What’s for Lunch?

Okay, I have been thinking long and hard about what I want to blog. I have a couple recipes [Sweet Potato Fritters, Chopped Thai Salad] that have been sitting in the draft section of my blog posts [FOR MONTHS], and I just haven’t taken the time to search for the photos or remake the recipes to make sure that everything is right.

So, I am showing you some of the meals I had during my internship.

Oh. Backup. Update. I’M A DIETITIAN! Yes. A registered and licensed dietitian in the state of North Carolina. [Insert party emoji] How the heck does that sound!? Pretty stinkin’ good. I finished my internship in early May, took my exam late May, and a few weeks ago I accepted a job in the area at a hospital. I will write a post on all of that soon, but I wanted to throw a food post in first.

During my internship, I had to pack lunch almost every day. This was a struggle sometimes but a great learning experience and let’s just say I was eating pretty dang well!

Here are some ideas for lunches and snacks. I eat a morning snack and afternoon snack, so that’s why it looks like so much food, haha! I find lunches to be hard (as well as dinners.. planning can be tough!) so hopefully you can find some inspiration.

Oh, and here’s how this is going to go down: M = meal, so there’s M1-5 (breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner). That means if M2 = morning snack, M3 = lunch, and M4 = afternoon snack. Lastly, please excuse the photo quality. I packed these bad boys at night when there is no sunlight.

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M2 .. Okay, I’m really trying to remember how this one went. Hah! We will say M2 grapes & nuts, M3 asian cucumber salad & sweet potato chips, M4 hummus & peppers [and this was probably a Monday, on which I did spin at 6pm and usually ate a banana beforehand, hence TWO M2s!]

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M2 Larabar [the best flavors are Coconut Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Chip, and Chocolate Brownie! OH and the Mint Chocolate Brownie is TO DIE FOR], M3 salad with all the fix-ins like black beans, tomatoes, edamame, spinach, carrots, etc. & grapes, M4 granola bites at my internship and a banana on the way to the gym!

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M2 Larabar & apple slices, M3 salad & tortellini with homemade sun-dried tomato pesto [holy yum], M4 yogurt & banana [can you tell how much I like bananas yet?]

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M2 Clif bar & pear slices, M3 wrap & sweet potato chips, M4 grapes

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Pictured above is meal prep madness! This is 2 days worth of food: M2 Larabar, M3 Chopped Thai Salad & pears with cinnamon or mixed berries, M4 banana!

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M2 yogurt + clementines, M3 salad [with sun-dried tomato pesto!] & pears, M4 tomatoes

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M2 mixed fruit, M3 salad & cucumber with guacamole, M4 banana!

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M2 trail mix, M3 salad & apple, M4 not pictured – WHAT?! Maybe a banana?!

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And lastly, snack edition! On Wednesdays, I would get a shrimp burrito bowl [Burrito Bowl Wednesdays!] so I only packed snacks. M2 nuts & pear, M4 guacamole & celery!

Hope you all enjoyed this peak into what I’ve been eating. Despite not blogging, I’ve documented a lot of my meals and might incorporate some into posts but I do like an official photoshoot with my food to make it pretty for the blog. Hang tight for that and tips on how to become a dietitian (and how to stay sane while doing it!).

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Healthy Snacks

Snacks can be difficult. Since starting this internship, I’ve had to pack so.much.food to keep me energized throughout the day. To keep metabolism up and keep yourself running on healthy fuel, having healthy snacks around is a must.

Snacks aren’t just for healthy grazing during school or work, they can also be great to keep cravings down during holiday parties. Holiday parties at work are common this time of year, and there are usually leftover goodies! Munching on a healthy snack can keep you from turning towards the Christmas cookies or donuts in the break room.

Healthy snacks are also great to enjoy before going to a party with friends or family because it can help keep you from eating too much at the party. Here are some things I like to munch on or keep in a lunch bag near my desk for when I become ravenous and need a little boost:

during the holidays:

apples – these are in season!
hearty cranberry muffins

cranberry muffins 1

granola bars with a little extra protein, like Luna Bars or Kind Bars
spiced nuts

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Also, be sure to check out these healthy snacks! These range from snacks for kids, snacks at work, to vegan snacks! YES, vegan snacks are delicious. See the hummus and veggies below!

any time of the year:

hummus & veggies

hummus veg

grapes
celery with peanut butter
popcorn
fruit and yogurt parfait

parfait

banana with peanut butter
cheese stick
handful of plain nuts

nuts

In the end, try to keep snacks light (200 calories or under) and healthy! Try a fruit and maybe add some protein for increased satiety. Remember, snacks keep you energized until your next meal, they can help keep your blood sugar stable, and they are great for metabolism. Go pack a snack to take tomorrow, your body will thank you!

Minestrone

I’ve been considering bringing Dietetic Dish back.

minestrone

I know, I know. I’ve said this before. But I’ve been learning a bunch of things about cancer prevention, health, and survivorship at my community rotation in my dietetic internship and it’s too good to not share.

So, if you’re interested, you can check back in SOON for updates! If you’re not, then you’ll just have to get the brief version right here.

