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This Week’s Eats

13 Oct

I get extremely excited for the weekends these days. My weeks and weekends are such stark opposites. I run around like a crazy person Monday through Friday and then relax, sleep in, and do all things calm and mellow on Saturday and Sunday.

A peak at some recent eats…

Wednesday breakfast was smaller than usual because I had early morning workout plans and wanted something that would digest quick.

Coffee, a Trader Joe’s frozen waffle topped with almond butter, banana, and honey, and a taste of JWD’s smoothie (served up in a teeny beer festival glass).

I did a full-body strength workout at the gym and enjoyed post-workout pumpkin overnight oats at my desk.

Old-fashioned oats, plain non-fat greek yogurt, soymilk, pumpkin puree, bananas, walnuts, stevia, and cinnamon. Yummy!

Lunch was leftovers.

Tofu stir-fry with homemade peanut sauce. 

Afternoon snack:

Trader Joe’s whole wheat mini pitas, hummus for dipping, and an apple.

Dinner was a little unconventional.

Eggs with veggies and toast. Plus a bowl of frozen yogurt topped with chocolate peanut butter 🙂

I’m off to start my Saturday with cleaning, foam rolling (this week’s workouts have left me SO sore!), and plans with friends! 

See you soon to talk workouts! Thanks for reading 🙂

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Pumpkin Spice Energy Bites

16 Sep

Hello, friends! Happy Sunday 🙂

It was a very fall-like weekend in STL, complete with cooler temps and fall activities. We enjoyed a cozy bonfire with my family. It was fun to break in to my fall wardrobe for the first time!

I was inspired to break in to my pumpkin puree for the first time too! I posted the recipe for these energy bites and mentioned I was planning on playing around with the recipe. Here is my latest creation, a perfect seasonal snack.

Pumpkin Spice Energy Bites

makes 15-20 balls

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ (or ground flaxseed)
  • 1/2 cup protein powder (I used vanilla Sunwarrior. If you don’t want to use protein powder, substitute extra wheat germ or shredded coconut)
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped or crushed
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup nut butter (I used almond butter)
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • about 1/3 cup honey 

How To:

  •  Combine first 8 ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  • Add nut butter and pumpkin puree and mix with a fork until mixture is crumbly and the nut butter and pumpkin are evenly distributed. 
  • Drizzle in honey and mix until evenly distributed. 
  • Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
  • Wet hands and form mixture into balls. Store energy bites in the refrigerator.

Mix until crumbly.

Add honey.

These little guys are great for pre- or post-workout fuel and midday snacks. I always stash a couple of them in my bag for the day. They are portable and delicious! 

As promised, here is a peek into my favorite room in the house- the kitchen, of course! What sort of dietitian would I be if I didn’t unpack and organize the kitchen first? 

Bulk food heaven 🙂

The bottom shelf is full of things we use on a daily basis- coffee, oats, brown rice. The second shelf is all dried beans and the top shelf is grains.

Hope you all had a fantastic weekend. See you soon, friends! Thanks for reading 🙂

Remember Me?

16 Aug

Remember me? I’ve come to beg for your forgiveness. I’ve been MIA for too long again. But before you delete me from your Google Reader (if you haven’t already…) give me another chance. A lot has happened since we last talked and all of it has collectively contributed to my long absence.

1. I studied (…and studied, and studied…) for the RD exam.

2. I PASSED the RD exam!

3. We moved.

4. We went on a long trip to Colorado during which I completely fell off the face of the Earth and barely touched technology.

Surprisingly, it was difficult to find my yogi focus at 12,000 ft above sea level 🙂

Blooper…

5. I started not one, but TWO jobs.

6. I finished my summer Exercise Physiology class.

Much more on all of this to come. To make it up to you, I leave you with two recipes that have made several appearances in my life recently.

Vegan Banana Everything Cookies

Substitution: whole wheat pastry flour instead of all-purpose flour

No-Bake Energy Bites

Can’t wait to experiment and customize this recipe!

(photo from smashedpeasandcarrots.blogspot.com)

It feels good to be back. See you SOON.

Thanks for reading 🙂

On-The-Go Snacks

10 Mar

Hello, hello and happy weekend!

For me this isn’t just any weekend- it’s the first weekend of my Spring Break! Check out what Spring Break ’11 entailed here.

Let’s kick off SB ’12 with a video post! I really love doing videos, so expect more in the future.

Featured Snacks:

  • veggies and hummus
  • Trader Joe’s Lightly salted Brown Rice Cakes and homemade almond butter
  • Edamame (unshelled)
  • mixed fruit
  • Fat-free plain greek yogurt with apples, cinnamon and stevia
  • Larabars (cashew cookie and cappuccino) and Kind Bars (dark chocolate cherry cashew)

That’s all for now! JWD and I are heading out on our bikes to enjoy the beautiful weather.

