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Peak 24 Fun Run

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The Peak 24 Charity Fun Run

Have you always wanted to run/ walk a certain distance, but feel like you’re not “fit enough.” Are you an advanced runner hoping to improve your fitness or just have some fun? We’re here to help!

Join our 12-week training program and run/walk 3km or 6km with us in the Peak 24 Charity Fun Run on the 26th of March at the beach.

Entry is $20 and all proceeds go to charity.

Train in your own time and join us at West Beach SLSC every Sunday at 8am for a group beach run/walk and coffee afterwards up until the event.

Where to start:

Runners:

If you have not run consistently for some time, aim for three days running a week. It is preferable to run on every other day in order that you allow sufficient time for recovery.

If you are running in old worn-out shoes that you have been gardening in, make an investment and buy a pair of new shoes. Visit a store that specialise in the fitting of the correct shoe for your particular build and running style. Running in good shoes will save you from possible injury problems in the future when your training increases in volume. Keep a training diary and record your runs, how you felt, were you sore the following morning. It is good idea to keep a record of your resting heart-rate, this best taken before you get out of bed in the morning. Time HR for 30 seconds and double it. Over the period of 12 weeks you can expect the resting HR to decrease as you become fitter, but in the short term a sudden rise of 5 to 10 beats per minute in resting HR can indicate that you may not have had sufficient recovery, or that you are coming down with some low-grade viral infection. This is signal to ease up or miss a training day until your HR has returned to normal. Do not try and run through illness or injury—listen to your body!

Walkers:

Walking is the safest most natural exercise for the body at any age and is a terrific all-round work out for virtually every muscle in the body during a brisk walk.

When starting out the aim for beginners should be to complete 3 sessions of 30 minutes brisk walking, ideally you will have rest days between your walking days, but remember- don’t do too much too soon!

Never crave naughty foods again (here’s how)

Never crave naughty foods again (here’s how) 150 150 peak24beta_5sncxw

You wake up each morning with every intention of eating “good” today.

You’ll skip the drive thru line on your way to work. You’ll refuse to get fast food with co-workers at lunch. You’ll boycott the vending machine in the mid-afternoon. And you won’t even think about having dessert after dinner.

But then your cravings kick in…

Your friend drops by with a big fluffy muffin and a latte for breakfast. A group of co-workers invite you to that greasy spoon down the street for lunch. Cake is passed around at the mid-afternoon staff meeting. And after dinner your honey surprises you with a bowl of your favorite ice cream.

You tell yourself that tomorrow will be different.

Tomorrow you won’t give in to food cravings.

But then tomorrow comes with its own special circumstances, and cravings get the best of you once again.

Why Do Food Cravings Always Win?

Let’s face it, we live in a world where food temptations are everywhere…which leads to cravings, which leads to eating things that you shouldn’t, which leads to pounds gained. Again. And again. And again. Until you’re so fed up with your body that you don’t even know where to begin to get yourself back on track.

Stores display the most tantalizing junk food items right where you could easily reach them. TV commercials for greasy, fattening foods portray them so scrumptiously that you literally salivate. Sugary snack items have full-page, glossy pictures in your favorite magazines. And as if all of these weren’t enough, the people in your daily life are another (constant) source of food temptation.

To make matters worse, you’ve been conditioned since childhood to have a positive association with the act of indulging in your cravings. You use food as a reward. You use food as a source of emotional comfort. You use food as a way to relieve stress. And quickly these associations and uses of food become habit. A habit that’s not easily broken.

New Technique to End Food Cravings

Food cravings don’t need to have the upper hand on you anymore. Here’s how you can fight back using your most powerful asset: your brain.

Remember that your mind is an amazing thing. Once your mind is made up about something it’s nearly impossible to change it.

Try This Powerful Mind Exercise: Imagine that you are peacefully floating down a river on a raft. The sun is shining, birds are chirping, and you are having a fun, relaxing time. You feel wonderful about the river because it’s making you feel happy.

Now change perspectives for a moment. You’re now in a plane flying over the river and the raft. Instantly our eye is drawn to an enormous rocky waterfall. Then you look back to the person floating on the raft, having a wonderful time, headed straight for the treacherous falls.

