Recipes & Brands

DIET TALK: Do You Have Plan B?

Atkins Breakfast SandwichWhile I primarily eat whole food on the Atkins Diet, I am also enjoying their frozen dinners. Let’s be realistic. We can’t always do Plan A, and cook a fresh meal. Life gets hectic and we need to have a Plan B. Plan B for Atkins is pre-packaged meals – and it’s been a relief to have that option in a pinch.

The first Atkins meal I got to try was the breakfast sandwich. Since Atkins allows for more fat in their foods, a small breakfast sandwich stuck with me longer than low-fat, high-carb versions. I threw some hot sauce on this bad boy and it was quite tasty! (Marley wanted to taste it too! Lol)

Atkins Frozen Meals:

  • High quality proteins without fillers
  • Premium cuts of vegetables
  • Gravies and sauces made with real natural creams and butter
  • No added sugars or preservatives
  • 4-7g Net Carbs per meal
  • Fits all 4 phases of Atkins

Pre-Packaged Food: Good or Bad?

ATKINS FROZEN MEALSI have to laugh when people slam pre-packaged foods. While I absolutely agree that whole foods are ideal (and the healthiest option), ideal isn’t always realistic. Ironically, it’s often times the same people who want to argue about frozen food who never think twice about eating out – not realizing many restaurants relay on pre-packaged foods too. (Granted, I do know some of my fit-friends are totally and successfully dedicated to eating organic and completely healthy – and you are our idol. But, for the rest of us mere humans, we just do our best. ;)  )

Here’s my take on pre-packaged foods for the health-conscience:
They are convenient, and much better than other convenient options. So many people would be so much thinner and healthier if they chose frozen dinners over eating out. Some people complain they are too expensive, yet they’ll drop double the money on a biggie size meal. While it is an initial investment upfront, they can save you money in the long run.

summer saladHealthy intentions are wasted if it never turns into healthy actions. This requires honesty – to your self and to others. You can never succeed if you aren’t realistic about what you are willing to do, or not to do. People set their sites too high, with great intentions to cook healthy food. But, as life gets busy, they find themselves in a bind, sitting at a drive-through window with a car full of kids because they didn’t have time between school and soccer practice to actually cook a real meal. Meanwhile, their fresh veggies are rotting in the fridge because they haven’t had the time to cook. Good intentions? Yes. Bad actions? Yes. Easy and convenient trumps healthy yet once again. However, this wouldn’t happen if you had go-to meals on hand, or you had prepared your meals in advance.

Plan to Succeed

Plan A – You can’t cook healthy if you don’t shop healthy. Plan A begins with shopping smart. Atkins actually gives you a shopping list of foods you can buy to help you shop healthier when you sign up for their free online tools. They also offer recipes and meal plans to help you you’re your meals. http://community.atkins.com/Login.aspx

Plan A2 – The 2nd part of Plan A is you actually have to do something with the food you buy. My suggestion is to set aside time over the weekend to prepare food for the week. We grill out a bunch of chicken, cut up veggies to cook later and do any food prep on Sunday so we are ready to eat right on Monday.

Plan A3 – Yes, there is one more step to Plan A. You can’t eat healthy if you don’t shop healthy or cook healthy, but you also can’t eat healthy if it stays in the fridge. Be sure to have a good selection of Tupperware and Ziploc bags on hand so you can pack your food for lunch, or so you can grab a meal to go in a hurry. The more convenient you make your healthy selections, the more likely you are to eat what you prepared.

Atkins barsPlan B – Finally Plan B. Plan B stands for your “Back-up plan”. Think of frozen dinners as your plan B. Always choose healthy whole foods first, but have other options when Plan A isn’t doable. This may include some frozen dinners, bars, snacks, shakes and other convenient selections. Plan B is much better than Plan C – which is to “Cheat” on your diet! Say no to Plan C!

Plan D - What? A Plan D? Yes, it’s called “Do-Overs”. Seriously. So many people fail because they mess up once or twice and decide that diet didn’t work for them – when, if you were honest, YOU didn’t work for you. Eating healthy takes work. The diet doesn’t fail, WE fail. If you rely on a diet to do all the work for you, you will be disappointed. Diets are there to give you guidance, but you need to learn as you go so your diet can be a permanent life change.

