How To Stay On Track During The Distractions Of Summer Fun

By Tommy B.

Ahhhh, summer — warm weather, sandy beaches, and one too many cocktails.

It’s life, and it’s bound to happen.

Summer, for many people, is a time to relax a little bit more, let their hair down and turn up some of the best road trip tunes.

It’s that time of year we’ve all been waiting for and never gets old.

And these are all good, no, actually – great things.

Yet, going overboard and waking up in September 10 pounds overweight, sluggish and completely out of sync with our bodies is not anything we ever plan.

According to PopSugar, there are many reasons why, including longer days, the availability of cocktails and endless dinner invites.

It doesn’t have to be that way, and you know that.

We’ll explore fun, practical and simple ways for you to stay on track while still enjoying all the awesomeness that comes with summer.

Let’s get rolling.

Via 7-themes

Via 7-themes

But First, Psychology

Before we get started, there’s one thing we need to address:

Your mind and viewpoint in regards to summer do matter.

What happens to most people is they have an “all in” or “all out” approach, which, as you can guess — means they seriously let go during summer.

Adopting this attitude simply isn’t worth it because you’re getting rid of one of the most powerful tools of results:

Momentum.

So the first shift is a simple mindset shift, acknowledging that yes, you’re going to likely change your routine and that it will impact your health, fitness and maybe even the scale a little bit.

And that’s okay…but you’re committed to not completely letting go.

Because you know that when you take care of yourself physically, you feel better, you have more energy, confidence and even more fun.

Via Posterjack

Via Posterjack

Embrace The Season

If you’re in the Northeast or Midwest, you’ve likely been hibernating for a little while.

Every year, the winters seem a little longer, no matter how much snow we got or didn’t get.

That first 75-degree, sunshine soaked day sure feels good, doesn’t it?

One of the best ways to stay fit during the summer is to simply do activities that are based on being outdoors and challenging yourself in new, exciting ways.

These activities also work well because instead of mentally telling yourself that you’re headed to the gym, you’re simply doing something outside that also happens to get you fit.

Try to think outside the box with this one and make it a fun, social event with your friends or family.

Some activities include:

  • Swimming
  • Stand Up Paddleboarding
  • Surfing
  • Hiking
  • Sprinting
  • Beach volleyball
  • Playing with the kids

…and so much more.

Via Weightlossvillage

Via Weightlossvillage

Control Your First Meal Of The Day

Nutrition is often the main culprit that impacts people during summer because our willpower is limited and there’s usually an abundance of amazing food.

One great thing you can do is to simply start your day with a healthy meal you’re able to control.

This sets the tone for the day, fuels your body in a fantastic way and will give you some momentum — think of it as a keystone habit.

Keystone habits are habits that create a domino effect in life, leading us to likely add in supporting activities without thinking about them.

So if you’re able to have a healthy meal to start you day, you’re also more likely to drink enough water, hit your workout, and have less processed food and sugars.

Speaking of…

Via Tasteofhome

Via Tasteofhome

Pass The Sugary Drinks, Be A Cheap Date

The summertime means sunset cocktails, cold beers at the beach and delicious dinner dates.

Alcohol isn’t going to make or break you in most cases, it’s what’s in the actual drinks that make you feel terrible.

Your typical margarita drink is going to contain roughly 30-60 grams of sugar — yes, you read that right, and many times more.

When you combine alcohol and sugar, you’re in for a world of pain the next day, leading to headaches, digestive issues, and never wanting to leave the couch.

Instead, keep it simple and be a cheap date.

I always recommend the Norcal Margarita, simply because, well it’s awesome and was developed by Rob Wolff of the Paleo Solution.

This simple drink involves:

  • 3 ounces 100% agave tequila
  • Juice and pulp from one lime
  • Add ice and shake
  • Fill glass with soda water
  • Garnish with salt

Simple, yet delicious.

Always opt for clear drinks with as minimal ingredients as possible and if you must order a traditional drink, ask for the “skinny” version.

Via  Usattravel

Via Usattravel

Make Fitness Part Of The Trip

I remember landing in Paris with my family a couple summers ago and we all made fitness part of our experience.

There’s no better way to explore a new city, cure jetlag and rust off sitting in a tiny plane seat than by getting some blood flow and getting out there.

If you’re headed somewhere new, research in advance and book a yoga class at a popular spot, or take a surfing lesson excursion that will force you to get moving.

Even though you may be tired, and feel like you’d rather relax…we all know, once you get moving you’re going to feel amazing and inspired to immerse yourself further in this new place.

Via Fwallpapers

Via Fwallpapers

OMM, Or Mindful Weight Loss

We know the amount of lifestyle stress we experience on a daily basis effects our hormones, which directly impact whether we burn fat or gain weight.

Use the relaxation of summer to get some you time, you know — a spa day, a massage, a walk on the beach without a phone, being in nature, maybe picking up the meditation practice you’ve been putting off.

This will do so much for your clarity and mindset, leading to a healthy, mind and spirit – and in many cases, a faster rate of weight loss.

MindbodyGreen talks about mindfulness and weight loss, with simple practices you can incorporate daily.

Via Shopnewshoes

Via Shopnewshoes

Walk As Much As Possible

Going back to my Eurotrip last summer, I don’t think I’ve ever walked so much.

Whether it was spending the day observing unbelievable architecture, or going to museums or parks in town, by the end of the day we had walked miles and miles.

Use this to your advantage and ditch your car – using walking or renting a bike instead.

This small change may not seem like much on the surface but truly adds up over the course of a season.

Via Sites.psu

Via Sites.psu

Drink Inordinate Amounts Of Water

We all know the importance of water, especially during the summer heat that can leave many people dehydrated.

Dehydration means your body isn’t focused on fat loss or anything else that makes you look and feel healthier.

