Hardbody Game Plan: Fit Meal Planner & Shopping List

One key element to a building a hardbody is having a game plan. That includes not only your workouts but also your meal plans. Bodybuilding.com has provided an easy-to-follow weekly meal plan that includes a shopping list and a stress-free cooking plan. If you take the time to plan your meals and cook your food in advance,  you’ll never be left hungry and straying from your hardbody goals.

This detailed shopping list simplifies what you will need at the grocery store. Bodybuilding.com made it even easier by having a PDF download, print and take to the store. If you are preparing for a physique competition will likely need more than what’s listed but this will help serve as a solid blue print.


Fit Meal Planner Shopping List:
• 1 lb brown rice or quinoa or buy a bit of both!
• 8 oz container of old-fashioned oats
• 3 lbs of lean ground turkey (try for 85-90% lean)
• 1 flank steak (1lb can be divided into 2 servings; 2lbs makes 4 servings)
• 1 dozen eggs
• 1 avocado
• 1 large package fresh spinach salad mix fresh veggies
• 2 bell peppers
• 1 head of broccoli (or 1 package pre-chopped, fresh broccoli)
• 1 bunch asparagus
• 1 pack pre-cut and washed mushrooms (or 1 lb fresh mushrooms-but then you have to cut them yourself)
• 1 pack celery
• 1 package fresh pre-cut stir-fry veggies (or build your own by buying onion, Chinese cabbage, shredded carrots, broccoli, snow peas, and water chestnuts)


Visit Bodybuilding.com to get detailed recipes that explain how to cook five individual-serving-size dinners. You’ll also be able to pack extra food to stay fueled throughout the day. When you create a hardbody game plan you’ll make living a healthy lifestyle easier.

Props Bodybuilding.com for the photo and featured content.


Healthy Eating Simplified: Five Fit Meals Anyone Can Make

Our friends at Bodybuilding.com have been sharing great content all year and sometimes we all need to go back to the basics. A healthy eating plan doesn’t need to be complicated and this article on Bodybuilding.com breaks down five meals anyone can make to help stay fit.

Key Meal Elements:
• Include protein to keep you feeling satisfied and safeguarded against muscle loss.
• Include moderate dose of carbohydrates to supply slow-burning energy.
• Healthy fats to round-out a meal plan to keep hunger levels under control.

The biggest take away from this article… HAVE A PLAN. Read the complete article here.

Voskos Greek Yogurt Launches Recipe App

Greek Yogurt is high and protein and has a variety of ways it can be implemented into your nutritional plans. Thanks to Voskos Greek Yogurt you can now find quick and easy recipes through your mobile device. The app also has a convenient store locator so you can easily find where to purchase Voskos in your area. Guess what, it’s FREE!


I downloaded the app to my iPhone this morning and it installed without any problems. Sounds simple enough but you’d be surprised how many apps crash or don’t install when they first launch. It loads quickly and designed so that you can navigate easily. I haven’t tried any of the recipes listed yet but after seeing some of the images, it does have my mouth watering.


Screen shots via iTunes App store.


Sun Valley, CA—August 9, 2011 – Loaded with dozens of easy-to-prepare options for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, the Voskos Greek Yogurt Recipes App was released for the Android and iPhone platforms on August 3, 2011. The App is free, and available for instant download from the Android Marketplace and iTunes App Store.

Developed by Voskos Greek Yogurt’s team of chefs and nutritionists, the App’s collection of over 100 recipes contains detailed nutritional information and easy instructions. The recipe collection includes high protein, low-fat, and low-sugar choices, and new recipes will be added to the App’s library every month.

Accompanying the recipe collection is a collection of “Videos from Mary’s Kitchen,” in which Mary demonstrates several “no-cook” recipes that are ideal for older children, busy students, parents, and for anyone who simply doesn’t have the time to make recipes that call for complex cooking instructions or a long list of ingredients.

