EAT PASTA FOR EVERY MEAL!

What? YES! You read correctly. Eat. Pasta. For. Every. Meal. 

You probably have many questions right now like,

“What?” 

“Do you mean this?”

“How can I do this?”

Oh, and I know, I am sure this question is eating at you…” but what about all of the carbs?”

Stop worrying about it, I have an answer for you! 

One word: ZOODLES. 

What are they?

Zoodles are the new rave. This low carb food is the answer for all of the pasta lovers out there wanting to cut back on the carbohydrates. What is a zoodle? Zucchini noodles!Zoodles are the perfect substitute pasta. If you don’t have a vegetable spiral it is time you invest in one! Don’t worry, you are not limited to just using this appliance on zucchini. A spiral works great with sweet potatoes, cucumbers, carrots, beets, but if you are looking for a substitute to for pasta, zoodles are what you are looking for. The process is quite simple. There are many different types of spirals, I have one from Target that works great. The nicer ones are more expensive of course, but a ten-dollar spiral does the job just fine for me! 

Once you have your spiral your dinner options are limitless. Think of any of your favorite pasta dishes…spaghetti, fettuccini, pesto…. quit depriving yourself from your favorite dishes! Just substitute in zoodles. 

TRY SOME TODAY!

If you are nervous about trying this out and investing in a spiral before you even know if you will like it…we have you covered! 

Come in and try our Zucchini Delight (pictured below). 

Is your mouth watering yet? This meal is so simple yet so tasty. Ingredients are minimal-zucchini, ground beef, tomatoes, shredded cheese, sour cream, paprika, and ground pepper. I am not lying when I say zoodles are a great low carb option…this meal contains 8 grams of carbohydrates, 9 grams of protein, and only a total of 271 calories. Now that is efficient eating! 

Come in and try it for yourself!

Once you love it, invest in a vegetable spiral for yourself. It is another kitchen appliance game changer.

Thanks for reading! 

EAT MORE NUTS!


I don’t know about you, but peanut butter has always been my go to when it comes to nuts. The thing is if I am being politically correct, peanuts are actually not classified as a nut, but as a legume. Along with beans and peas, peanuts are grown underground while nuts such as almonds, walnuts and pecans are grown on a tree. Even though peanuts are not technically a nut, they are still great for you so keep eating them! Peanuts (beans and peas too) have the most concentrated amount of protein in the plant kingdom so don’t stop enjoying your PB&J!

Even though peanuts do not belong to the nut category, classified nuts such as almonds and walnuts have so many benefits and are great to incorporate into your regular diet. It is pretty well known that nuts are an excellent source of protein, but here is a guide to help you to tap into the many benefits of the most popular nuts you can find in most grocery stores! 

 

ALMONDS

Whether you like to eat your almonds in the form of milk, butter, raw or flavored (Try Blue Diamonds Wasabi Almonds, SO GOOD!), you are doing your body a great favor by snacking on this nut. One ounce of almonds contains 3.5 grams of fiber, 6 grams of protein, and a high amount of Magnesium (20% of the recommended daily amount). Almonds also contain many antioxidants and are among the world’s best source of vitamin E. SERIOSULY!! One ounce contains 37% of the recommended daily intake. Almonds also assist with blood sugar control and the magnesium found in almonds helps to lower cholesterol levels. 

Yeah, I know it…that’s a lot of information on almonds.

If you aren’t convinced yet, almonds also reduce your hunger, lowering your overall calorie intake.

Bottom line? EAT. MORE. ALMONDS. 

 

CASHEWS

Honestly, cashews are probably my favorite nut. Cashews have this sweet, buttery taste…they are DELICIOUS, especially when seasoned with a little bit of salt! Cashews are one of the lowest nuts in fiber, but they are packed with nutrients. They are high in Vitamins E, K, and B6 and are naturally cholesterol free. Cashews can help to reduce blood pressure, and like carrots they are excellent for your eyes, protecting against cataracts. 

 

WALNUTS

Sometimes the simplest foods are the best for your health, and this holds true for walnuts.  Simply eating one fourth of a cup of walnuts provides more than 100 percent of the daily recommendation for omega-3 fats plus high amounts of copper and manganese. Studies have also shown that walnuts help to reduce the risk of prostate cancer, and breast cancer as well.  Adding healthy amounts of walnuts can also help with weight control. Walnuts even improve sperm quality, and offer support for brain health along with type 2 diabetes. 

So basically, EAT MORE (WAL)NUTS! 

