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Bigger Breakfast, Smaller Waist?

13 Aug

If I had to play favorites, I’d pick breakfast as my favorite meal of the day, hands down. I always wake up looking forward to brewing the coffee, blending the green juice, and building the main course.

I am always telling my clients that “diets don’t start at breakfast”. First thing in the morning, when our bodies just fasted for 7+ hours and need to be refueled the most,  is not the time to cut calories or skimp on nutrition!

A recent article from The Wall Street Journal gave me more ammo to back my broken-record breakfast advocating 😉 A study of overweight and obese women found that those who ate the bulk of their calories in the first part of the day lost more than 2x the weight, waist circumference, and BMI percent compared to those who ate the bulk of their calories toward the end of the day. The women in the breakfast group also showed improvements in markers for cardiovascular disease and diabetes including triglycerides, cholesterol, and insulin responses.

We find even more support for “breaking the fast” from the National Weight Control Registry, which tracks successful “losers” to help us better understand how to lose and maintain a healthy weight. Of the 10,000+ successful individuals tracked, 78% eat breakfast every day and 88% eat breakfast at least 5 days per week!

Now that we know eating breakfast is a good idea, let’s talk about what that breakfast looks like.

3 Keys to Building a Better Breakfast

  1. Invert the Pyramid: Rev your metabolism by aiming for at least 20% of your daily calories in your morning meal.

  2. Pick a Protein: Protein will give your breakfast staying power and keep you from reaching for the break room goodies before lunchtime. (eggs, yogurt, nut butter, Sunwarrior, cottage cheese, beans, soy milk)

  3. Choose a Complex Carb: Fiber-rich carbs provide a dose of energy for your brain and body and keep you feeling satisfied. (oatmeal, whole grain cereal/bread/tortilla, fruit)

Bonus: add a fruit! Give your body a healthy serving of antioxidants and fiber.

Some breakfast favorites:

Cereal w/ soy milk, fruit, and nut butter

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Fruit, yogurt, and granola parfait

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Oatmeal (try these make-ahead steel cut oats in the crockpot!)

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Overnight oats (perfect way to enjoy oats in the summertime)

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Scrambled eggs with veggies and toast (also great as a sandwich)

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Homemade energy bites for those who are pressed for time in the morning

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Fruit and protein smoothie (try my go-to recipe!)

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Whole grain waffle with nut butter and fruit (great transition breakfast if you don’t have an appetite in the morning)

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Thanks for reading 🙂

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Breakfasts and Lunches on Repeat

3 Aug

Hey there! Hope you are okay with a bit of randomness today…

I’ve been quite the creature of habit when it comes to breakfasts and lunches recently.

Breakfast has looked something like this:

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Some combination of old-fashioned oats/cereal, yogurt, soymilk, fruit, and nuts/nut butter. It’s been hitting the spot!

Lunches haven’t been much more adventurous…

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Between our garden, JWD’s parents’ garden, and the farmer’s market , we’ve been struggling to keep up with the constant bounty of produce on the counter. Easiest way to utilize your produce- chop it up into a giant salad! Crackers and hummus have been accompanying most of my salads. 

On the life front, it’s business as usual with the exception of a few things…

We celebrated JWD’s and my sister’s birthdays last week! They have the same birthday 🙂

This has been happening…

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My mom and I took trip to Chicago for an extravaganza of bridal appointments. It was a blast! Apparently the legend of the “bridezilla” really exists because each place we went was well-equipped for her- plush dressing suites, cold beverages, fluffy robes, and a sound system with an iPod dock. You know, just in case you happened to bring along a special playlist specifically for trying on wedding dresses 😉  I have my eye on the first dress of the trip (not the one you are peaking at in this picture). 

We’ve also been enjoying some pool time in the unusually mild midsummer weather. 

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I’ve discussed a lot of interesting topics with clients lately that I’d like to address soon including gluten-free diets, vegetarian protein sources, and the oxymoron of healthy restaurant food. Stay tuned for that!

Thanks for reading 🙂 

Friday Favorites

19 Jul

Happy Friday! Thought I’d pop in and share a few things that I’ve been groovin’ on this week…

1. Running skirts!

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These have become a summer staple. Since I’m in workout clothes for both work and play, it’s fun to mix things up with something girly 🙂 Running skirts- love ’em or hate ’em?

