You think it’s an easy way to cut calories but……….

So cutting calories for weight loss is an ideal thing to do if your consuming too many (most Americans are), but here are some tricks and tips that may have you thinking your being healthy, when in reality they may be hurting you…. or helping you keep on the weight you want to drop.

chicken thigh fats fats good

  • Picking poultry instead of beef– So yes, lean chicken and turkey are about as clean as clean eating can be but things like the ground up turkey for turkey burgers and such, often have the skin and darker meat ground in as well (things they don’t tell you- those bitches!). Darker meat has more calories when it comes to poultry by the way, that’s why whenever you read most diets, the often revolve around the breast of the bird since its all white meat. Where in retrospect, beef (LEAN beef), can be only 155 calories with 6 grams of fat, as compared to the ground up turkey at 205 calories and 14 grams of fat. *So how to fix– Look for labels that say lean (90%) on either one, beef or turkey.
  • No fat at all! – I know they have had this on the news but there are still people out there that think all fat is bad, and that just isn’t the case. The way fat works is……… Monounsaturated fats  and polyunsaturated fats are known as the “good fats” because they are good for your heart, your cholesterol,  and your overall health.. It’s the trans fats, and saturated fats you have to avoid. Fat helps you stay fuller longer and it takes longer for your body to digest, therefore its a good thing because you wont be wanting food every hour on the hour. *So how to fix – Add good, satisfying fats to your food, think avocado, nuts, seeds, olive oil. Plus good fats add loads of yummy flavors! – say no to boring food my lovely’s!
  • Think to yourself if your truly hungry – I have to do this sometimes because we get bored and out of habit, we eat. Its only human and natural to do that I think. But take a minute ( I like to drink a whole glass of water because sometimes your body is honestly just thirsty and wait about 10 minutes to figure out if I’m really hungry or not.) Take a deep breath and decide, if you are ..great eat a small healthy snack, if carrots and hummus or something along those lines doesn’t sound good, then you probably aren’t hungry and your bored. *So how to fix – find something else to take your mind off it. I like to pop some of that Deserts Extra brand gum in my mouth because it craved that sweet taste I’m looking for. They have all kind of flavors from root beer float to strawberry shortcake. I also go for a run, read a book, blog, play fetch with the dogs or even just watch a TV show… anything can help, you just have to find what works for you.

gluten sport real

  • Everything Gluten Free – Don’t get me wrong I personally love gluten free foods. But not all of them are good for you. Just because fruit roll ups say they are gluten free, doesn’t mean you should eat them – don’t, they are full of sugar hhahah. But a lot of gluten free products like take baking with a GF flour for example, its sometimes made with things such as white rice or potatoes.. or both (double whammy). – This kind of flour doesn’t have as much fiber and nutrients as a regular whole wheat flour with the same amount of calories and sometimes even more! *So how to fix- Look for products that are made with quinoa or brown rice, they are a much healthier option and still gluten free. I like Bob’s Red Mill brand personally.
  • Sweet Drinks and Energy Drinks – OK… seriously? Do you really think that double espresso Rockstar is a wise choice for your health? Its full of caffeine (which your probably addicted to if you “need” it or it “helps you wake up and get going” in the mornings), not to mention full of sugar and just plan crap for your body. Do you think our bodies were meant to consume that??? Not so much. Also, most of those sports drinks are virtually calorie free, meaning they are full of fake sugar, even worse, your body doesn’t know how to digest that fake shit.. quit it. *So how to fix- Just stick to water, add fruit to it to make it taste better if you have to.
  • Giving Fruits and Veggies a quick rinse – Yes you should wash them. And yes it does kill off the pesticides, but you have to wash them for long enough. Usually people just lightly dip it under the sink and call it good, and that isn’t enough. Most pesticides have shown to slow metabolism and even mess with your thyroid gland. So yea, you may be getting all your nutrients because you’ve added more produce, but it might be sabotaging your weight loss. *so what’s the fix – Wash for 30 seconds each time. Also you technically can buy organic (another reason why you want try to buy organic when you can…) but not have to worry about washing it because there are no pesticides used in growing it. I wash mine anyways just to be safe…and clean.
  • Store Bought Smoothies- Yes they are healthier, but they may have as many calories as a cheeseburger- depending on which ones you get. They can have as low as 200 to as high as 1000. They add tons of fruit veggies but unfortunately, a shit ton of sugar (which usually fake sugar or syrups.) *So how to fix– Make your own and take it with you. They make serving size smoothie machines that make it super easy as a quick breakfast in the morning.. so you don’t really have an excuse A. not to make breakfast (because so many people don’t eat breakfast) And B. if your trying to loose weight and get healthy.. you need to be eating breakfast. Its just as serious as working out.

