Elements of Fitness – A Mother's Memoir

Slow Cooker Lemon Chicken

Want a delicious dinner that practically makes itself?   Wow your friends at your next party or bring this dish over to the next football party you’re invited to.  Just a warning though – it will disappear and they will ask you to make it each and every time you come back.

1415572554957LEMON CHICKEN

1 3-4lb whole chicken, fat trimmed, giblets removed, rinsed and dried
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 lemon, halved
1/4 tsp paprika
2-3 rosemary sprigs (optional)
3 TBL parsley, finely chopped
1 large onion, cut into wedges
2-3 garlic cloves
2 TBL reduced sodium soy sauce
8-10 small red potatoes

Place 1 bouillon cube inside chicken.  Squeeze lemon, reserving juice and put rinds and 1 garlic clove inside chicken.

Place chicken, breast-side up, in slow cooker.  Sprinkle paprika and parsley.  Add onions and remaining garlic, then pour soy sauce and lemon juice over chicken.  Crumble remaining bouillon cube over chicken and line the sides of the cooker with potatoes.

Cook on high 3-4 1/2 hours.  Discard lemon rinds, skin and bones.

Half potatoes and serve.

 

fitness screenshotFor more low carb recipes, click here.

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November 9, 2014 Posted by | Cooking, Diet and Exercise, Dinners Kids Devour, Eating Clean, Eating Low Carb, Exercise, Family, My Low Carb Recipes, Nutrition, P90X Recipes | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Low Carb Swedish Meatballs – Another Recipe Made to Fit a Healthy Lifestyle

20090128swedishmeatballswithnutmeggravyWhen you think of getting lean and trim you’re probably not thinking of Swedish Meatballs for dinner.  However, thanks to me you CAN!  🙂   Of course, not every night, but every so often YES!  And if you have followed me on Facebook or Instagram (@FitnessElements4Life) for a while you know that I LOVE food!  I especially hold a special place in my heart for comfort foods.  Although that usually means fatty foods combined with carbs.  However, as I teach my clients, its ok to eat fatty healthy foods… just not at the SAME TIME as carbs.

Carbs, like oats and veggies, ARE our friends!!  The carbs that are NOT our friends are the cupcakes, ice cream and the junk food alike!   The key to eating carbs is the TIMING.  You don’t eat oatmeal before bed, you eat it in the morning when you WANT your blood sugar to ‘wake’ up.  Same thing with lunch and dinner.  Take for example:  Pot Roast or Beef Stew which is usually cooked with cornstarch or flour for a thickening agent and is usually served with potatoes or noodles .   But to make these great recipes high protein/low carb you just exclude those things.  ***Or you can eat dinner early and only serve it with a few red potatoes (skin-on so the fiber content is higher)***.   You don’t ever want to eat carbs with fat because it spikes your blood sugar causing your body to store the fat (in this case the red meat), and burn the carbs (potatoes).

So what I do, is take my favorite recipes like pot roast, beef stew, meatloaf, chili, etc and I exclude the carbs.   I am constantly trying new recipes, tweaking them to accommodate a healthy lifestyle  especially the likes of comfort foods, and making them healthy so that you can enjoy them and still lose weight!  You don’t always have to eat just grilled chicken and steamed vegetables!

You’re welcome.

 

Meatballs:

  • 1 small onion, grated
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

Add the onion, garlic, egg, parsley, salt and pepper to a large bowl and blend. Mix in the turkey. Shape the turkey mixture into 1 1/4-inch-diameter meatballs.

Heat the oil in a heavy large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and saute until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Turn off heat. Transfer the meatballs to a plate. Pour off any excess oil and pat dry the meatballs so there’s no unnecessary grease.

Transfer the meatballs to your slow cooker.

Sauce:

  • 1 TBL butter
  • minced garlic
  • diced onion (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup (or cream of chicken)
  • 1 can beef broth
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • dash of nutmeg
  • parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Loganberry or red currant jam (optional)
  • Dreamfields Low Carb Rotini pasta (optional)

In a small skillet, sauté onions in butter and garlic.  Once caramelized, pour over meatballs.   Add the remaining ingredients and stir.  Let simmer in the slow cooker for at least 2 hours.  Serve alone or on top of low carb rotini.

For more of my low carb recipes click here.

 

October 16, 2014 Posted by | Cooking, Diet and Exercise, Dinners Kids Devour, Eating Clean, Eating Low Carb, Exercise, My Low Carb Recipes, Nutrition, Products That Work | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tired of Eggs for Breakfast?

I love eggs for breakfast… but there’s mornings where I don’t have enough time and just want to grab something fast.

