Fun Tips, Nutrition, Recipes

Start Your Day and Fuel Your Body with These 4 Green Smoothie Recipes

Waking up and staying alert in the morning can already be a struggle. A cup of coffee or caffeinated tea can provide a short-term fix, but loading up on syrupy vanilla lattes and other processed sugars can end in a mid-morning energy crash. On the other hand, starting your day with a refreshing and nutrient-rich breakfast smoothie can keep you satisfied and naturally energized through lunchtime. Add a handful of greens and you’ve got a delicious opportunity to drink your veggies! All you need to do is grab your blender and a few additional fresh ingredients.

A serving of spinach in your smoothie can provide many health benefits courtesy of essential vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and antioxidants including:

– Magnesium (bone and heart health, premenstrual syndrome relief)
– Iron (Energy and athletic performance)
– B2 (Energy and mineral absorption)
– B6 (Heart and kidney health, improved metabolism)
– Folate (Heart health, lower risk of depression and some cancers)
– Vitamin K (Bone, blood, and heart health)
– Vitamin E (Hair, skin, and blood health)
– Vitamin A/beta-carotene (Eye health and skin repair)
– Calcium (Strong bones, muscle and nervous system health)
– Potassium (Blood pressure, heart, muscle, and bone health)

And there are even more perks to keep you feeling (and looking) at your prime! To name just a few:

– Weight maintenance without going hungry (stay full on fewer calories)
– Antioxidants that keep your immune system healthySustained energy for workouts and day-to-day stamina
– Increased fiber intake for a happy digestive system
– Clearer, brighter skin

If you don’t have spinach on hand, you can also substitute kale in its place for many of the same benefits.

Convinced yet? Read on for four tasty and refreshing green smoothie recipe picks!

1. Low Carb Green Smoothie

Sync Fitness makes healthy eating less of a chore with our free e-book, 42 Delicious Fat-Burning Recipes (get your free download right on our homepage!). You’ll find dozens of breakfast, snack, and lunch and dinner entree recipes to complement your Sync boot camp or fitness program.

In the mornings, start with our very own low-carb green smoothie recipe. Blend coconut water, almond butter, wheatgrass, spinach, banana, low-carb chocolate protein, and ice and sip on 15 grams of protein with less than 200 calories. See page 10 of the book for complete measurements, nutritional analysis, and more details.

2. Tropical Green Smoothie

Add pineapple, mango, papaya, or guava (or all of the above!) to your blender with your favorite greens for a quick island getaway in the AM. This vibrant tropical green smoothie recipe relies on ripe frozen pineapple and mango chunks for a bright dose of fruity flavor (and for their anti-inflammatory properties plus digestive and immune system support).

3. Detox Green Smoothie

This Spring Detox Smoothie is packed to the brim with veggies for maximum nutrient power. Green tea adds even more antioxidants. Blend digestive superstars such as cilantro, baby kale, cucumber, avocado, ginger, and lemon, and throw in a hint of pineapple for just enough sweetness.

4. Berry Green Smoothie

Mixed frozen berries and sliced banana make this an accessible green smoothie for even the pickiest eaters. A scoop of natural peanut butter means additional tasty protein and flaxseed meal adds fiber and heart-healthy fatty acids.

Health-Conscious Holiday Baking Substitutions to Keep You on Track

cookies-christmas-xmas-baking

 

The holidays are here, and families all over are starting to plan their Thanksgiving, Christmas, and miscellaneous winter holiday celebration feasts. Whether you’re hoping to add some healthier options to an ultra-rich and indulgent Thanksgiving table or want to make your Chanukah cookies healthier because of a family member’s dietary needs, there are a number of healthy, simple substitutions that can turn even the most decadent of holiday treats into healthier yet equally delicious alternatives!

From flour substitutions to reduce gluten intake and calorie count to saturated fat substitutions to maintain heart health, there are plenty of kitchen hacks to improve the dietary value of your seasonal baked goodies.

1. Replace 1 cup of butter with 1 cup of pureed avocado. This substitution works best in brownies and chocolate cakes. Once pureed, avocado has a very similar texture and consistency when compared with room temperature butter. Both ingredients contribute to the smooth consistency of batter, but while butter is a source of unhealthy saturated fat, avocado provides the “good” kind of fatty acids. By switching out the heavy butter with avocado, you can maintain richness and flavor while improving the nutritional value of your chocolaty baked goods!

2. Replace 1 cup of refined sugar with 1 cup of unsweetened applesauce. You should reduce the liquids that you add to the recipe by ¼ cup for every cup of applesauce used. This substitution is a vegan go-to, and can be used in just about any baked recipe. From oatmeal cookies to sweet breads, this sugar-cutting switch works wonders.

