We get it, nobody has time to spend all weekend grocery shopping and meal prepping for the week ahead. Instead of spending hours in the kitchen, we’re sharing some ideas to make meal prep easy.

 

One Pan Meals

You read it right—one pan. Chop up broccoli, sweet potato and season some salmon, and put it in the over. The clean up on this is a breeze and it’s the perfect way to quickly make roasted veggies and protein.

 

Stir Fry

Load up on your favorite vegetables, quinoa and protein to make a homemade stir fry that’s just as good as take out—but much healthier for you. With simple ingredients like tamari and hoisin sauce, you can create your own stir fry sauce.

 

Overnight Oats

With overnight oats, you can prep this at once and then add different toppings throughout the week to add in some variety. From raspberries and chia seeds to blueberries and honey—you’ll have endless (and tasty) options to kick off your day.

 

Easy Snacks

If you have to lean on protein bars from time to time, read our blog post that shares the best protein bars that aren’t chalk full of sugars and carbs. Another great solution is hard boiled eggs—and Trader Joe’s has pre-made options if you’re in a pinch.

 

There you have it—meal prep made easy. We hope these ideas are helpful and have you spending less time in the kitchen and more time doing the things you enjoy most!

Many of us have been trained to opt for low-fat foods over high-fat foods—from the craze of fat-free dressings, experts claiming eating fats will make you gain weight to counting your calorie intake. So no wonder that we’re all cautious when it comes to re-introducing healthy fat intake into our diets. Today, we’re sharing some top health-related reasons on why adding healthy fats to your diet is important, as well as some tasty recipes or staples to add to your next grocery run.

 

Healthy Fat Intake is Good for Your Heart.

First off—let’s get on the same page for the phrase “healthy fats.” They are typically referred to as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. In a number of studies, healthy fats have been linked to reduce cardiovascular disease. This reason alone is one that should make you want to add healthy fat intake back into your diet.

 

Healthy Fats Help You Absorb Nutrients.

Healthy fats are a crucial part of nutrient absorption. Many vitamins, including A, D, E and K, need fat for absorption and storage in the body. Without fat in your diet, you cannot properly absorb these vital nutrients, which can lead to vitamin deficiencies.

 

Healthy Fats Can Help Lower Cholesterol.

Study after study has shown that healthy fats will reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol while raising “good” HDL cholesterol. LDL cholesterol is usually the culprit when it comes to clogging arteries. Adding healthy fat intake into your diet can also benefit insulin and blood sugar levels.

 

Healthy Fats Can Help you Lose Weight.

Yep, you read it correctly. Eating healthy fats in place of high, starchy carbs and sugars will keep you feeling full longer and regulates blood-sugar levels (say goodbye to sugar crashes).

This information does not give you free reign to load up on fried food and burgers. The source of your fat is extremely important. When you’re at the grocery store or eating out, look for foods high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat.

 

Healthy Fat Food Examples:

  • Nuts and Nut Butters
  • Ground Flax Seed
  • Avocado
  • Coconut Oil
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salmon, other fatty fish

 

Healthy Fat Food Recipe Ideas:

 

So there you have it—the big fat truth on healthy fat intake. If you have further questions regarding healthy fats, feel free to talk to your FAST trainer or speak to your healthcare provider. We hope this helps you better understand the benefits of healthy fats and how you can start to re-introduce them into your diet.

The school year is approaching and soon you and your children will be back on a strictly regimented schedule that involves work, school, sport practice, meetings and all the extra travel-time in between. The last thing you want is to find yourself keeping up with the rat race at the expense of your health and wellness. As for your children, this could mean jeopardizing their performance in sport, and the classroom if proper guidelines aren’t taken into consideration. Here are some healthy and helpful tips to get the whole family on the same page as we enter a new school year.

 

Plan

Planning is the single most important pillar to making sure your day goes as smooth as possible. On the weekend try planning out the most important events for the week. Your plans are your children’s plans, so accommodating both will be important for your daily routine. Other than that, just take it one day at a time and plan food, activities and travels each night.

 

Start the day off right

Sometimes the quality of your day is dictated by how well you start. Give yourself time in the morning to have breakfast with your children. This not only allows you to take advantage of quality time with your kids, but will hold you both accountable to what you’re putting in your body. Parents preach a lot, but kids need to see their lectures put into practice. So eat a healthy breakfast and you’ll be sure to see you and your kids’ performance improve at work and school.

