Getting back on track today after a carb and cheese fun-filled weekend. your body is used to pretty clean foods, it means the sooner you get back on track the better. I tried this one-pan balsamic chicken to get in as many veggies as possible. My hubs and I both loved it and I think it's a great option for those of you who struggle to get veggies in. So many people tell me that they don't just want to eat boring chicken and veggies to lose weight, and I totally understand. The recipe is proof that you chicken and veggies doesn't have to be boring or take a ton of time in the kitchen. 😘
The original recipe calls for asparagus and tomatoes, but I'm still restocking my fridge so we had carrots and zucchini.
3-4 chicken breasts, cut into tenders
2-3 cups of veggies, your choices
1-2 tbsp EVOO
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp Italian dressing
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tbsp honey
1/8 tsp red chili flakes
1. Cook chicken in a large skillet, medium high heat with salt, pepper, and olive oil. About 5 minutes each side or until done.
2. While chicken is cooking, mix up your sauce and prep your veggies.
3. When chicken is cooked through, add half the sauce to pan and coat chicken. Promptly remove and set aside, leaving sauce in the pan.
4. Add veggies, coat in sauce and cook for 4-5 minutes until crispy tender.
5. Add remainder of sauce and chicken back to pan. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
6. Serve and enjoy!!!
As a mom of an independent toddler, it's becoming a challenge to make sure she gets balanced meals. One day she will eat all the veggies, another day she only wants grapes, the next it's chicken thighs and yum yum crackers. Sooooo, I tried to sneak as many veggies into a meatball as possible and the result was something my whole family fell in love with.
1/2 cup shredded carrots (about 1 large carrot)
1 cup greens (I used broccoli and spinach)
1/4-1/2 cup feta cheese
2/3 cup breadcrumbs (I actually used oat flour)
1-1 1/2 lb ground turkey
salt, pepper, garlic powder, thyme, and parsley (to taste)
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Mix all ingredients together.
3. Roll into approximately 36 meatballs about and inch to an inch and half in diameter.
4. Bake 18-22 minutes.
For Calista we served them alone. My husband added his to zoodles and tomato sauce. 😉
If you are like me, trying to feed your toddler is an all day task. Making sure she actually eats the food is number one. Number two is finding healthy, balanced meal ideas that don't take FOREVER to prepare. I am not an expert, but I am a believer in sharing what works for me. I truly hope that these simple ideas help you have some new ideas for your tots. We also are on a budget, so sometimes our variety is lacking, but that's something I am actively working on and will share my progress with y'all. I hope you get an understanding of how I structure her meals and it helps. :) Please comment with your top tips so that we can all help each other. This mama thing is tough, but together we are better.
Some general guidelines and tips for each meal:
-A protein source ideally cooked in healthy fats like olive oil or coconut oil.
-1-2 veggies or fruit either steamed or roasted in healthy oils. (Babies need those healthy fats like whoa.)
-Water on the side. Skip the juice because it tends to curb these little eater's appetites.
-If your little doesn't like a food right away, leave it on the tray, walk away (still visible obviously, just not paying so much attention), and let them figure it out. Often times, when I'm not hovering Calista will eat whatever she was fussing about moments before.
-Don't be scared to try a new food 5-10 times.
My husband usually knocks this one out, which makes me super happy. Here are some fool proof daddy options.
1. Protein: Whole-milk yogurt mixed with a little natural applesauce, cinnamon, and baby oatmeal.
Carb: above oatmeal.
Fruit/veggie: entire banana or apple.
2. Protein: Scrambled egg(s) in coconut oil.
Carb: My favorite gluten free, high healthy fat pancake recipe. baby-pancake-success.html
3. Protein: Egg muffin with spinach and tomatoes.
Carb: Paleo sweet potato biscuits from The Paleo Kitchen.
Fruit/veggie: Veggies in muffin, also a banana.
This is probably the meal that varies the most. It's also the hardest one to spend time on so often I'm throwing together random leftovers or it is time for her shake.
Most of you know that we drink Shakeology in our house. Calista and I drink the vegan formula that simply has 70 foods in it. Examples of ingredients are flax seeds, chia seeds, pomegranate, spinach, prebiotics, probiotics (yes, they are different), green tea, pea protein, to name a few. Basically this means that we do not need to take multivitamins in our house and if the fridge is empty, she still gets all of her goodies, other than breastmilk that is. :)
1. Shakeology: 1/2 scoop vegan chocolate with unsweetened almond milk, frozen chopped spinach (babies need iron), half a banana and flax.
