Category Archives: Food and Recipes

Top 10 Best Non-perishable Snacks

No refrigerator or microwave at work? No problem. Need to find something you can easily stash in your purse? Going on a work trip and need to pack snacks for a few days? I got you. It’s hard to find both healthy and enjoyable snacks (aside from another Kind bar) that don’t need to be refrigerated or heated up. This top ten list of non-perishable snack ideas will help make eating on the go a little bit easier.

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1. Jerky- beef, turkey, buffalo, and salmon are all good options. Think Jerky (a local Chicago company) comes in lots of tasty flavors and is nitrate free. Jerky can be a little high in sodium, but it is typicaly 99% fat free and is a great source of protein.

2. Fruit with peanut or almond butter. Banana, apple, pears, and oranges can all survive outside the refrigerator and travel well.

Olives To Go! Pitted Kalamata

3. Olives to Go! I just want to hug whoever thought of packaging olives in a perfect little transportable container. Olives are full of healthy fat that will hold you over keep you full. They have black pitted, green pimiento stuffed, and kalamata.

4. Trail mix or nuts.  While trail mix is a good combination of carb, protein, and fat- it can still really pack in the calories. Be sure to watch your portion ( 1/4 cup serving is typically appropriate) or opt for these 100 calorie nut packs.

5. Peanut butter sandwich on wheat bread. The old stand by, enough said.

Tuna Creations® Herb & Garlic

6.  Starkist Tuna pouch with crackers. The tuna comes in a couple different flavors and is a great way to pack in the protein.

SkinnyPop Sea Salt & Black Pepper

7. Popcorn sometimes gets a  bad rap, but it is really just the butter that makes it bad. It is a great way to satify a salty and crunchy craving and still get in a little protein and fiber. SkinnyPop and Smartfood are both great options and available in single serve bag. You could also pop your own.

The Good Bean roasted chickpea snacks

8. Roasted Chickpeas. These come in lots of different flavors and are not only tasty and crunchy, but also a great way to get in both protein and fiber. Make your own or try The Good Bean brand.

Just Mango Slices

9. Dried mango from Trader Joe’s.  I don’t even really like mangos all that much, but these dried fruit slices are amazing and very nutritious. For a fruit, they have a good amount of protein and fiber, are an excellent source of vitamin A, and even have a little iron and vitamin C. Make sure you get the unsweetened ones, they are perfect just the way they are.

RXBAR Whole Food Protein Bar, Chocolate Sea Salt 1.83 Ounce (Pack of 12)

10. Granola/energy/protein bar. This is the obvious choice for an easy and transportable snack.  Look for bars that have at least 5-6 grams of protein and 3-4 grams of fiber so it will actually help fill you up. My favorite picks: Kind bars (PlusNut & Spices, Strong & Kind), Health Warrior Chia Bars, and RX Bars.

Guide to Making Happy Hour Healthy and Happy

Happy Hour implies a fun time, but it can also wreak havoc on our diet. Just because you are trying to lose weight and eat better, doesn’t mean you can’t be partake in some after work fun. Keep happy hour happy with these five tips.

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1. Plan Ahead!

Decide on a place early in the day so you can pull the menu up online and pick out a healthy selections ahead of time. If you already know what you are going to order you won’t be as tempted by wings and cheese dip. Better yet, pick the place yourself- that way you know there will be a few items on the menu you can enjoy and not feel bad about later on.

2. Choose your alcohol wisely

Not all beers, wines, and mixed drinks are created equal. Light beer, champagne, and hard alcohol with a no calorie mixer are your best options. Try to avoid sugary cocktails like margaritas and mojitos as they can really pack in the calories. Vodka soda with lime or a white wine spritzer are two of our favorite picks.

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3. Look for grilled proteins and veggies on the menu

Not only are protein and veggies a filling combination, but they are relatively low in calories too! Look for grilled calamari, mussels, raw oysters or grilled chicken wings as a protein choice. We also recommend ordering a side salad or cup of veggie based soup if it is available.

