Eat This Not That: Your Thanksgiving Survival Guide

Did you know that the average American will consume 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat on Thanksgiving day??? OUCH! That’s going to take weeks to run off (and that’s IF you behave between now and Christmas). But, no one in their right mind is going to skip out on their favorite Thanksgiving dishes! Afterall, Thanksgiving only comes once a year! SO, here’s your Thanksgiving good eating guide:  what to have SMALLER portions of, and what you can eat with [LESS] guilt!


Light Turkey Meat


Dark Turkey Meat is twice as fatty as light meat!


Dinner Roll with Butter ~ 130 calories


Croissant ~ 310 calories!

Croissant ~ 310 calories!


Mashed Potatoes ~ 100 calories


Sweet Potato Casserole ~ 250 calories, plus all that extra sugar and preservatives from the marshmallows!


Gravy ~ 30 calories in 1/4 cup


Jellied Cranberries ~ 110 calories in 1/4 cup


Pumpkin Pie ~ 300 calories


Pecan Pie ~ 450 calories and 21g fat

A few other things you can do to minimize your calorie impact this Thanksgiving:
*Drink lots of water – fill up on water before you eat the big meal
*Go on a family walk after the meal
*Eat breakfast – get your metabolism going right away in the morning. Don’t wait all day to eat!
Have a happy healthy TURKEY day!

Mom knows best…

Every year after Thanksgiving my mom takes the leftover turkey – bones and all – and whips up a delicious turkey and bean soup. It’s not only delicious, but as I recently learned, extremely nutritious! (And budget friendly!)

Last week I started coming down with my first case of winter sniffles and had an uncanny craving for this soup. But, being as it’s almost a month till Thanksgiving, I thought I’d try a little experiment…home-made soup using a rotisserie chicken!  The hubs picked up a rotisserie chicken (which in its self is a few meals for the both of us!) Below is a rough recipe for easy home made chicken soup, but the beauty of soup is that you don’t have to follow a recipe, you can make it using any ingredients you like!

There are several reasons this soup is SO great.

1:  It’s budget friendly. You can have several meals using the rotisserie chicken, and then make soup using the carcass and any veggies you happen to have on hand. No extra ingredients needed!

2: It’s SUPER healthy! Not only is it made of healthy veggies, beans, and lean meat, but soup made with  “bone broth” has extraordinary health benefits. You get calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and other trace minerals in an absorbable form from bone broth. Bone broth is also rich in gelatin, an excellent source of supplementary protein.

3: Chicken soup actually does help with a cold! Recent studies suggest that real chicken soup may truly alleviate the upper respiratory symptoms of a cold.  Make a big batch of this soup and freeze it in individual sized servings for the next time someone gets sick.

Home-Made Chicken Soup (my version…remember, be creative!)
1 chicken carcass and any extra meat
water (enough to cover the chicken carcass in a large pot)
Black beans
Carrots, sliced
Fresh garlic, 6 cloves, crushed
Rosemary – generous
Oregano – generous
Thyme – generous
Bay leaves
Juice of 1 lemon
Other ingredient ideas:
Celery Salt
Put chicken bones/carcass in a large-ish pot
Add water so that chicken carcass/bones are covered
Add all of your ingredients and stir
Cover and cook on medium/medium-low until all your ingredients are thoroughly cooked (mine took about 3 hours). Stir occasionally.
Use a slotted spoon or strainer to help pick out the bones

So if you feel like your coming down with a cold, or you just want to have a nutritious soup, try making chicken soup from scratch! It’s easier than you’d think, and there’s no “wrong” way to make it!

Have a happy healthy day!


My Newest Food Fetish: Lentils

I had never cooked lentils (unless they were in a canned soup) until a few days ago, and I can’t believe I’ve been missing out all these years!!! At first glance, lentils may not seem very exciting…brown bean-like things with no taste – right?

