Stuffed Jalapeños Lightened Up

One of my great friends Angie always posts these amazing looking recipes on facebook. This past week while Craig was on facebook, Angie posted a recipe for stuffed jalapenos and they looked amazing! Craig asked me to make them this weekend and we are always willing to try out new recipes so I decided I would and thank goodness I did. They were fantastic!

As I was reading the recipe, I knew I could definitely swap out some ingredients for “lower calorie” ingredients. So I did. And they were incredible! The flavor and texture of these jalapeños are perfect. The jalapeños are not hot, so if you are sensitive to spicy/hot foods, don’t worry. You will definitely be able to handle these with no problems…just make sure you get all the seeds out of the peppers. J

Stuffed Jalapeños

22 Jalapenos

1 lb of Jennie-O Breakfast Turkey Sausage

8 oz Reduced Fat Cream Cheese

1 cup Parmesan Cheese

Preheat the oven to 425. Cook the turkey sausage until brown. Mix cream cheese and Parmesan cheese together. Add the cooked turkey sausage to the cream cheese mixture and mix well. Wash the jalapenos and then cut the jalapenos in half. Spoon the sausage-cheese mixture into the jalapenos (I used about 1 Tbs in each jalapeno-sometimes less and sometimes more depending on the size of the pepper.).  Line a baking sheet with foil and place stuffed peppers on the pan. Cook the peppers for 20 minutes. Let peppers cool and enjoy!

The original recipe called for regular hot sausage and regular cream cheese. By swapping out for turkey sausage and reduced fat cream cheese, you save 890 calories overall! Each pepper that has been lightened up is only 36 calories.

I know some people may be thinking turkey sausage is not the same as regular sausage; but trust me, the flavor/texture of turkey sausage is not that different. You will not be disappointed with these peppers. These are packed with flavor and with the bonus of fewer calories. I hope you try them out and enjoy them just as much as we did.

Also, if you got to this post because you saw Giveaway listed on the title, then you will want to click here and enter for the giveaway. Just “like”/share my page and comment back where you shared it! Thanks!

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Giveaway, Giveaway, Giveaway!

I want to thank everyone who has “liked”, shared, and posted about Cohen Nutrition and Fitness. I appreciate it more than you know. So, to say thank you I would love to do a giveaway! Who doesn’t like free stuff?!

So, all you have to do to be entered into this giveaway is share my page either on twitter, facebook, and or other social media. Come back here and comment where you shared it and I will enter you in the giveaway. Also, I get a lot of spam as comments so I have to approve the comments as they come it. So if you are looking for your comment to show up immediately, it won’t be there until I approve it. 🙂

For the giveaway prize, I am giving away a $25 Nike gift card. You can use to help pay for some new, sweet Nikes, clothes, socks….whatever you want!

Thank you again for all the support and love! I appreciate it!

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Do YOU Have It In You?

I really enjoy watching other people change their lifestyle. I love it when The Biggest Loser, Extreme Weight Loss Edition, or any other program that showcases those who have changed to a healthier lifestyle is in season. I can’t help but feel inspired. I also feel that way about others who I socialize with everyday. People who surround you may even inspire you.  They may inspire you to lose some weight, become more active, try a new exercise class, try new recipes, etc. It is nice to have people who make you want to try new things and help you reach your goal(s). However, it is not those people who ultimately help you succeed. It. Is. YOU.

YOU have to have the determination, drive, and will power to help yourself. Only so many people can motivate, encourage, and support you. I firmly believe having a support system is crucial in making lifestyle changes, but you and you only can help yourself. Being in the career that I am, I see several people who think they are ready to make a change. They are pumped up about changing their diet, exercise habits, and much more. However, what some of these people don’t know is that losing weight and becoming more active is not short term, you need to be in it for the long haul. You are making a lifestyle change. You are not just losing some weight just to gain it back. You are changing, and hopefully it is for good. I understand change can be scary and frightening, but it can also be rewarding as well.

In order for change to happen, you have to dedicate yourself to it. Know things are not going to always be the same. You have to honestly want it more than anyone else. Becoming “healthier” is a way of life. It takes sacrifice and time. If you are not willing to dedicate yourself and give up sleep/tv time for exercise, begin counting calories, and changing your eating habits, then don’t start. Don’t set yourself up for failure before you have even begun. When you do fail because you were not mentally ready for the change, you become even more resistant to give it another shot. Remember, I discussed in an earlier post; small goals are the key to long term success.

