Tag Archives: food

How to Combat Fatty Movie Theater Snacks

29 Jul
Take these low-calorie snacks

Don’t you wish you could actually buy these low-calorie snacks at a movie theater?

If you’ve sampled the fine cuisine of one movie theater snack bar, you’ve pretty dined at them all. Popcorn, soft pretzels, candy, and the inevitable $7.50 Pepsi. Total health food.

When we moved to LA, I thought movie theaters here would be stocked with low-calorie snacks. I expected tofu dogs, side salads, Greek yogurt, fresh fruit, or at least Popchips, but no. So far we’ve been to two different movie theaters and each one had the standard fatty fare.

Now, I know you’re not supposed to bring your own snacks into a movie theater, but they really leave you no choice. When the “healthy” option is a 500 calorie soft pretzel, you have to take matters into your own hands…

Low-Calorie Snacks to Smuggle Into Movie Theaters

Okay, we’ve already covered that it’s wrong to bring your own food into movie theaters. It’s bad. Yeah yeah. We’re past that.

So, the next time you head out to a movie theater, stow some of these low-calorie snacks in your bag (or your pants, whatever works best for you):

  • Emerald 100 Calorie Pack Almonds
  • String Cheese
  • Snack-sized Popchips
  • Fresh cut fruit
  • Homemade Trail Mix
  • Pre-popped Popcorn
  • Granola Bars

Don’t forget to bring a mini bottle of water too, in case you get thirsty!

Eating Healthy and Exercising On-the-Go

10 Jun

It’s not always convenient to fit eating healthy and exercising into your day. Especially when you’re traveling or just really busy. When you’re short on time (and exhausted) it can be tempting to skip the gym and head to one of the closest fast food restaurants in the area for a quick and easy meal. Admittedly, sometimes this is the best option in a bind, but make a habit of it and your waistline is going to expand. And fast.

Personally, I’ve been pretty busy lately. We’ve been out-of-town the past three weekends, in addition to preparing for a cross-country move. A bit overwhelming at times! I can more than relate to just how difficult it can be to find the time to fit exercising into an already packed schedule. And to work up the energy to make a healthy lunch and dinner.

Here’s a few tips to keep eating healthy and exercising, even when it’s a whole lot easier not to:

  • Schedule Your Workouts: At the beginning of the week take note of the days you’re free to workout at your normal time. If your availability doesn’t equal an adequate amount of exercising time for the week, get creative! If you normally workout in the evenings, wake up early and go for a morning run. It’ll be rough rousing yourself out of bed early, but trust me, you won’t regret it.

  • Work Exercise Into Your Day: If crafty scheduling still isn’t cutting it to get your normal workouts in, you can always find fun little alternative ways to fit exercise into your day. Last weekend my husband and I were in NYC and instead of working out in the gym, we went for a bike ride around the perimeter of Central Park. So fun! I also love to go outside for lunchtime walks. Sure, it’s not the greatest calorie burner ever, but it’s something. And it pulls me away from the glare of my computer screen for awhile. Total bonus!

I hadn't been on a bike since I was about 11 or 12. The first few minutes of the ride were interesting, the rest were fun!

Biking in Central Park was  a great way to get our daily exercise in.

  • Prepare Healthy Food in Advance: Sometimes you really won’t have time to cook dinner or pack a healthy lunch for work. Combat this problem with a little advance planning. If you know you have a crazy week ahead of you, spend an hour on Sunday making dinner for the week, putting individual portions in freezable containers. Quick, easy, and healthy!

It can be tempting to opt for fast food restaurants and declare an exercising ban when you’re really super busy, but well, just don’t. Healthy food doesn’t typically come from restaurants where employees wear funny little hats. Eating healthy and working out shouldn’t be an option, it should be your way of life!

Mastering the Art of Eating Healthy on the Turnpike

3 Jun

Last weekend my husband and I took a trip across the great state of Pennsylvania to visit his family in Philly. The five hour trip itself isn’t terrible — especially when you’re not driving — but what is completely wretched about the journey is the food options available on the turnpike. Some awful “restaurant” called Roy Rogers dominates most service plazas, as well as Burger King and Sbarro. Yum. Keep eating healthy Pennsylvania.

Obviously eating anything purchased on the turnpike is simply not an option, so it’s up to us to come up with lots of car-friendly healthy snack ideas. Luckily I have an insulated cooler bag, so all I have to do is put a few ice packs in it and magically our healthy snack options are expanded. If you’ve ever tried eating healthy on a road trip, you know how hard it is to do so without a way to keep food cold!

wpid-2012-04-25_21-02-16_674.jpg

Bring these healthy snacks along for the ride.

Healthy Snack Ideas for Road Trips:

  • Popchips

  • Pre-cut fruit (strawberries, melons, pineapple, kiwi, mangoes)

  • Hummus and baby carrots

  • Emerald Almonds 100 Calorie Packs

  • Apples, peaches, and any other non-messy whole pieces of fruit

  • Protein bars

  • Low-fat string cheese

Eating Healthy on the Road

When our Philly road trips start bright and early in the morning we always make sure to eat a nice healthy breakfast before leaving Pittsburgh. Sometimes we head to a local breakfast place that opens bright and early with the roosters, but usually my husband heads to the kitchen and makes healthy breakfast magic happen himself. Being nice and full when we leave town is great, because we’re fine to just subsist on our healthy snacks until we make it to Philly.

