Yoplait Delights giveaway!

Posted on January 25, 2011. Filed under: Coupons, Freebies, Weight loss | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

We have another giveaway from Yoplait and MyBlogSpark!  This time Yoplait is promoting their new Delights yogurts – they are healthy snacks with all the benefits of yogurt, but they taste more like pudding.  Some of you may have seen these in your grocery already, but Yoplait has added two new flavors to the Delights line: chocolate eclair and cherry cheesecake.  I’m so excited, the new flavors are just in time to be used in the Two Week Tune Up challenge, also sponsored by Yoplait.  You can learn more about this health/weight loss challenge on Yoplait’s website.

Anyway, to celebrate the new flavors and the challenge, Yoplait in conjunction with MyBlogSpark is giving away prize packs with a coupon for a free pack of Delights yogurt, a scented candle (it smells like chocolate), and a lavender eye mask with satin on one side and a velvety material on the other.  I received mine last week and have been really enjoying it, especially the eye mask.  The velvety side is nice, but the satin side is a lifesaver when I have a headache – it is very cool and relaxing, and my doctor says lavender is the best aromatherapy choice for relieving headaches.  All I know is it works!

As for the yogurt, I have tried the creme caramel in the past and my son and I both love it.  It is very rich and creamy with a mild yogurt taste, but only 100 calories.   I used the coupon for a pack of the new chocolate eclair flavor, and it was just as good.  My son wants to try the cherry cheesecake as well.  He is a big cheesecake fan, but in deference to my diet we don’t keep cheesecake in the house.  Cheesecake yogurt sounds like a good compromise!

Yoplait and MyBlogSpark will donate a second prize pack for one lucky reader, so if you want to try Yoplait Delights too leave a comment about which flavor you would like to try!  I will select the winner next Monday, January 31st.

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Smoothie Adventures

Posted on June 14, 2009. Filed under: Daily life, kids, Recipes, Weight loss | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

We love smoothies at our house!  My little guy is just crazy about them, and they make a great snack or meal replacement – especially in the summer when it is so hot.  We like nice creamy smoothies, so I use skim or 1% milk, and of course I put some yogurt in to add a little more pizzazz.  We use a wide variety of fruits in our smoothies, whatever we have on hand actually.  In the past we have used pears, kiwi, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, banana, cherries, cantalope, peaches, and nectarines – not all at the same time though!

We also add honey as a natural sweetener, cinnamon and sometimes vanilla extract for flavor, and fiber powder and protein powder for extra nutrition.  At my house we like thin smoothies that are easy to drink from a glass, but on occasion we want something thicker, so we use frozen fruit and add ice to make it more of a milkshake consistency.

Here is one of my favorite smoothie recipes:

  • 1 banana, broken into pieces
  • 1/2 – 1 cup dark sweet pitted cherries, frozen
  • 2 large spoonfuls of non fat vanilla yogurt
  • 1/2 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
  • 1/2 scoop flavorless fiber powder
  • 1 squirt honey
  • ground cinnamon to taste
  • milk to taste

I mix all ingredients in a tall glass – filling the rest of the glass with the millk – and use an immersion blender to blend in the glass (I avoid dirtying extra dishes whenever possible – I hate washing dishes!).  You can of course increase, decrease, or alter any of the ingredients as desired.  Sometimes I only have plain yogurt on hand, so I add a little vanilla extract to make up for it.

We eat tons of fruit at my house already, but if you have picky eaters who don’t like fruit this can be a good way to sneak it in.  It can also be a good way to hide yogurt if your kids don’t like it (although I’ve only ever met one child who didn’t like yogurt).  This recipe is super healthy and very low fat, and adding the protein and fiber powders makes it more filling – we often use it as breakfast.  I hope this inspires you to make smoothies at your house!  Enjoy!

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Healthy Italian Food

Posted on March 23, 2009. Filed under: Daily life, Recipes | Tags: , , , , |

If you’re like I used to be, you probably think there is no such thing as healthy Italian food – that it all comes laden with melted cheese over mounds of pasta, with rich sauces and meats in between.  Well, that certainly is Italian food that most Americans are familiar with, but there are many regions in Italy that favor vastly different food.  Sauteed seafood and vegetables in olive oil with a few fresh spices is every bit as Italian as a plate of lasagna.    And if you keep that in mind, eating healthy Italian food becomes a lot easier.  As my mother says ‘If you can’t change something, change the way you look at it.’  I can’t change the calorie content of that lasagna, but I can change my view of a good Italian dinner.

