Healthy Eating On-the-Go

One of the most common questions that I’m asked is about eating on the go. What do you do when home cooked food isn’t an option? Let’s face it – life gets busy and there isn’t always time to meal prep. So, I thought I would shed some light on this topic by offering some of my favorite places to go…as well as some menu suggestions. We will start with lunch, since that tends to be the meal that gives people the most trouble. Let’s get started!

The first thing I want to get out of the way…Fast food can ACTUALLY be healthy. Yes…you read that right. I can’t believe I wrote that myself. The fact is that our budgets do not always allow for $10 salads or fancypants meals…but we still need to eat! Healthy options are available everywhere…you just have to look. With that out of the way, let’s go through some of my favorite places 🙂

Wendy’s – I have always loved their salads. Over the years, I stopped eating them but out of desperation I had one this week…and now I don’t know why I ever stopped. I had the Power Mediterranean and it was packed with protein and tons of healthy eats. Best part? It only cost $7!! That meal kept me full for hours and didn’t break the bank.

They also have other salads available, which do not contain as much protein but are equally good options.

Chick-Fil-A – I love me some Chick-Fil-A. Their meat is pure chicken and is always cooked fresh. I will be honest here and say that every time I go, I tend get the same meal – 8 piece chicken nuggets (not the grilled kind) with waffle fries and a sweet tea.

I know…not exactly a dieter’s delight. However, I don’t eat it often so I allow myself the treat when I do go. If this is what is convenient to you and you go more often, opt instead for one of their salads or grilled chicken options…and avoid the shakes & sweet tea altogether.

Moe’s/Chipotle/Salsa Fresca – This is by far one of the best options. The only rule – get a bowl…not burrito. Tell them to only put half the portion of rice (brown, if possible). Load up on veggies and meat. Stay away from the sour cream, add only a sprinkle of cheese and you are golden.

You can also get a salad and load it up with meat & veggies, which is equally good.

Boston Market – Another amazing option. Get the 1/4 white meal and add veggies as one of (or both) of your sides.

You can have any potatoes…just skip the gravy…and the cornbread. They put it on my plate above even though I refused it. However I didn’t eat it. I’ve had good cornbread…this isn’t it for me. However, if it is for you, then by all means enjoy it…just skip the potatoes.

Deli/Subway – When going to Subway you can get a 6-inch sub, have them scoop the middle of the bread out and get anything your heart desires. They don’t put a lot of meat or cheese anyway so anything you get will be ok. Delis can be a little more tricky. I would opt for a salad or a wrap with grilled chicken or sliced turkey. Watch your dressing and condiment selections but otherwise it should be good to go.

Diner – Diners are great for the simple fact they have HUGE menus. There are so many options to choose from and so many variations you can make.

Some suggestions: chicken souvaki (sauce on the side and NO fries), salads with grilled chicken (dressing on the side), or a turkey burger without a bun or fries. The list goes on and on. Another idea is to get breakfast for any meal. You can get an egg whites any way you like. The only thing you have to watch is your sides with this, since they definitely do not cook the eggs in a healthy way…meaning they load the griddle up with butter. Be cautious and use your judgment.

Chinese Takeout – Asian food can be really healthy if you do it the smart way. It may not look as appealing but it does taste good. Order your food steamed with brown rice (ie: chicken and string beans or broccoli) and get the sauce of your choice on the side. You will notice that if you spoon the sauce onto the food, you are using A  LOT less and therefore consuming at least half of the usual calories. Another good option – sushi. You have to watch the kind you get…and I would ask for brown rice instead of white, if possible…but it is definitely one of the better options on the menu.

Muscle Maker Grill – I LOVE THIS PLACE! There isn’t anything on the menu that I would advise against.

This place is designed for healthy eating and while it may not be budget friendly, is definitely worth the extra cash. If it’s local to you, definitely give it a shot!

I hope this helps just a little bit! When all else fails, find a salad or grilled chicken option wherever you are. You can never go wrong when choosing either of those. Just watch for your sides and condiments/dressing and you will be just fine!

