How I made 5 meals in 1 hour

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By: Ali Brown, RD, LD

One common thing people tell me is that having healthy, homemade meals is inconvenient and time-consuming. While this can be true, it doesn’t have to be! I want to share with you how I took 1 hour of my day, and had 5 healthy meals available for the week. You can certainly double what I did to make 10 meals, or quadruple it to have meals for your family.

Below you will see exact amounts for the ingredients that I used, but I want to stress that these amounts can be changed to accommodate your taste preferences and availability of foods. This menu is designed to be paleo-friendly, but you can easily add non-paleo items such as cheese and sour cream to accommodate your personal eating habits. I have made suggestions under each recipe for ways to make them approved for SHAPE ReClaimed.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground meat of choice (the leaner the better)
  • 1 large piece of romaine
  • Spinach (2-1/4 cups, or use 2 cups of shredded cabbage)
  • Seasoning
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1 teaspoon onion powder
    • 2 teaspoons seasoned salt
    • 1 teaspoon pepper
    • 1 teaspoon cumin
    • 1 Tablespoon basil
    • 1 teaspoon crushed red peppers
  • 4 slices avocado
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 whole + ½ cup diced bell pepper
  • ¾ cup diced tomato
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 jalapeno or about 5 canned jalapeno slices
  • 8 black olives
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • ½ cup salsa
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil

 

Let’s get started! We are making:

  1. Tacos
  2. Sloppy Joes
  3. Stuffed peppers
  4. Taco salad
  5. “Spaghetti”

A time-saving tip that will help here is to dice or cut all of your veggies when you bring them home from the store. This not only helps put these meals together quicker, but can also make grabbing veggies for a snack a lot easier.

 

Meat

The only protein source we are using is ground meat – I used beef, but you can use turkey, chicken, or pork if you prefer. I technically use 1-1/4 pounds of meat, but I am browning 2 pounds to make it easy. Once the meat is browned, add 1 cup of water, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 2 teaspoons seasoned salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper.  Simmer the meat for about 10 minutes, or until most of the water is gone.

I bought 4 pounds of meat and set 2 aside to make a meatloaf. I put the meatloaf together while the meat was browning and it was in the oven while I was putting the meals together.

 

Tacos

Not than any of these meals are difficult to put together, but this one may be the easiest to put together. Simply tear a large piece of romaine off the head and stuff it with meat, salsa, and whatever veggies you like best! I used 4oz ground meat, 1/4 cup diced tomato, 1/4 cup onion, 4 black olives, and 2 Tablespoons of salsa. For reheating purposes, it is best to store the meat in a separate container than the veggies.

Though romaine is a great substitute for a tortilla, you can also use a baked bell pepper or a napa cabbage wrap!

** To make this approved for SHAPE ReClaimed, omit the black olives and make sure the salsa is homemade or free of “natural flavors” and sugar.

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Sloppy Joes

Step 1 in creating this meal is to make your ground meat “sloppy”. I do this by sautéing 1/4 cup of onion and 1/4 cup of bell pepper in 1/2 Tablespoon of olive oil until the onion is translucent. Add 1/2 cup tomato sauce and 1 teaspoon cumin until hot. Add 4oz ground beef to the mixture and let it simmer to soak up the sauce. Add more tomato sauce if you like yours a little more messy.

I serve sloppy joes inside a “baked” sweet potato. Since I’m lazy, I cook my potato in the microwave. There are great directions here but basically, all you need to do is wash your sweet potato, poke holes in it with a fork, wrap it in a wet paper towel, and microwave it for 6 minutes, flipping halfway through. If you have a big sweet potato you’ll need to microwave it for longer.

For reheating purposes, it is best to cut the sweet potato into smaller pieces (or mash it) before serving.

** To make this approved for SHAPE ReClaimed, sauté your veggies in chicken broth or balsamic vinegar. Omit the sweet potato and replace it with sautéed bell peppers, spiralized zucchini, or riced cauliflower.

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Stuffed Peppers

Yum! One of my favorite dishes. Sauté 1/4 cup onion and a little bit of garlic in 1/2 Tablespoon of olive oil until the onion is translucent. On low heat mix in 1/4 cup diced tomato, 1/4 cup chopped spinach, 4 ounces of ground meat, and 1 Tablespoon of basil until hot. If you aren’t following paleo guidelines, brown rice or quinoa is a great addition to this mix.

Take the top off of the pepper and stuff the mixture inside (if you have too much filling, set it aside and serve with the pepper). Put the pepper in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes.

Tip: If your pepper is too tall or wide for your storage container, cut it up and eat a slice with every bite of meat.

