Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Healthy Fourth of July Tips

     If you think this is another sermon about how to white knuckle it thru the Holiday, then you are barking up the wrong article!  (... now do I have your attention!?...thought so...)  Special occasions are made for fun and I am all about having a good time.  But, part of an enjoyable experience is going to bed at night feeling good about yourself with no regrets of the day, and that is where I come in.  I am here to help by providing some awesome tips for navigating and enjoying the festivities to the fullest!  #partyondude  So let's get started~

1) Make a plan AND write it down.  Before the big day arrives, make sure to have an idea of the schedule and be prepared for down times, especially so you are not filling those empty moments with Americas greatest past time...eating!

2) Make a bored list.. (yes, I said bored list).  Don't be in the moment deciding what to do, have a reliable list written that you can easily access: catch up on a book or magazine, check Facebook, work a cross word puzzle, do a couple pages in a scrapbook, call an old friend, take a walk, look on Pinterest for a new recipe you want to try, clean out your closet to donate to charity, paint your nails, work a puzzle etc.

3) Plan to include extra activity in your day, most people are off work and have more flexibility to exercise.  Even if you don't plan a formal workout, include outdoor activity as part of your get together.  Have relay races in the pool, set up a badminton game in the backyard, go for a family walk (look up the nearest nature trails in your area), play a game of around the world with the basketball, or croquet anyone!?  The point is, make it an active vacay and don't sit around all day inside eating, eating and more eating.  Being outdoors doing activities is a great way to bond to others, as we know the way to connect with people we love is thru shared experiences.  Volunteering at a Food Bank is another option if you have time in the day.

4) Have a list of healthy between meal snack options in case anyone gets hungry (especially you!), depending on the days schedule.  Have you heard of Carrots with Peanut Butter ...don't knock it til you've tried it!  String Cheese with 24 Almonds, 1/2 cup Cottage Cheese with a diced Apple stirred in (you can also stir in a low carb yogurt with Cottage Cheese or even a scoop of Protein Powder), 2 boiled Eggs with 2 pieces of Turkey Bacon, 1/2 an Avocado wrapped in a low carb Tortilla...you get the gist!

5) Now, let's get down to food!  If you think I'm going to give you a list of all the "you can't eat" foods you are sadly mistaken....unless... and this is big so listen up...unless they are HUGE triggers for you and wild horses will invade your mind and body and you won't be able to stop til you 1) are sick or 2) all the food is gone.  Know thy triggers!  I repeat, KNOW THY TRIGGERS!!!  If that is the case then it is best to not eat even one "Lay's Potato Chip", let's work together to find suitable alternatives, and chips are a good place to start, especially since they show up on most warm weather Holidays.

