT
Nikki Fit

Nikki LaBarbera, a certified fitness nutrition specialist and certified yoga instructor, says that it’s all about keeping your blood sugar levels steady. If you don’t eat right, then your sugar levels drop, as does your energy. LaBarbera has over 10 years of experience in designing nutritional programs for corporate and private clients. She has shared a few of her simply delicious recipes that contain the proper carb-protein-fat ratios you need to maintain steady sugar levels and keep your body from running on empty.
Spinach Quiche
Give this pre-workout meal 2-4 hours to digest before exercising.


  • 9 inch pie crust
  • 1 cup or small can sliced mushrooms
  • 1 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained well
  • 1/2  cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup grated jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup low fat cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup low fat milk
  • 1-1/2 cups liquid egg whites
  • 1/8  teaspoon nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 375° F
  2. Heat mushrooms, onions and spinach in pan until dry.
  3. Sprinkle jack cheese in bottom of pie crust
  4. Top with vegetable mixture
  5. Whisk egg whites, milk, nutmeg, salt and pepper in medium bowl
  6. Mix in cottage cheese and pour into crust
  7. Bake until set, 45 to 50 minutes

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Protein Bars
Protein bars make a great workout snack to eat at least 30 minutes before your workout or right afterward.


  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 1 tablespoon of water
  • 1 cup whey protein powder
  • 2 cups quick cooking oats
  • 1 cup of Rice Krispies
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds


  1. Mix honey with almond butter and water in a small saucepan over low heat until blended
  2. Remove pan from heat and mix in the rest of the ingredients
  3. Spread into glass pan oiled with cooking spray and chill until set.

Chicken Fajita Lettuce Wraps
These delicious fajitas cook in a slow cooker and are just the right meal to come home to after a workout.


  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 cups or one 18 oz jar of salsa
  • Sliced onion and bell pepper (optional)
  • 4-5 bib or iceberg lettuce leaves
  • Chopped cilantro, shredded carrots, sprouts, avocado slices
  • Quark or low fat sour cream (optional)


  1. Place chicken breasts, onions and bell pepper in slow cooker
  2. Pour salsa on top and cook on low for four hours
  3. Place chicken and toppings in lettuce leaves

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Ilene Jacobs is a freelance writer living in Dallas, Texas. Ilene enjoys writing about a variety of topics, ranging from food, fitness and travel, to kids, pets and senior care. You can find some of her work at

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