Get Your Leafy Greens On!

Easy Ways to Eat More Greens!

If you are a veggie lover, read on. If vegetables are NOT your favorite, well then you should read on too!

Leafy greens for nutrition, health and weight loss

Whether you love or hate them, greens are a must when it comes to our health. Leafy greens have many benefits to boast, and there are countless numbers of ways they can be eaten. If you struggle to get your greens in, the ideas below might be a game changer for you.  Including more leafy greens in your diet, may even make your brain younger!

Leafy Greens 101

So what constitutes a leafy green anyway? Examples of these green bunches of goodness include:

  • Salad Greens – leaf lettuce, Romaine, spinach, mesclun, arugula, watercress, iceberg
  • Cooking Greens – Swiss chard, kale, collards, mustard greens, turnip greens

Benefits of Leafy Greens

Greens have many health benefits. The darker the green, the richer the nutrient value. Benefits include hearty amount of vitamins A, C, E, and K, as well as high doses of antioxidants – touting them as one of the best cancer-preventing foods. According to the USDA, vitamin K in dark leafy greens helps protect bones from osteoporosis and prevent inflammatory diseases in the body. Additionally, adding greens to your diet increases fiber intake, which helps to keep the GI tract healthy. Including more leafy greens in your diet, will benefit you in many ways, but did you know they may even help prevent dementia and cancer!  Salad anyone?

Ways to Eat Leafy Greens

Spring is finally here, and it’s probably safe to say that all of us will be thinking about sunshine and the great outdoors. For some that may mean outdoor farmers’ markets and at-home gardening. What better to plant or buy fresh at market than fresh, crisp greens? Keep reading to find simple ways to add greens to each meal of the day.

Breakfast Ideas

  • Fold greens into your eggs
  • Blend greens into your favorite smoothie

Lunch Ideas

  • Dice greens up and toss into your tacos or burrito
  • Stir greens into the broth of your favorite soup
  • Use greens as a wrap or ‘bread’

Dinner Ideas

  • Sauté greens into your pasta sauce
  • Toss greens into pasta as it finishes cooking

The benefits of leafy greens are numerous, and the ways to incorporate them into your day are endless. So get out there and get your greens on!

Recipes to boost greens!

Apple Kale Smoothie
Yields: 1 smoothie

¾ cup kale, chopped with thick stems removed
1 small celery stalk, chopped
½ banana
1 small green apple, cored
¾ cup milk of choice
½ cup ice

Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth.

Napa Wraps
Yields: 6 servings

¼ cup brown sugar                                 12 Napa cabbage leaves                         3 Tbsp. cilantro, minced
½ cup low-sodium soy sauce                  1 cup red bell pepper, sliced                  3 Tbsp. basil, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced                           1 Tbsp. ginger, minced                           1 ½ Tbsp. lime juice
1 garlic clove, minced                             3 oz. dry cellophane noodles, prepared
1 ½ lb. cleaned and cooked shrimp

  1. In a small dish, mix the 3 sauce ingredients and set aside.
  2. Lay Napa cabbage leaves in a large shallow dish. Add enough boiling water to cover leaves, and allow to soften/steam. Remove and pat dry with clean towel.
  3. In a small skillet, on medium-high heat, sauté peppers, ginger, garlic, cilantro, basil and lime juice. Cook until peppers are soft. Remove from heat.
  4. To assemble wraps, place cabbage leaves on flat surface, top with 1/6 of vegetable mixture, 1/6 of noodles, and 3-4 shrimp. Fold leaves into the center and dip into sauce. Enjoy!


For more recipes like these, visit the Nutrition and Wellness Center at UAC or our Facebook page.

Beginners Workout Guide for New Year’s Resolutioners

How to Stay Motivated with Your Fitness & Health Goals

Are you still feeling like it’s a “New Year, New You!”? For many people, the new year included a resolution… commit to a diet, determine an exercise regimen and much more. The hope for many is that by Spring, they will feel and look their best. Does this ring a bell? Regardless of what has you motivated to take charge of your health in 2018, starting and sticking to your plan can be challenging. This is why we put together some tips to help you stay motivated and meet your goals this year!

  1. Set Realistic Goals for Yourself

    Don’t reach for the stars, yet. Begin with short term, realistic goals. With exercise, start at a slow, comfortable pace. As you become more conditioned and comfortable in your workouts, up the ante and adjust goals accordingly. If weight loss is a goal for you, start by looking to lose 1-2 pounds/week. By starting small and setting realistic goals, you are setting yourself up for success.

  2. Hold Yourself Accountable

    Meeting with a fitness or wellness coach is a great idea for those who need guidance and support. Better determine your fitness short term and long term goals with a professional. Professional wellness coaches are trained to outline the best fitness plan for each and every client.

