Nutrition – 100 Calorie Snack Packs

Hard to beat!

Fresh fruit is a great (and easy!) snack to tote along – high fiber, low calorie, full of nutrients, pre-portioned…and no hard-to-pronounce ingredients on the list!

Healthy Dining Out

No matter what your goals, or what your needs, it is possible to go out and have a filling meal.  It doesn’t mean it’s a perfect cinch all the time, but it is possible (there are times when I do feel badly about wanting basic, clean options – but none of us should have to feel that way – establishments are there to provide a service and it IS okay to ask for what we want.  That’s the point!)

I like to eat volume, and I like to eat frequently – most restaurants don’t offer the kind of portions I need (sometimes leaving to order two sides of steamed veggies!) But…that’s always a possibility, right?  

Asian cuisines seem to be one of the easier options for those looking for more volume because often they do give larger portions (or at least will ask you if you want a full dish, or a smaller size…especially with takeout.) So Chinese or Japanese is often a good pick for me.

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My “usual” is miso soup, and steamed veggies and protein – lately I’ve gone the seafood route with shrimp and scallops, but steamed or boiled chicken works too.  The only sauce I use is soy, though when I can see the label in a store, I might buy dumpling or teriyaki sauce (Asian sauces can vary dramatically in nutritional stats and ingredients so with my sensitive system, I’d rather have the option to check.)

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Aside from being great for your digestive system, miso soup is healthier, and filling starter – it definitely takes the edge of a hungry raptor (me 😉 ) So much so that I ended up taking some of my dinner home with me – having some left is impressive!

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The Brilliance Of Riced Veggies

The riced veggie trend is one of my favorite things to have happened to grocery stores yet.  Sure, I appreciate the sugar-free products, absolutely.  And I LOVE that there are “natural food” aisles with non-monster brands (once nigh impossible to find.)  But while riced veggies are a cinch to make yourself – if you have a food processor at home – there’s a massive convenience in being able to snag a pre-made bag at the store.  And when a trend hits, that’s what you get – convenience!

I don’t use riced vegetables as the base for my meals all the time – sometimes the larger pieces are a good thing because it feels like you are eating more.  More bulk = feels like more substance.  

BUT…

Riced cauliflower, for one, is a fabulous substitute for rice, pasta, or even mashed potatoes – you get the volume, and a similar texture, without as many calories or carbohydrates.  So it’s a perfect swap for a dinner side (“healthy” fried “rice,” anyone?!) or base, as an example, and can even work for a base for doughs and baked items. 

 

What recently came my way was an announcement about Green Giant’s Riced Veggies – not just the cauliflower, but mixes.  What on EARTH has taken companies so long?!  

The glitch for me is that I have never actually seen Green Giant’s Riced Cauliflower in-store – I’ve had to buy other brands.  So I don’t know if I will have the best luck tracking these down, and desperately hope other companies follow suit (they’d be wise to!) Or…of course…that someone near me jumps on board and ups the stock levels!

The doubly-awesome news? GG is also offering a whole bunch of other mashed and roasted options so definitely check them out (store location link highlighted in the paragraph above.)

YUM!

Healthy Mother’s Day

I’m a firm believer that you can be healthy on “holidays” and at celebrations, and still really enjoy yourself and stay full!  

This weekend I had the fortune to be with my family, and the tradition is to go to this INSANE brunch (I’m sorry I didn’t take a photo of the dessert table – it is always outrageous!  Cakes, pies, truffles, candies, ice cream bar… It *could be* trouble…)

But there are also, among the countless buffet options, healthy choices too.  I prefer everything as simple and clean as possible – with a buffet, that often takes being a little bit more selective, but it is indeed achievable!

I headed for some of the best options this particular crew offers – shellfish, fruit, and grilled veggies.  A little olive oil can actually be a good thing, so despite that I don’t use much myself (or allow it at a restaurant, where they can easily be too heavy-handed) I certainly didn’t mind here.  Shrimp, lobster and crab are terrific options – high in protein, low in calories, and definitely filling.  

