How to Age Proof Your Abs – Diet, Workouts, Wellness for 40+

The plain truth is, as we get a little older, it’s harder to make muscles and convince them to stick around, especially in the abdominal area. The potential for maximum muscle mass lasts until the 30s, after that it’s a small gradual decline in mass month by month, year by year. Gasp, experts say a sedentary lifestyle can result in a 3 to 5 percent decline per decade! This loss of muscle is often replaced by a little extra padding around the middle or “muffin top,” even if you are in good or reasonable shape overall. Plus, the hormonal changes brought on by peri-menopause or full-on menopause don’t help matters much.How to Age Proof Your Abs in 40s 50s and beyond

The quest for a flat mid-section or six-pack abs in middle age or older shouldn’t be about rocking a bikini or turning heads at the gym, although I guess these are nice side benefits – but, haven’t we moved past this ego feed?!  Instead, appreciate what a strong core through functional fitness can do for your daily living. Strong abs help improve balance, stability, back strength and posture, and, in my opinion, can make you feel and look 10 years younger.  A strong core also lessens the chance for injury from actual exercise or random stupid stuff, like twisting the wrong way while holding a bag of groceries, keeping up with your kids, or even playing with grand kids.  Read on to get the tips on How To Age Proof Your Abs Continue reading

Don’t “Diet” – Eat to Fuel Fitness & Health Goals

Today’s post is sponsored by Smoothie King, but my content and love for their Meal Replacement Smoothies is all my own! Take the challenge as part of a low-calorie diet and daily exercise program.  Weight loss depends on individual needs. 

Smoothie King #ChangeAMeal Challenge Meal Replacement Smoothies -- over 20 options under 400 calories and at least 10g protein.I can’t believe it’s already 2017, the New Year snuck up on me before I had time to formalize my goals and best intentions for the next 12 months. I’m not so much a fan of “resolutions,” per se. Somehow that implies a certain past wrongness and need for fixing! But goals are a good thing, and I like to set them high – that way, when and if I fail, I most likely have achieved above and beyond par. Find out why I don’t diet and how snacks like Smoothie King helps me fuel up for and recover from workouts and fill my nutritional gaps.

Continue reading

All the Holiday Health Tips “Yule” Ever Need!

All the Holiday Health Tips "Yule" Ever NeedGuzzle before Goodies: Drink a big glass of water and, if the meal or party is going to start after a scheduled meal time, eat a protein bar or other small protein-rich snack (around 200 cal) to tide you over. Time after time, I’ve read “eat a meal before heading out” as this will fill you up so that will not be tempted to overindulge on drinks and goodies at a holiday party. Um, unless you have willpower of steel, this doesn’t work – at least not for me. I always end up giving in with the “what the heck, it’s only once a year mindset” and, while it’s okay to splurge every now and then, but having consumed a full dinner (even if deemed “healthy”) just means you’ve gotten a head start on over-eating.

The Gift of Protein: Make sure you are not just using your entire calorie budget on all the wonderful baked treats of the season at the expense of eating enough protein. While pancakes, homemade breads, cookies, pies and more deserve a little attention this time of year, you can’t fuel a healthy lifestyle without adequate protein. Aim to get at 25 to 30 grams at EVERY meal, starting with breakfast, and also a couple 10 gram-ish protein snacks if you’ve been active during the day. Research has shown that consuming adequately timed and spaced protein not only helps with muscle management, but can moderate hunger and help you avoid over-snacking later in the day or evening.

cutting-sheet-pan-maple-beef-sausageBy the way, you have to check out my new Sheet Pan Maple Beef Sausage recipe — it’s a less mess, less stress way to make a batch of protein for a holiday crowd. It tastes yummy and sure beats slinging bacon or links all morning.

Moderate your Mixology: Drink in moderation or, even better, don’t drink alcoholic beverages, heavy eggnogs or sugary punches at all. Wine, beer and other adult beverages are very high in carbs and calories, partying all night will take its toll in so many ways . . . I won’t preach. If and when I decide to have a drink, I limit myself to one and then turn to sparkling waters with a splash of juice or infused with fruit. I have also turned ONE drink, into two by halving the liquor or wine portion and topping off with a low-cal liquid.

