What I’m Packing for Belgium

Okay, so we are officially eight days away from our trip. AH!! We are getting SO pumped. I thought it would be fun to show you all what I’m packing because it has been my mission to keep my packing as light as possible.

The reason I wanted to pack as light as possible is because I usually pack a TON of extra, well, everything. This lends me to feel overwhelmed by the amount of choices I have once I arrive, which is the last feeling you want on vacation. I made sure to pack clothes that I could wear twice and that I could layer together. Also, I don’t know if it’s just me or not but I really like buying new clothes/outfits before vacation. It’s silly right? You know you’re going on vacation and will be spending money but you want something new to wear when you’re there! Maybe it’s just me!? Please tell me it’s not just me.

I’m lucky though because my mom let me raid her closet and she has awesome taste. We pretty much wear the same sizes and since Steve and I are on a tight budget right now, I opted to steal borrow as much as I could from her. Thanks, momma!

Details for planning

  • Length of time – 10 days, one location as a home base
  • Average weather – 50-55 degrees
  • Bag limits / checking – we’ll be flying Delta so we can both have a carry on + personal bag and together we can have one free checked bag.
  • Activities while there – lots of walking, photography, and probably a LOT of tasting craft beer, waffles & chocolate. In fact if every day included all of that, I’d be fine.
    • We aren’t planning any hikes but will look for parks / trails upon arrival
    • We’ll tour some museums
  • We want to be comfortable on our feet all day and with a backpack on for day trips.
  • Is there a washer/dryer – yes, for some reason we are lucky but if there wasn’t I usually travel with a little detergent so we can wash a couple things in the sink (or get out stains as that is inevitable).

what I packed

  • One pair of jeans
  • One pair of solid leggings (I say solid because they’re sturdier than my at home, loungey leggings)
  • One pair of soft black travel pants
  • Three T’s/Tanks (total) – 1 gray long t-shirt (not pictured), 1 long black tank, 1 long white tank
  • One cardigan – I chose my charcoal Toad & Co cardigan that is so soft and layers over pretty much any color
  • Four light long sleeves – these could be layers or worn on their own
  • One tunic long sleeve – this is almost a dress but I wouldn’t wear it without leggings or jeans
  • One thicker sweater – (light brown in photos below)
  • One light gray basic dress – this can then have lots of changes either with jewelry or practically any long shirt I brought can go over it.
  • One scarf – This helps to change up a look, they pack nicely, and can be an easy addition if its cold out
  • One jacket – my mom let me borrow her nice wind and rain proof jacket that is perfect for the weather we should be having + it has a hood
  • One pair of tennis shoes – these I’ll wear on the plane
  • One pair of flats – cause fancy.
  • One pair of light gray boots – I’m still debating on bringing these or not.
  • Two regular bras / one sport bra
  • 4-5 pairs of undies (easy to wash/fast drying)
  • 4-5 pairs of socks – I wear a lot of SmartWool socks that you can wear multiple times and not have any smelly issues πŸ˜‰

Misc.

  • Phone / charger / outlet convert
  • Camera
  • Purse – again, borrowing from my mom. Super sturdy and big enough for me to put my camera inside of it
  • Couple of easy travel games
  • Steve’s small computer
  • Kindle
  • Toiletries
  • Glasses / Sun Glasses

There you have it! It’s a complete list of what I’m bringing. All of which fits just in my two carry-on’s! But we will still check one bag so that we can bring back goodies or put dirty clothes in there towards the end of the trip. I am honestly quite proud of myself because even while I worked on this post I thought, OH what about that shirt? And that one? And that dress? And those pants? and that skirt? No. No thank you, I will travel minimally for the first time and be proud of that.

Have you every tried to pack as little as possible? Does it work out? What helps you travel minimally? Also, we’ll be in Belgium (and some other parts of Europe) so if there’s something I missed, please share!

