Posts by Cassie
The “experts” out there disagree with exactly when the third trimester starts, so I’m just going to go off the math—two-thirds of a 40 week pregnancy is 26.666 weeks and considering today I’m at 26 weeks, 5 days—I’m calling it! Welcome to the third trimester, kids.
I am so happy to be in my third trimester. It hasn’t been a secret that pregnancy hasn’t been fun for me, and I’m thrilled that I’m closing in on the end. Yay! Yippee! Woohoo! I know a lot of people consider the third trimester to be absolutely miserable, and I’m sure it will be no different for me, but it feels a lot more manageable considering the short time frame. In a little over 90 days, this season of my life will be over (and a whole other, crazy adventure begins).
We haven’t really gotten anywhere since my last update with the nursery. We, unfortunately, had a much bigger tax bill than expected so a lot of our nursery budget is getting rerouted to paying Uncle Sam, which means we’re doing a lot more reworking of pieces we have and using hand-me-downs than we had originally planned. Such is life. That’s alright, I don’t think Baby J will mind!
We have a lot of big DIY projects that we need to really get-to-gettin’ on in there. I was desperately hoping that second trimester burst of energy everyone talks about would kick in, but it never came. So I just gotta deal with it and get to work. My biggest project over the next few weeks is sewing curtains. We ordered some blackout liner and beautiful fabric to make curtains to cover up the floor-to-ceiling windows in the room—because I can make nice blackout curtains for so much cheaper myself than buying them.
Craig is in charge of furniture painting. Since we’re using a lot of hand-me-down pieces and pieces thieved from other rooms in the house, we need to do some painting and reworking to make it all work together. Right now, we have a red dresser, a light blue changing table, a black crib and a wood rocking chair in there. It’s a bit crazypants, but we’ll make it work with a few coats of paint.
Honestly, we’re not too stressed about getting the nursery “done” before Baby J shows up. She’ll be sleeping in our bedroom for the first few months in a bassinet, and then we’ll (hopefully) transition her into her room, so we’ve still got a while. Although it would be nice to have the room at least set up as a place to stash all of the accoutrements that come along with a kid.
Buying for Baby
We made the decision early on that we weren’t going to do a lot of buying for baby (especially before our shower in April). What we don’t get at the shower, we’ll be thrifting and finding on consignment. Of course though, it can be seriously hard to deny buying some (keyword: some) of the adorable clothes and toys out there. We’ve picked up a few cute things here and there.
We also bought our carseat! After days and days and days of research, we found our perfect carseat and managed to find it on mega sale, too. So instead of waiting for someone to (maybe) buy it for us at our shower and shelling out a ton more money, we just bit the bullet and bought it ourselves while on sale. I also found the diaper bag we wanted on clearance during all my carseat research, so I threw that in the cart, too. I need stuff to stop going on sale or there’s not going to be anything left on our registry!
One of the biggest baby purchases for us is going to be a new-to-us car! We’ve been a one-car family since we were married seven years ago (minus a year where we had a second car that we barely used). It’s worked for us as a child-less couple. But we both agreed that we’d feel a lot more comfortable having a second, reliable mode of transportation with Baby J around. Craig works about 35 minutes away from the house, and we live in a rural area sans public transportation, so at the very least, one car would probably be a logistical nightmare for everyday stuff (going to doctor, etc.) and at the worst, could be a disaster in an emergency situation.
Also, after this horrific winter, we made the executive decision that we have to own a four-wheel-drive vehicle to live where we live. Our car is great. And it does great in snow and ice—in the city—but not so much on our very hilly, very curvy, rarely plowed country road. Craig has literally had to call off work for entire weeks at a time this winter because he can’t drive down our country road (even though the highway it connects to is completely clear and dry). Now, we just gotta find the right car before baby gets here! And every time I think about buying a car before baby, I think about this This American Life episode (the third act) where the woman is in labor while she goes to the car dealership to buy a car. I hope we find our car before I’m in active labor.