With this new perspective of the river, do you think that you’d agree to get on a raft and take your chances floating toward the falls? Laughable, right? You’ve seen the hidden danger of the river. You know it leads to pain and suffering.

Now your negative association (watery death) with the river has replaced your initial positive association (relaxing fun).

This is the key to overcoming food temptations and putting an end to food cravings: building negative associations in place of existing positive ones. I’ll break this process down for you in two steps:

Step One: Create a STRONG Negative Association with Unhealthy Food

You may not have realized it, but up until this point you’ve placed unhealthy, fattening foods on a pedestal in your mind. As long as the wrong foods are on that pedestal you’ll continue to give into your cravings and will continue to gain fat.

Take the wrong food off that pedestal by listing off everything negative about them…
These foods make you unhealthy.
These foods cause weight gain.
These foods drain your energy.
These foods kill your confidence.
These foods lessen your quality of life.
These foods damage your love life.
Every time that you feel tempted to eat an unhealthy food, focus on your list of negatives. Kick the junk off the pedestal and put something healthy in its place.

Step Two: Create a STRONG Positive Association with Wholesome Foods

Now that your mental food pedestal has been cleared, put truly wholesome food items on it. Juicy fresh fruit, crispy vegetables and savory lean meats are the place to start.

List off the things that you love about healthy food…
These foods make you healthy.
These foods promote fat loss.
These foods boost your energy.
These foods build your confidence.
These foods improve your quality of life.
These foods enhance your love life.
I encourage you to immerse yourself into the world of healthy, wholesome foods. Browse the aisles of your local natural foods store. Stroll through a farmer’s market. Pack healthy snacks to bring to work. Clear your kitchen of junk.

Use the technique above consistently and you will soon find that healthy, wholesome foods are your favorite. And craving the wrong foods will be a thing of your past.

7 Ways to Get a Fantastic Workout Every Time

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Poor energy levels, incomplete sets, longer-than-desired workouts and shoddy results can leave you feeling like your time in the gym is a waste of time. But the good news is, there are lots of things you can do before and after the gym to ensure a fantastic workout every time.

Your workout doesn’t start when you walk into the gym, it begins when you wake up in the morning and continues throughout the day. Preparations go beyond just packing your gym bag, it starts with eating the right things at the right times to increase your body’s productivity at the gym. In addition to your usual nutritional goals, you should observe these tips to power you through your workout and achieve a stronger, fitter body.

  1. Eat slow-burning carbs before workouts

Eating slow-digesting carbs such as whole grains for breakfast and lunch, result in lower insulin levels and will help burn more fat during the day. Be sure that all the meals you eat before your workout, including the one immediately before, include about 40 grams of slow-digesting carbs such as oats, sweet potato, fruit or whole-wheat bread.

  1. Avoid high fat meals before workouts

A high-fat meal means less blood flow to muscles and less of a muscle pump. In the four hours before your workout, avoid eating large amounts of fats, such as the obvious fast-food fare and packaged foods.

  1. Take 200 mg of caffeine 1-2 hours before your workout

Caffeine taken pre workout increases fat-burning and endurance and blunts muscle pain during training, which means you can do more reps.

  1. Focus on the muscle you want to train

British researchers discovered that subjects who focused on the muscle being trained had significantly more muscle activity than those who thought about other things. More muscle recruitment can result in more muscle growth in the long run. Be sure that for every rep of every set during your workout you’re thinking about the muscle(s) being trained, instead of wondering what you will be cooking for dinner tonight.

  1. Find a training partner

Training partners can add variety and motivation to a workout. You can share tips, exercises and encourage each other to train a little harder than training alone – this can be a nice variation to your usual higher intensity session you have with your personal trainer each week

  1. Use an i-Pod

A study done at the Weider Research Group found that when test subjects performed a workout while listening to music, they were able to complete an average of 1-2 more reps per set for all sets of all exercises.

