Slender Fried Chicken

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Hello Readers!!

It’s getting cold! At least where I am… I’m up in Michigan, and today we have a wind chill of -18°F. Burrrrrr! That makes today a good day to stay inside and keep warm.

Luckily, you can make yourself a tasty dinner without going out in the cold. You only need a few ingredients for this fried chicken, and it’s HEALTHY too!

It’s perfect for kids, picky eaters, and anyone who loves fried chicken but also likes to eat healthy. My boyfriend and I have this about once a week because it’s healthy,cheap, quick, and easy!

I like to dip mine in barbecue sauce (not the healthiest choice, I know), but try dipping them in my healthy honey mustard. It’s just as good and is all natural.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into chunks or strips
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • sauce for dipping (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a large frying pan, heat your olive oil for about 5 minutes on medium-high heat.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk your egg in a small bowl.
  3. Spread your flour out on a cookie sheet or plate, giving yourself enough room for coating the chicken.
  4. Dip each chunk of chicken in the egg and then coat it in flour.
  5. Gently set it in your olive oil. Be careful! The oil might splatter, and it’ll be hot!
  6. Once all the chicken is in the pan, let it fry for about 5 minutes until it gets crispy and golden brown, then flip it for another 5 minutes.
  7. To make sure it’s fully cooked, you can use a meat thermometer and make sure the chicken reaches 165°F.
  8. Once the chicken is done, remove it from the pan and put the pieces on a plate lined with paper towels. This will help soak up any extra oil and keep your breading from getting soggy.
  9. Salt and pepper your chicken the way you like.
  10. Let it cool a little bit, and serve with your favorite sauce!

Just writing this is making me want some chicken! I like to eat mine with a  sweet potato and green beans. Yum! It’s the perfect balanced meal: healthy fats, lean protein, complex carbs, and veggies.

Enjoy! Let me know how you like it and what you like to dip your chicken in.

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Healthy Campfire Foods & Snacks

Photo courtesy of HealthCastle.com

Photo courtesy of HealthCastle.com

I love summer! The best part about summer is spending time outside with family and friends. We usually have quite a few bonfires during the summer (actually, we just had one last week!). Campfires are all about eating s’mores and hot dogs, but if you’re trying to eat healthy like me, it can be hard to find something equally as delicious to enjoy!

No worries! I’ve compiled a list of some easy and delicious campfire foods for a backyard bonfire, camping trip, or even just an indoor stove-top flame.

Grilled Fruit

  • Apples
  • Pineapple
  • Peaches
  • Bananas

Top your fruit with a sprinkle of cinnamon, a drizzle of honey, a handful of raisins, some peanut butter, or even a little brown sugar!

Grilled Veggies

  • Peppers
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Carrots
  • Asparagus
  • Green Beans

Starchy Snacks

  • Popcorn (just the kernels, not the store-bought kind)
  • Corn on the Cob
  • Sweet Potatoes

Small Meals

  • Burritos/Fajitas (whole wheat tortilla filled with beans, salsa, chicken, cheese, etc.)
  • Grilled Chicken, Shrimp, or Fish
  • Kabobs (with veggies, fruit, chicken, or shrimp)
  • Peppers stuffed with quinoa and cheese
  • Pita Bread Pizzas (whole wheat pita stuffed with cheese, veggies, etc.)

It’ll take some experimenting with all of these to get them just right. It really depends on how you like your campfire foods cooked, how hot your fire is, and what equipment you have with you. For most of these foods, simply wrap them in foil and set near the coals or on a cooking rack. the popcorn and kabobs will take a little more equipment, but if you have it on hand, try it out!

I hope these healthy campfire foods make it easier for all of you to stay healthy while enjoying time with friends. It can be hard to eat healthy foods while socializing, especially when everyone else is indulging in marshmallows and s’mores. Remember: don’t deprive yourself of a s’more; just eat one! But remember to fill your belly with healthy foods too!

 

 

Healthy Snacks to Satisfy your Cravings

Today, I’ve been outside enjoying the spring sunshine! It’s just so beautiful out here! I decided to make a cute, helpful chart of healthy snacks that will satisfy any cravings you might be having.

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How are you spending this gorgeous day?

