Category Archives for "Healthy Habits"

Join in on Your Favorite- The Crockpot Freezer Workshop

My favorite meals are those that are easy to fix, don't have me in the kitchen for hours at a time, and taste fantastic. One of my favorite tools to help make that happen is the crockpot. What's better than one meal that is easy to fix, fast to put together, and that the whole family loves? Five Crockpot meals! 

About three years ago, I found a process for Crockpot Freezer Meals. It was one of those moments when I thought: "I wish I would have thought of that, It's brilliant!".

Imagine this you trek to the grocery store, spend an hour or more shopping for the week and then come home and prepare all your dinner meals within the next hour. How cool would that be? When you're ready to leave the house each morning, you place one meal in the crockpot and when you arrive back home- Voila, dinner is done. Repeat that for a total of five days. (You'll probably have leftovers for lunch too. Win/Win) That is a picture of how it will feel after you participate in the Crockpot Workshop. And yet there is one small difference. You can take out the grocery shopping because I already will do that for you.

At the crockpot workshop you'll walk away after an hour with five meals ready to place in the freezer until you are ready to cook them in your crockpot (or Instant Pot). It might not actually take you an hour to put these meals together. It goes that fast. 

Here's what you get at this workshop:

  • Every Ingredient is provided to make 5 meals that feeds 4-6 people
  • I do all the shopping for you
  • I set up and clean up for you
  • You walk out with 5 meals ready to cook in your crockpot (or instant pot). 
  • These meals can also be thrown in the freezer until you need them.
  • Use these meals when you want or need them most.
  • I often give one or more of these meals away to someone who is sick, had a baby, going through a rough time etc. Then they have an option when they need it most. 

What you don't get:

  • Long lines at the grocery store
  • Figuring out which recipes are Coach Nancy approved 🙂
  • Forgetting an ingredient at the store so you have to make a second trip
  • Being alone as you prepare your meals. Friends make this workshop even more fun.
  • A messy kitchen. These meals go from Ziploc bag to Crockpot. BAM you're done.


The Crockpot Freezer Meal workshop is:

Wednesday, January 30th.

6-7pm

At Cr8 Fitness in Epsom


The cost for this workshop is only $105. That is $21 for a meal that feeds 4-6 (most likely with leftovers).

A note from Coach Dean about the cost of the workshop: For the amount of work I see Nancy put into this workshop, that is a super price. The girls help out too; compiling all the ingredients, running around doing all the shopping, measuring and portioning the protein into freezer bags, setup, running the workshop, cleaning up - all of it. As you are well aware, food prices are on the rise. We chose not to raise the price last time, this time we really had little choice. We would like to do more of these, because we want to make great eating as easy as possible, and it's got to work for everybody -  that includes the chef! 🙂

Want Proof?

Here is what others have said after they finished the workshop.

"Thank you Nancy! This is the most efficient, high quality, useful, and good for me "cooking workshop” I’ve ever taken. No, it’s the second one I’ve taken because I’m still working on the proceeds of the first one. I look forward to the next one!" - Elizabeth

"Nancy, Thank you so much for last night's session! I appreciate how efficient the 1 hour prep process was to get 5 meals prepared and new recipes for my family. With the kids busy sports and music schedule we have been eating out far too often. It will be nice to replace eating out with home cooked crock pot meals. Thank you! We are trying the first meal this evening." -Tammy

"I loved the crockpot seminar. It was fun and has been feeding my family for the past several weeks. We loved the cashew chicken and beef stew the best! I liked how we were able to leave with the meal completed and participate. Thank you for putting this on!"  -Christine

If you're curious if your family will like the meals we prepare, here's the five meals we'll fix in less than an hour.

  1. Cashew Chicken
  2. Balsamic Chicken
  3. Thai-ish Chicken Wings
  4. Italian Chicken
  5. Beef Stew

All these recipes are Carlson Kid tested and approved. 🙂

Sign up quickly, because although I'd love to have everyone there, I only have room for 20 Crockpot Chefs!

