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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07-11-2013

Why I Needed A Break From Running

I love running. I do. But after the Brooklyn Half Marathon, I needed a break from running.

Towards the end of half-marathon training, I wasn’t looking forward to runs anymore. It was more of a task than fun, and that’s how I knew. I wanted the half to be over so I could take a break and go back to lifting. I knew I needed to start marathon training towards the end of July…and I could have and probably should have kept running a little bit to keep my base, but I just needed to get away from it.

I love running and I want to feel excited for runs, and I just wasn’t there anymore. So I took a month and a half off and did other things, like cardio/strength workouts that focused on different forms of cardio, like burpees (hate). I loved seeing my improvement in lifting and reps.

Then, once I picked out my half marathon training plan, I started getting excited about running again…and all of a sudden, I couldn’t wait for training to start again!

I’m only in week 2 of training but I am excited for each run so far. My goal is to PR at the New York City Marathon, so that will fuel my runs as well.

I definitely needed that time away from running to feel this excitement again. Because, honestly, after the half I was like ugh I have to start MARATHON training now?!?

Isn’t it funny how it almost sounds like a relationship? ;)

Marathon Training

Speaking of marathon training. I started my day off with an easy 3 mile run today. Well, it was certainly at an easy pace (slow) but it did not feel easy considering it was 80% humidity. WHYYYY??? Can this go away anytime soon? I had to stop and walk a few times because I just felt so out of breath, but I felt good finishing the run. I also ran in my Pro Compression socks for the first time…not bad! And I love this color…and I swear I didn’t mean to match my outfit :)

Then I made myself a nice breakfast…egg white scramble with mushrooms topped with salsa, and an apple with almond butter. Yum!

This is the first week I will be running Thursday-Sunday! Hopefully it goes well and my body adjusts to running in the heat.

Have you ever needed a break from running? Or any sport? Or can you run all year round?

 

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06-11-2013

Protein Pancakes Recipe

I have finally found a protein pancake recipe I like!!!

I tried making them once and it was a major fail…did not taste good at all. Which is why I was scared of trying to make it again. But I figured I’d experiment after I saw this recipe on Slimsanity.

I modified it a bit…and it ended up being delicious!

pancake

Original recipe by: Slimsanity

My Modified Recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder (I used Vega Sport Performance Vanilla)
  • 1/2 cup of almond milk
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 egg
  • cinnamon

Preparation

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mash together.
  2. Put contents in a Magic Bullet or blender. I used a Magic Bullet, and actually had to add a bit more almond milk for it to be able to blend and get a “pancake like consistency.”
  3. Place a non-stick pan over medium heat, and add a bit of coconut oil or oil of your choice. Pour batter into three pancakes.
  4. Cook on each side 2-3 minutes. Serve with banana (or fruit of choice), honey, or peanut/almond butter. Or all three like I did!

Have you ever tried making protein pancakes? How did they come out? Please share your recipe!

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01-22-2013

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffin Recipe

My friend Laura introduced me to these this past weekend. She baked some and thought I would enjoy them because they use whole ingredients and are a great “breakfast to go.”

She linked me to the recipe on Chocolate-Covered Katie so I could make a batch of my own…and I definitely plan on it at some point this week! They are delicious.

I am all about do it yourself protein bars, granola bars, etc. so this is exactly what I love to see.

Here’s the full recipe, and you can find many more healthy recipes on Katie’s blog!

(Makes 24-25 cupcakes)

Adapted from: Cookie Dough Baked Oatmeal.

  • 5 cups rolled oats (400g)
  • 2 1/2 cups over-ripe mashed banana, measured after mashing (For all substitution notes on this recipe, see nutrition link below.) (600g)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 5 NuNaturals stevia packets (or omit and use 5 tbsp liquid sweetener of choice–such as pure maple syrup or agave–instead)
  • optional: 2/3 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 2 2/3 cups water (640g) (If using the liquid-sweetener option, scale water back by 1/3 cup.)
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp oil (45g) (I really like coconut, but veg oil will also work. For lower-fat substitution notes, see nutrition link below.)
  • 2 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • optional add-ins: cinnamon, shredded coconut, chopped walnuts, ground flax or wheat germ, raisins or other dried fruit, etc.

Preheat oven to 380 F, and line 24-25 cupcake tins. In a large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients and stir very well. In a separate bowl, combine and stir all wet ingredients (including banana). Mix wet into dry, then pour into the cupcake liners and bake 21 minutes. I also like to then broil for 1-2 minutes, but it’s optional. These oatmeal cakes can be eaten right away, or they can be frozen and reheated for an instant breakfast on a busy day.

View Nutrition Facts

What’s your favorite breakfast? Do you eat breakfast “on-the-go?”

 

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01-04-2013

Protein Pancake Recipe

TGIF! Happy Friday everyone! Have any exciting plans for the weekend? Working out? Maybe trying out my new Ab Attack video? ;)

Anyways, a few days ago I wanted something different for breakfast. I usually just have eggs and chicken sausage. I didn’t have many ingredients on hand, so I searched for an easy protein pancake recipe and found this one by Jonathon’s Fitness. So simple and easy! Here is his recipe with my modifications in bold.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup dry oatmeal
  • 2 tbs of peanut butter
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 medium sized egg (I didn’t see this for some reason, and only used egg whites. Maybe that’s why they ended up so dry??)
  • 2 scoops of protein powder
  • pinch of cinnamon

Instructions

  1. 1. Grease and preheat skillet
  2. 2. Blend ingredients (used a Magic Bullet to blend and it worked great)
  3. 3. Pour in skillet until golden brown

It was delicious! Since I forgot an egg, I think it came out too dry, so I just added some organic orange marmalade on top. I made 2 and could only get through 1 before being stuffed! Definitely plan on making these again when I feel like switching up my breakfast.

Do you have a go-to breakfast you have almost daily? Or do you eat something different every day?