Use this, Not That! Healthy Baking Swaps to Cut Calories and Sugar




I love baking healthy snacks and meals and I often find myself experimenting with traditional recipes to make mine tastier and healthier! 

Read below to learn the healthiest alternatives to some of the most common unhealthy baking ingredients:

Instead of oil…

Most baking recipes will call for oil of some kind (usually unhealthy vegetables oils) to add moistness to the recipe, unfortunately oil also adds tons of calories with zero nutritional value.



Use this: Mashed banana or apple sauce

Instead, try using mashed banana or unsweetened apple sauce (or better yet pureed apple) in place of oil. It depends what kind of recipe you are making, but from my experience you really can’t even taste the difference!

Instead of white flour…

White bleached flour has about zero nutritional value, but adds tons of calories and chemicals to your recipe. 

Use this: Coconut flour or almond flour

Instead, try using coconut flour or almond flour, both of which are lower in calories, higher in fiber, and richer in taste!

Instead of sugar…

Sugar is probably the single worst ingredient you can add to a recipe for many reasons, including how it has no nutritional value, increases your risk for diabetes and other chronic conditions, leads to obesity, etc. And I’m not just talking about white sugar, this also includes “healthy sugar” like honey and maple syrup – sugar is sugar so skip it!



Use this: Whole fruit

Instead, use whole fruit which will be lower in calories, will add more fiber, and will have a much higher nutritional value.

Which fruit to use? It depends what you are trying to bake, but I tend to use pureed apple, banana, and/or berries.

Instead of heavy cream…

Heavy cream is heavy in calories and low in nutritional value – one tablespoon has about 50 calories!



Use this: Greek yogurt

Instead, try using plain Greek yogurt which is lower in calories and higher in protein. Note that you should always check the ingredients label for yogurt because many brands will add a ton of sugar – even plain. 

Instead of cow’s milk…

Cow’s milk is high in calories, sodium, and sugar, not to mention that the cows are often pumped with hormones and antibiotics to get them to produce more milk, which can possibly lead to health problems when consumed.



Use this: Almond milk

Instead, use unsweetened nut milk, such as almond milk, which is high in flavor and low in calories.

Main takeaways…

Use the above as a guide the next time you want to bake a tasty treat.

To get more healthy recipe inspiration, follow us on Instagram where I am always posting my favorite healthy recipes for muffins, pancakes, waffles, cookies, and other tasty treats I experiment with!




 

12 Foods to Buy to Eat Healthy on a Budget




As a full-time college student for about eight years, I had to learn how to eat healthy on a tight budget – especially when living in New York City where prices seemed to be exponentially higher for everything!

Below I’ve listed the cheapest and healthiest foods that you can find in the market to help you to put together simple, healthy, and cheap meals.



1. Nut butter

Nut butter is extremely cost effective and also very delicious and versatile! You can eat it alone as a snack, or add it to fruit or toast, it goes good with basically everything and adds a good dose of healthy fats and vitamins as well.

The cheapest nut butters tends to be peanut butter and almond butter. You should be able to find a nut butter under $10 and you definitely don’t need to buy the fanciest jar of nut butter to be healthy! Just check the ingredients and ideally the only ingredient listed will be nuts and maybe some type of oil – steer clear if sugar is listed as an ingredient.

Personal experience:

I lived on peanut butter and almond butter in college. I would make nut butter toast, nut butter pita, nut butter banana, or just eat it alone as a healthy snack.

Cost: around $0.50 per serving

2. Frozen vegetables

Frozen vegetables are an awesome budget friendly food because not only are they much cheaper than fresh produce, but they may be higher in nutrients! This is because frozen vegetables were flash frozen at their prime, while fresh produce was likely picked early and may have been sitting around for a while past their prime.

Personal experience:

Almost every single night for dinner I would steam, roast, or stir fry a bag of frozen vegetables and it was super low cost, healthy, and tasted great! I would usually add spices and maybe some hummus and small amount of sauce (see more below on this).

Cost: about $1.25 to $2.50 per bag



3. Frozen berries

Rather than buying an expensive or unhealthy dessert, go for frozen berries. They are also great for adding natural and healthy sweetness to different meals.

Personal experience: 

I would add a few frozen berries to my oatmeal to add some sweetness and to cool it down. 

Cost: about $0.50 per serving

4. Oats

Rolled oats are a great grain to have on hand because they’re cheap and a natural food with no sugar or other preservatives. Always go for anything other than quick oats or instant oats because these quick cooking oats have been heavily processed, meaning you will not get the same health benefits compared to longer cooking oats. Plus instant oats ten to have sugar and artificial flavorings added and are more expensive.

Personal experience:

I made oatmeal most mornings while in college because it was super easy to make and it was cheap. I would make overnight oatmeal to have ready in the morning before “overnight oatmeal” was even a thing. The great thing about oatmeal is that it is like a blank canvas that you can add things to to make it taste great.

