Nutrition Challenge #2 Snack Time!

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Last week we added a fruit or vegetable to every meal. This week we are substituting store bought snacks for homemade ones. Didn’t know you were getting a math and nutrition challenge in one did you? (; Hopefully last week’s challenge will help you this week!

Nutrition Challenge #2: Substitute Store Bought Snacks for Homemade Snacks

Snacks are a necessary part of our daily busy lives. We use them to keep our metabolism humming, fight hunger between meals, or as a pre/post workout fuel. The problem with a lot of snacks, however, is that they are packed with artificial ingredients, sugar, and calories that leave a lot to be desired. How many times have you eaten a granola bar or 100 calorie snack pack wishing for more? Or actually ripped open a second serving? I know I certainly have! Also, individually packed snacks can end up being pretty pricey. For those of us trying to watch our wallets and waists making our own snacks is a win-win.

The biggest problem with homemade snacks is time. The whole point of a snack is something that you can make or open in about 3 minutes or less, hence why we so often reach for the Kashi Granola Bar instead of finding the blender, frozen fruit, milk, ice cubes, etc…to make a smoothie. What if I told you most homemade bar, bite, or cracker recipes take 30 minutes or less? Would I recapture your attention?

Find a day, no not a full day, just an hour of a day this week to prep your snacks. Maybe last week helped you view snacks as an apple and peanut butter or carrots and hummus, but if you were still craving something a little more dense I have a few recipes that will hopefully have you rethinking throwing that box of Chewy Quaker Oatmeal Bars in your basket.

I will post an entire recipe round up of Bars/Bites. There will be oatmeal, gluten free, paleo, and protein options…so pretty much you have no excuse! Don’t see something you like? Let me know and I will find something to fit every taste bud!

In the mean time try your hand at one of these homemade cracker recipes. The possibilities are endless!

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Spicy Seedy Power Crackers

http://www.eatsfromtheoilpatchblog.com

1/2 cup of chia seeds

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

1/2 cup sesame seeds

1 cup water

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Mix all the seeds and spices into a bowl. Then add in your water and let mixture sit for 3 minutes until the chia seeds absorb most of the water. Spread on a sheet pan using your hands to gently spread and flatten the mixture until it’s about 1/4 inch thick. Bake for 30 minutes at 325 degrees. Then gently slice crackers and flip them over using a large spatula. Bake for another 25 minutes until slightly golden brown. These will store in an airtight container for a few weeks.

Easy Cheesy Whole Wheat Crackers

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http://www.howsweeteats.com/2010/10/easy-cheesy-whole-wheat-crackers/

1 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 cup warm water + 1-2 tablespoons

1/4 cup parmesan cheese + more for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 400.

Mix dry ingredients together, add parmesan cheese, then add oil and 1/2 cup water. Mix until a dough forms. Add additional water if needed. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and lightly flour. Roll dough out until very thin. Using a pizza cutter, draw lines cutting squares in the dough. They crackers will separate as they bake. Sprinkle with additional parmesan cheese. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy.

No-Ritos

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http://www.cavefoodkitchen.com/2013/09/no-ritos.html

3/4 cup almond flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup flax seeds
1/4 cup of butter
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp chilli
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika powder
1 egg
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Melt the butter and basically mix up all the ingredients together, and knead it into a ball. Take 2 sheets of baking paper, lay the ball on one, the other sheet on top and then flatten it out with a roller.
Cut triangles with a knife. Heat the oven to about 180C (350F) and bake for about 10 mins. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn. Turn the oven off and let them harden for about another 15 mins.

http://www.cavefoodkitchen.com/2013/09/no-ritos.html#.U0rRKVdc80w

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Everything Flatbread Crackers

adapted from Martha

http://www.howsweeteats.com/2010/11/everything-flatbread-crackers/

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 cup all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1 ½ tablespoons cold butter

½ cup milk (I used 2%)

1 egg, beaten

2 tablespoons poppy seeds

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

2 tablespoons minced onion

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon sea salt

freshly cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 350.

