Boring Menu: Ways to “Healthify” Your Favorite Recipes

healthify

Do you feel like a healthy diet consists of a daily grilled chicken salad?  Rabbit food anyone? Carrots?   

I remember my son asking me one evening “What’s for dinner?”  And my husband sarcastically replied, “Chicken, chicken, or chicken?”   

Ok, so I could get by with eating the same thing everyday.  I don’t mind that my daily meals are pretty much the same, but my family wants a little variety.  So how do you keep some variety and stick with healthy choices?  

 

Protein and Dairy Options

Besides chicken, you have turkey, pork, and lean cuts of beef.  Starkist tuna has so many different flavors of tuna in their ready-to-go packets.  I love the new buffalo flavor, and the sweet and spicy has been a longtime favorite of mine as well.  My husband and son deer hunt, and we enjoy venison.  Bacon, anyone?  You haven’t had bacon until you’ve had deer bacon…just sayin!  We get most of it ground, so I use that in meatloaf, chili (well, my husband makes chili, not me!), tacos, spaghetti, hamburgers.  

Low fat cottage cheese is a good source of protein as well as nonfat plain greek yogurt.  In a recipe calling for cream cheese, you can use lowfat or nonfat cream cheese or greek yogurt.  In a recipe calling for sour cream, you can use plain greek yogurt.  

When it comes to milk, you can gradually switch from whole to 2% to 1% to maybe even skim eventually.  And now there are several alternatives.  I use unsweetened almond milk in cooking a lot.  Again, big reduction in calories and the lactose in regular milk can have negative effects on some tummies.

 

Salads

You can do so much with a salad.  After your lettuce, you can toss in all kinds of cut up veggies, maybe even some fruit (grapes, strawberries, or oranges), low fat cheese, lean protein, a few nuts (slivered almonds or walnuts).  

 

Baking Options

I love baking with oat flour these days.  There’s also almond flour and coconut flour as well as whole wheat flour.  (Be sure to read about measuring adjustments if you use a different type of flour.)  For sweeteners there’s stevia.  Honey and pure maple syrup can be used in some recipes.  Coconut oil is very popular these days in both solid or liquid form to replace oils or butter in a recipe.  Protein powder is also an option to add a little flavor (vanilla or chocolate) in the place of the sugar and/or flour.  

These are just a few quick ideas to get you thinking about how to make small changes to recipes to either add nutrition or lessen the fat, calories, and processed stuff.  

 

Here’s one I make often….it’s a healthy alternative to rice krispy treats.  My son often eats them for breakfast.ricekrispy

1 cup nut butter (I use natural PB (Kroger brand is great!), but you can use nut butter of choice)
1 cup honey
Melt on stove over low heat
Add crisp rice cereal (or cheerios or maybe even a Kashi cereal) 4-6 cups depending on the cereal you choose.  Stir together to coat.  
Press into 9×13 pan.  Let set.  

This week in my closed Facebook group, I’ve been sharing some recipe ideas like this one with the girls.  If you’d like one of those recipes, sign up here to be added to my weekly email list, and I’ll send you one (or two!) of the recipe ideas.  

 

What is one of your favorite recipes that you’d like to healthify?
What is one of your favorite healthy recipes?
Let’s share some ideas and help each other with some new ideas!  

3 Responses to Stress and Simple Solutions

food&stress

This week I’ve been posting on various social media channels about this concept of Temple vs Trash Can.  It’s not an original idea.  You’ll hear it on several faith and fitness platforms.  But the idea here is how do we treat our bodies?  Do we treat them like the temple that they are?  Or do we treat them like a trash can?  

 

Let’s talk about food intake for a minute.  And more importantly how we use food to deal with stress.  I find that in those times when we are stressed and need our bodies to function even better is when we treat them the worst.  

To be sure, stress happens.  We have deadlines to meet.  We have to be at school and work on time.  We lift weights or run marathons.  These things, and countless others, cause stress in some form or another.  It doesn’t necessarily indicate something bad.   You can’t live life and make decisions without some stress.  When we let it take over is when it becomes a negative thing.  And it seems that more times than not, the way we deal with stress is food.  

 

3 responses to stress and simple solutions

  • We get in a hurry.  Stress makes us feel rushed.  And one of the first things that suffers is our mealtimes and the quality of food we consume.      

Solution:  Plan ahead.  Make meals you can freeze.  Have protein bars available.  Drink a superfood shake.

  • We wear ourselves out.  We get tired.  We lose sleep.  We grab something like sugar or extra caffeine to give us a jolt of energy.

Solution:  Make rest a priority.  Stick with a bedtime and wake up routine.  Consume foods like nuts and lean protein that will give energy that sustains.  

  • We lose our focus.  We become mindless when it comes to what we put into our bodies.  We grab ‘n go.  

Solution:  Take time to breathe.  Take five minutes in the morning to focus your day and pray and meditate.  Take another five in the evening to count your blessings or read a devotion.  

 

When we rush and grab or load up on sugar and energy supplements, we trash our bodies.  And when we trash our bodies, the stress on them only becomes worse.  Not only are we dealing with stressors outside but now our bodies are fatigued and low on energy, our mindset is negative and we lose confidence in the task at hand.   

But when we take some time to plan, get some rest, get our focus, we treat our bodies like the temples they were meant to be.  We honor them by filling them with good things.  We honor them with rest and time to breathe.  And when we do this, then those things that are demanding our time and our attention…..our schedules, projects, family, sporting events, etc…..we can show up for them healthy and present and ready to give our best and face the challenge before us.  

