Eating Clean but Still Craving Chocolate?

Even if you’ve been weaning yourself off of sugar and your cravings have started to subside, let’s face it there are days when you still just really want chocolate. I’m two years into my clean eating journey, and it is just that, a journey, where I try to stay on track 80% of the time and let myself have a little slack here and there. In my quest to keep that 80/20 balance I’m always trying out clean eating treats, and this one I had to share with you. It’s like a healthy chocolate pudding recipe and it’s so simple to make. There’s one ingredient you may not agree is totally “clean” but as a treat I promise it’s worth it, and if you’re trying out the keto plan it’s totally going to be a go-to for you! Ok here goes:

2 cups non-fat plain Greek yogurt

3 tbsp heavy whipping cream

3 tbsp raw honey

2 heaped tsps unsweetened cocoa powder

1 scoop chocolate Shakeology (or other chocolate protein powder)

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Simply put everything in a bowl and whisk with a hand mixer for 1-2 minutes until everything is creamy and lightly whipped (mine never gets super whipped – you would have to add more cream for that to happen, but the cream does cut the tartness of the yogurt and makes the texture amazing!).

Split into 6 servings – each one I’ve been counting as 1 red (for the yogurt and shakeology), 1 tsp for the honey, and 1 orange for the whipping cream (is it a healthy fat, technically, no, but for those of you who are in a maintenance phase like me, a serving of this as a treat is not going to throw you off track, and it will certainly tame that chocolate craving!).

65875B58-F77E-4364-92DB-DA61E40DC826

Find your local farmers market!

One of the best ways to keep things fresh and interesting in your meal plan, is to focus on eating fresh, seasonal ingredients. If they can be sourced locally, and you know what your farmers use to grow your veggies or raise your meat, even better right? Here in my little hometown of Oxford, MS we are lucky enough to have a wonderful farmers market for most of the year, and this year I signed up with a local farm (Native Son Farm in Tupelo) for their summer CSA. For those of you new to the CSA concept, basically you pay a set amount for the season and each week you receive a box of amazing, fresh produce, picked from the fields that week. I know that my veggies are safe and the quality is amazing. Best of all, each week the box is slightly different as the season changes, and I usually get something to try that I might not have bought at the store. Each week I’ll be telling you through the summer what I’ve done with some of my CSA share to give you ideas. Even if you can’t get to your local farmers market, these are things you should be seeing in your grocery store too as we go through the summer.

First up this week…. one of my favorites…. fresh strawberries. These. Are. Incredible. To bring out their sweetness and flavor I simply sliced them and added some raspberry balsamic vinegar and left them in a bowl in the fridge. It’s hard not to grab a spoonful every time I open the door of the refrigerator but if that’s curbing my sweet tooth then I figure that’s ok! For lunch today (as I’m really struggling with my sweet tooth after my PiYo workout this morning!) I added some to a jar of chocolate chia pudding I had made yesterday. Recipe below makes 6 servings:

1/2 cup chia seeds

2 cups milk (container count varies depending what milk you use!)

2 tbsp maple syrup

1 scoop chocolate shakeology

Mix and pour into 6 containers and leave in fridge to thicken up. That’s eat. Super easy!

IMG_1611

Chia seeds are a great source of omega-3s which raise good cholesterol that protests your heart. They’re also rich in antioxidants and provide fiber, iron and calcium, so this sweet treat packs a healthy punch too!

I counted this as 1/2 red (for the shakeology and milk), 1 tsp for the maple syrup, 1 orange (for the chia seeds), and 1/2 a purple for the strawberries I added on top.

Next up from my CSA box this week… a huge bunch of elephant kale. I forgot to take a photo before I cut up the leaves but they are huge, dark green leaves that just shout vitamins to me! This particular type of kale is a little tougher than regular kale so I knew I wanted to soften it somehow. I decided to simmer the chopped up leaves in chicken bone broth (store bought!), and then added sautéed onions and turnips (also from my CSA box!), and 2 baked sweet potatoes (from last week’s box!). I’m always looking for ways to get more bone broth in my diet so although it’s warming up here in Mississippi, I’m hoping this soup puts a pep in my step as I’m on double workouts this week!!! If you haven’t tried bone broth or haven’t read about it’s benefits compared to chicken or beef stock, its rich in protein (a 10oz serving has 9g protein!) and minerals that support the immune system, and contains healing compounds such as collagen, glutamine, glycine and proline. The collagen for example, can help to reduce inflammation heal your gut lining (check out Chalene Johnson’s recent podcasts for why this is so important!!!!). So this doesn’t look particularly delicious, but it is jam packed with nutrition. I’m counting a serving of this as 1 red (bone broth), 1/2 a yellow (sweet potato), 1 green (kale, onions and turnips).

Project

I’ll be getting both of these recipes added to the app this week for y’all! Have fun shopping at your local farmers market and adding seasonal recipes to the app and to your weekly mealplan!

 

 

 

 

Healthy snacks for you and your littles: Part 2.

