Tag Archives: healthy eating

Fit Friday: 4 Healthy Eating Tips

Healthy eating is a challenge.  There’s so much prepared food filled with sugar, fat and salt quickly and easily available that finding something  good for you can be tough.  Our busy schedules also make eating less nutritious food convenient and appealing.  Luckily there is tons of good quality, good-for-you food available on the edges of the grocery store if you stick to them.  There are also tons of benefits: less soreness, better sleep, longer life, lower risk of disease and more.healthy eating

Here are four of my favorite tips for eating healthy!

Plan:  Put together a meal plan for the week.  With a plan in place you’re less likely to just go ahead and eat whatever.  A plan increases your involvement in responsible choices and gives accountability.  Having a healthy eating meal plan also helps make grocery shopping easier since you’ll know exactly what you need.  Adios, impulse cookie purchases!

Prepare:  Meal prep can be a long process but it’s worth it.  Make big batches of meals and stick individual servings in the freezer or fridge.  It will make healthy eating simple and save time during the busy week.  I also chop up veggies and fruits to make good-for-me daytime snacks healthy eatingjust as quick and accessible as something processed.

Skip It:  With your meal plan ingredient grocery list in hand hit the store with a mission.  Follow the edges of the store, grabbing the fresh things on your list and skipping the middle isles packed with processed, sugary foods.  If you don’t buy it, it’s not in your house and you definitely can’t eat it!

Use 80/20:  Enjoy yourself.  We all need a treat now and then so go ahead and indulge a little bit.  Using the 80% good, 20% not-so-good rule, satisfy that sweet tooth daily.  If you hold out until you can’t take it anymore or are celebrating at the dessert buffet, you’re much more likely to overindulge.

Meredith

What are your tricks for healthy eating?

Less Sugar, More Plants

We’ve all heard it.  We’ve all thought about it.  Some of us have even tried it.  Paleo, vegetarian, vegan, raw.  The idea of eating less sugar, less processed food and downing more plants and clean food.  It sounds easy but the truth is it isn’t.  Changing your diet is hard.more plants

I tried paleo and it didn’t work for me.  I had a lot of trouble meeting my caloric needs and felt tired/grumpy/cruddy without carbs.  I also tried going dairy-less for ten days.  Not only was I seriously craving some cheese, I didn’t notice any difference at all in my digestion and energy levels.  Lactose intolerant I am not.  Vegetarian lasted about three whole days for me.  Soda was never a factor, nor was coffee.  I’ve been a water drinker with the occasional apple or orange juice, protein shake, glass of milk or chocolate milk, sports drink and boozy treat (maybe more than occasional with those) for as long as I can remember.

So while I won’t be going paleo or vegan any time soon and don’t need to kick a caffeine habit, I am trying to clean up my eating.  With part of my Unbeatable Mind training focusing on nutrition and goals to PR at several distances this fall cleaning up my eating is something I’ve finally committed to.  My first step was to add more plants to all of my meals by making it easier to do so.  I spend meal prep time more plantschopping veggies for cooking, salads and snack time.  This one ended up looking like the Italian flag but I’m enjoying preparing more food because it makes me think harder about what I’m actually fueling my workouts with.  It also makes healthy snacking more convenient when all I have to do is reach in the fridge.

As a bonus, think I picked the best time of year to add more plants to my fridge.  So many fruits and veggies are in season that finding a few tasty ingredients to top my salad is easy.  I know all of the additional fiber is helping my body clean out toxins while the vitamins and minerals keep my insides functioning at their peak.  I’m excited to see what eating more plants and less sugar does for my performance as race season approaches.

Meredith

Have you added more plants to your meals?  Are you paleo or vegetarian?  Why?

Tin Foil Chicken and Vegetables

Tin foil chicken and vegetables is one of my favorite week night meals.  This recipe is quick, simple, good for you and delicious.  I love the way I can mix up the flavors by simply switching out one or two ingredients.  Using the ingredients below, each serving is home to less than 300 calories, packed with muscle building protein and very filling.

Tin Foil Chicken and Vegetables
Servings – 2-4
Prep Time – 10 minutes
Cook Time – 30 minutes
Difficulty – 1

Ingredients
2-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (to lower cook time, divide into sections)
1 cup frozen corn (thawed)
2/3 cup black beans drained and rinsed
2/3 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup diced green pepper
1/4 cup diced yellow onion
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2-4 Tablespoons taco seasoning
2-4 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2-4 large squares of tin foil

Instructions
Pre-heat oven to 375.
Add olive oil, peppers and onion to sautee pan and cook until onions start to become clear.
Place each chicken breast in center of one tin foil sheet.
Season chicken with taco and cayenne powders.
Top each chicken breast with tomatoes, corn, black beans, green pepper and onion.
Fold tin foil into packet around chicken with small opening to vent.
Place in oven for 25-20 minutes or until juice runs clear.
Serve by carefully opening foil packets and pouring chicken, vegetables and juice onto a plate.chicken and vegetablesThis simple chicken and vegetables recipe can be switched up for winter by adding squash and carrots or swapping out taco flavors for basil and thyme.  If you want to find out how the calorie count would change, plug in your ingredients here.  I love using fresh vegetables for a colorful meal that’s great all year long and with very easy cleanup, this delicious dinner won’t take away from family time.  Give this tin foil chicken and vegetables recipe a try.
I love it and know you will too!

Meredith

What’s your go-to weeknight meal?  What vegetables would you use?

