It's something we need to think about every single day. What's for breakfast, lunch and dinner? What and when are we going to eat? Staying with a healthy diet could not be possible without planning ahead. With busy schedules and lifestyles, meal planning is definitely a must!
Here are some of my tips for meal planning. My weeks are definitely easier when I plan ahead and have quick and easy meals ready to go!
1. Tired of the same old meals? Look through recipes for new ideas. Check out a new cookbook. Browse websites and Pinterest. Make your grocery list off of the new recipes that you want to try.
2. Create a place to save recipes and keep them organized. Make a list of regular items that you make and family favorites and rotate them throughout the month.
3. Ask for input from kids and other family members. If my son complains about having the same thing all of the time, I make sure to ask him what he would like for meals before I go to the grocery store.
4. Have fun cooking seasonally. Visit farmer’s markets, participate in a Community co-op produce basket program.
5. Start a weekly meal planner calendar, wipe board, computer/iPad or on a note pad. Your family will always know "What's for dinner?".
6. Plan themed cuisine nights, such as, Italian Night, Pizza Night, Taco Night.
7. Make a grocery list and choose a convenient shopping day that works best for your schedule.
8. Check what's on sale and plan your meals around those ingredients.
9. Don’t overstuff the refrigerator. Buy what you think you will consume each week so you don't have to throw anything away!
10. Be strategic about freezing leftovers.
11. Keep a well-stocked pantry: beans, grains, canned tomatoes, soup stock.
12. After grocery shopping, spend time prepping meals for the week. Cook once, eat twice. Make double batches for the next day. Pack lunch while making dinner.
You probably have heard the phrase, “Eat Your Greens”. Greens are a highly nutritious addition to our diet and are they essential for a healthy body and strong immune system. Read on to find out all the benefits of eating greens, types of greens and different ways to "Eat Your Greens".
1. Nutrients in greens include: calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorous, zinc and vitamins A, C, E and K. Greens are loaded with fiber, folic acid, chlorophyll and many other micronutrients and phytochemicals. In addition, leafy greens are high-alkaline foods which help neutralize the acids in your body.
2. Some of the many health benefits of greens include:
3. Examples of “greens”: Bok choy, cabbage, kale, collards, chard, mustard greens, watercress, arugula, endive, lettuce, wild greens, spinach, beet greens.
How do you like to eat your greens? I like to think about getting my greens at each meal. To do this, I would start the morning with some spinach in my smoothie, have a fresh green romaine lettuce salad for lunch and some steamed kale for dinner! It’s as easy as that! Here are some other ways to enjoy them:
Start today by incorporating more GREENS into your diet? What are your favorite ways to eat them?
Self-love may be thought of as selfish or narcissistic, but how can we take care of and love others if we can’t love ourselves first? When we love ourselves, we nourish our body, mind and spirit to be the best version of ourselves, and in turn can love and nourish others. Self-love is a defined as having appreciation and regard for one’s own well-being and happiness. Self-love grows from actions that support physical, emotional and spiritual growth. Self-Care and Self-Love go hand in hand. When you take care of yourself, you are loving yourself. There are countless ways to practice self-love, here are 10 ideas on how you can practice loving your amazing Self!
1. Eating healthy is definitely a way of loving yourself and loving your body! By eating nourishing foods, you are providing your body with optimal nutrition!
2. Take time out for yourself for yoga, meditation and relaxation. Calm your mind and stay in tune with yourself and your intentions.
3. Exercise to fuel your body and give you energy. Whether you need a vigorous workout or a walk in the park, move your body!
4. Follow your passions and do what you love. Give your energy to people and things that make you happy.
5. Practice daily gratitude. Create daily rituals to remember all that you are grateful for.
6. Set boundaries, and learn to say no to activities and situations that cause extra stress on you.
7. Forgive yourself. Live in the present and move on from any past mistakes and regrets.
8. Don’t compare yourself to others. Enjoy who you are and your own special gifts.
9. In a negative rut? Make a list of all of your strengths and accomplishments to lift you up!
10. As I learned from Louise Hay’s mirror work for creating self-love, look in the mirror and repeat affirmations, telling yourself how much you love yourself! Why not give it a try!
