Spotlight on Bananas

Have you ever heard the term “going bananas” as a bit of speech to indicate things are crazy in life?  Lately, I feel like that’s how things are, in a good way, but just trying to accomplish all I want to do in a day. I have to remind myself not ALL things must be done.. this is where lists come in handy… mental or written. Those pesky tasks need to be kept in some sort of organized order or they can make you feel, well, a little bananas 😉

If you haven’t snapped to it yet, bananas are what’s on todays food spotlight.

Random factoid first… did you know this humble fruit, botanically, is actually a berry?

Yeah, I didn’t know that either.

Whatever.

It’s tasty and makes a great pre workout snack in my belly that usually prefers no food before endurance sessions.  Bananas are a great source of carbs, water and sugars to help athletes who are working hard. Eat one before or after for those healthy benefits.

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Nothing like a banana to fuel me pre or post workout 🙂

Oh… and a quick shout out to Constantly Varied Gear for my cool new sports top. Hubby and a lot of my friends often call me a beast in regards to my athletic shenanigans so I couldn’t resist ordering it.

Check them out, Constantly Varied Gear, for cool athletic wear.

Now… those bananas… they make a great snack whenever but lets check out some more facts on them.

Health benefits

Bananas are rich in fiber and potassium. They may also help prevent asthma, high blood pressure, diabetes and cardiovascular disease when incorporated into a healthy diet.

Potassium is an important mineral as it helps maintain fluid levels in the body and regulates the movement of nutrients and waste products in and out of cells. Potassium also helps muscles to contract and nerve cells to respond. It keeps the heart beating regularly and can reduce the effect of sodium on blood pressure. Potassium may reduce the risk of kidney stones forming as people age. In turn, healthy kidneys make sure that the right amount of potassium is kept in the body. One medium sized banana contains 422 milligrams of potassium.

Bananas are naturally free of fat, cholesterol, and sodium.

Bananas provide a variety of vitamins and minerals:

  • Vitamin B6 – 0.5 mg
  • Manganese – 0.3 mg
  • Vitamin C – 9 mg
  • Dietary Fiber – 3g
  • Protein – 1 g
  • Magnesium- 34 mg
  • Folate – 25.0 mcg
  • Riboflavin – 0.1 mg
  • Niacin – 0.8 mg
  • Vitamin A – 81 IU
  • Iron 0.3 mg

Fresh bananas are available year-round. Unlike other fruits, the ripening process of bananas does not slow down after they are picked. Bananas should be stored at room temperature.

The warmer the temperature, the faster bananas will ripen. However, to slow ripening, bananas should be refrigerated. The outer peel of the banana will darken but the banana itself will stay intact longer.

To encourage faster ripening, place the banana in a brown paper bag at room temperature.

My Mom used to say bananas just got more ripe, that they didn’t really “go bad”.  I had to part ways with her on that thought watching gnats carry one off….

Not really… but to me there is a point where there is no way I’m eating that banana…. “ripe” or not.

Actually those super over ripened bananas make freaking awesome banana bread. I have one recipe that uses whole wheat flour… it’s actually the only recipe I use for banana bread ’cause it’s just… that… good.

If I don’t forget, I’ll post it in here for you 🙂

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Nothing like a crusty, well used recipe, is there??

I am super selective in how I like my bananas and I think many people are, not just weirdo me.

They have to be this perfect, just right shade of yellow. No green anywhere (gross) and it can’t be heading into a darker yellow ’cause they seem way to sweet to me then and I just really don’t enjoy them like that.

Don’t bananas have a whole lot of sugar?

Bananas are on the sweeter side compared to other fruits.  One large banana has about 120 calories and 17 grams of sugar compared to I cup of strawberries with 53 calories and 8 grams of sugar. However, in the context of watching sugar in your diet, it should be more of the refined sugars you are concerned about ( those found in soft drinks, table sugar, and other refined added sugars)  not natural occurring sugar as found in fruit. When a nutritionist might say to limit sugars in your diet, they mean added refined sugars. Eating a piece of fruit there’s no “added” sugar.

Plus some of the carbs in bananas come in the form of dietary fiber…. 3.5 grabs per large banana…. about 15% of your daily needs.

Green bananas contain a type of carb called resistant starch . (As bananas ripen, the starch turns into sugars, making the banana sweeter.) Because resistant starch isn’t easily digested, it reduces the amount of sugar released into the bloodstream, helping control blood sugar. Research also suggests that resistant starch helps maintain the balance of healthy gut microbes.