** To make this approved for SHAPE ReClaimed, sauté your onion in chicken broth or balsamic vinegar.

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Taco Salad

Yet another easy recipe! Simply put 2 cups of washed spinach (or lettuce/cabbage of your choice) in a container. Top with 4 ounces of ground meat and your favorite veggies. I used 1/4 cup diced tomato, 1/4 cup onion, 2 slices of avocado, 4 black olives, 1/4 cup bell pepper, and 5 slices of canned jalapenos. Use ¼ cup (or more) of salsa as dressing. If you like a little crunch on your salad, add a few crushed nut thin crackers.

Tip: Store your meat in a separate container to make reheating easy!

** To make this approved for SHAPE ReClaimed, omit the black olive and avocado (depending on your practitioner recommendations).

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“Spaghetti”

Ah! A great classic recipe! Simply spiralize a zucchini (I got my spiralizer for $4.99 on Amazon) and heat in the microwave for 1 minute (2 minutes if you’re going to eat right away). Top with ½ cup tomato sauce, 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper, and 4 ounces of ground meat. If you’re going to eat this right away, heat up the tomato sauce and crushed red pepper in a pot.

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So there you have it – 5 meals in about an hour! If you have more time, you can pull some of the meat aside prior to cooking and make a meatloaf, burgers, or meatballs!

Paleo “Potato” Salad

Turnip

One thing many people (including myself) tend to miss when going paleo is potato salad. This is especially true during the summer months when “barbeque season” is in full swing. Last year, for Feed Your Vitality’s 4th of July Family Feast we had a great paleo-approved barbeque featuring “potato” salad made with turnips. We fed it to a group of employees, spouses, and kids – and it received a stamp of approval from all! Follow the recipe below to enjoy this “potato” salad at home.

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Paleo “Potato” Salad

Ingredients

  • 2-1/2 pounds turnips
  • 4 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 3/4 cup bacon crumbles (or 1/2 pound cooked and diced bacon)
  • 1/4 pound green onion

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Peel turnips and cut into bite-sized pieces. Coat with 2 Tablespoons of olive oil and put into a baking dish. Bake until turnips become soft, approximately 30 minutes, mixing halfway through. Set aside to cool.

In a bowl, whisk together 2 Tablespoons olive oil, apple cider vinegar, honey, salt, pepper, and garlic. Once the ingredients are well mixed add bacon crumbles, cooled turnips, and green onion. Mix well and serve cold.

Best Paleo Breakfast Ideas for People on the Run

15 ways to betteryourself at work

The hardest part of being paleo is breakfast. Growing up, I constantly ate cereal and milk, toast, or yogurt for breakfast. Then I learned about paleo. I love eggs, but scrambled eggs and omelets don’t give much of a variety when it comes to my favorite meal of the day. Not to mention, most of the time I’m in my car on the way to the gym or work when I need to eat breakfast. I had to sit down and do some serious brainstorming about what I could eat in the AM when I am in a hurry. Here are my favorites:

 

Banana and almond butter “sandwich”

I thought of this tasty breakfast during my running days. Nothing keeps you full during a workout quite like the delicious combination of banana and nut butter. All you have to do is cut a banana in half lengthwise, put a little almond butter on each half, and stick it back together. (Note: the more nut butter on the banana, the messier this breakfast is.)

 

Egg muffins

Yep. I just said I was sick of omelets and scrambled eggs. But these egg muffins are easy to eat in the car and are a simple way to pack veggies into your day.

All you need to do is whisk 12 eggs, salt, pepper, and about 1-1/2 cups of chopped veggies of choice (I like spinach, jalapenos, tomatoes, and onion) in a bowl. If you like your veggies more tender, sauté them in a pan with olive oil for about 3 minutes before adding to the mixture. Spray a large muffin tin with non-stick spray or olive oil, and fill the tins until they are ¾ of the way full. Put them in an oven that has been pre-heated to 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes, or until they are golden brown.

These can stay in your refrigerator for about a week. They are wonderful reheated in the microwave, but are also fine served cold if you are in a hurry!

 

Trail mix

This is the easiest breakfast ever! All you need to do is take a handful of almonds, a handful of cashews, half a handful of craisins, and half a handful of EnjoyLife brand chocolate chips and mix them together. You can put this together in the morning or the night before you want to eat it, or make a large batch at the beginning of the week. Feel free to change up the nuts and dried fruit to your favorites!

 

“Chicken salad”

Okay, this isn’t really a “breakfast” item… but anything you eat in the morning counts as breakfast, right? This chicken salad is quick and easy – all you need is leftover chicken, an avocado, and salsa!

