Healthy Balance, Healthy Life

Archive for the ‘South Beach’ Category

Made a really good dessert last night that took literally 30 seconds to make.

All you need is store-bought chocolate peanut butter (or make your own) and strawberries. Scoop some peanut butter into a bowl, zap it in the microwave for 30 seconds, dip your strawb, place in mouth, melt.

Skinny indulgence in a jar

Good nutrition, check! Wholesome ingredients, check! (Double Click to check it out for yourself!)

Easy peasy dipping "sauce"

So good, how could this have protein and antioxidants in it?

*Suitable for Phase 2 of South Beach Diet

Question:

What’s your go-to quick dessert?

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Feel Like You're Cheating, but You're Not!

I just threw together the yummiest breakfast food; It tastes like pumpkin pie but you’re really being quite healthy! Steel cut oats have so much fiber in them and they are whole grains. The spices and pumpkin add antioxidants into the mix and the Splenda is calorie free. And it’s filling too. PERFECT, right?

Here’s What You Need:

  • Canned Pumpkin (Which is already cooked. I didn’t know that before researching it!)
  • Splenda or whatever sweetener you want
  • Pumpkin pie spices (I used just cinnamon and nutmeg but you could use anything you want)
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Steel Cut Oats

Here’s What You Do:

  • Cook steel cut oats according to the directions. My box said to boil 3 cups of water, add 1/4 teaspoon of salt, add 1 cup of oats, simmer and cover. Then stir occasionally for 10 (al dente) to 20 (creamy) minutes. Let sit for 2 minutes. It didn’t say to strain it but I did since there was some water left.
  • Scoop 1 cup of oats into a bowl and save the rest for later (cold oats are yummy).
  • Add 1/2 cup pumpkin, 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract, a packet of splenda (or two packets of regular sugar), and several shakes of spices.
  • ENJOY!!

Let me know what you think.

Of Possible Interest:

Health Benefits of Pumpkin – Suite101.com

Spices and Herbs, Unexpected Sources of Antioxidants – HealthCastle.com

Top Fresh and Dried Herbs and Spices for Antioxidants – Eating Well Magazine


My blogger friend Spagate commented about the no fruit rule for the first two weeks of South Beach. It prompted an answer and an update from me!

Spagate: I don’t think I could give up fruit for two weeks. It’s a staple in my life! I’d have to really think about the benefits of doing it for those two weeks, at least I’d be able to eat it again after. But summer is SO great for fresh fruit!

Me: True about the fruit. That was really hard for me. I tried to settle my “fruit tooth” with fruit tea and sugar free jello but it is NOT the same! If you can’t live with out fruit, I think you could include it and just include the fruit with the lowest glycemic index. Berries are good for that. Bananas, mangos, pineapples and other tropical fruits are not. In the book, there’s a letter from a guy who did South Beach and had a bowl of ice cream every day through out the entire thing and he still lost weight! I don’t recommend this, obviously, but it just shows that it can still work without completely changing your lifestyle.

Read the rest of this entry »

Simple and easy recipe for a simple chili! Takes about 20 minutes tops to make this and it’s chock full of veggies too. Fills you up!

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lean ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 2 8 ounce cans of tomato sauce (2 cups)
  • 1 16 ounce can of kidney beans (2 cups)
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of chili powder (I like a bit more)

Preparation:

  1. In a medium saucepan, cook together onion, green pepper, and meat until it is lightly browned. Spoon off excess fat and throw away.
  2. Stir in tomato sauce ; cook over low heat for 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in kidney beans and salt. Cook until heated through.
  4. Stir in chili powder.
  5. Enjoy!

This dinner is so quick and easy to make but it tastes like you slaved away for hours!

Since cream is swapped out for olive oil, this garlic shrimp, broccoli, and fettuccine dish won’t leave you feeling sick like the usual heavy creaminess of scampi does. And I think it tastes better!

4 Servings (dinner for two people)

Ingredients

Half package Fettucine, preferably whole grain! *You can also use a quinoa-corn blend. See my comment below for the link*
1 pound Shrimp, peeled, deveined, de-tailed, and cut in half
½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
¼ cup White Cooking Wine
4 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Lemon (juice of)
2-3 Garlic cloves
2 Broccoli crowns, chopped

Preparation

1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente. Drain, and transfer to a large serving bowl.

2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the olive oil and white wine in 9×13 inch glass baking dish with broccoli and place in oven.

3. Stir the shrimp, garlic, and lemon juice into the baking dish. Return dish to oven. Bake for 3 minutes.

4. Remove from the oven, and season with salt, pepper, and Romano cheese; continue baking until shrimp are opaque, about 2 minutes longer.

5. Spoon the shrimp and sauce over the linguini, and toss to coat the pasta. Serve immediately.

Ingredients

Half package

Fettucine

1 pound

Shrimp, peeled, deveined, de-tailed, and cut in half

½ cup

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

¼ cup

White Cooking Wine

4 cloves

Garlic, minced

1

Lemon (juice of)

2-3

Garlic cloves

2

Broccoli crowns, chopped

Little bites of yum!

This was my first time ever just winging it with cooking and it turned out fabulously! I’ll admit though, that it wasn’t really a complicated dish. But simple and easy is best, right? Appropriate for all phases of south beach, clean eating, and healthy deliciousness.

Okay. Since I made this up on the spot, I really didn’t measure too much so I’ll have to be informal in this recipe’s delivery.

