Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Spaghetti Squash...Mmmmmm!!!

My new favorite snack!  Try this one...

Buy a large spaghetti squash that has a soft-firmness to it.  Cut in half and take out the center seeds and strings.  Place both halves face down on a cooking oil sprayed cookie sheet and bake for 45 minutes- 1 hour at 350 degrees. 

Let cool 10-15 minutes and then scoop all the squash out with spoon into bowl (squash will be stringy like spaghetti)

Serve in 1 cup portions with 1/4 cup of Ragu Light No Sugar Added Pasta Sauce and a pinch of 2% milk fat mozzarella - To die for!


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

My Love Affair with Cosco

I love Cosco - so many GREAT healthy options in bulk for you to make your healthy eating convenient and simple.

So many people tell me that everything at Cosco is unhealthy ....nay not so.  Maybe all of the things you currently buy or want at Cosco are unhealthy but there are so many great things to purchase on your weekly trips.

Let's start in the front of the store for example - supplements (vitamins, minerals, etc).  Cosco sells vitamins in large bottles for super inexpensive.  Two I would highly recommend are a multi and fish oil - you can get them for as little as $4.99 for a 90 day supply there. 

Protein powder and bars are another must have that Cosco sells for very inexpensive and in mass quantity.  Try to look for protein bars that are less than 200 calories and 6 grams of fat (unless you are a gainer).  I am very picky when it comes to protein powders but Cosco carries EAS which is a decently good brand.  They carry large bags of chocolate and vanilla for $30 and these bags last me at least 2 months.

Dry rice section - my favorite Cosco item ever!  Pre-Cooked Organic Brown Rice Bowls.  There are 2 servings in one so I simply take half out of the bowl when packing my lunch and put into a container with whatever protein and veggie I decide to have with the rice.  There are two ingredients in this rice: organic brown rice and water!

Refrigerated Produce section:  HEAVEN!  3 lb crates of the biggest strawberries I've ever seen for $3.99, 2 lbs of raspberries for $5.99, 1 bunch of bananas for $1.99, 1lb boxes of organic field greens for $3.99, miniature cucumbers for $2.99....I could go on and on!  Stock up!

Poultry/Meat/Cheese/Refrigerated Section:  First of all...Cosco has the largest bags of organic all white meat chicken breast I've ever seen.  There are literally 12 breasts in the bag for $14 or less!  The rotisserie chickens are gluten free and organic and are $4.99 and delicious!  Make sure to grab the individual Tribe Hummus that comes in packs of 12 that you can pair with baby cucumbers for a great snack!  Try to stay away from processed packaged foods and always check the sodium content .....too much sodium = excess water weight and not heart friendly.  On the back side of the cheese isle is all kinds of all natural salsas - I LOVE Jack's Mango Salsa.  The ingredients are literally veggies, fruit, sea salt and can you say no to that?!  Put the chicken breast in a crockpot covered with a cup of mango salsa and a 1/2 cup of water on low for 4-6 hours for a great healthy chicken dish to serve over your brown rice!

Frozen Food/Dairy Isles:  Biby Foods Organic Green beans in a 5lb bag for only $5.99!  I take about a cup of green beans and put in a container with my brown rice and cooked chicken and cover with salsa.  Heat up for 2 minutes and you have a delicious healthy lunch!  Also in this isle are boxes of individual bags of edamame for $8.99 - all you do is heat them for 2 minutes!  Check out the crates of 24 all natural eggs for $2.00 and organic skim milk and almond milk that come with 2 in one package for less than $5.

Back behind the frozen food are the beverages - check out the 14-packs of Vitamin Water Zeros for a great alternative to soda.  Vitamin Water Zeros have zero calories and zero sugar and are sweetened with all natural stevia.

On your way to the check out lines, look at the all natural dry roasted almonds at the front near the registers.  They come in large canisters.  Just remember to portion them out so you don't over-eat these good-fat bearing nuts.  Also look for the bags of organic dried apple chips for a great crunchy snack - ingredients: dried apples.

Now there's a productive shopping trip for healthy eating!

**  Remember it's easy to go astray on shopping trips and fill your cart with things that sound good but aren't so good for the belly.  Stay away from processed, packaged foods....even if the calories look ok.  Most processed/packaged foods have wayyyy to much sodium, fat, saturated fats and other additives that our bodies don't need.  Stick to the wholesome stuff and your body will thank you for it!

Monday, October 18, 2010


You've heard it before, and I will say it again...only this time louder - LOG YOUR FOOD!  Most times my clients and myself included when I first started logging food, are surprised at what they see.  Either they are not getting enough calories, getting way too many, have too much fat, not enough fat, etc.  All of these things are important!

If you are trying to lose weight, you do not want your calories to go below 1,000 (although I tell my clients 1,200 because 1,000 is WAY too low and you will not have enough energy to perform a workout on that small of caloric intake).  Your body will go into starvation mode if you are eating too little. 

Websites like 24 Hour Fitness' that work in tandem with the bodybugg and other websites like are excellent food logging resources.  They walk you through step by step to calculate your weight, activity level, age and how many calories you should be taking in a day in order to lose.  They also show you your percentages of where all your calories are coming from.  This is VERY important.  Calories for weight loss should be something like 60% carbs, 20%protein and 20% fat or 65%carbs, 20%protein and 15%fat.  Even if you are eating your daily allotted caloric intake but your fat is 50% of your calories, you will not reach your goal.  Everything works together.

Here is a great tool to calculate how many calories your body needs per day in order to maintain your current weight:


655 + (4.3 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) - (4.7 x age in years)
66 + (6.3 x weight in pounds) + (12.9 x height in inches) - (6.8 x age in years)
Please note that this formula applies only to adults.

