Category Archives: healthy tips

Mini Burrito Cups

These mini burrito cups are another staple in my monthly eating regimen. They hit on all the main points that I need in food for it to become a “regular” menu option (can be eaten cold, is quick to make, is packed with protein, easily consumed with hands only…) AND they are super delicious. I’m confident you are gonna love this recipe, so lets get it cracken!

mini-burrito-cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound lean ground turkey (or lean ground beef)
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 15 oz black beans, drained
  • 2 cans 14.5 oz fire-roasted tomatoes (drain liquid from one can)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp red-wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp agave nectar
  • 24 3-inch wonton skin
  • package of ultra thin colby jack cheese (OPTIONAL)

Directions: 

Preheat your oven to 350. When the oven is preheating, brown your turkey in a skillet on medium heat, making sure to either cook off all your fat or drain it.
After turkey has been cooked sufficiently, add in corn, beans, roasted tomatoes, spices, vinegar, and the agave nectar. Cook for 15 minutes.
Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray or wipe down with non-stick oil. Lay 2 wonton skins in each cup. If you are trying to keep it even more low cal, only use one skin, but keep in mind cups swill be a lot more fragile… still delicious though!
Spoon turkey filling into cups and top with cheese (optional). Bake for 12 minutes.
Remove cups from oven and garnish with your favorite burrito toppings. We love lettuce, cherry tomatoes, avocado and salsa.

Turkey Burgers

In a perfect world you’d have all of your meals prepared for you and you only. You wouldn’t need to worry about what your kids or spouse was eating because everything would fit perfect with your dietary needs and tastes.

I’m not able to set you up with beach front property in the afore mentioned perfect world, but I AM able to give you an amazingly easy and delicious turkey burger recipe that scales easily to your own healthy diet and will be something your kids will enjoy too.

turkey-lettuce-wrap

Note – the recipe below is ONLY for the turkey patties, find some starting ideas on how to prepare your turkey burgers below in the TIPS section

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds lean ground turkey
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs (unseasoned)
  • 1/4 cup onion (diced, the smaller the dice the better)
  • 2 eggs (you can do only whites if you want to lean the recipe out even more)
  • 1 glove garlic (minced or finely diced – stick with actual garlic, no powder)
  • 1 tbsp parsley
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper to taste (I normally do about 30ish cracks from the pepper mill)
  • ***optional (lettuce for wraps/low calorie buns, see TIPS below)

Directions:

Grab a large bowl and toss in your ground turkey, eggs, onion, bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly. On the subject of mixing, get in there and use your hands, that’s what they are made for! They’ll mix WAY better than a spoon or spatula.

Form your turkey mix into patties. I normally do 15 or 16 patties, but you can make your burgers as big or small as you like.

In a medium or large sized skillet over medium heat, arrange your patties. You’ll want to flip them half way through cooking. If you are using a meat thermometer, you’re shooting for an internal temperature of 180F or hotter.

Tips:

I normally eat my turkey burgers on a lettuce wrap. You’ll want to get a large head of lettuce, tear a leaf off and then wrap your turkey patty inside with whatever toppings you like. It’s delicious, low in calories and carbs, and will make eating your turkey burger about a million times easier.

For your spouses or kids who may not be eating QUITE as healthy as you, toss them onto a bun and put their favorite condiments on and I bet they’ll love em.

Give it a try and enjoy!

 

Healthy Vegetable Beef Soup

Soups. Man, I love them soups. Super easy to make. Super easy to portion out for the week on your meal prep day. Toasty and warm during all of the (many) cold winter months in the midwest. Overall, soups man, they are pretty great. And this vegetable beef soup is one of my favorites.

vegetable-beef-soup

Ingredients: 

  • 1.25 pound ground beef (you can use ground turkey, but this is one of the recipes where I prefer a nice lean ground beef)
  • 1 medium-large sized yellow onion
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 5 carrots
  • 1 15oz can whole kernel corn drained
  • 1 can beef broth (low sodium stuff is what I use)
  • 2 cups frozen green beans
  • 1 46 oz bottle of v8 (use the low sodium, low calorie stuff)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • salt
  • pepper

Directions:

Grab a large soup pot. On medium heat toss in the ground beef and break it apart. While the ground beef is cooking, chop up your onion and celery. Toss those into the pot to start them sauteing.

While all of that is cooking, cut up your carrots and sweet potatoes. By now your meat should be cooked and your onions translucent. Add in your carrots, sweet potatoes, drained corn, and frozen green beans. Next add all of the liquids and your garlic powder. It’s going to smell A LOT like the V8, but don’t worry, that is going to cook off nicely.

