Healthy Dinner under 440 calories: Coconut Tilapia with Apricot Dipping Sauce

I’ve been making an effort to start cooking more and have been pleasantly surprised at my actual ability to do so! I found this recipe on AllRecipes and modified it a bit (took out the bread crumbs, egg, and baked it instead of fried) to make it super healthy! It came out delicious! And with everything else the entire meal is only 439 calories!

I just bought a bag of frozen Tilapia that comes in 4oz portions – varying brands may have different cooking suggestions, here’s what I did.

Ingredients:

  • frozen tilapia
  • coconut flakes
  • apricot jam
  • brown mustard
  • frozen veggies
  • minute brown rice

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease pan (I used a glass Pyrex pan) with pam and place in tilapia. Cover with 2-3 tablespoons of coconut flakes, bake 16-18 minutes or until baked through and tender to the touch of a fork (should break in half easily)

Cook frozen veggies and 1/2 cup brown minute rice as directed. (I always use chicken broth instead of water with the rice, it adds a lot of flavor and only a few calories)

Mix 2 tablespoons of apricot jam with 1 tablespoon of brown mustard.

Serve and enjoy!

I also made a second portion for my lunch tomorrow. It’s like a homemade lean cuisine meal! 😉

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My Top 5 Favorite Healthy Snacks, Eating Habits, and Progress Update

When I first started this blog I had this all or nothing attitude, much like many of my fitness and health attempts. I either do it every day, every week, or I don’t seem to do it at all. That’s not productive OR effective. So I’m back on here making the effort to contribute to my blog more consistently much like my health and fitness goals. 🙂

Lately I’ve realized that even though I’ve lost 40lbs in the last 18 months, I’ve still got 20 more to go. When you first start to lose weight, it can melt off, I’m not saying it’s not hard, because any lifestyle and habit change IS difficult, but the first shift in eating and working out tends to yield bigger results at a faster rate, especially depending on how much weight you have to lose when you start.

In order to meet my next goal I am going to have to focus in on my nutrition and eating habits more than ever. Maintaining my weight hasn’t been an issue, AT ALL. In fact, once you reach a goal weight you can usually start eating slightly more calories everyday than you did to lose the weight. Which is a great incentive for people just starting out. I remember feeling like “OMG THIS IS GOING TO BE FOREVER!” and it’s not true. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel and it does involve being able to eat more, just in moderation, as always 😉

Today I wanted to share with you some of the products/snacks I’ve found that are REALLY great when you are trying to stick to a low-calorie diet for a while to lose those last 5-20 lbs. Making sure you are satisfied and full at all times is VERY important. Feeling like you’re starving yourself and unhappy is the best way to binge eat at night, at least, it always was for me. Brown rice and chicken breast EVERY night with no variety, yeah um ok, I’m gonna go make nachos with a pound of cheese now. So let me show you some of the things I’ve been keeping around my apartment lately to keep me happy knowing I get a reward without jumping off the deep end.

Today I was shopping at Safeway after a killer workout at the gym. I love grocery shopping after I workout, it keeps me accountable. I think to myself “people see me in workout gear and see all the sweat on my back, so they are gonna assume that I’m going to be eating healthy” which means I really do shop smarter. Use these kind of mind games to your advantage 😉

There are some things I’ve learned I can’t buy or keep in the house, like nutrigrain bars or those Quaker Oats Chewy Dips (OMG the peanut butter chocolate ones are sooo good). Sure they really aren’t THAT bad for you, coming in at around 150 calories, the problem is I can’t eat just one and before I know it the box is gone, I feel guilty, and that “smart” snack ended up being me murdering the cereal isle. Learn what these kind of snacks are for you. And when you do go to buy snacky snacks, make them count. Look for high protein, fiber, low sugar (this can be hard, I try to aim for 11g or less), and healthy fats. Here are my current 5 favorite snacks in no particular order:

Snack #1 – Oatmeal!!!

