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Posts tagged “HMR healthy solutions

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.


When you just can’t ignore the sweet tooth

It’s been a rough couple of weeks in our house and through it all, I’ve fought to stay in my Healthy Solutions Box (aside from when I had Strep last week and could barely get down water, forget a veggie or entree!). I know it’s been rough because my fruit consumption has drastically increased over my veggies, as I’ve been choosing berries over broccoli in my emotion-clouded mood. Don’t get me wrong, I know fruit is awesome and it’s not a terrible choice. But I also recognize I just wanted something sweet because I associate sweet with happier times.

With one shake left to get in my minimum prescription tonight, I opted to have a special treat saved only for that rare moment when I need an extra kick to keep me in the box. And yes I call Benefit Bars “candy bars” – because it helps to remind me they are a “sometimes food” – a tool but more energy dense and addicting than other HMR foods.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Candy Bar Pudding

  • HMR 70 chocolate shake packet
  • 1/2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tbsp PB2
  • 1 tbsp Torani sugar-free salted caramel syrup
  • 2-3 oz cold water
  • HMR peanut butter Benefit bar

Mix the shake, cocoa and PB2 together in a bowl. Add syrup and slowly add cold water. The amount of water is a personal decision depending on how thick you want the pudding. Normal HMR pudding is 2oz but with the additional dry ingredients it can be more like a dough.

Place in freezer to expedite the thickening. While it chills, chopped up Benefit bar. Mix into pudding. I actually throw the bowl back into the freezer so I end up with a pretty solid pudding with frozen chunks of candy bar.

This is a more caloric way of enjoying your HMR foods – so I don’t have it often. However it is an easy and relatively quick way to prepare a sweet treat when you need something special.


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.


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!


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!


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!


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


HMR Healthy Solutions: Butternut Squash Beef Stroganoff

After my first Core class last week, I went to Sprouts to stock up on vegetables and fruits to bulk up my meals. It was going to be a stressful couple of days and I knew I didn’t have time to prep a lot of ingredients, so I went in search of pre-cut produce to save some time. And I discovered spiralized butternut squash!

Now I have a spiralizer at home but I’ve never thought to use it on butternut squash! So I had to pick up a package to try as I was struck by inspiration.

I’ve made the following recipe a few times this week. I like the texture of the squash to be a little crunchy, so cook longer if you want softer noodles.

Also, if you are extra hungry, you can double everything but the entree for extra bulk and minimal calories (I’ve done both!).

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Butternut Squash Beef Stroganoff

  • HMR Beef Stroganoff Entree
  • 1 cup butternut squash noodles
  • 2 tbsp chopped onions
  • 1/8 to 1/4 tsp smoked paprika (depending on how strong you want it)
  • 1/2 tbsp FF sour cream
  • Water
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Heat sauté pan to medium high and cook chopped onions using either a spritz of cooking spray or water for 1-2 minutes until they start to soften. Add noodles, paprika, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Stir and cook for 3-4 minutes. You will want to add a little water to keep things from sticking (I keep a little bowl with a tablespoon in it nearby while cooking to add as needed without adding too much).

Add Beef Stroganoff entree and mix well. Cook for another 2-3 minutes. Turn off heat and fold in sour cream. Serve and enjoy!


Creamy HMR Penne Pasta Bake

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The new HMR Program Penne & Meatball entree is great on it’s own but sometimes you just want to shake things up to keep it interesting. Adding the soup and some additional spices can make for a delicious and easy pasta bake.

Creamy Penne Pasta Bake

  • HMR Penne & Meatball Entree
  • HMR Chicken Soup packet
  • Penzeys Roasted Garlic (several dashes worth – you can also use your favorite garlic powder or crushed garlic or leave this out)
  • Crushed Red Pepper (1/4 tsp optional for a nice kick)
  • 3 ounces water

Mix all ingredients together in a casserole dish until fully combined. Bake in oven at 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes until top has browned. Oven times may vary depending on how shallow or deep your baking dish is as well as your oven’s calibration.

Enjoy!

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Spicy HMR Lentil Soup

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When I was in Phase One of the HMR program, I rarely ate soup. Odd because it seemed like that’s what all of my classmates were doing – turning entrees into soup. But it just didn’t appeal to me.

