Friday, March 29, 2013

Creating healthy & filling meals for breakfast/lunch (pics)

Below are some healthy meals/recipes for breakfast and lunch on a typical day.  I just recently began photographing certain things that I make.  I will continue to do so to encourage everyone to take the time to cook and create healthy meals.

Just taking the time to cook something for yourself throughout the day is much better than always going out to eat or running out to the local fast food joint for a snack.

Below are some healthy, easy-to-make meals:

Tomato Mozzarella Sandwich

What's in it?
  • fresh tomatoes (any kind will do -my favorites are roma tomatoes and grape tomatoes)
  • fresh mozzarella cheese
  • salt, pepper
  • one thin slice of salami
  • fresh basil leaves 
  • English Muffin Toast

Great lunch idea! Or breakfast, if you do not enjoy typical breakfast foods.  Really easy to make!
Chicken Wrap and Fruit 

What's in the wrap?
  • freshly made chicken breast (cooked with a bit of water in the sauce pan and sometimes a bit of garlic salt on either side.  (no butter needed) 
  • lettuce
  • 1 tsp of Ranch dressing spread out on the wrap
  • cheese
  • one slice of bacon (optional and used occasionally) chopped up 
  • chopped up onions
  • good wraps to choose from: green veggie wraps, flour tortillas, whole wheat wraps, etc.  
    • It's not too big of a deal which wrap you use, sorta just depends on your preference.  
Turkey, Avocado, Tomato Bagel 

What's in it?
  • freshly sliced tomato
  • sliced avocado 
  • two thin slices of peppered turkey
  • cream cheese on half of the bagel 
  • bagel

Triple Salad Lunch 

What are all of these? (from top to bottom right to bottom left)
  • Tomato Mozzarella Salad (homemade)
  • Pesto Tortellini Salad with peas
    • (made at Caputo's) 
  •  Chicken nut Salad (made at Caputo's) 
Very filling and lots of different tastes going to give you the energy you need throughout the day!

Below are some healthy meal options if you are at a restaurant for breakfast/lunch:

Caprese Benedict (Substituted with egg whites)
(University Club in Chicago)

What's in it?  
  • English Muffin
  • beefsteak tomato slices
  • basil
  • buffalo mozzarella
  • egg whites
 Delicious, healthy meal for brunch! 

(All photos taken via my iPhone)
Sicilian Egg White Scrambler (Egg Harbor)

What's in it?
  • Three egg whites scrambled with
    • spinach
    • tomato
    • onion
    • & topped with
      • oregano
      • Parmesan
      • low-fat mozzarella
  •  served with a wheat English Muffin & fruit
Very filling and satisfying! 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Coconut oil & alternatives to butter (for cooking)

Coconut oil has many uses that are beneficial to your health.
  1. Eating a teaspoon before you eat breakfast boosts your metabolism and supports healthy thyroid function  (click here for more uses)
  2. It can also be used on girls with extremely dry hair as a conditioning treatment overnight.  I actually just did this last night on the ends of my hair
  3. Can be used as a chap stick, lotion, facial cleanser, eye make-up remover, soap bar, etc
  4. Can be used to cook and bake with (replacing butter)
*Coconut oil does not store as fat, but gives you a healthy boost of energy to start off your day!

Butter is fine is smaller amounts, but when cooking or baking, there are other healthier alternatives to butter.
  • Canola Oil or Vegetable Oil for cooking and baking
  • Olive oil for pastas, breads, etc.
  • Mashed avocado (for cookies)
Agave nectar can be used as a natural sweetener or syrup and actually tastes delicious!
-The cooks at Rancho La Puerta don't use any sugar in their meals, just agave! You can taste the difference, but once you get used to it, you won't want to go back to sugar.

Questions, comments, feel free to ask them by posting below!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Good eats & not so good eats

Making subtle changes to the way you eat is another step in the right direction toward developing a healthier lifestyle.

I'm not going to sit here and tell you that it's all about eating less or cutting out foods completely because that's just no way to live.  However, I am going to share with you some helpful tips about how food is processed and how often we should really be eating certain things!

Eat lots of these:
  • lean meats
  • poultry (chicken, turkey) 
    • your body digests poultry in a day so this is a good food to eat
  • fish
  • fresh fruits
  • fresh vegetables
  • wraps
    • will include recipes for some really delicious, healthy and easy to make wraps later on
  • salads (boring, I know, but there are ways to make a healthy salad delicious)
    • I will also include some recipes later on with some homemade dressing ideas as well
  •  eggs
    • if you eat a lot of eggs, try taking some of the yolks out
  • oats and whole grains
Eat less of these
  • ice cream
  • red meats 
    • red meats take 3 days to digest, so if you're eating red meat on a daily basis, your system will become clogged and it will be hard to maintain a healthy weight
  •  fried foods and fast foods
    • something I didn't realize and learned the hard way:
      • Ramen noodles are deep fat fried.  Even eating one packet without the seasoning packet is not very good for you
        • There was a time period where I was eating these a lot because it was quick, cheap, and easy to make, but certainly not worth what it did to my body 
  •  bread
    • you don't need to cut it out completely, but if you eat it on a daily basis or every other day basis, make sure it's whole grain, potato bread, honey wheat, or multi-grain, even sourdough is better than bleached white bread
If you've started the water challenge, you'll begin to know when you actually feel hungry.  Keep it up and take this information into consideration when preparing your daily meals.

Breakfast: fill your breakfast with grains, protein, and carbs for energy.  Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and starts your metabolism to begin burning calories for the day.

Lunch: protein, fruits, veggies, wraps, etc.  Keeps your body nourished and continues that caloric burn.

