Category: Nutrition

I Changed What I Ate (and Didn’t) to Lose Weight

By Elevate Fitness Marketing Director and Certified Spin Instructor Jason Jaquays-Tarbox

Recently, I found I’d fallen into some bad habits. Bad habits that I’d corrected once before through lots of hard work, determination, dedication, and effort. Bad habits that I’d sworn I’d never allow back into my life regardless of the circumstances.

Oh, Jason, you naive thing you.

I’d recently been recertified to teach spin classes and was teaching and taking classes several times a week burning a butt-load of calories when I took out my summer wardrobe only to discover that some of my shorts were simply too tight to button anymore.

How could this be? I was spinning four to five times a week and burning in the neighborhood of a thousand calories each time. How, when I was doing all that work in the gym, could my waist betray me like that??

Oh, Jason, you naive thing you.

The reality was that on top of all this crazy pedaling I was doing, I was also going home and telling myself that I’d worked so hard in class that morning that I deserved chips before dinner. I deserved full-fat ice cream after dinner. I deserved to bake and eat half a pie before bed.

Yup, I was essentially trying to out-exercise a bad diet. It was time to change things up and take responsibility for what I’d been telling gym members for years – your efforts in the gym only count when they’re accompanied by making good choices in the kitchen.

I set out to attack the problem head-on by avoiding the following things that I self-declared to be out-of-bounds for a month:

  1. No gluten. For me, that meant no bread (and trust me – I could make an entire meal out of bread alone, so this wasn’t an easy task) and no pie. Now, I’d recently discovered that I’m REALLY GOOD at baking homemade pies, so to say this took some willpower is an understatement.
  2. No caffeine. Prior to beginning this journey, I was drinking anywhere from four to six Diet Dr. Peppers a day. I know, I know. I’d chosen for a long time to willfully not believe all the evidence that shows even diet sodas can lead to weight gain.
  3. No white carbs. No regular potatoes (sweet potatoes were acceptable), no white rice (brown rice was acceptable) and no added sugars.
  4. No dairy. That’s right – none.

More important than what I wasn’t allowing myself, though, was what I WAS going to be eating. Afterall, without bread, pie and my beloved Diet Dr. Pepper, what exactly was I going to be eating, then?

  1. Green apples (not red), and lots of them!
  2. Protein shakes with added fiber for breakfast and lunch (meal planning just got a whole lot easier).
  3. Lean protein (chicken) and greens for dinner.
  4. Raw cashews.

Now, I know that list doesn’t look very long or very interesting, but I can assure you that like most routines that we fall into, consuming the same foods day after day became not only normal but almost preferable to me.

In fact, when I set out to do this challenge, my goal was a 30-day period beginning on May 31st and ending June 29th, allowing me to eat anything I wanted come June 30th, my birthday. And I did splurge on the 30th (there was a LOT of bread in my belly when I went to bed that night) but by July 1st, I was ready to get back to the routine I’d established in June.

And so I did, but I added a new rule and went vegan while reverting back to the four off-limits rules from above.

Here’s what I’ve accomplished with this strategy over the past 62 days:

  1. I’ve lost somewhere between 20 – 25 pounds (my weight fluctuates up to 5 pounds a day depending on how long/far I’ve run, how hydrated I am, etc. so this is normal for me).
  2. I’m (mostly) sleeping through the night again (probably thanks to giving Diet Dr. Pepper the heave-ho).
  3. My running form and time have both improved (although, full disclaimer: this could also be due to a recent 32-day run-streak of daily runs of at least 3.1 miles each).
  4. I have experienced fewer and less-severe headaches (again, probably thanks to ditching the doctor).
  5. I feel generally happier and more positive.

Now, you can make your assumptions about why I’m experiencing these improvements, but the bottom line is – they’re improvements and whether the cause is the change in my eating habits or good, old-fashioned placebo effect, the improvements are real.

For me, the effort and discipline have been worth it for the weight loss, the improved sense of well-being and for having been finally able to ditch the soda! And chances are I’ll continue to eat “clean” 90% of the time or more just to maintain the benefits I’ve experienced.

I haven’t been perfect. I’ve faltered. I’ve whined. I’ve complained.

But even when it hasn’t been great, all I’ve had to do is think about how much money I’m saving on soda or how my shorts finally fit (comfortably) again, or how much healthier my skin looks to know that like all things in life, the things worth having (doing?) are rarely easy, but the rewards are oh, so worth it.

 

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The Benefits of Fiber

The Benefits of Fiber from Elevate Fitness in Syracuse

What is Fiber?

Dietary fiber, the ingestible parts of plant-based foods, are a carbohydrate. So why would you eat MORE fiber (a carb) to lose weight? Simply put, dietary fiber, unlike other carbohydrates, isn’t broken down into sugar which is then stored in the body, and most of the dietary fiber you consume simply passes through your body.

What makes fiber truly remarkable (and productive) though, is the work it does on its way through your body. There are two types of dietary fiber: soluble (dissolves in water) and insoluble (does not dissolve in water, and remains largely unchanged as it is digested) and both provide massive benefits to your health and can aid in weight loss.

