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The Power of Protein Shakes

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Protein Shakes.

I had a few people tell me that didn’t like oatmeal (neither did I until I tried Steel Cut Oats instead of the ones that come in a pouch.) So I suggested protein shakes and surprisingly, I got a lot of:

  • How do you make protein shakes?
  • I don’t know what to put in them
  • What if I can’t drink regular milk?
  • Where do I get the fruit from?

Um, okay. So, let’s start from the beginning. Protein shakes are a great way to get a ton of nutrients in you pre & post workouts, for meal replacements, and when you don’t feel like cooking and cleaning up a mess from a big, elaborate meal! The best part about them: you can put ANYTHING in them. Any…thing.

What you need:
A Blender
blener
-Ha Ha! That’s it!

You don’t need a Nutri Bullet, Nutri Ninja, a Juicer, VitaMix, or any other expensive machine. Where would you store it anyway? Don’t you have enough gadgets? Isn’t cabinet space in the kitchen limited enough?

I’m going to make the ingredients interesting, delicious, and fun. We’re going to pretend we’re at a Chinese restaurant and you’re going to to choose 1 item from each column. Or 2. Or 3. Because it’s all up to you!

Liquid: I usually use regular milk, but you can use:

  • Soy milk, Coconut milk, Almond milk, Water, Coconut water, Coconut milk, or any Juice. (the calories and carbs pile up pretty quickly with juice though, so I’d go for water instead.) Also regular milk has more protein than all the other milks.

Protein: I use 100% Whey Protein powder (no carbs or fat) but you can also try:

  • Greek yogurt (plain or vanilla). Almond, Cashew or Peanut butter. I’ve even heard people using Silken Tofu, Tahini, and Cottage cheese.

Fruit: Anything goes with this one. Honestly.

  • Everything from berries, papaya, bananas, mangoes, melons, pineapple, to peaches, pears, apples, kiwi, dragon fruit…I can go on & on. Try one you love that I haven’t mentioned and let me know how it tastes!

Veggies: I know what you’re thinking. Ew! But there’s so much sweet fruit added you don’t even taste them!

  • Spinach, Kale, Carrots, Cucumber, and Zucchini.

Healthy Fats: Fat is not bad. It will keep you full longer. Just choose healthy fats.

  • Avocado, Nut-butters, Chia seeds, Hemp seeds, Ground Flaxseed.

Make it Spicy: Any of your favorite spices can be added. What do you love?

  • Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Mint leaf or Mint extract, Ginger, Allspice, Cardamon, Vanilla or Almond Extract.

bllendder
I know what your next question is: “But Christine!  How do I know what combinations work well together?” You don’t actually. Hee hee. But it’s fun to try new combinations. Remember the strongest flavors will come out on top. Don’t add a TBSP of nutmeg unless you want a mouthful of it. And, bananas or peanut butter will always override the taste of things with less flavor like flaxseed or spinach. But, of course, I will give you some great combos here!

 

My favorite one reminds me of a tropical getaway, so I’ll call it:

Christine’s Island Getaway
pineapple

  1. 8oz Coconut milk
  2. 1/2 cup Pineapple – frozen
  3. 1/2 cup Mangoes – frozen
  4. 1 scoop Whey protein powder
  5. Dollop of Vanilla Greek yogurt
  6. 1/2 TBSP of Flaxseed
  7. Sprinkle unsweetened Coconut on top if desired

 

Another is full of berries so I’ll call it:

Berry Blast Off
strawberry

  1. 8oz Milk (of your choice)
  2. Blueberries, Raspberries, Strawberries – frozen
  3. 1 scoop Whey Protein Powder
  4. Dollop of Vanilla Greek Yogurt
  5. 1/2 TBSP of Chia Seeds

 

Elvis Would love this one so…

Peanut Butter & Banana Burnin’ Love
elvis

  1. 8oz Milk (of your choice)
  2. 1 Frozen Banana
  3. TBSP Peanut butter
  4. 1 scoop Whey Protein Powder
  5. 1/2 TBSP of Flaxseed

 

How ’bout going green?

Kermit the Frog Green Smoothie
greeen

  1. 8oz Almond milk
  2. Handful of Spinach
  3. 1 Frozen Banana
  4. 2 Pitted Dates
  5. 1/2 TBSP Chia seeds
  6. TBSP Almond Butter

 

Saw this one online:

Carrot Cake Protein Shake:

cake

  1. 8oz Carrot Juice (you can also make your own!)
  2. 1 scoop Vanilla Protein Powder
  3. 1/4 tsp Ground Ginger
  4. 1/2 tsp Cinnamon

 

Need Coffee in the mornin’ to get you started?

