Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Asian Cucumber Noodle Salad

My latest 21 Day Fix recipe is going to be in my regular lunch rotation!  It is so delicious, stores well, and is designed to be served chilled, so it's perfect for on the go.  I've bulked up the dish to a really generous portion with the addition of lots of crunchy cucumber noodles and thinly sliced bell peppers to the regular noodles - which I've also subbed out for a healthy (and gluten free of course) alternative noodle made of buckwheat and sweet potato.  It's still a yellow container, but it's a good yellow!

I used my Paderno spiralizer to make noodles out of the cucumber (the medium spiral size matched the noodle size perfectly), but you could also julienne it, or slice it up.  I just like playing with my new favorite kitchen toy, it truly makes my vegetables so much more delicious and interesting!

Asian Cucumber Noodle Salad

For the Peanut Sauce:

  • 1/2 tbsp raw honey (or regular honey)
  • 2 tbsp creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tsp ginger juice (or grated fresh ginger)
  • few drops sriracha
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • Juice if 1 lime
Warm the peanut butter and honey at a low setting in your microwave for about a minute to soften them up.  Add the remaining ingredients and whisk together.  Set aside.

For the Noodle Salad:
  • 3 oz soba noodles, cooked and chilled - I used King Soba Buckwheat Sweet Potato Noodles (could also use spaghetti noodles) (3 yellow containers)
  • 1 large English cucumber, spiralized (or julienned, or sliced) (3 green containers)
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced (1 green container)
  • 2 cups of shredded chicken breast (3 red containers)
  • Cilantro
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Peanut Sauce, above
Toss ingredients together well, then top with peanut sauce and toss until distributed evenly.  Serve immediately or store for later - it's even better after it sits overnight!  The above makes 3 servings with the following recommended container counts for each - 1 yellow, 1 red, 1 green, 1 orange, 1 teaspoon.

The cucumber noodles give it an amazing crunch, and the flavors are so fresh.  I love the buckwheat sweet potato noodles because they keep a nice texture when cold, and they only take 6 minutes to cook!  Vitacost is a great resource for cool new foods like that, I have discovered a lot there - both the ginger juice and raw honey in the sauce are Vitacost finds of mine as well.  They have great prices and sales, which are made even better with cash back at Ebates

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

I Have Chocolate for Breakfast

Yep, that's right. Pretty much every day for the past few months, I have enjoyed chocolate for breakfast. And I have lost weight and gotten myself back into a fit, healthy and happy place.

How is this possible? Well, I discovered Shakeology. It's dubbed "The Healthiest Meal of the Day," and now I don't go a day without it! Not only do I get my daily chocolate fix, it also helped me get squash those intense junk food cravings I experienced when I first started the 21 Day Fix challenge. I went from Googling whether or not it was a scam to being completely enamored with it once I gave it a shot. I truly believe it was and continues to be a key part to my success in my healthy lifestyle and habits.

So what's in Shakeology? It's basically a protein shake with all kinds of superfoods for a complete nutritional powerhouse - as they sum it up, it's your daily dose of dense nutrition. It has a whole host of benefits, from aiding in digestion to making your skin glow and boosting your energy. No artificial sweeteners in it, either - a big reason why I like it. Well, that and it takes about 5 minutes to make and reminds me of a Wendy's Frosty. Except it's good for me!

The texture and flavor is really pleasant, unlike other protein powders I have tried that I find either too saccharine or chalky. And it's full of all kinds of goodness, too - check out everything you get! It takes care of all of those expensive vitamins and supplements and wraps them up in one delicious package.

One of the first things I always hear is how it is so expensive. I won't deny, yes it is. You pay for quality, don't you? (who's reading this on a top-of-the-line iPhone that you pay dearly for usage of each month without blinking??) When it comes down to it, it's about $4 a serving. We use it as a meal replacement, so it's replacing other food we are not buying. Also, there's the bonus savings we enjoy of not buying all that crappy junk food we didn't need in the first place. Medical bills are a lot more expensive, and this helps motivate me to eat healthy and gives me the energy to stay active. Win win in my book!

