Tag Archives: healthy eating

…Taco Tuesday?…

Does your family regularly participate in weekly meals?

When I was a child, I knew that some days of the week we would be graced with tacos…or spaghetti…or burgers. And as a child,  I think there is nothing more exciting than expecting to have one of your favorite meals each week!

BUT this could be a potential problem for those who are trying to adapt healthier eating habits,

NO WORRIES! I am sharing some healthier alternatives that can turn your Taco Tuesday into a HEALTHIER Taco Tuesday.  Now you and your family can keep your taco date each week without you breaking your healthy eating habit! 🙂

  • Try using LOW FAT sour cream and cheese.  This can help cut those unwanted calorie intake in almost half!
  • Try using soft tortillas and try to use WHOLE WHEAT tortillas instead of the traditional shells.
  • Have you ever considered using ground turkey meat instead of regular meat?  If you do not like turkey meat try to get LEAN hamburger meat.
  • Try to have steamed veggies instead of Mexican rice and beans (or you can use black beans for a healthier option!)
  • Try to measure out correct portion sizes for your tacos/taco salad so you are sure to not double the food you are supposed to consume for the meal!
  • Skip the carbonated drinks or sweet tea! Try to stick to water for your beverage of choice
  • try to limit or cut out guacamole!  Yes it is healthy for you but it packs a lot of calories!
  • Think about using shopped baked chicken or shrimp instead of beef!

Still want chips with your meal? Try to make your own! Get a normal round tortilla, lightly spread some olive oil on top, slice the tortilla into the desired chip sizes you would like, then sprinkle it with sea salt (or any other spices you may have).  Put your over on 350 degrees.  Place your tortillas in the over for about 15 minutes.  MAKE SURE TO WATCH IT!  They get brown pretty quickly.  You can let them get as brown as you would like before they burn (the browner they are the more crunchy they are!)  Take them out and let them cool for about 10 minutes, and you have healthier “chips” for you to enjoy with your meal.

There are a lot of things you can change or add to make your family meals a healthier meal!  You just have to be mindful of the ingredients you are using and learn what to substitute to help make it taste just as yummy as you would like! You do not have to sacrifice good tasting food so you can eat healthier!

Happy Taco Tuesday!

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…Top Tips for Weight Loss…

The best snacks that you can grab and eat during the day should contain about 100 to 150 calories (and should have a small amount of protein and a little fiber as well!)  It is normal to “snack” 3 to 4 times a day BUT you must make sure that your “snacks” have a good nutritional value and will keep you satisfied between meals.

Here are some excellent snack ideas to try for yourself:

  • 1 slice of whole wheat toast
  • a handful (which should amount to be about a dozen or so) of almonds (or any other nutritional nuts)
  • 1 serving size of whole wheat crackers (look on the box! this could be 5 – 9 crackers depending on what brand you get)
  • Non-buttered microwavable popcorn (there are tons of other flavors to try! Or get the popcorn with nothing on it and put your own spices on it to give it your own unique flavor!)
  • a cup of your favorite fruit
  • cup of low-fat yogurt or Greek yogurt (Yoplait has great “Light”options that can be around 100 calories per cup of yogurt!)
  • Smoothie

Also, try to schedule the times that you do have your meals so you can fit these small snacks into your schedule.  It is important to not eat too late but to eat early enough so you don’t go to be hungry.

Don’t forget that what you drink also has a HUGE impact on your daily calorie intake.  Be sure to be mindful of what liquids you do consume.  Water is always a great option.  Even drinking alcoholic beverages can hinder your targeted weight loss goals.

Don’t forget to write out your goals and be mindful of the things that you need to alter or change in your lifestyle to reach those goals.

There is always time to join groups or get your friends to join you on new health challenges.  But just in case, you can always be apart of  the BeautifulBrwnBabyDol weight loss challenge.

Anytime is a good time to start your new healthier lifestyle.

BeautifulBrwnBabyDol website:

http://www.beautifulbrwnbabydol.com

BeautifulBrwnBabyDol Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Nina-BeautifulBrwnBabyDol-E…

 

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…”Healthy” foods that are UNhealthy: Part 1…

If you see any of the following words on a package make sure to think about how “healthy” they actually are for you…

  • Reduced Fat
  • Sugar Free
  • Diet
  • Fat Free
  • Low Fat
  • No Added Sugar

These type of words are used to help grab your attention and to help you think that they are indeed the healthier option for you. In most cases it is “healthier’ than the regular product that they sale. But is that product good for you to eat in the first place?

Reduced-Fat Peanut Butter:

Why is it good?

