FIVE, not so healthy snacks, SWAPS!

1. Smoothies

Fruit is extremely good for you and should be eaten everyday. However, smoothies are the #1 (in my opinion) misunderstood snack when someone is trying to lose/maintain their weight.

Just because there is fruit IN your drink, does not mean that it is a healthy option.

A typical strawberry banana smoothie almost always includes whole milk or cream, processed fruit juice, yogurt with added sugar,or, frozen yogurt.

Rhubarb Cheesecake Smoothies.  For a warm evening this is the most delicious dessert you could have, and the most important is that you can prepare it with every kind of ingredient you like, and spent realy good time!

What you thought was the perfect afternoon energizer, is really just a fattening, sugar loaded, energy crashing dessert in disguise. We’re talking 600 plus calories in a 16oz cup.

Replace it with: Smoothies

Yes, you can still have your smoothie and lose weight too! It’s all about KNOWING what goes into your cup before drinking it.

Instead of all those unnecessary additives from your local coffee shop or smoothie kiosk, try making your own smoothie at home using:

  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries,
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 cup of almond milk
  • 1-2 handfuls of leafy greens.
  • Optional: 1 scoop of protein powder, 1 tbsp. chia or flaxseeds, 1 tsp cinnamon, 6oz plain Greek yogurt.

Simply Strawberry Green Smoothie - my new favorite meal replacement! Ingredients:  2 cups frozen strawberries   1/2 frozen banana   2 tablespoons flaxseeds   3 cups fresh organic baby spinach    1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

2. Yogurt Parfaits

Same thing applies for these sneaky, sugary cups. Most pre-made parfaits consist of flavored yogurts, granola, and honey. This can have 30 plus grams of processed sugar, which is about the same as a Snickers Bar.

Replace it with: Chia Pudding

Very Berry Chia Pudding: pretty tasty little sucker (raw, vegan).   www.onedoterracommunity.com   https://www.facebook.com/#!/OneDoterraCommunity

Chia seeds are high in omega-3’s, protein, fiber, and keep us feeling full for longer due to their ability to absorb liquid within the body.

Recipe

  • 1/3 cup Chia Seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk, skim milk, or water
  • 1 teaspoon organic vanilla or almond extract
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon.
  1. place all ingredients inside of a mason jar, or glass lidded bowl, and shake well to combine.
  2. Allow at least 30 minutes for chia seeds to gel and pudding to form. Best results would be to sit overnight.
  3. Add berries and enjoy

3. “But they’re baked”- Wheat Thins, Pita Chips, Pretzels.

Homemade Wheat Thins.  You'll never go back to the store bought version!

Salt, processed carbs, high in calories and do not satisfy cravings! These snacks are also usually accompanied by a fattening dip such as spinach and artichoke , French onion, or sliced meat and cheese.

Replace it with: Raw Vegetables and Pistachios

Slice up some bell peppers, carrots, celery and cucumbers to satisfy your craving for a crunch, along with 24 pistachios for a dose of healthy fats, fiber, potassium and protein.

You can also dip your veggies into 1 tbsp. of raw almond butter or hummus, in place of pistachio’s.

How to make Homemade Hummus | foodnfocus.com

4. Diet Soda, Bottled Lemonade/ Iced Tea

Please, step away from the toxic cans of chemicals and artificially flavored sugar water

This is almost like a long-term low-dose poison-  Correct. Aspertame in this stuff is linked to alzheimer's!!Minute Maid Lemonade $1 at Walmart

I know that the taste of these beverages on a hot summer day is unlike any other, but that mere 5 minutes of pleasure wreaks havoc on our systems.

Read Here.

Replace it with: Fresh Lemon or Lime Water, Sparkling Water, or Fruit Infused Water.

I often like to create a mixture of all three

I use frozen fruit as my ice cubes, which makes for a perfect treat at the end of my drink.

Slice up a bunch of lemons and infuse your water overnight to create lemonade. Or, use fresh herbs such as mint with cucumber or basil with watermelon to make drinking water much more tasty.

 Strawberry Lime Water

5. “Bars”

I cringe when a client of mine tells me that they brought a Nutragrain, Fiber One, Speicial K or Nature Valley granola bar to work as a snack. Their ingredients list alone are frightening, packed with artificial additives, processed oils, and way too many words that I wont even try to pronounce.

Replace it: Homemade Protein Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup organic, liquid egg whites
  • 1 scoop (2Tbsp) protein powder (I use Sunwarrior)
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon.
  • 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 2 Tbsp. unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 ripe, mashed banana
  1. Mix all ingredients together, leaving out the banana
  2. Once well combined, add in your mashed banana and mix again
  3. Pour batter onto a nonstick pan over medium heat.
  4. Cook as you would a regular pancake, flipping when little bubbles start to form in the middle.