Going the extra mile and having 1, 2 or 3 more cups a day can have a big impact on the way you feel and your body’s ability to flush out toxins and improve everything from your skin to your energy.

The bare minimum should be half your bodyweight in ounces, but shoot for 3/4th of your bodyweight in ounces instead.

You may not be able to make it through a feature length film without going to the bathroom, but hey – priorities matter.

Via Stephenlifecoach

Via Stephenlifecoach

Craft A Plan!

We all know the value of preparation and what it can do for us in a bind.

Summer brings different routines, days and places where our most familiar food may not be available.

By realizing this in advance, we can plan ahead and avoid getting so hungry we splurge on something we don’t even like.

Even being mindful of the upcoming BBQ and bringing healthier food options such as chicken, or creating burgers in a lettuce wrap, extra vegetables, etc. – goes a very long way.

What Are You Going To Do?

Summer 2016 is in full swing and it’s the best time of year, no questions asked.

Given the above, we’ve shared some ideas, tricks and ways of both having a blast this summer and also staying healthy and on track with your fitness.

Because at the end of the day, you deserve to look, feel and show up as your best self, no matter what time of year it is.

Building Muscle on a Vegan Diet

Many people have the misconception that meat = muscles. While chicken breast and other types of animal flesh are classic lean muscle-building proteins, they’re not necessary for building muscle. If you’ve recently jumped on the vegan bandwagon, you’ll be glad to know that you can achieve a strong, toned bod without eating meat.

Let’s start by discussing what exactly a vegan diet consists of. In general, a vegan diet is made up of only plant-derived foods. This means no milk, no honey, no eggs, and especially no animals or animal products (on land or sea).

Building muscle on a plant-based or vegan diet is possible, but requires a little forethought. You need to take in more protein from sources that don’t interfere with your vegan lifestyle. You also need to create a calorie surplus, which is tricky when your food options are limited and consist mostly of low-calorie plant-based foods.

Plant-eaters rejoice. You CAN build strength, muscle and health. Here’s how it’s done:

Via Theluxuryspot

Via Theluxuryspot

Up Your Protein Intake

Protein is the foundation of muscle building. Without it, the human body is not able to function normally. Too little protein can cause symptoms like fatigue, depression, anemia, low sex drive, and muscle loss.

Protein is made up of amino acids, and amino acids are the building blocks of muscles. If you don’t get enough protein in your diet, your body is not able to adequately build, repair or maintain muscle tissue. While animal sources are ideal as they contain all 20 of the amino acids needed by our cells to build proteins, a carefully planned vegan diet can provide the body with adequate amounts of protein for muscle-building.

Exactly how much protein you need will depend on how strenuous your workouts are. According to Men’s Fitness, the average male with a sedentary desk job requires just 0.36 grams of protein for each pound of body weight per day. If you exercise, these requirements can actually double. If you’re looking to build strength, aim for between 0.7 and 0.8 grams of protein for each pound of body weight.

So what vegan-friendly foods offer the most protein bang-for-your-buck? These plant-based proteins are healthy and deliciously satisfying:

  • Lentils
  • Black beans
  • Tofu
  • Soy milk
  • Quinoa
  • Artichokes
  • Green peas
  • Oatmeal
  • Hemp seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Edamame
  • Hemp milk
  • Black eyed peas
  • Spinach
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Almonds
  • Green Beans
  • Chickpeas

Another easy way to ensure you’re getting enough daily protein is to add a scoop of protein powder to your water. Create a yummy and nutritious shake or smoothie by adding fresh spinach, fruit, unsweetened almond milk, and a few ice cubes.

Via Gymaholic

Via Gymaholic

Take Your Vitamins

Vegan or not, vitamin supplements can be a crucial component in fat loss, muscle building, and all-around better health. Nutritional supplements can also help bridge those nutritional gaps that some vegans experience.

Here are several key vitamins you need to build muscle and strength:

Vitamin D: This fat soluble vitamin is found naturally in few foods. It is, however, synthesized in the body during exposure to sunlight. Vitamin D is responsible for regulating neuromuscular functioning. Some studies show that people with serum vitamin D levels below 30 nmol/l have lowered strength, muscle wasting and weakness.

Vitamin C: Also known as ascorbic acid or L-ascorbate, vitamin C is an essential nutrient necessary for growth and development. It’s especially important for athletes and bodybuilders as it protects the immune systems and promotes recovery from training.

Vitamin E: Vitamin E cannot be produced naturally by the body. Therefore, it must be obtained from dietary sources. This fat soluble vitamin and antioxidant promotes muscle growth and inhibits muscle breakdown.

B Vitamins: Of all the vitamins required for muscle gain, the B-complex is one of the most important. The B-complex consists of eight B vitamins that help boost energy and improve cardiovascular and nervous system health, as well as mental well-being.

Create a Calorie Surplus

When losing weight, you generally aim for a calorie deficient. You can create a calorie deficit by eating fewer calories then you burn. When you’re trying to build muscle, you want to create a calorie surplus, which occurs when you eat more calories than you burn. Sound counterproductive? It really isn’t.

When you create a calorie surplus, your body uses the extra energy to do one of two things: store fat or build muscle. Extra calories are needed to build muscle tissue, so don’t think you can get ripped while on a strict diet. You need to eat.

Creating a calorie surplus can be complex. The surplus needs to be big enough to effectively build muscle, while small enough to prevent gaining unnecessary weight. So how do you find a balance?

As a general rule of thumb, men looking to build muscle should add an additional 250 calories per day, while women should add 125 extra calories. For example, if you’re a guy with a daily calorie maintenance level of 2,500 calories, you should now eat 2,750 calories per day to build muscle.

Via Gcasted

Via Gcasted

Drink Enough Water

We all know the importance of water for overall health, but did you know that dehydration can seriously affect your muscle building progress? Water is needed to transport nutrients to your cells, as well as transport waste out of the body.