 

PECANS

I once heard the quote, “pop a pecan, not a pill.” PECANS ARE GREAT! Pecans contain more than 19 vitamins and minerals including calcium, potassium, and zinc. Pecans are also great in age defying antioxidants. THAT IS NOT ALL, pecans also help to lower “bad” cholesterol. 

I don’t know about you, but I have a new appreciation for pecan pie on Thanksgiving…

 

PISTACHIOS

Just like almonds, one ounce of pistachios contains 6 grams of protein. Pistachios are high in Vitamins A and E, and contain Vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 tends to be a vitamin difficult for us to get enough of, so go ahead and ENJOY SOME PISTACHIOS! You will be doing your body a great favor. 

 

BRAZIL NUTS

When you buy your typical container of mixed nuts, Brazil nuts are those larger, smooth ones, and there’s typically only a few of them in the container. I always used to avoid them and pick around this nut until I found out this: Brazil nuts are the number one food source of selenium (selenium helps to fight inflammation and actually boosts your mood). Seriously, this nut is a happy pill. Brazil nuts help to lift your mood and help to prevent depression! Brazil nuts also make the list for cancer fighting foods. 

SIMPLY EAT ONE A DAY! THAT IS ALL YOU NEED!

 

HAZELNUTS

If you enjoy coffee, you probably know the great smell of hazelnuts. They taste pretty darn good too.  One of the greatest benefit of hazelnuts is its neuroprotective qualities. Hazelnuts are excellent brain food! In addition, hazelnuts are also loaded with vitamins and nutrients your body needs and craves. Eat 4 or 5 of these nuts every now and then…it only takes a few to reap the health benefits of hazelnuts. 

So there you have it…although this is only a handful (pun intended) of some of the greatest nuts out there, I encourage you to give them a try. Try incorporating nuts into your regular diet and let your body enjoy all of the amazing benefits! 

 

IMPORTANT 

When it comes to nuts, eating proportionally is extremely important. I get it, it is so easy to slam a few handfuls of nuts. I just advise you to be careful about this. Nuts are truly an excellent source of natural fat, but pay attention to the labels and recommended servings so you don’t overdo it. 

Lastly, these make a GREAT low carb, nighttime snack!

ENJOY SOME NUTS!

EAT MORE FAT! AVOCADOS


Are you one of those people who is obsessed with reading labels? When you are at a grocery or convenience store do you check each and every label? Or are you someone who could really care less and you don’t give food labels the time of day? No matter which side of the spectrum you are on, it is important to know that the best foods for you do not have labels. The best foods are wholesome and loaded with nutrients. You don’t have to check if real foods are good for you, just eat them! 

But if you are a label reader, I bet there is a good chance you are constantly checking the fat content of foods… Well, reality check: You do not have to avoid fat like the plague, simply just eat the right kinds of fats. 

THE GOOD FATS! Fat is a nutrient that is crucial for your overall health. What is considered to be a “good fat?” So many foods are good fats! Fish, oils, eggs, flaxseed, peanut butter, and other nuts are all great sources of “good fats”. You really can’t go wrong eating any of those in moderation… but here’s a little about one of my personal favorite fatty foods, AVOCADO.

AVOCADO is a monounsaturated fat, a fat that is known to improve blood cholesterol levels which reduce your risk of heart disease. 

Eating avocado (IN MODERATION*) is indeed a great way to improve your cholesterol, but the benefits go far beyond JUST lowering your cholesterol! 

 

10 REASONS TO EAT MORE AVOCADOS: 

  1. NUTRIENTS: Avocados are loaded with nutrients your body craves: Vitamin K, Folate, Potassium, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Vitamin E AND MORE!

  1. FIGHT FOOD: Avocados are fighters. Eating avocado helps to fight inflammation. Inflammation in the body is connected to most of today’s modern diseases such as asthma, allergies, cancer, arthritis, and heart disease. Eating avocado can only help you, especially when it comes to the longevity of your health!

  1. ABSORBER: Well that is great…avocados are loaded with vitamins and nutrients. Awesome right?! Well…it doesn’t matter how much nutrients we are getting if our bodies are not absorbing the god stuff! Adding avocado to your meals can help to absorb all the nutrients your body is craving! 

  1. SHINE:  Avocado gives you that glow! A complete bonus of eating avocado is that it helps your hair and skin. Eating avocados is a great way to fight aging! 

  1. EYES TOO!: By now most of us know carrots have quite the reputation of helping out our eyesight, but go ahead and add avocados to that category too! 

  1. BONE STRENGTH: Every little bit helps, right?! Avocados can’t do it alone, but they definitely contribute to building and retaining stronger bones. Avocados contain bone-healthy nutrients such as Vitamin K, Copper, and Folate. 

