Category Archives: Recipes

Healthy Pregnancy 2 – 25 Weeks

How far along? 25 Weeks

Baby Size: A head of cauliflower.

Weight gain: 20lbs

Maternity clothes? Yes! My belly grew quickly this time, so I’ve been rocking maternity workout clothes AND everyday clothes.

Belly Button in or out? Out

Best moment this week: Realizing that I have not lost much strength this pregnancy, and in face am gaining strength! This will be extremely helpful in recovering from birth, and carrying 2 kids around (because I doubt big brother will be compliant with not being held since he loves being carried everywhere now!).

Miss Anything? Being able to comfortably put my son in his crib.

Movement: Lots of movement, especially when I eat.

Food cravings: I’m back to early pregnancy stage of not having cravings, but also not being super interested in food either. Nothing sounds very appetizing. We have been eating Chipotle and Modern Market as a result.

Gender: Boy number 2!

Looking forward to: Watching big brother and baby interact.

Importance of Protein In Pregnancy

Are you getting enough protein in your pregnancy? Moms-to-be are advised to get about 1/3 more protein in pregnancy than they do pre-pregnancy. All three of your macronutrients (carbs, fats, protein) are important for various reasons. This week let’s talk about a few key reasons protein is important in your diet, and sources of protein.

  • Baby’s brain development – Protein, and more specifically the amino acides in protein, provides the building blocks for the body. Providing enough protein for your baby helps baby’s brain have the foundation to properly grow. Protein helps your baby build cells, which are necessary for brain development.
  • Stabilizing blood sugar/hunger – Quality sources of protein help keep you feeling full longer. This keeps you from munching on non-nutritive calories, because your hunger signals are balanced. Moreover, pregnant women are at risk for gestational diabetes. By eating the appropriate amount of protein, you will stabilize your blood sugars, decreasing your risk of gestational diabetes.
  • Keep weight gain in check – Of course in pregnancy the goal is to gain weight, especially if you are starting in a normal weight range. Too much weight too fast can be difficult on your system, as well as baby’s. By ensuring you are getting enough protein, you are more likely to gain at a steady rate, and some of that weight might go toward lean muscle, vs fat, which will help with your health postpartum as well.

I have posted in the past about sources of protein, so be sure to check that out. My favorite way to get in a protein boost right now is smoothies. Here’s a simple recipe I like to have after my workouts that is delicious and a quick jolt of protein, plus tons of other vitamins:

  • 8 OZ Unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/3 C Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1 Scoop Protein Vanilla or Snickerdoodle protein powder
  • 1 Handful spinach
  • ½ C Frozen Strawberries
  • ½ C Frozen Peaches

Blend and enjoy. Super simple, and full of vitamins for growing baby. Another favorite of mine is plain Greek yogurt with 1 TBSP of protein powder, mixed with heated blueberries. This kicks my sweet tooth and keeps me full for hours.

So, how much protein do you need? This will vary based on activity levels and ideal weight. The dietary reference intake (DRI) is 0.36g per pound of body weight. For example, a sedentary 150lb woman would want to aim for a minimum of 54g of protein per day. This is a meager amount for many people. If you are looking at someone more active, who is looking to build muscle, the recommendation tends to be 1g of protein per pound of body weight. That has a 150lb woman shooting for 150g of protein per day. If you are looking to maintain health but are not striving to build muscle, you’ll want to fall between these two ranges.

Another way to determine your protein needs would simply be to figure out the percentage of your calories. If you track how many calories you consume daily, you’ll want your protein to be 15-30% of your caloric intake. Again, this will vary based on activity and body needs. Some people respond to a lower carbohydrate diet, and need a little more protein. Other people find that the less carbs they eat, the more weight their body holds onto. So you would want to play around to find what works best for you. If you find yourself hungry often, you may not be getting enough calories in general, or your protein might be too low. If you find yourself constantly craving sweets, your carbs might be too low.

Bottom line: protein is important in pregnancy. If you know how much protein you were consuming pre-pregnancy, by the third trimester you’ll want to be consuming about 1/3 more protein daily. If you have no idea how much protein you were consuming pre-pregnancy, try to have some protein at each meal and snack you consume. By listening to your body, you will likely meet its needs.

Healthy Pregnancy 2 – 18 Weeks

How far along? 18 Weeks

Baby Size: According to “The Bump” baby is the size of an artichoke.

Weight gain: 9lbs. Not sure what’s going on with my scale? I doubt I am actually fluctuating so much.

Maternity clothes? I found some maternity jeans that are long enough for me this week! It felt like a victory. They’re still pretty big but I don’t care. I’m sick of leggings.

Belly Button in or out? Out

Best moment this week: Feeling baby’s kicks get stronger.

Miss Anything? I’ve had a little cold this week, which zapped me of any energy I was finally starting to gain. So, still missing energy.

