All posts by Jeff Fidler

easy beginner yoga

Get the Most out of Easy Yoga for Beginners

How to Get the Most out of Yoga for Beginners

Yoga is by far one of the best ways to get fit, look fantastic, and feel even better.

But if you’re just getting started with yoga, it can be hard knowing what to do. You have lots of choices just figuring out which class to take. There are several schools of thought about how to best approach yoga. And starting off on the wrong foot, or in the wrong class, could turn you off what would otherwise be an extremely rewarding exercise regimen.

So, let’s examine yoga closely to figure out:

  • what it is
  • what you need to get started, and
  • how to get the most out of it

What is Yoga?

Yoga was introduced to the West in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and since the 1980s has been one of the most popular forms of exercise in North America. But people have been practicing yoga in Asia for millennia.

As best we can tell, yoga was first practiced in India over 2,500 years ago. Yoga is a blend of physical, mental, and spiritual disciplines designed to balance and unify your body, mind, and soul.

While we mostly focus on the physical side of yoga in the West, traditional Indian yoga is deeply spiritual and meditative. Indeed, philosophy itself plays a big part in everyday yoga practices with a strong emphasis placed on metaphysics and the theory of knowledge.

That said, many in the West who pride themselves on secular rationalism still find yoga a wonderful way to stretch and strengthen their muscles. And find some genuine inner peace as well.

All you need to get started

Getting started in a new athletic activity can sometimes involve a huge outlay of cash. Anyone who’s ever followed a whim to take up hockey, bobsleigh or regatta can attest to that. But fortunately, yoga sets the bar low financially. You only need three relatively inexpensive things to get started with yoga

1.      Clothes

Yoga apparel doesn’t have to be designer workout wear. In fact, when you show up for your first class, the instructor might appreciate it more if you’re not one of the nameless faces decked out in Lulu Lemon.

What’s the only requirement for yoga clothes? They should be comfortable and loose-fitting. Yoga requires a fair bit of movement and often has you posing in unorthodox positions. You need clothes that will bend with you, keeping you covered without bunching up or restricting your movement.

If you find an old tee shirt and a pair of sweatpants get the job done for you, more power to you.

And the best thing? You don’t need to buy shoes. Almost every sport requires unique and specialized footwear that can really set you back, but yoga is done barefoot. You may want to invest in pedicures more often, but that’s about it.

2.      Yoga mat

To help keep those bare feet connected to the ground, you’ll need a yoga mat. Prices for a decent mat start around ten bucks—and it may even come with carrying straps. You can pay more for something thicker, but in the end it’s a rubberized mat. After a certain point, there are only so many bells and whistles you can attach.

3.      An open mind

Getting maximum results from yoga begins with a willingness to explore new things with a sense of wonder and adventure. It’s about trying new things without judgement, something many people have hang-ups with. The important thing to remember is that yoga is richly rewarding—see below. It’s so much more than just working out, but you need to approach it with the right attitude to reap the most reward from it.

Why should you do yoga?

Yoga has a ton of benefits for your physical health and your overall sense of well-being. Since yoga postures isolate and strengthen specific muscle groups, yoga makes you stronger and more flexible while reducing your risk of injury in the future.

And doing the poses correctly requires sustained mental focus. Achieving this helps soothe the mind and lower your body’s stress levels. As a side benefit, you’ll have improved powers of concentration in your day-to-day activities.

Yoga also leads to mindfulness by sharpening your focus on energy, movement, and posture. And the longer you hold your poses, the better your stamina and endurance will be.

Regular yoga practice also leads to improved balance and stability. It also raises your body awareness, making you better attuned to your strengths and weaknesses, helping you play to the former and strengthen the latter.

Class or video?

With so much information available about yoga these days, you might be tempted to not take classes. With all the books, blogs and videos out there, why spend money on something you can get in the privacy of your own home much cheaper?

Well, for starters, an experienced yoga instructor—or yogi—has the benefit of third person perspective. They can better see what you might be doing wrong and give you tips to correct that. This can give you powerful insight into overcoming simple mistakes you might not have been aware of. It can also give you the mindfulness you need to perform better when you’re Chromecasting Youtube videos to your TV and doing yoga in your living room.

Even as you get more experienced, still take in a class with an insightful instructor occasionally. Their perspective and experience can help you progress further and quicker than you could ever hope for on your own.

Focus on breath

One thing that may seem odd about yoga is the practice of pranayama—consciously regulated breathing. As you follow your yoga instructor’s guidance, much of what they say is about guiding your breath, controlling when you exhale and inhale.

It’s a concept that might seem out of place for people with a competitive sports background. In most athletic pursuits, it’s all about physical exertion—and the breath just takes care of itself.

