Crazy for Collagen
Something that has come around in the beauty + health industry, specifically with women, is the consumption of collagen supplements to benefit the body inside + out! Vital Proteins has created a collagen peptides powder that can be used in any kind of drink - from water to juices to smoothies - and it is something I use in my weekly regimen. But if you’re not too sold on adding collagen supplements to your routine yet, here are some reasons why you should try!
IMPROVE SKIN HEALTH
Collagen is a major component of your skin. It aids in strengthening skin, plus may benefit elasticity + hydration. As you age, your body produces less collagen. This leads to dry skin and the formation of wrinkles. However, several studies have shown that collagen peptides or supplements containing collagen may help slow the aging process by reducing wrinkles and dryness.
PROMOTES HEART HEALTH
Collagen provides structure to your arteries, which are the blood vessels that carry blood from your heart to the rest of your body. Without enough collagen, arteries can become weak and fragile.
BOOSTS MUSCLE MASS
Between 1–10% of muscle tissue is composed of collagen. This protein is necessary to keep your muscles strong + functioning properly. Studies suggest that collagen supplements help boost muscle mass in people with sarcopenia, the loss of muscle mass that happens with age.
PREVENTS BONE LOSS + HELPS JOINT PAIN
Your bones are made mostly of collagen, which gives them structure and helps keep them strong + helps maintain the integrity of your cartilage, which is the rubber-like tissue that protects your joints. Just as the collagen in your body deteriorates as you age, so does bone mass. This may lead to conditions like osteoporosis, which is characterized by low bone density and linked to a higher risk of bone fractures. Taking collagen supplements can have certain effects in the body that help inhibit the bone breakdown that leads to osteoporosis.
One Pan Wonders
One of my fave cooking + all around life hacks is one pan cooking! It is the ultimate tip for anyone looking to cut down on time in the kitchen when they are living a busy life - and you know us Skinny Soupers are all about ease + convenience. This how-to will not only cut down your time in the kitchen, but also help you plan your meals for the week. One pan cooking for the win!
WHAT YOU NEED
A large sheet pan with lips/rims or high edges
Your fave cooking oil
Your fave seasonings
MY FAVE ONE SHEET RECIPE
I believe simplicity is key when it comes to my one pan wonders, so I usually choose a variety of veggies (and even some fruit sometimes), paired with either chicken or shrimp. If you are plant-based, choose tempeh or tofu!
Broccoli or Brussels Sprouts
Potatoes (yukon gold, red, or sweet potatoes, small chunks)
Zucchini or Butternut Squash
Chicken Breasts (small chunks)
Sliced Lemon or Lemon Juice
Finely Chopped Onion
Salt + Pepper
Cut all the contents of your one pan wonder into pieces that are relatively the same size for even cooking! Yes, even the meat. Put your one pan wonder in the oven at 350-400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 minutes (you might need more or less time depending on the contents of your pan). Take out, let cool, + enjoy! You can even pair your one pan dishes with a side of rice or place on top of a bed of your favorite greens.
Italian Edamame Salad
With the weather warming up, I have been craving my mom’s backyard grill-out staple… Edamame Salad! It is light, refreshing, + filled with flavor. Even better, it doesn’t get wilted + soggy like regular salad, but it gets better the more time it spends sitting in the fridge! With the main ingredient being two kinds of beans, this salad is fueling + perfect alongside any kind of grill-out entrees.
Shelled Edamame (frozen)
Great Northern or Cannellini Beans (canned)
Pecorino Romano Cheese
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Defrost edamame in a colander with running cold water or let defrost overnight in the fridge. Throw in a large bowl.
Rinse canned beans in a colander. Toss together with edamame and some sea salt.
Cut pecorino romano cheese into small pieces or cubes. Toss in with beans and edamame.
Put a few tablespoons of EVOO in a small saucepan with pressed garlic and chopped rosemary. Stir + continue stirring until mixture is fragrant. DO NOT BURN! Let cool for a few minutes. Pour over edamame, beans, + cheese.
Add in chopped parsley + toss.
Salt to taste.
Put in the fridge + serve chilled. Eat within 5 days.
Old Fruit? Don't Toss, Do This!
I know I am not the only one who looks at their old fruit + thinks “hmm it is definitely time to toss that”. Well this is your sign to STOP tossing your “old” fruit + do this instead! While your almost expired fruit looks a bit bleh to eat by itself, there are so many ways to use that fruit without having to throw it away. Here are my fave uses for all that “old” fruit!
