Make It A BETTER Wrap! A simple solution for a healthy, on-the-go lunch!

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Hey friends!  It has been too long . . .busy, busy and whenever I see that Care.com commercial where the mom says to herself that she needs two (or more) of herself, some days I wish that was me, ha!  Well,  that was the perfect introduction (and solution) for today’s post!  Making a simple satisfying lunch in just seconds with whatever you have on hand in your frig.  Sometimes I even make multiple wraps at one time just so I have something to eat that is filling in a hurry.  I will say it again, a little time prepping and planning healthy foods will help keep you on track. Here is a super healthy on-the-go meal or even snack that will fill you up and keep you energized for the day! 

Here are simple examples of how to make the perfect wrap – use whatever foods you may enjoy!

in a wrap My favorite tortillas are Tumaro’s.  They are whole grain, high in fiber, high in protein, low in sodium and let’s face it they don’t taste like cardboard.  My kids, yes I said it, my kids will even gobble them up, hooray!   They also have a Deli-Style wrap that is slightly bigger and about 80 calories, actually it is huge and the family and I usually split them when I make quesadillas.  Let’s take a closer look at the sodium, very low for a tortilla. Many tortillas have at least 300 milligrams of sodium.  The first three ingredients are water, oat fiber and whole wheat flour.  I find these at my Hy-Vee HealthMarket, just ask for them if you can’t find them!

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Here is a yummy Greek yogurt-style dressing that I really enjoy and finally a dressing without sugar, ugh!  I get it, sugar makes everything taste better but come on . . . even in ranch dressing?  I find this in the produce section with the refrigerated dressings.

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A simple wrap that can be altered to your specific likings.  For the fresh veggies I use anything I have in the frig-  sliced carrots, mushrooms, onions and peppers.  If you want to use guacamole or hummus just spread on tortilla and top with protein and veggies. 

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Here are the simple steps to make a wrap.  I just love it because I can make it in seconds and throw it in a bag for our picnics, can’t wait for summer!  Trick is to put wax paper down first and begin the layers! Once finished, I wrap the entire wrap (with wax paper) in foil.  I usually add an boring apple to the meal and I am stuffed!

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Maybe you think this is boring because it is so simple but sometimes we make things too difficult and think healthy food 1) will not taste good 2) too hard to make – hopefully this debunks these myths.  

Later for now!  DD

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Tell Me What To Eat–Week 4

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Hey!  I can’t believe we are already in the last few days of January, 2015 is flying by way too fast! So here we have another “Tell Me What To Eat” with some fun and very simple meal and snack ideas.  I will get right to the point!

Breakfast is a simple Lara bar and you can pair it up with a glass of milk.  There are lots of great flavors of Lara bars but my favs are peanut butter, apple pie, cherry pie, blueberry and the absolute best is snicker doodle!  Oh my, this bar is so good, however, I have trouble finding it and have to request the variety at the store. By the way . . .I usually like to have a Lara bar with a cup of milk and espresso, aka, my delectable homemade latte!

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These bars have very simple ingredients including dates, nuts and seasonings, can’t beat that! 

For snack I am going with two deviled eggs and an apple.  Simply add a teaspoon of light mayo and stone ground mustard to yolks and mash.  So darn delicious!  I like to slice an apple really thin, somehow I feel like I am eating more, ha!

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Lunch is a simple (recipe) Taco Veggie Pizza. This is the best way to get in all your veggies for the day, love it!  Toast up a large Flat Out Flatbread™ and top with some Greek yogurt and taco seasoning.  By the way, have  you tried Mrs. Dash’s Taco seasoning packets?  Love these seasoning packets, check it out Mrs. Dash taco seasoning. And then of course top with your choice of chopped veggies, shredded cheese and I would suggest drizzling some taco sauce, yum!   You can have the entire pizza (flatbread), woohoo!

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And for snack make up some Salad in a Wrap.  Take giant lettuce leaves and  add your choice of dressing, shredded cheese, veggies and  I enjoy some shredded chicken.  Wrap in wax paper and these are the perfect on-the-go veggies.  I never have enough time to sit down to eat an entire salad so this is the perfect solution!

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And lastly, at the end of the day it is time to enjoy your own personal pizza!  And if you want you can sure shape it into a heart as we embark on February, check out recipe – Valentine Mini Pizzas.