That’s where yoga is different. Breath control fosters mindfulness and a focus on the now. Why? Because your mind is easily bored, its internal running monologue hopping from subject to subject with little regard to your mental health.

Pranayama changes all that. By forcing you to think only of your breath, posture, and the movement of your body, there’s little room left for your brain to obsess about other things. Focused breathing sharpens your thought processes and gives you an effective tool for finding peace of mind, anytime.

Nine kinds of yoga explained

There are so many types of yoga available, it can be a little intimidating if you’re a novice. Especially when you could be getting in way over your head by making an ill-advised choice for your first class.

Here are some of the most common forms of yoga and what they’re generally about.

1.      Hatha yoga

With its emphasis on slow movements and held poses, hatha yoga is a gentle form of practice ideally suited for beginners.

2.      Vinyasa yoga

This form is quick paced and sometimes synced up to pumping music. Vinyasa is yoga for dancers, runners, and anyone else drawn toward continuous movement.

3.      Iyengar yoga

For the details-oriented individual, Iyengar is all about precision in form. This form of yoga incorporates props, too—from blocks and blankets to ropes and straps. Even if you’re an experienced yoga student, start Iyengar at the beginner level.

4.      Ashtanga yoga

If superheroes did tai chi, it would look like ashtanga yoga. The practice involves six series of flowing poses—and nothing else. Once you get the basics down, there’s nothing left but dedicating your life to mastering the precision of the movements. Seriously, it takes years to get it right. Ideal for type-A personalities.

5.      Bikram yoga

Bikram is done in a hot (105°F/40°C) and humid (40% humidity) room. The practice involves a set series of 26 poses as well as two breathing exercises. It’s the same routine everywhere you go. Hydrate well, you’re going to sweat.

6.      Hot yoga

Hot yoga is much like Bikram but with more variation in the poses and overall class structure.

7.      Kundalini yoga

This branch of yoga appeals to the spiritual side with an emphasis on breathwork and meditation. Get ready to mix repetitive motions with chanting and singing as well.

8.      Yin yoga

If ashtanga is one end of the yoga spectrum, yin yoga is its polar opposite. With postures held for several minutes, yin is all about restoring length and elasticity to your connective tissues and fascia. Not recommended if you have a connective tissue disorder.

9.      Restorative yoga

As the name suggests, restorative yoga is mellow and slow paced. It’s designed to stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system—the “rest and digest” system—to help you relax better. It’s great for insomniacs and people living with anxiety.

The mystic art of yoga—demystified

While yoga is an effective proven method for strengthening the body and the mind, many people are intimidated by the layers of mystery that surround and enshroud it. Hopefully, this guide has helped clear up some of that confusion and got you pointed in the right direction to make yoga a vital part of your healthy lifestyle.

Just remember, yoga is as much about mind and spirit as it is about physical fitness. Focusing on your breathing while you execute your poses helps clear away the clutter in your mind and will help you think clearer in all aspects of your life.

If you’ve never done yoga before, find a class that appeals to you and give it a shot. And start at the bottom, even if you’re already athletic, and see where it goes from there. That’s the great thing about yoga. With its emphasis on form and precision, a beginner class can offer challenges to participants of all fitness levels. The longer you do a specific set of movements, and the more control you eventually get with them, the more you will benefit from it.

potato substitute the low carb way

Replacing Potatoes: Low Carb Solutions

How to Replace Potatoes: 7 Sensational Low Carb Solutions

For many North Americans, meat and potatoes is a way of life. A mantra of meal planning so deeply ingrained in our collective psyche it’s almost a religion. The stuff of legend. A menu planner of mythic proportions. After you figure out what’s for dinner, the next question is invariable: How would you like your potatoes?

To say the least, it throws a wrench in the works if you’re trying to go low carb.

Potatoes come in all shapes, sizes and colours. But they don’t come in low carb varieties. Potatoes are a great source of micronutrients like vitamin C, vitamin B6 and potassium. But they’re also starchy and don’t offer a lot of dietary fibre or protein.

They also rank high on the glycemic index and can make your blood sugar spike worse than white bread. And for these reasons, potatoes are often the first thing struck from most low carb diets.

But the burning question remains: What else can we put on our plates alongside the meat?

Fortunately, there are lots of tasty ways to replace potatoes in a low carb diet. Below, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favourite low carb potato alternatives. Each substitute can be prepared in many distinct ways. And some of these dishes are so delicious you’ll wonder why everyone else still makes such a fuss about potatoes. They’ll both fill and satisfy you, all without the starchy carbs.

