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Guest Post: Meal Prep Tips

Good morning! In lieu of today’s regular post, I have a great guest post for you guys from Heather from Hungry for Balance—enjoy! 

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A big thanks to Jess for letting me share some thoughts with you guys. Her blog is such a great source of inspiration for healthy eating and healthy recipes!

My name is Heather and I write a healthy lifestyle blog over at www.hungryforbalance.com. I teach BODYPUMP, am a free-lance writer, and a mama to a toddler. We are always on the go, but we also always try to make healthy eating a priority. Today, I want to share 5 tips with you on how to make Healthy eating easier on you AND your budget, especially where produce is concerned.

  • Plan, plan, plan!

I take the time to plan out exactly what we are going to have for breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks. I know exactly how much of everything that I need to buy and nothing is wasted.

  • Be flexible with your meal plan and buy what’s on sale

When I am headed out for my weekly shopping trip, I always like to scope out what’s on sale. If a recipe calls for eggplant, but zucchini is on sale, then I buy zucchini. I also love the discount produce bins for things like overripe bananas. They are perfect in smoothies or in banana soft serve for a sweet and healthy treat.

bananas

  • Take time to prep your meals

I cannot stress this enough. I like to do it the same day that I go grocery shopping. I take a look at what is on our meal plan for the week. I wash and chop the vegetables for my different recipes and put them in zip top bags in my fridge. It makes dinner prep so much easier. I also use this time to chop the zucchini I use in my smoothies and other raw veggies like peppers, broccoli, or mushrooms for salads and snacking. This only takes me an hour or so, but it save me many hours of headache throughout the week.

jars

  • Batch cook! The crockpot is perfect for this.

Do not fear leftovers! I like to make enough dinner for more than one meal and stick it in the freezer for later. Or repurpose leftovers. If we have baked chicken one night, we use the leftovers to make chicken fajitas or chicken salads.

  • Use your freezer

If I make a loaf of homemade bread, I use the slice and freeze trick to keep it fresh. When some of our favorite fruits are on sale during the summer, I slice and freeze so we can enjoy them in the coming week.

bread

Eating healthy can and should be attainable for everyone. Taking just a little time each week to plan out your meals helps you feed yourself and your family something healthy and delicious all week long, even on the busiest days.

Thinking Out Loud

Happy Thursday. I don’t know where this week has gone. I feel like I’ve been scrambling to get my act together before going on a trip. I’m that person who sweats the little things even when the big, scary stuff that would freak most people out is totally taken care of. Go figure. To get my mind off the to-do list swirl, here’s the weekly dose of random stuff:

*In an attempt to clean out the contents of my fridge, I’ve been enjoying lots of weird, savory oatmeal breakfasts. Not suffering at all over here. savory oats with goat cheese

*The other morning, I overheard a kid whining to his mother. “Mom, I need Starbucks. Now!” In that moment, I loved how much I hate to love New York.

*Special thanks to the Lady Project for publishing my post on what you can learn from keeping a food journal. Great way to get some insight into your eating habits. WIAW 214

*McDonald’s is replacing the liquid margarine in its McMuffin with real butter. Pros and cons. Here’s what I and a few other RDs had to say to Yahoo about it. I could spend my time worrying that people will take my comment about a McMuffin being a “decent” option compared to some other choices out of context, but hey.

*While we’re on the topic of butter, I really liked this article that revisions the question of whether butter is “back.”

*I finally got around to watching Garfunkel & Oates on Netflix the other night while catching up on writing work and folding laundry, and um, wow. Love. Too close to home in the best way possible. I know Sunday I was waxing all poetic about feeling at peace and whatnot, and that’s still the case, except that I totally have these moments sometimes too. Apparently turning 30 isn’t going to be anywhere near as awesome as 31. Flatiron Room

*Loved this post on dinner vs drinks over on Cup of Jo. I never thought it this way, but now I think I love the idea of dinner for a first date since you know how long it’s going to last and don’t have to worry about feeling pressured to “take the evening elsewhere” or order another drink if you don’t want to.