For the pizzas I used 100% whole wheat dough rolls.  These balls of dough are individualized and perfect to make your own little pizzas!  Add a side of veggies and fruit and dinner is done! As the day is winding down, as always find something that won’t break the calorie budget and my suggestion is flavored soda water.  I know . . .it may take some time to like this (as I did) but I sure enjoy this product when I am itching to eat, aka, just bored.  My kids always see it, smell it and always ask with excitement, “Ooh, can I have some!”  I say sure as I watch them take a drink.  It is kind of funny to see their expressions as they think it is going to taste like pop with all the sugar and then they realize, hmm . . . not sure if I like it.  This is how I kicked my soda habit, I definitely had to “train” my taste buds into enjoying this drink and I now I see it as a treat!

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Enjoy friends!

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My Secret to Losing Weight

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Hey friends!  Are you still working hard on your New Year’s resolutions?   I hope the motivation has not dwindled but if has then I have the perfect solution for you! 

Here is  my new Magic Weight Loss Energy Drink with added motivation. Drop the weight you want to lose in just weeks.  Watch pounds disappear as eating right and exercising is effortless.  Losing weight has never and I mean never been easier!  Not only will you drop the pounds quickly but you will have the motivation and energy to carry out each day as your best day ever! Good-bye 5-Hour Energy, hello to my new weight-loss energy (keep-you-going-all-day-long) drink!  Keep up with all your kids’ demands, housework, busy work schedule, volunteering, extra-curricular activities all while maintaining the body you have always wanted, ah-ha! 

Does this sound too good to be true?  Absolutely, right?!  Well, think again . . .I may not be promoting (manufacturing) my very own Magic Weight Loss Energy Drink, but I wanted to bring your attention to something you already own . . .something that can help “turn on” your weight loss switch . . something that can keep you going and not give up.  What is the secret? 

It is your mind, something so powerful that only you have the power to control and steer in the direction of becoming the best you possible.  The mind can also be your worst enemy as you hear negative thoughts bombarding you when getting out of bed to go for a workout or when you are thinking about passing up the drive-thru for fast food.

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I always tell people, if I was only able to bottle up motivation, I would be a gazillionare!  Motivation and positive thinking are the tools for successful weight loss. This year, I would like to achieve and do more as we all would, right? Lately I have been telling myself something so simple when I am so tired or when I am in the middle of interval training on the treadmill and think “Omg, I don’t think I can run at this pace, I have to stop!” I say to myself, “You can do this!”  I immediately feel better and say “Yes, I can!”  Think positive and do more for yourself.  You deserve it.

Now looking back on my Magic Weight Loss Energy Drink claims don’t be fooled by all those weight loss products.  If your friend is trying to sell you some new weight loss supplement, kindly say no!  I’m sure your friend is getting a great kick-back off your purchase (grrrrr!).  Quit wasting your money on quick-fixes and start doing the right thing–Eat right and move more!  By the way you can achieve all those claims by wanting to make the change.  Sometimes we are not in the right mind set to change and that is okay!  We may not necessarily want to change to a healthier lifestyle at that time in our life.  If this is you, then wait a week and come back, start a program when you 100% want to do something for yourself.  Weight loss and eating right is just like doing the laundry, sometimes you want to get is done and sometimes you would rather let it sit on your floor. 

I just heard this quote to help me get out of bed and be super productive in the morning, “If you eat a frog first thing in the morning that will probably be the worst thing you do all day.” – Mark Twain. 

Remember #YOUCANDOTHIS!  The mind is a powerful thing and it is in your hands to control.  Make 2015 a positive and successful year!  Now I told you can do this, so tell yourself this everyday!

