A Healthy Way To Food Shop

We have a fun Farmer’s Market in our City that runs on Sundays during the warmer months – while we aren’t there every weekend like some of my buddies, it’s a fun Sunday morning activity, and a nice way to stock up on healthy options for the week!

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Generally I’m scoping out the veggie situation, as vegetables are the bulk of my diet.  Fruits are great too, like melons and Fuji apples (when they are in season – hurry up, October!)

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 You can also pick up flowers, healthy greens, fun seasonal goodies like pumpkins and gourds (hello, Halloween!), grass-fed meat, fresh eggs, and even hummus and mead…

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Since I’m not a sit-on-the-beach type, I love this summer activity option – it’s nice to get up and out and DO something…and it also makes food shopping and meal prep easier for the rest of the week.

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YUM!

For more Nutrition jazz…

Costco Shenanigans

A lot of my buddies are weight lifters, figure competitors, and all around athletes – they need healthy food, and in serious quantity!  While I can’t say a restaurant-sized mayo is on my list (nor can I quite figure out who – OTHER than a restaurant could use it), there are so many great options at stores of the Costco ilk.  

For families who need to feed a lot of mouths, you can count on these kinds of stores to carry gargantuan spices too – things you will need on a daily basis, such as salt, pepper, and seasonings (giant plus – and kudos – for having the mineral-rich Himalayan pink salt also!  They were ahead of the curve on this one, and I’m psyched they still carry it!

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It definitely can save you a penny – or several – over time, so any of the more basic items are worth snagging there if you can.  They had a ton of organic fruit, and the fish, poultry, and meat sections are ENORMOUS (you can always freeze what you won’t consume right away!)

Of course there is a plethora of other stuff as well – frozen veggies, frozen chicken, salmon burgers, shrimp, cartoned egg whites and organic eggs – it’s score city if you have a solid appetite OR just need more than what the regular supermarket has on hand.  They even have salsa, hummus, turkey slices which, generally, aren’t the unhealthier ones – nice!

You can also find large-scale holiday paraphernalia while you’re out stocking up on food – always a blast.  I’m not necessarily coming home with these private skeletons but…way to go, Costco, busting out the Halloween so early!  YAAAHhHHHssSS! (Happy little (protein-eating) goth girl!)

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For more food-related deliciousness

Clean Eating 30,000 Feet Up

There are far too many reasons why I am thankful for my fiancé – I could enumerate at great length.  

Of the countless reasons, one is the effort that he always makes to be sure I have what I need nutritionally.  I eat very “clean” (there’s always room for improvement, but I’m not average with my dietary choices at all.)  I try to stay as clean as possible no matter where I am – whether in a car for hours driving back to my hometown, out to dinner, or on a plane, I do my best to tote along healthy snacks for when my hunger strikes.  And it WILL.  Sometimes faster than I realize.

A lot of airports and rest stops have healthier options these days, but I am also a volume eater – I’ve not been to a single restaurant who’s portion of vegetables is what I would have a home.  Generally, it is a fraction!  So, if I can stock up and be prepared, I definitely try.

We recently went on a family trip and the flights were about three an a half hours.  Given how much time you have to spend getting to airports, through security, and all that, though, you add a lot more time to the in-flight number.  

While on our trip, he made sure we had time to go the store to pick up some chicken breasts, despite all the other activities planned.  At the hotel the night before we left, he took the time to cut it all up and cook it for me – no oil, no butter, no sauce…just salt and pepper the way I like it.  He made sure I had a tupperware and veggies too, so I could have a full meal instead of just a snack.

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That kind of care and effort is something that I appreciate daily – I’ll never take it for granted, and I will ALWAYS notice.  The fact that someone cares so much about my health, happiness…AND hunger, is truly a gift.  When someone takes that time, always make a point of saying thank you.  Let them know how much you value that effort, because it isn’t as common as I know we all wish it was.  

