Sunday, November 24, 2013

It's Turkey Time!

Looking forward to the Thanksgiving meal but dreading the bloat, possible weight gain and sleepiness afterwards? The average Thanksgiving dinner clocks in at 3.000 calories…gasp!! So follow these simple tips and swap outs and be thankful for a fun filled, guilt-free day of celebration!

1. Start the day off right with a metabolism boosting workout like a Thankgiving Day 5K (I’ll see you there!) or an at home gut busting burn.
2. Fill up on the good stuff.
  • Start with soup…yep…hot liquids make you feel fuller, so scoop up a healthy bowl full of goodness like this festive butternut squash soup.
  • White meat turkey (15% less calories than it’s dark counterpart)
  • Raw, steamed, grilled or roasted veggies like these tasty Brussels sprouts
  • “Lighter” mashed potatoes (make yours with Butterbuds to save a hundred calories and several grams of fat per serving)
  • Gravy…that’s right, I said gravy. It’s only about 80 calories per 2 tbsp and is more than half the calories of the sugary cranberries.
  • Bring a protein and fiber packed dish like quinoa. I make a yummy one with sweet potatoes and black beans; you have to try it!
  • Pumpkin Pie (180 calories vs. 250 in apple and up to 700 in pecan!!)
3. Skip the bad stuff.
  • Bread…you can eat bread any day…don’t waste your Thanksgiving calories on bread
  • Butter…there is butter in nearly everything on Thanksgiving so give your mashed potatoes the benefit of the doubt (that they taste great) and leave the butter on the table
  • Pass on the green bean casserole…yes, this tasty dish contains veggies, BUT it’s not enough to count this dish as a side vegetable what with all the fried onions and cream. Grab the steamed for fresh veggies instead
4. Ditch the drinks…just kidding. But remember that alcohol lowers your inhibition with what you put in your mouth (as well as what comes out of it) so just be careful.

5. Stay awake. While napping during the game might seem like a good idea, a better idea for increased energy is to go on a brisk, post-feast walk. Not only will you get your blood circulating, heart rate up and thus an avalanche of energy, but you’ll also be burning off some of the pie you just ate!
6. Relax…it’s a holiday. Although you don’t need to overindulge so much you make yourself sick, it’s still a holiday with some special food that is a one-day-deal. So, take a bite of everything that’s special to you and skip the stuff that’s not.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Yummy fall quinoa with sweat potatoes and black beans

A few months ago, some dear friends of ours brought us dinner and a similar quinoa dish to the one below was with it. I LOVED it and over the months have made it over and over and over again, tweaking it here and there for my love of spice and hate of extra calories :) Here is my version of a vegan main or side dish to die for. Enjoy!

What you need:

  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled, washed & cut into ½ inch cubes

  • 1 can black beans, drained & rinsed

  • 1 cup quinoa (I highly recommend buying pre-rinsed)

  • 2 cups vegetable broth

  • 2 limes juiced

  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke

  • 1 tsp cumin

  • 1 tsp Chipotle Tabasco

  • 1 tsp agave nectar

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • 2 tsp olive oil

  • cooking spray

What to do:
 Preheat oven to 420 degrees

 Spray cookie sheets and spread cubed sweet potatoes on them and spray potatoes with cooking spray, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 25-35 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until potatoes are soft in center.

 While potatoes are roasting, prepare quinoa according to package directions substituting water with vegetable broth. Set aside.

 To make the vinaigrette, combine lime juice, liquid smoke, cumin, chipotle, salt (to taste), and agave nectar, whisking until well integrated. While whisking, slowly drizzle olive oil into bowl until fully integrated. Taste & make adjustments as necessary.

 In large bowl, stir together the black beans, roasted sweet potatoes, and quinoa. Pour vinaigrette over ingredients and toss until well coated (you might need more if you like a bit more flavor).

Enjoy!!! :)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Rake your body (and your yard) into shape!

The Move: Raking (yes, as in raking leaves)
If you raked your yard in the wind storm this weekend, give yourself a little pat on the back, because you burned some major calories. And if you haven’t gotten to your yard yet, there’s still time for you to rake yourself into shape. Raking uses a bunch of different muscle groups which makes it a great calorie-burning workout. You can burn 250-400 calories depending on how hard you are working. If that’s not a reason to get outside to get those leaves out of your yard, I don’t know what is!
Muscles Worked: Back, Core, Arms
Trainer Tips:
  • Relax your shoulders while raking to ensure that no extra stress is put on the neck.
  • Pull your abdominals in tight to get an even greater core workout.
Make ‘em Harder: Raking with a heavier rake will up the calorie burn of this great exercise/lawn care activity as will bagging the leaves by hand.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The perfect pancake


My little family loves pancakes for breakfast…and I love to make them for them, but they can be soooo unhealthy. So, I created a recipe that is both delicious and can be eaten by a dairy free and gluten free person-yippee!  Although the recipe below is for classic pancakes, at my house we add all sorts of things to our pancake batter: blueberries, cranberries, nuts and even the occasional chocolate chip J Just remember, that whatever you add to your ‘cakes, you need to add to your calorie count.

What you need:

  • 1.5 cups oat flour (just throw your oats into a blender or food processor and grind/pulse until “flour” or about 20 seconds)
  • 1.5 tablespoon agave nectar
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons apple sauce
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • Cooking spray

What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 175°
  2. Heat large skillet on stove top at medium-high heat
  3. Mix all dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl
  4. Mix all wet ingredients together in another bowl
  5. Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix…it’s okay if it’s a bit lumpy
  6. Check to see if the skillet is ready by dropping a few drops of water onto it. If it’s ready, the water will sizzle
  7. Spray hot skillet with cooking spray and put ¼ cup batter on hot surface
  8. When bubbles start to form on top of pancake, flip
  9. As you continue to cook up your pancakes, put the finished ones in the oven (on an oven safe plate) to keep fresh and warm
  10. Top with favorite toppings (not included in nutrition information) like syrup, berries, or yogurt and jam (so good!)

