Traveling through life with a timer and sneakers

Posts tagged “HMR Diet

Peanut Butter and Jelly Oatmeal – An #HMRDiet #HealthySolutions Recipe

This is one of my favorites – so easy and quick but flavorful and filling! It doesn’t actually have jelly in it but the berries soften up during the cooking process making them gooey in the peanut butter oatmeal.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Oatmeal

  • HMR Oatmeal
  • 1 cup frozen mixed berries
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp PB2
  • 2 pumps Torani sugar-free Belgian Cookie syrup

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and microwave for two minutes. Stir and enjoy!

Celebrating Pi Day with an #HMRProgram In-The-Box Decision Free Pizza Pie!

Yesterday was my birthday. I was born on Friday, March 13. And to me, it’s always been the BEST day of this particular week. While others might get excited about the Ides of March or Saint Patrick’s Day, I had my own special day to celebrate.

It wasn’t until later in life that I found out Pi Day was even a thing people celebrated. 3.14   – sure I guess that makes sense. And I have some friends and students who REALLY celebrate Pi Day. They go ALL OUT. So as an adult, I have become accustomed to celebrating it as well. Pizza pie, shepherd’s pie, and all the dessert pies you can imagine (which is only funny because I really like cake a lot more than pie, but hey it’s the holiday for pie so it’s a good thing I could have cake the day before!).

Well if you are like many of my friends and students and plan to celebrate PI DAY but are looking for an HMR Program-Friendly option, there’s always the Healthy Solutions Shepherd’s Pie or my Decision Free Pizza Pie! I make this pizza with a BBQ chicken entree, but you could top it with your favorite entrees (or veggies if you are in Healthy Solutions!).


This recipe’s crust is based on my Savory HMR Biscuits – I halved the recipe for the crust and picked out all the big chunks of fruit. Yes it might have a little residual sweetness, but that’s why I top it with the BBQ Chicken Entree – the sauce masks the teeny bits of fruit I might have missed. And no need for cheese! There’s some in the crust which helps extend the flavor!

HMR Diet Decision Free Pizza

  • 1 HMR Oatmeal
  • 1 HMR Chicken Soup
  • 1 TBSP Molly McCheese
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 cup of water and 2 tbsp of water (added at separate times)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Pick out big chunks of fruit from oatmeal.

Mix oatmeal and 1/2 cup of water. Microwave for one minute. Stir and let stand for several minutes.

Add in soup, cheese powder and the remaining 2 tbsp of water. Stir until combined.

Once dough is mixed, add baking soda. Carefully fold in without losing the air bubbles.

Gently pour onto baking pan covered with a silpat mat or parchment paper – gently spread out without letting any breaks occur.

Bake for 15 to 25 minutes until the center is cooked through. Cooking times will vary significantly based on how thick you make it and your personal oven calibration.

After removing from oven, carefully flip onto a plate. This will prevent the underside from getting soggy from the damp heat but will also allow the harder side of the crust to be on the bottom when eating the pizza for a better hold.

My pizza was a BBQ Chicken pizza. I heated up the entree per normal instructions. Then removed the chicken and diced it up. I spread the sauce on the pizza and topped it with the diced chicken. I also added a drizzle of hot sauce and a sprinkle of smoked salt as well as some dried crushed peppers and dried basil. Then I used a pizza cutter and cut the pizza into four slices.


Traveling on the #HMRDiet – Healthy Solutions Style!

When I was on the medically-supervised HMR Diet Program (Decision-Free), I traveled 20+ weekends a year for work. And I blogged about it. I even traveled to Disney World and stayed in the box!

However as I am working to make vegetables and fruit the major portion of my diet, I realized I would need a new approach to traveling on the HMR Diet Healthy Solutions program. So I spent several weeks thinking about this, not only because I knew I would be traveling in March, but also because I needed to find a way to manage my weight during the long summers I teach at residential programs away from home, where I don’t have a kitchen and live in a dorm.

This weekend was the first test of traveling in the box and I wanted to document what I did so I can reflect on it in the future (and maybe help others out too).

