Cooking just isn’t that hard! #health #mefirst #selfcare #nutrition #recipe

I’ve been doing this food thing for a long time. The main reason someone avoids cooking never changes. Besides lack of time, which I totally throw out because most people have plenty of time for watching TV or playing on Facebook, the underlying issue that prevents people from cooking is simply fear. It may be fear of spending money, trying new foods, not knowing the difference between baking or broiling, or having burnt a dish in the past. We’ve all been there. Some people grow up cooking which, I feel is a life skill. Everyone needs to know some basics. However, with a cooking show or food celeb at the press of a button, we simply have the wrong idea about it.

Cooking is assemby. Sometimes, chopping, heating, and mixing, but ultimately, assembly. “Cooking” doesn’t always result in a dish that came from a five-star kitchen. It’s getting food on the table. Just real food. I mean, I like a jazzy meal like the next person but that isn’t everyday cooking! You have to be willing to try, possibly mess it up and try again. You’ll get the hang of it! If you want to eat well, cooking for yourself is essential.

You can get started in a flash (& don’t forget there is a youtube video for how to cook darn-near anything).

Try picking your meat and then a veggie. Here’s a quick idea for BBQ Chicken & Veggies.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray or coat with one tablespoon olive oil. Place 4 thawed/fresh boneless, skinless chicken breast in dish.

Cover with 3/4 cup your favorite BBQ sauce. Put in preheated oven for ~35 minutes. Forget to thaw, no problem, dump the breasts in and cook about 20-25 minutes extra. The juice of the chicken breast should run clear when fully cooked.

When the chicken is almost done (about 10 minutes left). Pop some frozen veggies in the microwave. You can use steam bags or a glass dish with a lid. The veggies, say green beans, take about 5 minutes per pound (usually printed on the bag). Keep checking and stirring. I drain, add butter and salt/pepper to taste.

You may be thinking… that’s too much for me–wrong! You can carry for lunch or eat it again in the next couple of days*.

Start there and feel free to share your ideas!! Get cooking!

*Only keep leftovers for about 4 days. If you don’t plan to eat it within that time, you can freeze it.

 

#Resolution 2: Eat a protein-rich breakfast! #eggs #health #recipes #nutrition

Did you know skipping breakfast could lead to not so great nutrition selections all day long? I’m a big fan of eggs (see egg tribute:-)). As a matter of fact, I eat them with my breakfast daily. As your mind goes to that thing you heard about eggs being bad for you… STOP IT right there… They’re not.

Eating a protein-rich breakfast is a realistic and tasty resolution that will leave you satisfied and ready for a busy day. Try this cook ahead recipe. I’ll call them…

Brian’s Ome-Loafs (omelet goodness in a muffin tin). Yield is one dozen. Serving: 2 Ome-Loafs. Recipe makes 6 servings.

Ingredients

8 oz breakfast meat (ham cubed, bacon, sausage), cooked

1 cup spinach, or cooked veggie of choice (you can even use leftover veggies)

8 large eggs

1/4 c whole milk

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

salt & pepper to taste

1 c shredded cheese of choice (I like cheddar or mozzarella)

Prepare

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously spray 12-slot muffin pan with non-stick spray or coat with butter (they will stick if you don’t).

Divide meat and veggies among the muffin slots. Mix together eggs, milk, baking powder, salt and pepper. Pour evenly over meat and veggies in filling all the muffin slots. Top with cheese. Bake 18-20 minutes. Cool for about 1 minutes and remove from pan. Store covered in refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Enjoy

Simply reheat for 20-45 seconds in the microwave. I cover with a damp paper towel to keep them moist.

We made these with bacon, onions and cheddar. I’d love to hear the delicious combinations that you try! Now go make breakfast! They’re also great for a quick dinner with a side salad.

Looking for great egg recipes? Check out this free offer for an eggtastic e-recipe download from Eggland’s Best Eggs.

#Resolution 1: Make more time for ME! #mefirst #health

A few weeks ago I tweeted that my new year’s resolution would be finding more down time. As a new mom, this is going to be a hard task! However, I recognize the value of having time just for you. It may sound pretty selfish but a wise lady once said to me “it’s better to be a reservoir than a canal.” It you don’t have time to fill your reservoir, how can you help yourself or the ones you love? My translation… down time=a better, more present me.