In a food processor, pulse flours, salt and sugar until combined. Add in cold butter and pulse until mixture is combined and the butter is in course crumbs. Stream in milk while pulsing the processor until the dough forms.

Form dough into a ball with your hands and chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, flour surface and a rolling pin, and roll out dough until it is very thin. Gently lift dough and place it on a baking sheet. Don’t worry about it being a perfect rectangle.

Beat egg in a small bowl, and brush onto dough. Sprinkle seasonings of choice on, then lightly press to make sure they adhere.

Bake for 5 minutes, rotate pan, and bake for 5 minute more. Check crackers and bake in 3 minute intervals until crisp and golden brown. Watch carefully as they can burn.

Serve with cheese, vegetables or fruit, hummus and olives.

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Kale Chips

(This guide can be used for Kale, Zucchini, Sweet Potato, Parsnips, Carrots, Butternut Squash)

Ingredients:

1 Head of Kale

2 Tablespoons of Olive/Coconut Oil

Sea Salt to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400degrees F.

Remove the ribs from the Kale (or thinly slice the vegetables). Toss in olive oil and salt. Lay on a prepared (with a dab of oil or on aluminum foil) baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes (longer if thicker vegetables). Flip vegetables mid way.

*Get creative! Toss with lemon juice, vinegar, cinnamon +nutmeg, or garlic powder+paprika+cumin

Veggie and Fruit Recipe Inspiration

The first Nutrition Challenge is officially underway!

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Post produce shopping for the Fruit and Veggie Filled week ahead!

(Side note: I mix between Trader Joe’s, Kroger, and what is on sale at Whole Foods for produce)

What I plan on Making this week:

I pair Almond Flour Zucchini Bread with plain greek yogurt + cinnamon + vanilla or almond extract and sometimes a few spoonfuls of pureed pumpkin for a filling breakfast that is easy to prepare the night before.

My go to snack is carrots dipped in almond butter + drizzle of honey or with a handful of mixed nuts. I love the sweet and salty combo.

If the weather is warm I will mix up a mixed frozen berry+cinnamon+PB2+spinach+ coconut milk smoothie to hold me over until dinner.

I make these Pumpkin Protein Bars weekly, just to have on hand to bring to work or whenever I am running errands (because apparently I can’t go any where without a snack). Side note: Save your left over pumpkin to add to a smoothie, bake with in place of butter/oil, or mix with cottage cheese or greek yogurt and freeze for dessert!

Pumpkin Protein Bars

1 cup pumpkin puree

6 egg whites

2 t. vanilla

2 scoops vanilla protein powder (approximately 100 cals and 20 grams of protein per scoop)

4 T. coconut flour

1 t. baking powder

2 t. cinnamon

1/2 t. nutmeg

1/4 t. ginger

1-2 t. powdered stevia 

**Can also add nuts, unsweetened coconut, chocolate chips, chia seeds or whatever your heart desires for a little extra texture!

1. Mix wet ingredients (egg whites, pumpkin and vanilla); set aside.

2. In another bowl, combine dry ingredients. Whisk dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Mix with an electric mixer.

3. Pour mixture into a greased 8×8 baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.

Makes 8 squares.

Lunches for me are usually “kitchen sink salads” – throw everything but the kitchen sink in. A mix of arugula and spinach + goat cheese+ chicken + cucumber + sprouts.

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I have a zucchini problem! It is such a versatile vegetable that can be eaten raw, sautéed, or baked that I end up using it in a fair amount of my recipes. At least I know I am getting plenty of fiber, Vitamin C, potassium, and Vitaming B-6! In addition to my Almond Flour Zucchini Bread I plan on using the green squash for this Avocado Zucchini Pasta with ground turkey and some steamed broccoli or mini steamed artichokes for a few dinners this week!

Later in the week I’ll be chowing down on Cauliflower Fried Rice w/ Shrimp.

And because I can’t go a night without dessert I have strawberries to dip in a little dark chocolate or I will blend some berries with cinnamon and yogurt and freeze for later!