For questions on this or any of my personal training/nutritional counseling specials, email me at TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com

Until next week, stay strong & stay in the fight!

-Gina

 

 

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When in Doubt, WORK IT OUT!

Well…it had to happen sometime I guess. Winter has come in full force and brought a blizzard with it. I hate the cold weather but living in NY it’s sadly part of life. If you are like me and go completely NUTS being stuck inside – work it out! Press pause on your literal “Netflix & chill” kinda day and get moving! Hell, you can even keep your favorite show or movie running as you do it. It’s a total no-brainer.

For starters, most of us have some sort of shoveling to do. As much as we all complain, it really is an amazing workout…so get outside and do it! Besides completing your shoveling duties for the day (or the hour), there are plenty of indoor workouts that can keep you moving. My favorite? HIIT! Nothing is better for fat burning and total body toning than High Intensity Interval Training. While these are typically done on a treadmill, I’ve created several HIIT circuit workouts that can be done anywhere…with little to no equipment necessary!

Here are just few to get you off the couch…and working up a good sweat. Try them out and let me know what you think!!

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Use any flight of steps in your house for this one:

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This one targets the booty and it can be done with either of the above circuits. I did this one last night and trust me – it’s NO joke:

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Last, but not least, ABS! This can be done anytime…anywhere…with any or all of the above workouts. This is one of my personal at-home ab routines…& it’s a killer!:wp-1453663354404.jpeg

I know firsthand how hard being stuck in the house can be on a weight loss journey. With all of the snacks available and so much free time, it truly can be a recipe for disaster. However, you have to remember your goals and just fight the urge to binge eat. Use your time productively! If you really want to be in the kitchen, use the extra time to meal prep for the days ahead. Keep in mind – summer is just a few months away! Don’t let the winter blues ruin all of your hard work and stop you from getting that sexy summer body! It may be hard to fighting the boredom binges but when you are happily strutting your stuff on the beach in a few months…it will ALL be worth it.

Stay strong & stay in the fight!

-Gina

TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

This too shall pass…

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Well…I’m back! I know it’s been a little while since I last blogged but I needed some time to regroup. Since Christmas I’ve had a lot of unnecessary stress at my job and it’s really been effecting my health. My stomach is the worst that it’s been in years…I haven’t slept very well…my skin keeps breaking out…I’m just a mess. My body has gotten very rundown and as a result I currently am getting over a bad cold. Between the stress and the horrible northeast winter, my workouts really haven’t been consistent. I completed the #Whole30 diet but due to everything going on, it was a failed experiment. Truthfully my life right now just isn’t conducive to such a strict diet with the stomach issues that I have. Once things settle down, I will have to give it another try.

I’ve spent the last few months doing the best thing that I could possibly think of – I’ve focused on the things that make me happiest. I’ve spent time doing things that I enjoy and seeing people who bring me joy. It’s been great balancing out my life and it’s allowed me to forget about the stress, if even just for a moment.

Unfortunately, my fitness has really taken a backseat. My workouts have been sporadic, at best. Between my stomach acting up and the sheer exhaustion from not sleeping well, I just haven’t had the energy or motivation to workout. Some people say they use stress to push them. Well, right before I got sick with this horrible cold I promised myself I would do just that. Truthfully, I feel like I’ve undone a lot of my hard work…and I want it to stop. Now with my stomach being very blown up, it’s a bit hard to get an accurate weight and size but nonetheless I’m not happy with myself these days. I’m not so sure that working out will necessarily change anything physically until I can get rid of the stress…but it will make me feel better mentally.

I recently discovered this fabulous app from Bodybuilding.com:

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It allows you to select workout programs based on your individual goal. Whether you want to tone up or become the next Arnold Schwarzenegger, they have a plan for you. Last year I followed a diet and workout regimen that mimicked that of a figure competitor. Well….this app has several programs geared towards just that! I will be starting one of the plans this week and incorporating it into my 4-weeks to fit challenge, which is coming in about 2 weeks! I also have to get back into doing cardio. Any workouts that I’ve done this winter have centered around lifting. I struggle with running so much due to my breathing troubles that it’s become a chore for me….but with summer rapidly approaching it must be done. While I do prefer lifting (and feeling bad ass), if I want to look good on the beach….cardio has to happen too.

