Tag: healthy

It’s time to start another feature, and this time I’m adding a new category of features: healthy lifestyles!

 

 

This category includes tips and advice on living well within different lifestyle factors: kids, tight budgets, tight schedules, picky eaters, you name it! So now is the time to vote. Which factor should I feature to help make your healthy life easier?

 



Eating Well on a Budget

We’ll talk about every trick in the book for making a healthful lifestyle as cheap as possible. It doesn’t have to be crazy expensive and often it’s actually cheaper than buying “cheap” junk food! I’ve been playing around with cutting our food budget while keeping it healthy for years, and I can tell you it’s possible to eat well on a tight budget (and I can show you how)!

 

Eating Well in Less Time

We are all busy! A tight schedule can leave little margin in our day (not to mention our energy) for keeping up healthy habits. Let me help you find healthy habits to streamline your life and make healthy work for your mind as well as your body.

 

 

Eating Well and Reducing Waste

For most American households, the vast majority of our trash bins are full of food waste and plastic food containers. A few easy swaps can significantly reduce the amount of food-related garbage in our landfills and be healthy for the planet as well as for you.

 

Vote in the poll below to let me know which feature is most helpful for you!

 

 

Related Articles

Streamline Your Healthy Life in Just 20 Minutes Per Week

Healthy Cooking Substitutions for a More Nutritious Meal

One Tip and One Product to Make Living Well Quicker and Easier

 



 

Healthy Lifestyles

Salmon and red potato hash with dijon aioli

 

This delicious dish is a copycat of a breakfast from a favorite restaurant of ours – the Ironwork Grill at McMenamin’s Grand Lodge in Forest Grove, Oregon. The original is made with a dill sauce but I always swap it for this dijon aioli, and I’ve never been disappointed!

The salmon, veggies, and potatoes make this a complete, protein- and potassium-laden anti-inflammatory power meal. Plus, it is so, so tasty and very easy to make!

 



Salmon and Red Potato Hash with Dijon Aioli

This dish is a complete dinner - it's loaded with omega-3, antioxidants, and other anti-inflammatory power punches. It's also very easy to make!

Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

Salmon and Vegetables

  • 4 fillets salmon
  • 1 diced red bell pepper
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 10 spears asparagus, cut into 2" lengths
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black ground pepper

Dijon Aioli

  • 1/4 cup avocado oil mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp dijon mustard

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 

  2. Place fillets skin-side down in a greased 9 x 13" baking pan. Surround with vegetables.

  3. Drizzle with canola oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

  4. Bake for 25 minutes or until thickest part of salmon measures 145 degrees.

  5. While salmon is baking, whisk together mayonnaise and dijon mustard.

  6. Serve salmon with aioli spread on top.

Recipe Notes

Each portion contains 499 calories, 29 g carbohydrate, 32 g protein, 3 g saturated fat, and 458 mg sodium.



Anti-inflammatory Diet Carb Counting Heart Healthy MyPlate Guidelines Recipes

 

My favorite breakfast on the Trim Healthy Mama Plan was this banana split oatmeal recipe from Oil of Joy. I tweaked the recipe a tad from the original, partly for taste and partly to improve the nutrition to better meet the Trim Healthy Mama guidelines.

Here’s what I did: cut the chocolate chips in half, removed the salt, and used fresh mashed strawberries instead of strawberry jam. I also added 2 scoops of plain whey protein to boost satiety and help regulate blood sugar. The vanilla in the oats really helps to make this oatmeal rich and delicious. It definitely feels like a dessert (it doesn’t have to just be for breakfast!) and it is so, so sweet. I have continued to make it even after finishing Trim Healthy Mama!

 

Banana Split Oatmeal (THM E Meal)

This decadent oatmeal is rich, delicious, and filling. It is easy to make and satisfies your sweet tooth in minutes!

Servings 1

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1/2 cup water boiling
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp stevia
  • 2 Tbsp plain whey protein
  • 2 strawberries, mashed
  • 1/2 banana, sliced sliced
  • 1/2 Tbsp dark chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Combine oats, water, vanilla, stevia, and protein.

  2. Top with strawberries, banana, and chocolate chips.

Recipe Notes

Contains 275 calories, 45 grams carbohydrate, 16 grams protein, and 5 grams fat per serving.

Recipe adapted from the blog Oil of Joy.



Recipes Trim Healthy Mama

These cheesy, saucy meatballs were like delicious little meatloaf bites. They paired superbly with a salad or green beans, and reheated well for lunches. My kids loved them too!

