Freekeh Recipes

What is Freekeh?

Freekeh is an ancient grain that is used in any of the same dishes that you would use other grains such as rice or quinoa. It is made from young green wheat that has been toasted and cracked. It is a whole wheat that is high in fiber, protein and other essential nutrients. (source)

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Babywearing Exercises

babywearing workouts Wanted to repost these from instagram so they are all in the same spot! As I make new ones (believe me there will be some more coming!) I will post them here.

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Costco Grocery Shopping List

costco shopping cart

So if you came to my house and opened our fridge and freezer you would notice that I buy A LOT of my groceries from Costco. Thought I’d share today what my typical grocery list looks like, the items I love, and the items to stay away from.

I usually go to Costco once or twice a month, we have a deep freezer so I am able to keep a lot of stuff frozen until I am ready to use it.

My Typical Shopping List

Download your own Printable Shopping List Below!
Obviously people have different preferences so change it as you like, and I intentionally left out items that I generally buy at the regular grocery store such as potatoes, herbs, etc.

  • Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast & Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs– comes in pouches of two HUGE chicken breasts, these are great to defrost and make a quick dinner like Cilantro-Lime Chicken.
  • Salmon – I will buy fresh most of the time, and freeze whatever I don’t use for dinner. Lately I have been buying the frozen one out of laziness, but it tastes just as good and is a bit cheaper.
  • Top Sirloin Steak – These steaks are HUGE, so even though they are pricey my husband and I will split a steak so it’s enough for 4 dinners
  • Ground Turkey Breast – Comes in packs of 4 so they are great to freeze and defrost to make turkey burgers, meatballs, tacos, or mix with spaghetti sauce
  • Sliced Turkey Breast – Great for wraps
  • Frozen Fruit- strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, cherries, pretty much whatever they have that day (it changes with the seasons)
  • Spring Mix Salad- they have a HUGE pack of spring mix salad for $3.50. Pretty much can’t beat that. At that price I don’t feel so bad when I throw the last bit out that has gone soggy.
  • Coconut Oil- I use this for all my cooking so we go through it quickly.
  • Fresh Blueberries/Strawberries/Blackberries – whatever is in season.
  • Apples or Oranges
  • Tomatoes – awesome for cucumber and tomato salads
  • Butternut Squash – they have it already cubed and at an awesome price, but unfortunately they don’t have this all the time.
  • Cauliflower or Broccoli – comes already cut and ready to steam
  • Bag of Spinach – we put it in our morning smoothies
  • Low carb Tortillas – my husband likes these, I eat them, but if you are expecting them to taste like the real thing you will be in for a surprise.
  • Eggs
  • Almond Milk – best price for a pack of 3 cartons!
  • Fage 0% Greek Yogurt – I don’t eat dairy but this is my husbands favorite nighttime snack
  • Zone Protein Bars – Okay, this is borderline a cheat item because it is pretty much a chocolate bar but they are good to have on the go.
  • Rotisserie Chicken – Okay, I NEVER leave Costco without buying one, even if we aren’t going to eat it that night. For $5 this tasty and easy meal is good for days. You can eat the chicken by itself, on salads, in wraps, in a soup, etc. It may be high in sodium but for the amount of protein it provides and how freakin’ delicious it is I’m okay with that.

costco rotisserie chicken

Optional

  • Bell Peppers
  • Corn on the Cob
  • Rolled Oats
  • Granola Bars
  • Chicken Broth
  • Vitamins
  • Paper Towels
  • Bottled Water
  • Frozen Vegetables
  • Olive Oil
  • Skinny Pop Popcorn

Seems like a lot of food right? It IS! But, if I stick to just what I need and only buy ‘real’ food I can usually get out of there spending $180-$200 and that covers a good portion of our dinners for the next two weeks

frozen costco food ground turkey breast costco shopping list

BAD Shopping Choices at Costco!

Here are some things to stay away from if you want to save your waistline and your budget.

  • Skip the entire section with snacks, nuts and baked goods. Even though a lot of these look like ‘healthy’ choices they aren’t. Chips that say they have Kale in them may be healthier than regular potato chips, but they still aren’t good for you! I personally LOVE their croissants, but I definitely don’t need to eat a dozen of them, so I just skip this section all together to avoid the temptation.
  • Skip the frozen aisle with all the pre-made meals. Obviously taquitos, breakfast sandwiches, and processed foods are not a healthy choice…and they are expensive to boot!
  • Skip the juice aisle. Juice or soda is fine for a treat every once a in a while but having a 24 pack of sugar packed juice boxes in the house will just encourage you to drink more than you should.
  • Skip the nut & trail mix aisle. Yes, nuts are good for you…in moderation. If you have the willpower to only have a handful of nuts a day then great, save some money and buy them in bulk. Personally, I don’t because I end up eating ¼ bag of trail mix in one sitting which is the calorie equivalent of running 10 + miles. No thanks.

costcoblogpost4_FotorCLICK HERE FOR A PRINTABLE SHOPPING LIST! 

How to NOT spend WAY too much money

In order to save your budget try these tips.

