National Nutrition Month: My Favorite Healthy Tips to Get Ready for Spring

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I am going to be honest with you guys. Last year I lost the baby weight and somewhere towards the end of the year, I gained some of it back. I didn’t feel comfortable, my skin wasn’t the best and my confidence was low. I made it a 2018 goal to get my health back on track.

National Nutrition Month

Assortment of fresh fruits and vegetables

Since January, I have been working out consistently, eating better, and I feel like myself again. I have started taking Smarty Pants vitamins (you can find them at Whole Foods or here) and have made adjustments to my diet. I wanted to share of things I have been doing with you and maybe help you get ready for those warmer months. 🙂

Workouts

The Barre Code– This gym and I go way back. I started with them when there was only one studio and it was actually called “Barre Bee Fit”. Now, they have studios all over Chicago, and in fact, the country. The classes got me ready for my wedding and have helped me stay in shape, but I slacked off after I had my son. 2017 wasn’t the year of exercise for me. I rejoined and I am so glad I did. I forgot how much I loved it. Everyone is so friendly and supportive, no matter your fitness level. Barre Code offers cardio, strength and restoration classes.  My favorite is TBC- Total Body Conditioning. It is strength, cardio, and HARD, but so rewarding.

Image result for barrecode imagesI think my favorite part are the challenges they encourage everyone to participate in. Every few months, they do a challenge for prizes, raffles, etc. Right now, I started their annual Spring it On, which is 15 out of 21 classes. Difficult, but gets you ready for spring. The next challenge is SPF (Strength Power Fuel), starting in June. I am already excited to participate in that one.

Definitely check it out if your elliptical workouts are starting to bore you!

(Side note- I am not sponsored in any way. I genuinely love it and see such great benefits)

Home Workouts

1. I started these online workout classes when I couldn’t make it to a class or the gym in January. You wouldn’t think they are challenging, but they really are! They definitely get raise your heart rate and you work up a sweat for sure. My husband still does them every morning (he’s an early bird) and it has helped him also get back into shape.

It’s perfect when babies are asleep or you don’t have time to make it to the gym. They range from 15-35 minutes:

2. This is going to sound obvious, but sometimes, cleaning the house while Noah sleeps is a workout for me! I make sure I track my steps and I can get thousands. I put on a good playlist (warning, it’s very pop) and get my heart rate.

  1. “1, 2, 3” — Sofia Reyes (featuring Jason Derulo and De La Ghetto)
  2. “Single Ladies” — Beyonce
  3. “Anaconda” — Nicki Minaj
  4. “Low” — Juicy J (featuring Nicki Minaj, Lil Bibby and Young Thug)
  5. “On to the Next One” — Jay Z
  6. “Mi Gente” — J. Balvin and Willy William (featuring Beyonce)
  7. “Roar” — Katy Perry
  8. “Get Me Bodied” — Beyonce
  9. “Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself” — Jess Glynne
  10. “Work B**ch” — Britney Spears

Snacks

Snacking is one of my biggest areas I need to improve. My snacks always seem to end in meals (sigh). All about portion control. Here are some I like:

  • Saffron Road Chickpeas (you can find them at Whole Foods or here).- I have a slight addiction to chickpeas, so these are perfect.Saffron Road Crunchy Chickpeas, Chipotle, 6 Ounce
  • Kirkland Almond Butter on a rice cake with a banana and chia seeds.
  • Bark Thins- I like these because it satisfies a sweet tooth, but uses a few, simple ingredients, Non-GMO Project Verified and there are so many different kinds. Click here for more all the flavors.
  • String Cheese- I have one almost everyday.
  • Turkey and cheese rolls ups- I like Hillshire Naturals turkey from Costco.

Recipes

  1. Salads– I have one every Monday. I like that you can add whatever you want! My go-tos are corn, chickpeas, avocado, tomato and feta cheese. I am not a huge salad dressing person, but I use olive oil and McCormick Salad Seasoning. I am obsessed with it. Once you use, there is no need for dressing.

2. Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos

Serves 2-4

Ingredients: 

  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes (3 to 4 medium sweet potatoes), peeled and sliced into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt

Spicy black beans

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • Fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • ⅓ cup water
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Extras 

Top with avocado, guacamole, feta cheese or salsa

  1. Roast the sweet potatoes: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Using foil, line the baking sheet. Toss the sweet potatoes with the olive oil, cayenne and salt. Arrange in a single layer and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, tossing halfway, until the sweet potatoes are tender.
  2. Prepare the black beans: Warm the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and a sprinkle of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions have softened, about 5 to 8 minutes. Add the cumin and chili powder and cook for about 30 seconds while stirring. Pour in the beans and water. Stir, cover and reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer.
  3. Cook for 5 minutes, then remove the lid and use a potato masher or a fork to mash up at least half of the beans. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper, and cover until you’re ready to serve.
  4. Add your toppings and serve with warm tortillas!
  5. Enjoy!

