5 Time Saving Tips for a Fitter You

You  know you should be exercising daily, but you don’t always do it. You know you should eat mindfully, but you don’t always do it. You know you should prepare more home cooked meals, but you don’t always do it.  Am I right? Resistence keeps you from being consistent. What is resistence? You might recognize better if I call it: instant gratification, pride, self-deception, fear, laziness, indecision, or procrastination.

Consistency is responsible for enabling me to reduce my fit age. Remember this quote?

If you are persistent you will get it, if you are consistent you will keep it. ~unknown

In my last post entitled How to Reduce Your Fit Age :Consistency Wins, I named 6 strategies that have helped put a dent in resistence and have enabled me to stay on course with exercise and eating right. As promised,  I ‘m sharing them with you, starting with my  personal favorite time saving tip at the end of this post with a warning: it’s not for everyone. But before I get to that, here’s how  my registered dietitian friends and fellow bloggers manage to get it done in less time:

1. Cook once, eat twice.  Regan Miller Jones, RD offers this advice, “having a plan in mind every time I cook for what I will do with the leftovers, beyond just eating them as “leftovers.” Ideas like turning roast beef  into beef quesadillas the next night; roasting veggies as a side dish one night and making them into a roasted veggie pasta dish the next night. It cuts down on cooking and adds the variety that keeps me and my family from feeling like we’re constantly eating leftovers.”

2. One Dish Meals. Toss everything together in one pan for less fuss, and easy clean up. Kelli Shallal, RD of HungryHobby.net <rel=”nofollow”/a>has started a series on her blog featuring this very concept.  Try her 3 Ingredient Creamy  Shrimp Stir Fry  The foodie dietitian, Kara Lydon, RD , show’s you how to make a  one dish vegetarian meal that’s also gluten free : 5 Ingredient Healthy Kale and Quinoa Bowl. 

3. Menu Planning. Plan meals for the week, and write grocery list from the menu plan. This is the number one time saving tip of Jessica Levinson, RD of Nutrioulious. Here’s what she says, “I take some time every weekend to put together my menu for the week, including what I’ll be packing my girls for lunch. I write my grocery list based on the menu plan, which saves me time at the supermarket, and if I have the time on Sundays I do some of the meal prep for the week.” Check out Jessica’s Menu Plan Monday archives here .

4. Take advantage of the salad bar. A great strategy that is NOT overlooked  by Robin Plotkin, RD,. Robin says, “I utilize the salad bar A LOT when it comes to fast lunches and dinners. There are so many protein and whole grain choices on salad bars now that it’s simple to make a healthful, tasty and cost effective meal at the salad bar! Check out here recipe : for a salmon salad using leftover salmon and raw veggies from the salad bar .

5. Batch task. Take small similar tasks and do them together. I don’t think I know anyone more skilled at knocking out a weeks worth of meals on the weekend than, than Lindsay Livingston, RD,  aka The Lean Green Bean.  If you haven’t seen her meal prep for the entire week (that she accomplishes in  about one hour forty minutes) you need to check it out here. Batch tasking can be applied to other areas outside of the kitchen, and here lies my personal favorite.  I like to run, but got tired of having to take my dogs for a walk afterwards. Solution, combine the tasks by running with  Brody and Skylor.  It’s not for everyone or for every breed of dog, but labs handle distance running and I don’t mind the company.

I hope  you found some ways to get it done in less time so you have time to take care of yourself. You might even manage to reduce your fit age! Please share your time saving tips in the comments below. Thank you and have a great day!

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Turkey Taco Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Pack in 21 grams of high quality protein with only 250 calories in this turkey taco stuffed spaghetti squash.

Growing older isn’t for sissies. You’ve heard that before, but here’s my proof-> the older I get, the fewer calories I need, but my requirement for protein and other  important nutrients is the same or more. LIFE IS NOT FAIR!!!  No worries, I know how to  level the playing field  with nutrient rich foods. Today I’m sharing one. It’s  my creative take on the taco, in response to this month’s  Recipe Redux theme : Taco Tuesday.