  1. DIGESTION– Fiber. You have probably heard all about the importance of getting plenty of fiber in your diet in order to keep your digestion system moving smoothly. One avocado actually contains 54% of your recommended daily fiber intake! Most Americans are not getting enough fiber even though most fruits and veggies are loaded with it. Eat more avocados to keep everything in check!

  1. IMMUNE BOOSTER: Eating avocados helps you to fight illness and infection! As mentioned, avocados are a great source of Vitamin B which specifically fights illness and infection, along with Vitamins C and E which are both natural immunity boosters.

  1. ENERGY: Eating avocados can help to give you the pep in your step you have been missing. The healthy fat provides you with a slow but steady stream of energy so you can kill it all throughout your day! Fat is the most concentrated source of energy for your body! 

  1. THE TASTE!: Yeah, there’s so many benefits to eating avocados, but don’t forget how great they taste and how versatile they are! Add avocados to anything and everything!

 

GREAT WAYS TO EAT AVOCADOS

Whether you choose to slice them, cube them, scoop them, or smash them, there are many ways to enjoy avocados. Here are a few of the trendiest ways! Recipes are easy to find online:

  • GUACAMOLE 

  • Avocado Toast

  • Avocado Dark Chocolate Truffles

  • Avocado Pesto Sauce

  • Avocado Hummus

  • Avocado Mango Smoothie

  • Avocado Ranch

  • Fried Avocado 

+ Add avocado to anything and everything! Avocado goes great on top of salads, with your burger, add some to your smoothie, or simply eat them plain! 

 

GUACAMOLE RECIPE

Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe Avocados

  • ½ cup medium Tomato (diced)

  • ¼  cup red onion (minced) 

  • ¼ cup Cilantro (finely chopped)

  • 1 tbsp lime juice 

  • 2 tsp Sea Salt

  • 1 tsp Black Pepper

Instructions:

Easy! In a big bowl, add the peeled avocados and all of the ingredients and simply use a fork to mash and stir! I like mine really chunky so I try to not overdo the mashing. ENJOY! 

Add the guacamole to your burgers, scoop with tortilla chips, or throw it on some tacos. Heck, eat it plain. SO GOOD!

Thank you for reading!

 Enjoy!

COOKING GAME CHANGER


Oh, you are too busy to cook? Yeah, we have all been there. 

Maybe it is work

Maybe it is school and studying

Maybe it is raising a family

Or maybe it is even all of the above…

Whatever it is, it does not matter…it is all an excuse standing between you honing in on living a healthier lifestyle and encouraging the people in your life to live healthier lives as well. 

I get it, we all wish there were more hours in the day…a few more hours to take care of ourselves and cook a meal rather than running through the drive thru lane on your way home from a long day. Take a minute and think of how much money you waste by not preparing meals for the day or a week. I guarantee there are people reading this who go through the drive thru three times a day on a regular basis. It is fine; we have all been there…do not beat yourself up about it too much because yet here we are again, beginning a new year. Maybe you did not make the changes you hoped to make back when we started 2017, and I am sure you have great excuses for why you did not follow through. 

But let’s cut to the chase. The time to start is now. Today, right now, in this very moment. Make the decision to do something different and make yourself a better person. Live the healthier lifestyle and empower the people in your life to believe they can do it too.

It is January, and I am going to offer you many practical ways to transition into a better, healthier life throughout the next few months…but let’s first start simple…start with investing in a slow cooker, or using the slow cooker that just sits in your pantry or closet collecting dust all year long. 

 

A good slow cooker (Crockpot) costs anywhere between 25 to 50 dollars, and you can literally run out to the store and pick one up at Walmart, Target, or Kohl’s, really wherever. 

A slow cooker simply makes cooking easier. It saves you time AND money. You can literally throw a bunch of ingredients into the pot in the morning before heading to work, turn the dial on low, and come home eight hours later to a meal ready to enjoy. IT IS SO SIMPLE. Whether you are cooking for your family or meal prepping for the week for yourself, utilizing your crockpot is definitely a game changer. If you need a meal done in two hours and you have to do laundry, clean, workout, or whatever is on your to do list, simply put all of the ingredients into the crockpot and turn it on high, and you will have a meal ready in less than two hours. 

Utilizing a slow cooker is an easy way to get you on the right track to making better food decisions…it is little time, little effort, and so much cheaper than continually paying for your poor quality drive thru food. 

START NOW! Stay tuned for great slow cooker recipes to come soon! 

RECIPE ALERT: IT IS ALWAYS CHILI SEASON!


