Pesto Chicken Spaghetti Squash

I have been on such a spaghetti squash kick lately! If you follow me on IG or snap, you’re probably tired of seeing it. No apologies though because it’s SO GOOD.

Eating healthy this time of year is really difficult, because there’s something about colder weather that makes comfort food sound way better/cozier than a salad or chicken and veggies (unless you live in FL like me – it was 80 degrees today lol). It’s also hard because everyone’s throwing Christmas parties and eating Thanksgiving leftovers, and sweets seem to be more abundant than normal. So, if you’re craving a big warm bowl of pasta to cozy up with after work, maybe try swapping it out for spaghetti squash!

Not only is spaghetti squash low-calorie, but it’s gluten-free so if you have any intolerances with pasta, it’s a great alternative! And there are SO many different ways to eat this delicious winter veggie, you could probably eat it every night of the week without getting tired of it. I’ve also learned that it’s great for meal prepping, because one spaghetti squash goes a long way – making it very time AND cost efficient!

Ingredients:

1 spaghetti squash
2 chicken breasts
1 zucchini squash
1 roma tomato
5 tablespoons of basil pesto (separated)
salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder
cheese to top it *optional*

Instructions:

First off, I’ll explain how to cook the squash. I think this is what kept me from trying this vegetable for so long, because I just assumed it was too difficult to cook. Turns out it’s extremely easy!

After heating your oven to 415, cut the squash in half, straight down the middle (long ways, stem to bottom).

Scoop out seeds with a spoon.

Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic (can use minced or powder). Place on a baking sheet, cover with foil, and bake for 45-50 minutes **this will definitely vary depending on the size of the squash; some are tiny, some are huge! use your judgment** You will know it is done when it shreds easily/tenderly when you scrape it with a fork!

While your squash is cooking, you can bake your chicken in a separate dish since the oven is already set to a high temp. **You can also cook it via a different method, this one is easiest/efficient**

Chop your zucchini and tomato into small chunks, and sautee over medium heat, until lightly browned and soft. Add in a little S+P, garlic and onion powder, to taste. After chicken is cooked, dice it up and add it to your pan with the zucchini and tomato. Turn heat down, and add in 2 tablespoons of pesto and stir until combined.

Once your squash is done and ready to shred, shred it completely with a fork (it’ll naturally make noodle-like pieces). Add in 2-3 tablespoons of pesto to the noodles, and stir until the “noodles” are well coated in pesto. You can either do this in a separate pan, or in the squash boats.

Top the “noodles” with the chicken zucchini mixture, either in the squash boats OR in a bowl! Totally up to you how you serve it, because it tastes delicious either way! It is also delicious when topped with a little parmesan or mozzarella cheese!

This is one of MANY different, yummy ways to prepare a spaghetti squash! I hope you love it as much as I do! Drop me a comment if you make it and let me know what you think and if you’d like to see more recipes with spaghetti squash! As always, thanks for reading and have a fabulous day!

XO beth

 

 

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How To Indulge Over The Holidays & NOT Gain A Million Pounds

This may shock you, but… no, there’s no magic pill or drink that can keep you from gaining holiday weight or make the calories disappear, despite what those selling network marketing products might tell you. But there ARE, however, a few tips you can try to help keep you in check a bit to help you maintain health over the holidays. Keep in mind every body is different – for example, my husband can eat seconds, thirds, and two pieces of pie and will probably lose weight and still look like a GQ model, while I will gain five pounds if I even look at a bite of pie. It’s just how our bodies are. You have to do what feels right for you because you know your body best!

Hear me loud and clear when I say these are helpful tips for maintaining BALANCE – not tips to be boring! You have to indulge SOME or you’ll go crazy. #TreatYoSelf am I right?

