Have you ever gotten home from work after a long busy day, and then looked into your fridge and realized you have nothing that you can turn into a healthy dinner within less than 10 minutes?
Or maybe you have some vegetables in the crisper but they have been sitting there all week and are now a sad, wilted version of what they once were?
When I was in university (I can`t believe i`m admitting this) but it was times like these that instead of taking the time to cook dinner, or go to the grocery store to pick up fresh vegetables, I would reach for cereal. Yes, I said cereal. I was single and I hated doing dishes and cereal was good enough for me.
Plus, I was tired and hungry.
When we’re tired and hungry, the last thing we want is to have to spend an hour cooking after a long day at work, especially if we are just cooking for ourselves.
So what would be simple (but not cereal)?
Healthy Frozen foods.
Yes, HEALTHY frozen foods.
But i`m not referring to the super-sized hungry-man meals or TV dinners that people used to eat. I`m talking about healthy frozen dishes that you can keep on hand as back-up for days where you just don`t feel like cooking.
Frozen = convenient
Frozen = easy
Frozen = healthy
…As long as you know what to choose.
In this video (I filmed it with Living Vancouver back in 2007) I walk you through the aisles of the grocery store showing you the best frozen foods to pick for a quick, healthy dinner
If you found these tips helpful and like this post – share it!
Cauliflower is currently one of the most popular vegetables being blogged about, pinned and tweeted. Whether you are looking for gluten or wheat free alternatives, to cut back on calories or carbohydrates to lose weight or if you are just looking for healthy, tasty veggie side dishes, you can find recipes for cauliflower versions of everything from mashed potatoes to macaroni and cheese to pizza crust.
I’ve been on the hunt for great cauliflower recipes for a while now, and I’ve found a light, simple recipe from the Guardian.com, for roasted whole cauliflower that I made 2 nights ago, and just had to share it – Whole Roast Cauliflower with Lemon, Cumin & Olive Oil
Haven’t jumped on the cauliflower
If you’re not a fan of cauliflower or haven’t jumped on the cauliflower bandwagon yet, here are 3 reasons why you should add it to your diet
Fights cancer – Cauliflower is part of a family of veggies that contain antioxidants that may actually help inactivate carcinogens. Some studies suggest these vegetables may help reduce the risk of lung, breast and colon cancer.
It is ridiculously versatile – Cauliflower can be used as a healthy alternative to favorite comfort foods, such as cauliflower mashed potatoes or cauliflower rice.
At only 27 calories and 6 grams of carbohydrate per cup (compared to 216 calories and 44 grams of carbohydrate in 1 cup of rice), this nutrition powerhouse will make it EASY to shift your calories at meals, which over the long term will naturally help you lose weight, without much effort.
The benefit of buying the cauliflower whole vs. pre-chopped
Now I have to admit, for the sake of time and simplicity, I usually buy cauliflower that has already been chopped in pieces for me (just because it’s less work!) but this time I decided to try a recipe using the whole cauliflower.
It is actually healthier to buy it whole vs. buying it pre-cut, because as soon as you cut the cauliflower, it starts to lose some of its nutrients. Why? Because more of the cauliflower will be exposed to air, light, and temperatures that may not be ideal – all of which may reduce or destroy nutrients. So if you can, best bet – buy cauliflower whole.
Ok, back to the recipe…
This recipe takes a little while to roast but only 5 minutes to prep. I find it has a light flavor so if you’re looking for strong flavors, you may have to add something that gives it a kick.
Here’s Part 2 of my 7 best healthy weight loss tips! If you missed the first post, click here to see Part 1
Tip No. 4 – Buy foods that are in season
Not only are they nutritionally better, they will taste better too. Search online for a seasonal fruit and vegetable table to find out what is in season right now. Here is a link for what`s in season in BC and Ontario.
Here on the west coast, blueberries and blackberries are still in season, so If you haven`t already, now is the time to stock up and freeze them. Pears, such as the red Anjou pear pictured above are also in season now, and are a perfect addition to salads or even sliced and added to sandwiches. I found this recipe which looks amazing from real simple.com – Prosciutto wrapped Pork with Sweet Potatoes and pears
Tip No. 5 – Eat 2 cups of veggies at dinner everyday
Eating 4 servings of vegetables at dinner is the number 1 tip I give all my clients and include in my meal plans, because it works! It shifts the calories at the time you need them the least and fills you up with plant foods that are bursting with antioxidants that will keep you healthy and fibre that will keep you full.
Tip No. 6 – Find recipes and meal plans online to help make meal planning simple
One of the things that people ask me for most often is a meal plan. When I was creating meal plans for the participants on The Last 10 Pounds Bootcamp, each plan had a specific formula for helping the participants lose weight, but one of the the key elements for each meal plan was what I mentioned in point number 2 above – focusing on filling the plate with vegetables at dinner.
