10 Surprising Food Combinations You’ll Love

10 Surprising Food Combinations You’ll Love

Aaah, the pairing of two foods that harmoniously go together like peanut butter & jelly, or macaroni & cheese, both pleasing to the soul and the palate. Kudos to the first person to combine each of those classics, BTW. Here, we offer our suggestions of more unusual tasty duos that work into a healthy diet. Most items are basic grocery staples that you can find at the corner market. Warning – taste buds beware of surprise!


Blue Cheese & Pear   

The slightly bold sharpness of blue cheese balances the mild sweet acidity of pear for a hearty and robust combo.

Examples: Anjou pear, crumbled blue cheese and chopped walnut salad drizzled with honey. Roasted bosc pear halves filled with Stilton, cranberries and slivered almonds. Bartlett pear and gorgonzola flat bread pizza with arugula.


Coffee & Meat

Coffee adds a rich earthy tone to meat, plus it contains natural acids that tenderize. Coffee accentuates the savory flavor of meat while balancing the pepper, chiles and sugars common in meat recipes.

Examples:  Fresh coffee grounds and spice dry-rubbed pork loin chops. Add a shot of espresso to lean ground beef chili for a punch. Skirt steak marinated in chilled strong coffee overnight.


Eggs & Green Veggie 

Breakfast marries dinner in this combination of protein, fiber and vitamins that can serve as a dish its own right.

Examples: Spinach and poached egg atop 7-grain toast w/ feta. Soft-cooked egg and potato-zucchini hash. Scrambled egg and asparagus with whole wheat noodles.


Figs & Pistachios       

This match made in heaven jazzes up plain old bread or crackers and soft cheese for a filling snack with WOW appeal!

Examples: Diced figs and pistachios mixed with honey atop warm brie on a baguette. Fig jam with goat cheese and pistachios atop toast rounds. Fig halves filled with ricotta cheese and toasted pistachios, served with crackers.


Peanuts & Chilies  

The heat and crunch from this duo add boldness to plain/mild items like tofu and starches. The intense spicy flavors fade while the satiety of peanuts last.

Examples: Peanut butter and sriracha sauce on a side dish of noodles.  Finely diced peanuts and jalapeno with cayenne over a scoop of brown rice.


Pomegranate & Meat


The sweet-tart aspect of pomegranate plus the umami flavor of meat make for excellent sweet and savory entrées.

Examples: Glaze roasted chicken with reduced pomegranate juice. Beef chuck roast braised with pomegranate juice and dry red wine.


Prosciutto & Melon 

Another sweet and savory blend that is a flavorful snack on its own or an addition to green salads.

Examples: Prosciutto wrapped honeydew slices with mint leaves. Caprese-style stacks of prosciutto, cantaloupe and mozzarella slices with basil leaves drizzled with balsamic vinegar.


Sauerkraut & Cheese


The creaminess of cheese with the bite of sauerkraut make for a tangy pair with crunch.

Examples:  Grilled Swiss cheese and sauerkraut on rye sandwiches. Layered al dente egg noodles, shredded part-skim mozzarella and sauerkraut, baked as a casserole. Quesadillas made with low-fat cheddar, well-drained sauerkraut and thin Granny apple slices.


Strawberry & Tomato

These vitamin C packed fruits are light and refreshing. Strawberries subtly enhance the sweetness of tomatoes.

Examples: Strawberry and heirloom tomato salad tossed with basil and lemon juice. Strawberry tomato gazpacho. Roasted tomato halves topped with strawberry slices, fresh tarragon and oregano, drizzled with apple cider vinegar.


Vinaigrette & Fish


The acidity and herbs from vinegar-based sauces (plus fat from the oil) make for tender, flavorful fish.

Examples: Vidalia onion vinaigrette over seared or pan-fried tilapia and halibut. Citrus vinaigrette works with stronger fish like tuna or swordfish. Soy vinaigrette on chilled leftover salmon.

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March to LA Fitness

March to LA Fitness

Welcome to month 3 of 2018! Congratulations to those of you who have stuck with your New Year’s resolution to make fitness a priority in the new year. However, we know that some of you may not be as focused as you once were.

For those of you struggling to keep the momentum going, or even those of you who feel like you’ve already fallen off the fitness wagon – fear not! Many of you may think that a new healthy habit should begin upon the start of a year new, new month, or new week. We’re here to tell you that you can start at any time – it doesn’t matter as long as you start.

