Watermelon season is here and I have to say, I am very excited! Who doesn’t love a beautiful, juicy, colorful watermelon on their plate? I feel like just the color alone adds a bit of sunshine to my meal. I don’t know if it is just me or if you feel this way as well, but do you ever feel just a little intimidated buying a whole watermelon? Don’t get me wrong, I love watermelon. But sometimes I worry that I will come home with a huge watermelon, slice it all up and then find my family getting bored of eating watermelon in the same exact way day after day. Sure, I could buy half a watermelon or already cubed and sliced watermelon to reduce the amount I buy at once, but nothing tastes as good as a freshly sliced whole watermelon, and I right?
To get over my ridiculous fear of purchasing a whole watermelon, I decided to come up with some creative ways to enjoy this delicious fruit. One of my favorite discoveries this summer was the creation of my Frosted Watermelon Pizza. It’s so pretty to look at, amazing to taste, and makes such as fun appetizer or dessert at any summer get together. It’s also so easy to make that my little guy pretty much single handedly made one himself (but since he has a habit of licking and eating ingredients while he plays chef, we let him keep his version as his own individual pie!) This pizza can make the perfect snack and it also makes a great addition to your little one’s lunch box. It’s packed full of fiber, protein, and antioxidants to keep your energy lasting all throughout the day.
Frosted Watermelon Pizza Recipe
- 1 large round slice of watermelon (1 inch thick, cut from the center of the watermelon)
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup sliced strawberries
- 1/4 cup fresh blueberries
Using a pizza cutter, slice the watermelon into even ‘pizza slices.’ Spread the Greek yogurt evenly over the top of the watermelon. Top with strawberries and blueberries. Serve chilled and enjoy!
What is your favorite way to enjoy watermelon?
“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.
As May comes to a close, it’s the perfect time to take advantage of this being National Salad Month. As the whether heats up, it’s normal to want to cool down with your food choices. Salads offer a nutrient-packed way to cool down while helping you pack in your daily fiber and vitamin needs. One of the reasons I love salads so much is that they offer constant variety. By changing the vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and protein options you incorporate, you can have an entirely new meal option each and every day.
All salads are not created equal, however. Some restaurant salads can pack in a full days worth of calories and sodium if you aren’t careful! Additives such as crunchy salad noodles, creamy dressings, cheese, and sugar coated nuts and fruit can drive the calorie content of your salad up while reducing the nutritional content. To gain all of the benefits of salads without unnecessary amounts of added sodium, sugar, or saturated fats, follow a few simple tips:
Top Tips for a Nutritious Salad
- Make the focus of your salad vegetables and fruits
- Choose to have your dressing on the side to control your portions
- Select a plant-based oil for your dressing, such as vinegar and olive oil, over a creamy variety
- Watch your toppings! Crunchy noodles, cheese, and candied nuts can add large amounts of calories, sugar, and fat. Opt instead of dry roasted nuts, seeds, and no-sugar-added dried fruit for a crunchy topping.
- Add protein. A veggie only salad will leave you hungry after a short period of time. By incorporating a protein choice such as grilled chicken or fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, or edamame, you can ensure you salad will keep you full for hours to come
Salads can include a variety of ingredients such as meat, nuts, vegetables and fruit and can be served as a lunch/dinner snack. Eating a salad is a great way to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your daily diet while also enjoying some of your favorite foods in one bowl. It can also increase your vitamins, minerals, fiber and protein intake as well as satisfying your appetite with a light and flavorful meal. So in honor of National Salad month, here’s three salad recipes that are simple, delicious and packed full of nutrients!
Strawberry Feta Salad
- 12-ounce package of Spring Mix (or your favorite leafy greens)
- 1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
- 2-ounces crumbled feta cheese
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup walnuts, chopped
- ¼ cup Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
- Wash spring mix and place in large bowl.
- Add strawberries, dried cranberries and walnuts. Mix well.
- Sprinkle feta cheese and dressing over salad and toss until evenly coated. Serve and enjoy!
Tropical Fruit Salad
- 1 cup pineapple, diced
- 1 medium apple, diced
- 1 papaya, seeds and scooped
- 2 tablespoons raw honey
- shredded coconut
- Cut fruit ingredients into bite sized pieces.
- Add cut fruit to large bowl and pour honey and shredded coconut on top.
- Mix well and enjoy!
Grape, Celery and Walnut Salad
- 2 cups seedless red grapes
- 3 celery stalks, washed and thinly sliced
- 1 cup walnuts, chopped
- 1/2 cup nonfat plain or vanilla yogurt
- In large mixing bowl combine red grapes, sliced celery, walnuts and yogurt. Mix until grapes and celery are evenly coated with yogurt. Add walnuts to the mix and stir until evenly coated or enjoy walnuts on top of salad.