3 Cooking Hacks For Healthier Meals

Relax. Healthy cooking is way easier than you think!

No, you don’t have to completely overhaul your existing recipes for something healthier and less delicious. Sometimes it’s the smallest tweaks that make your dishes the healthiest, and you can even preserve all those signature flavors you know and love in the process.

How easy can it be? Here are three simple hacks you can use to health-ify your meals in just one step.

Liquid Stevia Instead of Sugar

Got a sweet tooth, but want to cut down on the sugar? Replace the sugar in your recipes with liquid stevia!

Stevia is a healthier alternative to sugar that is often found in healthy dessert recipes; don’t worry, you’ll still experience that same “rush” of sweetness that you get from sugar, so you don’t feel like you’re missing out on anything!

 

Greek Yogurt…Learn to Love It!

Meet your new best friend, Greek yogurt!

Greek yogurt is a creamy delicacy that can replace ice cream in your diet. Just add in some fruits and you’ve got yourself a heck of a late-night snack.

Greek yogurt is also used in place of ingredients like sour cream, so be on the lookout for healthy recipes that use Greek yogurt in creative and delicious new ways.

 

Lettuce for the Win

Craving a juicy burger or a melt-in-your-mouth sandwich? If you’re looking to lower your carb intake, there’s a simple trick you can use to do just that: swap out the bread for lettuce.

Think about it: you preserve all the flavory goodness packed inside the sandwich without killing your diet. Lettuce is a green vegetable, one of the healthiest veggies you can eat, so you won’t feel guilty biting into that lettuce-wrapped lunch sandwich or that dinner burger you’ve been waiting to eat.

Recipe: Cookie Dough Delight

This recipe tastes exactly like cookie dough…minus the guilt…and the sugar…and the tummy aches…

Just replace the dough with some creamy nut butter and mix in nutritious ingredients like liquid stevia, garbanzo beans, and coconut milk, and voila! You have yourself a cookie dough recipe that’s vegan and low in sugar and calories.

Keep this cookie dough nearby — it’ll be impossible to taste it and not go back for more!

Ingredients

  • 1 can (15 oz) of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup of creamy nut butter (peanut or almond or tahini)
  • 1 tablespoon of raw honey (or more to taste)
  • 20 drops of liquid stevia (or more to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons of flax meal
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut milk, full-fat
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1/4 cup of Lily’s chocolate chips (stevia-sweetened)

 

Instructions

  1. In a food processor, combine the garbanzo beans, nut butter, honey, stevia, flax, vanilla, coconut milk, and sea salt. Blend until smooth and creamy. Taste for sweetness; if needed, add more honey or stevia.
  2. With a large spoon, mix in the chocolate chips. Enjoy immediately, or chill until you’re ready to serve. Enjoy!

 

Nutritional Facts

Servings: 1

Calories: 265

Fat: 8g

Sodium: 109mg

Carbohydrates: 36g

Fiber: 9g

Protein: 13g

Sugar: 8g

These 3 Resistance Band Exercises Flat Out Work!

Ditch those janky old weight machines. You don’t need them to get in a great workout!

In fact, all you need are a few bands and yourself. Simple enough, right?

Bodyweight resistance training is a hit in boot camps nationwide. Rather than mess around with overcomplicated machines, people want something straightforward and effective. It’s why more and more people are switching from big box gyms to boot camp programs.

So where do you start? Here are a few bodyweight resistance exercises to try the next time you work out.

Resistance Band Shuffles

First, get a resistance band that wraps around the outside of your legs. Make sure it stretches enough to allow for side-to-side movement.

Shuffle to the side, leading with your outer foot first and then following behind with your second foot. Keep your hands together in front of you. Add in squats for some extra lower body work.

 

45º Suspension Squats

For this one, you’ll want to get some suspension straps with hand grips. Anchor them to a bar or hook above your head. Grab the grips and lean back so that you’re at a 45º angle. Then, perform squats, extending your arms as you descend to the ground.

 

Resistance Band Curls

Get some resistance bands with hand grips. Stand on the middle of the band, grabbing one hand grip in each hand. Perform curls. When pulling, make sure your band isn’t too loose or too tight!

5 “Healthy Food Myths” Blocking Your Weight Loss Goals

Let’s say it’s Sunday afternoon. You’re walking through the grocery store looking for some healthy meals and snacks you can prepare for the week.

You’ve decided to get serious about making a lifestyle change, and work hard for the body of your dreams!

You walk down the aisles, shopping list in hand, ready to make those good choices.

You keep in mind all the “healthy food” advertisements you’ve seen popping up on the internet lately and promptly fill up your cart.

