The Holidays are upon us. Once again it’s that time of year when we break the bank buying gifts, break our vows to NOT gain the Holiday 15, and inevitably, we end up breaking our belts (and possibly TONS of bulbs trying to untangle that God forsaken mess of Christmas lights)!
Although I can’t stop anyone (including myself) from buying ALL THE PRESENTS and/or cursing so loud as you hang those stupid lights that you scare off all of the neighborhood children, I can, however give you some really amazing tips and tricks that I have learned to help keep you from battling the holiday bulge. If you remember my post from last year Ooops, I Think I Did It Again, the “struggle was real” with me. I ate everything I could, drank all that I could and ended up in a food coma with nothing but crumbs on my face and a vague memory of the button popping off my pants. Gross. I learned my lesson last year and here is my SMART PLAN to help you fit into your pre Holiday pants in 2017. Click HERE to read more…..
“My kids refuse to eat foods that are good for them”
Today I am going to address the food issue. Whether you are trying to lose weight, gain muscle or wanting to maintain, food is a huge part of the equation. Your diet is responsible for 80% of your results, the other 20% are your genetic and fitness output. So there is a lot of truth in the saying “Abs are made in the kitchen”.
“I don’t have time to cook healthy meals.”
This is THE BIGGEST complaint that I get from clients who want to eat healthier. I understand where you are coming from. We are all super busy! It’s the American way. Rush here, race there. We always find something to fill up our calendars, but not having “time” to cook a healthy meal is a big pile of BS. (Click here to read my thoughts on Finding Time For Fitness). If you have time to sit in a drive thru for 10 minutes, you have time to cook a healthy meal. If you can go to a restaurant to eat, you have time to make a healthy meal. If you have time to throw a pizza in the oven, you have time to make a healthy meal. YOU JUST CHOOSE TO NOT MAKE A HEALTHY MEAL.
Making foods that are nutritious DO NOT take any more time than any other food. Need fast food? How much faster can eating get than peeling a banana or opening a container of yogurt? And although, fresh is always better, but how hard is it to throw “steam in the bag” broccoli in the microwave and hit start? I understand how going through a drive thru or ordering pizza may seem like the only choice when you are low on time, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. You can eat “fast”, easy, healthy food, you just need to be a little creative.
Here’s a scenario for you. It’s lunch time and you are starving. You drive 10 minutes to a fast food joint, wait 10 minutes in the drive thru line, order whatever is on the dollar menu and drive 10 minutes to drive back to work. 30 minutes just to get a burger and fries. Now let me revamp it a bit for you. If you were to take 10 minutes in the morning and make a wrap out of a whole wheat pita with chicken breast (you can buy it pre cooked and cut up for you so it’s easy), leafy greens and avocado and grabbed an apple, you would have saved yourself 20 MINUTES to do whatever you want at lunch break. Healthy and a time saver (PS – you could use those extra 20 minutes to go for a walk. ANOTHER WIN). Same thing goes with supper. A pizza takes 15-20 minutes to cook. In the same amount of time you can cook a chicken breast, steam some veggies and bake a sweet potato in the microwave. Actually , it takes 12 minutes because I do it a few times a week. Healthy meals don’t have to take hours to prepare, you just have to think outside of the box and not go to your “to go” fast and easy food.
Now there are days when you are so busy that cooking is not an option. Been there, done that. Or maybe the thought of cooking every day makes you want to stick you head in the oven and turn it on broil. I really have been there and done that. (Disclaimer here – I CAN’T COOK. I HATE TO COOK AND I TRY TO GET OUT OF IT EVERY CHANCE I CAN GET. So when I tell you that I DO this stuff, that means it REALLY IS simple and easy to do. Back to the point and CAPS LOCK OFF). When you know you are going to have a busy week, this is when you make meal prepping your best friend.
What is meal prepping?