It contains monounsaturated fat. This is the “good” kind of fat that you can have in your diet.

Why is it bad?

Most of these types of products that are made to be “reduced fat’ are jammed packed with MORE sugar! And, in most cases this sugar is HIGHLY processed which makes it not as good for you. So how is it “reduced fat” with more sugar? great question!!

Eating an excess amount of this kind of sugar has been proven to cause tooth decay and lead to unwanted weight gain.

Both regular and reduced fat peanut butter carry about the same amount of calories. The biggest and most problematic issue is that the reduced fat usually contains a lot more sugar.  It is safe to steer away from store-bought and try to get all natural peanut butter in this case. There are all natural organic peanut butters available (or almond butter).  You can also find these items for a great price if you look around and maybe consider purchasing it online.

Bran Muffins Bagels with Cream Cheese:

Why is it good?
To be honest it is not good. They have been given the reputation for being healthy and a healthy option for breakfast or a snack.
Why is it bad?
These are jammed packed with sugar and refined flour. Two things that you should try to limit in your diet or steer clear from it.  Yes it does contains a small amount of fiber, but other than that there is actually minimal nutritional value in bran muffins.

Bagels with Cream Cheese:

Why is it good?

This is a quick and easy meal option and is filling.  It is great to have on the go!

Why is it bad?

First of all it is just a lot of bread to consume at one time for one meal.  It has about 60 grams of carbohydrates and could also have MORE than 300 calories.  And that is without the cream cheese or jelly most people pile on top of both slices of their bagels.  Again items like this are made with the over processed flour you should shy away from and of course corn syrup.  It also has minimal nutritional value.  So it is wise to have only one 1/2 of the bagel with eggs or some other kind of substitute to increase nutritional value and to get more nutrition with your meal.

You always want to reach for the 100% whole grain or whole wheat options when it comes to bread or pasta.  It is better for you and has more nutritional value than regular “white” bread or pastas.

Granola Bars:

Why is it good?

They are packed with oats, nuts, dried fruit, and can also contain seeds.  All of these are indeed good for you! So why would you think negative about a snack containing all of these things?

Why is it bad?

Granola Bars are not as good for you because of one simple thing…the “glue” that holds the granola together to create that delicious granola bar you like to snack on. That glue is nothing more than high-fructose corn syrup.  All this does is quickly increases your blood sugar which in returns limits how you actually digest the oats and nuts and other healthier things that are in the granola bar.  Along with the high sugar content comes the high calorie count.

You can quickly substitute this for good ole cheese and crackers!

try:

1 oz cheddar cheese with Triscuits (plain of another low-calorie flavor)
and this packs  a whopping  150 calorie snack!

Yogurt cups with the fruit or granola in the bottom: Pretzels

Why is it good?

Yogurt is high in nutrients.  It also contains active cultures which are great for digestion and your immune system.

Why is it bad?

Despite the high calorie count, this too is packed full of sugar! And yes that preserved fruit in the high fructose corn syrup mixture is not any better for you either.

Try plain yogurt with you favorite FRESH fruit (or thawed out frozen fruit that was not preserved in syrup).  It is a healthier options not to mention cuts down the calorie count dramatically!

Pretzels:

Why is it good?

It is a healthier option that potato chips.  Not to mention that there is a low-fat content in each serving size.

Why is it bad?

These are nutritionally empty! They don’t have a big nutritional value at all. Not to mention all the sodium that is packed into the salty seasoning covering every small piece of the pretzels. Not to mention it too is made of the over processed flour that should be limited in your diet.

Try to find a whole wheat or whole grain option.  You can also substitute pretzels for other things such as vegetable, fruits, or even a handful of nuts.

With the help of this article, I hope this gave you an insight on some food to watch out for the next time you go to the grocery store to buy your food.

Stay tuned for part two! There are dozens of food on grocery store shelves masked as “low-fat” or “healthy” when they indeed are not as healthy as you think they are.

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…Friday Food for Thought…

Here are some great food ideas to try to cook for this weekend!

I suggest try them out first, then if you like them, double the ingredients and make more so you will have some in the fridge or freezer to have for lunch/dinner next week! This is a great idea for people who are busy and like the convenience of just running home and throwing something in the microwave.

Speaking of frozen food, you want to watch to see what frozen foods you do choose to buy and eat.  Some meal options are over processed and has tons of sodium and other things added and are not as healthy as you think they are for you.  The best things that are good to buy frozen are fruits and veggies (with no syrup of sugar added of course). Some people argue that they lose nutritional value, but that has not been completely proven.  It is also a cost-effective way to stack up on veggies if they are on sale.  I personally like fresh fruits and veggies the best but some veggies (like corn, okra, green beans) I will buy frozen because I can usually find them on sale and because they last longer when frozen (since I try to cook different meals each week).