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Tell Me What To Eat–Week 3

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Hey friends!  Back to the real world, right?  Holidays are gone and extreme cold weather is here along with New Year’s Resolutions. I will have to be honest and say this cold weather does not help motivate me to exercise. I would rather just snuggle up in  multiple layers with the kiddos on each side and watch movies all day, who’s with me? But as we begin a new year, I do like the feeling of starting on a fresh slate again to improve my life, whether it is marathon training (ah, not sure) or getting back on track with minimal sugar and processed foods or getting organized.  Ahh . . . all the above makes me feel like I am getting something accomplished!  As the holidays were wonderful and I spent an entire week of Christmas vacation organizing my house, not to say it is super clean but organized on every level, yay! It feel so good to get rid of stuff that I am not using and I personally feel this is essential to do when you want to get back on track eating better.  So, here I am back with another week of Tell Me What To Eat!  As always, you do not have to follow this exactly but it may give you some new ideas for meals and snacks!  I just love making these little daily menus up and hope you do as well! Let’s begin . . . image

Breakfast starts out with a super-duper simple Green Eggs & Ham.  This comes from an old post where we celebrated Dr. Seuss’s birthday but always a goodie!  Here is what I did  . . . I scrambled up two eggs in a coffee mug along with a handful of chopped spinach and ham.  Place in the microwave for 2 minutes.  Top with a sprinkle of cheese and put back in the microwave for an additional 15 to 20 seconds.  Viola, breakfast in a mug!  Yum!  And I really love cooking eggs in a mug because they are 10 times fluffier than in a bowl, who knew? May add a slice of buttered toast this breakfast.

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Snack is just a simple good ole’ apple, nothing fancy or may replace with any fruit – like a yummy, in-season pear!

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Lunch is again a simple grab-and-go item. Yes, a little more on the “processed-side” but sometimes simple is just what we need in our busy lifestyles!

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I adore these Bumble Bee Sensation packs!  And this sundried tomato & basil is my favorite!  Oh my!  Tuna never tasted better, seriously!  This is about the only time when I crave tuna, weird, I know! I like the fact that there is no mayo included!

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Again, not super clean ingredients but small portion, healthy omega-3 fats, excellent source of protein and let’s not forget about how super easy this is to have for lunch!  I mean, you could have this stashed away in your desk at work, love it! Snack, lunch, whenever!

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I paired it up with some fresh veggies and a small amount of dip plus some frozen edamame, actually it’s a Dora edamame pack from last time, remember?  Tell Me What To Eat – Week 2.

Snack is simply just some natural almonds (28 to be exact) and only four Brookside chocolates. Just a couple chocolates sure go a long way because they are super sweet! Enjoy that I included some chocolate!

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And for dinner, a quick and easy soup, probably one of my favorite soups I make – Easy Cheesy Chicken Tortilla Soup, love!

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This soup is super satisfying and the perfect comfort food this time of the year! Enjoy one and half cups along with a handful of crushed tortilla chips!  Ahh . . . . yum!  After dinner don’t mess up . .. no more snackies . . .try a non-calorie beverage or here are my favorite teas!

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Enjoy my friends and stay warm!

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Easy Crock-Pot White Chicken Chili

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Hey, I’m back already sharing with you a recipe from my “Holiday Party!”   Here is a super simple soup recipe that I will definitely be adding to my ongoing menu! This past weekend we experienced almost 60 degree weather here in Iowa and it was wonderful to have the window open refreshing our home after we all got knocked down with a horrible, horrible stomach flu. Nothing better to get some fresh air as I clean and sanitize the house!  But, sad to say, that nice weather soon diminished quickly and now we are back to wee, little teens and twenty-degree weather, brrrr!  As soup season is upon this would be a killer recipe to warm up to and prepare in a flash when entertaining!  I also thought this recipe would be perfect for January as we approach getting on-track with our eating goals!

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So the ingredients are simple with my new favorite, salsa verde!  And by the way . . . I made this soup with another brand of salsa verde and it was not as good as the with the organic HealthMarket brand.  To these ingredients I added low-sodium broth, green peppers and chopped chilies, delish!

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Easy  Crock-Pot White Chicken Chili Serves 6

Ingredients

6 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 lb. shredded chicken, cooked 

1 (16-oz) jar salsa verde

1 (15-oz) can garbanzo beans

1 (4.5-oz) can chopped green chilies

2 green bell peppers, seeded and chopped

 Preparation

Place all the ingredients in a crock-pot and place on HIGH for four hours.  Add any topping you may enjoy. Try crushed tortillas, avocado or a dollop of Greek yogurt! 

 

 

 

 

Wow! Look at that awesome nutrition profile!  Super filling will great sources of fiber and protein. Perfect for entertaining and perfect for the New Year! Enjoy!

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Special Holiday Treats for a Birthday Celebration!

