Monday, March 23, 2015

Easy Herb Chicken

Chicken breast doesn’t have to be boring. This version made with parsley, rosemary, and lemon zest has tons of fresh flavor. Any fresh herbs can be used in this recipe. Try substituting the rosemary with basil, tarragon, or oregano. Leftover portions taste excellent on top of a salad.
Total Time: 25 min.
Prep Time: 15 min.
Cooking Time: 10 min.
Yield: 4 servings
¼ cup finely chopped Italian parsley
3 fresh rosemary sprigs, leaves removed and finely chopped, stem discarded
2–3 tsp. finely chopped lemon peel (about 1 lemon)
Sea salt and ground black pepper (to taste; optional)
4 (4-oz each) raw chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1. Preheat grill or broiler on high.
2. Combine parsley, rosemary, and lemon peel in a small bowl; mix well.
3. Add salt and pepper if desired. Set aside.
4. Brush chicken with oil; rub herb mix onto both sides of the chicken. Let sit for 5 minutes.
5. Grill or broil chicken for 5 minutes on each side, or until chicken is no longer pink in the middle.

Herb Chicken nutrition facts and meal plan portions

Monday, March 16, 2015

Banana Shakeology Pie

Beachbody created a chocolate, peanut butter and banana pie that is delicious and good for you! Thanks to Shakeology, this peanut butter chocolate pie has 14 grams of protein per slice. You’re welcome.
Total Time: 1 hr. 10 min.
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cooking Time: None
Yield: 8 servings
2 Tbsp. nonfat milk
1 (12-oz.) container firm (or silken) tofu
2 scoops Chocolate Shakeology
½ cup all-natural peanut butter
2 ripe medium bananas, cut into chunks
1 Tbsp. raw honey
1 Whole Wheat Graham Pie Crust (get the recipe here)
1. Place milk, tofu, Shakeology, peanut butter, bananas, and honey in blender; cover. Blend until smooth.
2. Pour tofu mixture into pie crust; refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or until firm.
3. Cut into eight servings.
Banana Honeymoon Shakeology Pie nutrition facts and meal plan portions

Totally Clean Banana Pudding Recipe!

I don't know about you guys but I LOVE pudding.  I don't love the fake pudding though! The powdered pudding that you add milk to and bam... there it is! Much better to stop eating out of boxes, cans and freezers (unless it's frozen fruits, veggies & lean protein!) and make your food yourself. AND it's easier than you think!  Give this banana pudding recipe a shot!  So good, so creamy and SO much better for you!  

4 organic egg yolks
1/4 cup raw honey
1/4 cup arrowroot powder
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups full-fat coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ripe banana, sliced
Walnuts, optional

1.  Whisk together the egg yolks, honey, and arrowroot powder in a medium glass bowl. Set aside.
2.  Heat the coconut milk in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. 

3.  Slowly pour the coconut milk into the egg mix, whisking constantly.

4. Transfer the entire mixture back into the saucepan and cook for another 2-3 minutes. 

5.  Stir regularly until thickened, making sure it does not boil.
6. Transfer the mixture into a large bowl and whisk in the vanilla and the mashed bananas. Chill for one hour.
7. To serve, spoon the pudding into a bowl or small cup. Top with sliced banana and walnuts if desired. 

