3 Things to add to your Kitchen to Help you Build a Healthier Lifestyle

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Good morning, everyone!

The other morning when I was getting my meals ready for the day I couldn’t help but appreciate all of the little tools I have in my kitchen to help me succeed with my nutrition on a daily basis. Simple things that might seem so mundane actually make living a consistently healthy lifestyle so much easier.

I am a huge believer in the saying that if you fail to prepare, then you’re preparing to fail.

I know myself pretty well, and I know that I don’t make good eating decisions when I don’t have something healthy already prepared. So instead of setting myself up for failure, I make sure to bring a lunchbox with me to work every single day! It’s really exciting to start seeing that this isn’t such a rare thing in the professional world anymore. I see a lot of my co-workers and fellow classmates bring their own food with them, too. Not only is it cost effective, but it’s helping us live healthier lives and look our best. Win, win, right?

So what are the 3 main things I recommend to keep handy in your kitchen?

1) Food Scale: This thing is a life saver. It took me a while before I started to regularly weigh my food but once I started weighing I started to see that my idea of a serving size wasn’t necessarily accurate (aka: I was eating a teensy bit too much, whoops). I think this problem is pretty common and it’s something that I talk with my clients about a lot. On the nutrition label, it may say that you can eat 1/2 a cup of ice cream…but is that loosely packed? Tightly packed? Let’s be honest, if I’m measuring 1/2 a cup of ice cream I’m going to mash as much ice cream in that 1/2 cup as I can and I’ll still be thinking “it’s just 1/2 a cup! Just one serving!” And then I’d wonder later why I wasn’t reaching my goals….hmm. Well, beside the measurement for a serving size, there’s always a weight for a serving size too. So maybe 1/2 a cup is about 26g. So instead of guessing with a cup, I can weigh out exactly the amount that I’m supposed to eat. This goes across the board for all foods and has really helped me with my portions! Using a scale has also helped me increase the amount of protein I eat per day, which used to be a problem for me. Now I make sure that each meal has at least 2.5-3oz and I meet my daily requirements. Food scales are super cheap and you can find them in stores like Wal-Mart, Target, etc.

2) Seasonings: Okay, Okay. So you probably already have seasonings in your kitchen. So why does this make my list? Well, when it comes to eating healthy, its important to make sure that your food is flavorful and enjoyable….but that you aren’t flavoring your food with sugary, chemical & calorie-filled sauces. I keep a wide variety of seasonings in my cabinet and I switch it up every single day. I have my few favorites that I like to use (hey, flavorgod seasonings <3) and then I have some others that I use on specific meals. By using herbs and spices, I am getting the added nutritional benefit of those micro nutrients as well as the added benefit of a wide variety of flavors. I think its safer to have too many seasonings/spices than to have too little. Just my opinion, though.

3) Tupperware (or other storage items)- Me and Tupperware have become B.F.F.s ever since I started doing my weekly meal preps a couple of years ago. I quickly learned that its important to have a wide variety of shapes and sizes for different items. Although I will admit that storing the dang things can be tedious, the pros far outweigh the cons here. If you’re going to pack your meals for your entire day, you need to be able to fit as much as possible into that lunchbox of yours (unless you’re using a cooler or something of the sort. In which case, I ask you to please let me know if your boss is hiring because I’d love to bring a cooler of food to work with me, too, haha). I also know that if I have easy storage options, I’m more likely to pack my meals efficiently which means happier and less hungry Jacquelyn at lunch time which also means happy clients and co-workers. Catch my drift? This is one of those preparation things that I think is so so important. Sandwich bags come in at a very, very, close second.

Are there any other “must haves” that you feel like you need in order to keep your healthy lifestyle? I’d love to hear them!

xo Jacquelyn

Oh the Holidays! (that’s my stomach talking)

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So I know it’s only been November 1st for a total of 10 hours, but I swear the difference between my attitude yesterday and today is massive. Yesterday I was feeling a little like the Grinch dreading the upcoming holiday season! But now…just the mention of the word Grinch has me excited to watch the movie. And I’m currently sitting here in my flannel pajamas (it’s below 60 degrees in FL, guys!) with a cup of hot apple spiced chai tea. Yep. I’m ridiculous.

The holidays always bring that small dose of guilt. I am not immune to that feeling whatsoever. I’ve never used the holiday season to experiment with potential healthy recipes…I just cut those two months out as a loss and plan to get back on track in January (sound familiar?). But here’s the thing – that guilt is totally unnecessary! There are so many amazing, CLEAN, and HEALTHY recipes out there to satisfy any and every holiday craving you may have.

When it comes to cooking clean foods that TASTE GOOD…I go paleo. I pretty much eat a flexible paleo diet on a daily basis anyway – but when it comes to things like my sweet tooth, I make sure to find good quality paleo recipes that I can trust to indulge in.

