Veggies as the Main Meal Component

Now that the holidays are over and our new year goals have been set, I bet I’m not the only one eating better than I was during the holiday season. One thing I’ve been considering is the amount of meat I eat during a meal. I can easily load half of my plate with meat, but I’m not sure that’s what we should be doing.

Not that meat is bad. I love beef, chicken, pork, and turkey. However, I think we are seriously lacking the nutrients we need from fresh fruits and vegetables. I want to be eating more fresh produce and less meat, so I’m going to be switching things up a bit.

My goal is going to get in more fruits and vegetables each day. To accomplish this, I’m going to make the sides the main part of my meal, and have less meat at each.

Protein is an important part of every meal, and I don’t want to skip on that, but I think I’ll get enough if I use vegetables that have the nutrient alongside a little meat. Broccoli, green peas, asparagus, cauliflower, black beans, and broccoli raab are just a few of the vegetables that contain protein. I figure, if I can pair a protein-rich vegetable with the little bit of meat cooked in a healthy fat, and then add more veggies to the plate, I’ll be doing good. What do you think?

Shannon

 

Smoothie Bowl with Strawberries and Almonds

If you haven’t already seen my original smoothie bowl recipe and the Chocolatey Good Smoothie Bowl, now is as good a time as any! Check them out, try them, and let me know what you think.

Ingredients

(For the smoothie)

1/2 of a banana

a handful of fresh baby spinach

3 slices of cucumber

1 tbsp protein powder

almond milk

(For the smoothie bowl)

4 strawberries, green tops taken off, chopped

almond slivers or slices

  1. Put 1/2 each of a banana and spinach into the blender, along with the cucumber and protein powder.
  2. Add just enough almond milk to make a thick smoothie, less than for a regular one.
  3. Cover and pulse until well blended.
  4. Pour into a bowl.
  5. Chopped strawberries to the bowl.
  6. Sprinkle the almonds over the top.
  7. Enjoy!

Tips

  • Try using different types of greens in your smoothie.

Serving Suggestions

  • Serve with a vegetable-based juice.

Happy Day!

Shannon

Chocolatey Good Smoothie Bowl

I’ve decided I love smoothie bowls! And, since I mentioned I’d be sharing more with you, I figure it’s about time I do so. One day I was craving chocolate, but did not want to go to the store for candy or a dessert item (I don’t keep that stuff in the house!). A smoothie would work just fine to satisfy that craving.

Ingredients

(For the smoothie)

1/2 of a banana

1/2 of a Granny Smith apple

6 slices of cucumber

1 tbsp protein powder

chocolate almond milk

(For the smoothie bowl)

1/2 of a Granny smith apple, chopped

1/2 of a banana, sliced

almond slivers or slices

  1. Put 1/2 each of a banana and a Granny Smith apple into the blender, along with the cucumber and protein powder.
  2. Add just enough almond milk to make a thick smoothie, less than for a regular one.
  3. Cover and pulse until well blended.
  4. Pour into a bowl.
  5. Add sliced banana and chopped apple to the bowl.
  6. Sprinkle the almonds over the top.
  7. Enjoy!

Tips

  • Use vanilla almond milk instead of chocolate. See which you like better.

Serving Suggestions

  • Serve with a vegetable-based juice.

Happy Day!

Shannon

Smoothie Bowls

I recently received samples of Leap Organic Instant Smoothie Bowl Powders from their team. They want to get the word out to a wider range of people about their products, and I agreed to try these powders and write about my experiences.

I was more than happy to help. I love smoothies, and have toyed with the idea of trying smoothie bowls for a while now. This is the beginning of my smoothie bowl journey, and I’m planning more combinations in 2017. I’ll be sure to post all recipes here.

When the packets arrived, I read them over front and back. They contain many ingredients that are healthy. Depending on what package is used, you’ll see they contain things such as pea protein, kale, pomegranate, hemp, coconut, goji, spinach, apple, and pineapple. Notice the superfoods. This means that important nutrients are packed into each powder packet, like protein, Omega – 3, fiber, and a bunch of vitamins your body needs to function properly. Learn more about what ingredients go into the powder here. The point of a smoothie bowl is to pack a lot of nutrients into one meal.

According to the site, these powders are gluten-free, vegan, and kosher. They also do not contain dairy or soy, and are non-GMO. I noticed on the site that you can order samples for the cost of shipping. $3.00 and some change. So if you want to try the powders, now is a good time.

A bonus of the LEAP Organic Instant Smoothie Bowl Powders is that you can stock up on them and store in the pantry. They will last quite some time, and can be used in many ways. (Read more about this below.)

