Meal Planning made easy!


Planning meals for the week can save time & money. It can also save calories, seeing as most last-minute dinners usually involve take-out, delivery, or fast food. Meal planning can sound intimidating, but taking it one step at a time – and one meal at a time – can make it easier to fit into your normal routine.

How to start meal planning:

  • Spend 15-30 minutes on Sunday making a list.  Go through your cabinets and see what you have on hand already.
  • Start with the nights you already know your plans. Dinner with friends on Tuesday? Cross it off. Late meeting on Thursday? Crock pot meal.
  • Fill in the gaps. Start with favorite healthy recipes you know will be easy to throw together. Mix it up with a variety of chicken, vegetarian, or fish dishes.
  • Stay flexible and keep it simple. Plans may change, but a few eggs and vegetables (even frozen) can be whipped up into a quick dinner omelet.

Set Yourself up for Success

To set yourself up for success, think about planning a healthy diet as a number of small, manageable steps—like adding a salad to your diet once a day—rather than one big drastic change. As your small changes become habit, you can continue to add more healthy choices.

Tips – 
Prepare more of your own meals. Cooking more meals at home can help you take charge of what you’re eating and better monitor exactly what goes into your food.

  • Make the right changes. When cutting back on unhealthy foods in your diet, it’s important to replace them with healthy alternatives. Replacing animal fats with vegetables fats (such as switching butter for olive oil) will make a positive difference to your health. Switching animal fats for refined carbohydrates, though (such as switching your breakfast bacon for a donut), won’t lower your risk for heart disease or improve your mood.
  • Simplify. Instead of being overly concerned with counting calories, think of your diet in terms of color, variety, and freshness. Focus on avoiding packaged and processed
    foods and opting for more fresh ingredients.
  • Read the labels. It’s important to be aware of what’s in your food as manufacturers often hide large amounts of sugar and salt in packaged food, even food claiming to be healthy.
  • Focus on how you feel after eating. This will help foster healthy new habits and tastes. The more healthy food you eat, the better you’ll feel after a meal. The more junk food you eat, the more likely you are to feel uncomfortable, nauseous, or drained of energy.
  • Drink plenty of water. Water helps flush our systems of waste products and toxins, yet many people go through life dehydrated—causing tiredness, low energy, and headaches. It’s common to mistake thirst for hunger, so staying well hydrated will also help you make healthier food choices.

When should I eat?

WHEN you should eat?  Eating every 2-3 hours while awake will help boost your metabolism and keep it revved throughout the day. You should always try to have your last meal about 2 hours before bedtime.

Eat breakfast, and eat smaller meals throughout the day. A healthy breakfast can jump start your metabolism, while eating small, healthy meals (rather than the standard three large meals) keeps your energy up. I always drink my healthy superfoods shake for breakfast – have for over 5 years – and it’s been a lifesaver! At night, try avoiding food. Try to eat dinner earlier and fast for 14-16 hours until breakfast the next morning.

Studies suggest that eating only when you’re most active and giving your digestive system a long break each day may help to regulate weight.

Why should I have a healthy diet?

We all know that eating right can help you maintain a healthy weight and avoid certain health problems, but your diet can also have a profound effect on your mood and sense of well being.

Studies have linked eating a typical Western diet—filled with red and processed meats, packaged meals, takeout food, and sugary snacks—with higher rates of depression, stress, bipolar disorder, and anxiety. Eating an unhealthy diet may even play a role in the development of mental health disorders.

Eating more fruits and vegetables, cooking meals at home, and reducing your fat and sugar intake, on the other hand, may help to improve mood and lower your risk for mental health problems. If you have already been diagnosed with a mental health problem, eating well can even help to manage your symptoms and regain control of your Life.

While some specific foods or nutrients have been shown to have a beneficial effect on mood, it’s your overall dietary pattern that is most important. That means switching to a
healthy diet doesn’t have to be an all or nothing proposition.

You don’t have to be perfect and you don’t have to completely eliminate foods you enjoy to have a healthy diet and make a difference to the way you think and feel.

Slow Cooker Banana Nut Oatmeal


Steel cut oats cook overnight with bananas, walnuts and spices to create a healthy, make-ahead breakfast that will be waiting for you in the morning.

Serves: 4
Ingredients
1 cup steel cut oats
1 ripe banana – mashed
¼ cup chopped walnuts
2 cups skim milk (or almond milk)
2 cups water
2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
banana slices, walnuts or brown sugar – optional garnish

Directions
Place all ingredients in slow cooker and stir until well combined.
Cook overnight on Low for 8 hours.
In the morning, stir oatmeal with a fork to loosen the steel cut oats and make sure everything is fully incorporated.
Serve warm with banana slices, chopped walnuts or a pinch of brown sugar if you wish.

Notes – For easier clean-up and to avoid the slight “crusty” residue inside the slow cooker, place all ingredients in a glass bowl that fits into the slow cooker then add enough water to
fill the lower half of the slow cooker. over and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

Sugar & Salt ~ what it does to your body

As well as creating weight problems, too much sugar causes energy spikes and has been linked to diabetes, depression, and even an increase in suicidal behaviors in young people. Reducing the amount of candy and desserts you eat is only part of the solution as sugar is also hidden in foods such as bread, cereals, canned soups and vegetables, pasta sauce, margarine, instant mashed potatoes, frozen dinners, low-fat meals, fast food, and ketchup. It all adds up to a lot of empty calories since your body gets all it needs from sugar naturally occurring in food.

Sodium is another ingredient that is frequently added to food to improve taste, even though your body needs less than one gram of sodium a day (about half a teaspoon of table salt). Eating too much salt can cause high blood pressure and lead to an increased risk of stroke, heart disease, kidney disease, memory loss, and erectile dysfunction. It may also worsen symptoms of bipolar disorder.

