Favorite Healthy Snacks

Did you know that eating 5-6 small meals throughout the day can help you to lose and maintain a healthy weight?  Does that mean that you should graze all day long? NO!

But, when you eat smaller meals throughout the day instead of 3 large meals, you are more likely to eat the proper portion, less likely to be hungry in between and more likely to make smarter choices instead of being so hungry that you eat whatever is in sight.

Most clean eating meal plans and many other weight loss/maintenance plans recommend eating 3 meals a day with 2-3 small snacks in between.

If you are not familiar with Clean Eating, the basic principle of is to consume food the way it is naturally delivered.  It is NOT a diet, rather a lifestyle approach to the way you prepare and eat your food.

  • Eat 5 to six times a day– three meals and 2-3 small snacks
  • Include lean protein, fresh fruit and vegetables and a complex carbohydrate with each meal.  This will keep your body energized and burning calories all day!
  • Choose organic whenever possible
  • Drink 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water a day (If you weigh 150 pounds, then drink 75 ounces of water)
  • READ labels.  Any product with a long list of human made ingredients is not natural.
  • Avoid processed and refined foods– like white flour, sugar, bread and pasta.  Instead, enjoy whole grains.
  • Steer clear of trans fats and things high in sugar
  • Consume healthy fats
  • Be aware of your portion sizes

There are tons of ways to prepare fresh fish and lean proteins like turkey, chicken, and pork.  And what about your veggies?  You can roast them, saute them, bake them, steam them, eat them raw.

But often times the next question becomes, what should I eat for my snacks??  I find the key to staying on track to always have healthy options on hand for those times when I am hungry and need something.  Once you have them on hand, then you are able to pack your snacks to enjoy throughout the day.

Here are some of MY favorite snacks:

  • Fresh fruit– Strawberries, blueberries, apples, banana (1/2 banana should count as one serving, most other fruit is 1 cup sliced), kiwi, melon, and MORE!
  • ¼ cup Hummus with cucumbers or sliced bell pepper
  • 10 Baby Carrots with 2-3 tsp of natural peanut butter
  • 1 small apple cubed with 1 cup of plain Greek yogurt and cinnamon
  • Apples with orange Greek yogurt (combine orange zest with a squeeze of fresh orange juice, 1 tsp (or more to taste) of pure maple syrup with Greek yogurt)

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  • 1 whole wheat waffle (toasted is best) with 2 tsp natural peanut butter, topped with ½ sliced banana or a few sliced strawberries

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  • 1 small apple with 1 mozzarella string cheese stick
  • My favorite morning snack! 1 piece of whole wheat toast with 2 scrambled or hard boiled eggs

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  • Favorite snack bars– Lara Bars (most only include fruit and nuts but have flavors like Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and Pecan Pie!) and Kind Bars (most only have nuts with honey or maple syrup!)

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I hope these snack ideas help you as you navigate this world of processed and overly sugared up foods!

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Creamy Chicken Salad

I love chicken salad.  Whether it is fruity with pineapple or grapes. Or maybe it is traditional with a little bit of pickles.  But one of the main ingredients (mayonnaise) of this go-to lunch item is not the healthiest option.

I was so excited when looking through Fixate and found there was a 21 Day Fix approved Chicken Salad Recipe.  And it is DELICIOUS!   You can serve it on a bed of mixed greens, in a whole wheat tortilla or on a piece of whole wheat toast.  Or just eat it like it is!

Creamy Chicken Salad

 Ingredients:
  • 3 cups chopped rotisserie chicken breast (boneless / skinless)
  • 1/2 cup chopped green apple
  • 1/2 cup seedless red grapes, cut in half
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1/4 cup Honey Mustard Dressing (see below)
  • 8 cups shredded romaine lettuce
Directions:
  • Combine chicken, apple, grapes, almonds, green onions, tarragon, and Honey Mustard Salad Dressing in a large bowl.  Mix well, cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.

