Food Friday – Breakfast Muffins

The other week I was having a conversation with a friend of mine about her breakfast. She was not getting full off of her smoothies and cooking eggs every morning with a 15 month old child was kind of out the question for her. So it got me to thinking about what could be made ahead to grab and go on a hectic morning to help encourage serial breakfast skippers from missing their first meal of the day.

I mean there is granola, pre-packaged homemade oatmeal, hard boiled eggs, protein shakes and the list goes on but sometimes these items don’t hit the spot. So I figured I would take a crack at making a muffin. Now before I dive in here I feel like I need to share my opinion of muffins in general. I personally feel that muffins are just miniature cakes that people forgot to put icing on because the icing would well make it a cupcake.

Untitled

Sure yes there are healthy muffins out there but I am talking about the ones you are buying at Starbucks and Tim Hortons and basically any other prepared muffin, they aren’t great for you. So anyways I decided I would try and make a gluten free, refined sugar free, and oil free muffin. The first one turned out alright but I didn’t find it to be sweet or moist enough, luckily with just a couple tweaks I was able to find something that worked, was delicious and good for you.

Sweet Potato Breakfast Muffins
20130719-085526.jpg

Makes 12 muffins – 1 muffin per serving
Nutritional Information: 110.2 calories – 3.9g fat – 15.1g carbs – 3.6g fiber – 4.3g protein

1 cup Mashed Sweet Potato/ Yam (no butter or milk just the potato)
2 Bananas mashed
3 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
Pinch of Salt
1 cup oat flour
2 tbsp ground Chia Seeds
1/3 cup ground Flax Seed
1/3 cup Pumpkin Seed

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix all wet ingredients together until smooth.
  3. In a separate bowl combine dry ingredients until combined, and then mix dry ingredients into the large mixing bowl with wet ingredients. Stir until well combined, about 2 minutes with an electric mixer.
  4. Line muffin tin with muffin liners. Fill muffin cups up about 3/4th of the way and pop them into the oven. They will cook for 25-30 minutes. Remove when a toothpick can be inserted into the middle and comes out clean.

I hope you enjoy these muffins  and they help to make your breakfasts and snacks a bit easier.  Pair them up with some protein and vola!

Happy Friday! I hope everyone enjoys the heat, and the weekend!

Advertisements

Food Friday – smoothie wheel

With the helpful advice from some of the trainers at my gym yesterday I figured I would attack the age old question of “what do I put in my smoothie?” Now personally I kind of just toss in whatever I have on hand and it doesn’t necessarily have to mix, this can be a hit or miss type of situation so to save you all some trouble, don’t use arugula, keep that for your salads. Anyways….most of the time my toss in what I have method works, but sometimes I figured it is nice to have a recipe or at least a general idea of what tastes good.

So I figured I would share with you some concoctions. They each pretty much stick to my pattern of 4 main ingredient categories leafy greens, fruits, liquids and proteins. After I make the base I often add in additional things normally for nutritional value over taste, but sometimes they amp up the delicious flavours too. 

_DSC0141

*please note that almond milk and various nut butters are obvious liquid and protein sources but personally I would never use them due to my allergy to tree nuts so I have omitted them. 

When making a smoothie my portions are generally 1 for leafy greens, 2-3 from the fruit, 1 liquid, and 1 protein and then whatever swayed me in the way of extras.  Here are some combos that I have found particularly delicious.

Green Monster:

1 small green apple (granny smith)
1 hand full of spinach
1 kiwi
1 tbsp flax
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1 cup water

Tropical Blast:

1/4 cup pineapple pieces
1/4 of a mango diced
1 handful of spinach or swiss chard
1 cup soy milk
Shredded coconut
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 scoop vanilla whey (you could sub this out for 1/4 cup greek yogurt)

Chocolate Dipped Berries:

1/4 cup blueberries
1/4 cup raspberries
2-3 strawberries (chopped)
1 handful of spinach or kale
1 cup water
1 scoop chocolate protein powder
1 tbsp cacao powder
1 tbsp chia seeds

Breakfast in a Cup:

1/2 banana
3-4 Strawberries
1/4 cup oatmeal
1 tbsp all natural Peanut Butter
1 cup soy or rice milk
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp cinnamon

For each of the above recipes put all the ingredients and blend until smooth.  Pour into a glass and enjoy. Personally I love smoothies for breakfast, but they are also great in the middle of the day or as a quick meal after the gym.

