On Juggling Food and Work

I had a bit of a crazy schedule these past three days. I cleaned at one of my church’s branches during Vacation Bible School. It was very rewarding and I would do it again in a second. I truly love everything about my job. The thing is, when you’re working around ten hours a day, beginning at 6 am, it’s hard to fit in food.

I know that sounds like a silly problem. I’ve got a well paying job that I love deeply and I’m whining about fitting in food? Cry me a freaking river! I get how that sounds and I don’t mean to complain about nothing. I’m writing this to tell you that when you’re working a very physically demanding job, you need calories.

To the church’s credit, there was always food available that they offered me. They were very kind. I just have to have a very special diet because I know what my body needs to sustain itself after losing one hundred pounds. Don’t worry, I brought food every day, but I didn’t plan as carefully as I should have.

I did go home every night and made sure to eat. I also made sure to eat a big breakfast every morning. I don’t want to make it seem like I starved myself, because I most certainly did not, as I stated before, but I should have done some more planning beforehand. Like, cooked more ahead of time and brought it with me.

I want to be fair and say that I’ve never worked a schedule like this before. So, I went into a little blind. I’m going to be working another schedule similar to this week after next. I’m excited because I love my work! I’m going to make sure to be better prepared, though. I’m going to sit down and plan out everything.

I’m writing this to let you know that food equals fuel. You need your energy. I’ll let you know how it goes in two weeks!

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My Healthy Eating Challenge for Students

It’s Monday. Happy Memorial Day! I’m once again doing a healthy eating challenge for students. Now, anyone can do this, but I’m aiming at students because of their tight budget. I’m trying to show that they can eat healthy within a budget.

This week, we’re making a salad. Here’s the ingredients and the cost of each.

Spinach- $2.50 for the bag.

Can of chickpeas- 99 cents for the can.

Olive Oil- $6.00 for a big bottle.

Broccoli- $2.50 for the bag.

Vinegar- Around $2.00

Here are the calories:

Spinach- 10 Calories for two cups.

Chickpeas- 55 Calories for 1/4 Cup.

Broccoli- 30 Calories for 3 oz.

Olive Oil- 120 Calories for one tbsp. (You can use one tsp. That’s what I do.)

Vinegar- 0 Calories for one tsp.

Here’s the cost of each of the servings:

2 Cups of Spinach- $1.25

3 oz of Broccoli- 84 cents.

1/4 Cup Chickpeas- 25 cents.

1 tbsp. Oil and 1 tsp. Vinegar- 15 cents.

Total: $2.49 for the salad! Not bad!

Thanks for reading. Hopefully, this will give you some insight into healthy eating on the cheap. I’ll be doing this again next Monday.

My Healthy Eating Challenge for Students

Every Monday I’m going to be doing a healthy eating challenge for students. I want to show that you can eat healthy on a tight budget. These blog posts are honestly for everyone, not just students, but I’m aiming at students in particular because of their limited budgets.

This week we are making a healthy sandwich on the cheap. Here are the ingredients and the prices.

100% Whole Wheat Nature’s Own Sugar Free Bread- $2.18

Butterball 99% Fat Free Turkey Slices- $4.29 (I usually find these on sale.)

Borden’s Fat Free Cheese Slices- $2.50

French’s Mustard- Free with Coupon and Sale (You can find these cheap if you shop generics, too.)

Publix Spinach- $2.50

I used the usual two slices of bread, one slice of cheese, one slice of turkey, a handful of spinach, and a few squirts of mustard. Here’s what the calorie content looked like.

Two Slices of Bread- 50 Calories Each

Cheese- 30 Calories

Turkey- 30 Calories

Spinach- The bag said 20 calories for the whole bag, but I just used a handful. So I’m guessing just a couple of calories.

Mustard- 0 Calories

I put the sandwich together and toasted it in my waffle iron. If you don’t have one, no sweat. You can always heat it up on your stove with some non stick spray!

The total cost came to be $1.22. That’s less than a filet-o-fish meal at McDonald’s! Better yet, the ingredients can last you all week. You can’t beat that!

What would you like to see me do next? Let me know! I’ll be doing this every Monday!

6 Ways to Eat Healthy If You’re a Teen

I was a terrible eater when I was a teen. My Mom tried her best to teach me to eat healthy, but I wouldn’t listen. It’s no wonder I gained weight in my twenties. When I was diagnosed as pre-diabetic, I finally listened.

Don’t let this be you if you’re a teen! I set myself up for several years of unneeded pain because of poor eating habits. If I had focused my attention on finding creative ways to eat healthier, I would have been much better off.