How to be Healthy while Traveling

Hi friends, it is the first official day of Spring! I can’t believe the first quarter of the year is coming to an end soon but I CAN believe that it’s almost time for Steve and I to go to Belgium!! We are so excited for this trip! We have never been abroad together and Steve has never been to Europe. Make sure you follow me on Instagram cause you can bet my stories will be flooded with photos from our adventure! Oh, and if you want to know what I’m packing then stay tuned! That post will be here in a few days πŸ˜‰

In the spirit of traveling, I get asked a lot by my clients how to be make healthy choices on vacation. If you’re someone who is a “diet” this can present a challenge because to be “on” a diet means you can “fall off” a diet. My first suggestion is that you revisit your thoughts on the word diet, could you think of what you’re doing as a way of life? A healthy outlook? This way, when you’re going on your vacation you’ll be able to focus on the adventure and not the number of calories you’re eating.

BUT I totally understand the desire to want to make travel a bit healthier and I’m all for it! Here are some different ideas to make traveling work for your and your goals. For more ideas, try these roasted ranch chick peas, or any of these snacks that some RDs sent each other in a snack exchange.

Travel Day (planes, trains, Automobiles)

  • Bring snacks that will keep you full, satisfy you, and are easy to pack.
    • Fruits – grapes, apples, bananas [do not put in the bottom of your bag!], & clementines pack well.
    • Veggies – carrots, bell peppers sliced, sugar snap peas, sliced zucchini, celery, jicama, or cucumbers pack well.
    • Pre-packed nut butters like Justin’s brand or individual serving containers
    • Hummus – again you can get pre-packaged or fill your own little containers
    • Trail mix – it’s cheaper to buy a big bag and separate it into portions
    • Pretzels – again, cheaper to buy a big bag and separate it out
    • Granola bars
  • Emergen-C – yes, it’s an excess amount of vitamins and you’re not going to absorb everything but I won’t travel without them because airports, trains, and cars for that matter are full of germs.
  • If you’re driving/taking a road trip look into a tiny fridge or cooler that plugs into your call to keep some pre-packed sandwiches, yogurts, cheese, etc.
  • Packets of oatmeal – grab a hot cup of water from a coffee store (they might charge you for a tea, etc) and dump in your oatmeal instead of the tea especially if it’s a cinnamon tea!
  • Water bottle + any flavorings if you’re someone who will typically want something more fun than plain water on a trip
  • Hand sanitizer – again, germs.
  • Tea – I also travel with 1-3 of my favorite brand of tea called Throat Coat. I don’t want to plan on getting sick but if I get a sore throat then this tea is my go-to.

At your destination

  • Look for a nearby grocery store so you can purchase some basics or plan to cook a meal or two.
  • See if you can stay somewhere with a small kitchenette – Steve and I notoriously use Air BnB and make sure we have a little kitchen to prepare some meals.
  • Look for a local farmers market – when we went to Hawaii this was a fantastic way to try new local foods/produce
  • Check if your hotel/Air Bnb has a gym or a local walking path. If you’re going to a resort, there might even be free fitness classes
  • Take advantage of free breakfast! I love when hotel’s have continental breakfast offered. Take a look and find a filling, balanced breakfast. Most hotels will have oatmeal, milk, bananas, and sometimes small containers of peanut butter. It’s very possible I snag a couple of those little mini peanut butter containers when I travel… πŸ˜‰
  • Continue your movement – it doesn’t mean you have to exercise but do consider at least adding some stretching to your day. After traveling or sleeping in a foreign bed, you might feel stiff and you do not want a sore body for all the adventuring you’re going to do.
  • Tune out from social media and allow yourself to unplug from reading any work emails too.

Eating out

  • Try looking at menus in a new way. Focus on what your body wants – does it sound good because we’re looking for the biggest bang for our buck? Or are we looking for what sounds great and makes us feel great too?
  • Don’t skip calories/meals. Instead of not eating all day, continue having mindful balanced meals. These will keep you fueled and keep your hunger balanced. This will also help prevent from bingeing later on.
  • Fiber, fiber, fiber – it is very common to get thrown off from your normal bathroom routine when traveling. Typically my first goal when I travel is to stay well hydrated with water and have fiber with each snack/meal.
  • Remember that if you choose to indulge then INDULGE and enjoy. There is nothing wrong with having an extra indulgence because you’re on vacation. Don’t bring shame on your vacation with you.
  • If you’re going to a buffet / conference with tons of food options, think about balancing your plate. Observe what all of the options are first, then think about filling it up with vegetables, fruits, a grain, lean protein and hey maybe some dairy too.
  • Research your restaurants! I know some clients who feel best when they look at the restaurants menu ahead of time so they don’t feel rushed into make a decision when they go out.

