Recipes for a Fit Fall!

Join me in avoiding holiday weight gain!

These two recipes are my new favorites. My approach to fitness is a lifestyle change. There is no diet that is going to be a short term effort with lasting results. The best path to healthy living is just that–healthy living. Protein is important, but a balanced plate with appropriate portions will get results you can keep long term without giving up a whole food group.

First, is a one pan easy dish that will make food prep easy!

Turkey Sweet Potato Hash.

I actually love this one. It’s too easy to get it right! It’s a very tasty savory fall flavor with great reheat flavor for several meals throughout the week. The idea here when selecting your sweet potatoes is to target the same weight, peeled, as your turkey. This ensures a fit ratio of enough protein without too much carb.

Ingredients:

99% fat free ground turkey. One pound.

3 medium sweet potatoes. About 1 pound peeled and chopped into 1/4 inch cubes.

Chopped White onion. 1 optional

1 eggwhite

Chicken broth. 1 can fat free, low or 0 sodium.

Chopped Frozen kale 2 cups.

Cooking spray.

Cumin 1/2 tsp

Coriander 1/2 tsp

Black pepper to taste.

Spray large skillet with a thin coat of cooking spray. I like coconut oil spray.

Add cubed sweet potatoes and onion at medium heat. Sauté until onion is translucent and potatoes slightly browned.

Prepare turkey by adding your eggwhite and 1/4 cup of the chicken broth and mix well.

Add turkey and seasoning to pan, stir in to crumble meat and cook meat until no longer pink.

Add remaining broth and chopped kale to pan and cover to simmer sweet potatoes until soft.

Divide into 4 portions for approximately 4 ounces of protein with 4 ounces of carbs for a nutritious filling fall fit meal!

Now that you have a warm lunch prepped, you may want to enjoy a fall treat without having to buy a bigger pant size for the new year! Here’s how:

Samantha’s Protein Pumpkin Bread!

I use a personal size loaf pan. I’ve found that it bakes better. What makes this wonderful is the fall flavors, in a sweet treat that is nutritious enough to make a healthy meal like breakfast or mid afternoon snack!

Ingredients:

1/2 can of pumpkin purée (refrigerate or freeze remaining pumpkin

1 egg

1 scoop vanilla UMP protein (Beverly International)

2 Tablespoons oat flour

1 tablespoon Quaker old fashion rolled oats

1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 tsp coconut oil (slightly melted)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/4 tsp baking powder

Options:

Add mini box of raisins

1/2 ounce walnuts or pecans

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Preheat oven 350 degrees

Mix all ingredients well.

Baked in coconut oil greased small non-stick loaf pan for approximately 30 minutes.

Check for using a toothpick. Center should be firm yet moist, but no not soupy edges will look dry but not brown. Cook added 5 minutes if needed but do not over bake.

Enjoy to your health.

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Freeze your way to healthy 

Ah! The freezer section.. you may have heard that shopping on the outer aisle of the grocery store is best!! However, some of those choices can be purchased frozen!

My go-to in the freezer aisles are veggies. Maybe you’ve tried the typical frozen veggies as said bla Blehch! The cut green beans, the mixed veggies, or succotash not for you?  Me either.

However don’t let a couple bad experiences keep you out of best choices for your health. Chose veggies without sauces. My recommendations are frozen whole green beans, frozen spinach and prechopped onion or peppers for recipes!

I go for frozen fresh fish filets (not breaded, marinated or processed) and easiest of all is the frozen bags of thin sliced chicken breast! They cook juicy straight to the oven from your freezer. Just season with dried herbs, mrs. dash flavors or flavor gods! Try an Italian blend on chicken or simply lemon juice and pepper on fish! I flip back and forth between these from the freezer and organic fresh chicken. I purchase fresh to cook right away and frozen to cook later in the week.

Also found in the freezer section, sprouted grain bread is the bomb!!! Since picking up a fit lifestyle, sandwiches and bread are fairly well a thing of the past! My fit version is Ezekiel bread! Try it!! It’s only available in the freezer section.

It’s very hard to find bread in the bread aisle with no sugar or preservatives and low sodium. Ezekiel does that nicely. This is my #1 go to bread. I know I know I know…it’s seedy and grainy and not at all like your precious white bread life. This is a fit lifestyle. Let it go. Be a whitebread girl no longer. This is the new you!!!!

