Category: Nutrition

Are Carbs Still the Enemy?

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I know what you’re thinking…. “Can we STOP going bunless yet??”

Bread, cereal, rice and pasta have been getting a seriously bad rap ever since Atkins, and even more so since the whole world decided to jump on the Paleo bandwagon. So many of us went on a carb strike over the past few years, with those ever popular fad diets telling us carbs were evil.

But what’s the deal now? Are carbs still the enemy?

Here’s the verdict: Carbs STILL ain’t that great.

But things have changed a bit and thankfully you don’t have to (and shouldn’t) cut them out 100%. I’m all about eliminating sugary carbs and gluten filled grains, but we really do need SOME carbs in our diets.

Carbohydrates give us energy, help us build muscle and actually decrease cravings. But you have to choose your carb carefully. They are most definitely not all created equally.

Although I’m eating FEWER carbs in general, I am also super careful about which ones I chose to nourish my body with. I’m all about balance and definitely will indulge in a slice of bread or a dessert once in a while, but most days I’m chasing down these healthy carbs:

Veggies – broccoli, asparagus, brussels spouts, spinach, green beans, zucchini, leafy greens, sweet potatoes and white potatoes

Fruit – stick to fresh berries which are lower in sugar like blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries

Shakeology – my FAVORITE healthy carb! Contrary to popular belief, Shakeology is actually not a protein shake. It’s a premium superfood shake that does have protein but it’s actually FULL of healthy carbs because it is made from real wholesome, naturally carb loaded ingredients from around the world. Shakeology maximizes weight loss, increases energy and lowers sugar cravings. Plus it is so delicious!

So there you have it. Atkins and Paleo have it partially right. Carbs aren’t the enemy, but in my “Skinny Opinion”, yes, you should still go bunless. 😉

What are YOUR favorite healthy carbs?

xo
Jenn

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I share more of my healthy living tips and tricks on Facebook and Instagram. I’d love for you to follow along on my health and fitness journey!

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What to Order From a Coffee Shop

FullSizeRender 3As the weather warms up, the infamous blended coffees call our name. They are super refreshing and so damn tasty.

But did you know that a Grande Caramel Frap has a whopping 420 calories and 66 grams of sugar?

In my (skinny) opinion, it’s best to avoid them all together. I’m not saying to deprive yourself, but I challenge you to think about better options. Often times indulging in a sugary beverage doesn’t “count” in our minds because we didn’t technically EAT anything. It doesn’t fill us up, so we forget about it and move on with the day, but the extra sugar catches up to us and pretty soon we’re craving more and more junk and can’t figure out why.

Have you ever noticed that as soon as you step foot inside you’ll automatically order “what you always order” without even thinking about it?

Experiences like going to a coffee shop can trigger a habit. It’s the same reason some people simply cannot go to a movie theater and not buy the buttery popcorn. Or some people buy the candy in the grocery store check out line and others don’t even notice it there. It’s important to take a step back and think about what is happening. We often associate a particular food with an experience or location and the habits kick in.

We need to stop and think about what is happening, change our mind set, and make smart decisions until they eventually become our new habits.

So in a coffee shop, what can you order – guilt free?

My general rule of thumb is to keep it simple. Good coffee shops should be brewing really good coffee. I like to start with a base of black hot coffee or iced cold brew and I always ask for room. Then I top if off with almond milk and some cinnamon and mix it up. It’s simple, satisfying, and still feels like a treat.

What healthy choices do you make when you order from a coffee shop?

One Ingredient Healthy Ice Cream

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If there’s one thing a pregnant lady can’t resist, it’s a scoop of ice cream on a hot day.

Unfortunately I just can’t eat it whenever my little heart desires or I just might end up with a 60+ lb weight gain by the time this baby pops out. No thank you!

So I’ve found the next best thing to the real deal, and no, it’s not fro-yo. It’s much, much healthier. Because, I hate to break it to you, friends, but frozen yogurt isn’t any better for you than ice cream.

The best part about this recipe is there’s one ingredient. Oh, and that it’s all natural. No artificial ingredients, no sweeteners, and no dairy. Oh, and you don’t need an ice cream maker. Too good to be true?

Nope. That one magic ingredient that can be whipped into rich, silky ice cream is…

BANANAS!

That’s right — thanks to their high pectin content, bananas make creamy, rich ice cream when frozen and blended. They don’t get that flaky/icy texture like other frozen fruit.