Wrong. Lentils can be über flavorful. But more importantly, I discovered that they are VERY easy and quick to make. After getting home from the gym at 7pm I’m hungry, and I want to eat NOW. I won’t wait more than 15 minutes to eat! So, I discovered 2 products that will make a healthy meal in 10 minutes or less…

Sprouted lentils are AWESOME because they take 7 minutes to cook (non-sprouted lentils take 30-45 minutes) and they are extremely healthy for you! Sprouted lentils are a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber.Their high fiber content also prevents blood sugar levels from rising rapidly after a meal. Lentils provide excellent amounts of six important minerals, two B-vitamins, and protein—all with virtually no fat. The calorie cost of all this nutrition? Just 230 calories for a whole cup of cooked lentils (you won’t be able to eat even that much…they are sooo filling).

When you’re hungry and in a hurry, an all-natural curry sauce goes great with lentils! Once the lentils are cooked, just drain them and put them back into you pot, add a whole jar of curry sauce, and stir for about 1 minute. This curry sauce is also super healthy for you, and includes healthy coconut fats, and vegetables!

1 whole bag of sprouted lentils: ~ $3.00

1 jar curry sauce: ~ $4.00

5 healthy meals/servings for $7 in under 10 minutes? PRICELESS  : )

Have a happy healthy day!


Processed Foods: All Bad?

I know, I’ve been a terrible blogger lately! Hopefully you don’t feel too neglected!

When your trying to eat healthy, its easy to jump to a general conclusion that ALL fresh foods are good, and ALL processed foods are bad. While eating fresh and natural foods is definitely good for you, it’s also true that not ALL processed foods are bad. This is especially nice to know when your short on cash or in a hurry. So what ARE the healthy processed foods you ask? Here you go…

Yogurt: The process used to make yogurt is what makes it so good for you. In addition to the calcium, protein, vitamins and minerals yogurt delivers, the active bacteria cultures that give it its tangy taste are probiotics that are thought to provide digestive health benefits. Use unsweetened greek yogurt and add fresh fruit or honey for the most healthy option.

Canned Beans: Beans are an excellent source of protein (especially for those who don’t eat meat) and fiber. Sure, you can buy, dry and soak them (thereby processing them yourself). But you can’t beat the convenience of canned. Look for reduced-sodium brands, or drain and rinse your beans before eating.

Spaghetti Sauce from a Jar:  The process of cooking actually improves the quality of the antioxidant carotenoids that give tomatoes their color, making jarred sauce a healthful choice. Such sauces usually are seasoned with herbs, which add vitamins and minerals such as potassium.

Frozen Veggies:  Vegetables harvested at their peak and immediately frozen retain all their nutritional value, allowing us to enjoy their benefits year round. They’re often less expensive than fresh produce, too.

Peanut Butter: A great source of protein and heart-healthy fats, this tasty, versatile spread is most healthy when made with just peanuts and salt. “Normal” peanut butter has lots of bad-for-you ingredients like high fructose corn syrup!

SO, if you feeling too busy to eat healthy, think again!

Have a happy healthy day!


Attack of the Football Season Snacking

I don’t know about you, but something about watching football games on Sundays during the fall induces me to consume high-calorie, sugary/salty/fattening foods (not to mention beer…I’m really digging hard apple cider right now…). SO, my goal for this years football season? To come up with some healthy snacks that still *taste* like junk food. Tricky? Yes. Impossible? No way!  So todays recipe is all about…

CHIP SWAP! Toss the Tostitos and reach for…KALE?

Yep. Kale. That weird dark green leafy stuff that you’ve never tried. I was a little skeptical about this one, but I’M NOT LYING, it’s AMAZING. Crunchy, salty, and just like chips…you can’t stop eating them. Seriously. Just try! And bonus? You get a good dose of fiber, iron, and lots of other vitamins and minerals. Kale is super healthy for you!