Let cool and store in a Tupperware container to eat as a snack later in the day.

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yuuuuum!

Don’t get caught in the advertising traps of “100% whole grain, Fat Free, All Natural or 1/2 the fat”

Know what is in your food, because that is your body’s fuel.

healthy body + healthy mind = happy life

5 Green Smoothie Recipes. 5 Simple Ingredients

It’s no secret that I love green smoothies, and I often get asked about what to put in them without gagging or breaking a budget.

I cant help but laugh at my client’s faces when I suggest adding green smoothies to their day,and I love their surprised faces even more once they realize that they do not taste anything like the once thought.

Many skeptics feel that you have to spend a ton of money in order to get a ton of nutrients, or sacrifice taste, which is not truly not the case.

Here are my five favorite green smoothie recipes made with five simple ingredients.

All you need is a blender and a little enthusiasm! Time to energize!

The Banana Split

  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup strawberries
  • 1 tbsp. cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup water, 1 cup unsweetened almond milk

The Cleanser

  • 2 handfuls of kale
  • 1 green apple, cored and sliced
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 inch of sliced ginger root, peeled
  • 2 cups water or unsweetened coconut water

Almond Butter and Jelly

  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1 tbsp. raw almond butter (or a small handful of almonds)
  • 2 cups water

The Antioxidant Powerhouse

  • 1 cup kale
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 green apple, cored and sliced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 cups unsweetened ICED green tea

The Refueler

  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder ( I use vegan protein, but use what you have and KNOW the ingredients) You can also use 6 ounces of plain Greek Yogurt. (I suggest Fage or Oikos)
  • 1 frozen banana
  • a dash of ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, 1 cup water

Simple and affordable!

Try adding one of these smoothies into your diet everyday over the next five days, and feel your energy skyrocket while providing your body with a ton of nutrients.

TIPS

  • Make sure that your bananas are RIPE and peeled before freezing.
  • Feel free to add ice to any smoothie, and add more water as needed.
  • Mix and match your favorite fruits of the season, or even prepackaged frozen fruits work great! Just make sure they are unsweetened, and not a “smoothie blend”, which often have other additives besides fruit.
  • Adding Spirulina, Hemp seeds, or Chia seeds is also a beneficial option, but not as budget friendly.

Cheers to a healthier YOU!

B / SPOKE Studio arrives in Boston

A new cycling studio has arrived in Boston’s Financial District on 101 Federal street, and it is described as a “unique, high-technology indoor cycling and lifestyle studio with a holistic approach”.

Screen Shot 2014 07 08 at 12 52 09 PM

B/SPOKE Studios’mission is to cater to riders’ mind, body and spirit through their personalized, lifestyle-focused studio. By employing B/SPOKE’s approach, the studio welcomes riders to find a sustainable path to better health and personal growth while enjoying a revitalizing workout. B/SPOKE has 35 Schwinn AC Performance Plus bikes and every ride comes with complimentary bottled water, heart rate monitors, towels, indoor cycling shoes, foam ear plugs, hair elastics and changing areas complete with six showers (four female, two male) equipped with products from Aesop, blow-dryer and hair straighteners

B/SPOKE does not officially open to the public until July 16th, but from July 9th -15th, ANYONE can sign up for over 30 complimentary classes by registering at http://www.bspokestudios.com. Upon check out, select the “$0.00 – Launch Week Free Class” option. (limit of one per person) Classes will be filled on a “first come, first serve” basis.

During this launch week, B/SPOKE will be open Monday-Friday from 5:00am-8:00pm, and Saturday-Sunday from 8:30am-11:30am.

As of July 16th, single classes and bulk packages ranging from $20-27 per class will be available, along with corporate and student discount programs.

With a packed schedule of six classes each weekday and four on the weekends, B/SPOKE makes it easy for any rider to find the time to fit in their workout. Bikes can be reserved online up to seven days in advance by visiting www.bspokestudios.com, and walk-ins are also welcome!

For more information, please call 617.951.9900 or head over to  www.bspokestudios.com.

Follow B/SPOKE on Twitter: @BSPOKEstudios, Instagram: @BSPOKElife  and Facebook: /BSPOKEStudios

Happy cycling, Boston!

Watermelon Summer.

I am on a SERIOUS watermelon kick this summer.

Breakfast, snack, lunch, in my salads, in a cocktail, or simply blended into a deliciously hydrating juice, watermelon has been my go-to fruit since the hot temps have arrived here in Boston.

As for Matt, he has always been a watermelon lover, and last week while battling a case strep throat, he enjoyed endless amounts to stay energized and hydrated.

his cutting skills are off the charts..look at those perfect pieces.

SO, why is watermelon such a beneficial fruit? Let me break down for you.

