There are many of you that are working diligently, planning and prepping and being ready for the inevitable pitfalls to healthy eating that come with office parties, candy dishes, and family feasts. You've been eating only when you're hungry and you've learned to stop eating when you're satisfied.
Keep up the great work!
But for some of us, we still are practicing all of these skills.
Keep going- Don't give up!
Remember these quick meal prepping tips.
Here are two recipes I like to make on a cold winter's evening.
Chicken Bacon Alfredo
1 spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise, seeds removed
1 larger butternut squash, cut in half lengthwise, seeds removed
1 pound chicken tenders
4-6 slices bacon, diced (use nitrate free, sugar free bacon- it is hard to find but well worth your health)
½ cup canned coconut milk
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat your 425 degrees. Cut spaghetti squash butternut squash in half and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and excess threads. Don’t be dainty. Place open side down on a baking sheet (use aluminum foil or parchment paper for easy clean up) and cook for 20-25 minutes. You will know when they are done cooking when you can poke the outside skin and it ‘gives’ a bit.
Now you can either cook your chicken at the same time or after the squash is done cooking. Whatever you’d like. Just place chicken on a foil or parchment paper lined baking sheet, sprinkle some olive oil over the chicken (or other kind of fat), salt and pepper it, and sprinkle just a bit of basil on top. I cooked my tenders for around 15-20 minutes, or until cooked through.
Once your squash is done cooking, pull it out of the oven; dethread the spaghetti squash into a large bowl with a fork. Go against the grain, if spaghetti squash had grain.
Now throw your diced bacon into a skillet and cook until done. Use a slotted spoon to pull out your cooked bacon, but leave behind the grease.
Take your butternut squash and hollow it out. Use the insides and dump them into your warm skillet filled with bacon grease. Then add your coconut milk. You may need to add a little bit more coconut milk depending on how runny you like your sauce. Mix thoroughly with a ladle to break up the squash a bit.
Add seasonings to the mix and salt and pepper as needed. Mix thoroughly and cook on low for about 5 minutes to simmer. Now dice up your cooked chicken. Pour sauce over spaghetti squash and add your chicken to the mix. Mix well & top with bacon. (Original Recipe from Paleo OMG)
Can’t get Enough - Chicken Curry
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken, diced into one inch cubes
½ - 1 can coconut milk
1-2 Tablespoon yellow, green or red curry paste OR
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1 ½ teaspoon ginger root
1 Tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 Tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
And 4-6 cups veggies (try combinations of these veggies- butternut squash cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, onion, pineapple, red pepper, sweet potatoe, broccoli, eggplant, green beans, green peppers, snow peas, spinach, zucchini. Be creative, use what you have fresh or frozen)
Coach Nancy's quick tip: make both these meals at the same time. They both need chicken cooked and it can bake while the squash and veggies cook.
To your Best Health,
You might have asked yourself that question already, as in “Why even bother? I always gain weight this time of year.”
If that’s the case, I understand. I think you need an attitude check , but I really do understand. If it was easy, we wouldn’t be having this “conversation”.
However when I asked the question “What’s The Point?” I am talking about the end game. Where are we going with this whole thing?
I mean if you don’t know where you are going, how are you going to know when you get there?
Here is my goal every time I talk nutrition:
To inspire you to build nutrition habits, that when applied consistently and correctly, will create the optimum environment to help you lose body fat and gain/maintain lean tissue (aka muscle).
In other words I want you to eat in a way that makes you look and feel great
So what’s the main obstacle to progress?
I was reading the paper yesterday and came across an article by Dr. Oz’s. Now I know how much some of you love Dr. Oz so I figured I’d give him a shout out.
Anyway in the article he refers to the “Five Food Felons”
The list got me to thinking about a crucial part of our nutrition plan.
The actual planning!
Because there are some foods (like in the list above) you need to plan to avoid. Added sugars for example. You have to read the label and see what’s in there, which is another good reason to purchase as much “label free” whole foods as possible.
Well if we are going to “Eat Our Way RIGHT Through The Holidays” we are going to have to implement the other PPW…
Planning + Preparation = Winning.
We’ve talked about it before. You can’t go into the grocery store and wing it. From the moment you walk through the door you are being set up to buy more, and the choices ain’t all good.
To that end you need to have a meal plan so you can have a shopping List”.
My challenge to you, next time you go shopping buy only items on this list.
Should really simplify the process, and you will be feeding your body what it needs.
Plus you’ll have a head start stocking your kitchen with the foods you planned to eat. You will be setting yourself for success.
To Your Best Health,
If I were an elf, I’d make a machine,
the kind that would make you fit, trim and lean.
It would make you have legs – strong, steady and stable,
Is such a machine just a fairy tale fable?