I have a few recipes that are healthier than lasagna or chicken parmigiana, but don’t quite make the cut for my current extreme diet.  The best is Sweet Italian sausage with Tortellini.  Basically, I just prepare tortellini (fresh, frozen, or dried is fine, whatever I have on hand).  While it is cooking, I par cook the sausage until it is firm enough to slice, then finish cooking the slices.  Once the fat starts to render I add diced fresh tomatoes, onions, and mushrooms and cook until just tender.  I sometimes add extra vegetables such as bell pepper, carrots, broccoli, or asparagus if I have some leftover from a previous meal.  Then I add basil and parsley, and toss with the tortellini.  Sometimes it needs just a little extra olive oil to toss properly – it just depends on how much fat renders out from the sausage.  It is delicious, and is only about 450 calories for a 1 cup serving that’s heavy on the veggies!

Now, on my current diet I have had to cut back a lot, and sausage and pasta aren’t in the mix.  Luckily I found a recipe in a magazine for a quick, Americanized skillet dinner that is very similar.  I just use boneless, skinless chicken instead of sausage (cooked in 1/4 cup fat free Italian dressing) and skip the pasta.  (This one is particularly good with asparagus added to the sauteed veggies.)  That cuts the calories down to 190 for a 1 cup serving!  For those of you who are eating more than 200 calories per meal, you can even still have a slice of garlic bread or top your entree with cheese – in moderation.

It may take a little getting used to, but changing the way you think of Italian food will help your waistline (and the rest of you too) in the long run.

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Adventures in Budgeting

Posted on March 17, 2009. Filed under: Daily life, Money, Weight loss | Tags: , , , , , , |

Everyone is  trying to cut back these days.  Everywhere we turn we hear more gloom and doom about the economy, especially the stock market.  We’re all tightening our belts, and my house is no exception.  We started this process by cutting down or out miscellaneous spending and trips, staying with family for the trips we do take, and skipping the restaurants in favor of home cooked meals.  When our budget remained a bit tight, we added scheduling drives into town (we live about 15 miles out) so we could get things done with minimal use of gas, and we started a garden (yes, it is done now – I’ll post more on that later), and I turned into the electricity nazi (“TURN OFF the light when you leave the room!”).  We’re doing fine at this point, but I have sort of gotten into the spirit of things, so we are trying an experiment based on the 30 Days, $30 experiment by the author of the blog Less Is Enough.

After discussion with dear hubby, we decided $1 per day per person was not practical for our family.  For one thing, my husband eats more than $1 worth of food every day no matter how cheap the food is.  For another we have a 5 year old who needs balanced nutrition.  So we have decided to plan as low budget meals as humanly possible and to use what we already have in the pantry as often as humanly possible (our natural tendency is to keep an overstocked pantry, most of which never gets used) and to keep track of every single food purchase to come up with a realistic weekly budget.  We just started this past weekend, so we don’t have a lot of data yet, but by the end of the month we should have a rough idea of how much it will take to feed us.  This is, unfortunately, going to impact my weight loss efforts.  I have been eating meal replacements from my doctor’s office, but in the budget cuts those went away.  I am going to continue my diet preparing my own foods in the appropriate proportions, so hopefully I will still reach my goal by then end of April as planned.  I’ll post more on that later too.

Anyway, in my efforts to be both frugal and healthy I have been searching the net for tips and articles, and this is one of the best I found.  It is from the blog Divine Caroline, which I had never heard of before today, but I will certainly be visiting again.

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Another Weigh In

Posted on March 11, 2009. Filed under: Weight loss | Tags: , , , |

And lost 3 more pounds this week!  That brings me to a total of 18 lbs so far, with 15 to go to reach my goal weight.  And I had my second weight management group meeting, this time about setting goals.  The high points were to set realistic goals, so that you don’t set yourself up for failure, to have a plan to deal with obstacles or temptations, and to reward yourself for meeting or exceeding your goals with something other than food.  These all seem like comon sense things, now that I see them all written out, but they can be surprisingly tricky to accomplish in the real world.  Especially the part about setting realistic goals – I mean, 10 lbs in a month seems realistic to me, but it is actually a stretch unless you are working much harder than I am willing to work.  Apparently 1-2 lbs a week is more realistic, but it depends on your individual metabolic rate and activity level (all the hard work on the garden probably knocked off the extra pound this week).  This is why I am glad I went with a doctor supervised program, where I had a test done to see what my metabolic rate really is and therefore know what to expect of myself.

Anyway, for anyone else out there who is struggling with weight issues, keep the faith.  If I can do it, so can you.  Just maybe not all on your own.  🙂

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Yummy Mexican food!

