Ten Tips to Tackle Turkey Day the Healthy Way

Whole Homemade Thanksgiving Turkey with All the Sides

Happy Holidays!! With Thanksgiving just a few days away it’s important to have a game plan to ensure that indulging in a few holiday treats doesn’t turn into a binge-fest that lasts until January 1. We’re here to help! We’ve put together some of our favorite tips for how to enjoy your favorite holiday foods without going overboard or feeling deprived. As we always say, it’s all about balance. Check out our top ten tips and let us know if you have any others to add:

1. Eat healthy during the day. Start the day with a healthy breakfast of protein and veggies (like an omelet!) and drink plenty of water. Saving up all of your calories for a big dinner will just make you hangry and tired. No one wants to be around that all day. You’re also more likely to overindulge at dinner and make unhealthy choices because you are blinded by your hunger.

2. Bring healthy options with you. If you are going to someone’s house for the holiday, bring a healthy side, like a salad or roasted veggies, with you. That way you can feel good knowing that you will have at least one totally clean option you can put on your plate.

3. Stay busy. Instead of congregating around the appetizer or dessert tables, take the conversation to another area where you aren’t tempted to mindlessly munch on appetizers and other bite-sized treats.

4. Choose your treats wisely. If you are going to visit the dessert spread, grab the sweets that you can’t get year-round. You know you can have a chocolate chip cookie any time of year, but pumpkin pie and sweet potato pie are usually only available this time of year.

5. Practice portion control. People typically use their “formal” dishware for Thanksgiving, which means BIG plates. Don’t let the size of the plate fool you. Try to portion out your food on the plate instead of trying to fit a scoop of EVERYTHING on it just because it’s got more space.

6. Fill your plate with protein and veggies. This tip is the buddy to tip #4. If you aren’t a portion control pro, focus on filling your plate with mostly protein (turkey) and veggies. When you sit down to eat, focuse on eating these foods FIRST before you move on to the potatoes, stuffing and dinner rolls.

If you are a 21 Day Fixer, like Keegan and I, try to eye-ball a red container of turkey and a green container of veggies FIRST. Then add in smaller scoops of your yellows (mashed potatoes, stuffing, bread, sweet potatoes). Need more help, check out Autumn Calabrese’s video about how to survive Thanksgiving using the 21 Day Fix.

7. Choose wisely. If you’re going to indulge, go for seasonal sweets that you know you can’t get year-round. You know you can have chocolate any time of the year, but candy apples, apple cider, pumpkin or sweet potato pie are often only available this time of year. Just remember that just because these treats are only available for a limited time doesn’t mean you should go overboard. Practice portion control!

8. Be careful with the cocktails. It’s the holidays and, let’s be real here, we all like to enjoy a few adult beverages to celebrate the season. The trouble is, these can pack LOTS of empty calories that do absolutely nothing but give us a nasty headache. Play it safe by avoiding cocktails with sugary mixers and having a glass of water between each drink you have. This will keep you from drinking too much alcohol and help you stay full and hydrated!

9. Start the day with a workout. Working up a sweat in the morning can help you feel happy and energized throughout the day and way less guilty for eating an extra slice of pumpkin pie. Need workout ideas? You can pop in a workout DVD (T25, 21 Day Fix, P90), go for a jog, sign up for a local Turkey Trot race, or head to the gym (some are open on Thanksgiving!).

10. Move on. If you overindulged a bit, don’t let it get you down. It happens to the best of us. It’s easy for a little extra stuffing at Thanksgiving dinner to turn into binge-fest 2014 that lasts until January 2. Jump right back into your clean eating and exercise routine. If you don’t have one, let us know, we’re happy to help.

It also helps to team up with friends to keep you on track during the crazy holiday season. We all want to look awesome for our holiday parties and when the ball drops on New Year’s Eve, right? The NGU Krew has a free online group starting on Dec 10 to help us all stay accountable to our nutrition and exercise plans, so we can feel crazy confident in our New Years Eve outfits. Sound good? Shoot us a message on Facebook www.facebook.com/ngukrew or via email nevergiveupkrew@gmail.com and we’ll add you to the group!