For my gluten-free people out there, it is made with gluten-free ingredients. However, it is not certified - here is their statement on the gluten-free status of the product. To summarize, it's manufactured in a shared facility that follows strict standards to prevent cross contamination. I personally have never had a reaction, and I am highly sensitive. I easily run more risk eating at a restaurant than drinking Shakeology.

Shakeology comes in a variety of flavors, including chocolate, vanilla and strawberry, plus two vegan options that are made with plant-based protein. There are also new boosts designed to take your shake to the next level! Not quite ready to commit to a flavor? Go for the sampler pack!

There's a Bottom of the Bag money-back guarantee on Shakeology, so you've got nothing to lose but that extra weight! If you have any questions, let me know in the comments or contact me at jennifl@beachbodycoach.com.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Fall Into Fitness with the 21 Day Fix!

The holidays are fast approaching - are you ready? I definitely believe for once that I am! Thanks to my experience with the 21 Day Fix, I feel like this year I have firmly established myself in my healthier habits and as a result will be going into the season happy, healthy and full of energy! It's all about the 80/20 lifestyle for me now...I want to be fit, but I don't want to be extreme about it all the time. Good food (and wine!) is and always will be one of my favorite ways to relax and connect with family and friends, so I'm never going to be perfect. But I can be better!

That is one of the biggest mental changes I have experienced - the concept of just being better. You might not always make the best choice, but making the better choice can still get you to your goals. That's what healthy habits are all about! But first, you have to kick start those healthy habits.

That is where the 21 Day Fix challenge comes in! When you've been making the easy choices for awhile, it can be hard to get back on track with exercise and eating right. Ultimately, you have to want it. Me telling you how fantastic it is isn't going to get your butt off the couch. But if you want it, Autumn Calabrese and I can help you get it - and even make it fun!

What you get with the program is a simple, flexible nutrition plan and a set of workouts that are just 30 minutes a day and include a modifier to make them doable for all levels. Together, the plans help you get amazing results in very little time! I have made a few attempts in the past to shed extra weight, and it took me 6 months to lose what I lost in 6 weeks on the Fix plan. It combines muscle building to boost metabolism and clean eating for ultimate fat burning. Check out this video for a quick overview.

So why join me and my group? Support! This is often a big change for most of us who decide to start the plan, and change is hard. Who doesn't need help? I will provide guidance, answer questions, share ideas and tricks I've learned. You'll get to connect with others going through the same experience and learn from them too! Plus, as a bonus gift for joining my group, I will give you your very own FREE exclusive online meal planning tool, complete with a sample week's plan, food lists and recipe links.

Commit to 21 days with me - you have have nothing to lose but inches and self doubt! There's still plenty of time to join and get prepared. Order your challenge pack today to try the full program complete with the super tasty and healthy craving-killer Shakeology for the best results, or you can order just the program to get the workout DVDs, containers, and eating plan. Don't forget to add in your copy of Fixate for even easier meal planning - check out my review here and get a sneak peek recipe!

I really cannot say enough good things about this program. Giving it my all for those 21 days really turned around my unhealthy habits, and I found myself addicted to the results and inspired to keep going and sign up as a coach to inspire and help others too! My energy is sky high, my skin is clear, I am regaining my confidence, and reveling in all the positivity that I have added to my life through my new connections in the Beachbody community.

Just let me know in the comments below or reach out on Facebook to tell me that you're IN and I'll help get you started!


Thursday, September 17, 2015

21 Day Fix - The Fixate Cookbook

One of the things I love most about the 21 Day Fix is how simple the food is. Clean ingredients, simple methods, delicious and healthy results. But I found myself repeating the same things over and over, and craving something different, which would often result in a cheat.

Enter Autumn's new cookbook, Fixate! It is full of new ideas for every kind of meal, from soups and sides to desserts and cocktails. There are also plenty of gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian and vegan options, and a handy index at the back of the book that groups them. There are beautiful illustrations of the recipes to inspire you, and it is truly a pleasure to flip through and explore. It definitely kicked my meal plans into a new gear, and made it a lot easier to keep it interesting and fresh! I make at least 2 new recipes from it a week, usually more, and have had very few that I didn't fully enjoy.

