Sunday, March 27, 2011

Eating Chicken Breast Again!

I know what everybody hears about a "bodybuilder's" diet, protein, protein, protein, whey protein and lots of chicken breast. Sound like the potential for a boring menu after awhile. With a little creativity you can vary the menu quite a bit.
Some of my faves:

Chicken tacos
Cut boneless, skinless chicken breast into thin strips, season with your favorite taco seasoning and saute with olive oil until lightly browned. Add tomato sauce, hot sauce and BBQ sauce. Stir to coat all chicken evenly. Simmer on low heat adding water to thin sauce if necessary.
While chicken simmers, prepare toppings: shred lettuce or better yet, spinach, dice tomatoes, peppers, onions etc. as you desire. All veggies: nutrient dense and low calorie. Shred cheeses of your choice but use sparingly as too much cheese quickly adds to calories and fat content of your taco.  Try topping it off with a little Greek yogurt.
Create you masterpiece and enjoy! Tacos area an easy and healthy way to get the family involved in their own healthy meals and accommodate varying taste preferences. Put out all the toppings, hand everybody a shell and let them build their own!
Taco traps: Be careful of sabotaging the healthy taco meal. Consider using Greek yogurt instead of sour cream, or if you must use sour cream keep it to a small 'dolup.' Cheese should also be used sparsely and go with a  low-fat option where you can.

Chicken and Quinoa
Cook quinoa per package instructions. (Add a little chicken base to the boiling water before adding quinoa for a little extra flavor.)
Scoop a serving of cooked quinoa into a bowl. Toss in baked skinless chicken breast cut into strips or small pieces that has been seasoned to your palate. Grab a fork and enjoy.
This is a great meal to prepare ahead. Make a little extra you've got lunch options for the week, put a scoop of cooked quinoa in a bowl with a lid and add chicken or vegetables.
Quinoa is considered a "superfood," providing all 9 essential amino acids....great for building muscles! Also a great source of phytonutrients, antioxidants and fiber.

Hot Chicken Wing Pizza (my favorite!)
Bake skinless chicken breasts, slice into strips and coat strips in chicken wing sauce.
Choose a "crust." Try a whole wheat pita or wrap. Or make homemade whole wheat crust.
Prepare crust, top with tomato sauce and hot sauce mixed for some extra kick (remember the added metabolism boost from the capsacin!)
Next layer...shredded spinach, then shredded cheese (again consider low-fat and watch quantity as this can be a trap). Consider adding a small amount of feta or cottage cheese for a little texture.
Finally top generously with the baked chicken breast strips.
Bake at 400 degrees until cheese is melted and crust lightly browned. Let cool and enjoy!
Pizza traps: the biggest nutrition trap in pizza creating is the cheese. Consider low-fat/part-skim and keep pie coverage sparse as cheese quickly ups the calorie and fat content of the meal.

Headed off to bake me a pizza right now! Which meal are you going to try?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Protein and Resistance Training

Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Gold Standard, Double Rich Chocolate, 5 PoundSo you are working hard at the gym by now, I presume....Now about the fuel and building materials you are providing your body after your workout?  Found a good article reviewing dietary protein intake in relation to resistance training.  I personally provide my body with a whey protein shake 'chaser' after a workout session. Tons of stuff out there about nutrient timing and muscle building...if your interested in more of the science stuff check out this article.....
Remember your nutrition plan and your resistance program are both critical to your success in sculpting your new self!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Reality Check (-In)

Time to be honest...we are well past the New Year's Resolution make it or break point. Probably approaching time for the need for "tank top arms" and the ever popular drive to "bikini season." I personally stick with a less seasonal approach to being fit and healthy! Where do you stand? Do remember the goals you set for yourself?  How are you progressing towards your goals? Are you any closer to meeting them or have you achieved them and it's time to set new goals?

Take assessment of your plan and your progress: (time to be honest with yourself)

  • Did you set S.M.A.R.T. goals?
  • Do you remember your goals/did you write them down to make yourself accountable?
  • Which of your goals have you achieved? Have you set new goals?
  • And most importantly~how badly do you want to reach these goals and have you put in your best effort to move towards achieving them?
  • Did you keep a food journal to keep yourself accountable? Are you making healthier food choices?
  • Have you reassessed portion sizes? Are you suffering from a bit of 'portion distortion?'
  • How are your energy levels?
  • Have you gained/maintained control over stress/emotional eating? Hard to do but face it using food to deal with stress only adds to the stress by contributing to you not meeting your health goals.
Workouts/exercise/activity level:
  • Do you have a gym membership/home gym or exercise area?
  • Do you actually go to the gym?  :)
  • Do you push yourself during your workout? They should be hard and make you feel like you did something. (you need to walk faster on the Treadmill than you walked getting over to it, and yes, the weight should feel heavy when you lift it!)
  • Is it time to set up a new program for the gym to shock those muscles and break through a plateau?

