Category Archives: Reviews

How to Get Good Nutrition When You Are Short on Time

Disclaimer: I received Luvo meals to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. As always, all opinions are my own. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Have you ever had a to-do list that was so long you couldn’t finish everything even if you didn’t sleep? Been so busy that eating is the lowest priority? Opened your fridge and realized you forgot to go to the grocery store? Got home from a workout & been so hungry you eat half a jar of peanut butter? Or had such a long day that cooking is the last thing you want to do? 

I’ve experienced all of those. Every single one. I have learned a few different techniques to make sure I am able to eat nutritious food no matter how busy I am. I’m sharing one of those techniques with you today.shutterstock_168304454

Nutrition is something I am really passionate about. What you eat has a huge impact on how your body works. Whether you want to loose weight or not, what you eat matters. The saying ‘you are what you eat’ is true. Eat junk and your body is gonna perform and feel like junk. I have not always eaten the way I eat now. I never realized how horrible unhealthy food was making me feel until I cleaned up my diet. If weight loss is your goal, food has a huge impact on that too. You cannot outwork a bad diet, it eventually catches up to you. 

So, what do I do? 

I need to eat healthy and fuel my body right with good nutrition so I can be a better runner, a better wife, and a better business owner, BUT I never have enough time during the day to get stuff done. What do I do? One of my favorite strategies to deal with this is quick & easy staple foods along with frozen meals. 

Let me start by saying that I am not talking about just any old frozen meal. You need to choose wisely. There are only a few brands I will eat and stock my freezer with. While frozen meals may not be as healthy as a homemade meal, certain ones are much healthier than many other ‘quick’ options, such as fast food. Nothing beats home cookin’, but unfortunately we don’t always have time for that.

How to Get Good Nutrition2

Last year at Blogfest, this was actually a topic that was discussed by a leading nutritionist, Dr. Chris Mohr PHD. He discussed protein needs and different ways to fuel our body quickly. He mentioned frozen meals as a healthier option to fast food in his presentation. I was excited because this was already a strategy I used. Some months I barely ever eat a frozen meal, but when I am busy or traveling a lot, they are lifesavers. Again, not all frozen meals are created equal so pay attention to the ingredients and nutrition facts.  

One of the only brands of frozen meals that you will find in our freezer is Luvo. I had found a Luvo meal in the frozen section at QFC (part of the Kroger chain) and I decided to give it a try. It didn’t even taste like a frozen meal! So when I got the opportunity to try some additional Luvo meals thru BibRave, I was so excited!! It was perfect timing too because I had an empty fridge + the busiest week catching up after the Princess Half Marathon.IMG_2558

The reason I liked Luvo over other brands I have tried is because the ingredient list wasn’t super long or full of crazy stuff, it had a lot of protein, and it was actually GOOD. I did NOT feel like l was eating a frozen meal at all.

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Chicken Chili Verde

Luvo makes amazing, healthy, frozen meals with no artificial stuff. No  preservatives, no artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners. They also use meats and poultry that is hormone and antibiotic free! I love this about them because I want to eat REAL food, not artificial crap.Screen Shot 2016-02-28 at 11.41.20 PM

The way you cook your Luvo meal is really unique. It comes in a steam bag. You cook it in the bag, then carefully dump it onto your plate. Not only does this cooking method make the food last amazing, you also get to eat it off your own plate and it looks like a chef plated it! I donno about you, but I find it MUCH more satisfying to eat beautiful food. IMG_2597IMG_2600

Luvo makes breakfast foods (my all time fav), entrees & burritos. They do have gluten free options too! My favorites are the frittata (breakfast item) and the chicken chili verde. The only one that was not gluten free was the orange mango chicken, so Andy got to enjoy that one.  

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Farmer’s Market Frittata  (exactly how it comes out on my plate)

Bonus: they are quick so hangry episodes are less likely to occur. 😉 Another bonus: they are less expensive than a restaurant meal or a stop at a drive thru!

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Red Wine Braised Beef & Polenta

These are some of the best frozen meals I have eaten. The reason this is one of the only brands you will find in my freezer is because they are healthy, not full of artificial preservatives and food that I feel good about eating. Of course it is not perfect, but it is a lot better than other fast food options or eating half the peanut butter jar (that has really happened). 

 Keep a few healthy frozen meals in your freezer for days you are short on time, super hangry or don’t have time to make your lunch, and you will always have something to grab! 

P.S. Here’s a random fact for all my Seahawks fans: Russel Wilson is an ambassador for Luvo. Go Hawks! 

 

Easy Blueberry Crisp – Gluten Free, No Refined Sugars!

