ABS ARE MADE IN THE KITCHEN

Fitness is only one part of good health! From recipes to quick snacks, we have plenty of nutrition tips to keep you energized for not just your workout, but your entire day.

No Bake Oatmeal Protein Energy Balls

06/22/2018

It's official: The search for the perfect protein ball is over! These chocolate chip oatmeal energy balls are the perfect mix of healthy and heavenly. You can thank us later.  

 

INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/3 cup pure maple syrup

1/3 cup cacao chocolate chips

¼ cup protein powder (optional)

2 tablespoons liquid (almond milk, water, etc.)

 

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Mix ingredients in a bowl until combined. Set in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  2. Remove from refrigerator and roll into balls using hands. Store in fridge.

 

GUEST BLOGGER | Meet Lauren

Lauren Gaskills is an inspirational writer, speaker and food blogger whose passion is to inspire others to lead healthy, happy redeemed lives. Visit her at MakingLiftSweet.com

WEBSITE

Healthy Grocery Shopping: Where to Start

06/16/2018

What’s the key to healthy eating? Preparing in advance! That starts with a healthy grocery list to stock up on the best ingredients for each of your healthy meals. This guide is the first step in your weekly healthy eating and will speed up those grocery store trips by giving you a plan!

 

Take Inventory

Before you grocery shop, take note of what you already have in your kitchen from the list below, and make your own list to fill in the blanks.

 

Investing even just a little more time into your preparation to make sure you have all the ingredients you need- you’re eliminating two huge hurdles when it comes to healthy eating.

  1. Having enough time
  2. Having the right ingredients

 

Break Down Your Needs into Groups

Since the grocery store is typically broken up by food groups, why not break down your list into groups to make your shopping trip easier?

 

Below you’ll find what you should always have in your kitchen as well as a few items that are optional! (This is pending any dietary restrictions or allergies)

 

Grains

Always Have

  • High fiber cereals
  • Oats
  • Panko breadcrumbs
  • Sweet potatoes/yams
  • Whole wheat/gluten free pasta
  • Brown rice or quiona

 

Have At Least One of These

  • Whole wheat, gluten free or sprouted bread
  • Whole wheat wraps
  • Whole wheat English muffins

 

Meat/Protein

Always Have

  • Boneless/skinless chicken breast
  • Salmon
  • Filet/hanger/flank/sirloin/lean ground beef
  • Turkey bacon

Vegetarians

  • Tofu
  • Edamame

 

Produce

Always Have

  • Onions
  • 3 in seasons fruits including at least 1 berry
  • 5 in season vegetables including 1 leafy green

 

Dairy

Always Have

  • Nonfat/Non-dairy milk
  • Low fat/nonfat plain Greek or regular yogurt
  • Eggs

Optional

  • Parmesan cheese
  • Low fat cheese

 

Canned Goods

Always Have

  • Toato sauce
  • Low sodium vegetable or chicken broth
  • Low sodium soup

 

Oils, Vinegars, Condiments

Always Have

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • White wine viegar
  • Mustard

Optional

  • Canola oil
  • Other vinegars
  • Horseradish

 

Seasonings/Spices

Always Have

  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • Fresh or minced garlic
  • Cinnamon
  • Cumin
  • Rosemary
  • Crushed red pepper

 

Frozen Food

Always Have

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits/Berries with no added sugar
  • Ground turkey meat
  • Vacuum sealed fish
  • Shrimp

Optional

  • Veggie burgers

 

Once you have all of your meals, check out a few of our healthy recipe options such as Salmon Sushi Bowls or Hawaiian Chicken Kabobs, and get cooking!

The Dark Side of Social Media Fitness Culture

06/08/2018

Social media is a powerful tool, especially for the fitness world. Instagram offers the opportunity to keep yourself accountable on your fitness journey, a variety of workout options to fit your lifestyle, a chance to build a community for support, and more. There are countless fitness personalities on Instagram that offer daily or weekly workouts, diet tips, and of course, selfies of well-sculpted bodies with inspirational quotes or anecdotes looking to encourage others.

 

But the overwhelming exposure to such a vast assortment of fitness subculture through Instagram can have extremely negative effects on body image and even be dangerous to our health. What is the dark side to Instagram fitness programs? How do we keep ourselves from falling into the black hole of the perfect lifestyles that are portrayed by social media? Here are a few things to consider:

 

Potential Misinformation

It’s natural to assume that someone who looks fit, toned, and thin is an expert in health and wellness. Plenty of Instagram fitness personalities, including Kayla Itsines with over 9 million followers, have managed to develop their own programs and turn their following into a substantial business. Kayla offers a variety of different programs, encourages participants to share their before and after stories, and has proven that her methods can deliver results.

 

One thing to remember, however, is that not every fitness personality is an expert. Someone sharing their fitness regime on their Instagram story is not a guarantee that they are aware of the safest and most effective ways for you to get healthy. Social media is saturated with so much fitness content that some of it, flat out, is not going to be good for everyone. Not everybody can handle high intensity workouts, restrictive diets, or lifting heavy weights- what your body needs and where you are on your health and wellness journey is unique to you.

