Pieces of the Pie (Percentages and the Nutrition Facts Label)

You know that little label on the back of all packaged foods?

The nutrition facts label.

Funny, most of the times I’m all over it. Trying to figure out how many carbs, cals, protein, fiber grams.

Within the last 2 years, because of all of Anthony’s allergies, I am looking at it in a new way. Always looking underneath it too to see what types of allergens are in it or processed in the same plant.

There are times though that I try not to look at it. Especially when I was working as a teacher. Meals were rough. I was in grad school, hubby worked late, and so a frozen pizza or TGIFriday’s spinach dip from the freezer were common comforting meals at 9pm when we were home and finally eating dinner.

I didn’t even want to know what was on those labels at that point.

shared from: http://www.simpleeasydiets.com

One part always confused me….those percentages. You know after it tells you how many grams of fat, etc. are in a serving it shows a percent value too?

Well, what the heck. It says on the bottom that it’s based off of a 2000 calorie diet. I never should have or should now be eating a 2000 calorie diet…so I have to do the math in the store and figure it out?

I just need a ballpark figure. So thinking…ok, if a serving of this is 20% of my daily value, but I can’t eat as much…let’s figure its 30%….so out of 5 small meals a day…is that ok?

I learned that anything lower than 5% is a low amount and 20% or more is high.

Now that freaked me out a bit. 20% sounds like a low number…1/5 of daily intake. But, actually it’s considered high.

So be sure to check out not only fat, fiber, calories, protein, and carbs. Check out the percent values of the vitamins.

That in itself was an eye opener…keeping in mind the whole 5% and 20% fact above.

Are you getting enough vitamins?

What are some foods that you consume on a daily basis to up your vitamin intake while staying within your caloric intake for the day as well as staying within the proper amounts of percentages for carbs, protein, fat, and fiber?

Lions, and Tigers, and Omega 3’s…Oh My!

I’ve been reading a lot about Omega 3’s lately and really figured I needed to do some research on this.

Do I get enough of them in my daily diet?

I have a Shakeology each day for breakfast, beans or tuna for lunch (sometimes a bit of both) often with some organic spinach, an array of fruits for my afternoon snack, and usually some sort of grilled chicken or soy meatless protein option for dinner.

I always associate omega 3’s with fish…so if I only have tuna a few times a week, am I getting enough?

What else in a normal diet contains omega 3’s?

Do I need to take a supplement? Hubby takes a fish oil/omega 3 supplement every morning. Should I be taking this too?

As a stay at home mom, I’m moving around with our son a lot. I need to find a way to be sure I can get them in with something quick to make.

I read that salmon, flax seeds, and walnuts are the best sources of omega 3’s. Also, scallops, cauliflower, cabbage, cloves and mustard seeds are really good sources. Good sources include halibut, shrimp, cod, tuna, soybeans, tofu, kale, collard greens, and Brussels sprouts.

From all that I read, adding flaxseeds and two servings of tuna or another omega 3 rich non-fried fish twice a week will get me to where I need to be with my omega 3’s for the week.

Flaxseed Sources:

Tempeh with flaxseed in it….I find this at Whole Foods and love to saute it in a tablespoon of olive oil or coconut oil.

You can just sprinkle it in like you would that fiber powder to most anything! Add it to pasta sauce, oatmeal, or even a smoothie. So maybe I’ll add it into my Shakeology!

How do you incorporate flaxseed or omega 3’s in your diet? I’m looking for more ideas!

Sources for more information:



Meatless Meals for Good Friday

In our healthy home, we don’t eat too much meat.

You know how when you can’t have something you seem to want it more? So funny how that works..but it seems like on Fridays, I want chicken…but could take it or leave it the rest of the week! 🙂

These are quick and easy meals that stay at home moms and working moms alike can whip up rather quickly and feel good about feeding everyone hearty and healthy!

So, here are some recipes that I remember from Good Fridays past.

Mom used to make pasta with broccoli or cauliflower. Now, as a mom who’s interested in healthy meals full of nutrition, I look for an alternative for that pasta. Our pick to click in our house is the Barilla Whole Grain Penne.

Pasta and Veggies (serves 4)

1 box of Barilla Plus Penne

2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil

1 bag of frozen broccoli (or cauliflower)



garlic powder

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add a tad of extra virgin olive oil and then add the bag of frozen veggies. Cook to desired tenderness. The brighter green the veggies, the more nutrients that remain.

A great alternative to boiling the veggies is to steam them. It holds more of the nutrients. If you have a rice cooker with a steam basket, or a steamer, use it. 🙂

Bring water to a boil. Add a touch of olive oil to the water and then add pasta once it’s boiling. Cook your pasta to it’s desired tenderness. Being Italian, we like it al dente (to the teeth), not mushy.

