Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Soup's on!

It’s getting chilly out…in fact, this morning on the way to the gym I had to turn on my seat heater…brrrr! With cold weather comes yummy, warm and comforting soup! I just made the most delicious soup yesterday in celebration of the beautiful fall weather (as well as to help keep me warm because Nate and I are refusing to turn on the heat until at least mid-October). This soup is full of good veggies, fiber and protein at a calorie steal at only 53 calories a cup (0.3 grams of fat, 456 mg sodium, 9 carbs, 2.2 grams fiber, 2.3 grams protein)!

Here’s the recipe (it’s soooooooooo easy!)…

  • 3 vegetable bouillon cubes
  • ½ cup dry orzo
  • 8 cups fresh spinach
  • 5 cloves fresh garlic minced
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 large zucchini cubed
  • 1 cup of celery
  • 1 large tomato chopped
  • 1 can chickpeas (drained)
  • 1 can kidney beans (drained)
  • 12 cups water

  1. In a large stock pot bring water to a boil and stir in bouillon cubes.
  2. Sauté spinach until wilted
  3. Sauté onions and garlic
  4. Add all ingredients to broth and simmer until heated through

Yields 24, one cup servings.


Monday, September 28, 2009

Monday's Move of the Week

The Move: Step Ups

It’s always good to have something in your strength routine (or several things for that matter) that simulates something that you do in every day life. This is called a functional exercise: a movement that helps you do something better. Step ups are a great functional exercise because they mimic climbing up stairs as well as really target the gluteus maximus (the largest muscle in the body).

Muscles Worked: Gluts (butt), core (for stabilization)

How to:

  1. Start facing a bench or tall step
  2. Place one foot on the bench or tall step and then step up all the way up while squeezing the gluts and then step back into starting position and switch legs
  3. Switch legs and repeat

Trainer Tips:

  • Make sure that you get your entire foot on the bench and press through with your heel, not your toe. This will protect the knees as well as give your gluts the most bang for the buck
  • Try to keep your body as upright as possible with minimal forward lean…keep your abs in tight…that will help

Make ‘em harder: Add dumbbells to this move for more weight or do all the reps on one leg before switching.


Friday, September 25, 2009

Fantastic Food Find Friday

The Find: Whole Foods (365) Soy Crispettes

The Facts: Sometimes you just need a crunchy snack that packs the flavor. I’ve found the best alternative to the “bag o’ chips:” Soy Crispettes. They are light, crispy and totally full of good stuff: 7 grams of soy protein, 2 grams fiber and only 120 calories for 19 of these bad boys. My favorite flavor right now is the BBQ…tasty! Plus…they are a mere $1.99 per bag (3.5 servings) at your friendly neighborhood Whole Foods store.

Spice it up! I love to pair this snack with an apple or grapes…


Monday, September 21, 2009

Monday's Move of the Week

The Move: “Superman” Back Extensions

A few…okay, more than a few Americans have or will complain of back pain sometime in their lives. So how can you protect against this back pain epidemic? Strengthen the back and core muscles, of course. The superman back extension can be done anywhere at any time. The primary muscle group focused on in this movement is the lower back. The lower back (erector spinae) muscles surround the spine and help protect it as well as maintain posture therefore relieving and proactively protecting against back pain. So throw these bad boys in with your ab routine to give your core a total workout.

Muscles Worked: Erector spinae (lower back)

How to:

  1. Lie face down on the floor with arms extended overhead
  2. Contract your abs while bringing your chest and legs off the floor (just a few inches)
  3. Hold at the top and slowly lower the upper body and lower body down to the floor
  4. Repeat

Trainer Tips:

  • It’s important to keep the abs tight here to protect your lower back as you work it
  • Your neck should be relaxed throughout the movement
  • Your lower back will feel tight after several of these puppies so pushing back into child’s pose is a great stretch after completion

Make ‘em harder: You can do these on a BOSU or even grab light hand weights or ankle weights to make these harder.


Friday, September 18, 2009

A not so sweet potato tail...

I love sweet potatoes...they are awesome. They taste fantastic, are high in fiber, a great source of vitamins A and C and low in calories (if you don't smother them with butter and marshmallows and such they're about 100 calories each!)

So here's the deal...usually I just throw a sweet potato in the oven until mushy...yummy! But today I decided to be adventurous and thought it would be fun to roast sweet potato bites. So I got out a knife and started chopping...I have never in my whole life tried to cut up something harder than a sweet potato. I went through 3 different kinds of knives until one (the butcher knife) arms are sore from all the elbow grease involved. After about 10 minutes of hard labor, I finally had a pile of diced sweet potatoes...I tossed them in a bit of olive oil and salt and will bake them at 400 degrees for about 30-45 minutes when I get back from a long overdue hair appointment. there an easier way to dice these tubers??

