Superbowl Ready with Healthy Recipes

Don’t let Superbowl Sunday be an excuse to ruin all the hard work you have done during the week with your exercise plan.  My son Peyton is a huge Peyton Manning and Broncos fan (no he wasn’t named after the quarterback but he likes to think he is.)  You can make lots of great party food that won’t increase your waistline.  All of the recipes are 21 Day Fix approved.

Your guests will love this refreshing margarita when they arrive. You can drink this without feeling guilty.

skinny margarita

For Appetizers, start your Super Bowl Party off with this Creamy Ranch Dip 21 Day Fix Approved dressing.  Cut up your favorite veggies to dip.  Your guests will love it.
ranch dressing

For a sweeter appetizer try these easy fruit kabobs.  You can use your favorite fruit.

Kids snack 1


For an easy entree I like to throw everything in the crock pot and let the Cilantro Lime Chicken cook while I get ready for guests.  I love crock pot meals because I can throw the ingredients in, let it go, and it turns out delicious.

Crockpot Cilantro Lime Chicken

Chocolate Shakeology Kisses are some my family’s favorite.  I love anything that has chocolate, these included.   These cookies are easy and do not have to be baked so can be done last minute.
Chocolate Shakeology Kisses Recipe jpg

Parties don’t have to mean lots of junk food, you can enjoy delicious food without all the empty calories.  Have a great Superbowl Sunday!

Go Broncos!


Christmas Survival Tips

Christmas is such a special, magical time of year.  As kids, we all experience the magic. As we grow into adults with more responsibilities, gifts to buy, cards to send, meals to prepare, baking to do, this time of year can become a time of stress and anxiety.  Let’s not forget the true meaning of the season and follow these tips below to make you feel less stressed.

christmas begins

1. No matter how busy your day gets, don’t skip your daily exercise.  Take at least 30 minutes a day to break away from the hustle and bustle.  Your mind and body will thank you and you will have more energy to get more crossed off your list when you are back at it.  It is also important to stay hydrated.  I like to keep my water bottle close by when running errands, shopping, or cooking in the kitchen.

photo (10)

2.  Don’t stress too much about the condition of your house during the holidays. People are coming over to visit and ENJOY FAMILY, not inspect your home for dust on that high shelf. I bet they won’t be wearing white gloves.

photo (13)

3.  Plan your shopping and budget ahead of time.  This will keep you more calm and relaxed knowing you don’t have to finish your shopping on Christmas Eve.

4.  Shop online.  This is a great way to compare prices or find just what you are looking for before you hit the local stores and shops. Many stores have reduced or free shipping right to your door this time of year.

5.  Prepare your dishes or treats ahead of time if possible. This can help keep you organized and save you stress right before your guests arrive.

6.  Be conscious of what you eat, but don’t beat yourself up over eating a cookie (or two).  When eating dinner chew slowly, savor the food, and drink water in between bites. When choosing sweets, choose only those that you truly love and in smaller doses.  Before I go to a big meal I like to drink my Shakeology, which is a great source of protein and helps with my sweet cravings.  Eating something a couple of hours before a big meal is a great way to avoid overeating.

photo (12)

I would love to hear from you!  What are some of your family’s Christmas Traditions? How do you plan on staying on track with your fitness and nutrition this holiday season?

christmas cartoon

There are so many exciting things happening in 2016!  On January 4 I will be starting the new Master’s Hammer & Chisel workout and invite you to join my online accountability group.  Together we will choose an exercise and nutrition plan that fits your life. The group includes daily motivation, healthy recipes, fitness tips, step by step meal prep tips, and prizes!  Now is the perfect time to start planning for your New Year’s Resolutions.  I am here to help you every step of the way.  Contact me for more details on how you can get on track for a healthy 2016!

From my Family to Yours-Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Healthy New Year!

How to Get That 6 Pack

Everyone wants a six pack, right?  Many times I get the questions, “How can I get a six pack?”  “How can I lose weight around my belly or mid section?”  “What exercises can I do to tone my tummy?” Ab workouts are great for defining your tummy but you also have to get your nutrition in check to go with it. If you have the strongest, most defined abs, you won’t be able to see them if your nutrition is lacking and there is a layer of fat covering that 6 pack. Get on track with your nutrition and incorporate these ab exercises into your workout schedule 2-3 times a week. These exercises target all the muscles that will give you that six pack.

When you start out, start out slowly.  If you aren’t already exercising, take it easy at first. You can increase your reps as you get stronger.  I recommend doing these exercises 2-3 times a week with at least one rest day inbetween.  Your abs are muscles and they need rest.  These muscles should not be worked everyday.  Start out with 10 reps, 3 times each if you are a beginner. If you more fit try starting out with 20 reps 3 times each.