1.      Cauliflower (2 g carbs/23 calories per 100 g)

Cauliflower is fast becoming the superstar of the low carb world. It may well be the gateway potato replacement, with many people singing the praises of cauliflower mash and even cauliflower rice. It’s caught on so well that big pizza chains are rolling out thin-crust pizzas with cauliflower crusts.

It’s dead easy to fry and roast cauliflower or throw into soups and stews. And it’s the one vegetable that’s most likely to pass as potatoes.

Try this out. Chunk a head of cauliflower then steam and mash it. Mix in 2 beaten eggs, half a cup of parmesan, and half a diced onion. Form into small balls and bake at 400°F until golden brown (about 20 minutes). Cauliflower tater tots—you’re welcome!

2.      Celery root (7 g carbs/42 calories per 100 g)

If there were prizes for pretty vegetables, celery root wouldn’t win any of them. Wouldn’t even be in the running. Also called celeriac, it’s a veg so baffling that most people don’t give it a second glance. Which is a shame, because they’ll never find out about the tasty, delicate flesh hiding just inside the celery root’s rough exterior.

To make chips out of celery root, peel off that ugly skin and slice it down into bite-sized pieces. Boil in salted water for a couple of minutes then drain. Toss in oil, salt and pepper and spread the pieces into a single layer on a baking sheet or two. Roast for 30–35 minutes at 460°F and enjoy.

3.      Daikon (2 g carbs/18 calories per 100 g)

The daikon is a plus-sized relative of the common radish that’s an important staple in some Asian cuisines. It’s good raw or pickled, but when it’s cooked it takes on very potato-like qualities. Try it boiled or fried and see how you like it.

To enjoy boiled daikon, peel two large daikons and slice into medallions. Boil in salted water for 30 minutes. When fork tender, drain and toss with butter or oil, salt and pepper.

4.      Kohlrabi (2 g carbs/27 calories per 100 g)

If you’ve never tried it before, it’s hard to look at kohlrabi and imagine it’ll taste good. You might imagine it looks more like a doorstop than food. But the truth is this odd-looking bulb has a delicate flavour that really comes into its own when you boil, steam or fry it.

To turn a kohlrabi or two into fritters, remove their leaves then peel and grate them. Squeeze out the extra moisture by wrapping the gratings in a tea towel and giving it a good twist. In a bowl, mix the grated kohlrabi with two eggs, salt and pepper then fry in a quarter inch of oil over medium high heat.

5.      Rutabaga (5 g carbs/35 calories per 100 g)

When a cabbage and a turnip fall in love, the result in their union is this funny looking thing called a rutabaga. It’s also known as a swede in Europe due to its popularity in Scandinavia. And yes, it’s a great low carb replacement for potatoes.

They’re great in soups and stews and all manner of side dishes. And they’re fantastic boiled, baked and roasted.

Try these roasted rutabaga fries to see for yourself. Peel a rutabaga and cut into fries. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and put in a roasting dish. Add a few sprigs of fresh rosemary if you have them. Roast 30–35 minutes at 400°F until crisp and golden brown.

6.      Turnips (4 g carbs/28 calories per 100 g)

If you’re Scottish, you know the turnip more as neeps, commonly served mixed with potatoes as neeps and tatties, the customary side dish to go with the haggis.

But turnips don’t need to be served with potatoes (or haggis, for that matter). They do very well all on their own, baked, boiled or steamed.

Try them out mashed. Peel three or four turnips then cut into chunks and simmer in boiling water for 20–30 minutes. When fork tender, drain and mash with butter, cream, salt and pepper.

7.      Zucchini (2 g carbs/20 calories per 100 g)

Last, but only because this list is alphabetical, comes zucchini. Or as they’re known in Europe, courgettes. Zucchini is well acquainted with the culinary limelight being featured in a lot of baking and even starring in its own dish—ratatouille.

Lauded by low carb chefs for its sinfully low carb count, zucchini can also be turned into pasta noodles, including lasagna. But today, let’s focus on turning the common zucchini into a bag of chips.

Slice your zukes nice and thin then press down with a paper towel to absorb the excess moisture. Lay the slices on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Don’t overlap. Brush with oil and bake at 225°F for at least two hours, if not more. Keep going until they start to brown and crisp up.

Goodbye, spuds. Hello, low carb goodness!

Being raised on a meat-and-potatoes mindset doesn’t mean you have to eat that way for the rest of your life. There are lots of hearty vegetables that pair just as well as, if not better than, our old lumpy friend the potato.

Try the recipes listed above and see what peaks your interest. But keep in mind that these suggestions are just the tip of the iceberg. All these vegetables are robust and versatile. If you find you like them prepared like this, deep dive into the online recipe rabbit hole and see what else you can do with them.