Tbh, I purposefully let me bananas go “bad” whenever I buy them! Don’t get me wrong, I love bananas with peanut butter or in my cereal, but overripe bananas can be put to good, yummy use. Typically if my bananas start getting more brown than yellow, I peel them and put them in plastic bags or reusable containers + freeze them. This way I can use them when I need them for smoothies or my fave… BANANA BREAD! Overripe, frozen bananas are the best for homemade banana bread. They make for a moist bread that is so naturally sweet!
Another wonderful fruit that can be frozen when overripe, and used in smoothies! Avocados that have gotten “old” can also be used for face masks. Avocados have natural moisturizing properties + are the perfect addition to any homemade face mask. My fave mask recipe is avocado, oatmeal, + honey!
Again, freeze your “old” berries + use them in smoothies! But since I am a huge baker, I love to use my overripe berries in pies. I typically have an abundance of frozen berries in my freezer + they are perfect for berry pies or crumbles. You can make popsicles for your kiddos or homemade jam too!
One of my favorite overripe fruits to use instead of toss! Once again, I usually use my overripe apples to make crumbles or pies. But lately I have been trying my hand at homemade applesauce + apple butter in my slow cooker/crockpot. There are so many good recipes out there!
Faux Meats for the Win
If you’re a Skinny Souper, you know all the benefits + reasons someone might choose to go vegan or to eat plant-based proteins, rather than real meat. But if you are not completely sold on faux meats + are having some trouble transitioning from an omnivore to a strictly plant-based diet, here is why you should try faux meat - as well as, our recommendations on which ones to try!
WHY FAUX MEATS
Faux meats imitate meat products that most people are already familiar with, making them easy to integrate into our fave recipes! Some even come precooked, making them that much more convenient. Faux meats are also very similar in protein + calories to real meat, but usually contain less saturated fat + no cholesterol - meaning they are fueling and filling without the yucky stuff we can live without. Choosing faux meats over real meats is also an ethical and environmental choice! Many people who choose to be vegetarian or vegan, do it for these reasons + enjoy being a part of a movement that benefits the environment + treatment of animals. All in all, faux meats are great for people looking to transition from eating real meat to going fully plant-based.
TYPES + BRANDS
Beyond Beef + Impossible Burger both have similar makeups when it comes to creating their faux meats. By using soy + yeast, these brands were able to create a look + taste-alike to ground beef. Plant-based ground can be cooked + eaten exactly like ground beef.
Gardein has successfully made a substitute soy-based product that mimics the exact taste and consistency of chicken! It comes frozen + cooks much faster than chicken - making it convenient + delicious.
Taking the internet by storm for it’s uncanny resemblance to pulled-meats like pork or chicken, Jackfruit is a fibrous “faux meat” that can be found canned, frozen, or fresh. This is best cooked in a slow cooker or skillet, in combination with your favorite barbecue pulled-pork or sweet + sour sauce!
Made from wheat gluten, this faux meat product is high in protein + super low in fat. It reminds me of chicken texture but without the taste of meat. It is similar to tofu + tempeh, where it absorbs the flavors of what you cook it in! But I definitely recommend Upton’s Naturals, Traditional Seitan, throwing it on the grill or searing it in a pan!
Tofu + Tempeh
I typically go to Trader Joe’s for all my tofu or tempeh needs as it is affordable + bountiful no matter what TJ’s I go to! Tofu + tempeh are both made from soybeans, just broken down to different consistencies, and are probably the least “meat like” out of the whole list. Personally tempeh is a fave of mine, as it holds its shape and texture much better than tofu. But tofu is great if you know how to prepare it without it falling apart (usually my issue)!
It is time to have a talk about the food group most of us neglect as part of our weekly routine… CITRUS! I know in my diet, I usually think of citrus as a garnish or additive to a sauce - and I bet that that is true for a lot of people. Citrus is so versatile + has so many hidden benefits that no one knows about! Which is why I think we all could use a dose of some citrus facts, and about how beneficial + delicious citrus can be when added into your weekly regimen.
IMMUNITY BOOSTER + GERM FIGHTER
Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) is essential when it comes to skin health, hair care, + any kind of germ fighting your body may need! In fact, one medium orange contains 130% of your daily dose of Vitamin C. Ascorbic acid kills bacteria on the body + in the body, which is why we see so many people using Vitamin C in their daily skincare + multivitamin routine. Citrus is the ultimate immunity booster!