Makes 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 large ripe banana

Instructions

  1. Peel the banana and cut into small pieces.
  2. Put the banana pieces in a large freezer bag and freeze overnight.
  3. Blend the frozen banana pieces in a food processor. Keep blending and scraping until the banana resembles ice cream.
  4. Add in any toppings/flavors as desired.
  5. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze until solid or enjoy right away for a soft serve texture.

** Note: You can make a large batch with more bananas. Just make sure your food processor is powerful enough!

Mix-Ins

The one-ingredient aspect of this ice cream is what makes it so healthy, but you can add in a few toppings to spice it up a bit.

  • Spoonful of peanut butter
  • Drizzle of honey
  • Handful of chocolate chips
  • Cocoa powder
  • Cinnamon

Let me know what you think!!

What I Wish I Knew in College about my Health

college-lifeA dear friend tagged me in an old college photo last weekend and it instantly brought us all back to the time and place we met. Looking back, college was full of SO many good times — now a million and one memories. While some days I’d give anything to go back for just one day, I can’t help but look at how much I’ve changed since then.

When I graduated from high school, I was “healthy” and “in shape.” But then again isn’t every 17-year-old? (The truth is: I didn’t know a thing about health – but that’s a whole other story, for a different day.)

And then college happened. And over those 4 years, the weight crept on. By the time I graduated, I didn’t recognize myself. Five pounds a year will do that to you!

I’m happy to say, after graduation I learned how to lose weight in a healthy way. I found a healthy balance between having fun and nourishing my body. And eventually I re-discovered my love for exercise.

I wanted to share a little on what I know now and what I would have done differently if I were moving back into the dorms today.

Drink smart // Let’s face it: every college kid is going to drink. A lot. Don’t waste your time with sugary flavored vodka and fruity mixed drinks. Remember, clear drinks are better choices than darker varieties and just say no to the 3am burritos.

Find a routine // The one thing about college life is that every day can be totally different if you let it. With class schedules different every day and parties popping up whenever/wherever, a routine is easy to get away from. Get a healthy breakfast every morning, get plenty of sleep and find a gym time that fits in with your class schedule.

Eat real food // Frozen dinners get you nowhere in life. Learn to cook real food, even if it’s just grilled chicken and brown rice. It will save you in the long run. Start simple and slowly add in spices and try new recipes to mix it up. Easy and cheap is not the answer.

Walk // College campuses are giant. Save some money, don’t buy a parking pass this year. Walk from your apartment/dorm to class instead. Those extra steps will add up and you’ll thank me later. Oh how I wish I had at Fitbit circa 2005.

What do you wish you would have known in college that you know now? How would you have been healthier?

On Eating Habits with a Spouse

dining-room-luxury-aris-pedestal-rounded-dining-table-with-chairs-in-cream-fabric-pictures-of-dinner-tablesMy husband and I have very different eating habits.

I tend to eat lots of salmon, veggies, quinoa, salads, chicken, eggs and fruit. He gravitates towards steak, crab, burgers, salami, cheese, turkey sandwiches and potatoes.

Now, I’m not saying I don’t like what he loves and he doesn’t like what I love, it’s just that it’s not our fave. Plus, if I ate like my husband, I’d be a cow.

But over the years, we’ve learned how to eat together. 

Growing up, my family always meals ate together, at the kitchen table. Whether it was a home cooked meal or a dinner out, we always sat together and enjoyed each other’s company while all eating the SAME foods. On weekends, Mom would cook us breakfast, lunch and dinner and we’d all sit down and eat at the table. And on special occasions, we’d eat in the dining room on fancy plates.

As you can imagine, the concept of eating different foods than my spouse was initially very foreign to me.

Surprisingly though, it works.

Every Sunday we make a trip to Costco and/or the grocery store together. Neither of us love doing the grocery shopping so we agreed this is one chore we’d do together. I grab what I want, he grabs what he wants.

One rule we’ve adopted is to try to eat dinner together, at the table, when we can. But we don’t force each other to eat the same meals. Over the years, we’ve found several meals we both enjoy: turkey burgers, chicken tacos and enchiladas, and various proteins (like steak, BBQ chicken, crab, shrimp and other fish) with the side dishes of our choice. Like, I’ll have a salad and he has a baked potato. Also, Blue Apron has been really helpful in trying new recipes together.

There are still a few days each week where we’ll eat differently. But hey, I’m happy, he’s happy. We both leave the table feeling satisfied. We eat what we want, when we want to.