Let’s talk more about eating them….

Do you know bananas make great add in’s to baked goods for a rich moist ( cake, brownies whatever) you can substitute half the amount of oil with mashed bananas. So if you needed a cup of oil, you could do half oil and half bananas. This reduces calories and fat but still gives that full flavor.

One fun and tasty way to eat them as a cool frozen treat is to slice them, dip in dark chocolate and freeze. I can’t tell you how delicious they are. I first stumbled across them in the frozen section at store and then wondered why I was paying for something so simple to make 😛

Bananas are also great tossed in homemade smoothies, giving added texture and creaminess along with the health benefits from the banana.

Topping oatmeal, plain yogurt, or peanut butter and toast with banana slices is an excellent way to add nutrition and sweetness without added sugar.

Of course there’s the standard muffins, pie, custard, breads….  yummy….

How about a couple recipes? I thought this peanut butter banana bar looked awesome

 

In summary bananas are not only a tasty, low calorie snack that can be used in a variety of ways, they are loaded with tons of nutrients and minerals that our bodies love.

And of course, I don’t think you can go wrong with it pre or post workout for an energizing snack 🙂

Your turn now… how do you like bananas? Do you use them to cook with or just eat as is? Do you have any recipes you like using them?

 

 

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Spotlight On Almonds

Hello world! Wow what a busy week it’s been! So many exciting things going on, some I’ll share in my upcoming Monday Musings post, so you’ll wanna check back for that 🙂 I will say, some days, I wish I had just a little more time. I’m sure everyone feels like that at some point, so I’ve learned to really try and be focused on things that require “immediate” attention from those I think that do but could actually wait.  It helps take some things out of my mind for awhile. Often I tend to be juggling multiple projects at once, that works for some things but not for others. I also love lists so I’ve found if I get it on a list it’s also a way to take it off my mind while still keeping it in a place where I won’t forget it haha

I thought we’d go a little nuts on todays food spotlight. Nuts offer a huge amount of health and nutrition benefits. We’re gonna just take a look at one of them today, one which happens to be my favorite and is often a guest with my breakfast yogurt and fresh fruit.

Say hello to Mr. Almond.

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Almonds deliver a massive amount of nutrition in their small package.

The almond is the edible seed that grows on the tree Prunus dulcis, more commonly called the almond tree.

Almonds are native to the Middle East, but the United States is now the world’s largest producer.

The almonds we buy at the store have usually had the shell removed, revealing the edible nut inside.

They are sold either raw (often referred to as “natural”) or roasted.

Almonds boast an incredibly impressive nutritional profile.

A 1 ounce (28 grams, or small handful) serving of almonds contains

  • Fiber: 3.5 grams.
  • Protein: 6 grams.
  • Fat: 14 grams (9 of which are monounsaturated, the good healthy kind)
  • Vitamin E: 37% of the RDA.
  • Manganese: 32% of the RDA.
  • Magnesium: 20% of the RDA.
  • They also contain a decent amount of copper, vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and phosphorus.

This is all from a small handful, which supplies only 161 calories and 2.5 grams of digestible carbohydrates.

It is also important to note that 10-15% of an almond’s calories are not absorbed by the body, because the fat is too difficult to access and break down.

The almonds we buy at the store have usually had the shell removed, revealing the edible nut inside.

Almonds are also loaded with antioxidants,

Antioxidants help to protect against oxidative stress, which can damage molecules in cells and contribute to aging and diseases like cancer.

The powerful antioxidants in almonds are largely concentrated in the brown layer of the skin.

For this reason, blanched almonds (skin removed) are not the best choice from a health perspective.

Almonds are among the world’s best sources of vitamin E. Getting plenty of vitamin E from foods is linked to numerous health benefits. It’s also good for healthy skin and hair.

Almonds are also extremely high in magnesium, a mineral most people don’t get enough of. Higher magnesium intake may have major benefits for metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.

Low magnesium levels are also linked to high blood pressure indicating that almonds could be good for blood pressure control.

Almonds can also increase energy production.  Copper, riboflavin and manganese present in almonds assist in metabolic rate and energy production. If you are pressed for time, grab a handful of almonds for a crunchy, satisfying snack to help you out.

How about one more health tidbit?