 

 

You can find the recipe for these meatballs on Briana Thomas’ blog. I topped them with my 5-minute heart healthy pizza sauce and it was delicious! Make them with lean meat and a light dusting of mozzarella cheese and you can improve the saturated fat content for heart health. They would be great with some whole grain spaghetti also. I hope you enjoy them too!

 

 



Diets Trim Healthy Mama

 

This soup is one of my favorite S meals I’ve eaten so far in the last 2 weeks. It pairs nicely with a little bit of brown rice for an S helper if needed. The cashews on top give it a perfect crunch!

 

If you prefer a slow cooker version, skip the coconut oil and add all ingredients (except basil and cashews) to a slow cooker and cook for 4.5 hours on high. Enjoy this warm, comforting soup around a warm, comforting table!

 



 

 

Red Curry Soup

This delicious low-carb soup has a little bit of crunch and a lot of flavor.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 1" cubes
  • 1 crown broccoli cut into florets
  • 2 carrots sliced
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 medium zucchini sliced
  • 2 Tbsp red curry paste
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 (15 oz) cans coconut milk
  • 1 (15 oz) can low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 handful fresh basil leaves chopped
  • 1/4 cup unsalted cashews for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, brown chicken cubes in coconut oil over medium heat.

  2. Add remaining ingredients, except basil and cashews. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil.

  3. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

  4. Add basil and cook for 5 more minutes.

  5. Serve in bowls with cashews on top.

Recipe Notes

Contains 294 calories, 21 g fat, 10 g carb, and 16.5 g protein per 2-cup serving.

 



Recipes Trim Healthy Mama

 

There are several foundational concepts behind the Trim Healthy Mama plan that are designed to improve health and help with weight management. As I mentioned in my intro post, for the most part these concepts line up with research and make practical sense. There are some aspects of the plan that don’t, and I’ll explain some of them below. Here’s your chance to get the overview of what research has to say about the basics of the Trim Healthy Mama Plan.

 

Moderation

 

Age-old and still good, the advice to eat in moderation is always relevant. By including protein at each meal and limiting carbohydrate portions, the Trim Healthy Mama Plan does a great job of preventing carbohydrate overeating. Overeating carbohydrates leads to storage of extra blood sugar as fat and can also increase inflammation, so regulating blood sugar by moderating carbohydrate intake can be key to weight loss or maintenance.

The weakness I see in this area is with fat moderation. The authors do repeatedly mention the importance of not abusing fat intake, but there is no official limit on fat intake for S meals. This might make it tricky for some to keep fat intake in check (my fat intake was quite high during my first week). Since fat is very calorie dense, it’s possible this could interfere with weight loss or weight maintenance goals. Fortunately fat is filling, so that does help promote natural moderation of fat intake, but keep in mind that the desires of our tastebuds can easily override that moderation if we aren’t careful. Fat is awfully tasty!

 



 

Glycemic Index

 

Besides limiting portions of carbohydrates, the Trim Healthy Mama Plan is designed to manage blood sugar (and thus weight and inflammation) by limiting carbohydrate options to those that raise blood sugar more slowly and gradually. This is quantified using a tool called the glycemic index. Foods with a low glycemic index raise blood sugar slowly, while foods with a high glycemic index raise blood sugar rapidly. For example, barley (allowed on the THM plan) has a glycemic index of 25, while white rice (not allowed on the THM plan) has a glycemic index of 72.1 This is generally a good way to choose healthful carbohydrates and as a bonus, it typically increases fiber intake since high-fiber carbohydrates tend to have lower glycemic indices.

Researchers have since taken this concept a step further to include not only how rapidly a food raises blood sugar, but also the actual amount of carbohydrates in a standard portion of the food.2 This helps differentiate between foods that contain only a few carbohydrates (like watermelon, which has a high glycemic index but contains so few carbohydrates that it barely affects blood sugar), and those that have more carbohydrates and send them in quickly (like sweet potatoes). This new measure is called glycemic load, and it is a more complete representation of how a food actually affects blood sugar.1 A glycemic load of less than 10 is considered low and a glycemic load of greater than 20 is considered high.

Taking glycemic load into account places some not-on-plan foods like whole wheat bread (which has a glycemic load of 9) and whole wheat tortillas (glycemic load = 8) into a much more favorable position as blood sugar regulators. They fall well below some on-plan foods like sweet potatoes (glycemic load = 22). Utilizing glycemic load rather than glycemic index would allow quite a few more foods and make the THM plan less restrictive while better honoring the spirit of managing and regulating blood sugar. My personal philosophy is always to help clients find the plan that is the least restrictive way to achieve their goals – it makes food more fun!



