Friday, June 29, 2012

Fresh Friday - Raspberries are In Season!


Is there anything better than the sweet, tart, juicy bite of fresh raspberries straight from the garden??  I don't think so!  Raspberries are one of my favorite fruits.  I love stocking up on them when they are in season and putting them everywhere!  I put them in yogurt, pancakes, salads, and with main dishes (my favorite is pork tenderloin with raspberry sauce like this RECIPE, but instead of preserves I use 1/4-1/3 cup smashed raspberries).  I also include them on ice cream, in oatmeal, in smoothies, and anything else I can dream up.  I have been finding them at farmer's markets already and have started searching new recipes and creating my own!  I LOVE summer :)  Here are some tips for raspberries....


Description: Raspberries and other brambleberries (blackberries, boysenberries, mulberries) are soft fruits with tart, intense juices. They come in a variety of colors red, black, purple, and gold.  If you haven't tried gold, I suggest you do next time you are at the store!  Yummy change, with a little extra tartness.  Berries grow on canes with or without thorns.  Because they have a high liquid content and thin skins, they are quite fragile.

Selection: When purchasing raspberries, look for firm, plump, deeply-colored berries with no soft spots or discolorations. All berries should be dry with no mold or signs of juice leaking on the container. They will not ripen after picking, so for the sweetest fruit, look for ones that are fully ripened.

Storage and handling: Remove any berries that look overripe from the container right away. Refrigerate for about 2-4 days. Do not wash berries until just before serving. Wash gently (fragile!) and drain well on paper towels.

Preparation: 1 lb raw = 3 cups.

Serving suggestions: Of course they are amazing plain! Try with yogurt or oatmeal for breakfast or blend into smoothies. Use in baked goods, frozen desserts, jams, and vinaigrette.  Use with protein in main dishes.  

Nutrition: Raspberries provide an excellent source of vitamin C, fiber, manganese, flavonoids, and ellagic acid.  They also offer a very good source of vitamin B2 and a good source of other B vitamins, such as niacin, folic acid, pantothenic acid, and vitamin B6.  Raspberries are low in calories and are nutrient-dense.

What is your favorite way to eat raspberries?  Any amazing combinations I can try?

Hope you got your daily dose of nutrition today!  If you like what you read, please become a member of the blog (follower, on the right), like the blog's facebook page, or follow me on twitter.  Thanks and have a fantastic day!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Road Trippin' - Better to be Over-prepared!

Today, my husband and I, and our two dogs are going to Sedona for a quick get away weekend!  It was kind of a spur of the moment decision (late last week), but it should be fun!  Its a little bit cooler than where we are living right now, and they have gorgeous scenery to explore.  We will be able to go hiking, biking, swimming, and see some cool stuff.  We will also get to visit some of their farmer's markets (can you tell yet that I LOVE farmer's markets!?), and eat some of the local food, which I'm pretty excited about.  We will be driving there, and luckily have a kitchen while we are there, so we can take lots of yummy things!


Image from here


I find on road trips that it is so important to be over-prepared!  Stopping to get snacks and meals most of the time ensures higher calorie, fat, and sugar options, with very very limited nutritious choices.  We of course have been known to stop for something tasty occasionally, but I would prefer to have the car stocked so we can make the decision of what to take, over just having to purchase whatever we can find when we get hungry.  Next time you road trip it, here are some ideas for you to take to have healthy options.  Get your cooler and fill it up baby!  


Image from thedailygreen  (I will get pics up of my personal cooler when we get back!)


Here is what I am packing for us, and what you may want to take next time:

