Get Fit Tips

The Simplest Healthy Banana Pancakes

It’s the weekend and my favorite thing to make on a lazy Sunday morning is pancakes. But not just any pancakes, warm banana pancakes. This is my go to healthy pancake recipe that couldn’t be any simpler.

Simple Banana Pancakes - kassiekussman.com

Simple Banana Pancakes
Ingredients:
1  large ripe banana
1 large egg (or 2 egg whites)
a dash of cinnamon

Place the ingredients into your food processor or blender and blend until all is completely incorporated. Then pour the batter into a well greased pan over medium/low heat. Because these brown up quickly make your pancakes fairly small and be careful not to over cook them. Flip when they start to set and bubble around the edges. Top with your favorite healthy toppings. I love a little coconut oil and almond butter.

These are great with just the 3 ingredients but feel free to get fancy and add in whatever you like. I’ve tried adding vanilla extract, crushed walnuts, shredded coconut and dark chocolate chips. If you’re in the mood for a less sweet pancake these can also be made with 1/3 cup of canned pumpkin or squash instead of banana.

What’s your favorite weekend breakfast?

Snow Day Workout Challenge

snow010514

I don’t think I’ve ever seen this much snow before. Every couple of hours I go out to shovel our walkways and around the cars but by the time I’m done it’s completely snow covered again. I guess I’m staying in today and by the looks of it tomorrow too.

If one of your New Years resolutions was to start working out or to be more active don’t let the bad weather keep you from it. You don’t need the gym to get in a good workout. Here’s one you can do at home with no equipment at all! All you need it a clock, timer or interval timer app and a little space. The whole workout takes only 10 minutes but I challenge you to complete as many rounds as you can. Three rounds is only 3o minutes of your day.

If you do the workout, leave a comment and let me know how many rounds you were able to complete. Stay safe out there today.

Snow Day Workout Challenge - KassieKussman.com

Protein Pumpkin Waffles

Fall is finally here and the stores are filling up with pumpkin flavored everything. For those of you who don’t know pumpkin is my all time favorite flavor. But to keep myself from being tempted to buy all those overly priced, artificially flavored pumpkin things I find ways to make my own healthy versions. This morning was perfect for pumpkin waffles and hot coffee before hitting the gym. This recipe is very filling and has a ton of healthy protein and fiber.

protein_waffles

Protein Pumpkin Waffles
1 Serving (two waffles)
Calories: 350 | Protein: 27g | Fat: 19g | Carbs: 17.7g | Fiber: 11g

2 tbsp pumpkin puree
2 tbsp unsweetened apple sauce
1 tbsp unsweetened almond milk
1/4 cup whey protein powder (I used Cellucor Cinnamon Swirl)
1/4 cup ground flax seeds
1 tbsp almond flour
1 tsp pumpkin spice
1 egg

  1. Heat up your waffle maker and spray it with nonstick spray (I use Trader Joe’s coconut oil spray)
  2. Using a blender, food processor or whisk mix all ingredients until well incorporated
  3. Pour batter into your waffle maker and patiently wait for this pumpkin amazingness
  4. Top with your favorite healthy toppings. I used a little almond butter, cinnamon, honey and organic whole milk yogurt. It was amazballs!

protein_waffles2

What are your fall favorites you can’t live without?

Avocado Chocolate Pudding

Just because you’re trying to eat healthy doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself of all indulgences. One of my favorite desserts you can make in no time is avocado chocolate pudding.

Avocado Chocolate Pudding
Servings 2-3
1 Medium Very Ripe Banana
1 Medium Ripe Avocado
1/4 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1/4 Cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
2 Tablespoons of Honey
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
A Pinch Of Salt

Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and blend until completely incorporated. Then let it chill the fridge for at least an hour. It will form a skin on it like regular pudding so place a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the pudding to keep that from happening.

It’s that simple and it really hits the spot when you’re craving something sweet. And this is just the beginning, there’s a lot of other yummy things you can mix in to take it to the next level:

Espresso powder
Maple syrup (instead of honey)
Fresh Mint
Raspberries
Almond Butter
Coconut Butter
Shredded Coconut
Sliced Almonds
Orange Zest
Cinnamon

Deciphering Food Marketing Claims

Every where you turn companies are claiming their products are all natural, low fat, organic, and locally grown. But what does it all mean, really? Here’s your quick guide to deciphering those food marketing claims.

naturalcrap

Really…natural Cheetos? They have to be kidding.


