Vacay the Plant-Based Way

I just returned from a 4 day camping trip at the lake.  I love camping.  We water ski, tube, swim, hang out with friends and are able to unplug and relax.  Then there’s the food;  BBQing chickenor steak for dinner, dogs for lunch, eggs and bacon for breakfast, cheese and crackers to nibble…

Oh right.  That was last year.  After committing to a plant-based lifestyle earlier this year I had to completely re-think my camping strategy.  Because I not only had to feed myself but had to feed the family, who are NOT plant-based, as well.

So I did what I do best.  Planned it out and cooked most of the food at home to be heated up at the campsite.  And I kept it very simple because camping when it’s over 100 degrees doesn’t lend itself to standing over the stove or bbq.

  • Ground turkey tacos for the family, crumbled tofu for me.  I made each the same way; taco seasoning, canned green chilis, crushed tomatoes, a few chipotle peppers in adobo sauce for a kick.  That was one dinner, maybe a lunch.
  • A huge batch of brown rice for the tacos.
  • Refried beans that I made earlier in the week.
  • Chicken apple sausages for the family.  Vegan burgers for me.
  • Salad fixings.
  • Sandwich fixings.
  • Bread for sandwiches, taco shells for tacos.
  • Pasta noodles for Jack.
  • Soba noodles with spicy peanut sauce for Brad and myself.  This would go over a salad.  Enough for dinner and lunch.
  • Cereal for me and the family, eggs for Brad.
  • I also grilled up 2 large pans of mushrooms, onions, peppers and sliced zucchini.  I thought this would be great on sliced baguettes for either lunch or dinner with avocado.
  • Chips, crackers, hummus, salsa, guacamole, nuts, raisins, etc.

So how did it go?  We all know that planning and the application can be two very different things.

We did have to do some food re-org for Jack so after at trip into town to the market we were set.  And we had one dinner disaster on the second night.  I made beans and rice and corn but it was hot outside and I just threw it all together in a pot so it looked and tasted like what I imagine prison food would be.

But other than that, all was good in the camping hood.

So what about the meat?  The bbq?  The lovely and delicious smells wafting from my friend’s campsites?  It smelled divine, let me tell you.

But what I’ve found at 118 days into this, is that even if something smells good, like a steak from over at Dave’s campsite,  I don’t have a desire to eat it. I have other very tasty options that make me feel good and that I really enjoy.  (Except for that crappy mush that I made the second night.  Bleh.)

So overall I consider my camping trip a success.  I mean, thank goodness that Lagunitas IPA is made from plants or else this would be a different post altogether.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

 

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Healthy Tips!

A common complaint about eating healthy is that healthier food is pricey than processed alternatives.   Another complaint is that in order to eat healthfully you have to slave away in the kitchen for each meal.

Well, here are a few tips that will help keep your food costs down and allow you to eat healthfully without spending hours in the kitchen. All it takes is some pre-planning.

Let’s get started!

Create a Menu

Planning your meals (at least dinner) for the week should top on your priority list. And I’ll be honest with you, it takes such little time that you’ll be embarrassed that you haven’t done this sooner!

When you begin to plan your dinners, take a look in your pantry and freezer first! If you have ingredients for spaghetti, add that to your list. Do you have lean ground turkey or beef in the freezer? Maybe have tacos, make a meatloaf, hamburgers or a baked ziti with meat (with the pasta and sauce in the pantry).   Also think about how much you can make. Is there enough to make 2 pans of ziti so you can freeze one for later? Chili, enchiladas, casseroles of any kind is great to double batch.

Not only will this cut out extraneous spending at the supermarket by purchasing what you already have, it will help you in a number of ways. For example:

  1. You can incorporate one or two of those recipes that you ripped out of Cooking Light and set aside for “when you had time to experiment”.
  2. Looking at your week will allow you to identify nights where you’re at kids’ sports, dance recitals or when you or your husband has to work late and dinner can be a little, shall we say casual. (Breakfast for dinner, anyone?)
  3. You can have ‘leftover night’ where you bring out the past few nights leftovers, freshen what needs freshening and everyone can have what they want.
  4. Most importantly, knowing what you will be serving or making will allow you to create your shopping list so that when you do your weekly shopping, you know exactly what to get.

Shop in Season

The best way to save money on fresh fruits and veggies is to shop when they are in season. Sure you can buy sweet corn in November but if you wait until June or July, that sweet corn will be from less than 60 miles away, be super sweet and less expensive.

If you are not able to find the veggies you need for a recipe or fruit for a smoothie, consider the frozen food aisle. One of the benefits of frozen fruits or veggies is that they are usually frozen right after being picked.

Buy in Bulk

The next time you need beans for Taco Tuesday or to add to soup, consider buying the beans in bulk. They take a bit of prep time (usually soaking overnight and/or boiling them until they soften) but they retain a nice consistency without being mushy like canned beans. From a price comparison, a pound of pinto beans costs about $1.79 for about 16 servings (1/2 c per serving). A can of refried beans will run you about $1.99 or more and provide 2.5 servings.

