If you like pina coladas….

Welcome to Weight Loss Wednesday! Every Wednesday I feature a different recipe, food, exercise or tip that can boost weight loss on Five a Day the Fun Way.

Today I’m featuring a virgin PiÑa Colada Protein Shake that tastes like ice cream, but is low in calories and filled with protein.

Protein can help boost weight loss. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that a high protein diet, combined with exercise, enhances weight and fat loss. A diet filled with protein helps satisfy hunger better than fat or carbohydrates, while preserving muscle mass while losing weight. Both are crital factors in both losing and maintaining weight loss. One of the biggest challenges of losing weight is that many people lose muscle mass along with fat when they follow a low-calorie diet. Muscle burns more calories than fat, so when peole lose muscle, they end up slowing their metabolism and burning fewer calories. This causes people to gain all of the weight they lost back, plus more. A diet high in protein helps combat this problem because protein contributes to preserving muscle, which boosts metabolism and contributes to a leaner physique.

I love drinking protein shakes in the morning before my workout, but pre-made shakes and so-called “protein shakes” sold at Smoothie King or Jamba Juice are filled with sugar and calories. Some can even contain more than 1,000 calories! The peanut butter smoothie at Jamba Juice has 770 calories and “The Hulk Strawberry” smoothie at Smoothie King has 1,035 calories! There is nothing about a drink that has over 1,000 calories, 32 grams of fat, 161 grams of carbohydrates and a whopping 125 grams of sugar that is healthy. You can have a 3 ounce serving of Yoforia Frozen Yogurt for only 74 calories, less than one gram of fat and 14 grams of sugar. That is a delicious dessert that will actually satisfy you, rather than leaving you wanting more.

I make my own protein shakes using high quality,medical grade protein powder made by Unjury. Some protein powders are filled with sugars and chemicals, but Unjury made from the highest quality protein and tastes great. I am not sponsored by Unjury, I just really like their protein supplements. My Dietician was the one who introduced me to Unjury and I’ve been using it ever since. Try out this Pina Colada Protein Shake recipe and let me know what you think!

Stacy’s Protein Packed Pina Colada

Add 1/2 cup ice to your blender, then pour in the milks. Add protein powder, pineapple, flaxseed and spinach. Blend for two minutes or until all of the spinach is completely blended. Pour into a tall glass and top with a spoonful of cool whip if desired. 

Do you have a favorite protein shake recipe? Please share! If you would like more healthy recipes, check out my latest book Culinary Duct Tape: Greek Yogurt: Just as versatile, not as tacky, available now on Amazon!

 

 

Fun Food Fridays: Healthy Mickey Mouse French Toast

You may have seen my post on Wednesday about green smoothies, where I announced that I’m introducing Weight Loss Wednesdays in 2012, which will provide diet tips, advice and recipes every Wednesday!

 

I’m excited to announce another regular feature on Five a Day the Fun Way in 2012: Fun Food Fridays! I will feature a new, healthy, delicious FUN food every Friday.

 

Five a Day the Fun Way is all about making eating healthy FUN for adults and kids. The days of eating cottage cheese, rice cakes and lettuce to lose weight are over! Eating healthy is a lifetime change that doesn’t have to feel like deprivation. You can help your kids eat healthy and develop a lifelong habit of eating fresh, good-for-you foods by making eating healthy fun!

My kick-off recipe pays homage to the exciting news that hit the press yesterday – I am one of 15 new Walt Disney World Moms Panelists for 2012! I’m so excited to be a part of the Walt Disney World Moms family! It brings me so much joy to help others plan their vacations to the most magical place on earth!

I love Disney so much that I try to re-create the magic at home in the kitchen.

Yesterday I made Mickey Mouse French Toast for my kids. While the standard boxed or restaurant variety of French Toast isn’t healthy, my made over version is yummy, low-calorie AND good for you!

 Healthy Mickey Mouse French Toast

Ingredients

Mix egg substitute with the almond extract, almond milk, stevia and cinnamon. Dip the slices of bread in the mixture, one slice at a time. Place in a non-stick pan sprayed with fat-free cooking spray. Cook until golden brown, 1-2 minutes per side. Cut out Mickey Mouse head with cookie cutters, sprinkle with powdered sugar.

