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The Smart Trainer’s Kitchen: Eight Delicious Meals for Every Situation

Don’t let your clients indulge in excuses about why they can’t eat right. It’s simple. Suggest healthy recipes that can be made once a week—like the three shown here. Then eat all week with diverse, tasty meals based on the three foundation recipes.

Foundation Recipe 1: Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork

Good for Recovery

Makes about 17 servings (3 ounces each)

Trim most of the visible fat off a 4-pound pork shoulder or butt, sprinkle with 1 tablespoon salt and 1 tablespoon ground black pepper, then place pork in a slow cooker. Cook on high for 1 hour, then reduce to low and cook up to 8 hours or until the meat can be easily shredded with a fork. Move the pork to a platter for shredding, and pour drippings into a separate container to cool. Once cool, place in the refrigerator for several hours until fat separates. Remove the fat, and save the drippings for adding to pork later. Refrigerate or freeze shredded pork. Per 3-ounce serving: 135 cal, 18 g pro, 0 g carb, 0 g fiber, 6 g fat, 2 g sat fat, 418 mg sodium.

Foundation Recipe 2: Steam-Fried Caramelized Onions

Good for Bones

Makes 10 (½ cup) servings

Peel and julienne 5 medium onions, and place them in
a large sauté pan or pot with ½ cup of stock, wine, or beer. Cook, covered, over medium-high heat for 10 minutes
or until onions are soft and easy to move in the pan; remove the lid and reduce heat to low or medium-low. Stir occasionally; cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Allow the pan to almost run dry, then add more liquid a splash at a time, scraping up the brown bits from the bottom of the pot. (This allows for caramelization.) When done, onions will be very soft and range from golden brown to nearly black. Per ½-cup serving: 23 cal, 1 g pro, 5 g carb, 1 g fiber, 0 g fat, 0 g sat fat, 25 mg sodium.

Foundation Recipe 3: Raw Kale Rainbow Salad with Lemon-Herb Dressing

Good for Muscle Repair

Makes 5 servings (2 cups each)

Toss 6 cups (about 1 pound) of thinly sliced, rinsed (and stems removed) kale with 3 tablespoons of herbs (such as parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme), 2 medium shredded carrots, 1 roasted red bell pepper, peeled, seeded, and sliced, 2 peeled and segmented clementine oranges, and 1 pound of shelled edamame. To make dressing, whisk together the juice and zest of 1 lemon, 2 tablespoons of honey or agave, 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard, and salt and pepper to taste. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil while whisking to emulsify. Per 2-cup serving with 2 Tbsp Dressing: 320 cal, 14 g pro, 34 g carb, 8 g fiber, 16 g fat, 1.5 g sat fat, 216 mg sodium.

Here’s the Payoff

The recipes here use the building blocks from the previous page as central ingredients, which means most are ready in a matter of minutes. Try them, and share the message with your clients: Planning ahead has its rewards.

1. For After a Tough Workout: Pulled-Pork Wrap

Serves 1

Microwave 3 ounces Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork until warm. Place in the center of an 8-inch whole wheat tortilla, drizzle with 2 tablespoons low-sodium barbecue sauce, and top with ½ cup Raw Kale Rainbow Salad (without dressing). Roll up and serve. Per serving: 372 cal, 26 g pro, 42 g carb, 5 g fiber, 11 g fat, 3 g sat fat, 804 mg sodium.

2. Family Friendly: Pulled-Pork Soft Tacos with Cilantro-Lime Yogurt

Serves 1

For Cilantro-Lime Yogurt, combine 1 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt, 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro, and zest and juice from 1 small lime. For tacos, lay two (6-inch) yellow corn tortillas on a work surface. Among them, evenly divide 6 ounces Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork, ¼ cup salsa, and ½ avocado (thinly sliced). Top with 1 tablespoon Cilantro-Lime Yogurt. Per serving (3 tacos): 398 cal, 27 g pro, 34 g carb, 9 g fiber, 19 g fat, 4 g sat fat, 912 mg sodium.

3. For Recovery Day: Ham and Greens with Caramelised Apples and Onions

Serves 5

In a large sauté pan over high heat, combine 1 cup Steam-Fried Caramelized Onions, 1 baking apple (cored and sliced thin), 1 cup lean ham (diced), salt and pepper (to taste), and hot sauce or liquid smoke, if desired. Cook for 10 minutes, turning or stirring to avoid burning. Add up to ½ cup stock as needed to prevent sticking. Once edges of apples and ham have browned, add 1 bunch (about 3/4 pound) spinach and stir 2 minutes or until greens wilt and turn bright green. Per serving: 91 cal, 10 g pro, 10 g carb, 3 g fiber, 2 g fat, 0.5 g sat fat, 234 mg sodium.

