Healthy Options to Fuel Fitness at Pollo Tropical

This post sponsored by Pollo Tropical, but all opinions & enthusiasm are my own.

You’ve heard me say it a zillion times . . . I’M HUUUUUNGRY . . . I need tasty, nourishing food and I need it FAST! Well, this weekend I discovered Pollo Tropical, a quick island-inspired dining spot that filled the void in my tank without draining my pocketbook or making me wait so long as to faint from hunger. And, HURRAY, it is right across the street from the running trail at Lady Bird Lake and several downtown gyms– how I’ve never seen it before, I don’t know (I guess I was running to fast, haha).Lite Citrus Grilled Chicken Salad - Pollo Tropical thefitfork

While I wasn’t in need of a post-run meal the day I stopped in, I was sticking to my overall clean-eating plan as I’m in the middle of 5 weeks of competition for the Crossfit Games Open and two back-to-back Warrior Dash and Spartan Races Now is no time to eat junk . . . . food is fuel! Continue reading

Orange Chicken Love + $25 Giveaway to Panda Express

Orange. Chicken. Love. #OrangeChickenLove. Do I have your attention? If you’ve never eaten at Panda Express, you really need to try it out ASAP.  Panda Express has been a tried-and-true, busy-day meal option for my family – and with so many delicious menu items, there is always something everyone – even my pickiest eaters.  While the healthy mama in me appreciates that a “side” option is steamed veggies instead of fried rice or noodles, the universal, hands-down family favorite classic Chinese dish is the Orange Chicken.

Panda Express Orange Chicken -

PAnda Express Orange Chicken Love - TheFitFork.comYup, The Orange Chicken love is strong with the three hungry teen boys and he-man in my house, and I have to personally admit, the recipe is definitely chopstick lickin’ good. Inspired by flavors and culinary style of the Hunan Province in South Central China, Panda’s Original Orange Chicken is prepared with crispy boneless chicken bites, and wok tossed with Panda’s secret sweet and spicy orange sauce – it’s Panda’s most beloved dish.

There are so many other dishes to try out at this quick-stop restaurant, you’ll never get bored – some of my other favorites are the chicken and green beans and the broccoli and beef. Plus, as an athlete who is mindful about what she eats, I appreciate that Panda Express puts all the calorie counts right on the menu so you can make an informed choice. For example, the Orange Chicken isn’t one of the lightest, lowest-fat options – but I crave it, so I pair it up with the steamed veggies. It’s all about balance.

Panda Express -

I love how you can get steam veggies as a side at Panda Express, rather than fried rice or noodles.

Panda Express Orange Chicken Food TruckIf you’re in one of the lucky cities, you can get your fix on the Orange Chicken Love Truck Tour – it just came through Austin last weekend at the UT vs. Rice game. Head over to to get the Panda Express Food Truck stop schedule and shop for orange chicken swag (seriously some cute stuff)!



Panda Express Fortune Cookie - TheFitFork.comSo, let’s talk fortune cookies. The irony of fortune cookies is they aren’t even eaten in China, historians say they were actually invented in Japan and popularized in America. More than three billion are gobbled up a year, that’s a lot of predictions.  What’s the funniest or most spot-on message you’ve ever cracked open a cookie to find?  Please share in the comments! Win a $25 Panda Express Gift Card at TheFitFork.comHow about finding “There is such a thing as a free lunch.” That would be awesome, and it may come  true if you enter my giveaway for a $25 gift card to Panda Express. However, I hope you’ll understand if the message doesn’t actually arrive in a fortune cookie! Oh, and please get you some Orange Chicken Love whether you win or not!  To enter, please follow the Rafflecopter instructions below:
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Eat Fit in 2014 – $200 MyFitFoods Giveaway

It’s a NEW YEAR, a time when many of us start planning for improvements in our health and fitness – eating clean is always at the top of my list. Not only does enjoying healthy, nutritious meals and snacks keep me at a steady weight and help prevent a host of medical issues, it provides the quality fuel I need to perform my best as a runner and general fitness enthusiast.  Typically, it’s easy for me to stick to the diet I prefer – lean proteins, low-glycemic carbs and heart-healthy fats. But, that’s because creating new healthy recipes and experimenting around in the kitchen is my passion. The only time I really fall off the wagon is when life gets super busy and over-scheduled – that can be frequently as a mom of three trying to keep a full work and training schedule.

