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Archive for category eating healthy

Eating is easy!

Lots of times when people ask me for help losing weight or getting in shape, a hang up ends up being about food. Sometimes folks think they should eat very little. Or perhaps they just don’t feel like they have time to cook or prepare anything. And even a few just don’t know what to eat because they’re confused about all of the conflicting information out there.

Well I’m here to tell you a few things about that.

a) No, you should not cut your calories to 1200 or less. There’s a formula based on height/weight/age/activity level that can help you figure out how much you should be eating. And no. It’s not 1200. People get that in their heads because they hear people say “you should never eat less than 1200”. That’s true. That’s the bare minimum to fuel your body for NO activity. But trust, me 1200 is waaaaay too low. You may lose weight this way, but you’re losing muscle and water weight. If you eat too little, you are slowing your metabolism down. Not cool! We all want faster metabolisms, don’t we? You must eat, eat, eat to get that. (Eating healthy foods, of course, not junk!) I literally eat something every 2-3 hours. My body is a fuel/fat burning machine, partially due to my food intake, and partially due to my muscle-building workouts, of course.

b) Yes, you have time to prepare healthy stuff. Here’s what I make for most mornings. I make a bunch on the weekend and freeze them. They take 2 minutes to heat up in the morning, and it’s homemade so you know there’s no added crap in it. There’s plenty of protein and even some whole grains so you’ll feel fuller longer and you’ll fuel your body the right way.

Make ahead breakfast wraps:

Just scramble some eggs with salt and pepper, spoon the equivalent of about 2 eggs onto a whole grain (or low carb) tortilla – the small, taco sized tortiallas. Add a slice or two of canadian bacon – or turkey bacon if you prefer. Optional, top w/ a tablespoon of salsa and or a little bit of low fat cheese. Roll your tortilla with both ends tucked in and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Freeze. To serve, take plastic wrap off and microwave for about 2 minutes, depending on your microwave power.

It takes only about 10 minutes to cook, assemble and throw 6-8 of these in the freezer.

Here’s a freshly made one that I made over the weekend. I added a little gouda to this and it was absolutely heavenly and I was actually full for a few hours, YAY!

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and finally,

c) I know there’s lots of confusing information out there. And I’m happy to answer your questions, so please always feel free to comment here or even email me: fithappy@yahoo.com and I’ll help you sort through the confusion. But a couple of rules I’ve found to live by… don’t get caught up in any fad diets, they will work short term, but are typically too radical to follow for very long. Not to mention many times they cut out entire food groups. Not a very sustainable way to eat. Don’t be afraid of things like carbs. Switch to whole grain pastas and breads and your carbs won’t be as evil…and do try to go carb-free for one meal a day or so. We all need carbs if we’re active at all! And finally, don’t be afraid of fat. Fat doesn’t make you fat. Sugar does. Kick that sweet tooth habit if you have it. And yes, carbs do turn to sugars, so that’s why you should go carb-free once a day and why you should switch to whole grains. Really, don’t get too caught up in these things. Eat whole foods, fresh fruit and vegetables, limit your boxed/canned/processed foods and pay attention to eating something every few hours. That, combined with exercise is the key to a healthier lifestyle!

So tell me, what’s the most confusing thing about food for you?

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Start today!

I love the saying “A month from now, you’ll wish you started today”

That applies to a lot of things. For me, I think of working out or eating better. But, then again you probably know by now that my mind goes there often.

So I just want to elaborate a little. If you’ve been thinking about making a change, why  not start today? Each day is a new beginning and a perfect time to JUST START. Starting is the hardest part. Once you push yourself to make the commitment…and stick with it for a bit, you’ll start seeing results and it will be a habit. If you do it right and pick the right things, you’ll probably also be in LOVE. (So if you’re not in love with what you’re doing…try something else!)

So I made this poster. I hope you’ll take it to heart if there’s something you’ve been telling yourself that you need/want/should start doing. If you are going to start something new — tell us below…what is it, and when will you be starting?
((((AND please remember if you need HELP starting…don’t know where to start, how to do something, please please please let me know. I’m here to help YOU!))))

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Quick, easy, packable, healthy, filling lunch idea. Yes, all of that.