When we know we’re going to be on the turnpike at lunchtime, we come prepared as eating at Roy Rogers is just not an option. Our favorite thing to do is to stop at Philly grocery store, Wegman’s, on the way out of town for some to-go food. They have the absolute BEST prepared food section ever. Ever. Ever. So good! One time we actually drove half an hour out of the way to find a Wegman’s, but that’s a story for a different day…

Moral of the Story: While I cannot speak for most other states, eating healthy at Pennsylvania Turnpike service centers is not an option. I cannot image the situation is much better in other states. Bring your own food or risk having to shove a Whopper or a piece of Roy Rogers chicken in your face. Yuck!

 

Make Losing Weight a Balancing Act

13 May
Counting calories is one tiny sacrifice I'm more than willing to make to look my best while frolicking on the beaches of Santa Monica.

Counting calories is one tiny sacrifice I’m more than willing to make to look my best while frolicking on the beaches of Santa Monica.

So, I’ve been trying to lose weight. Nothing remotely substantial, just a pesky little five pounds or so. Swimsuit season is around the corner, and I’m moving to LA next month. Get it now?

As previously mentioned, I’ve been counting calories with the Lose It app for about a month now. My bathroom scale is consistently insane, and currently on my list of things to replace that I haven’t gotten around to doing yet. So you guessed it, a lack of reliable scale in my life makes it a bit difficult to know if I’m actually losing weight or not.

Then it happened — the annual worksite wellness exam, complete with a weigh-in from what I would assume is a perfectly functioning scale. The good news is I have not gained weight. The somewhat discouraging news is that I’ve only lost 1.2 pounds in the month I’ve been counting calories. At first I automatically assumed it was the scale’s problem, not mine. Then I realized how completely stupid that rationale was.

I’m very fortunate that eating healthy is something that naturally comes pretty easy to me. It’s not a struggle to choose vegetables over french fries or a salad instead of a cheeseburger. During the week I pretty much eat the exact same things everyday, never going over the 1,500 calorie per day limit (plus extra daily allowances depending on how many calories I burn exercising) that my Lose It app has set for me.

However, I’m typically not so well behaved on the weekends, which in my world is defined as Friday-Sunday. So four days a week I’m staying at or slightly under my daily calorie limit and I’m defying the rules the other three. And I wonder why I’m not not losing weight at the speed of light?!

Losing Weight Without the Sacrifices

I’ll admit it, while I typically don’t spend my weekends scarfing down french fries and raiding all-you-can-eat buffets, I do like to indulge a bit more than I do on the weekdays. I’ll have a couple glasses of wine, split a pre-dinner appetizer with my husband, and often eat a “filling” portion of self-serve frozen yogurt. I don’t feel bad about this.

Eating healthy every single day at every single meal is not only boring, it’s exhausting. You’ve got to live a little!

While I have to applaud myself for this uncharacteristically sane way of thinking, I still need to find a way to balance out my extra weekend calories. So I decided on two things — first, to exercise a bit harder. Second, to start counting calories on a weekly basis, instead of keeping it as just a daily goal. If I can manage to bank some extra calories during the week, I’ll have some extra leeway to do as I please on the weekends, and not have to wonder why I’m barely losing weight.

Thank me now, future abs!

Our Quick & Easy Healthy Little Easter Dinner

1 Apr

My aunt and uncle always a big family Easter Sunday celebration at their farm, but this year we were out- of- town for a wedding the night before, so we spent the day on the road traveling home. Although we were sad to miss Easter dinner with the family, being the maid-of-honor at my best friend from high school’s wedding was probably a pretty good excuse!

Making the “scenic” five hour drive across the state of Pennsylvania kept us busy for a good part of the day, but I didn’t want to make us miss out on the entire holiday. Easter dinner can be fantastic whether you’re dining with 30 people or wellll…. two. In this case our holiday dinner party consisted of the two of us — my husband and I.

Though we spent most of the day traveling, I still wanted to make a delicious dinner, because who wants to eat Easter dinner takeout style? Also, even if we did want to make it easy and order in, most places are closed by Easter Sunday evening. We actually learned this the hard way one year when Easter dinner was served very early, and there wasn’t much of it. Finding any open establishments in our area proved to be quite tricky.

After riding in the car for five-plus hours knew I wasn’t going to want to make a whole huge spread, but it’s the thought that counts, right? Here’s the healthy, delicious, easy recipes I chose for our little Easter dinner for two:

Appetizer

Mmm delicious homemade pita chips...

Mmm delicious homemade pita chips…


I made this recipe for Thyme Pita Chips from The Divine Addiction last week and it was such a hit that I decided to do it again! You can’t beat dinner recipes that are both easy to make and delicious. The only modification I made was spraying the pita chips with olive oil, instead of drizzling them with the real thing, to cut down the fat.