Did you know that the typical taco has about 150 calories? Doesn’t sound like much, right?  But I need to eat four if I’m going to reach my goal of consuming 20-25 grams of protein per meal (the  typical taco  has only 6 grams of protein). Here’s why I’m passionate about protein->More than any other single factor, muscle loss is responsible for the frailty and diminished vitality we associate with old age. It’s not your age!

So instead of four tacos, here’s what I’m eating on Taco Tuesday…
Each serving of Turkey Taco Stuffed Spaghetti Squash  is only 250 calories, and provides 21 grams of protein! It not only packs in protein, it’s  also provides 30% the Daily Value of Vitamin A; 20% the Daily Value of Calium and 8% the Daily Value of Iron.

Now don’t get me wrong, protein isn’t just for those of us past our prime. There are lot’s of  reasons you should be concerned about muscle maintenance.  

You might even reduce your fit age! Be sure to check out all the links at the bottom of this post to see how my Recipe Redux colleagues are taking on the Taco Tuesday challenge!


Turkey Taco Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

by Diane Boyd

Ingredients (serves 8)

  • 2 spaghetti squash (about 1.5 pounds each)
  • 6 ounces Cheddar Jack Cheese, divided
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 teaspoons olive oil,divided
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1 cup diced tomato
  • 2 cups shredded lettuce


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Cut each spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds, discard. Place squash halves cut sides up on baking sheet. Bake for 50 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes. Using a fork, scrape inside of squash to remove spaghetti like strands. Place strands in on a clean dish bowl and squeeze out liquid until barely moist. Add olive oil, salt and 4 ounces cheddar cheese. Stir to combine.

3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add remaining 2 teaspoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add turkey to pan. Cook stirring to crumble and until browned. Remove any liquid. Add chili powder, cumin, and salsa. Stir to combine. Remove from heat.

4. Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees.

5. Spoon turkey /salsa mixture evenly into the bottom of each squash half. Top evenly with squash/cheese mixture. Bake at 425 for 20 minutes.

6. Top squash with remaining cheddar cheese. Place under broiler for 1 to 2 minutes or until cheese is golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to stand 10 minutes. Serve with diced tomato and shredded lettuce.

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How to Reduce Your Fit Age: Consistency Wins!

This quote exemplifies why I believe I was able  to reduce my fit age by 25 years.  It also underscores the superiority of lifestyle over diets, and   it reminds me that the struggle of a healthy lifestyle is daily.

Contrary to what some believe, I don’t jump out of bed everyday eager to pound the pavement. Honestly, I  face resistance everyday to skip training sessions, eat impulsively rather than mindfully, and rationalize why I’m simply too busy to take the time. How then,  do I manage to beat resistance? First of all, I acknowledge that I never fully defeat it, I just manage to put a dent in it.   It’s  a daily battle for all of us. No one escapes this struggle. No one.

Over the next several months, in addition to delicious recipes to keep you energized and fuel fitness,  I will share the  strategies that have helped keep me consistent  and  allowed me to reduce my fit age. They include:

Periodization of Training

Increasing Utility of Training (aka getting it done is less time)

Skipping the Gym for a Home Workout

Time Saving Tips

Trying something New

Staying  Busy

Resistance is relentless. But if you get into the habit of beating up on it, your healthy habits and lifestyle will prevail and you may even reduce your fit age. I hope I can influence you with postive strategies and  insights so you can be the healthiest version of you!

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10 Produce Inspired Recipes

Disclosure: I received a Produce Box, mentioned in this post, free of charge. I was not compensated financially for writing this post. Opinions are my own.

Have you ever wonder where your food comes from? Have you ever wondered if you’re supporting local farmers when you purchase at the grocery store or on-line? Have you ever  wanted to get to the Farmers’ Market , but just couldn’t find the time? Ten years ago, these were  the very thoughts of Raleigh native, and stay at home mom, Courtney Tellefsen. Contemplation turned into action; Courtney sent a few e-mails, made a few phone calls and soon she and her kiddos were delivering fruits and veggies to their friends and neighbors. Yep, that’s the start-up story behind the Produce Box, aka the business that delivers the farmers’ market to your door and now supports 70 farmers and 90 artisan businesses across North Carolina.  Congratulations are in order for ten years of delivering boxes like these… 

To celebrate, I’m sharing 10 Plant Based Recipes. Get on the fruit and vegetable bandwagon  and join the Produce Box.

