I am part of the Chipotle generation. There is no question that the sustainable health conscious meals at Chipotle that have helped redefine the fast food movement are amaze-balls! However, with my go to chicken burrito bowls containing 800+ calories, I may feel super healthy eating at Chipotle, but ultimately end up with not quite the skinniest of options. In typical little chef fashion, I reinvented my favorite fast food dish with lower carbs, leaner meats and luckily for me, tons of leftovers!
It is time to start unpacking your summer vacation bags and unfortunately start packing those lunch boxes for back to school time. With all the hype in the media surrounding the poor nutritional value of school lunches, it makes more and more sense to pack a brown bag. However, if your little one is anything like I was, sandwiches and apple slices are far too boring for a mid day meal. Here are some of my favorite school lunch options to help kickstart the school year!
- avocado carrot and cucumber sushi
- avocado hummus quesadilla
- chicken caesar pita pockets
- ham and cheese crescent rolls
- pizza wrap sandwiches
Funspired Untraditional Ideas:
- carrot cake waffle breakfast sandwich
- corn and zucchini fritters
- safely skewered lunches
- southwest inspired quinoa salad
- yellow chicken skewers with peanut sauce
Heat and Eat Thermos Recipes:
- chicken noodle soup
- hidden veggie mac n’ cheese with chicken sausage
- meatball sandwich
- ravioli and vegetable soup
- vegetable fried rice
This is no soup season…humidity and heat make it a bit painful to eat simmering soup. While it may not be soup season, it is definitely the season of fresh veggies. Whether you get your bright produce from your own backyard garden, local farmer’s market, or simply from the grocery store, now is the season to truly enjoy the fresh flavors of summer veggies. While it may not be hot soup season, one of my favorite ways to use my summer produce is in a cold refreshing gazpacho.
I LOVE Mexican food, especially in the summer, but I hate the fact that it tends to be fat and carbs on fat on carbs. These easy Enchilada’s nix the processed carbs altogether by using fresh leafy greens, which are not given quite enough credit in the super foods department.
Leafy greens, like Swiss chard, kale, collard greens and spinach are loaded with antioxidants that can help with cancer prevention, heart health, and diabetes prevention. Exploding with vitamin K and calcium it is a great way to maintain bone health aside from chugging a giant class of milk. Leafy greens, especially Swiss chard have over 600% of the daily recommended dose of vitamin K which helps with bone formation through osteocalcin activation (try using that fun fact at a party, you will sound extra smart!)
Aside from being super crave worthy, these quick enchilada’s are loaded with tons of vitamins and minerals that can literally help support just about all body systems! Helping you to get your Mexican fix in addition to being a nutritionally nurturing meal.
On my rare days off one of my favorite things to do is pack lunch, slap on some sunscreen, grab a good book and head to the beach. The usual salad, turkey wrap, or Greek yogurt gets old pretty quickly. This super easy lunch is perfect for the beach because it can be served at just about any temperature and still taste super yummy! Add some grilled shrimp or chicken if you are looking to serve this as a heavier dinner option with a bit more protein!
I try my best to be healthy, but it can be hard. Working 48-60 hour weeks, half marathon training and just living life make it even harder. I try my best to keep healthy options on hand when I stock our fridge so even on my busiest days I know I can count on something nutritious in my belly. Apparently I am pretty predictable when it comes to stocking our fridge. When I told Chad about this post, he was able to quickly ramble off just about all the items on this list.
- Seltzer– We always have seltzer on hand, I like mine plain with some fresh lemon or lime. It is the perfect refreshing substitute for sugar filled drinks and waaaay healthier than diet soda. There are so many fun flavors out there and they also make for great drink mixers!
- Zucchini– whether I am serializing it, grilling it with some fish, or shredding it for healthy muffins, I love zucchini because it is so versatile and very quick to prepare. It makes the perfect side for just about any protein and always seems to be super affordable.
- Berries- Strawberries and blueberries to be exact. I precut my strawberries on my meal prep day (this helps them last longer) and toss with the blueberries in a big tupperware container. These are create with yogurt, a post dinner snack for a sweet tooth craving, or thrown above a salad with some fresh goat cheese and almonds.
- String Cheese– I am a cheesaholic, these little sticks of cheese seem to satisfy my cheese craving without leaving me feeling super gross. It is the perfect pre-portioned snack to accompany some fresh fruit of veggies. I try to get the reduced fat ones if possible, my favorite are the cheddar!
- Eggs– I must eat over a dozen eggs a week. I always have to buy at least 2 dozen when I do our weekly grocery trip and sometimes we don’t even make it through the week. I always hard boil at least 6 each week for quick protein packed snacks or for breakfast on the go. Eggs are also my breakfast staple, when I work I love to make microwaved scrambled eggs! Super easy, healthy, and a little bit more fun than a boring yogurt or protein bar!
- Pre-Cut Veggies- During my meal prep day I always peel and chop fresh carrot sticks and cucumbers along with some cherry tomatoes and sugar snap pea’s, I create little veggie snack baggies to eat with hummus or alone for a crunchy snack.
- Turkey Bacon- I eat turkey bacon with my eggs every morning. I bake it on a cookie sheet during my meal prep days and have it on hand for breakfasts, it is also great over salads or for a yummy sandwich addition.
- Parmesan Cheese– Nutty, salty, rich parm…makes just about any dish better. Just a little bit of this cheese helps bring a rich flavor to your dinner. This means you don’t need to break your calorie bank since this cheese has a lot of bang for its buck. More flavor=less needed=less calories!
- Olives- I love salty foods, I tend to crave them more than sweet treats. A few olives from the grocery store olive bar seem to always satisfy my craving without my reaching for a bag of potato chips.
- Avocado- The superstar superfood! I love to have half an avocado on my salad, on toast, whipped into pesto, or with my eggs, There are so many ways to eat this fruit to help you get the long list of health benefits it has to offer. Definitely a staple each and every week for me!
Who can resist an ooey, gooey, chocolate filled brownie? It almost seems unorthodox to post a picture of a chocolate filled brownie on a health and wellness blog. But… I will let you in on a little secret! These brownies are low fat, have a decent amount of fiber and one sneaky ingredient: black beans! Thats right “the musical fruit” (we all know that song!) These magical beans, aside from making you toot, contain phytochemicals which can help slow the progression of tumors and inhibit the production of cancer cells! Needless to say, these brownies pack a nutritional punch that are great for both the oncology patient and the every-day picky eater.
The weather’s hot, the air is thick, and living on the top floor apartment there is only so many clothes that can come off before I give my neighbors something to talk about. I love summer but I hate being hot, especially sticky hot. Only so many iced green teas can quench my never ending summertime thirst and sometimes a girl just needs a popsicle! I’m not talking the sugar loaded, syrupy brightly colored kind, the ones that if you suck hard enough you end up with a pale piece of flavorless ice (enter your dirty joke of choice here). Instead of heading for the boxed variety, pull out your blender, some refreshing fruit and make your own cool down concoction.
I always said the way to my heart is breakfast. I would much rather a casual breakfast diner date than dinner at a stuffy restaurant. Safe to say I found my perfect match in Chad, we are breakfast people, going out for omelets and pancakes pretty regularly. However, some mornings a girl wants to just stay in her PJ’s, sip some coffee out of her favorite Kate Spade mug and lounge around all day. Today was one of those days, with tons of leftover baguette from our dinner of wine, cheese, and bread (obviously) and the 4th of July weekend in full swing, I kept my comfy ‘jamies on, poured some coffee and hit the kitchen for a yummy, leisurely breakfast with my babe.