Eating clean can be stressful – there are days when I wish I didn’t have to think about it!  But at the end of the day, the fuel I put in determines my performance, and how I feel – it MATTERS.  I’m thankful that my loved ones care as much about it as I do – it keeps me on track, AND from getting into hungry-mode.  (He also got breakfast and asked for fruit, so I had two cups of it to enjoy! ❤ )

#thankful

#blessed

#gratitude

For more Clean Eating

Healthy Father’s Day

Whenever a holiday or special weekend comes up, I always see people the following Monday in the gym dragging themselves and lamenting about how much they overdid it.  Family gatherings and summer get-togethers don’t HAVE to be bad for you, guys!

I think one of the biggest saving graces is staying in control of your shopping – you absolutely can stock up on unhealthy options while at the store (especially if you are shopping hungry!)  But you have control over what you put in your cart and end up with at home…so stay focused from the get go and you will avoid having leftovers or unopened boxes of cookies that you really don’t want around as a temptation later on!

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For us, the goal was to get a good, heathy variety that would keep everyone filled up…even the kids.  Surf and turf always works, giving everyone a few options for the bulk of the meal.  Corn on the cob is a fun, summer veggie, that is totally okay to have also – I have some friends who avoid corn completely but it isn’t going to kill you once in a while, so don’t stress.  

The benefit of the foods we grill primarily is that we don’t layer on sauces and dressings – Montreal Seasoning, or salt and pepper does the trick – it gives you a little kick, but still allows you to actually taste the food itself (which I always think is the point, no?!) 

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We didn’t actually buy desserts so we didn’t’ end up with them.  Instead, we had some sweet red grapes laying around – which definitely worked! – and later we took a walk to get some ice cream for the youngest of the group.  Adding a walk is always helpful, as is not having the extra goodies left over, so it worked out perfectly.  

I was definitely full after dinner but it wasn’t a feeling-guilty kind of full…which no one – truly – has to feel after a shindig.  Just remember that you have full control over what you buy and serve…and also what you eat!  

(PS – Don’t forget about having breakfast and regular meals during the day, prior to gatherings where food is served – if you go out hungry, you might set yourself up for a binge!)

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Keeping it CLEAN. . .

Stocking Up At The Supermarket…

I go to the store almost daily – I think for some people, that sounds like an alarming rate. . .but going once a week simply doesn’t work for me. 

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I go through my food at a rapid pace, but given the quality of it, I’m okay with that (I’m not going to beat myself up for devouring all of my vegetables, whereas if I was mauling bags of potato chips, I might have to second guess my restocking habits!)

The usual suspects:

  • Fresh vegetables
  • Fresh, packaged greens (spinach, mache etc…)
  • Frozen vegetables 
  • Still water 
  • Carbonated water without chemicals (flavoring from natural fruit)
  • Ground chicken (I prefer organic, but sometimes can’t get it)
  • Popcorn (the lightest kind I can find, non-greasy, just a touch of oil and salt.  PERIOD.)
  • Almond milk (unsweetened)
  • Coconut creamer (which I mix with the above)
  • Chia bars (Heath Warrior, chocolate peanut butter)
  • Hummus
  • Organic eggs
  • Egg whites 
  • Nitrate-free sliced turkey 

There are a few other things I pick up, but those are the typical cast of characters.  I think it’s important for us to shop often. . .and NOT to shop hungry.  

Food preparation is always a wonderful thing if you can do it (that can be done once a week, maybe twice – there are fabulous blogs out there specifically dedicated to this, not only for fitness competitors, by the way!)

What kinds of foods duo you buy?  Are you shopping several times a week?  I see the store when the snow comes and I’m always shocked.  *LOL*

 

 

Weekend Meals

Weekends are my wind-down time – I do have two activities on Saturday (Ninjutsu Combat Simulation, and Aerial Yoga), but they aren’t as rigorous as my weekly workout routines (Brazilian JiuJitsu four times a week, cardio three times a week, lifting at least four times a week, Ninjutsu classes four times a week…, and some teaching with Martial Arts kids classes.)  I’m incredibly thankful I can schedule so many activities, as I’m energetic by nature and need to move around.