Exercise Anywhere: Regardless whether stuck in a car travelling or in your mother-in-law’s lair, find a way to move about and sneak in a little exercise – even if just in 5 minute increments.  We always pull over every hour on the road (for potty stops) and to bust out some roadside jumping jacks and burpees – I’m not kidding.  When visiting relatives and out of your normal fitness routine, suggest that the group head out for a walk to see holiday lights or start up a friendly game of flag football. There are also lots of home workouts that need little or no equipment when snowed it. Also, check out my 40 Fitness Hacks for the Holidays or my Wrapping Paper Tube Workout  – a graphic below, but also a video (seriously)!

Wrapping Paper Roll Workout - TheFitFork.com

Let Go of the Guilt: Despite the tips, the biggest tip is to enjoy the season and the quality time with family and friends. Many of us striving to live in the healthiest way we know how, often forever deny some of our past pleasures. If you want a slice of chocolate cake, have it! If you want a steaming mug of strawberry honey white hot chocolate, have it! If you’ve missed a few days or even a week of  your normal workouts, fuggetabout it! We all deserve a break and time to recharge – a short time of splurging and relaxing over the holiday season isn’t going to set you significantly back (if at all).

What are your holiday plans?! What are you doing to stay active? What is your favorite splurge (mine is banana bread with absolutely no healthy modifications 😉 Please share in the comments – XOXO, Jennifer  

Protein Timing for Endurance Athletes + Thermos® Shaker Bottle

Thermos Brand Shaker Bottle
Before I get on my soapbox about protein, let me tell you this post is sponsored by Genuine Thermos® Brand Shaker Bottle.  Of all the shaker bottles that have come and gone (quickly) my life, this one is a keeper and hands-down the best!  It’s made of safe materials, shatter-proof (important if you’ve seen some of my workouts), and resistant to leaks – the lid screws on tightly and there is actually a push-button release cap on the spigot!

Breaking up with these old shaker bottles wasn't hard to do!

Breaking up with these old shaker bottles wasn’t hard to do!

As one whom has spilled time and time again, over the front of my shirt, on the car upholstery and all inside my gym bag, this “leak proof” feature is a huge selling point with me. Anyway, Thermos®  is holding a giveaway for 10 of these very-impressive vessels – go here to enter! And read down to the bottom of the post where I have more deets on this must-have nutrition gear for the athlete. Now, onto the protein . .

PROTEIN TIMING FOR ENDURANCE ATHLETES — RUNNERS, TRIATHLETES, SWIMMERS, ULTRA MARATHONERS, OBSTACLE COURSE RACERS, MOUNTAIN BIKERS, ECO ADVENTURE TYPES, MUD RUNNERS, ROWERS, SKIERS — I’M TALKING TO YOU!

Timing IS everything, especially when it comes to protein and the endurance athlete. Not only does adequate protein consumption provide sustained energy for the day’s routine activities, it helps to rebuild muscle taxed by strenuous exercise, and makes it easier to maintain a lean body mass, even as we age.  I’m excited to share with you what I’ve learned over years of listening to and working with various experts on the topic and sharing the personal protein strategy I use to keep a low body fat percentage and fuel my performance as a runner and obstacle course athlete.

Jennifer Fisher - Beef Sirloin Steaks

What? Is this too much protein for one meal?

How much protein is enough or too much and how much do you eat? I get this question all the time. The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or 0.36 grams per pound – that’s about 56 grams per day for the average non-active man or 46 grams per day for the average non-active woman. This RDA calculates out to about 10% of suggested daily caloric intake. You might be surprised to find out that the 45 to 56 g protein just mention is the equivalent of 6 to 8 ounces of a lean animal-based protein like chicken, fish or beef! However, the modest RDA was set a long time ago, during a time food rationing during war, and is widely considered by most nutritionists to be the minimum amount needed to keep from becoming malnourished and sick!  Today’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest that we should be taking in from 10% to 35% of daily calories from various forms of protein, depending on our needs and activity levels.

