I love a good meal, especially after a long day at work, or even, a busy morning at the office. In all honesty, I probably think about my next meal far too often, which is why I always keep some healthy snacks around my apartment (and loads of peanut butter). I love comfort foods, but I love making simple food swaps to make my go-to meal a healthier, more satisfying choice.
Whether I’m cooking dinner, making lunch, or throwing together a breakfast, I don’t skim on the nutrients (no matter how tired I am). With empty calories, I end up feeling really full, then feeling very hungry within a few hours. (Sorry, pancakes — I’m talking to you.) When it comes to eating well, I try and pack lunch as often as I can, so I don’t feel starving by the time I realize I should actually eat lunch.
Crazy as it may seem, I’ve never actually eaten a cheesesteak in my life (and yes, I live in Philly). Once I tried a nibble of my brother’s and couldn’t even finish it. I know, I’m crazy. When I make my own homemade meals, I do not sacrifice taste. I don’t make a big bowl of plain oatmeal pretending I’m in heaven, but I just don’t sit around eating sugar-laden oatmeal either.
Healthy food doesn’t have to be bland, boring, or just plain, tasteless.
When it comes to choosing the right foods, I find the perfect balance.
Avocado instead of Mayonnaise
I am a passionate avocado advocate. Whether I’m eating it as guacamole (I’ll pay extra, I get it), as mousse (yes, it exists), or as a sandwich spread, you can find this staple in my fridge far too often. Packed with potassium and fiber, these fruits (yes they are fruits) are good-to-eat even on their own.
Avocado can also be used as an alternative to calorie-laden spreads, such as mayonnaise. As opposed to avocado, mayonnaise is actually packed with sodium, calories, and cholesterol. Mayonnaise all-too-often gives your sandwich a bad (w)rap, no matter how many hearty vegetables you packed in. Yes, avocado does has fat, but it’s heart-healthy monounsaturated fat.
Did you know an entire avocado has only 14 mg of sodium, and only two tablespoons of mayonnaise has nearly 200 mg?
Instead of piling a heavy heaping of mayo on your sandwich, try cutting up and mashing 1/4th of an avocado and spread it on your sandwich. Not only is it delicious, but it’s good for you, and it makes your sandwich a whole lot healthier (and tastier!)
Mayonnaise: barely any nutrients. (For no nutrients, I’d rather eat an ounce of chocolate!) Avocado: lots of nutrients. I think the winner of the battle is evident.
Spinach Instead of Iceberg Lettuce
You may think choosing any green for your salad is acceptable and healthy, but don’t be fooled. In fact, iceberg lettuce doesn’t claim much on the nutritional field. On the other hand, another popular salad green, spinach, is packed with vitamins, nutrients, and minerals. At only seven calories a cup, spinach provides 56% of your daily intake of Vitamin A.
Iceberg lettuce, on the other hand, only provides you with 10% of your daily intake. Talk about a wilted leaf. For a simple healthy swap, add spinach to your omelets, pasta dishes, and even your pizza. (Just try and make it thin-crust)
Turkey Burgers Instead of Hamburgers
Got beef with turkey? Some people assume I’m a vegetarian because I only eat poultry and avoid red meat. I was raised on chicken and turkey, so red meat was never really in my house. I’ve never had a cheesesteak before and I live in Philly. (I know, I’m crazy.) I still eat burgers — just made from turkey.
Three ounces of 85% lean ground beef actually has 75 mg of cholesterol. Ouch.
Luckily, you can substitute your beef with healthier, lower calorie and lower fat meats, like turkey or chicken.
I found a great turkey burger recipe that I try and make at least once a week. I personally love adding a little bit of guacamole (avocado, again), greens, and I’m super satisfied with my meal. Even if you love red meat, you should give turkey burgers a try!
Cheese and Apple Slices Instead of Cheese and Crackers
Choose crunchy apples and low-fat cheese over overly-processed crackers with cheese. I love cheese, so I’ll never condone it (in smaller quantities). Instead, I find a healthier food to complement it, in lieu of overly salted crackers. (To be honest: I rarely add salt to any of my foods — unless it’s Brussels sprouts.)
Apples and cheese is actually one of my favorite snacks. As you can tell from my previous post, I love apples, and I usually eat them before I can even cook dishes with them. I’ve never really loved the combination of apples and peanut butter, but I really find the salty-sweet combination of apples and cheese to be really mouth-watering.
When I pick a cheese, I try and stick with a lower-calorie and lower-in-fat variety, like part-skim mozzarella, which only has about 70 calories per ounce, or feta cheese, which only has about 75 calories an ounce. You can have your cheese and eat it too.
Plain Greek Yogurt instead of Flavored Greek Yogurt
Plain doesn’t mean bland! No, you don’t have to give up taste and flavor by getting rid of your favorite fruit-flavored yogurt. Instead, make your plain yogurt actually “fruit-flavored” and adding fresh fruit, like strawberries, blueberries, and adding a nice crunch, like almonds or other nuts. It tastes so much better than artificially sweetened “fruit” in your yogurt, but it’s a great way to add some fruit to your diet.
