If you’re anything like me, the hanger is REAL come 3 p.m. (or really any time it’s been 3+ hours since I last ate). My energy dips, I can’t think, I’m grumpy.. and with that, I’m likely to reach for anything in sight as my next snack. To stop this cycle from affecting everyone around me, I make an effort to keep snacks on hand at all times. The following convenient options are my go-to’s:
Protein bars. Seems like a no-brainer, but I eat them so often they have to make the list. I’ve previously mentioned my love affair with Quest bars, but I’ve also been keeping GoMacro bars on hand recently. They only use vegan ingredients that are found in nature, and their high protein flavors are so good! Anything with nut butter and I’m sold.
Fruit with greek yogurt/nut butter. I like to pack this snack for work so that I can refrigerate it. Mixing plain greek yogurt with a little nut butter and topping it with fruit is fresh and filling! If you don’t have refrigerator access, a banana with an almond butter packet does the trick too.
Homemade protein treats. If I have time to snack prep along with my Sunday meal prep, I like to make a healthy, homemade treat to stick in my bag for when hunger strikes. Some of my favorites are these muffins and these protein balls.
When summer hits, the last place I want to be is inside working on a hot stove/oven. So for most of my summer dinners, I turn to salads.
Salads get a bad rap for being boring/girly/lame/you-name-it. But to me, they’re refreshing. Crunchy. Flavorful. Light. Easy. And they’re variable. The options are endless, people! So, salad-haters, take your disdain elsewhere. And if you’re a salad-lover like me, try some of these below (and leave your own favorites in the comments)!
Monday: Kale and Quinoa Salad
I went with a vegetarian option for #meatlessmonday:
Massaged kale – I use about 2 cups per person. Destem, drizzle with olive oil, and knead/massage it for about a minute. The leaves will become greener and softer (much better for a salad).
If you’ve been here before, you know the core purpose of my fitness journey is to encourage balance and living your best life. And if you’re like most people I know, even once you’ve found that “balance”, it can fall out of whack from time to time.
For me, it happened this weekend. I was on my first-ever trip to Boston and I wanted the full experience (aka some craft beers and hot pretzels at Harpoon – seriously if you haven’t done this you need to). I don’t regret it, but I did know I wanted to get back to my veggie-filled lifestyle come Monday morning.
Summer is full of celebrations like this. Traveling, bridal showers, weddings, bachelor(ette) parties, graduation parties.. the list goes on. These weekend experiences are key to enjoying life (who wants to say no to a party?) but going overboard can set you up for feelings of guilt and demotivation. We’ve all been there. But the good news is, one weekend of binge eating (and drinking) doesn’t have to be a complete setback. Read on for my tips to start the next day fresh, followed by little tricks to keep yourself balanced on those weekends where you’re afraid you’ll spiral out of control.
Stop beating yourself up. That’s not helping. You can’t set the clock back 24 hours and knock that piece of cake out of your hands, so stop thinking about it. Also, one or two days of overeating won’t ruin your life. What matters is what you do now to set yourself up for success moving forward.
Break a sweat (or two). Push yourself a little harder than you usually do in your next workout. Picture all those extra calories fueling you through one more mile or helping you hit that new lifting PR. If you usually run, add some strength or interval training to your workout in addition to that run, or vice versa. You’ll get your metabolism and motivation fired up!
Hit 10,000 steps. In general, moving more than usual will help you get back on track. It doesn’t have to be high intensity. Bonus if you get outside and go for a walk – the fresh air will help you feel better.
Fuel up on fresh fruits and veggies. Take a break from the processed foods that are probably sitting like a rock in your stomach. Replacing those with only nutritious foods for an entire day will help you get your glow back and increase your energy!
Fill up on clear fluids. Drink water and tea to help get things moving in your system. This helps even more if drinking played a part in your binge.
And as for preventing those feelings of guilt down the road, try these tips on your next weekend of expected debauchery:
Set small limits for yourself. If you love dessert, don’t go for the apps. If dip is your thang, stay away from the dessert. Make a rule that your plate has to be half full of veggies and you have to eat them before moving on to anything else. Little things like this will allow you to indulge and enjoy without feeling like you’re back at square 1.
Still break a sweat. No matter what you have going on that day or where you’re traveling to, set aside 20 minutes to sweat. You’ll thank yourself later. Also, if you’re traveling, it’s fun to check out a workout class that isn’t offered where you live.
Limit your calorie-laden booze. Craft beer and specialty cocktails make a great first drink, but once you’re buzzed a vodka soda or light beer will do the trick.
BYOB. That second “B” being “breakfast”, if you’re traveling. Packing your own breakfast (preportioned bags of oatmeal, bananas, protein bars, etc.) can cut calories (and costs) when traveling.
How do you reset after a marathon weekend? What keeps you on track while celebrating?
If you’ve ever gone out to eat with me or if you follow me on insta (@healthydoseoflife) then you know my love for Mexican food. Lately, this obsession has been directed at tacos. Carne asada tacos, fish tacos, shrimp tacos, vegetarian tacos.. the limit does not exist. So I compiled a list or recipes from some of my favorite food bloggers (#bloggoals) that I just HAVE to try. If I’m missing any or if you’ve tried any of these, let me know in the comments!
eggs – I could eat eggs for every meal. I love them as a savory, filling snack. I also use them when making protein pancakes and have them on my bagel sandwich every Saturday and Sunday.
kale – I keep kale on hand to saute up as a snack or add nutrients to any meal.
unsweetened vanilla almond milk – Smoothies + banana nice cream are staples for me, so I always keep almond milk on hand. Vanilla flavor > added sugar any day!
