Is it okay to hate Quinoa….and chia??

Is quinoa better than brown rice?
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Is quinoa better than brown rice?

Is quinoa better than brown rice?

Is it me or is every other popular blog post recipe about something made out of chia or quinoa? Luckily, I like both… well, quinoa more than chia since I’m allergic to the latter. Still, what if you have never tried either OR if you have and don’t like them? is it even necessary to force yourself to try these so-called super foods? Well, let’s figure out why they’re super, shall we? Foods with that label typically have a higher concentration of antioxidants than on other foods in their category (fruit, vegetable, grain).

Take quinoa for example; can’t you just stick to brown rice and get the same benefits? Well, first: congrats on making the switch from useless, diabetes instigating white rice to it’s browner sister.  Off the top of my head I know that brown rice is high in fiber but this handy infographic from the Prevention.com blog spells out why quinoa wins the competition.  Hint: quinoa has more protein , fiber, and folate per cup than the same amount of brown rice.

Verdict: give quinoa a try. You might not like its nutty flavor as a newbie but you can start by mixing it with your brown rice or buying it that way. You can also cook it in low sodium chicken stock to add more flavor if you like.

The chia seed is not only high in antioxidants but this little Mayan powerhouse is also high in protein, fiber and omega 3 fatty acids. Wait, didn’t we JUST fall in love with flax seeds for the same reasons? well, chia has higher amounts of the aforementioned nutrients than flax does AND you can eat the seeds whole ( flaxseeds need to be ground up in order to be absorbed). People that like chia usually sprinkle it on other healthy foods or mix it into liquids to make chia pudding as the seeds turn gelatinous when wet.

Basically, the ideas is that chia seeds can make a healthy meal even healthier by boosting its nutrient content but here is the catch I  found: There IS so much as too much of a good thing when it comes to the fat soluble vitamins  (chia has 15 IUs of Vitamin A), allergy potential ( I got a bad rash) and tummy troubles ( chia with a side of bloating, anyone?).  In short, try it sparingly first before throwing yourself wholeheartedly into it. Actually, this is a good rule of thumb for most “fad” foods!

Final Verdict: as our world gets smaller (AND bigger) new foods that make eating more interesting and beneficial will come and go. Your goal is to enjoy your meals while getting the most out of them nutritionally. Foods like quinoa and chia can boost your nutrient level quicker than their more traditional counterparts so explore your options.

How does Yolanda Sangweni stay healthy? (Interview)

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ImageLast week’s launch of New York African Restaurant Week yielded more than great food, sounds and smiles. It also allowed me to sit down and chat with Yolanda Sangweni, Senior Entertainment Editor for the Essence Magazine and Owner/Editor in Chief of  the online magazine AfriPOP!. Yolanda is every bit of fiercely fabulous in person as she is in the photo but one of the first things I noticed was how kindly calm she was while being patient with her time. After all, she was MCing the launch of  NYARW  and was  undoubtedly being pulled in many directions. When she mentioned being on day 2 of a 3 day juice cleanse I was even more impressed by her serenity as I’m not one to do well with food deprivation. Since we were surrounded by deliciously savory African food, I wondered how she was faring with so much temptation around her. Her cheerful  answer of “fine” led me to investigate further (clearly she was as super as her outfit suggested!)

SG:  So how long have you been a fan of juicing?

YS: The last 2 years, I started with a 3 day cleanse and have been doing them since then.

SG: I have tried juice cleanses but can only last 2-3 days?

YS: Yah, 3 days is my ideal too.

SG: So what do you do to stay healthy?

YS: I walk a LOT with the MapMyWalk app but want be more active.  As far as diet goes, I try to stick to a mostly raw diet, about 70% raw along with occasional juicing &  I make a drink made of ginger beer with anise and boiled lemon.

SG: Just make sure you drink a lot of water with all that raw food to prevent stomach upset! Have you had any struggle with nutrition?

YS: Well, I am just so busy that I find that the busier I get the worse I eat and I will just eat whatever is available!

SG: You’re not alone! Thats one of the number one complaint I hear from busy working women!