Phew what a week Fixers. My facebook and IG got hacked and I still have no access to those so bear with me if you’ve been following us over on either of those platforms. I honestly have no idea how long it will take to get back up and running… it’s been 6  long days and counting… I have three words for you.. two factor authentication. If you don’t have it turned on on your social media accounts go do it now!!! Ok enough with the PSA, here is part 2 of our healthy snacks for you and your littles series.

I struggle getting my kids to eat more veggies. I mean, apart from carrots and hummus, sweetcorn and hiding greens in smoothies I’m at a total loss here. But now I have another weapon in my arsenal: honey garlic cauliflower bites. I had my 5-year-old son help with these in hopes that if he had fun making them, he’d want to try them! I’ll tell you at the end if that actually worked…. there’s a good story here!

Ok so here is the recipe:

1 head of cauliflower cut into bite size pieces

2 cups whole wheat panko breadcrumbs

2 large eggs, whisked

For the sauce:

6 tbsp honey

4 minced garlic cloves

1 tsp onion powder

6 tbsp water and 2 tsp cornstarch

1 tbsp liquid aminos or low sodium soy sauce

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Whisk eggs in one bowl and place 1/3 of the breadcrumbs in another. Line a baking sheet wth foil or parchment paper.

2. Dip cauliflower in egg mixture, shake off excess egg and then dip into breadcrumbs and roll until coated and place on baking sheet. Replace breadcrumbs with fresh crumbs as they get soggy from the egg and stop sticking!

3. Bake for 15-20 mins or until golden brown and crunchy.

4. While cauliflower is baking, make sauce on the stovetop. In a small bowl dissolve cornstarch in water and set aside. Add all the sauce ingredients except the cornstarch mixture to a small saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer, stirring until all ingredients are mixed. Then add the cornstarch and continue to stir until sauce thickens (about 2 mins). Allow sauce to cool to thicken more, then pour over the cauliflower.

5. Garnish with scallions if desired (my littles rejected this little bit of green as yuck of course. Sigh.)

So were these a hit with my 2 and 5 year olds? Reality… my 2-year-old wouldn’t touch them. My 5-year-old tried one, and didn’t finish it, so I added some red pepper flakes for me and my husband to pep them up for dinner, and that sparked a full on interrogation… whhhhhyyyy did you do that mummy?!?! I want some with my dinner!!!!! Seriously?!?!? I’ve since made them again and they were a hit…. minus red pepper flakes of course 😂

Next up I’m going to share a quinoa breakfast bar recipe with you… a great source of protein for your mornings on the go!

Helping your littles snack healthy too! Part 1!

I can’t be alone in struggling to navigate the sugar battle with my kids…. it’s one thing for me to eat healthy and cut back on sugar but it’s another to try to enforce that strictly with my kids. And I don’t. I mean, don’t get me wrong, we aren’t eating candy and ice-cream every day, but if they go to birthday parties, have events at school etc, they’re eating all sorts of sweet things, and that’s ok to an extent.. they’re kids! But knowing that weekends can end up being a sugar free-for-all despite our best intentions, during the week I do try to keep us all on track with healthy after school snacks. It just so happens that that is the time of day where all my healthy intentions can unravel in an instant so if the kids and I are all on the same page in that pre-dinner window that’s a win-win for me…. I stick to plan, and the kids aren’t all hopped up on sugar. In this post I’m going to share a few of our favorite after school snacks to keep us going until dinner. You can really play with some of these and modify to your kids tastes, and they are all super easy.

First up, really simple but a big favorite in our house: apple “nachos”. This looks super fancy to the kids but for us moms it really couldn’t be easier! Sliced apples, drizzled with peanut or almond butter (I put a spoonful in a small ziplock, cut the corner off and squeeze it over the apples), a few semi-sweet chocolate chips for them, shredded coconut and chia seeds for me, and ta-da, an easy healthy snack. Sure they could just dip their apple slices in PB but whenever I make it like this, the plate gets gobbled up in no time! 1 purple and 1 gray for the PB, and an orange on my side of the plate for the added chia and coconut!

 

FullSizeRender

Next up, another easy way to get them to eat fruit: banana “sushi”… ok so really its a banana wrapped in a tortilla with peanut or almond butter to help it all stick. See the theme here moms… it’s not about fancy food, it’s about the way it’s presented to them.

Use a whole grain tortilla, add in some other things like chopped nuts if your kids like them (my 2yo loves crushed pistachios… expensive taste!). The possibilites are endless and if they get to help it’s a lot of fun for them too! Use half a banana and 1/2 a whole wheat tortilla for 1 purple, 1 yellow and 1-2 tsp for the nut butter.

