Turkey Taco Bake 

The recipe below makes TWO 9×13 dishes because one serving is 1/4 of the pan. Say what!?!? I made this “mini prep” and since being a parent means I have to feed all these children 😉 I made 2 pans worth so they could enjoy too. Thumbs up all around BUT, I thought is was pretty bland. Next time I may use a pre-packaged taco seasoning pack and add more jalapenos and hot sauce.  This recipe does freeze well.

INGREDIENTS:

▪️2 cups uncooked Brown Rice

▪️2 Yellow Onions, chopped

▪️6 Cloves of Garlic, minced

▪️2 Jalapeños, chopped

▪️48oz (3 pkgs.) Lean or Extra Lean Ground Turkey

▪️2 Bell Peppers (any color), chopped

▪️3 Limes – Squeezed for fresh juice

▪️4 Tbsp. Chili Powder

▪️2 tsp. Oregano

▪️1 tsp. Thyme

▪️Hot Sauce to taste (you’re gonna want to use this if you like a little kick)

▪️2 cups Shredded Mexican Four Cheese

▪️2 – 15oz cans of Tomato Sauce (no added sodium)

DIRECTIONS:

1️⃣Cook Brown Rice according to box instructions and set aside.

2️⃣Let’s get everything chopped, minced and juiced so it’s ready to go! Chop/Mince onions, garlic and jalapeño and set aside in same bowl. Chop peppers and set aside in same bowl. Juice limes and set aside.

3️⃣Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray two 9×13 baking dishes with cooking spray.

4️⃣In a large pot set to medium/high heat, sauté Onion, Garlic and Jalapeños until onion becomes translucent, about 5 minutes.

5️⃣Add ground turkey to the pot and cook for 5 minutes. Add peppers and continue to cook until the turkey is no longer pink.

6️⃣Drain turkey mixture and return to the pot. Add lime juice and seasonings stirring to combine. Then add tomato sauce, 1/2 cup of cheese and hot sauce (if using), stirring well.

7️⃣Split the turkey mixture into the two baking dishes and top both with the remaining cheese. Cover each dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes.

8️⃣Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes or until cheese is completely melted and the edges are bubbling. Let it cool 10 minutes before serving.

ENJOY!

 

MACROS for my exact ingredients…

46g Protein

29.5g Carbs

14.4g Fat

439 Calories

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If You’re Struggling with Your Fitness/Health Goals, or Starving, PLEASE READ!

Confused by the image below? I don’t blame you, it’s a little crazy looking; but scroll down and read the information below the image. You’ll be happy you did.

These printouts are from my personal body scan that I do at a local nutrition shop. I’ve been doing these scans since January 10, 2015 at the same location, using the same machine.

On November 12, 2016 (the left image), I discovered that my calorie counting alone was no longer working because I lost 3 pounds of muscle and gained 3% body fat since my previous scan on October 25, 2016. Please Note: Calorie counting is a GREAT way to lose weight and it worked for me for a very long time.

At the discovery of the fat gain and muscle loss, I decided that it was time to start counting my macros (protein, carbs, fat). I have avoided macro counting for a while for two very good reasons…

  1. I was progressing fine with calorie counting alone, losing fat and gaining/maintaining muscle.
  2. I know how tedious macro counting can be and if I didn’t have to, I wasn’t going to. Because sanity matters people. 😉

I calculated my macros for my protein, carbs and fat and since implementing this new lifestyle change a little over a week ago, I have done pretty good at hitting those numbers. Not perfect, but good.

The printout on the right is from today, December 1, 2016. There is less than 3 weeks between the two images and check out those numbers!!

From November 12, 2016 to December 1, 2016 I gained 2.2 pounds (that doesn’t matter and I’ll explain why below*), BUT my body fat percentage went DOWN from 25.2% to 22.1% and my muscle went UP from 74.5 pounds of muscle to 79.6 pounds of muscle.

In less than 3 weeks I put on 5.1 pounds of muscle and dropped my body fat a little over 3%.