These are healthy, delicious and simple to make.  I made a batch this morning and I wish you could taste them!   Oh wait-  YOU CAN!   Here you go:

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Ingredients:

  • ½ cup oat flour (can be made by grinding whole oats in a blender or food processor)
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • ¾ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 medium banana (mashed)
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries (optional)
  • 1 tbsp unsalted walnuts or almonds (optional)
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. honey

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a non-stick cookie sheet with zero-calorie cooking spray (i.e. Pam).  Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and fold mixture together until well combined (**important to mix by hand and not in a blender**).  Scoop batter onto cookie sheet into ¼” balls.  Bake 12-14 minutes or until edges are golden brown.

October 4, 2014 Posted by | Being a Mom, Children, Cooking, Diet and Exercise, Dinners Kids Devour, Eating Clean, Eating Low Carb, Family Friendly Restaurants, Low Fat Recipes, My Low Carb Recipes, Nutrition, P90X Recipes | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Zucchini Lasagne with a Twist

 

This new version of my vegetarian lasagna recipe has a layer of quinoa to make it even healthier and adds a good amount of protein to each serving.   I’m not a big fan of quinoa by itself just like I’m not crazy about kale either, so if you don’t know anything about what I do, I take ordinarily unhealthy recipes and make them into metabolism boosting, healthy, fat burning recipes such as my much-loved, delicious, lean turkey chili.

Try them out.  You won’t be disappointed!

ZUCCHINI QUINOA LASAGNE

It tastes like comfort food but its not heavy.  And to save time, you can use your favorite jarred tomato sauce (just make sure there’s no hidden sugars or unwanted ingredients).

lasagneINGREDIENTS

2 cups water

1 cup quinoa (Easy Quinoa brand basil and garlic flavored)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup sliced mushrooms

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups tomato sauce or prepared pasta sauce

2 cups no-salt-added low-fat cottage cheese

1 large egg, beaten

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons minced fresh basil or 1/2 tsp dried

1 tablespoon dried oregano

2 cups sliced zucchini

2 cups packed fresh spinach, tough stems removed

1 1/2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

 

PREPARATION

Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

Combine water and quinoa in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Evenly spread the quinoa in the prepared dish.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Wipe out the saucepan, then add oil and heat over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring frequently, until transparent and starting to brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Add mushrooms; cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are softened and very little moisture is left in the pan, 3 to 4 minutes. Add garlic and sauce. Stir until hot. Remove from heat.

Combine cottage cheese and egg in a medium bowl; mix well. Stir in Parmesan, basil and oregano.

Spread one-third of the sauce over the quinoa. Make a layer of all the zucchini, then all the cottage cheese mixture, then half the remaining sauce, then all the spinach. Finish with the remaining sauce and spread mozzarella on top.

Bake the lasagna until it is hot and the cheese is melted, bubbling and slightly browned around the edges, 35 to 40 minutes. Let stand for about 10 minutes before serving.

NUTRITION

Per serving:  267 calories; 11 g fat; 23 g carbohydrates; 19 g protein; 3 g fiber.

 

June 1, 2014 Posted by | Cooking, Diet and Exercise, Eating Clean, Eating Low Carb, Low Fat Recipes, My Low Carb Recipes, Nutrition, P90X Recipes | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is Shakeology Worth It?

redWith so many options available, I often get asked the question; “ Is Shakeology worth it ?”  A lot of people have trouble realizing that Shakeology is not just a protein shake or a health shake.  It was made to be all in one!

Shakeology has 70+ all natural ingredients.  Other shakes talk about their ingredient list, but are their ingredients actually good for you?  Shakeology has no artificial colors or flavors.  Are there in your shake?  Are their ingredients  made from whole-food sources? They are in Shakeology! Too often the “magic ingredient”  in other shakes has been isolated from the enzymes and phytonutrients that actually make the ingredient useful when consumed.   Also…do other shakes account for the synergistic benefits between the ingredients, or just put together whatever is the new “in” nutritional fad? Shakeology was specially formulated for the collection of ingredients to work together in harmony; this combination is so effective, some people report dramatic benefits within the first week. Other supplements point to one or two individual ingredients and build a so-called “story” around their superfood attributes.  So make sure you pay attention to the ingredient list when doing a comparison. 

 

Shakeology-vs-competitionOther shakes may not cost as much as Shakeology at first glance, but they also do not contain the full amount of the recommended daily allowance for some vitamins and minerals, or whole-food sources of antioxidants, phytonutrients, adaptogen herbs, prebiotics, probiotics, or digestive enzymes. If you have to buy a separate vitamin pack to make add to your shake it can cost up to $150 per month! Once you add it up, this is hardly a “good deal,” and it’s usually hardly even a good product.  When You consider the fact that you can try Shakeology risk free for 30 days…there really is no reason not to give it a chance!

The Protein Source

People often forget about the protein source and just look at the protein content when doing a Shakeology comparison .  Protein sources like whey protein hydrolysate have been shown to trigger a much higher insulin response in the body.  That wouldn’t fly with Shakeology!  Our protein source is whey protein isolate, which is more than 90 percent pure protein. Plus, Shakeology is loaded with digestive enzymes and lactase—that’s the enzyme that breaks down lactose and is found in over-the-counter products like Lactaid. This is one of the main benefits that I found amazing about Shakeology since I am lactose-intolerant.  The benefit of isolate versus concentrate is that the fat has been taken out to achieve isolate. The fat in whey protein is what carries toxins consumed by the animal. That’s the reason Shakeology can be used by so many people who are lactose-intolerant—because those toxins have been removed through the isolate process.