Also, remember these aren’t the only veggies in the produce aisle. See what else your grocer has to offer. Beets, butternut squash, carrots, parsnips, Jerusalem artichokes . . . the list goes on and on.

Break out of the meat-and-potatoes routine and discover a whole new world of flavour—today.

Looking for more low carb food ideas?

If you’re looking for more inspiration for eating low carb, check out our blog. It’s full of tasty low carb and keto recipes to get you cooking up a storm in the kitchen. And don’t forget, we also have an online grocery store packed with everything you need to turn almost any dish into a low carb tour de force.

low carb tex mex cooking

Low Carb Tex-Mex Cooking & Recipes

Head South of the Border with these Delicious Low Carb Tex-Mex Recipes

If the time has come to add some new flavours in to your weekly low carb meal plans, then we have some great suggestions for you that are healthy, fun, and full of delicious seasonings and bold tastes. We’re talking about Tex-Mex cooking, and we guarantee that you’re going to love these recipes!

What is Tex-Mex Cooking?

It may come as a surprise to you that many of the dishes that are commonly referred to as Mexican food are actually not prepared in the traditional Mexican ways. Most of these kinds of foods that are popular in North America are actually a hybrid of Mexican cooking and Southwestern American cooking, specifically from the area in and around Texas. Hence the name, Tex-Mex.

Common Ingredients in Tex-Mex Recipes

Many of the common ingredients that you’ll see in Tex-Mex recipes are the same as traditional Mexican cooking ingredients, along with some that originate from contemporary American cuisine.

Tortilla shells and tortilla chips are very common in Tex-Mex recipes and are essential for making tacos, nachos, enchiladas, burritos, quesadillas, and more. These shells are usually made from either corn or wheat, and can be either hard and crunchy, or soft and pliable.

The typical store brands of tortilla shells and chips you’ll find at your average supermarket are likely not low carb. Be sure to look for healthy low carb versions of tortilla shells, like the ones from Mama Lupe’s. You can also find healthier types of tortilla-style chips that are lower in carbs, such as the tasty chips from Beanitos.

Other common ingredients in Tex-Mex cooking include popular meats like beef, chicken, pork, fish, and shrimp. These meats are usually heavily seasoned with a palette of spices such as hot peppers, garlic, paprika, cumin, oregano, coriander, and many others.

Shop all Low Carb Seasonings and Spices

Cheese is essential in the world of Tex-Mex cooking, with cheddar being the most popular, and Monterey Jack cheese being used in many recipes. Often, you’ll find a spicy cheesy sauce known as queso as a component of many dishes. Queso is great for dipping chips and can also be used as a topping for baked Tex-Mex dishes like enchiladas.

Vegetables are also a big part of Tex-Mex cooking. Most common vegetables in this style of cuisine include bell peppers, onions, corn, tomatoes, chili peppers, and avocado, to name a few. Vegetables are often served fried and seasoned alongside things like tacos, burritos, and enchiladas, and are used as one of the fillings for fajitas.

Now that we’ve covered the basics of what you can expect from Tex-Mex cuisine, let’s get right in to a handful of amazing low carb recipes that are easy to make and will definitely satisfy the whole family.

Keto Tex-Mex Casserole

Casseroles like this one are always a big hit with hungry families. This recipe for a zesty Tex-Mex ground beef casserole uses ingredients that are easy to find and has the added benefit of being keto-friendly as well as low carb. You can also ramp up the heat with extra jalapenos or cayenne pepper if you want to kick things up a notch or dial the quantities down for families who prefer a milder spice. No matter how you adjust this recipe, we’re sure it won’t last long once it hits the table.

Low Carb Chicken Enchilada Skillet Dinner

We love one-pan recipes like this one! It’s fast and easy to prepare and can be on the table in less than 30 minutes. The tender chicken, savoury seasonings and melty cheese are simply delicious. This dish has plenty of vegetables in it as well, including cauliflower, baby corn, and tomatoes, making it a great choice for any low carb meal plan. Plus, you can make this ahead of time and freeze it for an easy meal on those busy mid-week workdays where time is short but you still want a hearty and healthy dinner.

Low Carb Gluten Free Quesadilla Shells

Now here’s an interesting gluten-free twist on quesadillas, which are one of the most popular Tex-Mex foods you’ll find, especially with kids. While you can easily make any quesadilla recipe lower in carbs by simply swapping a regular tortilla shell for a low carb version, this recipe goes the extra mile by showing you how to make your own super-low-carb tortillas from coconut flour. Fill them with the ingredients you prefer, including shredded cheese, jalapenos, onions, and grilled chicken, and you’ve got an easy and healthy low carb meal that will suit any taste.

