snacking

Reducing My Calories – Part 2

I was able to do a ton of food prep in preparation for this week. I got some celery and sliced it up, then measured out 2 ounces of celery into snack-sized ziplock bags with some baby carrots. I made 5 bags for the workweek and I also picked up some pre-measured guacamole. I’m not usually a fan of this type of thing–I’d much rather have homemade (and nothing compares to Michael’s guacamole–it’s out of this world good) but I wanted something that was portion controlled and honestly, something with preservatives (gross) so it wouldn’t go bad too fast.

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Here is week two of reducing my calories. Like last week, my goal isn’t necessary to hit “1300” or less calories. But my goal is to reduce my calories more than what I was doing before, including HOPEFULLY not eating back all the calories I burn at the gym.

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Day One

Breakfast: Plain Greek Yogurt with sliced strawberries and some coconut flakes, half an English muffin with cinnamon and splenda, EmergenC drink, and coffee with creamer. Calories: 290

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Snack: Apple and some tea. Calories: 70

Lunch: Lean Cuisine lasagna and a piece of chocolate. Calories: 365

Snack: Wholly Guacamole with celery and carrots. Pre-gym snack. Loving this combo lately! It’s tasty and filling! Calories: 110

Dinner: Salad with tomatoes, broccoli, Craisins, light Caesar dressing, pan-seared tilapia, some tortilla chips with spinach dip. Calories: 621

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Dessert: Cantaloupe. Calories: 34

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Day Two

Breakfast: This breakfast did not work well for me. I thought it would be enough food but it really wasn’t and I was hungry within 2 hours. 🙁 I had a grapefruit, the other half of the English muffin with cinnamon and splenda, coffee with creamer and unsweetened iced tea. Calories: 292

Snack: String cheese and hot tea. Calories: 80

Lunch: Salad with tomatoes and light raspberry vinaigrette dressing, half a blackened salmon fillet, small piece of chocolate. Calories: 285

Snack: Wholly Guacamole with celery and carrots and some crackers. Pre-gym snack. Calories: 210

Dinner: Boneless pork chop, steamed broccoli with Goddess dressing and Michael’s amazing red potatoes (boiled and then sauteed with onions, garlic, rosemary and thyme). Calories: 470

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Dessert: Plain Greek yogurt with strawberries, dried coconut flakes and some chocolate chips. Calories: 187

Gym: Warmed up on the spin bike, did some weight lifting and my PT exercises, then the elliptical.

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Breakfast: 2 fried eggs, leftover red potatoes from the previous night’s dinner, unsweetened iced tea, coffee with creamer. Calories: 272

Snack: Apple with tea. Calories: 70

Lunch: The rest of the blackened salmon (half a fillet), one serving of quinoa. No idea why the quinoa looks green in this photo, I assure you it’s not! LOL Calories: 337

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Snack: String cheese. Calories: 80

Dinner: I saw a friend and then ran some errands and ending up getting home later than I was planning on. I needed something quick and easy! I had some chili with sour cream and tortilla chips, steamed broccoli with Goddess dressing on the side. Calories: 640

Dessert: Fun sized Snickers bar. Calories: 90

Exercise: It was a rest day but I did a lot of walking!

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day-4

Breakfast: Trader Joe’s oatmeal with a little brown sugar, coconut flakes and some protein powder, unsweetened iced tea, coffee with creamer. Calories: 358

Snack: Apple. Calories: 70 

Lunch: Two turkey slices made into wraps with a little mayo, mustard, spinach and Craisins. Guacamole with celery and carrots. Calories: 259

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Snack: Plain Greek yogurt with strawberry slices and coconut flakes. Pre-swim  snack. Calories: 129

Dinner: Papa Murphy’s DeLite pizza and two glasses of wine.  Calories: 694

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Exercise: I went for a swim and burned roughly 300 calories. Plus I did a bunch of walking during the day. Day-5

Breakfast: Saturday morning I had a grapefruit and and English muffin with cinnamon and splenda, a small glass of milk and coffee with creamer. Calories: 392

Lunch: Chili with sour cream and some tortilla chips. Calories: 417

Snack: Had a few bites of Michael’s popcorn at the movies (we saw the Avengers!) and had to estimate on the calories. Calories: 190

Dinner: Quinoa with steamed broccoli and Goddess dressing, Michael’s amazing garlic butter shrimp, 1 glass of wine. Calories: 656

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Dessert: Way too much chocolate. 🙁

Gym: I did some weight lifting and then the elliptical. Burned 577 calories. 