 

This next recipe was a big experiment but it turned out great and it didn’t last long: maple brittle. I think of this as orange container heaven! I took unsweetened coconut flakes, sliced almonds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds and spread them in a 9×13 pan lined with foil (first version I used parchment paper and it didn’t end so well for the pan or the brittle!!!). I melted 2 tbsp of coconut oil in a pan and 1/2 cup of maple syrup and heated on low/medium heat for a few minutes until they were combined, then I poured that over the nut/seed mix and baked it at 325F for 15 minutes, then turned it and baked another 10 minutes. I considered each 3″x3” piece a tsp, and an orange container. It s a great sweet treat, packed with those healthy fats! Yum. Later this week in part two of of our healthy kid snacks series I’ll share some delicious quinoa breakfast bars, some grainless breakfast bars, and even a sneaky kid friendly veggie option to snack on or add to a dinner!

img_0322.jpg

 

Overnight Oats… a breakfast staple!

Getting the day started right is so important but I’m sure our house is the same as yours in the morning… get your pj’s off, get dressed, get your shoes and socks on…. get your shoes and socks on….. oh for goodness sake…. get your shoes and socks on we’re going to be late!! I know it’s not just us! We all know that getting a good breakfast inside ourselves and our kids will make everyone’s day better but time can be an issue. Enter the overnight oats. These can be made up to 5 days ahead of time in mini mason jars or small Tupperware containers, and kept in the fridge ready to throw in the microwave for 30s when you get up. I love to get my kids involved in making them so they can experiment with different mix-ins and flavors. If they’ve made them themselves they seem far more likely to want to actually eat them! Some of their favorites combos right now are raisin and cinnamon, honey and unsweetened cocoa (referred to as candy oatmeal by our 2-year-old!), apple and cinnamon, raspberries and honey, and banana, honey and peanut butter. Count as a yellow container plus whatever toppings you add, and the Fix approved possibilites are endless. I’d love to hear what flavors you and your kids come up with!!

Where do I Start?

Ok so you get it, you need a weekly meal plan. But where do you start? Everyone does this differently, but here’s the way I put together my plan.

I start with my breakfasts because for most people that’s easy. Whether you’re a breakfast person or not, this is the start to your day and you need to fuel your body! Plus it turns out most people are creatures of habit and once they find a breakfast they like they will tend to have that most days of the week. So for me, my go-to weekday breakfast is overnight oats. I love them, my kids love them, they can be prepped ahead, we can all pick our own favors. Win-win. So step 1 for me, plug in overnight oats to my meal plan (a yellow for the oats and a red as I use milk, plus whatever the add-ins are).

What’s next? Now I think about my evening meals. Usually that’s a protein (chicken, fish etc), a side vegetable, and a side salad (1 red, 2 greens). I try not to eat carbs after 3pm even if they’re good carbs, but that’s another post! From there it’s all about filling in the blanks with your snacks and lunch. When will you have your shake? It’s a great way to curb your cravings so think about what time of day is hardest for you. Do you struggle to make it to lunch without hitting the junk food in the work break room? Do you get the munchies when the kids get home from school and start to empty the fridge? Those are good times for your shake!

So go ahead and have a go. I hope some of these tips help if you’re just getting used to creating a weekly meal plan. There’s no right or wrong way to go about it, this is just what works for me. I know a few people who start with their lunches as they only like to take certain things to work with them. The key is finding what works for you, but this should get you started. Take a look at the video, it should help you start navigating around the app … happy meal planning!

Why Create a Meal Plan?

So why take the time to create a weekly mealplan? I know, it sounds time-consuming. It doesn’t sound fun. But what’s the alternative? Did you forget to take the chicken out of the freezer again? Oops, better get take-out. Hmm, there’s nothing left in the fridge. Guess we’re having pizza. Got home late from soccer practice. Oh well, let’s grab Chik-Fil-A again. Don’t tell me this never happens in your house!

It might not be fun to create your weekly mealplan but guess what, it will save you time and money AND you’ll feel more organized and less stressed. Did you know that according to TIME magazine, home cooked meals cost 40 to 80% less than takeout meals? Take your own lunches to work and that’s $2,500 a year right there. Yep, and you control the source of the ingredients, the ingredients themselves, the sodium content…. I could go on but you get it.

Using the PinPlanFix21 App should make this whole process a whole lot easier and more fun. That was my whole goal when creating it! You get to try new Fix approved recipes, without the hassle of figuring out container counts, and writing a separate shopping list. A little planning before you go to the grocery store will save you so much time and money and help you reach those all important health and fitness goals too. You could even create your plan in school carline, shoot even in the parking lot when you get to the grocery store… All on your phone! Know you’re going to be home late Tuesday after soccer? Plan a crockpot meal for that night. Know that you’re going to be at a baseball tournament Saturday? Plan a meal for Friday night that leaves you portable leftovers for the next day.

I’ve seen it so many times in my challenge groups, people who plan and prep for their week hit their goals, and those that wing it fall off the Fix bus. In my next post I’ll talk about how I go about creating my weekly mealplan, and some ideas to get you started, but for now just download the app and start playing with it… It’s pretty intuitive, and if it’s not, well email me and tell me what we can do better!

fail to prepare-01