Healthy challenges and foods from my day

Remember when I shared some goals yesterday and one of them was “enjoying the moment and not worrying so much.” Whoops. I think I need another day to really get back into the swing of things post-holiday, because I spent much of yesterday a little bit draggy and unmotivated and worrying about many upcoming things. Nonetheless, I’m hopeful I’ll get my stride back today and soak up these December days in the City.

A few fun healthy challenges 

So this holiday season, I’m participating in something called Elf 4 Health, in which I’m paired up with a buddy or “Elf” and we support each other through a few challenges over the course of the month. Yesterday was all about “Eating the Rainbow” and I think my meals below show that I succeeded in this challenge. Some other great challenges from this fun program included “Unsubscribe” day, in which I signed up for a service and pulled myself off nearly 50 email lists that I no longer wanted clogging my inbox. (And if you’re in need of a little winter email-inbox cleaning, check out Unroll.Me, because it’s super easy to use.) I also enjoyed “Treat Yourself Saturday” and dug into the best blue velvet cake ever on that day with a big smile on my face. (Which was just one of the many treats I gave myself over the holiday weekend, let me tell you.)

Elf 4 Health was started by a couple of bloggers and has grown into quite the production. I’m part of the Facebook group where all the Elves are connected, and I’ve never seen so many posts in a day. These people are committed, and I love it.

Although I haven’t been able to adhere to every Elf 4 Health challenge, it’s been a nice reminder to devote time to make small changes, such as fixing up an email inbox full of retail newsletters that I just don’t need to be getting everyday. This program runs through December 21 and a few really helpful challenges are up next, like a “Pantry Purge” on Saturday and a “20 Things Gratitude List” on Sunday. I’m doing those ones for sure, and you should join me. I’ll be your virtual Elf.

Now, because it’s “What I Ate Wednesday” let’s move on to my eats from yesterday. I was actually pretty excited to dig into all of my usual eats yesterday after having been completely off my routine since Wednesday of last week when Dave and I took off on our trip. While we were away, I had fairly healthy breakfasts, snacks and lunches, but also indulged a little more at dinner and consumed dessert and a glass of wine every single day. It was my own form of 80/20 moderation, and it seemed to work for me. That being said, my tried-and-true foods were extra delicious yesterday, because my body was craving some clean and healthy stuff. Okay, it’s time to taste the rainbow …

Pre-workout snack at 5:30 a.m.

Early morning snack 12.2One little tub of pineapple Greek yogurt goodness.

Once again, I subbed an early morning BODYPUMP class at the Bay Club yesterday, and so I was up before the sunrise in my workout wear, ready to rep it out. It was raining pretty badly in the morning, so it was a good thing I was able to drive to the gym using our car before Dave headed off to work in it. But let me tell you, after arriving back to San Francisco on Monday afternoon, teaching a class that night and staying up a little later than I wanted to finish up a blog post, I was one tired gal when my alarm went off on Tuesday morning. I’m a pro though, so I made it through class just fine and the participants were none the wiser.

Breakfast at 8 a.m.

Breakfast 12.2Some vanilla protein overnight oats topped with a banana and warm green tea.

Do you know how much I love my breakfast morning ritual? I look forward to eating my overnight oats, sipping on my hot tea and perusing the news online so much every single morning. I didn’t do a lot of local Bay Area-news reading while away for the holiday, and I’m glad to say I’m all caught up on the goings on now. Apparently, Dave and I missed some pretty bad riots in Union Square after the tree lighting on Black Friday, which is an event we attended last year. Scary stuff.

Lunch at 12:15 p.m.

Lunch 12.2A baked sweet potato topped with cinnamon and two fried eggs.

Last week, I ended up with some white sweet potatoes, and they just weren’t the same. I’m an orange yam kinda gal, and I usually spring for organic when it comes to a vegetable like this, in which I’ll be eating the skin. Yes, you’ve seen variations of this lunch before, and if you’ve not tried it yet, I would really recommend it. This would be a great breakfast too, in case you don’t have the ability to cook eggs mid-day. The best part about baked sweet potatoes? They’re good whether they’re served hot or at room temperature. In fact, I’ve taken a baked sweet potato on a long plane trip before, and it was one of the best meals I’ve ever traveled with. That reminds me I should plan to bring one on my flight home to Florida for Christmas …

Afternoon tea at 1 p.m.

Afternoon tea 12.2Some hot green tea sweetened with stevia and almond milk.

