healthy snacking

Healthful Choices in One Day – Part 1

I figured I would do another one of these types of posts for the new readers that have stumbled onto my blog because of their new year’s resolutions.

Sometimes when you take a peek into someone else’s life, it’s really only a fraction of what that person is allowing you to see. It’s so easy to judge, “Oh my god, she’s eating THAT?” Sure, I wrote a post about beer and pizza but maybe what doesn’t come across is that it was one beer and one slice of pizza with a salad and NOT the entire pizza! I don’t post my food much anymore because I just don’t find that as interesting as I did when I first started writing this blog.

This post is a peek into one day of my eating. I wanted to give another example of a typical day of food. It really doesn’t change all that much, honestly. I’ve found what works for me and tend to continue eating the same things out of habit or ritual. I do eat out at restaurants, but I’m doing my best to limit that to once a week tops. Doing it any more often than that starts to make me edgy! I start to worry about the calories, the number on the scale, and the $$ in my wallet! All of those factors snap me back to reality and I try to limit restaurant food.

BREAKFAST

Breakfast was two fried eggs, one slice of Dave’s Killer Bread with some avocado spread on it. This is a frequent breakfast for me because it’s fast and easy and low in calories. The combination of the avocado and eggs fills me up for hours.

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I have a pint glass of unsweetened iced tea with breakfast. When I get to work, I have one cup of coffee with  some creamer in it (currently peppermint mocha flavored creamer).

Total Calories: 418

MORNING SNACK

Right now I’m eating whatever fruit is in season–which happens to be satsuma oranges! I love them! They are delicious, healthy, take the edge off my hunger and are low in calories.

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I had two small oranges for around 50 calories total.

LUNCH

Lunch is usually leftovers, or a big salad with some protein in it, or soup (my go-to lunch) but I’m out of leftovers currently so I fell back into the habit of eating frozen meals for lunch. I try not to do this very often because I’m trying to limit my processed food intake. Sometimes, I just want something easy!

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I’ve been craving Indian food lately, so I went with the next best thing: Trader Joe’s Indian food. It’s really tasty and pretty low in calories. I did make a small trip to the Candy Room at work to have a few pieces of chocolate (dammit) after lunch.

Total Calories: 300 + 100 calories of candy!

AFTERNOON SNACK

My favorite pre-workout snack is plain Greek yogurt with a little bit of honey in it, or some dried fruit and nuts. This week I have cottage cheese from Trader Joe’s. It’s a good snack before a workout, too, because it fills me up without making me feel stuffed.

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At the gym I also had about 25 calories in dried apricots as a snack.

Total Calories: 90 + 25

DINNER

This dinner appears about once a week in my house, usually on nights when I’m cooking. One of my specialties is baked salmon. For this dinner in particular, I baked the salmon at 375 degrees for about 18 minutes. The salmon was topped with leftover stewed tomatoes, freshly chopped parsley, seasoned with salt and pepper and minced garlic. I wrapped it in foil and baked it.

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With dinner I had gnocchi from Trader Joe’s and mixed it with pesto. The tomato, garlic and pesto all went together very nicely. The gnocchi and pesto were a bit high in calories, but the salmon was low so it all balanced out. I had a sparkling water with dinner, as well as a small geen salad (not pictured).

Total Calories: 691

DESSERT

Hot cocoa! It’s perfect hot cocoa weather: cold and icy and all I want to do is cuddle with my kitty wearing my  flannel pajamas and drinking a hot cocoa. It’s a nice dessert because it’s less than 100 calories (depending on what brand you get). I added two big marshmallows to it.

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I also had a few pieces of chocolate with the cocoa.

Total Calories: 226

EXERCISE

It was a very cold (like 30 degrees) and windy out but it wasn’t raining. I considered going for a run outside simply to avoid the crowds at the gym but it was just too cold out. My eyes were tearing up the second I stepped outside. So, I headed to the gym and did a quick workout.

I was able to find refuge in the empty spin room and most of my workout was solo (nice!). I did about 35 minutes on the bike and then used the weight machines. I hopped around doing mostly arms, shoulders and chest on whatever machine was free.

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I finished with my stretches and got the heck out of dodge. I was glad to get out of there in about an hour and still have a decent calorie burn.

