30 Minute Butter Chicken Meatballs

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Total time: 30 minutes

Servings: 6

Calories: 212 kcal

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. ground turkey or chicken
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 T. garam masala
  • 2 tsp. curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • 1 can (14 ounces) full fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup plain greek
  • 2 T. butter
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • steamed rice and naan, for serving

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
  2. Add the turkey, egg, bread crumbs, and a pinch each of salt and pepper to a bowl. Coat your hands with a bit of olive oil, and roll the meat into tablespoon size balls (will make 15-20 meatballs), placing them on the prepared baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until the meatballs are crisp and cooked through.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook 5 minutes or until fragrant. Add the garlic and ginger, cooking another 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Stir in the garam masala, curry powder, turmeric, and cayenne and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  5. Add the tomato paste, coconut milk, and 1/2 cup water. Stir to combine, bring the sauce to a boil, cook 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens slightly. Stir in the yogurt and butter. Add the meatballs and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro.
  6. Serve the meatballs and sauce over bowls of rice with fresh naan. Enjoy!

Source: https://www.halfbakedharvest.com/30-minute-butter-chicken-meatballs/

Meal Prep Woes? Try This Super Yummy Recipe!

Summer: the hectic, crazy, busy time of year where you are driving like a maniac to pick up one kid from basketball camp, drop another kid off at VBS, and take another kid to a friend’s house for a playdate, all while trying not to lose your marbles. On top of this madness brought on by your kids, you have to figure out some way to keep them fed as well. 

Maybe you don’t have kids yet, but you are trying to balance 50-60 hours at the office every week, squeeze in an hour in the evening to hit the gym, and get at least six hours of sleep every night. By the time you finally get home in the evenings, all you want to do is take a quick shower and then hit the hay. Making something to eat is the last thing on your mind. 

When life gets too crazy for you to even breathe, how are you supposed to have enough time to cook meals for the week, let alone meals that are healthy? The fitness community constantly raves about the benefits of meal prepping on the weekends, but even this task can seem incredibly daunting. So, what’s the solution? This super easy, super yummy, super healthy shredded chicken recipe: 

Healthy Crockpot Shredded Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs frozen chicken breasts (about 4 breasts)
  • 1.25 oz. taco seasoning packet (about 1/4 cup)
  • 4.5 oz. mild diced green chiles 
  • 1 1/2 cups mild salsa or medium salsa

Directions:

  • Place all ingredients into a crockpot and cook on high for 4-5 hours or until chicken is cooked thoroughly and will shred easily.
  • Remove chicken from crockpot and shred, removing any fat.
  • Place back into the crockpot and stir with remaining liquid. Cover and keep warm in the crockpot until ready to serve.

Nutrition Facts (amount per serving; makes 6 servings):

  • Calories – 206
  • Total Fat – 4g
  • Total Carbohydrates – 8g
  • Sugar – 39
  • Protein – 33g

Combine this shredded chicken with brown rice, black beans, a little bit of guacamole, pico de gayo, greek yogurt, and a smidgeon of cheese, and you have yourself a delicious burrito bowl that rivals those of Chipotle!

*Recipe taken from laurenslatest.com*

Early Morning Exerciser? What You Should Eat to Get the Most Out of Your Workout

We’ve all been there…a faint beeping is going off in your subconscious. It starts getting louder and louder as you’re being pulled out of a sweet dream and you realize, to your dismay, that it’s your alarm clock, not the oven letting you know your pizza is done. Immediately, disappointment and for some, anger, washes over you as you slowly start to realize that it is now time to wake up and face the day, starting with a workout at the gym. Your stomach starts to growl and you wonder if you can make it through the next hour without eating anything, or if you should risk eating the leftover giant pancake in the fridge and increase the chances of puking during your workout.

One of the hardest things about being an early morning exerciser is knowing what to eat before you hit the gym. Most articles or blogs about pre-workout nutrition suggest eating a full meal 1-2 hours before you workout. However, this is often unrealistic because most early morning exercisers do not set their alarms early enough before their scheduled workout time to eat a pre-workout meal. Instead, they refrain from eating anything before they workout, which can actually do more harm than good.

There is a common held belief that not eating before a workout will actually help you lose weight because your body will be forced to burn fat for fuel. However, this is a myth. When your body is deprived of sugar (glucose) which it uses for training, it starts burning muscle tissue to make up for it. A study published in the Strength and Conditioning Journal looked at cyclists who ate before their workout versus those who didn’t. It found that both groups burned the same amount of fat, but the group that didn’t eat before their workout had 10% of their calorie burn come from protein. In layman’s terms, the cyclists were losing muscle because their body was not getting its fuel from the correct source.