Hopefully by now you have read all about the Cooking Game Changer, and you have your crockpot and you are ready to rock out some awesome recipes with minimal time! Following are three delicious recipes, perfect for these winter months. Everyone loves a good bowl of chili, and these recipes are not your ordinary chili. It is always good to switch things up. Give them a try and enjoy all of the time and money you are saving!

 

CHICKEN QUINOA CHILI:

This is a must try! Loaded with protein, this recipe will leave you satisfied! I highly suggest putting avocado slices on top. It is the perfect topping for this delicious bowl of goodness! Add cheese on top too if you desire! 

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz cooked chicken

  • ¼ cup uncooked quinoa

  • 1 can black beans

  • 3 small/medium sweet potatoes (cubed)

  • ½ cup chopped tomatoes

  • 3 cups kale

  • 1 tbsp chili powder

  • 1 tbsp cayenne pepper

  • 1 tbsp sea salt

  • 1 tbsp black pepper

  • 3 cups water

  • avocado for garnishing

Instructions:

  1. Cook the quinoa in a pan and fill with 1 cup of water. Cook the quinoa for about 10 to 1 minutes, or until the water is absorbed.

  2. Chop all of the veggies in to as small or as big of pieces as you desire! 

  3. Drain the black beans using a strainer.

  4. Slice chicken (raw) and place in the bottom of the crockpot 

  5. Add all of the veggies, sweet potatoes, black beans, chicken, spices, and quinoa into a crockpot, ADD 3 CUPS OF WATER, and cook on high for 1.5 to 2 hours.

  6. Garnish with avocado and ENJOY!

 

TURKEY TACO CHILI

Who doesn’t love tacos?! This crockpot chili recipe is a game changer for taco lovers. Try the final product on a bed of lettuce, or if you are wanting traditional tacos then stuff this delicious meal into a shell or tortilla! 

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground turkey

  • 1 can black beans

  • 1 can kidney beans

  • 1 can corn

  • ¼ cup chopped onion

  • 1 cup diced tomatoes

  • 1 package taco season

  • 1 head romaine lettuce 

  • 1 cup water

Toppings (optional):

  • shredded cheddar cheese

  • sliced avocado

  • sour cream

  • salsa

Instructions:

  1. Place ground turkey (raw) in crockpot and use a spatula to break it up

  2. Add corn, beans, tomatoes, onions, seasoning, and water

  3. Stir well!

  4. Cook and cover on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 3 or 4 hours

  5. Serve meal on a bed of lettuce (or in taco shells!!!)

  6. Top with your desired toppings and enjoy!  

 

PUMPKIN CHILI

Yes, I am well aware it is not “pumpkin season” but this recipe is too great to not enjoy year-round! This chili is a perfect mix of spicy and sweet. Enjoy it on a Sunday or double the recipe and enjoy it all week!  

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 pounds ground beef

  • 1 can pumpkin puree

  • 1 can diced tomatoes

  • 1 can black beans

  • ½ can tomato paste 

  • 1 large chopped yellow onion

  • 1 medium chopped green bell pepper

  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth

  • 3 tbsp minced garlic

  • 2 tbs chili powder

  • 1 tbsp cumin

  • 2 tsp oregano

  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • 1 tsp sea salt

  • ½ tsp black pepper

Instructions:

  1. Place ground beef in crockpot and use a spatula to break it up

  2. Drain black beans using a strainer

  3. Add all of the ingredients to the crockpot and stir well!

  4. Cook and cover on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 3 or 4 hours

  5. Top with your desired toppings (avocado is a great option) and enjoy! 

Enjoy some chili and share these recipes with your friends and family! 

FIGHTING THE CRAVINGS IN THE SEASON OF SWEETS (ENERGY BITES)

With December in full swing, it only means one thing: CHRISTMAS COOKIES. Not only are there Christmas cookies everywhere you go, but along with the cookies comes the STRESS of the holiday season. Next thing you know eating only on cookie has turned into devouring half the platter. Yeah, cookies are so good and Christmas only comes around once a year, but there are also your health and fitness goals you have been working on all year. In the moment it can seem totally worth it to eat a cookie or four, but don’t forget that feeling of waking up the next morning, the feeling of regret. YOU GOT THIS!

Now, by no means am I about to tell you to not have Christmas cookies this holiday season…but if you want an alternative, something to help your cookie cravings, there is another option.

The perfect way to satisfy your sweet tooth and cravings is with energy balls. They taste great (like a dessert) and they are full of nutrients your body needs.