Since entering Phase Two, I have realized how useful broth-based soups are as high-volume, low-calorie meal options. And so I have tried to increase my soup intake.

This is a very simple but delicious Decision-Free way to use the new HMR Diet Lentil Stew. If you don’t want the spice, cut the Green Dragon Sauce.

Spicy Lentil Soup

Stir all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir occasionally while heating. Once soup comes to a boil, turn off heat and enjoy while it’s still steaming!


Pumpkin Spice Tea Latte – An #HMRProgram #DecisionFree Recipe

Pumpkin spice is EVERYWHERE – seriously I must have seen at least ten different brands of pumpkin spiced tea in my local shops. But I finally caved and bought a box because I wanted to mix things up and my other dessert teas were running low.

I realized today after making a tea latte, that I had never posted about these before. But it’s a great alternative to coffee while giving you a warm shake any time of day. I make tea lattes with all sorts of flavored teas but this week have been enjoying a little something extra with the addition of pumpkin spice seasoning added to my shake.

Pumpkin Spice Tea Latte

  • Pumpkin Spice Tea (I used the Sprouts Grocery brand black tea)
  • Vanilla HMR Shake
  • Pumpkin Spice blend (you can find this in most baking aisles)

Boil 14 ounces of water and then brew tea. You can double the bags or reduce the water if you want the flavor extra strong, but I don’t think it’s needed. Once the tea has brewed, add it to your blender with the vanilla shake and a dash of pumpkin pie spice. Blend to froth (you can also use a travel milk brother if you are on the road). Pour back into your mug and top with a half-dash of spice. Enjoy! SUPER easy and perfect for sipping during your morning commute.


Peanut Butter Cookie Shake – An #HMRDiet-friendly recipe

Girl Scout cookie sales are in full swing – and I refuse to buy a box of those little scale-busters. Instead, with the sun shining again in California, I thought I’d try out my Torani Sugar-Free Belgian Cookie syrup out in a cold shake. The result was a peanut butter cookie shake that was quick to go into my blended shake rotation!

Peanut Butter Cookie Shake

  • 8-10 ice cubes
  • 2 ounces SF Torani Belgian Cookie syrup (I bought it on sale at Cost Plus World Market but you can also find it online and possibly at a store near you!)
  • 10 ounces cold water
  • 1 Vanilla HMR Program Shake (I used the 120 for this recipe)
  • 1 tbsp PB2

Blend all ingredients together until smooth. Drink and enjoy the cookie flavor in a filling shake without the density of a tiny little calorie-bomb of a cookie!


Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate – the HMR Diet hot shakes continue!

It’s cold and rainy here in California which means I am continuing to experiment with hot shakes. I tried to make something a little less sweet this time around while still being rich and filling.

Using unsweetened cocoa and PB2 gave the shake a deep mouthfeel while keeping the overall sweet level down. Perfect to sip while grading research assignments or enjoying a good book.

I used a travel Aerolatte milk frother for my hot shakes. It’s easy to carry, clean, and make clump-free shakes. But this could easily be done with a whisk or a blender (just be careful with pressure that can build making hot beverages in a blender!).

Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate

  • 1/2 tbsp PB2
  • 1/2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 HMR chocolate shake
  • 14 oz hot water

Pour hot water in a large mug. Slowly pour in shake powder while frothing/whisking. Do the same with PB2 and cocoa. Make sure to pour powders in slowly to reduce possibility of clumping. Enjoy!


Bulking up the HMR Diet Chicken Creole Entree (Healthy Solutions Recipe)


This one is short and easy but so good I had to share! And while you can grate cauliflower or run it through a food processor to get that rice texture, I recently learned you can also put raw florets in a large ziploc bag and beat it until it crumbles… excellent stress relief! (Okay so you can also buy riced cauliflower but c’mon let’s take cleavers to that vegetable and get some energy out!)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup diced onion (I dice an onion or two early in the week to throw into recipes)
  • 1/2 cup diced bell pepper 
  • 3 cups riced/grated cauliflower
  • Creole seasoning (to taste)
  • HMR Diet Chicken Creole entree

Heat frying pan over medium-high heat. Either spray with cooking spray or add a tablespoon of water and onion and bell pepper to sauté. Cook for one to two minutes stirring frequently and then add cauliflower and Creole seasoning.

