Thursday, January 16, 2014

Twelve Quick and Easy Meals

One of the ways to help ensure success of eating a healthy diet is for the meals you make to be fairly simple and easy, with minimal ingredients. I came across a list of 52 Healthy Meals in 12 Minutes or Less on; here are my 12 favorite from the list, 4 each for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
1. Pumpkin Muesli Combine ¼ cup quick-cooking oats and ¼ cup pumpkin puree in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and nuke for 20 seconds. Let sit for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, combine ½ cup plain nonfat yogurt, 2 tbsp. honey, 1 tsp. lemon zest, and 2 tbsp. sliced almonds in a separate bowl. Stir yogurt mixture into the oat mixture and enjoy.
2. Chocolate-Blueberry Shake Blend together 1 packet chocolate breakfast powder (like Carnation Breakfast Essentials), 1 1/2 cups milk of choice, and 1 cup frozen blueberries. Optional: Add a scoop of protein powder for improved muscle recovery.
3. Mini Wrap Top an 8-inch whole-wheat tortilla with 2 slices Canadian bacon, ½ sliced apple, and 2 to 3 slices cheddar cheese. Roll up and microwave for 45 seconds to 1 minute, or until cheese is melted.
4. Nutty 'Nana Toast 1 slice whole-grain bread and top with 1 tbsp. crunchy almond butter and ½ a sliced banana.
1. Mediterranean Pita Split open a whole-wheat pita and spread one side with 2 tbsp. hummus. Add 1 large roasted red pepper (sliced), 1 tbsp. crumbled feta, 1 tbsp. black olives, 5 slices cucumber, and a small handful of mixed greens.
2. Roast Beef Roll Spread 1 oz. light cream cheese and ½ tbsp. horseradish on 1 whole-wheat wrap. Layer on 2 oz. roast beef, 1 oz. sliced cheddar, and a handful of romaine lettuce. Roll up and enjoy.
3. Black Bean Wrap On 1 8-inch whole-wheat tortilla, mash ¼ cup drained and rinsed black beans with a fork. Sprinkle with a pinch of cumin, a pinch of paprika, and 1 tbsp. cheddar cheese. Roll up and microwave for 30 seconds. Serve with 2 tbsp. salsa.
4. Low-Carb Roll-Up On a plate, layer 1 slice low-sodium deli turkey and 1 slice provolone cheese. Spread the cheese with 1 tsp. pesto (homemade or store bought!) and top with 2 slices avocado. Roll up the turkey and repeat 2 more times.
1. Honey Soy Salmon Preheat the broiler and combine ½ tbsp. honey with ½ tsp. soy sauce. Season 1 5-oz. salmon filet with salt and pepper and broil for five minutes. Drizzle with honey-soy sauce and broil an additional 2-5 minutes. Serve with microwaveable rice.
2. From-Scratch Fish Sticks Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Slice 1 6-oz. cod filet into 6 strips. Season with 1/2 tsp. balsamic vinegar, 1/8 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. paprika. Bread each by dipping into 1 egg (scrambled) and then ½ cup seasoned whole-wheat breadcrumbs. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet, spritz fish strips with cooking spray, and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until opaque throughout. Serve with a green salad (2 handfuls of spinach or mixed greens with a spritz of oil and vinegar) for a healthy dose of veggies!
3. Tuna Pasta Salad Cook 1 serving corkscrew pasta according to package instructions, about 12 minutes. In a bowl, combine ½ tbsp. balsamic vinegar, ½ tbsp. olive oil, and 1/8 tsp. celery salt. Stir in ½ can flaked white tuna, 1 chopped scallion, and ¼ cup halved grape tomatoes. Drain the pasta, rinse with cold water, and toss with the tuna mixture.
4. Southern Breakfast (for Dinner) Recreate this southern favorite in half the time. Combine ½ tbsp. lemon juice, a dash of Tobasco sauce, and ¼ lb. peeled and deveined shrimp. Heat ½ tbsp. olive oil in a pan over medium heat and add 1/8 cup chopped onion, 1 tbsp. green bell pepper (diced), and 1 clove garlic (minced). Cook 5 minutes and then add shrimp mixture, 1 scallion (chopped), and 1/8 cup low-sodium chicken broth and cook an additional 3 to 5 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare ½ cup quick-cooking grits according to package instructions and stir in 1 tsp. butter and a pinch of salt (less than 5 minutes in the microwave). Serve with shrimp.
One thing I really like about these recipes, aside from them being quick and easy, is that they are fairly child-friendly. I'm learning that eating healthy does not have to be difficult or complicated, just smart.
Please visit my lifestyle blog: Imperfectly Balanced Life