Movement: Mostly flutters still, but I did feel a pretty strong kick one night while I was laying down.

Food cravings: Chili has been a huge staple the last few days, though that may be more a function of convenience than cravings. Either way, baby is getting some hearty meals!

Gender: We should find out next week, though it will be two weeks until it’s on the blog as we want to share with family first.

Looking forward to: Feeling stronger movement and finding out if we are having a boy or a girl.

This week has been about getting in a lot of nutrients as I continue to climb out of the fog of the first trimester. I only have 10 weeks left to enjoy some energy, and after having a cold over the weekend, I just want to nourish my body and energize it as much as possible. Protein has been a struggle for me this pregnancy, especially from meat sources. I don’t have clear aversions like I did with my son so sometimes I am up for a turkey burger, and sometimes the thought of it makes me want to barf. It’s hard to tell what I’ll be able to eat day to day. Below are a few of my favorites from this week.

Crockpot Chili

  • 1lb ground beef
  • 1lb ground bison
  • 1 orange pepper diced
  • 1 red pepper diced
  • 2-4 carrots diced
  • 2 white potatoes peeled and chopped
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • Cumin
  • Black pepper
  • Garlic salt
  • Oregano
  • Minced onion

Cook beef & bison until pink no longer shows. Throw everything in crockpot on low for 6-8 hours. I like to top my with Greek yogurt in place of sour cream. We had homemade biscuits on the side.

Protein Packed Greek Yogurt

  • ½ C Frozen berries
  • ½ C Plain Greek Yogurt (I’ve been using 2% so I can ensure fats for baby’s brain)
  • 1 Tbsp Protein Powder (Snickerdoodle is my favorite, but almost any flavor will do)
  • Puffins Multigrain cereal

Heat berries in microwave for 1:00. Pour over yogurt and mix in protein powder. Top with enough Puffins for some crunch.

Protein Pancake

  •  1 egg
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 scoop protein powder (again, I used snickerdoodle, but most flavors will do)
  • Unsweetened almond milk to batter consistency
  • Cinnamon for taste

Mix and pour over heated, greased pan for one giant pancake. I topped with peanut butter, and heated mixed frozen berries.

A Day Of Eating + 3 Workouts

This was our first week back in a normal routine. That meant getting to workout on a somewhat normal schedule, and cooking at home. I have made some of my favorites, including breakfast casserole, roasted brussel sprouts, vitamin loaf, mustard chicken, and carrot fries. I even made a meal plan on Sunday, writing down what I planned to eat and what I really ate. I mostly stuck to my plan and my energy is through the roof. Our son is also happy to be in a stable environment. He has been eating us out of house and home again, and is sleeping so much better. My husband has started his classes and we are figuring out a schedule. Being back in a stable environment and comfortably moved in has helped with sleep and being able to give my best effort in my workouts.

unnamedI tell you all this to share a day of what I have eaten back in my stable environment, and a few workouts for you to try. I will put that carrot fries at the bottom of the post because they are super simple and my little guy eats a TON of them!

A Day Of Eating

On Tuesday I rolled out of bed and went for a run. It is hit or miss if I eat before a short run. I would prefer to because honestly, my energy is better for my run when I do. Sometimes I am too impatient to wait for my food to digest though. I did not eat before this run. I did a very slow 3-miles (elevation is no joke!).

Breakfast – ¼ pizza frittata + 2 Zodiak cakes

LunchVitamin Loaf + Brussel Sprouts + Roasted potatoes

Afternoon Snack – Orange + Nonfat plain Greek yogurt with quarter scoop cookies and cream protein powder

DinnerTurkey Burgers + carrot fries + Brussel sprouts

I usually have one more snack in there, but I had breakfast later in the day and did not feel hungry after dinner. I am a big fan of just listening to my body. It is not always that simple, but I consciously focused on listening to my hunger signals for years, and now I don’t have to really think about it anymore. Also, you can see that I am obsessed with brussel sprouts.

This first workout I did on Wednesday night because I had so much built up frustration. Our son spent the whole day crying, from 11:30 AM until 5:30 PM. He took a brief break for about an hour to nap. He wasn’t hungry, no teething, he was just tired and moody. It happens, he’s a kid. It doesn’t make me any less frazzled. Different people deal with frustration in different ways. I have always been someone whose emotions play out physically. When I was younger I would throw things when I was upset, or scream. Obviously, as I got older I found more productive ways to deal with anxiety and frustrations. I tell you all of this to tell you that this workout was so fast and brutal that all the wrecked nerves I had from listening to my son cry for six hours without being able to console him disappeared.

unnamed10 Minute AMRAP

  • 10 burpees over kettlebell
  • 20 kettlebell swings

I did this as a stand-alone workout because I had already worked out Wednesday morning and I don’t usually double up. As I mentioned though, I needed to get rid of my excess energy. I warmed up with 20 kettlbell swings.