The Low Glycemic Index

Another thing to consider when you compare Shakeology with the competition is the Glycemic Index.  In terms of sugar, many protein shakes contain 1 gram of sugar or less. This is because they are using artificial chemical sweeteners. (Check the label for sucralose, aspartame, or sugar alcohols.) Shakeology’s small amounts of sugar comes from natural sources and whole superfoods like coconut flower nectar and luo han guo, which are easily processed by the body and, in fact, have been tested and certified by an independent lab to have a low glycemic index of 24—that’s lower than most fruits! (An apple is 36, and an orange is 43.)

The 30-Day Money Back Guarantee

Why are there so many people that decide to buy Shakeology if it is a scam or hype?  And why do a lot of these same people buy Shakeology on a monthly basis?  I was extremely skeptical about Shakeology !  There were a lot of detractors out there when I was making my decision, but with the 30 day money back guarantee that comes with it, I decided that it would be pretty silly of me not to buy Shakeology .  If a product was promising to deliver the kind of results that I am looking for, then I absolutely was willing to give it a chance if I knew that I could get my money back if it didn’t deliver.  Why not, right?  Well….I have to admit…Shakeology is NOT a scam!  I couldn’t believe the changes it had made in me.  By just substituting one meal a day with Shakeology, I was able to lose 15 lbs (alongside my workout program).

Order Shakeology NOW Risk Free!!!

Now I know there are a lot of stories out there about people who did buy Shakeology and had great success.  But I had to see for myself.  I had to make sure that it wasn’t hype and that it wasn’t people just trying to make money off of it like a lot of other things out there that deliver empty promises.  As I’ve said before…I liked the money back guarantee.  To me that was them putting their money where their mouth is.  If you still need some more information before you buy Shakeology , watch these quick informative videos:

Shakeology Nutritional Info

Shakeology Comparison

What Dr’s Say About Shakeology

….The bottom line is this…if you are looking to lose weight, lower your cholesterol, increase your energy, get more regular,

and find a way to get the vitamins and nutrients your body needs

without having to eat fruits and veggies all day long…then you need to buy Shakeology. 

As I’ve said…you have nothing to lose with the money back guarantee. 

And on top of that…if you order HD (Home Direct),

you don’t even have to pay for shipping and you still get the guarantee!

I know that the decision to buy Shakeology was one of the best decisions of my life

and I can guarantee it will be for you too!

1In a 90-day study, participants replaced one meal per day with Shakeology, ate a balanced diet, and exercised moderately three times per week. Total cholesterol was reduced on average by 30% and LDL cholesterol reduced on average by 38%.

2Participants followed the Shakeology Program, which included replacing one meal per day with Shakeology, exercising three times a week, and eating a balanced diet.

All trademarks, products, and service names are property of their respective owners.

 

May 19, 2014 Posted by | Diet and Exercise, Eating Clean, Eating Low Carb, Insanity, Nutrition, P90X, P90X2, P90X3, Products That Work, Shakeology, Women's Health | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Clean Eating – Parmesan Crusted Chicken

You’re not going to believe how easy this is to make and how GOOOOOD it turns out until you make it – and it’s HEALTHY!   The chicken comes out so tender and juicy!

Parmesan Crusted Chicken:

  • 3/4 cup grated and/or shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup Greek plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp seasoning salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts

Mix the first 5 ingredients and then spread mixture over chicken on both sides.  Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes

parmesan crusted chicken

January 13, 2014 Posted by | Being a Mom, Children, Cooking, Diet and Exercise, Dinners Kids Devour, Discipline, Eating Clean, Eating Low Carb, Exercise, My Low Carb Recipes, Nutrition, P90X Recipes, P90X2, P90X3, Products That Work, Women's Health, Working Moms | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Control Your Blood Sugar

appleYou probably already know that controlling your blood sugar levels with the foods that you eat is VERY important for controlling your ability to burn fat, balance your hormones, and also prevent diabetes.    Society has become dependent on fast foods, pre-packaged and/or quick meals that they can grab on the go.  Problem is, these foods are the last thing we should be putting in our bodies. 

I tell my clients, especially the ones who own luxury vehicles:  “you pay for premium fuel for your car because you know it performs better on better quality ingredients, yet the fuel you put in your body is garbage!”  Guess what?  Your body needs to outlive your car!!  So give it what it needs.  Every system in our bodies (from neurological to circulatory)  relies so heavily on the food we fuel it with.

