Tag Archives: healthy eating

How to Make My Favorite Winter Salad

When the dark days of winter roll around, the last thing we think of for lunch or dinner is a salad. I understand the struggle is real; however, I have found a salad that makes my heart sing in winter. It is the perfect combination of fall and winter flavors. It is so yummy I actually crave it! This salad can be prepped ahead of time and is great as a yummy lunch or dinner. img_0587-jpg

Continue reading How to Make My Favorite Winter Salad

How I Eat Healthy Even With a Crazy Schedule

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

My schedule has been CRAZY lately. I am not the kind of person that prides themselves on being busy. However, there are seasons of hustle, and right now is one of them. Between training clients at the gym, working with online training clients, prepping to teach stand up paddle board classes this summer (more on that later), working some events for Quest & training for the marathon this weekend… life has been crazy! 

I am ready for it to settle down a bit. The good news is, I really enjoy all the things I’m doing, so while things get hectic at times, it’s fun. One thing that can be challenging whether you are training for a marathon/half marathon or juggling a busy schedule at work is healthy eating and good nutrition. When you are pressed for time, cooking and preparing a healthy meal can easily fall to the bottom of the list. luvo #2

One thing that works very well is preparing a bunch of food ahead of time – meal prep style. Cook a bunch of chicken breasts, bake some fish, make some quinoa & steam veggies. Then you throw it on a plate & warm it up for a quick meal. I love doing that, it makes lunch and dinner a breeze. However, I know that sometimes it is hard to find the time to prep food ahead of time. My back up plan for those types of situations is Luvo frozen mealsIMG_4747Luvo has literally saved me this last week! I have been able to maintain my nutrition and marathon training even during one of my busiest weeks. All I have to do is open the freezer & I have dinner! 

Not only are they delicious, they are also the healthiest frozen meal I have ever found. Many of them have at least 20g of protein & everything is cooked/steamed in a pouch. These do not taste like a frozen meal! When you transfer it from the pouch to your plate, it looks like a professionally plated meal. Who doesn’t love eating beautiful food?! 

IMG_2592Most of the meals take 5-6 minutes to cook. 5 microwave minutes can feel like an eternity when you are hungry haha! Unless I have ‘meal prepped’ some, I cannot make dinner in 5 minutes. With Luvo, you have a quick and healthy meal that you didn’t have to prep. Such a lifesaver! What more can you ask for? 

I loved this tandoori chicken! It was spicy but oh so good!
I loved this tandoori chicken! It was spicy but oh so good!

I always have a few of these in my freezer so when life is crazy by choice or because of something that is out of my control, I know I can maintain my healthy eating habits. These are also great to curb post run ‘hanger’!! Just pop it in the microwave and within 6 minutes you are chowing down on a gourmet meal. 

Due to my allergy, all the entrees I tried are gluten free, however not all Luvo meals are. The gluten free ones are clearly labeled on the box, so be sure to check for that if you have an allergy.

Chicken Chili Verde is my all time favorite!
Chicken Chili Verde is my all time favorite!

There can be some shady things in the frozen aisle, but Luvo is in a league of it’s own. They use real, quality ingredients, don’t add preservatives or anything fake, and focus on making nutritious meals. Use the store finder to see where you can find Luvo meals near you.IMG_5043

Luvo is a stand up company that makes delicious food with great nutrition. Since I have had the chance to work with them, I have seen what an amazing company they are. They care about where food comes from and won’t sacrifice quality or do anything that harms the environment. I love it when I find a company like Luvo that you feel good supporting and they make amazing products!IMG_4744

What is ‘Paleo’? The Common Myths of the Paleo Diet

I’ve been hearing a lot about the paleo diet recently; it seems to be popping up everywhere! Makes sense because this pre-agricultural, clean-eating approach has a huge tribe: In 2015, paleo-certified foods sales exceeded $750 million, according to Nutrition Business Journal. I wanted to learn more about the paleo lifestyle, started doing some research and came across some great info from Delicious Living. Today we are going to be taking a look at what is means to eat paleo and debunk some of the common myths associated with it.  What is 'Paleo'?Nutrition is always a hot topic. New ideas and meal plans are popping up every day. There are so many ‘diets’ and eating styles out there, how do you know which one is ‘the one’?? Even more than that, how do you even know which one(s) to try? It all starts with research. Often times with research, you can figure out if it is even something you would be interested in.
If you want to talk more about diet, exercise, and/or nutrition, set up a discovery call & let’s chat! I can help you find the right plan for you and/or help you find a workout that will get you results!

