3 Tips for Exercising and Eating Healthy with Injuries

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If you know anything about me, I’ve always been a health and fitness addict. From college soccer, to triathlons, to now lifting some serious weights in the gym, minute injuries can really throw my daily routine out of whack!

Since August, I have gone from running full out sprints and serious bootcamp workout classes combined with weight lifting to dwindle down to just rowing on the rowing machine and getting my heart rate up any way I can without hurting my leg. The orthopedic doctor says it may be a tear in my hip, but prescribed to try to do physical therapy for a month before I get an MRA or any type of surgery.

SO, instead of the confused and failing physical therapy I’ve been doing on myself since November, I’m finally starting the real deal (physical therapy) TOMORROW. YAY!

I’m not here to have a pity party. In fact, I know I’m blessed beyond words and this is just a small, small part of my overall health. It may seem selfish or petty to be bummed about leg, but exercise is my stress reliever, my endorphin releaser, and it makes me sleep like a baby! Not to mention I miss the camaraderie of my pals in my workout classes, and running and biking with my girlfriends.

Whenever my leg acts up, I think to myself, there is God trying to tell me to slow down in life. So, let’s turn this mess into something marvelous! (sounds like something Joyce Meyer would say). I’m sharing 3 tips for athletes and fitness junkies to keep their sanity through coping with injuries, and not losing all their momentum and progress in the gym and in the kitchen.

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Focus on what you CAN do. In most cases, swimming can be a great alternative to pounding the pavement when running or biking. To get my fix today, I’ll be doing the arm bike (HA!) and plenty of ab exercises along with my physical therapy movements. Hurt your leg? Do pushups and pull-ups for cardio.  Hurt your shoulder? Try air squats and lunges.

Your nutrition doesn’t have to suffer. Unless you are really down for the count, you can still maintain your progress through a nice and clean nutrition plan. If you are spending less time in the gym, you can spend more time meal-prepping! Whatever you do, don’t throw in the towel and demolish a box of cookies because you are sad about your injury. It will only create more mood swings. You may actually need to tighten up on your nutrition if you are doing less physical exercise than normal.  You could even consult with a health coach to get some guidance based on your goals.

Keep your sanity. If the thought of not going to the gym depresses you, go! Outside of your formal physical therapy, do your at-home physical therapy in the gym. You will get out of the house or the office and see your workout buddies and still be working on yourself. Foam roll if necessary. Get in the whirlpool, sauna, ice bath, or whatever therapeutic services your gym offers. Find your mental “fix” for when you can’t run sprints or go to spin class. If that means hot yoga, or deep tissue massage, go for it.

About the Blogger:

Shannon Gagnon is the recipe developer, food stylist and food photographer behind Crawfish & Crunches. She is known for turning delicious southern staples into slightly healthier versions that can be enjoyed all week long. On her blog you can find just what the tagline says, “Realistic recipes, rich southern culture, and health conscious habits.” 

For inquiries about positioning your brand in front of Shannon’s followers click here

For information on Shannon’s social media management business, click here.

More Posts:

{ 3 Reasons Women Should Stop Running }

{ Mom’s Famous Banana Bread }

Healthy Southern Collard Greens Recipe

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{ Meal Prep for Beginners }

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Meal prep, or preparing large amounts of healthy food for the week at one time, does not have to be rocket science. Sure, it will leave you tired and your kitchen a mess, but it is so well worth it when you can run out the door in the morning with your breakfast and lunch already packed and portioned. Plus, I’d rather get my kitchen dirty once than all week long! It dawned on me that I often write recipes for people who enjoy cooking. What about those, such as my cousin, who claim they are lazy or can’t cook? Here are a few ways to cook for your workweek in ways that are very basic, time efficient, and healthy. Stay tuned for the breakfast edition . .

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First, choose your favorite protein, veggie, and starch. I recommend starting out with these three staples, but as you get quicker and better at meal prepping, you can do two proteins, two veggies, and two starches to switch things up.

Adjust serving sizes depending on weight loss or weight gain goals. This is why a food scale (at Bed Bath and Beyond) comes in handy. It may sound crazy, like it’s only for bodybuilders, but you would be amazed at how wrong we get our portions.