Nutrition Facts (per pancake, recipe yields 9 pancakes): 72 calories, 12 grams carbs, 1.5 grams fat, 2.5 grams protein, 1.5 grams fiber

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Hard-core pre-holiday workout

Work off some of that Halloween candy and help keep your body lean and strong during the holidays with this do-anywhere, calorie-crushing workout.
Do it Tabata-style (20 seconds work, 10 seconds rest). Do each of the 8 exercises once for one set, repeating it 8 times (or as many as you can and then work up from there). Need a little extra to counter your candy-binging — or because you’re just a badass? — do a bonus set of 30-second jumping jacks between sets.
  1. Push ups
  2. Jump Squats
  3. Dips
  4. Jump Lunges
  5. Wall Sit
  6. Butt Kicks
  7. Dive Bomb Push-ups
  8. Double Leg High Jump (or High Knees)

Perfect Brussels Sprouts

I didn’t grow up eating Brussels sprouts, but a few years ago someone made them for Thanksgiving, and since then I’ve been hooked. Though it may have a bad reputation, when prepared correctly, this in-season leafy vegetable is delicious and simple to prepare. Even better, Brussels sprouts are packed with fiber, antioxidants, and cancer-fighting properties.

What you need:

  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts
  • cooking spray
  • kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
What to do:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Trim the stems of the Brussels sprouts and cut in half.
  • Spray a heated skillet with cooking spray and sauté the sprouts for about 5 minutes. (Don’t worry about some of their leaves falling off; those will be especially tasty later.)
  • Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and arrange the Brussels sprouts (and their fallen leaves) in a single layer. Season with salt and pepper. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring every once in a while. Those little fallen leaves will crisp up, and they are DELICIOUS! 
You can eat the entire batch for about 165 calories, or you can share with a friend for 83 calories, 4 grams of fat, 11 carbs, 4 grams of fiber, and 4 grams of protein.

Feel free to add your own spices and additions (cranberries/almonds and bacon/maple syrup are two of my favorite combos). Just know that when you add ingredients, you need to add them to your calorie intake as well.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Hearty, healthy chili for chilly weather

Chili is delicious, but can be a huge calorie bomb. This slow cooker recipe, however, is still delicious, but only 140 calories per cup and is full of fiber and protein and overall yumminess.

What you need:

  • 1 pound 93% lean ground turkey
  • 1 cans kidney beans
  • 1 can black beans
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 can rotel
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • Salt to taste

What to do:

  1. Brown turkey
  2. Combine all ingredients in a crockpot and set on low for 6-8 hours
  3. Enjoy!

Nutrition per 1 cup serving (makes 12 servings): 140 calories, 3 grams of fat, 17 carbs, 6 grams fiber, 12 grams protein.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Need an energy boost?

The "fall back" daylight savings time used to be my favorite holiday because I got another hour of sleep...yeah! Now that I have a toddler, it just means getting up even earlier...not yeah. Plus, with it getting dark before we start eating dinner, my energy is WAY low...and so is everyone else's that I've spoken to since Sunday. So this week, I thought we would focus on how to gain some energy without drinking Starbucks out of coffee, sneaking a nap in your office, etc.

  1. Exercise for energy. Contrary to popular belief, exercise doesn't make you tired; it actually builds energy within your body at the cellular level. So get off the couch or skip the nap and take a walk, run, swim, lift weights, play Dance Dance Revolution, whatever it takes to move your body. Just 10 minutes, can give you the boost that you need. So while waiting for dinner to cook, burst into some jumping jacks, take a speedy walk to a co-workers desk instead of e-mailing her or run the stairs at lunch. Just get moving…even if you don’t feel like it (especially if you don’t feel like it!)
  2. Eat for energy. You might get a quick energy boost from that handful of M&Ms or a chocolate chip cookie, but you will crash and burn just as quick. So fuel your body to keep you energized all day long. Eat healthy carbs such as oatmeal, tons of veggies and fruit and remember to always eat protein with every meal or snack. Think almonds, tuna, chicken, turkey, walnuts, natural peanut butter and tofu. Think of your body as an engine and you are providing high grade gasoline when you eat well.
  3. Drink for energy. Ditch the “energy drinks,” caffeinated beverages and cocktails and drink water…a lot of water…at least 64 oz a day. One of the major symptoms of dehydration is fatigue, so when you are feeling tired or sleepy, especially in the middle of the day, chug a glass of water.
  4. Breathe for energy. Literally, take a breather. Just sit and take 5-10 deep breaths. Stress can cause us to fatigue mentally and emotionally which can manifest as physical exhaustion…so take a seat, inhale deeply, hold for a few seconds, and then exhale slowly and completely.
  5. Sleep for energy. Studies show that getting less than 6 hours of sleep leaves us WAY less than 100% not only mentally and physically but energy-wise as well. So get at least 7 hours of sleep and really shoot for 8 for optimal energy. Also, going to bed and waking up at the same time every night and day will help with energy dips. Sweet Dreams!
  6. Listen for energy. Put on some heart thumping tunes for a kick! I've got just the playlist for you!
Enjoy your new found energy!

Playlist to put on repeat

I'm loving this new playlist; half of which I Shazammed at the Chiefs' game, so you know it's blood pumping beats. I would just go ahead and put it on repeat for your run, walk, super sets, kitchen dance party and call it a calorie burning day.