Category Archives: Nutrition

4 Reasons for a Chia Seed Breakfast

Chia seed is a great addition to your pre-run, race or workout nutrition plan.  The versatile chia seed is home to many benefits and a powerful addition to your morning meal.  In addition to their good-for-you value, the seeds are usually produced organically and without GMO, making them friendly to just about any diet.  Here are four more good reasons to add a serving of chia to your next meal:chia seed

1:  Chia seeds are full of nutritious goodness.  A 28 gram (1 ounce or 2 Tablespoon) serving of whole grain, gluten-free chia is home to only 137 calories and also contains:

11 grams of dietary fiber.
4 grams of protein.
9 grams of fat (over half of which are Omega-3 fatty acids).
18% recommended daily value (RDA) of calcium.
30% RDA magnesium.
30% RDA manganese.
27% RDA phosphorus.
Zinc, Vitamins B1, B2, B3 and Potassium.

2:  Fiber.  Of the 12 grams of carbohydrate in a 28 gram serving of chia, 11 are fiber.  Having only one gram of carbohydrate makes chia a welcome addition to any low-carb nutrition plan.  All that fiber also can also help you feel full, eating fewer calories over the course of your day, and maintain gut health.

3.  Chia seed can help you stay hydrated.  Capable of absorbing up to 12 times their weight in water, chia seed can help your body retain water during a long run, tough workout or hot summer session.  All that water holding power causes the seeds to expand in your stomach, slowing the absorption of food and decreasing hunger.

4.  Easy to add to your diet.  Chia seeds have more texture than flavor and it’s simple to add them to almost anything.  They can be eaten raw, added to cereal, yogurt, oatmeal and baked goods.  Athletes can even choose to turn the seeds into a gel by adding only water.  Be careful!  Because these tiny seeds can absorb not only lots of water, but fat, too they might unintentionally thicken sauces.

Do you eat chia seed?  Share one of your favorite recipes below!

Want to add chia seed to your diet?  Ask us how!  Email Info@FitNicePT.com or fill out the form below:

Sweet or Mashed? Running on Potatoes

Potatoes are versatile, delicious and inexpensive.  You can get a great carb load from a potato without many of the ugly features of pasta, such as processed grains.  One cup of mashed, boiled or baked potato contains more run fueling complex carbohydrates than one cup of your favorite noodle as well as loads of vitamins and minerals.  With russet, red, yellow, sweet and purple all packing a nutritional punch pasta can’t deliver, potatoes are a great way to power your workouts.potatoes

Easy to digest, potatoes will keep you safe from stomach issues during a long run and save you time in the kitchen.  Mashing and freezing potatoes is a great way to have a healthy food quickly in hand.  The tubers also rank highly on the glycemic index which means the carbs get into your bloodstream quickly, giving you a boost right away.  Add protein or low fat cheese for a slower burn and steady source of energy.

More good news?  The rumors are false.  All of the nutrition isn’t in the skin.  You’ll miss out on about half of the available fiber by peeling it but most of the good stuff hides in the flesh.  Craving fluffy white mashed potato?  One big russet contains 63 grams of carbs, zero grams of fat (!), eight grams of protein, 64 percent of your daily vitamin C, 53 percent of vitamin B6 and potatoes1,600mg potassium.  A medium banana contains only 425mg potassium, making the potato a better way to help your muscles work and keep fluids balanced.  Want a baked sweet potato instead?  One cup will give you 700 percent Daily Value vitamin A, zero grams of fat and 65 percent of vitamin C.  Both varieties are rich in antioxidants, calcium and magnesium while lacking in cholesterol which makes them heart healthy snacks as well.

Unfortunately, you’ll still need to be careful about those fried potatoes.  The frying process wrecks the nutritional value and the huge volumes we consume is part of the reason spuds often get left out of dinner plans.

Want to add potatoes to your training nutrition plan?  Ask us how!  Email Info@FitNicePT.com or fill out the form below.