Jennifer Fisher - Beef Team Elite Runner

Endurance athletes like marathon runners and triathletes need more protein than the average couch potato, and calories as well. Our busy bodies need protein to more efficiently process carbohydrates into quick fuel and to rebuild (and even grow) muscle. You can’t really eat too much protein, many dieters have had success on a high-fat, higher protein Keto diet. However, when it comes to protein, there is a point of diminishing returns for an athlete. Remember, the body can only process about 25 – 30 grams per meal or snack, regardless of your body size. Plus, when you up calorie intake from protein, proportionately speaking, calories from other areas have to give  — unless you want to gain weight. Plus, training high mileage with few carbs leaves you feeling sluggish and like you’ve got lead in your legs (trust me, I’ve tried). Even the author of fruit and grain-shaming The Paleo Diet broke down and admitted, in a the later-published The Paleo Diet for Athletes, that there is a need for certain carbohydrates in a training diet if optimal performance is the goal.

When should I eat my protein? I’ve seen some people talk about “front loading” protein in the morning to start of the day. Yes and no. Yes, you definitely should be eating protein right upon waking up. Muscles need to be fed; they’ve been in a complete fasting state for the last 8 hours or since the last meal. However, you don’t need more than 25 – 30 grams as previously mentioned; it won’t do you any good (unless you’re just eating it for taste or gains!).

Beef Egg Potato Bake Breakfast Casserole - TheFitFork.com

Start your day with 25 – 20 grams of protein!

Get my Barn-raiser Egg & Beef Bake recipe (above) which has been featured in Taste of Home magazine and on the Hallmark Channel “Home & Family Show”

The optimal plan for protein intake is to space it evenly throughout the day. Americans tend to “back load,” that is, eating it mostly at dinner!  A basic breakdown consists of protein at breakfast, lunch, dinner and possibly a post-workout snack and bedtime snack, depending on your needs. For super intense workouts, you may also consider protein intake with your carbs during actual exercise – protein helps to more quickly process carbs in the blood stream.

Most of us endurance athletes know by now that the optimal window for protein intake after a workout is within about 30 minutes, 60 minutes worst case scenario. Experts suggest that the carb to protein ratio of this recovery snack be 4g carb to 1g protein or 3 to 1.  So remember to bring along a protein bar, shake, nuts or some other protein-rich snack that can be consumed almost immediately after your sweat session.

A simple shake make with protein powder makes a great bed time snack. If you can tolerate milk, use it as your base -- dairy has special enzymes that help facilitate the job of protein while you sleep

Now, onto the bedtime snack. I eat from lights on to lights out! Eating before bed goes against the very rules of what your mother taught you. Curiously, I’ve always craved a protein snack about hour before my head hits the pillow – and was happy to find out I was actually doing my body a positive service. Much of our recover and muscle growth happens at night and it needs long-lasting fuel to do so. Experts say that dairy-based protein snacks are the best picks at night. Apparently, specific enzymes in dairy foods maximize the work load protein. That means my nightly Greek yogurt (or a protein shake made with milk) is a post-dinner winner!

jennifer fisher fit foodie run beef

 

A Fairly Common Protein Day for ME (Remember, it may vary for you):

  • Breakfast: 30g protein from eggs, mug muffin made with protein powder, or smoothie
  • Post-Workout Snack: 20g protein bar, peanut butter toast, protein powder and fruit shake
  • Lunch:  Salad with 30g protein from mixture of leftover meat, beans, etc.
  • Dinner: 25g protein from protein like sirloin steak, chicken breast, salmon with veggies on the side.
  • Bedtime Snack: 20g protein from plain Greek yogurt mixed with stevia and sprinkle of granola.
The Thermos Brand Shaker Bottle doesn't leak thanks to the push-button release cap!

The Thermos Brand Shaker Bottle doesn’t leak thanks to the push-button release cap!