HIGH IN FIBER + LOW IN CALS
One of the things people don’t think about when it comes to citrus is that it is high in soluble dietary fiber. This helps reduce inflammation, improves immune function, lowers lipid + blood pressure (due to low glycemic index), + helps with weight loss. This low calorie food group can also keep you fueled without filling you up with unnecessary calories. Citrus keeps everything moving!
SKIN + HAIR
As I said above, citrus is used in many people’s daily routine for it’s powerhouse Vitamin C! But ascorbic acid can be used for more than just fighting off germs + boosting immunity. This past year, I introduced ascorbic acid into my daily skincare routine + I have seen so many benefits. Vitamin C aids in brightening skin tone, fighting fine lines and wrinkles, helps boost collagen production, reduces pigmentation, + helps exfoliate skin gently. Vitamin C also helps strengthen hair, reduces hair loss, + can be an aid when trying to fight dandruff, as it detoxifies the scalp. All in all, gives our bodies exactly what it needs!
Types of Citrus:
Ways to Eat/Use Them:
-Juices or Smoothies
-Added to a salad
-On their own, fresh
-Sauces or Dressings
Shamrock Shake Smoothie
In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I thought I’d share with our soupers an at-home + healthy twist on McDonald’s beloved Shamrock Shake! This smoothie is protein packed + creamy - I honestly wouldn’t even have known there were veggies in it, unless I read the recipe. Try this yummy treat as a midday snack, or eat it for dessert after you've had your share of corn beef + cabbage!
Spinach or Kale
I prefer to use baby spinach, as it leaves a much more subtle taste in the smoothie - whereas kale, can sometimes be a bit bitter.
Use your fave dairy or non-dairy option! My choice is unsweetened original almond milk.
Chocolate Protein Powder
You can use regular or plant-based if preferred!
I keep plain greek yogurt in my fridge at all times, so that I can add it to smoothies when I need some extra creaminess + protein.
Typically, I buy bananas, let them ripen + toss them in the freezer for all my smoothie needs. But if you don’t have frozen bananas, a good ole’ ripe banana will do.
Mint Leave or Mint Extract
You will get more mintiness with less product if you use mint extract instead, but there is just something about fresh mint leaves that tastes soooo much better!
If you like some additional sweetness - although you are getting the sweetness from the protein powder + banana - you can choose to add honey, stevia, or agave!
Now all you need to do is blend it all together in a blender + enjoy! You can even add whipped cream, mint leaves, + chocolate shavings for a fun garnish. Be sure to use a reusable straw when sipping!
Beans, lentils, peas, pulses, and so on are honestly such a superfood in my eyes! They are filling, delicious, and fueling. They all, naturally, have subtle flavors to them, so they take the flavor of whatever you cook them in - making them so versatile, you can make tons of recipes with them! If you’re new to the bean game, here is a quick overview of my fave kinds out there + how to eat them!
A versatile source of fiber, protein, + folate
Serving: 1 Cup, Cooked
Protein: 15.2 grams
Fiber: 15 grams
Folate (vitamin B9): 64% of the RDI
Iron: 20% of the RDI
Mix cooked black beans with corn, tomatoes, red onion, jalapeno, and cilantro for a protein-packed salsa!
A quick + easy vegetarian protein
Serving: 1 Cup, Cooked
Protein: 17.9 grams
Fiber: 15.6 grams
Folate (vitamin B9): 90% of the RDI
Add lentils to any soup or stew for an added protein + fiber boost!
“Garbanzo beans” are a great source of fiber + protein
Serving: 1 Cup, Cooked
Protein: 14.5 grams
Fiber: 12.5 grams
Folate (vitamin B9): 71% of the RDI
Iron: 26% of the RDI
Roast chickpeas in the oven + add to any salad for a crunchy, fibrous alternative to croutons!
SOYBEANS + EDAMAME
The highest in protein, while also offering a multitude of other benefits
Serving: 1 Cup, Cooked
Protein: 28.6 grams
Fiber: 10.3 grams
Iron: 49% of the RDI
Phosphorus: 42% of the RDI
Vitamin K: 41% of the RDI
Riboflavin (vitamin B2): 29% of the RDI
Folate (vitamin B9): 23% of the RDI
Edamame are just edible, immature soybeans. Try mixing them with cubed pecorino romano cheese, cannellini beans, olive oil, crushed garlic, rosemary, + salt for a fresh, summer bean salad!