Maple Almond Chia Shakeology Balls

Shakeology Balls

Shakeology balls are my weakness lately.  They start out as such a healthy snack choice, and then about 450 balls later, healthy has flown out the window, never to return.  I’m determined to be able to keep these craving busters around my house, and be able to eat them responsibly.  And, by responsibly, I obviously mean 1-2 per day, compared to 35.

I was in the grocery store for something else, and I ended up finding this really cool almond butter.  No secrets about it, almond butta ain’t cheap, but when I spotted this Barney Butter Raw Almond + Chia I was tempted to step outside my Plain Jane comfort zone.  This recipe is what happened next…



1 1/4c gluten free oats
1c almond chia butter
1/2c dark chocolate chips
1/3c honey and pure maple syrup
1 packet or scoop of vanilla Shakeology

There isn’t an easier snack to mix up.  Pinky swear.


1. Put all ingredients in a large mixing bowl

*Tip for getting your honey & maple syrup out of the measuring cup: Take a little bit of coconut oil (liquid or solid, doesn’t matter), and smear it on the inside of your measuring cup before adding the sticky stuff.  You watch.  No mess.  Everything will pour right out in to your mixing bowl.  You’re welcome.

Almond Chia Ingredients

2. Mix ingredients together using a large spoon and/or clean hands.  Mix the dough until all ingredients are combined, and you’ve got something that looks like a cross between chocolate chip cookie dough and granola.  Bottom line?  You shouldn’t have lots of oats left over at the bottom of the bowl.


3. Using your hands, form ping pong sized balls.  Line a plastic food container with parchment paper, and you should be able to store approximately 16-18 snack balls per recipe.

Personally, I keep my shakeology balls in the freezer.  I wish I could tell you that I keep them there because they last so long at my house that they might spoil if left in the fridge, but that’s definitely not the case.  They just take a few minutes to thaw, though, and they’re perfect to grab & go!

– Keegan

Healthy for the Holidays Accountability Group

Thanksgiving ChallengeRaise your hand if you went a little overboard on the Halloween candy over the last week. (raises hand)

I’ll admit more than a few Reese’s cups and Kit Kats may have accidentally fell into my mouth as I was passing out the candy to trick-or-treaters. I like my treats just like everyone else does.

This time of year is TOUGH on the fitness and nutrition routine.

It starts with the Halloween candy, then the Thanksgiving feast, then the holiday parties with cocktails and cookies. It’s just so much rich, tasty food all up in our faces.

Not to mention it gets dark at like 4 pm and we have to wear coats when we go outside now. Womp womp. Totally makes you want to hibernate for the winter.

Trust me, this time of year is hard for us too. So we are teaming up with our friend Melissa (who also happen to be a pro when it comes to meal planning and eating healthy) to put together an online support and accountability group to help us all get through the Thanksgiving holiday without going overboard. 

We’ll be sharing our favorite recipes, meal plans, strategies and good ol’ fashioned positivity for 21 days in a private group right on Facebook. We start tomorrow (November 10).

If that sounds like it’s up your alley, let us know by sending us an email at nevergiveupkrew@gmail.com or message us on our Facebook page www.facebook.com/ngukrew. We’d love to have you join us. 

3-Day Refreshing Like a Boss – Part 2


A few weeks ago I shared with you my most recent experience in completing the 3-Day Refresh, the three day mini-detox program from Beachbody that helps you bounce back from a clean eating hiatus or kickstart your health and fitness journey. Now that you know a little bit about how the 3-Day Refresh works, allow me to share some of my top tips and key takeaways for making the most of your experience should you decide to give it a go:

1. You will NOT be on the toilet all day. 
This is the #1 question I get about the Refresh. It is not meant to “clean you out” the way that the stuff people drink before a colonoscopy does – so let’s get that outta the way right now. You will, however, have a few normal, healthy…. umm… bowel movements over the course of the three days. You may be peeing a little bit more than usual from the shakes and the water you are drinking. Not a huge deal.