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Fruit is always a great option too – the volume from the water content helps to fill you up, and the natural sugar can help stave off that sneaky sweet tooth!  The latter is incredibly important because sometimes we don’t eat the goodies because we are even hungry – it’s a “oh-it’s-there-why-not” kind of thing.  If you do fill up with nature’s sweets, you help give yourself more reason NOT to go bingeing on the bad stuff!

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We also keeps fresh fruits around the house – my whole family snacks (me most of all!) It’s helpful to have healthy options around not only for those need-to-munch moments, but also sometimes as a pre-pigout-filler!  If you feel like you might go overboard when you go to a celebratory meal, event, buffet, etc…try having a little something healthy beforehand so you aren’t ravenous when you get there!  It’s a great way to stay on track, but to still enjoy the fun!

For more of my meals and deliciousness

 

Staying Healthy When Eating Out

It is definitely possible to eat clean when you eat out – don’t let fancy menus intimidate you, peers pressure you, or options overwhelm!  

I’ve written tons of posts about eating at restaurants and on the road because the reality is…you aren’t always going to be in the safety of your own kitchen!  When you have goals – whether to lose weight, maintain fitness, optimize performance, compete…whatever – you know how important it is to stay clean.  Nutrition IS about 85% of it – let’s not kid ourselves.

Clean, however, doesn’t have to be boring!  Nor, equally important, does it have to leave you starving!  The whole idea is to set yourself up for SUCCESS, right?!

My family visited this weekend, and we had a three meals planned at restaurants – back in the day, that would have terrified me (having eating disorders is nothing short of being held hostage by delusional thoughts – it’s a living nightmare.)  Nowadays, I feel so blessed and thankful, not only that I can eat out and really enjoy it (sans anxiety!), but that my loved ones are supportive of my choices. ❤

One of our meals was in a restaurant that made Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives…so you can imagine, it wasn’t poised as the most healthy.  Still, ordering steamed shrimp, broiled fish (no oil, no butter), and plain, steamed veggies was a CINCH!  It was delicious, filling, and totally in line with my needs.

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Dinner was at a fancier place, where richer dishes are commonplace.  But, again, easy-peasy – basic grilled fish, grilled vegetables, and an appetizer with plain crabmeat.  Clean, delicious, satisfying! 🙂

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Breakfast was at a hotel…with an OUTRAGEOUS buffet! The majority of foods were ones that I don’t really allow on my meal plan, but there we also many healthy, wonderful options.  I ordered my usual poached eggs, snagged some boiled shrimp, and a bowl of fruit.  

I never like to eat too much in once sitting (I CAN, but I’d rather break it up – both because I know I can overdo it easily, but also my body can better assimilate the nutrients when I leave time in between.)

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So what preparations should you look for / ask about when you find yourself at a restaurant?

  • Steamed
  • Grilled
  • Boiled
  • Broiled
  • No sauce, oil or butter (or on the side if you must)

Trust me, they have been asked before so DON’T be embarrassed.  Sticking to what works best for you…and, most importantly, leaves you feeling GOOD about you…is always okay!

For more food-related jazz…! 

 

Last Week’s Deliciousness

I sometimes want to say I’m blessed that I don’t get bored with my nutrition…

The funny thing is, I actually get bored in about 2.5 seconds with everything…but never my food!  I know “clean food” may not seem as exciting as having a sundae with sprinkles, but broiled or grilled chicken and roasted vegetables is incredibly fulfilling.  Salt and spices can bring out the flavor and kick it up a notch (let me be clear, I DON’T do bland!  Clean food does NOT = no flavor!)

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Old Bay and Jane’s Krazy Mixed Up Salt are two of our favorites!  I also use Gold’s Cocktail sauce because it’s a lot lower in sugar that some of those out there – it’s worth checking the labels.

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My nutritional choices are generally clean, straightforward, and simple…but they aren’t boring.  

I eat a ton of poultry, seafood and eggs, which accounts for a lot more than it looks like because of the varieties (chicken and turkey can be roasted, smoked, broiled, baked, grilled… And then you have shellfish, white fishes, fattier fishes…all of which can be healthily prepared a multitude of ways as well!)