  1. Save cardio for after your weights workout

Having maximum strength for your weights session is the goal. Try to do your cardio either after weights or on a different day to ensure you do not affect your weight training.

Equipment in the gym that everyone should try instead of the treadmill and bike

Equipment in the gym that everyone should try instead of the treadmill and bike 150 150 peak24beta_5sncxw

It is not unusual to feel a little frustrated and bored with the same old workout routine. One of the most important ways to ensure you are able to maintain a healthy lifestyle is to ensure you actually enjoy the training sessions you do and add some variety into your routine. If you are looking to change up your workouts, give these 3 great exercises a go!

Kettlebell

Kettlebell (KB) training will not only improve your physique, but develop your strength and cardiovascular fitness at the same time. A KB is an old fashioned kettle made of iron that comes in several sizes ranging from 4kg to 20kg. The real value with a KB workout is that it enables you to work on the often forgotten posterior chain of muscles that are essential for muscle balance in athletes as well as ballistic power work that transfers well into sport. This means you can do either muscular endurance based training or high intensity fat burning sessions depending on your goal. In addition, KB exercises such as: the Turkish get-up and windmills, will make your core workouts far more enjoyable and challenging while adding variety.

TRX

TRX is a series of body weight exercises that use a yellow suspension strap. Whether you are just beginning your journey into fitness or pushing yourself to the next level, TRX provides a sustainable, fun and low impact approach to training. TRX training enables strength training, flexibility and core exercises in abundance. It can be a fun way to stimulate your muscles and provide lots of variety to your regular sessions.

Boxing

At Peak 24 we provide fun group boxing sessions. Boxing is a really fun way to get your heart rate up in minutes and helps define muscles in the arms and shoulders that walking wont. If you are looking for a fat burning cardio session, then boxing ticks all the boxes. It can be enjoyed with a friend or training partner or taken to the next intensity level by working hard with a personal trainer.

Peak 24 is fully equipped with the kettlebells, TRX ropes and boxing gear and our staff are well informed to teach you the correct technique. Just ask them!

The 3 Biggest Diet Myths

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One of the leading contributors to obesity in Australia is that far too many people take nutrition advice from Facebook, gossip magazines and television shows that are simply inaccurate. This article aims to save you years of hard work and heartache by crushing 3 of the biggest Diet Myths seen every day.

Myth 1: Eating fat makes you fat

Subcutaneous fat is the soft pudgy stuff that is stored under our skin that we all dislike and wish to get rid of, therefore it would seem logical that eating fat in our diets would give us more of this stored fat. This however, is far from the truth, and it depends entirely on the context. For example, diets that are high in fat as well as carbohydrates have been shown to increase stored body fat, but this isn’t entirely the fault of the fat. A diet that is high in fat but low in carbs has been demonstrated as the most effective means of achieving weight loss when compared to simply low-fat diets, even when total calories are restricted.

Myth 2: High protein diets increase strain on the kidneys

Although it is true that people with pre-existing kidney disease should cut back on protein, this is absolutely not true for the general healthy population. Latest research shows no detrimental effect on health from high protein diets; in fact, a higher protein intake has been shown to lower blood pressure and helps fight type 2 diabetes that are coincidentally two of the main risk factors for kidney failure. Higher protein diets have also been attributed to reducing appetite and thus supporting weight loss.

Myth 3: All calories are created equal 

This popular Myth suggests that the body treats all calories consumed equally; regardless of weather they come from carbs, protein or fat, which is 100% false. The different macronutrients that make up foods each go through different metabolic pathways and have varying effects on the body’s ability to burn fat for energy, the production of hormones and the regulation of appetite. For example, several studies have shown that a diet that is high in protein when compared to a lower protein and higher carbohydrate diet shows an increased metabolic rate by up to 100 calories per day and can significantly reduce appetite. It is therefore more important to track your macronutrients rather than your total calories consumed if you wish to be successful in achieving your desired health and fitness goals.

Peak 24 Fitness personal trainers can set you up with a nutrition plan and exercise program to help you shed the weight and keep it off! Talk to us now about making positive long term changes.