Fiber has been credited with the following benefits:

  1. Increasing the regularity of bowel movements and maintaining bowel health. (Source: Mayo Clinic)
  2. Decreased cholesterol. (Source: Raleigh Medical Group)
  3. Regulate blood sugar levels. (Source: The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine)
  4. Possible cancer prevention. (Certain types and under certain circumstances. Source: British Journal of Medicine)
  5. Increased longevity. (Source: American Journal of Epidemiology)
  6. Allergy prevention. (Source: Live Science)
  7. Asthma reduction (Both occurrences and severity of symptoms. Source: Scientific American)
  8. Increased heart health. (Source: WebMD)
  9. Can help reduce symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease, duodenal ulcer, diverticulitis, and hemorrhoids. (Source: Pharmacy Times)
  10. Feel full longer, aiding in weight loss. (Source: Men’s Journal)

Our recommendation?

To experience the benefits of fiber, we recommend that you strive to get AT LEAST 30 grams of fiber per day (source: Harvard Health) from some of these high fiber foods.

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Lose More Weight With These 3 Tricks

It simply cannot be argued that the most effective method for weight loss is a combination of exercise and nutrition. Even the world-renowned Mayo Clinic acknowledges that both are necessary components of weight loss in their 6 Strategies for Success.

But is it really as simple as calories in versus calories out? On the surface, yes, it is. For most people looking to lose weight the simple practice of measuring and properly managing calories in and out will be sufficient to create a weight loss effect.

And with the wide variety of tools and apps available to help you measure and track your calories, it’s easier than ever to put the calories in/calories out practice to work for you.

However – there are ways to take it up a notch, either to increase the effectiveness of caloric deficits or to help you push through plateaus when your weight loss starts to slow down.

Here are 3 ways to step up your weight loss game and take caloric management to the next level:

One. Track Your Macros

To track your macros, first, you have to understand what they are. Macros are your carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Finding the right percentage of each to fuel your weight loss can increase your results and help you lose weight faster than tracking calories alone.

You can learn more about macros from MyFitnessPal, which also offers a free app to help you track calories in/calories out AND your macros (which we HIGHLY recommend).

By adding macro tracking to your weight loss strategy, you’ll get better results by focusing on the quality of the calories you’re tracking. This can often result in more weight loss or faster weight loss.

Two. Focus On Digestive Health

Your digestive system is a complex and sensitive system that plays a large role in how your foods are broken down and processed by your body, again helping determine the efficiency and effectiveness of the calories in versus calories out weight loss strategy.

To maintain good digestive health, we recommend including plenty of fiber in your diet. This will help you feel fuller longer, as fiber is super filling but lower in calories than other food types. In fact, Harvard recently reported that a step as simple as getting 30 grams of fiber a day can, “can help you lose weight, lower your blood pressure, and improve your body’s response to insulin just as effectively as a more complicated diet.” Read more here.

Three. Rethink Your Eating Habits.

Just because you’ve always eaten your lunch at 12 pm doesn’t mean that’s the best time for you to eat your lunch.

Some people experience a change in their weight loss by simply changing what they eat when. Maybe you want to try limiting carbs after 5 pm. Maybe three meals per day gets you great results and maybe 6 smaller meals spread out works best for you. Or maybe you’d benefit from intermittent fasting?

The point is to rethink your habits and play around with how your caloric intake is happening and see what you can do to that gives your results a boost!

Need accountability with your weight loss strategy? Consider the Elevate Fitness Weight Loss Challenge. Learn more here.

Eat Healthy Without Depriving Yourself

Have you ever tried to turn over a new leaf and eat healthily? If you have, chances are there were times you felt deprived. Here we have 5 simple tips to help you eat healthy without depriving yourself!

One. Plan Ahead

One of the most common reasons that people abandon their goals when it comes to healthy eating is because they get off track by making a few bad choices due to lack of planning.

That’s why we recommend planning your meals and menus in advance (preparing about a week at a time is pretty customary and easy to do) and shopping with lists. And don’t forget to plan realistically (more on that later) and not idealistically. Know that you’re going to be hungry and you’re going to need options.

If you plan for too few calories or meals and don’t have options available, you’re going to end up making bad choices when hunger hits.

Need help getting organized? We love these meal planning pads from Amazon.

Two. Set Clear Goals

Don’t just jump into a new eating routine without some clear goals in mind. Know what you’re wanting to accomplish with your new nutritional habits and set clear guidelines, deadlines, and measurements in place to keep you on track to meeting your goals. Maybe your goal is to lose weight, or maybe your goal is to cut out caffeine or gluten. Whatever your goal, be specific and smart about it.

Read here to learn more about setting SMART goals relative to your diet and nutrition.

Three. Journal

We’ve said before that documenting and journaling is one of the best strategies for keeping you on track and helping you to reach your weight loss and fitness goals. And we recommend that you don’t just document your plan, document your results, too. Not only will that help with accountability, but it will help keep you motivated and wanting to accomplish more as well.

Read more about our thoughts on documenting your journey and accountability. And consider an app like MyFitnessPal which makes logging your meals, snacks, water, and even your workouts a breeze!

Four. Do Your Research

The very best thing you can do to kick off your new habit is to meet with a nutritionist or a personal trainer first. But if that’s not possible: make sure you do as much research as you can. Find a plan that fits not only your goals but your lifestyles and preferences as well. If you hate seafood and choose a fish-based diet because it promised you’ll drop pounds and that’s your objective – you’re likely to fail because a fish-based diet doesn’t work with your preferences.

