Friday Favorites: Five Healthy Lifestyle Favorites From This Week

This week has been a busy one, and boy am I glad it’s finally Friday! I feel like this week has flown by, and I’ve got a pretty busy weekend ahead. Looking forward to quality time catching up with lots of friends this weekend, but hopefully I’ll also find some time to tackle my super long to-do list. Anyway, here are some of my healthy lifestyle favorites from this past week.

1) Farmer’s Market Season

Technically the Farmer’s market near me is open year round, but I didn’t manage to make it there during the winter. Plus, wandering around the market is not nearly as fun when it’s freezing outside! On Sunday, I finally got around to checking out a new-to-me nearby Farmer’s market. I loved walking around and checking out all the local produce, sampling cheese, and talking with the different vendors. Now that the weather is warmer, I know I’ll be making regular visits to the Farmer’s market.

2) Insanity Max 30 Workout

Last night I did an Insanity Max 30 workout for the first time in months. This workout totally kicked my booty in the best way possible. I’ve never actually followed the Insanity workout plan schedule from start to finish. I find that after a few weeks the workouts start to feel repetitive and I lose interest. I do like to use them occasionally for quick at home workouts though. Plus, the boyfriend convinced me to sign up for a Warrior Dash this summer, so I figure I should start incorporating some additional days of strength training.

3) Gusto Farm To Street Restaurant 

I first heard about this restaurant when I read an article about their cauliflower pizza crust, and I knew I had to check it out. The boyfriend and I first tried Gusto about two weeks ago, however we weren’t in the mood for pizza. We got salads and both really enjoyed them, but we knew we needed to go back to try the pizza.

Gusto

I signed up for their email list and received a coupon for a free pizza. Fast forward to this Tuesday night, and we decided to go back to try out the pizza. We picked two pizzas to split. I opted for the Farmer’s Wife which had heirloom tomatoes, fresh basil, mozzarella and fontina cheese, baby arugula, and a pesto drizzle with the cauliflower crust, and he picked the Devil’s Wing which had diavolo sauce, grilled chicken, jalapeno peppers, smoked gouda and mozzarella cheese, and avocado on whole grain crust.

Both pizzas were tasty, but I think I slightly preferred the Farmer’s Wife. The pizzas are all made to order and you can choose from the pre-made options or create your own. I really like that in addition to traditional pizza crust, they offer both whole grain and cauliflower crusts. In my opinion, the only drawback is that their pizzas were a little heavy on the cheese, so next time I will tell them to go light on the cheese. I definitely plan on going back for both salad and pizza.

If you are local to the DC area, I highly recommend checking out this newer restaurant. Currently they have two locations, one in Bethesda and one in Silver Spring.

4) Enlightened Roasted Broad Bean Crisps

I’ve been wanting to try these for a long time, but I never got around to purchasing them until earlier this week. I picked up a bag of the sea salt flavor at Whole Foods for $2.99 on Wednesday. All I can say is that I wish I had not waited so long to try them. Boy are they tasty! After sampling them, I immediately texted my dad to tell him to go out and buy a bag. My dad has celiac disease and is always searching for gluten-free snacks that are also healthy and tasty. I brought the bag with me to work to add to my snack drawer and have been munching on them throughout the week. I even added a handful to my salad on Thursday.

Enlightened Crisps

Here are the nutrition facts if you are curious. Each serving is only 100 calories and provides 7g protein and 5g of fiber!

Nutrition Facts Enlightened Crisps

5) Skinnytaste Thai Chicken Peanut Lettuce Tacos

For anyone that follows me on Instagram, you probably saw me raving about these delicious tacos. We made these for dinner last night, and both the boyfriend and I could not stop talking about them. As you can probably tell by now, if a recipe contains peanut butter, I’m pretty much sold. These tacos are a great mix of lean protein, healthy fats, and vegetables. I used ground chicken breast instead of regular ground chicken because I prefer the taste and it is also a little leaner. We used romaine lettuce instead of iceberg lettuce for the wraps, and they did a good job of holding in the filling. I loved the crunch from the carrots and lettuce. If you’re looking for some recipe inspiration for next week, add these to your meal plan. You won’t be disappointed!

Skinnytaste Thai Chicken Peanut Lettuce Tacos

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

What are some of your healthy favorites from this past week?