How I’m Doing
I’m still dealing with morning sickness, although nothing even close to what it was like a few weeks ago (it’s been an entire two weeks since I threw up—yay!). At my last midwife appointment, she told me I was one of the lucky 1% of pregnant ladies who deals with morning sickness throughout the entire pregnancy. I feel special! Although, I would prefer to feel special for some other reason than my consistent queasiness. She also warned me that a lot of women who struggle with morning sickness see a strong resurgence in their third trimester because of all the pressure on the stomach. I guess the benefits of morning sickness never really going away is that when it comes back toward the end, I’m used to it.
Health wise, my midwives are thrilled. My blood pressure is good, I’m gaining weight at a normal clip, and other than my consistent discomfort, I’m doing well. And so is the baby! She’s growing well, has a great heartbeat and is measuring right on schedule. And she’s kicking and dancing a storm up in my belly.
I have my glucose screening next week—which I am not looking forward to. I’ve pretty much figured out how to keep my morning sickness at bay, and part of that is eating as soon as I wake up and not drinking any liquids until my breakfast digests. Drinking anything (water, milk, juice, coffee) before I eat in the morning is an automatic ticket to hugging the toilet, and considering I’m not allowed to eat 12 hours before my screening, and the screening involves downing a cup of sugary drink first thing in the morning (and then hopefully keeping it down for an hour so they can draw blood)—I am not looking forward to it.
Eating wise, I’m doing a lot better than I have been. My appetite is normalizing a bit, and I’m bringing back in some healthier eats. This week, I upgraded from white bread to multigrain bread! Victory! I’ve even eaten real dinners (as in, not cereal) a few times in the past few weeks. I don’t expect I’ll be eating kale salads anytime soon, but I’m thrilled that my diet is trending a bit more normal lately.
My biggest issue, far and away, now (and has been since my last update) is my Symphsis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD). As promised by my midwives, it continues to get worse the larger I get. In my last update, I was saying that some days I feel mostly fine, and some days I can’t walk. Now, I just have a baseline amount of pain that doesn’t go away. It’s hard to explain what it feels like. It’s not only pain, but it’s also an incredibly uncomfortable feeling like your legs aren’t connected. It feels almost like, every time you take a step, someone is attached to your leg, trying to pull it out of your hip socket and another person is standing in front of you kicking you in your pubic bone with a steel-toed boot. Pleasant, right?
I have found that a minimal (very minimal) amount of light (very light) activity helps me manage the pain. I have to be very careful not to overdo it, or the pain is can’t-get-out-of-bed bad, but getting up and doing some slow walking for 5-10 minutes every now and again helps seems to keep my joints from getting stiff. I also have to keep my walking to flatter surfaces—stairs, hills and anything that requires me to be on one foot is extremely painful.
I never thought I’d say this, but I miss exercise. Or at least, I miss the idea of exercise. I miss feeling healthy and feeling strong. I miss feeling like I could trust my body to take me anywhere and do (almost) anything. It is so crazy to me that I was healthy and strong enough to do a 40-mile charity walk only a few years ago, and now, I’m barely able to walk a city block without being in pain. I think that’s the biggest emotional challenge I’m struggling with. Honestly, I feel a lot like I did before I started to get healthy. I just feel…yucky. And I’m trying to do the things I know help make me feel unyucky (eating healthier, drinking water, moving more), but there is only so much I can do in my condition. It’s frustrating to want to feel good and there not being much you can do about it. I much preferred when I had the power to make myself feel better.
I know this sounds all really depressing, but I’m actually in very good spirits. Spring is around the corner, I have a healthy baby in my belly, my husband is incredibly good to me—life is good!
Yup. We’ve got one. It’s the same one I mentioned in my last update. We love it! Although, we’ve made the decision not to share it with folks until Baby J is here.
And, you guys may hate me for it, but we’re leaning toward not sharing her name at all online. The online presence of your child is a very personal decision, and it’s something Craig and I have been talking about since we found out I was pregnant. Obviously, we have no way of knowing how we’ll feel about it once our awesome daughter is here, but our plan right now is to really limit her online profile.