Another great tip is to ask the people in your life who are already living the lifestyle to which you aspire to help you figure out the map for getting you to where you want to be. Success breeds success.

Five. Be Reasonable

Finally, remember that you will have good days and you will have bad days. You will see progress and you will see what looks like no change. This happens to everyone. The important thing is that you realize that one bad meal or one bad day does not mean you’ve failed and it’s not impossible to bounce back from those moments.

Be realistic and reasonable with yourself. You didn’t get the body you have overnight, and if you’re looking to nutrition to change your body, it won’t do that overnight either. Celebrate your good days. Acknowledge your bad days. BUT KEEP GOING. Don’t give up – it’ll get easier and easier with every day and every victory.

Not a member of Elevate Fitness yet? Try us out for FREE!

Three Simple Lists to Live By for Weight Loss

Weight loss can get complicated, we get it. Sometimes making small, simple changes and adjustments consistently can make a big an impact that you might not expect. Here are three simple lists that you can use every day to make small changes that will lead to big results.

List #1: WHAT TO EAT

VEGETABLES: Non-starchy veggies are as good as it gets (especially leafy greens) with huge nutritional benefits.
PROTEIN: Pasteurized eggs, lean meats, fish and other seafood like lobster and clams are great sources of protein.
FRUITS: Low sugar fruits like berries are best.

List #2: WHAT NOT TO EAT

PROCESSED FOOD: Packed with chemicals and large amounts of nutritionally-void calories, processed foods are a major no-no.
FRIED FOODS: This one almost goes without saying.
LIQUID CALORIES: Sports drinks, fruit juices, and soda are better off not consumed because of the sugar and empty calories.
SUGAR: You should avoid any food products that are high in sugar and you should never add sugar to foods as it causes the body to store fat.
ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS: No Nutrasweet or Splenda – use natural sweeteners like Stevia.
WHITE CARBOHYDRATES: Avoid white potatoes, white rice, and cereals
SOY SAUCE, CANOLA OIL & MOST SALAD DRESSINGS: Substitute with oil and vinegar or balsamic dressing that you make yourself.

List #3: WHAT TO EAT IN MODERATION

GRAINS: Corn, oats and brown rice should be consumed on a minimal basis, and should be avoided totally if you have gluten sensitivity issues. When you DO eat grains, ensure they’re whole grains.
DAIRY: Milk and cheese are okay in limited quantities (try to limit yourself to one serving per day). Whole full-fat milk is okay if you don’t have problems with lactose. You may also consider trying almond or coconut milk as a substitution for regular milk. (When considering cheese – try to eat from blocks of cheese – those individually wrapped things aren’t really cheese – they can’t even call themselves cheese – they’re a cheese product, see above regarding processed foods.)
MINIMALLY PROCESSED MEATS: Sausage, bacon, salami, and pepperoni should only be eaten in small portions only. Do not eat hot dogs. Ever. There’s a reason hotdogs are nicknamed “mystery meat” and we believe that nothing you put in your body should be a mystery.
BEANS: While beans are high in protein, fiber and antioxidants (great!) and low in sugar (also great!) they can impede weight loss because they are a starchy carb.
PRE-PACKAGED FOODS: Packaged foods are convenience foods, they are meant to last on shelves for very long periods of time, and that makes them likely to last on your waistline for a long period of time, too.
ALCOHOL: Alcoholic beverages can be toxic to your body and should, therefore, be consumed in moderation. A single glass of wine a few times per week (preferably red as it’s lower in sugar) or liquor without any added mixers a couple of times a week will do minimal damage. Beer should be avoided at ALL costs.

Take from this one or two changes you can make immediately and begin to incorporate more as you start to see results! Want to add a fitness consultation to the mix to make sure the program you’re planning for yourself is the most effective for your body type and your goals? Elevate Fitness can help you!

Weight Loss and Macronutrients

Lose weight using macronutrients at Elevate Fitness in Dewitt and LiverpoolIf you’ve spent any amount of time researching weight loss online, or reading weight loss and diet articles in magazines or getting advice from people in Facebook groups, then you’ve likely heard of macronutrients. But what exactly are they and what role do they play in weight loss?

Macronutrients are the three types of foods that are required, in varying quantities, in our diets for basic nutrition. When discussing macronutrients here, we are referring to Carbohydrates, Proteins, and Fats. And yes, you need all three in order to maintain a healthy eating lifestyle AND to lose weight (those no-fat diets will likely end up causing you to gain weight see this article from The Cleveland Clinic for more).

For the sake of this blog post (and because of the abundance of easily accessible information to be found online) we’re going to make the assumption that you’re less interested in the science behind the macronutrients and that you’re more interested in the role they should play in weight loss.

ABOUT CARBOHYDRATES

  1. Your carb consumption should be based on how active you are and what your goals are. The more active you are, the more carbs your body can burn for fuel. But be warned, if you have weight loss goals, it’s likely your body is storing enough fuel for those workouts, and you won’t need to consume as many carbohydrates as say, a marathon runner.
  2. Carbs provide your muscles with glycogen and your brain with glucose.
  3. Vegetables and fruit are the best sources of carbohydrates because they also contain lots of fiber and nutritional value.
  4. If you’re focused on weight loss, you generally won’t want to exceed 100 grams of carbohydrates per day which is fairly easy to accomplish when you’re avoiding processed foods and sugars and you’re minimizing your grain intake.

