Healthy Go-To Recipes

I have a few recipes I wanted to share that have been my go-to for lunches and dinners that are also healthy.  Most of these can be made in advance for lunches or in a slow cookers for making meals during the day.  Side note, I just got a new Crock Pot which is programmable so that it turns to warm after a set time of cooking.  It’s awesome!  I suggest it for anyone into cooking or prepping meals.

Protein Shake
This is current breakfast for most mornings.  It’s easy to make and I can bring it to work with me making breakfast later so that I’m fuller longer.  I use my Blender Bottle to make my shake with reduce sugar vanilla almond milk, which comes to 30 calories per 8 ounces.  I usually add a little water, around 3 ounces, along with my protein.  I usually buy the EAS Whey Vanilla Protein Powder which runs at 150 calories per serving, which for this powder is two scoops.  Add it all in the bottle, shake, and head out for the day!

Mediterranean Chickpea or Quinoa Salad
I love this for lunches, especially in the summer when it’s hot outside and in the house.  Lately, I’ve been loving this with chickpeas over quinoa, not for any particular reason.  This recipes is also flexible to each their own, I replace olives with kalamata olives which I find fitting more for the recipe.

Salmon with broccoli and brown rice
I know at most workplaces reheating fish in the lunchroom is a sin, but it’s healthy for you and filling.  Add a side of broccoli and brown rice or sweet potatoes and you will be filled through the afternoon to dinner.  Likewise, this is an easy meal to cook up in the evening if you have a gym date before dinner.  Salmon and fish cooks pretty quickly and you can steam frozen broccoli in four minutes in the microwave.  To cook salmon, I thaw it before placing the slice in foil topping it with dill weed and lemon pepper, roll up the foil, and bake for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees.  So easy! There’s tons of recipes on Pinterest you can make to jazz up your salmon, just be careful because some can come with a lot of added calories.

Fall Vegetable Crock Pot Barley Soup
I posted this a while back because it’s my favorite soup recipe that I’ve tried so far.   It’s very flavorful, easy to make in the Crock Pot, and the ingredients can be added or removed as you prefer.  Don’t add too much barley though or the soup will get too thick, same goes for the sweet potato as it can add a lot of sugar and unneeded calories.  Thyme has quickly become one of my favorite herbs for almost any recipe.

Salads
This is simple and to the point, salads with darker green leaves with generous amounts of vegetables on top and a light amount of dressing is about as healthy as you can get come spring.  I love adding cucumbers, carrots, and hard boiled eggs on my salads and in the spring I love chopped strawberries and pears as toppings.  For a change in texture, soy nuts and pumpkin seeds add a nice crunch to the mix.  For dressing, always choose a vinaigrette like balsamic or raspberry.

Edamame
I keep frozen edamame in my freezer at all times probably getting the best value for your dollar at Costco.  I steam mine with lemon pepper and then add a side of cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, or even a small salad.  Again, low calories, low carb, and filling.

Good luck with your cooking and fitness goals!

January Fitness Update

January is a popular time of year for people to get back into their fitness goals as well as for people to make New Year’s Resolutions to get involved with fitness or lose weight.  January is also the time when I re-evaluate my fitness goals and start preparing for the spring cutting season.  I know spring seams far away, but by the time it arrives the hope is that I have built up enough muscle to be able to cut and still maintain my strength levels.

A few weeks before Christmas, Jake and I started a new lifting routine which includes a basic three-day split.  I decided to invest in a pair of lifting straps at the advice of a coworker to improve my grip strength and overall improve my dead lifts.  For the past two years, I’ve used gloves for lifting but it’s not my hands that need the help anymore as I’ve built up some pretty good calluses.  Ladies, do not be afraid of getting calluses from weight lifting.  Mine aren’t even noticeable to the eye and most days no one is holding my hands to feel them.  In addition to our three-day split, my goal is run or do some form of cardio twice a week.  I don’t put a lot of emphasis on cardio during fall or winter, but moving into spring I like to keep it consistent.  I’ve never been one for doing ab exercises (I hate them), but this year I’d like to make it one of my goals.  Jake and I will probably add ab exercises onto leg day because generally that is our fastest moving day.  This weekend I’d like to find a basic everyday ab exercise that I can do in the mornings or evenings on a yoga mat, nothing intense likes those ad challenges I see rolling around on Pinterest.  Remember abs are made in the kitchen, not at the gym.

During the fall and winter months, I spoil myself with Pumpkin Spice Lattes, pumpkin cookies, holiday parties, and all weight lifting at the gym.  Right now at the turn of the year, I have decided to start tracking what I eat and count my calorie intake.  I have used the app My Fitness Pal in the past and I really enjoy it.  Not only does it allow my to track my calories, but I can also see the breakdown of the nutrition in the food.  The app can keep track of your exercises and how many calories you burn which are then negated from your daily caloric intake.  The one downside to the app is that it doesn’t know how many calories are burned during strength exercises.  One of my best tips to eating healthy is to meal plan.  I like to prepare my lunch and dinners every week, cooking on Sunday’s and packing everything in containers for busy weekdays.  I just ordered a weekly whiteboard so that I can better organize meals for myself and for when Jake comes over.  I love lists and organizing my thoughts and I have been wanting a whiteboard for over a year now.

I’d like to do these fitness updates every three to four months, during the change of the seasons and fitness routines.  Moving into spring, my diet will become more strict with less carbs and high amounts of vegetables and protein.  The most important part of my fitness routine is making sure I’m keeping hydrated: drink all the water.  Start with a glass right after to step out of bed and add an additional glass or two if you exercise that day.