Unsweetened almonds are a great option to use if you are trying to lose weight. Almonds contain a lot of mon-unsaturated fats, which is what satiates your hunger pangs, helping you not to over eat no matter what. The dietary fiber in almonds also makes you feel fuller for long periods of time, despite consuming only a small quantity. Research suggests that a diet that is low calorie and also rich in almonds is excellent for obese people since it helps them shed excess weight faster.

Remember, as with any food, no matter how “good” it is for you, to much isn’t always a good thing and can lead to weight gain so monitor your portion sizes as it’s easy to over eat on them.

Other almond uses…

Of course some of the uses of almonds now days involve milk and flour. I will say I tried almond milk… once… thinking I might try and be one of the cool health kids.

Gross.

No.

One big drink made me gag and wonder why on earth anyone would drink it, unless they had no alternative because of allergy or lactose issues.

I will stick with my dairy as I know it. No offense if you like it, it just isn’t my cup of tea..or milk….

And as far as the trend with almond flour, I have no experience with it. I just bake the old fashioned way with old fashioned flour 😉

Almonds as a snack come in a variety of ways. I buy them raw and use them in my breakfast yogurt or as a snack. You can also get them in various flavors, just be careful with sodium intake on them.

They also can be used in your meals…..

How about a couple tasty recipe ideas?

 

 

Ok your turn. Do you like almonds? Do you have thoughts on almond “milk”? Have you tried almond flour for baking?

Spotlight On Watermelon

Here in the south summer has arrived with the vengeance of  a mother in law that has swept in for a long staying vacation.  It means light foods, pool time, sandals or flip flops as main stay foot wear, plastic kiddie pools and blow up inflatables ( am I the only one who loves the smell of that cheap plastic and sniffs it like a dog sniffing a bone ?? haha)  shorts, and an endless tan till November.

Summer “officially” doesn’t start till Thursday but I guess no one told the weather that. We are  now in days of endless blue skies, sun, temps dancing in the high 90’s and “don’t sit on plastic furniture or you will stick to it” kinds of fun.

I really don’t like having to cook meals when it gets so warm, but my body does dig eating, so I’ve had to come to a happy balance of food, but light foods.

Todays spotlight is on one of my favorite summer treats, watermelon.

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Get a fork, I’ll share

 

Cool, sweet, refreshing and you get an arm workout lifting and tossing them into your basket, it is total win on all levels.

Sweet and healthy

Who says sweets aren’t good for you?  Check out some of it’s vitamin and mineral benefits

As far as fruits go, watermelon is one of the lowest in calories — only 46 calories per cup. That’s lower than even “low-sugar” fruits such as berries.

A cup (154 grams) of watermelon has may other nutrients as well, including these vitamins and minerals:

  • Vitamin C: 21% of the RDI
  • Vitamin A: 18% of the RDI
  • Potassium: 5% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 4% of the RDI
  • Vitamins B1, B5 and B6: 3% of the RDI

Watermelon is also high in carotenoids, including beta-carotene and lycopene. Plus, it has citrulline, an important amino acid.

Watermelon is also loaded with anti-oxidants.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps prevent cell damage from free radicals. Not surprisingly, watermelon contains a hefty amount of vitamin C – 21% of the daily recommended value – that helps your immune system produce antibodies to fight disease. There’s also a 17% daily value of vitamin A, boosting eye health and preventing such diseases as macular degeneration and cataracts. The vitamin B6 content helps form red blood cells and assures your nerves will function as they should. Your body uses vitamin B6 to help break down proteins, so the more protein is consumed, the more vitamin B6 is needed. Potassium, although a relatively small amount is in watermelon, helps balance fluids in your cells. (Low potassium levels sometimes cause muscle cramps.

Carotenoids

Carotenoids are a class of plant compounds that includes alpha-carotene and beta-carotene, which your body converts to vitamin A.

Lycopene

Lycopene is a type of carotenoid that doesn’t change into vitamin A. This potent antioxidant gives a red color to plant foods such as tomatoes and watermelon, and is linked to many health benefits.

Cucurbitacin E

Cucurbitacin E is a plant compound with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Bitter melon, a relative of watermelon, contains even more cucurbitacin E.

Let’s not forget one really big important factor, watermelon is made up of 92% water so it makes a perfect fruit to help keeping you hydrated.  Also, A high water content is one of the reasons that fruits and vegetables help you feel full. The combination of water and fiber means you’re eating a good volume of food without a lot of calories.

Nutritionally, while vitamin A and C content is significant, it’s the lycopene that takes the prize for what it does for the body, which includes anti-inflammation bone health and an ability to neutralize harmful free radicals.