So, back to the Genuine Thermos® Brand Shaker Bottle, its ideal for those protein shakes I’ve been mentioning for breakfast or post-workout recovery. Again, I love the leak-proof design, but also another feature that’s awesome about this shaker bottle is that it features an integrated yet removable stationary mixer that helps evenly blend beverages – no one wants to gag on unexpected protein clumps!  Also, I really appreciate the capacity markings along the side of the bottle – it helps me make my protein drink recipes without having to haul out measuring cups. Plus, it also keeps me aware of how much I’m drinking or not drinking, as the case may be!  Many times I need to see those tick marks reveal to know I’m staying hydrated and getting enough calories/protein for recovery.

 Specs for Genuine Thermos® Brand Shaker Bottle : It sells for about $14.99, holds 24 ounces, is clear with a gray/green lid, and measures 3.8” W x 3.4” D x 9.2” H  (and, yes, it fits in my car’s cup holder). Plastic is BPA-free, impact-resistant and impervious to absorbing odors of flavors from past beverages. And (yay), its dishwasher –safe!

shaker bottle thermos contest

Enter for chance to be one of ten randomly selected winners of in the Genuine Thermos® Brand Shaker Bottle Giveaway! Head over to the Thermos® Facebook page for entry details.

And, don’t miss out on a thing – follow Thermos® on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest for exclusive updates and product information.

whole foods gift cardAdditionally, I’m personally hosting a giveaway for a $25 gift card to Whole Foods so you can buy some yummy, nourishing ingredients to put in your ShakerBottle

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Why Consistency is the Best “Diet”

Get my thoughts on losing weight in along with the advice from 24 other nutrition, health and fitness professionals in a recent article hitting the internet –25 Weight Loss Experts Expose Diets that Work.

Why Consistency is the Best Diet

But, in a nutshell, the sub-title the author gave my opinion was “Never Take Time Off From Your Healthy Eating Plan.” Just reading the title as-is, that sounds a little strict, however . . I’m anything but rigid in my approach to eating for optimal health. I’d title it — “Why Consistency is the Diet that Works Best.”

running jennifer 20 years between

There is 20+ years between these pictures, my weight is the same!

Check out the story, and you’ll find that I believe the most successful strategy to losing weight and keeping it off for good is to not be on any one particular “diet” or the other, but to create a day-in and day-out lifestyle that balances exercise with eating mindfully! And, I’m not alone in that opinion.

 

 

 

A plate at least half-full full of colorful fruits and vegetables paired with lean protein and a moderate intake of whole grains is the balanced approach I suggest and take myself. Also, I think saying certain foods are absolute no-no’s is a set up for failure too, if you love chocolate or bread, then enjoy in small portions every now and then — just use common sense, and balance in light of your weekly food intake and exercise expenditures.

Studies have proven that successful “dieters” (I hate to use that word) create their own personal strategies to maintain a lean body mass and don’t veer off the path much – despite weekends, holidays, vacations, or even when they are happy with their current weight. In a nutshell, success means being flexible, but never take a hard break from a healthy eating routine.

Dona Jo Fit Wear - FITFORK20 for 20% discount

Also, off topic, but not really considering the importance of daily exercise and feeling good about what you’re wearing . . . I’ve got the cutest yoga shorts to tell you about from Dona Jo fit wear! This fun company makes adorable yoga clothes, running clothes, printed cycling clothing, CrossFit active wear, barre clothes and tennis skirts that make it more motivating to get up, get dressed and get moving!

dona jo 2I picked out the Caribbean Shorts, the new print (which reminds me of a tropical fish) just launched last week! The shorts come in 2 sizes – Size 1 (0 – 8) and Size 2 (10 – 16) – I wear a size 2 normally and these fit just fine, I was worried they’d be too big. While they don’t have that tight compression feeling, they are perfect for summer running and nailing new yoga poses –plus, the wide waistband is very flattering.  If you use discount code FITFORK20 when checking out at Dona Jo, you can save 20% on your active wear purchase!