Cost: less than $0.25 per serving



5. Hummus 

Hummus or any other similar type of dip is a great way to add flavor to savory meals. Hummus is a good source of healthy carbs and also healthy fat, making it a much healthier choice than highly processed salad dressings.

Personal experience:

I used a serving of hummus in my veggies for dinner and it really added great flavor to my meal. I would make sure to measure out a serving of hummus because it can be easy to use too much and then go through the entire container in two sittings!

Cost: about $0.50 to $1.00 per serving

6. Nuts

Nuts are a great snack because they keep you full and are inexpensive. Nuts are packed with vitamins and nutrients and are a good source of healthy fat.

Personal experience:

I always carried a bag of almonds with me in case I got hungry throughout the day. I bought them in bulk and then I would measure out servings and put them into baggies.

Cost: about $0.50 per serving



7. Quinoa

Quinoa is one of the healthiest grains you can eat because it is considered a complete protein and is naturally gluten-free. If you love grains, go for quinoa.

Personal experience:

I had a massive bags of quinoa that my mom got me from Costco that literally had a countless amount of servings. I often added quinoa to vegetables either for lunch or dinner.

Cost: about $ 0.25 per serving

8. Eggs

Eggs are one of the very best foods you can buy because not only are they super cheap, but they are also packed with essential nutrients, fat, and protein. There are so many great ways to prepare eggs – hard boil, scramble, poach, fry, etc – making them one of the most versatile foods if not the most versatile.

Personal experience:

I actually didn’t utilize eggs to their full potential in college, but I would eat one or two every day by stirring them into my oatmeal! It made the oatmeal super fluffy and also added a good amount of protein. If I could go back I would have hard boiled eggs and used them as an easy snack.

Cost: about $0.30 for one organic egg



9. Spices

Instead of costly condiments that add up in price, go for budget friendly spices which add a ton of flavor with zero calories and zero sugar. Experiment with different spices and discover for yourself which spices you like because they add great value to meals.

Personal experience:

I always had a big container of cinnamon on hand for oatmeal and for adding to my banana sandwiches, as well as paprika and turmeric for my savory meals.

Cost: Less than $0.25 per serving

10. Raw protein

Meat and fish will probably be the biggest expense when it comes to groceries, but getting enough protein is definitely important and animal products are the very best source of protein. The cheapest way to get high quality protein is buying it non-cooked. This means a little more prep work on your part, but it will definitely cut costs.

Personal experience:

I actually didn’t eat much meat or fish in college because I didn’t want to prepare it myself, and so I was basically a vegan without trying to be – with the exception of eggs. But now I almost always will buy fish, turkey, and chicken unprepared and cook it on the stove and it tastes great! I also like how when you cook at home you have control over what ingredients are added to it as well.

Cost: varies greatly, but for organic meat and wild fish the average cost per serving is around $4.00



11. Bananas

I found bananas to be one of the cheapest and healthiest fruits you could buy. This is in part because unlike most fruits, you don’t have to buy bananas organic because they have the outer peel that tends to keep the banana itself free from pesticides and other chemicals. Bananas are packed with vitamins and nutrients making them a super healthy and affordable food as a snack on its own or to add to meals.

Personal experience:

I ate at least one or two bananas per day in college and I would mix it in with my oatmeal or make a banana nut butter sandwich. I loved how in Manhattan there were fruit vendors everywhere and I could buy four or five bananas for a dollar.

Cost: $0.20 to $0.35

12. Sauce

A strong sauce that you don’t need to use much of, such as teriyaki sauce or soy sauce, is super cost effective and adds a tone of flavor to your meals! Plus these strong sauces don’t have many calories or sugar making them a MUCH healthier alternative compared to conventional salad dressing.

Personal experience:

I always added a little bit of teriyaki sauce or soy sauce to my vegetables to add flavor! That plus spices and hummus made for the perfect dinner.

Cost: around $0.10 per serving

Main takeaways…

With a little planning you can definitely find cheap and healthy foods. Use the above as a guide the next time you take a trip to the market.



 

Top Foods Most Likely To Be Used For Energy Rather Than Stored As Fat




Wouldn’t you rather eat foods that are more likely to be burned for energy rather than be stored away as fat on your body? Yes please!

In general, foods that are most likely to be used for energy are high in protein and/or fiber. Protein is the most unlikely of the macronutrients to get stored as fat because it takes a great deal of energy for you to digest it (you burn about 20-30% of the calories just from digestion!) and the amino acids in protein can be used for muscle building and muscle preservation. Fiber rich foods are also unlikely to be stored as fat because fiber calories are not absorbed by the body and the presence of fiber may block the absorption of other calories as well.

