Healthy Dinner Recipes: Ready in Less Than 20 Minutes

It’s Thursday night. You’ve had a busy day at work (why do we have to go into the office between Christmas and New Year’s again?) and the last thing on your mind is cooking dinner. It’s almost 7pm, you’re tired, hungry, and surely don’t want to cook.

You’re faced with two options: order take out or whip something healthy up. And the truth is, if you don’t have a plan, you KNOW which option you’re going to choose!

If that situation sounds familiar and you’re anything like me, life is crazy, and that craziness can get in the way of eating, healthy or otherwise.

That’s why I ALWAYS have nutrition contingency plans available when life gets crazy. These contingency plans include crockpot meals, Freshly deliveries, protein shakes, and these four healthy dinner recipes.

To help you build your nutrition contingency plan, here are the four healthy dinner recipes I default to on busy nights. They are super easy and can be throw together in less than twenty minutes (although a couple are crockpot based, so you have to prep early in the day). Each meal includes protein and lots of veggies, with options to add additional carbs based on your individual needs.

Four healthy dinner recipes

If you're in a bind, these four healthy recipes will get dinner on the table in less than 20 minutes! Fast, easy, healthy dinner options.

 

 

Egg white scramble

Not sure if this technically counts as a recipe but I eat it at least once a week.

Toss pre-sliced mushrooms and fresh spinach into a frying pan with salt free seasoning. Cook until the mushrooms are browned and softened. Add egg whites and a whole egg (if you’d like to add some more fat to your meal) and scramble!

egg whites

If you need more protein, add a link of chicken sausage.

If you need more carbs, add some frozen hash browns.

Turkey and butternut chili

Take twenty minutes to prep this recipe before you go to work, and by the time you get home, you have a huge pot of healthy, protein and fiber filled chili.

I decided to make up a new chili recipe. I've made chili (successfully) before but wanted to add a little more nutritional value without also adding additional prep work. Using frozen and pre-chopped veggies, this recipe makes a complete dinner.

Chicken “stir fry”

At least once a week, I make a psuedo-stir fry. All I do is combine pre-chopped veggies and pre-cooked chicken or turkey (either from weekly meal prep or purchased-I like Trader Joe’s “Just Chicken” or their pre-cooked turkey breast) in a pan. Sauté until the veggies are softened.

Before serving, I add some of my favorite TJ’s fat free dressing to give it that soy-ginger flavor.

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Serve with rice, long grain brown or cauliflower.

Turkey burgers

Truthfully, I ALWAYS have turkey meat on hand for nights that require fast, healthy meals. This turkey burger recipe base is ideal to prep on Sunday OR when you have last minute guests coming over. It’s a crowd pleaser, for sure.

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Using these options, you can be sure to get healthy food on board without any extra stress.

If you’re looking for more nutrition guidance, meal plans, and easy recipes for fat loss to help you get back on track after the holidays, New Year, New YOU could be for you. This super effective group personal training and coaching program will teach you how to automate your eating for fat loss. I’d love to give you more information!

What’s your go-to healthy dinner?

My go-to full body workout

You’re all psyched up to workout, lace up your shoes, and walk downstairs to the hotel gym. You know you want to do an awesome full body workout but as soon as you walk through the gym doors, your mind blanks. Without a workout video to follow, you have no idea what to do. You may even default to getting on the treadmill out of convenience.

This situation sounds all too familiar to me! So many times, I’d find myself in the middle of a hotel gym without a clue of what to do. I followed along with real time videos for most of my workouts at home, so without the convenience of a follow along workout, I was pretty lost.

That’s why I came up with this exact full body workout. This circuit is SUPER easy to remember and do in absolutely any hotel gym.

Read More »

How do I build a workout plan?

You walk into the gym, ready to work out. You head over to the weight section, look in the mirror and realize you have no idea what to do, even though you know you’d like to be weight lifting. Sound familiar?

I’ve recently been getting lots of questions from women who are not super comfortable in the free weights section of the gym. Braving all the bros working their biceps leaves them feeling intimidated, not knowing how to approach the weight rack. That’s why I’ve decided to write a series on Mastering the Weight Room.

