How to balance healthy eating, and indulgence

Easy, Quick, and Healthy? No way

I feel that it is a common misconception that when you choose to eat healthy you need to empty your bank account and slave away all day in your kitchen. While I understand sometimes it can be pricier to buy all healthy groceries, it DOES NOT need to take up all of your time. How easy is it to throw a few extra chicken breast in the oven while already cooking up a QUICK AND EASY chicken and veggie stir fry, so that you have chicken all week long? Pretty easy. Just before writing this I made myself a 15 minute sweet potato, sautéed spinach and egg breakfast (Pictured above, I’ll post later). Easy and delicious and HEALTHY. Simplicity can be your best friend. You don’t need to try all of these different and exotic foods to avoid “healthy eating boredom” just mix it up with your basics. Love sweet potato but tired of roasting up cubes all the time? Switch it up and make a twice baked sweet potato, pack it with proteins like chickpeas or black beans. Tired of baked chicken? Try ground turkey or turkey or chicken sausages in your stir fry. The options are seriously endless and really not that ground breaking. The moral of the story is that you don’t need to kill yourself trying to eat healthy all the time, you need to lose the mindset that cooking healthy food is hard and limiting.

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Once you start trying to change the way you eat, and focus on what you need to take away, you lose. If you want to start eating healthier, my advice it to add before you subtract. Add in healthier foods before you turn to snacking on chips or crackers or anything else. Add more veggies to your plate so you don’t eat as much potato and then before you know it you are full! I find this so important to making a lasting lifestyle change. You don’t want to have the mindset that you are depriving yourself, because chances are you will eventually binge or fall off track with that way of thinking.

These are a list of foods are try to make sure I have on hand:

  • Avocado
  • Broccoli
  • Green Beans
  • Bell Peppers
  • Sweet Potato
  • Chickpeas
  • Black Beans
  • Eggs
  • Almond Milk
  • Frozen fruit (mix between mangos, pineapple, strawberries)
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Zucchini
  • Red onion
  • Whole wheat english muffins or bread

Something you may notice here is that I don’t have meat included in this list. I am by no means a vegetarian, but I simply don’t focus all of my meals around meat, which is a common thing people do when thinking of what meal to prepare. I really try to focus on flavour and try to get inspired. Am I craving curry right now? (always) So I mix up a sweet potato and chickpea curry over quinoa or rice, or I could do a butter chicken, maybe add in some cauliflower and peppers. Simply put, I just don’t focus on meat being the main part of my meals (if you do that’s great, it’s all about what works for you!). I do, however, ensure that I have protein in every meal. I eat eggs (almost everyday), greek yogurt, chickpeas, beans, spinach, mushrooms, broccoli, lentils, I throw edamame in my stir fry, the list could go on as to what foods other than meat have proteins that can easily add up to your daily required intake.

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So regardless of how you eat, vegetarian, meat lover, vegan, there are so many ways to stay healthy without taking up all your time and money to eat that way. I am by no means a nutritionist or expert on this topic. I just know from what I’ve learned in my degree, and from my personal experience, what works for me. I have also learned that everyone is different and there are so many ways to eat healthy, and whichever way you eat, it doesn’t need to be hard to make it healthy. Grab an apple instead of chips, order steamed vegetables instead of a side of fries, pay extra for the guac. It’s all about choices. You choose to fuel your body instead of fill it with garbage, you choose to energize yourself with nutrients, or you choose empty calories that offer you nothing but a temporary satisfaction. Don’t get me wrong, I love pizza, and burgers, and the occasional chip. Hence, the entire theme of my blog – balance. You need to balance the good and the bad. Ordering pizza is easy, it’s quick (even though you need someone else to cook it and deliver it) but so is steaming some vegetables, roasting chicken, baking salmon. So why does it all seem so hard? In my opinion it’s not.. you just need to want it enough. You need to want to be healthy, for yourself and no one else. Then it will be easier to motivate yourself to try and prep your meals, make healthier choices, and have a balanced lifestyle.