Keto Cheesy Chicken Stuffed Poblano

What could be better than a big poblano pepper stuffed full of cheese, chicken, and zesty Tex-Mex seasonings? This recipe delivers a brilliant combination of flavours and is amazingly simple to make. This recipe is very low in carbs and packed with protein to satisfy even the biggest appetites. This is another recipe that works incredibly well re-heated, so don’t be apprehensive about making a bigger batch and freezing some for easy dinners at a later time.

Low Carb Nachos

Well, of course you knew there had to be a low carb nacho recipe on this list, but this is no ordinary batch of nachos. These low carb chips are made entirely out of cheese and a seasoning blend, making them the perfect match for the low carb lifestyle. After you make your cheese chips, pile on your favourite nacho toppings like sour cream, chopped jalapenos, olives, tomatoes, salsa, guacamole, or anything else that strikes your fancy. Nachos are one of those kinds of foods that are meant to be customized, so let your creativity run wild!

Experience the Flavours of Tex-Mex

One word you won’t find used to describe any Tex-Mex recipe is ‘bland’. This cuisine is all about big flavours, spicy heat, and rich, savoury tastes. For low carb dieters, Tex-Mex cooking is a fantastic way to change up your routine and explore some different types of foods that are easy to make and very healthy.

So, get ready to bring the taste of the Southwest to your next low carb meal plan and explore the world of Tex-Mex!

da vinci gourmet sugar-free syrups

Da Vinci Gourmet Sugar-free Syrups

Da Vinci Gourmet Syrups Bring A World of Sugar-Free Flavours to Your Kitchen

Low carb dieters need to be smart when adding flavours or sweeteners to foods and drinks. Making sure that you’re not piling on sugar and extra carbs in to your diet is critical to success with the low carb lifestyle, so having the right products on hand in your kitchen can help you get the taste you want and still stick to your plan to get results. This is where Da Vinci Gourmet Sugar-Free syrups really shine, and we’re going to tell you how.

Da Vinci syrups are some of our most popular products here at The Low Carb Grocery, and with good reason. The wide array of flavours that are available from Da Vinci means that there’s something for every taste preference, and the excellent quality of their syrups is second to none. Let’s take a closer look at Da Vinci Gourmet and explore their range of sugar-free syrups and flavours.

About Da Vinci Gourmet

Da Vinci Gourmet is all about the experience of flavours. Their goal is to deliver authentic taste and the highest quality products for you to enjoy. With a strong reputation in both the commercial food service industry and the world of consumer food products, Da Vinci Gourmet is committed to customer satisfaction and uncompromising quality standards.

Sugar-Free Syrups from Da Vinci

Da Vinci has made a name for themselves among low carb and low sugar dieters for their incredible selection of sugar-free syrups that are bursting with delicious flavours. By using Splenda as their sweetening ingredient, Da Vinci syrups have a wonderful natural sweetness to them and are completely sugar-free, without the lingering aftertaste that some artificial sweeteners have.

Popular Sugar-Free Syrup Flavours from Da Vinci

We’d be here all day if we listed every flavour of syrup that Da Vinci makes, so we’ve decided to showcase some of the most popular varieties that our customers keep coming back for time and time again.

Butter Rum – This rich tasting syrup combines the creamy flavour of butter with the light sweetness of classic rum. This syrup is a very popular ingredient in coffee-based beverages and also in many baking and dessert recipes.

English Toffee – Bringing the nostalgic taste of crunchy English toffee to your favourite drinks and desserts, this syrup is a delight! Try it in lattes or hot chocolates, or as a syrup drizzled on some vanilla ice cream. Yum!

Pineapple – The perfect balance between sweet and tangy, this syrup is absolutely perfect for mixing up the fanciest tropical drinks at your next summer-themed party. You can also use this as an ingredient in salad dressings and in smoothies or shakes. It’s a very refreshing flavour!

Dulce de Leche – Now this is what we call decadent! Da Vinci Dulce de Leche syrup brings the smooth, creamy flavour of this classic European caramel spread to all kinds of hot drinks and fancy desserts. Add a shot of this in your coffee and relax with the incredibly smooth taste.

Ways to Use Da Vinci Sugar-Free Syrups

Coffee and coffee-based drinks are perfect for adding an extra layer of flavour in to them. You can keep things as simple as you want, such as recreating the popular vanilla lattes found at many nationwide coffee shops or go a bit more exotic and add in your own preferred flavours from the wide array of Da Vinci syrups. Lattes, cappuccinos, frappes, and all other kinds of coffee drinks are ideal for flavouring with these tasty sugar-free syrups.

Smoothies and blended drinks are another great way to use Da Vinci syrups to experience even more unique and wonderful flavours. Try exploring Da Vinci’s frehs and fruity selection of syrups like banana, pineapple, coconut, watermelon, peach, and many others to discover your new secret smoothie ingredient.