Fantastic Food Find Friday

The Find: Pure Protein Bars

The Facts: So I run around all day long from client to client and therefore have to pack food for snacks and meals. I don’t have a mini fridge in my car so I rely on lots of pre-cut veggies and fruit as well as some well balanced energy or protein bars. Some bars I have tried I have literally had to gag down. Some have been like candy bars, both in taste and in fat and sugar content. I have found a bar that is in the middle. I don’t want to eat like 10 of them, but they taste alright, are low in sugar, high in protein and they smash hunger in the face. Pure Protein Bars have 180 calories, 20 grams of protein, 2 grams of sugar and only 4.5 grams of fat (no saturated fat in these!) I buy mine at target, but you can find them at almost any drug store. My favorite flavor right now is Chocolate Deluxe…they also come in chocolate peanut butter, cookie dough and s’mores.

Spice it up! Not much you can do to spice up a protein bar, but please please please drink tons of water when you eat this. The water aids in digestion, plus makes the bar more filling.


Monday, September 14, 2009

Monday's Move of the Week

The Move: Seated Hamstring Stretch

I know that this isn’t a hardcore workout move, but stretching is very important. It keeps our muscles from injury and help our bodies with range of motion. Most people have tight hamstrings and though some of the time it isn’t that big of a deal, tight hamstrings can cause back pain, poster problems and limited movements.

Muscles Worked: Hamstrings (the back of the thighs)

How to:

  1. Sit on the floor with back straight up and down and legs straight out in front of you.
  2. Bending at the waist, reach your hand forward with the intent to touch your toes without bending your knees
  3. Hold for 20-30 seconds and repeat

Trainer Tips:

  • Don’t force the stretch. You shouldn’t feel pain, just pulling.

  • Do this stretch every day (especially after workouts where the legs are involved).
Make ‘em harder: You can always stretch longer. Try to grab you toes if you can and hold.


Friday, September 11, 2009

Fantastic Food Find Friday

The Find: Newman’s Own Olive Oil and Vinegar

The Facts: So I love salad, and have the perfect salad, you need the perfect dressing. I have always loved the idea of putting olive oil and vinegar on my salads as the dressing because of all the health benefits. Olive oil is full of monounsaturated fat and antioxidants. It has been shown to decrease the risk of heart disease and aids in stomach aliments such as ulcers. Plus, all that good, heart healthy fat helps you stay fuller longer so less noshing on unhealthy snacks while waiting for your next meal. Put that healthy olive oil with some tangy vinegar…and viola…the healthiest salad dressing ever. So why would I buy it premixed instead of concocting my own (which would seem easy enough)? I have never been able to get the proportions of each ingredient right…but no worries...Paul Newman to the rescue! One word of caution: the dressing is healthy, but too much of anything is not good, so measure out a 2 tablespoon serving and pop the bottle back in the fridge!

Spice it up! I love to make my dressing spicy by adding some red pepper flakes or cayenne. You can also use this as a tenderizing marinade for any meat, fish or veggie!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Move of the Week Monday

The Move: Stair Climbing

Today is Labor Day and for many people, their gym has reduced hours or is closed for the whole day. Totally unfair if I do say so myself. But no worries! You can get a great workout with zero equipment and, for lots of people, without leaving your own home. Stair climbing is a great way to reach your target heart rate fast and keep it there for the duration of your workout. Plus, since it is so intense, you burn more calories than simply walking, jogging or biking.

Muscles Worked: Legs, gluts, core, heart!

How to:

  1. Put on your tennis shoes.
  2. Find some stairs in your home, at a stadium, in an office building.
  3. Climb to the top without stopping and turn around and climb down…repeat for the desired workout duration.

Trainer Tips:

  • If you haven’t climbed stairs for any length of time before, go slow at first…don’t run, just walk, it should be challenging even walking.
  • Try to keep good poster throughout the climbs and descents: shoulders back and down, back straight, head up

Make ‘em harder: You can always go longer, faster and skip stairs to make this move more challenging…it’s your workout, make it work for you…


Friday, September 4, 2009

Fantastic Food Find Friday

The Find: Smart Food Popcorn Clusters

The Facts: Ever want something to satisfy a sweet craving? Smart Food is a great way to indulge without breaking the calorie bank. I’ve tried the Chocolate Cookie Caramel Pecan variety and it was tasty! The individually portioned bags have 120 calories, 2 grams of good fat (no saturated or trans fats here!), and a healthy 5 grams of fiber. This treat does contain 10 grams of sugar per don’t over do it.

Spice it up! I went to see a movie the other day and popped my own 100 calorie bag of popcorn and mixed in the Popcorn Clusters…lasted the whole movie and was sweetly satisfying and delicious!

The Find:

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Sooo...I tried it: Soy Cheese

I’m starting a new post…called “Sooo…I tried it.” I will review foods that I try for some reason or another that are not “normal” for me to eat.

This first one is on Soy Cheese. I’m giving it ½ of a Lip Lick (the more Lip Licks a food gets, the tastier it is with 5 being the highest number of “Licks”). It was disgusting. I tried it because lately I’ve stayed away from all dairy and meat but was desperately craving Mexican. So I made some awesomely delicious pinto beans, rolled them up in corn tortillas and there was just one thing missing…cheese! So I thought I would just shred some of the fake stuff right on top…big mistake…maybe it was the brand I tried (Vegan Gourmet)…maybe because cheese is supposed to be made from milk…not a clue, just know this: I will never eat it again.

If you have a better alternative for me to try…please share!