Have a fantastic Saturday, see you soon, and as always thanks for reading 🙂

Breaking Bread

3 Sep

Friendships are beautiful things. Old ones provide warmth and comfort; and new ones bestow a gift of excitement and “newness”.

The awkward time between summer and fall is notorious for friendships. It marks a year’s beginning- not of the calendar kind, but of the school kind. Change is in the air. A piece of us clings to warmth and familiarity of summer while the other piece longs for the exciting, fresh start that fall brings. Much like the merging of two seasons’ edges, this “in-between” moment marks a merging of friends- old and new. We find comfort in reuniting with old friends and seek the excitement of meeting new ones.

One of the most intimate acts we can share with other humans is that of sharing a meal- or “breaking bread”. Food is personal, food is cultural, food is symbolic. Food is life.

And what better way to reconnect, or connect for the first time, than by breaking bread.


The Best Breakfast Bread {powered by plants}

Ingredients:

  • 2 ¼ c whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 large very ripe banana (or 1 ½ small)
  • 1 zucchini, shredded (about 1 cup)
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • cup (or less) maple syrup, honey or sugar (I used half maple syrup, half honey)
  • egg replacer equal to 1 egg (Option 1: mix 1 tbsp ground flaxseed with 2 tbsp water. Option 2: mix 1 ½ tsp ENER-G Egg Replacer with 2 tbsp water)
  • ¼ cup raisins or other dried fruit (I used dried cranberries)
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts or other nut
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup almond milk or other non-dairy milk
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

How To:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  • Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Set aside.
  • In another bowl, mash bananas and combine with shredded zucchini. Add remaining ingredients and mix.
  • Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and gently mix just until combined.
  • Pour into a lightly greased 9×5 in. loaf pan and bake for about 60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. (My loaf was a little doughy in the middle, in a fabulous kind of way)


  • Cool, slice, add a smear of nut butter.

Mmm… If you make this bread, you are going to have a lot of friends.

I am 3 weeks deep into what I am told will be both the best and worst, most influential and most chaotic year of my life (so far, what I’ve been told is fact). I am officially Kayli, SLU Dietetic Intern.

Luckily, I am not alone. I have friends, both old and new, who will take this journey with me.

Cheers to friends to break bread with.

My time may be sparse, but my inspiration is bountiful. Over the next year (school year, that is) our time together will be limited, but I promise to meet you back here from time to time to reconnect- and I promise that almost every time we reconnect it will revolve around food- naturally 🙂

Thanks for reading 🙂

I’m Baaaack….. And It’s Snack Time

1 Aug

I’m sorry about the loooong hiatus, but the last few weeks have been filled with packing, moving, unpacking, and studying, studying, studying. I’m excited to get back to regular posting! I have a lot of ideas in the works 🙂 So that glorious day, July 30th, that I mentioned in this post has come and gone and it’s time to tell you why it might just be the best day of my life thus far. A little more than a year ago, I was about to start my senior year as a Business major. I had known for awhile that a business degree just didn’t feel right for me. I didn’t enjoy my classes and I had no clue what I would do with the degree upon graduation. I explored many possible career paths and none of them gave me much fulfillment. So last summer I finally worked up the courage to change my major to Nutrition. I met with Jennifer (check out her blog!), who I now consider a very valuable mentor, and she helped me map out the speedy (aka cheapest) route to a Nutrition degree. The road ahead of me was daunting. I had to jump right in to a 4 week Chemistry II summer class (it had been almost two years since I took Chem I) and my first full semester was packed with 18 credit hours including Medical Terminology, Organic Chemistry, and Human Physiology. After many hours studying, a lot of string-pulling, piles of administrative paperwork, a few tears (who am I kidding- A LOT of tears), I am all caught up and ready to begin my senior year. As of July 30th (the end of my summer semester), no classes will be taken out of order and no classes will be taken online or from another college. This fall I will be a normal Nutrition and Dietetics student with a normal schedule.

I. CAN’T. WAIT.

Moral of the story: Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Never settle. If you want something bad enough, anything is possible. The most challenging path is usually the one that leads you to the greatest happiness. Don’t let your dreams be dreams.