Cook for another two to four minutes and add HMR program entree. Mix thoroughly and cook for another two to four minutes until heated through.

One gigantic serving or two smaller servings. Bulked up for just a few extra calories! Cook time varies because it depends on how soft you want your cauliflower rice. Add hot sauce if you want an extra kick!


Lessons and Acceptance: Reflecting on my HMR Diet Blitz experience

(I started this blog entry a few weeks ago and then the insanity of October hit – fellow teachers can relate – so I am finishing it off now – better late than never!)

For the last four weeks I have been on a strict HMR Healthy Solutions diet as part of a “Blitz” that my health center was offering. This meant four weeks straight of being “in the box” of the prescribed Healthy Solutions Diet of 3 shakes, 2 entrees, and 5 fruits/veggies minimum per day (more of any of these allowed under the concept “More is Better” which I will address in a moment) plus 2,000 physical activity calories a week.

When I transitioned out of Phase One of HMR almost a year ago today, I had not spent much time following Healthy Solutions. I had spent nine months living in a hardcore Decision Free box and only spent about a month transitioning into Healthy Solutions before I transitioned into Phase Two (the introduction of outside foods, broadening my personal “box” for successful weight maintenance).

To be honest, I don’t think I had fully grasped the function of Healthy Solutions. I followed it. I did what I was told. But I don’t think I had internalized some of the decision making that is taught in this part of the program.

More is Better

My “more is better” had been shakes and entrees for nine months. And when I transitioned, I continued to rely on these. There is nothing wrong with these decision free meals, however I have learned that if I rely more on vegetables as the bulk “more is better” part of a meal, I can have super filling options for fewer calories. It is a continuation of the idea of calorically dense foods. And so, for example my dinner tonight, instead of having two entrees or an entree and a shake, I am just as full (if not fuller) making “noodles” out of zucchini and having an HMR lasagna on top!

That said, entrees and shakes are incredibly valuable and more of these are better too. But I had been crowing out fruits and veggies – not just Gap foods – with my HMR entrees and shakes … which was depriving me of another “more is better” option (that has even more variety!).

Meal Planning

The concept behind meal planning was pretty basic in Decision Free since I had been working with limited options that required no preparation. So when I started introducing fruits and veggies, I went for a lot of basics and didn’t think about meal prep or planning. But that gets boring fast, and thus I started to plan a few more of my meals in order to get all of my fruits, veggies, shakes, and entrees in!

I have also created a “puzzle piece” system where I prep building blocks that can be used a variety of ways during the week (so I can have some spontaneity in what I have but it all still meets a Healthy Solutions guideline) – for example, I will roast several squash and an eggplant as well as spiralize zucchini and rice up a head of cauliflower. Now I have ready made staples I can pair with an entree – like steak and potatoes tossed with some roasted squash or Thai curry bulked up with some extra cauliflower rice.

Journaling

I also had been pretty simplistic in my journaling in Decision Free. I would just check off with a hash-mark when I had an entree or shake or bar. And while I was okay with basic fruit and veggie tracking in Healthy Solutions. But as I started to get creative, I realized I would get frustrated having to add everything and wouldn’t keep a clear journal.

Now I have all of my puzzle pieces saved and can swap them in and out. But I also pre-log things before I eat them because if it does take awhile to log, I might just end up with a shake or some steamed veggies (which were probably the healthier option in some cases).

My Takeaway

Ultimately, there are a lot of things I have taken away from this experience. And I would strongly encourage anyone who needs a reset to check out their HMR clinic for the next Blitz offering. I not only lost some of the weight I had gained, I have taken away a better appreciation of defining what I need to maintain my weight as well as an appreciation for decision free options (shakes and entrees) that I had “tired” of after transitioning to Phase Two. I embrace them with a newfound respect having taken a “break” from them and realizing they are actually pretty awesome for more than just weight loss.

I am now currently living inside of my own personal box. It’s not as strict as an official “box” but it’s guidelines I am figuring out help me from diving into “The World of Gap Foods” — I am playing around to figure out exactly what works and I am still giving myself permission to have a meal outside of my new box every couple of weeks. I am also still figuring out if I am at my “happy” weight range or if I do want to lose the additional pounds I have found in Phase Two. If I lose them, will I be at a maintainable weight for me? And right now, I just don’t know. But I will keep living in my box full of fruits and vegetables and decision free meal options (with an occasional outside lean protein) until I have a better answer. And I realize this may be the rest of my life and after a year in Phase Two, I am finally accepting this.


