Ask An Expert: Recipes For Fitness Fans

April 17, 2013 6:00 AM
It’s spring – time to go outdoors and get moving! Swimsuit season is not that far away, and fitness fans all over the Bay Area are getting outside and working out. But the hard work of fitness can quickly be undone by eating too much or the wrong kinds of foods before and after your workout. Sebastopol nutritionist Julie Halpin offers the following recipes to keep yourself healthy and trim this spring.

Julie Halpin

Jules & Bliss/FoodWorks
Sebastopol, CA
(707) 396-0576

Julie Halpin is a nutritionist who is board certified in holistic nutrition. Based in Sebastopol, Halpin has a private nutrition practice, works with the Bauman Nutrition Clinic and teaches at Bauman College. With Barbara Liss, she has recently founded Jules & Bliss, a holistic nutrition company that offers webinars, cleansing programs and personal health and nutrition consulting.

Berry-Licous Power Smoothie

Smoothies are a great option for before or after a workout because they combine protein and the healthy nutrients in vegetables and fruits in an easy-to-eat form. Try one of these smoothie variations after your next run or weightlifting session.


  • 1 serving high-quality protein powder (whey or pea-based)
  • 6-8 oz. water, unsweetened almond milk, or coconut water
  • 1/2 cup berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, etc.)
  • 1-3 tsp. renewal greens
  • 1-3 tsp. chia seeds or freshly ground flax seeds


  1. Blend until smooth.
  2. Add 2 cubes of ice (optional) and blend again.

Related: Simple Recipes: Healthful Holiday Treats

Mahi-Mahi Filet with Thai Green Curry

A great workout can quickly be undone by an unhealthy meal afterwards. Try this fish main course for dinner and avoid that stuffed feeling.


  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, divided
  • 2 cans (14 oz. each) coconut milk (1 can regular, 1 can ‘lite’ is okay too)
  • 4 tbsp. Thai green curry paste
  • 2 tbsp. Vietnamese or Thai fish sauce
  • 2 tsp. Truvia
  • 4 ‘line-caught’ mahi-mahi or halibut fillets (each 1 in. thick and 4-6 oz.)
  • 2 large red bell peppers, seeded, cut into rings
  • Cooked brown rice (or brown basmati rice)
  • Lime wedges


  1. Purée 2/3 cup basil leaves, 1 can coconut milk and the curry paste in a blender. Cook mixture in a saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until bubbly, 2 to 3 minutes. Add remaining can coconut milk, 1/2 cup water, the fish sauce and Truvia. Cook sauce at a low boil until thickened, 10 minutes.
  2. Coat fish with 3 to 4 tbsp. sauce. Coat peppers with about 2 tbsp. sauce.
  3. Oil cooking grate using tongs and a wad of oiled paper towels. Grill peppers, covered, turning once, until browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Grill fish, covered, turning once, until just cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes. With a wide spatula, carefully transfer to another plate.
  4. Spoon rice onto a large platter and top with fish. Thinly slice remaining basil. Spoon half of the sauce over fish, top with peppers and sprinkle with basil. Serve with lime wedges and more sauce.

Wilted Spinach, Roasted Garbanzos & Tomato Salad 

Salads are a healthy pick for any fitness-minded eater because they provide a big punch of nutrients, fiber and satisfaction. Try this easy and filling spinach and chickpea salad for lunch or dinner.


  • 2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 15 oz. garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 5 tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp. white wine vinegar or seasoned rice vinegar
  • 9 ounces organic baby spinach, washed
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, sliced


  1. Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Lay them on a few paper towels to dry while you grab the rest of the ingredients. Preheat broiler. Line a baking pan with foil, folding up a ridge about one inch tall across the center of the pan.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the tomatoes with about 2 tsp. of the olive oil. Spread the tomatoes on one side of the baking sheet. Then, in the same bowl, toss the garbanzos with a dash of olive oil. Spread the garbanzo beans on the other side of the baking sheet. Season both with salt and pepper. Broil, stirring every few minutes, until slightly charred, about 15 minutes.
  3. While the tomatoes and garbanzos are broiling, whisk together the remaining oil, the vinegar and salt and pepper to taste in the bowl.  Add the spinach and the sliced olives.
  4. When the tomatoes and garbanzos are ready, remove them from the oven. Allow to cool for a moment. When the edges of the foil are cool enough to handle, use them to lift everything out of the pan. Pour right into the bowl on top of the spinach. Toss well. Serve immediately.

Related: Holiday Recipes From Peninsula Chefs

Laura Tarwater-Scharp is a freelance writer, editor and historian. Originally from the Midwest, she has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for over a decade. Her work can be found at