5 Tips for Cutting Calories

Cutting calories, or decreasing your daily caloric intake, while maintaining or increasing your level of activity is a sure fire way to shed help your body unwanted pounds.  There are lots of ways to cut back on what you eat, from eliminating certain foods to fasting and it’s not always easy.  All methods of cutting calories are not made equal and not all of them can work for everyone but there are some simple things anyone can do to help lower their daily caloric intake.  Here are 5 simple tips to help you stay stress free when you start cutting calories.

Eat thin crust.  Pizza is delicious and everyone has their favorite toppings, but it’s the types of crust you choose that can make a real difference.  When cutting calories consider that an average slice of thin crust pizza has roughly 200 calories while regular crust slices contain about 280 and a piece of deep dish pie comes in at over 350.  To save even more cutting caloriescalories on this tasty treat use whole wheat crust and consider topping like green peppers or pineapple instead of sausage.

Go extra lean.  Extra lean cuts of mean can be found in just about any supermarket and are a good way to save calories in the main part of your meals.  Meats labeled extra lean have fewer than 5 grams of total fat, less than 2 grams of saturated fat and less than 95 milligrams of sodium per serving.  One serving is equivalent to what is consumed in one meal, roughly 3.5 ounces of meat or poultry.  When cutting calories, go extra lean.

Trade your toppings.  mayonnaise is loaded with calories so try trading it for mustard on sandwiches.  Swap marinara sauce for alfredo when you’re in the mood for Italian and save about 100 calories, as a bonus you can even have a bigger serving of the red sauce without putting you back at the beginning.  Having a salad?  Pick croutons or cheese rather than both and save up to 120 calories.

Skip the dressing.  Speaking of salads, leave the dressing off.  Blue cheese, ranch and Italian are packed with calories, undoing most of the benefits of munching on a plate of healthy vegetables and greenery.  Order your next salad with a side of cutting caloriesmustard, pico de gallo or a splash of lemon juice and you’ll be cutting upwards of 100 calories.

Drink more water.  Water fills your tummy, acting as an appetite suppressant and helps you stay hydrated.  Less hunger means less eating, which by default helps you trim your calorie intake.  Water is also the best replacement out there for sugary, calorie loaded sodas.

Use these simple and easy tips for cutting calories to help keep your weight loss plan on track.

Have questions?  Want help with weight loss or a meal plan?  Ask us!  Email Info@FitNicePT.com or fill out the box below.

Food Allergies in the Real World: Restaurants

Food allergies are a condition that can, if not taken seriously, result in severe reactions.  Tackling restaurant menus and navigating supermarket aisles can be difficult.  Even professional athletes can face this problem and Team FitNice is no exception.  In this educational series of posts we’ll cover some good ways to prevent coming in contact with allergens in restaurants, at school, in the grocery store and when you travel.

Food allergies don’t have to stop you from enjoying meals at restaurants with friends.  Here are 5 Tips for Avoiding Allergens in Restaurants:food allergies in restaurants

1)  Check out restaurants before you go.  Asian cuisine features peanuts and staffers in outlets with pre-made meals might not know what’s inside the package.  Buffets typically offer lots of choices for eats who have to be choosy.  Ask friends, family and doctors to recommend food allergy friendly establishments then research menus and read reviews.

2)  Call ahead.  Call during off-peak hours and ask if the restaurant is willing to take care of your needs.  If so, ask if the staff is trained to deal with a food allergen free diner and if any specialty meals are available.  Give them as much information as you can and make sure the person you spoke to will be there when you plan on visiting.

3)  Communicate with staff.  Your server might not know everything about how the food they serve is prepared.  Speak with a manager or, ideally, the chef to make your dietary needs and restrictions clear.

4)  Keep meals simple.  Restaurants can offer up complicated dishes with lots of ingredients.  Ordering simple, not plain or boring, plates can help ensure your food doesn’t come into contact with any unwanted allergens.  Avoid fried food, which is a hot bed for cross-contamination, and know that dessert is often a source of hidden allergens.

5)  Ask for your plate to be delivered separately.  If simply touching an allergen can induce a reaction, stacked plates can be trouble.  Make sure your servers knows that your food shouldn’t come in contact with any other food or china.  When your meal arrives at the table, double check your instructions were followed and the food was prepared properly.

