11-13-2013

Eat This, Not That

Yesterday, I was able to attend a nutrition seminar held at the college I work at. I almost didn’t go but am glad I did because there was a lot of great info, which I knew I wanted to share with my readers.

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The seminar was geared towards busy college students, and the goal was to show them what choices they have when eating out at places like McDonald’s, Applebee’s, etc. We all know what’s healthy and what’s not, but if you’re faced with a few not so healthy choices while out, would you know what to pick?

The nutritionist gave us 4 things to look out for when buying “fast-food” or dining out:

  1. Type of food
  2. Size of food
  3. Prep
  4. Accompaniments

Food Prep

I’m sure you know that grilled chicken is better than “crispy” chicken sandwiches (aka fried), but do you know how much the difference is?

A KFC grilled chicken sandwich isn’t too bad…250 calories

A KFC extra crispy chicken sandwich is…510 calories!

Still not TOO bad compared to the stuff I’ll talk about in a bit.

Accompaniments

This conversation started with mayo. I love mayo. My mom has been buying the olive oil Hellman’s recently in an attempt to get a “healthier” mayo. Well, guess what…it isn’t that much better! Mayo is made from soybean oil (the cheapest oil they can use) and the mayo that says “olive oil” actually only has a tiny, tiny bit of olive oil, and the rest is soybean oil. They basically put the minimum they can in it so that they can put “olive oil” on the label.

The good news is, she stated that, “unless you’re eating jars at a time, don’t worry about whether you get olive oil mayo, low-fat mayo, etc. They’re all basically the same.”

Next, let’s go through options for each meal of the day. Some of the stuff I will outline, you may already know, but it’s good information for those who may not know, and a good refresher for those who eat out!

Breakfast

The nutritionist said, “muffins are donuts for rich people.” They really have no nutritional value, even bran muffins, which you may think it does. You will eat it, and you will still be hungry, and that’s how your day goes downhill (eating wise).

Oatmeal > Muffins. A medium sized oatmeal is about 260 calories, and a bran muffin is 480 calories.

Next, ham > sausage. Always. Why? because it has less fat. Even 2 pieces of bacon is still better than sausage. An Egg McMuffin = 300 calories, and a Sausage McMuffin = 450 calories. She said that if you need to get breakfast while at a McDonald’s (obviously oatmeal is the best), the Egg McMuffin actually isn’t that bad.

SIDE NOTE: She told us that the Egg McMuffin has the ham on the top, and the Sausage McMuffin has the sausage on the bottom (of the egg) due to scientific research by McDonald’s about what the best way for the egg and meat to hit your tastebuds is. So weird…

PicMonkey Collage

Okay, lastly, let’s talk about omelettes. I believe this is from Applebee’s, but a Simple and Fit Omelette is only 330 calories. Not bad at all. But if you get the regular spinach and mushroom omelette, it is……….910 calories! I couldn’t believe that. I have ordered omelettes many a time at diners, thinking it can’t be that bad because it’s just eggs and stuff. The killer is the cheese. That is what adds a ton of calories. Think about that next time you want to order an omelette!

Lunch

So you’re at Burger King..which do you choose? The Original Chicken Sandwich? Or the Double Hamburger?

If you’re like me, you may have thought the hamburger would be worse…but it’s actually half the calories of the chicken sandwich. 330 calories vs. 630.

Also, she talked about how fries really aren’t THAT bad if you get a small, and if you are really craving them. A small only has 230 calories. A large, however, has 500 calories.

Other great fast food options are:

  • oatmeal
  • fruit & yogurt parfait
  • side salad
  • fruit dippers
  • fruit
  • Wendy’s chili
  • Wendy’s baked potato (not loaded)

If you’re going to a deli for a sandwich, the top 3 deli meats are:

  • turkey
  • roast beef
  • ham

As she mentioned, “if you can see the fat, then don’t eat it,” referencing salami.

Snacks

“No 100 calorie snack pack will make you feel like you ate anything. You’ll just eat more snack packs.” Truth!

Here are some points she made on snacks:

  • Nuts are good in moderation
  • Lays will not fill your stomach, which is why you could eat a whole bag of them.
  • Nature Valley granola bars are a great option. But any granola bar that has chocolate or yogurty dip/base is not.
  • Fig newtons aren’t a bad snack option when in a pinch.

Keep a stash of these at home, at your desk, in your car if possible:

  • Crackers
  • Bars, such as Larabars which you can keep in your car for a while.
  • Peanut butter
  • Chobani
  • Hummus
  • Carnation Instant Breakfast. Not the best breakfast, but it’s something for on-the-go when you need it quick.