The grip on your 6 shopping bags is as strong as ever as you make the super human one-trip-trek from the car to the kitchen.

Then you realize, you didn’t actually look at the the nutrition labels before you bought the food.

You start reading through each of your items and you’re practically speechless at the amount of sugar and fat that’s actually in these supposed “healthy” foods!

You’re not alone in this situation, advertising has a funny way of making not-so-healthy foods appear to have all the right nutrients your body needs.

Warning: These foods may be a shock! But if you’re truly serious about getting in shape, you should definitely continue reading!

Granola

The crunchy, sweet grains that add that extra something to your morning yogurt might actually be adding a little extra something to your body, if you catch our drift.

Granola is perceived to be a healthy, protein packed snack. In reality, in order for it to have that sweet taste we love, a lot of sugar, oil, and butter is thrown into the mix.

If you read the nutrition labels on granola, some of them reveal a staggering number of calories.

For example, in 1/2 cup of Nature Valley Oats N’ Honey Granola, you’re eating 210 calories and 12 grams of sugar! The nutritionist recommended amount of sugar intake a day should only be 25 grams – so you’ve already eaten half of your sugar intake for the day in just that 1/2 cup!

For all you granola lovers out there, you can still enjoy these crunchy clusters. Try researching some brands that offer organic grains, and use coconut oil or olive oil in their ingredients as a healthier option.

Flavored Yogurt

We’ve got another big liar in the house!

Flavored, pre-packaged yogurts are crowned with the title of an easy, on-the-go breakfast or snack. Often paired with our old friend granola.

Don’t be fooled! Just because the label says “contains real fruit”, doesn’t mean it’s your healthiest option.

Many of the yogurts that contain fruit is pureed, or has been sitting in some kind of syrup. This means most of its nutrients have been stripped and have little nutritional value. Say hello to sugar overdose!

So what should you do? Start buying plain, Greek yogurt. You’ll get much more protein, calcium, and vitamin D than you would in flavored yogurts. Plus, you can add your own whole fruits to the mix without the guilt!

Smoothies/Juices

healthy strawberry, blueberry, and raspberry smoothies in glasses with colored straws

If you’re one of those people who enjoys making a smoothie or juice every morning before work or after a workout, you may want to reconsider.

We get it, your intentions are completely pure.You’ve been led to believe that smoothies and juices are just fruits and vegetables, and therefore good for you, right?

While they’re not totally bad for you, they’re not totally great either. When you blend up your fruits, you’re stripping away the fiber and important antioxidants within it. This causes your blood sugar and insulin levels to spike.

Additionally, fruit has its own natural sugar that, when eaten in moderation, is good for you. But if you’re making a juice or smoothie a few times a day, that’s a lot of sugar you’re consuming!

When you drink your calories, you get a short term fullness that doesn’t last too long. This may cause you to eat more than what you need. If you eat an apple, you feel significantly more satisfied than just drinking a glass of apple juice.

Health professionals argue that fruits and vegetables in their natural state are the best way to get the nutrients you need to keep your body functioning at its best!

Now, this isn’t to say you should never gulp down a smoothie or green juice again. Drinking your fruits and veggies is by far a better option than picking up a soda or store bought juice.

Just keep in mind that in addition to those juices, make sure you’re still getting in your fiber and protein to make up for any lost nutrients in the juice.

Whole Wheat Bread

“No! It can’t be! It’s whole wheat! How could it be bad for me?!”

Did we correctly read your mind?

We know how amazing bread is – you can stick practically anything you want between two slices and suddenly it becomes a delicious, filling meal.

The problem is when you’re taking in the wrong kind of bread. Despite what you may think, carbs aren’t always the enemy. In fact, we need them to give us energy and promote a healthy digestive system.

The “whole wheat” bread you find in the store isn’t telling you the whole truth. Unless you see “100% whole wheat” on the label, chances are you’re getting white bread with a tan.

What some manufacturers do is mix in some wheat flour into the mix, and then label it as whole wheat bread.

Sneaky!

Another mark of a truly healthy bread is if you see that each slice contains at least 2 grams of fiber.

Reduced Fat Peanut Butter

It’s peanut butter facts time!

Peanuts on their own are full of healthy monounsaturated fats, which help lower cholesterol levels and prevent heart disease.

When you opt for peanut butter brands that say “reduced fat”, you’re not really getting a fair trade off of nutrients.

They actually have the same number of calories, but with added sugar to make up for the lack of fat.

Our advice? Stick with a natural peanut butter that has all that wonderful fat in it. Remember, not all fats are bad fats!

 

It’s easy to believe what you see in advertisements – after all, they’re supposed to be truthful in their claims right? Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. If you’re ever at a loss for what you should put into your body, just remember that foods in their most natural form are usually the healthiest options!