The 35 Best Tips for Fat Loss

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When it comes to fat loss, people are often overwhelmed by the abundance of information they read. Nutritionist and Personal Trainer James Clare has compiled a list of tips that he has found to work in his experience with many male and female clients.

Try to pick a single action off at a time and implement one change a week!

1. Make sure you have a clear and measurable goal from the start

Make sure your goals are set in stages. Reaching each one is a huge motivational tool.

2. Drink adequate amounts of water

Your muscles are 70% water and your brain is 80%. It doesn’t take much to realise how poorly you’ll function without it. Not only that, but the kidneys and liver rely on optimal water intake to function properly. The liver is a key organ for fat loss, so you must stay hydrated. Try to drink a minimum of 2-3 litres of water per day.

3. Make time

One thing people never seem to have enough of is time, especially when it comes to fat loss. You have to make time, and you have to place getting in shape as a priority. If you don’t, it’ll get left behind just like your results.

4. Eat to lose fat, don’t starve yourself

It is essential to eat enough for your body when you’re trying to lose body fat. If you’re eating a low calorie diet and under your macro nutrient daily targets consistently and not losing body fat, there’s your answer right there. You need to eat more to lose body fat.

5. Train right

Many people train way below their true capacity. If you have never been taken through a well structured workout, hire a trainer to do so. Not only will you learn a lot, but you will achieve much better results.

6. Surround yourself with likeminded people

Spending time with people who want different things to you will hold you back. Spend time with people who have a likeminded outlook on life and similar goals. You’ll find you’ll progress so much quicker, but at the same time you’ll always be challenged and motivated by their drive and passion.

7. Prioritise your diet around protein

Many people don’t consider the structure of their diet, let alone which nutrients are important at what parts of the day. A priority goal for fat loss, in males and females, is retaining hard earned muscle. The first macro nutrient we always make sure is firmly in place, is protein.

8. Get 7-8 hours of sleep per night

The more stressed your body is, the less inclined it will be to help you lose body fat and build muscle tissue. In excess, cortisol (the stress hormone), has been shown to lower anabolic hormones (those that help you grow muscle). In chronic excess it has also been shown to be catabolic and induce muscle tissue breakdown (you need muscle to lose body fat). Elevated stress also impacts your blood sugar levels, which impacts cravings. This stimulates an unnecessary release of sugar into the blood stream, which can promote fat storage.

9. Evaluate your progress

How can you motivate yourself if you don’t know if your programme is working? Each week or fortnight take progress pictures and measure your body fat/ weight. This will give you weekly targets to work towards, or enable you to correct where you may have gone wrong.

10. Support your liver

The liver is an essential organ in regards to fat loss.  Poor quality and low calorie diets, alcohol, toxins and stress all place huge demands on your liver. When you start a fat loss plan, the first place that needs a little support is your liver. A broad spectrum liver formula, essential amino acids and B vitamins will really help in the early stages.

11. Eat a high protein breakfast once/ twice week

A rich protein breakfast helps stabilise your blood sugar first thing in the morning and provides essential amino acids to your body. These help stimulate brain function early on and act as the essential building blocks for your muscle tissue throughout the day. It is essential that you add these into your body first thing in the morning.

12. Eat greens with each meal

Vegetables provide plenty of fibre and a rich spectrum of nutrients that are otherwise missed. Just as the liver requires a broad spectrum of nutrients to function optimally, so do all the other organs and tissues in the body. If you starve your body of nutrients, you essentially slow down your ability to function optimally, get leaner and build muscle.

13. Ensure adequate fibre intake each day

This carries on nicely from the last point. Fibre is essential for optimal bowel function and also helps with the mobilisation of toxins out of the body. Fibre also helps keep you full, and therefore must be a staple in many peoples diets. Aim for 30-40 grams per day from vegetables, and fibre sources such as ground flaxseeds and chia seeds.

14. Don’t copy the diet your friend uses

People copy their friends, when they know good and well that their diets don’t work. Go down your own route, and source someone who gets results using methods which combine many of my points in this article .