Lentils, beans, legumes, rice (brown, white, Arborio, etc.) can all be bought in bulk which will allow you to season as you like. Recipes are usually on the package and I promise you that it’s quick and easy to do.

Cook More

Eating out often will make it harder to stick to a healthy eating plan.  Cooking at home can be blessedly simple (toss a steak on the bbq or boil pasta and add sauce) or you can be more elaborate with recipes and 3 or 4 course dinners.   There’s really no right or wrong way with this. In the time it takes to have a pizza delivered or to drive down to the local café for a meal you can make a simple, tasty and nutritious dinner with your family done with dessert AND have cleaned the dishes.

If you need help with this cooking thing, check out Cooking Light Magazine for quick and healthy meals. Even if you commit to cooking 3 times a week, it will help not only your bottom line, but your bottom. (Ok, I could NOT resist!)

Portion Control

Eating proper portions will reduce the amount of food you consume which will reduce the amount of food you need to buy! The only caveat to this is fruits and veggies. Eat these as often as you are hungry. In season, of course!

Think Outside the Snack Box

My kids’ (and my) favorite snack is popcorn. Put 1 tablespoon canola oil in a big pot, heat the oil and then add about 1/3 cup or more popcorn kernels. Cover, swirl so the kernels don’t burn and in a few minutes you have hot popcorn. I like spicy so I add cayenne pepper and salt to my bowl and the kids like salt.

You can also make your own sweet snack mix for the kids by adding nuts (almonds, soy, shelled sunflower seeds or pistachios), some semi-sweet chocolate chips and shredded coconut. To go savory, add nuts, small pretzels and a good dose of garlic powder, season salt and pepper.

I know it may seem like a lot to start with but even with a busy schedule I have found that these tips really work. You can eat healthfully without spending a fortune on food.

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

Setting the Standard

We are faced with a chance to make the right healthy choices every day.   Hit snooze or go for a run?  Carmel Macchiato or Nonfat Latte?  Ranch dressing or  oil and vinegar?  While you may think you have to make the right choice all the time, the reality is if you make the right choices 80% of the time you are on the right track!

A great way to make this easier is set up some non-negotiable rules.  Creating these rules ahead of time will take the stress out of on-the-spot decisions you may be faced with.  You know exactly what you will do, what you will order, how you will manage the not-so-healthy choices you are faced with each day

Here are a few of mine, to give you an idea of what they look like.

1.  Exercise
2.  Don’t drink  meals or snacks
3.  Just coffee at my favorite coffee places
4.  Bypass the Costco samples
5.  Always take the hill

Let me know what’s on your list!

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

 

Wake up from the food coma!

The Thanksgiving food hurricane cut a huge swath across the country last week and through the weekend.   For many Americans Thanksgiving kicks off not only the holiday season but the holiday eating season.  Many will not wake up from the food coma until January 3rd laying among the empty See’s boxes and danish cookie tins.    Sadly, some people have spent the last year or more in their food coma.

WAKE UP PEOPLE!!

If your Thanksgiving (and weekend) was filled with mounds of potatoes, slabs of pie and gallons of egg nog it’s time to wipe away the crumbs and get back on track.   Getting back on track doesn’t mean it’s time for a juice fast or a trip to Jenny Craig.  Here are some simple steps you can take to get off the gravy train (pun intended)!

Trim Your Fridge

It’s time for the purge – get rid of the unhealthy holiday foods that are still in the fridge and cupboards, for that matter.  If you don’t have the heart to throw perfectly good food away, figure out a way to re-purpose it or combine it with healthier foods.  I have extra mashed potatoes in my fridge so I’m combining them with plain mashed sweet potatoes.   If you have leftover turkey you can make a white meat turkey pot pie topped with the potatoes.  Be sure to add lots of great veggies to the dish to increase the health quotient.  If you don’t like to cook or can’t think of anything healthy to do with the food, toss it and move on.  No guilt.

Eat Your Veggies

Time to stock up on fresh and frozen fruits and veggies.  Add veggies to soups, roast a cauliflower to go with your pasta, chicken or fish and eat fruit as a snack, top your cereal with berries or top your salad with a sliced Honeycrisp apple.  YUM!

Exercise

Listen, I preach this stuff daily.  Here’s the deal – get your butt into a pair of running shorts, your yoga pants or whatever you prefer and move.  Tae Bo in your living room, Zumba at the gym, Downward Dog with your pals, run a trail, walk the big hill in your neighborhood, lift weights or take an outdoor fitness class!   Do this at least 3 or 4 days a week for a minimum of 30 minutes.

Find Another Way

Even the most disciplined cookie can crumble with the first tin of Danish Cookies or a batch of homemade fudge.  Cookies and fudge are not bad.  You are not bad for eating cookies or fudge.  The problem comes when you are having “a moment” and dive into the cookies and fudge because you are sad, under stress, are relaxing in front of the tv or at a party with friends.  Before you get to that point, take a few minutes and load up your Ipad or Kindle with some fun reading material, stock up on trashy magazines or get your Christmas card assembly line set up and ready to go.  Have your friends on speed dial or your walking shoes near the front door.  Bottom line – get your mind re-occupied.

