Other blogging friends have done similar posts and I always enjoyed them — partly because I am nosy and also for future meal inspiration. Thus, I decided to do it myself, but as the month progressed, I began to feel a little uncomfortable in light of my get healthy announcement. My intention had been for this to be fun post and now I felt self-conscious about being judged. This could become an inadvertent step back versus a step forward.
I haven’t focused much on food yet, although by exercising regularly, I did notice the effect overindulging had on me and not liking it one bit. How I started to crave healthier foods. All good, positive things. But I am still very much at seedling stage when it comes to food. A good knock could send me running to the hills or a big bowl of macaroni and cheese.
To Share Or Not To Share?
I considered saving this post until after I started eating better and felt less vulnerable. And then after some more contemplation, I realized that would be a step back too, because I am not ashamed of what I ate this month.
Nor am I ashamed of what I ate or overate in the past to be honest. As I tell myself constantly, I did the best I could back then, just as today I am making better, healthier choices for me. And that’s what matters because I cannot move forward and get healthier if I live in a constant state of shame and regret.
Looking back at this past month, I see things that make me happy. Good, smart choices. Some indulgences too, which is fine because nothing I love is off limits either. My overall long-term goal is to make smart, mindful choices every day and to be cognizant of proper serving sizes, while enjoying the occasional indulgence or treat. This means some beloved foods are now occasional food, which is a change I can handle with minimal tantrums.
And finally I also just see good food. Good food that I hope will inspire you too.
All the Glorious Food I Ate (and Made) Last Month
To be fair, this isn’t everything I ate. Sometimes I forgot to take pictures. I didn’t take pictures of my snacks because really — is cottage cheese or almonds all that pretty?
Breakfast of Champions
I figured out that I needed to eat something very light before my workouts and normally eat about 1/4 cup of cottage cheese. Afterwards, I am quite hungry so my go-to’s are either a few slices of deli ham or turkey or a hard-boiled egg or these egg muffins.
I love these little guys and try to make a batch monthly. They freeze well too. I use the recipe from Appetite for Life and increase the eggs to 14, which gives me 24 muffins. I do, however, still only use 1/2 cup of milk. I almost always add spinach and green onions, then whatever veggies and meats I have available. In this case, one pan has ham, mushrooms, green onions and cheddar cheese. The other has spinach, green onions, tomatoes and feta cheese.
Cauliflower Cheese Patties
Aka fake or low-carb hash browns. For as long as I can remember, Sundays have always been my indulgent breakfast. I am a big fan of potato hash but decided to try these cauliflower cheese patties and I love them. LOVE. THEM. And I am a huge potato fan. Do they taste exactly like potatoes? No. But they taste so good that I do not care.
I got the recipe from Delish and add grated onion, garlic and a few shakes of cayenne pepper to the recipe. Also, most of the time, I don’t make patties so I leave out the egg, panko breadcrumbs and cheese. I keep the cauliflower in larger chunks so it’s more like a hash and saute it with other veggies.
What’s for Lunch?
I’ve learned that I eat the best (i.e. healthier for me) if I don’t have to think too much about lunch. Grab it and go works best for me, so I lean on soups and salads mostly.
Mango Black Quinoa Salad with Grilled Chicken
I have a love/hate relationship with mangoes but when I love them, I love them and this mango black bean quinoa salad is one of my favorite salads. It also keeps well too. With this, I grilled up some chicken breasts and it made a nice lunch for the week. Easy peasy.
This is not the world’s best picture but I swear it tastes delicious!
Tuna Salad with Avocado and Cucumber
This is another regular go-to salad for me. It’s a light, non-mayo salad from Natasha’s Kitchen. I am not a fan of cilantro so I replace it was parsley instead. Sometimes I skip the parsley and put a big scoop over a bed of spinach or arugula or whatever lettuce I have in the fridge. I typically make half this salad, although I use 1 (5 oz) can of tuna and 1 avocado.
Green Chile Zucchini Egg Bake
I am also a big fan of egg bakes. They are another bake once and eat all week meal for me. Note: if I have an egg bake for lunch, I do not have egg muffins or hard-boiled eggs as my after workout snack. This is a yummy lunch paired with a leafy, green salad.