So I just had to share my latest love.

I have been making a BIG batch of lentil vegetable soup and then using it for lunches. Hubby and I both prefer to take lunch to work with us, but it’s often a struggle about what to take. Mainly because we want it to be healthy but also convenient. Good luck with that.

When I found a canned lentil vegetable soup, I was in love. But I don’t like eating too much canned stuff. (yucky chemicals in those linings!)

So I made my own masterpiece. Lentils are very filling, have lots of protein, and are the kind of starch that helps increase your metabolism and make you happy. 🙂 Plus, they’re inexpensive and easy to do all sorts of fun stuff with. Adding all the veggies is a great way to get those servings in and add some interesting flavors, too.

I make a big batch of this soup, dip out 4 individual servings into glass to-go containers. Then I freeze the rest because I know we don’t want to eat the same lunch for like 10 days straight. So we eat the 4 containers (2 days since there’s 2 of us) and I find something else for us to take for a few days, then thaw the rest and take it the next week for a few days. It’s super satisfying and tasty.

What do you think?

Does it look yummy? Want to re-create it?

I used a bag of dry lentils, a couple of fresh tomatoes, a few stalks of celery, a bag of frozen green beans, 4 carrots, vegetable stock, olive oil, lots of cumin, garlic, salt, pepper, green onion, and thyme. AND you could mix it up. I just bought swiss chard to put in my next batch.

Soften the onion, garlic, etc in your olive oil on medium heat. In the meantime, cook the lentils according to package instructions. Add drained, mostly cooked lentils into the pot that has the garlic. Add your stock & veggies and spices, bring to a soft boil and then simmer for…well, however long you got. Shoot for 30 minutes or so at least so the flavors marry.

What’s your go-to healthy, packable lunch?

 


 

 

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Healthy Snacks – need ideas?

Recently I’ve been asked many times for thoughts on what exactly ‘healthy snacks’ are. First, we’re talking about snacks because you should be eating something every few hours. They do not have to be fancy. Just healthy. This will help increase your metabolism and keep it humming.

I have my own favorite snacks that I eat every day. I’ve shared those with many of you. They include cheese with whole grain crackers, greek yogurt, fruit, vegetable salad (with homemade dressing), and shakeology. But I realize that’s not much to choose from. Works for me, but I know some of you would like more options. So I asked my fitfluential friends on Twitter for their favorite healthy snacks.

So here you go, from some of my fitness friends:

  • Power crunch bars, grapes, whole grain crackers and cheese – @MsPumpnRun
  • Almonds, cottage cheese, hummus, apple slices – @clwkerric
  • Hummus with veggies, homemade trail mix, protein pancakes, fruit, greek yogurt, unsalted nuts, rice cakes with sugar free jelly – @MissLegallyFit
  • Homemade granola, fresh fruit, greek yogurt – @WholeFoodJunkie
  • No bake energy bites (Recipe here:  http://pipersrun.com/2012/03/02/no-bake-energy-bites/ ) @PipersRun
  • Pour Kefir over frozen fruit, it’s like ice cream – @danisandy
  • Veggies & peanut butter, almonds & apples, sweet potato pudding (Recipe here: http://makingfithappen.wordpress.com/2012/02/17/sweet-potato-pudding-delicious-nutritious-and-better-than-it-sounds/) @MakingFitHappen
  • Grapes, green olives,  hummus, walnuts or nut thins – @afoodiestaysfit
  • Mix tomatoes, broccoli, basil, olives, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper – @xoAnge74ox
  • Fruit with almonds, greek yogurt with blueberries or banana, nut thins, peanut butter in a whole wheat tortilla, cottage cheese and frozen fruit, a good protein shake with almond milk, hummus and carrots, scrambled egg whites, guacamole with grape tomatoes, lara bars (link:    ) – @BananaOats
  • Banana date oat bars (Recipe here: http://healthyhelperblog.com/2012/02/26/two-winners-two-recipes/) – @Healthy_Helper

So there you have it. I hope this helps you find some new ideas…and I’m sure you can see, there are many common themes here. There’s a reason for that!

Here’s one of my fav salads for either a meal or a snack…fresh spinach, tomatoes, black olives, feta cheese, avocado, EVOO, lemon juice and vinegar. Yuuuummmm!