The nutritional break down

Nutrition Facts

Watermelon Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 cup, balls (154 g)
Per Serving % Daily Value*
Calories 46
Calories from Fat 2
Total Fat 0.2g 0%
Saturated Fat 0.1g 1%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.1g
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 2mg 0%
Potassium 171.21mg 5%
Carbohydrates 11.6g 4%
Dietary Fiber 0.6g 2%
Sugars 9.5g
Protein 0.9g
Vitamin A 18% · Vitamin C 21%
Calcium 1% · Iron 2%

 

Can we eat now?

One thing about watermelon, it requires nothing fancy to eat it. Just chill, cut and serve. If it’s for a picnic it can be cut and sliced and eaten right off the rind. Although messy, it’s one of the more fun ways to eat it, just have plenty of napkins on hand.  If you’re going for a more civilized way of eating it haha, it’s cut off the rind and served in a bowl where you can use utensils to dine on it ( I prefer the outdoor method, sun in my hair and juice on my face with plenty of napkins version ’cause well, that’s what summer’s about right?)

Watermelon is a very non-fussy food which perhaps in my estimation makes it perfect for laid back summer days.

Sweet, hydrating, packed with awesome invisible vitamins and minerals that are amazing for your body and crazy low in calories, all while satisfying your sweet cravings?

I think that’s a total win.

But wait…. wait a minute….

Do you know watermelon is not actually a fruit but considered a vegetable?

SAY WHAT?

We think of watermelon as a fruit because of its sweet flavor, but watermelon is actually a vegetable. It belongs to the cucurbit family, and is related to pumpkins, cucumbers and squash.

So… there’s that. I know you’re shocked.  Fruit? Vegetable? Let’s just call it tasty.

A few fun facts on melons…..

Seedless watermelons aren’t genetically modified. They’re actually a hybrid watermelon created by crossing a watermelon with 22 chromosomes with a watermelon with 44 chromosomes. The result is a sterile watermelon. These watermelons produce immature white seeds that are perfectly safe to eat. Seedless watermelons were first created over 50 years ago.

Watermelons have been cultivated in Egypt for more than 5,000 years. Egyptians depicted watermelon in drawings on the walls of tombs and even left watermelon with their dead to nourish them as they journeyed through the underworld

Because watermelons are native to Africa, they need hot, sunny conditions to thrive. Some varieties need up to 130 warm days to ripen. Most watermelons mature in 85 to 100 days

Watermelons usually have red flesh, but some watermelons have white, yellow, orange or even green flesh

A watermelon will not grow in your belly if you eat the seeds. In fact, the seeds are actually quite nutritious with high levels of magnesium, zinc and protein. Chew the seeds before swallowing for optimum nutrition ( all the times your mom told you that story of watermelons growing in your belly, right??)

The Japanese grow square watermelon. How? They place square glass boxes around a growing fruit so it becomes square as it grows. The Japanese like them because they’re small and don’t roll around. They fit neatly in a refrigerator. The downside? These watermelon cost about $82!

And the recipe board……

You may not think of eating watermelon in other ways than it’s easy natural form. I thought I’d add a couple recipes that showcase this great summer fruit.

 

Oh, and can you go wrong with ice cream or sherbet for a cool treat? Check out this two ingredient healthy option.

 

And of course, let’s not forget cute ways you can play with this fruit….uh…vegetable?……too 😉

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A fruit shark??

 

Tell me, is watermelon an enjoyable summer fruit for you? Do you have any preferred ways of eating it or interesting recipes using it ?

Spotlight On Apples

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a spotlight post and I figured it was about time to get back on it and offer you up another look at a healthy food and convince you to eat it if you don’t already.

Do I have persuasive powers? hahaha

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An apple a day…

 

 

Personally, I don’t think it should take much to convince anyone to eat an apple but I guess there are those who won’t or will pass on them for whatever reason.

I don’t understand it…. sweet, crunchy, tasty, refreshing…. delicious. How could you not?

Now be good and read all of this and I’ll toss some tasty apple recipes in at the end 😉

The Healthy 411 on apples

One thing that I perhaps (intellectually) know and understand doing research for these posts, is that it’s a no brainer  fruits and veggies offer amazing healthy benefits, can protect against diseases, can make our skin, and hair look great, offer significant anti aging benefits, keep our digestive system running smoothly, keep us feeling full, and all of that for minimal calories and no fat.

