Snap Fitness Health & Fitness Blog

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The Benefits of Coconut Oil

By: Snap Fitness

What if we told you there was something on your grocery store shelf that could help fight certain types of diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, and help with weight loss? On top of all of that, it is good for your hair, skin, and you can cook with it? Can you guess what it is?

Coconut oil is your answer. Coconut oil is a natural remedy that has been around for centuries, but until recently has created buzz in the health and wellness industry. Studies show that consuming good, healthy fats like those found in coconut oil leave us feeling more satisfied and less likely to snack on unhealthy foods to curb cravings. Let’s take a look as to why coconut oil is so beneficial and how you can start using it to better your overall health.

Benefits of coconut oil:

 -Weight loss- Yes, coconut oil is a fat, but it actually can help in losing weight. The body does not store the fat in coconut oil as fat, but instead converts it into energy.

-Diabetes- Coconut oil helps regulate blood sugar levels in the bloodstream.

-Healthy skin and hair- Coconut oil is shown to help with bruising, scars, and cellulite. It is also good on the hair as it contains natural oils the body loses over time.

-Helps with brain function- Studies have shown that coconut oil can improve cognitive function

-Lowers cholesterol- Coconut oil is made up on lauric acid which protects the heart by reducing total cholesterol and increasing good cholesterol.

Cooking with coconut oil:

Unlike many other cooking oils, coconut oil can withstand high cooking temperatures. It’s the perfect addition to stir fry’s, baking, and roasting. Below are a list of substitutions and ideas for adding coconut oil into your diet.

- Replace butter for coconut oil in baking. Because of its high saturated fat content, coconut oil has the same consistency as butter.

- Melt coconut oil on top of toast, popcorn, or fish.

- Add coconut oil into your smoothie for added flavor.

- Swap out olive oil when roasting vegetables with coconut oil.

- Use coconut oil in your coffee or tea as creamer.

It won’t take long to notice the benefits of coconut oil on your skin, hair, and in your cooking. It isn’t surprising why this natural remedy has been around for centuries, and remains a great health-aid for all types of ailments.

Featured Recipe: Chewy Trail Mix Bars

By: Snap Fitness

Looking for a quick on-the-go snack? Preferably a snack that isn’t full of added sugar or processed ingredients? If so, these chewy trail mix bars are your ticket! These bars are a combination of sweet and chewy, full of whole grains, nuts, coconut, and the best part… dark chocolate. Not to mention they are really easy to make! 

 

Go ahead and give these a try. You won’t be buying pre-packaged trail mix bars again!

 

Ingredients:

makes approx 16 bars

1 cup honey

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4th tsp salt

2 T granulated sugar

1/4 cup peanut butter

1 1/2 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup oat bran

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds or slivered almonds

3/4 cup dried cranberries or cherries

 

Directions:

1. In a medium saucepan combine; peanut butter, honey, vanilla, salt, and sugar and bring to a boil.

2. Reduce heat to low and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl, combine all other ingredients except for the chocolate chips (save the best for last).

4. Pour the honey mixture over the oat mixture and mix well. Lastly, add the chocolate chips and stir in slowly. Be careful to not over mix, no one wants melted chocolate chips.

5. Place mixture into a 9” greased pan, patting down with moist hands.

6. Chill in fridge for an hour, or until hard

 

Hit the trail and enjoy! 

No Tricks Healthier Treats for Halloween

By: Snap Fitness

It’s that time of year again! The streets will be filled with ghouls and goblins, pumpkins will be a-glow, and candy will be flooding our households. Boo! It’s Halloween! If you’re watching your intake of sweets, Halloween can be just as scary as it’s made out to be. We all know that if you have small children the sugar high is unavoidable. Luckily, with a little bit of nutrition ammo you can survive another Halloween without scaring your healthy eating plan away.

 

Here are a few alternatives to candy, saving you the extra pounds without losing the spirit of Halloween!

 

1. Trail of Terror mix- Get creative and put together a trail mix for your next Halloween bash. Combine dried fruit, nuts, and coconut for a healthy treat. You can also add dark chocolate chunks, since dark chocolate is good for the heart.

 

2. Fruit- Small fruits such as Clementines are great for healthy snacking, plus they’re portable.

 

3. Granola bars- Full of whole grains, most granola bars are low in sugar and high in the good stuff like fiber. Look for seasonal granola bars, such as pumpkin spice and apple cinnamon.

