Since yesterday was the first day of boot camp and Steve’s schedule was jam-packed with non-stop training from 5:30am to 6:30pm, I thought I’d make him his favorite meal – a grilled steak salad. I actually had never made one but planned to replicate a salad he once ate at a restaurant and loved. It was absolutely DELISH so I thought I’d share it.
First I cut the vegetables crosswise to make onion and pepper rings. Then I marinated my steak, onions and green pepper in a Honey Teriyaki Marinade and I sprayed olive oil over everything, dusting it all with a season salt. I placed the steaks and veggies straight on the grill. After flipping the steaks and veggies, I took the veggies off as soon as I felt they were nice a charred like we like them, and left the steaks on to finish cooking. As soon as the steaks were ready it was dinner time!
I threw the mixed greens in a big bowl with a little cheese crumbles, Craisins and almonds and tossed my homemade honey balsamic vinaigrette in with it. Once all the ingredients were well coated, I put the salad mix on plates and topped them with the sliced steak and grilled vegetables. The end result was quite a yummy treat!! Steve will keep me for at least another year! ha 🙂
I have to admit I don’t use measuring cups, and really have a clue what I put in last night’s dressing, but if I had to guess, it was something like this. Feel free to alter it or play with it 🙂
Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette
1 cup Balsamic Vineger
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup Olive Oil
2-3 Heaping Tbsp of Light Hellman’s Mayo
1-2 tsp Stevia (depending on how sweet you want to make it)
1 tsp honey
A few dashes of Garlic Powder
Salt & Pepper
Note: Most dressings call for a lot more oil – sometimes more than twice the amount of oil than vinegar. I add water to cut the vinegar instead of a lot of oil to save more calories. Then I add light mayo to help thicken the dressing. Sometimes I don’t even use honey and just use more stevia.
Blend in a blender until the consistency turns a light tan and thickens slightly. Enjoy!
Here’s a similar recipe I found online (from someone who actually measures! Light Balsamic Vinaigrette Recipe
4 Salad Tips for Dieters
1.) Avoid big clumps of gorgonzola, or blue cheese, crumbles. You can get more taste in each bike with smaller crumbles. I like Stella Gorgonzola Cheese Crumbles.
3.) Don’t go nuts for nuts. I love Almond Accents because they are super thin. Regular whole, or chopped, nuts don’t go as far, which means you will eat more to get a similar taste. More nuts, means more calories.
4.) Toss, don’t pour. I use SO much less dressing if I toss it in my salad instead of pour it on top. Tossing your salad in dressing allows the dressing to coat every leaf so every bite has flavor.
For more tips and salad recipe ideas, check out my latest article for DetourBar, “Tips for Salad Lovers“
I’ve never heard anyone say “I feel so fat, if only I could be stronger in the gym”. No, that never happens. What they say is, “I’m so fat, I just wish I could be stronger around food”. The fact is, what we do in the gym is the easy part. It’s what we do in the kitchen that is tough.
We need food. It’s fuel for our body – BUT we have to learn to control food like we learn to control a weight. Think about this: When people first lift free weights, their weights are all over the place. Every movement feels a little unnatural. Newbies are shaky, wobbly and unbalanced. Lifting weights takes a certain amount of practice, which require repetition. Then, once we are able to control the weight, we work to improve, increasing the weight, and improving our skill.
We could use some of those same principles in the kitchen. We must first do what comes unnatural for us. For example, you may need to force yourself to eat 5-6 times a day at first. Like trying a new exercise, we have to try new things with our diet, like counting calories or making protein shakes. Then, you have to practice those things over and over – yes, you heard right. We have to practice eating healthy. You will practice new recipes and try new snacks – and just like when we practice anything else, we will not always get it right. So we keep working on it.
Look at the definition of what practice:
Practice: repeated performance or systematic exercise for the purpose of acquiring skill or proficiency. “Practice makes perfect.”
Don’t you think we could all use more practice when it comes to eating right? This means we have to REPEATEDLY keep trying to improve our eating habits, even when we fail, until we are proficient in healthy eating. Like anything else, it will take work. We can’t rely on shortcuts or happenstance. But, just like the work we put in the gym, the work we put in the kitchen comes with a great reward! You will get stronger.
If you can’t shop right, you can’t eat right. Dieting and eating clean (low-fat, high protein, whole foods) starts at the grocery store.
Below is a shopping list categorized by what you can eat, and how much you can eat. You see, not all high-calorie foods are bad. High calorie foods are necessary, but you just have to limit them.
For instance, nuts are very healthy, but the calories add up fast so they are in the “Use Sparingly” column. However, you can eat a TON of fish and asparagus so they’re in the “Enjoy Plenty” column.
How do you want to spend your 211 calories?
4oz tilapia AND 11 spears of asparagus AND 1 cup of cauliflower
OR 1/4 cup (which is only 1 1/4 ounce) of almonds
Both of the above options are 211 calories, but with one option you can eat a LOT and the other option you only can eat a LITTLE. When you choose correctly, this is what I call eating smart – and the smarter you eat, the happier you will be, the healthier you will feel, and the faster you will reach your goal!
