Recipe of the Week: Sweet Potato Nachos

If you’re anything like a human you most likely love taco anything and everything.  We took it to another level with this week’s Recipe of the Week which comes courtesy of Coach Joe.  It’s the Sweet Potato Nachos!  Make this super easy dish with your favorite protein and taco seasonings and you’ve got yourself and excellent meal for strength training days with the complex carb goodness from the sweet potatoes and black beans plus the benefits of building lean muscle from the lean protein of choice.

Servings: 4

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 sweet potatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1-2 Cups of shredded cheese
  • 1 lb of lean protein (lean ground beef/chicken/turkey or shredded chicken breast)
  • 1 Can black beans
  • Taco seasonings of choice
  • Veggies of choice (nacho fixings)
  • 8 Tbsp of plain nonfat Greek yogurt (instead of sour cream)
  • 8 Tbsp of salsa (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Place parchment paper on baking sheet and spray lightly with cooking spray.  Place sliced sweet potatoes evenly on parchment paper.  Bake 10 minutes and flip or 20 minutes if you don’t want to flip.  Keep an eye on these as cooking time varies on thickness of the slice.
  2. Cook protein and season how you like it.  Rinse black beans with water.  Once sweet potatoes are cooked, top with your cheese, seasoned protein, and black beans.  Broil for 5 minutes or under cheese is completely melted.
  3. Top with any veggies to your liking.  Use 2 Tbsp of yogurt rather than sour cream and salsa if you desire.

Nutritional Analysis: One serving approximately equals: 437 calories, 13g fat,  39g carbohydrate, 8g fiber, and 41g protein

Recipe of the Week: Baked Veggie & Chicken Scewers

These delicious Baked Veggie and Chicken Skewers are a quick and simple dinner that’s filled with fiber and protein, plus it’s just in time for grilling season! Dinners like this will get you well on your way to transforming your body. Pack the leftovers for a wholesome, fat burning lunch.

Servings: 8

Here’s what you need:

  • 15 bamboo skewers, cut in half
  • 1 cup coconut aminos
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 Tablespoon minced ginger root
  • 1 lb organic chicken breast tenders, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 orange bell pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 green bell pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
  1. Soak the bamboo skewers in water for an hour.
  2. Combine all of the ingredients, except the bell peppers, in large ziplock bag. Marinate in the fridge for 1 hour.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Thread the chicken pieces, alternating with bell pepper pieces, on the skewers. Line on a lightly greased pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until fully cooked through.

Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 103 calories, 2g fat, 130mg sodium, 8g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, and 14g protein

Recipe of the Week: Chocolate Protein Pudding

Here is a protein packed snack that the whole family will love!  It’s important to enjoy snacks that are low in carbohydrates and sugar, and high in protein in order to shed body fat and develop healthy muscles.  It’s also a great substitute for that chocolate craving!  This recipe delivers on all fronts, without sacrificing flavor.

Servings: 1

Here’s what you need…

  • 6 oz Greek Yogurt, plain, fat free
  • 1 scoop high quality chocolate protein powder
  • Sprinkle of unsweetened cocoa powder
  1. In a small bowl use a whisk to combine the yogurt and protein powder. Mix until all lumps have disappeared.
  2. Garnish with a sprinkle of unsweetened cocoa powder.

Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 220 calories, 0g fat, 445mg sodium, 11g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, and 42g protein.

Recipe of the Week: Super Green Smoothie Bowl

Simple SUPER green smoothie bowls packed with tons of greens and customizable toppings! The healthiest and easiest way to turn a smoothie into a meal.


Prep time: 10 Minutes
Serves: 2

Ingredients:

SMOOTHIE
• 1/4 ripe avocado
• 2 medium ripe bananas, previously sliced and frozen
• 1 cup fresh or frozen mixed berries (organic when possible) – use strawberries/raspberries for a greener
smoothie, darker berries for a purple smoothie
• 2 large handfuls spinach (organic when possible)
• 1 small handful kale (organic when possible), large stems removed
• 1 1/2 – 2 cups unsweetened non-dairy milk (will depend on if your berries are frozen)
• 1 Tbsp flax seed
• Optional: 2 Tbsp salted creamy almond or peanut butter

TOPPING OPTIONS
• Roasted unsalted sunflower seeds
• Granola
• Raw or roasted nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts, etc.)
• Shredded unsweetened coconut
• Fresh berries
• Hemp seeds

Instructions
1. Add all smoothie ingredients to a blender and blend until creamy and smooth. Add more almond milk (or water) to thin.
2. Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more ripe banana (or maple syrup) for added sweetness, more spinach
for a bright green hue, or almond milk for creaminess.
3. For the green smoothie I used strawberries, which let the green color come through more. For the purple bowl I
used darker berries (raspberries, blackberries, blueberries).
4. Divide between 2 serving bowls and top with desired toppings!
5. Best when fresh, though leftovers can be kept in jars in the fridge for up to 1-2 days.

