Tag: chicken

Bacon?! Yes, please!

Bacon?! Yes, please!

Who doesn’t love a great sweet or maybe bacon?  Who was completely bummed by the new research that the World Health Organization aka WHO released this week about bacon, sausage, and hot dogs?  I have to admit that this was information I already knew, but information I never really want to hear (or at least not see plastered across every media outlet known to planet Earth).  I think everywhere I looked I saw articles, broadcasts, and posts reminding me of the harm of these foods.  Depressing, right?!  Or maybe not, maybe just news we needed to hear, be reminded of, and information to make us more well informed people about what we are shoving into our mouths each day (sometimes even me, on occasion)! 😉

On my list of nutrition improvements I continually have 1) Reduce sodium intake 2) Decrease sugary foods and 3) Increase naturally flavorful, non-processed foods (i.e. fruits and veggies, proteins in their most raw form).  Salts and sugars are an ongoing health concern that can always be improved no matter where you are at on your fitness and health journey.  Since the holidays are coming and Halloween is just around the corner it makes following these nutrition goals a bit difficult (even for me), but I have some tips that may just be the key to your nutrition success!

Remember that salts and sugars are often heavy additives in processed foods and of course in candy.  It is important to think about how much salt and sugar is in your diet (cereal, candy bars, sandwiches, pizza, salads, etc) – most people eat three times or more servings of the recommended amount of daily sodium.  That’s scary, especially considering heart disease and cardiovascular concerns are the number one killer.

To cut down on salt and sugars, consider eating more naturally sweet or salty foods that don’t have as much added to them for flavor.  Fruits like watermelon, strawberries, apples, oranges, and pineapple which are naturally sweet are great choices.  Decrease processed meats, chips, cheese, and other salty foods and consider eating foods that are in their more natural form such as chicken, fish, and other meats that you can control how much salt is added.  For desserts, consider a dessert that has fruit in it or a dessert that has a fruit topping such as pudding or mousse with fruit. Further, when it comes to cakes, cookies, pies, tarts, and other sweets make them from scratch so you can control the additives, preservatives, and other ingredients such as sugar and sodium that are placed in the dessert.  Sometimes you can make a less sweet cake, cheesecake, or tart and add fresh fruit that makes it less sugary, but still tastes delicious.

It may seem like a heartbreaker that bacon isn’t good for you and may cause cancer or that cookies like snickerdoodles are high in sugar, but it isn’t something we didn’t already know.  After all, we don’t think fried cheese, pickles, and chicken are good for us, do we?! 😉  Like I say, everything in moderation.  Life is too short not to enjoy the things we love (on occasion)! 😉




Healthy Creations: Winter fallback recipe for the crockpot!

Healthy Creations: Winter fallback recipe for the crockpot!

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to share today, but after thinking about the frigidly cold temperatures that are being seen (and of course, felt!) all across the country, I thought it would be appropriate to share a healthy crockpot recipe that the whole family could enjoy!  This time of year we often turn to comfort foods and crockpot recipes which aren’t always healthy and are often high in sodium.  So, here’s a quick, simple and delicious crockpot recipe that I have made many times and can attest to how tasty it is!

Pesto Crockpot Chicken

What you will need:

~4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or salmon if you prefer)

~1 cup of brown rice (the healthy stuff 😉 ) or pasta if you prefer (cooking time may vary)

~Mushrooms, cut into quarters

~1 8 oz. jar of pesto

~1 package of dry ranch dressing seasoning

~1 head of broccoli cut into florets

~2 cups of chicken stock or water (whichever you prefer)

What you will do:

First, spray the inside of your crockpot with a nonstick spray.  Then place your chicken breasts on the bottom of the crockpot.  Next, pour the ranch dressing seasoning on top of the chicken breasts, followed by the jar of pesto (use the entire jar). Next, top that with the broccoli florets and the mushrooms.  Then add a half cup of the chicken stock and place on low for 6 hours or on high for 4 hours.  When there is approximately 3 hours left of cooking time, you will add the brown rice along with the additional 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock (or water).  Total prep time is very minimal…maybe 10 minutes (if that) and this is definitely disaster free!  You can be a highly skilled chef or a mom at home cooking great meals for her family.  Either way it is a healthy creation that the whole family can enjoy together to stay warm during these freezing cold temperatures that we are facing!  Enjoy!


Pack a lunch & make ahead dinners…saving time, calories, and money!

Pack a lunch & make ahead dinners…saving time, calories, and money!

