Let me start by saying this: I am not a health nut. Like not in the least bit. I try to make healthy choices, but also really really like food. I have never been on any type of “diet” but rather just tried to really hone in on foods that make me feel good that I actually enjoy. So take any and all “health” related advice from me with a grain of salt (or a hefty pinch in my case, because give me all the salt). But I figure that I’m always interested to see what others are doing/eating to stay healthy, so I would share too!
Even though I’ve never done a specific diet or eating plan, I feel like I relate to three different eating styles. I’m all about whole foods and while I would probably die before I could actually do a Whole 30 type diet, I am of the camp that if we can fit as much natural food in our diet, we are going to be healthier for it. I also am impressed by the macros way of eating. In a nutshell, it breaks down they types of calories that you are consuming into protein, fats and carbs, and encourages you to eat a crap ton of protein (which is difficult for me). And lastly, I’m a big fan of intuitive eating. I haven’t completely subscribed to that either, but agree that we need to give our bodies what they want and that we shouldn’t punish or starve ourselves. We just need to find what foods make us feel good. So roll that all together and you have Melissa’s Intuitive Whole Macros. It’s a little wonky, but it’s what works for me.
How does this translate to what I eat?
So after I had Jade a couple years ago, I was looking to try to improve my eating. Because when I’m pregnant, I eat like I’m eating for two…linebackers. Whoopsies. 🙂 I was making sure to give myself time to recover from just growing a human inside of me, but also knew that maybe top ramen and four pounds of grapes in one sitting might not be great. Go figure.
My friend had been doing a macros diet and having a lot of success with it, so out of curiosity, I decided just to track my eating and see how much of each category I was eating. And hellooooooo carbs. At first I freaked out, because did you know that spinach has carbs in it?! Spinach! Has carbs! That makes no sense in my mind. So after the initial shock, I realized that I’m okay with carbs in spinach because I’m still eating spinach! It’s a healthy vegetable and correct me if I’m wrong here, I don’t think anyone got super fat eating too many vegetables. So there’s that. But I also realized that I needed to find ways to eat protein. I’m not a huge meat-eater, so this can be a little tricky. But also, going back to my semi-whole eating mindset, didn’t like the idea of dumping protein powder in everything I eat. Or buying foods that have a million additives in them, but are high in protein. And let’s add on to the top of this dilemma, that I’m just so cheap! Enter cottage cheese.
Three ways to eat cottage cheese that won’t make you remember you are eating cottage cheese.
Growing up, I NEVER enjoyed cottage cheese. The texture was a little weird for me, and I didn’t enjoy the taste. I had tried putting fruit on it, but it just didn’t work for me. So as I was googling sources of protein, I kept seeing cottage cheese pop up. So then I changed my search and started googling ways to hide cottage cheese in food. And hooray, I found two options that I now employ several times a week! On top of that, I found a way to eat it plain, if I just change the toppings from sweet to savory. Victory!
Cottage Cheese Smoothies
This is my go-to breakfast. I probably make it about three times a week and I still enjoy it. It is super easy, has a ton of protein, keeps me full, and winner winner, includes fruits and juice, which I love.
1 – 1 1/2 cups of cottage cheese
5-6 frozen strawberries (or any other frozen fruit or berries)
1/2 cup orange juice
Throw it all in a blender and you’ve landed yourself a super creamy fruit smoothie! It has a little tanginess to it, but I have gotten so used to it that now I think regular fruit smoothies are too sweet. Like, who even am I?? I now often put a heaping spoonful of cottage cheese in my kids’ smoothies too, and they don’t even notice. In fact, Jade prefers her smoothies just like mine and will swipe it if I’m not looking. If I make one just for her, I usually throw some blueberries and peaches in too, just to give her a little more variety.
Cottage Cheese Pancakes
When I was first looking for these recipes, I was still nursing and was trying to also eat foods that would help with milk production. This ended up being perfect since it had oatmeal to help with that! Now I make these every week or so, because my kids love them, and I don’t feel bad throwing chocolate chips or sprinkles on theirs since they are so healthy otherwise!
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup oatmeal
smidge of vanilla and cinnamon
Blend this concoction up and pour it on a skillet and you’ve got yourself some pancakes! Now of course because of the eggs, they will have a little more of that eggy texture rather than a super fluffy and bready texture. But going back to moderation, if you pour enough syrup on it, you don’t really notice. 🙂 Or like I mentioned before, I’ll dress these up with chocolate chips or sprinkles for my kids, or do a little whipped topping and fresh fruit. And bonus, these pancakes are soooooo cheap to make and I almost always have the three main ingredients on hand. These are a winner, you just have to try them!
Okay, so with this one, you’re still eating plain cottage cheese, which I was previously opposed to! But! I had always tried to add fruit on top, and those flavors just didn’t jive for me. So I went the opposite direction! Instead of doing sweet, I went savory.
Bowl of cottage cheese (as much as you’re willing to eat)
Handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
A couple leaves of fresh basil, cut into thin strips
Fresh cracked pepper
Piling the toppings on, I can basically trick myself into thinking I’m eating a delicious caprese salad. I don’t know why I had never thought to go savory, but it definitely balances the flavors better for me. I haven’t put balsamic on top yet, but I bet it would be delicious too!
Try these out! I’m sure at least one of the recipes will become a regular in your rotation!