One of my favorite ‘date nights’ is spent going to Mongolian BBQ and getting frozen yogurt with my hubby. This isn’t something we do every day or even every week, and when we do eat out I still make healthier choices (like choosing lean meats and veggies to fill up most of my plate, and frozen yogurt). And because we don’t do it often, we enjoy it all the more when we do go out to eat!
Because I live a clean eating lifestyle, many people may think that this means that I never enjoy anything outside of my recipes and ‘clean eating’ foods, but this is certainly not the case! My theory is that all things can be enjoyed in moderation, and I think that it also helps that I actually enjoy the ‘clean eating’ foods that I make at home and eat on a daily basis.
And you know what!?! This mindset is what keeps me on track and living a healthy lifestyle year after year, because I never feel deprived, or like I ‘can’t’ have a certain food/food group. I believe that living a healthy lifestyle all comes down to what God created us to do, which is make good choices, and living a life of balance.
Many people think that it’s impossible to ‘eat out’ while maintaining their commitment to live a healthy lifestyle. While it can be a bit of a challenge at times, if you plan ahead (when possible), and keep a few tips in mind when placing your order, you can enjoy the best of both worlds! The great thing is, a few simple ‘requests’ can save you hundreds of calories that you’d never even miss!
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when you eat out that will allow you to maintain a healthy lifestyle:
Traveling can be so refreshing. It is a time away from the every day ‘routine’ and a time to rest and relax! This can also mean a time of seriously getting off track when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. To some to degree, this can be a good thing- I always think it is good to change things up from time to time, so I take this opportunity to try some new foods, enjoy a few treats, and shake up my workouts!
However, if you don’t plan ahead, it can definitely go from being a good ‘change’ to a bad one, especially if you find yourself completely skimping out on fiber, water, and indulge in too much sugar and processed foods. Without some sort of balance, I can tell you from past experience that it is only a matter of time before you start to notice that your body (especially your digestive system) will not be happy!
For that reason, I always make sure I plan ahead when I travel and bring some healthy snacks and options with me. I hope this inspires you guys to plan ahead and pack some of your own favorite healthy treats on your next vacation! In the end, I can promise that your body will thank you!
For snacks I like to bring fruit, particularly apples because they are high in fiber and lower in sugar. They also keep fresh for a long time, and you can even buy individual nut butter packets to have with them for a well rounded snack. I also like to bring a small bag of baby carrots. I am not a huge fan of eating them once they are warm, so I try to eat those first when I’m on a long car ride, or I bring a small cooler or lunch bag if possible. I also enjoy small 100 calorie bags of popcorn on trips, because let’s face it, sometimes you need something salty and crunchy! I found this amazing kettle corn at Trader Joes, and it is amazing! Lightly salted roasted almonds are always a great snack as well. I buy the 100 calorie pack since they are higher in calories.
Whenever I travel, I try to pack some good sources of protein that are portable. The best option I have found when I don’t have access to a cooler or fridge is protein powder and peanut flour. I also bring oats with me and make peanut butter protein oatmeal with just a little water, oats, stevia, peanut flour, and protein powder! You would be amazed at how good it tastes and how much it fills you up!
I also enjoy protein bars when I travel, because there are times when you need protein, and fast! I like Mojo, Quest, Chocolite, and Think Thins! The main thing to look at with bars is the calories, protein, and sugar! I always check to make sure the calories are not much over 200 per bar, the sugar is less than 10 grams, and the protein is around 10-20 grams per bar.
I don’t always bring wrap bread with me, but if I am going somewhere that I can prepare my own food (and I will have a kitchen and fridge), then I like to bring a few packs of high fiber wraps with me. Wrap sandwiches are great for packing up in a cooler and taking with you to the beach for example! Jospeph’s and La Tortilla are my favorite brands. High fiber bran crackers are also a great thing to have around for a quick snack! I like to put a little peanut butter and low sugar jelly on them or some tuna salad!
I love to bring a water bottle with me just about everywhere I go. I like to fill it up with ice water and carry a few all natural drink mixes around in my purse! That way I always stay hydrated, without filling up on chemicals, sugar, or calories that are in most beverages! Another great quick and healthy beverage option that that travels well is my Protein Iced Coffee recipe! If you bring a shaker bottle, a packed of instant coffee, protein powder, and stevia, then it only requires that you have access to cold water (and/or ice water) on the road, and you have delicious and protein packed coffee treat!
