HEALTH HACK | FALL SOUP (FOR THE SOUL)

We are officially two days from saying hello to... FALL! Before you get sad about Summer coming to an end, get excited about what the upcoming season has to offer! Fall means crisper air, beautiful Autumn leaves, sweater weather, and hearty soups that make your heart smile. And on that last cheesy note, check out these 5 delicious soups/stews that will warm your soul and prime you for Fall: 

1. Aromatic Shrimp and Noodle Soup. See recipe here.

1. Aromatic Shrimp and Noodle Soup. See recipe here.

2. Chicken Tortellini Soup. See recipe here.

2. Chicken Tortellini Soup. See recipe here.

3 Mushroom Soup. See recipe here.

3 Mushroom Soup. See recipe here.

4. Veggie Kimchi Soup. See recipe here.

4. Veggie Kimchi Soup. See recipe here.

5. Egg and Lentil Stew. See recipe here.

5. Egg and Lentil Stew. See recipe here.

HEALTH HACK | JUICE ME UP

Juicing is a great way to supplement your diet--if you haven't gotten into this yet, do yourself a favor and start now! By juicing your vegetables and fruit, you can pack an abundance of nutrients and flavor...in one single drink. Now not all juices are made equal, so here are 5 surefire delicious recipes for you to try out:

1. Beet, Carrot, Apple Juice. See recipe here. 

1. Beet, Carrot, Apple Juice. See recipe here

2; Beet and Berry Juice. See recipe here.

2; Beet and Berry Juice. See recipe here.

3. Belly Buster Green Juice. See recipe here.

3. Belly Buster Green Juice. See recipe here.

4. Tomato Vegetable Juice. See recipe here. 

4. Tomato Vegetable Juice. See recipe here

5. Strawberry Cucumber Juice. See recipe here. 

5. Strawberry Cucumber Juice. See recipe here. 

HEALTH HACK | BEAT THE BLOAT

It can be incredibly frustrating to constantly feel bloated, have relentless hiccups, or suffer heartburn due to improper indigestion. Your digestive system works hard every day to break down the food you eat, but sometimes (for some more often than others) the inner workings of your body does not run as smoothly as you would like. To proactively avoid problems and maintain optimal digestive healthy (say goodbye to gas), fuel up with these 5 foods that will be kind to your belly and facilitate good digestion:
 

1. Yogurt

1. Yogurt

2. Ginger

2. Ginger

3. Wild Alaskan Salmon

3. Wild Alaskan Salmon

4. Papaya

4. Papaya

5. Zucchini

5. Zucchini

HEALTH HACK | EAT WELL, EAT CHEAP

There is a common fallacy that eating healthy is very expensive. While eating healthy can be expensive, one does not definitively lead to the other. Even on a budget, it is possible to cook a nutritious and delicious meal. With a little bit of research and mindful application, eating healthy can actually save you money! Next time you have trouble figuring out a healthy meal option and are strapped on cash, try one of these easy, budget-friendly recipes:

1. Lemon and Herb Roast Chicken and Vegetables. See recipe here.

1. Lemon and Herb Roast Chicken and Vegetables. See recipe here.

2. Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta. See recipe here.

2. Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta. See recipe here.

3. Kale & White Bean Potpie with Chive Biscuits. See recipe here.

3. Kale & White Bean Potpie with Chive Biscuits. See recipe here.

4. Vegetarian Tortilla Casserole. See recipe here.

4. Vegetarian Tortilla Casserole. See recipe here.

5. Vegetable & Tuna Pasta Salad. See recipe here.

5. Vegetable & Tuna Pasta Salad. See recipe here.

Let's not fret about stress

Hello, everyone!

Since we are all busy bees in our busy lives and some of us were lucky enough to have a relaxing vacations and are now getting ready to “come back to reality”, I wanted to talk about stress in order to remind ourselves how stress can affect us, how to deal with stress, and how to keep stress away as much as possible–like you did while on vacation.