HMR Five Bean Curried Squash Stuffed Peppers

HMR Diet Stuffed Peppers

That title is a mouthful. A DELICIOUS mouthful!

I was roasting a squash. And I had some left. So I mashed it. Then I realized I had some small purple bell peppers in the fridge that needed to be cooked. And then the idea began to form. And my goodness it was a filling idea!

HMR Healthy Solutions 5 Bean Stuffed Peppers

Serves One Hungry Me!

  • 1 HMR 5 Bean Entree
  • 3/4 lb Bell Peppers (in my case it was five small peppers)
  • 1/2 cup mashed Butternut Squash
  • 2 tbsp dried Minced Onions
  • 1 tsp Curry Powder
  • 1 tsp Granulated Garlic
  • Salt & Pepper

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut the tops off of the bell peppers – trim the edible parts off the top that you have removed, they can be used in the filling! I had four small ones and one really tiny one, so I chopped up the tiny one as well.

Mix all other ingredients together. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Fill the bell peppers with the mixture. Place them in a baking dish. I used a large loaf pan and made foil balls to help prop them up. You could also use muffin tins or mini pie pans depending on the size of your peppers (you just want to make sure they don’t tip over as they cook and the shell softens).

Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until desired doneness. Everything is already cooked through except the shell so it will really depend on if you prefer a crisper exterior shell/pepper or a softer pepper.

Below is the nutritional data per MyFitnessPal’s recipe builder:

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Finding Success Amongst Stress

I’m still here! Moving apartments and starting a new position at my school has been running me in circles. This is a hectic time of year for a teacher and the move and the new classes have added an extra element of stress.

This said, I have continued to work to maintain my health. I have been following the Healthy Solutions program closely, and made a firm commitment to exclusively follow the program starting last week as my HMR center is hosting a “Blitz” for members of Phase Two. This has given us a chance to hit a “reset” button and refocus on healthy and supportive behaviors – so far I have been “In The Box” for 6 days and Day Seven is off and running!

Despite the extreme levels of stress that I have been dealing with, I have managed to control my diet reasonably well through pre-logging my meals each day. This has forced me to write out a plan every single day before the day starts. It means I know I am getting in my fruits and veggies. It also means, now that I am on the Blitz, that I am also fitting in my entrees and shakes.

I tend to overplan. I pack more food each day than I will probably eat. And now that I am settled in my classroom, I also have a stocked cabinet full of supportive meals, shakes, condiments, zero-calorie beverages and all of the tools and utensils I need to prepare them.

By over-planning, I can be a bit more flexible and listen to my actual hunger levels. I avoid the anxiety of making a decision from outside foods but I can play safely in my box for the day. A health educator last week relayed a message from another HMR member who called it “making friends with the box” and I really embraced this. I think this is where I had problems in my transition because I wasn’t necessarily seeing all the flexibility I could afford myself without risking the gains I had made in improving my health.

Pre-logging also means I can eat everything I bring if I am having a hungry day without reaching for outside food. And all I have to do is delete the items I don’t eat.

Finally, let’s say I do feel like breaking out a little. I want an HMR lasagna and not the chili I had planned. It’s a minor change in my log and I can still visualize how it fits into my overall day.

I have logged for 31 days on MyFitnessPal (I’m “HealthyAcademic” if you want to be my “friend” and view my diary – I have made it visible to my friends for added accountability and I love reading other food logs for ideas) – this app is working great for me in terms of pre-logging. It’s taken me a very long time to figure out a consistent way to log my food, but I think this has been my most successful method for meal-planning and ensuring I get everything I eat written down.


HMR Healthy Solutions Stuffed Tomatoes

Today I had the opportunity to attend a Phase One HMR class and they were having a condiment party! Everyone brought low-calorie condiments to share along with recipe ideas. One of the recipes mentioned was the HMR Stuffing recipe which got me brainstorming…

With produce left to use before debate nationals, I imagined how I might blend these ingredients into something new. Because creativity helps me stay focused on consuming supportive foods.

