I’ve been standing on a sack lunch soapbox for a couple weeks now. I feel like it’s a pretty surefire way to slender down. Yeah, it might take a little more prep and planning than it does to stand in line at the campus Chik-Fil-A, but if you’re not willing to put forth that extra bit of effort, then you must not be that serious about making changes for your health.
Ooh, it’s like I’m getting all Jillian Michaels on you or something.
Despite my tough love, I do want to make this as easy as possible. That’s why I wrote Slender Essentials: Sack Lunch, which contains links to all of my portable meal gear, as well as Take It To Go, a post with sample meals and a grocery list.
Use today’s recipe to keep on keepin’ on with your slender lunch packing. I made this kale salad Sunday night and then divvied it up between my lunches last Monday through Thursday. Having a nutritious side dish ready to go really helped me out when I was spending my time online shopping instead of studying for my accounting and nutrition exams. Time management, y’all!
Makes: about 4 cups | Serving size: 1/2 cup | Calories per serving: 42.9 Fat: 2.3 g (Sat Fat: 0.5 g) | Carbohydrate: 4.7 g | Fiber: 1.4 g| Protein: 1.9 g
ingredients: 1 bunch of kale
3 T chopped onion
2 T minced garlic
1 T olive oil
juice of one lemon
2 T shredded parmesan cheese
directions: 1. Thoroughly rinse and dry your kale. Chop into bite size pieces and place in a large bowl.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together your onion, minced garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and parmesan cheese.
3. Pour the dressing over the kale and massage with your hands for a minute or two until the leaves are slightly wilted.
4. Refrigerate for at least an hour before eating to allow the kale to absorb the flavor.
Last weekend, my younger sister came to visit me in Austin and I was seriously excited to show her what life is like as a college student. You know, hours on your friends’ couch, staying up late, three trips to the grocery store in two days.
K, so maybe that last part is my own idiosyncrasy, but Julia still tagged along because she’s great. She even humored me by loyally standing with the cart, waiting for my deli turkey to be sliced, while I went to go get hummus. And by “went to go get hummus,” I mean, picked up every tub in every available brand to look at the nutrition information and ingredients.
If you’re keeping a tally of weird things I do, I give you full permission (and, in fact, advise you) to stop reading once you hit double digits.
Anyway, eventually Julia came over, turkey in hand, to see what was taking so long. At that point I threw in the towel. I decided that if I can’t get a hummus made with olive oil and real ingredients for under 60 calories per serving, then I’m going on strike. Hummus buying strike. The best part about my boycott? I got to go home, brainstorm a recipe, and then go to the grocery store again.
Yeah, I rock at college.
Zucchini Hummus Makes: 1 1/4 cup | Serving size: 2 tablespoons | Calories per serving: 55 Fat: 3.9 g (Sat Fat: 0.5 g) | Carbohydrate: 4.4 g | Fiber: 1.2 g| Protein: 1.4 g
ingredients: 1 zucchini
1/3 C low sodium canned chickpeas (drain excess liquid)
3 T tahini
2 T minced garlic (or 2-3 cloves)
2 T lemon juice
1 T olive oil
salt, to taste
directions: 1. Dice the zucchini into 1/2″ square pieces.
2. In a food processor or blender, combine all of the ingredients and blend until smooth.
3. Serve with carrots, celery, or pretzels for dipping! Or try adding a bit of red wine vinegar to thin it out and use it for salad dressing.
I’m a grocery store professional. I’m in, I grab my staples, and I’m out. Unfortunately, this impressive level of efficiency has lent itself to my becoming a serial produce purchaser. Check my fridge at any time and you’re sure to find apples, berries, and not much else in the way of fruit.
Lately, though, I’ve been setting aside a little extra time to peruse what’s been offered up by the changing seasons. Call me inspired or driven by culinary boredom, but things have gotten preeeeetty interesting in The Slender Student mini fridge.
Intrigued? Well then check out the little something I threw together with a couple of my more exotic recent finds. This pudding is so simple and versatile, and it’s as easy to make one serving as it is to make ten. It’s low calorie enough that you might be tempted to do just that.
Top this treat with kiwi, mango, or any other fruit that suits your fancy. And if you want to suit your fanciest of fancies, go with this chocolate peanut butter variation.