Take a leftover chicken breast (or bake/grill/sauté one if you’re feeling ambitious) and shred it with a fork. Mix it into a mashed avocado and stir in some salsa for flavor.

Voila! You’ve made yourself breakfast in less than 5 minutes. When I’m in a hurry I like to put the combination into Tupperware or the avocado skins so I can eat it with a plastic spoon in the car

 

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Feed Your Vitality Muffins

I always like to keep a few Feed Your Vitality muffins in my freezer. Not only are they delicious, but they defrost in the microwave in less than a minute. The variety of flavors are delicious and they are packed with 10-14 grams of protein, keeping me full all the way until lunch time (a difficult feat).

 

I also always keep Larabars and beef/turkey jerky on hand for when I’m in a hurry to get somewhere and barely have time to brush my teeth, much less make breakfast.

 

Do you have any breakfast items that you turn to when you’re in a hurry?

Why you need to buy a Dessert Bullet

how the dessert bullet changed my life

by: Ali Brown, RD, LD

 

It is no surprise that I’m obsessed with food. After all, I get paid to think and talk about different foods all day. And while yes, I am always looking for ways to increase my fruit and veggie intake – I like to splurge. And not that I’d turn down pizza or a piece of cake, but I particularly enjoy ice cream. As you know, ice cream doesn’t have a place in an anti-inflammatory diet (so annoying).

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One day I was at my local Target and stumbled upon something that caught my eye. This magical “Dessert Bullet” claims that it can make a healthy dessert in 10 seconds. The box stated that I could put a piece of frozen fruit into this machine, and it would produce ice cream. Huh.

It sounded too good to be true (a sign of a bad product), but for whatever reason, I chose to push aside my skepticism and buy the machine and a bag of frozen fruit.

The Dessert Bullet comes with a cookbook and one of the recipes is for a simple vanilla “ice cream”. Get this: you put 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract and a banana in the shoot up top…… and that’s it. The marvelous product that is spit from  machine was yellow, had a texture similar to ice cream, and made my heart happy. I can finally eat ice cream!!! Or is it fruit?? Or ice cream? It doesn’t matter – it’s delicious and cold and melts on my tongue so I’ll take it.

Do you have to use a banana? Absolutely not. If your combination of fruit includes a banana, the end product has a great ice cream like texture. However, using a mixture that excludes bananas is just as delicious – with a texture similar to sorbet. There are endless possibilities for making delicious treats between using a variety of fruits and other add-ins.

At Feed Your Vitality, we like to play with our SweetLeaf Stevia flavors. Using these, you can make hundreds of flavor! Take a banana, strawberry, and chocolate Stevia and you have a delicious concoction. A banana and root beer create a root beer float. I’m not exaggerating when I say that any sweet, cold treat you can imagine can be made with this machine. And have I mentioned that it’s all FRUIT? Just checking.

 

Last night I was deciding if I wanted to go to the local ice cream shop and fill my stomach with regrets. It was then that I remembered that I had a bag of mixed fruit in my freezer. Heck yeah! I added some strawberries, pineapple, mango, and peaches to the shoot, pushed it down the tube, and watched a delicious treat come out. I saved myself the shame, bloating, calories, and fat that come with ice cream and in return consumed nothing but 2 servings of fruit. I know – so cool.

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My advice to you – make your life better and get on Amazon or go to the store and get yourself a Dessert Bullet. It will be the best decision of the week.

Healthy Game Day

your guide to a healthy game day

by: Ali Brown, RD, LD

This Sunday at 5:30 our focus will be shifted to something very important: the Panthers and Broncos, booze, snacks, and friends. Unfortunately, our diet tends to be pushed aside and forgotten until we try to button our pants the next morning (ugh). I’m going to let you in on a little secret: being at a Super Bowl party doesn’t mean you can’t eat nutritious food. Crazy, I know! Below are some tips and tricks to have a healthy (and delicious) Super Bowl.

 

The first thing we’re going to talk about is the food you prepare for the big game (and don’t worry – none of these suggestions involve you munching on carrot sticks all night). If straying away from chili breaks your heart, head over to this blog post for ways to make it healthy. Here are our top 5 favorite healthy game day recipes:

#1. Spice things up with these Grain Free, Dairy Free Jalapeno Poppers

#2. If spicy foods aren’t your thing, try Garlic Rosemary Shrimp & Paleo Cocktail Sauce

#3. If you’re looking for something a little more traditional, these Glazed Chicken Wings may be up your alley

#4. For all the nacho lovers out there, you may be interested in these Sweet Potato Bites 

#5. And last but not least, a Feed Your Vitality favorite: Cauliflower Hummus

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Another tip: try not to overindulge on your booze. Unfortunately alcohol quickly adds calories without you noticing (5 light beers adds about 500 calories, 2 glasses of wine are over 400 calories and 3 rum and cokes have 500 calories). Drinking also leads most people to eat more and make undesirable food choices. Double whammy.

