what a lunch

This post is for Emily, my sweet, sweet “Irish-twin-one-year-removed” who is a kindred spirit in terms of body type and is on her own “healthy weight” journey.  She is one of the healthiest people I know, both mentally and physically, and I love her to death!

Hi Emily!

Anyway, I found I had some extra time this afternoon due to crummy weather, which is postponing the awesome mural project at the co-op–the first thing I was going to help with as a volunteer.  I’ll be working in a writing/blogging/photographing/PR capacity for them, which I’m super excited about since it’s right up my alley in terms of my education and strengths.  Yay for God leading me right here, right now and blessing me with an opportunity to use my talents for something I truly believe in!

OK, enough of that tangent.  Back to lunch.

Emily emailed me yesterday with some food questions, like how to feel more full and what other healthy things could she try to get more variety in her diet.  I’m telling you, I missed my calling as a nutritionist.  Seriously.  Not that I necessarily want to work in a school/hospital/gym, but I want to KNOW that stuff.  Hmm… I wonder if Andrew would let me just be a perpetual student so I could become a nutritionist/cook/baker/yoga instructor…?

ANYWAY… Reining myself in here…

I replied to Emily and told her what works for me, as well as some sample snacks and lunches she could try to incorporate.  Bottom line:  protein really keeps me feeling full, and whole grains satisfy me.  Add fruits and veggies to the mix and you’re set!

The photos are nothing to write home about.  I know.

Today’s lunch was homemade tuna salad, pretzel crisps, fruit and Kefir and tea.  Let’s deconstruct:

Trader Joe’s Mango Black Tea.  I got this from a friend before we left Ohio and I have to say I’m not a huge fan of black tea.  However, tea is a great beverage to have any time of day.  For the “price” of about 15 calories (1 tsp of honey or sugar), I can enjoy a warm or cold beverage without feeling like I’ve blown it.  Whatever you do, don’t drink your calories!  WATER WATER WATER!  I cannot thank enough my nazi of a father who ONLY allowed us to have water with meals growing up.  Now I love it and don’t have an addiction to soda or juice.  I like to save sodas for special occasions, like pizza night.  Anyway, I’ve been drinking lots of different teas lately and really like my lemon ginger and peppermint varieties.  Get it, “varie-teas?” HAHA

Homemade tuna salad.  Tuna is a GREAT nutritional powerhouse, but you’ve got to keep the mayo in check.  I almost never order it at restaurants because it’s just dripping in mayo.  I made this two-serving batch with one hard-boiled egg white, some pickle and celery, 1.5 tbsp mayo and a teaspoon or two of mustard.  I added a bit more mustard on top today.

I also had a serving, and I mean ONE serving, of garlic parmesan pretzel crisps.  I don’t usually eat a lot of pre-packaged things, but these were one of two bags Andrew picked up on our Target date and they are awesome.  At 110 calories for a one-ounce serving, they’re better than chips and they were perfect for scooping my tuna.  And measure!  I have a tiny “diet” scale that’s perfect for measuring up to one pound.  It really comes in handy for things like chips–have the chips, just don’t have three or four servings.

For sweetness and protein, I recreated my “dessert” from last night: fruit and Kefir.  LOVE IT.  A serving is one cup, which has 140 calories, but I rarely have that much Kefir in one sitting.  I usually just do a half-cup by itself or with fruit or granola.  I cannot recommend it enough.  It’s basically a tangier, drinkable yogurt that’s packed with probiotics, the good bacteria found in yogurt.  It helps with digestion.  For those who grew up on, or still eat, yogurts like Dannon Fruit-on-the-Bottom, it will take a lot of getting used to.  I stay away from a lot of the yogurt cups because they are basically just sugar.  I once heard a dietician on the radio say that one of those flavored yogurts usually has the same amount of sugar as ICE CREAM.  Seriously.  Who needs that much extra sugar in the morning?  So, I switched to plain and haven’t gone back.

Hey, this is a pretty decent picture!

Remember that chocolate from yesterday?  I never ate it…those veggies and hummus were filling!  It made a reappearance on the plate today, but alas, it’s STILL here!  It’s currently sitting on the counter, all by it’s lonesome.   I felt full after I finished everything else.  Those are probably the biggest two challenge for me: NOTICING when I’m getting full, and STOPPING.  All too often I load my plate (even with healthy things) and then switch to auto-pilot and finish it all off.  Listen to your tummy, Holly!

I’m thinking the chocolate might get eaten with some hot, decaf coffee today as an afternoon pick-me-up since I blasted more than 900 calories this morning!  First, an hour of pilates, then an hour of crazy hard kickboxing, then an impromptu one-mile run with Hadrian.  Whew!