Tropical Chia Seed Pudding Calories: 120 | Fat: 6.0 g (Sat Fat: 0.0 g) | Carbohydrate: 10.4 g | Protein: 3.1 g
ingredients: 1 T chia seeds
3/4 C unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t vanilla extract
1/4 C chopped mango
1/2 kiwi, sliced
directions: 1. In a small bowl, combine the chia seeds, almond milk, cinnamon, and vanilla extract. Stir until all of the ingredients are evenly distributed. 2. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, though typically like leaving mine in the fridge overnight. 3. Top the thickened pudding with your fresh mango and kiwi; enjoy!
I don’t know what’s wrong (or right, you be the judge) with me lately. I wake up every single morning with an insatiable craving for pancakes.
It used to be a Saturday thing. Like, “Claire, you’ve had a rough week. Why don’t you give yourself a little time to make some pancakes and relax all morning?” Obviously, it was awesome. Obviously, it was so awesome that I’ve since decided to do it everyday.
I tried fighting it, I swear. I wake up, drink a big glass of water, contemplate oatmeal, Greek yogurt, even eggs. Nope. Pancakes just get me and I them; the heart wants what the heart wants. And, it just so happens that the other morning, my heart (and stomach) specifically wanted chocolate chip pancakes with peanut butter “frosting”.
Here’s what emerged from my craving. Hi, my name is Claire, I’m addicted to pancakes, and I’m bringing all of you down with me.
Peanut Butter Frosted Chocolate Chip Pancakes Calories: 334 | Fat: 12.3 g (Sat Fat: 4.9 g) | Carbohydrate: 36.6 g | Protein: 22.2 g
ingredients: 1/3 C oats, dry
1 large egg
1/4 C + 2 T fat free Greek yogurt
1 packet Splenda
1/2 t vanilla extract
1 T mini chocolate chips
2 T PB2 (regular or chocolate)
PAM Original nonstick spray
directions: 1. In a blender, combine the oats, egg, 1/4 C yogurt, Splenda, and vanilla extract. Blend until completely smooth. 2. Stir in the chocolate chips so they’re evenly distributed. 3. Pour the batter into a large pan coated with PAM that’s been heated over medium-high heat. This recipe should make 3-5 pancakes, depending on how large you like yours. Cook on each side until lightly browned, about 3-5 minutes per side. 4. For the frosting, simply mix the remaining Greek yogurt with the PB2 and layer it between your pancakes.
I feel like I’ve been lying to all of you. Or maybe “omission of truth” is a better way of putting it.
I eat salads fairly often. Like, at least a few per week. And yet there’s not a single salad recipe on The Slender Student.
In reflecting upon this (I’ve had some free time, if you can’t tell), I think I’ve done this for a few reasons. One, most people automatically think of salad when they’re trying to slender down. I’m here to give you options. Two, salads are non-recipe recipes, and trying to make a real recipe out of a non-recipe is annoying (i.e. I don’t really care how many cups of lettuce you use). Three, I’m not particularly creative with salads myself. They’re usually just some chopped up onions, tomatoes, and mushrooms over a bed of (probably half-wilted) greens sprinkled with some feta and a dollop of hummus. I mean, I’m not complaining, obviously that’s a delicious meal. I just don’t think it’s anything you probably haven’t thought up yourself.
But as I’ve gotten bored of some of my tried and true combinations, I’ve found myself continually turning to today’s recipe. For years, my mom’s made a version of this simple cucumber salad. Using her recipe, and one from Love & Lemons, I’ve come up with just about the easiest dish that’s perfect for the warming weather. It’s a borderline non-recipe recipe, but I think we can both appreciate this one. Eat it plain as a snack, tote it with you as a side dish for an on-the-go lunch, or plate it with some steamed rice and grilled salmon.
Simple Cucumber Salad Makes: 3 servings | Calories per serving: 39
Fat: 0.0 g (Sat Fat: 0.0 g) | Carbohydrate: 9.6 g | Fiber: 0.7 g| Protein: 0.6 g
ingredients: 1 large seedless English cucumber (the ones I find are usually wrapped in plastic)
1/2 small red onion
2 T rice vinegar
1 t agave nectar
salt and pepper, to taste
directions: 1. Using a mandoline or a very sharp knife, cut both your cucumber and onion into thin slices. 2. In a medium bowl, toss together your sliced cucumbers, onions, rice vinegar, agave, salt, and pepper. 3. Cover and let sit in the fridge for at least an hour before eating. I usually prefer to let mine sit overnight.