At the end of the series of blog posts, you’ll be confident in approaching that free weight section with ease.

Previous topics in the Master the Weight Room series include:

-Choosing your weights
-Building your workout routines

This week, I’m tackling the final topic in the series: building your workout plan!

Read More »

Fitness motivation: Sorry, I can’t motivate you

Happy 2017, my friends! Happy New Year! Can you believe it’s 2017?!

To start the year, Andrew and I are living out our fitness, backpacking through Patagonia. Right about now, we are on our way to El Chalten for our first night camping, near the Laguna de Los Tres. I can’t wait to show off all of our hiking pictures when we get back! Just in case we get some wifi access, be sure to follow me on Instagram! I’ll be posting when I can!

laguna-de-los-tres

For most of us, with a new year comes new fitness goals.  I’m no different!

A few of my goals?

  • Run a half marathon (trail or road…still TBD)
  • Finish a sprint triathlon with Andrew
  • Complete 10 uninterrupted chin ups

Whether it’s losing ten pounds, getting stronger, or attempting an audacious new fitness challenge, we hit the ground running on January 1st, inspired to make a change. Fitness motivation and enthusiasm are high as we start the year. But what happens when February rolls around and your determination begins to fade?

Here’s how to make sure your motivation lasts all the way into 2018.

Do you struggle with fitness motivation to workout? Sorry, I can't motivate you. This is why (and what to do instead).

When I started researching motivation and how to inspire folks to exercise consistently, I planned to write a post that would serve to motivate everyone to stick to their New Year’s Resolutions. I hoped I’d find some tools and tricks to give you that would help you reach all your goals. Instead, I found the opposite.

As much as I would love to help provide pearls of fitness motivation wisdom, the truth is, that isn’t going to work.

Sorry, I can’t motivate you to make a lasting change.

As I delved into a review of the research [source], the data was resoundingly conclusive: internal fitness motivation is what keeps people consistent in their exercise habits over time. Nothing I say to you, as your trainer or best friend will keep you motivated over the long term.

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Instead, numerous studies show that external motivation–like the guidance and support of a trainer–can help you get started (and I would LOVE to in my upcoming New Year, New You Bootcamp) but your intrinsic motivation (read: motivation that comes from within, not from external sources) to exercise is what keeps you going 12, 24, and even 36 months later.

So what does that mean for you and your fitness motivation in 2017?

After doing tons of research [source 2], I’ve found it’s pretty simple to maximize your intrinsic motivation. If you want to make progress towards your New Year’s Resolutions and beyond, all you need to do is two things.

1. Stop focusing on outcomes

When we focus on the outcome instead of the process, we set ourselves up for long-term failure, whether or not we reach our outcome goal. Think about it. If you want to lose 10lbs and you do, your motivation will decline once you hit that number. If you don’t? Your motivation will STILL decline from not reaching your goal. Sounds like a lose-lose situation to me.

I’m not saying to throw away outcome goals all together, in fact, they help you get started, but if you also work to value the actual act of exercising, you’ll achieve much more long term success.

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Start thinking about all the positives that come with working out. These will be super individualized and personal but some examples of how to focus on the actual act of working out include mantras like:

  • Doing circuit workouts are fun/enjoyable.
  • I love improving my kettlebell skills.
  • By working out, I’ll be able to stay active for the rest of my life.
  • I build a community of friends through my workouts.

To get your personal mantras, ask yourself questions like:

  • How does exercise help me live the life I want?
  • What do I enjoy about working out?
  • How am I building social connections through working out?
  • How does exercise make me feel?

2. Set skills-based goals

Another way to achieve long term fitness motivation is to focus on building skill competency. In other words, emphasize skill development in your workouts. By picking a new sport or skill, you’ll set goals that revolve around improving yourself. This is HUGE with adult exercisers, because research shows that skill development is strongly correlated with greater exercise participation over the long term.

lunge

Spend some time thinking of a skill you want to develop and make a plan. This could include joining an adult sports league, mastering a tough movement pattern (like maybe a Turkish Get-Up), or increasing your squat weight.