You can get Fixate either by itself or with a full set of the containers, so you can try out the eating plan without buying the whole program.

One of the great things about the book that makes it so much easier to plan is Autumn has linked up a lot of the recipes to use up leftovers in new ways - for example, her Grandma's Tomato Sauce is used in 10 recipes! Plus she provides variations for a lot of the recipes so you can change it up.

My favorite of the entire book so far is the Creamy Chicken Salad. Simple, I know. Who doesn't know how to make chicken salad? The key, though, is the honey mustard dressing. It's light, tangy and flavorful, and lets the clean flavors of the salad shine through. Going to share that recipe with you today!

Honey Mustard Dressing from Fixate

makes 8 servings, 2 tbsp each (1 orange)
  • 1/2 cup 2% plain Greek yogurt (recommended brand: Fage)
  • 3 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 3 tbsp raw honey
  • 3 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1/4 extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt to taste
Warm the raw honey briefly in the microwave at 50% power to soften, then whisk in the yogurt, mustard and vinegar until well mixed.

Slowly add olive oil, whisking constantly until blended. Season with salt as desired. Then use it to make chicken salad!

There is a recipe for the chicken salad in the book as well, but I basically just toss a little bit of the dressing with chopped cooked chicken, sliced grapes, diced Granny Smith apples, and chopped scallions. I make a good-sized batch on Sundays and it keeps nicely in the fridge all week, and is quick to portion out for my daily lunch prep.

More Fixate reviews to come! Other recipes from the book I have tried and loved:
  • Grandma's Tomato Sauce - this seems to be the universal favorite
  • Protein Waffles
  • Vegetable Egg Cups
  • Toasted Kale Salad
  • Caprese Chicken
  • Italian Meatballs
  • Open Meatball Sub
  • Pumpkin Pie Energy Bites
  • Chunky Monkey Ice Cream
  • Skinny Pina Colada
What recipes do you love from Fixate? Share in the comments so I know what to try next!

Also check out this great post on the Team Beachbody blog - even more delicious pictures of successes from the cookbook!
9 Reasons Fixate Will Help You Cook Like a Pro

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

21 Day Fix Meal Prepping Tips

OK, so you've done your meal planning. Now you have to actually make it happen! I have found that prepping is a great way to keep me motivated to stick to the plan. If the food's ready to go, it becomes the easy option.

Now, I'm not saying you should become one of those people who lines up an entire week's worth of meals with military precision...if this works for you, fantastic. But for me, not so much. I don't mind some repetition, but I do like to vary it up so I don't want 7 days of the same thing. (except Shakeology. Every day. Always.) And I don't mind devoting a little time each evening to the task - in fact, I've started to enjoy it!

Weekly Prep

On the weekends, we shop and spend some time on prep to get us on the right track for the upcoming week. One thing that always involves is cooking a lot of chicken. We cook it, chop it up and use for lunches all week - Hubs favors green salads, and lately I'm a big fan of the Creamy Chicken Salad from the Fixate cookbook so I've been making big batches of that. Also works well to have on hand as a quick protein for dinners and snacks.

Other prep tasks that I do every week:

  • Make a pitcher of cold brew coffee
  • Make a bottle of 21 Day Fix salad dressing
  • Pull out proteins to defrost
  • Wash produce

If I have time, I'll do a big batch of something like Grandma's Tomato Sauce from the Fixate cookbook that I can use in meals all week.

Daily Prep

Every evening before bed, I pull out my meal plan for the next day and take 10-15 minutes to get my lunch and snacks ready to take to work. My containers make it easy to portion and pack.

  • Chop veggies/salad
  • Wash/slice fruit
  • Portion out leftovers

I started out doing it in the morning but I always felt rushed and frazzled. Now all I have do is blend up my Shakeology, which only takes about 5 minutes, pop the containers in my cooler bag, and head out! Mornings went from stressful to easy breezy.