Some of us (if not most of us) usually deal with various sources of ‘pollution’ in our daily lives: our commute, job, relationship, family, financial situation, etc. We all have ‘things’ in our lives that cause more stress than any resemblance of joy. Why do we do this to ourselves? Why is it that we’ve seemed to had forgotten to “stop and smell the roses”?

Thanks to (or unfortunate to) the way we are connected and available to anyone through our phones and/or computers, it is actually getting harder for some of us–myself included–to find a moment in our day to have some real down time and be able to decompress from whatever it is that tormented our day; as brief as it might have been. I sometimes find my off-time to be overran by working hours–and I know of other people who experience this same situation on a daily basis–as if the days were getting shorter and shorter leaving us with not enough time to go over our daily “To-Do” list or finish the pending work that has been piling up from previous days, even weeks.

I’ve also noticed that,  due to fear of losing a job/gig or losing a client,  we have seemed to have forgotten that saying “no” to people is OK sometimes. We can’t always be available to everyone all the same time!

Because of these and many other situations, it is no surprise that “stress” has become a household name and, unfortunately, part of everyday life for many of us today.

Yes, stress is vital for our survival. It is essentially a response, a reflex, to any situation identified as a threat to our existence. Have you ever heard of the phrase “fight or flight”? When under a threat, our ancestors had to make a split decision to either run for safety or fight their way out of danger. Currently, how we perceive and manage stress, however, varies in each individual. What one person might consider and perceive as an extremely stressful situation, another might not even notice or have any significant reaction to it. For some, stressful situations–such as working under pressure–provide fuel in their profession and may even improve their performance. For others, unfortunately this is not the case.

Each person has a different capacity to handle the total stress load, and each person’s capacity varies over time and events. I’m going to get a little ‘technical’ here because I want you to get a little glimpse of what goes on in our body when it deals with stress.

Every organ and system in the body is affected by the total stress load. Changes occur in fat, protein and carbohydrate metabolism, fluid and electrolyte balance, heart and cardiovascular system, and sex drive. We also suffer from stress at the biochemical and cellular levels–even body shape may transform in some way. Yeap, being stressed all the time is not good if you are trying to lose those extra pounds. Too much stress, (physical, emotional, environmental, psychological or a combination of these) can exhaust the adrenal glands (the glands located on top of the kidneys which regulate that “fight or flight” response) which can cause a decrease in the production of adrenal hormones, especially cortisol, which helps our body how to deal with our blood sugar levels: glucose in our system.

I’m not trying to throw big words at you but, pretty much, stress can trigger your body to go into fatigue to a point where your body either is always ‘screaming’ because it thinks all things are out of wake, or actually ‘numbing’ the response mechanisms in our body due to constant strain of our system.

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That being said, stress can push us to exceed our personal limits; it can interfere with our workout goals and our health by weakening our immune system; so if anything, we need to practice some self love and give ourselves some daily time to de-stress. Relaxing actually helps your body (and mind) to get the most out of any hard work it follows. Everyone is different and finds relaxation in different places but a few popular ways to get rid of stress are:

  1. Take a few minutes to really turn your mind off and breath. Really take the time to notice how you are breathing and try to go to a happy place for as short as 5 minutes. You’ll notice that something this simple can make a big difference on the rest of your day.

  2. Mindfulness meditation. If you are not in the mood to meditate, try some deep breathing for at least 15 minutes. You could start by doing it twice a week, and you might find yourself doing if more often than that.

  3. Take a walk outside. By yourself or with a loved one, your dog or a friend. No phone, no emails. Smell the flowers, get some vitamin D on your arms and just be.

  4. Take a bath with some Epsom salts a couple of times a week.

  5. Stretch

  6. Listen to some music. Dance. Let go!

  7. Read a book

  8. Get your nails done, get a massage, whatever activity relaxes and calms your body and mind, set a goal to do it once a week, at least.