When choosing a meal plan, make sure that it is something that you feel would be EASY to follow and would work over the long term. Plus, it has to include foods that you would really eat. I`ve found meal plans created by food companies that are fine if you want to use all of their food products, but what if you don’t want to? Also, some plans include foods that you would never usually eat, or couldn’t `imagine yourself eating over the long term (like 6 egg whites for breakfast).
Make sure that the meal plan fits your lifestyle and your typical eating habits. It will be easiest to stay on track with it if it does. To learn more about our meal plans – click here.
Tip No. 7 – Reward yourself
Last week I talked about commiting to your goal. But what about actually just getting started? You can`t commit to it if you can`t even get yourself started, right? When I decided I needed to get back to the gym, you know what I did? I told myself I only had to go for 5 minutes. That`s it. I could basically walk in, stretch for 5 minutes, then walk out.
Then, I gave myself a reward for completing that goal. What did give myself for that simple task? New yoga pants. Yes, yoga pants. Why was I rewarding myself for something like going to the gym for 5 minutes? Because I really just wanted to get myself back in the gym. I knew once I got there, I would stay longer than 5 minutes. Plus, I knew once I got myself through the door, I would want to go back. As the reward – well why not. We reward children when they do something positive – do we suddenly not need a pat on the back or rewards when we become adults? Forget that! a little extra incentive can go a long way.
Pick something super easy you can start with and give yourself a reward.
What easy first step goal can you set for yourself, that will make it simple to get started, and what reward would you give yourself? Yoga pants like I did? a spa gift certificate? Post your comments, I would love to hear!
Below are the 10 most popular questions I’m asked when starting a new meal plan:
1. I don’t eat beef or pork. Can I exchange this for something else in the meal plan?
Yes you can. The key is to exchange it with a source of protein, such as salmon, chicken or prawns. Just make sure to stick to the same portion.
2. I don’t eat dairy – what can I have instead?
If you don’t drink cow’s milk, you can exchange it with soy milk (soy milk has the same amount of protein as cow’s milk). Almond and coconut milk are also options, however they are not always fortified with calcium, so make sure to choose a brand that is. Rice milk is calcium fortified, however it is low in protein, so you may need to have a little more protein at the meal.
In exchange for yogurt (such as with snacks) or cheese, try a goat milk yogurt or cheese if you have lactose intolerance. Goat milk has less lactose than cow’s milk. If you have a milk allergy, just choose one of the other snacks on the meal plan.
3. Can I switch meals around, and have Monday night dinner on Wednesday instead?
Yes. Feel free to exchange dinners throughout the week for other dinner meals or switch the lunches on one day for a different lunch. The only thing you can`t do is alternate lunch meals for dinner meals, and vice versa, as the meals are based on a specific carbohydrate: protein ratio for healthy weight loss.
4. Do I have to have each different breakfast everyday, or can I just pick 1 or 2 breakfasts and repeat them?
Pick your favorites and repeat!
5. What if I don’t have time to cook. What can I grab on the go instead?
There are times when we are busy as a bee, so I completely get it! One of my favorite go-to dinners, is roast chicken (skin removed) and a bagged salad (just use 1-2 tsp of dressing – it’s more than enough!). This is quick, easy and delicious, and a healthy option that will easily fit your plan. Plus you can have leftovers the next day.
6. Can I eat out on the plan? If yes, what do you recommend?
I’ve kept one of the days as a FLEX day, because I know it’s important to have options. I’ve provided a guide in the plan for portions that will give you a little direction, while ensuring you stay on track and are still moving towards your goals.
7. What should I eat before and after a workout?
Depending on the type of activity you are doing, usually having something light (such as a banana) is enough for many people before a workout. If you are exercising in the morning, such as going for a run, some people don`t have anything (which in some cases is ok, as your body is using the carbohydrates stored in your muscle and liver from the day before) and others will have something light such as a piece of toast or some oatmeal. The basic rule of thumb is the closer it gets to a workout, the lighter it should be. You don`t want to have too much food that is digested slowly and sitting in your stomach right before you work out.
After a workout, again depending on the type of workout and level of intensity, plus when your next meal is, a protein shake may be a good option, or a simple yogurt. just keep in mind that you don’t need to replenish quite the same as someone who is training for an event, such as a marathon. Their goal is to keep their carbohydrate stores in their bodies topped up, so they have the energy they need to run. Your goal is healthy weight loss.
8. Can I have coffee?
Yes! Just don’t add a bunch of sugar or cream. Teas are fine as well. As for cold beverages, click here to see my article refreshing summer beverages for more ideas. Also, of course, make sure to include water throughout the day as well.
9. I have killer cravings in the evening! Can I have something sweet after dinner?
Cravings are a tough one for many of us – myself included! If you crave something sweet, try having a cup of water or tea and see if that helps first. Often we mix up thirst for hunger, so this might be enough to do the trick. You can also brush your teeth. This honestly works wonders.
If you still feel like something, and you can`t seem to shake it, try one of these Greek yogurt popsicles. They’re sweet, delicious, easy and super healthy. And depending on the size of your pop, it will only have about 90 – 120 calories.