 

Fuel Isolation

 

The authors of THM also encourage that for weight loss or maintenance, you should focus on only one fuel (fat or carbohydrate) per meal. The reason for this is that our bodies prioritize the use of carbohydrate fuels over fat fuels, and will burn blood sugar before using fat. The authors state that by restricting fuels to one at a time, you can ensure that all fuels (including fats) are fully burned before eating the next meal.

This is true as long as the total amount of fuel eaten still matches one’s energy needs in that window. For (an overly simplified) example, if someone ate a meal that contained 450 calories for lunch, and they used 500 calories before they ate again at dinner time, they will have burned all of the 450 calories they ate at lunch (first the energy from carbohydrates, then from fat) and tap into their fat stores to make up the last 50. On the other hand, if they ate a 700-calorie lunch and then only needed 500 calories, they would burn through those 500 (first from carbohydrates, then fat if carbohydrates ran low) then end up storing the extra 200 as body fat. Like I said, this is overly simplified for explanation’s sake and there’s a lot of physiology missing here, but it gives you a rough idea.

To bring this back to the THM concept, restricting fuels to either carbohydrate or fat is one practical way to moderate intakes overall, though it certainly is not the only way and it also doesn’t guarantee that the total amount of energy eaten would match energy needs. The key is whether or not the structure of THM makes it easier for you personally to moderate. For some personalities, the structure of S and E meals makes moderation much more clear and easy to follow. If you prefer or it makes more sense to you, you can balance fuels at each meal with moderated portions of carbohydrates, proteins, and fat as long as the total amount of energy you eat matches the total amount of energy you need (or a little less if you’re trying to lose weight).

 

The Verdict

 

Overall, Trim Healthy Mama provides a structure for moderation that is mostly based on valid concepts and is likely to generate weight loss (if desired). It will also direct your eating to healthier pastures, as it eliminates quite a bit of junk food, empty calories, and inflammatory foods. Basically, if this plan works for your personality and lifestyle, go for it! It is more restrictive than is necessary for health and weight management, but keep in mind that your lifestyle is your own – so you can choose parts of the plan that work for you and parts that don’t! In fact, many of the blog articles I have read about THM say that their writers follow “a version of ” THM. Good for them! They made it their own, and finding a plan that works for your life is just as important as finding one that works for your body.

 

  1. https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/glycemic-index-and-glycemic-load-for-100-foods
  2. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/76/1/5/4689459

 



Diets Trim Healthy Mama

 

One week of trying out Trim Healthy Mama is in the books! If you’re not familiar with the plan, check out my intro post here to get to know the basics. Here’s how it went:

 

What I Did

For the first week, I aimed to eat a mixture of primarily S and E meals and snacks, since most of my clients considering THM would use the plan to lose weight. I suspected that I might personally need a crossover here and there and perhaps S Helpers (small amounts of carb eaten with S meals) because of my tendency for hypoglycemia, but to honor the authors’ spirits of trial and error, I tried it for a week. I still have a few pounds of what I affectionately refer to as “holiday fluff,” so I’m not concerned about following a plan designed for weight loss for three weeks. If I lose a couple of pounds, I still won’t be under my normal body weight.

I also sought to test the authors’ claim that you can follow THM without specialty ingredients. For this reason (and to limit costs), I decided to purchase only a few things that I thought might be most useful (almond milk, almond flour, and pressed peanut flour). I already had THM-approved Stevia at home, so I didn’t need to buy that. Pinterest was a big help for finding THM-approved recipes, as the condensed version of the Trim Healthy Mama Plan book does not include any.

 



 

Read on for the good, the bad, the numbers, and what I learned this week.

 

The Good

 

Finding something to eat at restaurants was not hard at all. Besides fast food my first day, I also found an option at a Korean restaurant with some gal pals last weekend. They had a vegetable and chicken dish made with sweet potato noodles, so I ordered that and made an E meal out of it. I’m sure it wasn’t cooked in a plan-approved oil and I have no way of knowing exactly how much oil they use to cook it, but I figured it was pretty close.

 

 

The other really great thing this past week was that several of the S meals were really tasty. One of my favorites was this curry soup. It was creamy, delicious, and loaded with vegetables.

 

 

Other hall-of-famers from this week include the lettuce-wrapped burger,

 

this roast chicken thigh and cottage/bleu cheese salad,

 

 

and a pizza topping and Caesar salad low-carb wrap.

