Category Archives for "Vegetables"

Spaghetti or Orangetti?

Last time I was shopping I went to pick up a few spaghetti squashes. I was not sure where they went. In there place was a familiar shaped squash but not the same color. What, could it be an "Orange" spaghetti squash? Yep. 

I'm not sure what they did or how they did it but they made a spaghetti squash that usually has a yellow hue to orange. I just had to try it. Actually I picked up three of them. 

Here is what I did with one of my Orangetti Squash. 

Spaghetti Squash "Pasta"

You can take the long way to prep it:

Preheat your oven to 325.

Pierce it (the squash, not the oven) with a sharp knife all around the skin.

Roast it on a pan (you don't need any water) for about 1 hour.

Remove from oven, slice in half long ways, remove the seeds and take the flesh out with a fork.

Or the short way:

Just pierce the squash as suggested above, then microwave it for 8 minutes (flipping it over at 4) and it tastes the same.

That’s as quick as you can cook pasta…

It looks just like spaghetti, yet has a ton less calories and carbs, but a lot more nutrients.

Top it with your favorite pasta toppings and you're good to go!

It doesn't quite taste like pasta, but resembles it and has a great taste in and of itself.

Here is the sauce I made today:

1 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes

1 teaspoon basil

½ teaspoon oregano

½ teaspoon sea salt

1 Tablespoon dried parsley

1 Tablespoon dried onions

5 cooked Italian sausage cut into bite size chunks 

I heated this on the stove and let it simmer for ½ hour. It was delicious!

To your best Health,

Coach Nancy

Creamy Chicken Skillet

One pan meals are my favorite. While I like doing dishes, I don't like looking at a sink piled high with them. This one dish wonder helps me to keep my sanity in more ways than one. 

If you have one dish dinner meals, pass those along by replying with the recipe in the comment section. 

To your Best Health,

Coach Nancy

Creamy Chicken Skillet

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces

3 slices bacon

1 small yellow onion, chopped

1/2 red bell pepper, diced

1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced

6 oz. white mushrooms, sliced

1/2 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1 14.5-oz. can coconut milk

2 cups fresh kale, stems removed and shredded

Salt and pepper, to taste

Cook the bacon in a large skillet until crispy. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate and crumble. Set aside. Discard the bacon fat from the pan except for one tablespoon. Add the onion to the pan and sauté for 4-5 minutes until soft. Push the onion to one side and add the chicken to the pan. Lightly brown the chicken, and then stir in the bell peppers and mushrooms. Cook for an additional 5 minutes. Stir in the bacon. Add the white wine vinegar to the pan to deglaze. Add the coconut milk and kale. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the kale is wilted and the sauce is slightly thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm.

And the Answer Is…..


There is no substitute for the power of vegetables as part of your nutrition plan. Vegetables are loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber.

Your mom is not the only one who knew the scoop on how great vegetables are for you. Here’s what Dr. John Berardi over at Precision Nutrition has to say:

“Eating higher levels of veggies and fruits are associated with a lower incidence of:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Colon, prostate, cervical, lung, ovarian, pancreatic, thyroid, and breast cancer
  • High blood cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Stroke
  • Osteoporosis
  • and a lot more that aren’t on this list…”

Here’s a pretty cool graphic (also from PN) that illustrates another great thing about vegetables – they fill you up, literally!

You want to aim for 5 "fists" of vegetables per day.  Ideally, the majority of those "fists" would come from non-starchy vegetables.  Strive for 3-5 fists of non-starchy vegetables and 0-2 fists of starchy vegetables.  (This is VERY important for Fat Loss) 

Getting in 5 servings a day is much simpler than you might think, so no worries – ok?

The great thing about using your own fist as a guideline for portion control is that you always have it with you anywhere you go!

This means you should still keep your veggies in mind at restaurants, when eating on the go, or anywhere else.

It is almost impossible to over consume most non-starchy vegetables, so fill up on these foods without worry. If anything, put your effort towards making sure you eat enough of them, as opposed to too much.

 "Every question you have about your health, chances are vegetables are the answer."- Coach Nancy

 Here is one of my family's favorite recipe. It's for Vegetable Fettuccine. My kids love to help me make this but they devour it up as well. I serve it with our fantastic Spaghetti Sauce and Voila 5 servings of veggies easy peasy. 

