This post is sponsored by Atkins Nutritionals, Inc. but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.
After a long winter, when the sun starts to make an occasional appearance, it warms us up and often shines some light on a few trouble spots – like clutter. From the winter gear in the entrance room to the couple of winter pounds on our hips, Spring cleaning is our chance to reboot from the inside out. Read on to learn more about #AtkinsSpringClean for your home and your body!
Five Tips For Spring Cleaning Your Home
Lets’s start with spring cleaning the house – I don’t know about you but I just feel better physically and mentally when I’m not looking at clutter. Sadly, in a house of seven ranging in ages one to 52, clutter happens. So does dust and cobwebs compliments of a 130 year old house and a pellet stove! Here are my five tips for getting started in the battle of fighting clutter, or as I like to call it, reclaiming my space:
- Write Down Your Plans
- Assemble Your Cleaning Arsenal
- Get Help from Family Members
- Assign Each Helper a Certain Task
- Set Clear and Realistic Goals
Spring Cleaning Your Body
If you’ve been around a while, you’ve likely watched my transformation over the past two years from morbidly obese to finally having a healthy weight – for the first time since I was in diapers. I did a major diet cleaning two years ago that truly changed my life – I cut out sugar, flour, starchy vegetables and began my low carb lifestyle. By following the Atkins plan I’ve lost almost 180 pounds! At around the 175 pound mark I was inspired about hitting my goal so much that I joined the gym and started weight training. Feel free to follow my weight loss journey on Instagram!
At this point in my journey I get a lot of questions. Least of which is “Do I know You” when I say hello to a relative I haven’t seen in a while at the grocery store. (No, I’m not kidding!) I most frequently hear, “But how did you give up sugar?” and “What do you eat?” along with a few, “Please teach me” pleads. I always tell them to start with the Atkins free “Quick Start Kit” which you can get here. That’s where I started! And, then I say if you can get through the first two days, you can make it through the first week. These were the toughest two periods for me – and then I found I didn’t crave sugar anymore and two years later I can’t even tolerate the thought of eating it. Lowcarb lifestyles such as Atkins are great for staying healthy and eating clean and once you’ve retrained your body to think that way, you’ll never miss your old eating habits. And, if you’re like me, you might be a little embarrassed by it! Atkins is definitely a sustainable lifestyle choice for the long haul and I’m here to say, “Yes, you can do this too!”
So, what do I eat? A lot of days I cook extra for dinner and eat leftovers for breakfast or lunch and sometimes I just grab an Atkins shake on my way to the gym (the Caramel Cafe is my facorite!). And then there are the days when I get pretty crafty in the kitchen – I mean, I’ve always had a few kitchen tricks up my sleeve but this lifestyle has pushed me to be even more creative than ever before. A secret? I makeover high carb foods I used to love into low carb foods I can enjoy! I also love simple and easy! Depends on my mood, really.
Here’s an example of what a typical one day Atkins plan looks like for me:
Easy Low Carb Breakfast Scramble Recipe
Simple scrambled eggs with whatever low carb acceptable meats and veggies you’d like tossed in then a quick toss of cheese! Pictured above was two eggs, a few tablespoons of water, a dash of salt and pepper, a slice of boiled ham, a little leftover broccoli, some bacon crumbles and my secret ingredient – a few banana pepper rings! When it was all cooked through I sprinkled on about an 1/8th of a cup of shredded Colby jack cheese – because, cheese! I love how colorful my plate was and by changing out the ingredients based on whatever I have on hand I almost never get bored with eggs. On to lunch:
Easy Low Carb Buffalo Chicken Salad Recipe
Most days lunch for me is some variety of a salad. In this example, I tossed in some leftover buffalo chicken. Yummy!! If you’re just starting out with Atkins I definitely recommend that you keep it super simple – greens (I love a spinach and arugula mix, personally), some protein and choose a low carb dressing like Ranch or Caesar (just check the labels). And, speaking of Caesar Salad – that is one of my go to salads – greens, dressing and Parmesan cheese shavings (okay, sometimes I add bacon crumbles and/or grilled chicken, too). Because I’m no longer induction I add some tomato, cheddar and black olives to my buffalo chicken salad pictured above. Check the Atkins carb counter to see what veggies work best for you here. Another option for lunch is an Atkins frozen meal – my favorites are the Chicken Broccoli Alfredo or the Crustless Pot Pie. I have to be careful with these, because if my daughter spots them before I get to them they magically disappear (and no, she isn’t on an Atkins plan). Here’s my recipe for two salads (or one if I had a small breakfast)! No leftover buffalo chicken? It’s so quick to cook up!