I have used essential oils over the years for many reasons, but have decided this year to dive a little deeper and learn more about the many benefits and uses of essential oils. I will be experimenting with different dōTERRA brand oils throughout the year for cleaning, cooking and natural health promotion and health remedies. Simply defined, an essential oil is a concentrated hydrophobic liquid containing volatile aroma compounds from plants. Essential oils give plants their distinctive smells, protect plants and play a role in plant pollination. In addition to their intrinsic benefits to plants and their beautiful fragrance, essential oils have long been used for food preparation, beauty treatment, and health-care practices.
Below are my personal reasons for incorporating more essential oils into our family’s natural medicine cabinet this year.
I am excited to incorporate more oils into my family natural medicine cabinet this year and share how these essential oils work for our family.
Do you use essential oils? What are your favorites?
There are so many different diets that it can be hard to decide which one is best. Trying to “stick” to a diet can often lead to frustration, deprivation and overeating. Over the years, I have followed different diets, such as, Vegan, Raw and Vegetarian, but have found that I personally don’t like to have a label tied to the way that I eat, or have a strict diet that is hard to "stick" to. I like to focus on eating nourishing, plant-based, real food that keep me healthy and provides my body with the nutrients that it needs. What has worked for me and my family is “Clean Eating” which is consuming primarily whole, unprocessed, real food. While clean eating may not sound very exciting or flavorful, it actually can provide an array of flavor and options. Eating a clean diet of whole foods and unprocessed ingredients ensures you get adequate amounts of essential nutrients and minerals, like vitamin B12, magnesium, calcium, fiber and much more. Whole foods boast incredible nutrition profiles, and it’s best to eat a wide range of nutrient dense foods to ensure any nutritional void is filled. When you stick to whole foods, you’re much more likely to keep your caloric intake at an appropriate level for your body and maintain a healthy weight as a result.
Whole foods actually fill you up and fuel you, whereas empty calories, like those found in processed foods like, candy and chips, fill a mental craving, but don’t physically fill you up. Your mindset will improve when you switch to whole foods since it’s hard to feel guilty after filling up on genuine nutrients. Whole foods also regulate cholesterol levels and ward off cancer, heart disease, dementia, and many other conditions. In addition, the high fiber content of fruits, vegetables, and grains keeps the digestive system in tip-top shape, which is essential to optimal health. Other benefits of clean eating include, weight loss, increased energy, clearer skin, shinier hair, better sleep and increased mental well-being.
The 12 steps below will help you start on your journey to eating clean. Pick one or more to try each week.
1. Eat Whole Foods
Whole foods are those that occur in nature and don’t go through a lab or another manufacturing unit. Have you heard the statement: "If it comes from a plant, eat it; if it’s made in a plant, avoid it"! Examples of whole foods include fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds.
2. Spend time in the kitchen
When you cook for yourself, you’re almost guaranteed to up the nutritional value of your food. Experiment with new recipes each week. Try meal prepping to have healthy items on hand and ready to go for quick meals. Restaurant food is more processed, less fresh, and often over seasoned. Keep it simple and then build your repertoire as you learn more.
3. Eliminate refined sugar and carbohydrates
You’ll want to remove white foods (like white sugar and white flour) from your diet if you’re aiming to eat clean. This includes all standard desserts containing white sugar, as well as, white pasta, white rice, white bread, and pastries.
4. Drink Water
Start each day with a glass of fresh lemon water. The many benefits of this include: helps flush the digestive system and rehydrate the body, helps purge toxins from the body, balances the acidity in your body and boosts your immune system. Make sure to stay hydrated throughout the day. Add lemon or fruit to make water more flavorful.
5. Maintain blood sugar.
Keeping your blood sugar stable greatly contributes to healthy food choices. When you wait too long between meals or eat processed foods that spike blood sugar – leading to a crash in energy – you’re more likely to reach for sugar, fat, or caffeine to keep your energy up. If you continue this cycle, you’ll always feel irritable and exhausted. If you ensure you eat whole foods every 3–4 hours, your blood sugar and mentality will remain stable.
