What's great about being Real Fit for Real Life is that you DON'T have to give up foods you love! And who doesn't love spaghetti & meatballs?!
Simply combine a pack of ground turkey with one egg, crumbs from one slice of your healthy bread of choice, fresh ground pepper & salt, & Italian seasoning. Heat up a pan (medium heat) sprayed with olive oil & carefully form meatballs (I used my cookie scooper) & place in pan. Brown each side as evenly as possible, then pour in the healthiest marinara you can find (I like hitting farmers markets for this, but even the grocery store has good organic ones with no added sugar. They may be pricier, but a good marinara that I don't have to spend days making is totally worth it!! How good can it be if it costs less than $2???)
Turn heat to low & let simmer. Meanwhile, cook your pasta of choice. Here you could use zoodles, quinoa pasta (that's what I used here), brown rice pasta, etc. And because I'm a nice mom, I let my kids make some garlic bread using bakery rolls, butter, & garlic salt. Have another kid make salad, & together you've created a delicious, nutritious spaghetti dinner you all can feel good about!
Clean eating doesn't have to be complicated! Keep it simple. Come back to basics! Stop overwhelming yourself with exotic ingredients & doing everything yourself from garden to table. This is real life. And it's beautifully, deliciously simple.
Who says it's too early for a turkey dinner? This was way easy & made me wonder why I think turkey is solely for Thanksgiving.
Simply place a thawed turkey breast (not a whole bird) into a roasting pan with some chopped sweet potatoes, sprayed in coconut cooking oil & seasoned with fresh ground salt & pepper. Follow the cooking instructions on the turkey. Mine needed about an hour and 15 minutes to cook.
Once done, check the internal temp of the turkey to ensure it's fully cooked. Then let sit while you roast some asparagus (you know the drill). As the asparagus cooks, slice up your turkey, cook the gravy that comes with (I don't care for gravy at all, but the kids like it), and toss together a pretty salad with some fall fruit, like fresh pear or apple slices, nuts, & pomegranate vinaigrette. Yum!
And because I kept tossing sweet potatoes into my mouth as I finished cooking, you'll notice very few on my plate! Always be mindful of the dinner you've eaten before actually sitting down to dinner ;)
Most of my dinners, not gonna lie, arise out of urgency & ingenuity. I plan dinners for the week, but then life happens. Tonight's dinner turned out miraculously tasty for how hastily I threw it together! I had some ground turkey thawed in the fridge, & as always, I had some peppers, onion, & zucchini in the crisper. I've learned, if you have these staples, you can create a variety of delicious, nutritious meals-- so I just try to stay stocked at all times!
Simply spray some olive oil into a pan on medium heat, throw in the ground turkey & sprinkle with garlic & fresh ground sea salt & pepper. Then chop up green peppers & toss in, stirring occasionally. Then put on your sunglasses or goggles & chop up half a red onion & add to the pan. Stir some more, & yes, you can put the shades away.
Grab some Worcester sauce & Bragg's liquid aminos (also staples in your fridge) & shake into the pan according to your tastes. Stir some more. Finally, chop off the ends of 2 zucchini & spiralize them directly over the pan. Pause to stir it all up, then resume spiralizing. I have the cheapest spiralizer out there-- found it at Marshall's for $5-- so it's a workout! But still, it doesn't take too long. Add more sauces. If you like it with kick, add some hot sauce, but if you're serving your kiddos, sprinkle with those yummy fried wonton strips. Trust me. This helps take the edge off the fact that you've zoodled them again!
My whole family ate this up without whining, so that's a success! Had I been more prepared, I would've added fresh cilantro because that makes everything taste gourmet. Truth.
If you're not already eating salmon once a week, you should! Salmon is an excellent source of vitamin B12, vitamin D, and selenium. It is a good source of niacin, omega-3 fatty acids, protein, phosphorus, and vitamin B6. I know, I know-- if you're a fish-hater, you don't really care!
But if you love salmon, or can tolerate it, here's an amazing dinner! (Ok, the kids still hate salmon, so they made themselves grilled cheese- but if your kids are less picky than mine- this is a great family meal.)
Broiled Salmon with Asparagus & Shiitake Mushrooms, modified from Martha Stewart magazine (she actually has great recipes-- I'm glad this magazine keeps mysteriously showing up in my mail!!)