Friday Favorites: Trader Joe’s

I love wandering the aisles at Trader Joe’s, unless I go on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon when it is pure chaos. Every time I go I seem to find at least one or two new products that I want to try, plus I always make sure to stock up on my long-time favorites. Here are some of the current products I love adding to my grocery cart.

Reduced Fat Coconut Milk

I like to keep this coconut milk on hand to use in curries, smoothies, and desserts. Most canned coconut milks I’ve seen on the market have added ingredients such as gums, so I love that this product contains only water and organic coconut.

Canned Wild Alaskan Pink Salmon

Not only is salmon is a good source of protein, it is also high in omega-3 fatty acids which help keep your heart healthy. The American Heart Association recommends eating at least two 3.5-ounce servings of fish, especially fatty fish such as salmon, a week.

Wild caught salmon can be quite expensive, so this canned version offers a more affordable alternative. I like to buy this skinless, boneless, no salt added version because I just can’t get past eating the skin and bones. If you’ve never used canned salmon before, try making salmon cakes/croquettes, salmon salad, or nachos topped with salmon.

Canned Salmon

*Note: If the skin and bones don’t bother you, go ahead and buy the regular version that Trader Joe’s sells. The bones are soft and edible. They can be mashed up and eaten with the salmon and are a good source of calcium.

Riced Cauliflower and Riced Broccoli

Trader Joe’s was one of the first grocery stores to jump on the riced cauliflower bandwagon when they started selling it a few years ago. They also recently starting selling riced broccoli, which I have not seen in other store chains yet. Both broccoli and cauliflower are low in calories and high in vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. Try these as a substitute for rice in your favorite fried rice dish, use them to make pizza crusts, or even add them to smoothies.

Riced cauliflower and broccoli

Hot and Sweet Jalapenos

We love having a jar of these hot and sweet jalapenos in our fridge. Unlike many other brands of jarred jalapenos, Trader Joe’s does not add food dyes to their product. These jalapenos are slightly sweet but still definitely pack a punch of spice. Be aware that this product does contain added sugars as well as 320mg sodium per serving, so I recommend paying attention to the portion size you consume. The serving size is 14 pieces though, and I don’t think I’ve even eaten half that serving in one sitting. However, if you can pop jalapenos like candy, keep the serving size in mind. I like adding these jalapeno slices to guacamole, tuna salad, and as a topping for homemade nachos.

Hot and Sweet Jalapenos

Everything but the Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend

If you’re a fan of everything bagels, give this new seasoning blend a try. It is a mixture of sesame seeds, sea salt, dried garlic, dried onion, and poppy seeds. This blend contains 80mg of sodium per 1/4 tsp serving, so be mindful of how much you use. I’ve found that a little bit goes a long way flavor-wise. Since picking up this seasoning blend, I have sprinkled it on eggs, roasted vegetables, and even chicken breasts.

What products are you loving right now from Trader Joe’s?

2017 Cherry Blossom Ten Miler Race Recap

This past Sunday, I ran the Cherry Blossom 10 miler with the boyfriend and a few friends. This was my second time doing this race, although the first time I did the race was in 2015 when the course had to be cut short due to an accident on part of the course prior to the start of the race.  Anyway, here’s my recap of this year’s race experience!

On Friday, the boyfriend and I headed to the National Building Museum where the race expo was being held to pick up our race bibs and wander around the expo. We were lucky and managed to breeze through the packet pick-up process in less than 5 minutes leaving us plenty of time to walk around the expo. I resisted the temptation to buy some new sneakers and compression socks, but I did buy a new headband to wear on race day.

Sporting my new Sweaty Bands headband

Saturday night we continued our race preparation with a pasta dinner at home. I whipped up a quick meat sauce using ground turkey breast and a jar of pasta sauce we picked up at Trader Joe’s earlier that afternoon. I didn’t add any extra veggies and used regular pasta (not whole wheat like I usually choose) to keep the fiber content lower. On the side we enjoyed a slice of homemade garlic bread. I’ve been having some tummy troubles after my long training runs, and limiting my fiber the night before has seemed to help ease my symptoms. I definitely didn’t want to take any chances on race day!

We spent the rest of the evening checking the weather, deciding on our race day outfits, and getting everything together for the early morning start. We then set our alarms and headed to bed to try to get some rest.

When our alarm went off at 5 AM, we slowly dragged ourselves out of bed to start getting ready. I ate my usual pre-race breakfast which is a sandwich thin topped with peanut butter and banana while checking the weather one last time.

