Category Archives: Meals

Staying Healthy on a Busy Schedule

Hello, again, my wonderful readers! I have clearly been M.I.A. for quite some time. Since August 3rd, my days have been lengthy and jam-packed with English, social studies, grading, data-analyzing, and all those other fun activities that come with a teaching job.

Returning to Title I public school teaching is great, but it requires an incredible amount of work. I’ve been putting in 10-11 hour days at school, and then I do at least an hour of more work once I get home. It’s a little nuts and makes finding work-life balance a challenge, but I love what I do!

Staying Healthy on a Busy Schedule

Once life gets hectic, it’s so easy to let everything else go. When I come home after a day of teaching on my feet, it can be nearly impossible to convince myself to go for a run, stand in the kitchen to cook a decent meal, or avoid the chocolate and beer calling my name.

Because I’ve had a past with unhealthy relationships with food and exercise, it can be easy to fall into extremes….binge eating or restricting, chronic over-exercising or an out-right refusal to ever get off the couch. Extremes are easy to fall into when I’m anxious and stressed, even over a job I love and enjoy.

So I’ve set up a few basic guidelines to moderate myself when I’m too tired to give food and exercise my full attention.

1. A specific exercise goal

smoky mountain half picture

Fortunately, I can’t actually be a couch potato that outright refuses to move once work has ended. Two months ago, Ryan and I signed up for the Smoky Mountain Half Marathon. We’re SO excited about this race because the scenery will be gorgeous and we have an excuse to spend a weekend in Smoky Mountain National Park!

I created a rough training schedule that requires only three runs per week, with the long run scheduled for the weekend. On a good week, I can add in an additional run or workout. (I’ve only had two good weeks out of my eight week training schedule…) Otherwise, three runs per week can safely get me to my goal. Sure, it won’t be my fastest half, but who cares? I’ll be in the mountains!

Take Action! Choose a short term exercise goal that encourages you to get moving! Maybe you can find a race a couple months away. Thanksgiving is about 3 months away, and there are countless Turkey Day races around the country! You could also choose to aim for a certain amount of push ups, complete a month-long squat challenge, prepare for a long hike on your next vacation, or try a new class at the gym.

Make a short term goal that will motivate you, and then celebrate once you’ve accomplished it! Short term goals are more manageable, and you won’t get bored before the challenge is over.

2. Shop Smart

fridge-001

Enough leftovers, salad mixings, apples, and eggs to last us the week!

Set yourself up for success. Get your grocery shopping done on the weekend (or on Monday after work when, like me, you run out of time) and go in with a plan. I try to plan three meals for the week. That will give me three week days’ worth of meals and a few leftovers for other dinners or lunches. We also have our staples: salad mixings, eggs, almond butter, apples, almonds, chips and salsa (for Ryan!), yogurt, and avocados.

With three planned meals and our weekly staples, there’s always something healthy to eat! Ryan and I also go out to eat once a week and don’t really worry about how “healthy” our choices are because the rest of the week is well planned.

3. Squeeze it in

12 minute athlete

Sometimes, life really doesn’t work out as planned and there is no time for a workout and no time to make dinner. Having a list of go-to ideas for these hectic times makes all the difference.

For quick dinners, I think it’s important to choose something you actually want to eat. Sometimes a salad doesn’t sound appealing, so I need to come up with another option. In my personal opinion, food IS more than just fuel. You should enjoy every meal! Here are a few quick and easy meals I enjoy:

  • Scrambled eggs and sliced avocado
  • Soup or chili
  • Giant salad from the salad bar at the grocery store
  • Rotisserie chicken

For quick workouts, the key is choosing efficient moves. Some days a run will do the trick. On other days, I don’t want to leave the house. Throwing together a short, super efficient circuit is a great option! Here are a few ideas:

4. Sometimes, Rest is Key!

Know your limits, and know when skipping a workout or having some wine and chocolate is truly the best option! Self-care is important, too. If you’re too tired, take a bath and call it a day. Watch an old movie or TV show, and give yourself a break. Rest helps you recharge so you can make better choices the next day!

