Posts filed under ‘Fitness’

Healthy Meal Options I’ve Been Loving

It’s been almost a year since I started my weight loss journey. I did fall off track a bit in the fall (by off track I mean I wasn’t consistently eating healthy, and more or less ate anything I wanted on the weekends), as the holidays were just way too full of delicious meals, treats, etc… But lately I’ve been doing much better and even entered myself in a “biggest loser” challenge between some co-workers as added motivation. I thought I might as well share some yummy dishes I’ve been eating lately that taste great but are great for you! Some are to be made, while others are just products you can find in stores!

1. Morningstar Farms Veggie Burgers
I absolutely love these. My favorites are the Original Grillers, Tomato Basil Burgers, and the Roasted Garlic Quinoa Burgers. I was never too keen on the idea of veggie burgers in general. Several years ago I tried a Boca burger and was far from impressed with those. Luckily a co-worker had me try a bite of her Morningstar Farms griller and I was surprised to find that I liked it! Liked it a lot, actually. I usually will pair them with some ketchup, onion, and a whole grain wheat bun.

2. Taco Salad
This is something I came up with using taco leftovers one day, and ended up being obsessed. I know taco salad is not something that’s never been done before, and is done several different ways, but this is just my way. I start out with lettuce and add in other veggies (usually for this salad I only add onions and red bell peppers). I then top it with fat free or reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese, fat free or light sour cream, some low-sodium taco sauce, and I sprinkle a bit of taco seasoning over the top. SO GOOD! It tastes seriously just like a taco. To bulk up the salad I’ve also added some grilled chicken, or even leftover ground turkey that was used to make actual tacos.

3. Lettuce Wraps
I literally just ventured into using lettuce as a bread substitute like a week ago, but I am hooked. I use heads of iceberg lettuce and carefully pull the leaves off in big enough sheets that I can fill them and wrap them up. I add different types of veggies depending on my desires of the moment, a lean meat such as chicken or turkey breast, and then use either low fat cream cheese or hummus as a spread. I was worried that it would more or less taste like a wrapped up salad since that’s basically what it is (and after eating salad SO. MUCH. I have a tendancy to get sick of it every now and again), but I was pleasantly surprised and this has become one of my favorite lunches for work.

4. Spaghetti Squash
I am a hardcore pasta/spaghetti lover, so I use spaghetti squash to help curb my cravings. I bake it with a bit of olive oil and garlic powder, scrape it, and top it with my favorite pasta sauce (which at the moment is a Tomato Vodka Cream Sauce by a brand called Paesana.)

5. Zucchini Pizzas/Lasagna
Another pasta substitute! To make the pizzas I cut my zucchini in long planks, reminiscent of the shape of french bread pizzas. I top them with spaghetti sauce, a little big of garlic powder (I’m a garlic fiend), and low-fat mozzarella cheese. Stick them in the oven until the cheese is melted and the zucchinis are a bit tender, and enjoy! For the lasagna I like to cut the zucchini in medallions, and slice a tomato as well. I then get an oven-safe container and start layering…zucchini (laid out so they cover the entire surface), sauce, tomato, garlic powder, cheese, sauce, etc… Bake it for about an hour or so at 375 and serve!

6. Special K Cinnamon Pecan Cereal with Vanilla Almond Milk
This is amazing. The cereal is amazing, and the milk is so good even my 9 year old loves it. It’s a not-so-guilty way of satisfying my sweet tooth.

7. PB2 and Oikos Vanilla Greek Yogurt
Another dessert favorite of mine lately. I like the Oikos brand vanilla the best out of the few I’ve tried because I find it to be more vanilla flavored and a bit sweeter than others. It’s delicious on it’s own, but to really take it up a notch I like to add a 1/2 serving (1 TBSP) of PB2 powdered peanut butter. It’s super addicting.

