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Be Better Cookbook: Citrus Chicken

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Are you looking for finger lickin’ good chicken that’s moist, herby, and flavorful?? Wow that’s so weird, we totally read your mind. This chicken is all of those things and it can be marinated ahead and just thrown in the oven an hour before dinner time. It cooks up even shorter if you use boneless pieces or chicken breasts!

We had quite the Easter weekend, full of ham pies, homemade raviolis, and carrot cake… oh how we love carrot cake! We’re ready to get back into challenge mode though and this chicken is the perfect way to kick things off!

Citrus Chicken

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced

  • 2 whole lemons, one juiced and one sliced

  • 2 whole oranges, one juiced and one sliced

  • 1/2 tsp paprika

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1 teaspoon oregano

  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

  • salt & pepper, to taste

  • ~ 4.5 lbs bone in chicken pieces (12-14 pieces)

  • 1 small onion

  • dried or fresh thyme

  • dried or fresh rosemary

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

  2. In a medium bowl whisk together the olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, orange juice, paprika, onion powder, oregano, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. If you’re going to cook right away, split the chicken up between two 9 x 13’ glass baking dishes and pour mixture over evenly.

  3. If you’re marinating the chicken, then split the pieces up evenly between two gallon ziplock bags and pour the mixture evenly over the chicken into the bags. Shake them up and put in the fridge. When you’re ready to cook, dump each bag with all its contents into it’s own 9x13 baking dish.

  4. Right before cooking, arrange thin sliced onions, lemon slices and orange slices over your chicken. Then season with a generous helping of thyme and rosemary.

  5. Cook in the oven for 1 hour uncovered or until chicken is cooked and juices run clear.

  6. EAT UP.

We served our chicken with roasted potatoes and a fresh salad, but this chicken would be good with rice or mashed potatoes too!

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Be Better Cookbook: Easy Ground Beef

I’m just gonna say it… ground beef is under-appreciated.

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Yes, we all love a juicy steak and chicken is like health food’s poster child, but ground beef is delicious and deserves its moment in the spotlight!! We love ground beef because you can do so much with it. Here’s some of our favorite ground beef dishes…

  • Taco Style: with the right seasonings, ground beef turns into taco meat and goes perfectly inside lettuce wraps, over rice, or on a taco salad!

  • Burgers: this is my personal favorite. Mix your burger meat with salt, pepper, and a dash of onion powder, form into patties, and grill to perfection! For the Be Better Challenge, skip the processed bun and have your burger naked topped with all the goodies like peppers & onions, mushrooms, spinach & a fried egg, caramelized balsamic onions… you get the idea. Serve with a side of sweet potato fries!

  • Stuff Something: stuffed peppers come to mind here, but you can stuff lots of veggies with ground beef. You could try zucchini boats, acorn squash, cabbage, and even mushrooms! Pinterest is a treasure trove of recipes like this.

  • Old Faithful: if you’re low on time or want something simple, sautéed ground beef & onions is a perfect go to! Cook small chopped onions in some olive oil, throw in your ground beef, season with salt, pepper, and a dash of onion & garlic powder, & break that ish up so it’s all incorporated in your pan. Cook until your ground beef gets some yummy crispy golden bits. Ground beef like this is perfect with rice, sweet potatoes, on top of salads, or just as a midday snack!

Hello versatility! We recommend getting leaner ground beef (90/10 is good because it’s lean, but not too lean… read: healthy, but not flavorless). Grass fed is king when it comes to the nutrient quality of our beef, but we won’t get too picky with you guys right off the bat ;P

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Who Needs Mobility?

Sometimes in the gym we focus so much on lifting bigger weights and getting gymnasty that we forget about an essential part of our health and success in the gym… mobility.

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Great mobility is having the ability to perform functional movement patterns with no restrictions in the range of motion (ROM) of those movements.

Think about that. Can you move all our joints through their full range of motion? Can you get into a front rack, overhead position, or the bottom of a squat without any struggle? Can you do it fatigued or without any pain, tightness, or other restrictions?

If you’re answering a lot of no’s you could most definitely benefit from adding mobility work into your routine... Actually even if you answered yes to all those questions, you could still probably benefit from adding in mobility work if you don’t already!

Benefits of increased mobility…

  • Decreases the chance of injury. Any restrictions to range of motion in any joint increases the risk of injury in that joint, especially when we’re talking about adding weight or intensity!

