Week 4 was wonderfully uneventful. With everything that goes on in this world, I’m thankful for uneventful. My runs were not exceedingly fast nor slow, I had no aches/pains that affected them…see…uneventful. This makes for a good week of running, but a pretty boring blog post!
So I decided to write a bit about food this week. I’ve altered this blog post about 30 times as I couldn’t focus on what I truly wanted to get across about food. I think I’ve narrowed it to what will hopefully be helpful. I tried to think back to what I would tell myself over a year ago. Without further ado, let’s talk about food, glorious, food! (must be said in a sing/song voice to truly get it)
I think this is my second picture of produce of my kitchen counter, so I may be losing points on originality. However, the topic at hand is food and specifically, healthy food, so the pic applies. I’d like to preface this all by saying that I am just a mom/wife. I am not a nutritionist/dietition, so if some of my info is found to be incorrect, my apologies. I’m learning (daily) more and more about what it means to eat healthy and this just happens to be my opinion(s) (which are ever changing) about what foods I (and my family) need to be eating to be fit. So, with all disclaimers in place…let’s dig in!
I think the easiest way to describe our eating habits are clean eating. I’m highly skeptical of diets (atkins, paleo, macrobiotic, vegan, etc…). I think it’s because I’m more of a believer in moderation. So, we’re not dairy free, sugar free, meat free, what-ever-else free. Clean eating is eating foods straight from nature. Jillian Michaels says, “If it didn’t have a mother or it didn’t grow from the ground, don’t eat it.” Another great line that the hubs always uses, ‘eat things from a plant, not that were processed in a plant.’ This means cutting out the processed foods. They add a lot of preservatives (lots-o-salt) to keep your food from going bad. Great concept, but as you see food more as fuel for your body, you realize that your body doesn’t really need preservatives. We are not totally clean eaters, as I don’t buy all our meats from a butcher and we do still have some packaged items on the menu. Transitioning to eating healthy is just like working out, it’s a process. You aren’t going to totally transform your daily menu overnight, so start by making simple changes and as you make those, then you’ll want to start making the bigger ones.
I started with the idea of a top 10 list, but could only come up with 7 (I told you I was all over the place with this post!) These are my healthy eating tips:
1. Eat a recommended portion size (you’ll be surprised how small that actually is). I even use this for my kids (they are 4 and 7). When they ask to have crackers as a snack and ask how many they can have, we look at the label and they are allowed to have a serving size.
2. Eat foods with fewer ingredients. Read the label and make sure you can pronounce each ingredient. The fewer the ingredients the better and one blogger said she doesn’t eat anything that has sugar listed as the 1st or 2nd ingredient (I really liked this idea!)
3. Eat every 2-3 hours. I like 3 meals (small meals) and 2-3 snacks each day. I post a sample of this at the end.
4. Watch your calories. This one is more important if you are wanting to drop weight. Weight loss is not a difficult scientific method, it is calories in, calories out. You can google weight loss/maintenance calculator and do a rough figure of the estimated calories it takes to maintain your current weight at your current activity level. If you want to drop lbs, then you need a calorie deficit, ie you need to burn roughly 500 calories more per day than what you use. This would equal a 1lb weight loss in 1 week. I use myfitnesspal app, this helped me drop 15 lbs by counting my calories. It’s amazing to learn how many calories are in food, a real eye opener!
5. Don’t drink your calories. I drink at least 60 ounces of water/day. I have a 20 ounce water bottle and drink at least 3 of them everyday. I have cut out soda/tea/lemonade, everything except coffee (love my morning cup of half-caf!). There is the occasionally splurge on a soda or lemonade or Izze (whatever category those fall in), but it’s maybe once a month.
6. I said goodbye to bread too. This was tough because I LOVE bread, LOVE IT, white bread is one of my favorite foods. However, it doesn’t offer much of the power pack nutrients, so it’s really just more filler for me. I’m not suggesting you eliminate carbs, but eating rolls with dinner is out for me. Most days I don’t even eat bread and if I do, it’s 100% whole wheat. I’m working to find ways of eating whole grains.
6. Bye, Bye boxes. I have significantly limited the food we eat that comes from a box. We are still converting ourselves and our kids to this one.
7. Satisfy a craving. Now, you can’t do this everytime or you will not reach your goal, but if you get it stuck in your head you want a cookie, then have one cookie (unless it’s from Paradise Bakery, then better make it 1/2 a cookie because those things are huge). Otherwise, you may let that craving build and end up eating a dozen.
Here are some of my favorite recipes, my go-to foods that are recurrent on the family menu.
Turkey Burrito: Saute a handful of onions and red peppers (use cooking spray to oil your pan) and then add one pound of ground turkey. Cook this up, like you would taco meat. I use whole wheat tortilla shells, fill with 2-3 oz of turkey and then top with some salsa, wrap up and enjoy. I eat it for lunch frequently.
Turkey Burgers: Again, ground turkey, take a pound and add the dry pack of onion soup mix. I’m trying to add my own spices/herbs to turkey to come up with another turkey burger that doesn’t include the prepacked onion soup mix, but haven’t found one as good yet.