 

Need a little more Recipe Inspiration?

Breakfast:

These Easy Spinach Artichoke Quiche Cups would be perfect if you’re usually short on time in the mornings and need something you can grab on your way out the door. You could store them in the fridge for the week and just pop them in the microwave before you dash!

Simliar to the Quiche these Turkey Meatloaf Muffins are packed with flavor , but a little more protein. They make a great snack or pair with a banana or apple for a well rounded breakfast! Feel free to add as many cooked veggies or substitute spices to make it your own.

Low Fat Oatmeal Blueberry Bread will make your house smell delicious and is a great brunch option.

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With 4 different Overnight Oats options you have no excuse for not packing something healthy to eat at home, in your car, or at work. There are banana nut, very berry, pumpkin spice and tropical oats flavor options! (also makes a great snack for your kids!)

Lunch:

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This Inside Out Spring Roll will have you packing EIGHT different vegetables into one refreshing salad that you can eat all week!

Tired of your typical salads? Try this Shredded Sprouts Salad or Smoky Heirloom Tomato and Grilled Peach Pasta Salad or Sushi Salad

If only my lunches looked this pretty. Homemade Flafael + Cucumber Dressing might just have to be a new make ahead meal.

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Snacks:

Tired of your typical banana smoothie? Drink up a beautiful beet smoothie pack with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory benefits Strawberry Beet Smoothiestrawberry-beet-smoothie-3

Make your own Pumpkin Hummus: Mix 1 C pumpkin puree with one can of drained and rinsed chickpeas (reserve a little of the can liquid), 1/4 C liquid form the can, drizzle of olive oil (or some tahini- I didn’t have any on hand, though), juice of 1/2 lemon, 1/2 t garlic powder, 1/2 t cumin, sea salt (to taste) and a hefty pinch of cayenne

 

 

Dinner:

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Surprise your spouse with a fun date night dinner that is deceivingly easy and healthy. The La Jolla Crab Stack requires no cooking, but you don’t need to tell your date that (;

Crockpots creations that save you time and calories: Garam Masala ChickenAsian Pork with MushroomsSalsa Verde Chicken

Skip the drive through and make Honey Chipotle Chicken Bowls instead. The Chipotle Chicken and Lime Quinoa can be made in advance and all thrown together the night of .

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Finish it all off with a little Mixed Berry Crumble.

Also if you are Gluten Free http://www.edibleperspective.com/list/ has a huge list of recipes full of veggies but sans gluten you should try!

Happy eating (:

Nutrition Challenge #1: Fruits & Veggies

Nutrition Challenge #1: Eat a Fruit or Vegetable with EVERY Meal/Snack (April 7-13, 2014)

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We have all heard the saying “Five a Day”, referring to how many servings of fruits and vegetables we need to consume each day for optimum health, but how many of us really accomplish this goal? While your morning juice, salad for lunch, or home made sweet potato fries are a great place to start we all have a little room for improvement.

At first glance this challenge doesn’t seem entirely too difficult: just add berries to your morning cereal, some spinach to your sandwich, and steam a little broccoli along with your chicken and quinoa…but wait, what about snacks, desserts, or when you’re in a rush?! Those are typically the times that processed foods, artificial ingredients,and fake sweeteners come into play. And, unfortunately those times happen a lot more often than we would like to admit.

Below is an extensive list of ways to add more fruits and vegetables into your daily routine as well a few cooking and money saving tips! I know many of you have kids or spouses that haven’t adopted the same eating goals/habits as yourself, but hopefully a few of these tips/tricks will spark some ideas to help get them eating more fruits and vegetables as well!

Also, while I don’t have kids, I am extremely busy and sometimes cooking for one is just as difficult as cooking for five, so I plan on outlining a few snacks/meals I will prepare this Sunday to make achieving my five a day a breeze.