They are also so easy to make I find them a fun way to test out new flavour combinations, so give it a try, get creative and see if you can’t find something amazing! If you have a favourite smoothie combo share it below I am always looking for new flavour combinations.

Happy Friday Everyone!

*note: just so you aren’t shocked when it happens, the leafy greens will turn your smoothie a shade of green. Don’t be alarmed, it just means it will be even more delicious. 

Protein: What is your Deal?

Ever since completing my course on Nutrition and Wellness I have had some friends come to me with questions about what they are eating; is it enough? Is it too much? is there anything missing? Knowing that no one is perfect I think as humans we are always looking for where there is room for improvement and what types of things we can fix. One of the things I have seen the most frequently and something that I personally struggled with was eating enough protein.

What is a protein anyways? Well there are two different types of protein: complete and incomplete. A complete protein is a food that has all 9 essential amino acids in balanced proportions, an example of this is would be eggs, eggs are basically amazing. An incomplete protein, you guessed it, lacks one or more essential amino acids, an example of this would be nuts or seeds. For meat eaters getting all of your essential amino acids really isn’t an issue seeing they are all present in meat (poultry, beef, pork, etc), for vegetarians and vegans or the meat adverse it might just take a bit of extra finagling to make sure you are getting all essental amino acids. A non-meat eater can do this by combining two or more incomplete proteins (e.g. rice and beans) to create one complete protein. There are also foods such as quinoa and soy which are non-meat forms of complete proteins.

Protein CollageNow that we know what a protein is, what are they good for? Proteins are used by the body for just about everything, from tissue (muscle) repair, to helping transport vitamins and minerals all over your body. When you think of all the things that proteins do it makes sense that they should be an important part of your daily meal planning. I believe it is also important to note that protein is essential for all people (sedentary to bodybuilders and professional athletes) the levels of protein your body needs to consume in order to operate at its maximum capacity just change based on your activity levels. It is pretty reasonable to think that a bodybuilder or a professional runner would require more protein than someone that spends most of their day working in an office and rarely makes time for exercise…but this doesn’t mean those who are more sedentary need protein any less for daily functioning.

The average person requires 0.8g of protein per kg of body weight, so about 0.4g per pound, depending on how active you are this number can go up (1.3g per kg if you are active or pregnant and 1.8g per kg if you are an athlete or training). For example if you are a 150lbs woman who is active on a daily basis you should be aiming to consume about 88.7g of protein each day.

How are you supposed to track this? How do you make sure you are getting enough? To find out the quantity of protein in something the first place I look is normally the nutrition lable, they break down how much protein (among other things) per serving and it will give you an idea of what you are feeding your body. Other useful tools for tracking your protein intake are apps such as Lose It that help you to log everything you have eaten in a day and it keeps track of your calories, protein, sugars, and activity levels. Personally I journal, I like the act of writing out the food I eat and I don’t calorie count because well it makes me totally crazy and I find that the ownership behind writing out your meals is enough to keep me on target to meet my goals. That being said everyone is different so be sure to find something that works for you.

When adding or changing anything in your life it is always good to do a bit of research to get a general idea of what is out there. For ensuring you are getting adequate amounts of protein in your diet it shouldn’t be any different. Go out and find out what some of your favourite foods have to offer in the way of protein and maybe check out ways of increasing it. Knowing the average amounts of proteins in food will make it a bit easier for you to plan your meals.

