Lean Up Challenge Week 3: Leftovers

Leftovers…

Utilize them. Prep once, eat for a week! It can save time and makes for easy planning.

For example:

Tonight Bake a large piece of Salmon and 3 sweet potatoes while stir frying A LOT of veggies in a spoonful of chicken fat leftover from broiled chicken last week: onion, kale, green beans and red peppers, simmered in a bit of red wine.

salmon in foil

Tomorrow Have tacos from leftover fish. With shredded cabbage, tomato and avocado.

fish tacos food fixings

Friday Slow cook grass fed ground meat, toss in the leftover stir fried veggies and add marinara sauce for a goulash style meal.

Saturday Take whatever steelhead is left and make fish cakes (recipe from last week).

salmon cakes

Sunday Using any leftover veggies in the fridge from the week make a crustless quiche (recipe below).

As for the leftover sweet potatoes, have these for breakfast with some nuts or a hard boiled egg. .

Another easy idea: Use or make lots of leftover soups and stews. You can chop up any leftover meat and veggies, cooked or not, place them in a pot or a slower cooker with water and spices, let it cook or simmer on medium for a few hours and whala! You have meals for days. Add a little cream and blend for a different texture the next day.

The same goes for any slow cooker or crock pot meal; a good way to make multiple meals in one shot with little effort. Not to mention a way to quickly use produce that may otherwise go bad.

soup

Leftover crock pot and soup meals can be divided into individual or family size containers and frozen for easy grab meals when you don’t have the energy or time to cook. Your own version of a frozen dinner; healthier, tastier and cheaper!

To keep these meals as healthy as possible: Avoid adding pre-made sauces and dressings; stick with simple flavorings of your own, such as vinegars, mustards, hot sauces, soy sauce, garlic cloves, ginger root, bay leaves, fresh herbs, pickled vegetable, dried peppers and various extracts.

quiche

Crust less Quiche:

  • Pre- heat oven to 375° F.

  • Dice up 2-3 cups worth of leftover or fresh veggies and place in large mixing bowl (if choose to use potatoes, use pre cooked or cut very thin).

  • Add ½ cup shredded or crumbled cheese, 1/3 cup milk, plus whatever herbs, spices or extras you would like. Some fun options include: roasted garlic, pickled jalapenos, olives, cilantro, sun dried tomatoes, whatever you may have around. Mix lightly.

  • Add 6 eggs and mix again until egg coats all ingredients.

  • Grease bottom of cast iron skillet or glass baking dish, pour mixture into skillet or dish so it is evenly distributed and place on middle rack of hot oven to bake for 30-40 minutes; until firm and brown on edges.

  • Let sit to cool before eating.
Advertisements

Lean Up Challenge Week 2: Fish

Fish…

salmon

An amazing addition to the diet. It is full of a healthy balance of fats and protein. Any kind will do, but wild caught fatty fish, which includes salmon, steelhead (trout), tuna, and mackerel, are going to be the most nutritionally dense. Aim for 1-4 servings of wild caught fish a week to reap the most benefit from this food source.

For more details on the health benefits and how to pick the best tasting and healthiest fish options, read The Wonder of Wild Salmon.

Here are a few fish recipes if you are at a loss of how to cook this amazing sea animal:

Fish Strips:

  1. Cut skinless fish fillet (pink fish work better than white fish for this, or any more “hardy” fish that won’t flake easily) into inch thick strips.

  2. Place ½ cup flour (any type will do, can use cornmeal as well), 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp onion powder and 1 tsp pepper into a plastic bag, set aside.

  3. Place 2 eggs into a shallow glass dish and lightly scramble.

  4. Heat flat skillet with 1-2 Tbs coconut oil on medium heat. Dip each fish piece into egg, letting any excess drip off, then place into bag with flour mix. Once all fish pieces are in the plastic bag, seal it and use hands to mix the fish with the flour mix until all pieces are coated lightly. Take out one piece at a time and place onto hot skillet.

  5. Cover and let cook 3 minutes, flip pieces over once, drizzle lightly with balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and/or hot sauce, if desired. Let cook another 3-5 minutes until golden brown and flaky.

Baked Fish:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 F. Place fillet of fish skin down on a piece of aluminum foil with about 4-6 inches extra on all sides (enough to cover it).

  2. Grind or sprinkle pepper, salt, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne pepper (if you like it spicy) on the fish. Squeeze 1-2 tsp ground mustard onto fish and use back of fork or spoon to spread it evenly. If the fish is fresh from the water, mustard may be too strong a flavor and may want to leave this out.

  3. Drizzle lemon juice and/or place thinly sliced lemon over the top. Can add sliced onion, fresh garlic and/or springs of fresh herbs if you have them as well.

  4. Cover fish in the foil so that it does not touch the top of the fish leaving a small gap at the top to let air in. Place fish in foil directly on oven rack. Cook for 20-30 minutes depending on how thick the fish is. Check for doneness by holding the fish in the foil in your hand with a hot pad, open foil slightly and press up from the bottom. If the fish flakes open in the middle it is done, if it sticks together it needs a few more minutes. It is better practice to pull it out a little early, keep it covered and let it sit at room temperature to cook a little more in its own juices (over cooked fish is not as tasty).

