Tag Archives: Healthy eating

Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Bars: The Perfect After Workout Snack

20 Aug

One of the best things you can do after a workout is eat a balanced snack that contains protein.  For those of you with a sweet tooth, here’s an amazing option.  It tastes like fudge to me…definitely hits the spot.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Bars

Ingredients:

1 cup dry oats

6 scoops chocolate whey protein (I used a combination of Muscle Milk and Shakeology.  I find some chocolate protein powders to be sweeter than others so using a combination of two brands worked for me.  Pick your favorite brand and use that.

1 teaspoon stevia

5 tablespoons all natural peanut butter (My favorite is Trader Joe’s Organic all-natural no-salt peanut butter)

1 cup fat-free greek yogurt (My choice Fage 0% Greek yogurt)

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 tablespoons water (Depending on consistency)

Directions:

1) Spray baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

2) Mix dry ingredients together.

3) Add all additional ingredients except for water into dry mixture and stir until the mixture becomes a doughy consistency.

4) Slowly add water as needed until the dough is easy to spread (The water amount varies based on the type of protein used).

5) Spread the dough evenly into the baking dish and refrigerate for several hours.

6) Cut into squares and bag each individually.   Store bars in freezer or refrigerator until ready to eat.

Fruit & Sugar: How to Maintain a Healthy Balance

11 Jul

“I can’t eat fruit, I don’t want to get fat.” Does that statement have any truth to it? …..Let’s find out.

Fruit, compared to many other options, is a great choice.  It often contains a decent amount of fiber helping to fill the body and has a variety of nutrients.  The downfall to fruit can be its sugar content.  Sugar is something we should try to limit in our diet, as having too much causes all sorts of issues for us.  So, it’s not to say you can’t have some, it is to say that you keep the amount in check.

There are two types of sugars, those occurring naturally in foods such as fruit (fructose) and those in dairy (lactose).  Other sugars are those sugars and caloric sweeteners  added during processing.  The American Heart Association (www.Heart. Org)   recommends we limit out sugar intake to 26 grams a day for women and 36 for men.  Those should come from naturally occurring sugars.

So, think about your diet.  I’m guessing the vast majority of us are consuming way too much sugar.  It’s partially habit, lack-of-knowledge, convenience, and let’s face it, it just tastes good.  One thing that helps is to be educated on where you find sugar though, which will aid in beginning to limit our consumption.

Fruit is not all created equally.  When looking at the sugar content, here’s how it stacks up:

Blackberries: 7 Grams Per Serving

Strawberries: 7 Grams Per Serving

Apples: 13 Grams

Pineapples 16 Grams

Bananas: 18 Grams

Grapes: 23 Grams

Here are some simple tips to help you maintain reasonable amounts of sugar intake:

1)      When reaching for fruit, pick berries first.  Overall they seem to be one of the lowest on the spectrum of sugar content.  That and the fact that they are packed full of vitamins make them a good choice.

2)      Don’t drink your food.  It’s easy to throw a bunch of fruit in a blender and feel like you are eating healthy but it’s important to remember that the body craves the sensation that comes along with chewing.  Allowing yourself to actually eat foods rather than drink all of them aids in this desire. In addition, we often consume more than necessary when we drink our calories because it goes down so easily.  This is particularly true of fruit smoothies. Same goes for juicing oranges.  Fresh squeezed orange juice tastes delicious but should be reserved for a treat, as it can easily result in quickly downing 5 oranges, putting us over our daily limit.

3)      Shop the produce section, not the grocery store isles for fruit.  Canned peaches in heavy syrup do not constitute fruit.  There is very little in the way of nutrition in canned fruits and whenever possible the best choices are fresh fruit.  Frozen fruit without any additives is also a good option.

4)      Avoid the attitude of “It has fruit in it, it must be healthy”.  There is nothing farther from the truth.  Fruit is contained in many products and dishes but that does not mean it’s healthy.  Even dried fruit is often coated in sugar and should be avoided unless it’s something you consider your “treat”.

5)      Combine fruit with other things.  Get your fruit intake by adding a bit of fruit to a variety of dishes you eat during the day.  Considering adding blueberries to Greek yogurt, apples to Steel-cut oats and bananas with a tablespoon of all-natural peanut butter.  Doing this can help you combine proteins, carbs and healthy fats to your snacks.

Eat Clean, Get Fit: 5 Easy Recipes To Help You Get Started

21 Mar

“I exercise because I like to eat”!  Are you someone who says that to people?  Many individuals enjoy satisfying their taste buds, but there are ways to do that while still maintaining healthy eating patterns.  Cooking using fresh ingredients that provide the body vital nutrients it needs to function properly is vital to maintaining a healthy physique and sound mind.

I’m fortunate to have many friends who enjoy cooking.  They frequently cook for the families and have their favorite recipes.  I’ve included five favorites from those I collected.  Give them a try!

Spinach Dip: Submitted by Pam White

Ingredients

1 (16 oz.) container low-fat cottage cheese

10 oz. container frozen spinach, thawed

8 oz. can water chestnuts, chopped fine

2 tbsp. onion powder

1 tsp. dried parsley

2 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. salt

Step 1 – Using a blender, blend the cottage cheese until it is smooth and creamy.

Step 2 – Put the cottage cheese in a large mixing bowl, and add all other ingredients. Stir well.

