What I Ate Wednesday: A Background + Week 1

i'm going to Write About What I eat!

"Tell me what you ate yesterday..."

That's the phrase I often pose to patients when meeting with them the first time. While their answers don't provide a complete view of their diet - one day truly is just a quick snapshot - it does give me some clues into their eating styles and patterns so that I can better help them set goals for the future.

Then I ask my patients, "what keeps you from eating a healthier diet?" 

And most often, they reply "time."

These conversations are what's inspired this new series of blog posts called "What I Ate Wednesday." If you're a frequent blog reader, you may have seen other bloggers do the same. On Wednesdays, you'll begin to see me blog about the foods I ate the day before.  

Honestly, I've never felt inspired to blog about what I eat though - until now. 

because you don't always have time to cook, and neither do i.

You see, I'm not the typical Registered Dietitian or food blogger. I spend maybe 2 hours in the kitchen prepping each week...and that is more than enough for me! I don't regularly cook dinner for an hour before sitting down to eat it (OMG, when I'm hungry, I'm hungry...I can't wait for soup to cook or 30 minutes for veggies to roast!). 

I want to show you that that's okay.  I want to show you that you don't have to spend hours in the kitchen in order to eat healthy.  I want to show you that when you're rushed for time, take out or fast food isn't the only option.  

Sure, spending time cooking with whole ingredients in the kitchen is great. But, when time is what's keeping you from eating healthier, it's not another long recipe with 8+ ingredients and 40 minutes in the oven that you need...it's simple, quick meals.  These simple, quick meals just so happen to be the majority of meals that I eat. 

I hope this post - and the What I Ate Wednesday (WIAW) posts to come in the future - inspire you.  Not because what I eat is perfect (it's not!). And certainly not because what I eat is exactly what you should eat too (you have your own nutrition needs, and my needs are likely WAY different from yours!). I just hope that my photos and words can help you with creative and delicious ideas for what to eat when you're pressed for time. 

So - without further ado - here is what I ate yesterday!


What I Ate - April 18, 2017

The day started off with a simple bowl of Barbara's Peanut Butter Puffins, a couple of sliced strawberries, and a handful of whole almonds drenched in unsweetened almond milk. 

Barbara'sPeanutButterPuffinsWIAW

After this bowl, I cozied up to my computer with a mug of Tazo green tea with ginger. I just love this blend! While sipping, I finished up writing a quiz and made the final edits to a PowerPoint on food safety for a nutrition class I teach at a local community college.

WIAW-Tea+Computer.jpg

I checked emails, checked voicemails, then trekked my way to Piqua to teach! I left my house a little after 11 and wasn't hungry at the time, but knew I wouldn't have the chance to eat again until after class ended at 3pm. So, I brought some Stonyfield yogurt with me and crumbled an Almond Butter Perfect Bar overtop for lunch in my car in the parking lot at the school. I scored this organic yogurt on sale at Kroger for around $0.75 a carton - DEAL! The great part about yogurt this way is that because of the fruit/jelly on the side you can choose how much sweetness you want. Sometimes I don't use it at all, sometimes I'll add just a bit!

WIAW-StonyfieldYogurt+PerfectBar.jpg

After class ended, I stopped in at my parent's house to work there for about an hour. I was hungry, so I noshed on this cabbage salad with cheese (no label, not sure what kind!, cut fresh), and Annie's salad dressing. It was pretty simple. I also had a couple of crackers on the side (not pictured).

WIAW-CabbageSalad

Then, I went to the bank and on a walk with one of my best friends - she's my cousin, used to be my neighbor, and she's going to have her first baby in about 2 weeks! I'm so excited for her! We walked around town for 45 minutes, then I headed home and went to my 45 minute barre class. I started taking this class about three months ago, and I love it!

By the time I got home at 7:30, I was ready for some dinner. But sometimes after exercising hard - and especially when it's warm out - my body just doesn't want whole foods. So, I whipped up this liquid Blueberry Vanilla Smoothie using similar ingredients as this recipe

WIAW-PurpleSmoothie

I also enjoyed a big-'ol-bowl of fruit. Pineapple, strawberries, and grapes. Nature's candy!

WIAW-fruitbowl

Throughout the day I drank water and took 2 MegaFood multis for women. 

I finished off the day with this piece of leftover Easter candy. In the cutest little Easter baskets, my mother-in-law gifted my husband and I with some of these dark chocolate caramels with sea salt and...OMG...no words. SO DELICIOUS! 

WIAW-darkchocolatecaramelseasalt

So there you have it...what I ate! Total time in the kitchen: maybe 20 minutes...? It's not perfect, it's probably not all for you, but it's what worked for me today -- and if it gives you some ideas for how you can eat well with limited time, AWESOME!