4. Avoid the complimentary chips and snacks

A lot of places offer free bowls of popcorn, pretzels, nuts, or chips and salsa that are really easy to mindlessly eat while mingling with friends. If you are going to enjoy these treats we recommend taking a small portion and putting it on your own plate. If the temptation is too strong ask your server or bartender to remove them from the table.

5. Order a blood Mary

This tomato based cocktail doubles as an appetizer. The tomato juice along with a pickle and celery stick garnish will help fill you up and count as a serving of vegetables.

6. Don’t show up starving

Good intentions to eat well go out the window when we find ourselves overly hungry. Have an afternoon snack to keep your hunger in check. We recommend a banana with PB, apple and string cheese, or carrots and hummus.

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7. Sharing is caring

You might not always have control over what food will be offered, but you always have control over how much you choose to eat. If you are going to opt for fries, nachos, chips and dip be sure to share with others. The more the merrier!

 

How to Eat Out and Still Lose Weight

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When was the last time you went out to eat? It  probably wasn’t that long ago as most people eat out at least once a week, if not more. Eating out is a very common experience for many people, but it is also something many people struggle with. Whether it is going out to lunch with co-workers, celebrating your birthday at a steak house, or catching up with friend over brunch, it is possible to make good choices and stay on track while eating out if you follow these rules.

Plan ahead                                                                                                                                                         Do some research and look the menu up online and pick out a few healthy selections ahead of time. When it comes time to order you will already know what you plan to eat and will be less tempted by other things on the menu.

Be the first to order                                                                                                                                    This is especially helpful when dining with a large group. When you order first you won’t be as tempted to change your mind when you hear what someone else is getting. Additionally, one of the best things you can do to not over eat is to not over order food. You can always order more food if you are still hungry, but you can’t send it back!

Don’t be afraid to ask questions or customize your order                                                      Your server should be knowledgeable about the menu and is there to help you, use them! Inquire about portion sizes, if you are able to sub a side salad for French fries, if you can customize your order, or if an entrée is big enough to split. It also doesn’t hurt to ask if you can omit or get higher calorie condiments on the side. Items like cheese, salad dressing, mayonnaise, avocado, and sour cream can ruin an other wise healthy meal.

Make some compromises                                                                                                                     There is something about going out to eat that makes us want to splurge. Having apps, cocktails, and dessert on top of a main course can really put you over on your calories. Instead of doing all three, try to pick just one. Sticking to wine, light(ish) beer, and hard liquor with non-sugary mixers like club soda will be much lower calorie than having a margarita, sangria, or mojito. Similarly with food, if you really want a burger, have a burger, but get a side salad instead of fries. Learning how to indulge in moderation is a healthy habit that will allow you to enjoy what you eat, but still maintain a healthy weight.

Simple is best                                                                                                                                                        Order foods that are cooked in a simple manner and pay attention to the terminology used on the menu. Hone in on the veggies and meats as much as possible and try to avoid dishes that describe food as fried, crispy, battered, or buttered. Instead, look for key words like steamed, broiled, and grilled.

Never show up starving                                                                                                                                You never want to show up starving to a restaurant because you will be more likely to over order and over eat (especially if there are apps, chips, or bread). Good intentions to eat healthy go out the window when we are extra hungry. Eat lighter at the meals leading up to bank a little extra room, but don’t skip all together. It can help to have a small snack like carrots and hummus or fruit and a cheese stick before hand.

Take charge of what you can control                                                                                                  You might not always have control over where you are eating or what is being offered, but you always have control over how much you eat. If complimentary bread or chips are being offered, place them on the other side of the table and turn down refills. Eat slow and enjoy what you are eating. Don’t feel the need to clean your plate. Ask for a doggie bag to take home leftovers.