I recently discovered these BetterOats oatmeal packs at QFC, I’m sure they have them other places, too. The main reason I fell in love with them was that they pouch they come in can also be used as a measuring cup for the water you need. This was great since I wanted something I could take to work and eat on the go. Another reason why these are great is that many of them contain flax which has great benefits for your skin, lowering cholesterol, etc. Also, they are just flat-out delicious and most are under 160 calories with 3g of fiber and 3-4g of protein. Here are some of my favorites below! Perfect to throw in your car or in your office at work 😉

Snack #2 – Dreyer’s Creamy Coconut Fruit Bars!

I can eat healthy ALLL day no problem. But something about that hour or so after dinner and I want something sweet. When hot tea doesn’t cut it (always a good go-to at first) I let myself have either a skinny cow ice cream or one of these babies. I LOVE coconut and when I found these in the ice cream section I was soo excited! Real chunks of coconut in these makes them heavenly. And only 120 calories and even 3g of protein makes it a great dessert!

Snack #3 – Iced Coffee Drink (great for weekends and the Summer Summer SUMMER TIME!)

Oh it’s warm out and I hear Starbucks calling my name! But those frappichinos are a NO GO and even the smarter choices they have there are pricey! Here’s a healthy (and cheap) solution to get your summer coffee fix. On the weekends I always make at least 1/2 pot of coffee for myself even though I never finish it all. Around 2pm when it’s cooled down I’m ready for a pick me up. Fill a cup up about 2/3 of the way with ice and pour in left over cooled black coffee into the glass then top off with either coconut or almond milk. I made this one with coconut since it’s a bit sweeter and has a kind of tangy kick to it, makes for a great drink and no blender needed! I’m a HUGE fan of almond/coconut milk. I’ve switched over from regular milk months ago and I don’t think I’ll ever go back. Fewer calories, less sugar, and waaay more calcium. I drink it now by the glass sometimes and couldn’t tell you the difference. Plus the unsweetened almond milk I get is 35 calories/glass! Can’t go wrong there 🙂


Snack #4 – Veggies with hummus!

I LOVE any type of veggie with a bit of hummus. The key is getting a small bowl or plate out a head of time and limiting the amount of hummus you are going to eat. Otherwise you’re going to end up halfway deep into a Costco sized tub of hummus with it all over your knuckles, just sayin’. Peppers can be pricey so I often buy them frozen and then let them thaw out ahead of time and then NOM NOM NOM! They are also great mixed in with eggies or over brown rice.

Snack #5 – Quaker Banana Nut Bread Soft Baked Bars!

I JUST bought and tried these today and OMG I am impressed! I often have a hard time letting myself buy any kind of bar or cereal bar because many of them are full of sugar and expensive! These were on sale and I thought I’d give them a try. Plus, if you start to think about how much you were probably spending on nachos and beer every Friday night, spending $3.79 on a box of 5 cereal bars that will help in your goals doesn’t really seem that bad. I went ahead and warmed one of these up like the box suggested for about 15-20 seconds in the microwave and I really felt like I was eating something I shouldn’t be. I took my time and ate very small bites at a time and it truly felt like a dessert! Only 140 calories, 5g of fiber, 6g of protein – I think I may have found my new afternoon snack!

I also thought that in this post I could show you a few pictures to let you know where I am right now. I’m currently 5’5” and last time I checked around 170lbs. Even though I am a STRONG believer that the scale is NOT something you should measure your health by. Scales don’t know the difference between muscle mass, fat, and visceral fat which is internal fat. Point is, there’s a LOT of ways a body can look at a specific weight. So here’s mine.

I never thought to post pictures of my body because I just kinda thought it’s not something people necessarly want to see or are interested in, but the more health/fitness blogs I read, the more I realize how important the personal stories are. Seeing what other people’s day to day lives are like and the struggles they come across are really what help to inspire others.

What are some other snacks that you love? Any homemade recipes or suggestions? Keep at it! Everyday is progress!

Badass Honey Badger Fitness Challenge!

