Category Archives: Food

cfd215e7-a90a-4fc8-87ff-1cd1aa4cb858

Kit What Do You Eat?

I get asked this question often. This week I thought I would answer it honestly.

You may have decided to read this blog because you want to understand the right combination of foods to lose weight, or the key ingredient (no pun intended) to speeding up your metabolism, or to get the definitive answer about how much to eat and how often.

Well, I’m going to share everything. What I eat and what I’ve come to learn since deciding to change my diet 12 years ago with P90X, the Nutrition Guide and Michi’s Ladder of food that came in the box with those DVDs.

Here’s exactly what they look like: The good, the pretty good and the ugly days along with my top 3 lessons learned.

Lesson Learned #1: There are some foods that just shouldn’t be ingested on a regular basis. In fact, I wouldn’t refer to them as food. Examples: French fries, hot dogs, potato chips, candy, white bread. I’ve strung a few days of “ugly” together in this department for sure. The key is avoid them at all costs. Get them out of the house and don’t frequent places that sell them. Eliminating this stuff gives you the biggest bang for your buck. If you’re the type of person who ingests this stuff on a regular basis, once you do eliminate them, the weight will melt away like snow on a warm spring day. Your body is just not designed to eat or digest them and it will immediately thank you for not letting them pass your lips.

My GREAT day: I break off a row or two of a Stevia-sweetened dark chocolate bar and nibble on it after lunch or after dinner. PRETTY GOOD DAY: that chocolate bar plus another small sweet indulgence after dinner. UGLY DAY: I’ve had a scone or muffin with breakfast, the chocolate from that bar after lunch, and a few cookies after dinner. If I cheat I try to cheat on a snack and not blow an entire meal.

Lesson Learned #2: Think “whole.” You’ve seen a lot about this all over the internet. The “whole food diet” and related cookbooks have become very popular. This concept made sense to me and was do-able when I decided to change my diet 12 years ago. And, with time and patience, it worked. I didn’t want to count calories, calculate macros or weigh my food. I had a full time job and three kids under the age of 5 and measuring and weighing took time I didn’t have. Tony Horton told me this: “Look down at your plate at every meal and make sure everything on it falls into one of these categories: lean protein, vegetable, whole fruit, healthy fat or whole grain.” Okay that I could do. I soon became bored with the obvious choices that fell into those categories like chicken, broccoli, apples, brown rice etc., so I sought out cookbooks that had clean recipes using only the foods in these categories. It opened my eyes to using spices and healthy fats to make “boring” food taste better. It made me realize that healthy food really can taste good.

My GREAT day: Breakfast: one whole egg and three egg whites scrambled with spinach, red pepper, red onion and spices from Trader Joes with a side of berries and piece of Ezekial toast. Lunch: large salad of kale, spinach, chopped veggies, avocado and toasted pecans with homemade dressing. Dinner: a soup or stew I’ve prepped ahead of time or lean protein like chicken, flank steak or fish prepared with a side of quinoa and vegetable. Two snacks that might include apple with raw nut butter or cut veggies and hummus. PRETTY GOOD DAY: Typically involves similar clean meals but poor snacking in between meals. UGLY DAY: It begins with sugar like waffles or breakfast cereal with toast. Toast again later that morning. Lunch is a sandwich with grilled veggies or deli turkey on whole grain bread and I choose to have chips on the side. Dinner is cooking something quick like pasta with no vegetables or getting take-out from a place my teens love and then me searching in the pantry for something sweet later.

