Holiday Survival Guide!

Holiday Survival Guide!

Your health account, your bank account, they’re the same thing. The more you put in, the more you can take out. Exercise is king and nutrition is queen. Together you have a kingdom”

– Jack LaLanne

Holiday lights, party invites, cookies, and recipes abound. Ready or not, the holidays are here! Tips for good health and nutrition need to become part of your holiday schedule, unless you plan to spend another January playing catch-up. Time is one commodity where everyone holds equal shares. To suggest that one is too busy to plan is, at best, an easy excuse to use this time of year. We like to say, “a failure to plan, is a plan to fail.”

Start with eating breakfast. Studies show those who eat breakfast, compared to those who don’t, can lose 27% more fat just by eating breakfast all other things equal (don’t forget the protein!).

Make exercise a priority! No duh, right? Here is a concrete way to take action on this front: Make appointments on the calendar at least 3 times each week. These appointments should be treated as a top priority – non-negotiable. Do not reschedule any of these 3 workouts. There are four other days of the week to allow more flexibility. Thanksgiving Day is the greatest day of the year to exercise. Do NOT skip it. Run a 5k or come kickbox at Ellipse Fitness! It is something of a tradition worth experiencing!

Snack…smart! Saving your appetite and caloric intake for that one large meal only leads to a painful, bloated trip to the couch or throne of another kind! Eat two small meals/snacks throughout the day. Suggestions: veggies and Greek yogurt with seasoning mix to use as your dip; cottage cheese with tomatoes or berries; protein shake; a piece of fruit and almonds.

Choose wisely. Make appropriate meal selections. Turkey, veggies, and sweet potatoes (skip the marshmallow and brown sugar-they are sweet all by themselves. HINT: cinnamon with a little butter). Ask yourself: How bad do I really want _______ (i.e. crescent rolls, green bean casserole, etc.)? Is it worth it? Start filling your plate with turkey and veggies FIRST, then choose one small serving of your favorite guilty pleasure side.

Eat dessert! That’s right. Not “just a little piece” or the infamous “bite of his” either. Eat a full serving of dessert. Do not eat a whole pie, but indulge in a piece of the very best available. If your grandma makes the greatest apple pie in the whole world, savor every piece of that apple pie. Pass on the so-so cookies bought at the store because everyone ‘had to bring something.’ Those end-of-the-aisle sales are not special order for a reason. There is nothing special about it. If dessert isn’t your favorite, then of course don’t eat it just because…but if you spend the entire meal dreaming of what comes next, then make choices on the front end so you can indulge in what you love most. Healthy eating is not about recusing yourself from every pleasure, but about being smart and savoring what you value!

Charged with bringing a dish to pass? Bring the veggie tray with a healthy option you can munch with confidence!

Fiesta Ranch Dip
2 c plain Greek yogurt (or 1 ¾ c of cottage cheese + ¼ c of water-pureed)
1 package Fiesta Ranch salad dressing mix

Or make this delicious version of the sweet potato casserole and skip the tired ol’ marshmallow topped canned yams

Sweet Potato Crunch
Cut, boil, and mash 4-6 sweet potatoes. Place potatoes in a casserole dish.
Melt 4-6 tablespoons of real butter and stir in 2 tablespoons of cinnamon (apple pie spice or pumpkin spice makes for a nice twist as well) to coat 3 cups of plain corn flakes.
Top mashed sweet potatoes with corn flakes and bake for an additional 25 minutes at 350 degrees.

Rock Thanksgiving With These Drinks and Apps!

Well Thanksgiving is nearly here, and if yours is anything like most friends and family will descend upon an agreed upon location, all hauling heavy, over-the-top dishes that almost universally contain extra sweetness and a higher-than-usual volume of carbohydrates!

It’s a celebration meal designed for giving thanks, but instead we often find ourselves crying, “uncle!” at the hands of a feast low in quality nutrition and very high in sugar and calories. Either that, or you find yourself getting inquisitive stares from across the table as they notice your plate isn’t piled high enough to block your view!

