My Favorite Breakfast: Egg Muffins

For those mornings I don’t have a lot of time (which is most lately), I premake these egg muffins. They are super easy to make and you can add whatever ingredients you prefer.

For these, I beat two eggs and pour them individually into a muffin tin that I prepared with some cooking spray. I do this for portion control but if it’s easier, you can just beat 12 eggs in a large bowl and pour into a six-muffin tin. I also added chopped tomatoes, chopped veggie sausage, chopped spinach and a pinch of shredded cheese into each.

Bake for 20-25 minutes at 400 degrees F. I test mine with a toothpick to make sure they are cooked firmly. Let them cool and then refrigerate. While I reheat mine in the microwave before eating, my husband often grabs them right out of the fridge.

I promise one of these days I will do another non-breakfast recipe!

My Favorite: Breakfast

Here’s another routine breakfast for me…

My omelet is two pasture raised eggs, one vegetarian sausage and a pinch of cheddar cheese. I bought this egg cooker from Amazon, which is amazing. While my omelet is cooking, I steam my zucchini and season with salt and pepper. For my carb, today I ate half of a Killer Davie’s Bloomin’ Berry bagel but I also add sprouted wheat bread or a veggie muffin. Depending on how hungry I am, I may add some grapes or berries as well. I often eat those right after my workout so they are sort of a pre-breakfast and then eat this breakfast 30 minutes after that.

I’m actually surprised at how much I am enjoying zucchini for breakfast. I used to add steamed spinach but never loved that as part of my breakfast. If I am ever not very hungry, I may add spinach or broccoli to the omelet to get those macros in!

Why Do Carbs Get Such A Bad Rap?

Carbs are almost a dirty word in todays society. There are just about as many no or low carb diets as there are carbs themselves! Whether you did Atkins or South Beach decades ago or you are keto now, some people swear by the no-carb life.

I was watching the Netflix show Down to Earth with Zac Efron. While they were eating pasta in Italy, Zac mentioned that when he was filing the movie Baywatch, he didn’t eat any carbs. The carb-filled diet of the centenarians in the town they were visiting was the opposite of what any trainer had told him. His diet made a lot of news at the time but he also said it made him crazy and even depressed. I know competitors in fitness competitions carb cycle in the weeks before to enhance their physique. I have never thought of a no or low carb diet to be sustainable long-term.

Zac during Baywatch (L) and Zac during Down to Earth (R)

The problem with cutting out all carbs is that some carbs are good for you. Following a balanced macronutrient diet, like I do, carbs can account for 50% of your diet! (I am usually between 40-50% each day). Carbs provide you with glucose for fuel and fiber for digestion. They also help to keep you full and satisfied so you aren’t tempted to over-eat on unhealthy foods.

We also try and watch carbs in our house because we have two people with Type 1 Diabetes, which is a chronic condition where the pancreas produces little to no insulin. Insulin is needed to break down glucose into fuel. Type 1 Diabetes has no known cause or cure. Although people with Type 1 Diabetes can eat whatever they want, they must inject insulin to “cover” the amount of carbs they eat or drink.

How do you choose which carbs to eat? In our house, we know that most cereals or refined/processed carbs are going to spike blood sugar levels. Same with fruit juices or sugary sodas. I look at these types of carbs as empty calories. I prefer whole grain bread to white bread. There are low-carb or vegetable pastas, even cauliflower rice (although we eat plenty of brown rice).

Some people avoid fruits because they contained carbs. I avoid fruit juice because it only has the carbs but the fiber has been stripped away. We eat a lot of berries, apples and pineapple. Also good are melons and oranges.

In reality, there are many ways to reduce bad carbs still eating the foods you love. Using some of the carb substitutes mentioned above is one way. If you season your cauliflower rice correctly, you can make it tasty, I promise! I have a spiralizer to make zucchini pasta, although there are plenty of options at the grocery store. Even a burger or sandwich can be lower carb by removing the top bun or piece of bread or putting it over a salad. I promise you, as I write earlier, a taco over a salad is still delicious!

For those of you using the Ultimate Portion Fix container list, I usually have whole grain toast as one of my containers. Other popular carbs are sweet potato, black or kidney beans, lentils, brown or wild rice and quinoa. Of course, when you have a glass of wine or beer, that counts as a yellow container, so plan accordingly!

Also, check out this article from the My Fitness Pal blog about the top myths about carbs.

Don’t forget to check out some of my recipes that are filled with good carbs, including cheesecake! Keep checking back for more delicious recipes and let me know if there’s a particular food you would like to see a healthy carb version of!

