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5 Reasons Why Eggs Should be on Your Plate This Month

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I can’t believe it’s already May! As excited as I am about the warmer weather, there is something happening this month that I am even more EGG-cited about. Can you guess what it is? It’s National Egg Month! Egg-cellent right?! Okay, I will stop with the corny egg jokes, but the truth is I can’t get enough of eggs. I love them so much that I have partnered with the American Egg Board to share with you my top 5 reasons why eggs need to be an essential part of your diet. Get ready to get cracking!

5 Reasons Why Eggs Should be on Your Plate This Month

5 Reasons Why Eggs Should be on Your Plate This Month

Eggs may reduce the risk of stroke

At least twice a week I have clients tell me that they love eggs, but they avoid them because they are concerned about the cholesterol content. Guess what? The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans remove the daily limit on dietary cholesterol and include eggs in all three recommended healthy eating patterns. In fact a study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition shows that up to one egg per day is associated with a 12 percent reduction in the risk of stroke, the 5th leading cause of death in the United States.

 

Eggs are an affordable source of high quality protein

Did you know the average egg costs less than $0.20? As one of the least expensive sources of high-quality protein, eggs may help to boost the nutrition of your whole family while reducing your grocery bill. One large egg contains 6 grams of high-quality protein and nine essential amino acids, all for 70 calories per egg. That means you could serve two eggs a day to each member of a four-person family all week long for around $11!

 

Eggs are a natural source of vitamin D

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that most of us fall short on. It plays a large role in bone health, and deficiencies of vitamin D may be linked to many chronic disorders such as depression and even certain cancers. Few foods contain vitamin D, which makes it a challenge to take in the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) from diet alone. Eggs, however, are one of the few foods that contain a natural source of vitamin D with one large egg providing 41 IU of vitamin D (or about 10% of the DV).

 

Eggs may help to shrink your waistline

Have you ever noticed that when you have eggs for breakfast, you feel much more satisfied after your meal than when you have a high carb option like a bagel? You aren’t alone. Research published in the International Journal of Obesity suggests eating eggs for breakfast may help promote weight loss, lower body mass index and shrink the waistline more effectively than compared to eating a bagel breakfast of equal calories. If you are struggling to lose or maintain a healthy body weight, try swapping your high carbohydrate breakfast, such as a bagel, for eggs instead. This small change may just be one of your most powerful tools in the struggle to slim your waistline.

 

Eggs are an incredibly versatile food

Fun egg fact: The average American eats 276 eggs per year! That is a lot of eggs, but because eggs are so versatile, you can have them every day and never get bored. Think of all the ways you can incorporate eggs into your diet: hard-boiled, scrambled, poached, as an omelet, as a quiche, in a recipe, and the list goes on and on. For my family, we love eggs in any form, but we especially love these On-the-Go Veggie Egg Muffins and my Breadless Breakfast Quiche. If you are looking for more ways to incorporate eggs into your diet, check out the IncredibleEgg.org for more great recipe ideas.

 

What’s your favorite way to enjoy eggs? Show me your favorite photo or video of your delicious egg dishes on Twitter or Instagram using #EggChallenge and #Contest and you could win a kitchen prize pack from the American Egg Board. Winners will be announced weekly throughout the month of May. Visit http://www.incredibleegg.org/eggchallenge for more details. I am so EGG-cited to see what you come up with!

 

This post is sponsored by the American Egg Board. All opinions are my own.

How to Make an Easy Cauliflower Pizza

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Easy Cauliflower Pizza

 

I admit it, I love pizza! And I know I am not alone. Depending on the pizza you choose, it can be a healthy option. But let’s be realistic, even if you pile your pie with veggies, it’s still not going to be as healthy as a pizza made entirely from vegetables. I have been wanting to make an easy cauliflower pizza recipe for a while, but all of the recipes I have found were very labor intensive and time consuming. Sure they looked good, but I don’t have time for recipes that require hours of prep and I know you don’t either. That’s why I worked hard to create this easy cauliflower pizza recipe that is delicious and so simple even your kids can do it. 

One of the biggest issues I find when it’s ‘pizza night’ is typically the lack of vegetables. So making a pizza out of vegetables certainly solves that. I will tell you, this recipe very similar to a crispy, flatbread pizza. I wasn’t able to replicate a softer crust, but I’ll keep working on it. However, I measure success by it’s appeal to my family. Last night, Joey gobbled this up with no hesitation, which to me indicates it tastes pretty similar to the real thing. My husband, a self-proclaimed expert in all things pizza, gave it his seal of approval as well- so you know this cauliflower pizza recipe is good!  With only 68 calories and 2 grams of carbs per slice, what’s a momma not to love?!