8. Serve immediately or place in the fridge to have as a sweet treat later!
Courtesy of the Clean Eating Community

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

55 Snacks Under 150 Calories!

Eating healthy doesn’t need to be complicated or boring! Here are 55 easy-to-prepare snacks, each under 150 calories, that will keep your taste buds happy.
1. Mini tostada
Spread ¼ cup of nonfat refried beans on a small tortilla. Top with shredded lettuce, diced tomato, and a sprinkle of your favorite cheese.
2. Frozen grapes
Freeze 1 cup of grapes and enjoy them as if they’re sorbet.
3. Greek yogurt with honey
Mix one teaspoon of honey into half a cup of plain, nonfat Greek yogurt.
4. Cinnamon apple
Sprinkle an apple with cinnamon for a treat that tastes more decadent than it is.
5. Strawberries and chocolate
Dip 4 or 5 (depending on their size) strawberries into 2 squares of melted dark chocolate.
6. Almost apple pie
Try 1 cup of unsweetened applesauce with a hint of cinnamon.
7. Jicama
Chop one and a half cups of jicama and add a splash of lemon juice and a pinch of salt for a tangy, refreshing treat.
8. Café Au Lait
Enjoy 8 ounces of skim milk with a shot of espresso.
9. Carrots with hummus
Crunch on 9 or 10 baby carrots with a side of 2 tablespoons of hummus.
10. Nuts
A handful of 25 pistachios, 14 almonds, or 16 peanuts makes for a nice “good” fat and protein snack.
11. Eggs with guacamole
Hard boil an egg and replace the yolk with 2 tablespoons of guacamole for a protein-packed snack.
12. Edamame
Boil or steam one-half cup of unshelled edamame with a pinch of salt for a fiber-rich snack.
13. Bitter chocolate
Enjoy 1 large block or 3 small squares of dark chocolate.
14. Mediterranean tomato
Dice one medium tomato and top with 2 tablespoons feta cheese and a pinch of salt.
15. Kale Chips
Make your own kale chips for a fraction of the price with this recipe.
16. Bell peppers with balsamic vinegar
Drizzle 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar on top of 2 cups of sliced bell peppers.
17. Eggs with spinach
Scramble 3 egg whites with one-half cup of raw spinach and 1 Tbsp. of feta cheese.
18. Corn with garlic
Coat one-half of an ear of corn with a 1 tsp. of olive oil and 1 minced garlic clove. Grill until tender.
19. Santa Fe black beans
Combine one-quarter cup black beans, ¼ teaspoon of salt, and 1 Tbsp. of nonfat Greek yogurt for a hearty snack.
20. Chocolate banana
Dip one-half of a banana into 2 squares of melted dark chocolate.
21. Caprese
Top one ounce of mozzarella cheese with half a cup of cherry tomatoes and 2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar.
22. Tuna salad
Mix together 2 ounces of water-packed tuna with 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil and 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard.
23. Sweet potato
Enjoy one small baked sweet potato plain or with a pinch of salt.
24. Popcorn
Munch on 2 cups of air popped popcorn.
25. Olives
For a salty snack, enjoy 9 kalamata olives.
26. Greek watermelon
Top 1 cup of watermelon with 2 tablespoons of crumbled feta.
27. Peanut butter
Even on its own, peanut (or almond) butter makes for a treat full of good fats.
28. Cottage cheese and melon
Combine three-quarters of a cup of melon with one-quarter cup of nonfat cottage cheese for a sweet dessert.