TIPS –
• Slowly reduce the sugar and salt in your diet a little at a time to give your taste buds time to adjust and wean yourself off the craving.

• Avoid processed or packaged foods like canned soups, frozen dinners, or low-fat meals that often contain hidden sugar and sodium that quickly surpasses the recommended limit. Prepare more meals at home and use fresh or frozen vegetables instead of canned vegetables.

• Be careful when eating out. Most restaurant and fast food meals are loaded with sodium. Some offer lower-sodium choices or you can ask for your meal to be made without salt. Most gravy, dressings and sauces are also packed with salt and sugar, so ask for it to be served on the side.

• Eat healthier snacks. Buy unsalted nuts and add a little of your own salt until your taste buds are accustomed to eating them salt-free. Cut down on sweet snacks such as candy, chocolate, and cakes. Instead, eat naturally sweet food such as fruit, peppers, or natural peanut butter to satisfy your sweet tooth.

• Check labels and choose reduced-sodium and low-sugar products.

• Use herbs and spices such as garlic, curry powder, cayenne or black pepper to improve the flavor of meals instead of salt.

• Avoid sugary drinks. Try drinking sparkling water with a splash of fruit juice instead.

Turkey Meatballs

Ingredients
1 large egg
1 pound 92-93% lean ground turkey1
2/3 cup (40g) Panko2
3 Tablespoons (45 ml) olive oil
1/4 cup (22g) grated parmesan cheese

3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried basil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 large onion sweet onion, sliced
two 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
chopped fresh basil for serving, optional

Directions
Beat the egg in a large mixing bowl. Add the ground turkey, Panko, 2 Tablespoons olive oil, parmesan, garlic, oregano, basil, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Mix everything up just so the ingredients are combined – avoid over mixing. Roll into desired size balls.

Coat a large skillet with remaining Tablespoon of olive oil and bring to medium-high heat. Lightly brown the meatballs (only 6-8 meatballs at a time) for about 1 minute on each side.

Make ahead tip/freezing: Prepare meatballs through the browning stage; cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day or freeze up to 2 months.

Moderation

Key to any healthy diet is moderation. But what is moderation? In essence, it means eating only as much food as your body needs. You should feel satisfied at the end of a meal, but not stuffed. Moderation is also about balance. Despite what fad diets would have you believe, we all need a balance of carbohydrates, protein, fat, fiber, vitamins, and minerals to sustain a healthy body.

For most of us, moderation also means eating less than we do now. But it doesn’t mean eliminating the foods you love. Eating bacon for breakfast once a week, for example, could be considered moderation if you follow it with a healthy lunch and dinner—but not if you follow it with a box of donuts and a sausage pizza. If you eat 100 calories of chocolate one afternoon, balance it out by deducting 100 calories from your evening meal. If you’re still hungry, fill up with extra vegetables.

TIPS –
• Try not to think of certain foods as “off-limits.” When you ban certain foods or food groups, it is natural to want those foods more, and then feel like a failure if you give in to temptation. Start by reducing portion sizes of unhealthy foods and not eating them as often. As you reduce your intake of unhealthy foods, you may find yourself craving them less or thinking of them as only occasional indulgences.

• Think smaller portions. Serving sizes have ballooned recently. When dining out, choose a starter instead of an entree, split a dish with a friend, and don’t order supersized anything. At home, visual cues can help with portion sizes–your serving of meat, fish, or chicken should be the size of a deck of cards and half a cup of mashed potato, rice, or pasta is about the size of a traditional light bulb. If you don’t feel satisfied at the end of a meal, add more leafy green vegetables or round off the meal with fruit.

• Take your time. Stop eating before you feel full. It actually takes a few minutes for your brain to tell your body that it has had enough food, so eat slowly.

• Eat with others whenever possible. As well as the emotional benefits, this allows you to model healthy eating habits for your kids. Eating in front of the TV or computer often leads to mindless overeating.

What’s the secret to weight loss?

6-weight-loss-secrets21

There is NO big secret to losing weight!  It won’t happen overnight.  There are no magic pills.  There are no detoxes that will make you lose weight.

The secret is eating healthy foods, exercising at least 30 minutes a day,  drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day, journaling your foods and being consistent!  That’s it!

Seems like all you hear in the media is how to lose weight fast!  So many different options to chose from, so many different quick schemes.  The truth is while you  may see a few pounds lost within the first couple of days, it is mainly water weight.  And once you stop consuming your “quick weight loss product” you are more likely to gain the weight you lost plus some!

  • Shoot to eat every 2 1/2 – 3 hours
  • Shoot to eat less processed foods & more natural foods
  • Shoot to have complex carbs, lean proteins & healthy fats at each meal.
  • Exercise for at least 30 minutes every day ~ shooting for cardio & strength training exercises
  • Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day
  • Write down every bite of food and every drink EACH and EVERY day!

Holiday Shape Up

There are 8 weeks (58 days!) until Thanksgiving ~ are you going to be ready?  It has been reported that the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas is when most people gain on average 8-10 pounds.  Don’t let yourself fall into the statistic!

Starting Monday, October 2nd, Evolution Fitness, will offer a 7 week Holiday Shape Up program. All done from the comfort of your own home!

What will you receive?

  • Each day you will receive a 30 minute workout
  • A nutritional guideline at the start of the program
  • Daily motivational tips
  • Guidance from a certified personal trainer and fitness nutritionist
  • A private facebook group

What do you need?

  • Exercise mat
  • Pair of dumbbells (we can substitute if you don’t have any)
  • Motivation & Consistency!  

Cost?

  • $50 for the 7 weeks

Sign up today & get ready for the holidays!