Dieter’s Shopping List
Click on the list below to open in a new window and enlarge or print. 🙂
NOTE: This doesn’t cover all the foods we eat, but these are just some of the most common foods on our own shopping list to give you some ideas. This list is mainly a list of whole foods and doesn’t include items like milk, vinegar, creamer, etc.
What are some items that are always on YOUR grocery list?
Are You Eating Backwards?
People who struggle with their weight often find their evening meal to be the most challenging. When it comes to dieting, most people don’t have much of a problem watching calories throughout the day. Then they come home and BAM! They eat more calories in one sitting than they did all day long.
One reason this happens is we’ve been conditioned to eat big meals for dinner. Normally that means a meat, a couple of sides, and sometimes bread or dessert – but who said a meal has to be a 7-course meal? It must have been the same person who invented the Pop Tart for breakfast – and they have it all backwards.
Let’s look at food as fuel. Do you need a lot of fuel to power you to sleep? No. Do you need fuel to power you to work? Yes. So why would we have a small breakfast and big dinner? It’s completely opposite from what our body needs.
5 Healthy Food Habits for Weight Loss
1. Eat a 300-400 calorie breakfast with a nice balance of fat, protein and low-glycemic carbohydrates. Stock up on breakfast foods like Egg Beaters, oatmeal, bagel thins, low-carb wraps, grits, Chobani greek yogurt, Designer Whey vanilla protein, peanut butter, granola and fruit. Plan ahead and be creative. Cooking breakfast in advance and utilizing leftovers (like spinach, asparagus and meats) can really help create fast fixings.
2. Splurge for lunch. Instead having your biggest meal at dinner, schedule cheat meals at lunch. At least you will have several hours to burn off what you ate, instead of eating at night and hitting the sack on a full stomach. Even if you are eating healthy, try to save your high-carb meals, like sandwiches, pastas and potatoes, for lunchtime.
3. Simplify dinner. Don’t over-think your evening menu. If you are trying to diet, limit meals to one white meat and one green side. Use a little olive oil or natural fats, like avocado, to help the meal stay with you longer. Green vegetables like broccoli, asparagus, green beans, spinach, zucchini, collards, cabbage and salad greens are normally lower in calories. Be very sparing with beans, even the green kind. Peas, black-eyed peas, lima beans, black beans, pinto beans, navy beans and kidney beans are all higher in carbohydrates and calories. One green bean that’s an exception is the soy bean (edamame). Edamame has a excellent balance of carbs, fats and protein. YUM!
4. Just skip it. Sometimes people eat just because they think they are “supposed to”. Just because it’s meal time, you don’t always have to eat a traditional meal. If you come home late at night, or you really aren’t that hungry, sometimes it’s OK to just make a protein shake and call it a night – especially if you just left the gym. Or maybe you decide to just have a few almonds and a piece of fruit, or some yogurt to curb your appetite. Although you do need to keep a steady small amount of calories coming in to keep your metabolism revved, they don’t have to be anything fancy or complicated.
5. Choose only one 100-200 calorie evening snack. If you are like me, you can snack the entire night away if you let yourself. Instead, choose your snack wisely. Do you crave sweets? Then a sugar-free fudge pop, jello pudding or fruit may be the way to go. Do you crave salty snacks? Then you may prefer 100-calorie popcorn as your go-to snack. Whatever you choose, try to limit your calories to only one 100-200 calories, and only choose one item – that includes drinks. Even if you WANT to snack, you won’t die if you go without snacking – and those little after-dinner calories add up quick so be stingy with them.
People walk around carrying enormous caloric debt, storing previously borrowed calories on their backside, and there’s no bailout coming. Unlike financial debt, you can’t file bankruptcy to make it all go away. The only answer is, dare I say, a budget.
Just like money, when we get really behind, recovering from our mistakes calls for drastic measures. Strict budgets and number crunching is what we have to do to get us back on track. Unfortunately, many people ignore the pink elephant. Pretending like everything is fine, they continue to get more and more in the rears – pun intended!
As you know, spending can easily get out of hand if you aren’t tracking every dollar. The same goes for calories. It’s nearly impossible to manage calories without keeping a close watch on them like you would your bank account.
Pay It Off
Another way to reduce our so-called debt is with exercise. However, just because we work a little more in the gym doesn’t mean we can spend calories frivolously either. We have to allow enough time to significantly reduce the debt before we can loosen the reigns. Easier said than done.
When we work hard, it’s natural to want a reward. We fool ourselves into thinking we can now afford the extra calories because we workout. We treat our finances the same way. As soon as we get a raise, a new job, or a bonus – typically, our first response is not saving that money. We think about how we can spend it – the bigger car payment we could afford, the clothes we could buy and the vacation we’ve been wanting.
Just like credit cards, you should eat only what you can pay off over a short period of time. Once you reach your goal, you can splurge here and there without gaining weight, as long as you are willing to pay it off quickly.
“Eat only what you are willing to burn off.”