I should also add that this week’s homework assignment for our Phase One class was to eat one more entree that our previous highest entree total for a day. In the first week in Phase One in January, I had two days where I ate 5 entrees (and still lost!), so I had to pick my most challenging day and eat six entrees. I’ll write more about that later but I do have to give a special shoutout because it meant I had to pack even more entrees for a three day trip than I had planned, but it actually served to be a very useful tool I might have otherwise not considered because I *didn’t* want to pack tons of extra entrees!

What I packed

So what did I pack for my 3 day trip?


  • A minimum of 3 entrees for each day of travel (well in this case I packed 13 instead of 9 because I had that special assignment) – most of these needed to be entrees I could eat cold in case plans changed (although I did have a microwave at the hotel and my HotLogic Mini packed). I may switch this to having 4 a day on hand after my experiences this weekend – front-loading with a double-entree for example really made the day a lot easier!
  • 6 packets each of chocolate and vanilla 800s (they travel easier than the 120s)
  • 2 packets of 70s for emergency pudding
  • 2 batches of pudding cookies (divided into 4 snack size bags equivalent to 1 shake each)
  • 3 benefit bars for emergency treats
  • 4 pieces of fruit pre-washed that stand up to the jostling in my backpack
  • 1 carton of blueberries with 1-cup snack bags packed to divided up upon arriving at the hotel (the fact the snack bags have measurements on the side make it easy for portion control!)
  • 15 1-cup baggies of vegetables pre-washed and sliced that could be eaten alone or used as chips to eat the lentil and bean entrees
    • Jicama
    • Cucumber
    • Carrots
    • Celery
    • Snap Peas
  • 1 diet soda can (stored in my BlenderBottle) for an emergency mix-in

Equipment (don’t worry, I don’t use affiliate links! just sharing where I bought them):

  • eBags Crew Cooler – after a lot of research, I settled on this bag with a removable liner. The top portion is where I store tools, the front pouch is condiments and my food journal, the side pockets for bottles (they zip up when not in use), and the main compartment for food. It looks professional, has a loop in back to slip over a roller suitcase, and has an easy to carry shoulder strap.
  • HotLogic Mini – this fits easily in the top pouch of the cooler and is perfect for heating up food while I am in meetings (and in case the hotel didn’t have a microwave).
  • BlenderBottle – Easy to use and clean, I picked one that matched my cooler.
  • Bottle Brush for cleaning the shaker bottle.
  • Travel cutlery for easy dining.
  • AeroLatte Travel Frother – perfect for mixing hot shakes (and soups when I take them)
  • Extra quart-sized ziplock bags. I actually also had travel ice blocks for this trip because we weren’t flying. But I keep extra ziplock bags to make ice packs on the road – getting ice from the hotel or a restaurant – to keep things cold.

I have also successfully purchased fruits and veggies at local spots, like having a bowl of fruit when taking my students for ice cream. But I didn’t want to rely on those options being available.

And yes, I will most likely have food left at the end of the trip. My students and coworkers also enjoyed munching on some of my vegetables when they were hungry so packing more was a great idea!

I won’t get home from my trip until this evening, but so far so good. I have survived a pizza party, an ice cream social, and a number of other temptations. And I haven’t suffered any anxiety about making a decision or not having options when I am hungry. I’ve met my minimums (and then some) and I have rather easily stayed in the box!

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup – an #HMRDiet Healthy Solutions staple

Whenever I post a recipe on my blog, you can safely assume I’ve made it a few times to ensure I not only think it’s good enough to save for reference but that I have worked to perfect all of the measurements and prep methods. With this in mind, this recipe is one I have been enjoying multiple times a week for several weeks, but because I’ve been playing with all of the different spice combinations, I couldn’t pick just one to share!

So while I have finally settled on my favorite version, know that there is a lot of wiggle room to find your favorite spice combination. I will also add that if you don’t like butternut squash, I have also recently discovered broccoli makes a great substitute to change things up.

I’ve included a photo collage below of the step-by-step process as well as the nutritional information for my favorite bouillon cubes.


Perfect in a mug on a cold winter day!