 

4. Instant oatmeal- Low in fat and calories, and full of soluble fiber. Try our favorite, banana walnut.

 

5. 100 calorie snack bags- For most of us it’s about portion control. The perfect way to get a taste of your favorite snacks without going overboard

 

6. Sugar-free gum- This will make your body and your dentist smile, literally. Plus it comes in fun flavors like watermelon, bubble gum, tangerine.

 

Keep these ideas in mind as you prepare for the big day on October 31st. Just because its Halloween doesn’t mean you have to go overboard with your eating plan. Sure, a trick or treat is good every once in awhile; just make sure you choose wisely.

 

Happy Halloween!

 

Featured Recipe: Spicy Black Bean Burgers

By: Snap Fitness

Veggie burgers are a fantastic, guilt-free alternative to burgers. Most people shy away from veggie burgers because of their bad rap as being too bland. There are many variations of veggie burgers out there, but none compare to the taste of a black bean burger.

 

If you’re looking for a meal that is simple to make, full of protein and fiber, and not to mention, delicious, you came to the right place! We added a touch of spice to these bean burgers for a burst of extra flavor that will wake up your taste buds sing. We suggest topping these bad boys with avocado, lettuce, and tomato.

 

Ingredients:

1 16 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 white onion

1/4 green pepper

1/4 red pepper

2 cloves garlic

1 egg

1/2 cup panko ( bread crumbs)

1 tbsp cumin

1 tbsp chili powder

4 100% whole wheat burger buns

4 cheese slices if desired

 

Directions:

1. Chop onion and garlic finely, or use a food processor and pulse until chopped.  Set aside

2. In a medium size bowl, add beans, bread crumbs, egg, cumin and chili powder. Add finely chopped onion/garlic to bean mixture

3. Mush up bean mixture until thoroughly mixed, but not runny

4. Form your burgers into 4 patties. Heat a nonstick skillet to medium heat. When pan is fully heated, lightly coat with olive oil or cooking spray. Place your burgers down and let them cook for about 5 minutes, until flipping. There should be a light brown crust on the very top layer of the burger

5. After flipping, add the sliced cheese (If desired) to the top of the burger, and cover your skillet, allowing cheese to melt quickly and evenly

6. Remove burgers from skillet and let cool before serving

7. Enjoy! 

The 411 on a Nutritious Diet

By: Snap Fitness

Everyone wants to eat healthy. But what does “healthy” really mean?


Is it nothing but fruits and veggies for every meal? What about fast food restaurants that have healthy options; do those count?


Understanding a healthy, nutritious diet can be overwhelming if you don’t know what you’re looking for. That’s why this week we’re helping you get down to basics.

 

A nutritious diet has five characteristics: 

 

1. Adequacy – provides all the essential nutrients, fiber and energy in amounts that are sufficient to maintain health and body weight 

 

2. Balance – all nutrients are being consumed proportionality  

 

3. Calorie control – the foods you eat provide the amount of energy you need to maintain your appropriate weight 

 

4. Moderation – the foods you eat do not provide excess fat, sugar, salt and other unwanted constituents 

 

5. Variety – the foods chosen differ from day to day

 

Any one of these principles alone cannot ensure a healthful diet. 

 

Now that you’ve got the characteristics, what types of nutrients should you include in your diet? Are you trying to think back to grade school and remember what nutrients are? Don’t worry, we have you covered!

 

Nutrients are absolutely necessary for a body to function properly and can only be provided by the food you eat. Nutrients provide energy, maintain or repair body parts and support growth.

 

There are six essential nutrients -

 

Water – most important nutrient because your body uses water 24 hours a day, carrying nutrients to the cells in your body

 

Carbohydrates – primary energy source for the body – power every system in the body (brain, heart, muscles, organs)

 

Fat – primary purpose of fat is energy production

 

Protein – essential for building and repairing body cells

 

Vitamins – essential for regulating body functions such as preventing nutritional deficiencies, promoting good health and aiding in building body tissue

 

Minerals – play a significant role in helping your body properly function. Calcium is an example of a mineral – it is crucial in the formation and maintenance of bones.



Now that you know more about the characteristics and makeup of a nutritious diet, it’s time to start putting it into action. The next time you’re at the grocery store, look at the nutrition facts on the food you’re buying. How does it stack up when it comes to nutrients? Most fast food websites also include nutrition information, and now you have a better idea of what to look for.



It’s the little changes that can make the biggest difference, and understanding the basics of a nutritious diet is the first step to getting the results you want!

