Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Recipe: Peanut Butter Energy Bites

I discovered these delicious little things several months ago and have been working on my own twists to the recipe ever since.  These are a HUGE favorite of my family, both my husband and kiddos absolutely love them.  They are gluten free, vegan, full of protein and make great pre/post workout fuel or even just a great snack. 

Below are 3 variations of my Peanut Butter Energy Bites.  For each recipe, mix all ingredients together in food processor then roll into tablespoon sized balls.  Store in an air tight container.

[Basic] Peanut Butter Energy Bites
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup of pitted dates
1/2 cup peanut butter

Coconut Flax Energy Bites
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup of pitted dates
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 Tbsp coconut flakes
2 Tbsp ground flax seed

Chocolate Chia Energy Bites
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup of pitted dates
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 1/2 Tbsp cocoa powder
2 Tbsp chia seeds

For additional recipes, as well as fitness and nutrition tips and motivational quotes, feel free to follow Coach Christina on social media (links above).

Body Weight Circuit

Here is a fun and challenging, no equipment needed circuit you can incorporate into your workouts.  Because all of these exercises are body weight only, they can be done in the comfort of your own home, at your office on your lunch break or even while you are traveling.  Be sure to focus on form to ensure a safe and effective workout.  If you have any issues or pain with any of these exercises please discontinue.  Please be sure to consult your physician before beginning any fitness program or if you develop any chronic pain from activity.

The Circuit:
10 Push Ups
10 Knee Tucks/Jacks
10 Drop Squats
10 each side Skater Hops

Do consecutively without a rest period.  Once you have completed all 4 exercises, take a 1-2 minute rest and repeat 3-4 more times.

For more workouts like this one, and for nutritional and fitness tips, be sure to follow coach Christina on social media (links above).

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Favorite Recipe: Peanut Butter Overnight Oats

I made these overnight oats last week for my husband and he LOVED them!  As a former collegiate offensive lineman, he has a pretty healthy appetite and is more of a "meat and potatoes" kinda guy.  So it's fun having someone like him as my guinea pig for healthy recipes because if big guy likes it, then it's gotta be good!  He's definitely a good sport about trying my healthier recipes and I'm just glad we continue to find good things our whole family can enjoy.

So here is the recipe for this quick, grab and go breakfast or snack.  Feel free to comment below if you have any questions or variations you've tried of this.

1 large ripe banana
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. chia seeds
I simply threw all the ingredients in a food processor, blended it up and poured mixture into mason jars.

If you do not have a food processor, you can do the following:  In a large mixing bowl, mash banana well.  Add oats, almond mix and peanut butter.  Stir vigorously, making sure to mix in all the peanut butter.  Add remaining ingredients and mix well.  Pour mixture into mason jars.

Store jars in refrigerate overnight and enjoy in the morning or for an afternoon snack.  No need to reheat.

Optional Toppings
Sliced banana
Chocolate shavings
Blueberries or Strawberries
Coconut shavings with agave or honey drizzle

For more recipes like this as well as fitness and nutrition tips, be sure to follow Coach Christina and CWSC Performance on Instagram and Facebook.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Meal Prepping 101

Meal prepping is not just for serious or elite fitness professionals.  People use meal prepping for a number of reasons ranging from weight loss, weight or muscle gain, budgeting and time purposes.  Planning and preparing your meals for the week to come is the ideal way to stay on top of your nutrition, never having to worry about what you're going to eat, which often leads to poor food choices.  It can be a little overwhelming at first, but once you get into a routine, you'll wonder why you didn't start sooner.  Here is some basic tips to help you get started with food prepping.

First, let me discuss the key benefits to food prepping so you'll be convinced it's a great idea:

1. Keep You on Track:  Meal prepping will take the guess work out of what you will eat for each meal.  When you're busy at work and you have to rush in a quick bite to eat, it's easy just to grab something fast and inexpensive.  Unfortunately this typically means fast food, something unhealthy from the cafeteria or out of the vending machine.  Always having healthy meals and snacks ready for you will help keep you on track with your nutrition goals.