Let today be the first day of your new holiday plan.  Enjoy your holidays, enjoy spending time with friends but also respect and take pride in your body by treating it right!

Now go run!

Keli 🙂

On The Go Low Calorie Healthy Food Snacks Keep Your Weight Under Control

The following article is courtesy of Lorna Darden a fellow Fitness Moms member  Enjoy!

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Working a 9 to 5 can get in the way of your well being sometimes. Living a busy life can keep you from eating the right meals and snacks. The only food you can get at work tends to be the vending machine down the hall with fatty and high calorie temptations.

Maintaining your weight or trying to lose weight is difficult at work, there are so many bad influences that keep you from getting your daily nutrition. Being on the go doesn’t leave you with much time to make healthy decisions about your eating habits. Snacking healthy is very important to your health. Never let anything or anyone get in the way of your health, you have one life treat your body good and it will treat you the same.

Here are some nutritious snacks to take along with you at work and on the go.

I personally love Fiber One bars. These individual wrapped bars contain great nutrition giving you 35% of your daily intake of fiber. Each bar is 140 calories, 4grams of fat and 2grams of protein. Fiber is good for you because it not only keeps your digestive system in tact it keeps you fuller longer.

Multi-grain sun chips has 18 grams of whole grain which is good for the heart. They come in a variety of flavors and they are pretty tasty. This hearty snack contains vitamin E, vitamin B6, iron, thiamin, niacin, zinc, magnesium, protein, etc. Vitamin E and B6 are antioxidants which helps with maintaining good skin, strong immune system, and so much more. One bag is 140 calories and 6 grams of fat.

One hundred calorie packs are also good too. They are individually wrapped cracker or cookies that are made with wheat flour. They are only 100 calories and three grams of fat. Each pack gives you the right amount of portions so that you won’t over eat.  It contains 4% of iron and 1gram of protein.

They always say a apple a day keeps the dentist away. Apples are low in calories, high in water which makes you feel full and are good for the teeth. Apples helps fight cancer, lowers your risk heart disease, has loads of fiber, prevents constipation and are filled with antioxidants. You can be creative with apples, cut them up sprinkle with a little cinnamon or eat them with some plain low-fat yogurt. All fruits are great as a snack, they are full of water which suppresses the appetite and are good at giving you your nutritional value. Dried fruits are gives you nourishments too.

One of my favorite favorite snacks is Yoplait strawberry yogurt! I love yogurt especially the nutrition you get from it. It comes in a wide variety of flavors and is packed with calcium and vitamin D which is good for bone health. Low-fat yogurt is best, either way you can never go wrong with yogurt.

Raisin Bran Crunch is a whole grain cereal loaded with nutrition, high in fiber, low in sodium and in fat. Pour some in a sandwich bag or a bowl to take along for a snack,. It’s sweet, crunchy and has lots of raisins which is good for your digestive health. One cup is only 190 calories and 1g of fat. Healthy cereals are a great idea as a snack.

Almonds are delicious and have a high potency of vitamin E which is good for the skin. Almonds contains good fats and protein to give you the energy that our bodies need. Walnuts are a great snack too. Also eating wheat and oat bread for a snack is very smart. These breads has a high value of protein, fiber and good carbohydrates.

Veggies like broccoli and carrots can be a daily snack. Carrots are good for your eyesight, teeth and gums. There are plenty of vegetables to choose from all are great! Healthy drinks like Ensure, V8 and other beneficial drinks are good as well.

Popcorn, this light and tasty snack has loads of fiber and is low on calories, sodium and fat. I’m talking about homemade popcorn, not microwaveable popcorn which is loaded with unhealthy fats and high in calories and sodium. Before you go to work pop you enough to last all week and bag it in small bags.

Fig bars and Quaker Oats snack bars are good too. Both are low in fat and the fig bars very fulfilling. Whole grain muffins are very healthy too. If you are a raisin lover then you will love prunes. Prunes are a very good source of fiber that will not only improve your digestive health, but suppresses your appetite, are loaded with vitamins and lowers cholesterol. They called it nature’s laxative.

Gum is good too. It might not have nutritional value, but it cleans your teeth after a meal and helps to protect your teeth and gums. Gums like Trident, Extra, Orbit, etc are wise choices. Gum can also help with your sweet cravings and with your weight loss because it has sugar in it and it is low in calories. Dark chocolate has healthy benefits, it is more healthier for you than milk chocolate.

Peanut butter is rich in protein it may be high in calories, but it offers you a great deal of nutrition. If you want to watch the calories you can choose to purchase low-fat peanut butter. It taste even better with some white or wheat crackers and whole wheat bread.

Hope these ideas can be of help wanting to be healthy is easy, but staying healthy can be difficult. By eating healthy gives you the opportunity to eat more and weigh less. Try to watch what you eat even though it can be hard at times and remember to always eat in moderation. To stay healthy and fit Fat Burning Furnace is a great fitness program to give you the body and nutrition you need to always look your best.

Health Buy helps keep you on track with all natural vitamins and supplements. Live well and eat well.

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Now go run!

Keli