Weight lifting: Finding your “why”and Personal Interview with Angela Gordon: Owner of Benefit Studio

“You just need to start and you need to find your reason why”

For a very long time my workouts were mostly cardio with the occasional ab exercises and lunges thrown in there. If I wasn’t working up a sweat, then I wasn’t burning calories (or so I thought). Over the years, I’ve become an avid runner and I love everything about running. The freedom of going at your own pace, running with others, and just letting your mind run. As much as I love running, the more I run comes with the increased risk for injury. I’ve had my fair share of injuries and I started to notice a pattern…all of my injuries were related to overuse and muscles working extra hard to stabilize a weaker part of my body. I’ve been slowly increasing strength training exercises, but I would be doing the same exercises on repeat because I didn’t know what I SHOULD be doing.  I would talk with people and they would tell me I needed to be using more of the weight lifting machines, cable cords, bars etc. I was terrified! I don’t know about you, but my gym is pretty male dominant in the weight lifting area so I just never dared to step foot in there! Problem? Yes, because I wasn’t getting stronger and I didn’t want to ask someone to help me! Who can relate??

benefit stuido

Let’s fast forward to summer of 2018 where I found my answer—BENEFIT Studio. I initially bought a Groupon and I took a variety of classes and really feel in love with the Wednesday class at 5 am led by the owner: Angela Gordon. This class focuses on lifting heavier, but fewer and more controlled reps. Hands down I’ve never taken a class like this before and I was shocked when I found myself looking forward to waking up before the world does to go. Since I’ve been incorporating heavier lifting 1-2 times per week I feel stronger—my legs feel stronger when I hit the pavement, my arms are starting to have some definition and I can lift more than I thought I could! Talk about a cool feeling. What’s kept me going back to the studio is the edgy, but personable instructor, the people, and the safe environment to be yourself, pick something up, and get stronger.

I had the opportunity to sit down with Angela Gordon, owner of Benefit Studio to learn about her weight lifting journey, owning a business, and her weight lifting philosophy. Talk about an inspiring journey and I’m excited to share with you all! I was shocked when Ang told me that she loathed working out and you wouldn’t find her hanging out at the gym often (maybe ever?!). Well the guy she started seeing was pro gym and weight lifting so that’s where it all began. What I love about this story is that Ang had no idea what she was doing in the gym. How she learned? By watching the guy she was dating and his friends do squats, bench presses, deadlifts etc. After about 5-6 months of going to the gym consistently her clothes were too big (no change in eating or drinking habits I might add). The next step was to join the gym and when she did she figured out her form and continued to get stronger. Ang was able to lift more than the guys and she found her “why” for lifting. Lifting gave Ang confidence and she liked feeling and being strong. Looking back, it took Ang about 3 years before she started noticing changes—like how she went from a size 14 to a size 4-6 with only shedding 10 pounds! From 2008-2012 she continued to lift and bartend and the end goal was to be able to make the gym her full time job. Why? Because Ang learned first-hand how much better she felt and she wanted to be able to help others feel the same joy.


In 2011 Ang took her personal training certification and she was officially a personal trainer. Ang’s first job was in 2011 at Victory Lady Fitness Gym (an all-female gym) and her manager taught Ang how to relate to people and build a relationship. This was a perfect fit because Ang described herself to me as “a people person and I love to help people”. In 2013 she quit her bartending job and only worked at the gym, which led her to her second love: Group Fitness Instructor. It only took Ang 3 classes to realize she loved teaching group fitness classes. What I thought was so cool is her thought process behind her class flow. In the beginning Ang would go to different gyms and watch other instructors to see what they were doing, what fit well with her style and also to get class inspiration. In the beginning, all workouts would be written on a piece of paper (well now it’s all in her head!) and she would format her exercises based on who was attending class. Her workouts try to focus on arms, legs, and core. The goal of Ang’s classes are “to keep people engaged, not insanely hard, but not also a cake walk”.