To your best health,

Coach Nancy

Purpose Unlocks Potential

What is your purpose in physically training at Cr8 Fitness?

Now what is the question that pops into your head right after you say your purpose?

Hold onto these questions and their answers. They are going to help you unlock your potential and give you success in 2019. 

You are always backing me up and I need that! 

For example: My purpose in physically training and eating to support my lifestyle is so that I do not visit my doctor as often as I did in 2018. While I know there will be some visits; a regular check up, skin cancer and breast cancer were a concern in 2018 so I know I have follow up visits to those. Yet I spent many other visits to doctors and chiropractors to help my ribs, my back, headaches, and my hip. My training suffered and my healthy numbers are spiraling downward. Yet when I first say my purpose out loud a voice in my head says; "Where are you going to start?"
It is then that I bring out my keys to Success. Focus, Commitment, Preparation, and Accountability.

  • Focus- I need to keep my purpose in the front of my daily activity. It is all too often that I left my daily activities dictate my life, instead of having a clear direction. I skip all over the place just to do this and do that. With some clarity I will achieve my daily activities in the priority that my purpose dictates.
  • Commitment- I've already put in place several actions because I am committed. I am not going to wait for the perfect time, or the first day of the week, or for some magical, mystical, spiritual event to hit me. I'll adjust my plan as I need to, for now I need to just get going.
  • Preparation- Some of you might view me as if I have preparation down solid, this is my weakest area. Since as far as I can remember I have crammed for texts, procrastinated until the last minute, and held off on things that are hard until I HAD to do them. That is why I didn't wait for the perfect timing or the perfect plan or to have all the stars line up before beginning. My preparation is tied into my next key heavily. Need some help to get you started? Take a look into some of our Cr8-Tive articles
  • Accountability- I've already asked for help. I have a partner, actually two people, to hold me to my first and most important task. From there I have different peeps who will nudge me when I falter. I'm using an app on my phone to give me feedback. It took courage to ask for help. I have all of you to back me up- I need that and you do too. I wanted to do this alone. And yet that has not worked out very well in the past. Using my key of Accountability will spur me onto action when my focus or commitment or preparation isn't all in.

How does this lead back to those two questions? Your purpose will give you clarity. It will drive you, and keep you from chasing squirrels and going down rabbit trails. The second question is designed to show which key is most important. I didn't know where to start. It seemed like a huge task. My accountability partner helped me line up my focus, I know they will help me when my focus, commitment and preparation are waining.

I have to use all the keys to succeed. Focus, Commitment, Preparation, and Accountability.

This exercise will take a few minutes to complete. Lets find our Purpose and use our Keys to Success so that 2019 will be our best year ever!

To your Best Health,

Coach Nancy


Help, There is going to be Lots of Food at Christmas

"Merry Christmas!". It comes from every street corner, every bank teller, each person you meet seems to say' "Merry Christmas". 

Its a great time of the year and it can also be a bit stressful as you navigate a healthy lifestyle during the last six weeks of the year. So let's talk food. I'd like to give you 5 strategies you can put in place to truly make this a Merry Christmas

As if Thanksgiving isn't full of enough food it is soon followed by all the gatherings, parties, and food of Christmas and the New Years. 

Food calories can really add up before the REAL meal is served. And the calories can also quickly add up, particularly if you are snacking mindlessly.

So here are my strategies for handling appetizers, food and drink that is tempting, and that will be around for a good bit pre-meal. Note: these strategies are good for later that evening with dinner and dessert as well.

  1. Survey your options before eating. Eye everything down first without a plate and determine what you will eat.
  2. Skip any food that you can get anytime. A bowl full of M&M's? Who needs them? Not when you can drive past any gas station later that evening and pick some up (That is if you decide your holiday meal wouldn't be complete without them. And I’m betting that won't happen.)
  3. Fill up on low-calorie options like veggies (watch the dip) or salads (careful on the dressing). Then, look at the entire selection and determine what you'd REALLY like to enjoy. Allow yourself to have some of that -- enjoy it and move on.
  4. Don't hang out next to food. C'mon that's just asking for trouble. Once you've enjoyed your meal, put your plate away and situate yourself away from the food.
  5. Bring your own HAPPYtizers (appetizers that will truly make everyone happy). Offer to bring the vegetable tray or Shrimp cocktail.

