triathlon

One Sheet Pan Dinner : Spicy Lime Chicken and Veggies

Eat the RAINBOW takes a whole new meaning (sorry skittles)! Make all your meals as colorful as possible, it ensures you are getting a variety of nutrients!

 

If you are looking for something quick and healthy to make for you or your family, this is a great dish to try! I love to cook, and I find being in the kitchen slicing, dicing, baking, steaming , cooking and cleaning to often be therapeutic and like my own little world of chaos! BUT, there are certainly days where I just don't have the time to dilly dally in the kitchen, and this is where simple , easy prep dishes like this come into play. And did I mention, little to NO cleanup! 

I always like to have home cooked meals for my husband and I , even if its means scrambling at the end of a long day to run to the grocery store or putting together something healthy from food we have in the fridge and pantry. In my mind, you can always make time for healthy eating (and working out...but that's for another post!) , it just takes a little bit of thinking ahead and planning. That said, this is where I came up with these one sheet pan dinners...brilliant! The only prep you have is cutting veggies, and the only clean up you'll have is a pan to soak and scrub! Here is how I made this one sheet pan dish: Spicy Lime Chicken and Veggies

Ingredients:

  • Chicken tenders ( or you can slice up a chicken breast into smaller chunks) 
  • Red, Orange, Green, Yellow Peppers, sliced
  • Red cabbage diced up
  • Fresh broccoli florets
  • olive oil
  • cayenne pepper, chili powder, cumin
  • juice of 1 lime
  • cooked quinoa, wild rice or cauliflower rice
  1. Set oven to 350 and in the meantime cut up all your veggies and put your quinoa or rice in a pot with water ready to cook.
  2. rub your chicken with spices and little olive oil
  3. lightly oilyour baking sheet and arrange your veggies on one end and chicken on the other, making sure chicken has some space between pieces for even cooking. 
  4. squeeze your lime juice all over your chicken and veggies. 
  5. Bake at 350 for about30 minutes, making sure to toss veggies and chicken half way to cook evenly on all sides!  (**note: you can use big chicken breasts as well, just make sure to adjust cooking time. I like the tenders because they tend to cook same time as the veggies!)

This is a great meal to make for family, friends, or just you! You can use any variety of veggies you'd like and can even change up the meat you use. I have done salmon before in the same preparation which is a great fish for this one sheet pan meal. You could also make mini turkey or chicken meatballs with it, shrimp, tofu, or simply just roast up your favorites veggies with any spices you like! give it a go! and remember, eating healthy doesn't have to be a chore, just don't be LAZY when it comes to your health! 

 

 

 

 

Irecently contributed three 8-week training plans for 5k, 10k and half marathon distances to beSelf Magazines March Issue ( found here http://www.self.com/fitness/2016/02/run-a-half-marathon-the-ultimate-8-week-training-plan/ with 5k and 10k plans on top of page), and while reading through the article, I came upon the above blurb of mine. As I re-read what I said, I thought of how much more this quote meant, and that maybe it deserved some extra explaining! So, here you go…and excuse me for any rambling!

Race season is just around the corner, and for many it has already begun….which means training is in full swing and runners and triathletes are looking forward to testing out their fitness at their first race! Some may be hoping to just run a whole marathon without walking, finish their first 5k, and others may be looking to break a certain time, or finish top 3 overall.  Regardless of the goal, everyone gets to the race having had different training plans or no training plan, different lifestyles, and different mindsets.  No matter if you are an elite athlete or total newbie to running or triathlon, I’m pretty sure we all have a little anxiety before toeing that start line, and many similar thoughts as we go through a race. How we deal with these thoughts, and deal with the uncontrolled factors during a race, is often a big detriment of how we do!  In the years I have spent training and racing, I have met and trained with many different people, all with different mindsets and tactics for getting through a race.  This may be getting a bit off track from the quote above that I will get into shortly…but it all relates to what I said.

I believe a big part of racing and training is directly affected by my mentality, pain tolerance and ability to push myself (also my extreme competitive nature…).  These are factors that are a bit harder to measure and compare, but that have a huge impact on your performance. I won’t get to scientific here, but obviously our mind is what controls our body…whether it is our brain signaling our arms to move during a swim workout, or telling you “ you didn’t make that first run interval so no need to continue” or “ugh that first place girl is too far ahead to catch up to, so need to push harder” ….these are negative thoughts, thoughts that could likely come into your mind at times, which can take over and hinder what we truly are capable of if we let it. There have been many times that my training has been sub-par to the past, but I will go out with a running buddy, or swim with a friend who is in top shape, and be able to keep up with them simply because I am telling myself to! I may be way more winded, and less efficient, however it is my mentality that is allowing me to push myself and perform outside my comfort zone/ or what I would typically think I was able to do.  Granted, having someone next to you to push you, is also a big factor here….and that competitiveness is often what drives me to exceed what I think I am capable of!