Read below to learn the top foods that are least likely to be stored as fat:

Eggs

Eggs are highly unlikely to be stored as fat because they are high in complete protein and contain virtually zero carbs and sugar. They are also packed with vitamins and minerals that are essential for the body.



Fatty fish

Fatty fish such as salmon and sardines are a powerhouse for fat burning because they are high in protein and also  high in EPA/DHA omega-3 fatty acids – both of which are linked to fat burning.

Green bananas

Green bananas contain a high amount of resistant starch which is a particularly good type of fiber because your gut bacteria loves it and will actually help you to digest and prevent you from absorbing the calories.



Chia seeds

Chia seeds are basically composed of all fiber, meaning the calories in chia seeds are almost negligible and eating chia seeds may cause you to absorb less calories from other foods eaten with them as well.

Chicken 

Chicken breast in particular is unlikely to get stored as fat because it is basically pure protein with zero carbs and very little fat.



Greek yogurt

Greek yogurt is the best choice of the yogurt varieties because it is packed with the most amount of protein and tends to have the least amount of sugar. Greek yogurt is also a great source of calcium, which has been shown to possibly help with fat burning.

Sweet potatoes

There’s a bit of a catch with this one, we are not talking about sweet potato fries here, no. Instead, go for baked or boiled sweet potatoes that have been allowed to cool for a bit. The cooling of the cooked sweet potato actually increases the resistant starch content, meaning you will absorb less calories from the sweet potato this way.



Black beans

Black beans are high in fiber, meaning you won’t absorb as many calories from them and the fiber may block the absorption of calories by your body. They are also high in protein, however, note that they are not a complete protein so you aren’t getting the same benefits as you would from animal sources.

Vegetables

Virtually all vegetables are more likely to be used for energy rather than stored as fat and so you really can’t go wrong when it comes to eating veggies. The less cooked and more crunchy the better because this means the fiber is still intact and less calories will be absorbed from your meal.

Some of the best high fiber vegetables include cruciferous veggies such as broccoli and cauliflower.



Whey protein powder

Whey protein is a great way to get high quality, complete protein into your body and is highly unlikely to be stored as fat. Just be sure to choose a protein powder that has less than 5 grams net carbs and a short ingredient list.

Main takeaways..

Think about it this way, if you aren’t burning, you are storing, so stock up on fat burning foods today!




Is Breakfast The Most Important Meal of the Day?

Is breakfast the most important meal of the day? This is one of the most common questions I’ve had in practice. And to answer simply, yes it is. What you eat (or don’t eat) in the morning does dictate how you will feel for the rest of the day.

Read below to learn why breakfast is the most important meal of the day:

Hunger level

What you eat first in the morning will dictate your hunger level for the rest of the day. This is because what you eat (or don’t eat) first thing in the morning sets you up to be constantly hungry, or it sets you up to be full for hours.

An example of being constantly hungry all day is if you eat a breakfast high in carbs (such as a bagel or cereal) which will then spike your blood sugar, and then drop it just as quickly. When your body senses this drop in blood sugar, signals are sent to your brain to let you know that you need to eat some sugar quickly. So you eat something with sugar, you feel better, and your blood sugar goes up. And this cycle continues all. day. long.

An example of being satisfied during the day is if you eat a breakfast that does not spike your blood sugar (such as eggs) and instead keeps your blood sugar at an even level. This means that you will have a more gradual decrease in blood sugar and also a more gradual onset of hunger.

Energy level

You want to start the day feeling energized and not sluggish, right? This means you need to start your day with food that is going to promote energy and not make you sleepy. Carbohydrates stimulate the feel good hormones (another reason we crave them) which also cause relaxation and sleepiness. Think about how you feel after eating a high carbohydrate meal like pasta – you want to take a nap right?

Avoid carbohydrates in the morning to prevent that sluggish feeling and instead go for a mix of protein and fat which will allow for lasting energy and do not activate relaxing hormones.

Mood

Have you ever experienced the dreaded “hangry?” It’s when you literally get angry at everything and everyone because you are so hungry. Hangry happens because your blood sugar has dropped so low that stress signals are sent to your brain telling you that you are in danger and need to eat immediately. So what do you crave when you get hangry? Sugar and carbs because eating sugary foods is what will increase your blood sugar the quickest.  And the cycle continues. This is why starting the day with something high in sugar can set you up for these highs and lows all day long.

Concentration

What you eat or don’t eat can definitely affect your concentration level – especially first thing in the morning. If you eat something that will keep you full and satisfied for several hours, then you can concentrate at your tasks at hand and not be worrying about nagging hunger constantly. If you eat something that spikes and drops your blood sugar constantly, you are definitely going to feel distracted and lethargic.