After both pasta and veggies are cooked, toss together in a big bowl. Add the 2 tbsp of olive oil, a dash of salt, crushed black pepper, and garlic powder (or minced garlic if you like that better).

Alternatives: you can toss in cauliflower instead, toss in toasted multigrain bread cubes for some crunch, or toss in some boiled shrimp for added protein!

I’ve grown to really like this meatless version of chili too!

1 can of black beans

1 container of tofu

2 cans of diced tomatoes

1 green pepper

1 medium sized onion

olive oii




2 cans of tomato sauce


Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in the bottom of a pot.

Dice onion and add to bottom of pot. Mix until translucent.

Add the pepper and toss until soft

If adding garlic, toss in with the pepper

Then add the tomatoes and the tomato sauce

Mix and turn heat down to low

Add can of beans

Dice and crumble tofu and toss into pot.

Let this simmer on the stove until you are ready to eat!

Reduced Prices Do Not Mean Zero Calorie :)

This is my biggest temptation every year.

Seriously, even more so than the day after Christmas.

Every year, the day after Easter I love to go to Target, Walgreens, and CVS and hit up their holiday aisle for the CLEARANCE goodies!

I’m reminding myself this year to realize…just because the bags of candy are $1 or less doesn’t mean that I have to buy them. I LOVE the Starburst Jelly Beans and the Cadburry Mini Eggs that are completely full of that awesome chocolate with the thin candy shell. Not to mention those wonderful Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs!

But, I don’t need to derail all the good work that we have done in our home with healthy eating habits by putting all that in our home again. That was part of our original problem.

I believe in all things in moderation. For me, moderation is a pizza night one night a week. As for sweets, I’m down with my chocolate Shakeology, so candy and treats of that sort are reserved for special occasions mostly.

Easter is a very special occasion in our home! Our biggest special occasion! Therefore, we will enjoy our treats on Sunday, but that’ll be it. We can have our favorites and enjoy every bite rather than scarfing it all down, knowing that we’ll have more tomorrow when bargain lady mommy goes to the store and raids the holiday aisle!

Every jelly bean (even if it is zero fat) contains sugar. Sugar turns into fat…which my body does not need.

Those mini eggs…well…my love affair with those will just end up with them being suction cupped to my hips.

I’ll stick with enjoying them on Sunday and being thankful at the end of the week that I didn’t let it trigger more and more treat eating throughout the week.

Everything in moderation…but always on the right track.

As a teacher, I was always careful to keep my students on the right path, even if our conversations went astray for a few moments. I enjoyed getting to know my kids and making them laugh…they worked harder then when it was time to work!

Same holds true here…stray on those holidays! Enjoy! But stay close to the path so you can hop back on without having to take a long journey just to get back on track!

Slow and steady always wins the race!

Healthy living is a marathon, not a sprint. 🙂

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Allergy Free Snacks for a Healthy Mom

Our son Anthony is 2 and has food allergies. He’s allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, soy, gluten, wheat, egg, and dairy.

As a stay at home healthy mom, it’s important to me that he gets his nutrients while making good choices with what he eats.

I know what you are going to ask…well..what do you feed him?

I hear that all the time. He’s not an alien! Stop and think outside the box. There is a lot that he CAN eat. More foods that he CAN eat then those he can’t. It’s just a matter of reading every label. As a former teacher, that’s no problem at all. I was always analyzing data.. 🙂

Ok so back to the question…what does he eat?

Breakfast: almost always consists of Gerber Baby Oatmeal with Rice Milk. Never been a problem for him. Also, many times, turkey sausage links (steamed on the stove top and then finished off being sauteed in a squeeze of olive oil.

Rice milk is the only milk he can have. The pediatric allergist said it’s just as well, if not better, but he needs to be on a multivitamin to be sure he gets enough vitamin d and calcium. I am always looking for coupons for rice milk. When I find them, we stock up!

Lunch: Always can count on Anthony having black beans. No questions asked. This was his first solid food. He loved them from the beginning. I just rinse them and he loves them cold. The pediatric allergist also told me that they are so high in protein that they will help him with not having dairy. Again, in my opinion, a much more nutritious choice anyway!

Snacks: Here are Anthony’s favorites, and one not so favorite!

Loves these organic fruit bars from Whole Foods. At 60 cents each I buy them in bulk. Taste like a fruit snack, but nothing artificial and no added sugar (just sugar from the actual fruit).

Rice cakes…eh, he can take them or leave them as they are. BUT…the trick is to break them up and put them in a silver cup. He thinks its popcorn and adores it. (Great trick, Daddy!)

Apples, pears, blueberries, mangoes, bananas, strawberries, cheerios, avocados, zucchini, plums, and peaches are always rotated around the house.

Rice crackers. These are crunchy and he calls them “trackters”. Love it! Have a bit of a salty crisp to them. Tasty!

Brown rice crackers. THUMBS DOWN! These looked promising, but unless you are into eating cardboard, skip them!