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Hey! So I am a just a tad behind . . .time is just passing by way too fast!  I swear once it is Thanksgiving it seems like all you have to do is blink and it is Christmas!  These past  two weeks have been a blur with my birthday, party and having the entire family knocked down by a horrible, awful stomach flu, blah!  Anyway . . . yes, I mentioned my birthday and I also celebrate another year of blogging at Daily Dietitian!  That is right five years ago my hubby decided to give me a blog for my bday.  Back then I had no idea what the heck I was suppose to do with it but thought it was super cool!  Over the years, I have really enjoyed sharing my passion for nutrition with my friends and family through this site.  I am no pro at this gig, but enjoy the hobby of of inspiring and educating anyone who peeks at my latest recipe invention, favorite product recommendation or even sharing my latest struggle in feeding my children good-for-you-foods!

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So, since it was also my birthday I decided to host my own party but decided to just call it a “Holiday Party” so no one really has to know it is my birthday, okay?  I mean, who doesn’t throw themselves a party on their birthday?   I thought to myself, “Why not? You love to entertain so all the work will be fun, right?”  And yes, it sure was an awesome day!

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I wanted to make this a special day because for 18 years, my dear mother threw me a birthday party every single year I was under my parent’s roof, no joke! Even my birthday parties in high school were cool (at least I thought) because again my mom made the best food!  I still remember her making not only one but TWO half-sheet pans of monkey bread! We are talking about 18-inches by 24-inches of pure, yummy-liciousness in a happy marriage between Butter Sugar and Cinnamon Bread, OMG, right!? My friends loved me for it and they especially loved my mother for it plus all the other goodies she made!  Then after we pigged out on the giant buffet I decided it would be fun to give every single girl that I invited over a prom-makeover!  And night probably ended with some girl talk and watching one of my favorite holiday comedy movies. . .  Christmas Vacation!

Throwback of my birthdays from one-year-old to I think twenty-two! 

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Back to my point . . . I threw myself a party because this stay-at-home mom wants to have some fun!  I think all mothers fantasize about how their birthday is going to be just glorious and you wake up with breakfast in bed and every single call for mom is dismissed because it is your birthday.  You open up a card on your breakfast plate that includes a coupon good for no house work, no carting kids from here or there, no cooking and the day is all about you! You go on your way, free as a bird, and start the day off with a Big-Gulp-sized latte, massage, salon and shopping! We all know this is not true but we can always dream, right? A mother’s birthdays usually follows like any other day and you have remind your kids it is your birthday.  And make sure your hubby has it on his calendar so he won’t make the mistake of walking out the door for work and forgetting, so you kindly remind him week before and say,  “Hey, remember the time you forgot my birthday, harharhahaha!?”

So this year’s birthday was nothing but wonderful!  Seriously, it was SO. MUCH. FUN. I invited eight friends (those who were not working during the day, sorry to those who were)  and their kids over and I made some fun holiday-entertaining treats! Here are my friends that joined the party!  Had some camera issues, I will get better pics next party, promise!

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Love it when kids play so well that it seems like you are on a Girls-Night-Out!  Here are some of the kiddos enjoying some goodies!

Now onto the goodies!

Here are the ingredients that I used for the Layered Taco Dip.  After having my mom’s taco dip for Thanksgiving, I was craving some taco dip!  And you know what  . . .making it this is really good for you!  So good, I have it for lunch!  Get in some veggies, beans (fiber), calcium and protein from the Greek yogurt.

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These are my chocolate trail mix bites and super-duper simple to make!  Just melted milk and semi-sweet chocolate topped with nuts, dried fruit and whatever else you may like!

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Fruit salsa . . .next time I promise to use the cinnamon and sugar chips.  This time I thought cinnamon  Magic Pops would work but they did no justice.  I also did not use any added sugar because at my house we are on a this no-added-sugar kick but here is also a very healthy option for some out-of-this-world salsa, try this recipe from an old post Fantastic Fruit Salsa.

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Who knew, mango mimosas would be so divine?  Oh my, these were delicious! Can’t wait to show you how easy they are to make!

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And here is my yummy White Chicken Chili!  This was so easy, yet, so fantastic!

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And for the kiddos and I guess the adults, too  I made Simple Decadent Chocolate Cupcakes.

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I will follow-up and post the recipes for my goodies!  White Chicken Chili will be first! 

