Farmers Market Frenzy

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Farmers Markets can be a wonderful way to find fresh, often organic, foods; along with other fun, unique goods. After going once, you’ll be hooked. But if you’ve never been, here are some great tips to follow!

First things first, you need to find a farmers market. You might be surprised how close one is to your home or work. Check out Local Harvest to see what’s near you!

 

Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of how to shop at a farmers market!

Tip #1: Bring cash
Most farmers markets are cash only. While some might accept credit cards, it’s unlikely.

 

Tip #2: Timing
Timing is everything. If you want the biggest selection and freshest produce, arrive right at opening. Shopping later, however, allows you to barter with the vendors, most do not want to take home their products.

 

Tip #3: Check everything out first
Make a loop around the entire farmers market first. You don’t want to get to the end of the market, find something you’d love to try and have no cash left! As well, some of the vendors may be selling the same items, so don’t be afraid to price shop.

If you expect to be at the market for a while, make your larger purchases towards the end of your trip so you do not have to carry them around.

 

Tip #4: Be prepared
Vendors may not always have bags on hand, so it is best to come prepared with your own bags and containers. As well, it’s never a bad idea to have a cooler with ice in your vehicle to keep everything fresh; especially if you’ve got a long drive home or other places to stop.

 

Tip #5: Buy in season
You can get some of the best tasting in-season foods at farmers markets. Check out this great, frequently updated list from The Rapidian to see what is in-season when.

 

These are just a couple simple tips to get you through a farmers market. You’d be surprised by the fun items you can find and great deals on foods you frequently purchase at the grocery store.  Plus, if you have kids, they’ll LOVE walking around, talking with farmers and learning new things.
Not sure what “organic” means or why you should purchase organic? Check out our blog “What’s up with this “organic” food?” for helpful information.

 

Stir up your weekly dinner

 

Have you been looking to stir up your weekly dinner menu? Then this recipe may be just what you’ve been looking for. Everyone loves egg rolls, right? Now you can enjoy egg rolls in a new way without an ounce of guilt! This recipe is a must try – you’ll have everyone drooling over the smell alone. Trust us.

Depending on how many you’re serving – there may be leftovers and you can enjoy the goodness the next day for lunch! It re-heats well and still tastes great.  

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Egg Roll Stir-Fry
1 pound ground beef or pork
1 large onion, diced
1 small head of cabbage
3 carrots
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup soy sauce

Cook and crumble ground meat in a very large skillet until meat is cooked through. Drain meat, place back in skillet then add in onions, leave on low heat until adding in other veggies.

While meat and onions are cooking cut cabbage into thin shreds; set aside.

Peel carrots with a vegetable peeler then either dice small or use the peeler to shave off thin slices; set aside.

Combine garlic, ginger, pepper, sesame oil, evvo and soy sauce in a small bowl and stir to combine; set aside.

Add cabbage and carrots to ground meat then cook and stir over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes. Add soy sauce mixture then stir well.

Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking for 5-10 minutes or until cabbage is tender.

Recipe makes approximately 4-6 servings.
 

Recipe source, here.

You can’t out train a bad diet

bad diet1A few days ago, I finally got to organizing some of my old pictures books in the basement. {Keep in mind we just moved into our new house two months ago so I think I am doing pretty good here!}  I started paging through my college year books and remembering the “good ole days” of playing basketball, watching 90210 and thinking I was SO cool at the weekend party house.  Those were the days when my breakfast consisted of two massive bagels with cream cheese, a huge bowl of cinnamon toast crunch, all washed down with a large vanilla cappuccino.  And I still had wash board abs.  I was working out five hours a day as a collegiate athlete.  So those late night pizza runs or binge drinking weekends didn’t even matter when it came to my weight.  Now…fast forward to today, when I am closer to 40 than 30, and realizing that you just can’t out train a bad diet. Period.
 
Whether your goal is to lose weight, maintain weight, PR in your next performance event or just be healthy, this pertains to YOU.   Research now shows that an unhealthy diet will cause more disease than physical inactivity, smoking and excessive alcohol, combined.  It’s time to clean up your diet and fuel for success!
 
First of all, most of us underestimate the number of calories we actually consume in an average day.  If you find yourself justifying frequent pizza nights or late night appetizers with friends for a spin class or A-Fit workout the following day, you may want to recalculate how many calories you are actually burning in comparison to the ones you are taking in.  This is where a heart rate monitor like the MyZone will help you fine-tune your workouts and Myfitnesspal can help you stay on track with your caloric intake.  
 