 

For a grown-up version (even though personally, I love the Mickey Mouse heads) cut up the remaining french toast that is leftover after cutting out Mickey Mouse and serve in a bowl full of strawberries. Yum-o!!

I struggle to get my kids to eat breakfast every morning, but they gobbled this up before school. I felt so good knowing that they were eating something healthy, yet they thought it was a special treat! Win-win!

 

Don’t forget to visit me on the Walt Disney World Moms Panel website and ask me any questions about Walt Disney World!

It’s not easy being green


I have several exciting new features on Five a Day the Fun Way in 2012. I’m going to begin Weight Loss Wednesdays where I explore weight loss myths, diet advice and tips for losing stubborn pounds. Another new column I’m introducing is Fun Food Friday! Every Friday I will post a new recipe for a healthy, delicious, nutritious ad FUN food both adults and children will love.

Today, in honor of our first Weight Loss Wednesday, I want to focus on the green smoothie craze. I’ve heard lots of buzz in recent weeks on the health benefits of green smoothies. Proponents of green smoothies claim that they can boost weight loss, increase energy, improve mental clarity and even reduce cravings for junk food.

Not to mention that by drinking a green smoothie everyday, you will automatically increase your intake of fresh fruit and vegetables, resulting in boosting your diet with vitamins, mineals and antioxidants.

The funny thing is, when I Google “green smoothie” I get advertisements for green smoothie diets, including a “12-step program” to guide you into adopting a healthily lifestyle for $179!

You don’t need to spend $200 on a special 12-step program, buy a $500 special blender or overhaul your diet with a 21-day green smoothie diet “detox” (another $100.) Target has an awesome deal right now, you can buy a Ninja Blender and get a Free $10 Target Gift Card.  I’m totally going to get one this week because my blender is on its’ last legs. The Ninja Blender is awesome and less than $100 bucks!

Five a Day the Fun Way is full of recipes, tips and advice for adopting a healthy lifestyle for FREE! I won’t even make you throw away your chocolate or give up carbs!

So back to green smoothies, what is the scoop? Myth or the real deal? Bottom line is that drink green smoothies can be incredible for your health, waistline and energy levels. Anytime you can sneak in extra veggies is a bonus. But, green smoothies aren’t the magic bullet to weight loss or a youthful appearance. If you have a green smoothie in the morning, but eat like crap the rest of the day, it isn’t going to do much for you.

My favorite green smoothie is super easy to make and I promise you won’t taste the spinach! My kids will even eat this.

Stacy’s Green Smoothie

  • Handful of baby spinach
  • 1 scoop chocolate whey protein powder (I use Unjury)
  • 1 Tablespoon ground flaxseed (read my post about flaxseed to see why you should incorporate this gem in your diet.)
  • ½ cup frozen raspberries
  • ½ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • Lots of ice

Blend all together and serve immediately! Yum-o!

Do you drink green smoothies? Do you think your kids would drink it? I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

 

 

 

Breakfast made for a Disney princess


 

Getting my kids to eat beakfast in the morning is a challenge. They either want junk (my son actually asked for Halloween candy for breakfast) or say they aren’t hungry at all. Making breakfast fun, but healthy, is top on my list. Given that our entire family LOVES Disney and it’s our favorite place on earth, I decided to make Mickey Mouse Sunny Eggs to put a new twist on boring eggs. The kids actually ate them, which they would’ve never done if they weren’t shaped like Mickey, and it sparked a great conversation before school about our favorite Disney memories. I bought my Mickey-shaped egg ring at Disney, but don’t worry if you aren’t visiting the park anytime soon, you can also buy it on Amazon.

 


There has been a lot of controversy about eggs, but they are extremely good for you. They made the list of the top 150 healthiest foods on earth because they are loaded with vitamins, protein and amino acids. They are one of the best sources of choline, which is essential for cardiovascular and brain function. Also, contrary to popular belief, the choline in eggs actually PREVENTS the accumulation of cholesterol in the liver!