Craig and I are both fine with our lives being out there for everyone to consume online, but I feel like part of my job as a parent is to protect my daughter long enough so she can make that decision for herself. Chances are, she’ll be all over the interwebs like the kids are now-a-days, but if she happens to want to be a more private person, we want her to have that as an option. I’m not saying you’ll never see a picture of Baby J or hear any stories about her, but I wouldn’t expect the same level of detail about her day-to-day life as you get about mine. This isn’t a commentary on how anyone else makes this decision about their children—it’s a totally personal, and we’ve figured out what we think will be best for us and our family.
This all being said, Baby J might show up, and we won’t be able to resist posting a million photos of her amazingness to every social media account we own. And considering Craig and I both have family living thousands of miles away, we might have to come up with a more private way (ha! privacy on the internet—like that exists) way of sharing photos and stories of Baby J with far-away family (locked down Facebook accounts? a private blog? old-fashioned letters and prints?).
We have a busy weekend ahead of us. Not only are we headed to a baby fair and tour at our birth center, but we also start our birth classes this weekend! There are a ton of options for how you want to go about learning about birth, at the suggestion of our midwives, we decided on a middle-of-the-road series of classes. It’s a six-week series that will teach us about all kinds of birth options—natural, medicated, and everything in between. It was very important to me to not be in a natural-only or a medicated-only birth class. I’m not ruling out any of my birthing options, and I want to know as much as I can about all the options. I’ve never done this before, and I have no idea how I’ll react to childbirth. So my only idea of a “perfect” birth is one where Baby J comes out healthy. That’s it. And I think pretending that I have control over the process to get there is setting myself up for disappointment. So I figure the best way to get myself prepared for birth is to be educated about all the different directions it could go, instead of getting my heart set on one way or another.
Alright, I think that brings you up to date! I’m gonna go sew some curtains. Have an awesome weekend!
Anyone doing anything fun this weekend?
One of my goals before Baby J makes her debut is to get my freezer filled. I’ve talked to quite a few parents, and other than the standard “sleep while you still can!” advice, the nugget of wisdom I’ve been hearing the most is how helpful it is to have a stash of pre-made food in the freezer for those first few weeks and months with a newborn. This is especially important with where we live—it’s not like we can just run out and get takeout or order delivery—if you don’t cook in the country, you don’t eat. And since you all know that I love freezer cooking, this task seemed like an obvious one for me to tackle over the next few months.
Unfortunately though, I just don’t have the stamina or energy to do marathon freezer cooking sessions like I did pre-pregnancy. So instead of stocking the freezer over a single day, my goal is to slowly fill my freezer over the next few months by adding a few dishes every week. Some will be specially made to fill the freezer, others will just be extras leftover from doubling or tripling dinner recipes. I thought it might be fun to show you all what I’m making each week. Feel free to suggest your favorite freezer-friendly recipes and I can slot them into my plan over the next few weeks. Alright, onto this week’s work . . .
Mac and Cheese
With the nasty weather we had this past weekend (please tell me that was the last winter storm of the season!), I was all about some homemade, cheesy, gooey mac and cheese. Craig isn’t eating gluten or dairy right now for health reasons, so I had a ton of mac and cheese all to myself!
I used this recipe, quadrupled it and baked up a bit of it for dinner. The remainder, I popped into three, aluminum foil-covered square baking dishes. I froze them, and then once they were solid, popped out the wrapped mac and cheese blocks up and then stashed them into gallon freezer bags. They’re now ready to just pop back into the square baking dish when it’s time to cook. They’ll make a great main dish with a simple salad on the side later down the road.
The mac and cheese fresh out of the oven was awesome, and I expect it’ll be just as good baked out of the freezer. I know some folks have issues with freezing pasta-based dishes, but I’ve found that just as long as I cook the pasta just shy of al dente, it ends up working just fine out of the freezer.