…and that’s it for the day. Hope you have a great one. Wish me safe travels and talk soon. I’ve got some awesome guest posts coming your way so stay tuned : )

What’s on your mind today? 

This post has been part of another Running with Spoons Thinking Out Loud link party, where randomness is the name of the game. Thanks to Amanda for hosting.

What I Ate Wednesday #330

Happy Wednesday. Hope you’re enjoying a great week. I’m scrambling to get my act together before a trip, but I wanted to pop in and join the weekly  What I Ate Wednesday party. Last week I shared some desk meals, so how about this week we look at some weekend stuff?

I did work a lot of the weekend, but I still got to enjoy some delicious meals.

Breakfast: Saturday morning involved a gorgeous egg white scramble made with leftover veggies (including roasted baby eggplant). veggie egg white scramble

My “treat” for starting my hospital  shift at 7:15 Sunday morning was a delicious crappy deli iced coffee with milk and splenda. Not even remotely good for me, but total comfort drink. Weird, I know. iced coffee at work

I followed it up with some pumpkin egg white oats (like this but without cranberries), to which I added peanut butter.

 

pumpkin oats desk bfast

 

Lunch: I totally forgot to take photos of lunch because I wasn’t thinking in WIAW mode, but both days involved salads eaten in a hurry between tasks. Sunday’s looking kind of like this, but no egg because I was out. desk lunch miss en place

Snacks: It’s a weird day if Greek yogurt doesn’t find its way in somehow. I’ve been digging the 2% plain lately with cinnamon and either flax or chia, maybe a little honey or fruit if I have some. yogurt chia honey desk snack

Dinner: Saturday night I went to a 30th birthday dinner but didn’t take any food photos. Sunday night I met my parents at a place we’d never been before, Tessa, where my mom and I shared this gorgeous saladTessa Summer Salad

and both ordered the octopus appetizer for dinner. Any day I get to eat octopus is a good day. Tessa octopus

It wasn’t a big dessert weekend, but at Saturday night’s dinner, the restaurant gave us mochi with the check. The one I got was blueberry-flavored and had blueberry-flavored ice cream inside. The birthday girl said they looked like “weird condoms.”

Mochi

Hm. I’d never really thought of that before, but now I will never be able to look at mochi the same. I’ll probably still be able to eat them, though, because, well, priorities.

Happy Wednesday! What’s the best (food thing) you’ve eaten recently? 

To see more WIAW from other bloggers, check out founder Jenn’s blog Peas & Crayons.

 

Eat these to lose weight

matcha keeping it real foodOne question I get asked a lot is whether there are specific foods that can speed up weight loss.

Though the un-sexy big-picture answer is, “Well, no,” there are some that may help. I recently answered some questions on the topic and shared my top picks over at NewBeauty magazine. Hop on over and take a look.

Are there any specific foods you reach for when you’re trying to lose weight?

Roasted Baby Eggplant

cute tiny eggplantEggplant is one of my favorite foods ever. Once upon a time I lived with a man who hated eggplant and I was very sad.

Then things changed and I could eat all the eggplant I wanted, whenever I wanted. So I did. This recipe has become one of my favorite summer side dishes to enjoy hot or cold. This is great warm mixed with a little roasted garlic and tahini, but it’s also delicious with heirloom tomatoes, goat, cheese, and beans. I hope you enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb baby eggplant, trimmed
  • oil spray or olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • garlic powder/crushed roasted garlic (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Place eggplant on a foil-lined baking sheet and toss with olive oil or spray with oil spray.
  3. Roast eggplants until tender, about 20-25 minutes. Slice in half or quarters and toss with balsamic, sesame oil, and garlic powder.

Do you like eggplant? Have you ever not eaten a certain food because of a partner’s dislike for it? 

