Traveling through life with a timer and sneakers

Posts tagged “HMR Healthy Solutions Diet

Disneyland and HMR Healthy Solutions

In 2014 I traveled to Disney world and wrote about staying in my Decision Free Box. Well this weekend I was chaperoning our Senior Trip in Southern California and I wanted to share my day at Disneyland because I wanted to record how I stayed in the HMR Program box while in the “Happiest Place on Earth (with the most delicious smells!)”

I started my morning at the hotel with two big cups of fresh cup fruit and a mug of plain black coffee. The goal today was to eat supportive foods whenever I felt hungry, so I also grabbed a banana and an apple and two cups of grapes to throw in my bag. I was carrying all of my supplies in a super light collapsible pack that prevented me from feeling weighed down or burdened by bringing my own food. In addition to my hotel fruit, I had also brought:

It was a lengthy drive to Disneyland from the city we were staying in, so I enjoyed a chocolate shake and a packet of cookies during the commute.

Once through all the shuttles and security, we started out at California Adventure. I skipped the Soaring ride (I get a little extra queasy on it) and enjoyed my chili and the banana. This helped keep me full since I had been up for quite a few hours at this point in the morning and I could eat the entree without feeling watchful eyes of coworkers, most of whom did not know about HMR.

A little bit later in the morning while my friends enjoyed soft serves and root beer floats, I ordered a Diet Coke and poured it into my shaker bottle. I added a vanilla shake and had my own Diet Coke Float! (Note I shake in the Blender Bottle carefully but then slowly unscrew the lid to release the carbonation rather than pop open the top which causes liquids to fly!).

After traversing California Adventure including riding Guardians of the Galaxy (oofta that one shook me up!), we went over to the Magic Kingdom to grab a Fast Pass for Space Mountain and to have lunch. My friends grabbed pizza in Tomorrowland while I grabbed a plain side salad. I topped it with my Walden Farms dressing and donated the high-calorie dressing to my friends to dip their breadsticks in. Once I finished my salad, I ate my two cups of grapes. I don’t eat a lot of grapes because of the sugar content (they are really sweet to me) but there is something to be said for keeping your hands busy with those little buggers. I also enjoyed sipping on a diet lemonade.

Then we were off to the Matterhorn and then on to Adventureland. At this point in the day it was getting quite warm. I grabbed some fresh mango after we rode the Jungle Cruise to enjoy while in line for Haunted Mansion. It was delicious topped with some Tajin. The line was about an hour, so I finished off my second serving of cookies as well.

After the Haunted Mansion, my friends wanted to get Dole Whip. I wasn’t super hungry but I did feel tempted as it was close to when I would normally eat dinner (but we still had many hours left in the park)… so I ordered a fresh pineapple spear. At this point I was quite full.

Some shows, some more rides, and then we had just an hour left before we left to go back to our hotel. There was a pizza party when we got back to the hotel and some of my coworkers wanted to get a real meal instead of the pizza. So we left the park in search of food. I enjoyed a massive spicy fruit salad at a restaurant in Downtown Disney as well as my 5 Bean entree.

On the bus ride home, shortly before heading into the pizza party, I ended my day of dining with my chocolate Benefit Bar. This special treat left a sweet chocolate taste in my mouth and was the perfect topper to keep me full while in a room full of one of my favorite foods.

I didn’t end up going to bed until about midnight, so it was an incredibly long day. However I stayed in the box (and walked almost 22,000 steps!) which helped keep me motivated to stay in the box during the remainder of the trip.

Have you been to a theme park while in Phase One? Would love to hear how you stayed in the box during your visit!


Healthy Solutions Spaghetti and Fried Ravioli

This recipe can be made with or without the ravioli entree, but after a heavy activity day  it’s super filling and the ravioli feels like a special treat! You can also just make the spaghetti and top it with an entree to save time. I will sometimes batch cook the spaghetti and portion it out to use over the course of a week – sometimes making it with the ravioli, sometimes eating alone, and sometimes topping with another HMR entree like the penne or lasagna.

NOTE: There is no salt/sodium in the spaghetti without the HMR entree sauce added, so if you are having it by itself, you may want to add some salt to amp up the flavor.

Fried Ravioli

  • HMR Ravioli Entree

You will need an air-fryer for this part of the recipe. You could also bake the ravioli or pan fry it if you want. It’s relatively simple! Just scrape the sauce off the ravioli (save it for the spaghetti) and place the ravioli in a single layer in the air-fryer. Cook for 10 minutes at 390 degrees, flipping over once during the cooking process.