  
You will need three to six tomatoes depending on their size. Mine were somewhere slightly smaller than a tennis ball but not as small as a golf ball. I only filled the three I had and ate the rest of the stuffing. I used half the stuffing for three so in the future I would want six tomatoes this size.

Ingredients

  • Tomatoes
  • HMR Oatmeal
  • HMR Chicken Soup
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Garlic Powder

Cut a circle out of the top of each tomato. Hollow out the tomatoes with a spoon. Save the guts and chop up as much of the top of the tomato that you can. Set hollow tomatoes aside.

Cook HMR oatmeal with 3/4 cup water for 90 seconds. Add soup, chopped tomato and tomato guts, Italian seasoning and garlic powder (I used between one and two teaspoons of each). Mix well.

Spoon stuffing into tomatoes and bake at 400 degrees for 13-18 minutes until the tops are browned (I left mine in for 20 and as you can see they are a tad too brown!) — Enjoy!


Southwestern HMR Diet Healthy Solutions Soup

I have been working hard to focus on high-volume lower-calorie meals in order to stay full for fewer calories. And this week we were given a homework assignment to replace a meal with a high volume meal option from a list. Perfect for my own personal focus!

The one item on the list that I haven’t done since Decision-Free was to essentially turn an entree into a soup. Adding liquid ups the volume for sure!

This was the experiment I dreamed up on my drive home from class and it worked out really well. You can sub in fresh veggies and also change up the amount of water for your desired thickness.

The version I made was pretty thin, so you may want less water if you prefer a thicker soup. I like having the extra soup and I think the flavor was still relatively intense for being a thinner soup.

Southwestern Soup

  • 1 HMR Chili Entree
  • 2 HMR Chicken Soups
  • 1 bag of Trader Joe’s fire roasted bell peppers and onions (no added oil)
  • Mrs. Dash Fiesta Lime seasoning to taste (I probably added between two and three teaspoons)
  • Fresh black pepper to taste (less than a teaspoon for me)
  • 8 cups of water

Cook the frozen vegetables in the water with the seasonings (I bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer for 10 minutes). Add soup packets and chili and simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and blend in small batches.

Makes a GIGANTIC bowl which is clearly 4 or more servings unless you are ridiculously hungry. The entire giant storage bowl was only 570 calories. It made six servings for me – so less than a hundred calories a mug!


HMR Healthy Solutions Chocolate Cherry Ginger Shake

This shake contains a secret ingredient. One I CANNOT believe I ever put in a shake. But I did it. And have done it a number of times with a variety of fun combinations I can’t wait to share!

When my Phase Two health educator suggested putting frozen cauliflower in a shake instead of ice, I thought she was crazy. She claimed you couldn’t taste it. “Ha!” I thought. “It seems just weird enough that it might be true!”

It took me several months before I dared to place a cup of frozen cauliflower into my Vitamix. But with a serving of frozen fruit in there and an HMR shake, she was right! Plus as it melted, it didn’t water down the shake like ice. And for only 25 extra calories I was getting another serving of veggies with all the fiberous nutritional goodness that comes with it.

So here’s one of my combos that isn’t overly sweet but is super refreshing after a workout.

Chocolate Cherry Ginger Shake

  • 1 cup frozen cauliflower
  • 1 cup frozen cherries (make sure there is nothing but cherries on the ingredient list!)
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ginger
  • 1 HMR chocolate shake
  • 1.5 cups of water

Blend until smooth and enjoy! If you like it sweeter, I would suggest adding some Torani sugar free Black Cherry syrup.


Miso Ginger Soup Recipe (HMR Healthy Solutions Friendly!)

It’s been a LONG time since I posted but I spent the last three weeks in China (and was a bit stressed getting ready for the trip before that) — I want to write about my experiences soon (after I finish catching up on work!) but tonight I wanted to share a “recipe” I threw together this week that’s super delicious and filling but low in calories (and cost!). The measurements are approximate and I totally could imagine adding some different spices to change it up.

