Nutrition

4 Stupid Simple Healthy Recipes To Try This Fall

Eating healthy is already hard, but it gets even worse during the fall. You have holiday parties, more carbcentric food and the ever tempting pumpkin spice *insert snack or drink here*.

Just because people around you are falling into food traps doesn't mean you need to too. Try these four hearty and healthy dishes this fall. You'll be glad you did!

Bonus Challenge: Pick one recipe and commit to cooking it this week!


Bacon and Egg Stuffed Sweet Potato

Ingredients for 2 servings:

  • 1 raw medium sweet potato (~400g)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 slices turkey leg bacon (uncured & nitrate free, I prefer Applegate brand)**
  • Seasonings:
    • fresh rosemary
    • pepper
    • sea salt

** – denotes Optional ingredient

Steps:

  1. Set oven to 400F.
  2. Bake sweet potatoes in the oven for about 45 minutes until they are soft, yet still a little firm.  If they are too soft, we will not be able to use them.
    • TIP: if the sweet potatoes are too thin or not thick enough, I advise baking two sweet potatoes. Then, you can skim the tops off – about 1/3 off the top – of the baked sweet potatoes, making it easier to carve a hole deep enough for the egg.
  3. Slice the sweet potatoes in half and carve out part of the inside in order to make a hole for the egg.
    • Use the leftover sweet potato to make a delicious mash with cinnamon and coconut oil, or you can use it as topping for my Shepherd’s Pie recipe.
  4. If you use bacon, wrap one slice of turkey bacon around the inside hole in the sweet potato. If it is easier, you can slice the bacon into individual pieces and then wrap around the inside of the sweet potato.
  5. Crack an egg into a bowl. First pour the egg white in the hole, then add the egg yolk.
    • If you are worried about overcooking the egg yolk in the oven or undercooking the egg white, then only add in the egg white. Bake the sweet potato with only the egg white and when the egg white is nearly finished, about 90%, remove it from the oven, add the egg yolk, then place it back in the oven to finish baking.
  6.  Bake these in the oven for 25 minutes at 400F, or until all the egg white has been cooked.
  7. Season, garnish and devour. Serve immediately while warm.

 

Approximate macros for 1 serving with 1 slice turkey bacon and ~200g sweet potato:
295 calories,17g protein, 41g carbs, 7g fat, 7g fiber, 17g sugar


Sweet Potato Bisque

Ingredients

  • 2 large sweet potatoes (10-12 ounces each)
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 3 cups reduced-sodium tomato-vegetable juice blend or tomato juice
  • 1 4-ounce can diced green chiles, preferably hot, drained
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 15-ounce can vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup smooth natural peanut butter
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Chopped fresh cilantro leaves for garnish

Preparation

  1. Prick sweet potatoes in several places with a fork. Microwave on High until just cooked through, 7 to 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until it just begins to brown, 2 to 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Stir in juice, green chiles, ginger and allspice. Adjust the heat so the mixture boils gently; cook for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, peel the sweet potatoes and chop into bite-size pieces. Add half to the pot. Place the other half in a food processor or blender along with broth and peanut butter. Puree until completely smooth. Add the puree to the pot and stir well to combine. Thin the bisque with water, if desired. Season with pepper. Heat until hot. Garnish with cilantro, if desired.
  • Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Thin with water before reheating, if desired.

Ultimate Slow Cooker Lasagna

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ lb lean ground beef (if possible grass-fed)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 6 medium zucchinis (sliced)
  • 3 cups (~24oz) tomato sauce, no salt added
  • 2 large vine tomatoes (chopped)
  • 1 ½ cup 2% cottage cheese
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 ½ cup reduced fat mozzarella cheese
  • Seasonings:
    • 1 ½ tablespoon rosemary
    • 1 ½ tablespoon Italian seasoning
    • 1 tablespoon Spice Cave Land paleo seasoning (garlicky and herb flavored to give it extra flavor)

Steps:

  1. Prepare the zucchini. Using a mandolin make thin slices of zucchini to cut strips. Slightly larger than the thickness of a nickel.
    1. IMPORTANT TIP: after you cut the zucchinis it is very important that you allow them to dry on a paper towel for about 20 minutes. Why? They tend to carry a lot of water and if you don’t, you’ll end up with a lot of water liquid in the slow cooker from both the steam and the zucchini.
  2. Prepare the meat. Spray a skillet with olive oil and set on medium high heat. Toss in garlic and brown for about 2 minutes. Next, toss in the meat and chop and cook for about 4 minutes.
  3. Add the seasonings to the meat and continue to chop and cook until the meat is fully cooked, about another 4 to 5 minutes.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium and add tomatoes and tomato sauce to the meat. Stir thoroughly and ensure there are no large chunks of ground meat. If so, chop them up with a wooden spatula. Season to taste with sea salt & pepper. Cover and cook on medium heat for about 3 to 5 minutes and then remove from the heat and set aside.
  5. Mix together egg whites and cottage cheese in a bowl and set aside.
  6. Spray the inside of the slow cooker with olive oil and build the lasagna. Add a little meat sauce and then zucchini strips, cottage cheese mixture and then repeat.
  7. Add meat sauce to the top layer of zucchini strips and then cover with mozzarella. If desired you can toss in basil for extra flavor and aroma.
  8. Cook for about 4 hours on normal/medium heat.
    1. After it has finished, in some cases, there may be a small layer of water covering the top layer of cheese. It is likely from steam and water from the tomatoes and zucchinis. Just scoop it out using a measuring cup or large spoon.
  9. Slice and serve.

