portion sizes

Go Green on a Budget!

Go Green on a Budget!  I love when I can kill two birds with one stone.  There is something in me that takes great satisfaction when I can get two things accomplished with one activity.  There are so many ways to “go green” but there are a few simple tricks I try to focus on to be more eco-friendly and save money at the same time.

  • Avoid Package Products.

I am all about saving time and buying pre-packaged items can make things more convenient. However, there are so many “packaged” products that we can avoid just by taking a little extra time. Instead of buying fruit or salad in bags or containers, it only takes a few minutes at the beginning of the week to cut up your fresh fruit and have it ready to grab in the frig. It is also less expensive.

  • Cook just enough

How much food are you throwing out each day? Make a list before going to the grocery store and stick with it. If it seems like you are eating less than you buy, reevaluate your grocery needs.  Split your raw portions and freeze them before you cook once you have established the needs of your family at each meal.

  • Cut Back on Meat

It takes a lot of processing to make sure you get the quality of meat you expect. Meat needs high amounts of water, land and grain.  If you like eating meat, cut down on your portion sizes or divide your meat in freezer bags right when you get home.  It is a bargain.  It will help save the earth, your budget and your calories.

  • Eat from the colors of the season. 

Have your plate filled with many different colors of fresh fruits and vegetables and limit the number of packaged items that need to be opened.  Look at what is on sale and in season at your local markets to cut down on cost of fruits and veggies.

Don’t get overwhelmed; pick one or two things that you can do consistently

Healthy Eating Part II

As Busy women, it is possible, with small changes, to eat healthy and avoid the weight gain that so easily happens while we entertain through the holidays?

Rule # in Healthy Entertaining - Always Have options

By no means am I saying to cook a multitude of things, but think about small changes you can do for health conscious guest (or yourself) yet give “bulk” to those hungry guests.  Providing bread, larger salads fruit, a simple vegetable, as opposed to a casserole, are options to pick and choose how to fill one’s plate.

One main dish as the main course is definitely the way to go. It is easy to control portion sizes by either more or less and is usually something you can quickly make an extra meatless portion if you have vegetarian guests. The key for serving dessert is to provide different size plates as an optio  It is very scary for those who are watching their weight to be offered a dessert, yet want to be gracious for the meal.  It can also be a let down for those who come expecting a fantastic dessert only to learn they have strawberries as their end to a meal J. Have something with a variety of toppings or ice cream as a choice.  By serving different toppings with different serving plates, you and your guest will have many options to choose from while being a part of the party.

The biggest challenge for busy women, who entertain as the cook, is self-sabotage. While healthy options are good, avoid serving multiple appetizers, especially with crackers, chips, dips and sauces.  Feeling like you need to provide an abundance of choices leads to additional stress (we do not need ) and mindless snacking by eating cracker after cracker. Never skip meals the day you are preparing for a party and void getting to the point of starvation that can lead to continual tasting, snacking and unwanted calories while cooking. Chew on gum to give you the “chew” factor.  I’ve learned that cookie batter does not taste good with mint gum.

You can entertain and provide a healthy delicious meal with minimal stress; just remember to keep the rules in mind

  1. Keep it Simple
  2. Never try anything new and stick with what you do well
  3. Always have options


So if you are coming to my house for a meal it will probably look like this:

  1. Fresh bowl of fruit with cantaloupe, watermelon, grapes and strawberries - Simple
  2. Large salad with a mix of green lettuce such as spinach and romaine, fresh tomato, cucumbers, raw squash or zucchini and choice of toppings such as almonds, croutons and a variety of salad dressing – Simple with bulk and variety
  3. Cheesy Pasta Delight – Simple, I know it well and is always a crowd pleaser

1 cup of celery, chopped

1 cup of bell pepper, chopped

1 cup onion, chopped

¼ cup pareley, chopped (or 3 TBSP, dried)

2 TBSP reduced calorie margarine

1 cup of evaporated milk

1 tsp cornstarch

1 tsp of chicken bouillon

½ cup water

1 tsp Creole seasoning

1 TBSP lemon juice

3 oz of Velveeta light cheese

1 lb raw shrimp or crawfish

3 cups of cooked linguini

4 TBSP fat free parmesan cheese

Melt margarine in a 10” skillet.  Add celery, bell pepper, onion, garlic and parsley. Sauté till wilted.

Combine evaporated skim milk, cornstarch and chicken bouillon in measuring cup.  Add vegetable mixture along with water, seasoning, and cheese.  Stir until melted.

Add raw shrimp or crawfish and cooked linguini

Spray 9x2x2” glass dish with non-stick spray.  Transfer contents of skillet to baking dish.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Bake 20 minutes in 350 oven

Yields 6 servings

310 Calories

5.4 gms of fat

4. Betty Crocker fudge brownies with my favorite home made icing. Of course served pre-cut with small plates available and small bowls for those who want ice cream to go with it - simple with a homemade feel and options


Melt 1 oz chocolate or 3 TBS of cocoa with 1 TBSP of butter.  Stir in 1 cup of powder sugar and 1 TBSP of milk.  Add 2 TBSP of boiling water and 1 tsp of vanilla.

To learn more about how to devise your own Wellness Plan and have your own personal certified Wellness Coach in exercise, nutrition, weight management or stress management, contact me at 409-550-7606 or Crystal@crystalclearchange.com. Let’s get ready for the New Year.

Healthy Entertaining

Healthy Entertaining.  Is it possible as a busy woman? I have to confess, as a health conscious busy woman, it can sometimes be a challenge for me.  On one hand, you have guests who want and expect healthy choices and on the other hand, you have guests who are less interested about the nutritional content of their food. I have learned to keep three rules to entertaining for a dinner party.

Rule # 1 -  Keep it simple

To manage our calories and increase the nutritional value in our meals, a healthy plate should consist of ¼ whole grains such as pasta, rice and breads, ¼ of a lean meat or protein and ½ of fruits and vegetables.  Unfortunately, in our world today, our plate is usually the exact opposite. It consists of high fat proteins and carbs with a little salad on the side. To follow those guidelines, I like to add fruits and vegetables to a salad that may not be very common such as grapes, raw carrots, zucchini or squash to give it volume so that it is more filling. Serving fresh fruit as a part of the main meal is a simple way to add variety and provide an additional course for the table. As a southern girl, I believe a dessert is a must (plus it is my favorite), but who has the time to bake from scratch.  Think about what you can do that is semi-homemade.  Make brownies with homemade icing or a regular cookie mix and add something to it like raisins, another kind of morsel such as chocolate chips, butterscotch or peanut butter. I like serving desserts that provide a small portion and make ice cream available for those who are not watching their weight.

Rule # 2 - Never try anything new and stick with what you do well.

I remember the days of stressing out going through cook book after cook book for new ideas. After a few “flops”, having kids, and friends asking for repeats, I decided it is best to make a few of my good items  great.  Have one main dish that you do well.  Having less is more and a great way for your guest to manage their intake, reduce your stress, and enjoy your guest.

Even busy ladies, like to entertain, but sometimes feel like time will not permit.  As you are putting together your ideas for your parties over the holidays, try to start by incorporating these two rules. 

To read about my third rule that can help in weight management through the holidays and get my recipes for my successful dinner party, check out my next blog.