This soup. It has several cancer fighting foods in it. Yes. Tomatoes have lycopene, a phytochemical that helps protect your body against cancer. Lycopene is more available and better digested in cooked tomatoes and super high in things like tomato paste and tomato sauce (because how many tomatoes does it take to make tomato paste?!). This will make you feel better when you eat pizza but it’s also comforting to know that all those tomato-based soups you eat during the winter are extra good for you! And no, this doesn’t mean that raw tomatoes are bad or any less good for you, but something about heat breaks down the exterior wall of the tomatoes and allows the lycopene to be digested better. In the end, just eat the dang tomatoes.

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Garlic is also a cancer fighting food! Have you guys ever put garlic IN the oil that you’re heating on a stove before sautéing veggies? It helps flavor the olive oil! It’s pretty neat. I learned that from a friend who studied abroad in Italy. I talked about it at a lung cancer nutrition class and no one had ever done that. You should try it. Tonight.

Soups are pretty fab because you just kind of throw whatever you want in there and they provide leftovers for you for DAYS. Win win. And, if you have a crockpot – my husband just gave me a crockpot for Christmas, which I think makes me officially a wife (even though he got it because apparently not having a crockpot is an absurdity and completely unacceptable, as I have heard) – then you could throw all of this in the crockpot in the morning before work, come home, and voila. Soup.

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I’m pretty excited to do more with this crockpot but for now, we have soup. And lots of phytochemicals to bash down any chances of cancer.

Minestrone
Adapted from the Vegetarian Times

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 medium onion, diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup chopped carrots
3 stalks of celery, chopped
1/2 c sun-dried tomatoes
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 c frozen corn
4 c vegetable broth
1 15-oz can diced tomatoes
1 c whole wheat pasta

  1. Sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil over medium-low heat with the oregano and basil until the onions are translucent.
  2. Add the carrots and celery and cook until slightly softened.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer for 20-30 minutes and enjoy hot.
  4. Add extra broth if reheating leftovers; the pasta absorbs a lot of the moisture.

Smashed Chickpea Salad

As a vegetarian pescatarian (does anyone feel like I’m being snooty when I say pescatarian? Should I just OWN it?), we don’t get a lot of opportunities to have tasty smashed salads.

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Like chicken salad. I use to LOVE chicken salad. Gah, there’s this place called the Carving Board in Winston Salem and they have the BEST chicken salad. True story.

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And now that I’m thinking about it, I guess there are opportunities for smashed salads. Egg salad. Tuna salad. I’m not really into tuna salad. Tuna isn’t really my thing. I got ahi tuna the other night at a new restaurant that my husband and I tried before Mockingjay Part 2 (THE BEST) and it was… different.

I digress.

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This, my friends, is an opportunity for you to have a non-chicken-salad-smashed-salad. Something to slather on crackers. Something to put in a wrap or on hearty whole grain bread. Something to dollop onto a bed of leafy greens. This chickpea salad is delicious. It really is. The dill makes it. And the finely chopped celery. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Smashed Chickpea Salad
Adapted slightly from the Oh She Glows cookbook

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 c dill pickle relish
1/4 c finely chopped red bell pepper
1/4 c low-fat cottage cheese
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp dried dill
3 tsp lemon juice
Salad toppings: black olives, feta, avocado, olive oil & balsamic vinegar

  1. Smash the chickpeas with a potato smasher or pulse in a food processor until chickpeas are roughly chopped into small pieces, but not smooth.
  2. Add remaining ingredients! Stir and enjoy!
  3. If choosing to do a salad, put chickpea salad over greens and add avocado, black olives, feta, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.

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Greek Kale Salad

One of my dear friends from college came all the way from Boston to shoot engagement photos of my fiancé and me. She brought her dashing boyfriend with her, and they are the dream team of photographers.

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Katie used my camera to take photos, while he used hers, and I finally have the itch to really understand this camera. It’s intimidating. It’s big and it has a lot of buttons and features and words that I have no idea what they mean. However, it takes a mean and beautiful photo, so I am excited to give it a try.

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I’ve dabbled with auto focus and have had success, but the time has come for me to graduate to manual. I can do this. I can do this. Katie is an unbelievable inspiration with her photography, between taking photos of landscapes, people, and food. She also makes a mean mojito.

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So, with my inspiration shining bright, I decided to plunge back into blogging. I cooked for the fiancé, wrote down the recipe, and snapped a few pictures. I’m quite proud of myself, actually. Goal: two posts a week. What do ya say?

This greek kale salad is pretty amazing. If you’ve never massaged kale, you’ve clearly never lived. Raw kale is crunchy and tough and predominantly unappetizing. However, massaged kale is soft, tasty, and full of whatever flavor you rub into it. Add it to some tangy feta, salty kalamata olives, and juicy edamame, and you have a summer salad at its finest.

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Greek Kale Salad
Adapted slightly from Jeanette’s Healthy Living

4 stems of kale, leaves ripped off and washed
1/8 tsp garlic pepper
1/8 tsp lemon pepper
1 zucchini, thinly sliced
1/3 c kalamata olives, rinsed and sliced into thirds
1/3 c crumbled feta
1/4 c olives oil
1/4 c raw apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp dried thyme
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

1. In a medium sized bowl, massage 1 tbsp olive oil, garlic pepper, and lemon pepper into kale leaves until leaves turn dark and softer.
2. Add zucchini, kalamata olives, and feta to the bowl of massaged kale.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together 3 tbsp olive oil, 1/4 c apple cider vinegar, thyme, and oregano. Pour over kale salad and top with fresh parsley.