I am a huge fan of breakfast, if you read my blog on a regular basis, you probably know that. It is my favorite meal of the day. I am always looking for new ideas to make my breakfast more exciting, and I am so excited to share this new creation, a gluten free blueberry crisp, with you. Also, I am giving away one of the ingredients used in this recipe & the baked apple recipe I shared earlier this week .Be sure to enter to win below! IMG_0008

Usually crisps are made for dessert, but I have recreated one that is perfect for breakfast time. What can I say, I’m a rebel. Heck, you could also have this for dessert, it’s interchangeable!IMG_9998

There are 2 things that make me particularly excited about this recipe:
1) It’s individual servings! You can double or triple the recipe to make more than one, but you don’t have to. Then when you eat it feels like you get to eat a whole crisp yourself. 😀 
2) You don’t have to get tons of dishes dirty. It is almost a one pot wonder, but not quite. It’s really easy to throw together, and clean up is a breeze too! 

IMG_0002Using honey crystals in this recipe allowed me to be much more creative. If you aren’t familiar with honey crystals, they are “honey without the sticky mess.” They have been available in packets, but Nektar Naturals just made honey crystals available in a easy pour bottle. It’s available for purchase at Walmart, which means it’s not some obscure ingredient that is hard to find. It’s great to use in tea,  oatmeal and recipes as a natural sweetener. 

 

Image-1Gluten Free Blueberry Crisp

serves 1
(can multiply recipe to make into larger serving)

Ingredients
Filling:
1/3 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
2 T maple syrup or Nektar Naturals honey crystals 
1/2 T arrowroot powder or cornstarch
1/2 T lemon juice
dash of cinnamon 

Topping:
1/4 gluten free oats
2 T almond meal 
1 T sliced almonds
1 T honey crystals
1 T coconut oil, melted (can substitute butter or ghee)

Instructions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350F. In an individual baking dish or oven safe bowl, mix together the blueberries, maple syrup or honey crystals, arrowroot powder or cornstarch, lemon juice and cinnamon.
2. In a separate bowl, combine oats, almond meal/flour, sliced almonds & honey crystals. Mix in the coconut oil. Stir until the mixture is moistened throughout.
3. Sprinkle topping over the filling until it is evenly distributed (no need to smash it down). 
4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the filling is bubbling around the edges and the top is lightly golden. Let the crisp rest for 5 to 10 minutes before devouring!!!!

Variations:

For a boost of protein: add 1/2 scoop of protein powder to the topping!! Vanilla flavored works best. 
Not a blueberry fan? You can use any kind of berry, would be great with blackberries or raspberries, fresh or frozen.
Not a fan of sweet?? or you have really sweet berries? only use 1T of maple syrup or honey crystals in the filling.
Can’t find honey crystals? Look for them at Walmart! Or you can substitute liquid honey. 
Preparing this for more than one? I recommend you still use individual baking dishes, it’s so much more fun to eat that way! IMG_0006

Other recipes using honey crystals:
Healthy Holiday Dessert – Baked Apple

Enjoy!!
XOXO
Sarah

I was given a bottle of honey crystals from Nektar Naturals to review as well as a bottle to giveaway thru my association with Sweat Pink. I was not compensated for this post. As always, all opinions are my own. 

Quick & Easy Kale Chips with Hemp Hearts: Recipe

I love kale & homemade kale chips are one of my favorite snacks. They are really easy to prep, super healthy & full of nutrients. You cannot go wrong with kale chips; they are so versatile. You can make them into almost any flavor imaginable using different seasonings.  The recipe I am sharing with you today is my all time favorite. I seriously love these kale chips so much that I can’t stop eating them. I always eat all of them before I can snap a pic. They are delicious & healthy! This is one of the few snacks where it is okay to eat the whole bag!  🙂

check out all this kale!!!!
check out all this kale!!!!

Kake is an amazing vegetable. Some call it a superfood & others say it is the world’s healthiest food. Kale is a green leafy vegetable full that is part of the cabbage family.  It is full of lots of vitamins and nutrients such as vitamin K, B, C, A and magnesium, copper, fiber and calcium. It is said to have antioxidant and anti-imflammatory properties. There are lots of benefits to eating greens like kale, so give this recipe a try! 

Hemp hearts are what give these kale chips a boost of protein. Hemp is a great source of plant based protein. There are 10 grams of protein and 10 grams of omegas in a serving of hemp hearts (3 tablespoons). They are so easy to use that you can throw them in a green smoothie, sprinkle on top of salads or oatmeal or kale chips like I did here. I love to use hemp hearts in all different ways. Check out my recipe for delicious pumpkin hemp soup I posted earlier this week.

