Tuesday, June 5, 2012

fries + chips: skinny girl edition

My idea of a fantastic night just doesn't include sitting on the couch for 5 hours and downing a bag of chips. I know to some people, this sounds like heaven. But to me, not so much.

It's funny, a lot of my younger years included just this, especially in high school. Add to that slurpee runs to 7-Eleven with a few girlfriends (where of course we never just bought a slurpee -- we each came out with a little bag of candy in hand, too!). Sometimes we'd make a plate of nachos. A big plate! Of course, at the time, we would get so hyped up on all the sweeteners, MSG and artificial flavorings in that food that we were floating on a sugar-coated cloud 9! ha ha But I was miserable. I looked horrible, had no energy, and always just wanted to "nap". Yes, the candy tasted good, but what kind of life was I living? 

doesn't this get you even just a
 little excited!!? ha ha ;-) 
Now, 40 lbs smaller, and a million times happier, my habits and lifestyle have taken a complete 180. Yes, I love watching The Bachelor and Housewives (of anywhere! haha), but I do it for the last hour or two of my day, not as the highlight of my night.  I spend my nights enjoying my work out, reading health + fitness blogs, and picking up groceries (this is actually one of my favorite things to do! -- filling my little basket full of bright, colorful veggies, lean proteins and healthy fats just makes me happy... plus, the cute guys you're guaranteed to find at the supermarket doesn't hurt.... ha ha ;-) And yes, I still see my girlfriends, but our nights are spent hitting up a yoga class or going for a glass of wine + some edamame. 

Now, instead of greasy bags of potato chips,  I snack on much lighter and more nutritious foods -- my favorite salty, snacky foods at the moment are: sweet potato fries + kale chips!

Sweet potatoes are a great alternative to "regular" potatoes because they're lower calorie (sweet potatoes have 170 cals/cup, regular potatoes 278/cup), less starchy, and packed with nutritients! A cup of sweet potatoes also has 7 g of fiber, which keeps you feeling full :-) 


Sweet Potato Fries
To make sweet potato fries, I wash the skin really well, chop it into "fries", and toss it in a bowl with 1/2 - 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, whichever spices I feel like adding -- my fav right now is garlic powder & curry powder... delish! I always line my baking tray with parchment paper as sweet potatoes do stick sometimes, so this prevents that problem. Then, pop them into the oven at 350 F for around 30-40 mins, flipping halfway through. I take mine out when the flesh has just become browned a bit, but you can take them out before that point if you prefer. 

Kale Chips
Give the kale a good rinse under the tap, then rip off small pieces of the leafy green part and throw into a bowl (discard stem). Again, a splash of extra virgin olive oil and whichever spices you're feelin. I do mine with is garlic powder, onion powder and red chili flakes right now, but you could try anything! I've also done it with organic taco mix seasoning before and I really liked it! Get creative :-) Because kale is a lot more thin and delicate than sweet potatoes, I usually only cook these for 10-15 mins, just make sure you're checking often as they burn easily.  Take them out when they've turned from "chewy" to "crispy". 

For serving, I love ketchup, but just be careful with this one as it's high in sugar, especially "conventional" brands like Heinz. I buy organic ketchup, which is better, but still just be cautious of serving sizes as 2 tbsp comes in at 40 cals, 8 g sugar so it does add up quickly! Another fav of mine is Franks' hot sauce, which is much lower in sugar & cals and also has an added benefit - spicy foods actually boost your metabolism, so it's a win-win! 

My girlfriend Chaantal has a few salty tricks of her own -- she snacks on baked spicy chickpeas or edamame. I know there's got to be some other great ideas I've never seen, so if you have one, post it below, I'd love to try out your recipes! :-)

Make today ridiculously amazing, friends!

- Brooke

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