Paleo Food Friday #20

I’m SUPER excited to write today’s Paleo Food Friday! I feel like I’m back in the swing of meal planning and cooking, and the three meals we cooked this week were quite tasty! Today is also a great day because I know we’re heading into a three day weekend! A teacher’s three favorite words :) But let’s get back to food talks…

PALEO FOOD FRIDAY #20

paleo food friday

SATURDAY

Breakfast bowls are super yummy. I gabbed about them in yesterday’s post :) I had a few ripening avocados and bananas waiting to be used up on Saturday, so this recipe for Avocado Pumpkin Banana Pudding was perfect.

avocado pumpkin banana pudding

SUNDAY

When Sunday afternoon rolled around, I needed to use up some chicken and meatball leftovers I made last week. I threw them on top of a large, delicious dinner salad.

leftover dinner salad

MONDAY

More Paleo breakfast bowls? Yes, please. This one is supposed to mimic porridge, but honestly it doesn’t have to be a replacement for anything. It’s delicious on its own! Paleo Pumpkin breakfast bowl:

paleo breakfast bowls: coconut pumpkin poridge

TUESDAY

A few months ago, I ordered the Homegrown Paleo Cookbook.  It’s a how-to and a recipe book; it talks about farming and using in-season produce in your cooking. The first recipe I tried is called Curry Hash (click for recipe!), and it was very flavorful! I added a lot more seasonings than than what was called for in the original recipe. Kroger has this delicious coconut curry spice that went very well with the dish!

curry hash

WEDNESDAY

I opened up another Paleo cookbook, Make it Paleo, and tried a new salmon recipe! This recipe had a delicious jerk seasoning that I can’t wait to try in other dishes, as well! We served the salmon with half of a baked sweet potato and a salad.

jerk salmon

THURSDAY

Last night we had an old favorite: Paleo Chicken Alfredo! This low carb meal won’t disappoint :) It includes coconut milk, bacon, broccoli, chicken, and many different seasonings. You can find the recipe here!

paleo chicken alfredo

FRIDAY

My love of Paleonola will never quit! This morning’s breakfast was plain Greek yogurt, paleonola, sliced strawberries, and some avocado on the side. Perfect Friday morning breakfast :)

paleonola breakfast

So why am I showing you pictures of my food? I began the weekly (hah! if only I could actually get this post out every week…) Paleo Food Friday posts to demonstrate how delicious the Paleo diet can be :) There’s a lot of misinformation about paleo/primal lifestyles, and there are also many people out there wanting to discredit this way of eating because some Paleolithic person ate something that might have been a grain. I’m pretty sure this diet is not about reenacting history…I’ll leave that to the experts. It’s about eating the nutrient dense foods that make you happy :)

Check out previous weeks’ Paleo Food Friday if you’re interested!

Question: Eat anything delicious this week? Have any recipe links you’d like to share?

Paleo Breakfast Bowls!

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. It has the most delicious foods, and I get to enjoy the meal with my first cup of coffee. What’s not to love?

Before I began eating Paleo, I ate a giant bowl of cheerios or oatmeal every morning. I’ve since learned that those seemingly healthy choices did a number on my blood sugar levels throughout the day. I wanted to replace them with something similar, but filling. Enter Paleo breakfast bowls!

Paleo Breakfast Bowl #1: Avocado Pumpkin Banana Pudding 

This bowl is better than you would think it would be…it combines several delicious ingredients:

  • 1/2 avocado
  • ripe banana
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin
  • 2 tablespoons plain greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter

Mix everything well in a food processor (or with a fork or potato masher) and top with sliced fruit or granola. (I like Paleonola!)

paleo breakfast bowls: avocado pumpkin banana pudding

I definitely overloaded the bowl with Paleonola! I can’t help it…it’s so good, and it goes really well with the breakfast bowl :)

Paleo Breakfast Bowl #2: Pumpkin Porridge

I found this recipe on Preppy Paleo, and it’s quite yummy! Altough it’s not as “oatmeal-like” as my Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal recipe, it still hits the spot! Here’s the recipe:

1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup coconut milk
3/4 cup water
1/2 thinly sliced banana
1 egg
1/3 cup canned organic pumpkin
1/3 cup coconut chips
salt, vanilla & pumpkin pie spice, to taste
Enjoy Life dairy-free chocolate chips, optional

“Combine coconut flour through banana in a small pot and heat over medium until combined, stirring to help break up banana.

