One of my favorite bloggers, Leah from Freutcake, has decided to share her tips on how she manages to stay bikini ready despite all of the delicious baked treats she posts on her blog. I have recently been asked the same thing: "How do I stay in shape despite all the food that I'm posting on the blog?" I have to admit that it is not easy. You've seen the posts from the last few weeks: ribs, New York Cheesecake, chili dogs. And you're probably wondering how I balance all that heavy food out. Well, the answer isn't terribly complicated. I do cook a lot of healthier food during the week and of course, I exercise. So, with summertime already here for some of us (not me), and shorts and bikini season upon us, I thought I should share some of my tips too.
The surprising part, to me at least, is that I feel like I'm in the best shape that I've been in over the last 4 years. Here are the things that I've been doing:
1) Drinking a lot of water - we all know it's important, but for some reason we still don't drink enough. I aim for 2-3 of my 27 ounce water bottles during the work day.
2) Eating a real breakfast every morning! This too is so important, but I know there are people who skip breakfast. You will see a picture of my typical breakfast below: 2% plain Greek Yogurt, teaspoon of honey, dash of cinnamon, fresh berries, and a bit of granola (try this PB Granola or this Pumpkin Granola). Always try include protein in your breakfast. If you don't like Greek Yogurt (which has way more protein than regular yogurt), try this Breakfast Quinoa without the yogurt or these cute Zucchini Egg Cups.
3) Pack healthy snacks for mid-morning and afternoon: Greek Yogurt (snack sized), apples, and roasted unsalted almonds are my go-to.
4) Barre workouts (3-4 times a week)! I love my barre workouts at Inside Out Studios (in Ottawa). It took me a long time to find a workout that I actually liked and one that challenged and motivated me. Find what works for you, try out classes at your gym, go for walks or hikes with your girlfriends, join a running club or masters' swim team. Make it fun and it will be easier to stick to!
5) Walking to and from work everyday. It's a total of 4 kilometers and it helps me decompress from the work day.
6) Getting a complete source of nutrition (vitamins, minerals, and antioxidents) through Vemma. The anti-inflammatory mangosteen has also helped me recover faster between my workouts.
I'm going to have my mom, Kim, share her recent journey as well next week. She and my dad have been in full body transformation mode (my dad has lost nearly 20 pounds) lately!
To make sure that we all eat breakfast and have healthy, but also delicious snacks, I want to share these tasty little almond butter balls with you. This recipe is a mash-up of two recipes that I have pinned (or mentally bookmarked) recently, one from Eat.Live.Run and one from Bake Your Day. These little balls of goodness are so filling and super satisfying. They are a great grab and go snack or breakfast item. And the tiny bit of chocolate will leave both your sweet tooth and waistline happy. They are really easy to put together, no baking required, just a bit of time chilling in the fridge. But, the best part of these is that they are adaptable to your own tastes. You could switch the almond butter for peanut butter. You could add dried fruit or toasted coconut. The possibilities are endless, which means that you won't get board with these! And boredom is the worst thing for self-control when it comes to food.
Almond Butter BallsAdapted from Eat.Live.Run and Bake Your Day
1 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup cooked quinoa (I cooked 1/2 cup dry quinoa with 1 cup water and saved the rest for later)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup flax seed
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup all-natural almond butter
Cook your quinoa according to the directions (or use leftovers!). If there aren't directions: Dry quinoa should be cooked at a 2:1 ratio (so 1 cup of water per 1/2 cup of dry quinoa). Bring the water and quinoa to a boil, then turn the heat to low, cover, and cook for about 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork, then allow it to cool slightly.
Mix the quinoa with the oats, cinnamon, salt, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, and chocolate chips. Pour the the honey, vanilla, and almond butter over the dry mixture. Mix everything together well then chill for 30-60 minutes. After you've chilled the mixture, roll it into small balls. Store in the refrigerator.