The Breakfast Smoothie

19 02 2011

I make a smoothie about 4 days a week for breakfast. I think they’re delicious, I pack them with nutrients, and they keep me satisfied until lunch time. Just like your workout, it’s important to switch up smoothie ingredients to prevent boredom.


Blackberry Banana Smoothie

Check out this post from “No Meat Athlete” on the perfect smoothie formula. There are lots of great ideas.

Here are some of my favorite combinations:

Peanut Butter Banana: 1/2 cup light soy milk, 1 banana, 1 tbsp. natural peanut butter, 1 tbsp. chocolate soy protein powder, pinch of wheat bran or natural oats, ice

Blackberry Banana: 1/2 drinkable pro-biotic strawberry yogurt, banana, handful of blackberries, 10 almonds, ice

Blueberry Vanilla: 1/2 vanilla Greek yogurt, handful of blueberries, tbsp. honey, pinch of oats, splash of water, ice

Chocolate Banana: 1/2 cup light soy milk, 1 banana, 2 tbsp. chocolate soy protein powder, wheat bran, ice

Switch it up! Be adventurous with your fruit–try mango or melon. You can also keep a stash of frozen berries that you can add to a smoothie if you are out of fresh fruit. Make sure you have some protein in your smoothie (Greek yogurt, almonds, protein powder) to counteract the sugar of yogurt and fruit. Enjoy!


My Tuesday Food Diary

15 02 2011

As promised, here is my food diary from today. It was a really weird day, and this is not a perfect food diary. I will be in the library for about ten hours straight, so I had to eat kind of makeshift meals today. I brought my lunch and had to buy something from the library. Not ideal, but I did what I could under intense stress!

Breakfast: 2 eggs, scrambled. 1 Morningstar vegetarian sausage. 1/2 tbsp. ketchup. Handful of blackberries.

Calories: 245, Fat: 12g, Protein: 22g

Morning Snack: Banana

Calories: 105, Fat: 0g, Protein: 1g

Lunch: 2 slices of whole-wheat bread, 1 tablespoon of jiff natural peanut butter, 1 tablespoon raspberry preserves. Chobani strawberry banana Greek yogurt.

Calories: 505, Fat: 14g, Protein: 25.5g

Dinner: Vegetarian sushi roll. Dove milk chocolate miniature.

Calories: 520, Fat: 10g, Protein: 15g

Library Snack: Sweet N’ Salty Nature Valley Almond Granola Bar

Calories: 160, Fat: 7g, Protein: 3g

Totals: Calories: 1535 (right around my goal of 1500), Fat: 44g (under recommended amount-good!), Protein: 67g (almost double recommended amount-great!)

So again, this was a weird day for me. It’s not normal or easy to adhere to my eating goals when I am on campus all day studying. I did what I could, though. On a regular day, I would include many more vegetables into my diet. I also probably would have traded my “carb” based library snack for something with more nutritional value–maybe a grapefruit and a slice of cheese or some carrots with hummus.

But what’s important to remember is that you can still eat decently well even under stress and when you have a really busy day. Try and bring food from home when you can, and opt for the healthiest choices if you’re buying out. Just because I’m on campus doesn’t mean I have to run to the nearest pizza or sub joint!

Tasty, Healthy Vegeterian Tacos

15 02 2011

When I became a vegetarian, I wanted nothing to do with meat. I was sick of it, I thought it was gross, and I knew I wouldn’t miss it. As the years passed, however, I came to understand how to eat a healthy meat-free diet, and I eventually discovered soy-based “fake” meats. I have come to incorporate veggie burgers, veggie hot dogs, veggie ground beef, etc. into my diet. I even eat veggie sausages!

There is a bit of controversy regarding soy products (some possible links to breast cancer, trigger for hypothyroidism), and while no studies are conclusive, I don’t recommend eating too many soy products each day. I do think these things are okay in moderation, and I highly recommend substituting a meat product for a “fake” meat product, as it will greatly decrVeggie Tacosease the fat and calorie content of your meals. In fact, despite some soy product controversy, the USDA incorporated a recommendation for an increased consumption of soy products into their guidelines today!

This is one of my favorite dinners–vegetarian tacos. It’s SUPER easy to make. We’re talking less than ten minutes. Plus, I can make it a few times a week since the ingredients will last.

Vegetarian Tacos Recipe:

Whole-wheat or spinach tortillas (I like ones that are fat-free or low-fat)

Plain, non-fat Greek yogurt (I use this instead of sour cream–tastes EXACTLY the same in a recipe!)

Boca burger crumbles (this is the “fake” ground beef–there are other brands that are good, too. Find it in the frozen section of the grocery store)

Optional Toppings: Salsa, tomatoes, lettuce, shredded cheese, black beans, avocado, etc.

The burger crumbles are incredibly easy to make. Just put a bit of olive oil in a saute pan with the crumbles and they cook up in five minutes. I add spices like cayenne pepper and Cajun seasoning. Then just add the toppings you like, and voila!

My Personal Diet “Rules”

10 02 2011

My relationship with food is complicated. I could write a million-word post offering all of the advice I’ve swallowed up over the years regarding dieting, calorie-counting, restrictions, foods to avoid, when to eat, how to eat, what to eat on, even. But I won’t put you through the complicated mess swimming around in my head.