This next workout is one of our Fitness With Kristen member workouts. If you have been wondering what kind of workouts we do, now you know and can join this amazing group!

Set a timer for 20 minutes and complete as many rounds as possible. Push hard until you need a break. Rest until you can push again.

  • Push-Ups – 1:00
  • Chest Press/Bridge – 12
  • Step-Ups OR Jumps – 1:00
  • Curl/Press – 12
  • Weighted Squats – 20

The final workout is one of my favorite workouts from my PR Half Marathon Training Plan. It is a hard leg workout, which is necessary for keeping your legs strong to get through race day.

Warm-up: 100 jump rope

Superset 1×3

  • Curtsey Lunge with bar on back – 20
  • Lunge Jumps – 1:00

Superset 2×4

  • Deadlift, 5
  • Jumprope – 100

Superset 3×3

  • Barbell back squats , 15
  • Squat jumps – 1:00

Hip Thrusters with Barbell 10×3

Carrot Fries

unnamed-1Cut carrots up into matchsticks. Toss in bowl with olive oil and garlic salt. Spread on flat baking sheet. Bake on 350. Set timer for 20 minutes. Continue for 5 minutes at a time until carrots are soft like fries.

Finding Balance On Vacation

As you can see from my lack of a post on Monday, I really reveled in this holiday and enjoyed some down time. We took a family vacation to the beach, along with our friends who have a kid the same age as our son. So, when I say I took some down time, take that with a grain of salt. Here’s the deal, and I have mentioned this before: I think vacation is important and I think not making your vacation revolve around an obsession with weight or fat loss is important. I also think it is important to be responsible for our goals and our actions. Eating until you are sick is not responsible. Having zero fun on your vacation because you are obsessing about when you will workout or what you will eat is not responsible.

This week I had planned to take Monday completely off from working out, as I had my group doing so because balance. That was tough though since there were so many extra hands around to take care of the kids AND I had a workout partner. So we set aside 25 minutes and had some fun working out. Since we are staying by the beach, and in a very hilly area, I really wanted to run. Not because I HAD to, but because I LOVE to. I did short runs, two on the hills, and one by the beach.

unnamed-1Why are you telling me this Kristen? Should I be balanced and get down on some food and quit working out when I go on vacation or should I track everything I eat and ensure I get in all my workouts when I travel? The answer is neither. Neither of those demonstrate balance. Find something in between.

Here is what a typical day looked like for me:

5:45 – Wake-up and spend a few minutes alone before everyone wakes up! After I had some down time, I started breakfast around 6. I made a breakfast casserole the first day, and banana pancakes (I will post the recipes below) one of the days. I would usually have something small to eat or BCAAs at this point.

6:30 – On a good day, our little guy would sleep until 6:30. Once he was awake, we would change him and let him play out back or in the living room until breakfast was ready.

7:00 – Set the kids up for breakfast then my friend and I duck out to do our workout while the guys eat breakfast with the kids (if it was a workout day – this is how Saturday & Monday went).

7:30 – Workout done! Time for some coffee out back while the kids played.

8:00 – Eat breakfast to refuel 30-60 minutes after workout. Everyone showers and gets dressed, and general clean-up occurs. The kids are probably having another snack in this window.

9:00 – Kids down for nap. All the adults packed up the car for a beach trip. This includes 2985904 snacks for the kids, tons of water, & 8 gallons of sunscreen.

10:30 – Kids are up – time to complete the car pack up and make our trek to the beach.

11:30 – Made it to the beach, everything unpacked, and we are all set up. Our munchkin essentially ate the entire time, while our friend’s daughter ran around. We spent a lot of time shoveling, building sand castles, getting buckets of water, as well as chasing down and carrying a 28lb toddler. My husband brought lunch about 30 minutes after we set up at the beach (burritos from a local favorite).

2:15 – Time to pack the kids up and bring them back to the house for nap. This includes a bath, story time, and rocking.

3:00 – The kids are finally asleep and it’s time for a snack before we prep dinner. I snuck out for a quick run during naptime on Saturday & Monday. I love those hills!

4:00 – Time to get dinner prepped. We bought huge chicken breasts and a ton of veggies. The chicken has been marinating for about two hours, and now the veggies just need to be chopped.

4:30 – Grill is fired up and ready for some juicy chicken, steak, and/or corn on the cobb! Meanwhile, the kids are running around as we try to take pictures of them. Though we were trying to wear them out, they actually wore us out!

5:30 – The kids have worked up an appetite and are POOPED! They sit down to dinner as we get the rest of ours dished out. On Saturday we ate grilled chicken, roasted brussel sprouts, & steamed artichoke.

6:15 – Get the kids ready and put them down for bed.

6:45 – Hopefully the kids are asleep. Spend the rest of the night on the back porch playing board games (nerds) and chatting.

