Sunday, August 25, 2013

Weekend Food Prep

Prepping meals and healthy eats ahead of time is a huge lifesaver in our household. Between training, work and other activities, there's very little free time (or extra energy) for me to cook during the week. Lunches are especially important, since I tend to get to work very early and the hubby will eat oreos if I send him empty handed! Reality: without healthy choices on hand, we both tend to default to a bread and PB or bread and eggs diet (not completely a bad thing some days... just not everyday).

While I still do some prep during the week, having a head start on the leg work certainly helps provide a little extra momentum to get going after a busy day. One of the main things I focus on is taking evaluation of what's already in the fridge and needs to be used. I try to base our meals around veggies, so I start the process by turning on some music, spending time chopping up all unused produce in the fridge (can't stand food waste!!), and making a plan from there.

Benefits of Weekend Meal Prep:

Health-saver: Grab and go healthy foods, meals throughout the week.

Sanity-saver: Less brainpower needed after a hard day's work!! Also: Less dishes to clean throughout the week (meaning theoretically the kitchen stays cleaner...)

Time-saver: Multi-task by preparing multiple dishes at once. Save even more time by preparing double batches for the freezer!!

Energy-saver: Again, you can cook multiple recipes in the oven at once.

Money-saver: Save $$ by eating out less, less reliance on convenience foods.

Here's a snapshot of what I made last weekend:

Round 1

Clockwise: Fresh cut veggies for stir fry or curry and leftover broccoli stems (I ate with hummus), marinated tempeh for tacos (recipe soon!), stir fry with veggie "beef" tenderloins for grab-and-go meals, quinoa and baked sweet potatoes for lunches.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

RD 2 Be: Undergrad

With a new fall semester about to begin, I will be taking on student interns at my job. I love the fact that I can give back to the program that fueled my desire to become a dietitian and provide encouragement for RD's to be! Since I am constantly being asked about how I decided to become a dietitian, what my schooling was like, etc, let's start here with the story of undergrad...


When I arrived at Virginia Tech as a freshman (2005!), it was to become an engineer. My mom wanted me to be a Civil Engineer, but I was more thinking Biomedical. Long story short, I had applied early admission to VT's School of Engineering, showed up to my first two math classes, decided I now hated math and dropped the major within the first week. Just looooong enough to buy all that expensive software... oops :)
Go HOKIES! With Mom, Sophomore Year.
The main reason I switched was because I wanted to pursue a career that more closely reflected the healthy lifestyle I was also striving for. Yes, it was against the grain of what my parents wanted for me. Yes, I was also going through a huge rebellious phase. More importantly though, the decision served as a pivotal moment in my life in realizing the importance of following my passion and intuition. I switched majors to Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise (HNFE), originally with the intention of becoming a physical therapist, but that somehow that later evolved into me joining the dietetics program.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Recipe: Sweet Potato Almond Oatmeal

Oatmeal has always been my go-to breakfast before long runs and races. It's rich in carbs yet light on the stomach and will stick with me for hours (in a good way!). This past weekend I had a 3+ hour long run on the schedule and I knew I was going to need some serious pre-fuel to get me through it. I decided to up the ante a bit with some baked sweet potato that I already had on hand and I'm loving how it turned out. Not only was this delicious, the sweet potato + oatmeal + chia combo really helped to keep my energy levels stable so I could power through my run. And who doesn't love that?

[Makes 1 Serving]

1/2 -2/3 cup oatmeal, dry
1/2 medium sweet potato, cooked, skin removed
1 tbsp chia seeds
1-2 tbsp almond/peanut butter
Honey or agave nectar, as desired

Cook oatmeal according to directions, then mix in the sweet potato. You can mash it all together, but I decided to dice the sweet potato and put on top. Add your chia seeds and PB, combine and enjoy! A sprinkle of cinnamon as desired :)

How do you like to dress up your oatmeal?

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Run-Life Balance

The timing of this post is pretty impeccable, because after 4 weeks of working hard, travel on top of training, this girl is tired!! No doubt I need a break, so I'm heading to the beach to be with family, sitting my bum in the sand, enjoying good food and drink and minimal training. I am more than ready to relax and recharge before taking on a BUSY fall of racing!


