One Small Change at a Time

As spring quickly approaches, I am starting to get nervous about taking off my winter cardigan…

….sooo to get back on track I am trying to focus on portion control. I’m getting to the point where I know what’s healthy and I try to eat a lot of nutrient-food. But it can be hard to stop at half of the bag.

One small change I’ve been working on lately is to split food items into small snack sized portions.

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Just think of it as  200 100 calorie snack packs. 🙂

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A second small change: my new visual for mealtime presentation.

I’m training my brain to think of  dinner portions like how they would be served at a fancy restaurant. Less food for me, please.

 

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Sometimes it’s easy to get down on yourself for not following a diet 100% exactly like you think you should: i.e., number of calories, cutting out food groups or certain ingredients. When that becomes overwhelming (like it has been for me a little bit this winter) it’s important to change your perspective. Like focusing on a healthier lifestyle with one small change at a time.

Thanks as always to Jenn @ Peas and Crayons for hosting What I Ate Wednesday!

What are some healthy food habits you’ve been into lately? 

Does your diet go through phases or are you pretty good about sticking to it?

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Clif Balls

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For years I have been eating Clif Bars as a main snack staple.

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Obsessed. I always have one in my purse, just in case hangriness hits and always eat one for my afternoon snack at work. They’re seriously my go-to. Clif Bars are definitely a good way to curb hunger and are a healthy alternative to eating chips or crackers when you need a little something to tide you over ’til dinner.

Usually I don’t care too much about calorie counting whenever I’m eating clean or training for a half marathon – because just fueling your body is often the most important thing in that case! But when I’m not running every day and my jeans seem a little tight I do feel the need to focus on more nutrition with less calories.

It is quite depressing when MyFitnessPal gives me a 1200 calorie goal for the day (though don’t worry, I usually consume much more than that! 🙂 ) and 250 of those are taken up by my little Clif Bar snack.

I usually gobble them up in two bites and my brain is not satisfied by chewing up my snack before even realizing I’m eating it! Sometimes I exhibit restraint and eat half of a bar but then all you have is an open wrapper with a half eaten blob that ends up spreading stickiness all over your lunchbox. No thanks. 

A great solution to the slammin’-down-the-Clif-Bar-problem are the ever popular oat bites that are taking over the blogosphere. I LOVE these babies and make them occasionally on the weekend when I have extra time to spend in the kitchen. 

You can find my “No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bites” HERE and my take on “No Bake Cookie Dough Bites” HERE!

The only issue?

Truth.

Lately when I don’t have gobs of time to make gorgeous homemade bites I have been doing the next best thing.

Yanking apart clif bars and rolling ’em into the fastest health food balls ever created.

I usually split them into three or four chunks.

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Some are easier to form than others! When going gets tough, there’s always the hang rolling pin technique.

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It’s like a health food shortcut.

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1 ball = 63 calories.

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My afternoon snack just got a lot more interesting!

Tell me:

Do you eat an afternoon snack? What do you usually have?

Thanks as always to Jenn @ Peas and Crayons for hosting What I Ate Wednesday!

Veggie Skewers

I promise this is the easiest thing ever to make and is really good for you. Done and done.

It is also nice to get in some veggies other than in salad form (especially in the winter!).

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Don’t forget they are low in calories, fancy-looking…I could go on forever!

Oh yeah, and good for vegan, gluten-free guests. 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1 zucchini squash (thickly sliced)
  • 1 yellow squash (thickly sliced)
  • 1 red bell pepper (sliced into pieces)
  • 1 red onion (sliced into pieces)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp paprika

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, toss zucchini, squash, red pepper, and onion with olive oil and seasonings.

Stab a wooden skewer through the veggies (stacked as you please).

Bake for 20 minutes and serve!

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Thanks as always to Jenn @ Peas and Crayons for hosting What I Ate Wednesday!

Mexican Seafood Scramble

This recipe always ends up happening when I’m too lazy to make rice for a mexican bowl. Ok…and for when I’m hangry right when I get home and need a meal FAST.

Tuna was a little skeptical of the addition of shrimp to a deconstructed breakfast burrito, but this delish dinner ended up convincing him.

Glorified scrambled eggs for the win. 

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Serves 2-4

You will need: a large skillet, whisk, spatula

Ingredients:

  • 1 avocado
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 cup cooked shrimp, chopped
  • 1/2 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1 cup hot salsa
  • 1 cup cooked corn (I used frozen kernels)
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Directions:

Heat lightly greased skillet and add onions.

Whisk eggs in a separate bowl, then add to skillet.

Scramble the eggs and add in cooked shrimp.

Top with salsa, corn, and mashed avocado.  Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.

YUM!

Thanks to Jenn for hosting What I Ate Wednesday!

Orzo “Risotto”

The freezing temps of late have made me only want to eat WARM things. There are only so many soups that I like 😉 so I am being forced to get creative with new, WARM recipes to throw in the weekly mix. This mock risotto is a definitely a good hearty dish you can come home to after a long day battling the winter weather!

I think I am starting to have an orzo obsession.

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This recipe was inspired from HERE!

Serves 2-4

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 28 oz vegetable broth
  • 2 cups uncooked orzo pasta
  • 1 cups frozen peas
  • salt & pepper

Directions:

Heat a saucepan over medium heat.

Add olive oil, onion, and garlic.

Cook while stirring occasionally for 3 minutes.

Add broth and stir until boiling.

Add pasta.

Reduce heat to low and cover.

Simmer until all the liquid is absorbed (about 15 minutes) while stirring occasionally.

Microwave frozen peas and toss into orzo.

Season with salt & pepper and serve!

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Thanks as always to Jenn @ Peas and Crayons for hosting What I Ate Wednesday!