Recipe: Pineapple Chicken Skewers

A great summer grilling recipe that comes in just over 200 calories per serving and has tons of flavor!

Cut 1lb of raw chicken breast into 1 inch pieces. Put it in a reusable bag or container with 1/4 reduced sodium soy sauce, 2 tsp. of sesame oil and 2 tsp. of grated fresh ginger and shake to coat. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. I don’t always have ginger on hand so it’s not essential to the recipe. I also usually end up making more than 1 pound of chicken, which is completely fine. Just adjust the amount of sauces (i.e.) 2 pounds of chicken should have 1/2 cup soy sauce and 4 tsp. of sesame oil. Don’t forget to cut a few more vegetables as well.

Cut up 1-2 bell peppers and 1/2 a red onion into kabob size pieces. Take those pieces, your chicken and a can of pineapple chunks and alternate them on to a bamboo skewer until there are two of each of the ingredients on each skewer. (I actually fit three of each ingredient but when you are factoring portion size, calculate 2 skewers with 2 ingredients each for the portion size.) Throw those on the grill and you are good to go.

Each serving is 214 calories, 5 grams of fat, 12 carbs and 26 grams of protein. For Ultimate Portion Fix, the container counts are 1/2 green, 1/2 purple, 1 red and 1/2 spoon. You can add some brown rice for 1 yellow if desired.

Happy Grilling!

My Favorite: Breakfast

One of my favorite things to eat for breakfast is also one of the easiest! If you want to be fancy, you can call it a yogurt parfait but basically it’s yogurt, granola and fruit.

Loved the mixed berries this week

I usually use Siggi’s Mixed Berry Yogurt, Kind granola and whatever berries I buy. The only thing missing is some veggies but I usually make it up by adding spinach to my smoothie later.

What is your favorite breakfast?

Recipe – Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls

This was a fun and easy recipe that really hit it out of the park! The whole family loved them.

SERVES: 24 (1 ball each) Prep Time: 20 min.

1 cup all-natural smooth peanut butter
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
3⁄4 cup coconut flour
2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
Hot water
8 oz. semisweet chocolate, 62% cocoa or higher, chopped
2 tsp. extra-virgin organic coconut oil, unrefined

  1. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Combine peanut butter, cornstarch, coconut flour, and maple syrup in a medium bowl; blend well with a spatula until mixture forms a uniform dough.
  3. Using clean hands, shape dough into twenty-four 1-inch balls; place a toothpick in the center of each ball. Place on prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  4. Fill small saucepan with 2 inches of water; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low.
  5. Place a heat-proof mixing bowl over saucepan. Add chocolate and oil. Stir for 2 to 3 minutes, or until just melted. Make sure water does not splash into the bowl.
  6. Remove balls from refrigerator. Hold a ball by the toothpick and dip into chocolate, swirling to completely coat. Return to baking sheet. Repeat with each ball. (For any uncoated areas, coat carefully with a spoon dipped into chocolate.)
  7. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or until chocolate has hardened.

Store in airtight container in the refrigerator.

TIPS:
• You can also melt the chocolate in the microwave. Place morsels and oil in microwave-safe container. Microwave on 50% power for 30 seconds; stir. Microwave for an additional 30 to 45 seconds or until just melted. Do not overcook.
• To prevent the balls from sticking to your hands when you roll them, lightly coat your hands with nonstick cooking spray.

NUTRITIONALINFORMATION(perserving):Calories:134 TotalFat:9g SaturatedFat:4g Cholesterol:0mg Sodium:57mg Carbohydrates:12g Fiber:2g Sugars:8g Protein:4g

Containers: 1 yellow and 1 spoon per serving

I did not chop the chocolate chips, just melted them by stirring frequently over heat. I also recommend a little more than 20 minutes to harden the peanut butter as the toothpicks weren’t in there solid enough to swirl in the chocolate without the help of a spatula. I would also recommend taking the toothpicks out after the chocolate is on and before you put them back in the fridge.

Happy snacking!

Let’s Talk Cocktails – Taco Tuesday Edition

I love a margarita as much as the next person but a regular margarita can be 200-300 calories and more than 30 carbs per drink. These are empty calories with no nutritional value and the sugar would probably give you a stomachache!

So what are the options? There’s the famous Skinny Girl margarita, which started by just adding a lot of lime juice to some tequila. This may not be for everyone. Looking at some “light” margarita mixes, most still have at least 200 calories and a high amount of sugar. I basically gave up thinking about margaritas by the pool.