 

Stay away from white rice, white bread, white sugar, soda, red meat, fast food, whole milk and any processed foods.  Think about it like this:  stay away from the inner aisles of the grocery store.  That’s where all these foods are sitting.  They have a shelf life of about 3-6 months.  Red meat is ok just try to limit it to once or twice a month. 

Foods that help control blood sugar are going to be the opposite of the foods above.  They are the nutritious whole foods, vegetables, fruits, lean meats and nuts.  Buy fresh foods whenever you can.   There are also some other nutritious ingredients that you can add to your meals that naturally control blood sugar and insulin response!  One is cocoa powder with no added sugars.  Pure cocoa – not hot chocolate!   Pure cocoa contains flavanols which are powerful antioxidants that can help improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control.  You can add it to your favorite protein shake or smoothie for an added benefit.   I actually add a heaping spoonful of cocoa powder to my Vanilla Shakeology with some frozen berries.    You can even add a spoonful to the milk of your choice and add a little Stevia for a sweet treat.  You can even heat it to make a healthy, low in sugar, and high in fiber hot chocolate.  🙂

The second thing that helps control blood sugar is green tea.   Green tea and oolong tea can help to control the blood sugar response from a meal due to their unique antioxidants.  According to a study I reviewed, animals given the green-tea based antioxidant, EGCG, had a 50% lower blood sugar after eating starch than the animals that didn’t get the EGCG but ate the same amount of starch.  You can even add lemon and honey to it to create a powerful antioxidant trifecta!   Drink this at the same time you eat carbs and you can protect yourself from the blood sugar spike.

Another thing you can start adding to your diet is apple cider vinegar.  It may not be the most appealing choice, however, apple cider vinegar, when taken with a meal can slow the digestion of carbohydrates in that meal, therefore slowing the rate of absorption of sugar into the blood.  Since the idea of drinking this with water doesn’t sound very tantalizing to the taste buds, what I do is add it to my olive oil and red wine vinegar combo and then poor over my salad.  You don’t even taste the difference!  And don’t think you can substitute balsamic or white vinegar… it has to be the apple cider vinegar!    

Lastly, Shakeology is a delicious choice and has been certified low-glycemic.  Meaning it will not spike your blood sugar.  It truly is the Healthiest Meal of the Day.    Are you ready to try a sample?  SImply comment below if interested or contact me through my contact page

If you are ready to buy click here. 

 

As always, stay tuned for more Lean Body secrets from me!

 

 

August 8, 2013 Posted by | Diet and Exercise, Eating Clean, Eating Low Carb, Exercise, My Low Carb Recipes, Nutrition, Organic, Products That Work, Shakeology, Things To Do, Women's Health | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Are Morning Workouts More Effective?

I have to say this is one of the most frequently asked questions I get.

  • Should you workout in the morning in a fasted state?
  • Should you workout in the morning after eating something to have more energy?
  • Or should you workout later in the day for the best results?
  • What about for different goals… fat loss vs muscle, for example?

insta back picMy answer?  ‘IT DEPENDS’.  Why the vague answer?  Because there is no ONE way that works for everyone.   As with anything, it’s about weighing the PROS and CONS and using common sense.

You’ve probably heard many times that morning workouts on an empty stomach is the fastest and most effective way to lose weight.  And while it IS true, that training first thing in the morning on an empty stomach has been shown to increase fat burning by 300%, the problem is, you also increase the potential for burning up muscle at the same time.

The reason fat loss is increased at that time of day is due to blood sugar.  Your blood sugar is at it’s very lowest (after fasting all night), the theory is training at this time will force your body to rely more on bodyfat than on blood sugar to fuel activity.

This is true, but the problem is protein (as is found in muscles) can be converted into glucose to fuel activity as well. So the question then becomes, is the extra fat burning you get worth the potential loss of muscle protein?

CONFUSED YET?  Because another thing to consider is Growth Hormone. When you train on low-blood sugar conditions, your body releases increased amounts of GH. It sees these conditions as an emergency and responds with GH and GH is not secreted in response to low-intensity activity – it’s only significantly released by high intensity activity.

So, in theory, training with high intensity on an empty stomach first thing in the morning can result in increased GH secretion, which means greater fat loss and reduced loss of muscle mass. This directly contradicts the theory of training burning up your muscle tissue if you don’t eat.

READY FOR ANOTHER VARIABLE?  Cortisol.  Your cortisol levels are generally higher in the morning, simply because you’ve
been fasting during the whole time you’ve been sleeping.  Cortisol burns up muscle tissue and promotes fat storage.

And lastly, it’s really hard to get an intense workout first thing in the morning!   Being a fitness trainer I always encourage people to do high intensity INTERVAL TRAINING and if you’re not a morning person (which I AM NOT!) it will be TOUGH to do cardio with enough intensity to take full advantage of the GH release!

SOLUTION:

If your primary goal is fat loss and you aren’t too worried about losing a
little muscle, go with empty stomach, moderate-to-high-intensity cardio training
first thing in the morning. You will probably see increased fat loss, though you
may lose a little muscle from it. Train with weights, and it probably won’t be
much muscle loss at all.