Without water, you couldn’t flex or even move your muscles. When the body becomes dehydrated, your muscles become depleted of electrolytes, which can cause cramping. Without the proper amount of water in the body, strength is also impaired.

Now that we’ve covered why water is so important when building muscles, let’s talk about exactly how much we need. The standard eight glasses a day is not enough for serious muscle builders. To keep up with the greater demands on your body, you need to significantly increase your water intake.

Opt for 1 liter of water for every 1,000 calories expended per day. For example, if you burn 2,000 calories per day, try to consume at least 2 liters of fluids daily.

Via Seriouseats

Via Seriouseats

Eat More Frequent Meals

Yes, it’s true. Eating more frequently can aid in fat loss and muscle gain. This means eating six or seven small meals instead of the usual three larger ones.

Eating small, more frequent meals offers a wide range of benefits. When you eat, you stimulate your metabolism which helps to burn more calories. More frequent meals also allows your body to use the foods’ nutrients more efficiently as the body has to deal with only small portions at a time instead of a large meal.

Chowing on six smaller meals a day also promotes a steady stream of essential nutrients, such as amino acids. This helps the body maintain a positive nitrogen balance, which is the difference between the amount of protein you have in your system and the amount excreted. When you have a positive nitrogen balance, you’ve achieved a net surplus of protein in your body.

Of course, this option is not for everyone. It’s best to experiment with different meal frequencies to see what works best for your unique needs and lifestyle.

Via Youtube

Via Youtube

Work Out Your Body

If you search the internet, you’ll find thousands of workouts and training programs designed to build muscle. While there’s no one best workout, it’s crucial to integrate the right types of exercise into your daily routine to see optimal results.

Before you can build muscle, you must first understand that muscles burn both fat and sugar. Activities that require quick bursts of energy, such as weight lifting, use sugar as fuel. When you engage in longer bouts of exercise, your body uses fat as fuel.

If you are overweight or your body is not used to exercise, you’re likely not burning fat effectively, which can result in loss lean body mass. To see results faster, you want to improve your body’s ability to burn fat through two main types of exercise, aerobic conditioning and weight lifting. As you gain muscle, your body will be able to burn sugar and fat more easily.

Via Crossfitimpulse

Via Crossfitimpulse

Consume Enough Fats

You need fat to build muscle. No, we’re not talking about devouring Big Macs or demolishing a piece of cake after every meal.

Your body stores fat if you don’t eat fat. Therefore, you must consume some fats if you wish to control your weight and build muscle. Dietary fat provides energy in which the body uses to fuel exercise. It also aids your body in vitamin absorption and promotes healthy growth and development.

The American Heart Association suggest eating between 25 and 35 percent of your daily calories from dietary fat. Unsaturated fats such as omega-3 fatty acids can improve heart health and promote muscle gain. Limit your saturated fats, as these can increase your cholesterol levels.

If you’re a vegan, you’ll need to seek plant-based fats. Here are a few great options to try.

  • Seeds (saviseeds, hempseeds and chia seeds are all great options)
  • Nuts (try almonds, walnuts or Brazil nuts)
  • Coconut oil
  • Olive oil
  • Avocados
  • Cacao nibs (yes, you can eat chocolate!)

Muscle building and a vegan diet don’t always go hand-in-hand. It can be tough to bulk up when your diet is limited to plant-based grub. Gaining muscle mass as a vegan comes down to getting enough protein and essential nutrients, and maintaining a strict exercise regimen that caters to muscle building. Ready to get in shape? Grab a protein bar, your gym bag, and start building muscle.

Eating Out While on a Diet: How to Stay on Track

By Brandy D.

If you’re trying to improve your health by following a diet or meal plan, you already know how important it is to prepare and cook meals at home. However, dining at your favorite restaurant doesn’t have to sabotage a healthy diet.

Eating out on occasion won’t sway your weight loss goals if you pick your menu items carefully. A new study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found 92 percent of the 364 restaurant meals reviewed from both chain and non-chain restaurants to have exceeded the recommended calorie requirements for a single meal. To stay on track, you must resist temptation.

It is possible to resist ‘bad’ foods in favor for more nutritious options. Follow these tips for success.

Via divynenhealthy

Via divynenhealthy

Don’t Go Hungry

It makes sense. You’re starving and don’t feel like cooking, so you head to a local eatery. Your stomach is grumbling so you order the best-sounding thing on the menu. Triple Stacked Burger smothered in extra-sharp cheddar? Yum. A side of fries? Why not. Before you know it, only the greasy remnants of your dinner is left on the plate.

Many people choose to skip a meal and go hungry before eating out to ensure that they get their monies worth. Unfortunately, if you show up to the restaurant half-starved, you’re likely to overeat.

One easy way to prevent over-indulging on a heaping burger or hefty plate of chicken wings is to eat beforehand. Maintain your regular eating habits and avoid skipping meals if possible. If you’re hungry before arriving to the restaurant, consume a healthy snack before you go, like a low-calorie yogurt or piece of fresh fruit.

Via Thecollegehelper

Via Thecollegehelper

Know Your Options

Sitting down in a restaurant without a game plan often results in rash decision-making. Make an informed choice by doing your research prior to ordering. Use your smartphone to look at online menus and pick what you’re going to eat before you go. Use your smartphone when you get hungry on-the-go to locate healthy food options.

There are numerous free apps available that can help you find menu items that meet your diet requirements. Whether you’re looking for organic, gluten-free, vegetarian, raw, paleo, or just low-calorie options, it’s easy to find delicious and nutritious restaurants and menu items that meet your needs. Here are a few excellent (and free) apps to try.

