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!



The secret for creating a delicious low-calorie dessert

What if I told you that you could eat a decadent tasting pie that was not only low in calories, but loaded with fiber, antioxidants, potassium and folate?


It may sound too good to be true, but the butternut squash pie that I made this week was delicious and healthy. I was craving something sweet and the Girl Scout cookies I had in my pantry were calling my name. As much as I would like to sit down and eat the entire box of Samoas, bathing suit season is coming up.


I scavenged my pantry, looking for something to satisfy my sweet tooth to no avail. I did however see a box of Fiber One Caramel Squares cereal and a frozen block of butternut squash, so I decided to get creative. The secret to losing weight and keeping it off is to create delicious, decadent foods that satisfy you without making you feel deprived. No one can stick to a diet if they feel deprived.


Butternut squash is a staple in my house. After reading every Hungry Girl book, I’m no stranger to the miracle of butternut squash.


Butternut squash has 10,630 IU vitamin A per 100 grams, which is 354 percent of our recommended daily value (RDA.) Butternut squash is also filled with poly-phenolic flavonoid compounds, which are powerful antioxidants. Butternut squash is also loaded with vitamin C, E, K, B6, folate and thiamin. Even though butternut squash as no fat, it has more than 30 micrograms of omega-3 fatty acids and over 22 mcg of omega-6 fatty acids. Butternut squash is an excellent weight loss food because of the high fiber content and low calories.


I used frozen Bird’s Eye Butternut Squash in this recipe, which is great because it is available year-round and it is already pureed for you. Simply heat it up in the microwave for five minutes and you have the perfectlyu pureed butternut squash. Try out this healthy butternut squash pie recipe that I made up and let me know what you think.


Stacy’s Healthy Butternut Squash Pie


Filling Ingredients

  • One 12-ounce box Birds Eye Cooked Winter Squash
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • ¾ cup Splenda
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. salt


Crust Ingredients



Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine cereal, butter, applesauce and cinnamon in a food processor and pulse until combined.


Spray 9-inch pie pan with nonfat cooking spray and press crust mixture in pan.


Combine filling ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix well. Pour into pie crust and bake for 45 minutes. Allow pie to cool completely and refrigerate for several hours. Serve with a dollop of fat-free whipped topping.


Let me know if you try out the recipe! For more low-calorie recipes, check out my new book Culinary Duct Tape: Greek Yogurt: Just as versatile, not as tacky, available now on Amazon!

The Secret for Making a Healthy Taco Salad

Did you know that at the typical Mexican restaurant the most dangerous item on the menu is the taco salad? In fact, the Qdoba Mexican Grill’s Beef Taco Salad has 1,280 calories! You can eat almost 9 of Taco Bell’s Fresco Grilled Steak Soft Tacos for the same calories!

A taco salad has the potential to be healthy, but many restaurants squander that opportunity by using fattening beef, full-fat sour cream and large amounts of cheddar cheese.

For this edition of “Weight Loss Wednesday,” I’m going to show the secret for making a  healthy taco salad and home for a fraction of the fat and calories that the fast food version contains.

I made my own taco salad at home for a light version that is just as delicious as healthy. Here are a few secret tips for transforming this fattening dish.

“Moo”ve over beef

I used lean ground turkey breast instead of ground beef, which boosts the protein of this dish without adding excess fat. Three ounce of lean turkey breast contains only 88 calories, 1.4 grams of fat and no saturated fat, while the same portion of 80 percent lean ground beef has 231 calories, 14.8 grams of fat and 5.6 grams of saturated fat.

Think outside the shell

For the “shell” I simply used a “Mission Carb Balance Small/Fajita Whole Wheat Tortilla,” which is loaded with fiber and low in calories. Form the “bowl” shape by spraying a glass bowl with nonfat cooking spray and placing the tortilla in the bowl. Cook at 350 for 10 minutes to make crunchy.

Got cheese? 

I omitted the cheese completely. One cup of cheese (which can easily be the amount that some local fast food chains lob onto your meal) has 455 calories, 37 grams of fat and 24 grams of saturated fat. If you must have cheese, use the 2 percent milk variety, which still melts well and has a great flavor, but reduces some of the calories and fat. Don’t bother using the fat-free cheese. The taste and texture is horrible and it’s not worth the reduced calories.

Load up on Veggies

I added pepper strips, salsa and lettuce to load up on vegetables and volume, without adding a lot of calories.

Go Greek!

My biggest secret to slashing the calories, but keeping the flavor of this delicious dish is substituting Greek yogurt for the sour cream. Greek yogurt is filled with calcium and beneficial live bacterial cultures and packs a lot of protein for very little calories. Just a few small changes makes a huge difference in the calories and enhances the taste.

Try my recipe for healthy taco salad and check out my book, Culinary Duct Tape: Greek yogurt: Just as versatile, not as tacky, for more dishes made light and delicious with Greek yogurt!

Stacy’s Healthy Taco Salad


  • 4 Mission Carb Balance Small/Fajita Whole Wheat Tortilla
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey breast
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup red, yellow and orange pepper strips
  • 1 can reduced sodium black beans
  • 1 jar Pace Picante Sauce
  • 1 small bag of lettuce shreds
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • ½ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt


  1. Heat olive oil over medium-high  heat and sauté garlic until brown. Add peppers and sauté until cooked through.
  2. Add ground turkey and brown until no longer pink.
  3. Add black beans, ½ jar picante sauce and ¼ cup nonfat Greek yogurt. Stir until combined and heat through.
  4. Meanwhile, spray four glass bowls with nonfat cooking spray. Place one whole-wheat tortialla in each bowl and cook at 350 for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
  5. Scoop turkey mixture into cooled shell. Top with a generous handful of lettuce shreds, picante sauce and the remaining Greek yogurt.


Simple, easy, healthy and delish! Give it a try and let me know what you think. Also, let me know if you try any of the other recipes from my book,  Culinary Duct Tape: Greek yogurt: Just as versatile, not as tacky.