EDITOR'S NOTE: Everyone has their own idea of what healthy is. These recipes contain extra protein for those wanting to include more in their diet for their workouts. We have other healthy eating recipes on our Healthy Eating page.

By Suzanne Corbett, Travel/Food Editor

Spring training. Time to get in shape and get healthy. And it doesn't matter if you're a casual exerciser or a professional athlete getting in shape includes eating healthier. Good nutrition is the foundation of any training program, which can easily be translated to anyone’s table. When embarking on a spring exercise program take a look at your diet and see where it can be improved. According to dietitians making a few simple changes in your diet can pay off big.

For starters, professional nutritionists and sports trainers recommend starting the day with a nutritious breakfast packed with protein. Megan Chacosky, chef and registered dietitian for the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team, is an expert in the nutritional needs of professional athletes. She stresses the importance of protein in any fitness enthusiast's diet because protein helps build, maintain and repair muscles while increasing energy and endurance, which can help strengthen the body and avoid injuries. Adding a protein milk beverage such as Rockin' Protein, can add up to 30 grams of protein per serving.

Other classic breakfast proteins that shouldn't be overlooked are eggs. A single egg has six grams of protein. Smoothie fans can get a fiber filled and protein packed boost from chia, flax and hemp seeds. A tablespoon of these seeds provide three grams of protein and enhances the nutrition of any smoothie. Seeds are also great added to cereals or toasted with nutmeats as a topping for Greek yogurt, another outstanding source of protein.

Once one starts eating better you’re often inspired to start working out. If you haven’t exercised for a while those you could suffer from aches and pains created by inflammation. Recent research has discovered that certain foods contain specific nutrients and natural compounds that may help fight inflammation. To fight inflammation, consider tart cherries as the Montmorency variety, which contains the "highest anti-inflammatory content of any food according to research conducted at Oregon Health & Science University. Results have shown cherries can help reduce painful symptoms of osteoarthritis and Montmorency tart cherry juice can reduce post-exercise inflammation and muscle pain.
Beyond cherries, dark leafy greens like spinach and kale are among the most powerful anti-inflammatory foods, along with oily fish (salmon, sardines and scallops), nuts, seeds and whole grains. Ingredients such as ginger, turmeric and olive oil may also help combat inflammation.

"For decades, people with arthritis have consumed tart cherry juice for pain relief. Now there's scientific evidence to back up this popular folklore remedy," said registered dietitian Michelle Babb, author of Anti-Inflammatory Eating Made Easy. Babb emphasized that tart cherries are one of the richest sources of anthocyanins, a potent type of flavonoid, which can offer a natural way to help ease the pain related muscle pain and arthritis.

To help fight inflammation while adding more protein into your morning diet routine try these two recipes. Both are healthy menu additions designed to help contribute to the good nutrition you’ll need to make yourself a winner on and off the field.

Bay Scallop, Baby Kale and Corn Salad with Tart Cherry Granola

For the Granola:
1/3 cup oats
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons buckwheat groats
2 tablespoons pepitas
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
salt and pepper
1/4 cup dried Montmorency tart cherries



For the Dressing:
1 shallot, minced
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons dried Montmorency tart cherries
2 tablespoons Montmorency tart cherry juice
1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
salt and pepper

For the Salad:
10 ounces baby kale
1 grilled ear of corn, kernels sliced off
1 cup alfalfa or micro-greens
1/2 tablespoon butter
8 ounces bay scallops, patted dry

To make granola: Heat oven to 350 F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or baking mat. In large bowl, combine oats, walnuts, sunflower seeds, buckwheat groats and pepitas. In small bowl, whisk together olive oil, honey, mustard, salt and pepper.
Pour wet ingredients into large bowl and toss until well combined.
Spread mixture onto baking sheet in single layer and bake 18-20 minutes, tossing once halfway through, until granola starts to turn golden brown and crispy around edges.
Remove from oven, add cherries, and toss to combine, spread into single layer and let cool.

To make dressing: In food processor, process shallot, olive oil, cherries, cherry juice, mustard, vinegar, honey, salt and pepper until smooth.

To make salad: Place kale, corn kernels and sprouts in large bowl; set aside.

In large skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter. Once hot, add scallops and cook until golden and starting to caramelize on one side. Flip and repeat on other side. Add scallops to large salad bowl. Pour dressing over top and toss until well combined.
Break up granola into small pieces and add to salad bowl. Toss lightly before serving.
Makes one large salad.
Recipe courtesy National Cherry Marketing Institute

Blueberry Cornbread Muffins

1 cup cornmeal
1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 egg
1cup Vanilla Rockin’ Protein Builder
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 lemon, juiced

Heat oven to 400 F. Line muffin tin with 12 paper or foil muffin liners and set aside.

In medium bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt; once mixed, toss in blueberries to coat.

In separate bowl, combine egg, protein builder, oil and lemon juice. Pour liquid ingredients into dry mix and stir until just combined. Divide into lined muffin tins and bake until golden brown, about 20-25 minutes.
Makes 12 muffins
Recipe courtesy Rockin Protein