2. Drink the fiber sweep IMMEDIATELY after adding water.
The fiber sweep is taken once a day and it’s made up of both soluble an insoluble fibers to help gently get all of the waste out of your digestive system. It’s kinda like a garbage truck, slowly picking up the nasty stuff in your body and taking it to the dump (pun intended!). For this reason, this drink gets thick, FAST when you add water. So bang it back as soon as you mix it up. It tastes a citrusy and refreshing, but the consistency is thick. I mean, ya can’t really expect to be drinking margaritas on the Refresh, so, in my opinion, this is a small hurdle on the road to feeling SO much better.

3. Don’t be afraid to combine veggies and fruits.
For your fruit and veggie servings you don’t have to pick just one option from each list. Make yourself a “meal” by putting smaller portions of fruits and veggies together. For example, I made a salad with a cup of greens, about 1/3 of a small red pepper, and about 2 chopped up baby carrots. I used some lemon juice, Himalayan salt, pepper and vinegar (all freebies) as my dressing. If I was having my fats in that meal, I would add some olive oil to my dressing too. You can also mix and match fruits the same way and make yourself a fruit plate!


4. Choose options that will give you the most food on your plate.
When you look at the food lists and recipes, you’ll notice that the serving size for some of the fruits and veggies is larger than others. For example, the serving size for spinach is 2 cups, but the serving size for Brussels sprouts is 2 medium sprouts. I don’t know about you, but I’m going for the spinach in this scenario. My advice here is to choose the options that allow you to fill your plate so that your mind and your tummy both feel fuller. Same thing goes for the recipes. While the Roasted Asparagus with Almonds is tasty, the 8 spears and my Vanilla Fresh shake left me wanting more food. When I ate the Spinach Salad and the Stir Fry, I felt full and happy.


5. Put the packets in your purse, backpack, or lunch bag.
One mistake I made was leaving the packets for each day in the box until I was packing my lunch for the day. Well, I packed my entire lunch for the third day and forgot to grab the Fiber Sweep and Vanilla Fresh packet that I would need during the day. I was committed to doing the program the right way, so I drove home on my lunch break and grabbed the packets. My advice, just put all of the packets in your purse or lunch bag and keep them with you throughout the entire three days. That way you won’t have to worry about packing them.

6. Get on board with the guilt-free flavorings.
The Vanilla Fresh shakes are light and refreshing, but let’s be real they aren’t as tasty as a Chocolate Shakeology shake with peanut butter and a banana. Don’t be afraid to punch up the flavor of the Vanilla Fresh shake with some cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice, or flavor extracts (vanilla, almond, peppermint, etc). I used cinnamon in my Vanilla Fresh shakes everyday and it made drinking them a much more enjoyable experience.

7. Get enough sleep!
I’m a recovering night owl and the first time I did the 3-Day Refresh I stayed up until about 1 am each night working on various projects. This was a colossal mistake. I felt sluggish and awful throughout the entire experience. I felt so bad on Day 2 that I had to take a nap. I NEVER take naps. I fixed that this time around and got PLENTY of sleep over the three days that I was Refreshing. I never felt tired or fatigued at all. So lesson learned. You need to sleep to let your body work its magic while you are resting.

8. Invest in a travel blender.
The Vanilla Fresh shakes are tasty, but they are WAY tastier when they are blended with ice. I have this handy travel blender that I got at Target for $17. It is AWESOME. I use it even more than I use my Ninja. This blender is clutch for making your regular Shakeology shakes on-the-go and for making your 3-Day Refresh experience so much more convenient.