Where can you find hemp hearts? 
At your local health food store such as Whole Foods, or you can purchase them online via Amazon or on manitobaharvest.com. Use code HHSP1015 for 20% anything on the Manitoba Harvest web store! 

 

FullSizeRender-3Kale Chips with Hemp Hearts

Ingredients
1 large bunch of kale
Coconut oil spray
3 T Hemp Hearts
Optional: seasoning like Mrs. Dash, salt & pepper, garlic & onion powder, etc. 

Instructions
1. Preheat your oven to 350F
2. Break of kale into bite size pieces (removing from stem) & place on baking sheet
3. Spray lightly with coconut oil spray 
4. Sprinkle Hemp Hearts & seasoning to your desire 
5. Bake 15-20 minutes (or until crispy)
**Be careful not to burn as every oven is different & oven time may vary. 

Note: These are best consumed within a few days. Be sure to store in an airtight container, otherwise they loose their crispy-ness and are not as good. 

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I was given a bag of Manitoba Harvest hemp hearts in exchange for this review thru my affiliation with Sweat Pink. All opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting my sponsors!

XOXO
Enjoy & Stay Sweet!
Sarah

How to Make Protein Packed PB&J Pancakes

I talk about breakfast a lot here on the blog. It is easily my favorite meal of the day. Sometimes I think maybe I should have called my blog ‘The Healthy Breakfast Club’ or something like that… haha. I digress. Today I have a new breakfast recipe for you that lets you have your PB&J and eat it too!IMG_7505

Another thing I love almost as much as breakfast is peanut butter. When I was in elementary school, PB&J sandwiches were my favorite lunch. My mom used to make them for me about once a week and that was always my most favorite lunch day. These pancakes allow us to enjoy the delicious PB&J flavors in a healthy, protein packed way. (don’t worry I didn’t skimp on the PB!)IMG_7515

This recipe was inspired by one of my best friend Katie’s recipes. Katie is AMAZING in the kitchen and she has a lot of great healthy recipes on her blog. Check out her awesome recipe page & give her some love!

Why is protein important? 

Protein plays a key role in this recipe. Unlike traditional pancakes, these are loaded with protein! Protein is the macro-nutrient that helps keeps you satiated – aka full. This is one of the reasons why including protein in each meal is so important. It is also important for  muscle synthesis (building/maintaining muscle). 
Our bodies can only use 20-30 grams of protein at a time, so aim to include somewhere around that amount with each meal or snack. If you eat more in a meal, it won’t hurt you, but your body won’t be able to use it.  

These pancakes have about 26 grams of protein from both the egg whites and the Mighty Nut powdered peanut butter. The pancakes themselves have a great peanut butter taste because the powder is actually in the batter. They are delicious & a great way to start the day!IMG_7502

Enter to WIN!

You can enter to win your own jar on Mighty Nut powdered peanut butter. Mighty Nut is made from quality USA grown peanuts. They roast them, and press them to remove most of the fat.  What remains is protein, fiber and delicious peanut buttery taste. You can rehydrate it with water OR use it in powder form. It comes in 4 awesome flavors: chocolate, vanilla, flax & chia and original. IMG_7504

The giveaway will go from Thursday 10/22 to Monday 10/26 at 5pm PST. Here is how to enter: 

Mighty Nut PB
If you do not see a box displayed, click HERE

Check out a few other recipes I have made with Mighty Nut: Chocolate PB Shake & Fun Fruit Dip.

IMG_7513PB&J Protein Pancakes

serves 1

Ingredients
Pancakes
1/3 cup gluten free oats
1/4 cup oat flour (just grind up some GF oats in your blender)
1/4 tsp baking powder
2T Mighty Nut powdered peanut butter – flax & chia flavor
dash of cinnamon
1 cup egg whites 
Topping
1/2 cup raspberries + a few extra
1T Mighty Nut powdered peanut butter – any flavor
1T water

Directions
1. mix all ingredients together
2. in a skillet over medium heat, spoon out half the batter. Cook like a regular pancake, then cook the other half. 
3. While the pancakes are cooking, make the topping. In a small bowl, mash up the raspberries. In another small bowl, mix 1T of powdered peanut butter with 1T water. 
4. Top pancakes with peanut butter spread and mashed raspberries.
5. Enjoy!!!

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*Please note: This post is sponsored by Sweat Pink on behalf of Mighty Nut/Peanut Butter & Co. All opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting my sponsors!

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway!!! (see above)

XOXO
Stay Sweet!
Sarah