Archive for the ‘Healthy Eats’ Category

On Track

After a not-so-great week last week, I am back on track.  At first, I was pretty frustrated with myself for last week.  However, with terrible driving conditions and not feeling well (plus some craziness at work that threw off my WHOLE schedule), I was easily able to get back on track over the weekend.  Yesterday was a low day, and today is a lowER day, and I’m handling it well.  The way my cycling program works, I can go as low as I want on these two days.  Yesterday, I was under my calorie range by 175-300 calories ( 🙂 ).  It was tough, but manageable.  Today, I’m going for less.  When I feel hungry, I try to remember that tomorrow is a maintenance day.  I think I’m going to make a really yummy chicken sandwich or homemade pizza – with PopChips!

 

Training is also back on track.  Since we had some really bad storms, I had to miss a couple structured workouts.  I think I made up for them with shoveling and treacherous walking conditions while at work.  I just couldn’t justify the extra driving when the conditions were so bad.

 

My recipe for this week is from Ask Georgie – Creamed Spinach. Not only is this recipe a low-ish calorie side dish, it also makes an amazing substitute for Spinach Dip!  My husband and I enjoyed this with some PopChips (can you tell I **heart** PopChips??) while watching a football game this weekend.  Jeb’s not much of a veggie person, but he loves this recipe, and I love anything that gets some greens into his body!  I follow the recipe pretty exactly, though I sometimes add a bit more garlic.  Since discovering this, I’ve made it 3 times!  Yum!

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Another good day

I won’t post specifics now, but suffice to say that I am making progress.  My workout was good, and I’m finding that the healthful choices I am making with my food are making the deficit easier.  Today was my first test of compliance, I think – I had a bunch of meetings and to teach a CPR re-cert so I wasn’t able to eat at my usual times.  I work in a quiet building, essentially alone, so I have a lot of flexibility with meals.  Today, though, I was at our main campus, where staff are offered a yummy hot lunch.  I got hungry, and the food smelled great – but I stuck to the plan. 🙂

 

Plugging along…

New Recipe

Keeping with one of my action steps for my goals, I made a new recipe last night.  It is Garlicky Chicken Satay from one of my favorite food blogs – Joelen’s Culinary Adventures.  The seasoning paste for the chicken is flavorful, but not overpowering, and the peanut sauce is a nice balance of sweet, salty, and fresh.  Plus, since most of the calories from the sauce come from unsweetened coconut milk and peanut butter, I feel like I’m getting some good nutrition for my calories.

Delicious and Nutritious!

This will definitely make it’s way into the regular rotation.  Served with Wild and Brown rice and some green beans, the meal breaks down like this (assuming 4 ounces of chicken and 1 serving of rice):

Calories:  520

Carbohydrates:  50g

Protein:  43g

Fat:  17g

The bulk of the carbs come from the rice, which I will likely cut down in future meals.  It was a good, satisfying dinner for a higher calorie day, though.

 

I did much better hitting my calories and macros over the last two days.  I think I will need to do some careful planning to be sure to hit my maintenance calories accurately, but I’m up for the challenge.  I’m really grateful that Jeb is so invested in this – it helps to not feel like I’m “cramping his style” when I make certain decisions.  He’ s also being AWESOME about going to the store and buying ingredients every.single.day.  Poor guy.  But, at least he’s eating well! 🙂

 

Workouts continue to go well – still at 100% compliance. 🙂

I will NOT be needing these pants tomorrow…

…Or today, I suppose, since it’s technically Thanksgiving already.

 

Behold, the “Gluttony Pants!”

 

Chef Chris Cosentino designed pants with buttons (designated “Piglet,” “Sow,” and “Boar) that allow you to expand the waistband of your pants.  While I am sure there are people out there who will gladly pay $100 for these pants, I just don’t think most of us need them (or should want them) – especially since we could all go down to Target and pick up a pair of comfy sweats for $15 if we felt the need.  I remember Cosentino from both “Iron Chef America” and “The Next Iron Chef” (Season 1 – when Mike Simon won).  He wasn’t my favorite competitor, so maybe that’s part of the reason for my irritation over the existence (and cost!) of these pants!

I plan to enjoy my Thanksgiving meal with my family tomorrow.  I will sample some of everything (though maybe not all ten pies at my mom’s house!), but I’ll be wearing my jeans as a reminder not to overdo things.  A food baby will only make me feel sluggish and guilty the next day.  I will NOT be counting calories, though – I’ll just try to remember my new-ish identity as a healthy person, and see how things go!

What are your plans to keep holiday intake reasonable?

Intuitive Eating

I think I’ve alluded to this in the past, but I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about intuitive eating.  First of all, it’s strange to me that so few people are able to eat intuitively – but it’s something that should come naturally, right??  Hard to say…but it seems to me that a vast majority of the American public struggles to eat healthy foods intuitively.  We tend to undereat or overeat, obsessively eat “clean” foods or completely disregard the relative healthiness of foods, and our collective bodies and health seem to be paying the price.  Why?