I love Larabars. They are all natural and have a lot of great flavors. I like having them when my sweet tooth strikes.

Dinner

“Healthy sells.” Restaurants know this. They know you want to eat healthy, but that doesn’t mean the dishes are, in fact, healthy.

Let’s say you go to Applebee’s and get a salad. They actually have a salad on their menu that is 1,200 calories!! That’s almost as much as some people need to eat in an entire day. And that’s a salad. Make sure to check the ingredients. If it contains cheese, it will most likely have a lot of calories, because restaurants load it up with cheese to make it taste better. This applies to any dish.

She suggested also getting a sirloin as opposed to a chicken dish if you’re dining out. A sirloin can be served plain with a side. When is grilled chicken ever served just plain? It usually has cheese, sauces, it’s breaded, fried, etc.

What about if you want Chinese food?

The Good

  • Dumplings if shell is thin
  • Egg drop soup
  • Sichuan dishes (less fat)

The Bad

  • Egg rolls
  • Spare ribs
  • General Tso (or any of those types of chicken)
  • Sweet n’ Sour Chicken
  • Lo Mein
  • Fried Rice

How can you make it better?

  • Skip the rice
  • Steamed veggies

Dessert

I don’t know about you, but I didn’t know that Ben & Jerry’s is WAY higher in calories that normal ice cream. But it’s so good =(

A 1/2 cup of Eddy’s ice cream is 130 calories. A 1/2 cup of Ben & Jerry’s is 360 calories! And who eats only a half cup? I certainly don’t…

Here are some good dessert options if you have a sweet tooth like me:

  • Luigi’s Italian Ice
  • Klondike bars
  • Ice Cream Sandwiches
  • Skinny Cow ice cream
  • Fudgesicles
  • Slim-A-Cow ice cream

So there you have it folks. A key thing I will remember when dining out is cheese! I actually wasn’t aware it was so high in saturated fat and calories.

Another key point to remember, that the nutritionist stated as well, as that eating things in moderation won’t kill you. Indulge if you want, just don’t eat the whole bag of chips or the whole pint of Ben & Jerry’s. Though I know that’s hard ;)

I thought her seminar was very informative, and feel like I can make better choices if I’m out at a Burger King (which is rare but sometimes my friends want to go), or out to dinner.

What did you find interesting about this seminar? Did you learn something new? 

What’s your favorite Ben & Jerry’s flavor? I love Half Baked!

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11-13-2013

Health/Fitness Links To Get You Through The Day

I didn’t get a chance to do this last week, so I’ll include a few extra links for you today ;)

Here are your health links:

Do you have a set grocery list each week, or do you go to the store and fly by the seat of your pants? I do the latter ;)

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01-12-2013

My Weekly Meals

Since Monday, my two friends and I have been doing an “eating healthy challenge.” The main challenge is just to eat clean and avoid any processed foods (bread, pasta, cereals, candy, etc). I’ve been focusing on natural foods where the ingredient list is either literally 1 ingredient, or all natural ingredients.

We allow ourselves 1 small “cheat” of our choice per day, whether it’s a piece of chocolate, bowl of cereal (my favorite), a cookie…whatever. Once a week, if we want we can have a meal of our choice. Surprisingly, it hasn’t been hard to maintain this! The best part about it is that it’s not a diet. It’s a healthy lifestyle. Eating whole, unprocessed foods is never a diet. It’s a natural, healthy way to lose weight and body fat, feel less bloated, feel more energized, and much more.

I wanted to share with you all my past week of eating because I get questions asking me what I eat on a daily basis. Even off the challenge, this is pretty much how I eat. As you can see, I pretty much eat the same things over and over. That’s usually the case when you are eating clean! Plus, I just love eggs and chicken sausage =)

Also, while most days say no snack after breakfast, that’s only because I’ve been on break and waking up later. On normal work weeks I always snack between breakfast and lunch.

weeklyfood

What are your favorite healthy foods you can’t live without? Do you snack regularly throughout the day?

10-10-2012

Health/Fitness Links to Get You Through the Day

It’s Wednesday! Halfway through the week! Hope you all are working on turning your “I wish” into “I wills” ;)

As usual, we all need some good websites to peruse sometimes to get us through our mid-week funk. I found some real good ones this week!