If you focus on the experience of exercising and set skills-based goals, you’re setting yourself up to succeed with your long term fitness goals. This is why I include a whole module on mindset in my New Year, New You Bootcamp. Instead of focusing solely on extrinsic motivation–like finally getting that six pack–we take time to get our minds right and ready to take on new challenges. This exciting new bootcamp starts up right after the MLK Holiday. I would love to work with you!

What is YOUR fitness motivation?

How should I build my workout routines?

You walk into the gym, ready to work out. You head over to the weight section, look in the mirror and realize you have no idea what to do, even though you know you’d like to be weight lifting. Sound familiar?

I’ve recently been getting lots of questions from women who are not super comfortable in the free weights section of the gym. Braving all the bros working their biceps leaves them feeling intimidated, not knowing how to approach the weight rack. That’s why I’ve decided to write a series on Mastering the Weight Room.

At the end of the series of blog posts, you’ll be confident in approaching that free weight section with ease.

A few weeks ago, I covered deciding which weight to use.

This week we are tackling step 2: building your workout routines.

Read More »

How I stopped gaining weight on vacation

Happy Boxing Day! I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas holiday and is enjoying this day off with family and friends. We’re soaking up as much time as possible with Andrew’s and my family, including all the doggies as we prepare to head out on our backpacking trip.

While I am preparing and packing for our trip to South America, I’m reminded of how stressful travel used to be for me. Even just a couple years ago, heading out on vacation was a huge stressor and always led to gaining weight. Because I couldn’t with my standard exercise and nutrition routine, I had no idea what to do. I’d either restrict my eating to an extreme degree when I couldn’t exercise OR overeat all the delicious things “because I was on vacation.”

It wasn’t until last year when I moved to Texas and began traveling more that I had to figure out this travel thing. I knew if I didn’t, my health, workout routine, and nutrition quality would decline.

With lots of experimentation, I’ve identified four key steps that make a huge difference in stopping weight gain while you’re traveling/vacationing. My super simple MOVE framework is your guide to maintaining your weight while on vacation.

Read More »

For my December 2016 stitch fix, I asked for DRESSES, lots of party dresses. I wanted to get some new dresses I could wear to the Google holiday party that could also be worn with leggings and boots to work.

December 2016 Stitch Fix Review #5

Happy Friday! It’s my first Friday back in the Bay Area. I’m SO excited. Before we all head into the holiday weekend, I wanted to wish all my blog friends a happy Stitch Fix day!

In case you aren’t familiar with Stitch Fix, it is a program where you get an online stylist who sends you 5 items whenever you prefer (I get items every eight weeks or so). The items your stylist sends are based off of your style profile, which includes everything from fit to style to budget. You’ve got three days to try everything on in the comfort of your home, with your current wardrobe all around you. Then, you choose what to keep and send back what you don’t like (totally free – shipping is included).

 For my December 2016 stitch fix, I asked for DRESSES, lots of party dresses. I wanted to get some new dresses I could wear to the Google holiday party that could also be worn with leggings and boots to work.

This time, I asked for DRESSES, lots of party dresses. I wanted to get some new dresses I could wear to the Google holiday party that could also be worn with leggings and boots to work. My regular stylist was not able to style my fix this time.

For my December 2016 stitch fix, I received:

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Wisp Coleen Ponte Dress

I love the ponte fabric. It’s structured enough to hide the bra bulge but super comfy. I also wanted a dress that would show off my arms 😉 This one had some fun detailing on the sides, too.

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I loved the detailing and colors but it was a little big in the waist. I ultimately returned it because I thought the neckline wasn’t the most flattering.

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RETURN

41Hawthorn Kalinah Dress

I loved this dress on the hanger but it just didn’t fit quite right. It was a bit too tight around my butt, which left too much extra fabric around my stomach. img_6071

The cut outs on the sleeves and the pockets were super cute details.

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RETURN

Laundry by Shelli Segal Zoie Jersey Dress

I had the opposite reaction to this dress than I did to the 41Hawthorn dress. In the box, I didn’t think much of it. I thought it was way too boxy but once it was on, I was intrigued.

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This dress is more trendy than I would normally wear but I think I like it! I think I could wear it with leggings and boots, too, so that’s an added benefit.