On a dreary, cold and rainy day, there’s not much for one to do but have an afternoon mug of hot tea. I read somewhere that it’s good to drink a few mugs of green tea each day, so I’ve been trying to fit in a second one in the afternoon when I can. I don’t feel like the caffeine affects me at all, but it always warms me up. This is technically “Dave’s mug,” which he bought at Epcot a few years ago during the Food & Wine Festival, but because he wasn’t home, I used it as my own. It’s got a nice thick rim, and I’ll be sure to have it all washed up before he needs it for his morning coffee on Saturday.

Afternoon snack at 4 p.m.

Snack 12.2This Chocolate Almond & Sea Salt Chewy Granola Bar has 140 calories, six grams of protein and minimal flavor.

I purchased a box of these Kashi bars to have on hand in our roadtrip snacks bag. But after consuming a few, I’m only so-so on them. For some reason, I just don’t think Kashi makes very flavorful products. They all sound so good, but are quite underwhelming. What do you think? Any good Kashi bars or treats I should try? Outside of taste, this bar was just what I needed for a little extra pep in my step for workout number two of the day.

Post-workout protein at 5 p.m.

Protein 12.2Just a little more vanilla Les Mills Good Protein, my favorite protein product as of late.

I fit in a little Barry’s Bootcamp session in the afternoon, and on the rainy walk home I chugged this tasty vanilla protein shake. Juggling an umbrella, iPhone, earphones and a shaker on the busy San Francisco sidewalks? Now that takes some talent, my friends. Barry’s is located about a mile-and-a-half from my house, and after a tough session it takes me so incredibly long to drag myself home and up the hill to my apartment with my dead legs. During this rainy evening, I think it took me nearly 45 minutes. That’s even longer than it takes me to walk home after teaching a double-header on Wednesday nights.

Dinner at 8:30 p.m.

Dinner 12.2Spaghetti squash topped with tomato-basil sauce and sauteed spinach, served with a roasted chicken patty from Trader Joe’s on the side.

If you visit my blog on Wednesdays for food recaps, you’ll notice that I was on a big zucchini-noodle kick for a while and then stopped cold turkey. While I was enjoying my Veggetti like crazy at first, I found that the zucchini noodles were never quite as firm as I wanted them and seemed to be more trouble to prepare than microwaving a spaghetti squash. I’ve been switching back and forth between whole wheat pasta and spaghetti squash these days, and last night called for a big pile of this veggie-based goodness. So warm and tasty. Once I cleaned up my dinner (this was a solo meal, as Dave was working at a Warriors game, go Dubs!), I chugged some almond milk and sat down to finish up this post.

Today, I’ve got some work to do and am teaching a double-dose of group fitness classes tonight. But listen up, tomorrow I’m going to be sharing loads of fun and pictures from my trip to Carmel. So come on back in the morning to see the good stuff. Enjoy your Wednesday, peeps!

More posts about my daily eating

Do you like food pictures you see today in this “What I Ate Wednesday” post? Here’s a look at some previous eating recaps:

  1. A full day of eating in pictures
  2. Another full day of my eats and drinks
  3. Real food isn’t always pretty
  4. Do you have a balanced dining out strategy?
  5. What I ate and drank all day
  6. Three meals, two snacks and a shake
  7. Food trucks and rest-day eating
  8. Plenty of protein at every meal
  9. Colorful fuel for a day of training
  10. Long days of training require a lot of food
  11. Making do on “What I Ate Wednesday” 
  12. Healthy foods for a rest day
  13. Who doesn’t like pictures of food?
  14. A look at a full day of eating in pictures
  15. Snapshots from a day of delicious meals
  16. Pictures of food, because you like them
  17. Food pictures and the juice cleanse that wasn’t
  18. A look at what I really eat in a day
  19. What I ate in the Sunshine State
  20. My weekend eats and a little narrative
  21. Stories about food and yesterday’s meals
  22. A day of eating and some commentary
  23. Do you want to know what I ate yesterday?

Questions of the day

Have you eaten anything good lately? How’s your week shaping up? Have you started your Christmas shopping yet?

Ashley signature

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    1. Hi Chrissy! At least you got started. I haven’t, and need to do that soon. But yes, brainstorming can be half the battle. Have a great Wednesday! 🙂

  1. I was disappointed with the chocolate almond and sea salt Kashis too! I was so excited to try them, but they were not what I thought at all. The pumpkin spice flax Kashi bar is probably my favorite. But I’m still not a die hard fan of the brand.