Creamy HMR Butternut Squash Soup

  • 1/2 cup diced onions
  • 2.5 cups chopped butternut squash (I cheat and buy it pre-peeled and chopped)
  • 1/2 tsp Penzeys Bavarian seasoning (yes the same seasoning from my Shepherd’s Pie recipe)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 bouillon cube (I am sharing a picture of my favorite brand Massel below!)
  • HMR Chicken Soup packet

Saute onions in a pot over medium high heat until they start to become translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Add squash and seasoning and mix, cook for another 2-3 minutes to allow some browning of the squash and toasting of the spices.

Add water and bouillon cube. Cover and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and let simmer as long as you can stand it (I’ll admit I only let it go 15-20 minutes). Your goal is to have softened the squash and let the flavors steep.

Put contents of pot into blender and add soup packet. Be really careful when blending hot liquids! I have a Vitamin which has the ability to vent on top to release the steam. Blend until smooth and creamy.

This makes a MASSIVE portion – I usually make it and pour some in a mug to enjoy while grading or doing meal prep. I keep going back to refill my mug until it’s all gone. It keeps me warm, full, and out of trouble. In fact it’s what I’ll be enjoying tonight while I grade and pack for my school trip this weekend!


Visual steps for making HMR Diet Creamy Butternut Squash Soup

HMR Diet Hacks – Easy and Filling Healthy Solutions Combos

I am told some of my recipes are a little complicated. That part of the joy of the HMR Program is how simple it is. And I agree. Not about my recipes being complicated, but about the simplicity of the HMR Diet. And while I started this blog initially for accountability and also to record some of my creations to reference later, I don’t take time to write up some of the simple hacks that keep me full and help me meet my minimums.

So here are a few of my current Healthy Solutions entree & veggie combos. I will often add salt and pepper and maybe some hot sauce or roasted garlic powder to help extend the flavors, but otherwise it’s pretty basic.

I would love it if you could share some of your favorite combos as well – I am truly inspired by other people’s ideas and success, and sharing it as a comment allows others to be inspired by your ideas as well!

Cauliflower Rice – This is a staple in my household. I buy frozen bags and also fresh ones. Just about every store and brand has their version, just double check to make sure there are no added out-of-the-box ingredients.

  • Steam up a bag of cauliflower rice, cook up a Chicken Creole entree, mix together and add some creole seasoning and/or hot sauce.
  • Also great with the Mushroom Risotto entree. Sprinkle with some truffle salt if you want to get fancy.
  • Cook it up on the stovetop and use salsa instead of water or cooking spray – let the salsa reduce in the rice (the liquid cook off) and you have a spicy rice perfect to serve under a Chicken Enchilada entree.

Zucchini – Spiralized as noodles (again fresh or freezer aisle) or just cut using a veggie peeler or slicer, this vegetable is versatile and takes on the flavor of many entrees.

  • Toss with some tomato sauce and Italian seasoning and serve under the Lasagna or Ravioli entree.
  • Steam it up and mix it in with the Penne Pasta and Meatballs entree.
  • Slice it thin like noodles and insert it in the middle of the Lasagna entree before baking.

Jicama or Carrot or Cucumber Chips – these are great crunchy snacks that are perfect to dip in salsa. Or how about blending a 5 Bean Casserole entree with some salsa. I like measuring out the vegetable slices into one cup portions – although I usually use two with my bean dip!

Creating Community to Stay Supported

Sometimes when I am home alone, I have an urge to eat. I might not even be hungry but I want something to fill a void. This is a conscious battle I have fought for a long time, and during my Phase One Decision Free experience, I found success in avoiding boredom eating by hitting the HMR Diet online message boards. Talking with other people, reading about their success and struggles, and reading through recipes they had tried was all very motivating and kept me out of the kitchen.

When I transitioned to Phase Two, I found other supportive venues, both online and in the real world. However I have discovered when going back into a Phase One box, how they aren’t as successful in helping me because the suggestions and recipes aren’t supportive of the behaviors I am trying to practice.

I recently discovered the format of the HMR Program “boards” has changed more to discussion threads, and a sense of community has been lost for me. It’s still an awesome resource for referencing, but it lacks some of the back and forth chatter I remember.

There are a couple of unofficial groups I have found on Facebook for HMR, but when people of all stages from Decision Free to Phase Two are hanging out together, the suggestions and advice and photos don’t always support my Phase One behaviors either.