Workout: Bodyweight Business

Get down with some bodyweight business!

Today’s workout is made up of all bodyweight leg exercises. No dumbbells. No confusing machines. You just need yourself to get started!

This is another freestyle time trial! Use your phone or a stopwatch to record how fast you can get through this workout. Rather than compete with others, try to best your own time and focus on your own progress!

What kind of bodyweight exercises do you enjoy doing? Let us know in the comments below!

Warm Up

March in Place

Jog in Place

Jumping Jacks

Crunches

 

Time: 2 minutes

Repeat: 2x

Transition Time: N/A

Time at End of Warm Up: 2:30

 

Station #1

Prisoner Squats – Squat with your hands behind your head. Make sure you move your head straight up and down!

 

# of Reps: 50

Repeat: N/A

Transition Time: N/A

Time at End of Station: Will Vary

 

Station #2

Reverse Lunges + Knee Ups – Do a reverse lunge, then immediately drive your knee forward. Transition between the lunge and the knee pump without returning to the starting position.

 

# of Reps: 40 (20 Per Side)

Repeat: N/A

Transition Time: N/A

Time at End of Station: Will Vary

 

Station #3

Squats -> Side Lunges – Start of with a squat: as you dip, move your head straight up and down and push your backside straight out. Then, perform a side lunge keep your arms on your hips, then extend your leg out to the side, leaning into that side as you lunge.

 

# of Reps: 30 (15 Per Side)

Repeat: N/A

Transition Time: N/A

Time at End of Station: Will Vary

 

Station #4

Burpee Push Ups – Start standing up. Immediately jump down into push-up position, then perform a push up. As you finish the push up, jump in to gather your legs, then jump up and reach as high as you can. Land in the starting position and repeat.

 

# of Reps: 20

Repeat: N/A

Transition Time: N/A

Time at End of Station: Will Vary

 

Station #5

Tuck Jumps – Start standing up. Jump straight into the air, tucking your knees in as you reach the height of your jump. Land in the starting position and repeat.

 

# of Reps: 10

Repeat: N/A

Transition Time: N/A

Time at End of Workout: Will Vary

Recipe: Homemade Almond Butter

Are your protein shakes getting bland? Not a big fan of bananas by themselves?

Today’s recipe is really simple, quick to make, and delicious—especially on a banana or in a protein shake. Yep, we’re making almond butter!

Although almond butter is a healthy spread overall, it pairs especially well with the keto diet! Why? It’s high in protein and fat, yet low on the calories and carbs. Add in some coconut oil and you’ve got a healthy treat on your hands!

Almost ready for some almond butter? Thought so!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of roasted, unsalted almonds
  • 1/4 of a teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil

 

Instructions

  1. Blend all of the ingredients in a food processor until creamy. This can take up to 10 minutes, so when in doubt continue to blend, blend, blend. Enjoy!

 

Nutritional Facts

Servings: 1

Calories: 109

Fat: 10g

Carbohydrates: 3g

Sodium: 28mg

Fiber: 2g

Protein: 4g

Workout of the week: Fit-astic fat fighter

Want a workout that melts fat?

Try this one—it’s an upper body and lower body burner! You’ll alternate between push up based exercises and leg based exercises.

Why is it important to work out your entire body? It gives your body that “completed” look. It shows that you really care about your fitness—every single part of it.

Before you know it, you’ll get people asking you, “How do you look so amazing?”

Ready to get going?

Warm Up

Squat Jacks (30 seconds)

Run in Place (30 seconds)

Push Ups (30 seconds)

Mountain Climbers (30 seconds)

 

Time: 2 minutes

Repeat: 2x

Transition Time: 30 seconds

Time at End of Warm Up: 2:30

 

Station #1

Primary Movement: Elevated Push Ups – Place your hands above ground, such as on a bosu ball, then do push ups

Secondary Movement: Prisoner Jump Squats – Perform jump squats with your hands behind your head

 

Time: 3 minutes

Repeat: 3x

Transition Time: 30 seconds

Time at End of Station: 6:00

 

Station #2

Primary Movement: Burpee Push Ups

Secondary Movement: Prisoner Jump Squats

 

Time: 3 minutes

Repeat: 3x

Transition Time: 30 seconds

Time at End of Station: 9:30

 

Freestyle Workouts

Curtsey Lunges – With hands clasped, do a backwards lunge at a 45º angle

Lateral Raises – Start with dumbbells at your sides, then lift them at 45º angles until they are straight out

Supermans – Lie flat on the ground, then raise your arms and legs while keeping your stomach on the ground

Skater Hops – Shuffle to one side, plant your other foot behind at a 45º angle, then dip and touch your opposite hand to the ground (see GIF)

Squats + Dumbbell Curls Press – Squats with dumbbells, keeping the dumbbells parallel to your feet when squatting down, then curling them as you rise up

 

 

Time: 6 minutes

Repeat: 3x

Transition Time: 1 minute

Time at End of Workout: 16:30

Recipe: Beef with Broccoli

There’s something so satisfying about coming home from a long day of work with a Chinese take-out meal.