So there  you have it: Yolanda is just like all of us which clearly makes her even cooler, no?

It’s New York African Restaurant Week!

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ImageImageImageImageLittle old me had the pleasure of being invited along as press to the Edible Bazaar Benefit,  the launch party for NY African Restaurant Week (#NYARW)! I knew I was in the right place when I opened the doors of Suite 36 only to be greeted with the most enticing aromas and music I’d experienced in awhile. Then there was the fashion! The textiles, patterns and bright colors were such a sight for sore eyes after such a hard, gray Winter, my friends! Upon entering I ran into Yolanda Sangweni, Entertainment Editor for Essence  Magazine and author of the AfriPop online magazine.  More on our conversation later but of note, she was one of 2 MC’s for the night. 

The Edible Bazaar Benefit was the kick-off event for the 2nd annual NYARW which is held in both Spring and Fall. In the spirit of community support, ticket sales benefited Keep A Child Alive and the Alliance of Hope for Lupus and the party was sponsored by Edible Communities, locally known for Edible Brooklyn and Edible Manhattan magazines. While our palates were enticed with South African and West African flavors offered by restaurants Madiba and Accra respectively our ears were treated to the soulful sounds of Congolese songstress Rafiya. The owners of these restaurants also received awards for their positive impact in the African and African diaspora community.  

According to the NYARW website

“Most restaurants will be offering 3 course Prix Fixe meals at various prices (most restaurants offering at 28.95) visit BeUevents.com to buy tickets. Some restaurants will be offering the full menu at a 10% discount to all African Restaurant Week dinners” 

How to stay fit when injured

What to do when your body is hurt.
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What to do when your body is hurt.

What to do when your body is hurt.

Sedentary living is one of the biggest culprits for unwanted weight gain and declining fitness levels, aside from overeating and related lifestyle issues. What causes you unexpected sedentary behavior? well, injuries and  surgeries are a couple of things that can do it. Even formerly fit people complain that the weeks spent recovering from injury or surgery is often catastrophic to their waistlines. Here are some strategies to minimize the damage.

 Planned Surgery or sudden Injury

It is best to begin improving your fitness level before the date of your planned surgery. If your limbs are functional and you’re mobile, focus on building/keeping your lean muscle with more resistance training. That way, you can use the first week to two weeks of your healing period as planned rest without too much muscle loss. If your injury is sudden, then focus on the functioning muscles and joints surrounding your injury. For example, if your ankle or knee has been injured you can do seated leg lifts using just your boot or cast as weight. Aim for a couple sets of 10 repetitions and work up from there.

Low impact activities like swimming and Pilates  are good choices for folks with injured joints and biking indoors or outdoors is a good cardio option for injured knees. Biking strengthens the small muscles surrounding the knees without much of the shock associated with running. Use both the recumbent and upright bike and aim for a moderate mount of knee flexion and resistance.

Mental Health Check: Being in chronic pain is debilitating regardless of the reason and feeling like your body is malfunctioning only makes it worse. Sure, depression might seep in and that is natural, don’t despair. Try refocusing on what your body CAN do now.

Focus on your food choices

Since you will be less mobile while you heal, it is smart to take control of you eating habits at this time. Aim to eat mostly wholesome foods found in nature instead of snack foods and be aware of portion sizes. As your body tries to comfort itself it might want to turn to food. Understandable but dangerous. Depending on your injury, boost your fitness with short walks or bike rides, yoga, Pilates and swimming – activities which have been proven to boost both fitness AND mood.

Un-Pasta Bolognese

Low Crab option to your favorite pasta!
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Image Did you know that substituting grated/shredded carrots for bread crumbs and adding tomato paste in meat makes it perfect for a meatballs AND Bolognese? Yeah, me either until now! This recipe was born because my local market sells these awesome giant meatballs that I enjoyed until I found out they had rice and breadcrumbs in them. That and each if them costs about $2 a piece and who needs that when I can make them?? So I roasted some spaghetti squash and cooked this up fully intending to make my own Giant Bawls. Sheer laziness turned this into the Un-Pasta Bolognese you see here. Hey, at least I’m honest!