  1. DON’T starve yourself leading up to the big holiday meal. Not only is this unhealthy for your metabolism, but it will automatically cause you to eat more when you do sit down and eat, and you’ll end up twice as uncomfortable as you normally would! I used to do this EVERY time I knew a big meal was in my foreseeable future, and it’s SO bad for you. It’s okay to eat a lighter breakfast than normal in anticipation, but at least eat SOMETHING. I feel so much better when I’ve had at least a small breakfast so that my body stays on its normal track.
  2. MAKE sure to get enough protein. Men, this probably isn’t as much of an issue for you, but if you’re like me, meat is often not top priority. I’ve decided lately I’m an accidental vegetarian, because I forget to eat meat or if I do eat it, it’s not very appealing to me. Try to include either meat or protein-rich sides so that your meal is somewhat balanced and you don’t over load on carbs! Because let’s face it, you’ve got lots of potatoes, rolls, and pies to eat. It’ll also help fill you up and likely is leaner than perhaps the third roll you’d eat if you hadn’t filled up with some meat on your plate. Get that protein in!
  3. LISTEN to your hunger cues! Are you too full for that second serving of sweet potato casserole, or are you actually still a little hungry? I’m definitely not saying seconds are bad, because y’all know I’m weak AF when it comes to my mom’s sweet potato casserole. Hm I think I just drooled a little just thinking about it. Anyways, just pay attention to how full you get, and if you get full before you try everything you wanted to eat, wait a couple hours and have a snack. Or go for an afternoon walk and get your heart rate up a little, then go back for some more. Chances are, if you wait a bit then reassess, you’ll realize your eyes might have been bigger than your stomach!
  4. SKIP the calorie-dense drinks. Please believe me when I say, I love indulging in wine and beer and all the sugary holiday cocktails. I thoroughly enjoy having a glass, or two, of wine with my in-laws over dinner. BUT these drinks can be sneaky culprits when you have more than one or two over the course of a holiday. And let’s be real, we all feel like drinking a little extra on the holidays when we’re with the people we may not get to celebrate with often. You just have to be careful because before you know it you’ll have consumed 1-2,000 calories in drinks alone in just a couple hours, not even counting the pie!! Maybe that’s a sacrifice you’re willing to make, but if it’s up to me, I will save those calories for dessert thank you! If you need a low-cal cocktail, check out the recipe at the bottom of this post! You CAN have your cake (alcohol) and eat (drink) it too.

ENJOY the food and experiences with family/friends you have while eating it! This is definitely the most important. Don’t let the fear of food/calories ruin your day. Don’t go eat yourself into a diabetic coma either, but please please enjoy the yummy foods and drinks! These are merely tips to help keep you in BALANCE over the holidays, NOT to make you feel pressure or like you must restrict. It’s all about balance 🙂

Happy holidays, babes!!!

XO beth

Cran-Raspberry Vodka Spritzer

There’s no way around calories when it comes to alcohol, because it is naturally calorie dense coming in at 9 kcal/gram, but there are plenty of ways to lighten up the other parts of your drink IF you’re not just having beer or wine! This one is super light and refreshing, and really easy to make! (Even hubby likes it! I used mint from our garden :))

1 shot of vodka (or more if you’re feelin’ fresh)
1 can Cran-Raspberry La Croix sparkling water (ZERO calories holla!)
juice of half a lime
a few mint leaves + a sprig of mint for garnish

Serve over ice and enjoy!

Cacao Peanut Butter Energy Balls

You guys… these cacao PB energy balls are the BOMB.COM. Is that still a thing? Bomb.com? Anyways, they’re so good so I’m excited to share the recipe!

I’ve been slacking on creating recipes lately, but finally had some free time this week to play around in the kitchen. This was inspired by my intense stress/PMS chocolate cravings I had lately *nervous laugh* because OMG it’s been bad. I am trying to stay on track but have had several days where I just HAVE to have something sweet. So I decided to try and come up with a new sweet treat that at least has some goods in there for ya too.

Overall, these are pretty clean since the only added sugar is in the mini chocolate chips (or whatever mix-ins you choose) and the applesauce but only because I accidentally got regular instead of unsweetened. Try and go with a natural peanut butter, as it has fewer ingredients than even the low-fat PBs. Honey is also optional, I just added a tiny bit for taste.

Cacao Peanut Butter Energy Balls

1 cup old fashioned oats, blended in processor for about 20 seconds (could also use quick oats)
1/4 cup natural peanut butter
2 tbsp cacao powder (can sub with cocoa powder)
1/3 cup applesauce (preferably unsweetened unless you’re like me and don’t pay attention lol but either works)
1 tbsp natural honey
2 tbsp mini chocolate chips (can use any mix-ins you want! raisins, nuts, etc.)

Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl, until completely combined. Let sit in freezer for 20-30 minutes, then roll into balls. Store in airtight container in the refrigerator. Enjoy!

Please let me know if you try these and what you think! Hope you have the best day. Be kind to someone today!

XO beth

Blueberry Cacao Smoothie

It is HOT out there, so I have the perfect, refreshing smoothie for you!

I came in from walking the beach today dripping sweat, and all I wanted was a cold drink but I also needed some fuel. So I made a smoothie and it was heavenly.

I’ve been on a major smoothie kick lately, probably because it feels like it’s 10000 degrees in FL right now. Fall where you at?! But I’ve been trying to change up my smoothie game a bit so this one was definitely a winner. I used to only do PB banana protein smoothies everyday, but I needed something more berry-y, ya feel?

Here it is:

1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1/4 cup frozen strawberries (optional – they add a little flavor)
1 tbsp cacao powder
1 scoop chocolate protein powder
1/2 tbsp natural peanut butter (or nut butter of choice)
1/2 cup almond milk (or milk of choice; more or less depending how thick you prefer)
1 stevia packet

Blend until smooth and amazing. Enjoy!

Full of protein, antioxidants, and all kinds of goods. 🙂 Also good topped with granola, coconut flakes, or chia seeds!

Happy Sunday xox

Beth

My Review of “What the Health”

*actual picture of the eggs I ate last night ^

I’m sure you’ve heard by now all the rave about the latest documentary on Netflix called “What the Health.” I certainly have, and was shocked at the response and number of people claiming they needed to instantly change their whole diet based solely on this documentary. So I immediately decided I needed to watch it and form my own opinions on it.

If you haven’t heard about it or seen it yet, this documentary looks at the link between our diets (mostly meat and dairy) and major diseases they can potentially cause. It is clearly produced by people pushing the vegan agenda, and it also completely discredits several major health organizations (like the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, etc.).

I will start by saying this: I do acknowledge and appreciate that the health of our nation is being discussed. We are certainly experiencing an obesity epidemic in this country, and it should be brought to light how to prevent it further. The majority of people need to start understanding how the type/amount of foods they are consuming is affecting their overall health. However, the way this film goes about it is not so much informative as it is simply one giant scare tactic with little valid research to back it.

One of the biggest red flags to me was that, throughout the whole 1.5-hour-long film, they interviewed only TWO Registered Dietitians, and one of those two only spoke for about a whole 20 seconds. The rest were mostly doctors who simply stated their opinions without backing it with hard scientific evidence. AND, at the end of the film, several of the doctors even admitted that doctors hardly get ANY nutritional education and know little about how diet affects the body… so then why are we taking everything they are pushing on us without questioning their research or validity?!

Here are my main points I wrote down while watching it that I want to share:

YES processed meat is not the type of meat you should be consuming for the majority of your meat choices… NO meat will not give you cancer, as long as you are choosing the right kinds! (Lean meats that are organically raised/fed are best, but this is not always realistic. It isn’t the meat that’s harmful, but the chemicals/antibiotics that are sometimes put in them.) I personally am not the biggest fan of meat but only because it’s a preference thing – I do still try to eat a serving of lean meat at least a few times a week.

YES a vegan/plant-based diet CAN work for people! Don’t get me wrong, I find nothing wrong with a plant-only diet, if you have your reasons for doing so. You can still get all the macro- and micronutrients needed from plants if you follow it correctly. But if you choose to do so because this video scared you into thinking meat of any kind at all is going to kill you? NOT a good reason. You do not have to rely on a plant-based diet to avoid disease. People on a plant-based diet can still get sick, just like people on animal-based diets can. Every body is different and handles food in its own way.

NO sugar alone does not cause diabetes… the main contributors to diabetes are genetics, lack of physical activity, and high energy (calorie) intake. So yes, a diet full of sugar is often associated with a high energy diet. Don’t let the wording of that whole diabetes conversation confuse you. And no, eating plants will probably not reverse your diabetes in a week or two like they imply. Food can certainly be the best medication in many circumstances, but it’s very complex and disease-dependent.