Healthy Solutions Spaghetti

Heat a large frying pan to medium-high heat. You may want to use a quick spritz of cooking spray depending on the pan you have chosen (you can also just occasionally sprinkle water as you cook to keep things from sticking).

Cook the onions for several minutes in the hot pan, stirring frequently, until the onions start to soften and start to become translucent. Add the spaghetti squash and Penzey’s spices. Stir to combine and cook for another two minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and stir to combine, cook for one more minute. Finally, add the sauce from the raviolis and stir, cooking for approximately one more minute.

Enjoy the spaghetti with the raviolis on top or on the side. You end up with 4 cups of vegetables and an entree as your incredibly filling meal.


HMR Healthy Solutions Peanut Butter Chocolate Banana Bars

img_8745

A couple of weeks ago I went camping and trail running – all while staying in the HMR Program Healthy Solutions Box. However I had to plan ahead and prepare foods that would be supportive of both the HMR program, but also of the endurance activities I would be participating in. With no way to heat up my normal oatmeal in the morning, I got creative!

These bars are a higher calorie food that are relatively compact in nature. While I wouldn’t make them every day, it was a method of combining foods I use to fuel before long runs in a portable manner. My normal oatmeal with a tbsp of PB2 and a side of banana would have been much higher in volume, and I honestly wouldn’t have had the shake because I would have already been full. However this worked for me for fueling for the trail half and also gave me some additional snacks to enjoy during the weekend when other people were recovering with bagels and beer.

HMR Healthy Solutions Peanut Butter Chocolate Banana Bars

  • 1 HMR Oatmeal
  • 1 HMR 70 Chocolate Shake
  • 1 tbsp PB2
  • 1 tbsp Fat-Free Sugar-Free Banana Pudding Mix
  • 1 small ripe banana
  • 4 ounces water

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mash the banana in a mixing bowl and add the dry ingredients to it. Slowly add the water in until you get a cookie dough consistency (you may not need all of the water depending on the size and ripeness of the banana – both of which will impact overall moisture of the batter).

Scoop out dough on a cookie sheet lined with a silicone mat. I shaped the dough like bars, but you could easily just put scoops out and end up with cookies.

Bake for 15-20 minutes (will depend on your oven calibration and moisture content of your dough) until your bars are baked through. They may still be slightly soft on the underside, but I found flipping them on to a paper towel will allow them to cool while the steam escapes. Leaving them on the hot pan could cause textural issues as the steam tries to escape and is trapped.

One recipe made 4 bars. I doubled the batch for the weekend I went camping and it was plenty for fueling and recovery (it was super delicious to pair a bar with a shaken HMR chocolate shake over ice post-run).


Celebrating 4/20 the HMR Healthy Solutions Way!

Did you know April 20th was a day recognized around the country as a very special day? It’s true! On 4/20, people around the country gather together to recognize National Pineapple Upside Down Cake Day!

What better way to celebrate than with an HMR muffin! These won’t quite replicate the cake itself (but to be honest I have forgotten what that cake tastes like), however reading through a number of recipes and descriptors, I have crafted what I think is pretty darn tasty.

I have to thank one of my HMR Program classmates who mentioned making muffins with canned pineapple for the inspiration behind this recipe. (She also recommended what our class calls “The Rosé” – a double entree mixing the Penne and Alfredo – SO GOOD) I LOVE being inspired by my classmates – their stories and experiences motivate me going into rough weeks as I reflect on the lessons I have learned from them.

HMR Pineapple Muffins

  • HMR Oatmeal packet
  • HMR 70 Vanilla packet
  • 8 ounce can of crushed pineapple in it’s own juice
  • 1 tsp rum extract
  • 1/2 tbsp baking powder
  • 2 pumps Torani Sugar-Free Coconut Syrup

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare your baking tins. I use a silicone mini muffin tin which expedites cooking time while making it easy for quick release – I also use a quick spritz of cooking spray in the tin before filling it with batter – this also helps with release of the baked muffins.

Mix all of the ingredients together. Fill batter tins. It’s really that easy. The liquids from the pineapple, extract, and syrup are enough to moisten the batter. If you don’t like rum and coconut extract you could easily sub those out. I’m thinking the brown sugar syrup and vanilla extract might be nice as well. Or a brandy extract and a cherry syrup. I was going for a bit of tropical flair after being inspired by my classmate, but the possibilities are endless!