I know you have heard the expression “fail to plan, plan to fail” right? Well, meal prepping is planning out your meals to ensure that you make the right choices because the food is already prepared for you. The premise behind meal prepping is to take a few hours, one or two days a week to prepare all of your food for the next three to five days. You can prep just one meal (dinner) or all three meals and snacks ahead of time. The key to successful meal prepping is having a PLAN.
THE PLAN Rule #1 in meal prepping is to make a plan. Make a menu, gather recipes (He and She Eat Clean and Lori Harder have great simple and healthy recipes) and plan what you want to eat for the week. Each meal should include a lean protein source, a veggie and a carb (starch or fruit). Add in healthy fats like coconut oil, natural nut butters and avocados.
GO SHOPPING Now that you have your menu, make a list of the groceries, spices, herbs, condiments you will need. Stock up on plenty of fruits, vegetables, protein, starches, dairy, nuts and seeds. It’s better to have too much than not enough food.
STORAGE Choose BPA free containers that fit nicely together when stacked. Having your fridge look like a game of jenga will drive even the most unorganized person crazy. I personally like to use clear, glass containers. They are more expensive, but they will last longer and you won’t have to guess what is in each container. Also make sure you have snack size baggies for your snacks. They are already portion controlled – easy peasy.
COOKING This is where the work comes in, but it is worth it! Each week this process takes me a few hours, but it saves me cooking time during the week.
Proteins: I make all of my meats at once. In the summer I toss everything on the grill and let it cook. Personally, I like to cook my meats with little seasoning. That way I can add healthy sauces or spices as my taste changes throughout the week. In the colder months, I bake my proteins in the oven or on the George Forman Grill
Grains: These can be cooked up once for the whole week. A pot of quinoa or brown rice will last for five days and can be made with low sodium chicken stock for added flavor. I bake sweet potatoes, zucchini and/or spaghetti squash at the same time I cook the veggies in the oven.
Veggies: Vegetables can be raw (salad), steamed, stir-fried or roasted. I cut up all of my veggies in same size pieces so they will cook evenly. Adding healthy oil and herbs will enhance the flavors while they cook.
DON’T FORGET ABOUT THE CROCKPOT!!!! One of my favorite dishes is to cook 4 pounds of chicken breast with canned tomatoes and a few spices – spicy chicken. Set it and forget it! The crock pot is also great for making oatmeal.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER This is when you can take your meal prep up a notch and portion everything out into meals. Depending on your preference, you can mix and match your meals as you go throughout the week or create all of your meals in your containers so all you have to do is grab and go. Either way, when creating your meals make sure you get the appropriate serving sizes of your items. Make sure each meal contains a protein, a veggie and a carb (fruit or starch). Don’t forget to add in healthy fats to at least 2 meals!
SERVING SIZES Protein: 4-5 oz Carbs and Starches: 1/2-1 cup Veggies: 1 cup or 2 cups for leafy greens Fruits: small piece of fruit or 1/2 cup
And if all else fails, you can have a meal prep service make your food for you! What!!?!? Yes, there are places that will do that for you. Incredible, right?!?! If you are in the metro area, a great local company that I recommend is Re.Nu.Trition. All meals are gluten free, made with anti-biotic and hormone free meat, healthy and their produce is purchased locally. Meals prepared and available for pickup on Sunday or delivered to you on Monday for $10 charge. You can find out more about Re.Nu.Trition on facebook.
If you are not in the Metro area, another great healthy meal prep company is ICON Meals. ICON Meals is out of Texas and they will ship your custom meals to your door step. Each meal comes to you fresh, never frozen, and you have the option of over 100 meal combinations.
“Healthy food is boring and bland.”
