Water is always your best beverage choice! If plain water bores you, try:
- Infused water – add crushed berries, a slice or two of lemon or lime, or cucumbers to add a hint of flavor.
- Sparkling water – Carbonation can make it a little more interesting!
- Sparkling juice – skip the bottled kind, make your own. Add just a splash (1 oz) of your favorite fruit juice to 12 oz of sparkling water for a healthy treat.
- Tea – herbal tea is a great way to add flavor to your water. Caffeinated teas provide antioxidants with an array of health benefits.
- Coffee – also contains antioxidants and an array of health benefits. Be mindful of how your body handles caffeine. Some can only tolerate a cup or two a day. Coffee can quickly turn from a healthy beverage to an unhealthy one if you add the wrong stuff. Some low-fat milk is ok, but limit coffee drinks with full fat milk, cream, and syrups and sugars!
Drinks to Consume in Moderation:
- Artificially sweetened beverages – Diet drinks may contain zero calories, but research has linked these drinks to weight gain. The reason? The sweet taste may perpetuate sugar cravings that can lead to overeating.
- 100% Fruit Juice – While this sounds healthy, juice is very high in calories and is a concentrated source of sugar. You’re better off eating the whole fruit. You’ll get even more vitamin and minerals, plus fiber to keep you full. Fresh fruit is also full of water – a great way to stay hydrated!
- Milk – Lowfat milk is a good source of protein, calcium, vitamin D and other essential nutrients but just like all other liquid calories, it’s easy to take in more than you need. A glass a day is OK, but get your protein and calcium from other sources too!
- Alcohol – Moderate drinking can be healthy, but not for everyone. The benefits must outweigh the risks for you. Also, keep in mind that alcohol is high in calories and low in nutrients, a poor choice is you are watching your weight.
- Avoid sugar sweetened beverages like sweet tea, energy drinks and sodas. They are a source of concentrated energy without providing healthy nutrients!
Mindfulness is a concept that can help connect the body and mind. Using mindfulness techniques can help you identify non-hunger triggers that may prompt you to overeat, improve portion control, and can make it easier to choose healthier foods. Here’s a few tips to try at home:
Set a positive food atmosphere: Place healthy foods where you can see them – keep a bowl of fruit on your counter and healthy items at eye levels on shelves.
Be fully present in the moment: When you eat, turn off the TV, put down your phone and sit at a table. Turn all of your attention to yourself and your food.
Observe: Before you eat, notice how you feel. Are you low on energy? Stressed out? Hungry? When you’re finished eating, check in on yourself once again. It takes time for your mind to recognize that your stomach is full. Aim to feel satisfied at the end of a meal rather than full to prevent overeating.
Savor each bite: Notice the color, aroma, texture and flavor of the foods on your plate. Eat slowly to enjoy the experience of different tastes. Many of us have a bad habit of eating too fast. If you notice your habit taking over when you eat, try holding your utensil in your non-dominant hand, and place it down in between bites.
Focus on nutrition: Your body functions best when you eat fresh, whole foods. Take the time to prepare your meals with wholesome ingredients!
We get this question very often! The answer depends on the nature of both your workout and your goals. Are you trying to lose body fat? Or are you concentrating on building lean muscle mass? The intensity, duration and type of workout matters too.
That being said, there are common points that apply across the board when it comes to workouts and nutrition:
Don’t Skip the Carbs:
Your body uses carbohydrates as an energy source. Think of carbs as the fuel for your “engine” (your muscles). The harder your engine is working, the more carbs you need. If you feel low on energy during a workout, it could be due to a low supply of stored energy! This is why it is important to have carbohydrate based pre-workout foods.
After a workout, your carb storage needs to be replenished to provide your body with energy for the rest of the day and (along with protein) to help the muscle rebuilding and repair process.
When to eat before a workout depends on how you tolerate food and your rate of digestion. As a general rule, avoid eating immediately before a workout. If you are trying to digest food in your stomach and challenging your muscles with a workout at the same time, your performance will be compromised and you may experience G.I. discomfort.
Ideally, you should fuel up 1-3 hours pre-workout. It all depends on how your body works, so experiment to see what time frame suits you best.
- Oatmeal with low-fat milk and berries
- Apples and almond butter
- Dates and walnuts
- Greek yogurt and berries
You’ll notice that these food options include protein as well as carbohydrates. The protein will help in the repair process after a workout (in addition to post workout protein).
