No Bake Protein Bars

The price of protein bars is ridiculous but so is carrying around a chicken breast in your pocket. After many trial and errors, I have made a recipe that will be repeated regularly. Only four ingredients and it tastes good? Sounds to good to be true! You’ll have to try it to believe it!

 

No Bake Protein Bar

No Bake Protein Bars

  • 2 cups of oats
  • 2 cups of the protein powder of your choice
  • 2 cups peanut butter
  • 1-2 cups of honey/agave/coconut oil
  1. Grind your oats into oat flour. (I used my coffee grinder, but you can use a bullet, blender, or average food processor.)
  2. Mix ground oats and protein powder.
  3. Add peanut butter and your choice of stickiness(honey/agave/coconut oil) and get ready for a killer arm workout. **I blew up my food processor making these, so trust me that doing it by hand is the way to go!**
  4. Once you have the ingredients thoroughly mixed, ending in a huge ball of deliciousness, press the mixture flat into a glass pan or a pan lined with wax paper.
  5. Refrigerate for 2 hours and enjoy!

 

Mexican Chicken Stuffed Peppers

Ingredients:

  • Green Peppers
  • 6oz. of Chicken Breast per Pepper
  • 1 cup Chopped Green Peppers
  • 1 cup Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1 packet Taco Seasoning
  • Extras:
    • Cheese
    • Guacamole
    • Sour Cream

Instructions:

  1. Clean chicken breasts. The cook the way you prefer. I used waterless cookware, cooked the breasts on each side for 5 minutes and then let simmer on low for 10 minutes. You can also make the chicken in a slow cooker, bake, or regular pan fry.
  2. Once the chicken is cooked, shred it. Then combine chicken, peppers, tomatoes, and seasoning packet in a large skillet and let simmer.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  4. Clean your green peppers, and add and excess peppers to the chicken mixture.
  5. Fill each pepper with 7-8oz of the chicken mixture and bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until the peppers are soft.
  6. Eat them plain or cover with the toppings of your choice!

* Make extra of the chicken mixture for make nachos, tacos, or enchiladas. One slow cooker of Mexican Chicken can make a whole week of meals!!

Turkey Haystacks, the Jackpot of Thanksgiving Leftovers

Thanksgiving, a holiday to be thankful for so many things including FOOOOOD!

Along with this yearly feast comes endless amounts of leftovers. Amongst this slew of leftovers are the ingredients for my favorite meal, Turkey Haystacks.

Turkey Haystacks

Ingredients:

  • Shredded Turkey
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Gravy
  • Extras:
    • Stuffing
    • Sweet Potatoes
    • Cranberry Sauce

Plan the ingredients to match your macros, go wild, and don’t let those leftovers go to waste!

 

 

 

Fiesta Chicken

I know I’m not alone in thinking eating chicken breasts gets boring sometimes! I came up with this recipe to throw in the mix to add a bit of flavor without being too complicated or time consuming.

Ingredients

  • 1 Can of Roasted Tomatoes with Chilies
  • 1 Can Sweet Corn
  • 1 Can of Black Beans
  • Chicken Breasts
  • Cajun Seasoning or your personal favorite seasoning

Instructions

  1. Drain and rinse all the canned veggies to remove excess sodium. I usually strain them and mix them all together!
  2. You have the option to cook this in a slow cooker or water-less cookware. If you are using a slow cooker, put the chicken breasts in the bottom, then cover with veggies and season to taste. If you are using water-less cookware, put the veggies on the bottom, then lay chicken breasts on top and season to taste.
  3. If you are using a slow cooker, let meal sit for 6-8 hours on low. If you are using water-less cookware, let meal simmer till the whistle blows, shut the valve and let sit for 20-30 minutes depending on the number of chicken breasts. (About 7-10 minutes per breast)

Fiesta Chicken

 

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

 

 

 

How to Survive: Workplace Dieting

Anyone who is proactive about their health by practicing good nutrition knows the struggles of dieting in the workplace. The constant questioning, judgmental looks, donuts and bagels within reach, and time constraints can hold you back from achieving your goals. The following is a list of tips and tricks to help keep you full and focused in the workplace.