 

Give Your Salad a Makeover

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Nothing says “I’m on a diet” like a sad, boring salad. It is really easy to get burnt out on salads when you are trying to lose weight, especially if you keep making the same one over and over. By adding variety and mixing up the ingredients you can make a healthy salad that is anything but a big bowl of boring lettuce. Put some zip back in your salads with these easy tips and ideas:        

  • Mix up the greens: Try romaine, green leaf, red leaf, butter, Swiss chard, kale, shredded field greens, spring mix, baby spinach, arugula or even shredded Brussels’s sprouts.
  • Add some crunch: Try almonds, walnuts, cashews, water chestnuts, apple chunks, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, or sunflower seeds.
  • Include a protein: Mix in Chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans, chicken, tuna fish, salmon, hardboiled egg, tofu. Meat can be fresh, canned, smoked, or in a pouch.
  • Vary your cheese: Try feta, goat, gorgonzola, shredded cheddar, or shaved parmesan.
  • Add some sweetness: Try strawberries, pomegranate seeds, pear or apple slices, or dried fruit like cranberries, raisins, or mango.
  • Load up on vegetables: Include shredded carrots, radishes, red pepper slices, red onion, jicama, hearts of palm, artichoke hearts, peas, pepperoncinis, tomatoes, cucumbers, broccoli florets, and sprouts.
  • Add some grains: Bulgur, quinoa, farro, wheat berries are a great way to add some fiber and filler to your salads, especially if you are vegan or vegetarian.
  • Make your own salad dressing: combine olive oil with different types of vinegar (red wine, balsamic, white balsamic, raspberry infused) or fresh squeezed lemon juice. Add chia seeds for extra fiber and heart healthy fats. Try adding fresh herbs for even more flavor.

Salad ideas:

  • Taco salad with ground turkey, salsa, black beans, corn, shredded cheddar, a dollop of light sour cream, and a few crushed tortillas
  • Asian salad with grilled chicken, slivered almonds, mandarin oranges, red pepper slices, water chestnuts, and Panera’s Asian dressing, Makato’s Ginger dressing, or make your own
  • Greek salad with chicken, peperoncinis, olives, feta cheese, and red onion
  • Mixed greens with pumpkin seeds, gorgonzola, shredded carrots, red onion, chickpeas
  • Spinach with strawberry slices, walnuts, goat cheese, red onions, and hearts of palm

Be well my friends and don’t eat boring salads,

Milly

Top 5 Easy Breakfasts

There are two types of people in this world: those that eat breakfast and those that do not. Different things work for different people, but I am most definitely in the Must Eat Breakfast Every Day Club. One of the most frequently asked questions I get from my clients is “what do you eat for breakfast?”, so I decided to put together a list of my top 5.

1. High fiber English muffin with nut butter

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This is my go to when I wake up craving something sweet. I am obsessed with Justin’s Nut Butter Honey Classic Peanut Butter. It is little pricey compared to other brands, but it is so good. I also add a good sprinkle of chia seeds for some extra protein, fiber, and heart healthy omega 3’s. Chia seeds swell in liquid and create a gel like mixture that will help you feel full and hold you over. I hope I didn’t make that sound gross because they aren’t, they are amazing.

2. Avocado toast

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This is a super easy breakfast, but  the avocado makes it feel more sophisticated than what it really is. I like using a hearty whole wheat bread, like Turano, and then mash a half avocado on top. If I am feeling extra fancy, I will add a sprinkle of kosher salt, radish slices (or any other veg), a squeeze of fresh lime, and a drizzle of sriracha. A whole avocado can be close to 300 calories so be careful with how much you use!

3. Bagel thin with fried egg, Laughing Cow cheese, and greens.

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In case you haven’t noticed, I really like having some sort of bread in the morning. A whole bagel can be a bit much, but I recently discovered Thomas Everything Bagel Thins and they are the absolute best! One bagel is 110 calories and you get 5 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber. I load it up with one fried egg, a Laughing Cow Cheese wedge, and greens (whatever is in the fridge- arugula, spring mix, kale, or spinach). Sometimes it gets messy.