Well sure – any food without seasonings will taste bland and boring. That’s why you add flavoring silly! I will throw this out there again – remember that I hate to cook and I am horrible at it? Well, I’m also terrified of trying seasonings, flavorings and condiments that are not the typical salt, pepper and ketchup. So I am going to address this topic in the only way I know – Flavor God Seasonings. I discovered these when I was in my last prep and I couldn’t keep eating bland chicken anymore. The first thing that got me was that they were gluten free and then I saw all of the flavors and fell out of my chair. Seriously – bacon flavoring, donut flavoring, pizza flavoring…..drool!!!! And they are healthy, low cal or cal free and easy!!!!!! Shake and bake. BAM!
“My kids refuse to eat foods that are good for them”
OK – another COLD, HARD, TRUTH coming at cha! Your children do not buy the food, your children are not your boss and despite what they say, they will not starve to death. Since when did parents allow their children to treat them like they are their personal chefs? Growing up I ate what was put on the table or I didn’t eat. Plain and simple. And there were a lot of times I didn’t eat, but I’m still alive today to tell the story. If I would have had it my way, I would have ate peanut butter sandwiches, Doritos and Swiss Cake Rolls at every meal, but I WAS A CHILD. It was my parents job to make sure I ate things that were good for me. Yes, we did get treats, but, like they say on Sesame Street, they were “some times foods” and were only allowed on special occasions. I grew up in a different time and things have certainly changed since then. Seriously, I bet in some states children can sue their parents for not serving them the foods they want. I do not have kids, but I asked a few of my friends who are AMAZING parents and this is how they get their kids to eat healthy:
YOU give the options. If they choose to not eat what is served, they are given 2 options of what they can eat and they have to make it themselves. If then they still don’t want to eat, too bad. Go to bed hungry. PS – their kids have not died of starvation.
Hide veggies in the food. Add cauliflower to mashed potatoes, black beans to brownies, zucchini to pancakes and spinach to smoothies. If my husband doesn’t know I do this, neither will your kids. Here is a great post on how to be sneaky.
Make food fun! Make creatures and animals out of healthy foods. Come on! Who doesn’t want to eat kitty cat oatmeal? See some fun ideas here.
When eating out, don’t order off the kiddie menu. Order a healthy option off of the regular menu. It may be a little more expensive to buy your toddler a full meals, but it A) is healthier than chicken nuggets and fries and B) you can take home the leftovers and call it meal prep for the youngster.
And if all else fails, if you don’t want to eat it, DON’T BUY IT!!!!! If it’s not in the home – no one will be tempted.
This article was posted today on Health Your Way Online. Please take a minute to check them out for some great health and fitness tips.
Turmeric has been getting a lot of attention in the health and fitness industry lately. You may know turmeric as a spicy, golden powder in curry recipes that gives Indian dishes its incredible flavor. But, what you may not know about turmeric is that it can help you recover from your next workout.
What is turmeric?
Turmeric comes from the root of the Curcuma longa plant and has a tough brown skin and a deep orange flesh which resembles the ginger root. Curcumin, the main active compound in turmeric which gives it the bright color, is loaded with health benefits. For years, naturopaths have been prescribing turmeric and curcumin to treat a number of ailments such as:
high blood pressure arthritis joint pain pre-diabetes ulcers heartburn depression
Most recently, a new, double-blind, randomized-controlled study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology in March 2015 found that curcumin can help reduce pain associated with delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and aid muscle recovery in physically active people. Participants in the study were given curcumin twice daily and asked to perform a heavy eccentric exercise. They were monitored for 2 days and the researchers not only found that the curcumin helped reduce DOMS, but also improved the participants performance due to the anti-inflammatory properties.
Turmeric or curcumin can be taken in pill form or in the whole form as a spice. If you are choosing to supplement your diet in pill form, either with turmeric or curcumin alone, make sure to seek out a brand that contains the compound piperine, which will aid in absorption. If you would rather consume turmeric “as is”, select an organic, non-irradiated brand that is packed with naturally occurring curcumin.