If you have not tried our Muscle Bites, you are missing out! They are made with a few, easy ingredients. Muscle bites have 101 calories each and are made with six simple ingredients: Peanut butter, honey, Quaker oats, isolate protein, mini chocolate chips, and mini M&M’s. They are the perfect bite size and a great solution to all of your sweet cravings this holiday season.

We must say, half of the fun of Christmas cookies is spending time with family or friends baking cookies; so below are two easy energy bite recipes for you to try this Christmas season for a healthy “cookie” substitute. Hope you enjoy!

 

NUTTY CHOCOLATE CHIP BALLS:

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup finely chopped pecans

  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

  • 1/2 cup Quaker oats

  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (or oil of choice)

  • 8 pitted dates

  • 4 tbsp almond butter (or nut butter of choice)

  • 2 tbsp flax seeds

 

PEANUT BUTTER ENERGY BALLS:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter

  • 1/4 cup almond pieces

  • 1/4 cup organic, uncooked oats

  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds

  • 1/2 scoop protein powder (vanilla tastes great!)

  • 1 tbsp flax seeds

  • 1 tbsp chia seeds

  • 1 tbsp raw honey

INSTRUCTIONS:

This is too easy….

  • Put all of the ingredients into a bowl

  • Mix well- Really well!

  • Roll “dough” into one inch balls

  • Place balls in a storage container

  • REFRIGERATE

THEY TASTE SO GOOD CHILLED!

PEANUT BUTTER PROTEIN OVERNIGHT OATS


Peanut Butter Protein Overnight Oats

I am not sure why, but breakfast seems to taste so much better in a jar. Breakfast is by far my favorite meal of the day. I am always looking for fun ways to switch it up because it is so easy to fall into a routine of eating the same thing every morning. This morning’s breakfast of Peanut Butter Protein Oats IN A JAR really hit the spot. I think it tasted even greater because all of the work was done the night before! If you are someone who skips breakfast in the morning because you feel you do not have enough time, then this recipe is for you.

Not only are overnight oats super EASY, but they are also cheap to budget for. All of the ingredients you can get at a reasonable cost. Overnight oats are easy, cheap AND so good for you. Overnight oats are a great way to start your morning out by giving you the macronutrients your body needs. Give Overnight Oats in a Jar a try and I promise you will not be disappointed!

Below is the recipe for my favorite overnight oats:

Peanut Butter Protein Oats:

  • I used a 4 oz mason jar and I was plenty full and satisfied, but any jar will do.

-1 serving of uncooked rolled oats (approx. 1/3 of the jar)

-1 tbsp of all natural peanut butter

-1/2 a scoop of your favorite vanilla Protein Powder

-1 tbsp of flax seeds

-1 tsp of honey

-almond milk (fill jar to the top and secure lid)

Shake the jar after the lid is secured, and then refrigerate the oats overnight.

For extra flavor, add some toppings to the oats in the morning. This morning I chose to slice half of a banana and I sprinkled some chia seeds on top. Any fruit makes for a great topping! Peaches are super good too.

LKCO. ROASTED BROCCOLI RECIPE

CAUTION: You may get addicted to this!

I am a big fan of vegetables cooked on the grill & eat them very frequently in the summer. But to switch it up & to have a delicious vegetable recipe that can be cooked inside when it’s freezing out, I highly recommend trying your broccoli like this. This is how we prepare our roasted broccoli in Lean Kitchen meals.

  1. Preheat oven to 425* F

  2. Cut the broccoli florets from the thick stalks, leaving an inch or two of stalk attached to the florets, discarding the rest of the stalks. Cut the larger pieces through the base of the head with a small knife, pulling the florets apart.

  3. You should have about 8 cups of florets

  4. Place the broccoli florets on a sheet pan large enough to hold them in a single layer. Toss the garlic on the broccoli and drizzle with 5 tbs over olive oil. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper.

  5. Roast for 20-25 minutes, until crisp-tender and the tips of the florets are browned.

  6. Remove the broccoli from the oven and immediately toss with 1 1/2 tbs of olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, and parmesan

  7. Serve hot

I have been enjoying this recipe for the last couple years & everyone I make it for insists on having the recipe. It is very simple & a great fit for prepping meals.

Put foil on the pan to make cleanup easier. I do skip the pine nuts in the recipe. I also use minced garlic in the jar to avoid my hands stinking and having to cut up garlic cloves. I recommend lots of lemon juice at the end; it really brings out the flavor. Leave it in the oven until a majority of the florets are blackening. And lastly, I recommend you make a lot because you and everyone you make it for will be eating a ton.

[Curveball: This same recipe can be done with asparagus and tastes great too!]

Thanks for reading. Hope you enjoy!