Abs worked with exercise

  1.  The crisscross exercise targets the entire rectus abdominus muscle from top to bottom as shown above.  This exercise is tough. If you are just starting out you will want to do this exercise with your feet a little further up in the air. If you are more advanced you will want your heals just barely above the ground.  The movement should be slow and controlled.   Be sure to pull your belly button into your spine and keep the small of your back on the floor. Be sure not to strain your neck.
  2. Crossover crunch targets the obliques (the muscles on each side of your stomach) and the upper portion of your rectus abdominus.  Once again start slow and work your way up. Keep the small of your back pressed into the floor and do not strain your neck.  You will be crunching up and touching opposite elbow to opposite knee.
  3. The traditional crunch also targets the upper portion of the rectus abdominus.  You don’t have to curl up all the way.  A partial curl is more effective.
  4. Flutter kicks. This is also targets the entire rectus adominus. It is more advanced.  Make sure to press your lower back into the floor and put your hands under your butt. Move your legs in a slow and controlled flutter motion. The more advanced the closer your feet should be to the ground.  If you are a beginner start by doing this exercise for 10 seconds, 3 times. As you get stronger I recommend increasing to 30 second, 45 second, and 60 seconds intervals.
  5. The heel touch is also designed to target the upper rectus abdominus and lower obliques. This is a partial curl up.  Once again keep your belly button pulled in towards your spine, the small of your back pushed into the floor, and don’t strain your neck.

workout fairy

Unfortunately, if you want to “lose weight in the belly or midsection” doing 100 sit ups a day is not going to do it.  If you want “slender arms,” 20 bicep curls will not help you lose weight from that area.  Your body will lose weight naturally from one area to another. For example, if you are someone who puts on more weight in the thigh region, that may be where you lose weight first with proper nutrition and exercise.  You can’t exercise one body part and expect to lose fat from that one region.  Many women tend to lose weight in the chest region when they start losing. For some of us this isn’t ideal but we don’t have any control over that.

If you need help working on your six pack sign up here and I will contact you.


Beachbody Photos 002


Avocado Salad Dressing or Veggie Dip


Summer Chicken Waldorf Salad with Avocado

chicken waldorf salad

Easy Dijon Chicken

Dijon Chicken Recipe

Taco Tuesday Recipes

Taco Tuesday is a well known saying but almost everyday may as well be Tuesday at my house.   I LOVE tacos.  I have always loved tacos but the fact that I can make them quick, easy, and healthy makes them even better.  Tacos are great for hiding veggies from your kids or husband (in some cases).   If you slice and dice the veggies up really fine they won’t even know they are in there.  Luckily my family loves tacos and will eat them often.  I make a variety of taco recipes. Here they are.

One of my favorite ways to prep my food for the week is to grill chicken breasts ahead of time.  I throw them on the grill on Sunday and have them for the entire week. I can easily use them to make tacos, fajitas, or one of my favorites, taco salad.  I throw spinach, romaine lettuce, chicken with a little taco seasoning,  fresh tomatoes, fresh peppers, onion, and cilantro and toss it.  Smashed avocado and salsa make a delicious healthy dressing.

Chicken Fajita Casserole

A very quick easy way to make a Chicken Fajita Casserole is in a Pampered Chef Stoneware.  Just slice the veggies into the casserole, set the raw, thawed chicken breasts on top, add the seasonings, and microwave for 30 minutes.  Make this casserole or the one above to your family’s liking. I actually left out the fresh onion and peppers in the recipe above.

Crockpot Cilantro Lime Chicken

This recipe for crock pot cilantro lime chicken is delicious.  I leave out the jalapeno peppers when my kids are eating but otherwise it has become a family favorite.

What about tacos when it gets really cold.  If you would like a different twist on tacos, throw together a Taco Soup. This is another one of my favorite crock pot meals in the winter.  I throw together chicken or lean cooked hamburger with tomato juice, taco seasoning, black beans, and my favorite veggies. I love onions, peppers, and tomatoes but you can make it to your family’s liking.

Tacos can be so delicious, quick, easy, and versatile. Tacos are staples in my family’s diet.

The Amazing Avocado

Amazing AvocadoAvocados are great food to incorporate into your diet, especially if you want to lose weight and eat healthier.  They are delicious, nutritious and so easy to add into any meal or snack.


Avocados have a substantial amount of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients with few calories. One fifth an avocado (1 oz. serving) has 20 vitamins and minerals, less than 1 gram of sugar,  at only 50 calories.  Over 75% of the fat in avocado is unsaturated (the healthy kind) that will help fill you up.

