Simple

Holiday Travel Doesn’t Have to Destroy Your Fitness!

Vacations or business trips can throw our health and fitness goals for a loop, BUT they don’t have to!

Assess the situation: Is this a family trip with regular movement and activity as you explore? It could be best to let your body RELAX, REJUVENATE, and come back to your workouts stronger and ready to go.

However, we have numerous members and guest with heavy business travel schedules that can be harder to manage. This makes knowing how to stay fit on the road all the more important! It’s hard to build a routine and stick with it, so consider building a daily routine for no matter where you are.

It could be as simple as 15 minutes. If you have extra time in the day, fantastic! If not, you are firming up your routine and making strides toward consistent healthy habits.

Stuck in a Hotel?

First off, many hotels have fitness centers with free-weights, machines, etc for you to get a workout in, but even if they don’t that is no excuse to be lazy!

• Grab some paper plates from room service (even cardstock paper can do the job in a pinch). Use them as sliders to add intensity to your lower body mountain climbers, planks with hand or foot slides, slide back alternating lunges, squats.

• Grab a shower towel or belt and stabilize your lower leg lifts, or stretch the towel between two hands overhead and perform 10 get up sit up’s (lay flat with legs wide and straight, sit up with hands/arms extended over your head).

Access to a Pool?

Swim laps! Or if that’s not your thing, try to run laps/move through the water as fast as possible, or stand in athletic stance and move your arms forward and back (in a t-position) as fast as you can with water as resistance and similarly “flapping” arms up and down. The faster your move the more the water will resist you! Move slow for therapeutic range of motion, or bring some speed for high exertion strength training!

Have kids? They love to be tossed around in water and can be a great workout! But safety first!

No Equipment? No Problem!

Body weight can work great! Think pushups, lunges, split squats, dead bugs, plyometrics, and all kinds of other movements we already do at Ellipse! Add intensity by increasing repetitions, duration, or speed.

Keep it Simple: Choose 5 movements and perform 10 reps of each for as many rounds as possible for the time you have.

Or try out these body weight travel workouts we’ve already posted on the blog!
Workout 1
Workout 2

Stash Equipment in Your Luggage!

Get a resistance tube!

• These can easily be tossed in luggage. Resistance tubes usually come with door jambs allowing you to perform most exercises in the convenience of any room! With an anchored tube in a door you can perform tons of exercises including a chest press, row, pallof press, lat pulldown, shoulder press, tricep pressdown, and more. Using your own body as an anchor you can perform resisted squats, lunges, tricep extensions, shoulder press, and more!

• Ask your trainer for demos as needed. Create a workout by choosing a push, pull, lunge, hip hinge, and single leg exercise and perform 10 reps each. Repeat for time.

Get a mini band!

• You can add sumo/monster walks, hip bridge with abduction/adduction, resisted bicycles, standing foot taps, the options are endless!

• Find more band exercises by following these links!

Check out this video for some great suggestions, or this “Perform Better” article for tips on how to blast your glutes!

Hey Siri, Google, SOMEONE! I Need Directions to Fat Loss.

“Fat Loss Happens in the Kitchen!”
…or Does It? Truth is Truth.

Dan John, a celebrity in the strength and conditioning world, an Olympian, educator and author once shared that “fat loss happens in the kitchen.” He passionately expressed how important proper nutrition is regardless of what happens in the weight room, at the gym or even right here at Ellipse Fitness Training Centers.

Blasphemy you say?!

John recommends that people who want to burn fat should eat protein and vegetables and drink water consistently for two years. THEN, let him know how it’s going.

That isn’t the answer we want to hear – I know, but most of us know that ‘truth is truth.’

Let’s argue however, that ‘truth is not truth’ in this case. Don’t worry! Dan John is correct. Fat loss doesn’t happen in the gym, but we are not so sure that it happens primarily in the kitchen either…

Fat Loss Happens…

  1. In the Drive-Thru

  2. At the Gas Station or Convenience Store

  3. At the Concession Stand

  4. At the Grocery Store

  5. THEN In the Kitchen

  6. Finally…ON YOUR PLATE!

1. In the Drive-Thru

Sure. We plan to succeed, head to the store with the list in hand and meal prep on Sunday like we are supposed to, yet SOMETIMES we run late at work, traffic backs up and advertisements seem to whisper sweet nothings from the highway billboard lies of starting tomorrow, fast and convenient and only 99 cents! The next event of the day is closing in and nothing is going according to plan. THIS is where fat loss happens for many of us…

• Chic Fil A? Try the Market Salad: 330 calories, grilled nuggets, fruit, and super food salads!
• Jimmy John’s? Go for the Unwich: a pickle on the side for crunch, no cheese please!
• McDonald’s? Choose the Southwest Salad, Egg White Breakfast Sandwich, or Grilled Chicken Wrap to help mitigate the damage when you are stuck at this joint!

