My Favorite Breakfast- Who Does Not Love Pancakes?

I know how important breakfast is but as a busy mom, I need something quick and healthy.  An ideal breakfast should contain protein, a serving of starchy carbs and possibly veggies.   Also, my favorite meals are ones that are one dish, all inclusive.  This is my favorite breakfast.  It is full of protein, gluten free, and who does not love pancakes?  Even better, my children love the recipe and the recipe can easily be doubled.  There are many versions of this recipe out there, but this is my favorite one.

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Cottage Cheese Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup oatmeal
  • 1/4 cup 2% low sodium cottage cheese
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 packet Stevia raw or Truvia

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Let batter sit for about 5 minutes
  3. Cook over medium heat in a pan coated with non-stick spray just as you would regular pancakes (you can cook them any size you would like)

The entire recipe is one serving.

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Easy Ways To Get Your Protein

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     As a fat loss coach for busy moms, I always recommend protein with every meal.  Protein is extremely important for a number of reasons.  These include:

  • helps to burn fat by causing the release of the hormone glucagon (which opposes the fat storing effects of insulin)
  • requires more calories to break down than carbohydrates or fats
  • maintains energy levels by keeping blood sugar levels stable
  • decreases hunger and cravings
  • helps build and maintain muscle (essential for a healthy metabolism)

     I also realize that, as busy moms, most of my clients do not have the luxury of having a lot of time to prepare meals and they are often asking for quick protein recipes.  I can completely relate because the meals that I fix take no more than 20 minutes to prepare so I either use pre-cooked protein sources, super quick to cook protein, or recipes that I can fix ahead and use throughout the week.

     In an ideal world, all my clients and myself would prepare all of our food ourselves, use all grass-fed and organic foods, and avoid excess sodium and preservatives.  But I do not live in an ideal world, so here are my top picks for pre-cooked protein sources that you can pick up at the grocery store:

  • rotisserie chicken
  • nitrate free deli turkey or chicken slices
  • cooked and sliced or diced chicken breast (available in the deli section in a variety of flavors)
  • pre-boiled eggs
  • frozen, pre-cooked turkey burgers or marinated chicken breasts

     About 25% of the time, I cook my protein at meal time but it is always something quick to prepare.  My top picks for this are:

  • nitrate free turkey bacon or pork bacon
  • egg whites scrambled or fried
  • ground turkey or chicken browned with a packet of low sodium taco seasoning or Italian seasoning or browned and mixed with salsa or spaghetti sauce

     Another 25% of the time, I use easy recipes that I can cook ahead and eat throughout the week.  One of my favorite methods to cook protein is the slow cooker because it keeps the lean proteins moist and I do not have to stand there the entire time it is cooking.  Here are some of my favorite make ahead recipes:

My make ahead chicken fajita recipe can be found HERE

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast

             Ingredients:

  • 1 bone-in turkey breast with the skin removed
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried, minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 water

              Directions:

  1. Combine all spices
  2. Brush turkey with oil and rub with spices
  3. Place in slow cooker and add water
  4. Cook on low for 5-6 hours

 Herbed Chicken and Veggies

             Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds chicken breast without skin
  • 2 chopped tomatoes
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups broccoli florets

             Directions:

  1. Put chicken in slow cooker
  2. Top with next three ingredients
  3. Mix broth, bay leaf, thyme, and pepper together
  4. Pour broth over the chicken
  5. Cook on low for 5-6 hours
  6. Add broccoli and cook for another hour or until broccoli is tender and chicken is cooked through

 Enchilada Turkey

            Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds turkey tenderloin or chicken breast without skin
  • 8 ounce can low sodium tomato sauce
  • 4 ounce can chopped green chillies
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1-2 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

             Directions:

  1. Put the meat in the slow cooker
  2. In a bowl, combine the remaining ingredients
  3. Pour over the turkey
  4. Cook for 6-8 hours
  5. Remove the meat and shred or dice
  6. Return the meat to the slow cooker and heat through

     So, I have given you several options for quick protein sources.  Are you wondering what to do with them now?  Here are my favorite ways to serve these recipes and the pre-cooked options:

  • on a salad
  • on a low carb tortilla
  • beside steamed veggies
  • along side 1/2 sweet potato

5 Tips for a Fat-Loss 4th

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This week the Fourth of July celebrations will occur.  To me, the 4th means pool parties, cookouts, and fireworks.  You can take two approaches to the holidays.  The first is to let it be a “free day” with regards to your nutritional choices.  It is perfectly acceptable to go to family gatherings and cookouts and eat a meal of hot dogs, potato salad, and dessert.  You will most likely have some water retention the next day and notice that these foods may cause other issues as well (such as headache or fatigue).  But the bottom line is that a weeks worth of eating healthy, fat-loss foods will not be ruined by one cookout.  The secondapproach is to maintain your healthy, fat-loss lifestyle while enjoying all the festivities.  This is the approach that I most often take now.  The fatigue, stomach upset, and headache I often have the next day after a cheat meal are not worth it.

I still enjoy all the fun of the holiday, but none of the discomfort or feelings of guilt that I had in the past.  To me, it is a mindset type of decision.  Either choice is fine; do whichever makes you feel good and you are comfortable with.  So for those of you that want to continue your healthy, fat-loss lifestyle through the holiday, I have FIVE TIPS FOR A FAT-LOSS 4TH:

1. EAT YOUR PROTEIN. Protein is extremely important for fat-loss nutrition for a number of reasons.  It helps control hunger and cravings, it helps maintain muscle, and it increases the use of fat for energy.  So, make sure you eat plenty of protein at your cookout.  Ideal choices are kabobs, grilled chicken breast, and turkey burgers.  But even a lower fat hamburger or steak are good choices.

2. EAT YOUR VEGGIES. Vegetables are an important part of a fat-loss nutritional plan because they are low in calories and full of fiber (with a much smaller amount of sugar and starch).  As a result, veggies help regulate blood sugar, control cravings and hunger, decrease insulin release, and decrease fat storage.  There are lots of ways to incorporate veggies into your 4th.  These include:

  • Serve raw vegetables with a Greek yogurt dip
  • Bake sweet potatoes on the grill
  • Incorporate them into you kabobs
  • Create foil packets of cut-up veggies drizzled with a balsamic vinegar and cooked on the grill

3. DO NOT DRINK YOUR CALORIES. The best choices to drink are water, green tea, black tea, or coffee.  It is important to stay hydrated when out in the summer sun, but a lot of drinks have hidden sugars in them.  Think ahead before going to  a cookout and bring a large container of water you have flavored yourself (with fruits or cucumbers).  Who doesn’t love lemonade on a hot day?  Make a large batch, sweeten with stevia, and share with your friends.  Just a quick note about alcohol.  It is fine to use in moderation as a cheat, but just be aware it slows fat burning for two reasons.  The first is that it is broken down into acetate.  Acetate is also a compound released when fat is burned.  The body perceives the excess acetate from the alcohol and stops burning body fat.  Second, alcohol causes dehydration which further slows fat-loss.

4. HAVE A FRUIT FOR DESSERT. A perfect scenario would be a starch free cook-out meal of grilled veggies and chicken or another protein and a beautiful fruit salad for dessert.  There are so many beautiful fresh fruits available now.  Berries are some of the best low-sugar, fat-loss friendly ones.  Also, the festive red and blue colors of berries make them even more appropriate for the 4th.  Frozen blueberries are also a fun and refreshing option.

5. PLAY WITH YOUR KIDS.  Be active with your kids at the cookout.  Swim with them or play ball with them.  This can take the focus off food and give you quality time with your kids.  Want to fit in adult time too?  Start up a game with parents verses children or family verses family.  Lastly, take your kids on a walk with you.  It is a great time to talk, enjoy nature, and teach good habits.

The bottom line is that no matter how you choose to spend your holiday, it will be fine.  If you choose the less healthy options, just pick up where you left off with your fat-loss nutrition the next day.  If you choose to maintain your healthy fat-loss lifestyle over the holiday, that is fine too and you will still have a ton of fun. Trust yourself and do what works for you without GUILT!  Have a Happy 4th!!!

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