NO eating one egg a day is NOT equivalent to smoking five cigarettes a day!!! This one really pissed me off, to be honest. If eggs were as bad as smoking five cigarettes a day, I’d probably be dead or have cancer by now. It is also not equivalent to a whole egg McMuffin.

YES eggs have cholesterol in their yolks! NO it is not going to kill you as long as you’re eating them moderately, and yolks also have nutrients not found in the whites of the egg.

YES diets high in red meat (*note I said HIGH in red meat, not just eating a serving. A small amount in the diet won’t hurt you*) can be a risk factor for cancer… BUT this film claims that even lean chicken can cause cancer! Um, last time I checked chicken isn’t red meat so bye.

YES you can consume dairy and NOT DIE!!!! Let’s think about this… if dairy is terrible for us, then WHY IS IT A WHOLE FOOD GROUP?! Yes you should choose low/non fat options and yes you should not eat it in excess… but to go to the extent of saying that even babies don’t need milk? A bit excessive if you ask me. And if you’re reading this then I assume you pretty much asked me, so you can’t get mad at my somewhat sassy opinions. 🙂

YES you should try to avoid constant medications IF possible, but some people simply need them based on their conditions. So yes, the pharma industry is huge and all about the money, but some people can’t simply be healed by eating plants. If it were that easy then this would all be a different story.

YES some of the sponsors of these organizations do happen to have a conflict of interest, and I do find that odd and slightly off-putting. But at least the organization is there and is making the effort to do something about the issue. Before completely discrediting them, you should make sure your research is accurate.

Overall, I would not recommend this documentary to someone because it is so one-sided and misinformed that it is completely misleading people. My advice? Find what works for YOUR body, based on YOUR specific needs, and focus on a balanced, varied diet consisting of REAL whole foods, while also making healthy lifestyle choices. If you want to lose weight and trim fat? Energy in must be less than energy out… AKA eat less and/or workout more. Adequate amounts of protein, fat, and carbohydrate are key. Don’t buy into everything you hear, unless you know they are a valid resource back by scientific evidence.

Thank you for reading! If you disagree with my opinions, please know that I respect that and don’t mean to offend ANYONE! I simply want people to be informed of misleading information so that they know to make the best choices for their body/wellbeing 🙂

If you ever have questions about nutritional information, feel free to comment or email me!

XO beth

 

 

My Pet Peeve in the Health World

Hi! I know I kind of vented / voiced my opinions in my previous post, butttt… I’m about to do that again!

**Like I said before, I only go on rants if I actually feel they’re valid rants 😉

Let’s talk about my BIGGEST pet peeve in the health world.

The health world has become a world everyone and their mom wants to be a part of – which is fabulous! I love that so many people are hopping on the healthy train (or “healthy” train, if you know what I mean)! Obesity is getting out of control in our country, so it makes my nutrition-loving heart HAPPY to see so many people/restaurants/companies trying to watch calories/ingredients and whatnot.

BUT… (here comes the but).

NOT EVERYONE IS A TRUE NUTRITION PROFESSIONAL! I repeat – not EVERYONE is a nutrition professional!!!! So WHY are you listening to anyone and everyone on the internet?!

Here’s the deal. Anyone can go on the internet, find some ish on nutrition, do a little research, and BAM they can become a self-proclaimed “nutritionist.” ANYONE can do this! They could have NO idea what the difference is between a carbohydrate and an amino acid, and still try and tell you what/how to eat! To me, that is terrifying.

On the other hand, you have people (like yours truly) who spent four YEARS of intense studying, hard work, and hard @$$ chem tests to earn a degree in nutrition and actually know exactly what they’re talking about! Especially those people who go on to earn their RD (registered dietitian) after their degree. We didn’t go through all of those brutal chem labs and case studies for nothing, y’all.

So how do you know who to trust with your nutrition information?! Check their credentials FIRST thing. You should primarily listen to those who have their RD, this means they have done their internship and passed their RD test, and have extensive knowledge in food and nutrition, and are great if you’re seeking nutrition counseling! At the very least, find someone who has a degree in the area. And if they’re not an RD, check to see what other nutrition background they may have!

