Category Archives: nutrition

Banana Oatmeal Protein Muffins

Want a delicious snack that even your kids and spouse will eat?
These amazing, protein packed, MOIST muffins are a sweet alternative to store bought and preservative filled snack bars.
protein-muffins
Ingredients: 
  • 2 cups oats (quick cooking or old fashioned)
  • 2 large very ripe bananas
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • OPTIONAL – 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • OPTIONAL – 1/4 cup chopped pecans
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Spray a muffin tin lightly with cooking spray, fill with cup cake liners, and then hit the liners with a little more cooking spray.
Place the all ingredients but the chocolate chips and pecans in a blender.  Blend  on high, stopping to scrape down and stir the ingredients once or twice as needed, until the batter is smooth and the oats have broken down almost completely, about 3 minutes.
By hand, stir in the chocolate chips and pecans.
Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups, filling each no more than three-quarters of the way to the top. Sprinkle with additional chocolate chips or nuts.
Bake for 15 minutes (10 for mini muffins), until the tops of the muffins are set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Place the pan on a wire rack and let the muffins cool in the pan for 10 minutes. They will deflate but still taste amazing!
Remove from the pan and enjoy!

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.

Mini Cauli Sheperd’s Pie Cups

One of the biggest keys to your success when it comes to healthy eating is always, ALWAYS having food prepared and available. Having food “already ready” in their own individual “cups” is an awesome way to stay ahead of the game. Check out these Mini Cauliflower Sheperd’s Pie Cups and let me know what you think!

sheperds-pie-cauli-cup

Ingredients:

  • wonton wrappers
  • 1 2.5 – 3 lbs (medium) cauliflower head
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp butter (unsalted) or olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
For the filling:
  • Olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced small
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
  • 1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoons rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
  • 1/2 cup each frozen corn and frozen peas
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

Prepare your cauliflower mash:

Chop cauliflower into small florets/pieces.  Press or chop garlic finely and add to a large pot.  Cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and cook for about 12 minutes or until fork tender.  Drain, and let cauliflower and garlic sit in the colander while you prepare the filling to make sure all the water is drained. Add butter, salt and pepper and blend with an immersion blender or with a potato masher (this will just mean there is some texture to your mash and more detectable as real veggies to kiddos).

Prepare your filling:

Place the olive oil into a skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion, carrots and garlic and sauté about 3 to 4 minutes. Add ground turkey and salt and pepper to taste, and cook until turkey is done.  Sprinkle the meat with the flour and toss to coat, continuing to cook for another minute. Add the tomato paste, chicken broth, Worcestershire, rosemary, thyme, and stir. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer slowly 10 minutes or until the sauce is thickened slightly. Add the corn and peas and cook another 2-3 minutes.

Add one wonton wrapper into your muffin tin as your “liners” (note – you can add two wonton wrappers for additional rigidity, but keep in mind it will double your calories).  Fill with filling and scoop a tablespoon of cauliflower mash onto the top of the mini shepherds pies.  Bake for 12-15 minutes or until heated through and edges of wontons are browned.

Filling modified from Alton Brown’s recipe. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/shepherds-pie-recipe2.html?soc=socialsharingpinterest&oc=linkback

*recipe credit to Melissa Keith

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!

Chicken Tortilla less Crock Pot Soup

It’s wet n’ stormy weather outside. There’s a spicy salsa beat pumping from the speakers. A delicious and healthy chicken tortilla crock pot soup cooking in the kitchen. This is exactly what is happening in my life right now… well, everything except for the salsa music part.

chicken-tortilla-less-soup

We have a recipe here that lets you easily scale the spiciness and is simple enough that anyone can cook it. It essentially boils down to one step: dice everything and throw into crock pot, go to work or school, come home and eat.

Lets do this!

Ingredients: 

  • 1.5 to 1.75 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 bell pepper (red or green, I normally buy whatever is cheapest)
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 jalapeno pepper (keep the seeds if you want it to be more spicy, bin the seeds if you want it less)
  • 2 15oz cans diced tomatoes (do not drain, we want that juice)
  • 1 15oz can black beans (optional recipe is great without)
  • 2 cup chicken broth (I use the reduced sodium stuff)
  • 2 garlic cloves (finely minced)
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes (if you like your soup on the less spicy side, start with a 1/2 tsp)
  • 1 tbsp chili powder (if you like your soup on the less spicy side, start with a 1/2 tsp)
  • 1/2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 bay leaves
  • *after cooking*
  • avocado (cubed, to use as a soup topping prior to serving)

Directions:

Add all ingredients to crock pot (except the avocado). Make sure the chicken is covered by all of spices, juice, and vegetables.

Cook on high for 4-5 hours. Remove chicken, using a pair of forks (or whatever your preferred method is, ninja sais or robotic claws work also ) shred your chicken, return chicken to pot. Cook on low for another 2 hours.

Salt and pepper to taste. I normally do 10-15 cracks on the pepper mill for mine, but I like it a bit more peppery.

Throw your soup in a bowl, toss some cut up avocado chunks on top and 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.