2. At the Gas Station or Convenience Store

Depending on the location, chances are there is a powerhouse gas station that has a full restaurant inside. Of course they have hot dogs, taquitos, crunchy salty things, and candy.

They ALSO often have fresh fruit, salads, nuts, jerky, or protein shakes/bars (watch those ingredients! Some are just candy bars in disguise…)

Fat loss happens when we choose right on a consistent basis, time after time. Build the habit into your life!

3. At the Concession Stand

Concession stands should be called “Greasy Carb Stands”. Pretzels and cheese, candy, and soda are more than just empty calories. These foods offer ZERO nutritional ingredients and turn the day into a hotbed of poor choices!

Some may offer healthier options like grilled meats, but game days is the perfect day to stash an RX Bar, Dale’s Bar or Quest Bar in your pocket, purse, or sports bag. Keep some quick-grab goodies in your car’s center console: dried fruit, nuts, jerky, seeds, or protein balls all keep well in the car especially through the winter!

4. At the Grocery Store

Obviously healthy and then not-so-healthy options are both available at our local grocer. Here are some tips to help:

Shop the perimeter of the store. This avoids temptation to throw the dry, processed goods into our basket.
Find the pre-prepped vegetables – even if they cost more to make sure they will be used to munch on or for a quick meal.
Check out the salad bar and get more prepared fresh food. Purchase 2-4 days’ worth of food instead of a week’s worth to avoid spoilage and overeating. Drink a full glass of water before shopping. Shop on a full stomach as often as possible. Make a list and stick to it!

5. THEN in the Kitchen

We eat what we see, and we certainly can’t eat what we don’t have on hand! Keep fresh choices on the counter, and in the fridge, whenever possible. Have some meals pre-portioned and ready to go when you need to grab quickly on the way to work or come home starving!

Become the primary shopper and take control of the food in the house! Utilize Shipt and similar services for shopping if time is short. Your health is worth the extra cost! Put poor choices in the downstairs fridge or on a basement shelf. Out of sight, out of mind is true.

Meal plan. Meal prep. Make food commitments to yourself! It may be tough at first, but with repetition it becomes part of your routine.

6. Finally, ON YOUR PLATE!

What you put in your mouth…this is where the true magic happens. At least 50% of your plate should be vegetables! This may be the most important step towards fat loss and healthy nutrition in general.

What goes on our plate and in our mouth is 100% up to us. Accept full responsibility for this! Our bodies become our journals and the writing doesn’t lie!

Be honest with yourself, stay consistent, and you will be strong and healthy.

5 Ways to Boost Your Breakfast Protein for Better Results!

Breakfast.

Just the word brings about warm fuzzy feelings of coffee, toast, pancakes, potatoes, oatmeal, muffins, and more…carbohydrates.

You may be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t find breakfast to be their favorite meal of the day, but there is often one major problem with breakfast – the lack of protein! (and veggies for that matter)

Work to get a protein source at breakfast as well as a vegetable, or least a fruit to pack some extra nutrients in your “most important meal of the day”! This helps to set you up for recovery from your workouts and ensures you are giving your body what it needs to reap the benefits of all the hard work you put in at the gym!

1. Start Simple!

Start easy by making a homemade parfait with plain Greek yogurt, fruit, seeds, and perhaps a dollop of local honey or maple syrup.

Greek Yogurt is a great protein source, but be aware of flavored yogurts!! You wouldn’t believe how much sugar they add into even “healthy” brands.

2. Add Eggs!

Eggs can be as simple as hard-boiled eggs (an Instant-Pot makes these super easy by the way!) or as fancy as a breakfast casserole (think leftovers for the week!). Check out this recipe for a breakfast casserole that combines spinach, bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, eggs, and hash browns for a nutrient packed and high protein breakfast!

