Baked Caramel Apples

With cold weather comes the craving for warm food! This recipe is great to curb your sweet tooth, while being a healthy twist on a fall favorite! Instead of covering an apple with high calorie caramel coating, trying infusing caramel in your apples! It’s super simple and only requires three ingredients!

Ingredients

  • Apples (Whatever Kind is Your Favorite!)
  • Cinnamon
  • Sugar-free Caramel Coffee Flavoring
    • Optional: Liquid or powder Stevia

Instructions

In regards to baking these, you have several options. You can go the traditional route, preheat your oven to 350 and bake for 15-20 minutes. You can use a slow cooker, let these babies simmer for a few hours and your house with smell like heaven! The third option is to use water-less cookware: simmer on low till it whistles, then shut the valve and let sit for 15 minutes!

  1. Remove the peal with apple-pealer or your average kitchen pealer. (Skip if you enjoy the skin or need extra fiber in your day!)
  2. De-core apples. (You can also switch steps 1 & 2 based on what is easiest for you!)
  3. Place in glass baking dish, slow-cooker, or water-less cookware.
  4. Generously sprinkle cinnamon over the apples.
  5. Pour 1 tablespoon per apple of Sugar-free Caramel Flavoring into the bottom of the cooking dish. (Optional: Add Stevia to wanted level of sweetness, I sprinkled one packet.)
  6. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until the apples are soft. Simmer in slow-cooker for a few hours until the apples are soft. Cook in water-less cookware until the whistle blows, then close and let sit for 15 minutes.

Healthy Baked Apples

 

 

 

Protein Peanut Butter Balls

I’m a sucker for anything with peanut butter. Add some protein to the mix and I’m sold. This recipe is good to have handy when you’re surrounded by sweets! So this Halloween, make and share these little treats as you celebrate!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups creamy or crunchy peanut butter
  • 2 scoops protein powder (chocolate or vanilla)
  • 2 ripe bananas mashed
  • 2 tbsp ground flax seed

**Add in candy corn, chocolate chips, or your favorite candy pieces if you have room in your macros for it!**

Directions:

  • In a large bowl, mix to together peanut butter, protein powder, bananas, and flax seed.
  • Mold the mixture into walnut-sized balls and place them in a container lined with parchment to separate the layers.
  • Freeze at least 2 hours before serving, best if frozen overnight

~255 Calories: 15 grams of Fat, 15 grams of Carbs, 15 grams of protein

How to Track Alcohol Into Your Macros

I frequently see people questioning how to track alcoholic beverages when they count macros.

Before I recommend anything I want to state that you should check to see if alcohol correlates with the time frame you would like to accomplish your goals. If you have lofty goals of a ripped physique, I advise you pass on alcohol all together. If you are looking to lose a bit of weight and tone up at a lifestyle pace, by all means make it fit your macros.

You have two options on how to count alcohol to fit your macros, as fat or as carbs.

1. Counting Alcohol as Carbs

  • Remember, carbohydrates contain 4 calories per gram
  • Find the number of calories in the drink and divide that number by four

Example: 12 oz. Miller Light Beer= 96 calories Counting as carbs: 96/4= 24 Grams of Carbs

2. Counting Alcohol as Fats

  • Remember, fats contain 9 calories per gram
  • Find the number of calories in the drink and divide that number by nine

Example: 5 oz. Generic Merlot = 120 calories Counting as fats: 120/9= 13.3 Grams of Fat

IMG_2872

My personal favorite: Guinness and yoga with foam rolling 🙂

Again, check in with yourself and make sure that you want/need the alcoholic beverage. In my personal opinion, alcohol slows your metabolism and has no nutritional value. It contains no nutrients of its own and can do damage to your body’s ability to absorb nutrients and vitamins from the food you eat. 

But, if you absolutely have to relax with a glass of wine or have a beer with dinner, try these low-calorie options:

  • Light Beers
  • Red and White Wine
  • Drinks on the Rocks
  • A shot of your favorite alcohol with diet soda
  • My personal favorite: Flavored vodka or rum with water.

Remember, drink responsibly within your macros and watch out for the munchies.

 

 

 

 

Warm Belly Cravings

When it starts to get colder, we all reach for comfort foods. They’re warm and comforting after long days. This time of year I like to play around with the idea of comfort foods while still eating clean and fitting my macros. Here’s a recipe for Jambalaya that will warm your belly without ruining your day!

Jambalaya

  • 10oz. Smoked Turkey Sausage sliced into rounds
  • 2lbs of Boneless Chicken Breasts cut into cubes
  • 1lb Large peeled raw Shrimp
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 Small Green Pepper
  • 1can of crushed tomatoes or fresh
  • Cajun Seasoning
  • 1/2tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1/2tsp Ground Pepper
  • 1/2tsp Salt
  • 1.25 cups uncooked White Rice (you could use brown but the process will take much longer)
  • 2.5 cups chicken broth

Combine sausage, chicken, and shrimp in large bowl and sprinkle Cajun season on it, mix to coat the meat, let sit for a few minutes. Saute the sausage, shrimp. and chicken until mostly cooked and lightly browned, remove and set aside. In the same pot, saute onion and bell pepper. Stir in crushed tomatoes and season with red pepper flakes, black pepper, and salt. Stir in chicken, sausage, and shrimp.  Stir in rice and chicken broth, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20-25 min or until liquid is absorbed. Remember you can adjust the recipe to fit your macros!

