16 Easy Snacks

healthysnacks75

  1. 1/4 c Hummus with veggies
  2. 1/2 cup of cubed cantaloupe and 1/2 c of cottage cheese
  3. No sugar added fruit pop and a 1/2 protein bar 
  4. Protein bar and veggies
  5. 1/2 c tortilla chips and 1/2 c salsa
  6. Celery sticks with cottage cheese add in some dried cranberries
  7. Celery sticks with hummus
  8. Protein shake and a handful of almonds
  9. 1/4 c couscous with a chopped protein source and veggies
  10. 1/4 c applesauce and chopped nuts
  11. mini cans of tuna and wheat crackers
  12. mini cans of tuna on cucumbers
  13. rice cakes with nut butters and some veggies
  14. baked sweet potato, topped with greek yogurt and cinnamon
  15. whole wheat waffles with coconut oil and cottage cheese
  16. any fruit you want, nuts and dry Kahshi cereal

I’d love to hear about your go to snacks. Just leave me a comment below.

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Lemon Parmesan Popcorn

Popcorn makes for a great snack, but most popcorn is covered in butter which adds a lot of calories without adding a whole lot of flavor. You know

source: Flicker

source: Flicker

what’s better? Adding some tasty flavor to air popped popcorn!

Try this on for size… lemon pepper and freshly grated Parmesan cheese!

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp lemon pepper
  • 3 cups air popped popcorn
  • 2 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Whisk the lemon pepper and olive oil together and drizzle it over the still hot popcorn.
  2. Toss the popcorn and sprinkle cheese on top.
  3. Serve while still hot.

If you don’t have air popper — you can cook it the old fashion way.  Click here for a great recipe.

I make my popcorn the old fashion way and I use a combo of veggie and coconut oil.

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6 Sweet Steps to Stop Those Sugar Cravings

If you are absolutely unsuccessful in steering clear of the wonderfully sweet taste of sugar, you shouldn’t feel bad. That is because your brain is hardwired to demand, crave Golden granulated, light muscovado and dark muscovado sugarand beg for sugary tasting sweets and treats. Take the 7 steps below and you can find yourself crushing those sugar cravings once and for all, in spite of your natural desire.

  1. Eat Breakfast
    Several studies have shown that those people who eat a healthy breakfast crave less sugars, sweets and unhealthy treats during the day. And when you combine this tip with number 2 below, you will be even more successful in controlling those sugar cravings. You should be eating breakfast within 30-60 minutes of waking up. Sorry coffee doesn’t cut it for breakfast. I love the stuff, but you need more than to get your body fueled.
  2. Get Protein With Every Snack or Meal
    The smartest way to eat is to have 5 or 6 meals and snacks spread out across your day. And every time you eat you should include protein, whether you are sitting down to a regular meal or just enjoying a quick snack. Protein helps stabilize your blood sugar, and you suffer less sugar cravings. When I say protein, it’s more than just string cheese. I’m talking a lean protein either animal or plant base. You should pair that with a veggie and you will be filled for hours.
  3. Team Up With a Partner
    Any big change in your life is made easier when you have a like-minded individual along the ride. You probably know someone else that has sugar cravings just like you. Get them involved as a partner, and you can help each other beat your unhealthy sugar habits.
  4. Try to Forget About Weight Loss
    You are going to naturally lose unhealthy weight and fat when you begin to control your sugar cravings. However, this should not be your mindset. Focus mentally on your sugar addiction only. Your brain works at its natural best when it directs all of its mental energy on one task at a time. Once you have a healthy relationship with sugar, then you can worry about any extra weight loss you want to attempt. Our minds are a powerful thing. Once we learn to harness it BOOM that’s when the magic happens.
  5. Cut Yourself Some Slack
    Own your business, you are probably going to succumb to your sugar addiction several times when you are attempting to control your cravings. Do not beat yourself up mentally. Just start over, it’s not about willpower and determination. Let’s be honest — willpower sucks — it’s about consistency not constantly. Accept that you will slip up but eventually your slips up will be few and far between.
  6. Dump the Artificial Sweeteners
    Foods and drinks with the “low sugar” or “sugar-free” often use aspartame, Nutrasweet, Splenda or some other artificial sweetener to replace sugar. A revealing study from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio showed that a single can of diet soda causes your risk for obesity to go up 41%. Contrary to popular belief, these so called diet foods can actually cause a sugar craving.

