Tag Archives: healthy eating

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!

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!

 

My Latest Obsession: the Lose It App

6 May

Let’s face it, no one truly enjoys counting calories. It’s not particularly fun having to figure out the nutritional values of everything you eat, and then (*gasp*) hold yourself accountable for it!

In a way, ignorance is bliss when it comes to eating delicious food. When you don’t know the nutritional content of your favorite burrito or have managed to convince yourself that any item containing the world “salad” is healthy, you can enjoy eating it guilt-free.

While this is a perfectly acceptable and encouraged practice occasionally, being completely uninhibited with your diet all the time will lead you nowhere but to a wardrobe filled with elastic-waist pants. Not a good look.

I’ve previously written about my attempts at counting calories using the Daily Burn, where I’ve tried logging what I eat a few times in the past. While it’s a great site, I’ve never been able to stick with it, because it’s quite tedious. Even for those of us who eat the same thing most weekdays, you have to go in and log each item again every single day.

Enter the Lose It app.

Oink oink! I went over my calorie goal on this day.

Oink oink! I went over my calorie goal on this day.

At last, calorie counting made easy! I accidentally stumbled upon a review of this app when writing a story for work and consequently downloaded it immediately. That was three weeks ago and I haven’t missed a day of logging since. I’m obsessed!

The Lose It app makes it so easy to input everything you ate for the day and track your exercise, that I can literally get an entire day’s worth of data logged in about two minutes or less. It saves everything you logged for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks as a group and allows you to copy each meal over to other days, adding and deleting items as you wish. It also has a barcode scanner, so you can zap the nutritional data right off a package. So easy!

To get started you enter your current weight, your ideal weight, and how much you’d like to use each week. It then calculates the amount of calories you need each day to achieve that goal. However, it also calculates your calorie intake for the week, so if you eat a little less one day, and a little more the next, you can see how it balances itself out. On days that you exercise, you simply input the activity, choose your level of effort, and it adds the calories you burned onto the total you’re allotted for the day.

If you need some extra motivation, you can invite friends to start using the Lose It app with you, and join in on some fun little challenges. They also give you cute little badges when you do good things, which I secretly love!

Honestly, I LOVE the Lose It app. Sometimes (especially when drinking wine and eating “freely” on the weekends) I don’t love seeing how many calories I racked up, but it’s definitely good for me. It inspires me to work out harder and more often, and also to really think twice before eating something super unhealthy or stuffing my face when I may not even be hungry.

My bathroom scale is seriously insane and needs to be tossed, but I have reason to believe I’ve lost about three pounds since I started using this app three weeks ago. Such a nice healthy pace and I’m not dieting or depriving myself at all!

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!

Healthy Eating — Try My Delicious Orzo Recipe!

2 Aug

Healthy eating is easy with this orzo recipe!

I like to make healthy recipes that other people come up with, but I’m not exactly known for having any culinary genius of my own. In fact, until the other day it never even occurred to me that I could attempt at coming up with my own healthy recipes. 

I found myself in a dilemma this past Sunday, as on the way to our weekly farmer’s market trip, my boyfriend and I decided to have one of our little healthy eating Sunday night cookouts for two. The only side dish food I had in the pantry was orzo, but I didn’t have a chance to look up orzo recipes before we left. The day before I had this great orzo side dish at a restaurant, and I sort of wanted to somewhat recreate it. But like really, HOW DOES ONE KNOW WHAT INGREDIENTS TO BUY WITHOUT CONSULTING THE INTERNET? Seriously. I tried to look up some healthy recipes with orzo on my phone, but only found a couple of the same olds that I’ve made quite a lot of times.

So, in the spirit of healthy eating I decided to get crafty and come up with my own recipe! Don’t lie, I know you’re impressed. It took some deep thinking, but I was able to come up with a few veggies to put in my shopping basket to make my very own orzo recipe. And here it is:

The Jerp’s Orzo Recipe

  • Ingredients:
    • 1 cup orzo (or less if you don’t want a whole ton)
    • 1 half diced cucumber
    • 1 half diced pepper
    • 1/4 diced red onion
    • a few slices of fresh lemon
    • splash of balsamic vinegar
    • water (apparently orzo sticks together!?!)

Making my orzo recipe isn’t rocket science. Cook the orzo. When it’s done, put it in a pan with the veggies. Add the water when it starts clumping together. When everything appears cooked, pour the mixture into a bowl. Squeeze a couple of pieces of a cut-up lemon over it. Stir. Pour the splash of balsamic vinegar over it. Stir. Voila! Serve hot or cold, both taste equally awesome.