Calculate Activity

Step two: In order to incorporate activity into your daily caloric needs, do the following calculation:

  • If you are sedentary : BMR x 20 percent
  • If you are lightly active: BMR x 30 percent
  • If you are moderately active (You exercise most days a week.): BMR x 40 percent
  • If you are very active (You exercise intensely on a daily basis or for prolonged periods.): BMR x 50 percent
  • If you are extra active (You do hard labor or are in athletic training.): BMR x 60 percent
Add this number to your BMR.
The result of this formula will be the number of calories you can eat every day and maintain your current weight.

In order to lose weight, you'll need to take in fewer calories than this result - in other words create a deficit.  If you want to lose 2 lbs per week, each day you must create a deficit based off what your body is taking in.  One pound =3500 calories.  If your BMR allows for 1500 calories to maintain your current weight, for example, then you need to burn 2,000 total calories per day in order to lose 1 lb per week (500x7=3500.)  You can do this by a combination or calorie cutting and excersize or just excersize to create the deficit. 

For example:  If you wanted to lose 2lbs per week and your BMR allows for 1500 calories to maintain your current weight, you could cut 200 calories from your diet (intake 1300) and burn 2300 total in a day.  How can you tell how many calories you burn?  Invest in a bodybugg!  (Ask me how).  They are the smartest calorie burn tracking device on the market and was my number 1 tool when I was losing weight.  I simply wear my bodybugg all day, plug it in to my computer at the end of the night and upload my calories burned, enter my food and the system shows me my deficit.  It is SO SIMPLE! 

It's all just math :-)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Fall Favorites

Ok here's a new one I LOVE - I conjured it up this weekend when I saw maple whipped mashed sweet potatoes at Whole Foods.  This is a great side dish for dinners or with lunches.  I took it today to work as a side with my salmon and spinach salad:

Baked Sweet Potato Wedges with Maple Glaze

-  4 large sweet potatoes peeled
-  1/4 cup of sugar free maple syrup (I like Nature's Flavors brand at Whole Foods or Vitamin Cottage - it is made with all natural Stevia and not chemical engineered sweeteners)
-  Stevia to sprinkle

Cut potatoes in half lengthwise and cut into small wedges.  Put in large mixing bowl and pour maple syrup on top - stir until well covered. 

Arrange wedges on large cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and sprinkle with Stevia.  Place into oven on high Broil for 5 minutes checking continuously to make sure they are not burning.  (I turn mine after 3 minutes).  This makes them nice and crispy!

Makes 8-10 servings:

(per serving):  76 calories, 0.2 grams of fat, 18.8 grams of carbs (these are COMPLEX carbs which are good carbs your body needs for fuel!), 1.1 grams of protein


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Excuses Excuses!

"I just don't have time to eat healthy"
"It's easier for me to just eat out"
"I don't want to eat cardboard"
"Healthy food doesn't taste the same"
Sound familiar?

If you want to eat healthy, are trying to shed weight, lower cholesterol....whatever your health and fitness goal....this mentality will NOT work. 

Case in, after a long trip, my boyfriend and I decided to stop at the nearest restaurant and get something quick.  I fired up my iphone to check nutritional info and ...WHAT?!  A grilled chicken dish has 55 grams of fat???  Yup - that's the norm when you eat out.  Grilled, baked - doesn't matter.  Restaurants cook with butter and lard and add fats for flavor.  You simply cannot make eating out a regular habit if you wish to eat healthier.

So what is the secret?  PREPARATION!  But guess what?  It doesn't take that long to make meals for the day!  I pack my lunch, AM and PM snacks and dinner each day and always eat breakfast at home in the morning.  Yes there are days where eating out is necessary but those are reserved for special occasions and 'treat meals'.  Packing your food is KEY if you want to eat better and lose weight (and even gain healthily). 

What if I told you, you could prep ALL your meals on Sunday for an entire week?  That there are actually healthy things pre-packaged to make your life easier?  That you can literally spend no more than 5 minutes packing your lunch at night, have 3 meals and 2 snacks for under 1600 calories and never be hungry during the day....because you CAN.  And I know this because I did it.  And the best part?  IT WORKS!

So this first post doesn't become a novel - try this list next time you go to the grocery store:
- Old Fashioned Oats
- Skim Milk
- Berries
- Frozen Green Beans individually packaged (if you live in Denver - get the King Soopers 'Private Selection' brand in the frozen veggie isle)
- organic salsa (I LOVE Newman's Own black bean and corn organic salsa - veggies taste SO good with some on top)
-Organic pre-cooked brown rice bowls (Cosco in the dry rice isle)
- rotisserie chicken
- luna bars
- pears/apples
- natural almond or peanut butter
- fresh asparagus
- raw chicken breast

On Sunday: Put the chicken breast in a crockpot and cover with 1/2 cup salsa and 1/2 cup water and cook on low 4 hours.  Steam asparagus in the microwave with lemon juice and black pepper and store in container in fridge (Thats IT)

Pack a lunchbox with an apple sliced and 1 TBS peanut butter, a luna bar and a pear (these are your two snacks), fill a container with 3 oz (fist size) all white meat rotisserie chicken and 1/2 the organic brown rice bowl and cover with lid - also your frozen green bean package and some salsa in a small container (this is your lunch), fill another container with 3-4oz of chicken/salsa crockpot and steamed asparagus. 

Make your oatmeal in the morning (1/2 cup dry covered in water and microwaved for 2 mins, top with 1/4 cup skim milk, berries and some stevia)

VIOLA!  1560 calories, less than 25 grams of fat, 110 grams of protein and you have yourself a days worth of meals in 5 minutes.

Now.....Was that DIFFICULT?  Did that take too long?  Doesn't everything taste pretty dang good?

Thought so.