Here are some ideas for one person, but double ingredients for two, or triple if you are feeding a 6’4 man who eats every two hours! Check with a nutritionist or a health coach to determine what your serving sizes should be.

The key is, with all of these recipes, is that you will be freezing leftovers. Make sure you have plenty of containers for your food. You will want some to use for the week, and some to label and place in the freezer for another week.

Some essentials for meal prep:

  • Crockpot
  • Food Scale
  • Basic cookware
  • Tupperware

Here is a simple way to do a LOT of chicken:

  • 2-3 pounds thin-sliced chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon garlic salt
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegarette dressing
  • 1 tablespoon pepper
  1. Remove any gristle (white parts) from the chicken
  2. Place in all ingredients in Crockpot, toss to coat chicken evenly with seasonings and dressing
  3. Cook covered on low for about 8 hours.
  4. To serve, you can sprinkle your favorite seasonings on top if you need to. We use Lawry’s or Tony Chachere’s, but if you are concerned with sodium try salt-free versions.
  5. For meal prepping – you can weigh out your portions (about 4-5 ounces per person) and place in Tupperware.

 

For your starch, I recommend either a huge pot of brown rice, or baked potatoes or sweet potatoes.

Buy the big bags of brown rice from the grocery store and cook to package directions. Season with soy sauce, light butter, hot sauce, salt and pepper, or your favorite seasonings. Place about 1 cup in each Tupperware container with your protein.

If you prefer a baked potato or sweet potato, try to choose 5 or  6 that are relatively the same size so that they cook evenly.

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Rinse potatoes with water, pat dry.
  3. Stab with a fork a few times.
  4. Place in the oven on a baking sheet.
  5. After one hour, try slicing into potatoes to see if they are done. Do not increase temperature if they are not or break up into pieces, just let them cook for another 20 or so.
  6. Cut in half and place in Tupperware with your meat.

 

An easy veggie to meal prep would be steamed broccoli.

  1. Buy about 4 heads broccoli.
  2. Trim giant stalks off, break broccoli into pieces.
  3. In a large pot or deep pan, place broccoli in about two inches of water. You don’t need to cover completely, the key is to steam.
  4. Cover and bring water to boil.
  5. Steam about 5-8 minutes.
  6. Check broccoli at about 5 minutes and pierce with a fork. You want there to be a “bite” to it.
  7. Drain broccoli in collander.
  8. Place about 1-2 cups broccoli in Tupperware with chicken and starch.
  9. Optional seasonings: Soy sauce, salt-free seasonings, light butter

 

Since this is just breaching the surface of a healthy meal prep, please post your meal prep questions in the comments and stay tuned for more blogs on this topic.

 

 

More Posts:

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No Excuses! Tips for Getting Your Workout Done When Traveling

Healthy Red Beans and Rice Recipe

About the Blogger:

Shannon Gagnon is the healthy recipe developer, food stylist and food photographer behind Crawfish & Crunches. She often shares health tips and southern recipes that she turns slightly healthier. On her blog you can find just what the tagline says, “Realistic recipes, rich southern culture, and health conscious habits.”

For inquiries about your brand being featured on this blog click here.

For information on Shannon’s social media management business, click here.

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{ 3 Reasons Women Should Stop Running }

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I giggle a little bit when I pass the cardio machines at the gym or pass by our lakefront and see tons of women jogging or doing the elliptical. I know, I’m judging a little bit. But instead, of just giggling and walking by, I’m sharing my words of wisdom here.

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I was that runner. You could find me running endlessly on the trails near my house growing up, in triathlons, for college soccer training, you name it. I even ran along the lakefront like the women I mentioned earlier (see featured photo). I was not seeing the results I wanted no matter how much I tried.  Finally in August, I learned a completely new health plan that involved heavy weight training, little cardio (GASP) and what some may call a strict nutrition plan. You can read all about that plan here. I saw results like never before.

