It’s that time of year again. In just a little over two weeks, Halloween will be here and with it comes the piles of candy and temptation. Then, just when you think you can finally say goodbye to the last Reese’s, Thanksgiving pops up. Yup, it’s that time of year that we all love celebrating, but dread the results that it has on our waistlines. So what can you do to avoid this inevitable weight gain? Well first, stop thinking it’s inevitable! You don’t have to gain weight over the holidays, but if you decide in advance that you will, well guess what – you definitely will!
I’ll tell you a secret- I love sweets! Yup, I have chocolate chips and cookies in the house right now. If it were up to me, these foods wouldn’t be in my house at all because I have no willpower. If I’m around candy for too long, I eat it. Sound familiar? I know there are some people who could care less about sweets and desserts (and I hate them just a little for it), but I think sugary treats really do tempt most of us. So what’s the solution? Definitely don’t ban yourself from them. That’s actually the WORST thing you can do. Why? Think about it this way – imagine I just told you that you could NEVER have ice cream again. Were you thinking about ice cream a minute ago? Probably not. But let me guess, now you feel like raiding your locally grocery store and stock piling every pint of Ben & Jerry’s you can get your hands on, right? Deprivation does that. So don’t deprive yourself or you will definitely go overboard and gain weight during the holidays.
So what can you do? Treat yourself! Yup- go ahead -indulge, but before you do, just give your favorite treats a little bit of a makeover. I’ll tell you a quick little story – one of my favorite holiday treats used to be a Cinnabon. This was before I learned how to read a food label and the horror that I experienced when I discovered what was really in my favorite Christmas morning breakfast. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have eaten an occasional one since that sad, sad day of revelation, but it hasn’t tasted quite the same knowing the reality of how much sugar and fat it really contains.
As sad as that story I just told you is, it that doesn’t mean I don’t still crave an ooey-gooey warm cinnamon roll. I’d eat one everyday if I could. So that’s why this holiday season I decided to find a better way to enjoy my favorite treat. With a little research and experimenting, I came up with a version I think is on par with the mall food court version with a quarter of the calories. And the best part- no added sugars! What?! Yup- no added sugar- even in the icing! So this recipe is even perfect for those trying to lose weight or control blood sugar with diabetes. And it gets better- you can make it in minutes in the microwave! Yes! This is actually a mug cake recipe. If you don’t know what that is, you are missing out on a big, delicious trend (and don’t worry, I only discovered this trend like a week ago myself). To sum it up, you can make individual serving size cakes in a coffee mug – in the microwave! So amazing! I will definitely try to come up with more of these little cakes, but today, I share with you my very first mug cake recipe – Skinny Cinnamon Roll Mug Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. Get ready to get excited about breakfast (or lunch, or dinner, or any meal really- it’s healthy enough you can enjoy it anytime you want!)
- 1/4 cup oat flour
- 2 tbsp rolled oats
- 1/4 cup mashed banana
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 pinch salt
- 1/3 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt
- 1 tsp Truvia
- 1 each Medjool date pitted
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1 pinch salt
- 2 tbsp fat free cream cheese
- 2 tbsp low fat Greek yogurt plain or vanilla
- 1/2 tsp Truvia
- 1/8 tsp vanilla extract
Spray a large mug (or two small mugs) with non-stick cooking spray. In a small bowl, mix together oat flour, rolled oats, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and Truvia. Add in mashed banana and yogurt to form dough. In a separate bowl, mash the date and add in cinnamon and salt (you can also do this in a food processor and add in a bit of water for a thinner textured filling if desired).
Place ½ of dough into the mug. Pour ¾ of date filling on top and then add remaining dough. Cover with the remaining filling. Microwave on high for 60-90 seconds or until cooked throughout.
While mug cake is baking, mix together cream cheese, Greek yogurt, vanilla, and Truvia in a small bowl or food processor. Top cinnamon roll with icing when warm. Remaining icing can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Nutrition Facts (per serving): 186 Calories 32 gm Carbs, 3 gm Fiber, 8gm Protein, 2 gm Fat
I can’t wait to hear what you think!
When it comes to weight loss, a lifestyle change that is customized to you and your dietary habits is the key to success. Just as we all have different personalities, we also each have a unique weight loss personality. This is why a ‘one size fits all’ approach to weight loss just doesn’t work. Tailoring a plan to your lifestyle is necessary for both weight loss, and most importantly- weight maintenance following weight loss. Let’s discuss different weight loss personalities and identify strategies for each one to promote long term weight loss success.