banana granola wash

  • Ice cream vs. Frozen yogurt- You’d think so, but it actually have about the same amount of calories and sugars. So how to fix – Make your own yummy healthy “ice cream” I posted a link below about some healthy ice creams on Bodybuilding.com and I also posted an ice cream that’s made out of bananas.

Bodybuilding – http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/5-healthy-versions-of-famous-ice-cream-treats.html

Frozen Banana recipes – http://www.babble.com/best-recipes/1-ingredient-banana-ice-cream-10-flavor-twists/two-ingredient-banana-cookies-cream-ice-cream/

  • Granola – Yeah it may seem so great with the oats and grains, your getting some good carbs right?? Wrong. If they didn’t use so mush sugar for one, but a lot of those little oats have added fats too to make it “granola”. But good news is that all granola isn’t bad and its super easy to make your own “healthier” version too.  This goes for granola bars as well. Most granola bars are bonded together ..to make them a “bar” with all kinds of syrups and sugars. … And then some add chocolate into the mix too and then they almost become worse than some candy bars!! So… I’m sure you can make your own bars… (***OOO Striking a recipe challenge to post in future!) So how to fix –  make your own! I attached a link below on some fun recipes to try. Also, When picking out granolas in the supermarket try to make sure sugar isn’t in the first 3 ingredients.. and I know its hard, but try not to pic the ones with all the candies in it. . . . its supposed to be a healthy choice, not desert.

Make your on granola!- http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipes.asp?food=granola&a=#topresults

  • Anything with the word DIET- Just stop. You know what’s healthy, fruits, veggies and lean meats. Its really not that hard, so stop trying to “wiggle” your way around it and find ways to cheat. You either want to be healthy, or you don’t. Just because something says calorie free does NOT mean its healthy and you should consume it …much less all the time! Whether its soda, a “vitamin-enhanced” water, or even a diet drink (i.e.. Slim fast) if it had fake sugar… its not healthy. Just hear me out…. When fake sugar (sweet n low, aspartame. Just to name a few) enters your body it turns into formaldehyde, Formaldehyde is something scientists use to “preserve and protect”. …..  Ew. Think about it for a minute. Google it. Quit preserving your butt with diet soda ok. So the fix- Drink waters, add fruit to it to make it taste better of your getting boded, I think they do make carbonated waters now a days too if its the carbonation your craving …. but make sure there isn’t fake sugar in it.
  • Bread Galore- Sandwich making has become a “fit” and “healthier option” when your on the go or at work. Well lets take the fact that people love their meat, so you know we either add a bunch of meat (Usually lunch meats, pre-package, and FULL of sodium) Or we get the Meat-iest sandwich we can at Subway. “Cold-cut trio me please!” Then we pile on the mayo, or sugar-laden salad dressings (because you know that don’t buy Organic and Natural brands!) Pile on the smallest amount veggies and a lot of cheese ….on a foot long. So the fix is – So when you do make a sandwhich on some Eziekiel bread, or Udis. … Some OTHER form of Healthy Bread, (how to pick a healthy bread- **coming up in a post soon!) to put your sandwich on.        http://shop.udisglutenfree.com/ppcdo/search/google?gclid=CKuO-IbtlLgCFc1cMgodXUgAzA and please, make veggies the main part of it.

bread diet

My Nifty Salad Holder!!

Isn’t this like the coolest little thing?! It collapses too! ahaha! The top green piece get put in the freezer and it will be like a mini cooler and then it even comes with a little dressing holder too. LOVE this thing!

A few other things I’ve done with it.

  • Put carrots or baby tomatoes and hummus in the top.
  • Put chicken strips on the top, salad on the bottom the leafs stay fresh
  • Put Meats, cheese and crackers on the top.
  • Put meat and potatoes in the bottom and steamed veggies on top ( leftovers from night before).

