I’m so excited to bring you this post from guest blogger and PowerFull Fitness lady  – Mary Jenny! Mary Jenny and I have done a lot of chatting about sugar and sugar intake. She is a French Pastry Culinary School graduate – this girl knows her stuff.  I asked her to help me out for how to enjoy a coffee treat but keep me on track too!  Here is what she has to say!!

I love coffee! I realize not everyone feels that way, but it’s something I truly enjoy.  Coffee itself isn’t a bad thing.  Research has shown it has many health benefits.  I’m not going to cover those here, but if you’re curious, WebMD has some good information.  What I will tell you is although it can be good for you in moderation, many of us add so much sugar, chocolate, cream/milk it becomes a calorie and fat nightmare.  Our daily cup of coffee can easily be made healthier by less sugar and cream, but what about all those fun drinks at the local coffee shop?  Most of what I’m going to explain pertains to Starbucks, but can be applied most anywhere.  If you’ve worked at Starbucks and things are different please know this is what I’ve learned from personal experience and their available nutrition tables.

So where to begin…  Let’s start with caffeine. The most typical specialty hot drinks ordered begin with espresso.  A tall (or small) comes with one shot and a grande (medium) and venti (large) have two shots unless the venti is iced and then it has three shots.  You can always increase or decrease the number of shots in a drink, but did you know you can make one or all of them decaf?  When I was pregnant and nursing, I loved iced coffee, but my kids couldn’t handle the caffeine.  I learned that most coffee shops don’t offer iced decaf coffee but you can order an iced decaf americano (espresso shot topped off with water). The same can be applied to hot beverages, so if you prefer less caffeine you can always substitute some or all the shots.

Next, most espresso-based drinks (latte, cappuccino, macchiato, etc.) contain some sort of milk. Your options include non-fat, 2% or whole milk as well as soy or coconut milk.  Unless you request something different, Starbucks makes their drinks with 2% milk.  The lowest calorie option is non-fat milk.  The remaining options from lowest to highest are as follows: coconut, soy, 2%, and whole.  Keep in mind that each option will have a slightly different texture in your mouth.

Now for the biggie, syrup! One of the easiest calorie savers is to use sugar-free syrup and non-fat milk and Starbucks typically refers to these as “skinny” drinks.  The drinks with sugar-free syrup and non-fat milk are the lowest calorie options on their menus; unfortunately, I really don’t like how the sugar-free syrups taste.  A talle flavored latte has 3 pumps, a grande has 4 and a venti has 5.  Each pump of regular syrup contains about 20 calories, so one of the first things you can do to experiment is reduce the number of pumps in your cup.  I always order mine with half the syrup.  So what about those drinks that aren’t lattes like mochas and macchiatos?  Well, Starbucks has a “skinny” version of these, too.  If you don’t want the skinny version, you can always reduce the number of pumps of syrup or order it with non-fat milk and skip the whipped cream.  The drinks with chocolate have a lot of calories; so unless you have the calories to splurge, it might be best to pass on those.  So, as good as it tastes, the White Chocolate Mocha is one of the worst offenders on the menu.
Keep in mind, all of these techniques can be applied to iced beverages as well.  I’ll leave you with a little something to consider as you’re now exploring your own options.  My favorite drink is a grande latte. This means it has 2% milk and no syrup.  It contains 190 calories, 7 grams of fat and 17 grams of sugar. My other go to drink is a non-fat milk, 2-pump vanilla latte with 160 calories, 0 grams of fat, and 26 grams of sugar.  Although my favorite has more calories and fat, it keeps me full much longer and has less sugar.  It is also creamier which is something I enjoy while drinking coffee.

As I continue on my journey to be more healthy, I realize my Starbucks habit shouldn’t be a daily habit, but I can have it for a treat and make it a little more healthy!

Thank you for your valuable input Mary Jenny! Loved learning from you!


Road Trip Survival Part Six

Today is the last day in our series on road trip survival. I want to end with something that is near and dear to my heart – balance.

Guys – we should not dread trips with our families or going out of town because we are scared of losing our fitness momentum. We can have both – we can have great health and great fun all at the same time.