8. Frozen Breakfast/Dinner Favorites
Now I know there’s some controversy over frozen meals. That they’re not really that good for you, that there’s too many preservatives, etc… but sometimes I’m running late and don’t have time to make breakfast or even put together my lunch, or I get home after a day of work and am too hungry and tired to wait for something to cook, so these are ideal. I usually grab either the Lean Cuisine brand or the Weight Watchers’ Smart Ones brand. For breakfast my favorite is the Smart Ones English Muffin Egg and Sausage sandwiches. The canadian bacon ones are pretty good, too. As for lunch/dinner favorites I like the Lasagna Bake with Meat Sauce from Smart Ones, and my favorite Lean Cuisines are Four Cheese Cannelloni and Sesame Chicken.

So there are some of my favorite current healthy eats. What are some things you like to eat when watching your weight?

February 24, 2014 at 8:35 pm 1 comment

Green Pineapple Banana Smoothie

Since I “officially” started my diet back in March (and by officially I mean that I started one and have actually continued one) I have been addicted to smoothies. They’re healthy, satisfying, and perfect for the warm weather we’re finally starting to have! Not to mention, my son loves them even after finding out I’ve been hiding spinach in it. 🙂 I typically have been drinking them 3-4 times a week… at least. It’s a great way for me to attack my sweet tooth without compromising my diet. I finally bought a new memory card and battery charger for my camera, so you can best believe there will be several recipes complete with pictures being posted on here. Eating healthy has somewhat taken over my brain, and I’m practically obsessed with finding and trying new healthy foods. This smoothie is Pineapple Banana with spinach. I love adding spinach to my smoothies. Even though the color doesn’t always turn out very appealing (red strawberries + green spinach = vomit brown), you can’t taste it at all. If my son will drink it, anyone will! I have yet to experience with other veggies, but I definitely plan to sometime soon. The ingredients can be altered slightly according to your taste, which will obviously effect the overall nutritional values slightly, but for simplicity’s sake I’m just going to post exactly what I used and the calories I came up with.


Ingredients:
*1 Banana
*1 Cup Pineapple Chunks in 100% Juice
*6 oz. Oikos Vanilla Non-Fat Greek Yogurt
*3/4 Cup Blue Diamond Unsweetened Almond/Coconut Milk Blend
*1 Cup Baby Spinach
*3 Splenda Packets
*Ice

Like I said earlier, you can make several different changes in this recipe to meet your personal tastes. I prefer the Oikos brand vanilla greek yogurt just because I think it’s creamier and sweeter than most other brands that I’ve tried. You can replace the Almond/Coconut milk that I used with any kind of milk, same with the Splenda. If you’re watching how many calories, carbs, sugars, etc. that you’re consuming, just be sure to adjust them likewise, as different kinds and even brands will have different nutritional contents. Also, I strain most of the juice out of the pineapple, so my totals are probably a tad bit higher than what they should be. Keep in mind that these totals are for the whole recipe (I believe it made about 3 1/2 cups worth, but to be honest I forgot to look at the measurements), so if you make this amount and split it, be sure to make the proper deductions.

Calories: 425
Carbs: 79g
Fat 3g
Protein: 18g
Sodium: 181mg
Sugar: 60g
Fiber: 5g

Step 1: Strain out most of the juice in the can of pineapple, and slice up the banana. Put the banana and pineapple pieces, along with the yogurt, almond/coconut milk, and Splenda, into the blender. Blend until smooth (I use the “Puree” button).

Step 2: Add in the baby spinach, and blend until smooth and green. This step is particularly important if you’re going to be serving to a child. They will surely catch on if there’s little leafy bits floating in their drink! 😉

Step 3: Add ice and blend (I use the “Ice Crush” button). This step is pretty much up to you, depending on what kind of consistency you like. I typically add about a cup, and blend it pretty good. Enough so that there’s not huge chunks floating around, and small enough that it can fit smoothly through a straw.

