Ingredients vs. Calories: The Benefits of Eating Real Food

This is pretty much how I think these days. While you need to watch the calories… it’s very easy to do when you know you’re eating REAL food. Look at the INGREDIENTS in what you’re eating!


In my experience, the easiest way to lose weight and obtain optimal health is by eating real food. Forget about the mathematics of the almighty calorie and just focus on eating real foods with healthy ingredients.

What do I mean by real foods? Allow me to provide an example:

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Hey! Where’d you get that recipe?

That has pretty much summed up the last few months of my life. Everything I make, bring or share has become theDetective constant question of where’d I get it. I looooooove it!

While I would LOVE for nothing more than to tell you that my amazing, loving and wonderful husband single-handedly created recipe from scratch … we’ll my nose would be bigger than Pinocchio. The fact is, while (as of late) we’ve been creating / adapting a lot of recipes. The reality is … I simply FIND them online.

It’s really not that hard. Take this weekend for example. I needed a great dish to bring for a potluck at work. The last time I brought Chocolate Cupcakes and they were simply divine. Originally, I was going to do that again but changed my mind. Carrots were on sale, which made me think of how much I love carrot cake …despite how terribly unhealthy it is. My next step was the internet. Surely, SOMEONE has come up with a great recipe for carrot cake that won’t go straight to my ass. One Google search and less than a second later… I had my recipe (compliments of Clean Eating Magazine).

Behold, I found something (close) in Carrot Bread with Apple Glaze. Super moist and yummy, I simply MUST try it. I couldn’t wait until Wednesday… I had to have it this weekend.

So I headed to the store, armed with the recipe and purchased the needed ingredients (which weren’t many since it was a fairly simple recipe with pantry staples). I made up the batch last night and WOW! Simply wow! It was moist, rich and oh-so- delicious …. You would THINK you’re cheating… but it’s only (wait for it) 155 calories (per my recipe).

While I was 99.9% happy with my awesome baking power (yes, I actually made this). I wasn’t happy with the glaze but we know how to alter it for Wednesday to give me just a hit of sweetness like a cream cheese frosting, without all the extra calories.

So, in answer to the question of “Where did I get that recipe,” it simple – the internet. If you want something … simply Google “Clean Eating” and the item or “Paleo” and the item. Both will yield great results and then adapt to your own tastes.

If you want a handful of websites to subscribe or check frequently and use for recipes, here’s some of my personal favorites. I get emails from all these websites and then have a filter in GMAIL to tag it with recipe. Rather than clutter my inbox, I send them all to a folder and periodically review it. This way I can keep all the recipes and I have one go-to place to find things. Some of the sites are a little more active than others. If you only pick a handful to look at, I highly recommend # 1- 10.

  1. Clean Eating
  2. Things my Belly Likes
  3. SkinnyTaste
  4. The Gracious Pantry
  5. The Iron You
  6. He and She Eat Clean
  7. My Whole Food Life
  8. Anja’s Food 4 Thought
  9. Running to the Kitchen
  10. Just Eat Real Food
  11. Paleo on a Budget
  12. You Can Do It Too
  13. Oh She Glows
  14. 365 Days of Clean Eating
  15. Eating Well
  16. Clean Eating Chelsey
  17. Fitting it All In
  18. Muncher Cruncher
  19. Divalicious in the City
  20. Nerd Fitness
  21. Clean Eating Mama
  22. The Paleo Diet
  23. The Yummy Life
  24. Eating Clean Works

Turkey Stew, Carrot Bread and Vegetable Dip

Tonight I posted a teaser of three dishes my husband and I created tonight. Boy were they YUMMY!

Let’s start with dinner. It was originally slated to be Chicken Veggie Stew but we pulled the chicken out that just didn’t smell Stewquite right. We were bummed, but adapted quickly. My husband grabbed the ground turkey out of the freezer and we turned it into chili. Boy was it delicious too!

Full of vegetables and flavor, our chili was a hit and we can’t wait to have it again tomorrow (after more time in the slow cooker) and only 152 calories per serving. Here’s a copy of how it looks in


Ingredients Calories Carbs Fat Protein Sugar Sodium
Red Pack – Petite Diced Tomatoes, 1 container (1 4/5 cups ea.) 88 18 0 4 11 630 Ico_delete
Red Pack – Crushed Tomatoes In Thick Puree, 1 container (1 4/5 cups ea.) 140 35 0 7 14 630 Ico_delete
Hunt’s – Tomato Paste, Original (Canada), 1 container (10 tbsp (30ml) ea.) 100 20 0 5 15 100 Ico_delete
Onions – Raw, 2 medium (2-1/2″ dia) 92 22 0 2 9 7 Ico_delete
Peppers – Sweet, red, raw, 1 medium (approx 2-3/4″ long, 2-1/2″ dia) 31 7 0 1 5 2 Ico_delete
Peppers – Sweet, yellow, raw, 1 pepper, large (3-3/4″ long, 3″ dia) 50 12 0 2 0 4 Ico_delete
Jennie-O – Fresh Ground Turkey, 16 oz 680 0 32 84 0 320 Ico_delete
Bush’s Best – Low-Sodium Pinto Beans, 1 container (1 4/5 cups ea.) 280 63 0 21 0 770 Ico_delete
Bush’s Best – Low Sodium Black Beans, 1 container (1 4/5 cups ea.) 368 81 2 25 4 840 Ico_delete
Total: 1829 258 34 151 58 3303
Per Serving: 152 22 3 13 5 275

Next on my agenda tonight was to prepare a test carrot bread for my pot luck on Wednesday at work. I found this one breadonline with a simple google search of “clean eating carrot cake.” While it’s bread, boy is it tasty. So rich and moist, it’s simply heaven. At only 155 calories a slice, this alternative to carrot cake is simply heavenly.

