#CheeseLoversDay: Healthy Mac & Cheese!

Butternut Squash Mac ‘n Cheese

Yield 3 to 4 servings

Prep time: 15 Minutes

Cook time: 45 Minutes

Total time: 1 Hour

Ingredients:

For the butternut squash:

  • 1 large or 2 medium (2 to 3 pounds total) butternut squash, halved and seeded*
  • Grapeseed or sunflower oil
  • Fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the cheese sauce:

  • 1 cup (180 g) roasted butternut squash
  • 1 tablespoon (14 g) vegan butter**
  • 3/4 cup (180 mL) unsweetened and unflavoured almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon (12 g) potato starch or cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup (20 g) nutritional yeast, or more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons (10 mL) Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons (10 to 15 mL) chickpea miso (or other light miso), to taste

For the pasta:

  • 8 ounces (340 g) macaroni, mini shell, or rotini pasta (use gluten-free, if desired)
  • Mix-ins of choice (e.g., cooked squash, kale, spinach, broccoli, peas, etc.)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly spray or brush the oil onto the orange flesh of each squash half. Garnish with salt and pepper. Place the halves cut-side down on the baking sheet. Roast for about 35 to 50 minutes, uncovered, until a fork or knife easily slides through the squash. The skin will be lightly browned and the squash may be brown in some spots (which only adds to the flavour).
  2. When there are about 20 minutes left of the squash’s roasting time, cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain.
  3. After the squash is finished cooking, flip it flesh-side up and let it cool for 10 minutes or so before handling.
  4. Into a blender, add the cheese sauce ingredients (butter, milk, starch, nutritional yeast, Dijon, garlic and onion powder, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and miso) along with 1 lightly packed cup of the roasted squash (simply spoon it out of the skin and measure). Blend on high until smooth.
  5. Add the cooked and drained pasta back into the pot and stir in all of the cheese sauce. Chop the leftover squash into small cubes, scoop the cubes out of the skin, and add them into the pot (along with any other mix-ins you like). Heat over medium and stir until thickened. Add more salt and pepper to taste (and more lemon juice if you want a bit more brightness). Serve immediately.

Recipe and Photo Credit: Oh She Glows

#NationalPopcornDay: Spirulina Popcorn

Spirulina Popcorn

 

  • Makes about 3 cups
  • ¼ cup non-GMO popping corn
  • 1 tablespoon + ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon spirulina
  • 3 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • ½ teaspoon flaky sea salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large metal pasta pot (or similar) over medium-high heat.
  2. Add two corn kernels, cover with the lid leaving it slightly ajar, and cook until the kernels pop.
  3. Add the ¼ cup of corn and cook with the lid slightly ajar, shaking the pot every 30 seconds or so, until almost all of the corn has popped (you’ll know because there will suddenly be much longer breaks between popping sounds). Cover with the lid and turn off the heat while you prepare the seasoning.
  4. Combine the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder, spirulina, nutritional yeast, sea salt, and cayenne in a large bowl and mix together with a rubber spatula.
  5. Add the popped corn and toss with the spatula (or your hands) to evenly distribute the seasoning.

 

Recipe and Photo Credit: Goop

 

#WednesdayWorkout: Shoulder Stretch

The Shoulder Stretch

We are proud to support the growth of volleyball in Canada & provide sport specific training to local clubs. This shoulder stretch is an important part of our athletes’ warm-up routine.

 

HOW TO: Pick the Perfect Protein Powder for You

HOW TO: Pick the Perfect Protein Powder for You

By Olivia Hart, B.Sc. Nutrition and Dietetics

No matter what your goals are, from athletic training to weight loss, protein powder can be an awesome addition to your current dietary regime. Protein is essential for tissue repair- especially post workout, ramping up that metabolism, keeping us full and satisfied and even plays a role in our immunity. BUT- there are SO many protein powders on the market that choosing one can be a daunting task. Let me help you by summarizing some of the key elements I look for when choosing a protein powder.

  1. Type of protein. There are not only many brands of powder out there,  ut many types of protein as well. Two of the most popular protein powders are whey protein and casein protein. Both of these proteins are derived from dairy.

Whey protein is the quickest absorbed protein by the body, which makes it an ideal protein powder to use post exercise when our muscles need that extra help to rebuild stronger and quicker, so we can train sooner and harder.  When looking for a whey protein powder, you are looking for the word ISOLATE. This means you are only receiving the protein in the power and not junk.

Casein protein is a slow-release protein, which makes it an ideal protein source throughout the day. Individuals who may have a difficult time fitting in their protein needs at their meal times, might like to incorporate a casein protein into their day as a supplement. Casein protein tends to be cheaper than whey as well, so if you are not too concerned about the speed at which your body receives the protein, casein may be the way to go.

If you are not into dairy, you may absolutely use a plant based protein powder. It’s important to note though, that plant sources of protein are what we call incomplete proteins. Make sure when you are purchasing a plant based powder that it has a blend of protein sources. For ex- hemp, pea, flax, rice…

  1. Flavouring and additives. This point speaks to the quality of your powder. Depending on what you are using it for and how you are using it, will determine whether you would like a flavoured option or a flavourless option. Personally, when I use protein powder in baking, I like to use a flavourless option versus when I am mixing powder and water post workout. In the latter example, I prefer a flavoured powder to “help the medicine go down.” I always make sure to read ingredient lists of my powders, the shorter and more legible the list is, the more likely it is the better option for you. You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg on your powder but it’s important to note that with any supplement, you pay for what you get!
  2. Quantity. A good serving of protein at one time is about 20-30g of protein. Double check by reading the food label to ensure you are receiving a protein powder that gives you enough per scoop. Nobody wants to drink, mix, or chew on 6 scoops of powder to get the amount their body needs!

