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Lose Weight, Move Better, Get Stronger  with Seth Thomas

Personal Trainer in the Capital Region


Monthly Archives: January 2017

AMF February Challenge – Meatless Mondays!

When you think February, don’t just think roses and chocolate for your love! Think about loving your body too! With the new month, we have a new challenge to help you lose weight and get healthier! Consider going meatless once a week – Monday’s are ideal!

meatless monday - albany move fit february

Benefits of Meatless Mondays 

Reduce Heart Disease and Stroke—Vegetables, fruit, and whole grains have been shown to protect against cardiovascular disease. One study found that each daily serving of fruits or vegetables was associated with a 4% decline in coronary heart disease, and a 5% lower risk of stroke.

Limit Risk of Cancer—There is convincing evidence that red meat and processed meat consumption increases the risk of colorectal cancer. There is also suggestive evidence that red meat increases the risk of esophagus, lung, pancreas, and endometrium cancer and that processed meat consumption increases the risk of esophagus, lung, stomach, and prostate cancer.

But a diet rich in fruit and vegetables may decrease the risk of several types of cancers, including mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, and stomach!

Fight Diabetes—Research suggests that plant-based diets, particularly those low in processed meat, can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes.

Curb Obesity— Eating a plant-based diet can decrease total calorie consumption, which helps you obtain and maintain a healthy weight!  Several large studies in Europe and the United States have demonstrated that people on plant-based, vegetarian diets tend to have a significantly lower body weight and body mass index (BMI). This may be in part because plant-based diets are rich in fiber, which contributes to fullness, resulting in lower calorie intake and less overeating. Win, win!

Improve The Nutritional Quality of Your Diet—Going meatless once a week encourages consumption of plant-based sources of protein, like beans and peas. Consuming beans and peas results in a higher intake of fiber, protein, folate, zinc, iron, and magnesium. And diets high in beans and peas are associated with lower intakes of saturated fat and total fat.

Meatless Mondays – Bonus! 

Cut Weekly Budget—Many people save money by adding meatless meals to their weekly menus because they are built around vegetables, beans and grains—instead of meat, which tends to be more expensive. Though it can be challenging to serve healthy meals on a budget, going meatless once a week can help conserve money for more fruits and vegetables :)

Help the Environment - Going meatless once a week can also help reduce our carbon footprint and save precious resources like fossil fuels and fresh water. So Meatless Monday means a healthier planet AND a healthier you! 

We’ll be posting a Meatless Monday recipe every week for the month of February, so check back here often! And be sure to share your favorite Meatless recipes on the Albany Movement & Fitness facebook page!

Sara K. Madden                                                                                                                                 AMF Running Coach & Health Nut 



Gluten-Free Vegetarian Lasagna

Growing up in an Italian home, lasagna always brings back fond memories. But as a gluten-free athlete (most of the time!) who is committed to Meatless Mondays, I needed a vegetarian substitute for my favorite comfort food! This Gluten-Free Vegetarian Lasagna is my go-to!


  • 1 pound zucchini, trimmed and sliced thin lengthwise
  • 9 ounces fresh spinach, chopped
  • 24 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 3 ounces parmesan
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 jar pasta sause
  • 12 ounces part-skim mozzarella
  • 12 ounces gluten free lasagna noodles, cooked according to package directions
 vegetarian-lasagna-with-spinach - albany move fit
  1. Heat a skillet to medium heat and spray with cooking oil. Season zucchini strips with salt and pepper. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes. (The cooking time will vary according to how thinly you slice your zucchini.) Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Spray the pan again and add the spinach. Cook until the spinach wilts. Transfer to a plate lined with a clean towel and squeeze out excess moisture.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine ricotta cheese, Parmesan, egg, garlic, basil, parsley and crushed red pepper. Stir in spinach and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Coat a 13 x 9 casserole dish with cooking spray and spread 1/2 cup of your favorite pasta sauce on the bottom. Top with a layer of noodles, a layer of zucchini, 1/2 of the ricotta mixture and mozzarella. Spread 1/3 of the remaining sauce and repeat the layers. End with a layer of noodles, sauce and remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake for 30 minutes.
  6. Allow to cool for 15 minutes prior to serving.