Remember that the best medicine is prevention.  Always be ready to treat an allergic reaction should contact occur.  Having a bronchodilator or epinephrine pen (if prescribed) within reach at all times is a sure fire way to make sure you’re safe from a severe reaction.  Use these tips and be prepared to a great night out the next time you walk into a restaurant.

Have questions about managing your food allergies when you dine in a restaurant?  Ask your doctor or send us an email at Info@FitNicePT.com.

Anytime of Day PB and J Wraps

PB and J is a classic lunch dish that’s found at least once in a while inside every child’s lunch box.  Whether it’s grape jelly, apple butter or strawberry jam the easy to prepare and pack sandwich is a school time staple.  It doesn’t have to stay that way!  With this recipe inspired by Team FitNice friend Alicia of Fitness by Alicia your entire family can have PB and J for breakfast, lunch and dinner without feeling guilty.

PB and J Lunch Wraps
Basics

Servings: 4
Prep Time:
Difficulty: 1

Ingredients
4 Whole grain flatbreads
4 Tablespoons reduced fat peanut butter
4 Tablespoons sugar-free jam or jelly (optional)
8 fresh strawberries, sliced
1 large, fresh banana sliced lengthwise then into four equal sections
8 Tablespoons low-fat granola

Instructions
1.  Spread peanut butter evenly over the four flatbreads.
2.  Spread jelly or jam on one half of flatbread.
3.  Layer granola, sliced banana and strawberries on top of jam or jelly.
4.  Roll flatbread up beginning with side holding fruit and granola.
5.  Enjoy!

PB and JGive this recipe a try today for a twist on the classic noontime meal.  The whole family will enjoy the healthy dish and clean up is a breeze.  Thanks to Alicia for sharing this recipe with us, be sure to check her out at FitnessByAlicia.blogspot.com!  The blog is home to tons of great recipes, her real story of weight loss and lots of fitness fun.

Want help with your meal plan?  Send us an email at Info@FitNicePT.com or fill out the form below, we love hearing from you!

Kitchen Shortcuts for a Healthier You

Eating healthy can be hard.  Cooking can take a while and after a hard day at work, making dinner every night can be a drag.  These are five of Team FitNice‘s favorite kitchen shortcuts designed to help you spend less time in the kitchen while making healthy meals that keep your lifestyle on track.

Kitchen Shortcuts #1:  Use simple cooking methods.  Steaming, broiling and roasting are easy ways to prepare vegetables.  Healthier than frying and faster than baking, these methods make flavor filled food fast and are sure to satisfy every palate that takes a seat at your dinner table.kitchen shortcuts

Kitchen Shortcuts #2:  Stock up.  Be sure to always have plenty of brown rice, quinoa, whole-grain pasta, frozen veggies, low fat nuts, low-sodium canned beans, diced tomatoes and chicken and vegetable stocks on hand.  With so many ingredients close at hand, it’s easy to grab a few things out of the pantry and put together a quick, good-for-you dinner.

Kitchen Shortcuts #3:  Cookbooks.  Save the stress of figuring out what you need at the supermarket.  Have a stack of cookbooks that feature simple recipes without lots of fancy ingredients in the kitchen.  Pick a few favorites, plan the week’s menu and take a list when it’s time to go shopping.

Kitchen Shortcuts #4:  Buy quality meats when they’re on sale.  Divide them into the size you typically use for cooking, wrap and freeze.  Not only will you be saving money, you won’t need to butcher or thaw excess meat because your portions are already set up for you.  This works for cooking large volumes of rice, quinoa and legumes, too.

Kitchen Shortcuts #5:  The ultimate weeknight time saver is to do all of your cooking on one day each week.  By preparing freezable meals in advance, getting dinner on the table takes little more than opening the freezer and turning on a burner.  Another bonus to having ready-to-go meals?  Fewer dishes to wash each evening!

Use these Kitchen Shortcuts to make your weeknight dinners a breeze while avoiding fast food and sodium heavy boxed frozen dinners.  Have questions about your meal plan?  Ask us!  Email Info@FitNicePT.com or fill out the form below.

