Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fueling Before a Workout

You're ready to hit the gym...debating about that pre-gym snack...should I save on the calories and skip it?  Skimping on the calories before the gym means an even greater burn right?

Well think of it this way....would you attempt to drive you car on empty or almost empty??  Risk putting stress on the engine and embarrassingly breaking down in the middle of the road having to fork over the dough for a tow...not so much!

Well think of your body the same way.  Your body works so much more efficiently, just like a car, when it is properly fueled.  That pre-workout snack gives you the energy to really push thru that workout, making the most of your time, rather than just dragging through each exercise.

You want to aim for a 100-200 calorie snack that is easily digested.  Try to aim for foods lower in fiber and quick in gastric emptying a good 30 minutes prior to your sweat sess.  Search for easily digested foods so that your body has already digested them when it comes workout time; those workout tummy aches result when the body is still in the digestion process and you start pushing it to get active.

The best pre-workout snacks are higher on the carb side and about 25% protein.  Think a piece of whole wheat toast and almond or peanut butter, a small apple and half a string cheese, single serving Greek yogurt, apple and nut butter, half whole grain bagel and jam, cereal with reduced fat milk or almond milk, a banana, Kashi bar.... Find the best snack for you.  Everyone's body works differently.

 And no worries if you are serious about your workout you will burn thru this in the early stages of the workout. 

Remember to fuel that engine.  You only get one!  Take care of it.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Saucy Chicken Burrito

Chipotle burrito craze has hit us hard!  I mean truly who can turn down a tasty burrito.  Seems like everything tastes better wrapped in a blanket.  Yet those seemingly healthy concoctions are actually very high in sodium, fat and calories.  So when summer hits does that mean give up the burritos??  Well that would suck! 

The answer lies in the cooking!  Get the fry pan sizzling and try this recipe!

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp cilantro
  • 1 diced habanero
  • 2 chopped chicken breasts
  • 1-2 tsp shiracha (depending on desired heat)
  • 1 thin chopped white onion
  • 1 chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 c chopped cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 c sliced mushrooms
  • 1 can of Trader Joes cuban beans
  • 2 handfuls of spinach
  • Carb Cutting Sonoma Tortillas (this is where often times most of our burrito calories can be found)
  1. In a large fry pan heat olive oil and garlic for 1-2 minutes on high.
  2. Reduce to medium high, add habanero and cilantro.  Cook for another 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add chicken breast and shiracha.  Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add chopped onion heat for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add sliced bell pepper, tomatoes, and mushrooms for an additional 5 minutes.
  6. Add the can of Trader Joes mix and spinach.  Cover and cook anther 5-7 minutes until spinach has wilted.
  7. Mix evenly and let rest on low.  Heat up tortillas individually on stove top.
  8. Stuff the burritos and enjoy

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Nutritionally Dense?

We've all had that time where we have sat in front of the TV with a bag of chips mindlessly munching until the thing was gone when we only meant to eat a few.  We are left feeling bloated and full but yet still hungry.  Still hungry having just ate almost 700 calories??  Why??

Our bodies needs various vitamins and minerals to operate efficiently.  Even if we consume well beyond our calorie requirement the body will signal hunger until it gets those vital nutrients.

Looking back at the bag of chips example; most of us have to consciously say "No More, Step away from the chips!"  Chips and most salty snacks provide the body with barely any nutrition; so the body still in search of that nutrition boost signals the brain to keep on munching.  Try the same thing with bananas.  A medium banana is around 110 calories.  Try eating 6 of those (similar to the calorie consumption of the chips).  Not happening right?  But why aren't all calories equal??  I can easily eat 700 calories of chips why not 660 calories of a banana.

The banana is nutritionally dense!  The body gets many vitamins and minerals from this quick snack.  The body is satisfied when it gets what it needs!

Watching your waist line?  Sick of starving yourself on diet after diet, yo-yoing back in forth??  Stick with a variety of tasty nutrient dense foods (more bang for your calorie count) and  you will satisfy mouth and tummy!  Look to those foods straight from the earth for the purest-dense foods.  Make your diet pretty with lots of color; color signifies a certain vitamin or mineral.  More colors = more vitamins and minerals.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Salsa Chicken Bites

This is a great appetizer on its own or can also be used to top salad, pizza or a healthy grain.

  • 3-4 chicken breast fillets, chopped
  • 1 – 16 oz jar of chunky salsa, such as Newman’s Own (opt for low sodium)
  • ¼ c chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  1. In a medium fry pan heat olive oil on medium high.
  2. Toss chopped chicken in curry powder.
  3. Add seasoned chicken to heated olive oil.
  4. Add salsa and parsley, stir evenly. Reduce to medium. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes.
  5. Serve and enjoy.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Sugar, Sugar….what’s it doing to our bodies?

Sugar consumption has increased over the last 20 years from 26 lbs per person per year to 135 lbs per person per year!!!! Could this be the answer to our ever increasing waistline???

Yes, sugar consumption upsets the body’s blood sugar balance and triggers the release of insulin. Insulin, a hormone, stores the sugar as fat! This also causes a drop in blood sugar levels (now that the sugar is stored) causing you to crave what???....more sugar! An evil cycle!

Blood sugar fluctuations are caused by eating simple, refined carbohydrates. There are four classes of simple sugars: sucrose, fructose, honey and malts! Yes honey is a natural sweetener but has the same blood sugar affect as the processed refined stuff.

READ THE INGREDIENTS! So you stay away from adding sugar to your coffees and teas, skip the sweet pastries, sodas, and packaged candies….are we safe?? Nope! Sugar comes in so much of our packaged items its amazing! Read the labels on your bread, cereals, snack bars, frozen dinners, peanut butter, ketchup, spaghetti sauce, salad dressing, marinades, concentrated juices, dried fruit….and much more!!

Try to stick with agave as a sweetener (low on the GI index), eating fresh juicy fruit when those sugar cravings hit, and consuming complex carbohydrates! Stick with a diet low in the glycemic index and your body will thank you….step off the sugar rollercoaster :)