  • Go in with a list, commit to ONLY buying what’s on the shopping list. Yes, you definitely could use a new set of mixing bowls but do you need them? No. I am really guilty of this and I’m doing much better lately at sticking to the list.
  • Don’t walk through every aisle. Only go to the sections of the store that you know have the items you need. I skip the electronics, home items, toys and clothing, and head straight to the back where the meat and vegetables are kept, then I make my way around the freezer and dry food aisles skipping the middle section of ‘seasonal’ stuff . That is what usually gets me. How can I not buy new beach towels? They won’t have them again until next year!
  • Don’t buy items that you will not use in a reasonable amount of time. If it will take you a year to use a Costco sized bottle of Olive Oil then don’t bother. It will go bad before you use it all and it would have been cheaper to just buy a smaller bottle at the grocery store. Same with fresh produce, if the item is not part of one of your planned lunches or dinners in then next 7 days then skip it this time. I hate the day before garbage day because I always go through the fridge and find items that were forgotten and had gone bad. Throwing out fresh fruits and vegetables makes me cringe since it’s pretty much the same as tossing money in the garbage.

Want a 7 day clean eating meal plan based on the items you see above? Want the accountability of a trainer that checks in and helps you stick to your goals? Email me today to try my 7 day clean eating challenge and get started on the path to a healthier life!

In fitness & good health,

Natasha

costcoblogpost

costco shopping list

Costco Shopping List JPEG
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Lactation Smoothie

I posted another recipe on yummy lactation cookies that turned out great, so I decided to just take the ingredients and throw them all into a smoothie. It turned out great too! Here’s the recipe…

imageYou need, a blender of sorts – We have the Nutribullet and it’s awesome.

Ingredients
1/4 cup rolled oats (old fashioned works best)
1 tablespoon brewers yeast
1 frozen banana
1 tablespoon almond butter
1/2 tsp coconut oil or flax seed oil
Almond/Coconut/Cows Milk
Cinnamon for taste
Handful of Spinach (optional – you can’t taste it but it’s a good addition!)

Put all the dry ingredients in the blender, fill with milk, blend until smooth.

Enjoy!
Natasha

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Weight Gain in the Workplace

Image Source 

potluck lunch

So here’s an update of where I am in terms of my ‘be as healthy as you can be’ for the month of March. It’s been 3 days and I have to say I haven’t slipped up once! Now I haven’t been as strict with my diet as I could be (yes..had myself a glass of pinot with dinner tonight), but overall not terrible. I went on a great power walk with my husband on Sunday, went to Crossfit on Monday, and went for a another walk with a girlfriend and her baby tonight.

This week I went back to work at a nursing home, just covering a vacation for a coworker. When I got home I was reflecting on how working in an office or social setting can really derail one’s healthy eating plan! Not only is a there a string of fast food places across the street, but it seems the staff is always eating or passing food around! Whether its a birthday potluck for a coworker or someone decided to bring in cookies because it’s Friday there is ALWAYS something to eat. This can make it tough for people, like myself, who are impulsive, always hungry and are too polite to say no when someone offers. So here are some tips on how to avoid gaining weight in the workplace.
– Planning and preparation is key, bring a lunch everyday with lots of healthy snacks. By snacking all day you won’t be starving when someone comes by with the box of donuts. Also by eating every 3 hours you will keep your metabolism revved which helps burn more calories.
– Pack your lunch at night while you are making dinner. This way it is not an inconvenience and you are less likely to forget in the morning because you woke up late.
– Keep a diary of everything that goes into your mouth. Even if you aren’t counting calories you are far less likely to eat that cookie if you know you have to write it down! Funny how that’s works huh.
– Use your step tracker. I mentioned in a previous post that i LOVE my fitbit. Most smart phones have their own built in step tracker. If you are an office worker make a point of taking the long way to the bathroom or copy machine. In a recent study by Thorp et al. (2014) it was shown that even just transitioning from sitting to standing every 30 minutes can significantly decrease fatigue and back pain. Maybe it’s time to convert to a standing workstation after all!?

On another note, I came across some interesting but true research while looking stuff up tonight. This article by Shoham et al (2012) studied social effects on people’s choice of activity and how this can contribute to the ‘contagion effect’ of obesity. “Network contagion” can be comprised of  3 different things,

1) social influence; 2) confounding by shared social environments of network members; and 3) social selection or homophily (“love of sameness”) on shared predisposition to engage in (un)healthy behaviors. (Shoham et al, 2014).

In their study they found that homophily and social influence are important in understanding factors contributing to adolescent obesity. I feel like this also applies to adults because doesn’t everyone want to feel like they fit in regardless of how old you are? So what’s the answer? Ditch all your overweight friends? NO!  (jeez that would be mean, and you deserve to have no friends!) The great thing is, this theory works both ways! If you live a healthy lifestyle your friends will want to as well! So next time, instead of eating those cookies on top of the office fridge bring some veggies or tasty dried fruit and let everyone feast on that. On that note, I’m going to make my lunch and go to bed early, I’m not used to having to leave the house early anymore!

In fitness and good health,

Natasha

References
Occup Environ Med. 2014 Nov;71(11):765-71. doi: 10.1136/oemed-2014-102348. Epub 2014 Aug 28.

Shoham DA, Tong L, Lamberson PJ, Auchincloss AH, Zhang J, et al. (2012) An Actor-Based Model of Social Network Influence on Adolescent Body Size, Screen Time, and Playing Sports. PLoS ONE 7(6): e39795. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0039795

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