Apple cider, apple pie, and baked apples. What’s not to love about apples (and picking them yourself?) I love to hold onto every last bit of summer as long as possible, but as soon as late-September/October arrives, I’m ready to put on loose, crochet sweaters, a pair of cognac or black boots, and head out for some fall adventures.If you’re wondering how to dress for fall, look no further!
Whether I’m attending an exciting fall festival or whipping up another pumpkin recipe, I’m ready to embrace all that fall has to offer.
This past weekend, I went apple picking at Solebury Orchards in Bucks County and picked my own Fuji and Keepsake apples. I’ve been going there for years now, and I lucked out by choosing one of the best picturesque weekend to go.
I heard it through the apple-vine that apple picking is a great excuse to load up on heaps of apples and try and master a new recipe. (Or if you’re like me, eat all the apples before I can even start whipping up my other recipe ingredients.)
When I’m juggling (literally) a bag of apples, I want to feel as comfortable and relaxed as possible. I love dressing for the fall because I can wear as many boots, leggings, and sweaters as possible, which are the most comfortable staples a girl can own.
Fall is about simplicity, so your outfit should be effortlessly chic as well.
When I like a product, I love a product. Don’t get me wrong — I’m adventurous when it comes to trying new things but that doesn’t mean I necessarily always find the keepers. I try new foundations, mascaras, and haircare products all the time, based on reviews, word-of-mouth, and even testers. I’ve tried out various makeup brands, but I always go back to the ones I can find at my local drugstore.
When it comes to my day-to-day routine, I have an everyday, simple regimen. I can’t spend more than five minutes doing my make-up, no matter how much time I have to get ready! I spend about ten minutes getting dressed in the morning since I like to wake up at 8:30, and I paint my nails maybe once every few weeks. I’ve gotten my routine down, and as long as I have my coffee (and no bed-head), I’m pretty much ready for the day.
It’s not that I don’t want to get out of bed and dress myself up; it’s more that I just like to keep a natural look. I absolutely love to buy new makeup products, but I’ve never really wanted to wear a face full of makeup when I’m going to work or hanging out with friends.
I’ve experimented with makeup when I go out on the weekends, but I’m always most satisfied when I just choose the essentials: Foundation. Powder. Mascara. Repeat!
And when I say the “essentials,” I really do mean a specific essential product. I can’t imagine living without these products now that I’ve worn (and lusted over) them for years.
It turns out, my basic makeup essentials have been my favorites since high school:
I have pretty sensitive skin so any kind of change in environment can leave my skin feeling itchy, irritated and red.
I love this Cover Girl foundation, and it’s like my second skin. Not only is it moisturizing and lightweight, but it naturally covers up any redness or imperfections on my face that result after being jolted awake by my alarm.
I’ve noticed other cream foundations leave my face looking shiny, but this one completely morphs into my skin without clogging my pores. I’ve been purchasing it for two years, and I really don’t know what I would do without it!
I absolutely adore mineral powders, but I’ve noticed some aren’t the most coverage-providing. This powder makes my skin look flawless and stays on all day. It has no added preservatives, oils, or fragrances, so I don’t have to worry about breaking out.
I’m pretty picky when it comes to adding powder to my face because I usually can’t find the perfect shade to match my skin tone. I don’t want to end up looking like a ghost or looking like I used too much bronzer.
My skin tone is pretty fair, especially in the winter. This powder leaves a flawless finish on my face without even making it noticeable that I’m wearing any face makeup. Because, hey, I’d rather eat cake than have caked-on makeup.
Talk about an eye opener! Eyelash curlers are like the coffee of my morning: a real wake-up to my lashes. I have pretty small eyelashes, so without using a curler, it doesn’t matter how much mascara I put on. For an uplifted lash, I head straight to the eyelash curler.
I’ve spent decent money on eyelash curlers before, only to be left disappointed and with limp lashes. I always revert back to the curler by NYX because, within a few seconds, my lashes look longer and thicker. I clasp the curler to the root of my lashes and hold from 5-15 seconds and voila! It looks like I slept for a whole ten hours.
I don’t wear too much in the way of eyeliner/eyeshadow, but I can’t go anywhere without mascara.
I’ve experimented with every kind of mascara: from expensive brands to drugstore brands; from shades of purple to shades of deep black; from thick brushes to thin brushes. I always revert to the same mascara. If you think “shocking extensions” is just another promotional term, it’s actually nothing but the truth.
I’ve had trouble finding mascaras that actually make my eyelashes stand out, but the L’Oreal Paris Telescopic Shocking Extensions mascara can actually make me look wide-eyed even when I just roll out of bed.