Another amazing find in the freezer  bread section is Udi’s gluten free.  Whole grain gluten free Udi’s brand is amazingly like white bread and super healthy in comparison. This may be your revolutionary stepping stone to healthier bread! No you don’t have to be gluten free. Whether you think it’s a gimmick or not, just switch out this with your regular for 12 weeks as a real test if you have not gotten a taste for the grainier whole grains!

Finally, fresh or frozen, chose to eat the healthy. That is the fit lifestyle. You can lose weight, keep it off, be satisfied and healthy by choosing better, eating mindfully and not eat to be stuffed nor starving!

The Power of Strength Training

This is an introduction to the first chapter of a book by professors at Tufts University.

I share its important message with you!

“For many older adults, growing older seems to involve an inevitable loss of strength, energy, and vigor. But it need not be so. The frailty and decreased energy we Continue reading

Recipe for Healthier Chocolate Cake

If you are like me and love to bake, as you get into a fit lifestyle you miss that part of who you are. Whether it’s for weightloss or health intervention like diabetes there is very little room in healthy diets for cakes, pies, cookies, and candies. However, as a treat with guests or to take a cake to a family event, it helps to have a few good recipes that you can share and indulge in without feeling left out!

The key to giving your recipes a healthier spin are four part nutrition upgrades. First, eliminate sugars. You can replace some sweetness with zero calorie natural sweeteners like stevia or monkfruit as options. Second, replace refined wheat flour with a healthier carb option.

Refined bleached wheat flour not only a carb containing gluten which in itself is not a big deal to many, its biggest crime is being high in calorie and void of nutrition. When I think of that combination I imagine a food that is digested readily and loads unused energy in the form of high bloodsugar and bodyfat! Some ideas for replacing that ingredient are a combination of dry and wet nutritious options: Oatmeal or oatbran, sweet potato or pumpkin, squash or zucchini, Almond meal or cashew meal or protein powders. My best recipes tackle eliminating flour using a combined nutritional approach.

The third step in a healthier baked goodie is to take a better approach to the type and quantity of fats used like butter and oils! Applesauce adds moisture as do some of the wet carbs, Almond meal or flax seed, avocado or nutbutters, can also add healthy fats to replace your butter and vegetable oils.

The fourth and final step is the additional liquid ingredients. If you incorporate replacements using a vegetable carb with a high water content like pumpkin or applesauce, you will need less milk. Some recipes you may not need additional liquid ingredients at all! If you experiment, test the texture of your batter before adding additional liquid. If you need it, try using cashew milk or almond milk, unsweetened of course, in place of cow’s milk. Cow’s milk, even lactose free, has eleven grams of sugar! More sugars in the milk in many cases than the cereal I used to pour it on! That totals a breakfast with as much sugar as a candy bar. Not a good option either way!

One of my best recipe adaptations is Chocolate Bundt Cake with Ganache icing. It was a hit with family and company alike!

Ingredients:

1 Can of Pumpkin Puree

3 Whole eggs

2 Scoops of Chocolate protein Powder (I used Beverly UMP) https://store.beverlyinternational.com/cgi-bin/commerce.exe?preadd=action&key=22

1/4 cup unsweetened cashew milk

3 Tablespoons of Almond meal

3 Tablespoons of Cocoa

2 Tablespoons of oatbran or oat flour

1-1/2 teaspoons of baking powder

2 packets of “Stevia in the Raw” singles

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon of salt

1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon (optional)

Ganache:

3/4 cup of Lily’s Stevia Baking chips

1/5 cup of coconut oil (or heavy cream)

Preheat oven to 325°

Spray bundt pan with coconut oil. Lightly dust with cocoa if desired.

Mix all cake ingredients with mixer.

Pour into pan.

Bake for 35 minutes or until just set. Don’t over bake. Knife test may not be clean, but should not be soupy!

Allow to cool outside of the oven 5-10 minutes before turning over onto a plate. Too soon and it will break. Too long and it will stick to the pan!

Ganache Topping: Melt chips together with coconut oil over low heat and pour over slightly cooled cake.

