Healthy Lunches for You and Your Loved Ones

Healthy Lunches for You and Your Loved Ones

Healthy Lunch Ideas

Whether you have kids that have just headed back to school or you are tired of eating out at the office, brown bagging it is not only cost-effective, it is also a way to control your calories (if you’re trying to lose weight), eat healthier and take charge of what your kids eat during the day.

Healthy Lunches for the whole family

4 Tips to Healthier Lunches for the Whole Family

1) Include more whole foods and less processed foods. Choose lunch items that are high in fibre and nutrients, and low in sodium and sugar.

Take, for example, deli meats. Most deli meats are pumped full of sodium and nitrates. While sodium nitrite does help prevent the growth of Clostridium botulinum, which can cause botulism in humans, it is also used alone or in conjunction as a colour fixative in cured meat and poultry products (bologna, hot dogs, bacon).

During the cooking process, nitrites combine with amines naturally present in meat to form carcinogenic compounds.

It is also suspected that nitrites can combine with amines in the human stomach to form N-nitroso compounds. These compounds are known carcinogens and have been associated with cancer of the oral cavity, urinary bladder, esophagus, stomach and brain.

Research in Sweden found that Swedes who ate on average three ounces of processed meat each day had a 15 percent greater chance of developing stomach cancer than those who consumed two ounces or less.

Opt instead for nitrate-free deli meats (ask your deli counter person to point out which brands are nitrate-free AND low in sodium), or better yet, roast a whole chicken or roast beef on Sunday and use that meat throughout the week for sandwiches, wraps and to toss into salads.

2) Be creative.  Your kids will appreciate it if you think outside the brown-bag for their lunches, and if you’re packing for yourself, so will you.

I mean, do you really want another boring old sandwich to look forward to at lunch?

Instead, why don’t you try a fruit and cheese plate, or a pita pocket stuffed with falafel balls and some hummus? Or, how about using last night’s pasta and pack a cold pasta salad with chopped chicken.

Then there’s always bean and cheese tortillas, sushi, homemade soup (or try a low-sodium brand such as “Amy’s”, “Imagine” or “Wolfgang Puck”), or my favourite quick lunch meal of almond butter, topped with no-sugar added jam on Squirrelly bread with some raisins sprinkled on top.

3) Plan ahead. Use Sunday to plan your meals for the week and shop and buy all the groceries that you need so that you have everything on hand when you need them.

I plan all our lunches and dinners on the weekend and prepare as much as I can to give me a head start for the week. For instance, plan to make a stir-fry on Monday night and then use the leftovers in a wrap the next day.

Or, make a large salad that will carry you for the week and just add different toppings and dressings throughout the week to give you a variety of different tastes.

4) Don’t actually use a brown bag.  I know I keep referencing a brown bag, but they rip easily and won’t keep your hot foods warm and your cold foods cool.

Invest in a lunch box with insulation and with different compartments so that foods and beverages can be kept separately.

Also, purchase some small plastic containers (avoiding containers with the numbers 3 or 7 on the bottom – these have been proven to leach chemicals into our foods – yuck!), or glass containers to store each item and a freezer pack to keep the cold foods cold. This will keep your foods both fresh AND safe for lunchtime consumption.

5-Day Sample Menu of Lunches for the Whole Family

*All meals are less than 500 calories

Monday 3oz thinly sliced low-sodium nitrate-free turkey breast on 3 Wasa High-Fibre breads, a lg carrot stick & a ½ red bell pepper sliced & dipped in a ¼ c of hummus. ¾ c of 0% Vanilla Greek yogurt for dessert.
Tuesday Tuna salad sandwich: 3oz of tuna mixed with ½ c 0% fat Greek yogurt, (1) chopped hard boiled egg, 1 tbsp green relish, spread on a whole-wheat tortilla shell (such as “Weight Watcher’s” Whole Grain Wrap) and whatever veggies you want to add. 1 c blueberries for dessert. (if you prefer lower calories & 0 carbs wrap the tuna in butter lettuce instead of a wrap.
Wednesday 2c lentil soup (such as “Imagine” or “Amy’s” brand) & carrot & celery sticks & an apple dipped in 1tbsp of almond butter for dessert
Thursday Baked sweet potatoe with 0% Greek yogurt & a sprinkle of cinnamon & a side spinach salad. Chocolate Coconut “Lara” bar for dessert
Friday Pizza roll-ups: take 1-8” whole wheat tortilla shell, spread with 2 tbsp low sodium pizza sauce, 12 spinach leaves & 3 tbsp partly skin mozza cheese (note: you can also add veggies too). Roll & cut tortilla into 6 pieces. Caesar salad tossed in a home made dressing (I use 0% Greek yogurt for my Caesar dressing) & instead of croutons (which are filled with fat & preservatives) try roasted chickpeas, hemp hearts, or salad crunchies (a mixed nut blend you can buy at most grocery stores).

 

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How Bad Is Movie Popcorn?

How Bad Is Movie Popcorn?

How Bad is Movie Popcorn

Headed to go see one of the latest summer blockbusters? If so, stay away from the concession stand.