A Small Collection of Joyous Things

Happy Sunday! How’s your weekend been? At risk of sounding like a broken record, I’ve been loving the weather. I know it can be easy to get caught up in lamenting the end of summer, but there are lots of reasons to look ahead with excitement. September, which begins on Tuesday, is a new month that brings a new season, and a fresh start can be refreshing.

I wasn’t really sure how to feel about August 2015 going into it, but as we get ready to move ahead, I know I’ll look back on it and say it was game-changer but in a lot of good ways.

Since Sunday is gratitude list day on this here blog, here are a few things from the past week that made me happy:

*Went to an awesome Women Who Brunch networking event on Wednesday. They’re one of my favorite lady-friendly groups in the city.    I always have a great time and meet the coolest gals at their events.

*Somehow (and this is probably in large part my fault), we often end up swapping dating horror stories. Ah, dating in New York. It’s a topic I have quite the love-hate relationship with. That said, I could talk about eating (and drinking) on dates for hours. Special thanks to the awesome team at YouBeauty for letting me write about it in my column this week.  Want to know what to order on your next date? Wonder no more. gin

*Speaking of the “hate” part of my relationship with dating, I bought myself flowers again the other day and placed them in my “happy corner,” where I also keep this silly picture of (wild thin mercury) Bob Dylan and baby Eli: bob bichon blossoms

*I say the “hate” thing somewhat jokingly. Mostly I just wanted an excuse to buy some $4.99 flowers with my groceries. I actually feel very at peace with the state of things in department.

*I’m taking a trip soon, and stocked up on a bunch of travel-friendly snacks. Seeing all the little single-serving containers make me excited about packing my suitcase.

What’s your you joy recently? 

 

What to make this weekend: Burst tomatoes

Happy Friday! Any fun plans this weekend? I just seriously can’t believe it’s the last weekend in August. How? Why? It seems like summer just started and now we’re looking at the last few weeks of the season.

That being said, I’m looking forward to some of the different fruits and vegetables we’ll be welcoming come fall. In the meantime, though, I’m enjoying making the best of my summer favorites.

The New York Times cooking newsletter has been all about tomatoes recently, and I love it. Inspired by all the gorgeous seasonal recipe, I made these burst tomatoes the other night

burst tomatoes

and have been enjoying them on salads

Salad with burst tomatoes, langostino tails, avocado, and Greek yogurt Sriracha dressing

Salad with burst tomatoes, langostino tails, avocado, and Greek yogurt Sriracha dressing

but they’re also great warm in pasta, with meat or fish, or with beans & greens.

Here’s a quick & easy recipe for you to enjoy over the weekend, if you feel like playing around in the kitchen.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb grape or cherry tomatoes

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Ross tomatoes in olive oil and place in roasting pan.
  3. Roast about 20 minutes (checking every 4 or 5) until tomatoes are soft and beginning to burst.

Serve hot or cold.

 

What summer produce are you going to miss come fall? What fall produce are you most looking forward to? 

Thinking Out Loud

Thursday already. Ready for a little thinking out loud? Here’s a weekly dose of randomness.

This week’s post has an accidental “food cravings” theme. As a dietitian, I always encourage clients to tune in to what they’re craving and why. Often the body is trying to tell us something, whether it’s physical or psychological.

1.) Food cravings are a funny thing. When I was younger I had a crazy sweet tooth, and in the past five years since quitting diet soda I’ve developed quite a savory tooth. Like a lot of ladies, there’s a cyclical nature to these cravings. For example, the salt thing seems to kick in during placebo pill week, when I want all the miso and all the smoked salmon. I also crave specific meats that time of the month. Sometimes it’s red meat, but this time around its chicken. Whatever works.