What a great birthday! My family and I ended the night out and I was one happy girl with my three kids, husband and oh yeah, let’s not forget about some awesome beer and pizza!

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Tell Me What To Eat! Week 2

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Hey friends!  I hope everyone had a wonderful turkey day with all the yummy holiday favorites. I will say this year I enjoyed my mother’s taco dip and cheeseburger soup the best oh and let’s not forget her on-top-of-the-world cinnamon rolls!  I don’t think I went too overboard with all the goodies but I definitely picked out my favorites from the long menu list and savored each bite! Glad I got to enjoy some good food and good times with family.  But now, it is time to get back into the groove of a normal routine again.  Yes, that is right it is back to get on track with eating a variety of good-for-you foods! I guess I could say healthy but I tend to shy away from using that word because I feel most people associate the word healthy (too many times) meaning “doesn’t taste good!”  Does this sound like you or someone you may know?  The word healthy, in my opinion, is way over used, so lets just focus of good food for you that tastes amazing! 

Now let’s finish up from last week’s mini series “Tell Me What To Eat.  For this week I have chosen a protein smoothie for breakfast.  You can follow my steps in this post or lately I have been using 2 handfuls of greens, 1/2 banana, 2/3 cup frozen mango, 1 scoop vanilla whey protein and about 10 ounces of water.  So awesome! I also like to add a handful of nuts along side because I like to eat food instead of just drinking my meals, ya know?

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And for morning snacks . . . yes, I am including Dora the Explorer edamame packets along with a clementine, or two!  I absolutely love these Dora edamame packets because the beans are already shelled!  If you are unfamiliar with edamame, they are immature soybeans packed with a good source of protein! Don’t be afraid, they may look like lima beans but taste nothing like them!  I love them and most of my kids do too.  I think it is always so funny when my two-year-old sees the packet and will say, “Dora!  I want them!”  I open up the package and she spits them out, ha!  The power of marketing because this happens not once, not twice but at least seven time and then my daughter finally will say, “Yummylicious!”  See, you really do have to feed your kids certain foods at least a number of time before they actually like the food!  My own little research  project! 

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Anyway, this is a great snack and perfect for on-the-go!  I put Dora edamame in my husband’s lunch too and always wonder what people are thinking when a grown man pulls out a snack with Dora on the package, ha!  Gotta love it! This is always on my shopping list every Wednesday for 10% sack sale day at Hy-Vee in the HealthMarket.  They are located in the freezer section in the HealthMarket usually next to the frozen veggies.

 

And for lunch here is the perfect make-ahead, take-on-the-go lunch!  The beauty of this idea is that you can alter the ingredients to your likings! Follow my steps here: Simple Steps to Make the Perfect Salad.

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No need to buy a bottled dressing, just make a super-duper, simple homemade dressing with the ingredients you already have in your frig and pantry!  

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Or if you are not a salad lover, maybe I will entice you with Taco Salad in a Jar! This is a bit on naughty side, doncha think?  However, I am a huge fan for giving all kinds of suggestions for every type of eater!  Even if it means suggesting, Doritos, ahh!  For all you clean eaters out there I have found a nacho cheese tortilla chips at Trader Joes awhile back that was fabulous!  This was definitely my closest find to a Dorito, or just plain old tortilla chips will do the trick, too!  Be sure to check out the link for how to use your scale when prepping up these salads.  I love using the scale because it is precise and no stinkin’ mess with measuring spoons!

Remember if you want, you may add a fresh fruit along with your salad for lunch!  An apple or pear works great to throw in the lunch bag.  FYI – I have had these salads in a jar last me about 4 days in the frig.

Now afternoon snack!  Ah, Siggi’s!  Love this yogurt and how low it is in sugar!  A yummy, sweet afternoon treat!  Add about 10 almonds to this yogurt for a balanced snack!

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Dinner time rolls around and you think, “What in the heck am I going to eat!”   This is always the question at my house and for me, time is a major issue.  I want to cook something super fast and here is a great solution  – Easy Beef Stir-Fry. So. Darn. Filling.  The left overs are yummy, too!

 

And after dinner if you are wanting something to eat, try some herbal tea! 

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Remember to not eat at least three hours before you go to bed.  Don’t waste all your hard work of eating well  for the day!  You can do it!  It is all a mind game! Enjoy!

