Postpartum/Breastfeeding Diet

For the first month after Miles was born, I let myself eat whatever I wanted. I started exercising regularly as soon as I felt like it, but I didn’t make any attempt to change my eating habits.

However, last week I decided to start eating healthier…I still have about 12 lbs. I’d like to lose (10 from before I got pregnant) and my eating choices were making me feel tired and stressed.

My number one priority is to keep it simple. For me, this means…

  • Eating 2,000+ calories a day
  • Eating the same breakfast, lunch, and snacks each day (changing weekly so I don’t get bored)
  • Cooking dinner at home

Basically, I eat a healthy 500 calorie breakfast and lunch and two 250 calorie snacks. I decided not to worry about the calories of my evening meals because I HATE counting calories when cooking (as opposed to when making a salad or breakfast…that’s doable). The dinners I cook are approximately 500 calories, and, if slightly higher, help me make sure I’m breaking 2,000 calories/day (which I feel I need to do in order to maintain breastfeeding and exercising). I’m planning on sticking with this calorie window for a month and then adjusting if necessary.

I also went through the calendar for the next month and chose 5 cheat days where I can eat whatever I want. This is the only way I figured I can survive the holidays – plus the occasional calorie surplus will help keep my metabolism guessing.

This is the food I’ve eaten this past week, the first of my program. I’ve included daily treats because otherwise I will binge on sugar. It makes the most sense to me to have a little something sweet everyday instead of depriving myself and being miserable.

I tried to think this through carefully and come up with something that is doable for me. I’ve tried and failed many more rigorous diets and I don’t have the energy or time to do that again!

Week of 12.11.14

Breakfast:

breakfast

  • 1 piece fruit
  • 1 tablespoon nut butter
  • 1 hardboiled egg
  • 1/4 cup steel-cut oats, cooked, with 2 teaspoons maple syrup and a splash of 2%
  • Coffee with 2 tablespoons half and half (if I feel like it)

Lunch:

lunch

  • Big veggie salad with 3 oz. pepper turkey, 1/4 cup shredded cheese, 2 tablespoons toasted pecans, and 1 tablespoon Caesar dressing
  • 1/2 cup Edy’s Slow-Churned Ice Cream

Two 250 Calorie Snacks:

snack

  • Peanut butter Ritz Bitz and an apple
  • Greek yogurt and 100-calorie popcorn bag
  • Larabar
  • 1/3 ChocoLove chocolate bar + 100-calorie popcorn bag
  • Protein shake
  • Starbucks Grande Peppermint Mocha with sugar-free syrup
  • A beer (this was at our pub trivia night 🙂 )

Dinners (all gluten-free):

dinner

  • Crockpot ribs, green beans, corn muffins
  • Corn chowder topped with cheddar, sautéed Brussels sprouts
  • Tomato soup with toast and sautéed zucchini
  • Crockpot curried chicken thighs, sautéed broccoli, quinoa
  • Venison broccoli stirfry, rice

A note about Zach:
Zach likes to sleep in until the last possible moment, so part of my meal plan is keeping a grab-and-go breakfast on hand for him. This week I made paleomg.com’s Easy Breakfast Casserole. Lunch is a free-for-all…I just try to have ingredients on hand for meals Zach makes for himself (omelettes, GF pizza, etc.). We obviously eat dinner together. I’ve found the only way to make a meal plan work for me is for it to work for both of us – otherwise it’s just too much effort.

More weeks to come!

Gluten-Free and Low(er) Carb Breakfast Ideas Part 3: Customizable Chocolate Protein Shakes

Parts 1 and 2 of this series:

Customizable Chocolate Protein Shakes 

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I’m pretty picky about protein shakes but my riff on this recipe is delicious and relatively cheap too. Listed below the recipe are all the different versions I’ve made. 

Makes 2 shakes

  • 1 cup fat-free cottage cheese
  • 2 scoops chocolate Designer Whey (this is the cheapest decent-tasting whey I’ve found at Woodman’s, where I buy most of my groceries)
  • 4 teaspoons Pyure brand stevia (I buy this at Wal-Mart – it’s 2X sweeter than sugar)
  • 2 standard ice cube trays’ worth of ice (or about 20 large ice cubes)
  • 1 1/2 cups vanilla or chocolate unsweetened almond milk

Blend together all ingredients except ice. If you’re not going to drink the smoothie right away, you can throw this mixture in the fridge. Sometimes I do this the night before a busy day if I’m not sure that I’ll be able to find time for breakfast.