In 2013 Ang began as a sub for Benefit Studio, but it took months before the owner at the time put her on the schedule. This caused some self-doubt and made Ang wonder if she made the right decision. Well after her first class the people loved her and she started teaching 1-2 classes per week on the regular. Ang also began to build her private training clients and in 2016 she became the co-owner of Benefit Studio with Emily Thomas. When asking Ang what made her buy a business was simple “she loved her job, what she was doing, and had met some really cool people along the way”. Ang doesn’t have a business background nor had any desire to own a business—but she knows about working hard. Ang is figuring the business side out as she goes, asks people for help and continues to feel lucky for waking up each morning doing what she loves.

I also had to ask Ang about the myth “lifting will make me huge!”  Her response “If someone gets huge it’s likely from steroids or eating > 10,000 calories per day. Most body builders are on illegal substances, not because they lift 3-4 times per week. If you’re worried about getting bigger then you can turn your lifting sessions into a maintenance program: completing 12-15 reps and not increasing your weights. If you are doing 6 or less reps with heavier weights you are creating new muscle growth and anything more than 10 reps is for endurance. Yes, your shoulders and arms might get a little bigger, your body dimensions might change, but it’s more about a distribution change than getting bigger”.

I was also very curious to hear about her lifting philosophy and what she enjoys most about being a fitness instructor and personal trainer. As I am still very new to the lifting scene I couldn’t wait to hear her answer. Ang’s philosophy “You just have to get past the feeling of being scared. Focus more on listening to your body and being aware. There is just something cool about feeling strong and being strong. You just have to start and find your reason why. The goal is to feel good in your own skin and that will be different for everyone.” Why do you teach? “I think one of the coolest things about being a trainer is you get to decide what to do. The possibilities are endless! I try to come up with 3 major moves “chest, back, legs”, and make 10-15 exercises with those major moves. I continue to teach because I want those who come to my class to feel great about being there and leave wanting to come back. I make it a point to know something personal about every sing person. I love a class size of 8-12 people because each person brings a different vibe and energy to the class.”

Ang has continued to teach and in December of 2018 became the sole owner of Benefit for “her people” who continue to come back to her classes for her unique teaching style, funky personality, and personable demeanor. For me, I’d say that my “why” was to prevent running injuries, but now my “why” is to feel stronger and confident in my own skin. If you are feeling nervous like I was about lifting, but want to try it—find a place like Benefit Studio.

Steph & Ang

Here’s a breakdown of the different classes you’ll find at Benefit Studio:

  • Monday: TRX mix-ups—lots of different and new moves using the TRX bands.
  • Tuesday: Shape and burn—Focuses more on stability and smaller movements while using resistant bands.
  • Wednesday: Empower—Slow and controlled; working on strength and strong mental connection.
  • Thursday: Muscle up—Dumbbell and body weight work—full body workout
  • Friday: Ohh FIT-organized chaos—Encourages variety by using different equipment throughout the workout.
  • Saturday: Workout with the Trainer-Team training with Angela, but still about your personal goals.
  • Sunday: Circuit training

Feeling curious and want to try BENEFIT out yourself?? Head to their website!

Want to get a taste of Angela’s workout style?? Click here for a FREE and NO EQUIPMENT workout that will get you sweating in no time!

Keep calm and pick up a weight 🙂



Favorite Make-Ahead Breakfast Recipes for Busy Weekdays

I think you’ve seen me type this, but what I eat for breakfast gets me up and out of bed! With that being said, I make sure that my breakfast choices are the furthest thing from boring. Unfortunately, I don’t have time most mornings (really any morning) before work to spend an hour in the kitchen making my breakfast. If you do—well I’m seriously jealous and wish I could be more efficient in the morning ;).

Working as a Pediatric Dietitian and having a full time job requires me to PLAN AHEAD for my meals. It took me about 2.5 years of eating the same boring meal for breakfast and lunch to discover the beauty of meal prepping! My belly was so much happier when the meal prepping started and my food boredom quickly left. I want to share with you today my approach to having breakfast staples at the ready during the week to free up your time! Free up your time to spend time outside of the kitchen doing activities such as running, hanging with friends, or catching up on my Netflix shows.

Before you keep reading, I want you to know that I am sharing my personal tips that have worked well for me based on my work schedule, activity schedule, and food preferences. My hope is to give you more insight on how to incorporate balanced breakfast choices into your weekly routine that doesn’t include the Starbuck’s drive thru, fast-food breakfast sandwiches, and saving you some money without sacrificing taste!