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Tell Me What To Eat–How to get skinny before the Holidays!

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Hey friends!  Back at it again and wanted to address something I get asked all time, “Will you just tell me what to eat?”  I usually follow this with a similar reply, such as this, “Sure, you can eat whatever your heart desires but cut your portions in half.”  Easier said than done, right?  And you probably want to hurt me for that comment, so here are the specifics.  I would like to start a mini-series here and just show you super-duper-simple ideas for breakfast, snacks, lunch and dinner ideas.  These are realistic meal and snack ideas that I use every day in my busy, hectic life (like everyone else) and so can you!  Now, I will take your hand and show you just how simple eating healthy and how super simple it really can be for you!  This is just what you needed right before the holidays, right?  And remember take the ideas/suggestions you like and maybe you will find more examples I give in the upcoming weeks. 

BREAKFAST

Check out this post about the products I like to use Getting Real About Breakfast.  Super simple as I microwave two eggs on HIGH for two minutes.  Add a sprinkle of  shredded cheese and pop back in the microwave for 12 seconds.  Toast a hearty slice of bread and add a spat of real butter, ahh, now this a breakfast of champions, eh?

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If you don’t want to try the sprouted bread, I also like Sara Lee 100% whole wheat with only 1 gram of sugar per serving.  Check out your bread you are buying, how much sugar per serving?  Yikes!

Oh yeah, and I always have a plain latte – just one cup of milk and espresso!  Or if you want skip the coffee/espresso and just have a glass of milk!

I am finally able to nix my sugar in my coffee and boy do I feel like I conquered the world.  My trick to kicking the sugar in coffee is buying really good coffee, like Starbucks, Caribou and Panera Bread ground coffees – my favs!  I also bought an aero press which is the the second trick into making absolutely wonderful coffee/lattes.  Honestly, the aeropress is my best kitchen investment ever! I will have to show you how I make lattes.

 

A.M. SNACK –Anytime in the morning.

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Psss . . . for starters go ahead and have a whole apple . . .maybe if weight loss is stagnant then go for just a half apple.

 

LUNCH

This is my super-quick lunch that I just adore! Find more info at How To Make The Perfect To-Go Lunch.

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Just one chicken sausage link for lunch and don’t forget to ADD eight crackers or chips to this lunchI really like Hint of Salt Triscuits.

Remember this easy template?  Try this for variety if you do no like the suggested items I have shown above.

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P.M. SNACK!  I always crave something a little sweet in the afternoon, like chocolate,eh?  So here is a great way to satisfy your afternoon sweet-tooth.  You may pair this item up with a glass of milk or if you need a little pick-me-up like myself in the afternoon, I sometimes make another latte with just milk and espresso.   Remember it is all about training your taste buds to like flavors without added sugar. Plus, it is even easier to nix the sugar habit when you pair it up with something a little sweet. 

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Remember when looking for a snack protein bar shoot for less than 220 calories, less than 8 grams of  added sugar and at least 4 grams of protein.   My other favorite bars are Chocolate Peanut Butter Quest Bar and Snickerdoodle or Carrot Cake Lara bar – OMG!  These are all amazing!

 

DINNER

Try this super simple, yet comforting and heart-warming Skinny Chili.  I think chili is one of the best meals this time of year and it even tastes good days after.  Love chili leftovers! 

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Try my recipe by cutting down the fat and calories with chopped mushrooms! Remember this trick?  You really don’t even taste the mushrooms and this is an awesome way to get extra veggies into any dish! 2013-10-09

If you don’t want to do this, not a problem – sometimes I just cut the amount of ground meat down to half or even a third!    One serving is 1 1/2 cups!  I always add a handful of oyster crackers because it would not be chili without them, right?  And don’t forget to open up your fresh-cut vegetable tray and dig in!  And one tablespoon of Ranch dressing is fine to dip!  Check out where I got found my container Getting Organized – My favorite food storage containers.

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And for bedtime, please hold off on the eating and try get your mind off of food.  Relax a bit, read a book, watch your favorite T.V. shows or one of my favorites, surf some pinterest! Try to stick to eating your last meal at least three hours before you go to bed.   I like sip on some herbal tea while I enjoy some night time quiet time, oh wait . . . not sure if that actually happens at my house, ha!

