Tag Archives: #nutrition

Healthy Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai


I absolutely LOVE pad Thai- but when you order a takeout you’re not only getting all the carbs from the noodles but also all the bad fats from the cooking oils that they use. Here is a healthier version, replacing noodles with spaghetti squash (which I also love!) and cutting back on the unhealthy fat and calories- Enjoy!


Makes: 4 servings
Prep: 35 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 25 mins
Carb Grams Per Serving: 25

1 small spaghetti squash (1.5 to 2 pounds)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 jalapeno, minced
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon canola oil
3 cups thinly sliced green cabbage
1 14-ounce container extra-firm tofu, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
4 large eggs, whisked
1/2 cup peanuts, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped


1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees . Prick squash all over with a knife and roast on a rimmed baking sheet about 1 hour, or until tender when pierced.
2. Whisk together lime juice, vinegar, fish sauce, sugar, jalapeno and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer; keep warm over low heat, whisking occasionally.
3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add cabbage and saute 1 minute. Stir in tofu and cook, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes. Reduce heat to low and pour in eggs. Let sit 30 seconds, then stir constantly until eggs are just cooked, about 2 minutes more. Turn off heat.
4. Halve squash lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Using a fork, scrape squash from shell. Place strands in a large bowl and gently untangle with fork; transfer to skillet and fold into egg mixture. Drizzle with sauce, stirring to incorporate. Garnish with peanuts and cilantro.

Nutrition Information
Servings Per Recipe: 4
PER SERVING: 343 cal., 20 g total fat (4 g sat. fat), 707 mg sodium, 25 g carb. (5 g fiber), 20 g pro.


Recipe of the Week! Quinoa Breakfast Bake!


Bake up a pan of this healthy quinoa casserole for an easy hot breakfast on-the-go throughout the week. Add your favorite berries, nuts, seeds, and spices to make this recipe your own!

1 cup quinoa (uncooked)
2 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon allspice 2 eggs
2 cups skim milk 1/4 cup maple syrup 1 1/2 cups frozen berries
1 apple or pear, peeled, cored, and chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 cup coarsely chopped nuts (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Lightly grease an 8×8 inch square baking pan, and set aside. (Note: a 9×11 works fine, too!)
3. In a medium bowl, stir together uncooked quinoa, cinnamon, and allspice to coat quinoa with spices. Pour quinoa over bottom of prepared pan.
4. In the same bowl used for the quinoa, beat the eggs until fully mixed. Whisk in the milk and maple syrup, and beat to combine.
5. Scatter the berries, apple or pear pieces, and nuts (if using) evenly on top of the quinoa.
6. Pour the egg and milk mixture over the top of the fruit and quinoa. Lightly stir to partially submerge the fruit. (The milk mixture will cook the quinoa to create a very soft texture on the inside, while creating a lightly crunchy crust on the outside!)
7. Bake for 1 hour, or until casserole is mostly set with only a small amount of liquid left. Serve warm, and refrigerate leftovers.


Recipe of the Week!! Roasted Yam and Kale Salad!

Roasted Yam and Kale Salad


Here is a quick and easy dinner salad that is quick to prepare and full of healthy vitamins and minerals. Enjoy! 


2 Jewel Yams, Cut into 1-inch cubes

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 Onion, sliced

3 Cloves garlic, minced

1 Bunch kale, washed well and torn into bite size pieces

1 Tablespoon olive oil

2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 Teaspoon chopped fresh time

Salt and Pepper to Taste


Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Toss the yams with 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and arrange evenly onto a baking sheet.

Bake in the preheated oven until the yams are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool to room temperature in the refrigerator.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir the onion and garlic until the onion has caramelized to a golden brown, about 15 minutes.

Stir in the kale, cooking until wilted and tender. Transfer the kale mixture to a bowl, and cool to room temperature in the refrigerator.

Once all the ingredients have cooled, combine the yams, kale, red wine vinegar, and fresh thyme in a bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and gently stir to combine.


Food For Thought: Portion Distortion


As obesity rates rise, and diabetes is becoming an epidemic, shouldn’t we really be taking a look at what it is that we are putting in our bodies?  Doesn’t it seem alarming that when you order food at most restaurants the portion size is big enough to feed a family of four?  As portion sizes have grown at restaurants, supermarkets and at home, it’s harder to avoid overeating.  Here’s how portion sizes of some foods have changed over the past 20 years.