Just like any nutrition or fitness program, the 3-Day Refresh requires preparation and effort in order for you to see the results. Trust me, I learned the hard way during my first go-round. It’s a mental challenge for three days but its beyond worth it because the way I felt when I woke up on Day 4 was nothing short of, for lack of a better term, totally Refreshed!

If you’d like more deets on the 3-Day Refresh, shoot us an email at nevergiveupkrew@gmail.com.

– Dana

3 Day Quick Fix Baked Oatmeal

3-Day Quick Fix Oatmeal

I’m a breakfast on the fly kind of girl, so when I was trying to make the 3 Day Quick Fix meal plan work for me, I had to shake up the oatmeal and egg whites breakfast just a little bit.

The 3 Day Quick Fix is an event prep meal plan included as part of the 21 Day Fix nutrition plan.  The Quick Fix helps you lock down your nutrition so you feel extra lean and toned, just in time to rock your favorite LBD or polka dot bikini.  Fellas, there’s a Quick Fix option for you, too.  So you can rock your favoritie, umm…speedo?

The jist of the Quick Fix is to keep your nutrition squeaky clean for 3 whole days prior to your big event.  What exactly does that mean?  It means lots of lean protein, like chicken, white fish, and ground turkey paired with steamed veggies and the occasional complex carbohydrate.  The coolest thing about the Quick Fix?  I crushed-no, more like clobbered- my workouts while following this nutrition plan.

Okay…back to breakfast.  The plan calls for oatmeal and egg whites.  Since I prep my meals on Sundays for the entire week, I needed something I could make ahead, and I wasn’t really feeling reheated egg whites.  Woof.  Here’s what I did instead.

3 Day Quick Fix Oatmeal


  • 1.5c Steel Cut Oats
  • 12 Egg Whites
  • Zest of 1 Orange or Lemon
  • 2T Coconut Oil
  • 2tsp Cinnamon
  • 2tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 4c Water
  • 1 packet Stevia

Here’s whatcha do…

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

2. Add your steel cut oats to a large mixing bowl.

 3 Day Quick Fix Oatmeal

3. Using a microplane, grate the zest of one orange or lemon.  Make sure you don’t accidentally get any of the white “pith” along with your citrusy zest, because it will make your oats bitter instead of fruity.

 3 Day Quick Fix Oatmeal Flavorings

4. Add 2 teaspoons of cinnamon (Pumpkin pie spice or nutmeg would work here, too!)

 3 Day Quick Fix Oatmeal

5. Pour 4c of water in to the mixing bowl with your oats and flavoring.  Then you can go ahead and add your vanilla extract. 

6. Next, you’re going to get your hands a little messy.  It’s time to separate 12-Yes, you read that right.  That’s an entire dozen- egg whites.  Toss the yolks and shells.  Keep your whites in a liquid measuring cup.

*Why so many egg whites?  Autumn Calabrese, the creator of the 21 Day Fix program, states that approximately 4 egg whites are equivalent to 1 red container.  Each breakfast on the 3 Day Quick Fix calls for 1 red container of egg whites.

7. You’re going to have to lightly beat the egg whites before adding them to the oats.  Then go ahead and gently pour the whites into your mixing bowl.  Using a whisk, gently combine all the ingredients. 

8. Scoop 1T of extra virgin coconut oil and schmere (We believe in very technical culinary terms here at NGU Krew) it on the bottom of a large glass baking dish.  I use a 9×13 dish, but the size isn’t really that important.  Place the dish in your oven for 1-2 minutes, until the coconut oil is melted.  Grab your pot holders and swirl the melted coconut oil along the bottom and sides of the dish.  Trust me on this one.  You’ll be thanking me at clean up time!

9. Give your oatmeal mixture one last whisk, pour everything into the baking dish, and put that bad boy in the oven.

10. It’s going to take about 45-50 minutes until everything is set and the oatmealy-goodness has reached it’s prime.  However-and this is a big however- unless you’re looking for an oatmeal on the bottom, scrambled egg on the top casserole, you MUST open the oven about every 10 minutes and give everything another whisk.  The oats are dense and the whites are light, so they’ll separate while cooking if you don’t keep them in line.

