Tag Archives: Dinner

Healthy Habits for Weight Loss: Dinner and Portions

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There are a lot of reasons to lose weight and there are a lot of ways to do it.  With our wedding approaching in November we decided to make this an overall healthy year.  So in January started to focus on what we were eating, how much we were eating and set out to change some habits and lose weight along the way.  I’ll be sharing some of our new healthy habits over a series of short posts.  Let’s start with dinner and portion sizes.

I grew up in a house where my mom cooked dinner every night.  We sat down as  family, talked about our days and shared a meal together.  She made everything from tacos, to shake and bake pork chops with mashed potatoes.  We always had a fresh vegetable and salad with our meals.  My mom also made pretty much everything from scratch which helped to keep our meals healthy.  Michael grew up in a similar house and together we bonded over cooking and sharing meals.  When we moved in together, cooking dinner and having a meal became a daily occurrence.  We have always tried to keep it healthy with lean protein and green veggies but we knew this wouldn’t be enough to help us shed a few pounds.

One of the first things we changed up this year was our dinners.  Michael has always struggled with GI issues, and complained that our dinners left him feeling full at night which made sleeping uncomfortable.  So we’ve started to shift to a lighter dinner.   We’ve also really focused on our portions.  For example, Wednesday night is always taco night for us.  We used to make guacamole with 2 avocados and would each eat three tacos with extra lean ground chicken.  I’d say most nights we ate 3/4 of a pound of turkey.  Now make guacamole with  1 avocado, each eat 2 tacos and have less than 1/2 a pound of meat between us.  Most other nights we have been having a salad or soup.  Salads are topped with salmon or chicken baked in the oven with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper.  We’ll put some butternut squash, tomatoes, cucumber, and whatever else sounds good!  We’ve always tossed our salads with a yogurt based dressing and kept it very light so we continue to do that.   Even when we order takeout I serve out my portion and then package up the remaining serving so as not to over eat or tempt myself!

Salmon over Salad with Veggies!

Salmon over Salad with Veggies!

For me the switch was really hard to adjust to mentally.  I was afraid I’d be hungry or not get enough to eat, after all I was already at a healthy weight.  And to add to that, I’ve always been a big eater.  Growing up I always had seconds, and when I was skiing in college and burning about 2,000 calories in a single workout I had seconds.  To the astonishment of those around me I could always eat and eat and still be at a healthy weight with lean, toned muscles.  Recently though, I’ve noticed I want to eat less and I’m fuller faster.  It’s likely a product of my age and activity level but had me thinking about how much I was eating on a regular basis.  The first thing I noticed when it came to eating lighter, smaller meals was that I really didn’t miss the larger portions or second helpings.  Not one bit.  I also noticed that I was sleeping and feeling better with our lighter dinners.  Michael has also been feeling much better since we’ve started eating lighter and has had less GI issues as well.  I think the greatest change is that this habit is even translating when we go out to dinner.  We order less food, order healthier options and we don’t eat our whole serving.  It’s so unlike us but goes to show how mindful eating can make a difference…a difference you can see and feel!

Over the next few posts I’ll talk about breakfast, desserts, meal prep and more!  All of these changes are really making a difference for us.  And the positive results make us want to continue our healthy habits!

How do you monitor your portions at dinner?  Does mindful eating  help you keep your portions smaller?

What I Ate Wednesday #75

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I love spring, mostly because it brings with it grilling weather and changes up my taste buds.  Gone are the days of heavy stews, soups and roasts.  I’m digging salads, fresh veggies, grilled meats and so much more.  We’ve been focusing more on veggies, portion control, less sugars and more protein.  Michael is starting to lose weight and I’ve been feeling really good when it comes to food.  I’ve found that it’s easier to say no to the junk food because it just really doesn’t make me feel good since we’ve been eating so much good stuff!

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Breakfast.

I’ve been loving pancakes and waffles.  During the week I’ve been having waffles with peanut butter and bananas, or with maple syrup and fruit.  This weekend we made homemade pancakes with fresh strawberries on top.  I’ve been perking up my coffee with chocolate almond milk which makes it taste so good!

Homemade Pancakes, Fresh Strawberries and Coffee

Homemade Pancakes, Fresh Strawberries and Coffee

Lunch. 

Lunch has been filled with variety.  Last week I was loving turkey with American cheese and mustard on a sandwich thin.  This week I have chicken and a baked sweet potato topped with salsa and sour cream.  Also in the mix have been frozen burritos.  I even bought some fresh bread to have an old-fashioned peanut butter and jelly one day.  Snacks have been lots and lots of fruit…bananas, strawberries, grapes, and apples.  I’ve also been loving raw almonds or yogurt.