3. Replace 1 cup of flour with 1 cup of canned black beans. This substitution is best in brownies; it may not work as well in other dishes. It may sound strange, but it cuts gluten and calories while adding a punch of protein and fiber. You may notice a slight difference in texture, but it won’t impact the flavor much. It also adds extra depth to the color of the finished brownies.

4. Replace eggs with flax meal in water. This substitution works best in muffins, cakes, and cookies that rely on eggs for structure and consistency. Mix 1 tablespoon of flax meal (fresh ground is ideal) with 3 tablespoons of water and let it sit for five to ten minutes. This mixture can replace a single egg; adjust as necessary for your recipe. Store flax meal in the fridge to increase its shelf life, or grind whole flax seeds, which can store for longer, as you need them.

5. Replace 1 cup of butter with chia seeds in water. It’s important that this substitution not be used if you’re also replacing eggs with flax seeds. This substitution works best in muffins, cakes, and sweet breads. Unlike the flax seeds, the chia seeds aren’t ground into meal. You mix 2-3 tablespoons with 1 cup of water and let it sit for fifteen minutes. This mixture can replace 1 cup of butter. The chia seeds add potassium and a little extra protein to the recipe, while cutting out a lot of fat.

6. Replace 1 egg with a chia seed mixture. Again, do not use this substitution in the same recipe as a chia seed and butter substitution. This is a well-loved vegan substitution that works in just about any baking recipe. Mix 1 tablespoon of chia seeds in 1 cup of water and let sit for fifteen minutes. This mixture can replace 1 egg. Scale up as necessary to reduce fat and overall calories in your favorite sweet baked goods.

7. Replace 1 cup of oil or butter with 1 cup of mashed, ripe banana. This substitution works best in brownies, cookies, or basic sweet breads (hint: try it with banana bread!). The banana has the same consistency as room temperature butter, and instead of fats, it adds potassium, Vitamin B6, and extra fiber to your sweet treats.

Celebrate with Healthy Options this Thanksgiving

The holidays are meant for gathering around the table, sharing traditions and great food with your loved ones. However, you can still celebrate and enjoy fabulous flavors of traditional foods, yet leave some of those unhealthy, empty calories behind and start new traditions in your kitchen. We have come up with some great twists on some old favorites as well as some completely new ones to explore.

Enjoy, celebrate and enjoy nutritious, healthy options this Thanksgiving!

  • – Sweet Potato Gratin is a fresh new twist on an old standby. High in dietary fiber, vitamin A, and easily prepared as a baked dish, this rendition is sure to please your loved ones and replace the old favorite.
  • – Lentil and Red Pepper Bake is a low calorie and high protein option that will also add some lovely fall color to your table…after all presentation is everything (after taste, that is!)
  • – Butternut Squash Soup makes a great starter side dish for your Thanksgiving table. Butternut Squash is higher in vitamin A than pumpkin as well as b-complex vitamins and a great source of dietary fiber.
  • – Roasted Brussels sprouts with Walnuts give you another high fiber dish and the walnuts add a yummy flavor. Brussels sprouts are also a high protein veggie option, one cup has twice as much protein as carbs and they are also high in B6.
  • – Green Beans & Pancetta with Whole-Grain Mustard Dressing is a great way to get your vitamin C and plenty of dietary fiber. This dish is much healthier and lower in sodium than the typical (ugh!) canned beans and soup recipe. Green beans are chock full of vitamin C and dietary fiber.

…Now get ready for some yummy Thanksgiving desert options!

  • – Pumpkin Pie with Rum is hard to beat for your traditional Thanksgiving dessert. Dark molasses for the sweetener adds iron and nonfat evaporated milk replaces the heavy cream and really cuts calories but no loss on flavor.
  • – Squash and Cheesecake Bars will give your typical pumpkin pie a run for the money in flavor, yet much less calories and lower sugar. The oats and low sugar graham crackers make a lovely, crunchy crust to the smooth squash.

Are you going to try one or two of these? Let us know how they turned out. Better yet, share with us some of your healthier holiday recipes!

Healthy and Easy Snack Options for Nutritional Success!

Focusing on fitness goals and keeping yourself disciplined in your workouts is fabulous and creating life-long healthy habits. But we all know that is just part of the equation. We know that weight loss/fat loss is as much as 80% dependent on what you put in your mouth. Make your efforts in workouts really pay off with healthy habits in your nutrition. Sometimes just a little bit of planning ahead and making sure you have low fuss but power-packed snack options is what gives you success.

We are including some great healthy and easy snack and breakfast recipe tips to incorporate in your plan and help you beat those tempting times during the day.

