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Posts Tagged ‘Quick + Easy’

April 7, 2014

Six Easy Ways to Eat Spinach

Hi everyone! I hope your week has gotten off to a great start. Mine kicked off a little later than normal, and you probably just now read my “morning” post… if at all. Whoops.

Anywho, this afternoon I have something pretty simple I have been wanting to share with you for a while now, and it has everything to do with eating your greens. Any spinach fans out there?

I am sure a lot of you have heard the eat your spinach speech from many people throughout your life, and I must share that I used to be one of those who just brushed the concept off.

I mean, what if I don’t yearn to have those big Popeye arms?

You probably already know this, but the leafy green has an extremely high nutritional value and is very rich in antioxidants. Spinach is also a great source of iron and calcium, and the best way you can eat it is steamed or quickly boiled.

Keeping this in mind, I have put in an effort to get on board with it and throw it into my meals as much as I can. And you know what? Not only have I learned to tolerate it, I actually love and crave it.

Easy Ways to Eat (and love!) Spinach

(Not so new) Newsflash! You can make almost any meal effortlessly “better for you” with the addition of vegetables.

My experimenting started with throwing anything into scrambled eggs and smoothies, and over time I have come to learn that there are several ways to incorporate more greens into every day quick, impromptu meals.

six easy ways to eat spinach

Here are my favorites!

• egg scrambles + omelets

Lets begin with how my taste buds starting appreciating the green: on the stove top. Believe it or not, spinach actually tastes great in eggs.

adding spinach to eggs

If you are skeptical, start small by adding a tiny handful of it and mixing it with tomatoes and feta cheese. Or, you could always go Greek and add in some red peppers, onions and olives!

Scrambling ingredients together for egg wrap

These days, I am prone to throw anything into my egg scramble, but spinach is almost guaranteed ingredient.

Greek Power Wrap

Also, don’t forget that you can order it the same way out!

egg white omelet the breakfast club

• green smoothies

Three cheers for green smoothies!

I have to admit that I too was skeptical of adding the leafy green into my fruit smoothies. It just doesn’t seem to make sense, right?

green smoothie mixture in blender

Take it from me… it does, and is probably one of the easiest, less noticeable ways to start introducing spinach into your diet.

green smoothies housewife glamour

Some of my favorite smoothie combos can be found here, here, and here.

• power bowls

When I have no idea or motivation to create anything elaborate for lunch or dinner, I turn to power bowls. Basically, I throw a mixture of healthy carbs, veggies, and protein in a bowl with a little bit of cheese and hope it all tastes good together.

quinoa bowl with chicken sausage

I love turning to containers of pre-cubed sweet potatoes or butternut squash to start with and steam those separately. Often times, I will also add quinoa or brown rice, and vegetables (which I also cook all separately).

quinoa bowl with sweet potatoes and chicken sausage

I prefer to use ground turkey or chicken sausage, but if I am not feeling the addition of meat or tofu, I will substitute a half a can of black beans and/or chick peas instead.

quinoa bowl

The possibilities really are endless!

• monster-mix salads

Okay, this is an obvious one. But I wanted to include it for all of those lettuce, romaine and spring mix only eaters out there.

If you aren’t keen on using spinach as your base, try making a mix of it instead. While stocking up in the produce department, I always buy a variety in greens for a base. Sometimes I branch out with a container of power greens or kale, but most of the time I buy spring mix, romaine, and baby spinach all washed and ready to go.

Have you ever noticed the combos already put together for you?

Earthbound Farm Organic Spinach

Most of the time, I still wash the pre-washed greens, but that’s probably just because I am being dramatic. I promise that putting together monster salads really can be easy!

monster salad with beans feta and olives

Similar to the power bowls, simply choose the veggies, protein, healthy carbs (if desired), and cheese that make sense together and you’re good to go.

chopped veggie salad

(i.e., combine anything fresh and ready at your disposal.)

• wraps and sandwiches

Spinach tastes refreshing and great in wraps!

veggie burger wrap with lots of greens

veggie burger wrap

Ham Wrap

healthy lunch wrap

healthy wrap

All of these pictures are self explanatory… but hey, there was also a spinach flavored tortilla thrown in there as well. (An added bonus, in case you missed it.)

• pasta, sauce and soups

Disclaimer to anyone we invite over for dinner: I try to add anything to sauces without people noticing… especially spinach. A little extra greens never hurt anyone, right?

Since Scott loves spaghetti and pasta, I have learned different ways to enjoy it without it having to be labeled a “cheat” meal. The easiest move is to use spinach or veggie noodles.

turkey chili over veggie noodles

(Recipe: Healthy, Easy Chili Over Noodles.)

On top of that, I like to get creative with my sauce and throw in fresh mushrooms, peppers, and spinach if we have it on hand.

adding spinach to spaghetti sauce

Marinara sauce with fresh spinach, tomatoes, and ground turkey on top of veggie noodles with Parmesan cheese.

veggie noodles and spinach and ground turkey in sauce

If I am just not into cooking whatsoever, I will heat up a can of soup and it isn’t uncommon for me to throw a little fresh spinach in there as well.

adding spinach to lentil vegetable soup

Is that weird?

Amy's Organic Lentil Vegetable Soup with spinach

 Maybe it is, but it tastes great to me!

On top of these easy ways to get you to eat spinach, they are also useful tips on how to use it once you buy it. I have to admit that I will often buy more than I need and instead of throwing it away when I think it might be turning, I throw it into a plastic bag and freeze it!

freeze spinach to make it last longer

I will use this fresh frozen spinach for green smoothies, or even as an addition to sauces and soups just like I mentioned above. In fact, after scoping out the freezer food I have available, I sometimes get the inspiration to eat healthier and proceed to make something using it.