20 years ago: 3-inch diameter, 140 calories

Today: 6-inch diameter, 350 calories

Increase: 210 calories

Turkey Sandwich:

20 years ago: 320 calories

Today: 820 calories

Increase: 500 calories

Spaghetti and Meatballs:

20 years ago: 1 cup spaghetti with sauce and 3 small meatballs, 500 calories

Today: 3 cups of pasta with sauce and 3 large meatballs, 1,025 calories

Increase: 525 calories

French Fries:

20 years ago: 2.4 ounces, 210 calories

Today: 6.9 ounces, 610 calories

Increase: 400 calories


20 years ago: 6.5 ounces, 85 calories

Today: 20 ounces, 250 calories

Increase: 165 calories


These statistics are staggering.  We must also remember, that this only takes into consideration the amount of calories and the increase in serving size, and does not address any of the issues of what they put in food today as opposed to 20 years ago that is also contributing to disease and obesity.  I think the thing I take away most from this article is to remember to keep eating clean, healthy, organic, natural foods. Stay healthy, and stay happy!


Source: NIH 2013


Three Weeks a Vegan: The Top 15 Reasons That Lead Me to Change My Lifestyle


There are a lot of naysayers out there when it comes to the topic of veganism, so I wanted to share with you all some of the top reasons that I decided to make the change.  These are just a few amongst many, many things that led me to switch up how i’m fueling my body.  I’m currently three weeks in and, at this point, despite a rough first week, I wouldn’t go back to eating the way I used to.  I feel so much healthier and more satisfied after I eat than ever before.  Here is a list of the my top reasons I decided to turn vegan.

1. Maintaining a healthy weight: Vegans have lower rates of obesity and typically weigh five to twenty pounds less than their meat eating counterparts.

2. Cholesterol: High cholesterol can lead to a number of serious health conditions, and guess where you get cholesterol from? That’s right! Animal products.  Vegan diets are cholesterol free.

3. Milk: Humans are the only animals that drink another animal’s milk and to drink milk as adults. About 60% of people have trouble digesting milk (myself included).  Cut out the milk, cut out my tummy issues. Dairy products can also trigger acne.

4. Anxiety and Depression:  This was a huge reason for me.  Vegans have a lower incidence of anxiety and depression disorders than meat eaters.  I can say that even in the short 3 weeks I have not been eating any animal products both of those disorders have been greatly improved.

5. Alzheimers Disease:  There is a strong correlation between eating meat and getting Alzheimers. Seeing my grandmother suffer with this horrible affliction I will take any precaution possible to try and reduce my risk for this disease.

6. Heart Disease:  Eating processed meats can increase the risk of death from heart disease by a whopping 72%.

7. Life Span: There was a study in 2002 by the German Cancer Research Center which involved 1900 people, divided into 60 vegans, 1,165 vegetarians; and moderate vegetarians (occasional meat and fish eaters). Studying the mortality rate in comparison to the general population 52 deaths occurred for every 100 reported deaths. The results showed a 50% increase in longevity to male vegetarians and 30% for women.

8. Cancer: There has been a few studies that have came out lately saying a vegetable based diet can halt and in some cases eliminate Cancer. Though some people are saying going vegan is the cure for cancer, I would not be one to say that, as that’s ridiculous. However it is proven to assist in controlling the growth of cancer.

9. Global Warming: The environmental impact of livestock causes more damage than driving cars. Cattle rearing places a major impact on land and water degradation. When emissions from land use are included, the livestock sector accounts for 9% of CO2 deriving from human-related activities, yet it produces a much larger share of even more harmful greenhouse gases. It generates 65% of human-related nitrous oxide, which has 296 times the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of CO2. Most of this comes from manure. And it accounts for respectively 37% of all human-induced methane (23 times as warming as CO2), which is largely produced by the digestive system of ruminants, and 64% of ammonia, which contributes significantly to acid rain.

10. World Hunger:  60% of the world’s usable farmland is being stripped and destroyed by live stock. An acre of prime land can produce 40,000 pounds of potatoes, 30,000 pounds of carrots, 50,000 pounds of tomatoes; but only 250 pounds of beef. It takes 23 gallons of water to produce a pound of lettuce, 33 gallons for carrots, 4 gallons for apples. To produce of pound of Chicken it takes 815 gallons, for pork 1,630 gallons, and for a pound beef 2,500 gallons.