15. Don’t be put off by building muscle

A huge amount of what we know in relation to fat loss comes from physique development, and research in this sport. When people lose body fat, their goal is to have a physique at the end of it. To this degree you need to be able to build muscle, whilst losing body fat. This is the art of fat loss. To what degree you take this to is completely your choice.

16. Never be happy with average, but always acknowledge where you’ve come from

People tend to get to a place where they’re happy,  and then sooner or later, slip back into their old ways. Always look for ways to improve yourself, whether that be in strength, fitness or continued fat loss.

17. Follow a specific Macro Nutrient guideline

Hire a coach or personal trainer who can map out a specific set of macro nutrient guidelines for you to follow. These can be tailored for you as an individual designed for the exact goal you have. Learn the art of discipline and follow the plan- it works.

18. Prioritise weight training over cardio

A lesson that so many people pick up from their friends, is that cardio burns more fat than weights. Weights are the tool that will get you in the best shape. Cardio is a tool for finer tweaking at appropriate times.

19. Limit fruit intake

Regardless of the large health benefits of fruit, they still contain large amounts of sugar. Sugar consumed in excess and at the wrong time, WILL cause you to gain weight. When eating fruit on a fat loss program ensure you go for lower GI options such as blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, grapefruit, nectarines, peaches and plums.

20. Learn how to cook

People who don’t know how to cook, often eat very bland foods. Fat loss doesn’t have to be boring, especially when you know how to make food taste great. The blander you make food, the worse your cravings will be and the sooner you’ll cave into cheat foods and ruin your hard work.

21. Prepare your food for each day

Here’s an old saying that you will have all heard of, “fail to prepare and prepare to fail”. This is very true indeed, and preparation of food is key to achieving great results. The less prepare you are, the more likely you will be to eat foods that aren’t on your plan.

22. Don’t train for other people, do it for you

Many people try to change the way they look to impress someone else. You will only be truly successful if what you’re doing is for you, and your own goals.

23. Rotate your protein sources regularly

Food intolerances affect so many more people than we think. There are a very small amount of foods that the average person eats on a week to week basis. To avoid food intolerances from eating the same protein sources (meat, fish, poultry), make sure you mix them up every 3rd-4th week.

24. Ensure your gut is a healthy environment

Gut problems are a huge issue when it comes to fat loss. Your stomach is the first major part of the digestive system that your food hits after you eat it. If it’s not functioning optimally, food won’t be broken down to further carry on its journey into the intestines. Poorly digested food causes many problems, especially low quality nutrient absorption. A healthy gut is also linked to a healthy immune system. The more you’re not well, the less you can recover and the less you will be able to train. Either use a probiotic supplement daily, or include probiotic foods into your diet (kefir, sauerkraut and miso are three examples).

25. Keep most of your caffeine intake to before 1 pm

The more stressed you are, the slower fat loss will be. Stress also lowers testosterone levels, which isn’t a good idea when you’re trying to build muscle tissue. By reducing any stimulants to before 1 pm, you will be in a good place to relax when bed times comes around.

26. Use a liquid or capsule based fish oil supplement daily

Many diets are rich in omega 6 (too much is very inflammatory), and not enough people eat oily fish each day. So supplement your diet with 3-5 grams of fish oil per day, to help create an anti-inflammatory environment. Fish oils also increase fat loss, and slow down fat storage.

27. Avoid common intolerant food groups

Until you’re sure these foods don’t cause you any gut problems, cut out eggs, gluten, pasteurised dairy and wheat. Many people often have an issue with chicken, so be aware of this one also.

28. Eat a balanced amount of essential fats

Leaving out fats from your diet, is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. Not only are fats rich in quality calories that should make up at least 20% of your diet, they also help promote the development of hormones. Fats also help balance blood sugar levels and transport vitamins around the body. When fat loss and optimal health is your goal, don’t leave out your fats.

29. Minimise processed and nutrient poor food

Sure we all enjoy a bit of naughty food from time to time, but it serves no purpose within your body on a daily basis. There are extremely minimal vitamins and minerals, which are essential to optimal health and bodily function.