So you see? Spinach isn’t all that bad. I hope this post has helped inspire you to give it a try if you aren’t yet a fan!

Questions of the Day

• Do you eat spinach? If so, do you really enjoy it?

• What is your favorite way to cook, eat, or drink it?

February 12, 2014

WIAW #41: Quick, Balanced Meals

Happy Hump Day! In true Wednesday WIAW (or What I Ate Wednesday) fashion, today is all about the eats.

(Almost) every week, I go through a full day of my eating habits with you. The purpose is to give you ideas on how to incorporate easy, healthy meals into your busy schedules.

At times you will see a picture of pizza or a bowl of ice cream, and I truly believe that occasional indulgences are an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Knowing how to include those “cheat meals” is just a part of keeping that consistent balance, and these recaps display my attempts at doing just that.

As always, a big thanks to Jenn for hosting the Wednesday food party link up. Now lets get on to it!

What I Ate Wednesday Tuesday

I have had a relatively hard time getting up at a normal hour this week. I think the busyness of the NBA season is finally catching up to me! Anyways, I woke up a little later than normal yesterday and went directly into the kitchen for breakfast.

Keeping it easy, I quickly grabbed a Pineapple Greek yogurt and topped it with Bear Naked Berry Fit Granola and a sliced banana to enjoy alongside my large cup of coffee.

Chobani yogurt parfait

I was satisfied for a while, but found myself rummaging through the pantry about an hour later for a pre-lunch snack. Wheat Thin crackers and roasted red pepper hummus is what lured me in!

wheat thins and roasted red pepper hummus

Just noticed that expiration date… whoops!

Feeling content, I made my way back downstairs to work on the computer for a while, only coming back up for a meal around 2 p.m. With our crazy game schedule this month, I haven’t been the most creative in the recipe department. I have, however, become pretty good at pulling easy, balanced meals together in a pinch.

That is exactly what happened here for lunch.

quinoa burger and steamed vegetables

(Qrunch quinoa burger with shredded Parmesan cheese over a plate of steamed vegetables.)

I have really fallen for quinoa over the past six months and wish I made it more often. When I am feeling lazy, I just pop one of those burgers in the toaster and it seems to do the job.

I also enjoyed a crunchy honey crisp apple!

apple for a snack

I finished up my day at the computer around 5:30 p.m., which was just enough time to grab a snack before heading out to the gym. I wanted to make a green protein smoothie, but didn’t want to risk being late for Fitness Pilates class.

Instead, I filled a water bottle with a Mixed Berry Protein 2GO packet and ate a Chocolate Mint Zone Perfect Bar in the car.

pre gym protein snacks

It was important for me to make class in order to test out these brand new Reebok ZQuick sneakers I am reviewing.

Reebok ZQUICK sneakers for gym

*Stay tuned for an exciting giveaway with them coming your way very soon!

I got my booty handed to me with another stellar class, led by my favorite Lifetime Fitness group fitness instructor, Val. How the woman can teach and demonstrate the entire hour while holding planks, killing push ups and shouting directions in a motivating, high-energy way is still beyond me!

I was glad to have the extra energy in my water bottle because a short series of treadmill sprints was next on the agenda.

ZQuicks on treadmill

I left a sweaty, sweaty mess!

Lucky for me, I live right down the road from the gym and made it home in ten minutes… HUNGRY. I found Scott digging into spaghetti leftovers, and used his extra sauce to start my own dinner.

Continuing on with my veggie pasta kick (<- did you see yesterday’s pasta salad recipe?) I boiled two servings of vegetable noodles and threw the rest of my steamed vegetables from lunch into the sauce. While the noodles were cooking, I also heated up one of my last Morning Star veggie burgers to add more substance. I topped it all off with more Parmesan cheese from lunch and in about ten minutes dinner was served.

veggie pasta with veggie patty sauce

With a goal to get to bed at a reasonable hour, I only caught half of the latest American Idol episode with Scott before getting in the shower.

Immediately after, I grabbed the same dessert you saw on last week’s WIAW.

skinny cow mint chocoalte ice cream sandwich

So, so delicious!

The rest of the night entailed folding laundry, packing for tonight’s game, and straightening up odds and ends around the house. I have realized that even ten minutes of “cleaning” at night does wonders for my productivity in the mornings. It may just be me, but I get so much more accomplished when I wake up to a put together house.

All right. It’s time for me to get back to some projects and knock some things out before having to leave for the arena today. I am hoping to check back in with you later this afternoon!

Question of the Day

• Does the thought of straightening up before bed sound like a great or horrible idea to you?

I can see why some would think this idea is awful. I am sure that folding things and wiping counters isn’t exactly what most of you want to be doing before putting yourself to bed at night, but for me it helps me rest easier.

I love waking up to a clean house and part of my nightly routine lately has been making sure all of the laundry is folded, the living room is straightened up, and my coffee is set up to brew first thing in the morning. If I walk downstairs and I see piles, I end up spending most of the morning putting them away and tend to get on a cleaning kick that can last well into the afternoon.

Of course, this is not the greatest thing for someone who works at home.. but that’s just me!

• If you liked this WIAW post, head on over to Peas & Crayons to check out plenty others, or even link your own.

• Also, you can always find my latest What I Ate Wednesday posts by exploring the “WIAW” tag on the right hand sidebar.

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Although I am a certified personal trainer, the workouts I post are what work best for me and might not be the right type of exercises for you.

I am not a registered dietician and do NOT post everything I eat. All content I post on this blog stems from my personal experience and knowledge, and I recommend consulting a doctor or health professional before making changes to your diet or fitness routine.

Also, please understand that affiliate links may pop up on the blog from time to time. I acknowledge when they appear and always genuinely appreciate your support! ♥

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