Painting my nails is a great way to relax and unwind, but I rarely have the time to sit down, paint my nails, and let them dry. (Hey, I get hungry, too.)
I usually choose a deep red nail polish on most days, but I absolutely love this Revlon brand because it’s the perfect deep raspberry/magenta shade, which looks great when I’m wearing neutral colors. I’ll wear this nail polish any and all season long, and I love Redken nail polishes because my nails actually stay polished and don’t chip for a while after.
I bought this nail polish on a whim one day a few years ago, and it’s been a staple in my life ever since!
Ok, so no one really likes Mondays, especially when you have a fun-filled weekend. It’s not like we can’t tolerate them, though, with a little brain food.
I like to prepare my meals to bring to work (most days) because it not only saves me money, but it also makes me feel healthier, knowing what exactly I’m eating.
That being said, I don’t really like spending my weeknights cooking for the week, so I’ll try and make food for the first few days of my work-week on Sunday, when I have free time. I have a few go-to favorites, but I really love incorporating chicken in most dishes. It’s a great lean protein with vitamins and minerals (which is super necessary to stay focused). I don’t know about you, but I feel beyond sluggish after eating foods with few nutrients and lots of oil, like fries.
I also love eating pasta, but who doesn’t? One of my favorite recipes is sautéed pasta with broccoli, but I love adding a protein and swapping the white pasta for whole wheat pasta.
Chicken, broccoli and whole what pasta (with marinara sauce) is one of my favorite foods because it’s not only easy to make but it’s nutritious and satisfying. It’s packed with protein, a vegetable (with nearly as much vitamin C as an orange), and a satisfying whole grain carb. In fact, I make this meal too often, and I may have mentioned it before on social media before, *cough Instagram cough.*
I like to cook my chicken on a George Foreman 2 serving classic plate grill because it takes about 1/4th of the time that it takes if I were to cook it in the oven (plus it tastes smoky and flavorful), but if you have another ninja way of cooking, then go for it!
Recipe for Chicken, Broccoli and Bowtie Pasta
(Serves 4, or maybe less, depending on how hungry you are)
-4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (I’ll buy Perdue or whatever I can find that is organic!)
-2 cups of baby broccoli florets (I just frozen Birds Eye because I can buy in bulk and save it)
-8 ounces of whole wheat bowtie pasta (I use Delallo)
-Grated Parmesan Cheese
-Salt and pepper to taste
-Spices to taste (I like using McCormick’s Southwest “Sweet and Smoky“)
-Pasta sauce (I usually just eye-ball the amount, but I always make sure to buy the sugar-free sauces. Yes, some sauces have added sugar in them.)
-In one pot, boil water on the stove, and cook the pasta accordingly
-In a separate pot, boil water for the broccoli and cook for 5-6 minutes
-Spray your George Foreman grill with non-stick cooking spray
-Preheat the grill for several minutes, and season your chicken breasts with spices and salt and pepper
-Place chicken breasts on the grill, cover it, and cook for 3-5 minutes (until the juices run clear)
-Heat up pasta sauce in a pan for several minutes (just before it boils)
-Combine your cooked pasta, broccoli and chicken, pasta sauce, and serve with garnished Parmesan cheese and additional spices. Enjoy!
I’ll get about three tupperware containers out of the above portions since I’ll eat it for dinner as well.
After I eat this as my Sunday meal, I’ll put some in a tupperware container to be my savior come Monday at noon. When my stomach starts to growl, I won’t have to reach for the first fast food meal I can find!
Have any cooking suggestions? Leave me a comment!
Who am I? Maura
What is this? My own personal blog, encompassing fashion, health, and beauty.
When? Now, whatever time it may be..
Where? Usually somewhere in Philly, (or down the rabbit hole)
Why? Because I spend so much time reading blogs and not writing my own ideas down!
So I made the blog leap. I’ve dabbled in having blogs before, but I never really went very far with them. I blogged when I studied abroad in Paris, I blogged when I wanted to post some of my writing, and I blogged when I needed to express how badly I needed to start doing yoga again. (Someday…)
I blogged for myself. I blogged for my family. I blogged for my friends.
I made a blog to discuss my love of fashion, beauty, and health. The result? “Reconstyles.” This blog is an outlet comprised of my favorite beauty products, natural recipes, and favorite fashion pieces. I want to bring together my love of healthy foods, DIY natural beauty products, fashion, and make-up.
I am happiest (and feeling my best) when I make my own meals using ingredients of known origins. My love of wellness started when I first interned with a raw food author, and I was hooked ever since. From there came my love of DIY natural beauty products, timeless clothing pieces, and living a relaxed lifestyle.
I want fashion, beauty, and health to coexist.
I believe in natural beauty, simplicity, and a style that never gets outdated. Confidence starts from within, and I’m here to express myself, whether through concocting a face exfoliator using nothing but coffee grounds and olive oil, or finding recipes that are great for my body and wallet.