LESSON LEARNED #3: Learn how to cook, eat at home more often and when you can’t spend a little extra money buying prepared foods at healthy markets. I soon realized that if I was going to stick to a healthy eating plan I had to know what was in my food. The only way to know what was in my food was to prepare it myself. I am not a great cook and I don’t own a lot of “gadgets” to make food prep easy. I did invest in a few that have become huge time savers: a mini electric chopper to chop veggies, a Vitamix that does blends, chops, and mixes and better non-stick skillets and soup pots. I purchased just a few healthy cookbooks that have recipes that are easy to make and use all whole foods and spices. When I don’t feel like cooking or I don’t have the time I go to a few local farmer’s markets in my area that have prepared foods that list all the ingredients right on the label so I know what I’m eating. Last week for example, I was leading a two day seminar and the client was having lunch brought in. Panini’s, chips and cookies on the first day and pizza on the second. UGH! I went to my favorite market the day prior: Debra’s Natural Gourmet and purchased two kale salads and a side of their mustard chicken and packed them in a cooler. I ate these prepared meals for lunch each day. For dinner I ordered room service and just asked for what I wanted and the chef prepared a great spinach salad with veggies topped with grilled salmon.

IN SUMMARY: You may have read what I eat on my “ugly” days and thought to yourself: “That’s my good or pretty good day.” That’s okay. Guess what, in my teens, twenties and early thirties my ugly days included sugary drinks, pancakes, pasta and burgers… pretty often. I was lucky because the other big part of my life was exercise and yes, I was one of those people who could exercise her way through a poor diet. Not anymore. Not only does that kind of food put weight on me FAST, it also makes me feel like crud.

I post photos and videos of myself on social media exercising not to emphasize my biceps or my abs but so you can see MY SMILE. My smile represents how I FEEL as a result of my lifestyle. When I’m exercising regularly and fueling my body right I just feel downright better. I strive to find the right balance of foods that put me in the right mindset. Period.

When it’s time to work out I want to perform at my best.

When I need to make some serious headway on a project I’m working on, I want to be able to focus my mind on it.

When it’s time to go bed, I want to fall asleep easily and not wake in the middle of the night.

When I find myself in a stressful situation, I want to be able to work through it calmly.

Clean food enables me to accomplish all of the above. Sugar, fat and salt, on the other hand, wreak havoc on those goals every, single time.

A Happy AND Healthy Halloween Treat

Candy Corn Smoothie

candy-corn-smoothie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am crazy for candy corn this time of year. Yep, I know. There is absolutely NO nutritional value in those tiny little sugar triangles that I can pop in my mouth by the handful.

I was very excited to find this recipe. It is a yummy, healthier substitute and a great twist on your morning meal replacement shake.

Ingredients:

  • First Layer (White)
  • 1 serving Vanilla Shakeology or vanilla protein powder of your choice.
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 cup plain non-dairy yogurt
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • Second Layer (Yellow)
  • 1 cup frozen mango
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ Tbsp turmeric
  • Third Layer (Orange)
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 Tbsp turmeric

Preparation

  1. Add all ingredients in first (white) layer to blender and blend. Pour 1/3 of the smoothie mixture into the bottom of your glass.
  2. Next add in the frozen mango, water, and the half tablespoon turmeric to create a yellow layer. Pour half of the mix into a separate glass and set aside while you blend the orange layer.
  3. Add the carrot and remaining turmeric to create an orange layer. Pour the orange layer on top of the white layer. Top with the yellow layer of smoothie. Enjoy!

 

 

How to Spring Clean the Pantry

It’s been unusually warm here in the Northeast. The world is all out of whack. I don’t mind. I’m enjoying the warm weather. After all, Spring is just around the corner. New month, new season, time to clean.

The other day I opened my pantry to get some ingredients for a new recipe and realized it might be time to clean it out. There have been things that have been hanging around for too long. Ginger that’s a little bendy, red potatoes growing roots and items bought for one recipe I didn’t prefer and probably will never use again. Steps 1, 2 and 3 to a better pantry are…