If possible, I like to make a batch of my homemade muffins to bring with me. I love bringing muffins to snack on because they taste delicious and are packed with protein and fiber to keep me satisfied for a long time! They also stay good for about 1 week, which is perfect for a trip!
And last but not least, I do like to bring a few different flavors of gum. Now, I am the first to admit that there are chemicals in sugar free gum, but to me, if you chew it in moderation, I feel like it’s better than chewing on sugary gum anytime, especially when it comes to my teeth. I like the dessert gums by Extra, Orbit and Trident flavors!
These are just a few ideas of some of my favorite travel snacks and treats! Of course, it really depends on the type of trip you are going on, how you are traveling, and where you are going, but I almost always try to plan ahead and pack accordingly. Being prepared and planning ahead is one of the best things you could do when traveling! I also always carry stevia packets in my purse (I like to use them in my coffee), and I try to always have a protein bar in my purse as well just in case!
Also, if you are able to bring a cooler with you on your trip, some great options to pack are:
Overall, when I am on vacation, I try to be really flexible and enjoy new things…That is what vacation is about after all! However, I try to pick healthier options, and get active in some way every day! If you are traveling this summer, I hope this provided some ideas for your next trip!
If you are looking to find any of these items, many of them can be found on my Favorite Products List!
Discovering that you or your family members have food allergies can feel overwhelming. But, take heart! Food allergies don’t have to keep you from healthy eating, and often times don’t even need to keep you from enjoying the foods you love!
Here, I share some of my favorite tips and substitutions to help you navigate cooking to accommodate food allergies.
My husband and son both have severe egg allergies, so nothing I bake contains eggs. If you need to bake egg-free don’t fret, it’s easy to modify most recipes without them!
There are good powdered egg substitutes that you can purchase such as Ener-G or Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer. These work well in most baked goods.
Other options for baking can include pureed fruits like banana or pumpkin, or a buttermilk and yogurt mixture is also a good option for baking (for vegan buttermilk simply mix non-dairy milk and vinegar).
But, of all the options for baking, my favorite egg substitutes are chia “eggs” and gelatin “eggs”.
The pro’s to chia “eggs” are that chia is easy to find (Costco sells huge bags for a great price), a bit more economical, and works for vegans and vegetarians. Chia is a great option too because it’s a good source of protein and fiber, and an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids. To prepare a chia “egg” simply:
Grind 1 Tablespoon of chia seed to a “meal” using a coffee grinder or spice grinder
Mix with 3 Tablespoons of water
This combination makes the equivalent of 1 egg (if you don’t like seeing the texture of black chia seeds, white seeds are available online or in health stores).
I personally love using gelatin “eggs”. Gelatin “eggs” provide more protein than an actual egg for a skinny 47 calories per serving, plus there are other benefits to consuming gelatin because it contains collagen with can help strengthen skin and bones. I use Great Lakes 100% grass-fed gelatin which I order online from Amazon. To prepare a gelatin “egg” simply:
Mix 1 tbsp of gelatin with 1 tbsp warm water wisking until it becomes slightly fluffy
Add additional 2 tbsp of hot water and wisk into a paste-like texture
This combination makes the equivalent of 1 egg (note: if you are preparing something that calls for many eggs or egg whites, typically 3 or more, it may work best to try a combination of chia and gelatin “eggs” for better binding.)
Record numbers of people are showing signs and symptoms of dairy intolerance. If you’ve decided to reduce or eliminate dairy from your diet, here are a few of my favorite ways to keep the creamy, cheesy flavors in recipes.
For substituting dairy in foods like shakes and smoothies, coffee, or homemade ice cream, my favorite milk is unsweetened cashew milk. It’s super creamy and for only 25 calories per cup, it’s my personal favorite.
When I’m looking for ultra-creaminess and willing to factor in a few extra calories, full-fat whipped coconut milk can’t be beat. And, in moderation, soy milk (if not sensitive) is a great way to add protein to most anything calling for milk.