That is until I found the light margarita mix by Master of Mixes. This is a very tasty mix and is actually light! It has 10 calories (yes, 10!) for a 4 ounce pour and only 2 carbs with no added sugars. When I mix mine with an ounce of Casamigos tequila, the entire drink comes in under 80 calories! This is also a great mix for those watching carbs, including people with diabetes.

While you shouldn’t over-indulge, this is a great mix to have a tasty cocktail or two. So enjoy your (healthy) tacos with a great margarita this Taco Tuesday without any extra sugar and without all those empty calories!

Recipe: Chocolate Chip Energy Bites

Courtesy of Carrie Underwood’s book Find Your Path

3/4 cup natural creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoons raw honey
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup mini dark chocolate chips
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Mix oats and chocolate chips together in a large bowl. Set aside.

Heat peanut butter over low heat in a small sauce pan, stirring occasionally. Once it is runny, remove from heat and stir in the honey. Drizzle over the top of the oats mixture. Sprinkle with the salt (I used less) and mix everything together. Cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Remove from fridge and form into eighteen 1-inch balls. You can store these in an airtight container for up to a week or freeze them, but they never last more than 2 days in my house before they are devoured!

Nutrition Facts: (per piece) 137 calories, 9 g fat, 10 carbs, 4.6 g protein, 2.3 g fiber, 5 g sugar

When a pandemic gets your nutrition out of wack

Did you start out when the stay-at-home orders came down thinking you were going to learn new skills, cook amazing and healthy meals and get that six-pack you’ve always wanted? I know for me, I was more stressed then ever, working from home and trying to help my daughter with distance learning while running a household and dealing with my husband working longer hours than normal. It was so stressful!

I don’t know about you, but this is my first pandemic so I wasn’t sure what to expect! I think we’ve all had a bit of tears, a bit of boredom, a bit of alcohol and a lot of Uber Eats! OK, probably a lot of alcohol too! What we probably haven’t had as much of is fruits and vegetables!

At a certain point, I decided we had to get back to a little bit of normality. No, we didn’t head to Disney last weekend when they opened and we still haven’t eaten at a restaurant but I am back to meal planning, although it’s a little different than before. Where I would cook 6 chicken breasts in the Instant Pot on Sundays and divvy them up for the week, I am taking meals day by day but I map out what we are going to eat on which days. I also keep lots of vegetables on hand to roast or steam. Our favorites are broccoli, carrots, asparagus and zucchini. I also make a large salad and split it up into small containers. My husband likes to grab one and eat it while dinner is being prepared and I usually eat one as part of my lunch.

Cooking lots of veggies!

I keep my grocery list on my Amazon Echo, so as I see things are needed, I can just say “Alexa, add broccoli to the shopping list” then access the list from my phone while I am at the store. There are also a lot of other grocery list apps you can get on your phone or put it right into your Instacart order as the items come up. Just make sure you have a list so your planned meal doesn’t get derailed and then temptation to eat that frozen pizza overtakes you!

The meal planning sheet, which I purchased from the Pop Flex store, has a grocery list you can write on the side which is easy to tear off and bring with you. The back is also stick so you can put it on the fridge. There are a ton of subscriptions you can buy to help with your meal planning as well. I have used the 131 Method and subscribe to the Monthly Fix on Beachbody, both which layout a weekly meal plan for you along with a shopping list. I also use a macro tracker called LifeSum which has several meal plans you can choose from. I usually don’t follow these meals plans to a tee, but I do pick the meals that I know everyone in the family will like.

This week, I am going to be doing a 3-day refresh to help kick my sugar cravings that have re-emerged since the pandemic started. This does blend well with what my family will eat. I just add a protein to their dinner while I will stick with the veggies. I will link a rundown of the 3-day refresh here for those who are interested.

Another trick is that I plan for leftovers. One of my daughter’s favorite recipes is a homemade Mac & Cheese with flat egg noodles. I put that in the meal plan for Wednesday night and they can eat that Thursday night too since it makes a large pan. I always fill the cooking sheet with veggies to roast as well so we have those for lunches (or even breakfast) and snack for days.

Here’s a peak at my meal plan for this week. It’s a little light because of the 3-day Refresh, which is just a lot of fruits and veggies. The stir-fry is a classic, easy recipe which you can look for on the site soon! You will also see a plan to order from UberEats on Friday, which is a nice way to treat ourselves after a long week. There’s always a healthy way to eat out so stay tuned for tips on that as well.

I always say putting a plan together is half the battle! So happy meal planning and please stay safe and healthy!