Feb 052014
 

We LOVE our dog walker! She’s so awesome and came highly recommended from a friend who also used her when they were in Portland. Amy is the owner of FurEver Family Pet Sitting. Bella loves her! We are so happy to have found someone so great to come and walk Bella a few times a week while we are at work. It makes a huge difference. On days we don’t have Amy come over, I can tell a difference–Bella is a super spaz all evening after being cooped up. Bella’s behavior has also improved because Amy continues the training we are doing with her (i.e. not pulling on the leash on walks, not jumping on guests, etc). Another bonus: I get a mid-day text report of Bella and sometimes a cute picture. :) It brightens up my work day.

Amy posted this comment on another post I wrote and it was a great blog idea!

I’m struggling right now with finding things that I can eat in the car on the go. I’m ok with ‘ruts’ and eating the same thing day in and day out, but I just struggle with ideas that are healthy and I can keep in my car for up to 8-12 hours some days. I know I just need to PLAN and fix ahead so I can grab and go…but looking for new ideas!

While Amy’s situation is probably unique compared to a lot of my reader’s daily work lives, I think everyone can relate with running out of ideas for easy snack and on-the-go meal ideas.

Portable Healthy Snacking

If you work in a job where you spend a lot of time in the car, pop a small cooler in your trunk with some ice packs. That will open up a bigger list of options if you can keep the food cool. Here are some ideas for on-the-go snacks that won’t bust the calorie bank:

Hard-boiled eggs – Just one hard-boiled egg is so filling for me

Amazing Meal Shake - Add some protein powder to it to have some staying power

CHOCOMILK

Dried apricots – This is often a pre-workout snack for me because just a few dried apricots do the trick

Trail mix -This one is iffy because the calories can really add up!

String Cheese and crackers

Tuna salad with craisins and chopped walnuts – Top a green salad with this and you’ve got a great lunch

Pickles and beef jerky – No, I’m not pregnant, I’ve just been craving pickles lately! ;)

Apple slices with peanut butter

Apple Oatmeal Muffins  (this recipe looks so GOOD!)

Yogurt Fruit Dip

Dry-roasted and seasoned edamame – I’ve seen this at Trader Joe’s

Cottage cheese with fruit on the side – I love cottage cheese as a snack because it fills me up quickly

Single-serving chocolate Almond Milk – I love this stuff!

Almond-Breeze-thumb

V-8 juice (with or without the vodka :D )

Hummus with raw veggies and pita chips

A box of raisins with some peanuts

Chipotle Lime Chickpeas

5 Minute No Bake Peanut Butter Granola Bars (I’m totally going to make these!)

Almond Butter Stuffed Dates (this could be a really nice healthy dessert idea)

Practice What I Preach

I decided to give something a try I’ve vowed to do for a long time now–ever since I saw it on Pinterest. The egg “muffin” for breakfast. I’ve seen dozens of variations and you can really do whatever you want with it and make it your own. It’s something that you can make on a Sunday afternoon and have for the work week for a quick breakfast or a snack.

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I used this recipe as a jumping off point. I made some alterations for my own personal preferences and also combined a neat idea I saw in another similar recipe–using some frozen hashbrowns as the base of the muffin.

Egg Muffins

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 6 muffins

Serving Size: 1 muffin

Calories per serving: 95 calories

From: http://thesweetspotblog.com/breakfast-to-go-egg-muffins/

Ingredients

  • 4 whole, large eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tablespoon whole milk
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup broccoli florets, cooked and chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Steam or boil broccoli to desired tenderness and chop.
  2. Whisk together eggs, egg whites and milk. Season egg mixture with salt and pepper and stir in cheddar cheese.
  3. Spray muffin tins with cooking spray. Layer about a tablespoon of chopped broccoli into each muffin cup.
  4. Pour in egg mixture to about 3/4 full and top with remaining grated cheese. Bake until set in center about 20-25 minutes.
  5. Note: We also love them with baby spinach and roasted mushrooms. Use whatever cheese and veggies you enjoy to customize these for your taste buds.
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With the alterations I made, my muffins came out at 145 calories each. I was okay with that number. My muffin had green onion, yellow and orange diced peppers, some shredded sharp cheddar cheese and sliced grape tomatoes. I baked the egg muffins for around 30 minutes and tested them with a toothpick until I decided they were cooked through.

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How pretty do those look? Don’t mind the lone muffin that apparently got all the egg whites in one section. :P Despite that, they were tasty! I already have some ideas on different recipes–maybe artichoke hearts, tomatoes and feta cheese….yum!

I also made some chicken salad for lunches at work. I made some alterations and omitted the apple to reduce the calorie count slightly. I planned on topping some spinach and green leaf lettuce with the chicken salad mixture. I used 5 tablespoons mayo instead of 6, omitted the apple and the cooked chicken breasts came to 2.5 cups instead of 3 so that made the calories about 260 a serving.

Chicken Salad

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 60 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Calories per serving: 271

From: http://southernfood.about.com/od/chickensalads/r/r81002g.htm

Ingredients

  • 3 cups diced cooked chicken
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup diced apple
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, optional
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon curry powder, or to taste, optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Combine the chicken, cranberries, celery, onion, apple, and walnuts, if using.
  2. In a cup or small bowl combine 4 tablespoons of mayonnaise. the lemon juice, curry powder, if using, and salt and pepper.
  3. Stir into the chicken, adding more mayonnaise as needed and for taste.
  4. Line bread or rolls with lettuce and spread chicken salad on the bread or serve the chicken salad on lettuce-lined plates.
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I had a few nibbles of my chicken salad before I put it in tupperware for lunches. It was really tasty! I like the crunch of the celery and walnut and the sweetness of the Craisins. I enjoyed the chicken salad lunches and I’m glad I finally gave it a try. I’m going to experiment with other recipes and see if substituting Greek yogurt for the mayo might work too.