How I choose what recipes to meal prep:

  • -They can be portioned into individual containers
  • -Recipes that will keep 4-5 days
  • -Easy to freeze!
  • -Include real ingredients and packed with nutrition to fuel my morning!

Trail Mix for the Sole’s Breakfast Equation: Use wholesome ingredients, incorporate healthy fats, and plenty of protein!

15-20 grams of protein: Protein is key to helping me stay full and helps my muscles recover faster.

Go-To Protein sources–>Greek yogurt, plant-based protein powder, hemp seeds, nut butters, nuts/seeds, eggs, ricotta cheese.

40-50 grams carbohydrates: I focus more on complex carbohydrates (think oatmeal, steel cut oats, whole wheat bread, and quinoa) and fresh/frozen fruit. I’m more of a “sweet” breakfast person vs savory. On the weekends I may swap out my fruit for some veggies!

1-2 Tablespoon of healthy fats: Dietary fats are so important for giving our body’s energy and support for cell growth. They also protect our organs and keep our bodies warm! Fats also help us absorb certain nutrients. I encourage my clients to focus on incorporating more monounsaturated/polyunsaturated fats in their meals.

Examples: Flaxseed, chia seeds, nut butters, avocado, pumpkin/sunflower seeds

Mix-In’s: Granola, unsweetened coconut flakes, cacao nibs, trail mix, mulberries, dark chocolate and dried fruit.

My Top 4 Recipes

Cauli-proats–> This recipe is perfect for making the night before or even a couple days before! If you’re wanting oatmeal for breakfast, but not wanting all of the carbohydrates; give this recipe a try! I add protein powder to help keep me full throughout my morning. You can eat this cold or hot–I love both! Plus, what a great way to sneak in some veggies and extra fiber in the morning.

cauli oats


  • 1 cup riced cauliflower
  • 2 Tbsp old fashioned oats
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp flaxseed
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder
  • 1 Tbsp nut butter
  • 1/2 cup almond milk

Toppings: fresh fruit, granola, or unsweetened coconut flakes

Berry Smoothie –> I love smoothies for breakfast pretty much any time of the year. When I have time on the weekends; I love pouring my smoothie into a bowl and adding all of my favorite toppings. During the week though, a mason jar is my best friend. I like to make my smoothies the night before, but what some of my clients will do is pre-portion your smoothie ingredients into Ziploc plastic bags so all you need to do is dump, add liquid and blend. It’s as easy as that! Smoothies are a great vehicle to start your day with some fruit AND vegetables, healthy fats and a super delicious combination.

smoothie on the go


  • 1 banana
  • 3/4 cup frozen mixed berries
  • 1/3 cup frozen cauliflower (or you can add spinach/kale)
  • 1 Tbsp flaxseed
  • 1 Tbsp almond butter
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder

Blend and top with granola or more nut butter in the morning!

Sweet Potato Breakfast Bowl–> Sweet potatoes are something that you will almost always find in my pantry. I like how versatile they are and they taste great sweet or savory. Not to mention they pack a great amount of vitamin A and fiber (from the skin). I will roast 3-4 medium-sized sweet potatoes over the weekend and then I will simply reheat and top in the morning before heading out the door!

sweet potato bowl


  • 1 medium sweet potato, roasted and then mashed (I roast my potatoes at 375 F for 40-45 minutes wrapped in foil with some olive oil or ghee)
  • 1/2 an apple or 1 banana, sliced
  • 4 ounces of Greek yogurt or ricotta cheese
  • 1 Tbsp hemp seeds
  • 1 Tbsp peanut butter

Place the warm sweet potato in a container and then add all of your toppings and enjoy! I love adding granola and coconut flakes to mine, too!

Steel-cut Overnight Oats –> Talk about the fastest meal prep recipe! Not to mention this will make enough for 6-8 servings! I’ve been reheating this or just eating it cold like overnight oats. Both are super delicious. I love the texture of steel-cut oats and this recipes gives such a creamy and chewy texture. Oats are high in fiber, good source of protein, are fortified with B vitamins, and provide you with complex carbohydrates to prevent that 10am blood sugar crash. I also like how you can add basically whatever you want to the oats so you never get sick of this bowl!

steel cut oats


  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 2 cups water
  • pinch of salt
  • Optional: protein powder, caramelized banana, nut butter

Directions: Add all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cook for 2 minutes and then remove from heat, cover and let sit overnight. In the morning you just need to heat and eat!


