Tag Archives: food

What’s on My…iPod, workout schedule, mind?

3 Dec

Happy Friday fellow healthy chicks, and hooray for the glorious weekend ahead! Since it’s Friday and I know you’re all just itching to get out of work and get your hands on a martini, I’ll keep this post short ‘n’ sweet. Today we’re going to play a little game over at Healthy Chicks so that you all can get to know me better, and I too can hopefully get to know YOU better along the way. 

What’s on My…? 

iPod: Newly downloaded songs= Katy Perry’s “Firework” (totally motivating and great for an energy boost, plus she totally rocked it at the VS Fashion Show), One Republic’s “Secrets” (also gets me going in the morning along with my coffee), Paramore’s “The Only Exception” (how can you not love this song?), Sad Brad Smith’s “Help Yourself” (have been obsessed since watching the movie “Up in the Air“), George Harrison’s “What is Life” (an oldie but a goodie).

Refrigerator Shelves: Honestly, I’m embarrassed ’cause there isn’t much right now- definitely time to hit up Trader Joe’s. Currently I have eggs (I heart making egg white omelets), a bunch of veggies (including spinach, cucumber, carrots and zucchini), marinara sauce (leftover from when I made “Spaghetti (squash) & Meatballs”, light string cheese, fresh mozzarella cheese (I’m a sucker for the real thing), apples, an orange and brown rice wraps. 

Workout Sched: This afternoon I’m going for a 2ish mile run with my best friend (she’s running her first 5K in a couple of weeks, yay her!) followed by some Core Fusion Body Sculpt in the apartment. I’m going to try to squeeze in a long run this weekend (5 to 6 miles I hope) as well as some yoga/weights at the gym!

To-Do List: It’s a little scary, but it includes interviewing a salon owner for my PT job, buy Christmas presents for mom, dad, sister, friends, etc., edit recipe book & place orders [will probably order 50 to 100 and sell holiday specials], buy a scarf for a special girl who deserves it, pit-stop to Sephora for some makeup, pit stop at CVS for all the essentials, browse Victoria’s Secret for Christmas goodies, grocery shopping, buy mini things for Florida trip so I won’t have to check my bag (gotta follow the 3.4 oz. rule), and the list goes on and on…

Mind: “I can’t wait for Florida…”, “What’s for lunch?…”, “Wow, that dude next to me has crazy hair…”, “This cappuccino is delish…”, “Seriously, what do you get dads for Christmas?…”

Lips: Vaseline (so good for winter chapped lips) & Bath and Body Works’ “My Favorite Lip Balm” with shea butter and almond oil. (It really is my favorite lip balm-I swear by this stuff)

Cool Bookmarked Pages: Hallmarkcontests.com, OMG Facts, PostSecret, Etsy

Calendar next two weeks: Comedy show, Sunday Funday with my friend Megan, a few meetings, two work holiday parties, Ugly Sweater Party (debating whether to go or not), 4 day road trip to Florida, 5K Jingle Run!

If you have the time, fill in the blanks on some of the above questions…I’d love to learn more about you too!! 

Listening to Your Bod

4 Oct

Yesterday my sister called me complaining that she had a stomach ache because she overdid it this weekend. “I ate way too much this weekend,” she moaned. You see, she wasn’t upset over the fact that she over-ate (I’ve always admired my sister because she’s never let food make her feel guilty by any means), but rather she was upset by the way it made her feel...physically. It was family weekend at her school which meant parties and endless meals out. Between an entire chicken parmesan entrée to chips, dips and beer, she was definitely feeling it come Sunday night. Maybe a year ago, this kind of eating wouldn’t have made a difference on how she felt, but ever since she’s developed a healthier diet, she can no longer handle loads of grease, cheese ‘n’ fatty appetizers all in one weekend (and frankly, neither can I). 

This brings up my point that I-among many people who I know-choose to follow a healthy lifestyle and diet not because it’ll make us “skinny,” “healthy” or “heros” in any way but because it makes our bodies feel good. It’s funny because when I was a little kid (yes, I was a little chubby) I could eat an entire chicken parmesan feast (pasta and all) with a large soda, then dessert and feel wonderful afterward, still hungry even. Now if I tried to tackle that kind of meal I’d definitely feel the burn…in my stomach. My tummy can only handle half a burger these days (which I only do on occasion) and I also had to give up pasta, breads and pastries due to my gluten intolerance (grr). While years ago I could have probably downed an entire large pizza in one sitting, a slice or two (of gluten free) now does the trick. You get the point. 

