Green smoothie

For me, smoothies are the best way to sneak in some additional fruits and greens into my diet each day. Sometimes I’ll add protein powder if I’m going to be exercising or peanut butter if I want it to be more of a meal replacement. But, sometimes I’m just craving something sweet and feeling those afternoon munchies creeping up on me.

This is a great smoothie to make if you just want something to tie you over until your next meal. It’s really low in calories but packed full of great nutrients and super flavorful!!

Ingredients

1/2 banana
1 cup organic baby spinach
1/4 cup fresh orange juice (make sure this is NOT from concentrate. I only buy 100% pure orange juice where the only ingredients is ORANGES)
1/4 cup almond/coconut milk (or yogurt or whatever)
6 Ice cubes

Blend in your blender until completely pureed and smooth.

Enjoy!!

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Pre-workout oatmeal

Most people know that it is important to eat the right things before and after working out and certain foods will do certain things for you if they are consumed before a workout.

Carbs are usually what I eat before working out because they give me a lot of energy while I’m exercising. And most nutritionists and trainers will agree that carbs are one of the best things to eat before heading to the gym. But, the type of carbs you eat are extremely important. If you eat a doughnut before working out; even though doughnuts are considered carbs, you will not get any benefits from eating it and your workout will most likely suffer. Eating something substantial with complex carbs like oatmeal will give you the fuel to get through a workout.

Here is a recipe for the oatmeal that I usually make:

1/2 cup multigrain rolled oats
1/2 cup water
1 packet Truvia (or a tsp of any sweetener you like)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbl flax meal
1 Tbl chia seeds
1/2 banana, sliced
2 Tbl chopped walnuts
2 dates, chopped
1/4 cup almond/coconut milk

In a microwave safe bowl, combine oats, Truvia, cinnamon, flax meal, chia seeds, and water. Microwave for 90 seconds. Remove from the microwave and stir in bananas, walnuts, dates, and almond/coconut milk. Microwave for another 60 seconds. Remove from microwave. Stir and allow to cool slightly.

This oatmeal is so good and it’s the workout fuel I need, especially for those early morning workouts I’ve been doing lately. If I am feeling like a need an extra boost of nutrients, sometimes I will stir in a tablespoon of peanut butter or add in some protein powder to this recipe. However, without the addition of protein powder or peanut butter, this whole bowl of oatmeal (and this makes a pretty big bowl) is only around 330 calories! For breakfast, that is a perfect amount of calories to consume and it will keep you full for a while!!

Healthy lunch ideas

Is the office making you fat??

I know where I work, they are always feeding us. And there are always cookies and soda around tempting me to fall off my healthy eating wagon. To combat all the unhealthy temptations, I pack my lunch everyday. Here is a sample of what I usually take:

1. Quinoa, black bean, and corn salad. This is packed full of protein and fiber! I add some jalapeno to it and a little lime juice so it has lots of flavor.
2. Fruit salad sprinkled with 1/2 Truvia packet. This had blueberries, peaches, raspberries, strawberries, and lime juice.
3. Watermelon slices
4. 3 Gingersnaps, 2 marshmallows, and a small hand full of dark chocolate chips. I NEED dessert. If I don’t get my fix, then I’ll most likely be munching on cookies later on in the day.

Also, something that isn’t pictured is a Kashi pumpkin flax granola bar which I eat a few hours after I get to work so I’m not starving by lunch time.

By packing my lunch everyday, I know exactly what I’m getting and I look forward to it all day. I can determine how healthy/unhealthy I want to eat that day and by giving myself lots of variety, I hardly ever get bored. I also pack my lunch the night before so I have plenty of time to pack a nutritious and filling lunch for myself. If I waited until the morning, I would be rushing and just pack a bunch of random things that won’t do much for me.

The key to eating healthy at work is to pack a protein and fiber rich lunch that will keep you satisfied until dinner. A healthy breakfast is also extremely helpful. If you start your day out well, you are more likely to continue a healthy diet throughout the rest of the day!

You all know by now that I am a smoothie nut so I normally will drink a smoothie around 7am and then go workout. After my workout I usually will eat another small breakfast that normally consists of protein and fiber will a small amount of carbs. Something that I have been loving recently is quinoa “oatmeal.” I don’t have a photo of it, but here is the recipe I normally make after my workout:

1/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1/2 cup coconut/almond milk (I used a mixture of the two but any milk will do)
1 packet Truvia (any sweetener works)
Sliced almonds
Blueberries
Banana

In a saucepan, combine quinoa and milk. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 20 minutes or until quinoa is cooked all the way through. Top with almonds and fruit. You can drizzle more milk over the top if desired.

Figuring what works for you takes some time. Eating healthy is not always easy but it should be a lifelong thing for all of you. It is not that difficult to just cut back on the processed foods and opt for more whole grains, fruits, and veggies. Once you make the small changes, you will see such a difference not only in your appearance, but your overall energy will improve dramatically!