Just before drinking, add ice and blend on high until smooth.

Variations:

Add in ideas

  • Add 2 tablespoons of nut butter (almond is my favorite)
  • Top with sugar-free whipped cream
  • Add a few drops of mint or vanilla extract
  • Blend in two frozen bananas
  • Add 2 tablespoons of MCT oil (basically liquid-state coconut oil) for healthy fats
  • Use vanilla protein powder, chocolate almond milk, and a handful of fresh raspberries for a shake that tastes surprisingly like raspberry cake batter!

Gluten-Free + Low(er) Carb Breakfast Ideas Part 2: Mini Raspberry Cheesecakes

Check out the first post in this series here:

Gluten-Free + Low(er) Carb Breakfast Ideas Part 1: Protein Pancakes

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My quest to eat a high-fat and/or high-protein, low-carb, gluten-free breakfast (whew, that’s a lot of qualifiers) every day continues. These cheesecakes have been a favorite grab-and-go option. They’re also great for people like me who prefer sweet over savory in the morning.

#2: Mini Raspberry Cheesecakes

Cheesecake for breakfast is weird – but you won’t catch me arguing. These are easy to make, easy to grab out of the fridge, they’re gluten- and sugar-free, and the ingredients list includes eggs, berries, and nuts. If fat is an issue for you, you can substitute reduced-fat cream cheese and sour cream. Adapted from this recipe.

Makes 24 mini cheesecakes

Crust:

  • 1 1/4 cups almond flour
  • 1 1/4 cups finely chopped pecans
  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons Pyure stevia (I buy this at Wal-Mart – it’s 2X sweeter than sugar)

Filling:

  • Four 8 ounce blocks of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup Pyure stevia
  • 1 cup raspberries, frozen or fresh
  • Sugar-free whipped cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 300 F and put cupcake liners in two cupcake pans. Combine all crust ingredients in a medium bowl (I like to use my hands). Measure 1 tablespoon of crust mixture into each cupcake well, pressing down with fingertips to form crusts.

In a stand mixer, beat together all filling ingredients except raspberries until smooth, scraping bowl with a spatula as necessary. Stir in raspberries. Divide filling among crusts, filling cheesecakes to the top of liners. If you have any extra filling left over, spray a couple ramekins with nonstick spray and bake the extra filling in those. They can be enjoyed as crustless cheesecakes.

Bake cheesecakes for 15 minutes, or until set in the center. Cool completely on cooling racks, then store in the fridge until enjoying. You can also freeze cheesecakes and simply thaw them overnight in the fridge when ready to eat. Top with sugar-free whipped cream for extra fun 🙂 

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Gluten-Free + Low(er) Carb Breakfast Ideas Part 1: Protein Pancakes

Protein Pancakes

As my pregnancy winds down (my due date is November 6th already!), I am trying to  curb my carb- and wheat-centric ways that I’ve given free reign for the past nine months. Bagels, cornbread, cereal, sandwiches, egregious amounts of fruit, pasta, and DESSERTS – all have figured prominently into my diet and I’ve been pretty much okay with that. But I know the party has to end eventually.

This means slowly reintroducing healthier habits, starting with making gluten-free and lower-carb breakfasts for Z and me every day. I find that if I eat lots of protein and/or fat in the morning I’m less likely to a) get super-hungry mid-morning, b) eat poorly the rest of the day, and c) feel tired and lethargic.

However, usually the only thing that sounds good to me is  a big bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats or a cinnamon-raisin bagel soaked in butter. Through trial-and-error I’ve found some healthier options that I can stomach (and actually enjoy!). They’re easy to make or prepare ahead of time and Z likes them too.

#1: Protein Pancakes 

Recipe here. These are the best-tasting higher-protein pancakes I’ve found and they’re not a pain to make either. It’s nice to make a bunch ahead of time and eat leftovers for a few days in a row. I top them with plain Greek yogurt, raspberries, and a little sugar-free syrup. And you can’t beat 200 calories and 22 grams of protein per 3 pancakes!

