Food · Uncategorized

A Weekend Setup for Eating Healthier During the Week

So this blog is rapidly becoming about food…

Which makes pretty good sense if you know me! ūüėČ

Since I’m trying to eat (relatively) healthier food, I thought I’d outline my “weekend routine” with regard to food prep for the week. Again, I’m not claiming to be an expert of any kind – and I am definitely not perfect in following this routine – but I just want to share some tips that have made it easier for me to eat well during the busy week. Would love to hear any tips you have as well!

  1. Prep smoothies for the week – see my previous post about this. This one is huge, as each smoothie is packed with fruits and veggies, keeps me full, and gives me lots of energy without a big sugar crash. Great way to start the day. (Plus drinking one of these puppies makes me feel less guilty about a mid-afternoon chocolate break ūüėČ )
  2. Related to smoothie prep – buy a bunch of ripe bananas, unpeel them, split each banana into a few pieces, store in a freezable container, and place in the freezer. This will provide you with frozen bananas to use in smoothies. Blending banana chunks while frozen adds an almost ice-cream-like texture and sweetness to smoothies.
  3. Spiralize a ton of veggies at the beginning of the week (usually the same day as the smoothie prep – I like to just knock out everything in an hour or two on Sunday). I posted about the joys of spiralizing here – I am usually late to most trends in life, and this is no different, so you probably heard about this years ago!  But I’m beginning to integrate it into my daily routine and I love it.  It makes veggie prep sooo much easier. I typically spiralize a bunch of sweet potatoes and zucchini at the beginning of the week.  I’ll roast the sweet potato noodles (swoodles) several times during the week, as well as eat zucchini noodle (zoodle) dishes. It. rocks.
  4. For a sweet treat that still packs in nutrition – I will make a batch or two of chia seed pudding (see here).  A surprisingly tasty way to satisfy a sweet tooth, and if it still doesn’t do the trick, you know that you still got in a ton of nutrients and fiber, and it is likely to at least fill you up for a while.
  5. Hydration – remembering to drink tons of water at the beginning of the week can set you up for similar habits during the week, as well as boost your energy and quell your appetite for needless snacking.
  6. Freeze some coffee in an ice cube tray, if you like having a nice luxurious Frappuccino-like beverage during the week. Best of all, you can make it yourself (which means healthier and less expensive)!  See here for recipe base.

Just a few tips off the top of my head – would love to hear if you have any other healthy eating hacks!

Food · Uncategorized

Smoothie Recipes That Rock

Since I’ve obviously got smoothies on the brain, I wanted to share some “Old Faithful” recipes that I make pretty regularly, which are delicious and great for the ol’ bod.

  1. Basic green smoothie: Frozen strawberries, frozen pineapple, generous handful of spinach leaves, water.  That’s it.  Obviously you can sub in/add different fruits, or switch out the greens (although I can’t stand kale so I typically use spinach, as it is much more mild in taste).  But it’s a simple, tasty recipe that gets the job done.
  2. Tropical fruit smoothie: Frozen strawberries, frozen ripe bananas, almond milk, and a tiny bit (say, 1/8 tsp or less) of coconut extract (can also use vanilla). For an extra tropical feel, add in some chunks of frozen pineapple (oooh la la!).
  3. Peanut butter choco banana smoothie: Frozen ripe bananas, almond milk, 1-2 tablespoons of peanut butter, and a teaspoon of cocoa powder.  You can omit the cocoa powder too, and it’s just as delicious.  OMG this is like a dessert, it’s so good.

Obviously you can blend pretty much anything, so this is just a teeny tiny list of delicious smoothies. But they are my go-to smoothies because they are so easy and have few (and relatively inexpensive) ingredients.