Before we dive in, I’d like to mention: different things work for different people. I always encourage my clients to try something long enough to give it a fair chance. If it doesn’t work for you, that is okay. If you already have a workout or way of eating that works for you, keep doing that. No need jump to the latest ‘thing’ if you already found something that works for you. 
I should also mention that this is not a plug for the paleo diet. I’m just sharing information about it so people, including myself, can be more informed. 🙂 I personally do not eat a strict paleo diet. Since I am allergic to gluten, I find myself making a lot of paleo recipes. Check out my paleo granola recipe! paleo granola

What Does Paleo Mean?

 

The premise of the paleolithic (paleo) diet is simple: Eat only foods that existed during the hunter-gatherer era. That means grass-fed meats and wild fish, fruits and vegetables, and nuts and seeds (including their healthy oils), while excluding all dairy, legumes and grains.

Paleo: Common Myths
paleo1-meatMYTH
: The paleo diet means you only eat meat—and lots of it.

TRUTH: Not necessarily. Although paleo certainly emphasizes low-carb, high-protein foods, some adherents focus on nonstarchy, green, leafy vegetables and try to reduce or even eliminate meat (yes, paleo veganism is a thing). One protein-rich, paleo-friendly plant option: hemp seed, which—though it’s not a complete protein—does contain more protein by weight than grass-fed beef.

TRY: Manitoba Harvest Organic Hemp Hearts

paleo2-healthyMYTH: The paleo diet isn’t healthy.

TRUTH: On the contrary, recent studies point to Western reliance on starchy carbs and sugar, not fat and protein, as the primary culprit behind chronic illnesses like diabetes, obesity and heart disease. As with anything, you will want to watch portions and make sure you eat a balanced diet. Research also shows that eating plenty of fruits and veggies is excellent for health, in any diet. In addition to meat’s benefits, paleo eaters tout easy-to-make (or buy) bone broth for its purported gut-friendly, anti-inflammatory properties. 

TRY: Bare Bones 100% Grass-Fed Beef Bone Broth Classic

paleo3-expensiveMYTH: The paleo diet is expensive.

TRUTH: If you slap nothing but bacon-wrapped beef fillets on your plate, then yes, the costs will add up. But before humans hunted animals, they subsisted on fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds—typically the lowest cost-per-calorie foods on the planet. Make those the centerpiece of an affordable and nutritious paleo diet, and occasionally incorporate lean, grass-fed meats.

TRY: Wonderfully Raw Brussel Bytes Chili Pumpkin Seed

paleo4-boringMYTH: The paleo diet is boring.

TRUTH: Hardly. With nearly the entire plant and meat world at their disposal, paleo enthusiasts enjoy delightfully inventive dishes and versatile condiments, such as mayo made from avocado instead of canola or soy. And when the sugar comes from fruit, dates, coconut or maple, you can have your chocolate and eat it, too.

TRY: Primal Kitchen Mayo; Hu Crunchy Fig Chocolate Bar

paleo5-crossfitMYTH: The paleo diet is only for CrossFit fanatics.

TRUTH: It’s true that you’ll find a lot of paleo products at Crossfit gyms and competitions. But according to Nutrition Business Journal, the typical paleo eater isn’t a CrossFitter, but rather a middle-aged, affluent woman trying to boost athletic performance, lose weight or combat a health problem.

paleo6-environmentMYTH: The paleo diet is environmentally irresponsible.