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In one afternoon I prepped my breakfast and lunch meals for the work week and it was a success! It was easy, didn’t take much time to prepare on Sunday and saved me a lot of time in the mornings before work.

What are your time-saving ideas for quickie meals?

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Feb 042014
 

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted about my food. I figured the new readers would be interested to see what a typical day for me in maintenance mode would look like. To be honest it doesn’t change a lot. I found things that worked and stuck with it. I try to add some variety to it here and there but honestly, this post is pretty typical of what I eat each day.

Breakfast

Lately I’ve been obsessed with hard-boiled eggs. I used this recipe to make perfect hard-boiled eggs and I’ve been doing a batch on Sunday nights for the upcoming week’s breakfasts. I like it because it’s a change from my normal two fried eggs and toast breakfast and it’s also pretty filling.

breakfast

Breakfast lately has been 1 hard-boiled egg and a piece of gluten-free toast. Sometimes I put jam on the toast, sometimes cream cheese. Today it was a hard-boiled egg, the toast with cream cheese and a little buffalo sauce drizzled on top (don’t judge, it’s SO good). I have a glass of homemade, unsweetened iced tea with breakfast and then a cup of coffee with creamer when I get to work.

Total Calories Today: 331

Morning Snack

My mid-morning snack doesn’t change much. It’s usually an apple. I find that satisfies my sweet tooth and curbs the hunger between meals. The fruit changes with season. In winter it’s either satsuma oranges or apples. Summertime is fresh, seasonal berries.

Total Calories Today: 70-80 calories depending on the size of the apple

Lunch

Lunch during the week is routinely leftovers or my old stand-by meals: salad, soup and crackers, leftovers from dinner the night before, sometimes frozen meals when I’m in a rush (the Trader Joe’s Indian food lunches are fantastic!).

Today for lunch I brought a salad. I’ve been craving veggies and while the house is currently low on vegetable options, I made it work. I had a mixture of green leaf lettuce, spinach, roasted sunflower seeds, red onion and broccoli. I topped it with half of a can of tuna fish.

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Because this isn’t super filling, although the tuna helps, I added a string cheese to my lunch. I had a few pieces of candy, too.

Total Calories Today: 400

Afternoon Snack

This is a pre-gym snack. I’ve tried a whole lot of different things to figure out what works best. I need something to take the edge off my hunger without filling me up too much so I can hit the gym after work. Pre-swim snack is usually some plain Greek yogurt with raisins or fresh berries.

Other snacks have been 1 graham cracker with peanut butter on it, or hummus with raw veggies. These seem to be my go-to snack because everything else I’ve tried failed. Bananas are TERRIBLE–they leave me a starving, shaking mess.

snack

almond

This day I had a graham cracker with half a serving of crunchy peanut butter and topped it with a few Craisins. I had about 1/3 of an Almond Milk to wash it down. It was a little higher in calories than I normally have for a pre-gym snack.

Total Calories Today: 220

Dinner

Dinner was a quickie-type meal. We don’t eat a ton of pasta but lately we’ve been having it more often because it’s quick and easy and we found some gluten free pasta that actually tastes really good. I measured out the dry penne with a kitchen scale so there were two exact servings–which was weird because even though the servings were correct, when everything was cooked it seemed more like three servings of food instead.

While the penne was cooking, I browned some leftover spicy pork sausage in the skillet and then added two handfuls of baby spinach to it until it was wilted. Then I added Four Cheese Pasta Sauce from a jar (totally not creative but did the trick for a fast dinner). I poured the al dente penne into the skillet with a teeny bit of the pasta water to cut the pasta sauce and mixed it all together.

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I wasn’t a huge fan of the jarred sauce but at least it was so mild that I didn’t really notice it. The flavors of the spicy sausage and spinach were what I tasted primarily. I’d make this easy dish again but I’d probably use a red sauce next time.

Total Calories Today: Around 650 

Dessert

Dessert is a must for me. I TRY and limit it to 200 calories or less but sometimes I splurge. We have a freakin’ huge bag of M&M’s from Costco that we’ve been working through. That was dessert for me!

mm
A serving size is 1/4 of a cup. I always measure it out. It’s easy to eat much more than a serving when you just grab a handful.

Total Calories Today: 230

Fitness

Michael joined me for a workout at the Warrior Room! He bought the Groupon and even though he’s been doing kettle bells on his own at home for years, I think it’s great he checked it out. He got some tips on his form and he LOVED the gym! I’m happy to turn him on to something fun and new.

gym1

It was weird working out together. While we do activities together, we don’t really workout together. He cycles (and is faster than me) with me and we hike together (I’m faster than him) and that’s about it.

gym2

Total Calories Burned Today: 539!

The Totals

It was a decent day of eating for me. My calories for each meal in this post is pretty standard for most days, just the type of food varies from day to day. So how was the total breakdown?

Calorie Goal for the day: 1700

Calories eaten for the day: 1901

Calories burned for the day: 539

Calorie Total After The Gym: 1362

I’ll admit that I probably ate healthier on this day because I was taking pictures of everything. Where would I have gone “wrong”? Probably having random bites of candy at work after lunch. That has been my downfall for a long time. It’s hard to resist the candy when it’s right in front of you. Chewing gum helps me a lot. Overall I’m happy with the calories for the day. If I want to lose any weight, I need to take a look at the carbs and sugar I’m eating AND create more of a deficit in my calories. Even 50-100 calories can make a big difference!

How are your eats lately?

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