4. Hardy Vegan Food: Easy Vegan Personal Pizza

Serves 1

Preheat a pizza stone to 450 degrees. Spread ¼ cup vegan pesto sauce on a 10-inch whole wheat tortilla. Evenly distribute ½ cup Steam-Fried Caramelized Onions over the pesto. Do the same with 1 tablespoon pine nuts and 2 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes. Transfer pizza to pizza stone and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until tortilla is brown and crisp. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons fresh snipped basil before serving. Per serving: 654 cal, 15 g pro, 57 g carb, 12 g fiber, 46 g fat, 5 g sat fat, 765 mg sodium.

5. Savoury Post-Workout Supper: French Onion Soup

Serves 4

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, simmer 2 cups Steam-Fried Caramelized Onions, 2 tablespoons of fresh-snipped herbs (such as rosemary, sage, thyme, marjoram, and oregano), and salt and pepper (to taste) with enough no-salt-added beef, chicken, or vegetable stock to moisten the ingredients (about 1 cup). Simmer 10 minutes or until herbs wilt and become aromatic. Add 5 cups stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes. Set oven to highest broiler setting. Evenly divide soup into 4 to 6 oven-safe serving bowls. Top each with a stale baguette slice and a slice of mozzarella or Muenster cheese. Place bowls on a baking sheet, and place under the broiler for about 3 minutes or until cheese is golden brown. Per serving: 329 cal, 23 g pro, 47 g carb, 3 g fiber, 6 g fat, 4 g sat fat, 973 mg sodium.

6. Pre-Workout Meal or Snack: Vegan Quesadillas

Serves 1

Coat panini press or sauté pan with nonstick cooking spray and heat to medium-high. Combine ¼ cup each of Steam-Fried Caramelized Onions, cooked black beans, corn kernels, and diced red bell pepper. Stir in 1 pinch each of toasted cumin and toasted coriander. Evenly spread vegetables on half of 10-inch white-flour tortilla. Fold the other half over; cook for about 4 minutes per side. Per serving: 341 cal, 12 g pro, 61 g carb, 8 g fiber, 7 g fat, 2 g sat fat, 651 mg sodium.

7. Good For An After-Gym Date: Raw Kale Carpaccio Salad

Serves 4

Season a 1-pound flat-iron steak with 2 tablespoons less-sodium soy sauce and 2 tablespoons cracked pepper. Over the highest heat on the grill, sear steak 4 minutes per side. Remove steak from grill and let rest for 5 minutes. Slice as thin as possible, against the grain. Top 6 cups of Raw Kale Rainbow Salad with sliced steak, ¼ cup sliced sun-dried tomatoes, and 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese. Per serving: 309 cal, 29 g pro, 27 g carb, 8 g fiber, 11 g fat, 3 g sat fat, 460 mg sodium.

8. Handheld Fresh Meal: Raw Kale Carpaccio Wrap

Serves 1

In a 10-inch whole wheat tortilla, place 2 cups Raw Kale Carpaccio Salad. Roll up and serve. Per serving: 481 cal, 36 g pro, 62 g carb, 14 g fiber, 14 g fat, 3 g sat fat, 1,004 mg sodium

Keep It Interesting

“We tend to gravitate towards certain foods consistently,” says Fabio Comana, MA, MS, NASM-CPT, CES, PES, a faculty member in exercise science and nutrition at San Diego State University and UC San Diego. In fact, Comana says that 70% to 75% of what we eat is made up of about 100 foods. If what you typically eat each week is feeling boring, write a list of your favorite foods and plan a week of new options using them as building blocks. Stumped? Comana suggests consulting a registered dietitian, who can help build a creative and nutritious menu.

Boost Your Skills: Boost Your Nutrition Knowledge

Interested in how nutrition impacts performance and how a change in diet could benefit your clients? NASM’s Fitness Nutrition Specialist (FNS) program can give you the tools you need to teach clients about eating right, including how food choices impact metabolism. It even provides planners for smart food choices.

Meet the Expert

Ben Pulver, NASM-CPT, is a personal chef and trainer in the Metro Detroit area who cooks for professional athletes and busy clients who are looking to eat healthier. He provided each of the recipes here, which are among his favorites.

NASM’s The Training Edge Sept/Oct 2014