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I also love smaller pieces of chicken – I like to think of it as the browned-outside-to-moist-inside ratio.  I love chicken breast but…I get really exited about the nubs!  I know, I know…it’s appallingly geeky.  It’s to the point that I’ll jump up and down like one of my cats (Keku, the ravenous one, who basically wolfs his meals like he’s not eaten in days!)  I get an “okaaayyy…” from my hunnie, who deals with my silly shenanigans, albeit with a look of slight concern. 😉 Good thing I’m not a zombie – I’d be jumping up and down in the streets!

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I also LOVE my vegetables – steamed and roasted are my go-to preparations, but I also love having chicken over baby spinach (it packs a more solid nutritional punch than many lettuces, plus there’s a bit of a peppery flavor to it.)  I don’t use dressing but a spray olive oil or dash of balsamic is great when I need “something.”

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We ran out for lunch on the weekend to a new Asian restaurant and since I tend to avoid sauces I’m not sure about, I got the steamed chicken and vegetables.  Easy, straightforward, hard to mess up!  The nice thing in a place like that is that you typically get a LARGE portion – and when we are talking steamed poultry and vegetables, you are looking at a meal that will fill you up for sure, and not derail your fitness efforts.  Water, fiber, protein…CHECK!  A little bit of soy sauce on top, and it was devoured!

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As many of my posts can attest, I could go on and on (ad infinitum!) about healthy foods being enjoyable – I feel like for as many people who say it’s humdrum, there are as many of us who say the opposite!  We aren’t trying to pretend away a reality, or insist a view because being healthy is trendy, or “the thing to do.”  We honestly DO enjoy clean meals, and know that we can feel satisfied without the added junk that can derail us.  Little changes can pave the way for huge results, and the process of discovering food can be truly fulfilling!

The Seefood Diet

I remember when I was younger seeing a Garfield Cartoon about a “seafood diet.”  I’m sure you know the one… “When I see food, I eat it?”  

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At the time it resonated because I was, fair to say, a complete pigface.  I’m not sure if I’m the only person using that word, but there it is...pigface.  

Yes…I would effectively inhale anything within a several foot radius, particularly if it was chocolate!  I was also, in my defense, a growing girl and a full-time athlete outside of school…so I needed the sustenance.  (I’m not sure my macros and micros were stellar, but…“we know better now.” 😉 )

For some years now I have been on a seAfood diet…although I’d like to remove the “D word.”  I don’t actually use the “D word” when speaking about my nutritional habits because I think it’s more negative than not – a word that has been watered down to mean “a-non-sustainable-appraoch-to-food-under-the-guise-of-a-magic-bullet.”  I eat a ton of protein, but for good fat in particular, seafood is my go to.

No, Sir...there ARE NONE.  No magic bullets.  Eating clean and healthy is work, it requires dedication, but it IS absolutely achievable, and incredibly delicious!

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I’m incredibly thankful for my man because he is a wonderful cook – sad to say, I contribute about next to nil in that department!  He always makes something I love.  Roasted veggies are a “must have” (and can be devoured in one sitting if I don’t pace myself!)…and the evening about was seared scallops.  Scallops are what I call “sea candies” – Sweet and succulent!

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I’m a huge salmon fan, as my many former posts can attest!  Grilled, baked or broiled is how I ask for it…minus oil or butter (which it definitely doesn’t need!)  Perfection!

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And then there is the shellfish!  Shrimp is a wonderful meal or snack – high in protein, low in calories, and absolutely delicious.  They can have a lot of sodium (so keep that in mind if you have to watch your intake), but they are an excellent choice to change things up.  If you aren’t into them plain, cocktail sauce low in sugar is a great option, or even a tomato-based dip.  We prefer them with salt, pepper and a little bit of old bay…but everyone is different! 

Healthy nutrition isn’t as painful as some make it sound…and you CAN eat a lot.  These foods fill you up and provide necessary macronutrients for your body to function optimally – it really IS a win-win!