Recipe under "Smoothies/Shakes/Juices" by www.carrotsncake.com

Recipe under “Smoothies/Shakes/Juices” by http://www.carrotsncake.com

Sneaky Sources – Easy Ways to add more Produce to the Foods You Eat Every Day

Smoothies/Juices: Spinach and Kale may turn your smoothie green, but you can’t taste them a bit! Use ½ a frozen banana to add a creamy texture to your smoothies. If you’re watching your sugar intake use berries. There are only 8g of sugar per cup!

Soups: The possibilities here are endless. Use vegetable stock/broth/juice as a base or add shredded carrots, cabbage, peas, tomatoes, or steamed green to add flavor and bulk to your soup.

Pasta Sauce: In addition to your traditional tomato sauce base, use any combination of chopped mushrooms, eggplant, onions, peppers, squash, and carrots. This versatile sauce can then be used in a variety of creative ways to add both flavor, as well as a serving of vegetables to your day. Spoon it over noodles, mix it into lasagna, start it as a soup base, spread it over pizza crust, or use it as a dipping sauce.

Burgers: Mushrooms, spinach, onion, and any vegetable you can shred can easily be mixed with ground turke/chicken/beef. They will add volume to your burger for less calories.

Fruit Salsa/Vegetable Salsa: again the possibilities are endless! Check out www.howsweeteats.com for some amazing easy fruit salsa creations

Omelets: Add peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms or onions to your eggs for a delicious omelet, or pile the whole scramble on your favorite bread, tortilla, or bagel for a booster breakfast sandwich.

Baked Goods/ Snack Bars: It is no surprise adding berries or apples to a bread or muffin dish, but use apple sauce or an overly ripe banana in place of oil, or shredded carrots, zucchini, sweet potato, or canned pumpkin to enhance

Dessert: Freeze sliced bananas to blend into a banana “froyo” or dip them in chocolate and then freeze for later. Place the filling of your favorite fruit (or pumpkin, or berries) pie recipe in individual ramekins. Bake until set and enjoy a serving of warm, satisfying fruit pie without the rich crust. Or try avocado mousse (http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-11379/the-best-vegan-chocolate-mousse-youll-ever-put-in-your-mouth.html )

 

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Carbohydrate Replacements:

Spaghetti Squash – noodles (Pasta, Thai Dishes, Seafood)

Zucchini “Zoodles” – noodles (Pasta, Lasagna, Thai dishes, Seafood, Raw)

Carrots/Zucchini/Cucumber/Sweet Peppers/Apple/Pear/Beans/ Sweet or Flat Peas (still in pod) – instead of crackers/chips dip into Hummus, Nut/Seed Butters, Salad Dressing, Greek Yogurt+Ranch Spices, Greek Yogurt+ Peanut Butter+ Cinnamon Dip

Butter Lettuce, Cabbage Leaves – Bread

Cauliflower- Pizza crust, “Rice”

Money Saving Produce Tricks:

  • Farmers Markets – Use http://www.localharvest.org/ to find different Farmers Markets or CSAs near you!
  • Sign up for Whole Foods Newsletter (email) or Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer – they list their deals of the week/weekend ahead of time so you can meal plan around what is on sale.
  • Purchase What’s in Season. Buying seasonal produce is cheaper and typically healthier, since it requires less pesticides and maintenance to preserve marketing appearance. (Just be sure to check where the fruit/veggie is from- the closer the state the less time it has sat in the back of a truck – or worse on a ship!)
  • Buy the fruit for your smoothies already frozen – frozen berries are significantly cheaper than fresh ones. You can also put frozen berries into baked goods or in your morning yogurt the night before and wake up to a delicious fruit infused yogurt!
  • Short on time and want whole foods salad bar, but not pay the price? Check out the pre mixed salads/roasted veggies/salsas under the display case for their 4 for $4 deal! That’s 4 different salad samples for only $4.00!
  • Cut your Own – sure it may take 5 extra minutes to cut your own pineapple, carrot sticks, or sweet potato slices but you will literally save hundreds of dollars over time buy simply carving out one day of the week to chop all of your produce up.
  • Pick Your Own – find a local farm to pick your own fruits or vegetables
  • Forgo the Pressed Juice and Just Eat the Whole Fruit- You will save about $4.00 or more buy just buying a single piece of fruit. Added bonus: youll most likely be more full from digesting all the fiber you miss out on with juice!
This is a fantastic resource to find what is in season and how to cook it! http://eatseasonably.co.uk/