Step 4: Pour, garnish, and enjoy!!! 😀

May 5, 2013 at 5:18 pm Leave a comment

3-Day “Military” Diet Review

I’ve mentioned on here several times about my desire to lose weight. It was last May/June, I believe, that I decided I was going to take getting healthy seriously. I managed to lose 10 lbs by the end of last summer, which I was proud of, but at some point I just totally let it go. While I luckily did not gain the 10 lbs back at any point, my eating habits were back to pure crap. Fast forward to early March of this year. Not only is it a good time to start dieting for summer, but my brother is getting married this September. We went in to have our bridesmaids dresses fitted and ordered, and I was not happy with how I looked in the dress nor the size I had to order. Size 16… for a 5 ft. tall girl. Ick! Now these dresses run much smaller than most other clothes, and my pants size is easily 3 or 4 sizes smaller than 16, but it still made me feel disgusted with myself (and it didn’t help that two of the other girls were ordering sizes 2 and 4!). On the bright side, it finally clicked in my head that I need to pursue a healthier lifestyle. Not only that, but I love fashion, and at the moment I absolutely dread shopping for clothes.

That following week I started dieting. The only reason I waited a few days to begin was because I had a few gift cards to restaurants that would likely have been major speed bumps in my road to weight loss had they have been staring at me in my wallet during my journey. I started out by searching the internet for some fad diets. I went in knowing that they are just that- fads- and that the results are not only varied, but not permanent. I needed to do something drastic, though, so I decided on trying the 3 day diet. It claims that you can lose up to 10 lbs in three days, but I would’ve been happy with 5! I will post the exact diet at the end of this entry, along with the few substitutions I made. The first go was really successful. I lost 7 lbs! Was it hard? Absolutely. The portions are so much smaller than I was used to, so I was hungry a lot. Not to mention many of the foods weren’t something I typically cared for, especially without much seasoning or flavor allowed to be added, and not everything was easy to substitute so I just sucked it up and did it. I did gain 3 or 4 of those lbs. back after going off of the diet, but then lost 5 more lbs. the 2nd week.

I only did this diet twice over the span of 2 weeks. After doing so well the first time, I had originally planned on doing it once a week until a big chunk of the weight was off, however, the food is just so bland that it was highly unlikely I’d stick to it. It did help me with portion control, lowering my carbs, and giving me a whole new appreciation for the taste of veggies and meats (that aren’t covered in sauces)! I decided to try eating healthy by myself without a strict diet controlling what I put in my stomach, and the weight is still coming off (I’m going to do another post about my current eating habits)!

Anyway, while most people would advise you to avoid fad dieting and anything that claims to help you drop heaps of weight in a small amount of time, I have to say this experience was a positive one for me. I do agree that it’s unhealthy and unrealistic to continue a diet like this for a prolonged period of time, but it worked as a great motivation for me. Seeing 7 lbs come off made me have more confidence in myself and gave me the push I needed to continue with my healthy eating. I’m sure it also gave my metabolism a boost and helped shrink my stomach a bit so I was used to smaller meals. It also made me realize that I could actually get full off of just meats and veggies! My new mentality is eat to live, rather than live to eat!

Here is the diet, with the substitutions I made marked by an asterisk (*) and in italics. The plan I followed and copied is from this website!

DAY 1
Breakfast: 1/2 Grapefruit, 1 Slice of Toast, 2 Tablespoons of Peanut Butter, and Coffee or Tea
*I drank a cup of water with 1/2 tsp of baking soda and an orange in place of the grapefruit. I used whole wheat bread, untoasted, and put the peanut butter on it. I added 2 packets of Splenda to my coffee.
Lunch: 1/2 Cup of Tuna, 1 Slice of Toast, and Coffee or Tea (any brew, as long as it’s caffeinated)
*I substituted the tuna for a 1/2 Cup of plain chicken, cooked with Pam Cooking Spray, and seasoned with a small amount of salt and pepper. The bread was whole grain wheat, and I added 2 packets of Splenda to my coffee.
Dinner: 3 ounces of any type of meat, 1 Cup of Green Beans, 1/2 Banana, 1 Small Apple, and 1 Cup of Vanilla Ice Cream
*I ate (roughly) 3 ounces of chicken for my meat. I don’t have a scale to measure food, so I more or less just eye balled about a half of a small chicken breast. I cooked it in a pan with Pam Cooking Spray and a small amount of salt and pepper, as well as on the green beans.

