Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year, New You {January Calendar Printout}

As the new year is beginning, I thought it would be awesome to have a printable calendar that we can all hang on the wall & mark our progress as January passes.  In addition to whatever exercise you normally do, just add this in and watch your arms get stronger!  If you don't exercise, start now. {If you have any health problems, you may want to talk to your doctor first. Our bodies are capable of so much more than we give them credit for though!}


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{Click here} to download the full-sized calendar!

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Monday, December 30, 2013

Good Sources of Protein

As promised, I'm bringing to you my go-to grocery lists for on-the-go protein-rich items, vegetarian protein, and then an alternative for the meat eaters out there :) If you missed Part 1 on how to know if you're getting enough protein or too much, check out {How Much Protein Do I Really Need?}

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Saturday, December 28, 2013

How Much Protein Do I Really Need?

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As a vegetarian, I get asked about protein A LOT. The good news is.... Most of us get plenty of protein! Even vegetarians. The normal average human needs 0.8 grams of protein per kilograms of body weight. Want to do some math with me? If not, skip the next few paragraphs.

Say you weigh xxx pounds. Divide that by 2.2 to get the number of kg you weigh. Okay, now multiply by 0.8 grams to get see how much protein you need. Is everyone figuring it out right now? I'm playing the Jeopardy theme song for you while we wait. 

Say you weigh 200 pounds. After I divide by 2.2, I see that I weigh 90.9 kilograms. Multiply by 0.8 grams of protein= 72.7. Great!

The average person needs about 0.8- 1 grams per kg of protein a day. If you're a exercise a ton, are an athlete, or are growing, you may need more protein, up to 1.2 grams per kg. 

If you don't like doing math or counting grams of protein, just use this method-- Fill 1/4 of your plate with a lean protein.  For example, lean ground turkey, quinoa, chicken, etc.

Tomorrow we'll talk more in depth about good sources of protein for meat eaters, vegetarians, and people on-the-go! Today I challenge you to read your food labels {or your Lose It app} and see how much protein you're really eating! Are you getting enough or too much?

*My advice today doesn't replace good old fashioned one-on-one consultation. If you have a unique condition like renal disease, this doesn't apply to you. Always talk to your Registered Dietitian or your doctor.*

Monday, December 23, 2013

Motivation Monday!

It's Motivation Monday again!! In the spirit of the Christmas season, I'm bringing to you one of my favorite fitness sites... It's called "Reasons To Be Fit" tumblr.  If you don't know about it, you have to check it out. People like you and I submit a picture & their #1 personal reason they have made the choice to be fit and lead a healthy lifestyle. So inspirational! 

With all the junk food and indulgent treats out there this holiday season, this is one has really inspired me.

Reason to be fit #0646: because my body is a temple, not a trash can. Treat your body like you care about it's well-being and your future health. Have a Merry Christmas!

{Disclaimer: I don't own this picture. It's from the awesome blog: reasonstobefit tumblr. Check it out for more motivation!!}

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Roasted Vegetables!

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Today I'm sharing with you an absolutely delicious recipe for roasted veggies! This comes straight from my momma's recipe book & let me tell you... It has the whole house smelling good & the boys don't even realize they're eating veggies.  It's that tasty!  This would be a great side dish for your Christmas dinner if you don't already have your meals planned out. It's super easy!

Here's what you'll need:
1 medium sweet potato
1 sweet onion
1 yellow squash
1 zucchini
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp rosemary garlic
Baking sheet

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. First, dice your vegetables. I like mine about the size of a nickel or a bottle cap. It's all up to you there!  Next, throw your cut veggies into a big bowl.  Mix your spices and oil in a separate small bowl and drizzle over your cut vegetables. Mix! Last, cover your baking sheet in foil so the vegetables don't stick. Cook on 375 for about 40-45 minutes.  Enjoy!

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Friday, December 20, 2013

Homemade Natural Cleaner

You know how some cleaners just smell awful? I really hate the Clorox smell.  Well, I have a remedy.  So simple... AND cheap! Grab yourself a bottle of distilled vinegar, some dishwashing soap {Dawn, Gain, etc}, and a new squirt bottle.