What was the best thing you ate yesterday? Share it with me in the comments below! :) 

Blueberry Cream Smoothie: Vegan, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free

Warmer weather means cooler meals -- like this Blueberry Cream Smoothie! 

You guys, this Blueberry Cream Smoothie tastes like blue raspberry ice cream...it's so good!!

Blueberry Cream Smoothie | Plant-Based Protein, Vegan, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free

Where this smoothie really stands out though, is that its insanely delicious flavor is sourced from plant-based ingredients...like dates and berries which offer whole food sweetness. Plus, these ingredients just so happen to deliver nutrients your body needs, like protein, vitamin K, vitamin C, and vitamin A.

I also have a dietitian confession to make. I like kale, but I don't love it, so I don't keep it in the house often. The Organic Kale Powder in this smoothie (sent to me from The Synergy Company - thanks, guys!) is my perfect solution to help me get important nutrients from kale, without the stress of having kale "go bad" in my fridge.  It's all about finding what works well for you...am I right?

Whether you follow a vegan, dairy-free, or gluten-free diet -- or simply just want to enjoy a sippable lunch or post-workout smoothie -- this blend is a super tasty fit.  

This blend is made with just 6 simple ingredients, no added sugar, and no icky artificial ingredients. Give it a shot -- you'll be glad you did!

Blueberry Cream Smoothie | Vegan, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Plant-Based Protein

Blueberry Cream Smoothie: Vegan, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, High-Protein

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk 
  • 1 scoop of Vega Protein & Greens - Vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon of Organic Kale Powder (or use 1 handful fresh kale)
  • 1 cup of frozen blueberries & strawberries
  • 1 pitted date
  • 3 cauliflower florets (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds

Instructions: 

  • In a high-speed blender, add almond milk, protein powder, kale powder, date, and frozen mixed berries. Add in some cauliflower for a little extra nutritional boost!
  • Blend for 2-4 minutes, or until thoroughly mixed.
  • Add ice to reach desired consistency. 
  • Pour into a glass and top with chia seeds. Enjoy!

Try it! Share it! Then let me know what you think in the comments below. 

4 Delicious Ways To Eat Vegetables for Breakfast

From reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke, and some cancers to helping you maintain a healthy body weight, you can't deny the health benefits of vegetables and fruits. But, research has shown that Americans simply don't eat enough. In fact 87% of Americans fall short on meeting their 2-3 cup recommendation for vegetables each day! (Source)

Vegetables are versatile, however, and they can be so easy to add to the foods you usually select each day. So, this March -- National Nutrition Month -- and all year round, aim to start your day on a healthy note. One delicious way of doing so is by enjoying vegetables for breakfast.

Here are 4 delicious ways you can enjoy vegetables for breakfast: 


Pair Vegetables with Eggs at Breakfast | 4 Delicious Ways to Eat Vegetables for Breakfast

Pair Vegetables with Eggs

Eggs create a fluffy base for which you can add your crunchy, crispy, or soft vegetables. When making egg scrambles, simply add whatever roasted vegetables you have on hand (tomatoes, onions, peppers, root vegetables, etc.) and let the flavors and textures mingle together. Make them in a saute pan on the stove, in a cast iron skillet, or in a baking dish in the oven. 

Check out these recipes for inspiration: Sunny Side Up Eggs with Vegetables, Make Ahead Baked Eggs, Shakshuka Skillet Eggs, 5 Ingredient Mexican Baked Eggs.


4 Delicious Ways to Eat Vegetables for Breakfast

Add Vegetables To Your Smoothies (Especially Brassica Vegetables!)

It's well known that you can add leafy greens (like kale and spinach) to your smoothies, but did you know that you could add Brassica vegetables too? Brassica vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower can easily be added to your high-speed blender to puree them into your favorite smoothies. Broccoli delivers glucoraphanin, a special antioxidant that can help boost your body's own detoxification system, and cauliflower delivers a creamy texture that puts some extra smoooooth in your smoothie! 

Check out these recipes for inspiration: Banana Berry Peanut Butter Smoothie, Green Smoothie with Broccoli and Apple, Strawberry Shortcake Smoothie (great recipe but nix the imitation butter flavor, ick!), Chocolate Hazelnut Cauliflower Smoothie.


4 Delicious Ways to Eat Vegetables for Breakfast

Make a Breakfast Wrap or Breakfast Burrito with Vegetables

Put tortillas, beans, veggies, and spices together and what do you get? Burritos!  What's so great about burritos or breakfast wraps is that you can prep a large batch in advance, wrap each individual burrito in foil, pop them in the freezer in a resealable bag or glass container, then reheat during the week for a quick breakfast!  

Check out these recipes for inspiration: Freezer-Friendly Roasted Vegetable Burritos with Black Beans and Rice, Chickpea Burritos with Vegetables, Roasted Veggie and Black Bean Burritos.