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Not my best day this week… 🙁 The movie theatre popcorn and chocolate for dessert got me. SIGH.day-6

Breakfast: Bowl of Rice Krispies cereal, an English muffin and coffee with creamer. Calories: 389

Lunch: Turkey sandwich with cheese on gluten free bread. Calories: 491

Snack: Blueberries. Calories: 83

Dinner: Homemade burger with cheese on a sandwich thin, pickles and baby carrots and Laughing Cow cheese on the side. One glass of wine. Calories: 636

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Fitness: Went for a 5.72 mile hike. Burned 542 calories.

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Dessert: Some chocolate pudding. Calories: 162

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Stay tuned for next week when I post about my thoughts and weigh-in.

Here’s a Quick Way to Eat a Healthy Dinner

What meal do you struggle with the most when it comes to eating healthy and losing weight?

For me it’s always been late afternoon/nighttime eating. I don’t know why. I do pretty well throughout the day. I eat a healthy breakfast, snack, lunch, and then 3 or 4pm rolls around and I want to munch on candy at work. Then after dinner I get the munchies and want dessert. It’s easy to get sucked into a routine of nighttime eating if I’m not careful. Checkout some of my old posts about snacking:

Smart Snacking Tips

Nighttime Eater

Snacking is Not Bad

If you’re like me, the mindless munching and snacking is also your downfall when it comes to staying on track. So what do we do about it?

Have Healthy Options Available

It’s pretty simple: if you don’t have junk food in your house, you probably won’t eat it. If it takes too much effort to go to the store to buy some junk food, I just don’t want to bother. So it goes to reason that if you have healthy foods in your house, that’s what you will eat. Make it easy for yourself!

Frozen salmon and shrimp – we buy them at Costco and freeze them. It takes 20 minutes to defrost them and it’s usually our go-to fast dinner.

Frozen chicken – also bought at Costco. We fluctuate between chicken thighs and boneless, skinless breasts. Michael is pretty good about taking proteins out of the freezer each week and they defrost in the fridge for a quick dinner.

Canned soups – soup and salad are my go-to meals when I’m home alone or just feeling lazy. I have cans and boxes of soup on hand always and it makes it an easy dinner for not a ton of calories. I like getting the boxes of soup from Trader Joe’s; they are healthy, delicious, low in calories and usually organic.

One thing I wish I could do is something I’ve been seeing on the internet lately. People are making crockpot meals, putting them in a ziplock with instructions listed on the bag, freezing them and when it’s time to cook it they defrost it and dump it in the crockpot. It sounds like such an easy, efficient thing to do to make sure I have healthy options available for QUICK meals. Some bloggers are even doing it for an entire month! The problem? We have a tiny freezer and no room to do that. Someday I will do it, though!

Take 1 Hour to Prep

I usually go grocery shopping on Sundays and I spend about 30-60 minutes after I unpack everything to prep. It’s so much easier to just get it out of the way and have everything READY for the week. I slice celery and carrots and put them in tupperware, I wash all the fruit and sometime make pre-packaged serving sizes of snacky things (Wheat Thins, dried fruit, nuts, etc).

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Make it an Easy Formula

Long ago, Michael and I seemed to naturally fall into a simple formula for dinner:

PROTEIN + VEGETABLE + SALAD

Now make your own formula. It doesn’t have to be exactly like what we do. Maybe it’s something like this:

PROTEIN + VEGETABLE + RICE/POTATOES
PROTEIN + VEGETABLE + FRUIT
PROTEIN + SALAD + CARB 

So what are some examples? It could really be an endless list. There are so many healthy options you can choose if you just put a little time in to meal planning. 

Grilled halibut with mango salsa, a green salad and a baked potato

Blackened chicken breast with quinoa and steamed carrots

A serving of spaghetti noodles with marinara, homemade turkey meatballs and a spinach salad

Whatever works for YOU. Maybe you hate rice, try couscous. Maybe you are vegetarian, try alternatives.

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The point is to figure out your formula and STICK TO IT. You can come up with a million variations and having something basic like this really does make it easy. It makes it easy to cook, it makes it easy to calculate calories, and it makes it easy to grocery shop if you’re buying pretty much the same things each week.

Recipes don’t have to be complicated. Dinners really CAN take less than 20 minutes to prepare. Meal planning doesn’t have to be boring–in fact, it makes it so much easier to go grocery shopping and stay within a budget when you have a plan.

What are your quick and healthy dinners?