Once you start to develop healthier eating habits, you begin to crave healthy food,  not because it’ll make you thin but because it makes your body feel good. While many tease me that I’m a health freak or admire my “amazing willpower,” it’s really not because I’m heroic or super motivated in any way; it’s just I enjoy healthy, wholesome food. Believe it or nut, but I actually crave grilled salmon and chicken with roasted vegetables. Hummus, edamame, kale, and other food people find “weird” or “healthy” appeal to me, and many others. I love cooking and experimenting with new foods each and every day, making meals that’ll fill me up, spark my creativity and ignite my taste buds. 

I guess my point is that being healthy isn’t so hard after all. It’s just a lifestyle choice that soon becomes second nature to you. I don’t avoid Doritos because I think they’ll make me fat but because I’d rather indulge in fresh fruits and veggies (they taste better) and I’d rather avoid the stomach ache I’d get from eating a bag of oily, greasy chips. Same goes for the ChickenParmesa/beer/party food indulgence my sister was complaining about. While I’m sure the meal was decadent and she enjoyed every bite, she had to pay the not-so-pleasant consequences of feeling bloated and full the rest of the weekend. Maybe eating half or saving some for later may have been more gentle on her body?

That’s the whole point: listening to your body. Eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full. Know that foods are going to bother your stomach, and eat them sparingly. If cheese or beer always makes you feel bloated, maybe skip those foods on a weekend you have a lot of plans going on. It’s all about knowing what works best for you and your body, and using your body as your #1 decision maker. Take last night for example. I made a large salad with fresh veggies, Whole Food’s chicken veggie salad and a few mini mozzarella cheese balls. It filled me up for quite some time, and I figured that’d be it for the night. However, 9:00 rolled around and I was hungry again. No I wasn’t going to deprive myself, but I also knew I didn’t need an additional meal. So I met in the middle. I was craving salty and savory so I made a mini plate of low-sodium nachos with cheese and boy did it hit the spot. That’s listening to your body at its best. While 9 p.m. Sunday nachos might not be the norm,  it’s what my body was craving at the time, so I fed into it. 

I encourage you to do the same.

Do you listen to your body? What kinds of food make you feel good? Are there others that you struggle with (i.e. allergies, intolerance, bloat, etc)? Please share your personal experience with listening to YOUR body…

Managing Overeating & Finding a Healthy Balance

30 Sep

[source]

It’s fall and while the weather’s getting a little cooler ‘n’ the leaves are a-changin’ colors, you’d rather your body not change as well (for the worse). But we’ve all been there. When it’s colder outside and sweatpants become your go-to get-home-from-work outfit, it’s so much easier to finish off that leftover pasta or have just one more slice of pizza or only a bite of the melt-in-your-mouth cookie (which quickly turns into eating 4). Trust me, I know how hard it is, and how easy it is to get a little off track when you no longer have to worry about public trips to the beach in you teeny-weeny bikini. You find yourself letting go and giving up on your exercise routine because it’s just soooo much easier (and more fun) to cuddle up on the couch with a good movie and some sweet treats. 

My good friend came to me with such problem the other day. Being a nanny by day (God help her, she’s a champ), she’s constantly surrounded by “kid food” i.e. frozen pizza, leftover birthday cake, extra-frosting cupcakes, and chicken nuggets. Thankfully for her, the mother of the family is rather healthy and normally carries nutritious food in the house. However, one of the children just had a birthday party meaning LOTS of leftover food. She said they had everything in the house from pizza to carrot cake, just sitting there staring at her. And she did what any bored, stressed nanny would do: she indulged in the carrot cake (which she said was the most moist, delicious cake she’s ever had) and finished off the pizza. She then came home telling me how crappy she felt for over-eating, emotionally and physically (her stomach hurt too). 

While I did feel bad about her stomach ache, I didn’t want her to feel bad about her indulgence because it was a one time thing and I know she makes healthy decisions 90% of the time. Of course, it wouldn’t be so good if she did that every day, but it was one day and in a way I don’t blame her. She learned from her mistake (felt crappy the rest of the day) and then decided to move on with it (went to the gym later that night). And then the next day she was back to her normal, healthy, wholesome diet just like that. 

You see it’s all about balance. Balance means making up for binges by realizing it’s a one time thing and moving on with life, eating grilled fish with delicious seasoned veggies for dinner and then having that homemade cookie you want for dessert, skipping a workout one day because you aren’t feeling it but then working extra hard the next, taking a break from work/studying/craziness to do some yoga. You get the point. 

