Monday, April 30, 2012

Dressed to Impress

For some reason, salads have become a dieter's sidekick, and yet what most people don't realize is that not all salads are healthy! While the salad-staples, (lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, onions, etc.) pack impressive nutrients, there's still that sneaky culprit that can turn any healthy salad into a diet disaster: The dressing! Luckily, healthy dressings do exist! While we'll always have the last-minute go-to's such as the vinegars and lemon juice, this post is dedicated to a specific line of dressings/sauces that have single-handedly saved not only my salads, but SO many other dishes that I prepare.

Dying to know which products I'm talking about?!

Drumroll please!!

Recognize these?!
Or these?!

Okay, I'll stop with the photos; but seriously, thank the diet gods for Walden Farms! I just LOVE this line. Every single one of their spreads has 0 sugar, 0 carbs, 0 fat, and the best part for some 0 CALORIES!!

Granted, they aren't all completely delicious on their own. In fact, some of them are kind of yucky (in my opinion), but the ones that are good are SERIOUS diet-saviors. Want my opinion on the best ones? A Walden-Farms guide is on the way!

Have you tried any of these products before? Leave a comment with your favs, and I'll share mine! Pin It

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Dinner: 4/28/12

So, I'm a day late in posting this one, but this is what I made for dinner last night!
Indian-spiced chicken with Turmeric-spiced Brown Rice.

Want the recipe? Guess you'll have to keep reading!
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SOS! (Survival Tip #2)

Restaurant menus are scary terrain. Sometimes it seems to be impossible to find a healthy option. When reading a menu, no matter where I'm going, the first thought in my mind is always SOS! No, not HELP ME, but rather, what can I order with the Sauce On the Side

Survival Tip #2: Always think SOS!
For example, let's take the typical seared tuna entree. Our fishy friend is often a great option if prepared correctly, but he's often drowned in sauce (get it?! drowned?!) So, simple solution: SOS! Just ask for the sauce on the side! This way, you get a yummy piece of fish, and you still get to taste whatever sauce it was supposed to come with. Even better? Ask the server for some fresh lemon and just squeeze some lemon over the fish. You can even do half and half (dip half the fish in the sauce, and eat the other half with just some lemon on it.) Pin It

Portion Distortion (+ my first restaurant survival tip!)

Eating out is any dieter's biggest nightmare. When eating in most restaurants, the nutritional information of your meal is often a giant question mark. Not to mention, most restaurants these days provide WAY more than the recommended serving size of anything they are serving. Pasta dishes often come with five times the recommended amount of pasta for a single portion, yet most of us will down the whole dish (I was once guilty, trust me!).

So how can we eat out without filling out our waistlines?

Survival tip #1: Take half to-go!
Realistically, if I'm eating out, it's more than likely going to be a cheat-meal. But, it doesn't have to be a diet disaster! If you're going somewhere where you know they are going to serve you more than you should be eating, avoid the temptation, and tell them from the get-go that you would like them to package half of the meal to-go! This way, the temptation to eat the whole dish is never even put in front of you! I know for me if it's in front of me, I'm going to eat it, so if it's packaged away in that nice little to-go container, I can pretend it's not there. Not to mention, you're getting two meals for the price of one!

Disclaimer: This is not to say that you should order the fried chicken, and eat half today and half tomorrow. That's just a double whammy! The idea here is still to choose a healthy option from the menu, we're just combatting the problem of the heaping portions of food that restaurants give these days! Pin It

Why I started eating grains again

For anyone who knows me personally, you know that I spent a good part of the last year and a half following a cross between a low-carb/Paleo lifestyle, so naturally, when I decided to start reincorporating certain grains into my meals, everyone was fairly confused. The most common question I am asked lately is why did I decide to reincorporate grains into my diet?

First of all, I have only reincorporated some grains- they have to be high in fiber and protein, and preferably whole grain! (You'll never see me ordering a side of white rice or white bread!) 