 

Fuel to Perform

Pack lunch or snacks for you both and phase the sugar out. Replace any sugary drinks with water and opt for a couple fruit items to satisfy your sweet tooth. This will give you longer lasting energy and essential vitamins and minerals your body needs to function. Include protein rich choices like peanut/almond butter with apples or celery, or a protein bar with natural ingredients. Studies show consuming protein not only gives you sustained energy but also boosts your metabolism by the increasing thermic effect it has on your body.

Lastly, it’s helpful to pack nutrient dense foods, so making a sandwich or wrap packed with greens and some form of meat and cheese will certainly satisfy those requirements.

 

Be Active

Set aside time to workout and, in turn, encourage your children to explore their interest after school. This could be in the form of sport or other activities that require kids to productively interact with each other or work together. Let’s face it, anything to get them off the couch is good, just as long as it’s healthy. Plus, the extra time they spend at school could possibly be an opportunity for you to hit the gym.

 

Hit the Sack

Setting a bedtime for weeknights will help your children remain on schedule to get a good night’s sleep. Children need at least ten hours of sleep, and teens need eight and a half to nine hours every night. If the whole family agrees to turn off the TV and other electronics by late evening, everyone can look forward to a more restful night, and high energy with clear thinking the next day.

 

If you’re looking for additional tips to implement this school year, contact one of us at FAST Ahwatukee. We’d be happy to share additional tips and even create a training program for the entire family through our personal training, sports performance or group fitness classes.

Eating seasonally is a great way to ensure you’re eating fresh. It’s also a great way to get to know the local farmers in the valley. Today, we’re sharing 4 summer farmers’ market finds and how to know if they’re ripe and ready to enjoy. And if you’re looking for a local market near you, check out this site.

 

Swiss Chard

An often overlooked vegetable is swiss chard. It can be used in many meals, such as a replacement for a whole wheat wrap or chop it up and enjoy in a fresh salad or smoothie. When you’re at the farmers’ market, pick a bunch that’s crisp like a celery stick—that will give you a few extra days to enjoy it before it starts to go bad.

 

Corn on the Cob

A summer staple, corn on the cob can easily be found at summer farmers’ markets across the valley. When picking out your corn, make sure the husk is green or yellow. If the husks are dry, it means the corn is overripe.

 

Tomatoes

From heirloom to your typical tomato—you’ll have plenty of options to choose from. Try making your own marinara sauce instead of buying store bought, which usually happens to have added preservatives and unwanted sugar. When picking out the perfect tomato, look for a bright green stem.

 

Watermelon

And a summer farmers’ market run couldn’t be complete without watermelon. When searching for the perfect watermelon, give it a knock. If it sounds hollow, that means it’s ripe and ready! Watermelon is a great way to curb your sweet tooth, especially after a long day in the sun.

 

If you’re ready to hit the Phoenix farmers’ market but need some recipe inspiration first, head over to our Pinterest board full of healthy meals, snacks and smoothies.

Coffee lovers, listen up. Before you hop in the line at Starbucks, it might be best to reconsider your coffee order. Frappuchinos and mochas often are full of calories, syrups and artificial sweeteners, which can leave you with a mid-morning sugar crash and an unhealthy way to start your day. The Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialists at FAST are sharing how they take their coffee.

 

My favorite coffee is freshly grounded pour over coffee. I wake up every morning grind the beans and pour it over myself. It has a higher caffeine content and tastes better because I can choose the flavor of bean. Some mornings I will add a full fat cream and other days I will add brain octane oil to it for some added energy.

– Shane Anderson, FAST North Central Phoenix

 

Bullet proof coffee is my go to. The recipe is 1 cup fresh brew hot coffee, 2 tablespoons of non-salted butter and 1 tablespoon of MCT or coconut oil.

– Kyle Decker, FAST Arrowhead

 

I don’t drink coffee very often but when I do I’ll usually do between 8-12 ounces of black coffee with about an ounce of 2% milk and a teaspoon of brown sugar.  Black coffee is very good for us and when you don’t add a lot of milk, creamers, syrups or sugars can be very low calorie.  People tend to increase the calories a lot by adding in lots of flavor.

Coffee can help prevent against type 2 diabetes, liver disease, liver cancer and promotes a healthy heart. Drinking too much coffee however can have some adverse effects as well, such as more anxiety, depression and can disrupt your circadian rhythm.

– Travis Cummings, FAST South Chandler

 

I go with a cup of cold brew in the mornings to get me going.