Want to learn even more? Check out my free cravings report where I go into greater detail.

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[Day 4] What’s On Your Plate?

KimBarnesJeffersonFirst I want us to agree make some agreements.

  1. We are no longer going to count calories. Calorie counting sucks out loud. I haven’t counted calories in years!!! In all my years of competing it was NEVER about the calories.
  2. We are going to read the back of foods to review the INGREDIENTS list, not just to look at the calorie count see number 1
  3. Snacks will no longer consist of  just 1 food item. (ie. just nuts, fruit etc)
  4. We are going to learn how to cook 1x week.

The key to nutrition is meal timing. We were taught to eat 3 meals/day. Well that’s really hard and leaves us with low energy spots in they day. Those low energy spots cause us to crave. You want it’s like when you crave. You need to be tied to your chair with chains to keep you from the object of your desire.

Eating should include all food groups, we are not going to ban ANY food group. You have limited quantities but all food groups are include in your plan. ** With that said, some of you many have certain intolerances or food allergies that keep you from eating certain foods. All meals should include:

  • protein — unlimited lean protein (cheese is not a protein; keep diary to a minimum)
  • unlimited veggies and fruits (exceptions — bananas, mangoes, pineapples, papayas, grapes)
  • starchy carbs — limit the breads, pastas obviously the desserts

You’ll want to avoid alcohol, it’s considered a treat, we’ll discuss treat meals at later time. Artificial sweeteners, if you must use stick with Stevia.

Okay now let’s put that together.
Shopping list — grab your list from the email
7 day meal plan – grab this from the email

Okay now that you have an idea of what to eat how do you make it happen?? Well.

  1. Go grocery shopping every week. This way you have fresh foods in the house and there are no excuses.
  2. Cook 1x week, yes you heard correctly. Every Sunday I set aside 2 hours and I cook ALL my food for the week. I know you are asking will it say fresh. Yes.. I leave in the fridge 3 days worth of food and then I freeze the rest and then thaw it when I need. Now I don’t do this freezing every week because it depends on what I’m having, but if I’m cooking up a bunch of chicken or other protein yes this is what I do.
    • My protocol
      • Saturday
        • Grocery shop
        • Marinate any protein that I’ve purchased ( use store-bought that doesn’t have high fructose corn syrup or make my own)
      • Sunday
          • Chop veggies. I will roast or grill them — I like to have flavor (my quirk its post competing syndrome)
          • Grill or roast protein
          • Chop any fruits that need it and put a squeeze of lemon to keep from browning
          • Once I’m done cooking I put everything into glass containers — I recently switched from tupperware.
          • Depending on how much I’ve cooked 1/2 goes in my fridge and the other half goes in the freezer. You can take the freezer stuff out the night before and put it in the fridge and it thaws quite nicely.

        Resources:

              • Recipes
              • Even more recipes
              • Need more I’m a sucker for Pinterest, be sure that you put a timer on this could be a time suck =)
              • Protein powder that I use is called Isagenix — no artificial sweeteners, all organic. Also available dairy free.  For  a free sample shoot me an email with your mailing address. In the subject line write free shake sample.

        Today’s challenge

                1. Review the menu and create your own menu
                2. Make a shopping list
                3. In the comments below on or on my Fab Fit Squad Facebook page please let me know how you feel about today’s challenge, did you learn something new. Where you confused by anything. Do you think this will be hard to sit with or does this seem like something you can achieve.