The Personality: ‘Perfectionist’
Do you find yourself always trying to do everything right, all of the time? Are you hard on yourself when things do not go exactly as planned? If so, you likely have a ‘perfectionist’ personality. When it comes to eating, it is nearly impossible be perfect 100% of the time. Life is going to throw curveballs that require a bit of leniency in your diet; and while you may not be able to make the perfect food choice every single time, you can still lose weight and maintain a perfectly healthy lifestyle! Often with this personality we see over restriction and emphasis on ‘forbidden’ foods. Even one diet ‘slip up’ can cause feelings of failure or hopelessness and lead to a cycle of overeating followed by over restriction.
The Strategy: Stop the cycle! Work on learning to forgive yourself when you do have a diet ‘slip up’, and try incorporating a small weekly indulgence to your diet. Adding flexibility to your diet will not hinder your health or your weight loss efforts, and you will likely feel more relaxed and at peace with your new lifestyle changes.
The Personality: Impulsive
Do you get halfway through the bag of Doritos before you even realize you grabbed them from the kitchen? Do you take seconds at dinner just because the leftovers were sitting there? These are habits seen often with ‘impulsive’ personalities. Changing your lifestyle usually requires a bit of planning and thoughtfulness, especially in the beginning while getting used to new foods and eating habits. Those with impulsive personalities are more likely make a poor dietary choice in the moment and less likely to consider the feelings of guilt that usually follow. Impulsive eating often leads to poor dietary decisions, disregard of hunger cues, and overeating.
The Strategy: Get rid of temptation! Think about the food temptations you give into throughout the day and find a way to eliminate these temptations altogether. Stock your fridge and cabinets with healthy snacks and avoid buying sugary and salty treats. Contribute a healthy dish at the next BBQ so you know there will be something nutritious there for you to eat. Keep dinner leftovers on the kitchen counter or somewhere they will be out of reach. Making your food choices more planned and deliberate throughout the day will help you stay on track!
The Personality: Night Owl
Do you find yourself staying awake late into the night even when you don’t need to? The ‘night owl’ personality is a common one, and it can have a substantial impact on your weight loss efforts. Studies have shown that people who stay up later often engage in night time snacking and consume significantly more calories than those who hit the sack earlier. Additionally, sleep deprivation can lead to clouded judgment when choosing foods the following day, and can also mess with your hunger and satiety hormones.
The Strategy: Commit to a bedtime! Choose a bedtime that is realistic for your lifestyle, preferably early enough to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night, and commit to it. To promote a more restful sleep, turn off electronics 30 minutes to an hour before getting into bed. Try practicing nighttime yoga or meditation to relax your mind and body. It will take consistency and patience while your body adjusts to the new sleep schedule, but I bet you will find the new rested you makes healthier choices throughout the day!
The Personality: All or Nothing
Have you started a nutrition or exercise program, strayed a bit off course, and then abandoned the program all together? This ‘all or nothing’ personality can sabotage weight loss efforts; any deviation from the plan will lead to feelings of failure and subsequent giving up. This personality often relies on a very structured plan for weight loss success. While structure can be helpful while losing weight, flexibility is essential for long term weight loss and weight maintenance.
The Strategy: Add flexibility! When you begin your weight loss journey, follow a structured plan while you are getting used to the changes. After a couple weeks, allow yourself to stray a bit from the plan. This may mean experimenting with one or two different meals a week, adding in a night at your favorite restaurant or enjoying a small treat at the Sunday barbeque. Adding flexibility to your plan will allow for continued weight loss while preventing diet burn out that can occur from too much structure.
The Personality: Short Attention Span
Have you ever given up on trying to lose weight after feeling bored with eating the same foods over and over again? Structure is important for weight loss, but that doesn’t mean the foods you eat have to lack variety! Someone with the ‘short attention span’ personality may find they get into a rut of eating the same foods every day that is not only boring, but is also unsustainable. Eating should be an enjoyable experience, and the greater variety of healthy foods you have in your diet, the more likely you are to feel satisfied and find success on your journey to weight loss.