  • HealthyOut – This healthy restaurant nutrition guide connects you with healthy meals from local restaurants in your area. Use filters such as low fat, low calorie, heart healthy, or high protein. You can also search by popular diets like Atkins, Paleo, and South Beach.
  • Find Me Gluten Free – For individuals on a gluten-free diet, this app is a lifesaver. View local establishments who cater to the gluten-free community, read reviews, see gluten-free menus, and get directions directly to the business.
  • Zomato – Zomato is essentially a restaurant finder, allowing you to discover new places to eat in your city. There’s other perks too. The app also allows you to browse restaurant menus, user reviews, and photographs from various eateries.
  • Food Tripping – Trying to avoid fast food? The Food Tripping app is designed to locate the closest farmers’ markets, juice joints and healthy eateries.
  • MyFitnessPal – If you’re eating at a chain restaurant, there’s a good chance that the menu item you choose is already in the MyFitnessPal database. Simply choose the item to see its nutritional value, including its calorie content.

When choosing menu items, there’s a few other tips to remember. Avoid foods described as “crispy”, “au gratin” or “rich”. These typically include fried and sautéed items. Instead choose items that are broiled, steamed, grilled, or baked. These types of foods typically contain significantly lower fats and calories.

Via Foodnetwork

Via Foodnetwork

Get More for Less

Who says you have to get an entrée? Instead of chowing down on a large main dish, order two small appetizers instead. By choosing this alternative, you’ll get to sample two different scrumptious dishes and eat less overall.

While ingredients differ from restaurant to restaurant, opt for appetizers that are generally low in fat, such as stuffed mushrooms, baked or broiled chicken wings, or shrimp cocktail without the crackers.

Really want to avoid wasted calories? Pass on the breadbasket. If the sight of buttery buns is too much for you, simply ask the waiter not to bring any bread to your table.

Personalize It

Salad doesn’t have to be slathered with blue cheese. You can choose to drink plain water instead of soda. No one is forcing you to eat dessert. In short, don’t be afraid to customize your meals when eating out.

There are many ways you can personalize your order to better stay on track with your diet. Opt to have your sauce on the side, allowing you to choose how much you actually eat. Instead of white bread, rice or pasta, ask the restaurant if they serve a whole grain alternative. Of course, choosing a low fat option of any food is the wiser choice.

Here are a few tips to help you make healthier choices:

  • Stick with a single hamburger patty – just say no to double and triple stacked burgers.
  • Avoid calorie-rich toppings, such as extra cheese and bacon. To add extra interest to your meals, add ‘good’ toppings, such as tomatoes or pickles.
  • Go meatless. Most restaurants have meat-free burgers and sandwiches, such as a veggie burger or good old fashioned grilled cheese.
  • Choose from the kid’s menu. Kid-size portions are generally smaller and therefore have less calories.
  • Go easy on the ‘special sauces’, as most are loaded with sugars and fats. If you need sauce, put it on the side.
  • Be wise when choosing sides. Standard side dishes like mac n’ cheese, baked beans and mashed potatoes are high in calories. Instead, choose healthier sides like corn, green beans or steamed veggies.

Practice Portion Control

Portion control is essential when trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle. To determine proper portion size, you must understand how much a serving size of food is, and how many calories each serving contains. When eating, sticking to healthy portion sizes is hard, as most restaurants serve up huge portions of food to satisfy hungry customers.

The good news is you can use portion control when eating out by exercising a few simple practices. Instead of trying to eat those colossal heaps of food on your own, share your meal with a friend or significant other. By splitting a meal, you can save on both calories and money.

Another easy tip? Save a portion of your meal to bring home. By taking home a doggy bag, you can avoid overeating and you’ll have a prepared meal available for when you get hungry later on.

Via Scratchcateringservices

Via Scratchcateringservices

Rethink Your Salad

Salads are supposed to be good for you, right? Well, that’s not always the case. When kept basic, a green salad produces a punch of protein, magnesium, calcium, dietary fiber, and vitamins A, C, K and B6. Unfortunately, many restaurants create unhealthy salads covered in fattening dressings, croutons, bacon bits and cheese.

For a healthy salad, fill your plate with fresh veggies, greens, chickpeas, and other nutritional options. Skip the regular dressings in favor of a low-fat variety or just a squeeze of lemon juice for flavor.

Via Rebeccasaw

Via Rebeccasaw

Avoid Temptation

Southern fried chicken. Grilled bacon and cheese. New York Style Cheesecake. Enticing isn’t it? Restaurants know how to draw people in by choose descriptive adjectives to name and describe their menu items. Terms like “juicy” and “creamy” make ordinary foods sound more delicious.

In a controlled survey conducted by the Food and Brand Lab, results showed that of the 140 diners surveyed, 27 percent were more likely to choose a descriptive menu item over a menu item with an ordinary label. For example, Black Forest German Chocolate Cake sounds better than just Chocolate Cake, and Farm Raised Chicken Breast Pita is typically chosen over Chicken Pitas.

Pay attention to these descriptive menu items the next time you eat out. When you’re able to recognize them, they be less like to sway your better judgement.

Via chooseveg

Via chooseveg

Slow It Down

Did you know it takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to send a message to your brain that you’re full? Eating fast doesn’t allow enough time for your brain to get the message that you’ve eaten enough. Give your brain time to catch up by eating slowly, fully chewing your food, and taking breaks to converse with your dinner mates.

Remember, digestion begins in the mouth. When chewing your food, allow it to fully liquefy before swallowing. If you find that you’re eating too fast, try putting your eating utensils down on the table after every bite of food. Also take frequent sips of water during your meals, as dehydration can mimic the signs of hunger.

Final Thoughts

While challenging, dining out while on a diet doesn’t have to be disastrous. Today, many restaurants offer mouthwatering menu items that are both low-fat and healthy. Don’t stress dining out – embrace it. You can have your cake and eat it too.