What you need
  • 1 or 2 (or 3) big bunches of Kale
  • cookie sheets
  • parchment paper or foil
  • sea salt
  • olive oil
  • an olive oil mister/pump (optional, but SERIOUSLY worth the $10 investment)
 What you do
  • line cookie sheets with parchment paper/foil (I’m all about not doing dishes if possible!)
  • wash/dry your kale
  • tear into oversized tortilla chip sized pieces and place on cookie sheet (pack ’em in there…they shrink a ton)
  • spray/sprinkle with olive oil
  • sprinkle with sea salt (LIGHTLY! You don’t need much at all…the first time I made these I over-salted, so I went lighter on the salt the second batch, and they were STILL too salty…a word to the wise!)
  • bake @ 350 for 10-15 minutes (edges should be brown but not burnt)
*If you’re feeling extra crazy, experiment with adding seasonings…crushed red pepper, Thai, lemon pepper, garlic salt…


ENJOY! (See how much they shrank? That tray was FULL before baking!)


Have a happy, healthy day!





The Great Fat Debate

Happy Friday!!! So, I took a nutritional class last month at my local natural food store and I was SO surprised by what I learned that I had to share…

MYTH: People get fat from eating foods high in fat. Our bodies actually need fat (good fat!) to keep our metabolism going strong.

FACT: SUGAR is the major culprit of fat gain. Sugar = body fat.

DID YOU KNOW: Our bodies convert most complex carbs (bread, pasta…) into SUGAR? (Remember, sugar = fat = going shopping for bigger jeans…not good!) One serving of Special K cereal converts into the same amount of sugar as a bottle of soda! Ick!

I grew up drinking skim milk, eating low-fat ice cream, and low-fat snacks. I, like many, thought I was making healthier choices! WRONG!

Low-fat versions of foods usually replace the removed fat with extra sugar or carbs. And since our bodies convert carbs to sugar, and sugar to actual (flabby arms) fat, these low-fat foods are actually horrible for us!!!!


Drink whole milk. Yep. Whole milk. Skim milk has MUCH more sugar than whole milk. And an added benefit of whole milk? Extra good fats to keep you feeling full and to keep your metabolism running high!

Avoid ALL complex carbs. (bread, cereal, tortillas, chips, rice, pasta…). The RIGHT carbs to eat are fruits, veggies, and brown rice.   And (to state the obvious…) avoid sugar!

These might seem like impossible goals…BABY STEPS! Start with breakfast. If you avoid carbs and sugar in your breakfast, there’s sure to be a difference! Some good options are turkey bacon, nuts, home-made healthy smoothies (use milk, fruit, and protein powder…avoid juice, sorbet, and ice cream), fruit, or full-fat greek yogurt.

Look around online and you’ll see the jury is still out on this topic! This is just what I found out at a presentation from a Registerd Dietician. Take it with a grain of salt, but it’s definitley something to think about!

Have a happy healthy day!


Road Trippin

We’re on the road! Hello from the Beertooth, I mean Beartooth, mountains! After enjoying lots of locally brewed beer, grilled veggies, rock climbing, and hiking over the labor day weekend we’re back on the road.

12 hours on the road is a long time to sit still, and every time you fill up on gas, the junk food at the convenience store is sooooo tempting. The best way to beat the junk food munchies is to pack a few healthy options in the car before you leave, and have a list of “pre-approved” convenience store snacks that you can indulge in.

Here are some of the best car trip foods:
Baby carrots
Turkey Jerky
All natural cheese (not the overly processed stuff!!!)
Air popped popcorn
Dark chocolate
Freeze dried fruit
Salad (easy on the dressing and extra toppings like croutons or breaded chicken)
Nuts (plain peanuts, almonds, cashews…)

And don’t forget about about all the empty calories that are in those sugary drinks! Skip to soda or iced frappachino and opt for:
Unsweetened iced tea
Club soda/Sparkling water
Milk (whole milk is actually the healthiest…more on that coming soon!)
Coconut water

What are your favorite healthy road trip snacks?

Have a happy, healthy day!


Substitutions = Cooking on the Cheap(er)

I don’t know about you, but I really hate it when you come across a delicious recipe, only to realize that you only have a handful of the 20 ingredients called for. It’s just not economical to go buy a bunch more ingredients to make one dish!