So after talking with a couple of other people who felt the same way, I created two unofficial HMR groups on Facebook and I wanted to share them here in case anyone else is looking for support and trying to practice Environmental Control.

These groups are closed – which means you can find them in searches but the posts are only visible to group members. You are invited to join one or both if you are interested, just please be respectful of the spaces being created. There are also other fabulous mixed program groups on Facebook if you are looking for support in other stages or variations of HMR’s programs!

Unofficial HMR Diet Program – Decision Free Community (Please note that this group practices *strict* environmental control – no pictures of food other than HMR products are allowed – fruit and veggie posts are totally welcome in the Healthy Solutions community)

Unofficial HMR Diet Program – Healthy Solutions Community (This group welcomes fruit and veggie posts! However we still ask that you refrain from posting food outside the Healthy Solutions box – so just keep it to the produce, HMR products, and approved condiments)

While I openly recognize that eventually we will all have to transition to Phase Two and be exposed to the outside world, I also support having safe spaces where we can seek support and not worry about those temptations and decisions. I want to be able to open the Facebook Groups app, and just open my HMR support group and not be overwhelmed with GAP foods.

Final note – since these are supposed to be communities, I’d love some admin or moderator help. I started them after chatting with a few folks who also expressed needs for these groups, but I don’t want to run the show 🙂 So if you join a group and like the vibe and want to help, all hands are welcome to build these safe spaces!

Cauliflower Tortilla – a #HealthySolutions experiment

I was watching Top Chef this week and was impressed with a challenge where contestants had to replace an ingredient with cauliflower. It was fun to watch because cauliflower is in my Healthy Solutions box and I was inspired to play…

The Internet is full of cauliflower “bread” recipes, most of which require oils and cheese, which aren’t in my HMR Diet Healthy Solutions box. And thus I was motivated to create my own.

I’m still playing around with this, but after several variations (I’ve eaten a LOT of cauliflower this week), I have a version that makes a pliable wrap/tortilla-like product that can easily hold other ingredients.

One note of caution if you are a volume eater is that by processing the cauliflower in this way, you are making a low-volume food that may not be as filling. I try to keep my low-volume foods to a minimum so that I can stay full, which is why although this is “in the box,” I won’t reach for it all the time.

Cauliflower Day
HMR Healthy Solutions cauliflower tortilla filled with a stir-fry of cauliflower rice and the HMR BBQ Chicken entree (only part of the entree – saved some filling for later) served with a side of air-fried buffalo cauliflower. I declared the day “Cauliflower Day” 🙂

I have included pictures of the steps at the conclusion of this post to help with visualization since it’s a bit more complicated than most recipes I’ve posted.

This recipe uses something called aquafaba. Its the water that chickpeas are cooked in (there’s a chemical reaction that occurs giving it a viscosity that works like egg whites). You can just open up a can of chickpeas and take a tablespoon of this water/aquafaba. It serves as the binder for the ingredients.

Final note – the soup gives more than enough salt for this recipe. After several trials, I’d recommend checking any flavorings you add do not have additional salt in them (I used Penzey’s seasonings but you could change things up).

HMR Healthy Solutions Cauliflower Tortilla/Wrap

  1. Preheat over to 350 degrees. Steam cauliflower in your favorite method. I just throw a tablespoon of water and the cauliflower in my large Pampered Chef Micro-Cooker and microwave for 5 minutes. Let cool so you can handle it.
  2. Use a food processor to blend it. You could also mash with a potato masher. I will warn you that I tried making a version with pre-riced cauliflower and it did not stay together very well – so definitely start with florets and get them nice and smooth.
  3. Scoop the cauliflower into cheesecloth and squeeze out as much liquid as you can.
  4. Add remaining ingredients to the cauliflower and stir to combine.
  5. Spread evenly on a baking pan either lined with parchment or a silicone baking mat. I actually would make three smaller tortillas next time, the larger one was too big and didn’t crisp as well in the middle.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes. Check doneness. Mine were still soft in the middle but had browned on top, so I used a spatula to flip them over and baked for another 10 minutes. Baking times will vary based on how big and how thick you make them as well as your oven’s calibration.
Making HMR Cauliflower Tortillas

Making HMR Cauliflower Tortillas