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Go there to check out my new post: Size Matters: How Portion Sizes Can Make A Big Difference


The Best Healthy & Frozen Meals

Frozen meals get a bad rep for being full of preservatives and deemed unhealthy due to soggy meatloaf and brands like Hungry Man; however, when chosen properly, they can be a huge time-saver and healthy meal option. Since starting my summer internship, I've lived off of frozen meals. I'll make my lunch once in a while if I have time but convenience eventually takes over and I get down right lazy. Yes, fresh is always best but life happens and sometimes its just easier to accept the microwave as your friend.

When buying a frozen meal, it's important to look at the nutritional label and ingredient list. Frozen meals are notorious for being saturated with sodium so beware (Try to look for ones under 600 mg). To keep your calories in check, look for options that are 350 calories or less and over 8 grams of protein. Higher quality meals (like Kashi or Amy's) range from $2.50 to $4.00 but is the same or less than what you'd spend at your work's cafeteria or a quick trip to Panera.

Key words to look for when shopping

Steamed: these options are often healthier because they freshly steam right in the container-- how convenient!
Low sodium: these meals contain less salt than their saltier counterparts but check the ingredients to make sure it's low sodium isn't compensating for another ingredient.
Whole grains: especially in pasta dishes, these meals contain more fiber and nutrients that white flour.
Organic: this seal of approval is a safe go-to when picking any frozen meal.

Still need some help deciding which meal is best for you?

Here are some of my favorites:

      Calories: 340
      Total fat: 9 g
      Saturated fat: 1 g
      Sodium: 380 mg
      Fiber: 8 g
      Protein: 9 g

      Calories: 340
      Total fat: 8 g
      Saturated fat: 1 g
      Sodium: 380 mg
      Fiber: 7 g
      Protein: 8 g

         Calories: 230
         Total fat: 5 g
         Saturated fat: 2 g
         Sodium: 490 mg
         Fiber: 5 g
         Protein: 10 g

      Calories 260
      Total fat: 4 g
      Saturated fat: 1 g
      Sodium: 570 mg
      Fiber: 3 g
      Protein: 15 g

       Calories 310
        Total fat: 9 g
        Saturated fat: 0 g
        Sodium: 550 mg
        Fiber: 3 g
        Protein: 21 g

        Calories: 260
        Total fat: 7 g
        Saturated fat: 2 g
        Sodium: 550 mg
        Fiber: 4 g
        Protein: 9 g

        Calories: 290
        Total fat: 6 g
        Saturated fat: 1 g
        Sodium: 590 mg
        Fiber: 5 g
        Protein: 20 g


         Calories: 240
         Total fat: 4.5 g
         Saturated fat: 2 g
         Sodium: 480 mg
         Fiber: 4 g
         Protein: 8 g 
          * 94% Organic
          ** Gluten-free

                Calories: 240
                Total fat: 5 g
                Saturated fat: 0.5 g
                Sodium: 590 mg
                Fiber: 5 g
                Protein: 11 g

What are some of your favorite frozen meals, share them with me by leaving a comment!


How To Ease Into A Vegan Lifestyle

Quiz time! Besides being stunning, what do all of these women have in common?



If you said "they're all vegan", you're a smarty pants or you read the post's title; regardless, you're correct!

The vegan lifestyle is something I don't live but it fascinates me. I have always wanted to attempt it for several reasons: (1) I support a lot of the diet's values, (2) it's a healthy diet and good for the body when well-balanced and (3) I'm curious if I could survive without fish. If I had to, I could go vegetarian because I'd live off eggs, veggies and tofu; however, vegan is a whole other animal (no pun). Since I'm lactose intolerant, the no cheese or dairy aspect is easy but I doubt I could live happily without eggs. This lifestyle is not for everyone but I hold a high level of respect for anyone who carries it out. This is a diet hard to switch to cold turkey especially if you're a heavy dairy or meat eater. It's important to transition slowly and not be hard on yourself if it's not the right lifestyle for you. Below is a 5 step guide for anyone interested in easing into a vegan life.

(1) List your reasoning: Just because the celebrities are doing it isn't reason enough to cut out all animal-based foods. "Go though and make a list of all the reasons you want to adapt this type of diet," says Elizabeth DeRobertis, Director of The Nutrition Center at Scars Medical Group in Scarsdale, NY. This is a good way to organize your thoughts and really decide if its something you want to commit to and stand behind.

(2) Do some research: Like anything new skill, you must take time to obtain the proper resources to do some heavy research. You will need to become familiar with which foods you can and cannot have and also be able to read the big, scientific words on the nutrition labels. DeRobertis says to check with your doctor and "take a look at your medical history and family medical history, as vegan diets are often rich in soy".

(3) Learn the cooking style: This is the fun part, looking up recipes! Find some vegan recipes that look interesting and give 'em a go! The more practice you have cooking vegan the easier it will be to shop for the right ingredients.