  9. I know some of us enjoy a good wine after a long day but try why not try an elixir with adaptogens instead. (Adaptogenic herbs support our whole neuroendocrine system, especially adrenal function, and can help to counteract and regulate the adverse effects of stress) You could enjoy the hot chocolate recipe I shared a while ago which contains maca; since it’s summer and hot AF, skip the heating of your nut milk and enjoy it cold. To amp up the adaptogens in it even more, try adding ¼ tsp ashwagandha to it.

If you think that you don’t have the time for any of these, then find the time. Don’t check instagram for the fourth time today. Let your email inbox collect your emails; they are not going to go anywhere. If you have kids, leave the kids with their Dad, granny, or aunt, and self indulge a little. Stress can make your life miserable. This is your health, and this is your life! Make yourself a priority.


Every couple of weeks, I will be posting nutrition and wellness advice, recipes, and interesting findings worth sharing with all of you. I know that we all have different interests and needs so I will try to cover different topics with every post. I would love to read your feedback so I encourage you to share your thoughts and/or questions in the comments section below.

If you would like to know more about me, please visit my website Alimental G.

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HEALTH HACK | LUNCHES (BACK-TO-SCHOOL EDITION)

Summer is coming to a close and that means it's back-to-school season! As people gear up for the beginning of yet another school-year, there are many things to consider when preparing for a successful quarter (or semester). One thing that might not come to mind immediately (but is still so important) is keeping healthy! Long nights of studying and grueling class schedules may take a toll on your body so it is imperative to be smart about what you eat during the day--especially if you are trekking around campus from morning to night. To ensure you maintain a healthy diet amidst all the school chaos, here are 5 easy recipes for healthy lunches on-the-go:

1. Lebanese Lemon Parsley Bean Salad. See recipe here.

1. Lebanese Lemon Parsley Bean Salad. See recipe here.

2. Chicken Club Wraps. See recipe here.

2. Chicken Club Wraps. See recipe here.

3. Veggie Fried Rice. See recipe here.

3. Veggie Fried Rice. See recipe here.

4. Smoked Turkey & Farro Salad. See recipe here.

4. Smoked Turkey & Farro Salad. See recipe here.

5. Fajita Quesadillas. See recipe here.

5. Fajita Quesadillas. See recipe here.

HEALTH HACK | BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS

What's the best way to jump-start your day? Eating a mindful breakfast! Breakfast truly is the most important meal--it starts your metabolism, energizes your body and primes you for the rest of your day. To make sure you are equipped for an energizing and healthy day worthy of a champion, check out these 5 nutritious recipes that will allow breakfast to live up to its full potential:

1. Skinny Fried Egg and Avocado Toast. See recipe here.

1. Skinny Fried Egg and Avocado Toast. See recipe here.

2. Breakfast Egg Muffins. See recipe here.

2. Breakfast Egg Muffins. See recipe here.

3. Peanut Butter and Banana Smoothie. See recipe here.

3. Peanut Butter and Banana Smoothie. See recipe here.

4. Candied Orange Peel Granola. See recipe here.

4. Candied Orange Peel Granola. See recipe here.

5. Banana and Chocolate Chip Baked Oatmeal Cups. See recipe here.

5. Banana and Chocolate Chip Baked Oatmeal Cups. See recipe here.

HEALTH HACK | GREEN SMOOTHIES

If you are not a fan of eating vegetables, then making sure you are satisfying the daily dose of veggies may be a constant struggle. A great solution to this is blending them all up into a tasty, nutritious concoction! But just because a recipe is labeled "smoothie" or "green" does not make it healthy. We've done the dirty work for you and sifted through heaps of recipes to find 5 nutritious and delicious green smoothies for you to try! 