But every time I start my research so many offer all the same benefits.

Hmmm… you think it’s a good reason to get these into our daily diets?

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I love Granny Smith apples. Sweet and a bit tart they offer a great flavor combination. They also make good pie 😉

 

Besides apples coming in their own handy packaging that you can easily eat with minimal disposal at the end 😉 they make easy handy snacks to take on the go, can be fit in anywhere and satisfy any crunchy sweet cravings you may have.

Eating apples won’t replace a tooth brush but the biting and chewing of an apple stimulates the production of saliva in your mouth reducing tooth decay by lowering the amount of bacteria in your mouth. It can also help clean your teeth.

Apples can curb all kinds of cancers. Researchers at Cornell University have identified several compounds — triterpenoids — in apple peel that have potent anti-growth activities against cancer cells in the liver, colon and breast. Meanwhile, the National Cancer Institute in the U.S. has recommended a high fiber intake to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer

Help reduce cholesterol.  The soluble fiber found in apples binds with fats in the intestine, which translates into lower cholesterol levels and a healthier you.

Get a healthier heart.  An extensive body of research has linked high soluble fibre intake with a slower buildup of cholesterol-rich plaque in arteries. The phenolic compound found in apple skins also prevents the cholesterol that gets into your system from solidifying on your artery walls. When plaque builds inside your arteries, it reduces blood flow to your heart, leading to coronary artery disease.

Prevent gallstones. This is one of the health benefits of apples that is eye opening. Gallstones form when there’s too much cholesterol in your bile for it to remain as a liquid, so it solidifies. They are particularly prevalent in the obese. To prevent gallstones, doctors recommend a diet high in fiber (ahem, apples again) to help you control your weight and cholesterol levels.

Control your weight. This is one of the health benefits of apples most of us are willing to get. Many health problems are associated with being overweight, among them heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and sleep apnea. To manage weight and improve overall health, doctors recommend a diet rich in fiber. Foods high in fiber — like apples — will fill you up without costing you too many calories.

Help prevent cataracts. Though past studies have been divided on the issue, recent long-term studies suggest that people who have a diet rich in fruits that contain antioxidants — like apples — are 10 to 15 per cent less likely to develop cataracts.

Boost your immune system. Red apples contain an antioxidant called quercetin. Recent studies have found that quercetin can help boost and fortify your immune system, especially when you’re stressed out. That’s one of the most unexpected health benefits of apples.

Eating fruit is linked to higher bone density, which is a marker of bone health.

Researchers think the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds in fruit help promote bone density and strength.

The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds may promote bone health, and eating fruit can help preserve bone mass as you age.

Some studies show that apples, specifically, may positively affect bone health.

Apples are also extremely rich in important anti-oxidants, flavonoids, and dietary fiber.

And eat up….

with only about 95 calories in a medium apple you can easily have a couple in your day.

And apples are good for our skin…

Their high content of vitamin C helps to build collagen, and their levels of copper (60 mcg in a large apple) encourage your skin to produce melanin, the pigment responsible for color in your skin.

Are you ready to add an apple a day to your diet? With all those health benefits and being an easy, portable snack why wouldn’t you?

Ok I promised you food if you read to this point….

How about an amazing dessert ?  When I made this at Thanksgiving everyone went crazy over it. Not the healthiest way to eat apples but certainly tasty 😉

And of course I had to offer up a healthy alternative too, right? With summer coming on is there anything better than a light refreshing salad?

ok your turn! Tell me how do you like apples? In a pie? As a quick sweet snack? In a salad? Do you have a favorite kind?

Smart Nutrition

Good nutrition. Smart nutrition. It’s a topic that comes up a lot and it’s a topic I’ve fielded not only for myself, but talking with others who desire to live a healthier lifestyle in regards to foods.

 

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Colorful foods are always healthy choices

 

Add to that, for most of us, we have busy lives and schedules and food sometimes is well, an afterthought.

There could be a tendency to grab just whatever is convenient or at hand because we’re tired or worse yet, our hunger is on full blown overdrive.

I am notorious some days for being hungry, yet feeling to lazy to make myself something. This is especially dangerous when it’s been a day I’ve trained hard and my body is wanting some good quality nutrition for all it’s work that morning.

Someone, please admit, there are days you feel like that too. Hungry yet the idea of making food or even putting something together seems like to much trouble so you just skate by.

Not ideal, I know.  There are some days I admittedly feel that way.