If your goal is fat loss while preserving muscle as much as possible, take a small protein shake right after you wake up (a low-carb protein shake so you don’t increase blood sugar too much) and THEN go do your cardio training. The protein will help spare your muscle tissue while not raising your blood sugar significantly enough to cause a
problem.

AND

If you can’t do your cardio with intensity first thing in the morning, do it later in the day.

side profileBecause truly, the absolute best time to do cardio is when you’re energetic enough and alert enough to give it your best effort.  THAT is when you’ll really see results. Doesn’t really matter what time of day that is.
When you get right down to it, getting the most from your training, whether it be cardio or weights, is not about worry about the details that won’t make a difference in the long run. It’s about digging in with intensity and consistency.

Now, if you’re interested in a fat-loss program that has a primary goal of preserving muscle mass while dropping fat, I’d definitely recommend trying out my CHALLENGE GROUP!  Right now we are getting ready to start Shaun T’s FocusT25 in combination with Shakeology.   We are all excited.  We keep each other motivated, and share recipes, or ideas on how we modify exercises if they can’t do the higher intensity ones right away.

group photo

FocusT25 is just like Insanity except its only 25 minutes for 5 days a week!  So more people are wanting to do it over Insanity to save time!   It also comes with a workout calendar, nutrition guide and then I have also been writing people a daily meal plan for people if they want it.  Here’s a short clip on T25!

If you want to join us – get YOURS today here!  And then send me a message on Facebook so I can add you to our group!

SEE YOU SOON!

July 13, 2013 Posted by | About Me, Body Beast, Cooking, Diet and Exercise, Eating Clean, Eating Low Carb, Exercise, Insanity, Products That Work, Shakeology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

52 Easy Ways To Shred Inches Off Your Belly With Very Little Effort

Woman standing pulling measuring tape around waist.

With 52 different ideas to try, you can implement one a week, and I guarantee you will look healthier and be shredding inches before the end of the year without even realizing it!  You may already be doing some of these small things.   But put them all together and they will work wonders!

 

 

 

BREAKFAST

ADD CHEESE TO BREAKFAST

Grate hard, flavorful cheese, such as fresh parmesan, on eggs and oatmeal for added protein and flavor.  The key is to add protein to all meals, as it fills you up faster and helps you burn more calories.  Fresh parmesan cheese is almost fat free, has more protein and very little calories.  Mozzarella made with skim milk is also a good substitute instead of cheddar.

GIVE YOUR PANCAKES A NUTRITIONAL BOOST

Next time you make pancakes, replace 1⁄4 cup of whole wheat flour with 1⁄4 cup of vanilla whey protein powder.  I even tried this idea with mixing my Vanilla Shakeology with this trick this morning and my little guy was mad that I didnt make more!!  Just this one little substitute adds lots of protein, fiber, along with great texture to an otherwise nutritionally vacant breakfast.

MAKE COWS HAPPY

Try milk alternatives.  It took a while but my kids don’t even miss cow’s milk anymore.  I buy almond milk.   Unsweetened for the kids and for my protein shakes and Whole Foods also carries the chocolate almond milk which can hardly last a day in our fridge!   Almond milk has less calories than cow’s milk and its more easily digestible.  It’s also good for protein shakes and makes cereal a bit healthier!  And we all love a bowl of cereal from time to time.   To get all the vitamins out of your cereal, drink the milk left in the bowl. You’ve admirably resisted the Frosted Flakes in favor of a less sugary breakfast cereal that’s fortified with vitamins, but that doesn’t mean you’re actually getting all the nutrients listed on the side of the box. Up to 40 percent of the vitamins in your cereal dissolve into that orphaned puddle of milk.

FREEZE YOUR BANANAS

That way they will always be on hand for use in a smoothie. And because they are naturally sweet, you won’t need any sugar.

SNACKS and SIDES

MAKE LEANER BUFFALO WINGS

Cook up some spicy low-fat buffalo wings. Instead of using chicken wings, make them with skinless chicken-breast tenders. Marinate them overnight in a mixture of Louisiana hot sauce or sriracha, olive oil, lots of garlic powder, and red wine vinegar. (Experiment with the amounts to suit your taste.) Then roast the chicken “wings” at 400°F for 15 minutes.

GIVE IN TO CHOCOLATE CRAVINGS

You don’t have to deprive yourself of the sweet stuff.  Every day I “indulge” in a dark chocolatey treat.  It’s dark chocolate peanutPeanut-Butter-And-Co-Dark-Chocolate-Dreams-851087000069 butter.  OR if that doesn’t sound appetizing, try shaving dark chocolate into savory dishes like chili and barbecue sauces—you’ll add a rich flavor along with anti-oxidants. They can lower your risk of heart disease and keep your cholesterol in check. And shaving ensures you don’t go overboard on the dark. Or try this for a nighttime snack: Melt 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips in the microwave and swirl that into 4 ounces of plain greek vanilla yogurt. Top with a tablespoon of slivered almonds.

