Kitchen Fitness: Get off the Fat Train

Since returning from Memphis a few weeks ago (what a fun trip that was!), I’ve struggled with disembarking the Fat Train. I’m usually a healthy eater, but with a busy work and life schedule lately, it’s been hard to get back into my healthy eating groove. Too much pizza. Too much ice cream. Too much of the bad stuff.

This doesn’t mean I’m going on a diet — I enjoy the “bad stuff” too much for that! It’s about moderation. I’m also starting to think more seriously about how I fuel my body for long runs. I am making an effort to return to my routine of food prepping for the week on Sundays. That’s exactly what I did today…even though it’s Monday (hey, I took advantage of my day off).

Is food prep time-consuming? Yes. It eats up a few hours, but it’s worth it in the long run (oh look, a pun).

I found inspiration in a few new cookbooks I recently bought. One of them is Giada de Laurentiis’ Feel Good Food. It’s full of healthy, easy recipes. Today I made two new breakfast options and one lunch option. Dinners this week are courtesy of Blue Apron. Not familiar with Blue Apron? Basically, they plan, shop, measure, and deliver three meals for you weekly, and you can skip a week anytime. Each meal takes about 35 minutes or less to cook, and the dishes range between 500-700 Calories per serving. Not bad, eh?

Anyway, I’ve digressed. Let’s get back to food prep.

Typically for breakfast, I enjoy a large bowl of DIY Muesli with almond milk and fresh fruit. This week I’m going to try bulgur wheat with poached berries, and chia seed pudding. Both of these are from Feel Good Food.

The poached berries recipe was super simple. You can use it as a topping for muesli, bulgur wheat, chia seed pudding, and even ice cream!

Berries, apple juice, and agave nectar: Viola!

Berries, apple juice, and agave nectar: Viola!

Poached Mixed Berries
12 large strawberries, hulled and halved
1 cup raspberries
1 cup blueberries
1 cup blackberries
1/4 cup unsweetened apple juice
1 TB light agave nectar

Directions
Combine berries, apple juice, and agave nectar in medium sauce pan. Heat to boiling over medium-high heat. Lower heat and simmer 8-10 minutes until berries are soft, but not mushy. Remove from heat and let cool. Store in covered container in the fridge for up to five days. NOTE: If using frozen berries, make sure they are thawed.

Next is the chia seed pudding. I’ve tried many recipes, but not one that included actual dairy (I usually use almond milk and no yogurt). I don’t have a sensitivity to dairy, but sometimes I just like to go dairy-free. This particular recipe includes the addition of Greek yogurt, and I think it’s going to be a winner!

Combine a few ingredients together, and you've got a no-cook creamy pudding!

Combine a few ingredients and you’ve got a no-cook, creamy pudding!

Chia Seed Pudding
(serves 4)
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 cup plain 2% Greek yogurt
2 TB pure maple syrup (did not include)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup chia seeds

Directions
In a medium bowl, gently whisk the almond milk, yogurt, maple syrup (if using), vanilla, and salt just until blended. Next, whisk in chia seeds and let stand for 30 minutes (no need to put in fridge – leave it on the counter). Stir to redistribute seeds, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

My photo shows the pudding after standing for 30 minutes. It will thicken overnight as chia seeds are natural thickening agents. Another plus: chia seeds are high in omega-3 and fiber too!

Last, we’ve got a new lunch option, which honestly, I’m super excited about. Called chicken and honey-mustard pinwheels, it includes some of my favorite things: mascarpone, honey, mustard, and lavash bread. If you’re not familiar with lavash bread, well, get familiar with it — it’s absolutely delicious! Lavash bread is a soft, flat bread popular in Middle East countries. It’s great for wraps, pizzas, and dipping.

Make the chicken salad, spread it onto the lavash bread, add arugula, and roll up. Simple!

Make the chicken salad, spread it onto the lavash bread, add arugula, and roll up. Simple!

Chicken and Honey-Mustard Pinwheels
(serves 4)
1/2 cup (4 oz.) mascarpone cheese, room temp.
1/4 cup whole grain mustard (I used spicy since that’s what I had)
1/4 cup honey
Zest of 1 large lemon
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper (did not include)
1.5 packed cups arugula
2 cups cooked, shredded, skinless chicken breast
2 pieces Lavash bread

Directions
Mix together the mascarpone, mustard, honey, salt, pepper (if using), and zest. Add chicken and stir to coat completely. When ready to eat, assemble chicken salad on lavash bread and spread until you have a 1-inch margin between chicken salad and edge of bread. Top with arugula (amount is your preference). Roll the lavash bread like you would to form a jelly roll. Use a serrated knife and cut in half. Each half is considered 1 serving.

Have a great week and be well!

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