You’ve probably heard the saying that “abs are made in the kitchen,” referring to what so many nutrition and fitness experts echo: Diet is just as an important element of a strong body as working out. These same sources will tell you that eating for a body that you can feel good about inside and out shouldn’t feel restrictive — it just may require some strategic swaps. Take for example the almighty almond, a protein-packed superfood that also happens to be so satisfying. And by incorporating some healthy almond-based recipes into your regimen, you can create a more balanced diet without feeling like you’re sacrificing a thing.
Celebrity trainer Massy Arias, who has worked with stars like SZA and Chris Hemsworth, admittedly has a sweet tooth, but she’s learned that she doesn’t have to give up her love of sweets to stick to a healthy eating plan. “Diet shouldn’t be about strict limitations or depriving ourselves from the foods we love,” she tells The Zoe Report. “I tell my clients that their daily food intake should make them feel good from the inside out by incorporating foods that fuel us with energy, boost our moods, and have us feeling our best selves.” And for Arias, that includes a regular helping of almonds.
According to Medical News Today, studies have shown that consuming almonds can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure, partially due to the fact that they’re filled with healthy fat and fiber, which also keep you feeling satiated (which can curb your craving for foods that are less healthy). In addition, they’ve been found to be high in vitamin E and protein, so if you’re not already enjoying almonds on a regular basis — assuming you’re not allergic — you might be missing out on some serious benefits.
In need of some creative ideas of how to up your almond intake? As a partner of California Almonds, Arias is sharing some of her favorite ways to truly savor this superfood, including a couple breakfast ideas that just might take the place of your usual avocado toast and a smoothie to satisfy your sweet tooth. Check out all four ahead.
Healthy Almond-Based Recipe: Almond Butter Toast
When Arias needs a quick pre-workout snack, toast smeared with homemade almond butter always does the trick. “Like I tell my clients all the time, balance is key, and I’m always looking for tasty yet nutritious ways to level-up my workout snack game with ingredients that fill me up without weighing me down,” she explains. “I typically snack on an almond butter spread over a wheat toast before my morning workouts. I usually just mix roasted almonds, honey, coconut flakes, and coconut oil in a food processor and voila, the best spread for the best you, me, and your toast.”
Healthy Almond-Based Recipe: Energy Balls
If it’s a post-workout treat you’re seeking, the trainer recommends choosing something that’s got both carbohydrates and protein, which she says are are essential for energy and muscle recovery. Her preferred snack after a sweat session? Almond butter-based energy balls that are perfect for those on-the-go. “Before I hit the road for some outdoor activity, (like a run, hike or bike), I take easy and convenient plant protein-packed snacks with me for when I take time to cool down,” she says. “I make snack bites out of almond butter, coconut flour, medjool dates, maple syrup, vanilla extract, ground cinnamon, and salt: I put them into a food processor or blender and combine until the mixture is super-smooth. Then, I just scoop into balls, chill, and enjoy — they are both a delicious and convenient way to curb hunger on the go.”
Healthy Almond-Based Recipe: Amped-Up Oatmeal
You don’t have to be a morning person to enjoy a deliciously satisfying bowl of oatmeal — Arias often makes one as a midday meal, especially when she’s in the mood for a little something sweet. “When I’m craving a sweet reward after an intense HIIT workout, I choose oatmeal,” she explains. “It is super nutritious, filling, and is a great source of energy to fuel you on the daily. Adding almond milk, vanilla extract, berries, and cinnamon to oatmeal is a plus-up that will keep you full and fueled for hours.”
Almond-Based Recipe: Choco-Almond Smoothie
Craving chocolate? Arias gets her fix — along with some leafy greens — in this decadent, protein-packed smoothie. “Pre-workout, post-workout, no-workout, smoothies are one of my go-tos to elevate my nutrition and stay strong,” she says. “I like to make my signature Choco-Almond Smoothie by blending almond butter, almond milk, banana, spinach, chia seeds, chocolate-flavored protein as pre-workout fuel, and these ingredients can be substituted with other fruits and veggies per your preference.”