If you find these breakfast tips and recipes helpful; I would love to work with you on taking your meals and recipes to the next level! Visit my “Work With Me Page” for more information!


How to feel full following a Vegetarian Diet + my “Staple” shopping list for eating plant-based!

The month of January is a time where many of us want to start fresh, set new goals, and jump into the new year on the right foot! Every January, I will try to write down 1 goal that is health focused, 1 goal that is financial focused, and 1 goal that is personal/mindset focused. Setting goals at the beginning of the year keeps me on track of my goals and helps me become the very best version of myself. Being a Dietitian, I receive a lot of diet and exercise questions around this time of year! One being “What diet should I be following to lose weight?” The U.S. News revealed the best diet rankings of 2019. Here are the top 3: Mediterranean Diet, DASH Diet, followed by the Flexitarian Diet. To be honest, I was surprised that the Ketogenic Diet did not make the top 3 with all the hype over the past year!


If you couldn’t tell, I love sharing my personal recipes and tips for following a vegetarian diet. With being a vegetarian for over 10 years I’ve found my go-to plant-based proteins, how to make delicious meals that are appealing to my meat-lovers out there, and I’ve figured out what staples to always have on hand! That being said, I’ve also gotten practice on how to meal prep and grocery shop without spending an arm and a leg each trip! I want to share with you this month how you can incorporate more vegetarian recipes, how to meal prep, and also how to feel full without animal-based protein sources!

I can’t tell you how many people have asked me the same question of “how do you eat enough protein to keep you full without eating meat? Or “How do you eat enough calories to keep up with your exercise routines?” Needless to say, I’m excited to answer these questions today!

eat more plants

A vegetarian diet focuses on eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, and incorporating more plant-based oils. The best part? Your plate is always bursting with color and you feel energized and not sluggish after eating a meal.  Protein is essential in our diet and it helps to build, repair, and maintain our body’s structures. Most plant-based proteins are incomplete, which means they are missing at least one of the essential amino acids (with the exception of quinoa and buckwheat).

Here is a quick list of some of my go-to protein sources:

  • Grains
  • Lentils
  • Nuts
  • Beans
  • Legumes
  • Soy
  • Hemp
  • Rice
  • Peas

Plant-based proteins are higher in antioxidants and fiber, but are low in vitamin B-12 and heme iron that come from certain animal proteins. Therefore, it’s always important to speak with someone knowledgeable before changing up your eating habits! My plate may have more volume than someone who does not follow a vegetarian diet. Why? Well plant-based proteins are usually lower in calories and protein, which means I just need more volume to meet my daily protein needs. My protein needs can change depending on if I am training for a marathon or some sort of race!

If you’re wanting more recipes or to see my vegetarian “staple” list click here!

Wishing you a healthy and happy 2019!

Steph kitchen

Steph, RD

Welcome to November!

I can’t believe we are already one week into the month of November!  Let the Holiday Season begin. I’m definitely excited for the next few months because I get to see my extended family, partake in our family Holiday traditions, and spend time in the kitchen cooking all of my favorite seasonal meals.

I tend to get more calls, texts or e-mails from my family and friends during this time wanting to know what healthy foods they should be eating, what foods to avoid, what workouts they need to be doing, and the most popular question “how to avoid that Holiday weight gain!”. So I thought to myself, I bet a lot of people have these thoughts and questions running through their minds—why not write a blog post about this?


First and foremost, the Holiday is a time to enjoy spending time with those you care most about and sometimes this is the only time you will see a loved one the entire year! I know that for many, this time can be extremely stressful trying to manage all the different foods and interrupted routines. The Holiday is not meant to make you feel guilty, deprived, or being hard on yourself! I’ll be honest, I’ve been guilty of feeling angry at myself for having that extra cookie or second (or third) helping of stuffing, but we are all human! I always think that I would much rather remember the laughs and good company I had versus feeling angry at myself for straying away from my usual meals.