Recipe: Zucchini Noodles and Grilled Shrimp

Spiralizing vegetables and using them in place of pasta has been becoming more mainstream lately. We love this trend and hope that it is one that sticks! It is a great option to still enjoy meals that you love, but remove the heavy carbs and add in a great healthy component.

We’ve seen cucumbers, carrots and sweet potatoes being turned into “noodles.” There are gadgets on the market that you can buy to do this for you, or you can use a mandolin and julienne the veggies for a similar result! This recipe from What’s Gaby Cooking is packed with flavor but super simple to make, we know you’ll love it!

CA-Almonds-077-copyINGREDIENTS

2 cups basil, stems removed (packed)
1/3 cup sliced almonds, divided
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 shallot, roughly chopped
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup olive oil, plus more as needed
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 lemon, zested
1 pound shrimp (26 – 30 count, peeled and de-veined)
5 medium-sized zucchinis
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes

To get the rest of the recipe, and complete instructions on how to make this Zucchini Noodles recipe, head on over here. And, if you do make it, leave us a comment below to tell us what you thought!

 

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Recipe: Valentine Fruit Nachos

Valentine’s Day is almost upon us and many people are busy making reservations for dinners out, buying chocolate for their loved ones and preparing for the day to celebrate love! While flower and chocolate are synonymous with Valentine’s Day, this is still a holiday that you can treat yourself while staying on the healthier side of things!

201202IMG87232If you are staying in with your love or your family, or getting together with friends to celebrate the occasion – taken or not – we’ve got a fun treat or dessert you can prepare that has the idea of the holidays while still getting in lots of yummy fruits! This is why we love the Fruit Nacho’s that Super Healthy Kids is sharing, that you can make in the shape of a heart, for Valentine’s Day!

INGREDIENTS

1 apple
1 pear
6-7 strawberries
1/4 cup of chocolate chips
1/4 cup of caramel
1/4 cup of coconut flakes (shredded or shaved)

To get the rest of the recipe, and complete instructions on how to make these Fruit Nacho’s, head on over here. And, if you do make it, leave us a comment below to tell us what you thought!

 

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Recipe: Coconut Banana Smoothie

 

Smoothies – they’re great for breakfast, as a snack or post work out replenisher! You can put so much into a smoothie that’s great for you without really being able to tell from the delicious taste!

1.11.15-Banana-Coconut-SmoothieYour taste buds will love this coconut and banana smoothie mixed in with your favorite protein powder. This recipe from Sarah Skalzub shared with Vega, just might turn into your new favorite smoothie.

INGREDIENTS

1 serving Vanilla Vega Protein & Greens
1/2 cup canned coconut milk
1Ž2 cup water
Juice of half a lemon or 1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp shredded coconut
1 large banana
1/2 cup ice

To get the rest of the recipe, and complete instructions on how to make this smoothie, head on over here. And, if you do make it, leave us a comment below to tell us what you thought!

 

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Recipe: Greek Lemon Chicken Soup

If you’re looking for a winter meal staple, it has to be soup. Soup can be served for lunch, before dinner, or even as dinner itself. You can make big batches and freeze it for later, and it re-heats easily to take on the go with you to work and beyond! The great thing about soup is that there are so many different recipes, so many things you can put in them, that you’re bound to find one for everyone’s tastes.

greek-lemon-chicken-soup-5Broth based soups are often thought of as not being as filling as a cream soup, but we beg to differ! It’s all about what you put inside! This soup recipe from A Spicy Perspective has so much going on, we know it will fill you up and warm you up at the same time!

INGREDIENTS

10 cups chicken broth
3 tablespoon olive oil
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 sweet onion
1 large lemon, zested
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup israeli (pearl) couscous
1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
2 ounces crumbled feta
1/3 cup chopped chive
Salt and pepper

To get the rest of the recipe, and complete instructions on how to make this soup, head on over here. And, if you do make it, leave us a comment below to tell us what you thought!

 

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Recipe: Apple Banana Quinoa Breakfast Cups

We are firm believers that breakfast is such an important meal of the day. It’s a great way to get your day started and your metabolism rolling! When you start your day off on a healthier foot, it helps set the pace for food choices for the rest of the day, don’t you think?

apple-bananaHaving some items that you can grab quickly in the morning when you are feeling rushed, or to eat on the go, don’t tend to be the healthiest options. That is why we love this breakfast cup recipe from Becoming Your Personal Best with Coach Amy Amidei, it is something that you can make ahead, and have on hand for your weekly breakfasts!

INGREDIENTS

½ cup applesauce
1 cup mashed banana (about 3 bananas)
1 banana for slicing
1 cup cooked quinoa (about ½ cup dry)
2 ½ cups old-fashioned oats
½ cup almond milk
¼ cup honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1 apple, peeled and chopped

To get the rest of the recipe, and complete instructions on how to make these breakfast cups, head on over here. And, if you do make it, leave us a comment below to tell us what you thought!

 

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Recipe: Warm Kale Salad with Dried Cranberries and Walnuts

Most people tend to think of salads as a summer food, but they don’t have to be! There are some great recipes out there for warm salads. Yes, warm salads!

Warm-Kale-Salad-427x641Kale seems to be everywhere, don’t you think? This warm kale salad by A Food Centric Life looks good and is so good for you! We just had to share!

INGREDIENTS

1 large bunch of kale
1 large shallot
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large cloves of garlic
minced a handful of dried cranberries
a small handful of chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper, to season

To get the rest of the recipe, and complete instructions on how to make this salad, head on over here. And, if you do make it, leave us a comment below to tell us what you thought!

 

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Recipe: Sweet Potato Turkey Chili

Sweet-Potato-Turkey-Chili-2With the cooler weather, we tend to gravitate towards more comfort, warming, filling foods. One comfort food that has lots of variations is chili. It is great after a day out in the snow, for group gatherings and makes great leftovers!

