3 Clean Eating Breakfast Ideas

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Breakfast is one the most important meals of the day, mainly because it provides your body with the first dose of nutrition (or lack thereof) to start the day. Unfortunately, most people either skip breakfast all together or choose less than optimal foods that are high in sugar and fats, leaving them feeling exhausted and out of energy by mid morning. This is where the spiral of bad choices continues, when are energy is low mid morning, we opt for more cups of coffee (typically loaded with dairy and sugar) or grab something quick like a muffin or pastry (again more fat and sugar). This back of forth of sugar kick to sugar low, puts the body in a very fragile state.

However, when we start our day with a nutrient dense breakfast that has a mix of complex carbs, fiber, healthy fats, and protein, our body has the right kind of fuel to help us have the energy we need to take on the day.  Our desire and need for sugar and caffeine subside, because we have natural energy and I’ve found that most people make better food choices for the rest of the day.

When I am not drinking my daily Shakeology, which is a superfood meal replacement shake that is perfect dose of dense nutrition that tastes like a dessert, I am aim to eat one of these breakfasts:

  • Eggs and Whole Grain Toast: Eggs are a great source of protein and the whole grain toast is a great source of fiber and complex carbs.  This helps to balance blood sugar and keep you feeling fuller longer in the morning.  When it comes to the type of eggs, I like egg white scrambles with veggies or mini egg muffins with turkey bacon or even poached eggs to accompany my toast.  If I want to make breakfast a bit more indulgent, I’ll add avocado to my toast, which provides a nice dose of healthy fats which the body needs to function and helps with weight loss, or I’ll add some 100% fruit preserves or honey for a touch of healthy sweetness. Here’s a simple recipe for mini egg muffins. 
  • Oatmeal and Fruit: Oatmeal is a perfect breakfast because it really does help you to feel full, thanks to the fiber and complex carbs that take longer for the body to digest and give you sustained energy. Depending on how I’m feeling I’ll go for traditional hot oatmeal made with almond milk with a few dashes of cinnamon and nutmeg.  I may even add a tablespoon of almond or peanut butter for added healthy fats. Sometimes, I opt for the cold version – Overnight Oats – which are a perfect meal prep breakfast that you can make days in advance and just grab and go.  See my favorite recipe here. 
  • Green/Superfood Smoothies: As I mentioned, I typically drink Shakeology every single morning to start my day, as I like knowing that I’m getting a big chunk of my nutrients, vitamins and minerals into my body first thing.  Another option, would be to make a Green Smoothie. The biggest mistake people make with their “Green Smoothies” is that they are packed with more fruit and sugar, than their greens. They add sugar packed yogurts, super sweet fruit juices and tons of fruit, which can cause you to max out on your daily amount of sugars and carbs in one sitting.  Instead, focus on using 2 cups of greens to 1 cup of fruit, use coconut water instead of juice or unsweetened vanilla almond milk instead of yogurt, and add a tablespoon of healthy fats, like nuts, seeds, almond butter, coconut oil, or an avocado, to help you feel fuller longer. See my post on how to make the Perfect Green Smoothie. 

 

The key is simple. One – make sure that you eat breakfast. Two – make sure that your breakfast is one that will fuel you and set you up to have a successful, energized and productive day.

5 Steps to Making a Perfect Green Smoothie

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When I’m not drinking my daily dose of nutrition with Shakeology, I also like to incorporate Green Smoothies into my day as a way to ensure that I get more greens into my diet.   These smoothies are a great way to incorporate more nutrition into your diet in a tasty way. Most people, however, make one crucial mistake when they make their smoothie – they add way too much fruit (which means way too much sugar) and they don’t add a healthy fat.
 