Organization got you down?

I get it. Sometimes it’s hard to think, plan, and shop for the food to make preset meals each week. This is why you need to be flexible, and allow yourself to be human. You are going to go off track, you are going to run into a cookie or two and say “screw it” and indulge. That’s why planning out your main meals and ensuring you are making healthy decisions throughout the week is so important!

So if you think you want to give this planning thing a go, I’m here to help. Below I attached a basic meal plan chart that is easy to organize your meals and keep yourself accountable, while allowing flexibility!

Print it off, and give this planning this a try

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Sharp Cheddar and Jalapeno Crepes

This was a super easy and fast lunch for me. I already had my homemade crepes (click here for crepe recipe) made so it was just a matter of throwing on whatever flavour I was craving! I chose to go savoury so I shredded some sharp cheddar and got out the jalapeños. I love versatile foods. Crepes are one of these kinds of foods in my opinion. You can add anything you want to your crepe filling, you can do sweet or savoury, you can roll them or fold them, they can be big or small, I LOVE CREPES.

It was pretty easy to make these guys, I just took out my left over homemade crepes from this weekend and let them thaw out (really only takes about 30 minutes) so then I just went about some blog research 🙂 I shredded about 3/4 cup of cheddar and chopped up some jalapeños and tomatoes and pan fried like a quesadilla! You can make these a lot healthier (or of course a lot not healthier *wink emoji*), I personally love greek yogurt filled crepes or caramelized apple crepes. If you want a healthy savoury option just LOAD it with vegetables (Butternut squash puree and kale perhaps?). Anyway, I digress. image3

I’m always a sucker for anything that’s cheesy and spicy. Unfortunately, that typically means it’s filled with too much fat and carbs. For this time, I really held back on adding too much cheese and upped the jalapeños and veggies. Although I had this as a lunch, I think this would make great party food or of course a great addition to a “mexican” themed dinner, and it would make an amazing brunch item! So, if you are anything like me and prefer savoury over sweet, make your crepes using my easy recipe above, try out these jalapeño cheddar ones, or make it your own and get creative with something else!

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Two ingredient DIY sugar lip scrub

Winter is brutal for the slushy snow, cold weather, and of course sun that can’t actually warm you up. You bundle up to head out to the grocery store or mall only to find yourself DYING of stuffiness when you are finally inside. Aside from christmas, winter is really just a humbling season that makes us fat and wait for spring, so that we can soon have summer and sunshine! My by far least favourite thing about winter is how DRY my skin gets. It doesn’t matter how much moisturizer you apply, how much lip balm, reapplication every hour or so is a must every single winter day.

I was inspired to write this post about my diy scrub because mainly, I ran out of my store-bought exfoliant and did want to go out (bundle up and sweat in the store as mentioned two seconds ago) to the store. So I took my trusty coconut oil, and the sugar I always have on hand and in a 1:1 ratio it was the PERFECT exfoliant. The sugar scrubs away the dead skin cells on the surface (which is why a lot of time moisture doesn’t hold, because it’s not all actually penetrating your skin!) and the coconut oil moisturizes your skin as well, even though I still apply moisturize after. So this post is really for body and lip scrub, same “recipe” same ratio of coconut oil to sugar. But the beauty is that there are so many variations of a DIY scrub you can make! Add coffee grounds (from experience, note this as being a messy clean up in the shower), any kind of essential oil for scent, mix with brown sugar instead, you can also do a salt scrub! The consistent part is that coconut oil is a great base for anything you want to do.

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After I tried this out a couple of times as a body scrub, I started using it for my lips as well. Your lips (well, mine) get just as dry and cracked in the winter as any other area and I have found such a difference with how often I need to apply my lip balm (Smith’s Rosebud Salve – not a sponsored reference, this stuff is gold). You just need to take a half dime size amount of the sugar scrub and apply it in a circular motion for a minute or so on your lips and wipe/rinse off! This was just a left over amount of my body scrub I put in a smaller leftover jar (I got samples of biotherm product and when that was done I cleaned out the cute little jar you see in the picture for a use like this!) so it still would be a 1:1 ratio of granulated sugar and coconut oil.