Cover your soup and bring up to a boil for 30 mins. When you hit the 30 minute mark, bring the soup down to a simmer and leave covered to cook for around 4 hours. Remember, the longer you cook the soup, the better it’s gonna taste.

After cooking salt and pepper to taste. I normally do about 20 “cracks” on my pepper mill and around a tablespoon of salt.

Also soup is always better the second day, that’s just the way stuff is. Science and all that.

Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Beef Stew

Eating healthy shouldn’t be a terrible, robotic, soulless ritual done only to nourish and replenish your body. The idea of getting thru a long day knowing that you have something already made that is warm and tasty, AND reminds you of home ready to be nom’d up is a great feeling.

Enter my healthy sweet potato beef stew.

stew-pic-blog2

This recipe is super simple to make. You basically brown up some meat in a big pot, dice some veggies, throw it all into the same pot you did the meat in, add a few spices, and in a few hours you have a delicious, comforting stew.

It’s super healthy to eat as is and if you need to add even more carbs (say for a picky spouse or particular tween), throwing it over a bed of rice or noodles is a perfect mix.

Ingredients: 

  • 1.5 lb. boneless stew meat
  •  ¼ cup all purpose whole wheat flour
  •  2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 4 cloves garlic (use real garlic, not powder!)
  • 3 oz tomato paste
  • 3 cups low sodium beef broth
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  •  ½ lb. carrots
  • 1 lb. sweet potatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 Tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • pepper to taste

Directions:

Cut your meat into small bite size pieces. In a medium bowl combine your beef bites and your flour, throughly covering all of the meat.

In a large pot, add your olive oil and bring up to medium heat. Add your flour covered beef pieces in small batches, leaving space between pieces. I normally do two or three small batches, as one big batch just makes a soppy wet mess. You want to brown the outside of the meat, but not fully cook it. I generally try not to mess with the meat too much as it will knock the coating off.

After you have browned all your meat and removed it from the pot, add your chopped onion and chopped garlic (don’t worry about cleaning the pot, we want the brown bits!). Saute the veg for a couple of minutes or until translucent.

Add the beef broth, tomato paste, as well as the frozen peas and corn to the pot. Using your your spoon scrape the delicious browned bits off bottom of the pot while stirring. When the bottom of the pot is nice and smooth, add the chopped carrots and chopped sweet potatoes.

Next re-add your meat, bay leaf, thyme, rosemary and your splash of Worcestershire sauce. Add a few cranks with your pepper mill, don’t go too crazy, remember you can always add more later.

Cover the pot and bring it up to a boil. After you see it boiling, lower the heat down to a simmer and keep covered for approximately 1:30. Make sure that it simmers the entire time.

I normally check around the 1:15ish mark to see how tender the veggies are. If they are still hard it will need to cook longer.

Serve over a bed of brown rice if desired, though I normally eat my straight out of the pot. Enjoy!

 

 

Crock Pot Ginger Apple Pulled Pork

Pulled pork. Pork that is pulled apart (by hand – caveman style!) and slathered in sauce. Super easy to make when it’s unhealthy and loaded with sugar…  but I’ve never really found a recipe that both made my mouth water AND is good for you.

ginger-apple-pork

Until now.

This recipe is a lot different from the normal bbq pulled pork sugar-bomb we normally have, but it’s amazingly tasty and with a different flavor profile,  it’s a nice change up from the same-ole same-ole “meat with red sauce” that can quickly become routine.

So drop your preconceived notions on combining ginger, apples, and pork and let’s give this a go!

Ingredients:

  • 2-2.25lb pork shoulder (I buy the cheapest hunk of meat they have normally)
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 apples (I prefer red apples, but anything you have on hand will work)
  • 1 cup beef broth (I use the low sodium stuff)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp ginger (buy fresh, it makes a difference!)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 2 medium garlic cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pepper to taste

Directions:

Core your apples and cut into small cubes. Slice up all of your onions. Make a bed along the bottom of the crock pot using roughly half your apples and onions. Put your meat in the crock pot. Add the rest of the onions and apples on and around your pork.

Grate your ginger and add it to the crock along with the rest of the ingredients. Make sure the meat is evenly covered by your spices.

Cover your crock pot, set to high, and let cook for 5-6 hours.

Everyone’s crock cooks a little differently, but cooking for around 5ish hours seems to do the trick. A perfect indicator of it being done or not is if you can easily shred the pork IN the crock pot using only one fork. The meat should be basically falling apart at this point. If you need to take it out to shred it, I’d let it cook for a while longer.

That’s all there is to it. Get out of your safe zone and give this sucker a try.

Turkey Vegetable Chili

vegetable turkey chili

A big ole pot. A pound of turkey. Some tomato, veggies and spices.

What does that all add up to?

