Chocolate chip pumpkin bars

           CHOCOLATE CHIP PUMPKIN BARS

INGREDIENTS:

  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup coconut palm sugar
  • 1 scoop of protein powder- optional
  • ½ cup of pumpkin
  • 1 mini avocado ( about ¼ cup mashed)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • ½ cup coconut milk-full fat
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp pumpkin spice
  • 1 ½ cups of almond flour
  • Chocolate chips or dark chocolate chunks

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper or spray. 
  2. Cream the butter and sugar, add the remaining wet ingredients.
  3. Mix together the baking soda, spices, and almond flour.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix well with a hand mixer.
  5. Stir in the chocolate of your choice and pour batter into dish. Bake approximately 20-25 minutes. Toothpick should come out clean.

Pepperoni chicken roll ups

PEPPERONI CHICKEN ROLL UPS

So Yes I might have broiled these a bit too long, however that’s how I prefer them! They’re a simple appetizer to make.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Sandwich pepperoni- I used nitrate free
  • Cooked (or Grilled) chicken slices, you could also substitute with organic deli turkey
  • Cheese slices, I used mozzarella
  • Sliced red, orange, or yellow peppers

You honestly can use any veggie or any cheese that you prefer.

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Place slices of the pepperoni onto a baking dish lined with parchment paper.
  2. Place a slice of chicken, a pepper, and slice of cheese onto each pepperoni.
  3. Roll them up or fold them and close with a toothpick.
  4. Broil in oven for about 5 minutes or desired cooking time. You can also eat them cold if you prefer.

Cold zucchini salad

COLD ZUCCHINI SALAD

This is a great salad to bring to your next picnic or summer BBQ. It’s a healthier alternative to a pasta salad.

INGREDIENTS:

⦁ 2 zucchini’s
⦁ Chopped cucumber
⦁ Chopped olives
⦁ Cherry tomatoes
⦁ Green and/or red peppers
⦁ Dressing of choice-Italian works well, I used a Trader Joe’s in this particular salad
⦁ Pepper to taste, optional- McCormick salad seasoning
⦁ Feta cheese, parmesan, or cheddar
There are so many variations you can include in your own creation.

DIRECTIONS:
⦁ Peel and spiralize your zucchini. Combine all ingredients together. Enjoy!

Healthier thin mint cookies

THIN MINT COOKIES-WITH ALMOND FLOUR

These are a healthier version of a “thin mint” cookie.

INGREDIENTS:

Cookies:

  • 1 cup of almond flour
  • 1 scoop of chocolate protein powder- or 2 tbls cocao powder
  • 1 tablespoon of sweetner- coconut sugar, maple syrup or honey
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons of butter or coconut oil
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp mint extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Pinch of salt

Chocolate coating:

  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
  • ¼ cup of dark chocolate
  • ¼  tsp mint or peppermint extract

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine almond flour, sweetener, butter, protein powder, baking soda, salt, extracts, and egg in a bowl. If the dough is a little crumbly add a little almond milk. Refrigerate dough for about 10-15 minutes.
  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll the dough into balls and flatten them out with your fingers. Bake for 11-13 minutes.
  1. Melt the coconut oil and chocolate in microwave for a minute. Add mint extract.
  1. Pour or dip the cooled cookies into the chocolate. Store in freezer or in fridge.

Why I don’t “deserve” it

  WHY I DON’T “ DESERVE” IT

I used to tell myself that I needed or deserved “comfort food” it was typically dessert-ice cream, cake or chocolate that I wanted. We experience different emotions or reasons that we crave certain foods,whether it’s a  special occasion, feeling sad, depressed, happy, bored etc. You may have heard some upsetting news or it just might be the weekend. Unfortunately we associate food with social events as well. I however was reluctant to eat around others in fear of being judged.I used to wait until nobody was around so I could eat alone.

Let’s face it It’s mostly an excuse when we think we deserve or give ourselves permission to eat something. I’m not saying we can’t indulge or enjoy things once in a while, however it becomes a problem when we attach our eating to emotions. It happens more than you may think or you might not realize that you even do it yourself. It’s important to acknowledge when you are eating and why.