DIY Sugar Scrub (Lip Scrub in Picture)

  • 1/2 cup Coconut Oil -melted if you prefer, it will be easier to mix and will reharden
  • 1/2 cup granulated (or brown) sugar

Mix these up, add any scents with essential oils and you are set for scrubbing!

 

Give this a try and let me know how it works out for you! Please also let me know about any combinations you use!

 

xo Jenna

Bring out your glow with a Smoothie(nutrient pack milkshake?)

Honestly? I’m not the biggest fan of salads. If you want to be healthy and prep a salad to bring to work, you need to make sure you have a fridge to put it in (so the leaves won’t wilt) and you need a small tiny container for the vinaigrette because heaven forbid you mix it up first and open up a soggy mess of vegetables at lunch time… Anyway I digress. My relationship with salad is love and hate, hit or miss. I do frequently try to throw together salads when I am not on the run so I can enjoy the freshly tossed bowl of greens and other veggies immediately, but let’s be honest, how often are we not on the go?

Before I finished my Master’s degree, I was working as a kinesiologist at a gym on campus and that meant waking up at 4:30 am for a 5:30 am opening shift 5 days a week. Hell if I was making a salad to bring for a day like that. But then again I NEEDED to get greens in my diet. So I found that the best, easiest, and tastiest way to do this was to blend up my leaves each morning and head out the door. Smoothies are a godsend in my opinion. You can jam pack so many nutrients in one cup and it tastes like a tropical paradise. Add oatmeal or protein powder (or greek yogurt) to help keep you full, this was my go-to life saver. It’s serious just a milkshake with nutrients am I right?

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Since I have more time on my hands these days, I have started to attempt the art of the smoothie bowl -I never understood why anyone thought to pour their smoothie out of it’s perfectly good blender cup (I use a nutribullet so I drink straight out of it) – but then I tried this bowl thing and just having the added colours and textures made me feel like I was eating something vastly different than a smoothie in a bowl topped with fruit and stuff. I was a great experience that I will continue to do. Making a smoothie bowl is a great morning-off-after-your-coffee-or-tea kind of breakfast.

What I usually add to smoothies:

I opt for frozen fruit -this is a convenience thing more than anything.

Greek Yogurt – vanilla or coconut flavoured (I don’t mind having extra sugar in my yogurt since I don’t have much added sugar in my diet, I’m not worried)

Almond or Coconut Milk -I LOVE almond milk and the fresh nutty flavour it adds to my smoothies. I also play around sometimes and brew up some green tea to keep in the fridge for my smoothie liquid, but most often I use almond milk

Spinach or Kale – My smoothies are usually “green” smoothies (other than when I add dark berries and the smoothie turns a weird brown colour) like I said, salads are NOT my go-to so I gladly add in about a cup of loose green leaves for my smoothies to pack in those nutrients!

Click here to get the recipe for my green smoothie bowl!

 

(Almost) Effortless Greek Yogurt Crepes

I absolutely love the versatility of crepes! When it comes to sweet or salty, I usually opt for a savoury (salty) option. Every now and then I get a craving for something sweet, and this breakfast was perfect. It’s light, easy and delicious. This time, I made my own crepes but you can totally buy some pre-made crepes at the store. I’ve made crepes a lot, usually using the store-bought ones simply for convenience (you need to make sure you have a good non-stick pan for the crepes to come out right) but my favourite way to make crepes by far is a savoury crepe (will try out something in the future for a new recipe!). Continue reading

