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I am really learning how to get a great workout on my Total Gym XLS and am loving it, and love that I can see a difference in the shape of things (even if I can’t shake the 170’s). Hubs is using it consistently, as well, and is really shaping up. I am so proud of him!
As I have been on my getting fit journey for over six months now, eating healthy is not new to me. That isn’t to say that I don’t struggle in some areas… like wanting chocolate nearly every day, or craving certain things at certain times of the month… but, for the most part, I have made a lot of healthy changes in my diet.
For starters, I drink water. That may sound simple enough… but I hate water. Absolutely can NOT stand the taste of it. “Water doesn’t have any taste,” you say. Oh, but yes it does. It tastes like minerals. Ugh and yuck. Short of spending money we don’t have on a water filtering system, I have learned to add a sugar free drink mix to one 34 ounce bottle of water a day (the packet is supposed to go in 16 ounces, but I stretch it to 34 so it isn’t so overpowering), and CHUG the other 34 ounce bottle unflavored. On days that I work out, I typically choke down another 30-40 ounces of water.
In addition to drinking water, I have cut WAY back on my caffeine intake. I used to make a pot (12 cups) of coffee a day, and drink at least half (if not all) of it in the course of the day. I unplugged my regular coffee pot and put it away. I now use a single serve coffee brewer and make one cup of coffee most days. Occasionally, I will make a second cup in the course of a day, but find that I really don’t need it if I stay active.
I also make better food choices. Instead of eating chips as a snack, I grab a bell pepper or zucchini. Did you know you can eat zucchini and yellow squash raw? And that it tastes good? Bell peppers, raw zucchini, and raw yellow squash are some of my favorite snacks right now. I also love to freeze grapes or blueberries and use them as snacks, instead of those calorie and fat laden frozen creations.
Because I am eating more healthily, my family is, as well. Yesterday, as I was running errands, I gave each of the kids a baggie of cheese crackers and I had a bell pepper in hand. I only got to eat about half of it, because my two year old kept threw her cheese crackers down and said, “don’t like em.” I asked her what she wanted, and she said, “Unt some Mommy’s pupper.” She loves salad, and begs for more anytime it is served. I just love seeing her eat like that. My son protests all things green (he is three, and he is his father’s child), but I keep trying.
Because I am using more fresh produce in the house, I have also been playing around with a few different recipes, and thought I would share one of my recent favorites with you. I made a Spinach Strawberry and Blue Cheese salad last week, and Hubs even wanted more! If I had known this one would go over so well, I would have grabbed the camera and taken pictures BEFORE I served it. As it was, the only thing left to take a picture of was an empty plate smeared with a bit of dressing!
Spinach Strawberry and Blue Cheese Salad with Grilled Chicken
For each salad, you will need:
- 2 C- Raw baby spinach (KCal=14, Fat= 0.2g, Carbs= 2.2g, Fiber= 1.3g, Protein= 1.7g)
- 2 T- Marzetti® Strawberry Vinaigrette Dressing (KCal= 110, Fat= 10g, Carbs= 6g, Fiber= 0g, Protein= 0g)
- 2 T- Treasure Cave Reduced Fat Blue Cheese Crumbles (KCal= 40, Fat= 2.5g, Carbs= 0g, Fiber= 0g, Protein= 3.5g)
- 2 T- LaChoy Chow Mein Noodles (KCal= 32.5, Fat= 1.25g, Carbs= 4.75g, Fiber= <1, Protein= 0.75g)
- 4 oz- Grilled Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast (kCal= 120, Fat= 4g, Carbs= 0g, Fiber= 0g, Protein= 21g)
Toss spinach with dressing, blue cheese crumbles, and chow mein noodles. I served the grilled chicken breast on the side, but you could also slice the grilled chicken breast and add it to the salad.
Servings: 1 Size: 2-3 cups Calories: 316.5 Fat: 17.95g Carbs: 12.95g Fiber: 1.3g Protein: 26.95g
We use chow mien noodles in place of nuts, since my 3 yo has a peanut allergy. You could easily replace the chow mien noodles with walnuts or almonds and it would be so OMY- or OH MY YUM! I also used the full fat version of the dressing, because I WANTED strawberry vinaigrette, and I didn’t have balsamic vinegar to make my own. I could have saved 65 calories and 7 grams of fat by using Marzetti’s Light Berry Balsamic dressing, but that would have required a trip to the grocery store. If I were going to grocery store, I would have just picked up the Balsamic vinegar! And, if I had made my own, it would have saved 80 calories and 8 grams of fat! As is, though, the salad is less than 325 calories, and is quite a dinner!
My recipe for low fat strawberry vinaigrette is as follows…
Low Fat Strawberry Vinaigrette
- 1 C- fresh sliced strawberries
- 1 T- Balsamic vinegar
- 3/4 t- ground black pepper- fresh is best
- 1/2 t- sugar (or sugar substitute)
- 1/4 t- salt- (try sea salt as an alternative)
- 2 T- canola oil (may substitute EVOO, almond, or walnut oil)
- 1/4 t- minced garlic
- 1/8 t- poppy seeds
- 1/4 t- thyme
- 1/4 t- fennel seeds
- 1/2 t- dijon mustard
Place sliced strawberries, Balsamic vinegar, pepper, sugar (or substitute), and salt in food processor, and process until pureed, occasionally scraping sides. Add oil, and process until smooth. Let sit for one hour before serving, refrigerate any leftovers.
Servings: about 20 Size: 2 T Calories: 26 Fat: 2g Carbs: 1g Fiber: 0g Protein: 0g
The calorie calculation is based on using real sugar, which I find tastes better for homemade dressings and none of the optional mix-ins. If you choose to use olive oil instead of canola, make SURE it is the extra virgin olive oil, or extra extra virgin if possible, else the taste may be a bit wonky.
The thing to remember when making your own vinaigrette’s is that if you use a no-fat or low-fat dressing on your greens, be sure to add some other form of fat to the salad, so that all those yummy nutrients (vitamins A, E, and K in the spinach) don’t go to waste.
I also want to try my recipe with blueberries, but keep eating the blueberries from frozen as snacks, so they never make it to the dressing. Oops.
So, what healthy recipes have you been making? I would love to add them to my arsenal!
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