Some strategies that I use to help control cravings and emotional eating:

  1. RECOGNIZE WHEN & WHY YOU ARE EATING: do you tell yourself that you “deserve it” because you had a long week or the kids stressed you out today? I remind myself that I don’t need to reward myself with food. Replace it with something else you enjoy. Accept that you can allow yourself with a treat but not because you deserve it.
  2. RESEARCH THE NUTRITION FACTS: be aware of what you are about to eat. Check out how much sugar, the amount of carbs, and what kind of ingredients it contains. Most restaurants have nutritional info online. Check out that cookie or mac and cheese label before you make a decision.
  3. I TALK MYSELF OUT OF IT: I know this sounds easier than done. It takes lots of practice and some self control. I have to ask myself do I really need this or want it? I recently had a craving for pizza, I took a few minutes until I literally made myself walk away and resist it.
  4. WILL I REGRET IT & IS IT WORTH IT: I put my goals first, I am maintaining my weight now and do not want to go back to my “heavier” self. This takes motivation and sometimes eating the ice cream isn’t worth the extra calories.
  5. I THINK ABOUT THE LAST TIME I INDULGED: I often remember the last time I gave in or indulged in a specific item. Normally it was not as good as I thought it would be. This deters me from caving again. I also recall how I felt afterwards, physically and/or emotionally.
  6. I STILL AM ACCOUNTABLE: it helps me to reach out or tell someone else that I am considering eating or not eating. Having that person makes me feel better after acknowledging it.
  7. HAVE TO REMEMBER THAT I DON’T EAT LIKE THAT ANYMORE: I have worked way too hard to give into temptations.  

Lemon pudding

LEMON PUDDING

Image result for trader joes ricaotta

This is an easy satisfying snack or dessert, and low in sugar! One container of the lemon ganache is 8 carbs and 5 sugars. Also have a chocolate option, although a little higher in sugars.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup of ricotta cheese
  • 1 Lemon ganache
  • Mini chocolate chips- optional

DIRECTIONS:

Combine all ingredients together and enjoy! Store in fridge.

HOW EATING FAT HAS WORKED FOR MY LONG TERM SUCCESS

HOW EATING FAT HAS WORKED FOR MY LONG TERM SUCCESS

“Fat free” and “low fat” has been imbedded in our heads since the 1980’s. Most of us have come to the realization that fat is not bad for us. However some diets continue to promote these products, without focusing on the carbs and/or sugar. Of course everything in moderation, we should never eliminate any one food group.

ARE FOODS HIGHER IN CARBS HEALTHIER THAN HIGH FAT FOODS??

Would you choose pasta, rice, bread, and fruit, cereal ,or even candy as a healthy alternative to almonds, avocado, salmon, tuna, peanut butter, or dark chocolate? I wouldn’t, yet some diets still recommend foods because they are low fat.

I understand that many have had success losing weight on certain “diets”. My goal is long term weight loss success as well as eating healthy! I believe we need a better understanding on why we can eat fat and pay attention to how much sugar, carbs, and fiber is in our food. Just because something is low fat and” lo cal” doesn’t make it healthier.

I myself have been very successful as well as the many clients I have counseled by eating fat and limiting sugar and carb intake. I can’t stress enough how important label reading and understanding is for your daily eating plan. With any plan it is so important to pay attention to portion control

!* DID YOU KNOW??Dark chocolate contains cocao butter, which is high in saturated fat, however ⅓ of chocolate’s fat comes from stearic acid which does not raise LDL ( the bad ) cholesterol.

I have shown 2 images of ground turkey vs. ground beef, which seems to be a typical “healthier”substitute. The differences are minimal but the end result is that the lean ground beef is healthier.  Most products that are low fat or fat free contain more sugar or artificial sweeteners which we have learned is NOT a better alternative! These lead to weight gain, type 2 diabetes, dementia, high cholesterol, etc. Our bodies do not need sugar like we need fat.

Why Fat is ESSENTIAL to our health:

  • Keeps you full-not carbs and sugar
  • Helps absorb vitamins A,D,E, and K- they cannot function without fat
  • Insulates the body and help sustain a normal core temperature
  • Stabilizes cholesterol and lowers your overall risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Helps protect your organs
  • Provides energy- better than carbs
  • Helps regulate your hormones

Of course there is a difference in the types of fats we should be consuming. Always avoid trans fats, consume saturated fats in moderation, and add lots of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated.

It has been labeled that fat, especially saturated fat is the cause of heart disease.

*studies also show that almost 40% of Americans saturated fat intake comes from pizza, cookies, cake, processed meat, fries, pasta dishes, candy and chips, all of which contain high count of carbohydrates and sugar!