  1. Always pack you lunch. This eliminates the need to fill your stomach with convenience or fast foods! If mornings are a time crunch for you, pack them the night before.
  2. Keep extra snacks at your desk. Didn’t pack enough for you lunch? Good thing you have almonds, turkey jerky, and dried fruit in your desk drawer. No need to reach for a bagel when you have these on reserve!
  3. Unless you have a limited number of bathroom brakes, constantly hydrate throughout the day! It’s also a great break for those who sit all day to get up and move frequently.
  4. Curb your sweet tooth with flavored drinks. Why not make hydration fun? Water enhancers are an easy and enjoyable way to add something sweet into your day. Grab and go packets, liquid concentrates, coffee, and tea are great ways to keep your hands occupied, your stomach full, and your sweet tooth under control.
  5. The best offense is a good defense. So people question what you eat and drink? Politely remind them that you don’t question what they eat and drink. If they have an over abundance of opinions and questions take that as an opportunity to share some healthy tips and trick with them.
  6. People are always going to judge you, better to be on the end of judgment for doing the right thing rather than doing wrong. Smile when they stare, offer to share, and stick to your guns.
  7. Set reminders in your phone if you regularly forget to eat. Keep things open and on your desk to graze throughout the day. Using your lunch break to work is fine, but you’re more productive with proper nutrition so make an effort to multi-task if you have to!
  8. Space out your meals. Try to eat every two to three hours. Keeping meals smaller and regular can help to keep you full and on track when surrounded by other temptations.
  9. Add extra protein throughout the day. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is feel full when your job is monotonous and repetitive. Adding extra protein to your diet can elevate that hungry feeling that keeps you from being productive. (Quick and easy protein: Greek yogurt, hard boiled eggs, tuna, jerky, and meal replacement protein shakes.)
  10. Reward yourself for following through with your goals. Pick a goal timeframe and put a tangible reward at the end of it. A new outfit, weekend getaway, or trendy gadget can materialize the value of your efforts, keeping you on track.

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

Healthy Foods that aren’t “Healthy”

Classifying any food as healthy or un-healthy is ignorant. All food has nutritional value. It may not be the best value for your daily nutrition but it also may not be the worst. As social media storms through leaving opinions left and right, many are left confused as to what they should be fueling their day with. Such articles, Instagram photos, and trendy super-foods are never discussed in correlation to their portion sizes, macronutrients, or moderation. This kind of marketing leads people astray from achieving their goals. Newsflash: There is no food you can eat copious amounts of and still consider it healthy. So to set the record straight I’ve written the following list of healthy foods that aren’t “healthy” in excess.

Nut Butters– When you see nut butters, you should see a source of fat and energy. Consuming nut butters in the correct portion size of 2 tablespoons when you need energy is a great way to give yourself a boost. Casually eating half a peanut butter jar throughout the day will most likely exceed your fat needs for the day. When you exceed your need for any nutrient, it can be stored as fat. Moderation is key when it comes to consuming nut butters.

Oatmeal– A client once told me “I eat oatmeal 3 times a day because it is healthy.” This sort of thinking is directly associated with how ideas and information are shared in the health industry. Oatmeal is a great source of carbs that also contain protein, but by no means should your whole diet consist of it. Consuming oatmeal on a daily basis is a great way to consume complex carbs, beyond that oatmeal is no healthier that bread, rice, or pasta.

Trail Mix– Nuts, like nut butters, are a great source of fat and energy. Adding in a little dried fruit or some chocolate to sweeten the deal can make a great snack. However, trail mix as a snack can quickly become an over-indulgent meal. A serving size of trail mix is usually a quarter cup or a handful…not a whole bag or an ‘eat until you’re full’ snack. Always make sure to use portion control when consuming this addicting snack.

Fruit– Often people think fruit is overly-healthy and can be consumed in any and all quantities. But just like all food, anything consumed in excess is unhealthy. When consuming fruit, think of a serving as the size of your fist, only consume one serving per sitting. Fruit is also considered healthy because it is a good source of fiber which is true. Fruit is also a source of sugar and because of that you want to consume it in moderation.

Olive/Coconut/Seed Oil– Any oil is a formation of lipids or fat. In moderation, fat is a key part of your diet. Using any oil in excess can cause your body to store it as fat because your body has no need for it, nor the ability to immediately put it to use. Regardless of the kind or purification of oil, it still is fat and should be consumed in moderation.

