Week 20: Call me little miss homemaker

I love the fall because, although I’m sad to see the warm weather go, I don’t mind warming up my kitchen again. In the summer, it’s hard for me to get motivated to cook or bake too much because it just makes my small, stuffy apartment swelter even more. But now that the temps are cooling down, I’ve begun to crank that oven up!

My biggest challenge with being on a healthy diet is cutting out the sweets. It doesn’t matter what kind of sweet is presented to me—I love them all. Especially chocolate. I have it in some form every day (even if it’s just a granola bar with chocolate chunks in it, or a low-fat ice cream bar). I’ve realized that it’s important not to deprive yourself of the things you love to eat, otherwise you’ll eventually overcompensate and gorge yourself on your cravings.

So, to satisfy my sweet tooth, and my particular fondness of muffins, I decided to whip up a batch of the little treats the other night so they’d be ready for breakfast the next morning. Cooking them myself, I was able to make sure that they (1) had some chocolate in them, of course, and (2) were fairly healthy for me. With only about 170 calories each, plus about 3 grams of fiber, they are a breakfast goody that I don’t feel guilty about.

Here is my recipe for whole wheat banana dark chocolate chip muffins, morphed out of a bunch of recipes that I have found all over online, plus adding my chocolate touch to them. I hope you enjoy!

Ingredients:yum! whole wheat banana chocolate chip muffins
2 ½ cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
2 or 3 overripe bananas
4 egg whites
1 cup non-fat vanilla yogurt
3 tbsp. honey
½ cup no-sugar-added applesauce
6 tbsp. dark chocolate chips

Directions:
Preheat over to 375°F.

Sift dry ingredients together and set aside.

In bowl, mash banana with a fork, then add egg whites, yogurt, honey and applesauce until well blended.

Add dry ingredients and mix together until halfway moistened. Fold in chocolate chips, mixing batter just until all powder is absorbed. (Don’t over-mix it.)

Spray muffin pan with cooking spray and distribute batter evenly into the 12 cups. You may think the cups are going to overflow, but they will rise up perfectly!

Bake in over for 15-20 minutes, depending on your oven.

They are best if you eat them warm with a steaming cup of coffee…that’s my preference. :)

What are your favorite fall-weather recipes?

Fat Stats:
Starting weight: 166 pounds
Last week: 152 pounds
This week: 152 pounds (Will I ever break out of the 150s?)
Goal weight: 145 pounds

Happy healthy eating,
Amanda
@jockey_amanda

Week 9: The Pantry Challenge

When I am on a diet, I have a hard time going “outside the box,” or I guess pantry, when it comes to meals. I have my stand-by, trusty low-fat and low-calorie meals that I can whip up quickly. They’re usually enough for two portions, so I have leftovers for lunch the next day. But after the same cycle of meals for 9 weeks, I have to say: my palette is BORED. My taste buds are craving something new and delicious, but I still want it to be healthy and stick to my diet plan.

Not to mention that going out to eat is something I try not to do anymore, save once or twice a week, and I am really starting to salivate just thinking about my favorite meals at my favorite restaurants…

So, I decided: It’s time to bust outta that proverbial pantry and into the vast world of culinary delights. Okay, sounds pretty dorky, but that was the challenge I gave myself this week. And, I am happy to report that I came up with some tasty alternatives to add to my regime of yummy, healthy creations. Here are two of my favorite meals.

Chicken, Veggie & Goat Cheese Salad
Chicken & Goat Cheese Salad
I sauté a chicken breast, chopped red bell peppers, mushrooms and garlic, and at the last minute add a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Then I toss this in a bowl with 1oz. goat cheese (not the healthiest cheese for you, but you need to have some fat in your diet, I figure!). Then I lay this on top of a big pile of chopped romaine lettuce and drizzle with a little balsamic vinaigrette. Voila. Sooo tasty for a salad!
Mix it up: Use a whole grain wrap and this works great as a sandwich. Or, try using just shrimp, goat cheese and pears on the salad instead. Throw in some cherry tomatoes and use spinach instead of romaine (see picture). The possibilities just go on.

Fajita Quesadillas
Start out by sautéing a chicken breast (or lean steak if you want), red and green bell peppers, and onions in a pan until the onions and peppers are a little caramelized. On a baking pan, lay out a whole grain tortilla (Flat Out whole grain wraps are my pick—only 100 calories and 8 grams of fiber!). Spread chicken & veggie mixture on ½ the tortilla and top with ½ cup low-fat shredded cheese. Fold the other end of the tortilla over and then pop into the oven on 350 degrees for 5-10 minutes (until cheese is melted). Remove, cut into thirds, top with a dollop of low-fat sour cream and salsa, and enjoy! This is a knock-off of one of my favorite Mexican meals from a near-by restaurant. I don’t know the number of calories or fat that I am saving, but I know it must be a LOT! (Not to mention the $10 I save, too!)

The best thing is, both of these meals are healthy and SUPER tasty, and nobody would ever know it. I even get my boyfriend to eat them, with rave reviews (I guess the cat is out of the bag about how healthy they are now, though!).

Do you have any stand-by or favorite recipes? Please comment & share, I am still looking for new things to try to bust out of my food rut! It has become more and more clear that if I really want to make healthier eating a part of my life, I can’t just stick to my standard ten meal cycle—how will that ever last over the many years to come?! (Especially breakfast—oatmeal every morning is sure getting old!)

Again, this week I take inspiration from some of my Jockey® co-workers who have made a healthy lifestyle change and are sticking to it. I hope they inspire you, too!

Challenge: Sticking to a workout plan
“My challenge was making the time for and adhering to a workout schedule. I overcame it by mustering mental discipline and making sure I made no excuses. The resulting motivation has been the level of fitness I have been able to achieve which has also translated to an enhanced mental outlook on life itself. I aspire to achieve that next level.”
Greg, Jockey Technical Analyst

Challenge: Avoiding distractions

“My kids are my motivation. I want them to live a long healthy life. I want them to see me active so they stay active. I religiously work out at lunch to insure I fit the exercise in. On weekends, I get up when everyone else is sleeping to go for a run or bike. I work out much better in the mornings. If I delay the workout, I get involved in my chores or my kids’ lives and the motivation is no longer there. I also sign up for races or events that challenge me so that I stay motivated to train. I pick a new challenge every year: Last year was the marathon, this year is the century.”
Diane, Systems Analyst

Now for some numbers…

Fat Stats:
Starting weight: 166 pounds
Last week: 154.5 pounds
This week: 154.5 pounds (Hello, plateau.)
Goal weight: 145 pounds

Happy eating,
Amanda
@jockey_amanda