6. Remember the magic combination of protein, fat, and complex carbohydrates.
You should aim to get a serving from each group at every meal. This will create optimal blood sugar levels and stave off your cravings and brain fog. Some examples of great protein sources include fish, tempeh, and tofu. Top-notch fat options are avocado, olive oil, nuts, and seeds. When reaching for complex carbs, try quinoa, brown rice, or sweet potatoes.
7. Add herbs and spices
Adding herbs and spices will enhance the flavors of your dishes and add many health benefits without the extra calories.
8. Watch out for fat, salt, and sugar.
This is easier than you think, particularly if you’ve cut out processed foods, which are responsible for most of our excess calories and high levels of fat, sugar, and salt. Clean foods are usually naturally low in all of these ingredients. Try natural sugars such as raw honey, maple syrup, or dates.
9. Don’t drink your calories.
High calorie drinks like specialty coffees and soft drinks can tack on many extra calories. Always choose water first or unsweetened tea.
Regular physical activity is a must for many reasons. Not only does it decrease fat, strengthen and build muscle, and help you burn more energy at rest, it keeps your heart, lungs, and bones healthy and strong.
11. Savor Your Food
Take your time to enjoy meals whether alone or with family. Sit down and enjoy all of the flavors of the meal. Try to keep distractions such as phone and television out of reach to fully enjoy the meal.
12. Clean Out Your Pantry
Toss foods that contain processed ingredients such as, preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, trans fats, artificial flavors or sweeteners and any ingredient that you don’t recognize or cannot pronounce. These processed ingredients can be harmful to your health.
*Adapted from Integrative Nutrition, Inc.
Welcome December! It is not always easy to eat healthy through the holiday season! It seems there are sweets and treats everywhere you go! I put together my 12 Days of Healthy Holiday Eating with recipes and tips on how to make the holidays a little healthier! You can still enjoy all the flavors and tastes of the season with a little healthy adjustment!
Day 1: Holiday Energy Bites
Check out my video for Day 1 and recipe for Holiday Energy Bites. You don't have to feel guilty about eating this sweet treat!
Day 2: Eat a Salad Every Day
A good way to get a lot of beneficial nutrients is by eating a fresh salad every day! Create a salad bar in your refrigerator to make it easy to put together a salad daily. Salads are a great way to get a good amount of fiber which will help fill you up so you are less likely to overeat. Fiber also aids in digestion, stabilizes blood sugar and lowers cholesterol reducing the risk of heart disease. And best of all, salads are a quick meal solution! Check out my Superfood salad with lemon tahini dressing recipe and How to Build the Perfect Salad guide.
Day 3: Smoothie Time
It’s time for smoothies on Day 3 of my 12 Days of Healthy Holiday Eating! Smoothies are a great way to load up on fruits, vegetables, protein and many essential daily nutrients. It’s also a great way to sneak some extra veggies for kids! I usually incorporate greens into my smoothie, like spinach and kale, but our holiday smoothie only has a touch of green with a little mint! This Festive Holiday smoothie is one of our favorites! Cranberries, pomegranates and strawberries are a perfect combination in this red, delicious smoothie! And don’t forget to blend it up in my favorite blender, a Vita Mix! Is it on your Christmas list yet, we have this model: Vita Mix. Check out our Festive Holiday Smoothie recipe here: Festive Holiday Smoothie
Day 4: Create Quick Meals with Zoodles
Day 4 of my 12 Days of Healthy Holiday Eating is Create Quick Meals with Zoodles (spiralized veggies). Great for easy, healthy meals and a fun way to get kids involved and enjoy eating spiralized veggies! A Veggie Spiralizer would make a great gift for older kids! Great for veggies like: zucchini, cucumber, carrots, beets, potatoes. We love zucchini noodles with marinara sauce. Check out our favorite one here: Spiralizer and a recipe here: Zucchini Zoodles with Tomato Sauce
Day 5: Golden Milk Tea
Day 5 of my 12 Days of Healthy Holiday Eating is: Relax after a busy day with a cup of golden milk tea! Made with turmeric, this drink is filled with many nutritional benefits and is really delicious too! Some of the many benefits of turmeric include: relieves arthritis, boosts immune system, natural anti-inflammatory, liver detoxifier, natural painkiller, supports healthy digestion, natural antibiotic, blood purifier, anti-depressant, improves skin conditions and aids in weight management. Turmeric is a powerful superfood!