Here are a couple examples of foods and their protein levels; 1 cup of milk has about 8 grams, 3 oz of meat has about 21 grams, and 1 cup of dried beans can have about 16 grams of protein. Now there are other things that contain protein, such as vegetables (e.g. spinach, broccoli, and peas), nuts, legumes, quinoa, chia seeds, sea food (most would consider this meat), any dairy product, dairy substitutes like fortified soy milk or almond milk, the list is pretty endless.

If protein is so essential why aren’t we more aware of it? I don’t think protein avoidance is something that anyone tries to do; I believe that it comes down to education. I think a lot of us, especially meat eaters take for granted that we are getting enough protein because we eat meat, and I think some non-meat eaters may not be aware of the plenitude of options out there. Before I was given guidelines for healthy living I really just assumed my muscles were supposed to be sore for a week after working them out, it hadn’t occurred to me that maybe they needed something more to help them heal.

 Guidelines for Healthy Living

Armed with information I am able to make better choices for my body and I am sure my body and muscles thank me for making healthier choices. To help you make some healthier choices when it comes to protein intake I have included a list of protein packed foods for breakfasts and snacks. I am focusing on breakfast and snacks because I personally find that they can at times be the most difficult ones to figure out in terms of what to include to get your protein.

breakfast-egg

healthy-snacks-weightlossI hope these ideas help you in your own healthy meal planning, and I hope that despite the snow today you are having a great day!

Happy Tuesday!


References:

How Much Protein Should I Eat
Protein
Can You Get too Much Protein?
Vegetarian and Vegan Guide to Protein

Food Time Friday – Birthday Edition

Hello folks today is my birthday AND more importantly it is International Women’s Day!!! Every year I feel so lucky to have the chance to share my birthday with the celebration of women everywhere. If you haven’t been grateful, thankful or otherwise positive towards a lady today maybe just take a minute to do so and if you are a lady I hope today is a bit of a reminder to all of us to support one another with positivity, love and compassion.
tumblr_m0kvlehwjS1r09zijo1_500So today is my birthday and you might all be thinking I am taking a vacation from things, and all I have to say to that is I WISH! I am not giving myself any breaks. I will be hitting the gym up like any regular Friday and I strongly doubt Alannah will be easier on me just because I am getting older. I actually think it will be nice to have a little sweat session at the gym in celebration of getting older and to remind myself of just how far I have come on this health, fitness and happiness journey of mine. Although I am looking forward to the gym, I don’t think the same can be said for heading to the office. Is it just me or do you agree that we should get a floating vacation day to be used on our birthdays, I mean how awesome would that be?

All that being said, today is still Food Time Friday and intend to bring you some tasty healthy treats. Well this week it isn’t so much of a treat as it is a great brunch or breakfast. You can prepare everything before hand and then just pop it in the oven in the morning and easy fuss free brunch/breakfast is served.

Broccoli and Turkey Sausage Oven Omelette

Serves 6

1/3 cup egg whites
5 eggs
1 cup steamed broccoli, finely chopped
3 green onions
½ sweet potato baked and diced
4 turkey sausages cooked and diced
Dash of soy milk (can use skim if you prefer)
Coconut oil (about a tsp)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place whole sweet potato on a baking sheet and cook for 40-45 minutes. In the last 30 minutes of cooking the sweet potato add in the turkey sausage and bake through.
2.Once sweet potato and turkey sausage are fully cooked remove from oven and allow to cool. Turn oven down to 350.
3.In a medium sized bowl mix eggs, egg whites and soy milk together until blended. Season with salt and pepper.
4.Chop green onions, broccoli, sweet potato and turkey sausage.
5.Put some coconut oil on a paper towel and grease a casserole dish, to limit the amount of sticking that will occur. Once the dish is greased place onions, broccoli, sweet potato and turkey sausage in the dish and pour egg mixture over top. If you need to stir the dish to make sure everything is coated in egg.
6.Cook oven omelette for approximately 35-40minutes. You know it is done when you shake it and the egg doesn’t move.
7. Serve with a side of salad.

I hope everyone has a great day today. Happy Friday!

