Thursday, April 28, 2011

7 Days: 7 Breakfasts

By Joe Wilkes
It's hard to work good nutrition into our days. We're working longer and longer hours and still trying to fit in 30 to 60 minutes of exercise, not to mention all the studies coming out that say we're not getting nearly enough sleep. The hours run out. The snooze button gets pushed. Breakfast often turns into eating last night's leftover takeout during the morning commute. Or worse, it turns into no breakfast at all.
Breakfast Burrito
People often skip breakfast in hopes of getting more sleep or losing more weight, but in fact, people who replace breakfast with extra sleep end up having less energy. Breakfast skippers also tend to gain more weight. They start the day with a slow metabolism and then overeat at lunch because they're hungry. You're much better off trying to eat something nutritious in the morning so your brain and body rev up and you don't start the day with cravings that often get relieved by donuts in the break room. Here are seven breakfasts that you can squeeze into the busiest schedule.
Note: Some of the recipes call for eggs. You can use egg substitutes like Egg Beaters® (1/4 cup per egg), two egg whites per whole egg, or tofu, depending on the recipe and your dietary concerns. Additionally, some recipes call for whole wheat ingredients. Gluten-free versions can be substituted in every case (but no white-flour substitutes!). All nutritional information is per serving. Recipes are for one serving unless otherwise noted.

Sunday: Mom's Pancake Recipe

PancakesLike so many of my family's "secret" recipes, this one began life on the side of a package of food. In this case, it was a carton of eggs (no surprise when you see the second ingredient). But this is a pretty good way of sneaking extra protein to your kids—it'll definitely get a better reaction than a boiled egg and a scoop of cottage cheese. For the grownups who are watching their cholesterol, my brother came up with an alternative; substituting six egg whites and half an avocado for the six eggs. The pancakes turn out a bit green, but if you can get past that, they're quite tasty. You can top them with your favorite fresh fruit. If you can't live without maple syrup, go for grade B or grade C. Those syrups contain more of the natural minerals that are filtered out of the grade A syrup. And they're cheaper!
  • 1 cup fat-free cottage cheese
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (or 1/4 cup whole wheat and 1/4 cup barley flour)
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • Dash of vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup milk
Blend or food-process the first six ingredients on high until smooth. Add milk slowly to reach batter consistency. Cook on a hot, nonstick griddle. Number of pancakes varies depending on size. Serves 6.
Preparation time: 15 to 20 minutes
Nutritional information (per serving):
22515 grams9 grams1.5 grams13 grams

Monday: Power Oatmeal

Oatmeal with BluberriesOatmeal is one of the healthiest grains around. The Mayo Clinic even includes it in its list of the top five foods to lower your cholesterol numbers. It has a high soluble fiber content that helps cholesterol reduction and slows sugar digestion, a benefit for people living with diabetes. It also has a high insoluble fiber content, which has been linked to cancer prevention. It's a good source of protein, as well as vitamin E, zinc, manganese, magnesium, and iron, among other nutrients. While it is a little on the bland side flavor-wise, it's easy to liven it up with some healthy ingredients, including seasonal or thawed frozen berries, nuts, and flaxseed.
There are a lot of schools of thought on the best way to prepare oatmeal. Purists will choose unrolled oats, either whole or steel-cut, and cook them forever (all right, 30 to 40 minutes). Those of us who don't live on "Martha Stewart time" are more apt to select rolled or quick-cooking oats, which can cook in about 5 to 10 minutes. And those of us truly strapped for time enjoy the convenience of instant oatmeal. For this recipe, use the plain oatmeal of your choice; just choose one that doesn't include sugary flavorings like maple brown sugar, apple cinnamon, etc. We're going to flavor it ourselves with high-antioxidant blueberries and heart-healthy fats from walnuts and flaxseed. For extra protein, add half a scoop of Beachbody's Whey Protein Powder.
  • 1 cup prepared oatmeal (see above)
  • 1 Tbsp. flaxseed
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
  • Mix all ingredients in a bowl (or a to-go cup).