While you won’t need to be in a caloric deficit forever, the principles of healthy eating should continue to be applied while in maintenance. Explore the Akins website, learn why their eating principles work and learn how you can apply them in your normal meal planning. The more you learn, the more you can change the way you eat forever – and that’s the difference between dieting and just eating healthier. Go the distance. Keep doing Do-Overs until you get it right. Eventually, healthy habits will stick!

Fight Cravings

self-controlAtkins offers some healthy alternatives to help fight cravings. I’ll brag on their tasty bars another day, but I have to admit I was very happy to have some Atkins chocolate covered almonds when I faced a sweet craving. I popped 3-4 in my mouth and it was exactly what I needed to end the fixation on chocolate I suddenly had. I’m afraid to think of what I would have done if all I had in the kitchen was ice cream!

Eat this, not that:

Salty Craving Fix

When I craved chips and popcorn, I cut thin slices of low-fat sharp cheddar cheese and sliced up a dill pickle to end my salty craving. Here are some more salty fixes.

  • Sliced Cucumbers with Red Wine Vinegar & Cracked Pepper
  • ¼ Cup Hummus with Celery & Carrots
  • 2 T Peanut Butter with Celery
  • ½ C Cottage Cheese and tomato on a bed of lettuce with a Splash of Balsamic Vinegar
  • Celery & Sliced Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • Sliced Tomato with Shredded Parmesan Cheese & Garlic (Roasted is even better!)
  • Sliced Lunch Meat with Laughing Cow Cheese, Sliced Egg White & Hot Sauce

Sweet Cravings

I don’t crave sweets often, but I am thankful for Greek yogurt when I do! Here are a few sweet treats to end s sweet tooth.

  • ½ C Cottage Cheese with Pineapple
  • 2 T Almond Butter with Celery or Apple
  • ½ C Greek Yogurt with Blueberries
  • Decaf coffee or tea
  • Protein Shake
  • Endulge Atkins Treats
  • Advantage Bars

Follow Atkins for More Tips & Recipes

  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AtkinsDiet
  • Twitter: https://twitter.com/atkinsinsider
  • Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/atkinsinsider/
  • This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Atkins.

Atkins Meal Plan & Diet Tips

As you may have heard, or seen on some of my social media posts, I am in the first phase of the Atkins 40 Diet. What is Atkins 40? Basically, Atkins 40 the new Atkins that lets you have more (healthy) carbs, even from the start.

You may think of Adkins as the no-carb diet, but Atkins has changed over the years, and is also misunderstood (I admit I was one of those people). An all-too-common misconception is that this first phase of Atkins is the whole program, but the key to Atkins is finding the maximum number of grams of carbs, known as your personal “carb balance”, that you can consume while continuing to lose weight, keep your appetite under control, and stay alert and energized.

In this first phase, the Atkins 40 allows you to start the Atkins program with 40 grams of Net Carbs, which is a new entry point into the program. This means you can eat from all food groups from day one on the program, and still enjoy the weight loss success on a fat burning metabolism.

What are Net Carbs?

“When you follow the Atkins Nutrition Approach, you count Net Carbs, which means the total carbohydrate content of the food minus the fiber content. The Net Carb number reflects the grams of carbohydrate that significantly impact your blood sugar level.”

You can calculate the approximate number of Net Carb grams of a low-carb product yourself by looking at the information provided on a food label:
Total Carbohydrates
– Dietary Fiber
– Sugar alcohol
= Net carbs

For example, I ate 2 cups of spring mix, 6oz of chicken, ½ an avocado and balsamic vinegar. My total carbs was 25.3gms of carbohydrates and my fiber was 8.8gms of fiber, totaling only 16.5gms of Net Carbs for that meal. By labeling carbs, and getting dieters to really look at fiber too, it teaches you the us the difference good carbs vs bad carbs.

More On Carbs:

Learn more about Net Carbs
Net Carbs vs Total Carbs.
Download the Atkins Carb Counter to help you track your carbs.

 

The Atkins 40 Diet

“Increasing health fat and protein means you stay fuller longer and you have more steady energy through out the day.”

On Atkins 40, I’m eating:

  • More vegetables than the USDA recommends
  • Proteins including meats, fish, poultry and plant-based proteins
  • Healthy fats including olive oil, avocado and nuts
  • Dairy including whole Greek yogurt and cheeses
  • Variety of fruits and whole grains

With Atkins 40, I’m learning:

  • The difference between good carbs and bad carbs
  • How to eliminate added sugars
  • How to incorporate healthy fats
  • How easy it is to adapt to a low carb lifestyle
  • How to lose weight, feel great, while enjoying healthy delicious foods with a wide range of food choices.