I am not trying to discourage anyone from changing his or her habits; I am just being completely honest. I want to see people succeed and feel better about themselves. If I can help inspire, encourage, motivate, and be a part of their success, then sign me up! I have been able to work with people who go at it 110%. They start off small and then accomplish great things in life. They surpass goals they never thought they could even reach. It’s incredible; but it had nothing to do with me yet everything to do with them and the commitment they made to their self when they began their journey. People can help you and encourage you, but no one can help you if you don’t want to help yourself.

So, do you have what it takes? Are you ready to commit yourself to change?

Succeed

Dark Chocolate Mint Bark

It is Monday again…which means time for a new recipe! Though this one is not really “lightened” up like my previous recipes, I changed some ingredients so it can be more nutrient rich and beneficial for our bodies. I switched out the milk chocolate for dark chocolate and topped the bark off with walnuts instead of mint pieces. Changing those two ingredients made the recipe lighter in calories and more nutrient rich. Dark Chocolate has several health benefits- more so than milk chocolate. You can’t go wrong with eating dark chocolate!

Some of you may be thinking dark chocolate is bitter and nasty. I used to think the same thing! However, there was a girl across the hall from me in college who kept a candy dish in her room. The sad part was that she only stocked it with Dove Dark Chocolate. I wasn’t going to walk across campus just to buy some chocolate when I could get it for free across the hall; and that is when I developed a taste for dark chocolate.

🙂

In this recipe, the dark chocolate is not overwhelming. It is a perfect mix with the Andes baking chips and walnuts. Craig and I can not stop eating this (we had this past weekend and devoured it). The one we had this weekend was topped off with almonds and not walnuts. I had walnuts at home so that is why I used them. You can use whatever nuts you like,  just don’t forget to keep track of the calories.

Mint Chocolate Bark

1 bag of Hersheys Dark Chocolate Morsals

1 bag of Andes Mint Baking Chips

1/2 cup of chopped walnuts (or whatever other nuts you prefer)

I took a 9×13 pan and lined it with parchment paper. I poured the entire bag of the dark chocolate morsels and the andes mint chips and mix them around on the pan together. Place in the oven at 250 degrees until melted*** (mine took about 25 minutes). Pull the pan of melted chocolate out of the oven and sprinkle with your choice of nuts. Make sure the nuts are secured in the chocolate so they will stick when it is time to “break” the bark.

Place the pan of chocolate in the refrigerator to cool. When the bark is finally cool, you can cut or break the bark. I prefer to cut the bark so I know how many calories are in each piece.

Chocolate Bark

My batch was an entire 9×13 pan and I cut 40 squares. Therefore, each square came out to be about 88 calories a square. I leave my chocolate in the fridge so it doesn’t get soft while sitting out in room temp.

*** You can melt the chocolate over the stove or in the microwave. I always do mine in the oven so that’s why I did it that way.

I hope you try out the recipe and enjoy!

Fitness Apps for Your Phone

We use our phones for everything. We make lists, videos, take pictures, post status updates, communicate, and much more. Your phone can also help you lose weight and stay on track with your health and fitness goals. There are several apps available to you whether it is for tracking calories, lifting weights, or going out for a run.

Since this post is a fitness post, I will be only talking about the workout apps today. If you would like to find more health and fitness apps, then I would check them out here. This website has a list of some of the greatest health and fitness apps out there. You should take a look! Most of them are free! All of my information comes from the website greatist.com (listed above). I have some of these apps and I love them. If you are interested in learning more about the app, just click on the name or picture and it will take you to the website.

NTCNike Training Club The Nike Training Club app lets you pick your goal and fitness level. It will then choose over 100 workouts for you to choose from. Workouts range from 15, 30, 45 minutes. Cost: Free. Available for iOS and Android.

NRNike+ Running This app tracks your distance, time, calories, and pace while jogging/running. This app also allows you to connect and share your success through social media sites. Cost: Free. Available for iOS and Android.

 

C25KCouch to 5k This app is used by several of my friends. It is an app that is made for those who want to run a 5K but don’t know where to start or for those wanting to get back into running. It gives you workouts to preform each week to get you ready for a 5K in three months! Cost: Free. Available for iOS and Android.

RKRunKeeper RunKeeper tracks the duration, calories burned, length when you are walking, running, jogging, or doing any outside activity. Cost: Free. Available for iOS and Android

 

RT

Runtastic is a personal tracking app for running, biking, and other fitness activities that allows users to analyze and share data. Cost: Free. Available for iOS and Android.

