Archive | May, 2013

Preparation

30 May

Change is hard, especially when you have decided to change the way you eat. Eating healthy seems daunting and many people are not sure how to go about it. I recommend starting with small changes and gradually increasing or adding more changes to your life. What and how much you change depends on your goals.

This post is for individuals who want to change their eating habits, but don’t have the time to cook healthy meals. The solution to this is being prepared. When you have healthy food readily available it makes eating healthy easier. Being prepared sets you up for success.

Meal preparation can be done any day of the week that best fits your schedule.

I like to bake chicken, sweet potatoes, cook oatmeal, rice, lentils, and quinoa in advance so when lunch and dinner come up all I have to do is add vegetables.

When cooking grains I like to make a lot and freeze half of what I make for another time.

20130529-212816.jpg

 

Pictured above is baked chili chicken tenders and baked sweet potatoes.

1. Set oven to 400°F

2. Wash, dry, pierce sweet potatoes with a fork, and wrap individually in foil.

3. Place wrapped sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and place in the oven. For large/medium sized potatoes bake for 40-45 minutes.

4. Line a second baking sheet with foil and place raw chicken tenders on baking sheet.

5. Drizzle chicken tenders with olive oil and season to your liking. (This week I used cayenne pepper, ancho chili powder, and smoked paprika)

6. Use your hands to coat chicken tenders with oil and seasoning, evenly space tenders on baking sheet and place in the oven.

7. Cook chicken tenders 7-8 minutes.

Now I have protein and complex carbohydrates for multiple meals in the future and accomplished this in less than an hour.

You can also be cooking your grains on the stove at the same time your chicken and sweet potatoes are in the oven. Streamline the process to what works best for you.

Advertisements

Why Am I Eating This?

28 May

There is an abundance of food in our world and we eat for a variety of reasons. We eat when we are hungry, sad, anxious, happy, celebrating, and bored. I want to draw awareness to what we eat and why we eat it. Food can play numerous rolls in our lives, but what we often forget is that eating is a necessary component to life. Our bodies are made up of the vitamins, minerals, protein, fat and carbohydrates that we consume. Many times we choose to eat what looks or tastes good, instead of checking in with ourselves, being mindful, and asking what does my body need?

photo (8)

What our bodies need is real food, not food that is packaged and has been processed. Eating real foods nourishes your body and mind. Eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, low fat dairy, plant based fats, complex carbohydrates, and lean protein gives your body the proper nourishment it needs to maintain life.

I am not saying that you must only eat vegetables all the time and never eat foods like ice cream, fried goat cheese balls, or cupcakes. It is 100% okay to eat more indulgent foods. It is NOT okay to abuse these foods. Eat some ice cream, but be aware of the serving size. Eat pizza, just not the entire thing.

When you consistently make better choices for yourself and your health, those indulgences will have less of an effect on your body and mind.

BE MINDFUL AND BE HEALTHY

Tuna Salad

22 May

The look, smell, and taste of mayonnaise has never appealed to me. For this reason I did not eat tuna salad until 3 years ago when I decided to make my own version, sans mayo.

20130522-143912.jpg

1 can of tuna packed in water with no added salt
1 Persian cucumber, diced
1 tomato, diced
6 pickled green beans, cut in small pieces
1/2 small avocado, sliced
1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
1/3 cup pickled jalapeños
2 cups mixed greens
1 cup Red cabbage, shredded

1. In a medium sized bowl mix tuna with salt and pepper to taste
2. Add cucumber, green beans, tomato, avocado, red onion, jalapeños and combine
3. Put greens and cabbage on a plate or in a bowl and top with tuna mixture
4. Finish with a squeeze of lemon or lime

I like the cucumber for crunch and the tomato for moisture. Compared to traditional celery and mayonnaise.