In an effort to get more experimental with my own healthy cooking, I am going to challenge you guys to do the same! So…join me for the next few weekends in trying one new healthy recipe each weekend! I’ll be providing you guys with the recipes I find and decide to try. Honestly, my best friend when it comes to recipes is (of course) Pinterest. There is a never ending supply of amazing healthy cooking blogs at our disposal and I encourage you guys to check them all out!

But a couple of other go-to sites I like…

Paleo Leap: plethora of amazing recipes and tips about the paleo lifestyle in general. I always ALWAYS learn something new on this website.

Big Apple Paleo: Facebook page dedicated to paleo eating! Created by my mentor from NYC straight from Cenegenics :). Even I get to post some of my recipes on there too! We try to post often so that you constantly have access to paleo ideas throughout the day.

And now – without further delay, the recipes I’m trying this week!:

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Coconut Flour Pumpkin Muffins

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Spinach Cilantro Meatballs

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Bullet Proof Coffee

All of the pictures link straight to the blog so you can go check out the recipes and probably get some other great ideas too! I can’t wait to see what you guys decide to try!

Do you have any “go to” healthy paleo recipes that you like to make for the holidays?

xo Jacquelyn

Turkey Meatloaf “Muffins”

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Okay, folks. This is one of my all time favorite recipes. I would definitely call it a “go to” recipe for me.

          Reasons why I love it:

  • Super easy
  • Super healthy
  • Super tasty
  • Super convenient

Don’t you love it already, too??

On Sunday evenings I do a basic “meal prep” for the upcoming week. I put together staple ingredients that I can combine for meals. I typically have a couple hours to myself each afternoon, so I do get a chance to cook one meal a day. But for the other meals, I need something I can just grab and go. And you know me…it needs to be healthy!

I originally grabbed this recipe from Jamie Eason’s Live Fit program. 1) Loved that program. It was one of the first things that launched me head first into the world of fitness and 2) I still use many of her recipes. Check it out!

These days I pretty much make it differently every time. Sometimes I use oats, sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I add spinach or other veggies. You get the idea.

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This time my ingredients were:

  • 1lb ground turkey
  • 2tbsp flax seed oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Chopped mushrooms (didn’t measure)
  • Chopped peppers (didn’t measure)
  • Chopped onion (didn’t measure)
  • 1 egg
  • Seasonings:
    • red pepper flakes
    • chili powder
    • badia all purpose seasoning

Before starting, make sure to preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

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The first thing I did was stir fry the veggies in olive oil. I like the taste of them better after they’ve been stir fried to let their flavors mix and the onions to caramelize. Yum!

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While the veggies are stir frying, I mix up the ground turkey with the seasonings, flax seed oil, and the egg.

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Add the veggies!

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Once everything is all stirred up, go ahead and separate the mixture into a muffin tin (I sprayed beforehand with PAM).

Bake for 35-40 min. And Voila!

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I chop these up and eat them on salad or with veggies.

Do you have any “go to” recipes?

xo Jacquelyn

Quinoa…and other recipes I want to try

I’ve been on a crazy quinoa kick lately. Honestly, a year ago if you would have said the word “quinoa” to me I would have thought you were speaking a different language.

What do I love about it so much? Well, it’s a way for me to eat carbohydrates without worrying about gluten (I don’t necessarily worry about gluten. BUT I do notice a certain amount of bloating when I eat it. So I try to stay away from it), and also get a decent amount of added protein! It curbs my cravings for pasta as it has kind of that soft texture that I like, but I don’t feel guilty eating it.

Interesting fact: quinoa is not a member of the grass family, and it is related to beetroots and spinach (two super foods, basically).

Pretty cool, right?

If you’ve never tried this stuff, I highly recommend it!

I compared the labels of quinoa and brown rice and if I remember correctly quinoa had 3g more of protein per serving and less carbs than brown rice. Win, win!

Here are a few recipes that I’m planning on making in the very near future! A few of them have quinoa (hence my quinoa kick), but there’s also a couple randoms that I’m hoping I have time to make for an upcoming girl’s weekend (yay!!).

Summer Salads

Quinoa, red pepper, and avocado salad with cucumber and lime

I got this recipe (and picture) >>> here

Okay so I’ve already made this recipe. About a million times. I’m obsessed with it – and I love that you can really use it as a stencil and switch it up however you want. I actually forgot the cucumbers the first time and ended up chopping up some fresh habanero peppers instead of the red pepper. Yum.  I’m planning on doing an onion, black bean, and corn version with the avocado. See what I mean? Obsessed.

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Spicy Quinoa Stuffed Avocado

I found this picture >>> here

Unfortunately, the picture didn’t link to a working website. So if anyone stumbles across the correct page, let me know so I can link it up properly!

Okay, now that I think about it. Most of these recipes have avocados in them too. I put avocado on pretty much everything these days. It’s pretty much my favorite thing about summer (haha, just kidding, there’s not much I don’t like about summer!).