The Diet: Pfiester Approved!! 

I honestly can say I have really enjoyed my meal plan. It isn’t much different than I have been eating, which is higher in protein and lower in carbs, with a good dose of healthy carbs. I only had to make a few minor adjustments.

1. I can eat BACON!! Yahoooo!! (granted, I can only have 2 pieces occasionally, this has been like striking gold for me!! YUM!). This was my breakfast yesterday – 2 eggs scrambled with bell pepper and 2 strips of bacon. What’s funny is I don’t even like eggs, but anything tastes amazing with Bacon! haha!

2. I am eating more meat. Instead of eating 3-4 ounces of chicken, I’m now eating 6 ounces!! This has definitely helped me stay fuller longer and is helping me get the protein I want with very little supplementing.

3. I am reducing my carbs a little. Since I already don’t eat a lot of carbs, this wasn’t a big shocker (even though I admit I was a little freaked out about having only 50gms of carbs a day!). Truthfully, I have been just fine without them. When I normally would want some popcorn, I cut a few slivers of some light sharp cheese and nibbled on that instead. It satisfied my salty craving and my growling tummy.

4. I am paying more attention to fiber. I have always known fiber is good, but I’ve never tracked it as much as now.

Healthy fats5. I am being more generous with fats. Normally, I would barely drizzle a teaspoon of oil on a salad (if I used any at all!), but now I fill up that entire tablespoon of olive oil! I used to only eat egg beaters, but now I’m eating one whole egg with 1 egg white (even though it says I can have 2 whole eggs – I’m working my way up to that. lol).

6. I am eating more simply. Now that I am following a diet plan, I am using fewer ingredients and making better choices than even before. Following the Atkins Diet is teaching me to be OK with simple meals. For instance, yesterday I ate the salad I mentioned above in the Net Carbs section. The salad was only 3 ingredients – chicken, greens and avocado. Before, I would feel like I needed a fruit or something else to “dress it up”. This time, I stuck with what Atkins said (like a good girl) and it was plenty yummy and completely filling.

CLICK HERE for a comprehensive list of all the foods you can eat in this 1st phase.

Week 1 – Getting Started

Atkins has free diet tools, including an online downloadable starter kit, mobile app, recipes, meal planners and trackers. Explore all the Atkins tools, tips & info at Atkins.com. Follow them on Twitter and Facebook to get more tips and news. Get recipes and other healthy ideas on their Pinterest.

Atkins

 

Week 1 Meal Plan:

Here is a sample of my first week’s diet plan.

2014 Atkins 40 week 1

 

Keep checking in for more tips and feedback on my Atkins diet experience!!

This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Atkins.

Healthy Sugar Substitute Makes Yummy Pre-Workout Recipe

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Canadian Maple Syrup.

maple syrupWhen you think of maple syrup, you probably think “PANCAKES”! A beautiful stack of buttermilk pancakes with warm golden brown maple syrup poured over melting butter, ready to be washed down with a glass of cold milk. At least that’s what I think of! However, there is a lot more to maple syrup than you think – and I think you’ll be very surprised to read what I have to share!

First surprise: 80% of the world’s maple syrup comes from Canada. If you want real maple syrup you need to make sure it is Canadian Maple syrup, which is unprocessed and 100% natural.

Second surprise: Did you know most leading pancake syrup brands do not even have maple syrup in their syrup? How crazy is THAT? They rely on high fructose corn syrup (which isn’t as healthy and has more calories than Canadian Maple Syrup). When I heard this, I had to go check it out for myself. (watch the video)

[youtube=http://youtu.be/4YIk6CjOdLI]

Third Surprise: Canadian Maple Syrup has fewer calories than honey (and a LOT more flavor too!). This is funny to me because I prefer maple syrup over honey in many recipes (like oatmeal and mashed sweet potatoes), but figured it was higher in calories. Maybe it’s because it’s called “syrup” and I just think high calories when I think syrup. Ironically, I found I use less syrup than honey because it has more flavor!

Fourth Surprise: Canadian Maple Syrup is high in anti-oxidants – and the darker the grade of syrup the higher in anti-oxidants it is. Check out the difference between Canadian Maple Syrup and other sweeteners.