DAY 2
Breakfast: 1 egg, 1 Slice of Toast, and 1/2 Banana
*I ate my egg scrambled, with a small amount of salt and pepper, with whole grain wheat bread toast. I still drank 2 cups of coffee sweetened with Splenda. I need my caffeine not only to maintain energy, but it’s an excellent appetite suppressant, too!
Lunch: 1 Cup of Cottage Cheese (Or 1 Slice of Cheddar Cheese), 1 Hard Boiled Egg, and 5 Saltine Crackers
*I went with one slice of cheddar, and cooked it with 1 scrambled egg into an omelet, as I just cannot eat hard boiled eggs. Scrambled eggs aren’t my favorite thing in the world, either, but much easier to swallow!
Dinner: 2 Hot Dogs (no buns), 1 Cup of Broccoli, 1/2 Cup of Carrots, 1/2 Banana, and 1/2 Cup of Vanilla Ice Cream
*I used Oscar Mayer regular pork hot dogs. I cooked the broccoli in a pan with cooking spray and seasoned with a small amount of salt and pepper. I boiled the carrots and used salt and pepper on them, as well.

DAY 3
Breakfast: 5 Saltine Crackers, 1 Slice of Cheddar Cheese, and 1 Small Apple
*I broke up the slice of cheddar to eat with my crackers. I saved my apple to act as more of an in between breakfast/lunch snack to try and curb my hunger better at work, and it really helped! I still drank 2 cups of coffee sweetened with Splenda.
Lunch: 1 Hard-Boiled Egg, and 1 Slice of Toast
*I ate a scrambled egg with salt and pepper on whole grain wheat toast.
Dinner: 1 Cup of Tuna, 1/2 of a Banana, and 1 Cup of Vanilla Ice Cream
*I ate 1 cup of plain chicken cooked in a pan with Pam Cooking Spray and a small amount of salt and pepper in place of the tuna.

April 6, 2013 at 3:20 pm 121 comments

July 29th- Last Thing You Bought

The last thing I bought was frozen yogurt yesterday after work. There’s fro-yo places in the same plaza I work, as well as in the one across the street. Lucky for me yogurt is much healthier than ice cream, so I can indulge without the guilt! 🙂 The one a few doors down is actually better than the one across the street because they use all greek yogurt, making it that much healthier and full of protein! Yesterday I got the fat-free strawberry and put granola in it. So yummy and low calorie- the perfect treat!

July 29, 2012 at 11:18 am 2 comments

July 17- My Addiction

I was going to use something that I really, really like but am not actually physically addicted to, but I couldn’t come up with anything clever enough, so I decided to take the serious road. I am a smoker. I started when I was 16 or 17, quit when I got pregnant (morning sickness wouldn’t have let me smoke if I wanted to), and started again about a year after I had Tyler. I don’t smoke more than a half pack a day, so I’m pretty certain I could quit much more easily than most, but unfortunately, I like it. I don’t like that it’s bad for my health, expensive, sets a bad example for my son, and smelly, but the act and feeling itself I enjoy. I did promise myself, though, that if and when I meet my goal weight, I’m going to quit. No use going through the struggle that is getting fit if I’m not going to make myself healthy in every way possible, right? Drinking, however… well, that will have to remain an occasional necessity, lol. 😉

