“It’s getting hot in here, so take off all your clothes…” I used to love that song! Now, hopefully you aren’t taking off ALL your clothes (or at least if you do it’s only in the privacy of your own home haha), but the weather is getting hot! And as it heats up, we tend to bare more skin. If the thought of putting on a swimsuit gives you anxiety, I am right there with you! But there’s no need to stress! One of my favorite ways to beat float and instantly flatten your belly is with easy smoothie from my book “Belly Fat Diet For Dummies.”
Photo Credit: Kelly Sloan
Not only is this smoothie incredibly easy to make, but thanks to it’s ingredients, it can actually help you to shed belly fat and decrease bloat. It’s a win-win in my opinion! My favorite way to enjoy this smoothie as a quick breakfast on the go (which I definitely need now that Joey won’t even sit still to eat for more than 2 minutes) or as a dessert over higher sugar options like ice cream. It works thanks to the omega-3 fatty acids in the chia seeds (which reduce stress hormones and decrease inflammation) and the berries (which are packed full of antioxidants- and if you use blueberries you get an even more powerful belly fat fighting properties).
Here’s how to make it:
1 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
1 cup frozen organic berries (blueberries, strawberries, or açai berries make great choices)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon ground chia seeds
1/2 cup ice
In a blender, combine the yogurt, berries, vanilla, ground chia seeds, and ice. Blend on high for 1 minute, or until desired consistency is reached. Serve cold. Makes 1 serving.
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.
No matter how busy your morning may be, it’s essential that you make time for breakfast. Eating breakfast has been linked with everything from a reduction in disease risk, to more nutritious food choices throughout the day, as well as an increase in productivity and cognitive functioning. But not just any breakfast will do. Grabbing a nutritionally limited option While eating any breakfast is better than skipping breakfast altogether (as 15 percent of Americans do regularly) so choices are certainly better than others. A well-balanced breakfast rich in slow digested carbohydrates, lean protein, lowfat dairy, and produce makes the best choice for starting your day off in a healthy way.
Even on the busiest mornings, you can make breakfast work for you no matter what the day throws at you. I recently came across belVita Breakfast Biscuits (the sponsor of this post) and have loved incorporating them into my breakfast routine. Whether I am on the run or enjoying a relaxing meal, I am thrilled that these whole grain biscuits provide me with a good amount of fiber and vitamins in a portion-controlled package. They may a great foundation for a balanced breakfast. That’s why I wanted to share with you some of my favorite morning pairings. Whether you are on the go, at your desk, or enjoying a leisurely breakfast in bed, try these great tasting breakfast options for all day energy.
At the office
If an early morning deadline leaves you struggling to find a quick and healthy option you can eat at your desk, look no further than a delicious combination of a blueberry crunchy belVita Breakfast Biscuits along with a lowfat latte and a cup of fresh grapes. One of the reasons belVita is my go to breakfast option for busy work mornings is that it has been formulated to preserve slow-release carbohydrates which provide four hours of nutritious, steady energy. This means you won’t get an energy spike and crash after eating than if you were to have a refined carbohydrate breakfast . Combine belVita with a lowfat dairy option such as a lowfat latte along with a bowl full of fresh fruit like grapes and you have a nutrient rich breakfast that will work for you for hours to come.
On the Go
Missed the alarm? Even if you are running late, that’s still no excuse to miss breakfast. Take breakfast with you so you can have the energy to get you through what is sure to be a busy day ahead. One of my favorites for an on the go breakfast is a yogurt parfait made with fresh strawberries, lowfat yogurt, and belVita Bites. Not only is this meal pretty to look at, but it tastes delicious and provides a good source of whole grains, fiber, and iron. Most Americans fall short on eating enough whole grains, eating on average less than 16g whole grain per day versus the recommended 48g or more of whole grain throughout day. By simply adding in belVita Breakfast Biscuit Bites to your parfait, you can enjoy 18-20 grams of whole grains in that one meal for long-term energy that will keep you going. You can even make these parfaits in advance for a breakfast you can grab even when you are running behind schedule.
Breakfast In Bed
If you are lucky enough to be treated to a leisurely breakfast in the comfort of your own bed, select delicious options that are packed full of good for you nutrients. It can be easy to reach for refined flour pancakes or waffles dripping in syrup, but swapping these options for a choice such as cinnamon belVita Breakfast Biscuits makes a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth while boosting your intake of whole grains and fiber. Try pairing this with a spinach and feta omelet along with a side of fresh berries for a Mediterranean-style breakfast that will provide you with long term energy while making both your heart and taste buds happy.
And to round out a full weekday’s worth of breakfast options, I wanted to include two of my family’s favorite breakfast recipes. These options are perfect for making ahead of time. Just simply put them on a plate or grab them for the car. There’s no excuse to skip breakfast anymore!
Make Ahead Breakfast
If you know the week at hand will be a crazy one, why not plan in advance by pre-making a breakfast you can just grab and go with in the morning? One easy option is my Veggie Breakfast Muffins. In a muffin tin, simply add whisked egg, vegetables, cubed whole grain bread, and lowfat cheese, then bake at 400 degrees for 15minutes. When finished, you can store these in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for two months for a ready to eat breakfast option you can just warm and serve.
For the Donut Lover
Ever since my son was introduced to what a donut was, he has been obsessed. And who can blame him? A sweet, frosted treat in the morning can definitely satisfy the sweet tooth. But a traditional donut packed full of added fat, sugar, and refined carbohydrates is not the way to set you up for an energy-packed day. Instead, all of that sugar will just case a quick burst of energy followed by a crash, not to mention an increased desire for sweets all day long. So what’s a donut lover to do? Give your donut a makeover with my High Protein Donut with Chocolate Frosting. It’s packed full of whole grains, healthy fats, and lean protein to give you what you need to start your day off on the right foot. Who says your can’t have your donut and eat it too?
Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by belVita Breakfast Biscuits. All opinions are my own.
Sometimes you just need to satisfy that salty and sweet craving with a crunch. And when the craving hits, you really don’t feel like making something that takes hours (or even more than 5 minutes) to prep, am I right? I feel the same way! That’s why I wanted to share one of my favorite go-to snack options. It couldn’t be easier to prepare, it satisfies the salty and sweet craving, and it’s actually good for you! Oh yea- you will love it! I highly recommend making a big batch, separating it into small baggies, and enjoying often!
Fruity Chocolate Trail Mix Recipe
- 3 cups air popped popcorn
- 1 ounce dark chocolate chips
- ¾ cup freeze dried strawberries
- ¼ cup unsalted almonds
Place ingredients in a large bowl and mix evenly. Serve and enjoy! Makes 3 servings.
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
Calories 166 Carbs 15gm Fiber 4gm Protein 5gm Fat 10gm Saturated Fat 2gm
1 starch, 2 fats