Healthy Eating versus Clean Eating

Hello readers! I’m not sure how many of you have noticed, but recently, I changed my blog a little bit. I decided I’m going to focus more on healthy eating instead of strictly clean eating. There are a lot of reasons why I chose to do this, so I thought it would be nice to share them with all of you and hear your opinions as well!

For about a year and a half, I was a clean eater, meaning I didn’t eat many animal products, processed foods, chemicals, or sugars. I thought this was the best diet for me because I wanted to be healthier and manage my weight. However, after doing more research on the Eat-Clean Diet and taking a nutrition class here at my university, I learned that this kind of diet isn’t really best for me.

Tosca Reno, creator of the Eat-Clean Diet, isn’t a doctor (neither am I), so you have to be skeptical when reading her book. I’m not saying my advice is any better than hers; this is simply why I am changing my eating habits.

Here are some reasons why I decided to make the switch from clean eating to healthy eating.

Moderation

Over the year and a half I was eating clean, I was almost obsessed with eating the right foods. This diet didn’t allow any room for moderation. Instead, I am focusing on eating so-called unhealthy foods in moderation. For example, I’m now allowing myself to eat salad dressing and other condiments as long as I eat my vegetables. I’m also letting myself treat myself whenever I have a craving, as long as I eat my fruits and vegetables that day.

Saturated Fats

The Eat-Clean Diet preaches that saturated fats are unhealthy and should be avoided. However, there is no evidence that says that saturated fats are unhealthy, so there really isn’t a need to eliminate them from your diet. I’ve reintroduced milk, cheese, and cream into my diet. Let me tell you, I’ve missed cheese!!

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Long-term Sustainability

Eating healthy is more sustainable in the long run than eating clean. It’s unrealistic to place restrictions on yourself for your entire life, so I’ll eat treats in moderation and make sure to eat my fruits and vegetables like always.

It is also a lot cheaper to eat canned and frozen vegetables than buying fresh, organic ones. Although I would love to eat organically, it’s unrealistic for me in the long run because of the high costs and difficulty finding organic food.

When eating healthy, it is much easier to eat out or indulge during social gatherings. It was always very hard for me to find something to eat at restaurants, and it was even more difficult for me to find something to eat at parties, cookouts, or other get-togethers. It was inconvenient and somewhat embarrassing to always bring my own food to social events, but with eating healthy, I can treat myself without feeling guilty.

Restrictions

When eating healthy, there are fewer restrictions than when eating clean. Healthy eating (to me) means eating the recommended servings of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, protein, dairy, and fats each day, while eating sugar and processed foods in moderation. Instead of eliminating certain things from my diet, such as cheese, beef, condiments, salad dressing, coffee creamer, desserts, and potatoes, I will simply eat them in moderation.

Calcium

I don’t know for sure, but I have a feeling that while I was eating clean, I wasn’t getting near enough calcium in my diet. I rarely drank milk, almost never ate cheese, rarely ate yogurt, and stayed away from most fortified breakfast cereals. Now that I’ve reintroduced cereal, milk, and cheese, I’m doing my bones a favor.

Cost

Organic, all-natural, chemical-free foods are expensive. Shopping at specialty health food stores can also take a toll on your wallet. I tried to buy organic, all-natural foods, but I just couldn’t afford to do it for long. Now, I buy lots of frozen and canned vegetables, and it really saves money while keeping me healthy!

Since I’ve started eating healthy and reintroducing foods back into my diet, I’ve actually felt better! My mind feels healthier and my body feels more energized. I’m not sure if I’m eating more calories or anything, but I feel like this is healthier for me than following such a strict diet with such rigid guidelines.

Some foods I’ve reintroduced to my diet are:

  • Store-bought whole wheat bread
  • White potatoes
  • Skim milk
  • Cheese
  • Beef
  • Store-bought healthy breakfast cereals
  • Salad dressing
  • Croutons (in moderation)
  • Desserts (in moderation)
  • Salami
  • Pepperoni

Hopefully, none of you readers are upset with me for abandoning the clean eating train! I’m not saying clean eating is any less healthy than a normal healthy diet, but it’s just what works best for me. I think we all need to find what works best in our lives and focus on being as healthy as can be!

What is your opinion of eating clean? How do you feel about my switch to regular healthy eating?