Ingredients Calories Carbs Fat Protein Sugar Sodium
Hodgson Mill – Old Fashioned Whole Wheat Flour, 1.5 cup 600 132 3 18 0 0 Ico_delete
Shredded Carrot – Shredded, 1.5 cup raw 70 16 0 2 10 130 Ico_delete
Sun-Made – Raisins, 1/4 Cup 130 31 0 1 29 10 Ico_delete
Honey, 0.5 cup 515 140 0 1 139 7 Ico_delete
Spices – Cinnamon, ground, 2 tbsp 35 11 0 1 0 4 Ico_delete
Baking soda, 1.5 tsp 0 0 0 0 0 1,888 Ico_delete
Eggs – Whole, raw, 1 large 74 0 5 6 0 70 Ico_delete
Eggs – White only, raw, 1 large 17 0 0 4 0 55 Ico_delete
Eggs – White only, raw, 1 large 17 0 0 4 0 55 Ico_delete
Oil – Vegetable, canola, 2 tbsp 248 0 28 0 0 0 Ico_delete
Trader Joe’s – Spiced Apple Cider, 0.25 fl oz (240 mL) 4 1 0 0 1 0 Ico_delete
Honey, 2 tbsp 128 35 0 0 34 2 Ico_delete
Mccormick’s – Pure Vanilla Extract, 2 tsp. (5mL) 24 2 0 0 2 0 Ico_delete


Total: 1862 368 36 37 215 2221
Per Serving: 155 31 3 3 18 185

Finally, my last attempt at preparation tonight was a quick veggie dip for my snap peas, tomatoes, and other Dipscrumptious vegetable snacks. Under 100 calories, I can’t wait to scarf this tomorrow with my veggies. It’s just the addition I needed.


Ingredients Calories Carbs Fat Protein Sugar Sodium
Danone (Canada – Oikos 0% Greek Yogurt, Plain, 1.5 cup(175g) 200 14 0 36 14 170 Ico_delete
Cheese – Feta, 0.33 cup, crumbled 131 2 11 7 2 552 Ico_delete
Cucumber – Peeled, raw, 1 medium 24 4 0 1 3 4 Ico_delete
Spices – Dill weed, dried, 2 tbsp 16 3 0 1 0 13 Ico_delete
Mc Realemon – Lemon Juice, 2 teaspoon 2 1 0 0 0 1 Ico_delete


Total: 373 24 11 45 19 740
Per Serving: 93 6 3 11 5 185


If you’re eating healthy and you don’t simply LOVE your food… you’re just not doing it right. I eat better now than I ever have in my life. My food is flavorful, filling and unbelievably delicious.

So many people ask me where I get my recipes, tomorrow I will reveal all my secrets. Well, they’re not really secrets, but I am putting together an amazing post highlighting that information. Stay tuned and make sure you’re following me.

Guess what I’m making!

My hubby and I have been on fire today making some yummy treats in the kitchen ….. here’s a quick sneak peek of what’s to come. Any guesses on what we made? breadStewDip

Weekly Meal Plan November 25 – December 1, 2012

As promised, here is what we’re planning on having this week for dinner. You’ll note there are several slow cooker recipes because we’ve got a busy week. Such a great quick meal!

Grilled Steak Fajita’s by

Made these tonight and they were AMAZING! One thing to note is that I think the calorie estimate is off on the site. Ours came out to 174 calories per fajita. They were super tasty. We paired them with a small portion of chips and salsa and YUM YUM! We switched out the flour tortilla’s for corn tortillas and made our own version of the veggie mix / spices (gotta love my husband). Don’t worry… I didn’t eat all three of them! 

Chicken Veggie Stew by The Gracious Pantry

Spaghetti with Sauteed Chicken and Grape Tomatoes by

Beef Stir Fry by Paelo on a Budget

Garlic Lovers Roast Beef by

Broccoli and Cheese Stuffed Chicken by

We’ve had a few of these recipes before. They’re really good. I love It has really great meals that do actually cut the calories down without sacrificing. One thing to note, you’ll see many of the sites I use have the calorie break downs… use those with CAUTION.  Every item you choose for your own meals will change the caloric content of the meal so just use it as a guide. We tend to make each recipe our own. I’m pretty sure none of the meals we’ve made have been 100% to the recipe. Matt’s an amazing cook and he adapts things to our tastes and even improves them with some great ideas.