 

How do you deal with stress?  

Have you ever considered the concept that your body can be a temple or a trash can?

 

Be sure you’re signed up for my weekly emails.  I go more in depth with tips and personal experiences on how to live fit and free!

Why Did I Just Eat That?

guilt

“I should have never eaten that!”

“I was bad today.  I ate _______ (you fill in the blank).”

“Why can’t I ever pass that up?”

“Why did I just eat that?”

“I feel gross.”

“I have no willpower.”  

 

Chances are you’ve spoken one or more of those phrases before.  I know I have.  

Why do we gauge our worth on how we eat?  How did our food choices become the thing that determines whether we are “good” or “bad”?  A jug of milk goes bad when it’s kept beyond its date.  A carved pumpkin goes bad if it’s left on your porch until Christmas.  You say “good boy” when your puppy goes outside to potty instead of doing it on your carpet.  You tell your toddler “good girl” when she picks up her toys without being told.  

Yes, we can choose to make better choices when it comes to our food, BUT those choices don’t determine our worth. We must begin seeing our food choices separately from the definition of our worth.  Just because I eat something “bad” (although I don’t feel like anything should be labeled “bad”, but more on that in my email on Monday.  If you’re not signed up, you’d better get on the list!), doesn’t mean I’m bad.  It just means I’ve not made the best choice at that given moment.  

The next move we make is key.  And if we separate what we ate from the definition of who we are, it’s easier to say “Ok, so how do I get back on track?”  “What do I need to do next, so this doesn’t turn into a downward spiral?”  It just is.  It just was.  Move on and make a better choice.

I know…it’s hard.  Especially if you’ve always tied your worth to how you look, how much you weigh, what you’re eating.  Many people are either “on” or “off”.  They’re following a certain and very specific eating plan or they’re just eating whatever.  It takes practice, and it’s a process, to get away from those feelings of guilt and shame around food choices.  But to live in true freedom, it’s worth the work and the time and practice to get away from that mindset.  

 

What about you?  Is this an area of struggle for you?  

What labels have you given yourself based on your food choices?  

How would it feel to let you food choices be totally separate from how you view yourself?     

The Thanksgiving Table

thanksgiving

Maybe you’re hosting the Thanksgiving dinner?  Maybe you’re going somewhere and have been invited to bring a dish?  Whatever the case, Thanksgiving, like no other holiday, focuses on the dinner table.  This is a wonderful thing as we get to talk and laugh and share stories with friends and family.
I’m wondering what will be on your table?  Will you have the staples?  Turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, rolls, green beans, pumpkin pie?  Does the Thanksgiving Dinner table give you a sense of positive anticipation?  I can’t wait to get to eat Aunt Carol’s dressing?  Does it give you a sense of dread?  I’m going to eat way too many desserts!  My buttons will start popping!
What if you approached the Thanksgiving Dinner table differently this year?  What if you were the one to bring a healthy dish?  What if you focused on the people AROUND the table instead of what is ON the table?  What if you moved a little before you went to dinner?  How about inviting family to go for a walk after dinner?
We’ll be touching more specifically on some of these things a week from now.  But today, I just want to consider the basics.  WHAT will be on your table?  Do you want to make something a little different?  Do you want to be the one to introduce a healthy option?
Maybe you have a good option you always take.  Tell us about it!  Maybe you have a dish that you just LOVE and can’t live without but you’d like to “healthify” it.  I’m up for the challenge!  Send it to me.  Let me see if we can come up with a healthier version.
Can’t wait to hear from you!

My Favorite Kitchen Appliance

freezer

The kitchen is one of the most popular and most used rooms of a home.  It can make us or break us some days.  But we do have to eat, right?!?!  So let’s use it wisely and make the most of it.  My favorite kitchen appliance is my freezer.  And it’s because……..
Ice
     I drink ice water all day everyday!  I remember reading one time that ice water gives a boost to your metabolism, because your body has to work to bring the water to body temperature.  Now, have I researched that?  No.  But hey, if it works, great!  If not, I’d still drink my water with ice.
     I also put ice in my morning shake.  It makes it thicker and gives it more volume which means I get fuller 🙂
Frozen Food
     I use frozen berries for my morning shake.  I can stock up on chicken breast and other lean meats.  My Ezekiel bread keeps well in the freezer.  Ice cream anyone???  I like the healthy options like Arctic Zero and Halo.  I also like to put a container of plain Greek yogurt in the freezer while I’m eating dinner, and when I’m finished, it’s frozen just enough to taste like ice cream (add a tablespoon on chocolate chips and it’s perfect!)
Hiding Place
     Yes, it’s a great hiding place for foods you want on hand but you don’t want them to be at your fingertips.  How about your dark chocolate?  There’s nothing wrong with a chocolate here and there, but I know me, and if it’s in plain sight, it’s easier to go grab.  Plus it takes longer to eat something that is a bit frozen!
Storage
     You can make ahead about anything and freeze it until you’re ready to use it.  I make a big batch of protein balls and store them in the freezer.  For the holidays I will make fudge.  Instead of spreading it out over several days or making a new batch every time I need one, I put on my self-control and get it all done in one day and then put it in the freezer and forget about it!
What’s your favorite kitchen appliance and why??