Simple nut-free pumpkin granola (kid safe)

afitmess
March 7, 2017

 

This pumpkin granola may just be the easiest thing you will ever make. With around seven ingredients, it’s simple to throw together even on the busiest of mornings. Plus, it’s gluten-free, dairy-free, and nut-free which makes it a great (and safe) choice for school snacks. If your child does not have any nut allergies, you can toss in slivered almonds or chopped cashews. Try adding some dried fruit, like raisins or blueberries. 

 

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of gluten free rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup of honey (or maple syrup)
  • 1 tablespoon of cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons of pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, slightly melted
  • 1 tablespoon of sunflower seed butter
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • pinch of sea salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine oats, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine coconut oil, sunflower butter, vanilla, and pumpkin. You may need to heat these up slightly in order to incorporate everything.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the oats and mix well.
  5. Spread granola over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes.
  7. Allow to cool before serving.
  8. Store in fridge for maximum freshness.

 

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Enjoy!

 

 

{Guest post}: 4 simple changes to better health by Matthew Alegre

afitmess
February 28, 2017

Hi friends! I hope are doing well. Today’s post is brought to you by my husband, Matthew. When we’re not chasing after the girls or trying to break up an argument over Shopkins, we have some pretty interesting conversations. As you can imagine, they typically involve something about health and fitness, a podcast we listened to, a recent study that was done, Carpe Diem Personal Training stuff, or good food we want to devour. The other day we started talking about the challenges of eating healthy, the role stress often plays, and the little things we can do to get back on track. So Matt’s going to take it away and I’m going to make sure he doesn’t use any offensive language before hitting “publish.”

Common challenges we face when it comes to eating healthy

 

It seems like we have less time in our day than ever before. It’s difficult to try to balance all of our daily commitments (like work, family, and household tasks) and the various forms of stress that we face with proper care for ourselves. As a parent, I understand what a lot of my clients face each and every day – we are all incredibly busy.

 

In my experience, one of the biggest challenges people face when it comes to eating healthy is not being prepared. Between taking kids to school, chauffeuring them to various activities, working full-time, to maintaining your home there’s just not enough time in the day. Less time and more stress leads to poor meal choices. We end up eating whatever’s convenient or easy.

 

I try to encourage anyone who wants to establish better eating habits to focus on being prepared. This means spend a day on the weekend prepping food for the week ahead. Have real food on hand so you aren’t tempted by garbage. Use your crockpot for mid-week meals. Don’t buy junk. Have items that are simple and easy to make and can be thrown together quickly. Make and bring your lunch to work. Small changes can set the foundation for better longterm habits. 

 

Another common issue may be that the person who wants to eat better is met with resistance by his or her family. It can be difficult to get your whole family on board with a better lifestyle. Listen, I totally get the issue of trying to feed picky toddlers. However, this is where you have to show a little tough love. If you are making the meals then your family will just have to eat what you prepare. If they don’t want it then they can get their own food. One of my favorite expressions is lead by example. Show your kids that you care about your health as well as theirs. They will catch on to your actions.

 

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Small changes can yield big results down the road. Here are a few, simple steps you can make today for better health tomorrow: 

 

1. Eat your first and final meal within a 12-hour window.

This means if you eat breakfast at 7:00 am, then you shouldn’t be eating anything after 7:00 pm. This is beneficial for several reasons. First, it encourages more consistent and fulfilling meals. It also supports liver function as well as digestion. Finally, it hinders snacking throughout the day and bingeing at night.

 

2.  Cut out processed foods and anything that comes from a box.

Learn to cook real food.  Your meals don’t need to be elaborate. Prepare simple, healthy items. Meat, nuts, and vegetables are great choices. Contrary to public opinion, meat and fat are not bad. You don’t need to follow a Standard American Diet (SAD) simply because that’s the norm. Otherwise, you might end up like Joe Schmo Couch Potato.

 

3. Plan! Success comes from being prepared.

If you don’t plan, you plan to fail. Make your food in advance, carry healthy snacks, and stock your fridge with whole foods. Be sure to eat every 3-4 hours. When you go too long between meals your body can’t function properly. You get tired, moody, and hungry which makes you more likely to grab junk food.

