With the arrival of the fall weather, pumpkin flavored everything is now available. There was a time when I liked pumpkin spice lattes, until I learned more about nutrition… and that they could be 700 calories. On top of that, I noticed that when I had them, I would get an upset stomach. So now avoid them. You ever notice certain foods just don’t get along with you, but you like them anyway? That’s another topic, but to get my pumpkin fix other than pumpkin pie or beer, here is a recipe I made this morning in the form of a super shake.
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree – not pumpkin pie mix (1 fist)
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1/8 cup walnuts (1 thumb)
- 1 scoop vanilla whey protein of your choice (I suggest one that has at least 20g of protein per serving and not much sugar or fat)
- 1/2 banana (cupped hand)
- pumpkin pie spice to taste
- 4-6 ice cubes
I use the fist, cupped hand, and thumb in reference to the hand method for portion control. You can learn more about that here: https://www.precisionnutrition.com/calorie-control-guide-infographic
Take all ingredients in a magic bullet type blender, turn it on. Once it’s smoothly blended, enjoy!
Estimated nutrition facts:
371 calories, 15g fat, 29g protein, 30g carbohydrate (15g sugar)
So as you can see, this has calories equivalent to a small meal, so this is not a “free” meal in your daily routine. Think of this as a meal replacement. This is great if you want something different for breakfast or if you’re crunched for time.
It’s no secret that I am a big fan of the Precision Nutrition “super shake” template. I followed that template to make this shake. You can find that here: https://www.precisionnutrition.com/super-shake-creation
If you are interested in more nutrition knowledge, I now offer nutrition coaching. I am Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certified.
The answer is, you do. Everyone can find 10 more minutes.
I often hear from clients that it’s hard to make a balanced breakfast in the morning. I just wanted to prove that it doesn’t take much time, and can taste really good too! Here is one of my go to meals in the morning.
Poached eggs, whole grain toast with butter and honey, and berries.
First step, oil your pan with canola oil or olive oil. Turn on the heat!
Crack some eggs. Remember the hand method, one palm-sized serving for women (~2 eggs), 2 palm-sized servings for men (~4 eggs)
Cover the eggs after you add whatever you want to them i.e. hot sauce or pepper. While you do this, put your bread in the toaster. The hand method for carbs is one cupped handful for women, 2 for men. I figure that 1 slice of bread is a 1 serving. This is just a starting point, obviously don’t overeat if you’re too full with 1 slice.
Once your eggs are cooked, toast is done (with a little butter and honey), add some berries (1 fist), and you’re done!
Oh, and by the way, it only took me 8:55 to make it all including heating up my pan. So my point is, everyone can squeeze in 10 extra minutes to make a good breakfast. No excuses, this was done at 5am!
Life often gets hectic and making healthy decisions gets thrown out the window. The biggest problem I hear is time. It takes less time to go out to eat than it does to go to the grocery store and cook something usually, but your waistline will stay thinner and your wallet fatter if you cook meals at home. When you make time to cook, make extra. You can freeze the extra and eat it later if you don’t want to eat the same thing a couple days in a row. If you make enough meals at once, you can rotate them throughout the week. The key is have a plan each week and stick to it. Look at your schedule and plan accordingly, say if you’re in sales and are in your car all day, you probably don’t want lunches that require heating up.
Here are just a few examples of healthy meals you can make it bulk. If I can make them, you can make them. I am self taught.
Turkey Taco Salad
- Chop up 2 hearts of Romaine lettuce, rinse, and spin in a salad spinner.
- Brown 2 lbs of ground turkey breast and use low sodium taco seasoning according to directions on the packet.
- Open a can of low sodium black beans, rinse them in a colander.
- Cut cherry tomatoes in half (only when you’re going to eat them soon).
- On a bed of lettuce, place your taco meat, beans, 2% Mexican blend shredded cheese, guacamole, and salsa.
- Eat it.
- Store the rest in the fridge and save for later. This isn’t half bad with cold meat either if you don’t have access to a microwave at work for lunch.
Salmon Fillet with Green Beans and Sweet Potato Chunks
- Set the oven for 425.
- In a glass baking dish with a little olive oil coating the bottom, place your salmon fillets.
- Sprinkle the fillets with lemon pepper seasoning to taste, and cook until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F. (10-15 minutes)
- Place your green beans in the steaming tray of a rice cooker. Steam them according to directions for your rice cooker. Steam until they are al dente.
- Peel and chop a medium sweet potato. Place in a microwave safe dish. Add a dash of water and sprinkle cinnamon on the chunks. Microwave on the vegetable setting, or 4 minutes or so if your microwave isn’t fancy.
Ginger Chicken Stir-Fry w/ Asparagus (my wife pinned this on Pinterest and I made it)
Link:I’ll never admit I used Pinterest
- Trail mix (small handful, this is very dense in calories)
- Beef jerky or turkey jerky
- 1-2 pieces of low-fat string cheese, 1-2 hard-boiled eggs, 1-2 handfuls of grapes, and 1-2 thumb-sized portions of walnuts. (1 for women, 2 for men, that day I was really hungry so I had 3 eggs…)
*Note, not all of this together is a snack, I hope that is obvious.
With the warm weather and longer days, it’s a lot more enticing to get out the grill. Just because you’re grilling, doesn’t mean that it can’t be healthy. Here is my latest creation from my little Weber grill.
No Bun Sirloin Burgers:
- 2 lbs of ground sirloin
- 2 tbsp of lite soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 medium red onion, diced
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced (I used a garlic press)
Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Form into patties, place on the grill. Cook until done. Top with whatever you want. I used slices of tomato, avocado, spring mix greens, and natural ketchup. Easy.