With the holidays just past us, and since we are always trying to bring you healthy recipes to make, we really loved this version of chili from The Healthy Maven that has turkey in it!

INGREDIENTS

1 lb ground turkey
1 medium onion, chopped
2 bell peppers, chopped
1 jalapeño, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2½ T chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 cup tomato sauce (ideally no-sugar-added)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 large sweet potato, cubed

To get the rest of the recipe, and complete instructions on how to make this salad, head on over here. And, if you do make it, leave us a comment below to tell us what you thought!

 

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Recipe: Cranberry Orange Quinoa Salad

wf_orange_cranberry_quinoa2New Year’s Eve is almost here and we were in search of a great recipe that you could take with you to New Year’s parties, dinners and pot lucks. Keeping in mind the flavors and colors of the season – oranges, cranberries, nuts and pomegranates – we think that this recipe from Family Spice will be a hit visually, for the palate and on your digestive system!

INGREDIENTS

1 cup quinoa
2 cup water
2 large leaves of kale
2 cup cranberries, fresh
2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp honey
2 TBS orange zest, grated
6 small oranges
1/4 cup mixed nuts
1/4 cup pomegranate arils
1/4 cup mint, fresh, chopped

To get the rest of the recipe, and complete instructions on how to make this salad, head on over here. And, if you do make it, leave us a comment below to tell us what you thought!

 

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Recipe: Paleo Cranberry Flax Stuffing

Stuffing! It’s a holiday staple, am I right!? We’ve been on the lookout for a way to update the age old way that stuffing is made and we think we might have found it with this recipe from HealthfulPursuit.com.

Whether you are paleo, gluten free, egg free, or vegan – this recipe has options for everyone!

INGREDIENTS

1 loaf of grain-free bread (recipe below and also here)
½ cup dried unsweetened cranberries
1 cup apple juice – I used homemade
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 red onion, diced – yield 1 cup
2 stalks celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup fresh parsley
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
½ teaspoon dried ground sage
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

To get the rest of the recipe, and complete instructions on how to make this stuffing and grain free bread, head on over here. And, if you do make it, leave us a comment below to tell us what you thought!

 

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Recipe: Gingerbread Smoothie

The holidays are full of treats but that doesn’t mean that you have to feel guilty about having them! There are lots of ways to enjoy the flavors of the season in a more healthy way!

Let’s take gingerbread, for example. If you love it but don’t want to indulge in the cookies, you can still enjoy it in alternative ways! We found this recipe over on Peanut Butter and Peppers and think it is a great way to have the taste of gingerbread in the form of a smoothie! Something that everyone is bound to enjoy!

INGREDIENTS

1½ cups coconut milk from carton or milk of choice
1 small banana, frozen
¼ tsp. nutmeg
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. ginger, ground
⅛ tsp. cloves, ground
1tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. molasses
¼ tsp. stevia or sugar to taste
1 cup ice

To get the rest of the recipe, and complete instructions on how to make them, head on over here. And, if you do make it, leave us a comment below to tell us what you thought of them!

 

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Recipe: Fall-Inspired Pumpkin Pie Protein Bars

Finding healthy snacks that you can enjoy on the go can be difficult but it’s a worthwhile exploration through very delicious territory.

To help you fill your gym bag with yummy, and energy-inducing, snacks, we’ve sourced a fantastic recipe that you’re going to want to try this Fall: Vegan Pumpkin Pie Protein Bars.

We found this recipe over on Nutritionist in the Kitch and happily put it to the test. Needless to say, we were blown away by the flavor that was packed into these little bars of goodness. As a side bonus, these bars look super pretty, too!

INGREDIENTS

1 cup pitted dates
½ cup raw cashews
2 Tablespoons raw pumpkin seeds
2 Tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut
⅓ cup vegan vanilla or pumpkin protein powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
¼ cup pure pumpkin puree

Bars Garnish:

2 tablespoons raw pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons toasted coconut flakes
2 tablespoons chopped pecans

To get the rest of the recipe, and complete instructions on how to make them, head on over here. And, if you do make them, leave us a comment below to tell us what you thought of them!

Here’s to holding onto pumpkin-everything for a little bit longer…

 

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Healthy German Chocolate Brownies

Healthy German Chocolate Brownies

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Gooey chocolatel-y, dense brownies topped with our own protein powder frosting concoction, pecans, and shredded coconut.

This decadent dessert will satisfy your chocolate cravings, and you can feel extra good about it too because there’s no added sugar or oil. We used agave nectar as the sweetener and Greek yogurt and pumpkin puree instead of oil and eggs.

On a side note, did you know that German chocolate cake isn’t really German? It owes its name to American Sam German, who developed a brand of dark baking chocolate used for the cake.

Brownie Cake Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • half of a 3 oz dark chocolate bar (70% or higher)*, roughly chopped
  • cooking spray or coconut oil

Frosting & Topping Ingredients

  • 3 scoops protein powder, vanilla or chocolate flavored**
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp natural peanut butter
  • 3 oz water
  • 1/4 cup pecans, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut

* We used a 100% dark chocolate bar. It’s very rich and bitter but once you mix it with the other ingredients, we think it has the perfect amount of sweetness and dark chocolate decadence… but it might be too much for some people so that’s why we recommend 70% or higher.