I’ve gone through much worse situations than this in my life and I know that there’s light at the end of the tunnel. It’s going to be an uphill battle but I will try my best to keep my head up and use the stress as motivation rather than letting it keep me down. If you are facing a similar situation or if you are struggling in another way, remember this too shall pass. After all, nothing worth having comes easy. Work hard, lift heavy, and NEVER GIVE UP!

Stay strong & stay in the fight!

-Gina

TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com

My Whole30 Breakfast Plan

Breakfast has been one of the bigger struggles for me. I’m used to having oatmeal or a yogurt everyday…and both of these are no-no’s on the Whole30 diet. I’m also used to having coffee creamer or some flavor in my coffee…which is also not allowed. So I’ve had to adapt. Since beginning this diet, I’ve been eating eggs most days. I’m used to only eating egg whites but I’ve had to incorporate the yolk as well to make it more filling. I also have learned that you must incorporate some sort of meat or vegetable into your breakfast or else you will be starving all day.

The best part about these recipes is that they all take 15 minutes or less to prep and cook. I make all of my food the night before so I can grab it and go to work. They can all be easily microwaved and all taste just as great the next morning. All of the recipes seen here serve one, as I cook for myself. However, I can certainly assist you with expanding whichever recipe to feed more.  Feel free to ask if you have any questions or comments. Bon Appetit 🙂

 

Scrambled Egg with Sweet Potato Hash

1-large egg

1-small sweet potato

Black pepper, to taste

Pinch of salt

  • Begin by grating the sweet potato. Toss shredded potato with black pepper. Take a paper towel and drizzle some olive oil on it; rub oil onto a small pan.
  • Add shredded potato to pan and place on medium heat. Cook for approximately 5 minutes then flip. Continue this until cooked through.
  • Crack the egg in a bowl, add salt and pepper (I also had a pinch of parsley) as well as a drop of water. Poke the yolk and scramble egg with a fork. Set aside.
  • Remove potato from pan and add egg mixture. Let it set for a bit then flip eggs in pan. Cook for a total of 3 minutes. Lay egg over potato and enjoy 🙂

 

Egg in Avocado

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1-egg

½ avocado

Black pepper, to taste

Pinch of salt

Lemon or lime juice (to drizzle over avocado)

  • Begin by preheating an oven to 400 degrees.
  • Slice a medium avocado in half. Using the half without the pit, drizzle lemon or lime juice on top. This will help prevent browning. If using a large egg, scoop a little extra avocado out of the center.
  • Place avocado in a baking dish, such as a ramekin. Crack egg into avocado hole. Add salt and pepper.
  • Bake for approximately 20 minutes (I don’t like runny eggs so I cook until the yolk is firm, however you can cook for less time if you like it that way).
  • Remove from oven. Serve alongside fruit or sweet potatoes and enjoy 🙂

 

Scrambled eggs with leftover turkey “chili”
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2-eggs (one whole + one egg white)

approximately 1 cup of leftover turkey chili (no sauce)

black pepper, to taste

pinch of salt

pinch of parsley

  • Begin by cracking an egg into a bowl. Take the second egg and separate the white from the yolk; add the whites to the egg in the bowl. Add a drop of water, salt, pepper, and parsley to the bowl; scramble together.
  • Take a paper towel, add a little olive oil and rub onto a small pan. Heat pan on medium and add egg mixture. Cook for a total of approximately 3 minutes, stirring around throughout to cook evenly. Set eggs aside to cool.
  • *When I made turkey chili, I made sure to take about half of the meat and peppers out of the pot before making the sauce for it. I then portioned that half out and used it for two days worth of breakfast.
  • Take your leftover “chili” out of the fridge. Once eggs are completely cool, add to “chili” and place back in fridge for your morning breakfast.
  • **If you are making this to eat right away, reheat meat prior to cooking eggs. Set aside, cook eggs, and pour eggs over the meat.