2.) The crisp note in the air yesterday morning had me craving pumpkin oatmeal, so I made that got breakfast after yoga. I added some sliced roasted figs, tahini, and a drizzle of maple syrup.

pumpkin oats with fig

3.) Another weird craving: crappy deli coffee with skim milk and Splenda. Total nostalgia trip back to days when I had time to, like, be interested in sex and write poetry about it. I’m sort of kidding.

4.) Speaking of a general lack of interest in sex/dating (with a select few exceptions) most of this past year, being 100% not pregnant allows me to enjoy all the sashimi I want. Within reason, of course. I enjoyed a lunch box special on a recent visit to NJ (similar to this one below) that came with a salad with ginger dressing and miso soup that tasted like it was made with white miso-my favorite. It was divine. sashimi

5.) This has nothing to do with food cravings I don’t think, but hey, today’s all about random…I bought a new computer recently after sitting on an Apple gift card since Christmas. My current laptop was a dinosaur in Mac years, but I’m holding onto it so I have something to use for writing and internet that I can travel with or throw in my bag to hit up a coffee shop. The idea of having two laptops seems ridiculously extravagant, but given that such a huge portion of my income is dependent upon being able to write, blog, and email, it’s actually logical. In the past, I just did a complete transfer via wi-fi or time machine, but this time around, I’m experimenting with transferring just the files and programs I want, little by little, via Air Drop and flash drives. It’s a little bit tedious, but weirdly exciting. Not having 12 years of electronic baggage is a thrilling concept. Or okay, still plenty of baggage, but just the baggage I want.

What are some foods you tend to crave?

This post has been part of another Running with Spoons Thinking Out Loud link party, where randomness is the name of the game. Thanks to Amanda for hosting.

What I Ate Wednesday #229

Another week, another What I Ate Wednesday. Last week I shared some of the delicious things I enjoyed during my trip to the beach. This week, I thought I’d show a back-to-the-grind day.

WIAW 229

Breakfast: The morning started with a desk breakfast of oats with egg whites, fall, and lots of blueberries. Instead of peanut butter, I added some tahini.

Lunch: To break up the lunchtime routine a little, I packed some pumpkin chili I’d made that morning and supplemented with a salad from the cafeteria.

Snacks: During the afternoon, I had a banana and later, a plain Greek yogurt with a chia shot and some honey.

Dinner: I enjoyed a simple dinner of salad (again, I know—I’ve been too lazy to cook this summer) and avocado toast with smoked salmon and heirloom tomato.

Bedtime Snack: Before bed I had a perfect summer peach (I’ll miss these when fall comes) and a vanilla Siggi’s. It was so satisfying. I was so wrapped up in the awesomeness I forgot to take a picture.

What are some of your favorite lazy dinners? 

To see more WIAW from other bloggers, check out founder Jenn’s blog Peas & Crayons.

 

Desk-Friendly Snacks

Can you believe we’re in the last full week of August? I seriously have no idea where this summer has gone. The season seemed endless when I was a kid, but now it’s, like, blink and you miss it.

As a nutritionist, it’s really interesting to note patterns in what my clients and patients want to talk about. You would think the summer brings bikini-body thoughts to the forefront, but what I’ve found this year is that lots of people want to talk about work-appropriate snacks to get them from lunch to drinks to dinner.

I recently wrote a post for YouBeauty about some healthy snacks you can enjoy at your desk that will give you an energy boost to get you through the afternoon. What 4 pm slump?

My personal favorite lately: plain Greek yogurt with a chia shot and honey swiped from the hospital cafeteria on the days that I’m punching the clock. I’m also partial to crumbled-up fiber d’lish bars (the orange cranberry flavor, especially) in yogurt these days as well, though I’m sure I’ll get tired of that eventually.  yogurt chia honey desk snack

I’ve got some big schedule changes coming up this fall, so as with any major life change, it will be interesting for me to see how that impacts the choices I make throughout the day. I mean that in the best way possible, though.

Until then, however, let’s enjoy these last few days of summer, desk snacks and all.

What are your favorite snacks as of late? 

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