BUT NOT THIS YEAR WE SAY! Start planning now to freshen up the variety and the quality of the meal, and most at the table will probably thank you for it!

Appetizers!

Time to get your appetizer vocabulary up to speed! Crudites (kroo-dee-tay) is a French word that means a vegetable that can be cut into sticks, thin slices, or bite size pieces and served with a cold dip. Try this easy, healthy, avocado hummus dip! Blend 2 avocados, 1 can drained chickpeas, ¼ c lemon juice and olive oil, and 1.5 TBSP tahini (optional). Salt/Pepper to taste.

Prep double the veggies and double down on another dip with this excellent version of spinach dip! No Mayo, no cream cheese or sour cream!

Check out the recipe here!

Baked Blooming Onion! Who can resist snagging a piece of a blooming onion?? Try a healthier version by baking and plating with a greek yogurt based dip. Cut the base off an onion, cutting into 12-16 sections (not cutting all the way through) and “flower” the petals, dredge in 2 egg white wash, and coat with ¼ c panko + ¼ c ground almonds + 1/8 c parmesan and spices. Bake 40-45 minutes at 375.
Find the recipe here!

Want a dip with a kick? Combine 8oz plain greek yogurt + 1 tsp sriracha sauce + 1 tbsp parsley.

Drinks!

Add 1 shot of vodka over ice, mix 16 oz water with an “on-the-go” packet of Crystal Light or Similar powder. Pour half the mix over the vodka/ice and add a splash of lemon-lime or ginger ale soda. Toss in a blender for a blended drink! Get creative with your favorite flavors. Only about 110 calories: Cheers!

Combine a packet of Swiss Miss 25 Calorie hot chocolate mix, 3/4 Cup Hot Water and 1 Peppermint Stick. Ready to kick back with something a little more? Add a quick shot of vodka, but keep in mind that will set you back an additional 100 calories. You decide what it’s worth!

Leftovers!

Are you hosting Thanksgiving? This year, buy a BIGGER turkey and rock those leftovers (or snag unwanted leftovers from the host)! Check out these great Ellipse Fitness recipes to use that leftover turkey!

Turkey Enchiladas

Turkey Tortilla Soup

No One is Too Busy for These Recipes!

SUPER SIMPLE RECIPES FOR ANYONE!

We’ve all been there…maybe some of us are there literally every night. You leave work – starving – only to come to the terrible realization that there is nothing, absolutely nothing waiting for you at home. Except maybe an equally starving family. Frozen pizza, boxed dinners loaded with preservatives and unsavory ingredients, take out – all these choices not only thrash your health and fitness goals, but your wallet! These super simple, few-ingredient recipes will save you time and money while satisfying your tastebuds – you might want to bookmark this one.

Black Bean Soup

• 2 cans black beans (rinsed)
• 1 cup chicken broth
• 1 can diced tomatoes

Combine all ingredients in a pot, bring to a boil, simmer for 10 minutes. Blend in a blender and serve. Maybe add some protein by tossing in some shredded chicken!

Freezer Fajitas

Literally just combine chicken breasts, peppers, onion, garlic, lime, honey and some seasonings into a bag. Freeze until you need it! When ready to cook, thaw overnight in the refrigerator and cook in a pan on the stovetop for 10-15 minutes until chicken is cooked through.

See the recipe here!

Stuffed Mushroom Caps

Scrape the gills out of 2 portabella mushroom caps. Fill the cap with salsa. Lightly sprinkle pine nuts and parmesan cheese over the top. Bake at 400 for 10-12 minutes or until mushrooms are warmed through and pine nuts are toasted.