  1. Purge the bad stuff. I recommend removing…
    • any items that are more than a year old
    • items that have more than 6 ingredients listed (this is actually most packaged foods)
    • items that have ingredients that you can’t pronounce
    • items you bought for a recipe you never made–it’s highly unlikely you’ll ever use it
    • white flour and white sugar items of all kinds
    • anything that you can get from the ground or a tree but you have in a package. For example: instant mashed potatoes, powders that end up as sauces when you add butter or water
  2. Add the good stuff. Staples I keep in my pantry are:
  • brown rice (instant is okay too)
  • quinoa
  • brown rice or quinoa pasta
  • all-natural pasta sauce (remember the ingredient rule above. I recommend buying organic and jars with no more than 4 grams of sugar per serving if you don’t make your own.
  • red potatoes- lower on the glycemic index
  • sweet and red onions
  • fresh ginger, garlic and shallots–great for sauteeing with fresh green veggies like kale
  • Brown rice syrup or Agave–instead of table sugar
  • Tamari or Bragg’s Aminos–in place of high salt soy sauces
  • Cold pressed organic olive oil–yeah it’s expensive but so much better for you and has more flavor
  • coconut oil—healthy Omega 3s for women “my age” and great with all natural popcorn cooked on the stove and sauteeing any protein or veggie
  • gluten free flour or whole wheat flour for baking
  • spices I love: garam marsala, sea salt, pepper, tumeric, curry powder, garlic, red pepper flakes, cumin. Most others I try to buy fresh such as parsley, basil, thyme, dill
  • raw nuts such as pecans, slivered almonds, walnuts, cashews
  • canned organic beans: black, cannelloni, white
  • steel cut oats- when I want a hearty breakfast

3. Plan and cook. The key to staying on track with your clean eating is being prepared. Pick one day each week when you are not as busy and prep just a couple of recipes to eat throughout the week. Refrigerate so you can grab and go each day.

NEWS! NEWS! NEWS!

  • Kit’s FREE 7-Day Clean Eating Facebook group starts March 21st. My favorite, easy, delicious recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks with a shopping list and other tips for staying on track. Want in? Message me back.
  • Want to be part of our GREAT Team? You may be on a healthy track and sharing what you do already. I’m in the market for part-time or full-time Coaches for my team. Want to learn more? Attend my 30-Minute LIVE Webinar on March 6th, 8 pm EST. At the time of the webinar. Go to Zoom.US. Click on “join meeting.” Enter Code: 5076482554. Or, join by phone: 415-762-9988 and use the same code: 5076482554. This will NOT be recorded.
  • 22 MINUTE HARDCORPS IS AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE ON TUESDAY, MARCH 1ST!! Our private Facebook group starts March 14th. CLICK HERE to order. CLICK HERE to be added to the group.

How to Make Healthy Food Taste Good

Do you want to lose weight?

Do you want to feel focused, energized and happy?

Do you want to make the most of every workout, outdoor activity or competitive event?

If your answer to these questions was yes, then you need to focus on your daily nutrition and how to best fuel your body.

The challenge is preparing food in such a way that makes us feel satisfied from the moment it touches our tongue until the time it hits our stomach. The age old question is: How do you make healthy food taste good?chocolateandspices

Adults have a tough time making healthy food taste good because most of us grew up in the 60s and 70s when sugar, fat and salt crept in our diet in the form of food that came in boxes, bags and cans. Here’s what my food intake looked like from the age of 5-18:

Breakfast: Fruit Loops cereal with whole milk, toast with butter and cinnamon and sugar sprinkled on top and a small glass of orange juice.

Lunch: Sandwich on white bread with deli meat and American cheese with a Devil Dog and small bag of Fritos. I’d buy the whole milk carton offered by the school.

Dinner: Pasta and meatballs with a side salad or meatloaf with baked potato and reheated canned vegetable.

Yikes!