Sets the tone for the day

Have you ever had a donut first thing in the morning and then continued to indulge in treats the rest of the day? If you start the day indulging it can make you want to continue to indulge the rest of the day. On the flip side, if you eat a healthy breakfast first thing, this sets a healthy tone of the day and makes you want to continue to eat healthy.

Main takeaways…

Breakfast is definitely the most important meal of the day for the reasons described above. Set yourself up for a good day by eating a healthy breakfast low in sugar and high in fat, protein, and/or fiber. 

7 Tricks to Making Healthy Eating Easier




Cooking healthy meals is easier said than done, and most of the work comes from the prep of the meal rather than the actual cooking part. Make it easer on yourself when it comes to preparing healthy meals at home so that you will be more likely to do it! 

Below lists the best tricks to making healthy eating easier:




1. Have a plan

Have a general meal plan for the week so you don’t waste valuable time everyday trying to figure out what you will eat next and it will save you from having to return to the grocery store multiple times. Your meal plan can as detailed as you want it to be, just having a general idea of what you will eat for the week is beneficial and will save you time and energy.

2. Buy frozen seafood

Seafood is incredibly healthy and it is recommended to eat seafood a couple of times a week. Rather than having to go to the grocery store every couple of days to pick up fresh fish,  buy high quality frozen fish and cook it at home easily. Take out one fillet in the morning and thaw it out in the fridge so that it is ready to go straight into the oven when you get home from work.

We personally love buying frozen scallops and then cooking them in the oven or on the stove – it’s one of my very favorite meals to cook at home!

3. Buy frozen veggies

Frozen veggies are flash frozen at their prime, meaning they may be even higher quality than the fresh produce. You can take a bag or two out from the freezer in the morning and put in the fridge for a few hours before you want to eat the vegetables. Then just put them on a pan and roast in the oven or steam in the steamer. Frozen veggies are not only convenient, they are also cost effective and much cheaper than fresh produce.



4. Chop up fresh veggies beforehand

Fresh veggies are great too when you want to eat them raw, so cut them up and have them prepared for snacks or as part of a meal.

Tip: if you love spiralized veggies, then I recommend spiralizing a bunch of veggies at once and then putting the noodles in tupperware in your fridge to use them whenever you want.

5. Cook up a few servings at once

If you are cooking up chicken for dinner, make a few extra servings that you can use for the next couple of days for lunch and/or dinner. You can do this with many foods, such as beans, quinoa, burgers, and/or turkey. Think about your future self and how happy you will be when you get home from a long day and you don’t have to cook or even think about what you should have for dinner.



6. Store-bought prepped produce

There are certain produce that take more prep to prepare than others – meaning less likely you are going to prepare them! For example, I love butternut squash, but it is super hard to dice it up and takes a long time to cook. So I tend to buy this in pre-cut pieces to streamline the meal prep when I eat them. It is more expensive to buy pre-cut produce, but it’s definitely cheaper than having to order take-out or eat out at a restaurant for dinner.



7. Smoothie jars

I am a huge fan of smoothies because they are an easy way to get a few servings of veggies in and are a great source of nutrition. That being said, making a smoothie can be somewhat time consuming if you need to get all ingredients together and chop up veggies. Streamline making your smoothie by adding all ingredients except for the liquid base to a jar. This way the next time you are ready for a smoothie you can just pop the ingredients into the blender and add the liquid base.

Main takeaways…

There are definitely ways to make healthy eating easier, and using one or more of the tricks above will get you on your way to eating healthier!




 

Ditch The Scale – Track These Instead!




There are so many different – and even better! – ways to track your body composition rather than the scale. When you use a scale, it tells you nothing about where your weight is coming from and it can be very frustrating when you know you’re less flabby but it is not reflected in the scale. Whether you are trying to gain muscle or lose weight, the tools below will help you achieve your goal.

Below lists the best ways to track your body composition:


1. Body fat monitor

This is hands-down the best tool to determine where your weight is coming from. This also goes for those of you who want to gain weight because you probably want to gain weight in the form of muscle right? Using a body fat monitor not only helps to track your progress, but it can also help you determine whether your current diet and fitness regimen is working.

Examples:

Say you lost weight but the body fat monitor found that this weight came from muscle and not fat – this means you might need to start strength training or take a day off from exercise. Another example, say you didn’t lose any weight but the body fat monitor told you this was because you gained muscle and lost fat and these evened out. See how helpful this tool is?! It doesn’t matter which body fat monitor you use, the important thing is that you use the same monitor to track your progress. 



2. Measuring tape

A measuring tape is a great tool to track where you are losing weight from or where you are gaining muscle. I recommend measuring the arms, waist, hips, and thighs, but you can measure anywhere you want. Be sure to measure the exact same spot every time you measure!