If you have less than an hour before a workout and didn’t have time to eat, at least grab a banana!
Your body just used your stored energy (glycogen) in your muscles to power through your workout. You need to restore the lost nutrients and provide your muscle cells with amino-acid building blocks (protein) to rebuild and repair your muscle cells.
As soon as possible, eat a snack composed of carbs and protein, and rehydrate with water.
Ideally, within 15-20 minutes following a workout, you will consume a 3:1 ratio of carbs to protein in liquid form, such as a smoothie. A few hours later, you can eat a regular, balanced meal to further help the recovery process.
- Smoothie made with low fat milk, yogurt or protein powder, mixed with fruit
- Turkey and veggies on 100% whole wheat bread
- Greek Yogurt and berries
- Tuna and tomatoes on 100% whole grain crackers
How much to eat depends on your goals and your body. If you are trying to lose weight, carefully plan your pre- and post-workout snacks within your calorie budget. If you are trying to gain muscle mass, use your pre- and post-workout snacks as opportunities to add nutrient dense calories to your diet.
There are few things more frustrating than not being able to lose weight.
What is stopping you? It’s easy to say “I have a slow metabolism”, “I don’t have time”, “no matter what I do, I don’t lose weight”.
While some people do have physiological abnormalities that hinder weight loss, it is very rare. Let’s see what could be holding you back :
#1: Your Mind
Your mind is your number one ally when it comes to achieving your goals. However, until your mind has been programmed for success, it will do more to derail your efforts than to help you.
● Take a few moments each day to visualize yourself at your ideal weight. Imagine how it feels to look the way you’ve always wanted.
● Protect your mind from any negative self talk. If a negative thought comes to mind, immediately reject it.
● You want to be thin and fit, and yet you think of yourself as out-of-shape and fat. Re-program your mind to think of yourself as fit and attractive, and you will be well on your way toward achieving your goal.
● Give up the belief that you can’t achieve the body you’ve always dreamed of. See it first in your mind, and then in the mirror.
#2: Your Fear
Change makes most of us nervous – even if it is a change in the right direction. You may not be consciously aware of the fear you have of getting into shape. Until you conquer this fear, your weight loss efforts will be blocked by self sabotage.
Professional speaker and author, Anthony Robbins, has outlined three specific beliefs that you must have in order to conquer your fear and instantly create a lasting change.
● LanderBelieve that something MUST change. You can’t be wishy-washy about it. You can’t be considering it. You can’t even be pretty sure about it. You’ve got to be rock solid.
● Believe that YOU must change it. You can’t pass the buck of responsibility and expect to lose weight. It’s on your shoulders. Other people will prove to be great assets in your journey, but in the end you are the one who is going to make it happen. You have to want this weight loss enough to make it your personal mission.
● Believe you CAN change it. You may have failed in the past, but that doesn’t matter. When you put your mind to it, you’re able to do amazing things. Do you believe that you are capable of losing weight? Once you own the belief that you can, you’ll be unstoppable.
#3: Your Excuses
Your excuses for being out-of-shape are getting old. An excuse takes less immediate effort than an action, but in the long run the action taker always has the advantage. Don’t allow excuses to ruin your life any longer.
● Don’t skip out on your responsibilities with excuses, instead expect more from yourself.
● Focus on the big reason why you are losing the weight. Make a list of the benefits you’ll enjoy once you achieve your goal, and read them first thing each morning.
● Remember that you can only have two things in life: excuses or results. Which do you want?
#4: Your Commitment
How many times have you tried to lose weight, only to give up a week or two later? We live in a commitment-phobic world, so it’s no wonder that you routinely abandon your goals. If you truly want to lose weight then your commitment to the process is a must.
● The margin between success and failure is bridged by your commitment. Don’t give up until your goal has been achieved.
● Treat exercise with the same importance as a work meeting, and you’ll never skip it at the last minute. Find three available 60-minute time slots in your schedule and mark them (in pen) on your calendar. Now stick to your schedule.
● If you don’t give up, then you’ll never fail.
#5: Your Diet
If you consistently eat the wrong food, then you’re weight loss efforts will all be in vain. To put it bluntly, you need to stop eating junk. Processed foods, refined sugar and high fructose corn syrup do not belong in your diet if you want to be in great shape. Cut these items out of your diet and replace them with real whole foods like lean proteins, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and fruits.
