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 🙂

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Easy Weeknight Dinners and a Killer Cardio Workout

25 Jun

Hello!

Is it Friday yet?? This week has been a doozy and we’re only 2 days in, oye. 

Hence the frozen pizza we had for dinner last night and the eggs we had tonight.

Here’s how a dietitian does frozen pizza:

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First, I look for the lowest sodium per serving I can find. Then, I check out the calories (I like to stay around 300 or less). This one is Amy’s Margherita Pizza. 1/3 of the pizza comes in at 280 calories and 550 grams of sodium. Not perfect, but for a frozen pizza those stats are pretty good! Before I pop it in the oven, I load it up with extra veggies to improve the nutritional quality and give it a little more… er… “meat” so to speak. Also, I always pair my frozen pie with a heaping salad. Dinner was ready in less than 30 min!

Tonight was another late one, so we did eggs in whole wheat tortillas. People don’t usually think of eggs for dinner, but it is one of the easy weeknight staples at our house!

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We sautéed onions, diced sweet potatoes, jalapeño, tomatoes, and greens in a pan before adding eggs. I had one tortilla full plus more on the side.

Backing up a bit… 

Pre-dinner, I got a workout in before leaving the gym. I was in the mood for something tough to shake off some stress, so I decided to attempt this baby…

3 Rounds:

1000 meter row

50 burpees

50 box jumps

400 meter run

This is not a Running on Sunshine original, but I can’t remember where I got it. I tend to write workouts on random scraps of paper and find them stuffed in my gym bag, wallet, car, pockets, and (JWD’s favorite) strewn all over the house. I found this one in my gym bag and knocked it out.

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Now I look like this. I think it’s time for bed….

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 🙂

A New Chapter

18 Jun

Once upon a time there was a blogger. She blogged
 and then she didn’t. And then she blogged again
 and then she didn’t. Sound familiar?  🙂

It’s been a challenging few years. I’ve been in survival mode for most of it, making sharing my life on this blog difficult. But a new chapter is upon me and suddenly blogging feels right. I’m ready to share, to be an open book, and to ditch the ideas of perfection, ideals, and “shoulds”. The perfect time will never come, no circumstances will ever be ideal in every way, and I will always be “under construction”. There is no better time than the present. 

Big changes since we last met, my friends…

1. Instead of sitting in a classroom learning about nutrition and exercise, I am finally out practicing it. I am working as a dietitian and personal trainer at a fitness center and also for a private practice dietitian in sports nutrition, weight-loss, and media. 13430_10201042496846065_475774142_n 2. I became an aunt! My sister gave me this wonderful gift- my nephew Waylon. DSC02200 3. JWD and I are engaged! I am over the moon excited and the wedding journey has only just begun.

4. Therapy- lots of therapy 🙂 I told you I am “under construction”. People treat therapy like it’s a bad word. I think that is nonsense. Since when is wanting to improve yourself a bad thing? We are all a work in progress. Everyone needs a good therapist. It’s life-changing 🙂

My dream is for Running on Sunshine to be a place to share my nutrition and fitness know-how with you, a place for you to turn to for the truth about the latest health craze, and a place to share my day-to-day craziness laced with my personal healthy living tips for mind, body, and soul.

With that, let’s get reacquainted. Here is a look at my Monday
 DSC02036 I started my post-vaca Monday (just got home from a week at the beach!) bright and early with a green juice, egg + egg white on an english muffin, and melon before heading out for an early nutrition client. After my client I got some work done at a coffee shop. After another appointment, I headed home for lunch.Leftover tofu taco salad, lemon La Croix, and the last of this yummy snack I posted on instagram today.

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My afternoon included a meeting with the dietitian I work for, and a nutrition client at the gym. I snacked on a rice cake topped with the most incredible coconut cinnamon almond butter I made on Sunday and sliced strawberries and a Luna protein bar in between meetings. 

I ended the day with my favorite hot yoga class. This class makes Mondays so much more bearable. It is my religion. I have cried, laughed, bit the dust, and mastered poses I thought were impossible on my mat in this class. Please do me a favor and dedicate an hour of your Mondays to something that feeds your soul in this way!  

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I was a sweaty, blissful mess after class. Post-yoga, I took a much-needed shower and threw together dinner with JWD.

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Roasted sweet potato fries, tempeh, salad, and sriracha for dipping.

Then  I curled up with a new book, The Fire Starter Sessions, for a little wind down time before bed. I’ll leave you with this great quote from my book: True Self It’s good to be back! Thanks for reading 🙂

Buffalo Wings Veggie Style

25 Mar

Happy Monday! This is what spring time in STL looks like:

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Brrrr! Looks like soups, hot tea, and steel cut oats will be on the menu for a bit longer. Here’s another recipe with a spicy kick to keep you warm…

You already know that plants make up the majority of my meals. People ask “Don’t you miss eating meat? Isn’t it hard to not eat it?”. I think this is funny because it turns my style of eating into a punishing diet- the complete opposite of what it actually is 🙂 I choose to eat what I eat because it makes me feel great, it fuels my workouts, and it’s yummy! If meat sounds good, I eat it (like turkey on Thanksgiving).