Approximate macros for 1 of 5 hearty servings:

345 calories, 50g protein, 17g carbohydrates, 8g fat, 3g fiber, 11g sugar


4 Ingredient Healthy Chili

Ingredients for 4 servings:

  • 1lb 96% lean ground beef
  • 2 cans (30oz) kidney beans (no salt added)
  • 2 large vine tomatoes
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • spray olive oil
  • sea salt & pepper to taste
  • Seasonings:
    • Chili
      • 1 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
      • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
      • 1 tablespoon garlic & onion powder mix
    • Couscous
      • 1 tablespoon garlic & onion powder mix
      • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

 

Steps:

  1. Set a nonstick skillet on medium high heat and spray with olive oil.  When the skillet is hot, add the ground beef and chop and cook so that it is as fine as possible (with no large chunks). While the beef cooks in the skillet, add the seasonings and continue to chop and stir.  This should between 6 to 8 minutes.
  2. Add the beef to a slow cooker, then add chopped tomatoes and the kidney beans WITH the liquid (do not drain the cans).
  3. Stir, then cook the chili in the slow cooker for 8 hours on low heat, or 4 hours on high heat.
  4. Chop the top of cauliflower head into pieces to create individual florets, then add the florets to a food processor.  Pulse blend until it becomes grainy, resembling couscous.
  5. Add olive oil to a nonstick skillet and toss in the cauliflower couscous. Add the seasonings to give it some “personality” and flavor.  Cook for about 3 to 5 minutes and then remove from the skillet.
  6. Once the chili has finished cooking, enjoy it with cauliflower couscous.

Eat Clean, Train Dirty

Nutrition - Why it's important to eat clean:

 

There is benefit of vegetables as primary source of carbs

Don't Be Like Mike  Stay Away From Simple Carbs Like Bread and Hamburger Buns

Don't Be Like Mike

Stay Away From Simple Carbs Like Bread and Hamburger Buns

       -Eating whole foods is proven to keep you fuller for longer. Foods like vegetables are packed with fiber, an indigestible component that absorbs water and slows digestion. When in the stomach, fiber dense foods absorb water and hang out in the stomach a little longer than foods not containing fiber. They slow down the process of digestion and are referred to as "slow burning carbs." This more slowly digesting energy evenly spreads out throughout the hours following a meal with high fiber foods.

Eating foods with little fiber, highly processed foods or refined grains such as pizza, cereal, snack bars, bread, etc cause rapid digestion. This means that the carb source or sugar in the food is absorbed very quickly into the bloodstream. This causes your blood sugar to skyrocket quickly and then drop within an hour or two. With a quickly fluctuating blood sugar level, you'll always be reaching for another snack. Your body is still processing the food you just ate but the hormones released during this process tell your body that you are hungry and need to eat again. This is damaging for many reasons and is a prime enabler of type 2 diabetes and various cardiovascular diseases. 

 

What's wrong with dairy?       

Hormones play a huge factor in mood regulation. As I said above, when you digest food, hormones are released into the body. One of the main food groups that throw hormones out of whack is dairy. Dairy contains high levels of sugar. Yes, most often that sugar is natural but your body does not know how to determine natural from added. Regardless of the source sugar causes the blood sugar spike and a rush of insulin to the blood to relieve the sudden spike.

Insulin is a fat promoting hormone that is released in response to sugar (carbohydrate) in the blood. When insulin is present, it reduces the amount of sugar in the blood by sending some back into the cells to be used as energy. The remaining sugar is stored as fat. The more sugar you take in, the more is being stored as fat. Along with fat storage, insulin spikes also cause sugar cravings, overeating tendencies, poor mood and over prolonged periods of time, cause inability to control blood sugar naturally in the body.

 

Strike 2 for dairy!

In relation to hormones promoted by dairy, milk is produced by impregnated cows. Cows who are preparing food for their young to help them grow and flourish. In order to do that, estrogen is produced and is a major component in the milk along with some testosterone. When we drink milk we are receiving those sex hormones which we have in normal amounts already in the body. When we consume them from outside sources like milk, it can cause our natural levels to be thrown off. This can be especially damaging to our body composition and mood regulation. Just remember what milk is. Baby cow food designed to plump up the young calf and help it to grow strong. We as human adults do not need to be supported in this way or "plumped up." Therefore, dairy is not essential for us and actually quite damaging.

 

Have any other questions?