I’m here to tell the teens that eating healthy is more than worth it. I promise that you won’t have to sacrifice taste-ever! Here are six ways that you can eat healthier. Parents, you can take notes, too!

1. Make Fun Homemade Meals from Pinterest.

If you don’t have a Pinterest account yet, then get one and start looking up healthy homemade meals to make. They have so many. There are also healthy, homemade versions of a lot of fast food menu items. I realize it’s not as much fun as going out, but really, it tastes much better. You can also use that money you saved for something that you actually wanted!

2. Become a Popcorn Snob!

Check out Amazon and look for a good deal on a popcorn popper. Then, get a 1 or 2 pound make of blue popcorn kernels and pop them in your new machine. For flavor, dust the popcorn with cooking spray and put your favorite seasonings on top. The “blue” popcorn is much healthier for you at 110 calories for 3 tablespoons. A word of advice: Go for the popcorn popper that doesn’t require oil, saving you even more calories!

3. Start Making Your Own Chips.

I used to love chips. Now, I don’t even miss them. Why? Because I found better alternatives at home. You can slice up sweet potatoes real thin and broil them in the oven. You can also make kale chips by dusting them with cooking spray and salt, then baking it at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Yum!

4. Make a Healthy Cereal.

I used to love sugary cereals, but not anymore. I now get 100% whole wheat cereal that comes in a bag from Wal-Mart for $1. (You could get Shredded Wheat if you wanted.) I then put 1/4 cup Quaker Oats granola and 1/4 cup sliced strawberries. I then pour 1/2 cup 1% milk. Try doing something similar with your cereal.

5. Have Fun, But Be Careful with Your Salads.

Salads are great, but they can be very unhealthy. I once had someone argue with me that they were healthy regardless. Not so, but you can make them healthy and have fun at the same time. Try adding a vegetable on top, like roasted broccoli. Then, add a protein, like 1/2 of chickpeas, shrimp, and/or black beans. You can also add your favorite seasonings to jazz it up. For dressing, use a little oil and vinegar.

6. Try Roasted Vegetables as a Snack.

Yes, I said vegetables as a snack! You can let them brown in the oven (usually takes me 20 minutes) with some salt and some of your favorite seasonings. Just dust the food with cooking spray first to let them stick. The reason why I’m suggesting roasting them is because it makes the flavors pop and taste more savory. Try it!

I never thought I’d eat as healthy as I do now, but I was so wrong. I’m never going back to my old ways. It will take a little time to get used to healthy food when you’re so used to the junk out there, but can work out. Just give it a chance.

5 Foods I Said Goodbye To

When I first embarked my my permanent lifestyle change in 2013, I knew right away that I needed to give certain foods their pink slips. It was hard trying to get rid of them in the past, but once I got the news that I was pre-diabetic, I was fully ready to wave goodbye to my unhealthy habits for good; starting with these foods in particular. That’s why I’ve compiled a list of the top five foods that I got rid of to make a healthy change in my life. I’m also listing healthy alternatives to them.

5. White Potatoes

This is a debated one, because some people swear that russet potatoes are healthy. I understand, but it is true that they spike your blood sugar. That was enough for me to forgo these tasty taters and switch to sweet potatoes and purple ones, too.

4. Ranch Dressing

Oh man, I loved ranch. I dipped everything into it. The sad thing is that I wasted hundreds of calories each time I indulged. Sure, it tasted good, but was it really worth all those calories that I could have spent on more filling foods? Nope! I switched to fat free honey mustard instead. I don’t eat it as much now, but sometimes it’s fun for a treat, and I watch how much I give myself.

3. Pizza

Ah, pizza, how you delight, thee! One of the problems with these delicious little minions is that they’re baked on white bread. Another problem is that you usually can’t stop at just one slice. Seriously, who can? That’s why I gave it up and will either make it on whole grain bread or make it with a cauliflower crust. Yum!

2. Chips and Onion Dip

File this under DUH! I just need to put this on the list because I ate them all the time. I had no since of portion control, either. I had no idea that onion dip has a serving size of two tablespoons! I know I ate more than that. I switched to pita chips and hummus. Later, I started eating roasted carrot chips and hummus. I also make my own kale chips at home. Just a word of caution, hummus has a serving size of two tablespoons, too.

1. White Flour

EEK! The devil! I know that white flour played a key factor in my pre-diabetes. I ate so much of it. For shame! When I switched to whole grains and my health got so much better! I also started losing weight. Nothing good comes from white flour. I didn’t need it whatsoever and I’ll be very careful in the future.

That’s my list. I’ll elaborate more on my weight loss journey in future posts, but I wanted to get it started by sharing what I got rid of. Hopefully, this can give you some encouragement if you need to get rid of something that’s unhealthy in your life.