PhotoGrid_1372610713020P.S. I got it at Wal-Mart …

My Everyday Grocery List!

Grocery 555

So I get a lot of questions on what to buy at the store. How do I know how to pick out produce, and such. So without further ado.. Here is my “everyday grocery shopping list”.

  • Most of the things like condiments I already have stocked up so you’ll only have to buy things like that every so often.
  • Also when buying produce keep in mind that this stuff goes bad fast, so only buy what you think your going to eat within that week. (Learned that lesion the hard way!)

grocery 3   grocery2   grocery1

VEGGIES – feel free to add other favorites!

  • Spinach
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Any other “salad” Mixes you’d like
  • Baby carrots
  • Cucumber
  • Tomatoes (baby ones, and big ones)
  • Squash
  • Zucchini
  • Bell Peppers (Red, Yellow, Green, and Orange)
  • Radishes
  • Green Beans
  • Chives and Onions
  • Corn
  • Asparagus

Fruits -Feel free to add other favorites!

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Grapefruit
  • Grapes
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries
  • Raspberries
  • Oranges
  • Lemons (for cooking with and water)

Lean Meats and Protien  ***grass-fed and hormone-free is ideal**

  • Shrimp
  • Tuna (in water)
  • Skin-less Chicken Breasts
  • Ground Turkey
  • Low- Sodium Lunchmeat
  • Turkey Bacon
  • Salmon (wild caught)
  • Lean Beef
  • Eggs and Egg Whites
  • Other fish is good too.
  • *** Any kind of Game meat is awesome for you as well because its in its natural environment and its “grass-fed”. (Antelope, Deer, Bison, Elk, Pheasant etc. )

Carbs

  • Brown Rice
  • Baby red Potatoes
  • Quinoa ( this also comes in a noodle form-by far the best gluten-free choices)
  • Whole-wheat Bread (or Gluten-free)
  • Yams
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • OLD-Fashion Oats
  • Low-Sugar and Low-Carb Cereals

Dairy

  • Skim or Low-Fat Milk
  • Almond or Coconut Milk (Dairy Free)
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Low-Fat Cheese (string cheese options are available in this too)
  • Low-Fat Cottage Cheese

Healthy Fats!

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Coconut Oil
  • Avocado
  • Almonds, Walnuts, Cashews and Pistachios

Condiments

  • Stevia (liquid and sugar form )
  • Honey
  • Cinnamon
  • Salsa
  • Balsamic Vinegar (almost any “clear” type of dressing is better than the creamy kind)
  • Mustard
  • Agave Nectar
  • Flax-Seed Meal (to put in oatmeal and any baking goods)

Drinks

  • Water (obviously) -try to get a BPA free glass container then your saving the environment too!
  • Coffee
  • Green tea (not pre-made, but the tea bags)

The Salad Bar – Building a Kick-Ass Salad! =)

So when it comes to salads, you want to stick to somewhere around 400- 500 calories. That way its enough to sustain you but not to much to where you should have probably just of had a pizza or some pasta. . . And remember calories aren’t everything, you need your good fats in there too to absorb nutrients and adding some protein is always good too.

spinachromainespring mixmixed baby

  • Picking your Greens – pile them on!!! (keep in mind a usual salad has about 3-4 cups at least depending on how much you want.)

Spinach- Only has 7 calories per 1 cup and very high in Vitamin A, low in saturated fat and cholesterol.

Romaine-  10 calories per cup. a good source of Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Magnesium.

Spring Mix- 6 calories per cup. Since this is a mix, you get all kinds of good-ness!!

Iceberg- 8 calories per cup ( not my fav, because it doesn’t have many nutrients, its basically eating a plate of water.. id skip this one, but if your not that used to salads all the time this may be a way to wean you into them. )

Mixed Baby Greens – 6 calories per cup. Since this is a mix, you get all kinds of good-ness!!

shrimpchicken sabeanssteaksalmon shard

  • Protein

Shrimp – 60 calories, 1 gram of fat per 3 oz.

Chicken (breast, skinless) – 179 calories per 4 oz. 4g fat. 35g protein.