8:30 – I’m a grandma, so I usually start my bedtime routine around now. Ideally that gets me to sleep by 9:30 or 10 so I can get started before the rest of the clan is up tomorrow!

unnamed-3As you can see, we got in A TON of family time, and I was able to get in some quick workouts for MY pleasure. We went out for pizza last night, and I enjoyed a pizza with tons of veggies. We also had some walks down by the beach, took a drive to check out some other areas, and checked out a local brewery. I tried to stay hydrated and focused on getting in veggies each time we went out to eat. I like to focus on the vitamins I am adding to my body versus what is “good” or “bad” for me.

This is balance for me. We were able to cook for many of our meals, so we made sure they were balanced and chock full of vitamins. We also went out a few times, and I made sure to enjoy myself without making myself sick. In fact, last night when we went out for pizza, I did eat past comfort and it was a good reminder of why I prefer not to do that. You know what I did after? Nothing. I drank water, went on with my night like normal, and just ate again when I was hungry today. I didn’t obsess. I didn’t beat myself up. I just moved on. This is my hope for you. When you travel, when you go out to eat, or when you do something outside your comfort zone. Find true balance. Don’t make yourself sick. Don’t obsess. Just enjoy yourself!

Here are the two versions of banana pancakes we made this weekend:

unnamed-2Chocolate Pancakes

Mix until creamy and cook on heated skillet over medium high heat. I like it best with coconut oil to grease the pan.

Peanut Butter Pancakes

  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Bananas, mashed
  • 2 Tablespoons peanut butter

Mix until creamy and cook on heated skillet over medium high heat. I like it best with coconut oil to grease the pan.

We love to make extras of these to have throughout the week as snacks or breakfast. Just store in the fridge and reheat when you next want them. They also freeze well!

My workouts looked like this:
  • Saturday – 10 sprints + 3 mile hilly run + 2 burpees
  • Sunday – 3 burpees/rest
  • Monday – 20 Minute FWK Circuit + 3 mile hilly run + 4 burpees
  • Tuesday – 4+ Mile run by the beach + 5 burpees
  • Wednesday – 20 Minute FWK Circuit + 6 burpees

Healthy Cookout Dishes

Memorial Day is coming up, and though it is important to remember why we celebrate Memorial Day, this is a health and fitness blog. Let’s just be real in that you are probably going to a cook out or pot luck this weekend. I have put together some of my favorite delicious and healthy recipes for you to bring to this summer’s cook outs! As a bonus, our amazing members are in the middle of a sugar boycott, so none of these recipes have sugar!

Easy Avocado Salad

unnamedThis salad is silly easy to make, and it’s a crowd pleaser with anyone who likes avocado. It is also very filling and nutrient dense!! I like to make this for a side at home, or bring it to any kind of pot luck/bbq.

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 C plum tomatoes quartered
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • Juice of 1 lime

Directions

Cut first 3 ingredients into cubes and put into bowl. Drizzle with some olive oil (2 tbsp max). Add in salt and pepper for taste. Top with lime juice and mix!

Chicken/Zucchini Balls

You can make the more bland version (especially for kids with some pesto!) or the spicier version (it’s not ACTUALLY spicy, but it does have a small kick).

Serves: 4-5 (Makes 20 meatballs)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1lb. ground chicken breast
  • 2 grated zucchini
  • 1 TBSP Oregano
  • 1 Clove garlic
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • oil for cooking

OR

  • 1 lb ground chicken breast
  • 2 zucchini shredded (leave peel on)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1⁄2 tsp black pepper
  • 1⁄2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1⁄2 tsp chili powder
  • oil, for cooking

INSTRUCTIONS

Toss together all ingredients.

To cook on the stovetop:

Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a medium pan over medium heat. Use small scoop or a heaped tablespoon to scoop meatballs into the pan. Cook 8-10 at a time for about 5-6 minutes on the first side. Flip and cook an additional 4-5 minutes, or until golden brown and the centers are cooked through.

To bake:

Drizzle a bit of oil onto a baking sheet. Scoop meatballs onto the greased pan. Drizzle a bit of additional oil over the meatballs. Bake at 400 degrees 20-25 minutes, or until cooked through.

These were great with Pesto sauce! Serve over Cauliflower rice, on their own, or with anything else you want to try! These are very versatile.

 

Which Protein Powder Tastes The Best?

A few weeks ago, I went to reorder my favorite protein powder and the website where I usually buy it from was completely sold out! Talk about first world problems. As a result, and in a state of panic over the conviction that my favorite was getting discontinued, I decided to experiment with a few different protein powders and determine the best based on my own scale. Since I am not sponsored by anyone, you know you will be receiving an unbiased opinion. The following are the basis of my rating:

  • Protein to calorie ratio
  • Taste on its own (mixed in water or almond milk)
  • Taste mixed with oatmeal
  • Taste mixed with coffee

As you can see, these are all important considerations. When I set out on my experiment, I only went with brands that were already reputable and high quality. The score is on a 1-5 scale with one being the lowest and five being the best.