Recipe from The Minimalist Baker

What Can You and a Fitness Coach Learn From a Dog?

This blog post comes from a different angle.  One that is far from the topic of fitness, but more towards how we as coaches, particularly at Unity, aim to change the way fitness is done.

It is often said that you don’t choose your dogs (or pets), they choose you…The story stands true for our family’s dog, Babe.

A few weeks ago we believed that our time with Babe, our dog of 13 years, was coming to end.  Two weeks ago one of my brothers mentioned that Babe wasn’t doing well and she had blood in her urine.  It was evident that the end was near.  My family had rushed her to the vet for some testing to see if there was anything we could do.

Babe was calmly put to sleep on Friday afternoon, March 24th with the family there with her.   After a big scare about a year ago, we were thankful to have her around this long.  We aren’t entirely sure of her age as my step-dad brought her back from a Nebraska hunting trip in 2003.  She was probably a year or two old then, so we can estimate her at 15.

Regardless of her age, she was the “Momma” of our other family dogs.  She ran the show, she called the shots, and she was the first to greet you when you came home.  Babe was the comfort dog.  There wasn’t a bad bone in her body (I don’t think she EVER had an accident in the house or did anything “bad”) and she was there for you no matter how good or how tough the times were.

I think my sister has described her best:

“Many people do not know that Babe was actually a wild dog in Nebraska. Kurt went on a hunting trip and she befriended all of the hunters (for food) Babe was going to be shot (not by hunters) because she was seen as a nuisance, but boy she could not be any further from that…so Kurt said he wanted her and saved her. She was my “when you can’t look on the bright side, I will sit with you in the dark” through EVERY sucky life moment I have ever went through….We are so lucky to have you in our life. You are our protector and light.”

15 years ago I didn’t really understand how we as humans became so attached to our dogs and cats.  I had basically had a dog in my life since my mom met my now step-dad, but it was tough for me to realize the true value pets had on families and people (this is where you insert the crazy cat-lady and dog-lovers or bird collectors, right?).  It wasn’t until my growth as a human being that I started paying more attention to relationships and moments rather than superficial items and status.

I’m not saying that Babe changed that for me, but she was around for just about every major event our family has had (including my personal and professional growth), not to mention numerous other dogs we’ve had during that time (six to my count) for the last 13 years.  She was also “around”, always willing to give up her time to be by you and show affection and comfort.  Essentially she was always there to lend an ear.  She was noble, graceful, pure-hearted, kind, and fearless.  It’s hard to believe she came from “the wild” and was seen as a “nuisance”.

I wasn’t able to really think about all of what Babe offered to our family until this past weekend.  It’s absolutely amazing all that you can learn not only from dogs, but pets, if you stop to pay attention and cherish the moments and the relationship.  They say that in death comes life.  While this saying mostly pertains to human death, I say it is plenty suitable in this circumstance with Babe.  It’s also fresh in my mind, so I say it’s relevant, but at a different level of meaning.

I take Babe’s qualities of being noble, graceful, pure-hearted, kind, and fearless on through me with deeper meaning.  As a coach, we are listeners before we “actors”, just like Babe was.  I also take on her always-comforting, non-judgmental attitude, as I think are two high-quality traits any coach, whether fitness or otherwise, needs to possess.  The thing is, I was already doing those things; it just so happens that now they’re being done at a deeper level.  And it’s not just me…The best analogy I can give to this is how we coach our members at Unity:

We don’t judge.  Ever.  And we’re always there to comfort you and dig into the small victories and details that help you grow.  We’re always willing to lend out a hand (or an ear) or just be the shoulder to lie on.  We’re here to listen.  Regardless of what is happening, we are always here.  And we’re rolling with the punches with you and we’re taking action with you.

I would say that Babe represented what true friendships/relationships should consist of.

I’ve joked before that I think any of our Fitfam members could probably commit a serious crime and I’d still be there to support them (numerous times, actually).  I feel like that was Babe.

The day we put Babe down was unbelievably difficult.  There’s only a handful of other days in my lifetime that have made me feel like that.  It had to happen fast as she was losing strength to do just about anything – even just lifting her head required an enormous amount of strength and resulted in more fatigue.  After I saw the 8 missed calls from my cell phone and the gym phone on a late Friday morning, I had figured something was going on.  The day we put Babe to sleep is one I will never forget, but Babe will always be remembered.

Once again, my sister said it best when it comes to sending Babe off:  “’And I’d choose you; in a hundred lifetimes, in a hundred worlds, in any version of reality, I’d find you and I’d choose you. …I will find you’”

Thank you, Babe!