Turmeric can be a great addition to your meals and drinks. Here are a few simple ways to add it to your diet:
Add it to eggs Sprinkle it on veggies like cauliflower, potatoes, and root vegetables Add it to rice Use it in soups Blend it into a smoothie Simmer turmeric with milk and honey and add it to your tea
Please note that turmeric and curcumin supplements are not suitable for pregnant women or individuals with bile duct dysfunction or gallstones. Turmeric also has the ability to slow the clotting of blood so it should not be mixed with blood thinners or taken within 2 weeks of any type of surgery. Consult your doctor before beginning any supplementation regime.
Ok, so this post has really has nothing to do with unicorns, but when I think of Unico Nutrition, I think of Unicorns and both Unico and Unicorns make me happy sooooo….
I am so excited to announce that I am a Unico Nutrition Ambassador and I will be contributing my vast knowledge of fitness stuff (running and lifting heavy things), mad cooking skills (mostly protein pancakes and coffee) and sarcasm to their blog. You can read my first blog post, Beating The Five Exercise Excuses here.
But for real though. In July I was asked to review a few Unico Nutrition products and I was instantly a super fan. Unico Nutrition offers a variety of items which are all awesome:
Now – to the good part! So, what can I do for you? As your ultra fabulous ambassador, I can offer you $5 off your when you use code FITTOGO at check out.
I can’t praise this company enough. They produce quality products that taste delicious and hold up to their claims. The customer service is outstanding and I can’t ask for nicer people to work with. And what I really love about this company is that they don’t claim to be the “beat all to end all” product that will be your magic pill. They know that you will make the change because of what YOU DO, not because of what you drink. To quote their motto: “We’re a supplement company. We’re not going to make you lose 10 pounds. We’re not going to make you gain 10 pounds of muscle. We’re not going to make you run faster, lift heavier, or set new personal bests. You’re going to do that. And we’re going to help.”
Once you buy all of the products, you must try the only post workout shake that I will drink to refuel my muscles and make my taste buds happy!
Apollo Vanilla Berry Goddess Protein Shake
1 cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk (more or less depending how thick you like your shake)
Like it or not, fall is upon us and winter is right around the corner. The cold, the darkness, the lack of color in nature – it may sound gloomy and daunting, but it is also a time for change. Everything around us is in a transition. In preparation for the winter, everything goes through a change in order to face the winter and come out fresh and new in the spring. The leaves, the air, the temp, the sun, the animals coats – it’s all changing. Like our surroundings, now is the perfect time for you to make a change too. Whether it’s starting a healthy diet, getting in shape or accepting a new challenge in life, you need to make a change to be successful. The change may be a bit uncomfortable or you may struggle along the way, but in time it will become second nature. Like the trees in the fall, you may want to hold on to those familiar leaves that shelter you, but if you don’t let go of them you will never be able to make way for the new buds that will form in the spring.
This month I challenge you to change with the season. Get rid of an old “habit” and make way for a new one. Make a plan, make a backup plan and when things get hard or a little scary, let go of your old ways and stick to the plan. Before you know it, spring will be here and you will come out the other side of winter as a fresh, new version of you.
“You are confined only by the walls you build yourself”
Thursday is Halloween and there is no doubt that your kid will be bringing home more candy than one person can consume in a decade. And, needless to say, some of that candy might look “suspicious” and need to be “taste tested”. I mean you don’t want your kid getting sick from bad candy, am I right? (on a side note, I always found it a little odd that my dad only checked out the chocolate candy and left the gum, Smarties and Jolly Ranchers for me to “look over”). Before you dig into the candy bowl this year, check out how long it takes to burn off those treats (via Self Magazine)
8 miniature York Peppermint Patties = 150 calories. To burn off a serving size of three pieces, you’d need to do about 17 minutes of biking at a moderate (12 to 14 mph) pace.
1 roll of Smarties = 25 calories. For each roll to reach for, you’d have to tread water for six minutes to burn off those calories
6 small Tootsie rolls = 140 calories. It may only take a seconds to devour the recommended serving size of six pieces, but you’ll need 40 minutes of moderate walking (at 3 miles per hour, or a 20-minutes-per-mile pace) to burn them off.