Sweet Potato Pancakes

The cold has been making me crave sweets something crazy. I got a little creative to curb my appetite and made some sweet potato pancakes you might like to try.

  • 1/2c Baked Sweet Potato
  • 1/2c Old Fashioned Oats
  • 1/2c Almond/Soy Milk
  • 1/4c Egg Whites
  • Splash of Vanilla Extract
  • Pinch of Baking Soda
  • Pinch of Cinnamon

I added all the ingredients to a blender to combine them. Play around with the consistency by adding more/less milk. I topped mine with sugar free raspberry jam. It was amazing. Perfect post workout high carb/high protein meal. Add in some vanilla protein instead of oats if you need extra protein for the day!

Chicken Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed Green Peppers

Stuffed Green Pepper

Ingredients:

  • 1 Large Green Pepper
  • 6oz. Pulled Chicken
  • 1c Shredded Zucchini
  • 1/4c diced onion
  • 1/4c chopped Mushroom
  • Jalapeno to taste! (optional)

What you’ll do:

Pre-cook chicken and chopped veggies. Mix all ingredients but the green pepper to make filling make your filling. De-core the green pepper and stuff. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or when pepper starts to look golden brown.

Pumpkin Spice Protein Frappuccino

I used to love Starbucks, well I still love Starbucks. However, I do not love all the extra calories from sugar and fat in my drinks. This led me to make my own version of my favorite drink! Obviously I added protein as well to help hit my macros, keep me full, and work to build and repair after killer workouts!

Pumpkin Spice Protein Frappuccino

  • 1 cup ice
  • 1 cup of you milk of choice (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
  • 1 cup strong brewed iced coffee (I used pumpkin spice flavor)
  • 1/2 of a banana
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 scoop of vanilla protein
  • dash of cinnamon
  • dash of pumpkin spice

Blend all ingredients & enjoy!

230 calories: 4.5 g Fat / 20 g Carbs / 28 g Protein

 

High Volume, Low Calorie Foods

Sometimes my stomach is a bottomless pit. I am sure I am not the only one that’s felt this way! The following is a list of 15 high volume but low-calorie foods you can use to fill your stomach without over doing it!

  1. Mushrooms: about 15 calories per cup
  2. Brussels Sprouts: about 35 calories per cup
  3. Grapefruit: 40 calories per half
  4. Celery: about 15 calories per cup
  5. Lettuce, Arugula, Spinach: about 5 calories per cup
  6. Broccoli: about 30 calories per cup
  7. Cauliflower: about 25 calories per cup
  8. Green Beans: about 30 calories per cup
  9. Sugar Snap Peas: about 50 calories per cup
  10. Zucchini: about 25 calories per cup
  11. Asparagus: about 25 calories per cup
  12. Hard Boiled Egg (white only!): about 15 calories…pure protein!
  13. Tuna: about 100 calories in 1/2 cup…also a good source of protein
  14. Air Popped Popcorn: about 35 calories per cup
  15. Low Fat String Cheese: about 50 calories per stick

Never forget about filling up on fluids!

  • Coffee: Zero Calories…if you can drink it black!
  • Tea: about 5 calories per cup…try peppermint when you need energy and chamomile when you need to relax
  • Low calorie water flavoring: around 5 to 20 calories per serving
  • Water…obviously, bloat at night- slim in the morning

So next time you need to fill your stomach or keep your hands busy try one of these as a snack!

 

 

 

 

 

Diets of Exclusion

Nutrition is an extremely trendy topic in today’s society, but in reality nutrition is a science. Fad diets, food crazes, and non-evidence based nutrition theories have left many individuals in the dark when it comes to certain nutrition topics. You will never get consistent results without a basic understanding of how to nourish your body.

Diets of exclusion are becoming more prevalent with trendy nutrition followings. A diet of exclusion is a diet that promotes food or ingredient restriction.

Often times, we spend so much time focusing on what to exclude when we should be focused on what to include. When we arbitrarily label foods or ingredients as “good” or “bad,” we condition our minds to interpret food items accordingly.

Focus on a diet of inclusion before wrecking your quality of life by restricting your food choices to an absurd level. Begin focusing on what you actually need. Focus less on what you don’t necessarily need.

 I like to think of it as 80-20. 80% of the food I consume is high in nutritional value, containing both macro and micro nutrients; foods like chicken, fish, eggs, fruits, veggies, and nuts, focusing on whole food sources. Then 20% of the food I consume is low in nutritional value and high in convenience. Some examples would be granola bars and other packaged snacks, meals ready to go, and sugary sweets.

Remember: diets of inclusion, not exclusion.            

 Perhaps the most important concept to recognize here is that all food items inherently possess nutritional value. Begin filling and fueling your day with whole food sources and fill the cracks with a few sweets and convenience foods. All foods can fit into a sustainable, healthy lifestyle. Shift your focus on inclusive habits rather than on negative and exclusive habits.

There are no bad foods. There are no good foods. However, there are bad diets. And there are good diets.

ChickPea Salad

Tired of cooking? This refreshing salad is quick and simple and requires no cooking! One of my favorite cold salads and I usually have the ingredients on hand.

ChickPea Salad

  • 1 cup of chickpeas
  • 1 cup diced cucumbers
  • 1/2 cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 1 tablespoon virgin olive oil
  • Garlic Salt & Pepper to taste

Combine all the ingredients. Serve chilled or eat with a chicken breast for some extra protein!

ChickPea Salad