While I think it’s amazing how many bloggers out there are eating healthy and getting into great shape, many are not qualified in nutrition counseling. I get so frustrated when I see unqualified people trying to push THEIR diet plans (not recipes – but actual diet plans) on people who it may not work for or be good for! I am not bashing anyone for promoting their healthy lifestyle – some of these people DO have the qualifications! But before incorporating it into your own life, check their credentials and whether it would be a good HEALTHY fit for your body. Everyone’s body is different – and chances are your BMR is different, your activity level is different, your intolerances are different, than that of the random website you’re reading. Check your facts people! One of my all time favorite bloggers, Rachlmansfield.com, is a wonderful example of all this, because every time she promotes a healthy product or way of eating, she clearly states that she is a food blogger not a dietitian and that what she’s promoting is simply what’s good for her. And I love that!! Go Rachel! (She will probably never see this but I’m a huge fan- go check her out for amazing recipes).

I feel like I say this a lot but I really REALLY don’t mean to sound preachy – just feel like I’d be failing as a member of the dietetics world if I didn’t warn you guys, my dear followers, of this because I have seen it SO much lately!

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask!

xo beth

Pictured is Pesto Chicken Zoodles – one of my fav dinners lately. Recipe below!

I made this for 1 since it’s just me right now, so you can adjust the recipe for however many people you’re prepping for.

1 boneless skinless chicken breast
1 whole zucchini, spiralized
1/4 cup pesto

Bake chicken or cook in crockpot. I cooked mine in the crockpot with a little bit of pesto, pepper, and garlic powder (low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours, depending how much chicken). After zucchini is spiralized, transfer to skillet and sautee with the remaining pesto, about 3 – 4 minutes. Serve chicken over the zucchini noodles, and add a bit of extra pesto if needed. Parmesan would be great as a topping! Enjoy!

3 Ingredient Peanut Butter Dip

Hi friends! Hope you’re all having a lovely hump day 🙂

I’m praying for all you peeps in the middle of a blizzard – hope you’re stocked on bread and wine! I’m not gonna lie, it dropped to the 40s this morning here, and I thought I was going to freeze to death. Florida has officially ruined me. Anything below 70 feels like torture now! Eeek.

Anyways, today I threw together something yummy and wanted to share with you all. I came home from running errands and felt a little light headed and realized I hadn’t had any protein today! Yikes. Get it together Beth. So I looked in my fridge and found some plain low-fat Greek yogurt and some apples. Then I decided to make up a dip with the Greek yogurt.

One of my FAV go-to snacks is an apple and PB. So I mixed some PB into the Greek yogurt, along with a little honey, and BOOM. Yum city, trick. High in protein (about 14 grams for the whole bowl!), also high in taste 🙂

Here’s the recipe:

1/2 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon natural peanut butter
1 teaspoon honey (can use 2 tsp if not sweet enough)

Mix all ingredients together until fully mixed. Great for dipping fruit in! Enjoy!
*This yields about 2-3 servings, so you can definitely throw it in the fridge and save some for later!

Nutrient breakdown for WHOLE bowl of dip (keep in mind it makes more than 1 serving):
Calories – 265
Protein – 14 g
Carb – 26 g
Sugars – 21 g
Fat – 7 g (this fat is only from the PB, so it is healthy fats! BUT be mindful when choosing peanut butter; go for natural rather than reduced fat, and look at the ingredients. You want one with minimal ingredients!)

Hope y’all like! Happy Nutrition Month!! Thanks for reading.

XO beth

Egg White Breakfast Muffins

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Hey y’all! I have been spending a lot of time in the kitchen lately, experimenting with healthy recipes and meal prepping! Now that operation honeymoon bod has commenced, I’m trying to take my meal prepping to the next level. Not that I don’t normally eat well regardless of upcoming tropical vacations, but I’m beyond motivated.

