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Striving for Balance

Posted on by Susan Posted in Eats | 2 Comments

Hi friends, how are you?

I am busy, busy, busy! Essays are submitted but exams are coming up soon. Studying + taking care of the little guy are a crazy combo.

The sad thing is, when I’m stressed, healthy eating just flies out the window. In addition to all else that’s going on, I get so overwhelmed with having to plan out meals, grocery shopping (without a car), peeling, chopping, cooking, assembling, you name it. Lately, I can often be found eating dinner by myself because of our weird schedules, so I don’t even feel like setting the table properly.

It’s so easy for busy people, to get trapped in junk food routines and the resulting cravings of even more of that stuff. It makes me feel terrible (literally, I don’t feel good – bad skin, moodiness, fatigue, etc) and I sometimes need to remind myself of the importance of balance, even though I fall off the wagon sometimes.

Long story short, here are some of my personal strategies to ensure a balanced diet during stressful times:

1. The slow cooker is your very, very good friend! Spicy Black Bean Soup is not only high in protein and fibre, but the spice will warm you up on a cold and rainy day. Another favourite of mine is Rendang Beef Curry and Roasted Tomato Soup. It also works well to make big batches of food to stock in your freezer.

2. Layer your veggies: I often end up scooping my dinner on top of a handful of ready-to-eat, washed greens. I love the hot/cold combo and I can customize it any way I want. Works well with leftovers!

3. Pay for convenience: I’ll admit it – even though I love seasonal produce fresh from the farmers market, packaged, pre-washed and chopped veggies, fruit, and salads are all great to have in your fridge, when the least thing you want to do is peel and chop. With prepared veggies, all you have to do is throw them into a dish and you are good to go. Whole Foods hot bar is pretty steep, price-wise, but can be worth every penny if it saves you from having to stand in the kitchen for hours. I also love their oven-ready quiches (just heat and eat) with a big side salad and their spring rolls.

4. Compromise: If you do end up getting takeout, try to go for something other than burger or pizza. Subway is a favourite of mine, because I can load on the veggies and skip the mayo and sodium-loaded deli meats. When opting for frozen food, try to go for a thin crust pizza (I love McCain ultrathin spinach pizza. It’s lower in calories than a regular crust frozen pizza - 610 calories for one pizza). :)

5. Cheat: Even when I’m on an all-time best, when it comes to eating mindful and balanced, I always allow myself a treat. For me personally, it works better to eat a small piece of chocolate (or drink a hot chocolate…) when I crave it, instead of depriving myself from it. If I do the latter, it will most likely backfire and I end up eating the whole bar. But some people actually do prefer a more rigorous diet regime, so obviously pick what works for you. 

That’s it, no scientific background here, these are just my personal, tested tips and tricks to make sure my family eats healthy during busy times. Although not everything might work for you, I hope you find some of it useful. If you have any other tips to share, I’d love to hear back from you! Feel free to contact me or leave a comment, with your time-saving strategies for a balanced diet.

Now if I’d only find the time to catch a yoga class!


The Blog Vacation is over!

Posted on by Susan Posted in Random | Leave a comment

Hey friends!

As you may have noticed, I’ve been missing in the blog action lately. Due to my CRAZY workload this term, I just didn’t have the time and energy to blog in addition to studying and writing essays. I did however take a lot of pictures from my eats during the past month. I still have a few essays to write, one of which is due in three days (15 pages – yikes!) and I haven’t even finished the book on which it will be based… 8-O

Therefore I will keep this post short. I just wanted to update you that I still exist, and the food posts, reviews and recipes will resume next week, after this term is over.

But here a few a few random eats from the past weekend:

This is what my lazy packed lunch looks like, when I have the early shift at work: cheese sandwich with mustard and cucumber, apple, chopped veggies, BYOAM (Bring your own almond milk – my work only has cream for coffee), single instant coffee packets, cereal bar.

My breakfast that day was an unpictured but yummy creation of steel cut oats, cinnamon, walnuts, raw cocoa nibs and almond milk. I really enjoy hot cereal on these cold, rainy days.

Moving on:

Beef Enchiladas – or my simplified version thereof! ;-)

I got inspired by this traditional recipe, but used what I had on hand instead. The recipe is very elaborate and time intensive because it uses homemade corn tortillas and sauce and involves multiple steps of dipping, then filling the enchiladas, etc. but it sounds super delicious. If I ever have the time, I will try sticking to this recipe as close as possible.

I served mine with a side of chopped veggies, sour cream, guacamole and my favourite salsa: Mrs. Renfro’s Hot Mango Salsa.

And finally, today’s breakfast included this:

Slice of olive bread topped with avocado, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, and a berry-banana-orange-spirulina smoothie. I also had a cup of Swedish coffee (from IKEA).

To tackle the mountain of books and homework, I used my Megamind straw. :-D I got it from the kids combo at the movie theatre.

That’s it for now, I have to go finish a book and do some brainstorming. I can’t wait for the end of this semester. Take care and see you soon!


Fitness Friday

Posted on by Susan Posted in Workout | Leave a comment

Hey Everyone!

How have you been? I’ve been busy with essays and presentation prepping. 8-O

Since it is Friday today, I thought I use this post to recap last weeks fitness efforts, as well as share my plan for next week. Maybe I can compare the results next Friday to see if I actually did what I was going to do. ;-)

This week actually has been slightly lazy in the fitness department. One yoga practice (DVD at home), one cardio session on Thursday and Zumba planned for later today. No motivation this week!

However, for next week I’m hoping to have a little more energy to do 3 cardio sessions (Mon, Wed, Thu), 1 yoga session (Tue) and 1 Zumba class. I also think that this might be aiming for too much, as I have to prepare a long presentation for class and might be stuck doing that instead. :-( If that’s the case I will skip one of the cardio sessions (but not my yoga class – this girl needs some stretching and relaxing).

Yep, that’s the plan. As I said, I might let you know next week how it all turned out. I do want to get in shape though, so I will try and keep to this schedule as close as possible.

Have a great weekend!