How to Make Watermelon Wine ... Great Source to Barter with if It comes down to it!!! Keep this is mind!!! Not just the wine, liquor itself!!!

Watermelon is high in Lycopene, which aids in cardiovascular health and bone health. It is the perfect pre or post workout meal because of its anti-inflammatory elements, high doses of antioxidants and electrolytes, as well as it’s ability to improve blood flow due to the amino acid “citrulline”, which is found mostly in the rind, the WHITE SECTION of the melon. 

In our body, L-Citrulline is changed into another amino acid called L-Arginine. Arginine improves the balance of nitrogen (nitric oxide), which causes our blood vessels to relax, expand, and improve blood flow.  This aids in the prevention of muscle fatigue, which then allows us to exercise longer and recover more quickly!

Watermelon is extremely high in vitamins and minerals, while low in calories due to its water content. It also helps reduce high blood pressure and blood sugar levels, which makes it the perfect diabetic friendly snack.

7 Warm-Weather Foods with Surprising Health Benefits

As a natural diuretic and cleanser, watermelon is our kidney’s best friend. It helps increases the flow of urine, while helping the liver process anomia, which is a waste product from digesting protein. This gives the kidneys a nice break by easily flushing excess fluids without any strain from high amounts of caffeine and alcohol, something that our society struggles with daily.

Me everyday of the week

Along with many other fruits and vegetables (citrus, leafy greens ,avocados,cucumbers) watermelon is also very alkalizing when RIPE. This is crucial for keeping diseases from forming in our body, especially if you are used to eating HIGH ACID foods such as eggs, dairy, and meats. These foods can lead to excess body fat, calcium deficiency (due to draining calcium from our bones, which causes us to shrink as we age), tooth decay, and a breeding ground for diseases to grow.

READ MORE ABOUT ALKALINE vs. ACIDIC HERE

When it comes to eye health, carrots aren’t the only food that help protect us. Watermelon is high in beta-carotene, which gives it that beautifully rich color that can brighten any kitchen or mood. It will help also your skin stay plush and glowing.

One of the main reasons I overdosed Matt on watermelon while he battled strep throat was not only due to hydration, but because of it’s high content of Vitamin C, which helps improves the immune system and prevents cell damage.

Not to mention it’s a cold, refreshing snack that would feel great to any sore throat sufferer.

Watermelon

When choosing a watermelon, you want to make sure that it is ripe.

There are FOUR cues to look for when picking out a watermelon

1. Think HEAVY. Whether big or small, the watermelon should feel heavy when lifted.This also applies to all produce. It means that it is full of water, which is what you want.

2. Find the YELLOW spot. Lift your melon up and look underneath to where it was resting. If that spot is yellow, your good to go! In this case, your looking for a duller hue, rather than a bright green.

3. HOLLOW headed. Along with feeling heavy, the melon should also have a hollow sound. If it feels soft when you knock on it, that means it is under ripe. The watermelon should have a hollowness to it when knocked on.

4. What’s it’s SHAPE? The watermelon should have an even shape to it, which means that is got accurate amounts of sunlight and water

So the next time you have a bbq to go to, bring a watermelon as the perfect appetizer for all guests. It is best eaten alone, before consuming other foods, as it is quick digesting and will be easier on the stomach.

No matter how you slice it, you can guarantee it will be a hit.

Cut watermelon slices with a cookie cutter, then use for desserts or infused water.  Add blueberries for some blue and you've got the perfect edible 4th of July accessory...

 

Life Updates!

A lot has happened since my last blog post on April 28th, and to be honest, it felt good to take a little break from the blogging world and focus on my life and the exciting changes that were taking place.

I married Matt on May 17th at the State Room in Boston.

 

It was a picture perfect day, and a spectacular night to remember.

My dress is by Monique Lhuillier, and I knew that it was the one from the moment I slipped it on.

We honeymooned in Grand Cayman, where we stayed at the WESTIN on Seven Mile Beach.

To call this island is “gorgeous” would be an understatement.

The food was delicious, the island was safe, clean and everything that we had expected.

Besides Matt’s luggage coming late, his inner infection and a few other minor bumps along the way, we have an amazing time and couldn’t wait to come home and see Madi; who is growing bigger by the day!

this is her “What?”, face.

On the work front, I am at a new studio very close to my home and I am in love with it.

We are an Organic and Green Fitness Studio and Spa, offering everything from P90X and Piloxing, to Hot Yoga and Aveda massages, facials and waxing.

Our concept is “Your body is your machine” and you can check us out HERE

Speaking of Piloxing, I am now a certified Piloxing Instructor!

Gotta keep adding to the list of certifications to keep myself, and my clients from getting bored!