 

MMF MapMyFitness Craig and I actually have this app and we both love it. It has a GPS in it to track our workout. You can walk, jog, or run and it will keep track of your pace, distance, length, speed, and calories burned. It will log your route as well, which is helpful! Cost: Free. Avaialble for iOS, Android, and Blackberry.

SWSworkit This app is a circuit training app and you can either make your own circuit or let the app choose it for you. It also shows you how to do the exercises. There are several exercises to choose from so you can do anything from strength training to cardio. Cost: Free. Available for iOS and Android

MovesMoves This app is like a pedometer. It tracks all your moves throughout the day and then will compile them into miles walked. In order for it to work though, you need to have your phone with you while walking. Cost: Free. Available for iOS.

 

As I said before, you phone can do a lot of things so why don’t you let it help you reach your goals? I only listed the fitness apps today, but if you have more that are not listed above, please feel free to comment what app it is and why you like it.

Now download some apps and check them out! These apps are there to help you reach your fitness and health goals. Let me know what you think and happy exercising!

fitness-apps

Fruit Pizza Cookies

Since Fourth of July is this week several people usually go to parties and family get togethers. I also know food is always at these parties which is why I decided to make a Fourth of July recipe this week.

Of course it is another dessert, but a perfect summer dessert. Fruit pizzas are one of my favorite desserts so I decided to “lighten” up the recipe and share it with you all.

Sugar Cookies  (makes 15 cookies):

¼ cup butter (I used light butter)

¼ c & 2 Tbsp Baking Truvia (or you can use ¾ c of sugar substitute that matches sugar to sugar)

1 egg

¼ tsp vanilla extract

¼ tsp almond extract

1 c. flour

¼ tsp baking powder

1/8th tsp salt

Mix flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl and set aside. In a medium bowl, cream butter and sugar together until well mixed. Add egg, vanilla, and almond extract and mix well. Mix in the flour, powder, and salt mixture slowly into the bowl of wet ingredients and mix well. Set dough in refrigerator to cool (I left mine in there for 45 minutes). Remove dough and cut cookies into desired shape on lightly floured wax paper.

Preheat over to 375 degrees and back cookies for 8-10 minutes. Set cookies on wire rack and cool.

Icing:  

4 oz fat free cream cheese

2 Tbsp regular sugar

¼ tsp vanilla

Mix ingredients together and ice each cookie. You then top each cookie with desired fruit. You can use strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, mandarin oranges, bananas, raspberries, and blackberries.

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Each cookie comes out to be 70 calories—a huge difference in calories and not taste!

🙂

Remember when you celebrate this week to be aware of your serving sizes and to enjoy all food! Be aware of what you are eating and how much! I hope you enjoy the cookies and I hope everyone has a fun, safe, and wonderful Fourth of July.

Having a Bad Day/Week with Your Diet?

We all have them. We get off schedule, get sick, tired, or life just happens. Something comes up and our routine gets changed. Although, having a bad day/days/week is nothing to fret over. I was talking to my sister the other day when she called me to specifically tell me she had three “bad” eating days in a row. I informed her it was okay. Things like this happen. We all end up bad days where we slip up and don’t do as well as we should. I think the most important thing is to always know there will be times where you do have a day/days/weeks where you don’t exercise, stay with in calorie limits, and so forth. It is completely normal. There is no reason to view yourself as a failure or become unmotivated because you slipped up. Everyone has those days…it is just a matter of making the choice of getting back on track or choosing not too.

You always have choices. You can choose to take care of your body or you can choose not too. Everything is up to you. Don’t let obstacles and off days get you discouraged. Just come back and hit it full force. I reminded my sister three days didn’t mean she was going to gain all her weight back. Three days didn’t mean she was a failure. Three days didn’t mean she could never get back on track. She just needed someone to tell her this is normal and remind her all the hard work she has put in will not be undone in three days. Everything would be alright…because it will be.

Badmeal

Sometimes we take a break from exercising or eating certain foods because we get tired of the same thing or get burned out. The key here is to do something different. If you like a challenge and like change, then pick up some new exercise regimens. Go kickboxing, do yoga, try resistance training, biking, hiking, zumba, crossfit, do something, anything! Change up routine and find something you enjoy doing. As for the food part, this takes discipline. I am a firm believer in eating foods that you want; however, you should always use portion control and count your calories. Practicing portion control helps you become aware how many calories you are feeding yourself. Are you eating enough? Too little? Too much? I prefer people not to go on diets, but find a meal plan that works for you. Experiment with new recipes and new foods. One of my favorite recipe sites is skinnytaste.com. Her stuff is incredible. Craig and I cook off her website the majority of the time. She already counts the calories for you and even has the points for weight watchers listed on her recipes. Don’t worry about finding a diet, but start eating foods you want with moderation and discipline.

