For those of you who have been following my blog, you know that I believe in a balanced and healthy lifestyle. I really try to “walk the talk”. So when my friend Mimi suggested that her and I check out joining a “boot camp” I said “Why not”? After all, I already considered myself in decent shape but also recognized that I needed to “tighten things up”!
Well, after joining Brown’s Boot Camp www.brownsbootcamp.com
, I realized that I was not in as good of shape as I thought! After the first week, I realized I had very little flexibility and my upper body strength was almost non-existent. Sure, I could run pretty well, but I was awful at everything else.
The wonderful element of Brown’s Boot Camp is that all of the participants come from different levels of fitness and it’s not about competing with one another but helping each other as a team meet our own personal fitness and weight goals.
After 2 months, I feel really great! Even though Randy, the owner of Brown’s Boot Camp, and our instructor, “kicks our butt” three times a week, the work out is somewhat addictive and you don’t want to miss class! So far, I’ve lost 3% body fat, and have lost inches in my waist, hips and “booty”. Even my husband has commented on my “tighter booty”. Hey and after 27 years together, I’ll take a complement like that “to the bank” any day of the week!
Randy not only is a great boot camp instructor but he also has some good insight into nutrition and a balanced diet for losing weight. Part of his mantra is “ 75% diet; 25% exercise for meeting one’s fitness goal. Check out Brown Boot Camps website. They have boot camps all over town. If you live in Oro Valley, come join me and my friend Mimi at River Front Park!
Below, are some of my own healthy recipe tricks for cutting calories without cutting flavor. ENJOY!
Quick Recipe Tricks for Cutting Calories without Cutting Flavor
v For any recipe instructing you to sauté onions and garlic or other vegetables in oil or butter – you will save a ton of additional calories by using cooking spray and low-sodium chicken stock instead. Plus, the chicken stock actually enhances the flavor of the recipe. Because even low sodium stocks have plenty of sodium, cut down the amount of additional salt that is called for in the recipe.
v For diet conscious/calorie cutting on recipes calling for frying – PAM is your new best friend! (Or any other related product)
v Experiment with herbs – both dried and fresh. They enhance the flavor of your favorite meat, poultry or fish. Blog Chef Mary Ann for helpful hints for pairing herbs with your favorite protein!
v Bake a whole Chicken or Turkey without the skin and save additional calories and fat. Worried about dryness? No problem. Bake in low sodium stock or a little wine. Use chopped fresh herbs like rosemary and thyme to flavor the meat along with salt and pepper. Cut lemons and/or oranges and squeeze the juice on the poultry and place the left over rinds in the cavity.
v For recipes calling for cheese, cut the amount by 1/3. Depending on the recipe, you can substitute with a stronger, harder cheese and less of it.
v For recipes calling for mayonnaise cream cheese or sour cream, you will not compromise the recipe by going “light”. I promise!
v “Bad” Foods Gets a Make-Over. Craving a Bacon Cheeseburger w/ Fries or perhaps Fried Chicken. Well I’ve given all 3 a healthy make-over
v Bacon Cheeseburger – Instead of Beef, use lean ground turkey. OK. You just can’t give up the beef. No problem. Buy the leanest beef you can find. READ THE NUTRITION LABEL. Flavor your meat with salt, pepper, garlic powder and fresh chopped scallions. Instead of regular bacon use turkey bacon. Top with a thin slice of your favorite cheese and your favorite condiments. If you love mayonnaise, use a light version. Miracle Whip or Hellman’s Light are really good. Instead of a bun, try a whole wheat English muffin! Really yummy and you save some calories.
v Now for the French fries. So Easy! Cut your fries from a russet potato. Rinse the cut fries. Spray with your favorite non-stick coating. Now the fun begins. You can season them with just salt or salt and chili powder, lemon pepper, garlic salt. The options are limitless and yummy. Spread your “fries” on a coated non stick cooking sheet and bake in a hot oven – 375-400 degrees for 25-30 minutes. You’ll need to check your fries and turn them with a spatula so that they get crisp on all sides. These are soooo good!
v Take your favorite cut chicken pieces (try to avoid the wings as they are the most fatty) and remove all skin and visible fat. Prep 2 “dipping stations”. Station 1 – buttermilk; Station 2 – Flour seasoned with salt, pepper. I also like lemon pepper and a little garlic powder along with flavored bread crumbs or panko bread crumbs. Dip chicken in buttermilk then flour/bread crumb mixture. Place on coated baking sheet. Bake for approx. 45 minutes at 400 degrees. Check it at approx. 25 minutes to turn.
Quick Exercise/Diet Tips
v Yogurt is a great source of calcium as well as a great start at breakfast. However, many brands of yogurt are high in fat and sugar. Read the nutrition label! Dannon Light and Fit is no fat with 11 grams of sugar. Many yogurts have as high as 30 grams of sugar!
v It’s true. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day so don’t skip it. In a hurry? Here are 8 healthy portable breakfast ideas
o Peanut Butter on a whole-wheat English muffin with sliced banana and a drizzle of honey
o A snack bag filled with dried cereal, walnuts and dried cherries
o A hard-boiled egg (made ahead), tangerine and a handful of whole-grain crackers
o A stick of part-skim mozzarella cheese, a chunk of whole-grain baguette and some grapes
o A whole wheat tortilla sprinkled with 2% shredded cheddar cheese topped with slices of green apples and rolled up
o A whole wheat pita stuffed with low-fat cottage cheese and sliced peaches or blueberries with a drizzle of honey
o A whole grain frozen waffle toasted and spread with peanut butter and some unsweetened apple sauce
o Two pieces of whole-grain crisp bread spread with soft goat cheese and topped with sliced strawberries.
Many “fat free” products have more sugar than their light or low-fat counterparts. Read the nutrition labels to be sure!
If you’re trying to lose weight try not to succumb to the latest “fad diets”. Think about it as a life style change. The “best” diet is a balanced diet. Approximately 20-25% of your total calories should come from good fats (unsaturated), 35-40% from complex carbohydrates (beans, whole grains, fruit) and 35-40% from lean proteins (fish, chicken, lean beef).
All fat is not created equal. While one tablespoon of butter has the same amount of fat and calories as olive oil, butter is a saturated fat and olive oil is an unsaturated fat. What’s the difference? A saturated fat like butter, margarine, lard etc. is hard at room temperature. These types of fat can clog arteries and can cause heart disease. Unsaturated fats like olive, corn, and canola, oils are liquid at room temperature. Balanced consumption of these fats are more healthy and in some cases like olive oil, can actually lower our cholesterol.
Water is an important component to weight loss and a healthy diet. Not only is it important to drink lots of water here in Arizona to stay hydrated but drinking 8 8oz of water a day does promote weight loss. When you get up in the morning drink a couple of glasses. It helps to fill you up as well as get your body functioning and regulated.