Sheet Pan Kale and Egg Bake

Nutrient rich,  ready in 15 minutes and  under 300 calories this sheet pan kale and egg bake is just as good for dinner as it is for breakfast.

It’s probably safe to say,  you ‘re as happy as I am to be welcoming Spring! Who doesn’t like blooming shrubs, greener grass, warmer weather,  longer days, and ..spring cleaning? Did I just say cleaning?  UGH,  sorry, we don’t like cleaning, do we?  But maybe we can agree that  we do love the results of time spent tossing out and tidying up. The Recipe Redux must feel me,  because they’re  challenging us with a Spring Cleaning Theme:

Cook with at least 3 ingredients that are actually in your pantry right now. Try not to go to the store to buy anything new. Give tips to make a healthy dish with whatever you have on hand.

Here’s the story behind how I completed the March challenge. Last Friday was extraordinary. The kind of day that rarely happens, I was home alone knocking out projects that were long overdue #springcleaning.  As the day wore on, I was working up a big appetite, and the urge to go to the grocery store was mounting, especially because I had nothing planned for dinner (yep it happens ).   I resisted putting an end to my productive day, not knowing  when I would have time (or motivation) to return to the mundane tasks I was undertaking.

After peeling off the last  remaining old  wall paper that was hung in the bathroom once used by my two children,  I headed  to my kitchen  to prepare a healthy meal for two, without a trip to the grocery store.  It began with a simple 3 step inventory of what I had on hand.

   First, I searched for protein. (Read why I’m a stickler for having 20-30 grams of protein per meal). Nothing left in my freezer; there was a can of tuna and a can of pinto beans in the pantry and a carton of eggs,  milk, cheese in the refrigerator.  Ok I can work with that.

2. Second, show me the  veggies?(remember, healthy meals are served with half the plate full of vegetables). I did have few frozen packages of vegetables  in the freezer and  half  head of kale (that was beginning to wilt) in the refrigerator .

3. Finally,  I looked  something to round out the meal,  carbohydrates, preferable whole grains, ( here’s what i found: brown rice, quinoa, and a day old half of a whole wheat baguette.)

After the rudimentary inventory, I picked items that were most perishable in each group:  the eggs, kale and baguette were winners, and that

 my friends, is how this breakfast for dinner meal came to be..

 40% daily value for calcium, 80% daily value for vitamin A, 70% daily value for vitamin C, 15% daily value for iron. This meal is low in carbs (4 grams per serving), so I was glad I had the baguette and I also  added a glass of orange juice  for a satisfying meal without leaving the house.  What tips to you have to get a healthy meal on the table with what you have on hand? 

Please see the links below to see how my colleagues are meeting the challenge of  making a meal with what’s on hand. Happy Spring! Sheet Pan Kale and Egg Bake

by Diane Boyd

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 4 cups chopped kale
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2  garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 extra large eggs
  • 2 ounces shredded Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a pan sheet pan with cooking spray and set aside

2.Toss chopped kale with oil, lemon juice and garlic and sea salt. Massage with hands to coat thoroughly. Spread kale on baking sheet.

3. Make 4 holes in layer of kale .

4. Separate egg and place white inside of hole made in kale. Lay yolk on top of egg white. Repeat with remaining eggs.

5. Place baking sheet in oven and bake until eggs are firm, about 5 to 10 minutes.

6. Remove sheet pan from oven. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

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How Periodization Helped Me Reduce my Fit Age

Do you do the same exercise rountine day in and day out?  I was once guilty of this, until I learned how to periodized my training and I believe it’s helped me reach my fit age, 25 years younger than my biological age!

It  refers to cycling various aspects of training during a specific period, and the aim is :

1. to peak for your most competitve events

2. to avoid injury from too much training.

3. to make measurable progress.

Because  I have few events that I train for, I periodize my training  primarily for the last two points . Let me step back and review how I developed my present fitness… Twenty-five years ago, before the birth of my children, I ran daily. It was monotonous, the same distance and same pace e-v-e-r-y-d-a-y.  By the time I  turned 35 years old, (and in-spite of being slender),  I  was beginning to notice fat where I once had muscle.  Like most women, I complained to my husband *sigh*. He clamly explained I was experiencing age related muscle loss or sarcopenia, and he reassured me it was reversible! That was music to my ears!  The  solution, he promised, was strenth training.  I immediately started lifting; my routine was  light weights and 100’s of reps. Sadly,  I was spending long hours in the gym, until my knight in shining armor once again saved me from myself : ( .  He taught me the basics of  periodized, high volume resistance training (volume=total amount of weight lifted per session).  I began to learn a variety of different exercises using weights that  fatigued my muscles faster (with only 5-6 reps and 5 sets).  I  also use  nutrition to maximize my strength gains which   includes eating  regular meals containing 20 to 30 gram of protein about every 4 hours. My muscle tone is now better than it was when I was in my twenties. I have gradually progressed to using less machines and more free weights and body weight exercises such as chin ups, pull ups and dips. ( As I have increased my strength, I have thought about more powerlifting, but feel I need to work on technique before going there.)