– Nate Souza, FAST North Central Phoenix

 

I have never been a coffee or hot tea person, even in the morning. With being a very active person—both in my job and everyday life—I always make sure to drink plenty of water. The recommended amount of water needed is different for every individual.

We are continuously losing water. Thus, replacing it will help maintain our everyday bodily functions, keep you hydrated, help with muscle fatigue, and improve the overall health of your skin.

– Brandon Wood, FAST Litchfield Park

 

Other ways to take your coffee—without wrecking your diet; iced latte with almond milk, matcha latte, cold brew—just remember to hold syrups and artificial sweeteners. And if you’re not a coffee lover, give a hot or iced green tea a try.

The warmer temps are here—which means pool parties and backyard BBQs will start popping up across the Valley. A question that many of our FAST Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialists get asked by their clients is how to make healthier choices while still enjoying summertime activities. Today, they’re dishing on ways to enjoy good food, good company and good vibes without depriving yourself, and still making nutritious choices.

 

Tip #1: Do your best to skip the buns.

If you’re trying to tone up for summer time, do your best to skip the buns! Commonly there are hot dogs and hamburgers at barbeques, and if you have a bun with each that is a surplus of 200-500 calories. Wrapping it in lettuce or eating with a fork and knife can save you precious calories!

Greg Stein, FAST North Scottsdale Manager

 

Tip #2: Load up on veggies and fruit.

Instead of grabbing every bag of chips in sight, try vegetable trays and fresh seasonal fruit.

Kyle Decker, FAST Arrowhead Manager

 

Tip #3: Hang out away from the food table.

Pay attention to your position at the BBQ. If you are within arm’s reach of the chips, reposition yourself.  When you make a plate eat farther away from the food table to prevent seconds or thirds.

Wade Haras, FAST Old Town Scottsdale

 

Tip #4: Cool down with a smoothie.

If you’re looking for something to help you cool down during the heat, try a fruit smoothie.  You can make this with any of your favorite fruit and even add low fat yogurt for something healthy on a hot day.

Brandon Wood, FAST Litchfield Park Manager

 

Tip #5: Color up the grill.

Add lots of colors such as various peppers, squash, asparagus, corn, and many more! Don’t forget the fruit, as well. Grilling melons (watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, etc.) peaches, and apples are a great way to make your dessert healthier! Try using a grill mat to keep your veggies/fruits from falling through the grates of the grill.

Kyle Schneider, FAST Ahwatukee Manager

 

Tip #6: Stick to protein and veggies if you’re planning to drink alcohol.

If you know you’re going to be drinking a few adult beverages, do your best to eat only protein and veggies at your meals. This way you are getting majority of your carbs from the alcoholic beverage and it won’t set you back as bad.

Travis Cummings, FAST South Chandler Manager

 

Tip #7: Try Lettuce Wraps

Try swapping hamburger buns for lettuce wrap to cut down carbohydrate intake. Longer and thinner leaves of romaine lettuce work for brats and hot dogs too!

Shane Anderson, FAST North Central Phoenix Manager

 

Tip #8: Avoid processed meats.

Avoid any of the processed meats (hotdogs, sausage, brats) which contain high levels of salt and fat. Rather, go for leaner meats like fresh ground beef, turkey, or chicken. Grilled fish such as salmon or tuna also works great, too!

Jeff Placencia, FAST South Gilbert Manager

 

There you have it—8 tips to make healthier choices for summer BBQ season. If you’re interested in learning more about nutrition or personal training, visit any of our 8 valleywide facilities or request a FREE fitness assessment online. Cheers to a healthy and happy summer!

Our FAST managers are sharing 8 tasty ways to eat your veggies—that’s not just the typical salad. Read on to get inspired to make a farmers market run to stock up on fresh vegetables.

Zucchini

My girlfriend and I buy a bag of zucchini and squash from Costco and chop it up into little coins. From there, we sauté it in a teaspoon of olive oil and minced garlic. Add a little bit of soy sauce as its finishing cooking and let it simmer a minute. It makes these antioxidant filled veggies taste delicious and look like something off of the cooking channel

– Greg S., FAST North Scottsdale Manager

Asparagus

My favorite vegetable is asparagus. My ideal way of preparing it is seasoning it with olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and garlic. Bake for 25 minutes at 425 degrees and bon appetite!