Christmas is a time to enjoy family, friends, and loved ones; food is just a part of it. Plan to walk away from your next party happy you were there, content with your food choices, and satisfied inside. 

To your best Health,

Coach Nancy


Too Many Calories at Christmas

Sticking with my Handling the Holidays theme... I’m back at it with today’s topic: Too many calories.

I’ve heard more than one person complain of all the sweets and baked goods that are around this time of year.

And unless you plan on checking yourself into a spa for the next two weeks, it's hard to avoid. There's the food YOU make at home (for your family or other people), the food that people give TO YOU, and the food that's brought into the office.

And that's not counting office parties and holiday parties that take place in the last 2 weeks of the year, either.

What's a goal-oriented clean eater to do?

Since there's so much to discuss on this one, I'm breaking it down into two environments.

The home environment.

Tip #1. Instead of baking cookies for others, consider other baked goods that you can give as WHOLE THINGS. For example, banana bread, pies, cakes. Most of these are less time-consuming to make than individual cookies, and you won't be tempted to slip in a piece. I mean who's going to give a pie to someone with a piece cut out?

Tip#2. Consider GIVING away things other than baked goods. Fruit baskets are great choices and many people actually welcome them this time of year, when they've been inundated with other junk food. Make your own for a fraction of the price of store bought.

Tip#3. When you are baking at home, those little BLT's add up. Remember, BLT stands for Bite, Lick or Taste. Don't start cooking until after you've had a protein rich meal. Your body will be busy digesting for hours and you'll be less tempted to snack. If baking is an all day event, plan a decent lunch and take a break to sit while eating. 

Tip#4. If you will be baking at home or you just have lots of goodies in the kitchen, brush and floss your teeth after every meal. A clean fresh mouth will make those treats less tempting. Consider chewing peppermint gum as well and if possible, avoid the kitchen. Out of sight, out of mind.

Tip#5. Are you inundated with food related gifts from family and friends? I almost hate to say it, but re-gift. You can appreciate the thoughtfulness without having to "appreciate" it. Pass on the thoughtfulness to someone else.

Tip#6. What's your reason for NOT overindulging this season? If you don't have one, you need to come up with something that will make this a season that is defined by something other than the goodies you can indulge in. With no real reason for sticking to clean eating, you'll be much more likely to convince yourself a little bite here, and a little cookie there won't hurt.

The easiest place to control excess calories this holiday season is your own home. Watch what food you bring in, encourage company to take leftovers and goodies with them and give away what you can.

It's not the food that makes the holidays, it's the memories you make.

And those calories are coming from everywhere! But no where seems worse than the place we spend the majority of our day. The office.

There's clients, reps, patients, and business associates who send or bring in all sorts of goodies.

There's the staff office parties which typically means a catered lunch or... ten, depending on where you work.

And then there's your co-workers. The overachievers who want to show off all of their superb culinary skills by bringing everyone in the office high-calorie, delicious homemade goodness. And insist on watching you try "just one."

Add to all of that, the end of year work related stress that leaves you short-fused, and sleep deprived and you are primed for a sugar-laden calorie bomb before noon! Here's my top tips for handling this:

  • Recognize that just because food is there, doesn't mean you have to eat it. Are you eating because you're hungry? Or because you're bored and you CAN? Before you indulge in anything at the office, take a moment and think about why you are eating. If it's a one of kind treat, offered only once a year, than maybe it's worth the calories. If it's something you could get again tomorrow, why bother?
  • TAKE the time to prepare and bring your lunch every single day from now until the holiday craziness has passed. And not just any old lunch - think of some of your favorite, clean lunches and bring those, so you won't be tempted by the trays and trays of sub sandwiches in the break room. Pack snacks too. Things that are easy and portable are beef jerky, string cheese, raw nuts, fresh fruit. Always aim to eat some lean protein and fiber so you will stay full for a longer period of time.
  • Handle the food-pushers assertively. When they offer you tempting goodies, look them directly in the eye and say "It looks wonderful and I'm sure it tastes fabulous, but I am (insert one of the following: full, limiting how many sweets I am eating this year, cutting back on in between meal snacks, etc). The key is to be appreciative, but also direct. If they persist, again, look them directly in the eye, and say, " Honestly, first name, I'm _______(repeat your rationale). Leave it at that.
  • Lastly, the most simple and direct tip I can give you. Avoid the food. Don't hang out where food is stored or sitting out. You'll constantly have to tell yourself "no" and repeating "no" over and over doesn't actually increase your conviction, it weakens it. It's like exposure to a cold or illness. The greater (more frequent) the exposure, the greater the chance you will catch the bug and give in.


During this “busy holiday season”, it’s important to pull the reins back a bit.

Now, I’m not here to say live off celery and tofu for the month.

But what about setting up a little challenge with yourself.

Skip the seconds on Christmas Day.

Pick and choose your favorites, whatever you want, but don't go back for a second plate.

Who's with me?

To your best health,

Coach Nancy


Holiday Survival Guide – Sleep


Are you an "All or Nothing" type of person?

Soon it is Christmas. Do you have an all or nothing mentality?

During the Christmas Season, do you eat and eat and eat and eat, because it is there? Do you leave each meal or party feeling stuffed and guilty for overindulging again?

Or

At Christmas, do you feel deprived, hungry, pick at only a few food items, watch as everyone else gets to eat what they want?

Are these your only options?

This Christmas, put a plan in place. Enjoy special times with family and friends, choose small portions of those food items that aren’t typically on your menu plan. Don’t go at it with a buffet line mentality, but with a treasured meal that you’ve looked forward to and it has finally arrived mentality.

With the holidays here in full effect, I thought I’d cover some common struggles we all face during this time of year.

And that leads me to our first one. LACK OF SLEEP.

It's true when we're rushing to fit it all in, sleep is the very first to go. We stay up later than we should knowing that we "just need to get through the next couple of days...week or month." And yet, even though we may finish a project or task by staying up later, that sleep decrement bleeds into the next day. Lack of sleep is more than just self-imposed 'punishment' for not being able to get everything done.

It can lead to weight gain, difficulty concentrating, and can flat out ruin your holidays.

So if you're already putting sleep on the back burner to start crossing things off your holiday to-do list, take a moment and consider what really needs to get done.

Ask yourself, what do you want to create the most this holiday season? Instead of telling yourself you need to have a perfectly decorated house, home made goodies for every acquaintance you can possibly think of, the ideal Christmas present for everyone on your list, in addition to being perfectly dressed, coiffed and manicured, maybe you pick a 'theme' for the season.

Focus on ONE thing and let go or delegate the rest. I know it sounds easier said than done...but how many years have you tried to pack everything in and watched the month vanish at a blink of an eye....with no real meaningful memories in it's place?

Here are just a few trade-offs to consider so that you may go to bed earlier each night.

  • Purchase gift cards instead of presents for people on your list. Easy one stop shopping and little gift wrapping involved. Plus, as a friend always says - it's 2 gifts in one...now you have a reason to go shopping too!
  • Hire someone to clean your house.
  • Pick one or two key rooms to decorate and let go of the rest.
  • Shop at stores that offer gift wrapping with purchase.
  • Having a party? Have it catered and/or hire a bartender and enjoy the opportunity to visit with family and friends rather than spending your time in the kitchen.
  • Shop online.

And yes, I know, sometimes you DO NEED to stay up later than you'd like. Here's your recipe for the next day.

Take a nap if you can. 15-20 minutes. No more or else you'll end up creating a cycle that could make falling to sleep at night harder.

Lay off the caffeine. I know, sounds like it's impossible...but it's not. Suffer through the sleep deprivation for the day, and sleep more soundly the next night.