  • Cut Your Workout Time in Half – This is from Nissan’s Innovation for Endurance site. There are some really good tips in here. There is no need to have a 2 hour workout at the gym. Make the most of your time there…get in and get out! My favorite one is probably the tip about keeping track of your rest time. Sometimes I take way too long of a rest period, and that adds up in the end!
  • Breakfast for the Week: Egg Casserole – Another great post from Jess at Blonde Ponytail. This is an awesome idea for making one dish that will last you the week. I love eggs for breakfast but sometimes I am in too much of a rush to have them in the morning. This is a great solution to that, and I definitely need to try it out.
  • How to Run a Marathon: Yes YouFitbottomedgirls.com provides good info for those looking to run their first marathon, along with a great, basic training plan. This plan assumes you have already run a half marathon, but I took a look at it and don’t think that’s necessary. You should, however, have a good base of running, and at least be able to run 3-4 miles consistently. After seeing everyone’s posts about Chicago Marathon, I am getting the marathon itch again!
  • How to Meal Plan – Probably my favorite link out of all of them. Meal planning is essential if you want to eat clean. You need to have meals ready for when temptations hit, or for when you are out and the only food options are Burger King or pizza. I pack my meals every morning into my lunch bag and always include a ton of snacks too. I don’t want to be caught out without food. This link has a ton of great tips on how to do this!

There you have it friends…my 4th ever “Health/Fitness Links to Get You Through the Day.” My little blog is slowly growing :)

Do you plan your meals ahead of time daily, weekly, monthly, etc? If so, how do you do it? Share some tips in the comments!

10-04-2012

My favorite food logging app: “LoseIt!”

Logging your food intake can help you stay on track with eating clean, and also help you realize where your weaknesses may be. Actually writing down everything you eat may allow you to realize those little snacks you sneak in throughout the day actually add up. I like to track my intake with an iPhone app called LoseIt! (similar to other apps such as DailyPlate or MyFitnessPal). I love seeing how many grams of carbs, protein, sugar, fiber, etc., I get per day.

LoseIt! is so easy to use which I love. When you first open the app you will immediately be able to figure out how to use it.

This is the home screen which is called “My Day.” You can set it all up to enter your goals and it will tell you approximately how many calories you should be eating.

You can add foods based on what meal it was for, or if it was a snack. You can also log your exercise in LoseIt! as well, so you can track food and exercise all in one central place.

You can search the foods they have in their lists, and then it saves your most popular foods under “my foods” or saves whole meals (if you have a meal of multiple ingredients).

I also like that you can scan barcodes if LoseIt! doesn’t have the item you need in their inventory. I have never had an incident where I haven’t found the food, or haven’t been able to scan it. When you scan it, it automatically puts in the serving size and nutritional info (though you can change the serving size if you ate more or less).

Once you input all of your food for the day, you can go back to “My Day” and then click on “Nutrients” to be able to see your nutritional breakdown, both for the day and the week if you wish.

Lastly, like I mentioned above, you can track your exercise. They have a huge list of options and then you can get more specific in terms of time and level of exertion.

I seriously love LostIt! It’s such an easy, straightforward app. When I feel like I need to get back on track, I start putting in my foods. I generally just want to make sure I’m not getting too many grams of carbs and sugar, I’m not overly concerned about calories. If anything, it helps me see that I don’t eat enough calories some days, even though I feel like I’m eating a ton!

Do you use a health related app? What’s your favorite?

09-17-2012

Grocery List Essentials

If you have no clue where to start when you go to the grocery store, then at least make sure you get these 6 things.

I made sure to think of foods that can be used for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

1. Eggs are obviously great for breakfast, and you can eat them hard boiled or make an omelet (in which you can then add in broccoli and mixed greens). Eggs are also great as a snack. You can make a bunch hard-boiled, and then grab-n-go.

2. Canned tuna is a MUST-HAVE. You may think it’s gross and plain, but I rarely have it alone. Lately, I’ve been mixing tuna with freshly steamed broccoli as a snack. I also like to make salads using canned tuna.

3. Bananas are the perfect pre-workout snack. You can dip them in peanut butter, or just eat ‘em plain on your way to the gym. Very portable and full of nutrition. I love bananas as a quick source of carbs before or after a workout.

4. Chicken. Also a must-have. Cook it in bulk on a Sunday and you’re set for lunches all week. I like to make mixed-green salads with grilled chicken. For dressings I use olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I like to add almonds too, for a little extra crunch.

5. Mixed Greens can be used for anything. Breakfast, snacks, lunch, dinner. You can make delicious salads with mixed greens as the base, and then add in any veggies you want. I have mixed greens at least once a day with a lunch. I like the bagged kind because it’s easy. I don’t have to worry about waking up and having to wash, cut and dry lettuce leaves. Although it is a little more expensive than if you bought lettuce heads. I think it’s worth it, but I’m also lazy in the mornings!