Here are the smoothie bowl combinations I’ve tried so far:

Red Power Bowl with Banana Slices

Photograph byShannon L. Buck copyright November 17, 2016.6 ounces chocolate almond milk

1/2 packet of Leap Red Power powder

1 egg

1 large banana, peeled

sprinkling of slivered almonds

  1. Pour the 6 ounces of almond milk into a blender and add the Red Power powder, an egg, and 1/2 of the banana.
  2. Blend until mixed, then pour into a bowl.
  3. Top with sliced banana and slivered almonds.

Blue Zeal Bowl with Banana and Pear

6 ounces coconut milk

1/2 packet LEAP Organic Blue Zeal powder

1 egg

1 large banana, peeled

1 pear, cored

2 Tbsp. organic, unsweetened coconut flakes

  1. Pour the 6 ounces of coconut milk into a blender and add the Blue Zeal powder, an egg, 1/2 of the banana, and 1/2 the pear.
  2. Blend until mixed, then pour into a bowl.
  3. Top with sliced banana, diced pear, and the organic, unsweetened coconut flakes.

Blue Zeal Bowl with Grapes and Kiwi

Photograph byShannon L. Buck copyright November 17, 2016.6 ounces vanilla almond milk

1/2 packet LEAP Organic Green Revive powder

1 egg

1 small banana

1 kiwi

12 grapes, halved

a sprinkling of slivered almonds

  1. Pour the 6 ounces of vanilla almond milk into a blender and add the Green Revive powder, an egg, and the banana.
  2. Blend until mixed, then pour into a bowl.
  3. Top with sliced kiwi, halved grapes, and the slivered almonds.

You may have noticed that I only used half a packet each time I made a smoothie bowl. That amount is plenty filling for me, when adding other ingredients, and I want to be able to experiment with other uses as well. I’m thinking I can sprinkle the powder on other foods, or add it into other recipes, throughout the winter, to add some much-needed nutrients when funds are low.

Some of what I plan to do:

  • Sprinkle on my oatmeal bowls.
  • Add to my Paleo brownie batter.
  • Add to my Paleo muffin batter.
  • Add to my Paleo cookie dough.
  • Sprinkle over hot cocoa.

Have you used this product yet? What are your impressions? In what other ways can you think of to use the powders? Comment below, or email me at shannonlbuck@gmail.com.

Shannon

Getting Enough Protein Affordably

When trying to eat nutritious meals, remember to get enough protein. More than half your plate should be filled with vegetables, then you add some protein. You obviously don’t want to go overboard with meat.

I mainly try to follow a Paleo lifestyle, and I do pretty well, but I’m well aware that the cost can be astronomical. Living on a budget, I’m not able to eat all organic, grass-fed, etc. I mainly just go to the grocery store and buy basic meats, seeds, nuts, and eggs to cover this nutritional need. Adding a protein source to every meal and snack can be costly, so cutting costs and being creative is important.

For me, beans are out. But when my stepfather makes his baked beans at the holidays I’ll enjoy a few meals worth. I also avoid milk, cheese (most of the time), and yogurt. I get much of my protein from meats and eggs, and some from seeds and nuts.

One important thing I notice is that, when I’m eating a (mostly) proper Paleo diet, I consume smaller portions at each meal. This is because my body realizes it’s getting what it needs, and knows it is not starving for those nutrients. This did not occur the first day, but over the course of a few weeks I noticed I didn’t need to eat as much as I had been at the beginning. Once this started happening I started buying less food, saving me money.

I eat at least a few eggs a week. Though they are more expensive than they used to be, I find they are cheap overall. Far more affordable than buying only meat, they are still a good buy. I hard boil, scramble (I use a little water and not milk), or fry them. It takes me two or three weeks to go through an 18-pack, if not longer, because I’m the only one eating them.

The same with pumpkin seeds. A bag costs $2.99, but lasts me a long time. I sprinkle a few seeds on a salad once a week, and have a few seeds with a fruit or vegetable at snack once in a while, along with a teaspoon of cocoa flavored coconut butter. A great money saver is to roast your own pumpkin seeds, from the pumpkins you use in the fall.

I rarely cook just a single meal. If I buy a small chicken or a roast, it’s often cheaper per meal than if I bought meat on a per-meal basis. One of these will give me enough meat for a number of meals. Chicken with vegetables one night. Chicken with my salad the next day. And enough leftover to make a small chicken soup which will last a couple of meals.

When I find a sale on meat, I take advantage. For instance, I compare prices and weights. I bought pork and beef this week. I don’t often consume pork, but this week I decided to. Then I noticed beef steaks were on sale. Those two packages of meat will make at least ten meals for me. I’ll put pork in one slow cooker, beef in another, and cook them both with vegetables. That will take care of the main course for my work meals, as well as a few at-home meals.