So what to do when you have had a “bad” day/days/weeks? You pick up and start again. Find a friend or someone you can talk to you. If you do not have anyone, you are more than welcome to talk here or email me. Remember, you are more than likely going to slip up and have some days that are not your best. It’s okay, but don’t let three off days turn into 2 months of off days. You work hard to maintain/change your lifestyle so don’t let it slip away because of a few days. Get back up and get started. Find your motivation and press forward. No one has ever regretted losing weight and becoming fit. Make the choice to step up after some bad days and reach your goals.

Bad Day

Resistance Training isn’t just for Big Muscles

When most people hear about resistance or weight training, they think of the big body builders and “bulking” up. However, there is much more to resistance training then gaining big muscles. Resistance training helps break down muscle fibers and when the muscles begin rebuilding, they are more firmed, toned, and stronger. Several people use resistance training to increase lean muscle mass and become toned…not everyone wants big muscles.

Resistance training is recommended for all men and women. It offers several health benefits such as: building muscle strength, increasing your metabolism, lowering blood pressure, reducing body fat, making everyday activities a little easier, help prevent osteoporosis, increasing stability and balance, and much more. Adding resistance training into your exercise regimen is extremely beneficial for you and your body.

Weights are not the only equipment used for resistance training. Your body weight and resistance bands can be used as well. Therefore, if you have bands but do not have weights, its okay! You can still get an effective workout with bands. Your own body is a great tool as well; there are several exercises you can do with just using your body which are effective.

To get started, it is extremely important you have permission from your doctor. Sometimes doctors will not allow clients to participate in resistance training due to medical conditions. If you have the clear, then your first step is to know what exercises to do. There are several tools online, tv, videos, and apps which help you with resistance exercises. If you only want to incorporate a small amount of resistance training then that is fine, just make sure you know how to properly do the exercise and watch your form and technique. When you preform an exercise incorrectly, you are putting yourself at risk for injury as well as not receiving maximum results.

Strength training does not only consist of workout out your chest, shoulders, and arms, but it includes your back, core, and legs as well. You want your exercises to range from upper to lower body. You should be doing shoulder fly’s all the way to leg squats. Include your entire body into resistance training.

Resistance training is recommended two times a week until you can work yourself up to three times a week. Reps may vary between 8-10 (muscle growth), 12-15 (lean muscle). You also want to pick weights that are not too heavy. You want your last three repetitions of the set to burn, almost to where you can barely do the exercise without compromising form. If you are not feeling the burn, then most likely you need to increase the weight or use a thicker resistance band. Resistance training should not be painful, if you are experiencing pain, then you need to stop immediately.

My challenge to you would be to begin incorporating resistance training into your workout plan. If you want to only do 20-30 minutes two to three times a week, then great! Keep it up and keep going. If you are unsure about exercises, you can always use a personal trainer/me who can help you and increase your confidence with resistance training. A gym is not necessary to have an effective resistance training program. If you have the tools at home, you can do it there.  You cannot go wrong with incorporating resistance into your workout plan; you will be doing your body and yourself a favor. Good luck and if I can help, do not hesitate to email me at cohennutrition@gmail.com.

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Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Crackers

Okay, so I love sweets, absolutely love them. So today’s post I decided to do one of my favorite sweet snacks. About two years ago, my mom made chocolate covered peanut butter sandwiches during Christmas time and I fell in love with them. They are the perfect snack. A little it of salty and sweet and of course you can never go wrong with peanut butter and chocolate.

I know what you are thinking and you probably think these are “unhealthy, full of calories, and a diet no-no”. Well, if you have room for extra calories and you love chocolate and peanut butter, then I would say these are perfect for you.

This recipe is extremely easy and quick! I had the whole grain Ritz crackers on hand and some creamy peanut butter so all I needed was chocolate. (I prefer creamy peanut butter when I make these, but you are welcome to use whatever you want.) I measure out one teaspoon of peanut butter for each sandwich. I also measured how many tablespoons of chocolate I used to dip my sandwiches in. I only dipped half of the sandwich in chocolate because I didn’t want the entire cracker covered in chocolate.