Shrimp and Rice Stuffed Peppers

Shrimp and rice stuffed peppers were a spur of the moment idea that dawned on me because I had some precooked shrimp to use and a few large green bell peppers that I didn’t want to go to waste.  My little experiment turned out to be a simple and filling easy weeknight recipe I’ll definitely make again.

Shrimp and Rice Stuffed Peppers
Prep Time:  10 minutes
Cook Time:  20-30 minutes
Difficulty:  2

Ingredients
2-4 large green bell peppers, cored, cleaned and halved
5-20 large shrimp, thawed, peeled, tailed and de-veined.
1 cup brown rice, cooked
1-15.5 oz can diced tomatoes with juice
1/4 to 1/3 cup cheddar jack cheese
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon taco seasoning
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2-3 dashes cayenne (to preference)

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350, cook rice until almost all water is absorbed.
Add tomatoes, cheese and seasonings to rice.  Heat until cheese is melted, stirring regularly.
Paint outside of pepper halves with olive oil.
Add shrimp to rice mixture and spoon into pepper halves.
Place peppers in oven for 20-25 minutes until shrimp are opaque and peppers are soft (to preference).
***If using precooked shrimp, cook peppers with rice for 15-18 minutes then add shrimp on top and bake for an additional 5 minutes to prevent shrimp from becoming tough/chewy)***
shrimp and rice stuffed peppersI was really happy with the way these shrimp and rice stuffed peppers turned out.  They’re a tasty dish that’s simple to put together and allows for a big range of flavor with under 320 calories.  One additional bonus is that I’ve found a vegetarian dish I can both make and enjoy so if you need something for your meatless Monday, leave the shrimp out and fill up.

I hope you’ll give these shrimp and rice stuffed peppers a try and let me know what you think!

Meredith

What do you usually put in your stuffed peppers?

My New Favorite At Home Nachos

Nachos are, hands down, one of my favorite bar foods.  They come in all varieties and I prefer the chicken nachos some places but the chilli nachos at others.  As much as I enjoy munching on a big plate full of cheesy, chili-ed chips while watching a game and sipping on a cocktail with a few dozen of my closest friends, I know they’re not the most healthy meal out there.  I have tried to make healthy nachos at home and it’s been a mixed bag.  Until now.  This more dip/chili style recipe is less greasy (runny) than some of my other experiments, makes great leftovers and is a happy healthy medium while tasting great.

My New Favorite Nachos
Servings: 8
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients
1 lb 97% lean ground beef
1 cup diced sweet pepper
1 cup diced sweet onion
1 cup frozen corn
1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup monterey or cheddar jack cheese
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon taco seasoning
A few sprinkles of cayenne pepper

Instructions
1.  In large frying pan, saute onions and peppers in olive oil
until onions begin to brown, then move to large pot.
2.  Add ground beef to same frying pan and brown.
3.  While beef is browning, add tomatoes, corn, cheese and seasonings to large pot with onions and peppers.
4.  Drain beef and add to large pot.
5.  Heat beef mixture over medium flame until warm throughout and cheese is melted.
6.  Serve with nacho chips.favorite nachos

I’m not a big fan of super spicy food but feel free to throw in your as much cayenne, ghost pepper or diced jalapeno as you want.  I hope you will enjoy my new favorite nachos as much as I do!

Meredith

What’s your go-to bar snack?  Do you have a favorite nacho recipe? 

Kitchen Shortcuts for Healthy Eating

It can be hard to eat healthy.  Especially when I’m in a busy training cycle, running a lot of weekly miles or just plain worn out, getting motivated to chop, slice, dice, stir, boil and mix is hard to do.  I love prepping meals in advance and tossing them in the freezer.  Here are five of my favorite kitchen shortcuts (originally posted here) to help you make healthy meals while spending less time in the kitchen and sticking with your nutrition plan.

Kitchen Shortcuts #1:  Use simple cooking methods.  Steaming, broiling and roasting are easy ways to prepare vegetables, plus you can usually walk away from them while they cook to take care of something else quickly.  They’re also healthier than frying and faster than baking but still make flavor-filled food fast.kitchen shortcuts

Kitchen Shortcuts #2:  Stock up.  I’m always sure to have a stock-pile of brown rice, quinoa, whole-grain pasta, frozen veggies, low fat nuts (peanuts), low-sodium canned beans, diced tomatoes and chicken and vegetable stocks on hand.  With so many ingredients close at hand, it’s pretty easy to throw something simple, healthy and delicious together without stressing.

Kitchen Shortcuts #3:  Cookbooks.  I do have a stack of cookbooks but probably get an equal number of dinner ideas from the interweb.  Cookbooks that contain simple, 30-minute or less recipes are the ones I’ll go to most often and that definitely saves me time in the kitchen and at the store.  Picking and planning my meals in advance allows me to put together a list and get through the grocery very quickly.

Kitchen Shortcuts #4:  Buy quality meats when they’re on sale.  Divide them into the size you typically use for cooking, wrap and freeze.  Not only will you be saving money, you won’t need to butcher or thaw excess meat because your portions are already set up for you.  This works for cooking large volumes of rice, quinoa and legumes, too.

Kitchen Shortcuts #5:  The ultimate weeknight time saver is to do all of your cooking on one day each week even though having a block of time large enough to do it can be a challenge to find.  By preparing freezable meals in advance, getting dinner on the table takes little more than opening the freezer, pulling out a pot and turning on the burner.  Another bonus to having ready-to-go meals?  Fewer dishes to wash each evening!

I hope these kitchen shortcuts can help you save time cooking and spend more time with the things and people you love.

Meredith

What’s your favorite kitchen shortcut?