Tag Archives: vegetables

So You Want to Make A Quick and Healthy Meal? Part 1

12 Jan

Hey guys!

So a little while ago my friend Kevin sent me a message from abroad – Scotland! and asked me which recipes are my go-tos that are pretty quick and healthy for you. I then figured a bunch of you might have the exact same question! So I decided to dedicate a series of posts to it so you guys can benefit, cool? Cool. Thanks!

For those of you who’ve got this down, please share some of your recipes that you love! We all know how hectic schedules can be, and budgets can be tight, so the more recipes and options the better!

With that, here’s four recipes!

1. Veal ParmeseanImageStep 1: Dip each veal cutlet in some milk (this will help keep the breadcrumbs stuck on it).

Step 2-4: Dip each cutlet in the following sequence: flour (use whole wheat for a healthier choice!), egg, then breadcrumbs! (To make your own: take 2 whole wheat slices of bread and tear them into small pieces, then toss them in a food processor until they are a crumb consistency, voila!)ImageImageStep 5: coat the skillet! Use 1 tablespoon of olive oil and turn it to medium heat. Since the veal cutlets will be thin, cook each side for 2 minutes

Step 6: preheat that oven! To about 200 degrees.ImageStep 7: Place each cutlet on a “cookie sheet” or a baking dish. Whatever you’ve got! First put down a little tomato sauce, then the cutlet on top. Place the type of cheese you would like, part-skim mozzarella is recommended, with sauce around the edges where the cheese doesn’t touch. This keeps those parts from burning! Let the cutlets cook until the cheese melts.ImageEnjoy!

Now some of you readers out there may ask, okay so we’ve got the protein and the healthy fat … but where’s the veggies?! Well you’ve got some choices.

1. Steam some broccoli, mixed vegetables, peas, corn, asparagus, cauliflower – your choice! Just make sure you have at least 2 serving portions.Image

2. Sautee your choice vegetables (or just zucchini like my parents do with every italian meal). Place 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pan, turn on medium or medium low heat, and toss is any vegetable you like! If you’re looking for spices to add try: black pepper, salt, oregano, rosemary and basil! My favorite combo 🙂ImageImage3. Have a side salad! If you look back to my post on how to stay healthy over the holidays you’ll see I had a small one at each meal to clock in some more vegetables while I stayed with my parents.Image

2. Easy Chili

I first found this recipe on PB Fingers and decided to make my own version. I must say I’ve always been intimidated by chili, but this recipe was super easy and REALLY delicious. It also gave me leftovers which can be key to have during those busy weeks!ImageImageIf you follow the instructions on her blog page you’ll notice she used can tomatoes – since I didn’t have any, and I like fresh tomatoes, I decided to dice up 2 tomatoes and toss them in.ImageEnjoy!

3. Spaghetti Squash with Vegetables/Chicken

Spaghetti squash is a fantastic vegetable that can be a substitue for pasta! (Just like zucchini! More in a later post 🙂 ) I have used it in a variety of ways: with pasta sauce, with thai peanut sauce, or plain!ImageImageImageHow do you cook the spaghetti squash? Stick it in the microwave for about 8-12 minutes (depending on the size), then slice it down the middle, scoop out the pulp, then take a spoon or fork and go around the inside of the squash. It will come out in spaghetti like strands! Just add it to your pan of vegetables or meat when they’re done cooking for a minute or 2 and you’re good to go!

4. Eggplant CasseroleImageImageThis recipe I found in SELF magazine and everyone I have cooked it for has loved it! It also is so easy!

Step 1. Slice one whole eggplant into 1/2 inch thick pieces (hot dog style)

Step 2. Preheat the oven to 350 and place some oil in a baking dish.

Step 3. Place enough eggplant to cover the bottom of the dish. Then place mushrooms (I use baby bella) on the eggplant, shredded mozzarella cheese, spinach and some tomato sauce on top.

Step 4. Place another row of eggplant on top of this stack and repeat the process until all the eggplant is used or your pan is full!

Step 5. Bake for about 30-35 minutes and enjoy!

That concludes Part 1 of this series of quick and healthy meals! Please feel free to comment or shoot me an email if there is any suggestions or other types of recipe ideas you guys would like to see!

Readers what are some of your favorite go to healthy recipes?

Until next time, 

Natasha

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Healthy Holiday Hints

28 Dec

Hey readers!

I hope everyone isn’t suffering too bad from the post-Christmas lull. We still have New Years! I am in the process of finalizing my plans to go visit my friend Adrienne in Boston. What are you guys up to?

As I was going through my holiday break, I had to make a lot of adjustments to stay on a healthy track. My family is fairly active and we went on runs both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. However, their eating patterns are entirely different from mine. I used to eat just like they did – not eat all day and then have a HUGE lunch/early diner to make up for it. But that would leave me eating more than I wanted, giving me a bellyache, and completely throwing me off for that day and the day after. So I wanted to write to you guys letting you know how I navigated it this year and give you guys some, hopefully, helpful hints.