I hope that was helpful! When Steve and I travel, we often take road trips. We really enjoy this time in the car together and we’ll also bring things to keep it fun. We’ll make new CDs of music, bring mad libs games, and sometimes comedy audio books too.

What do you do when you’re traveling to stay healthy? Are you going anywhere this Spring Break or this Summer? Share below!

Egg Roll in a Bowl

Steve and I love Chinese food. I can’t help but enjoy the oversized portion of fried chicken and rice and I love duck sauce even though I’m not exactly sure what it is. The downfall? It hits our budget hard if we do it too often and it always bloats the next day from all that sodium. This got me determined to start making our own take-out that tastes better and is healthier for our bodies and budget.

Enter in the Egg Roll in a Bowl recipe! I think you’ll enjoy this as much as we did. In fact Steve took leftovers once and finished it – so much for leftovers all week! That’s a sign that this recipe will be on our staple list. Which if you don’t have a staple list, we keep ours in a Google doc, I highly recommend taking recipes that work well for your family and keep a running word document or Google doc of them. I have some more to say about go-to staple meals which you can read about here.

Eggroll in a Bowl

20 minute recipe that will be done in the same amount of time it would take to go pick up expensive take-out.

Course Main Course
Keyword asian, Chinese, rice
Cook Time 20 minutes
Author Jessi Holden

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 3-4 cups cabbage, shredded (we used bagged, pre-shredded)
  • 1 large carrot, shredded
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 3 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp low-sodium, soy sauce
  • 1 heaping tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup jasmine rice (or any rice you prefer)
  • 1 lemon – if desired for squeezing on top

Instructions

  1. Cook rice according to directions – for extra sticky rice, cut the water by 1/4 cup.

  2. Add your ground turkey, ginger, and garlic to a pan and cook through.

  3. Add in your carrot, most of your onion (leave some for garnish), and cabbage. Mix together and add in your soy sauce and sesame seeds. Mix and cover to let it steam on low heat for about 10 minutes. 

  4. Serve hot over the rice and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Did you make this recipe? Tag @The_Beer_Dietitian on Instagram

Are you a fan of take-out? What’s your favorite kind of take-out? I’ll keep trying to take popular choices and revamp them into homemade, healthier options. Share those favorites below!

Turkey Carrot Chili & Pasta Confidence

Okay, so the name might not be SO inviting BUT I can guarantee this chili is satisfying, tasty, and full of lots of textures. That is something I love about chili, the variety of textures and not just chunks of meat and tomatoes. When I was little (and you can ask my mom about this) I would cry when she served chili because I hated tomatoes that much. Fast forward to now and I still do not love tomatoes but having them cut small and cooked is much better overall.

Also, I love pasta with chili chili with pasta. To make the childhood experience with chili better, she always served it with some noodles. So, this pasta paired here is perfect for someone like my inner child who still prefers pasta over chili πŸ˜‰ it’s Banza pasta! Have you been following me on Instagram? I became one of Banza’s RD Ambassadors and they sent me over some noodles and recipes to try out. Thanks, Banza!

What’s so great about Banza?

Banza pasta is made from chickpeas and it’s very high in fiber and protein. Those two things alone create a filling food, but together a small portion goes a long way. Chickpea pasta might be a great option for a vegetarian, vegan, or someone who simply needs more protein / fiber but is struggling to get it in. I also think this pasta can help build pasta confidence.

Pasta confidence!?

