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Posts Tagged ‘Salads’

Two salads and two sides of tofu, ready to be reheated/have some oil added for easy food preparation. The masking tape has the reheating and final prep instructions right on them.

Here’s my low-carb, good fat, protein snack collection for easy snacking while I recover from surgery. This is a collection of Kind STRONG bars, ThinkThin bars, Zing bars, and dried-salted chick peas.

6 servings (1 cup each) of Kraft 30-minute chili mac, in individual containers for easy re-heating (note: I don’t reheat in plastic, so those are thawed and heated in bowls).

I recently had PRK eye surgery, which meant that I was going to not feel great and not really be able to see (due to light sensitivity) for a few days.  This posed a challenge for me as a hypoglycemic, since I still needed to maintain my diet. And, since I wouldn’t be able to work-out for a whole week, I needed to really make sure I ate healthy to maintain my weight.

My boyfriend (now fiance!, who was amazing during this, thank you so much!) was in charge of taking care of me during my healing process, including my meals. I wanted to make it as easy as possible on him because I definitely know how frustrating it can be do figure out all of the correct portions, measurements, etc.

So, the night before the surgery, I prepared some of easy-to-finish/easy to reheat meals that he could give me when I was hungry. This included (see photos above):

The salads and chili mac had final preparation instructions on masking-tape for him.

This worked really well, so I will definitely do it again if I’m having surgery again.

 

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My go-to giant salad: 3-4 handfuls of spring mix/spinach, 1/2 small avocado, 15 grapes, and 1 tsp oil. I’ll eat this with 5 oz. tofu for lunch. Shown next to the Yankee candle for scale.

I love the Santa Fe salad on the left, but it's only 280 calories! I need about 500 calories for lunch, so I'd have to eat two of these!

I love the Santa Fe salad on the left, but it’s only 280 calories! I need about 500 calories for lunch, so I’d have to eat two of these!

 

Things like this Salad to Go container and the small salads offered in the grocery store make me laugh and sad all at the same time.

My salads are giant, but within my caloric limit. That’s because the vast majority of my salad is vegetables. Usually I have 2-3 handfuls of spring mix or spinach. That alone takes a massive amount of room. Then you add-in more vegetables and the thing gets giant but is still under 100 calories. THEN you add the good stuff, like avocados, a touch of olive oil, nuts, fruit, etc. to get it up to 400 or 500 calories (make sure you measure everything!). By then, it looks like you’re eating a mixing bowl’s worth and guess what? It’s totally ok that you are.

The added benefit of piling-on the veggies to create a giant salad is that you’ll also get a tremendous amount of vitamins by doing so. Naturally. For more on this, read Eat vs. Take Your Vitamins.

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A table full of storage containers with portioned food in them.

Click on the photo to see the source.

 

Lifehacker Vitals posted a blog post about Exercise vs. Diet: Which is more important to weight loss. It was a really informative article, but also introduced me to the idea of “kitchen training.” I spend 6 hours a week in the gym training, but I’ve never thought of the time I spend preparing healthy meals in my kitchen as “training.”

So I started devoting a chunk of time each week to it and I’m surprised at not only how much it helps, but also how much I’m able to prepare in an hour or so a week! There are a lot of things, like baking chicken and cutting it up, where about 20 minutes worth of the activity is passive, meaning you can use that time to do other things. That’s where you see the real time savings.

That got me thinking, how much time does it really take to do some basic things in the kitchen that would mean healthier eating and money savings?  Check out some of my findings below and do some timing of your own!

 

Making espresso and milk at home

Active time: 1 minute to load the coffee in my brewer

Passive time (brewing on the stove): 6 minutes

Total time per week: About 14 minutes since my espresso makes multiple shots per brew

Coffee and milk supplies from the store for a month: $12

Starbucks latte 5 x per week for a month: $80

 

Making salads at home for lunch

Active time: Preparing chicken for baking: 10 minutes once per week to prepare the chicken and cut it afterwards, portions into the freezer, wash the pans used, etc.

Passive time (baking): 20 minutes once per week. I use this time to chop the cabbage and other ingredients I add to the salad.

Daily active time to put the salads together: 2 minutes

Salad and (including chicken) supplies for a month: $40

Daily salad from Salata with extra chicken, 5 x per week for a month: $220, not to mention the time saved going to Salata to get the salads.

 

Unloading the dishwasher

2 minutes and yet I never do this! I can totally spare 2 minutes once per week.

 

Washing dishes

I had tons of dishes including pots and pans to wash the other day. It took 12 minutes. Typically it takes me 5 minutes or less.

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I understand, their intentions are good, but some of these new diet rules don’t make sense for everyone. And, most of the time, it’s about PORTION CONTROL above anything else.

Here are the diet rules that I, as a hypoglycemic, break all the time:

Dairy is evil.

Seriously??? I live on dairy. I actually have to limit myself to two glasses of milk a day. Otherwise, I’d be downing milk all day long. Also, for a hypoglycemic, 1 cup of low-fat milk is 100 calories, 7 grams of protein and a serving and a half of carbohydrates, making it the PERFECT composition for a great snack.  And cheese? Low-fat, low-sodium cheese is a great protein for a snack. And, by the way, for all you protein powder lovers out there, it’s also the base ingredient of whey protein.

Never, ever eat bread 

This one is equally laughable to me.  I eat bread all of the time. It’s wheat, whole grain, or some other dark bread 90% of the time, but it’s still bread. Peanut butter and honey sandwiches are one of my most favorite foods on earth and I love a healthy soup with a side of bread with A LITTLE cream cheese on it. I also limit how much bread I eat, but the limit is no more than three slices, or rolls, or whatever per day.

Eat salads

As a general rule, this is actually a good one to follow, but the problem is what we consider a “salad” in the US. Our salads are huge and have tons of crap on them, which kills the whole point of eating a salad. The MINUTE you add cheese, bacon bits, candied nuts, friend chicken, SALAD DRESSING, or anything else that isn’t “natural” onto your salad, you’ve killed it. Don’t think that eating a salad is healthier, it may not be.

Don’t eat 2 hours before bed

This one is probably a good rule for most people, but as a hypoglycemic? This is just not very realistic. If you have to eat every three hours, you’d have to time this so spectacularly each night so that you were eating exactly two hours before bed. Otherwise, you will have a hypoglycemic attack during the night. And those suck. I usually have a small snack, like a glass of milk, right before bed. That usually prevents hypoglycemic attacks during the night and I wake up in the morning mildly hungry.

No carbs (insert the latest trend here…for dinner….ever…with protein…)

Again, it MIGHT be a good rule for the average person (although, I doubt that), but the hypoglycemic diet calls for carbohydrates and protein at every three-hour meal or snack. So, this isn’t a possibility at all. The bigger thing here is to eat HEALTHY carbs such as fruits, whole grains, etc.

 

So there you have it. What “diet rules” do you break?

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