Apple Pie Filling
Other than the mac and cheese, this freezer session was all about using up fruit on its last leg. We’ve been nursing our apple stash since the fall (did you know that in the right conditions, with the right varieties, apples can last months and months in storage?), but they are starting to turn—and no longer very good for fresh eating—so it was time to turn the bushel-or-so we had left into some cooked goodies.
First on the docket for the apples was freezer apple pie filling. Pre-made apple pie filling is a pretty common beginner recipe for canning, but I really couldn’t be bothered to head to the basement and pull out all my cleaned and stored canning gear, so I instead decided to freeze it up using a double version this recipe (reducing the sugar, plus subbing in some maple syrup and brown sugar, reducing the water, upping the spices). I ended up filling five quart-sized bags—which are perfect for an 8″-9″ pie.
Stashing apple pie filling may seem like a weird way to prep for baby, but since Baby J is coming in the summer, and summer and early fall in our family is chock full of pitch-ins and parties, having an easy-to-make, delicious dessert to bring will be awesome. If I’m feeling particularly advanced, I can whip up my own pie crust and have a pie in the oven in a few minutes. Or, if I’m looking for something easier, just put a crumble topping on it and call it good to go. And, if nothing else, we can use it on pancakes, ice cream or oatmeal. Plus, it’s just a great way to plow through a ton of sad looking apples.
Apple Raisin Muffins
Dinner seems like the thing that most freezer cooking focuses on, but I want to hit up all meals, and these muffins are going to be perfect for breakfasts and snacks. Of course, most muffin recipes are really just cake disguised under another name, so I tried to make these a bit healthified. I started out with this recipe, and changed it by using all whole wheat flour, cutting the sugar in half, using kefir instead of buttermilk, coconut oil instead of canola oil, plus adding a cup of raisins. I also added a ton more chopped apples than the recipe calls for (gotta get rid of those apples!). After doubling the recipe and adding more apples, I ended up with about three dozen regular-sized muffins. After they cooled, I stashed them a dozen to a gallon freezer bag and froze them. All they take is a quick trip in the microwave for 30 seconds, wrapped in a paper towel, to be warm and as good as fresh baked!
These are so great! Even though I reduced the sugar, by adding more apples, the muffins still taste nice and sweet. And the soft-baked apple chunks make it feel like you’re biting into apple pie. Yum.
Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
Another fruit I had to use up was a whole bunch of past-their-prime bananas. I sent out a call on Twitter for the best banana bread/muffin recipe out there, and got lots of amazing suggestions! In typical me fashion, I didn’t end up using one particular recipe, but kinda merging a few ideas from different places. The closest recipe I can find to what I ended up doing was this one from King Arthur—although, I used more mashed banana, less sugar, all whole wheat flour, and no cinnamon chips. I also used the leftover crumb/streusel topping from the apple raisin muffins. Because streusel is never a bad thing.
These are quite possibly the best muffins I’ve ever had! With the chocolate chips, they’re definitely more of a dessert muffin, so I’ll probably stick to the apple raisin muffins for breakfast, and keep these guys around for an afternoon pick-me-up with a mug of coffee or tea.
I think that’s a pretty good start to my freezer fill-up! Again, if you have any suggestions of your favorite go-to freezer meals, I’d love to hear them and try them out.
What’s your favorite freezer meal?
Happy March, friends! Even though we’re supposed to get our worst winter storm of the year tomorrow (ugh!), I’m really hoping that March not only brings the official start of Spring, but the actual physical start, too. Here’s to hoping that by the time I post April’s calendar we’ll all be wearing sundresses, looking at pretty flowers and enjoying the sunshine!
If you’ve never downloaded one of my wellness calendars before, these little guys have a daily wellness-focused challenge. When you put them all together, you’ve got yourself a great start to a healthy month! I like to believe that a healthy lifestyle is built off of a lot of small, daily healthy decisions, and this calendar helps you get there. Oh, and it’s totally free!