Yep, it’s when you really love pasta but feel like it’s a food you can’t have, especially if you’re trying to lose weight. The relationship we have with food is complex, but the relationship we have with grains can be especially complex. There is a lot of nutrition noise and people who will tell you that pasta is BAD. While I’ll fight for helping people understand the need for carbohydrates/grains, I understand that encouraging you to eat a food you identify as a trigger isn’t going to work. Enter in pasta choices like Banza and it might be a way for someone to reintroduce pasta back in their life in what feels like a safer way. Okay, a little long winded but if you love chili, textures AND noodles…try the recipe below!

Turkey & Carrot Chili

Course Main Course
Keyword carrot, chili, turkey

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 can kidney or white beans
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 28 oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp oregano

Instructions

  1. Brown the ground turkey until it’s no longer pink (use a cooking pot so you can use one dish total for the chili)

  2. Chop onions and carrots (or shred the carrots) and add them to the ground turkey

  3. Add your spices and spread them over the whole amount of meat/veggies and cook for another 5 minutes

  4. Add in your tomatoes, water, and beans

  5. Mix and simmer for 20-25 minutes. Enjoy! But! Don’t forget to serve over some Banza noodles or with some fun toppings.

Recipe Notes

Did you make this recipe? Tag me Instagram @The_Beer_Dietitian

What do you think? Are you needing some pasta confidence or simply some noodles to add to your chili? Can’t wait for you to try this recipe out!

RD Snack Exchange 2019 / National Dietitian Day

Hi friends! If you don’t know, today is National Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day!!! Yay, us! I can easily say I am so proud of the team of dietitians I work with both at work, through blogging, and friends as well. Each one of them is committed to serving individuals evidenced based nutrition education in each of their disciplines. See some of them below from my wedding! I’m excited to say there were 10 dietitians at our wedding.

So earlier this year one of my goals (see my post on my 2019 goals here) was to connect and network with some other dietitians who blog / run their own businesses / who are all around just awesome. I decided to host a snack exchange because who doesn’t love getting snacks in the mail!?

These ladies were so awesome for participating!

  • Jess Degore – Jess is a Registered Dietitian who is the author and owner of dietitianjess.com. Her private practice provides nutrition counseling and she specializes in sports nutrition, intuitive eating, and diabetes. Outside of nutrition Jess enjoys competing in triathlons, traveling, and checking out local breweries and restaurants. 
  • Kim Hoban – Kim is an intuitive eating and HAES dietitian and advocate. She shares easy and delicious recipes that are approachable for all. She’s also a new mama! She keeps it real and her blog is all about the three F’s; Food, Fitness, and FUN! Read her blog over at www.khnutrition.com.
  • Becky – This is Bex! She’s a Registered Dietitian (RD) and working as a bariatric dietitian. She loves to cook, explore the outdoors and encourage others to live healthy lifestyles. She recognizes the importance of a balanced approach to nutrition. You can find her at www.bexnutrition.com for nutrition tips and recipes. 
  • Melissa Morey – (Side note, I’ve actually known Melissa for years through school and beyond!) She’s an adventurer, photographer, living in the beautiful Traverse City, Michigan. She’s also a weaver and a wicked cake baker.
  • Jamie Rebecca- She’s a CT, registered dietitian on a personal weight loss journey! She discusses her journey, PCOS, mindfulness and much more! See her site www.thesleeveddietitian.com.
    • Instagram:
  • Lauren Pendergast – She’s a registered dietitian, foodie, runner, chocolate lover, weight lifter, and awesome blogger in the NYC area! Check out her site at www.nutritionbylauren.com.
  • Marissa McCormick – She is a registered dietitian working a full-time corporate gig out of Minneapolis, MN.  She’s a new mom & passionate about prenatal & postpartum nutrition/health and she recently launched her website www.marissamccormick.com as a way to help new moms find health & happiness in motherhood!  She share nutrition tips for pregnancy, breastfeeding & introducing solids to babies so mom’s can confidently nourish themselves & their families!  She loves to meet new moms on Instagram πŸ™‚

My own partner was Jess Degore – she sent me a literal bag of goodies! From water enhancers, to electrolyte replacers, treats from her home State, granola bars, my favorite nut butters, tea, brownie mix, hemp seeds, and some delicious chocolate covered caramel. I felt so spoiled! We’ve also been emailing back and forth and turns out we have a good amount of things in common. I have enjoyed virtually getting to know her AND her and her husband might be making their way to Michigan sometime! It’d be fun to take this virtual experience to life πŸ™‚ see below my goodies from Jess!