Foil Packet Dinner

This one is so easy to customize and make your own, but here’s a good start:
On a sheet of foil, top some asparagus with cod or salmon, sprinkle with your favorite seasonings, top with mushrooms, diced onions, and a squeeze of lemon. Wrap up the foil packet and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Cauliflower Fried Rice

This is all the rage right now! And it’s even easier now that stores sell “Riced Cauliflower” (even at Costco!) and all kinds of prepped-for-you fresh vegetables. Grab some riced cauliflower, cut up broccoli florets, grated carrots, and frozen peas and corn! Voila. Dinner in minutes.

See the recipe here!

Rancher’s Omelet

Sauté some onions and diced red peppers until lightly browned. Add 3 oz cooked/chopped turkey sausage, a little diced tomato, and garlic. Sauté 1 minute. Use this is the filling for a regular omelet (from eggs or egg beaters) with a slice of Havarti cheese. Top omelet with salsa. YUM!

Healthy Halloween!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Spooks, skeletons, haunts and yes…pounds and pounds of candy and other goal-destroying treats! In 2016 alone, Americans purchased 90 MILLION POUNDS of chocolate on Halloween day! That doesn’t count all the purchases weeks in advance that get grazed on before trick-or-treaters ever arrive. Let’s try something a little different with these healthy treats below!

Oh?

Ahh!

But Why?

Candy corn lover?
Try this instead: In a clear glass or bowl layer pineapple chunks, oranges or mandarins, and your favorite Greek yogurt. YUM!

Did you know that your eyesight plays a HUGE role into your eating habits and overall experience? Research has shown that better looking food is enjoyed more, is more satisfying, and has even been shown to be perceived to taste better!

Stuffed Jack-O-Lanterns:
Saute garlic and onion; add ground turkey and chopped veggies (your favorite like mushrooms, onion, zucchini), then stir in tomato sauce, chopped tomatoes and other herbs like garlic powder, oregano and basil.
Stuff peppers and bake at 425 for 35 minutes

Bell peppers are exceptionally rich in Vitamin C and other antioxidants! Something more commonly associated with summertime foods, but even more important during cold season!

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds:
Don’t throw them away! Clean and dry them on paper towel. Coat with olive oil and your favorite seasonings (maybe paprika and cayenne pepper?)
Bake in the oven at 350 for 10-20 minutes depending on how crunchy you like them.

Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of potassium, and phosphorus. They also contain zinc, fiber, selenium, and manganese – essential for growth, reproduction, wound healing, brain function, and proper metabolism!

Sweet Potato Bread:
Love the cozy feeling of eating fresh bread, but want a healthier version? Try making this gluten-free, vegan sweet potato bread made with basic ingredients!
Click here for the full recipe – only 10 minutes prep!

No gluten means no high-GI wheat flour in this treat! No animal or dairy products also sures up the healthy fortitude of this fluffy bread! Not to mention sweet potatoes are a nutrient power-house with delicious flavor to boot.

Monster Snacks!
These are super fun for the kiddos! Slice apples of your choice. Spread natural peanut butter on one side of each slice and make a “sandwich” with the two apple slices. Putting macadamia nuts in-between makes them look like little monster teeth! (or raisins for rotten teeth!)

Apples are great sources of fiber (an excellent trait for snacks to have) and the fat in peanut butter will help you stay full longer! Add your favorite nuts or seeds for the teeth, maybe even add a strawberry slice for a tongue! All healthy options that you can serve your kids and their friends with pride.

Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal:
Mix rolled oats, ground flax, pumpkin puree, vanilla extract, milk, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and a little lemon juice in a glass jar overnight. Heat jar for 1.5 minutes in the microwave and top with blueberries, pumpkin seeds, or coconut chips for extra texture! Maybe even add some Ellipse Vanilla Bio-Whey protein powder!  Get the full recipe HERE.

This dish is fiber FILLED! Great for digestion and helping you to feel full! Treat that seasonal sweet tooth with a balanced, healthy breakfast. They are also a good source of iron for those with limited red meat or dark leafy greens in their diet, as well as Vitamin A and B-6.