30. Limit alcohol intake

Alcohol will negatively impact your anabolic hormones (testosterone). Alcohol will dehydrate you, and it also puts a lot of strain on your liver and kidneys. The more you drink, the harder your vital organs will have to work. The harder they find it to function, the slower fat loss and muscle building will be.

31. Train at a time of day where you are most productive

Many people train after work, this is the time that 80% of people are tired from a long day. If training and results are that important to you, make it a priority and do it before work or in your lunch break. You’ll train harder, and you’ll see positive results from doing so.

32. Always know where your food comes from

Poor quality meat and fish litter the shelves of the supermarket. These animals are fed all sorts of hormones, added colourings and pesticides. You can source grass fed beef, corn fed chicken and wild fish that are much healthier. So always do your research. A healthy body equates to a leaner body.

33. Choose exercises that recruit a larger amount of muscle mass

Many people trying to lose body fat choose to train the smaller muscle groups. In the foundation phase of fat loss, choose exercises that recruit as many muscles as possible, such as squats, lunges, deadlifts, rowing and pressing movements.

34. Sleep in a room that is pitch black

We mentioned how important sleep is, but quality sleep is even more important. Your body is very sensitive to light. Waking frequently due to a room being too bright will impact the important growth and recovery hormones that are released during deep sleep. Fit black out blinds to your windows, and you’ll be able to get 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night.

35. Drink organic green tea

Green tea alkalizes your body, provides a fat burning effect, and is also very high in anti-oxidants. These protect your cells against free radical damage

Slow Cooker Stuffed Apples

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If you’ve been looking for a quick and easy apple recipe to add to your repertoire, look no further! Our Slow Cooker Stuffed Apples are super simple to make, and you probably have most of the ingredients lying around the house. Put these in the slow cooker when you start making dinner and they’ll be perfectly cooked by the end of your meal!

Best of all, these are naturally sweetened with dried cranberries and honey. Trust us, you won’t miss the added sugar! You can also swap in different nuts and dried fruits to make your own variation.

Ingredients:
1 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
2 tbsp dried cranberries
2 tbsp raw honey
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp allspice
5 green apples, first half inch of top cut off and cored

Directions:
Combine the oats, walnuts, cranberries, honey, coconut oil and spices in a bowl. Mix until well combined and sticking together. Stuff the apples with the mixture. Cook on low for two hours.

Nutritional Information: 5 servings, serving size: 1 stuffed apple, cals: 254, total fat: 8g, sodium: 4mg, carbs: 44g, fiber: 7g, protein: 3g

Grilled Turkey Burgers with Cucumber Salad

Grilled Turkey Burgers with Cucumber Salad 150 150 peak24beta_5sncxw

What’s more satisfying than biting into a juicy, flavourful turkey burger. This grilled turkey burger recipe calls for clean ingredients like chopped parsley, crunchy onions, and garlic. These grilled turkey burgers are packed with nutrients and offer that rich, meaty flavour you crave without upping your cholesterol levels.

Ingredients:
Turkey burgers
1 pound lean ground turkey
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup plain whole wheat breadcrumbs or whole wheat panko
1/3 cup grated or finely chopped onions
1/3 cup finely chopped parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons canola oil or cooking spray to lightly coat the pan or grill

Cucumber salad
1 cucumber, diced small
1/2 cup chopped chives or green onions
1 medium-sized ripe tomato, finely diced
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt

Directions:
Combine all ingredients for turkey burgers, except olive oil.
Form into 4 to 5 patties.
Sprinkle each patty on both sides with olive oil, using fingers to coat. Lightly oil grates of grill.
Set grill to medium-high heat or place a lightly-oiled skillet or grill pan on the stovetop over medium-high heat.
Add patties to grill or skillet and cover (cover if using the grill) and grill for 5 to 6 minutes on each side, until cooked through.
Meanwhile, mix together all ingredients for cucumber salad. Serve room temperature or chill until serving.
Nutritional Information: serving size: 1 patty and 1/4 cup of salad
4 servings: calories: 314, total fat: 17g, saturated fat: 4g, sodium: 637mg, carbohydrates: 15g, fiber: 2g, sugar: 3g, protein: 26g.