• Preheat oven to broil hi with rack 4 inches from heat. • In small bowl, stir 1/4 c Bragg's liquid aminos (or low-sodium soy sauce), juice of 1 large lemon, & 1 tbsp Truvia or raw coconut sugar, 2 tsp grated ginger (or just the ginger in your spices- to taste). • In baking pan, toss asparagus & mushrooms with oil (olive, canola, coconut, safflower- whatever makes you happy) & coarse salt & freshly ground pepper. Broil 5 minutes. Add soy sauce mixture, stir to coat, broil 3 more minutes. Add salmon (4 skinless wild fillets), drizzle with oil, salt, & sauce from pan. Broil a couple minutes. Flip, add a lemon slice atop each salmon, broil a couple more minutes. Serve with small salad- mine's greens, beets, goat cheese, & raspberry vinaigrette.
Rumor has it salmon is great leg day recovery food! I swear by it ;) Maybe one of these days I'll research the scientific accuracy of this statement, but for now, I'll enjoy any excuse to eat salmon!
I am a fan of one-dish meals like this one. This is another recipe I modified from the Martha Stewart Magazine. Now when I say rice, I never mean white rice. I'm a horrible Filipino, I know! I don't even keep white rice stocked in the pantry. Always choose the more nutrient-dense brown rice, black rice, quinoa, amaranth, or another variety of grain that is trending for it's incredible nutrient profile-- some trends should be followed! As far as chicken sausage, check your local grocery-- these are increasing in popularity & many brands are available in a variety of flavors. Compare ingredient lists to decide which one seems most beneficial AND flavorful.
Baked Rice with Chicken Sausage, Peppers, & Corn
• preheat oven to 375. Pierce sausage with knife tip, then heat in an oven-safe skillet with 1 tbsp oil about 3 minutes. Transfer to plate.
• In same skillet, sauté sliced onions, red peppers, & garlic in oil. Stir in 1 1/2 c rice of choice (I used quinoa & black rice to amp up protein & antioxidants!)
• add 3 c broth of choice (bone broth is popular right now for supposed healing qualities). Salt & pepper to desire. • Return sausage to pan, bring liquid to boil. Add corn (cobs cut to 1-inch pieces), cover, & bake in oven about 25-30 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes & top with cilantro. Top with a bit of grated Mexican blend cheese for the kiddos, because cheese makes everything kid-approved!
I'm often asked how I fuel my workouts & how I have so much energy. I have energy because I EAT, people! (And yes, that comma makes all the difference in that sentence!) I am definitely a member of the breakfast-loving species of humans-- for me, sleep, is indeed a time-machine to breakfast. It's what gets me out of bed at 6:30 every morning. Not everyone joins in my enthusiasm. I have had many clients who claim to have no appetite in the morning, that they can't handle eating before a workout. I think these people tend to be more prone to heartburn.
But, if you can manage getting up earlier, it is so very important to get some fuel into your body prior to your workout! I do not believe in fasted cardio. Or fasting at all really, unless you're simply too ill to eat. But that is just me-- I know intermittent fasting is a trend right now that works for some people, and I do say, if it works for you in your life, then who am I to say my way is the only one and true way??! (This applies to pretty much everything in life.)
The point is, most people will perform better, work out harder, and therefore burn more calories and fat when properly and sufficiently fueled. If you can't handle solid foods for breakfast, by all means, do a shake of some sort. I did go through my shake phase, but I found I personally enjoy the act of eating. I like chewing. So I gave up shakes for solids-- I'm sure I'll return someday when all my teeth are gone, but until then, I refuse to liquify my food, despite the commonly-held notion that all fit people drink shakes, as evidenced by the exorbitant amount of shake-selfies in the fitspo stream.
To get to the point, the pics above show how I fuel my workouts & my day-- French toast, baby! Now, I am NOT on a meal plan. I have many options for a healthy breakfast. But I am a creature of habit when it comes to breakfast & lunch, but especially breakfast, and this has been my breakfast of choice for the past year. Perhaps like a whale's song, I'll decide to change it yearly. But I love this too much to consider changing it any time soon.
You'll notice this is carb-heavy! If you're going to enjoy bread, but you're worried about starchy carbs, this is the meal to eat it because you have all day to utilize it! Find a bread you find tasty but also clean and as low-calorie as you need for your goals. This is my bread of choice, Eureka. This brand has funky names, is typically lower in calories per slice (80 vs the 100-150 of any other brand), and is clean and organic. It's just one of those breads you can feel good about.
Okay, this is another where I do not measure anything. Simply combine some liquid egg whites & milk of choice (I've used soy, almond, cashew, and coconut, all with great results) in a shallow, long-enough-to-fit-2-slices-of-bread-side-by-side container, add cinnamon & ginger to taste & whisk with a fork. Then dip your bread. Hopefully you made enough mixture to dip 8 slices, because that's how many you can usually cram onto your George Foreman grill (which you should spray with some coconut oil as it heats). If you don't have a George Foreman, go buy one. Or simply use a griddle or pan. Then you can share with your family, or consider this meal prep for a few days. Top with some plain 0% Fage (or add some stevia if you need it sweeter) and fresh berries. Yum!