With about 5 minutes left, sprinkle a light dusting of stevia over the top of the oatmeal bake.

3 Day Quick Fix Oatmeal 

To prep for your 3 Day Quick Fix, all you have to do is measure out 1 yellow and 1 red of the oatmeal bake for each day.  Add 1tsp of coconut oil, a shake of extra cinnamon, and one last sprinkle of stevia, and you’ll be set to grab and go while your Quick Fix-ing.

 3 Day Quick Fix Oatmeal Serving

This baked oatmeal has been a life saver for me since I’m out the door at 6:00 most mornings.  I have an hour commute, and try to get my sweat on before sun up, so I don’t have time to be messing around with the frying pan before work.  Stick your pre-portioned servings in the microwave for 2 minutes and out the door you go!


Quinoa Stuffed Pepper Pumpkins

Pumpkin Stuffed Peppers

I’m a huge fan of Halloween. Like big time. If it was socially acceptable for a 30-year-old to dress up and go trick-or-treating, I probably would. Not for the candy so much as the nostalgia.

I love being festive and healthy at the same time, so in the spirit of Halloween, I whipped up this fun Stuffed Pepper Pumpkins recipe for dinner. I saw the photos for this recipe on Pinterest and fell in love. Things with faces get me every time.

Instead of making the traditional stuffed pepper filling with ground beef and rice, I switched it up and used quinoa and ground turkey. Less fat and more protein – thumbs up!

I whipped up the filling and meticulously carved the little pumpkin faces into each of the orange bell peppers with a paring knife. For the record, carving a face in a bell pepper is way harder than it might seem, but if I can do it, anyone can. My knife was just gliding through the skin and I may have lost a few pumpkin teeth that I was trying to create.

Here’s what they looked like after baking for about 35-40 minutes:


If you want to whip these up for Halloween or even as a tasty family dinner any time (with or without the faces), here’s the recipe:

Quinoa Stuffed Pepper Pumpkins


  • 4 orange bell peppers
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white onion, diced
  • 1 cup crimini mushrooms, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Shredded part skim mozzarella cheese (optional)


1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

2. Wash your orange bell peppers and cut off the tops around the stem – kinda like a pumpkin. With your fingers, pull out the membranes and seeds from inside the peppers. Carve your fun jack-o-lantern faces into the front of your peppers.

3. Brown your ground turkey in a pan. When it’s ready, remove it from the pan and set aside.

4. Add the olive oil to the pan. When the oil is hot, add your onions, mushrooms, and garlic. Cook until the onions start to become translucent. Add your spinach and cook until the pieces are wilted.

5. Add the ground turkey and cooked quinoa into the veggie mixture (I cooked my quinoa in low sodium chicken broth for extra flavor).

6. Pour the can of tomato sauce on top of the mixture, sprinkle with salt and pepper as desired, and stir until everything is combined.

7. Using a spoon, fill your orange bell pepper pumpkins with the mixture and place them in a baking dish. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the peppers are tender.

8. Sprinkle some shredded cheese on top and pop them back into the oven uncovered for a few minutes until the cheese is nice and melty.
Note: If you don’t dig quinoa or any of the veggies listed feel free to swap them. Instead of quinoa you can use brown rice. If you aren’t a mushroom fan, you can go for carrots or celery. Make it your own spooktacular creation.


– Dana

3-Day Refreshing Like a Boss – Part 1



A great term to describe a tasty marshmallow. Not such a great term when I use it to describe my waistline.

Fluffy is how I felt after my sister and her boyfriend came up to Boston for a visit over Labor Day weekend and I ate pretty much everything that wasn’t nailed down – nachos, pizza, burgers, french fries, lobster rolls, beer, wine.

Not my regular diet by any means and man was my body unhappy about all of that greasy, cheesy, carb-y stuff.