ABOUT PROTEIN

  1. Protein is the most essential macronutrient for maintaining optimal body health. Don’t be afraid to consume a lot of protein.
  2. Focus on eating the right kinds of protein. Eat lean meats, not fatty meats. And choose white poultry over dark.
  3. Most people (especially women) aren’t consuming enough protein. Consider using a supplement like a protein shake first thing in the morning, or after you’ve worked out to ensure you’re getting enough.
  4. Because protein makes the body feel fuller for longer periods of time than any other macronutrient – every meal and snack you consume should include some protein. Especially if your goal is weight loss.

ABOUT FATS

  1. Fats are the most misunderstood of the macronutrients. Healthy fats are absolutely necessary for any healthy eating lifestyle.
  2. There are three types of fats: saturated, unsaturated and trans. Trans fats should be completely avoided. Generally speaking, saturated fats should also be avoided, if less so than trans fats. Unsaturated fats are healthy fats.
  3. Trans fats are often added to foods to make them last longer. When you’re eating a lot of fresh foods, the shelf life shouldn’t be an issue – preservatives, trans fats or others, are not usually a good thing.
  4. Most people in today’s “fat-free” crazed world aren’t getting enough unsaturated fats which can be found in foods like fish, nuts, avocados, and some vegetables.
  5. Worrying less about how much fat you’re eating and instead focusing on what kinds of fat you’re eating will likely have positive and lasting effects on your health and risk of disease.

SUGAR

Okay, so this one isn’t a macronutrient. But we find that enough people struggle with sugar, and so it’s worth including a short section here on sugar and why it’s such a big deal.

While sugar isn’t fat, it does cause your body to store fat. Whereas proteins and fats help your body burn fat, carbohydrates are broken down in your system into glucose. Guess what glucose is? That’s right! Sugar!

So, if you’re eating right you’re getting enough glucose in the form of your carbohydrate consumptions, and shouldn’t need to consume any additional sugars on top of that.

And that sweet tooth? It’s not just something cute to refer to your love of candy and baked goods. It’s a condition created by … you guessed it! … eating sugar. When you eat too much sugar, your body will actually begin to crave MORE sugar AND you’ll develop a tolerance for sugar, so you’ll need more and more sugar to satisfy those cravings as time goes on.

By cutting sugar from your diet  – your sweet tooth will most likely disappear completely.

Still need to satisfy that craving? Go for chocolate. BUT go for the good stuff. Quality chocolate uses cocoa (from a bean) for flavor and doesn’t rely on sugar. And opt for dark chocolate which is said to have additional benefits like being rich in antioxidants, potentially good in helping reduce blood pressure and could possibly lower your risk for certain diseases.*

*These are commonly discussed benefits of dark chocolate and their inclusion here is speculative and not meant to indicate that they have been independently scientifically verified.

So what does all of this mean to you? It would be easy if we just said, here’s how many macros you should be eating. But you want to find the right balance of macronutrients for your goals and your body. The best move would be to meet with a nutritionist to determine what you should be eating to accomplish your specific goals. If that’s not an option for you, there are other options out there like MyFitnessPal, which we recommend in our Weight Loss 101 post, that will guide you in setting and meeting your macronutrient and calorie goals.

You should also meet with a personal trainer to ensure your exercise plan is appropriate to the nutrition plan you choose during your weight loss journey as these two components working together are the most effective way for you to lose weight and keep it off.

Don’t have a personal trainer? No problem, your first session with a personal trainer is FREE at Elevate Fitness in Dewitt and Liverpool. Simply fill out the form below to take advantage of this great opportunity!

Get Your Nutrition in Check with Balanced Chef

Get Your Nutrition in Check with Balanced Chef Now Available at Elevate Fitness

BETTER FUEL FOR A BETTER LIFE! That’s the mission for an amazing company out of the Utica, NY area called Balanced Chef.

Elevate Fitness excited to partner with The Balanced Chef after searching long and hard for the ideal nutritional solution to offer our members and guests. We believe that in order to be your best and achieve your fitness goals, you MUST have a nutritional plan in place to support the work you do in the gym. You can’t out-train a bad diet. 

We also know that our members lead busy lives and don’t always have the time to meal-prep or to find the best options for meals on the go or after a long day of work, family and exercise. Enter Balanced Chef.

This local business offers hand crafted, chef prepared meals that are guaranteed fresh and include macronutrient and caloric information, making it simple to track intake and optimize nutrition. Simply pop the meal in the microwave (usually) for the recommend amount of time, and when you’re done you have a delicious, chef-prepared meal that not only doesn’t work against your fitness efforts, but enhances them.

With a variety of dietary options, The Balanced Chef has an array of delicious, healthy meals available to satisfy the nutritional and lifestyle needs of everyone, with a menu that changes weekly. And these aren’t the bland, boring, repetitive meals you might expect when you’re looking at healthy meal options – these are delicious meals that will leave you feeling satisfied and content.

There are a couple of different ways to experience Balanced Chef at Elevate Fitness. Each week (starting Monday, March 25th) we’ll have a limited number of grab-and-go meals available for purchase in the clubs. However – once they’re gone, that’s it for the week. The best way to ensure you get what you want is to order your meals ahead of time through Balanced Chef’s easy to use and navigate website and then they’re available for you to pick up at Elevate the following week.