“Life getting in the way” is probably why some studies have shown that only 8 percent of New Year’s resolution makers have “stuck with it” by year end. However, that doesn’t have to be the case when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle — especially when companies like MyFitFoods are around to help us meet our goals.  When my schedule is slammed and I’m out and about during a mealtime, it’s easy to say no to (insert gagging noise) traditional fast food knowing I can hit one of the multiple locations of MyFitFoods in Austin to pick up a well-balanced, nutrient-packed, perfectly-portioned meal that also tastes damn good – way better than a (eek) McDonald’s salad.

jennifer fisher thefitfork at myfitfoods

Currently operating in California, Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma and Illinois, this company is growing like crazy — check out the location map to see which store is nearest to you. When you drop into MyFitFoods, you’ll see all of their pre-packaged menu offerings on display to either grab-and-go– or heat up and eat in the café area of the store.  When I say pre-packaged, I’m not talking about old school frozen meals – these are refrigerated meals made in their local kitchens with freshest produce, lean proteins, whole grains and healthy fats.  All the nutrition information, calorie and ingredients are printed right on the label so that you can make the best-informed choices as possible. Also, a “best by” date is on the label in case you want to stock up on a few meals to take home for later.

From breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, you can count on getting a fresh, delicious and nutritious meal prepared with your health in mind at MyFitFoods. The menu is diabetic friendly and there are plenty of options for special diets including vegan, vegetarian and dairy-, gluten- and soy-free. After scanning the menu, it also looks like there are options for devotees of the Paleo diet too. Meals are sold in a range of portion sizes to meet your unique needs – I’m fairly active and am not trying to lose weight, so the Medium size works for me. But, you can get more or less – or buy a Large and share!

my fit foods thefitfork meals

Another neat thing about the company is their 21 Day Challenge. On-site nutritional coaches will provide a complementary consultation on how MyFitFoods can help you lose weight, build muscle, increase energy levels and enjoy better sleep quality.  Company founder, Mario Mendias, totally gets it –  as a past personal trainer, he saw a need to make fit-focused meals for his time-crunched and non-cooking clients who were too often risking their hard work in the gym for a convenient yet unhealthy meal.

To help you make healthy living and eating an easy reality this year, MyFitFoods is letting me giveaway a $200 gift card. The winner can load up for a week’s worth of food at once or grab a healthy meal now and then – there are so many choices at MyFitFoods. Here are some of the yummy, healthy meals I enjoyed this week.

thefitfork healthy breakfast egg bake

Good Morning Sunshine – With a taste of the southwest, lean ground turkey, converted rice and eggs topped with fresh pic de gallo and a pinch of real cheese. The medium size only has 430 calories and 29g carbs for nearly a pound of food that packs 40g of protein. I feel my muscles growing already!

Ancho breakfast tacos healthy egg and chicken

Ancho Chicken Breakfast Tacos – Eggs and shredded chicken nestled into three corn tortillas along with ancho sauce make a very filling breakfast. The medium-sized dish has 450 calories 55g carbs and 30g protein to satisfy even the hungriest post-workout appetite.

chicken salad lunch

Gimme More Chicken Salad – Thumbs up to this lightened chicken salad that is made with lean breast and Greek yogurt with just a dash of real mayo. Chopped celery, cranberries and tarragon add the finishing touches to the generous scoop that rests on a bed of chopped romaine with lemon wedges. Available in one size, 320 calories, 16g carbs with 28g protein and just 15g of fat which is way less than the fat found in traditional chicken salad.

Beef tenderloin and cauliflower

Beef Fit Up! – It’s no secret I like beef, especially tenderloin. This low-carb dinner didn’t disappoint with sliced beef tenderloin cooked to medium and topped with onions and mushrooms over cauliflower mash and green beans. Here’s my tip for reheating so the beef doesn’t get overcooked:  heat the veggies separately on high for a minute or so. Next, reheat the beef alone on the “defrost” button for just about a minute, basically to just take the chill off off rather than cook it. Replate and enjoy!  Medium size is more than a pound of food with 450 calories, 18g carbs and 45g protein. I could have shared, but I didn’t.

Cilantro Lime Turkey

Cilantro Lime Turkey – This is a light and lively dish that tastes really good; lean ground turkey is seasoned just right and served on a bed of converted rice mingled with cilantro. Broccoli rabe and a refreshing lime slice finish it up. The Medium portion makes a hearty yet healthy meal with 500 calories, 51g carbs and 39g protein.

Enter the Giveaway through the various options below – please note that MyFitFoods is currently operating stores in California, Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma and Illinois (so please only enter if you live in one of these states — check out the store map for exact locations):

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