- 2 cups washed salad greens
- 1 boneless chicken breast
- 1 tbs olive or coconut oil
- 1 tbs butter
- 1/2 cup hot sauce (like Franks Red)
- 1-2 stalks of celery
- blue cheese or ranch dressing
- salt and pepper to taste
Cut the chicken into strips. Pan fry in olive or coconut oil until cooked through and golden brown on each side. Remove from pan. Melt butter in the pan, add chicken back in then pour in the hot sauce. Let simmer on low while you chop up your celery and any other veggies you want to add in (I added tomatoes and black olives to mine). Toss the salad greens and celery with your dressing of choice. Put the greens on a plate, top with the buffalo chicken and then sprinkle on a little shredded cheddar if desired! Bon appetit! Now, on to dinner!
Low Carb No Noodle Spinach Lasagna Recipe
This, this right here is how an Italian girl lives happily the low carb lifestyle. I make my low carb no noodle spinach lasagna at least twice a month. It’s my absolute favorite meal! Have a favorite lasagna recipe you don’t want to fiddle with? Make sure your sauce isn’t too high in carbs and then simply replace your lasagna noodles with fresh spinach leaves. So, where you would normally layer lasagna noodles spread an even layer of spinach leaves instead. It’s that simple!! But, how do you make one like me? First, I cheat. I start with Rao’s Vodka Sauce which tastes amazing and is the lowest carb pasta sauce I’ve found so far. I’m not messing with a good thing – it’s pricey but is now my go-to sauce.
- 1 Jar Prepared Sauce (lowest net carb you can find)
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 lb mild Italian sausage
- 1 Green Pepper, Diced
- 1/2 Onion, Diced
- 16 ounces Shredded Italian Cheese Blend
- 16 ounces Full Fat Ricotta Cheese
- 1 Egg
- 1 Bag Fresh Spinach
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Saute meat until no longer pink. Add diced onion and pepper to pan. Cook through and drain. While the meat is cooling, mix ricotta with about 1/3 of the bag of shredded cheese and one egg. Cover the bottom of a 13X9 baking dish with a thin layer of sauce. Evenly cover the sauce with fresh spinach leaves. Spread about half of the ricotta mixture over the spinach. Sprinkle ground meat. Sprinkle with a little shredded cheese then repeat the layers. I sprinkle the remainder of the cheese on top and sometimes add a few shakes of powdered Parmesan cheese, too. Cover with foil, bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and everything is bubbly and nice.
And there you have it – my typical day of eating on the Atkins plan. I don’t miss carbs one bit and I eat some darn good food!! I usually also have a snack or two during the day. Some of the snacks I enjoy are fresh cut up veggies, string cheese, fresh mozzarella balls, occasionally almonds, sugar free gelatin, Atkin’s Shakes and when I’m really well behaved I often treat myself to something from the Atkins Endulge line like a Chocolate Caramel Mousse Bar or a Nutty Fudge Brownie for dessert. They taste like sin and guilt and pleasure with none of the associated emotions, really!
#AtkinsSpringClean Recipe Contest
And, speaking of spinach … Atkins is holding a fun contest throughout the month of April. Each week participants can enter the #AtkinsSpringClean recipe contest on the Atkins Facebook page where participants create recipes using their “ingredient of the week.” This week the ingredients is spinach!! Think I should enter?
Want to try out a few Atkins goodies yourself? Why not put your best low carb foot forward and enter the #AtkinsSpringClean recipe contest! One winner will be selected each week (4winners total) by an Atkins panel of judges to receive a goodie package worth $95. Judging will be based on lowcarb recipes submitted. Click here to learn more and enter!