The Strategy: Mix it up! There is no way to get around the fact that structure and planning are necessary components for weight loss. To add variety but keep structure, plan out a week of meals, Sunday-Saturday. Make sure these meals differ from day to day. Now, you have seven days of different meals that will help you stay on track without becoming bored. You can repeat these meals each week, or find new healthy recipes online or in a cookbook to swap with. Getting creative in the kitchen is a great way to stave off boredom while discovering new nutritious snacks and meals.
No matter what your weight loss personality is, the important thing to remember is that the changes you are making are lifestyle changes; they have to be sustainable if you hope to reach long term success. Once you identify your weight loss personality, work with the strategies that are tailored to you and your lifestyle (a registered dietitian can help you do this!).
Which personality do you identify with? Do you have a different weight loss personality that was not mentioned?
Think eating protein has to be time consuming, think again!
Do you ever come home from a long day at work, look into the refrigerator, and just stare blankly at the food inside having no idea what to make? Yup- that sounds like my evening at least a few times per week. I feel like so many times I make the same few meals over and over again because I am short on time and they are quick and easy. I want a meal that provides my family with a variety of nutrients all while appealing to each of their specific tastes. In my house, anything with cheese is typically a winner. My husband would live on pizza daily if I allowed it. However, the typical pizzeria pizza is packed full of saturated fat and refined grains, not exactly something I want my family filling up on regularly. Keeping their love for cheese and pizza in mind, I decided to create a nutrient rich meal I could whip up in minutes that I knew they would love – and that’s how my Protein Packed Skinny Calzone recipe was born!
Do you love calzones? I do! Somewhere I have an old picture of myself digging into a calzone that was so large I think it was actually taller than me! Am I ashamed? Of course not! It tasted amazing and all foods in moderation is fine. As long as you don’t live on calzones daily, there’s no harm in enjoying them every once in a while. But if you do want to enjoy them more than just a few times per year as a special treat, you will love this recipe. I teamed up with Flatout Flatbread to create a calzone that’s easy to make, tastes amazing, and is healthy enough for the whole family to enjoy day after day. In just 10 minutes, you can have a nutritious, warm dinner ready to go for the whole family and know that they will actually love eating it!
Fun calzone facts: Did you know a typical calzone contain as much as 2000 calories and uses the same amount of dough as an entire pizza crust! Shocking I know! By making a few simple swaps, you can slash the calories and saturated fat in a typical calzone recipe while boosting the fiber and whole grain content. The secret ingredient? Swap out the pizza dough for a ProteinUP Flatout Flatbread instead. This flatbread offers 12 grams of protein and 10 grams of fiber per wrap with only 130 calories. It makes the perfect addition to my calzone recipe. Want to find the retailers by you who carry Flatout? Check out FlatoutFinder.com to find the closest place to grab yours today.
Protein Packed Skinny Calzone
- 2- ProteinUp Flatout Flatbreads
- 2/3 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
- 1/3 cup part skim ricotta cheese
- 1 cup fresh spinach
- 1/3 cup diced tomatoes
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 pinch pepper
Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large bowl, mix together mozzarella cheese, ricotta cheese, spinach, tomato, garlic, basil, pepper, and salt.
Place one ProteinUp Flatout Flatbread on a lightly greased baking sheet. Using a spoon, scoop cheese mixture onto the flatbread and spread out evenly across the middle. Place the remaining flatbread on top of the cheese mixture.
Using a fork, press down on the sides of the flatbread to create a ‘crust’ to hold the calzone together. Using a sharp knife, create a small slit in the middle of the calzone before baking.
Lightly spray the top of the flatbread with an olive oil spray if desired. Bake for 8-10 minutes until the flatbread browns slightly and the cheese has melted. Slice in half and serve warm. Makes 2 servings.
NUTRITION FACTS (per serving)
Calories: 306 Carbohydrates: 22gm Fiber: 11 gm Protein: 27gm Fat: 13gm Saturated Fat: 6 gm
Disclaimer: This post has been sponsored by Flatout Flatbread. All opinions are my own.
If you are struggling to lose weight the solution is often easier than you may think. Simply adding a bit more protein into your meal plan can help you to achieve your weight loss goals without hunger, deprivation, or cravings. And let’s face it- if you are hungry or craving everything in sight, even if you lose weight, it will be short lived keeping it off. When you set off to lose weight, the ultimate goal is to keep that weight off. In order to do this, you have to make sure the ways in which you lose weight are lifestyle changes you can maintain for life. When you think about the many lifestyle changes you can start implementing to promote weight loss, what could possibility be easier than simply eating more? That’s right! You can eat more to lose more- you just have to make sure you are eating more of the right things. And what should you eat more of? Protein!