Bake for approximately 15 minutes until the tops of the muffins have browned. Then pop them out of the muffin tins to cool. Your baking time may vary based on oven calibration and muffin tins used.

 


Beet & Bean Burgers – Camping on HMR Healthy Solutions

This weekend I am stepping out of my comfort zone and going to a weekend trail-running festival. I’ll be attending alone, and will be surrounded by a community of runners. I am a ball of nervous excitement with dashes of social anxiety.

It will also mean a lot of calories being torched as we run 14ish miles with 2700+ feet of elevation gained, in addition we will do yoga and hiking. But the festival provides food all weekend, most of which is outside of my HMR Healthy Solutions Box.

My box is my safety net. And to reduce my anxiety, to settle my nerves, I did a lot of meal preparation and recipe testing. This is what I plan to enjoy when the menu is burgers on Saturday night!

I read several dozen recipes to create this Healthy Solutions Beet & Bean burger that is delicious but is also transportable and can be tossed on a grill or eaten cold.

I made it earlier this week and grilled up some of the patties after refrigerating them overnight. Then I topped them with fresh basil and chopped tomato to create bruschetta burgers!

I make smaller slider patties because they cook quicker and can be easily eaten with a lettuce “bun” – I haven’t tried full size patties but will warn you may want to lower the temperature in the oven and cook significantly longer to allow the burger to cook through (otherwise it will be soggy in the middle).

You will find photo step-by-step below. Also note you could sub out a different beet. Might change up the color and flavor a bit but I know beets can vary region to region.

Beet & Bean Burgers

  • 2 medium-large golden beets pre-roasted (I just wrapped them in foil and baked them earlier in the week when roasting vegetables) and cooled
  • 1 cup garbanzo beans
  • 3 tablespoons aquafaba (the liquid from the canned garbanzo beans)
  • 1 tablespoon Pasta Sprinkles (you can use a general Italian seasoning – I happen to love this blend of herbs and garlic – just avoid blends with added salt – the soup is salty enough)
  • 1 HMR Chicken Soup

Preheat oven to 375.

Using a food processor, grind up beets and beans into a coarse riced texture. Scrape down sides. Add pasta sprinkles seasoning and aquafaba.

Process for several more minutes until you have a paste-like substance. Then scoop out into patties on a cookie sheet covered with a silicone mat or parchment paper, sprayed with a small light cooking spray mist (I use a biscuit circle to create the shape – but it’s not necessary).

Bake for 25 minutes. Flip over (be careful they are still soft!). Bake for an additional 25 minutes. Remove and let cool on a rack or paper towel.


An HMR Diet Review: Reflecting in my Twelfth Week of Healthy Solutions Diet

After struggling in Phase Two, especially while dealing with the aftermath of an abrupt medical emergency, I recognized I needed to get my weight management act together. More specifically, I needed to focus on practicing the healthy behaviors I had learned while in Phase One in 2013-2014 as well as introduce some new behaviors. I had only spent a few weeks in the Healthy Solutions transition between Decision Free and Phase Two, and I needed to work on my relationship with fruits and vegetables.

In January of 2018, I committed to following the Healthy Solutions Diet offered by HMR at Palo Alto Medical Clinic. 12+ weeks of HMR meal replacements and unlimited fruits and vegetables. More decisions that the faster weight loss program (Decision Free) but still effectively limited food choices and thus decreasing my decision anxiety about food.

After 11 weeks on the program, I have lost over 30lbs, all while embracing the “More is Better” philosophy to help me stay on the program. My minimum prescription each day is 3 HMR shakes (or soup or oatmeal), 2 HMR entrees, and 5 servings of produce (the program offers guidance on serving sizes) – however most days I have extra fruits and vegetables, and maybe an extra meal replacement or two (or three or four) to keep me full and away from temptation for minimal calories!

After some conversations with other HMR patients on social media, I am sharing my data for the first 11 weeks (I am in week 12) publicly because I have come to realize it helps shape the reality of this “More is Better” concept at HMR:

Screen Shot 2018-04-09 at 3.00.13 PM

In a seven day week, my MR (meal replacements) minimum would be 35, as would my V/F (veggies and fruit), however you will notice I never eat “just the minimum” because it would not keep me full and thus I would faced increased temptation. And yet I have lost weight every week (and I peeked at my personal scale this morning at home and am feeling pretty awesome about this week as well!).