Our palettes are so prone to tasting sugar, fat and salt that it takes time to acquire a taste for food that is flavored with healthy fats like olive oil, coconut oil and natural spices. What’s been working well for me:

  1. Get off sugar. You’ve probably read that sugar is as addictive as heroine. It clouds your brain, it drains your energy, it wreaks havoc on your skin, and negatively impacts sleep…should I go on? I’m an addict because once I start eating it, I can’t stop. I’m not a “tiny sweet a few times a week” person, I want sugar throughout the day. My best advice: give up the white stuff, cold turkey and in 30 days you will feel like a new person. During that time, if the cravings kick in replace white sugar with small amounts of something sweetened with Stevia. (Don’t eat as much Stevia sweetened foods as you would those sweetened with white table sugar. You don’t want to become a Stevia addict either.) I have Shakeology once per day. It is sweetened with a small amount of Stevia – but because it is so nutrient dense with over 70 fruits and vegetables, in 30 days, you won’t crave the white sugar anymore. My brother turned me on to a chocolate bar sweetened with Stevia (pictured above) and when the craving sets in I break off a few small squares and savor each one until it’s gone. Make a cup of fruit flavored herb tea like cinnamon apple, orange ginger or blueberry and savor it. Eat more whole fruit and berries. After 30-90 days replacing white sugar with the sugar that comes in the form of a whole fruit, the first time you have a cookie or brownie it will be unappealing to you new less sweet palette :)
  2. Try just 1-2 new recipes per week. There are tons of experts who have already figured out how to make healthy food taste good. I subscribe to the Vega newsletter and Clean Eating Magazine and I love recipes from cookbook authors Melissa Costello and Tosca Reno. Before long you’ll have a repertoire of recipes that you love and know how to cook from memory.
  3. Buy fresh spices. They make SUCH a difference in the flavor of any prepared food. In a pinch, Trader Joe’s makes a couple table spice blends that I sprinkle on chicken, fish, and in my eggs: 21 Seasoning Salute and a Garlic Salt mixture in a grinder that includes garlic, sea salt, onion and parsley. (Both are pictured above.)
  4. Invest in good gadgets that make the food prep easier. I have two great gadgets: a small mini chopper to quickly chop or mince small items like garlic and shallots and a Vitamix blender. The Vitamix will chop, mince and blend just about anything. It’s a blender and food processor all in one.
  5. If you must eat out, know how to order in any restaurant. Going out to dinner doesn’t mean blowing your clean eating diet. Just about any restaurant has healthy options. Peruse the entire menu and kindly ask the waiter if you could mix and match, given that you are on a special diet. Don’t forget to mention that you will tip kindly for the accommodation. First, I look for lean protein options: any kind of fish or chicken that is “grilled” or “pan seared.” Then I look for all my favorite vegetables and ask to switch out the potato or starch for another vegetable and request they cook light on the butter and oil. Or, order a salad without all the bad fixins’ like croutons, cheese, and candied nuts and add some avocado and grilled protein to it. Ask for oil and vinegar on the side. Finally, stay away from the bread basket, calorie heavy and sugar laden alchoholic drinks and dessert.

NEWS! NEWS! NEWS!

The new program from Tony Horton: 22 Minute Hardcorps is being released March 1st! To kick off Spring with a motivational fitness and clean eating plan, I recommend you get the “22 Minute Hardcorps Challenge Pack” that will include:

  • All the workout DVDs
  • Access to the Beachbody On Demand service – to stream all the workouts live, 24/7
  • Membership to a complete online nutrition plan with recipes, tips and more
  • One full month supply of Shakeology
  • Go to: beachbodycoach.com/kitcaldicott to order

And, don’t forget to CLICK HERE to join our online 22 Minute Hardcorps Motivation and Support Group starting March 14th.

2nd Annual Ode to #SuperBowlSunday

12512554_10153924128062248_5861184038123589573_n
On January 4th we made a pledge.
We stated our goals and did not hedge.
“I’ll get back to exercise and clean up my plate.”
“I’ll keep a log of everything I ate.”
We’re on a roll and making strides.
And, as we should, we have some pride.
Our clothes fit better and our energy is up.
So, why let Super Bowl Sunday be the day we LET up?
Sure, today is the big game and we should cheer our team on,
Gather with friends, laugh and have some fun.
But, don’t lose sight of your reason why.
That thing you pledged, the reason you decided to try.
I believe you want a better quality of life.
One with better health, happiness, more energy and little strife.
Think long and hard about your motivation for change.
What your life will be like and all that you’ll gain.
You can make dishes that are healthy and will satiate,
And wake up Monday still feeling great.
And, hey, why not get a workout in before the coin toss?
Continue the trend of your weight loss.
A brand new workout from Tony Horton is in store.
Available to try Super Bowl Sunday, it’s called 22 Minute Hardcorps.
You can try TODAY at Beachbody On Demand.
Support our troops and maybe win some money…hot Damn!
Not a member of Beachbody On Demand just yet?
Today it’s something you can get.
Click on the link below and give it a try, FREE for 30 days!
www.teambeachbody.com/kitcaldicott
1,000 workouts to choose from.
Then, once your workout is done,
Enjoy the game, the commercials, half-time show and have some fun.