2 Fun Size Snickers bars = 160 calories. Two Fun Size bars equals about 22 minutes of vigorous Vinyasa yoga.8 Starburst = 160 calories. Since each Starburst square is 20 calories, to burn off a recommended serving of eight pieces, you’d have to do about 50 minutes of Pilates.
3 Snack Size Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bars = 190 calories. This snack that will take about 59 minutes of light to moderate weight lifting to burn off.
2 Reese’s Peanut Butter Pumpkins = 350 calories. Eat both pumpkins and you’ll need to run about 33 minutes at a 10-minutes-per-mile pace to cancel them out.
1 caramel apple = 250 to 350 calories. The apple itself is about 100, but the real damage comes from the caramel and other sugary extras. To burn it off, you’re looking at about 40 minutes of moderate effort–no breaks!–on the rowing machine at the gym.
This Halloween make sure your treats are just that – TREATS!!! Treats are meant to be consumed in moderation and enjoyed. You can reach into your kids bucket for a little bit of this or a piece of that, but don’t try to grab as much as you can and gobble it down before they can notice. To keep yourself at bay, limit yourself to 100 calories of candy so you don’t feel “tricked” in the morning when your pants don’t fit and you feel bloated. Here are a few example of the treats you can get for 100 calories or less:
1 Fun Size Butterfinger Bar
2 Twix Minis
3 Milky Way Midnight Minis
4 3 Musketeer Minis
10 Gummie Bears
13 Pieces of Candy Corn
28 Milk Chocolate M&M’s
And if you really don’t want the candy in your house after November 1st, here are a few ideas on how to rid your home of those treats:
Put the candy in freezer bags and store them in the freezer to bake with later
Ask the “Switch Witch” to pay your house a visit. The Switch Witch comes in the middle of the night and switches out the candy for a toy. Now, make sure your kids know about this and are on board or else you might have a whole other issue on your hands.
Organize a candy drive and donate the candy to Operation Gratitude. Operation Gratitude sends care packages to the awesome American Soldiers who make it possible for us to do fun things like Trick Or Treating.
Just the word cupcake makes me weak in the knees! But, in order to stay on track with your goals, you can splurge every now and then with the real deal or you can have this high protein, clean version without the fear of veering off track and going into a full out binge.
With Valentine’s Day coming up this week, make this guilt free treat for you and your Valentine. Healthy Heart – Healthy Love!
1 egg or equivalent of one egg of egg substitute
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp oat flour*
1 Tbsp vanilla whey protein powder (I use Myofusion Probiotic Delicious Vanilla)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp unsweetened almond milk
Mix all ingredients and pour into a coffee mug and microwave for about 1 minute. Push on the top of the cake and if it springs back its done.
1/4 cup plain non fat Chobani yogurt
3-4 Tbsp frozen berries
1 Tbsp vanilla whey protein powder (optional)
Blend in magic bullet blender until smooth and pour over the top of your cup cake.
*To make oat flour, pour 1/2 to 1 cup of oats into a blender. Blend on the pulse setting until the oats have a flour consistency. Use what you need for the recipe and store the rest in an air tight container for later recipes.
These loaves are a great “On The Go Breakfast” that is nutritious, filling and best of all EASY!!!!
1/3 – 1/2 c. dry oatmeal
5 egg whites OR 3/4 c. egg white substitute
1/2 ripe banana, cubed (or 1/4 c. fruit of your choice)
1 t. cinnamon
Mix all ingredients together and bake in small muffin tin at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Let cool and enjoy.
Makes 1 serving.
I bake 7 of these little gems up every Sunday so I have enough for the week. I just pop one in the microwave every morning and BAM – instant breakfast. What a great grab and go meal! These oatmeal breakfast bars eliminate the “I don’t have time for breakfast” excuse. Start your morning off right with a healthy meal and you’ll be less likely to binge later in the day.