  • – Start your morning off right! These White Cheddar and Dijon Baked Eggs are easy to prep ahead of time and total time is 20 minutes. High protein and add any chopped veggies or meats that suite you.
  • – Satisfy your sweet and crunch cravings in a healthy way with this Strawberry-Avocado Salsa and Cinnamon Tortilla chips. The chips do great made in advance in an airtight container and the lime juice adds great flavor while keeping the avocado fresh.
  • – Another morning winner with these Caprese Baked Egg Cups to start your day with high protein. This recipe puts you garden bounty of basil and tomatoes to good use.
  • – Fabulous Greek Yogurt Smoothies abound here! Berries for antioxidant benefits, protein and good immunity boosting happening with lots of recipes to choose from.
  • – Snacks for on the go and to help you beat that afternoon craving are a good strategy for success. Try the Popcorn with Parmesan, Cucumber-Feta Bites.
  • – These Sweet Potato Breakfast Bars are good all day as a mini-meal replacement or in-between meal healthy option. Packed with protein and flavor, you can bake at the beginning of the week and have these to snack on or breakfast for the rest of the week.
  • – Almonds are one of the heathiest options to reach for with B12’s, calcium, and protein. Keep a small container of almond butter with you and some sliced apples for dipping and you have the cravings beat! Almonds are calories-dense, so be careful not to over-consume.

Give some of these a try and let us know what you think! And please share with us some of your tips that give you success and fight the cravings.

How To Do Breakfast, Better!

 

 

Today we’re going to talk about… how to do breakfast better. A lot of people skimp on breakfast because they’re either not hungry in the morning, or they’re just trying to get out the door – breakfast falls through the cracks. What happens when you don’t start your day with protein – and more specifically 20 grams of protein – is that your blood sugar levels and metabolism never really regulate, causing your body to not burn calories the way it should.
By having 20 grams of protein first thing in the morning, you’re setting the stage for having your blood sugar regulated throughout the day. If your blood sugar starts out well regulated throughout the early part of your day, it’s going to impact the food choices you make throughout the day, all day long. So I can’t over emphasize how important it is to have 20 grams of protein first thing in the morning. I know that Mocha and scone are screaming your name—but don’t do it!

Here’s how you can get 20 grams of protein in the morning per serving.

  • 1. Steel cut oats with a half scoop of vanilla protein powder. (I’ve tried it with chocolate, and it’s not my fave.) Stir the powder into your oats. I add a little plain coconut or almond milk too.

 

  • 2. Plain Greek Yogurt. Add a little bit of honey and/or fruit for sweetener and some nuts (which is bonus protein protein). Choose a low fat or full fat yogurt. My 2% has 22 grams of protein per cup!

 

  • 3. Eggs! Super easy. You can do hard-boiled eggs, scrambled eggs. I like to do scrambled with black beans (which is more protein) and veggies. 3 eggs are 18 grams of protein.

 

  • 4. Breakfast meats. I love the Applegate brand. Add to your scramble or just gobble them down on their own.

 

  • 5. Who’s to say you can’t have steak or chicken! Have dinner leftovers for breakfast.

 

So there you have it! Some of the best ways to get your day started with 20 grams of protein. What are you eating in the morning to kick start your day?

5 Incredibly Healthy (and Delicious) Fall Salad Recipes

The change of seasons from summer to fall is a favorite of many. In some areas it can be a nice welcome change in summer heat to enjoy more comfortable temperatures to play and workout outside. Summer to fall garden bounty means lots of wonderful fresh options to make some pretty incredible salads with ingredients that won’t be so readily available in just a couple of short months.

We have found some really great recipes to help you add some variety and healthy nutrients to your dinners. Bon appetite!Autumn-Arugula-Salad-with-Caramelized-Squash-Spiced-Pecans-and-Pomegranate-Ginger-Vinaigrette-6

1. This warm spaghetti squash recipe is just right for using some of those squash from your garden or farmers’ market. Although canola oil is one of the healthier oils for cooking, replace it with olive oil and gain and edge with antioxidants called polyphenols. Spaghetti squash is one of the lowest caloric containing winter squash, low in fat, and high in water content.

2. Since pears are not only low calorie, but packed with health benefiting nutrients such as dietary fiber & anti-oxidants, this spinach and pear salad is a nutritional and flavor gem to try. In addition to the high iron and vitamin A and C content, the spinach will provide you with flavonoid poly phenolic antioxidants such as lutein, zea-xanthin and beta-carotene.