Canadian Maple Syrup Versus Popular Sweeteners

maple syrup vs sweeteners

Pre-Workout Protein Rice Pudding

preworkout rice puddingI found this great pre-workout rice pudding, and I decided to tweak it to make it a little lower in calories and higher in protein. So, I put my thinking cap on and went mad-scientist in the kitchen. I replaced the flour with protein powder and the condensed milk with fat free milk. I reduced the amount of maple syrup (because I’m trying to make the yummy stuff last!!) and I topped it with a sprinkle of cinnamon and granola. Then I tested it out on my house guests. …and the verdict was “Wow! That is really good. Can I have a bowl?” So, I would say it was a success!!

Recipe
3 cups cooked rice
2 cups fat free milk
1/4 cup greek yogurt
2 scoops vanilla protein powder
1/2 cup Canadian Maple Syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt

rice puddingCombine all the ingredients, minus the greek yogurt and protein powder, in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Once it begins to boil, mix in the yogurt and protein powder, reducing heat while mixing. Remove from heat and let it stand to thicken. Serve cold or hot. Makes 4 servings. 314 calories per serving.

Optional toppings:
Cinnamon
Raisins
Nuts
Granola
Fruit

Cooking With Maple Syrup

Maple syrup sweetener

56 Calorie Calzone Quiche

Calzone Quiche you ask? Really? Yes! calzone quiche
That’s exactly what I was going for when I was trying to think up a new Bonnie creation today. It tasted just like a calzone without the bread!

In my recipe I use what I had on hand, including spinach, mini turkey pepperonis and onion. However, you could make it just like your favorite pizza or calzone by adding your favorite (but preferably low-calorie) toppings like mushrooms, green pepper or black olives. Be creative! Just be careful with how much you put in, since the juices can make the recipe watery when cooking down.

This is a great solution for a fast and healthy breakfast on the go. It also makes a really good snack and even a yummy dinner! 4 Calzone Quiches is only 225 delicious calories and 28 grams of protein!!
pepperoni minis

Ingredients

1 Cup Egg Beaters or Egg Whites
1 1/2 Cup Low Fat Cottage Cheese
2 oz Mini Turkey Pepperonis
1/3 Cup Chopped Onion
1 Large Tomato
2 T Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Season to taste with Red Pepper, Garlic and Salt

Topping
Your Favorite Tomato (spaghetti) Sauce (pre-made is fine)
Grated Parmesan Cheese (to taste)

Directions

Mix all the ingredients together except the sauce and parmesan cheese, and pour in greased muffin pan (with Pam). Top with a PINCH of shredded cheese on each mini-quiche. Bake on 375 for 40-45 minutes (or until firm and slightly brown on top). Serve as is, for a standard spinach quiche taste OR turn it to a calzone applying the optional instructions below. Makes 15 medium cup-cake size muffins.

calzone quicheCALZONIFY IT: Warm up a small amount of spaghetti, marinara or pizza sauce and serve the quiche with a small dollop of tomato sauce and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese on top.

Nutrition:
56 Calories
7g Protein
3.4g Carbs
1.4g Fat

Add 8 Calories for the Calzone toppings: My sauce was only 3 calories per teaspoon and 5 calories for 1/2 a teaspoon of parmesan cheese.

Tomato Basil Spaghetti Squash Casserole

spaghetti squash casserole recipe

Steve and I have recently discovered spaghetti squash (yes, I’m a bit behind!). So now we’re on a spaghetti squash kick! Steve can’t get enough of it, and for only 42 calories a cup, you can’t really beat it!

On our weekly “Sunday Food Prep Day” I began to get creative in the kitchen, thinking of ways I could use spaghetti squash. We were going to dinner at my parents house last night so I wanted to bring a new healthy flavorful dish to introduce to the family. I was in the mood for some Italian, so I began brainstorming and concocting, and this is what I came up with.

I was cracking up because no one knew what it was. My sister asked what the “squishy stuff” was, saying it was really good! My aunt also was perplexed, as she was asking who made “this dish” as she points to it. She took a plate home to her son (my cousin) and said he lapped up the plate, and he too wanted to know what the mystery dish was too. So, even though no one could place it, everyone liked it and there wasn’t a drop left of it to take back home with us, so I guess this creation is a keeper! Hope you enjoy!