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Nutritional information (per serving); without and with Whey Protein Powder:
43626 grams48 grams10 grams12 grams
(w/ Whey Protein Powder)
27 grams50 grams11 grams21 grams

Tuesday: Carl's Chocolate Almond Shakeology®

Chocolate Almond Shakeology, Chocolate, and AlmondsI was able to get my hands on Beachbody® CEO Carl Daikeler's favorite Shakeology recipe. And anyone who has been fortunate enough to spend time in the company of our energetic boss, you'll join me in saying, "I'll have what he's having." For hard-to-find ingredients like almond butter or almond milk, you could substitute peanut butter or soy, rice, or skim milk. For hard-to-stomach ingredients like the raw egg, you could use protein powder.
Mix all ingredients in a blender until creamy.
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Nutritional information (per serving):
44312 grams62 grams13 grams27 grams

Wednesday: Healthy Breakfast Burrito

Breakfast Burrito and IngredientsGoing to college in Southern California, I gained a lot of sustenance from burritos of all kinds. I also gained a lot of weight. Stuffed full of cheese, fried potatoes, and larded-up refried beans, the breakfast burritos were delicious and filling to a fault. But breakfast burritos don't have to be unhealthy. Fillings like veggies and eggs that were often crowded out by the cheaper and fattier ingredients can be elevated to star status in the dish. You'll create a quick, healthy breakfast that can be eaten on the move (although the police department and your dry cleaner would discourage trying to eat while driving).
By the way, here's a tip for easy-peasy scrambled eggs or egg substitutes I learned from a "restaurant" in our last office building that prepared a wide variety of hot dishes using only a microwave. Scramble an egg in a coffee cup or small microwave-safe bowl. Depending on your wattage, nuke it for 30 seconds to a minute, and voilà, scrambled eggs perfect for a sandwich or a burrito.
  • 1 scrambled egg or egg substitute (or tofu)
  • 1 6-inch whole-grain tortilla
  • 2 Tbsp. black beans, canned
  • 2 Tbsp. low-fat cheddar cheese (or soy cheese)
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped tomato
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped onion
  • Hot sauce to taste
What follows are the microwave directions. You could alternatively scramble the egg and heat the beans in a small frying pan.
Microwave scrambled egg or egg substitute until cooked. While egg is cooking, spread out tortilla on a dinner plate or cutting board. Spread cooked egg in the middle of one-half of the tortilla. Heat the beans in the microwave (not too much or they'll explode!). While beans are heating, sprinkle cheese on eggs, then pile on beans, tomatoes, and onions (if you don't have time to chop fresh veggies, a healthy salsa could be substituted). Add hot sauce if desired. Fold tortilla in half over the ingredients and fold in the sides. (This part may take some practice. My first burrito-folding attempts usually resulted in a dish I called burrito salad, but I eventually got the hang of it.)
Preparation time: 10 minutes (or more, depending on your tortilla-folding skills)
Nutritional information (per serving):
30410 grams35 grams6 grams20 grams

Thursday: Fruit Parfait

Fruit ParfaitThe Harvard School of Public Health recommends that most people have at least NINE half-cup servings of fruits and vegetables per day. So you can see that if you skip breakfast, you're really putting the pressure on the rest of your meals. A diet high in fruits and veggies lowers the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, cancer, and blood sugar problems, as well as offering many other health benefits. This recipe layers yogurt with three different types of fresh fruit. You can substitute any other fruit (preferably seasonal) for one of the fruits in this recipe. (For anyone thinking of hitting the drive-thru at McDonald's® for its version of this recipe, you could do worse in an emergency, but this is way healthier.)
  • 1-1/2 cups plain low-fat yogurt (or soy yogurt)
  • 1 Tbsp. almonds, chopped fine
  • 1 Tbsp. flaxseed, ground
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup apple, diced
  • 1/2 cup cantaloupe, diced
In a tall glass, layer ingredients in the following order: 1/2 cup yogurt, followed by a sprinkle of almonds, flaxseed, and blueberries; repeat process with apples and cantaloupe (or whatever order of fruit you choose). If presentation isn't that important to you, you could just mix it all up in a bowl and eat it. (I live alone. No one's watching.)
Preparation time: 10 minutes (more or less depending on what needs chopping)
Nutritional information (per serving):
45316 grams57 grams9 grams27 grams