Now, before I tell all women not to run, there are a few disclaimers. Some people have serious weight to lose, and it takes some serious cardio. Sprints may not be in the cards for others due to injuries, etc. Others may just start out by walking. More power to you! Running may be therapeutic for some, a great stress reliever, etc.  For those who want better and faster results: sprints, along with heavy weight training and great nutrition, are your weapons. Running and forms of long, slow and steady, endurance cardio, as I mentioned in my previous blog, makes weight fall off, but also makes you lose your curves, your muscle tone and your booty. See here.

Sprints will help you:

  1. Maintain the muscle tone you have
  2. Burn more fat
  3. Build curves

Sure, the sound of running “suicides” like you did in junior high basketball may make you nauseous. Lucky for you, there are other types of sprints to incorporate. Try high intensity interval training on a spin bike, a stair master, Jacobs Ladder, swim sprints in the pool. Simply go, run, swim, spin, at your maximum pace for 30 seconds, then rest, slowly pedal, for 30. Try that 10 times. Just imagine turning your 30 minute – 1 hour long jog into just a ten minute killer workout. Learn more here.

 

More Posts:

{ Healthy Breakfast Grits Recipe }

No Excuses! Tips for Getting Your Workout Done When Traveling

{ Healthy Crockpot Pulled Pork Recipe }

About the Blogger:

Shannon Gagnon is the healthy recipe developer, food stylist and food photographer behind Crawfish & Crunches. She often shares health tips and southern recipes that she turns slightly healthier. On her blog you can find just what the tagline says, “Realistic recipes, rich southern culture, and health conscious habits.”

For inquiries about your brand being featured on this blog click here.

For information on Shannon’s social media management business, click here.

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5 Healthy Carbs I’m Eating Everyday

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I was a no carb, high-cardio bunny for so long. I was thin, I was tired, and I had headaches all the time. Now that I’ve incorporated these healthy carbs into my diet, thanks to the help of a health coach, I feel great, I’m curvy, and I’m happy. Here is how it looks:

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Keep in mind that these guidelines were created for me and are not a fit for all folks. I exercise 5 days a week doing heavy weight training and occasional cardio.

Morning: Quaker Oatmeal Weight Control. This stuff tastes like candy to me. I have it with peanut butter on top (and a side of 1/2 egg whites 1 whole egg).

Snack: Banana. I usually have this in a protein shake or by itself. Fruits are usually minimized in weight loss phases but I’m game!

Lunch: Sweet Potato. Usually about three ounces with my meat and veg. I love them baked, mashed, roasted, you name it.

Snack: Rice Cake. Quaker oats chocolate flavor is my favorite.

Other: Brown rice. It’s not my favorite since I have such a sweet tooth, and I usually go for the sweet potato, but it is an option!

You won ‘t see bread in this list, but when I’m really craving it,  I incorporate it into my weekly “treat meal,” or have Ezekiel bread.

More Posts:

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{ Healthy On-the-Go Breakfasts to Take to Work }

About the Blogger:

Shannon Gagnon is the healthy recipe developer, food stylist and food photographer behind Crawfish & Crunches. She often shares health tips and southern recipes that she turns slightly healthier. On her blog you can find just what the tagline says, “Realistic recipes, rich southern culture, and health conscious habits.”

For inquiries about positioning your brand in front of Shannon’s followers click here.

For the long version about how the site was born, read more.

For information on Shannon’s social media management business, click here.

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Why I Won’t Be Doing the New Years Day Diet

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As we head into the New Year, the gyms will fill up, the fridge will be cleaned out of holiday leftovers, the healthy New Years resolutions will be set. All of those things are great ways to meet your health goals or set new ones. Those activities and changes are not the problem. The problem is – the phrase, “My diet starts New Years Day.”

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The News Years Day Diet has many things wrong with it. It means you are setting yourself up for misery. It means you will lose a few pounds, then most likely gain it back because you couldn’t maintain your “diet.”  It means you have overindulged over the holidays and now it’s time to cut, cut, cut! It probably means you’re looking at numbers on the scale and not your body fat measurements. It sets you up for looking at healthy food as “cardboard,” or “rabbit food.”