CREATE YOUR OWN DIPS

Make dips healthier by using fat-free sour cream or greek plain yogurt. Mix in an equal part of salsa, the hotter the better. Jazz it up with lemon, dried herbs, etc.

CHOOSE THE BLUES

Use blue corn tortillas in your next batch of nachos, fajitas, or quesadillas for more effective weight loss.  Tortillas made from blue corn have a lower glycemic load than white corn tortillas do, so they won’t raise your blood sugar as quickly. The blue variety also has more protein and less starch.

SHELL YOUR NUTS

Buy nuts in their shells. More time shelling equals less time shoveling handfuls into your mouth.

…BUT TRY BOILING THEM FIRST

Boil your peanuts (in their shells) for about 3 hours. Researchers at Alabama A&M University found that boiled peanuts—a popular snack food in China, Southeast Asia, Australia, and the southern United States—have up to four times more antioxidants than raw, dry, or roasted peanuts.

TOP A TATER

If you love baked potatoes, you don’t have to give them up just because of their high glycemic load rating. Keep your blood sugar levels balanced by adding a topping, such as Cheddar cheese, mushrooms, broccoli, or spinach.   Try to exchange the red or brown potatoes for sweet potatoes.  They’re healthier and you can top them too with your faves to make them just as delicious too.

RINSE YOUR BEANS

Canned beans—kidney, black, cannellini, chickpeas—are a quick and easy way to add protein and fiber to your meals. But they can also spike your daily sodium intake, increasing your risk of stomach cancer and high blood pressure. Simply rinsing them, however, will shed one-third of their sodium.

CREATE THE BEST STEAM ROOM FOR YOUR BROCCOLI

For perfectly cooked and nutrient-rich vegetables, rinse them first and then throw them in a sealed container, and microwave for 3 or 4 minutes. Boiling, blanching, or oversteaming zaps vegetables of their nutrients—the only water you need is the drops that cling after rinsing.

 SPICE YOUR RICE

Don’t buy white rice.  Buy brown rice.  And to add a ton of flavor to brown rice, just add a can of black beans or dark red kidney beans and some fresh cilantro.  If you like spicy then mix in some hot sauce.  The beans will lessen the effect that the starchy rice will have on your blood sugar and the hot sauce increases your metabolism.

THICKEN YOUR SIDE DISHES

Replace the milk in your mashed potatoes with evaporated fat-free milk (or almond milk).  It’s lower in fat and higher in calcium per cup, and still manages to add richness to your mash.

AT WORK DURING THE DAY

START A MEAL WITH A WATER APPETIZER

Drink two glasses of water before every meal. This will keep you hydrated and make you feel less hungry, while reducing your food intake and aiding weight loss.

GO HALFSIES

Here’s a simple rule for buffet eating at a party that’ll help you keep your meal balanced for weight loss: Fill half of your plate with vegetables and fruit. Fill the rest of your plate with equal amounts of whole grains and other high-fiber carbs, and lean protein.

SHAKE ON OREGANO

One tablespoon of fresh oregano has the same antioxidant power as an entire apple!  Mexican oregano has the highest count, but Italian oregano and Greek mountain oregano trail closely behind. One of the most versatile herbs, oregano can be added to anything from noodles to meats to salad dressings.

BRING THE HEAT

Scientists at the University of Tasmania Australia found that overweight people are more likely to slim down after consuming a meal that contains chile peppers than after one that isn’t on fire. Capsaicin, the chemical that makes chiles hot, may help the liver clear insulin—the hormone that tells your body to store fat—from the bloodstream after a meal.

KEEP YOUR ABS HARD WITH SOFT CHEESE

Use softer cheeses like goat, feta, and ricotta on pizzas and sandwiches because they’re naturally about a third lower in fat and calories than harder cheeses. And when you need the full-fat cheeses, go for strong flavors like Parmesan, blue, and extra-sharp Cheddar—you’ll get the same great taste with less cheese.

PREVENT BLOOD SUGAR SPIKES WITH VINEGAR

Start a meal with a salad or vegetables drizzled with a vinaigrette dressing. Arizona State University nutritionists believe that the acetic acid in vinegar interferes with enzymes that break down carbohydrates. A few teaspoons of vinegar per meal can keep blood sugar levels from rising quickly.

KEEP A LITTLE SHRIMP ON HAND

For an easy way to add lean protein to your meals, stock up on frozen shrimp. It defrosts in just 15 minutes under cold running water. And with the cooked variety, you have an instant healthy snack. If uncooked, throw it into your pasta sauces, stir-fries, or noodle soups in the last 5 minutes.

PUT THE SODA DOWN 

Eliminate SODA including ALL caffeinated beverages like energy drinks from your diet.  They bloat your stomach with all that carbonation (AIR!) and soda literally depletes your bones of the ability to absorb calcium, not to mention they have NO nutritional value whatsoever.  Drink ice cold water and add sliced cucumbers or lemons.