We planned to drive to the race, since due to safe track the metro would not be opening early like in years past. We ended up parking at the Reagan Building which worked out perfectly. They had real bathrooms we could use before the race, plus it was only a short walk to the race start.

We were running a little behind and didn’t make it to bag check until just after 7, which was stressful because the race info originally stated bag check would close at 7. Luckily we were able to check our bags when we got there without any problems. After checking our bags the boyfriend and I met up with some other friends who were also racing and headed towards the starting area.

The starting area was packed and somehow amidst all the crowds we managed to miss getting in to the right corral. We were supposed to start in the blue wave, which was the third wave, but somehow ended up further back with the orange wave, which was the fourth wave. Despite that slight mix-up, once we finally got to the starting line everything went smoothly and we were off!

As expected, the crowds were thick at the start. My legs felt like jello for most of the first mile, but luckily after I tackled the first mile they started to feel better.

  • Mile 1 :  9:30 (between the crowds and my sluggish legs my start was slow)

If you’re familiar with this race, you know it starts by the Washington Monument and then you run towards the Lincoln Memorial and across the Memorial Bridge in to Arlington and back. After that the course heads up Rock Creek Parkway under the Kennedy Center and then loops back. From there we headed on towards the Tidal Basin and Hains Point. There are only few spectators at Hains Point, but the beautiful cherry blossoms that were blooming definitely helped get me through this part of the course. During miles 2-7 I was feeling pretty good and was able to hold a pace right around my goal.

  • Mile 2 :  9:12
  • Mile 3 :  8:57
  • Mile 4 :  9:00
  • Mile 5 :  9:06
  • Mile 6 :  8:57
  • Mile 7 :  9:06

By mile 8, I started to feel tired. I kept checking my running watch though, and I was still maintaining a good pace. I kept trying to calculate in my head what pace I would need for the last 2 miles to get a PR.

  • Mile 8 :  9:00

Around mile 8.5, my friend Alison, who was also running, came up and tapped me on the shoulder. We had started off at the same time but separated quickly in the crowds at the beginning. It was nice to run in to Alison at this point, as I was definitely starting to feel tired. We ended up running most of the last 1.5 miles close together, which gave me the push I needed to make it to the finish. There is a bit of an uphill towards the very end of the race, but knowing I was so close to the finish helped me conquer the hill.

  • Mile 9 :  9:15
  • Mile 10 :  9:14

When I crossed the finish line, I quickly glanced at my watch and was excited because according to my watch I had set a new 10 mile PR! My official time for the race was 1:30:58 (a 9:05/mile pace). My pace for the last two miles definitely reflects how tired I was feeling towards the end, but I’m happy I was still able to hold on for a PR.

Once we all finished the race, we met back up to snap some post race photos, celebrate our race finish, and enjoy the beautiful weather. We enjoyed walking around and looking at the cherry blossoms before heading to nearby Old Ebbitt Grill to meet up with a few more friends for a post-race brunch to celebrate.

I opted for a frittata filled with asparagus, onions, and Grana Padano that was topped with a kale salad and a side of breakfast potatoes. The frittata was enormous and I ended up boxing up half to take home.

All in all, I had such a fun day between getting a new PR and spending some quality time with friends. The last few weeks of training I was starting to feel a little burned out, but now I’m starting to search for which race I’m going to do next!

Who else ran the Cherry Blossom race this weekend? How did it go for you? Do you have any upcoming races you are training for?

Papaya Mango Salsa

A few weeks ago I was shopping in the produce section at Whole Foods unsuccessfully looking for a ripe pineapple when I stumbled upon a sign that advertised a sale on papayas. Since I didn’t have any luck finding a good pineapple, I decided to take advantage of the sale on papayas. I’d eaten papaya several times in the past but had never purchased a whole one from the store. The decision to buy a papaya instead was an easy one for me. Not only would a papaya still help me channel the tropics, it also provides a variety of nutrients including vitamin C, beta-carotene, folate, and fiber.

Papayas

Since this was my first time purchasing a papaya, I quickly googled “how to pick a good papaya at the store.” In case, like me, you have never bought a papaya before, here are a few of the tips I learned:

  • Look for a papaya with skin that is at least half yellow, however if there is still a fair amount of green, it will continue to ripen at home over the next few days.
  • Feel the papaya. It should yield to gentle pressure but should not be mushy or moldy.
  • Smell the base of the papaya. The odor should be faint, yet sweet.