I’m smart enough to know my body needs proper fuel not just post workout, but also for a busy day of activities.

Yours does too.

Smart nutrition where does it start?

I’ve had friends jokingly ask if I’d follow them around and slap wrong foods out of their hands or  tell them they’ve had enough at the dinner table.

It always makes me laugh. Maybe, we all want someone like that. This tough love accountability person who snatches a donut from us or reminds us we don’t really need that big Mexican platter for lunch.  This person would simply follow us around like some muscular side kick directing our food choices.

I hate to break the news but smart nutrition, well, that starts with you.

It has to start with you because really, ultimately you are the only one making the choices.

Maybe you want to blame the co-worker for stocking piling donuts in the break room or use the reason you’re to tired to not make healthy foods so you stop at the fast food drive thru.

For example….

I’ve been helping my son at his shop this week. I ran out to do some errands for him and drove through a local fast food place for lunch to take back with me.

No. Not burgers and fries.

Although, I will admit, fries are at the top of my most favorite non- necessary food items.

However, they happen to make some amazing salads and that’s what I was after.  I love salads, not as a “diet” food but as a “healthy, nutritious good for my body” food.

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Now tell me how tasty this looks…..protein, fruit, and leafy greens

 

Eating it leaves me feeling satisifed, yet also energetic and not sluggish like I’d feel from a meal heavy in more simple carbs.  I’ve eaten like this long enough that it’s a no brainer for me to go for healthier choices.

Although… why… why can’t salads smell as good on the wind as the smell of greasy foods??? hahaha

We encounter choices each day in how we eat. There can be an endless list to reasons why we don’t make smarter, healthier choices in our nutrition each day.

But when it comes down to what we put in our mouths, no one is standing there shoveling it in but us.

We are responsible for our own nutrition, good or bad.

Well where do I start?

No one understands better than I do that you just don’t magically develop good nutritional habits over night.

You just don’t.

You don’t undo or change a life time or years of eating certain ways without some determination and discipline to see it through. If you’re reading this I may assume you are wanting to eat nutritionally smarter.

Getting started requires a bit of a mental shift in your thinking. The foods or snacks you reach for. Your beverage choices. How much you eat. When you eat. It all takes some time and planning.

Oh yeah… planning helps. Some tips and tricks…

we live busy lives.  Planning somewhat is crucial to success in developing smart nutrition habits.

Sitting down and thinking about meals and snacks and ingredients needed when you aren’t hungry is the best place to start. Once you’ve developed a plan and utilized it for awhile you won’t have to think so much about what you’re doing.

Consider your lifestyle. Do you work? Do you need healthy easy meals that won’t take much time to prepare or could be prepped in advance? Crock pots and one pan dinners are at the top of my healthy recipe ideas. If you need creative ideas, Pinterest is loaded with them.

You would need to consider your work meals. Maybe you don’t take a lunch but really, it’s the best way to ensure you are eating foods that you’ve chosen and aren’t going to be subject to grabbing whatever is easy in the work cafeteria.

Food prep. Ok I’m not really into that. I know what I like and what works for me so I don’t make containers of food to keep in ‘fridge.  I’m also at home so it’s easy enough for me to make my meals based on what I want.

However, making and prepping things like fruits and veggies in advance will make it easier to grab it for lunch or to make up a easy salad if you don’t have to chop a lot of stuff, I sometimes will buy already cut and prepped veggies because I appreciate the convenience of it ( like broccoli )

Hard boiled eggs, cheese cubes, or sliced lean meats will make lunch prep quick and easy.

Try to eat foods as close to their natural state as possible. ( fruits, veggies, whole grains, etc) the more colorful, the better.

Cheetos don’t count by the way 😉

Learning to swap out high calorie or less nutritious foods is another way to being smart in making a healthy change. For example, swapping chips for crunchy veggies with ranch dip made with Greek yogurt is a way to not only cut calories, you get a little protein in with the yogurt. Greek yogurt is very high in protein and all I eat now days. I buy the non-fat plain and add my own fruit, nuts etc. or use it as a base for dips and cooking that requires sour cream.

Don’t forget your drinks. Sugary drinks contribute to your daily calories and are not a part of a smart nutrition plan.

In conclusion….

becoming smarter in nutritional choices takes time. Don’t get discouraged if you make choices you think you’ve “failed” in.

Really, an awareness shows you that you are trying and are aware of choices so that’s a good thing!