This is why LA Fitness has deemed this March as #MarchtoLAFitness. If you want to see changes, you’ve got to put in the time! Tired? Everyone is. Busy? Most people are. However, being tired or busy and not setting aside the time you need to make yourself healthy is a lose-lose situation. If you’re feeling lousy about excess weight, poor nutrition or a tired mind, starting a healthy habit is what your body needs.

The American Psychological Association (APA) suggests changing one behavior at a time. Swap out that quick fast food meal for a home-cooked one instead. Get an extra hour of sleep or add an extra day spent at the gym to your weekly schedule. Unhealthy behaviors or habits typically develop over the course of time, which means you can’t expect healthy habits to develop overnight. It’s going to take discipline and practice. Worried that you don’t have the willpower or determination to make these changes? Try this:

Set Realistic Goals

Let’s say you want to lose a certain of weight. A reasonable goal is to allow yourself enough time to make this goal come to fruition. Try setting short and long-term goals. For instance, a goal to lose 1 pound a week is a lot more realistic than wanting to lose 10 pounds. Be realistic with yourself and know what fits your lifestyle. Hitting a short-term goal (i.e., losing one pound in a week), will leave you feeling accomplished and will help develop the healthy habits you need to continue working toward your long-term goals.

Involve a Friend

Did you know that having someone to help you along the way can help you stay motivated? Whether that person is a family member, significant other, friend or coworker, you may want to invite someone who shares a similar goal to join you on your way to success! Looking to sweeten the deal? LA Fitness offers a program called VIP Rewards where you can invite a friend or family member to join you at our club while earning points that can be redeemed for LA Fitness gear. (Check out rewards here!)

Habit vs. Lifestyle

Developing healthy habits can lead to a healthy lifestyle, but how long does it take exactly to start a new healthy habit? This number has been debated a lot, with some thinking it takes 21 days to develop a habit while others believe it can take up to 90 days. How true are these numbers and what does that mean when setting a goal to sticking to consistent, healthy habits? An article published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) references an article1 focused on the psychology of ‘habit-formation’ and general practice. Below is an excerpt taken from the study:

Unrealistic expectations of the duration of the habit formation process can lead the patient to give up during the learning phase. Some patients may have heard that habits take 21 days to form. This myth appears to have originated from anecdotal evidence of patients who had received plastic surgery treatment and typically adjusted psychologically to their new appearance within 21 days.22 More relevant research found that automaticity plateaued on average around 66 days after the first daily performance,9 although there was considerable variation across participants and behaviours. Therefore, it may be helpful to tell patients to expect habit formation (based on daily repetition) to take around 10 weeks. Our experience is that people are reassured to learn that doing the behaviour gets progressively easier; so they only have to maintain their motivation until the habit forms. Working effortfully on a new behaviour for 2–3 months may be an attractive offer if it has a chance of making the behaviour become ‘second nature’.

Uh oh… I Slipped Again

Don’t let a day (or two or three) skipping the gym deter you from getting right back on track! Did you eat unhealthy over the weekend? Perhaps you maybe indulged a little too much on last night’s dinner. Well, this means all your hard work and progress is gone, right? Wrong! A little misstep is no reason to feel like you’ve failed at working toward your goal. Don’t wait until next week, next month, or next year to get back on track – do it today because the time spent waiting to fix what you want to change can be time spent actively working towards your life’s goals.

You’ve got this. We believe in you. #MarchtoLAFitness


  1. Gardner, Benjamin, et al. “Making Health Habitual: the Psychology of ‘Habit-Formation’ and General Practice.” The British Journal of General Practice, Royal College of General Practitioners, Dec. 2012, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3505409/.


  1. “Making Lifestyle Changes That Last.” American Psychological Association, American Psychological Association, www.apa.org/helpcenter/lifestyle-changes.aspx.

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Am I Drinking Too Much Water? | Q+A

Am I Drinking Too Much Water? | Q+A


I drink approximately 10 glasses of water a day.  Do I need to supplement my water with electrolytes and if I don’t add anything to my water am I washing out nutrients drinking so much water?

– Carmela M.


Your reported water intake may be excessive if you are also drinking a lot of other beverages. If it’s your only fluid intake, then 10 glasses of plain water are fine, assuming you are an active, healthy adult with no medical conditions. True water overload that dilutes blood electrolytes (a serious situation called hyper-hydration or water intoxication) is rare and comes from downing gallons of water in a short period of time.