● Don’t eat processed foods. Even though processed foods are accepted by our society, they contain tons of chemicals and empty calories that will make you sick and fat.
● Fat contains almost twice the caloric density of protein and carbohydrates, so make sure to limit the amount that you consume. Eat lots of lean proteins and wholesome carbohydrates from plants and whole grains.
● Vegetables, whole grains, fruits, nuts and seeds are filled with fiber and antioxidants which are vital for healthy weight loss. Snack on these instead of packaged treats.
#6: Your Patience
It takes time to transform your body from fat to fit, even though you want it to happen overnight. Remind yourself that it took time to put the weight on, so it will take time to take the weight off. When you find your patience wavering, or when you encounter a frustrating plateau, do the following:
● Review your goal. Is it specific and measurable? Is it small and attainable, rather than monumental? Focus on your goal when the going gets tough.
● Make each workout a new experience. Challenge your body with different resistance, new exercises and a varied pace.
● Remember that anyone can have one great workout, but that won’t get you the body you want. The only way to achieve your goal is by consistently exercising and eating right, plain and simple.
#7: Your Support
People who exercise alone are less challenged, less accountable and are more likely to fail. It makes sense. Who would rush to the gym if no one is was waiting for them? Who would push themselves if no one was paying attention? Exercising alone is a recipe for disaster.
● Find a workout partner who is in better shape than you, or better yet, work with a us. We provide one on one training, giving you individual attention and effective workouts.
Get serious about your results and begin the last weight loss program that you’ll ever do. Call or email us today to schedule your first workout!
First some bad news:- Heart disease continues to be the number one cause of death among both men and women. The good news? Heart disease can be prevented!
February is heart health month:- a good reminder to check in with our daily habits to see if we are doing all we can to support our hearts.
Maintain a healthy weight:- Excess body fat is detrimental to our health in numerous ways, but it is especially dangerous for our hearts. Often, overweight individuals develop abnormalities in metabolism that can affect blood vessels and the structural integrity of the heart. Simply put, excess weight strains the heart!
Move it:- be active everyday: Regular exercise builds a healthy, strong heart. Find a way to be active everyday and be consistent!
Quit Smoking:- Chemicals found in tobacco harm your blood cells, damage the function of your heart and structure of your blood vessels.
Manage Stress:- The human body was designed to deal with stress. Stress can keep us out of danger and focused. However, when stress is not managed and becomes continuous, without relief or relaxation, it can become dangerous to our health and well-being, including our heart health. You can learn to manage stress by practicing breathing exercises, meditation, and exercise. Find time to relax and unwind daily.
Reduce your Sodium Intake:- Excess sodium can cause high blood pressure, which places a strain on your blood vessels, heart and other organs. Reduce sodium by minimizing processed foods and restaurant meals. Purchase low-sodium varieties and use spices, herbs, citrus juice and vinegar to flavor your food.
Enjoy a Heart Healthy Diet:- You can protect your heart by eating a balanced diet of nutrient dense foods including:
● Oatmeal (and other whole grains)
● Salmon (and other cold water fatty fish)
● Broccoli (and other cruciferous veggies)
● Spinach (and other leafy greens)
● Nuts and seeds
● Extra virgin olive oil
● Bean and lentils
● Citrus fruit
● Sweet potatoes
At North End Fitness, we meet a lot of people who are striving to become healthier. While everyone is a little different, we do see a theme with those coming in: People are busy! It can be difficult (and even overwhelming) to fit healthy habits in with everything else. Are there enough hours in the day to fit in sleep, hard work, spending time with family and friends, exercise and eating well?
Wouldn’t it be so much easier if you had healthy food ready to eat, all the time?
You can! If you spend a short amount of time each week to plan and prep your food, you can save precious time all week and still stay on track.
• Start Small – until you get into the swing of preparing multiple meals for the week ahead, start by simply washing and chopping fruits and veggies to use for meals. Pre-portion snack bags with nuts and dried fruit and hard boil eggs to grab as quick snacks.
• Plan Meals with Common Ingredients – pick out a few recipes that feature the same grain and/or lean meat. Cook up multiple servings of brown rice or quinoa, and you can use some in a salad for lunch and some in a pilaf for dinner.
• Double up – If you’re making a casserole, stew or soup, consider doubling the recipe. If you won’t use it all in one week, freeze the rest!