 

 

I was pleasantly surprised how satisfying the S meals were, though I noticed for me there is a delay of  about 15-20 minutes after eating an S meal before I feel satisfied. After that, the S meals held me over for several hours and I rarely needed a snack before my next meal.

 

The Bad

Baking. Baking has been so bad.  I tried making these almond flour strawberry S muffins (I added vanilla too) and they smelled and looked SOOOOOO good.

 

 

Unfortunately, they tasted awful. My family was as eager to try them as I was but theirs went in the garbage after a bite or two. I slogged through the rest of them so as not to waste the ingredients but they were a huge flavorless disappointment. At least the plan allowed me to put butter on them.

 



 

Along the same lines (though not actually baked), I tried an S snack recipe I found for peanut butter cookie dough bites. Sounded delish! It was a very simple recipe – basically almond flour, fresh ground natural peanut butter, and a few chocolate chips. So good looking, yet so bland. I added some Stevia and that helped, but I still had to chew quickly and wash them down with almond milk.

 

 

In the past, I’ve had quite a few baked goods made with almond flour (but with real sugar) that were quite tasty. I’ve also had a lot of sugar-free or low-sugar baked goods (but with grain-based flours) for carb control that were delicious. This combo of grain-free flour and sugar-free sweeteners is proving much more difficult to swallow than I anticipated.

Any of my experienced THM readers (or gluten-free, paleo, etc) have any suggestions for edible almond flour baked goods sweetened with Stevia? I need help!

 

The Numbers

Goals Week #1 Week #2 Week #3
Weight change -1 lb
Waist change -1″
Avg. daily calorie intake 1700 1679
Avg. daily carb intake 170-200 g 120 g
Avg. daily protein intake 65-80 g 97 g
Avg. daily fat intake 40-55 g  81 g
Breakdown of meal types 10 S meals, 10 E meals
# of cheats 0 3 (1 intentional, 2 accidental cheats with non-whole grain sourdough bread)
 Grocery Cost  $100 (normal weekly grocery budget)  $125

 

What I Learned

There’s a lot in this category (reference the learning curve I mentioned above), so I thought a list might be easiest.

  • In the text of the chapter on grains, the Trim Healthy Mama Plan says “[our] approach to grain-based breads is not to put a big X over it…We simply make sure that grain-based bread flours are sprouted or a sourdough variety.” I wrote in my notes that sprouted-grain or sourdough breads were okay, so last week I bought a loaf of sourdough. What I failed to do was read more closely in the list at the end of the chapter where they more specifically noted that E-approved grains include only whole grain sourdough. Whoops. So in the spirit of full disclosure, I ate several slices of sourdough that’s not allowed on the plan before a more experienced Trim Healthy Mama follower corrected my mistake.
  • I’m not really willing to eat egg whites on their own – I just don’t like them – so savory E breakfasts were a challenge. I ended up finding that for me, S breakfasts work well if I want something savory and E breakfasts (I loved this banana split oatmeal!) for something sweet.
  • Stevia (or some other plan-approved sweetener like erythritol, xylitol, chicory root, or monkfruit extract) was an absolute must for me to make E meals like yogurt or oatmeal tasty. I would not recommend following this plan without one of these options on hand!
  • As you can see, I’m way overshooting my fat recommendations and low on my carbohydrate needs. Even on days when I ate two E meals and an E snack, the carbs only added up to about 75% of my daily needs. This wasn’t really a problem at first and I felt fine for the first few days, but by day 5 I started getting tired and my normal workouts felt harder than normal. On day 7 I had my first blood sugar low which (full disclosure) I had to fix with a slice of not-plan-approved non-sprouted whole grain bread for lack of other nearby options. So clearly, as suspected, I discovered that I am someone who needs S Helpers. 

I started that this morning by adding half of a spiced peach with my egg and the final two almond flour muffins this morning.

 



Overall, this plan was a little frustrating this first week, since I didn’t have more of the specialty ingredients that would make it easier. It did feel like I frequently ran into the issue of coming up with meal ideas that I then realized I wasn’t “allowed” to have. I plan on purchasing a few more specialty ingredients, as well an approved kind of bread, this week and continuing my search for edible baked goods. I do think this is a plan that will get much easier as I  get more into the groove.

Stay posted for more updates, research, and recipes!

 

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and I have no affiliation with the producers or manufacturers of this product; however, as an Amazon Associate, I receive compensation for any purchases of products through the links on this post.

Diets Trim Healthy Mama