3. Selfies 

A great way to visually see your results is to take pictures of yourself each each or at least every couple of weeks. You likely won’t notice changes in your body because the changes are gradual and you see yourself everyday. When you put a side-to-side picture of yourself this lets you see the changes you’ve made in your body composition – and if you don’t see any changes then you may want to change up your diet and exercise routine. I recommend taking a front and back picture with legs together and another with legs apart, as well as a side profile of both your right and left sides.



4. Clothes fit

Do your clothes feel looser? Hopefully not tighter! This is a great way to feel the difference in how your weight has shifted with how your clothes are fitting. Take a minute to think about whether your jeans are feeling a little looser or if you had pants you couldn’t wear before and now they fit just right. How your clothes fit is one of the best ways to tell if you’ve lost fat and/or gained muscle.



Main takeaway…

Try one or more of the above ways to track your progress in addition or in place of the scale and you will better understand your progress.

 



Top 6 “Healthy” Drinks That Are NOT Healthy!




It’s not easy sticking to a healthy diet, and what makes it even worse is when food and drink are marketed as healthy, only for you to find out that they are anything but healthy! Beverages are the worst offenders because they are easy to consume without them making you feel full or realizing that they are actually loaded with sugar.

Below lists the top 6 “healthy” drinks you should stop drinking:




1. Bottled smoothies

Beware of any type of smoothie that comes in a pre-packaged bottle because there is a good chance there is going to be a ton of sugar and other preservatives to give it a long shelf-life.

Fix it:

Instead, make your own smoothie at home. That way you know exactly what is going into your smoothie.



2. Juice

Unless this is pure vegetable juice, this is likely going to be very high in sugar. 

Fix it:

Make your own juice at home from vegetables, or better yet, make a smoothie! Smoothies contain the fiber in fruits and vegetables which will help to keep you full and slow the effect of sugar if the smoothie contains natural fruit sugars.

3. Skim milk

Skim milk, aka fat-free milk, is actually very high in sugar. One cup has around 11 grams – that’s about half as much sugar as you should have in one day!



Fix it:

Go for unsweetened nut milks. If you want dairy milk, then go for organic hormone-free full-fat dairy milk.

4. Sports drinks

All of those colorful drinks marketed as being good for fueling your workout or post-workout, should be avoided. These are nothing more than sugar waters with a bunch of chemicals added.

Fix it:

Drink pure water or go for coconut water which is super hydrating and full of electrolytes but with natural sugars.



5. Bottled tea

Bottled tea is super deceiving because tea by itself is sugar-free, but bottled teas normally have a ton of added sugar because manufacturers want it to taste good. When you add a bunch of sugar and chemicals and add it to tea, this makes the tea no better than drinking soda.

Fix it:

Brew your own tea at home, or find a brand of tea with zero sugar.

6. Ginger beer

Ginger beer is essentially alcohol free but unfortunately is loaded with sugar – one bottle can have around 50 grams of sugar or more! That’s literally double the amount of sugar you should consume in one day.

Fix it:

Try to find brands of ginger beer that are lower in sugar, or go for diet ginger ale instead.

Main takeaways…

Always check the nutrition facts label because anything marketed as “healthy” does not mean that it is actually good for you.




Healthy Swaps for 7 of Your Favorite Indulgent Foods




Think about it, when someone tells you that you can’t eat something, of course this is going to make you want to eat it even more! Be ready next time a craving hits and learn below of great substitutes for your favorite indulgent foods. Eventually you won’t crave unhealthy foods as much because once you cut them out, your body starts to prefer higher nutritional value foods. But in the meantime, it’s good to know some healthy swaps for unhealthy favorites. 

Below lists healthy swaps for 7 favorite indulgences:



1. Skip: French fries

Sorry, but there is definitely nothing good about fried anything. Fries are bad by themselves, and when you pair them with a highly processed and high sugar condiment such as ketchup, talk about diet disaster, yikes!



Substitute in: Baked sweet potato fries

Sweet potatoes have more flavor and also more antioxidants and vitamins compared to white potatoes. Baking the sweet potato is also much healthier compared to frying. The oil used for frying is generally not healthy and will only be adding bad fats and extra empty calories.



2. Skip: Rice

White rice has zero fiber and has been stripped of basically all nutritional value. Brown rice is not far behind with only a couple more grams of fiber compared to white. DID YOU KNOW – one sushi roll has about 1 cup of rice, which is equivalent to three servings of carbs.



Substitute in: Cauliflower rice

Making “rice” out of cauliflower is brilliant! You still get the crunchy texture and feel of rice, but without all of the carbohydrates and empty calories. You can literally eat as much cauliflower rice you want, we guarantee eating cauliflower rice will not make you fat! Try making sushi at home with this sushi mat and try using cauliflower rice next time!