  • WATER - lots and lots of water.  Stay hydrated the whole time you are traveling, and you will feel much better, and make better food decisions
  • Chopped veggies (celery, peppers, cucumbers, carrots, cherry tomatoes, cauliflower, snap peas)
  • Ranch dip (low fat sour cream mixed with a seasoning packet of hidden valley ranch DIPS, so good!) Divide this out into a couple little containers so you can leave some in the cooler and dip in smaller ones while traveling.
  • Hummus - awesome for dipping those veggies in
  • Bag of Cherries that has been washed and is ready to go
  • Grapes (again, pre-washed)
  • Greek Yogurt - usually in our house we go through the big ones pretty quickly, but for our road trip, we are taking the little 6 oz ones
  • Small bags of popcorn.  A couple already popped, and others for popping later
  • Almonds
  • String Cheese
  • Laughing Cow cheese
  • Turkey Jerky (high protein, helps keep you satisfied!)
  • Sandwich fixings (did that just make me sound old? haha)  So when we stop somewhere I can make a couple sandwiches and they wont get soggy!  This was always my favorite thing to make when we would go boating, reminds me of that.   So easy and much better than only be able to find a burger place in the middle of nowhere.  I'm taking:
    • Small loaf of bread
    • small mustard container
    • Sliced cheese
    • bag of lettuce leaves, bag of sliced tomatoes
    • Ham and turkey
  • Cooked Steel Cut Oats - This is for when we get there and need breakfast, and its genius!  I will blog about the wonderfulness that is steel cut oats another day, but it is a super easy one to make a lot of, and refrigerate!  It re-heats amazingly with a little cinnamon and almond milk, yum!  Such an easy breakfast!
As you can tell, I'm trying to keep the grain choices at a minimum here.  Those are so easy to stop and buy if you want them, much easier than these things I have packed!  Also, I find it isn't a good idea to take a box of crackers/pretzels/chips with you while driving, how easy is it to eat the whole bag/box?  Too easy because in a car, it is right there.  The small bags of popcorn work nicely for that.  And finally, I know with eating out that we will get plenty of grains, but will we get enough of the other stuff on our trip?  Maybe not.  

Hope that gives you some ideas for your next road trip, even if it is just a day trip to the beach!  Have a great day!

I hope you got your daily dose of nutrition today!  If you like what you read, I would love to have you join the site!  Join under "followers" on the right hand side.  Also, you can like the blog on facebook for additional nutrition info and follow me on twitter!  Have a great day!



Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Workout Wednesday - Exercise Routine For You and My Workout ADD


I love to work out.  However, the way in which I have got my sweat on has been different through the years.  In high school, I had gym classes, and I went to the gym.  I also danced.  There was even a period of time I went to curves with my mom.  In college, I tried to take an exercise class each semester, and I got to do some cool things: spinning, aerobics, kickboxing, self-defense, modern dance, ballet, yoga, Pilates, step classes, and more!  (I needed the exercise classes to balance out the culinary classes!)  I have had a home elliptical, done P90x, Insanity, and other home DVDs.  I have a road bike and have loved that for exercise.  I have done swimming, hiking, walking, and canoeing (Yes, in Jersey, I had a canoe and a river behind my house, go figure).    Most recently I have done Crossfit.  I think you could say I have "Workout ADD".

Biking

Box Jumping at CrossFit

But, I think it is important to get out there and try new things when it comes to fitness and exercise.  Life changes so frequently, and what worked last year, may not work for you this year.  Be flexible, and willing to look for something new.  Frequently I hear, "I used to go to the gym, now I can't because of A, B and C".  So the person isn't exercising at all because they can't go to the gym.  Time to find something new!

One of the most important things when starting an exercise program, or beginning a new one, is to pick an activity that works and is right for you.  You need to choose an activity that you both enjoy and can physically do.  What is right for one person may not be a great fit for someone else.  Here are some suggestions:
  • Joining an exercise class.  There are a wide variety out there, swimming, aerobic, spinning, pilates, yoga, Zumba, Jazzercize, etc.
  • Getting involved with a sport.  Learn something new!  Tennis, golf, racquetball, swimming, dancing, etc.
  • Walking.  You can go anywhere, around the neighborhood, around the mall when the weather isn't nice or through a park.
  • Do Chair Exercises
  • Try some at-home workout DVD's.  There is a wide selection for whatever fits your needs.  You can usually read reviews online.  
  • If you have the ability to stream videos (wifi), try hulu.com for free exercise videos, or join Netflix for streaming of exercise videos!  If you love amazon.com like I do, look into their prime program, and you can stream for free (plus free shipping!). Also, for easy streaming, I love my Roku box!  It streams all the above to my tv for me, so the workout videos are bigger and easier than on my laptop!
  • Joining a gym.  Maybe you like to mix it up every day and try new things, this way you can use a variety of their machines.  Look into the various types of gyms, like 24-hr fitness, Crossfit, Curves, etc, they all offer different programs at different prices.  One may have classes or times that work for you, where another may not.  
    • Today on Groupon.com I bought a punch pass for 30 exercise classes for $20!  Keep an eye on groupon.com and livingsocial.com for great deals in your area that let you try something new at a great price!!
  • Stretching, Yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates - all great activities that you can easily do at home. 
  • Stay active around the house.  Get moving while doing laundry, dishes, gardening, vacuuming, anything else that needs done (get up and paint the room you've always wanted to paint!).
Your ultimate goal is to work up to being active at least 30 min a day.  Remember, you want to gradually build up to this point, it doesn't have to be the first day, or even the first week if you haven't been active before or in a long time.  If you don't have 30 min all at the same time, feel free to split it up, 15 min in the morning, and 15 in the afternoon.  Again, however works best for YOU at this time in YOUR life.  It may change, that is ok!

