THE RECIPE BOX - Make lifestyle changes, not resolutions

THE RECIPE BOX - Make lifestyle changes, not resolutions

WOONSOCKET -- It's six weeks into the new year and time for a check up on those New Year's resolutions. Most people - about 70 percent who made resolutions - decided to live and eat healthier and exercise more.

Your desire to lose weight or simply wanting to feel better may have propelled you forward into a gym membership at a place that hasn't seen your abs since the first week of January. According to Michael Reynolds, one of the owners of Rhode Island Athletics Club, "70 percent of them (the January joinees) have stopped coming to the gym by February."

Well, no need to throw in the towel completely say those in the business of helping you to meet your goals. Michael Reynolds and Greg Moreau have been sports-oriented all of their lives and both graduated from and were friends at Lincoln High School. Today they're in business together at Rhode Island Athletics Club along with Jason St. Clair, co-owner.

Mike's strength is in sports management, most recently managing basketball teams, with a stint that took him to Nevada for a time. While Greg stayed more local, he previously owned Four Corners Fitness, in Manville.

Mike and his wife are expecting their second baby soon, while Greg just got married in October of last year. Their motto this year is, "Forget the resolutions, it's the year of the lifestyle." So while they both agree that life sometimes gets in the way (of the best intentions) it's no reason to give up.

With Valentine's Day around the corner they sat down with me to give some simple tips for improving one's health, first by food choices and second by adding activity. Both of which are good for your heart and for your spirit.

"Clean up the diet," said Greg. Do this by taking out (or eating less) white breads and pastas, refined sugars, and processed snacks, he said. Grill, don't fry foods. "Replace them with a clean diet of vegetables, fruits and lean meats," Greg shared.

And planning ahead is inevitable if you are going to succeed, said Mike. People go for the convenience of coffee shops and fast food places, Mike said, but his best advice is to plan and prepare healthier meals. "I'll eat a yogurt for breakfast and I bring my brown rice, grilled chicken and vegetable of the day to work with me in my Tupperware containers," he said. It eliminates not knowing what to have when you get hungry or have a very limited time frame. It is less expensive as well.

Sure this means he's cooking during some evenings but the upside is he's not sitting in front of the television. "It's a choice," he says. "If I want to be healthy these are the choices I should make." It will extend your life and you can enjoy being more active and involved with your children, he said.

The pair both agreed that frequency and consistency are the two main keys to succeeding in a weight loss or fitness goal. And while everyone's goals are not the same, being sedentary is a mind-set and a habit that can be changed.

"Start walking a farther distance by parking the car further away from the door. Start walking in the morning or evening with a partner. Even if you don't have the same goals you can encourage each other," Mike said. Little changes will add up.

People have to realize that we're all human and life gets in the way. Just because you stumble doesn't mean you can't get back up and recommit, Mike said. One of the ways to succeed is by committing with another person. The "couples" approach yields great results due to the teamwork mentality, you can be encouraged and have accountability.

There are many group classes offered at Rhode Island Athletics Club such a spin, zumba and water aerobics where an instructor will lead you. Or for the more intense athlete you could try out a six-week schedule of boot camp, TRX (indoor ropes and suspension) classes in their Athlete Development Center. These classes are conducted in smaller groups and are geared by level of fitness.

But whatever your level of fitness, there is a challenge that we can all meet and by simply doing more than being sedentary you'll improve your overall health in small and measurable increments.

The spaghetti squash recipe is a favorite of Mike's. This squash gives the look and feel of starchy pasta but for less than a quarter of the calories and carbs, he said. "You can serve it with any of your own favorite pasta sauces, but my family likes it with plain old marinara," he shared.

Everyone should start the day with a breakfast that includes protein, it sets the tone for the day and gets your metabolism going.

This Valentine's Day skip the chocolates and get your partner off the couch for a romantic walk! By the way, there are no calories in flowers!


Spaghetti Squash with Marinara Sauce and Parmesan

Ingredients:

1 spaghetti squash

1 jar good marinara sauce

8 Tbsp. grated parmesan cheese

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. With a sharp knife cut the spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise. Scrape out seeds and pulp.

3. Place the two halves cut side down on a baking sheet. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a sharp knife can be inserted into the outer shell with little resistance.

4. Run a fork through the inside of the cooked squash to create spaghetti-like strands.

5. Toss the strands with marinara sauce and top with two tablespoons of cheese per serving and bake to melt cheese if desired. Serves four. Enjoy!

Power Breakfast

Ingredients:

two slices whole grain bread

1 apple

1 pear

2 Tbsp. almond butter (find in aisle with jams & jellies)

chopped roasted almonds

Directions:

1. Toast the bread.

2. Peel and slice the pear and apple into 1/4-inch thick slices, then top with roasted nuts.

To roast the almonds preheat oven to 350 degrees and roast for about 8 minutes on a baking sheet.

Greg Moreau and Mike Reynolds are friends in the fitness business at Rhode Island Athletics Club in Woonsocket. They shared some tips for a creating a healthier lifestyle and a healthy recipe using spaghetti squash instead of pasta.