Turkey Chili Recipe, Slow Cooker Style. Submitted by Shannon Jay Dougherty

Shannon’s website: www.shannonjaydougherty.com

Ingredients:

2 lbs Lean Ground Turkey

2 Jars (16 ounces each) Your Favorite Chunky Salsa

2 Cans (14.5  ounces each) Diced tomatoes, undrained

2 cans (15 ounces each) Red kidney beans, drained & rinsed

1 bag (16 ounces) Frozen corn kernels, thawed

2 tablespoons Chili Powder

2 teaspoons Cumin

2 teaspoons Garlic Salt

2 teaspoons Dried Oregano

Greek Yogurt

Step 1 –  Spray slow cooker.  Brown ground turkey breaking up large pieces, drain fat and place in slow cooker.

Step 2 – Add all ingredients and stir. Cover on Low for 8 hours. Garnish with your favorite toppings. My choice is a dollop of Greek Yogurt on top!

Leek, White Sweet Potato & Mushroom Soup.  Submitted by Jennifer Zlaket

Jennifer’s website: http://www.holisticzwellness.com

Ingredients:

1 medium onion

1 bunch of leeks

1 large, white sweet potato

2 carrots

2 stems of celery

1 large bunch of mushrooms of your choice

thyme

fresh parsley

celtic sea salt

black pepper

Step 1 – Dice the onion, leeks, sweet potato, carrots, and celery.

Stock:  Sauté the chopped onion, carrot, and celery with a sprig of thyme and the stems of the mushrooms in 1 tbsp of coconut oil, until tender.

Step 2 – Add 6 cups of water, a pinch of sea salt and a pinch of black pepper and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, lower the heat and simmer for half an hour.

Step 3 – Sauté the diced leeks and sweet potato with another tbsp of coconut oil for 15 minutes.  Add diced mushroom caps and sauté another 10 min.

Step 4 – Strain the stock and add only the liquid to the leeks, sweet potato and mushrooms.  I run this through the blender to make a soft, silky consistency.  You will have about  4 ½ cups.

Step 5 – Put it back in the pot, add about 1 tbsp of minced/crushed thyme leaves, another pinch of sea salt, another blast of pepper, bring to a boil, and then lower the heat and simmer for another 10 minutes.  Garnish with chopped, fresh parsley.

Protein Quinoa Pancakes: Submitted by Thomas Miller

Ingredients

1-1/2 cup cooked quinoa

2 whole eggs

2 egg whites

Topping Suggestions: Fruit, Honey, Agave syrup, Avocados

Step 1 – In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, eggs and egg whites. Whisk until smooth and creamy.

Step 2 – Mist a non-stick pan with oil and cook as you would any pancake. Do NOT cook these on high heat. The outsides will burn and the insides will still be raw. Use medium heat and cook for a little longer until golden brown.

Step 3 – Top with any clean topping.

Curried Cauliflower: Submitted by Jennifer Zlaket

Jennifer’s website: http://www.holisticzwellness.com

Ingredients:

1 large head of cauliflower

1 large brown or yellow onion (you can also use leek instead, or in addition to the onion)

Curry powder

Turmeric

Cumin

Black pepper

Step 1 – Finely dice the onion and sauté in coconut oil with few teaspoons each of the curry powder, turmeric, and cumin (about 10 minutes.)

Step 2 – Add diced cauliflower and continue to sauté for another 10 minutes.

Step 3 – Garnish with fresh, chopped parsley.

Just Eat Already: How Eating Regularly and Picking the Right Food Combinations Aid In Weight Loss and Fitness

27 Feb
The Farmer’s Market! A great place to stock up on tasty fruits and vegtables.

I’ve been everywhere in relation to food over the course of my life. I’ve eaten too much, I’ve eaten too little. I’ve eaten without regard and been completely mindful. It’s come down to this. If you don’t eat food, it will eat you! Food and health is all about balance and feeding your body the right foods at the right time is paramount.  If you do this, you will naturally begin to crave these foods and you will be better able to maintain weight. So, here’s what that means to me.

1) You need to eat. I cannot even tell you how many people I know who skip meals. I know, you get busy, you travel, you’re in meetings, I hear it all. You just have to decide you are going to be prepared, pack food if you need to, and take 5 minutes to eat. Wake up, eat breakfast within 30 minutes, and eat every few hours. Let your hunger dictate some of that. Do not allow yourself to get too hungry! As soon as that happens you will find yourself in a bind because you will eat the closest thing you can get your hands on.

2) You need to think very carefully about what you are eating. Your ability to combine the right foods at the right time is important. I used to believe as long as I was eating something healthy I was doing well. Not true! Steel cuts oats are great, for example. Should you have just that for breakfast in the morning? No. Consider these combinations as better options.

A serving of steel-cut oats, 3 egg whites, a few slices of avocado

A serving of steel cut oats, one serving of nonfat Greek yogurt, a small handful of natural almonds

A serving of steel cuts oats, 1 scoop of protein powder, flax seed and one serving of berries

3) You need to hydrate yourself. Thirst often masks itself as hunger. Drink water throughout the day. The side effects of hydration are numerous and sometimes we don’t even realize that we are dehydrated. What helps? Invest in a water bottle or cup with a lid and straw.  Keep that with you and fill it up regularly. Every time you find yourself in a place that serves or offer you water take it.

4) Include vegetables. With your snacks include a vegetable. Carrots are easily able to be packed and add a crunch to your diet. Snap peas are tasty. Adding things like bell peppers and mushrooms to your breakfast isn’t that hard. You can also throw spinach in smoothies and sometimes not even notice it’s there. Veggies help you fill up and offer a wide variety of nutrients.

Focusing daily on eating regularly and combining the right foods will help curb your cravings and prevent you from eating foods you will later regret.  Please feel free to share combinations of foods that work for you.  I’m always looking for new ideas to incorporate in my diet!