Saturday, December 14, 2013

10 Healthy Snacks

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I'm a true believer that preparing your meals ahead of time is the key to success in sticking with any healthy eating plan.  So, this weekend is all about the meal prep.  I want to get everyone prepared for the new year by learning how to plan your meals and snacks.  So, here is Lesson One-- On Healthy Snacks.

Do you ever find yourself getting hungry and running to the pantry grabbing the most convenient food? Or the yummiest food? Yes? Join the rest of the world.  We all do it!  I'm going to give you some of my favorite snacks that you can prepare ahead of time {prepare is a really intimidating word... let's just say it requires a little slicing or ziploc bagging}.  Here we go.

1.  Apple slices and PB2-- Yall know I love my PB2.  It's lower in fat content than regular peanut butter.  The apple packs tons of nutrients & a crunchy texture.

2.  Air popped popcorn--  It's approximately 31 calories per cup {that's without the butter/salt}.  If you have difficulty snacking at night or like to be snacking on something often, this is a really low calorie snack with a large volume.  Feels indulgent almost!

3.  Frozen fruit--  This is great when you're packing a lunch or you'll be out somewhere for a while, because the fruit tastes great frozen or slightly thawed.

4.  Protein bars-- When you're choosing a protein bar, look for:
  • high protein, 15-20 grams {this will keep you feeling sustained longer} 
  • low sugar, <5 g {I don't want my bar to have as much sugar as a candy bar. I've been working out all week. Can't let that go to waste!} 
  • higher fiber {I like my bars to have some fiber.  It keeps me feeling full, can help lower cholesterol & helps with intestinal health.  Really the higher the better!}
Quest Bars are fantastic.  One of my favorite bars, especially the peanut butter supreme & chocolate chip cookie dough!  Yall check them out.  So delicious if you warm them up in the microwave! >>
Try Quest Protein Bars!

5.  Homemade granola-- {Recipe coming soon!!}

6. Homemade trail mix-- great things to add to a healthy trail mix are almonds, wheat Chex, unsalted peanuts,

7. Hard boiled eggs-- okay, I personally don't like these, BUT.... eggs are wonderful for you, the yolk and all! They provide a great source of protein.  I suggest if you like it, then this is a great snack.

8.  Sliced bell peppers-- use salsa or hummus as the dip.  You'd be surprised how crunchy & delicious bell peppers are as a snack!

9. Kale chips-- if you've never tried them, you really should! Refer to the recipe I posted earlier today. So easy.

10. Caramel rice cake & PB2-- just plain indulgent.

Kale Chips

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I really love kale chips... I want to share with you how easy they are! If you've never tried them, at least give them one chance for me.  Kale is pretty inexpensive and it's really low in calories.

Here's what you'll need:

1 bunch of kale {about 3-4 cups}
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp garlic

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.  Wash & dry the kale.  Remove the stem/middle from the bunch {these are the bad, bitter parts}.  Tear the leaves into halves or smaller pieces.  Mix olive oil, garlic and salt in a large bowl.  Toss kale in the large bowl with the mix until all is lightly coated.  Then, spread kale out on a baking sheet.  Bake approximately 20-25 minutes {until you see it getting really crispy}.  Enjoy & let me know what you think about this new recipe!  Don't be afraid to branch out.  It's an easy recipe to take on the go as well.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

How to Make Perfect Meringue

In the season of pie-making, we must be harness our inner Paula Deen & learn to whip up some tall, fluffy meringues. In case you don't feel like a pro, it's okay... I don't either. I'm here to give you my favorite meringue recipe & the best tips I know on how to make your meringue Christmas-dinner-worthy!

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What you'll need:

A very clean, dry, glass bowl
3 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp vanilla
6 Tbsp sugar

Okay, here we go.  Get your glass bowl & beater out... And I don't mean your hand beater or your whisk.  While that would be a good workout, it would take all day & make your meringue stiff.  {TIP: Your bowl should be VERY clean & completely dry.  If there is any moisture or oil/fat from your bowl or fingers, this will affect your meringue poorly.} Place your egg whites into your glass bowl and start beating on low/medium.  {TIP: Your egg whites will whip better if they've been sitting out at room temperature.  I'm not talking all day.... I'm not a fan of food poisoning.  I'm just saying they will whip better if you allow them sit out while you're baking the pie.  Also TIP: Make sure there is absolutely NO yellow in those egg whites.  If you see yellow, start over.  It's a pain, but your meringue will fall.}  Add cream of tartar and vanilla. Continue mixing on medium until it forms a soft peak.  This will look like little peaks that form curls when you take the beater out.  You're not done though!

Now, add 6 Tbsp of sugar one at a time &  increase your mixing speed to medium/high until your meringue peaks.  There are several different levels of peaking, but you want a stiff peak.  This means when you pull the beater out, the peaks will form stiff tips {they won't curl anymore!} Perfection!

Top your pie with your wonderful meringue.  Brown in the oven at 350 degrees F for about 10 minutes!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Motivation Monday- Getting Ready for The New Year!

The new year is a fantastic time to get back on track with all of your goals {yes I say "goals" often! I think they're so important to have!}. So, why not get a jump start now? Grab your pen and paper and write down 3 specific changes you'd like to see in yourself by 3 months from now- middle March- one for every month! {That's Spring Break time, by the way... Right when the sun will start shining & you'll be so happy you did this, because it'll be time to break out those shorts & tank tops to show off your great bod!} 

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{pic from backonpointe.tumblr}

What are your goals? Maybe one of your goals is to eat better portion sizes or healthier snacks. Maybe it's to cut down on the number of sodas you're drinking. Get a head start on those goals before the new year! Share them here!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Cheesy Biscuits

You know those biscuits at Red Lobster? The cheesy ones that melt in your mouth? Have you ever wondered how to make them yourself? Well if you have, I've got just the recipe for you--the secret to those tasty, cheesy, warm Red Lobster-esque biscuits!

What you'll need:
2 cups Bisquick mix
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2/3 cup milk
2 Tbsp butter
1 tsp garlic

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Mix Bisquick and shredded cheese in a medium bowl. Add milk. Mixture will begin to form a ball of dough. Form into large spoonfuls on a greased cooking sheet. Cook at 425 degrees F for 10 minutes. Remove from oven. 

Then, melt butter in microwave (it'll take approx. 15 seconds). Mix in the garlic. Brush onto the biscuits after they've been removed from the oven. Enjoy!

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