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  • Serve 1 1/4 cup Creamy Chicken Salad over 2 cups of romaine lettuce per serving.   
Honey Mustard Dressing:
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 Tbsp Dijon mustard, gluten-free
  • 3 Tbsp raw honey
  • 3 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea Salt to taste (optional)
Directions: Combine yogurt, mustard, honey, and vinegar in a medium bowl and mix well. Slowly add the oil, whisking constantly until well blended.    You can use the leftover dressing on salads throughout the week.
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Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Homemade Clean Tomato Sauce

One of the most used and versatile pantry items to always have on hand is a really good pasta sauce.  But when was the last time you actually read the labels?  There is often a ton of added sugar and preservatives.

Since I started my clean eating and fitness journey, I have really being paying more attention to labels and buying organic more often than not.  But sometimes, you really are able to make your own homemade pantry stable that is much cheaper than the organic option.

Take tomato sauce for example.  A really good traditional tomato sauce is about $4.00 a jar.  But organic can be about $8.00!  So I turned to Fixate for a cheaper, homemade clean alternative.

My version of this recipe is slightly different than the original Grandma’s Tomato Sauce for a couple reasons.  1.  I didn’t have any onions today.  But I did have a frozen pepper and onion medley.  I figured it would be fine because I love peppers in most any pasta or spaghetti type meals that I fix anyway.    2. I do not drink or buy wine.  So I use cooking wine.

I made this a couple months ago and it was delicious so I decided I would share it with all of you this time.  AND I made enough to last me six months!

Homemade Tomato Sauce

INGREDIENTS
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium Onion, Chopped (or try an onion and pepper blend like I did!)
  • 4 Cloves Garlic, Finely Chopped
  • 1 (6 oz) can Tomato Paste, No Salt Added
  • 1/4 cup Red Cooking Wine
  • 2 cans Whole Peeled Tomatoes crushed or pureed in blender (or food processor)
  • 2 tbsp Raw Honey
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 (3 oz) Parmesan Cheese Rind
  • 3 Tbsp Finely Chopped Fresh Parsley

DIRECTIONS

  • Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat.
  • Add onion; cook, stirring frequently, for 5 to 6 minutes, or until onion is translucent.
  • Add garlic and tomato paste; cook, stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Add tomatoes, agave, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to low; gently boil, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes.

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  • Add cheese rind; cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour.
  • Add parsley (or basil- whatever you have); mix well.

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This week I prepared two different proteins to use the sauce with.

Meatballs

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/3 Cup – Whole Wheat Breadcrumbs
  • 2 Tsp. – Olive Oil
  • 1 Pounds Raw 93% Lean Ground Turkey Breast
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1/4 Cup – Fresh Parsley (finely chopped)
  • 2 Tbsp. – Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 Tsp. – Dried Oregano Leaves
  • 1/2 Tsp. – Sea Salt
  • 1/2 Tsp. – Ground Black Pepper

DIRECTIONS

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Mix all of the ingredients.  Patty small meatballs.  Heat olive oil in pan. Brown meatballs on each side 2-3 minutes.  Then put the meatballs in a baking dish prepared with olive oil spray and finish off in the oven for 5-10 minutes until cooked through.

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When time to eat, I will warm with some of the tomato sauce and serve with zoodles.

Chicken Parmesan

INGREDIENTS

  • Whole wheat bread crumbs
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Sea Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 egg
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Chicken breasts

DIRECTIONS

  • I didn’t include the amounts because this is not something I typically measure. I just eyeball based on the amount of chicken I am cooking each time.
  • Mix the bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.
  • Dip the chicken in the chicken then the bread crumb mixture.
  • Place the chicken in a baking dish prepared with olive oil spray and bake until cooked through- about 15-20 minutes.
  • Spread some pasta sauce onto of the chicken and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and return to oven for about 3-5 minutes.

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I saved the Tomato Sauce in small portions in freezer bags to have on hand next time I am in the mood for an Italian meal.

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3 Ingredient Ice-cream

Last week I made Chunky Monkey Ice-cream and it was so delicious.  And it only included 3 healthy ingredients!  Today I wanted to give it a try with different flavors.

Once again I started with frozen bananas.

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Then I added frozen strawberries and added both to the food processor.

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Next came a few splashes of unsweetened almond milk and blended until smooth.

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It came out the perfect consistency, just like ice-cream.  But what is better is that it was quick, easy, clean, and healthy!

Now the question becomes….what other 3 ingredient ice-creams can I make??

This recipe is 21 Day Fix approved.  Counts as 1 purple.

Easy Side Dishes

Every Sunday I prepare and cook meals for the week.  I have found that it is very difficult for me to have healthy meals on the table for my family if I do not do it on the weekend.  I typically know what main dish I will have each night but do not always plan the side dishes.  But I cook enough to have variety throughout the week.  I wanted to share with you a couple of the really quick side dishes that, while simple, are delicious!

I pretty much always start by baking a few Sweet Potatoes.  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Wrap your sweet potato in aluminum foil and place in a baking dish (so drippings do not fall into your oven), and bake for about 45 minutes or so until soft.  When ready to serve, add a little cinnamon and warm.  They are perfectly sweet without the need for any added sugar.

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Next up comes Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower.  Spray olive oil spray on a roasting pan or baking dish.  I typically use frozen vegetables because it is just easier.  Spread out one bag of broccoli and one bag of cauliflower onto the roasting pan.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Sprinkle sea salt, fresh ground pepper and garlic powder to taste.  Toss around to combine all the spices and olive oil

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Roast on 425 degrees for about 20 minutes.

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Another favorite in our house is Zucchini.  We do pan sautéed zucchini, roasted zucchini, zucchini noodles and more.  This week, I opted for Parmesan Crusted Roasted Zucchini.  Pre-heat over to 425 degrees.  Cut your zucchini into small sticks.  Toss with a little olive oil.  Sprinkle with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper. Then top with a little grated parmesan cheese.

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Roast for about 20-25 minutes.  They are so delicious!  You do not need to use much cheese to give the zucchini a little extra kick.

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Now I have enough side veggies to last me all week!  I have found that olive oil with salt and pepper any any vegetable roasted on 425 is perfect!

Clean Eating Menu Planning

I have a love/hate relationship with food. I LOVE it, but what I LOVE my body hates. So now I’m learning to love the things that my body really needs, wants and loves too. I have done tons of diets before- Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Atkins, Low Cal, Low Fat, eat whatever the heck I want.

And while I was able to successfully lose weight with different diets that I have done, one thing that I have failed at is really maintaining my diet as a lifestyle. Now I am by no means saying that we should remaining on a restricted diet for the rest of our lives. But it is so very important to find balance with what we eat, including the amount of cheat meals.

So for me, the best way to do that is to try to eat truly REAL foods. It is so important to read labels and know what I am putting in my body. And I have FINALLY truly made a lifestyle change!  I follow an 80/20 system where 80% of the time I eat eating completely clean, and 20% of the time I realize I live in the real world where I don’t want to go without pizza, fries, cupcakes, and restaurant Mexican favorites (on occasion!!). 

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The basic principle of Clean Eating is to consume food the way it is naturally delivered.  It is NOT a diet, rather a lifestyle approach to the way you prepare and eat your food.

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  • Eat 5 to six times a day– three meals and 2-3 small snacks
  • Include lean protein, fresh fruit and vegetables and a complex carbohydrate with each meal.  This will keep your body energized and burning calories all day!
  • Choose organic whenever possible
  • Drink 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water a day (If you weigh 150 pounds, then drink 75 ounces of water)
  • READ labels.  Any product with a long list of human made ingredients is not natural.
  • Avoid processed and refined foods– like white flour, sugar, bread and pasta.  Instead, enjoy whole grains.
  • Steer clear of trans fats and things high in sugar
  • Consume healthy fats
  • Be aware of your portion sizes

I challenge you to give it a try, eat CLEAN for a week and see how much better you feel. Some of the benefits of Clean Eating are:

  • Weight loss
  • Fat loss
  • Shinier hair
  • Clearer skin
  • Increased energy
  • Better sleep
  • Reduced cravings

When starting something new, it can often be overwhelming to figure out exactly what to do!  So I have prepared a Clean Eating Meal plan for you to create a week’s worth of menu ideas!

Breakfast—Pick ONE each day

Snacks – Pick 2-3 each day

  • 1 cup of sliced fruit
  • ¼ cup Hummus with cucumbers or sliced bell pepper
  • 10 Baby Carrots with 2-3 tsp of natural peanut butter
  • 1 small apple cubed with 1 cup of plain Greek yogurt and cinnamon
  • 1 whole wheat waffle (toasted is best) with 2 tsp natural peanut butter, topped with ½ sliced banana or a few sliced strawberries
  • 1 small apple with 1 mozzarella string cheese stick
  • 1 cup plain Greek Yogurt with 2 tsp honey, ½ banana sliced and cinnamon
  • Nuts—(in these amounts) 12 almonds, 8 cashews, 14 peanuts, 20 pistachios, 10 pecan halves
  • Special Treats– Twice this week you can have one treat from this list as one of your snacks!

Lunch—Pick 1 each day 

  • Leftovers from dinner the night before
  • Grilled chicken (seasoned with sea salt and pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, ground cumin, chili powder) with ¼ sliced avocado, 1 whole wheat tortilla
  • Grilled chicken (seasoned with sea salt and pepper, ground mustard, onion powder and garlic powder) spinach salad, grape tomatoes, cucumbers, feta cheese and organic salad dressing (or a homemade option like these)
  • Creamy Chicken Salad on a bed of greens or in a whole wheat tortilla Need to make this and do blog then put the link
  • Skinny burrito in a Jar
  • Turkey Burger with spinach and tomatoes and baked sweet potato (about ½ mashed) with cinnamon
  • Buffalo Chicken Bowl
  • Dinner— Pick 1 each day

For some of these dinners, if it doesn’t include enough veggies already, you may want to add a small side salad or vegetable of your choice (i.e. roasted broccoli, grilled asparagus, zucchini, green beans)

Give it a try and you will be amazed at one week of eating clean can do to you!!

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My next Challenge Group will be starting soon.  Whether you need to lose weight, get toned, or just adopt a healthier lifestyle and relationship with food, then you would be perfect for my group.  If you’re interested, fill out this application!

 

21 Day Fix Approved Chocolate Chip Cookies!

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I LOVE Chocolate Chip Cookies.  And there is nothing wrong with indulging from time to time.  But since I have been eating clean (at least 80% of the time) I have been finding ways to have a healthy treat, and these cookies are a delicious option!

This recipe is from Fixate- by Autumn Calabrese (the creator of 21 Day Fix).Fixate_GSE_526x526_1_Book

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon gluten free baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup organic coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup raw maple syrup
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg whites (1/4 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup semi sweet or dark chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. 
  2. Combine almond flour, baking soda and salt in medium bowl, mix well, set aside.
  3. Beat oil and maple syrup in large mixer bowl until creamy, 4-5 minutes.
  4. Add egg, egg whites and extract and beat for 2 more minutes.
  5. Add almond flour mixture to egg mixture and mix until blended. Add chocolate chips. 
  6. Drop rounded teaspoons onto parchment paper and bake 14-16 minutes. Enjoy! 

21 Day Fix Container Equivalent: 1 cookie is equal to 1.5 yellow containers

So next time you want a treat but don’t want to fall off the clean eating and healthy bandwagon, give these cookies a try!  My next challenge group starts May 9, perfect timing to get you SUMMER READY!  If you are interested and want more information, please fill out this application!