fitness. motherhood. life & style.

Cinnamon Roasted Butternut Squash

As promised, I will be posting healthy fall recipes all season long! This is one of my favorites, Cinnamon Roasted Butternut Squash. I actually found this on Pinterest here so it is not one of my own. Super easy to make and stores well so you can enjoy leftovers.
  • 1 butternut squash cut into cubes
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp packed brown sugar
  • 1 Tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tsp salt
  • 1 Tsp pepper
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees and make sure the top rack is on the upper/middle section
  • Line a baking sheet with foil for easy clean up
  • First, I use a potato peeler and peal off the outer skin. Next, cut the ends off of your squash and cut it in half then scrape out the seeds. Last, cube your squash. Sometimes the squash can be tough so I will place it under hot water for a few minutes.
  • In a large mixing bowl, mix all of your remaining ingredients and throw the squash cubes in last and mix well.
  • Place your seasoned squash on the baking sheet (you may need two sheets depending on squash size) and make sure they aren’t over crowding each other.
  • Roast the squash for about 40 minutes and rotate the pan midway through. I would check your squash about 30-35 minutes in to make sure it’s not overcooked. Squash should have browned edges and the cubes should be tender enough to easily poke with a fork but not mushy.
  • Enjoy!! I would say this easily serves 4-5 people.
katie lynn

Eating Out, the Smart Way

Hi everyone!! I've been so busy with school, work, and training that I've barely had time to sleep! So, sorry for the delayed post :) Today, I wanted to touch on smart choices when eating out.

I use to avoid eating out like the plague! I would even avoid social situations because I thought any restaurant food was going to make me fat. It does not have to be like that! There is also a common myth that if you eat a salad when you go out, you are eating healthy. However, most restaurant salads have the same amount of calories as a cheese burger! Over the years I've found a few go-to places with healthy items and I've also followed a few rules when it comes to eating out.

Whole Foods Soft Tacos
My go-to places:
Subway has good salad options and their 6" Italian bread isn't loaded with carbs! Beware of the sauces or cheese you add on because they can pack on the calories. At Pei-Wei you can order the meat "stock velveted" aka not fried and you can get the sauce on the side to avoid all the added sugars. Panda Express has re-done their menu to show calories and they have options that aren't fried. I always get a grilled option (no sauce on the Teriyaki chicken) with half brown rice and half steamed veggies. The chow mein and fried rice are fat/carb/calorie packed. Whole Foods and Sprouts always have lots of good, healthy options. I love Whole Foods salad bar if you're looking for the organic approach. I'm usually not a fan of Chipotle but lately it's been sounding good. I really like that they have food with integrity (check out what I'm talking about here), they try to use local produce, and avoid hormones/pesticides in their food. The salad is the best way to go. I load mine with veggies, chicken, salsa, a little bit of guacamole (you'll have to scoop some off, they give you a lot), and rice on the side without dressing. So good! Chick-Fil-A also has really good options and good quality grilled chicken! Their grilled chicken nuggets are the best. If you have more time and you're looking for sit down restaurants with good options I suggest Chili's, Applebee's, BJ's, and Genghis Grill. These four places have awesome healthy options. However, most places now have healthy, low-cal menu options and a lot of them have nutrient facts online.

Panda Express
My eating out tips:
  1. Ask for veggies and rice to be steamed, meats to be grilled, and ask to not have anything cooked in butter. These are a few simple cooking tips that you can request at most restaurants to avoid added calories and bad fats.
  2. Beware of fat sources. A lot of meals have multiple sources of fats that really pack on the calories. For example, a cobb salad traditionally has lettuce, turkey, bacon, boiled eggs, avocado, cheese, and balsamic. Bacon is a fatty meat, the yolk in an egg is a fat, cheese has some bad fat, avocado is a fat, and most balsamic dressings also carry a lot of fat. I typically skip the bacon and cheese because they contain more unhealthy fats. I keep the egg for protein, the avocado for good fat, and I'll switch to olive oil and vinegar for dressing because it's also a good fat! Sometimes I keep the cheese in my salads because who doesn't like cheese :) I'll just pick some of it out so it's not so overloaded.
  3. Avoid hidden sugars. Sugar can cause you so many health problems and it is hidden everywhere. I always avoid dried fruits and candied nuts in my salads because they are packed with sugar. I also prefer to skip normal salad dressings and instead use oil and vinegar because vinegar doesn't have calories and olive oil is a good fat. Also beware of sauces and try to get them on the side so you can control your intake.
  4. Pick a good quality carb. The quality of the carbs you're eating, matters. When it comes to salads, I prefer fruits as my carbs instead of croutons or wonton strips.  I like having soft corn tacos for lunch, red potatoes and sweet potatoes are a good choice, steamed rice, or some of the lower carb breads at Subway.
  5. Watch your portions! American restaurants really load up your plate when you go out to eat so be mindful of when you're full. I try to skip the chips and bread at the beginning of the meal because they always fill me up and then I don't enjoy my actual main course!
  6. Enjoy yourself. If you go out to eat and you want a burger, have a burger and enjoy it! Everything in moderation. I don't believe in set "cheat meals" (I'll have a post on that later on) but I do believe that every once in awhile if you really want something, have it. That's healthy for you too.
I hope this helps! As always, feel free to contact me with any questions because I'm always happy to answer them :)