  3. Try A Group Fitness Class with A Gym Buddy

    Need a little motivation to get on track and stick to your plan? Go to a group fitness class! Better yet, go to a class with a friend! Be accountable to a buddy. Tap into the support of others and experience the motivation found in group fitness classes.  Group classes are also a benefit because if you are ever confused with a workout technique, a fitness instructor leading the class can provide alternative methods of training to help those who are just beginning their fitness journeys.

  4. Hire A Fitness Trainer at Your Local Gym

    To get started and stay motivated, you may want to hire a personal trainer to help you reach your fitness goals. Trainers are certified to help clients exercise safely. Personal Trainers are professionally taught how to best outline workout regimens for people who are just stepping into a healthier lifestyle or for those who are in need to meeting their personal fitness goals.

  5. Fit Workouts into Your Busy Day

    When your schedule does not allow you to get to the gym, you can incorporate a few simple workouts into your day anywhere you are. Using your own body weight creates a total-body workout for any ability level. Examples include:

  • Push-ups (advanced: with single leg raise)
  • Plank (advanced: side plank with raised top leg)
  • Squats (advanced: squat jumps)
  • Alternating Lunges (advanced: add a plyo jump)
  • Bent knee crunch (advanced: supine reverse crunch)

If you are at all in need of keeping to your New Year’s Resolution this year, we are happy to help you here at Universal! At Universal Athletic Club, our members’ success is our #1 priority. With a little bit of guidance, and a lot of encouragement, you too can start and stay committed to meeting your health and fitness goals in 2018!

6 Ways to Drop 6 Pounds

Making A Few Adjustments to What You Eat
Could be the Key!

If you’re looking to drop some pounds, try focusing on some basic fundamental principles that are long tried-and-true.

It’s not rocket science, but it does require some discipline and consistency. Instead of making it more complex than it needs to be, make it easier by focusing on the following 6 ways to lose those stubborn 6 pounds.

  1. Reduce sugar intake! To list all of the negative effects that sugar has on our body would require a full-blown, dictionary-sized novel.  Above all else, sugar could be the number one biggest culprit holding you back from losing weight.  To sum up sugar in three words, it’s: toxic, addicting, and deadly. It causes leptin resistance (making us unable to feel full) wrecks the metabolism, causes insulin resistance and contains countless hidden calories.  Remember to read labels on EVERYTHING to see the sugar content.  sugar-addiction
  2. Eat (good) carbs. Carbs aren’t the devil if you choose them wisely! The fact of the matter is, your brain and body need at least a small amount of carbohydrates to function. Most of your go-to carb choices should come from fruits and vegetables, but starchy carbs should be added at times from low glycemic sources. Choices could include quinoa, sweet potatoes, and rice.
  3. Don’t neglect protein. You should shoot to include a fair amount of protein in each and every meal or snack. Protein helps to stabilize and moderate swings in your blood sugar, making your energy steadier and your excess weight more simple to drop. In addition, it helps to preserve and maintain lean muscle mass, which consequently improves your resting metabolic rate. Protein also plays a role in increasing the feeling of being ‘full,’ making you less likely to reach for that late-night snack which continues to hold you back from losing those stubborn pounds.
  4. Focus on food quality. Foods that are minimally processed are the best for you. Food quality improves your energy levels, digestion, mood, metabolic rate, eliminates cravings, and so much more. In addition, improving the quality of the food you eat essentially takes the guesswork out of calorie counting. When you eat higher quality, more nutrient-dense foods, your body will better be able to send your brain the signal that you’ve had enough.
  5. Fat does NOT make you fat. This is contrary to what many people think. In fact, studies show that increasing your consumption of the ‘right’ type of fat aids in losing fat.  For one, fat has a beneficial effect on leptin receptors, which means that our signals of satiety will be much improved. This will lead to a reduction in caloric intake and an improved insulin response. In the simplest terms, good fat will rarely ever be stored as fat, provide instant fuel, help you feel full, and contribute to your ability to burn calories.
  6. Use grocery shopping ‘hacks.’ Ever hear that there are scientifically-backed ways to trick yourself into buying healthier foods at the grocery store? Well, there are a few. First, shop with a bottle of water in hand. This will subconsciously affect the foods that you choose since, generally speaking, this increases our sense of overall health. Second, try to shop when you’re full. As you might expect, this will decrease your desire to buy junk foods that would otherwise look incredibly appetizing. Third, create a physical list to take with you to the store. This will enable you to get in and out more quickly and eliminate the desire to make impulse purchases on the unhealthy foods you don’t need.

Follow these steps; learn them, practice them, put them into action, and drop those stubborn pounds for good! If you’re struggling and could use additional help with weight loss or making better food choices, contact Universal’s Nutrition & Wellness Department at 717-569-4754 or here.