Life is way to short to eat/be/exercise perfectly all of the freakin’ time, but we can do so in a balanced, almost-perfect way. Heck, I practice balancing all of the time. It’s the only way to make it through life sanely without beating yourself up over every little “mistake” (eating too many chocolate chips) or accidentally overindulging in pizza because you deprived yourself from having just one slice and ate the boring apple instead. 

Just yesterday, I made a number of balancing decisions. When I went apple picking with my mom, the farm had just made freshly baked homemade apple cider donuts. Now normally I’m not a donut girl. But, a freshly baked donut right out of the oven from a farm?  That was worth it to me! So my mom and I split one small one to make for a healthy decision. Later in the day I listened to my body and wasn’t feeling hungry around lunch so I simply had a mini-lunch of freshly picked apple slices and sharp cheddar cheese. It filled me up and I moved on with my day. When it was too hot outside to go for my run (what’s with 90 degrees in fall?) I went paddle-boating with my mom for an hour on the lake and took in the beautiful foliage. Sure I wasn’t sweating up a storm, but my legs got a heck of a good workout and I didn’t beat myself up over skipping my run. Later, when dinner rolled around I enjoyed my sushi (and a lot of it). I don’t get the chance to have good sushi very often, so you bet I had a little bit of the California Roll, a little bit of the Spicy Tuna roll, and a couple pieces of the Special Maki Creation: Lobster Mango Roll. It filled me up, I was satisfied, and guess what? I didn’t even want or need dessert after. 

Living a healthy lifestyle is all about making healthy decisions day by day, but not beating yourself up over little slips here and there. Do what makes you feel good. Go to the gym because you want to go and it’ll make your body feel strong and your mind feel clear. Eat the cookie if you really want it, not because it’s sitting there and you’re bored. Skip out on pizza if you’re craving a grilled chicken salad, or have a slice with a side salad if it’s what you’re craving. Skip the gym and go for a long walk once in a while, or do some yoga to clear your mind. Can’t decide on what to eat? Distract yourself for a few minutes (on the computer, reading a magazine) until you really know what you want, and can clearly tell if you are hungry or not. Always have healthy snacks on hand so you don’t pig out on chips just ’cause they’re in front of you. And don’t feel bad about eating too much carrot cake in one sitting. Tomorrow is another day. Just jump right back on track! 

Create a healthy balance, and I can assure you you’ll be one happy, healthy chick!

How do you manage overeating when there’s loads of delectable fall food in front of you? What do you do to maintain that healthy balance? 

Boston Local Food Festival THIS Weekend: Beer, Healthy Eats ‘n’ Fun!

28 Sep

Calling all local-lovers, environmental enthusiasts, health freaks, foodies and hungry people alike. This Saturday, Oct. 2nd is the First Annual Boston Local Food Festival.  No, this isn’t just your everyday Farmer’s Market or rinky-dink fair; this is a one-of-a-kind festival to remember! The delicious outdoor festival will take place at Boston’s Fort Point Channel from Congress St. Bridge, the Boston Children’s Museum up to the Moakley Bridge at Northern Avenue. Did I mention that there’s FREE admission? Yup, not cost to come!

Still not convinced? Well I’ll let you in on some insider highlights that’ll have you drop your Saturday cartoons and lazy couch potato lounging in a jiffy. Not to mention, I am one of their featured bloggers (take a peak) and am also volunteering on the day of the event, so you should definitely come say hi! 

Some hot highlights of the event: 

1. Prime location: Yes, you saw the directions. That means a whole afternoon filled with waterfront fun…can’t beat that. Shop, eat, and laugh the day away with your friends and family in the midst of the lovely Boston fall scenery! 

2. Budget-Friendly: You heard that right. Not only do you get to sample delectable food all day long, but you can do so at an affordable price. Many people are turned off by buying local, healthy food because of the steep costs. But now, you don’t need to worry because the event is ensuring low cost, affordable prices. Everything that’s sold must be $5 & under. Now that’s a steal if I ever saw one (and it helps with over-eating too)! 

3. Top-Chef Style Competition: There is going to be a “Seafood Throwdown”battle between two chef’s (Didi Emmons of Haley House v. Jason Bond of Beacon Hill Bistro, No. 9 Park and Bondir Restaurant) to see who takes the cake (er, fish) as top chef. Both contestants will have a certain amount of time to “shop” at the festival for local ingredients and then craft a meal from their mystery fish. This is definitely something you can’t miss! 

4. Chef Demos: On top of the chef competition, there will also be live chef demos all afternoon. From a “Whole Hog Demo” by Chef Matt Jennings to a “Crepes at Home Demo” by Chef Garcia, there is definitely something for everyone’s palate. 