 

Almost Clean Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

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Ingredients:

(For about 2 dozen cookies)

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine flour, salt, and baking soda.
  2. Add applesauce, honey, vanilla, oil, and milk, and mix until it forms a dough ball.
  3. Preheat oven to 380 degrees F.
  4. Take little pieces of dough and roll them into little dough balls (about 1” diameter).
  5. Place small dough balls on a greased cookie sheet and flatten them to about 1/8” thick.
  6. Press a few chocolate chips into each cookie.
  7. Bake for 7 minutes, until golden brown.

Enjoy these with a big glass of almond milk or topped with some clean ice cream! These aren’t crunchy or crispy like some cookies, but more of a fluffy, chewy cookie that won’t crumble or make a mess.

Introducing Monday Munchies!

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Today is the first ever Monday Munchies! I decided that every Monday I’d makeover a recipe for a food I’ve been craving throughout the week. Since I have a massive sweet tooth and like junk food, I usually want to munch on something that’s not very clean or healthy.

So, Monday Munchies will usually have a clean (or almost clean) version of a not-so-clean dessert, snack, or meal. Sometimes comfort foods have ingredients that have no clean alternative, like chocolate or cheese, but I’ll try my best to make them as healthy as can be!

The first food to ever be featured on a Monday Munchies post is almost clean chocolate chip cookies!! I’ve been craving chocolate chip cookies for about a month or so. I love me some chocolate, but there’s not really a clean alternative. That’s why I have to call these almost clean.

It took some work to figure out how to make a good recipe, and I came up with this one for fluffy, chewy, chocolate chip cookies!

Ingredients:

(For about 2 dozen cookies)

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine flour, salt, and baking soda.
  2. Add applesauce, honey, vanilla, oil, and milk, and mix until it forms a dough ball.
  3. Preheat oven to 380 degrees F.
  4. Take little pieces of dough and roll them into little dough balls (about 1” diameter).
  5. Place small dough balls on a greased cookie sheet and flatten them to about 1/8” thick.
  6. Press a few chocolate chips into each cookie.
  7. Bake for 7 minutes, until golden brown.

Enjoy these with a big glass of almond milk or topped with some clean ice cream! These aren’t crunchy or crispy like some cookies, but more of a fluffy, chewy cookie that won’t crumble or make a mess.

I hope you liked the first Monday Munchies! Check back every Monday for another recipe makeover. I’m always open to recipe suggestions from all you readers!

What foods have you been craving lately? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll see if I can clean them up!

Clean Mashed Sweet Potatoes Recipe

mashed potatoes

Ingredients:

(For 2 servings)

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 Tbs. honey
  • 1 Tbs. unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Using a fork or knife, poke holes all over the sweet potatoes.
  2. Set potatoes on a paper towel in the microwave and cook them for about 8 minutes (or until soft).
  3. Leave them setting in microwave for about 5 minutes to allow them to cool off a bit.
  4. Cut potatoes into large chunks (including skins) and put them in food processor.
  5. Add honey, almond milk, and cinnamon.
  6. Blend until smooth.
  7. Serve warm.

These taste more like dessert than a side dish! If you want a creamier result, add more milk a little bit at a time. I ate these for dinner with a clean turkey burger, and I’m very very very satisfied!

Sugar-Free Gum: The Silent Killer

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Ok, so it’s not exactly a killer, but it sure got your attention, right? Even though sugar-free gum won’t really kill you, it’s definitely not good for you and has no place in a clean eater’s diet.

Unfortunately, I love chewing gum. And, I always choose sugar-free so I don’t rot my pearly whites. I’m not going to sit here and scare you or tell you not to chew gum, but I think it’s important to let all of you know what I learned the other day about sugar-free gum.

Some ingredients in sugar-free gum:

Sorbitol: Can cause digestion problems, like diarrhea, stomach cramps, bloating, and even irritable bowel syndrome.

Apartame: Artificial sweetener approved by the FDA, but some believe it causes diseases, tumors, and seizures.

Gum Base: Can include food-grade rubber, waxes, talc powder, and other substances we probably shouldn’t be putting in our bodies.

BHT: Preservative that’s banned in the UK and Japan and believed to possibly cause organ damage and cancer.