     a) If eating the entire bag of Potato Chips is in the realm of possibilities, since we know this is not an Olympic sport it is best to stay away.  However if you can stop after a reasonable single portion then enjoy every single salty bite with abandon and lick those greasy fingers clean.  BUT, make sure and buy the individual bags, ...DO NOT, let me repeat DO NOT buy the bulk bag.  Let each person get their single serving bag and when it's gone You. Are. Done.!...get it, got it, good!  Capish!?  Have fun with displaying the assorted bags in a decorative bowl to add to the festivities.  My last fun chip tip, there are a few Protein Potato Chips on the market that I really love, Quest Protein Potato Chips and Protes are among my favorite ones, they are individually packaged and great for dipping in Salsa!  ole'
     b) You can't have fireworks without Ice Cream! #amiright!?  So, we are dealing with the same principal here, if you can't have a spoonful with out eating a gallon, simply stay away and let's work on alternatives, if that's not a problem then have a 1/2 cup and enjoy every slow melty bite with gusto.  Top with berries, nuts (sliced Almonds or Pecan Chips), Lily's Stevia Sweetened Chocolate Chips, or reconstituted Peanut Butter powder.  If you are sensitive to the real sugar stuff and it fires up your cravings then I have two super duper suggestions that will still let you be the life of the party.  Four words, Halo Top Ice Cream!  They come in many different wonderful flavors and is the best darn stuff I have ever eaten in the frozen category,  I actually prefer this to the sugar filled stuff.  Visit halotop.com on where to buy these low sugar, low carb, low fat, low calorie pints of deliciousness.  These can sometimes be a little pricey, so another great option is to make your own by dicing a peeled medium banana into coins, laying flat on wax paper and freezing, when frozen add your disks along with 3-4 Tablespoons milk to blender and whip into instant Ice Cream, this is phenomenal and you can't tell the diff!  Top with the above suggestions for a wonderfully healthy treat.  Lastly, go to my blog, www.foodfitnessbypaige.blogspot.com and type Ice Cream in search bar and be prepared for about 30 homemade Ice Cream suggestions!  ...that should just about cover it!  ;)  PS  Since this article was first written, several low cal Ice Cream brands have popped up on the market.  Kroger has a reasonably priced brand called Low Cow, definitely worth trying.
     c) A Fourth without Hamburgers is like a day without sunshine... true or false!?  ...that was a trick question, of course a Burger beckons the sun, duh!  Here in lie's the problem, I am married to a grill master, my dying wish for my last meal would be his Grilled Burgers, my mom's Potato Salad (http://foodfitnessbypaige.blogspot.com/2014/05/grandma-marys-potato-salad.html), and my famous Baked Beans, http://foodfitnessbypaige.blogspot.com/2014/05/paiges-famous-baked-beans.html (... can you imagine not worrying about the consequences of calories...it would be a great meal)! Ha  However, that being said, it is unlikely that this Fourth will be your last meal AND my husband pounds out a 1/2 pound of meat per entree'...this girl don't need no half pound of beef....but she do need bout half o' dat half!  So, here are your three options; eat half with the bun and condiments and enjoy every last bite, or eat it plain with no bun, or lastly, crumble your Cheeseburger on a Salad with condiments on top (http://foodfitnessbypaige.blogspot.com/2014/05/grilled-cheeseburger-salad.html).  All great options, void of any suffering!
     d) Side dishes definitely add to the party, they also add a tremendous amount of calories.  So pick your sides wisely and stick to a few spoonfuls.  Did you know after three bites your taste buds loose that initial "lovin' feelin" and then you are just filling up for fun vs flavor.  Eat three glorious bites and move on to friendlier fare.  In no way would I want you to miss those special Holiday dishes that let you enjoy that full sense of tradition...unless, of course, as previously mentioned, they bring on the "wild horses" syndrome...then it's time to talk to the hand not the face...errr, ...mouth!
     e) Unless you plan to cart around a food scale in your bra purse, you are going to have to rely on other measuring tools to help keep portions in check.  I call this the smiley face method, imagine drawing a smiley face on a 9" plate.  Fill 1/4 with your protein/meat, 1/4 with your side dishes, and the bottom half with a beautiful mixed green salad that you will have to probably bring yourself.  If you stick to that visual you will be just fine.  Get what you want that first go round and after that push back, you are dun!  No seconds, period!  Time to get up, help clear plates, or go to the other room to visit.  You will finish with a happy plate and membership in the clean plate club will come at a small price!  This is a great time to stick a piece of sugar free mint gum in your mouth...
     f) Don't be rude, always volunteer to bring things to share.  You can control the offerings by bringing a big bowl of cut Watermelon, or other fruit (which are great dessert options...have you tried sprinkling Watermelon with Lime Juice and Lite Salt..simply divine!).  How bout a platter of cut veggies with a container of Fage Yogurt and a packet of Ranch stirred together.  And, don't forget a big bowl of beautiful mixed greens.  I bet others will appreciate your offerings.
     g) Eating is not a sport, no one will give you a gold medal for finishing first.  Take your time, slow down, take a drink of water between bites, look at those with whom you are sharing a meal not your plate, set your utensils down between bites, chew your food completely and savor the flavor.  Did you know it takes 20 minutes for your brain to catch up to your belly.  So help yourself out, dine like the French ...remember who won the race between the Tortoise and the Hare!?  #goals

     I hope some of these tips help you have a happy healthy holiday full of fun and laughter.  Wishing you all the best on these joyous occasions!  Please contact me with any questions or concerns if you need any additional help.  In good health, paige  :)

Double Chocolate Protein Balls

     When Terra's Kitchen sends you their Protein Powder (terraskitchen.com), there is no option other than to whip up some over the top Double Chocolate Protein Balls.  Not only does their nutrient rich powder provide heart healthy fats, it also aids in controlling blood sugar.  Each of my 1oz balls are only 70 calories, 2g net carbs and 4g protein.  How can that be bad!?