Eggs are also the perfect source of protein, containing all nine essential amino acids. They are loaded with lutein and zeaxanthin, which are both superstar nutrients for eye health.

In addition to being a great source of protein, luetin, zeaxanthin and choline, eggs contain more than 15 vitamins and minerals. Not only that, but eggs help prevent against breast cancer according to a study in the January 2005 Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention.


You can also tell your little princess that eggs help hair grow faster and promotes long, healthy hair and nails. Now that is a breakfast made for a Disney princess!

Given my passion for Disney, running and nutrition, I’ve started a NEW blog and twitter account to chronicle all things Disney running! Follow me on Twitter at @runDisneymom and visit http://rundisneymom.com for more information on Disney and running!

Mickey Pretzel Rolls – Made easy!

One of my favorite indulgences at Walt Disney World was the pretzel bread at Le Cellier in Epcot’s Canada Pavilion. This warm bread had a smooth, crisp crust, warm, soft center and was topped with course kosher salt. We hungrily gobbled up every piece in our breadbasket and begged for more! I had to recreate this delicacy at home, but how?

I put my own twist on this Disney classic by created Mickey Pretzel Rolls. I have to admit, they are not as good as the real thing at Le Cellier, but they are delicious will satisfy the craving until we can visit again.

 

Mickey Mouse Pretzel Rolls

 

  • 1 Tbsp, active dry yeast
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 ¾ cups whole-wheat flour
  • 3 Tbsp. butter, softened
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 6 cups cold water
  • 5 tsp. baking soda

 

Place yeast, sugar, salt, flour and butter in a food processor. Pulse until butter is cut into dry ingredients. Add warm water, process until a soft dough forms, adding a little more water as needed. Turn out into a greased bowl; cover and let rise until double. Punch down dough; form into tennis ball size-buns. Place buns on parchment paper-lined baking sheets; cover and let rise again until almost double. Heat cold water over high heat, add baking soda and bring to a boil. Drop buns, three at a time, into the boiling water. Boil for 40 seconds on each side. Remove buns from water and place them on a baking sheet lined with a silpat. Bake at 474 for 8-12 minutes. Top with course kosher salt.

Give these a try and let me know what you think! BTW, I’m applying for the Disney Moms Panel for 2012 for runDisney, please PRAY that I get selected!! This would be my dream!!

Healthy alternative to Starbucks pumpkin scone: Mickey Mouse style

Many of you know that I just returned from my Walt Disney World vacation last week and I’m Mickey-crazy! Disney is truly the most magical place on earth and I try to re-create some of that magic at home in my kitchen.

 

Disney is in full swing with their fall celebration: Mickey-shaped pumpkins, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary-Halloween-Party and Halloween themed rice krispie treats. (Disney’s MomsPanel has some great tips for visiting Disney this time of year!) I was craving pumpkin this weekend and was looking for a special treat, so I created my own recipe for Mickey Mouse Pumpkin Fudgy Brownies.

 

Pumpkin is high in carotenoids, which fight cancer by neutralizing free radicals. Did you know that pumpkin has 33% more potassium than a banana? Pumpkin is also very high in vitamin A and beta-carotene. Pumpkin also contains 3,500 mcg of beta-cryptoxanthin, which can reduce the risk of lung cancer by 30 percent! Pumpkins are also high in lutein and zeaxanthin, which can help reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts. If that wasn’t enough, one cup of pumpkin has only 49 calories with a whopping 2 1/2 grams of fiber. Low calorie & filling….sign me up!

 

This treat tastes decadent enough to be dessert, but is healthy enough to eat for breakfast.

 

This recipe started as a variation for the Starbucks Pumpkin Scone, which I was craving on Saturday, but decided against when I saw that it had 480 calories and 17 grams of fat. I decided to add more pumpkin and greek yogurt, which transformed the dough and created a treat much yummier!