Trader Joe’s Dried Banana Slices! Easy to pack in the diaper bag and take with you as a healthy on the go snack!

Dinner: Oh it varies. Ian’s brand makes a great allergy free line for kids like Anthony. They make allergy free chicken nuggets which taste great. They also make onion rings and french fries (in the shape of letters). Those are a favorite.

Hubby taught me to lightly oil a pan with olive oil and then put the fries on those. Bake for ten minutes and flip. Bake another ten minutes. Crisp on the ouside, soft on the inside. YUM! Sprinkle with sea salt and he’s good to go!

He also likes hamburgers, “white chicken” (chicken breast from the bone cut up in chunks and tossed in truffle oil), and the hot dogs that are free of everything. Oscar Meyer makes a good one. I will look next time we have them in the house.

RICE! My husband is Pakistani and makes a delicious rice dish. It’s full of spices. Anthony goes wild for it!

He’s not a huge fan of pasta (what the heck…I’m italian!) .

Veggies vary within the week. He’s into “trees with flowers” right now. 🙂 AKA Broccoli.


Ah ha…yes..this is where you think I’m out of luck. Nope…

Soft baked cookies from Enjoy Life and the candy bars from Enjoy Life….they also make chocolate chips. Everything is allergy free. They are SOOOO GOOOD! I use the choc chips for baking too! (i’ll save the baking info for another post!)

So, Anthony has a variety of food he can eat.

He’s growing healthy and strong. I find this a blessing. He has forced us to really take a look at what we put into our bodies. There is very little processed food in our home!

Do you have a allergy free snack/meal that works for your family? Please share in the comments below!

Do you have allergies or your children have allergies and need some more ideas or guidance? I’d be happy to help you! I recall the feeling when I first found out. I thought..what am I going to eat and what will I feed him??

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Counting Calories

We all know by now that not all calories are created equal.

100 calories of strawberries is much better and will take you farther than one of those 100 calorie packs of processed foods.

Do you have that same problem? When I eat one of those 100 cal packs, I am still hungry.

I researched it. It’s because those packs are full of processed foods which do not satisfy our bodies.

Refined sugar, etc. They contain trigger foods that make us crave more.


Do you track your calories? Try tracking your calories and what it is that you are eating. If you fill your body with lean meats, beans, good fruits and veggies, and whole grains you’ll find your body will be satisfied and you’ll be eating good quality calories.

If you need some ideas, feel free to ask me! I’m happy to help!


Our second quarter of our Trailblazers Biggest Loser Challenge starts up next Monday. If you’d like a weekly check in with accountability as well as tips, join us! Message me about that too!


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Going “Sweetless”

Some of you asked, so shall you receive.

My words of “experience”.

The weekend of Valentine’s Day, I ran my first 5k with Amie. I came home and felt I “earned” eating whatever I wanted. Well, after a few Long Island Iced Teas, some chocolate, some of my mom’s cookies, and some pizza…I realized..WOAH. STOP ME!

Like it was meant to be…a status update comes on Facebook from Chalene Johnson on her TurboFire page saying “Having trouble taming the sweet tooth? Give it up for 14 days and you won’t even miss it anymore.”

Hey that sounded doable and most definitely a well needed challenge to get back on track.

So I began, Monday, February 14th. Still going strong today! Read on, sweet teeth!

How am I doing it?

1. CLEAR IT OUT! All the cookies…gone. That big piece of candy hubby bought me for a treat…gone. GARBAGE IT! The $ you throw out in the trash can is worth the $ you’ll save on new pants to fit into!

2. DISCOVER YOUR MOTIVATION! What is it? Why do you need to stop eating sweets? Risk of Type 2 Diabetes? Kids? Grandkids? Want to fit into your swimsuit this summer? Determine your reason for needing this. Mine? Being healthy for Anthony. Being able to play with him for a long time and setting a great example for him to follow.

3. FIND SOMETHING ELSE. I’m an emotional eater..always have been. When I’m happy, nervous, anxious, stressed, sad, angry, etc. I eat. It always made me feel better. Still fight this battle every day. But I found that every time I wanted to reach for a sweet treat, I walked away and found Anthony (our 2 year old). I asked him what book he wanted to read. Within minutes, I forgot that I wanted to eat something and was immersed in my #2(motivation), being healthy for Anthony.

You will find that as you eat healthy, your body will crave healthy food.

It works. Last night, we went to a benefit at a country club. It was a tasting from chefs around the area.

A dieter’s nightmare…but not a problem for a lady on a healthy lifestyle journey! 🙂

I tasted the sushi and even that coconut shrimp. But the sweets? Didn’t even want them! The quick taste in my mouth wasn’t worth all of the sugar that would be going in. Not to mention the 20 “Sweetless” days!

21 days down! Who wants to give it a try? I’m happy to keep you accountable!

Drop me a line!