Periodization generally  looks at a big picture: the whole year. However,  I focus on a shorter period, a mesocylce,  where I try to exercise a baseline with interment intensity of training  and distances somewhat dependent on my work/life schedule demands for that particular week or month. There are times when I’m not working out my hardest,  but  keeping a  baseline of activity gives me a break and allows me  to gear up for more challenging activities when they arise.  Right now my baseline training  looks like this:  2- 4 mile run daily, 2 days/week weight training, and trying  to incorporate  a new activity (yoga) several times a week to increase my  flexibility  and enhance my  core strength. My goal is to eventually be  able to pick up the pace and caliber of  increased demands and   higher volume goals (powerlifting?) and also take on new challenges that may comeup unexpectedly.

Periodization has helped me reach my fitness goals  and it keeps me energized. I believe  it has also  helped me reduce my fit age by allowing me to be consistent with activity by  allowing for adequate rest necessary to avoid injury and  keep me from burning out.  I like the flexibiltiy it offers so I can take advantage of runs that are purely for fun and enjoyment. Here’s a snippet of one of those spontaneous runs that occured Sunday when we experienced a rare March snow on the coast of North Carolina. Enjoy!

 

 

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Freezer Friendly Chunky Tortellini Soup

Make a batch of soup, freeze half for an easy go to meal! I hope you’re growing younger (yes, I did say younger, and I am referring to your fit age) with tips on  how to be consistent with healthier eating choices and  daily exercise. For those following with the goal of  reducing your fit age, it’s time to recheck  with the fitness calculator.

File today’s post under, tips to save time in the kitchen along with my post 5 time saving tips for a fitter  you. I wouldn’t ordinarily put a soup that takes 40 minutes to make, in  the quick meal category. But here’s why I’m breaking the rule:  you can freeze half of this soup  so your second meal is done in minutes!   It’s comfort in a bowl, and I love the results of the nutritional profile (per serving) : 240 calories, 4 grams fat, 15 grams protein, 38 grams carbohydrate, 6 grams fiber, 35% daily value Vitamin A, 15 % daily value Calcium, 50% Daily Value Vitamin C, 20% Daily Value  Iron.

Keep up the good work!

Chunky Tortellini Soup

by Diane Boyd

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped sweet onion
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 16 oz slice baby portabella mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 64 ounces reduced sodium chicken stock
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 15-ounce can fired-roasted tomatoes
  • 2 cups cannellini bean
  • 6 cups stemmed chopped kale
  • 9 ounce package tortellini
  • Parmesan or Pecorino cheese rind

Instructions

1. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onions, garlic, and mushrooms. Cook 15 minutes or until liquid evaporates , stirring occasionally.

2. Stir in tomato paste, cook one minutes. Add stock , pepper, fire roasted tomatoes and drained cannelloni beans. Bring to. a boil.. Reduce heat , add cheese rind and simmer 5 minutes.

3. Stir in kale. Add tortellini and cheese rind and cook 7 minutes or until tortellini are done.

FREEZING INSTRUCTIONS: Follow instructions through 2. Add kale. Cool soup completely and add tortellini. Freeze flat in a large ziplock freezer bag for up to 2 months.

THAW: Microwave soup in bag at MEDIUM (50% power) for 8 minutes or until pilable.

REHEAT: Pour soup into large Dutch oven ; bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add cheese rind and cook 25 minutes or until tortellini are done.

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5 Time Saving Tips for a Fitter You

You  know you should be exercising daily, but you don’t always do it. You know you should eat mindfully, but you don’t always do it. You know you should prepare more home cooked meals, but you don’t always do it.  Am I right? Resistence keeps you from being consistent. What is resistence? You might recognize better if I call it: instant gratification, pride, self-deception, fear, laziness, indecision, or procrastination.

Consistency is responsible for enabling me to reduce my fit age. Remember this quote?

If you are persistent you will get it, if you are consistent you will keep it. ~unknown

In my last post entitled How to Reduce Your Fit Age :Consistency Wins, I named 6 strategies that have helped put a dent in resistence and have enabled me to stay on course with exercise and eating right. As promised,  I ‘m sharing them with you, starting with my  personal favorite time saving tip at the end of this post with a warning: it’s not for everyone. But before I get to that, here’s how  my registered dietitian friends and fellow bloggers manage to get it done in less time:

1. Cook once, eat twice.  Regan Miller Jones, RD offers this advice, “having a plan in mind every time I cook for what I will do with the leftovers, beyond just eating them as “leftovers.” Ideas like turning roast beef  into beef quesadillas the next night; roasting veggies as a side dish one night and making them into a roasted veggie pasta dish the next night. It cuts down on cooking and adds the variety that keeps me and my family from feeling like we’re constantly eating leftovers.”