Vinegar is a fantastic natural cleaner.  I worked in food service at a school once and they used this to clean surfaces, because it truly wonderful at cleaning, while safe & natural for the kids!

Just pour equal parts vinegar and water into your squirt bottle. Then add a few squirts of liquid soap. Easy! It will smell like vinegar, but at least you know it's a safe chemical & won't stain your clothes. Enjoy!

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Easy Lunch- Black Bean & Corn Quesadillas!

Ever need a recipe for a very easy lunch? Here's a very easy and quick meal you can throw together in no time.... Black bean & corn quesadillas with avocados and salsa!

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What you'll need:
Black beans
Shredded cheese
Avocado {optional}
Salsa {optional}
2 whole wheat tortillas (small 10")
{makes 1 delicious quesadilla!}

First, drain and rinse the black beans.  Also drain the corn.  Mix together.  Chop cilantro (optional-- I love the taste!).  Spray an omelet pan with cooking spray and lay down one wheat tortilla.  Top with shredded cheese and a few tablespoonfuls of the black bean/corn mix.  Sprinkle with chopped cilantro.  Finish by topping with shredded cheese and the second tortilla.  Grill until brown, then flip by placing a plate on top of the omelet pan & flipping the quesadilla over.  Spray the pan with cooking spray if needed and brown the other side.  When finished, garnish with 1/2 an avocado and a Tbsp of salsa.  Enjoy!

Monday, December 16, 2013

My Favorite Health App-- Lose It!

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My mom and I decided one day recently that we had very similar yet opposite goals-- she wanted to lose weight and I wanted to gain weight.  What a better way to keep track of our progress than with the Lose It app.  I am obsessed with entering in my information, because it's so fun and so easy.  You guys need to hop on the bandwagon with me here and try this out.  It really is GREAT.  I'll tell you about the features and show you some screen shots along the way.

First, to register, add your height, weight, goal weight, and how many pounds you want to lose per week, or if you'd like to maintain your same weight.  It provides you with really healthy weight loss options-- 1/2 lb, 1 lb, 1.5 lbs, or 2 lbs per week.  Lose It is setting you up for success, because these are really attainable goals.  Let's just say you want to lose 1 pound each week.  Lose It will do all the calculations for you.  They'll show you how many calories you should eat each day if you want to stick with that weight loss goal.

Next, you'll log what foods you've eaten each day.  Some of you might be groaning right now, but with the ease of this app & our smartphones, it's a breeze.  Thanks Lose It!  They've got a ton of foods to choose from.  Oh, & don't forget to add how much you ate.  If you can't find a food within the app that you've eaten, just add it through "create a food".

Moving on, you'll log the type of exercise you did for the day.  From bicycling to yoga to zumba, Lose It has it listed.  You simply choose your exercise and log the amount of time you exercised.  Now, I have noticed that when I cycle for 60 minutes I burn a different amount of calories than my mom does.  This is normal, because we are a different weight.  Don't be worried! 


A great thing about this app is that it allows you to compare the calories burned from different exercises.  You can look at how many cals you would burn during an hour on the elliptical versus an hour in a spin class.  How many calories do you really need to burn today? What a great feature.

Another great feature on the app is you can friend others and motivate them.  Message me on this site if you need a motivator!  Also remember, if you "mess up" your healthy eating plan one day, it doesn't all go down the drain.  Lose It reinforces that for me with the home screen reminder, "you are __ calories over/under budget".  This is a great way to see if you've been exercising too much & need to eat more to fuel your body or if you've been snacking too much & need to focus on your calorie goals.  You can register online at loseit.com.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

10 Healthy Snacks

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I'm a true believer that preparing your meals ahead of time is the key to success in sticking with any healthy eating plan.  So, this weekend is all about the meal prep.  I want to get everyone prepared for the new year by learning how to plan your meals and snacks.  So, here is Lesson One-- On Healthy Snacks.

Do you ever find yourself getting hungry and running to the pantry grabbing the most convenient food? Or the yummiest food? Yes? Join the rest of the world.  We all do it!  I'm going to give you some of my favorite snacks that you can prepare ahead of time {prepare is a really intimidating word... let's just say it requires a little slicing or ziploc bagging}.  Here we go.