I’ve been there and seen it all when it comes to eating habits, but today, I’m going to give you some advice that I try and follow. My diet isn’t perfect. No one’s diet is. This is what I try to do, and some days it works, some days it doesn’t. That’s okay. I don’t beat myself up for eating an ice cream cone..I workout too much to worry about that anyways. I try to remember each day is connected and there’s always a chance to recover from some dieting catastrophe.

My typical diet “rules”: I call these “rules”–with quotations–because they are sometimes meant to be broken. I can’t adhere to them everyday, and as long as a loosely follow them, I’ve seen results in the way I look and feel.

1) I eat about 1500 calories a day. I only know this because I was a strict calorie counter for over a year. I DON’T recommend you do this. But I do believe that calorie counting can be beneficial for everyone…only for a week. Websites like have an online database containing the nutrition information of all the foods we eat. You can enter what you ate, how much, and when, and it will keep a calorie log for you. I recommend this only for a week or so, just enough time to figure out portions and what you really are putting in your body. Most people are clueless.


Livestrong MyPlate

Livestrong MyPlate -- Photo from

2) Balance your protein/carb ratio: We eat WAY too many carbs. It’s hard, everything has carbs. Generally, I try not to eat two meals based on carbs in a row. For instance, if I eat oatmeal with fruit for breakfast–that’s mainly carbs. So I would eat a salad with fake meat for lunch, to get protein and vegetables. Then, for dinner I might eat a stir-fry with rice, tofu and vegetables to balance out. On the other hand, if I ate eggs and a fake sausage for breakfast (protein meal), I might eat a hummus, apple and cheddar cheese sandwich for lunch (carb meal). I wouldn’t eat the oatmeal and then the sandwich on the same day. Plus, I am a vegetarian, so I need to make sure I am getting enough protein and this “rule” helps me keep track.

3) Don’t stuff yourself. I don’t get full. A lot of people freak out when they hear this, but it’s honestly one of my greatest diet tips. When I say full, I don’t mean you shouldn’t be satisfied. You need to listen to your body and figure out when you’re satisfied after a meal. You should not eat until you’re bursting at the seems. I HATE when my stomach is full and bloated from a meal. After years of issues with food, I often associate that feeling with guilt. And who likes that? I would rather eat smaller amounts and be hungry more often. I’d prefer to eat something every few hours than to eat a huge meal and feel weighed down afterward. To do this, I usually eat part of my meal and then take a little break. It takes our bodies 10-20 minutes AFTER WE EAT to get that full feeling, so you may keep eating and not even know you’ve had enough. So, I’ll chat, or watch TV, or read, or whatever halfway through my meal. Then, if I’m not full, I will continue eating. This way, I don’t get stuffed and uncomfortable.

To give you some ideas of how this works in practice, I’ll post a food diary of my own for a day this week.

Add a Daily Salad to Your Diet

2 02 2011

Salads can be boring, I know. I definitely go through phases where the thought of eating another salad makes me want to puke. The thing is, there are THOUSANDS of different salads you can make. If eating that same old stupid salad you have eaten every day for the past two months sounds awful, you just need to switch it up.

I try and aim for one salad everyday. Typically, I make one for lunch. It’s a great way to get lots of veggies, and as long as you avoid tons of cheese and dressing loaded with fat, you’ll feel super energized and great for the rest of the day. And you shouldn’t worry about not feeling full when you eat a salad, there are plenty of ways to make it healthy and filling.

Lizzy's salad

My salad for lunch

To ensure that you avoid the late afternoon stomach rumblings, add a sliced chicken breast, some turkey, steamed tofu, or a hard-boiled egg to your salad. Or skip the dressing and use a few tablespoons of hummus instead. The trick is to add enough protein to the salad, because this will keep you full for longer.

As a general rule, if I am going to use dressing on the salad, I will use very little or no cheese at all. In place of salad dressing, I typically use vinegar. Some people think it’s too strong, but I love it, and you avoid the calories and high-fat content of dressing. I like red wine and balsamic vinegar. You can also drizzle a little olive oil on top if you like. (We don’t need to avoid fat completely, olive oil is a healthy fat that is fine in small amounts). If I do use dressing, I make sure it isn’t cream based (NOT ranch) and something light–like a lime vinaigrette or light Italian.

I like to add half a pita on the side. Sometimes I’ll replace the pita with Reduced Fat Wheat Thins and hummus. Or, you can even toss some toasted whole-wheat pita right into the salad.

Here are some topping ideas to get you started:

Raspberry Almond Salad

Mix together lettuce, fresh raspberries, orange slices, slivered almonds, dried cranberries, and raspberry vinaigrette.

Avocado Tomato Salad

Mix together lettuce, avocado (again, a healthy fat. Don’t be scared of avocado!), tomatoes, shredded carrots, onion, and shredded mozzarella cheese. Toss in light honey mustard dressing.

Greek Salad

Mix together lettuce, cucumber, tomato, red onion, reduced fat feta cheese, and red wine vinegar with a drizzle of olive oil.

Asian Salad

Mix together lettuce, mushrooms, broccoli, peas, meatless chicken nuggets (I chop them up into the salad), and an Asian vinaigrette.

These are some basic ideas. You can add or subtract whatever ingredients you want. Change it up, be creative, and figure out what you like. I’m a vegetarian, so I add fake meat or hummus to things. Add some chicken or turkey if that’s your thing. Check out one of my favorite blogs, No Meat Athlete, and look at their recipe page. There are tons of awesome salad ideas. Just try eating a salad every day for one week, you won’t regret it! Salads are a great, easy way to stay healthy and slim, and you should definitely include them in your diet.