Drink plenty of water and focus on protein and veggies. Avoid simple carbohydrates like processed foods such as cookies, cakes, candy, crackers, etc which is what your body will be craving.

Don't skip your workouts. The exercise will help to make you feel energized. At the least, get outside for a quick 15-20 minute walk in the brisk air. Invigorating.

Bottom line, ask yourself is staying up late to do whatever you need to do, really worth it? Are these expectations you have of yourself necessary or even important to you? If not, it's time to let go.

To Your Best Health,

Coach Nancy


Yummy Recipes for Graham Cracker Protein Powder

We've recently sampled Graham Cracker UMP (Ultimate Muscle Protein). I have more delicious recipes to share with you! 

Check out this Graham Cracker Chocolate Peanut Butter Pudding that Coach Dean came up with. It will satisfy chocolate and peanut butter cravings!

Here are a few more recipes with the UMP graham cracker protein powder.

Dan's Dynamic Shake

  • 1 scoop graham cracker protein
  • ½ scoop vanilla protein
  • ½ scoop chocolate protein
  • 1½ teaspoon peanut butter
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 fistful spinach
  • About 10 ounces of water

Blend until smooth in a blender. If you use a fresh banana, add in a few ice cubes to chill it. Enjoy!

Marquita's Marvelous Shake

  • 1 scoop graham cracker protein powder
  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
  • 1 tablespoon shredded coconut
  • 10 ounces of water
  • Ice

Blend until smooth in a blender.

Homemade Granola Bar

  • 4 scoops graham cracker protein powder
  • 2 cups oats
  • ½ cup crushed walnuts
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax seed
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
  • About ½ cup of water

In a large bowl, combine all the oats, protein powder, walnuts, flax seed, sunflower seeds, salt, and raisins. Add in the vanilla, coconut oil, and then the water a little at a time. At first it will seem very dry but be patient it will blend up. Coat an 8x8 pan with coconut oil. Press the mixture on the bottom of the pan. Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Cut into bars or squares.

The great things about these granola bars is that they are flexible. Some shredded coconut or cacao nibs would go great in here. Experiment with different protein powder flavors for a different spin, too.

To Your Best Health,

Coach Nancy


Eat Your Way RIGHT Through the Holidays

There are two ways you can read that.

Eat your way right through..... The Holidays” – such as, eat everything in sight from Halloween to New Year’s and ensure yourself 10 new pounds of belly blubber for the new year.

OR

“Eat your way RIGHT..... through the holidays”, as in eat correctly and supportively over the next few weeks, enjoying the seasonal treats in a planned and controlled way, continuing to focus on good habits and making progress.

Big Difference! (no pun intended)

One cookie is different than one plate of cookies!


Take these 4 things and help yourself to Eat RIGHT through the holidays

  1. Plan your meals
  2. Prep your meals or as much as you can ahead of time
  3. Eat when you are hungry
  4. Stop eating when you are satisfied.

That is it. Four things that sound super simple and easy to do. If you dismiss one of those items, you make your chances of Eating RIGHT through the holidays twice as hard. 

To your Best Health,

Coach Nancy

Have You Grabbed Your 12 Mugs of Christmas?

All I really want is a cup of coffee.

Yet every time I drive into my local coffee shop (you know who you are) it's staring me in the face. A Peppermint Mocha, Eggnog, or Gingerbread Latte.

SOOOO good, but also enough sugar to put me into a coma.

​But there's gotta be a way to get that holiday taste AND get some good nutrition in, right?

Oh Yeah!

A few years our favorite protein supplement provider, Beverly International, put out some recipes they called "The 12 Mugs of Christmas", using their absolutely delicious "Ultimate Muscle Protein".

We decided it was time for an update, so we tweaked a couple of the recipes, gave an option to use one of their newest flavors - Graham Cracker, and compiled it into a full color downloadable .pdf you can have for absolutely free.