Second, to really change your physique and stay toned requires INTENSE exercise. You won’t have the physical endurance to push through tough workouts if your diet isn’t up to snuff. Yes, that unfortunately means that while Reese’s Pieces and soda may give you a sugar high that you mistake as energy, they won’t fuel you to PR on the squat track or around the track.  Also, if you consume high fat foods in the evening, they could be disrupting your sleep, which will leave you too tired to go all out at the gym.  
 
Finally, if you are feeling “unmotivated” to even start an exercise program, it could be because of the daily foods you consume.  Whether you are eating too much fat, too many calories or not enough of either; it can make you feel slow and less driven to exercise at all.  Diet and exercise are a feedback loop and go hand in hand.  
 
So the bad news is that you can’t get away with pop tarts and bagels every morning, nor can you eat like you did in college.  But the good news?  We’ve got the solution to help you get started fresh.  It’s called the 21-Day Slimdown and it is PERFECT if you need to get back to basics and need some guidance and accountability to achieve quick and easy results.  You’ll get your own personal nutrition coach, a guided meal plan, Shakeology to eliminate cravings and pump your body with over 70 super foods and greens daily….PLUS the education and motivation to stick with it day after day.  Better yet, we’ll throw in 3 weeks of free classes so you move to eat and eat to move!  And that’s a win-win feedback loop!  
To start your 21-Day Slimdown, please contact amanda@allegrocoaching.com
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Quick and healthy on the go!

onthegoWe live in a go-go-go world and it can be tough to not fall into the fast food grab and go life. But sometimes that’s all we have time for. So, we are arming you with tips to make educated decisions when you’re traveling and on the go.

At Allegro, we focus on the 80/20 rule. That means 80 percent of your nutrition should be clean, wholesome and natural foods; whole grains, protein, vegetables and fruits. While 20 percent is what we call life. The 20 percent is a birthday party, an unplanned night out, going out for pizza with friends, etc.

Below are great tips for eating at a restaurant, fast food chain and tips on prepping for on the go days and trips.

 

 

Restaurants

Here are some great tips to consider BEFORE heading out.

  • Do your research ahead of time
  • Just because it’s free doesn’t mean you need to eat it
  • Start with something healthy
  • Order first so you don’t get swayed by what others are ordering
  • Be specific. You are the customer!
  • Balance your plate – if you’re going to have a cheeseburger then opt for side salad instead of fries
  • Split your meal with someone or ask for a to-go box when the meal comes out
  • Slow down and watch portions

Fast Food Chains

Here are some great options at many common fast food chains. When reviewing choices, the parameters we set included the following:  500 calories or less, around 10 grams of protein, lower sodium, low sugar and no trans-fat.

  • Subway
    • 6 in. turkey loaded up with veggies no mayo, whole wheat bread – 390 calories
  • Chipotle
    • Burrito bowl with steak, black beans, fajita veggies, salsa and lettuce – 460 calories
    • Salad w/romaine lettuce, brown rice, black beans, fajita veggies and salsa – 430 calories
  • Panera Bread – most of salads great choices but dressings can add more sodium/sugar (ask for dressings on the side or do half of it.
    • Roasted turkey and avocado BLT sandwich, whole sandwich – 510 calories
    • Power Kale Cesar with chicken, half dressing – 340 calories
  • Jimmy Johns – best options if you customize your orders
    • Big John: roast beef, no mayo, lettuce, tomato, onion and avocado spread – 380 calories
    • Veggie sub on French bread: sub mayo for avocado spread – 500 calories
    • Unwich – sub mayo for avocado
  • Wendy’s
    • Small chili – 300 calories
    • Add on baked potato – 170 calories (no butter!)
  • Chick-fil-A
    • Grilled chicken cool wrap – 340 calories
    • Grilled chicken sandwich – 320 calories
  • Taco Bell
    • Shredded chicken burrito – 400 calories
    • Cantina power burrito (veggie) – 430 calories

Packable Options

Here are some great on the go options for busy days or when you’re traveling. We also included a few fun ways to get your daily nutrients and water in!