I actually knew exactly what I wanted to talk about this week.  I am an avid lunch taker because I don’t like eating out during the week.  There aren’t enough choices (especially for someone with a food allergy) and it is so expensive to eat out.  I can buy a package of crackers, cheese, and lunch meat, carrots, apples, and other miscellaneous lunch items that will last me a week or more for the same price of what many people pay for eating out for one lunch!  Not to mention, it is much healthier and I can save some calories that will later allow me to indulge my sweet tooth with a sweet treat (if I so choose)!

The number one complaint I hear from people who eat out constantly?  I don’t have time to pack a lunch and there isn’t enough time for me to make a dinner in between school ending and after school practices and activities beginning.  My response?  I do NOT buy that as a viable excuse!  Sorry to all those who find that offensive.  We ALL have very full schedules and lead very busy lives, but making a lunch takes about 30 seconds to 2 minutes (and yes, for those who do not believe me, I have timed it out)!  You can pack a lunch and do 10 or more jumping jacks during the commercial of your favorite show in the evening! 😉

The next complaint is how to make dinners even when your life seems so crazy that nothing more feels like it can be squeezed in.  Some wise words my mom once told me are, “You can always find a way and have the ability to put more on your plate.  There’s always a way to do more and fit more in no matter how busy you are.”  The solution for all the busy parents, educators, workers, and people in the world?  Make a plan for the week on Sunday by sitting down and making a menu for the week as well as making some dinners ahead of time, too.  For example, make crock pot meals, make ahead casseroles (there are plenty that can be made in healthy ways, if you need some inspiration feel free to ask me or visit Pinterest and the hundreds of other recipe websites online), and consider eating leftovers at least one day a week which can be an ultra time saver if you are in a huge hurry!  You can make frozen dinners that can be pulled out of the freezer, prepare chicken, steak, or other meats over your weekend that can be thrown in salads, quesadillas, casseroles, fajitas, etc. and can make dinner a cinch to pull together at the last minute.

I understand time is often precious and there never seems to be enough of it…ever…even when you get up 25 minutes before your kids, go to bed 30 minutes earlier, etc, but I do know that you will thank yourself if you prepare your meals for your family.  They will not only be healthier, but you will save money, time, and calories by making food ahead.  Further, and maybe most importantly you will also be bringing your family together for a meal, which is one of the most precious memories you can make for you and your kids.  Memories at the dinner table are often some of the greatest memories you can give to your family, friends, and others!  P.S. Remember that you will also have more luck with your weight loss and fitness goals if you pack your lunch and make your dinners because you can control the portions and what’s in the meal (sodium, fat content, oils, etc)!


Replace + Reduce > Rationalizing

Replace + Reduce > Rationalizing

All too often I hear people say, “I worked out earlier, so it means I can eat this cake and cookies now” or “I ate fruit at breakfast and a side of vegetables at lunch so I can cheat at dinner” or the best one is “I ate clean all week, so it means I can eat whatever I want this weekend” but rationalizing your choices when it comes to your health is not a good compromise or balance.  Try replacing rather than rationalizing to reduce your calories and your chances for heart disease (which I will add is the number one killer of Americans yet can be reduced by the choices we make).

I am not suggesting that you don’t allow yourself to eat sweets or desserts, but getting into the habit of rationalizing your choices is a sure way to lose track of your fitness goals and see a decrease in your progress.  Instead, eat in moderation and remember that replacing with fruits and veggies rather than rationalizing with junk food will boost your energy level and make you feel much better.  Consider replacing at least one food item at each meal to reduce the fat content, sodium, and carb load that is almost always higher than it should be.  Replace unhealthy sides such as mashed potatoes for a baked potato or make mashed potatoes that are 1/2 cauliflower and 1/2 potato and use Greek yogurt, low fat milk, and unsalted butter to get the creamy consistency you want.  Replace onion rings or french fries for healthy veggies such as grilled onions or roasted potatoes.  Further, at breakfast, replace potatoes and bacon in an omelette for veggies such as spinach (leafy greens are great for you!) and mushrooms.  At lunch, replace BBQ potato chips for plain tortilla chips or unsalted almonds and a BLT or chicken quesadilla for a turkey, spinach, and cheese wrap.  Small healthy choices at each meal may not seem that important, but small steps can help make a big difference in the overall progress you see.  Three small healthy choices (one at each meal) is a great way to work on making progress over time.

Remember that when you eat like crap, you often feel like crap so don’t use your weekend as an excuse to give up on your goals.  Instead eat for success because no diet does what healthy eating will do for your life.  It will change your mood, stress, and energy level!  Eating healthy doesn’t mean you have to eat less, just eat right! 🙂


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