Now, about those snacks…

I love snacks. As you know by now, I am not a 3-squares-a-day kind of girl. I prefer several mini-meals spaced throughout the day so I never feel overly stuffed and I always have plenty of energy. Choosing a snack can be kind of tricky (a tempting time to reach for the chip bag), so here are my snack guidelines…

1) Plan Ahead

Having a food game plan is the key to staying on track with your healthy eating habits. This is especially important between meals. I’m sure you can all relate to this scenario: you’re out running afternoon errands or stuck at work and hunger strikes. You probably either suffer through the afternoon until you get home and devour the entire bag of Ruffles while making dinner, or you might reach for the nearest snack- the candy dish, the vending machine, or the drive-thru. With a little planning, you can easily navigate afternoon hunger without sabotaging your food day. If I leave the house for more than a couple hours I always pack a snack, something healthful and portable. When I had a 9-5 desk job, I always kept a drawer stocked with a few snacks or packed a snack so I could make it from lunch to dinner without wanting to take a nap under my desk or pay a visit to the vending machine. If you have something healthy within arms reach, the vending machine or the drive-thru won’t even cross your mind.

2) Eat For Energy

When choosing a snack, I like to have the mindset of “food as fuel”. This automatically excludes potato chips and candy bars from my snack choices because they are not good quality fuel for my body. The point of a between-meal snack is to keep your blood sugar from plummeting (low blood sugar = low energy) and to prevent that afternoon sluggish feeling. This guideline is very important if your afternoon snack is going to fuel an after-work workout. I think the best energizing snack combo is a mix of carbs, fiber, and protein.

3) Portion Control

My breakfast, lunch and dinner meals are usually larger than my snacks, so I have to make sure I don’t overdue it. Just as not eating enough zaps your energy, eating too much will zap your energy too. The point is to eat just enough to feel energized and satisfied.

4) Check in With Yourself

Make a habit of checking in with yourself before every meal. I mentioned in this post that I usually eat about 5-6 meals a day, but I always check in with myself before I eat. I never go full steam ahead through my day eating 6 meals like clockwork. The body is a funny thing- on some days you might feel like eating everything in sight and on others you might not have an appetite at all. If snack time rolls around and you aren’t hungry, there is no need to take in extra calories just because you are “scheduled” to do so. Even if I took the time to pack a snack, I never force myself to eat. The only exception may be if you have a workout planned. If I know I’ll be running or hitting the gym later in the day I try to eat at least a little something to give me exercise energy. Every person is different, every day is different, and there is no “one-diet-fits-all”, so learn to listen to your body and give it what it needs!

5) Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth Without Wrecking Your Food Day

Mid-afternoon is a common time for your sweet tooth to strike. When your blood sugar dips between meals, your body craves a simple sugar pick-me-up. Instead of ignoring my sweet cravings (deprivation usually leads to binging and overindulging later), I satisfy it with a healthy twist. I’ll sprinkle a tablespoon of chocolate chips in my yogurt or air-popped popcorn or have a small dish of a sweet granola cereal with some almond milk. Sometimes I can satisfy my sweet tooth simply by adding some fruit to my snack. The key is to start with a healthy base (yogurt, plain popcorn) and add a tiny bit of sweet to satisfy you.

What I snack on:

This is my go-to snack. An Ezekiel Tortilla smeared with about 1 1/2 T of nut butter, half a banana, and a dash of cinnamon. This snack has the perfect amount of protein, carbs, and fiber to keep you full and it’s very portable. I slice it in half and stick it in a Tupperware or roll it up in foil.

Yogurt, especially greek yogurt, with fruit, unsweetened fiber cereal or Kashi cereal, and nuts is such a healthy snack! It’s a great snack for those trying to lose weight. Plain fat-free greek yogurt is low cal (120 for 1 cup) and high protein (20 grams for 1 cup!). The cereal and fruit adds fiber and a small sprinkle of nuts adds a good amount of healthy fat. If you are trying to lose weight, steer clear of flavored yogurt which has a lot of added sugar. I buy plain and sweeten it myself with a dash of stevia.

This snack comes in handy when I have a sweet tooth to satisfy. I microwave 1-2 T of nut butter with a few teaspoonfuls of chocolate chips. I pair it with apple slices for a “healthy twist”.

On those days when I check in with myself and find that I’m just not that hungry, I’ll have something like this: a mug of tea and an apple.

Other great snack ideas include air-popped popcorn, a piece of fruit paired with a handful of unsalted nuts, and fresh veggie slices with hummus or nut butter for dipping.

Everything You Need to Know about Bars

I’ve received a few questions about bars, so let’s talk bars since they are a popular snack food. I am not a big fan of bars- they are usually high in sugar, fat, calories and have ingredient lists a mile long. Since most bars are very calorie dense, you end up eating close to 300 calories in a small serving in a short amount of time. Why don’t you feel satisfied? We eat with our eyes first and we are usually more satisfied by volume than by the amount of calories in a meal. A bar is small in volume, but large in calories. BUT bars are convenient, portable and handy in situations where you need to get rid of your hunger fast and continue on with your day. There’s a new bar in the snack aisle every time I grocery shop. How the heck do you choose? If a snack situation calls for a bar, here is how I choose…

1) Check the ingredients list

This is usually the deal-breaker for me. If the ingredients list is a mile long and full of words I can’t pronounce, it doesn’t make it into my life. The less ingredients the better, and you better be able to pronounce all of them. If you see the words “high-fructose corn syrup”, put the bar down!!

