10 Healthy recipes for your super bowl party

Having the Super Bowl the first weekend in February is an assault on all the well-intentioned people who make New Year’s Resolution to eat healthier.  One month into the new year and BAM you’re hit with an event that gives everyone an excuse to eat things like chicken wings and nachos.

Yes, I just had to google “super bowl food” to see what normal people eat at Super Bowl parties.  I’m well aware of my location outside of the regular folk who know these things thankyouverymuch.

The Super Bowl is just one of a string of events that could lead to an entire year of unhealthy eating (and drinking) if we let it.  After the Super Bowl, there’s Valentine’s Day.  Then it’s Fat Tuesday, St. Patty’s Day, Easter, Cinco De Mayo, summer cookouts, the 4th of July…you get my drift.

Rather than use every event as an excuse to eat unhealthy food, I propose we create delicious alternatives that don’t taste like deprivation.  While I think it’s totally fine to indulge in things like wings and nachos on occasion, if you have a goal in mind that you’re working towards (like losing weight after having a baby), here are some choices that are kinder not only to your waist line, but your total health.

Everyone loves guacamole, so why not whip up this Football Game Guacamole?

Instead of regular potato chips, try these delicious veggie chips. They’re always a crowd favorite.

Dips and spreads make perfect Super Bowl food; this vegan carrot spread is a healthy choice.

If you are looking for some healthy finger foods, try these quinoa pizza balls.  They are fantastic and perfect for all ages!

You could also make Cocoa-dusted almondsParmesan Roasted Chickpeas, or these cute little Spinach-Cheese bites (great toddler food, too!).

If you are feeding a crowd and need a main dish idea, try these Vegan Sloppy Joes.  They are fast and easy, too.  Another option is my Three Bean Vegan Chili, which can be made in the slow cooker.  Easy peasy!

If you need something sweet, make these healthier than the usual Brown Rice Crispy Treats.  No one ever guesses that these are healthy!

I hope this gives you some ideas for healthy alternatives to the usual Super Bowl food.  Now you can watch the game, eat delicious food, and keep those New Year’s resolutions in check.

Tim’s from Massachusetts, so we’ll be cheering for the Patriots to pull out a victory.  Although Meghan’s not sure if they are going to be her team or not.  When we were trying to test her allegiance one day, I said, “Daddy likes the Patriots and Mommy likes the Lions.  Which team do you like?”

She paused, and then answered confidently, “I like the Monkeys!”

Exercise update: starting is the hardest part

After my 6 week (already?!) postpartum check up on Thursday, the doctor gave me the green light to begin exercising.  At first, I thought, I’ll start on Monday. Then I realized that I was just putting it off.  Why not start now?  What was so special about Monday?

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So instead, I just started.  On Friday.  The last day of the work week.  The beginning of the weekend.  The day I look forward to relaxing with some sweet and salty popcorn and watching a movie with my love.  I started.

I don’t have a detailed plan for my post-pregnancy fitness.  We don’t have gym memberships so my options are limited what I can do at home or outside.  I just plan to get creative and do what I can, when I can fit it in, to get myself back in shape and feeling good.

Ultimately, I want to start road racing again, something I haven’t done in four years.  I miss it.  I know I have a long way to go before I’m in road racing shape as it’s been over a year since I’ve ran any significant distance, but I’m excited to get back into it.

There’s one little thing holding me back from jumping into running feet first–it’s January and I live in Ohio.  I guess that’s two things.  Anyway, I have painful memories of my college track days, when I was forced to run outside in frigid temperatures.  I vowed I’d never willfully run in weather under 50 degrees (I’m such a wimp) again.  After college, I moved to Arizona and didn’t have to.

Now I’m back in the freezing Midwest and know that it’s time to either put on my big girl panties and run in the cold weather, or talk Tim into buying me a treadmill.  A treadmill isn’t in the budget right now, not that the thought of running on one day in and day out is that appealing either.

So.  I’ve decided to mix up some cold weather running (spring’s right around the corner anyway, right?) with some workout options I can do at home.  I have a few exercise DVDs, including P90X and also like doing plyometrics and circuit training with hand weights, which can easily be done in my living room.

For Friday, I found this home fitness workout on Pinterest and decided to modify it and let it be my inaugural workout  (jumping jacks six weeks after having a baby=not a good idea).  Here’s what my modified workout looked like

I did each exercise back-to-back and took a 1-2 minute rest between each set.  This was just the type of workout I needed to jump back into fitness.  It was short, it only took me 20 minutes, but fairly intense.  The wall sits were killer!