 

HOW IT WORKS

The ordering deadline is Monday at midnight of each week. Choose Elevate as your pick-up location when you’re checking out and then sit back and congratulate yourself on taking the guess work and drudgery out of making nutrition a priority in your fitness and wellness journey!

Interested in nutritional counseling and customized meal plans? Those are also available at surprisingly low rates through Balanced Chef! Check it out!

Not a member of Elevate Fitness? Not a problem - membership not required to pick up your pre-ordered Balanced Chef meals. While you're picking up your meals - why not try out a free trial workout?

So many delicious options from Balance Chef available for pickup at Elevate Fitness

What is Intermittent Fasting?

What is Intermittent Fasting?

WHAT IS INTERMITTENT FASTING?

You can’t have a conversation about diet and nutrition without somebody mentioning intermittent fasting. But what exactly is it and does it work?

Intermittent fasting is the act of alternating between a fasted and fed state. The length of the fasted and fed states can vary but are usually a repeating pattern of some sort. The purposes of intermittent fasting range from weight loss to disease management to lifestyle.

A pioneer in the world of intermittent fasting, Dr. Jason Fung is best known for his book The Obesity Code. Dr. Fung’s research suggests that intermittent fasting can be a very effective weight loss strategy and may even have the ability to reverse the symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes!

Does it Work?

Intermittent fasting has some very well documented benefits. A quick google search for the benefits of intermittent fasting will return hundreds of webpages all espousing the benefits of this trendy craze. However, most research suggests that intermittent fasting (when performed correctly) is safe and effective, but no more or less effective than traditional diets and weight loss programs.

Ultimately, the answer to this question, like so many great questions is yes and no. The most effective weight loss program, ultimately, is the one you’re most likely to stick with. For some people, that’s intermittent fasting. For others, it’s something else. So simply put: intermittent fasting works for some people but not for others. Of course, it also depends on what your goals are. Some people report weight loss. Some report a decrease in the symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes while others report increased energy. Someone hoping to lose weight who instead sees an energy increase is likely to consider fasting ineffective.

However, when it’s all said and done, there are some lessons that anyone who’s trying to lose, or maintain, weight can take away from the idea of intermittent fasting:

Don’t snack before bed. The hours between dinner and bedtime are often the most dangerous. Whether it’s mindless eating in front of the television or a mad-rush to quell hunger that’s been building all day, eating late in your day can be problematic for a number of reasons. It may cause you to make poor choices when it comes to your food (research suggests those who eat or snack later in the day often choose more calorie dense, less nutritious foods) and it may affect your ability to sleep. It’s best to make dinner your last meal (and eating) of the day.

Think before you eat. Often times we eat simply because we’re conditioned to do so (for example maybe you eat breakfast every day because you always have and not because you’re hungry) or because our environment encourages it (eating at a party or gathering simply because there’s food available). We’re all guilty of eating when we don’t need to or eating past the point of fulfillment. A simple trick to combat this is to ask yourself a simple question before eating: “Why am I eating this?”

Drink lots of water. One of the tools used by most intermittent fasters to reduce the feelings of hunger is to drink water when hunger hits. This is a great strategy to follow as the body often has difficulty distinguishing between hunger and thirst. Often times a goals-defeating binge can be avoided by stopping and downing an 8-ounce glass of cold water.

Whether you choose to dabble in fasting or take some of these fasting tips to incorporate into your own program remember that no program is one-size-fits-all and you should always consult with your doctor before starting any new diet or exercise program.

 

Learn more about Elevate Fitness in Syracuse.

Fresh Ideas for 30-Min Mediterranean Meals

Fresh Ideas for 30-Minute Mediterranean Meals

(BPT) – With few having the time to devote to cooking an elaborate meal, a collection of delicious and dependable 30-minute recipes for a quick but satisfying meal can be handy. What else keeps things simple? Having fresh staples such as California table grapes on hand helps brighten up any recipe and fuel up after activities.

Mediterranean ingredients and flavors create dishes that are refreshing, colorful and filled with fruits and vegetables. Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad with Grapes offers a fresh twist on the Middle Eastern classic, replacing the traditional bulgur with quinoa, and using grapes in place of tomatoes. The result? An approachable and modern salad that works as well for a quick dinner as it does for a brown bag lunch the next day. Pair with grilled chicken or fish, or simply add chickpeas or kidney beans for a heartier meatless entree.

With Mediterranean Pizza, there is no need to fuss with dough because whole-wheat naan, an Indian flatbread, makes the perfect crust. Simply top with cumin and paprika-seasoned ground lamb, bake it, and then finish with a lightly dressed grape and red onion combination that perfectly complements the flavors in the meat. Pita or flatbread can take the place of naan, and lamb can be replaced by ground beef or turkey as desired.

Finally, when it’s time to decorate the table, create a simple but stunning centerpiece with gorgeous black, red and green California grapes.

For more ideas, visit grapesfromcalifornia.com.