Not only are the “snacks” sold at the movie theatre unhealthy, some of them are the equal in calories of what a family of four should be eating for one meal and in fat for a whole day! And all at an 85% mark-up (mooneyland.time.com). Ouch.

how-bad-is-movie-popcorn

Here’s what you are getting yourself into if you order a movie’s most popular snack, popcorn:

Small Popcorn (9 cups)
480 calories
2 g of artery-clogging saturated fat
230 mg of sodium
134 minutes of walking to burn it off

Order the above with extra butter:

670 calories
15 g of saturated fat (3 grams over your recommended daily intake)
186 minutes of walking to burn it off

Regular Popcorn (14 cups)
780 calories
3 g of artery-clogging saturated fat
370 mg of sodium
217 minutes of walking to burn it off

Order the above with extra butter:

1,030 calories
20 g of saturated fat (almost a 100% over your recommended daily intake)
287 minutes of walking to burn it off

Large Popcorn (20 cups)
1,120 calories
5 g of artery-clogging saturated fat
530 mg of sodium (one-quarter of your recommended daily intake of sodium)
312 minutes of walking to burn it off

Order the above with extra butter:
1,440  calories (recommended daily caloric intake for a healthy female)
27 g of saturated fat (2.5 days of your recommended daily intake – in one sitting)
401 minutes of walking to burn it off

My suggestions:

  • Smuggle in your own snacks such as: Lara Bars, homemade trail mix, popcorn you made at home, fruit, water bottles. Preferably foods that you made, so not subbing in crap with more crap – you know what I mean?
  • Don’t buy the snacks. Just don’t buy the shit to begin with.
  • Drink herbal tea. Most of the time it’s boredom (and habit) that makes us snack when we watch a movie. So, replace that with a herbal tea. Sip away and walk out of the theatre less bloated than ever 🙂
  • Eat a balanced meal beforehand. Simple enough. Eliminate the need to snack by having a healthy meal before the movie. Go out for dinner, or have a nice meal at home beforehand.
  • If you crave something sweet, bring a dark chocolate bar with you. I get it, you like to munch while you watch.

 

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Muscle Imbalances and How-To Fix

Muscle Imbalances and How-To Fix

Muscle Imbalances & How to Fix

Muscle imbalances are something that I see a lot of in my business. One shoulder sitting higher than the other, one arm stronger than the other, one leg more dominant than its counterpart.

It’s a common occurrence with the human body, and one that does more harm than good.

Gray Cook, a physical therapist and leader in the field of functional movement (www.graycook.com), claims, “left-to-right asymmetries seem to be the most common problem associated with the risk of injury.”

This holds true for the athlete as well as for us mere mortals working out in the gym.

In addition to contributing to injury, muscle imbalances can also cause day-to-day pain.

For instance, weakness in certain muscles of the abdomen can create back pain because the muscles of the stomach need to be strong to help to support the back. The same holds true with the knee.

If the muscles of the front of the thigh (the quadriceps) are more built up than the muscles at the back of the leg (the hamstrings), then you may be making an appointment with your physiotherapist in the near future.

One tip to remember when training at the gym:

  • When you workout one muscle group, be sure to train the opposite muscle group immediately after.
  • For example, a chest exercise in my gym equates to two back exercises (because most people tend to have poor postures related to daily living), a bicep curl is always followed with a tricep extension, an abdomen crunch with a low back extension, and a quadricep driven exercise is always followed with at least two (and sometimes three) hamstring and glute exercises.

Why so many glute and hamstring exercises, you wonder?

The front muscles of the leg, in most people, usually tend to be stronger – while the poor muscles of the posterior are neglected and left out. This leads to everything from back pain, knee pain, and hip pain, to poor core instability and inefficient knee tracking.

All nasty little things that will put an end to your workout.

Another trick I recommend to offset any imbalances is to train each side of your body individually:

  • Perform your chest press one arm at a time.
  • Use a D-handle for your lat pulldown and work each side independently.
  • Instead of a squat, do a one-legged squat.
  • A hamstring curl becomes a one-legged curl.

One Dumbbell Workout

Give this workout a go to work out any muscle imbalances you might have. All you need is one dumbbell and 30-minutes.

 

TIRED OF TRYING TO FIGURE WHAT WORKOUTS YOU
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Shoulder Pain? Do These.

Shoulder Pain? Do These.

Shoulder Pain? Do These.

I’ve trained thousands of people in my many years of personal training, and of those thousands I would have to say at least half of them have come to me with a shoulder problem.

Shoulders, in my opinion, are very poorly designed joints.

I mean, we would never build our homes like are shoulders are built.

We would never decide to build an extension onto our porch using just one stud, some duck tape and four wood screws. Mike Holms would have our heads!

But, take a look at our poor shoulders.

One fixed bone, the humerus, free floating in a groove in our scapula, held together by a group of small, and not very powerful, muscles called the rotator cuff, with the assistance of the deltoid, bicep and tricep group.

Add to the mix an extremely powerful muscle group, the lats, pulling outwardly and down on the humeral head and you have yourself a recipe for a home reno catastrophe.

To keep your shoulder from becoming a catastrophe, try this little posture workout.

But, PLEASE if you do have shoulder pain go see your local physiotherapist. They are the best ones to diagnose and to treat your pain (and FYI – they do not require a doctor’s referral).

 

TIRED OF TRYING TO FIGURE WHAT WORKOUTS YOU
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40-Minute Total Body Killer Workout

40-Minute Total Body Killer Workout

40-Minute Total Body Killer Workout

AKA: The Gladiator Workout

There are some workouts you just love to do… and this is one of them. Not only do I love to do this workout, I also love to teach it.

Why is it so damn good?

  • It works on building your lean muscle – so you become a better fat burning machine
  • It is intense enough for the most advanced exerciser, yet easily modifiable for the beginner (I’ve actually taken one of my clients who is 75 through this workout)
  • It trains the heck out of your legs
  • It strengthens your core
  • It can be done in your home (requires just 1 pair of moderate weights and 1 heavy weight)
  • It can be done in 20, 30 or 40 minutes – depending on the time you have available
  • It tones your legs, abs, glutes, hips and upper body
  • It flows like a ballet 🙂

40-Minute Total Body Workout

The Workout

Gladiator Workout - Fitness with PJ

 

 

TIRED OF TRYING TO FIGURE WHAT WORKOUTS YOU
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PJ ox

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