BLT Pasta Salad

bltpastasalad

I restarted the BBG (Bikini Body Guide) program by Kayla Itsines a couple weeks ago and have been trying to watch what I eat so it doesn’t cancel out all my effort that I put into the daily workouts. I always seem to feel more satisfied with my meal-plan when it consists of lots of greens and vegetables. This week I have two similar salads scheduled, this BLT Pasta Salad and a BLT Caesar Pasta Salad. Yes, someone likes bacon in their salads. I will eat the BLT Pasta Salad Monday thru Wednesday and the BLT Caesar Pasta Salad Thursday and Friday. This weekend is much too eventful with the kids getting out of school, graduations and birthday parties so I will be trying to behave to the best of my advantage during such. Keyword, “trying.”

Now before you think “this recipe calls for ranch dressing AND barbecue sauce, it can’t be that healthy”; hear me out. This is 6 servings. I cut my servings in half since I’m only having this from Monday thru Wednesday. While you can choose to find a more healthier alternative to the ranch dressing (ie lite ranch, fat-free ranch, yogurt ranch) just know that you’re going to be mixing the portion of it with 6 cups of tossed romaine lettuce. Feel better? 

bltpastasalad1

There’s something about mixing ranch with barbecue sauce. When I didn’t watch what I ate, I used to ask for a side of ranch and a side of barbecue to dip my french fries and chicken nuggets in. It still sounds good. But not having to run for an hour and a half to work it off doesn’t, so I think I will just stick to having that ranch and barbeque in this salad. 

BLT Pasta Salad
Serves 6
Your favorite go-to-sandwich just became a salad with pasta.
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Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 6 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
  2. 2½ cups uncooked bow-tie pasta
  3. 2 medium size tomatoes, diced
  4. 4 turkey bacon strips, fully cooked and crumbled into small pieces
  5. ½ cup ranch dressing
  6. 1 tablespoon barbecue sauce
Instructions
  1. In a medium size saucepan over med-high heat, cook pasta according to package directions. When finished cooking, drain in a strainer over cold water to cool down completely.
  2. In a large bowl, add pasta, tomatoes, bacon and romaine lettuce.
  3. Using a small bowl, add ranch dressing and barbecue sauce. Stir to combine first, before pouring overtop pasta salad mix. Toss gently and serve immediately.
Notes
  1. This can be stored for 3 days in an air-tight container. Just don't add the romaine lettuce until right before serving.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

Pesto Pasta Salad

pestopastasalad
The thing I love about pesto is the variety of ways you can use it. It’s common for us to use it during the summer for a healthier version of grilled cheese for adults. I say adults because I cannot imagine either kid liking pesto and so I am saving myself the trouble of even wasting such a delicate and tasty sauce.

This Pesto Pasta Salad is a branch off of a Balsamic Mozzarella Tomato, or bruschetta salad. You’re welcome to use any sort of pesto sauce that you like, but I recommend making your own. 

pestopastasalad1
Pesto is pretty easy sauce to make. I prefer to make my pesto over purchasing it because I like to know everything that goes into it. A classic pesto recipe only requires a few things and just takes you a few minutes to make. Add each of the following ingredients (except cheese) into a blender until everything combined resembles a paste. Remove from blender and add cheese.

Pesto Sauce:
4 cups fresh basil leaves, washed and dried off with a papertowel
½ cup olive oil
¼ pine nuts
2 garlic cloves
½ cup Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Note: If you’re making 1 day ahead, transfer sauce to a small bowl and refrigerate. 

 

Pesto Pasta Salad
Serves 4
Penne noodles with a homemade pesto sauce, diced tomatoes and fresh mozzarella cheese.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
8 min
Total Time
23 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
8 min
Total Time
23 min
Ingredients
  1. 8-ounces whole wheat penne pasta
  2. fresh mozzarella cheese
  3. 3 roma tomatoes, diced
  4. 1 cup pesto sauce, homemade recipe above
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan over med-high heat, bring water to a boil. Add penne pasta and cook according to package. Drain and let cool water run over pasta until chill.
  2. In a large bowl, add pasta, mozzarella and tomatoes. Add pesto sauce and stir well. Serve immediately or refrigerate in a well-concealed container to chill.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

Turkey Caesar Sandwich

caesarturkeysandwich

Chicken Caesar Salad, or just a side caesar salad, has always been one of my go-to choices when I’m eating out or needing a quick throw together lunch for the week. But salads get tiring after so many and sandwiches are nice but let’s be honest; half of the time they’re not the healthiest choice you can make. Ugh, carbs. 

So while trying to fix the solution, I scanned through the bread section at our local Market District and found this fantastic loaf of bread; Aunt Millie’s 35 Calorie Whole Grain. I’m still trying to limit my bread intake, but if I’m craving a sandwich now I know I can enjoy one that’s not to the roof in calories. 