Papaya

Once home from the store, I put the papaya on the counter and waited patiently (not so patiently?) for the papaya to ripen. While waiting for the papaya to be ready, I started thinking about how I was going to use it. After giving it some thought, I decided the papaya would make a great addition to a fruit salsa along with a mango I also had picked up at the store.

Both the boyfriend and I love salsa and this recipe did not disappoint. After tasting the papaya mango salsa, I knew I had to share the recipe on the blog. Not only does this salsa have a delightful blend of sweet and savory, but it also packs a little heat from the jalapeno.

Papaya Mango Salsa

Papaya Mango Salsa

Yields 4-6 servings

ingredients
  • 1/2 medium papaya, peeled, seeded, and cubed
  • 1 mango, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 medium red onion, diced
  • 1/2 English cucumber, cubed
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds removed and finely chopped
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, stems removed, roughly chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
directions
  1. Add all the ingredients to a medium bowl and mix well to combine.
  2. Enjoy immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge and consume within a few days.
nutritional information

Based on 6 servings, per serving:
Calories: 55, Total Fat: 0g, Sodium 200mg, Potassium: 120mg, Total Carbohydrate: 14g, Fiber: 2g, Sugars: 10g, Protein: 1g

 

Chips and Salsa

This salsa can be enjoyed on its own with chips, or I think it would make a great addition to grilled fish tacos.  I even mixed some of the leftover salsa with edamame for a quick side. If you give this recipe a try, you won’t be disappointed. So go ahead and pick up a papaya (and the other ingredients, as well), the next time you head to the grocery store.

A Quick Trip to NYC

This weekend seems to have gone by in the blink of an eye. All of a sudden it is Sunday evening, and I’m rushing to get ready for the busy week ahead after being out of town all weekend. Can anyone else relate?

After work on Friday I hopped on a bus to head to NYC for the weekend. Since I knew I would be on the bus through dinner time, I made dinner at home on Thursday night to bring with me. I spread hummus on a whole wheat sandwich thin and added sliced cucumber, tomatoes, bell pepper, spinach, and a slice of pepper jack cheese. To enjoy on the side, I packed sliced apples and pears sprinkled with cinnamon.

veggie hummus sandwich

I also brought along a variety of snacks to get me through the weekend and the bus ride back on Sunday.

During my bus ride, I listened to a few episodes of a podcast I recently discovered called Food Psych. The podcast talks about intuitive eating and emphasizes positive body images to foster healthy relationships with food. Definitely worth checking out if you haven’t already.

Traffic wasn’t too bad and I managed to make it to my friend Jenna’s apartment in NYC before 10PM. Jenna and I were roommates when I lived in NYC right after college. I wish we still lived in the same city, but it is always wonderful that we are able to pick right back up where we left off whenever we get to spend time together. I spent some time catching up with Jenna and her husband before calling it a night.

Jenna and I started Saturday morning off with a walk along the East River to enjoy the weather and stretch our legs a little before I had to get ready to head to a bridal shower. I spent the majority of the afternoon at the bridal shower. I didn’t take any pictures because I was soaking up time with everyone at the shower. It was an afternoon filled with love and joy celebrating the bride to be, and I can’t wait for the wedding in a few months!

Saturday night I met back up with a few friends to grab dinner at Sojourn, a tapas restaurant, on the Upper East Side. I failed to take any pictures at dinner because I was also enjoying catching up with friends I haven’t seen in several months.

For dinner we shared several dishes between the four of us including an arugula salad with apples, red onions and almonds, duck spring rolls, tagliatelle with braised short ribs, brussels sprouts with a honey sriracha vinaigrette, and chicken satay with grilled pineapple. All of the dishes were delicious but the standouts for me were the arugula salad and the chicken satay. The peanut sauce that came with the chicken satay had me basically licking my plate clean.

After dinner was over, we weren’t quite ready to call it a night, so we ended up grabbing some dessert and wine and all headed back to Jenna’s apartment.

frozen yogurt

Sunday morning was spent relaxing and doing some meal prepping for the week ahead before I had to leave to catch my bus to head back to DC. Don’t mind the smudge at the top of the page, this is what happens when I watch This is Us while meal planning.

I grabbed a falafel salad from Fresh & Co to eat for lunch on the bus. The salad was a blend of kale and romaine topped with baked falafel, chickpeas, several different vegetables, and a lemon tahini dressing. After a Saturday spent indulging in a variety of foods, a veggie heavy salad hit the spot.