But for me, Saturday afternoon and Sunday I can give myself a little bit of a break physically, and sometimes as far as eating out.  During the week we usually eat at home, and my meals don’t vary hugely in terms of content… On the weekend, I’m still really clean, but I might have more yolks than I typically do in the mornings, or I might have more servings of fruit, or almonds.  None of it is unhealthy, but I’m less concerned with portions and timing – I sort of just have the clean foods I like with less stringency.  

I’m asked a lot whether or not I have “cheat meals” – I don’t really.  But again, the weekends, or when I travel, I loosen the reigns a bit, going with whatever the flow might be.  That’s enough “cheat” for me – I stick to healthy options, so I never get totally out of hand, or go so overboard that I’m beating myself up.  Just what works for me personally!

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This weekend we went to brunch and my fiancé – who’s always looking out for me! – ordered the eggs that came with HIS meal exactly the way I ordered my three.  😀  Normally I have a whole egg and egg whites in the morning, with a ton of vegetables – but when I’m out, I’m eating three whole eggs in a sitting…and in this case, a few more!  It isn’t something I do every day, so I’m not overly worried about having a few – I could definitely use the aminos, and the healthy fat…plus…PROTEIN! ❤ I always order fruit salad too, for some sweetness…AND extra vitamins!  

We had dinner at home – my favorite ground chicken recipe, and tons of roasted broccoli (he’s always makes it perfectly.) Filling, wonderful nutrients and solid macros…good stuff!

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What’s your weekend plan?

For more of what I munch…!

 

Healthy Snacks For Everyday

I don’t know about you but I love to eat.  Most of the time I find that people don’t believe me, often retorting with a snide “oh yeah, right.”  

I am generally a clean eater, and after all I’ve been through, I can’t say that I love food in the same way.  But. . .YES. . .I LOVE to eat, and I could easily eat too much.  Volume is key for me – I need to feel full or I will just keep munching.

It can get a little frustrating when people say “oh, but you work it off.”  Or, “you do so much that it doesn’t matter – you can have what you want.” Actually….

No.

I CAN’T.

If I eat too much (and for each of us, that amount will vary), I will see it on my waistline.  Most of the time I am clean, healthy, and quite active…but it takes work for me.  I can’t just eat whatever I want and hope that my exercise routine will balance it out –  I don’t get off so easily, and frankly very few people do. So what helps?  Being educated!  I know that I will be hungry so I try to figure out what I can do to:

A.) Not feel like I’m starving all the time…

But also…

B.) Stick to my goals

That’s where being educated about nutrition, and my own personal needs, comes in to play. Keeping in mind that I am not a nutritionist or medical professional, these are some of the snacks I have found to help me manage my hunger. . .and my waist size!

SWEET

  • Fresh Fruit or Fruit Salad – I don’t eat a ton of fruit.  I prefer vegetables, and I don’t want to go overboard on the sugar.  But having some fresh fruit can help satisfy a sweet craving, without causing you to pack on the pounds you might with a candy bar or other deserts!  (Dried fruit is also a culprit, having much more concentrated sugar per serving than the fruit when it is fresh.)
  • Berries with a dollop of Yogurt – Sweet, plus a little protein, and lots of antioxidants. 
  • EatPops or something similar – I loved these when I read about them!  Healthy, not at all crazy in the calorie department, refreshing and sweet.  I also love the Almond Dream bites, in moderation, since I’m a chocolate fan.  If you don’t want to spend on prepared, you can always blend and freeze your own.
  • Cooked or Baked Fruit – so many great recipes out there that turn regular fruit into something sassier!  I sometimes slice and apple, add cinnamon and sometimes a dash of sweetener and bake in the convection oven until warm and slightly softer.
  • Peanut or Nut Butter – There are some nice brands who offer single serving packages – Some have up to 200 or so calories, so be mindful of that (it is about what you’d get in one serving from a jar, but you can’t go overboard with one package!)  I have seen some that just have 90, which I like better.  Either way, you get heathy fats with a nice dose of protein. You can add a little to some apple slices for extra sweetness.
  • Sugar Free Chocolate – Not the best nutritional option but sometimes one sugar-free peanut butter cup helps stave off inhaling something much worse, and in much higher quantity!