Take each day at a time, try to make wise choices in that day, celebrate your victories and learn from your mistakes.

Each day makes you smarter in your nutrition habits and leads to a healthier body and lifestyle.

Tell me… what tips or ideas work for you in regards to smart nutrition ?

 

 

 

Spotlight On Eggs

In todays food spotlight we’re gonna talk about eggs boys and girls.

The incredible, edible egg.

I know… it’s not a fruit or veggie but they are such a wonderful, complete food source I though we’d take a look at these little gems the chickens offer up to us.

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Jumbo eggs are where it’s at 😉

 

They are frequent visitors to my breakfast. The solid punch of protein not only keeps me feeling satisfied, it also keeps my blood sugar levels even and keeps me from having that crash I sometimes can get with more carb type breakfasts like pancakes or cereals. Eating eggs with a healthy dose of veggies also keeps me full and energetic for hours without thinking about food or getting hungry.

Eggs are a very good source of inexpensive, high quality protein. More than half the protein of an egg is found in the egg white along with vitamin B2 and lower amounts of fat and cholesterol than the yolk. The whites are rich sources of selenium, vitamin D, B6, B12 and minerals such as zinc, iron and copper.

One large hard boiled egg contains 78 calories, 6.3 grams of protein, 5.3 grams of fat and 0.6 grams of carbs. It also contains high levels of cholesterol, and other vitamins and minerals like selenium, riboflavin, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, Phosphorus, Vitamin A, and folate.

But aren’t eggs bad for you?

there has been talk in the past that eggs caused cholesterol problems, that they are high in cholesterol and therefore would cause individuals to have raised levels.

But did you know…. eggs consistently raise HDL, the “good” cholesterol?  The cholesterol in eggs actually helps regulate the two cholesterols found in our bodies.

Eggs offer a crazy amount of health benefits

  • Strong muscles: The protein within eggs helps keep muscles working well while slowing the rate at which they are lost.
  • Brain health: Eggs contain vitamins and minerals that are needed for the regular functioning of cells, including the brain, nervous system, memory, and metabolism.
  • Good energy production: Eggs contain all the daily vitamins and minerals that are needed to produce energy in all the cells of the body.
  • A healthy immune system: Vitamin A, vitamin B-12, and seliniumare key to keeping the immune system healthy.
  • Lower risk of heart disease: Choline plays an important part in breaking down the amino acid homocysteine, which is associated with the development of heart disease.
  • Healthful pregnancy: Some nutrients within eggs help to prevent congenital disabilities, such as spina bifida.
  • Eyesight: Lutein and zeaxanthin help to prevent macular degeneration the leading cause of age-related blindness. Other vitamins also promote good vision.
  • Weight loss and maintenance: The high quality of protein within eggs might help keep people energized and feeling fuller for longer. Feeling full prevents snacking, which reduces overall calorie intake.
  • Skin benefits: Some vitamins and minerals within eggs help promote healthy skin and prevent the breakdown of body tissues. A strong immune system also contributes to a healthy look overall.

That’s a pretty long list of reasons to add eggs into your daily nutrition plan!

Eat the whole egg!

Seriously, eat all of the egg. The yolk contains tons of minerals and vitamins that are good for you.

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Egg yolks contain more vitamins, and larger quantities of those vitamins than egg whites.  Egg yolks are actually one of a handful of foods in which Vitamin D is naturally found.

Other good stuff in the yolks…

A typical egg contains around 1.3 grams of phospholipids, and most of that is in the yolk. Egg phospholipids have benefits for…

  • Cardiovascular health. Egg phospholipids may affect cholesterol and inflammation levels in beneficial ways.
  • Metabolic health. One study found that phospholipids from egg yolks helped decrease blood pressure and improve vascular function.
  • Memory and cognitive function. Phospholipids may protect against Alzheimer’s Disease, although it’s always worth mentioning that rat studies are not human studies and this is still pretty preliminary.

Ok besides all that healthy stuff, they just taste good! Right?

Of course, we’d all agree they are pretty tasty in cakes and cookies haha Fried, scrambled, poached, sunny side up, in a scramble mix  however you cook them they are good.  But there are so many ways they can be prepared that makes this perfect complete protein a tasty meal or snack.

How about a few tasty egg recipes?

 

So that’s a quick review on the humble egg, the complete protein food.  Eggs should be a part of your healthy daily nutrition plan and eating them only has positive health benefits for you.

Tell me, how do you like to eat them? Do you have any favorite recipes?