*Let’s talk Body Composition. The number on the scale doesn’t tell me how much fat or muscle I have or even how heavy my bones are and how much my organs and blood weighs. And in addition to that, it also doesn’t tell me how hard I work in the gym, how smart I am or what my worth is on this planet. DON’T GIVE THE SCALE SO MUCH POWER! Because I gained muscle and lost fat, my body composition has improved and physically I will appear leaner because although muscle weighs more than fat, it takes up less space. So that increase in the scale doesn’t bother me one bit!

When figuring out what my macros should be, I ended up with an additional 600 calories a day that I could eat. I don’t know anyone who’s on a fitness journey who would hate to hear the words, “Eat More Calories”. I’m sure those words may be scary but it works! And the proof is in the paperwork.

I knew immediately what changes needed to be made in order to correct my muscle loss and fat gain but you may not know what to do. If you’re frustrated and struggling, if you’re hungry and on the verge of quitting all together – DON’T! I can help you. And me helping you doesn’t mean that you have to start counting macros and buy a food scale. Me helping you may just mean that you need an adjustment to your caloric intake. 

Let’s fuel your body with the nutrients it needs and with exercising and patience, you’ll be on your way!

Contact me TODAY!

 

31-day Challenge

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Why am I posting a New Year’s Challenge in November? For one very good reason…

This challenge is for those looking for a Personalized workout plan. That means that I will review your current health and fitness level, daily living and personal activities, equipment availability and your goals to create a custom workout plan designed specifically for you.

Because of this, I need time for you to provide me with all the necessary information so I may create your 31-day workout plan. We have Thanksgiving and Christmas and lives to live between now and January 1st so let’s get a jump on those resolutions and get you ready to change your life in the New Year!

If you can only workout at home and you have zero fitness equipment, that’s ok! If you belong to a big box gym and have all the equipment in the world, great! If you’re male, female, interested in fat loss, striving for muscle gain, or if you just want to be able to bend over and tie your shoes again, whatever it may be, I can help you!

WHAT YOU GET…

– Custom 31-day Workout Plan designed to fit your needs, goals and equipment availability
– Trainer Approved Food List and Nutrition Advice
– Meal Prep Guide
– 50 Healthy Snack Ideas
– Unlimited Support and Guidance throughout the duration of the challenge

Email SarahJonesFitness@gmail.com to join or contact me here!

Meal Prep Monday

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This weeks meal prep looks a bit different but it’s DELICIOUS! It will last quite a while too because I was able to make 22 total meals for the hubs and I PLUS 7 meals for the kids.

Here we have BBQ Sloppy Joe Cups with Brussels Sprouts (recipe link below). Mine look a bit empty because I’m only eating 2 cups per meal (they’re very filling) and Jonesy (the hubs) is having three. He has 1 cup of brussels sprouts and I have 3/4 cup.

After spending $55 on 5 meal preps last week because I was too tired to prep myself, I thought I would tally this one up and see how much each meal costs when I make them myself.

I am including the 7 meals for the kids because those count too, right? I spent $81.04 on everything and that includes the foil muffin cups, the milk, eggs, of which I have extras of all.

$81.04 / 29 total meals = $2.79

Crazy huh!? If you were ever unsure about whether or not meal prepping was worth it or if you could afford it, here’s your proof.

For my serving size (2 BBQ cups & 3/4 cup of Brussels Sprouts) the macros are…

447 Calories
59g Carbs
14g Fat
23g Protein

!!IMPORTANT NOTE!! I make my Sloppy Joe Cups with a sugar free BBQ sauce which I was able to find at my local (healthier) grocery store, Sprouts.

The recipe (for 12 sloppy joe cups) can be found at the link below.

https://sarahjonesfitness.com/2016/05/29/bbq-sloppy-joe-cups/

ENJOY!

Managing Chronic Pain Naturally

If you don’t know by now, I suffer from chronic pain caused by Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Syringomyelia (SM). I am often asked how I manage to do what I do each day while living with two very debilitating and painful diseases. And in addition, how I manage without the aid of medication.