And we all know abs are made in the kitchen! Therefore, having healthy meals and snacks on hand helps avoid the temptation of less healthy options 🙂

Now don’t get me wrong… I still give in to those temptations here and there. But being on Team A to Z (the fitness team I joined in Nov. and have loved ever since) the last couple months has really helped keep me accountable and more motivated than ever! **if you have any questions about fitness/nutrition coaching by my trainer please let me know!**

So, I am a huge breakfast person. If I were to have to eat ONE meal for the rest of my life, I’d pick breakfast every single time. And now that I’m increasing my workouts, it’s really important to get plenty of protein! Enter these egg white breakfast muffins! They’re packed with protein and nutrients from the veggies and are so easy to grab on the go when you’re rushing out the door in the morning! Or as a post workout snack! Plus they can be super versatile – if you don’t like the veggies I put in mine, experiment and use ones you love! An easy way to add more protein/calories would be to line the muffin cups with a piece of ham!! I chose not to, but this is a great addition!

Egg White Breakfast Muffins
(Yields about 6 muffins)

1.5 – 2 cups egg whites
1 bell pepper
1/2 an onion
2 cups spinach (use as much or as little as you want honestly)
dash of garlic powder
dash of black pepper
shredded cheddar cheese, if needed (I left a couple of mine without cheese for myself but I like to add a little cheese to my hubby’s!)

Preheat oven to 375. Dice up your bell pepper and your onion. Cook the diced peppers and onions on a skillet until they’re tender and slightly browned; about 5 minutes. While that’s cooking, separate your egg whites if not using from a carton, add in the seasonings and stir, and pour into muffin cups. *If lining with ham, do that before pouring egg whites in! Roughly chop your spinach. Sprinkle a handful of peppers and onions into each muffin. Sprinkle in spinach. Top with cheese, if using. Bake at 375 for about 25 minutes, or until eggs are cooked! Enjoy!

Hope your Saturday is as awesome as you are!

XO beth

Sweet Potatoes: My Spirit Veggie

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Hi y’all! I hope this post finds you well! I’m so excited that it’s December (although a little confused how time flew so fast)! I absolutely love Christmas time. I’m pretty sure I’m like 3/4 elf.

The other fourth of me that isn’t elf is probably just sweet potato. Ask my husband – I am obsessed and eat them at least once a day. (Watch- I’ll get sick of them in a month from burning myself out).

I’ve gotten lots of questions about how I cook my sweet potatoes — if you follow me on Instagram (@bethtayreas) or Snapchat (bethtayrich) then you’ve definitely seen me post lots of sweet potatoes with my meals. The last person who asked how I make them is when I realized I’ve never put it on the blog!

So, while there are about 1,000,000 ways you can prepare the sweet potato, here are my two favorite ways! PS- these are the easiest recipes ever! Whether you cook or not, you can do this 🙂

Diced Skillet Sweet Potatoes:

Chop the ends off of your sweet potato, and cut it into coins. Then cut those coins into little squares. You can make your little squares as large or small as you want – all preference. Heat a skillet on medium-high heat and add just a touch of EV olive oil (I barely use any, because of the meal plan I’m currently on. You may use up to 2-3 tbsp if you want.) Add the diced up potato to the skillet and stir around until all pieces are coated somewhat. Sprinkle them with garlic powder, onion powder, and pepper. I skip the salt, but again, preference! Sautee until they’re crispy on the outside but soft on the inside! Probably 10-15 minutes. Hint: poke the thickest one with a fork to see if they’re done. If your potato is larger or you are in a hurry, a trick is microwaving it a minute or two before cutting it up.

Enjoy! I love eating these with eggs in the morning, or as a side for lunch or dinner!

Baked Sweet Potato Wedges:

Pre-heat your oven to 415. Chop the ends off the potato and cut in half (like you’re cutting into two large coins). Then turn each piece on its end and cut long ways into fry-like pieces (or wedges…obvi). You can make your wedges as thick or thin as you want. Toss them in a little olive oil, then place them on a baking sheet evenly spread out. Sprinkle with garlic powder, onion powder, and pepper. Bake at 415 for 15-20 minutes (until soft all the way through). Enjoy! Great with ketchup if you’re into that 😉

Hope you guys like these! Thanks for reading, hope you’re having the best day!

XO beth