Monday, January 20, 2014

Healthy Lunch: Lettuce Wraps and a Smoothie

Hey hoop friends! I hope you are all having a happy, healthy and of course hoopy new year so far. I thought I'd check in real quick while on my lunch hour at work.

Yesterday evening I spent 4+ hours in my kitchen prepping food for the week. I never do this. Sure, I like to prep my veggies sometimes so they are already chopped and ready to go...or sometimes I'll marinate some meat. But hours upon hours of slicing, dicing and planning meals for the week was actually a lot of work. I felt like I just got off a shift working in a restaurant. My feet and back were tired. I felt mentally exhausted. But I also felt very proud and accomplished. Tupperware containers completely took over my fridge and it is looking full and healthy for once.

I never like to proclaim that I'm "dieting." It never works for me. It seems as though as soon as I announce I'm on a soon as that word comes out of my mouth...I'm instantly craving chips or a milk shake or feeling deprived from all my favorite, unhealthy snacks. So instead, I keep it to myself. I make efforts here and there when I have the willpower to do so. And I encourage you to do the same. Making any attempts whatsoever to cut out bad foods and exercise a little more is a step in the right direction and making you that much healthier.

I went to bed last night feeling ready for the week ahead. Having pre-made some eggs, salads, and meals for the next few days I felt prepared to make healthy choices. So often I get home from work and have zero motivation to whip something up for dinner...often times leading me to the drive-thru window or ordering a Pizza. Not good for my tummy or even my wallet.

So we did a big grocery shopping Friday night. Saturday I did a little prep, and Sunday was the show down. I have decided to try and share as many recipes, tips and advice that I can with my readers. I'm always looking for something tasty but healthy. If you're like me, you need food to satisfy your taste buds.

Today's lunch: Lettuce wraps!

You could even call these tacos, without the shell/tortilla or the ground beef.

You will need:
Romaine Lettuce (whole leaves)
Veggies of your choice
Black Beans (or grilled Chicken could work too)
Cheese (optional)
Dressing (I used Chili Sauce, my favorite)
These are so simple. And quick. And perfect for lunch.
Rinse your lettuce so It's clean. Shake off the water and lay them flat on a plate.
Open your can of black beans. I drained mine of the excess juices that float around in the can. Spoon the black beans onto the lettuce. I think black beans are a new favorite of mine. The texture is almost kind of meaty and they are a good source of protein. Plus it's a lot faster to open a can of beans than to grill some chicken. But I imagine either one would be tasty.
Top with whatever kind of veggies you like. I used green peppers, red onion, carrots, celery and green onion. The combinations are endless.
Shred some cheddar and sprinkle on top.
You can use salsa or some kind of salad dressing to finish it off. My all time favorite is Frank's sweet chili sauce. Looking at the contents of the label however, I realize it's full of sodium and sugar, two things I'm trying to cut back on. So I am on the lookout for a healthy chili sauce alternative, or even a recipe to create my own. In the meantime though, I don't think a little drizzle will hurt me too much.
Throwing caution to the wind here: These are pretty messy. The lettuce leaf is not as durable as a tortilla shell or wrap, so I would recommend not to over stuff the lettuce so they are so hard to hold. And have plenty of napkins on hand.
Smoothie of the day: Blue Citrus Love Combo (I just made that name up on the fly.)

You will need:
1 cup blueberries
Fresh chopped Spinach
Juice from 1 lemon
1 apple
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
2-4 Ice Cubes
1 cup water
I reached out to my facebook friends and listed several ingredients I had on hand. I asked everyone to suggest a combination. Several people recommended mixing ginger with citrus flavors and omitting yogurt and/or milk as they don't mix very well. This is what I came up with and it was absolutely delicious and refreshing. I made one for last night and had extra to drink this morning on my way into work. Although smoothies are always better fresh, it didn't taste too bad the next day and it is way better than hitting Dunkin for my favorite mocha iced coffee.
Smoothie tip: Add your liquids first, as it will be easier on your blades in the blender. Start on a low setting and pulse a few times and then kick it into a higher setting and blend until smooth.

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