Ways to Save Money on Healthy Food

11 Jun

Healthy eating isn’t cheap. Grocery stores always have fat-tastic snack foods, high-calorie frozen dinners, sugary drinks and fatty meats like sausage on sale, but aren’t as generous on the deals with healthy food. Everyone who knows me is aware that I am a giant cheapo. I love saving money on absolutely everything that requires me to whip out my American Express card, so obviously it annoys me to no end that I, (El Cheapo, as my boyfriend affectionately refers to me) have to spend a lot on my healthy eating habits. So, if you’re looking for ways to save money on healthy food, you’re going to have to get crafty. And that’s just what I did!

My mom gave me this coupon pendaflex. And yes, I carry it in public on a weekly basis, because it is awesome.

Ways to Save Money on Healthy Eating

  • Hunt for Coupons: Grocery manufacturers seem to want the world to be filled with giant fatties, as most coupons are for foods that will make your waistline expand, but if you look hard enough you can find a few diamonds in the rough. I use coupon clipping services The Coupon Clippers and Coupon Dede to fulfill my couponing needs. For a very small fee, these sites will clip and send you massive amounts of coupons in bulk. All you have to do is choose your coupons and they will appear in your mailbox clipped and ready to go in a matter of days! This is great for saving money on items such as greek yogurt, frozen fish, cottage cheese, organic eggs,protein and granola bars and sometimes even produce.
  • Discount Stores: No one likes going to Wal-Mart, but if you’re looking for ways to save money, you’ll suck it up and buy items there that are cheaper than at your grocery store. I make bi-weekly trips to Wal-Mart, because they sell a few of my favorite products such as Skinny Cow Ice Cream, Emerald Almonds, Gorton’s Salmon and Butterball Reduced Sodium Turkey Bacon for a whole lot cheaper than I can find it at Giant Eagle, my local grocery store. I learned the hard way that you won’t be saving money by doing a full shopping trip for healthy food at Wal-Mart, as it isn’t any cheaper than my grocery store for some items (and they don’t double coupons). So you just have to scout it out and comparison shop.
  • Farmer’s Markets: As you probably already know, it’s crazy hard finding ways to save money on produce. And of course, half my weekly grocery bill is composed of produce. My boyfriend and I recently discovered the art of saving money on produce by shopping at local farmer’s markets. You can seriously cut your grocery bill in half, without having to sacrifice your love of healthy food, by checking out these fun little local events. Not only are you saving money, you’re also supporting a local business. Total win-win situation!

Healthy Snack Ideas for Vacation

24 May

Save your calories for a classy brunch at The Beverly Hills Hotel.

When you’re on vacation, you don’t have the luxury of heading off to a fully stocked refrigerator (a mini bar doesn’t count) or pantry to fetch healthy, easy snacks. As a result, starving vacationers often go padding down the hall to the vending machine for a fat-packed candy bar or head to the hotel gift shop for a $7 bag of travel sized chips. Not wise my friends, not wise. Not only are you making yourself fat by eating dumb snacks, you’re also making yourself broke by spending too much on them!

When I go on vacation I always pack tons of healthy, easy snacks for my boyfriend and I. These come in handy while in transit, to satisfy that afternoon hunger pang and as a late-night snack. Coming up with healthy snack ideas that don’t need to be refrigerated and can handle being abused in a bag for days can be a challenge, but it’s definitely doable.

I’m a big fan of sampling the local cuisine while on vacation and not forcing myself to stick to my normal diet, but fatty snacks are not cultural. There’s no need to waste calories on Ho-Ho’s and Funyons, when they can be better spent on fresh crab cakes and authentic Mexican food. Priorities people, priorities.

It should be illegal to eat junk food on the beach.

Ten Healthy Snack Ideas for Vacation

1)      Emerald 100 Calorie packs of almonds

2)      Granola bars

3)      Apples

4)      Pop Chips

5)      Kashi protein bars

6)      Oranges or grapefruit (save these for your hotel room)

7)      Rice cakes

8)      Snack-sized packs of tuna and crackers (again, save this one for your hotel room)

9)      Cut fresh fruit (buy it at a grocery store when you get to your destination)

10)   Greek Yogurt (clearly only advisable if your hotel room has a refrigerator)

 

Looking for more healthy snack ideas? Check out these tips from fitness expert and healthy living blogger SarahFit.