 

There’s no simple answer to this.  The definition of intuition is:

The direct perception of truth, fact, etc., independent of any reasoning process.

 

So, basically, we should just know how to fuel our bodies according to this concept of “Intuitive Eating.”  I think, in a way, we do.  Unfortunately, our parents, our society, and our own personal biases affect every decision we make, and it takes some sort of breakthrough for many of us to realize how often we eat the wrong foods for the wrong reasons.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I think there is a time and a place for less healthy foods (Apple Pie on Thanksgiving – yes, please!), and I allow myself treats regularly.  However, I have to be careful or I will automatically overindulge.  That being said, I am trying to eat more intuitively, being mindful of what my body is actually telling me about what it really needs.  It’s a work in progress, probably a struggle I will have for the rest of my life.

 

Katie, over at “Health for the Whole Self” recently met the author of a popular book on intuitive eating (Evelyn Tribole) and is having a fantastic giveaway!  Head on over to her blog for some great information and a chance to win!

Winning the Day

As I’ve mentioned, I’m currently working on Todd Durkin’s Impact Body Plan. The workouts are fun (but TOUGH – see previous posts), and I’m already feeling changes in my body.  However, the part of the book that is helping me the most is the chapters devoted to the psychological aspects of dieting/body composition.  Or, as Durkin says, “Getting your mind right.”  This video, aside from the silly halloween costume, has some great tips for making change –

 

He says to “Win the Day.”  This is something I need to keep in mind.  I need to avoid impulse and be mindful with my eating (there’s that word again!).  As I mentioned yesterday, I’m having trouble keeping my eating habits particularly effective.  I don’t want to have to count calories all the time again, but it may come to that.  In the meantime, however, I need to focus on whether I WANT something or if I actually NEED it (as Durkin says).  There’s no need to work so hard at the gym and then waste some of the benefits by eating junk.  I’ve definitely slipped up some today, but I’m going to switch gears and try to Win the REST of the day! 🙂

My plan for this –

  • Cook a healthy dinner.  I’m thinking pistachio-crusted chicken with butternut squash.
  • Drink a LOT of water – and make sure I’m not thirsty when I think I’m hungry.
  • Only eat the food I brought with me to work – not allow myself to be tempted by the baked goods and halloween treats around at work.

Wish me luck!

Chicken Soup

 

Steamy Chicken Soup - Ready to eat!

 

I’m a soup gal – and cooking up a variety of soups is definitely my favorite part of fall.  While I’ve successfully figured out healthier versions of some of my favorite soups, a flavorful chicken soup has always been a challenge.  I’ve tried making my own stock and using a variety of store-bought broths with only mediocre results.  Fortunately, the fine folks at America’s Test Kitchen did some of the work for me – and I now have a satisfying and fool proof recipe!  I love the healthy veggies and hearty, multifaceted broth.  Using ground chicken, vegetables, and a variety of herbs while making the stock ensures that this is no ordinary chicken soup!

Hearty Chicken Soup

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

Stock:

1 TBS vegetable oil

1 pound ground chicken (I use ground chicken breast)

1 onion, chopped medium (about 1 cup)

1 carrot, peeled and chopped medium (about 1/2 cup)

1 celery rib, chopped medium (about 1/2 cup)

4 cups water

8 cups low-sodium chicken broth

2 bay leaves

2 tsp. salt

2 bone-in, skin-on split chicken breasts

 

Soup:

3 TBS cornstarch

1/4 cup cold water

1 onion, halved and sliced thin

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 celery rib, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1 russet potato, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

2 sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

4-6 Swiss chard leaves, chopped

 

1.  For the stock: Heat the oil in a large dutch oven over medium high heat until simmering.  Add the ground chicken, onion, carrot, and celery.  Cook, stirring frequently, until the chicken is no longer pink, 5-10 minutes.  Do not brown the chicken.

2.  Reduce the heat to medium-low.  Add the water, broth, bay leaves, salt, and chicken breasts.  Cover and cook for 30 minutes.  Remove the lid, increase heat to high, and bring to a boil.  Transfer the chicken breasts to a large plate and set aside.  Continue to cook the stock for about 20 minutes, maintaining a gentle boil.  Strain the stock through a fine-mesh strainer into a large pot, pressing the solids to extract as much liquid as possible.  Allow the liquid to settle for 5 minutes, and skim off excess fat.

3.  For the soup: Return the stock to the Dutch oven set over medium -high heat.  In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and water until a smooth slurry forms; stir into a stock and bring to a gentle boil.  Add the onion, carrots, celery, and potatoes, and cook until the potatoes are tender, 15-20 minutes, adjusting the heat as necessary to maintain a gentle boil.

4.  Meanwhile, remove and discard the skin and bones from the reserved cooked chicken.  Shred the meat with two forks.  Add the shredded chicken and Swiss chard to the soup and cook until heated through.  Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

 

I like to serve with homemade popovers! Yum! 🙂