Simple Swaps for Dinner, Drinks, Desserts!

Man, the gym has been a dream this week. Like literally a dream- we’ve been so exhausted and comfy cozy in bed I have only made it once plus my SoulCycle class. 5 AM is not normal to wake up!! I need to figure out a schedule that works for my body. My gym buddy hasn’t exactly been the most motivating either…

This weekend will definitely mean time in the gym and we’re laying relatively low anyways after our last weekend. I did get to enjoy time with my sorority alumnae group yesterday at a brewery- they also brew kombucha! So since I’m still in “I never want to see alcohol again” mode, that is what a took part in. It was delicious!

Now onto the simple swaps you can make whether you are eating out for dinner or cooking at home, as well as swaps for drinks and desserts that accompany your meal!

  • We know deep fried foods are bad right? Like you shouldn’t REALLY be eating anything fried- french fries, corn dogs, etc. Look for “pan-fried” on menus or cook food yourself in a skillet with a little health EVOO (that is extra virgin olive oil for you noobs).
  • This is something I need to work on, but if you have access to local produce via farmer’s markets you should take advantage! They have less preservatives and potentially more health benefits than veggies you get at the supermarket.
  • This is one of my favorite swaps because I always have Greek yogurt on hand! Instead of sour cream on your Mexican food (or anything that calls for it)- sub Greek yogurt. It has more protein and less fat, plus healthy bacteria for your gut. I swear, you will not be able to taste the difference.
  • Whole grain swaps are so easy- no more white rice or white pasta. It’s all brown rice and whole-wheat pasta from here on out! I try to not even order rice or pasta when out to eat because they normally don’t have these options. And when you are eating pasta? White sauce is a no go- there are so many extra calories that come with all that cream. Marinara sauce or another tomato based sauce is your best choice.
  • Eating out? You do not have to end up in a food coma! Get a doggy bag to go- this is something that I do struggle with and need to get better at. Reminding myself of how bad I feel after stuffing myself at a meal should help.
  • Asian food on the menu? Give the chopsticks a chance! They will slow you down way more than eating with a fork. It will help with that speed-eating habit.
  • Trying to cool down in the summer with popsicles for dessert? Try sticking grapes in the freezer- they really do come out tasting like mini popsicles. They’re very satisfying and have way less sugar and more health benefits!
  • Soda fiend? Well STOP IT. I gave up soda for Lent in high school once and have never looked back! If you must get that carbonation from somewhere, swap it for sparkling water or flavored sparkling water. But watch out- too much sparkling water can damage your teeth (so can soda for that matter), so keep it to under 1 or 2 servings a day. Also- if you are reaching for an energy drink- just stop. The chemicals and sugar in them are crazy. Take a power nap instead.
  • Alcohol on the agenda? Red wine or beer is a better choice than a sugary cocktail- especially a margarita. Honestly, since I only really enjoy vodka or tequila cocktails, they all end up tasting the same. I’d much rather have a really good glass of wine. They tend to be cheaper as well!

I shouldn’t have to say this but I will- now that we are wrapping up swaps for our three meals a day, please eat three meals a day! Plus snacks! If you skip meals and just snack throughout the day, you will end up feeling unfocused, tired, cranky, and no one wants to be around someone like that! Also, if you’re just grazing throughout the day instead of sitting down and focusing on a well-prepared meal or snack, you will consume more calories than you think.

Some other tips that I think help when it comes to food-

  • Never grocery shop on an empty stomach (it’s a recipe for disaster)
  • If you find yourself reaching for comfort food (for me, it’s ice cream) or emotionally eating, check in with yourself for just 5 minutes. Meditate a little- dim the lights, close your eyes, clear your mind, and ask yourself who or what is driving this urge for comfort. Maybe you just need to go for a walk, maybe you need to call a friend, maybe you need a nice long hot shower. But that check-in could be all you need to not slip down a 1,000 calorie path. If you can’t get on board with the whole “meditation” thing, try journaling. When you’re a couple cookies deep, pull out a notebook and write down what you’re thinking about. Not only is it distracting but you may realize the void you are trying to fill can be filled in other ways.
  • Skip the plastic silverware at home- even if you have take-out, use your fancy stuff and you may be more aware of what you’re eating and slow down because you’re not in a rush at a fast-food place.
  • Remember- everything in moderation. If I deprive myself, I binge. So giving myself the leeway to indulge on vacation, have dessert or alcohol every so often (but not all the time), keeps me trim. TREAT YO’ SELF!

Yesterday’s food journal

Breakfast- oatmeal with chia seeds, cinnamon, strawberries, and protein powder

Coffee at work

Snack- almonds

Lunch- salad

Green tea

Snack- Apple with 2 string cheese sticks

Snack- KIND bar

Dinner- leftover casserole and some pineapple. 2 Kombuchas at Lenny Boy Brewing. 

VOX Table review

VOX Table is a new American small plates restaurant & cocktail bar on South Lamar. The inside is modern with high ceilings and the inventive menu has distinctive French and Spanish influence. This is where we decided to spend our 1st anniversary dinner.

Thanks to OpenTable & the “Notes” section, we were greeted with glasses of a very yummy rosè. Our waiter was the best- friendly, personable, interesting and very knowledgeable (Winston- request him before he whirls out of Austin!) and gave us great recommendations.

We started with the charred baby carrots and even though the BF doesn’t like carrots, this changed his tune. They were roasted with brown figs and a housemade ricotta, seasoned with lemon verbena and aged balsamic and topped with toasted pepitas. Then we got the most popular dish- the smoked hamachi pipette. The pipette holds a coconut soy vinaigrette and skewers the hamachi, tomato raisins, pickled cucumber and Thai chili. It was even more delicious than the hype made it to be.

Hamachi pipettes
Hamachi pipettes

Since I’m a big seafood person we also got the red crab with crispy Brussels sprouts, asparagus, radish, and egg crumble over a yuzu pudding smeared on the plate and brioche croutons. The crab was fresh and sweet- I could have buried my face into a whole bowl of it.

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Equally outstanding were the calamari noodles with roasted corn, smoked tomatoes, Spanish chorizo, chili oil and corn nuts. The calarmari is sliced into noodle-like strands. It was the most inventive presentation I’ve ever seen of calamari.

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Since the BF is a big meat fan we got both the braised oxtail dish and the shortrib dish. The oxtail wasn’t overly impressive for either of us- while incredibly tender (fall-off-the-bone tender), the flavor didn’t compare to the shortrib, which came with potato churros- a savory take on the normally sweet Mexican dessert. And they were phenomenal.

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Shortrib

After a meal like that, we couldn’t pass up dessert. We got the foie gras & strawberries- two crispy brioche crackers dolloped with foie gras butter, strawberry marmalade and tarragon cream. Wowza.

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Our drinks were lovely too- after the rosè, I got a hand on the pump cocktail- I couldn’t stop smelling my rosemary garnish.

The hostess was even nice enough to take a picture of us on our way out. It was a memorable experience and I thank VOX Table for it.

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