There wasn’t anything I didn’t like! I have not used my nuuns because I haven’t needed them yet but I’m falling hard for hemp hearts and True Lime packets!

That’s not all though, check out what other dietitians were exchanging with each other! To learn some more about the RD exchange or see other awesome dietitians I follow, look up to, get inspired by, and simply just love…head over to my instagram The_Beer_Dietitian and check out the story highlights saved from today!

Are you an RD wanting to participate in next year’s exchange? It’s a super easy, relaxed way to network with someone and also get a bunch of goodies in the mail too πŸ™‚ Email me at Brewtition@gmail.com to get involved for next time!

Apple, Peanut Butter & Maple Oatmeal

Hi friends! I shared a quick photo on Instagram the today and thought I would make sure the recipe had a home here as well! This oatmeal bowl has been a staple for me for a while but when the light hit is just right the other day, I realized I better share it with you all! Comes together in 10 minutes, enjoy!

Apple, Peanut Butter, & Maple Oatmeal

Quick easy oatmeal that will leave full & satisfied 

Course Breakfast
Keyword oatmeal
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 1
Calories 335 kcal
Author Jessi Holden

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup Old fashion oats
  • 1 tbsp Flax meal
  • 1 small apple, diced
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup (I used a spicy habanero flavored syrup)
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 pinch cinnamon (if desired)

Instructions

  1. Chop your apple and start sauteeing it over medium-high heat (spray pan first) and let it saute for 5-8 minutes.

  2. Sprinkle cinnamon on the apples if desired

  3. While your apples cook, put your oatmeal and flax meal in a bowl and add 1/2 cup of water (plus one more splash if you like it a little runnier)

  4. Heat in the microwave for one minute (nothing flashy here)

  5. Add your peanut butter to the oats so it starts to melt

  6. Add your apples to the bowl

  7. Drizzle your maple syrup across the top, take a photo, mix and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Did you make this recipe? Make sure to tag me on Instagram @The_Beer_Dietitian!Β 

What you Need to Know about Frozen Food

If you didn’t know…today is National Frozen Food day! I feel like frozen food gets demonized quite a bit – like carbs and fat – and I thought it would help to put some clarity behind frozen foods and how I used them in my life. I’ll do this by sharing some pros and cons. But first! I shared this side-by-side on Instagram today to show how seeing that something was frozen/processed food might make you turn away…while the image on the right might be viewed as glorified food prep. I’m not about lying to you all, I want to share my reality and what works for me.

(I enjoyed this meal! If I made it again I would still add my roasted zucchini but maybe I’d throw in some flax meal or nutritional yeast to ramp it up even more)

PROS

  • Convenience is a beautiful thing. I will always keep frozen fruits and vegetables as staples in my freezer. They are picked at their peak freshness, frozen, and sent on their way. You will still get plenty of nutrients and benefits from consuming fruits/veggies in this form.
  • Convenience is a beautiful thing – for other frozen foods aside from fruits/veggies! While there are some frozen foods that might be considered healthier than others, keeping some things on hand is helpful. Especially for those moments when your meal plan doesn’t sound good or you have unexpected changes in plans.
  • You can always add something to a frozen food. We keep frozen burritos on hand and I’ll use these when we don’t feel like cooking or we need something quick but we’ll add some veggies and rice on the side. If you’re someone who keeps frozen pizza on hand, keep things you can add to the pizza that make it more filling like vegetables or proteins.
  • Some frozen food is not as “processed” as you might think. I made a pizza dough from scratch which nutritionally is comparable to a frozen dough I’ve seen on the market. I used half of the dough and froze the other, does that make my dough “processed” to the point where it’s all of a sudden unhealthy? Nope. We just tend to put blanket statements on certain foods that end up scaring people into eating the same things all the time or shaming them for choosing a frozen food.
These are some of our staples – from frozen veggies to fruits, to meals / partial meals, breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack/dessert. Frozen foods can fit in any meal plan.