  1. Salad Nicoise
  2. Berry Good Salad
  3. TPB Kale and Citrus Salad
  4. Crispy Kale Chips with Cheddar
  5. Turnip Mashed Potatoes
  6. Cod, Pasta & Zoodles with lemon Pesto
  7. Spaghetti Squash with Roasted Tomatoes and Pecorino
  8. Peachy Grilled Zucchini Caprese Stacks
  9. Paprika Sweet Potato Fries
  10. Cast Iron Skillet Radishes with Brown Butter
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Soup Your way to a Healthy Weight

Progresso™ Hearty Chicken & Rotini Soup pairs well with the seasonal ingredients in this Maple Harvest Salad. Disclosure: This post is sponsored by ReganMillerJones Inc. and the General Mills Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition on behalf of Progresso™ . I received free samples of the soup mention in the post and I was compensated for my time. Opinions are my own.

If you read my  first post of the New Year, How Fit Are You?, I discussed a study that caught my attention and demonstrates  how lifestyle affects biological age.  As promised, I want to share personal  strategies that have help me manage a healthy weight and have allowed me to reduce my fit age by 25 years.

It’s no secret,  I eat what’s in-season.   February just happens to be soup season. In my humble opinion, there’s nothing better than homemade soup. But Progresso™ is coming close,  with flavors and ingredients that matter to me. Did you know Progresso™ is   now  serving white meat chicken with no antibiotics ever? It’s true, and whether your cooking for yourself, or a family, keeping Progresso™ canned soups on hand makes food prep easy.  Ingredients, flavor and  quick meal set-up  are just some of  reasons I include soup in my meal plan (and recommend it to others). I also appreciate soup for its benefits related to weight management.   Soup, as part of a meal, can help  you feel full and satisfied. In addition, the soup and salad theme, makes it easy to fit in those important  vegetables and low fat protein.

This February, try the  tasty combo of  Progresso™ Hearty Chicken & Rotini  Soup and my very own  Maple Harvest Salad.   Start by stocking up on Progresso™ soup. (BTW, I am impressed with  the variety and diversity of Progresso™ chicken soup made with 100% antibiotic and hormone free white meat chicken breasts.) Then prep roasted butternut squash for dinner tonight, but make a little extra so you can use leftovers in a maple harvest salad tomorrow. When hunger strikes,  all you need is 15 minutes  to heat the soup and assemble these salad ingredients: salad greens, leftover veggies, chopped apple, nuts, dried cranberries, cottage cheese, and a homemade maple vinaigrette. Detailed salad recipe below.

I’m confident you’ll love the benefits of a soup and salad theme, and I hope you will consider  lots of variations on the theme, like Progresso™ soup and veggies from your fridge or the raw bar at the supermarket.

Maple Harvest Salad

by Diane Boyd

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients (serves 2)

    for the roasted butternut squash

    • butternut squash cut into 1/2 inch cubes, 4 cups
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • salt and pepper to taste

    for the salad

    • Romaine, 4 cups torn
    • 1 cup cottage cheese,
    • 1 green apple, chopped
    • 1 tablespoon dried cranberries
    • 2 tablespoons walnuts, chopped

    for the maple vinaigrette

    • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
    • 2 tablespoons canola oil
    • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
    • 2 teaspoons brown mustard
    • 1/8 teaspoon salt
    • black pepper to taste


    for the roasted butternut squash

    1.Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

    2. Toss butternut squash with olive oil and spread onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

    3. Roast squash for about 30 minutes or until soft and just beginning to  brown. (Serve half of the squash immediately and refrigerate the other half to use in a maple harvest salad. Use within 2 days.)

    for maple vinaigrette

    Combine balsamic vinegar, oil, maple syrup, mustard, and salt. Stir to combine. Set aside.

    for salad

    1. Divide Romaine between two salad plates.

    2. Add 1/2 cup cottage cheese to each plate.

    3. Top  Romaine with chopped green apples,  roasted squash, dried cranberries, and walnuts.

    4. Drizzle salad with maple vinaigrette. Enjoy.

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