Get the BEST, farm direct, non-irradiated turmeric organically grown from a biodynamic farm in Costa Rica sold by my friend Dina Lynn @Timeless Foods www.timelesstumeric.com . I’ve been using this brand for a year now and I wouldn’t use any other! Check out my recipe for Golden Milk Tea. There are many ways to use turmeric but Golden Milk tea is always a favorite!
Day 6: H2O
Day 6 of my 12 Days of Healthy Holiday Eating is Drink Your H2O! There are many benefits to drinking water (8 glasses a day or more!) and keeping hydrated! Some of these benefits include: Prevents headaches, improves brain function, clears toxins, good for healthy skin, improves kidney function, regulates body temperature, reduces hangover symptoms, promotes weight loss, and improves energy and immunity! Drinking water and staying hydrated is a crucial part of a healthy lifestyle!
Don’t like plain water? Check out this cool Christmas gift that I got for my husband and son: Water Infuser. They don’t like to drink plain water and they love fruit juices, which tend to have too much sugar! This fruit infuser will be the perfect gift for them (and me too!) They can make their own flavored water and tea combinations and easily get their daily intake of water! Drink up and have a healthy day!
Day 7: Soup's On
Baby it’s cold outside! Day 7 of my 12 Days of Healthy Holiday Eating is…Keep healthy and warm with a big pot of soup! I wanted to share my favorite recipe for vegetable soup! I make this soup all the time! I tried it for the first time in my Instant Pot, a multi-use, pressure/slow cooker and…drumroll please…it cooked in 15 minutes! If you want quick meals, make sure to add an Instant Pot to your list! I have the 6-quart size listed here: Instant Pot.
The best part of the Instant Pot is, you push a button and walk away (wrap presents, pick up your kids, do a load of laundry) and in no time at all it’s ready! Here is the recipe for my Vegetable Soup.
Day 8: Holy Broccoli Guacamole
Day 8 of our 12 Days of Healthy Holiday Eating is making Healthier Appetizers! Why not try a healthy new appetizer this year for a holiday potluck? You won’t feel guilty after having our tasty and nutritious Broccoli Guacamole! We love this version of guacamole and you can’t even tell there is broccoli in it! Served with fresh vegetables, its make the perfect appetizer or snack! Find the recipe here: Broccoli Guacamole
Day 9: Snack Attack with Popcorn
Our all-time favorite snack is popcorn so we had to share it in our 12 Days of Healthy Holiday Eating! Day 9 is Snack attack with a healthy popcorn! Now this isn’t just your regular buttered popcorn! We use coconut oil and sprinkle on Nutritional yeast. What is nutritional yeast you ask?
Nutritional yeast is an inactive yeast made from sugarcane and beet molasses. It is a flaky, yellow powder with a nutty taste and is often used in dressings, sauces and vegan dishes to emulate a cheesy flavor. It is very nutritious and is loaded with B vitamins and protein! Drizzle some coconut oil on your air popped popcorn, add a little salt and sprinkle with nutritional yeast, and you have a delicious, cheesy treat! Find the recipe here: Cheesy Popcorn. And get your air popper here: Cuisinart Air Popper. Happy, healthy snacking!
Day 10: Cinnamon Sugar Roasted Almonds
Day 10 of my 12 Days of Healthy Holiday eating is Cinnamon Sugar Roasted Almonds! I always take raw almonds with me everywhere I go. I keep them in my car and they always come in handy when I need a quick and healthy snack. They are low in cabs but rich in protein and fiber, so they help you feel full and you will be less likely to snack on unhealthy foods. Almonds are loaded with antioxidants and many essential nutrients. They are very high in Vitamin E, which protects cells and lowers risk of many diseases. Almonds are also high in magnesium which helps regulate blood pressure. We spiced them up with a little cinnamon and coconut sugar for a nice holiday treat! Find our recipe for Cinnamon Sugar almonds here: Cinnamon Sugar Roasted Almonds
Day 11: More Snacking with Red Bell Pepper Hummus
Day 11 of my 12 Days of Healthy Holiday Eating is another favorite snack that we have on a regular basis…Hummus! Check out my video that shows how quick and easy it is to make hummus. I always have the ingredients on hand and love making different varieties. This one is our Red Bell Pepper Hummus. It’s a perfect, healthy snack to have for game night, while wrapping or baking or to have ready quickly for your holiday visitors. Find the recipe here: Red Bell Pepper Hummus.