1.  Apple slices and PB2-- Yall know I love my PB2.  It's lower in fat content than regular peanut butter.  The apple packs tons of nutrients & a crunchy texture.

2.  Air popped popcorn--  It's approximately 31 calories per cup {that's without the butter/salt}.  If you have difficulty snacking at night or like to be snacking on something often, this is a really low calorie snack with a large volume.  Feels indulgent almost!

3.  Frozen fruit--  This is great when you're packing a lunch or you'll be out somewhere for a while, because the fruit tastes great frozen or slightly thawed.

4.  Protein bars-- When you're choosing a protein bar, look for:
  • high protein, 15-20 grams {this will keep you feeling sustained longer} 
  • low sugar, <5 g {I don't want my bar to have as much sugar as a candy bar. I've been working out all week. Can't let that go to waste!} 
  • higher fiber {I like my bars to have some fiber.  It keeps me feeling full, can help lower cholesterol & helps with intestinal health.  Really the higher the better!}
Quest Bars are fantastic.  One of my favorite bars, especially the peanut butter supreme & chocolate chip cookie dough!  Yall check them out.  So delicious if you warm them up in the microwave! >>
Try Quest Protein Bars!

5.  Homemade granola-- {Recipe coming soon!!}

6. Homemade trail mix-- great things to add to a healthy trail mix are almonds, wheat Chex, unsalted peanuts,

7. Hard boiled eggs-- okay, I personally don't like these, BUT.... eggs are wonderful for you, the yolk and all! They provide a great source of protein.  I suggest if you like it, then this is a great snack.

8.  Sliced bell peppers-- use salsa or hummus as the dip.  You'd be surprised how crunchy & delicious bell peppers are as a snack!

9. Kale chips-- if you've never tried them, you really should! Refer to the recipe I posted earlier today. So easy.

10. Caramel rice cake & PB2-- just plain indulgent.

Kale Chips

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I really love kale chips... I want to share with you how easy they are! If you've never tried them, at least give them one chance for me.  Kale is pretty inexpensive and it's really low in calories.

Here's what you'll need:

1 bunch of kale {about 3-4 cups}
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp garlic

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.  Wash & dry the kale.  Remove the stem/middle from the bunch {these are the bad, bitter parts}.  Tear the leaves into halves or smaller pieces.  Mix olive oil, garlic and salt in a large bowl.  Toss kale in the large bowl with the mix until all is lightly coated.  Then, spread kale out on a baking sheet.  Bake approximately 20-25 minutes {until you see it getting really crispy}.  Enjoy & let me know what you think about this new recipe!  Don't be afraid to branch out.  It's an easy recipe to take on the go as well.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

How to Make Perfect Meringue

In the season of pie-making, we must be harness our inner Paula Deen & learn to whip up some tall, fluffy meringues. In case you don't feel like a pro, it's okay... I don't either. I'm here to give you my favorite meringue recipe & the best tips I know on how to make your meringue Christmas-dinner-worthy!

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What you'll need:

A very clean, dry, glass bowl
3 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp vanilla
6 Tbsp sugar

Okay, here we go.  Get your glass bowl & beater out... And I don't mean your hand beater or your whisk.  While that would be a good workout, it would take all day & make your meringue stiff.  {TIP: Your bowl should be VERY clean & completely dry.  If there is any moisture or oil/fat from your bowl or fingers, this will affect your meringue poorly.} Place your egg whites into your glass bowl and start beating on low/medium.  {TIP: Your egg whites will whip better if they've been sitting out at room temperature.  I'm not talking all day.... I'm not a fan of food poisoning.  I'm just saying they will whip better if you allow them sit out while you're baking the pie.  Also TIP: Make sure there is absolutely NO yellow in those egg whites.  If you see yellow, start over.  It's a pain, but your meringue will fall.}  Add cream of tartar and vanilla. Continue mixing on medium until it forms a soft peak.  This will look like little peaks that form curls when you take the beater out.  You're not done though!