Last week I had tomatoes, cucumbers, mint, and parsley from the garden and really really wanted to make tabbouleh salad. The only problem, I discovered as I opened my pantry, was that I did not have any bulgur/cracked wheat. I was not about to run to the grocery store to get one ingredient for a salad. After rummaging through my pantry, I did find large couscous pearls, and decided to try using that as a substitution for bulgur. WELL, it turned out great. I actually like it SOOOO much better than traditional tabbouleh!

What did I learn from this little experiment? That substitutions will often work just as well or better than the original ingredients of a recipe! I found this great online tool that gives you suggestions for substitutions if you’re missing an ingredient or two. It doesn’t cover every ingredient, but its pretty darn helpful!

Caitlin’s Tabbouleh Salad

– 1 cup pearled couscous, cooked according to directions on package and rinsed thoroughly with cold water after cooking
– 1 cup chopped tomatoes
– 1 cup finely chopped cucumber
– 1-2 cups chopped parsley
– 1/2 cup finely chopped mint
– garlic salt to taste (or fresh garlic)
– onion powder to taste (or fresh onion)
– olive oil (about 3 Tbsp)
– lemon juice (about 3 Tbsp)

Have a happy healthy day!


The anti-workout: Fun outdoor weekend “workouts”

When the weather is nice, there are so many things to do outside. Sometimes its hard to get a workout in when you’d rather be visiting a park, golfing, or going to the pool. Luckily, you don’t have to feel toooo guilty about skipping your weekend workouts because there are so many summer activities that involve moving your body! The trick is to pick the activities that are more…active!

Last weekend we went to Chicago to celebrate our 1 year anniversary. Needless to say, I did not bring my workout bag with me. But we still managed to be active! After hours of walking, shopping, and sight-seeing, my sore feet were proof of this!

Here are some great warm-weather activities that will get you burning calories while having fun:

  • Frisbee Golfing (aka Golf Disc) – don’t worry, you don’t need any experience to have fun with this activity. Just pick up a Frisbee disk from your local sporting goods store (~ $10) and look up the closest Frisbee golf course online for hours of fun!

  • In the city? On vacation? Go for a long walk. People watch, sight see, and shop (carrying around those shopping bags is like adding weights to your walk!).
  • If you’re more sporty, there’s always tennis, golf, cycling, rollerblading, or hiking!

  • Rent a kayak, canoe, or paddle board. Lots of local lakes will rent these out for a day, and you don’t need to be an expert to use them!

What are your favorite weekend activities?

Have a happy healthy day!

Healthy and busy CAN coexist!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…it IS possible to be incredibly busy and still be healthy…but apparently it’s not possible to also fit blogging in. Sorry for not posting last week! But I’m sure you’ll be relieved to hear that I still managed to workout and eat healthy!  : D

Everyone has them. Those crazy weeks when nothing gets done around the house because you’re so busy doing a million other things. These are the times we’re tempted to exist on Jimmy Johns and frozen pizza, and to abandon our workouts. DON’T DO IT! First, lets tackle the workout thing, since that’s much more time-consuming.

When you have a busy week ahead of you, don’t ditch your workouts completely. You’ll feel guilty about it, and you won’t be at your best. Instead, try getting up and working out super early, before your day starts. No, you don’t need to do this every morning, but doing this once or twice during a busy week will keep you mentally and physically sharp. Plus, if your busy week is stressing you out, there’s nothing better than a quick workout.

Think about this: it takes approximately 2 minutes to order Jimmy Johns. It takes even longer to pre-heat the oven and get a frozen pizza cooked. With a tiny bit of thought, you can still eat healthy even during the busiest of weeks. Here are my favorite healthy foods when you are super crunched on time:

*Hummus and veggies (baby carrots for the ultimate time saver)
*Apples with peanut butter (not the kind with high fructose corn syrup though!)
*Protein Shake (home-made with milk or juice, frozen fruit, and protein powder)
*Raw fruit/veggies for snacking
*Scrambled eggs
*Turkey bacon (it can be microwaved in 1 minute!)
*Edamame (takes just 2 minutes to boil and can be eaten hot right way, or saved and eaten cold later!)

 What are your go-to healthy foods when your busy?

Have a happy healthy day!



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