Sensi Ambassador and pro volleyball player Sarah Paven shares her tips on eating to fuel an active lifestyle. I LOVE food. I love making it, I love thinking about it, but most of all, I love eating it. I am a self-proclaimed foodie, who will sample almost anything, and I have a serious soft spot for farm-to-table restaurants and independent coffee shops. My sweet tooth may also be abnormally enhanced. Being an athlete, I probably eat way more food than most, simply due to the sheer number of calories I burn doing my job. To do my job well, though, I can’t be putting just anything into my body (my sweet tooth is sighing), therefore my husband and I cook the majority of our meals at home, and we are very conscious of the ingredients we use. We don’t shy away from fats (the right fats are actually our friends!!), but we also like to incorporate a lot of fruits and vegetables into our diets, with lean protein, and complex carbohydrates. We definitely splurge for a treat every now and then, but moderation is key. Too much of any one thing is never a good idea. With all that in mind, here are a few of my favorite recipes. Enjoy! Breakfast: Homemade Granola This granola is super tasty and quite filling. It will keep your hunger at bay with the mixture of oats, dried fruits, and nuts. I eat it mixed with yogurt, but you could eat it with milk, or plain as a snack. Much less sugar than the store-bought kinds. 4 cups large flake oatmeal OR 3 cups large flake oatmeal plus 1 cup bran cereal (not the flakes) 1/2 cup coconut 1/2 cup sliced almonds 1/4 sunflower seeds 1/4 cup flax seeds 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans 2 cups chopped dried fruit (apricots, banana chips, apples, cranberries... whatever you want) Mix all these ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl mix: 1/2 cup brown sugar 1/3 cup honey or maple syrup 1/4 cup canola oil 2 tbsp. orange juice 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon Bake at 250 for 55 minutes. Stir every 15 to 20 minutes. I usually use parchment paper on the pan so that it doesn't get too sticky. Lunch: Quinoa Salad with Chick Peas, Feta, and Apples Quinoa is the best little grain because it is so high in protein. It has a great nutty flavour, and the other ingredients in this salad really bring out the best in it. I eat this salad at least once a week. I, personally, leave out the raisins, and sometimes I substitute buffalo mozzarella for the feta. 1 cup quinoa, rinsed in a fine sieve 1/4 cup golden or sultana raisins 1 19 oz. (540 mL) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained A big handful of flatleaf parsley, chopped 1/2 cup crumbled feta (or as much as you want) 1 tartish apple, chopped 1/2 cup toasted walnuts or almonds Dressing: 1/4 cup canola or olive oil 2 Tbsp. rice vinegar or lemon juice 1 tsp. honey 1/4 tsp. curry paste or powder Cook 1 cup quinoa according to package directions; dump into a wide salad bowl and set aside to cool. (Tip: add the raisins as it cools – the raisins will plump up as they absorb any excess moisture). Add the chickpeas, parsley, feta and apple and drizzle with dressing. (To make the dressing: shake all the ingredients up in a jar.) Toss, then sprinkle with toasted walnuts or almonds right before serving. Dinner: Salmon with Pineapple Mango Salsa and Rice Salmon is a great source of omega fatty acids, and the pineapple mango salsa gives this dish a really fresh feel. This is a perfect summer dinner, and rounding out the dish with some wholegrain rice makes for a great wellbalanced meal. Adapted from juliasalbum.com. Ingredients for mango salsa: 2 cups pineapple, chopped in small cubes 1 cup mango, chopped in small cubes 1 cup tomato, chopped in small cubes 1/4 cup red onion, minced 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped finely 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice Salt and pepper to taste Ingredients for rice, salmon, and glaze: 2 cups uncooked rice or quinoa 1.5 pounds salmon, or 4 6-ounce salmon fillets salt and pepper 3 tablespoons olive oil 2 tablespoons honey 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice or lime juice 2 tablespoons soy sauce (use gluten free soy sauce for gluten free version) Mix all chopped ingredients for mango salsa in a large bowl, add lime juice, add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside to let the juices do their work. Cook 2 cups of uncooked rice according to instructions for the type of rice (or even quinoa) you’re using. To prepare the glaze: combine honey, lemon juice and soy sauce in a small pan on medium heat until honey is softened and well incorporated with other ingredients. Set aside. Preheat broiler. Season the salmon on both sides with salt and pepper. Before broiling salmon in the oven, I like to sear it a little bit on the stove top: this will add nice color and will also allow to easily remove the skin. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil on high heat in a skillet until very hot. Add salmon, non-skin side down and sear on high heat for 2 minutes, constantly moving the salmon in the skillet so that it doesn’t stick. After it’s nicely seared, flip the salmon skin side down and continue searing for 2 more minutes on its skin side, constantly moving the salmon to avoid sticking to the skillet. After it’s nicely seared on the skin side, remove the skin easily with spatula. Place the salmon in an oven-proof dish skin-less side up (with the side that used to have skin – down). Brush the top of salmon with half the amount of glaze prepared in step 3. Broil for about 3 minutes, brush with the remaining amount of glaze and broil for additional 2-3 minutes until nicely charred. Watch to make sure salmon does not burn because of the sugar in the honey. Remove from the broiler, cover with foil and let it sit for about 10 minutes before serving. This will allow salmon to cook through but not be overcooked. To serve, place a scoop of rice (or quinoa) on one side of the dish and a scoop of mango salsa next to it. Top with salmon. PostWorkout: Protein Shake After a workout, it’s really important to replace both carbs and protein, so I like to use a whey-based, flavored protein powder mixed with water to refuel. My personal fave is AOR Advanced Whey Protein in Chocolate. One scoop mixed with water is great! Smoothie This can be made anyway you want, but a protein and some carbs are a must to include. I suggest using Greek yogurt or any kind of milk for a protein, and a berry or fruit for the carb. Adding in some kale/spinach and chia seeds is awesome. Blend them all together in a VitaMix or blender and enjoy. If the smoothie is too thick, add in some water.