Seven foods to ignite your workouts

We all gather into the grocery store with hundreds of food choices daily to pick from. Many of us always end up putting the same five or 10 items in our carts. However, you can have flavor and health, not tasteless, boring recipes and meal plans. I picked seven big must-have foods to power your workouts, keep you healthy and get you energized! Make sure those same five-10 items you end up putting into your cart include these must-buy items:

Almonds are an excellent choice to snack on during the day and contain the antioxidant vitamin E, which is hard to find from good food sources without an extra supplement. Vitamin E helps your immune system and protects your body from cell damage. Put these in your arsenal to fill up on healthy fats and get some added fiber to keep you feeling fuller longer. Try sprinkling diced almonds on your oatmeal or adding some to a mid-afternoon snack.

Eggs are a great source of complete protein to power your muscles and fuel your workouts. They contain all the crucial amino acids to repair your muscles. The best thing about them is they are quick and easy to make. Try them scrambled, in an omelet with vegetables for added nutrients or hard-boil them for a quick and easy mid-morning snack.

All-natural peanut butter is a quick, easy way to add healthy fats to your diet. Add some on to your apple, to 100-percent whole-grain bread or throw 1 or 2 tablespoons into your protein shake to add in B vitamins, vitamin E, calcium and fiber. Two tablespoons also have 8 grams of protein.

Quinoa is a power carbohydrate. It contains the most protein over any carbohydrate and is loaded with fiber and nutrients. Vegetarians, this is a great addition to help your diet. It covers iron, magnesium, potassium and vitamin E. Complex-carb quinoa helps keep insulin levels low and happy, so your body stays happy.

Sweet potatoes are an excellent choice if you are looking for a slow-burning carbohydrate for energy. Slow-burning carbohydrates keep your insulin levels low, so fat-burning can happen more easily for your body. Who doesn’t like great abs? Sweet potatoes are loaded in vitamin A and beta carotene, which helps gives them their color, and are superior to white potatoes. Combine them with a protein for an excellent dinner or lunch choice.

Black beans contain a great source of soluble fiber, the cholesterol-lowering, heart-healthy fiber, along with a great percentage of protein and folate, a B vitamin that is good for heart circulation. Make some black-bean turkey burgers or black-bean soup, or add them to your chili for some heart-healthy meals.

Salmon is the king of omega-3 fatty acids in fish. A 4-ounce serving has 25-30 grams of protein and will help your joints. Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation in the body, which is a plus for everyone. Add them to a bed of dark, leafy greens, with brown/wild rice or quinoa, or if you’re looking for a low-carb dinner, pair it with one or two cups of colorful vegetables.

Charlie Biggs is one of the more than 30 registered personal trainers at 12th Street Gym. To learn about Charlie, visit www.biggsbuilt.com or www.12streetgym.com.