10. Is it true I shouldn’t eat close to bedtime?
Unless you have been advised otherwise by your physician or personal dietitian, I suggest trying not to eat within 3 hours of bedtime. I just find this seems to work best for my clients, and honestly for me too.
Getting in shape and losing weight is an ongoing battle for many people. Whether your reason for wanting to lose weight is to manage health conditions, boost confidence, have more energy or look better in your clothes, everyone who wants to lose weight definitely wants to keep it off. I have yet to meet someone who says they just want to lose weight for this month, then regain it later.
The number one reason people, particularly women, come to see me is for weight loss. They have hit a point where they are frustrated and tired of trying multiple diets and weight loss programs that just aren’t working for them. Maybe a style of eating worked for them in the past, but not anymore and they just want to get results and need a little direction and support.
So, to help give you a little direction with your healthy weight loss goals, here are 7 of my best tips I share with my clients, for healthy weight loss. Oh, and if your goal isn’t to lose weight, don`t worry, these tips are also essential for overall health and wellness.
Tip No. 1: focus on ADDING foods to your diet
Yep, I said ADDING foods. Often when we think of the word diet, we automatically think of what we can’t eat, and that we’ll be eating nothing but salads and boiled chicken.
I had a client tell me that when she was following one of the popular diets out there, chicken and salad (no dressing) was all she ate because this was all she felt she was allowed to have. Even vegetables were limited on her plan so she ran out of ideas of what to eat, and ended up eating the same foods over and over. I think it was during our first session that she said, “I never wanted to look at another chicken breast again. Ever.”
Focus on adding quality, whole foods
By focusing on adding quality foods to your diet, you will lose weight because, fresh, whole, unprocessed foods tend to be naturally lower in calories, so you won`t have to think about whether you are eating too much or too little. You just get to eat them.
As an added bonus, these foods will help fight cancer, reduce your risk of heart disease (which is the number 1 killer of women in case you didn’t know), and fill your body with all the nutrients that make your skin glow.
Three of my favorite foods to add today:
Three of my favorite foods you should add today if you aren’t already eating regularly – cauliflower, kale and spinach. Why you ask?
Veggie #1 – Cauliflower
With cauliflower you can add to just about anything to increase the volume of a dish without greatly changing the flavor or the look. It’s what I call a ‘sneaky` vegetable. You can sneak it in dishes without people knowing. Grate it up and mix it with rice or blend it with mashed potato. It will easily cut the calories of a dish by 50%.
Veggie #2 – Kale
Kale is king when it comes to super foods. As soon as you chop or chew it, it releases cancer fighting antioxidants (sulforaphanes to be exact) and when you steam it, it actually kicks butt for lowering cholesterol compared to many other veggies. If you haven’t yet tried kale chips, click here to try an easy kale chips recipe
Veggie #3 – Spinach
Spinach is a versatile veggie that is easy to use and packed with nutrition. Research has even found that a specific flavanoid in spinach, kaempferol, has been associated with a 40% less risk of ovarian cancer. Spinach is my go-to vegetable for just about anything. My favorite places to add it you ask? Pasta sauce and curry. Just add it at the end to wilt it.
Tip No. 2: Think like an athlete and focus on the end result.
One of the worst things you could do when trying to change your eating habits for healthy weight loss, is to start focusing your energy on what you feel like you won`t be able to eat. When you do this, you are basically telling yourself that making these changes will be painful! Why would anyone want to do something that causes pain?
Athletes are told to focus on visualizing themselves practicing their sport and winning the race or the game. This is because research has shown that it actually improves their physical performance, enhances motivation, increases self confidence and helps manage stress.
So, think like an athlete. Just like they are focusing on what it is they need to do to be successful and actually visualizing themselves achieving their goals, you can do this too. Picture yourself at your target weight and all of the positive outcomes you’ll get once you achieve your goal. Picture yourself with lots of energy, better health and looking and feeling the way you want.
Focus on you being successful. Visualize that.
Tip No. 3 – Forget about trying to do everything perfectly. Just be committed.
There’s nothing wrong with striving to do and be our best, but for some reason with weight loss, from my experience, clients always try to get it ‘perfect’ from the get-go. Whether it is following a meal plan, or working out 7 days a week. Then, as soon as they fall off track, they beat themselves up. Don’t be so hard on yourself! If losing weight was really that simple, then nearly 40% of people wouldn’t struggle with weight. The key is just to get started and keep going.
You don’t have to be perfect to get results.You just have to be committed.
So I hope you found that helpful and I’ll be posting my other 4 tips next week. This week, when you go grocery shopping, pick up some cauliflower, kale and spinach and focus on adding it to your dinners this week. Remember, focus on foods you can ADD to your diet to help you with your healthy weight loss goals.
I’ve posted a kale chips recipe I shared a while back, but if you didn’t get a chance to try it out then, now is the time!
If you have a kale chips recipe you love, let me know and I’ll share it!