Thirst is a weak indicator of your hydration status. Better yet, check your urine color. Optimal is a pale yellow like the area circled in the image below:

LA Fitness, LAF, nutrition, QA, Ask Our Dietitian, ask our nutritionist, am I drinking too much water, daily water intake, LA Fitness ask a dietitian, daily water intake

You shouldn’t need to add electrolytes to your water or worry about flushing out micro-nutrients if you’re generally in this range. A clear or barely perceptible yellow reflects dilute urine, while an amber color is a sign of dehydration.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

Ask our Dietitian

Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

Email nutrition@lafitness.com or submit your question below and it may be featured in an upcoming article!

8 + 10 =

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Member Spotlight | The Greatest Investment You’ll Ever Make Is in Yourself

Member Spotlight | The Greatest Investment You’ll Ever Make Is in Yourself

What would inspire you to make a change? To wake up, get dressed, and walk through the doors of an LA Fitness, determined to change your life – what would it take? For Kyleen S. of Wyoming, MN, it was a series of ill-fated events that led her up to that very moment. This is her story.

In 2015, Kyleen’s mother passed away. A year later, Kyleen and her then boyfriend decided to call it quits. Between the stresses of life and a busy schedule, fitness was not a priority for Kyleen’s. She had a gym membership, but never used it. She was tired of being overweight and unhappy. She wanted her life back. Kyleen’s best friend, Crystal S., and her husband, Matt S., had both been longtime members of LA Fitness, which helped Kyleen make the switch from her previous gym. She was hoping that joining a gym her friends belonged to would help her stay committed.

Once she had her mind set on making a healthy lifestyle change, Kyleen took a tour of her local LA Fitness and signed up for a yearlong membership that same day. The club’s Fitness Director, Ramon N., spoke with Kyleen about how LA Fitness’ training programs differ from what other gyms may offer. Ramon shared with Kyleen that occasionally he would go through the personal training progress books to see if any improvements had been made with clients, and if not, he would work with his staff of trainers to see how he could help. Ramon even took it a step further and shared that if trainees stopped showing up, he would call or text them to see what was up. He wanted to help hold them accountable so that they could reach their fitness goals.

Kyleen shared that she needed that, and appreciated it 100%. Ramon then walked her around the club, and started her complimentary fitness assessment. Kyleen knew that she was out of shape, but until her fitness assessment took place, she had no idea just how poor her health had become! She recalled being on the stair machine for barely 30 seconds and thinking she was going to pass out. Her stamina was incredibly low and she was struggling to perform the simplest of tasks. There was a part of her that wanted to turn around, walk straight out the door, and never look back. However, she knew this was something she had to do. She had to gain control of her health again.

Right: March 2017 Left: November 2017

After the fitness assessment ended, Kyleen decided that it was in her best interest to sign up for personal training. She needed the support of a trainer to help hold her accountable for maintaining her fitness goals. She began with two training sessions a week. Kyleen shared the following about her how her experience went when signing up for personal training:

[Ramon] did not pressure me or make me uncomfortable in any way. I really am grateful to [Ramon] for taking the time to care about me because I truly believe that if I had said no to his and the trainers help, and died a week later from something health-related, that I could see [Ramon] thinking to himself, I wanted to help her. He genuinely cares. I still talk to him on a regular basis about my workout routine and about life in general. He truly does care about this program and everyone he signs up.

Kyleen has only ever missed two of her training sessions. The first due to her appendix rupturing and the second when she was severely sick. Otherwise, she makes it a point to stick to her schedule. Of course, there are days when she doesn’t want to go, but she makes herself go anyway. She doesn’t want to slide backwards. Another reason Kyleen continues to pushes herself is because her mother had a lot of medical problems, and she does not want to endure what she witnessed her mother go through.

When Kyleen first started her fitness journey, she had no intention of changing her diet. However, the more she started to workout, the more she began to find herself eating more fish, salads, and fruit than before. She shared that she now goes out of her way to grocery shop in order to cook herself healthier meals. She’s also increased her water intake. Between having a trainer, staying consistent at the gym, maintaining a healthy diet, and tracking her progress, Kyleen has continued to lose weight – even after transitioning to a desk job within the past year.