When you take the word “diet” out of your vocabulary – you replace it with “healthy lifestyle.”  A healthy lifestyle requires balance. It means you had your favorite foods over the holidays in moderation, and that you can pick up your usual workout and nutrition routine relatively easily without a total starvation overhaul.

Now, this is not to say I am at all perfect, but I did learn a few things over the holidays. Due to two sports injuries and the fact that I haven’t taken a week recovery break since I started a new regimen in August – I took a week off over the holidays from exercise.  I did not count my calories, but ate relatively healthy small meals. Sure, I indulged in Mom’s famous cheesesteaks as my treat meal, and on the other days I nibbled on the foods I really wanted, like Christmas cookies.

Since I had everything I wanted in moderation, I’m returning from vacation excited and motivated to get back into my exercise routine and sharpen up a bit on the nutrition.  I do not feel that I missed out on Mom’s cooking, or my favorite sweets, but I did miss the gym a lot.

“Oh, she’s naturally thin,” they say. “Oh, she doesn’t eat,” they say. Wrong. It takes work in the kitchen and in the gym. I eat 5-6 times day. I was once 20 pounds heavier.  If you have large weight loss goals you are striving for – replace, “My diet starts tomorrow,” with “I’m calling a health coach tomorrow.” They will get you on the plan that you can maintain.

Although I am not a health coach, I can help you in the cooking department. When you learn how to cook healthy foods that actually taste great, you won’t be on a rabbit food diet, you will be living an enjoyable lifestyle that you can maintain for years, not just months.  That is the epitome of this blog – yummy southern food and your favorite dishes turned slightly healthier – in a way that most wouldn’t even notice! If you need a little help getting started, check out these recipes:

{ Healthy Gumbo Recipe – Chicken and Sausage }

{ Healthy Easy Sloppy Joes – with a Louisiana twist }

{ Healthy Shrimp n’ Grits Recipe }

About the Blogger:

Shannon Gagnon is the healthy recipe developer, food stylist and food photographer behind Crawfish & Crunches. She often shares health tips and southern recipes that she turns slightly healthier. On her blog you can find just what the tagline says, “Realistic recipes, rich southern culture, and health conscious habits.”

For inquiries about positioning your brand in front of Shannon’s followers click here.

For the long version about how the site was born, read more.

For information on Shannon’s social media management business, click here.

 

 

 

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{ How to Throw an Easy, Healthy Christmas Party }

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As I sit here just hours before our holiday party, I can’t believe I’m just chilling in my robe. You would think I would be running around the house like a maniac.  I chose all make-ahead recipes, and I have warmer plates to keep things hot. My heart is full as I look at the Christmas decorations and anticipate the guests getting here.  Although it’s my “treat meal” tonight (woop!), I thought I’d share a few tips for throwing an easy and healthy holiday party.

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Plan out your menu once you have confirmed guests. Once they have confirmed you can tell them what is on the menu and give a list of what you need people to bring, such as appetizers, sides, and desserts. When I asked my guests if they would be interested in a Halloween or Christmas party, they replied, “Christmas! and tell us what to bring!” Those are some great friends right there.

If it’s not a “treat meal” night and you are watching your weight or just trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle, make sure not to starve yourself all day as you prepare for the party. Have a light broth based veggie soup, a chicken breast, or a handful of nuts about an hour before the party, so you make smart decisions throughout the night. If you do enough preparation in advance and if you enlist helpers, you should be able to eat at your own party.

Serve your healthy staples. Make sure someone brings a salad or a veggie tray. Display fruit in a pretty bowl or two-tiered stand. Make the healthy food look pretty and appetizing.

On that note, with your guests help you can serve up a variety of dishes, some healthy and some indulgent. This ensures that your guests are satisfied and that there is something to eat for those watching their weight and those who are ready to go all out.

Lighten up your sides. The real trick to my recipes is making them slightly healthier, to the point where your guests may not even recognize it. That way you don’t make two versions. See some of my favorite lightened up holiday side dishes.

