The Cooking Teacher: Stress Eating in the Springtime

The thing that I love about the warm weather is all of the new produce that will be available in the food stores. The stalks of asparagus, baby peas, beets, leeks and rhubarb are starting to appear in the produce aisle. It almost makes me want to eat a more healthy diet. Almost! For a teacher, spring can also be a time of stress and bring on the urge to eat a lot of junk. We have our end of the year observations and evaluations, testing, submitting information to “My Learning Plan” and more testing. And while we are dreaming of summer freedom and summer bodies we are also trying to meet all of these deadlines. So what are some tips to eating a more balanced and healthy diet while trying to maintain our springtime sanity? The first tip is to set aside some “me time.” It is really important to take time to make yourself and your health a priority.

I like to set aside an hour a week to plan out some meals and to prepare recipes that can be made ahead of time. A few blogs ago I mentioned how my electric pressure cooker is a time saver, and it really is. It’s so easy to throw things in a bag and then in the freezer so that you can just slip the items into the pot. In a short period of time, dinner is served. I also like quick and easy recipes for those nights that I go to the gym. A friend just sent me a recipe from Italy for making eggs in a jar that you bake in a water bath. They appear to be a custard consistency with cheese and vegetables in them. Once I translate it from Italian and have the cooking instructions, I will be sharing it with you! Another quick and easy thing to make is muffins. I have been substituting the sugar in the muffins with Swerve or Stevia and grating in vegetables like carrot or zucchini to give them more fiber while having lower sugar and calories. Having a few breakfast items ready to grab and go is the key to starting the day right. Pair a muffin with a piece of fruit and a hardboiled egg or a protein smoothie, and you’ve made an excellent start to the day!

But what about something for those who are “living la vida lo carb?” Low carb can be a great way to drop a few pounds, but you don’t want to forego them completely. By doing so you could be losing out on some valuable nutrients. Luckily, there are some new products on the market that can help those looking to reduce carbs. One is an egg crepe wrap called Crepini (available at most major supermarkets like Shop Rite.) The other is a cheese wrap called Folio (this is available at Costco.) Yum! I take the egg crepe and fill it with shredded or sliced cheese and some pre-cooked bacon (yes, lazy peeps, you can buy Oscar Mayer bacon already cooked!) Heat it in the microwave for 60 seconds. It’s low carb, good protein and it holds me until lunch. The cheese wrap is great for lunch with some chicken salad that I make using Greek yogurt. Throw on some spinach and you are eating a healthy lunch that is low in carbs.

But what about something sweet for those nights when you are up late doing the My Learning Plan dance or submitting those benchmark grades? Well, I am going to leave you with a sweet treat recipe for those nights or whenever a craving for a sweet dessert hits you!

Lemon Cheesecake Mousse

Now before you go all “I don’t like lemon” on me, think of all the other things that you could substitute in for the lemon. I recently did a lemon blueberry and also a strawberry!

  • 1 package of graham crackers crushed. I will sometimes omit these and just make plain mousse (I like choices!) or you can crush a favorite cookie!
  • 12 oz. softened cream cheese. (I have used both regular and the less fat varieties.)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar. I used powdered Swerve which is a sugar substitute called Erythritol, which is more natural and less harsh on the stomach.
  • Juice of 1 lemon. (When using a different flavor I used 2-4 tablespoons of juiced fruit (puree in blender.)
  • Pinch of salt.
  • 1 cup of Cool Whip. (I used the sugar free.)

Divide crushed crackers between 4 custard type dessert cups or wine glasses if you really want to be elegant!

In a medium bowl, mix cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add sugar then juice and salt.

Fold in the Cool Whip and spoon into the dessert cups.

Garnish with a slice of fruit or sprinkle on some more crushed cookie.


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