As far as dinners go, I usually prep as I go or take shortcuts at the store. I keep it easy on weekdays - often we just toss meat on the grill and a pan of veggies in the oven to roast. I also always plan at least one night of leftovers. Can't beat a nuke it night when you've had a long day.

Ultimately, the most important thing is to make sure you make sure you plan ahead and shop so you've got what you need on hand to stick to it




Saturday, August 15, 2015

21 Day Fix Meal Planning Tips

Today I want to talk meal planning for the 21 Day Fix. I think that this is one of the hardest areas of the program - and one of the most necessary. Planning really makes it possible, as the containers can be a tricky balance. It's not easy, especially at first, to figure out how to divide it all up. But as I got used to the routine, it became easier, and I've got some tips to help you out!


* Find a meal plan template that works for your style. I am a computer geek, so I made a spreadsheet. There are some great printables out there if you're more the handwriting type - Pinterest is full of them!

* Start by filling out your meal plan with anything you repeat regularly, like Shakeology for breakfast.

* Go for the dinners next - this is likely the area you will want to have the most variety, especially if you eat with others, so this will make sure you account for those containers right away.

* Plan some dinners that have leftovers and work those into the lunches - I like to vary my weekday lunches between leftover meals to reheat and green salads with chicken or other leftover proteins.

* After that, look at the containers you have left and fill in the remaining as your snacks or breakfast.

It made my life a lot easier to have a fair amount of repetition in the breakfast and snacks after all that other meal planning effort. My go-to's are Shakeology, fresh fruit/raw veggies, Boar's Head low sodium deli turkey, and peanut butter with crackers or a slice of bread. Anything portable and easy to prep/pack for work!

If you want some ideas for recipes, check out my recent blog posts for some that I've come up with - the Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Zucchini is especially popular! Pinterest is also a fantastic resource for some 21 Day Fix food inspiration, and of course Autumn's new Fixate cookbook is full of great 21 day fix approved recipes!

What have you found that works for you?



Sunday, August 9, 2015

Join Me & Thousands Doing the Labor Day Fix!

Are you ready for a jump start to a healthy, fit lifestyle to round out your summer? Well, so are thousands of others! I'd love to see you join me for Labor Day Fix, which is going to be a truly epic round of the 21 Day Fix with guidance and motivation from Autumn Calabrese herself! It officially starts August 17th, prep starts this week.

I've been participating in the Facebook group and it's full of people on the same journey I am, giving encouragement, asking questions, sharing experiences. Autumn's going to be handing out lots of prizes, and if anyone is interested in joining me I'll do a separate private group with my own help and prizes! Just comment below or get in touch at jennifl@beachbodycoach.com.

Why do I find this program so great? It's the whole package! It tackles portion control, salt & sugar, proper balance of food groups, all in a simple container system. No calorie counting! Then it adds workouts that not only easily fit into your day at a mere 30 minutes, they are highly effective and easily adaptable to a wide variety of fitness levels.

I have seen all sizes and ages doing this program and they all love it. One thing that really stands out is people's comments that they have tried other programs and they were just too hard/caused injury, but not this one. It's 7 workouts, balanced between weights, cardio and stretch. And minimal equipment - all you really need is a resistance band and mat, although I use dumbbells instead of the band. They are set up as rounds of short bursts with short rests, and it goes quickly. The yoga workout is also among the best I've found on DVD, perfect mix of flow and static poses.

I've personally had many positive changes with the 21 Day Fix Challenge - check out my round 2 results! And that doesn't even scratch the surface on the improvements I've experienced. I really would love to be your coach and help you change your game.

You still have time to start with us on the 17th! Order your 21 Day Fix Challenge Pack today - amazing deal, you get the program for just $10 when you try Shakeology, which is a great way to round out your nutrition and help with carb and sweet cravings. Even if it's not here on time, you get immediate free access to Beachbody on Demand for 30 days, where the whole program will be available - eating plan PDFs and all the workouts to stream. And I will be here for you to help plan and answer any questions. No excuses!! Who's with me?



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