Sara K. Madden                                                                                                                               AMF Running Coach & Health Nut 



Mason Jar Salads

Make-Ahead Mason Jar Salads are a convenient way to prep salads ahead of time. The lettuce and vegetables will remain fresh and crisp in the mason, even after days in the fridge!

You can have a healthy lunch every day if you just set aside a time each week to assemble them all in the first place. Then just grab one from the fridge and dump it all out of the jar and into a bowl when you’re ready for lunch!

You can customize the salad based on what salad toppings and dressing you prefer. But the science behind the anatomy of a mason jar salad is all about the layering.  Layer everything in the right order and nothing will get soggy!

mason-jar-salad-albany move fit


  • 6 cups salad greens
  • vegetables for salad toppings
  • proteins for salad toppings
  • salad dressing


  1. Measure the salad dressing into the bottom of the mason jar.
  2. Add the hard vegetables that will hold up to sitting in the dressing for a few days – Carrots, celery, bell peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, etc.  Cut them as chunky as will fit in the jar. The bigger the chunks, the better they’ll hold up to sitting in the dressing.
  3. Add the softer vegetables next – Tomatoes, corn, onions, avocado, etc.
  4. Add your choice of protein to the salad – Shredded cheese, cubed cooked meats, hard-boiled eggs or beans.
  5. Top everything off with the greens of your choice – Romaine, mixed greens, spinach, arugula
  6. Cover and store in the fridge for up to five days.  When ready to eat, turn the mason jar upside down and shake the contents into a bowl.


  • Keep your jar upright until ready to eat to prevent the dressing from getting all over the top layers, and creating a soggy mess immediately
  • Fun Fact: Don’t want to buy mason jars? Wash and reuse old pasta sauce jars!  Enjoy!

Sara K. Madden                                                                                                                                 AMF Running Coach & Health Nut 

Black Bean & Spinach Enchilada Casserole

This gluten-free recipe for Black Bean & Spinach Enchilada Casserole is also a great choice for vegetarians! Make this simple casserole up to two days before you plan to eat it, then just pop it into the oven until it’s warm and bubbly, and serve! Bring any leftovers to work for a tasty lunch the next day!  Also, you can use a jar of red enchilada sauce instead of traditional tomatillo sauce. And taco seasoning is a great alternative to Mexican chili powder.

You can feel good about the healthy ingredients in this recipe. Especially spinach, which is high in niacin and zinc, as well as protein, fiber, vitamins A, C, E and K, thiamin, vitamin B6, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and manganese! Bon appetite!

Sara K. Madden                                                                                                                                 AMF Running Coach & Health Nut 

Prep time:  15 mins

Cook time:  35 mins

Total time:  50 mins

Serves: 4-6


  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil (I like to use olive oil)
  • 1 small clamshell container baby spinach (about 5 ounces / 142 grams)
  •  12 small corn tortillas
  • 1  16 ounce jar tomatillo salsa
  • 1  14 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1½ teaspoons Mexican chili powder
  • 1 113 gram / 4 ounce package cream cheese, melted
  • 1½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 Bell pepper, large orange or red yellow, diced
  • 2 cups Corn, fresh (or frozen)
  • 2 cloves Garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic powder
  • 1 Yellow onion, large, diced



  1. Heat the cooking oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add garlic, onion, bell pepper and corn and saute until just softened.
  2. Add the spinach and cook until it is wilted, then set it aside.
  3. Spread one third of the salsa into a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish, and then lay down 6 corn tortillas. Top with another third of the salsa, spreading it evenly over the tortillas.
  4. Layer on the cooked spinach, followed by the black beans, and then sprinkle the chili powder evenly over top.
  5. Crumble the cream cheese on top of the beans, then top with the remaining tortillas, the last third of the salsa and the shredded cheese.
  6. If you are making the casserole in advance, stop at this point, cover tightly with foil and pop it into the fridge.
  7. When you are ready to bake, heat the oven to 400 degrees and bake the casserole (covered with foil) for about 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes or until the casserole is hot throughout and the cheese is bubbly and browning. If you like a very browned and bubbly top, try turning the oven to broil for the last few minutes of cooking.