TRUTH: Actually, the paleo movement evangelizes a return to humane, regenerative food and land practices. “Hooves on the ground are essential to grassland health,” says Sarah Gleason of the Savory Institute, a grassland restoration nonprofit. “Properly managed livestock that mimic large, wild herds help restore the land and sequester carbon.” Next-gen paleo: products made from less-used animal parts to create incentives for responsible ranchers.

TRY: Epic Bars

So, there you have it – the paleo diet in a nutshell along with some paleo friendly snacks and food suggestions. 🙂 I hope this information helped you learn a little more about what eating paleo means. If you want to talk more about nutrition, let’s chat. I’d love to help you find something that works for you! contact me here: thesweetblondesfitlife (at) gmail (dot) com

How To Make my Favorite Summer Salad

With spring in full swing, summer is getting that much closer! My favorite part about summer, besides the amazing weather, is all the fresh fruit & veggies! I love going to a farmers market or even my local grocery store and picking up the freshest produce I can find. I call this my favorite summer salad because it highlights the flavors of summer. While the ingredients in this salad are freshest in the summer, you can enjoy it year around. It’s delicious, refreshing, quick and super easy to prepare. I know you will love this salad as much as I do! FullSizeRender-1

Why I Love It

This salad is my favorite for a LOT of reasons. Not only does it taste AMAZING, it’s ready in less than 15 minutes. This is my go-to on super busy days when I don’t have a ton of time to prep or when I need a last minute dinner idea. It is also super filling! Sometimes people don’t like to eat a ‘salad’ for dinner because they don’t feel satisfied – not the case here! Another reason this is my favorite summer salad is it’s 100% plant based. I am not a vegan or a vegetarian, but I love to eat meatless meals from time to time. I tempeh as the protein in the salad and it is sooooo good! I never used to be a fan of tempeh until I found a brand that I really like. Don’t worry, if you aren’t a fan of tempeh or prefer to eat animal protein, I have included a few substitutions below.favorite summer salad blog_tweet

Before we get to the recipe, here are a few tips:
1) The best way to eat this salad is in a HUGE bowl. If you don’t have a huge bowl, grab a mixing bowl. It is the best way to get to enjoy all the flavors and not make a huge mess.
2) Not a fan of tempeh? Substitute cooked tofu to keep it plant based. Want animal protein? Substitute grilled chicken breast or salmon. 

My Favorite Summer Salad Recipe

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Sarah's Favorite Summer Salad
Serves 1
Easy to prepare, fresh flavors and plant based, you cannot go wrong with this salad!
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 package of tempeh, sliced (my favorite is Lightlife, I find it has the best flavor)
  2. 4 cups of mixed greens
  3. 1/4 cup fresh blackberries
  4. 1/4 cup fresh raspberries
  5. 1/2 cup frozen blueberries, thawed (see instructions below)
  6. 1 small orange, sliced (my favorite is a minneola orange)
  7. 2T walnuts
  8. 1 avocado, sliced
Instructions
  1. To cook tempeh: Cut into thin slices and place into non-stick skillet on medium heat. Cook until lightly browned. Flip and cook other side until lightly browned. Remove from heat and place on salad.
  2. To thaw blueberries: place 1/4 cup frozen blueberries in microwave safe bowl. Microwave for about 1 minute until thawed. Pour blueberries + juice over the salad. I love to thaw this way and use the juice as a way to add extra flavor to the salad.
  3. The salad: Place greens in bowl. Layer ingredients as you like. My favorite way is in this order: lettuce, walnuts, berries, orange slices, avocado, tempeh. Be creative and make this salad yours. Layer it how you want!
ENJOY!!!
Need more than one serving?
  1. Multiply the ingredients and prep this in an even bigger bowl to enjoy family style, or serve it up for each individual!
Substitutions
  1. Use your favorite protein. My favorite way to enjoy is with tempeh. Animal proteins that taste good with these flavors are salmon or grilled chicken breast.
Note
  1. You can use frozen fruit if you cannot find fresh. Just let it thaw or warm in microwave prior to using.
Adapted from Inspired by Jen Rowland
A Sweet Blonde & Her Fit Life http://sweetblondesfitlife.com/

I know this salad will become a staple in your house as it has in mine.  