Breaking Down Superfoods

It’s likely you’ve heard of the class of edible items called ‘superfoods‘.  These are whole, natural foods that are chock full of nutritional goodness and health benefits, and you don’t need to be superman, or woman, to have them.  Each of these so-called superfoods is easily found in your local grocery, ensuring you’ll have access to an adequate supply whenever you need to refill your fridge.  A great way to build a healthy diet, adding superfoods to your meals is a surefire way to make them super good for you.

It can be hard to know what’s what when it comes to these awesome edibles, but each has its own benefits, and munching on the right ones can be a huge help when reaching for nutrition or fitness goals.  Having a good-for-you diet is a major part of being fit and living a healthy lifestyle, and to help, here’s a breakdown of six of Team FitNice‘s favorite superfoods.

Beans provide a protein loaded alternative to meats, especially red meat, which is high in saturated fat.  A tasty source of iron, potassium, magnesium, folate, B vitamins and fiber, these legume superfoods are an important part of a healthy diet and, because they’re easy to add to almost any meal or dish, should be eaten on a regular basis.

Blueberries are not only delicious, they’re loaded with antioxidants, potassium and vitamin C.  The darker the berries are the more antioxidants they contain, so try to pick the darkest ones superfoodsyou can find.  Blueberries can also lower the risk of both heart disease and cancer, with frozen just as good as fresh.  Grab a handful, or a 1/2 cup serving, of this superfood and toss it on every salad you have.

Broccoli is loaded in vitamin C and folate, which both help reduce the risk of certain cancers, heart disease and stroke.  The fiber found in broccoli aids in digestion, and with only 30 calories in a one cup serving, it makes no difference whether you eat it raw, steam it or boil it before you dine.  To get all the benefits of broccoli, try to stay away from smothering your superfoodssalad in ranch dressing, which adds unnecessary fat content to your meal.

Chia seeds are a proud member of the superfoods family who are rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals and a great place to get your daily dose of fiber.  A great source of omega-3 fatty acids, chia seeds contain 500% more calcium than milk.  With an appetite suppressing ability, these petite seeds give a feeling of fullness that can aid with weight-loss.

Salmon, specifically wild caught and not from a farm, tastes good cooked in the oven or on the grill and provides lots of vitamin D, which keeps bones healthy and strong.  In addition to vitamin D, wild salmon is home to tons of omega-3 fatty acids, the healthy fat your body needs to function.  Salmon is more than heart healthy, the omega-3s it has can promote joint health, superfoodspossibly prevent certain types of cancer and aid in proper functioning of the nervous system.

Soy is an inexpensive, vitamin and mineral rich protein that contains omega-3 fatty acids, plenty of soluble fiber and phytonutrients that are great for fighting disease.  Black soybeans are home to very few carbohydrates and take a while to digest, which, like chia seeds, leaves you feeling full, making them a great addition to any weight-loss meal plan.  Soy can also help lower bad cholesterol, but make sure it’s complete soy such as edamame or soy milk, not soy powder like is found in soy sauce.  One caution for soy: those with a family history of breast cancer should be careful not consume a lot of extra soy.

Are you hungry?  Good!  Head to the nearest supermarket to stock up on these six superfoods and take your healthy lifestyle to the next level.  Have questions about your diet?  Need a meal plan?  Ask us!  Email Info@FitNicePT today or fill out the form below.

 

Mango Lime Salmon with Black Bean Salad

Here’s a scrumptious recipe for Mango Lima Salmon accompanied by a simple black bean and corn salad.  Team FitNice loves adding flavor to salmon and halibut or even a fish taco by topping it with Mango Lima Salsa and serving it with a side of palate cooling black bean and corn salad.

Mango Lime Salmon with Black Bean and Corn Salad

Basics
Servings: 2-4
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Difficulty: 2

Ingredients
2-4 Wild Alaskan salmon filets
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1-14 oz can rinsed and drained black beans
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup frozen yellow corn
1/4 cup diced green pepper
1/4 cup diced onion
1-2 cups mango salsa

Instructionsmango lime salmon
1)  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2)  Place salmon filets on foil lined baking sheet and brush with olive oil.  Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until fish is cooked through and white fat has risen to the top.
3)  Dice onion and green pepper, place black beans and corn in medium sauce pan.
4)  Saute onion and pepper for 4 minutes, add to beans and corn.  Add water, bring to boil until mixture is warm.
5)  Serve salmon over bean salad and top with mango lime salsa.