Desserts & ice cream that are in need of a flavour boost are perfect for Da Vinci sugar-free syrups. For recipes that call for sugary syrups or flavours, you can easily just swap in a Da Vinci product and not miss a beat. You can also use them as a drizzle over top of a variety of desserts, including ice cream, cakes, brownies, and many other sweet treats.

Start Discovering New Flavours with Da Vinci Sugar-Free Syrups

Now that we’re sure your taste buds are craving some new flavour experiences, it’s time to check out the wide array of delicious sugar-free syrups from Da Vinci here at The Low Carb Grocery! Get your kitchen equipped with the finest in sugar-free syrups and let the creativity flow as you discover a wonderful world of flavours from Da Vinci.

home made sports recovery drinks

Guide to DIY Sports Recovery Drinks

How to Make Awesome Sports Recovery Drinks

When it comes to refueling your body after a hard workout, there are a million sports recovery drinks you can buy. But how do you know what you’re really drinking? Especially if you’re conscientiously trying to follow a low carb diet?

According to chef and cyclist Lentine Zahler, the best way to control what goes into your body is to make it yourself, especially where workouts are concerned. You need to consume “whole, real and unprocessed ingredients,” she says.

Zahler advises sticking to real food with pronounceable ingredients that can help you restore sugar, fat and protein. “My favourites are chocolate milk or iced coffee with milk,” she says. But in truth, there’s an infinite world of possibilities you can explore.

The basic theory behind recovery drinks

When you’ve just finished exercising, your muscles are tired—and your carbohydrates are depleted. By having a recovery drink, you have a chance to reverse all that, minimizing recovery time while replenishing your resources. By adding a healthy source of protein into the mix, you can improve your recovery by enhancing glycogen storage, repairing damaged muscles and stimulating muscle synthesis.

The essential idea of making your own sports recovery drink is to experiment a bit. Figure out what works best for you and your workout. Replenish your electrolytes but be open to trying new things in the process.

You can make a simple drink with coconut water, a bit of honey, sea salt, and lemon or lime juice. This gives you a great base of carbohydrates and electrolytes to build on. Next, it’s time to consider adding some protein.

Adding protein into the mix

For long-lasting energy, try branched-chain amino acids. These occur naturally in rice and soy proteins. Laurent Bannock, a sports nutritionist, advises adding whey powder. Your body digests it quickly and it has all the amino acids your body needs.

You can also add soy and/or casein protein in as well. These protein sources may not be a fast acting as whey, but by combining them into a time-released formula you can maximize your window for muscle building and overall recovery.

It’s also possible to use milk as the base for a recovery shake. If you’re not into cow’s milk, you can always experiment with coconut milk, almond milk, or oat milk. Try different base liquids to see what you like best.

Other considerations

Think about adding probiotics into your sports recovery drink. These “good” bacteria support healthy digestive tract flora and strengthen your immune system. Great sources of probiotics include unsweetened yogurt, kefir and kombucha.

To boost your protein and your fibre at the same time, add some chia seeds to any recipe. Chia seeds also help you replace all the electrolytes—like magnesium and calcium—you can lose through sweat. They’re also packed with iron to help rebuild your red blood cells.

And if you’re looking for vegan protein sources, you might also want to investigate pea, hemp and rice proteins. These veggie-friendly proteins help your muscles recover while also giving you a healthy dose of micronutrients, antioxidants and fibre.

What’s going on?

Working out depletes your muscles’ reserves of glycogen, the multibranched polysaccharide of glucose that energizes our bodies. Downing some carbs right after a session is vital for replenishing these reserves.

And it’s not just for recovering from endurance training. Sure, it can help you out after that 10k run or after you’ve spent most of the day cycling. But it’s also great at helping you recover from resistance training, which also drains your energy reserves.

Getting some protein into the mix provides the amino acids necessary for rebuilding muscle and healing micro tears that can affect your muscles when you’ve exerted yourself. Your muscles get stronger and denser as their fibres regenerate. This will help lead to greater strength and better muscle definition in the future.

If you fail to consume post-workout protein your body could have a negative protein balance, ultimately leading to a loss of muscle mass.

Why do it in liquid form?

When you enjoy a recovery drink after working out, you deliver an easy-to-digest dose of carbohydrates and protein to your worn-down muscles. And making sure the proteins and carbs are in the form of a liquid helps get those much-needed nutrients to your body as expediently as possible.

It replenishes your body much quicker than eating a meal of solid food ever could. Liquids also tend to be easier on your stomach than solid food right after heavy exercise.