I also had a week of a regular garden salad with ham, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion and radishes but didn’t take any pictures of it.
Dinner or Supper? Let’s Call It Evening Meal
I say dinner but my parents say supper. Dinner to them is the Noon meal, which is lunch to me. When we are together, we are confused about meals. 😀
Parmesan Baked Tilapia with Green Beans and Tomatoes
I’m trying to eat more fish but it doesn’t always appeal to me. This super simple and delicious dinner makes it easy. If you can handle the carbs, the tilapia would be great with some breadcrumbs on top too. The green beans and tomatoes were excellent and a new favorite side dish of mine.
Summer Garden Pasta
One of my favorite pasta dishes had to go on the menu after fresh, garden tomatoes made an appearance at the farmer’s market. This is also, ironically, a dish that I am most proud of because I made my normal amount of pasta and left about a third of it in the bowl. While I hate wasting food, it was good proof that I can enjoy a normal-sized portion of pasta without feeling deprived!
The grilled chicken and balsamic vinegar are optional but remind me of the chicken bruschetta pasta that TGIFriday’s serves.
Low-Carb Cauliflower Ham Casserole
The entire time I was making this I was sure it would be an epic fail. I am naturally suspicious of cauliflower replacing my beloved potatoes (and yes, I made this before I made the cauliflower patties). To my surprise and great pleasure, this low-carb casserole from Kayln’s Kitchen was amazing. It truly tastes like scalloped potatoes and ham. You can, of course, leave out the ham and serve it as a side dish or a vegetarian entree. I paired it with a tomato feta salad from the Barefoot Contessa.
Fish Tacos with Mango Avocado Salsa
Ugh. Another not-so great picture for some really delicious fish tacos. Mangoes were on sale a lot last month and I adore this mango avocado salsa. The blackened tilapia is so easy to make too, so it’s a fast, weekday meal.
And yes, the mango avocado salsa is delicious with tortilla chips! Just in case you were curious. 😀
Pork Tenderloin with Mashed Potatoes and Brussel Sprouts
The weather is finally cooling in LA, so I was craving some Fall-like dishes and pork tenderloin with apples and onions sounded perfect. This was also another win for me because I reduced the amount of mashed potatoes to what I thought would be two servings and it was still too much. The old Tanya would have just ate two super-sized servings. The improving Tanya did not. The brussel sprouts I roasted in the oven and wasn’t super impressed.
Turkey Feta Burger
Overall, I’m not a big hamburger fan but I don’t mind turkey burgers. Why do I like them more? I have no idea. 😀 In this particular instance, I love the salty, tang of feta and it keeps the lean turkey juicy too.
Shrimp and Sausage Skillet
This was my one so-so meal due to different seasoning preferences. Of course, that’s the beauty of food. If the bones are there, which they are, then you can adjust to your tastes. I would use about half the amount of Old Bay seasoning and remove one of the peppers and replace it with either broccoli, green beans or brussel sprouts. The recipe hails from Paleo Newbie.
No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies
I did make one sweet treat this month or actually the end of August and I made some adjustments to make these no bake chocolate oatmeal cookies slightly less of a calorie bomb. They still tasted fabulous to me (I forgot to take a picture so this pic is from Eat Laugh Purr). One reason I chose these, besides not wanting to turn on my oven, was because they freeze very well too. I have a sweet tooth, which I very rarely overindulge because my stomach is wimpy and will betray me. Desserts that freeze well mean I don’t have to try and gobble it up before it spoils. I still have a container of 6 or 7 cookies in my freezer.
Yes, Tanya. Healthy Food Can Taste Good.
Overall, I’m happy with what I ate. I see room for improvement but I also see progress from my past too as I am making a conscious effort to not overdo carbs and increase my veggie intake. I recently bought a spiralizer and I’m excited to try a zoodle meal or two in October. So here’s to more healthy and delicious food in October!
What’s your favorite go-to meal or the best thing you ate in September?