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.

Smoothie

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!

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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!





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.





Super Easy, Healthy Minestrone Soup

28 01 2011

One of the most important things I have learned from my journey towards living a healthful lifestyle has been the importance of eating well. I cannot rely on exercise alone to keep me fit and healthy. And if you’re like me, cooking is not always at the top of my to-do list. If you make time, though, and cook a few healthy meals a week, you will see changes in your body. When we treat our bodies well and give them the fresh, natural foods they desire, you’ll feel energized and slim. And cooking can be so simple! All you need are the right recipes!

I love making soups because they are one of the most healthy, filling foods you can eat. The liquid and fresh veggies fill you up for hours. Plus, you get a few servings of vegetables without feeling bored. The calorie content is low, also, so soup keeps you full while slimming you down. Just be sure to avoid cream and starch based recipes.

 

The fresh vegetables add color to this tasty soup

I adapted this minestrone soup recipe from Betty Crocker’s Vegetarian Cooking. It is super easy to make and absolutely DELICIOUS. This recipe makes about four servings, and I like to make it all and save it for later in the week. Or make your roommates happy and cook for them, too.

Plan for about forty minutes for the whole recipe. It may sound like a lot, but it’s really easy and the soup just boils or simmers on the stove for most of the time. Add spices as you see fit–I love spicy food, so I add a lot of ground red pepper! You can also serve a bit of fresh, whole-wheat bread on the side. Pita bread is tasty, too.

Minestrone Soup

Tbsp olive oil

1/2 white onion, coarsely chopped (1 cup)

1 green pepper, coarsely chopped (1 cup)

2 cans Italian style stewed tomatoes with basil, oregano–undrained

2 cans vegetable broth (low sodium)

1 can dark red kidney beans, drained, rinsed

I cup uncooked small whole-wheat pasta shells

1 medium yellow summer squash, chopped

Spices to taste–cayenne, pepper, garlic, salt, oregano, basil

In a 3-quart saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and bell pepper and cook 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally until crisp-tender.

Stir in stewed tomatoes, broth and beans. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer uncovered 5 minutes.

Stir in pasta and squash. Heat to boiling over medium-high heat. Boil 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until pasta is tender. Add spices like cayenne, pepper, garlic, oregano to taste. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese (optional).