So, this post was all about my lunch and thoughts… Hope it helps anyone out there looking to eat real food you can feel good about.  Yesterday was hummus, veggies and dried fruit, today was tuna, pretzels, fruit and yogurt.  If you keep stashes of good things, like cheese sticks, fruit, veggies, healthy dips, yogurt and smart splurges (like good chocolate!), you’ll always be able to mix and match different things for nutritious meals.

kefir sundae

This was my dessert last night:

I told you I bought the “Birthday Cake” flavored Kefir on an impulse last time I went to Wegmans.  I bought Kefir all the time in Ohio; both for Andrew and myself.  His favorite is strawberry and mine, is, well, all of them.  I’m bummed that the bottles are a WHOLE DOLLAR more here ($3.49 vs $2.49 in Ohio) but there is way more selection (hello peach!).

Anyway, I bought this particular flavor thinking it might be a neat “dessert” for those nights I want something sweet but can’t have ice cream.  I’m a HUGE fan of birthday cake-flavored ice cream, so what could it hurt to try?

Well, it’s no rich-and-creamy-swirled-with-buttercream-icing-and-sprinkles scoop, but it’s not half bad!  It definitely has that familiar “tang” of Kefir, so if you don’t already drink it, it would be pretty tart still.  I pretty much survive on plain yogurt with mix-ins (a teaspoon of honey here, a tablespoon of jam there), so compared to that it was pleasantly sweet.  I served it over my leftover fruit from dinner and it was quite yummy.

I’m a sucker for “limited edition” flavors (can anyone say pumpkin spice creamer?), so I’ll probably keep getting the birthday cake flavor while they have it.  Last winter I tried both the pumpkin and cranberry flavors and they were OK.  I have to admit that when it comes to yogurt, the classic fruit flavors are always good.

Here’s to a 120-calorie dessert!

date night and how i’m going to make up for it today…

Andrew and I went on a date last night.  An actual date.  I don’t even remember the last time we had a “true” date.  Sure, we go out to dinners and movies all the time, but they never feel like a “date.”  It’s just not-eating-at-home, or grabbing something convenient, or going to see the new summer blockbuster with Andrew’s family.  I think because we can go out often, we DO go out often, which takes away some of the “special-ness” of it all.

So, we decided mini-golf would be our date.  It was a typical New York summer night; the temps have dropped again (thank goodness!) and I was in a t-shirt, pants and a jean jacket–can you believe it!  As always, I lost to Andrew, but perhaps played my best 18 holes EVER, so that was fun.  After golf we stopped into Target to explore the new “Fresh” section they just put in.  We shared a cherry ICEE and a bag of popcorn and walked up and down the aisles, which was probably more fun for me than for Andrew, but it was nice to see what they had.

We left with some odds and ends and then made ANOTHER stop…this time to get DESSERT.  (Not that I needed it, but I’d had a crazy craving for chocolate and we’d discussed going to Taffy’s; I needed no more persuasion than that!)

Taffy’s is a 60-year-old hot dog and milkshake stand that is now on the corner of a busy intersection in Orchard Park.  Strip malls filled with Tim Horton’s, McDonald’s, Lowe’s and the like have sprouted up around it, yet it remains a local favorite.  It’s a tiny building surrounded by four-person gliders with canopies–perfect for a summer day or night.

They’re known for their milkshakes; they have a menu with about a hundred (or more!) options, all divided by main ingredient, like fruit or chocolate.  Thank goodness!  I’m indecisive enough!

I got a Raspberry Truffle milkshake (raspberry and chocolate) and Andrew got a vanilla ice cream cone.  We split an order of cajun curly fries.  YUM.  We’ll definitely go back, and I’ll be bringing the camera because Taffy’s deserves a post of its own!

I’m still four pounds away from my goal (grrr), so in order to make up for last night’s overindulgence, I’m going LIGHT today.  Very light.

Breakfast was a banana (I love eating bananas plain when they are yellow with just the tiniest hint of green; once they have the brown dots all over them I tend to mix them into things or slice them on toast with peanut butter) and coffee.  After my workout, I fixed myself a fantastic, Kath-approved snack:

I mixed up plain lowfat yogurt, flaxseed meal, 1 tbsp chocolate chips and the last of my frozen cherries in the blender, then topped with the last of my Great Harvest Groovy Granola.  YUM.  The granola makes it pretty high in calories (220 for 1/2 cup) but it also keeps me full for awhile.

I’m planning on finishing up the last of my hummus and veggies for lunch, with some fruit.  I’m cooking here tonight, finally, and we’re having Trader Joe’s Mango Chicken Sausages (they’ve been living in the freezer since Ohio!) with barbeque chips and fruit for dinner.

I bought Birthday Cake-flavored Kefir at Wegmans yesterday (I know, it sounds weird) in hopes that if I poured it over fruit it would KINDA taste like ice cream.  We’ll see.