*Heat oven to 400 degrees, cut spaghetti squash in halves or quarter and sprinkle with salt, olive oil and maybe a tsp of vinegar (optional); roast in ben for up to 25 mins.

1Tbsp oil ( I used Olive)

1 Tbsp onion, chopped

1 lb lean ground turkey

1 4-6 p can of tomato paste

1 tsp garlic, minced or grated

1/2 grated carrot

sea salt & cayenne pepper to taste.

Heat oil in heavy skillet then add onion and sauté until onion is translucent. Season meat  and cook on medium to high heat until brown. Add the garlic and cook for another 3-5 mins, add carrots then cook another 3-5 minutes. Make sure meat is fully cooked and then add tomato paste and mix thoroughly. The paste will soak up all the liquid from the skillet so turn down heat to low so it doesn’t  burn.

* To make meat balls, add all ingredients together while meat is uncooked and cook from there.  When squash is finished roasting, scoop flesh out into a bowl and top with a hearty scoop of the meat mixture. Enjoy!

A week of some of my low carb, low starch meals

Low starch, low carb meals
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Here is a nice collage of what I’ve been feeding myself over the last week. The Lazy Girl’s guide to home made eats 🙂

Spinach eggs with chopped red bell peppers and sweet potato: 2 eggs fried with spinach leaves and the rest is self explanatory.

Baked spaghetti squash sprinkled with coconut sugar and a tsp of ghee: Cut squash into quarters, remove seeds, sprinkle with coconut sugar and ghee and bake for 25 mins; scoop into a bowl when it’s tender to the fork and set alone or as a side for something else.

Korean bbq lettuce cups: Make a marinade of 1/2 cup of rice vinegar, 1 tbsp of oil,1 tbsp of coconut sugar, 1/2 cup low sodium soy, one inch of chopped mince ginger, 2 minced garlic cloves and soak thinly sliced meat ( I used grassed beef) in it for a minimum of 1 hour ( the longer the better; reserve a bit as gravy for lettuce cups). After marinating is over, heat skillet or grill to very hot temps and sear meat 2-5 mins on each side depending on how well done you prefer it ( chicken should be well done!!). Wrap each each piece in Bibb or Romaine lettuce and slather with marinade gravy-ENJOYYYY!

Instant coffee with cinnamon and a tsp of ghee: I made my regular cup of joe ( coconut sugar and cinnamon added) , added a tsp of ghee and GEEE WIZZZZ it’s yummy!

Bikini Ready Tips from 7 of NY’s hottest female FitPros

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Jen Romanelli, Delida Torres, Lindsay Centonze, Amber Hirsch, Dorian Cervantes, Amira Lamb, Mary Onyango

Jen Romanelli, Delida Torres, Lindsay Centonze, Amber Hirsch, Dorian Cervantes, Amira Lamb, Mary Onyango

What time is it? Spring time! That time when in between being addled with  allergies and taking Spring Break with the kids, you’re either (a) panicking because you fell of the resolution wagon (b) frustrated because you’ve plateaued or (c) have been consistent and happy withy your results but know you can do better.

Stacey Grant, MS Certified PT

It’s Me!

Just for you, I turned to Gotham City Elites  to find some of the NY area’s (Jersey’s repped too!) most dedicated & experienced female FitPros to learn their top Bikini Body secrets. As with most subjects, I have plenty to say &  I recently posted my own 3 tips in this post .  Check out what my fellow FitPros are saying about getting Bikini Ready in a jiffy.

Lindsay  Farrington Centoze,  Maddogg Certified Cycle Instructor & NPC Competitor and Cross Country Coach.