FYI, I also enjoy a nice big cup of coffee with just a dash of coconut milk creamer. I eat around 6:30-7 am & experience zero digestive issues in an 8 am or later workout. The key is to find what works for YOU. But try this-- you might like it ;)
I made the mistake of going to the grocery store hungry. Which meant when I passed by the featured Pumpkin Butter jars, all pretty in a line, I took a rather nonchalant look-over the ingredients list & immediately placed that guaranteed yumminess in my cart. Because all things in moderation, right?
Before I even got home, I knew how I could have my way with it! And lo & behold, my genius idea worked! Here it is for you, in case you don't experience Fage epiphanies...
Simply combine Fage Greek yogurt 0% with the cleanest pumpkin butter you can find at a 1:4 or 1:3 ratio, depending on how much sugar you want. Stir. Place in a pretty bowl with a ginger snap. Perfect somewhat healthy fall dessert or snack ;)
Found this recipe in the Martha Stewart magazine but adapted it based on my own healthy pantry, & it worked perfectly! When I experience success, you better believe I'm going to share it! FYI, I've tried soooo many recipes that call for protein powder, and it usually ends up tasting, well, proteiny. Don't trust pretty pictures. If it sounds gross, it probably is. So I opt not to use protein powder in most of my baking. If I'm going to put in the effort, I want it to be tasty, not merely edible! I want my family to enjoy it, too! This is the Real Fit for Real Life way! Hallelujah, praise coconut oil! My treats are to be enjoyed in moderation, as all food should. Often when we use protein powders or find a recipe on a healthy-site, we think it's a free-for-all on portion sizes. Don't be a dummy. That's all I'm sayin.
Preheat oven to 375. Rub an 8x8 pan with coconut oil & line with parchment paper.
Beat 1/2 c. coconut oil with 1/2 c. raw sugar & 1/2 c. raw honey about 3 minutes. Add 2 c. oat flour (I grind my own in the Blendtec) & 1 tsp coarse salt. Beat until dough forms but not too smooth. Press 2 1/2 c. of flour mixture in bottom of pan.
Stir together 3 1/2 c. fresh diced peaches, dash of Truvia, 2 tbsp coconut flour, 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice, 1/2 tsp coarse salt. Pour into crust & crumble remaining flour mixture on top in clumps. Bake about 1 hours. Let cool 20 minutes.
If you're feelin' frisky, top with some Cool Whip or vanilla ice cream. I simply put mine in a bowl with some chilled vanilla soy milk. Yummmmmy, and a lot less guilt!
This quick & easy grilled sandwich is so tasty, it could pass for dessert! Seriously so good. And simple!
You'll need a panini press or just a George Foreman grill (I never use mine as intended!) Spray both sides of grill with coconut oil spray & heat up.
Sandwich: 2 slices Eureka bread of choice, handful of arugula (or spinach), a few slices of a fresh & juicy peach, then some goat cheese. That's it.
Place sandwich in grill/press & cook till light signals it's ready, about one minute, not even enough time to check your Instagram! I did say quick, didn't I?? Because when you're hungry, who wants to wait? Now this is my idea of "fast food"!
Enjoy with a side of pickles or carrot sticks or cucumber slices, something to increase your veggie intake ;)
Seriously, this sounds so gourmet, but it's a 10-minute meal! Now I realize a lot of trainers & fitness gurus are anti-pasta-- down with CARBS! But I say, as long as you're not eating starchy carbs all day long every day of the week, a pasta night is not going to kill you! Plus, there are fantastic options now for pasta-- whole grain, brown rice, spinach pasta. You can even make your own noodles out of squash/zucchini! I'll post another time about zoodles ;) For now, find a pasta your family will eat & that you feel good about!
Step 2: find a local farmer who makes his own walnut pesto. Buy it. Pat yourself on the back for supporting local small business & saving yourself a lot of hassle of making it yourself. Again, if you enjoy spending all day in the kitchen, by all means, make your own! I'm sure there's something on Pinterest. The grocery store may have some tasty, clean options as well.
Step 3: cook cubed chicken in pan with some olive oil. When fully cooked, add your awesome sauce. Serve over pasta of choice with a fresh side salad.
As a busy mom of 3, working multiple part-time jobs & volunteering in PTA, I am all about QUICK, EASY, HEALTHY, REALISTIC meals. If it takes longer than 20 minutes or requires hard-to-find ingredients, it's likely not gonna happen! Don't ask me for macros, because that goes against my Real Life mentality-- just know I always balance carbs, protein, & healthy fats.