 

Strawberry Smoothie

*This shouldn’t happen everyday but once in a while it’s a nice addition to break up all of the savory foods.*

approx. 1-cup of frozen strawberries

1/3 cup of light coconut milk

1 tbsp flax seeds.

  • Place all ingredients in a blender. Add water if needed. Blend and enjoy along side a banana.

 

Coffee
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This is where I thought I would struggle most. I love my coffee creamer and sweet flavors from Dunkin and Starbucks. However, I found that canned coconut milk is creamier and slightly sweeter than what I was used to. I add about 1/3 cup of light coconut milk, which is the serving size…and while it sounds like a lot, trust me you will need it! I also add a pinch of cinnamon. Somehow that’s a fake-out to making your mouth think you’re having something sweet. Anyway, this has actually been working really well for me and I don’t really miss the extra sweetness in my cup of Joe. I even found you can alter your favorite Starbucks drink with it! I got a Grande Americano, black then I went home added the coconut milk and blended with some ice. Topped that with the pinch of cinnamon and boom—Coconut Blendicano 🙂

Water: I’m making a point to add this. I have a bad habit of forgetting to drink during the day. I don’t really know why or how it happens but I do. I’ve found that the more water I drink early in the day, the less hungry I am as the day goes on. I didn’t invent that theory but I figured out how true it was when I was starving during the first few days of this diet. So, it may not be the most exciting beverage and you may already know to do this…but be sure to get at least your 8 glasses in while doing this diet.

 

This diet, like everything else on this journey, is extremely hard. Remain focus and remember why you started. It may not get easier but you will feel so much stronger for doing it. After all, nothing worth having comes easy.

Stay strong & stay in the fight!

-Gina

TheFight2Befit@gmail.com

Soothe your Soul

Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend! I am finally starting to feel like myself again, after being out of commission all week with a bad throat infection and a mild case of bronchitis.

I don’t do well with sitting still so I’ve been climbing the walls. Obviously being so sick meant no working out this week…and it also meant no food shopping. My stock was running so low! I finally made it out to Trader Joe’s yesterday and I can FINALLY begin my quest on the Whole 30 diet this week

Anyway, with a low food supply I had to make do with what I had…but I managed to create a healthy, delicious soup…and it may even cure what ails ya! This soup is inexpensive to make and you can make it to your personal preference. For example, I used chicken broth but you can certainly sub that out for vegetable stock if you prefer. Make it for yourself or for a loved one. Enjoy the rest of this 3-day weekend everyone 🙂

Pastina Kale Soup

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Ingredients:
-1 can chicken broth (or 2 cups) (I use Swanson 100% natural)
-1 can (or 2 cups) of water
-1/4 cup pastina (any small pasta will work)
-1/2 cup kale (I used frozen but use what you have!)
-Pinch of salt, red pepper flakes, and garlic powder
-1/2 tsp Italian seasoning

Directions:
-In a small pot, add chicken broth and water along with seasonings. Bring to a rapid boil.
-Add pastina. Stir until broth boils again. Add kale.
-Cook for approx 6 min. Carefully drain most of the broth into a container. Add the rest along with pastina and kale to a bowl.
-Top with some grated cheese and enjoy 🙂