I’m excited to share tips and strategies throughout the season and today I’m sharing 5 personal tips! My goal is to give you tools to help you enjoy your family, friends, and food without the guilt or the weight gain! Research shows that on average, Americans gain approximately one to two pounds during the Holiday season and tends to stick over the years. I want to help you see that you can have your cake and eat it too!

If you have something in particular you want to know please send me an e-mail or message me on Instagram!

Click below for my tips!

Trail Mix for the Sole’s 5 Tips for the Holidays!



Favorite snack roundups to fuel your workouts!

The other day when I was running, I got asked the question “What should you eat before and after a workout?” More importantly, if you’re training for a race or exercising for over 60 minutes at moderate to high intensity, “what should you eat during a workout?”

I’ve rounded up some of my favorite snacks and eats when I’m literally on the move! Find out what works best for YOU! Try out some different snacks to see how your body responds, preferably not on race day!


A couple things to keep in mind:

* Eat around 30 grams of carbohydrates 60 minutes before your workout.

*If you’re eating a meal, eat 3-4 hours before your workout. Avoid high fat, greasy and spicy foods.

*Post workout fuel– aim for 30 grams of carbohydrates and 15 grams of protein within 30 minutes of finishing your workout.

Pre-workout snack/meal ideas:

* 1 piece of toast with 1 Tbsp peanut butter and 1/2 banana

* 1/2 cup cottage cheese + fresh fruit

* Bagel with cream cheese

* Fresh fruit and cheese

*Hard boiled egg

* Energy bites

* ½-full protein bar (My favorites are RX Bars, Square Organics, Zing Bars, Luna Bars, Lara Bars)

* Greek yogurt with granola or fresh fruit

* Protein smoothie

* Generation UCAN

* Rice cakes with peanut butter

protein smoothie

On the go eats:

* Dates

* Gu Energy Gels

* Clif bloks, Clif shots

* Dried fruit

* Grapes

* Gummy Bears

* Jelly Beans or sports beans (Jelly Belly Extreme)

*Gu Stroopwafel (I have not tried this myself, but my running friends rave about this product!)

Post workout snack ideas:

*Chocolate milk

*Cheese sticks

*Egg and cheese sandwich

*Turkey and avocado wrap

*Cottage cheese and fresh fruit

*Fruit and protein smoothie

*Trail mix and fruit

*Peanut butter toast

*Avocado toast

*Deli meat

avocado toastchocol milk

“You Don’t Eat Meat??”

Getting asked the question “What do YOU eat” is a common question I get asked from my family, friends, and clients. So I thought, why not share a “day in the life” of what Steph aka Trail Mix for the Sole eats. As many of you know, I follow a vegetarian, plant-based diet and I enjoy telling my meat-loving friends how I meet my protein needs and feel full with my meals with no meat included! So let’s jump right in shall we?


I’m a huge breakfast fan and typically prefer sweet over savory breakfast options. However, now that I’m upping my mileage for my upcoming marathon I’ve been throwing eggs into the rotation more often. During the week I’m all about prepping the night or a few days before for a quick and easy on the go breakfast to take to work. Right now, smoothies, overnight oats, yogurt and fruit bowls or chia pudding are my favorites. They keep me full until just about lunch time and I pack them with nutritional goodies! I commonly add flaxseed, chia seeds, and hemp seeds to my breakfast for their powerhouse health benefits.

—> Chia seeds: Excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, good source of iron, calcium, and fiber

—> Flax seeds: Another great source of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, lignans, and can help reduce cholesterol. Just remember to consume ground flaxseed in order for your body to reap all the health benefits!

—> Hemp seeds: Great plant-based protein source and rich in healthy fats!


This Smoothie has been on repeat lately! Blueberry & banana smoothie ( 1 banana, 1/2 cup blueberries, 2 scoops vanilla protein powder, 1 Tbsp chia seeds, 1/2 cup almond milk, nut butter, 1/4 cup riced cauliflower, turmeric and cinnamon)

Yogurt bowl is another favorite of mine! I usually will use Siggi’s, or Trader Joe’s Greek Yogurt, top with a banana + berries, granola, nut butter, and coconut flakes


Chia pudding I have been growing to love! I add 2 Tbsp chia seeds + 1/2 cup almond milk and mix together until combined. I then add 1-2 scoops protein powder, 1/2 tsp cacao powder and top with fresh fruit and almond butter!