3. Two garden veggies in profuse abundance in early fall are taken advantage of in the Salad of Corn and Cherry Tomatoes.  *Corn is a nutritional powerhouse, rich in antioxidants and fiber. Cherry tomatoes are packed with vitamins C and A, Vitamin B-6, and also high in anti-oxidants. Prepare it the night before and the flavors really come alive.

4. Nothing quite says fall like fresh, crunchy apples. Packed with important dietary fiber, iron, antioxidants, and vitamin C, this quick and easy to prep Fall Apple Salad is a winner. It literally only takes 5 minutes to prepare, so it allows plenty of time to get in your workout at Sync!

5. The Autumn Arugula Salad with caramelized squash and pomegranate ginger vinaigrette is a gorgeous blend of flavors.  ½ cup of pomegranate seeds only contains 72 calories. But that same half cup is powerful at increasing blood flow and reducing prostrate cancer rates as well as provided a powerful combination of antioxidants. In the past, I avoided pomegranates since I was intimidated by how to cut them.  Well check this out and be intimidated no more!

* Beware when it comes to using corn in your diet. Much of the grocery store corn and even at farmer’s markets is GMO corn.  You can usually avoid GMO by buying organic corn products.

Well, these 5 recipes should go a long way in providing some fun variety to your healthy fall dinners. Enjoy and let us know if you have any favorites!

Featured photo found here.

Kid Friendly Breakie

I just posted a list of healthy kid breakfast ideas I came up for my recent appearance at Lawton Elementary Family Fitness Fun Night. You can find it on my main blog here:

Fit Healthy Moms (Healthy Breakfasts for Kids)

Enjoy!

Sync Fitness “Bean Fries”


If you love salty snacks like I do, check out my alternative to french fries. These are the healthiest fries you’ll find and they have the perfect bit of crunch to them. A little like a fry, a little like a chip, a little like perfection!

My Favorite Quinoa Recipe!

I eat quinoa almost everyday. I mean, why wouldn’t I?? This “supergrain” is among the healthiest of all grains and among the easiest to make. Quinoa is LOADED with protein (10 grams in a 1/2 cup) and fiber (6 grams in a 1/2 cup), making is very filling. I learned about quinoa about a year ago when I went to my amazing nutritionist, Mary Purdy of Nourishing Balance, after learning I needed to eliminate dairy, eggs, say and gluten from my diet. This is the quinoa recipe Mary gave me at our first appointment and I’m still eating this pretty much every day for lunch! Read the rest of this entry…

Lentil Sweet Potato Soup

I have another favorite Sync Fitness recipe for you!  My fave Seattle nutritionist, Mary Purdy of Nourishing Balance, gave me this recipe and it is excellent.  This is the perfect hearty winter meal, especially for vegetarians.  Lentils are high in protein and fiber, making them perfect for filling your belly on a cold day.

Preparation time: 25 minutes preparation. Cook time: 50 minutes cooking time (majority of cooking time requires minimal monitoring).

Serves four as a main dish.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 large red onions, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced (to save time, you can use minced garlic in a jar)
  • 1½ teaspoons dried thyme
  • 10 cups vegetable stock (to save time, use vegetarian bouillon cubes to make vegetable stock; omit salt if you use bouillon)
  • 1¼ cups green, brown, or red lentils
  • 2 stalks of celery, sliced
  • ½ cup minced fresh parsley, divided
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes (1 pound), peeled and diced
  • ½ teaspoon salt (omit salt if you use bouillon instead of fresh vegetable stock)
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste

Instructions:

  • In a large pot, warm the olive and sesame oils over medium-high heat. Add onion. Sauté while stirring lightly until onions are soft (5-7 minutes).
  • Add garlic and thyme. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Do not overcook garlic. If garlic starts to brown, turn down the heat.
  • Raise the heat to high. Stir in stock, lentils, celery, and ¼ cup of the parsley.
  • Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer.
  • Cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
  • Add the sweet potatoes and cook 20 more minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are tender. (I found that I had to bring the broth back to a boil and then simmer for 20-30 minutes.)
  • Remove 2 cups of the soup and place in a blender. Carefully blend until thick and smooth. CAUTION: Be very careful when blending, letting steam and heat escape every few seconds by lifting blender lid slowly throughout blending. If steam and heat build up, the lid can blow off the blender (skip the blender step if thinner soup is desired).
  • Return the blended soup to the pot with the remaining ¼ cup parsley. Stir and cook 1 more minute to blend.
  • Add fresh ground pepper to taste.
  • Serve and enjoy!

**I also stirred in some spinach (more vitamins!) and sprinkled some crumbled goat cheese on top of each serving.  DELISH!**

Per serving: 380 calories; 45 grams of carbohydrates; 18.5 grams of protein; 14 grams of fat; 15 grams of fiber