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One way to minimize calorie intake from alcohol is by choosing your mixers wisely! You can do this by choosing a low-calorie beverage without added sugars such as unsweetened tea or club soda. If you want more sweetness you may consider using SweetLeaf Stevia to flavor your drinks. For example, make your own rum and coke using rum, seltzer water, and about 15 drops of SweetLeaf Cola.

 

 

But hey, we’re all human. If you end up making undesirable food choices, just remember that it’s not the end of the world! Make up for it on Monday with an extra walk during your lunch break or a smoothie packed with fruits and veggies for breakfast.

 

As always, for more recipes and tips for healthy eating follow our Pinterest page.

Get on the kale train, baby

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by: Angelique Hicks

 

Kale, kale everywhere!  Only a few short years ago I didn’t even know what kale was, and quite frankly, I didn’t want to know.  Now this crunchy little guy is all over the place!  Dare I say that I even saw a kale salad on the McDonalds menu???  That is progress!

When my health coach first introduced me to the idea of eating kale,  I was like, awwwwe man…ick.  I was gonna have to force this one down.  Don’t get me wrong, I am a very adventurous eater and usually  I am one to try anything once, but this wasn’t a one time shot she was asking for.  It was a suggestion to add kale into my diet everyday or at least every week.  Seriously??  Why, in all that is good and delicious, would I want to do that?!  Well, let me tell ya….

I don’t know about you, but I am sick and tired of hearing about people, especially those close to me, coming down with cancer.   Two words: Over. It.  The good news? Kale contains numerous cancer-fighting substances and is loaded with compounds that are believed to have PROTECTIVE effects against cancer.  That’s right, cancer protection in a leaf.  Pretty cool, huh?  I think so.

Kale is THE most nutrient dense food on the planet.  Why is that important?  Most of us are nutrient deficient.  Meaning, we are in the red when it comes to giving our body the proper nutrients to function optimally.  If we aren’t giving our body the necessary items to do it’s thing, the likely hood of disease is higher.  If you want to get into the black, nutritionally speaking, eating kale is a great way to dramatically increase the nutrient content of your diet.

If cancer prevention isn’t enough, kale also aids in weight loss!  Kale is very low in calories, but still provides significant bulk that helps you feel full.  And despite the fact that kale is low in cals, it contains protein and fiber, both considered important nutrients when it comes to losing weight.  A cancer fighter AND a weight loss aid? Kale has it goin on!

But Angelique, how in the heck do I use kale in recipes?  Isn’t it tough and tasteless?  Why, no dear reader, it’s actually neither of those things if prepared properly.  To help you transition into your love of kale, here is a link to my favorite massaged kale caesar salad: http://www.annies-eats.com/2013/04/29/massaged-kale-caesar-salad/.  This is a great recipe that is super easy and amazingly delicious!   This is only a jumping off point though. The possibilities are endless.  You can put kale in your smoothies, soups, salads, stews, eggs, and wraps.  It is versatile and holds up really well in most dishes.

So hop on the kale train and take it for a ride!  You may find that it actually becomes your new favorite vegetable.  I know it did for me!  Toot toot!!

Gluten free guide to alcohol

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by: Ali Brown, RD, LD

 

I like to think of the staff at Feed Your Vitality like a small family. And when someone in your family has a problem, we all band together for a solution. Our problem? We like to enjoy the occasional cocktail (or two… or three), but FYV founder, Ashley Nanney, does not eat gluten. Unfortunately, most types of beer and some spirits are out of the question for her because they are made from ingredients that contain gluten. We simply couldn’t let that stop us, so we did some research and began a hunt for the best gluten free beer and cocktails we could find. We learned a lot of great information that make company parties much more fun! See the results below.

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Spirits
. Most liquor goes through a distillation process that dilutes any gluten that was originally in the product to amounts so small that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers it safe for those with celiac disease! Unfortunately, some people with celiac disease may still experience a reaction when drinking vodka, whiskey or scotch. Luckily for us, Ashley is not a part of those unlucky few. There are also some liquors that do not originate from wheat, and therefore are safe. These include tequila, rum and potato vodka.