 

PEScience Snickerdoodle 3.75

unnamed-6Protein to calorie ratio – The ratio here is good: 31g yields 110 calories and 24g of protein. Score: 4.5

Taste on its own (mixed in water or almond milk) – This is good. I even like using a little bit of this as an “icing”. I use 2TBSP of unsweetened almond milk and ¼ scoop of powder, whisk together and pour over my oatmeal bake. This flavor does stand well on it’s own just mixed with water or milk. Score: 4.5

Taste mixed with oatmeal – Happily, this was as amazing as one would imagine. Snickerdoodle oatmeal? Yes please! The best part about this flavor is whether I add ¼ scoop or a full scoop, it flavored the oatmeal nicely and either way was never underwhelming or overwhelming. I definitely award 5 for this category.

Taste mixed with coffee – I was disappointed by how gross this tasted with coffee. Snickerdoodle sounds like something that would taste amazing in coffee (what doesn’t taste amazing in coffee?), but somehow everything ended up tasting really watered down. Iced or hot, it still tasted strange, which was a huge disappointment for me. This category gets a depressing 1.

Quest Nutrition Chocolate Milkshake – 3.75

quest_protein_powder_packets_chocolate_milkshakeProtein to calorie ratio – 31g yields 110 calories and 23g protein. With the same amount of calories as Iso-100 & PEScience, and lower protein, it isn’t super low, but I can get more. Score: 3

Taste on its own (mixed in water or almond milk) – This truly does taste like a chocolate milk shake when mixed with just milk/water. It definitely tasted the thickest of all the proteins when on its own, which is a plus for me. The creamier, the better. Score: 5.

Taste mixed with oatmeal – This mixes well in here, but is definitely a little too much for me. I do not have much of a sweet tooth, so that much rich chocolate with my breakfast was overwhelming. If you are a chocolate lover, you may enjoy this, but it was too much for me. Score: 3.

Taste mixed with coffee – Since the chocolate is so creamy, this tastes amazing mixed with coffee (particularly iced coffee). The hot coffee mixed with chocolate Quest protein brings me back to New England and reminds me of a Dunkaccino, but it was tough to get the clumps out. Score: 4.

FitMiss Delight Vanilla Chai – 3.25

unnamed-2Protein to calorie ratio – In my opinion the protein is lower in this than I would prefer: 24.7g yields only 16g of protein per 90 calories. If you are newer to working out and hesitant to increase your protein, this may be a comfortable way to slowly increase. Even though the serving size is lower (~25g vs ~31g), you only save 20 calories but lose 8-10g of protein depending on which other brand you compare it to. This is too low for my needs; however, if you are newer to working out and not depleting your muscles quite as much, this may be a good starting point. Score: 1.

Taste on its own (mixed in water or almond milk) – This flavor is definitely delicious on its own with water/milk. It tastes creamy enough without having a watered down taste. Score: 4.

Taste mixed with oatmeal – I enjoyed this with oatmeal, but it wasn’t a standout. Between snickerdoodle and cookies and cream, this one had a tough time competing. Score: 3.

Taste mixed with coffee – Based on the name alone I figured this would be great mixed with coffee- and I was right! I will mix a ½ scoop with coconut milk then pour hot coffee over it and it tastes so delicious. It is pretty hard for me to drink my coffee at a rationally paced rate. Further, when I mix a full scoop with iced coffee and almond milk, it is equally as amazing. I can definitely taste the chai aspect of it, which I love. This category unequivocally deserves a 5.

Iso 100 Cookies & Cream – 4.5

unnamed-1Protein to calorie ratio – 30g yields 110 calories and 25g protein. In my opinion, this is the biggest bang for your buck of the four. Your calorie count and serving size is about the same, but you are getting the most protein. Score: 5.

Taste on its own (mixed in water or almond milk) – One of my favorite things about this protein is that it tastes unbelievable when mixed with just a small amount of water. It tastes great regardless, but the fact that I can mix this with water and it is still amazing is a huge selling point for me. This category inarguably deserves a 5.

Taste mixed with oatmeal – Cookies and cream oatmeal for breakfast? Absolutely! This mixes well, without becoming chunky. The whole thing is creamy and amazing. Score: 5.

Taste mixed with coffee – Cookies and cream mixed with ice coffee is awesome. It tastes delicious and mixes well; however, this brand does remain a bit clumpy in hot coffee (even when I mix it beforehand- it re-clumps a bit for some reason). This also tastes a bit watered down in hot coffee, but not disgustingly so. It’s definitely not as creamy as the Fitmiss Vanilla Chai. Based on the amazing taste with iced coffee and the subpar taste with hot coffee, I grant a 3 here.