Snacks:  Red Grapes and Raw Almonds

Snacks: Red Grapes and Raw Almonds

Dinner.

Friday night we went to dinner at this italian restaurant near by.  There are only 7 tables in the restaurant and it always seems like there is a long wait for a table.  We got lucky and only waited 10 minutes to get a table.  The restaurant is famous for its fresh baked bread which is incredible!  I had fettucine with mushrooms and truffle oil which was so good!  Sunday we made grilled chicken, roasted potatoes, corn on the cob and salads for dinner…and margaritas (it was Cinco de Mayo)!  Also in the mix has been fish, salad and broccoli.  We also made a healthier version of steak sandwiches with peppers and onions and a little bit of cheese.  It’s so good!

Dinner

Dinner

Dessert.

I couldn’t resist the other night…I NEEDED a bowl of fro yo in my life.  Moose tracks frozen yogurt to the rescue and it was good!

Moose Tracks Frozen Yogurt

Moose Tracks Frozen Yogurt

Waffles or Pancakes? What are your go to snacks? What new dinner ideas are you loving?  Favorite Fro Yo flavor?

What I Ate Wednesday #74

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I’m pretty excited to be talking about food today.  I seriously love food and it makes me happy.  My eating was really off last week.  It was incredibly busy at work, the days were flying by and I kept forgetting to eat.  I was also really stressed out and trying to stay focused which distracted me from lunch.  This week I’m making a better effort to stop and eat lunch at noon and eat my snacks mid-morning and mid-afternoon.  It’s amazing how much better I feel when I stick to my normal eating schedule.

Breakfast.

I’ve had some long days and I love to start them off with a good breakfast full of fuel.  One of my goto’s has been waffles, a couple scrambled eggs with cheese and fresh fruit with coffee.  It’s so delicious and the perfect balance of carbs and protein!

Waffles, Eggs and Fruit

Waffles, Eggs and Fruit

Over the weekend Michael and I got a little bit creative with breakfast and made breakfast tacos.  We scrambled eggs with Morning Star Veggie Breakfast Sausage, black beans, tomatoes and cheese.  On top we put sliced avocado, salsa and sour cream.  It was so good and really filling!

Breakfast Tacos!

Breakfast Tacos!

Lunch.

I’ve been keeping it simple with sandwiches and fruit.  I’m learning that I actually eat less at my new job and don’t need to bring as much food.  For months I’ve been bringing 3 pieces of fruit, nuts and yogurt in addition to my lunch.  I pretty much always eat 2 pieces and fruit and maybe some nuts.  I’ve been carrying extra food back and forth that I never eat.  So I’ve been trying to bring just enough food rather than too much.

Tuna Sandwich, Popcorn, Strawberries and Blackberries, Banana, Almonds

Tuna has been in the mix lately, it’s a nice change and so good!

Dinner.

The other night we kept it simple and had pasta with Mike’s Mom’s sauce and salads.  Usually we just dump about half a box of pasta into the pot and call it good but this time we weighed out pasta for our meal.  It didn’t look like much dried but cooked it proved to be plenty of food!  We definitely need to start weighing more of our food.

Pasta with Sauce and Meat, Salad

Pasta with Sauce and Meat, Salad

We also had our favorite haddock with Ritz crackers, salad and broccolini.  Michael made the broccolini with a soy and sesame sauce which was so good.  It made the veggies salty but sweet and gave them tons of flavor.  In the sauce was soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, sugar and garlic.  It was quick and easy to put together too!

Haddock, Broccolini with a Soy Sesame sauce and Salad.

Haddock, Broccolini with a Soy Sesame sauce and Salad.

I can’t wait to see what all of you have been eating! Many thanks to Jen for hosting the party.

What do you like to eat for breakfast on a long day? How many snacks do you eat during the day? What is one of your favorite veggie sides with dinner?

What I Ate Wednesday #73

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Last week was so busy which meant that my meals were quick and easy.  By Friday our fridge was empty and required serious creativity to piece together a lunch, I couldn’t deal so I headed to the Whole Foods hot bar.  I ate out dinner more times last week than I prefer.  This week I was motivated to eat good, healthy home cooked meals.  It’s only Wednesday and so far, I’ve been eating pretty darn good!

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Breakfast. 