How does one recover from such a binge? I’m glad you asked.

I jumped right into the 3-Day Refresh and 72 hours later I was down 4 pounds and feeling lighter, tighter, and WAY more energetic.

The 3-Day Refresh is a new(ish) program from Beachbody that was created to be a quick, and most importantly, healthy way to look your best for an event, get rid of those last few pounds, or get back into action after a little clean eating detour.

The program was inspired by Beachbody coaches and customers who were using Shakeology and some clean foods to do a 3-day mini detox. It was called the Shakeology Cleanse. The nutrition peeps at Beachbody heard about the 3-Day Shakeology Cleanse idea and they were all like “This is awesome ….. Kinda….”

The Shakeology cleanse was missing some of the necessary elements (fiber, fat, and more real food) required to do a mini-detox the HEALTHY way. So thus, the 3-Day Refresh was born.

I know the words “detox” and “cleanse” are associated with an all liquid diet or fast that slows your metabolism an makes you feel crummy for a period of time while your body lets go of toxins. That’s not what we’re working with here. While there are a few shakes that are a part of the 3-Day Refresh, there are also a bunch of whole, clean foods that you get to fill up on to fuel your metabolism as your organs do a bit of tidying up.

Here are my before and after shots for my most recent round of the 3-Day Refresh earlier this month.
3-DayRefreshResults September 2014


The change isn’t dramatic in terms of physical appearance, but darn it if I didn’t feel 3 million times better. I could really feel the loss of the bloat and general “fluffiness” in my midsection. I just kinda deflated a bit.

So how did I get here and what all was involved? Glad ya asked.

The 3-Day Refresh Kit comes with a helpful little guide book that walks you through each day. It is full of easy recipes and an almost endless list of approved foods that you can choose from to create your meals. It’s pretty much dummy proof, you guys.

Here’s what each day of food looks like on the Refresh:

1. Wake-up: Drink 8-12 ounces of water.

2. Breakfast: Your favorite flavor of Shakeology and a serving a fruit (you can add the fruit to your shake).

3. Mid-Morning: Fiber Sweep

4. Lunch: Vanilla Fresh shake, a serving of fruit, a serving of veggies, and a serving of healthy fats (there are lists and measurements of the fruits, veggies, and fats so you know exactly how much to eat).

5. Afternoon Snack: Serving of veggies and a serving of fats (For example: red pepper sticks dipped in hummus).

6. Dinner: Vanilla Fresh shake, 1 serving from list of dinner recipes and an optional cup of vegetable broth.

You can also have morning and afternoon unsweetened herbal tea if you choose. I definitely chose because I have an addiction to hot beverages. I don’t care what time of year it is, I need coffee or tea at some point in my day to make me feel like a normal functioning human.

Because your body is in a bit of a detox mode, it’s recommended that you don’t do any extreme exercise. I settled for some lower intensity hip hop cardio or PiYo,  and a few walks around the neighborhood with John. I felt truly awesome – I had so much energy, clarity and focus.

I’ll be honest, I’m used to eating 5-6 meals a day so the limited calories on the 3-Day Refresh was a bit of a challenge for me. I wasn’t ravenous at all, but just had some hunger pangs between my morning Shakeology and the Fiber Sweep, but that was pretty much it. There are also fruits and veggies that are more calorie-dense than others (asparagus, carrots, grapes) which means you don’t get to fill your plate as much if you choose these foods for your meals. I, however, came up with a great strategy for tackling the 3-Day Refresh that makes it much easier to get through – especially if you are like me an like to eat.

That strategy is coming up in Part 2 of this post!

If you want to give the 3-Day Refresh a try, we would be more than happy to help you. We run monthly fitness and nutrition challenges and have a time-tested formula to help you reach your goals. Comment below or shoot us an email at nevergiveupkrew@gmail.com and we’ll provide all of the details on how to get your hands on it and how to work with us.