Here is what I would recommend for making a Green Smoothie that is filling, tasty, and has a good balance of nutrition.
  1. Add 2 cups of leafy greens into a blender. I like using Kale, but if it is too bitter, you can use spinach.
  2. Add 2 cups of liquid to the blender with the leafy greens. I like using coconut water or unsweetened almond milk.
  3. Blend the leafy greens and liquid until they are purified…THEN ADD YOUR FRUIT & HEALTHY FATS to the blender.
  4. Add 1-2 cups of fruit to the blender – I am a fan of adding a banana and a cup of frozen berries.
  5. Add a Tablespoon of Coconut Oil or Nut Butter or even a 1/4 of an avocado to the blender and mix it all up!
Bonus: I like to add in ginger, herbs, spices, nuts, or oats to my smoothies to add more oomph and create a more power packed or satisfying smoothie.
 
The benefit of adding the healthy fats to the smoothie is that it provides some satiety, making you feel fuller longer, plus healthy fats help with fat loss. Also, by limiting the servings of fruit to two, it keeps your blood sugar balanced, especially when you combine the healthy fats.
 
The beauty of blending the greens and liquids first, makes sure that there are no clumps and that the greens are blended perfectly.
 
Hopefully, this helps you with creating the best green smoothie you can make! 

Fall Harvest Crockpot Chili 

Fall is officially here and I am thrilled about it! It’s my favorite season mainly because most of my favorite foods are fall staples!

Last week, I made Mashed Sweet Potatoes in the crockpot and had A little bit extra so I decided why not throw the rest into my Crockpot Chili?!?

I must say I was pleasantly surprised by how it came out. It was filling and delicious. I also added some green peas for an extra dose of protein and Zuchinni, which along with the peas, adds some extra immunity boosting phytonutrients.

Here is the recipe below:

  • 1 pound of Ground Turkey
  • 8 ounces of Fresh Salsa
  • 8 ounces of Fresh Pico De Gallo
  • 8 Ounces of Green Peas
  • 8 ounces of Frozen Corn
  • 8 ounces of Frozen Bell Peppers & Onions Mix (or 1/2 cup of each fresh)
  • 1 Zuchinni, Chopped
  • 1 can of black beans, rinsed
  • 1 can of kidney beans, rinsed
  • 2 teaspoons of Taco Seasoning
  • 8 ounces of Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Throw it all in the crockpot and and let it cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours.

I served mine with Green Chili Cornbread. (Hint: Add 2 tablespoons of Green Chili Salsa to cornered mix and enjoy the sweet heat!)

Shrimp & Mango Skewers with Blackberry Sauce 

Every month my friends and I have a themed dinner night. We draw two cards out of a bag full of different themes and this month was Seafood and Your Favorite Color. My favorite color is purple, so here is this recipe. 

Spicy Shrimp & Mango Skewers with Blackberry Glaze 

1 pound of Shrimp, deveined & raw

1 Mango, diced 

3 Tablespoons of seedless blackberry jam 

4 Tablespoons of soy sauce 

4 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 Tbsp of Sriracha 

Old Bay Seasoning 


1. Alternate Shrimp and Mango on a soaked skewer and lay on a cookie sheet. Pat the skewers dry. 

2. Season skewers with Old Bay Seasoning 

3. In a bowl, combine blackberry jam, soy sauce, garlic and Sriracha into a bowl and brush on skewers on both slides. Save any left over sauce and place in a saucepan. 


4. Broil skewers on high for 4-5 minutes on each side. 

5. While the skewers are cooking, reduce the remaining sauce in a pan on medium heat until it thickens. 

6. Once skewers are done, drizzle the thickened sauce over the skewers and top with green onions and serve with orange slices. 

7. Squeeze orange slices over the skewers and enjoy! 

I saved the leftovers and combined with brown rice for a tasty and healthy lunch. 

How to eat healthy as a “Picky Eater” 

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I hear this all the time from clients, when we move on to talking about their diet and nutrition. And to be honest, I can’t relate, because I literally love all types of foods!  There is a very small list of foods that I don’t like to eat, which creates a completely different problem. (We will get into that in another blog post! LOL)

When I start working with a “picky eater”, my focus with them is to help them change their mindset and find solutions that will help them stay on track. Nutrition is a huge part of the transformation process and you can’t out exercise a bad diet. So, you have to get this under control if you want to get lasting results.

