Wednesday, March 12, 2014

W.I.A.W #1 and National Nutrition Month

Dare I try another weekly blog post link-up? I think I dare...

Welcome to W.I.A.W. or What I Ate Wednesday. Ideally, I'll be taking pictures of what I eat and sharing a day in the life of making healthy choices and taking baby steps every Wednesday.

As I totally forgot to take pictures of my food yesterday, I'm tying into National Nutrition Month for my first WIAW and doing a general Make Healthy Choices post.

For National Nutrition Month, is encouraging bloggers to write about what "Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right" means to us.

I think some of the most important things I've been learning as I've been focusing on being healthy are that not only can healthy food be incredibly delicious, but also how much better I feel when I hydrate and eat right!

It's also really easy to make a healthy and nutritious meal that TASTES GOOD! You don't have to sacrifice health, taste, or time.

In the vibe of eating better and enjoying healthy food that tastes good, here are my examples for WIAW:

First of all, here's an example of a typical lunch that I bring to work. On the bottom there I have a salad. I have a new love for salad with balsamic vinegar thanks to my New York trip a few weeks ago. This particular salad was a lettuce blend, a bit of bacon, some parmesan cheese, and of course Lavender Balsamic. Simple, healthy (minus the bacon but whatevs), and delicious. I also eat a greek yogurt almost every day mixed in with granola (you can't really see it in the plastic baggie behind the banana), and raspberries. Some days, like this one, the yogurt serves as a mid morning snack, and others it's my lunch. I buy chocolate flavored protein granola, again focusing on health AND taste. Behind the yogurt is a protein shake. Honestly, I'm sick of stocking up on these at Sam's Club, but I tend to rely on them to get me through Zumba. I need to find a way to make one at home that will last all day in my lunch bag. Finally on top is an apple and a banana. I try to bring at least one fruit with me each day.
Sometimes I add candied pecans, pistachios, or flavored almonds to round out the meal.

Of course behind the food in the pic is my water for the work day. I carry about 3 liters of water to work each day, and I've even written times on the bottles to make sure I'm drinking it throughout the day. On Zumba days I bring another 24oz bottle to leave in the car and add to my water consumption.

Healthy dinners can be super easy. I've gotten into a habit lately of doing some kind of seafood on salad with another veggie on the side for dinner (tonight, for example, is flounder with salad and asparagus). This pic is from last week when I was using up the last of the groceries we brought home from the market in NY. I cooked some sausage in red sauce, julienned a few zucchinis to saute, and added in some cooked broccoli rabe. It made a fabulous pasta replacement (though hubby did not agree. He took the meal sans zucchini and added his own protein pasta to the mix). 

And of course it's important to always be mindful of health when eating out. AE and I went on a mommy/daughter lunch date after her flu shot booster. We went to Cafe Rio (my new fave), where I got a pork salad (if you've never been to a Cafe Rio, you HAVE to go and try the barbacoa pork!) without dressing. I only ate enough to get all of the fresh lettuce off of it, and then had it two more times for leftover lunches by heating it up and adding more lettuce. Yum.

Another lesson I've been working on for myself is that not everything has to be full of sugar to be satisfying. If you ever went to Starbucks with me in high school or college, you probably heard me say that I liked the idea of coffee, but really preferred "flavored coffee beverages," aka frappuccinos, macchiatos, etc. Well surprise surprise, I don't drink that anymore. Now it's plain black coffee, decaf if I'm not feeling the caffeine, with two splendas, please and thank you. (I know splenda is now coming under fire as not being healthy, but I follow the mantra of everything in moderation, so I feel fine about continuing to have my two splendas in my coffee).

So readers, the big things I'm teaching myself and trying to pass on are to make healthy choices, take baby steps, and never beat yourself up for not doing your best. This morning I gave in to laziness and ordered a sausage, egg, and cheese asiago bagel with my coffee. After plugging it into my fitbit log, I totally regretted those 650 or so calories, but all I can do is trudge on and continue to make the best choices for the moment. It's not realistic to say I will never eat at McDonalds again, or I will always at well, or I will totally cut out soda. It's more about making the best choice in the moment and moving on.

My take on "Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right," is that eating right does not have to be boring. Healthy food does not have to be bland! You can add tons of yummy seasonings and healthify favorite meals by swapping out a few ingredients. I'll be the first to admit that hubby and I occasionally have pasta carbonara for dinner still, but we swap regular pasta for protein pasta, and we strictly make it the Italian way: eggs, bacon, parm, and pasta. We also focus more on portion sizes and don't split a massive pot two ways. Everything is ok in moderation as long as you continue making healthy choices along the way.

Hope you enjoyed my first WIAW as well as my National Nutrition Month blog post. Next week I'll try to have a real WIAW post with a day in the life of food choices. :-)

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