CONS

  • Frozen food can have a lot of sodium. It’s not surprise that this is my first bullet point. But do you know how to read a label and tell whether or not it’s high in sodium? Miligrams and grams are confusing to most so check out the percentage. If it is 20% or higher, it’s a high source of a nutrient. So if you’re trying to watch out for high sodium foods, check the percentage.
    • Don’t forget to also check the serving size. If it is 13% sodium but but the serving size is 2 for the package and you’re planning to eat the whole thing…it’s now 23% sodium.
  • They’re sometimes low in fiber. Fiber is a nutrient that keeps us full and helps our digestion system run smoothly. Again, take a look at your nutrition label and if your goals it to feel full from the frozen food you’re choosing, check to see what percentage of fiber is in a serving. 20% is a high source, 10% is a good source, and 5% is a low source.
    • Remember the comment above about adding nutrients to frozen meals! If it’s a stir fry of veggies – use brown rice or throw in some flax meal! Any added fiber will help you feel full for a longer period of time.
  • The portion size is smaller than the packaging leads it on to be. I’ve often purchased a frozen food or meal and after I’ve cooked it I’ve thought, “that’s it!?” Sure one serving nutritionally does not look unhealthy, but are you going to eat one serving? The serving size is just a guideline it does not mean that serving size will fill you up physically or visually (both important!)

In short, can you make healthy choices when it comes to frozen food? Yes, absolutely! But can you also go into the frozen food aisle and use their meals as inspiration for something to make on your own? Hell yes! I used to do this a lot before I started taking a list to the store with me. I’d find a frozen meal that sounds good, look up a recipe online that’s similar, and make it from scratch. My cost might have been $10-$15 instead of $5.99 but I was left with a more nutritious meal and had leftovers too.

I will add that frozen food has come a long way from the TV dinners that so often come to mind when we demonize frozen food. I think what’s important to remember is that it’s your home and your choice. What works for me may not suit your needs/desires.

Do you keep any frozen food/meals? Or do you have any questions about frozen food that I didn’t cover? Ask below! If you’re a frozen food eater like I am, show me what you’re cooking up on Instagram and tag me @The_Beer_Dietitian. <3

Orange Oatmeal Wit Pancakes

No it’s not a typo, I meant Wit and not WITH πŸ˜‰ Have you ever had a wit beer? It’s a Belgian Wheat Ale and is brewed with at least 25% wheat malt. Often they are fruity and slightly lemony because it’s very common to use coriander and orange peel in the brewing process. This beer style used to be my favorite and now I lean towards sours, but truly I think it depends on the season I’m in as far as what beer style is my favorite.

A stack of lightly orange colored pancakes that have spiralize oranges on them

Anyways…because of my love for breakfast food and this beer style I thought…why not combine them together? These pancakes will fill you up because they use whole wheat flour and oats (hello, fiber!) but still have a sweetness from the orange and the beer. They’re great with syrup added on top but truth be told, I don’t think they need much when they’re already so flavorful. I might put a little vanilla yogurt on top, fresh fruit, or just a little butter. Snag the recipe below!

Orange Oatmeal Wit Pancakes

Lightly orange flavored pancakes that use only a bit of beer so you can drink the rest!

Course Breakfast
Keyword pancakes
Author Jessi Holden

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup oats quick or rolled are fine
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 3/4 cup wit beer
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp orange zest

Instructions

  1. Mix all dry ingredients in a small bowl

  2. Mix all wet ingredients and whisk eggs.

  3. Add wet ingredients to dry and lightly spray your pan with cooking spray. Add your pancakes using your best judgement or 1/4 cup for precision. 

  4. Enjoy in your favorite way! 

Recipe Notes

Did you make this recipe? Tag me on instagram @The_Beer_Dietitian!