DINNER

STOP ADDING BUTTER

Instead of sauteeing with butter, try flavored olive oils.   Specialty stores like Whole Foods or Sprouts carry these delicious olive oils such as garlic and chile or cilantro lime.  They are a great way to add some flavor from the get go and there’s no need for the fattening butter!

STIR FRY RIGHT

With the idea above, if you don’t have those flavored oils yet, you can add a few drops of regular extra virgin olive oil to start, and then use water rather than more oil as you’re stir-frying.

WARM UP YOUR OIL

Remember to heat your skillet before adding oil.  This way, less fat will be absorbed by the food.  Warm oil cooks more efficiently; cold oil tends to soak into meats and vegetables.

SLICE YOUR STEAK, EAT LESS

Slicing thinly will make your portions seem bigger and more satisfying.   When you believe you’re eating a larger portion of food, you may trick yourself into feeling more satisfied with fewer calories.

EMBARGO THE OIL

When grilling chicken, try this oil-free marinade: Combine 3 cups of apple juice and two cloves of pressed garlic with 1 cup of reduced-sodium soy sauce.

STUFF YOUR BURGERS

Scoop a hole in the middle of your burger before grilling, and fill it with olives, mushrooms, or any vegetable you like. This makes the recommended serving of beef (3 ounces) look and feel like a massive hunk of burger, when it’s much leaner than that.

CATCH UP ON YOUR LYCOPENE

Squirt some organic ketchup on that bun.  Organic ketchups have about twice as much cancer-fighting lycopene as the regular varieties. A simple visual clue you’ve got the correct ketchup? Organic ones are a slightly darker shade of red than regular ketchups.

CURRY FAVOR WITH YOGURT

Replace the high-fat coconut milk in your curries with low-fat plain yogurt. The yogurt adds that creamy texture without the extra fat from the coconut.

BUILD A BETTER PIZZA

Can’t resist pepperoni?  Go for it, but help offset the damage by ordering two or more vegetable toppings for every meat topping. Since the carcinogens in processed meats such as pepperoni and sausage increase your cancer risk with every serving, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research, load on a variety of vegetables–green peppers, onions–that can help protect against cancer.

BULK UP YOUR MEATBALLS

Grate carrots, squash, or zucchini into any meatball mixture. They add bulk, moisture, and vitamins but don’t alter that meaty flavor you’re after.

SWAP RED MEAT FOR RED LENTILS

To make a low-fat, antioxidant-packed lasagna, use half the usual amount of ground meat and make up the difference with red lentils. They’re still protein packed, but lentils are fat-free and high in fiber, making them more filling, too. And since red lentils have a neutral taste, they’ll simply soak up the flavors in your sauce. You won’t even notice them. Promise.

TRADE CRACKERS FOR OATS

In any meat recipe that calls for crackers or bread crumbs, use an equal amount of rolled oats instead. This ramps up your soluble fiber intake, which can help lower your cholesterol. Use the quick-cooking variety of oatmeal, because it retains moisture well and doesn’t alter the meaty taste.

GO FRY A COD

Buy fillets or loins of white fish such as haddock or cod, and cut into strips.  Make a light tempura-like batter by mixing iced sparkling water with self-rising flour.  Dust the fish strips with self-rising flour and roll in the tempura batter.   Shallow fry the strips in hot canola oil, which is loaded with good fats.   Fill one-third of your pan with oil and heat it to about 350 degrees F. (Use a thermometer!) and fry the fish until crispy.   For chips with your fish: Cut sweet potatoes into your preferred size and toss them in to the remaining oil in the pan.  If no remaining oil, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of canola oil with salt, herbs, garlic—anything you want, really.  Then put them on a cookie sheet and bake them at 450 degrees F for about 30 minutes.

EAT THE CRUMBS

If you’re baking something with a topping of grated cheese, cut fat by halving the cheese and replacing it with whole-wheat bread crumbs. This mimics the crispy texture of baked cheese and adds fiber.

KNOW YOUR DELI MEATS

Sandwiches are the architecture of the common lunch-eater, but you need to start with a solid foundation.

  1. – The hierarchy of health, in descending order:
  2. – Turkey and chicken
  3. – Roast beef- Ham
  4. – Weird processed things like salami and olive loaf

For example, instead of an Italian submarine sandwich with cheese and mixed cold cuts like salami and bologna, choose turkey or even roast beef and you can trim your fat intake by up to 30 percent.

DON’T RUIN A TUNA

Mayonnaise will turn your tuna sandwich into a fatty disaster. Instead of mixing in a lot of mayo, add balsamic vinaigrette, cracked pepper, hot sauce, and some fresh lemon juice to your tuna. It tastes great.