Ingredients for 14 Protein Balls~
1/2 cup Peanut Butter Powder
1/3 cup Lily's Stevia Sweetened Chocolate Chips
3 heaping scoops TK Protein Powder (terraskitchen.com)
2 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder
2 Tablespoons ground Flax Seed
2 Tablespoons chopped Walnuts

     Mix together with enough water til well incorporated, divide into 14 1oz portions and roll into balls.  Store in fridge.  Enjoy  :)

Simple Pasta

     Who doesn't love simple, especially when it comes to making and cleaning up dinner!?  I was able to throw this dinner together in a jiffer, all the while keeping my macros in check.  Each of the 2 cups are only 328 calories, 25g net carbs and 33g protein.  When life gets hectic, it's Simple Pasta to the rescue!

Ingredients for 4 servings~
8oz bag Thin Slim Foods Impastable (thinslimfoods.com)
2 cups Pasta Sauce
8oz diced Grilled Chicken Breast (can sub with regular cooked Chicken)
15oz can Black Beans, drained
1 cup shredded Mozzarella
Garnish with Salt, Pepper, and Green Onion as desired

     Bring sauce pot of water to boil, add Pasta, return to boil, continue to boil 4-6 minutes, drain water and stir in Sauce, Chicken and Beans, return to heat til heated thru.  Top with Cheese and garnish as desired.  Enjoy  :)

Mango Nectar Pork Loin

      I love the slow cooker, ... have I mentioned my lazy tendencies...I feel like I have...!?  Hence, I love the slow cooker!  Not in love with cleaning it, but it's a consequence I can live with...or buy the liners and clean up is easy breasy.  #problemsolved  It's so nice to throw things together in the morning, let the house fill with the homey aroma of warm food, and be able to whip things together in a jiffer at the end of the day.  So, that being said, you will have to give this simple yummy Mango Nectar Pork Loin a try.  You can dish this up as a taco, burrito, over rice or atop a salad.  A Pork Loin has 160 calories, 0g carbs and 23g protein per 4 ounces.  You could use a Pork Butt, although that would be more fat and calories.  This recipe is especially good if you are feeding a crowd, a real winner!  ;)

Salt, Pepper, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder and Cayenne Pepper, to taste
3-5 pound Boneless Pork Loin
2-7oz cans diced Green Chili Peppers
1 11.3oz can Mango Nectar
1 lime, halved

    Add Pork Loin to Crock Pot, season liberally as desired.  Add Peppers and Mango Nectar, squeeze Lime on top and leave Lime halves in Crock Pot.  Heat on low for 7-8 hours.  Remove and slice/shred.  Serve in a Taco, Burrito, over Rice or Salad.  We enjoy ours with Avocado, Shredded Cheese, Tomato, Salsa and Sour Cream in a low carb tortilla.  It would be good with Black Beans, Corn and Rice as well.  Enjoy  ;)


Friday, June 23, 2017

Apple Fennel Walnut Salad

     How do you like your Fennel best!?  What's that?...you're not familiar with Fennel...(insert look of shock) ...  Actually to be honest, this is my first go round with this licorice flavored veggie...don't freak, I'm not talking about the flavor of that black string or the taste of a box of Good N Plenty  (that candy actually gives me shivers because I got sick in the 5th grade after eating two boxes of it at the movies...who was in charge of me that day is what I want to know...I digress)  This is a mild Anise that is wonderfully light and appealing, especially in Salads, Roasted, Grilled or even in Pasta.  Each of the 6 cup servings are only 105 calories, 6g net carbs and 1g protein.  Try something new today!  ;)

Ingredients for 6 servings~
1 large Fennel Bulb
1 small Fuji Apple
1 small Granny Smith Apple
1/4 cup chopped Walnuts
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tablespoon  Apple Cider Vinegar
1 teaspoon Spicy Brown Mustard
Salt to taste