More Posts:

{ Moonshine Mulled Cider } Holiday Drink Recipe

Christmas Party Health Tips to Beat Weight Gain

Unique Southern Holiday Dishes To Try & Healthy Substitutions

About the Blogger:

Shannon Gagnon is the healthy recipe developer, food stylist and food photographer behind Crawfish & Crunches. She often shares health tips and southern recipes that she turns slightly healthier. On her blog you can find just what the tagline says, “Realistic recipes, rich southern culture, and health conscious habits.”

For inquiries about positioning your brand in front of Shannon’s followers click here.

For the long version about how the site was born, read more.

For information on Shannon’s social media management business, click here.

 

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Christmas Party Health Tips to Beat Weight Gain

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Christmas Party Health Tips to Beat Weight Gain

The way that your calendar books up with holiday parties between Thanksgiving and Christmas can get quite crazy, especially when you are trying to reach certain health goals. Instead of looking at these parties full of Christmas cookies and cocktails as a weight loss hurdle, just sneak a few tricks up your sleeve and you can enjoy your family, friends, and food.

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First, don’t show up to the party, or any meal for that matter ravenous. Your host may not plan on serving dinner right away and the appetizers may unhealthy. Have just a handful of nuts about an hour or a half hour before the party. That way you won’t grab every crescent roll in sight.

Watch out for the booze. The more you drink, the more your decision making skills are altered, the more the gingerbread cookies call your name. Stick with simple drinks like wine or light beer, and avoid the eggnog when possible. This infographic can help you navigate which drink to grab and which drink to pass on.

Scan the room for the veggie or fruit tray if you are starving when you arrive.

If you know you are dying for a slice of pecan pie, just have a lighter dinner or go easy on the appetizers. Make room to eat what you love in moderation.

Watch out for foods on the naughty list. Many foods served around the holidays, like meatballs and sausages, are served in sugary sauces. If you want to know exactly what goes into your food, ask the host if you could bring a healthy appetizer or dessert that will help you stay on track.

More Posts:

Tips for a Healthy Holiday Cocktail Hour

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{ Healthy Gumbo Recipe – Chicken and Sausage }

About the Blogger:

Shannon Gagnon is the healthy recipe developer, food stylist and food photographer behind Crawfish & Crunches. She often shares health tips and southern recipes that she turns slightly healthier. On her blog you can find just what the tagline says, “Realistic recipes, rich southern culture, and health conscious habits.”

For inquiries about positioning your brand in front of Shannon’s followers click here.

For the long version about how the site was born, read more.

For information on Shannon’s social media management business, click here.

 

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{ 5 Healthy Things to Do After Thanksgiving }

AFTER THANKSGIVING HEALTH TIPS CRAWFISH AND CRUNCHES

{ 5 Healthy Things to Do on Black Friday or After Thanksgiving }

The turkey hangover can be a struggle. You may wake up feeling groggy or you may have been out all night hunting for Black Friday deals.  Not to mention, there is such a small window between Thanksgiving Day and Christmas. It can be a stressful time! Well with these few tips, you can maintain your healthy lifestyle even when things get a little crazy over the holidays.

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1). Make time to unwind. There is so much hype around the holidays, whether you have hosted, or went out of town on Thanksgiving, or you spent a day full of multiple get-togethers.  Allow your brain and your body to recoup. Although decorating can be tempting, try not to jump RIGHT into Christmas. Decompress, be thankful for awhile, take a break, watch a movie, take a hot bath.

2). Avoid Black Friday madness.  Sure, call me a scrooge, but products are marked up so highly around the holidays, so when you think you are getting a “sale,” you may be only getting the normal off-season price. The traffic and the crazies can bring about a negative or high stress mood and so much of that can effect your nutrition and your exercise habits.

3) Get moving.  With family in town it could be the perfect time to go for a brisk fall walk. Use the post-party mess to your advantage. Burn your calories cleaning dishes, vacuuming and tidying up. It will help you digest all of that stuffing and pumpkin pie too.

4) Go for a steam, relax in the sauna, hot tub, or whirlpool. Sweating out that heavy Thanksgiving meal can be great for the mind and body.

5) Clean out the fridge and pantry. There could be a few leftovers lingering in there that won’t help your health goals. Don’t toss it! Just freeze it for the next get-together or special occasion.