This is a fantastic resource to find what is in season and how to cook it! http://eatseasonably.co.uk/

What’s In Season Now:

Fruit

Vegetables

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(http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_2qTSKlfRjVE/S00O_8b0jdI/AAAAAAAAC3s/HjsvmEHG8us/s1600-h/carrots-gonna-eat-ya.jpg)

Ways to Cook your Veggies:

  • Raw
  • Roasted – drizzle in a bit of olive/coconut oil and balsamic vinegar + sprinkle of garlic salt/
  • Steam-Sauté (Use a splash of water, stock, fresh juice, vinegar or coconut water for great results in place of oil in a deep pan)
  • Blanching
  • Grilling (marinate your vegetables and then grill them right on top or in foil packs for some serious flavor!)
  • Steaming

 

Cheers to more fruits and vegetables! Good luck and as always please let me know if you have any questions, advice or tricks for fellow participants!

http://www.builtlean.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/eat-more-vegetables-5.jpg

Plank it Up

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Today starts our Plank Challenge!

For the next 2 weeks we will work together to sculpt stronger cores, work on proper form, and build up lasting endurance. You can participate in the challenge in the studio, at home, or even in your hotel room!

Today’s Challenge: Hold a plank with proper form for 30 seconds. Ask an instructor if you need a demo of proper form.

What are the benefits of planks?

The plank is predominately a core exercise; however, being in proper plank form (hands underneath your shoulders, brace your core by sucking in your abdominals and rolling your shoulder blades back and down, keeping your body straight and not allowing your hips to rise up or sag, keeping your head aligned with your spine by looking at a spot on the floor about 6 inches above your hands) not only strengthens your abdominals but also your back, glutes, shoulders, chest, and quads. It is a total body toner that helps improve posture in just minutes! Building core strength is beneficial for daily activities such as picking up a toy on the ground, holding your child, mainlining good posture, and helps with general overall stability.

Upcoming Weekly Nutrition Challenges

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Most of us are aware that nutrition plays an equally significant role as exercise in both the internal and external healthiness of our body, but what we aren’t always sure about is how to start changing our eating habits and transform them into a lifestyle change.  Sometimes all you need is a little bit of education and a push of motivation and the support of those around you to turn unhealthy behaviors into nutritious thoughtful eating.

 

Over the next 9 weeks of the Body by Bar Challenge I will be hosting mini weekly nutrition challenges for all of us to work on and achieve together.  The challenge will be announced every Friday and will start the following Monday so you have all weekend to prepare! You can continue the challenge for the duration of the weeks left and just add the next challenge or take one week at a time. Find what works for you! Nutrition or the lack there of is mostly a MENTAL battle between what we think we want/need/crave/”deserve” and what our body is actually trying to tell us (ie. Thirst, vitamin deficiency, fiber deficiency, protein deficiency, lack of wholesome foods).

http://thehealthyhoneys.com/real-food/

What do I want from you?

I want you to let me know what your food battles are! I want these challenges to not be based solely off my struggles in the kitchen, but off what will help you or challenge you the most.  Is it sweets? Fast food? Snacking? Drinks? Feel free to comment both on what would help you and as we continue over these next 9 weeks when you need support, encouragement, or alternative food ideas!

 

Tomorrow!

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We are less than 24 hours away from the start of the challenge and already over 100 participants have signed up!

Will you be coming in tomorrow to earn your first attendance point?!

Mental Preparation

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The challenge starts in just 5 short days!So many of our failures in life occur not because we are not capable, but because we tell ourselves we can’t. Become what you want, by believing that you can, and in just 60 short day you will be able to say “I DID”.