3. Skip This: Thick crust pizza

Thick crust pizza includes traditional pan crust pizza, deep dish, and Sicilian style pizza. All have thick crusts meaning more bread, carbs, and tons of empty calories – and that’s without the toppings! You basically take one bite and that’s a serving 😉



Substitute for: Flatbread or thin crust pizza

Instead, really enjoy your food and eat more of it when you eat flatbread pizza or any type of thin crust pizza. You are still getting all of the ingredients but cutting back on a few servings of dough as well as cutting back on tons of carbs and empty calories.



4. Skip This: milk chocolate

Cocoa is the part of chocolate that makes it good for you due to the high amount of flavonoids it contains. Flavonoids act like antioxidants to fight off cellular damage in your body. Milk chocolate has a very low amount of cocoa that is often diluted with cream and sugar.



Substitute for: Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate is the best choice in terms of chocolate due to its high amount of flavonoids. Go for dark chocolate that is made up of at least 70% of cocoa to benefit from the antioxidant power of the flavonoids. Also note that the greater the percentage of cocoa, the lower the sugar content. 



5. Skip This: Skim milk

Does anyone think that skim milk actually tastes good? 😉 Skim milk is surprisingly high in sugar (about 12 grams per cup), which is just about half as much as the total amount of sugar you should consume in one day.



Substitute for: Unsweetened vanilla almond milk

Go for unsweetened vanilla almond milk (less than 1 gram of sugar) which has greater flavor from the almonds and the vanilla. Yum! Almond milk is always lactose free, dairy free, and antibiotic free so you don’t have to worry about this type of milk messing with your stomach.



6. Skip This: Orange Juice

Orange juice is basically sugar and water with an orange taste, and one cup has around 20 grams of sugar – almost the total amount of sugar you should consume in one day!



Substitute for: An Orange

If you are really craving that orange flavor, eat the orange. It will leave you more satisfied compared to drinking the juice. If you are thirsty then drink a glass of water 🙂 Eating a whole food is always better than drinking its juice. When you only drink the juice you miss out on the nutrients and fiber that comes from the actual food itself.



7. Skip This: Pasta noodles

Pasta is super high in carbohydrates and low in nutrients, and most individuals eat double or triple what a serving should really be. It’s very easy to overeat pasta because one serving will generally not fill you up, which makes you eat more and more. Talk about a diet killer.



Substitute for: Zucchini noodles

Zucchini noodles taste pretty darn close to traditional noodles, except they don’t make you feel tired and don’t flood your body with carbohydrates and calories! Invest in a spiralizer, which is the device that makes noodles out of zucchini, and it will become one of your most favorite kitchen gadgets! You can eat the noodles raw, cook on the stove, or bake in the oven – all are great choices! Get your handheld spiralizer HERE



Main takeaway…

Try one or more of the above next time you have a craving!




6 Reasons Jumping Rope Is An Awesome Workout




Jumping rope is one the oldest forms of workout equipment, and also one of the most under utilized forms of workout equipment! We love jumping rope for an effective and efficient workout. It burns tons of calories in a short amount of time, without needing much equipment or even needing to put much thought into it! Just pick up a jump rope and start going, you can get a good workout in just a few minutes a couple times a week. 

Below lists the top 6 reasons why jumping rope is an awesome workout:




1. Cardio

Jumping rope is a great exercise to get your heart rate up quickly and it burns roughly 10 calories per minute (more or less depending on intensity) which is a solid way to burn calories quickly. Increase the burn by doing high intensity interval training with the jump rope by increasing the intensity for 30 seconds, then decreasing the intensity and speed for 60 seconds, alternating 10 times.



2. Builds strength

Not only is jumping rope a great cardio workout, it also works several of your major muscle groups including glutes, hamstrings, abs, and forearms. Muscle not only gives you a toned body, but it also is metabolically active tissue meaning you will burn significantly more calories at rest when you have more muscle. 



3. You can do it anywhere

Literally anywhere. You can jump rope outside, in your garage, in the kitchen 😉 if you have space to stand then you should have space to jump rope. Being able to exercise anywhere, anytime, is one of the best things about jumping rope. No excuses now for not working out on vacation! Next time bring the jump rope.




4. Simple…but effective

Jumping rope is incredibly simple, no crazy maneuvers, you literally just move your wrists and take tiny jumps! Exercise doesn’t have to be complicated to get a good workout.



5. Full body exercise

As discussed above, jumping rope works your upper body, lower body, and midsection giving you a full body workout. Using your whole body during exercise is ideal because it saves time rather than having to work one muscle group at a time. Using more muscles at once is more effective and gives you the greatest bang for your workout buck.



6. Inexpensive

Have a great workout!




7 Healthy And Delicious Substitutes For Salad Dressing




Salad dressing is meant to ENHANCE the flavor of a salad and to mix all the ingredients together. However, we tend to use way too much salad dressing to a a point where you can’t even taste the food itself. Traditional salad dressing also typically consists of several chemicals and sugar combined together giving you a high sugar and high calorie diet disaster! When we eat food, we want to actually taste the food and not smother it in some sauce or dressing. And if we are going to smother our food in something, it should at least be healthy and taste great!