When I finished, even though I’d only done a 20 minute workout, I felt a fantastic high.  I’d started.  The first workout was under my belt.

I didn’t work out on Saturday, but today, Sunday, I braved the cold for a run/walk outside.  The wind was blowing fiercely, but I bundled up and gave it a go.

I wanted to give myself some grace on my first attempt to run, so I didn’t set my expectations too high.  I told myself that I’d likely walk more than run and that would be okay.  I wasn’t going to beat myself up over it.

Then something happened.  I got really, really cold walking.  I walked for about 5 minutes and thought about turning around probably 35 times.  I forced myself to start running before giving up.  I told myself I could walk when I got to the next street, which was only a few hundred yards away.  Well, I passed that street and just kept running.  It kept me warm and I felt good, so I didn’t stop.

Completely surprising myself, I didn’t walk any more, and ran for 30 minutes.  I wasn’t running fast.  I’m sure I looked like a fool.  But I ran.

And now here I am on Sunday night, with two post pregnancy workouts to my credit. They weren’t super impressive or overly difficult, but they’re done.  Now I don’t have Monday and the prospect of having to start working out hanging over my head when I go to bed.

I started, and getting started is the hardest part.

What do you need to get started on right now?

Quinoa vegetable stew

These days, it’s a major accomplishment when I’m able to get into the kitchen and make a meal that takes longer than 15-20 minutes to prepare.  When I do, it’s got to last me a few days.

This stew is perfect because I made a big pot and we were good to go for three days of lunches.  And what’s better than a bowl of warm, comforting stew on these dark, wintery days?  Not much.

Completely vegan and filled with vegetables, this stew is as healthy as it is comforting.  What are you talking about?  Healthy comfort food is not an oxymoron.  Try this stew and you’ll be convinced.

Orange Almond Energy Balls

Let’s face it.  We all could use a little more energy.  Everyone has something in their life that steals their energy, whether it’s a demanding career, school, or being a mom.  For me, it’s juggling being a wife and mother to a 3 year old and newborn that is robbing me of my usual energy levels.

These energy balls are helping me get through the day when I’m up to my elbows in spit up, trying to get Meghan to go to the bathroom before rushing out the door in time to make it to her gymnastics class.

They don’t work quite as well as a strong cup of coffee or a nice, long nap, but they are keeping me fueled when I need it most.  I love that they are a grab-and-go snack that Meghan enjoys just as much as I do.

I make a lot of different varieties of fruit-and-nut balls and bars, but I don’t usually post the recipes.  I’m posting this one because these are unique and full of incredible flavor.  There is a strong orange flavor that is complimented perfectly by the dried plums, cinnamon, and vanilla.

The best part is that this is a no-bake snack that can be ready to consume inside of 15 minutes.  For this busy mama who is seriously lacking energy, that is exactly the kind of snack I need.  If that’s how you’re feeling these days, give these quick and easy energy balls a try.

Question:  Is anything stealing your energy lately?  What’s your favorite snack to help with energy slumps?

Grain-free raspberry coconut muffins

Thank you all for your encouraging words on yesterday’s one month postpartum update.  It was uplifting to read how many of you have had similar experiences as you transitioned from one to two children.

Everyday seems to get a little easier.  Meghan is much more demanding of my attention than usual, but I know this won’t last forever.  One thing I have done to try to help is take advantage of when Luke is napping and find things that Meghan and I can do together.

Letting her help me in the kitchen is a win-win because I get some much-needed snacks made while we are spending quality one-on-one time together.  She’s had fun helping me make these muffins twice in the past week.

Breastfeeding has given me a voracious appetite, so having healthy snacks on hand at all times is important.  These muffins fit the bill perfectly. I’ve been enjoying them as snacks, while Tim and Meghan have been loving them as a sweet dessert after dinner.  Who says muffins are strictly a breakfast food?

If you haven’t tried coconut flour yet, it’s definitely worth picking some up.  You can make a variety of grain-free, lower carb baked goods with it that are chock full of fiber.  It has a natural sweetness to it, too, so you can use less sweeteners, as well.  Plus, it’s a great gluten-free option for those who can’t tolerate gluten.  Look for it in the health food section of your grocery store.

For a gluten-free, grain-free baked good, these muffins have an amazing texture.  The flavor is lightly sweet with a subtle, not overpowering coconut flavor.  The stats on these are impressive, too.

Each muffin has just over 150 calories, 7 grams of (healthy!) fat, 5 grams of fiber, and 5 grams of protein.