–  Jeff P., FAST South Gilbert Manager

Broccoli

My favorite vegetable is broccoli. It tastes great steamed with natural butter and pink Himalayan salt. It is rich in sulforaphane which is an antioxidant that boosts your immune system and can be preventative against certain cancers as well as other heart diseases and diabetes.

– Shane Anderson, FAST North Central Phoenix Manager

Corn

Corn is my favorite vegetable because I can enjoy it many different ways. Whether left on the cob or cut off, cooked or kept raw, it’s always delicious! There are many health benefits to corn, including increased bone strength, immunity boost and prevents anemia. One of my favorite recipes involves a delicious avocado corn salsa.

– Kyle S., FAST Ahwatukee Manager

Green Bell Peppers

Green bell peppers are my favorite vegetable because they can take form in many different ways. They are packed full of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, C, and B6. Green bell peppers are also a great source of molybdenum, vitamin E, dietary fiber pantothenic acid and potassium. I like to use green bell peppers in salads, a ring around my egg in the morning, or as a substitute for taco shells.

– Kyle D., FAST Arrowhead Manager

Sweet Potato

My favorite vegetables are sweet potatoes.  They are full of Vitamin A and potassium and are a good source of vitamin C, manganese, calcium, vitamin B-6, fiber and iron.  I like to pair them with a steak and a salad for a very well rounded dinner.

– Travis C., South Chandler FAST Manager

Broccoli

I’m a big fan of broccoli. Not only do I like the taste but it has many health related benefits. For instance, it helps with decreasing the risk of obesity and diabetes. Broccoli is also great for helping decreasing the risk of cancer, helps to improve bone health, and can also help the overall health of your skin.

– Brandon W., FAST Litchfield Park Manager

Spinach

My go to vegetable is spinach. It is easy to prepare in a large salad or adding it to any meal. Spinach is high in iron which is beneficial for skin care and muscle function by helping oxygenated our cells for better performance.

– Wade H., FAST Old Town Scottsdale Manager

Whether you’re new to cooking healthy or simply looking for an alternative way to eat more vegetables, give these 8 tips a try. You can always look for more inspiration on Pinterest too. Cheers to eating more veggies this spring.

Making small changes in your diet can help you look better, feel better and slim down. Smart solutions—or healthy food swaps, can save in unnecessary calories (goodbye carb overload) while still giving you the satisfaction of feeling full and fulfilled with your meals. Try one of these healthy food swaps this week.

 

Wade Haras, facility manager at FAST Old Town Scottsdale

Instead of: Gatorade

Try This: Your Own Post-Workout Drink

To make your own post workout carbohydrate drink/electrolyte drink, dilute 16 oz. of juice (apple or cranberry) by 50% and add ¼ cup lemon juice and a ¼ tsp of dissolved salt water. Replenishing carbohydrates after a workout is important to start the recovery process and set you up for enough energy for tomorrow’s workout.

 

Greg Stein, facility manager at FAST N. Scottsdale

Instead of: White Bread

Try This: Sprouted Grain Bread

Instead of having your sandwich or toast on “normal” breads like white or wheat, try Sprouted Grain Breads. Its bread made without flour and has grains, legumes and tons of healthy organic ingredients. Sprouted Grain Bread has more protein, fiber and vitamins/minerals to fuel your body while still tasting great. My favorite brand is Ezekiel—especially the cinnamon raisin flavor.

 

Kyle Schneider, facility manager at FAST Ahwatukee

Instead of: Pasta

Try This: Zoodles

We bought a vegetable spiralizer and have had fun making zucchini noodles (zoodles) in place of pasta noodles. Zoodles are a great stand-in for carb-heavy recipes.

 

Glenn Steele, facility manager at S. Gilbert

Instead of: French fries

Try This: Sweet Potato Fries

If it’s hard for you to give up French fries, then try an alternative solution (and just as delicious), sweet potato fries. Keep in mind, these can easily become unhealthy if you douse in oil, salt and dip into mayo and ketchup. Instead try lightly drizzling with avocado oil and season with herbs. Trust me, they’ll be so good you won’t even need a dipping sauce.

 

Kyle Decker, facility manager at FAST Arrowhead

Instead of: Bread Crumbs

Try This: Ground Flax Seed

Using ground flax seeds instead of bread crumbs is a way to add omega-3 fatty acids into your diet and also eliminate your sodium intake. Omega-3s help with things like joint pain and fighting heart disease, making it a staple to add into your routine.