Coffee Protein Shake
cofffe

  1. 1/2 cup Almond Milk
  2. ½ cup (chilled overnight) Brewed Coffee
  3. 1 scoop Vanilla Protein Powder
  4. 1 Frozen Banana
  5. Drop of Almond or Hazelnut Extract if desired

 

Okay, so there’s a few to get you started. Which ones were your favorite?
I love hearing from you!

Want more. Here’s a website with 13 Quick & Easy Protein Shakes.  My favorite is #5!

 

CHRISTINE ARDIGO – Author of Cheating to SurviveEvery Five Years & The Bridges Before Us

The greatest compliment you can give me is when you share this with others.
I sincerely appreciate it:

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Yummy & Nutritious BBQ Ideas

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BBQ tips

Barbeques!

When most people think of BBQ’s, the first thought that comes to mind is fatty meats, greasy appetizers, sugary desserts and calorie-loaded drinks. How are you supposed to stick to your diet when you’re hosting one? Or attending one? But there are many delicious, healthy alternatives that will leave you and your guests full, yet feeling satisfied. For your next BBQ cook up some of these delicious meals, or bring some to your next BBQ. Inspire others to cook & eat healthy, too.

I always tell people to pick their poison. If you can only eat your Aunt Bertha’s delicious potato salad once a year at the family BBQ, eat it. But, don’t choose things that you can get all the time, like chips, store bought macaroni salad, the typical hot dog, etc. Also, eat a little before you go. I hate arriving at someone’s home starving, and there’s no food to be found for the first hour except a bowl of cheese doodles. Right? Eat a small, healthy snack before you go and then choose your menu items carefully.

Instead of the usual burgers, hot dogs, sausages, and the classic potato and macaroni salads, why not come up with some new ideas?

  • Grill chicken breasts or thighs.
  • You can try turkey fillets, and all kinds of fish like salmon, swordfish, and shrimp.
  • Start a new trend. Buy a few bison or turkey burgers or turkey tenderloins. Cook them up and then cut into pieces and serve with toothpicks for your guests to sample—they might have it at their next BBQ.

Kabobs! final kabob

Kabobs are easy and you can be as creative as you like. Anything goes. Look in your fridge and see what you have lying around:

  • Meat: Chicken, steak, salmon, swordfish, shrimp, even Tofu!
  • Veggies: Cherry tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, onions, button mushrooms.
  • Fruit: Pineapple, peaches, nectarines, apples.

Speaking of Veggies…final veggies

You can throw them directly on the grill. Just spray the grill with extra virgin olive oil cooking spray.

  • Ever try roasted Cauliflower or grilled asparagus?
  • Roast corn on the cob, whole portobello mushrooms, and even eggplant.
  • Cut a vidalia onion in half and cook face down.
  • Slice sweet potatoes in half and do the same.

Speaking of Fruits…final fruit

Want a great, delicious, nutritious, low-cal dessert? How do these look? Grill fruit kabobs on the grill as well.

  • You can even grill whole pineapple slices or bananas in their skins on the BBQ.
  • Make a mixed rainbow-colored fruit salad for dessert with: strawberries, mandarin oranges, mangoes, green grapes and blueberries.
  • Make angel food cake with fresh berries and whipped cream.angel2

Need an idea for a side dish to make or bring to a BBQ?final side dishes

Make fresh spinach salads, 3 bean salads, or a Quinoa salad. Quinoa looks like couscous but is high in protein and fiber. Simply cook as you would for rice. Add a can of rinsed black beans, cherry tomatoes and chopped scallions. Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil, lime juice and cilantro and voila!

Here’s my favorite Quinoa recipe: Quinoa Salad with Apples, Walnuts, Dried Cranberries, and Gouda:  http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/quinoa-salad-apples-walnuts-dried-cranberries-gouda.aspx

The trick is a lot of food, not a lot of calories! Remember, the real reason you’re there is to enjoy the company and catch up with family and friends. Not to stuff yourself with thousands of unhealthy calories. Then I’ll have to hear it the next day with: “What do you think about this new Detox Cleanse I heard about.” Ugh. If you ate healthy people, you wouldn’t need to cleanse! (Hee hee)

 

Want more great BBQ Tips? Check out this FREE Webinar by Guiding Stars – “Healthy Grilling

So, what do you think? What will you try at your next BBQ? What was your favorite idea on here? Any others to add?

I love hearing from you!

CHRISTINE ARDIGO – Author of Cheating to SurviveEvery Five Years & The Bridges Before Us

The greatest compliment you can give me is when you share this with others.
I sincerely appreciate it:

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Give New Energy to Your Weight Loss Plan with Chobani!

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Chobani Yogurt + Meal Planning + Exercise = Healthy Weight Loss!