Give this Mango Lime Salmon with Black Bean and Corn Salad a taste with next week’s meal plan and get your fill of protein and flavor.

Dining Out? 5 Tips to Stay on Track

Dining out is a popular past time, and even when you’re on a fantastic, widely varied meal plan, sometimes getting out of the house just sounds good.  There’s absolutely nothing wrong with having a meal away from home once or twice a week, but unfortunately, dining out can add anywhere from a few to a couple hundred calories to your daily intake, with an average dining outof 135 additional calories per meal, that might climb even higher if you add sugar and carb loaded alcoholic beverages.  Here are 5 tips from Team FitNice that will help you beat the restaurant over-eating blues.

1.  Read the menu closely.  Read each menu option and pick those that are grilled, broiled or baked rather than fried and breaded.  Watch for, and avoid, words like creamy and buttered, which usually mean lots of high fat content dairy products are used in the food’s preparation.

2.  Ask questions.  Ask your server if it’s possible to make changes to meals.  Substitute sides, such as steamed seasonal vegetables for fries, or cooking methods by asking for grilled rather than fried chicken and fish.

3.  Think small.  Choose small portions.  Many menus now offer low calorie options dining outthat feature smaller portions and heart healthy combinations.  Try tapas, mixing many small dishes together and sharing with the table to keep consumption down or even consider ordering a child size dinner.

4.  Get a box.  Ask for a box to be delivered with your meal and box one third to one half of it up before you dig in.  Restaurant portions are often good for two to three servings, and rather than letting what you haven’t finished get thrown out, take it home for later.

5.  Order a salad.  A leafy, green salad is filling and will help keep you from overeating.  Ordering it with the dressing on the side can keep fat content even lower and consider skipping the cheese while asking for extra vegetables.

Use these tips when you’re dining out and stay on track with your meal, diet or weight loss plan.  Want help with your meal plan?  Ask us!  Email Info@FitNicePT or fill out the form below.

How to Eat More and Weigh Less

Want to eat more and shed body fat?  Yes, it is possible to eat more food while simultaneously shedding pounds, and you can do it.  eat moreWeight loss boils down to taking in fewer calories than you burn, creating a calorie deficiency, but it doesn’t always mean tofu and hunger.  Changing the foods you eat can dramatically shape weight loss patterns and doing so is probably easier than you think.  The word diet is often associated with fads, such as Atkins or South Beach, and that’s unfortunate.  Including proper foods, meal planning and good choices are important elements of a good, healthy, lifelong diet, and there’s nothing faddish about that.  If you pick the right foods, you can easily eat more while you begin to weigh less.

Picking the right foods can be challenging, and choosing foods that are filling, without being high in calories is even harder.  Here are a few tips to help you leave the supermarket with a cart full of delicious, filling foods.  Select foods that are rich in fiber.  Dietary fiber will help you feel full, and keep everything in your gut moving.  Fruits and veggies are rich in fiber, but also high in water content, which can aid with hydration, digestion and satiety.  It’s easy to eat more fruits and vegetables by adding them to almost any meal, especially salads and eat moresandwiches.  Cut up carrots, apples or celery to dip in low-fat dressings or peanut butter and keep them in ready-to-go containers in the fridge for healthy, easy to eat snacks.

In addition to adding fruits and vegetables to your snack routine, try to replace corn chips or salty, fatty potato chips with air popped popcorn that’s just as tasty and will be more satisfying.  Switch out the rice in recipes for quinoa and trade iceberg lettuce for kale to increase fiber and eat more good for you foods that make you feel full.  The benefit of swapping out unhealthy, non-filling foods with those that make you feel stuffed is that sticking with a weight loss plan is much easier to do when you enjoy the things you eat, and even more so if they’re delicious and filling.

The extra bonus of switching to filling, good-for-you food while working to shed fat is that you’ll learn to like these foods best, and any worries about regaining the weight will slip away.

Are you looking for guidance on your weight loss journey?  We’re here to help!  Learn more by checking out our Nutrition page, send us an email at Info@FitNicePT.com or fill out the form below.