However, that bloated sodium induced feeling you get afterwards is just not as satisfying.

But what if we told you that you can have that same level of comfort, but with less calories, better nutrients, and more protein?

This beef and broccoli dinner recipe is a convenient, delicious, and easy recipe to make during the week, so you can take-out the take-away!

We know cooking after a long day of work sounds like the last thing you’d want to do, so that’s where this recipe comes in to feed you and your family in less than 30 minutes!

Ready to saute your way to health? Let’s get cooking!

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup coconut aminos or low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup filtered water
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup, grade b
  • 3 Tablespoons arrowroot starch
  • 2 Tablespoon Olive oil, divided
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 4 cups organic broccoli, cut into small pieces
  • 1.5 lbs grass-fed flank, skirt or minute steak, cut into very thin strips

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl combine the coconut aminos, ginger, garlic, water, syrup and arrowroot. Set aside.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, on high, in a large skillet or wok. Add the green onions and broccoli, saute for 5 minutes. Remove from skillet.
  3. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and stir-fry the steak until almost done, about 4 minutes.
  4. Return the veggies to the skillet and add the sauce. Heat until the sauce boils and thickens, about 3 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

Nutritional Facts

Serving Size: 6

Calories Per 1 Serving: 371

Fat: 14g

Sodium: 684mg

Carbohydrates: 15g

Fiber: 2g

Protein: 34g

Recipe: Maple glazed salmon

Salmon has never been this sweet!

Maple glazed salmon might just become your new go-to dinner option. Really, what’s there not to love? The combination of maple syrup, coconut aminos (or soy sauce), and lemon juice blend to elevate the flavor of this dish to out-of-this-world levels.

Not only does this salmon make your taste buds dance with joy, it delivers a healthy serving of both omega-3 and vitamin B12.

Ready to cook some another amazing dish? Follow these steps and you’ll have a delicious dinner in front of you in no time!

Ingredients

  • 1/4 of a cup of maple syrup
  • 1/4 of a cup of of coconut aminos or soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 (6 oz.) boneless center cut salmon fillets

 

Instructions

  1. In a large ziplock bag, combine the maple syrup, coconut aminos, and lemon juice. Generously season the salmon fillets with salt and pepper. Place the seasoned fillets in the marinade and seal the bag. Place the bag in the fridge, skin side up, for an hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease the bottom of a casserole pan with olive oil.
  3. Place the fillets, skin side down, on the prepared pan and bake until flaky (about 15 minutes).Enjoy!

 

Nutritional Facts

Servings: 1

Calories: 286

Fat: 10g

Carbohydrates: 14g

Fiber: 0g

Protein: 34g

Recipe: Blueberry Muffins

What’s a good morning without a nutritious breakfast?

Breakfast lends itself to many delicious, and healthy, options – yogurt, fruit, oatmeal, eggs, whole wheat toast…

But have you ever thought to include muffins in that list?

What is typically categorized as a sugar filled treat, these blueberry streusel muffins are packed with protein to satisfy your sweet tooth while keeping you on track with your fitness goals!

There’s a common misconception among those starting their health journey, that you have to give up the foods you love to lose weight.

Let’s put that misconception to rest – there are so many ways to enjoy your favorite foods, but in different ways which won’t expand your waistband!

Let’s get to cooking!

Ingredients

  • Coconut oil spray
  • 2 Cups liquid egg whites
  • 1 Cup vanilla protein powder
  • 1 Cup old fashion oats, divided
  • 1 Cup frozen blueberries, divided
  • 1 Teaspoon Lemon Zest
  • ½ Teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ Teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 12-tin muffin pan with coconut oil spray.
  2. In a blender combine the egg whites, protein powder, ¾ cup oats, ½ cup blueberries, the lemon zest, sea salt and vanilla extract. Blend until smooth.
  3. Pour the batter evenly between the 12 muffin tins. Divide the remaining blueberries evenly between the muffins and drop into the batter. Place a sprinkle of the remaining oats on the top of each muffin

Nutritional Facts

Serving Size: 2 muffins

Calories: 150

Fat: 1g

Carbohydrate: 12g

Sodium: 290mg

Sugar: 3g

Fiber: 3g

Protein: 20g