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KEEP

Adrianna Papell Alyce Dress

This dress is absolutely stunning! The back was so classy.

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But I think it was cut on a bias or something, because it has extra fabric around the waist.

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So, unfortunately, the verdict is to RETURN 🙁

Gilli Viola Jersey Dress

Nope. Just nope. I liked the fabric and pattern but when I put it on, I felt about 40 years older than I am.

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Unfortunately, the cinching on the waist seemed to have the opposite effect, calling too much attention (and fabric) to my waist.

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RETURN

If you have any questions on the service, let me know in the comments below!

Disclaimer: some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means if you sign up for Stitch Fix, I get credit if you click through my link (and I appreciate it so much! :))

What styles are you loving for holiday parties?

Resilience: your #1 fitness skill

You have the best exercise equipment, a fabulous workout program, and nutrition guidelines at your fingertips. You feel ready to go, ready to attack your fitness goals with determination.  But the bad news is that’s not necessarily going to determine your success in implementing a nutrition or exercise habit. Whether you’re an olympic athlete, recreational exerciser, figure competitor, or busy student trying to fit in your workouts, you will not succeed if you do not have one thing: resilience.

Why resilience matters

You have the best exercise equipment, a fabulous workout program, and nutrition guidelines at your fingertips. You feel ready to go, ready to attack your fitness goals with determination. But the bad news is that's not necessarily going to determine your success in implementing a nutrition or exercise habit. Whether you're an olympic athlete, recreational exerciser, figure competitor, or busy student trying to fit in your workouts, you will not succeed if you do not have one thing: resilience.

I hate to break it to you, but things aren’t going to be perfect. It’s likely that you’ll stay up too late watching your favorite show, leading you to oversleep, miss your workout, and jack your hunger cues.

It (shit) happens, and your success hinges on your ability to come back to the good habits you’re building.

Before I started focusing on my resilience, I let little things derail me. I became frustrated when I didn’t have the ideal equipment for my workouts or when I only had twenty minutes to train. Resilience has helped me stay more positive and consistent. And remember, consistency leads to results.

Three ways to strengthen your resilience

Focus on the good

Resilience is focusing on the positive whenever possible, instead of getting bogged down in the details.

Did you train for 20 minutes instead of skipping a workout? Count that as a win!

Subbed out a couple exercises because you didn’t have the equipment? Awesome. 

My favorite example?

results

Your expectations for a single training session can actually increase the benefits you get from working out.  In other words, thinking positively about what you were able to do can help maximize your results.

Plan!

Help yourself to be more resilient to life’s challenges by creating a plan that supports your willpower. We don’t just skip work meetings because we’re tired. We don’t no-show dinner with friends because we’re stressed about school (well most of the time). But we do this with our workouts? All the time.

Sweaty selfie

My Three S Formula for Consistency and Motivation will bring awareness to your workout habits and make sure you stay on track, even without motivation.

Utilize both your short and long term memory

When it comes to resilience, you’ve got to maximize both your short and long term memories.

If you’ve slipped up, it’s time to use your short term memory and let that mistake roll off your back. When you wake up the next day, forget you were not acting in line with your goals. Just move on and focus on the next action you can take that supports your goal.

mimosa cups

On the other hand, if you’ve had a little win, HOLD ONTO IT. Focus on that feeling of empowerment and success for as long as you can. This will motivate you to continue!

If you’re looking for help becoming more resilient so you can make positive changes in your life, I’d LOVE to help you create your fit lifestyle.  accountable, check out my upcoming programs. I’d love to work with you!

What’s one fitness or nutrition habit you’re trying to implement?

Healthy Breakfast: My Three Favorites

You roll out of bed and walk to the kitchen to find some breakfast. You look around your kitchen and are stumped. You’ve barely got any time before you need to leave for work. You know that breakfast is important but you have no idea what to eat, so you grab a granola bar and head out the door.

This, my friends, was my entire college experience. Breakfast was overwhelming for me (even when it was already prepared for me in the dining hall) so I skipped it too many times to count. It wasn’t until I started working at Google that I got into a healthy breakfast habit.

