I love to eat. Let me just put it out there. I am sure that is no surprise since most people love eating. The problem is that my favorite things to eat are things like chocolate, candy corn, ice cream, brownies….do you get the picture? My body doesn’t really like it when I eat that stuff though, and if I am not careful, my blood sugar levels go crazy really quickly (they are very reflective of me: incredibly sensitive and not always in a positive way!). So, I am going to share with you a few recipes and tricks I use to be able to stuff my face with the food I like and keep my blood sugar levels (referred to as bsl’s from now on) happy and semi-stable!
Mornings: I love breakfast. I don’t know how anyone can skip breakfast. I like to eat cinammon rolls or muffins but if I do that, I am not getting off on the right foot with those bsl’s! So I try to eat things with plenty of protein and/or fiber. I like whole wheat or cinnamon raisin bagels with cream cheese. Whole Foods has an amazing bagel called the “Granola Bagel”. It is soooo good, but they are usually sold out when I get to the store.
Recently I have been making Smoothies. Did you know that you can add greens to your smoothie for extra nutrients without ruining the taste? Yup, this morning I added two leaves of Swiss Chard and couldn’t taste the difference. The thing is you get lots of extra nutrients that way, and when you blend everything together you are breaking down the fruits and veggies so your body can digest even more of the good stuff as it goes through. I use about 1/2 cup (I don’t really measure) of low-fat plain yogurt (most of us don’t need to skip the fat altogether, and this is not a bad source of it), 1/2 cup frozen organic berries, 1/2-1 whole banana, and a splash of apple juice (be sure you get the kind without extra sugar or corn syrup). Blend it all together and enjoy. I have heard that fiber helps you to feel full, and I think this is true for me. When I have smoothies for breakfast, I usually don’t need to eat a snack or anything until at least 10:00.
Speaking of snacks, keeping healthy snacks close by seems to be the best trick I can think of. When the healthy stuff is easy to get to, and the bad stuff isn’t, I tend to go for the closest thing I can find! I keep raw almonds in my desk at work (I buy them in the bulk section of Whole Foods, but you can find them at your grocery store too). I also keep dried fruits, but you have to be careful with those if you are like me. Even with no sugar added, dried fruits can be high in sugars and should be eaten in moderation.
And of course, I keep not-so-healthy snacks around too. I have chocolate chip cookies in the kitchen cupboard at work, but they are from Kashi and have oatmeal in them, so there is some redeeming factor there! I also bought some chocolate soy milk so I could have a chocolate option with protein.
Do you notice a protein theme here? That’s because I have found that eating protein throughout the day keeps my bsl’s steady and happy, which in turn helps me to be steady and happy!
Lunch is my least favorite meal. I don’t really like sandwiches unless I buy them from somewhere like Jimmy John’s or the bakery. Those sandwiches add up quickly though and usually aren’t that great for me, so I try to stock up on frozen meals that tout natural/organic ingredients and low sodium levels. Sorry, not too much help here!
Dinner used to be my favorite meal until I got a new job and found that I rarely had time to cook a good dinner. However, I have found a few good resources, and want to share them with you.
Monday night I made an amazing soup that was easy, healthy, and delicious! It was from an Orzo Soup recipe from one of my favorite blogs, 101 Cookbooks. I like this recipe because you can generally use what you have on hand. I used whole wheat rotini instead of orzo because that is what was in my cupboard. If you do try this recipe, make sure you have plenty of liquid when it comes time for the final step of stirring in the egg. Otherwise it doesn’t look very pretty!! (The photo was taken by Heidi of 101 Cookbooks)
Last night I made another easy, healthy, and delicious recipe that I can share with you here. Again, this is great for using what you have around the house. It is “Mexican Lasagna”
3 Whole Wheat Tortillas (the smaller ones work better)
1 Can of organic black beans, drained and rinsed
1 jar of organic salsa
Handful of organic fresh cilantro, chopped (if you don’t have this on hand, just skip it)
1-1/12 c. grated cheese
*please note that I am one of those who does not follow directions well. That means I don’t always give directions well. I don’t do measuring very well either, so I am estimating here!
1. Heat up your over to 500 degrees (hot, I know!)
2. Mix salsa, beans, and cilantro together.
3. Place one tortilla on the bottom of the pie dish. Spread 1/3 of the bean mixture over the tortilla and then sprinkly 1/3 of your cheese over it.
4.Repeat step 3 two more times, and you should end with cheese as your top layer.
5.Put the dish in the oven for about 11 minutes, pull it out and serve it up!
You can sprinkle a little more cilantro on top if you want.
Aside from all of this I find that listening to my body is really a big key to eating well. Paying attention to how my body responds to what I eat helps me to know what to consume at different points during the day. Planning also helps. When I plan to eat healthy foods, it usually happens, but if I don’t plan accordingly I will be drawn to the much-less healthy options.
Now that I have gone on and on, it’s your turn! What are some of your healthy eating tricks or favorite recipes?