Turkey Meatballs: One of my favorites that I’ve only made a couple times, here is the link for the recipe as I did not come up with this on my own. http://www.food.com/recipe/turkey-meatballs-33944. They are delicious, but we don’t eat much pasta, so I don’t make them very often. They are great for a crowd though, so when we’re having friends over for dinner, that’s when I pull out this recipe. Serve it with whole wheat pasta and top with spaghetti sauce.
Fish Tacos: This is the best fish taco recipe I have found. http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/blackened-tilapia-baja-tacos-50400000110429/. I do alter it slightly in that I cook with Extra Virgin Olive Oil (instead of canola) and I don’t add the sour cream. I make up a mini salsa (roma tomatoes, avocado, lime or lemon juice) instead of the plain avocado to serve on it.
Fish: (specifically tilipia and salmon) is a staple at our house. I love to season tilapia and salmon with salt/pepper, and paprika. I love lemon too, so I try to sneek it into many meals, so I serve our fish with a lemon slice to squirt on top. Also Salmon is good to top with a tsp or 2 of honey once it’s on the plate. You can add it in the pan, but you’ll find this lovely black burntness in your pan as the honey cooks. I add extra virgin olive oil to the pan (or sometimes just cooking spray) and then cook the seasoned fish for about 3-4 minutes on each side.
Chicken: We eat so much chicken! Boneless, skinless chicken breast. Fortunately, we love chicken. My favorite is the livesmart individually packaged chicken breasts from Schwans. I need to slowly wean off those to fresher meat, but they cook perfect every time and are a good portion size, so it’s hard to let them go. Easist way to make great chicken is to dice up garlic (I use 1 clove for every piece of chicken) and a handful of diced onions. Saute those, then add your chicken, it tastes wonderful and it’s so simple.
Veggies: I’ve never been a big veg person, so I started out by roasting my veggies until I acquired more of a taste for them. 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes does it for most. Here are a couple of my favorite preparations. I also started cutting out the parm cheese once I could appreciate eating the veggie without the toppings.
-Parmesean Roasted Zucchini http://www.budgetsavvydiva.com/2012/03/parmesan-roasted-zucchini-recipe/
-Sweet Potato Fries http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/baked-sweet-potato-fries-recipe/index.html
-Parm Broccoli http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/broccoli-parmesan-and-lemon-recipe/index.html
I highly recommend chopping up your veggies the day you buy them and place them in baggies so they are ready to grab and cook without the prep time. Extra Virgin Olive Oil adds the best flavor to roasted veggies, but it’s also about 125 calories per Tbsp I think, so you have to watch portions. Salt/pepper (garlic powder, paprika are also good), add your oil and cook. I, again, love to add fresh squeezed lemon to add some good flavor. I also just add the veggies to my pan that I’m cooking my protein in. You’ll just add your veggies first, let them cook a bit and then add the meat. This is great for bell peppers and broccoli.
Fruit: I am a big fruit lover, but have never loved berries, so I’m trying to incorporate those more since they are the powerhouse of the fruit world. I add blue/black/strawberries to greek yougurt as a snack. I also love clementines as I can easily share those with my daughter. Leftover fruit that’s starting to go bad can be made into a salsa (strawberry or mango or pienapple are great with avocado and tomato) or whip up a fruit/yogurt smoothie.
As well as being a list person, I’m also a visual learner, so yeah it’s great I’ve given all this info, but what does that actually look like?!? Well, here’s a sample, this was dinner the other day. Cilantro Lime Chicken http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/cilantro-chicken-10000001157819/, served with sides of watermelon and mango/avocado salsa. I admit the picture is not the most appetizing, I need to work on my pictures so they reflect deliciousness.
Thought I’d also include a day in the life of my diet (as in the food I consume, not dieting as in the action of trying to lose weight)
7am Breakfast – 2 turkey sausage links and a cup of coffee (i know it’s a light breakfast, but it’s what I eat before I work out, so I keep it light)
10am Snack – Greek yogurt with 1/2 cup berries (black/blue/red/strawberries)
12p Lunch – 3oz protein (chicken breast, salmon, turkey, tilapia), 1 cup veggies (options I usually have are one of the following: broccoli, asparagus, peppers, brussel sprouts, zucchini)
2-3p Snack – fruit or granola or peppers (I’ll eat a banana and a clementine or 2-3 clementines or a homemade granola bar or some sliced bell peppers)
5pm dinner – looks pretty much like lunch
7pm snack – this varies, sometimes it’s fruit, sometimes a cookie or sorbert. This late snack is usually where I eat my unhealthiest treat of the day. I’m not recommending eating junk at night, it’s just a habit I’m working away from.
Well, that sums up all I have to say about food, hopefully it wasn’t rambling!
As per my usual, here is my week in review:
Monday: 3 miles in 27:13
Tuesday: 6 miles in 58:46
Thursday: 3 miles in 27:04
Friday: 30 minute spin at gym and 20 minutes of upper body weights
Sunday: 11 miles in 1:43:55 (that was a 9:27 average pace…AWESOMENESS!)