There are many things you can do with scheduled down-time. You could read, get a massage, clean your house, dream, stare out the window, pet your dog, write notes (on real stationary!), among many other things. So what does this have to do with nutrition? Well, if you don’t schedule down-time, I’m betting you will not get any. If you have no down-time, it’s highly unlikely you will take time to plan and shop for meals.
Over and over I hear I just don’t have time to plan my meals. It’s just easier to go through the drive thru. Okay, consider this… You spent 30 minutes running around the house asking everyone what they wanted for dinner on Tuesday and 30 minutes to and from fast food on Wednesday. That’s an hour of time that we could move to Saturday so you could plan some meals and pick up items at the grocery store. No more running around like a chicken with your head cut off trying to please everyone in the moment. I don’t know about you but having meals planned helps me feel prepared, fueled and ready for a busy week. Not sure where to start? Use this blank planner & don’t be afraid to use leftovers!
How will you use your scheduled down-time? Hopefully, you’ll plan on fueling your body and filling your reservoir!

I’m back… With a New Perspective on Planning

It’s been a while…

I really like to update the Born to Eat readers close to weekly. However, over the last five weeks my plans for work, family, meals, blogging, etc…  were curtailed. With a baby on the way and being somewhat of pathological planner, I have a detailed plan for all those areas of my life complete with timelines. I have to say at least the plans were formulated. And then…

SCREEEEEEEEEECH!!!!!!!!!! It went a little something like this…

Doctor: You need to take it easy in order to not have baby way too early.

Me (somewhat embellished with what was really in my head): So, when you say “take it easy,” what exactly does that look like? Not taking the stairs to my office, carrying the groceries, doing the dishes… You know, what’s the plan or protocol?

Doctor: I mean COMPLETE bed rest.

Me: Does this mean I’m done with work?

Doctor: You are now a lady of leisure…

Me: No words, just my head digesting the situation and realizing ever-so-quickly that sometimes the best laid plans (office schedule, travel, spreadsheets, budgets, dinner plans, decorating) will never be executed. The top priority now is keep baby cooking!

While I’m lying here on bed rest five weeks later, I’m still making plans :-). I’m now very aware that at times, you have to be able to adapt to plan revisions. It may take a few days to sink in but when it comes down to it–you have no choice. It’s time for a new plan with a this may never happen disclaimer.

As my lovely plans came to a screeching halt, I started to realize how this could be an incredible learning experience if I allowed it to be. My planning ahead allowed me, and others, to adapt to the situation. Friends, family and colleagues who had plans to jump in months from now stepped up to the plate early. I’m grateful to them and I’m glad I had some idea of what I needed help with! Other parts of my plan will never see the light of day and the lesson here is… adapt! This has been a trying and stressful time but learning to adapt has been a life-changing experience.

Your plans may or may not ever change like this but there are so many ways to apply my situation to everyday issues. For example… what if you packed a fabulous lunch from the delicious dinner last night and you left it on the roof of your car. OOPS. Do you hit the “forget it” switch or try to adapt the plan so that you continue to feel well-fueled?

Will you let a derailed plan cause you to self-destruct? Or, will you take a moment to re-evaluate the situation so that you keep moving in the best direction even though you may have to take a different route. Who knows, the different route (or plan) may be just the experience you needed…

Honoring Hunger with Snacks

Hunger strikes at 4 PM.  You need some food to hold you over before dinner, but you are in class, at work, trying to eat less, or __________.  By the time you get home you are ravenous and you may fill yourself to more than a comfortable level at dinner.

The above senario is common for two reasons.  We are a busy society on the go (a little planning can help this group fuel on the go!), and many diet commercials tell us that “hunger” is a bad thing or we need to avoid it.  First, don’t listen to the commercials!  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  As humans, it is normal to feel hungry.  Hunger means that our bodies need fuel or energy.  Second, remember that hunger, especially fueling ourselves when we are hungry, means sustaining life (and your metabolism).

Sometimes our meals will hold us over until the next meal, but other times our bodies will tell us it needs a snack.  If you carry snacks with you, you will be prepared either way! Try to carry portable snacks (including protein or fat and some carbohydrate) with you so you can get some quick energy no matter where you are. Think Larabars, KIND bars, a fruit with peanut butter, vegetables and cheese, or my homemade fruit and nut bar (recipe will be the next post).  This way, when your body tells you it needs fuel, you  can honor it.  By honoring our hunger, we can often times prevent our desire to overeat when we are over-hungry.