        BONUS– I’m attaching a measurement sheet. Now… you don’t have to do this or publish where you are but it’s nice to know where you started from.

      Missed a few day — play catch up

    • Day 1 Introduction
    • Day 2 Mindset
    • Day 3 Goal Setting

    ** As with any exercise or weight loss program, you should consult with your doctor and consider any current or past health conditions or injuries before participating. Information provided here is based on my experiences as a certified ACSM personal trainer, fitness professional, Lifestyle Management nutrition manager and ACSM wellness coach.

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Hold The Stuffing!!!!

Maintain Don’t Gain This Holiday Season

Average holiday weight gain can be 1-5 pounds. 

Don’t be a holiday weight gain casualty!  
Let me help you stay on track, this holiday season.

Eat Better. Feel Better. Look Better.

Join me on Sunday, November, 2-4pm

Simply Erinn’s
268 Brookline Street
Cambridge, MA

Please RSVP by Friday, November 2nd  & bring a friend!

Come learn how you can still enjoy your favorite 
holiday treats and all your traditional holiday experiences without blowing your diet.

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It’s Time To Get Real!

Here we are with less than 4 months to go until the end of 2012. In the remaining days of the year what can you accomplish? Looking back what goals did you say you were going to hit? Where are you? I say today is the day you put a stake in the ground and pick 3 goals that you want to get done between now and the end of 2012. Here are 5 questions that can help you narrow down those 3 things and GET REAL about what you want and how to go about getting it!

  1. What do you want?
    • run a marathon
    • lose 20 pounds
    • get consistent with your nutrition
    • take some time and think about this
  2. Why do you want it?
  3. What’s preventing you from getting it?
    • how long have you wanted this?
    • what have you tried in the past?
  4. If you don’t reach your goal, how will you feel?
  5. Can you reach your goal by yourself?
    • What resources will you need?

Here’s bonus question — Will you let me help you? I’m running an 8 week challenge that starts the 24th!! Are you ready for a change?

 

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Get To Know The Avocado

The term ‘good fat’ may seem strange, but nutritionists know the facts; our body needs it to function properly. One source of this ‘good fat’ is avocados.  Avocados are a staple food for many reasons.

What is it?
First of all, the avocado is a fruit, even though it may taste like a vegetable. When you purchase an avocado in the store  it’s often pretty firm, even hard, when you buy it.  Then, in a few days on your countertop, it gets softer. That is because avocados ripen after harvesting, when the fruit begins releasing a chemical similar to that of a banana.

Health Benefits
Avocados provide nearly twenty essential nutrients, including fiber, potassium, Vitamin E, B-vitamins, and folic acid. They also act as a ‘nutrient booster’ by enabling the body to absorb more fat-soluble nutrients, like beta-carotene and lutein. The avocado has a higher ‘good fat’ content than most other fruits.  A generous helping of avocado on a regular basis has all sorts of health benefits, including those little things we love like shiny strong hair and nails, and  younger looking and feeling skin. Of course, there are those big things, too, like lowering cholesterol.

How to eat
To tell if an avocado is ripe, hold it in the palm of your hand and squeeze gently. It should yield to a gentle pressure.  A ripe avocado is easy to peel if you cut down lengthwise and twist the avocado slightly to split it in half. The pit can be popped out by inserting the blade of a knife into the pit and giving a nudge. Then, use the knife tip to slice through the flesh of the avocado, but not the outside peel, in sections and turn the nubby peeling inside-out and the ripe flesh will pop out.

The flesh of an avocado is prone to browning, just like an apple once it’s exposed to much air.  To prevent this, lemon juice or lime juice can be sprinkled on the avocado after the peeling is removed. Not only does the citrus juice slow the browning process, but it compliments the flavor of the avocado. In fact, avocado dishes often call for the addition of fresh lime or lemon juice.