“Crack in the egg and continue to cook and stir until it’s thoroughly incorporated. Turn heat to low and stir in pumpkin, coconut and flavoring. Remove from heat and sprinkle with dairy-free chocolate chip, if using.”

paleo breakfast bowls: coconut pumpkin poridge

Since I began eating these kinds of breakfasts, I’m fuller longer (which is super helpful during those classes I teach right before lunch) and I’m getting more nutrients. Coconut, nuts, pumpkin, eggs, and avocado are fabulous whole foods, and we should all make an effort to eat them more often!

Questions

  • What would you love to eat in paleo breakfast bowls?
  • What’s your favorite meal of the day?

Want more Paleo recipes? Visit my recipes page!

Paleo Food Friday #19

Paleo Food Friday is back this week! I should definitely be far beyond #19 at this point, but…ya know…life happens. I have some fun snacks and delicious meals to share with you this week, so let’s get started!

Paleo Food Friday #19

paleo food friday

Saturday

These ground buffalo stuffed bell peppers made fabulous leftovers all week! I used this recipe from Civilized Caveman Cooking, and we loved it! I did add more spices (chipotle chili powder, regular chili powder, salt-free fajita seasoning, and a few more), and we used the leftovers for lunches at the beginning of the week.

buffalo stuffed peppers

Sunday

On Sunday, I made this awesome Toasted Rosemary Almond and Bacon Salad! You can find the recipe here. The salad only lasted us one meal, but the leftover roasted almonds and walnuts were great for snacking throughout the week!

toasted rosemary almond and bacon salad 2

Monday

On Monday, I made my delicious slow cooker Italian meatballs in spicy tomato sauce recipe! I submitted this recipe to a larger food blog called It Is A Keeper, which I will be contributing to once a month. This is definitely one of Ryan’s favorites, and the recipe makes enough food for several meals!

italian meatballs in spicy tomato sauce

Tuesday

On Tuesday, leftovers from the buffalo stuffed peppers made another appearance. This time, we made buffalo tacos! Ryan used regular tortilla wraps and I experimented with a paleo-friendly tortilla made from a green banana, almond flour, and coconut flour. It wasn’t super sturdy, so instead of a tortilla, it became a paleo pizza!

buffalo tacos

Wednesday

Paleo snacks! Even since I discovered Paleonola at Whole Foods, I’ve been trying a new flavor every couple of weeks. My favorite is definitely apple pie. Pictured below are two of my favorite Paleo snacks: Paleonola and Houston’s local kombucha brand!

paleonola and kombucha

 Thursday

My boot camp classes kept getting cancelled this week. By Wednesday night, after 5am, 5:30pm, and 6:30pm were rained out, I decided to sign up for a Thursday morning class. These classes begin at 5:30 AM and that late start doesn’t quite work with my morning schedule, but I did my best to make it work Thursday morning. I made lunch and breakfast the night before to save time, and then I ate breakfast at work while preparing for the school day.

I had a Paleo English muffin with almond butter, bananas, and honey. I also had plain, full fat Greek yogurt with chia seeds and flax.

paleo english muffin and yogurt

Friday

This morning I had apples with pumpkin almond butter dip and a scrambled egg. Yum :)

apples and almond butter

 

What are some yummy eats from your week? Share below and link if you have recipes! Enjoy your weekend!

Click here for the Paleo Food Friday archive!

Click here for recipes from my Recipes page!