Calories Burned: 547

THE BREAKDOWN

It was a pretty decent day of food for me and also pretty average. There’s some variations but the general idea is the same.

Total Calories Eaten: 1900

Total Calories Burned: 547

Total Calories Left for the Day: 247

This particular day is kind of heavy on the processed foods. Usually I don’t have frozen meals for lunch, and the gnocchi was a treat that we rarely eat (maybe a few times a year, tops). So I went with more “convenient” food than I usually do but this is the general idea. My calories stay around the same for each meal and snack. Dinner is usually a lot higher in calories but salmon nights are always low!

QUESTION: Does this help give you ideas on how to make your meals healthy?

Foods I Always Have On Hand

Do you have certain foods that you try to ALWAYS have on hand? Recently I wrote a post about foods I don’t buy at the grocery store anymore. Most of it was what you’d imagine: stuff from the bakery, junk food, juices, and processed crap I don’t eat anymore. Well, what about stuff I always buy?

This post is about the food I try to always have on hand. It’s stuff that we eat all the time. I’ve said before that our meals are pretty boring. My snacks are a daily rotation of whatever fruits are in season and dinners are a protein + seasonal veggie. Having something basic like that makes it easy to always have healthy things available. NOT having junk food in the house makes it easier to choose a healthy snack if that’s the only option!

Foods I always have on hand:

CANNED

One of the things the Slow Carb diet taught me (or reminded me of, either way) was how magical beans are. They are so filling, healthy and really versatile. I love having a variety of beans in our pantry because in a pinch, I always have a meal I can make. Our “Mexican salads” are a favorite (salad, veggies, black beans, salsa), quick and easy black bean quesadillas or burritos or enchiladas are also an option. I went through a phase where I put chickpeas on my salads every night. There’s just an endless number of things I can do with beans.

I also have soups available. This works great for me when I’m running late and want to grab something quick and easy for lunch. Tomato soup is my favorite, so I always have a few cans.

Canned pineapple of various types are always in my pantry, too. I like to add some chunks of pineapple to my plain Greek yogurt for a snack. Or as a homemade pizza topping!

Tuna is also in my pantry because I like it (Michael never eats it). I either make tuna salad sandwiches or I add the plain tuna on top of salads for some protein.

Did you see my tip about pickles? Such a good snack to have available!

FRUITS and VEGGIES

We buy our lettuce or spinach at Costco. It’s a huge vat of greens and most of the time we eat it all before it goes bad (sometimes we’re not as good at that). Salads are often my go-to dinner when I’m home alone and don’t feel like cooking, or for a quick lunch at work.

I tend to always buy broccoli. I don’t know why that’s the veggie I always buy but we nearly always have some in the fridge. Dinners are a protein + salad and + steamed veggie (and yes, it’s usually broccoli!).

I’m especially looking forward to Brussels sprouts being back in season again, soon. That’s my new favorite thing. Winter is approaching, so the veggies I am starting to buy and keep handy are things like squash and cauliflower.

For the fruit, I buy whatever is in season. Berry and cherry season is my favorite!

PROTEINS

There are a few things that we always have on hand. In terms of seafood, we ALWAYS have salmon, shrimp and tilapia in the freezer. It works great having something healthy we can quickly defrost and fix for dinner.

Michael buys our chicken, ground turkey and pork chops at Costco and puts them in the freezer. Those usually take some planning to defrost but it’s nice having a complete meal always available. It means we’re less likely to say “dang it, let’s just get pizza.” Tip: the pork chops at Costco are humongous, so cut them in half lengthwise to make a proper portion size AND double the amount of chops you have! The ground turkey is good for turkey burgers (pre-make the patties and freeze them for easy cooking later), taco night, taco salads, enchiladas or turkeyloaf.

OTHER

Some other things we buy at Costco because we eat a lot of it and it’s cheaper to buy it in bulk are eggs, string cheese (easy snacks), plain Greek yogurt and hummus.

Make it Easy For You to Make Good Choices

I can’t stress enough how much it has helped me NOT having trigger foods in my house and always having healthy options around. This is not to say there are not days when I grab some tortilla chips instead of Greek yogurt and fruit, but I do my best. When you get used to having healthy foods in the house, it becomes a habit and not really a hard choice to grab that apple or string cheese.

QUESTION: What are some things you try to always have available in your house?