OK, full disclosure, I am writing this post because I felt I needed to take inventory....kinda felt like I was losing focus and allowing little leaks and falling into old habits. I am human, faced by the same challenges and temptations as everyone else. But I have worked too hard to make the improvements I have so far and will not let myself fall off track!

So, how did you do?
Are your headed in the right direction?
How bad do you really want it? Are you willing to buckle down, deal with the rough spots and give things a little more attention?
Did you figure out a few items you can work on to further your success in getting closer to your goals? Tackle the issues with a little renewed motivation! Consider a less seasonal approach to healthy and fit and make the lifestyle change.

Have you reached your goals? Congratulations! Celebrate a little with a happy dance, set some new goals and keep on going!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sometimes you just need a cookie....

OK, so we're all human and sometimes you just need a cookie. Don't want to fall off the wagon and get started on the sugar kick again, or just erase the calorie deficit for the day (or week since it is awfully hard to have only one cookie once you get started.).
So....I cleaned up the cookie! Calories still count so indulge in moderation but without guilt as this recipe also provides some health benefits (ok, so some rationalizing going on...).

Dark Chocolate/Oatmeal/Peanut Butter Cookie
1/3 cup Olivio light
1/2 cup Agave nectar
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. baking powder
1 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1/2 cup Hershey's Special Dark cocoa powder
3/4 cup whole wheat flour

Roll dough into ~ 1 inch balls and flatten on baking sheet.
Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes.
Makes about 30 cookies.

The breakdown (per cookie)
Calories: 77.5
Protein: 2 g
Carbs: 9.8 g
Fat: 3.5 g
Sugar: 4.6 g

And here's the health benefits of my cookies:  :)
Natural source of flavanol antioxidants from the 100% cocoa
Protein and healthy fats from the natural peanut butter
More healthy fats from the Olivio as it is made from olive oil
and everybody talks about the benefits of eating oats...

Give them a try as a healthier treat option but remember a cookie is still a cookie...

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Healthy Favorite: Homemade Granola Bar

Looking for a new "bar" for a to-go snack? How about homemade granola bars? I treated my husband to a great cookbook, (though I think I have tried more recipes than he has...) Gourmet Nutrition by John Berardi from Precision Nutrition. Just baked a batch of the granola bars! They are great to cut up and put in snack bags to freeze for a good healthy snack to-go. I also enjoy the peanut butter crunch bars...also great to freeze for grab and go healthy, protein filled snack option.
Gourmet Nutrition: The Cookbook for the Fit Food LoverThe book can be used simply as a cookbook but also describes how to create a meal plan from its recipes including labeling each as anytime meals or post workout meals as well as giving good pairing options, referencing other recipes to create a more complete meal. Meal templates are also included to get you started.
Precision Nutrition's website has a great blog worth checking out for those really interested in the science of nutrition and health. Their website also offers free online/email courses that are full of great information, downloadable tools and the occasional free recipes from their cookbooks!

A clean and healthy nutrition plan is essential to living a fit and healthy lifestyle and achieving your transformation goals. Experiment with new recipes and food to find healthier substitutes you enjoy, you need to make preparing and eating healthy meals enjoyable!
Your long term success depends upon you recreating your attitude about eating to make a lifestyle change and stop "dieting!" Good luck and enjoy!

Gourmet Nutrition: The Cookbook for the Fit Food Lover

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Cardio boost

We all can probably agree, when stuck inside doing cardio for the winter months it can get a little boring. Need to switch up the mode frequently for the interests of continued progress and not going insane and starting to avoid cardio just for the pure boredom factor.
I have found the solution to my getting a killer cardio workout without having to force it mentally the whole time. Using a variety of  Motiontraxx episodes, I have multiple options for upbeat music mixes guaranteed to kick your cardio up a notch without you even realizing what happened. Motiontraxx has been releasing some new mixes in recent weeks that I have found top all the other mixes I have tried. Some are available on iTunes and some are exclusive mixes with new sponsors. Motiontraxx can be found on iTunes, or at their own website, and try 'liking' it on Facebook for updates on new episodes.
Apple iPod nano 8 GB Graphite (6th Generation) NEWEST MODELGot another killer cardio workout this morning using one of their new mixes "Precision Beats" sponsored by Polar Heart Rate Monitors, an interval mix for some HIIT without having to watch a timer as the music beats change and cue you to switch up the pace at the intervals. Believe me, just let the beat of the music guide you and you'll get a killer workout.  My other fave is the Push It Traxx that was sponsored by Powerbar, steady state cardio but easy to get lost in the beat and power through a great cardio workout!
Be sure to check out Motiontraxx and break out of your cardio rut!