Saturday morning I had to work, and by work I mean I had to meet my team running the Nike Women’s Marathon Half with Team In Training.  We chatted fundraising, training and all things D.C. while out running.  I got in a solid 6 miles.  By the time I got home I was starving and happy to be done for the week.  I took leftover ham and heated it up to have with scrambled eggs, strawberries and blackberries.  Breakfast and a cup of coffee was exactly what I needed to relax.

Ham and Eggs.  Banana Nut Muffins.

Ham and Eggs. Banana Nut Muffins.

In preparation for the week I made sugar-free banana nut muffins.  I love having a toasted muffin with cereal or yogurt and granola.  It’s always delicious.  Plus, it packs well when I have to eat breakfast at work because I teach in the morning.  So good!

Lunch. 

For lunches I made one of my favorite spring and summer meals, avocado chicken salad.  It’s a recipe from Cooking Light Magazine last April.  It comes together so quick thanks to a rotisserie chicken, the cilantro freshens it up and the avocado makes it creamy.  I like to eat it with tortilla chips, Michael likes it on a wrap…to each their own.  It’s definitely filling thanks to protein and good-for-you fats.

Avocado Chicken Salad

Avocado Chicken Salad

Along with it I had my go-to strawberries and blackberries, an apple, banana, and almonds.  I packed it all in my new bento box thanks to Michael.  It takes Tupperware to a new level! It’s so much more convenient and I love how it all bundles together!

Dinners.

I love being home for dinner, really I do.  I love meal planning, cooking and most of all eating.  Sunday we used the last of the lamb from Easter.  We turned it into lamb ragu and served it over polenta with a dollop of ricotta cheese on top.  It was so good, I love ending the weekend with a hearty warm meal.  On Monday we made something new!  Michael has always said he didn’t like salmon but he’s had a change of heart.  I’m psyched because I love salmon!  We made salmon cakes served over lettuce with broccoli on the side.  They were so delicious and light.  Definitely something we’ll be making again and not a bad way to start the week!

Lamb Ragu with Polenta.  Salomon Cakes over Lettuce.

Lamb Ragu with Polenta. Salomon Cakes over Lettuce.

Be sure to check out Jen’s blog, Peas and Crayons for other great What I Wednesday posts!

What type of muffins are your favorite? Have you made an untraditional chicken salad before?  What are your new-to-you dinners?

What I Ate Wednesday #72

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I love new months when it comes to food.  It gives me a chance to mentally reset.  Last month I kept finding myself reaching for chocolate around 3pm.  It wasn’t a habit I really felt proud of it.  To start this month on the right foot I set an alarm on my phone for 3pm.  It’s a reminder to stop what I’m doing a reach for a healthy snack. I was always really good about this at my last job but with my new job I’m so busy that I don’t always notice the time or my hunger cravings.  Hopefully the alarm will help!

April is also a new theme for What I Ate Wednesday!  This month we are serving up an extra cup of veggies! Now that’s my kind of month!

Breakfast.

Breakfast has been random these days.  Some days it’s a mini bagel with cream cheese or a waffle or scrambled eggs.  If I have time to make eggs, they are always my go to! Friday was a morning off with a little bit of this and a little bit of that.

Scrambled Eggs, a Waffle,  Meatless Sausage and Coconut Coffee

Scrambled Eggs, a Waffle, Meat-less Sausage and Coconut Macaroon Coffee

Today, it’s an egg sandwich on the run…I’m heading to NYC for work meetings all day!

Lunch.  

This isn’t so much of a lunch as it is snacks for a full day.  I’m taking the train (very early I might add…it was 4am when I got up!) to NYC for work meetings and then grabbing a 5pm train home…it will be a long day.  We’ll have lunch during our meetings but I like to be prepared for a full day.  I packed a banana, an apple, yogurt and granola, nuts and rice cakes with peanut butter.

Lunch and Snacks

Hopefully this will keep me full and satisfied throughout the day!

Dinner.

Saturday was date night in.  We made homemade pizza and salad (in new bowls!) and watched Lincoln.  It was simple but tasted so good!

Homemade Pizza and Salad with Artichokes and Sun-dried Tomatoes

This week we had tacos with lettuce, tomatoes and cheese.  I also made homemade guacamole. It’s one of my favorite dinners that comes together in no time at all!

Homemade Turkey Tacos

Dessert. 

More Skinny Cow…what can I say? I love it!

Skinny Cow

Skinny Cow

As always, many thanks to Jen at Peas and Crayons for hosting the party!

What snacks do you pack for a long day traveling?  What is your favorite date night dinner?