To add a “cheesy” flavor to foods calling for cheese, I love nutritional yeast. It’s a wonderful source of protein and minerals and lends a cheesy flavor to foods. Its great sprinkled on top of popcorn, veggies, sweet potatoes, and casseroles! For dairy-free nacho cheese I love this low-calorie recipe! We eat this on top of loaded nachos for meatless Monday! http://minimalistbaker.com/cashew-less-vegan-queso/
Other great ways to get that creamy dairy texture is with mashed bananas in baked goods and shakes. Potato-flakes are a tasty, low-calorie way to thicken soups and stews. And, a pinch of xanthan gum makes everything it touches thick, smooth and creamy. I love adding this to my protein shakes for a “frosty” like texture!
My entire family has been eating gluten-free for the past 4 years after discovering that my husband had Intestinal Bowel Disease. The idea of gluten-free living feels daunting for many people, but I assure you it is easier than you may think! Nearly every recipe can be modified to be gluten-free and still super delicious! Easy ways to replace gluten are to use rice, quinoa (my favorite) or corn based noodles in in pasta recipes. Rudi’s makes wonderful, huge, gluten-free tortillas for only 90 calories each. My favorite gluten-free bread of all time is from Canyon Bakehouse. It’s AH-mazing. But, it does contain egg, so we opt for a vegan sandwich bread from Schar. They, offer a large selection of gluten-free breads. While not quite as delicious as Canyon’s bread, it’s a good back-up. It is by far best when toasted!
As far as gluten-free flours, my go-to is gluten-free oat flour. I like that is provides a good source of fiber of protein and is versatile enough to use in nearly every recipe for baked goods. I buy Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free oats by the 4-pack on Amazon and blend half into flour using a 14-cup food processor. The ground flour can be stored in the refrigerator to keep it fresh.
If you’re navigating different food sensitivities, be encouraged! You can still enjoy so many amazing foods and nearly every recipe here on Dashing Dish can be modified to meet your dietary needs! If you have a specific food that you’re looking for an allergy friendly replacement for, you’re welcome to contact me at email@example.com. I’ll do my best to help! And, while I’m not a food allergy expert, and cannot provide medical guidance, I can certainly share my favorite foods and successes!
Have you ever been moving steadily down the path of balanced, healthy living and BAM, out of nowhere, one food can cause things to spiral out of control before you even know what hit you? Me too, you’re not alone.
I felt the Lord prompting me to share with all of you some of the ways He’s helped me to keep trigger foods in check. I pray these help free your mind and spirit today!
Out of sheer frustration one-day, I really took my struggle with certain foods to the Lord in hopes of understanding how to handle them appropriately. Truthfully, I was tired of feeling helpless to enjoy certain foods without the risk of binging. I was confused and frustrated. I’d overcome most of my disordered eating why did certain foods so often leave me feeling out-of-control and frantic? I began to press into the Lord for help. Now before I begin, I’d like to say that there are volumes of information and opinions on the addictive qualities of certain foods. I’m not going to address those; rather, my purpose for this devotional is to simply share what I believe the Father heart of God chose to share with me for the purpose of granting me more freedom and abundant life.
Is it the food or is your soul starving?
Above all else I’ve come to understand that if my spirit is starving, my flesh is very vulnerable to over eating. When I’m slipping into a pattern of overusing food, the first place I need to look is at the condition of my spirit. Have I been consistently feeding on the Word of God? Do I need to spend time with Him in prayer and praise? Almost without fail, if my flesh is crying out to be satisfied, the answer is no. In times like this, I need to be very purposeful about seeking the Lord to fill my spirit so that I use my body to glorify Him.
Proverbs 4:20-23 Amplified Bible “My son, attend to my words; consent and submit to my sayings. Let them not depart from your sight; keep them in the center of your heart. For they are life to those who find them, healing and health to all their flesh.”
John 15:4, Jesus said, “No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine.”
Understand the trigger!
I used to use food as a source of punishment. I would overeat as a “weapon” against myself. After I was restored and healed from that I was confused about why I would still over-do-it with certain foods. I took it to the Lord in prayer and He revealed something quite unexpected. He showed me that I was no longer using food to abuse myself; I was using it as a source of misdirected “self-care”. I began to understand that my need to feel good was actually a healthy instinct that just needed some redirection.