Since I started eating breakfast regularly, I’ve noticed a huge decrease in cravings AND I find myself eating better throughout the day. This is why I’m sharing three of my favorite breakfasts and why you should eat them too! Share your favorite breakfast option below, too!

Read More »

My moderation journey

Moderation has become quite the buzzword recently. I’ve talked about it, defined the heck out of it, and worked on it as a skill. Truthfully, it’s only been in the last six months that I’ve realized that moderation is the ONLY way I want to live my life anymore.

But if I’m being honest, I definitely have NOT always thought this way. I was one of those people who constantly was praised for her self discipline, which is awesome when it comes to schoolwork, but self-discipline can have some ugly side effects outside of the classroom.

See, where most people hit the wall two weeks into a diet, I broke through it and went ahead at full force. Where most people want a bowl of ice cream two weeks into their diet, I cut more calories for just thinking about it.

Moderation has become quite the buzzword recently. I've talked about it, defined the heck out of it, and worked on it as a skill. Truthfully, it's only been in the last six months that I've realized that moderation is the ONLY way I want to live my life anymore. This is my journey to moderation.

For about eleven years, I struggled with a severe eating disorder that took away parts of my childhood, all of my teens, and some of my young adulthood. I restricted my caloric intake excessively and always.  My workout routine was relentless and was my way of burning off every calorie I ate. And when I slipped up? I hated myself. Often, I would look in the mirror or try on clothes and just collapse in tears.

Note my approach to the holidays from about 2004-2015.

Thanksgiving Day: run a 10k, eat extra because I’m hungry and tired, have dessert (and wine once I turned 21 😉 )

Day (or honestly, weeks) after Thanksgiving: count every calorie that goes into my mouth, exercise an hour+ per day, hanging on until the next happy hour excuse to relax

It was miserable. This cycle of indulging followed by severe restriction fueled nothing but disordered eating, over-exercise, and crappy body image, regardless of how thin I became.

Katherine without cellulite

I was constantly searching for a better way to live.

My journey to moderation

After years of restriction, I battled every day to eat more food that would nourish my body and fuel my goals. I’d be lying if I told you it was easy. There were days during my recovery when I cried while eating the extra food.

Swirls

Things started to shift in 2014. I found Jill Coleman‘s writings on moderation. Her ideas piqued my interest.  You mean, I don’t have to restrict to see results; I just eat the same way every single day? Cool. I can do that.

And that’s exactly what I tried to do.

My Thanksgiving plate looked like my dinner the night before.

Andrew and my anniversary dinner was nothing out of the ordinary. 

I drank beer (OK, Mike’s Hard Lemonade) or wine most nights. 

Combined with the strength training I recently discovered, I lost body fat, dropping into a pretty lean for me range. I was STOKED.

It wasn’t until mid-2016, I realized something that blew my mind: trying to eat mostly moderately every single day was actually just another way for me to continue restricting myself in the day to day.

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Because I focused so much on eating the same every day, I found myself slipping into old, restrictive patterns.

Social invitations were declined so I could eat the same foods (even if I enjoyed them)

I wanted to indulge on special occasions but made myself stop

Traveling stressed me out (because how could I find my foods)

Since that realization, I KNEW I had to make some changes. I don’t want to be in that restrictive space anymore, so I’ve started testing the waters with some new ideas.  I’ve shifted my approach to be one where moderation is two seemingly opposing concepts.

My #consciousindulgence approach to moderation

  1. Eat in a way that makes you feel like you don’t need to have a cheat day
  2. If you overindulge for whatever reason, remember that it does NOT need to be “cheat day” to indulge OR you don’t need a cheat day to (over) indulge

Again, if I told you it was easy, it would be an utter lie. Those ugly thoughts telling me to eat less, move more, and get smaller still are there; I just don’t listen to them as much.

If I want to indulge a bit more (like when Andrew came and visited), I do.

If I need some chocolate every evening to make me feel satisfied, I eat it.chocolate

I’ve been living this way more and more for the last six months, and it’s made me feel more at peace with food. I also feel more empowered to enjoy my life and the experiences that come with them.

So when I leave for Argentina in a few weeks, you can bet I’m taking my #consciousindulgence approach with me.