Recipes for Health and Fitness by Guest Contributor Stacy Francis

Stacy Francis joined KnuckleUp in June 2009. She is a Regional Accounts Receivable Rep for a global industrial supply company, and runs a blog Poor Girl’s Paleo.She started off at KU doing kickboxing, and then added on boot camps and Muay Thai training. Here, Francis offers a little background on her journey to health and fitness and shares her favorite recipes:

When I started KnuckleUp in June 2009, I knew nothing about healthy food choices.  I had started Weight Watchers that December and thought I found the answer to all my problems.  The reality is that with their point system, if someone wanted, they could use their points for a pizza binge and eat “free” fruits and vegetables for the rest of the day.  Not quite a balanced way of eating.

A huge part of my knowledge came from Moe Travis, whether it was during boot camp, personal training, or really just in general as a good friend and trainer.  My favorite story is when a friend checked me into Waffle House at 7:00 AM and, within minutes, I had a text from Moe asking, “So what are you eating at Waffle House?”  I proudly said that I just got egg whites and bacon thinking that was a good choice.  She replied with the short answer, “No Waffle House.”  I love her for moments like that.

One thing many of us experience when trying to lose weight is “food fear,” as I call it.  We think that eating less will help us lose more.  I’ve learned that is wrong, which is pretty sweet considering that means I can eat just as much while still losing weight.  What it all comes down to is the choices of food and the portions.

When shopping and cooking, I try to operate by the philosophy that food is fuel.  If it has a long list of ingredients, especially with plenty that I can’t even pronounce, it stays on the shelf.  It actually makes food shopping relatively simple.  A huge change in my diet was what I used for food preparation.  Instead of sauces I mainly use oils and spices with Flavor God being my absolute favorite brand out there.  My cabinets have huge containers of olive oil and coconut oil.  Just like people say about hot sauce, when it comes to coconut oil –  I put that stuff on everything!

As a full-time working single mother, it isn’t always easy to be as healthy as I’d like, so I have several go-to recipes for health and fitness that I think are easy, tasty, and will definitely keep you filled up . . . and fueled up!

Caramelized CauliflowerThis works really well with most vegetables.  So far I’ve also done this with broccoli and Brussel sprouts, and had great success

1.     Preheat the oven to 400.

2.     Break up a fresh head of cauliflower into medium-sized pieces.

3.     Toss in enough olive oil to coat the pieces, and add your favorite spices.

4.     Spray a baking sheet (I use coconut oil for this part) and spread the pieces out evenly.

5.     Bake until they are crispy, or less if you prefer.

Mock Mashed Potatoes

1.     Steam a head of cauliflower.

2.     Break it up into small pieces.

3.     Place the pieces into a food processor with a little bit of cream and butter.

4.     Keep it going until it’s as smooth or chunky as you like.

5.     Season as needed.

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

1.     Preheat the oven to 350.

2.     Microwave a sweet potato until a little softened.

3.     Slice the sweet potato into wedges, chip shape, fries, etc. (with or without skin depending on your preference).

4.     Toss in coconut oil and sprinkle with ground cinnamon (I add cayenne pepper for them to be sweet and spicy).

5.     Spray a baking sheet (again I use the coconut oil spray) and spread them out evenly.

6.     Bake until they are as crispy as you like.

Almond-crusted salmon

1.     Preheat the oven to 350.

2.     Put a handful of raw almonds in a bowl and crush them until they look like breadcrumbs and add in your favorite spices.

3.     Spray a piece of salmon with coconut oil spray (clearly I love this stuff) evenly.

4.     Put the salmon in a baggie with the “breadcrumbs” and shake it up until the salmon is covered.

5.     Place the breaded salmon on a baking sheet and, as with the veggies, bake until your preferred level.

Coconut Chicken Nuggets

1.     Preheat the oven to 350.

2.     Cut up chicken breasts into small squares.

3.     Put a handful of raw almonds in a bowl and crush them until they look like breadcrumbs, add in your favorite spices, and this time add in a handful of shredded unsweetened coconut.

4.     Spray the chicken cubes with coconut oil sprayed evenly.

5.     Put the chicken in a baggie with the “breadcrumbs” and shake it up until the cubes are covered (same as with the salmon).

6.     Place the breaded nuggets on a baking sheet, and you know the rest by now….lol.

7.     I serve these with a little bit of mustard, but there are a ton of condiments you can make on your own if you’re feeling creative.


There are some foods/snacks that are regulars for when I’m on the go . . . which is often.  Traffic in Atlanta is intense, so it’s important to always have something with you so you don’t stop at a convenient, cheap, awful-for-you drive-thru!

1.     Hard boiled eggs

2.     Celery or apples with almond butter (Barney Butter has the most amazing flavors, especially Cocoa Coconut!)

3.     Frozen blueberries (a great substitute for popping candy!)

4.     Protein shakes:  Water or unsweetened almond/coconut milk and a scoop of protein powder.  For a more filling shake, add a handful of spinach, with berries to balance out the spinach flavor, and a little avocado which is a great fat AND makes it creamy!

5.     Limited protein bars, and definitely watch the sugar as some are just as bad as eating a Snickers bar (mmm Snickers….lol)

6.     Fresh guacamole and veggies (Whole Foods has the most amazing guacamole and it’s well worth spending a little extra!)

7.     Homemade yogurt parfait:  ½ cup Greek yogurt, berries, and 2 tablespoons (unsweetened or unflavored) granola.

8.     Sensible Portions (or any brand name) Veggie Straws


So, to sum it all up – Eat healthy, not less.  Eat simple.  Watch your portions.  Always be prepared.  Watch your body transform.  And of course….

1, 2, 3 . . . KnuckleUp!


Stacy Francis and Dana White