5. Bring on the Beer: Yes, there will indeed be beer and wine tasting at the festival too for all of you who like a little liquid to go with all that food! Did I mention all the beer and wine is local as well? You’ll sample brews from a number of local brewing companies, including Haverhill Brewing, Cape Ann Brewing Co. and Harpoon Brewery. Tickets are available before and during the event, but I suggest you buy them now to avoid long lines! The price is very reasonable: $10 for 10 tastings and $20 for 25 tastings, so get your local drinking on folks! Purchase tickets today here. 

6. Eat On the Go: This isn’t one of those festivals where you have to wait until you get home to enjoy your eats. There will be food on-sale that you can enjoy instantly. Vendors include Taza chocolate (just tried it yesterday for the first time and it’s absolutely to-die-for), Nella Pasta, Daily Catch Restaurant, Burnin’ Love Sauces, The Best Damn Granola Co. and a whole lot more! 

7. Local…Music: Not only will there be local food, local health& wellness companies and local chefs, but there will also be local music! How cool? Bands include Kolors Band, The Lowbrow Boys, Squeezebox Stompers and Zili Misik. Be sure to check them out for a little local flavor to swing to!

10 Kitchen Staples for the Healthy Chick

15 Sep

Tonight for dinner I made one of my favorite quick and easy dishes:  Light ‘n’ Healthy Summer Pasta (or shall I call it Fall pasta?) Really, a dish like this can be made every season, with minor veggie variations of course. Anyway, back to the point: as I was running around boiling the water and sautéing my veggies, I thought about how terrible it’d be if I didn’t have some extremely vital kitchen staples. You know, the things you take for granted when cooking but it’d be a complete kitchen nightmare if suddenly you were all out. Yes, those lovely lifesavers. Anyway, I put a quick list together of my personal gotta-have-it supplies and thought I’d share with you fine ladies!

1. Extra Virgin Olive Oil- The perfect “dressing” for a salad, the best and only way to cook veggies, and the most wonderful combination with pasta. EVOO is definitely a MUST in my book (er…kitchen). 

2. Fresh herbs: I always like to have a few fresh herbs around the house. Right now I have basil and dill, but I like to change it up depending on what I’m cooking that week. Other faves are cilantro, parsley, mint leaves, and rosemary. I love using them to season meats, sprinkling them into my pasta dishes, adding them to veggie entrees and mixing them into dips ‘n’ spreads. Oh, and garlic! It’s not really an herb but I’m adding it into this category. Garlic is a must in every gal’s kitchen and I add it to nearly everything. 

3. Dried herbs and seasonings: Just as important as fresh herbs are all my dried herbs/seasonings and trust me I have plenty of ‘em! From oregano, basil, turmeric, parsley, ground pepper, red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, chili power, garlic salt, celery salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, paprika and mustard seed, I pretty much have them all and use them frequently. I LOVE playing around with these herbs and seasonings to kick up a boring dish or add an interesting flavor to something that you may have never thought of before. 

4. A Nut Butter of Choice: I go for Teddie All Natural Peanut Butter. If I don’t have it I FREAK. I also love all natural almond butter, and have even tried sunflower butter (although I still don’t know how I feel about it). Anyway, I need some sort of nut butter to spread, dunk, dip and indulge at any given time. If I run out of a peanut butter, I am not a happy girl in the kitchen.

5. And…Nuts! As much as I love nut butter, I also love nuts. I snack on raw almonds usually, but sometimes have walnuts and sunflower seeds on hand too. Pine nuts are also a favorite, especially when cooking veggie and pasta dishes. You can also use walnuts or pine nuts to make homemade pesto too : )

6. Eggs: I use eggs every week, whether it be in my morning veggie egg white omelet (or special Caprese omelet) or baking some healthy muffins. Eggs are simply a staple to every healthy chick’s kitchen.

7. Seasonal Fruits ‘n’ Veggies: Every week at the grocery store, I purchase fruits and veggies that are in season, fresh and (ideally) local. This week I stocked up on spinach, cucumbers, zucchini, squash and tomatoes. Last week I played with eggplant. I also always have some red and sweet onions on hand to add to omelets, salads and many homemade dinners. As for fruit, I always have apples and bananas for a go-to snack, but I also buy what’s fresh and in season, like berries, watermelon and cantaloupe. 