Want to save this recipe for later? Pin this!!favorite summer salad

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! 

 

How to Make Protein Fudge {my favorite healthy treat}

Ever struggle with nighttime snacking or after dinner ‘treats’? You just want ‘something sweet’ and then somehow it gets out of control?  I came up with this because after dinner I struggle with the same thing. When you are craving a treat, reach for this protein fudge! The best part is, it is ready in minutes!

Unlike traditional fudge that is full of sugar, this protein fudge has less than 1g of sugar, 20 grams of protein, healthy fats and can also be made dairy free! 

Healthy Protein FudgeIMG_1465

Here is what you need:

Ingredients
2T coconut oil 
1 scoop (or packet) of protein powder

I used the newest flavor of Quest protein powder, Cookies and Cream. It has little cookie chunks in the powder + it’s gluten free! This means you get actual cookie chunks in this fudge. It is SO good! (insert heart eyed emoji) 

Instructions
  1. Place 2T of coconut oil in a microwave safe bowl.
  2. Microwave the oil in 30 second increments until melted.
  3. Carefully remove bowl from microwave. 
  4. Stir protein powder into the coconut oil. The consistency should be thick but spreadable*IMG_1462

5. Pour protein-coconut oil mixture into small baking dish or into molds. I used a small 2×4 glass dish. 
**Recommended: line dish with parchment paper! Makes it much easier to remove fudge**IMG_1463

6. Place in freezer for 10 minutes**
7. Remove, break into small pieces & enjoy!IMG_1466

*If needed, add 1/2T more of coconut oil – consistency will vary depending on protein powder used
**You can also chill in fridge. This is only necessary to get coconut oil solid again. 

You can use any kind of protein in this recipe. I did not list this recipe as dairy free because the Quest protein powder is a mixture of whey protein and casein protein. While whey protein is technically not diary free, Quest uses very high quality protein so the amount of lactose in it is very small. Dairy doesn’t make my body happy, but I can eat Quest protein and I do not get a reaction. 🙂

Enjoy!
XOXO
Sarah

My Favorite Way to Squash the Holiday Sweet Tooth

The holiday season from Thanksgiving to New Years is full of lots of sweets and food traditions. Whether it is a cookie exchange at work, family get togethers or holiday parties, desserts and sweets seem to be around every corner. Even when you go to get coffee, sugary caramel brûlée lattes & peppermint mochas are calling your name. How do you get enough will power to say no to all these things?!

Not only is temptation everywhere, but there is the added pressure that this time only comes once a year so you better enjoy it while it lasts. What do you do? How can you squash your sweet tooth so your pants still fit yet not miss out on the flavors? Guess what, there is a way! 

Sure a treat or two isn’t going to hurt, but most of us don’t stop at one or two. Last year I was able to loose weight during the holiday season and I felt better than ever in January. I found ways to enjoy the holiday flavors without all the added sugar and guilt so I didn’t feel deprived.

If you have been reading my blog, you know one thing I am passionate about is helping other people loose weight and feel better. I want to share with you one of the things that helped me the most last December, a collection of my holiday smoothie recipes. The best part is, it’s free! It’s my gift to you. 3

By making my protein shakes into delicious tasting treats, I was able to enjoy all the holiday flavors without all the added calories. In this PDF download, there are 10 recipes that have all the holiday flavors from pumpkin pie to gingerbread to eggnog. These smoothies are great for a quick breakfast, post workout or even as a dessert. 

How do I get these recipes? It’s really easy, just click the big button below!

   Get Holiday Smoothie Recipes 

What are you waiting for?! Click the button above and I will send you the recipes immediately. You can print them out and keep them in your kitchen. 

Here’s a sneak peak!
the peppermint mocha smoothie 

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yep, even cats love it!

added bonus:  cinnamon apple cider smoothie, made hot!
so delicious, it was better than anything a coffee shop can make!!

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Get Holiday Smoothie Recipes

Let’s chat: do you have a sweet tooth? what is your favorite holiday treat?

XOXO
Sarah