    It is also important to note that your body needs energy to be able to work out at a high intensity. It is common knowledge that high intensity training yields the most health and fitness benefits. If you haven’t fueled your body properly before a high intensity workout, then your body won’t have the same amount of strength, speed, or stamina than if you had eaten something beforehand. Therefore, in order to obtain the best physical results and get the most out of your workout, it is extremely important that you are feeding your body the proper nutrients.

    So, what should you eat 30-45 minutes before you workout? First of all, it is important to keep your pre-workout snack light. You want to eat something that has mostly simple carbs (these can be easily digested in a short amount of time) and a little bit of protein. Here are some ideas for pre-workout snacks:

  • Banana (.3g fat, 22.8g carbs, 1.1g protein)
  • Greek Yogurt (Dannon Oikos Triple Zero – 0g fat, 15g carbs, 15g protein)
  • Half a bagel (Dave’s Killer Bread Epic Bagel (half) – 2.25g fat, 23.5g carbs, 6g protein)
  • Granola Bar (Kind Peanut Butter Banana Dark Chocolate Protein Breakfast Bars – 11g fat, 25g carbs, 8g protein)

You can now breathe a sigh of relief. You don’t have to set your alarm clock any earlier in order to eat something before you workout. Just grab a quick snack before you head out the door so you’re ready to crush your workout when you get to the gym!

Debunking 5 Diets

What should I eat? How much can I eat? And when can I eat it?

These are 3 questions that always seem to pop up in a world where we all want a physical and mental edge in performance and having the perfect diet is a key component of that. Let’s explore some of the popular diets in the fitness world right now.

  1. The Ketogenic Diet aka “Keto”

 

Philosophy:

Your body relies on glucose for fuel. If there’s no glucose easily available your body needs to find a new way to fuel itself. This happens through the breakdown of fats and proteins. Originally discovered back in the 1920’s as a treatment for epilepsy, the ketogenic diet has become widely popular as it can help practitioners lose weight quickly and provides mental clarity.

Pros:

There are a lot of great high fat foods that can still be consumed (did somebody say bacon?!)

Cons:

Limiting carb and protein intake requires some specific portioning of food. Measuring ketone levels through blood, breath, or urine is not the highlight of anyone’s day.

  1. “Whole 30”

Philosophy:

This diet is completed as a 30 day challenge that allows only whole foods (meats, vegetables, some fruits, and some healthy fats). This diet focuses on the “What” you should eat but is less concerned with “How much” and “When” making it a popular option for novice dieters.

Pros:

By eliminating processed foods from your diet you give your digestive tract a much needed break. Most folks report higher energy levels. No measuring of portions saves time.

Cons:

You have to accept that you’re going to be a boring dinner date for the month.

  1. “Macro Diet”

Philosophy:

Ignore the “What” you eat in all but the broadest sense. That is, you only account for the macronutrient makeup of food in terms of fat, carbohydrate, and protein. Focus in on the ratio or total number of calories taken in to hit a total daily macronutrient intake based on your training goals and calories required.

Pros:

Eating donuts after a workout without feeling guilty can be a huge relief

Cons:

Poor dietary choices could lead to micronutrient deficiencies. Frequent consumption of high glycemic carbohydrates could lead to insulin resistance.

  1. “Intermittent Fasting”

Philosophy:

This diet focuses specifically on the “When” component of eating. Generally practiced by consuming all meals in a maximum 8 hour time window. This might look like skipping breakfast and consuming all calories between 12:00 pm and 8:00 pm followed by 16 hours of fasting. Many individuals pair this methodology with foods that would be considered “keto” or “whole 30” approved.

Pros:

A smaller window of time to eat during means fewer calories consumed by most people. The long fasting period can lead to increased fat burning.

Cons:

Some people have a difficult time adhering to the strict time windows that provide the alleged benefits.

  1. Vertical Diet

Philosophy:

This diet focuses on the “What” you can eat with foods broken down into daily micronutrient required foods and daily macronutrient foods where steak and white rice help you hit your required caloric intake. Caloric consumption is increased based on training volume and goals. Additionally this diet eliminates some unique foods like legumes, onion, and garlic that are considered high FODMAP (fermentable oligo-, di-, and monosaccharide and polyol) foods.

Pros:

This diet can be a great starting point for someone who has difficulty meeting macronutrient requirements or is new to dieting.

Cons:

The extreme lack of variability in food choices make this diet a bit boring to follow. It’s very possible that micronutrient deficiencies could occur by following the same simple foods long term.

What Are The Benefits of Intermittent Fasting?

You’ve probably heard of one of the most popular diets in the nutrition world right now, intermittent fasting (IF). Though this type of diet certainly isn’t new, the fad-ish uprising of it’s popularity have left a great deal of guru’s, buzz words, and misinformation floating around on the internet. However when celebrities like Beyonce, Terry Crews, and Hugh Jackman swear by a diet it is definitely worth giving a try, right. Today we’re going to break down some of the facts about intermittent fasting. You can decide if it’s right for you!