 

4.  Understand your food triggers.

Stress is a huge contributor to poor eating choices. If your cortisol is high then you are going to crave foods that spike your insulin (sugar, carbs, etc.). Ask yourself: what are the sources of stress in my life and how can I find ways to reduce them? When you feel stressed at work, do you want to hit the vending machine? Understanding your triggers is a huge part of redirecting your habits. Once you are aware of what may set you off then you need to figure out how to combat them. One small trick I use to curb sugar cravings is to mix 2 teaspoons of L-glutamine with a glass of water (or a small amount of heavy cream). It’s an effective way to satisfy a sweet tooth.

 

Additional links:

Carpe Diem Personal Training, Inc.

Poliquin Group Supplements 

Paleo vanilla cupcakes + summer weather in winter

afitmess
February 13, 2017

This weekend was a whirlwind. Despite not having any real plans we were all over the place with the girls and the last two days passed in a blur. Here’s hoping this week goes well for all of us!

 

Right?!

 

Our weather has been WILD! This weekend it was in the 70s. We made the most of it and spent a lot of time outdoors at the playground and riding bikes. It’s hard to believe it’s February.

This little cutie finally went down the swirly slide by herself. 🙂

The girls have a Valentine’s Day party today at school so I spent Sunday making and decorating cupcakes. I made these Paleo vanilla cupcakes from Elana’s Pantry and they turned out really well. However, I got halfway through the recipe and realized it only makes 6 cupcakes (whomp whomp) so I had to triple the recipe.

 

These vanilla cupcakes are grain free, dairy free, and nut free. Plus, they couldn’t have been easier to make. I will definitely be making them again!

Easy Paleo Vanilla Cupcakes by Elana’s Pantry

 

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • teaspoon celtic sea salt
  • teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 large eggs
  • ¼ cup palm shortening
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

 

Directions:

  1. In a food processor, combine coconut flour, salt, and baking soda
  2. Pulse in eggs, shortening, honey, and vanilla
  3. Line a cupcake pan with 6 paper liners and divide batter between each
  4. Bake at 350° for 20-24 minutes
  5. Cool for 1 hour and then frost with your choice of frosting

 

To save time, I went with store-bought frosting, but next time I will try this buttercream one!

I got a bit fancy and decided to make little heart toppers as a decoration. I took two foam hearts and placed them on either side of a toothpick and Viola!

I then put the frosting in a zip lock baggie and cut the end off of one corner to make an icing dispenser.

So pretty!

Of course, what kind of baker would I be if I didn’t try one?

 

Have a wonderful day, friends!

 

What did you do this weekend?

What’s your favorite cupcake flavor?

 

{Recipe}: Easy crockpot turkey chili (Paleo, gluten-free)

afitmess
January 16, 2017
A Fit Mess

Hey friends! How was your weekend? For those who have the day off, I hope you are enjoying the holiday. We had a party at the girls’ school and now we are home getting ready for a nap. I’m certain all the activity the girls got today was negated by the sugar they just consumed. 🙂

 

Is it chilly where you are? Our temperature has been up and down, but right now it’s cold and gray, which makes me crave all the comfort foods. One of my favorite cold weather meals is turkey chili. It’s warm, filling, and perfect for cold, dark evenings. And preparing this dish in the crockpot makes it super easy to throw together. It’s loaded with veggies and packed with flavor. Definitely one of the favorites in our house!

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There are a lot of variations available for this dish. You could sub chicken or beef for the turkey meat here or make it all veggies for non-meat eaters. If you are doing Whole30 then you could easily omit the beans. Toss it all in the crockpot, leave it for 5-6 hours and then pat yourself on the back for whipping together an awesome meal.

 

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Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of ground turkey (or chicken)
  • 1/2 white onion, chopped
  • 1 whole green pepper, chopped
  • 1 can of kidney beans, rinsed (you can also use pinto or black beans)
  • 14 oz. can of chopped tomatoes,
  • 4 oz. can of green chilies
  • 1 cup of marinara sauce
  • 2 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1/2 tablespoon of chili powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions:

  1. Get out your super-duper crockpot.
  2. Spray bottom of pot with cooking oil.
  3. Add onion, pepper, beans and chilies.
  4. Add turkey, tomatoes, and sauce.
  5. Toss in garlic and spices.
  6. Heat on low for 6 hours.
  7. Top with avocado.
  8. Devour.

 

Please let me know if you try it. Enjoy!

What’s your favorite cold weather meal?