However there is one meat meal that I don’t necessarily miss, but I miss the idea of- buffalo wings. I am a hot sauce junky! I love the combo of the fiery sauce, crunchy celery, and cool dressing for dipping. When I saw several Buffalo Cauliflower Wing recipes circulating Pinterest, I knew I had to try them and… OH. EM. GEE. This recipe is amazing. To push it completely over the top, I whipped up cool and creamy yogurt dipping sauce. Yum!

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Buffalo Cauliflower Wings

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of cauliflower

Batter:

  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast (optional; sub an additional 1/4 cup flour if you don’t use it)
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 cup plain unsweetened soymilk (or any milk)

Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup hot sauce (I used Trader Joe’s Jalapeño Pepper Hot Sauce)
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp vinegar (red wine or apple cider)
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp Earth Balance (or butter), melted
  • Red pepper flakes for extra heat

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 450*F.
  • Cut cauliflower into bite-size pieces.
  • Whisk all batter ingredients together in a medium bowl.
  • Add cauliflower to batter and toss until evenly coated.
  • Place cauliflower on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet or on a wire rack stacked on top of a cookie sheet (I used a wire rack to allow the excess batter to drip off the cauliflower pieces).
  • Bake for 20 minutes.
  • While the cauliflower is baking, combine the sauce ingredients in a medium bowl.
  • Carefully transfer baked cauliflower into the sauce bowl and gently toss until evenly coated.
  • Return cauliflower to wire rack/cookie sheet and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until cauliflower is crispy.

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Lean & Clean Yogurt Dipping Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup plain nonfat greek yogurt
  • 1 T vinegar (red wine or apple cider)
  • 1 T nutritional yeast (optional)
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon + zest
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup soft cheese crumbles (goat cheese, blue cheese) (optional)

Instructions:

  • Combine all ingredients and blend with a food processor, blender, or immersion blender.

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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 🙂

Dietitian vs. Nutritionist- What’s the Difference?

14 Mar

Since I am a registered dietitian (RD) and am lucky enough to have befriended many fellow dietitians along the road, my social media channels were blowing up with “Registered Dietitian Day” posts yesterday. That’s right, yesterday was National RD Day, conveniently located smack in the middle of National Nutrition Month.

I meet many people that have no idea what a registered dietitian is or does. In short, a dietitian is a food and nutrition expert, the food and nutrition expert. It’s a long and challenging road to becoming an RD. First, you get a bachelor’s degree in nutrition. Then you apply to an (unpaid) internship program, an application process that is extremely competitive (~50% match rate nationwide) and matches you with only one program. Internship programs vary depending on their strengths and emphases, but they all have minimum requirements that must be met. It is similar to clinical rotations for medical students- interns spend their days working under the supervision of dietitians in various settings. My internship program at Saint Louis University was 10 months of working in a new site every 2 weeks by day and taking graduate classes by night. I was in a program that emphasized physical performance/sports nutrition, so many of my rotations focused on athletes, gyms, and wellness. However. I also paid my dues working in hospitals and foodservice. The best way I can describe my internship experience is that it was the “best worst year of my life.” The learning curve was very steep, but rewarding. Every single day was a new experience full of new information to learn!

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After graduating from an internship, you are eligible to sit for the national registration exam. If you pass, you can finally call yourself a registered dietitian. I studied and studied for my exam. It was the type of exam that when I clicked “submit” after the last question, I was 50/50 on whether I passed. When the woman handed me my results (after the computer stopped working, the power went out, and the printer took 10 minutes to reboot…) and I saw “Congratulations, you passed”, the most incredible feelings of relief/achievement/happiness flooded over me. I can honestly say I put my blood, sweat, and (a lot of) tears into earning those two letters- RD. Our trip to Colorado was a great way to celebrate 🙂 To maintain RD status, dietitians are required to accumulate continuing education hours throughout their career to stay fresh on the ever-changing area of nutrition. 

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I tell you all of this so you can understand what separates a registered dietitian from a nutritionist. Anyone can call themselves a “nutritionist”. This label tells you absolutely nothing about the person’s expertise. If someone calls themselves a registered dietitian, you can rest assured they successfully completed the rigorous credentialing process I described above. They really are the nutrition experts!