Now, add 6 Tbsp of sugar one at a time &  increase your mixing speed to medium/high until your meringue peaks.  There are several different levels of peaking, but you want a stiff peak.  This means when you pull the beater out, the peaks will form stiff tips {they won't curl anymore!} Perfection!

Top your pie with your wonderful meringue.  Brown in the oven at 350 degrees F for about 10 minutes!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Motivation Monday- Getting Ready for The New Year!

The new year is a fantastic time to get back on track with all of your goals {yes I say "goals" often! I think they're so important to have!}. So, why not get a jump start now? Grab your pen and paper and write down 3 specific changes you'd like to see in yourself by 3 months from now- middle March- one for every month! {That's Spring Break time, by the way... Right when the sun will start shining & you'll be so happy you did this, because it'll be time to break out those shorts & tank tops to show off your great bod!} 

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{pic from backonpointe.tumblr}

What are your goals? Maybe one of your goals is to eat better portion sizes or healthier snacks. Maybe it's to cut down on the number of sodas you're drinking. Get a head start on those goals before the new year! Share them here!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Cheesy Biscuits

You know those biscuits at Red Lobster? The cheesy ones that melt in your mouth? Have you ever wondered how to make them yourself? Well if you have, I've got just the recipe for you--the secret to those tasty, cheesy, warm Red Lobster-esque biscuits!

What you'll need:
2 cups Bisquick mix
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2/3 cup milk
2 Tbsp butter
1 tsp garlic

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Mix Bisquick and shredded cheese in a medium bowl. Add milk. Mixture will begin to form a ball of dough. Form into large spoonfuls on a greased cooking sheet. Cook at 425 degrees F for 10 minutes. Remove from oven. 

Then, melt butter in microwave (it'll take approx. 15 seconds). Mix in the garlic. Brush onto the biscuits after they've been removed from the oven. Enjoy!

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Saturday, December 7, 2013

Strong Saturday- Spin!

What are you doing this Saturday to get moving? 

Today I took my first ever SPIN class!! Guess what? I loved it! I was a little intimidated at first, but I'm determined to not let fear stop me. It was so worth it. 

Spin is all about your lower body and getting your legs to feel the burn. If you're looking for some aerobic exercise and a little wake-up, this is the class for you. Pick a class with some great music to sing along to & a positive instructor & get moving. You won't regret it!

What's your favorite group class?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

When It's Too Cold & Snowy To Get Out & Exercise....

What do you do?

I was feeling the need to move today but couldn't get to the gym right away, so I popped in this DVD: 10 minute solution Hip Hop Dance Mix. It's filled with several 10 minute dance segments.
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No matter what, you will be having fun & laughing! It's even more fun to do with someone else! Kristin Jacobs is the instructor and she does the moves with no shame. I got this tape at Target a while back, but you can pick up a workout DVD anywhere. Jillian Michaels makes some great ones & AdvoCare also has a great one! Don't let cold, snowy days derail you from reaching those fitness goals. Get moving! And please share- what are your favorite things to do when you just can't get to the gym?


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Creamy Cornbread

The weather is getting colder here & I don't know about you, but I am ready for some comfort food. Over Thanksgiving we made this delicious treat that I have been dying to share with yall. Now I probably can't make it quite like my nana, but I'm making it tonight. Let's start off with the ingredients:

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1 box of cornbread mix (I love Jiffy- it's cheap & delicious & you can find it at the dollar store)
1 can cream of corn
1 egg
1/3 cup of milk
1 cup shredded cheese (use your favorite kind... Mozzarella, fiesta blend, cheddar!)

Yep... 5 ingredients! 
First, preheat the oven to 400. Get a bowl & mix your cornbread mix, can of cream corn, egg & milk.
Next, pour half of it into a pie plate. You can use a 9x9" pan or 8x8" if you want it to be a little thicker. Anything works! 
After that... Top with your favorite shredded cheese! {shown below}

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Pour on the remaining cornbread/milk mix to cover it. {shown below}

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Place in the oven at 400 degrees F for about 25 minutes and you have yourself a delicious, very moist side dish to some chili!!

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