Pasta in a Pinch
Yesterday was a whirlwind of a Wednesday… which is one of the reasons why our typical “On the Blog” post has been postponed till now! I thought about sharing with our followers tips on socially distanced workouts or different ways to use your favorite legumes. But then I found some inspiration in the last-minute dinner I prepared last night.
With projects, meetings, personal appointments, + a social life, getting home from a well worked day can be the best feeling in the world. But getting home from a well worked day with nothing to eat, is hands down the worst feeling in the world. After the busy day I had yesterday, all I wanted was some comfort food- and growing up in an italian family, my ultimate comfort food has always been pasta. Lots of people think making a delicious pasta dish can be time consuming. But my beautiful mother taught me that as long as you have pasta, EVOO, + fresh garlic, you have everything you need for some pasta in a pinch!
Growing up + even now, I usually have these ingredients in my fridge at all times because I live on salad, pasta, + garlic! If you’re like me, you probably have these or some variation of them in your fridge too.
Your Fave Pasta (I love this recipe with rigatoni or penne)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Fresh Garlic - crushed
Tomatoes (I use grape or cherry tomatoes, halved)
Spinach (Any leafy green will work)
Caldo Con Sabor De Pollo (*optional* but also my mom’s SECRET INGREDIENT… oops, sorry mom!)
Boil your water + add pasta. Remember to oversalt the water!
Add EVOO + crushed garlic to pan + cook until garlic is fragrant. Do not burn garlic!
Add cut tomatoes to pan + salt. Stir. Cook with the lid until tomatoes are soft and juicy.
Add butter + some more EVOO. You’re making a sauce for the pasta so be generous!
Add spinach to the pan. Stir + cook till wilted.
Take a couple ladles full of starchy pasta water from the boiling pasta + add to the pan.
Sprinkle in some Caldo Con Sabor De Pollo! This powder is salty, but it will give the sauce a great texture and taste - less is more.
Simmer sauce mixture for a few minutes.
Drain pasta + return to pan.
Pour sauce over pasta + mix well. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese! You can even sprinkle some crushed red pepper flakes over the pasta for a little kick.
Avocado Toast + 3 Ways to Make It
Avocado… oh how we LOVE you! You are creamy, fueling, and can be transformed into so many different delicious dishes. But our preferred way to eat you is on toast! These different takes on our favorite brunch staple are made for everyone. Whether you’re vegan, in a time crunch, or need something to fill you up for a busy morning, these 3 recipes have got you covered. They make it so you avo-CAN-do all day!
RISE ‘N’ SHINE
For the early riser who wants something traditional + delicious...
-Everything but the Bagel Seasoning (Find it @ Trader Joe’s, Aldi, or Jewel)
Start out by toasting your sourdough bread! Cook your eggs how you like them (my favorite is with a runny yolk). Smash your avocado in a bowl and spread evenly over the toast. Sprinkle with Everything but the Bagel seasoning + squeeze some lemon juice on top!
For a yummy addition, add your favorite cheese on top. I typically like to use shredded sharp cheddar cheese!
For the queens + kings looking to get the most nourishment + fuel from their veggies…
-Salt + Pepper
-Ezekiel Bread (Food for Life brand - find it @ Target or Jewel )
As always, toast that ezekiel bread! Mash up your avocado with some lemon juice, salt, + pepper, and spread it on your toast. Slice up your veggies and layer on top of the avocado spread. Sprinkle your microgreens on top! Salt + pepper to taste.
For our meat eating friends, you can add smoked salmon to this recipe for a smooth, melt in your mouth protein punch. Just add on top of the avocado spread before all your veggies!
SPICE IT UP
For those who love to hit the ground running in the morning…
-Red Pepper Flakes
Start by cooking your chorizo in a skillet - scrambling eggs in once the chorizo is cooked. Warm up your tortilla or wrap in the microwave or on the stove! Smash your avocado in a bowl - mixing in some lime juice, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper to taste. Spread your avocado mixture on your warm tortilla/wrap evenly. Add the scrambled eggs with chorizo. Sprinkle with chihuahua cheese + wrap it up!
This is one of my favorite avocado “toast” recipes… It is even my go-to hangover cure after a night out!
Better-for-You Brands + Classic Comfort Dishes
This past year, I have embraced comfort dishes with my whole heart... and whole stomach. From classic mac 'n cheese to wholesome baked goods, I have reached for dishes, products, and recipes that fill me with warmth and comfort while trying to navigate the changes of the world around me. But unfortunately sometimes those comfort foods, me and so many others reach for, are not the best option when it comes to fueling our bodies with the nutrients they need. Which is why I invested my time in looking for alternative, better-for-you options (that are also convenient) when it came to my favorite classic comfort dishes!