“The Voskos Greek Yogurt Recipes App makes shopping easy,” says registered dietitian Janet R. Mertz. Mertz, a diabetes educator. Mertz writes for Voskos Greek Yogurt’s “What’s Fresh” blog. “The App allows you to search recipes by keywords, and save a list of your favorites for your next trip to the grocery store. Greek yogurt is such a healthful addition to the diet. The Voskos Greek Yogurt Recipes App makes it simple to incorporate this ‘superfood’ into any meal.”

The Voskos Greek Yogurt Recipes App also includes a store locator to help you find the stores that sell Voskos, as well as money-saving coupons and access to Voskos Greek Yogurt contests.

Voskos Greek Yogurt has been recognized in awards contests presented by Fitness magazine, Women’s Health, Vegetarian Times, Natural Solutions, Self Magazine and Cooking Light magazine. It is also a triple gold winner of the 2010 Los Angeles International Dairy Competition. Visit Voskos’ Web site for dozens of Greek yogurt recipes for low-carbohydrate breakfasts, appetizers, entrees and snacks.

About Voskos Greek Yogurt
Award-winning for its thick, rich taste and nutritional value, Voskos Greek Yogurt is all-natural, hormone-free, gluten-free, and Kosher certified. Through Voskos’ proprietary ProStrainâ„¢ method, Voskos yields two times more protein, more probiotics, less lactose, and a thicker, creamier consistency. Voskos is the only brand to offer an organic Greek yogurt line in addition to its all-natural plain and blended flavors and never has “fruit on the bottom.” Available nationwide, retailing between $1.49 – $2.99 in such stores as Kroger, Safeway, Publix, Bi-Lo, Whole Foods, Sprouts, and more. For store locations, and to download a coupon, visit voskos.com or facebook.com/Voskos.Greek.Yogurt today.

About Janet Mertz, Janet R. Mertz, MS, RD, CDE, CPT
Janet Mertz is a diabetes educator, wife of a Type-1 diabetic and mother who enjoys helping educate people on nutrition and healthy lifestyle.


Download the app here. You can also follow Voskos on twitter. Give them a Hardbody hello on there.


Grill Tips: Keep Your Summer Barbecues Healthy & Safe

Barbecues are a fun way to spend a summer night or weekend with friends and family. Thanks to Chicago Healers Practitioner Dr. Martha Howard we have a few tips for holding a healthy and safe barbeque this summer.

Dr. Howard shares these tips to a fun, healthy and safe summer barbecue.
• Clean the grill—get rid of the old fats

• Avoid petroleum starters for charcoal. If you use charcoal, use a wood starter and stack your charcoal up in a 2 pound metal can (no paint on the can, please) with the ends cut off. Lift off the can with tongs and spread out the coals when they are well started.

• Be sure you know how to turn on your propane grill safely. Avoid a time gap between opening the valve and starting the grill.

• Wash your hands and use separate plates and cutting boards for raw and cooked meats. Be sure to wash hands again before putting on long, heat-proof barbecue gloves. (Towels and little hot pads are a set-up for burns.)

• Trim most of the fat—less fat means fewer PAHs.

• Use marinades—they tend to protect the meat from charring. Put the marinade on and put all items back in the refrigerator until ready to go. Don’t let them sit out.

• Use precooking prior to grilling, especially for items like raw brats. Avoid taking burgers, chicken or other meats directly from the freezer to the grill.

• Cut meat and chicken into smaller pieces so they cook through.

• Turn down the fire and turn your burgers, steaks, chops, or chicken often, so they cook through, and come out a gorgeous golden brown.

• If you are cooking a thicker portion of meat or chicken, think about using a meat thermometer.
o Chicken: 165 degrees.
o Hamburger: 160 degrees.
o Pork: 150 degrees.
o Hot dogs: 140 degrees.
o Steak 145 degrees for medium rare (only if you know where your steak comes from) and 160 degrees for medium

• Grill more veggies! And if you are making kabobs, oil all the veggies, cook the onions with the meat, and grill the other vegetables separately. That way the meat gets done, and the vegetables don’t get overdone.

• At the end of the barbecue, be sure to put out your charcoal completely, and if you are using propane, be sure the valve is turned off.