8. Lean Meats: You’ll never catch my freezer bare of lean meats. In particular, skinless boneless chicken breast and lean ground turkey. You can do so much with them, and are both healthy proteins to jazz up any dish! (This Squash ‘n’ Turkey Burg Medley is one of my favorites). I buy them fresh, use it the day of and then freeze the leftovers into plastic baggie portions for future use. Just take it out of the freezer the day of, plop it in the fridge and you’ll be good to go by dinner time!

9. Whole grains: Whole grains are just oh so good for us, as women have finally come to realize carbs are not the enemy! I always have a stock of Ezekiel bread I keep in my freezer (I like the original and cinnamon raison variety), gluten free rolled oats, brown rice, quinoa, brown rice pasta, and some whole grain wraps on hand. I honestly don’t know what I would do without these kitchen essentials. 

10. Dark Chocolate: I gotta have it! Just a few dark chocolate chips after dinner does the trick for me every time, and dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants good for heart health. It’s a win win situation : ) 

EXTRA: 11. Greek Yogurt: I can’t believe I left this favorite out. I’m eating it for dessert now with fresh veggies, so this is my extra #11 must (sorry I left you out greek yogurt). Hey, why not save the best for last? 

What are your gotta-have-’em kitchen staples? 

Dinner for One, Please: Eating Healthy on a Budget

8 Sep

As of this week, I have officially been living in Boston for one year. ONE YEAR! I can’t believe how fast the time has flown by. I also can’t believe that while living in the exciting city on a budget (let’s just say I won’t be rolling in the dough for quite some time), I’m still able to manage my money. People ask me all of the time how I survive in this expensive city. “Dinner out, cafes everywhere, pricy bars…how do you possibly do it?” 

While I talked about eating healthy on a budget in my interview with Lifestyler last fall here, I thought I’d share some new tricks of the trade now that I’m truly a savvy Bostonian (yay, I can finally call myself that, although I still don’t have the accent). Anyway, back to the point: now that I’ve lived in a city for more than a year and have been able to eat, live and sleep, I think I can offer some valuable advice to you fine folks looking to do the same. 

1. Cook the Perfect Amount: Don’t let food go to waste! I know for me, if I cook too much food, I’ll save it for “leftovers” and half the time end up forgetting about it. There’s nothing tasty nor practical about rotten food! Instead, cook according to your party size. For me, it’s mostly cooking for one ’cause I’m a single girl in the city (unless I treat my roomies here and there). They say “one is the loneliest number” which is true to an extent, but when it comes to cooking on a budget the number one couldn’t be sweeter. Instead of making extravagant 8-serving size pasta dishes, I simply use 1/2 a cup of brown rice pasta just for me. I buy 4 oz. servings of salmon at the market, and sauté just one chicken breast when I’m making a chicken entree. If a recipe calls for 6 large chicken breasts, but you know you’re only cooking for one or two, change things up accordingly!

2. Make Use of What You Already Have! The biggest mistake people make when trying to save money is going on grocery shopping binges, and buying nearly everything in the store. Be sure to check what you have in your fridge before you buy, buy, buy! You’ll be surprised by what kind of ingredients you can find in your drawers, cabinets and freezer. Oooohh yea, I froze soup a few weeks ago! Seriously, whenever you think you have NO FOOD IN THE HOUSE, look a little deeper…I’m sure you do. On a larger note, be creative with what you have in the house as well. Yesterday was the perfect example of a savvy budgeting decision. I planned to make eggplant lasagna (you can find the recipe here) and was going to use a little ricotta cheese for the spinach filling. However, I didn’t have ricotta in the house and quite frankly it would be a waste to buy it because I’d never use it again. That’s when it hit me. I saw the leftover container of tofu from a few nights ago sitting in the fridge. A-ha! I then substituted crumbled tofu for ricotta cheese and honestly couldn’t taste the difference. My roommate even tried the finished product and absolutely loved it (I didn’t tell her there was tofu in it…shhh!). Anywho, I do this all of the time. No walnuts? Use slivered almonds. Ran out of oil and want to make muffins? Use applesauce. The possibilities are endless!

3. Learn to Shop Smart: I have to be honest: when I first moved to Boston I wasn’t the smartest shopper. Of course, I ate healthy, but I’d spend tons of money on healthy meals to go, organic veggies, and pricy fruit. I actually bought a bundle of grapes for $7 once. RIDICULOUS. Never again. Now I like to think I’m much smarter when it comes to grocery shopping. In fact, I keep my weekly grocery budget around $25 to $40 a week, quite impressive considering I rarely eat out. The trick? First, never go shopping when you’re starving or in a “weird” mood. You’ll end up buying things you don’t need or even worse…buying the whole store! My roommate once went to the grocery store with me after a long night out and ended up buying gummy fruit snacks. The next day, she was like “What the hell was I thinking?” The thing is: she wasn’t. On another note, look for SALES. If grapes are $7, obviously go without grapes that day and buy the bag of apples that’s $2.99 for a dozen. If cucumbers are 2 for $1, skip the carrots and use cucs for your hummus dipping this week. Play it by year day. 