• Organize – Write out which meals and snacks you’re planning for the week. Make a list of all the foods you will need before you head out to the store. When you get home, use your time efficiently. Have something baking in the oven, use a crockpot to make a soup, and chop up veggies while everything is cooking.
• Focus on Problem Areas – what time of day do you struggle with eating healthy? No time in the morning to make breakfast? Consider making steel cut oatmeal, with berries and nuts in individual containers to heat up each morning. Trouble finding healthy snacks? Spend time portioning snack bags. As you get better preparing foods, you can expand what you make.
Just like any other goal in life, healthy habits start with planning! Remember, it’s best to start small. Use one hour this weekend to prep something healthy. You will most likely find that even a little food prep can have a powerful effect on your food choices!
Do you have to count calories to lose weight? Not necessarily, but awareness is the key to successfully reaching your goals.
Think of it this way:
Your calorie needs are like a budget when it come to weight control. If you are on a budget you wouldn’t shop without looking at a price tag, right?
When you are trying to lose weight, your calorie “budget” drops by about 25% (usually around 500 calories/day). To be successful, you do need to be sure you’re cutting expenses, but you might not have to watch every single penny (or calorie).
So how can we cut calories each day without tracking each one?
- First, focus on mindless calories. Pay attention to what foods you’re eating and how much. Can you swap a high calorie food with a similar low calorie option? Can you eat slower? Can you be satisfied with a smaller portion size?
- Start to learn how many calories are in the foods you commonly eat. Not because you always need to calorie count, but so that you can begin to develop and idea of which foods are low calorie options and which are not. Also be sure to check the nutrition facts panel and figure out how many servings you eat.
- Balance your meals. Filling up half of your plate with vegetables and fruit is a good way to reduce the overall calorie density of the meal. The other half of the plate should include lean protein and a whole grain or starchy vegetable.
- Pay attention to what your body needs. Eat when you are hungry, stop when you are satisfied (not full).
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
3 carrots, diced
3-5 cloves garlic, minced
3 bell peppers, diced
2 poblano peppers, diced
2 italian peppers, diced
3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
1 cup fresh or frozen corn
1 cup broccoli florets, cut into bite sized pieces
2 cans diced tomatoes
2 Tbsp chili powder
2 Tbsp garlic powder
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp coriander
1 can navy beans, rinsed and drained
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 package tofu, pressed to remove liquid
Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and carrots, cook for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and all peppers, cook another 5 -7 minutes. Add the corn, broccoli, tomatoes, chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, paprika, coriander and beans, along with 1 cup of water. Bring to a simmer and cook 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
Meanwhile, heat a nonstick pan over medium heat. Crumble the tofu into the pan, and stir constantly for about 5 minutes. When lightly browned, add the tofu to the chili and simmer for about 5 more minutes.
Serve with sliced avocado and brown rice.
Freeze leftovers in pre-portioned containers for a quick lunch or dinner!
- 1 cup Dry Lentils (or to save time, use 1 package of Trader Joe’s Steamed Lentils or 1-16 oz can, rinse and drained)
- 8 Plum Tomatoes, chopped
- Juice of 1 lime
- 3 Garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- 2 Avocados, sliced
1. To prepare lentils: Rinse lentils well in cold water, then bring to a boil in 2 cups of water. Lower heat and simmer uncovered for 30-45 minutes, until lentils are tender. Drain and set aside.
2. Heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add cooked lentils, tomatoes, and lime juice. Allow to heat through, then top with cilantro and avocado slices. Serve over brown rice, quinoa, or any other whole grain. Enjoy!
Everyone wants good things for their family: health, happiness, and enjoyment of life.
When it comes to raising kids, it can be tricky. Despite our best intentions, the growing child obesity epidemic suggests that for the first time in two centuries, the current generation of children may have a shorter life expectancy than their parents. With all the advances in medicine, how could this possibly be true? The blame definitely can be attributed to today’s toxic food environment and lack of physical activity.
In short, our families are eating too much junk and are not active enough. Kids are especially vulnerable to developing unhealthy behaviors. Junk food is advertised directly to them and it tastes great! TV, video games and computer time can be a lot of fun.
The good news is that healthy food also tastes great, and physical activity can be fun for the whole family! We can give you simple tips and transform your child’s diet (and the rest of the family’s) into one that is packed with good health. If you make it a family event to be active and healthy together, you have a great support network to keep everyone motivated.