Below are my 7 favorite healthy ingredients to use instead of salad dressing:




1. Guacamole

Avocado or using guacamole is my all time favorite “salad dressing” because it tastes amazing and is amazing for you! Avocado is full of healthy fat, vitamins and nutrients and the combination of fat and fiber will help to keep you full as well. Mash up avocado or use guacamole and mix in with your salad.



2. Hummus

Hummus is another great substitute for salad dressing because it has great flavor and is very good at keeping a salad together. Mix in a few tablespoons into your next salad. Look for a brand that has very few ingredients listed on the label and ideally the hummus should consist of just chickpeas, olive oil, and spices.



3. Hard boiled egg (chopped)

I love hard boiling eggs and then throwing one( or a few) in a salad and chopping it up and mixing. The yolk is key with helping keeping the salad together so don’t skip the yolks! It also gives you a great protein and fat addition to your salad as well as great flavor! Take it a step further and make a guacamole egg salad by mixing a couple tablespoons of guacamole with a couple eggs then mixing into your salad.



4. Liquid Aminos

I love using liquid aminos as a substitute for soy sauce because it tastes just like soy sauce and is gluten-free and uses gmo-free soybeans. It is also calorie free and sugar free and adds great flavor to salads as well as marinades for protein.



5. Coconut oil

I love coconut oil on everything, and if you love the slight coconut flavor of coconut oil then add it to your salad! Coconut oil contains short chain fatty acids meaning it is easily broken up and digested by your body to be used instantly for energy rather than fat. Coconut oil also may increase your metabolism when consuming it.



6. Balsamic vinegar

‘Vinegar” is the key word here, any type of vinegar is great but balsamic is by far the most common in restaurants. Important note: Avoid vinaigrette which has added sugar making it a high calorie dressing – vinaigrette does not equal vinegar. 



7. Olive oil

A couple dashes of olive oil give you a good dose of healthy fats with zero sugar to help keep you satisfied and give you amazing health benefits! You don’t need much olive oil to give your salad great flavor, so don’t go overboard 😉

Enjoy!




Top 10 Foods For Weight Loss




It seems like everyone is on a diet at some point in time for one reason or another, whether it be trying to lose weight, gain weight, or just maintain current weight. The best diet will have a good mix of protein, fat, and fiber, and will be packed with tons of vitamins and nutrients to keep you satisfied and to give your body everything it needs.

Below is a list of the top foods that will keep you full and satisfied and will help you reach your goals faster. The foods below are very hard to overeat because they are so filling, so don’t worry about eating too much of them – if you are hungry, eat up! There are certainly other foods that can help with weight loss, but if you have trouble with portion sizes, you really don’t have to worry about that with the foods below.

Below lists the top 10 foods to get your lean and keep you lean:




1. Eggs

Eggs really are the perfect food. Eggs are an excellent source of high quality protein and fat, contain zero carbs, and are packed with vitamins and essential nutrients. Aim to add eggs to at least one of your meals or snacks.

2. Egg whites

Egg whites are great because they are pure protein and help to bulk up a meal. Important to note that the yolk is where you are getting all of the vitamins and nutrients (and flavor!), so I advise adding at least one full egg with egg whites.



3. Seafood

Almost all seafood is lean, but some of the best and tastiest include shrimp, cod, scallops, and salmon. Seafood is low in calories, high in protein, high in good fats, and packed with essential nutrients.

4. Chia seeds

I add chia seeds to basically anything that is low in fiber to help boost the fiber content of the meal. Chia seeds are almost completely fiber with a small amount of fat and are low in calories. I recommend adding a tablespoon to low fiber foods like eggs. Chia seeds have no flavor so they won’t change the flavor of your meal, don’t worry!



5. Chicken breast

Chicken breast is great because it is high in protein, has some fat, and is low in calories. It’s pretty difficult to eat too much chicken breast so eat as much as you want! Add chicken breast to salads to give the greens some protein or eat alone as a snack.

6. Leafy greens

My favorite leafy greens include kale, spinach, arugula, and romaine lettuce. I’m really loving romaine lettuce in particular right now  because it has a delicious crunchy texture and adds so much volume to meals.



7. Cauliflower

Cauliflower is my favorite vegetable right now because it is so versatile! Cauliflower is high in fiber and low in calories, meaning it will fill you up and you can never eat too much of it. Some of my favorite ways to eat cauliflower include cauliflower rice, cauliflower crust pizza, and cauliflower based wraps. 

8. Broccoli

Broccoli is also one of my favorite vegetables because it is high in fiber and adds volume to meals that will help to fill you up and keep satisfied. My favorite ways to prepare broccoli are steaming and roasting in the oven.