  • Pre packaged fruits, vegetables and salads to go
  • Grab and go foods
    • Lara bar, kind bar, 100-calorie packs of walnuts or almonds, dried apple slices, a healthy trail mix or make your own (dark chocolate chips, almonds, dried cranberries)
  • Carry a water bottle. Make it fun and fresh! Throw some cucumber, mint, lime or raspberries
  • We need four to five servings of vegetables a day. Here are some great, easy to pack vegetables: cherry tomatoes, pepper strips, cucumber, carrots, broccoli and cauliflower
    • Spice it up:
      • Greek yogurt with balsamic vinegar
      • Hummus (individual packets too)
      • Low fat ranch dressing
      • Laughing cow cheese

Eating healthy on the go CAN fit into a healthy lifestyle if you plan ahead for it as best you can; arming yourself for success.  For more great tips on nutrition, fitness and more check out our podcast channel – Health and Wellness with Allegro Coaching!

Apps We Love

 

No, we aren’t talking about food and appetizers, but here is a tasty crock pot recipe in case you were hoping for a blog dedicated to food! Now, on to the subject of apps….for your mobile devices.

It’s a new year. You’re working hard to stick to your health and wellness goals, but sometimes finding the right tools to help you through your journey can be difficult. So we have compiled a list of our coaches’ favorite apps they use to stay fit and healthy! Some you’ve probably heard of, others not. Try out some of these fun apps when you are traveling or just can’t make it into the studio.

 

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FITNESS

Sworkit (Free)
This app is designed with busy people in mind! You are guided through high-intensity body weight workouts, demonstrated by a professional personal trainer; as short as five minutes and as long as an hour.

 

Seconds – Interval Timer (Free)
Its name says it all. An interval timer to help you get through your workouts, hassle free.  It has templates for HIIT, tabata, circuit training and more. The custom timers help to create any intervals imaginable.

C25K – 5K Trainer (Free) – Beginner App
Easy program to get you from a couch potato to 5K distance runner in 8 weeks. The program was designed for inexperienced runners who are just starting an exercise routine. Start with a mix of running and walking and 8 weeks later you’ll be running a 5K!

Nike+ Running (Free)
Running or walking, this app is great to track your runs and help reach your goals. Compete with friends, stay motivated and reach your goals.

Nike+ Training Club (Free)
This app features visual workouts, hosted by celebrity athletes. Each lesson can be taken on its own, but also features month-long structured programs that will help you achieve even better results.

POPSUGAR Active (Free)
Workout when you see fit! Create your own video playlists from their constantly updated catalog of workouts or pick one of their pre-loaded workout routines to inspire you and get your sweat on!

Simply-Tabata (Free)
Efficiently get in shape, feel great and burn fat with 8 intervals of all-out effort for 20 seconds with 10 seconds of rest in between intervals.

Moves (Free)
Map your daily activities and track calories you’ve burned – all by simply carrying your phone in your pocket or bag.

MYZONE (Free)
Note – you need a MYZONE account and MZ-3 Physical Activity Best (we sell them) in order to utilize this app. The wireless tracking is presented as an instant online logbook, with personal goals, food picture diary, before and after photos, progress charts, challenges and gamification to make exercise fun and engaging. Keep in mind, we also have MYZONE monitors in the studio; by purchasing the belt you will be able to see your heart rate and effort percentage during classes!

NUTRITION

My Fitness Pal (Free)
Easy to use calorie counter. With a large food database, and restaurant foods now being added into the mix, tracking is a breeze. You can also track exercise on the app (Map My Run and FitBit apps link with My Fitness Pal)

Nom Nom Paleo ($5.99)
From the award winning food blog and New York Times bestselling cookbook by Michelle and Henery Saveur, this app makes cooking even more fun and inspirational; and takes all the guesswork out of cooking! The app features over 140 simple recipes, all free of gluten, soy and refined sugar. The vast majority of which are approved for Whole30.

Fooducate (Free)
Lose weight and improve your health through a real-food diet with this advanced nutrition tracker. Track your food intake and exercise, track the quality of calories (not just quantity) scan over 250,000 product barcodes to see a personalized nutrition grade and get suggestions for healthy foods based on foods you scan. Fooducate teaches you to eat for health!

Waterlogged
Download this app and ensure you are drinking enough water! Charts and reminders (upgrade) keep you going. All you have to do is use photos of your cups to quickly record water .

MUSIC

FIT Radio (Free – many in-app purchases to get great upgrades)
Say goodbye to the extra time you take to create that perfect playlist for home or outdoor workouts! A fitness app that provides you with non-stop, high energy playlists of all genres designed to motivate your workout. Dubbed the “Pandora for gym rats” by Mashable.

Pandora (Free)
Great music discovery is effortless and free with this app! Type in the name of your favorite artist, song, genre or composer and Pandora does the rest!