Your arms would be strong, no flab to be found.
Able to carry two zillion thousands of pounds.
You’d run, jump and leap – like when you were a child.
Wouldn’t such a machine be pretty darn wild?
It wouldn’t have gears, motors, whistles, or rings
Cause’ the machine I would build needs none of those things.
The machine I’d create would be made up of levers
That lift HEAVY things – wouldn’t that be real clever?
That awesome machine would twist, bend and reach
And hundreds of skills this machine you could teach
And where might you ask can such a contraption be found?
Well open your eyes and look all around!
The machine which I’d build is already done
And possessed by you all – yes each – every one!
Though different in shape, there’s none designed shoddy
The machine I would build is your very own body!
A Christmas Original by Coach Dean
My Father in Law has a slick sense of humor. It's like he waits for the perfect opportunity and then ZING lets you have it. When he told me he had some tips to help him eat better at Christmas I knew I was in for a treat.
So From our house to yours, Enjoy:
One final tip: If you don’t feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven’t been paying attention. Re-read tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner.
Thank you again Dad.
Merry Christmas Everyone!
It's not the food that makes the holidays, it's the memories you make.
And those calories are coming from everywhere! But no where seems worse than the place we spend the majority of our day. The office.
There's clients, reps, patients, and business associates who send or bring in all sorts of goodies.
There's the staff office parties which typically means a catered lunch or... ten, depending on where you work.
And then there's your co-workers. The overachievers who want to show off all of their superb culinary skills by bringing everyone in the office high-calorie, delicious homemade goodness. And insist on watching you try "just one."
Add to all of that, the end of year work related stress that leaves you short-fused, and sleep deprived and you are primed for a sugar-laden calorie bomb before noon! Here's my top tips for handling this:
Do you need a make over to a Thanksgiving Favorite?
Sweet Sweet Potato Casserole
2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 3 medium), peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 8-ounce can of crushed pineapple, don’t drained
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
Place sweet potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain well and transfer to a food processor. Process until smooth. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat an 8-inch-square broiler-safe baking dish with coconut oil. Whisk whole eggs, cinnamon, oil, coconut milk, vanilla and salt in a large bowl until smooth. Add the sweet potato; whisk until smooth. Stir in pineapple and its juice. Spread the mixture in the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with pecans. Bake the casserole until heated through and the edges are bubbling, 35 to 45 minutes. Set aside while you make the topping.
As the “biggest eating holiday” in the US, it’s an important time to maybe pull the reins back a bit.
Now, I’m not here to say live off celery and tofu for Thanksgiving.
But what about setting up a little challenge with yourself.
Most importantly, have a Happy Thanksgiving!
To Your Best Health,
If you still need some help to Handle the Holidays at Home check this out.
Sticking with our Handling the Holidays theme... I’m back at it with today’s topic: Too many calories.
I’ve heard more than one person complain of all the sweets and baked goods that are around this time of year.
And unless you plan on checking yourself into a spa for the next two weeks, it's hard to avoid. There's the food YOU make at home (for your family or other people), the food that people give TO YOU, and the food that's brought into the office.
And that's not counting office parties and holiday parties that take place in the last 2 weeks of the year, either.
What's a goal-oriented clean eater to do?
Since there's so much to discuss on this one, I'm breaking it down into separate newsletters.
Today we tackle the home environment.
The easiest place to control excess calories this holiday season is your own home. Watch what food you bring in, encourage company to take leftovers and goodies with them or give away what you can.
Remember it's not the food that makes the holidays, it's the memories you make.
To Your Best Health,
P. S. Need Help Handling the Holidays with some great appetizers? Click here
We're kicking off our Thanksgiving suggestions very fittingly -- with the dish people think of first, appetizers.
As if Thanksgiving doesn't have enough calories associated with the dinner alone, we always start it off with hors d'oeuvres or what my friend’s toddler calls, HAPPYtizers.
Now these can play a critical role, especially if there are hours between when your guests first arrive and when the REAL meal is served. But the calories can also quickly add up, particularly if you are snacking mindlessly.
So here are my strategies for handling appetizers, food and drink that is tempting, and that will be around for a good bit pre-meal. Note: these strategies are good for later that evening with dinner and dessert as well.
1 small white onion
4 portabella mushrooms
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, fine diced
1 pinch nutmeg
1 pinch black pepper
1/2 cup sherry
¼ cup Vegetable stock
1 cup feta cheese
Chop onion with 1/8 dice, remove ribbing in mushrooms, cut ribbing and stems of mushrooms. Add oil to a sauté pan. Sauté onions, diced mushrooms and nutmeg through veggie stock, then add garlic until aromatic. Add the feta cheese and stir to combine. Stuff mushrooms with mixture, sprinkle with a bit of Parmesan cheese, and a drizzle with olive oil. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. Cut each portabella mushroom into quarters to serve.