SALTY and SAVORY

  • Hummus with Baby Carrots –   I like to put a bit of hummus in a bowl with some carrots (or other veggies) so I’m not eating right out of the container (which might cause me to eat too much.)  Raw veggies can be tough on the tum, so just be mindful of the ones you choose.  Broccoli and cauliflower that hasn’t been cooked, for example, can cause some digestive troubles.
  • Greek Yogurt or Cottage Cheese – I can no longer do dairy, so this is out for me.  BUT…these are excellent choices, giving you a nice amount of protein per serving. Only thing to watch out for is extra sugar, as some Greek yogurts are sneaky. 
  • Nuts (Almonds, Pistachios) – Nuts are a great option BUT… But, but, BUT…you HAVE to be mindful.  Nuts are calorically dense and incredibly easy to overdo.  Many brands offer 100 calorie bags, which are a fabulous idea.  You can certainly portion out your own, but buying the ready-made is a great option. Pistachios are one of the best where calorie and protein per serving is concerned.

MINI-MEAL ITEMS

  • Muffin-Tin Egg Frittatas – Not everyone loves eggs, but these are a ton of fun. You can make them with egg whites, egg beaters, whole eggs, a mixture…whatever!  Add in a few sprinkles of soy crumbles, low-fat turkey, steamed vegetables, even salsa, and you have a dozen awesome “bites” for later!  Sometimes I want to much on something, and this will do the trick.
  • Shrimp Cocktail – Lots of protein, not a ton of calories.  A little bit of cocktail sauce and spices are okay, and won’t break the bank (whereas something like tartar sauce will.)
  • Beef or Poultry Jerky – One has to be mindful about the salt content here, and it is always good to look at ingredients to be sure there aren’t crazy preservatives.  But this is one of those savory protein snacks that can come in handy when you need to nosh.
  • Turkey or Chicken Slices – I’m careful to avoid nitrates here, as many deli meats are laden with such preservatives.  Organic is great if you can come by it, but just being mindful of the ingredients is a good idea.  You get a lot of protein for not a ton of calories, so you will feel satisfied longer.  Roll them up and dip in mustard, siracha sauce, salsa…!
  • Sliced Chicken Breast or Lean Meat – I love ground chicken.  I will eat it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, AND for a snack.  Nothing wrong with having lean meats when you are hungry!  I mix mine with a hefty dose of steamed veggies (remember: VOLUME) for a snack when I feel I’m teetering on “ravenous.” You can also pair with greens or add to a light broth for volume.

TRADITIONAL SNACKS

  • Popcorn – Okay, so it isn’t the best snack nutritionally speaking… But there are brands that have as little as three ingredients (think a touch of salt, popcorn, and a dash of olive oil) that you can have in more quantity without going overboard.  Air popping your own is a great idea also (love the microwave ones but many contain some incredibly unhealthy chemicals, so best to avoid as much as possible!)
  • Chips and Salsa – Crunchy, salty, maybe a little spice… What to watch out for here is having too many!  Just take a few and put them in a bowl – sometimes just the act of portioning it out makes you feel like you are having more, or a special treat, instead of wolfing down the whole bag mindlessly.

The key with any of these is to just be mindful of portions – when you can either prepare a smaller portion of what comes in a HUGE bag…OR…you can get ready-made items (such as the 100 calorie almonds), you will find you can stick to the plan a little better.  There are also a ton of wonderful blogs with recipes for lower calorie snacks (I prefer those also high in protein because that’s what my body needs.)

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A few of the snacks I take on trips here and here.

I also have a ton of fun recipes bookmarked here.