2) Check the calories

Some bars have as many as 500 calories in them. That’s not a snack, that’s a meal replacement bar. I try to stay under 250 calories when I choose a bar. Somewhere around 200 calories is ideal.

3) Check the fat

The base of many bars is nuts so the fat content is usually pretty high, but it’s healthy fat that will stick with you until your next meal. Watch out for added fats such as oils. The saturated fat content should be very low, if any at all, and the trans fat should ALWAYS be zero.

4) Check the sugar

This is a tricky one. Most bars are very high in sugar, and if they aren’t then they are probably full of poison artificial sweetener. This is where you need to look at both the sugar content and the ingredient list. Bars made with whole foods contain sugar from dried fruits like dates and raisins. Some bars will have added sugar, so look for these words: agave, honey, evaporated cane juice, sucrose, dextrose, etc. (rule of thumb: if it ends in -ose, it’s probably an added sugar). This is a hard number to keep low without venturing in to artificial sweetener territory, so I try to stay under 15 grams ( frame of reference: a Snicker’s bar has 29 grams). For more info on sugar check out this post: White Poison

5) Check the fiber

Fiber keeps you full and satisfied. Look for bars with at least 3 grams of fiber. I focus more on fat, sugar, and fiber content instead of protein because high-protein bars are typically very processed and have tons of unidentifiable ingredients.

A Few Kayli-Approved Bars

Larabar

Although Larabars are pretty high in sugar and fat, the ingredient list has me swooning. Most flavors have well under ten ingredients and they are all totally recognizable. The fat is from nuts and the sugar is from fruit. If I’m going to eat a bar, these are my first choice because they are made of basic, whole foods and they always sustain me between meals. To cut fat and sugar, try eating just half of the bar. These bars are so nutrient dense that usually half holds me over. If you can find the mini bars, those are perfect (about 100 cals, 4-6 g fat, 8-11 g sugar)

Flavor: Cashew Cookie    Cals: 230    Fat: 13g    Fiber: 4g    Sugar: 18g    Protein: 6g

Ingredients: cashews, dates

Kind Bars

These bars also have a very small ingredient list. Once again, the fat and sugar content looks a little high, but it mostly comes from nuts and fruit.

Flavor: Fruit & Nut Delight   Cals: 180   Fat: 11g   Fiber: 4g   Sugar: 12g   Protein: 5g

Clif Bars

I save these babies for when I’m really hungry because they’re pretty hefty. JWD swears by these. Because he is a guy and he is very active, he can handle the higher carbs and sugar (unfair, isn’t it girls?). That said, they are very tasty and I never deny a Clif Bar craving. The ingredient list is a bit long, but everything is recognizable and 70% organic. Don’t have time for a sit-down lunch? Pair a Clif bar with a bag of fresh veggies for a balanced, filling meal.

Flavor: Carrot Cake   Cals:240   Fat: 4g   Fiber: 4g   Sugar: 21g   Protein: 10g

Luna Bars

Luna Bars are made by the Clif Bar company and are a lower calorie bar marketed to women. Again, the ingredient list is a bit long but identifiable. A typical bar is less than 200 calories, 5 grams of fat, 3 grams of fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and 9 grams of protein. I love Chai Tea, Lemon Zest, and White Chocolate Macadamia.

Kashi TLC Bars

These bars are a good choice for people trying to lose weight and for kids. They do have added sugar and a so-so ingredient list, but the nutritional profile is great. A typical bar is under 150 calories, 5 grams of fat, 4 grams of fiber, 6 grams of sugar, and 6 grams of protein.

Bottom Line: If at all possible, choose a whole food snack over a bar. But if you must choose a bar, read the label!! And plan around your bar. High in sugar? Consider skipping after-dinner dessert. High in fat? Keep your fat intake in check for the rest of the day.

Something cool to check out: You Bar allows you to make customized bars! A little pricey, but how cool is that??

Whew… feels good to be back to blogging! I’ve been doing a lot of brainstorming about the future of the blog and I have some good ideas brewing. I want it to be as informative and applicable to YOU as possible, so feel free to email me questions or topics you’d like me to write about kayli923@gmail.com

Have a wonderful Sunday night and take some time to plan out your snacks for the week!

Thanks for reading 🙂

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