Many of you have seen this before but it is a message that we need to hear over and over.  We need to be able to enjoy life!  So watch this quick video for a way that I balance my socials and trips with my health goals.

Love you guys!


Road Trip Survival Part Five

Alright friends, we’ve talked about snacks, prepping snacks, eating out in the airport and even our favorite coffee treats as part of our road trip series. Today I want to talk WORKING OUT.  This can be very tricky on the road. We often don’t have the equipment we need, we don’t have a lot of room, and we may not have the privacy we want.  So what can we do?

A couple of things:

1.  BE REALISTIC.  Maybe working out can’t happen as often as you’d like on this trip. Ok – we can deal with that.  Stay on track nutritionally and then you can pick right back up with your schedule when you get home.  Progress not perfection friends!

2.  Work it in when you can. Remember this does not have to be an all or nothing mentality.  So:

  • Park further away and walk to the stores.
  • Take the stairs in the hotel (run up them with your kiddos and race – they will love it and you will be sweating!)
  • Get active on your vacation. Have some activities with your kids that involve movement – go swimming, take a bike ride around the new city, stop at a new park and check it out together.  There are great ways to get moving and see new sights!
  • Do a few sit ups and push ups in your hotel before you go to bed

3. If you have the option, choose hotels with a gym so you can hop on a treadmill.

4.  Be willing to deviate from the norm. So you’ve been lifting weights – well you can’t bring those with you so try a routine that just uses your body weight or do some cardio while you are gone. You know what? Doing something different may actually bring you more results because of the muscle confusion.

Here are a few of our work outs that require no equipment except you and a timer!

absolute abs –  a quick ab work out

Interval Run – Beginner – if you have a treadmill in your gym try this one out!

Short glute circuit – just get a little lower body work in

Tabata-Round-One– a great cardio routine that only requires a bit of space and a timer!

Hope this helps you get a little sweat on!

Road Trip Survival Part Four

Alright – today we get real. Sometimes we just want a treat and we want a coffee treat. We want to hit up Starbucks and just have a cup of coffee and something sweet on our vacation. That is ok! Let’s take a second today and talk about how to do both:  enjoy a coffee break and stay on track.

These options are a bit higher calorie than normal for a usual snack but still provide some great fiber benefits.

Starbucks offers a couple of lower-fat bakery options, both with 3 grams of fat and from 3 to 5 grams of fiber:

  • low-fat Cranberry Apple Muffin (290 calories)
  • low-fat Oat Fruit Scone (320 calories)

Coffee cake options have a bit higher fat content:

  • Reduced-Fat Banana Dulce Coffee Cake: 360 calories, 7 grams fat.
  • Reduced-Fat Blueberry Coffee Cake: 310 calories, 10 grams fat.
  • Reduced-Fat Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake: 300 calories, 8 grams fat.
  • Reduced-Fat Orange Crème Coffee Cake: 320 calories, 8 grams fat.

For comparison – something like the Devils Food Doughnut has 430 calories and 23 grams of fat.

These have lower calories but are lacking in the fiber department:

Petite vanilla scone has 120 calories and 4.5 grams of fat but 0 fiber

Flourless chocolate cookie 170 calories, 4.5 grams of fat and 2 grams of fiber

For a warm breakfast:

  • Whole Grain Western Omelet Wrap, with 300 calories, 13 grams of fat, and 3 grams fiber.

Starbucks has plenty of drinks that are around 150 calories and contain almost no fat.

The rules to order by:

  • buy it “tall” (size), buy it “light” and “nonfat:
  • definitely buy it with “no whip.”
  • if you can, order your coffee drinks “decaf” to help keep you hydrated during your travels.
The Tangerine Frappuccino Juice Blend has fewer than 150 calories if you order the tall size.
You can also now order Starbucks’ Blended Crème drinks in “light” — the tall LIGHT Strawberries & Crème Frappuccino Blended Crème totals 150 calories and 0 grams of fat, while the tall LIGHT Orange Crème Frappuccino Blended Crème has just 110 calories and 0 grams fat.
So sip away my friends – guilt free!
This information is from webmd (

Road Trip Survival Part Three

So far on our road trip series we’ve discussed how to pack your own grab and go snacks as well as some make ahead snacks. Today I want to talk about – the airport.  Yipes!  Just walking in an airport you start to smell the Cinnabon and Orange Julius.  ABORT FRIENDS ABORT.  Let’s hash out some ways we can stay on track while in an airport.