 

Stacy’s Fudgy Mickey Pumpkin Brownies

 

Ingredients

  • 2 ¼ cups brown rice flour
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup brown sugar splenda
  • ½ cup vanilla sugar*
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ½ cup nonfat greek yogurt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 15-oz. can Libby’s solid-packed pumpkin
  • 1/3 cup nonfat milk
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

 

Instructions

 

  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugars, baking soda, spices, salt and baking powder.
  2. In a small bowl mix greek yogurt, egg, pumpkin and milk. Slowly add the wet mixture to the dry, stirring constantly.
  3. Fold in walnuts and chocolate chips.
  4. Pour mixture into Mickey Mouse shaped muffin pan, which you can buy on Amazon.
  5. Bake at 350 for 22 minutes

 

 

Pumpkin is hard to find on the shelf of the grocery stores because of a pumpkin shortage, but you can buy Lilbby’s Pumpkin on Amazon.

 

Give this a try and let me know what you think.

 

Back to School Breakfast Ideas Your Kids Will Love

School is back here in Fort Mill starting tomorrow and that means getting back into the routine with homework, getting up early and packing lunches. Both of my kids have absolutely no appetite in the morning, unlike me who wakes up starving, so it is very difficult to get them to eat before they leave for school.

Even though their tummies aren’t hungry, it is important for them to eat breakfast because it is the most important meal of the day. Researchers at Harvard found that students who ate breakfast in the morning were significantly more attentive in the classroom, had less behavior problems and earned higher grades. Kids who fuel up in the morning also have more energy, giving them both the brain and muscle power to fully participate in classroom activities.  They are also less prone to illness, obesity and health problems.

However, even with all of the research backing the importance of breakfast, 8-12 percent of elementary-age children skip breakfast according to the Healthy Children website. The problem just gets worse by middle and high school, with that number jumping to 30 percent.

While breakfast is important, not all breakfasts are created equal. A breakfast consisting of sugary cereal will just cause a blood sugar crash later in the day, resulting in sleepiness and lack of concentration.

So what can a busy parent do? Mornings are already hectic, so parents need quick, easy breakfast ideas that give their kids a balance of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats.

Try out some of these healthy breakfast ideas to give your kids the energy boost they need, without taking away precious time in the morning.

Super Quick

 

Fruit and yogurt parfait

Parfait’s made with greek yogurt provide the added bonus of protein with dairy. Add your favorite berry for tummy-filling fiber, vitamins and minerals. Top with your child’s favorite cereal for a yummy treat.

Ingredients

•6 oz. plain non-fat greek yogurt

•6 oz. raspberries

•1/4 cup oat cereal

•Honey, to taste

 

Directions

Layer greek yogurt, cereal and raspberries in a tall parfait glass. Repeat layers twice, ending with raspberries and a drizzle of honey.

Make-ahead Ideas

 

Pumpkin pie oatmeal

Cook in a slow cooker overnight and breakfast will be ready in the morning.

Ingredients

  • 1 15-oz. can pumpkin
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 ½ cups steel-cut oats
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ¼ cup walnuts

Directions

Combine everything except for the raisins and walnuts in a slow cooker and cook on low overnight or for 6 hours. Stir well before serving. Top with raisins and walnuts if desired.

Blueberry Almond Muffins

Make these muffins on Sunday and freeze them. Simply microwave for 30 seconds in the morning and your child can munch on this healthy muffin while walking out the door.

 

Ingredients

•1 ripe bananas                                                           •2 cups almond flour

•1/2cup greek yogurt                                                  •1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

•2 eggs                                                                        •1 tsp baking soda

•1 cup Truvia                                                               •2 tsp baking powder

•1 cup nonfat milk                                                       •1/2 tsp salt

•1 tsp almond extract                                                 •1 cup frozen blueberries

•1 tsp vanilla extract                                                   •1/2 cup slivered almonds

 

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 and spray muffin pans with nonfat cooking spray
  2. Mash banana in a large bowl  and add greek yogurt, eggs, Truvia, milk and extracts. Mix until combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Add flour mixture to the wet ingredients, stirring just until combined and being careful not to overmix.
  4. Add the blueberries and almonds and gently fold into the mixture.
  5. Fill muffin cups and bake at 375 for 30 minutes

 

Healthy recipes when you have a bit more time

Egg McMomFUN

These muffins are full of protein, healthy carbohydrates, spinach and low-fat dairy.