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Oh, and how could I forget the recommendation to water, water and more water throughout this meal plan. Make your own water station at your work or at home.  This just means to have a set spot where you keep your water bottle so you know where to go!

Here is a great overview!  *TIP – save pic to phone so you will remember what to buy when you are grocery shopping! 

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So, I hope you enjoyed the first post of “Tell Me What To Eat” series and come back for more! This is all about finding simple solutions that don’t break the budget and focusing on real food that taste awesome, yet good-for-you!  Cheers! 

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How to Get your Kids to Eat Better! Realistic tips for picky-eaters and more!

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I never would have thought that one of the toughest jobs of being a parent is to get your kids to eat healthy foods.  This is a tiring, never-ending battle I deal with every day and some days are fabulous and other days I feel like a failure of a dietitian/mom, ugh.  But I am true believer in the balancing act of healthy eating given the 80/20 rule or whatever it may be . . . there is no such thing as perfect eating, especially when it comes to kids, eh? But as a parent it is our job, our duty, our will to do our best at promoting healthy foods to our kids.  I have found through this rollercoaster ride of teaching my kids to eat better, I believe there are definitely some standards that parents should strongly support and here I go . . .

 

BE A ROLE MODEL

If you expose healthy options at home regularly then the child will be familiar with those foods and won’t see it as an option.  If you buy mostly processed food, aka not-good-for-you-foods, then the child will more likely eat the junk food, and same goes with if you mostly buy healthy foods, then the kids will more likely eat the healthy options.  Remember this rule totally leaves room for all “junk food” in moderation.  Being a role model also supports portraying balanced eating and that totally means going out for an ice cream once in awhile or having a brownie for dessert.  Just keep the good-for-you-foods as the main act on the stage for most of the day.

Surprise Chocolate Ice Cream

 

GET CREATIVE WITH FOOD

Make a pretty plate or let your kids make a pretty plate and that sometimes means, letting them play with their food.  Offer a variety of colorful foods, including a good amount of fruits and vegetables on the plate! And for the little ones, a  little creativity can do wonders – try using cookie cutter shapes for fruits, vegetables, quesadillas or even sandwiches.

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Pancake Pops                                                                 Homemade Popsicles for the Kids

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Spider Web Pancakes                                                          Pizza Cracker Bites

GET CREATIVE BY ROLE PLAYING

I have found a little role playing with food may be the trick to tackle especially for those hard to handle vegetable dilemmas.  This tactic may not be something you want to try on your teenager but I find it work wonders for my kiddos, especially my youngest children: my 4-year-old and 2-year-old.   Make the food talk or make your carrots a racing plane that needs to enter the landing gate (kid’s mouth).    If I make a fool of myself then my kids pretty much guarantee me some participation, even it is just a couple bites – that is all that I am asking for, hooray!

Here I am at my daughter’s school talking about healthy food through a puppet, again, making a fool of myself to get the kids attention but all in good fun and I think they got the point about having fun learning about some good-for-you-foods.   Someday I will make myself a giant broccoli costume – I have always dreamed about a cool vegetable costume, ha!

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GET THE KIDS INVOLVED

Sometimes a little attention is all that is necessary for a child to eat well at dinner time. Get them involved in making a dish or maybe it is something as simple as having them help out with food preparation like setting the table.

Another way to get them involved is to let them pick out a new vegetable to try at the grocery store. I know, kids and grocery shopping is probably one of my toughest jobs of the week, I dread it, but sometimes it is totally worth it in order to get your kids excited about trying a new food. This is a great way to change up the grocery list!

Other great tips include starting your own garden!  We had our first garden at our new home this summer, the kids were not into it but once they saw me pick a giant zucchini out of the garden they were amazed it came from OUR garden!  I told them it is like getting free groceries!  I am putting a reminder on my spring to-do list – Let the kids plant seeds to sprout, maybe it might be more exciting for them to see the plant start to finish instead of buying already grown vegetable plants.

 

 

OFFER FOODS A VARIETY OF TIMES

Research shows that a food must be exposed to a child at least 7-10 times before the food to be accepted. Try positive reinforcement for a job well done at cooperatively trying a bite.  Remember you do not have to force them to finish a food. Encouraging one bite to taste is great and more bites even better but if your child is resistant try not make it a negative experience.  Setting a good base of healthy eating habits at a young age will carry on into adulthood.