4. Check Out Local Farmer’s Markets: I swear by Farmer’s Markets (or any kind of market in fact as you can see)! They are my absolute favorite thing to do. The browsing and sampling alone get me every time. But even better: many of them have sweet sales. I bought my eggplant for my yummy lasagna at yesterday’s Farmers Market and it simply tasted soooooo much better than usual. You can also find cheap, locally grown veggies, fruit, herbs and baked goods galore! The best part about the markets is you can talk to the local farmers and find out exactly where your food is from, what’s put into it, and how it’s made. A guy I met yesterday explained to me that locally grown carrots, for instance, are much healthier than those grown in California because when baby carrots are packaged they add tons of sugar to keep them fresh. Makes sense. Buy what’s local and you’ll not only enjoy the fresh taste, but you’ll also hopefully save a few bucks. 

5. Try to Cook For Yourself As Much as Possible: I actually adore cooking, so this step is easy for me. But for those of you not so fond of putting on the apron and cranking up the stove, start slow. Maybe have a Potluck dinner with your  friends in the area, or make homemade healthy pizza with your boyfriend. Once you start cooking a few nights a week, you’ll realize how enjoyable it is. I love cooking for myself especially because I know exactly what’s going into my food (no hidden surprises or fatty cream sauces snuck in). If you’re not ready to cook a whole meal (or simply don’t have the time) cook half of it. Buy some fresh bread or cheese from your local market, and make a yummy homemade salad with field greens, veggies and olive oil. This way you’re at least saving money on the salad. To be honest: restaurant and pre-made salads just aren’t worth it. They taste old and I usually find them boring. To go with this point, it’s also practical to make your own coffee and tea, etc. I had a major Starbuck’s addiction when I first moved to Boston, which costed me lotsssss of money. Now, I make a few cups of freshly brewed coffee in the morning with breakfast. Best part? My most recent coffee (a cinnamon hazelnut blend) costed only $5.99, and I’ll probably get a good 20+ cups out of it. 29 cents a cup? Not too shabby and beats a $3 cup of coffee any day. 

6. But do Treat Yourself Too! I’m not trying to suck all the fun out of you! If you’re invited to a fun dinner out, of course go and enjoy. Get take out from your favorite cafe when you’re craving it. Have that special drink only your bartender knows how to make! Just make sure to keep in check with your budget when doing so! I loveeee sushi, so allow myself to have it every so often. Better yet? I just found out that the sushi place down the street from me does 15% off Tuesdays. I’M IN! Tomorrow, I’m also treating myself to a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice latte as I catch up with a friend. It’s almost fall and they’re back. How can I resist? 

Hope you found these tips useful! Please share your personal advice for eating healthy on a budget…What are your money-saving secrets? 

A Runner’s Diet: Hot Tips From RD Allison Rovtar!

20 Aug

So, I wouldn’t really call myself a “runner” per se. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t absolutely LOVE doing it. I remember seven years ago on my 16th birthday when I couldn’t even run a mile without getting winded and let down. Now at 23, I run nearly every day, sticking to 3 to 4 miles at a nice steady pace. I absolutely love the way it makes me feel afterward. I love the wind blowing through my hair. I love how it gives my face this unbelievable glow like no other when I’m finally finished. And I love how it makes me feel strong, healthy and beautiful. Let’s just put it this way: I love running and admire all of you healthy, avid runners out there. But let me ask you this: do you know the BEST way to eat when training for a race? How about what to grab in the morning before your quick 2-mile loop? Do you need to guzzle lots of water before and after? Not a clue? I wasn’t 100% positive myself. That’s why I asked Registered Dietitian, Allison Rovtar from Chicago, to be featured on my blog as a guest columnist. Here she shares hot, exclusive tips and advice for all you runners out there!

RC: So, you just woke up and you’re going out for a quick 3 to 5 mile run in the morning. Do you suggest you eat/drink anything before? Wait ’til after?

AR: I always encourage my clients to eat about 45 minutes prior to working out. This allows them the energy they may need to have a good run. A good rule of thumb is to have something that includes protein, carbohydrate, and fat. This could mean an apple with 2 tbsp peanut butter, oatmeal with chia seeds, or even Greek yogurt.