As you all know by now, I love Greek Yogurt and recommend it all the time for weight loss, healthier eating, pre & post workout snacks, breakfast options, and as a topping or a condiment replacement. You can use it for just about anything at every meal and snack. The best part: it tastes great and packs a high-protein punch! For those of you that eat it regularly but aren’t sure why it’s so fantastic, or for those that have never tried it, here’s a quick list of some of it’s benefits:

Healthy Benefits of Greek Yogurt

  • Protein! My favorite. Protein is so important in helping you feel full and satisfied after a meal so you don’t grab unhealthy snacks later on. Protein helps build those sexy muscles, too. Regular yogurt contains only 8gms of protein. Greek yogurt has between 10-20gms of protein! As much as 2-3 eggs.
  • Probiotics! Not only does it ensure proper digestion and absorption of the nutrients you’re eating, but it acts as a ‘warrior’ protecting your intestines from bad bacteria that can cause illness and diseases, such as cancer, lactose intolerance and allergic reactions.
  • Calcium! As we age, we tend to drink less milk and therefore, take in less calcium which is important for our bones. Osteoporosis=Bad. Calcium and strength training/weight lifting, will ensure your bones absorb plenty of calcium.
  • High Blood Pressure! Dairy is an important element in the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension). Wouldn’t you rather eat delicious yogurt then take another pill?

vegan-greek-yogurt1

“What a great way to start the morning. Create your own combinations. Add berries, nuts, mangoes, flaxseed!”

Delicious Greek Yogurt Ideas & Recipes

  1. Substitute Plain, Fat-free Greek Yogurt for sour cream in tacos
  2. Use as a dip for veggies or fruit. For fruit: mix in a blender with dried cranberries. For veggies: blend in cucumber and dill, or see dip recipe below.
  3. Drizzle in a little honey, cinnamon, and walnuts for a true Greek dessert.
  4. Make a baked sweet potato even healthier with Plain Greek Yogurt dolloped on top
  5. Roll a banana in yogurt, then in healthy, crunchy cereal. Cut into bite sized pieces. You can freeze it, too!
  6. Dip Strawberries or Apples into Vanilla Greek Yogurt.
  7. Smear a whole grain waffle or pancakes with yogurt, then top with your favorite fruit like diced peaches.
  8. Add to your protein shake in addition to milk. See recipe below.
  9. Add fruit to Greek Yogurt to make it even healthier.  Try mangoes, blueberries, or raspberries.
  10. Use Plain Greek Yogurt in place of mayo on your sandwiches, or in tuna/chicken salad.
  11. “Stuff” French toast slices with Greek Yogurt and strawberries.
  12. Make your own Greek Tzatziki sauce for gyros and chicken souvlaki: http://thehealthyfoodie.com/tzatziki-sauce/

Craving something sweet and unhealthy like doughnuts, cookies, or chocolate? Chobani has a great new line called Chobani Simply 100 Crunch. Why not grab a 100 calorie Greek Yogurt with some crunchy sweetness instead? In addition to the 10gms of protein, it is extremely low in fat, cholesterol, sodium, and only has one carb per serving. You can’t find that in doughnuts. It adds fruit and just a dash of sweetness from yummy things like chocolate, cookies, or waffle pieces. Remember, it’s all about moderation!  You CAN have it all. Healthy food, that tastes great, and some sweets. I tried the Strawberry Chocolate Truffle and it tasted just like a chocolate covered strawberry! A much healthier dessert.

crunch-products

Here’s a great dip. My kids love helping me make this. Like Hummus? Like Edamame? Try:

Edamummus!
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1 1/2 cups cooked, shelled Edamame cooled
2 TBSP fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 medium cloves fresh garlic chopped
1 TBSP fresh flat leaf parsley chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
3 TBSP fat free Plain Greek yogurt
In a food processor combine Edamame, lemon juice, garlic, parsley and salt. Process til mixture is paste like and Edamame is finely chopped. Drizzle olive oil and blend until well mixed. Add yogurt and mix. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 3 days. Makes 2 1/2 cups.

Tropical Protein Shake

½ cup frozen Mangoes, diced
½ cup frozen Pineapple, diced
8oz Coconut milk
4oz Plain Greek Yogurt
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
Mix all in a blender, pour and serve.
While you’re at it, make extra and pour into popsicle molds and have a frozen, high protein treat!
DSC_0027

Of course, exercise also plays an important role in keeping your weight under control. While you’re crunching on Chobani Simply 100 Crunch, here’s a cool way to “crunch the numbers” and burn 100 calories by keeping active and having fun. Which is your favorite way to burn calories?
chobani_100cal_12version

Want more Greek Yogurt snack ideas? Want a free coupon to buy Chobani? Visit their Simply 100 website:

http://www.thelightthatsright.com/

Follow the party on Twitter too! #Simply100

So what do you think? Do you eat Greek Yogurt? What’s your favorite way to eat it? Any special recipes?

I love hearing from you!

 

CHRISTINE ARDIGO – Author of Cheating to SurviveEvery Five Years & The Bridges Before Us

The greatest compliment you can give me is when you share this with others.
I sincerely appreciate it:

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