The tastiest healthy chili you’ve just about ever had. The only thing that could make this recipe even better is if it was super easy. Like throw a bunch of stuff into a pot and a couple hours later have some delicious food to eat easy.

Luckily for you – it is. I’ve had a bunch of folks try this yummy chili at one of our 44 fitness post workout potlucks and the reviews were awesome, so I’m confident you and yours will enjoy it too.

The recipe below has no beans, but you could easily toss in a can of pinto beans if you need some additional carbs in your life.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pd ground turkey
  • 1 15 oz can diced tomato
  • 2 cup chicken broth
  • 8 baby carrots
  • 1 stick celery
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 green peppers
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 squash
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 bay leaf

start with 1/2 a tsp of the following spices if you like your chili milder, you can always add more later (I personally normally do a generous tsp to liven stuff up)

  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp cumin

chili in pot

Directions:

Throw your ground turkey into a large pot, break apart with a spatula until cooked. When that’s doing its thing start cutting up your veg. When the turkey is finished cooking, toss in your chopped celery and onions. Let the onions cook until they are translucent.

Add the rest of your chopped veggies, tomatoes, chicken broth, and spices to the pot. Bring everything up to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover the pot, and let simmer for one hour. The longer you cook it, the better it will taste, but an hour is the minimum. I normally start my chili around lunch time and let it simmer until dinner, checking the heat and stirring occasionally. Depending on how moist your veggies are, cooking for longer will allow you to get rid of some of the extra fluid and thicken everything up (as well as make it taste better).

Like noted above the 1tsp of the spicey-spices will make an above average spicy chili, so if you like your food a bit milder (or someone who is eating this does) start with half tsps of the last spices. Remember you can always taste it and add more heat if needed.

Give it a try and enjoy!

David’s Green Smoothie

Most days I’m up at the crack of dawn helping people get in the best shape of their lives. Do I love my job? Absolutely!

Do I want to sleep for the longest possible amount of time before getting up? Absolutely!

So I needed a healthy meal filled with all the good stuff to kick start my morning, prepared as quickly as possible,  to maximize the amount of time my head is resting on my pillows.

Enter weeks of tinkering in the lab (kitchen) until I settled on the recipe below for my delicious green smoothie.

smoothie_blended

Ingredients:

  • 1 handful spinach or kale
  • 1 banana or 3 large strawberries
  • 6 baby carrots or 1 whole “adult” sized carrot
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • ice (optional)

Directions:

Throw everything above into a blender, add some water, blend until you have a delicious green smoothie!

DONE.

That’s really all there is, but if you’d like some additional, tips keep reading.

I use a full size blender for my smoothie every morning and I’ve found that putting the fruit in first makes everything mix a lot easier. After I have everything added, I normally add enough water to cover about half the components. Depending on the size of your blender and how thick/thin you like your smoothie, you’ll need to experiment a bit. Adding ice can cool the entire smoothie off a bit (personal preference if you like it cold) as well as make the consistency more like a milkshake.

smoothie_preblend

As far as taste, this can be a strong smoothie for people not accustomed to veggies. If you are looking for ways to help get your taste buds used to it, I’d start with spinach first as it has a milder taste than kale. You can also do both a banana AND some strawberries to better mask the taste of veg. Keep in mind that even though it’s good sugar, the more fruit you use the more calories you are taking in, so be mindful of that. You can also try adding almond milk (unsweetened is a good place to start) if it’s still not sweet enough.

In my experience doing spinach with a banana AND a few frozen strawberries will bring around even the most devout vegetable hater.

Banana Egg Pancakes

What is the single food item I personally miss the most when I’m really knuckled down on my eating and want to stay as healthy and focused as possible?

PANCAKES.

banana_pancakes

What if I told you that you could make mouth wateringly delicious (and healthy) pancakes with zero guilt ONLY TWO MAIN INGREDIENTS?

You can!

This is seriously one of the most simple and delicious recipes I know, and with a little bit of care will become a favorite of your healthy AND not so healthy eaters.

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs (or 1.5ish eggs and 1.5ish whites)
  • 2 medium bananas
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 dash of vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch salt
  • Coconut oil or nonstick cooking spray (I use an organic olive oil spray)

Equipment:

  • skillet (non-stick works best)
  • spatula (the thinner the better, an old beat up spatula is gonna make your job harder)

Directions:

Throw your bananas, eggs and whites, and spices into a blender. Blend on high for about two minutes. You want the mix to be very well aerated and thoroughly blended up before you use it.

When everything is mixed, put some of your coconut oil on your skillet or griddle and set it to around 400 degrees (that’s high on my griddle and med/high on my stove top). Every cooking surface will be different, but you want each side to cook in roughly a minute.