11. Vegan Recipes are Cheap, Plentiful and Tasty:  Vegan diets can be extremely economical. Many vegans center their diet around grains, beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds, all of which can be purchased cheaply in bulk. Buying in-season veggies and fruits is quite easy on your wallet. Eating Vegan on $4 a Day outlines an entire day’s-worth of nutritionally-complete, delicious meals that cost less than a take-out sandwich or double cheeseburger dinner.

12. Veganism is Not a Fad Diet: It may have gained momentum recently as a backbone of certain environmental and health movements, but veganism existed in ancient India and Greece, and is part of many religious beliefs such as Buddhism and Seventh Day Adventists.

13. Vegans Who Eat Well Don’t Need to Buy Extra Supplements: There’s just one: To help with brain and nervous system functions, vitamin B12 is key. Since B12 only occurs naturally in animal-sourced foods, vegans can instead eat fortified nutritional yeast and often sprinkle it over pasta, tofu ricotta, or fresh popcorn for a buttery taste.

14. Increase In Energy:  When following a vegan diet your energy levels tend to be much higher.

15. Avoiding Toxins: (non-organic) meat contains antibiotics, hormones & toxins produced by stress & pesticide residues that become concentrated from all the crops they have eaten.

There you have it, my top 15 reasons for changing over to a vegan lifestyle.  What made you make the switch?  Were you brought up  as a vegan from childhood? Were you looking for a healthier way to live?  Or are you a meat eater who has always wondered about becoming vegan but has yet to take that first step? I’d love to hear from you all! Thanks for reading!

Much Love


Overnight Breakfast Quinoa


I’ll admit it, I have a problem eating a fully nutritious breakfast, and I’m going to use the oldest (and lamest) excuse in the book- I just don’t have the time!! This recipe is made the night before and sits in your fridge overnight until it reaches it’s full yumminess capacity by the time you wake up in the morning.  Quinoa is a complete protein so top in the morning with fresh fruit, nuts, or seeds and you have yourself a complete meal in no time at all.  I hope you all enjoy!!


1/3 cup (60g) dry quinoa cooked with 1 cup almond milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 mashed banana
1-2 tbsps chia seeds or flaxseed
1/2 cup almond milk (or regular low fat milk)


Cook your quinoa by bringing the milk to the boil in a small pot, then adding the quinoa.

Turn the heat right down to a simmer and put the lid on the pot, allowing the quinoa to cook for 15-20 minutes or until all the liquid soaks up.

Allow the quinoa to cool completely, then combine it with the vanilla extract, banana, chia seeds/flaxseed and the extra almond milk and leave in the fridge overnight to thicken up.

Serve as you would usual overnight oats, topped with lots of fresh fruit, nuts or seeds of your choice.

Recipe thanks to SuperFoodSiobhan.blogspot.com

Taking Charge of Your Life


This morning I woke up and I, for some reason, thought back to the time when I hadn’t exercised in years, drank very heavily, and ate awful, body destroying foods.  I started to wonder why it took me so long to realize that my health and body were worth investing in so much more than a new handbag or a night out at the bar.  Some may call what I did extreme, but I took my 401k savings out (early! eeek) and invested ALL of it in getting myself in shape, getting my personal training certification, buying equipment, and basically turning my life around.  With the current obesity epidemic this country is facing, it makes me wonder why MORE people aren’t having this epiphany and doing something to change their current situation, whether it be weight loss, increased mobility, improving strength, or even just getting out and walking to improve your cardiovascular health.  I understand that people live busy lives, between jobs, family, and trying to fit in some ‘me’ time, it seems like it leaves little room for anything else.  However, let me say this, think of how great those days when you wake up and actually have energy feel…why not feel like that all the time?  Why not say, “I can take 2% of my day and dedicate that to 30 minutes of exercise”?  You don’t need a gym, you don’t even need equipment.  The internet is FULL of great videos that can get you started just working out in your living room.  Also, please don’t let yourself be defined by the number on the scale.  Every person is different, every body shape is different, don’t let a number come between you and your self confidence.   As far as nutrition goes, I feel like the majority of people choose to eat greasy, fast food meals, not because they are cheaper, but because they are FASTER. Take the time for your health to cook yourself fabulous nutritious meals.  Your body will thank you for it! The whole reason I got into this profession is so that I can help people.  I want people to see that they are WORTH making these life changes, to committing themselves to leading the healthiest, happiest, longest life possible.  You have it in you, you can accomplish anything that you set your mind to, the hardest part is always taking that first step.

Written By:

Shannon Benedetto ACSM-cpt