3. Add Cottage Cheese!

Cottage cheese can be added to many dishes to add a protein kick, like shakes and baked goods. Especially for those who aren’t a big fan, adding to baked goods is quite good!

Have you tried our classic Ellipse Protein Pancakes with cottage cheese, oatmeal, and egg beaters as the main ingredients?

Or maybe even go as simple as serving cottage cheese and berries with some Kodiak Pancakes. If you haven’t found Kodiak cakes in the store yet, you’re missing out!

4. Add Protein Powder!

So many people count on that quick morning shake or smoothie. Try adding a scoop of protein powder (and even consider a greens powder) to give your breakfast a major nutrition boost!

See the cottage cheese suggestion above as well, because it makes a great add-in to shakes as well to thicken them up and add protein.

5. Add quinoa!

Quinoa? That’s right! Quinoa has 8g of protein per cup – the highest of any grain – and it’s a vegan/vegetarian source of protein!

Try this Cinnamon Toast Breakfast Quinoa with cinnamon, pecans, and maple syrup! YUM!!

Or try this Sweet Quinoa Breakfast Bowl!

Break The Fast with Protein

Choose breakfast consciously instead of mindlessly grabbing the same thing each morning! Plan it like any other meal throughout the day.

Try adding some beans to your breakfast burrito or it could be as simple as adding some vanilla protein powder to your coffee in place of creamer (TIP: make sure to cool a small cup of coffee to mix the powder in first so it doesn’t clump from too high of heat. then add the rest after it’s been emulsified).

Pumpkin Recipes Galore for a Very Delicious Halloween Season!

It’s pumpkin season!

Let’s Kick It Off With Some Fun Facts:
– Pumpkins are a winter squash native to North America
– In other parts of the world ANY winter squash is referred to as a pumpkin)
– Because a pumpkin contains seeds, scientifically it would be classified as a fruit, though nutritionally it’s more like a vegetable
– Pumpkins are 94% water (low calorie!) and high in vitamin A (beta-carotene) and fiber
– Beta-carotene may reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancers. Grab your pumpkins and pumpkin puree this week to try some delicious new seasonal recipes!

As a storage crop, pumpkins can be stored in a cool dry place for up to 2 months. The best pumpkins to cook with are “pie pumpkins” which are a smaller and sweeter variety as opposed to the ones you carve for Halloween.

Know The Difference!

It may sound obvious to some, but you must be sure to make the right choice when grabbing canned pumpkin puree from the store!

There is a difference between “Pumpkin” and “Pumpkin Pie Mix”, although the cans sometimes look darn near identical.

Pumpkin Pie Mix however can have as many as 10-15 grams MORE sugar per serving!! And that adds up fast. Pumpkin is naturally sweet on it’s own, consider just adding some nutmeg, cinnamon and clove for authentic pie flavoring!

Let's Get Cooking!    

Flourless Pumpkin Muffins

These Healthy Flourless Pumpkin Muffins are moist, delicious, and super easy to make. They’re gluten-free, oil-free, dairy-free, and refined sugar-free!

Pumpkin Chocolate Yogurt

Combine Greek yogurt with pumpkin puree, honey, cinnamon, and cocoa powder – Enjoy!

Crustless Pumpkin Pie

Did someone say PIE? We would be foolish not to mention such a thing in pumpkin season after all…

This recipe recommends your sugar of choice or xylitol which is often used as a sugar-free substitute. Xylitol is a naturally occurring alcohol in many plants and contains 2.4 calories per gram in comparison to 4 calories per gram for table sugar.

Tired of the Same Old Protein Shake?

• 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
• 10 oz unsweetened almond milk
• 1/4 cup pumpkin purée (try frozen puree for a thicker consistency!)
• 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
• 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
• 1 cup ice
Blend and enjoy!

Healthy Pumpkin Soup

Velvety, creamy, rich and smooth…this is such an easy, healthy pumpkin soup recipe that you will be able to pull off in no time!

Blueberry Pumpkin Oat Muffins

This recipe replaces the oil or butter with pumpkin puree and applesauce which keeps the muffins moist without losing flavor. By having one of these instead of your standard coffee shop blueberry muffin, you’ll save 200 calories and 18g of fat!

Find the full recipe here!