Multigrain ItemsJust because something is whole wheat, whole grain, or multi-grain does not automatically make it healthy. Consuming a whole grain item versus a white or processed item means that you are consuming complex carbs versus simple carbs. Each have their place in nutrition, but one is not better than the other.

Brown Rice– As with multi-grain versus white, brown rice is also no better than white rice. It is a complex carb, whereas white rice is a simple carb. Depending on your nutrition, you need both in your diet to sustain good health.

Dark Chocolate– Dark chocolate has a higher cocoa content and lower sugar content. It is still a confectionery sweet that should be consumed in moderation. A perk of dark chocolate is that it is rich in anti-oxidants and sometimes stress relieving because it releases certain hormones when consumed.

Diet Soda– Soda in general is a very chemically processed beverage. Although diet soda is sugarfree, the artificial sweeteners used to replace the sugar are very tricky to play around with. The occasional diet soda to curb your sweet tooth is fine, but regular over-consumption can lead to digestion discomfort and distress, not to mention the negative effects it can have on your teeth.

Gluten Free Items– Gluten seems to have gotten a bad reputation in the past year or so. As it now receives the blame for people’s excess weight gain and inability to lose weight, people hardly do their research to understand what gluten even is. Gluten is a protein found in wheat. Although some people with Celiac’s disease need to stay away from gluten, there is no harm in the rest of us consuming it.

Low Fat ItemsLow fat does not mean you will lose fat. Rather, low-fat is an alternative to items more rich in fat. Fat in itself is not bad for your diet, but needs to be consumed in moderation.

Sugarfree Items– Just like diet soda, sugarfree items are packed full of artificial sweeteners. These artificial sweeteners, though low calorie, can create a slew of health issues you most likely will want to avoid. In small amounts, the chemicals in artificial sweeteners can be consumed, but can become toxic the more you consume them.

Greens Supplements- Greens supplements are not a fix all for your health. They are a supplement. If you consume no fruits and vegetables, greens supplements will work wonders for you because your body is finally getting the vitamins and minerals it craves. For those that regularly consume fruits and vegetables, greens supplements are only recommended to be used on an as needed basis.

Protein Supplements– Just like greens supplements, protein supplements are not a fix all or a weight loss product. Protein supplements are used to supplement your daily protein consumption. Although the best way to consume protein is from whole food sources, these supplements can be a great way to meet your protein needs.

After reading through this list, I hope you found some common themes: Moderation, Portion Control, and understanding the nutritional value of the food you’re consuming.

Next time you’re thinking about “eating clean” or “eating healthy” make a list. At the top of the list write “Foods I Can’t Eat”, then list the foods you “can’t” eat when eating “healthy” or “clean”. Then when you’re done with the list cross out the title “Foods I Can’t Eat” and instead write “Foods I Can Eat in Moderation”. Think of food as an opportunity to nourish your body with the nutrients it needs.

Things I cant EatThings I can Eat

 

Eating Out Without Pigging Out

How many of us find ourselves having a solid week of nutrition sticking to our goals, and then blow it on the weekend? Have you ever gone out to eat and given yourself an excuse to go a little overboard because “There’s nothing healthy to eat!”? Or what about the embarrassment that comes from being picky or eating healthy? I’m sure we’ve all experienced these instances to some extent. What can we do to solve this issue? Stop going out to eat, only order water with a lemon, or cheat on our goals? How about trying some of the following ideas to eat out without pigging out:

  • Look up the restaurant’s menu online before going. Being prepared and knowing your options can alleviate any stress or embarrassment.
  • Pick something you would normally eat. If you don’t eat cheesy, greasy food on a regular basis, why should you eat it at a restaurant? Pick something your body is familiar with eating.
  • The more color to your selection the better. I don’t mean get the nachos because they have multi-colored chips, but pick something with a little variety. A salad with lots of toppings, a sandwich with fresh veggies, or an entrée with a few portion appropriate sides.
  • Check for a lite-eaters section. I’m not recommending you eat less, but let’s be honest, restaurant servings sizes are far from the recommended allotment.
  • Choose grilled, broiled, or baked items over deep fried. Deep friend mushrooms do not count as a vegetable, nor does skipping the bun make up for a fried chicken breast. Simple items cooked without oil will have enough flavor and seasoning.
  • Skip appetizers and bread baskets. Do your normal meals include half a loaf of bread, chips and salsa, and mozzarella sticks? Hopefully not. Fuel your body like you normally do, eating out is no excuse to splurge.
  • Try something you’ve never tried before! I know the Chicken Fettuccini Alfredo sounds good but so does the Mahi-Mahi with pineapple salsa and rice pilaf. Choose nutrient rich over calorie dense.
  • If you get to pick the restaurant, pick something ethnic! Most non-American restaurants have menus full of foods based around lentils, vegetables, and meat!
  • Order a la carte items. By doing so, you know exactly what you are getting and you aren’t tempted by unhealthy sides.
  • Plan on taking half the meal home. Knowingly eating with plans for leftovers can help you from over-eating just because the food is in front of you. Who doesn’t love leftovers for lunch the next day!?
  • Dressings on the side. This allows you to be honest with yourself and only use what’s needed or skip it all together.
  • Skip dessert and have a coffee. It’s something sweet that stimulates your metabolism and keeps your hands occupied while others over indulge.

 

What are your favorite ways to eat out without pigging out?

The Value of Vitamins

It’s common knowledge that vitamins are good for your body. But not many people understand how any why they add value to your body and life. The following is a basic explanation of some common vitamins and their value.

Vitamins

  • Vitamin A: helps to synthesize protein, promotes immune function and well-being, forms visual pigments, and works to develop red blood cells.
    • Found in pumpkin, squash and sweet potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, eggs, green leafy vegetables, melons, and dairy foods.
  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamine): Helps to aid energy production from food and assisting in DNA and RNA synthesis.
    • Found in whole grains, tuna, leafy greens, mushrooms, and lentils.
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): Helps to absorb medicine, metabolizes iron, and participation in red cell production.
    • Found in whole grains, tuna, leafy greens, mushrooms, and lentils.
  • Vitamin B3 (Niacin): Facilities cell signaling, helps control cholesterol, and assists in repairing DNA.
    • Found in sea vegetables, whole grains, beans, salmon, tuna, mushrooms, and asparagus.
  • Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid): Assisting in absorption of medication and helps to synthesize cholesterol, hormones, and neurotransmitters.
    • Found in Yogurt, eggs, whole grains, avocados, lentils, seeds, berries, and coniferous vegetables.
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine): Assists in breakdown of carbs, supports nervous and immune system function, and helps to form neurotransmitters and hormones.
    • Found in bananas, avocado, tuna, salmon, nuts, oats, beans, and seeds.
  • Vitamin B7 (Biotin): Helps hair, skin, and nail growth and aids in energy production.
    • Found in leafy greens, berries, nuts, oats, lettuce, tomato, avocado, carrots, cucumbers, onions, cauliflower, and whole grains.
  • Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid): Helps in utilization of other vitamins, assists in new protein formation, helps create new red blood cells.
    • Found in citrus fruit, coniferous vegetables, bean, and whole grains.
  • Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin): Helps in cell reproduction and maintaining healthy and active cells
    • Found in meats, fish, eggs, and dairy.
  • Vitamin C: Acts as an antioxidant to help protect cells from cancer causing agents, improves vitamin and mineral absorption, and helps regenerate collagen.
    • Found in leafy greens, citrus fruits, coniferous vegetables, berries, mangos, and kiwis.
  • Vitamin D: Increases calcium uptake, helps with immune system function, and helps regulate blood pressure.
    • Found in fish and eggs.
  • Vitamin E: Acts as an antioxidant and helps immune and inflammatory cells.
    • Found in apples, carrots, tomatoes, avocados, seeds, leafy greens, nuts, whole grains, and vegetable oils.
  • Vitamin K: Assists in blood clotting and helps to regenerate bone tissue
    • Found in peas, beans, leafy greens, and vegetable oils.

 

The best way to absorb vitamins is to consume them from whole food sources. If you don’t have access regularly I would add a greens supplement or daily multi-vitamin in with your daily regimen. Regular consumption of vitamins can help you avoid things like cancer, influenza, and many other infections and viral sicknesses.

 

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My Daily Regimen 

How do you get your daily dose of vitamins?