Posted on March 5, 2009. Filed under: Recipes | Tags: , , , |

I have been combing the internet for healthy and tasty recipes since I started my diet, because I am trying to still eat diner with my family even though I eat the meal replacements for every other meal.  And my family got tired of 3 oz of fish or chicken and 1 cup of fresh vegetables every night.  So I have been finding meals that have around 200 calories per serving, and hubby and son can eat side dishes with theirs.

Anyway, last night I made one of these meals – and it was WONDERFUL!  I made Ropa Vieja, a Mexican dish of shredded beef with a few vegetables.  I used this recipe from MSN’s delish site.  I only used 1 1/2 bell peppers instead of the 3 it called for, and I think I could have used a whole cup of the pickled jalapenos (it wasn’t spicy at all, just flavorful).  I was surprised to find carrots in the can with the pickled jalapenos, but they were tasty, so no complaints.  And this is a crockpot recipe, so all I had to do was start it in the morning, and come back to eat it at night.  My favorite kind of meal – easy, healthy, and delicious!  I put mine in a tortilla, but you could also eat it over rice, with bread, or even on a bed of salad greens.

ropa-vieja-120

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Set backs

Posted on March 4, 2009. Filed under: Gardening, Weight loss | Tags: , , , , , , |

Well, the garden project is taking a bit longer than anticipated.  I wound up having to predrill the holes for the screws, because my power screwdriver would not push them through a 1/2 sheet of plywood AND a 2×4.  So I’m predrilling, and the bit slips loose from the drill/screwdriver (do you call it a drill while drilling and a power screwdriver while screwdriving?) and gets stuck in the board!  I did eventually get it loose, but it cost me about 15 minutes.  My little guy was right there with me of course, so only nice words allowed – yet another parental challenge!  I finally got everything all worked out, and the first side of the first box all assembled, when my power drill/screwdriver (henceforth known as the power thingy)  ran out of juice.  I guess it needed more than an hour to charge. 😉

Never fear though, we will get back to work tomorrow right after math.  (We have put all other lessons on hold while we build the garden since we are ahead of schedule in everything else anyway.)  I’ll try to remember to take pics tomorrow.

Oh, and I did weigh in today, but no weight loss to report (I’m retaining water like crazy right now, so I’m just glad I didn’t gain anything!).  I did have my first behavior modification class today.  We talked about building support networks to help us meet our weight loss goals, and about recognizing negative influences – you know, the friend/spouse/significant other who feels threatened by the changes in your life and so tries to sabotage you to maintain the staus quo.  I also got my workbook, so I have homework to do before next week’s group on setting goals.

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Adventures in Weight Loss

Posted on March 4, 2009. Filed under: Weight loss | Tags: , , , |

So, on top of everything else I’m doing, I’m also trying to get healthy.  After a regular exercise program had no effect (other than a little better muscle tone) I decided to go radical and take advantage of the fact that my regular doctor is also certified in bariatrics.  I started the Optifast program through her office in mid-January.

The program is pretty brutal at the beginning – I was cut back to 800 calories a day.  Surprisingly, it was not as bad as I thought it would be.  The doctor’s office provides meal replacement bars, shakes, and even microwaveable meals that are pretty darn tasty (the fudge graham bars are my current favorite, although I dearly love the high protein cappuchino drinks too).  And I have weekly checkups where I get a vitamin and amino acid shot that helps keep my energy up.  And of course my doc put me on vitamin supplements as well.  The best part of the program is the resting metabolic rate (RMR) test, which calculates how many calories your body actually burns in a normal day, not including any extra exercise.  Mine was 1587 when I started, so with the cut back to 800 calories, I have been losing 2-3 lbs each week.  When I have reached my goal weight (18 lbs to go!) I will take another RMR test to see what my updated caloric needs are, and I will know exactly how much I can eat every day to maintain a healthy weight.  And because I have a previous diagnosis of diabetes, my insurance pays for most of it!  (I pay for the shots and food – they pay for office visits, tests, and a weekly class for behavior modification/nutrition.  This is true with most insurance companies, and they cover weight loss treatment as a medical necessity for other conditions such as high blood pressure and heart disease also.)

I know this sounds like an extreme program, and it isn’t for everyone.  But due to my risk for diabetes and complications, and the fact that I was already 33 lbs overweight and heading up instead of down despite my best efforts, I felt it was worth it.  I have a check up today, and I start the weekly class today, so I will post again tonight or tomorrow about it.

In a combined effort toward maintaining a healthy lifestyle, educating my son, and being more eco-friendly I am starting a vegetable garden this week – so stay tuned for posts and pics of how to garden when your yard is all sand!

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