WHO: Up to 50% of Cancer Cases Preventable with Lifestyle Change

National Breast Cancer awareness month kicked off this week, so we thought it an appropriate time to discuss how lifestyle, nutrition and exercise can reduce your risk of developing different types of cancers.

Cancer in general is caused by genetic changes or mutations leading to uncontrolled cell growth and tumor formation. This is part of the reason that it is so difficult to treat and study, because the causal factors are not quite as black-and-white as bacterial or viral diseases.

The good news however, is that according to the World Health Organization between 30-50% of cancer cases are preventable, and most often with simply a lifestyle change! Even in high-risk women, lifestyle change has been shown to decrease risk of breast cancer as well as other cancers. Let’s talk about what you need to be aware of and what steps can be taken to potentially reduce your risk of developing cancer.

1. More More, Sit Less!

For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity weekly, plus strength training at least twice a week. That boils down to 30 minutes of activity daily! Activity also increases your immune defenses!

Limit screen time. Consider investing in a fitness tracker to see what an average day for you looks like for movement.

2. Eat Healthy!

The Mediterranean diet for instance has shown to be one good guide for nutrition since it focuses on mostly on plant-based foods – such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts.

Limit sugars, processed food, and red meat. Oh and…EAT MORE VEGETABLES.

3. Don’t Smoke; Limit Alcohol

Worldwide, tobacco exposure (chewing, smoking and second-hand) is the single greatest avoidable risk factor for cancer mortality and kills
millions of people each year, from cancer and other diseases.

Tobacco smoke has more than 7000 chemicals, at least 250 are known to be harmful and more than 50 are known to cause cancer. Interestingly, Tobacco PLUS alcohol substantially increases the risk. Also, according to the CDC more than 100 studies have found an increased risk of breast cancer with increasing alcohol intake.

4. Strive for a Healthy Weight!

According to Wikipedia, in the United States excess body weight is associated with 14-20% of all cancer deaths. Although there are much better ways to figure out what weight is the right weight for your body type, a quick reference guide is the Body Mass Index. Although we know that weight is not a perfect indicator of health (because it doesn’t measure overall fat or lean tissue content) it is a good starting point in figuring your potential risks and determining health goals.

You can certainly get a more in-depth look by measuring body composition via Bioelectrical Impedance, Skin Folds, Hydrostatic Weighing or other methods. Do your research and seek out a certified professional!

5. Get Your Routine Check Ups!

When it comes to your health and prevention of cancers and other diseases, healthy food, exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight play a big role in prevention. Even the healthiest of us however, should still see a doctor regularly to be proactive and ensure everything seems up to par. Prevention costs infinitely less than the cost (financially, physically, and emotionally) of treating disease.

Do These 3 Things to Lose 2 Pounds This Week!

Are you tired of starting a diet only to start it over again and miss out on all the results you were expecting or promised?

SO ARE WE!

Let’s keep this simple.

1. PFW – Fat loss happens when we pay attention to what goes in our mouths. Focus on Protein, Fiber, and Water.

 • Stop focusing on what to eliminate and focus on eating more proteins like chicken, eggs, and fish.
 • Forget the trendy headliner diet and enjoy the fiber found in fruits and vegetables. The more fibrous the food, the more it satisfies.
 • Drinking just 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water will do more than just hydrate. Drinking this, relatively small, amount of water will curb an appetite and ensure the mind doesn’t get thirst confused with hunger. We recommend drinking your bodyweight in ounces of water. Go the extra mile!

2. Move MORE!

 • Walking at a leisure pace for 30 minutes 3-4 times each week can significantly decrease the stress hormone cortisol and allow the body to focus on other functions besides stress management. Fat loss is one of those functions.
 • Already walking and not seeing results? Check that it is a true leisure walk. The kind of walk that is not measured on a tracking device and occurs at a speed that would allow you to hold a cup of coffee or tea in your hand. Slow down a little. Something tells us that your life is moving fast enough on its own.
 • Truly leisure walking and working out and STILL NOT SEEING RESULTS?? Go back to tip number 1 for a seven day stretch.

3. Get some ZZZZzzzzz’s

 • No, we are not suggesting a crazy supplement or product called ZZZZzzzzz’s. We are suggesting that quality sleep can allow your mind and body to fully recover from the day.
 • This should NOT be underestimated! This will set all your systems and faculties up for success. Start each day rested and ready for results.