8 Tips To Get More Fruit Into Your Diet

By: Snap Fitness

Do you find it hard to stay consistent with your fruit consumption as the winter months approach?  If so, you aren’t alone. Fruit contains loads of vitamins, minerals, and fiber that keep your body functioning properly. The benefits are endless!

 

We’ve already given you tips for 5 Tips to Get More Veggies Into Your Diet, but the question remains: How do you incorporate more fruit into your diet?

 

The answer is quite simple. Fresh fruit can easily be added to some of your favorite foods, if you have the willingness to be creative.

 

Here are a few ways to sneak more fruit onto your plate.

 

1. Add fresh fruit to your greens. Yep, we said it! Try adding fruit such as; peaches, apples, pears, or berries to your salad. Fresh fruit adds a bit of sweetness that goes great with mixed greens

 

2. This one is a no-brainer! Mix fresh fruit into your daily smoothie. Cut up fresh fruit and freeze for smoothies. The fruit not only acts as a sweetener, but also as ice when frozen.

 

3. Keep fresh fruit easily accessible. Cut up fruit right after you get home from the grocery store. Being prepared is key!

 

4. Slice up a banana or add fresh blueberries to your morning cereal or oatmeal.

 

5. Break out the grill! There is nothing better than fresh fruit on the grill. Grilling fruit brings out the sweetness. Try pineapple, peaches, or bananas

 

6. Frozen fruits are just as nutritious as fresh. Use frozen if it is more convenient for you.

 

7. Stuff apples with raisins, dried apricots and walnuts and bake in the oven for a healthy dessert.

 

8. Don’t forget AVOCADOS! Yes, they are a fruit. Add these to your favorite sandwich, salad, or dip.

 

How are you going to add more fruit to your diet today?

 

Featured Recipe: Applesauce Pumpkin Bars

By: Snap Fitness

If you love the taste of pumpkin, you’re going to LOVE this recipe! The problem with pumpkin bars is most recipes call for one cup of oil, which can add up. We decided to substitute applesauce for the oil to lighten the load of these bars.

 

This recipe still contains sugar and eggs, but those ingredients can easily be swapped out for egg substitute and brown rice syrup. You will be more than happy with these deliciously moist bars.

 

Feel free to cut out the cream cheese frosting, but sometimes you need a little extra goodness on top. We used low-fat cream cheese, which cut the fat in half. These bars are sure to be a winner in your house!

 

 

Ingredients for the bars: 

 

4 eggs

1 2/3 raw cane sugar

1/2 applesauce ( plain or cinnamon)

15-ounce can pumpkin

2 cups almond flour ( gluten-free) or 2 cups whole wheat flour

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda 

 

Ingredients for the icing: 

8-ounce package low-fat cream cheese

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened

2 cups sifted powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

 

Directions for the bars:

 

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Combine eggs, sugar, applesauce and pumpkin until fluffy.

3. In a seperate bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda.

4. Slowly add dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix at low speed until batter is smooth.

5. Spread the batter into a greased 13 by 10-inch baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes.

6. Cool bars completely before adding frosting. 

 

Directions for the icing:

 

1. Combine low-fat cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl.

2. Mix with electric mixer until smooth and creamy, then add the sugar and mix at low speed. Add vanilla and stir.

3. Once bars are completely cooled, spread the icing on top.

4. Sprinkle top of bars with nutmeg for an added dash of flavor.

Featured Recipe: Butternut Squash Lasagna

By: Snap Fitness

The fall season calls for two things:

1. Recipes including: pumpkin, nutmeg, or cinnamon

2. Comfort food

 

The challenge is how to eat comfort food when you're watching your waistline? There are ways to eat your favorite foods AND still stay on track with your diet. You don’t need to deprive yourself; just find ways to modify the recipe to fit your dietary needs

 

One of the most popular comfort foods is lasagna. Unfortunately, lasagna can often be a no-no because of the added cheese, and carbs. In this recipe, we’ve taken traditional lasagna and modified its ingredients. What resulted is a low-fat version of the famous comfort food classic. In honor of October, we made it seasonal by adding butternut squash to the mix. You will be pleased and satisfied with this recipe re-do. 

 

Enjoy! 