Food · Uncategorized

Homemade Frappuccino

I just made a homemade Frappuccino and it wasn’t terrible! (Great intro, huh? ūüėČ )

Here’s what you need:
  • Frozen coffee (i.e., put coffee in an ice cube tray and freeze, so you’re left with coffee ice cubes)
  • Milk of choice (I used almond milk)
  • Sweetener of choice (I used coffee creamer, but I kinda wish I had used honey or maple syrup because I didn’t like the creamer taste so much)
  • I’m guessing you could try adding cocoa powder for a “mocha” taste, or peppermint flavor/extract for a minty taste, or vanilla extract for a vanilla taste, or coconut flakes for a coconut taste…you get the idea.
I eyeballed amounts of each. I used like 12 coffee ice cubes, about 2 cups of almond milk, and maybe a few teaspoons of creamer.  I should probably measure stuff more… ūüėČ
Put all in a blender and DEMOLISH.
Makes about 3-ish cups.
Less sugary (and less expensive) than the store-bought version.
The recipe will need to be customized according to your tastes, but it’s just a base to get us thinking about ways to create healthier versions of treats!  Let me know if you try it out and how it tastes!
Food · Uncategorized

Ode to Smoothies

DISCLAIMER: I try to eat as healthy as possible, but I don’t want to “preach” about eating healthy on this blog (especially since there are weeks when I haven’t made time to go grocery shopping, and instead subsist on chips and ice cream). However, I want to share some strategies that I have found to be helpful to eating healthy in my own life.

My goal is to maximize the amount of healthy food I put into my body, so that I feel as energetic as possible. Plus, I find that my mood tends to be better when I’m eating nutritious whole foods (except for those times when you just gotta have some chocolate, or else you’re gonna punch someone in the face).

So, a big one for me: SMOOTHIES. Lots of people do smoothies these days – fruit smoothies, green smoothies, smoothies with oats and nut butters and chia seeds and protein powder…basically, if it can be blended, people have found a way to put it in a smoothie.

Here’s what works for me, and something I practice pretty much weekly:

  1. To make things more convenient, I keep an array of frozen fruits in the freezer (usually strawberries, pineapple, and blueberries).  You can buy them in the freezer section at the grocery story (or better yet Рsave some money and buy them in bulk at Costco or some other wholesale club Рsince produce gets expensive!).
  2. Make a huge batch at once, and divide it among plastic travel mugs/cups (I use 24-ounce mason jars) so you can grab-and-go on busy mornings. It’s kind of a pain since I have a tiny blender, but if you have a larger one (or better yet – if you have one of those badass Vitamix blenders), you can make several smoothies at once. They’ll stay fresh in your refrigerator for about seven days, and it saves me SO much time in the mornings. ¬†I’ll drink it on my way to work in the morning, and I can feel good that my breakfast is jam-packed with fruits and veggies.
  3. So that leads to the next question – what do I put in my smoothies? ¬†It depends, but I don’t get super adventurous with this. ¬†I’ve found a few flavor combos that I like, and I tend to stick to them (for me, just getting something healthy into my body is more important than making it “perfect” or “optimal”.) ¬†If I’m making a huge batch at once to drink during the week, I’ll typically do frozen pineapple (or fresh, if it’s on sale at the grocery store), frozen strawberries, a generous handful of spinach leaves, and water. That’s it. And since my blender isn’t that powerful, I’ll let the mixture sit for a bit, to allow the frozen fruit to soften for easier blending.

Soooo that was a lot about smoothies! ¬†Hope that was somewhat helpful – it’s definitely not rocket science, but I love hearing how other people integrate healthier eating into their lives in ways that are as convenient and economical as possible! ¬†If you have more smoothie tips, please share!

Food · Uncategorized

Ode to Spiralizing

Some of my friends and family have already heard me go on and on about my newest obsession: spiralizing food.  I know, I know, this trend caught on in full force several years ago, but as I mentioned before, I take a few decades to catch up.

Recently I purchased this spiralizer off of Amazon, simply because I saw a bunch of zucchini noodle recipes on Pinterest and thought, hey I could use some more veggies in my life!

Some may say I’ve gone overboard.¬† I would say I’ve just gone exactly board.

spiralized

        For once, this is actually my own photo.  Graininess courtesy of my shaky hands holding my iPhone.

The above photo represents the results of my 30 minutes of spiralizing at 4:30am when I woke up and couldn’t go back to sleep. Normally I’d be annoyed, but I actually was somewhat excited to use my brand new toy!¬† On the left, you see noodles from 3 spiralized zucchinis (zoodles).¬† On the right, you see noodles from 4 spiralized sweet potatoes (swoodles).

Spiralizing¬†just makes veggie prep super easy, and, as a result, makes it more likely that I’ll actually eat more of them.¬† There are a million cool things you can do with spiralized veggies – one of the best places for recipe ideas¬†is the Inspiralized blog recipe database.¬†¬†It. Is. Awesome.