What is your mindset about “dieting”? Do you follow a stricter diet like Paleo or Vegan? How do you like your yoga pants — bright or black? Please share in the comments below — XOXO, Jennifer 

Buh-Bye Bloat! Dandelion Greens Detox Smoothie

Dandelion Greens Detox Smoothie is a low-cal way to cleanse your system and tame tummy troubles.Oh, we all have those days when the dreaded bloat is out of control. Personally, sometimes my tummy can stick out more than my butt.  I’ve reduced my family to tears of hysteria (and fear) on more than one occasion by sticking out my distended middle as far as humanly possible – I look like a skinny 6-month pregnant woman or have an awful basketball sized tumor!  Maybe it’s too much salt, not enough water, low fiber intake, that time of the month . . . or all of the above. I think we can all agree that being bloated and retaining water is not only an uncomfortable feeling, but also a self-confidence shaker – even though we all know that by eating healthfully, this gut grief not a lasting situation. Can’t believe I’m doing this, but I’ll share pictures of me taken within a short period of time — before dinner and already bloated (left) and feeling fabulous early one morning (right)! .

Rather than staying swollen up like a balloon, you can stop the suffering and get on the path to that slim and trim you with my Dandelion Greens Detox Smoothie.  Packed with all sorts of healthy ingredients that promote healthy digestion and hydration, this green smoothie recipe is also very light, so you don’t have to fret about overdoing the liquid calories.

Dandelion Greens Detox Smoothie is a low-cal way to cleanse your system and tame tummy troubles

detox smoothie nutrition

For under 120 calories, you get a 20-ounce glass of goodness that has no added sugar, progresses you towards your daily fiber needs, and even has a touch of protein from the dandelion (surprise!) It’s also rich in many vitamins and minerals, especially potassium, magnesium, calcium and vitamin K.

Here’s a rundown on the ingredients and how they can tame your tummy troubles.

Cucumber: Not only is this veggie is loaded with water (95% to be exact) which helps improve hydration, it also is a good source of a flavonoid antioxidant called quercetin that help reduce inflammation and puffiness – that’s why  we have all long-loved to put slices over our eyes.

Coconut Water: High in potassium and other electrolytes, this watery juice from inside the coconut helps to flush sodium out of the body and restore healthy hydration levels. For convenience, I love to have this Coconut Water Powder on hand.

Banana: Bananas are rich in potassium, a mineral that helps manage fluid levels in our bodies and can assist in shedding salt-related water retention. Also, this dietary fiber in this popular fruit keeps things moving along in your digestive system.

Ginger:  This root is a wonder when it comes to health benefits, anti-inflammatory, anti-nausea, migraine relief and more. It also contains an enzyme that optimized the absorption of proteins and Lessing protein-related bloating and gas in the process.

Dandelion Greens: Dandelion greens (as well as the root) are a fantastic detox food that cleanses the liver, flushing toxins and excess water out – perfect if you have lots of water retention. Dandelions have a surprising amount of protein for a “green” and even more calcium than spinach.  You can also use the greens (mainly found in the early spring) in salads or sautés or reap benefits from drinking a dandelion tea or taking a dandelion root extract or supplement.

Dandelion Greens Detox Smoothie is a low-cal way to cleanse your system and tame tummy troubles

Linking Up With: Happy Fit Mama, The Fit Foodie Mama, Hello to Fit, Fairy Burger, Chocolate Runner Girl, Jill Conyers,

Have you ever tried dandelion greens before? What do you do to beat bloating? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer 

Dandelion Greens Detox Smoothie is a low-cal way to cleanse your system and tame tummy troubles.
Dandelion Greens Detox Smoothi
Print Recipe
Tame your tummy troubles with this low-cal smoothie filled with bloat-busting ingredients like cucumber, dandelion greens, coconut water, ginger and more.
Servings Prep Time
1 20-ounce smoothie 5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 20-ounce smoothie 5 minutes
Dandelion Greens Detox Smoothie is a low-cal way to cleanse your system and tame tummy troubles.
Dandelion Greens Detox Smoothi
Print Recipe
Tame your tummy troubles with this low-cal smoothie filled with bloat-busting ingredients like cucumber, dandelion greens, coconut water, ginger and more.
Servings Prep Time
1 20-ounce smoothie 5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 20-ounce smoothie 5 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: 20-ounce smoothie
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to blender and process until smooth, adding more ice if necessary. Pour into tall glass and enjoy immediately.
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Plenty of Reasons to Eat Breakfast + #PlentiYogurt Coupon

I rarely, if ever, miss my morning meal. I just love food too much and usually wake up hungry, thinking about what I’m making or grabbing (like Plenti) long before my feet even hit the ground.