2. Save Time:  Food prep day will be a little time consuming, especially in the beginning when you're getting in to the swing of things.  But it will surely make up for it during the week.  Rather than having to scramble to get meals together each morning, afternoon and even evening, you will have everything you need ready to go in your refrigerator.

3. Save Money:  Buying and preparing everything you need for the week in one day will help cut down or even out, those weekday trips to the grocery store.  It will also keep you from going out to lunch or buying snacks during work.  All those trips eventually add up so having food ready for you will certainly help save you some money each week.

4. It's Fun:  The task may seem daunting at first, having to spend a couple of your weekend hours making food.  But believe it or not, it will actually become quite fun.  It will give you the opportunity to learn about proper nutrition, try new recipes and even get your family involved!  Put some comfy clothes on, turn on some music and make a party out of it!  Feel free to even dance around your kitchen while cooking!

So now you're convinced you are going to start weekly food prepping, here are a few items you will want to make sure you have ready:

1. Tupperware Containers:  Have some large enough for whole meals, as well and medium and small sized containers for smaller meals and snacks.  Be sure to use BPA-free containers that can be put in the microwave and dishwasher.  Be sure to have enough to fit a week's worth of meals.

2. Recipes/Menus:  Make a menu of what meals you would like for the week.  Consider trying a new recipe each week so you do not get bored with your meals.  Pinterest is one of my favorite resources for new and healthy recipes.

3. Measuring Cups/Spoons:  Portion control is essential for proper nutrition and weight management.  In order to keep portions in check, you will want to make sure you have measuring cups and spoons.

4. Food Scale:  Another great way to stay on target with portion size, especially with foods like meat, is a food scale.  This is optional, but certainly helpful.

5. The Food:  Each week, once you have planned your menu, make a list of everything you will need to purchase.  Compile a grocery and be sure to buy everything at once so that you will be prepared.  There are several items you can buy in bulk to save money and time.

Now you're ready to get started food prepping, here are some things to consider:

1. Chose the Day:  Pick a day when you have a good solid hour or two to devote to cooking and storing food.  I typically do my food prepping Sunday afternoon while my sons nap, then finish up the rest of my prepping on Monday during nap time.  It can be time consuming but systematizing your cooking will certainly help.

2. Plan Your Attack:  This is where a system comes into play.  Obviously some things will require more prep than others.  You can plan out your prepping so that you can get several things done at one time.  For example, you can get your meat baking in the oven, while steaming your veggies and boiling rice on the stove top, all while measuring out snacks.  Multitasking will help cut down on the time.

2. Keep It Simple:  Especially in the beginning, you will want to make sure to not overwhelm yourself with tons of new foods and recipes.  Stick to the basics, lean meat, grains, fresh fruits and vegetables.  Consider one new recipe each week and rotate your meals so you do not get too bored with your food.

3. Trial and Error:  This experience will continually be trial and error, especially initially.  You will learn what works best for you, what recipes you like and don't like and how to go about getting it all together.  Keep an open mind and keep trying new things.  Before you know it, you will have the whole process down to a science and be a food prepping pro!

4.  Don't Give Up Too Soon:  Do not get discouraged if struggle in the beginning.  Like I said, it will be time consuming at first.  If you're not trying new recipes, you will get bored.  On the flip side, you may get tired of new recipes not working out.  Hang in there, you'll get the hang of it and it will most certainly pay off if you keep with it.

5. Don't Stop On Holidays:  Do not let travel, company and holidays sabotage your healthy eating.  When your schedule is out of sorts, it may be difficult to find the time to keep up with your food prepping but do the best you can to try and keep on track.  It's actually even more so important during these hectic times to make sure you have a nutritional plan to help from overeating, poor food choices and to ward off those extra pounds that often creep up.  If you do find yourself off track, don't beat yourself up, get right back to up when you return to your routine.

If you have additional questions regarding food prepping, nutrition and fitness, feel free to contact Coach Christina directly.  Be sure to follow Christina on Instagram and CWSC Performance on Facebook for more nutrition and fitness tips, as well as motivational quotes!