Category Archives: diet

Pregnancy Nutrition Checklist

I had a difficult time finding a simple, streamlined pregnancy nutrition checklist, so I decided to make one myself.  I don’t use it daily, but I do pull it out several times per week to make sure I’m keeping on track.

Here’s a pdf version of the pregnancy nutrition checklist and a version that you can fiddle with on Microsoft Word.  Feel free to use it and change it as you’d like!


Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Chipotle Mayo

I enjoy french fries.  Who doesn’t?  Unfortunately, most fried foods don’t sit well with my stomach.  I suppose it’s a good thing — aside from taste, there’s no reason I should be eating fried food anyway.  That doesn’t take away my craving for french fries, though.  A happy substitute can be found, though.  Sweet potato fries hit the spot, and with loads of vitamin A, your body will thank you.

Unfortunately, at the present time, I don’t have a picture of the finished fries.  They were immediately devoured as soon as they came out of the oven!

Sweet Potato Fries

adapted from Paula Dean’s Baked Sweet Potato Fries


  • Olive Oil, for tossing
  • 5 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch long slices, then 1/4-wide inch strips, using a crinkle cut knife
  • Oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  Line a sheet tray with parchment.
  2. In a large bowl toss sweet potatoes with just enough oil to coat. Sprinkle with seasonings.
  3. Spread sweet potatoes in single layer on prepared baking sheet, being sure not to overcrowd. Bake until sweet potatoes are tender and golden brown, turning occasionally, about 20 minutes.
  4. Let cool 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Chipotle Mayo

Mix one part mayo with one part barbecue sauce.

“Chicken Nuggets” With Spinach

In keeping up with my health goals for this month, I’ve been trying to incorporate more vegetables into our meals, mostly with success.  Sneaking in a few extra veggies here and there does nothing but help the cause, so I figured it was about time to pull out Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld.  The book had been sitting on my bookshelf for months, waiting patiently to be opened.  Its time finally came.  The chosen recipe?  Chicken nuggets with spinach.  The results?

Somehow, I don’t think my “chicken nuggets” turned out quite like Mrs. Seinfeld intended.  I’m not sure quite what happened.  They were tasty, but they were nothing like what I’d call a chicken nugget.  They were more like breaded chicken with spinach hunks clinging to the sides.  That sounds unappetizing, I realize.  But honestly?  Not that bad.  Especially when you try to forget that they’re “chicken nuggets” and eat them with a fork.  Then, they’re really very good.

I think I failed at the spinach puree step.  I used my food processor to puree the spinach, but it wasn’t exactly a liquid by the time I was finished.  Looking back on the directions, I now realize that I should have removed the stems of the spinach.  Anyway, what I ended up with was more like very tiny pieces of spinach.  If I would have just given it a few more pulses, maybe this would’ve been a better situation.  The tiny pieces of spinach didn’t want to cling to the sides of the chicken, so I had to glop as much on as I could, quickly put it in the breadcrumbs before any dripped off, and speed it over to the frying pan, hoping nothing dropped on the floor on the way there.  A slight disaster, but with tasty results after all the trouble.

Oh, and a tip… Do NOT feed these to children and claim they’re chicken nuggets.  I don’t think the kids would buy it.  Call them something else and you’d be fine, but don’t slander the name nugget like that.

Chicken Nuggets with Spinach

From Deceptively Delicious, as seen on Oprah


  • 1 cup whole-wheat or white breadcrumbs or panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 1/2 cup flaxseed meal
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 cup spinach puree (see below)
  • 1 large egg , lightly beaten
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts or chicken tenders , rinsed, dried and cut into small chunks
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  1. In a bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, flaxseed meal, Parmesan, paprika, garlic and onion powder on the paper or foil and mix well with your fingers.
  2. In a shallow bowl, mix the vegetable puree and egg with a fork and set the bowl next to the breadcrumb mixture.
  3. Sprinkle the chicken chunks with the salt. Dip the chunks into the egg mixture and then toss them in the breadcrumbs until completely coated.
  4. Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and set over medium-high heat. When the skillet is hot, add the oil. Place the chicken nuggets in the skillet in a single layer, being careful not to crowd the pan, and cook until crisp and golden on one side, 3 to 4 minutes. Then turn and cook until the chicken is cooked through, golden brown and crisp all over, 4 to 5 minutes longer. (Cut through a piece to check that it’s cooked through.) Serve warm.
How to puree spinach:
No prep at all for baby spinach. For mature spinach, fold leaves in half lengthwise with the stem outside, then strip the stem off the leaf.COOK
Steam for 30 to 40 seconds, or cook in a skillet with 1 tablespoon of water for about 90 seconds, or just until wilted.

In a food processor or blender for about 2 minutes, until smooth and creamy.