Avocados make a great baby food due to it’s health benefits and the smooth, creamy texture.  The unsaturated fat used in the development of the Central Nervous System and brain is very important for babies.


I love them on my sandwiches and wraps. I use avocado in place of mayo.  They are a healthy alternative to the empty calories and fat in lots of sandwich spreads.  I also like to slice them and eat them along side my scrambled eggs in the morning.  One of my favorite snacks is a homemade guacamole.  I smash the avocado into salsa.  There are so many versatile ways you can eat them and tons of great recipes.


When you buy avocados you can buy them at different stages.  The green ones will be firm and will be ready in approximately 3-4 days.  If you purchase an avocado with some spots it is a little further along and will be ready in 2-3 days.  The black ones that are a little less firm but not mushy, are ready to eat now.  I like to buy some at different stages so I have some for the next week or so.  If you want to speed up the ripening of an avocado leave it out on the counter.  You can also put in in a paper sack to speed up the ripening. Avocados that are ready to eat should be kept refrigerated.


Cut the avocado down the middle.  Remove the seed and scoop out the middle or peel the skin away to slice up nicely for salads.  If you are only using part of the avocado keep the seed in the half that you are going to use later and wrap tightly in saran wrap to avoid oxidation.

Check out these healthy recipes that include avocados.




Visit for more healthy recipes!




Is eating healthy more expensive?

Many people I talk to about fitness and nutrition tell me eating healthy is too expensive.  I disagree.  Buying junk food and processed food can lead to more expenses in the long run.

Three diseases have become very prevelant in the United States.  Heart disease, cancer, and diabetes are affecting millions of people in this country.  Fortunately, we can prevent many of these cases.

If you think eating healthy is expensive, consider this…

According to the 2008 Milman report open heart surgery and heart transplants made the list of “Top 10 Most Expensive Medical Procedures.”

Heart Transplant made number 2 coming in at $787,700 (this was 6 years ago so it is very likely the price tag has increased substantially).  Heart transplants are some of the most complicated procedures carrying a great risk, with long waiting lists and lengthy surgeries.

Open heart surgery made number 6, at $324,000.  Heart disease is the #1 cause of death in the U.S. at 26%.  This is one of the reasons I make an effort to buy healthier options at the grocery store for my family and myself.  Open heart surgery is a more common procedure than most people realize but it is expensive due to the urgency of the procedure and the complications, care needed, and follow up afterwards.

Some types of cancers are also related to our diets.  Cancer is a costly disease in our nation and unfortunately health insurance companies do not cover all the costs.  Expenses include Dr. visits, lab tests, clinic visits, imaging tests, radiation treatments, drug costs, hospital stays, surgeries, and home health care.

Type II Diabetes has become another  disease we face.  According to the American Diabetes Association 86 million Americans age 20 or older have prediabetes (high blood sugar levels putting them at great risk for Type II Diabetes, heart disease, and stroke in the future).  Diabetes was the 7th leading cause of death in the U.S in 2010.

If you look at the cost of buying healthier foods at the grocery store versus what you may be paying later on in life in health care costs, healthy eating is very economical and will lead to a better quality of life in many ways. Without even worrying about the cost, I want my family and I to be able to have the best quality of life for as long as possible. As our bodies age we are going to have issues and ailments, but if I can prolong them or avoid some of them by making good choices now, I am going to try hard to do it.

Here are some helpful tips when it comes to saving money while eating healthy.

-Avoid pre-cut produce, and pre-made meals and sides.
-Buy store brands instead of national brands
-Purchase the majority of your items around the outside perimeter of the store. This is where you will find the fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, and dairy. The processed foods you should avoid are in the center of the store.
-Buy produce in season. Watch for sales and compare prices at grocery stores. Most of the grocery stores in my small town will honor the sale prices from other stores.
-Take one day a week to plan all your meals and snacks out for the week.  Cook in bulk. For example, grills a bunch of chicken breasts to toss on salads or as a main meal or cook up some quinoa for that salad or soup.
-When doing your menu planning, plan for 4-5 nights worth of meals and clean up the left overs the rest of the week.
-Buy in bulk when possible. You can get meat in bulk and freeze some of it or buy beans or grains in bulk.
-Make a grocery list when you go to the store and stick with it.
-You will be surprised how much money you can save on unhealthy items. If you eliminate soda, alcohol, and other junk food you will be amazed at how much you can save off your grocery bill. I saw a huge bag of Peanut M & M’s the other day for $9.99. I am not going to disagree, they taste good, but that is $10 for almost no nutritional value.
-Save eating out for special occasions. You will save a lot of money and appreciate those dinners more when they are less often.