1. Broccolicious. See recipe here.

1. Broccolicious. See recipe here.

2. Energy Boosting Morning Green Smoothie. See recipe here.

2. Energy Boosting Morning Green Smoothie. See recipe here.

3. Green Goddess Smoothie. See recipe here.

3. Green Goddess Smoothie. See recipe here.

4. The Best Green Smoothie Ever. See recipe here.

4. The Best Green Smoothie Ever. See recipe here.

5. The Green Thing Smoothie. See recipe here.

5. The Green Thing Smoothie. See recipe here.

HEALTH HACK | ONE-POT STOP

There are quick meals, and then there are one-dish and/or one-pan meals. This summer, spend more time enjoying the weather, hanging with friends and less time cleaning up superfluous amounts of pots, pans, and dishes. Make more time for yourself and make healthy eating even easier by trying out these 5 fast, one-pan/one-pot recipes that are straightforward, nutritious and incredibly tasty:

1. Roasted Broccoli With Shrimp. See recipe here.

1. Roasted Broccoli With Shrimp. See recipe here.

2. Chickpea Sweet Potato Spinach Curry. See recipe here.

2. Chickpea Sweet Potato Spinach Curry. See recipe here.

3. Detox Vegetable Soup. See recipe here.

3. Detox Vegetable Soup. See recipe here.

4. Spicy Cajun Chicken and Rice. See recipe here.

4. Spicy Cajun Chicken and Rice. See recipe here.

5. Garlic Roasted Salmon with Brussels Sprouts. See recipe here.

5. Garlic Roasted Salmon with Brussels Sprouts. See recipe here.

HEALTH HACK | SUMMON THE SPIRALIZER

If you haven't invested in a sprilazer yet, now is the time! Spiralizing is a creative and entertaining way to incorporate more vegetables into your diet--this tool can transform all different types of vegetables into beautiful, pasta-like ribbons and help you re-vamp your healthy eating routine! Check out these 5 knockout recipes that will have you reaching for the spiralizer for your next meal:

1. Korean BBG Zoodle Stir Fry Bowl. See recipe here.

1. Korean BBG Zoodle Stir Fry Bowl. See recipe here.

2. Carrot Pasta with Garlic Sauce. See recipe here.

2. Carrot Pasta with Garlic Sauce. See recipe here.

3. Thai Sweet Potato Noodle Bowl. See recipe here.

3. Thai Sweet Potato Noodle Bowl. See recipe here.

4. Sweet Potato Puttanesca. See recipe here.

4. Sweet Potato Puttanesca. See recipe here.

5. Yellow Squash Pasta with Caramelized Lemon. See recipe here.

5. Yellow Squash Pasta with Caramelized Lemon. See recipe here.

HEALTH HACK | CHICKEN FIX

Chicken is a great, lean source of protein and can be an excellent healthy hallmark in a nutritious diet, but can be boring when you are merely eating plain chicken breasts every other day. Appease your taste buds and healthy conscious by sprucing up the dull chicken dinner. Classic chicken meals undergo a makeover in these 5 simple, delicious recipes--try one of these for your next meal! : 

1. Lemon Chicken Breasts. See recipe here.

1. Lemon Chicken Breasts. See recipe here.

2. Baked Orange Chicken and Brown Rice. See recipe here.

2. Baked Orange Chicken and Brown Rice. See recipe here.

3. Baja Chicken Bowl. See recipe here.

3. Baja Chicken Bowl. See recipe here.

4. Skinny Cowgirl Chicken Salad. See recipe here.

4. Skinny Cowgirl Chicken Salad. See recipe here.

5. Slow-Cooker Balsamic Chicken. See recipe here.

5. Slow-Cooker Balsamic Chicken. See recipe here.

HEALTH HACK | YOGURT PARFAITS, OLÉ!

Yogurt parfaits are perfect versatile and healthy snacks. They can be the ideal quick morning breakfast, the satisfying mid-day treat or the nighttime sweet-tooth quencher. Yogurt is an excellent source of protein and can be complimented with so many different healthy toppings you will never get bored of it (nuts, granola, fruit, honey, etc.). Get creative and make them ahead of time so that you always have a nutrition-loaded snack ready to eat. Try these 5 yogurt parfait recipes:

1. Low-Calorie Blueberry Yogurt Parfait. See recipe here.

1. Low-Calorie Blueberry Yogurt Parfait. See recipe here.

2. Strawberry Yogurt Parfait. See recipe here.

2. Strawberry Yogurt Parfait. See recipe here.

3. Peanut Butter and Jelly Chia Parfait. See recipe here.

3. Peanut Butter and Jelly Chia Parfait. See recipe here.

4. Cocoa Nibs Breakfast Parfait. See recipe here.

4. Cocoa Nibs Breakfast Parfait. See recipe here.

5. Peaches ‘n Cream Oat & Chia Pudding Parfait. See recipe here.

5. Peaches ‘n Cream Oat & Chia Pudding Parfait. See recipe here.

HEALTH HACK | JULY 4 DESSERTS

Happy (almost) Independence Day! Many things come to mind when you think about July 4th: fireworks, barbecues, pool parties, red-white-and-blue, patriotism, and most importantly...dessert! Allow me to contribute to your celebrations with these 5 healthy, July 4th-themed desserts to try out this holiday: 

1. Fresh berries with maple cream. See recipe here.

1. Fresh berries with maple cream. See recipe here.

2. Paleo Caveman Chocolate Cupcakes. See recipe here.

2. Paleo Caveman Chocolate Cupcakes. See recipe here.

3. Red, White, and Blueberry Ice Cream Pie. See recipe here.

3. Red, White, and Blueberry Ice Cream Pie. See recipe here.

4. Red, White, and Blueberry Vegan Cheesecake. See recipe here.

4. Red, White, and Blueberry Vegan Cheesecake. See recipe here.

5. Fruit and Yogurt Parfait. See recipe here.

5. Fruit and Yogurt Parfait. See recipe here.

FUNCTIONAL FOOD | LET'S TALK ABOUT FRUIT, BABY

Hi, everyone!

Today I want to address a topic I stumble upon and hear way too often: the demonization of fruit!

Fresh fruit is found in nature–you can go out and pick it from a tree if you fancy! Fruit is not only delicious with many textures and tastes but it is also full of goodness: vitamin C, certain B vitamins such as folate and pantothenic acid; and minerals like magnesium, potassium, copper selenium, zinc, manganese and iron, to name just a few.

So why has this wonderful food, that our bodies can use for fuel and nourishment, suddenly become the source of all evil?

Well...when it comes to fad diets and weight-loss gimmicks, there is always a new source of evil, one that can take the blame for all our food problems. First, everything was blamed on fat and poor nutritious avocados and nuts were shunned. Then, the finger was pointed to carbohydrates and people thought that if they even dared to look at a cup of brown rice or a sweet potato they would suddenly bloat into a balloon–unfortunately some people still believe this–and it’s not true!. Now, the spotlight is on sugar. Not just refined sugar–which I can concur offers no nutrition and does much more harm than good–but any source of natural sugar, such as the natural sugar found in fruit, is considered bad. WTF?

So now, instead of eating fruit, people are being encouraged to eat more and more protein: more protein powders, more isolated nutrients, more science lab experiments, more additives with names I cannot pronounce and have no idea how to spell, and less of the natural whole foods found in nature! Did you know that protein-rich foods can also induce insulin secretion? Studies have shown that a quarter pound of beef can raise insulin levels in diabetics as much as a quarter pound of straight sugar. Holy moly!

Anything in excess–even protein–can be turned to sugar in our bodies. And as with anything in excess, if it is not used as energy it can be stored as fat. I truly believe that foods, including protein, should be consumed in their whole packages. “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts”, they say. It would be silly to think that our bodies metabolize 15 grams of only protein (without the fiber, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and fats it usually comes with when consume from a whole food source) the same way as when consumed in a cup of lentils, or ¼ cup of nuts–the other components and nutrients of the food are there for a reason! Anyway, I’m getting off topic…

Photo by Gina Mehta

Photo by Gina Mehta

Yes, fruits contain sugar we can use as energy but they also contain a whole lot of other good stuff. Some fruits contain antioxidants, which fight free radicals and are anti-inflammatory. They can help reduce the risk of cancer and improve arterial function. Adding berries such as blueberries or strawberries to a meal (1/2-1 cup) can minimize the detrimental effects of high glycemic foods.

