Cookbook offers way to flat - and flattering - belly
Published: Monday, June 1, 2009 at 6:58 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, June 1, 2009 at 6:58 p.m.
According to Gainesville fitness expert Fitz Koehler, the road to perfect abdominal muscles is not paved with sit-ups. Instead, responsible and healthy food choices lead the way to a trim midsection.
About 80 percent of a person's weight is attributed to his or her eating habits, said Koehler, who recently wrote "The Everything Flat Belly Cookbook," which offers tips and recipes for achieving washboard-like abs.
The book's introductory chapter explains Koehler's beliefs about personal fitness; and the rest of the book, published in April by Adams Media, is filled with recipes and exercise tips.
Koehler said it's these tips - including ab exercises and short workouts that coincide with the recipes' baking times - that set the book apart from other fitness and healthy-living cookbooks.
Although "The Flat Belly Cookbook" requires readers to change their eating habits a little, Koehler said many of the recipes do not stray far from people's familiar favorites.
"I wanted to give people their favorite meals, and more indulgent meals, in a healthier way," she said.
Koehler's favorite recipe from the cookbook - Sweet Crusted Chicken Nuggets - is a perfect example. The dish provides an alternative to fast-food fare and gives people "more bang for their caloric buck," she said.
Fitz's Protein Power Potato and Fitz's Ultimate Low-Fat Chocolate Chip Cookies are two other dishes that let people indulge their taste buds and stay ahead of the fitness curve.
The cookbook has given Koehler, who has been involved with fitness for nearly 20 years, a new outlet through which she can share her fitness knowledge. She began teaching aerobics classes at 15 and worked at the rec centers as a student at the University of Florida.
In 1995, she received a bachelor's degree in political science and planned to attend law school. After deciding to turn her passion for fitness into a career, Koehler, 35, went back to UF and earned a master's degree in Exercise and Sports Sciences.
Once a full-contact kickboxer, she now serves as the International Sport Kickboxing Association's world fitness director.
She also writes for America Online's That's Fit Web site, offers personal training sessions and speaks to corporations about the importance of good fitness. She shares many of her fitness tips and recipes on her Web site, www.fitzness.com.
Her clients range from teenagers to people in their 60s, and the cookbook aims to meet a similarly wide audience.
"I'd be happy to have my mom use it, or one of the UF athletes," she said.
Koehler is currently working on a book that will teach readers how to boost their metabolism.
Ultimately, she said she most enjoys teaching people how to live healthier and longer lives.
"It's a job I would do for free - if money wasn't an issue," she said.
Fitz's Workout Tips
--Aim for a variety of exercise at the right intensity.
-Cardio: You should huff and puff.
-Strength: You should grunt.
-Stretching: You should wince a little.
--Step on the scale often. It keeps you from letting yourself go and allows you to see your successes.
--Eat small, frequent meals and avoid drinking your calories. (Juice, soda, smoothies and beer all have high caloric values.)
--Train for something. Join a race or run a marathon. It gives your exercise purpose and something specific to work toward.
--Sleep well. Tired people don't exercise and don't make good food choices.
Some of Fitz's Favorite Recipes:
Sweet Crusted Chicken Nuggets
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup frosted corn flakes
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 cup egg equivalents (i.e. Egg Beaters)
Cut chicken breasts into nugget-size pieces. Spray cooking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Pour egg equivalents into a small bowl. Combine flakes and sugars in a small bowl. Dip chicken pieces individually, first into egg and then into flake mixture. Try to coat the chicken as much as possible with the flakes. Cook chicken in oven at 350 until inside of chicken is white. No pink!
Fitz's Protein Potato
1 medium baking potato
1 bag of ground Boca Burger or any other lean ground meat
1 ounce reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese
Bake potato in oven at 400 degrees or microwave until the skin is crispy and the inside is soft. Cut the potato in half. Scoop out 90 percent of the white potato and discard it. Flatten the remaining potato skin and pour one serving of the ground Boca Burger in it. Cover with cheese. Place potato back in your oven of choice and heat until the cheese has melted. (Microwave: 1 minute, Conventional oven: 3 minutes) Serve with or without a pinch of salt and/or ketchup.
Fitz's Ultimate Low-Fat Chocolate Chip Cookies
Betty Crocker Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix
1/4 cup Egg Beaters
1/2 cup Smart Squeeze margarine by Smart Beat or Davinci Gourmet Sugar-Free Vanilla Syrup
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl with a fork until light and smooth. Coat two large cookie sheets with nonstick spray. Using a teaspoon, drop cookie dough on to sheets without crowding. Bake for eight to 10 minutes.
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