Do you carry snacks with you for when hunger strikes? Do you have any good snack recipes?  Please share them with us in the comments!  And stay tuned for a yummy fruit and nut bar recipe…

This post is by Janet Zimmerman, a University of Memphis Nutrition Student and Schilling Nutrition Therapy, LLC Intern. You can follow Janet on Twitter as well at http://twitter.com/JanetZimmerman

Plan now for next week’s tasty Meals! #nutrition #health

Ingredients for cooking ahead with friends!

It’s that time again… The dishes are done from the Labor Day parties and the kids are back in school. Schedules are overflowing and you may feel like you need a vacation already! In the nutrition world, there are two things lacking that usually keep people frantic and making not-so-great decisions. So what are the two words that will keep this sinking kitchen (& stomach) afloat? Well, here goes…

AWARENESS and PLANNING. In my office, I often help busy moms; dads and students realize the value in planning ahead. One of my favorite lines in the office is “if you fly by the seat of your pants, you’ll most likely end up in bigger pants.” It’s so true. Just an hour or two on the weekend can save you loads of time, stress, and energy during the week. Let’s break it down.

First, evaluate the week ahead. You can pick up a meal planner or calendar most anywhere. Feel free to print the basic one I use. Think about each night, which has soccer practices, when do I have the PTA meeting; Friday is dinner with the neighbors, etc… What days do you have the most time to get things done in the kitchen? Are there days when the kids can help you? Now you are AWARE of your schedule and the days that could force you into another drive-thru line.

We can PLAN now. Let’s say you picked Saturday morning as your shopping day. Before you go shopping, fill in your meal planner. Cooking on Sunday afternoon is typically a good time to get it done (and you may have more help). Grill or bake chicken, pork tenderloin, lean hamburgers, or whatever protein sources you like in advance. You can put them into tortillas for tacos or quesadillas; have cheeseburgers, or pork tenderloin with fruit salsa. The key is cooking what you can in advance and turning into a couple different meals. Cooking ground beef or turkey in advance to freeze for a quick chili, spaghetti sauce or taco meat is great for a quick meal. Don’t forget about that slow-cooker tucked back in the pantry. It’s time to dust it off!

Here’s a step-by-step approach for weekly meal planning.

  1. Look in your pantry and freezer to see what’s available.
  2. Think about protein sources you have and ones you need to pick up.
  3. What veggies do you have and need to use up? I have lots of salad greens so we’ll plan salad twice this week.
  4. Are there starches you’d like to include? This week I’m going to cook ahead some quinoa.
  5. Write it down!
  6. Get the items you don’t have at the grocery TODAY so you’re ready for the busy week. If you’re a coupon cutter, check the sale flyers and put those items into your plan.
  7. Plan in new/challenging foods if you need to work on variety in your diet!
  8. Repeat next week…

Not only does planning ahead help you stay in your pants, it can save you money! However, the greatest value of planning ahead is providing better fuel sources for health, work and play!

Check out these recipes for Crockpot Chicken, Nostalgia Soup and Fish Tacos to get you started!

The State of the Kitchen Address

Well, you know the state of my kitchen… hallelujah, I finally have one! And, I’ve been cooking up a storm. As a matter of fact, I’m cooking chicken pot pie right now with Janet Zimmerman. But, let’s get to the point. We now know the state of America–some good and some bad. Have you ever thought about the state of your kitchen? The time has come! Start by asking yourself the following questions…

Is it unorganized?

Is it stocked with foods you need to eat less often?

Do you have trigger foods within eye-shot or on the counter-tops?

Is the snack cabinet in a tempting location?

Do you have a cluttered prep space? (yes, mom, I’m talking about you–don’t stack mags and mail in your prep space!)

Are you flying by the seat of your pants to come up with meals?

Screeeeeeeeeeeeeech! Back the truck up! Was your last grocery store visit a month ago???

If you answered YES to any of these, you’re starting to realize the state of your kitchen. Don’t worry about fixing all of the issues at once. Pick 1 or 2 items to focus on this weekend. You’ll probably even come up with a few more. If you enjoy your kitchen space and have room to move around, spending time in it may be less daunting. So what’s your plan to improve the state of your kitchen? We’d love to hear what you’re going to do in the comments.

Leslie Schilling, Dietitian, & Janet Zimmerman, Nutrition Student