Jennifer Eating Plenti Greek Yogurt Meets Oatmeal

Back in the day, skipping breakfast was a way to “cut calories” in an effort to lose or maintain weight – and it still is with some friends today. This “intermittent fasting” idea seems to be trending again today, based on some diets and nutritional plans I have seen floating around. However, missing meals can have quite the opposite effect, eventually adding on pounds in places you don’t want. And, for runners and other athletes, bypassing breakfast can quickly bring quality training (and recovery) in its tracks.

5 reasons why skipping breakfast is bad

Lose Muscle – While skipping breakfast and other meals cuts calories and create weight loss, research shows that these dropped pounds come more from muscle tissue than fat stores.

Gain Belly Fat: Ohio State University scientists suggest skipping meals may invite any weight lost to come back eventually as dangerous belly fat.

Energy Drop:  Avoiding breakfast keeps the body from important nutrients like quality complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, minerals and fatty acids needed for optimal functioning and general get-up-and-go.

Disease Risk: Harvard School of Public Health researchers report that women who regularly missed breakfast where 20% more likely to get type 2 diabetes and men were at increased risk of heart disease. Insulin resistance and blood pressure issues arise when the body’s blood lipids get out of whack – something that can be kept in check with a healthy, balanced breakfast.

Unhealthy Snacking: Saying “no” no to a sustaining breakfast very often translates into saying “yes” to unhealthy processed snack foods, fast food and other sugary and bad-fat foods. Blood sugar drops and the resulting “hangry” feeling causes people to make poor food choices.

Plenti Greek Yogurt Meets Oatmeal great way to fuel a runner's morning.

Whether you are an athlete or not, your body needs “gas in the tank” to get going in the morning —  Plenti Oatmeal Meets Greek Yogurt is a quick and convenient way to fill up! Plentí, a wholesome yogurt already packed with fruit, seeds and other yumminess, kicks up its morning game by adding oatmeal to the mix.

Found in the yogurt aisle, Plenti Oatmeal Meets Greek Yogurt, comes in six tasty flavors including Apple Cinnamon, Maple Brown Sugar, Peach, Blueberry, Strawberry, and Vanilla. I love the thick and creamy Greek yogurt goodness mixed with the texture and nutritional benefits of oatmeal. Unlike oatmeal, no messy cookin – just grab a spoon and enjoy cold.

6 Flavors of Plenti Greek Yogurt Meets Oatmeal

Each cup has 16 grams of whole grain and 11 grams of protein – I aim to get 25 to 30 grams of protein four times a day, so I would make my morning meal by supplementing a cup of Plenti Oatmeal Meets Greek Yogurt with two scrambled (or hard-boiled eggs if in a hurry) and a piece of fruit.

Plenti Yogurt Oatmeal with full meal

Coupon for Plenti Greek Yogurt Meets OatmealTry Plenti Oatmeal Meets Greek Yogurt for yourself! Print a coupon good for $.35 off one cup.

Are you an oatmeal fan, a Greek yogurt fan or both? What is your favorite “quick grab” for breakfast? Please share in the comments below, – XOXO, Jennifer  

More Fun, More Flavor – Mixing Up Health and Fitness Goals #changeameal

My only New Year Resolution for 2016 is to work towards my nutrition and fitness goals by doing more of what’s good for me and less of what’s not. How’s that for vague?!  I took a quick stop to Smoothie King this morning to grab a smoothie and swipe in some notes on my phone to flesh it out plans, that’s as formal as I’ll get.