1. Eat throughout the day – the morning we went to the Bronx my family said we weren’t having breakfast and were going to wait til lunch. I knew that would leave me with low energy, starving, and pretty miserable. I used to think it would be great because I could get skinnier by eating less in my day, and one big meal would be enough to fill me. In the end, I ended up eating more, what I ate wasn’t that healthy, and I would feel awful. So I planned ahead this time. To accomodate myself, without burdening my family, I made a Sweet Breakfast Scramble the night before and put it in the fridge. In the morning, I grabbed it on our way out and ate it in the car.IMG_1654 I also snacked on a Raisin Bran muffin while we were waiting around noon. We ended up not eating til 3pm!! (Also our Christmas Eve dinner didn’t happen til 1030 pm). Remember, you can’t change how your family does things, but you can change how you react to it. Summary: have small healthy meals/snacks throughout your day to keep your metabolism moving and your appetite happy and balanced.

2. Keep up your consumption of fruits and vegetables – my family typically only makes one vegetable per meal. When I’m cooking for myself I’m eating 4-5 (on average)! This would be a big change in my diet. I planned ahead and went grocery shopping with my mom so I would have veggies and fruits on hand. With every meal, I always made myself a small side salad with a couple different vegetables in it. That way, I could still eat the meal my parents worked so hard to prepare, but could also make a little addition to it for myself.IMG_1718This was my side on Christmas Eve!IMG_1695This was my snack pre dinner when my family had a lot of cheese, vegetables in oil, and crab dip. While I tried little bites of everything, I made sure to snack on lots of veggies. (I cut up some yellow bell pepper too)IMG_1739Christmas Day my parents had cookies and coffee for breakfast, but I chose peanut butter and banana on wheat toast!

3. You can have it all, just not all at once – this is what I have read in Bethenny Frankel’s book Naturally Thin. She talks a lot about how your diet is like a bank account. How I interpreted it is similar to when you get a paycheck: you can’t blow it all right away. You have to save some so you can spend some. Think of your fruits, vegetables, grains, and dairy as your savings account and your sweets, special entrees or favorite indulgences as your spending. If you spend the money overtime, you’re in a much more balanced, and better, financial situation. Same with sweets! If you spread them out overtime, and maintain a healthy lifestyle all the while, you can fully enjoy anything you want to eat! So when your family whips out 6 different desserts – pick your favorite and fully enjoy your portion. Or decide on a couple to try and enjoy your bites of each dessert. Either way, as long as you balance your meals throughout your day, dessert won’t knock you off the right track. I chose to have small desserts, since I knew I would be full from dinner, that way I could still enjoy a sweet but not feel totally over stuffed!IMG_1731

4. Try and be active any way you can – So your family may not go on group runs together on the holidays  – and that’s totally fine! Exercise can be 10 minutes of activity at once, repeated throughout the day. Let’s say your family has a dog. Volunteer to take them out for their walk or jog! If you live in a neighborhood with sidewalks, as a relative to join you on a walk (family time and exercise combination!) or take a walk if you need a break. Work on holding your plank in your room then do some push-ups, squats, alternating backwards lunges and repeat the circuit 3 times. Any way you can fit it in, even if it’s just 20 minutes, is great! It will keep your energy up and keep your metabolism moving helping you feel less sluggish and wiped out from all the holiday activity.

"Wanna go for a walk?"

“Wanna go for a walk?”

5. Enjoy everything and don’t beat yourself up! – Okay, so you ate a lot at dinner last night, and the cake looked too good to pass up. No problem! Did you enjoy it? Then it was worth it. Today’s a new day! Start fresh and have a great breakfast to start your day off on the right foot and tackle everything one step at a time. Remember, this is a holiday. It is a special occasion and you should treat yourself! Just don’t treat yourself every meal and everyday. Pick your favorites so you can have something to look forward to and motivate you to stay on track so you can enjoy it later! IMG_1672IMG_1691IMG_1682

6. Remember your goals/reasons for wanting to be healthy – it was easy for me to get wrapped up at Haley and Lauren’s holiday party and let go of all my progress on the appetizer table. I realized the more I was feeling guilty about it, the more I found myself going back to the snack table! Like I said, don’t beat yourself up and enjoy things! Once I started to move around the party and talk to more people, I found myself talking about my goals, my health blog and connecting with people on where we all are in our lives. One of my biggest goals is a balance. I mean this in every aspect of my life, even socializing! By balancing out how I was spending my time at the party, I began to naturally balance out what I was eating and found myself just enjoying the snacks and desserts I did pick. Having this blog be one of my goals also really helped when I was facing my family’s schedule. I knew what was important to me, so I was motivated to find ways to adjust my eating patterns so I could enjoy both my parents meals and stay on my healthy track (plus taking pictures of everything helps me stay accountable to myself, and you guys!)

