As a celebrity trainer, busy mom and co-creator of Beachbody’s popular 21 Day Fix program, Autumn Calabrese knows what it takes to stay in shape with a busy lifestyle. And of course, an important part of being healthy is your nutritional intake.
Autumn recently launched her first cookbook “Fixate—101 Personal Recipes to Use with the 21 Day Fix Portion-Control Program,” which features healthy and easy-to-follow recipes catered to even the pickiest of eaters as well as those with dietary restrictions including vegan, vegetarian, paleo and gluten-free.
Lucky for us, Autumn took the time to answer a few questions about staying in shape and even shared a few recipes from the book. Be sure to give them a try!
FRX: Tell us a little bit about “Fixate” and how you came up with the recipes.
Autumn: “Fixate” is my response to the overwhelming demand for approved recipes to be used with 21 Day Fix. My fitness and nutrition program, 21 Day Fix, is based on color coded portion control containers where each color represents a different food group. In the program guide book, there are a few recipes as well as food lists, however people wanted recipes. They wanted to know how to combine foods and what that meant in terms of the container system. I wanted to give them a wide variety of recipes that fit perfectly into the color coded portion control system. “Fixate” does just that and contains 101 perfectly portioned recipes. Some of the recipes are old favorites of mine, some are family recipes that have been tweaked to fit the system, some are all new recipes that I worked with a nutritionist to create, and some were created by my brother, Bobby Calabrese, a chef who is based in New York City.
FRX: Tell us a little bit about Beachbody’s 21 Day Fix program.
Autumn: 21 Day Fix is a fast approach to shedding weight and toning your body. It is simple fitness combined with simple nutrition to give you fast results. The workout portion is seven different workouts (one for each day of the week) that are 30 minutes in length. They include, cardio, cardio with weights, lower body, upper body, yoga, Pilates and Dirty 30 (my version of circuit training). As for the nutrition side, it is seven color coded containers that allow you to still eat the foods you love but in the right portion sizes. Each color coded container represents a different food group. Red: protein, Green: veggies, Purple: fruit, Yellow: carbohydrates, Blue: healthy fats and nuts, Orange: oils and seeds. You do a quick little formula at the start of the program to find out what calorie bracket you are eating from, and once you know that, the guide book tells you how many times a day you get to eat from each container. That’s it! You fill your containers with the foods you love, creating your own meals. You work out for 30 minutes a day, and in 21 Days you will see amazing results.
FRX: You’re a mom, so what’s your advice for busy moms trying to stay in shape and eat healthy?
Autumn: I always say being prepared isn’t half the battle, it IS the battle. Make your grocery shopping list, hit the grocery store, do your food prep. This is key to your success. Also schedule your workouts like you would schedule a meeting with your boss. Put it on the calendar and nothing else goes in that time spot. That 30 minutes is for you.
FRX: What’s a favorite recipe from the book and why?
Autumn: Oh wow, that’s a tough one! I would have to say my Grandma’s sauce and meatballs. Every time I make it, it takes me back to childhood— to the smell of my grandma’s kitchen, to family and fun. I love that it is a healthier version and I can share it with my son.
For more recipes, be sure to pick up Autumn’s book, “Fixate—101 Personal Recipes to Use with the 21 Day Fix Portion-Control Program.”
PINEAPPLE CHICKEN SKEWERS
“This is one of my go-to summer recipes. It’s fast, easy, delicious and great for BBQs. I’ve been making this recipe for years,” said Autumn.
SERVES: 4 (2 skewers each) Prep Time: 20 min.; Cooking Time: 10 min.
8 bamboo skewers
1 lb. raw chicken breast, boneless, skinless, cut into 16 1-inch pieces
¼ cup reduced-sodium tamari
soy sauce (gluten-free)
2 tsp. sesame oil
2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1 (8-oz) can pineapple chunks in juice, drained
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 16 1-inch chunks
½ large red onion, cut into 16 1-inch chunks
1. Soak bamboo skewers in water for 30 minutes.
2. Place chicken in resealable plastic bag (or container); add soy sauce, oil, and ginger; seal bag and shake gently to mix. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes to marinate.
3. Preheat gas or charcoal grill on medium heat.
4. Place a piece of chicken, pineapple chunk, bell pepper, and onion onto a skewer. Repeat, so the skewer has two pieces of each ingredient. Repeat with seven remaining skewers. Discard marinade that contained chicken.
5. Grill skewers on covered grill for 4 to 5 minutes on each side, or until chicken is no longer pink in the middle.
6. Serve immediately.
Nutrition Info (serving size is 2 skewers)
Calories: 207, Total Fat: 1 g, Saturated Fat: 1 g, Cholesterol: 73 mg, Sodium: 594 mg, Carbohydrates: 12 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugars: 9 g, Protein: 25 g
PUMPKIN MUFFINS WITH MAPLE CREAM CHEESE (Gluten free, Vegetarian)
“This is one of my favorites,” said Autumn. I love the fall and all things pumpkin, especially a pumpkin muffin with my coffee in the morning. But I don’t love a muffin loaded with sugar and carbs. That’s what’s so great about this recipe-— the muffins are made with almond flour and pumpkin puree. No extra carbs, no gluten, and no added processed sugar.”
SERVES: 9 (1 muffin each) Prep Time: 15 min.; Cooking Time: 18 min.
2 oz cream cheese
1 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1½ cups almond flour
¾ tsp. baking soda
1 dash sea salt (or Himalayan salt)
2 Tbsp. raw pumpkin seeds
1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. Prepare nine muffin cups by lining with muffin tin liners or coating with spray. Set aside.
3. Combine cream cheese and maple syrup in a small bowl; mix well. Set aside.
4. Combine egg and pumpkin in a medium bowl; mix well. Set aside.
5. Combine almond flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; mix well.
6. Add almond meal mixture to egg mixture; mix until just blended.
7. Spoon batter into each prepared muffin cup, filling a little less than ½ full.
8. Spoon about 1 heaping tsp. cream cheese mixture into the center of each muffin. Evenly fill muffin cups ¾ full with remaining batter.
9. Sprinkle muffins evenly with pumpkin seeds.
10. Bake 16 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown and toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
11. Transfer muffins to rack; cool
Nutrition Info (serving size is 1 muffin)
Calories: 161, Total Fat: 13 g, Saturated Fat: 2 g, Cholesterol: 28 mg, Sodium: 166 mg, Carbohydrates: 8 g, Fiber: 3 g, Sugars: 9 g, Protein: 6 g
SKINNY COCONUT BERRY REFRESHER
“Let’s face it, every once in a while we need/want to have a cocktail,” said Autumn. “But I for one do not want all the extra calories from a fruity, sugar-filled cocktail. I love this recipe. Coconut is hydrating, so I don’t feel bad using coconut water in this cocktail. The flavor is coming from the flavored vodka and the fresh mint. It is easy to make, very refreshing and light on calories. That’s my idea of a good time!”
SERVES: 1 Prep Time: 10 min; Cooking Time: None
1 cup coconut water
1 oz berry-flavored vodka
(your favorite berry flavor)
1 cup ice
Fresh mint leaves
(for garnish; optional)
1. Place coconut water, vodka, and ice in a serving glass; stir to mix.
2. Garnish drink with mint leaves, if desired.
Nutrition Info (Serving size: 1 glass)
Calories: 99, Total Fat: 0 g, Saturated Fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 97 mg, Carbohydrates: 7 g, Fiber: 0 g, Sugars: 7 g, Protein: 0 g