So give it a try and let me know what you think:

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • Minced garlic, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper to taste.

 

DIRECTIONS

  • Pulse cauliflower in a food processor until it looks like small grains of rice. Microwave in a large bowl for about five minutes to steam. Allow to cool and add in seasonings, eggs, and one half cheese.

 

  • Divide mixture into two servings and spread out evenly onto lightly greased baking sheets (or parchment paper).

 

  • Bake at 450 F for about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and firm.

 

  • Top with remaining cheese (add sauce if desired) and bake for 3-5 minutes until sauce melts. Serve warm and enjoy!

 

MAKES 16 SERVINGS

NUTRITION FACTS (per serving)

Calories: 68 Carbs: 2gm Fiber 1gm Protein 6gm Fat 4gm

 

After you try it, come back and tell me if you are an easy cauliflower pizza recipe convert now too!

Yum

Could Your Personality be Making You Gain Weight?

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a person with a paper bag head on which are an question and an interrogation mark, isolated

a person with a paper bag head on which are an question and an interrogation mark, isolated

When it comes to weight loss, a lifestyle change that is customized to you and your dietary habits is the key to success. Just as we all have different personalities, we also each have a unique weight loss personality. This is why a ‘one size fits all’ approach to weight loss just doesn’t work. Tailoring a plan to your lifestyle is necessary for both weight loss, and most importantly- weight maintenance following weight loss. Let’s discuss different weight loss personalities and identify strategies for each one to promote long term weight loss success.

The Personality: ‘Perfectionist’
Do you find yourself always trying to do everything right, all of the time? Are you hard on yourself when things do not go exactly as planned? If so, you likely have a ‘perfectionist’ personality. When it comes to eating, it is nearly impossible be perfect 100% of the time. Life is going to throw curveballs that require a bit of leniency in your diet; and while you may not be able to make the perfect food choice every single time, you can still lose weight and maintain a perfectly healthy lifestyle! Often with this personality we see over restriction and emphasis on ‘forbidden’ foods. Even one diet ‘slip up’ can cause feelings of failure or hopelessness and lead to a cycle of overeating followed by over restriction.

The Strategy: Stop the cycle! Work on learning to forgive yourself when you do have a diet ‘slip up’, and try incorporating a small weekly indulgence to your diet. Adding flexibility to your diet will not hinder your health or your weight loss efforts, and you will likely feel more relaxed and at peace with your new lifestyle changes.

The Personality: Impulsive
Do you get halfway through the bag of Doritos before you even realize you grabbed them from the kitchen? Do you take seconds at dinner just because the leftovers were sitting there? These are habits seen often with ‘impulsive’ personalities. Changing your lifestyle usually requires a bit of planning and thoughtfulness, especially in the beginning while getting used to new foods and eating habits. Those with impulsive personalities are more likely make a poor dietary choice in the moment and less likely to consider the feelings of guilt that usually follow. Impulsive eating often leads to poor dietary decisions, disregard of hunger cues, and overeating.

The Strategy: Get rid of temptation! Think about the food temptations you give into throughout the day and find a way to eliminate these temptations altogether. Stock your fridge and cabinets with healthy snacks and avoid buying sugary and salty treats. Contribute a healthy dish at the next BBQ so you know there will be something nutritious there for you to eat. Keep dinner leftovers on the kitchen counter or somewhere they will be out of reach. Making your food choices more planned and deliberate throughout the day will help you stay on track!

The Personality: Night Owl
Do you find yourself staying awake late into the night even when you don’t need to? The ‘night owl’ personality is a common one, and it can have a substantial impact on your weight loss efforts. Studies have shown that people who stay up later often engage in night time snacking and consume significantly more calories than those who hit the sack earlier. Additionally, sleep deprivation can lead to clouded judgment when choosing foods the following day, and can also mess with your hunger and satiety hormones.

The Strategy: Commit to a bedtime! Choose a bedtime that is realistic for your lifestyle, preferably early enough to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night, and commit to it. To promote a more restful sleep, turn off electronics 30 minutes to an hour before getting into bed. Try practicing nighttime yoga or meditation to relax your mind and body. It will take consistency and patience while your body adjusts to the new sleep schedule, but I bet you will find the new rested you makes healthier choices throughout the day!