Fat Free
– Contains less that .5g of fat per serving

Low Fat – 3g or less of total fat

Low Calorie – 40 calories or less per serving. But make sure to check how much a serving is. Read more about that here.

Lean – Meat, poultry, seafood and game meat with less than 10g fat, 4g saturated fat and 95mg cholesterol per serving

Reduced Fat – At least 25% less fat that the regular version

Sugar Free – Less that .5g of sugar per serving

Good source of… – means that one serving contains 10-19% of the daily value

Excellent source of …- means that one serving contains 20% or more of the daily value

Natural – The FDA does not restrict the use of the term ‘natural’ except for foods with artificial flavors, chemical preservatives and added colors. That means, ‘natural’ has no legal definition and is left up to manufactures to decide. That’s never good.

Free Range – This term is only reserved for poultry. It’s defined by the USDA as ‘poultry that has been allowed access to the outside.’ The term ‘cage-free eggs’ bears no actual legal definition. To be sure that your eggs and poultry are truly free range, buy them direct from the farm at a farmers market.

Organic – This term is regulated by the USDA and means that pesticides or fertilizers were not used in the food’s production and that it contains no genetically modified organisms. When the ‘Organic’ symbol is used on a package that means at least 95% of the ingredients in the food are organic. If it says ‘Made with organic ingredients” it means at least 70% of products are organic.

Local – Refers to where the food was grown/produced not consumed. There are is no real guidelines on the term so it’s up to you to read the labels and ask questions. The US Congress has defined ‘local’ as a product that is less that 400 miles from it’s original origin or within the state it’s produced. Whole Foods defines it as, foods that have traveled seven or fewer hours by car or truck.

 

What To Look For When Reading Food Labels

Nutrition Facts

I’m sure by now everyone knows to check the nutrition facts on the food you’re buying at the grocery store but what is it you should be looking for? I know it’s confusing, but I’m here to help. Here are my top 5 things to look for when reading those nutrition facts.

1) Serving Size

This is a biggie that trips most people up. When comparing items like granola or cereal in the store one box may seem lower in calorie but check the serving size. It’s probably much smaller. Or on that ‘snack sized’ bag of chips, really check how many servings are in there. If there are 3 and you eat the whole thing you’re tripling the calories on the label.

2) Sodium & Sugar

Pay close attention to these. The latest recommendation for sodium is 2300mg per day for adults and even less for kids. Canned foods are a big culprit here. As for sugar, the less the better. Check the ingredient list to see where it’s coming from too. Is it sugar, honey, artificial sweeteners or *gasp* high fructose corn syrup!?! Just stay away from any foods that contain HFCS.

3) Protein

Almost everyone I talk to about their diet could use more protein. It’s a very essential maconutrient that a lot of people over look. Depending on your fitness goals and activity level you need .5 – 1g of protein per pound of body weight every day.

4) Ingredient List

At the bottom of the nutrition facts is the ingredient list. Ingredients are listed in the order of quantity. So if sugar is first on the list put that thing back and pretend you never picked it up in the first place. Also, the shorter the list the better. Food writer Michael Pollan is famous for saying, “Don’t eat anything your great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.” And I completely agree.

5) Food Allergens

Lastly, if you have a food allergy food labels are now required to list if they contain or may have come in contact with the top 8 food allergens (milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy and wheat). This is also important to check if you’re trying to avoid gluten, dairy and/or soy in your diet.

It seems like a lot of things to look out for but it’s the only way to know exactly what you’re  putting in your body. To make it simpler, just buy foods that do not require a label. Like fresh vegetables, fruits and high quality proteins. Your body is like a sports car. If you put cheap, low grade fuel in your body you’re going to run like crap. If you fill yourself with the best fuel possible you’ll feel great and run like a dream. Would you dump sugar in your gas tank? I think not. Your body is exactly the same, but unlike a sports car you can’t replace your body if you reck it. So treat it well, it’s the only one you’ve got.