2. Cereal

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Ice cold breakfasts are a necessity on smokin’ hot STL summer mornings. Even before 7am the air was thick and sticky this week. I enjoyed my cereal in many ways- with milk and yogurt, parfait style, and on top of a thick smoothie (the last one is my fave!). I don’t have a go-to cereal, but I try to stick with these rules:  

  1. At least 4g fiber
  2. At least 3g protein
  3. Less than 8g of sugar (I’m willing to flex on this one if #1 and #2 are stellar)

This week I went with Kashi GoLean Cinnamon Crumble because it was on sale. Great in the fiber and protein department, but 12g of sugar will keep it off of my “staples” list.

3. This salad

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I ate this salad at Companion this week and it was INCREDIBLE! A HUGE bowl of spinach topped with tomatoes, edamame, sunflower seeds, avocado, and feta with lemon vinaigrette and a hunk ‘a crusty bread on the side. Definitely recreating this at home!

4. Circuit training

The heat makes me feel like a slug and completely “melts” my motivation 😉 So most of my workouts have been indoor circuit-style workouts that give me  a good sweat and sore muscles. Look forward to more gym and at-home circuit workouts!

5. Cha-cha-cha-chia!

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We were out of flaxseed this week, so I pulled the chia seeds out of the depths of the freezer for my omega-3 fix. Just like flax, you can put them in smoothies, on cereal, and salads. My seeds made their way into my green juice and smoothies.

Have an excellent weekend! Thanks for reading 🙂

Recently…

13 Jul

Yay, it’s finally the weekend! I love that cozy place between last week’s craziness and preparation for next week. Saturdays are where the magic happens!

After a glorious 8 hour slumber, we headed out for breakfast and the farmer’s market.

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fruit/yogurt/granola parfait, scrambled egg, Companion 5-Grain toast, and coffee.

Today’s haul included eggs, beets, peaches, blackberries, green beans, sweet corn, broccoli, heirloom tomatoes, and summer squash.

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We also made a quick stop at the mall (before it got crazy busy) and made it home by 11a.m. Love Saturday mornings like that!

Let’s reverse– some highlights from last week…

Overnight oats with the sunrise. Blueberry/peach is my new favorite combo! I’m also loving Wallaby greek yogurt. This batch of oats is topped with toasted crushed walnuts.

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Christmas in July! French press for one with Nutcracker Sweet inbru that I found in the depths of the cabinet.

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Gracie wishing I’d made French press for two…

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Food For Life Ezekiel Flax toast, scrambled eggs, and peaches +blueberries…

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My new favorite snack: frozen banana slices with a schmear of coconut almond butter.

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Popcorn + almonds

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A few epic salads were devoured last week….

This one is a mix of greens, roasted corn/green beans/onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, croutons, and tofu. Baked salt & vinegar chips on the side.

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And this one is greens, a crumbled veggie burger, brown rice, cucs, tomatoes, and dolups of hummus and greek yogurt. The salt & vin chips made another appearance!

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The best dinner of the week was this Mexican bowl, hands down!

Brown rice, smashed pinto beans, sautéed summer squash and onions seasoned with chili powder/cayenne/paprika, tomatoes, greek yogurt, cilantro, and a heap of nooch! So. Good.

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Also had some fun with the spiralizer. More on that later!

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Also last week….

Mornin’ garden gazin’ (check out that bedhead, hehe)

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And a midweek Dave Matthews Band concert! Out past 8pm on a Wednesday night? Who are we??

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Enjoy the rest of your weekend! I’ve got some good stuff in the drafts folder! Thanks for reading 🙂

Post-Holiday Happenings + “No Gym Required” Workout

8 Jul

I hope you all enjoyed a long holiday weekend! Ours was great- family time, friend time, pool time, patio time (and a million bug bites to show for it!). I always feel a little foggy coming off of an extended vacation/holiday and look forward to getting back to my routine 🙂

To lift myself out of my fog on Sunday, I did this cardio workout. You guys have requested more “no gym required” workouts, so here you go! This is a great workout to do at a track/bleachers or anywhere with a flight of stairs.

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After getting hot and sweaty I showered and headed straight to the kitchen- my favorite place to be on a Sunday afternoon. We got an amazing farmer’s market haul on Saturday, so I was extra excited to do some cooking. I made a green juice with grapefruit that totally hit the spot. Then I got to work on Kath’s baked oatmeal for the week, and white bean veggie burgers, kale chips, and sweet corn for dinner.

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After dinner activities included some work (yuck!), couch time, and popcorn (yum!).

I kicked off the post-holiday Monday with a baked oatmeal square topped with peanut butter and headed to the gym for work. After work I made a spontaneous grocery trip primarily to get anti-itch cream for my bug bites. They kept me awake last night!

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The rest of the day…

Lunch

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Veggie burger crumbled over greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, and topped with balsamic dressing and goat cheese. A mix of Popchips and rice crackers with hummus on the side.