Download the PDF, print it out and hang it up so you can see it daily. Enjoy!
Do you have any big plans for March? Who is doing something fun for St. Patrick’s Day or Spring Break?
Thinking…about how time seems to somehow be both flying and crawling by all at the same time. I can’t believe Baby J will be here in around 100 days (!). But at the same time, I feel like I’ve been pregnant forever. I keep telling myself that we have plenty of time to get stuff done (like, uh, the nursery), but in reality, we don’t.
Feeling…sleepy. Sleep has not being going well lately. I’m closing in on my third trimester, and being too uncomfortable to get a good’s night sleep is just par for the course (and yes, I have the special pillow). I guess it’s nature’s way of getting me prepped for the lack of sleep that’s coming my way in June.
Watching…not much now that the Olympics are over. I’ve had total Olympic fever for the past few weeks, so now that I’m coming down from that, it’s time to find something else to tune in to. We do record the Tonight Show and watch that with dinner each night. Because Jimmy Fallon = hilarious.
Excited…about the photography business Craig and I recently launched! Craig and I have been off-and-on shooting family portraits and weddings for the past few years, and we always thought it’d be fun to try to turn into a more full-time business, so we set a goal in 2014 to really put a lot of effort into getting it off the ground and running. We launched the website, did some marketing and are taking some meetings. We’re really excited!
Missing…feeling like my healthy, energetic self. It’s no secret that pregnancy hasn’t been the smoothest for me, but now, I mostly just miss feeling like myself. I miss having energy. And feeling healthy. And strong. And capable.
Reading…One Year to an Organized Life with Baby by Regina Leeds. In theory, this book rocks. It’s got lots of awesome ideas for how to get your house and life organized to make bringing a baby into your world as easy possible. In reality, it’s just stressing me out. If you haven’t read it, the book assigns you a task for each week of pregnancy. Some are easier and less work than others, but the goal is by the time baby comes, your house and life function like a well-oiled machine. There are a ton of great ideas—and I really like the bite-at-a-time style of doing one project each week—but I still just can’t seem to figure out how to fit the tasks in with everything else going on. As much as I’d love to get all the cleaning supplies under my sink organized, I just don’t see it happening. Mostly, the book just reminds me of all the organizational tasks I probably should be doing that I’m not.
Wondering…when winter will stop.
Working…on the photography business, a few designs for cookbooks, and starting the brainstorming phase of my second cookbook. Plus juggling a few freelance writing and design projects.
Stressed…much less than I was a few weeks ago. For some reason, January and February were really annoying for us. No end-of-the-world problems, but just a million little things (and a few bigger ones) that went wrong. You ever have those periods of time where it just seems like nothing comes easy? It was that way for us for the first part of 2014, but it seems like the universe is correcting now and the stress is starting to wash away.
Proud…of the fact that I didn’t leap out of my chair and punch the woman sitting across from me in a waiting room yesterday. She takes one look at me, and says, “When are you due?” and I tell her June, and she then says, “WHOA. YOU ARE HUGE. Man, you’re going to have a giant baby. And you’re definitely going to have it early. You’re HUGE. Your whole family must be big-boned. You’re going to have a big-boned baby.” She then proceeded to watch me eat my lunch and ask me questions about everything I was eating to make sure it was healthy for baby. And then, once I finished my lunch, she looked over at my Mama and said, “Ha! She certainly did pound that back fast, didn’t she?” If I was a more self-conscious person, that interaction may have left me feeling rough (but mostly, I just was in awe of the gall of the woman).
Wanting…a spa day! I’m not much of a girlie girl, but I’ve been recently craving a day of pampering. I want to go to a fancy spa/salon, put on a cozy robe, drink cucumber water and take some time to relax. There are a few (very well-reviewed) spas around here that do pregnancy massages, and I’d love to get one of those. I could also go for a spa pedicure and a good ole haircut.
