In the interest of full disclosure, I am being provided with 42 Healthy Choice meals, a counseling session at BlogHer, and am being compensated. However, all opinions expressed are my own.
You can read about my previous experiences here:
Wow summer ended quickly. I feel like there are so many things that I've wanted to do but just haven't gotten to. I've been really good about eating my Healthy Choice meals, but the official exercising thing hasn't been happening the way it should. Between BlogHer itself and spending a week in Florida and then rushing around trying to get everyone ready for school, I haven't exactly made it to the gym - not that any of this is a good excuse!
Now that the wee ones are heading back to school, I'm refocused on getting my whole self healthy again. I went to the gym for th first time since ummm the end of July this week, and I was afraid of what would happen when I stepped on the scale. I haven't been eating poorly - and the Healthy Choice meals help ensure I am not overeating (too often).
The surprising result? I had actually lost a pound and a half over the four weeks of sloth-ish-ness and "big" events that kept me from my normal routine. Personally, I am giving a lot of credit to the Healthy Choice meals, as that is not my usual result from avoiding the gym!
But for now it's time to get back on track and once again get to my 5K running. I also want to focus on doing classes at the gym again. While they've gotten rid of my favorite belly dancing class, they have added Zumba and still offer Soul Grooves and various yoga classes. I'm looking forward to some of the variety and aim to do a Zumba class for the first time ever this weekend.
So far as the Healthy Choice meals go, I'm really starting to do some repeats, but I'm ok with that. I have pretty much written off the complete meals though. I'm finding a little too often that the veggies end up in the dessert or main course instead of their own container, and the desserts are consistently too sweet for me. The other options though are definitely ones that I will continue eating - not daily, but regularly - going forward, especially when I'm short on time trucking the wee ones from one place to another!
Chicken Balsamico This is a complete meal, and it was one of the better ones, I thought. The balsamic sauce is so-so, but I loved the rice pilaf it was served with (better than the overabundance of potatoes many of the beef entrees include, in my opinion). I'm a huge fan of anything whole grain, and the rice was flavorful and thankfully not overcooked, which was one worry I had. The broccoli was again soggy, even though I have begun removing the film cover to try to reduce the amount of liquid the veggies are sitting in. The apple cranberry crisp is again one of the better desserts, as it is a bit more tart.
Marinara Manicotti Formaggio I was also a fan of this entree. You have two rolls of manicotti in a tomato sauce that wasn't overly salty. It was sweeter than the sauce I generally make myself, but not bad. I spooned the sauce over the noodles midway through the cooking cycle to keep the noodles from getting hard and drying out, and that seemed to work well. I enjoyed the filling of the manicotti - rather flavorful, unlike some of the other Italian dishes I've tried - but the broccoli fell into the same category as the above. This dessert was a caramel apple crisp, and I was surprised to find that I actually liked this one and didn't find it overly sweet. I'm not sure why this was a difference for me, but I'm not going to complain!
Ravioli Florentine Marinara This is one of the Select Entrees that includes just the entree without any sides - and I'm fine with this. I don't need dessert with every meal. After not being thrilled with a couple of the other pasta entrees that I've tried, I really liked the ravioli. I think having the filling keeps it from being overcooked, and the filling itself was a great mix of spinach, ricotta, Asiago and Parmesan. It was "sprinkled" with mozzerella, and sprinkled was definitely the operative word. I'd prefer to either not have the mozzerella at all or to have more of it.
The rest of the meals I ate were repeats that I've already discussed.
And now for Tara's tips!
Don't compromise on summer cravings. Instead of completely cutting yourself off from foods you love, look for simple ways to make them healthier. I've tried to do this a lot where I add flax seeds to something, make something from scratch versus buying it already prepared and the like. And I have to say that I feel better when I do!
Fight back. Foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and yogurt contain nutrients and substances that can boost your immune system to fight off pesky germs that can make you sick. I am a firm believer in this. I love finding whole grains everywhere, and in my family we take probiotics and Vitamin D regularly - especially in the winter - in addition to eating as many nutrients as we can. I know I feel better when I do, and I think we get sick less often compared to when we don't do this.
Until next time....