Disclaimer: As always, I did not follow a recipe and was just making this up as I went along – which often means, I add a dash more of this, and a pinch more of that. This recipe is what I came up with to the best of my recollection. I hope you can recreate it and enjoy it too! 

Tomato Basil Spaghetti Squash Casserole

Ingredients:
1 Whole Spaghetti Squash (makes approximately 4 Cups)
1 Bag of Marzano Tomatoes (approximately 20 Cherry tomatoes)
1 Teaspoon Olive Oil
1/2 Cup Sliced Black Olives
1 Tablespoon White Balsamic Vinegar
2 Teaspoons Lemon Juice
2 Teaspoons Basil Paste (or fresh basil leaves)
1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
1/2 Teaspoon Cracked Pepper
1/2 Teaspoon Salt 
Shredded Cheese (optional)

Directions:
spaghetti squashCut the squash in half and take the seeds out. Place face down in a microwave safe dish and add one cup of water. Cook for approximately 15 minutes in the microwave until soft. Let it cool before handling.

While the squash is cooking, you can slice the Marzano tomatoes and measure the black olives, combining them in one container for holding. In a separate small bowl, mix the olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, basil, cracked pepper and salt. Add a small portion (maybe a teaspoon), along with the vinegar, to the tomatoes and black olives in a small container. 

spaghetti squashOnce the squash is cool enough to handle, use a fork to scrape the squash out in spaghetti strands into your mixing dish. Mix in the olive oil mixture until the squash is fully covered. Add vegetables and parmesan cheese until mixed evenly. 

Measure cup by cup to (for tracking calories) into a baking dish. My ingredients added up to 5 cups, making 10 1/2 cup servings. Sprinkle a very light layer of cheese (I used a little regular cheddar with some shredded parmesan cheese) on top and back on 350 for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown. 

Serving Size: 1/2 Cup
51 Calories (not including the cheese on top)
Only 6.4 Carbs

Food Prep: 6 Healthy Chicken Salads

low-calorie curry chicken salad recipeWe Pfiesters are always looking for high-protein snacks and easy meals. This is why chicken salads are a hot item in our kitchen. Last weekend I made a Low-Fat Buffalo Chicken Salad that Steve LOVED, and this weekend I made a Curry Chicken Salad. Throw it on a cracker for a snack or scoop a cup out on a bed of greens for a meal. Either way, this is one great low-cal recipe that makes dieting pretty darn easy! The only hard part will be not going back for seconds!

Curry Chicken, Grape & Apple Salad Recipe

curry chicken salad1/2 Cup Chobani Plain Yogurt
1 Cup Chopped Grapes
1 Cup Chopped Apple
6 1/3 Cup Chopped Chicken Breast
1 Tablespoon Curry Powder
3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
4 Packets Truvia (or your favorite sweetener)
1/2 Teaspoon Salt

Whisk the yogurt, curry powder, 2 (of the 3) tablespoons lemon juice, salt and sweetener together until smooth. In a separate bowl, mix the grapes, chicken, apple and the final tablespoon of lemon juice together. Then stir both together until well-coated and mixed. Chill before serving.

TIP: I’d add walnuts if I wasn’t dieting, but they crank up the calories quick, so no nuts for us.  I do have some nuts, but I don’t put them in our food because they are too hard to count accurately in a recipe. Instead, I add them on top so I can adjust my fat as needed for that day. 

Makes 8 cups, or 16 1/2 cup servings. We do 1/2 cup servings because we often eat them as a snack. 2 servings with salad greens is great for a full meal.

Nutritional Information:
97 servings per 1/2 cup serving
15g protein, 1.8g fat, 3g carbs

5 More Chicken Salads

2 Healthy Broccoli & Chicken Salads

121-Calorie Waldorf Chicken Salad

Low-Cal Chicken Peppercorn Salad

Curried Chicken, Black Bean & Mango Salad

Refreshing Protein Drinks for Hot Days

isopure protein drinkIf you are like me, sometimes the thought of another frothy thick milky protein shake on a hot day is enough to make you want to gag. When you have a protein shake every day, they can get old. Of course, this isn’t always the case with everyone. I don’t think my husband EVER gets tired of them! However, I am very different. I don’t like super sweet drinks and I don’t crave sweets so I struggle to get a chocolatey milky shake down sometimes. So, when IsoPure asked if I would like to try some of their crystal clear protein drinks, I jumped on the opportunity!