1.Focus on the foods that you like: I think that a lot of people get so caught up on what “healthy eating” is, and they believe that in order to be healthy they have to stick to a strict list of foods that are acceptable. I once had a client say that she couldn’t eat healthy, because she didn’t like spinach. In her mind, if she couldn’t eat what her friends were eating on their diet, it was pointless for her to even start.  So I asked her, “What foods do you like?” From there we came up with a list of foods that she does like and started to focus on creating a meal plan that included those things. So, if you don’t like kale, don’t eat kale, there are many other healthy vegetables that you can eat to stay on track. 🙂

2. Experiment with new recipes and new preparation techniques. It’s 2016, which means there is an unlimited amount of resources available to find recipes. Once you have an idea of what foods you do like, go to Google or Pinterest and type if “[FOOD YOU LIKE] Healthy Recipes” and voila! You will have a list of options that you can start to work into your daily routine. Also, try new preparation techniques, like using a Crock Pot or trying grilling your chicken instead of baking it.

3. Expand your horizons: Once you have a hang of trying new things with the foods that you like, take a step further and start to add new foods into the mix.  I don’t mean a huge overhaul, but maybe trying one new vegetable, or grain, or new way to prepare your meal.  This is one of the best ways to keep things from getting boring or stale, unless you like that (some people do like eating the same thing, because it helps to keep them on track and relieves some stress).

At the end of the day, just because you are a “picky eater”, it doesn’t mean that you are doomed when it comes to getting a handle on your nutrition.  Try these 3 tips and give it a shot!

If you are looking for a way to get a better handle on Clean Eating, check out my free Clean Eating Guide, which includes a sample meal play and grocery list that you can check out.  Click here to download the guide. 

Mini Meatloaf Muffins 


Mini Meatloaf Muffins are a perfect way to meal prep and watch your portions.  I make the meatloaf mixture then portion then off into 12 balls and bake in a muffin tin. The great thing about them is that they also freeze well! 

Here is the recipe: 

  • 2 Pounds of Ground Turkey, Beef, or other lean meat
  • One bell pepper, chopped
  • One small onion, chopped
  • 10 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • One cup of rolled oats
  • 21 seasoning salute
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. Combine all ingredients and form into 12 balls. 
  2. Place each ball into a section of a muffin tin. 
  3. Bake on 400 degrees for 30 minutes. 

Top with low sugar ketchup or tomato sauce and enjoy with a side of veggies. I typically eat 2 muffins per serving. 

Sweet & Savory Post Workout Parfaits

Many people ask me about what to eat after a good workout and yes, protein is important, but many of the protein shakes on the market are not the cleanest of healthiest for you.  Here is an option, that I have fallen in love with and it’s a perfect recipe that you can meal prep a few in advance for a nice grab and go snack, that’s as filling as it is fancy!

I typically use plain greek yogurt for my parfaits, but I wanted to try something a little different, especially since my basil plant, Peter (yes, I named him), was started to wilt so I wanted to make use of the basil I had on hand.  So, I figured I’d swap out the yogurt for cottage cheese, which I have never been a real fan of, until now, and figured that strawberries would be a nice pair with the lemony basil.   For added sweetness and depth of flavor, balsamic vinegar and honey round out this recipe.

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  • 1/2 Cup of Cottage Cheese
  • 1/4 Cup of Diced Strawberries
  • 1 Tablespoon of Fresh Basil, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon of Balsamic Vinegar 
  • 1 Drizzle of Honey
  1. Place cottage cheese at the bottom of a bowl or a mason jar.
  2. In a small bowl, combine Strawberries, Basil and Balsamic together and add to cottage cheese. 
  3. Drizzle with honey and enjoy!

For more of my recipes, I now have a Clean Eating Instagram account – www.Instagram.com/iCookClean. Follow for more recipes and meal prep ideas!

Happy & Healthy Cinco De Mayo

It just hit me that today is Cinco De Mayo, mainly because many of my Friday clients have asked to train later in the day to recover from tonight’s festivities. I wanted to share some of the tips that I shared with them and some recipes that I found that can be a great alternative to still celebrate!