  • Keeps joints healthy. Working on mobility increases blood flow and healthy synovial fluids in those target areas, literally ensuring that you’re a well oiled machine!

  • Can allow us to get stronger. If our mobility is crap and we can’t get into all of the parts of a movement, then there’s no way we can get stronger in all parts of a movement. Full range of motion allows us safely train and strengthen an entire movement!

What to do for mobility??

You can do one or any combination of the following for at least 15 minutes to count it for your mobility work during the challenge…

  • Massage - Yes massages count! Letting someone else do the work is a life hack in our book.

  • Foam Rolling

  • Stretching

  • Yoga

  • Dynamic Joint Mobility - this is when you actively move the joint through it’s full range of motion with the goal of good movement practice

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Be Better Cookbook: Spice Rubbed Chicken Thighs

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Spring time is here and it brought some nicer weather along with it! The sun is out, birds are chirping, and we’re firing up the grill. We’ve got an awesome grilled chicken recipe that will make you never want to eat a dry chicken breast again.

This recipe name is deceiving. This chicken is so easy you don’t even have to actually rub these extremely tasty, insanely flavorful chicken thighs. You can if you want to though, we’re not gonna judge.

Spice Rubbed Chicken Thighs

  • 1 Family Pack Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs

  • 1 Teaspoons Onion Powder

  • 1 Teaspoon Paprika

  • 1 Teaspoon Chipotle Chili Powder

  • 1/2 tsp Ground Cumin

  • 1/2 tsp Oregano

  • Salt & Pepper

  • Olive oil

  1. Preheat your grill to medium high heat.

  2. Grab a large gallon zip lock bag. Measure out and pour in your onion powder, paprika, chipotle chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt & pepper.

  3. Throw in your chicken thighs, zip tight, and shake those thighs up so that they’re covered in your spice rub.

  4. Pour about 2 tablespoons of olive oil into the bag, zip back up, and massage that all around into your chicken.

  5. When your grill is preheated, turn it down to medium heat and place your chicken thighs on the grill. Close the hood and let them cook for 5ish minutes on each side or until you get those nice grill marks on each side or until done to how you like them!

  6. I like to take them off and slice them thin.

Notes: This spice rub definitely changes depending on what I have in my pantry. If you hate cumin, leave it out. If you love rosemary or thyme throw some of that in instead. It’s totally customizable. If this rub is a flavor overload, halve all the spices so there’s less on each piece of chicken. Make it your own and get grillin!

This chicken goes great with almost anything. I especially love it with coconut rice, homemade mango salsa, and some grilled peppers.

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Sneaky Added Sugars

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No added sugars is probably one of the hardest of our Be Better Challenge points to get for real. Added sugars are sneaky. Sometimes we add them ourselves to things like coffee or tea, homemade baked goods, or even sauces and salad dressings. Other times they’re lurking in the processed foods we eat like store bought snacks, protein bars, and yogurts. Even other times we grab, gulp, and chew on things that are almost entirely made of sugar like sodas, energy drinks, and candies.

If you’ve ever seen any of the hundreds of food documentaries that have come out in the last few years, you probably know that lots of sugar is not good for us. People like to say the word excessive, but truthfully we don’t know exactly how much is too much… so we think it’s better to err on the side of caution and minimize added sugars as much as we can.

There are lots of foods that are marketed as healthy, but actually have lots of added sugars. Here’s a few:

  • Flavored yogurt - most yogurts have lots of added sugar

  • Cereal - cereal pretty much turns into straight sugar as you chew it

  • Granola - they might as well just call packaged granola deconstructed cookies

  • Almost fat free anything - they pump these foods with sugar to make them taste better because fat tastes good and without it all is lost

The best way to combat your added sugar cravings is with the naturally occurring sugars in fresh fruits and healthy carbohydrates like sweet potatoes! It’s also important to know that we can’t avoid sugar altogether, and we don’t really have to, but sugars are sneaky so it’s good to be aware of all the places they are hidden and the ways that we’re getting added sugars without even knowing.

Once again, one of your best defenses is to learn how to read nutrition labels & ingredient lists so you know what’s in the foods you’re eating!

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The Low Down on Processed Foods

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So now that we established that we want to eat more real foods during the challenge, we can talk about what we want to eat less of… processed foods.