What is your favorite way to exercise?  What have you been doing that keeps you active?

Hope you got your daily dose of nutrition today!  If you enjoy reading, please like the blog on facebook or follow me on twitter, also, become a follower of the site using the boxes to the right.  Thanks!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Surviving Weddings, Reunions, and Parties


It's the time of year for weddings, family and class reunions, pool parties, and other social gatherings.  Does an event like this mean your whole day or even week is ruined?  It doesn't have too!  With some planning, which is key, you can survive nutritionally and not ruin your wellness goals!

Step 1 - Before the Event
  • Eat light, but filling food during the day so you don't go to the event starving.  If you don't plan to eat many vegetables at the event, eat them during the day!  No starving before the event to be able to eat more when you get there, you will make worse choices and take in more overall calories.
  • Drink Water!  Get your 64-80+ oz in during the day.
  • Fit in time for exercise before the event, you will make better decisions if your day has been healthy otherwise.  
Step 2 - During the Event
  • Have a plan, and stick to it!
  • Survey all the food before deciding what to eat.  Pick a couple of your favorites, and ignore the ones that don't really do it for you.  Also, load up on the veggies and protein, and ignore the bread basket.
  • Get up and get moving!  Mingle, dance, catch up with friends, this will help you not eat as much.
  • If you have your choice in seating, make it far away from the food so second helpings aren't quite as easy.
  • If you look forward to dessert, again, try your favorite one, and if it just isn't that good, don't finish it.  Let them clear your plate, don't you clear it. 
  • Try sharing a dessert with someone else who doesn't want a whole dessert either.
Step 3 - After the Event
  • Return to your healthy habits and goals - RIGHT AWAY
  • Keep up the good work you are doing!
  • No GUILT - Remember that eating healthy and exercising are for a lifetime, 1 meal or day doesn't blow it for you, jump right back on, and keep moving forward!
What are your best strategies for surviving social gatherings?  What works for you?  Share with me in the comments section!

Hope you got your daily dose of nutrition today :)  If you like what you read, please "like" the blog on facebook, become a follower, or follow me on twitter using the links at the right.  Thanks, have a great day!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Now for Dessert - Root Beer Float


I was craving dessert this weekend big time, but I am not a baker.  I actually had three failed desserts (not even my dog has tried to eat them) in the previous week, and my ego was not about to bake something else.  I'm blaming the fails on a bad recipe and egg substitute, but we can talk about that another day.   

I also wanted something "summery", you know, light, cool, refreshing!  I went looking through my kitchen, and I happened to have on hand Diet A&W Root Beer and Breyers No Sugar Added Vanilla Ice Cream (the BEST no sugar added ice cream in my opinion).  I haven't had a root beer float in quite some time, and boy did it hit the spot!  

When it comes to dessert, I tend to have big eyes.  I did 16 oz of root beer and 1 cup of ice cream, filling one of my largest glasses!  However, with this combination, it was ok!  (not ok when it comes to cheesecake, chocolate cake, etc).  My BIG dessert however only had 160 calories!!  

Plus


Equals



Here are the nutritional stats:
Calories - 160 calories
Fat - 8gm 
Carbohydrate - 26gm
Fiber - 8gm
Net Carb - 18gm
Sugar - 8gm

VERSUS Regular float with 16 oz regular Root Beer and 1 cup Regular Ice Cream at 500 calories...

Nutritional Stats:
Calories - 500 
Fat - 14gm
Carbohydrate - 88gm
Fiber - 0gm
Net Carb - 88gm
Sugar - 88gm

SAVED - 340 calories, 6gm fat, 70gm Net Carbs, 80gm of Sugar - WOOHOO!

And seriously, it was amazing!  In fact, I think I will have another tonight :)  I think if you aren't a big "diet soda" drinker, putting ice cream in it helps that...  Also, this could be done with light orange sherbet and diet sprite, how good does that sound??

What are your favorite things to do for a quick easy dessert?  Tell me in the comments section!

What's cooking - Thai Steak Salad

Hope you all had an excellent weekend!  I sure did!  We had beautiful weather, so I got to spend some time swimming, went to some farmer's markets, visited Sunflower Market, (which I'm in love with), and made some excellent meals!  