When I realized that my body was pleading for self-care I had a whole new outlook on how I viewed trigger foods. Up to that point, I believed that as long as my spirit was full I wasn’t vulnerable to over eating. While that is a KEY factor to successfully overcoming binging, the missing link for me was realizing that I also needed self-care. I began to make a connection. I realized that when I was purposeful about caring for myself in healthier ways, I could eat the same foods I might otherwise abuse without struggle. Now if I’m feeling that way, I quickly make room and time to do other things that restore me: I sit in the sun by myself doing NOTHING, enjoy a nap, I make time to get away for a little while, read something just for pleasure, or treat my body to a bath or at-home spa time. I’ve discovered that it actually takes very little to restore myself and when I enjoy a little self-care to “fill my tank” the trigger foods don’t have power over me.
Mark 12:31 “Love your neighbor as yourself.” This implies that to love others well, we must also love ourselves well.
Enjoy trigger foods in the company of others
I don’t know about you, but I rarely struggle with trigger foods when I’m in the company of others. It’s only those times I’m alone at home that I feel vulnerable. I believe the Enemy uses that time of isolation to make us weak and with no accountability we are far more vulnerable to stumbling. For that reason, I also recommend enjoying foods that may trigger you when you have the support of others around you. For instance, if peanut butter is something that you may easily overuse, trying making it something you enjoy outside of the home. Make a peanut butter sandwich to take with you for lunch or a snack. Maybe it’s dessert. Make dessert something that you enjoy when you are out to eat with family or friends. It allows you to enjoy it with praise and thanksgiving without the risk of overeating which often leads to shame and condemnation.
Ecclesiastes 4:12 (MSG) “By yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Can you round up a third? A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.”
If God says it’s not beneficial, listen!
I am a huge proponent of embracing balance in both food and exercise. After years of life learning, I have a firm understanding that any extreme is very hard to sustain long-term. Considering too many foods “off-limits” or “bad” makes it easy to stay bound to a diet mentality. That said, scripture does make it clear however, that though all things are permissible, not all things are beneficial. Even after having walked the journey to diet recovery, I still struggle with keeping chocolate within healthy boundaries. Sometimes I can eat a very reasonable portion, enjoy it, and move on – most of the time I can’t. After praying about this, I’ve heard over and over from the Lord, “chocolate is the food you need to resist.” Of all the glorious, tasty, abundant choices the Lord generously offers me to enjoy, He has lovingly directed me to stay away from only one. He knows me better than I know myself and He knows that this one food can easily lead me to a place where my flesh struggles to maintain self-control. I will tell you that when I listen to His leading on this, I am free. It’s a relief for me and increases my peace. God has told me this for years. I’m a work in progress. Most of the time I listen and obey, sometimes I don’t. But, I’m always blessed by freedom in my mind and peace of my body when I do. If you have something that repeatedly causes you stumble, I would encourage you to seek the Lord in prayer to ask if that’s something you need to abstain from as an offering of sacrifice for His blessing. In return He will give you amazing peace and freedom.
1 Corinthians 10:23 (AMP) ” All things are legitimate [permissible—and we are free to do anything we please], but not all things are helpful (expedient, profitable, and wholesome). All things are legitimate, but not all things are constructive [to character] and edifying [to spiritual life].”
I don’t know many people that don’t enjoy pizza in some form or fashion! Here are 25 ways to enjoy it in a healthier way! Simply click on the picture to take you to the recipe!
Cauliflower Pizza Bites
BBQ Chicken Pizza for One
Skinny Layered Pizza Dip
Pizza Fritata for One
Skinny Pizza Rolls
Pizza Chicken Salad
Greek Pita Pizza
Mini Deep Dish Pizzas
Pepperoni Pizza Zucchini Bake
No-Noodles Pizza Lasagna
Sweet Potato Pizza Crust Pizza
Cauliflower Crust Buffalo Chicken Pizza
Personal Pan Cauliflower Crust Pizzas
Grain Free Pizza Puffs
Pizza Stuffed Peppers
One Skillet Pizza Pasta Bake
Flourless Pizza Crust
Spaghetti Squash Pizza Bake
When someone has decided to start living a healthy lifestyle, I always suggest making small changes over time in order to develop new healthy habits that will stick. One of the first places I suggest when it comes to cleaning out the pantry and fridge is to get rid of everything that has white sugar and white flour in it. There are so many reasons that white flour and sugar are bad for your health, and I highly suggest you do some research for yourself if you don’t already know why that is. Personally, I have found that my weight, my energy, my health, and my overall well being has been dramatically improved since I removed all products with sugar and flour in them years ago.