Antipasto Sausage Skewers
12 ounces fully cooked Italian-style poultry sausage, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup lightly packed fresh basil
1 12-ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained, rinsed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces if large
1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage; cook, turning 2 or 3 times, until warmed through and browned, about 8 minutes. Thread 1 small or 1/2 large basil leaf onto a small wooden skewer. Add a piece of roasted red pepper, sun-dried tomato, artichoke and sausage, arranging them on the skewer so that it can stand up on the sausage end. Repeat with the remaining ingredients to make about two-dozen skewers.
Green Goddess Dip (great with veggies)
1 ripe avocado, halved, pitted and peeled
2 scallions, green and white parts, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup fresh tarragon
1/4 cup fresh parsley
3 Tablespoons white vinegar
3/4 cup buttermilk
Vegetable sticks, for dipping
Place the avocado, scallions, tarragon, parsley, vinegar, buttermilk and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a blender; puree until smooth.
Enjoy your Holidays.
To your Best Health,
P.S. If you need some help handling the holiday stress click here!
On Thanksgiving, do you eat and eat and eat and eat, because it is there? Do you leave the meal feeling stuffed and guilty for overindulging again?
On Thanksgiving, do you feel deprived, hungry, pick at only a few food items, watch as everyone else gets to eat what they want? Are these your only options?
This Thanksgiving, put a plan in place. Enjoy the special meal, choose small portions of those food items that aren’t typically on your menu plan. Don’t go at it with a buffet line mentality, but as someone with a treasured meal mentality that allows you to look forward to a meal that has finally arrived.
With the holidays here in full effect, I thought I’d cover some common struggles over the next few weeks we all face during this time of year.
And that leads me to our first one. LACK OF SLEEP.
It's true when we're rushing to fit it all in, sleep is the very first to go. We stay up later than we should knowing that we "just need to get through the next couple of days...week or month." And yet, even though we may finish a project or task by staying up later, that sleep decrement bleeds into the next day. Lack of sleep is more than just self-imposed 'punishment' for not being able to get everything done.
It can lead to weight gain, difficulty concentrating, and can flat out ruin your holidays.
So if you're already putting sleep on the back burner to start crossing things off your holiday to-do list, take a moment and consider what really needs to get done.
Ask yourself, what do you want to create the most this holiday season? Instead of telling yourself you need to have a perfectly decorated house, home made goodies for every acquaintance you can possibly think of, the ideal Christmas present for everyone on your list, in addition to being perfectly dressed, coiffed and manicured, maybe you pick a 'theme' for the season.
Focus on ONE thing and let go or delegate the rest. I know it sounds easier said than done...but how many years have you tried to pack everything in and watched the month vanish at a blink of an eye....with no real meaningful memories in it's place?
Here are just a few trade-offs to consider so that you may go to bed earlier each night.
And yes, I know, sometimes you DO NEED to stay up later than you'd like. Here's your recipe for the next day.
Take a nap if you can. 15-20 minutes. No more or else you'll end up creating a cycle that could make falling to sleep at night harder.
Lay off the caffeine. I know, sounds like it's impossible...but it's not. Suffer through the sleep deprivation for the day, and sleep more soundly the next night.
Don't skip your workouts. The exercise will help to make you feel energized. At the least, get outside for a quick 15-20 minute walk in the brisk air. Invigorating.
Bottom line, ask yourself is staying up late to do whatever you need to do, really worth it? Are these expectations you have of yourself necessary or even important to you? If not, it's time to let go.
To your Best Health (and next time),
"I can't lose weight."
"I can't find the time to plan my meals."
"I can't find the energy to get to training."
Our minds are powerful. Your internal dialog sets the tone for what you believe is true about yourself. If you keep telling yourself “I can’t lose any pounds off the scale” or “I can’t find the motivation” then you WON’T! You need to start BELIEVING you CAN!!! Can’t is a four letter word that we want to banish from our internal self.
Somewhere between being perfect and giving up, there’s BETTER.
Many of us strive for perfection, especially on the journey of weight loss. When things don’t go as planned you might say “Forget it, I will start again tomorrow” and tomorrow turns into Monday and so on. Then that voice inside your head might tell you, you failed again so why bother trying any more. You need to SILENCE that voice and get back on track! Every day (even every minute) is an opportunity to get better and closer to our goals!
We must choose to be positive and shut the negative out! There is so much negative going on in the world it is hard not to be brought down by it. Be grateful. Write down something positive about each day and see the difference it makes. Small shifts like this can make a big difference in yourself. I wouldn’t doubt that soon gratitude will be overflowing to others.
To your best health,