About ChicagoHealers.com

Chicago Healers (www.ChicagoHealers.com) is the nation’s pioneer prescreened integrative health care network, offering a comprehensive understanding of each practitioner’s services, approach, and philosophy. Our holistic health experts teach and advocate natural and empowered health and life choices through their practices, the media, educational events, and our website. With close to 200 practitioners and over 300 treatment services, Chicago Healers has provided nearly 400 free educational events for Chicagoans and has been featured in 300+ TV news programs and print publications. For more information, visit www.ChicagoHealers.com.

Photo via: tailgatingideas.com

Lean Out By Valentine’s Day

There’s only a few days left before Valentine’s Day. A few hardbodies from “Team Bodybuilding.com” have some tips on how to lean out by Valentine’s Day.

IFBB Bikini Pro Shelsea Montes’ #1 secret: “Drink at least a gallon of distilled water a day.”

OTHER TIPS & SECRETS from Shelsea:

* Fuel up with fibrous fruits and veggies.
* Decrease intake of processed foods, dairy, and meat.
* Try a bikram yoga session to simultaneously train and detoxify.

View all the tips and the entire feature here.

Jamie Eason’s Orange Almond Biscotti Cookies

Jamie Eason was recently in the Bodybuilding.com kitchen to share some of her favorite clean recipes to help get you lean. This time Jamie shares her recipe for Orange Almond Biscotti Cookies.

Orange Almond Biscotti Cookies.

Per Cookie:
Calories: 31
Carbs: 4 grams
Fat: .4 grams
Protein: 1.5 grams

* 2 cups Oat Flour
* 1 cup Splenda
* 1 tsp Baking Powder
* 1 tbsp Orange Extract
* ¼ tsp Salt
* ½ tbsp Almond Extract
* 4 Egg Whites
* 4oz baby food Applesauce

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix dry ingredients (oat flour, baking powder, salt) together in a large bowl.
3. Mix wet ingredients (egg whites, Splenda, almond extract, orange extract, baby food applesauce) together in a medium bowl.
4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix together.
5. Spray baking sheet with a non stick butter spray and spread mixture on sheet.
6. Bake for 20 min on middle rack.
7. Remove biscotti from oven and let cool for 10-15 minutes.
8. Cut dough down the middle and cut into about 13 slices.
9. Bake in oven for another 15-20 minutes.

Makes about 26 cookies.

Source: Bodybuilding.com

The Diet Detective: Butter Me Up

The Diet Doctor has a great tip about butter and ordering from a restaurant. Check it out.

Butter Me Up
Even if something isn’t doused in oil, you still may not be calorie-safe–it can have added butter or cream. Toasted buns are often covered in butter; even steaks have butter drizzled on them before they’re sent out. “And restaurants always finish sauces with butter or cream–even if the words butter or cream aren’t in the sauce’s name. For example, a white wine sauce is always finished with butter,” says Cooking Light’s Strynkowski.

Healthy tip: Be suspicious, be inquisitive, and make sure to get a straight answer from the server (who should ask the chef). Always invoke the “allergic reaction” or “medical condition” excuses to be on the safe side.

– Tip by Charles Stuart Platkin on active.com.

The Diet Doctor: Restaurant Oil Slick

Here’s a great tip and insight on ordering at a restaurant in regards to oil.

Oil Slick
There’s oil on almost every restaurant dish, and while some oils (e.g., canola, olive) are healthier than others, they all have approximately 120 calories per tablespoon. So you may go to the trouble of ordering an egg-white omelet, believing you’re making a “healthy” choice, but it could be doused in oil.

Or you might order grilled or steamed vegetables, but they may have been marinating in oil for hours, if not all day. It’s difficult to get grilled or steamed veggies without oil, because they must be made to order–and that takes a lot of time in a busy kitchen. And certain vegetables are worse than others. “Eggplant, for example, absorbs a lot of oil–just poke it around in your dish, and see what comes out,” says Greely.

There’s oil in other “healthy” foods as well. Because fat and oil help preserve cooked food, busy restaurants usually partially cook poultry/fish and then coat it in butter/oil until it’s ready to be finished, says Billy Strynkowski, executive chef of Cooking Light magazine. “Even if you order your chicken ‘dry’ with the sauce on the side, poultry is always pan-fried in oil or clarified butter.”