Tell me: how do your eating habits change when you live with someone? Do you eat together or separately?

 

Does FRUIT make you FAT?

Very Vanilla Fruit Salad_787x426.ashxAhhh…the great fruit makes you fat debate.

The first time I heard this I literally LOL’d. Fruit makes you FAT? I mean, it’s just fruit.

Well…

Even though its better than a candy bar, its best to stick to small portions and choose lower sugar, higher fiber options. If your goal is weight loss or cutting back on sugar, all carbs count. Consuming high amounts of any sugar or carbs, whether natural or not, can increase hunger levels and fat storage.

Don’t get me wrong, I still eat fruit on a daily basis. After all, there are tons of vitamins and nutrients found in fruit. I encourage you to enjoy fruit as part of your healthy diet, but remember that fruit should be eaten in moderation. Aim for no more than ½ cup or 1 piece at a time and no more than twice a day.

I like to think of fruit as an ingredient and not a snack on its own. Enjoying it with a little protein will prevent a spike in blood sugar levels and also help keep you nice and satisfied. Think: an apple with almond butter in the afternoon or a banana in your protein smoothie at breakfast.

Also, choose fruits that are high in fiber! Fiber is what helps us feel full. So, eat fresh whole fruit, including the skin when you can. Berries tend to be the lowest in sugar while still being high in fiber. Fruits that are lower in sugar also tend to have more nutritional value. Hello antioxidants!

Enjoy these low sugar/high fiber fruits:

++ Berries (Raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries)

++  Melon (watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew melon)

++ Peaches and Nectarines

++ Grapefruit

++ Apples

Eating a moderate amount of fruit will not pack on the pounds. Fruit can be a great part of your meal and a healthy dessert option. But, like everything in life, too much of a good thing can stall weight loss. Remember, fruit is nature’s candy, and moderation in key.

Tell me: What is your favorite fruit? How many servings of fruit do you typically eat in a day?

Slim Down Your Sushi

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Sushi can be super healthy, but it can also be…not so healthy. Some of us tend to categorize all sushi into an easy healthy meal option. It’s a no-brainer, right?

Well let’s unwrap the sushi roll.

The main ingredient is plain white rice. Now, you might figure it’s not too bad since each piece is bite sized. But unroll all 8 pieces and you’d be surprised just how much rice it really is. Have you ever seen a sushi chef at work? He squeezes the shit out of the roll with that bamboo deal. (WTH is that called anyway??) You better believe that rice is PACKED. So, my point is: while it doesn’t look like much, it is really way too much rice. My advice: ask the server for ½ the rice or find a roll that is rice free! (There are usually 1 or 2 on the menu.)

My next issue with sushi is that it’s often served “family style.” Meaning, the restaurants recommend ordering a few different rolls amongst the group and sharing it. I’ll all about sharing, but this is where you can easily consume a lot more than if you were just ordering your own roll. My advice: order a roll rainbow roll for yourself. There is enough variety in a rainbow roll that you won’t be tempted to pick off the community plates.

Oh, and avoid any sushi drizzled with a creamy sauce or anything involving tempura.

Your best bet: SASHIMI.

Your Step by Step Guide to the Post Weekend DETOX

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Hi lovelies! I hope you all had a fabulous Memorial Day weekend!

If you didn’t stay as healthy as planned this weekend, don’t dwell on it. Holiday weekends can easily lead to lots of over indulging. There’s happy hour on Friday, a party on Saturday, Sunday brunch, and the list goes on. Even the healthiest person can easily be thrown off track. All the excess carbs, fat, salt, sugar and booze can leave us feeling bloated, tired, hungry and guilty by Monday Tuesday.

Now is the perfect time to give your body exactly what it needs. Reestablish a healthy balance. Over the next four days, take extra care of your body. Fill it with nourishing foods high in vitamins, minerals, fiber and as many nutrients as possible.

Step 1: Be kind to yourself. Give yourself a break. You indulged because you were having fun – there is nothing to regret. Treat yourself with kind words and move forward.

Step 2: Flush it out. Start your day with a large glass of water or a warm cup of tea. Then aim to drink at least 100 ounces of water throughout the day.

Step 3: Eat clean. Plan out your meals and stick to it. Focus on nutrient dense, whole foods that are high in vitamins and minerals. Now is not the time to allow yourself (another) treat.