I have had struggles while I have been on Healthy Solutions. Making choices on going out to eat. Preparing for travel. Making sure I have a variety of options available to keep me full and away from temptation. But I have learned some valuable lessons too:

  • If you don’t like a vegetable or entree, try a different preparation method. I rarely ate the chicken soup in Decision Free unless it was a cracker or savory muffin. However I have been making all sorts of soups in Healthy Solutions (and actually still haven’t made a cracker or savory muffin with the mix!).
  • When in doubt, double the vegetables! This seems silly, why eat more than you had planned? Well you can usually sneak in an extra serving of vegetables when preparing a meal and while the calorie cost is minimal, the extra fullness can’t compare! When I add cauliflower rice to a chicken creole entree, I add two cups instead of one. Extra bulk. Extra fullness. And only 40 extra calories that is going to offset something higher calorie later!
  • Always keep easy-prep produce around. You never know when you are going to have a bad day (or days), so having a couple go-to standards is always a good idea. Every week I make sure to order a couple of easy-prep items in my Imperfect Produce delivery (apples, carrots, baby tomatoes, citrus). But I also have a few standards in my freezer – riced cauliflower (awesome to mix into most entrees), frozen cherries (perfect for snacking), small frozen bananas (throw one in a shake or make an ice cream), and frozen mixed peppers or grilled asparagus (something fun that’s quick to prep and can change up an entree or be blended into a soup). Finally, I always keep an onion and either a potato or hard winter squash on hand. The onion can transform lots of things from entrees to soup to veggies. The potato or squash might take a little longer to prep but they are carbalicious treats that are a better choice than something out-of-the-box.
  • Plan for more than you think you are going to eat. If it’s in my plan, I am not afraid to eat it and it’s already prepared and easy to grab. If I am not hungry, it can be stored for the next day when it’s the first thing on my list. For example, Monday was my first day back from Spring Break where my eating was less regimented. I also had a 5am OrangeTheory Fitness so I knew I’d be starting my day early and with a lot of activity (which can sometimes leave me hungry all morning). So my post-workout commuter breakfast was a blended 120 vanilla shake (with some PB2 and sugar-free salted caramel syrup from Torani) as well as a chicken soup blended up with my “green soup base” (which is really just whatever looks like is near it’s end in the produce bin getting simmered with broth and spices and blended into a greenish broth). Then my snack and lunch bag had: 1 cup of baby tomatoes, 2 cups of roasted broccoli, 1 cup of berries, a chicken creole cooked with peppers, 1 cup of cucumber-tomato-basil salad, a diet soda, a giant Contigo with herbal tea, and another giant Contigo with a 120 chocolate shake turned into a hot cocoa. When I got home from work, I still had the broccoli (which I snacked on while preparing dinner) and the tomatoes, which are back in the lunch bag this morning and will be my first snack of the morning.

Overall, I think Healthy Solutions has helped me to embrace fruits and vegetables as filling and delicious foods. I realized before that they could offset calories, but I never truly practiced incorporating them into my life, making them the main focus of snacks and meals instead of side dishes and afterthoughts. And while my weight loss has been slower on Healthy Solutions than on Decision Free, I do think spending more time in Healthy Solutions will help to prepare me for Phase Two. I wouldn’t trade the fast weight loss initially because I think Decision Free helped me reduce decision anxiety and find success and motivation in the HMR Program. It taught me invaluable lessons that I am not sure I personally could have found if I had started in Healthy Solutions.

But I was definitely in a rush to get to “normal foods” in Phase Two and forgot along the way the fruits and vegetables are the staple of the “normal foods” – a foundation that needs to be solidified in order for the house of weight maintenance to be steady when the earthquake called life might hit. And now my foundation is getting that strengthening it needs so that my weight management practices can be strong in the Phase Two world.

 


Easy Healthy Solutions Meal Prep: Chicken Creole

As Spring Break winds to a close, I’m back to prepping multiple grab-and-go meals for the week. I wanted to share this one because someone who reads my blog told me they don’t like cauliflower (what?!?) and was looking for fast ways to add vegetables into their diet.

This one is quick and cheap. So easy I can’t believe I haven’t shared it before!

This bag of fire roasted veggies from Trader Joe’s has no added oil and approximately five cups of veggies! So I throw the whole bag in a large hot frying pan and stir while it defrosts and starts to warm up.

I add in two HMR Program Chicken Creole entrees into the pan and sprinkle in my favorite Creole seasoning. Continue to stir for several minutes until all the flavors have come together.

I divide the mix into two half for two quick meals that are easy to reheat and contain 2.5 cups of veggies already cooked in!