I will first say that each person with MS and SM are very different patients. The way MS attacks one person can, and usually is, completely different from the way it attacks someone else. Same goes with SM and the severity of the syrinx and the speed of progression.

Part of me believes that I am very lucky to feel the way that I do considering everything, and another part of me would like to believe that the mental and physical fight I put up each day is actually helping me feel better.

There are two very important things that I do to help manage my chronic pain – EXERCISE and Reduce STRESS. I’ll also share below a third and fourth option that I don’t personally use/follow to help with chronic pain but ones that I’ve heard have worked wonders for others with chronic pain.

REDUCE STRESS

Try to maintain as much of a stress free life as possible. I know that’s tough in general and even harder when you’re in pain and unable to relax. Stress increases the body’s sensitivity to pain so managing your stress is a natural way to help.

EXERCISE

Another option and one that I’ve followed since 2009, is exercise.

When you exercise you’re boosting your endorphins. Endorphins are brain chemicals that help improve your mood while blocking pain signals. I started working out right after my diagnosis in an effort to make my body as physically strong as possible so if/when something neurological were to happen that I couldn’t control, at least my body would be strong and healthy to fight back in the best way possible.

There are so many benefits to exercise and I believe everyone should incorporate some sort of fitness routine into their life, no matter what. I think that’s obvious since I’m a Personal Trainer and live my life helping others feel healthier, happier and stronger through fitness.

I do not follow/use the next two options below but they may help you naturally manage your chronic pain. I have friends who have had great success with each.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA

I’ve heard really great things about medical marijuana for pain management. Someone very close to me uses medical marijuana for their pain and was able to stop taking all of their pain medication so I think it’s definitely a good option to look into.

THE ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DIET

The Anti-Inflammatory Diet involves eating a lot of veggies and fish, some fruits, limited amounts of dairy and whole grains and very little red meat, flour and sugar. I know many people with MS and chronic pain who follow this diet and have had great success.

Bottom line, this is your journey. Find the path that works best for you and don’t let anyone try to tell you that their way is the best way. We are all different, we all respond differently to medications and natural remedies and we all have the right to choose.

 

Protein

How important is Protein? It’s so important that without it, we could die or become severely malnourished.

All of your enzymes, cell transporters, blood transporters, all your cells scaffolding and structures, 100% of your hair and fingernails, much of your muscle, bone and internal organs and many hormones are mostly protein.

Makes sense now why Protein is so important.

The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for Protein is 0.8g per kg of body weight (0.4g/lb) for the sedentary adult. For strength athletes that number increases to about 1.2-1.7g per kg of body weight(0.5-0.8g/lb) and for endurance athletes the RDA is 1.2-1.4g per kg of body weight (0.5-0.6g/lb).

There are many different factors that play a role in how much protein you should be consuming each day. Some of those factors are…

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Activity Level
  • How many total calories we eat/need
  • Our carbohydrate intake

Finding the right amount of protein to consume can involve a bit of trial and error. The RDA’s provided above are a good starting point. Determine which category you fall under and begin there. I personally consume a little less than 1g of Protein per pound of body weight.

For those who have a plant-based diet (Vegetarian or Vegan), you’ll have to work a little harder to get more protein from a mix of different sources in order to meet your protein needs.

Crockpot Paleo Turkey Meatballs and Garlic Parmesan Zoodles

This weeks meal prep is Crockpot Paleo Turkey Meatballs and Garlic Parmesan Zoodles. This meal is full of flavor and really filling!

I used a recipe from Pinterest to make the meatballs. Link below.

Crockpot Paleo Turkey Meatballs

I saw a video on Facebook of the Garlic Parmesan Zoodles and quickly jotted down the steps so I don’t have a real recipe for that but I’ll share what I did.

 

 

Garlic Parmesan Zoodles

1. Zoodle your Zucchini (I use a spiralizer).

2. Add Ghee (clarified butter) and chopped garlic to a pan set on medium and allow Ghee to melt.

3. Add Zoodles to pan and cook for a few minutes before adding the shredded Parmesan, tossing Zoodles to help melt the Parmesan.