While a huge advocate of moderation, I'm often a person of excessive enthusiasm that LOVES to do everything. It's true! Doing what you love is important, but the saying "too much of a good thing" is also very real. I've been running since the age of 10 and it's essentially everything I know. Though it's an important aspect of my life, I'm learning it's not everything and how to not take it too seriously. Why? Because I love running enough that I want it to continue to be a sustainable source of joy for a VERY long time.
Can I pleeeeease go back to being a kid??
That's me, age 10, Youth Cross County Nationals.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Nature's Bounty: Veggie Filled Recipes

If you've been following my farm share and garden updates, you know that we've been spoiled by a bounty of fresh vegetables for a while now. A week before leaving for camp my fridge was filled to the brim between two weeks worth of our farm share, veggies from our own garden and gifts from two friends... I was overwhelmed!! In a good way, of course :)

I had to be creative in my use of everything we've had on hand. I didn't want anything to go to waste, yet I also didn't want to go spending extra money to follow complicated recipes to use them up. So this post can serve two purposes:

(1) Ideas on how to eat more veggies if that's a goal of yours and...
(2) How to use veggies in mass quantity if you have an over-abundance on hand

Saturday, August 10, 2013

It's A Balancing Act . . .

Family, friends, work, exercise, extracurriculars... it all adds up and it's a tricky process keeping it all in balance. I just returned from a three-day work training session and the final topic we covered was work-life balance, or as they liked to call it "work-life integration." I'm glad they left it for last, because it was left fresh in my mind to ponder for the 6+ hours it took me to make it home.

The information was pretty useful, so my turn to share!

Why is work-life balance important?

When it comes to nutritional and mental health and just overall well-being, balance is huge! In my weight management counseling, there are many people who's biggest issue is simply setting limits in their professional lives to take care of themselves. The same deal goes towards setting limits in their family life. In my eyes, taking care of yourself first isn't selfish (within reason), it's a means of sustainability and long-term health.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Joni & Friends Cooking Club - Take 2!

Last year I had the honor of organizing and leading the Cooking Club for Joni & Friends Family Retreats and it was quite fun! I'm so happy I was able to design, return and head up the club once again for week 3. Though I quickly renamed the club to be "Cooking Chaos," with 10 campers and their STM's on average participating, food just seemed to be moving in every which direction.

This year's camp theme was race cars, so for inspiration I looked to the disney movie "Cars." There are a lot of "Cars" themed birthday parties out there that provided perfect food-related activities inspiration. 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Beautiful People

When the time came to sign up for Joni & Friends this year, I told my husband that I didn't want to go. And by "not wanting to" what I really meant is that I didn't think I was capable of handling it. Being in my first year at a my first full-time job, getting away is tough for me to manage and the thought of taking time away to volunteer? Exhausting. What I thought I needed was a vacation where I could sit and do nothing and sleep. Sleep sounds good!

Now that Joni camp 2013 is a wrap, I'm left in awe of all the wonderful experiences I've had this past week! It's been without a doubt it's been my best year yet, and I'm so incredibly thankful for time well spent in fellowship with friends and in worship. My husband has said for years how special this place is and now I get it. The JAF staff really go all out with the decor, activities, skits and leadership. There's a lot of fun to be had, but the one thing that sticks with me at the end of the week is all the beautiful people I had the opportunity to know and interact with.

The real joy of any camp is always the lasting friendships that form within such a short time. JAF is a place where we feel comfortable enough to let our guard down, and the raw and real interactions that result are truly uplifting. Expectations of who you are or need to be are thrown out the window and each person's unique character is celebrated as beautiful. While I am leaving camp behind a bit tired and dehydrated, it's because I had so much fun I didn't want to stop moving! More importantly, I'm leaving feeling refreshed, with a grateful heart and filled to the brim with inspiration from having spent a week with some of the most amazing people I've ever met. 
Missy (L) has a knack for making everyone feel love and special. 
Stephanie (R) spends her entire year looking forward to camp, the only vacation she ever wants to go on. 

Follow by Email