Trail Mix for the Sole takeaways: Incorporate healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, fruit, and protein to keep you full longer than 1 hour!

Supplements: I also will take supplements/vitamins in the morning, too! I will take a daily probiotic (awesome for good gut health and keeping everything regulated), vitamin D (good for our bones–especially for us gals!), and vitamin B12 (being a vegetarian, I don’t get a lot of B12 in my diet with the exception of nutritional yeast. B12 is important for healthy nerve and blood cells. It can also protect against megaloblastic anemia)



I’m all about prepping something for the week so that I don’t have to worry about what to prep the night before—especially when my weeks are busy, busy! I’m all about making power-bowls, zoodle bowls, or bringing dinner left-overs. I tend to go a little bit higher on my carbohydrates because that is what helps me fuel my workouts and gives me the best results from an energy standpoint. I’ll tend to pair fresh fruit or cottage cheese with my lunches, too.

Last week, I enjoyed a power bowl made with tri-colored quinoa, grilled sweet potato, roasted broccoli and cauliflower, kale, buffalo seasoned tofu, and a homemade dressing!



Boy can I tell I’m running more miles because I’m getting hangry more often and my body is needing more snacks during the day! I try to up my calories by 500-600 calories/day when my training is at it’s peak to prevent any injuries, help my body recover and keep up with my training schedule. I’ve been snacking a lot on my own energy bites, protein bars, or trail-mix. I’ve been loving RX bars, Square Organic Bars or Zing bars, too.  A piece of fresh fruit with cottage cheese, or hard boiled eggs are another favorite. When I’m picking my snacks I want something with around 15-20 grams of protein and more simple carbohydrates (easier for my body to break down before a workout).

Pictured below are my homemade blueberry & vanilla hemp seed protein bars! They are hitting the hunger spot.



My dinners have been all over the place in terms of what I’ve been eating/craving. I typically will make zoodles, buddha bowls, pasta using lentil noodles or stir-fry! Last week, I doctored up some toast because I was too hungry and tired after my run to make much else! Dinner’s don’t have to be complicated or fancy all the time. My protein sources for dinner will be: crispy chickpeas, eggs, tempeh, tofu, soy chorizo, or cottage cheese!

Pictured below is pesto zoodles with vegetarian italian sausage, red peppers, mushrooms and balsamic drizzle. Not pictured is a piece of my homemade sourdough bread!


Sweet Tooth:

I’ve been having dark chocolate and peanut butter fat bombs (recipe posted in dessert section!), creamy coconut bars from Outshine (so so good if you like coconut!), or a spoonful of nut butter with dark chocolate chips 🙂

As you can see, not all foods I eat are instagram pretty, but I wanted to give you a glimpse of what I eat and how I fuel my body. I do have a sweet tooth so as you can see I satisfy that craving when it strikes. Have questions/comments? Send my way!


Eating & Exercising While Traveling

I don’t know why, but the summer months are always jam-packed for me! I’m usually training for a fall race, doing more activities outside after work, and just all around busier! Over the past month, I’ve been traveling most weekends for family events or traveling to visit college friends. This is all fun, don’t get me wrong! However, Sunday nights can be a struggle and that Monday is tough! I’ve been asked often how to eat and exercise while traveling or being on vacation. So I thought I would write a post about just that! Now I’m not saying you need to replicate your typically routine at home, but having some sort of game plan based on where you’ll be traveling will make a world of a difference. Let’s not forget that a vacation is so needed! We all need a break, so if that’s a break from exercising or enjoying some foods that you typically don’t have…do it!


For those of us who will be traveling via airport here are snack ideas to bring with you:

  • Bring an empty water bottle. This will get passed security and you’ll be able to fill up on water for free! This will save you money and avoid the temptation of buying a soda, energy drink, or some other type of sugary beverage.
  • Bars—Bars travel great and can be a good snack option or part of a meal. Some of my favorites include: RX bars, Lara bars, Zing bars, Luna bars, KIND bars, or Square Organics.
  • Homemade energy bites
  • Trail mix: You can make your own mixture or buy your favorite store bought mix! Just remember, portion control with this snack. Nuts and seeds are packed with nutrition in a small amount.
  • Fresh fruit: I’ll usually bring a banana or apple with me and have this with a bar.
  • Popcorn: Easy to pack and you can easily add to your trail mix.
  • Individual packets of peanut butter, almond butter or cashew butter.
  • Bring your own mix-ins for oatmeal or yogurt bowls such as hemp seeds, flax seeds, or chia seeds.