10 servings vs. the same 10 servings of regular Chocolate Bundt

163 calories vs. 200 calories in regular cake

11 grams of fat vs. 9 g

6.2 grams of protein vs. 3 g

15 grams of carbs vs. 22

3.7 grams of sugar (natural sugar in pumpkin and other ingredients: 0 added sugars) vs whopping 19 grams!

Not to mention additional fiber, vitamin A, and Calcium not normally in cake.  Trust me. NO ONE will know its pumpkin if you don’t tell them. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is “good for you?”


We’re So Confused: The Problems With Food and Exercise Studies” is the title of an article in the New York Times, by Gina Kolata. Read here.

In summary, studies are flawed. Media inflates news from Heath studies and consistently over states diet and exercise findings so that it seems conflicting and confusing.

 

Are eggs good for you?

 

Have you heard that wine is healthy and alcohol is bad for you? How can both be true. Is it only red wine? Only in moderation? Is it just as healthy to eat nutritionally and skip the alcohol? Probably.

I do know that one habit like drinking one glass of wine or walking 10,000 steps everyday is not as effective as putting a few more pieces of the puzzle together. Add one piece of the puzzle at a time, but don’t stop there!

The problem is fad diets and outrageous claims make it hard to pick out the right pieces. For example: The first diet that has been popular for decades is vegetarian. Yet the second that comes to mind is the Adkins diet that is high in meat protein. A decade ago Adkins followers were in the news and widespread. The truth: both of these diets typically lack important nutrition and counter each other completely.

Each fad misses the mark if people try to be stuck with the religion of eating instead of choosing the healthiest food. Look out for these claims, be skeptical, and consult a dietary specialist if you have questions.

1. Claim: Meat and dairy is not good for you. It’s non digestible and messes with your gut. Truth: most people eat and digest meat and dairy fine. The problem is when you eat junk meats often like fatty burgers, sausages, bologna, high salt and preservative filled bacon and ready to eat meats or highly processed cheeses or too much cheese. Choose instead fresh meats like chicken breast, Turkey, fish, and leaner cuts of beef or even pork. Avoid meat where there are most calories from fat!

2. Genetically Modified Organisms known as GMO are not “clean.” Truth: Most GMO products are near identical nutritionally to the organic non-GMO variety. While, the technology to engineer food has an political side ethically, there is little evidence that GMO has anything at all to do with your weight. A GMO green bean is as good for you with the same low calories and high vitamin nutrients as a non GMO green bean and a non-GMO corn chip is as bad for you as a regular corn chip.  Weight management is about nutrition and not politics.

2. Claim: Non “Organic” is bad for you, and all organic means healthy.  Truth: Organic is better than non-organic, and buying from small farmers supports the local economy. While that is all well and good.  It has less to do with weight loss than people think. Not having access to organic is not an excuse to be obese. Wash your veggies and read actual nutrition facts. A regular piece of grilled fast food chicken on a fast food side salad is better for you than a Gluten Free, organic, non-GMO cookie. Shocking isn’t it. Which kind of food you choose is more important than buying non-gmo, organic. “Clean” food can still be junk food.

3.”Fish is not clean” Fresh caught fish is high in Mercury. Farmed fish is worse for toxins and PCB’s.  Truth: Try not to eat the exact same fish for 5-6 meals a day every day. Seriously. It sounds ridiculous, but as long as you vary your fish intake, a diet from a variety of fish and shellfish, from salt water and fresh water is completely worth the risk. Bottom line, chose a fish, any fish. It will be a healthier choice than the pizza. For more information try these links:  http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/01/13/salmon.farmed.fresh/index.html, or http://greenopedia.com/healthy-sustainable-fish/ 135454075

4. Claim: Gluten is bad for you. Truth: Only if you have a sensitivity or actual disease like Celiac. Most people do not have this sensitivity. It is true that cutting gluten out of your diet as a way to reduce refined flours has the benefit of reducing calories from fast digesting carbs. However, If you switched your baked goods to a gluten free enriched flour your net result of any weightloss will be 0.

5. Claim: All grains are bad for you. Truth: Reducing refined flours and choosing whole grains instead of enriched wheat flour is beneficial. However, switching from a white bread to a wheat bread may not provide a measurable weight loss benefit if the calorie switch is the same, and the new bread still has sugar in its ingredients! The problem comes in understanding the whole of your nutrition requirements. Read ingredients and nutrition labels.  Reduce sugars and refined carbs from all sources and reduce reliance on all forms of breads, while not entirely eliminating grains.