* Only 23 % of Americans’ saturated fat intake comes from whole foods like eggs, organic beef, cheese, nuts and butter.

CARBOHYDRATES AFFECT YOUR CHOLESTEROL!

In a nutshell…every time carbs are absorbed ( approx every 10 grams), your body secretes insulin. The liver breaks down glycogen molecules into glucose and is used for energy. Glycogen is the prefered storage form of glucose since it is easily accessible, however there is limited space inside the liver.

Therefore, excess glucose ( if we don’t burn it for energy) needs a different storage form. So the liver transforms this glucose into new molecules of triglycerides, also known as body fat. Eating excess carbs can lead to an increase in saturated fat levels in the blood.

After a meal, the body will burn glucose before it burns fat.

HEALTHIER SUMMER DRINK ALTERNATIVES

HEALTHIER SUMMER DRINK ALTERNATIVES

We all love those iced summer beverages!

I wanted to share some of the healthier options to look for. Most of them can contain up to 150 grams of sugar ( about 38 tsp) and 900 calories!

TIM HORTONS:

  • ICED CAPP- 33 sugars( 8 TSP)

BETTER OPTIONS:

  • ICED COFFEE- 12 CARBS AND 8 SUGARS( 2 TSP)
  • MOCHA ICED COFFEE- 21 CARBS & 13 SUGARS( 3 TSP)

STARBUCKS:

  • VENTI CARAMEL FRAPPUCCINO-58 SUGARS (15 TSP)

BETTER OPTIONS:

  • ICED COFFEE LATTE-10 CARBS & 9 SUGARS
  • TALL COFFEE FRAPP- 17 CARBS & 12 SUGARS
  • SHORT MOCHA FRAPP-19 CARBS & 13 SUGARS

          DUNKIN DONUTS:

  • FROZEN CHOCOLATE- 138 CARBS & 125 SUGARS ( 31 TSP)
  • MEDIUM FROZEN COFFEE-MOCHA- 151 CARBS & 140 SUGARS

BETTER OPTIONS:

  • ICED LATTE- 17 CARBS & 15 SUGARS
  • ICED MACCHIATOS- 11 CARBS & 11 SUGARS

What I’m doing with my “winter weight”

WHAT I’M GOING TO DO WITH MY WINTER WEIGHT

I am pretty sure I’m not the only one that has gained a few pounds over the winter. Now spring and summer is quickly approaching and I’m ready to lose these pounds! I am a little disappointed but it does happen, so I first try to identify how and why I have gained. Personally I have been reverting to a couple of old habits and not being as “strict” as I normally would be. Just because I know what to do doesn’t mean I’ll do it.

  1. I’M GOING TO SET AND WRITE DOWN A NEW GOAL: there’s nothing wrong with setting new small goals when you get off track. This helps me stay accountable to myself. One thing I always tell my clients is to MOVE FORWARD! No matter how disappointed you are or how much you might have eaten you have to move on.
  2. I’M GOING BACK TO BASICS: sometimes we all have to revert back to when we started to lose weight or what has worked in the past.
  3. I’M GOING TO PAY ATTENTION TO EVERYTHING I EAT: I guess this kind of fits into the category of #2. I believe this is how these extra pounds came on. All the little bites and snacks add up! I have allowed myself a couple of extra things that I normally wouldn’t. Some chips, crackers or a little more chocolate than normal.
  4. I’M FOCUSING ON LABEL SPECIFICS-AGAIN: another huge habit that has always helped me is watching  the serving size, how many carbs, sugar, and protein it contains. I need to be more cautious of eating more than I need during the day-and at night!

“CHANGE HAPPENS THROUGH HABITS IN  DAILY ROUTINE”

Beef cauliflower soup

BEEF CAULIFLOWER SOUP

This is my take on Beef barley soup. I tried to recreate this for my boyfriend, a healthier version of what his mom used to make.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 cups of beef broth
  • ¼ cup tomato sauce
  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 1 bag of riced cauliflower- cooked and drained
  • ½ onion chopped
  • 2 carrots chopped
  • 2 tsp of garlic powder

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Brown ground beef until no longer pink. Add in onion and carrots.
  2. Stir in the sauce, garlic powder and broth. Bring to a boil then let it simmer.
  3. I transferred mine to a crockpot on low for 2 hours.