2. Protein: Baked chicken thigh.
Carb: I'll keep it real here... Puffs
Fruit/veggie: Roasted broccoli AND grapes.
3. Protein: Cottage cheese which is still hit or miss, mostly miss.
Carb: Leftover biscuits or pancakes
Fruit/veggie: Sweet peas AND roasted carrots.
MEAL THREE aka dinner:
1. Protein: Slices of cheddar
Carb: roasted sweet potatoes or sweet potato fries (Trader Joe's has good ones)
Fruit/veggie: sautéed zucchini chopped into quarters cooked in oil. *Note: zoodles will end up on the wall 😂
2. Protein: Beef meatballs
Carb: Sometimes for dinner I double up on veggies and skip traditional carbs.
Veggies: more roasted carrots. It's a phase I guess. Also, berries or grapes.
One of the top excuses I get about not eating healthy is that it's expensive. Generally what I've found is that people aren't actually tracking their food budget enough to know. All of those snacks at the gas station, the coffees before work, the checkout line sodas... all of that counts. So, I broke down how Tim and I spend our grocery budget. It's a priority for us, so we cut in other areas in order to eat healthy. Our food budget (2 people) is $600 a month. That seems very high to some, but we don't eat out, so this is seriously our bottom line budget.
Most of it has to do with where you buy your food and whether you buy in bulk and not filling the house with junk. We pretty much only shop at Costco and load up on necessities. Our meal plan may not have the most variety, but it's clean, healthy, satisfying, and we definitely don't go hungry.
Breakfast: Oatmeal with scrambled eggs/egg whites, 2 cups of coffee with canned coconut milk as my creamer and 2 tbsp of raw sugar. I make my oatmeal with unsweetened almond milk, water, cinnamon, and flaxseed meal. (Less than $3)
Snack: Banana ($.15)
Lunch: Grilled chicken breast, sweet potato, green beans or some veggie. My seasonings are generally pink salt, pepper, and Tony's (Louisiana seasoning). ($3)
Snack: Shakeology. It's a meal replacement that has 70 superfoods. I used to drink protein shakes, but I had to add all kinds of stuff to them to make them a meal and it cost too much $. (VIP price $3.50. No Discount $4.50, send me a message to get VIP pricing)
Dinner: Giant salad with a protein source and some cheese. OR Turkey chili (To make 4-6 servings it only costs me $10) OR Shredded Chicken tacos (2 tacos is a serving and we generally get 3 full meals out of it for both of us and it only costs $10) = $2 per person
Snack: I generally try to only eat protein before bed if I'm still hungry so it will help me with muscle recovery. ($1)
So my total per person/per day is approximately $13-14 for eating 6 times and that's including Shakeology. Without Shakeology, you are under $10 a day.
Depending what your bulk pricing is, it is even cheaper. We pay $2.99/lb for chicken breasts and most of the time I only eat half of one. Our oatmeal in bulk is less than $10 and it lasts us 2 months. We get all of our canned goods for under $1 a piece, but for the above calculations I just rounded up to $1. A pound of ground turkey for us is $4. Our sweet potatoes are $.50 each.
People ask me all the time how I can afford Shakeology when our budget is so limited. It's all about how bad you want it. I know I function better with higher levels of nutrients, so we cut out treats like alcohol and Starbuck's to save $. For the 2 of us, we were spending $7-8 a day on coffee alone. That adds up quickly. I guarantee you can look at your spending and find a couple of dollars here and there. Alone it doesn't seem like much, but saving a dollar or two in a few different areas can make a big difference. Back to Shakeology, it has all the dense nutrition I need in a day. I can't find the ingredients in stores and the cost to make my own similar "shake" would be about 6 times more expensive. Quick heads up, I do get a VIP discount. I also have friends who love it too, so when 3 of them order their Shakeology from me, it pays for mine. I still count it in my $ budget, but I actually have never paid for my Shakeology out of pocket.
I hope this simple breakdown helps you see areas where you can save $. I would love to hear your healthy budget tips in the comments.