Beans-  calories, 0 grams of fat per 1/2 cup. (there are SOOO many different kinda too! My fav ?, black, kidney, and chickpeas)

Steak – 162 calories, 9 grams of fat per 3 oz.

Tofu- 34 calories per slice (around 84g). 1g fat. 5g protein.

Tuna (canned, in water)- 179 calories per cup. 1g fat. 39g protein. Good source of Vitamin B6, Phosphorus, Niacin, Vitamin B12 and Selenium.

Salmon (Wild, Atlantic) – 281 calories per 1/2 Fillet. 13g fat. 39g protein.

Hard Boiled Eggs- 78 calories per Med. egg. 5g fat . 6g protein.

fetacheddar   blue c       ameri

  • Cheese

Feta- 99 calories, 8 grams of fat per 1/4 cup.

Cheddar- 114 calories, 9 grams fat per 1/4 cup

Blue- 119 calories, 10 grams fat per 1/4 cup.

American- 94 calories per 1 oz. 6g fat.

Dairy-free (G0-Veggie Brand) – 90 calories per 1/3 cup. 6g fat.

straw         apples     grape     pear

  • Fruit

Strawberries- 24 calories, 0 grams fat per 1/2 cup.

Dried Fruits  (Apricots) – 34 calories. 0g far per 4 pieces.

Dried Fruits ( Cranberries) – 123 calories per 1/3 cup.

Grapes- 52 calories. 0g fat per 1/2 cup.

Pears- 1 pear 86 calories. 0g fat.

Apples – 95 calories per 1 medium apple.

Mandarin Oranges-103 calories per 1 cup. 1g fat

cucumber          tomato      bell       mush     olive    brocl

  • Pile on the VEGGIES! – and they pretty mush all have 0g fat.

Cucumber- 8 calories per 5 slices.

Broccoli- 20 calories per 1 cup.

Olives-  63 calories per 4 jumbo olives, slice them up, they will go a long way!

Cauliflower- 27 calories in 1 cup

Onion- 8 calories on 2 tbsp.

Carrots- 50 calories in 1 cup of shreds.

Tomato – only 3 calories in 1 cherry tomato.

Bell Peppers- 5 calories in 10 strips.

Mushrooms- 22 calories in 1 cup

Sugar Snap Peas-  41 calories in 1 cup

Radishes- 9 calories in 1/2 cup

corn       avo       whater

  • Other Random Goodies!

Corn- 16 calories per 2 tbsp. o g fat.

Avocado- 23 calories per 1 tbsp. 2g fat.

Seeds (sunflower, pumpkin ,etc.) –  depends on what kind you get – be sure to read label and look at serving size.

Mixed Nuts –  depends on what kind you get – be sure to read label and look at serving size.

Water chestnuts- 60 calories per 1/2 cup

Croutons- 122 calories per cup

  • To Top it Off — Dressings. (ALL PER 2 TBSP. )

Oil and Vinegar- 81 calories. 7g fat.

Light Balsamic- 20 calories. 1g fat.

Fat-free Italian – 13 calories. 0g fat

Thousand Island- 111 calories. 11g fat.

Honey Mustard- 139 calories. 12g fat

Ranch- 149 calories. 15g fat.

Caesar- 163 calories. 17g fat.

Salsa -depends on what kind you get – be sure to read label and look at serving size.

salad 1       salad 2       salad 3         salad 4

Healthy options at Chili’s Restaurant

YAY CHILIS IS SO GOOD! What do you eat? What’s healthy, what look healthy and what really isn’t….. They do have a menu which is “guiltless” which is supposed to be “healthier options”.. but we will look into that too….

Umm so Lets just say all their appetizers are around 1,000 calories along lol. So maybe we should all just pass on that. The chips with salsa is 480, so that would be your best bet if you really wanted one.

So now that we’ve decided all the appetizers aren’t really that great… on to the actual meals!

  • Guiltless Grill Asian Salad
  • Guiltless Grill Caribbean Salad
  • Southwestern Vegetable Soup
  • Chicken And Green Chili
  • Grilled Salmon with Garlic and Herbs
  • The grilled Chicken Fajitas aren’t bad but only if you skip on the tortillas , or see if you can get big lettuce wraps instead.
  • Guiltless classic Sirloin
  • Grilled Chicken Sandwich with Veggies
  • Mango Chili Tilapia

saladsalmon

Don’t get anything fried or beer-battered

The ribs (which is what they are famous for) – No go!