Pasta, potatoes and rice, again, are often partially cooked and filmed with some type of fat so they stay fresh and don’t clump together, adds Juventino Avila, chef and instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City. Oh, and if you think that having simple rice and beans at your favorite Mexican restaurant is healthy, think again–the rice is fried, then steamed.

Healthy tip: Be aware of where you’re eating. Restaurants typically want to please their patrons; however, most of the time, unless the restaurant promotes itself as healthy, it just doesn’t have the equipment, materials, time or utensils to do it right, offers Avila.

Almost all the chefs agree: If you want it cooked a certain way, make sure to tell your server that you have an allergy (to butter, or whatever it is you want eliminated). This usually encourages the chef to make up a new batch of veggies, chicken, etc., without those added calories. Avila recommends calling the restaurant in advance and making sure it can provide the food exactly the way you want it prepared.

– Tip by Charles Stuart Platkin on active.com.

The Diet Detective: You’ve Been Grilled

Not all grills are created equal. Say WHAT? Yup, just because you order something grilled at a restaurant doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Check out this great tip about grilling and ordering grilled food.

You’ve Been Grilled
That’s right, even the grill isn’t sacred. I don’t know how many times I’ve recommended that people order their food grilled. But according to food-safety expert Jeff Nelken, “Often times breakfast cooks save the bacon fat and use it on the grill to make lunch and dinner foods.” Also, the grill itself may not be what you think it is.

When we order foods grilled, most of us assume they’ll be cooked on an open flame, but many times it’s a flat-top grill, where some type of grease or oil is necessary to create an even cooking surface, increase the cooking speed and prevent the food from sticking.

Many restaurants will call a food “flame grilled” on the menu, but even so, the food or the grill may have been brushed with oil to prevent sticking. Even “grilled” fish/seafood is always brushed with some type of oil, says John Greely, chef at the famed 21 Club in New York City.

Healthy tip: Ask if they’re using a flat-top grill or a flame grill. If it’s flat-top, request your food grilled in a pan with cooking spray instead of oil. Nelken suggests telling the server you “just returned from the hospital and need the food prepared according to doctor’s instruction.”

Another option is frequenting restaurants where you can see the food being cooked in an open kitchen, says, Kimberly Johnson, R.D., a chef and instructor in the Nutrition and Hospitality Management Department at Syracuse University in Syracuse, NY.

– Tip by Charles Stuart Platkin on active.com.

Muscle & Fitness Hers: Give New Life to Your Egg Whites

Muscle & Fitness Hers has a fresh redesign to their web site and some great new content as well. Get crack’n this morning with a few tips on how to liven up your egg whites.


Egg whites are a fit female’s easy protein source – two can be cooked in the microwave in two minutes. By themselves, though, they can be pretty plain and flavorless. Use these tips to liven up these protein powerhouses. Each suggestion uses two egg whites.

• Mix the whites into oatmeal or Cream of Wheat. Add cinnamon and Splenda for more flavor.

• Place eggs in a small corn tortilla, top with 1 ounce low-fat shredded cheese and 1⁄3 cup of your favorite salsa.

Check out all the tips here!

Ten Ways to Better Tasting Chicken

Most of you probably eat chicken on a regular basis. It can get a little boring eating the same thing every day but it doesn’t have to be.


Tip 1. Marinating:
For a richer flavor, season and marinate your chicken for 24 hours before cooking and store it in the refrigerator. The longer you keep chicken in a marinade, the more it’ll be infused with flavor.

Tip 2. Healthy Marinating:
To keep meals healthier, marinate chicken in seasoned fruit juice or chicken broth instead of oil-based marinades before grilling or broiling.

Always store chicken in the fridge while it marinates, even if you only plan to let it soak for 30 minutes.

Tip 3. Seasoning:
Use bold seasonings like freshly grated lemon peel, minced hot peppers, fresh herbs, and infused vinegars to add flavor.

Read more on how to make your chicken taste great.

Disclaimer: Reader discretion advised, please consult your physician before beginning any exercise or diet program.