Grilled Mixed Veggies:
Cut up whatever veggies you like. Add some healthy oil (canola, olive, coconut etc.) and black pepper, toss together in a bowl. Place in pan and grill until done.
Here’s what it looked like before I devoured it all:
Note: If you worked out prior to eating this, you could include some good carbs, like a whole wheat bun a small sweet potato.
Many people will ask me about what I eat (naturally because I am the fitness professional), so I wanted to share what I’m eating this week and strategies that I use so I am successful.
- Make time in your schedule so that you make food in bulk for several days, so that healthy food is ready ahead of time and you avoid the drive-thru.
- Use seasonings rather than heavy sauces on your food to add taste, this saves on the calories.
- Modify your favorite recipes to make them healthier, such as substitute plain Greek yogurt for sour cream. Just look around the web and you can find ways to make healthier recipes from people more savvy in the kitchen than myself.
- Utilize a crock pot so that you prep a meal in the morning, and you will have a fresh, home cooked meal ready when you get home at the end of the day.
- Have snacks that are readily available, like nuts, veggies with a dip (plain greek yogurt with ranch or dill seasoning or humus), Lara Bars, Kind Bars, cottage cheese etc. (low carb snacks)
- Drink lots of water, you may just be thirsty instead of hungry.
- Don’t go the grocery store hungry, you’ll buy food that’s not good for you.
- Keep poor food choices out of sight, instead keep good snacks where you can see them.
- You have to treat eating right like a chore or a job, it takes planning and preparation.
Breakfast: (I make every morning)
- Breakfast Sandwich
- 1 Ezekiel bread English muffin toasted
- 1 slice of Low-Fat Swiss Cheese
- 3-4 slices of lean deli ham
- 1 whole egg
Snack: Veggies and Dip (makes several snacks)
- Dill Dip
- Natural plain Greek yogurt
- Packet of dill seasoning mixed into yogurt
- Cut veggies
- Assorted bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, sugar snap peas
Lunch: Mini Meat Loafs with Green Beans and Mashed Sweet Potatoes (makes several meals)
- Mini Meat Loafs
- 2 lbs lean ground meat of your choice (sirloin, turkey breast, chicken)
- 10oz frozen chopped spinach thawed
- 1 onion finely chopped and sautéed
- 1 8oz mushrooms finely chopped and sautéed
- 10 baby carrots finely chopped
- 4 whole eggs beaten
- 1/3 cup coconut flour
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp pepper
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp thyme
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- Combine all ingredients and mix by hand in a large bowl
- Portion out into 2 muffin pans (18 total) and bake at 375 F for 30 min
- Mashed sweet potatoes
- Peel and chop 5 sweet potatoes and boil in a pot until soft
- Drain them and then mash in a bowl until you get the consistency you want
- Add butter and cinnamon to taste
- Green Beans
- Take a bag of frozen green beans and microwave it in a microwave safe dish according the instructions on the bag
Protein Shake: (post workout)
- 6-8oz unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 1 scoop vanilla whey protein isolate
Dinner: Spanish Chicken on a bed of Quinoa (makes several meals)
- Spanish Chicken:
- Spray the inside of a crockpot with coconut oil
- 5 lbs cubed chicken breast
- 1 lb Italian Chicken or Turkey Sausage
- 1 red bell pepper chopped
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 small can of low sodium tomato paste
- 2 small cans of diced tomatoes with green chilies
- 1 10-14oz jar of artichoke hearts (drained)
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp oregano
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
- Sliced olives (optional)
- Cook on low for 6-8 hrs
- Cook a whole box of quinoa in a rice cooker or according to the stovetop directions
I don’t often tell my clients with weight loss goals to eat pasta, it tips the balance of carbohydrates, protein and fats way off. You won’t like what it does to the scale the next day either. This is a recipe that replaces spaghetti with spaghetti squash, a vegetable and good source of carbohydrates. It takes up the taste of the sauce, so you won’t even know the difference!
Cut a spaghetti squash in half, length wise. Place on a baking tray and bake in the oven on 350 for 45 minutes. If it’s a smaller squash, you may only need 30 minutes. While that is baking, brown 2 lbs of ground turkey breast, adding Italian seasoning to taste. Once the turkey is fully cooked, add 2 cans of pasta sauce. You can find sauce that has no added sugar or HFCS (high fructose corn syrup); I use the Full Circle brand at Schnuck’s in the St. Louis area. When the spaghetti squash is done baking, remove it from the oven and use a fork to pull it apart. The strands look just like spaghetti. If you want softer spaghetti, you can sauté the squash in a pan to soften it up, otherwise it will be a little al dente.
– 2 lbs of ground turkey breast
– Italian Seasoning
– 2 Jars of Pasta Sauce
– 1 Large Spaghetti Squash
Add a green veggie or salad and you have a complete meal.
Why eat boring? This is healthy and has lots of flavor!
– 2 LBS of Ground Turkey Breast
– 1 ½ Cup of Crumbled Feta Cheese
– 15 OZ Package of Frozen Spinach
– 1 ½ Cup of Oats
– 4 Eggs
– 1 ½ tsp Oregano
– 1 tsp Thyme
– ½ tsp Basil
– ½ tsp Marjoram
– ½ tsp Onion Powder
– ½ tsp Garlic Powder
Each burger patty is about 305 calories, 11 grams of carbs, 8 grams of fat, and 47 grams of protein.
Mix all ingredients thoroughly in a bowl. Grab a handful of the mix and form into a patty. Keep making patties until you have no more mix. You can either cook on a George Foreman grill, on your charcoal or gas grill on top of foil (may fall through the grate otherwise), or in a pan and cook on each side.
Serve up without the bun and then throw some veggies on the side!