 

Ok – I know my blog posting has went waaay down in frequency. And I will post more, May has just been super crazy. So as a treat to encourage you not to stop reading my blog, I give you, the ultimate diet/exercise plan. Well, what my friends and I are going to do at least. Also – I have to give credit to my pal Becca (on the right in the picture above) she not only made that amazing photo but helped with a lot of the tips below 🙂

First of all, this is a marathon – not a sprint. We are all in this together and the more we share with each other about our progress, our hurdles, and our occasion chocolate binges, the better. There is strength in numbers and we haz lots of them. Below are some suggestions/tips that Becca and I have come up with.

 A lot of people want someone else to hold their hand the entire way, tell them what to eat and when to workout. But come on 1) that’s not realistic and 2) the minute someone tells you what to do you’re just going to find a way to not do it. No one thing works the same way for two people. I could eat nothing but bagels for 4 days and gain 80lbs where you might do the same thing and gain a cup size, it doesn’t make sense. Just because a friend did something doesn’t always mean it will work the same way for you. I want to encourage HEALTHY (not crazy) eating habits and lifestyle changes. Let’s encourage each other to always eat enough food, never starve ourselves or try to kill ourselves with too much exercise. Let’s also realize that just because you fall off the wagon and eat an entire cake (what, I’ve done it) doesn’t mean you have to give up forever. It means that the second you put that fork down and wipe the frosting off your face you’re going to reach for a glass of water and the next meal you decide to eat will be good for you.

 DIET TIPS/SUGGESTIONS

  • No eating after 8pm.
  • Only lean proteins, vegetables, and unprocessed sugars/starches. For example, a serving of steamed yams or fruit are acceptable side dishes/desserts. Limit carbs but don’t take them out completely. If you’re going to eat pasta or bread chose whole grains and breads with lots of fiber!
  • Drink only water, black coffee, or unsweetened tea. Sugary and/or carbonated beverages are OUT.  No alcohol (FAACK). Also stay away from Diet soda if you can. Diet soda contains a chemical that can actually increase your appetite, plus, come on, that shit ain’t good for you.
  • Snack often, but think healthy 100-calorie options that are high in protein and low/no carb, such as grapes, yogurt, nuts, veggies, low-fat string cheese, etc.
  • Keep portion sizes small.  A portion of even lean meat is only the size of a deck of cards, and truly no other portion in any meal should be much bigger.  If you want seconds, have extra salad or veggies—and eat slowly to feel full faster.
    • Sometimes I’ll eat Lean Cuisines for a while (although very high in sodium and NOT the best choice) they have helped me to shrink my stomach and train my eyes about how much I should be eating at once.
  • Track everything consumed on LoseIt.com (let’s find each other on there and be friends, too!)
  • ONE cheat meal/dessert per week to keep us from feeling deprived.  But make it COUNT (think CHIPOTLE). 
  • Drink WATER! Tons of it. Try to get to 100oz a day. I know it sounds daunting and can take a lot of effort (and trips to the bathroom) but it’s a great way to clear up your skin and flush toxins (and fat) out of your body.
  • Eat more fiber! Eating 30-35g or more of fiber a day can magically eliminate an additional 200-300 calories. Well the magic part is in your poop, but you get it.

 EXERCISE

  • Work out a minimum of four days a week, and a maximum of 6. This can be done before work, after work, on the weekends, and by a combination of these if necessary. And lunch runs count!
  • Allow your body one full day of rest to repair muscles. Do not work the same muscles two days in a row.
  • Workouts should include cardio as well as strength training, and even classes to keep it fresh and fun.
  • Remember to track all exercise and calories exuded on LoseIt.com as well.
  • I started up a 10-day fitness challenge of my own. I’m doing the Turbo Jam workouts below and eating healthy meals, staying around 1200 calories/day.
  • Create your own 10-day kick off challenge and rotate cardio with resistance training!
  • Remember that the more you workout in one day, the more you can eat. See Loseit.com