RC: What should women in particular be aware of when following a runner’s diet? Anything you’d eat more of? Leave out?

AR: People used to believe that you had to load up on carbs weeks before and this just isn’t the case. Yes, you do want to be sure you are taking in adequate calories from carbohydrates but no need to overdo it! Overdoing it and consuming too many carbohydrates the night before can leave you feeling bloated for race day. Carbohydrates are, however, a necessity as they provide us with the glycogen needed for energy! Complex carbohydrates are key and generally my endurance athletes consume 55% calories from carbohydrates, 25% protein, and 20% fat but these numbers can vary a bit person-to-person. In the days leading up to your event you can up your carbohydrate intake to 60% if desired.

RC: I know many people (not myself) who run well over 13 miles-sometimes more-on a regular basis? What should they be fueling up with? Do you suggest gu, gels, etc? What should you drink?

AR: I suggest runners carry Gu or Gu Chomps with them when planning on running anything longer than 45 minutes. This will help with energy levels and for most people stop them from hitting a “wall” during the latter miles. A good rule of thumb is 1 packet (Gu) or 2-3 Chomps every 45 minutes to 1 hour. During a half marathon or marathon I encourage runners to switch between water and an electrolyte drink at each station. They usually have both throughout the race. For some runners it may be important to walk through the water stations. This way they get enough water in and don’t spill most of it while trying to drink and run!

RC: How do you prep most effectively for a race? A 5k? A half marathon? A full marathon? What kind of meals do you suggest you eat drink before/during/after? The night before?

AR: Each race is going to be different. The mileage plays a significant role in the prep before, during, and after. I always encourage runners to add chia seeds to their meal plan. Chia seeds are an excellent source of omega-3’s and calcium. A lot of research has shown that when chia seeds are ingested they form a gel like consistency in the gut. This can help slow the breakdown of carbohydrates.

The before routine is going to vary from person to person. Before the Rock ‘N Roll Chicago half, I had a banana with peanut butter and 8 oz. of an electrolyte drink. Experiment with what works for you and do not try something new race day! Marathon runners may need more to eat the morning of. I have had some clients who will have three pieces of whole wheat toast and almond butter the morning of so they are not starving mid race!

Hydration post race is especially important. Be sure to consume water and pay attention to the color of your urine. If it is light yellow a few hours after your race, more than likely you have adequately rehydrated yourself!

RC: What’s your #1 nutrition tip for women athletes?

AR: Rest days! Be sure to listen to your body. Women tend to push themselves to the point where there body begins to breakdown and this is where injuries can happen. Taking a break from running and doing yoga or Pilates is always a great idea!

RC: What do you do to stay fit and maintain a healthy diet? Are you a runner? Do you go to the gym? Any special diets you follow?

AR: Along with being a Registered Dietitian I am also a NASM-Performance Enhancement Specialist, so staying healthy is important! I enjoy running and boxing for my workouts along with resistance training. I work at a gym so it is very easy for me to get my workouts in! As far as special diets I try to ensure complex carbohydrates and adequate protein. At the end of the day my calories usually add up to about 45% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 25% fat.

RC: Thanks Allison! I definitely learned a lot. Be sure to check Allie out on Twitter at Allie_RD for more sweet nutrition tips!

The Healthy, No Fuss Guide to a First Date

18 Aug

So, I’m going on a date tonight and I have to say I’m quite excited. Hey, dates are fun. While some of my friends (whose names I won’t mention) get nervous, sweaty and, well, gassy, before a first date (HA), I think about other things. “What do I eat? What will I wear? What do I order? How much do I drink? I’m a “light weight” these days…what if I get too drunk? Will I look OK? He’s older then me…what will he think of me?” Seriously, that’s what is going through my mind right now and it’s not even 9 a.m. OK, I’m exaggerating a tad, but really these are things you need to think about ladies. Alas, here is my quick-fix Healthy Chicks guide to a first date. Hope you enjoy!

What to eat the day of the big date:
Yes, what you eat the day of a date really does affect the way you look and feel that evening. Let’s just put it this way: today is definitely not the day to try out that sugary coffee you’ve been eying, or order the burger at lunch. No, no, no. Today you must be cautious so you feel like a complete babe later on. This means cut back on sugar, sugar substitutes, refined starchy carbs, extra salt, sodas or other fizzy drinks, hefty meals, and even sugar-free gum. These are all things that make you feel BLOATED and no one wants to feel bloated right before a night out in the city. I packed my bag for work accordingly so that I can feel extra-good tonight.