With a selection of both hot and cold drinks,​ coffee based and ​not, this recipe booklet is sure to please your taste buds this holiday season. Check out the names of these recipes:

  • Peppermint Peace
  • Santa's Gingerbread
  • Wings of an Angel
  • Silent Night
  • J​oy to the World
  • Mid-Winter
  • Home for the Holidays
  • Naughty or Nice
  • Candy Cane Delight
  • Angels Sing
  • Christmas in a Cup
  • Santa's Cup of UMP
  • Rudolph's Applesnack

​A Baker's Dozen!

Not convinced Mr. Scrooge? 🙂

Here's a sample of just one of these delicious recipes.

Candy Cane Delight

1 cup unsweetened Almond Milk
1 scoop UMP Chocolate
1 tbsp Sugar Free Peppermint Mocha Creamer
¼ tsp Peppermint extract
8-10 ice cubes
Blend all ingredients for 1 minute
​​​

Want to turn it into a hot drink? Substitute hot coffee for the almond milk and ditch the ice! 

A tip from the head elf: Use a blender for your hot drinks too. It ensures the protein is fully mixed and adds a wonderful froth to the top!

Just enter your info below for your FREE instant download. Grab it before it goes away!

Just in Time for Thanksgiving- Bump up Your Brussels Sprouts

These are not your ordinary Brussels Sprouts! Colorful and tasty, the sweetness of the butternut squash and tart of the cranberries make this dish a great blend of fall flavors. You will love the crunch of the pecans too!

  • 3 cups Brussels Sprouts
  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 pound Butternut Squash
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2 cups Pecan Halves
  • 1 cup dried cranberries (no sugar added) You can also use fresh cranberries like I did. Roast them right along with the squash and sprouts. 

Instructions

  1. Peel, seed and cut the butternut squash into 1″ cubes, then toss with 2 Tbsp olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon.
  2. Trim the ends of the Brussels sprouts, and remove any yellow leaves.
  3. Toss the sprouts with 3 Tbsp olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Roast the squash and Brussels sprouts on separate baking sheets for 25-30 minutes in a 400 degree oven. For even browning, turn over for the last 10 minutes.
  5. When the squash and sprouts are done, combine them with the pecans and dried cranberries and gently mix.

To Your best health,

Coach Nancy

 

MY Healthy AND Happy Thanksgiving Menu

Dear Coach Dean,

Let's try something new this year.

Let's NOT stress about what we eat on Thanksgiving. 

Let's not count calories, or ask how much sugar is in the pie (it's PIE for crying out loud) or work ourselves into a tizzy deciding if we should eat a dinner roll. Let's not try to make keto stuffing (it's terrible) or carb free desserts. Let's not make everyone else suffer because you are so "self-disciplined".

I mean seriously, is THAT healthy behavior?

If you don't like how much you weigh, or how you look in the mirror, you aren't going to solve that in one day. ESPECIALLY Thanksgiving Day.

Chill out.

Healthy eating is more than the amount of protein, fat and carbohydrates in your "diet". Knowing those things can be important, but if counting calories and weighing your food stresses you out - cut it out. 

You KNOW the best way to eat, and 99% of the time you do. You eat sensibly, and simply.

In fact most of the time your eating is downright boring. But that doesn't mean it bland, tasteless, and uninteresting.

It just means you do the same thing over and over, meal after meal. You eat PPW every time you eat - Protein, Produce, and Water (or other calorie-free beverages).

You'll do the same thing on Thanksgiving day. You'll just add a couple more things, in reasonable amounts, that you enjoy but eat less often. Some great bread, maybe some mashed potatoes and gravy. A small slice of a couple different desserts. Some cider and even a small glass of eggnog. 

And it will be GOOD, and it will be HEALTHY, because you won't stress out about it, and you'll be doing it with people you love.

And on Friday, you'll reign it back in, enjoy some leftovers in reasonable amounts, maybe even have a piece of dessert two days in a row - WHAAAT!

And then you'll get back into your normal routine of PPW, sensibly and simply navigating healthy eating, no stress allowed.

To your best health, and a wonderful Thanksgiving,

Your Friend,

Coach Dean

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