I have been trying to eat less grains (rice, pasta, bread) for meals lately, and that kinda means you have to get creative.  My husband gets tired of hearing we are having meat and vegetables for dinner, or for him worse yet, SALAD!  But, I had found a recipe for a Thai salad using lots of great, fresh ingredients that I thought might be something we would like, and it is definitely a keeper.  I never use a recipe exactly as it comes, so i'm going to give you my adapted version, but you can find the original recipe here.  I put in my recipe and have calculated the nutrition content.  For a huge serving of this salad plus 4 oz steak, dinner comes in around 275 calories!  I will put all the nutrition info at the end, along with the recipe as I made it.

This recipe would taste great with chicken, turkey, salmon or lamb!  If there is a vegetable you don't like, swap it out for one you do like!

Here is the walk through on the Recipe, ENJOY!

First, make the marinade/dressing, so some can go over the beef prior to cooking, and you can then chop veggies while the meat is cooking and not make this twice.  The amounts listed below are for one bowl, you are making two, so you need double the ingredients listed!

Combine: (Now, this is the recipe for EACH bowl, and you are making two bowls of it, one to go on the meat as marinade, and one on the salad as dressing, so make two bowls at the same time, using the amounts listed in each bowl, make sense??)

3 Tbsp Lime juice - I had key limes, it took about 2-3


1 Tbsp Rice Vinegar (Find it by the other Vinegars)

1 Tbsp Splenda Brown Sugar (or regular if you don't have/don't like Splenda)


2 Tbsp lower sodium Soy Sauce


1 Tbsp Fish Sauce (find in the Ethnic aisle at any grocery store)


2 tsp Sriracha (or 1 for less heat - again find in the Ethnic Aisle, you have to add this to your cooking staples!)


2 tsp fresh minced Garlic (have you ever bought pre-minced?  Huge time saver!)


Combined Sauce - Looks like this:


Now, take your flank steak (between 1 - 1.5 lbs) and cover with one of the bowls of dressings you just made.  The meat will be amazing with all the extra flavor!

I let mine sit with the marinade on it for about half an hour, you can do longer or shorter depending on the time you have available.  Store your second bowl of dressing in the refrigerator until you are ready to toss the salad.

Flank steak cooks best on a hot grill.  You want to turn it over after about 4-7 minutes depending on your desired degree of done-ness.  I like mine medium, and it only cooked for about 5 minutes on each side.  This isn't one that works well well-done because it becomes kind of tough.  After it comes off the grill, wrap it in foil and let it sit for about 10 minutes.

Now for the Salad - Combine:

4 Cups Chopped Cabbage (Green or Red or a combo of both!)


2 cups chopped peppers (I used the sweet mini peppers, or you can use bell peppers, again, ANY color!)


To easily chop the baby ones, first, cut the top off, slice in half, removing seeds, and then slice each half as thin as you would like.  





2 cups cucumber slices - I like to cut each end off, slice the length of the cucumber in half, and then slice down for little half moon shapes.


1/3 cup of Mint - stems removed, chopped


1/3 cup Cilantro - stems removed, chopped (you could substitute basil, lemon grass, or any other herbs you like/have on hand!)


TIP - To store fresh herbs, wrap in a damp paper towel and stick in a plastic bag.  They do better out of the crisper drawer.



 Mix all veggies in a big bowl


Toss with your second bowl of dressing


Slice flank steak against the grain to get nice, melt in your mouth pieces 


Separate the salad into four bowls, just over 2 cups per bowl, and tops with 3-4 oz of sliced steak.


ENJOY!

Nutrition (using 4 oz of flank steak per person, 4 servings) - 275 calories, Carbohydrate - 16 grams, Protein - 27 grams, Fat - 9 grams

Thai Steak Salad (jenna's version)

Ingredients:

1-1.5 lb Flank Steak
6 tbsp Lime Juice (separated)
2 tbsp Rice Vinegar (separated)
2 tbsp Splenda Brown Sugar (Separated)
4 Tbsp Lower Sodium Soy Sauce (Separated)
2 Tbsp Fish Sauce (Separated)
4 tsp Sriracha (Separated)
4 tsp Minced Garlic (Separated)
4 cups Chopped Cabbage
2 cups Chopped Peppers
2 cups Chopped Cucumber
1/3 cup Chopped Mint
1/3 cup Chopped Cilantro

Let me know what you think about this recipe in the comments section, what would you add/change?  If you like the blog, become a follower on the right hand side!  Thanks, and have a great Monday!

Hope you got your daily dose :) ~Jenna

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Fantastic Product - PB2

I love peanut butter, who doesn't?  However, at around 200 calories, 16 grams of fat, and 4 grams saturated fat for 2 tablespoons, it adds up quickly!  I have searched high and low for better alternatives and even found some I liked.  