I hope these tips help you select the protein powder that is right for you. If you’d like more information, want to know brands I trust or need help choosing one for you; feel free to book a free consult with me by calling (905)339-2333 or email me at oharty@dynamichealthandperformance.ca.

#FitnessFriday – Hip Dips

Hip Dips

Try the Hip Dip – a simple yet effective stretch that helps with hip mobility and strengthening!

 

  1. Standing on a step, with one leg on the step and the other leg hanging off it.
  2. Allowing the hip to fall, while still maintaining control.
  3. The side that is hanging off the step, slowly lift the hip up in line with the opposite hip keeping the standing leg straight, and gently lower it down.

#WednesdayWorkout: Kettlebell Swings!

Kettlebell Swings

 

  1. Start with feet shoulder width apart, knee’s slightly bent and 2 hands on the KB.
  2. Keep the back nice and flat as you swing the KB between your legs, driving the hips back and hips forward as you swing the KB up to shoulder height, squeezing the glute muscles.
  3. Let the KB swing back down between the legs, staying under control but letting the momentum of the KB drive the hips back.
  4. Be sure to finish tall after each swing!

*NOTE: try not to squat down when you swing, the KB swing should focus more on the hips driving back and forwards and NOT up and down.

#NationalShortbreadDay – Healthy Shortbread Cookies

Love at first bite! These buttery Shortbread Cookies are so delicious, you’d never know they are sugar free, gluten free, dairy free, and vegan!

HEALTHY SHORTBREAD COOKIES

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 12 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Fat per serving: 9g

Calories per serving: 130

INGREDIENTS:

  • 180g (1½ cups) Oat Flour
  • 96g (½ cup) Granulated Erythritol
  • 1 tsp Double-Acting Baking Powder
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • 112g (½ cup) Coconut Oil, melted
  • 60g (¼ cup) Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk, room temperature
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 tsp Natural Butter Flavor
  • 1 tsp Stevia Extract

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the oat flour, erythritol, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a stand mixer bowl with beater attachment, add the coconut oil, almond milk, vanilla extract, butter flavor, and stevia extract.  Mix on low speed until completely mixed.
  4. Dump the dry ingredients into the stand mixer and mix until completely mixed.  Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  5. Roll ⅓ of the dough in between two silicone baking sheets until ~⅛” thick.  Use a 2″ circle cookie cutter to punch circles into the dough.  Peel away the dough surrounding the circle shapes, putting the dough back into the stand mixer bowl, and transfer the silicone sheet with the circles onto a cookie tray.
  6. Bake for ~12 minutes, or until the cookies are golden brown around the edges.  Carefully transfer the silicone sheet onto your counter or a wire cooling rack to cool completely (the cookies will be soft out of the oven, but will firm up as they cool).  Keep re-rolling the dough and baking until all the dough is used up.

NOTES:

To store, keep cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Recipe Credit: Desserts with Benefits

SMART Goals

It’s that time of year! With a new year upon us comes new year resolutions. Did you know that only 8% of people who make a New Years resolution stick to it? Often this can be because the goal is too vague, too broad, or there are simply too many goals to keep up with. The key to making a goal is making it SMART! (No not you being smart… even though you all are 😉 ).

SMART Goals stand for the following:

S = SPECIFIC: Make your goals specific and focus on one goal at a time.
For example: My goal is to get in shape. But what is in shape for you? A better way to reframe it would be, I am going to lose 10 pounds.

M = MEASURABLE: How will you know when you have achieved your goal? Your goal must be quantifiable and give you the ability to track your progress.
For example: I am going to go to the gym more. What is more? How will you know when you are going ‘more’? A better way to reframe it would be, I am going to go to the gym 3 times a week for the next month.

A = ACHIEVABLE: Is your goal realistic? Is it something that you can actually achieve?
For example: I am going to lose 30 pounds. Maybe you are recovering from a sickness and losing 30 pounds isn’t achievable for you right now. Let’s start smaller, and reframe the goal as: I am going to lose 5 pounds this month.

R = RELEVANT: Is the goal worthwhile? Is it consistent with other goals you would like to achieve?
For example: If my other goal is to run 5 km by June 1st, then losing 5 pounds could be relevant. However, if your other goal is to get a job you have been eyeing up, then losing 5 pounds isn’t really relevant.

T = TIMELY: When do you want to accomplish it by? When you have a set date it creates a higher likelihood that you will work towards it.
For example: I am going to lose 5 pounds. By when? Reframe it as, I am going to lose 5 pounds before March 1, 2018.

Try out this template to lay out your New Years resolutions!

Credit for template: http://templatelab.com/smart-goals/

#WednesdayWorkout – Calf Raises

Calf Raises

‘Raise’ the bar of your exercise routine and try Calf Raises to help strengthen your lower leg muscles. Add a 5lb weight to raise that bar and challenge yourself!

  • Standing shoulder width apart, holding onto something for balance (stairs work great while holding onto the railing!)
  • Rise-up slowly onto the balls of your feet, squeezing the muscles in the back of the leg,
  • Hold for 2-3 seconds, and come back down
  • Repeat with 1 leg at a time