I paired this with store-bought hummus, because honestly I made hummus once and it was disgusting. I’ll leave that one to the professionals.

Main Course
I ended up choosing Skinnytaste Zucchini Lasagna as our main course, because honestly I’d never noticed this recipe on the site before and it was insta-love! Hello low-carb lasagna! I actually made this little dish of culinary brilliance on Thursday evening and put it in the freezer, so all I had to do was take it out and deposit it in the oven.

Oh and I also made few slight modifications to it as well, mainly just swapping 99% fat-free ground turkey for the beef, using Kraft fat-free shredded mozzarella cheese instead of Parmigiano Reggiano, trading 1% cottage cheese for ricotta, and subbing olive oil spray in place of the real thing.

This turned out a little soupy, so I just made my husband dish it out. Haha.

This turned out a little soupy, so I just made my husband dish it out. Haha.

Side Dish
I thought I had my side dishes figured out, then I found this recipe for Skinnytaste Bacon Wrapped Green Bean Bundles on Pinterest, and I knew I HAD to surprise my husband with it. The man LOVES his bacon! I just swapped Butterball low-sodium turkey bacon in place of the real thing to cut some of the fat out.

Green beans wrapped in turkey bacon - what's not to love?!

Green beans wrapped in turkey bacon – what’s not to love?!

To top it off, we stopped at a grocery store in Philly on our way home for a baguette. No guilt on that little splurge either, as most everything else is impressively lite on carbs, if I do say so myself.

These healthy, easy recipes allowed my husband and I to have a delicious little feast on Easter evening, without a whole lot of work!

Counting Calories Made Easy

11 Mar
Looks like I need to do a better job of counting calories.

Aha!  Perhaps this is why I’m not losing weight?

Let’s get one thing straight, I am not a fan of counting calories. This is not a long-term habit that I care to get into, but simply a short-term activity. As previously mentioned, I gained about five pounds on my British honeymoon. I’m fine with this. If there’s ever a time for a temporary weight gain, honeymoons and trips to Europe are certainly the best excuses I can think of .

The problem is I’ve been exercising like a crazed animal since our return and I still haven’t lost a couple of those pesky pounds. I know could be seen as slightly anal retentive to fret about a couple of pounds but whatever. First you gain a couple pounds, then a couple more, then you’ve got a real situation on your hands. A situation I don’t care to find myself in.

It seemed crazy to me that I could be putting so much effort into exercising and not really losing weight. I’m completely against fad diets, so counting calories to see what I’m doing wrong was really my only other option. I’ve used the Daily Burn Tracker in the past, so I decided to dust my account off and try it again.

I knew working out so much was causing me to eat like a pregnant heifer, but I didn’t realize that even though I was eating healthy, I still wasn’t eating the right food combinations. Using the Daily Burn Tracker helps me to see exactly where I’m at for the day with fat, calories, protein, and carbs, so I don’t accidentally oink it up.

On the average weekday* I typically eat pretty much the same thing, which makes counting calories pretty easy. Each morning, I put everything I plan to eat for the day into my Daily Burn Tracker Nutrition Log. I also enter a workout in if I plan to go to the gym later and it adjusts my nutrition limits accordingly.

Although counting calories isn’t an ideal situation, I think it’s much more effective than going on fad diets for a few weeks. You gain weight back after stopping a fad diet, while counting calories simply teaches you how to eat healthy portions of foods you actually like.

*I don’t believe in counting calories from Friday at 5pm through Sunday evening. Though I do my best to eat healthy on weekends, watching it this closely on weekends is a bit more than I care to do.

Delicious Healthy Taco Salad

27 Aug


 Healthy taco salad is so good it’s easy to forget about its fatty twin.

Traditional taco salad is anything but healthy. Situated in a giant edible “bowl” a.k.a. a fried fat bomb, lettuce and veggies are suffocated under massive piles of shredded cheese, sour cream, ground beef, and salad dressing. For example, Taco Bell’s Fiesta Taco Salad with beef packs in 720 calories and 35 grams of fat. Eww! It should be illegal to even call this a salad, because it is not. Thankfully I decided to believe in the concept of the taco salad. I knew there had to be a way to make it actually be a legit, healthy salad, without losing its Mexican flair. This my friends is how my healthy taco salad was born.

I’m always trying to come up with cheap recipes, because well I’m really cheap. If I’m going to spend a lot of money on food, it’s going to be on something at a snazzy restaurant that I don’t have to make, not on groceries for dinner at chez couch. Not only is my healthy taco salad legitimately low-fat, it has also earned the number one spot on my go-to list of cheap recipes, for when I’m feeling extra thrifty.

How to Make Healthy Taco Salad

Ingredients:

You’re intelligent people, and most of you likely cook better than I do, so I’m not going to waste your time by explaining how to craft these ingredients into a salad. For the most part, use as much of the ingredients as you feel is necessary to fill you up, unless otherwise noted. Use the salsa in place of salad dressing. It has like five calories and zero grams of fat per serving, and it’s delicious!