July 17, 2012 at 8:45 am 2 comments

I Survived Week One

My new job has been going pretty good. Well, really good, I guess you could say. My only problem (aside from the fact that I have like zero clothes to wear to work) is the down time. They’ve been kind of slow this past week, so there was a lot of sitting/standing around and staring at the clock, which I can’t stand. I like to be busy, especially when I’m at work. It keeps me focused and time goes by much faster. Other than that, though, I think I’m doing a pretty good job. A lot of people have already told me that they’re impressed by how fast I’m catching on and whatnot. It’ll be a while until I’m completely comfortable with making appointments (every stylist has different finish times for different services, and it can be a bit confusing) but I’m fairly confident that I’ll learn quickly. I just hope this is a fluke week and most weeks are much busier. One of the things I really can’t stand, though, is the fact that there are two frozen yogurt places near where I work. Ugh, talk about temptation. There’s one a few doors down, and one in the plaza that’s across the street- and I can see both of them from our window. The worst is when people get something and walk right past our door, all happy eating their delicious fro-yo. Surprisingly I haven’t tried either of them yet, but you best believe when the time is right I will be tearing that shit up, lol.

Frozen yogurt aside, I’m hoping that now that I’m working again I’ll lose some weight. I lost a good 15-20 lbs. when I started working my last job, just from being up and active and not sitting around my house all day. From my “diet” alone I’ve already lost 5lbs. I can officially say that because the last several times I’ve weighed myself I’ve been consistently at this weight. Normally my weight would fluctuate back and forth, but so far it’s sticking for once. 5 lbs. is good, and I’m happy about it, but it’s been about a month and a half since I started eating better, and I definitely hoped for more by now. But I’m not giving up. After all, I wasn’t really super strict about anything. It’s hard to diet when you’re on a budget and also providing for an 8 year old. If it were just me it wouldn’t be as much of an issue, but I have to make sure that I’m buying food that my son will eat, too. And even though he definitely could afford to drop some weight himself, it’s not realistic to expect a child to eat salads and plain, grilled chicken every night.

July 16, 2012 at 1:02 pm Leave a comment

July 8th- Lunch

This is what I’ve been eating for lunch lately, Chobani Greek Yogurt… unless I’m absolutely starving or there’s something too tasty to pass up. 😉 I like the consistancy of greek yogurt better than regular yogurt, but the taste- not so much. It’s really sour to me, but completely edible due to it’s nutritional value. It’s fat free, has about 120 calories (which is at least 40 or so less than the Yoplaits I used to eat) and twice as much protein as regular yogurt. It usually makes me full, too, especially around lunch time when I’m usually not very hungry to begin with. Last week our local grocery store had a $1 Chobani sale. I got there on the second to last day, and there was 1 vanilla flavor, 1 blood orange flavor (orange yogurt doesn’t appeal to me), and a whole bunch of plain. I grabbed the vanilla and 2 plain. I would never be able to eat just plain yogurt, but I bought them in hopes to use them for cooking. I saw a recipe online for healthy ranch dressing using plain greek yogurt, so that’s what they’ll likely become. On the 4th of July, since we were bored, we decided to go to another one of the grocery stores to kill time and oddly enough they had every flavor and only 1 or 2 plain ones left. Jackpot! They probably were stocked up since it was the evening of the last day of the sale and were getting ready for the new set the next day. Either way, I was excited. 🙂 So far my favorites besides vanilla are strawberry banana and raspberry. I have a peach one that I haven’t tried yet, and I’m thinking I’ll like it. In fact, that’s probably going to be my lunch today!

July 9, 2012 at 1:02 pm 2 comments

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The Amy Blog

Hello, I'm Amy! I was born in '85 and live in Pittsburgh, PA. I became the mama of my wonderful son in 2004, and also own 3 kitties that I treat like children. I am a self-admitted cosmetics and beauty addict, but I also enjoy fashion, music, art, and am totally guilty of reading way too much celebrity gossip. :P

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