It all started when I picked up a 6 pound bag of frozen “Asian Vegetable Mix” at a restaurant supply store…

Miso Ginger Soup

  • 6 cups frozen “Asian Vegetable Mix” (mine was 25 calories a cup!)
  • 8 cups water
  • 4 tbsp miso paste (I buy Eden Organic because I use Miso to flavor a lot of things – warning miso adds all the salt you need!)
  • 2 tbsp low sodium shoyu/soy sauce (adds a great umami flavor)
  • 2 tbsp crushed ginger from a tube (you should use less if you don’t like strong ginger flavor or are using fresh ginger!)
  • 1 tbsp granulated garlic powder (different than the fine powder so measurements might vary)

Put all in large pot. Cover. Bring to boil and let boil for 5 to 10 minutes. Then reduce to a simmer and let simmer for at least 40 minutes. It’s even better portioned out and reheated later!

Made 10 servings for me at about 25 calories each (although I tripled up a couple to quench some hunger and sodium cravings while I have been sick since my return).


HMR Healthy Solutions Apple Pie Shake

Still playing around with produce in shakes, I had a couple of apples leftover that I needed to use. What about an apple pie shake with hints of toffee and maple?

Apple Pie Shake
* 2 HMR Vanilla Shakes (I use HMR 800)
* 4 pumps SF vanilla bean syrup
* 4 pumps SF pancake syrup
* 4 pumps SF English toffee syrup
* 1.5 cups water
* 2 small-medium apples (I used Honeycrisp)
* 18 ice cubes
* Spices – I use Pampered Chef Cinnamon Plus but I think you could use an apple pie spice or just cinnamon and nutmeg. I like space – probably used between one and two teaspoons.

Blend syrups, water and apples together until apples are broken down. Add shakes and spices and blend until combined. Add ice and blend until desired consistency. Enjoy!!!!

I divided this into three coffee tumblers to enjoy throughout the day. However after a PA-filled morning I am thinking of doubling up on HMR meal replacements and enjoying an oatmeal with one of them!


HMR Healthy Solutions Pumpkin Pie Shake

When I was on Decision Free, I crafted a Decision Free Pumpkin Pie shake to get me through the holidays. Now that I have started playing with fruits and veggies in my shakes, I decided to try another experiment.

This shake will very in thickness based on the amount of water you use. I used less water to make it thicker like a fast-food shake but if you add more, it will spread the flavor out and give you more volume. This recipe filled two 16oz tumblers and a 12oz tumbler, so even thicker it still made quite a bit.

Make sure you use pureed pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling which is full of extra sugar (and calories). Also, this shake isn’t super sweet. If you like sweet pumpkin pie, you will want to add more syrup or non-caloric sweetener. But I like my pie only slightly sweetened.

HMR Healthy Solutions Pumpkin Pie Shake

  • 2 HMR 800 Vanilla Shake packets (or your favorite HMR Vanilla shake)
  • 1.75 cups of pureed pumpkin (it was one can of pureed pumpkin)
  • 2 ounces Torani SF pumpkin pie syrup
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 16 ice cubes

Blend pumpkin, syrup and water together until combined. Add cinnamon and shake packets and blend again until combined. Add ice and blend until smooth.


HMR Healthy Solutions Carrot Cake Shake

I have had a weird craving for carrot cake. And I can’t deny that a giant piece would totally hit the spot right now. Creamy icing. Sweet carrot and fruit flavors.

But I know I would feel pretty gross if I ate a slice of carrot cake. The sugar crash and high calories would be disadvantageous to the lifestyle I strive to maintain.

So I created something that honestly, I wasn’t sure would work. However after having a shake for breakfast and another in a thermos for an afternoon snack, I am already planning on making this again tomorrow!

And laugh if you want, but this is the first HMR shake I have added any fruits or veggies to. I know! I am shocked too! I won’t do it a ton because I like to chew my produce but I will definitely be playing around some more in the future!

Feel free to adjust the amount of syrups and cinnamon to your taste. This is definitely a sweet shake!

HMR Carrot Cake Shake

  • 1 HMR Vanilla 800 packets (you can sub in your HMR vanilla shake of choice)
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 small apple
  • 5 pumps Torani sugar-free vanilla bean syrup
  • 3 pumps Torani sugar-free vanilla cinnamon syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup of water
  • 8 ice cubes

Blend carrot, apple and water together first to break down the produce. Add shake mix, syrups, and cinnamon. You may need additional water depending on how pulpy you want it. Add ice cubes.

I use a Vitamix which breaks everything down very nicely. Results may vary with blender choice as to the consistency.