Processed foods are man made or manipulated. They are like the opposite of real food. They usually come in packages, need nutrition labels, and have ingredient lists. They don’t usually resemble anything you’d find in nature. Some processed foods include…

  • Baked goods & processed grains like bagels, tortillas, breads, pastas, chips, cookies, cakes, etc.

  • Convenience/ready to eat foods like cereals, frozen meals, & energy bars

  • Processed meats like deli meat, cheeses, bacon, sausage, salami, etc.

  • Processed fats & oils like canola oil and vegetable oil. This also includes stuff made with these oils like packaged salad dressings, other condiments, and fried foods.

Processed foods are EVERYWHERE these days. They can be full of chemicals, and other man made stuff that we’re not even sure our bodies can handle. Not only that, but because of all this fake stuff… they taste… so… good. I mean how could they not? Processed foods are manufactured to taste better than real foods with extra sugar and added fats so that you’ll buy more of them… and let me tell you, it usually works. To top it all off, your taste buds get used to all those added stuffs which makes real food taste bland and flavorless.

All hope is lost. … JK! The good news is your taste buds are constantly changing and cutting back on the processed foods can change your taste buds in a big way so that we can start to appreciate the subtle and not overdone flavors of real foods again! HOORAY.

So, How Do We Avoid Processed Foods?

  • Stick to the perimeter of the grocery store.

  • Food prep. Processed foods are often times what we reach for in a pinch because they’re easy and then we get addicted or used to them. A perfect way to combat that is to be prepared with real, whole food snacks prepped in your fridge. Think about cooking extra meats, poultry, and hardboiled eggs for a quick snack. Portion out nuts and seeds with some fresh berries into little snack ziplock bags to eat as is or grab and go with a plain greek yogurt!

  • Don’t get too hungry. Humans are weak. That’s a fact. If you’re STARVING you’re way more likely to crave something sweet and then before you know it you’ve downed that entire box of cookies that was calling to you from the pantry. Eat real foods at pretty regular intervals throughout the day and you won’t feel as strong an urge to splurge on all things processed!

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Eat Real Foods

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Now before we get into some of the things we want you guys to limit during the challenge, we wanted to put an emphasis on the real goal of the be better challenge… to eat more real foods!

You might be saying “Guys, what are real foods? What on earth are you talking about?” Well, real foods are just that… they’re real. They don’t usually come in a package or a box. They almost never have an ingredient list. They definitely aren’t made by man or processed in a factory. They usually come from the ground or from an animal.

Real foods are what you want the bulk of your diet to be made up of. They include meats, fish, whole fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds. Real foods are the food without anything added to it. It’s the thing that came out of the ground, or was picked off a tree, or was walking in a pasture or swimming in water. Don’t think about it too much, real foods are just real.

Tips to Maximize Realness

  • Stick to the perimeter of the grocery store. They keep most of the real stuff around the outside of the grocery store… produce, meats, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, etc. That’s because real foods don’t have a super long shelf life (aka they go bad eventually) while processed foods can sit on a shelf and stay exactly the same for a long time because they’ve been pumped with chemicals to prolong their life.

  • Learn how to read nutrition labels & ingredient lists. Knowing what you’re looking at is huge when considering whether a food is one you should be incorporating into your daily diet.

  • If it has an ingredient list, especially one longer than 5 items, steer clear. This means that food is DEFINITELY processed. Also try to avoid added sugars and sweeteners in foods… more on this later though.

Things Commonly Mistaken as Real Foods… that aren’t

  • deli meat & cheese

  • tv or frozen dinners

  • foods that are fried in processed oils (chicken fingers, french fries, etc.)

All right, that’s enough. Go get eating!

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Be Better Cookbook: Grilled Fajita Chicken

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Everything here cooks up super fast! I get the thin sliced chicken breasts, shred my sweet potato, and thin slice my veggies. You’ll be eating a healthy, whole food, no junk dinner in no time! The recipe calls for a family sized pack of chicken breasts, but the sides are for just 1 serving. If it’s just you, this will give you lots of leftover chicken to use for the week, this way you can get your protein in at every meal. If you’re serving more than one, just double or triple your sides.