Frozen meat, chicken, and seafood can sometimes be bad for you as well.  If it was baked or grilled then it should be OK.  But if it states that it has been fried, “crispy” or breaded on the package then it is probably not as healthy as you think.  Also be aware of the sodium content that is in the frozen product.  The best advice is to get these kind of things separately on your own at the store when they are on sale and put them in baggies or vacuum sealer bags and freeze them yourself.  I like to separate them out so I can grab one of a few chicken breast to thaw out and cook with and leave the other 5 in the freezer until I need them again.

What about those Lean Cuisines or Healthy Choice meals? Well some of those are OK for you.  But like listed above check the nutritional label.  Some of them are packed with sodium and other things that was added to the food before freezing.  And to be honest sometimes it is cheaper to buy the things separate and make up a few meals that contain the same things as these frozen meals.  It is indeed a healthier option and it may save you money!

Feel free to check out this article or  this article to read more about Frozen Food facts and questions other people had about freezing food.

This weeks recipes:

 

Herbed Rice Pilaf

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes

3 Tbsp minced red onion
1 1/2 Tbsp minced baby carrot
2 tsp canola oil
3/4 tsp thyme
3/4 c instant brown rice
1 1/4c chicken broth

1. In a saucepan, combine onion, carrot, oil,
thyme, and salt to taste. Cook, stirring, over
medium heat until sizzling, about 2 minutes. Add
rice. Stir to coat with seasonings. Add broth.
Bring to boil. Reduce heat and cover so mixture
just simmers. Cook for 12 minutes.
2. Remove from heat and set aside for 5 minutes.
Fluff with fork.

Makes four servings.
 Per serving: 188 calories, 6 g fat (1 g saturated), 126 mg sodium, 29 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 6 g
protein
***This dish is served great with grilled some chicken or fish 



Chicken Fajitas
Prep Time:10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes


1/2 c minced red or white onion
1 c  minced Mushrooms
2 tsp Olive Oil
3/4 tsp basil
1-2 c cut up chicken breast
bag of whole wheat tortillas
1. Cook chicken breast to desired liking in oven at 400 degrees
2. In sauce pan on high heat cook mushrooms, bell peppers, and onions
****Note you are allowed to add/subtract any type of veggies into your fajitas!
3. Cook veggies on high heat for just a few minutes (just to brown them)
add desired spices
5. Cut up cut chicken and add it to the veggies.
6. heat tortillas or serve fajitas on tortillas right out of the bag

Home Made NoN Fried Tortilla chips
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Here is a healthier option for those tortilla chip lovers out there!!

Heat oven to 350 degrees

Get whole wheat tortillas

BEFORE YOU CUT THEM brush on olive oil (Make sure to LIGHTLY cover entire front service of tortilla with olive oil)

then cut the tortilla into your desired shapes/sizes

Place pieces on a baking sheet

Choose your own type of seasonings to put on top of chips (above has salt, garlic salt, and Italian seasonings)JUST SPRINKLE IT. you do not have to make sure the chips are completely covered.

Place baking sheet in over for approximately 10 minutes

WATCH THE OVEN! THESE COOK VERY FAST AND WILL GO FROM BROWN TO BURNT IN SECONDS.  Once they are your desired golden brown take them out. Let them cool off, and place in a bag or container.

***You can add all types of seasoning to the chips to give them desired flavoring.  I have tried chile  lime to have zesty chips, or a BBQ chipotle to make BBQ chips.

 

Roasted Asparagus and Mushrooms

***Another option to pair with grilled chicken or fish

Prep time: 10 minutes

cook time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch fresh asparagus, trimmed
  • 1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, minced (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • kosher salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons grated Fresh Parmesan cheese (optional)
  • 3 tablespoon lemon juice (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Lightly spray a cookie sheet with vegetable cooking spray.
  2. Place the asparagus and mushrooms in a bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil, then season with rosemary, salt, and pepper, lemon juice; toss well. Lay the asparagus and mushrooms out on the prepared pan in an even layer. Drizzle the Parmesan cheese evenly over the veggies. Roast in the preheated oven until the asparagus is tender, about 15 minutes. (roast in oven a few minutes shorter to keep them crisper)
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Hope these are some great meal options to start you off! Remember to try to make a menu BEFORE you go to the grocery store so you can make several different meals to have throughout the week. Happy Friday, Happy Cooking, and Eating!!
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