Breakfast=2 pieces Ezekiel toast with 1 TB smart balance butter; 1 egg mixed with 1 egg white, cup of black coffee (I wanted my breakfast to be filling, so I went with 2 pieces of sprouted grain toast served with an egg+ egg white for ultimate protein, then obviously coffee for my caffeine fix)

Snack=ANOTHER iced coffee+ banana (The first coffee didn’t quite do it for me so I picked another one up at Dunkin’ on my way to work for an extra kick (iced with a little skim, no sugar)…and gotta love fresh fruit in the morning, but this would be even better topped with all natural peanut butter or almond butter!)

Lunch=Lemon Zest Luna bar with Clementine (I chose a light lunch today because I know I’ll be drinking and probably eating appetizers later, plus the Luna bar is great for protein. Not to mention, it’s packed with calcium, folic acid, vitamin D, and iron, all super good nutrients for women.)

Afternoon snack=large bowl of pineapple topped with Greek yogurt and cinnamon (for a sweet ‘n’ fresh afternoon pick-me-up)

Dinner*=large salad with fresh spinach, feta cheese and lots of fresh veggies drizzled in olive oil and lemon (skipping the salt this time in my salad so I can feel bloat-free) *If you are going out to dinner, order what you want and eat until you’re full. If you loooove salads and grilled chicken, get one. If you’re a steak girl, go for it baby! Just take into account how it’s going to make your body feel later on, and if you’re having lots of cocktails cut down on the high-cal dinner options. For me, I usually get a fresh salad, grilled chicken or a seafood entree and skip the fried or carby entrees because they upset my stomach due to my gluten intolerance. So, eat what you know your body can handle…do your body good.

How to Make Sure You Have Enough Time:

If you’re like me, I like to get in a kick-butt sweaty workout session the day of a date. It not only makes me feel fabulous, but it also works wonders on your confidence. Since I knew I wouldn’t have time nor want to exercise after work, I decided to get it over with in the morning. Yes, I woke up at 6 a.m. and forced my butt to the gym. While getting out of bed was a little bit of a struggle, I couldn’t have felt better once I was there. I went for a quick yet sweaty workout since I knew I only had 45 minutes, an hour at most. I started with 25 minutes of intervals on the elliptical, alternating 30 second full-out sprints with a minute of steady paced jogging. Once I was dripping in sweat, I knew I did something right. After all, that’s the goal. After I spend the next 20 minutes or so doing weighted lunges and squats, mixed with shoulder exercises (overhead press, shoulder presses, etc). I then jogged home to end my workout the right way!

Also, if you have time in the morning, pick out your outfit ahead of time. Yes, I know it sounds a little Elementary school-ish, but no one likes to be running around last minute like a chicken with their head cut off. I mentally decided what I’m going to wear tonight so it’s in my mind. That way, when I get home from work, I can eat dinner and get ready without all the last minute hustle bustle.

What to wear:

It’s always good to be aware of what kind of place you are going to before your date. Luckily this time I know exactly where I’m going, so I’m going to dress accordingly. The place is nice and on the waterfront, so I’m planning on wearing a bright-colored dress with nice flip-flops. Classy yet not over the top (i.e. no high heels). However, sometimes you have to make a judgment call when you’re not exactly sure where the date will be held. I always say go classy over tight and skanky and wear something YOU’LL feel comfortable in. That’s the most important thing for me.

One time, I was completely UNDERDRESSED on a date and couldn’t have felt more awkward. I was under the impression that we were doing something low-key and chill (i.e. going out for ice cream) so when the guy I was going out with told me to meet him at Eastern Standard last minute and I rolled up in jeans and a tee, I couldn’t feel more of an outsider. He was in a collared button down and nice pants, women were dressed to the nines in jewelry and cocktail dresses, there were white tablecloths and candles on the table, and there I was in my girl-next-door t-shirt. YIKES. Never again…never again. I guess I learned my lesson to always dress a little bit above average at least.

What to Drink:

Typically, I go for a glass (or two) of red wine or a vodka seltzer with a splash of pineapple or cranberry juice. These are great choices, especially during a hot summer night by the waterfront☺ However, use your best judgment and drink what you want…just know your limits…don’t want to get sloppy!

When I want something more indulgent, I usually go for a margarita on the rocks or a vodka pineapple…mmm!

To Kiss or Not to Kiss…
Well, this one’s up to you!

Well, that’s all for now. Enjoy your date!

XoXo,

The Healthy Chick

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