29. Strawberry and spinach salad
For a savory and sweet salad, mix together 1 cup of baby spinach with one-half cup of sliced strawberries. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar.
30. Shakeology
Mix one-half serving of your favorite flavor of Shakeology  with water.
31. Spiced cottage cheese
Mix ¾ cup nonfat cottage cheese with a pinch of chili powder and a pinch of curry powder. Top with chopped scallions if desired.
32. Shrimp cocktail
Dip eight medium-sized cooked, peeled shrimp in 2 Tbsp. all-natural cocktail sauce.
33. Crisp bread and lox
Top a Wasa whole-grain cracker with 1 ounce of salmon lox, two slices of cucumber, and a pinch of crushed black pepper.
34. Ham-wrapped asparagus
Wrap three slices of lean, nitrate free deli ham around three cooked asparagus spears.
35. Mediterranean rice cake
Spread 1 Tbsp. of hummus on a whole grain rice cake. Top with two cucumber slices.
36. Carrot salad
Mix two grated carrots with one Tbsp. of raisins, one tsp. of raw sunflower seeds, and 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar.
37. Black bean salad
For a snack with protein and fiber, mix ¼ cup drained black beans, one chopped tomato, half a green bell pepper chopped, and a pinch of chili powder.
38. Roasted red pepper Wasa cracker
Spread 2 Tbsp. hummus on a whole-grain Wasa cracker. Top with one jarred roasted red pepper, sliced.
39. Avocado cracker
Mash ¼ avocado with a squeeze of lime. Spread on a Wasa cracker and top with a pinch of espelette pepper or smoked paprika.
40. Pistachios and cranberries
Combine 16 shelled pistachios with ¼ cup unsweetened dried cranberries.
41. Veggies and ranch dip
Enjoy ranch dressing without the guilt! Dip 10 baby carrots and 8 cherry tomatoes into 2 Tbsp. healthy ranch dip made with Greek yogurt vs. mayo or sour cream! 
42. Frozen nutty banana
Roll half a peeled banana in one Tbsp. chopped peanuts, pressing so that nuts stick to the banana. Freeze. Enjoy!
43. Baked Apple Chips 
Bake your own apple chips and you can enjoy them with much less sugar. 
44. Cheese and cracker
Top one Wasa cracker with slices of 1 piece of string cheese
45. Italian cucumbers
Cut up 2 cucumbers and enjoy them with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar
46. Seaweed snacks
1 package of roasted seaweed snacks from Trader Joe’s or your local supermarket.
47. Crunch + spice
Cut up 4 celery stalks and enjoy them with ¼ cup salsa.
48. After school snack
Cut up 4 celery stalks and dip them in 1 tbsp. almond butter.
49. Cheesy popcorn
Sprinkle 1 tbsp. nutritional yeast over 2 cups air popped popcorn.
50. Turkey tartine
Top one slice whole grain bread with 2 slices deli turkey and 1 tsp. mustard.
51. PB + J
Top one Wasa cracker with 2 tsp. nut butter and 3 sliced strawberries.
52. Monkey snack
Cut up one half of a banana and dip it in 2 tsp. nut butter and then 1 tbsp. granola.
53. Easy avocado
Mash up one half of an avocado and mix it with 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar.
54. Japanese avocado
Mash up one half of an avocado and combine with with ¼ tsp. soy sauce, ¼ tsp. sesame seeds, and a drizzle of rice wine vinegar.
55. Chips and salsa
Whole grain corn tortilla chips with 2 tbsp. fresh salsa.
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Friday, March 6, 2015