How to Eat Healthy and Exercise When Travelling

*See the end of this email for an invitation to a PRIVATE Challenge Group Tony Horton and I are leading starting November 9th.

Tomorrow I head out of town for my fourth straight week of business travel. Yikes, how can one stay on track with fitness and healthy eating when travelling??

For those of us that have a routine at home that allows us to eat healthy and exercise business-travelregularly, business travel can throw a wrench into staying on track. When clean eating and exercise have become priorities in your life, you’ll want to stick to it, even on the road. It requires a little planning, a little more discipline and patience, but it can be done. Your new surroundings don’t provide the conditions which you are used to, but you can still stay on track and feel good when travelling. Here are some things I do to make sure I stay as healthy on the road, as I do at home.

  1. Pack healthy snacks. Whether you are on a long drive or flying, it’s often difficult to find healthy food. Rest stops on the highway and the airport eateries offer mostly processed alternatives that are high in fat, sugar and salt. If I am driving I pack a small cooler with apples and plenty of water. I also like the single serving packets of nuts from Trader Joe’s and Lara Bars. Lara Bars provide a good energy boost because they contain just about four ingredients and are sweetened with dates. At break time I have my own snacks instead of eating the unhealthy carbs that are usually offered.
  2. Drink plenty of water. The dry air on a plane can make you dehydrated, so after you go through security, buy a big bottle of water to sip on the flight. On long drives, drink water too. Yeah, you may need to stop more often, but better to stay hydrated. Keep a bottle with you for those long meetings and drink throughout the day. When your body is hydrated you feel full and are less tempted to eat unhealthy food.
  3. Exercise first thing in morning. I do my best to look for hotels that have a good gym and if not, there is always Beachbody On Demand with over 1,000 workouts to choose from Tony Horton and the gang. There are so many Beachbody workouts that don’t require any weights or equipment so they are easy to do right in your hotel room, if necessary. Or, I’ll pack a resistance band and bring my laptop down to the gym and work out there. It’s often that I get someone to join me, which is fun! Exercising in the morning gives me energy for the entire day – especially if I am leading an all day workshop or sitting in a meeting for the entire day. When I start the day right, I am less tempted to eat the unhealthy food that is put out at break time and lunch.
  4. Make exercise a team building activity. Last week our days started early and I was unable to exercise in the morning. My colleagues and I made a plan for the evening to get together to exercise. That accountability to each other held us to the plan, helped us bond in a whole new way and made exercise all the more fun!
  5. Make the restaurant menu your friend and not your foe. The toughest part about staying healthy while travelling is staying on track with your diet. It is difficult, but it can be done. Every hotel restaurant I’ve stayed in usually has oatmeal, fruit and eggs. These are all great choices for breakfast. Just like you do at home, stay away from bagels, pastry, bread, waffles, etc. At lunch, go for the greens! Hopefully that meeting planner included a salad of some kind at the lunch buffet. Skip over all the carbohydrates again, and select any foods that are offered that fall into the category of greens, veggies, healthy fats and protein. At dinner, study the menu. I tell the wait staff that I am on a special diet and I would be happy to tip well if the kitchen might be able to accommodate me. I will often piece together a dish from the items I see on the menu that I know are healthy. For example if a salad is offered with croutons and candied pecans and cheese I will ask that they remove all those things, bring me some olive oil and vinegar and add a piece of grilled chicken or salmon on top with some sliced avocado. As Tony Horton say: “Ask for what you want.” If you don’t ask, you have to settle for what’s there.
  6. Check in with others that help you stay accountable. Either first thing in the AM or at the end of the day I check in with my motivational and support groups on Facebook. All I have to do is take five minutes to read their motivational posts and what they accomplished today and the temptation to skip the workout or go down to the vending machine to get some M&Ms goes away.