Mediterranean Pizza

Prep time: 15 minutes; cook time: 15 minutes

Yield: Serves 4

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups halved red California grapes

2 tablespoons lightly chopped Italian parsley leaves

1/4 cup slivered red onion

1 tablespoon lemon juice

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (divided) plus additional for drizzling

Pinch of salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 pound ground lamb, beef, or dark meat turkey

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground paprika

Pinch cayenne

2 whole-wheat naans (about 4.4 ounces each)

Directions

Heat oven to 475 F. In a large bowl combine the grapes, parsley leaves, red onion, lemon juice and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

In a large skillet heat 1 tablespoon oil. Add the garlic and meat, and cook until browned, 2-3 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, cumin, paprika and cayenne.

Place naans on parchment-lined baking sheets, brush with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and spread the meat mixture on the naans. Bake until each naan is browned and lightly crisp, 8-10 minutes. Top with grape mixture and drizzle with additional olive oil if desired. Cut in pieces and serve.

Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad with Grapes

Prep time: 15 minutes; cook time: 15 minutes

Yield: Serves 6

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups water

3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed

3/4 cup halved red California grapes

3/4 cup halved green California grapes

2 cups diced English cucumber

2/3 cup chopped flat leaf parsley

1/2 cup chopped dill

1/4 cup chopped mint

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1/4 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions

In a medium-sized saucepan, bring the water to a boil and add the quinoa; reduce the heat and simmer until quinoa is tender, about 10 to 12 minutes. Drain any excess water, then fluff the quinoa and transfer it onto a baking sheet to cool for 10 minutes. In a medium bowl, combine the grapes, cucumber, parsley, dill, mint, olive oil, lemon juice and zest, salt and pepper. Gently fold the cooled quinoa into the grape mixture and serve.

Gobble Up More Turkey

(BPT) - New Year’s resolutions are often hard to maintain, especially if you are trying to make healthier food choices after indulging in treats during the holidays. According to a 2019 Marist Poll, 44 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. For those who plan to make a resolution, two of the top resolutions are losing weight and eating healthier. Focusing on nutrition can start with meal planning and healthy protein options like turkey. Protein is essential to a wholesome, balanced diet, and turkey is an excellent source of protein. Turkey is also low in fat and perfect in many healthy recipes. Honeysuckle White offers a variety of turkey options — from ground turkey, to cutlets, breast strips, ready-to-cook meatballs and more. The brand works exclusively with independent family farmers in the U.S. to raise turkeys with care and without growth-promoting antibiotics. Skinless turkey breast is one of the leanest meats available and is considered a superfood by the American Heart Association. A boneless four-ounce serving of turkey contains 26 grams of protein — 12 percent more protein than the same size serving of boneless chicken breast — and only about one gram of fat plus zero grams of saturated fat. Turkey has much more to offer beyond protein. According to the USDA’s nutrition database, turkey typically has fewer calories and less cholesterol than other proteins, and is rich in all the B vitamins, especially B6 and B12, which help the body convert food into energy. Turkey also provides an abundance of minerals, including immune-boosting zinc, selenium and iron. Family farm-raised ground turkey is a great choice for families who want to eat better, and it is excellent for chili, tacos, fajitas and turkey burgers. With 28 grams of protein and only one gram of fat per serving, 99 percent fat-free ground turkey breast provides a great foundation for a wholesome entrée. For families on the go, convenient, oven-ready turkey meatloaf is a versatile option that is perfect for busy schedules. Achieving balanced, wholesome meals only takes a few simple steps. Smart shoppers plan meals before heading to the store and stick to the outside perimeter of the store to purchase fresh ingredients including vegetables, fruit and lean meats. While shopping, be sure to read the nutrition labels to know what you are feeding your family. Another benefit of laying out your shopping routine and planning meals is saving time and money. This budget-friendly approach will eliminate extra trips out to eat and can inspire new creations in the kitchen. Throughout the week you can have fun with your family, building new meals to put a variety of flavors on the dinner table. Working toward a healthier lifestyle does not have to be a drastic overhaul. Making small strides, including planning meals and shopping trips, will lead to smarter food choices. With a mix of lean proteins and fresh produce in the kitchen, you can deliver well-rounded and healthy meals for your whole family in the new year.

(BPT) – New Year’s resolutions are often hard to maintain, especially if you are trying to make healthier food choices after indulging in treats during the holidays. According to a 2019 Marist Poll, 44 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. For those who plan to make a resolution, two of the top resolutions are losing weight and eating healthier. Focusing on nutrition can start with meal planning and healthy protein options like turkey.

Protein is essential to a wholesome, balanced diet, and turkey is an excellent source of protein. Turkey is also low in fat and perfect in many healthy recipes. Honeysuckle White offers a variety of turkey options — from ground turkey to cutlets, breast strips, ready-to-cook meatballs and more. The brand works exclusively with independent family farmers in the U.S. to raise turkeys with care and without growth-promoting antibiotics.

Skinless turkey breast is one of the leanest meats available and is considered a superfood by the American Heart Association. A boneless four-ounce serving of turkey contains 26 grams of protein — 12 percent more protein than the same size serving of boneless chicken breast — and only about one gram of fat plus zero grams of saturated fat.

Turkey has much more to offer beyond protein. According to the USDA’s nutrition database, turkey typically has fewer calories and less cholesterol than other proteins and is rich in all the B vitamins, especially B6 and B12, which help the body convert food into energy. Turkey also provides an abundance of minerals, including immune-boosting zinc, selenium, and iron.