It’s common knowledge that sitting too much can be detrimental to the body’s physical health and knowing this, Kyleen keeps 3 and 5 lb. dumbbells at her desk to use as both paperweights and for a quick wrist-strengthening workout. Under her desk sits a yoga mat, ready to go as soon as Kyleen is. She tries to go to the gym anywhere from 3 to 5 days a week. On the days she doesn’t go to the gym, she now misses it! Since joining LA Fitness, Kyleen said she turned a complete 180 from where she was a year ago when it comes to her fitness, health and diet.

The past year Kyleen has made it all about her. By focusing on her health and happiness she has seen what a difference focus and determination can make both physically and mentally on the body. When asked how the gym has influenced her life, Kyleen shared the following:

I feel that I am surrounded by more people now that want to see me succeed in life than I have been before [….] This gym and its trainers have really helped me to change my life, and I am so grateful for that. I live and breathe LA Fitness, and I try to get my friends and family to come in and see what it’s all about!

Kyleen’s passion for fitness has made her want to help, and inspire, others who may be where she once was. It’s never the wrong time to start working on becoming healthier. In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it’s easy to put off fitness due to being tired after a long work day, wanting to relax, or grabbing something quick to eat (just this once, which easily creates a snowball effect). If any of those reasons sound like you, you’re not alone, which is why the Living Healthy team asked Kyleen to answer the following question:

Q: If you could give others one piece of advice, what would it be?

KS: You have to want it to achieve it. You always hear people say that you have to want it and most people think, Yeah, I want to be healthier. Yeah I want to be thinner. But, you have to actually want it. Not because you think society is telling you so. Not because your friends or family are telling you so, but because you actually are ready, and willing, and truly wanting it. If you go in and say I want it, but in the back of your head you know you’re just going to go to the gym, swipe your card, maybe do a lap and go home, then you are not ready. You have to be in that state of mind where you have finally accepted that you need to make a change and you actually want that change to happen. You have to be willing to put in the work and fight.

Would you rather go out to eat than make a piece of salmon with a fresh salad and a side of quinoa? Probably, but not only are you saving yourself money by making your own food, you are choosing a healthier option and controlling what is going into your body. It is all worth it. Do not go at it alone. If you do not sign up with a trainer and you cannot get a work out buddy, at least get a friend or family member that will help hold you accountable for your actions, or lack thereof. Find someone who will ask you, did you go to the gym? For how long? What did you do? How many reps? How many sets? What part of the body did you work on? Maybe next time you should bump up your weight? Maybe next time you should try the sled? Someone who can cheer you on and be your coach, that is what my trainer is for me. He is my coach and my cheerleader.

Keep a log of what you work on. Take a notebook with you to the gym and write down everything that you do while you are there, and then the next time you go, you can see what you did. Change it up. See what weight you were lifting last time and see if you can increase it. If you are afraid or nervous of something in the gym, ask a trainer. They are more than happy to answer your questions and show you how to use a piece of equipment. You need to trust your gym and those who are there to help. Once your body starts to get used to working out on a regular basis, what was once hard will become easy. That is also why you cannot just give up after a while, and why you need to push yourself to excel even further. You might just see a change not only in your physicality, but mentally as well.

A Little About Kyleen’s Trainer, Markus M.

Q: How has your trainer inspired you?

KS: I train with Markus M. who is a Master Trainer at both Blaine and Roseville. He pushes me so that I do not become complacent in my workouts, and he instructs me to set small goals that we can work toward – at the moment, that is to tone my arms so I look amazing in my bridesmaid dress for July.

He helps to build up my stamina weekly when I meet up with him. I had a bad knee from when I used to play volleyball in junior high school, and at times it would just give out. He has helped me to strengthen it to the point that I can do a 135-pound weighted squat without it even phasing my knee. He makes me want to be the best that I can be when it comes to my workouts. If he gives me something that is really difficult for me, then I include it into a pre-workout that I have created for myself so that I can improve on that move. That way, when I work out with him again and we do that same exercise, I can show him how much I have improved.

If I have any questions I can just go to him and he helps to answer them, if he doesn’t know then he will refer me to someone else to help direct me to what I need to know. I cannot even fathom having a different trainer at this point. Markus knows my body and me as a person, and I can put my all my trust and respect with him.

Kyleen S. and her trainer Markus M. 

Where She Is Now

Kyleen’s current fitness goals are to build muscle, tone her body and weigh in at 160 lbs. Her end goal is not to necessarily be skinny, but to be healthy and fit.

Start your journey with LA Fitness today.

ProResults® personal training services are subject to an additional agreement and payment of an additional fee. This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor. Member testimonials have been edited for clarity and length.

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