Other than that, I am enjoying my time as a newlywed and settling to the summer with plenty of green smoothies, colorful fruits, new workouts and fun nights on the town.

It’s GOOD to be back! 

xoxo

Happy Earth Day

Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson #summer #quotes

Take some time today to go for a walk, a hike, or a run along the beach for those of you lucky enough to do so.

Make a Green Smoothie or Juice and envelop your insides with Earth’s pure gift of nutrition.

Look around and notice the beauty that is right outside your door.

Put on sunscreen and feel that sunshine on your face.

Drink the wild air <3

Happy Earth Day!

The Bunny Hop Workout and Garden Green Smoothie

Bunny Hop Workout

1. SKLZ Hopz Vertical Jump Trainer

2.

 

3.Jump Squat: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, toes forward; lightly touch your fingers behind your ears and extend your elbows to the sides. Bend your knees, then explosively jump as high as you can. Land softly on the balls of your feet and immediately lower into your next squat.

4.

5.

                   

 

   Refuel with your Garden Green Smoothie!!

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10 oz liquid

Vegan Vanilla protein powder

2 cups Power UP Greens

1 small granny smith apple

1/2 large cucumber

dash of cinnamon

ice

IMG_4093

Guest Post: Hip, Happening and Healthy Easter Baskets

By Emma Banks from the blogSmile As It Happens

I love the start of spring, and one of my favorite springtime occasions is Easter. To me, Easter is a time to get together with family and celebrate. With young kids, I am always trying to find new ways to make holidays fun while also keeping them healthy. This year, I thought it would be great to mix it up a bit, and put together Easter baskets that are totally unique and include much healthier options. I know the adults in the family, many of whom are fitness lovers and health fanatics, will really appreciate my ideas for keeping Easter healthy, while still making sure that it’s a lot of fun.

Bouquet of Fruit

We always have a lot of flowers at our Easter celebrations, and they are definitely a great way to ring in the spring. Instead of giving everyone traditional Easter baskets, I thought it would be really cute to give every guest their own bouquet – but made entirely out of fruit. There are a lot of different ways to create a bouquet of fruit, but this recipe really helped me get my bearings.

The colors of the different fruits are beautiful, and help channel the start of spring. Plus, cutting the fruit into different shapes like hearts and flowers will surely make everyone smile. You can even go a step further by making the fruit into bunny or chick shapes to really get into the Easter spirit. These fruit bouquets will be a sweet snack for Easter, and are sure to brighten the day.

Bunny Hop Hydration and Health Basket

Even though I don’t get to the gym as much as I used to, or as much as I’d like, I still find myself running around all the time, juggling my kids and everything that comes along with them. You don’t have to be a workout guru to need hydration and energy, and everyone can benefit from some healthy snacks and supplies. This type of basket will channel the fitness lover and busy parent alike, as a way to target their health and energy while they’re doing their daily bunny hop. In this basket I will include a water bottle (brightly colored for spring and stainless steel for sustainability), dried fruit and nuts instead of candy, granola bars and green tea. If you’re looking for more items, try adding a yoga mat to the basket. It’s a great tool not just for yoga, but for anyone trying to add a little stretching when and where they can.

Green Smoothie Starter Kit

I recently started making green smoothies after a family member suggested it, and I’m hooked. They are a delicious way to get a lot of necessary nutrients, and drinking one a day has definitely contributed to my overall health and energy level. Given how health-conscious my family is, I thought they would love to get green smoothie starter kits for their Easter baskets this year. I will load each basket up with lots of goodies, like kale, spinach, bananas, mangos and mixed berries. The bright colors will definitely fit in with the spring theme, and you can even add things like carrots and nuts to mix it up – channel your inner bunny. There are tons of tips and recipe options available online for green smoothies. This one from the blog 100 Days is my favorite! And if your guests are anything like my family, they’ll love this healthier alternative.

Keep it Fun for the Kids

While these ideas are perfect for the fitness-loving adult, a child may not be as thrilled to find a basket full of fruit on Easter morning. I don’t want to give my kids nothing but junk, but I do want to keep the baskets fun for them. Keeping that in mind, I tried to make the baskets themselves a little more exciting than usual, buying a few different kinds with their names on them from Personal Creations this year. To fill them, I tried to focus on more of a craft theme, stuffing them with new crayons, markers and paper supplies. Finally, I’m not trying to completely take away the fun of finding sweet goodies in your basket on Easter, so I included a jumbo-sized candy bar in each.

These ideas have been a huge hit for my family in the past, and I hope you find something you enjoy as well!

Thank you Emma for your creative Easter basket ideas! Such a fun way to enjoy a holiday in a new, healthy light!

If you are a reader of my blog, or have a blog of your own and are interested in writing a Guest post, please email me at fitgirlsmartini@gmail.com :)