 What are YOUR favorite healthy snacks?

 

 

 

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Don’t Give Up {we all have slip ups!}

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone say, “Well, I just ate {Fill in the Blank} so my diet it shot”.

I’m here to tell you, no it’s not! Don’t give up on yourself that easily. Nutrition is not black and white. One slip up doesn’t really mean anything to your body or your results. You did not “ruin your diet” by giving into temptation here and there. And if you’re on a “diet” that makes you think that, then you should consider ridding yourself from that “diet” and work on healthy eating instead. One of my favorite Pinterest finds tells it best:

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Remember, eating too little or very restricted gives you the opposite results you want (Unless you ARE looking to either gain weight or look weak?)

I prefer to think of my diet as:

A) More of a life-style, which is of course fluid

B) A weekly endeavor. I try to eat well most days, but I take it as a whole for the week. So a ‘bad’ meal or two is puny over the course of  a week.

C) Negotiable (to an extent). I’m a proponent of not giving up the things that you love. You must just learn moderation. If I eat super well Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and then someone brings cake to work Thursday..I’m happy to eat a piece. Cake is something I love. I don’t eat it every day. Or even every week. If I denied myself cake once in a while, I’d be miserable and would be VERY likely to fall back into a cycle of eating crappy consistently because I GAVE UP. {Remember the boxes of thin mints that I discussed a couple weeks ago (Plan of attack – Thin Mints, my nemesis.)? Well I devoured two boxes in just a few days, I’m embarrassed to say. BUT, I’m happy to reveal that that did NOT result in ANY weight gain or loss of muscle, etc…it’s all about the balance!}

So. That’s all I have for you for today. I want to keep this short so the message isn’t lost. If you have a slip up or two (or four), DON’T GIVE UP. It does NOT mean that you failed. You just start right back where you left of with your healthy lifestyle. The benefits you’ve gained from those days where you did eat well DO remain and you’re forming those healthy habits regardless. Just don’t give them up so easily!

Tell me, have you ever given up on a healthy-eating endeavor or anything else because you slipped up?

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Shamrock Shake? Yes, please!

I’ve seen on the web that there’s a big ‘hooray’ out there for McDonald’s deciding to offer their Shamrock Shake at ALL their locations this year. That’s fabulous – except, do you know how many calories are in a Shamrock Shake? How about the sugar? I promise I won’t lecture about it! It’s just one of those things that I’m sure most of us consider – whether you’re trying to lose weight or just be healthy.

Well, I wanted to share the Shamrock Shake I had today. I’ll give you a preview….first, it was rich, thick, creamy and sweet. And oh-so-yummy! Second, it was only 230 calories and 12 grams of sugar BUT it had about 20 grams of protein and countless fruits, veggies, and wonderful whole food nutrition.

Whaaaat? Yeah you read it. But let me tell you again, this was just like a dessert, not like a health shake!

Here’s the finished, minty, creamy, sweet shake that I made today

shamrock shake

The secret was Chalene Johnson’s Shamrock Shake recipe. You can watch her make it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=solDD9CZWdQ 

Here’s how I made mine (very close to hers!)

1 scoop greenberry shakeology
1 cup ice & water
1 tablespoon peanut butter
2 teaspoons Sugar Free cheesecake jello mix
1 packet Stevia
1/2 cap mint extract

Blend until super smooth.

That’s it. The peanut butter & jello mix make it sweet and creamy (and pretty healthy). And the Shakeology makes it super healthy and even tastier. You could add a little more pudding mix if you’d like it even creamier tasting.

Yep, that’s Shakeology. My fav! And I’m not usually much of a fan of the greenberry flavor, but this shake is to die for. If you want more info on Shakeology, you can see details and the 100’s of unpaid doctor testimonials here: www.myshakeology.com/amyromero

So tell me, since we’re talking about sweets….what’s your favorite dessert or biggest indulgence?

~To Your Health~

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Weekly Challenge #5

I’m a few days late posting the challenge for this week… I’ve been MIA because I was planning and prepping a new lunch plan for our week.

And that’s what this challenge is about.