10 Popular Diet Tips That are Bad Advice!

If you’ve ever tried to lose a few pounds, you’ve probably been inundated with diet tips. But take them all with a grain of salt—some advice may sound legit but can actually derail your diet. Here are 10 tips you don’t want to follow.
BAD ADVICE: Choose fat-free or sugar-free foods
BETTER ADVICE: Don’t believe the hype. “They usually use fat and sodium to replace sugar, and sugar to replace fat—or chemicals to replace both,” says Denis Faye, Beachbody’s nutrition expert. And Rania Batayneh, MPH, a nutritionist and author of the upcoming book, The 1:1:1 Diet, adds, “Removing fat from a food makes it less satiating, so you ultimately may end up eating more.” Stick with the original versions, and watch your portions or better yet, eat more unprocessed foods.
BAD ADVICE: No cheating ever!
BETTER ADVICE: Relax your diet rules, and you’ll be more likely to stick it out long-term. “If 80% of your diet is tight, then 20% can be a party,” Faye says. “It keeps you from getting stressed—and stress is a huge obstacle in weight loss.” Just plan your splurges ahead of time so you’re not giving in to every temptation that crosses your plate.
BAD ADVICE: Stop snacking.
BETTER ADVICE: Choose snacks that offer a balance of protein, fiber, and healthy fats—like apples with peanut butter, or carrots with hummus. “A healthy snack can help maintain steady blood sugar levels, which keeps your appetite in check and your energy stable,” Batayneh says. Skipping a snack can cause your blood sugar to dip, leaving you moody and famished—and more likely to overeat at mealtime.
BAD ADVICE: Don’t eat fruit—it’s full of sugar.
BETTER ADVICE: Let fruit satisfy your sweet tooth. “Yes, fresh produce is full of sugar and carbs,” Faye says. “But sugar itself is not the enemy. Fruit is packed with vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals; it’s also rich in fiber, which slows the absorption of sugar. I’ve never met a human being who got fat because of bananas.” When you’re craving sugar, there’s no debate that a handful of grapes is healthier than a hot fudge sundae.
BAD ADVICE: If it’s organic, it’s good for you.
BETTER ADVICE: According to the USDA, organic food is produced without antibiotics, growth hormones, conventional pesticides, and synthetic ingredients.1 The problem is that many people assume organic foods are all low in calories, too, which isn’t necessarily true. Don’t get us wrong—we’d rather eat food that doesn’t resemble a science experiment. But, Faye cautions, “You need to use common sense. If it’s bad for you with conventional ingredients, it’s still bad for you when it’s organic.” A cookie is a cookie, no matter how all-natural it is.
BAD ADVICE: Calories in, calories out—it doesn’t matter what you eat.
BETTER ADVICE: What you’re eating matters. Compare a 100-calorie candy bar to 100 calories of avocado—the latter is packed with nutrients and has healthy fats and fiber to keep you full. Or compare 50 calories of spinach (about seven cups) to 50 calories of ice cream (about two tablespoons). To feel full when you’re cutting calories, look for foods loaded with water and fiber, like veggies or broth-based soups. Plus, “Hormones have a huge impact on our health. Junk food can trigger bad hormonal responses that, over time, can lead to all kinds of problems, including weight gain,” Faye says. Occasionally, someone will pop up in the news claiming they lost a ton of weight while eating nothing but Subway, Starbucks, or Snickers bars—but don’t put too much stock in those success stories. “When you go that route, you’re not educating yourself,” Faye says. “It’s like the teach-a-man-to-fish adage. If you give someone a gimmicky diet, they might lose weight for now; but provide them with knowledge, and they can be healthy for life.”
BAD ADVICE: Try XYZ Extreme Diet—it works for everyone!
BETTER ADVICE: Find a plan that works for you. Gender, age, genetics, metabolism, and lifestyle can all play a role in weight loss—so even if a fad diet has worked for others, that doesn’t mean you’ll get the same results. “There’s no single diet that works for everyone; our biochemical needs are different,” Faye says. Talk to a dietitian or nutrition consultant to find a long-term eating strategy that is tailor-fit to you.
BAD ADVICE: When in doubt, order the salad.
BETTER ADVICE: Choose your greens wisely. Leafy greens and vegetables may be virtuous, but not if they’re slathered in creamy dressing and topped with bacon, candied nuts, croutons, deli meats, or cheese. “Fatty fixings can add hundreds of calories to your meal, and sometimes contain more calories than that juicy burger!” Batayneh says. Salad can be a healthy choice, but order dressing on the side and limit the add-ons.
BAD ADVICE: Don’t exercise—it’ll only make you hungrier.
BETTER ADVICE: Get moving—an hour-long workout isn’t going to make you suck down calories like Michael Phelps. “Exercise isn’t just for losing weight—it improves your cardiovascular health and strengthens your bones,” Faye says. You might feel hungrier while recovering from a grueling workout, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to pack on pounds. “As long as you’re eating clean, your body is amazing at self-regulating,” Faye adds. “It should crave the calories you need to fuel your workouts, not to get fat.”
BAD ADVICE: Treat yourself for a job well done!
BETTER ADVICE: Rethink your reward system. After an intense workout, you may feel like you’ve earned a cocktail or cupcake. But splurging after every workout can quickly undo all your hard work. If you’ve been good all week, go ahead and grab a guilt-free beer on Friday. But, Faye says, “Don’t let every workout become a Pavlovian thing where you need to eat cake afterwards.” After all, the best reward for a killer workout is getting one step closer to the body you want.
What’s the worst diet advice you’ve ever received?
Courtesy of the Team Beachbody Blog