Generally, avocado is served raw because many varieties cannot be cooked without turning bitter. However, there are a few dishes that call for brief heating in the oven just until the avocado is warmed through. Some of the more popular uses of avocado is in guacamole or other types of salsas, atop a bright green salad, or even on hamburgers and sandwiches. Avocados are found in many varieties of sushi, too.

One of favorite ways to enjoy an avocado is to put into a smoothie. I’ll mix some

  • protein powder
  • water
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 1/4 c berries
  • ice cubes

Give avocados a try today and find out how easy it is to incorporate this powerhouse fruit into your diet. Leave me a comment below and let me know your favorite way to enjoy them.

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5 Things You Should Look For In MultiVitamin

Choosing a quality multivitamin is easier with a few guidelines

Choosing a multivitamin-mineral supplement can be puzzling. Conflicting messages abound in the marketplace, especially on the Internet. And, as expected, the confusion is not helped by reports from the media that tend to overemphasize observational studies that confirm bias against supplementation. The reality is that the quality of multivitamin-mineral supplements ranges widely.

The highest quality dietary supplements are those designed according to current science and technologies—they use the most stable and efficacious forms of vitamins and minerals, have optimal solubility rates, are third-party tested for potency and shelf life, and provide optimal vitamin-and-mineral dosages that are divided over the course of the day for best absorption.

On the other end of the quality spectrum are the popular “one-a-day” supplements, which claim to provide all that the body needs in a single tablet; they may provide adequate amounts of many nutrients, but severely neglect others. Other supplements use synthetic vitamins when science demonstrates the body’s preference for the natural forms. Finally, some supplement companies claim higher absorption or bioavailability because their nutrients come directly from, or are paired with, “whole foods”; such claims are misleading because they are not presented with data. These vitamins do not actually come from whole foods, but are simply combined with botanicals that may even inhibit absorption.

Far be it for all marketers to paint a clear picture of the science, or for the media to do a little homework before lumping all dietary supplements in the same category of low quality and worthless. The fact is though, that there have been well-designed studies showing clear benefits from taking supplements in forms appropriate and in dosages that assist in meeting dietary recommendations for optimal health. If this weren’t true, or if multivitamins were somehow “dangerous”, then why do most medical doctors continue prescribing prenatal multivitamins to women who are expecting?

A proper review and critique of multivitamin-mineral supplements should be based on how well it reflects positions of scientific consensus on dosage, forms, and delivery. A few of the things to look for in a supplement are these:

  • QualityAccording to a recent Consumer Labs report, one in three supplements either contained fewer nutrients than promised on the label, provided far more nutrients than claimed, had incorrect labeling of ingredients, or simply failed to disintegrate in the allotted time for proper absorption. If uncertain about whether or not a supplement really provides what it claims to, it’s probably a supplement to avoid. Take a multivitamin-mineral only if it comes from a reputable company that tests label claims through an independent laboratory.
  • Efficacy – It’s well-known that some forms of vitamins or minerals are more stable, or more bioavailable, than others. For example, natural vitamin D3 exhibits greater retention in the body compared to synthetic vitamin D2 (1). Likewise, vitamin E in its natural form of d-alpha tocopherol provides greater activity than its synthetic mixture counterpart, dl-alpha tocopherol, which contains only a small percentage of the natural form (2). Another example is vitamin B12 as cyanocobalamin, which is more stable than other forms of vitamin B12, thus allowing for greater shelf life.
  • Optimal dosages Multivitamin-mineral supplement makers will often add a mineral such as calcium or an antioxidant such as coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) to help it sell better in the marketplace, but not in high enough doses to really strengthen bones or support the heart. Such supplements should be avoided in favor of others that actually supply enough of each nutrient to truly be effective. Similarly, should a supplement contain omega-3 fatty acids, it should contain a high enough concentration of both DHA and EPA for heart health. In short, dosages should reflect the latest that science has to offer as recommendations for health and longevity.
  • Solubility – Have you heard of “bed pan bullets”? That’s what doctors used to call tableted multivitamin pills that passed through the body unabsorbed. Science has come a long way to provide technologies for better solubility, but there still are a few multivitamins on the market that don’t disintegrate appropriately enough to be absorbed properly. The standard for a quality multivitamin-mineral tablet is to disintegrate within 60 minutes or less in an acidic solution mimicking the environment in the stomach—even better is if it can disintegrate easily in plain water or rice vinegar.
  • Absorption and bioavailability – Companies make misleading claims when they market their supplements as more highly absorbed or bioavailable because they are from, or combined with, “whole food” or “vegetable components.” For one thing, the source of their vitamins is really not different than anyone else’s, which is obtained through yeast fermentation. The “whole-food” source supplements also seldom meet label claims or stability for shelf life. In addition, they don’t account for anti-nutrient components; for example, a supplement containing leafy green vegetables such as spinach may also contain anti-nutrient compounds called oxalates that inhibit absorption of other minerals in the supplement through chelation (that’s not to say people should avoid eating spinach, but that improved absorption and bioavailability from a spinach supplement is false) (3). There are also supplements on the market (obviously not designed by nutritionists familiar with the science) that completely disregard well-known absorption problems when dosages of minerals such as calcium are too high, or when mineral competitiveness occurs between iron, calcium, zinc, and copper (3 & 4). A quality supplement will use forms of minerals without absorption-inhibiting anti-nutrients and have an appropriate amount of minerals in each tablet to be taken in divided doses over the course of the day.

Before ever venturing out to choose a multivitamin-mineral, each of the five points presented above should be considered by those looking to achieve the greatest value from their supplements. All things considered, my choice for a great vitamin is the Ageless Essentials Daily Pack, which comes in convenient A.M. and P.M. packets. Over the course of the day, the pack provides optimal dosages of essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin D3 (2000 IU), calcium (800 mg for men, 900 mg for women), vitamin E as mixed tocopherols and d-alpha tocopheryl succinate (90 IU), and vitamin K2 (80 mcg).

The pack also includes a potent combination of bioactive compounds that support optimal health and longevity. These include patented, lipid-soluble CoQ10 (100 mg) backed by studies showing eight times greater bioavailability, maximum concentrations of ultra-purified DHAand EPA omega-3 fatty acids (600 mg EPA, 440 mg DHA), trans-resveratrol (250 mg), and more.

References

Food and Nutrition Board. Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference intakes. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2000, pp. 186-283.
Heaney R et al. Vitamin D3 is More Potent Than Vitamin D2 in Humans. J Clin Endocrin & Metab. 2011;96(3):E477 doi: 10.1210/jc.2010-2230
Gropper SS, Smith JL, Groff JL. Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism. Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth, 2009.
Hoffman H et al. Zinc-induced copper deficiency. Gastroenterology 1988; 94:508-12.

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A Master Was Once A Disaster

Last weekend I went to a great event where the speaker keep saying the over an over again “A master was once a disaster including me”. Most of you have been reading this newsletter for a while, but not sure if you guys know that I too have struggled!

12 years ago, I was 30 pound heavier and barely working out because my 50+ hour a week job and travel schedule didn’t allow much time for anything other than work. No one reading this can identify with that right? I finally said enough is enough I was done with my work driving my life I started to take back bits of my life it started with working out in the AM so that I would at least do something for myself before the day got away from me. When I was laid off, it was a relief. I told myself that my former life couldn’t ever happen again.

Now fast forward — August 2011
I have been living a healthy lifestyle for many years. I typically workout 5-6 days/week, have a strict bed time, I cook my meals once a week and always have food with me. I have to say to you the I thought I felt great! About 9 months ago, I was introduced to new product line, by my friend and mentor Cathy. I started using these products and let me tell you I now sleep through the night, I wake up feeling refreshed before my alarm goes off (I get up most days at 5:30am) and I now power through my workouts. After using these products I now what feeling great really means.