I met Lindsay Farrington-Centonze n Fall of 2013 when we both worked with another company.  Not only is she gorgeous but she’s a sweetheart, smart ( she went to NYU too!)  and pretty well accomplished in fitness at her young age. Lindsay has competed in and won 3 National Physique Committee (NPC)  bikini competitions already! Not only that, she is a beloved cycling and group fitness instructor in upstate NY too. In short, she rocks! Listen when she says:

  1. Try switching up your cardio to more high intense intervals. I typically do little to no cardio or some steady-state at the least (long runs, etc). If I’m getting bikini ready I’ll add 1-2 extra cardio sessions to my fitness routine.
  2. Start to focus on quality over quantity when lifting. When getting bikini ready I increase my weight and make a point to focus on form. While my weight increases I do less repetitions but make sure each one has perfect form. Stacey’s Safety Tip: Unsure of proper form? Ask someone!  A good place to start is t figure out which muscle group you should be focusing on and recruiting those muscles to do the job. As always, be careful with your lower back, knees and shoulders.
  3. Simply spend MORE time being active!!! Make a point to park your car in a further spot than usual, take stairs when you can, walk to the gym/grocery store/etc (basically anywhere within walking distance that you typically drive to). Walk more, drive less.

Mayy Onyango,  Certified  Zumba Instructor,  AFAA & Schwinn Certified Group Fitness Instructor

Mary Onyango and I go way back and I admire her deeply. If you know or work with her then you will know what I am talking about. She is thoughtful, compassionate and that physique speaks for itself! Here is what it is saying :

  1. A better bikini body starts with a good diet. If you can eat well at least 70% of the time i.e; lots of water, vegetables, lean meats, protein and healthy carbs (sorry guys this means limit the alcohol too), then you will be halfway to a flatter midsection (what everyone sees FIRST when you’re in a bikini!!)
  2. Incorporate different variations of planks into every routine. Some include modified (on the knees), single leg and single arm, pulses and even push ups. Push ups, my second favorite exercise, really target the triceps/biceps, chest, back (upper/lower), and surprise! even your thighs. Stacey’s Safety Tip: Watch that your lower body doesn’t sag and stays parallel  to the floor even if you’re on your knees.
  3. I love lunges. Try Around the World lunges, an exercise that combines front lunges, side lunges, and reverse lunges one after another for a set of 10-20 reps all done on the right leg and then repeat on the other. Lunges are great because they build the muscles without building size. They also lift and tighten the derriere for lasting results. Stacey’s Safety Tip: Watch that your knee doesn’t go past your toes when you lunge and that you keep your heels on the ground.

Jennifer Romanelli, RN NASM Certified PT & AFAA Certified Group Ex Instructr

I finally met Jen Romanelli, a.k.a. Trooper JRo at a Trooper boot camp where she showed us her high intensity  prowess. Until then, I had only heard about her through her colleagues, students and partner in crime but let me tell you that it was all true: Registered Nurse+ badass boot camp instructor = yowza, my musclllleeeees!! ( at least she’s qualified to revive you after making your body cry uncle). With those qualifications and a body like THAT, listen when she says:

  1. Pull-ups: single most effective body weight exercise. Great for upper body and strong core! Practice with bands. Stacey’s Training tip: Use the assisted machine or ask someone to help you if you’re inexperienced.  “Diversity: we all hear about the dreaded plateau but make an effort to switch things up. Your body is a powerful machine and adjusts to whatever challenges you bring it so keep your body guessing”
  2. Squats with the bar bell: gets those legs firing from top to bottom with bar bell squats. This move helps to build a lean physique by engaging almost every muscle in the body.  “Do more squats! Drop it like its hot to drop those lbs;  practice with body weight or using the barbell for back/front squats.” Stacey’s Safety Tip: Perfect the squat with your bodyweight before adding external weight and then upgrade to a body bar, then bar bell. 
  3. Kettlebell swings are one of my favorite exercise to do with clients as they are the greatest total body killer. With proper technique you burn out your core, shoulders, quads, hamstrings, glutes and back! That’s a lot of bang for your buck! Pick things up and put things down. “Tip: Ramp up your lifting game. Why aren’t women seeing the results they want? They are missing the key component in every athlete’s training program and that is strength conditioning and power”. Stacey’s Training Tip: AGREED. Lift heavier, FabFans!”