To Your Best Health,


Phyto-what-are-we-talking-about? [Infographic]

Mom was right about eating your fruits and vegetables. Here's Why.

by Dean Carlson, Pn2

You have probably heard "eat the colors of the rainbow", and no I am NOT talking about candy. But it's a true story, the colors tell the tale of the power packed punch hidden inside all the goodness, as the colors hold the key to the "phytonutrients" or plant nutrients, that help us fight disease and stay healthy.

Learn what phytonutrients are all about, what they do, and why you need more purples, blues, yellows, oranges, reds, greens and even whites.

Download this free Infographic and print it out for reference. You might even send a copy to mom in a thank-you card!

Pretty co​ol, huh?

Not only are all these colors good for you, they taste really good too, and help you get the fiber your body needs. 

Don't forget to download your copy to print out and hang by the fridge. There are a few dozen different ideas and tips for getting more of these into your diet, and you'll want it handy for easy reference.

3 steps to fix a broken diet [Infographic]

​Here's ​​​​​how to get your eating back on track.

​by Dean Carlson, Pn2

​It's just about the beginning of a New Year, or at least it is when I am writing this.

But no matter what the calendar says, sometimes we get off track and just aren't making it happen.

​Our friends at Precision Nutrition created this very helpful infographic, which shares the 3 main strategies we use to help clients fix a "broken diet", as well as some troubleshooting techniques for when the eating plan you are on "just stops working".

These are powerful and purposeful strategies to help you improve your eating, at the beginning of a brand new year or anytime!

Click here for a fully printable version of this infographic.

​So what did we learn?

​If you just aren't making progress, and you aren't sure what's wrong, remember these important things to try:

  • First, remove "red flags" and nutritional deficiencies.
  • Control your calorie intake without counting calories.
  • Consider your body type and daily activity level.
  • ​Monitor your progress carefully, and adjust how much you are eating as needed.
  • Be consistent with these steps and think long-term first, before looking for new strategies.

​That last point cannot be overstated. Consistency over days, weeks and months is almost always the real problem with our eating, whether we are a beginner trying to get started, or you are experienced but spinning your wheels. There is a solution, but we need to stick with it for long enough to figure out if what we are doing is effective. A few days or even weeks isn't going to cut it.

Don't forget to download your printable copy of this infographic, and please share with your friends and family!

Is it a good idea to exercise when sick? [Infographic]

​Good idea?  Bad idea? Can exercise actually help boost our immune system, even when we are sick?

​by Dean Carlson, Pn2

​It's not an uncommon question:

"Should I exercise when I am sick?"

Well, as with many things, it depends.

​If you are laid out in bed with the flu, the answer is obvious. But what about certain stages of a cold? While we don't want to share that joy with others, can getting some movement in be helpful?

Our friend at Precision Nutrition produced this excellent guide for sorting it all out.​

Print out this infographic for some very specific guidelines on exercise, and how it affects your immune system before, during, and after an illness.

​Reading that infographic makes me feel better already!

Want to share these tips with your friends, family and co-workers (especially the washing your hands part)? Click here for a fully printable version of this infographic.

​Here's to staying healthy!

What should I eat when I am sick? [Infographic]

​Are there foods that help me fight bugs faster, or help me from getting sick at all? Let's find out!

​by ​Dean Carlson, Pn2

​It's true. What you eat can have a direct impact on how quickly you recover from a cold, flu or other yucky thing that can bring us down and make us feel like doing, well, nothing!

It all has to do with your gut health. What happens in your digestive tract plays a huge role in how well you can fight off germs, or whether you come down with something at all.

​This infographic has some great tips for boosting your immune system, as well as helping you feel better faster.

​The take home? Take care of your gut, and it will take care of you! 🙂

You wouldn't want to keep this great info to yourself, especially when the men you know get sick (yes, we are babies). Download a printable copy of this infographic to share, it's the nice thing to do!

Calories count, but counting calories? Part 2 [Infographic]

Part ​2: Calories ​Out

Compiled by Dean Carlson, Pn2. Infographic created by John Berardi Ph.D. and Helen Kollias Ph.D.