 

The most important thing to remember is that most of the influencers offering health and fitness tips are offering just that- tips. They’re not guaranteed to show you the results you may be looking for, so be sure to put your own health first and avoid practices that could result in injury or other negative results. 

 

Body Image

No one can argue that these influencers and other social media personalities have good intentions in sharing their fitness tips and suggestions, and the countless comments from grateful people does show that lives have changed for the better. However, there is a lurking harmful underbelly to this culture that could be causing the positive message to be backfiring.

 

Despite the attempt at promoting self-love and body positivity, the fact remains that there is a huge disconnect between the images being posted and the inspirational quotes that accompany them. Many of these celebrities or fitness personalities will encourage you never to compare yourself to others including them, while displaying a photo of their washboard abs.

 

Consistent exposure to photos that are so perfectly posed suggesting programs that guarantee that same body in 6 weeks is causing participants to engage in habits that are far beyond the reaches of a healthy lifestyle. In attempts to obtain the “ideal” body type, or rather the photo they’re being shown that sets the bar higher than may be possible, users are actually hurting themselves. It can result in having a negative relationship with food, over-exercising, or injuries trying to gain the perfect Instagram body.

 

Additionally, making your fitness journey about before/after photos shifts your motivation to get healthy to your physical appearance, rather than internal health. You’ll end up finding yourself comparing your after photos to fellow participants wondering why your results weren’t the same, causing damage to your self-esteem.

 

Health Comes First

Of course, there are positives to the Instagram fitness influencers and what they offer to their audience. These plans and programs provide an outpour of support from fellow participants and are offered at a relatively lower cost than other fitness options. However, it’s important to remember that your emotional and physical health come first.

 

Not all of these influencers are qualified to hand out advice, so it’s important to take their tips with a grain of salt and be sure to run any new fitness or diet program by a professional first. Listen to your body, know your limitations, and most importantly don’t follow any accounts that cause you to feel bad about yourself. Social media shouldn’t become detrimental on your journey to overall better health and wellness- fill your exposure with positive messaging to prevent the development of dangerous habits.  

 

Most importantly, remember that fitness and health are not about sweaty selfies, developing six-pack abs, or those before and after photos. It’s about finding the right habits you need to incorporate into your life that can allow you to become the best version of yourself!

 

For additional health and wellness tips, including 5 Ways to Make Living a Healthy Lifestyle Easier, be sure to check out our blog! 

 

Salmon Sushi Bowls

06/02/2018

Sushi bowls can be just as delicious as sushi rolls (and much easier to prepare at home)! Whip up this great salmon, avocado, cucumber Sushi Bowl today!

 

INGREDIENTS
2 wild salmon filets (raw or cooked)

1 cup cooked and shelled edamame

½ English cucumber, sliced

4 sheets nori

½ avocado, sliced

2 cups cooked sushi rice

½ cup mayonnaise with olive oil

1 tablespoon sriracha

 

 

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Prepare sriracha aioli: Stir together mayonnaise and sriracha in a small bowl until combined. (You can also skip the aioli and just drizzle with soy sauce for a lightened up version.)
  2. To assemble Salmon Sushi Bowls, divide sushi rice between two bowls. Top with salmon, edamame, cucumber, nori, avocado and sriracha aioli. Garnish with sesame seeds if desired.

 

GUEST BLOGGER | Meet Lauren

Lauren Gaskills is an inspirational writer, speaker and food blogger whose passion is to inspire others to lead healthy, happy redeemed lives. Visit her at MakingLiftSweet.com

WEBSITE

Hawaiian Chicken Kabobs

05/25/2018

With the first long weekend of summer around the corner, start your grills and get ready for some delicious food! Bring these Hawaiian Chicken Kabobs to your weekend BBQ for a healthy, mouth-watering option!

 

INGREDIENTS

For the marinade:

1/3 cup soy sauce

¼ cup canned pineapple juice

2 tablespoons coconut sugar

2 tablespoons sesame oil

½ teaspoon minced garlic

¼ teaspoon grated ginger

¼ cup cold water

1 tablespoon cornstarch

 

For the kabobs:

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into 1 ½-inch pieces

3 bell peppers, cut into 1 ½-inch pieces

3 cups pineapple chunks

 

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. For the marinade: Combine first six ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Meanwhile, whisk cold water and cornstarch together until combined. Slowly pour water into marinade, whisk and simmer for three minutes until marinade thickens.
  2. Place chicken in a bag or bowl and add half of the marinade. Let sit for up to four hours.
  3. Preheat grill to medium heat.
  4. Thread chicken, peppers and pineapple onto skewers.
  5. Grill over medium heat, turning every 5 minutes and basting with remaining marinade until chicken is done, about 15 minutes.