A great way to get protein i your diet cheaply is to buy the biggest turkey you can fit into your oven when they are at their cheapest. If you can, buy two or three of these and freeze a couple. So much can be done with leftover turkey. The first few days after Thanksgiving, eat off the bird. Make a sandwich, cook some turkey soup, and make a scramble for breakfast. There will be enough turkey for freezing to make other meals: Chili, casseroles, and more.

Sometimes a coupon will present itself that gives a discount on an item while it’s on sale. Take full advantage, as long as doing so means you’re getting the best deal over other brands. It may be that friends and family will give you their coupons, if they don’t need them, so buying more than one is possible. Freeze what wont be used right off. Coupon/sale combinations often present great deals.

How do you save money on protein sources? How do you use them? Let us know in the comments, or message me at shannonlbuck@gmail.com. I’m also happy to answer questions.

Shannon

A Good, Healthy Breakfast, on a Budget

I keep telling people they can eat healthy without spending an exuberant amount on food. This is true to an extent, if you keep it simple. Stick to the basics, and your meal does not have to cost an arm-and-a-leg. Also, watch your serving sizes.

The picture shows a breakfast I had a couple of weeks ago. It is actually pretty typical, for me. (Don’t mind the paper plate! It is a leftover from my daughters’ engagement party.) The most expensive aspect was the smoothie. I could have saved more money by just having a piece of fruit with breakfast, and drinking either water or tea. But I had the coconut milk on hand, and the berries were not badly priced (for berries!)

I do try to always pair vegetables and a protein source with a little healthy fat, in this instance by cooking the sausages and egg in coconut oil. This combination is a healthy way to consume food. I eat a mostly Paleo diet.

The components of the meal consisted of:

Mixed Berry Smoothie

2 sausage links

1 fried egg

peas in pods, carrot rounds, celery, broccoli, and tomatoes

The meal was simple and tasty, and kept me full until not long before lunch. Good deal. Note that I rarely ever eat grains. Usually just when my budget is just too tight to manage. Also note the absence of real dairy. I rarely ever have dairy. These foods are a no-no with my lifestyle change, and I should not be eating them at all. I do, once in a while, consume cheese… I just can’t help myself 😉

What healthy things do you eat for breakfast?

Shannon

7 Better Breakfast Ideas

Breakfast is an important meal, allowing for a nutritional jump-start to the day. Pack this meal with plenty of healthy food options, and a snack may not be necessary before lunch. By deleting the morning snack, unhealthy food options will not interfere with your weight management goals.

Include a protein source, as well as vegetables or a fruit, with your breakfast each morning. And don’t forget a little healthy fat.

Healthy Breakfast Ideas

  • An omelet with diced tomato and chopped spinach, served with mixed berries.

  • A small sweet potato, diced small and fried with chopped zucchini and diced tomato. Sunny side up eggs go well with this. Serve with melon balls.

  • Cold chicken slices, a fried egg, carrot rounds, and a small banana is another idea.

  • A breakfast pizza is also good. Make a plain omelet. Top with salsa, and a meat such as bacon or ham. Serve this with ½ cup of pineapple chunks.

  • Leftover beef and a fried egg is another good breakfast starter. Serve on a bed of fresh spinach, with ¼ cup of strawberry slices on the side.

  • Homemade sausage patties, a hard-boiled egg, and a handful of whatever greens you have on hand. Serve with kiwi slices.

  • Leftover meat from last nights meal, with an apple. Serve with whatever vegetables were left over from a previous meal.

Enjoy a healthier start to your day!

 

Shannon

 

Vegetable and Egg Salad

I love salads during the summer months. They are lite meals, and can be very quick and easy to make.

If you happen to use the food cupboard, then you likely have a lot of produce that needs to be used. Salads are a great way to use these items up, without a lot of fuss and without heating up the house too much.

If you happen to grow some of your own food, then you can utilize this gift by growing salad gardens.

This salad could be eaten with a meal, or as lunch. Why? Because the eggs make the salad more filling and give you needed protein.

Vegetable and Egg Salad:

Serves 2

2-4 hard-boiled eggs, out of the shell and sliced

lettuce, shredded

carrots, shredded

cucumber, sliced

cabbage, shredded

sunflower seeds

1.) Simply toss everything together in a bowl.

2.) Dish this up and add dressing of your choice.

I do not use dressing.

 

This recipe would be great served with garlic or Italian bread.

Price:

Could be next to free if you grew the food or went to the food cupboard. Otherwise, look at spending about $8.00, which will give you plenty of leftover food for other meals.