Food Friday

It’s Friday!!!! I am sure everyone is excited for the weekend, I definitely know I am.

Today is also a weigh-in and measurement day for me so I am pretty excited and will have some result on that later.

While I wait for an update on my fitness progress I figured I would share with everyone the quick breakfast oatmeal recipe I have been talking about for two weeks now.

It is super simple and so easy to prepare in advance.

Grab and Go Oatmeal

20130301-125004.jpg1/3 cup quick oats
1 tsp ground flax seed
1 tsp chia seed (I used white but black would be great too)
1 tsp cinnamon

1. The listed ingredients creat one serving. To make it convenient for grabbing on your way out in the morning I suggest making several portions in snack sized ziplock bags. Once you have made multiple portions be sure to store them in the fridge to keep them fresh.

2. To cook either mix oats with hot water cover and allow to sit for approximately 5 minutes. Or stir in water and microwave for 1-2 minutes.

3. You can add berries, bananas, peanut butter, apples or eat it plain, these oats will definitely fill you up.


Have a wonderful Friday and a great weekend everyone!

Gingerbread Protein Bars

Earlier this week I tried to make some Gingersneezes gluten free, refined sugar free cookies, after them turning into more of a holiday fail cookie and being thoroughly disappointed in my attempt I decided that I would try my hand at another protein bar recipe with a holiday twist. They unlike the holiday Gingersneezes cookie turn out fabulous!

Gingerbread Protein Bars

GingerbreadServes: 9

2 cups Old Fashioned Oats
2 scoops Chocolate Protein Powder
2 tsp Cinnamon
3 tsp Ginger
½ tsp Nutmeg
¼ cup ground chia seed.
1 egg
½ cup unsweetened Organic Apple Sauce
¼ cup Dark Old Fashioned Molasses
1 tsp vanilla

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 11×7 casserole dish with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl combine oats, protein, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and chia seeds.
  3. In a medium bowl combine egg, apple sauce, molasses and vanilla, stir together.
  4. Fold liquid mixture into the oats. Stir until all the oats are completely covered in the molasses mixture.
  5. Transfer mixture into the casserole dish; ensure oats are spread evenly in the dish.
  6. Place in oven for 25-30minutes until they begin to harden, be careful not to overcook or the bars will become very hard.
  7. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10-15minutes, cut into bars before the dish has completely cooled, and ENJOY.

This snack is perfect to take with you as a post gym snack especially if you are pumping some iron these little guys are packed with protein. They are also great as a grab and go breakfast.

Hope everyone is having a great Friday!

Friday Food Time

Let’s get into it, the most important meal of the day, BREAKFAST!  Now I am a huge fan of breakfast, mostly because if I don’t eat it I feel like throwing up and passing out, but also because there are so many delicious options out there to choose from.  From a quick protein shake in the morning because I am running out of time to get ready, to an egg sandwich and oatmeal when I have a bit more time.   With the winter months coming (they have already arrived for some) I wanted to make a nice hardy style meal that would be easy to grab and go when you are in a hurry.

So here it is:
breakfast bar
PBB CollagePeanut Butter Blueberry Protein Oat Bars
Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

3 cups Old-Fashioned Oats
2 tsp Cinnamon
2 Eggs
2 cups Plain Rice or Soy Milk
1 tsp vanilla
3 tbsp Natural Peanut Butter
2 Scoop Chocolate Protein Powder
1 tsp Chia Seeds
1/2 cup Blue Berries
2 tbsp Organic Maple Syrup or agave

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Coat an 8×8-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  3. In a large bowl, combine old-fashioned oats, cinnamon  and gluten free flour.
  4. In a medium bowl, beat eggs and add plain rice milk, vanilla, natural peanut butter, chocolate protein powder, chia seeds, blue berries.
  5. Add to the oats, pour mixture into dish, and bake for 30 minutes.
  6. Drizzle with maple syrup or agave.

Happy Friday Everyone!!! Have a wonderful weekend.