To have and have not

You will not require a sports recovery drink every time you flex your muscles. In fact, after only light exertion like a brisk walk or a quick round of chores, post-workout replenishment won’t be necessary at all.

Save your recovery drinks for things you actually need to recover from. Like an hour of cardio. Or a spin class. Or 45 minutes of heavy-duty weight lifting.

Consume your recovery drink as soon as you can after your workout. If you’re working out at a gym, take a non-dairy based drink with you that won’t require refrigeration.

Try to schedule a proper, well-balanced meal about an hour after you’ve had your recovery drink. Concentrate on lean proteins and vegetables.

Finding just the right mix

Under most circumstances, a good post-workout recovery drink will have about 15–20 g of protein and 30 g of carbohydrates. If you’re eating low carb it might be tempting to cut that as much as possible. But as we mentioned above, carbohydrates help quickly replenish your body’s depleted glycogen reserves, reserves that will be severely depleted by a heavy workout.

This is where the trial and error gets tricky. You will have to play around and see how low you can get the carbs in your sports recovery drink while still making sure the drink helps you recover.

But keep in mind that carbs do serve a purpose—driving your muscles—and if you’re going to seriously push them on a regular basis some carbs will come in handy from time to time.

Wrapping up

When you buy a sports recovery drink off the shelf, who knows what’s gone into it? Most low-carb dieters need more control over what they put into their bodies than that.

By enjoying do-it-yourself recovery drinks after your workouts, you make sure you’re not getting any hidden carbs factored into the mix against your knowledge.

A well-balanced sports recovery drink will help rebalance your electrolytes, glycogen and amino acids. This will help repair any damage you may have done to your muscles in this session and help them get stronger for your next. You can use water, coconut water, juice, or any type of milk as a base for your sports recovery drink and get as creative as you like. Remember to try adding some probiotics in as well to help boost your immune system.

Taking nourishment in liquid form helps quickly get everything back to normal after you exert yourself. It also helps you avoid feeling wiped out afterward. But only have a recovery drink if you’ve done something you need to recover from, especially if you’re counting carbs.

Make the most of your low carb lifestyle

If you have questions about going low carb, we’ve got answers. Our low carb lifestyle blog is your one-stop source for all things low carb and keto. From cooking tips to recipes and all points in between, we’ve got all the information you need to do low carb right. And, of course, if you ever need help tracking down low carb groceries, stop by our grocery store and check out our full selection of low carb and keto-friendly items.

lunch ideas for back to school

Healthy Back-To-School Lunch Ideas for Kids

Send the Kids Back to School with Lunches They’ll Actually Eat

The new school year is nearly upon us, and while many parents are rejoicing at the notion of their kids getting back in the classrooms, others are dreading the thought of another year of time-consuming school lunch prep & half-eaten foods coming home at the end of the day.

This year, we think it’s time you turn things around and make school lunches easier and more fun for everyone. That’s why we’ve gathered up this helpful collection of tips and tricks that you and your kids can use to plan healthy lunches that are still fun and delicious. We’ve also provided a bunch of advice on how to save time and get the kids more involved in their healthy eating habits.

However, before we get in to the fun stuff, it’s important to note that when you send your kid to school with a full lunch box, there are rules to follow that help keep everyone at school safe from allergies.

Foods to Avoid

While it’s pretty much common knowledge that any and all nut products are off-limits for school lunches, you’d be amazed at all the different places that nuts can hide in many of the popular foods we eat. It can be easy to miss some of them if you’re not diligent on checking labels.

It’s obvious that anything made with peanut butter should be avoided, but it’s important to be aware that nuts can often be found hiding in other foods like cookies, crackers, and granola bars. Other places nuts can be found are in sauces, such as many of those found in different types of Asian cuisine and noodle dishes, and anything cooked in a nut oil like peanut oil.

Aside from the dangers of allergens, there are other things that just don’t need to be in your kids’ lunch box. Many sodas, gummies, and pastries are loaded with added sugar and carbs, so either avoid them entirely or swap for sugar-free versions. There are plenty of healthier versions of these products to choose from so you won’t have to worry about kids missing out on the sweet treats they love.

Choose a Nutritious Drink

When you’re deciding on what to include for a school lunch, it’s easy to start things off with a healthy and nutritious beverage. Milk is always a popular choice for many kids, and it’s got plenty of health benefits like calcium and protein. Fruit juice is another popular option, but also one that has a higher risk of being high in sugar. Check for sugar-free and low-sugar juice options instead.

Pop and sodas can be okay for an occasional treat, but you’ll want to select a sugar-free version like the tasty beverages from Zevia. These sugar-free sodas are available in all kinds of flavours, including classics like cola, root beer and cream soda, as well as fruity flavours like grape and orange.