** Make sure whatever protein powder you use tastes really good. Our current favorite for this recipe is Optimum Nutrition Natural Vanilla or Chocolate.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and lightly oil a 9×9 glass baking dish.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together whole wheat flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the wet ingredients – pumpkin puree, Greek yogurt, agave nectar, and vanilla extract.
  4. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until incorporated.
  5. Fold in dark chocolate pieces.
  6. Pour into baking dish and spread evenly.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes.
  8. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes and then begin preparing frosting. Don’t make the frosting too far ahead of time because it thickens up quickly and gets sticky so you need to make it and put it on the brownies fairly quickly.
  9. In a small bowl, sift protein powder and cocoa together so the cocoa is evenly incorporated and doesn’t have any lumps.
  10. Mix together the protein powder and cocoa mixture, peanut butter, and water until thoroughly incorporated. The texture will be need to be like a chocolate sauce so that you can pour it onto the brownies, but not too thin that is runny and watery. However, as mentioned above, it does set up after a few minutes so err on the side of being too thin than too thick (it has to be spreadable).
  11. Pour frosting/sauce over brownies and spread evenly.
  12. Top with chopped pecans and coconut.
  13. Let brownies set up and cool for about 20 minutes before serving (if possible).

Healthy-German-Chocolate-Brownies-1

Ground Turkey Meatballs with Zucchini

Ground Turkey Meatballs with Zucchini

turkey-zucchini-meatballs-4

Most healthy foodies would agree, ground turkey breast can be a bit… dry and bland. So we’ve been on a mission to make this great lean protein option a bit more exciting.

A few weeks ago we decided to give Jamie Eason’s Italian turkey burger recipe a try. The burgers have grated zucchini and seasonings, which add so much moisture and flavor with minimal extra calories.

We’ve tweaked the recipe (only slightly) and turned them into meatballs, for a great make-ahead meal, served with marinara, or even as an appetizer.

Ingredients

  • 20 oz package of ground extra lean turkey breast
  • 2 medium zucchini, grated
  • 1/4 onion, grated
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

If you have a cooling rack, spray it with cooking oil and place it on top of a half sheet pan. If you don’t have a cooling rack, spray the top of the sheet pan with cooking oil.

In a large bowl, combine the grated zucchini, grated onion, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, basil, oregano, pepper and turkey. Mix well.

Scoop small palm-size portions, shape them into balls, and place them on the cooling rack in rows. Continue until all of the mixture has been used.

You should have about 3 dozen meatballs.

turkey-zucchini-meatballs-1

Place the meatballs in oven and bake for 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and serve warm, topped with marinara sauce and served over spaghetti squash or whole-wheat pasta. You could also serve them on toothpicks with a side of marinara for an appetizer.

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Detox Your Body: How to Detox Safely for Spring without Deprivation

Detox Your Body: How to Detox Safely for Spring without Deprivation

Detox-Your-Body

By Live Well 360 Guest Blogger Lisa Consiglio Ryan

Spring is here.

Can you feel it?  The sun, the warmth, the feeling of getting a fresh start? I can actually feel it in my bones, my whole being. I’m ready to burst with action and get moving.

This is a good time to take a look at your life, make a new plan, and get a brand new start. What do you want to clear out? With your environment? Within yourself? What do you wish to see happen this year?

New starts and new beginnings remind me of cleansing. And a great way to supercharge the season is to detox.

Spring is the perfect time to do a detox because you can take a good look at habits and set health goals.

During springtime, you are filled with inspiration and have energy to achieve these goals. You’re more active, creative, and more apt to stick to your routines.

Once you experience a detox that incorporates whole foods and daily activities that support your body, there isn’t anything in the world that can compare to the feeling you get after a detox.

You may feel increased bouts of energy, eliminate your cravings, lose weight, reduce bloating and get rid of belly fat.

Your mind is clear and focused, and even your mood can improve. You might even glow!

If you don’t think you need a detox or are scared straight even hearing the word, think again.

Here are four sure-fire ways to overcome excuses and detox your body safely:

Myth 1:  “I will starve.”

Try a gentle, clean food-based detox.  Eliminate processed foods and foods with added sugar, dairy, alcohol, caffeine, gluten, soy, and animal protein.

Stick to organic fruits and veggies for your cleanse. Add lots of vegetables, fruits, greens, grains, legumes, and beans.

Also plan to eat every 3 hours with meals and snacks.  That way you won’t feel deprived or hungry.

If you are feeling hungry, drink water.  Hunger is actually a sign of being dehydrated so drink up.

Myth 2:  “I will have to stick to the bathroom.”

To be honest, you might be constipated or go to the bathroom a little more often than usual.

This is natural as your body expels toxins especially at the beginning of the cleanse. You are eating normal food.

In fact, real food. Therefore, you body will begin to balance itself out and become regular.

Move your body during detox.  Movement on the outside stimulates movement on the inside.

Eating foods that nourish and detoxify are necessary for your cleanse, but the next step is to incorporate exercise.

Try gentle yoga, walking in nature, stretching. You don’t want to run twelve miles during your cleanse or do a long bike ride.

You will be completely exhausted. Your body is working hard to get rid of toxins, and she needs to rest to restore during the detox period.

Myth 3:  “I have to mix up powders and take pills.”

If you Google “detox,” you can get all sorts of scary looking boxes or programs to buy.Instead go for the real foods and pump the green goodness.

Spring time foods consist of dandelion greens, spinach, parsley, watercress, asparagus, peas, fennel, and mustard greens.

You can also add in additional dark leafy greens such as kale, Swiss chard, and collards.

The chlorophyll from the leaves feed the blood, and help your body achieve balance.  Therefore, ridding your body of toxins becomes easier.

You feel cleaner without sucking down tons of powdery mixes.

 Myth 4: “I will faint.”

If you keep up with your delicious greens and whole foods, eat every 3 hours, drink tons of water, there is no reason for you to faint or feel weak.

You can rid your body of toxins without putting your life on hold.  Make sure to eat all your meals and snacks, and if you need extra protein, go for it.

Listen to your body and let her guide the way.

Detox doesn’t have to be a scary. Detox can be delicious and an amazing way to reboot your body.