Easy and Delicious Toasted Chickpeas

So, everyone wants a delicious treat later in the evening on the couch while they binge watch netflix right? Usually that “something” ends up being chips, crackers, ice cream, or anything else high in carbs and fats that is definitely not healthy in the moderation it is consumed. I am victim to this senseless binging and I have struggled the chow down homemade kale chips that didn’t quite work out so I give up and eat a slice of cheese. Very effective. If you struggle with the same late night need for a tasty treat, especially something crunchy, you NEED to try out this recipe. I have tried to roast chickpeas before and the recipes I’ve used didn’t quite achieve the crunch I expected or want. So with much trial and error I have finally succeeded in making my own! Continue reading

My Go-To book for Brunch Inspiration

 

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This book was a gift from my roommate, and has been by far one of my favourite gifts I’ve received. Sometimes I find when you are trying to make a recipe on your own, or change around an existing recipe to make it more “you”, it becomes difficult to think of flavours that are out of the ordinary or simply something you never thought of. The Flavour Thesaurus is a MUST if you are in this boat. Continue reading

Effortless Breakfast Pita Pizza

Hi Guys!

I’m really excited to talk about this recipe, or how-to rather, because this is honestly such an easy and quick meal to make especially for one! Living on my own, even with roommates, most of the time our meals were our own (no matter how often we tried to make meals together) so pita pizzas were always my go to. It is so versatile and delicious it’s really hard to think of anything else I would rather eat sometimes (because pizza is the ultimate food). So I will share this particular recipe with you but here are some different changes I usually go for:

  1. Regular meat and veggie pizza is always a good dinner. I often opt for bbq chicken (which is easy if you prep some chicken breasts ahead of time for your week) with red onion and peppers.
  2. Black bean pizza I love a good veggie pizza but I usually add in some beans for protein. I actually don’t use a sauce base for this one, just a little olive oil or even a pesto. Why I don’t use sauce is because I typically like to serve this with salsa and sour cream, but I have also made it with a regular marinara sauce and on a whim added black beans because I had them on hand.
  3. Ricotta base bacon pizza I love ricotta cheese! I use ricotta in my lasagna instead of cottage cheese, I just prefer the texture. I spread ricotta on the pita as the base and add my veggies (spinach, red onion, mushrooms) sometimes apple and to with bacon as well and some additional mozzarella.
  4. Prosciutto and pear pizza this is by far my favourite pizza, i love the savoury and sweet combination with the prosciutto and pear and the tang of caramelizing red onions in balsamic vinegar. I use olive oil and goat cheese on the base of the pita, add mozzarella and chopped prosciutto. Roast pears and caramelize onions before you add it to the pizza. Trust me this combination is gold (bacon is good too if you don’t like prosciutto)
  5. Breakfast pizza this is very versatile, you can use a regular marinara sauce, cheese base, pesto (which is in my recipe below) and any veggies and meat you want!

 

Click here for my breakfast pizza recipe! and if you want to try out any of my suggestions above, just follow my tips here and the cooking instructions in the recipe!

 

xo Jenna

 

Tasty Totchos

Want an easy, throw together, “what’s left in the fridge” brunch? Tater tot nachos is the recipe for you to try for this weekends brunch! This was great to make for a crowd (or just one person if you believe in yourself) and the good thing about it is, just like nachos, you can make as much as you want!

Tater tots are a part of everyone’s childhood, and if you get creative with your meals like me, you’ve discovered their versatility in your adulthood! You can add them to breakfast casseroles, breakfast muffins, use them as a side dish to your favourite traditional breakfast, and of course try out this great totchos recipe!

Click here for the recipe

xo Jenna

Tomato and Basil Soup

So there isn’t much better than a hot bowl of soup, especially this time of year. This is one of my favourite soup recipes, mainly because of how easy it is! You can totally roast your own tomatoes with this, which I’ve done with about 6-8 Roma tomatoes, halves and toss in olive oil and garlic in the oven for about 40 minutes. It just makes the soup a lot fresher to have your very own roasted tomatoes, however for a quick soup the canned tomatoes definitely do the trick for me. Continue reading