Pre-yoga snack

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Greek yogurt, almond butter, the juiciest peach ever (SO happy peaches are in season!!!), and apple slices. Not very pretty, but yummy!

Yoga was really hard tonight. At one point I even considered leaving, but I toughed it out and my stress levels (and my hips) are happy I did.

Dinner roasted in the oven while I showered.

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Tofu with a sriracha/cayenne/chili powder/paprika rub, beets, and beet greens sautéed with olive oil/garlic/apple cider vinegar all topped with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast.

Now it’s time for reading and sleeping! Thanks for reading 🙂

Wedding Brain and Clean Eats

1 Jul

So glad this Monday is wrapping up! I’m not feeling too hot today. Tired, headache, neck and jaw pain- NOT a good way to start the week. I blame it on the fact that over the course of the weekend I went from a lazy bride with zero wedding plans to this:

Wedding brain

Just when I thought my life/brain was at full capacity, I managed to squeeze another category into it. We visited our first venue on Friday, hammered out a first draft guest list on Saturday, and developed a line-item budget on Sunday. I’m learning that wedding planning is like everything else in life- as complicated or as simple as you choose to make it. You can plan a three ring circus OR you can plan a little party- it’s all up to you.I love this article from A Practical Wedding titled “Your Wedding is Not a Show”. It puts things into perspective for me. Since JWD and I are on a very tight budget, perspective is crucial. Let’s be real, despite the upswing in planning I am still a “lazy bride”. There is no way in H-E-double hockey sticks that I will lose sleep over centerpieces and aisle runners 🙂 Looking forward to sharing my wedding planning simplifications as the planning ensues (and would love to hear your tips if you have any!).

In other news, after a weekend of traveling, brunching, and lunching, I was very much looking forward to getting back into my normal food routine today.

An unseasonably chilly morning spurred an oatmeal craving.

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Old-fashioned oats, soy milk, blueberries, walnuts, peanut butter, unsweetened coconut, stevia, and cinnamon.

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Lunch was leftover shrimp salad with leftover crumbled roasted tempeh (can you tell leftovers are my go-to lunch??) rounded out with salt & vinegar Popchips, grapes, and a sparkling water. LOVING Seagram’s Key Lime right now!

Afternoon snack before yoga was a too-ugly-to-be-photographed green smoothie with Sunwarrior. Greens + cocoa powder make for a very unappetizing color. It was delicious though!

The theme in my yoga class tonight was “listening to your body”. It was exactly what I needed and made me feel SO much better, but still exhausted and ready for an early bedtime. 

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After yoga, JWD whipped up a yummy dinner of smashed pinto beans and sautéed veggies and sweet potatoes. Time to close my eyes and hope I feel better tomorrow- it’s going to be a jam-packed day!

Thanks for reading 🙂

Banana-Berry Chocolate Chip Pancakes My Way

27 Jun

Are you drooling yet?

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How about now?

There is no way this stack of ooey gooey deliciousness could be healthy, right? Hold on to your hats because I’m about to deliver the best news you’ve heard all day: these hotcakes are 100% nutritious! If I could reach through the screen and pinch you to prove this is not a dream, I would (it would be a gentle “love pinch”, of course).

About a year ago, a good friend sent this recipe to me in a “you’re gonna love this” email and I’ve been whipping them up once a week ever since. The original recipe is from Minimalist Baker and can be found here. But I’m going to post my adapted version which includes doubling the recipe (naturally) and a few ingredient tweaks.

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From a nutrition perspective, my biggest “beef” with pancakes is the lack of protein. Enter Creamy Yogurt Pancake Topping. Problem solved.

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In other news, it’s been business as usual this week. I’ve been switching it up a bit on the snack front, so I’m excited to share that with you soon. Also, tomorrow marks the first of what I’m sure will be many wedding adventures! More to come on that too.

And last but not least, Happy Birthday to my beautiful Mamma!

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Thanks for reading 🙂

Cheat Meals and an All-in-one Workout

23 Jun

Hi, happy weekend!

I’m not a huge fan of the term “cheat meal” because of its close proximity to the other bad word- “diet”. However, a cheat meal is a helpful concept for many people. I also loosely abide by this healthy eating guideline. JWD and I generally choose one meal per week to indulge- and by indulge I mean go out to eat. This is primarily a budgeting tool, but it helps keep us healthy too.

Many of my clients designate a cheat meal because it forces them to put thought into their splurges and gives them an incentive to stay on track the rest of the week. They plan ahead, pick a meal or event where splurging is inevitable (dinner with friends, birthday party, etc.), and savor and enjoy every bite when they sit down to that meal. It also stops them from eating so-not-worth-it stale birthday cake in the break room. Who wants to waste their cheat meal on that??