4. Mini Egg Omelets from Skinnytaste (Anyone else have a major girl crush on Gina?)

Not only are these mini omelets super easy to make, but you can also make them ahead of time and just pop them in the microwave for a quick minute before you run out the door. This recipe is completely customizable and you can make it with lots of different veggies, meats, and cheeses.

5. Yogurt with cereal and chia seeds.

Mixed Berries & Açai Non-FatWhen I say yogurt, what I really mean is Siggi’s Icelandic-style yogurt. It really packs in the protein and unlike other flavored yogurt, there is very little sugar and no artificial sweeteners. The sugar in Siggi’s comes from that natural occurring lactose (which is in all yogurt) and real fruit (not flavoring). I like to add a sprinkle of chia seeds and some cereal (Barbara’s Puffins Cereal is my current favorite) for a little crunch. This makes for an easy breakfast on the go or for a snack later on in the day.

Lastly , timing (because you all love to ask about this as well). The timing of my breakfast really depends on when I am working out for the day. If I take an early morning class I usually have a small handful of nuts when I get up and then my normal breakfast when I get home. Nothing gets me through a hard workout like dreaming about what I am going to make for breakfast as soon as I get home. I’m sure I can’t be the only that does this, right? And if I am working out later in the day, I typically eat within an hour of getting up.

I did name drop a lot of different product, but this is not a sponsored post. These are just some of my current favorites.
And just so you know, I would be lying if I said I never ate bacon on the weekends.

Be well my friends and don’t skip breakfast,

Milly

 

 

How to Lose Weight Without Giving up Alcohol

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It’s truly a shame alcohol has calories because it is often an integral part of happy hour, sporting events, birthdays, holidays, concerts, and other special events. Sure, cutting it out will save calories and help you lose weight, but that sounds boring and super lame. I’m not saying there is some magical pill that will allow you to drink as much as you like and still lose weight, but by following the tips below you can make room for your booze and enjoy it too!

1. Choose the lower calorie options. Whether you prefer beer, wine, or hard alcohol there are ways to keep the calories down.

Beer Drinkers: choose light or session beers. Corona light is my go to beer choice, especially in the summer time. It has ~100 calories per 12oz bottle and has more flavor than a bud or miller light, but the calories are just as low. Add a lime for even more flavor and I am a happy girl. My husband on the other hand, simply ain’t having it. He likes his hops, IPA’s, pale ales, and all those other higher alcohol percentage beers that can pack in over 200 calories per 12oz bottle. Luckily for him and other beer connoisseurs, the prevalence of session beers is on the rise. Not only do session beers have more flavor to satisfy a more sophisticated palate, but they were crafted so you could have a “drinking session” without getting too drunk. Check out this beer list for some good picks.

Wine Lovers: choose wines that are less than 14%- it should be on the bottle. Typically champagne and sparkling wines will be the lowest. It doesn’t have to be NYE to pop the champs!

Hard liquor: opt for low calorie mixers and simple cocktails. Vodka with club soda, a bloody mary, or whiskey with diet soda are all good options. If you really want a margarita, mojito, or some other sugary cocktail, have one and then try to switch to something less calorie dense.

2. Learn to give and take. If you aren’t willing to give up alcohol entirely that is fine, but you will need to make some compromises elsewhere. For example, if you know you are getting drinks after work, skip the afternoon cookie and make a healthy selection at dinner. Don’t let a few beers or bottle of wine be an excuse to make bad food choices. Instead of doing drinks AND dessert, pick one or the other.

3. Moderation, moderation, moderation! Not only will this save you from possibly embarrassing yourself from getting too drunk, but it will also keep you from having a hangover. Before going out, decide how many drinks you are going to have and stick to it.

4. Find some social activities that don’t involve alcohol! Instead of meeting the girls for Happy Hour, take a yoga class together. Instead of doing brunch, go for a morning hike or walk. You will still get to spend time together and get in some exercise!

Be well my friends and drink responsibly,

Milly