As for me, I haven’t tried TOO many recipes yet, but my go-to preparation for swoodles is tossing a handful of¬†them (maybe 1-2 sweet potato’s worth?) in a little olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roasting them on a baking sheet in the oven at 350 degrees for 30-ish minutes.¬† (I’m definitely an “ish” person when it comes to baking…probably why I suck at baking.)¬† For zoodles, I basically eat them raw with a warm sauce (usually pasta sauce and possibly meatballs – my favorite recipe to pair zoodles with is this one!)¬† You can also prep zoodles in other ways, as described here¬†on the Inspiralized blog!

In conclusion – spiralizers rock if you love kitchen toys and aspire to eat healthy sometimes occasionally.

 

Food · Uncategorized

Best (AKA Easiest) Chicken Tortilla Soup

If you know me, you know that a typical conversation with me goes like this:

[The year is 2017]

Me: Hey girl! ¬†I just watched the most hilarious show the other day on Netflix, you’ve gotta check it out!

Friend: Cool! ¬†What’s it called?

Me: It’s called 30 Rock! ¬†It’s named for a building in Rockefeller Plaza!

Yep, I’m that girl that catches onto things about 13 years after the rest of the world finds out about them. (And the previous example was an INTENTIONAL EXAGGERATION you guys – I started watching 30 Rock only like 5 years after it was huge.)

The same thing happened with me and the slow cooker. ¬†It got super popular around 10 years ago among my friends, but I didn’t actually consider using it until pretty recently.

MY LIFE HAS FOREVER CHANGED FOR THE BETTER.

And one reason why is this chicken tortilla soup recipe. ¬†Seriously, it is super easy and super healthy. ¬†Dump all the ingredients in the pot before you leave in the morning. ¬†Set it on low. ¬†When you return home, the delicious aroma of oregano and cumin will waft throughout your home, and you’ll be all like OH SWEET I AM FINALLY NOT EATING CINNAMON TOAST CRUNCH FOR DINNER AFTER THIS CRAPPY DAY AT WORK!

Chicken Tortilla Soup             Photo Credit: Heather Likes Food blog

I make this recipe like twice a month (which is a lot considering the recipe feeds two people for like 4 days.  I hate eating the same thing over and over and over again, but this I can do.  Also, how are boys so much better at eating the same food for about 12 years, while I get sick of my leftovers 2 days later?)

This recipe is awesome, plus it’s very forgiving if you don’t have all the ingredients on hand. ¬†Like, I rarely have enchilada sauce or green chilis. ¬†Sometimes I just use 1-2 cans of diced tomatoes, or sometimes¬†I even use a jar of salsa (if I feel like living on the edge). ¬†I pretty much never have limes or cilantro on hand, and sometimes I add in more beans (because #fiber and #regularity, duh).

So give it a try, will ya?! ¬†You probably already know that the slow cooker is the best invention ever, but if you’re like me and you’re late catching onto this trend (and most other trends with which civilization is already well-acquainted), this recipe will make you a believer!

Food · Uncategorized

Do You Hate Vegetables? Then Make This Now.

I told myself I’d wait a little longer before I started commanding my family and friends to MAKE THIS NOW. ¬†But, truth be told, that’s partly why I started this little blog in the first place – so I could make a (slightly) greater case for why you must indeed make certain things now.

So, if you feel like you SHOULD eat more veggies, but you also find that you’re half-miserable when eating them, then MAKE. THIS. NOW.

Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts - Eat Yourself Skinny

Photo credit: Eat Yourself Skinny blog

“Oh my heavens, are those BRUSSELS SPROUTS?!” you may be saying to yourself. ¬†(If that’s how you talk to yourself, please help me learn to stop cursing and say things like “oh my heavens” instead…I’d feel so much more civilized.) ¬†Yes, those are indeed brussels sprouts, along with red onion. ¬†That’s it for the veggies. ¬†Roast them in the oven with a little olive oil and salt and pepper. ¬†Then – what really makes this dish super bomb – is an easy homemade dressing you coat the veggies in afterward. ¬†The dressing consists of exactly three ingredients – balsamic vinegar, honey, and mustard. (Essentially a very simple honey mustard vinaigrette.)

You are so welcome, my friend. ūüôā