Dinner: lean meats (occasionally red), fish, chicken, poultry, fruits, veggies.  Eating past 7/8p.m. is not something you should do on a regular basis.  Your body does not have time to digest all of that food before you go to sleep for the night.  It's healthiest for you to eat before 7p.m.

Feel free to post comments, questions, or anything below! 

Monday, March 25, 2013


Drinking plenty of water everyday is the best way to maintain a great physique, avoid overeating, and keeps your system from becoming clogged.

Drink at least 9-10 glasses of water per day, including one when you first wake up.  It replenishes your body after a long night's sleep and helps with digestion.

Most of us are not aware of how dehydrated we are on a regular basis.  When you are feeling hungry in between meals or an hour or so after a meal, you might just be thirsty.  Instead of reaching for that pop can or bag of chips, drink a glass of water instead and see if that helps.  If you are actually hungry after that, go ahead and make a snack.  Regardless, drinking extra water throughout the day is great for you!

We are made up of 70% water, so drinking a ton of water on a daily basis, especially when we first wake up, is vital.  Water is essential to keeping all of our body systems functioning correctly.

Today's challenge: Try drinking a glass of water whenever you first wake up.  Drink 9-10 glasses throughout the day as well, but if you're not an avid water drinker, at least start with the morning glass of water and drink 8 glasses a day!  Once you're used to that, you'll be able to drink a couple more glasses.  I promise you that after several weeks of drinking more water, it seems unnatural not to drink so much and you may even start feeling the effects of dehydration.

 Questions, comments, feel free to ask them by posting below! 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Eat Breakfast!

Want to kick-start your metabolism and boost your energy throughout the day?  There's a simple solution really.  Eat breakfast!

Eating breakfast not only gets your metabolism going, but is also a way to start off your day with a healthy mindset.  If you eat a bowl of Coco Puffs, you'll be less likely to make healthy choices later on in the day.  If you chose to have a bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats with freshly sliced strawberries or bananas, you're much more likely to choose healthy lunch and dinner options.

Fill your breakfast with protein or carbohydrates or both!

Great breakfast choices:
  • Bowl of healthy cereal with skim milk (skim milk has the same amount of vitamins as 2%, but less fat.  As you get older and if you drink milk with greater frequency, skim is definitely the way to go!)
    • some cereals that I love:
      • Raisin Nut Bran
      • Toasted Oatmeal Squares
      • Rice Krispies
      • Cheerios
      • Life
      • Honey Bunches of Oats
  • Oatmeal with apples and cinnamon- very filling and delicious
  • Scrambled egg whites with cheese on an English muffin--gives you your protein and carbs
  • Veggie egg white omelet 
    • I like to make mine with freshly chopped onions, cheese, tomatoes, and green peppers
  • Scrambled cheese eggs and onions in a whole grain wrap
 Also, drink a glass of water before breakfast when you get up every morning.  It helps to flush everything out and also aids in starting your metabolism.  After fasting all night, your body needs nourishment, although many of us don't wake up hungry right away.  Drinking that glass of water helps you to feel ready to eat even a small breakfast within 30 minutes or so.

Questions, comments, feel free to ask them by posting below! 

Fresh Foods Vs. Pantry Life Foods

Eating fresh fruits and vegetables is key to eating a healthy, balanced diet.  Let me clarify one thing very early on in this blog.  I do not believe in diets nor do I think they rarely work.  People tend to go on these "diets" and long term cleanses" and eventually fall back into their old habits, gaining twice the weight back.

In order to maintain a healthy weight and a toned physique, one must develop a healthy lifestyle.  Diet plays a huge role in staying fit.  Although, exercise is equally important.  Not just to stay looking good, but exercise allows for your metabolism to work properly and keeps your heart healthy!

When you are grocery shopping, aim to purchase at least 85-90% fresh foods.  By this I mean load up on fruits, veggies, meats, poultry, eggs, yogurts, and fresh cheeses.  Stay away from foods with a long "shelf life" as much as possible.  (i.g. cookies, oreos, chips, fruit snacks, nilla wafers, crackers, chocolate, treats, ritz bitz cheese, etc.)

These are great quick snack foods that can substitute "pantry life snacks":
  • Apple with natural peanut butter
    • Buying Smucker's all natural peanut butter vs. Skippy or Jif makes such a difference and it's the same price!
  • Sliced green pepper with hummus 
    • hummus is made from chick peas and is really good for you
  • Chips and Salsa or Chips and Guacamole
    • An even healthier substitution would be to dip green peppers or vegetables in the salsa or guacamole
  •  Bananas
  • A smoothie made with all fruit and ice if you prefer a more icy and diluted taste
Although there are some foods that have a long shelf life that are great to include in your diet such as oatmeal, granola, cereal, whole wheat pasta, etc.

Stay tuned for some great recipes that are easy and cheap to make, but taste great and are nutritious!

Questions, comments, feel free to ask them by posting below! 

Saturday, March 23, 2013


I cannot express how important it is to develop a healthy lifestyle early on.  I will be sharing my knowledge about eating a balanced diet, tips about staying youthful, exercise tips that are completely doable and will give you the best body for your body, and ways to stay happy overall!

I went to Rancho La Puerta in Tecate, Mexico last May and it really got me back on track.  I will post more about this later, but basically it is a health spa vacation spot where many families go to spend a week of wellness, health, fitness, and spiritual reflection.   

I am a college student and wish to encourage other college students and everyone else to dedicate themselves to living better.

For the college students: There is a way to eat right on a "poor college student budget" and still go out and have a good time.  All it takes is desire, a little time management, and commitment, and I will show you how.

I would eventually like to write a book with all of my tips for college students in particular when it comes to maintaining a healthy life and staying fit.

Stay tuned! 

Please feel free to leave comments and ask me questions!