 

 

 

Guilt Free Party Sips

people drinking

The holiday’s often are surrounded by indulgence – big meals, desserts, drinks and more. We get it, it’s hard to say no to that cookie or eggnog. Being healthy isn’t about avoiding everything bad, it’s about making healthier choices. A few swaps and substitutions and you can enjoy those sweet indulgences and save a few calories.

Check out this list of guilt free party sips to help you get through Christmas and New Years Eve with ease! And in case you missed it, avoid going food crazy at your next holiday party with these tips.

GUILT FREE PARTY SIPS

Tip #1 
If you are craving a mixed drink, choose one with seltzer or diet soda (calorie free mixers = your friend) and single shot of liquor, like vodka or rum.  Then your whole drink will only run you about 100 calories.

Tip #2 
Avoid those fancy frozen drinks like daiquiris, pina coladas and margaritas. Those can easily contain about 500 calories!

Tip #3  
Skip creamy liqueurs. Those can contain extremely high amounts of fat and calories.

Tip #4 
Don’t be fooled by the juiced based mixed drinks. Cranberry, orange, apple and grape juices can all add about 50 to 75 calories to your cocktail.

Tip #5 
If you are a beer guy or gal, go with light beer and save about 50 calories per drink.

Tip #6 
Remember that tonic water ISN’T sugar and calorie free. Choose diet tonic water or seltzer instead.

Tip #7 
Wine is low in calories – about 120 calories for an average serving and it’s easy to make it last. Save even more calories by drinking wine spritzers (few ounces of wine with seltzer).

Tip #8
Remember, everyone loves a designated driver. No shame in skipping the cocktails and treating yourself to a little more party food!

 

 

 

 

 

‘Tis the season. Tips to get you through all those holiday parties!

holiday eating 1Deserts, drinks and food, OH MY! Holidays are great, spending time with those we love and celebrating all we have in our lives; however food and drinks always seem to be the focus of every party. It becomes difficult to stay on track and we lose sight of all the hard work we have already put in. We want you to reach your goals and not be set-back over the holiday season, so we have come up with eight simple tips to help you stay on track! Don’t forget to continue to carve out time for yourself to get your workouts in, at Allegro or on your own!

Tip #1 – Never show up to a party super hungry.
Eat something light before you head to the party.

Tip#2 – Drink 1 to 2 glasses of water right before you arrive at the party.
This will help you feel fuller and curb cravings.

Tip#3 – Don’t eat anything at the party for the first 20-30 minutes.
Socialize and have a good time, and avoid standing right next to the buffet table.

Tip#4 – Don’t deprive yourself.
It’s okay to enjoy a treat every now and then, just do so in moderation.

Tip#5 – Choose simple foods packed with protein and fiber.
That way you will be less likely to overeat. Shrimp cocktail, raw veggies, grilled chicken and beef skewers are great party staples to stick with.

Tip#6 – Assorted chilled seafood is a great option.
Shrimp, crab meat, mussels and scallops are all super low in calories and fat.

Tip#7 – An easy way to monitor your portion sizes is to put your foods on a small plate or even a napkin.
You can’t fit as much on a napkin, so you won’t eat as much!

Tip#8 – Once you have had your fill of food at the party, have a piece of gum or mint.
You won’t be as tempted to go back for seconds.

Follow these simple tips and visit us at the studio to stay on track this holiday season!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meal Planning 101

Life gets busy, we totally understand. Whether you’re running your kids to and from sports or school activities or you are enjoying life between work and friends. Health can sometimes be put on the back burner.

How do you put it front and center, without feeling overwhelmed? Plain and simple, planning. You’ve heard the phrase many times before: “fail to plan and plan to fail”. So why do we constantly put our meal planning last and expect success? To make healthy living a lifestyle, you need to find a system for consistent, weekly meal planning. Laying out your meals for the week is a simple, effective way to stay on track with your health goals and it can save you a ton of money too! So where do you even start? Here are a few tips to get you started. If you need more help, connect with us this week to set up either a 1-1 nutrition coaching session or point you in the right direction!

Schedule – Look at your schedule for the week to see what you have going on. How much time do you have to cook each night (these times may vary). Maybe some nights you’ll need to stick to a quick and easy protein packed salad or go with a crockpot meal.

Recipes – Choose the recipes you love. Maybe to begin with, stick with recipes that you are familiar with and know your portions of protein, veggies, fruits, etc. are accurate. It is important throughout your day to get the right amount of foods to ensure your body receives all the nutrients it needs to run at full strength!