Back to that original quote though….I believe it was a bit of a condensed version of what I said, however it still gets the point across. “Do your own thing” and take the race moment by moment mean to not let other aspects, especially uncontrolled aspects, affect how you do in a negative way. During a race, I give most credit to my mind for where I end up crossing the finish line. Moments during a super choppy swim, where I find myself amongst the middle of a pack of thrashing triathletes, where I could easily get panicked and just slow down, or times I get on my bike (my weak leg…) and have no power, watching myself get passed throughout the whole race, but I don’t ever let these uncontrolled moments affect me. Instead I tell myself just to stay composed, I know I can swim strong, so just swim to the outside of the pack and keep a rhythm, everyone is dealing with the same thing right now. On the bike, one might really feel down after seeing almost everyone you beat on that swim fly by you with ease… but in my head I just tell myself to peddle, don’t think about the people ahead or those approaching me, and know that my strength on the run. Once I get off the bike, no matter HOW far behind I might be from the other women, or HOW tired my legs feel, I push.  During a race I always tell myself “you want to end this race with no regrets, no feeling like you could have pushed harder. End this race with wobbly legs and exhaustion.” Now to some that may sound extreme, and maybe a lot of people don’t end a race wanting to feel that way, and that’s fine, everyone has different motives and goals, however this is just to show how I believe my mind has the most impact on my performance. Taking the race minute by minute, not letting a slow previous mile or thought of how many miles you have ahead affect you in a negative way was my advice here, especially for those new to running or triathlons.  Focus on NOW.  I also would like to say that I never race with a watch, now I do have different feelings on this depending on what type of race someone is doing, as many Ironman’s and marathons may require knowledge of pace or heart rate to make sure you don’t overdo it too soon...BUT I don’t like to race with one, because to me I monitor myself by just going hard! And listening to my body, maybe a watch might tell me I need to slow down, that I went out too fast, BUT maybe today my body is capable of keeping that pace! SO go with it!  This however is a topic for another post!

 Now back to what I said on everyone having different mentalities, and this is just one example of how a thought can affect someone negatively… I was once racing with a friend of mine (very good runner) who basically paced me through a recent 10k, which without her I wouldn’t have hit the time I did as I had NOT been training like she had. During the last mile of the race however, she thought we had made a wrong turn (she had done the race before and there was little signage as to go straight or continue left) so we just followed the one man ahead of us, and she said “no that was the wrong way, we can just slow down now… it doesn’t matter” …I couldn’t believe the words coming out of her mouth. Needless to say I continued pushing my pace because, hey even if we did go the wrong way I still want to finish strong. I ended up first place for the women for that race, AND we did go the right way! Now if I had let her negativity affect me then that may not have been the case.  I’d like to also share another example of how the mind can strongly affect someone, kids in this case. While teaching one of my youth fitness classes, I had taken the class to the track for some outdoor running and relays. I had them all begin with a half mile run around the track and then we set up for some relays. During the last leg of the relay, one of the girls got passed by the 3 other classmates to the finish line, so she immediately just came to a walk. Even with all the cheering and positive reinforcement to finish strong, she had felt like she failed and gave up! She let her surroundings affect how SHE did. This has a much bigger meaning, because it means that no matter what the people around you are capable of , and how much faster or stronger they may seem to be, you should never let it affect YOU, especially not in a negative way. Never be down on yourself because you finished last in a race, or that you weren’t able to perform maybe as well as you had wanted. This happens. Maybe all those people in front of you are able to train every day, and don’t work a 10 hour day like you do….maybe they have a coach helping push them in there workouts every day….maybe they don’t have a family to raise like you do! You just never know, and for those reasons, how should always focus on you, focus on what you can control in both your training and racing, and make sure to always think positively and know that your body will mirror those good thoughts!

 

Variety Is The Spice of Life!

Variety certainly is the spice of life, and is definitely one of the spices necessary for a healthy, fit life. This applies to your everyday workouts, nutrition, and overall lifestyle, which I will elaborate on below.  