 

Ingredients:

 

2 boxes whole wheat or gluten-free lasagna noodles

1 pound- ground turkey 

1 large Butternut squash

1 vidalia onion

1 garlic clove

1 bunch of spinach

1 12oz. container low-fat ricotta

1 12oz. container low-fat cottage cheese

1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

2 Tbsp olive oil

Salt & pepper to taste

 

Directions:

 

1. Bake butternut squash at 400F for 45 minutes. Remove from oven, remove contents of squash and place into a bowl. Mix until squash forms a sauce-like consistency and set aside.

2. Brown ground turkey in a medium skillet on low heat. Once browned, add 1 Tbsp olive oil, onion, and ½ garlic clove and allow to cook for another minute. Set aside in a small bowl.

3. In a large pot, cook lasagna noodles until al dente (partially cooked). Set aside.

4. In the medium skillet, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil and the rest of the garlic clove. Sauté for about 1 minute until the garlic begins to brown and add the spinach. Cook until spinach is fully wilted. Remove from heat.

5. In a medium bowl, combine ricotta and cottage cheeses. Add cooked spinach to mixture and mix until thoroughly combined.

 

Layering Lasagna Directions:

 

1. Preheat oven to 350F and lightly grease a 9x13 pan.

2. Lay four cooked lasagna noodles in the bottom of the pan, overlapping as you go.

3. Add a thin layer of meat on top of the noodles. Then add a layer of butternut squash. Lastly, add a thin layer of the cheese mixture on top of the butternut squash. Top with another layer of noodles, and continue with the same layering pattern. The last layer should be a layer of noodles. Sprinkle with one final layer of cheese.

4. Pop in the oven at 350F degrees for 20-30 minutes, until hot and bubbly.

Note: This recipe can be made ahead and frozen for a meal later on. 

5 Tips To Get More Veggies Into Your Diet

By: Snap Fitness

Are you eating your veggies? For most of us the veggie battle started at an early age where we spent our youth having broccoli and Brussels sprouts shoved in our faces. The result, a love/ hate relationship with anything that grows in the ground.

 

Most of us aren’t adding fresh vegetables into our daily diet. Either it’s a matter of convenience, or let’s face it, the taste isn’t something we fell in love with at an early age.  Incorporating veggies into a daily diet can be difficult, but there are ways to make eating veggies more enjoyable.

 

Believe it or not, you can add vegetables into just about anything, well, almost anything. The key is to experiment with a variety of vegetables and recipes.  After all, you never know if you don’t try.

 

Follow these simple tips to get more vegetables into your diet:

 

1. Make them accessible. Cut up your veggies right when you get them. Put them in small baggies to grab on the go.

 

2. Add veggies into your favorite smoothie or juice. Veggies add loads of nutrients and believe it or not, you can’t taste them when blended with other ingredients.

 

3. Toss them into your favorite stews or pasta sauces. Adding zucchini, onion, tomatoes, and carrots not only adds flavor, it adds color too.

 

4. Dips such as hummus can make eating veggies easier. Not to mention you get the fiber from the bean dip.

 

5. Throw a few extra veggies on your frozen pizza, sandwich, or wrap. Get your nutrients and a bit of crunch

 

Sooner or later your memories of mashed peas and carrots will be truly something of the past. Enjoy! 

Featured Recipe: Gluten Free Pumpkin Pancakes

By: Snap Fitness

It’s officially pumpkin season!

 

Nothing spices up a recipe than the flavor of pumpkin. Did you know that pumpkin puree is low in calories and fat, not to mention contains vitamins and antioxidants? You will be in heaven with this recipe for Gluten Free Pumpkin Pancakes. They are full of great flavor, and super moist. Top these cakes with your favorite hot maple syrup, pecans, or a dollop of butter. If it was possible to put Fall on a plate, we’ve done it!

 

Enjoy! 

 

Ingredients:

1 cup all purpose gluten free baking flour

1 cup almond milk

1 egg

¾ cup pureed pumpkin

¼ cup buckwheat flour

2 Tbsp butter, melted

1 Tbsp sugar

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp vanilla extract

 

 

Directions

1. Mix together the egg, sugar and vanilla until foamy. Add melted butter and pureed pumpkin and combine well.

2. In a separate bowl, combine gluten free flour, buckwheat flour, baking powder and the spices. Add the combined dry mixture to the pumpkin mixture.

3. Add milk and stir until the batter is smooth.

4. Heat a frying pan and use a 1/3 measuring cup to pour the batter on the heated frying pan. Once the top of the pancake starts to bubble, flip the pancake and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes. Watch carefully.

5. Serve warm with maple syrup or your desired topping.

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