Pamela Hernandez owns Thrive Personal Fitness in Springfield, MO where she focuses on weight training for weight loss. She writes a blog for her web site, www.thrivepersonalfitness.com, sharing vegetarian recipes from her kitchen, exercise strategies, lifestyle tips and stories from her own journey. You can also follow Pamela on Twitter @ThriveFit or pick up more tips on Facebook, www.facebook.com/thrivepersonalfitness.
Breakfast seems to be is the most challenging meal of the day. We want to sleep as long as possible and shoot out the door to arrive at work or school right on the dot. There is often a corralling of kids, pets and spouses that has to happen to get out the door as well. With all of the chaos the most important meal of the day seems to escapes us. Coffee becomes the de facto substitute for solid food and by lunch time the grumbling in the tummy makes anything and everything look good. This leads to overindulgence at lunch and, perhaps, the rest of the day.
When it comes to fat loss, breakfast really can be the most important meal of the day. Data from the National Weight Control Registry shows that eating breakfast every day is the habit of 78% of their successful “losers”. The reason for this is twofold: After fasting for the previous 10-12 hours you need fuel to get your metabolism moving again. It keeps you from going into starvation mode and overeating later in the day.
Yet the obstacles to cooking a nutritious breakfast each morning probably aren’t going anywhere.
Sandwiches are a fast, filling and portable meal and, if you build it right, a great addition to your healthy eating plan.
To build a healthy sandwich, you need to make sure you are incorporating a few important basics. When these items are in place, you can’t go wrong.
For a really good sandwich, you need really good bread. Choose a whole grain variety to get an added fiber and vitamin B boost and control your blood sugar to avoid cravings later. Cracked wheat, oat bran, 7 grain, whole wheat pita, pumpernickel, American rye, and wheat berry all make wonderful options for the base of your sandwich.
Picture this: It’s 5:00pm and you’ve yet to think about what you’re having for dinner that evening. If you have a family of picky eaters to feed and you’re trying to lose or maintain a healthy weight, it can be hard to pull together a balanced, nutritious meal on the fly.
“Think the “Take 5″ way,” said Robin Miller, host of the Food Network’s Quick Fix Meals and author of Robin Takes 5. “Carefully select five key, flavorful ingredients and you’ll need little else to pull a great meal together.”
Miller’s favorite standby pantry ingredients include oil-packed sundried tomatoes (drain away the oil and save the wonderful, tomato-infused oil for sautéing chicken and vegetables another night), marinated artichoke hearts (save the marinade for home-made dressings and marinades), jarred roasted red peppers, capers and stuffed olives. “Strong cheeses (such as blue, goat, feta, smoked Gouda, Parmesan) are great because a little goes a long way,” said Miller. “Toasted nuts (almonds, pine nuts, walnuts, pecans) add flavor, crunch and protein.”
I try, as much as I can, to have dinner plans made well in advance of the evening hustle. It’s my goal to, at the very minimum, know what I’m making for the evening meal, and many times if I have time I will prepare the dinner in the afternoon. Last Tuesday, life had a very funny way of getting ahead of me and I found myself at 5:15pm scrambling for something to feed my family.
We’d left an afternoon workout and were headed home, and I knew that we had just about 45 minutes before we needed to leave the house for a different class. Everything that could have created a meal was still frozen, and there was precious little in the way of fresh produce. I did not want to stop at a fast food restaurant, didn’t want to resort to sandwiches or breakfast for dinner, and so I stopped at a grocery store. Walking around, I spotted the traditional last minute dinner choice – a rotisserie chicken – but I wanted something new and different. Happily, there were many choices available and we grabbed a fast and nutritious dinner that gave us energy to complete the evening.
While the weather is still hot and humid in most of the country, families are gearing up to head back to school and back to work after summer vacations. Even though schedules become more hectic during the school year, it’s important for families to continue to dine together.
Studies have proven that children who sit down to dinner with their families have better grades and stronger language skills than those from families that don’t have regular meals together. Opt for a hearty meal inspired by some of our favorite summer ingredients next time you decide to set the table for a family meal.
Chicken is often considered a low-fat, low-cholesterol alternative to beef or red meat, but some cuts of chicken actually have as much, if not more fat. If you’re trying to cut back on fat and calories, skinless white-meat poultry offers a great low-fat protein option. If you’re also on a budget, roasted chicken is a simple, economical and time-efficient meal ingredient, especially for a family.
If you’re cooking for one or two, a roasted chicken can sometimes produce more meat than you can finish in one meal. Roasted chicken is versatile and you can easily turn one bird into multiple healthy meals. (more…)
Rosemary Chicken and Sweet Potatoes
I’ve been a fan of Healthy Choice Freezer Entrees for years. They are delicious and filling, with appropriate portion control. Recently, I was sent coupons to sample the newest addition to the line, Steaming Entrees.
From their website: “Enjoy bigger, more vibrant ingredients in a smaller, lunch-sized portion. Steaming unlocks the delicious flavors of quality ingredients so you can taste and see the difference.”
Offered in eight new varieties, these 8-10 ounce all-in-one meals are much like the original Steamers, except that they are prepared in one dish, as opposed to two. I had a tough time finding these entrees, as they were always sold out when I went to the grocery. And with good reason – these meals are delicious.
I sampled three – Chicken Romano Fresco, Honey Balsamic Chicken, and Rosemary Chicken and Sweet Potatoes. I found all three to be of an adequate size for lunch, although I do admit that I needed to have a fruit or vegetable with the meal in order to feel completely satiated. Of the three, Honey Balsamic Chicken was my favorite. Chicken Romano Fresco was delicious as well, but with only three visible pieces of chicken in the meal, it felt as if I was eating a pasta meal instead of a chicken meal. It was flavorful and the vegetables were large and identifiable – always one of my favorite points about any Healthy Choice Entree. (more…)