I am often asked “what are you training for?”, “what sport do you play?” or “why are you doing that exercise?”  I’m always happy to get questions like this because it must mean I am doing something right! Even though my days of college lacrosse are long gone, and I may not be signed up for an upcoming triathlons or road races, I always train with a goal or purpose. I train to be fit and functional, which I believe requires a variety of training methods to accomplish. Yes, getting in your 60 minutes of activity each day is good for your health, no matter what mode of activity you choose, BUT in order to really be FIT and see results, you must challenge yourself. Going out for the same 4 mile run followed by the SAME weight training circuit every day will soon become like brushing your teeth…its good for your health to be moving, and getting in that activity, however your body will adapt to this, results will plateau and more importantly you will be overusing the same muscles each time you workout.

Growing up I played many sports, from basketball, field hockey, lacrosse, I learned how to train my body specific to the goals I had on the field or court, as well as how important it was to play a variety of sports to make me a better athlete.  In high school, I excelled in lacrosse, but instead of playing on year round premiere teams like most girls did, I chose to play field hockey and basketball in the seasons prior. I believe this kept me from burning out (mentally and physically) and allowed my body to have a change, to use different skills and motions which kept me fresh come lacrosse season. Having gone on to play Division 1 lacrosse in college, I followed my training plans religiously and considered myself in the best shape of my life (at that time!). I had power, strength and speed, which I believe is what led to my success as a runner and triathlete today. All those days sprinting endlessly up and down a 100yd field, hours in the gym lifting and performing agility drills all had a purpose, to make us better players and to push us to our limits which became both physical and mental training. You could never go out and run 5 miles at the same pace every day and expect to be in shape for this sport. You needed hard conditioning days on the track or field, hill sprints, speed and quickness drills, weight lifting, steady recovery runs, and stick skills. Point being, the variety of training and sports, shaped me into the athlete I am today, and continues to be a part of how I train.  

Having taken up triathlons after college, I’ve enjoyed having three sports to perfect! Swimming, biking and running make up the majority of my weekly workouts, but I still get in strength/core training at least 3x a week, and also always make time for other activities such as hiking, beach runs, cross country skiing and even horseback riding. I am definitely one who likes to move and stay active every day, and having a range of options to choose from allows me to do this, without getting burnt out or injured. Not only do I have variety in my weekly workouts, but I always make sure each workout itself is never the same. This means changing the intensity, interval time and distances for my swims, bikes and runs, as well as repetitions, load, speed and range of motion for strength training. Each workout has its purpose. Days following a hard interval run, may include an easy long distance swim to loosen up the muscles and get in the long, steady state endurance that I need for open water swims. Performing the same workout day to day, or trying to workout at the same intensity every day, will get you nowhere if you are serious about your performance.  One big mistake I see people make is trying to workout at same intensity every day, or try to run the same 5 mile run 5x a week. It may feel great when you first do these workouts, but is not sustainable over consecutive days without rest or other forms of cross training. You may be able to go out and do that same 5 mile run, at the same pace you always do, but over time, it won’t give you the same benefit as it did the first time because you have gotten used to it. I am not saying everyone needs to do what I do, but even if you are a runner, choose one other mode of training such as spinning or water running, and always incorporate proper strength and core exercises to keep your muscles balanced. Most importantly, make time for activities that are not structured workouts, such as a hike with friends, rock climbing, paddle boarding or even a game of tennis!

 

Same goes for nutrition. Its importance to get a variety of nutrients into your body, especially if you are working out. This doesn’t mean cycling through eating packaged junk food AND healthy fruits and vegetables! If you know me, I am not an advocate of those inner grocery store aisles. I advise anyone to eat a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables (including starchy vegetables), lean meats and dairy, whole grains and good fats. No macronutrient is off limits here in my mind unless there is a need to eliminate gluten, dairy or eggs for allergen reasons. Everyone needs carbohydrates, protein and fats…so eliminating a main group such as carbohydrates or fats is not necessary for even the most weight conscious. Fruit and vegetables are carbohydrates people! And if you are an athlete or one who is looking to perform well, you need that prime energy source to train. Fats are needed in order for nutrients to be absorbed properly and for our organs (brain most importantly) to function. A lot of people stay on track by eating the same foods day in and day out, which is fine, but it’s important to cycle through new foods to get different nutrients you need. This may be as simple as eating a different protein source every other day, adding in a new fruit or vegetable weekly, and getting a range of different fats such as using coconut oil instead of olive oil, avocado in your salad or different nuts in your yogurt. Keep in mind that everyone’s body reacts differently to exercise and foods they eat, so what works for your friend may not work for you. Experiment with different ways of training and fueling, and keep variety in mind!