 

More Posts:

How to Host a Healthy, Effortless, Awesome Thanksgiving

Healthy Tailgating Tips – What to Pack, Healthy Choices, Cocktails & More

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About the Blogger:

Shannon Gagnon is the healthy recipe developer, food stylist and food photographer behind Crawfish & Crunches. She often shares health tips and southern recipes that she turns slightly healthier. On her blog you can find just what the tagline says, “Realistic recipes, rich southern culture, and health conscious habits.”

For inquiries about positioning your brand in front of Shannon’s followers click here.

For the long version about how the site was born, read more.

For information on Shannon’s social media management business, click here.

 

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Tips for a Healthy Holiday Cocktail Hour

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Tips for a Healthy Holiday Cocktail Hour 

In the south, the cocktail hours are endless. Sometimes they may even start in the morning.  Needless to say, a girl or a guy watching their figure might need to find some healthy tricks when it’s “5:00 somewhere” so often. With the holidays coming up, cocktail hour might not take place on the pontoon boat any longer, but they may take place on the front porch swing or at company parties. Here is how you can still enjoy a drink this holiday season and maintain your health and fitness goals . .

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First, don’t show up to the holiday party ravenous. Your host may not plan on serving dinner right away and the appetizers may be scarce. Have just a handful of nuts about an hour or a half hour before the party. That way your cocktail won’t hit you so hard and you won’t grab every fried mushroom in sight.

Think Simple. Avoid the mudslides and the chocolate martinis. Try a skinny margarita – just tequila, ice, lime, and a splash of Cointreau.  Cosmopolitans are often a safe bet, and they pack a punch!

This infographic is super helpful to determine calories and carbs in all types of drinks.

Craving a glass of wine? The antioxidants in red wine are just calling your name.  As with all drinks, try to drink at least one glass of water between each alcoholic beverage.

Make your own drinks. The south is very B.Y.O.B to parties. When you make your own drinks you know exactly what goes into them, and you don’t have to worry that one of your pals has a heavy hand.

More Posts:

How to Host a Healthy, Effortless, Awesome Thanksgiving

Healthy Tailgating Tips – What to Pack, Healthy Choices, Cocktails & More

5 Health Tips to Survive Thanksgiving

About the Blogger:

Shannon Gagnon is the healthy recipe developer, food stylist and food photographer behind Crawfish & Crunches. She often shares health tips and southern recipes that she turns slightly healthier. On her blog you can find just what the tagline says, “Realistic recipes, rich southern culture, and health conscious habits.”

For inquiries about positioning your brand in front of Shannon’s followers click here.

For the long version about how the site was born, read more.

For information on Shannon’s social media management business, click here.

 

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Quick Breakfast, Snack, or Post-Workout Protein Shake

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Quick Breakfast, Post-Workout, or Snack Protein Shake

Sure there are a million and one protein shake brands out there, but I just had to share this one. Since this blog is all about creating healthy habits and recipes in a southern culture where the food and fun doesn’t stop, I thought this protein shake was quite fitting. Iconic is a brand from New Orleans that sells these cute little protein drinks. I was floored because they have a traditional New Orleans flavor called “Cafe au Lait.”

I also had two blender cups in the sink and I was totally sick of my morning shake. As I walked out the door on the way to work I grabbed a bottle of Iconic and I was on my way. The vanilla bean flavor was light and delicious and NOT blended with ice like my typical shake, which was nice for a brisk fall morning.

Not in NOLA? No worries. They ship to your front door :)

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More Posts:

Healthy Fall Recipe { Pumpkin Protein Bars }

{ Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal – “Protein Overnight Oats” }

Healthy Grocery List Essentials: A Few of My Favorite Products

About the Blogger:

Shannon Gagnon is the healthy recipe developer, food stylist and food photographer behind Crawfish & Crunches. She often shares health tips and southern recipes that she turns slightly healthier. On her blog you can find just what the tagline says, “Realistic recipes, rich southern culture, and health conscious habits.”

For inquiries about positioning your brand in front of Shannon’s followers click here.

For the long version about how the site was born, read more.

For information on Shannon’s social media management business, click here.

 

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