Our resolve will be challenged every step of the way!

Efforts to consume more PFW may be compromised or sabotaged by quick-fix shakes that offer little more than flavor and expense. Moving more does not entail moving all the time to continue eating, sabotaging, and compromising one’s self to avoid change. Avoiding change nutritionally is the equivalent to avoiding change physically!

Know this: We promised simple. That doesn’t necessarily mean EASY! It is uncomfortable outside of the comfort zone. Declaring war means preparing to battle, holding your ground, and occasionally…fighting back!

If you’re excited about the simplicity of all this, but need a little extra guidance and motivation then let us help! It is literally what we live for!

Our 21-Day Ellipse Fitness Training Camp will give you all the tools you need to get on your way to making staggering change that can last you a lifetime.

21 days of unlimited training sessions PLUS one small group personal training session per week!

Nutrition Guidance, Ellipse Cookbook, Simple Meal Plan and Shopping List!

Before/After Weight, Pictures, Tape Measurements and Body Composition to give you a clear picture of your progress and results!

Welcoming, fantastically supportive group atmosphere, friendly and knowledgeable coaching staff, accountability, motivation, and MORE!

“Squash” the Boring or Tired Menu with Brand New Recipes!

It’s squash season!

Now is the time to munch on some squash while it is at its peak in flavor and nutrition. Pick it up in bulk for cheap at your local markets, because squash can be stored in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated area (like a basement) for months in most cases! Keep squash on hand for those days where you may not have planned well enough and run out of vegetables in the house!

We are going to shine a light on some lesser-known varieties, and give you some fantastic ways to use them!

Delicata Squash

Delicata squash have a cucumber-y shape but are yellow with green variegated lines and grooves. Delicata are delicious due to their sweet flavor and edible skin. Slice delicata the lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, and cut into quarter-inch moons. Place on baking sheet sprayed with oil (Mistos work great), spritz the top of the squash “moons” and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place under broiler on low. When the tops are golden brown, flip until bottom side is browned and enjoy!

Acorn Squash

Acorn squash (also called a pepper squash) has the shape of an acorn, with ridges. Like a delicata squash, this winter squash has thin skin which is edible when cooked. The mildly sweet and nutty flavor however lend itself well in savory dishes where it is a base layer or by itself in sweet dishes.

It’s also the king of squash nutritionally speaking with the most folate, calcium, magnesium and potassium! 1 cup of cooked acorn squash has more potassium than 2 bananas and 9 grams of fiber (adult men need 38g/day and adult women need 25g/day).

PRO TIP: Acorn squash is HARD! To cut it, try microwaving for approx. 3 minutes before cutting to make it easier.

Butternut Squash

Coming in second place, nutritionally, is Butternut squash. Butternut squash has a sweet, nutty flavor that is perfect for simply cubing and roasting in the oven with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper! This squash can also offer a healthy sweet treat by tossing it with cinnamon, maple syrup, and salt until caramelized in the oven – YUM!

Butternut squash, with its sweet flavor, can also be substituted for Mexican dishes that often contain sweet potatoes. Although you likely will not eat a whole butternut squash in one sitting, one butternut squash has over 350% of your vitamin A requirements!

Spaghetti Squash

Although spaghetti squash offers the lowest nutritional density of the squashes, it’s also a great low carb and low calorie vegetable option or substitute for heavy starches like pasta! Eat spaghetti squash on its own, maybe tossed with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper or swap it out for noodles in your favorite dish.

Now Let’s Get Cooking!

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Filled with brown rice, lean ground beef, tomatoes and warming spices this dish is a comforting and splendidly colorful meal loaded with earthy and delicious flavors!

Turkey Mushroom Apple Acorn Squash

Looking for a simple, nutritious dinner? This recipe is perfect for a quick meal and filled with warm winter flavors!

Butternut Squash Enchilada Casserole

20 minutes prep time, major flavor, and easily converted to vegan!

Mexican Stuffed Butternut Squash

This weeknight dinner might look fancy, but it’s unbelievably easy to make! Savory, wholesome, vegetarian goodness in under an hour

Spaghetti Squash

The flesh of spaghetti squash comes out in long strands, very much resembling the noodles for which it is named. In this recipe, the ‘noodles’ are tossed with vegetables and feta cheese.