Step 4: Supplement. Take a multivitamin and Omega-3 supplement to ensure you are getting all your nutrients.

Step 5: Sweat it out. Get plenty of exercise over the next few days. Up the intensity so you can sweat out the toxins.

Question: Did you treat yourself a little too much over the holiday weekend? How do you plan on getting back into your healthy routine?

Skinny Tips for Memorial Day Weekend

memorialdayAhhh Memorial Day Weekend…There’s nothing like the upcoming 3 day weekend to kick off the summer!

There’s a lot riding on it. And in San Diego, it’s typically sunny enough for a swim suit. AHHH bikini season has officially begun! Regardless, there will be plenty of BBQing and hanging by the pool/beach/bay with friends and family.

Whatever your weekend has in store, I do have a few skinny tips for ya…

What to DRINK?

dreamstime_87343962Well, If you’re at a bar order my new FAVE skinny cocktail (or make it at home).

Ask for clear tequila (like Patron) with soda water, a splash of grapefruit juice, and extra lime. You can also garnish with cucumber and mint for a more refreshing beverage.

Tequila is one of the few liquors that is not made from a starch or grain (it’s made from the Agave plant). When combined with the lime and grapefruit, it does not cause your blood sugar to spike so it helps curb those typical late night junk food cravings.

 

What to EAT?

ss_RU185491There’s a good chance you’ll be at a BBQ. So my advice? Load up on lean protein like grilled chicken, kabobs, corn on the cob, mixed green salad, and fruit salad. Or go bun-less with your burger.

Worried about having healthy options? Bring your own.

Are you hosting? Grill up my tasty basil feta turkey burgers for your guests.

Remember at a party there are typically four categories we can indulge in: booze, bread, snacks and dessert. Limit yourself to one or two of the four, but never more! For me, it will be booze and maybe dessert if it looks worth it. Sorry I’m not sorry.

It’s a party weekend and we all want to have fun, that’s for sure. But we also want to look good in our bathing suits, so be mindful. Want to avoid the dreaded belly bloat? My advice on that here.

What to DO?

Exercise! Just because it’s a holiday weekend doesn’t mean you get to be lazy. Schedule in early morning workouts on at least 2 of the days and be active as possible throughout the weekend. If you’re at a pool, get in the water! At the beach? Try stand up paddle boarding or beach cruising!

Most of all have fun, be safe, and welcome the summer season a little skinnier.

xoxo,
Jenn

Question: What are your Memorial Day weekend plans? How do you enjoy a holiday weekend without over indulging? I’d love to hear YOUR tips!!

The 10 Commandments… of Snacking

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1 // Thou Shalt Practice Portion Control // Choose a snack, measure out ONE serving and put it into a bowl/dish/plate/ziploc bag. Leave the kitchen and sit down to enjoy it. If you eat straight from the box or while standing at the kitchen counter, I can guarantee you’ll reach for more. When in doubt, measure it out!

2 // Thou Shalt Fill in the Gaps // Use snack time to fill in holes in your diet. If you didn’t get any veggies in at lunch, have them as a snack.

3 // Thou Shalt Acknowledge Cravings // If you are having a legit craving, satisfy it in a small way and move on. Don’t ignore it.

4 // Thou Shalt Keep It Snack Sized // A snack is not a meal. Keep snacks between 150-200 calories, especially if you are trying to lose weight.

5 // Thou Shalt Fuel Your Workout // Pre and post workout snacks should combine protein and carbs to build and repair muscle and replenish energy levels. Post snack ideas found here.

6 // Thou Shalt Drink Water // Drink a full glass of water with each snack. The water will keep you full and satisfied without adding calories. More on other benefits of water here.

7 // Thou Shalt Savor Snack Time // Make snack time last at least 15 minutes and really savor each bite. If you scarf down your snack, you’ll be reaching for something else immediately after.

8 // Thou Shalt Choose Wisely // Don’t just reach for a handful of crackers. Think about choosing a good combination of protein, carbs, and fat to keep you feeling full and allow your blood sugar levels to stabilize so you don’t crash and burn.

9 // Thou Shalt Pack A Snack // Make sure that you always have a healthy snack on hand. Keep protein bars or a small bag of almonds in your bag so that you always have healthy on-the-go option.

10 // Thou Shalt Snack // Snacks are important, even/especially when you’re trying to lose weight. You’ll be less likely to reach for high-calorie treats or eat more at mealtime. So, don’t skip your snack time.

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