If you don’t mind spending a few dollars on airport food, you can definitely find healthier options! I usually will pick up individualized Greek yogurt cups, oatmeal, cheese and fresh fruit, raw veggies and hummus, hard boiled eggs or a veggie wrap.

Now what about when you’re traveling in the car? The above options totally apply, but if you have a cooler, you can provide yourself and travel buddies with more options! Plus, when you stop at a Gas Station or Fast Food restaurant, you can find some options that won’t steer you off course.


Some additional ideas:

  • Hummus + raw veggies
  • String cheese or cheese cubes
  • Grapes, berries, peaches (anything in season)
  • Whole grain sandwich with lean meat, veggies, cheese etc.
  • Opt for grilled protein vs crispy or fried
  • Try a salad with lean protein and light dressing
  • Grab fresh fruit or side salad over French fries
  • Opt for broth based soups vs creamy soups
  • Yogurt parfait
  • Beef or vegan jerky

Working On Your Fitness

Now let’s talk about exercising or doing some activity while you’re traveling. I always like to plan ahead and see where I’ll be staying during my time away. Some questions I ask myself are: will my hotel have a gym, can I walk/run outside safely, and are there studio classes nearby that I can try out a class for free? If all of those fail, I will have 1-2 “hotel room” workouts that I can do in my room! One of my favorite bloggers, Julie, from Peanut Butter Fingers has some fantastic workouts with no equipment required!


My fitness routine is usually less intense than what it is at home. Why? Because I’m away and having a great time! I don’t want to spend hours in the gym when I could be visiting with friends and family that I don’t see often. It’s all about balance. If I get 30 minutes in for a run or a circuit workout, I call that a win! Doing some movement is better than not moving at all. Another tip I have is get other people to join you in your workout! I’m always happy when I have a buddy to sweat it out with. I think the big take home message here is planning ahead! For me, I know that if I want to do a workout this needs to be done first thing when I wake up or it won’t happen. Pick which days you’re able to get a workout in and try to stick to those days. Whatever exercise you can sneak in, I’m sure you’ll feel better, have more energy, and will help you stay within your fitness and nutrition goals while traveling!

I hope you enjoy the summer months of traveling, experiencing new cities, and practicing balance when it comes to your health and fitness.

Favorite Trader Joe’s Finds and Weekly Food Shopping List

For those of you who have been following along my food adventures, you’ve come to realize my favorite food store and happy place—Trader Joe’s! I will forever thank the genius behind this grocery chain because I will usually leave the store with a new food product to try out. Fun fact: Trader Joe’s was originally called Pronto Markets until 1967 and the rest is history! Why do I love Trader Joe’s so much?? First and foremost I appreciate how much they value their products and how they want to give you the best without paying an arm and a leg for it! Another great aspect of TJ’s is that if you try something new and are not 100% sold on it, you can bring it back! No questions asked. Lastly their, vegetarian products and wine selection is one of the best I’ve seen and it helps me stay within my food budget for the month.

trader joes

So let’s take a walk through the store and I’ve created a list of food products that you’ll find in my cart almost every trip!