By planning ahead for the week you will find that you make better use of your groceries which will save you money and you will eat healthier.  You will also be less likely to pick up take out food on the way home from a long day at work.  It will eliminate some stress and help everyone develop better eating habits.

You can find more healthy recipes at


3 Day Refresh Review

This last week was very crazy in the Gress house!  My son was showing pigs at the Charter Oak Achievement Days, which is our home town fair.  It is a fun time and very hectic.  Fair time means that besides all the day to day chores and work at home I make an average of 4 trips to town a day to run Dawson to and from the fair, go in for activities, and help him with his fair chores.

This doesn’t give me much spare time so I thought I might be a little crazy trying the 3 Day Refresh during three of the most busiest days of the summer.  Once I made up my mind, I decided I was going to do it, and do it right.  After a trip to Las Vegas and the 4th of July, where I indulged in restaurant meals, sugary sweets, and a few adult beverages, I needed to detox and get my body back on track.

3 Day Refresh

The New 3 Day Refresh…Lose weight and break those bad eating habits in 3 Days!

I scheduled my 3 Day Refresh for Monday through Wednesday.  On Sunday, I read through all the information that came with the kit.  The information was simple and to the point.  I loved how the guide was easy to follow.  The menu instructions have “fill in the blank” lines when it came to planning what kind of food I was going to eat each day.  This made grocery shopping easy.  Each day it gave you the information about what you were to eat for each meal and snack.  You would choose from a list and select a healthy fat, vegetable, or fruit, depending on what the meal called for. It made planning ahead so easy and the Refresh very easy to follow, even with my busier than normal schedule.  Although the 3 Day Refresh is only about 900 calories a day, you eat very nutrient dense food and get everything your body needs in those 3 days.  You can find my “day by day” comments on my Facebook page

My Shakeology Shaker cup was my best friend during the 3 Day Refresh.  I took it with me on the run so I could get my Shakeology, Vanilla Fresh protein shake, or fiber in daily.  This made following the plan very easy.

I also prepared all my snacks and meals ahead of time. When I was running I chose snacks such as carrot sticks and hummus or celery sticks and smashed avocado,  which were easy to transport.  For dinner each night I planned accordingly depending on if I was going to be home or not. On two out of three of the nights I was on the run so I ate a spinach salad. The salad was a great choice because there was no cooking involved and I was able to make both salads at the same time since one salad called for half a tomato, cucumber, and red pepper. I simply cut up the entire vegetable to make two salads. I found out I really enjoyed the dressing of fresh lemon juice and olive oil.

I gotta be honest….the 3 Day Refresh started out rough for me!  I really enjoy eating healthy and have finally, after years of struggling, gotten a pretty good grasp on my nutrition; however, doing the 3 Day Refresh, and especially reporting in to my clients, gave me anxiety.  It sounds silly, but I was really nervous, but a person can do anything for 3 days, right?

The first day of my 3 Day Refresh I was starving.  I woke up and drank my water, had my Shakeology for breakfast, which is part of my normal routine and something I look forward to like others look forward to their morning coffee, and didn’t have a problem with the fiber drink midmorning.  (Tip-don’t let it sit, mix it up and drink right away.)  I passed on the optional tea every morning and afternoon because that isn’t my thing.  By the time lunch came around I was starving.  I ate my entire lunch and Vanilla Fresh shake (which was good), but felt so full that I was almost sick. I felt like I was going to explode, but I was determined to stick to the program.  By midafternoon I was ready for my snack and hungrily ate it. Fast forward to dinner…once again a meal and Vanilla Fresh protein shake.  I just couldn’t finish it all, it was too much food for my tummy.  That night I went to bed hungry as the shake and food were long digested.  Although I wanted to get a workout in I felt like I just didn’t have the energy.

On day 2 I decided to modify a little bit.  I followed the program but spread out my Vanilla Fresh Shakes and meals during the day, eating them one hour apart.  Day 2 and 3 were much easier and I was satisfied.  Even though I was at the fair all three days, surrounded by homemade pie, soda, and burgers, I managed to stick to the program. I even got a PiYo workout in and felt great.  I could have done better drinking water, as that is something I constantly struggle with and I didn’t pack enough filtered water due to the fact that my three year old son and I ended up sharing at the fair.  Overall it was successful and it is definetly something I will do again.

I lost 1/2 inch, 3 pounds, and had better definition of my ab muscles afterwards. I felt great and kicked some bad eating habits I had developed in the previous weeks.  The 3 Day Refresh is a great jump start to weight loss, good for gently detoxing the body getting back into clean eating.