GET GRATER TASTE FROM LESS CHEESE

Buy yourself a good grater. Use it to grate a piece of Parmesan or other hard cheese on your sandwich, and you’ll save a lot of calories of fat compared with standard sliced fare, as long as you add a sprinkling for flavor rather than an avalanche of grated cheese.

MAKE IT MEATLESS

Next time you’re hankering for a spicy italian sandwich with all the fixins, try this vegetarian hot Italian sub. Brown some cubed eggplant pieces under a broiler with a little olive oil. Then mix with tomato sauce and capers. Place in a kaiser roll. Top with grated Parmesan. Fat serving SAVINGS: 28 grams!!!

SQUASH THE FAT

Replace half of the Cheddar in quesadillas, mac ‘n’ cheese, or grilled cheese sandwiches with pureed butternut squash. This significantly lowers the fat and calorie counts, won’t compromise the taste, and gives you a slew of added vitamins and heart-healthy potassium.

PACK A PITA

Add extra vegetables to your next sandwich by packing them in a whole-wheat pita pocket rather than between conventional slices of bread. Pitas simply hold more.

WRAP MEATS IN GREENS

To cut carbs, ditch the sandwich bread and do as the Koreans do: Wrap spicy cooked beef or chicken with leafy greens. Try Chinese cabbage, bok choy, or romaine lettuce. Replacing two slices of bread with one large lettuce leaf saves you about 30 grams of carbohydrate.

BE SLICK WITH YOUR OIL

Who knew there was so much behind oil?!   Avoid splashing ‘light’ olive oils over your salads—light varieties have fewer cancer-fighting antioxidants than the extra-virgin kind, plus they have a less intense flavor. Not sure if your oil’s up to snuff?  Good-quality extra-virgin olive oil should have a fruity, peppery, slightly bitter taste and leave a faint burning sensation on the throat.

TURN YOUR SANDWICHES GREEN

Replace mayo with a spread of ripe avocado to moisten a dry sandwich. Avocados are packed with monounsaturated (good) fat to help lower your cholesterol. Plus, avocados are said to prevent a variety of cancers.

TRY THIS SPIN ON A GYRO

For a low-fat gyro, mix some fat-free yogurt with chopped or sliced cucumbers, add a squeeze of lemon juice, and pour over a pita stuffed with grilled chicken or beef strips.

REVISE YOUR REUBEN

Simulate a cheese Reuben by replacing fatty corned beef with turkey and topping it with low-fat mozzarella, mustard, spicy shredded cabbage, and pickles. Slap all that on traditional rye bread and broil until the cheese melts. Fat savings: 10 grams.

SLIM YOUR CHICKEN SALAD

Use thick, Greek-style plain yogurt to cut down on the amount of mayo you need to make chicken, tuna, or egg salad sandwiches.

Woman standing pulling measuring tape around waist.

We all have different ideas on how to prepare cook things… but following these tricks will make some of your traditional meals healthier and shred inches without you even realizing it!   It may even make you realize one small step in your preparation of meals that you didn’t think of like rinsing canned beans before cooking them… read more below.

July 4, 2013 Posted by | About Me, Cooking, Diet and Exercise, Dinners Kids Devour, Eating Clean, Eating Low Carb, Exercise, Low Fat Recipes, My Low Carb Recipes, Nutrition, Organic, P90X Recipes, Pregnancy, Products That Work, Shakeology, Women's Health | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

All American Burgers

What I love about cooking is finding foods that are known to be calorie dense and otherwise unhealthy and create a way to make them healthy but still delicious.

Burgers are such an American classic but instead of fattening ground beef, ground turkey or ground chicken is just as flavorful.  And I guarantee you won’t miss the alternative!  And just like the beef burgers you can throw in anything to kick it up even more…. i.e. jalapenos, cilantro, onions, etc.

 

 

 

Turkey Burgers (Makes 6 burgers)

Basic Ingredients

1.5 lbs. lean ground turkey

1 egg white

2 tsp. onion powder

1 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning

Directions

Step 1 – Mix all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.

Step 2 – Form 6 patties and place them on a parchment lined cookie sheet.

Step 3 – Bake at 350 degrees F. for approximately 30 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.

Step 4 – Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.

Step 5 – Build your burger with whatever you want!  Use whole grain buns or wrap it up in romaine lettuce, throw some tomatoes inside with some sugar free ketchup and/or mustard.

 

Eat and Enjoy!

Nutritional Content 1 serving = 1 patty (just the meat patty)

Calories: 174 Total Fat: 9 gm Saturated Fats: 3 gm Trans Fats: 0 gm Cholesterol: 90 mg Sodium: 116 mg Carbohydrates: 1 gm Dietary fiber: 0 gm Sugars: 0 gm Protein: 20 gm Estimated Glycemic Load: 0

Nutritional Information estimated at Nutritiondata.com. Data may not be exact.

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September 8, 2012 Posted by | Cooking, Diet and Exercise, Eating Clean, Low Fat Recipes, Nutrition, P90X Recipes | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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