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Saturday, July 28, 2012

What's Good About 100% Maple Syrup?

Pure Canadian Maple Syrup
When you think of maple syrup, what comes to mind?  Pancakes, french toast.....breakfast?  Let's open up the horizons a bit as I did for this article.  What's the reason we should want 100% pure maple syrup in our diet?  Isn't it just full of sugar?  Maybe.  The kind that we typically use in the US is, but pure maple syrup has a lot of nutrition to offer.  In fact, Canadian maple syrup may be the next super food, according to researchers from the University of Rhode Island.
The typical kind of syrup we use in the USA do not actually contain any pure maple syrup at all.  They are often full of high fructose corn syrup.  Eighty percent of maple syrup is produced in Canada.  Pure Canadian maple syrup, which is very dark in color, is loaded with antioxidants- 54 different ones per 1/4 c serving!  That is as much antioxidants in a raw tomato or broccoli.  Pure maple syrup also has 100% Daily Value for manganese, 37% DV for riboflavin and 18% DV for zinc.  It is also a good supply of calcium, potassium and zinc.  It is naturally lower in sugar and calories compared to honey and corn syrup.
Pure  Canadian maple syrup can be a healthy part of an athlete's diet.  Because it is high in minerals and electrolytes, pure maple syrup can be used before, during or after exercise for fuel and recovery.  I tried out a few recipes using 100% maple syrup, and they were delicious!

Fruity Maple Refueler Shake for Post Workout

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries (or any berry; I used cherries and blueberries)
  • 3/4 cup fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 frozen banana, cut in chunks
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1/4 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 4 ice cubes

Directions:
  1. Place all ingredients in blender; whirl until smooth. Pour into glasses and sprinkle with nutmeg, if desired. Serve immediately.
Yield: 2 portions (about 10 ounces each)
Per Portion: 254 calories, 52 g carbohydrate, 11 g protein, 0.5 g fat, 4 g fiber

The finished product
This shake was the right amount of sweetness, and it had a great texture.  This would be good after a long run, bike or hike.  Add a scoop of protein powder if you want more protein. 












Maple Energy Squares
Ingredients:
Maple Energy Squares- yum!
  • 1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup non-fat dry milk
  • 1/2 cup toasted sunflower seeds
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour (or you can use whole wheat or GF version)
  • 2/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup dried blueberries or cranberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray a 9 x 9-inch baking pan with cooking spray. In a food processor, combine oats, dry milk, sunflower seeds, flour, maple syrup and eggs. Puree until almost smooth, about 10 seconds. Stir in blueberries, apricots and almonds. Turn into prepared pan. Sprinkle with coconut. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until edges are golden brown and bars are set.
Yield: 16 squares
Per Square: 300 calories, 45 g carbohydrate, 8 g protein, 10 g fat, 4 g fiber

These can be a great anytime snack.  They are full of dried fruit and nuts- great combination with a touch of pure maple syrup.

There are many more maple syrup recipes to try that look delicious and unique.  Try adding maple syrup to recipes to get its nutritional benefits!  Make sure to get 100% pure maple syrup at the store and not the fake stuff.  Check ingredient labels to make sure syrup only contains maple syrup and not added sugars.

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