If anyone has any questions, comments, or suggestions regarding healthy eating, I would love to hear from you!! I am always eager to learn and share with you as much as I can about eating well!!

15 days of sandwiches: Day 2 – Vegetarian/gluten free brown rice tomato cucumber and feta lettuce wraps

This is a really easy, no-cook (If using store-bought frozen brown rice) lunch that is super healthy and really delicious. It will also keep really well throughout the day if you just make sure to keep the lettuce separate from the rice mixture until just before enjoying. Best part of all, this is a totally non-fat lunch! Woohoo!

Ingredients
Makes enough for about 8 lettuce wraps

1/2 english cucumber, quartered and diced
1 heirloom tomato, cored and chunked
1 small sprig of dill, chopped
Juice from one lemon
2 Tbl non-fat Greek yogurt (definitely fine to leave out if dairy free, just use a little more lemon juice)
Salt/pepper
2 cups cooked brown rice
Boston Bibb lettuce

In a bowl, whisk together lemon juice, yogurt, dill, salt, and pepper. Toss in all other ingredients. Coat with yogurt dressing and set aside.

Fill lettuce cups with mixture when ready to eat.

Enjoy!!!

Black bean burgers with garlic rosemary fries (vegetarian)

I love burgers.

I love those burgers that are so big that you can’t even open your mouth wide enough to take a bite out of them. The ones where beef juice is running down your hands; the ones that you can’t put back on the plate because it will just fall apart (Mike, you know what I mean). Yeah, those burgers. I used to eat them all the time when I was younger. But as I’ve gotten a little older, I have tried to limit the amount of red meat I eat. Meaning, I don’t usually get to experience the greasy, dripping mess of a burger that I love.

I am always looking for recipes for “burgers” without ground beef. I have come up with some really tasty ones, especially these BBQ chicken burgers I made earlier in the year. But, I still found myself missing that beefy flavor that you just can’t get from anything other than red meat.

Until now. These have a meaty and rich taste that makes you feel like you are eating something other than beans and vegetables. They are really really good! The mushrooms give it that meaty flavor and the beans add a really nice texture to this burger. Also, the addition of the steak sauce adds an amazing, but subtle flavor that reminds me of eating meat.

These burgers are super easy to prepare and can definitely be made ahead of time. They freeze really well so if you wanted to make these a few days/weeks/months ahead of time, you can just throw them in the freezer and have an amazing, meat-free dinner ready in no time!

I served these burgers up with some homemade french fries that are addictingly good. They have a garlic rosemary salt on them which gives them amazing flavor and once you start making fries like this, you will NEVER go back to however you were doing it before!

Ingredients

2 can black beans, drained and rinsed but kept separated
1 small onion, thinly sliced
4 oz baby bella mushrooms, chopped
2 Tbl basil, chopped
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
2 oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese at room temperature
1 egg
1/2 cup breadcrumbs (I used Italian seasoned)
3 Tbl Al Steak sauce
salt/pepper
olive oil
Cheese, optional
Buns

In a large skillet over medium high heat, saute onions and mushrooms with some olive oil until softened. This should take about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and set aside

In the bowl of a food processor, blend ONE CAN of beans until pureed. Remove from the food processor and place in a large bowl. In the same food processor bowl, add in cooled onions and mushrooms and puree. Add onion mixture to the bowl with the pureed beans. Fold in the drained and rinsed remaining can of beans. Mix in cream cheese, herbs, egg, breadcrumbs and steak sauce. Once combined, place in the refrigerator and chill for at least one hour. If the mixture seems really sticky after one hour, add a small amount of extra breadcrumbs.

1 hour before ready to cook, form patties and place them in the freezer. This will help them really firm up and with make it much easier to cook them.

When read to cook: Heat a large skillet, grill pan, or grill to medium high heat. Add some olive oil. Place burgers in the pan and cook until browned on one side. This should take about 5 minutes. Flip burgers and cook an addition 5-10 minutes, or until cooked all the way through and browned. At this point, lower your heat and add cheese if desired. Allow cheese to melt and then remove from heat and place onto buns.

Garlic Rosemary French Fries

3 russet potatoes, sliced into fries
3 sprigs of rosemary, finely chopped
1 tsp garlic powder
1 Tbl salt

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place 2 Tbl of olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet and place in the oven to heat (You want your pan to be hot before you place the fries on it).

Place cut potatoes into a large bowl. Cover the potatoes with hot water and allow to soak for one hour.

Place rosemary, salt and garlic powder in a bowl and mix to combine.

Drain the potatoes and pat dry. Remove hot pan from oven and place potatoes on the pan – making sure they are in one even layer. Place in oven.

Once 30 minutes have elapsed, turn the potatoes and sprinkle them with the garlic salt mixture. Place back in oven for an additional 20 minutes, or until browned and crispy.

Serve alongside your black bean burgers!