Friday: Tuna Salad Surprise

Tuna SaladHave you ever noticed that some mornings the cat has a healthier breakfast than you do? Tuna's not just for lunch anymore. In fact, when we have our big, healthy employee breakfast at Beachbody, a big bowl of this tuna recipe is usually the star of the buffet. Tuna is really high in protein and a great source of vitamin D and healthy omega-3 fatty acids. You could mix it up by substituting canned salmon once in a while. This recipe replaces fattening mayonnaise with healthy veggies and lemon juice for a refreshing, high-energy breakfast (although we might suggest an after-breakfast mint).
  • 5 oz. canned tuna in water (if in oil, skip olive oil)
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice (or to taste)
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1/4 cup green onions, diced
  • 2 Tbsp. parsley and/or cilantro (or more to taste)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Raw jalapeño (if desired)
Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl and season to taste. Chop in some raw jalapeño for extra zip!
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Nutritional information (per serving):
35615 grams12 grams2 grams43 grams

Saturday: Vegetable Frittata

Vegetable FrittataSince it's the weekend, it might be nice to make something you don't have to eat in the car. Frittatas are like omelets for the oven. All the flavor, but you don't have to try to flip it on the stove top (or onto the floor as the case may be.) It's a crowd pleaser! Feel free to experiment with other favorite veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, zucchini, etc.
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup fresh spinach, torn
  • 1 tsp. garlic, crushed
  • 2 medium plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/2 cup low-fat Swiss cheese (or soy cheese), shredded
  • 1 oz. Parmesan cheese (or soy cheese), grated
  • Cooking spray
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Spray an 8-inch pie pan or baking dish with cooking spray. Beat the eggs in a bowl, then mix in all ingredients. Pour into the pan. Cook for 12 to 15 minutes or until the eggs are firm. Cut into 2 servings (like an omelet!).
Preparation time: 15 to 20 minutes
Nutritional information (per serving):
41423 grams14 grams

Thursday, April 14, 2011


A time comes in your life when you finally get it…when, in the midst of all your fears and insanity, you stop dead in your tracks and somewhere the voice inside your head cries out – ENOUGH! Enough fighting and crying or struggling to hold on. And, like a child quieting down after a blind tantrum, your sobs begin to subside, you shudder once or twice, you blink back your tears and begin to look at the world through new eyes.

This is your awakening.

You realize it’s time to stop hoping and waiting for something to change…or for happiness, safety and security to come galloping over the next horizon. You come to terms with the fact that neither of you is Prince Charming or Cinderella and that in the real [perceptual] world there aren’t always fairy tale endings (or beginnings for that matter) and that any guarantee of ‘happily ever after’ must begin with you…and in the process a sense of serenity is born of acceptance. You awaken to the fact that you are not perfect and that not everyone will always love, appreciate or approve of who or what you are … and that’s OK. They are entitled to their own views and opinions.

And you learn the importance of loving and championing yourself…and in the process a sense of new found confidence is born of self-approval. You stop complaining and blaming other people for the things they did to you (or didn’t do for you) and you learn that the only thing you can really count on is the unexpected. You learn that people don’t always say what they mean or mean what they say and that not everyone will always be there for you and that it’s not always about you.