Gulp Gulp!

isopure drinksThe first drink I tried was their Cocotein. OMG! That’s all I can say. OOOO MMMMM GGGGGGG! My eyes must have popped out of my head when I took my first taste. I had to read the label again to make sure I was seriously getting 20gms of protein in such a refreshing awesome tasting cold beverage!! I was FREAKING out!!! I was sad I only had one bottle. I chugged down a few sips after a hot run, enjoying every drop. Being the wonderful wife I am (lol), I saved a little for Steve so he could taste it too because that’s what you do when you taste something amazing. He doesn’t even like coconut water and it wowed him too!! So I am hooked! Now I have to do a GNC run and stock up!

Where to buy them:

GNC
Vitamin Shoppe
Bodybuilding.com
Amazon
Lucky Vitamin

Why would you want to get IsoPure (besides because it tastes ridiculously good)?

  1. Lactose Free – First, for all those lactose intolerant peeps, IsoPure Drinks are Lactose Free!
  2. Low-Carb/Low Fat – Most of their drinks are super low-carb and have little to no fat.
  3. Extra Oomph – IsoPure has potassium, sodium and to help replace electrolytes from sweating.  Their IsoPure Teas have caffeine, BCAAs and antioxidants too (SO COOL!)!
  4. Refreshing & Thirst-Quenching – The crystal clear drink is super refreshing, tasty and easy on the tummy!
  5. Yummy! – Out of all the flavors I tried, I have to say the Cocotein is definitely my favorite.

There you have it! There’s my review on IsoPure drinks! Now, go out and grab a bottle and see for yourself!! And don’t you leave without trying the Cocotein – and then tell me what you think!!!! YUMMMMMMM!!

Follow IsoPure

Check out IsoPure Protein at http://www.theisopurecompany.com/
Follow them on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Isopure
Follow them on twitter: https://twitter.com/isopurecompany
Follow them on Instagram: http://instagram.com/isopurecompany

muscle motivation

2% Fat vs Non-Fat Yogurt

Chobani YogurtMany people grocery shop with the best intensions, searching for low-fat low calorie items. However, just because an item is low calorie or low fat doesn’t mean it is the best choice. A great example of this is Greek Yogurt.

Before you can decide which yogurt to purchase, you need to ask yourself “what type of fuel do I need?” and “what are my goals?”. What do I mean? When I added my yogurt into my LoseIt app, I realized my yogurt was one of the small things throwing off my goals. I was getting more carbs than I wanted and I noticed my protein wasn’t quite as high as I expected (especially at breakfast). As I looked a little closer, I discovered the difference was my yogurt. I had gone from plain greek yogurt to vanilla (and had no idea it was non-fat).

Non-Fat vs. 2% Fat Greek Yogurt

As I compared the 2 yogurts, I was surprised to see how different their profiles were. See for yourself!

greek yogurt nutritional information photo 1

The non-fat vanilla yogurt has zero fat, but a whopping 20g carbs (and 20g SUGAR!) – and only 14g of protein compared to the 2% which only has 7g carbs and 17g protein. Don’t boycott non-fat vanilla yogurt just yet though. There’s more to this story than just choosing low-cal, low-carb foods.

While the 2% plain yogurt is ideal for a breakfast, snack or meal, there is one time of the day the non-fat vanilla yogurt would the perfect fuel for you – after a workout. You see, after a workout you want protein and sugar (to help push the protein through your system quickly). You also don’t want to have anything that would slow digestion in it (like fat). So, the non-fat vanilla yogurt would be a great fuel for those times you can’t get a post-workout protein shake. Since you can buy yogurt in small containers, this makes a great alternative to a shake if you are traveling or in a pinch.

When it comes to breakfast, stick with the 2% plain (unsweatened) greek yogurt. The fat will help the yogurt stay with you longer, keeping you full and energized. You get more protein and also less carbs, which is great for all of us trying to limit carbs and sugar while building or maintaining muscle mass.

Yoplait_Original_Blackberry_HarvestRemember, not all yogurt is created equal. If you have some regular yogurt in your fridge, you need to compare labels. For instance, plain Yoplait yogurt has 33g carbs and ONLY 5g protein! That’s MORE calories, MORE sugar, MORE carbs and much less protein and nutrition for the fit peep.

Even Yoplait Lite has double the carbs and sugar than Chobani’s plain Greek yogurt. This means you will be hungry about 30 minutes after you eat the stuff, and that’s not what any dieter wants to hear!