What’s your story?? If you could change anything about your health/wealth in the next 30 days what would it be? leave me some comments below, I’d love to hear about it.

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Simple Ways To Choose Food For Weight Loss

If you ask ten people what the hardest part of losing weight is, nine of them will say shopping for food. When you are dieting and trying to slim down, the most daunting place you can go is your local supermarket. There is just so much food and you can’t get in and out without passing by your favorite sweet treat or deli counter. Shopping for groceries when you are trying to lose weight takes a bit of practice, but once you’ve learned the basics, you’ll be able to sail right past those cookie samples without even a glance.  Here are a few tips to get you in and out without a hitch.

Shop the Perimeters

A good rule of thumb when shopping your local grocery store is to hug the outer lanes of the store to find the healthiest foods. Typically, grocery stores line the perimeter of the store with the produce cases, the dairy case, and the fresh meats and fish.  The inside aisles hold the majority of the prepackaged foods that you want to avoid.  This is generally speaking, of course, but give it a try at your grocery store and see if it works that way for you.

Shop for Color

As you push your cart along the outer walls of the store, look for the bright and vibrant-color foods.  We have learned in our nutrition classes that foods with rich, bright, or dark colors generally have more nutrients than those with a pale color. For instance, strawberries and eggplants have a higher nutrient-density than potatoes or onions. Even though potatoes and onions are perfectly fine and offer nutrition, to get the most bang out of your dieting buck, go for the bright colors. You can apply this to proteins in many instances, as well.  You know a deep red salmon fillet is going to be more nutrient-dense than a salmon fillet that has a light color.

Avoid Sugar by Any Name

You would be surprised at all the places sugar can hide in a grocery store. It is practically around every corner. Since sugar will rob you of your weight loss goals, it is important to turn into a detective in order to avoid it. Just for reference, here is a laundry list of aliases for sugar.

Agave nectar
Barley malt syrup
Brown sugar
Cane sugar
Corn sweetener
Corn syrup, or corn syrup solids
Dehydrated cane juice
Dextrin
Dextrose
Fructose
Fruit juice concentrate
Glucose
High-fructose corn syrup
Honey
Invert sugar
Lactose
Maltodextrin
Malt syrup
Maltose
Maple syrup
Molasses
Powdered sugar
Raw sugar
Rice syrup
Saccharose
Sorghum or sorghum syrup
Sucrose
Syrup
Treacle
Turbinado sugar
Xylose

Of course, not all sugar is created equal.  Raw sugar may be a better choice than refined sugar.  However, when it comes to weight loss, your body isn’t going to know the difference.  It’s going to want to turn that sugar into fat.  Learn your sugars and learn what levels are tolerable for your diet.  Be aware also that most processed foods that are labeled low fat have added sugar to adjust the taste.  Here again, you need to know what is better for you and know your tolerable limits.  Labels are your friend’s get used to reading them.

Whole Grains vs Refined Grains

One of the easiest tips to remember when buying bread, pasta, flour, and any type of baking ingredients is to go for whole grains rather than refined grains. Eating whole grains add much needed fiber and nutrients to your healthy diet.  Fiber helps speed digestion and metabolism both.  Refined grains have all that goodness cleaned right out of them during the refining process.  Eating whole wheat pastas and breads, and baking with whole grain products, will take some getting used to, but you can ease into it by using half refined and half whole grain to get started. It won’t be long before you prefer the firmer texture and nuttier flavor of your favorite muffin recipe made with whole grains.

You don’t have to carry a big list of foods allowed on a special diet along with you to the grocery store.  You just have to shop smarter with these simple rules.  It’s easier to eat healthy when you have simple tricks to use when you’re in the grocery store. If you fill your cart with foods from the perimeters, brightly colored foods, foods without added sugar, and whole grains, you are well on your way to eating a diet that will help you lose weight now and keep it off for a lifetime.

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