Amira Lamb, IFBB Bikini Pro Athlete NASM CPT & Certified Nutrition & Holistic Lifestyle Coach (CHEK Institute) AFAA Certified Group Exercise

Amira Lamb aka the Holistic Hottie is an impressive human being and professional. I like to call her the Tiny Dynamo because she is who helped me mold my body for my first (and only) bikini body building competition in April 2013. She has so many bikini body strategies in her arsenal that we should call her Michelangela. Along with every woman on this list, I trust her implicitly when she says:

  1.  Single Leg Dead Lifts combined with a bicep curl after returning to standing position. – You have to keep the core pulled in and up while working the entire backside of the body. Adding the bicep curls at the end will help to increase muscle mass in the arms which will help them seem more “toned” in appearance.
  2. Plyometrics are fantastic for burning a high amount of calories within a short time. Star Jumps can ramp up your metabolism while working every muscle in the lower body. This is a great exercise to mix into a series of lower impact exercises to maintain an elevated heart rate throughout a workout without doing traditional cardio on a machine.
  3. A basic push up is great. It works the entire body – primarily upper and including the abdominals when you exhale forcefully. As a variation try a Star Jack Push Ups –begin with your feet wide then jump the feet together and then apart. Next, bend only the elbows and then press away from the floor. Continue the Jack to Push Up sequence for as many reps as you can do flawlessly

Amber Hirsch, Barre Certified Group Ex Instructor, Maddog Cycle Instructor

Amber Hirsch is also petite in stature but big in energy and presence. Like with Mary, I cannot believe a child came out of her flat belly but after taking her Barre class at LocalBarre in Hoboken, NJ ( & seeing those quads in action), I will listen when she says,

  1. Don’t Wait Until the last minute! We always have some warning when the summer is coming or when we are planning a vacation. If you have a specific goal, make plans to make sure that you will achieve it! Give yourself time to build a consistent routine which will ideally keep you fit and lean all year.
  2. But if you don’t have a lot of time, hit the barre not the bar! Barre classes are a great way to lengthen and define your muscles and will most importantly target the core. You will walk out of just one class feeling stronger, longer, with improved posture and ready to rock that bikini!
  3. Push it baby! Push Ups are really a woman’s secret weapon to killer arms, tight abs and generally staying lean. You need to recruit almost all the muscles of you body to do them and they get you results. Start where you are comfortable but challenge yourself and upgrade to harder versions as you progress.

Dorian Cervantes,  Dancer & ACE Certified Group Ex Instructor, CPT

Dorian Cervantes is first a dancer…can’t you tell? As with Jen, I knew OF her via the people in her life but the more I explored, the more I realized that she certainly knows what she’s doing in fitness.

  1. Plank with gliders- I am all about the plank all day everyday. You can do it anywhere and it requires no equipment. I love to add the use of Gliders on my feet to get an intense ab workout. I begin in plank position on my elbows and slide my foot in a half circle up towards my shoulder.
  2. One legged dead-lift is another great exercise that doesn’t need equipment but adding weight can really take this exercise to the next level. I usually use a 10lb kettlebell or dumbell.
  3. Push-ups-love to alternate between a wide push press and a narrow. I do 20 push ups. The first position is wide, arms placed on the outside of shoulders and legs on the outside of hips I do 2 push ups chest all the way to the ground and back up to high plank position.
Master trainer for Jumpsport, certified group x and personal trainer.NYSC only

Master trainer for Jumpsport, certified group x and personal trainer.NYSC only

Delida Torres has been in the Rebounding game for  some time now. She recently completed her first bikini fitness competition and had this advice to share.

  1. Planks any kind with rotation especially side planks keeps the abs nice and tight.
  2. Torso Hyper-extension with weights to create the curve in lower back and eliminate love handles & muffin top. Stacey’s Safety Tip: Do these carefully without weights as this is an advanced move.
  3. Booty hip extension + leg abduction combo gives you a nice round high butt. Stacey’s Training tip: you can do these with bands, cables or ankle weights!
Mika Oakes, Licensed Vinyasa Yoga Teacher & LMT

Mika Oakes, Licensed Vinyasa Yoga Teacher & LMT

Mika Oakes  is a beloved yoga instructor with what is by far the sparsest list with just these 3 Yogic points: ( So, so ZEN!)

