Welcome 2013!

As we ring in another New Year tonight, I want to thank you all for reading! We have had two great years here on Zest and are looking forward to 2013!!

Anytime a new year comes along, we all have the tendency to reflect and to resolve. I am pretty firmly set in my workout routine, though I will be throwing in some new twists this year. My biggest focuses this year will be on work and nutrition. I thought I would share a few ideas for getting on track in the New Year:

  1. Plan Ahead. Take a look at your week and plan a menu. I like to look at dinner choices and how I can use them for leftovers for lunch.
  2. Be Prepared. Along the same lines, the more prepared you are, the better choices you will make. If you pack enough snacks and a good healthy lunch for work, it is much easier to stay on track.
  3. Keep Ingredients Separate. This may sound strange, but one of the biggest things I have learned from Mary is that you can always make something different, as long as the ingredients are separate. What I mean by that is if you make chicken and keep some out of the sauce, you can make something different. Same goes for pasta, veggies… If you make tacos and keep all the veggies separate, you can make a pasta dish later in the week.
  4. Make It Easy. Find things that you like to grab and go. As kids, we always had cut up celery and carrots in a tub of water in the fridge. That makes it easier if you don’t have to clean them on the way out the door. Also, pre-portion snack foods so you know exactly how much you are eating. Almonds are a great snack, as long as you eat the right amount.
  5. Baby Steps. This is the single thing that helped me the most. If you are just getting started, don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to do it all at once. Crash diets are not sustainable. If you make small changes at regular intervals, you are much more likely to succeed. When I started, I added something new every couple of weeks. It started with a walk 3 times a week. Then cutting back on alcohol intake. Then adding more vegetables. You know your problem areas; just tackle them one at a time. Trust me; down the road some of those vices won’t even tempt you.
  6. If you are going to work out like an athlete, you have to fuel like an athlete. This is something that came into focus for me this year. I workout very hard; 6 days a week of weights, plus a few other things a week. Days that I don’t focus on my nutrition become very bad days for me. I get cranky and sluggish, plus I don’t sleep as well. When I remember to fuel before, during and after a workout, my days are great and I recover much easier. Since my workouts are important to me, so is my nutrition. Now you all know I love to cook, so you just have to be creative! Check out the recipe below that Mary found for something you can keep on hand for an easy lunch. This is a great balanced food that will keep you going!
  7. Don’t Beat Yourself Up. If you slip up, treat it as just that and do better at the next meal or tomorrow. Don’t give up, mistakes mean you have goals and that is something to shoot for!
  8. Write It Down. You always hear people say it, but it keeps you honest. Writing down your food will help you be more aware of what you are consuming. For me, it made me think before I put anything in my mouth because I knew I had to write it down. When you journal workouts, it helps you to make progress. You may run a little farther or faster. You may do two more reps, but either way you are taking another step forward. Writing down your goals gives you something to shoot for. Be realistic: make your goals achievable, challenging and measurable.
  9. Measure. Measure your food. Measure yourself. Both things will keep you aware and on track. Measuring your food gives you a visual of what you should be eating. Measuring yourself may show you progress you may not see on the scale. It is incredibly motivating to have something to measure against 3 months from now if you hit a plateau. You will be reminded of how far you have come!
  10. Just Do It! Don’t wait for tomorrow. Don’t wait for Monday. Or the first day of something…do it today! You don’t have to do it all today, just make one good choice. It might make all the difference!

GOOD LUCK! Happy New Year!!



Chicken Muffins

Adapted from Jamie Eason

2 lbs ground chicken (1.5 lbs breast, .5 lbs thigh)

3 egg whites

1 cup quick cooking oats

2 tbs jerk seasoning (or your favorite blend, be generous!)

2 tsp black pepper

1 tsp salt

2 tbsp garlic 2 cloves minced

1 small onion (finely chopped)

2 celery stalks (finely chopped)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Spray muffin pan with canola or olive oil.

Place the onion and garlic and oats and spices in a food processor to chop and combine. Then eggs and meat and pulse to combine.

Use an ice cream scoop to make the mixture into balls and place in muffin pan. Muffins should be about the size of a racquetball. You can top with a bit of sauce to keep moist if you like (We like pepper jelly or sweet and spicy Asian sauce.)

Bake for 40 minutes.

Makes 12 muffins.



  1. […] (seasoned and baked for 45min at 375°), flank steak (marinated and grilled or stir fried), and chicken muffins. Finally the veggies…I usually just steam tons of broccoli and green beans. I try to mix things […]

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