OK. So since salad is getting a break, now it’s time to give chicken a break. I’m sure it’s probably the one source of protein/meat that you eat most per week. Luckily, turkey is just as good (especially for a sandwich) simply because of the similarity and it can be bought with low sodium. You can keep the caesar dressing though. It’s extremely easy to make, uses a few ingredients you may already have on hand and tastes GREAT with turkey. 

Now you have a sandwich that’s as close to a caesar salad as you’re gonna get. And it may infact be healthier. Cheers to that!

Turkey Caesar Sandwich
Serves 1
Give Chicken Caesar Salad a break. At least for one meal.
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Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 slices whole grain low-calorie bread
  2. 2 leaves of romaine lettuce
  3. 3 ounces low-sodium turkey, thinly sliced
  4. 1 slice of tomato
  5. 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese
  6. 2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
  7. 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  8. dash of Worcestershire sauce
  9. black pepper
Instructions
  1. Combine Parmesan cheese, mayonnaise, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce in a small bowl, mixing well. Lightly sprinkle black pepper. Spread onto slices of bread.
  2. Add romaine lettuce leaves, turkey and tomato.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

Healthy Egg Salad

eggsalad
When I was younger, I used to associate eggs with breakfast. Now that I’m older and have been working out for the past year+ on a pretty consistent basis, I associate eggs with the word “protein.”

With the daily recommended protein amount being 46 grams for women and 56 grams for men, eggs (6 grams each) are a fantastic source when starting the day off, or even eaten as a hard-boiled treat in-between-meals snack. But sometimes we get tired of the same ole eggs for breakfast routine and want to switch it up for something else. You can still get your daily egg or two in with this simple and healthy egg salad. Add it over-top of a rice cake or have it as a sandwich.

 

Healthy Egg Salad
Serves 4
A delicious serving of egg salad; perfect for lunch or snack as a sandwich, ontop of a rice cracker or simply by itself.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 6 hardboiled eggs, shells peeled and chopped into small pieces
  2. 2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
  3. 2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
  4. 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  5. 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  6. 1/3 cup celery, diced
  7. 1/4 cup green onions, finely sliced
Instructions
  1. 1. Using a medium size bowl, mix eggs, mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, lemon juice and Dijon mustard. Gently fold, but enough that you’re combining all ingredients well.
  2. 2. Add celery and green onions, again mixing well.
Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod
Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

The Importance of Meal-Planning and Meal-Prep.

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “Fail to plan, plan to fail.” I often wonder if the individual who thought it up was trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Healthy is not easy. There’s several components that go into the equation when it comes to trying to reroute your daily diet into something that your body will appreciate more than those greasy drive-through french fries. The most important components? Meal-Planning and Meal-Prep. Lets face it though. Not everyone loves meal-planning and not everyone loves cooking. I think you have to enjoy both in order to have a deep and committed relationship with planning a menu and looking forward to prepping food. And while meal planning can be time-consuming and meal-prep, a process (think 2-4 hours spent in your kitchen on a Sunday morning) they’re also the key to a successful healthy lifestyle.
foodprep

When I started out on my journey towards becoming more fit and healthy one year ago, I actually looked forward to the process of meal-prep. I was following an e-guide program that lasted 28 days and came with an already scheduled meal-plan for the week, grocery list to check off, which foods I was prepping on what day and what my workout was. Everything is easier when simply laid out for you. But doing so, this taught me how to continue making healthy choices when the program was over. I just had to follow two rules

1. Allow yourself 5 meals a day. That’s right. FIVE!:

Now before you get all bug-eyed, hear me out. I understand you’re either looking to lose weight or maintain. Eating 5 meals a day isn’t going to contribute to weight gain if you’re eating correctly and not just anything and everything in the fridge or pantry – in fact, 5 meals allows your body to use energy stores and burn more fat.

The easiest and most foul-proof way to do it is to fit one small snack in after breakfast and another after lunch. This leaves less need to over-indulge at dinner and less chance of finding your hand in the chip bag. That’s right – no more Doritos fingers!

2. Prep twice a week.

Yes, my friends. When I say twice a week, I mean you will be eating left-overs. I’m sure when you were younger the thought of eating last night’s dinner again for dinner tonight gave you the hebeegeebees. Not anymore! Left-overs are now your body’s best friend. Please don’t imagine microwaving frozen pizza. That’s not the kind of left-overs I meant.

It’s a lot more easier for you to schedule repetitive meals for a few days. This calls for less overall prepping and saves you some cash at the grocery store. It also rids you of that “what should I cook for dinner tonight?” headache. I, personally, meal-prep on Sunday and Wednesday. That means Monday-Wednesday I eat the same breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, and dinner. Thursday-Saturday, same thing. Sunday is my exception day. I try to maintain healthy choices, but don’t have a set plan.

Seems easy enough, right? Everything is as enjoyable as you allow it to be. Prep and dice your vegetables while listening to music or use Pinterest to find healthy alternatives to your favorite foods. And don’t forget the tupperware! Not only are you going to need plenty of it, but you get to pick some out in all shapes and sizes. The cute little dressing ones are my favorite!

 

(Pictured above is ingredients for Chorizo Breakfast Burrito)