3. Sweet Potato, Beans and Avocado

Ingredients:

Serves 2-4

  • 1 small onion
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1-inch chunks
  • Chicken Broth (I use 1 tsp of Better than Bouillon found at Costco)
  • 1/2 can black beans
  • 1/2 can corn
  • 1 packet of Sazon Goya- I use these.
  • Avocado

Directions: 

  1. Cook the sweet potatoes first in the chicken broth for 10-12 minutes with the onion
  2. Add corn, beans, and Goya
  3. Stir occasionally until sweet potato and beans are tender
  4. During this time, cook your egg. (I like a runny egg)
  5. Add your avocado
  6. Enjoy!

Some extra tips:

  • Add cottage cheese to your eggs! It makes them fluffy and gives your extra protein
  • SLEEP! I always eat better with 8 or more hours (I actually can’t function on less than 7)
  • Add fruit to your water! I like lemons.
  • Make small goals: workout 2-3 times a week.
  • Go for a walk! Track your steps. You get a lot of steps just running errands.

I hope you find some of these tips helpful! They have definitely helped me get back in shape and ready for spring.

Until next time,

Christine

 

 

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My January Reboot

Like everyone else, I completely overindulged in December. Being a food blogger in Chicago, there is food everywhere! It is kind of hard not to try different foods and restaurants. But this January, I have decided to do a complete “reboot” of my life. My mind, body, home, and LIFE. It isn’t just about losing weight and setting unrealistic goals, but hitting the refresh button in all areas of my life.

Me in 2015. I was focused on working out and eating healthy

This was me 2015. I was focused on working out and eating healthy. My goal is make this a priority again.

I want to start the year strong by developing really great habits and so far, I have been really proud. I am taking it day by day, but not without any help. Below are some of the tools I am using. Whether it is at home workouts, barre classes, or recipes, they are all helping reboot my life in January.

Workouts

  1. The Barre Code– This gym offers cardio, strength and restoration classes. Right now, they are having a special for two weeks for $60 at any of their 10 studios in Illinois and beyond.
  2. I started these online workout classes when I couldn’t make it to a class or the gym. It’s perfect when Noah is asleep and he has even joined me sometimes. They range from 15-35 minutes, which is perfect for a busy day.

3. Just get out! Even though it may not seem like enough, you would be surprised how many steps I get in walking around Target 🙂

Mind

This is one that is often forgotten, but so important to have your mind clear and stress free when trying accomplish anything. For me, my workouts are TERRIBLE when I don’t have a clear mind. Below are some things I have done. I know I don’t do this enough and it is a real goal for me this year.

  1. Chill Chicago– This is a completely designated space to just CHILL. I made an CHILL Chicago is a place to meditate and relaxappointment for myself this Saturday and CANNOT WAIT to meditate and relax. The classes range from 30 – 60 min with a focus on breath, insight, rest or yoga and meditation.
  2. Meditation App (FREE)– This is a FREE download on Amazon. This is great to help settle the mind before sleep if you are having one of those day.
  3. Count to 10- Don’t underestimate the power of taking a moment for yourself. I know when Noah is amidst a toddler moment, I am learning to breath and step back (although very difficult). I find creating space for myself can be very beneficial.

Recipes

I have mapped out the recipes I will be making this month. I list 14 recipes of my own and other favorites from Tasty to Delish to Cooking Light.

1. Recipe: Easy Beef and Broccoli Easy recipes: Beef and broccoli meal

2. Spiced turkey meatballs butternut tomato stew- http://www.cookinglight.com/recipes/spiced-meatball-butternut-tomato-stew

3. Chickpea tacos- https://tasty.co/recipe/chipotle-chickpea-tacos

4. Spicy turkey tacos- http://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a50920/spicy-turkey-tacos-recipe/

5. Lettuce wraps- https://damndelicious.net/2014/05/30/pf-changs-chicken-lettuce-wraps/

6. Warm Brown Rice and Chickpea salad- http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/brown-rice-chickpea-salad

FacetuneMy video here.

7. Turkey squash bowls- https://www.skinnytaste.com/turkey-taco-spaghetti-squash-boats/

8. Quinoa Soup- https://cookieandkate.com/2017/mexican-quinoa-stew-recipe/

9. Recipe: Egg Muffins with Turkey Bacon and Kale

easy egg recipes

10. Crockpot turkey chili- http://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a55200/easy-turkey-slow-cooker-chili-recipe/

11. Crockpot chicken noodle soup- http://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a55661/easy-crockpot-chicken-noodle-soup-recipe/

12. Chicken stir fry- http://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a8866/chicken-vegetable-stir-fry-recipe-campbells-1109/

13. Panko crumb chicken fingers- https://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/oven-fried-chicken-tenders/46a69e4d-4c31-485b-9d43-67d40b353f2e

14. Recipe: Skinny Pumpkin Bars

skinny pumpkin bar recipe

If you one of man that are counting calories this month (sigh, yes I am), this Calorie Counter is an affordable, reliable option. I wouldn’t say it is like an Apple Watch (we can only dream right?!), but it gives you somewhat of a range.

I hope some of this will help you this new year! Every day is a fresh start and it will never be perfect, but all we can do it try.

Until next time,

xoxo

Christine