hot sauce – My fiance and I love spicy food, so we always have at least 2 kinds of hot sauce in the fridge at all times. Right now, it’s sriracha and franks. I’d love to hear any other brands/flavors I need to try in the comments!
avocados – I put avocados on everything from salads to bagel sandwiches. And who doesn’t love a little guac?
iced coffee – I start my mornings with hot coffee, but move on to cold brew or iced throughout the day. Especially now that it’s getting warmer, iced coffee makes a nice afternoon treat!
seltzer – Flavored polar is my standard mixer, so I always keep some on hand. Right now it’s cans of cranberry lime – my favorite!
fresh pico – If you’ve never had Wegmans fresh pico, you need to run out and buy it right away. It’s pricey but SO good. I use it as salad dressing almost every day, and it makes a great snack with tortillas!
mich ultra – Because to me, life is about balance. Work hard, play hard!
baby carrots – These make a great snack in a pinch – fresh and sweet! I usually keep them with me at work, too.
February’s here, and with it comes a new list of what I’m loving lately!
Quote: “Worry is a misuse of imagination.”
Recipe: Chocolate Chip Cookies: Preheat oven to 350. Mash 3 ripe bananas, 1/3 cup applesauce, 2 cups oats, 1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips, vanilla and cinnamon to taste. Bake for 15 minutes and enjoy! *Bonus: since these have oatmeal in them, they make a great breakfast cookie!
Quick Workout: 5 minutes of burpees. Every 5 seconds, for 5 minutes, perform a burpee. You’ll end up doing 60 burpees at a pace that’s slow enough to maintain. This also works well as a warm-up.
Earlier this year I went to visit a friend in Rochester, where I had the most amazing oatmeal cookie ice cream. Seriously, if you’re in the area stop by Moonlight Creamery–you won’t regret it!
Since that day, I’ve been on the hunt for a healthier, make-at-home version. It comes in the form of a high protein, post-workout shake. Dreams do come true!
To make: blend 1/2 cup of unsweetened almond milk, half a frozen banana, 1/4 cup of quick oats, 1 scoop of quest peanut butter protein, and 1 tsp cinnamon. Sprinkle a handful of raisins on top and enjoy!
Note: I like my shakes thick enough to eat with a spoon. To make this drinkable, add more almond milk.
I’m what you might call a “volume eater”. I eat a LOT throughout the day. It doesn’t matter how much I ate in one sitting or how unhealthy it was, I am guaranteed to be hungry (read: HANGRY) 2-3 hours later (is that just me? anyone? anyone?). Because of this, I like to make vegetable-based meals: big in volume, small in calories. Here are my favorite ways to lighten up traditional meals.
Spaghetti squash: The texture is similar to that of angel hair pasta, and with its light flavor it works well to replace pasta in most meals. I regularly make it instead of pasta in spaghetti, pad thai, and sesame chicken. It’s simple to make (the hardest part is cutting it). Start by preheating the oven to 400 degrees and slicing the squash half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds then flip the squash cut-side down into a pan. Cover the bottom of the pan in water and cook for 30-40 minutes. Scoop the cooked squash out with a fork and enjoy the pasta-like texture!
Zucchini noodles: These are slightly less pasta-like and do have a bit of flavor, but are still great (especially just to mix things up). I use them in the same recipes as above, or sauté them in a light coating of olive oil with garlic/parmesan/cayenne. Zoodles can be made a few easy ways. The easiest is to use a peeler and shave the zucchini down into thin, flat noodles. I use a veggetti which is also simple and cheap (I got mine at Wegmans). Once you’ve cut the zucchini into a pasta-like shape, lightly sauté it in the oil/sauce of your choice. It only takes about 5 minutes!
Cauliflower rice: The difference between rice and cauliflower rice is hardly noticeable. It’s easy to make, too. The biggest downfalls are the cost compared to rice and how messy it can easily get. I use it for stir fry and burrito/fajita bowls. To make, cut cauliflower into small pieces and place them in a blender. Pulse until they get to be a rice-like size, then sauté in coconut or olive oil.
When dessert cravings come knocking, it takes a stronger mind than mine to say no. While there’s nothing wrong with a little “treat yoself” attitude from time-to-time, a daily dessert habit isn’t exactly in line with most fitness goals. For those times when you need something sweet but don’t want to kill your progress, here are my favorite guilt-free desserts.
Banana Ice Cream. This is easy to make and can be spiced up with any number of mix-ins. Bonus: it’s a great use for bananas that are past their prime. To make, peel and chop a very ripe banana, then put it in the freezer for at least 2 hours (I like to keep a stockpile of frozen bananas in the freezer so I never have to wait). Once the banana pieces are frozen, put them in a blender with a splash of unsweetened almond milk, and blend until smooth. The consistency will end up being similar to soft-serve ice cream. I like to add in chocolate chips, peanut butter, a splash of vanilla extract, almonds, protein powder and/or cacao powder. The options are endless!
Halo Top Ice Cream. This option is a bit pricey, but it’s as satisfying as regular ice cream for less than 300 calories per pint (for most flavors). My go-to is birthday cake, but I need to get my hands on some of these new flavors like oatmeal cookie and s’mores.
Quest Bars. Not dessert you say? Try their brownie, chocolate chip or cookies and cream flavors. You’ll change your tune.
Banana Muffins. This recipe from ambitious kitchen is simple and delicious. Sometimes I toss in chocolate chips to sweeten them a bit more. I also love to toast them and melt nut butter on top. These make a great on-the-go snack, too.
Healthified Hot Cocoa. Bring 2 cups of unsweetened almond milk to a boil. Add cacao powder and cinnamon to taste.