Clean eating involves choosing minimally processed, real foods that provide maximal nutritional benefits. As I have embraced the anti inflammatory diet over the last several months my choices have begun evolving more towards cleaner food choices. I have cut back on my cheeses and processed meats.When I do choose a sausage, I read the label to make sure it doesn’t have too many preservatives or questionable ingredients. For more information on how to incorporate clean eating into your routine, here is a comprehensive article to get you started: https://www.webmd.com/diet/ss/slideshow-how-to-eat-clean
As the world opens up, and we are so excited to be going back to work, to restaurants, and retail stores, I feel like we should also embrace some of the wonderful things we discovered about staying home. During quarantine, my walks took the place of the pool for me in that I exercise, I use the walks for meditation, and also as a social outlet enjoying phone visits with friends and family. I learned to sit still without television and/ or devices out in my patio, and to just relax. These are things I want to hold on to, as I ease myself back into the world. I don’t want to be as busy as I used to be, or as harried. Taking things at a slower pace is keeping me more centered and focused. I am adjusting how I organize my time and priorities in order to keep this mindset. Of course I still can’t wait until the pool reopens….
Trader Joe’s Riced Cauliflower Stir Fry was my inspiration for my lunch prep this week. To bulk it up, I added sauteed fresh bok choy and shiitake mushrooms, and the rest of the frozen edamame I had in my freezer to the mix. The basic flavor of the TJ’s cauliflower rice mixture is really good as is, but I wanted to give it a little more oomph, so I added cubes of frozen garlic and frozen ginger to my stir fry, as well as a little coconut aminos. I like Trader Joe’s coconut aminos best. Other brands tend to be a little too sweet for me. Of course you can use soy sauce, low sodium soy sauce, or Tamari sauce as well to achieve that umami flavor. To pair with the veggies I marinated boneless skinless chicken breasts overnight in my husband’s famous teriyaki marinade, and oven roasted them (roasting instructions: https://pin.it/7cFsfZI). Honestly you can’t go wrong with this combo of flavors. And your house will smell amazing. I encourage you to try this recipe. You’re welcome :).
Here is the basic recipe with the changes I made for my meal prep noted:
Spuds Aloha Zesty Hawaiian Marinade; developed by Michael Gronfein
1/2 cup soy sauce (I used TJ’s coconut aminos)
2 tablespoons oil (I used extra virgin olive oil)
1 teaspoon mustard (I used dry mustard)
1/2 teaspoon ginger (I used dry ginger)
2 cloves garlic (I used a teaspoon of granulated garlic)
Pepper (I used a couple of pinches of red chile flakes; sriracha sauce is great in this as well)
Make it a great week, my friends. I know we are still going through some very tough times, but as bad as 2020 has been so far, there is light to be found here. We are on the road to real positive social change in our country, as well as a vaccine for Covid 19. Please be good to yourselves.
The city is slowly coming back to life. Santa Monica finally reopened their parks and beaches (for swimming and exercise only). My favorite is Palisades Park, which spans the cliffs just above the ocean. There is the most lovely rose garden there. I missed this little piece of paradise. I am gradually starting to feel whole again.
Last week I started going back to the office to begin prep for the economy reopening. My groceries served me well. I had good, healthy lunches each day. It is indeed all about the groceries. That said, I did want to meal plan for this coming week in the office, so I went to my well stocked freezer. There I found Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi (4 pts/ 140 cal per 1 cup serving), their Creamy Spinach and Artichoke Dip (2 pts/ 45 cal per 2 tbsp serving), frozen spinach, and frozen broccoli florets. The light bulb in my Baby Boomer Mermaid head went off, and I decided to combine all of this deliciousness into one veggie forward dish for myself. I will pair this with Trader Joe’s Sweet Italian Chicken Sausage (3 points/ 110 calories per 1 sausage serving). This gives me 4 servings, so all things considered, it will be healthy, filling, and really satisfying for the week.
Last weekend, after I published the blog, I got the baking bug. I had a can of pureed pumpkin in the house, along with all of the other ingredients needed, so I made this muffin recipe from Drizzle Me Skinny. No alterations. They came out amazing: https://drizzlemeskinny.com/pumpkin-spice-cream-cheese-muffins/. I highly recommend you give this a try. 2 pts/ 88 cal per muffin. Almost everything I make is inspired by recipes I find on the interwebs, either from Instagram, Pinterest, FB, the WW website, or just by randomly searching.
Just a reminder that I am still selling hospital grade disposable masks. Masks will be a part of our “new normal” for the foreseeable future. Please contact me privately if you are interested in purchasing some for your home and/ or office: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for joining me this week! Stay safe. Be well. Take care of yourselves.
Feel free to send me comments, critiques, questions, or meal prep ideas 🙂
For me, staying home has become more about the groceries than the meal prep. I don’t want to feel obligated to one or 2 choices for the week during this time, so I have filled my freezer, pantry, and refrigerator with clean, healthy, and mostly “safe” food options…. There has definitely been a little splurging on comfort foods and sweets over the course of the last 6 weeks of quarantine, though. Not gonna lie.
Today I made a broccoli slaw. Super easy with Bolthouse Farms Yogurt Coleslaw Dressing (50 cal for 2 tbsp/ 2 pts). I added a little celery, red onion, and celery seed to bump up the flavors. I put about 1/4 cup of dressing in the entire dish, which will be 3 – 4 servings. Slaw needs to marinate a little, so it’s in the refrigerator getting delicious.
My hearty breakfast was scrambled eggs with caramelized onions and nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast is a solid resource of protein and fiber. Besides the health benefits, it has a cheesy flavor, so mimics that in eggs without the fat, calories, and points of cheese. It is 20 calories a tablespoon (0 pts). Here is a cooking note on scrambled eggs (learned from The Barefoot Contessa, and who doesn’t love her ?) – cook them on low, slowly. You will get a fluffier more uncious finished product. I topped the egg mixture with my favorite jarred salsa, and wrapped it up on an Ole Extreme Whole Wheat Tortilla (50 cal/ 1pt).
So it is all about the groceries right now. Here are a few tips to make grocery shopping a little easier during these challenging times:
*Make a list (best if you can do it in the order of the aisles in the store)
*Read the labels (and/ or keep your WW scanner handy) to be sure you are making healthy choices
*Buy seasonal produce and proteins on sale to help adhere to your budget
Just a reminder, I am selling hospital grade disposable masks. Find the details on the previous blog from last week (scroll down). Masks are an essential part of the “new normal” as business start to reopen.
I start today’s blog with a heavy heart. I am a Los Angeles native, and am heart broken and devastated by the sudden loss of Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and the others lost in today’s tragedy. Not only was he an iconic champion, but a champion among men. He will be greatly missed in this world. Kobe. Gone way too soon.
Next Sunday I travel to Las Vegas for my trade show. I have my plan in place for staying on track. I called the hotel and put in my request for a refrigerator in my room. When you do that, tell them it’s for medical purposes (it actually is, although maybe not technically). They won’t question you or charge you. I’ll be bringing my breakfast items with me: Dannon 80 cal yogurt cups, containers of flax seed meal and chia seeds mixed, Julian Bakery Pro Granola Vanilla Cinnamon Cluster to top my yogurts with (2 points/ 97 cal for a 1/2 cup serving; I use just a tablespoon or so to top the yogurt with https://search.yahoo.com/search?fr=mcafee&type=E211US1079G0&p=pro+granola+vanilla+cinnamon+cluster), hard boiled eggs, and bananas. I won’t have as much control over lunches or dinners, but I’ve been doing this long enough that I’m able to make mindful choices and decide when it will be worth it to treat myself. I am not really planning on ordering desserts, though. I’ll be bringing chamomile tea bags and WW lemon bars for after dinner and winding down the day.
Simple meal prep today for the hectic work week ahead. I wanted to focus on anti inflammatory foods this week, and Hungry Girl’s Scoopy Salmon Salad came to mind. Such a great recipe. Thank you Hungry Girl: https://www.hungry-girl.com/recipes/scoopy-salmon-salad. I am pairing it with my favorite Ak Mak sesame crackers (3 pts/ 110 cal for 5 crackers), and Trader Joe’s Carrot Ginger Soup (0 pts/ 80 cal for a 1 cup serving). I choose to focus on anti inflammatory foods especially when I have a more physical and stressful week on tap than usual.
What a whirlwind of a year it’s been. Frankly, overall, it was not a good year for me, but I have come away feeling stronger for it, and very grateful. Most of all, I am grateful for my good health, and the good health of my husband, family, and friends. We are all so blessed. One thing I know for sure is that no matter how much money you have, good health is everything. Without it we have nothing.
My intention for this year with regard to my health, wellness, and fitness is to continue on my path of becoming physically stronger. This past month I met with a trainer at my local 24 Hour Fitness, where I have a free membership thanks to Medicare and Silver Sneakers. If you are not aware of the benefits you are entitled to, check it out here: https://tools.silversneakers.com/. The meeting with the trainer is a free perk for joining the gym, whether you are with Silver Sneakers or not. Ask about it at your gym. The trainer showed me some new stretches and strength building machines that are right for me. I am excited to expand my fitness repertoire with at least 1 day a week in the gym. Of course I will continue to lap swim, which is my passion, and water jog, which has turned out to be the best thing to manage my lower back pain. I also intend to stay on track with my weight maintenance, and that means mindful meal planning and prepping.
Over the past few weeks, I have been off of my routine with holiday work hours, and general holiday shenanigans, so meal prep has been off the table, as it still is this coming week. But meal planning is not. It’s all in the grocery shopping. I’ve made sure that I have the following on hand:
Progresso Light Soups (140 – 180 calories for the whole can)
Ole Whole Wheat Tortillas (50 calories each)
Fresh veggies and fruits
Unsweetened almond milk
Non fat plain Greek yogurt, as well as low fat cultured cottage cheese
Trader Joe’s Spinach Kale Yogurt Dip
Also, lean proteins for meals and snacks like eggs, turkey breast, smoked salmon, light string cheese, and hummus.
My wish for you all is for a HAPPY, HEALTHY, SWEET, AND PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR!
And remember – Focus on results, and you’ll never see change. Focus on change, and you will see results.
Thank you for joining the conversation. Your thoughts, critiques, and meal prep ideas are always welcome. I look forward to hearing from you.
My Sunday’s are lovely, but usually pretty much all the same. I lap swim at 8 when the pool opens, and of course stay to socialize a bit, then go home to shower and meet my husband at our favorite deli, where everyone knows us, for breakfast. I then do my grocery shopping, and come home to meal prep and write this blog. I love this routine, but sometimes things come up and interrupt the routine. An old friend was in town and it was important that I go meet her for coffee this morning.
I planned ahead. Yesterday, I made all of my meal prep decisions, and did a portion of my grocery shopping. Early this morning, I had a light breakfast of cottage cheese & blueberries so I wouldn’t starve, then ran to Trader Joe’s to finish my grocery shopping for the week. I then met my friend, had a great visit, then met my husband at that deli for brunch. About an hour and a half after arriving home, all of my meal prep is finished, and the blog is being written. I will make it to the pool late this afternoon, enjoy my time there, then come home to wind down the weekend, and get ready for the coming week.
This week is still going to be hot in So Cal, so for lunch I decided on my favorite gazpacho recipe, which I have published before here (0 pts). It’s so good, it bears repeating. Any vegetable based soup, hot or cold is a great way to power down lots of veggies at once, plus it is cleansing and hydrating. To go with the gazpacho, I went with one of the seasonal Trader Joe’s frozen specialties, Riced Cauliflower & Butternut Squash Risotto (70 cal/ 2 pts for a 1 cup serving) and a TJ’s favorite, their Sweet Italian Style Italian Sausages (110 cal/ 3 pts for 1 link). Both can be made using the handy microwave.
When you peruse gazpacho recipes on the interwebs you see many that include bread in the ingredients. Years ago, I discovered this bread free recipe in Cooking Light magazine, then found it online. Here is the link to the original recipe: https://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/gazpacho-lemon-garlic-shrimp. On this go round, I just roughly chopped up all of the fresh vegetables (I did not bother with the measurements as listed in the recipe), and blended them in 2 batches, while dividing up the oil, vinegar, garlic, and seasoning, as well. Also, I squeeze the juice of the entire lemon into the recipe. That and the sherry vinegar really balance the acidity of the dish.
Breakfast this week is veggie egg white fritatta squares (0 pts) on Everything Bagel Thins (3pts). I put defrosted, drained frozen chopped spinach in my square Pyrex pan with chopped red onions, and cut up roasted red bell pepper from the jar. I added in a little ground flaxseed and chia seeds for their health benefits, and seasoned with salt and pepper. I poured in 1/1/2 cups of liquid egg whites (equals about 8 eggs), then baked at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Every oven is different. Check to make sure the eggs are set before you remove them from the oven. I allowed them to cool, cut into squares, and stored in the refrigerator. So fast and easy.
It was fun changing it up today! Meal prep for the week is complete and stored in the refrigerator. I’m off to the pool now!
Thank you for taking time to read my blog today. I hope there is something here that inspires you. Your comments, critiques, questions, and recipe suggestions are always welcome.
It’s been about 3 months since I have done meal prep for breakfast and lunches. I kind of let it flow freely, and got creative with foods I already had in the house. My nectarines were aging, and not gracefully. Saturday morning I thought “stone fruit butter”, but then I got lazy about peeling all of the fruit, so I quartered them, took the stones out, of course, and placed them in my slow cooker with a little Splenda Brown Sugar, vanilla, and Chinese Five Spice (a great secret ingredient for sweet dishes, especially chocolate). I then added the rest of my canister of old fashioned oats to the mix, which was barely a half cup, now thinking “nectarine crisp”. I didn’t measure anything. Also, this wasn’t planned and I didn’t know how it would come out, so I didn’t even take any pics of the prep. It did turn out well! Today I topped my yogurt with it after I mixed ground flax seeds, chia seeds, and cinnamon into it. I also heated the bowl in the microwave for about 20 seconds to loosen up the mixture. It was delicious!
Now for lunch prep: The previous week, I had bought Trader Joe’s Sesame Crunch Chopped Salad Kit and teriyaki baked tofu to go with it for the house. The salad kit was great, and was gone quickly. I had a little over half of the tofu left over. I also had 2 small chicken breasts in the freezer. I went back to Trader Joe’s and bought that delicious salad kit again, and broccoli slaw. Yesterday I marinated the defrosted chicken breasts in my husband’s famous teriyaki marinade, but I substituted the soy sauce with coconut aminos for less sodium. Here is the original recipe, which was actually invented by my husband’s best friend’s mother. It was his favorite as a kid, and we’re talking back in the 1960’s!
1/2 cup soy sauce (I used coconut aminos)
2 tablespoons oil (I used 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil)
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
1 teaspoon ginger
2 cloves garlic
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
Added later by my husband, and used by me for my recipe: about a teaspoon of Sriracha Sauce.
I marinated my chicken overnight, but I would say it really needs 2-4 hours to work.
*Remember – recipes are made to be experimented with. Add and subtract ingredients as it suits you. The measurements can also be adjusted to your taste.
And I have snacks prepped as well –
That’s it for today! Make it a great, albeit short work week!
This subject may sound familiar. I wrote about this several weeks back, in the blog titled “What Level are You At?” I’m bringing this back up, because I, myself, have been struggling with this during this time of working at home, and it seems to come up a lot on the various WW groups on Facebook. I find it a worthy subject to bring up again. Also because my WW coach, the great Amy B. brought this invaluable chart out again. For me, this is the key to remembering to eat mindfully.
Many of us were brought up to clean our plates, not to waste food. But when we over eat, we feel sick, and then we also beat ourselves up for it. The challenge is to realize what that sweet spot is for us which is satisfied, satiated. Some things we can do to help with this are to eat more slowly, to eat without distraction, and to really notice how we are feeling as we eat through a plate of food, healthy or otherwise. The new WW Freestyle program is based on 0 point foods, which is wonderful, but we have to remember that all food has calories. Portion control is key, even while eating those 0 point foods.
On the other side of the spectrum is not to allow ourselves to starve either. If we allow ourselves to get that hungry, we tend to lose complete control over our food choices and portion control. We all need to work on finding that balance.
I hope you save this chart that I posted in your phones, or print it and put it up on your refrigerator. Somewhere that will remind you to stay within that comfort zone. Being self aware, and learning about our bodies will help with our weight loss and maintenance journeys, I guarantee you.
Today’s meal prep focuses on the nightshade varieties of fruits and vegetables. I kind of started this last week with the tomato blog, but took it a step further today. Nightshades have gotten a little bit of a bad wrap. There is a myth out there that nightshades can cause inflammation, but there is no scientific evidence to support that claim. For the most part they are nutritious, healthy foods. Some people are sensitive to them, as they contain a chemical called solanine, which can aggravate arthritis pain and inflammation. If you feel any mouth tingling or itching when eating these foods, consult your doctor. For more information on nightshades and their health benefits and risks, please consult the following articles:
Here is a list of common nightshade vegetables and fruits, most of which are components in the roasted ratatouille dish I made today:
So I had a package of Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi in my freezer calling my name today. I also had left over tomato sauce from the can of Italian tomatoes I used in my gazpacho last week. And I love me some ratatouille. And I love a roasted eggplant. Today I combined all of this deliciousness into my lunch meal prep for this week.
I really kind of made this up as I went. I roasted a whole eggplant yesterday. It baked in a 400 degree oven for 45 minutes to an hour. After it cooled, I scraped out the meat and stored it in my refrigerator. Today I took a red onion, a red bell pepper, a zucchini, and a summer squash and roasted them together. After spraying them with canola oil, and seasoning them with salt & pepper, I roasted them in a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes, stirring them a couple of times. I took some of that reserved tomato sauce that I had, put it on a low heat, then seasoned it with dried basil, thyme, and rosemary. I also added 3 cubes of Dorot frozen garlic to the sauce. I cooked the gnocchi according to the instructions on the package, then tossed them with the sauce. I then layered the veggies and sauced gnocchi s in my dish to store in the refrigerator. I cannot wait to eat this tomorrow. It smelled so good!
Yesterday, I was gifted a bag full of home grown lemons by my friend Marcy who came out to have lunch with me. Today I used them to make strawberry lemonade popsicles. I substituted the sugar in the recipe with Stevia. So fun. I had some of the mixture left over, so it’s in the freezer in a Pyrex pan becoming a granita of sorts.
I used what I had in the house, and kept it very healthy, and low in points and calories. I combined 1/4 cup of Old Fashioned Oats per serving with 1/2 cup of chia seeds, and 2 tablespoons each of Splenda Brown Sugar blend and Unsweetened Cocoa Powder. I layered in a couple of cups of chopped, pitted fresh cherries, and unsweetened vanilla almond milk. When I serve myself, I’ll top this with about a teaspoon of toasted sliver almonds. I do still have cherries left over, but those will go great with my fat free plain Greek yogurt, or fat free cottage cheese snacks.
Note the tip for filling snacks here: combine a small portion of a healthy protein with a fruit or vegetable. String cheese and an apple is another good example of this. Circling back to The Comfort Zone, don’t allow yourself to get so hungry that you lose control. Healthful snacks during the day or after dinner are essential.
Thank you for visiting my friends. As always, I welcome your comments, questions, and critiques.