5 Fitness Essentials from Ellipse Fitness

Whether you have been at Ellipse for some time or are newer to the fitness world, there are a few things you’ll want to do your homework on.

Get a good water bottle.

Find something that will encourage you to stay plenty hydrated and is convenient, keep in mind that if it is a burden to you – you will drink less. You can even find double-insulated bottles that are easy to fill, clean, and keep everything cool for up to 24 hours!

Get the right shoes!

This is a big one! Sometimes when our ankles, knees, etc bother us, it could very well be related to the shoes we wear. Make sure you do your homework on the best shoe for you. Many appreciate the feel of barefoot shoes, some feet need support for over pronation, supination, etc.
Next, you’ve got to acknowledge when those things are worn out! Be sure to replace your shoes regularly enough. The average running shoe needs to be replaced about every 400 miles for instance…watch the wear on the bottom and sides. Don’t wait until you are in pain. Also, be aware that it’s a myth that shoes need to be broken in!

Recovery

Set yourself up to recover properly with enough water, sleep, and movement! This last one can often be neglected. We finish a workout, give ourselves a job well done and then proceed to sit around for the rest of the day, but this will only lead to more soreness!
Your movements may include recovery tools such as a foam roller, tennis or lacrosse ball, or even a TENS unit (electric pulse massager). Try not to only use the foam rollers at the gym. It’s a great investment to use at home as well, and they are pretty cheap. Tennis balls can help with those hard to reach areas and so can specialty rollers, like a Rollga, can help with different pressure points. Ask your trainer for the best recovery tool/process for you!

Back to your feet again…Socks!

It’s not something we usually invest in as much as we may want to, but a good pair of socks can go a long way to keeping your feet healthy! Too small of a sock and your ankle can rub on the back of your shoe. Too big of a sock and you can cause blistering.
Try some of our favorite brands like Darn Tough (yes, they make a sport line AND they have a LIFE-TIME guarantee! No BS), Smart Wool, and/or socks made of a sweat wicking material.

Gloves!

Still have that same set of boxing gloves from 3 years ago? It may be time to purchase a new pair! When the padding wears down in your boxing gloves, your hands can begin to ache. Just like your shoes, you should replace your gloves when they start wearing unevenly.

*Side note: Lifting Gloves – Although your grip can be impacted, some people don’t appreciate the calluses that can occur from regular strength training due to occupation or personal preference. For those situations, find a proper fitted lifting glove and keep packed in your gym bag with your boxing gloves, water bottle, sweat towel, and shoes!

What fitness equipment can YOU not live without?? Leave us a comment with your favorites and why!

Concerned with the aesthetic side-effects of working out? Well, a few months ago we went over the differences between deodorant and antiperspirant. Find a deodorant that helps neutralize your underarm bacteria. Each body responds to ingredients differently. What works for your friend may not work for you! You may need to experiment with a few to find the right one for you. At the gym, as a courtesy to others (especially with asthma), avoid heavy body sprays and perfumes/colognes. Have to run to an appointment after a workout? Keep baby wipes, or your favorite microfiber washcloth, in your gym back for a last minute freshen up.

Stir Fry: Quick and Easy Healthy Cooking!

Stir Fry is a Chinese technique of cooking in a small amount of oil, over high heat, in a bowl-shaped pan (wok) while being stirred. Stir fry can be a great component of healthy eating since it usually contains lots of veggies and lean protein. The stir fry technique allows veggies to retain their color, crunch, and most importantly nutrients!

Step 1: Choose Your Protein, Seasonings and Veggies

This is the foundation of all stir fry, and a fantastic base for healthy eating! Below you’ll see we’ve got beef, chicken, and even veggie stir fry with chickpeas and snow peas for a protein boost!

Step 2: Prep Your Ingredients

Any given recipe uses about a pound of protein, 1 tablespoon of aromatics, and 4 cups of vegetables. Stir fry comes together quickly, so you need all of your ingredients chopped and ready to go before you begin cooking.
TIP: Consider buying pre-chopped onions, matchstick carrots, etc if you are strapped for time!

Step 3: Make Your Sauce

Sauce…maybe the biggest factor between eating and dining! A basic stir fry sauce would include garlic, soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar/honey, stock/water, and cornstarch. Get creative! Just make your own whenever possible because pre-packaged sauce often comes with unsavory ingredients.
TIP: Cook up a huge batch of brown rice when you have extra time and freeze it in storage bags. If you whip together a last minute stir-fry, pull out of the freezer, cut open the bag and microwave covered for about 5 minutes.