The purpose of this post however is not necessarily to discuss why sugar and white flour are bad for our health, (although I have done so in various places on Dashing Dish), but rather it is to help you learn some easy ways to detox from sugar, and still enjoy sweets!
Where Do I Start?
One of the first places that I would suggest detoxing from sugar is to toss your processed and sugar packed foods and start filling your fridge and pantry with natures sweets! I personally love fruit, because it is naturally sweet, and it is packed with nutrition! I know that it can be tough to think about ‘getting rid’ of some of your (or your families) favorite treats, but once it is out of sight, it will eventually become out of mind! It is so much better to not even have the temptation for sugar in your house!
But what about those days that you are craving chocolate, cookies, cake, etc!?! Well, let me be the first to say that I am a ‘sweets’ girl, so I totally get that! So, instead of cutting out your favorite sweet treats all together, I suggest you replace them with a healthier option…Which is what I provide here at Dashing Dish!
What are Some Swap Outs for Sugar?
We all know sugar is not the best thing for our bodies, but all those artificial sweeteners aren’t good for our health either. So what is a good option that won’t spike your blood sugar, or add unnecessary chemicals to your diet?
After much experimentation in a quest to find a natural no-calories sweetener, I found a couple of great options. And the great news is, many grocery stores are starting to carry these products! So here are some different options to swap out with sugar, with a little review about each one! (Note: There are more options than the ones listed below, but these are the ones that I have personally tried.)
Stevia: This is by far the best natural sweetener I have found. It is derived from a stevia leaf and has been used for years in other countries. It is starting to be used more and more in things like diet soda and drinks. In my opinion, the best brand by far is NuStevia (found at many health food stores, and on Amazon). You can find stevia in the form of powder, a baking blend, packets, or liquid stevia. They even have made flavored liquid stevia, which is great for coffee!
Truvia: Truvia is made from the stevia plant and is mixed with another natural sweetener, erythritol. Erythritol is the naturally fermented sugar alcohol found in fruits such as pears and grapes.
Xylitol: This is a natural sweetener found in the fibers of many fruits and vegetables. You’ll find that most of your sugar-free gum has xylitol in it.
Honey and Agave Nectar: These are both natural sweeteners made in nature. Agave is a natural sweetener made from the plant from which tequila is made. It has a similar texture and consistency to honey. So for those that love honey in their coffee or recipes, this is great for you.
Sugar in the Raw and Coconut Sugar: Sugar in the Raw is sugar made exclusively from sugarcane.The juice is extracted from the sugarcane and then crystallized through evaporation to maintain its natural molasses, golden color and distinctive flavor. Coconut sugar is a sugar produced from the sap of cut flower buds of the coconut palm. Coconut sugar has been used as a traditional sweetener for thousands of years in the South and South-East Asian regions where the coconut palm is in abundant supply.
How to Swap Out Sugar for Stevia in Recipes:
When it comes to sweeteners, I personally like to use baking stevia and stevia packets like I mentioned above. However, all of these recipes call for a sweetener that measures like sugar, which includes any sweetener that can be measured the same as sugar, or you could use sugar if you prefer.
If you prefer to use stevia or another sweetener, you will have to alter the amount based on the conversion table below, or according to your desired taste. This can take some experimenting, but once you get a feel for baking with different sweeteners, it is very simple to know how much to use. To get you started, I have provided a simple conversion table that works with stevia.
Please also note, that the amounts listed below may vary based on the brand of stevia you are using. The following chart pertains to NuNaturals stevia, which is the brand I personally recommend. If you are using baking stevia, simply use 1/2 of the sugar the recipe calls for. I also provide a ‘sweetener of choice that measures like sugar’ in all of my recipes, and if you do choose to use sugar in the raw, coconut sugar, or regular sugar, you can use this for determining the amount to use in the recipe.
I hope that this information helps you on your journey to health! To find sugar and flour free recipes that still allow you to enjoy your favorite sweets, be sure to check out the Dessert section on Dashing Dish, and my new Cookbook 100 Simple Recipes for Clean Eating, which is packed with sugar and flour free sweet snacks and treats!