 

GUEST BLOGGER | Meet Lauren

Lauren Gaskills is an inspirational writer, speaker and food blogger whose passion is to inspire others to lead healthy, happy redeemed lives. Visit her at MakingLiftSweet.com

WEBSITE

5 Ways to Make Living a Healthy Lifestyle Easier

05/24/2018

When life causes healthy habits to become more difficult to maintain, what do you do? Push back, turn to old habits, and wait for the next “let’s get healthy” kick. Instead of accidentally sabotaging your own healthy life, focus on ways to make it easier. Being flexible with workouts, relieving some of the mental pressure, and focusing on small, attainable goals are just some of the simple ways to make living your healthy life easier.

 

If you’re running out of steam, here are a few ideas to get back on the health wagon once and for all. Living a healthy life doesn’t have to be hard!

 

Challenge: Getting Out of Your Own Way

 

It often feels hard to live a healthy lifestyle because we’re so rigid with ourselves.

No, you can’t eat that!”

“Today I HAVE to do this workout.”

“On Saturday, I better get to yoga.”

The constant mental bullying makes living this healthy life feel hard and, in many cases, defeating. Suddenly, you’ve sucked all the fun out of taking care of your body and mind.

 

To make your healthy life easier, lighten up where you can. If you want to be active on the weekend, plan a hike or long walk with a good friend and then enjoy a yummy brunch. Instead of planning every workout ahead of time, choose the days you’ll workout and then let yourself move in whatever feels good for your body that day. If you’re feeling strong, make it a heavy lifting day. If you’re feeling mellow, find a yoga class.

 

Being healthy feels easier when you’re not bossing yourself around all the time or punishing yourself for not meeting your own expectations. Keep living healthy fun and positive!

 

Challenge: Busy Schedules

 

Sometimes the hardest part about working out is getting to the gym. Not only does the drive take time out of your already-busy day, but it seems like you lose motivation the second you get behind the wheel. Still, once you get there, you’re glad you went.

 

On the days when you’re teetering between the gym and the couch, opt for an at-home workout. Not only do you save time by not driving, but you can get moving right when motivation strikes.

 

Sign up for a subscription fitness service or turn to the dozens of free full-length online workouts. You’d be amazed how much you can sweat with minimal (or zero) equipment. 

 

Challenge: Keeping Fitness Clothes in Good Shape

 

How long does it take your new fitness clothes to get smelly and worn out? Sometimes it’s just a matter of weeks before you’re back online ordering new pants and tops, which is both expensive and annoying. To keep your clothes in better shape, spend less, and make your healthy life easier, do one simple thing: change your detergent.

 

“In most cases, high tech fabrics are used to make activewear clothes, which tend to deteriorate when exposed to harsh chemicals. Therefore, pick out a mild and eco-friendly detergent that allows a gentle wash that doesn’t contain harsh chemicals. Be sure to pay close attention to care labels as instructions often vary,” suggest cleaning experts at CD One Price Cleaners.

 

Challenge: Making Healthy Food Choices

 

Consider this scenario: You wake up late for work, quickly eat whatever you can find for breakfast, and run out the door without lunch. You get talked into going out to lunch with a bunch of co-workers and suddenly you’re digging into a greasy meal of burger and fries. The worst part: you sit at your desk feeling guilty the rest of the day.

 

If you had prepped your food earlier in the week, you would have had lunch, which may have given you the motivation to say no to your co-workers. Meal prep can also help you with snacks, breakfast prep, and planning healthy dinners.

 

When prepping, consider every meal and snack you’ll eat that week. Your prep list may include:

 

  • Freshly cut fruit for smoothies. You can even freeze them for longer storage.
  • Protein that needs to be pre-cooked for lunches. Think: turkey burgers, chicken, or tofu.
  • Snack bags to take to work, including, nuts, crackers, pieces of cheese, fruit.
  • Pre-cut veggies that are easy to toss into a pan throughout the week.
  • Containers of almond butter or hummus for dipping veggies and fruit.

 

Challenge: Setting The Bar Too High

 

It’s easy to get excited about reaching for the stars when it comes to your health and fitness goals, but setting challenging, long-term goals is important, it could make your journey more stressful if they’re potentially unattainable. For example, if you’ve never run a day in your life, and plan to compete in a 10k in one month, the training will likely to be miserable. You may even run the risk of injury by pushing yourself too far too fast.

 

Instead, push that 10k out for 4 months. Then set smaller goals leading up to your ultimate goal. Starting small will lead to better habits and an overall healthier lifestyle. Here are some ideas:

 

  • Month 1: Run three times each week.
  • Month 2: Beat my PR from month 1.
  • Month 3: Run the 10k distance at least three times before the race.
  • Month 4: Cross the finish line in 30 minutes or less.

 

In this way, you set yourself up for success while also pushing your body to adapt and change, keeping your stress levels manageable and your goals much more attainable.

 

Live an Easy, Healthy Life

 

Your healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be hard or stressful to maintain. Let a little pressure off, prioritize taking care of clothes (and spend less money on new ones!), and do what works for your schedule and your body. Soon, you’ll love living that healthy lifestyle so much, you’ll never want to go back!

 

GUEST BLOGGER | Jessica Vanderlinde, Personal Trainer at Snap Fitness Chanhassen

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