     Remove stem from Fennel Bulb and dice Bulb and add to large mixing bowl, dice Apple's and add to bowl along with Walnuts.  Mix Oil, Vinegar and Mustard til thoroughly combined and pour over Salad, toss well to incorporate.  Season with Salt as desired.  Enjoy  :)

Rocky Road Ice Cream Sandwich

     Who doesn't love a good Ice Cream Sandwich, especially if it is made with  Rocky Road Cookies and S'mores Ice Cream!?  How bout if I tell you it is only 145 calories, 6g net carbs and 13g protein...#imnotmadaboutit  These are so easy to whip together, you will be asking yourself why didn't I think of that...the real answer is, you don't have to,...that's why you have me!  ;)

Ingredients for 2 Ice Cream Sandwiches~
1 Quest Rocky Road Protein Bar, unwrapped and divided into 4 equal parts
1/4 cup S'more Halo Top Ice Cream

     Microwave all 4 pieces of the Protein Bar for 12 seconds, flatten into a circle and lay on Silpat lined cookie sheet, bake at 350 for 4 minutes, remove and when cool, top 2 of the cookies with 2 Tablespoons Ice Cream on each cookie, use the remaining 2 cookies as Sandwich toppers.  Enjoy  :)

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Grilled Veggies

     How appealing are grilled veggies, especially as warm weather fare.  You can make any combination your friend.  Lucky for me, Camerons (cameronsproducts.com) sent me a beautiful Camerons Barbecue Grilling Wok to make life a little easier.  Don't be shy, let your imagination run wild, the possibilities are endless when it comes to produce!

Grilled Veggies~
1 diced Zucchini
1 diced Squash
1 diced Eggplant
1 pound diced Asparagus
Olive Oil
Flavor God Spice Garlic Lovers, or Seasoning to taste
12oz Cherry Tomatoes, sliced in half and drained on Paper Towel

     Add all veggies except Tomatoes to bowl and toss with Olive Oil and season to taste, add to Grilling Basket and set on grill with lid closed for about 10 minutes, check frequently and toss veggies occasionally in Basket, remove when crisp tender, add Tomatoes and serve.  Enjoy  :)

Spiced Turkey Meatballs

Let me introduce spice guru May Fridel and her first cookbook Indian Cuisine Diabetes Cookbook.  In this beautiful and practical cookbook, May takes readers on a journey through celebrated Indian cuisine while promoting healthy eating, better nutrition, and dynamic flavor combinations. Each recipe revolves around the intuitive use of spices to introduce new flavors and, potentially, some new favorite meals! In addition to the easy-to-follow recipes, the book provides a history of Indian cuisine and flavors, a guide to Indian cooking techniques, and an overview of the spices to keep on hand for meals in a pinch. Every recipe is both diabetes-friendly and family-friendly.  Please enjoy Spiced Turkey Meatballs as an example of what she has to offer.  It's easy and delicious!  Traditional Indian Meatball recipes use Lamb or Goat, but these Turkey Meatballs have great flavor and are a healthier version of the traditional dish.  It serves 6, with 3 Meatballs each, 160 calories per servings, as well as 5g net carbs and 15g protein.  I will serve mine in a gluten free pita pocket from Bfreefoods.com, and top it with Cucumber and Greek Yogurt with Dill stirred in to taste. Indian Cusine Diabetes Cookbook will be available at ShopDiabetes.org, in bookstores nationwide, or by calling 1-800-232-6733. Enjoy:)

Ingredients for 6 servings~
1 small Red Onion
1 Green Chili
2 inch piece fresh Ginger
5 sprigs Cilantro, stems removed (more to taste)
1 pound lean ground Turkey
1 teaspoon Lemon Juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 teaspoon Salt
2 teaspoon Sunflower Oil (I subbed with Olive Oil)

     Mince Onion, Chili, Ginger and Cilantro in food processor til fine consistency, add to large bowl along with Turkey, Lemon Juice, Worcestershire and Salt, combine well.  Form 18 equal balls, add to skillet with Oil and fry til browned on all sides.  Serve Warm.