  1. Chocolate covered espresso beans (if you love coffee + chocolate then you need these in your life)
  2. Tofu/Tempeh/Soy Chorizo (I’m telling you TJ’s soy chorizo is life changing and I’ve had meat eaters rave about this meat substitute!)
  3. 3-pack of zucchini (great for making zoodles or adding to my lunch/dinner)
  4. Cruciferous crunch mix (this bag packs a ton of nutrition—composed of kale, shredded brussels and purple cabbage. I add this to my power bowls for the week typically)
  5. Almond cheese and their cheese in general. You can never have too much cheese.
  6. Greek yogurt (Their vanilla bean yogurt to this day is my absolute favorite! Recently, I’ve been seeing some fun flavors like watermelon + cucumber, matcha, and grapefruit + citrus)
  7. Almond milk (Can’t beat this price of $2.99)
  8. Trail mix (Funny that I would like trail mix 😉 I particularly like their omega trex mix)
  9. Seasoning! I cannot find another place that sells spices as inexpensive as Trader Joe’s. I pick up Everything But The Bagel, Cinnamon, Turmeric, Pumpkin pie spice, 21 seasoning, onion mix, chili lime seasoning…to name a few)
  10. Nut Butters. I always grabbing a jar of their natural salty smooth peanut butter, cashew butter or almond butter. 
  11. Farro, quinoa, and pasta (You’ll find these in my lunches, dinners, etc)
  12. Wine! (My two favorite white wines are Honey Moon and Belles Vignes. I Thee Red is my go to red blend.
  13. Frozen section: I will always have a bag of riced cauliflower, tri-colored cauliflower, frozen mango, vegetarian meatballs, frozen veggie medley, and their cauliflower gnocchi.
  14. Plantain chips and crispy ranch flavored chickpeas. Great for snacking during the week!
  15. Non-food items: Plants, cards (only $0.99), body scrub, body butter, lotion, and soap!


Trail Mix For The Sole Shopping Tips: How To Stay Within Budget

  1. Buy what is in season or buy frozen.
  2. Meal plan for the week! Take some time to decide what you want to make that week and create a list. This will help you stay on track and not put random items in your cart.
  3. Always add color to your cart. Pick up 2 different kind of fruits and 2 different kinds of vegetables that you can add to your meals. This will help prevent boredom and also encourage you to try some new produce.  
  4. Try some of the store brand products (likely cheaper than brand names and taste/work just as well).
  5. Assess your pantry (See what you already have at home and what you can make with it! 
  6. Try to limit prepared foods and make it yourself! You’ll be glad you did and so will your wallet.
  7. Coupons!! Take a peak and see what coupons are out there. Some weeks I don’t find anything, but other weeks I can use 5 coupons a trip. 
  8. Grains: Choose whole grain breads, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, oatmeal, high fiber cereals etc. These will keep well in your pantry, too.
  9. Dairy products: Try Greek yogurt (packs 2x the amount of protein than regular), cottage cheese, and low fat cheeses.
  10. Canned goods: chickpeas, black beans, low sodium canned vegetables, or low sodium soups for those busy nights.

Memorial Day Weekend Recap

Hi Foodie Friends!

As this 3 day weekend comes to a close, I wanted to recap some of my food and non-food adventures! I started my weekend off with a Happy Hour at Dutch’s in Hyde Park. I was craving a patio with a cold drink in my hand. Plus, since it was National Wine Day I had to participate! I opted for a Rose, which was on happy hour special. Win- win! I also, watched the Cavs game and thank goodness they won that game and actually looked decent! Any Cleveland fans out there??

On Saturday, I of course got my sweat on at Body Alive taking a spin class and then I stopped at guess where?! Yep, Trader Joe’s! I picked up some ingredients for a few dishes I wanted to prep for the week ahead. Some staples I typically always grab are: frozen cauliflower rice, tofu, tempeh, soy chorizo, peanut butter, almond milk, and yogurt! I headed to Taste of Cincinnati in the afternoon and it was a Foodie’s dream! So many food and drink options. Only downside was it was a little too hot, so we didn’t last as long as I wanted to. Our backup plan?? Bakersfield for their cucumber marg, fresh tacos, and chips and salsa + guac. Yum!

After all the food and drink adventures on Saturday, I started my Sunday with a nice 4 mile run outside before it got too hot! I was able to throw together a super simple summer appetizer: Grilled zucchini and caprese bites. You’ll find my recipe on my instagram post! They totally hit the spot and tasted so fresh. I don’t know about you, but you just can’t beat fresh basil!I checked out a new restaurant in the Banks, Condado’s Taco and it did not disappoint. I opted for the taco bowl with their tofu and all the toppings. If you’re not a big taco fan, go for the cool artwork and fun atmosphere.

I ended my long weekend with a pool day with my family and it was so relaxing! I caught up on the newest Food Network Magazine and just enjoyed being outside! Can’t beat a weekend spent with family, friends, and good food!

Until next time,