A few other things to note: the Quest Salted Carmel protein is absolutely amazing mixed with Greek yogurt. I mean, UNREAL! I also love the PEScience Snickerdoodle & Iso-100 Cookies & Cream mixed in with Greek yogurt. It is creamy and amazing, and you do not have to add very much in to get a high protein snack while eliminating the bland plain Greek yogurt taste.

Breakfasts To Avoid & Try For Health

Fresh fruit stand with boysenberries, raspberries, cherries and grapesMaybe you have already read a million lists about the best and worst foods to eat for breakfast. Hopefully this one sticks with you and you start your day off with the most energizing meal possible. For the best breakfast I like to avoid sugars and seek out slow-acting carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and, as with any meal, vitamins

Avoid

  1. Bagels – Bagels serve no nutritional value. Even in the carbohydrate department, which is a necessary macronutrient, you are getting useless carbohydrates. The sugars in a bagel spike your blood sugar, then drop it the same as eating a donut would. Even with some healthy fats like peanut butter on the bagel, you are gaining very little nutritional value first thing in the morning with a bagel.
  2. Yogurt & Granola – This is a sugar bomb. With the exception of the plain Greek variety, yogurt has a ton of added sugar. Even when you get vanilla or fruit filled Greek, and you feel like you are doing yourself a favor, you really are not. There is so much added sugar in those yogurts that your body is converting straight to fat. On top of that, granola is pretty much straight sugar. This amount of sugar will again, spike your blood sugar levels, then they will quickly drop leaving you feeling sluggish.
  3. Prepackaged flavored oatmeal – Once again, that sneaky sugar is in here as well. Prepackaged oatmeal (even some of the plain varieties) has tons of added sugar in it – the second ingredient! Once again, you feel like you are adding nutrients to your body by eating the oatmeal, when in reality, you are spiking your blood sugar with a bunch of indigestible sugars. See below to find your best bet for oatmeal.quaker-oats-maple-brown-sugar
  4. Cereal – Are we noticing a theme yet? Cereal has tons of sugar, and even the bland cereals add very little nutritional value to your morning. It is so important to start your morning with tons of nutrients to keep your body functioning at optimal levels.
  5. Muffins – I am sure you have seen this saying before, but muffins are basically cupcakes without the cute hat. Muffins are another sugar laden breakfast food that adds no nutritional value to your morning. You are not getting any vitamins, and you are setting yourself up for spiked blood sugar, followed by a crash.

Try

  1. Bacon and Eggs (bonus for lots of veggies) – I love having whole eggs (not just the whites) so that I can get all of the amazing nutrients the yolk has to offer, such as vitamins A, E, & K, as well as B6 & 12, iron, & zinc, to name a few. I like to scramble those up with lots of veggies, such as broccoli, spinach and mushrooms, which add a TON more vitamins. Top with avocado and a side of bacon, and you have added in fats to make up for the lack of carbohydrates in your breakfast. The proteins and fats will keep you full for hours!3-Eggs
  2. Oatmeal & nut butter (bonus for added berries) – This is another meal that will fill you up! If you get plain oatmeal without all of the sugar (look for the ingredients to simply say “100% rolled oats), you are getting a bunch of healthy, slow-acting, carbohydrates to give yourself energy throughout the day. The nut butter adds healthy fats to keep you full, as well as another energy booster. Add in some fruit (I like to put frozen blueberries or strawberries in it before I pop it in the microwave) for an extra vitamin boost! This is also an incredibly fast breakfast for those mornings when you only have 5 minutes.
  3. Homemade pancakes (1 banana, 1 egg, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 tbsp nut butter, handful of spinach in food processor) – These are a perfect mix of carbohydrates, protein, and fats. When put in the food processor, you cannot taste the spinach, so you are getting in tons of vitamins. Add some blueberries to these and you are knocking the vitamins out of the park. These also pair well with the bacon and eggs. Further, I like to make a big batch of these and freeze them in sandwich bags with three in each bag. This makes for a super fast breakfast on busy days – only 1:00 in the microwave.
  4. Boiled eggs with oat bran – I love this for any of the plain Janes out there. Sometimes you just want a boring old plain breakfast that’s quick. Here again we have slow-acting carbohydrates that will give you energy for the day, and are great for your digestive system. The eggs have the proteins and fats to keep you feeling full for the day, with a boatload of vitamins!
  5. Plain Greek Yogurt With Heated Blueberries– Here’s the deal: I absolutely love Greek yogurt. It is thick and delicious, but I hate the flavored varieties because of all the added sugar in it. They are as healthy as eating Fun-Dip. Instead, I like to get frozen blueberries and pop them in the microwave for 1:00. When they are warmed up all of the juices from the berries come out and when poured over the yogurt, it flavors the yogurt! This is a perfect breakfast. If I am looking for some extra crunch, I usually
    grab some Lara brand granola because there are so few ingredients. Otherwise, I am not a huge fan of granola due to all of the sugar. This is another SUPER EASY breakfast and it is fast!