Chicken Breast with Sauteed Mushrooms

Mushroom lovers, this is for you! These mushrooms sautéed with garlic and sherry vinegar are incredibly flavorful, you’ll want to put them on everything. (Leftovers taste great in an omelette!)
Total Time: 48 min.
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cooking Time: 38 min.
Yield: 4 servings
1½ tsp. olive oil, divided use
4 (4-oz.) raw chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
4 medium shallots, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 lb. sliced mushrooms
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary (or 2 Tbsp. dried rosemary)
2 Tbsp. dry sherry (optional)
½ cup  low-sodium organic chicken broth
Sea salt (or Himalayan salt) and ground black pepper (to taste; optional)
1. Heat 1 tsp. oil in medium skillet over medium-high heat.
2. Add chicken; cook for 3 minutes on each side. Remove from pan. Keep warm.
3. Heat remaining ½ tsp. oil over medium-high heat.
4. Add shallots; cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 4 minutes, on until translucent.
5. Add garlic; cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute.
6. Add mushrooms and rosemary; cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, or until mushrooms release all their liquid.
7. Add sherry (if desired) and broth. Season with salt and pepper, if desired; cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
8. Add chicken; cook for 5 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink in the middle.
9. Place a chicken breast on each of four serving plates. Top with mushroom mixture.
Grilled chicken breast with mushrooms nutrition facts and meal plan portions
Courtesy of the Team Beachbody blog

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Lemon Raspberry Ricotta Shakeology

Raspberries, fresh lemon, and mild ricotta make this Shakeology smoothie taste like a fancy Italian dessert. It has 25 grams of protein per serving, and only 250 calories.
Total Time: 5 min.
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cooking Time: None
Yield: 1 serving
1 cup water
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
¼ cup nonfat ricotta cheese
1 scoop Strawberry or Greenberry Shakeology
½ cup fresh or frozen raspberries
1 cup ice
1. Place water, lemon juice, ricotta, Shakeology, raspberries, and ice in blender; cover. Blend until smooth.
Lemon Raspberry Ricotta Shakeology nutrition facts and meal plan portions
 Courtesy of the Team Beachbody blog

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Top 15 Tips for to Help You AVOID the Grocery Store, Save Money & Buy in Bulk!

How many people LOVE going to the grocery store every few days? I know I DO NOT!  I like going, don't get me wrong, but no more than once a week or once every two weeks if I can help it!  So, below are my tips for avoiding grocery shopping more often than once every week or two! Give them a shot and see if you can make life easier on yourself! This is especially for the hard working mamas and dads out there!

One tip....If you have the room, get an extra refrigerator!  We bought one second hand off a resale group on Facebook and it is a life SAVER! Or, at best, an extra freezer!

1.  Wrap lettuce and spinach up in paper towels, then place into a zip lock bag. It'll last at least a week, sometimes 2 weeks, without wilting. Wash it when you're going to use it so you don't add extra moisture before storing it.

2.  Buy cheese when it's on sale and freeze it. I buy 2 - 4 lbs of skim mozzarella cheese at a time. I have the deli cut it and put it in individual 1lb bags. If I buy it at Costco, I separate it into 1 lb bags, keep 1 lb in the fridge and freeze the rest.

3.  Apples, pears, oranges, grapefruits, plums, grapes and nectarines will stay fresh in your fridge for at least 2 weeks.  If you put them out, they'll be ready to eat in a day or two.  So, buy in bulk, store most of it in the fridge, and leave only a few pieces in your pantry to have ready to eat.