1.  Go back to day 1 and 2 and PACK YOUR OWN SNACKS.

Ok if you don’t have your own snacks let’s list some things to do to stay on track.

  • When you are looking for a snack, opt for mixed nuts or pretzels instead of chips.
  • Don’t just settle for the first fast food restaurant you see. Take a second and look for ones with healthier options.
  • If you are getting pizza, get a veggie slice and pair with fresh fruit or raw veggies. You need the high nutrient, low fat option to go with the richness of the pizza.
  • For sandwich shops, look for whole wheat bread and lean meat or vegetarian options.  Dress it with no calorie options like mustard and leave the mayo and extra cheese and sauces off.
  • Mexican options – go for grilled not fried.  Get grilled chicken or shrimp tacos and avoid the creams and extra cheese – just use fresh salsa.
  • Breakfast in the airport? – opt for egg entrees with lean meat. If it has cheese, ask them to use 1/2 the normal amount and check and see if egg white options are available. If you are just having to get pancakes and waffles – top with fresh fruit instead of syrup and butter.

Keep these little tips in mind and you will be just fine on your trip friend!

Road Trip Survival Part Two

Yesterday we discussed snacks for a road trip – ways to stay on track even when in the car.  Our snacks yesterday were more of a grab, bag, and go variety. Today I want to share with you some of my favorite recipes that I make ahead before leaving. Yes, again this takes a bit more preparation but it helps SO MUCH in the long run. You will feel so much better knowing you have healthy options on hand and that you aren’t completely going off course from all the hard work you’ve put in.

So some of my favorite snacks are:

1. Chocolate chip muffins. Having these helps me avoid any type of crazy carb craving I may be having while driving.

2. Peanut butter bars. These are sweet so it helps with my sweet tooth but provides an awesome protein punch and keeps me full too.  Sometimes they can get a bit sticky so I keep them in a cooler.

3.  Little chocolate chip cookie bites. Again, helps me with my cravings.

4. No bake energy bites. These are packed with protein and fiber but also have a bit of sweet to keep my eyes off the doughnuts and on the road.

Hopefully these little healthy sweet treats will help you avoid the crazy afternoon driving crash on your next trip.  Take a few minutes the night before and fix yourself some road trip treats – you won’t regret it!

Road Trip Survival Part One

disneySince I am traveling all this week, I thought we would do a series on how to survive road trips and eating out.  Preparing this information for you will help me stay on track!

Today let’s start with what to pack for a road trip.  The key here is preparation. When I know I am going to be in the car or on the plane, I have to prepare. Yes it takes a bit of planning, but girls – when we get to our destiation we won’t feel bloated and gross from hitting up Dunkin’ Donuts and gas station treats along the way.  Now I’m going to start by saying – I always have one terrible for me DD coffee on my road trips. It is a splurge and I plan for it.  I work it into my day and know it is happening. The rest of the time, I stay on course by eating the things I prepared.

Here is a list of things I always pack with me on a car trip (works for plane rides too!)  These are no bake things that you can just buy, chop, and place in zip lock bags.  Tomorrow we will go into some great “bake ahead” snacks for trips.

  • almonds (I prepare the right serving size in ziplock baggies so I don’t go overboard)
  • peanuts (also prepared so I don’t go overboard)
  • carrots and cherry tomatoes (I like to have these because it is a low calorie food and if I get bored driving I can just munch on these – way better than chips!)
  • edamame (also prepared)
  • apples
  • bananas
  • dried fruit (just watch serving sizes)
  • KIND bars
  • any other type of nut (walnuts, and pistachios have awesome fats and antioxidants) by themselves or throw some in a bowl with cranberries or shredded coconut
  • any other type of fruit such as berries, oranges, peaches. You can create a mixture of these.  Frozen grapes are also absolutely delicious if you haven’t tried them yet!

Stay tuned – tomorrow I will share some great make ahead snacks for your trip