Homemade Almond Butter

What to do when Trader Joe’s is out of your favorite almond butter? Make your own! It didn’t take long, there’s not many ingredients and I think it tastes even better than Trader Joe’s.

homemade almond butter

Ingredients:
3 cups raw unsalted almonds
2 tablespoons of coconut oil
dash of sea salt

Optional add ins:
1 tablespoon of honey
1 tablespoon of cinnamon

You do need a high powered blender. I tried using my small food processor and it wasn’t strong enough, but when I switched to my Nutribullet blender I had no problems. Using the milling blade, I blended 1 cup of almonds at a time until it was like flour consistency then I added in the oil, sea salt, honey and cinnamon until it was creamy. It took about 25 minutes of blending.

I can’t wait to make different flavors! Here are some I’m thinking of making next:
Cinnamon Raisin
Coco-Coconut
Pumpkin Spice
Maple Pecan
Vanilla Chai
Mocha

Sunday Meal Prep

Sunday meal prep time again! This week I’ve got cajun seasoned chicken, assorted vegetables and kale salad all portioned out and ready to go.  For snacks I’ve got hard boiled eggs, apples, turkey jerky and almonds.

Sunday meal prep

I always feel so accomplished when I see all my food done and packed up for the week. What do you have planned for the week?

What’s The Best Yogurt To Buy?

One of the biggest misconceptions that may be sabotaging your diet is that low-fat and fat-free foods are healthy. Many low-fat foods contain the same or even more calories than their full-fat counterparts because they have to add extra sugar to make up for the loss in taste that happens when they remove the fat. One of the best examples of that is in yogurt. You are much better off enjoying plain full fat yogurt than any of the low-fat/non-fat varieties. There is no reason to buy yogurt with added sugar and artificial sweeteners especially if you’re trying to lose weight. If you like a sweeter yogurt add in your own fruit instead.

Yoplait Low Fat fat free

Yikes! That’s a ton of sugar and a lot of ingredients.

 

When buying yogurt, keep these things in mind:

•  The fewer ingredients the better
•  The lower sugar content the better (a teaspoon of sugar = 4 grams)
•  Avoid anything that says fat-free, non-fat, 0% fat or low-fat
•  When buying a large container make sure to check what the serving size is. It varies from brand to brand.

Here are some of my favorite brands:

Traderspoint Creamery Whole Milk Plain Yogurt
This is my favorite brand of yogurt. It tastes great and comes in an awesome glass bottle. It’s made with whole milk from 100% grassfed cows and is from the only nationally distributed 100% grassfed organic dairy. You can find it at Whole Foods.

traderspoint yogurt

Trader Joe’s European Style Plain Whole Milk Yogurt
This is my next go to yogurt. It’s nice and thick and very affordable.

tj yogurt

Brown Cow Plain Cream Top Yogurt

browncow yogurt
Dreaming Cow Plain Cream Top Yogurt

dreamingcow yogurt

Stonyfield Plain Whole Milk Yogurt

stonyfield yogurt

 

Don’t Let Bad Weather Derail Your Fitness Plans

It looks like we’ve got a pretty serious snow storm on the way. I was hoping we were over all this winter weather. But don’t use the bad weather as an excuse to not work out today. Shoveling snow can really burn some calories!
Calculate how many calories you’ll burn from shoveling snow.

snow map

Before you head outside here are some things to remember to keep you safe.

Stretch out and warm-up before you start shoveling, just like you should before any workout.
Stay hydrated. Even though it’s cold you’ll still be working up a sweat.
Most importantly, use good form! So many people hurt their backs from shoveling snow. Don’t be one of them.

shoveling snow

If shoveling snow is not in the cards for you today you can still get your workout in at home. Give one (or two) of these home workouts a try. If you do, post how long it took you to finish in the comments.

WORKOUT 1
5 Rounds for time
30 Lunges
20 Squats
10 Push-ups

WORKOUT 2
1 Round for time
25 Squats
5 Push-ups
20 Squats
10 Push-Ups
15 Squats
15 Push-ups
10 Squats
20 Push-ups
5 Squats
25 Push-ups

WORKOUT 3
As Many Rounds As Possible (AMRAP) in 20 minutes
5 Push-ups
10 Sit-ups
15 Squats

WORKOUT 4
50 Burpees for time

WORKOUT 5
2 Minutes of lunges
1 Minute rest
2 Minutes of squats
1 Minute rest
2 Minutes crunches
1 Minute rest