 

Jonathan Castillo, facility manager at FAST Tempe

Instead of: Canola Oil

Try This: Coconut Oil

The ingredients you use to cook your food are just as important as what you eat. Coconut oil maintains its antioxidative properties under high heat and adds great flavor to any dish. And for easy use, there’s now coconut oil spray—which is a great way to cut down on usage (making it last longer) while still getting nonstick benefits.

 

As always, our team of Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialists are here to help you on your fitness and wellness journey. Visit our website to schedule a FREE session or visit our Pinterest page for more healthy food swaps and recipes.

You’ve heard it before—breakfast is the most important meal of the day. When people think of breakfast, sugar-filled cereals, donuts and muffins often come to mind. Although these may be quick solutions and help satisfy your sweet tooth—they’re not the best option for your diet. Our FAST managers dish on their go-to breakfast staples to ensure a healthy start to their diet and day.

 

Nate Souza, facility manager at N. Central Phoenix

I love to do omelets for breakfast. I mix different veggies and fruits for added nutritional benefits. Mushrooms, bell peppers, and avocados are a few of my favorites. With the mixture of eggs, fruits and veggies, you get a great blend of nutrients, protein and good fats to start your day off right.

 

Shane Anderson, facility manager at N. Central Phoenix

Every morning I have 6-7 raw eggs mixed with unsweetened almond milk. Simply pour into a glass, stir and drink. Eggs take on whatever flavor you add to them, so it ends up tasting like almond milk.

Why raw? It saves time and like most foods, eggs lose some nutrition benefits when they are cooked. For example, if I’d cook 5 eggs—I basically lose the nutrition value of one of the eggs, so I try to get all the nutritional value out of the egg that I can.

 

Travis Cummings, facility manager at S. Chandler

Breakfast sandwiches are my go-to. They take about 10 minutes or less to prep and provide a great source of protein, carbs and fat. I use an English muffin or sandwich thin for bread, 2 over-easy eggs, a slice of cheese and 2 slices of deli meat (turkey, chicken or ham). On the weekends, I’ll dress it up a bit more by adding tomatoes or avocados.

 

Brandon Wood, facility manager at Litchfield Park

If you were a fan of PB & J as a kid, then you’re in luck! Most mornings I take two slices of 9 grain (or any whole wheat bread) and add a bit of peanut butter on one slice. Add a cut up banana between the two slices and enjoy! Not only is it a filling breakfast, but you get the benefits of whole wheat and whole grains which contain healthy vitamins. Additionally, you get the benefits of potassium and fiber from the banana! Just make sure you’re grabbing an all-natural peanut butter—or even give almond butter a try.

 

Hungry for more? Visit our Pinterest board “Breakfast Recipes” for additional inspiration to kick your breakfast game up a notch.

 

Celebrate National Chocolate Month while staying on track with your diet. This Chocolate Overnight Oats recipe is easy to make—and the best part—you’ll feel like you’re eating dessert for breakfast.

If you haven’t jumped on the overnight oats craze yet, now’s your chance! Soaking the oats overnight in a non-dairy milk helps their digestibility, which is why most people find overnight oats much easier to digest than cooked oats. Rolled oats also provide magnesium, fiber, plant-based protein, potassium and are sugar free. Not to mention, you can buy in bulk, making them a cheap breakfast option.

Rather than going for milk chocolate chips, we sprinkled cacao nibs on top of the oats. Cacao is one of the most antioxidant-rich foods on the planet. It contains fiber and a number of vital minerals, making it the perfect choice to sweeten up this recipe.

Ingredients Needed for Chocolate Overnight Oats:

  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • ½ scoop chocolate protein (we used Orgain Creamy Chocolate Fudge)
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • ½ banana
  • 1 cup almond or coconut milk (we used Ripple for added protein)

Ingredients Needed for Toppings:

  • 1/3 cup fresh strawberries, cut in halves
  • 1 tablespoon cacao nibs (we used Navitas cacao nibs)

Instructions:

Recipe yields for one serving | Total time to make: 3 minutes

Add rolled oats to the bottom of the mason jar. Layer in protein powder, chia seeds, chopped banana and milk of choice. Stir together and seal the lid. Place in jar overnight.

In the morning, put fresh strawberries and sprinkle with cacao nibs.

This recipe can easily be transported to work or the gym since it’s in a sealed mason jar.

Foothills Acceleration and Sports Training (FAST) is empowered by Foothills Therapy Partners (FTP).