Step 4: Time to Stir Fry

Cook your protein for a few minutes alone until browned and set aside (does not have to be cooked through). Add oil, aromatics, then veggies until cooked, but crunchy. Recombine, add sauce and simmer a few minutes. Voila!
TIP: Aromatics are ingredients like garlic, green onions, shallots, ginger that are heated in some sort of fat/oil to release the flavor, cook these by themselves in the oil for 30 seconds to a minute, being careful not to burn them before adding the veggies.

Step 5: Serve and Enjoy!

Add a little culinary flare to your dish with garnishes such as cilantro, green onions, or sesame seeds for flavor and presentation. Enjoy a speedy, flavor packed meal!

Why a Wok??

The shape of the pan and constantly stirring helps make sure things aren’t over-cooked so veggies can retain their crunch and the aromatics don’t burn! When it’s time to add the sauce, push the contents to the side of the pan so they stop cooking on the most intense heat, and pour your sauce in the middle until thickens/boils before mixing it all together!

Recipes for Starters!

Hot Summer, Cold Salads!

Now don’t get us wrong, the grill has a special place in the Summertime rotation, but sometimes you are just too hot to stand over an open flame and what you really need is to cool down!

This week we have a bunch of excellent, COLD salad recipes for you so you can give a major boost to your nutrition this summer, cool down your body, and delight your taste buds!

Vegetable Bean Salad

Try this large batch veggie-loaded cold salad with a sweet, and optionally spicy kick!

Check it out: Cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, sweet peppers, corn, avocado, cilantro and beans get topped with a dressing of apple cider vinegar, olive oil, raw honey, hot sauce/chilies (to taste), garlic, and salt/pepper. This was a huge family hit! (The proof is in the picture…) It goes great with almost any main protein meal since you now have your vegetable, carb, and fat taken care of!

TIP: Try using unfiltered apple cider vinegar. It is known to have many medicinal properties, including easing GI distress.

Get the full recipe here!

Zoodle Salad

Zucchini + tomatoes + basil + mozzarella balls topped with balsamic vinegar. So simple! Sooo good…Get the recipe here!

TIP: Balsamic vinegar is traditionally made in Italy from unfiltered, unfermented pressed grapes (not fermented alcohol like other vinegars) and aged like wine. The older the vinegar, the sweeter and more syrupy – not to mention more expensive. Beware: a lot of cheap balsamic vinegar is just an imitation, made by adding color to white wine. Look at the label for words like “grape must”, “aged grape must”, “Mosto d’Uva” or “DOC.”

Cold Shrimp Salad

Shrimp is a good source of protein and a nice change of pace. This recipe can be made even quicker with precooked shrimp, then simply toss with a healthy dressing and served over lettuce leaves or as a salad topper/dressing.

Shrimp with celery, red onion, and dill + dressing. We love simple – had you noticed?

The dressing is made with mayo (could also part plain Greek yogurt part Mayo), lemon, and dijon.

TIP: This recipe was tested using 1/4 c Greek yogurt + 1/4 c Mayo, however 1/8 c mayo would likely have been enough.

Click here for the recipe!

Greek Salad

Who doesn’t love the classic taste of cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, and feta? Today’s Greek Salad has a dressing that can be used for any lettuce salad: red wine vinegar, olive oil, lemon, oregano, and salt/pepper.

TIP: Red wine vinegar, as the name suggests, is made from red wine that is allowed to ferment. It’s one of the more popular vinegars with its sharp taste, making it great for vinaigrettes, salad dressings, and marinades.

Unfamiliar with this classic recipe? Check it out here!

Quinoa Salad

A terrific way to use your garden surplus, create a satisfyingly filling dish, plus get a protein boost from the quinoa!

Quinoa + cucumbers + tomatoes + onion, avocado, feta, and parsley. This cold salad offers a light creamy feel yet light for summer. Serves well with chicken on the side or incorporated right in! Rave reviews from the kids and adults alike!

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Bonus Tuna Salad

This is one refreshing take on the timeless classic. Red onions, dill pickles and hot sauce pack a serious punch of flavor that make this recipe particularly enjoyable. Try wrapping it up in some romaine lettuce!

Full recipe here!