For the most nutritious option, why not send your kid to school with a home-made smoothie made with some of their favourite fruits? Smoothies are a great way to get more nutrients in to a lunch kit and still deliver a delicious & sweet taste. Using ingredients like Greek yogurt help to boost the protein content and mixing in a dose of Chia seeds will ramp up the dietary fibre. Making a batch of smoothies in the morning can become a fun ritual you share with your kids, and then you get to take some with you for your own lunch. It’s a win-win!

Healthy Main Ideas

When selecting the main component of your lunch, you want to choose something that is filling, healthy, easy to prepare, and easy to eat at lunchtime. Sandwiches are always a popular option, and with the wonderful variety of low carb breads, bagels and wraps, you can offer your kids plenty of different ways to put them together. Any types of deli meat, sliced cheese, and fresh toppings like lettuce and tomatoes are all fair game when it comes to sandwich-building.

Soups are another option that are easy to take for lunch, and with a good quality insulated container they will stay hot all morning and in to lunchtime. In our opinion, there’s not too many lunches out there that will beat hot homemade chicken soup on a chilly day. Find out what your kids’ favourite soups are and have some on hand to heat up in the morning and fill their thermos. Just don’t forget to include a spoon!

Fun & Healthy Snacks

Focus on fruits, vegetables, proteins, and fibre in snacks, but figure out ways to accompany them with stuff that makes them a bit more fun from a kids’ point of view. For example, apple slices on their own might seem a bit boring, but if you include a small container of sugar-free caramel sauce for dipping, they get a lot more fun!

Cheese is definitely another favourite lunch item for kids, which is probably why the stringable-cheese snacks are so popular. These are a simple addition to any lunch that adds protein and calcium, and lets the kids have fun while they peel it apart.

Carrot sticks and hummus is great lunch combo that kids and adults both love to munch on. Celery sticks and cream cheese is another option, too. Other healthy snack options include things like yogurts, grapes, dried fruits, and low carb crackers.

Finally, there are all kinds of low carb snack chips that come in a wide range of flavours and seasonings that are an excellent addition to lunch kits for kids who like crunchy salty snacks. We recommend products like Beanitos Bean Chips or Quest Protein Chips, which are some of our most popular snack chips.

Save Time & Involve the Kids

One trick to saving time in preparing lunches is to get the kids involved in a way that makes them feel like they are in control of their lunch. This also has the added benefit of them being more likely to eat a lunch that’s made entirely of stuff that they chose on their own.

Of course, you need to give them the guidance and tools to make healthy choices and put together a complete lunch with all the necessary items. Working with your kids, pull together a list of acceptable choices for the different components in a lunch, like drinks, mains, fruit, vegetables, and fun treats. In general, you’ll want to have about four or five different items for each category to select from so that there’s a good amount of variety but not so much that you have too much food stocked up that it will spoil before it gets eaten.

Post the lunch-building list on your fridge and include a guideline of how many items from each category are needed for a lunch. For example; one drink, one main, two fruits or vegetables, and one fun treat. As long as they meet the criteria and quantity for what you’ve agreed is a complete lunch, they can choose their own items from those categories to build their lunches.

Another way to save time is to have a lunch prep session on Sunday before the week begins and work together to gather up supplies for the week. Put on some fun music, and spend some time as a family chopping vegetables, organizing snacks, and planning around any special considerations like school field trips that may have special lunch requirements.

Fun Low Carb School Lunch Recipes

While you won’t have any difficulty finding helpful and interesting lunch ideas on the web, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more complete set of low carb lunch ideas for kids than in the Low Carb Kids series of resources at DitchTheCarbs.com. The author of the site, Libby, has gathered together several helpful guides for parents to use to plan kids’ lunches for school, and dozens of great recipes to draw from.

Here are three of our favourites that Libby recommends as great options for healthy school lunches for kids:

Grain-Free KFC Fried ChickenHow jealous will your kids’ friends be when they show up with this delicious fried chicken? We’re guessing VERY.

Keto Egg WrapsEggs, cheese, and bacon all wrapped up in an easy-to-eat package. Kids will love having breakfast for lunch!

Grain-Free Granola Bars – Regular store-bought granola bars are often loaded with extra sugar, but not these tasty home-made versions!

Healthy Lunches and Happy Kids

At the end of the day, your kids will be glad that you’ve let them take some control over their lunches with these kinds of tips. Plus, you’ll have more time in the mornings and be sure that they’ve got a healthy lunch packed up that will keep them happy and energized throughout the day. Packing up healthy lunches that also include some fun in them is easy, and we’re sure that these tips will help make the coming year of school lunches be better than ever.