Ask The Fitness Expert

Q. Lately I can’t seem to stay awake towards the middle of the afternoon. I drink coffee but still feel sluggish even though all I’ve done is sit at my desk all day. What’s worse is I can’t stay asleep through the night, despite how tired I am when I lay down. My productivity is suffering, and anything “fun” is out of the question due to lack of energy. Is there anything I can do to boost my energy?

A. There are a couple of things to consider: activity and nutrition. Exercise is a proven energy-booster, especially in the morning. When you exercise, your body responds by releasing endorphins and adrenaline— these work together to boost mood and energy. Revving your metabolism through exercise will keep you going all day. Secondly, if your “fuel” comes processed, sugared, or frosted, then you’re on a dangerous roller coaster. High sugar intake results in energy slumps. Your pancreas has to secrete a lot of insulin to take in all of the sugar and blood sugar levels plummet due to the high insulin. You’re left feeling dead tired—along with having another sugar craving! Beat the slump by exercising and having protein-rich snacks throughout the day.

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Mini Blueberry-Lemon Cheesecakes

 

When you make dessert, even if you are disciplined and can keep yourself to one slice of cheesecake, the leftover sits in your fridge, tempting you to have a slice here and a nibble there. This recipe from Fit Pregnancy solves both problems: The muffin-sized cakes make for easy portion control, and since it only makes four servings, chances are you won’t have any remaining. But if you want to make more for a party, it’s easy to double or triple.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs (from 2 whole crackers)
  • 1 teaspoon melted butter
  • 1/8 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/3 cup light cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup lemon 2% Greek yogurt, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • For blueberry topping:
  • 2/3 cup blueberries
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a muffin pan with 4 paper cupcake liners.
2. Combine graham crumbs, melted butter, and salt in a small bowl. Spoon crumb mixture into bottom of cupcake liners, pressing down lightly with the back of a spoon to flatten. Bake for 5 minutes.
3. Meanwhile in a medium bowl beat together cream cheese, yogurt, sugar, egg white, and lemon zest until smooth. Pour evenly into baked cupcake liners and bake for 20 minutes or until set on top.
4. In a small bowl toss together blueberry topping ingredients. Microwave for 30 seconds and mash lightly with a fork to release juices.
5. Chill mini cheesecakes and blueberry topping. Garnish cheesecakes when ready to serve.