Keep it Simple

Friday Friday Friday! I hope everyone’s day is off to a good start.

When it comes to eating healthy, I like to keep things simple. Not only for myself, but for others too. I think the USDA has done a good job of trying to keep it simple by creating the MyPlate image. It is easy to understand, and easy to remember. Once you get this basic concept down, it is just a matter of making healthy choices within these food groups.

Dairy: chose low-fat options when possible

Grains: chose whole grains most often

Protein: chose lean proteins most often

Fruits and vegetables: GO HOGWILD CRAZY! Aim for 5-9 servings a day.

Example: Broccoli with cheese, sweet potato, and an egg! SO easy, so delicious, so satisfying.

Sticking with this simplicity notion, I also wanted to mention another idea a friend of mine shared with me. It is called the¬†K.I.S.S. plan: Keep it Simple (Stupid). Although, I would change it to, Keep It Simple Sweetheart instead. ūüėČ

Instead of counting each and every calorie, this eating plan encourages you to keep it real simple, just as MyPlate does.

1. Start with a protein:

  • Eggs
  • Beans
  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Tofu
  • Tempeh
  • Peanut Butter
  • Greek Yogurt
  • etc.

2. Add in a fruit and/or a veggie

3. Add a starch.

Easy as 1, 2, 3.

Healthy eating needs to be a way of life. The word “diet” makes me cringe to be perfectly honest, because people often associate the word diet with restricting yourself from the foods you love. This often includes restricting your calories to the point that you are always feeling hungry. Hunger is your body telling you it needs something. Are you dehydrated? Hungry? Tired? Listen to your body.

I like to tell my clients to enjoy the foods they love. Restricting foods from your diet is only going to leave you wanting them more. Once the “diet” is over, you are most likely going to have a hay day with the foods you “weren’t allowed” to eat for so long and wind up where you first began. When you restrict yourself of calories, your metabolism slows down. Your body begins to think that you are going into starvation mode. To compensate, it hangs on to those calories longer versus them burning them off. Once we reintroduce a normal amount of calories, our body wants to continue to store these calories because this is what it is used to. If we actually fuel our body correctly with the right amount of calories, fat, etc, and frequently, we are keeping our metabolism busy, and “fueling the fire” all day, and in turn, our bodies will burn more calories. Many research studies have shown the benefit of eating frequently throughout the day; 5 small meals. This is, of course, not ideal for all lifestyles when taking work into consideration. If you are able to do this, I would encourage it. It helps regulate blood sugars and energy levels all day.

Okay, I didn’t mean for this to turn into such an ear full. The moral of my story is, keep it simple. Enjoy the foods you love. Remember moderation. You aren’t going to gain weight from eating a cookie every once and a while if you are generally eating a healthy, balanced diet (and exercising of course).

Live life, love life. Keep it simple. I’m still trying to teach myself this concept.

 

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Southwest Salad Recipe

Today’s lunch was¬†canned soup. A little high in sodium, BUT it was really tasty. I don’t do it often so I don’t feel too bad about it. With the soup I had some Kettle Brand Baked Salt and Pepper Chips, a golden delicious apple, and some carrots.

It warmed me up on this gloomy day and then I headed back to work for a few more hours.

After work I snacked on some roasted almonds and Craisins as I headed to the gym. I climbed through 35 minutes on the elliptical, catching up on Today’s Dietitian Magazine and Runner’s World Magazine. I finished the workout off with pushups and some ab-work. I can honestly say I have a hard time with strength training. I know the importance of it and the great benefits, and every now and then I will be super motivated to incorporate it into my week of workouts, and then the next week I am done with it. I would REALLY like to amp it up! You are all my witnesses. Pump, pump it up!

After the gym I came home and snacked on some more of those darn chips while I pondered what to have for dinner. I had decided to make a salad and as I started putting it together I realized the lettuce had gone bad. Yuck, so I had to get creative. I chopped up some tomato, broccoli, carrots, and added in green peas and pinto beans. I topped it with my favorite honey mustard dressing and reduced fat cheddar cheese.  Kind of random, yes. Delicious? YES! For dessert I had a handful of dates.

I cleaned up the kitchen, and now I’m snugglin on the couch with Dana and watching his favorite show (kidding), The Bachelor.

How about I leave you with a recipe for one of my favorite salads? Give it a shot! Enjoy!

Southwest Salad for Two

This is one of our “go-to’ salads. It’s easy, delicious and satisfying. We usually it meatless, but feel free to top the salad with grilled chicken.

Ingredients

  • Mixed greens
  • 1/2 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • 1 ripe avocado, diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese
  • low-fat or fat-free ranch dressing

Directions

Pile mixed greens on two plates and top with remaining ingredients. Drizzle with dressing.

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Veggie Egg Skillet

Last night I pulled out our brand new cast iron skillet that we got as a wedding gift. It was time to give it a shot. I munched on some almonds while I put this gig together.

I started by saut√©ing one small onion on the stove top. I then added chopped broccoli, and let that cook for a few minutes. At this point I sprinkled the vegetables with garlic powder and cracked black pepper and also preheated the oven to a low broil. Next, I started to add the fresh spinach to the skillet. I had to do this in stages because the skillet wasn’t big enough to house all of the raw spinach, but I knew it would all fit once it cooked down. I eventually got all of the spinach added to the pan. I sprinkled the veggies again with garlic powder, a pinch of salt, and grated Parmesan cheese. I made two wells in the veggies and cracked one egg into each well. I placed the super heavy skillet into the oven and cooked for about 5 minutes, watching to make sure I didn’t over-cook the yolk. Once removed from the oven, I split the dish in half for Dana and I, and topped with salsa.

Wanna hear a funny yolk?

My first attempt at skillet cooking was a S.U.C.C.E.S.S. I can’t believe how much one bag of spinach cooks down! The yolk in the top picture looks kinda funny because the top began to cook a little bit while the bottom of the yolk was still runny (runny was what I wanted).

A couple of hours after dinner Dana made a Dairy Queen run for us and we both enjoyed a double fudge Blizzard. I could eat those things on a daily basis and never ever get sick of them… but I wouldn’t do that because I like fitting into my pants.

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Now here we are, Monday morning. Oh boy, I don’t like Mondays, not one bit. Especially when I know the roads are going to be terrible because of freezing rain. Sounds wonderful. I started it off right though with a big ol’ banana slathered with peanut butter.

Off to drive with the crazies to work. Who am I kidding? I am one of the crazies. I don’t like driving when the roads are even a little bit bad.

Check ya later home skillets. I will stay positive and say that today is going to be a GREAT Monday.

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