Think so-called all-natural chewing gum is a better option? Think again. Even though these gums (like Glee Gum and Pur Gum) claim to be better for you, they still contain gum base, wax, and xylitol (a sugar alcohol). These gums still have long, confusing words on the labels, so they can’t really be “all-natural.”

The only somewhat good alternatives I’ve found to chewing gum are using mouthwash and growing your own mint plant. I carry around a tiny bottle of Listerine with me in my purse or book bag. I’ve never really thought about growing a mint plant; I can’t imagine chewing on a plant to freshen my breath, but it’s worth a try!

Even though I found all these bad things about sugar-free gum, I don’t think I will quit chewing it altogether. I’ll try to cut back, but I really enjoy chewing gum. Do I have an addiction? Maybe, but I don’t think chewing a piece of gum once in a while is going to hurt.

So, moral of the story is, just be aware of hidden ingredients in some of the things you put in your mouth, but don’t stress over eliminating something you truly enjoy!

Are you a sugar-free gum fan? Let me know in the comments what kind of gum you like.

Do you have any suggestions for alternatives to gum that I can try?

10 Foods That Sound Healthy But Aren’t

Advertising can be misleading when it comes to buying healthy food. Companies label and market their products as being low-calorie, low-fat, sugar-free, low-sugar, reduced sodium, all natural, and organic, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re good for you. Here are 10 foods that sound healthy, but in reality, can do more harm than good.

Nutella

So many people think Nutella is healthy, but I don’t know why! The first ingredient on the label is sugar, followed by palm oil, and then hazelnuts. With 21 grams of sugar in two tablespoons, you might as well go eat a Snickers candy bar; there are 26 grams of sugar in the whole thing!

Reduced Fat Peanut Butter

The words “reduced fat” sound healthy, but don’t let them trick you. Peanut butter is an excellent source of healthy fats, so taking the fat away isn’t good. In its place, companies add processed fillers like corn syrup and vegetable oils.

Frozen Diet Meals

This includes Lean Cuisine, Healthy Choice, Lean Pockets, Smart Ones, and many others. While these meals offer portion control and limited calories, they lack almost everything else. They are packed with additives, chemicals, preservatives, and processed and modified ingredients. And don’t forget, you’ll be hungry 20 minutes after eating one of these meals, so why bother?

Sports Drinks

Gatorade, Propel, and Powerade are just a few. Sports drinks are loaded with sugars, processed ingredients, and additives. In just one bottle of Powerade, you’ll guzzle down 56 grams of sugar. That’s about the same as if you ate 14 Oreo cookies!

Sugar Free Drinks

This includes diet pop, flavored waters, and drink mixes. While these drinks don’t have any sugar, they have lots of artificial sweeteners instead. Also included in these drinks are acids, preservatives, and artificial flavors and colors. Sounds delicious, right?

V8

Don’t go thinking that V8 is as bad for you as everything else on this list; it’s not. But, it’s definitely not as good for you as it seems. The first word on the ingredient label is “reconstituted.” As you keep reading, you’ll see the words “concentrated” and “acid.” This is obviously a very processed food, and many of the beneficial nutrients in the vegetable juice are destroyed during processing anyway. So, you could’ve had a V8, or you could just eat raw veggies.

Canned Soups

Soup companies are geniuses when it comes to making their products look healthy. The cans are full of pictures of lean protein, veggies, and spices, misleading consumers. What’s really in that can of soup? Lots of sodium, extracts, acids, and other additives. Try making your own soup instead.

So-Called “Healthy” Cereals

There are so many cereals that call themselves healthy, I can’t possibly list them all. A few popular brands are Special K, FiberOne, Mini-Wheats, and Raisin Bran. These cereals all seem healthy until you take a closer look at the ingredients labels. They all contain sugar, syrups, flavorings, and other additives. Be careful, and read labels closely.

Baked Potato Chips

Just because they aren’t fried doesn’t mean they’re any better for you! The ingredients label for Lay’s Original Baked! Chips includes dried potatoes, sugar, so lecithin, and corn sugar. Gross! Don’t think substituting baked chips is any better for you than regular potato chips.

Chex Mix

Sure, the bag says it’s got 60% less fat than regular potato chips. So? Apparently that means they can fill their product with vegetable oil, sugar, added colors, flavors, syrups, and acids instead. The ingredients list for Traditional Chex Mix is a mile long.