Okay…off to pack….again! We got this! Have a GREAT week!

*PS – Want to be part of a PRIVATE FACEBOOK MOTIVATIONAL GROUP that Tony Horton and I are leading starting November 9th? If so – send me a private message on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/kit.caldicott) to let me know and include your email address to get the details. This is open to my team only. If you don’t already have a Coach and you’d like one, include that info in your message too.

Fall Food Makeover

The weather is getting cooler, and the bountiful late summer harvest is beginning to dwindle. Cider donuts, candy apples, and Halloween candy are making an appearance. Never ending platters of munchies and beer lurk in every family room on Sunday afternoons. Before we know it, we’ll be headed into Thanksgiving with mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie, followed by an endless array of holiday party finger foods. I think this is the most difficult time of year to resist unhealthy food because we have fewer healthy alternatives like fresh fruits and veggies and more prevalent temptations for sugar, fat, and salt.

Welcome to my own version of “eat this not that” to ensure you head into fall with some clean, healthy and delicious options of good eats!

Eat Cherry Pecan Quinoa Muffins instead of Cider Donuts

Donuts are usually not a temptation for me. I don’t usually eat them because the typical donut shop donut is pretty nasty. I live just a few miles from four apple orchards. These orchards have become big business in the fall. Fresh apples must not turn enough of a profit because more people are walking away from the farm stand with just a half peck of fresh apples and a bunch of candy apples, an apple pie, a few apple turnovers and…..cider donuts. These little gems come off a conveyor belt warm and then they are rolled in sugar and cinnamon. The smell of apples and cinnamon and the sweet, warm taste are delectable from your lips to the back of your tongue. Then they drop into your stomach and about a ½ hour later you feel like you’ve got a rock in your belly.

In place of the dreaded cider donut I found a healthier and very tasty bakery treat courtesy of Melissa Costello.

Cherry Pecan Quinoa Muffins

1 cup spelt or oat flour

1 T. baking powder

1 t. ground cinnamon

1/8 t. cloves

2 T. applesauce (no sugar added—you can probably get this fresh at the orchard!)

½ cup agave nectar or pure maple syrup

1 cup cashew or almond butter—smooth

2/3 cup coconut milk

2 t. vanilla extract

¼ t. sea salt

2/3 cup cooked and cooled quinoa

½ cup chopped dried cherries

½ cup roughly chopped pecan

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin tins with coconut oil or cooking spray or line with paper liners. Whisk flour, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. In a separate bowl, stir together the applesauce, agave or maple syrup, cashew or almond butter, coconut milk, vanilla and sea salt. Fold wet ingredients into the dry. Fold in quinoa, cherries and pecans. Fill muffin tins 2/3 full with the batter. Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick in the center comes out clean.

Eat this veggie chili instead of the typical meaty fatty kind

Who doesn’t love a hearty bowl of chili when the weather turns cool? We all do! It fills you up, warms you up and sticks to your bones, as my mom used to say.  I bring this chili to gatherings with friends and most folks can’t even tell there is no meat. Here is a great alternative to the high calorie, salt and fat ridden, run-of-mill chilies out there.