Parents are the primary influence over a child’s food environment at home. As the parent, you decide what food is offered and you model food behaviors to your child. The first step is to get the whole family on board with the idea of eating more healthfully. This does not mean eliminating all treats, but it does mean limiting access to them. As a general rule, at least 80% of the food in your home should be healthy, nutrient dense foods.
Try these tips to make healthy foods more attractive:
1) Add Color
Adding bright and colorful fruits and veggies to your child’s plate will get their diet on the fast track to health. Fresh fruits and veggies are filled with fiber, vitamins and minerals that are essential to good health.
If your kids are resistant, try to make it fun. Serve veggies with yogurt or hummus as a dip. Cut fresh fruit in the colors of the rainbow and place them on a skewer. Serve a color themed meal – all green, all red or all orange. Use your imagination and you’ll come up with an endless number of ways to make fruits and veggies fun to eat.
2) Think Whole Foods
Processed foods are the biggest problem with our modern diet. Packaged and refined food products are devitalized and filled with empty calories that quickly lead to weight gain. Unfortunately, processed foods make up a large portion of the diet of many children.
Help guide your kids to choose whole foods, rather than packaged ones. Packaged foods should be presented as a treat to enjoy occasionally. For daily eating habits, emphasize whole foods in their natural state. An apple. A piece of sprouted grain bread spread with natural peanut butter. A piece of hormone-free chicken. A bowl of beans. You get the idea.
3) Use Wholesome Sweeteners
Refined sugar and corn syrup are packed into many of the foods that your kids love. But wait, there are more wholesome sweeteners available – sweeteners that add vitamins and minerals rather than empty calories. Use the following rather than white sugar or corn syrup:
Sucanat: This pure, dried sugar can juice retains its molasses content. Use it to replace white sugar in baking.
Pure Maple Syrup: Forget the “fake” syrups containing corn syrup. Pure maple syrup contains potassium, calcium and some amino acids.
Dates: Throw a few seeded dates into your blender to sweeten your smoothie rather than adding white sugar.
Honey: Contains trace amounts of vitamins and minerals, and also contain an number of compounds that act as antioxidants.
4) Make Smart Substitutions
Kids love pizza and pasta and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and that’s not going to change any time soon. Rather than fight your kids on their favorites, try making smart substitutions to make their favorites more nutritious.
Pizza: Up the nutritional content of your pizza by opting for whole wheat crust over white, adding veggies to the toppings and sticking with lean meat toppings.
Pasta: Use sprouted grain or whole grain pasta rather than traditional white pasta. Add veggies to your pasta sauce. Avoid cream based sauces, and look for red sauce without added sugar.
PB&J: A PB&J, made with white bread using sugar-filled peanut butter and corn syrup-filled jelly, is fairly void of any real nutritional value. Try the PB&J Makeover recipe below instead for a sandwich that will provide real wholesome fuel for your child’s day.
5) Ban Sugary Drinks
One of the best things that you can do for your child’s good health is to instill in them a love for water rather than sugary drinks. Soda pop and and even fruit juices are filled with empty (or near empty) calories that encourage weight gain.
The easiest way to do this is to stock your house with lots of pure, filtered water. Don’t have fruit drinks or soda pop readily available so that they grow accustom to drinking only water.
PB&J Makeover Recipe:
Not all PB&J sandwiches were created nutritionally equal. It all depends on the quality of the ingredients that you use.
If you use white bread, corn syrup-filled peanut butter and refined sugar-filled jelly, the result would be a sandwich that will skyrocket your blood sugar, promotes fat storage and leaves you feeling hungry a short time later.
However, if you make this recipe, with sprouted grain bread, true peanut butter made from one ingredient: peanuts, and fruit preserves that are naturally sweetened with fruit juice rather than sugar, then the result would be a nutritionally dense food that would promote stable blood sugar levels and provide you with hours of sustained energy.
Your kids will love the fun twist of having their sandwich grilled and stuffed with banana slices!
Here’s what you need:
Sprouted grain bread
1 Tablespoon pure peanut butter (no added sugar or corn syrup)
1 Tablespoon natural fruit spread (no added sugar or corn syrup)
1/2 of a banana, sliced
Spread one piece of bread with peanut butter and the other with fruit spread. Line one side with the sliced bananas and sandwich it.
In a grill pan over medium heat, grill each side until grill marks appear and the sandwich is warmed.
Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 380 calories, 8.7g fat, 53g carbohydrate, 9g fiber, and 13.2g protein.