(4) Trash the temptation: Why tempt yourself with foods you can't have? Create an environment that is vegan-friendly and always have your shelves and fridge stocked with vegan foods. If it was me, I'd also find some sweets that are vegan-friendly so temptations are easier to subside-- it's no fun having a chocolate craving and the only means of sweets is a slice of chocolate cake.

(5) Find professional help (in a good way): Team up with a dietitian to make sure your diet is well-balanced and rich with the right vitamins and nutrients. The point of a vegan life style is to be healthier not malnourished.

Even if you don't want to go completely vegan, try a vegan recipe for fun!

If anyone has any advice on becoming vegan or has tried it, please leave your comments!


The BBQ Picnic Diet Survival Guide

Summer means AC, no school and picnics full of BBQ-deliciousness. What does BBQ stand for? Good question; but, it's a signal to strap on a bib because you're about to eat something really scrumptious. We had barbecued chicken and ribs for my graduation party with all the fixings. It was a carnivore's paradise. I don't eat meat a lot, but when I do I tend to have portion distortion and channel my inner dinosaur. By the end of my consumption, I had a face full of saucy war paint. I looked like a child who had just eaten her first bowl of Spaghetti-Os, but I was a happy child.

Putting my primal instincts aside, it's difficult to health-consciously load up your plate at a picnic. A portion of meat is usually cut for a small family and the pasta salads and cookie trays always look more appetizing on a check-board table cloth. Put down that turkey leg, King Henry. Here are some tips I use to slim down my BBQ and save some calories:

Avoid The Creamy Dips: Yes, the Spinach-Artichoke dip looks heavenly but healthier choices taste just as good. I stay away from anything dairy-based so I opt for guacamole which is a super food though higher in calories. If you're wary of calories, choose the fresh salsa instead and enjoy as much as you want!

Veggies Are Your Friend: I am a veggie freak, maybe a tad obsessive. I overload my plate with fresh veggies so by the time I get to other sides, I don't have much room. Veggies are filling and low-cal so you'll get stuffed on a low-calorie intake. Nice.

Pick Your Meat Wisely: If available, veggie burgers are a great alternative to beef patties. If you're craving some meat, lean towards items that are grilled versus slathered in sauce. If you just have to have the ribs, just be aware of your portion size and you'll be fine. Try this Lamb Burger with Greek Yogurt Dressing for a healthy alternative!

Go Bun-less: If possible, I go bun-free. If there's large pieces of lettuce, I'll make burger wraps instead. Take a large lettuce leaf, roll in your patty of choice and voila! Need a bun? Try to look for whole-wheat options.

Be Condiment-Conscious: All that mayo and ketchup can add extra calories to your burger. Try raw tomatos or salsa instead of ketchup and mustard over mayo!

Be Dessert Decisive: Desserts are my weak point and I wish I had 8 stomachs just to fill with chocolate, but sadly I don't so I'm very selective when satisfying my sweet tooth. Eye all the desserts and only narrow in on the ones you can't resist and can't have all months of the year-- no need to grab for the boring sugar cookie that you can buy at the store. Try a small slice of your cousin's famous apple pie and enjoy!

Beware Of Brews: If you're going to throw some back, look for lighter options because beer can add extra calories fast. Check out these lower calorie beers when you need a cold one.

Bib up and enjoy!


"Healthified" Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

Memorial Day weekend was filled with my 3 favorite F-words: fitness, family and food. My family, boyfriend and I spent the weekend in the Adirondacks soaking up the perfect and sorta-bug-free weather. We didn't have much service which was a welcomed change; however, it didn't stop me from taking pictures of trees and desserts with Instagram. My aunt is a skinny-chef who whips up cookies the size of Frisbees then goes for a 17-mile run; so, though I didn't run a 1/2 marathon this weekend, I still got some yummy looking pictures!

A gym of any sort is out of the question so we stay active by running, biking, rowing and hiking. My boyfriend and I didn't bring our road bikes up this time--- the first hill off my road is known for flashing your life before your eyes--- instead, we hiked and the view looked like a photograph (and with the help of Instragram it really did, mwhaha!).

Whew! Going up was a workout but we did see 21 frogs--- which doesn't have to do with the hardness of the hike but it was still a lot of frogs!

Before the weekend my aunt and I bought several bushels of rhubarb from the farmer's market. I haven't cooked a ton with it but wanted to try a crisp with a healthy twist, so I introduce to you my "healthified" version of Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp.

What you'll need:

4 C chopped rhubarb
3 C hulled and halved strawberries
14 packets of Stevia (we only had individual packets)--- or use 1/2 cup of suagr
2 tsp cornstarch
4 tsp butter at room temperature
4 tsp unsweetened applesauce
1 C soft white wheat flour 
1/2 cup oats 
1/4 cup brown sugar

What to do:
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and grease a baking pan.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the rhubarb, strawberries, Stevia, and cornstarch. 
  3. Pour into the greased baking dish.
  4. In another bowl, add the butter and applesauce into the flour oats and brown sugar.
  5. Sprinkle the topping over the fruit and bake about 30 minutes, topping should be golden brown.
  6. Let cool and enjoy!

The crisp..... 

and weekend was a success!



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