6. Broccoli. This vegetable is PACKED with nutrients. Healthy carbs, calcium, and so much more. It is also very filling. When I have broccoli with my tuna as a snack, I’m full for at least the next 3 hours. In the mornings, I put some broccoli heads in a bowl with a bit of water, then microwave for 2 minutes. I drain the water out, and voila, it’s ready to be packed in my lunch bag.

You can find my full grocery shopping list here. Eating clean doesn’t have to break the bank.

What are your grocery list must-haves?

08-26-2012

My Grocery Shopping List

A few people had asked me to do a post on what I buy at the supermarket for all my meals. I general eat pretty clean throughout the week…it’s the weekends that get me! Here’s what I generally buy for each meal category (and what meals I make) for some inspiration or if you’re looking to change things up in your diet.

Breakfast Items:

  • eggs (usually eat hard boiled eggs for breakfast)
  • egg whites for when I’m having hard boiled eggs as a snack later in the day, or with my lunch
  • organic chicken or turkey sausage (sometimes I have this as a snack in between breakfast and lunch)
  • for emergencies (like no time) -honey nut cheerios with skim milk
  • protein powder (will talk about this more below). I like to use my magic bullet to mix up protein powder, water and peanut or almond butter. Then I pour it into my coffee mug and pour my coffee on top. Delicious, filling and quick!

Lunch Items:

  • during the week I really only eat a mixed green salad, so I buy the bags of mixed greens, and add in any type of protein I’m feeling that day, like eggs or tuna. Sometimes chicken if it’s leftover from dinner
  • olive oil and balsamic vinegar as dressing
  • cherry tomatoes
  • dried cranberries
  • alfafa sprouts

Dinner Items:

  • here’s where you can go crazy with any type of protein (and ways to cook it): chicken, fish (salmon, tilapia, etc), turkey any sort of beef. I usually make my own ground beef for burgers instead of buying it already ground up. I typically grill everything outside since my mom hates when food smells take over our house.
  • any veggies you like…my favorites: zucchini (both the green and yellow kind), asparagus, spinach, chick peas to add in a side salad, portobello mushrooms (or general mushrooms), spaghetti squash, acorn squash (delicious in a homemade chicken soup), cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, red and green peppers (my mom always adds these into any pasta or tomato sauce we make…love peppers), onions
  • healthy carb options: quinoa, sweet potatoes, brown rice (and you also can get your carbs from some veggies too, like broccoli)
  • quick dinner idea: rotisserie chicken from your local grocery store

Snack Items:

  • Protein powder (!) my favorite, quick and easy snack. I use Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey protein. Sometimes I just make a protein shake with just water, other times I add stuff like almond butter and cinnamon in, and it’s delicious!
  • All berries – blackberries, blueberries, strawberries (these are low carb/low sugar so they are a great snack)
  • Pineapple
  • Watermelon
  • Pre-workout fruits: bananas, apples
  • Grapefruit (I’ve been having this between breakfast and lunch…surprisingly it is rather filling)
  • Nuts: cashews, pecans, almonds, pistachios…and you can add these in salads. My favorite are cashews.
  • Almond butter to put on bananas or apples
  • Celery (also pairs well with almond butter…and hummus of course)
  • 80-90% Dark chocolate. Tastes bitter at first but you get used to it…now I can’t have milk chocolate anymore

*Splurge-y snack items that are still considered “healthy” (unlike the Ben & Jerry’s I just had last night…)*

  • Nature Valley bars (I LOVE the Sweet & Salty almond bars as an emergency pre/post-workout snack if I’m starving. They are so good.)
  • Chobani greek yogurt (The reason I put this here is because I get the ones with the fruit, which = more preservatives/ingredients/sugar/carbs. But if you buy plain and put in your own fruit, then it’s a pretty dang healthy snack!) I like the apples and cinnamon flavor…YUM.
  • Normal flavored yogurt (I’ve been having Stonyfield Organic Vanilla yogurt as a post-dinner dessert occasionally)
  • Honey nut cheerios/plain cheerios

I feel like I am forgetting a lot of stuff, but that’s what I can think of right now, and I even went into my food log app to see if I’m missing anything.

I hope this helps and provides people with some new ideas! If you have anything I am missing, leave it in the comments because I am always looking for new snack ideas.

If you had to pick one healthy food to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be?