  1. Listen to your body.
  2. Push yourself to the edge, not beyond.
  3. Slow and steady wins the race

 

Do these 3 things to look tighter by May

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Stay lean with StaceytheFabulous

Stay lean with StaceytheFabulous

They say Winter is ending. Not sure if I believe ’em but for positivity’s sake  let’s just say it is. That means your extremities will be making their big reveal in the next few weeks (yes, warm states, we know you’ve been sunbathing for ages)! For many of us,  Winter means heavier, more satisfying foods and hiding out at home more. In short, Winter can mean bigger backsides from less physical activity unless you take up Winter sports and train for something. Yada, yada, yada: what do we do about it and quickly? First, stop whining, we got ourselves here and 2nd:

Reduce/limit starchy foods. The grainy goodness that you pile your comfort foods on be they whole or refined (refined =  mass processed goods. No bueno) are giving you a belly. I know, I know, whole grains and beans ARE good for you but that big pot/or many sandwiches you feed on all day likely means you’re getting more than your share of starches. Replace some daily starchy meals with non-starchy vegetables and lean protein. You will not only look leaner but feel healthier with a balanced blood sugar level too. The American Diabetes Association has a handy list which I have excerpted at the end of this post.

Lift (heavier) weights.  Ladies, just how long do you intend to use those 5 lb dumb-bells?? Hello, your body has already adapted and is bored (also see below). Bored = no changes. As you age, lean muscle becomes your goldmine for looking fit and sleek. Build yours by adding 1-2 (then eventually 2-3)days of lifting moderately heavy weights ( moderately heavy means the 2nd of 3 sets of exercises is a challenge). Been using 5s? try 7s and 8s? been using 7s and 8s? try 10s and 12s and so on. The compliments you get will tell you how much your metabolism appreciates the boost.

Change up your routine. Kudos for exercising in the first place, by the way, it’s not easy for everyone. Still, your tried and true routine probably needs some tweaking if you have been doing it for awhile. First, change up your workout schedule then add more and less intense workouts throughout. If you’re over 30, you might have realized 2 days per week doesn’t really do as much as it used to and I’ve long since realized that this body needs a minimum of 4 to make and maintain changes. Personally, I find that a good barre class in between all the cycling and lifting I do really helps to lean me out AND as mentioned above, playing with my weight and intensity load does the trick. Find what you like it: forms of dance, zumba, swimming etc and add it to your regular routine.

Combine all 3 of these elements together now and you have a winning formula for looking Fabulously Healthy by Memorial Day, if not earlier. Get cracking and see you at the beach 🙂 

The following is a list of common non-starchy vegetables (ref. http://www.diabetes.org)

Amaranth or Chinese spinach

Artichoke

Artichoke hearts

Asparagus

Baby corn

Bamboo shoots

Beans (green, wax, Italian)

Bean sprouts

Beets

Brussels sprouts

Broccoli

Cabbage (green, bok choy, Chinese)

Carrots

Cauliflower

Celery

Chayote

Coleslaw (packaged, no dressing)

Cucumber

Daikon

Eggplant

Greens (collard, kale, mustard, turnip)

Hearts of palm

Jicama

Kohlrabi

Leeks

Mushrooms

Okra

Onions

Pea pods

Peppers

Radishes

Rutabaga

Salad greens (chicory, endive, escarole, lettuce, romaine, spinach, arugula, radicchio, watercress)

Sprouts

Squash (cushaw, summer, crookneck, spaghetti, zucchini)

Sugar snap peas

Swiss chard

Tomato

Turnips

Water chestnuts

Yard-long beans –

 

5 Tricks to afford healthy living

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Stay healthy by working out and eating well.

Stay healthy by working out and eating well.