​In Part 1, we talked about how "calorie math" doesn't always add up. This article looks at why accurate counting can be so complicated, and gives 4 reasons why daily activity tracking and trying to count the calories we burn on a daily basis isn't as straightforward as it seems.

​It's a question I get asked a lot by clients in our gyms. "How many calories does an average workout burn?" 

​The reason for the query is they want to plug my answer into fitness tracker software, in order to calculate how many calories they are burning daily, and thus how many calories they should be eating.

If it were only that easy. There are SO many factors that go into determining energy expenditure accurately, and unless you are measuring factors such as carbon dioxide output for the duration of training, you just aren't going to get a reliable number.

​ In my experience, most of the clients that try to track calories eventually get tired of doing so, or frustrated because it's not "working".

​Fortunately you don't HAVE to measure calories in and out all the time, if at all. The infographic below tells you ​some of the challenges with counting calories, as well as an alternative method to energy balance that you carry with you all the time. Simple!

Download your own printer and tablet version friendly copy of the infographic to pass around or keep for reference.

​Ever wonder why you track so carefully but you STILL can't lose weight? No matter how good fitness trackers are, they can't compete with reality. The most important measurement is the outcome you are getting from your current plan. If the results you are getting are moving you in the direction of your goals, stick with it. If not, it's time to do something different.

​Want more nutrition know-how?

​As I am sure I don't have to remind you, nailing our nutrition down is not as easy as "experts on the interweb" want you to think.

At The Grateful Plate, we work closely with our coaching c​lients to help them understand what is holding them back, and guiding them to building great eating skills and the habits to get lean, once and for all. When you are ready to take the next step, please reach out and let's talk.

Calories count, but counting calories? Part 1 [Infographic]

Part 1: Calories In

Compiled by Dean Carlson, Pn2. Infographic created by John Berardi Ph.D. and Helen Kollias Ph.D.

Most of us go down the "calorie counting" path at least once in our efforts to lose weight. After all, everybody knows "calories in - calories out" is the key to weight loss success, right? But is it that simple? This article and accompanying infographic outlines 5 reasons why all those food calculators may not be as helpful as we thought.

Actually the principle of energy balance does work:

Take in more calories/energy than you burn, you gain weight. Take in fewer calories/energy than you expend and you will lost weight.

It's not the principle that is flawed, it's the counting that is so hard to actually do correctly and accurately enough to make it worth while. 

There are so many factors working against you, on both ends of the energy equation - in and out.  Part 1 highlights the problems with "calories in".

Download your own printer friendly copy of the infographic right here.

25% Margin of Error?

That would make a very significant difference when trying to figure out while all those calories counting apps aren't really helping, wouldn't it?

Now I am not saying you have to never track your calories, but here are my recommendations if you do.

Understand the limitations of the methodology. If you are not seeing the results you expect, take another look at the infographic for potential reasons why. The important thing is results, not the actual number of calories the tracker says you are eating. If you are working on losing body fat, and it ain't happening, it doesn't matter how many calories the tracker says you are eating, you need to eat less.

There are times that I track calories, usually as a "sanity check". In other words I am not seeing the results I want, and when I track for a couple weeks it is easy to see why. I am usually eating a lot more food or a lot more times than I think I am. But even I don't want to reduce the enjoyment of eating to a math problem all the time. That's just no fun!

There is a better way, and it doesn't involve calculators and fitness apps. It's portable, reusable, and effective. It's the Calorie Control Cheat Sheet.

Stayed tuned for Part 2: Calories Out, coming up in a couple weeks!

The real cost of getting and staying lean [Infographic]

Is It Worth The Trade-Off? It's Your Choice.

by Dean Carlson, Pn2

We have a picture in our head of the "ideal body". But are the pictures in the magazines a realistic picture of what is achievable? Do you have to look like superman or a supermodel to be healthy? And at what cost?

Regardless of your goals, there is going to be work - hard work - to lose fat and get leaner. And there are amazing health benefits to doing do. But there are trade-offs, particularly as you get leaner and leaner. This infographic outlines them and shows you what's involved. We'll take a look at the extremes on both sides, and then have you consider what's healthy and achievable.

Click Here for a fully printable version of this Infographic.

For a complete explanation of the infographic, including a review of the research by our friends at Precision Nutrition, check out the accompanying article: The cost of getting lean: Is it really worth the trade off?

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