2. One Dish Meals. Toss everything together in one pan for less fuss, and easy clean up. Kelli Shallal, RD of HungryHobby.net <rel=”nofollow”/a>has started a series on her blog featuring this very concept.  Try her 3 Ingredient Creamy  Shrimp Stir Fry  The foodie dietitian, Kara Lydon, RD , show’s you how to make a  one dish vegetarian meal that’s also gluten free : 5 Ingredient Healthy Kale and Quinoa Bowl. 

3. Menu Planning. Plan meals for the week, and write grocery list from the menu plan. This is the number one time saving tip of Jessica Levinson, RD of Nutrioulious. Here’s what she says, “I take some time every weekend to put together my menu for the week, including what I’ll be packing my girls for lunch. I write my grocery list based on the menu plan, which saves me time at the supermarket, and if I have the time on Sundays I do some of the meal prep for the week.” Check out Jessica’s Menu Plan Monday archives here .

4. Take advantage of the salad bar. A great strategy that is NOT overlooked  by Robin Plotkin, RD,. Robin says, “I utilize the salad bar A LOT when it comes to fast lunches and dinners. There are so many protein and whole grain choices on salad bars now that it’s simple to make a healthful, tasty and cost effective meal at the salad bar! Check out here recipe : for a salmon salad using leftover salmon and raw veggies from the salad bar .

5. Batch task. Take small similar tasks and do them together. I don’t think I know anyone more skilled at knocking out a weeks worth of meals on the weekend than, than Lindsay Livingston, RD,  aka The Lean Green Bean.  If you haven’t seen her meal prep for the entire week (that she accomplishes in  about one hour forty minutes) you need to check it out here. Batch tasking can be applied to other areas outside of the kitchen, and here lies my personal favorite.  I like to run, but got tired of having to take my dogs for a walk afterwards. Solution, combine the tasks by running with  Brody and Skylor.  It’s not for everyone or for every breed of dog, but labs handle distance running and I don’t mind the company.

I hope  you found some ways to get it done in less time so you have time to take care of yourself. You might even manage to reduce your fit age! Please share your time saving tips in the comments below. Thank you and have a great day!

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Turkey Taco Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Pack in 21 grams of high quality protein with only 250 calories in this turkey taco stuffed spaghetti squash.

Growing older isn’t for sissies. You’ve heard that before, but here’s my proof-> the older I get, the fewer calories I need, but my requirement for protein and other  important nutrients is the same or more. LIFE IS NOT FAIR!!!  No worries, I know how to  level the playing field  with nutrient rich foods. Today I’m sharing one. It’s  my creative take on the taco, in response to this month’s  Recipe Redux theme : Taco Tuesday.

Did you know that the typical taco has about 150 calories? Doesn’t sound like much, right?  But I need to eat four if I’m going to reach my goal of consuming 20-25 grams of protein per meal (the  typical taco  has only 6 grams of protein). Here’s why I’m passionate about protein->More than any other single factor, muscle loss is responsible for the frailty and diminished vitality we associate with old age. It’s not your age!

So instead of four tacos, here’s what I’m eating on Taco Tuesday…
Each serving of Turkey Taco Stuffed Spaghetti Squash  is only 250 calories, and provides 21 grams of protein! It not only packs in protein, it’s  also provides 30% the Daily Value of Vitamin A; 20% the Daily Value of Calium and 8% the Daily Value of Iron.

Now don’t get me wrong, protein isn’t just for those of us past our prime. There are lot’s of  reasons you should be concerned about muscle maintenance.  

You might even reduce your fit age! Be sure to check out all the links at the bottom of this post to see how my Recipe Redux colleagues are taking on the Taco Tuesday challenge!

 

Turkey Taco Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

by Diane Boyd

Ingredients (serves 8)

  • 2 spaghetti squash (about 1.5 pounds each)
  • 6 ounces Cheddar Jack Cheese, divided
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 teaspoons olive oil,divided
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1 cup diced tomato
  • 2 cups shredded lettuce

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Cut each spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds, discard. Place squash halves cut sides up on baking sheet. Bake for 50 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes. Using a fork, scrape inside of squash to remove spaghetti like strands. Place strands in on a clean dish bowl and squeeze out liquid until barely moist. Add olive oil, salt and 4 ounces cheddar cheese. Stir to combine.

3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add remaining 2 teaspoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add turkey to pan. Cook stirring to crumble and until browned. Remove any liquid. Add chili powder, cumin, and salsa. Stir to combine. Remove from heat.

4. Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees.

5. Spoon turkey /salsa mixture evenly into the bottom of each squash half. Top evenly with squash/cheese mixture. Bake at 425 for 20 minutes.

6. Top squash with remaining cheddar cheese. Place under broiler for 1 to 2 minutes or until cheese is golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to stand 10 minutes. Serve with diced tomato and shredded lettuce.

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