7. Offer small suggestions to make dishes healthier – Okay, so your parents/relatives are in charge of the meal preparation so whatever they choose is what will be served. So you can’t have spaghetti squash instead of pasta, you can’t choose how much olive oil goes into the pan – don’t fret! When you can, try and offer small suggestions to change things up a little bit. For example, my mom wanted to make pancakes for everyone on Christmas morning. I asked my mom if we could get whole wheat pancake mix instead and it turned out my whole family loved how delicious they tasted! Now, your family may not be as open as mine, but you can also prep some of the batter on the side for yourself and ask the chef to toss on a few whole wheat ones for you! Or, if you don’t feel comfortable asking them to change their prep, bring a dish that you can contribute. Maybe a fruit salad for brunch, maybe a vegetable plate if it’s dinner. Whatever you feel comfortable with, there are plenty of ways to be flexible and creative with helping your holiday meals be a little healthier.

That’s what helped me stay on track this holiday. What are some of your tips or tricks for staying healthy during the holidays?

Here’s a few pictures from my Christmas as a little post-Christmas gift for all of you 🙂 IMG_1746 IMG_1748 IMG_1749 IMG_1750 IMG_1751 IMG_1752 IMG_1754 IMG_1755 IMG_1760 IMG_1762 IMG_1763 IMG_1767 IMG_1769

Until next time,

Natasha

Through Sickness and In Balance.

5 Dec

Good morning readers!

First of all, I am very sorry for my hiatus in posting this week. Ever since I ran on Sunday, I’ve been having a weird stomach issue going on. It seems to be pretty unhappy with me no matter what I do. Before we go into that, I’ll do a quick recap of what my week was like.

Monday I went into work for a couple hours at the lab to try and get some data organized and brainstorm ways to increase recruitment. I quickly made a Sweet Breakfast Scramble and then biked to work 🙂 I bike to work every morning. Not only does this save me gas money, and the time of walking, but I bike up a long hill to get to campus so I get a quick cardio challenge in first thing every morning!

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I know, I know, I could really use a new seat. Have no fear, I ordered one that afternoon when I got home from work. It was time.

Kevin had also returned back to DC from Vegas and was sick as a dog. Poor guy. After work, I took a nap, heated up some leftover Trader Joe’s Eggplant Goodness, we played with Liam a little bit, then hopped in the car to take Kevin for some Robek’s. Robek’s is an awesome healthy smoothie place in our neighborhood. They have a ton of different flavors to try and even make their own fresh juice! You can also add kale to any smoothie – aka it’s the perfect place for me. I chose the Emperor Acai and I forget what Kevin ordered, but it was a ginormous citrus smoothie with tons of Vitamin C.

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We also did some grocery shopping, picked up my Mom and brought her home, then I dropped my car off back at my apartment and biked over to Kevin’s apartment. We started a new video game together, Donkey Kong Country Revenge, which is pretty fun and challenging. We played that for a little while, then around 730 made some dinner.

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I had leftovers from my vegetable chicken wrap dinner the night before with Chocolate Milk and carrots with hummus. I tried this chocolate milk before and it’s really good! It’s skim milk, has extra Omega 3s and extra calcium! I treat myself to it about once a month. (this is a photo from October)IMG_1444

Kevin heated up some Mac n Cheese, a corn dog, and then Lima Beans.

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I know, polar opposite meals right? It used to be really hard for me to not over indulge when I ate with Kevin. He is a varsity athlete and needs to take in double, if not triple, the amount of calories and nutrients I do. For awhile, it was keeping me off track and I was making excuses for myself or didn’t want to miss out on an experience with him. For awhile, Kevin actually was cutting back on what he ate around me so that I wouldn’t over eat. While it was a very very sweet gesture, it was also hurting Kevin because his body wasn’t getting what he needed. I had to learn how to manage my own eating, whether or not I was around other people. After Kevin and I talked about it a few times, I knew I had to step up. I had to start holding myself accountable. I started to think about the goals I wanted for my health, maintaining strength, feeling strong throughout my body, etc, and realized I needed to keep these thoughts in mind when I was eating around anyone, including myself. It’s easy to get caught up and eat half the pint of Ben and Jerry’s after you have seconds, or maybe thirds, at dinner. But I knew that wasn’t what I wanted for myself anymore. I wanted a balance. Not over indulging all the time, but not skipping out on meals or restricting myself. I’d have to plan ahead a little more with my meals and be aware and conscious of my goals whenever I was constructing a meal. Although it was a tough one for me to learn, it has definitely paid off in the long run. Now, I stay on track with my way of eating and can balance myself out much much better.

Have you guys ever struggled with staying on track while you were around others? How have you worked on it?