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Looking to add something new to your workout routine or snack drawer? TODAY contributor and registered dietitian Joy Bauer is sharing the five hottest trends in snacks, spices and supplements. And as an extra bonus, she's also offering up some must-have recipes.
1. The 'super slow' methodThe "super slow" or "slow weight training" method is one of the safest and most efficient ways to exercise with powerful results in overall muscle tone. Slow lifting reduces the impact that often causes exercise-related injury to your joints and muscles.
Various trainers are now using this practice, so ask about it at your local gym, or simply try slowing down your own weight training workout at home.
2. CashewsVegans rejoice! First came almonds, and now cashews are getting their time in the spotlight from milk to spreadable cashew cheese.
Try my Cashew-Cheese Sauce over a batch of steamed vegetables! Cashews and cannellini beans provide a creamy texture, while nutritional yeast, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar and dried rosemary offer an herb-cheese flavor without the dairy. Serve as a delicious dip or drizzle over a baked potato, whole grain pasta or cooked broccoli. Yum!
3. Matcha green teaAlthough matcha green tea has been used for centuries in China and Japan, it has recently taken the health world by storm. Matcha is a finely milled or fine powdered green tea with potent antioxidant properties. And because it's made up of ground leaves, you get about 10 times the nutrients as a regular brewed bag of green tea.
You can certainly make tea using matcha, but it can also be blended into smoothies, juices, and used to flavor milk, ice cream, yogurt, and even cake! Reap the benefits of this nutritional powerhouse with a deliciously frothy Matcha Mango Smoothie for just 190 calories per glass. Or whip up this yummy Green Tea Pound Cake for a decadent but diet-friendly dessert that'll delight your family.
4. Savory energy bars and gelsMany active people reach for a bag of chips or turkey jerky, but now they can get the flavor (plus protein and nutrients) in energy bars and gels. Keep in mind, you don't need to be an endurance athlete to enjoy these products — depending on the calories and protein (they all differ), you can enjoy them as a snack or meal replacement as well. Here are some yummy examples:
- STRONG & KIND Bars: This past summer, KIND snacks released 5 savory energy bars that range from honey smoked barbecue, to roasted jalapeno. Each flavor is 230 calories with 3 grams fiber and 10 grams protein.
- Clif bar: This month, they'll be releasing energy gels at retailers nationwide so be on the lookout for flavors like Pizza Margherita and Sweet Potato with Sea Salt.
- EPIC bars: While training for an Ironman triathlon, Taylor Collins and Katie Forrest developed the EPIC bar, which are made from 100 percent grass-fed animals, bison, turkey, pork, beef, lamb, and chicken. Paleo friendly, they have 140-200 calories and 10-16 grams of protein depending on the flavor.
- Sheffa Savory Bars: These make the perfect snack with 140-150 calories, 7-8 grams of filing fiber, and 4 grams or protein. They come in flavors like everything, rosemary, sesame, and spicy.
5. TurmericTurmeric is a yellow-colored spice found in curry powder and functions as both an anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant. It especially can help with pain from arthritis. Adding curry powder to chicken and egg dishes is an easy way to incorporate it into your diet — and it has the added bonus of adding flavor to your meals, without any calories.