Monday, January 13, 2014

New Year's Resolution #2 - Be More Active

So far in 2014 I have been making a conscious effort to eat healthier food and so far I've been pretty successful. Last night I waited for my chicken to bake in the oven instead of making a pot of Ramen noodles.
My second New Year's Resolution is to be more active. I find that this may be more challenging. Not because I don't want to, because I do. But because of this tiny little thing called time. It seems to escape me.
That's not an excuse, only a situation in which I need to work around.
1. Wake up earlier to get some sort of activity done, whether it be yoga or walking.
2. Find ways to incorporate some sort of activity into my evenings, like doing crunches and push ups during TV shows.
3. Avoid sitting down when I get home. I know you're not supposed to eat standing up, but lately it seems once I sit down, that's how I remain. Just keep moving.
4. Walk the dogs. They need to be walked just as much as I need to walk. This is a win-win for both of us.
This is obviously not the most detailed of fitness plans. Heck, it's not even close to a plan. But it is a mental list of ways I can at least start to be more active. Baby steps people, baby steps.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

New Year's Resolution #1 - Eat Healthier

As I made my New Year's Resolutions the other day I thought about the typical 'I want to lose weight' resolution. But then I decided that wasn't enough. I didn't just want to lose weight, I wanted to become a healthier person. I've lost weight before, but greatly due to a very restricted diet. As par for the course with those types of diets, it didn't last. I also tried Weight Watchers once and it didn't work for me. I was kind of turned off by the people in meetings who would say they went to a Super Bowl party and only ate 5 carrots and drank 1 light beer. Personally, I would rather eat really well 80% of the time and bust my ass at the gym and still be able to enjoy wings and dips.
I decided that I want to be healthier over all. God gave me this body I'm in and I owe it to Him to take care of it to the best of my ability.

My first Resolution is to eat a better diet. Primarily cut out food with high-fructose corn syrup and fried foods. Eventually I would like to move to a 'clean-eating' diet. But I know that is a drastic change from my current eating habits and a drastic change like that would probably not be successful.
1. I am going to bring only healthy, nutrient dense food into my home. I'm not going to do a clean sweep of my kitchen and get rid of EVERYTHING that is 'unhealthy.' I think it's silly to waste that money. However, I will be mixing the good and bad foods and hope it's a good conversion for my little man.
2. I am going to plan out my meals. Meal planning is the easiest, most simple way to eat healthier. If you have a plan and stick to it, it keeps you from standing in front of the fridge wondering what to eat and settling on the tub of ice cream. (Which won't be coming into my house anymore)
3. I will be bringing my lunch to work everyday. It's much easier to control what you eat when you bring your lunch. Also, the only place near my office that is 'healthy' is a smoothie place and I don't want a smoothie everyday. Plus, it's expensive to eat lunch out everyday. So to save my health and money, I will be bringing my lunch to work everyday.
4. I will be keeping a food diary. This is a great way to keep track of what I eat. I tend to snack a bit during the day, grabbing a tootsie roll or two at work. And I don't want to see that 3 days in a row I ate 5 tootsie rolls. Also, keeping a food diary will let me look at what I've eaten over the past week and decide whether or not I should indulge a bit over the weekend.
I'm not saying my plan is fool proof, nor am I saying that I won't slip up and bring a carton of fro-yo into the house. But if I can stick to these healthy eating basics, I know that transitioning to an even healthier diet will be much easier. Ultimately, I want to get to a point where highly processed, over sweetened foods actually taste bad to me.
I hope everyone is having a happy and healthy 2014!