4.  When chicken is on sale, I buy about 20 lbs worth of it. I have the butcher separate them into 5 lb bags and freeze them that way. When I make the chicken, I make 5 lbs at a time so I can have enough for dinner and enough to prep and also have some more on hand for the week.

5.  We don't eat a lot of bread by my husband and daughter take a sandwich for lunch most days of the week and they occasionally have toast. We buy the 2 loaf pack at Costco and store it in the fridge. It stays good for at least two weeks, sometimes more.

6.  When it comes to fruits, berries are my favorite.  We buy frozen berries for our shakes and our oatmeal because they are organic and a lot cheaper than the fresh variety. They also last A LOT longer than fresh berries, which tend to only last a few days.  We also buy frozen mango for our shakes and it makes them thicker and more like ice cream too!

7.  For snacks, we like to have almonds, string cheese, roasted peas, dried cranberries & whole wheat crackers on hand. All of these can be purchased at Costco and keep well. They'll last at least 2 weeks in your fridge or pantry.

8.  One of my favorite snacks is baby carrots! I buy the large 3 lbs bag at Costco.  They're organic and also last about 2 weeks, or more, in your fridge.  I leave the bag in the fridge or take them with me to work in small zip lock baggies and snack on them throughout the day.

9.  Milk! One of the items that most parents have to go to the store every other day for!  Have you ever noticed that organic milk lasts A LOT longer than non-organic?  I buy organic milk and I buy 3 - 6 half gallons at a time.  That will last me at least 2 - 3 weeks and the expiration is usually at least a month or a month and a half out so I have plenty of time to use it before it expires.

10.  Deli meats!  We take our lunch to work each day and my daughter takes her lunch to school. With that said, we buy a lot of nitrate free deli meats.  When we buy it, we buy 2 - 3 lbs at a time, sometimes 4 and it can last about 10 -14 days in the fridge.

11.  Bananas! We eat a LOT of bananas!  We buy them as green as we can and when we get home, we separate them and leave them out.  By separating them and wrapping the stems in saran wrap, you give them an extra few days of life before they brown! We buy about 30 bananas and they tend to last us about 10 days without going bad. If we see they're going bad, we freeze them and just add them to our Shakeology or oatmeal frozen.

12.  Eggs!  We buy the 60 count eggs at Costco. I use the eggs for omelets for myself and I hard boil a lot of them so I can keep handy in the fridge for a healthy snack.  I put an X on top of the hard boiled ones so I know which ones are ready to eat!

13.  Cottage cheese and Greek yogurt! We eat A LOT of this.  If you buy the large containers of it at Costco, you can save money AND they last about 10-14 days in the refrigerator.  You can separate it out into small plastic containers to have handy and ready to eat in portion controlled sizes in the fridge or take to work with you!

14.  Cereal!  We eat cereal more like a finger food than a breakfast here. What I do to prevent it from going bad is I store it in plastic containers with a lid.  This way, even if they last a month or more, they are still fresh and taste great because they are kept in an air lock container.  And I don't buy containers, I use the ones that the mixed nuts come in from Costco! So, I buy a lot of cereal at once and I blend the flavors, then put them in the containers. I buy one box of a sweet type of cereal (honey nut cheerios or Cinnamon Puffins) and blend them with a non-sweetened variety so the kids get a little bit of the fun flavors without too much sugar!

15.  Veggies! Veggies can go bad pretty quickly!  I buy them when I know I'll be using them for dinner that week and, if I don't end up using them, I cut them up and use them as snacks that week so I don't waste food. I also like to buy the frozen Normandy Blend variety at Costco. It comes with broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and squash and our family enjoys it as a side dish with dinner often. I also eat them as a snack throughout the day so I make some and keep it ready to eat in the fridge!

So, those are some of my tips for avoiding the grocery store more than a few times a month!  Do you have any tips to add? If so, I'd LOVE to hear them! Add them to the comments below and I'll add them to the blog post with your name below them!