Your takeaway is that not all the claims in the effects of food have a significant result on weightloss!  Stick to vegetables and LEAN proteins as your primary food sources. Add in a few whole grains like plain oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, fresh fruit or potatoes in small servings. Also get at least a daily small amount of healthy fats, 1-2 tablespoon serving sizes each day from two different sources from seeds, nuts, salmon, olive oil, avocado, coconut oil, natural cheese, egg yolk, or hummus as examples. An overall reduction in processed foods and an increasing reliance on cooking healthy fresh foods improves weight and goes beyond weightloss into the fit life lifestyle that will have you losing weight and keeping it off. Final note eating ALL vegetables, or ALL meats, or ALL fats is not necessary. Eating the healthier choices in each food group is the ticket! Avoid fried, high sugar, processed carbs and processed meats! images

Final Tip: Eggs are good for you, but a full serving of whole eggs may be too much fat. The whites are mostly protein while the yolks are mostly fat. Keeping in mind the serving size of fats, try using more whites and fewer yolks in your morning eggs. Eggs are good for you, but may be considered more of a healthy fat than a healthy protein. Or just go for the egg whites for a lean protein source!

Still confused? I can work with you one on one for a meal plan that will get you in the best shape of your life. I did it and so can you. My program is based on nutrition not superstition! email: samantha@fitatfiftysamantha.com or samanthamaxmuscle@gmail.com for a program that fits you!

Pumpkin Bread Guilt Free 

Pumpkin Bread is great for fall. Who doesn’t have a tough time with baked good temptations in the fall and winter holiday season?

My solution is to make those 250 + calories count for real nutrition rather than most of the calories coming as empty calories from sugars or butter.

This is my original recipe for a pumpkin bread that will double nicely as a healthy breakfast or daytime snack. I say daytime because I typically eat my carbs earlier in the day. Less likely for unused energy to turn to fat during daytime hours.

Ingredients

1 can Pumpkin Puree 15oz

3 cups plain Quaker Old Fashioned oats.

1 cup of egg whites

3 scoops of whey protein powder. (vanilla, toffee, caramel or unflavored variety works: I used Titan Toffee Macchiato)

Optional: 1 cup of zero calorie sugar substitutes for baking (recommend Truvia for baking or Splenda for baking.

1/2 cup of almond meal

2 teaspoons of pumpkin spice

2 teaspoons of baking soda

1/2 teaspoon of salt

NUTRITION: full loaf cake is 7 servings. 278 calories: 20 grams of protein, 31.7 grams of carbs, 7.7 grams of fat. Only 4.9 grams of sugars from the pumpkin. No added sugars.

Optional add ins if desired based on your dietary needs:

Chopped pecan pieces: 1/4 cup adds 20 calories per serving and 2 grams of fat.

Two snack boxes of raisins (1/4 cup) adds 25 calories of carbs from natural sugars per serving. Avoid if watching sugars! This little bit doubles the sugar content.

Method:

Mix oats in food processor until ground into coarse flour.

Mix all ingredients into large mixing bowl and stir together.

Heat oven to 325 degrees,

Spray loaf pan with a light spray of spray coconut oil. Dust with oat flour for a perfect non-stick if desired.

Pour batter into prepared pan and place in oven to bake 40-50 minutes. Cake should not be shloshy in the middle, but you do want it very moist. Do not over bake!! It should rise and be firm.

Enjoy at breakfast, brunch or even post workout with coffee or hot tea!

This healthy recipe has your heart healthy oats, proteins from whey and eggwhites. Healthy fats from almond meal and maybe pecans. Not to mention lots of vitamin A, plus Vitamins C, calcium, iron and fiber from pumpkin while avoiding empty calories that have no nutritional value from processed enriched flour, butters, sugars etc! Enjoy guilt free if you avoid adding butter or jams! Would it taste good with butter or jam? Sure. If you do add these traditional enhancers is it going to make you fat? Well, in short…yes. Yes it will. Not so much as a second bowl of ice cream and cake, but it does make a difference if you want a healthier lifestyle. Refrigerate and warm in the microwave or oven by the slice.  Eat the healthy.