I have found that the easiest way to go about eating healthy is to make fruits and vegetables the base of my meals and plan a protein around those fruit and vegetables. Once I have a solid foundation that will energize me, I can add in other food. I am typically full enough off of all the delicious healthy food, that there is not much room for other foods that are not as healthy. Balance is key to living a healthy lifestyle – but is not an excuse to eat junk all of the time. Find food that nourishes you and many times you will lose interest in the food that drags you down and packs on the pounds.

Fat Loss Friendly Turkey Burger

I will be honest – red meat burgers are my favorite. I use to eat turkey at pretty much every meal, and I burned myself out. This week, I wanted to change things up from the food rut in our household right now, so I bought some ground turkey. I had no plans for this ground turkey. Flash-forward to my new favorite dinner. This was about a five-minute prep, and tastes so delicious. My favorite part is that, overall I am consuming less cheese with these burgers than I would if I put cheese on top of it, but I can still enjoy a nice cheesy burger.

unnamed-1Ingredients

  • 1lb Ground turkey
  • 1 egg whisked
  • ¼ cup almond flour
  • ¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ¼ cup chopped spinach
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • Black pepper to taste

Instructions

Mix ingredients together and cook in frying pan stovetop over medium heat. Easy!

This pairs deliciously with some roasted veggies for an easy dinner that tastes delicious!

Eat To Meet Goals

I often hear people talking about their attempts to lose weight, and how much exercise they are doing. They tell me, “I’ve been walking for three hours everyday” or “I hit the gym everyday”. That is all well and good, as exercise is pertinent to your health, but it is important to remember you cannot out exercise a bad diet. As much as I encourage exercise, and love to educate others on working out, nutrition is the most important component to your health. If you exercise and do not eat well, you will hinder results. If you eat well and do not exercise, you can still lose weight. With that being said, eating well can be very confusing. There are so many diet products on the market, and being a responsible consumer can be extremely confusing. My advice: JERF (Just Eat Real Food). Avoid “healthy” food that has numerous ingredients, especially if you do not know what the ingredients are. Avoid fake sugars as well.

$80 worth of groceries
$80 worth of groceries

It is not as confusing as it sounds, or as expensive as you may think. Once you have some staples in your house, your grocery bill can be under $100 per week, and closer to the $50 range. Some staples I keep in my house are:

  • Full fat coconut milk
  • Almond Flour
  • Nut butter (read the ingredients. There should not be sugar – fake or real, in the ingredients).
  • Frozen fruit (especially blueberries and strawberries, or anything you like in a smoothie)
  • Oats
  • Protein Powder (I use Dymatize Iso-100 – Find one you like that is high quality)
  • Honey (I prefer local)
  • Agave Nectar
  • Unsalted butter
  • Mustard
  • Spices
  • Quest bars

Here is a typical shopping list for me:

  • Eggs
  • Egg whites
  • Plain Greek Yogurt
  • Unsweetened Almond milk
  • Bacon (nitrate free, no sugars in the ingredients)
  • Skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
  • Skinless chicken
  • Ground bison
  • Ground sausage (check the ingredients to avoid sugar)
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Spaghetti squash
  • Cauliflower
  • Fresh artichoke
  • Spinach
  • Mushrooms
  • Avocado
  • Sweet potato
  • Russet potato
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Oranges

unnamedThe following is a typical day of eating for me, with recipes included (many of these recipes, mostly dinner, are adapted from other recipes and are not originals from me):unnamed-1

Breakfast:

Protein porridge & bacon

  • 2 tbsp almond butter
  • 6 tbsp full fat coconut milk
  • ¾ blueberries
  • 1 Scoop protein powder

Mix first three ingredients in a bowl and microwave for 1:30. Mix in protein powder and enjoy.

Oatmeal

  • Frozen fruit mixed with heated oatmeal
  • 1tbsp almond butter OR 1 scoop protein powder (if I have just worked out)

Bacon, Eggs & Veggies

Usually 2 eggs scrambled with extra egg white, mixed with spinach, mushrooms, & avocado. Sometimes if I have a lot of left over veggies and potatoes I will heat them up and put the fried eggs (runny) and egg whites over the heated veggies and potatoes. Top with avocado.

Banana Muffin & Boiled Eggs            Recipe below for both.

Lunch: Usually leftovers from the night before, or the veggies and egg scramble.

Snack:

Greek Yogurt

  • 1 Cup plain Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup frozen blueberries microwaved for 1:00
  • Crumbled chocolate mint cookie.unnamed-3

PWO Smoothie                                   

  • ½ Cup frozen strawberries
  •  ½ cup frozen mango
  •  ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
  •  8 oz unsweetened almond milk
  •  1 scoop protein powder (cookies & cream)
  •  1 handful of spinach

Blend and enjoy!

