Friday, January 29, 2010

My Grocery List (and savings!)

Yesterday was quite a day! It started with being woken up by a phone call from my boss, I left my keys at Bed Bath & Beyond, ran out of gas on the way to Bar Method (in my defense the gas light was not even on!) and had the HARDEST most painful run of my entire life (thanks Vegas), set off the smoke detector cooking dinner, I could really go on and on. Crazy! Thankfully today is off to a much better start.
I thought I'd dissect my grocery list from Trader Joes.  I went on a major shopping trip and got all the basics- so here it goes:
  • Fat Free Milk
  • Puffins Cereal (peanut butter is SO good, like dessert!)
  • Go Lean Crunch (great mixed in greek yogurt!)
  • TJs Blueberry Waffles
  • Zen Fiber Apple Cranberry Muffins
  • Greek yogurts multiple flavors
  • Savory Thins Rice Crackers
  • Light String Cheese
  • Hummus Dip
  • Laughing Cow Lite Cheese Wedges
Staples for cooking/salad etc
  • Baby Spinach Mix
  • Lettuce Mix
  • Broccoli
  • Cinnamon Raisin Ezekial Bread
  • Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce
  • Egg Whites
  • Bananas
  • Asparagus
  • Chicken broth
  • Onions
  • Green Onions
  • Frozen Berry medley (great for use in smoothies, or heated over ice cream or waffles, YUM)
 Dinner- mains & sides
  • Chicken Chow Mein Stir Fry Mix ( I love to keep this in the freezer for a QUICK dinner, it's also low cal- and only $3.69!)
  • Mushroom risotto
  • TJ organic creamy tomato soup
  • Salmon w/Citrus Butter (we made it without the citrus butter- just a little soy sauce & lemon juice marinade)
  • PreMade Stuffed Bell Peppers
  • Scalloped Potatoes (ok I know they're not "good" for you- but if you portion it right you can still enjoy!)
  • Raspberry Vanilla Ice Cream bars (tiny but only 80 cals!)
And all of that cost under $100 (fine- $97.85 :) I really believe that Trader Joes is less expensive than a regular grocery store.  The most expensive item I bought was the salmon for $8, but it served both of us (and was delicious). Last night for dinner we had the salmon, asparagus, & scalloped potatoes for dinner.  Total cost for all items: $15.28 (and we have leftover potatoes & asparagus). Per person, about $7. To eat a meal like that out in a restaurant we'd probably be looking at $15-20 a person, plus tip & drinks, so it's not only healthier to eat at home, it's less expensive.
Even cheaper- Wednesday we had stuffed peppers and salad.  Total cost: $8.58!  Only $4.29 a person.  And it was equally satisfying (and impressive) of a meal. I told Chris last night that I remembered being in college wondering HOW people could cook 5-7 nights a week? (I was living off Rubio's, Jack In the Box,  & a few Lean Cusines thrown in there at the time) It seemed so crazy to me and now I'm doing it. Funny how things change.  Does that make me a grown up?? :)
Happy Friday! Have a fun & healthy weekend!
PS- Thanks Nat for my Trader Joes cookbook, I totally took it with me and used it! I'll post pictures when I create a recipe!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Dear Chelsea..... (like Dear Abby but much more fun!)

So my good friend Lindsey, (who also has a blog- check it out HERE) recently moved to a new city for grad school.  She wrote to me asking for help figuring out how to eat right with a crazy schedule. Here's her story: "I'm basically in class until 10pm 3 nights a week, two of those nights from 5-10.  So evn if I eat before class I'm hungry again by the time I get home... help! What are some good (at least ok) snacks to eat that late? Can I put you on the case?"
I'm so on the case I feel like a food detective!!  My overall advice in the situation would be to figure out the amount of calories you want to eat in the entire day and then work from there. Although late night eating isn't ideal, you can still maintain or lose weight simply by counting calories- no matter what time of night you are eating them.  But- to prevent the binge factor (or the I feel sorry for myself for being in class so late factor) you should never let the starving feeling set in.  So- plan to eat "dinner" before class.  Have a decent meal and try to include protein, it will stick with you longer. About 300-400 calories.  This should last you until about 8pm. Definitely pack a healthy snack to bring with you- you should never try and go all 5 hours without eating.
 My recommendations on the snack would something substantial around 200-250 calories:
-Nuts.  Buy them in pre-packaged amounts so you won't overeat.  If you like to eat more- my personal favorite is pistachios- you can eat 50 nuts for only 160 calories.  Or little packs of raw almonds from Trader Joes really can help tide you over.
-Bars.  Bring a protein bar to eat halfway through.  Good rule of thumb for choosing a bar is to be around 200 calories with at least 3 grams of fiber. Great brands are: Lara Bar, PURE, KIND, and Think Organic.
-Cheese & Crackers.  Laughing cow light cheese (35 cal) with a high fiber cracker (like a triscut) will fill you up and keep you satisfied.
-Apple.  Not always that satisfying, but easy to toss into your bag when heading out the door.
-Zen Fiber Muffin from Trader Joes.  I usually eat these in the morning, but they would be a great way to tide over your hunger since they have a TON of fiber. They're good with coffee too, if you need that to stay awake!
Ok now here's the hard part- coming home at 10pm, probably with more work to do (you crazy student!) and being hungry.  If you are planning on staying up- stick to a 100 cal snack and try to avoid carbs.  If you are not- GO TO BED.  It actually won't kill you to go to bed a little hungry. Recommendations for a get home light snack:
-String Cheese. 60 cals.
-Hard Boiled Egg. 80 cals.
-Greek Yogurt. ~100 cals
-Tea/hot chocolate
Hope that helps!! If any one else has snack favorites- that are good on the go, post & share!
PS- Anyone else have a food question? Let me know!
PPS- Tonight is day 1 of my 45 days of Bar Method class.... last time I was sore for a week! Wish me luck...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Back to Life, Back to Reality...

Much to say! I did manage to survive an AMAZING Vegas trip with the girls. Long story short- cancelled flight/crazy rain = equally crazy 6hr drive to Vegas! You can't say we're not committed to a good time!
THE weekend, as expected, was filled with excessive eating and drinking. In fact, we spent 5 hours at the Bellagio buffet drinking endless mimosas and snacking on omelets, pizza, sushi, really anything our inner fat girls desired :) Not a proud moment (blog wise) but one I wouldn't trade for anything.  I'm sure all the laughing and dancing we did over the weekend totally worked it all off. I've heard dancing on tables burns 2x the calories but that could just be a rumor... :)
The return to reality was a rough one this week, I had two days of lengthy meetings on Monday and Tuesday.  I was so proud of myself Monday because despite the meeting and a work dinner at a Mexican food restaurant I managed to stay in my calories (1320 for the day) and not eat a single chip at dinner (HUGE accomplishment).  Yesterday was a different story.  Meeting started at 8am and when I walked in and saw bowls of candy and snack bags of chips on the tables I knew I was in trouble.  But I stayed strong until afternoon, had a relatively light lunch but upon the realization around 2pm that we were going to be there for the rest of our lives, I caved and ate a ton of junk. Literally didn't finish until 9 and I went home with quite a stomachache. 
So now the week is halfway over and I'm feeling halfway back to normal.  Goal for today is to do some grocery shopping so I can be well stocked on healthy options (SUCH a key to success with eating well- I can't say it enough!!). I'm also going to try and fit in a run because my 10k is only about 6 weeks away! Yikes!
PS. Linds- I know I owe you a snacking/late night eating tips blog- check back tomorrow.  Have you read this post? Snackity Snack Snacks It has some food suggestions that may tide you over.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I Hate Rain.

It is POURING rain outside! And the City of San Diego, and the people who live here are NOT a group prepared for rain- our streets turn into rivers, palm fronds fall on sidewalks, traffic slows to a crawl... and then there's me- my dog refuses to go outside to go to the bathroom, I honestly don't even own an umbrella and to top it off last night our bedroom FLOODED.  Ugh... that was a fun to clean up as you can imagine :)
We did feel a little better after I made some DELICIOUS Tomato Fennel Bisque from one of my favorite restaurants, Beaumont's.  It's not the healthiest (and I wasn't in the mood for modification last night) but was SO warm, comforting and impressive to serve (I'm a big fan of that- if you're going to cook, you might as well get credit for it!). If you are stuck at home because of weather this weekend, I highly recommend making it and paring it with a grilled cheese sandwich for the ultimate rainy day meal. However- this recipe was a little "higher level" than most I usually follow and it took a lot of translation for me to get it right! I've included my notes in blue below.
Beaumont's Tomato & Fennel Bisque

1 each fennel bulb sliced Fennel is also known as Sweet Anis (and smells like liquorish) When it calls for the bulb- like in this recipe, you do not need to use the stalks. Maybe a "duh" thing but I had to Google it :)
1 each large yellow onion sliced
1 T fennel seed When cooking, a lower case "t" stands for teaspoon and an upper case "T" stands for tablespoon.
3 garlic cloves (whole)
½ cup olive oil
2 cans plum tomatoes (whole)
1 can filled with water
1 small carrot sliced
½ cup heavy cream
1 bay leaf
½ cup red wine
3 large basil leaves
In large pot sauté fennel, onion, garlic, carrot, bay leaf, and fennel seed until well caramelized. (Carmelization is when the onions start to brown. Do not be afraid to leave them in there for a while- this is how their sweet flavor develops.  This should take 10-20 minutes over a medium heat stirring frequently). Deglaze with red wine and let reduce by half. (According to (fancy pants!) deglazing is: After food has been sautéed and the food and excess fat removed from the pan, deglazing is done by heating a small amount of liquid in the pan and stirring to loosen browned bits of food on the bottom.) Add tomatoes, water, and cream, bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer for 45 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Remove bay leaf and let soup cool before you puree. Puree in blender with basil leaves until smooth. I then poured it back into the original soup pot & reheated. If soup is too thick, add more water.
SO good! I added fresh ground pepper at the end- perfect finish!

OMG. Just checked on my Vegas flight and it's CANCELLED!! Oh no! I hate this weather!! And the Southwest help line has a freaking BUSY signal... OH no!!  Wish me luck!!!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Just Do It (Thanks Nike...)

I think I had an athlete breakthrough last night. After confessing yesterday about Monday's night in with pasta & red wine, I felt like I couldn't be an indoor sloth any longer. So yesterday evening the clouds had lifted a little and the rain had stopped so Chris & I decided to go for a run. About a mile into the planned 4 mile run, the sprinkling started.  As we got down to our usual running path by the bay we found it completely flooded in spots, so we were running in and around huge puddles of muddy grass when the downpour hit. It DUMPED rain on us.  We both looked at each other and kind of started laughing (challenging when out of breath) and decided to keep going.  Literally with water squishing in my shoes and freezing rainy winds in our faces we finished the entire 4 miles and both felt like it was one of the best runs we'd had in a while! Why do I consider that an athlete breakthrough? Because rain is a pretty good excuse to quit! And I feel like I've reached a point in my workout mentality (possibly for the first time in my life) where I'm not looking for excuses to quit or take a break. 
Michael Jordan said: "Obstacles don't have to stop you.  If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it."
Imagine applying that principle to your daily life. We as a culture, community, down to each individual make hundreds of excuses every single day with reasons of why we don't have time, commitment, energy or focus to eat right, workout and change our bad habits...  Imagine how life changing it could be to stop making excuses and start taking action.  (And did I mention how good you'd look? Just a side effect :)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Baby it's Cold Outside!

I don't know about you all- but rainy days seem to make me want to eat popcorn & hot chocolate and camp out on the couch in front of the TV. Which is exactly what I did last night, although my vices were actually pasta & wine!  Thank GOD I live in San Diego where it rains about 5 days a year or I'd be in big trouble...

So for some comfort food to keep us warm (but not fat) while it's raining outside I searched for recipes to help us take cold weather favorites and turn them into healthy, or healthier choices. Click on the links below to check out the recipes.
Mac & Cheese Recipe  (Really low cal version)
BACON Mac & Cheese Recipe: (Bacon. Duh)
Chili Recipe (Great to feed a group)
Loaded Mashed Potatoes: (Super Easy!)
Grilled Turkey & Ham Sandwich Recipe (So good with tomato soup!)

Really anything warm seems delicious when it's raining or cold. Soup is always a great option- filling and low calorie, but if you're going store bought, be sure to check the label. A good can of soup should have the following:
  • 250 calories (or less) per serving, to keep your diet in check.
  • 3 grams of fat (or less) per serving, to protect your heart.
  • 3 grams of fiber (or more) per serving, for filling power.
  • 600 mg of sodium (or less) per serving, to help keep blood pressure in check.
I'm really looking forward to heading to Vegas Thursday for a fun Girls weekend! There will likely be nothing healthy about what we're eating or drinking. I'm not even bringing workout clothes- because let's be honest, they'd be taking up valuable room in my suitcase!  This is part of what I consider balance- the freedom to have fun and leave the healthy eating at home for a few days.  But I'm sure you can expect a "Fresh Start/Getting Back on the Wagon" blog from me next Monday :)
Stay dry & warm out there!
P.S. Julia & Brooke- the title of the blog today is in your honor.  Can't wait for your encore performance this weekend :)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Top 5 New Favorites

It's finally Thursday! Yay! I'm feeling a little uninspired on blog ideas today (Brooke has requested one on cleansing/colonics/etc, it's in the works...) But I thought I'd share a few of my "greatest hits" from the week. New foods, recipes, workouts, etc that I liked!
#5 Sprints.  Ok- so I'm not going to lie and tell you I actually ENJOYED sprinting at the track, but I am still sore- so I know it did something! Not only are my legs sore- but I can tell it really engaged my core becuase my abs felt like I'd done 500 sit ups. We ran the straightaways at the track- so walk 100 yards, sprint 100 yards, etc.  And we are talking a full out sprint- where you feel like your lungs are going to burst. After a mile of those I was done! Bootcamp tip: to increase speed, lift your knees & don't be afraid to use your arms.
#4 OMG Lemon BBQ Chicken.  Chris & I have lemons growing in our yard and they are amazing! We have been using them in everything- inlcluding creating a lemon chicken.  We bought organic free range chicken breasts with the skin still on and then stuffed lemon slices between the breast & the skin and put them on the BBQ.  They came out beautifully (see picture) & tasted so good!
#3 Homemade Chicken Soup.  This is a carry over from the BBQ chicken above- but it was so good (and easy) I had to give it it's own! I put a leftover chicken breast in a pot of half water, half chicken broth, just deep enough to cover the breast.  I added a pre chopped veggie mix from Trader Joes (thanks Jess!) of onions, celery & carrots and then salt & pepper.  I let it simmer for a few hours then removed the chicken breast, shredded the meat which was basically falling off the bone & then put it back in the soup! So good- and only 150 calories per serving!
#2 Acorn Squash! Chris found one at the grocery store and decided to get creative.  He followed this recipe from the Mayo Clinic which has only 140 calories per serving and is a delicious blend of pine nuts, garlic & olive oil flavoring.  Definitely a close runner up to my favorite dish of the week.
And number one new discovery of the week goes to.......
#1 Artic Zero Ice Cream.  Wow.  This ice cream is all natural AND has only 35 calories in a half cup!!! Compare that to about 150 calories in half a cup of typical light ice cream.  Artic Zero is made out of whey protein and has 0 fat, is low in sugar, lactose free, and it tastes GREAT!  It's a little different from regular ice cream, but SO much better for you than even frozen yogurt! Check out their website- we bought it at Henrys but it has a list of places where it is available. 

Give one or all five of these a try- I promise you won't be disapointed! Did any of you try something new this week? Or just have a healthy staple you couldn't live without??
Let me know!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Are You In Control of What You Eat?

There are very few things an adult person can have 100% control over in their life. Isn't it funny that food is one of them?
Because it is. And it doesn't feel always feel that way.
In a black and white world it would appear that to have control over one's weight and to eat perfectly every day the only things you'd need are knowledge, money and willpower.  Knowledge of what foods are healthy and how many calories you need each day to lose or maintain weight.  Money to spend on purchasing higher quality and/or lower calorie foods and the willpower to eat only those things that are determined good for you. It seems so simple. Yet I know plenty of people (myself included) who have all three of those things- and still struggle and often fail at controlling their eating.
I know how to eat healthy- what food to eat, when to eat it, etc but that doesn't mean I do it. And sometimes it can feel like the part of my life over which I have the least control.  But in reality- I am the only person determining exactly what goes in my mouth every single day.
These thoughts came up after last night when I was home by myself organizing the pantry. I'd had a really good day of eating and was actually thinking about today's blog and considering putting my food journal from the day on the blog.  And then in the back of the cabinet I saw an open bag of potato chips. Regular Ruffles Lays (note- these are NOT usually in my pantry! Chris... ). I don't even love potato chips but in that moment- all thoughts of blogging and calories went directly out of my head. I reached in and grabbed a big handful. My mind was blank. I ate them quickly and once they were gone, the thoughts came rushing back.
"Why did I just do that? Those weren't even good. My hands are all greasy! Guess that ruins tomorrow's blog about my day of great eating...  How many calories was that? Should I throw the rest away? Why can't I control myself?  I kind of want more- maybe just another handful.."
I was able to stop myself from a second handful- but it really got me thinking about WHY I would make the choice to eat them in the first place. There was NOTHING even enjoyable for me about cramming those chips into my mouth. It was a compulsion- almost like an automatic reflex. But at the end of the day the only person accountable for that is me. And it's my goals I'm sabotaging. And for what?   Let me tell you- my rational brain KNOWS that I'll get much more extended pleasure from having my jeans feel loose than mere seconds of potato chip crunching.
Maybe you'd think it's willpower I lacked in that situation. Maybe it was (I never said I had all the answers :) but I think stopping myself from the second handful was willpower.  The first handful felt out of my control- but it wasn't.  I think it was that crazy senseless urge that can overtake even the best intensions and is what kills many typical diets.  Doing perfectly until BAM- something trips you up and then you give up entirely. Those setbacks can make you think you're not good enough or strong enough to maintain a diet- because you don't really have any idea WHY you ate that bagel in the meeting or pulled into the drive thru at lunch. And that's when eating starts to feel completely out of your control and you figure you might as well give up.  I spent a lot of my life angry at myself for not being "strong" enough to diet and hating myself each time I failed.
Which is why I'm done dieting. This is a lifestyle change.  It's permanent.  It's not going away- even if I had eaten the whole bag of chips.  Nothing is ever ruined, I just have to keep trying, waking up each day and making as many good choices as I can. Even when you let yourself down, the ability to forgive yesterday's mistakes and move on what is going to help you maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle.  I don't think there's a magic "something" that will give me 100% control and stop me from ever giving in to a craving, or mindless eating or an occasional binge. I believe the key to weight loss is perseverance. Accepting your mistakes and moving on- committed to doing better the next day.
Live in the moment and try to make each choice a good one.  Not for a week, not for a month, but for the rest of your life. I'll leave you with a quote I liked out of my bootcamp journal. "Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending."- Maria Robinson
Good luck! Make good choices today!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Week in Review & Supplements (again!)

And it's Monday... Weigh in today was +3 pounds from last week. Not ok. I'm hoping that's just a little bit of my body's natural fluctuation... but still pretty frustrating. I sat down with my food and exercise journal to figure out what happened...
Exercise. I like to start with the positive :). I went to bootcamp once (75 min of crazy intensity), ran a 5k, went for a 6 mile bike ride & did sprints at the track one day. So that's 4 days of exercise, which I feel pretty good about.
Food. Now that I making an effort to journal more often (6 days a week per my New Years resolution) it means writing down the good, bad & ugly. This week I would classify as mostly bad with a little bit of good & ugly on the side. Monday and Tuesday I met my calorie goals (in the 1400 range) but Wed-Thurs were 2,000+ and both weekend days ran about 2,000. The good news is that it's in black and white- so I know what I can correct this week to do better.
A common thread on my high calorie days was eating out. I either ate out or had take out 3 nights this past week and that really hurt my calorie counts. Making good decisions and healthy substitutions can do a lot- but in general restaurant food is really high in calories. My plan for this week is to try to cook at home, skip wine with dinner & eat dessert ONLY if I can fit it in my calories. (Normally I would say cut dessert all together but I made this amazing berry cobbler and still have leftovers at home... going to try to fit in my calories tonight!)
So yes, I suppose I can see where the weight came from. It's all about the math after all- more calories in then out= weight gain!  Going to try and get on the other side of that equation this week!

I also added a few supplements to my diet this past week- after a nutritional seminar in bootcamp, I Blogged about the 5 supplements that the nutritionist considered essential for everyone and I've decided to introduce a few to my diet. I'm drinking a Greens powder every morning- which according to the nutritionist may help: Boost Energy, Promote a Healthy Heart, Improve Digestion, Boost the Immune System, Alkalize and Balance pH, Support Normal Blood Sugar, Fight Aging (like botox??), Promote Normal Cholesterol, and assist in weight management. I HATE the taste of it, and it's 50 calories a serving, but I'm going to give it a trial run for a month & then see how I feel.
I'm also taking a molecularly distilled fish oil supplement which is supposed to regulate swelling & inflammation of the body which is great especially when you are working out. It also helps with cardiovascular health & blood sugar balance.
So... we shall see! To get all 5 the nutritionist recommended I still need to add digestive enzymes, probiotics & a calcium/magnesium supplement but I thought I'd start with two and then add from there- so hopefully I can see how each affects my body.
Here's to a good (and healthy) week! It's crunch time for me, Vegas is coming up (where no calories count- obviously)  and a month from now it'll be bathing suit season for me in Cabo! I am SO excited about both trips, but I want to go into them knowing I have a little wiggle room to enjoy myself!
P.S. I am a little upset... I have been having a slight Subway addiction lately & been feeling ok about it- but when I dug a little deeper into their nutritional facts- a 6 inch sub with no cheese or mayo, just the veggies and meat has close to 50% of your daily needed sodium! Not a total deal breaker, but it does mean I shouldn't be eating them daily...
PPS. If you are interested in supplements but not sure how to choose one- check out Christa's website, the nutritionist who spoke at our boot camp for some good product reviews.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Sometimes A Girl Just Needs A Burger...

I had In N Out for lunch today. And it was GOOD.  I was feeling some aftereffects of excessive wine consumption at a dinner party last night and couldn't get the thought of a burger (and fries) out of my head. In a feeble attempt to "be good" I did order it protein style (lettuce wrapped instead of a bun) but it was definitely an indulgence. I wrote it down in my food journal... and now I have a whopping 490 calories to last me the rest of the day- hmmm.... since I totally blew my calorie count yesterday I am trying to keep in check today!
Last night I had a  friends over and made Phenomenal Chicken And Pasta In Creamy Pesto Sauce.  Sounds healthy right? :) I made some modifications to the recipe reduce some calories, including using whole wheat pasta, swapping cream for half & half, cutting back some of the olive oil... it came out pretty good. But then at the end I had to add a ton of extra parmesan cheese for flavor which may have offset all my improvements!  My favorite part was making the pesto sauce- I think I'll make that again. I blended a ton of fresh basil, little olive oil, pine nuts, a tomato & garlic and it was SO good. I wanted to spread it on bread and eat it plain! My favorite dish of the night was a Smoked Salmon Crostini appetizer- which is actually a Cooking Light recipe. Checkout the picture below. It was all good! But I ended my day at 2,400 calories. Yes you read that right. I'm eating burgers and going 1k over my daily calorie allotment... uh oh... Time to get back on track!

Definitely looking forward to a low key weekend with lots of exercise!  Happy Friday!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Snackity Snack Snacks!

I think I would die without snacks.  Maybe not die but be a MUCH crankier person (Chris can attest to this- he jokes that he keeps cheerios in little baggies with him at all times to keep me happy). Seriously though, I've noticed that if I skip snacks I start to feel nauseous and irritable.  And once that feeling hits- if I still don't snack- within an hour I likely have given into a craving and am eating something chocolate or fried in a desperate attempt to raise my blood sugar.
SO- snacking is key for me. And just to clarify- snacking is NOT grazing.  I try to eat around 1400 calories a day and I write everything in my food journal.  So for me, snacking needs to be a planned & timed event not just random "extra" eating through the day. If you are writing this blog/idea off right now because that sounds too hard- stop.  I'm going to share with you my favorite snacking strategies that are SO easy you will be a pro snacker in no time :).
I eat both a Mid Morning Snack (eaten around 10:30-11 between breakfast & lunch) and a late afternoon snack (between 3-4). I also usually end up having a "get home from work snack" (a habit I'm trying to break) By making each snack in the 100-200 calorie range it still leaves me plenty calories left over for meals.
My favorites include:
Non Fat Greek Yogurt- Trader Joes has expanded their line of these to include small portion ones with only 110 calories that come in fun flavors like Pomegranate & Honey.  And they have 14 grams of protein!
Nuts.  These come with a warning. Nuts are a great snack because they will keep you full because they are full of protein & healthy fat- but eating too many will make you bad fat. I buy raw unsalted almonds in little 200 calorie packs because they are good- but not SO good that I can't stop myself from opening a second pack.
Fruit Leather. I had one of these today and it was great! Only 45 calories and it satisfied my sweet tooth plus- had half a serving of fruit in one leather. Yum! Try to buy "natural" versions with no added sweeteners.
Rice Crackers. These are a new FAVORITE of mine. They are small, salty, crunchy & satisfying. 120 calories in 38 crackers! This is my typical "get home from work snack" when I just feel the urge to munch on something but am not actually that hungry. I buy them at Trader Joes but you can find them at traditional grocery stores as well. Diamond Brand Nuts has almond & other nut flavored rice crackers that are great.
Trader Joes Fiber Cakes. these are like mini bran muffins. 80 calories & tons of fiber. My favorite is the apple cranberry flavor & I like to heat them in the microwave. So good with coffee!
Fruit. I'm not a huge fruit person by nature- but am trying to incorporate more into my snacking.  All berries are REALLY low cal. 8 medium strawberries is only 50 calories. An entire cup of blueberries is only 70. A medium nectarine has 70 calories. A simple (and always in season) apple has 80 calories.  Always a good option.
Hard Boiled Eggs. 70-80 cals depending on egg size.  Top with salt & pepper=YUM and they stick with you for a while.
Lite String Cheese. Between 60-70 calories depending on the brand.  LOVE these. I feel like these fend off hunger really well and keep me satisfied. Plus they're kinda fun to eat :)
Whole Grain Toaster Waffle.  Around 100 calories.  Top with Jam or eat alone- very satisfying morning snack.
Pop Chips. The best invention in the world. Chips that are not baked or fried- they are popped! And they come in amazing flavors like BBQ, Sour Cream & Onion and are only 100 calories for a decent sized serving.
Lara Bars. If you are going to eat a protein bar or keep one in your purse- this is a great brand.  They are a little higher cal, between 190-220, but are made with 100% natural ingredients (basically fruit & nuts) and taste great!
I would put baby carrots on here- and I've bought them as a snack before but I feel like I'm lying to you all if I say I actually think they're satisfying.  They're not. That's why I always have an un-eaten bag of them in my fridge :)
And finally- a few other things to keep in mind when selecting a snack:
When is your next meal? If you are hungry but know you will be eating soon- go with something small that will digest quickly like a piece of fruit.  If you have a while before your next meal- try a string cheese, nuts or something with more protein.
A good rule of thumb that my trainer taught us was that 100 calories should buy you about an hour of energy before you start to feel hungry again.  So if I have lunch at 12pm and had a 300 calorie meal- I know my snack will be around 3-3:30 when I start to get hungry again.  It's different for each person, but it's a good guideline.
Happy Snacking!
PS. I do not believe in 100 calorie packs. It is just small portions of processed food that leaves you hungry 20 min later. Just FYI :) 
PPS. Checkout this dinner I made last week- it's the Stuffed Pork Chop from Trader Joes I'm always talking about! And a delicious & colorful salad! (ok the mashed potatoes weren't the healthiest thing ever...)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Post Holiday Weigh-In & New Years Resolutions

Today is Monday so I woke up knowing I should get on the scale.  When I was being super strict/good with boot camp, I weighed in EVERY Monday morning.  However- the last few weeks have been so crazy with holidays etc I've managed to excuse myself from weighing in the past 2 weeks. I hadn't been on a scale since December 14th. So I woke up this morning dreading the scale & mentally preparing myself for a 3-4 or even 5 pound gain. After Chris left for work I began my weigh-in ritual. Shower, completely blowdry hair, use bathroom, no eating or drinking and finally the removal of ALL clothing (including earrings). I stepped nervously onto the scale- forcing myself to look down at the digital numbers. And amazingly- I managed to lose 2 pounds since my last weigh in! I actually was so excited I called Chris at work and texted Julia the "big news" :)
People have such mixed opinions on scales- how often to weigh in, if you should weigh yourself at all, etc. but in my personal opinion- it's a really helpful tool for accountability. Even if you have a depressing weigh in (believe me, I've had my share) it's still good to face reality & then figure out a plan from there. Regular weigh-ins help prevent negative suprises at your yearly doctor's visit.
Speaking of weight & progress- did everyone set a resolution? Today- as promised, I'm sharing my 5 resolutions for the New Year.  There's a few and they're not all health related so... bear with me.
1. I will run a 10k race. (6.4 miles) 
2. I will keep a food journal and write in it at least 6 days a week. (No more blank weekends!)
3. I will get to my goal weight. (As of this morning- 12.2 pounds to go)
4. I will take horseback riding lessons.
5. I will visit the Grand Canyon.
Thoughts? I really tried to keep all of my goals reasonable & achievable. Some I've already started on. Chris & I are signed up for a 10k run on March 13th & Amy and I are also doing the 10k mud run at Camp Pendleton in June.  10 week training plan starts this week.
I ordered a new food journal last night (I use the one from Bootcamp- check it out Here). Goal weight- obviously still a challenge, but 12 pounds at a healthy pace should be EASY if I have a year to do it!
Horseback riding lessons are something I've wanted to do for a long time- I had a horse growing up and LOVED riding more than anything. This is me doing something for myself and I'm excited about it. The Grand Canyon is a fun one- neither Chris & I have been there and have been talking about going- doing either an RV trip or hike to the bottom. By putting it on my resolution list it gives me motivation to make it happen! I feel like I have a good mix of healthy & fun resolutions that I can be proud of accomplishing in 2010.
“Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better (wo)man” -Benjamin Franklin
Sounds like a good plan to me...