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?
So glad you enjoyed the Ham and Cauliflower Casserole au Gratin! Thanks for the shout-out.
You’re welcome, Kayln! It was delicious and now going to be one of my go-to, low-carb meals.
kathy @ more coffee, less talky says
girl let me tell you something — WE NEED FOOD. it’s fuel for our bodies and i’m totally good with one eating right for their body. never feel ashamed or feel judged when you eat healthy meals! hell, when i worked out heavily, i needed to eat close to 2500 (if not) more calories and i’m a teeny 5’3 person. the cooler i brought to work was huge and i would slam that thing down at the lunch table while everyone looked at me. did i care? nope; I knew i needed this amount of food because my body told me i did. i knew my muscles and metabolism needed this amount of food. a coworker once made a comment about how much food i was eating so i shrugged and said “if you worked out as much as i did, you’d eat this much too”. he shut his face because he never worked out, LOL. i was like, bitch please; don’t even comment on the food i’m eating since 1) it’s healthy (unlike the patty and whatever crap he was eating) 2) mind yo’ bidness 3) workout/get healthy and then come talk to me about healthy eating.
I wish I could’ve been a fly on the wall to witness that exchange with your coworker. Your clapbacks are beautiful.
I will always, always love you Kathy and want to be you when I grow up. 😀 And yes, I am trying to focus on my needs and not care what others think. I don’t work out as intensely as you so I do have to watch my calorie intake more closely but I also know what works for me.
Tonya@Budget and the Beach says
Sorry if I was someone who made you feel bad. I think for me, I have to remember to step away from the science and see the person behind the struggle and it’s not easy. I still have trouble saying no to certain things. That being said, that food looks amazing. You are a way more creative cook than I am. I eat the same boring stuff all the time. Too lazy to get creative. I do love me some eggs though. I can eat them any time of day!
I always think it is so much easier to see what others need to do and wanting to help them achieve their goal is never a bad thing. I imagine there will always be certain foods that tempt me more than others and I’m really trying to reframe how I view food. I used to be food was either good or bad, which in turn always made me feel bad for loving all the bad food. When in reality, it’s more like there is every day food and special occasion food. Because I’m not giving up cake or pasta, but I just don’t need to eat it every day. And I’m learning to be okay with it as a special treat. Oh, I love eggs. They are one of my favorites. Cheap and easy!
Rebecca Jo says
You make it all look so pretty too!!!
I am sooooo intrigued by the cauliflower hashbrowns. I love how people make cauliflower into the coolest foods.
I was shocked by how much I loved the cauliflower hash browns because I have not had much success with mashed cauliflower as a substitute for mashed potatoes. But those hash browns and the cauliflower au gratin were terrific!
Nancy @ NY Foodie Family says
Oh my goodness you are eating so well! Do not feel judged at all! I wish I liked healthier foods like cottage cheese and quinoa. As a big carb lover, I have not found zoodles or “cauliflower” anything (rice, pizza crust, etc.) a worthy substitute for the real deal. And BTW, I think tacos are one of the hardest foods to photograph well! I love a good fish taco. I’m looking at your meals and thinking to myself, “Man, I really need to eat healthier!” I enjoy seeing what other people eat too. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks, Nancy! This is me actually being pretty good with food choices, although I’m still not great with portion sizes! I am a huge carb lover too and do not enjoy most cauliflower substitutions but really did enjoy the cauliflower hash browns and au gratin. I’ve decided that substitutions that work (like the cauliflower au gratin) I will keep doing but otherwise I’d just rather eat real mashed potatoes and watch my portion size. Okay, I feel better knowing that I’m not the only one who can’t photograph fish tacos with a darn! LOL!
HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. You think THIS ^^^ is bad eating?! Girl… I should do one of these posts just to boost you up. I think your food is a great mix of healthy and delicious! I’m jealous! Those recipes and pics are Pinterest-worthy! Dang, girl!!
Honestly, this is me being pretty good but I felt extra sensitive since I announced I was getting healthy and still eating pasta and no-bake cookies. 😀 The old Tanya used to be carbs 24/7. Pancakes for breakfast. Sandwich for lunch. Pasta for dinner. No exercise. Ah, no wonder I got a poochy belly.
Wow, these recipes look so yummy and so amazing! The cauliflower cheese patties sound so interesting! I never would have thought of that 🙂
Thanks, Mackenzie! The cauliflower hash browns were so delicious. It surprised me how much I loved them but I gobbled them up. Most of the time, though, I don’t bother making patties. I just saute the cauliflower with other veggies and make hash.
Well I’ll be a monkey’s uncle. Your food presentation is so lovely. None of my meals ever look this appetizing. I’m gonna try that cauliflower hash recipe.
Thanks! I hope you enjoy the cauliflower hash recipe. I really enjoyed it. It doesn’t exactly taste like potatoes but have the same mouth-feel (such a weird thing to say) and was really tasty.
i’m glad you decided to share! i love posts like these but i also completely understand where you’re coming from about being judged. i just kept trying to tell myself that i’d rather be honest and it might help me make better decisions if i feel like i ‘have’ to (or will) share them on the internet, you know? i know the internet is a mean place but we, your little community, are not mean and will never judge you.
those cauliflower cheese patties sound AMAZING.
also, you made some pretty amazing choices girl. so you definitely should feel good about that. all of the high fives!
It’s interesting because seeing it laid out was eye-opening. I saw lots of things that made me proud and some areas that needed a bit of work and that’s okay. The cauliflower cheese patties were soooooo good. I make them almost every weekend and it makes me laugh that I’m so happy to eat cauliflower. 😀