WARNING: a cheat meal is NOT an excuse to eat everything in sight. After all, it’s your cheat meal not last meal. Keep it reasonable.

So if I had to choose a cheat meal for last week, Thursday night’s pizza and beer would be it! First, let’s back up a bit…

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I started Thursday with a tall green juice, coffee, and overnight oats (oats, soymilk, greek yogurt, blueberries, strawberries, stevia, and cinnamon).

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I worked all morning, then threw together lunch with leftovers before heading to a meeting. Greens, salmon, millet, avocado dressing, and melon on the side.

The afternoon included a grocery store run, a bike ride, and a quick shower before a fun night out!

JWD and I went to an O.A.R. concert. Pre-concert festivities:

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Pizza and beer! The Pageant is an awesome venue in St. Louis. They serve craft beer and allow you to bring in your own food, so we ordered a Pi pizza to go. 

The show was AMAZING! We didn’t get home until after midnight (wayyy late for us), so I was a tired girl on Friday. To rebound from a “cheat meal” night, I drink plenty of water (the sodium is what kills me), resume my normal healthy eats, and get in a good workout. No need to deprive or “burn off extra calories”.

I want to share Friday’s workout with you because it was a fun one.

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Cheat meals- yay or nay?

Hope you’re having a fantastic weekend! Thanks for reading 🙂

Getting in the Groove + a Cardio Workout

19 Jun

Hey there! Wow, two posts within less than a month- I’m on a roll 😉 This week I finally feel like I have a rhythm going in my new work/life schedule. I used to despise transitions, but I’ve had so many in the past few years that I’m learning to roll with them (and even enjoy them a little). Anyway…

I spent most of Tuesday in meetings and at my desk, so when I found an opportunity away for a workout in the afternoon I gladly took it. St. Louis gets pretty sticky in the summer, so late afternoon workouts will only be bearable for a little bit longer. I was in the mood to get my heart rate up after so much sitting, so I adapted this workout from my blog idol, Peanut Butter Runner.

Cardio Workout

1.5 mile run

*10 burpees

Run stairs – 2 laps

*20 squat jumps

Run stairs – 2 laps

*30 box jumps

Run stairs – 2 laps

*40 mountain climbers

Run stairs – 2 laps

*50 jump rope singles

1.5 mile run

After my workout, I downed a smoothie and headed back to the gym (shower not required = best perk of working at a gym) 🙂 Dinner was easy and amazing:

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Smashed pinto beans that I seasoned with cayenne, paprika, and chili powder combined with sautéed onions, peppers, yellow squash, corn, and tomatoes. I topped it with avocado lime dressing, greek yogurt, and nutritional yeast. I ate mine on a bed of salad greens, JWD ate his in a tortilla.

Today had an unexpectedly calm start when my early client cancelled, so I took advantage and had a quick breakfast before heading to the gym for a strength workout before my next appointment.

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Egg + egg white open-faced on an english muffin, a pile of juicy melon, and coffee. (and unpictured green juice).

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I spent the rest of the day working at my desk with a lunch break featuring dinner leftovers and a snack break.

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Hemp-a-licious (seriously, that’s what it’s called) brown rice cake topped with coconut almond butter and nature’s candy farmer’s market berries. This almond butter is my obsession right now. So. Good.

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I was feeling fancy for dinner, so we made salmon and a crazy concoction of millet, roasted beets, roasted cauliflower, and sautéed beet greens.

Now it’s time for reading and early bedtime! We have fun plans tomorrow night, so I need my rest tonight!

Thanks for reading 🙂

Video Post: Easy Weekday Steel Cut Oats

19 Mar

Yesterday started as a gloomy, chilly Monday here in St. Louis and I found myself searching for something warm and comforting for breakfast (and something fast because I needed to get out the door!). Good thing my fridge is stocked with my easy weekday steel cut oats. My breakfast warmed me to my core and I was off to work in a flash.

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Easy Weekday Steel-Cut Oats

Ingredients

  • 2.5 cups steel cut oats, dry
  • 5 cups water
  • 5 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or other milk)

Instructions

  • Combine all ingredients in crockpot, set crockpot on high.
  • Cook for about 4 hours, stirring occasionally, until the oats thicken. I like to leave them a little soupy because they will thicken even more as they cool.
  • Divide oats into microwaveable containers, cool, and refrigerate.
  • When you’re ready to eat, add a splash of milk or water and microwave for 2-3 minutes. Add toppings and enjoy!

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Thanks for reading 🙂

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