“But Gina what about the sugar?”, you say. Ok. Glucose, one of the three simple sugars along with fructose and sucrose, is the brain’s primary source of energy, and it is necessary to carry out regular functions. But “doesn’t fruit contain fructose?”, you ask.

Fruit NATURALLY contain fructose. The key word here being “naturally”. No one added anything to it. It was “born” and grew this way! This fructose is metabolized almost completely in the liver where more than 50% of it is converted into glucose (that amazing source of energy our brain and entire cells likes so much better than anything) and it also replenishes glycogen (energy storage) in our liver. And, it does not cause insulin to be released–no insulin spikes; thank you very much!

But that’s not all! Along with fructose, fruit also contains fiber–which also helps to prevent a spike in blood sugar even further–, polyphenols, carotenes, flavonoids vitamins and minerals and is a great source of energy. The problem arises when the fructose in our food does not come from the natural fructose found in fruit, but rather when created in a lab as an isolated additive, or extracted from its whole form. Fructose as a “natural sweetener” has been isolated, stripped of nutrients, and binded with other additives. So, again, it is not the same as the sugar in fruit; the way it is recognized and metabolized in our bodies is completely different. On that note, high fructose corn syrup (aka “Dr. Evil”) is not derived from fruits. It is derived from corn syrup. So as you can see, sometimes all these scientific food experiments, that might have been a good idea at one point, can take a nasty, non-nutritious turn. Just because we are used to eating a certain way it does not mean it is the right way.

You still don’t believe me? In a study conducted with people with type 2 diabetes, participants were divided into two groups: One group was told to reduce their fruit intake and have no more that 2 pieces of fruit a day, whereas the other group was told to increase their fruit consumption and have at least 2 pieces of fruit a day. Results showed that the group that reduced their fruit intake had no effect on the control of their diabetes nor their weight.

So while keeping your blood sugar balanced is extremely important, this can easily be achieved by avoiding refined sugar and refined foods. If you want something sweet, reach for an apple or banana–or whatever fruit you like–before you reach for a brownie or a cupcake. Fruit does not have to be excluded or uninvited from your food plate party!

Lastly, I’ll leave you with one question. Next time you grab a snack, ask yourself what makes more sense: to pick up something that grew from this earth, with all the minerals from the soil and water, with sunlight (!); or would you rather pick something that was made in a lab and was put together in a factory from “nutrients” and then packaged all together in a pretty (but usually plastic) box?

(Hint: grab a piece of fruit and some nuts or seeds and your bellies will thank you ;)


Every couple of weeks, I will be posting nutrition and wellness advice, recipes, and interesting findings worth sharing with all of you. I know that we all have different interests and needs so I will try to cover different topics with every post. I would love to read your feedback so I encourage you to share your thoughts and/or questions in the comments section below.

If you would like to know more about me, please visit my website Alimental G.

Gina-Mehta-Alimental-G-Functional-Nutrition

HEALTH HACK | SALMON DINNER RECIPES

Salmon is a hallmark food item for many health conscious eaters.  Few foods have as much of a nutritional punch than salmon--this fish is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids (which can decrease inflammation, regulate blood pressure, and benefit overall heart health) and is rich in protein and vitamin D. To help you get more of this super fish in your diet, check out these 5 easy, delicious and nutritious salmon dinner recipes: 

1. Smoked Salmon & Avocado Hand Rolls. See recipe here.

1. Smoked Salmon & Avocado Hand Rolls. See recipe here.

2. Salmon Tacos With Cabbage Slaw. See recipe here.

2. Salmon Tacos With Cabbage Slaw. See recipe here.

3. Roasted Salmon With Pesto Vegetables. See recipe here.

3. Roasted Salmon With Pesto Vegetables. See recipe here.

4. Salmon Salad With Vinaigrette. See recipe here.

4. Salmon Salad With Vinaigrette. See recipe here.

5. Salmon With Sautéed Tomatoes. See recipe here.

5. Salmon With Sautéed Tomatoes. See recipe here.

TRAINER SPOTLIGHT | Marggie

How did you find Lagree Fitness and why does it resonate with you?