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  Doesn’t this look say it all?  “Mom, I am not sure about these green popsicles, what did you put in them?” 

 

MEAL TIME LESSONS

I have often asked kids, “What does healthy mean?”  And many times a child will define the word healthy  by telling me that broccoli, strawberries are healthy.  I will then ask what do these foods do for our bodies?  They will finally get the idea and tell me that carrots may help them see better or milk gives them strong bones, etc.  I love the idea of teaching kids that there are foods that can be grouped into two different groups.   “Every Day Foods,” aka good-for-you-foods foods you have on your plate at breakfast, lunch and dinner!   And then we also  have “Sometimes Foods,”  aka not-so-good-for-you-foods -  foods that can be eaten once a week or every other day. I always give the example that my family has donuts on Sundays, just once a week not everyday.  Somehow my kids will ask me, “Is it Sunday today?”   Teaching kids about these two food groups foods is a great lesson in letting them know the differences between foods and making healthy choices.

 Raising Healthy Eaters – Plus my trip to school!

 

Sometimes I believe there are foods that we just don’t have to tell our kids (husbands, too) what we put in them and just let them enjoy the food.  Of course, always encourage them to eat their vegetables at every meal but sometimes it our “mom-duty” to make a sweet treat just a little bit better for you!  That also includes sneaking in more vegetables at a meal (mushrooms in ground beef).  My husband and kids have caught onto my mission but here are some great examples, such as my simple   No-Bake Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie recipe, loaded with a variety of good-for-you-foods! And Check out more My Top Food Fools – Tips for making your food a bit better for you!

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 OFFER FOODS SEPARATE

After a couple of years of making stir-frys or any one-pot dish, I always struggled getting my kids to eat the dish and then ended up throwing most of it away, grrrr . . .  I have found better luck by simplifying my meals and offering my kids a protein, vegetable, starch and fruit separate.  I find my picky eaters eat better when foods are offered separately.  Remember, think MyPlate! Here is a great example of what our plates look like at meal time.  Simplify!  

One Amazing Simple Grilled Meal

 

Well, if you are like me I just keep trying and realize that not everyday is perfect or every week is perfect heck, let’s face not every month even comes close to being perfect on the healthy eating scale but I try and try and try and try my very best.  Hopefully my persistence will pay off . . . I hope!  Cheers to our kids eating better! 

 

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One Amazing Grilled Meal–Grilled Chicken & Vegetables with Rice

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Hey!  Well, I mentioned the other day on Facebook and Twitter that I made an awesome, super-duper-quick, meal the other night and here it is, taadaaa!  This meal could not be easier and it took only minutes (less than 10 minutes, that is . . .) to put together!

First I started out with 1/2 red onion, 1 zucchini, 1 yellow squash, 1 red bell pepper and 1 yellow bell pepper. I chopped up all the vegetable and added 1/4 cup Bolthouse Balsmic dressing and 2 tbsp Italian dressing.

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I added the same amount of marinade (1/4 cup Bolthouse Balsamic dressing and 2 tablespoons Italian dressing) to the chicken and I refrigerated it for at least 30 minutes for the marinade and the chicken to marry.   I added my veggies to a grill pan and here we go grill!

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Yum! I absolutely adore grilled vegetables and could probably eat this entire pan!  The kids did okay with eating the grilled veggies but the rice medley was definitely their favorite! 

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To this simple dinner I complimented it with Uncle Ben’s Whole Grain Medley, including quinoa and brown rice with garlic.  Oh boy was it tasty!

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Simple Grilled Chicken & Vegetables

Ingredients

1 lb chicken breast

1/2 red onion, chopped

1 zucchini, chopped

1 yellow squash, choped

1 yellow bell pepper, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1/2 cup Bolthouse Balsamic dressing, divided

1/4 cup  Italian dressing, divided

Preparation

Add 1/4 cup balsamic dressing and 2 tbsp Italian dressing to the chicken breast. Marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.  Add the same amount of marinade (1/4 cup balsamic + 2 tbsp Italian dressing) to the chopped vegetables and let it marinade for at least 30 minutes.  Place vegetables in a grill pan and grill until tender.  Grill chicken breasts over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes a side, or until no longer pink in the center. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

 

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