I like almond butter, as it has a better ratio of the fats.  Still around 200 calories with 16 grams of fat, but only 1-2grams saturated, and about 10 monounsaturated (compared to 6-7 in in regular peanut butter).  Ok, so a little better, but still quite a few calories.




Whipped peanut butter is a good alternative, but hard to find.  Most whipped options come in around 150 calories, 12 grams of fat, and still low in carbohydrates (5 grams + 2 gram fiber).  Peter Pan makes a great version of whipped.  




Now I truly have found the best alternative!  It is called PB2, and it is all natural.  Through a unique process they are able to squeeze out the oils from the peanut, leaving a peanut flour.  It comes in powder form, and you add water to reconstitute it.  For two tablespoons of the powder you add one tablespoon water (I add more water as I like it creamier).  It is just like peanut butter - and it is AMAZING!  For 2 tablespoons, there is only 45 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, and it still has 5 grams of protein and 2 grams fiber!  While I may still use regular peanut butter occasionally for sandwiches, this is the perfect solution for sauces, dressings, shakes, dips etc, when you don't want to add an extra 200 calories, but you still want all the peanut butter taste!  




I bought this on amazon (one of my loves), but you can buy it many of places online, or go to PB2's website and use their location finder to find a distributor near you.  If you are a peanut butter lover, you have to try this! (Oh, and by the way, they have chocolate.  Dare I say better than Nutella..?)


Have a great Sunday!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Pizza or Something Better at the Airport?

While traveling recently, I was sitting at the airport waiting for my flight.  I had gotten there a little bit earlier than I usually like too (but at least not late!) and I had a great seat by one of the few coveted charging stations.  Someone on the other side of the charging station got up and left, leaving two slots open.  This lady with crazy red hair flying in all directions rushed up the second they left and set a pizza box on the seat next to me. She then turned to me "Can you watch my pizza while I go get my bags?"  I was a little confused by this request, in my head I was wondering who on earth would want to steal and eat her half eaten pizza??  Being nicer than this though, I told her I would watch it.  She was gone for a few minutes, then returned to charge her accessories and finish her pizza.  


After being asked to watch that particular pizza, I started noticing how many other people had huge pizza boxes that they were consuming for dinner at the airport, not only that but huge bags of fast food also seemed like a favorite.  Did they think this was their only option?  Had they not planned in advance to avoid this nightmare of a meal?  I'm talking whole pizzas for these people, that were climbing on a five hour flight.  Once we got on the plane, the two people next to me also each had their own pizza!   


This got me thinking about travel tips and ways to avoid turning to an entire pizza as your only option!  I travel enough for work, pleasure, family, etc, that I am always prepared.  I never go to the airport without a bag full of food to pick from.  At least that way I make better choices at the airport if I do want to purchase something.  Here are some suggestions to make your next time traveling a more healthy experience!



  • Check out the airport before you go!  Some are healthier than others.  In a recent survey by pcrm.org, they found that 100% of Detroit airport restaurants offer at least 1 healthy option.  Fifteen of the nations busiest airports were surveyed, and the lowest report was 71% (not too bad!).  The average has increased from 57% in 2001 to 83% in 2011, YAY for healthier options being offered!
  • Take an empty water bottle, and fill it up once you get through security!  Keep on drinking that water so you wont feel as hungry through your trip and you will feel better when you land.
  • Here are some food choices I include when traveling:
    • A sandwich, any kind, on whole wheat bread.  PB and J is a good option, or ham/turkey and cheese if you can eat it within a couple hours.
    • Carrot sticks with hummus
    • Wheat crackers with laughing cow cheese (doesn't have to be refrigerated!)
    • Almonds (I love the 100 calorie packs)
    • Veggie Straws - to hit that salty, crunchy craving
    • Grapes
    • String cheese - again if you can eat it in a few hours
  • I have seen a lot of these things actually in the airport!  Many airports have little containers or vegetables with some kind of dip, sandwiches on whole wheat bread, and lately I have been seeing regular and Greek Yogurt, as well as string cheese!  Just keep in mind it is much more pricey at the airport.  But since yogurt USUALLY can't (but one time on accident did) make it through security, it is nice to be able to find it in the terminal.
Photo from Wellcommons.com
  • The trick is being prepared.  You never know when that short 2 hour flight will turn much longer because of some delay.  Take snacks just in case, and avoid being caught off guard.  When you are hungry, is when that $5 bag of lays potato chips looks absolutely necessary!  :)

What are your favorite snacks to take while traveling?  Does your airport have a great healthy option?  Share in the comment section below!  If you like the blog, join it!  Become a follower on the right hand side under the twitter feed.  Also, follow me on twitter, facebook, or pinterest by clicking the buttons on the right.  Thanks for reading, have a great weekend!!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Snake in my House, and Summer Grilling

It truly is summer.  Last night when going in to go to bed, my husband stepped into the bathroom first to brush his teeth and I heard him say "Uh Oh".  I rushed over, wondering what was wrong.  In a new house, that was a foreclosure, this is something I hear and say often.  As I got to the door of the bathroom I see my husband rolling up the bathroom mat around...Something... 