So, you learn to stand on your own and to take care of yourself…and in the process a sense of safety and security is born of self-reliance. You stop judging and pointing fingers and you begin to accept people as they are and to overlook their shortcomings and human frailties and in the process a sense of peace and contentment is born of forgiveness.

You realize that much of the way you view yourself, and the world around you, is as a result of all the messages and opinions that have been ingrained into your psyche. And you begin to sift through all the junk you’ve been fed about how you should behave, how you should look, how much you should weigh, what you should wear, what you should do for a living, how much money you should make, what you should drive, how and where you should live, who you should marry, the importance of having and raising children, and what you owe your parents, family, and friends.

You learn to open up to new worlds and different points of view. And you begin reassessing and redefining who you are and what you really stand for. You learn the difference between wanting and needing and you begin to discard the doctrines and values you’ve outgrown, or should never have bought into to begin with … and in the process you learn to go with your instincts. You learn that it is truly in giving that we receive. And that there is power and glory in creating and contributing and you stop maneuvering through life merely as a ‘consumer’ looking for your next fix.

You learn that principles such as honesty and integrity are not the outdated ideals of a bygone era but the mortar that holds together the foundation upon which you must build a life.

You learn that you don’t know everything, it’s not your job to save the world and that you can’t teach a pig to sing.

You learn to distinguish between guilt and responsibility and the importance of setting boundaries and learning to say NO. You learn that the only cross to bear is the one you choose to carry and that martyrs get burned at the stake.

Then you learn about love. How to love, how much to give in love, when to stop giving and when to walk away.

You learn to look at relationships as they really are and not as you would have them be. You stop trying to control people, situations and outcomes. And you learn that being alone does not mean being lonely.

You also stop working so hard at putting your feelings aside, smoothing things over and ignoring your needs. You learn that feelings of entitlement are perfectly OK….and that it is your right to want things and to ask for the things you want … and that sometimes it is necessary to make demands. You come to the realization that you deserve to be treated with love, kindness, sensitivity and respect and you won’t settle for less.

And you learn that your body really is your temple. And you begin to care for it and treat it with respect. You begin to eat a balanced diet, drink more water, and take more time to exercise. You learn that being tired fuels doubt, fear, and uncertainty and so you take more time to rest. And, just as food fuels the body, laughter fuels our soul. So you take more time to laugh and to play.

You learn that, for the most part, you get in life what you believe you deserve…and that much of life truly is a self-fulfilling prophecy. You learn that anything worth achieving is worth working for and that wishing for something to happen is different than working toward making it happen.

More importantly, you learn that in order to achieve success you need direction, discipline and perseverance. You also learn that no one can do it all alone…and that it’s OK to risk asking for help. You learn the only thing you must truly fear is the greatest robber baron of all: FEAR itself.

You learn to step right into and through your fears because you know that whatever happens you can handle it and to give in to fear is to give away the right to live life on your own terms. And you learn to fight for your life and not to squander it living under a cloud of impending doom.

You learn that life isn’t always fair, you don’t always get what you think you deserve and that sometimes bad things happen to unsuspecting, good people. On these occasions you learn not to personalize things. You learn that God isn’t punishing you or failing to answer your prayers. It’s just life happening. And you learn to deal with evil in its most primal state – the ego.

You learn that negative feelings such as anger, envy and resentment must be understood and redirected or they will suffocate the life out of you and poison the universe that surrounds you.

You learn to admit when you are wrong and to build bridges instead of walls. You learn to be thankful and to take comfort in many of the simple things we take for granted, things that millions of people upon the earth can only dream about: a full refrigerator, clean running water, a soft warm bed, a long hot shower. Slowly, you begin to take responsibility for yourself by yourself and you make yourself a promise to never betray yourself and to never, ever settle for less than your heart’s desire. And you hang a wind chime outside your window so you can listen to the wind.

And you make it a point to keep smiling, to keep trusting, and to stay open to every wonderful possibility.

Finally, with courage in your heart and God by your side you take a stand, you take a deep breath, and you begin to design the life you want to live as best you can.