4 Delicious Ways To Eat Vegetables for Breakfast

Add Vegetables to Your Pancakes

Give your flapjack some veggie flair! You can add pureed, grated, shredded, or mashed vegetables like sweet potato, zucchini, carrots, and beets to your pancakes to be enjoyed savory or sweet. After cooking, take your pancakes to the next level with produce by topping them with mashed/melted berries for sweetness or with plain Greek yogurt and scallions for something extra savory. 

Check out these recipes for inspiration: Grain Free Chai Spiced Sweet Potato Pancakes, Zucchini Greek Yogurt Pancakes, Gluten-Free Carrot Cake Pancakes, Red Velvet Beetroot Pancakes


What is your favorite way to enjoy vegetables for breakfast? Share it with me in the comments below or let me know over on Facebook

Popcorn: Healthy Brands & Popcorn Recipes

In my nutrition coaching appointments, I often discuss the importance of choosing whole grains (as opposed to refined grains) for better health...and my clients are often surprised to learn that popcorn is indeed a whole grain.

Why is popcorn healthy? When air-popped, popcorn delivers just 30 calories and a bit over 1 gram of fiber per cup. Pump that out to 3 cups, and you have a snack that offers 90 calories, 3.5 grams of fiber, and 3 grams of protein, too. You can get more staying power from popcorn when you make a trail mix and pair it with another protein and healthy fat (like nuts or seeds).

But when it comes to popcorn, not all options on your grocery store shelves are as healthy as they may seem to be. Case in point: Jolly Time's "Healthy Pop" Caramel Apple Popcorn, which was recently added to the Health Hall of Shame

So when it comes to choosing a healthy popcorn - that totally delivers on flavor as much as it delivers on nutrition - here are a couple of ideas from some of my favorite popcorn and snack brands for what popcorns to eat and what to pair popcorn with for a bigger nutritional bang. 


Pop YourS On The Stove

Healthy Popcorn Brands, Popcorn Recipes, and Popcorn Snack Combinations

For a snack for two, take just 1/4 cup of these Butterfly Popcorn Kernels from Quinn Popcorn, add them to a pot on the stovetop with 2-3 tablespoons oil, cover, and turn up the heat to full power. With the lid on, shake the pot carefully every ~30ish seconds to ensure even popping. When popping slows, remove from heat and transfer to bowl. Enjoy these plain or add in your favorite toppings. I love the looks of the recipe on Quinn's site for "Nacho" Popcorn -- it's the kernels with nutritional yeast, garlic powder, cayenne, cumin, and a variety of other spices. How yum!

Still love making your popcorn in the microwave? Quinn offers Microwave Popcorn, which is the first and ONLY microwave popcorn to use only REAL ingredients in a microwave bag completely stripped of all PFOA's, PFC's and plastic coating. (Learn more about the health effects of PFAS here)! 


Add Your Favorite Savory Ingredients

Healthy Popcorn Brands, Popcorn Recipes, and Popcorn Snack Combinations

While popcorn with spices makes a tasty snack, adding in healthy fats and proteins (from nuts and seeds) can help make you feel fuller for longer. To G.H. Creator's Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil Popped Corn, make a trail mix with pumpkin seeds, almonds, a sprinkle of nutritional yeast, and cracked pepper. Bonus: do this at the beginning of the week then keep in a sealed container in your desk drawer. When the 2pm hunger strike happens, you'll be armed and ready with a healthy choice!


Get Single Servings of Popcorn Sweetness

Healthy Popcorn Brands, Popcorn Recipes, and Popcorn Snack Combinations

When I crave something sweet, this Sweet & Salty Kettle Corn from Angie's Boomchickapop hits the spot with just the right amount of sweetness.  Because this popcorn features cane sugar as an ingredient (it's what gives the popcorn it's delicious sweetness), I select the 1-ounce bags from Target -- they're perfectly portioned so I can better identify how much sugar I'm mindfully indulging in.

Plus, from soccer games to cheer competitions and swim meets, I find that this popcorn also makes a good pre-game snack for middle and high schoolers...just toss in their backpack/gym bag and it's ready to eat whenever they are! 


Get Better Cheddar...Go For The Real Deal.

Healthy Popcorn Brands, Popcorn Recipes, and Popcorn Snack Combinations

When it comes to cheddar popcorn, it might be surprising to learn that even if the front of the popcorn package says "cheddar" or "cheese," the ingredients may not contain any cheese all, but instead get their cheesy flavor from natural or artificial flavors alone. Annie's Organic White Cheddar Popcorn, however, gets its cheesy flavor from organic cheddar cheese. No artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives here! For a tasty snack, I'd combine this with a handful of pistachios or peanuts to up the amount of protein and healthy fats. 


Do you love popcorn? What are your favorite popcorn brands, popcorn recipes, and popcorn combinations? Did you find this blog post helpful? Let me know it the comments below or on Facebook @YESNutritionLLC.