Pour your cakes in a spiral shape, starting from the center into around 3/3.5 inch pancakes. No bigger! They are very fragile and anything bigger, at least in my experience get a bit unwieldy and will break when you try to flip them.

You want to cook each side for about a minute. Watch the bubbles. When you see the bubbles start to pop and stay popped (meaning the batter doesn’t fill the hole caused by the bubble back up) it’s time to flip! 

A nice quick flip with another minute on the other side and you’ll be good to go!

These pancakes will get darker than your normal flour based pancakes but that’s okay!

Top with agave nectar or fruit and you are good to go… or even light syrup if you are feeling extra decadent.

Serve ‘em up and enjoy!

Healthy Homemade Hamburger Helper (HHHH)

Comfort food is the best food. It can mean different things to different people, but when I think back to my childhood, I imagine eating delicious high sodium foods out of cardboard boxes. Mac n cheese, pizza rolls, rice-a-roni and hamburger helper, all things that I grew up with AND when the mood strikes me I still sneak a little cheat of today.

hhhh skillet

But… isn’t there always a but?

Sadly pretty much every comfort food that I grew up loving are terrible across the board: tons of preservatives and chemicals, carbs and calories. All around bad news for someone trying to lose weight and stay healthy.

Which is what started me on the path to making my Healthy Homemade Hamburger Helper (that quadruple H, dog!), I knew I wanted to have delicious hamburger helper lasagna goodness, but there was no way I was gonna eat the out of the box stuff anymore.

After a bunch of different variations I have settled on this and let me tell ya, it is absolutely amazing and one of my regular dinner and lunch go-tos. Meaty, tomato-y, Italian spicy goodness with only about a million less ingredients than the boxed stuff, seriously delicious!

Ingredients:

  • 1.25 lb ground turkey
  • 1.5 cup hot water (or 1 cup water, .5 cup skim milk)
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • “Sauce packet” (mix everything below in a small cup or bowl)
  • 1 tbsp. corn starch
  • 1 tbsp. mixed Italian herbs
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar (or stevia)
  • Optional – ½ cup mozzarella cheese (adds a lot to the flavor but is around 175 calories)

Directions:

Toss your ground turkey into a skillet, break into small pieces and cook until brown.

When your turkey is cooking you are going to mix up your “sauce packet” (just like the “real” hamburger helper lasagna!) in a small bowl.

sauce packet

After the turkey is fully cooked, remove it from the heat and add water, diced tomatoes, and then stir in your “sauce packet”.

Return your skillet to the heat; bring the entire thing to a boil, then turn heat down to simmer for 12 minutes to thicken the sauce.

Stir in your mozzarella (optional but recommended if you can afford the calories), turn off heat, and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

HHHH

You can serve over brown rice for an even more authentic hamburger helper experience.

You Can’t Out Run A Bad Diet

I’m asked all the time “how much extra cardio do I need to do to get rid of this pooch/flab/belly/etc/etc” and my answer is always exactly the same:

NONE.

out run the diet

People don’t realize how fast calories can add up… and how hard it is to burn them off.

Let’s take a look at a very simple number: 3500. Its 3500 calories that add up to one pound of weight gain. Looking at that number you might think “man, that is a ton of calories and way more than I eat in a day, what’s the big deal?”

When you break down an average fast food meal:

  • Burger – 650 avg cals
  • Fries – 350 avg cals
  • Soda – 110 avg cals

Adding that all up we come to 1110 calories, creeping up on a third of our 3500 number from before and near what many of our clients eat in an entire day!

So getting back to our “how much cardio do I need to drop _____?” question, let’s take a look at a few normal cardio activities and how many calories they burn:

  • Running  (10 minute miles)  – 800 avg cals per hour
  • Jump Rope – 800 avg cals per hour
  • Swimming – 700 avg cals per hour
  • Biking – 650 avg cals per hour
  • Juggling – 320 avg cals per hour

To work off your one overboard meal, you are putting in a minimum of about an hour and a half of cardio and that’s just to burn off that one meal!

When you start factoring in eating multiple bad meals a day, multiple times per week, multiple weeks per month, you are looking at tens of thousands of extra calories and why so many people struggle when trying to drop weight.

The best advice I can give anyone is this: working out will do wonders for you, you’ll improve your health and cardio, improve your strength, flexibility and attitude. You’ll build bone density and improve posture, not to mention all of the great things it will do for your outlook and mind.

Bottom line – if you want to make significant changes to your body you are going to need to make significant changes to the way you eat.

Don’t cheat yourself by busting your booty in the gym but eating garbage!

Want a good place to start? Check out this link – http://www.44fitness.com/blog/3-weight-loss-tips-to-help-build-a-healthier-lifestyle/