Grilled Pork Chops with Asparagus and Pesto

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When you want to whip up something wholesome and delicious, look no further than this Grilled Pork Chops with Asparagus and Pesto recipe! It’s the perfect example of a dish whose appearance is deceiving. Surprisingly enough, the protein-packed meal is actually super easy to create.

These clean, feel-good ingredients are topped with uber-nutritious pesto. It’s the perfect finishing touch to a summertime meal.

Ingredients:
4 (about 1-inch thick each) bone-in pork chops
1 tsp kosher or sea salt, divided
1 tsp black pepper, divided
1 bunch asparagus, woody bottoms removed
1 cup cherry tomatoes
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/4 cup clean eating pesto, store bought or homemade
4 medium bamboo skewers, soaked for 20 minutes in warm water, or metal skewers
1/4 cup basil leaves for garnish, optional

Directions:
1. Rub pork chops with 2 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper on both sides. Cover and allow to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.
2. Oil the grate of a grill and set to medium heat. Add chops and grill for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through. Internal temperature taken with a meat thermometer should read 145 to 160 degrees.
3. Toss the asparagus in 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add alongside the pork chops, after the chops have cooked for 15 minutes.
4. Thread cherry tomatoes onto skewers and drizzle with 1/2 tablespoon oil and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and pepper.
5. Grill asparagus and tomatoes for about 5 minutes, until asparagus is slightly tender and tomato skins have blackened a bit in places. After removing pork chops from grill, allow to rest 5 minutes before serving.
6. Cover veggies until ready to serve. Tomatoes may be served on skewers or removed from skewers.
7. Serve asparagus and tomatoes alongside pork chops and drizzle with pesto.
Nutritional Analysis: Four servings equals: 332 calories, 25g protein, 24g fat, 4g carbs, 2g sugars. 647mg sodium, 2g fibre

Warm Roasted Autumn Vegetable Salad

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This delicious salad is full of colourful vegetable goodness, and features chickpeas- a legume that provides a vegetarian protein alternative to meat, chicken and fish.

Ingredients:

¼ cup olive oil
2 teaspoons Ras el Hanout or Moroccan seasoning
2 Golden Nugget pumpkins (or 550g of other pumpkin), halved, deseeded and sliced
1 large red onion, peeled and cut into 12 wedges
1 bunch baby beetroot (500g), trimmed and halved
1 bunch baby carrots (400g), trimmed and halved
6 sprigs lemon thyme
400g Brussel sprouts, halved
1 cup (200g) dried chickpeas, soaked and boiled or 2 x 400g tin, drained
¼ cup coriander leaves
¼ cup parsley leaves
¼ cup mint leaves

Tahini, Lemon and Yoghurt Dressing:
2 tablespoons tahini
Juice of 1 lemon
1 clove garlic, crushed
⅓ cup Greek style yoghurt
Salt and pepper

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 200°C (180°C fan-forced). Line two baking trays with baking paper.
2. In a small bowl combine olive oil and Ras el Hanout together, stirring to combine.
3. In a large mixing bowl, combine pumpkin, onion, beetroot, carrots, thyme sprigs and 2½ tablespoons of the oil mixture, tossing until well coated. Divide mixture evenly between prepared baking trays and place in preheated oven; cook for 30 minutes. Remove trays from oven.
4. Toss sprouts and drained chickpeas in remaining oil mixture until well coated. Add to roasted vegetables and return baking trays to oven for a further 20-30 minutes or until sprouts and chickpeas, become golden.
5. For the tahini dressing, combine the tahini, lemon juice and garlic together in a small mixing bowl, stirring until mixture is smooth. Add yoghurt, 2 tablespoons of water and salt and pepper, stirring to combine.
6. To serve salad, sprinkle roasted vegetables with coriander, parsley and mint leaves and drizzle over the tahini dressing.
Nutritional Analysis: One salad (six servings) equals: 1557.3 kJ, 15g protein, 17.1g fat, 30.9g carbs, 18g sugars. 352.7mg sodium, 16.5g fibre