I went and made up a big batch of grilled chicken, cooked a whole bag of kidney beans, and steamed some veggies. And it’s all for our lunches. I wanted to eat A LOT less frozen meals and less fast food. I didn’t eat it a ton, but the frozen meals sure were convenient to take to work.

So your weekly challenge this week is to plan and prep healthy, easy lunches (or dinners!) to help improve your daily diet. 

My new lunches are a combination of grilled chicken (this time I actually slowly simmered some frozen chicken I’d forgotten to thaw so it was SUPER tender), beans, salsa and plain greek yogurt. I also added some veggies (broccoli) because I think I need more veggies every day. One serving a day just isn’t enough! Mix it all together and it’s sort of like a burrito bowl. 🙂  I put everything together in individual pyrex bowls with lids so they are ready to grab each morning. I’m keeping the greek yogurt separate & add it in after reheating.

Here’s a peek of it all mixed together. It was QUITE good and nice & creamy with the greek yogurt plus the little bit of spice from the salsa. And it was plenty filling because of the beans & chicken. Yuuummm!

Chicken, beans, broccoli, salsa and greek yogurt = fresh, healthy lunch

Luckily the hubby is happy to have fresher, home cooked meals for lunch too. Having others in your house excited about eating better is definitely half the battle!

I’m happy to help plan some meals if you need help! Let me know here or email me at: fithappy@yahoo.com

Let me know below – will you be doing this? Do you already? Do you have other ideas for easy make-ahead lunches that are healthy??

~To Your Health~

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Eating Healthy on a Budget

Since I get this question often, I thought I’d talk about it a bit here.

I realize that junk food is typically less expensive than  healthy food. But there’s ways around it! You can still eat healthy with just a little planning and a possible change in mindset.

Here are my tips, but I’d love to hear yours in comments below!

* First, always, always, always check the weekly ads for your local grocery stores online. Write down all the things you *may* be interested in and what the sale price is and at what store. Once you’ve done this for all your local stores, compare the items and their prices. Whichever store has the most items you may need for the best prices, you’ll want to go there.

* Since you’re eating some protein with every meal (every 3 hours), you’ll want to find some protein sources that are inexpensive. (You ARE eating a little protein every few hours, right??). Meat does not need to be the only protein source you have. In fact, any vegetarian or vegan will tell you that you don’t even need meat at all and you can still get plenty of protein. Some options include: black beans, kidney beans, cannelinni beans, lentils, nut butters, and greek yogurts. Other beans will work too, these are just some thoughts to get you headed in the right direction. You can incorporate beans into a TON of meals. Add them to salads, put them in your casseroles, your soups, etc. Buy your beans in bulk instead of cans to get the most for your money. Get creative, and definitely check out some recipe websites. I love using www.allrecipes.com

* If you are going to use meats as well, buy things such as boneless skinless chicken breasts (more convenient than whole chicken or skin-on types). But only buy them whey they are at the cheapest during the sale cycle. I typically only buy them when they are the lowest, which around here, is $1.99 per pound. I stock up because they won’t be that low again for several weeks. Look for discounted lean meats as they approach their expiration date & freeze it. Just eat it before the new stuff you have stored!

* Use Whole grain brown rice in lots of meals. If you buy it in bulk and not in the ’10 minute’ packs, it’s extremely inexpensive and it’s filling, easy on your blood sugar and goes with TONS of foods. Use it in casseroles, as a side dish, or under grilled chicken with yummy sauces. Some people even use it in place of spaghetti noodles, etc. Get creative here too!

* Buy frozen veggies when they’re on sale. They are fresher this way than in the cans. And they stay good for MUCH longer than fresh produce, so you don’t waste money on that bag of fresh carrots you bought that went bad before you could use half of them. Of course  use fresh when it’s something you really prefer – or if you use it alot. For instance, we use broccoli alot. I put it in casseroles, in salads, and in stir fry. So I can buy fresh broccoli and it won’t go bad before I finish it. But if it’s cheaper frozen that week, I’m not afraid to use it that way either. Whatever works!

* Double your dinner recipes so you can use leftovers for lunches. It’d typically cheaper and healthier if you cooked your own food rather than getting TV dinners or lunch out somewhere. Just make sure if you’re doing this that you ARE making healthy dinners! 🙂

So that’s all I can think of for right now.