You may also want to…

  • Add curry powder to the tuna mixture to switch up the flavor profile
  • Use salsa instead of tomato
  • Add sunflower seeds for additional crunch, nutty flavor, and healthy fat

Tea Time

21 May
About two years ago I decided to give up coffee and switch to drinking tea. I felt that tea was a cleaner caffeine source. After a few months I had a cup of coffee, it made my mind and body feel weird. From then on I have only consumed tea for caffeine. I enjoy all types of tea, but my favorite is yerba mate.
photo (7)
I enjoy yerba mate because it has less of an effect on the central nervous system than coffee. I feel alert and awake without feeling jittery. Yerba mate has a stimulating effect on cardiac and smooth muscle fibers. Yerba mate also contains more antioxidants than green tea, as well as, electrolytes, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.

There are some health concerns to be aware of most commercially prepared yerba mate undergoes a smoke drying process. This smoke-dried method is known to produce a yerba mate which contains Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs), chemicals known to be carcinogens at high concentrations. PAHs are common in many foods and beverages such as water, coffee, and tea and cannot be completely avoided in the diet, but the levels of PAHs that are consumed can be minimized. I think that you have to regularly drink large quantities of this tea for it to produce negative health effects. Yet another reminder to practice moderation.

The brand Guayaki produces a line of yerba mate that is air dried, reducing the amount of PAHs.

Breakfast

17 May

I eat this 6 days a week. It is quick and easy to prepare in the morning and it has everything my body needs: carbohydrate, protein, fat, fiber, and dairy.

20130514-222347.jpg

1 to 1-1/2 cup berries (the fruit I use depends on the season)
1/2 cup Nonfat plain greek yogurt
1/2 cup Kashi GOLean cereal
1/4 cup homemade granola (recipe below)
Top it off with nonfat milk ~ 1/4 cup

Granola Recipe

Yield: About 8 cups.

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1 1/2 cups raw pistachios, hulled

1 cup raw pumpkin seeds, hulled

1 cup coconut chips

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

Method

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a large bowl, combine oats, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, coconut chips, maple syrup, olive oil, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and cardamom. Spread mixture on a rimmed baking sheet in an even layer and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until golden brown and well toasted.

2. Let granola cool and store in an air tight container.

Recipe has been adapted from one featured in the NY Times

Chocolate Fix

15 May

These cookies are perfect for when you want something chocolaty with out going overboard on fat and sugar. They are quick and easy to make and their nutritional value is better than many store bought brands.

photo (6)

Yield about 18 cookies

Ingredients
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup good quality unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup oats
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Method
1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
2. Combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. Put the butter and sugar in a separate bowl and use a wooden spoon to cream them together until light and slightly fluffy; add the vanilla and continue mixing until it’s well combined.
3. Add the flour mixture to the butter and sugar; at this point the batter will become quite firm. Add the oats and mix them in evenly, then add the chocolate chips. You may have to knead the dough by hand at this point to fully integrate the oats and chips.
4. Using a tablespoon, scoop up balls of dough and put them on the prepared cookie sheet about two inches apart. Once you’ve filled the sheet, flatten each ball slightly with the back of a spoon or the flat side of a measuring cup; you may need to moisten the spoon or cup to keep the dough from sticking.
5. Bake the cookies until the top is set and cracked, about 14 minutes. Set on a rack to cool and serve.

Serving                                1 Cookie
Calories                               107
Total fat                               6 gm
Saturated Fat                     3 gm
Sodium                                 33 gm
Total Carbohydrate        12 gm
Dietary Fiber                     0.4 gm
Sugar                                    8 gm
Protein                                1 gm

Recipe has been adapted from one featured in the NY Times

Why I Love Exercise

14 May

Being active is one of my favorite things because it has so may benefits.

My top 10 reasons to exercise

1. Stress management
2. The release of “Feel Good” endorphins
3. Promotes better sleep
4. It’s FUN!
5. Combats disease
6. Gives you more ENERGY
7. Weight management
8. It’s challenging
9. There’s room for improvement
10. Sweating stimulates hair growth (get longer locks faster!)