Ingredients:

Sauce

  • 1/2 lb can plain tomato sauce (I used a 1 lb can and made the sauce with it and then saved it to use for something else later)
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Olive Oil
  • A few grinds of coarse sea salt
  • A few grinds of peppercorn
  • 10 Fresh Basil Leaves
  • A few shakes of oregano
  • A few shakes of thyme
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • Several shakes of garlic powder
  • Half of a big vine ripened tomato or one small one, diced
  • Optional: Three drops of hot sauce

Pizza’s

  • Either the tomato sauce I have here or one of your choice.
  • 1/2 of a big zucchini, sliced width-wise
  • Part skim fresh mozzarella, sliced width-wise
  • A few grinds of peppercorn

Preparation:

Sauce

  1. Set oven or toaster oven (much easier for this small amount) to broil.
  2. Place diced tomatoes on a baking sheet, or the toaster oven tray, and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Place in oven for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Transfer tomatoes to a sauce pan over medium high heat and combine with olive oil, tomato sauce, hot sauce, salt, pepper, oregano, thyme, basil, garlic, and garlic powder for 10 minutes while stirring.

Pizzas

  1. Set oven to broil (or just leave it there if it’s been on for the tomato sauce).
  2. Place sliced zucchini side by side on a baking sheet.
  3. Spoon sauce over the zucchini and place the baking sheet in the broiler for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Place sliced mozzarella over each zucchini slice and broil for 1 minute-ish.
  5. Remove from oven, sprinkle some pepper on top.
  6. Savor.

After having some practice with eating well, I’ve noticed what helps and what doesn’t help me stick with my goals…here are a few tips!

  1. Plan ahead! This is the most important. We’re all busy and we all have limited time so we need to make the most of it! For example, I had an hour and a half gap in between a meeting this morning and the rest of my work day this afternoon. If I wasn’t prepared with a bag of work out gear and a healthy lunch, I 1) wouldn’t have time to fit both a run and lunch in because I’d be figuring out what to do and/or making my lunch and 2) may have given in to the convenience of a less healthy store or restaurant bought meal (which is also pricier). Last night, I packed a bag of running shoes, running clothes, deodorant, make up, and anything else I thought I might need to run and get freshened up after. I also pre-made my lunch (tip: save the containers from the lunches you do have to go. I used a container specifically used for the pre-made salads in the grocery store.) and left it contained together in the fridge. That way I didn’t have to run around this  morning coordinating everything before my meeting and the day went smoothly.
  2. Pack snacks. This also ties into the planning bit. I also packed some snacks along with my lunch last night. It’s healthier to eat many small nutritious snacks through out the day to keep your blood sugar (and therefore insulin levels) constant. When our blood sugar and insulin levels are stable, we don’t get the sick feelings or hunger pangs associated with sugar and insulin dips. In addition to avoiding these negative experiences, it decreases the chance that we will grab for the first snack we see in a desperate attempt to satiate ourselves or feel better.
  3. Make extra food to ensure left overs. Surprise surprise this also fits into the planning ahead scheme! When you make a healthy meal and have left overs in your fridge, it’s convenient to eat healthy! I like making dinners with separate pieces so that I can pack the left overs in the fridge separately and make new meals out of them when I want quality food in a pinch. For example, I roasted a whole chicken for dinner last week and made separate sides and a sauce to go with it. After dinner, I sliced the left over chicken (white meat, please!) up and packed the sides and sauce separately. That way, I had the choice of re-living that dinner experience by combining everything and/or using the slices of chicken to make a sandwich, a chicken salad, or drizzle some balsamic vinegar over it and have it with veggies.
  4. Drink non caffeinated tea. On South Beach, we can’t have fruit the first two weeks in order to reduce the glycemic load our bodies are handling (more on glycemic index soon!) I LOVE fruit and I’m used to having it all the time so this has been really hard for me. Something that helps when I want something sweet. I have decaf fruit tea with a packet of splenda. It’s made from fruit, it tastes like fruit, yet it has no calories, carbs, anything! Drinking non caffeinated tea has the added bonus of filling your belly to make you feel fuller to help with portion control and is also hydrating.
  5. Don’t sweat the small stuff…sometimes. You can’t count on using this one all the time, it’s only for unique circumstances!  If you find yourself in a situation where it’d be a complete inconvenient stretch for you to stick exactly to your diet, don’t! Being so stringent will only stress you out, hate your healthy lifestyle (you don’t want that!), and make you less likely to stick with it. For example, I went out to eat with some friends the other night with great intentions. After perusing the menu I realized that restaurant food is not conducive to the strictest phase of the South Beach Diet (duh!). I could’ve asked the waitress to bring me a sad piece of boring grilled chicken but I didn’t want that, I’m out with my friends having a good time! So I ordered a big Caesar salad with grilled chicken, which with all the cream is not exactly an award winning meal but it was the best choice I had to satisfy both my taste buds and my health (protein and greens…check!). When it came to the table I handed the roll (surprise! I didn’t ask for that!) on the side of the plate to a friend. I promptly dug in, guilt-free, and savored the moment.

What has helped you? Please share!


Welcome!

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I am a 22 year old social work graduate student living in beautiful Burlington, Vermont. I love do-it-yourself projects, being active, and cooking delicious, healthy food! Feel free to leave comments or email me at AlixandraWest@gmail.com. You can also anonymously ask me questions at http://www.formspring.me/HealthyBalance1 I would love to hear from you!

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