Before we get into the benefits of intermittent fasting it’s important to know how it works. There are many different protocols and standards that define the versions of this diet. The parameters that most people adjust include:

  • Time, when to eat and when not to. Most protocols recommend a ratio of 16 hour fast to 8 hours of eating. This could look like skipping breakfast and eating your first meal of the day at 12pm. You then have until 8 pm to eat.
  • What counts as fasting, if you’re in your fasting window are you allowed to consume anything? Most diets encourage water during the fast. Many also allow black coffee or tea (hold the cream and sugar) during the fast. Outside of these beverages, some people also consume coconut oil, BCAA drinks, or ketone supplements. This will depend on your goals and the approach you take.
  • What to eat during meals. This is dependent on the types and frequency of foods that work best for you. If you practice intermittent fasting you will benefit the most by adhering to a diet that eliminates inflammatory foods and refined carbohydrates.

Intermittent Fasting claims to have a great deal of benefits and many people have found it works great for them. There are also a great deal of myths or areas that still need to be verified by science. Most of the benefits of intermittent fasting seem to have more of a correlation with successful diets rather than to be the primary causal factor. As we work our way through the many claimed benefits of IF let’s address what benefits you can count on and which ones to put to the test.

Lower Insulin Resistance/Increase Insulin Sensitivity

If you hear insulin resistance I’m sure you’re thinking two things. One, I know that is important. Two, I don’t have diabetes so how does it apply to me?? Insulin is a hormone responsible for regulating the amount of energy (glucose) in the blood stream. By lowering insulin resistance, the body improves its ability to store extra glucose as glycogen (ready to use energy) in the muscle rather than as fat. Intermittent fasting reduces the bodies exposure to energy fluxuations, making it more sensitive when you do eat a meal.

You can burn fat while gaining muscle

This is one of those difficult to navigate situations. The fact is that going 16 hours or more without eating will make your body more reliant on fat as a fuel source. The major factor to consider is that the biggest player in gaining or losing both fat and muscle is energy balance. Intermittent fasting combined with healthy food choices and consistent exercise will produce the desired results, but if you’re consuming more calories than your body needs the calories will contribute to both muscle and fat gain.

Better dietary adherence

Many people love to use intermittent fasting simply because it is a great fit for their lifestyle.

Reasons for this vary from one person to another, but one of the key reasons seems to be that it reduces decision fatigue. Most people find themselves making poor dietary choices when they are either in a hurry or tired. By eliminating decision making around food it becomes easier to plan for one or two healthy meals in a day. Food becomes less of a focal point. You start eating to live, not living to eat.

Improve mental clarity

This ties into the powerful effects of insulin on the body. After a meal our body secretes insulin to maintain blood sugar levels in the body. When we are constantly eating we are dependent on a steady supply of glucose to feel energized and awake. Too long without food or an imbalanced meal causes the dreaded brain fog you’ve probably felt an hour or so after lunch. Many people report being more alert and focused when adapted to an intermittent fasting diet.

Give your gut a rest

A continuous diet of hard to digest foods can leave our digestive tract operating at less than optimal capacity. This leads to low energy levels, poor digestion, and a general inflammatory state. Intermittent fasting gives digestive enzymes and the healthy bacteria in our gut to build up stabilize.

Save time

This benefit of IF is about as straightforward as it gets. Eating fewer meals and/or at fewer times of the day will save you time. Not only that but you’d be surprised how much time gets wasted on meals when you’re trying to fit in 5-6 small meals per day. Without the interruption of food you’ll have more time for other activities.

Save money

This goes hand in hand with saving time. Fewer meals means more money saved. Even if you are eating bigger portions for lunch and dinner it means a smaller grocery bill and fewer days of the month you have to eat out.

As we’ve addressed some of the benefits of intermittent fasting we also need to play devil’s advocate to why it might now be the right choice for you. Let’s take a look at why you should not try intermittent fasting…

Some populations that may want to avoid IF would be individuals who have had issues with yo-yo dieting, overeating, binge eating, or make poor dietary choices. Some practitioners of intermittent fasting have reported an obsession with food or constant daydreaming about eating during their restricted hours. It is important to consult with your doctor before making any major change to your health including a significant shift in your diet.

Other individuals who may want to steer clear of IF would be individuals who are not consuming sufficient nutrients to address a specific health condition or goal. These could include specific micronutrients like vitamins or minerals. Children, teenagers or anyone who needs more total calories to gain weight may not be able to consume enough food during the limited time window associated with intermittent fasting. If you are a hardgainer, increasing your training volume for a sport, have a job that requires intense physical activity, or are in pregnancy this may not be the diet for you.

Hopefully highlighting some of the benefits of intermittent fasting has given you the information to see if you want to explore it further or shut it down like your high school prom date.