Jennifer Fisher paddle board december 2015In terms of fitness, I’m focusing on activities that are fun for me like obstacle courses, yoga and stand up paddle boarding on the lake, and saying “no” to workouts that feel like punishment or fear/guilt driven.Yes, I am still training to be competitive as a master runner (not hanging my Altras up anytime soon), but have found that looking less at my watch (or not even wearing it) and listening more to my body is what works for me and has kept me injury free.Smoothie King has 20 meal replacement blended beverages to help fuel your health and fitness goals.

In terms of nutrition, I’m also doing more of what’s good for me and less of what’s not. I’m sticking with the higher protein diet that has kept me lean and at my racing weight for years. Even though I eat pretty clean, I’m all about being creative and adding tons of flavor with herbs, spices, produce and whatever I can find — no plain ole chicken breasts here. And I’m going to make a serious effort to kick my diet soda habit, pretty much my only vice. I think we can all agree that flavorful smoothies are such a better choice, filled with vitamins, minerals, fiber and quality protein and carbs to fuel the day.

healthy living inspiration - thefitfork.com

I’m a big fan of Smoothie King, to help me meet these health and fitness goals (plus, it’s super yummy). Like me, this smoothie shop look at food as fuel to power a person through the day – and my day is filled with workouts, running and all sorts of kid craziness.  I’ve always been a fan of smoothies, especially those packed with protein. With my higher protein diet, I aim for 20g to 30g of protein, about four times per day.

On busy days, grabbing a healthy blended beverage at Smoothie King is a quick and convenient way to work toward achieving my protein goal and helps me to refuel taxed muscles right after a workout while keeping the “hangries” away until the next meal or healthy snacking opportunity.

Smoothie King Lean 1 Chocolate

I don’t drink smoothies to lose weight*, rather to fuel my fitness goals.  However, Smoothie King makes a wide array of blended beverages that can be used as for meal replacement – abundance of protein and fiber keeps you feeling full longer. Most 20-ounce serving, come in under 400 calories and a minimum of 10 grams of protein and 35 grams of quality carbs (a few specific smoothies vary off these benchmarks).

Smoothie King #ChangeAMeal

Today at Smoothie King I was almost overwhelmed with the huge assortment of meal replacement smoothies included in their healthy #ChangeAMeal promotion. Twenty smoothies are in this creamy, delicious line-up including Gladiator® Chocolate, Gladiator® Strawberry, Gladiator® Vanilla, The Activator® Chocolate, The Activator® Vanilla, Lean1® Chocolate, Lean1® Strawberry, Lean1® Vanilla, Lean1® Tropical, Vegan Dark Chocolate Banana, Vegan Mango Kale, Greek Yogurt Pineapple Mango, Greek Yogurt Strawberry Blueberry, Greek Yogurt Peach Papaya, The Shredder™ Chocolate, The Shredder™ Strawberry, The Shredder™ Vanilla, High Protein Almond Mocha, High Protein Banana and High Protein Chocolate. Here are some of the 20 choices:
smoothie king smoothies

Guess which healthy protein smoothie I picked?  The Lean1® Chocolate made with protein, banana and almonds with no added sugar – the 20-ounce  rich and creamy smoothie had 310 calories with 19g protein. Seriously, it could have been an ice cream shop milkshake, it was that decadent tasting!

Change a Meal Challenge Smoothie King #ChangeAMealENTER TO WIN!  Share your 2016 health and fitness goals, showing how you creatively #changeameal with Smoothie King. The more smoothie selfies or social comments you post with this hashtag (between December 28 – March 31, 2016), the more chances you have to win awesome prizes like Smoothies For A Year, a gift card to Southwest Airlines, a YMCA membership and more

Get started on your own tasty health and fitness journey with a $2.99 smoothie coupon by joining the e-kingdom.  Plus, download the free loyalty app and earn loyalty rewards every time you #changeameal.

*Please Note: *Weight loss is dependent on each individual’s needs and is based on a low-calorie diet combined with an exercise program. Consult your physician before beginning any diet program.*

What are your health and fitness goals? How are you fueling them? What is your favorite flavor smoothie?  Please share in the comments below, XOXO — Jennifer