4. Add salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste.

Here’s the problem I had…the Parmesan didn’t melt very pretty and was kind of clumpy. I think next time I’ll prepare the Zoodles the same way but only add the Parmesan once the Zoodles are done. The kick provided by the red pepper flakes was perfect!

I “plated” the food in my meal prep containers sans tomato sauce and additional Parmesan. I’ll only add those two elements when I’m ready to eat, as seen in this photo above.

Lunch. Easy. Healthy. Good. A quick tip…


Lunch. Easy. Healthy. Good. A quick tip (which ended up being a long tip, sorry) for those who are struggling to eat healthy while at home or when you’re in a hurry and starving.

PLAN FOR SUCCESS

I don’t just mean meal prepping but that helps A LOT! I also suggest you have healthy foods that you enjoy in your home at all times. Don’t run out!

I always have tuna, hardboiled eggs, ready-to-eat salad and a light dressing, protein bars, fruit, rice cakes, all natural peanut butter, protein sweets i.e. ice cream & cookies, no sugar added fruit popsicles and Smartfood or SkinnyPop popcorn.

When I meal prep, that’s usually just for dinner so what about breakfast and lunch?

Breakfast is easy! Eggs, egg whites, oats, frittata, protein pancakes, English muffins, fruit, etc. Lunch can be tough for me. I’m usually coming home from the gym and a few errands and have a cranky baby and (during the summer), two older children who would happily agree to any form of fast food. I CAN’T CAVE, I HAVE GOALS!

That’s when the foods I mentioned above and what you see in the photo, come in handy. I make the tuna when I’m not rushed or starving and I make enough to eat for lunch for 2 or 3 days. These can be done with other foods that are your favorite.

When I’m out and about and I know we may be eating dinner later or maybe I’ll get hungry while driving around or end up stopping for ice cream for the kids (that happens a lot), I ALWAYS have a protein bar with me. My healthier option. My favorite, Oh Yeah ONE in Peanut Butter Pie flavor. I HATE protein bars and it took me about 3 years of trying different ones until I found something I could stand.

If you think you can’t do it, if you think you’ll never like healthier options and always feel like you’re suffering for your goals, it does NOT have to be that way. There are ways to conquer your goals without the misery. Trust me.

My children ate Bagel Bites for lunch today. I LOVEEEEE Bagel Bites! But oddly enough, I was not tempted and I enjoyed my healthy lunch. This is a strange feeling for me still which is why I was inspired to write this insanely long post. (Sorry again)

Lastly, if you need help, accountability, or you want to bounce ideas off of someone, I’m happy to help.

Take a picture, it’ll last longer!


“Take a picture, it’ll last longer.”

Remember that saying? Well now I keep that in my memory bank as I progress through my own health and fitness journey.

Even though I’ve been at this fitness thing for many years now, I still have moments of frustration and definitely times where I am completely uncomfortable in my body. And times when the scale is just evil and not posting my desired number.

There are many ways to track your progress and photos are a great way to see how far you’ve come or, to jolt your motivation to make some changes.

Keep them private, take a front, back and side photo every 2-4 weeks and wear the same outfit each time. Actually seeing the change can be much more motivating than losing 15lbs and feeling as though nothing has changed.
For more tracking options for your particular goals, send me a message and I can give you some ideas.

Easy Meal Prep – Turkey Patties with Sauteed Asparagus and Mushrooms

 

Another easy Meal Prep idea for you guys. Here we have Turkey patties with sautéed asparagus and mushrooms. These are His and Hers, mine have the 3 patties (bottom of the photo) and my husband has 5 patties.

I honestly do not go into the grocery store knowing exactly how much of everything I need. I go in thinking, “I need a lot!” This prep made 16 meals and it included everything that you see in the ingredients photo.

Have a question or comment, I’d love to hear it. Let’s Chat!