Homemade Peanut Butter Chocolate Dipped Crackers

Ingredients:

20 Whole Wheat Ritz Crackers

10 tsp Creamy Peanut Butter for each sandwich

3.75 Tbsp Baking Chocolate (you can use milk, semisweet, dark, or white)

Spread 1 teaspoon of peanut butter between two crackers. Repeat until you fill 10 sandwiches. Melt chocolate chips and dip sandwiches in the chocolate half way. Place sandwiches on wax paper and set in refrigerator to cool.

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I know 3.75 Tbsp sounds unusual; however, I had used the Almond bark which is divided into 12 squares. Each square is 3.75 Tbsp so that is why I used that amount. If you would like to use 4 Tbsp of chocolate that is completely fine. Just make sure you add those calories. I made 10 of these therefore, each sandwich came out to be 84 calories.

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There is enough peanut butter in the sandwiches to where it is a perfect balance of crunchiness, saltiness, and sweetness. Make sure when you make these, you measure 1 teaspoon of peanut butter in each sandwich and keep count of the tablespoons of chocolate used for dipping. Also, using dark chocolate is a great idea because it provides fantastic health benefits for you.

So next time when you want a package of Reece’s peanut butter cups, substitute for two of these sandwiches for only 168 calories while the Reece’s will cost you an extra 42 calories.

I hope you enjoy and happy snacking!

 

The Truth About Snacking

It seems like most people try and avoid snacks because they can pack on the calories or because snacks = junk. That’s not true. Yes snacks have calories in them; but if you are using portion control and watching how many calories you are eating throughout the day, then snacking is a great idea! My husband Craig loves to snack! These two snacks are “staples” in our home.

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Snacks help us get through the day and let us not over eat at meal times. They are vital to children, so shouldn’t they be vital for us as adults?  Of course! Snacks provide energy for activity throughout the day as well as curbing our appetite. You know how it is after you eat lunch and then 4 o’clock rolls around; you get tired, hungry, and so when you get home you attack the pantry and fridge before you start cooking dinner. Probably not a good idea because you have now spoiled your dinner and second, you added more calories than what was intended. Therefore,  if you ate lunch and then ate a snack around 3:30-4:00, you most likely won’t raid your pantry and fridge when you walk through the door. Snacks help us with our weight if eaten properly. Snacks should help you, so don’t abuse them.

So, how do you make sure you are eating snacks worth your calories? Eat snacks that are full of nutrients. For example, fiber is a wonderful nutrient- it helps you feel full for a longer period of time. Food also gives us energy, so eat snacks that your body can use and not store it as fat. Now, if someone in the office is having a birthday and you want some of that cake, go for it. Just be aware of your portion size and calorie count. I would suggest you log it and know how many calories you have left. Also know foods such as cake, cookies, chips, soda, and candies are empty calories. They are full of calories and that’s it. They don’t provide sustaining energy or help curb your appetite. I am not saying don’t eat them, but they shouldn’t make up your entire snack.

Now is the time to start planning. Plan what snacks you are going to have throughout the day and when. I choose to eat a mid morning snack as well as an afternoon snack. It is nothing huge, but enough to keep me going. Find out what works for you. You might not need a mid morning snack every morning. Remember to log your snacks and measure your portions! To help get you started, I have listed 20 of my (and Craig’s) favorite nutrient rich snacks.

The Cohen’s Top 20 Snacks

  1. Popcorn (I choose the light 100 calorie bags)
  2. 1 apple with 2 Tbsp of natural crunchy peanut butter
  3. Yogurt with 2 Tbsp of granola
  4. Trail Mix (almonds, peanuts, raisins, mini choc. chips, cashews)
  5. 1 slice of whole wheat toast with 1 Tbsp PB and ½ banana
  6. Pretzels and string cheese/peanut butter
  7. String cheese and a piece of fruit
  8. 2 corn tortillas with ½ avocado
  9. Peanut butter crackers
  10. 1 serving of cereal (I like dry cereal)
  11. String cheese or hummus and whole grain crackers
  12. Reduced fat cottage cheese with fruit
  13. Mixed nuts with a small piece of fruit
  14. Celery, carrots, tomato with ranch or hummus
  15. Oatmeal with a tbsp. of dried fruit
  16. 1 serving of whole grain tortilla chips with ½ avocado and salsa
  17. 1 small (or ½ large) bagel with low fat cream cheese
  18. English muffin with 1 Tbsp of peanut butter
  19. Granola bars/Snack bars
  20. Fruit with a yogurt dipping sauce

Snacking is good for you so don’t abuse snacks by eating empty calories and adding to your waistline. Smart snacking is key to success!

Snack Smart