Avocado Chicken Pizza

  When we go to visit our boys in California, I always enjoy the new fresh food combinations from the locals. So, in honor of our Los Angeles sons, I came up with this little mix for a perfect Saturday evening al fresco dining experience! ... And we can just pretend from Kansas that we are back on the West Coast feeling the cool breeze of the Pacific !  So if you want to transport yourself as well, then give this tree huger pizza a try...each of the 4 pieces will only set you back 250 calories, 4g net carbs and 32g protein (yes, 32)!  ;)

1 Thin Slim Foods Pizza Crust  (thinslimfoods.com or sub with Cauliflower Pizza Crust~recipe below)
1/4 cup Pizza or Spaghetti Sauce 
1 sheet Parmesan Folios Cheese (www.cheesefolios.com or sub with 1/3 cup shredded Parmesan)
8oz diced Grilled Chicken or Chicken Tenders cooked in Italian Dressing
1/4 cup shredded Mozzarella
4 slices Green Bell Pepper
1 slice Red Onion 
1/4 cup fresh Corn
1.5oz diced Avocado
Cilantro Leaves, as garnish

      Top your Thin Slim Pizza Crust or Cauliflower Pizza Crust with Pizza Sauce, Parmesan, Chicken, Mozzarella, Green Pepper, Red Onion, and Corn.  Bake at 450 for 5-8, or until cheese is melted.  After removing from the oven top with diced Avocado and Cilantro.  (I always have extra crusts on hand and was able to pull one from the freezer and put this meal together very quickly).   Enjoy ;)

Ingredients for the Cauliflower Pizza:
1 head of Cauliflower cleaned and diced into crumbles ( I use my Pampered Chef dicer, or you can use a food processor~ just as long as you get the crumbled consistency ~ my head made 5 cups )
1 egg
1/2 cup egg white
dash salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon dried onions
1 cup shredded mozzarella 

     Mix all together and form into 7-8 inch thin circles and bake at 450 for 15-20 minutes on Pam coated sheet or preferably on a Silpat Sheet, for 15-20 minutes depending on how crispy you want your cauliflower crust. This will make SEVERAL, so you will have plenty to freeze for next time! 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Rocky Road Cookies

     This brings a whole new meaning to the phrase it's a Rocky Road out there...  now that image makes my mouth water.  As. It. Should.  These cookies are so quick and easy to whip together it will make your head spin, and as soon as it stops twirling around be ready to sink your teeth into decadent health.  Each chewy cookie is only 70 calories, 2g net carbs and 6g protein.  Science has now proven a Rocky Road Cookie is the only path to take...  ;)

Ingredients for 4 cookies~
1 Quest Rocky Road Protein Bar
1 Tablespoon (60) Lily's Stevia Sweetened Dark Chocolate Chips
1/2 teaspoon chopped Pecan chips

     Remove wrapper and heat Bar in microwave for 15 seconds, divide into 4 equal parts and press softened Bar into 4 circles and lay on Silpat lined cookie sheet, bake at 350 for 4 minutes.  Remove and top each cookie with 15 chips and sprinkles with Pecan pieces.  Enjoy  :)

Asparagus Stir Fry

     Want the perfect side dish that will pair nicely with just about anything you can think of!?  Let's take a moment of silence to appreciate my warm weather brain... (oh stop, I'm blushing...)  What would you serve with this Asparagus Stir Fry,... beef, pork, fish or chicken...or a nice firm Tofu!?  Whatever you choose, each of these six servings are only 116 calories, 7.6g net carbs and 4.2g protein.  Time to start planning...  :)

Ingredients for 6 servings~
3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 medium Sweet Yellow Onion, diced
1 Tablespoon chopped Garlic
Dash Cayenne, to taste
1 pound sliced fresh Mushrooms
1 pound trimmed fresh Asparagus, diced
4 assorted Bell Peppers, cleaned, trimmed and sliced (Green, Red, Orange, Yellow)
Salt and Pepper to taste

     Add one Tablespoon EVOO to skillet and heat thru, add Onion, Garlic and Cayenne til golden brown.  Add another Tablespoon EVOO to skillet along with Mushrooms and Asparagus til Mushrooms cooked thru.  Add last of EVOO to skillet along with sliced Bell Peppers and cook til crisp tender.  Season with Salt and Pepper.  Enjoy  :)