Even though this one doesn’t have a specific recipe, it gave me some pretty good ideas. It’s almost like a combination of the previous recipe, only inside of an avocado. I like the addition of some red onion that they did and I would imagine that a dollop of plain greek yogurt (in place of sour cream) would be heavenly. Can’t wait to experiment with this one!

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Raspberry Peach Iced Tea

I got the recipe (and picture) >>> here

I literally get thirsty every time I see this picture. I’m always looking for ways to find flavored drinks without it being artificial, or soda, or sugary juices. Tea is a great alternative but not many teas are that good cold. I love my hot tea but there’s just something special about a big gulp of iced tea during the Summer. Yep, I’m thirsty now. I’m hoping to make up a big batch of this for when my friends come down to visit! I’ll let you guys know how it goes.

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Healthy Triple Berry Cobbler

I got the recipe (and picture) >>> here

I don’t know if I would call it “healthy” lol. But, there’s something to be said for something that’s made in your own kitchen and doesn’t come out of a freezer box, ya know? Plus, I LOVE cobbler. I think my favorite is from Cracker Barrel…mouth just watered thinking about it. Plus, triple berry cobbler just seems like a perfect traditional dessert to make for 4th of July weekend! I can’t wait to try this!

I currently have all of these recipes printed out and sitting on my desk so that I can go get the ingredients next week. My friends will be in town for the 4th of July so I’m looking forward to a weekend full of beach, shopping, going downtown, and of course…eating.

Are there any recipes you’re looking forward to trying??

xo Jacquelyn

My Favorite Breakfast!

I don’t know about you guys, but breakfast is probably my favorite meal of the day. Now that could just be because lately my omelet game has been on point… but seriously…breakfast is heaven. Except for when it’s lunch or dinner time because then it’s fair game for Mexican food. #dontjudgme

Whenever I make eggs I add a ton of extra ingredients. I think that’s one of the reasons why I love eggs so much is that you can switch up the flavor every day if you want. You’ll never get bored!!

This is usually my post-workout meal. So I pretty much kill each workout just so I can get home faster to make this scrumptious favorite of mine. This particular day I was feeling a little carefree so I added some cheese. Typically, I suggest staying away from cheese for the most part. But I also suggest living your life how you want it and if some mornings you want cheese, then eat the cheese dangit.

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Although this omelet looks huge, it was only 2 eggs! I always include 1 whole egg whenever I cook with them because the yolk really does have a ton of nutrients…and I won’t get on my soap box but cholesterol really isn’t the main problem anyway. I wish the media would portray that a little more.

As a side note, I think I should give credit where credit is due. All of these pictures were taken with my Samsung Note2. I love my phone for many reasons…one of which being that I don’t have to edit many pictures because of the clarity. Love it! If you’re looking for a food photographer…I’m your girl!

Just kidding, I’d probably eat all the food so that would be bad for business.

Anyway.

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The rest of the size of this omelet is made up of all the stuff I put in it! I like to add turkey, chicken, or turkey bacon for some added flavor and protein. I also chop up a handful of spinach to include…extra nutrients! Oh, and a fair warning: I have an (un)healthy obsession with avocado. Remember: healthy fats are a huge essential part of your daily diet! Don’t be afraid of the word “fat”! On the same token, there are more calories of fat per gram of food than there are protein or carbs (9cal per gram to be exact). So that means your portions of fat should be pretty small!

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I added a pinch of cheese to this as well as red pepper flakes and sriracha sauce at the end. You can obviously opt out of those last two ingredients if you’re not a fan of spice like I am.

So here’s the official recipe! Well, as official as I can get since I just whipped it up on my own :)

Ingredients:

1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 Whole Egg

1 Egg White

1/4 of a Diced Avocado

1/2 cup Spinach, chopped

2oz of Deli Turkey, chopped

Chopped White Onion (not really sure how much)

Pinch of Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Red Pepper Flakes – to taste

Sriracha Sauce – to taste

Steps

1. Place 1tbsp olive oil in a small pan on the stove. Turn to medium heat and allow to warm up.

2. Chop all of your ingredients so they’re ready to go.

3. Place onion and turkey in warm pan. Stir periodically until onions just start to caramelize.

4. Meanwhile, put 1 whole egg and 1 egg white in a bowl. Add spinach and red pepper flakes. Whisk with fork.

5. Pour egg mixture into pan. Stir all of it together, then let it settle.

6. Allow eggs to sit until the bottom is solid. Using a spatula, pull the edges away from the pan to allow the left-over liquid to seep to the bottom. Let sit a little bit longer.

7. Add cheese to the middle of the mixture. Then, using spatula, fold one side of the eggs over on top of the opposite side. Press.

8. Flip until the eggs are finished cooking. Turn off heat and remove from pan.

9. Top with avocado, red pepper flakes and sriracha

Enjoy :)

xo Jacquelyn