The Personality: All or Nothing
Have you started a nutrition or exercise program, strayed a bit off course, and then abandoned the program all together? This ‘all or nothing’ personality can sabotage weight loss efforts; any deviation from the plan will lead to feelings of failure and subsequent giving up. This personality often relies on a very structured plan for weight loss success. While structure can be helpful while losing weight, flexibility is essential for long term weight loss and weight maintenance.

The Strategy: Add flexibility! When you begin your weight loss journey, follow a structured plan while you are getting used to the changes. After a couple weeks, allow yourself to stray a bit from the plan. This may mean experimenting with one or two different meals a week, adding in a night at your favorite restaurant or enjoying a small treat at the Sunday barbeque. Adding flexibility to your plan will allow for continued weight loss while preventing diet burn out that can occur from too much structure.

The Personality: Short Attention Span
Have you ever given up on trying to lose weight after feeling bored with eating the same foods over and over again? Structure is important for weight loss, but that doesn’t mean the foods you eat have to lack variety! Someone with the ‘short attention span’ personality may find they get into a rut of eating the same foods every day that is not only boring, but is also unsustainable. Eating should be an enjoyable experience, and the greater variety of healthy foods you have in your diet, the more likely you are to feel satisfied and find success on your journey to weight loss.

The Strategy: Mix it up! There is no way to get around the fact that structure and planning are necessary components for weight loss. To add variety but keep structure, plan out a week of meals, Sunday-Saturday. Make sure these meals differ from day to day. Now, you have seven days of different meals that will help you stay on track without becoming bored. You can repeat these meals each week, or find new healthy recipes online or in a cookbook to swap with. Getting creative in the kitchen is a great way to stave off boredom while discovering new nutritious snacks and meals.

No matter what your weight loss personality is, the important thing to remember is that the changes you are making are lifestyle changes; they have to be sustainable if you hope to reach long term success. Once you identify your weight loss personality, work with the strategies that are tailored to you and your lifestyle (a registered dietitian can help you do this!).

Which personality do you identify with? Do you have a different weight loss personality that was not mentioned? 

Connect with me on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook and keep me posted on your progress and thoughts!

 

Meal Prep Essentials for the Healthiest Week Yet

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I am excited to partner with one of my favorite Greek yogurts, Dannon® Light & Fit®, to bring you this post. I have been compensated for my time commitment. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.

If you asked me to share just one tip that has the most impact on health, I would say without a doubt it’s planning ahead. I’m sure you’ve heard the quote by Ben Franklin “if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” When it comes to making sure you are eating a well balanced diet, this statement couldn’t be truer. Take the other day for instance. I woke up in the morning and couldn’t wait to start my day off with a smoothie packed full of berries, spinach, and Greek yogurt. But then I realized I had not been to the grocery store and had none of these foods in the house. Needless to say, the breakfast I did end up eating that day was not nearly as nutritious as I had hoped for.

Devoting just a bit of time each week to meal planning can prevent situations like this from happening. I have found for both my clients and myself that meal preparation is the key in achieving and maintaining your health goals. But I know what you are thinking – meal prep is time consuming, right? I used to think that too, but it’s actually the opposite. If you know how to do it, spending just a little bit of time one day a week on meal prep can save you hours the rest of the week. And who doesn’t want to save time and make nutritious eating even easier? You know I am all about easy! That’s why I am so excited to share my top three meal prep essentials for your healthiest week yet:

 

Step #1: Create a must-have list of your top 5 staple foods and have them on hand at all times

5 meal planning food essentials for time saving meal prep

5 Time Saving Meal Prep Foods that Make Healthy Menu Planning Easy

Have you ever looked in your kitchen and realized you were out of pretty much everything, but your day was so busy there was no time for long trip at the grocery store? This happens to me a lot, which is why I am a huge advocate of creating a ‘must-have’ food staple list. This is a list of your top five foods that are essential to have on hand at all times. When I am short on time, but out of everything, I can run into the store, grab these 5 items and be done shopping in under 10 minutes. As long as I have these items on hand, I know I can create healthy meal and snack options for my whole family. So what’s on my must-have list? I’m glad you asked:

 

Dannon Light & Fit Yogurt Drinks

I am a yogurt fanatic for a good reason. Many yogurts are a good source of protein, calcium, and vitamin D. The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans even recommend increasing your intake of nutrient-dense foods, such as fat-free or low-fat dairy products, like yogurt, which is pretty easy to do. Yogurt is so versatile it can easily be added as a snack, mixed into a recipe, or even enjoyed as a dessert. I’m currently enjoying the Dannon Light & Fit Yogurt Drinks which contain 90 calories, 9 grams of protein and zero grams of added sugar per serving (7 fluid ounces). These delicious little guys make the perfect grab-and-go option and have become my new gym bag essential as my go-to post-workout snack.