katie lynn

Train Smarter, Not Harder

Hi again! I can't believe it's been about a month since I've had my blog already! The past few weeks I've been working with my nutritionist on learning about ways to "train smarter, not harder". I can't tell you how badly I wish I would have known some of these things back when I started this journey!! I'm going to share my top tips to make your fitness journey so much easier!
  1. Say no to fad diets. This is my number one tip. I've literally tried a whole bunch of different diets including super "clean eating" (basically veggies, protein, rice and nothing else) and while they may work, they ARE NOT maintainable for most people. If you are training in any type of way, you need to fuel your body with the proper foods. If you starve yourself, all you're doing is slowing down your metabolism (trust me, it means more problems later on). Just make healthy choices to fuel your body, always eat breakfast, eat lots of veggies, eat fruits you love, eat carbs for strength, and eat when you're hungry. However, if you want an Oreo, eat an Oreo!! A healthy lifestyle is just that, a LIFESTYLE. Find a happy median that you can maintain and avoid fad diets that just lead you to rebound with weight gain.
  2. Find an exercise routine you enjoy. Like I've shared before, when I first really tried to focus on my fitness in college (I was active in high school but college was more about being active in beer pong) I thought I just needed to run for miles, hours, days, whatever, in order to lose weight. However, I HATE DISTANCE RUNNING. So, I was miserable the entire time I was trying to lose weight. When I found weight lifting, I knew that was what I enjoyed and going to the gym was easier than ever because I enjoyed it. I ran track my freshmen year of high school, I loved to sprint, and I was actually pretty good at it so I started incorporating that into my workouts as well. If you don't like the exercise you are doing, you won't stick to it. Find what you like to do and make it a hobby, not a chore!
  3. HIIT cardio is more effective than hours of cardio. If you enjoy distance cardio then have at it! For myself, I have found that my body responds much better to High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and I enjoy it. My goal is to build muscle and lose fat but I found out that I was doing too much cardio and I was burning through my muscle as well. I started HIIT cardio and I dropped 3% body fat in two weeks!! Currently, I'm completing 8 rounds of 30 second sprints (as fast as you can sprint) with about a 1 minute walk in between and a five minute warm up and cool down and I'll do this 2-3 times a week. If you're curious about how HIIT works I've linked a good article here. You can also complete a HIIT session in many different forms of training.
  4. Longer training sessions<short training sessions. Once upon a time, I spent HOURS in the gym, like 2-3 hours. I didn't really have the time for it, I didn't really enjoy it, and part of that time I was talking or taking too long of a break because I was tired after being there for two hours. Now, I get a lift in for about 45-60 minutes and stretch and sauna in under 30 minutes. However, I'm also only taking about a 30 second rest time between sets and I super set as much as I can (ex: alternating biceps curls and tricep dips for my first super set, two new workouts are the next super set). Now, I'm working out in a more efficient manner and I go really early when no one wants to talk :) My nutritionist told me that if I'm lifting for two hours, I'm most likely starting to burn through my muscle and that defeats the entire purpose of lifting. Lift heavy sometimes and lift lighter weight sometimes so you don't get stuck in a rut. Be efficient, throw some plyometric work in there, and get a good solid workout in, in a shorter amount of time.
  5. Good fats are GOOD. I use to avoid anything fatty because I thought that any type of fat would make me fat. However, I've found that if I include good fats with almost every meal, they give me energy and help for me to lose fat. Some examples of good fats are: coconut oil, olive oil, avocados, natural PEANUT BUTTER :), nuts, and any natural nut butter. I work out really early in the morning usually before breakfast so instead of a pre-workout, I eat a tsp of coconut oil and that gives me plenty of energy.
  6. Don't stress over unplanned meals. So, you didn't meal prep 500 things of tupperware for your week ahead? Don't panic. What I want to know is how these famous social media fitness people get their tupperware veggies to last for seven days. My organic veggies barely last four days so I like to make sure I have healthy options in the house and I typically pack snacks and lunch for work. However, sometimes life gets in the way and I don't pack my lunch. Oh, well!! This use to stress me out but not anymore. There are plenty of places where you can order some healthy options and not mess up your eating plans (I'll go into more detail about this in another post). Have a good meal with veggies, good carbs like brown rice, a lean protein, and a healthy fat. Avoid fried things, dried fruit (lots of sugar), heavy dressings, etc. Just don't stress!
  7. Occasional "bad food" is good for you. I use to have a calendar and I would mark the days that I ate "bad" aka I had one donut. I use to stress over the red X's that marked my "bad" days even though there were only about 5 per month. All that did was lead me to a binge/misery session at some point in that month. Sometimes it's good to have a donut and be a normal person so you don't feel restricted and you don't feel the need to binge and ruin your hard work. If you want a treat, have it, enjoy it, and keep it moving. Don't avoid foods, that's not a way of life and don't go overboard.
  8. There is no magic supplement. I've tried lots of supplements thinking they would help (fat burners, diet pills, detox crap, etc.) and really they just harmed my body. If you eat right, train right, and take the right VITAMINS (not diet pills) you are headed in the right direction. Research your vitamins to make sure you are getting a pure vitamin and remember that they will help your body but there is no miracle pill. Vitamin Shoppe, doTERRA, and Wholefoods have a very good selection of vitamins. Some vitamins at Walmart and Walgreens are actually not as strictly regulated as they should be, and may not contain what you need.
I hope these tips help you to go in the right direction so that you don't have to go through trial and error like I did! Email me with any questions, I would love to answer them!

katie lynn
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