Family farm-raised ground turkey is a great choice for families who want to eat better, and it is excellent for chili, tacos, fajitas, and turkey burgers. With 28 grams of protein and only one gram of fat per serving, 99 percent fat-free ground turkey breast provides a great foundation for a wholesome entrée. For families on the go, convenient, oven-ready turkey meatloaf is a versatile option that is perfect for busy schedules.

Achieving balanced, wholesome meals only takes a few simple steps. Smart shoppers plan meals before heading to the store and stick to the outside perimeter of the store to purchase fresh ingredients including vegetables, fruit and lean meats. While shopping, be sure to read the nutrition labels to know what you are feeding your family.

Another benefit of laying out your shopping routine and planning meals is saving time and money. This budget-friendly approach will eliminate extra trips out to eat and can inspire new creations in the kitchen. Throughout the week you can have fun with your family, building new meals to put a variety of flavors on the dinner table.

Working toward a healthier lifestyle does not have to be a drastic overhaul. Making small strides, including planning meals and shopping trips, will lead to smarter food choices. With a mix of lean proteins and fresh produce in the kitchen, you can deliver well-rounded and healthy meals for your whole family in the new year.

Fast Ways to Eat More Fiber

Fast Ways to Eat More Fiber

By Joan Cline

Getting fiber in our body is very important it helps prevent constipation and manage our weight. It may also help prevent some diseases like high cholesterol, diabetes, heart diseases, and some cancers.

The recommended amount of fiber needed a day is 25 to 38 grams. Most people eat less than 15 grams a day. The Institute of Medicine recommends men under 50 to eat 38 grams and women 25 grams. Adults over 50, men 30 grams and women 21 grams of fiber.

There are two types of fibers, soluble and insoluble and both are helpful to you. Insoluble helps the intestines and colon function properly, by hydrating and helping waste move through your intestine, which keeps you regular and less constipated.

Soluble fiber digest slowly and helps reduce cholesterol and assists in keeping the blood sugar levels stable. Both the insoluble and soluble fiber are important and most foods rich in fiber have both.

Lack of fiber in your diet can cause:

· Constipation; getting hard stools. fiber helps soften your stool and help moves waste along.

· Diabetes; fiber helps regulated unstable blood sugar

· Weight Gain; foods high in fiber helps you stay full longer, which prevents you from eating more food.

· Cardiovascular diseases; this may cause high cholesterol and heart diseases. Soluble fiber that’s found in oats, beans and fruits and vegetables helps.

· Hemorrhoids; hemorrhoids are inflamed veins close your anus and develop from pushing hard stools. Eating food high in fiber can solve the problem.

FAST WAY TO EAT MORE FIBER:

Adding fiber to your diet can be easy as 123, here are simple ways that you can add it in your diet.

1. Flax meal; they come in different colors, tan, brown and golden, they are a good source of omega 3- fatty acids and fiber.

2. Chia seeds; one ounce of chia seeds has 11 grams of fiber, it’s also packed with antioxidants, proteins, vitamins, and minerals.

3. Hemp seeds; they are a good source of both soluble and insoluble fiber and have many more benefits, they are a good source of healthy fats and protein

4. Cereals; sprouted whole grain cereal, golden flax, Cheerios, Kashi whole grains, General mills fiber one etc.

Other ways to add fiber to your diet:

The best way to get your fiber is through foods, fruits, and vegetables. Below are foods that are high in fiber.

1. Oats; is one of the easiest ways to include fiber in your diet

2. Fruits; berries, avocado, pears, bananas, apples, oranges, papaya etc.

3. Vegetables(cooked); kales, peas, green beans, collard greens, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes etc.

4. Beans and Legumes (cooked); soya beans, lentils, pinto beans, kidney beans etc.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Joan_Cline/2395458

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/9667956

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September Meal Prep

by Rachael Dydyk

September Meal Prep

One of the hardest things in life for a busy working parent is how to eat healthily. The new statistics are out and diet-related diseases are the number one cause of death in the United States! So yes, more people will die this year from frequenting their local drive through than smoking cigarettes. Since diabetes runs in my family I have been meal prepping for as long as I can remember. Just like my laundry, it is something I do and plan each week.

With this blog, I would like to help people learn how to eat healthy without being overly time-consuming. When you meal prep you will end up saving time, energy and feel a whole lot lighter and
happier. Your skin will be glowing, your pants will fit better and your wallet will be fatter.

Instant Oats Meal Prepping
Your meal prep starts on Thursday night when you clean out the refrigerator of any leftovers or containers. This way you have room for all your fresh foods. I tend to eat a plant-based diet but will
give options for people who to eat more meat. This meal prep includes 5 days of breakfast, 5 lunches, 10 snacks and 3 dinners to prep for dinner and one soup of the month. I will try to include as many of the daily dozen as I possibly can. *This meal plan is roughly 1200-1300 calories with 40 % protein, 30 % carbohydrate and 30 % fat

Carve out 2 hours on a Sunday, put your favorite music or Netflix show and get ready to prep. Feel free to email me with questions at Rachael@elevatesyracuse.com or find @rachaeldydyk on Instagram.