Wishing…for a healthy third trimester. I’ve had a lot of issues pop up in the first two trimesters, but thankfully, nothing that is bad for baby. I’d really like the third one to be problem-free, too. I mean, I expect I’ll be sore and uncomfortable, but just as long as I manage to avoid any of the big issues, I’ll be happy.
Eating…a whole lot of Greek pasta salad . I came up with a spicy Greek yogurt dressing for it using Sriracha, lemon juice and Greek spices and it is SO yummy. I didn’t really expect it to be anything amazing, so I didn’t snap any photos of it. But I’m going to have to grab some photos next time I make it (because I will make it again).
Drinking…a ton of water. I feel so dehydrated all the time. Can’t. Get. Enough.
Loving…my new planner (more on that later), washi tape, feeling Baby J dance around, sunshine, root beer, daydreaming about a beach vacation.
What are you currently feeling, loving, thinking, eating, etc.?
There is more than one person in my life that gets a kick out of the fact that there is always food stashed in my purse. It might just be a few dates or a banana, but I hardly ever leave the house without something to snack on. Being prepared with healthy snacks while out and about is definitely one of my cornerstones for staying healthy. When you’re in the middle of a marathon errand-running session and you suddenly find yourself starving, it’s a whole lot easier to shy away from all the not-so-healthy items on the block if you’re prepared with a little somethin’ somethin’. But even I, Miss-Always-Pack-a-Snack, am sometimes caught off guard. Maybe an appointment runs long. Or I get stuck in traffic. Or I get a flat tire. Something comes up and suddenly my packed fruit isn’t quite enough to tide me over. Then, it’s time to implement Operation Find Healthy Eats. If I’m being honest, it took me a lot of trial and error to figure out how to healthfully navigate menus out there. It might seem like the fast eats world is full of deep-fried potatoes and greasy burgers, but in reality, there are a lot of really healthy, fast options out there—just as long as you know how to find them and how to order them. I figured I’d share some of my favorite tips for eating on the go while still staying healthy. I’ve partnered up with my friends at Panera to show you a real-world example of how I get in, out, and satisfied, without wrecking all my healthy momentum (all while still eating yummy food).
1. Find your spot (or spots).
Knowledge is power. And knowing which restaurants in your area have healthy eating options available is absolutely vital to succeeding in finding a healthy meal. Chances are, you can find something healthy-ish at even the greasiest of spoons, but by landing in a restaurant that has a multitude of healthy options, you’re setting yourself up for success. I have a handful of go-to places in my area that I know I can always count on for healthy eats. Interestingly enough, back in college, when I wasn’t on the healthy-eating path, Panera was one of my go-to spots with my girlfriends. We’d down cup after cup of fancy dessert coffee drinks and enough pastries and sweets to power us through studying for finals. What I think is so cool about Panera is that now that I am big into eating healthy, I can still eat there! It’s one of the few restaurants that have made the transition seamlessly between my old diet and my new diet (and if I want to treat myself, I can still pick up an old favorite). And, because it’s nationwide, it’s one of my spots that happens to be available whether I’m out running errands at home or traveling to a new city.
2. Do some research to find favorites.
I know this is going to sound strange, but I get serious ordering anxiety. When it’s my time to step up and give my order to the server or the person at the counter, I have to really focus and concentrate on getting my order right—especially if I’m making special adjustments or ordering something that isn’t usual for me. I’ve learned that saying “can I have a moment, please?” or letting folks go in front of me buys me some time to really peruse the options, and that helps a lot, but the ultimate weapon to squash healthy ordering anxiety is in your pocket—your smartphone!
I’ve been known to pull into the parking lot of a restaurant, whip out my smartphone and check the menu before ever stepping foot into the restaurant. Most restaurants offer their menus online now, and many of them include ingredient lists and nutritional info. Ahhhh, lots of information with no pressure, no rush, and no anxiety! I can take my time, really weigh my options and walk into the restaurant with confidence knowing exactly what healthy option I want. Bonus: you don’t even have to glance at the not-so-healthy options on the menu or in the display case. You know exactly what you want! You’re on a mission!