Apples & nut butter with toasted Quest Bar

Dinner:

Mustard Chicken & Roasted Veggies           

  • 8 chicken thighs
  • 2 tbsp mustard
  • ¼ cup butter or coconut oil, melted

Mix mustard and oil/butter then coat chicken. Cook for 45 minutes at 425.

Almost 5 Ingredient Spaghetti Pizza           

I add spinach and broccoli for some extra veggies, and top with just a little shredded mozzarella cheese.

Butternut Squash Lasagna           

This one is time consuming, but great for a food prep day because you’ll have food for days.

Recipes:

Banana Muffins           

I like to add a handful of spinach to the food processor for some extra vitamins.

Sweet Potato Brownies

Boiled Eggs           

Add eggs to pot with water. Bring water to a boil. Once water is boiling, set timer for 4:00. After the 4:00 turn burner off and cover for 9:00. After the 9:00 plunge into cold water.

Chocolate Mint Cookies                       

Ingredients

  • 2 cups blanched almond flour
  • ¼ cup coconut oil melted
  • ¼ cup agave
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp peppermint extract
  • 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp brewers yeast
  • 3/4 cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips

Instructions:

Mix all wet ingredients together and combine well. Slowly pour dry ingredients into wet ingredients and mix well. Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes (until edges are golden brown) at 350. Cool cookies for at least 5 minutes before serving (makes 12 cookies!)

This is what works for me and has helped me feel energetic. Taking care of a newborn, getting in my workout, & working (even from home) can be draining, especially if I am not fueling my body. Following something simple like this (as long as your meals have some sort of vegetables or fruit, a protein, & some healthy fats it is simple and healthy) & working out 30 minutes four times per week is a simple formula to reach health & fitness goals. Combine this with Mommy & Me Bootcamp, my ebook, or online training for the best results!

Post Partum Recovery

unnamed-15I am currently three weeks post partum, and have been absolutely loving all of the snuggles with my new little guy. Since I documented my journey through a healthy pregnancy, I want to give you some insight into my post partum recovery. I always hesitate to share my pictures, but I cannot illustrate that I am just like anyone else without showing the less than perfect aspects of my life. My body is much different than pre-pregnancy, but my goal is not to regain my pre-pregnancy body. My goal is regain fitness so that I can better take care of my son, and so I can set a healthy example for him.

So what have I been doing to stay healthy and recover post partum? The first thing I did, was learn to accept help from others. The more I let others help me, the more I could rest and let my body recover from giving birth. Not only is rest important for recovery, it is also important in aiding in fat loss. The more exhausted you are, the more your hormones cause you to retain fat, especially in the abdominal area.

Next, I focused on my nutrition. I premade a lot of food to put into my freezer. While family has been here, they have helped to cook some nutritious meals, including this delicious breakfast:

Ingredients

  • 12 large eggs
  • 16 ounces Greek yogurt
  • 12 ounces cheese, shredded
  • 
8-10 pieces bacon, cooked
  • Spinach, chopped
  • 
Broccoli, cooked (3 minutes steamed) and chopped
  • Oregano
  • Pepper

 Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Put eggs and Greek yogurt in blender with Oregano and pepper. Blend well.
  • Put half the cheese into a 9X13 baking pan, followed by the bacon, the broccoli and then the rest of the cheese.
  • Pour the egg mixture over the whole thing.
  • Bake 45-55 minutes, until top is golden brown and toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Eating well has been important on several levels. First, it has ensured I have maintained milk production for breastfeeding. Second, eating well gives me the energy I need to take care of my baby while only sleeping a few hours at a time. Finally, it has helped me to recover, because I am feeding my body the nutrients it needs to repair tissues. unnamed-16

Finally, I have focused on doing light, basic exercises to ease my way back into working out. I started with short, slow walks. Once I felt comfortable, I began doing inner core exercises, such as heel slides, core contractions, and bridges. As my core has gotten stronger, I have added a high plank. I only do these exercises three or four days per week, and never two days in a row. I added some weighted exercises as well, being sure to use lighter weights than I was using even at the end of my pregnancy. I love lifting weights, because ultimately that is how I will reshape my body. Any workouts I have done, or will do in the future, will never be more than 45 minutes, and more likely will only be 30 minutes tops. With a new baby, I do not have time to spend hours at the gym. I want to spend time with him, so I workout when he naps or when he’s playing on the ground. I workout right along side him. I will also be adding sprints, heavier weights, and HIIT, as I feel more comfortable and recovered.

Ultimately my goal is to be strong and healthy to set a good example for my son, and to be able to best take care of him. I am cleared by my doctor to workout as I feel comfortable. ALWAYS get clearance from your doctor before working out during or after pregnancy.