Your breakfast:
2 Overnight Oats
3 Protein fruit smoothie

Lunch menu:
3 Quinoa power bowl with Tahini dressing
2 Baked chicken breast with sweet potato and broccoli florets

Dinner
Shrimp fajitas with Cilantro and Lime
Baked cod with rice and peas. Any fish healthy fish of choice. (If your family doesn’t eat fish use chicken.)
Turkey Burger or Trader Joe’s Veggie Burgers with sautéed zucchini

Snacks
Egg whites, almonds, a fruit of choice and green smoothie
September Soup
Lentil Lemon Soup

What you will need:
9-quart size zips lock baggies
4-gallon size baggies
2 (16) 0z mason jars
1 (32) oz mason jars
3 salad containers. You can use the glass or plastic
2 entrée size containers
4 one cup containers for soup
3 small dressing containers
One large good quality cookie sheet
Your favorite saucepan and soup pot
A lemon zester
A mandolin
A good quality blender for smoothies and juice.
Grocery list
Lemons and 2 Limes
1 or 2 bananas
5 pieces Fruit of choice, grapefruit, apple or pears (These fruits are full of fiber and lower on glycemic
index)
Large bag of multicolored peppers
1 large purple onion
Large package of spring mix
1 bag of kale
1 bag of spinach
Ginger root
5 cucumbers
Tomatoes
Bag of carrots
2 small sweet potatoes
3 Avocados
1 container of mirpox (you can make your own but here is where I get lazy and it’s fairly inexpensive)
Garlic (I buy the already chopped in the jar)
3 or 4 zucchini or veggies of choice
Snow peas
Fresh Cilantro
Ginger root
Olives (I like Kalamata)
Almonds
1 dozen brown eggs
Almond milk (30 calories)
Chia seeds
Ground flax meal
Spirulina
Matcha Green Tea
1 cup quinoa
Old fashioned oatmeal
Any flavor Vegan protein powder for women and whey for men.
1 can black beans or chick peas
2 pounds of frozen precooked shrimp
4 organic Turkey burgers, I prefer Trader Joe’s High Protein veggie burgers
8 0z of chicken breasts
4 pieces of wild cod or any healthy fish
1 bag frozen broccoli florets
1 bag frozen peas
White or brown Rice
Pine nuts
Dry Red lentils
Vegetable or chicken broth
Olive oil
Cinnamon, Turmeric, Sea salt, Cumin, Paprika, chili powder, curry powder, saffron and cayenne
Tortillas, wheat or corn (I wrap my fajitas in bib lettuce so these are for my guys)
Tahini

Instructions
1. Set containers on kitchen table away from cooking area.
2. Season chicken breast with olive oil, cayenne pepper and paprika. Put on pan and add sweet potatoes. Set timer for 45 min.
3. Start the lentil soup- heal small amount of olive oil add garlic and mirepoix and heat until soft. Add one cup of lentils and a carton of broth. Bring to a boil for a few minutes. Add the zest of one lemon, 1 tsp curry, 1 tsp saffron, sea salt and 2 tsp cumin. Then reduce to simmer while you’re preparing the next meals.
4. Bring 2 cups water to a boil and add cook quinoa. I do this while I am chopping veggies
5. Take fish and shrimp out of freezer and defrost in Fridge for Monday and Tuesday night dinner
6. Get power bowls ready by adding spring mix to salad containers, cumber, and purple onion, ¼ cup of black beans 1/3 avocado. When quinoa is ready and cooled add ½ cup. Tahini dressing. Simply mix 1/3 cup tahini, garlic, 1 tsp turmeric lemon juice from one lemon, 2 tablespoons water. Place in dressing containers. Set in fridge.
7. If you are making the green juice set up 5 zip lock bags. Throw in a handful of spinach, kale, one carrot, half of a peeled cucumber,1 carrot, spirulina, 1 tsp pine nuts, 1 tsp chia seeds, a little ginger root ½ tsp Matcha, mix water and ice then pour in a mason jar in the fridge. You can also pour this in the blender in the morning and add into the large Mason jar for an awesome energizing afternoon snack. Some people add apple but I prefer to limit my fruit to mornings.
8. Check soup
9. To prepare overnight oats. ½ cup oats into the each of the mason jars, 1 cup almond milk, 1 tsp flax meal, ½ sliced banana or some berries. Sprinkle with cinnamon and add one scoop of protein powder.
10. 3 zip lock bags for breakfast’s smoothies. Add one cup of frozen berries, 1 scoop protein powder, 1 tablespoon fax meal. Put bags in freezer. In the morning empty bag in blender and add once cup of
almond milk or water. Add to Mason jar and enjoy on the way to work.
11. Place cooked chicken, potatoes and 2 cups broccoli in a container for your second lunch option.
12. Pour soup in one cup serving containers. You can eat this whenever you’re extra hungry. I like to freeze some and enjoy it after my Saturday long run.
13. Hard boil eggs if you eat them for a mid-morning snack or portion almonds.
14. Now that breakfast, lunch and snacks are ready you may take a little time to prep dinner. Take the cut bell peppers and purple onion in a gallon baggie. Add salt, pepper, garlic, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp paprika. Set in fridge. Monday night put everything on the pan with the shrimp and some olive oil. Sprinkle with lime juice and cilantro. Serve with tortilla or lettuce.
15. Set the sliced zucchini in a bag so when you making turkey burgers it is easy to sauté

*Photos by Rachael Dydyk

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