Ingredients

  • 4 whole-wheat English muffins
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 slices 2% cheese
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 2 tsp olive oil 

Directions

  1. Heat olive oil in a small sauté pan and add spinach. Cook for about 1 minute on medium-high heat, or until wilted. Transfer to a bowl to keep warm.
  2. Return pan to heat, add one egg at a time, cooking for 2 minutes, or until egg white is set, flip and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, spilt the English muffins in half and toast. Heat Canadian bacon slices in the microwave for 30 seconds.
  4. Top English muffin with spinach, egg, Canadian bacon and one slice of cheese

Do you have any breakfast recipes you can share? I’d love to hear from you!

A Pinkalicious Way to Get Your Kids to Eat Fruit and Vegetables

I am excited to announce our guest post today is from Samantha, the founder of Color Wheel Meals.  Samantha is one “rawkin mom” who is dedicated to helping her family eat healthier. After both of her children were diagnosed with food allergies and her husband was hospitalized for ulcerative colitis, Samantha decided to overhaul her family’s diet to improve their health. Visit Color Wheel Meals for awesome vegan recipes, product giveaways, helpful food reviews and Color Wheel Meal e-Books. Follow her on Twitter @Rawkinmom and “like” Color Wheel Meals on Facebook.

 

 

 

 

We all know how hard it is sometimes to get our kids to eat their fruits and vegetables.

Sometimes I actually don’t blame them! I wouldn’t want to eat overcooked green beans that look like wilty dead worms either!

Kids today are not eating the recommended daily amounts of fruits and veggies…..

Sometimes they don’t even eat a single fruit or veggie unless you count french fries and ketchup, which I don’t consider to be a serving of veggies unless I make the fries homemade with sliced potatoes and bake them myself….only then might I consider it.

Regardless, it’s hard to get 5-9 servings of fruits and veggies into our kids diets EVERYDAY.

UNLESS~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

You make them smoothies.

Smoothies are a great way to pack in lots of servings of fruits and sometimes sneak in some greens or veggies too.

Sometimes though even that doesn’t work…….so you may have to get really creative.

How about making THEMED smoothies and turning it into a fun activity?
PINKALICIOUS SMOOTHIE

1 cup almond or coconut milk

1 cup strawberries, cherries, or raspberries (or a combo of all)

1-2 bananas

if needed even add some natural sweetener like agave, stevia, or maple syrup

Blend and serve with a pink straw!!  Read the story Pinkalicious while drinking!!!

My 2 kids and my niece LOVED these yummy smoothies!!!

or try  a

GOLDILICIOUS SMOOTHIE

 

1 cup almond or coconut milk

1 mango

1-2 bananas

optional: frozen peaches or nectarines (I threw a few slices into this smoothie to add a more golden color to it)

if needed even add some natural sweetener like agave, stevia, or maple syrup

Blend and serve with a yellow straw. Read the story Goldilicious while drinking.

 

Maybe try a

PURPILICIOUS SMOOTHIE

1 cup almond or coconut milk

1 cup blueberries

(frozen are best~if you use fresh then the smoothie will thicken quite fast and turn into a pudding like consistency)

1-2 bananas

1 cup of strawberries, raspberries or cherries (or a combo)

if needed even add some natural sweetener like agave, stevia, or maple syrup

Blend and serve with a purple straw!!  Read the story Purplicious while drinking!!!

 

 

I love the idea of themed smoothies…..

BUT

these are quite GIRLY~~~~~so if you need an idea for a more BOY THEMED smoothie~~~~~~

How about:

Dinosaur Dinner Smoothie

1 cup almond or coconut milk

1-2 bananas

1 mango

1/2 cup – 1 cup baby spinach

if needed even add some natural sweetener like agave, stevia, or maple syrup

Blend and serve with a green straw. Read the story How Do Dinosaurs Eat their Food while drinking.

Maybe …….just maybe…..

you can talk your kids into thinking that dinosaurs would LOVE these smoothies…….

and that they should love these smoothies too…….

Do you have any fun smoothie & story ideas to share?