Choco-Nut Fudge Bites

I found this delish recipe when browsing Pinterest over the weekend.

Obviously I chose them for the chocolate. But the no-bake aspect is right up my alley and it helped that I already had all of the ingredients in the pantry.

My no-bake bites were inspired by the bars from HERE.

I originally made them as bars but they are pretty darn sweet – so I cut up the rest as bites in an attempt to eat less sugar. Unfortunately I still care to eat several bites at a time…

choco-nut fudge bites1mainYou will need: 9×13 inch pan (I used a glass pyrex), medium saucepan

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar
  • 1/2 cup  coconut oil
  • 2 cups oats
  • 1 1/4 cups dark chocolate pieces
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

Heat peanut butter, agave nectar, and coconut oil in a saucepan with the burner on medium-low and stir until combined.

Remove from heat. Add dark chocolate pieces, oats, and vanilla extract and combine until melted.

Pour into pan and cool in the fridge until hardened.

Cut into bars (you will need a big ole’ knife when it’s set) and enjoy!

Keep cool until ready to serve and store in the fridge.

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Thanks as always to Jenn @ Peas and Crayons for hosting What I Ate Wednesday!

Zucchini Pizza Boats

I’ve wanted to bake these yummy-looking zucchini pizza boats for a really long time, but for some reason it took me awhile to finally make them.

I am definitely going to remember them from now on though, because they are delish! Simple ingredients and super easy to make. We served them as appetizers at a dinner party and they stayed good even as leftovers the next day.

Also a plus – you get your fill of pizza without the calories. I just might have to make these again tomorrow….

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This recipe was inspired from HERE! 

Makes 8 boats; vegan, gluten free

You will need: 1-2 baking sheets

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium zucchini
  • ½ cup pizza sauce
  • ¼ red onion, sliced
  • ¼ cup kalmata olives, chopped
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 tbsp dried basil

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop out some of the inside with a spoon.

Lay on baking sheet.

Spread sauce on zucchini and sprinkle with tomatoes, basil, onions, and olives.

Bake for 25 minutes.

Let slightly cool, then serve!

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Thanks as always to Jenn @ Peas and Crayons for hosting What I Ate Wednesday!

Bacon-wrapped Chicken Jalapeño Bites

This was the dish that Tuna was in charge for a pre-thanksgiving hors d’oeuvre party and it was damn good.

With all the lighter appetizers at holiday parties (think veggie trays, delish cookie tins), this is one to add to the menu. These bites are full of protein that satiate hunger without too many calories.

Perfect to have before a glass [or two] of champagne.

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Makes 16 bites

This recipe was adapted from HERE!

← Note: I used a George Foreman Grill and wooden toothpicks →

Ingredients:

  • 8 raw chicken tenders
  • 4 tbsp whipped light cream cheese
  • 1 jalapeño pepper
  • 8 slices raw bacon

Instructions:

Flatten the chicken tenders and cut each slice in two horizontally.

Also cut bacon slices in half.

Dab ½ tsp of cream cheese on top of each chicken tender.

Sprinkle ¼ tsp jalapeño on the cream cheese.

Roll up the chicken with the cream cheese and jalapeño on the inside.

Wrap chicken roll with bacon and stab a wooden toothpick through.

Repeat!

Grill for about 10 minutes until bacon is crispy and brown on both sides.

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Thanks as always to Jenn @ Peas and Crayons for hosting What I Ate Wednesday!

Pre-Race Eats and Stuff

I ate dinner a little later than planned on Saturday night before the race [PRR half marathon], but I tried to give it enough time to digest before going to bed. (Why is it always so hard to fall asleep the night before a race?!)

The theme was: plain and simple.

The purpose of this was to avoid an upset stomach of any kind on race morning. In order to reduce fiber intake I ate regular old pasta instead of whole wheat, and added green juice instead of a salad – which a good way to get nutrients without all the fiber!

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I wish I could wake up as easily every morning as I do on race days.

Even though I wasn’t hungry, I forced down a banana and a Clif bar as we made our way to the race. It is def just as important to eat breakfast on race day – we have to make sure our bodies have good fuel to work as hard as we want them to!

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I loved that the race was SO close – about 10 or 15 minutes away.  [Thank you to Tuna for waking up before 7am on a Sunday and being my chauffeur. :)] 

The weather turned out to be pretty darn perf for mid-November: high 50’s, low 60’s. It was a little wet on the trail down near the river, but really nice overall. No rain, no sun, no wind.

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Shortly after we arrived I found my friend Sarah and her mom and we took a skinny arm photo shoot. Gotta get the before shot.

preracephoto1And then we started running…..

Thanks as always to Jenn @ Peas and Crayons for hosting What I Ate Wednesday!

Shrimp Fried Rice

New recipes haven’t happened lately since we have been busy settling into the new apartment.

I was out running errands one evening and came home to the amazing sound of sizzling soy sauce.

Tuna had cooked us up some restaurant-style shrimp fried rice! Not only did I immediately start shoveling it in to my mouth from the pan, I nodded in approval as Tuna attested to its legitimacy because it was from a blog.

When I said I should take some pictures for What I Ate Wednesday, Tuna said “I already did!”

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 2 cups frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped
  • 2-3 tbsp soy sauce 
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups frozen peeled and deveined shrimp, thawed

Directions:

Preheat a large skillet to medium heat. Pour in sesame oil.

Add onion, peas, and carrots and cook until tender.

Push veggies to the side, and pour beaten egg mixture onto its spot on the skillet.

Scramble the eggs. Once cooked, mix in the eggs with the veggies.

Add the pre-cooked rice and shrimp to the skillet.

Add soy sauce and stir for a few minutes until hot. 

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Thanks as always to Jenn @ Peas and Crayons for hosting WIAW!