9. Mushrooms

Mushrooms are great for adding volume to meals or using as snacks because they are mostly composed of water. Eat mushrooms raw or slightly cooked – just don’t overcook them because they’ll shrink!

10. Peppers

Peppers are a great way to add some spicy flavor to dishes and may even rev up your metabolism! They also add great color to your meals as well as deliver vitamins and other nutrients.



Main takeaways…

Eat as much of the above as you want because each of the above foods will help to keep you lean and will prevent fat gain.




Sneaky Situations Derailing Your Diet




You’ve been working out really hard and eating healthy, and you still feel like you aren’t making much progress, what gives? This is a very common situation I see in practice. Well, when we look a little closer at your day-to-day life, normally there are a few situations where unhealthy foods lurk and you might indulge and forget about what you ate or drink, or think it was just a bite – that adds up quickly without you even realizing it.

Below are the most common sneaky situations that derail your diet:




1. At work

If you spend a good amount of time at work, this place can sabotage your healthy diet. Treats and desserts are extremely common at work, whether it be a birthday, a holiday, a Monday, a Friday, basically any day of the week can be a day to bring donuts or cookies in. These treats add up and they also make you hungrier and crave more sweets after you eat them. It can also be difficult to say no to sweets just out of peer pressure, “you’re not going to take anything?” or “why aren’t you eating any of the cake I baked?” Don’t worry about being polite here, just say thanks but no thanks, I don’t eat sweets. Done with discussion.



2. Your kitchen

If you know your freezer is stocked with ice cream and you have chips in the cupboard, there’s a good chance that those treats will be eaten sooner rather than later. The best thing to do is to not buy them in the first place. If you don’t buy the unhealthy foods, you won’t have the option to eat them. And if you are craving the desserts so much you will to drive to the store to get them, that barrier to entry will definitely cut down on the likelihood of eating the treats. 



3. The smoothie shop

I love a good smoothie, however, smoothies are typically very high in sugar. Smoothies are super sneaky because they are marketed as healthy, however, most not only have sugar from fruits but also add high sugar yogurts and juices. Tropical fruits are the highest in sugar which include bananas, pineapple, and papaya, so avoid smoothies that list all of these as the main ingredients. If you are going to get a smoothie, go for berry heavy smoothies which have the lowest sugar and most fiber, or go for a green smoothie that lists only one or two fruits, this will ensure that you are getting less sugar in your drink.



4. The movie theater

I’ve never come across a movie theater that served healthy food. The usual suspects include hot dogs, popcorn, hot tamales candy, etc. The best scenario would be to not snack at all while at the movies, the second best would be to chew some gum, and other options if you have to munch on something could be apple slices or almonds, or even a protein bar.



5. Happy hour

Going to happy hour can sabotage your healthy lifestyle in a couple of different ways. Number one is the type of drink you are ordering. Avoid beer, sweet wine, and basically any cocktail on the menu because all are high in sugar and empty calories. Instead go for spirits with a zero calorie sweetener, lite beer, or dry wine. The second obstacle with happy hour is the food – usually the happy hour menu is filled with salty, carb heavy foods and calorie dense dips. Try not to go to happy hour hungry, and if you do want to order some food, then go for high protein sources such as meats, cheese, nuts. Avoid the wings and anything fried such as mozzarella sticks or french fries. 



6. The party

Whether this be a birthday party, a baby shower, or a wedding party, any kind of celebration gathering is code for desserts galore. Who ever celebrated with an omelette?! You never know what the food will be at a given party or event, but odds are that the majority is not going to be very healthy. Best thing you can do is not go hungry. If you go hungry and there isn’t much healthy food, you are going to gorge on the unhealthy stuff, and I’ve never been to a party that didn’t have cookies or cake readily available. Stick to the protein sources and vegetables, can’t go wrong with those choices.



7. Brunch

Of all the meals, brunch tends to be the greatest diet disaster. Brunch items tend to be the most whimsical and over-the-top with the pie-filling french toasts, or ice cream pancakes. The typical drinks served at brunch are also a dessert – i.e mimosas which are typically a glass of orange juice with a splash of sparkling wine. This doesn’t mean you should never partake in brunch, just have a healthy meal in mind or check out the menu before you go.



8. The coffee shop

If you get anything but black coffee, you are likely going to get a cup of sugar. Not to mention all of the tasty pastries the coffee shop has on display. Even a fat free or “skim” latte has a great amount of sugar (skim milk has about 12 grams of sugar in a cup). Pair a skim latte with a muffin and you probably just doubled the total amount of sugar you should have for the day – and it’s just the morning, yikes!



What should you do?

It can be helpful to right down everything you eat, every bite, every sip, and see how these small bites and sips can turn into hundreds of empty calories and sugar into your body.