Put it on a Plate

Ever get home after a long day and the last thing you want to do is put together a meal? If there are no plans to eat anytime soon, I can guess that your first move is to open the fridge or the pantry and just start picking at whatever looks good. The problem? There is not limit. You have the whole bag, container, or package at your disposal.

The amount of food you eat is just as important as the type of food you are eat. We often load our plates way too high or dig our hand in the snack bag a few too many times leading to overeating and that uncomfortably full feeling.

So, my number one tip for portion control is putting everything you eat on a plate (or in a bowl). Sounds easy enough, right? But think about how many times you have eaten straight out of the package. Maybe it was the whole bag of popcorn on the couch or standing in front of the fridge, fork in hand, eating straight out of the Tupperware container (I am frequently guilty of this one).

Instead of bringing the whole bag of popcorn with you to the couch, pour a reasonable amount into a bowl. Even if your “reasonable” amount is more than the recommended serving size, I’ll bet you it is a lot less than what you would eat if you ate straight out of the bag.

The same goes for meals… When you sit down for dinner, put a scoopful of each item on your plate at the beginning. Then you can visualize all the food you will be eating. If you put each item on your plate after you have finished the previous item, you can’t tell how much you ate in total.

See, if you can visualize the total amount of food you are eating in a given sitting, you are more likely to make more realistic decisions when it comes to portion sizes. Even if you just want some nuts, fruit, and a slice of bread for a snack, putting it on a small plate allows you to pick out a serving size that you think is reasonable.

In my opinion, eating healthier portion sizes is worth the 2 extra minutes and few extra dishes.

Kodiak Cakes

Since school is out and I have plenty of time in the mornings to make a big breakfast, I thought I would share one of my favorite grocery finds: Kodiak cakes.

Kodiak Cakes is a company that makes all sorts of pancake & waffle mixes, dessert mixes, oatmeals and granolas. While I haven’t tried many of the products, the two pancakes and waffle mixes I have tried are delicious!Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 11.35.10 PM

The two I have tried are the Protein Packed Flapjack Mix and the Protein Packed Peanut Butter Flapjack Mix. Why Kodiak Cakes over the other pancake mixes?

  • The protein packed kind I buy has 14g of protein per serving!
  • The mix only has whole wheat grains (including whole grain wheat flour and whole grain oat flour).
  • I can read and pronounce every single ingredient in the mix (and there are only 7 of them).
  • There is no bleached white flour or artificial additives in the mix.
  • They only have 3g of sugar per serving.

In order to have a healthy and balanced meal, we need a mix of carbohydrates, protein, and fat at each meal. Because pancakes are typically all carbs, they can get a bad wrap for being too much like dessert for breakfast. That is why I love this protein packed mix. It takes care of the protein that is typically missing in pancakes.

Now, since Kodiak Cakes has our carb and protein needs covered, all we need is a little healthy fat. That’s where I turn to my beloved nut butter collection. Just drizzle some nut butter on your pancakes and you are good to go with a balanced breakfast.

Still aren’t convinced these pancakes can be healthy?

Lets take oatmeal, for example. Many times, the little instant packets of oatmeal have just as many (if not more) carbs than a serving of regular pancakes mix, with no fat or protein. We often make oatmeal out to be some much healthier than pancakes when really they have almost the exact same nutrients (almost all carbs).

I will say that oatmeal typically has more fiber than regular, white flour pancakes, but neither makes for a very balanced meal because there is no fat or protein. Now, oatmeal can be made into a balanced meal by added protein (egg whites or greek yogurt) and healthy fat (nut butter, flax seeds, chia seeds, almonds, etc.) just the same way that protein and fat can be added to pancakes.

My point is that we just have to be aware of what is in our food. Oatmeal may seem healthier than pancakes, but they are really quite similar. By adding protein and fat to either oatmeal or pancakes, you will have equally healthy and balanced meals.

img_7571

My Protein Packed Kodiak Cakes with banana slices and cashew butter

I happen to love mixing up my typical morning oatmeal with a big plate of pancakes every now and then so I always turn to my Protein Packed Kodiak Cakes for a balanced breakfast.

Want more info on Kodiak Cakes? http://www.kodiakcakes.com/

How to Make Healthy Choices at Restaurants

No matter what I am eating or where I am, you can probably catch me taking a picture of the food I am about to eat. My iPhone camera roll is filled with hundreds of pictures of restaurant meals, home-cooked dinners, ice cream cones, and the clean plates afterwards.

What’s my favorite kind of food to snap a pic of? Restaurant food! I love going new restaurants, trying new foods and taking pictures of the overfilled plates piled with loads of yummy goodness.

That being said, restaurants can definitely be huge deal breaker when it comes to eating healthy. The long menu with many greasy, gooey, delicious options (that are very photogenic) can be tempting and make eating healthy a challenge.

Eating Out Choices

Use these tips to make your restaurant visit happy and healthy:

  1. Look at the menu ahead of time. Pretty much all restaurants have a website with their menu. Take a peak and plan what healthy item you are going to have. If you already know what you are going to order, you are less likely to be tempted by the unhealthy options once you get there.

Also, knowing what you eat will help you plan your food choices for the rest of the day. If you know you are going to have chicken and pasta for dinner at a restaurant, you should try to squeeze in some extra fruits, vegetables, and whole grains throughout the rest of the day.

  1. Eat a balanced meal. No healthy choices? Try to get a meal the combines fiber and protein. While some grilled chicken with vegetables and brown rice would be ideal, if breaded chicken is the only option that is still better than having a bowl of white pasta, which has little nutritional value.
  1. Make menu swaps. Instead of French fries, get roasted sweet potatoes. Swap pita bread for fresh veggies. Making these small changes can make your meal significantly healthier by decreasing calories and increasing nutrient content. My favorite menu swap is ordering grilled veggies in place of french fries to go with my chicken or fish dish to create a well balanced meal.
  1. Don’t overeat. Restaurants often serve outrageously large portions, so don’t be afraid to ask for a to-go box. You might even want to do this before you start eating. Food tastes better when you aren’t forcing it down your throat so take your leftovers for lunch tomorrow. That’s one less meal you have to cook, too!
  1. Most importantly, eat something you will enjoy! There is no point in ordering a boring salad if you aren’t going to enjoy it. If the restaurant is known for their burgers and that is what you want, go for it! But maybe you have to make some adjustments throughout the rest of the day. Eat a smaller lunch if you are going to have a big dinner, or ditch the late afternoon bag of chips and save the calories for that burger.