  5. Eat whole, or, use in tacos, salads, soups, sandwiches, or for one of the following recipes.

Salmon or tuna salad:

Mash together in small bowl 3 oz pre-cooked or canned fish, 1/3 avocado, 2 Tbs hummus and 1 tsp mustard; paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper to taste. Can do just avocado or just hummus as well, or mash leftover baked sweet potato into these. Cut up pickles and tomatoes are also a fun addition. Use as a dip with raw veggies or spread on toast or tortilla.

Salmon Cakes:

  1. Break cooked/leftover salmon into small pieces in mixing bowl, removing any bones as you go.

  2. Add 2 chopped green onions, 2 chopped cloves of garlic, 1 egg, 1/2 chopped or mashed sweet potato OR ½ cup rolled oats, 1 large chopped celery stocks or pickle and a little ground mustard, plus cayenne to taste. Can add any fresh or dried herb you like here as well!

  3. Mix thoroughly with hands to combine. Using hands, mold into small patties.

  4. Cook in melted butter over medium heat, 3-5 minutes each side, or until golden brown.

Lean Up Challenge Week 1

The goal of the Lean Up Challenge is to adopt healthy eating and activity habits and “lean up” your body composition within a given time frame. Body fat, weight and waist circumference measurements are an easy way to do this. (Do not rely on just one of these measures, as all are helpful to see individual progress.)

The tips and recipes I will be posting here at NutritionByJules.com, every Monday for the next seven weeks, are meant to accompany your personal Lean Up Challenge. Measures should be done pre and post, to allow two months time for changes to occur with your new healthy habits.

Kick off week 1 tip: Plan ahead and Log

Keeping a detailed plan of what you will eat and what activities you will do is a self maintenance tool to hold you accountable for your actions. This will help you feel, and actually be, prepared for healthy change! When you have a schedule to stick by there is less room for extra snacks, unnecessary intake, and laziness. Include in your log notes on goals for that day, or special circumstances to consider.

Once you have your plan in place, you must execute it. Buy and prepare the foods you have in your plan and then use them. At the end of each day, record what you actually did, including notes on goals you accomplished or still have, how you feel, and likes and dislikes.  

Logging in this way is meant to keep you aware of your actual food and beverage intake, activity and feelings in general. These are not always comfortable things to become aware of, but forcing yourself to do so is a necessary step in order to break old habits and form new ones.

Logging may be something you love and continue forever, or it may be something you try for a week or so, pick up a few tips and then taper off as you are more comfortable with your food choices.

 

Here are two fun recipes to get your started on your planning journey:

Kale Chips:

Ingredient options:

  • Soy and sesame= 1 Tbs soy sauce, 1 Tbs sesame seeds (optional)
  • Salt and vinegar= 1 Tbs sherry vinegar, 1 tsp salt
  • Lime and Chili= Juice from 1 lime, 1 tsp lemon zest, 2 tsp chili powder
  • Balsamic vinegar= 1 Tbs balsamic vinegar, 1 Tbs Dijon mustard, 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • Roasted garlic= 2 cloves garlic finely chopped, 1 tsp garlic salt
  • Creamy dill= 1 Tbs sour cream, 1 Tbs fresh chopped dill (or dried) 
  1. Pre heat oven to 300 F. Wash, dry and remove stems from 1 bunch of kale. Tear into bit size pieces. Place kale and 1 Tbs olive, grape seed, avocado or sesame oil into large Ziplock bag. Seal bag and rub oil into kale pieces.
  2. Pour flavor ingredients of choice into baggie, close tight and shake and rub the kale again until completely covered in the flavorings.
  3. Shake and rub a little more
  4. Dump kale out onto a lined or lightly greased baked sheet and bake about 20 minutes or until crispy.  

 

Mama’s Homemade Granola :

Combine the following in a large, non-plastic, mixing bowl:

  • 5-6      cups large flake oats, mix of multigrain and old fashioned
  • 1      cup raw almonds, slivered or whole
  • 1      cup raw crushed walnuts or pecans
  • ½      cup ground flaxseed or chia seeds
  • ½      cup wheat germ
  • ½      cup oat bran
  • 1/2      – 1 cup pumpkin and/or sunflower seeds
  • 1-2      cups raisins and/or dried cranberries, cherries or blueberries
  • Optional=      ½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • Optional=      cinnamon, nutmeg

Pre-heat oven to 350 F. In a medium saucepan heat 2 cups fresh ground peanut or almond butter, ½ cup honey and 2-3 tsp vanilla extract (optional) in 1 inch water until simmering. Stir occasionally.

Pour hot mix over dry ingredients and stir to coat; make sure to dig down to bottom of bowl to ensure all dry ingredients are covered with sauce mix. May want to do this in small batches to make sure all dry ingredients are coated. If want to have chunkier granola, then make more sauce to add to dry ingredients.

Spread the wet granola loosely over baking sheets with a lip (to avoid spilling); no more than an inch thick. Place in oven and bake for 45 minutes to an hour stirring ever 10-15 minutes. Edges will get brown faster, so stir thoroughly to make sure granola toasts evening.  

Let cool and store in air-tight containers.