Talk about ooey-gooey mac ‘n cheese! When I first tried Annie’s, I was actually babysitting for some kiddos and this was what they wanted for lunch. I was blown away. Organic + options for all kinds of specialty diets, this is by far the best boxed mac ‘n cheese for when you are looking to fuel your body with cheesy comfort. Shells + White Cheddar is my fave!
One of my favorite things to eat when I am feeling extra stressed, are hot wings! But the oily mess that comes from fried chicken is something I wish I could avoid. Insert Wholly Veggie Buffalo Cauliflower! When I happened upon these, I was ecstatic. My favorite comfort food but veggie forward and delicious too. They are the perfect alternative for my hot wings cravings - just dip ‘em in some dairy free ranch + you’re set!
I grew up in an italian household, so pasta was always the solution for a crappy day + pizza was always our end of the week go-to meal! Which is why when I heard about Banza’s protein-packed pasta and pizza, I rushed to the store to get some. I love me some pasta + pizza, but sometimes after those meals I would feel so sluggish and dragged down. Banza’s twist on my own family’s fave comfort dishes, has let me have my cake and eat it too. Comfort food + fuel all in one!
After growing up watching every heart-broken girl whip out a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, I couldn’t help but deem ice cream the ultimate comfort food. But as I got older, I realized eating a pint of ice cream was actually more stressful on my body than the actual stress I was facing! That was until I discovered Halo Top. Protein-packed, with dairy + dairy free options, these pints range from 270-350 calories per pint. And with a plethora of yummy flavors, they quickly became my new “eat a whole pint of ice cream” guilt-free, comfort food!
Keep in mind…
Your body needs fuel + nourishment, but your mental health should come above it all. If you want those hot wings or nothing but a full pint of Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food will make you feel better, then have those things! Never deprive yourself of what you want/need. You deserve all the good food + good feelings.
Affordable Must Haves for Your at Home Mini-Gym
What do you do when gyms are closed, when WFH and stay-at-home is life, or when you just want something that is safer and more convenient than going to a gym or studio? Invest in your at home fitness! Working out from home is the new thing, but many people struggle when searching for convenient home alternatives to a gym or studio. With these affordable must haves you can build up your mini-gym and get back to the active lifestyle you’re missing!
Your mat is important when it comes to your workouts. You want something comfy and non-slip to support all types of movements! Maybe even get yourself a fun color to spark some joy and excitement when starting your workout.
The ATIVAFIT Non Slip TPE Yoga Mat Exercise & Workout Mat ($30) is fan fave! Eco-friendly, cushioned, and non-slip for that perfect workout support whether you’re doing yoga, HIIT, pilates, or simple strength training.
Bands are the best way to get resistance and start toning without adding actual weights to your at home mini-gym! Personally, I have two types of bands in my mini-gym: elastic long bands + non-slip booty bands. I use them DAILY in my workouts, so investing in both is a great idea for mini-gym newbies. Just be sure to check the weight resistance on the bands you’re getting!
Resistance Bands for Legs and Butt ($15) are my personal, affordable fave- completely non-slip and comfortable. They also come in cute colors. These bands add a challenge to my normal body weight only exercises, and come in a variety of resistances for all levels!
Allvodes Exercise Bands ($18) offer a variety of resistance bands in their pack of 5: ranging from 5lbs-25lbs. They are perfect for home workouts, and add that extra weight without the use of actual weights!
Or a “pilates ring”, is perfect for anyone looking to get a multitude of workouts from ONE piece of equipment. These magic circles offer resistance, toning, sculpting, and heightened flexibility when used in your at home workouts- typically pilates! If you are new to the pilates game, I’d suggest purchasing a magic circle that comes with a workout guide.
URBNFit Pilates Ring Fitness Circle ($18) comes in cute colors and has an awesome workout guide for newbies! It has comfortable padding on each end, will never crack or break, and is lightweight and portable.
Bala has given the home gym staple - ankle weights - a fashionable upgrade, while cleverly creating them so you can adjust them to also be worn on your wrists. Use them to add resistance to your workouts, or even multitask and turn mundane chores (like folding laundry) into a simultaneous workout by strapping them to your wrists. You can get them in 1/2lb, 1lb, or 2lb increments! They come in your favorites colors and are incredibly versatile for all fitness levels. Shred your arms, go for a walk, or train your core - and look good while you do it!
Bala Bangles ($40-$65)