In the comments below, I’d love to hear from you.

Are you planning a detox this spring?

About Lisa

lisa-bio
Lisa Consiglio Ryan is the founder of Whole Health Designs, juicy clean living advocate and mama of two. She loves her Bikram yoga practice, running, and is a mission to spread the word, “Food is love”.

She provides detox programs and private coaching for women who desire to embrace clean living.

As a Certified Health and Nutrition Coach, Lisa has worked with over 1,000 people in her Renewal 10 Day Detox programs. Her work has been featured in Fitness Magazine, TinyBuddha, Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Life , Athleta Chi, The Daily Meal, and Mind Body Green.

Strawberry Citrus Fizz Mocktail

Strawberry Citrus Fizz Mocktail

strawberry-citrus-fizz

Ingredients

  • 1/4 valencia orange
  • 1/4 sweet lime
  • 1 large strawberry, sliced
  • 1 small strawberry, for garnish
  • 2 large mint leaves, torn into small pieces
  • ice
  • small can (8 oz) Hansen’s tonic (I used about half of the can)

Directions

Squeeze the orange and the lime into a martini shaker. Add the sliced strawberry, mint leaves, and ice. Put the lid on the martini shaker and shake vigorously to muddle the strawberries and the mint with the ice cubes.

Place your serving glass on the counter in front of you and pour the martini shaker ingredients into the glass at the same time as you pour the tonic into the glass, filling it to the top.

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What You Should Use Your Sundays For

Sunday is a day of rest for many, often consisting of lazy hours spent in front of the TV. After an uneventful weekend, Monday is forced to pick up the brunt of responsibilities

Get out of this hectic schedule by shifting some of your weekly duties to Sunday.

By spending just a few hours of your Sunday preparing for the week ahead, you can sail through the week feeling more relaxed and accomplished.

Here are a few things you should use your Sundays for:

Meal Prep

MEAL PREP

Meal prep can save you cash, reduce waste, and greatly improve your nutrition.

There has probably been many evenings when you didn’t plan out your meals, resulting in a stop at your local fast food drive-through for a makeshift dinner. Eating out becomes habit-forming, and the consequences are often poor nutrition, weight gain, and depleted funds.

Meal prep can save you time in the kitchen and prompt healthier food choices.

Steps to effective meal preparation:

  • Open your fridge and toss everything that is expired
  • Scan grocery store ads and create a weekly menu based on what’s on sale
  • Write down a list of food items you’ll need to purchase

To save time during the week, choose meals that are relatively quick to prepare and cook, using both hot and cold foods. If possible, serve foods that are in season, providing better flavor, prices, and quality.

If you won’t have time to cook in the evening, throw some dinner into a crockpot and let it slowly stew while you’re at work. Arrive home to a hot and hearty meal that took mere minutes to prepare that morning.

Schedule Your Week

SCHEDULE YOUR WEEK

Organization is the key to success.

On Sunday, take the time to establish a plan of attack for each day of the upcoming week. By scheduling your week on a Sunday, you’re able to see your successes and failures from the previous week, and alter the upcoming week to ensure triumph.

When scheduling your week, sit down with pen and paper, calendar, or laptop in a quiet place free of distractions.

Take a look at what work, school, and household duties you have in the upcoming week. Also take note of any appointments you may have. Block off time during your week for important activities, but be sure to leave time for relaxation and bonding with loved ones.

By creating a fulfilling routine, you can avoid procrastination and the many distractions that accompany an unorganized life.

Get ahead on work. Via Whatsupusana

GET AHEAD ON WORK

No one wants to work on weekends, but spending an hour or two completing a few work-related tasks can help you start your week off with a bang.

First address your inbox. Read, answer, and sort the emails you’ve received over the weekend, and catch up on any old emails you have yet to address. On Monday, you won’t be so overwhelmed with an inbox full of unanswered messages.

Use your Sundays to knockout a few smaller tasks, leaving you more time during the week for tackling larger projects.

If you have meetings coming up, take a few moments to write down talking points to ensure that the appointment runs smoothly.

Jot down a to-do list you’d like to accomplish during the week, starting with the most important and ending with the least. Also set up time limits in which you’d like to finish each task.

An organized closet will save you time and frustration. Via Ariannabelle

ORGANIZE YOUR CLOSET

You’ve probably mumbled “I have nothing to wear!” one too many times when trying to dress in the early morning hours.

Making getting ready in the morning a cinch by readying your wardrobe on Sunday.

Begin by quickly getting your wardrobe organized by putting away any freshly-laundered clothes. Make sure that your closet and dresser drawers are separated into categories to make finding what you need fast and simple.

You’ll also want to spend a few minutes picking out an outfit for each day of the week. Not only does this save time, it can also prevent you from wearing the same style of clothes again and again.

Consider what tasks you’ll be completing the upcoming week, such as meetings or dates, and plan your outfits accordingly. Include any accessories and footwear you plan on wearing.

Share the housework. Via Telegraph

DELEGATE CHORES

To ensure that you have leisurely time for yourself, ask others in the household for help.

Household chores should be delegated among spouses and children so that everyone has shared responsibilities in the home. Children as small as two-years-old can complete simple chores, such as picking up clothes off the floor.

Prevent household chores from becoming overly boring by shuffling tasks between everyone in the home.

On Sundays, assign everyone their weekly chores, such as putting away their clothing, sweeping the kitchen, or setting the table.

To make it easier to remember who does what, create a chore chart with each person’s name and task under each day of the week. Consider offering children incentives or rewards for completing their chores for the entire week to keep things fun.

In Conclusion…

With Monday just a day away, many people dread Sunday evenings. However, you can feel confident going into the work week by getting some essential tasks completed on Sunday.

What are some of your Sunday rituals? Let us know some of your life hacks below!


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