~Author Unknown

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Positive Affirmations for a Positively Wonderful Day

from KAREN FICARELLI Fitness4Her
Positive affirmations are your brain’s way of redirecting your body’s energy to keep you motivated. The brain cannot see or hear it only reacts to the stimuli that you feed it. Negative affirmations like: “I am always tired” or “Why can’t I ever do anything right?” Only serve to reinforce negative energy and stand in the way of your progress. If you need help coming up with your own positive affirmations, try some of the following to get you started.

For Exercise:
• I love to exercise.
• Exercise makes me feel good.
• Exercise is good for my heart, my lungs and my health.
• I feel healthier when I exercise.
• I look better when I exercise and it shows.
• I have more energy when I exercise.
• I am becoming stronger every day.
• My family and I are both happier when I exercise.
• I get more accomplished when I exercise.
• I look better in my clothes when I exercise.
• I sleep better because I exercise.
• My skin looks good when I exercise.
• I can handle life’s challenges when I exercise.
• My diet is easier to maintain because I exercise.

For Diet:
• I love to eat healthy foods.
• I will eat slowly and enjoy the taste of my food.
• My body is benefiting because I am taking charge of what I eat.
• I don’t feel guilty about eating.
• Food is not the problem.
• Food is the answer.
• I love life and want to eat healthy foods.
• The foods I eat will protect my body from disease.
• The foods I eat will give me strength.
• I no longer want to eat foods that provide empty calories.
• Before I reach for a snack I will think about what I am putting into my body.
• I will always wait 10 minutes after eating before going back for seconds.
• I am grateful for my health and want to preserve it.
• I will not be judged by the number on the scale.
• I can make a difference in my own life.

Begin each day with positive affirmations. Write them down in your fitness journal where you can see them. Repeat them to yourself in the morning before your workout and remind yourself of them before you go to bed at night. Believe in yourself, be grateful for all that you have and all that you are, a healthy positive, wonderful you!

Lemon Garlic Shrimp with Veggies

From EatingWell:  March/April 2008
Here’s a healthy twist on shrimp scampi. We left out the butter and loaded the dish up with red peppers and asparagus for a refreshing spring meal. Serve with quinoa. And if you don’t want to use quinoa substitute brown rice instead like I did.
-Amy :)

4 servings | Active Time: 35 minutes | Total Time: 35 minutes


4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 large red bell peppers, diced
2 pounds asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound raw shrimp, (26-30 per pound), peeled and deveined
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


  1. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add bell peppers, asparagus, lemon zest and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until just beginning to soften, about 6 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl; cover to keep warm.
  2. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add shrimp and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Whisk broth and cornstarch in a small bowl until smooth and add to the pan along with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring, until the sauce has thickened slightly and the shrimp are pink and just cooked through, about 2 minutes more. Remove from the heat. Stir in lemon juice and parsley. Serve the shrimp and sauce over the vegetables.


Per serving : 227 Calories; 7 g Fat; 1 g Sat; 4 g Mono; 174 mg Cholesterol; 14 g Carbohydrates; 28 g Protein; 4 g Fiber; 514 mg Sodium; 670 mg Potassium

1 Carbohydrate Serving
Exchanges: 2 vegetable, 3 lean meat, 1 fat

Monday, April 4, 2011

9 Appetite-Suppressing Foods

By Whitney Provost

If you're like most people, conquering your appetite is one of the biggest challenges you face in your fitness and weight loss journey. As soon as the word "diet" crosses your lips, you may find yourself craving all the junk you know you're not supposed to eat. The secret is eating the right foods to help calm the cravings for the wrong ones. Adding these 9 easy-to-find, tasty foods to your meal plan can help you rein in your appetite before it gets out of control!