Plan out the week – Write out what you want to eat each day. You can simply choose your dinner, or write out breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. You choose how much you plan.  For example, my family has a calendar in the kitchen that will list out what dinner we have scheduled for each night of the week. That way, if one of us is gone, we know what the plan of attack is for that night!

Create your grocery list – Based off the meals you’ve chosen, write out your grocery list (this is where your pocketbook may thank you). Be sure to stick to this list – no one likes seeing food go to waste.

Follow the plan – simple right? No stressing out over what’s for dinner.

Meal planning is always helpful. It is also great to plan meals ahead for the next few days – making a few overnight oatmeal bowls for breakfast, salads for lunch, etc. The options are endless.

If you or your coworkers could benefit from more information like this, tell your company about us. We offer many onsite wellness programs such as interactive Lunch & Learns. These can be an easy 30 – 45 minute class and there are over 50 different topics to choose from, including nutrition, stress-management, physical activity and more.

Healthy, simple crock-pot recipe to help during those busy weeks!

chili

September is a busy time of the year. Many of you are trying to adjust to back-to-school schedules, and hey, we get that life gets pretty busy between school and extracurricular activities you’re driving your kids to. Then you’re trying to get family time in on top of it all! Who is exhausted just thinking about it all?

This is where that crock-pot sitting in your pantry comes in handy. Create a healthy dinner with minimal time spent in the kitchen!

Here is the recipe for a simple, healthy, quick crock-pot chili the whole family will love.

 

 

Crock-pot White Bean Chicken Chili

4 – 6 chicken breasts, boil and shred into pieces
2 cans great northern white beans (reduced sodium)
1 can black beans (reduced sodium)
1 cup corn (canned, frozen, or from the farmers market)
About 3 – 4 cups salsa

Notes:

  • I get corn from the farmers market, cook it, take it off the stalk and freeze it in plastic bags for use whenever.
  • You can use any salsa you would like. Add more or less depending on the consistency you’d like. I typically put a medium salsa in this, however if you or anyone in your family does not like any spice, I would use a mild salsa.

Mix all ingredients together in crock-pot and let sit until warm. For an extra treat, I sometimes add avocado on top right before I eat it!

This recipe is also great to make, freeze and take to work or have on hand when you just don’t have time to make dinner!

For more great recipes and tips on how to use your crock-pot this fall, bring Allegro to your workplace with our “Healthy Crock-pot Cooking” nutrition workshop. In this workshop you will gain knowledge, tips and tricks on distinguishing the difference between calorie-laden versus healthy crock-pot recipes. Contact Kendra at Kendra@allegrocoaching.com for more information.

Enjoy fresh, local fruits with this Grilled Peach Salad

 

It won’t be long before summer turns into fall and fall turns into winter – too soon to be thinking about winter? Summer is one of my favorite seasons and I love the fresh fruits and vegetables which come with it. What better way to enjoy every last bit of summer that you can then by enjoying FRESH, LOCAL fruit that will soon be out of season?

Many of the main ingredients for this Grilled Peach Salad were purchased at the Fulton Street Farmers Market! Have you been before, boy is it amazing! I highly suggest making time to go to this, or other farmers market’s in your area!

These goodies were all purchased at the Fulton Street Farmers Market! (Ignore the cucumber, I ended up not using it in this salad).
These goodies were all purchased at the Fulton Street Farmers Market! (Ignore the cucumber, I ended up not using it in this salad).

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grilled peach salad3

This Grilled Peach Salad is simple and quick, making it a great lunch or dinner option for you and your family!

Grilled Peach Salad

Dressing:
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. water

Salad:
3 ripe peaches, cut in half, pits removed
Fresh arugula
1 cup fresh blueberries
Handful of almonds
Fresh feta cheese

Directions:

  1. Whisk together dressing ingredients.
  2. Preheat grill to high heat. Lightly brush peach halves with the dressing. Place peaches, cut side down, on the hot grill. Grill for about five minutes, or until the peaches are soft and have grill marks. Remove peaches from the grill, cool to room temperature and slice.
  3. Place arugula, sliced grilled peaches, blueberries, almonds and fresh feta cheese in a large salad bowl. Drizzle with salad dressing. Gently toss and serve immediately.

I hope you enjoy this salad as much as I did!

Morgan, Community & Marketing Manager at Allegro Coaching

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