Spring And The Great Outdoors

Hello to my 1.5 readers out there. Yes, I’m still over here kicking it.  Thought I should get something out so you don’t start reading the current tabloids or something else as  um…. entertaining.

Ok honestly, I had my little 18 month granddaughter while her mommy and daddy were out of town for three days.

Let me tell you this… I don’t do anything that requires  more focus than a nano second of a gnat when I’ve got her.  This means writing or anything else that requires a level of skill.

Mainly ’cause I’m making sure she isn’t dive bombing off a chair, eating colors, or trying to ride the English Mastiff, just to name a few things.

She is bright and oh so smart, endearingly cute, can do her baby talk like crazy ( once she puts the words together her parents will never have a quiet moment) and is quick to mimic anything you show her. She is very social ( that doesn’t fall far from the family tree with her daddy and her nanny 😉 and loves being outside, which worked well for me ’cause I do too.  We spent plenty of time outside enjoying the sunshine, wind and absolutely perfect temperatures.

It’s pretty hard for me to stay in when conditions are like that. It’s why I’m already tanned too haha

But yeah, writing, it’s hard to sit and get at that. And by the time she’s down for night I just want to chill.

All I can say is I’m glad I have the energy to keep up with her! Not just that but also cart her and her baby stuff to and from the car. Ah the good ‘ol days! That’s really how muscles are built haha

Seriously though, this morning… this is what I was back to doing….

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Happy sunny spring miles

Of course, last week before my baby duties, this is what I was up to…

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According to my watch I was moving….

I glanced down at my watch and of course I’m thinking… why can’t I do this speed up hills?? haha

Seriously, though it’s April. I’ve gotta start getting ready to get back into serious training for the duathlon in November. Nothing like a little dual sports to keep me on my toes 😉

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this is what multi sport training days look like 😛

 

So besides athletic shenanigans, it was also a productive weekend for some new furniture findings. I usually write about these in my Monday Musings posts but due to situations mentioned above, Monday Musings will resume next week

However, you can find one or two of them here if you wanna check it out….

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/04/09/monday-musings-9/

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/04/02/monday-musings-8/

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/03/26/monday-musings-7/

 

But I will share what I found cause I think I got some cool goodies.

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How about an old school telephone bench?

 

 

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this cute little vanity…
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So clean inside the drawers, a nice treat to find.
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Of course, the original hardware is always my favorite part.

So that’s a sneak peak at some of my recent treasures. I got another side table but I’m to lazy to look for pic and load it up here haha

And yes, I know, I keep saying I’m doing an entire post on my adventures and I promise to work on it soon.

The ** not featured** table, I met the lady in a parking lot to make the purchase. I don’t make drug deals… I’m dealing furniture…

Anyway she says “Oh, do you do furniture restoration?”

Me… “oh,  I dabble in it a little” haha not confessing I’ve turned into a little one woman show flipping stuff.

Hubby, when I told him that says… “dabble? a little?”

Maybe a bit more than a little 😉

So spring is in the air…..

It’s hard to keep me inside when the weather is so perfect. I just want to be out in it and of course it is perfect to work on my projects outdoors.

But along with that comes the idea many people get of wanting to start moving more and getting some exercise.

I often get asked what is the best exercise to do.

I will say that anyone, no matter what your fitness level, can walk. If you’re wanting to get out and enjoy the spring weather walking is a wonderful way to clear your mind, get some cardio work ( you gotta move it though!) It requires no special equipment ( some decent shoes help) and you can pace yourself at a level you can handle at your own physical abilities. You can pick up the speed as you get stronger and you can increase distance gradually to let your body adapt.

I’ve shared before, walking is where my athletic beginnings have root. You never know where those evening walks may lead you 😉

Spring days… who feels like cooking

One thing about longer days and more opportunities to be outdoors means I sometimes don’t want to be in the kitchen. This is where I fall back on using my trusty crock pot or utilizing some of my tasty, yet healthy, one pan dishes. You can find all my one pan recipes on my Pinterest page, Sassyfitnesschick, under one pan dinnersI’ll share one with you I made last night.

So tasty and so easy!

 

this tasty Mexican inspired meal was also a success. This is easy to make ahead and pop in oven closer to meal time.

So that’s a wrap. It’s been a busy week for me and the rest of it promises the same.

Tell me do you have an tried and true simple recipes that are healthy, quick and get you out of the kitchen ? What are some of your favorite spring time activities?