Health Goals for August and September

I tossed around a few ideas for health goals, and after a several days of trying them out, I’m ready to commit.  I’ve heard it takes six weeks (or eight, or three, depending on who you listen to) to develop a habit.  If I start these habits today, I should be a fitness machine by the time the end of September rolls around.  Here are the final five:

  • Sign up for the fall session of Zumba classes.  GO TO THE CLASSES.
  • Never skip more than one day of exercise in a row.
  • Wake up between 5:30 and 6:30 and go to sleep between 9:30 and 10:30 daily, including weekends.
  • Make sure to get in veggies with two meals or snacks per day.
  • Take a multivitamin daily.

Surround Yourself with Success

About five years ago, I found the America on the Move website.  I printed out a few pages, used them for a few weeks, and filed them away.  Looking through my files yesterday, though, I was delighted to come across them once again.  I quickly jumped online to see what they’d added in five years, and it appears to be quite a bit!  Unfortunately, my computer isn’t allowing me to download any of their resources, so for now I’ll have to suffice with my printouts.

There are literally hundreds of manageable diet and exercise tips within the pages of the two documents I have at my side.  I’ve chosen some of my favorites, adapted them to fit my life, and have shared them below.  As always, add to the list if you have an idea for me.

Tips to Get Moving

  1. Run errands without using the car – go to the bank, pharmacy, library, and convenience store on bike or foot.
  2. Leave the room during television commercials.  Use the break to put away dishes and laundry, or to accomplish other tasks that add movement.
  3. Walk while talking on the phone.  Take your cell phone with you on a walk around the neighborhood.
  4. Choose a Playaway (similar to a book on tape) that you’re only allowed to listen to while exercising or on a walk.  You’ll find yourself walking farther than normal when you’re engrossed in a great story.
  5. Store a pair of comfortable shoes in the car and at school so you’ll be ready for a walk after work or on the run.
  6. Hold classes outside.  Fresh air boosts creativity and the extra steps add up.
  7. Be a role model!  Encourage students to be more active and eat more healthfully by doing these things yourself.
  8. Circle around the block once when you take out the trash.
  9. Make several trips up and down the stairs to do laundry or other household chores.
  10. Invite friends or family to join you for a walk.
  11. Benefit a good cause by joining a charity walk.
  12. Sign up for a community 5k or 10k walk.
  13. Park in the far reaches of the parking lot.
  14. Dance the night away at a club.
  15. Take a walk around a local university, hike on a wilderness trail, or drive to a new walking trail – anything to change the scenery.
  16. Meet a friend for lunch or coffee at a restaurant you can walk to.
  17. Look on Craigslist or the newspaper for garage sales.  Walk to those in your neighborhood.
  18. Drive to a neighboring community and tour it’s main street on foot.
  19. Sign up for an exercise class.
  20. Spend a day at the beach and walk the shoreline.
  21. Take care of household chores and get moving at the same time – scrub the floors, vacuum, or mow the lawn.
  22. Tour a local trail by bike.
  23. Paddle away calories on a raft, kayak, or canoe.

Tips to Eat Right

  1. Pre-wash baby carrots, celery, grapes, and apples for a quick snack.
  2. Have dairy products on hand like low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese.
  3. Make a “healthy snack” shelf at eye level in the cupboard.  Place unhealthy foods in an inconvenient location.
  4. Place a bowl of fresh fruit in the center of your kitchen for easy access to a delicious, low-calorie, low-fat snack.
  5. Plan your meals for the week.  Take a few minutes to write a list before going to the grocery store.  This will keep you from forgetting items you need, and prompt you to think of ingredients for your favorite quick and healthy recipes.
  6. Make fresh fruit salads for dessert instead of baked goods or other sweets.
  7. Make sure you have applesauce on hand.  You can use it for a quick snack or as a substitute for butter in baking recipes.
  8. Steam vegetables to preserve nutrients and avoid added fat.  Season with lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, or fresh herbs.
  9. Serve dinner on appetizer plates to control portions.
  10. Freeze individual serving sizes of meals so you have a backup on busy days.
  11. Slow down!  Put your utensils down between bites to slow your eating place.
  12. Listen to relaxing music while eating instead of sitting in front of the TV.
  13. Pack your lunch – homemade soups, sandwiches, and salads can be more healthful because you control the ingredients.
  14. Grabbing breakfast on the run?  Reach for healthy options – low fat muffins, fresh fruit, smoothies, and water – instead of a doughnut and coffee.
  15. Keep foods away from your desk and eat them at planned times to avoid unmindful snacking.
  16. Bring a fun water bottle to school and make an effort to drink several glasses of water.  Staying hydrated perks up your energy and curbs your hunger.
  17. Bring a healthy mid-afternoon snack to school, like low-fat yogurt or a piece of fruit, so you won’t be tempted to overeat junk food.