Rolled Oats

  1. Oatmeal. This hot cereal is high in fiber and low on the glycemic index, which means it fills you up and takes a long time to digest. Research has shown that diets high in slow-burning carbohydrates like oatmeal suppress the hunger hormone grehlin more effectively than diets high in fat do. In fact, when you eat oatmeal for breakfast, you may find that your appetite is lower at lunchtime. Steel-cut or rolled oats digest more slowly than the "instant" variety do, so it's worth taking a few extra minutes in the morning to prepare your breakfast the old-fashioned way.
  2. Apples. Not only are apples nutritious, but what sets them apart from other fruits is pectin, a soluble fiber that helps regulate blood sugar, keeps you full, and sustains your energy. One medium apple with skin contains 4 grams of fiber, which is more than you'd get in an average slice of whole wheat bread. Add an apple and some cinnamon to your morning oatmeal for an appetite-suppressing breakfast.
  3. Pine nuts. These edible pine-tree seeds contain more protein than any other nut or seed, and their oil stimulates two appetite-suppressing hormones (cholecystokinin [CCK] and glucagon-like peptide-1) that tell your brain you're not hungry. Blend pine nuts with basil, garlic, and a little olive oil to make pesto, or sprinkle them on your salad or oatmeal for a delicious, nutty crunch.
  4. Salad

  5. Salad. The fiber in typical salad vegetables like lettuce, cabbage, spinach, celery, cucumbers, broccoli, and peppers is very filling and helps slow the release of glucose into your bloodstream. Studies have shown that when people start a meal with a small salad, they eat significantly fewer calories in the meal itself. Just watch out for the high-fat dressings (or worse, fat-free dressings that are high in sugar). Try having the dressing on the side and dipping your fork into it for easy portion control, or simply add a dash of balsamic vinegar or a squeeze of lemon juice for a tasty, super-low-calorie option. Bonus tip: Try to eat a vegetable at every meal to keep your appetite at bay all day long.
  6. Olive oil and other unsaturated fats. Researchers at the University of California at Irvine found that unsaturated fat causes the intestines to release a compound (oleoylethanolamide) that has been shown to reduce appetite and stimulate weight loss. Some great unsaturated fat choices include avocados, olives and olive oil, almonds, salmon, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, macadamia nuts, and sesame seeds. These foods are high in calories, so enjoy them in moderation while regulating your appetite.
  7. Flaxseeds. Flax is one of the best plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids. The seeds are also very high in protein and fiber, making them excellent for appetite control. Sprinkle ground flaxseeds over oatmeal, salads, or yogurt, or add them to smoothies to help stabilize your blood sugar and turn off the hunger hormones.
  8. Beans. The fiber in beans increases CCK, a digestive hormone that's a natural appetite suppressant. A research study at the University of California at Davis found that men who ate a high-fiber meal containing beans had CCK levels that were two times higher than when they ate a low-fiber meal. Beans also keep your blood sugar steady, which helps stave off hunger.
  9. Whey Protein Powder

  10. Whey protein. New studies suggest that whey protein stimulates the hormones that increase the feeling of being full. In one study, researchers at the University of Surrey in England found that people who consumed whey protein felt fuller and more satisfied with less food. Whey also stabilizes blood sugar, and that can help control food urges. Make a drink with Beachbody's Whey Protein Powder to calm your appetite any time of the day.
  11. Spicy foods. Capsaicin, the ingredient that gives peppers their heat, can also help control your raging appetite. A recent study published in Clinical Nutrition suggests that capsaicin-rich foods may help you consume fewer calories, plus they help support weight loss by suppressing your appetite and making you feel fuller. You can add hot pepper sauce to tomato juice, stir-fry some Anaheim or Serrano peppers with other vegetables, or cook up some jalapeño or poblano peppers in your omelet. Other spicy ingredients may have similar effects, so try adding spices like hot mustard and curry to your salads and meats.
When I drink Shakeology, I'm not as hungry throughout the day and my sugar cravings are nonexistent.—Melanie B., Illinois