What are your best tips for eating healthy on a budget, please tell us below!

~To Your Health~

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Weekly Challenge #2

I hope everyone joined me in the first weekly challenge – DECLUTTER. My husband and I almost completely decluttered the kitchen. We had 2 bags of garbage and one bag of things for donating. There’s still a couple of drawers we haven’t gotten to yet, but overall, it looks fabulous and I’m feeling good about continuing the momentum through the rest of the house.

So it’s time for Weekly Challenge #2 then, isn’t it?

For this whole next week, your challenge is to write everything down that you eat. Regardless if you’re trying to lose any weight or not. Just write it all down in one little notebook or log it in a word document, or you can even use a website such as www.fatsecret.com to log it easily.

For everything you eat, write down the calories and the carbs listed for the serving size you ate. If you ate something from a package, this will be easy. Pay attention to the serving size though! If you eat something that wasn’t packaged such as fruits and vegetables, you can find the nutrition information from a website like www.fatsecret.com  or  http://caloriecount.about.com/ and log it that way.

The point here is to be more mindful of what you’re eating. I’d be willing to bet that even if you think you eat healthy foods, you may be surprised to see it all laid out on paper. I know every time I do this exercise, I discover there’s areas I would like to improve on. So, I look forward to seeing what I’m REALLY eating this week. Some questions you’ll get answered….how many fruits and veggies are you really eating every day? Do you have dessert more often than you realized? Are your serving sizes bigger than you realized? Do you eat more packaged foods than you wanted to?

Okay, good luck all! Can’t wait to hear how it goes!

Have you ever logged your food before? What did you discover?

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It’s all about the choices

So we all know that one of the ingredients to being healthier is “making better food choices”, right? Until recently, I thought that sort of self-explanatory. Then, I heard a friend telling me about what she’d snacked on that day. Then I remembered several other similar conversations with her. And it hit me. She didn’t really know what “better choices” meant, and she was thinking that eating small amount of stuff equaled “better choices”. And to an extent, that’s true. BUT, at some point you have to also consider the type of foods and the quality of them.

If you’re finding yourself eating frozen dinners several times a week, you may consider some other choices. If you pay attention to what you’re eating,  you may see some patterns developing. So maybe you only eat a few chicken tenders. But they are still breaded. And fried. And you eat them, or chicken nuggets or popcorn shrimp, etc several times a week…or maybe even more. Well, that’s where you start to see the pattern. You may keep your serving size small (or so you think), but you’re still eating fat-laden, fried, not-so-good-for-you food. I’m a proponent of indulging sometimes. But you must be honest with yourself. First, figure out what indulging really means. And then be honest with how often you ARE indulging.

A good rule of thumb on what your diet *should* look like is that most of it should be clean foods. And whole foods. And by clean, I mean real. If you got it in a box, it’s probably not clean. Look for FRESH or frozen (not canned) fruits and vegetables. Look for minimally processed meats, and even preferably organic and local. The fresher the better. Whole grains are great. Just make sure they REALLY are whole grain. And organic milk, low fat greek yogurt, etc are wonderful protein choices that are healthful and yummy. So, you see the things I left out are things like chicken nuggets. And lunch meat. And pre-packaged soup. Pre-packaged meal-in-a-box just add beef (you know what I’m talking about). The list goes on. So if you truly can’t live without chicken nuggets. Great, eat them. Once a week. No more. And THAT’S your indulgence. Just because you eat that only once a week doesn’t mean there’s a free pass to then also eat frozen pizza twice a week. And ice cream twice a week. And so on. Before you know it, you’re indulging every day and you have not changed your eating habits.

If you’re trying to make better choices about your diet, make sure you know what you’re looking for. And keep a food journal. Every day for a month, at least. Write down every little thing you eat, including sauces, dressings, dips, etc. You may be surprised at what you find. And you can always find more info here on my blog, just click the ‘diet’ link above to find my older blog posts about calories, meal timing, snack ideas, etc.

Comment below! Would love to hear your food choices, good and bad, obstacles you may have to eating healthier, questions you have….whatever you have for me!  I’m always here to help!

~To Your Health~

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