This week I made Creamy Stuffed Bell Peppers and they came out delicious (see photo below), so I figured that you could do the same thing and make Bell Pepper Stuffed Tacos. Just skip the tortilla and use a bell pepper. Genius, right?!

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Also, for my Margarita loving friends, your best bet is to aim for a Skinny Version where you keep it simple with Platinum Tequila, Lime Juice & Agave Syrup. Feel free to add fresh fruit puree or a slice of jalapeno for extra punch!

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Lastly, remember one meal won’t ruin your progress, so tomorrow will be a brand new day and you can get right back on track.  I still have 3 spots left in my Make It Happen in May Fitness Challenge, if you want more info just respond to this email and we can chat more about it!

**Click the highlighted links to get the recipes. :)**

DIY: Fruit-at-the-Bottom Yogurt

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I remember growing up and seeing all of the commercials of women in active gear eating “Light” and “Fat Free” yogurt, claiming it was a big part of their “diet” and plan to lose weight.  In my teens, I started to follow suit and eat all types of yogurts that were artificially sweetened and flavored to taste like pies, cakes, and chocolate mousses, with the same hopes of being skinny and thin.  Unfortunately, those yogurts tend to be full of tons of preservatives, chemicals, and other additives that aren’t the best for the body and truth be told, do not provide much nutritional value to help create a healthy body.

Now, I love making my own yogurt cups for an easy grab and go breakfast, snack or dessert.  I add this to my weekly Meal Prep time and because it’s so simple, you can mix it up and never get bored.

Here’s my basic recipe:

  1. Choose your fruit(s) of choice.  I like using fresh berries, but also frozen fruits work well, because as they thaw out, they release juices that provide more flavor.
  2. Sweeten with a 1/2 teaspoon of pure maple syrup, agave nectar or honey.
  3. Top with Plain Greek Yogurt (you can add a 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract or vanilla beans if you want more flavor.  Another option is to mix in your favorite Vanilla Protein powder, sometimes I use Shakeology to give it a nutritional boost and make it more of a meal)
  4. I like to use a Mason Jar because it easy to fill, easy to store and easy to clean. Plus it looks cool 🙂
  5. Store in the fridge for up to 2-3 days, especially if you are using fresh fruit.

Here are some of my favorite ideas for flavors

  • Fresh Strawberries with Orange Zest
  • Pineapples & Mangos
  • Frozen Peaches and Frozen Blueberries
  • Cinnamon Apples or Pears (Sauté an apple or a pear in one teaspoon of coconut oil and add cinnamon)
  • Frozen Mixed Berries

 

Toppings – You can also add some additional toppings for more flavor:

  • Nuts
  • Homemade Granola
  • Rolled Oats
  • Cinnamon or Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • Coconut Flakes
  • Flax or Chia Seeds
  • Pumpkin Seeds

The moral of the story is that the possibilities are endless and it’s a great way to save calories, save money and save yourself from eating yogurts filled with artificial flavors, sweeteners and chemicals.  Your body will thank you!

Holiday Recovery Tea

 
The holidays are a time of family, friends, festivities and food. Along with that can come stress, colds, and the body needing some serious TLC. Here’s a simple drink that is perfect to drink first thing in the morning, after a big meal, or before going to bed.   

I call it Holiday Recovery Tea, because it is packed with detoxifying, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bloating ingredients that will boost your immune system and soothe your body.  

Here is the recipe: 

  • 1/2 of a lemon, sliced 
  • 1 teaspoon of raw honey 
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon 
  • 1/2 teaspoon of tumeric 
  • 1 marble size knot of ginger
  • 2 dashes of cayenne pepper 

 

  1. Heat water in a kettle. 
  2. Combine honey, cinnamon, tumeric, and cayenne pepper into a teacup with a spoon.
  3. Add ginger and lemon to the honey and spice mixture. 
  4. Once the water is hot, pour on top of the mixture and let steep for 3-4 minutes. 
  5. Enjoy. Once, you’ve finished, you can add more hot water to keep enjoying.