The real reason I switched was because I find that these whole grains are satisfying and keep me satiated for longer periods of time. I can eat smaller portions and still feel full as opposed to having to eat a TON of veggies and protein to fill up. I used to have to eat an obscene amount of protein (I'm talking poundage here!) to truly feel full, which is what the Paleo/low-carb lifestyle is about for some. I still don't eat refined sugars or processed carbs, but now I'll prepare myself a side of brown rice or some high-fiber pasta to go with my normal size portions of protein and veggies. It's all about balance!

Interested in which grains I've deemed worthy of my indulgence? You may just have to stay tuned to find out! ;) Pin It

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Crazy-Simple Cucumber Salad

This cucumber salad has become a fridge-staple in my house. It's a great side with dinner, and especially great during hot summer nights.


3 hard cucumbers
1 onion
3 T lemon juice or the juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup of distilled white vinegar
a pinch of salt (can be omitted)
a pinch of Stevia (or Sugar, or your preferred sweetener)

And what's even better? It couldn't be easier to make!


1. Use a peeler to remove as much of the skin as you prefer from the cucumbers
2. Slice the cucumbers in half length-wise and remove the seeds
3. Slice the cucumbers into thin crescents (I usually use a mandolin because I prefer the pieces to be very thin)
4. Cut the onion in half, remove the skin, and slice it into thin crescents (Again, the mandolin works great!)
5. Put both the cucumbers and onions into a large bowl and add the lemon juice, vinegar, salt, and stevia.
6. Allow to sit for a few hours before serving, stirring every so often. This allows the cucumbers and onions to really absorb the juices and get a nice tart, pungent flavor.

**Daring are we? I've been known to add some julienned mango slices. It adds a nice sweet kick to the salad.

***Even more daring? Try experimenting with different vinegars. Coconut vinegar is a personal favorite of mine, though it's very hard to find. (You can get it here)

Nutrition Info: (Entire Recipe) Calories: 168; Fat: 0g; Sodium: 24mg (without the pinch of salt); Carbs: 45g; Sugar: 28g; Fiber: 8g; Protein: 7g

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Friday, April 27, 2012

Screamin’ for Ice Cream

Who doesn't love ice cream?!

The ice-cream section of the supermarket can be scary for those of us who love the frozen delicacies. Lately, there are more options than anyone could ever imagine, so how could anyone know which to choose? If you're like me, if I'm eating ice cream, I want to EAT ice cream- none of this 1/2 cup serving nonsense! Luckily, I came across this hidden gem!

The Pint of Pure Genius: Arctic Zero 
Nutrition Info: (1/2 cup; 74g) 37 calories, 0g fat, 80mg sodium, 6g carbs, 2g fiber, 5g sugars, 3.4g protein

Didn't think eating a whole pint of ice cream could fit into your diet plan? Me neither, until I came across Arctic Zero in my local health food store. Disclaimer: The consistency is not quite that of the creamy ice cream you're used to, but with these stats, how can you complain? Some flavors are definitely better than others- Coffee is my personal fav, though I've yet to taste the Pumpkin Spice, as nobody around me sells it.

Biggest negative? These pints are fairly hard to find and can be a bit pricey, but nobody ever said eating healthy was cheap!

Bottom Line: If you're looking for something to satisfy your ice cream craving without expanding your waist line, you've found it. If you crave true, creamy ice cream, this probably won't do it for you.

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A Taste of What's Coming

Let me start by saying this is my first blog, and I am very excited to share my thoughts with everyone in the blogosphere! Since I am new to this whole thing, you’re all going to have to bear with me as I learn how all of this works.

A quick intro: My name is Aly. I’m a student at New York University studying Media, Culture and Communications, with an intended minor in Food Studies. I am pretty much obsessed with food, cooking, nutrition, etc. I’ve tried a bunch of different diets/lifestyles including low carb, Paleo, calorie-counting, etc., so I’ve built up my knowledge of what’s out there. In this blog, I hope to share with you the what I’ve determined are the healthiest, yet tastiest options out there to help you stay fit and fabulous- including recipes, super-market picks, and restaurant tips.

Just a disclaimer: I am not a trained professional! Simply a food-obsessed college student trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle and inspire those around me to do the same!
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