More ideas to come! I’ve been working on my food photography this week with the help of Helene Dujardin’s fabulous book Plate to Pixel: Digital Food Photography & Styling and I need practice 🙂

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Molten Cake

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Zach and I were recently having lunch at a ubiquitous chain restaurant and we were extremely tempted by a new peanut butter version of their chocolate molten cake. Zach wanted to order it and endure the consequences of eating wheat, but I promised him I would develop a gluten-free version at home instead.

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Despite my experience with gourmet and homemade desserts, I am unashamedly a huge fan of chain restaurant desserts. They’re over-the-top, creatively indulgent, and unapologetic. I am often inspired by them in my own baking. Creating gluten-free versions is a challenge I love to attempt. This peanut butter chocolate molten cake was delicious. I haven’t tasted the original, but I don’t need to now!

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GLUTEN-FREE PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE MOLTEN CAKE
This recipe is primarily assembled from other sources – an almond flour brownie recipe for the cake, a peanut butter pie filling recipe for the filling, and a few of my own pointers for pulling it all together. The number of cakes made will depend on the size of your pans/ramekins.

Cake: Prepare this recipe with peanut butter instead of almond butter. Fill well-greased miniature tart pans or ramekins 3/4 full of batter and bake for 20 minutes instead of 30. Cool completely before unmolding.

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Peanut butter cream filling: Prepare a half batch of the filling from this recipe.

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Assembly: Once the cake is cool, use a paring knife to remove a plug of cake from the top. Heat cake in oven or microwave briefly, fill the hole on top with peanut butter cream, top with a scoop of ice cream or frozen yogurt, a drizzle of the filling, and chopped peanut butter cups. Enjoy immediately!

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Gluten-Free Cookies and Cream Tart

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If you don’t already know this, Trader Joe’s is awesome. There wasn’t one where I grew up but since I moved to Wisconsin I have access to a TJ’s and I love it. When I was there the other day buying the cookies for this recipe, the employee offered me a list of all their gluten-free items. And he asked me about my day in the genuine sort of way that seems almost uncomfortably intimate until you realize how much you miss it in everyday interactions.

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This tart is simple, pretty, and delicious. It’s a sandwich cookie in tart form….because that needed to happen. I wanted to make a traditional cookie crumb crust, but opted to add cookie crumbs to an almond-flour crust because I didn’t want the crust to crumble when I un-molded the tart.  It worked perfectly! The tart is filled with sweet and creamy vanilla pudding, which then gets covered with more cookie crumbs.

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Here’s a tip for un-molding a tart from a pan with a removable bottom…..set the pan on a bowl or cake pan that is smaller than the base of the tart pan. The tart (with the removable bottom of the pan) can then sit suspended on the bowl/cake pan while you carefully remove the outside edge of the tart pan.  This picture should help that make more sense…

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GLUTEN-FREE COOKIES AND CREAM TART 

Crust ingredients:

1 box Trader Joe’s Gluten-Free Joe Joe Cookies

2 cups almond flour or almond meal

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 egg

Pudding ingredients:

1 cup cold milk

½ cup cornstarch

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. vanilla

3 egg yolks

3 cups milk

1 tablespoon butter

¾ cup sugar

Make the crust:

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Place all the cookies in a blender or food processor and blend until crushed into fine crumbs. Dump into a bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix the almond flour, coconut oil, egg, and 1 cup of crushed cookies until mixture forms a ball (I like to use my hands, but a large spoon would work too).

Press this crust mixture evenly into a 10” tart pan, using a knife to level off the top edge. Place the tart pan on a cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes, until set. Let cool.

Make the pudding filling:

Whisk the 1 cup milk, cornstarch, salt, and vanilla together in a bowl. Set aside. Combine the egg yolks, 3 cups milk, butter, and sugar in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves.

Whisk in the cornstarch mixture and continue whisking as the mixture thickens to the consistency of pudding. Remove from heat, allow to cool briefly, and then pour into crust, spreading with a spatula if necessary.

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Place the tart in the refrigerator until ready to serve (three hours is ideal).

Before serving, sprinkle remaining cookie crumbs over pudding filling and remove tart from pan. Slice and enjoy!

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DSC_0562^ Poorly-lit photo of my late-night tart slice ^