As you track calories and learn more about nutrition, take your time studying labels and shopping for foods for fuel. Dieting isn’t just about choosing low-calorie foods, it’s choosing healthy foods that give you the nutrients you need without the extra riff-raff (sugar, fillers, etc). When you eat like this, you’ll discover you aren’t really dieting at all, you are just eating smarter!

 

Low-Calorie Summer Salad

This summer salad is not only a refreshing healthy salad that’s super yummy, but it has just the right amount of healthy fat to keep you feeling full and energized!

Summer Strawberry & Grilled Chicken Salad

Low-Calorie Summer Salad RecipePrep Tip:
Dice up your favorite yummy ingredients to have more yummy in each bite!

Ingredients:
1 1/2 Cup Mixed Spring Greens
1/2 Cup Baby Kale
8 Ounces Grilled Chicken (marinaded in Apple Cidar Vinegar, Splenda, Salt & Spices)
1 Cup Chopped Strawberries
1/4 Cup Chopped Onion
1/2 Chopped Avocado
2 T Slivered Almonds
1/4 Cup Panera’s Low-Calorie Poppy Seed Dressing (available at Publix)

Toss the above ingredients together until all the ingredients are covered in a light coat of the dressing. Makes 2 servings.

Add 1 tablespoon of a low-calorie Balsamic Vinegar to your salad for more yummy Zip!
(look for the lowest-calories one you can get. See my blog on calories in vinegar for more tips)

Total Calories per serving: 315 calories
Protein: 27gms
Fat: 15.3gms
Carbs: 25gms

Prefer to Dine Out? Be careful!

You may get more than you bargained for. These 10 salads have more calories than a cheeseburger and large fry!!!
CLICK HERE to read my blog on LiveExercise and get 10 diet tips for salad lovers.

WARNING: Your Vinegar May Have More Calories Than You Think

surprising salad dressing caloriesFor YEARS I poured balsamic vinegar on my salads having NO CLUE they had so many calories in them. I thought, like apple cidar vinegar, they were ZERO calories so I thought I could pour on as much as I wanted. Well, imagine my surprise when I looked at the back of my vinegar and saw that 1 tablespoon had 20 calories in it! I know that doesn’t sound like much, but I use TONS of the stuff – and at LEAST four times that much for a salad. Yes, 80 calories in what I thought was calorie-free bliss – PLUS I added olive oil too! Cha Ching (that’s me racking up the calories!)

The good news is, this isn’t the case for all balsamic vinegars. Balsamic vinegar just has more sugar in it than white vinegars. I bet you are thinking “Oooooh! THAT’s why I like it so much better”. Yep, that’s probably right!

Last night I was checking out labels of some of the salad dressings I had in they fridge, and low and behold, this yummy poppy seed dressing had HALF the calories of plain balsamic vinegar!! See! You NEVER know unless you take the time to study labels.

VINEGAR: The Search for Calories

I did a little homework on various vinegar for you. Here’s what I found.

Calories for 2 Tablespoons of Balsamic Vinegar:
Balsamic Vinegar, Of Modena: 0 Cal
Balsamic Vinegar, Roland: 20 Cal/2 T
Balsamic Vinegar, Of Madena, Monari Federzoni: 20 Cal/2 T
Balsamic Vinegar, Pompeian: 10 Cal/2 T
Balsamic Vinegar, Bertolli: 30 Cal/2 T
Balsamic Vinegar, Alessi: 20 Cal/2 T
Balsamic Vinegar, White, Alessi: 20 Cal/2 T
Balsamic Vinegar, Ages, Colavita: 10 Cal/2 T
Balsamic Vinegar, Regina: 40 Cal/2 T
Balsamic Vinegar, Holland House: 30 Cal/2 T

Average Calories Per Tablespoon (for all types of vinegar)
Cidar Vinegar: 3 Cal/1 T
Red Wine Vinegar: 3 Cal/ 1 T
White Wine Vinegar: 0 Cal/ 1 T
Balsamic Vinegar: 14 Cal/ 1 T
Distilled Vinegar: 3 Cal/ 1 T
Rice Vinegar: 1 Cal/ 1 T
Malt Vinegar: 0 Cal/ 1 T
Sherry Vinegar: 0 Cal/ 1 T
Champagne Vinegar: 3 Cal/ 1 T

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