Post workout snack options that fuel fitness

My post-workout snack essentials to fuel fitness

Frozen vegetables

I love having fresh vegetables, but they can spoil pretty quickly. Keeping frozen vegetables on hand is a great way to ensure I always have a veggie backup for every meal. Since frozen produce is picked at its peak ripeness and flash frozen, the majority of nutrients are maintained, making it just as nutritious as the fresh alternative, but with a much longer shelf life.

Canned beans

Beans provide a good source of plant-based protein, fiber, and iron plus they are incredibly versatile. I can toss them onto a salad, make a batch of chili in the slow cooker, or use them for a family taco night depending on our mood. Not only are they incredibly nutritious, but they are also very budget friendly which makes the grocery bill a lot lighter.

Eggs

Eggs aren’t just for breakfast. Not only do they provide a complete source of protein, but they can be used as the main ingredient in a meal, added into a recipe, or enjoyed as a snack. If I have a carton of eggs on hand, I know that I can always whip up a quick meal that my family will love any time of day.

Whole grain tortillas

You can probably see why these are an essential based on my other food choices. With these on hand, I can create anything from taco salad bowl, to a breakfast burrito, or even a flatbread pizza.

 

5 time saving meal prep essentials for healthy weekly meal prep

5 time saving meal prep essentials

 

Step #2: Schedule one hour a week to save time all week long

Figure out which day of the week works best for your meal preparation efforts and schedule it. For me, I like to make this the same day I go grocery shopping so I have everything I need to make my prep work as easy as possible. During this hour, clean and chop your fresh veggie options for the week. Create your full week of lunches and have them packed and stored in the refrigerator so you can quickly grab them as you run out the door each day. Have your dinner ingredients ready to go. For me, this may be having a chicken breast marinating in a bag so that it can be quickly tossed on the grill one night. Or, I may slice my vegetables and meat, toss them in a bag with my favorite seasonings, and have it all ready to throw into the crock pot for a dinner that cooks itself.

Pre-wash and slice vegetables for time saving meal prep strategies for healthy meal planning

Pre-wash and slice vegetables in advance is key to healthy meal prep

 

Step #3: Keep a reverse food record

I am a huge believer in keeping a food record. Did you know that people who keep food records lose about 40% more weight than those who don’t? That’s a huge number for simply tracking what you put in your mouth. The main reason for this is increased accountability. Now, writing down what you eat after you have eaten it is the typical way you would keep a food record, but I actually recommend trying it in reverse. If you take a few minutes each night to write out what you plan to eat the next day, you can better plan your meals and problem solve instead of having to do it on the fly.

For example, if you were writing out tomorrow’s meals and realized you didn’t have the foods on hand to make the dinner you were planning, you can think through what foods you do have available and how you can create a healthy dinner from those instead. If you had waited to do that until right before you started to prep the meal, you may have had to pick up the phone and order takeout instead.

 

My One-Week Meal Prep Guide

So what does my meal prep routine look like? Here’s an example of my healthy meal planning menu from this week:

Sunday Night Meal Prep Routine: Time Frame – 1 hour

  • Batch cook One-Pot Slow Cooker Chili for weekly lunches
  • Hard boil one dozen eggs for weekly snacks
  • Bake up one dozen Veggie Egg Muffins for breakfast on-the-go
  • Clean, wash, and slice fresh peppers, carrots, and celery for snack options
  • Grill 3 lbs chicken breast, slice, and refrigerate for salad toppings and sandwiches during the week
  • Prep 3 bags of slow cooker meals including marinated meats and vegetables in plastic bags and freeze for easy dinner meal prep throughout the week
  • Prep post workout snacks with Dannon Light & Fit Yogurt Drinks and fresh fruit
  • Prep snack options throughout the week including Dannon Light & Fit Greek nonfat yogurt, nuts, seeds, and low fat string cheese.

Taking the time to prep everything in advance allows me to have quick access to nutritious meals and snacks all week long. I have found this takes the stress out of meal planning, ends the ‘what should I make for dinner’ struggle that often happens after a long day of work, and saves me both time and money on groceries.

 

What does your meal prep strategy look like? Join me over on Instagram and follow @lightandfit to show us how you #DoWhatFitsYou

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