Shoot me an email - Megan@CrossFitPetram.com

-Coach Megan

 

 

Fundamentals For Nutrition

I’m sure you all have heard the saying “you can’t out train a poor diet,” but what exactly does that mean? As you can see, nutrition is the foundation of CrossFit. All other aspects are built upon proper intake of food. “Eating poorly” can be described in multiple ways, but they all boil down to the same main idea. You are not taking in enough of the quality, natural sources of energy that your body needs to fuel a workout and to adapt to the stress of exercise. During a CrossFit workout, your body is using carbohydrates as its main source of fuel to power through the tasks at hand in most metcons and high intensity wods. It uses protein to maintain and rebuild your muscle, and fat for fuel during workouts of lower intensity and longer duration.

Carbohydrates

In CrossFit, most of the energy your body uses in a typical metcon or a heavy lift comes from the carbohydrate stored in your body in the form of glycogen. When you eat highly processed foods that contain ingredients such as enriched flour or sugar, your body has a very quick response and those sources of energy are absorbed rapidly and stored as fat instead of glycogen (workout fuel).

If your body does not have enough carbohydrate stored in the body as glycogen, during an activity with a high demand for energy such as a CrossFit workout, it will start to break down muscle tissue to obtain more energy from the proteins which make up your muscles. Whether you are trying to build muscle, lose fat, or maintain your body composition, muscle breakdown is a negative effect which is not providing aid to any of those 3 goals. Muscle tissue is already broken down during exercise due to the contractions that take place and cause small tears in the muscle, but we want to avoid any unnecessary further break down due to insufficient energy intake.

Protein

During exercise, if you are regularly consuming sufficient carbohydrates your body is not using protein for energy. Protein’s purpose during exercise is to preserve your muscle from breaking down by supplying them with the building blocks that they need to rebuild. If you are not consuming enough quality sources of carbs, then protein will need to be used as energy which prevents it from being used to spare muscle degradation.  The average American should take in roughly 1.0g of protein per kg of body weight. If your goal is to increase muscle or even lose fat, you need a little more. Tissues are constantly being broken down throughout everyday living and need to be repaired. If you are not taking in enough protein before, during or after a workout, the amount that you are consuming will not be used to repair muscle that has broken down from working out, further hindering your muscle building, fat loss, or composition maintenance. Some good sources of protein include: poultry, fish, or lean cuts of meat.

 

Fat

Despite the common misconception that all fat is harmful, fat is vital to life! Fat is needed for many body processes including the synthesis of protein. During a CrossFit workout, which is typically “short” duration and high intensity, your body is using mostly carbs, but when the intensity of a workout is moderate, your body is fueled more by fat than carbs.

For example, a workout like Fran would require your body to use carbs as the prime fuel source. For a workout such as the one we completed last week: AMRAP 18 minutes, 800m run + 30 sit-ups, your body is going to be fueled by the fat you are eating more than the carbs because the workout is requiring you to hold a steady, slower pace instead of an all out effort sprint. About 15-35% of calories each day should come from fat. Some good sources of fat include: avocados, minimally processed olive or coconut oil, nuts and seeds.

The Take Away

One way to ensure that you are eating adequate amounts of each of the 3 macronutrients: carbs, protein and fat is to eat balanced meals that include a variety of different foods. For example, breakfast, lunch and dinner should all include a source of carbohydrate, a source of protein and a source of fat.

Along with those 3 meals should come 2 small snacks encompassing the same format of nutrition. A serving of protein will be about the size of your palm (3-4oz) and a serving of fat will be about the size of your thumb (1tbs). For carbs there are many options for sources and the most efficiently used sources are those that are whole and natural. For example, vegetables such as: broccoli, carrots, or salad greens like kale or spinach, whole grains such as: rice, quinoa, barley, and fruits, particularly berries. For whole grains, a serving will be that which would fit in your hand if you were to grab a loose handful. For vegetables and fruit, a serving would be measured by the size of a single fist.

For a balanced meal, combine one serving of protein with one serving of fat and 2-3 servings of vegetables plus one fruit or whole grain, and make sure you are eating one of these meals about 3 hours before CrossFit and about an hour after the workout has ended. For a snack, have 1 serving of vegetables OR ½ serving of fruit with 1/3 serving of protein and 1/3 serving of fat, and spread these snacks out throughout the day. Eating whole, natural foods can seem inconvenient but it is just as quick and easy to toss some carrots and a few walnuts into a bag as it is to grab a snack bar that is loaded with added sugar before you head out the door. With a little prep and a willingness to try, proper nutrition is a piece of cake. Aforementioned, nutrition is the foundation of CrossFit and if there is not a solid platform for the physical components to sit on, they all will suffer the consequences of an unsteady foundation.

I challenge you all to examine your food intake for 1 week. Next time you go to the grocery store, stick to the perimeter where you can find all of the fresh produce and meats. Limit items purchased from the isles, and most importantly, READ the label before you buy. If there are more than 5-10 ingredients and you can’t easily pronounce them, put it back!

MEGAN MEDEIROS, Coach