    1. Hi Courtney! Well, good to know you felt the same. And I get SO excited to try new bars, so although it’s not a big deal in the scheme of life … well, you know. 🙂 I’m going to stay away from all things Kashi for a while, especially when I know other bars out there are so yummy. Hope you have a great Wednesday! 🙂

  2. Very talented to do that juggling act in the rain! I haven’t bought Kashi bars in a long time. I started to feel there were almost too many flavors added and they were disappointing. It always feels good to get back into a healthy routine after a vacation. Have a good Wednesday!

  3. Sorry your goal setting wasn’t off to a good start – but hey today is always a new day. No need to let yesterday get under your skin. No better time to start then now 🙂 Have a blessed day.

    1. Hi Jessie, Thanks! Yes, I’m already feeling better today after a good night’s sleep. Sometimes it just takes a little longer to shake off a fun and long holiday than you think – the rain doesn’t help either. Hope all is well with you! 🙂

    1. Hi Lizzie! Oh good, a fellow morning ritual gal. I don’t eat cereal very much so haven’t tried the Kashi kind. Maybe I was too hard on the bars? I know they aren’t nearly as good as Clif Bars. 🙂 Hope you have a great Wednesday!

  4. I feel the same way about Kashi products… although I do love their cookies, all cookies really haha. I’ve been roasting veggies out the wazoo lately, my favorite has been roasted acorn squash, I could eat a whole one and be so happy, but I’ll stick to half for now :).

    1. Hi Jessie, I love the way roasting makes veggies so nice and crispy as well as soft. Good work! And acorn squash? I’ve never made those at home, I usually go with spaghetti or butternut. Hope you have a great day! 🙂

  5. This is my first time trying Elf4Health, and I’m having fun with it so far! You’re right–there are SO many posts each day highlighting each person’s daily challenge accomplishment…I love the enthusiasm and being able to buddy up with one person directly!!! I’m definitely looking forward to this weekend’s challenges as well (and maybe a little redemption from today’s fail…there’s no way I’d show up at my office without makeup. But at least I documented my #elf4fail HA!) 🙂

    Cheers to elf4health!

    1. Hi Amber! Well don’t feel bad about skipping no make-up day, it’s certainly easier for me as a fitness person to do that then if I worked in an office still. And this challenge program is such a good one, because there is strength in numbers. I’m glad you’re enjoying it. Keep up the awesome work! 🙂

  6. Your comment on the Kashi bar made me laugh out loud! Unfortunately I do not have a recommendation from them from you as I haven’t tried them much.
    Your meals look delicious and makes me really want to try making spaghetti squash again soon! What do you do to make sure it doesn’t get too wet?

    1. Sometimes I strain it, after pulling it out of the squash. I cook it for about 4-5 minutes on each side in the microwave after poking some holes. Comes out quite nicely! Thanks, Alice, Happy Wednesday:)

  7. I have to agree with you on Kashi products. The only thing I ever loved from there were their cookies (which they recalled once when I was in college, and I never bought them again). I love that you have breakfast after your morning workout, and I can see how that can be so much more productive! I’ll have to consider that in the new year. Also, Nini actually introduced our family to the Veggetti, and we used it for our Thanksgiving “spaghetti.” We didn’t grow up eating very healthily, but I think this will definitely help my parents eat a little better. 🙂

    1. Oh nice! That’s great you guys are embracing some new healthy options! I don’t think I could get my Dad to eat veggie noodles, but my Mom is all about it. 🙂 And I guess I’m glad I never tried a Kashi cookie. Hope your week is going well, Catherine!

  8. OH man I’m glad I’m not the only one that dislikes the Kashi granola bars! I DO love their cereal and get so pumped up for their other products (their crackers are good! ) but the granola bars are so dry and I find tasteless so I’ve stopped buying the which is too bad because they often have good things IN them! 😉

    Did some Christmas shopping already -thank god for Online shopping…now just waiting for people to open them on Christmas! 🙂 The wait is too much!

    1. Hi Fiona! I’m impressed you’ve gotten some shopping done so early. I hope you scored some deals. And we’re on the same page with Kashi products. Oh well. Hope you’re doing great. Have an awesome week! 🙂

  9. I am only so-so on the Kashi bars too. I’ve been trying to aquire a taste for them but it’s just not working. I also just found out about white sweet potatoes last week and agree the other ones are better! This week I’ve been eating lots of honeycrisp apples, they are my new favorite food!

  10. Always ending the day with chugging almond milk- love it! We have our version of ‘Black Friday’ the day after Christmas so might keep shopping for then- although it’s like hell. That is awesome you brought a potato on board an aircraft!!!

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