Hearty Black Bean Chili

2 T. coconut oil

1 red pepper, chopped

1 medium red onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 T. sea salt

1 garnet yam, peeled and cut into cubes

Zest and juice of one lime

1 28 oz. can fire roasted crushed tomatoes

3 cans black beans, drained and rinsed

1 T cumin

1 T chili powder

1 t. cocoa powder

1 c. cilantro

1 t. oregano

½ t. ground pepper

 

In a large pot heat oil over medium heat and saute the garlic, onion, red pepper and salt oregano and ground pepper until soft. Add the cumin and chili powder and stir to combine. Cook for another minute. Add the chopped sweet potato and lime zest—cook for 10 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Add the tomatoes, black beans, lime juice and cocoa powder. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes or until potatoes are soft. Top with chopped cilantro and squeeze of lime. Serve over some quinoa or brown rice.

Over Indulge on Vacation?

There is an advertisement running now encouraging us to “take one more day.” Vacation day, that is. It shows kids pleading with their parents to take their vacation time. One child looks into the camera and says; “They’re PAID vacation days!” As if to reason; “Are you dense or something? Have some fun for God’s sake!”

three girls sitting on a bench at the railway station or airport

Vacations are necessary to unwind, refocus and re-connect with family. With three teenagers, our family get-aways are few and far between now. My husband and I cherish the time to experience a new environment, unplug and spend quality time communicating with our kids face-to-face instead of via text.

For many of us, it’s during this time that we completely fall off the wagon with our health and fitness. Foods that aren’t part of our daily diet suddenly look appealing and the cravings start again. One person wrote me once saying: I stopped eating muffins, ice cream and hamburgers. Why do they look so darn good when on vacation and why is it so easy to justify putting them in my face?  Daily exercise goes out the window too, replaced by staying out late and sleeping in. “My body needs a rest”- we justify again.

Now – don’t get me wrong, I believe that a few indulges provide the balance that is needed to stay on track most of the time. And vacations are good for that. However, when we OVER indulge it can make getting back on track very difficult because we return home emotionally and physically spent, bloated, and tired. That’s where the expression; “I need a vacation from my vacation” comes from.

A few quick tips for planning ahead for next year and if you’ve just returned home from a long bender:

  1. You’ve worked so hard to create a lifestyle that you can sustain. You are at the point where healthy food is tasting good because you’ve found clean recipes that are satisfying. You’ve also starting exercising regularly. So, why let it all go to heck and handbasket two weeks out of the year and perhaps on those weekends away all summer long? Plan ahead. Check out the healthy restaurants in the area. Peruse the menu and ask for a combination of items that are healthy. First thing in the AM make time for exercise so you can go about your day of fun feeling great. Next vacation if you do these things, easing back in to your normal routine will be a lot easier.
  2. Your system might need a little jump start now that you’ve returned home. After a vacation I often like to do a short “refresh” for just 3-5 days. I’ve tried juice cleanses and mini fasts, but I’m always cranky and starving because the pendulum is now swinging in the opposite direction it was while on vacation. I recommend the 3-Day Refresh. It’s a great way to get your body back on track, sustain with protein, eat real food, and never feel hungry.
  3. Set a goal and enlist some buddies right away. Chances are if you’ve fallen off track, so have your friends. Together you are stronger than working alone. Daily encouragement, accountability and sharing of ideas are the ingredients necessary to start feeling better physically and emotionally.
  4. The fridge and pantry are probably bare. Use this as an opportunity to try some great new healthy recipes you’ve been dying to try. After you unpack and get the laundry going, make a list, set out to buy your ingredients and make a couple of main dishes you can eat over the next week.
  5. Use your return home as an opportunity to start a new fitness program. Going back to the old routine after being on vacation can be less than appealing. However, with a new goal and new program comes a different outlook and renewed motivation. Heck, I can recommend about 150 different programs with a helpful, free support group to get you pumped up and back on track in no time. Shoot me a messsage at getfitwithkit.com and let’s chat :)

5 Tips To Eat More Veggies

platter-of-fruitsThere are a wonderful group of people that are part of a private Facebook group I lead called “Team Thrive.” We motivate and support one another to stay on track with clean nutrition and daily exercise. One gal in the group posts about her goal of eating at least 7 cups of veggies every day. I know what you’re thinking…7 cups??! The recommended daily amount is just 2 ½ cups according to the research I’ve done, so why 7?