Beginning the climb to panic mode, I asked him if it was a lizard that got in.  I was secretly praying that it was lizard and not what I was dreading seeing now that I am in sunny AZ, land of  creepy, crawly, slithering things.  He responded "um, no".  Now I was backing up, fleeing the room and resolving to move.  He took the bath mat outside and got rid of the snake, while I continued freaking out.  And with that....Happy First Day of Summer!


Now that is summer, and everywhere across the country is having really hot temperatures, it is time to get your grill on!  



  • Get out of the hot dog and hamburger rut!  Try affordable cuts of leaner meats that you can marinate for amazing flavor and less fat.  Some of the leanest cuts to look for:
    • Top sirloin or top round steak
    • Bottom or eye of round roast
    • Round tip roast
    • Flank Steak
    • Tri Tip Roast
  • Lawry's has some great marinades, I love their garlic and herb blend and the mesquite with lime one.  They are always coming out with new flavors, and I love trying them!
  • Here is one of my favorite marinades/rubs (I invented it based off of one I saw from Ann Burrell, and one I found on allrecipes.com)
    • 1 1/4 cups canola oil
    • 3/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
    • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
    • 1/4 cup lime juice
    • 1/4 cup worcestershire sauce
    • 2 Tbsp ground dry mustard
    • 2 tsp salt
    • 2 tsp crushed red pepper (more or less for heat, I usually use more)
    • 1 Tbsp splenda brown sugar
  • Also on the grill, try turkey burgers (Kirkland brand is my favorite), pork tenderloin, or ceder plank cooking with fish on it.
    • Try Ken's fat free Raspberry vinaigrette brushed on your pork tenderloin, so simple!
    • To try cooking on a ceder plank, look for them at any grocery store, usually by the meat.  Then soak the plank for 30-60 min before cooking.  Stick right on the grill with fish on top, I usually use salmon topped with lemon pepper, garlic, and 1 sliced lemon, delicious and again, simple!
What is your favorite thing to make on the grill?  Any fabulous marinades or rubs you use?  Please share in the comments section!  If you like the blog, please join it!  Over on the left hand side there is box for "followers".  Thanks, and have a great day! 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Workout Wednesday - Set Fitness Goals

I was the kid in elementary school who hated running around the school in the morning.  In fact, dreaded it.  I would have preferred to do math problems.  It's not that I was lazy, I was active, I loved to dance, I did karate, and had a ton of activities to do outside, I just hated running.  I continued to hate having to run in Jr high and high school gym classes, and because I was not good at it, may or may not have only run around the track 3 times instead of 4 for that pesky timed mile.  


My last timed mile was at age 15, and I decided I would never have to run again (I will take an elliptical over a treadmill any day!).  Fast forward 10 years, and I started doing Crossfit with my husband.  If you aren't familiar with Crossfit, the workouts are pre selected for each day and everyone does the same workout.  They are a variety of cardio and strength training.  For the first little bit there were short runs thrown in work out, and even though I hated them, I could run 100 meters.  Then I saw the first workout that included a mile run.  Um, no way can I do that!  And I didn't.  I picked different days to go.  


After doing work-outs for a couple months at Crossfit, I made the decision to start learning how to run, and maybe just learn how to like it.  I set small goals to start.  Run 200 meters without stopping.  Run 400 Meters without feeling out of breath.  I participated in the workouts that included running and slowly built up to that workout that included mile runs.  It wasn't easy.  I had to look at my goals, work towards them, and increase them as I accomplished them.  Am I to a marathon yet?  Nope.  But who knows??  Maybe one day!  (Now I'm working on the rope climb, but we can discuss that another day) 


Setting fitness goals is incredibly important when including exercise in your wellness plan.  Not just goals in your head, but written out goals you can see and work towards.  No matter where you are working out, the gym or at home, and no matter what you are doing (walking, machines, weights, DVDs, exercise classes, etc), write these things down.  Get yourself a small notebook and track that progress!  Have a place to put your goals down and check them off as you accomplish them.  How will you know how far you have come if you can't track back to where you started?  If your goal is to walk 10 minutes, 4 times a week, write it down and work towards that.  


With fitness, try not to make weight loss your primary goal.  Sure, its a good side effect, but think about the benefits to your heart and circulation, or being stronger, having better stamina!  Make goals for how many reps with what weight (even if it is moving from 2lbs to 4lbs!), how long you can run, how many minutes on the bike, how long you can hold plank position.  Whatever it is you are doing, write it down and make a goal to improve.  This helps with weight maintenance down the road, continuing to have goals to work towards!


What goals are you working towards right NOW??  Let me know in the comments section :)


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Easy Ways to Cut Calories!

Cutting just 100 calories a day will help you lose 10 pounds a year.  Increase your cuts to 250 calories a day and you will be down 26 lbs a year (half a pound a week!)  If you really want to lose weight, cutting 500 calories a day equals a pound a week.  You can cut 500 calories by eating 250 calories less, and burning the other 250 calories by exercise.  Not too bad!  
  • Try a few of these tips for cutting a 100 calories painlessly:
    • Trade 1/2 cup of premium vanilla ice cream for 1/2 cup of Breyers Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream.
    • Ordering a cone? Make it the sugar, not the waffle, kind.
    • Grab a Dannon Light & Fit Yogurt, not a low-fat, fruit on the bottom blend.  With the swap below you save 160 calories!
    • Dannon Light and Fit - 80 Calories

      VERSUS
      Breyers, Lowfat Strawberry Banana Yogurt
      Breyers Fruit on the Bottom - 240 calories 
    • Replace half the butter in cake, muffin, and brownie recipes with an equal amount of unsweetened applesauce. You'll save about 100 calories for every tablespoon you swap.
    • Indulge in a slice of angel food cake drizzled with chocolate syrup rather than three chocolate chip cookies.
    • Try reduced calorie bread, like Nature's Own or Arnolds, on your sandwich over regular bread.
    • Skip the shredded cheese on your chili or slice of cheese on your sandwich.  In 1/4 cup of shredded cheese, you will find 110 calories.
    • Toss your salad with unlimited balsamic or pomegrante vinegar and only 1 tsp of olive oil.  You will save around 100 calories compared to regular salad dressings.
    • Top your burger (or turkey burger!) with onions, lettuce, tomato, ketchup and mustard, skip the mayo.  Two tsp of regular mayo is about 100 calories.
    • Switch from regular butter to spray butter (1 Tbsp of regular butter is just over 100 calories)
  • Try these tips to cut closer to 250 calories:
    • Trade a reduced-fat blueberry muffin for instant oatmeal topped with 1/4 cup of fresh blueberries. Bonus: You'll stay satisfied all morning.
    • At the salad bar, reach for shredded Parmesan instead of cheddar and skip the bread.
    • Having fajitas? Fill up one high fiber, low calorie tortilla rather than three, then eat the rest of your toppings with a fork, or rolled in lettuce.
    • Opt for broccoli chicken over sweet-and-sour, and for steamed brown rice, not fried when ordering chinese.
    • Sub black beans for refried and hold the side of Mexican rice.
    • Switch to diet soda over regular, depending on how much you drink, for some people this saves close to 1,000 calories a day.
    • Switch to a bagel thin topped with whipped cream cheese instead of a regular bagel with regular cream cheese.  Try Thomas' Bagel thins, LOVE them!
 
    • Switch to crystal light instead of regular juice.  Again, this saves some people 100's of calories depending on how much you drink.
    • Try turkey hot dogs instead of regular hot dogs.  Hebrew National makes an excellent reduced fat hot dog.
    • Switch your potato side dish for green vegetables (broccoli, asparagus, or green beans are great options)
What have you found works as an easy swap to save calories for you?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Twisted Turkey Wrap

This recipe is great for a hot night when the last thing you want to do is stand over the stove!  With different flavors and textures it is a delicious dinner.  When looking at wraps, keep an eye on the calories, some are close to 300 calories!  There are a few options out there that are less in calories, higher in protein (look for 4+ grams), and higher in fiber (look for 5+ grams).  


La Tortilla Factory has big wraps that are 100 calories, and small ones that are only 50.  


Flat Outs are great, they are a little thicker than a tortilla, but thinner than a pita, and they are around 100 calories.


What are your favorite brands?


Twisted Turkey Wraps


Ingredients

  • 1 1/2  cups  shredded cooked turkey or chicken breast (about 6 ounces)
  • 1/4  cup  thinly sliced celery
  • 1/4  cup  light mayonnaise
  • 2  tablespoons  chopped unsalted cashews
  • 2  tablespoons  chopped dried apricots (look for ones with no added sugar)
  • 2  tablespoons  chopped green onions
  • 2  tablespoons  raisins (or dates or prunes, anything you like)
  • 2  tablespoons  plain fat free Greek Yogurt (or regular yogurt)
  • 1/8  teaspoon  salt (I always use a little more than this, to taste)
  • 1/8  teaspoon  black pepper
  • Dash Crushed Red Pepper Flakes if you want a little more heat
  • 2 cups chopped lettuce or spinach
  • 4 Wraps (around 100 calories)
Directions


  1. Combine first 11 ingredients in a bowl (shredded turkey through crushed red pepper).
  2. Place 1/2 cup shredded greens on each wrap.
  3. Spread a little more than 1/2 cup turkey salad over lettuce; roll and enjoy!
Serve with side salad, raw veggie sticks, or something crunchy!

~Jenna

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Drink More WATER!


One of my favorite weight loss and healthy living tips is to simply increase the amount of water you are drinking.  Did you know your body is 55%-78% water?  When you are hydrated adequately you feel so much better.  Water has many functions in the body, these include:


* Helping with metabolism


* Helping our organs absorb nutrients better


* Regulating our body temperature


* Detoxifying our body


* Protecting and moisturizing our joints


Water is beneficial for every cell in your body.  It helps fight fatigue and keeps you feeling full longer.  Dehydration can cause headaches and migraines, and make you feel sluggish.  The best way to start drinking more is slowly.  Add up how many ounces you drank today, now add 8 oz and make that your goal for tomorrow.  Once you are able to do that, add 8 more ounces until you are getting about 64-80 oz a day.  For most people that is enough to keep you feeling good, and supporting a healthy diet.  Make sure and drink more during exercise, and during the summer months.  Here are some tips for making it easier to drink more water each day.


* Get a water bottle.  Find one that is 20-24 oz and you will only have to fill it up a few times a day.  Just make sure to wash it out frequently.


* Always have your water bottle with you; it is much easier to get your water in when it is always there.


* Add a sprig of fresh mint for a refreshing flavor.


* Try adding a few cool cucumber slices for a summer twist.


* A citrus slice (lemon, lime, orange or grapefruit) really adds a new dimension to water.


* Try a no calorie water bottle add-in like Crystal Light.  Some store brands are really good too, and a little cheaper.  Many flavors are available! 


What have you found helps you get your water in each day?


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Power up with a Healthy Breakfast!


The best way to start your day is with a healthy breakfast.  You have heard it before and it's true.  Breakfast is how you jump start your metabolism after a long night of not eating.  Eating breakfast is also the best way to stay alert and focused through your morning.  It also helps you make better eating choices during the day.  Breakfast isn't your thing?  Don't have enough time?  Try these suggestions for delicious and fast alternatives!


* Layer low fat or fat free yogurt with your favorite crunchy cereal (try Fiber One to help up your fiber intake) and fruit, such as blueberries or raspberries.  It is a homemade quick parfait!  Try Greek yogurt for added protein, up to three times as much!




* Make a breakfast smoothie, mix skim milk, fat free yogurt, a banana and frozen berries in a blender.  You can add oatmeal for more texture.  Try a plastic bottle with a lid to take this shake with you on a busy morning.


* Try real oats (like Quaker) instead of instant for less sugar.  You can still make it in the microwave in under 2 min.  Make it with milk instead of water for added calcium and vitamin D.  Add in raisins or dried cranberries, top with chopped walnuts.  Instead of brown sugar, try Splenda brown sugar and some cinnamon for fewer calories.


* Stuff a whole wheat pita with a sliced boiled egg, low fat shredded cheese and lean ham.  Easy to take on the go.  Try adding in tomatoes, mushrooms or spinach for added nutrients.


* Spread a whole wheat tortilla with low fat peanut butter, roll up around a banana, sounds crazy, but it is really good!  Provides protein and complex carbohydrates to start the day off right.


* Try whole grain pancakes.  There are many mixes in the grocery store where you just add water.  They are quick, and always turn out great.  Add in chopped nuts, blueberries, peaches, or bananas.  Top with sugar free syrup, or sugar free cool whip for fewer calories.


* If you aren’t a fan of breakfast foods, don’t skip breakfast!  Try a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole wheat bread, or a whole wheat tortilla filled with lean turkey, low-fat cheese, lettuce and tomatoes.


If you have a favorite breakfast that is healthy and creative let me know and I will add it to the list!