Have you ever had a day where you just felt like no matter what you ate you were still hungry? Not all calories are created equal. If you are eating meal after meal packed full of empty calories that digest rapidly, such as foods rich in refined carbohydrates and added sugars, you will continue to feel hungry no matter what you eat. Protein, however, is a much more slowly digested nutrient. It can take anywhere from 3-4 hours for your body to break down and digest protein. Adding a source of high quality protein to each meal and snack can help to squash hunger and cravings, making it easier to stick to your weight loss routine.
Stabilizing blood sugar levels
If you have diabetes or insulin resistance, you know how essential it is to maintain healthy blood sugar levels throughout the day. However, even if you do not have one of these conditions, it’s still vital to prevent spikes and crashes in blood sugar. When blood sugar fluctuates throughout the day, it can bring on changes in mood, energy, appetite, and increase the occurrence of those annoying cravings. When you eat a meal that contains a good source of protein and fiber, you can help to slow the digestion of your meal down slightly, which allows your body to maintain more consistent blood sugar levels over a longer period of time, The result: less hunger, increased energy, and reduced cravings- a recipe for success when it comes to weight management!
Building and maintaining lean body mass
Every client I have ever worked with who wants to reduce body weight asks me the same question- how can I boost my metabolism? Your metabolism in large part is determined by your age, body size, and genetics. However, the amount of muscle mass you have also plays a role in the amount of calories your body will burn each day. The more muscle mass you have, the higher your metabolism. The best way to increase your level of muscle mass is to incorporate resistance exercise (such as weight training, Pilates, or exercises such as pushups and pullups) at least two to three times per week. In addition, your body requires adequate protein to help build and strengthen muscle mass. Consuming adequate protein throughout the day, but especially making sure to eat a good source within 30 minutes to an hour after performing resistance exercise will help your body to maximize muscle gains. So how much protein do you need each day? This will vary from person to person based on your age, sex, size, and activity level, but generally using the Recommended Daily Allowance for protein of 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight will provide an adequate amount. You can also use this calculator to help you determine your individual protein needs http://fnic.nal.usda.gov/fnic/interactiveDRI/
Pack in More Protein Each Day with this Protein Powered Low Carb Nacho Recipe
Now that you know how much protein you need each day and why you need it, how will you fit it all in? Sometimes it can be as simple as just giving your favorite snacks a bit of a makeover. One favorite in our house is nachos, but the traditional nacho isn’t exactly the most nutritious choice to indulge in each day. That’s why I gave it a makeover to boost the fiber, protein, and nutrient content of our nachos while still making sure they taste as great as they always have! The secret ingredient is swapping out standard tortilla chips for chips made from Flatout ProteinUP Flatbread. These flatbreads are packed full of whole grains, protein, and fiber while being reduced in carbohydrate. They made the perfect addition to this nacho recipe. Head over to FlatoutFinder.com to find out which of your local stores have them in stock. I can’t wait for you to give it a try and tell me what you think!
Protein Powered Vegetarian Low Carb Nachos
- 2 Flatout ProteinUp Flatbreads
- ½ cup shredded part-skim cheddar cheese
- ½ cup black beans, canned and drained
- 1/3 cup diced fresh tomatoes
- 1/3 cup diced onions
- 1/3 cup diced bell peppers
- 4 tbsp canned tomatillo salsa (salsa verde)
- 4 slices of jarred, pickled jalapeños
- 1 Tbs canned sliced black olives
- ¼ tsp chopped cilantro
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- Olive oil spray
- A pinch of pepper
- A pinch of salt
Directions:Preheat oven to 300 F. Using a pizza cutter, slice the flatbread into chip-sized pieces. Place chips onto a lined baked sheet (you can line with parchment paper or foil). Spray evenly with olive oil spray. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until crispy.
As chips are baking in the oven, in a small bowl mix together diced tomatoes, onions, peppers, jalapenos, and black beans along with the salsa, cilantro, and cumin. Remove chips from oven and spread mixture evenly over top. Sprinkle shredded cheese and olives over mixture and return to the oven. Make for another 2-4 minutes until the cheese has melted. Serve warm with a side of salsa, sour cream, or guacamole.
Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by Flatout Flatbread. All opinions are my own.