My coworker told me that if I liked Pilates I would love Lagree. She convinced me to go with her and check it out. I fell in love with Lagree that night. I signed up for a membership and went back the next day. I became super passionate about Lagree and knew I wanted to teach it almost immediately.

Lagree gave me back my pre-baby body, relieved stress, and made me feel more confident. (Not easy to come by as a new mom!).

How would you describe your teaching style?

I'm a passionate instructor who wants everyone in the room to experience Lagree as I know it (it's life changing). I want you to experience the moves the way I do (the more efficiently you do the moves the more effectively you will change).

I understand sometimes taking a break and taking a sip of water; the workouts are challenging. But it's about getting back into a move ASAP to maximize your results. I love to remind people to smile and to be proud of the hard work they are putting in.  Love is the key, and I want clients to find love for themselves and their bodies.

What's your favorite post workout nosh?

I tend to juice as often as possible but It can become tedious. My easiest go to is...a handful of kale, grapes and a squeeze of lemon. Simple and delicious.

If you were to give one workout tip to your clients, what would it be?

Be kind to yourself... Comparison is the thief of joy.  Sometimes we look around the room and don't think we are doing a good enough job.  Everyone was once new and started right where you are.  Be patient, the moves will come.  Be kind, your mind deserves it.  Be proud, you're already amazing.

Marggie teaches in our Glendale and Montrose locations.  Find her schedule here

HEALTH HACK | SUMMER BBQ

With summer officially a couple days away, its time to break out the seasonal staple--the grill. Cooking outdoors can be an easy, fun way to enjoy summertime--whether it be for a weeknight dinner or a Sunday Funday BBQ party with friends. Get inspired to fire up the grill and cook outdoors with these festive and healthy recipes:

1. Pork and Veggie Skewers. See recipe here.

1. Pork and Veggie Skewers. See recipe here.

2. Shrimp burgers. See recipe here.

2. Shrimp burgers. See recipe here.

3. Grilled Vegetables with Romesco Sauce. See recipe here.

3. Grilled Vegetables with Romesco Sauce. See recipe here.

4. Tangy Coleslaw. See recipe here.

4. Tangy Coleslaw. See recipe here.

5. Grilled Watermelon with Balsamic Dressing. See recipe here. 

5. Grilled Watermelon with Balsamic Dressing. See recipe here

HEALTH HACKS | MEAL PREP TIPS

Meal prepping is one of the best ways to ensure you are eating a healthy, nutritious diet even when you have a demanding schedule. Preparation is the ultimate key to weight loss and fitness--making your food in advance so that you have an easy meal later can save you from giving into guilt-ridden bad takeout. Stocking your fridge with healthy options means less impulsive calories throughout the week and time saved from cooking many separate meals every day! See 5 tips for meal prepping here:

1. Schedule. Plan one day of the week when you will do your cooking (Sunday tends to work best for most people).

1. Schedule. Plan one day of the week when you will do your cooking (Sunday tends to work best for most people).

2. Freezer Friendly. Incorporate food that is better suited to freezing and reheating.

2. Freezer Friendly. Incorporate food that is better suited to freezing and reheating.

3. Overlap. Use recipes with ingredients that overlap to maximum efficiency.

3. Overlap. Use recipes with ingredients that overlap to maximum efficiency.

4. 1+1+1. Keep in mind the rule of 3:  one protein, one starchy carb, and one produce per meal!

4. 1+1+1. Keep in mind the rule of 3:  one protein, one starchy carb, and one produce per meal!

5. Sauce Boss. With different sauces and a little creativity, you can transform the same food into various tasty meals.

5. Sauce Boss. With different sauces and a little creativity, you can transform the same food into various tasty meals.