Once I made it back to DC, the boyfriend and I made a quick stop at the grocery store to pick up some food for the week. We then enjoyed whole wheat gnocchi mixed with canned tuna, broccoli, spinach, and pesto for dinner.

I packed the leftovers away for lunch on Monday and prepared a batch of strawberry peanut butter overnight oats for breakfast.

The rest of the night was spent relaxing on the couch, finishing up this post, and catching up with the boyfriend.

As you can see I didn’t fit in a lot of exercise beyond walking this weekend. Unfortunately, I seem to have strained my upper inner thigh muscle on my left leg while running earlier in the week. Luckily it feels okay while walking, but I haven’t been able to run without pain. I have been taking it easy in hopes it will recover before the 10-miler next weekend.

Now that we are all caught up from the weekend, it is time to share my meal plan for this coming week.

WEEKLY MEAL PLAN: MARCH 27TH-APRIL 1ST

  • Monday: Chicken tacos with whole wheat tortillas and all the fixings
  • Tuesday: Slow Cooker Loaded “Baked” Sweet Potatoes from Skinnytaste Fast and Slow cookbook
  • Wednesday: Leftovers
  • Thursday: Asiago-Crusted Chicken Breasts, Whipped Parmesan Cauliflower Puree (both from Skinnytaste Fast and Slow), and roasted green beans
  • Friday: Homemade Veggie Pizza
  • Saturday: Pasta with Tomato Sauce (pre-race)

Did you do anything fun this weekend? Did you travel anywhere?

What is on your menu for the upcoming week?

Date Night and a Ten Mile Run

This weekend was another pretty low key weekend, which as I said on Friday was just what I was hoping for after a long week.

After work on Friday, I met up with my friend Alison for an early dinner at Sweetgreen, my all time favorite salad place in the DC area.  Alison is one of my best friends from college who also happens to live in the area. She actually introduced me to Sweetgreen way back in 2012, before I even moved here. I haven’t seen her in over a month, so it was great to have the opportunity to catch up over delicious salads. Continue reading “Date Night and a Ten Mile Run”

Friday Favorites: Freezer Staples

Happy Friday and Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone! Whew, I don’t know about you, but boy am I glad we finally made it to Friday. Between recovering from DST on Sunday and the snow on Tuesday, I’ve felt exhausted all week. I have a few plans on the agenda for the weekend, but I am definitely looking forward to spending some quality time with the boyfriend relaxing on the couch.

For this week’s edition of Friday favorites, I am sharing a few of my favorite healthy freezer staples. Consider grabbing a few of these at the grocery store this weekend to help build a well stocked freezer.

Vegetables

If you open my freezer at any given time, you’ll find several bags of frozen vegetables. They are typically picked and frozen at the peak of the season, retaining maximum flavor and nutrient content. Broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, and carrots are among my favorites to keep on hand because they tend to retain the most crunch when reheated. I’m a big fan of the steam-in-a-bag options because they can go from freezer to plate in less than five minutes. Be sure to choose plain vegetables with no added sauces or breading for the best nutritional value. Frozen vegetables make a great addition to whole wheat pasta dishes or soups. Continue reading “Friday Favorites: Freezer Staples”

Highlights From A Low Key Weekend

I’ve been an avid blog reader for a long time before finally starting this blog. My favorite blogs have always been the personal blogs, as I tend to feel the most connection with those bloggers. In order to truly be “The Devoted Dietitian” I want to show you a little more about myself, so in addition to sharing nutrition tips, recipes, etc.,  I’ll occasionally post about my day to day life happenings. I want to show you that living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be exhausting, and in fact, can be enjoyable! If nothing else, hopefully my family and friends that are reading will find this a good way to stay in the loop. So if you’re still reading, let’s kick things off with some highlights from this past weekend.

FRIDAY

Friday night we had a low key night in, which was just what I needed after a long and busy week.

We made Iowa Girl Eats Make-Ahead Breakfast Bowls for dinner and both the boyfriend and I practically licked our bowls clean. This meal provides a mix of protein, non-starchy vegetable, carbohydrate, and healthy fats, making it a great option to enjoy for any meal of the day. Potatoes often get a bad rap, but potatoes (with skin on) are high in potassium and fiber, as well as vitamin C and vitamin B6. We definitely plan on making these bowls again. Next time I’ll probably throw in another bell pepper or add chopped tomatoes to boost the non-starchy veggie content.

Continue reading “Highlights From A Low Key Weekend”