Wine. Wine is made from grapes (duh), which are gluten free. Thankfully, wine is safe for all involved. Red wine even has antioxidant properties, which can protect against inflammation (bonus!).

Beer. Heineken is a brand of beer that is available at most bars. Unfortunately, not everyone is the biggest fan of Heineken. For those who prefer a more “classic” beer taste, we have a brand called Omission. They have breweries in Oregon and New Hampshire, but distribute throughout the United States. Omission brews an IPA, Pale Ale and Lager that are all free of gluten.

“Omission beers are brewed just like other great craft beers, with malted barley, hops, water, and yeast. Once the beers are ready for the fermentation tanks, we add a brewing enzyme called Brewers Clarex™ which breaks apart and detoxifies the gluten protein chains. The beers are then packaged in a closed environment to eliminate any cross contamination risk.”

 

As always, if you have celiac disease check the food label to make sure that there is no gluten in any of the alcoholic beverages and/or mixers you choose to drink. And of course, remember to drink responsibly!

 

Dive (or Cannonball!) into Easy Family Dinners

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photo(1)A new year means new resolutions, and I don’t know about you, but to me the start of the school year feels as much like a new beginning as January! My kids go back to school, we settle back into routines, and it’s time to renew good habits and move past the temptations and unhealthy treats that so often accompany summer vacation.   My “resolution” is to make a commitment to an anti-inflammatory lifestyle for myself because I now know that I genuinely feel better when eating healthy… I also like the idea of my family eating healthy dinners to ensure that they get at least one “good” meal in the course of the day. And while the schedules and routines that come with a new school year can be positive in many ways, it can also make it difficult to actually prepare these healthy meals when trying to get home from work, pick up from soccer practice, help with homework, run to the grocery store – and on and on! Feed Your Vitality can empathize with this challenge and so we are excited to offer Family Style packaging. Each Family Style meal is designed to feed four people for $42.99   We sincerely hope this will help busy families – let us come up with delicious ways to get dinner on the table (loaded with vegetables and protein!) My kids are always asking me to bring home meals from work – a definite perk to working here at Feed Your Vitality, to be sure! It is hugely satisfying for me to hear them say “I love that Indian Chicken Curry – when can we have that again?”

We would love to hear your feedback, and especially would love to hear about your kids and their favorite Feed Your Vitality dishes!  (The picture here is of my son Danny from a family outing this summer – and by the way, his personal favorites are the Pineapple Jerk Chicken and the Asian Seasoned Turkey with Green Beans and Riced Cauliflower!)

Apple Cider Vinegar, Not Just for Salad Dressing!

Apple Cider Vinegar

32593650_sAngelique Hicks wrote this latest blog  for Feed Your Vitality!

Apple cider vinegar is one of the most amazing liquids I have ever worked with.  Besides making delicious dressings for salads or marinades, this condiment can be used for so much more.  You can cook with it, clean with it, use it as a fruit and vegetable wash, and even kill weeds with this miraculous ingredient.  These are just a few benefits of apple cider vinegar.  I recently had a personal experience with it.  My son had a stubborn wart and I had tried everything to remove it!  Compound W, painful freezing that cost hundreds of dollars and lots of tears.  I was so desperate that I even tried a substance from Canada derived from a beetle that blisters your skin to remove it.  NOTHING WORKED!  After much hesitation, I decided to try apple cider vinegar.  In less than a week it was completely gone!  It was easy, inexpensive, highly effective, and pain and tear free!

After this experience I started trying this vinegar for everything!   It cleared up my rosacea,  removed my son’s dandruff, and even helped dissolve my neighbors gall stones.  Choosing the right vinegar is important.  I use Bragg’s Organic Apple Cider Vinegar.  It is fermented and contains the “mother” in it.  Mother is a cobweb-like amino acid-based substance found in unprocessed, unfiltered vinegar, this indicates your vinegar is of the best quality. Most manufacturers pasteurize and filter their vinegar to prevent the mother from forming, but the “murky” kind is best, especially if you’re planning to consume it.  For more information on the numerous benefits of apple cider vinegar, go check out Apple Cider Vinegar Uses and give one of the many uses a try!  You might just be shocked at the result!

By Angelique Hicks, IIN Holistic Health Coach

Angelique has a passion for helping busy women lose weight and feel great without sacrificing the fun in life! She attained her education from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition where she was privileged to learn from many leaders in nutrition and eating behavior, including Dr. Mark Hyman, Geneen Roth, David Wolfe, and Andrew Weil. It is Angelique’s mission to help those who have struggled with their weight, as well as clear up the confusion of what to eat among the countless diets out there. She encourages balance, in all areas, when striving for a life you love.