A Healthy Alternative to a Dinnertime Classic

Tonight I was in a bit of a food rut. I purposely ran my stock low since I was supposed to begin the Whole 30 Diet this week. However, with an upcoming road trip to Philadelphia I decided to postpone the diet by one week. That, combined with the neverending snow (resulting in my inability to get to my favorite supermarket), has my stockpile running crazy low. I got tired of soup and carb-heavy dishes so I walked up to my local supermarket with a mission to find a protein. Since they are a neighborhood store they tend to be overpriced but I figured at the very least I could always just get a rotisserie chicken and use leftovers for lunch and whatnot. Boy was I surprised at what I found. Turkey cutlets…for a good price! Turkey cutlets are RARELY inexpensive so I tend to not buy them as often as I would like but I definitely lucked out tonight. I got a pack, which was about a pound, for only $2.99! I usually grill my cutlets but tonight I wanted them breaded so I came up with a healthier alternative to a fried classic. Instead of drowning the cutlets in oil, I only drizzled enough to barely coat the pan. I did have to drizzle the pan twice, since the cutlets had to be cooked in batches however, it was still a very small amount and significantly less than what you would normally use for cutlets. I also cut down some calories by only using an egg white rather than the whole egg. The result was a lighter, very tasty dinner. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you my latest culinary creation….Enjoy! 🙂

Turkey Cutlets

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  • One pack of turkey cutlets
  • 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg white
  • ground sage
  • black pepper
  • pinch of salt
  • paprika
  • olive oil

-Lightly whisk one egg white in a bowl. On a separate plate, mix together all dry ingredients. Set both aside.

-Drizzle olive oil in a grill pan and set heat to medium high.

-While pan heats, begin dredging the cutlets in egg wash and breadcrumbs. Once coated, place the cutlets in the grill pan. Cook for approximately 5-7 minutes on each side.

Serve alongside your favorite veggies or with a salad. I served mine with a side of roasted sweet potatoes and string beans. Super simple, super fast, and best of all…healthy! Bon Appetit everyone 🙂

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Stay strong & stay in the fight!

-Gina

TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com

Transforming From the Inside Out

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Happy Friday everyone!  Last night was the season finale of The Biggest Loser and it left me extra inspired.

The contestants always come so far…not just in the weight loss but in life. The changes that occur in such a short amount of time is nothing short of amazing.

I got to thinking about how much the show really has taught me. This whole journey isn’t just about weight loss…it’s about getting your life back and taking control of your own happiness. I’m realizing more and more each day that I’m not the same girl that I used to be.

Earlier this week we were hit with a big snowstorm…which derailed my precious gym time. The old me would have used that as an excuse to stay home and veg out in front of the tv. Not anymore. I definitely used the shoveling to my advantage and I also made sure to use my time indoors for some killer at-home workouts. No more excuses.

I was truly miserable for so long that I didn’t know what it meant to be happy. I went from being a depressed teenager to an unhappy young adult who partied her way through sadness. That insecurity also landed me in an abusive relationship, which lasted most of my twenties. It also lead me to some very toxic friendships. I was so unhappy and insecure that I clung to the wrong people for way too long…and for all the wrong reasons.

A little over two years ago, I found the Biggest Loser and decided enough was enough. I started working out and eating right. As I lost the physical weight, I also started dropping the dead weight…in the form of the negative people in my life. As time went on I grew stronger…not just physically but mentally.

Unfortunately, not everyone is happy to see you succeed. While I do have some incredible people in my life, I’ve also lost some “friends” along the way. They say that misery loves company; now that I’m truly happy in most aspects of my life, some people have disappeared. It’s sad how life can be sometimes, but its taught me who my real friends are. I’ve always said that I’d rather have a handful of genuine people than surround myself with a huge group of phonies. I’m too old for the nonsense – nowadays it’s most definitely quality over quantity. You either have my back no matter what or don’t even bother.

I am forever grateful to the Biggest Loser for teaching me that you need to transform yourself from the inside out. You can’t truly succeed with a physical transformation until you conquer your inner demons. Everyday I learn something new about myself…and in doing so, I’m becoming a better person. I feel lucky to have the support of true friends, a loving family, and the best boyfriend a girl could ever ask for. I’ve lost a lot of weight but most importantly, I’ve gained my life back.

No matter how much you may struggle, it IS possible. Don’t let any type of negativity weigh you down. Love yourself enough to respect yourself. That may seem easier said than done but I’m living proof that against all odds, you can overcome obstacles and achieve any goal you set. It won’t be easy but always remember: nothing worth having comes easy.

Stay strong & stay in the fight!

-Gina
TheFight2BeFit@gmail.com