Grilled Fajita Chicken

For the Chicken:

  • 1 family pack thin sliced chicken breasts

  • juice of 1 lemon

  • juice of 1 lime

  • 1/2 cup olive oil

  • cilantro (fresh or dried)

  • ginger (optional, I use the fresh stuff that’s already minced)

  • paprika

  • chipotle chili powder (optional)

  • salt & pepper

For the Sweet Potato

  • 1 small - medium sized sweet potato

  • olive oil

  • salt

For the Fajita Peppers

  • 3/4 of a red bell pepper, sliced super thin

  • 1/4 of an onion, sliced super thin

  • olive oil

  • handful of spinach (optional)

  • salt & pepper

  1. Marinate your Chicken. Throw your chicken and all the marinade ingredients in a large gallon ziplock bag. As you can see, most of the seasonings don’t have measurements. Just throw some in there based on your taste preferences. If you like spicy sprinkle on lots of that chipotle chili powder (it is so good). Because of the high acid content of this marinade (lemon & lime) you don’t need to marinate for long. I threw my marinade on maybe 20 minutes before I threw it on the grill.

  2. Fire up your Grill. Turn your grill on to medium heat.

  3. Shred & Get your Veggies Started. While my grill was preheating, I shredded my sweet potato and sliced up my veggies. I threw 2 pans on the stove on medium-high heat (depending on how attentive you are) and splashed in a 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil in each. Throw your thin sliced peppers and onions in one and your shredded sweet potatoes in the other.

  4. While those are cooking, put your chicken on the grill. Turn the heat down to Medium Low and let those babies cook for 4-5 minutes per side or until you get those nice grill marks and they are cooked through.

  5. Make sure to stir your veggies often. Let the peppers and onions cook until nice and caramelized. Once they are just about done, add the spinach and cook just long enough to wilt. Toss in some salt and pepper to taste. Let the sweet potatoes cook until they are golden-browned up and season with salt.

  6. Assemble. Put your sweet potatoes on your plate. Top with veggies and sliced chicken breast. Slice up some avocado or get crazy and make some guac.

Any of the pieces of this dinner can be made on their own or subbed out for something you like better! This would be good with some rice too. There’s a lot going on here during cook time too so if you want to make anything in advance or do one thing at a time that’s totally do-able as well!

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What Counts as "Good Protein"?

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One of the Be Better Challenge challenges is to get good protein sources in at every meal, but what are good sources of protein??

Like the picture above says, the best protein sources are complete proteins that more often than not are whole foods! We’re talking …

  • Chicken & Poultry

  • Lean Beef & Lean Ground Beef

  • Pork

  • Game Meats

  • Eggs

  • Fish, Shrimp, & Other Meaty Shellfish

  • Plain Milk & Plain Greek Yogurt

  • Protein Powder (In Moderation)

These are the big ones. We emphasize complete proteins because they have all the stuff your body needs to be able to actually use them AND they have the highest concentration of protein meaning they give you the best bang for your buck.

The goal is try to get in good sources of protein at all your meals and snacks. Protein helps build & repair muscle and keeps you fuller longer! If you’re struggling to get in your protein here’s a few tips…

Protein Power Tips

  • When constructing meals and snacks, start with the protein. Build your meal or snack from the protein out.

  • Make extra protein for dinner. Whatever protein you’re cooking for dinner, make extras so there’s always protein readily available in the fridge. This way, you’re never stuck missing a point because you didn’t have time to cook some up. (Skewers, chicken strips, and lean ground beef are all great to have ready!)

  • Toss your protein in a salad. Some people hate dry proteins. Throwing your chicken, meat, or fish into a salad with other favors can sometimes help make that big hunk of protein seem a little less intimidating and a lot more palatable!

If you’re still confused or you’re a vegetarian or a vegan and you’re having a really hard time getting in your protein from that list above, let us know! We might have some answers.

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June Co-Members of the Month

Jersey Devil CrossFit's June Co-Members of the Month are...

 
 

 

Jaymie & Meredith!

 

These two lovely ladies started crossfitting with us back in January and we can't believe how much they have improved since then! We love seeing these two pees in a pod workout side by side night after night, pushing each other to try new things and work a little harder. They immediately fit right in with the 7:30pm crew (our Sassy Sweaters, as I like to call them) where we get equal parts grit, determination, laughs, and eye rolls from our members ;P

Jaymie and Meredith have both been putting in the work in our CrossFit classes, constantly working to master the basics. They both completed their first Murph just last week which is a huge accomplishment! We're incredibly proud of how far they've come and can't wait to see what the future holds for these two. 

Way to go Meredith & Jaymie!

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