If you are looking for credible nutrition advice, it’s best to get it from a registered dietitian. If someone calls themselves a nutritionist, be sure to investigate their education and credentials before taking the advice. Like I said, anyone can call themselves a nutritionist. Traditionally registered dietitians use the “RD” credential, but recently a new credential option was introduced for dietitians to use “RDN” which means “registered dietitian nutritionist”. So look for the RD or the RDN- they mean the same thing! And remember that every dietitian is a nutritionist, but not every nutritionist is a dietitian!

I celebrated National RD Day with a fun stability ball workout, play in the kitchen, and an insightful chat with my favorite RD.

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Buffalo Cauliflower Wings recipe will be up on the blog soon!

Thanks for reading 🙂

Is Fruit Bad For Me?

1 Mar

Hello and Happy National Nutrition Month!

People ask this question A LOT. Countless carb-phobic diet books and so-called “experts” have villainized the poor fruit group, convincing people that fruit is the sugar-laden diet enemy. New research pointing a blaming finger at fructose has also created confusion and caused many to shy away from trusty apples and bananas. You may have read the New York Times article “Is Sugar Toxic?”. This article and the research behind it warns of the health hazards of sugar, particularly a carbohydrate called fructose. Let’s clear up the confusion and tear this myth down once and for all!

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As much as I hate the term “natural sugar”, I think it’s fitting in the case of fruit. Fruit does have naturally occurring sugar, primarily fructose (often nicknamed “fruit sugar”). When “fruit sugar” is eaten in its whole food form along with all of the glorious health benefits of fruit, it is perfectly healthy! Fruits are chockfull of vitamins and antioxidants that nourish your body, prevent disease, preserve your youth, and make your hair, skin, and eyes shine. They are also packed with fiber which keeps you satisfied and slows the absorption of those natural sugars.

We run into trouble with fructose when we eat this “natural sugar” in very unnatural ways. Because fructose is the sweetest of the simple carbohydrates (smarty pants Mother Nature wants to increase the allure of nutrient-packed fruits!), it has been kidnapped by the food industry and artificially added to countless processed foods. You’ll find it in soda, fat-free “diet” foods that are pumped full of sugar to make up for the lackluster fat-free flavor, packaged foods like cookies, pop-tarts, crackers, cereal, and pastries. It’s even in unsuspecting places like ketchup, sauces, salty snacks, bread, yogurt, and peanut butter. Most of these foods are empty calories. Unlike fruit, the sugars don’t come naturally wrapped up in a healthful bundle of nutrients. Because added sugar is in so many food products and in places it doesn’t need to be (ahem, peanut butter), we end up overdosing on it. THESE are the foods that warrant sugar stress, NOT whole fruits!

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You are not going to overdose on sugars by eating a few pieces of fruit each day, so eat up! The more variety of color you eat,  the more variety of nutrients you’ll get. The issue with fruit is rarely too much and almost always not enough. Aim for 2-4 servings of fruit every day!

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Thanks for reading 🙂

Heart-beet Smoothie

16 Feb

Hello there and happy weekend!

Whether or not you spent Thursday with someone else’s heart in mind, the first heart you should be caring for is your own!

Heart disease is serious business. It’s the leading cause of death in Americans. The good news is that most heart conditions (even if you have a family history) are preventable and food and fitness are your most effective arsenal.

One of my favorite heart-smart foods: beets! …Wait! Don’t close your browser yet. I know what you’re thinking: “This chick is a crazy freak of nature vegetable worshipper! If she thinks she’s going to convince me to eat beets, she’s out of her flippin’ mind!” Most people who tell me they despise beets are only acquainted with the gelatinous canned version of beets. They were forced to eat them as a child and still have nightmares of their mother dumping the cylindrical jelly glob out of the can and slicing it into circles of disgustingness (this is a real description from one of my clients 🙂 ).

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{Boulder, CO farmers market}

Beets are rich in nitrates which lower blood pressure and in turn protect your heart. Newer research boasts the benefit of beets for exercise. Nitrates reduce the amount of oxygen that is required during exercise which improves exercise performance.

When I think of beets, I imagine the vibrant red root vegetable roasted up with olive oil and spices or peeled, steamed and blended into a smoothie. Yep, you read that right- a smoothie!

Heart-beet Smoothie

adapted from Cooking Light

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup sliced cooked beets

  • 1 cup frozen mixed berries

  • ÂŒ cup plain non- or low-fat yogurt

  • ÂŒ cup orange juice

  • 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed

  • 1 tsp honey (optional)

Directions:

Place all ingredients into a blender and blend for 1 minute or until a smooth consistency is achieved. Pour into a glass and enjoy!

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Still not a fan of beets? No worries, nitrates are found in many other veggies including leafy greens like kale and spinach, lettuce, parsley, and celery.

Now, go do something for YOUR heart today: take a walk, eat a beet, have a salad.

Thanks for reading 🙂

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