The burgers- Not so much

sandsouo

Olive Garden Healthy Options

So.. I love me some Olive Garden. And its safe to say that its one of my fav’s and I almost ALWAYS get a gift card to that place from a family member for Christmas or my birthday. So needless to say its a known fact that I LOVE OLIVE GARDEN! haha

But not everything there is healthy either. Just like other restaurants, they have good healthy options, and … eh, lets just go with the fact that they have poor decisions as well…So.. which do you choose? How do you know what’s a “healthy” option without bombarding the waitress about all the nutritional information and looking like a crazed, obsessed dieter.

And that my dear friends, is why  I’m here!

AMANDA to the RESCUE!!!

So being the salad and breadstick lover I am, I’m sad to say that one serving of their delicious salad (that’s drenched in awesome dressing I might add) and one breadstick is a whopping 500 calories alone. Sad, but true. And don’t go and try to blame the breadstick either! ok. One breadstick is around 150 calories, so most of the issue is actually coming from the drenched salad… ironically. So, quick fix, as for the dressing on the side! YAY! (don’t drench it when you get it on the side either- that’s defeating the purpose) Instead, dip the prongs of your fork into the dressing and, then, get a fork full of salad. Tastes the same, saves some un-needed calories.

  • Next .. say you want an Appetizer.

Stuffed mushrooms is probably your best option – 280 cal.

Mussels de Napoli which is 180 calories but extremely high in sodium so … only have a few.

Unlike the Lasagna Fritta that’s around 1,030…HOLY SMOKES!

  • Next, the main meal!

Soups and salads are always a better choice (usually) depending on where you go….

Now I know I just bashed the famous Olive Garden salad, bit its not that bad, if its your main course, just go light on the dressing.

Best Soup option – Pasta e fagioli  (it has the lowest amount of sodium)

Other options include

  • Cheese ravioli with marinara sause
  • Linguine alla Marinara
  • Parmesan Crusted tilapia
  • Plain ol’ Spaghetti and Meatballs
  • Herbed Grilled Salmon
  • Apricot Chicken
  • Ravioli Portobello
  • Chicken marsalla (kind of high in sodium , so if you cut in half, that would be ideal)

And as good as that Tour of Italy dish looks , its almost your entire days worth of calories along in that one dish! oh my.. – 1.450 calories and 3,800mg of sodium. WOW

To make your dish even healthier .. you can always ask for Whole grain or Gluten free noodles. Regular linguini and penne are the other two better options.

And choose marinara over any white cream sauce.

Also – here is the link to Olive Gardens Menu and Nutritional Information if you want to look for yourself. https://www.olivegarden.com/Menu/Nutrition/

appri

Chicken Cacciatore (WW)

chi ca

You’ll Need:

8 pieces of chicken, skinned (I used 8 small thighs)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

3 teaspoons olive oil

1 onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped

1/4 lb of mushrooms, sliced

1/2 cup of chopped celery or fennel

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

Pinch if cayenne

2 cups of prepared marinara sauce

  • Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in large non-stick skillet and set over medium heat. Add chicken, and cook until browned on each side (about 4 min) Transfer chicken onto plate and set aside.
  • heat the remaining 1 teaspoon of oil in the same skillet. Add onion and garlic , cook, and stirring occasionally until tender. add bell peppers, mushrooms, celery, oregano and cayenne.  Cook, stirring occasionally until tender.
  • Return chicken to the skillet, add marinara sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered. Cook until chicken is cooked all the way through and veggies are tender (around 20 min).

chicken c

cat

chicken ca

    • I made this dish with 2 sides (you can find both of these in my recipe index, or click on links below):

Roasted Asparagus with Lemon and Chives (WW)
Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes (WW)

All together (with both sides = 8 points for Weight Watchers)

For just Chicken:
SERVES 8     WW points 4    PER SERVING 1 piece of chicken, 1/2 cup of veggies with sauce.

(Note: I took this out of a Weight watchers cookbook, I did not make this recipe up on my own…. besides recipes are meant to be shared 🙂 )