And once you’ve nailed down your favorite healthy options—you always have that in your back pocket. For example, since Panera is one of my favorite healthy stops, I have a whole list of tried-and-true noshing options at my disposal. I know I can walk in to any Panera and order a bowl of Vegetarian Black Bean Soup or a Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich and stay on track.
3. Look for smaller portions.
It’s no secret that the portion-sizes at many restaurants are absolutely huge—many are actually enough calories and food to serve three or more people! That’s why I always look for the smaller portion options when eating out. Look for lunch-sized or child portions (which are actually much more reasonably-sized for an adult in most restaurants). Or, think about splitting an entree with a friend. Or, if you have a good dose of will-power, plan to save half of your meal for another time. Another option is to look for combo deals. I’m not talking about the supersized #4. A lot of places offer deals (especially around lunch time) where you can build your own meal by pairing small portions of multiple menu items. Panera is one of my go-tos because I absolutely adore their You Pick Two deal. You create your own, reasonably-sized meal by picking two items from the following: half a sandwich, a cup of soup or half of one of their salads. I love this deal because not only are the portions right and the price right, but the smaller portions let you maybe splurge on something a little more decadent. You can get that cup of Broccoli Cheddar soup that sounds amazing, because the small portion size makes it a more reasonable choice than if you were to make your entire meal out of it.
4. Splurge, but in a smart way.
You guys know that I’m a big fan of healthy eating not being limiting. I think that life is too short to not indulge in a cookie if you’re really wanting a cookie. But I think the key to splurging in a healthy way is to do it with a plan. I rarely get the chance to go out to eat, so I almost always figure out a way to treat myself during the meal. A cookie for dessert OR a fancy coffee drink for the road OR big glass of lemonade. Notice the or. When you don’t hit up restaurants often it can be so tempting to get all the options available, but you can still treat yourself without downing 1000 extra calories of sugar. Figure out what you really want, and stick to that and only that. If it’s a cookie, get a cookie. But then get water to go with your meal and skip the post-meal coffee drink. If you really love the lemonade at Panera (I do!), then get that, but skip dessert. If you are in desperate need of a caffeine jolt, get yourself a mocha, and make that your dessert instead of a cookie or cupcake.
So how’d I do?
Well, I was in desperate need of a not-work-from-home-day (sometimes, as nice as it is to work from home, you gotta get out of the house!) and I hit up Panera to grab some lunch and set up shop for the afternoon, and I think I managed to do pretty well! Interestingly enough, I decided that it was time to expand past my healthy favorites, and try something new, so after doing some research in the car, I ended up getting the You Pick Two combination with two items I’ve never had before—a cup of their Turkey Chili and a half Smoked Turkey Breast on Country Bread sandwich. Both options were delicious, and the combo managed to keep the nutrition stats of my meal still reasonable. I think I have some new favorites to add to my list! And, because I can’t go to Panera without getting some of my favorite lemonade, I grabbed myself a regular-sized cup.
All together, I got a very satisfying lunch and I think the nutrition stats are very reasonable:
What are your favorites?
Right now, Panera is asking folks to share with them their favorite menu items (and I encourage you to figure out your favorite healthier Panera item for extra credit) on social media, all for a chance to win one of many $25 Panera gift cards they’re giving out. To get entered to win, just tag a post on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter about your favorite meal from Panera with the tag #PaneraFaves. I’d love to see what healthy combos you guys come up with! You can also vote for your favorite menu item at Panerabread.com – MyPanera members will get a chance to win their favorite free for a year!
Win a $100 Panera gift card
Panera has provided me a $100 Panera gift card to give to one lucky Back to Her Roots reader (yay!). To get entered, all you do is answer the simple question: Which Panera Bread menu item is your healthy favorite?
No duplicate comments. You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
- Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
- Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
- Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
- For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.
This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected. The Official Rules are available here. This sweepstakes runs from 2/26/2014-3/30/2014. Be sure to visit the Panera Bread brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ posts!