There seems to be a general consensus that a healthy  lifestyle is expensive. Sure, it can be since fresh produce seems to cost more than packaged foods and gym memberships can also be pricey. But what if I told you that it is less expensive than you think if you choose more selectively? Here are some tricks I use to afford being healthy and yes, I know that the opinion of  childless person might not be applicable to everyone and every situation but some might be.

  1. Reform your expense perspective: Gas is expensive (well, by U.S. standards), cable is expensive, your Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts habit is expensive, dining out adds up in more ways than one,  as does going out for drinks regularly or that 2 wine bottles per week to calm your nerves tendency. For me, at least half of those things can be done without or reduced to increase cash flow for other things. For example: I make my own coffee drink so that I can afford organic chicken and I don’t have cable so I can afford life ( cable is expensive!!)
  2. Be more active in your daily life so that the gym is just a bonus: Take more stairs, park farther away, bike, walk your kids to school, make after dinner walks and interactive video games a family time staple. Don’t just rely on getting to the gym to get moving. The local YMCA or recreation centers also have great rates if you want an indoor workout and there are often adult sporting leagues nearby. At the very least, find a couple of DVDs to get an at home workout.
  3. Avoid recipes provided by manufacturers: You’ve seen recipes on the side of containers like Pillsbury crescent rolls and even Velveeta cheese right? Understand that they simply want you to buy and use their products and could care less if they’re good for you. Avoid those products all together and opt for your grandma’s version ( minus the huge amounts of lard etc). Want dinner rolls? then try this recipe or this one;  they’re probably healthier store version AND you can substitute the types of flours you like. I’m not advocating you overindulging in sweets and baked goods (easiest way to pile on the pounds, folks) but I’d rather have you making your own cookies the old fashioned way than from pre-made dough.
  4. Plan ahead for weekly meals and make large batches to eat and freeze: Casseroles, stews and soups, slow cookers and one pot meals are your friends. Think about the flavors you want to taste and build up your “go-to” recipe list. Structure your plate to include protein (beans, fish or meats) , complex carbs (grains and vegetables), and heathy fats (avocados, olive, coconut, grape-seed oils). *Skip cured deli meats like hams etc and buy a rotisserie chicken for quick meals on the go. Personally, I really like knowing where my food comes from so I make 98% of my own meals knowing that I will have leftovers for days.
  5. For most fresh veggies, buy enough for the week and choose frozen for the rest. How many times have you had to toss veggies that went bad before you got to use them? Buy just enough for the meals you plan to make that week and FYI: to get the best vitamin benefit,  try not to chop them up until right before cooking. Canned veggies is the low man on the totem pole of vegetables because they (a)  use tons of salt to preserve them and (b) all of the nutrients can fade over time. If you do hav eto buy them then stick to canned beans.
  6. Learn to fuel yourself proactively instead of eating reactively: Eating for fuel and not just because you’re hungry can make  a huge difference on your energy levels, waistline and pocket book. When you’ve waited too long to eat, then the meal you eventually choose is one that is calorie heavy because your body is ravenous. Piling in so many calories at one time can cause weight gain because your body only processes so many at once and stores the rest for later. Don’t wait for that moment when you just can’t pass up that expensive take out and instead, have a decent sized breakfast and lunch with a couple snacks throughout the day. Fruit is a perfect snack because it comes pre-packaged so I toss some into my carry-all along with a boiled egg or 2 if I know it will be a long day. Oh and for those of who argue that takeout is cheap where you live: consider the one plate you buy probably costs 1/3 to make and has 2x the calories than if you made it yourself.

Easy Dinner Recipe Round up

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Here are some recipe ideas that you can follow to the T or make your own for dinner tonight. All are highly nutritious and make multiple meals. Enjoy!!

Oven Baked Asian Sesame Chicken Wings from Primally Inspired

Sweet Potato Noodles with Tomato Sauce and Artichokes from The Lemon Bowl

Spicy Turkey Meat Balls fro The Crunchy Radish

Green Ginger Brown Fried Rice from The Crunchy Radish

Thai Ground Beef Spaghetti from MyHeartBeets