There are countless benefits to eating more vegetables. Here are just a few:

  1. Eat more veggies daily and in 21 – 30 days you may have completely kicked your cravings for carbs and sugar.
  2. Nutrient dense foods like pure, whole veggies make you feel full.
  3. Vegetables, of course, are loaded with antioxidants to help fend off disease.

How can you get more veggies into your day, especially when you don’t prefer them? Here are some tips:

Start with Breakfast

One of two ways that I typically get my veggies at breakfast is with eggs. In a frying pan with just a touch of olive oil I will stir fry green onion, red pepper and baby spinach (about 1 cup total) and add three egg whites and one whole egg. I either scramble the eggs with the veggies or make an omelet.  When I’m running short on time, the second great alternative to get my veggies is with Shakeology. Shakeology has over 70 fruits and veggies and when blended with some unsweetened almond milk and ¼ cup fresh fruit, it is my nutrient dense, yummy breakfast treat. No donuts or muffins needed here.

One Day A Week

Meatless Monday anyone? It’s a great way to start your week feeling great. Why not take one day per week and swap out the carbs and meat on your plate at every meal for veggies? Don’t worry that you will not have enough energy for your workout or will be hungry. As I’ve already said, veggies are very nutrient dense so they make you feel full. Make a couple of great tasting side salads that can carry you through the week. Here is a great spaghetti squash and radichio salad recipe from Clean Eating Magazine.

Like Elaine from Seinfeld – incorporate a “Big Salad” for lunch daily

One big gorgeous green salad can count for at least 3 cups of veggies. At least 5 days a week, I have a big salad for lunch. Don’t think salads have to be boring and tasteless. I add something healthy to make it sweet and always add my own homemade dressing to ensure it truly stays healthy. My favorite recipe includes:

Baby spinach, arugula, green onion, red pepper, cucumbers, ¼ avocado, 1/8 cup of roasted pine nuts, 1 pitted date (chopped), and a sprinkle of pecorino Romano cheese. My dressing is made in a blender with: 6 T. balsamic vinegar, 6 T. olive oil, 1 t. Dijon mustard, 1 T. pure maple syrup, ¼ cup fresh lemon juice and a dash of pepper and salt.

Make it a Game

When you are at the grocery story, go on a veggie hunt. At every trip to the store seek out a new veggie you have not tried. Then, Google your way to a great tasting recipe that incorporates that veggie. This is the best time of year to find veggies at your local grocery store that you might not normally see and since they’re local and fresh, they’ll  likely be more pleasing to your finicky palate.

Smoothie Anyone?

Who can say no to a great tasting smoothie? The best way to get more veggie into your diet is by smashing them down into a great tasting drink. One of my favorite smoothies is from Melissa Costello at Karmchow.com called the Karma Shamrock Shake.

What is YOUR favorite way to incorporate more veggies into your day? Comment below, I’d love to hear them.

Protein Cookie Bites

Protein-Cookies

Dry Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp ground flax
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 cups whole oats
  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 1 cup Vegan Chocolate Shakeology
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • ¾ cup pumpkin seeds
  • ¼ cup hemp seeds
  • ¼ cup flax seeds
  • ¼ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • ½ cranberries (or raisins)
  • ½ cup chocolate chips (optional)

Wet Ingredients

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 2 Tbsp molasses
  • 6-8 dates (soaked 1 to 2 hours) (save soaking liquid and use for water to thin out dough if too dry)
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 cup water (more as needed if dough is too dry, up to 1 cup)

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking trays with parchment paper or Silpat non-stick baking mat.
  2. In small bowl, combine ground flax and water and let sit for 5 min.
  3. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients.
  4. In a medium bowl, mash banana and add remainder of wet ingredients (including flax and water).
  5. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until just combined. Add water as needed if dough is too dry.
  6. Fold in cranberries and chocolate chips. Do not over mix.
  7. Take a small handful of dough (1/4 cup) and form into cookie shape and place on baking sheet. Flatten cookies slightly before baking.
  8. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes.