So you want to eat healthier?

When I decided to make a change in my diet for health and weight reasons, I was clueless (as if that word isn’t used enough.) I first went to none other than Google and researched high and low of what I should be eating. Most people claim healthy eating to be common-sense; Bland chicken, steamed plain vegetables, lots of salads, and fruits. Sadly, I was one of those. I started following fitness models and adopted their “body-building” like diet; 5-6 smaller meals throughout the day. Since I grew up eating 3 meals every day and was accustomed to that, the 5-6 smaller meals didn’t necessarily work for me as I was either eating too much at one “small” meal or was just hungry. And that means grumpy.

 Some people have obviously found great results with that particular type of eating. To me, healthy eating is so much more than chicken, brown rice, and un-seasoned vegetables. For someone who truly loves food, I wanted flavor, texture, and something that I would truly enjoy everyday. It took a while to figure out what I liked, which brand I should buy, how to cook or prepare it (??!!), and how much of it I should be eating.

For breakfast, I found I really enjoyed old-fashioned oatmeal with fruit and peanut butter or yogurt with fruit and honey. On weekends when I had more time, I loved eggs (scrambled, omelet, sandwich, wrap).

Lunch is where I still suffer on deciding whether I should go with the sweet or savory. Since I usually have oatmeal or yogurt for breakfast, I will try to savor vegetables with some sort of protein and healthy carbohydrate for lunch.

For supper I almost always eat vegetables as that is what I grew up eating(for the most part). Whether they are incorporated into a soup or chili or snuck inside of jarred pasta sauce atop whole-wheat noodles or used as pizza toppings. Sometimes, I will make a huge salad with lots of vegetables and a protein like grilled chicken, hard-boiled egg, or black beans or all three!

Here I have a list of my favorite healthy meals:

Breakfast:

Overnight oatmeal

Perfect for those on-the-go (Combine first three ingredients the night before, stir and cover until the morning. Add last three ingredients when ready to eat)

  • 1/3 cup of old-fashioned oatmeal
  • 1 container of flavored greek yogurt (my favorite is Chobani)
  • A few splashes of almond milk
  •  Fruit (strawberries, apple, banana) added in the AM
  • Peanut or almond butter added in the AM
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon added in the AM

Breakfast #2:

  • 2 scrambled eggs or egg whites
  • 1 piece of 100% whole-wheat toast with 1 Tbsp. of natural peanut butter, almond butter, or crunchy SunButter  -OR- 2 slices of natural low-sodium turkey bacon
  • A piece of fruit (my favorite for breakfast are an apple or half of a banana)

Lunch:

Pack-n-go sandwich

  • Turkey or grilled chicken sandwich or wrap with spinach, tomato, onion, etc. and mustard(toast bread to avoid sogginess)
  • A serving of Kashi TLC crackers with roasted red pepper hummus -OR- fresh carrots and broccoli florets -OR- a simple side salad
  • A clementine

Lunch #2:
Vegetable medley
  • Roast vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, carrots, brussel sprouts, butternut squash)
  • Pair with pre-cooked quinoa or brown rice
  • Add grilled chicken, canned tuna or salmon
  • Top with low-fat cheese (I use part-skim mozzarella or Laughing Cow light cheese)

Supper:
Easy quesidilla 
  • 2 whole-wheat tortillas
  • Grilled chicken(the size of the palm of your hand), black beans, brown rice, lettuce, salsa, low-fat cheese, fresh cilantro and plain greek yogurt sandwiched in between the two tortillas
  • Cooked in skillet with olive or canola oil cooking spray
  • Side salad

Supper #2 and many more: 

The smallest changes make the biggest differences! Substituting diet coke for water, turkey bacon for full-fat, lean ground turkey in spaghetti or burgers, Earth Balance or Smart Balance for butter, whole grains for enriched, etc. Read food labels, research, educate yourself and appreciate the healthy and wholesome foods that fuels your body for energy and activity.

P.S. Check back soon for a re-cap on what I buy at the grocery store and my typical grocery list and expenses.

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