Day 12: Christmas Pinwheels
It’s our final day of our 12 Days to Healthy Holiday Eating. Day 12 is Christmas Pinwheels! These are perfect for kids to make and eat! They are easy to make and will had a beautiful color to your holiday appetizer table. Find the recipe here: Veggie Pinwheels.
With these simple healthy additions to your holiday, you CAN have a healthier season! You will have more energy, and won't have to spend January trying to lose those holiday pounds! Remember, everything in moderation! Relax, have fun and don't be too hard on yourself if you overeat or have something you wouldn't normally eat. You can always start over tomorrow!
Happy Healthy Holidays everyone!
It's really hard to believe that another year has flown by and the holidays are here! As much joy and fun as the holidays bring, it can also bring a lot of stress and overeating! Here are a few ways to stay healthy during the holidays while still enjoying all the festivities. If you don't want to spend the new year trying to lose holiday pounds, try some of these simple ways to make it a healthier month!
With just a few small and simple changes, you CAN have a healthy holiday while still enjoying some favorites dishes and treats of the season! Wishing everyone a Happy and Healthy Holiday!
We have all heard about how important self-care is. What is exactly is self-care? Self-care is the act of taking care of yourself in order to improve your health and happiness. Sounds pretty easy right? Sometimes finding the time is the hardest part. With so many obligations between family, work, cooking, cleaning, it’s not always easy to make the time. However, in order to stay healthy and take care of others and all of our obligations, it’s so important! Self-care is taking the time to do the things that make you happy, and make you feel good! You can’t take care of anyone else until you take care of yourself first. When I became a mom 10 years ago, I quickly learned how important “Me Time” and Self-Care was. I love putting my family first, but knew that it was more important to take care of myself too!
Self-Care can mean so many different things to all of us. Maybe a spa day is what you enjoy, or lunch with girlfriends. Maybe it’s reading a book and enjoying a glass of wine or tea as you unwind from the day. Here are some of my favorite self-care activities that I love to do on a regular basis.
In order to be the best and healthiest version of ourselves, it’s important to carve out the time for our self- care. Whether that is something small every day or even just once a week. What are your favorite Self-Care activities?
In conversations with parents over the years, it has been very common to hear about the eating challenges that they have with their children. From having picky eaters or different dietary needs to not eating fruits and vegetables. In my experience, I have found that the more I would get my son involved in the kitchen and make it fun for him, the more he would eat the healthy food we would prepare.
More Broccoli, Please! Three simple words my son said when he was two years old when he asked for a second helping of broccoli “trees”. I realized that if you make food fun for kids, and teach them about why to eat healthier, then maybe they will be more likely to eat healthy and make good choices. This began the start of my blog, “More Broccoli, Please”, where I would share my experiences with my son and how I have taught him over the years about healthy eating habits and getting him involved in the kitchen (and in the garden too)!
I educated my son about good vs. bad foods, making him understand the importance of a healthy balanced diet with real whole food. I guess you could say my son went through a picky eater stage. One day he would like something the next day he wouldn’t. I never liked to put this “picky eater” label on him although it was still frustrating at times. However, I knew it would take time as we were experimenting with new foods, and we had to find what he liked and focus on that. I tried “sneaking” vegetables into his food, but I preferred to let him know what he was eating. My son went through a stage where he wouldn’t eat anything that I put in front of him. When he was about 5 years old and pushed away another healthy dinner, I had him make a list of 12 fruits and vegetables that he would eat. We then made an agreement that I would only serve him those 12 fruits and vegetables, but he would have to try at least one new one each week. He agreed, and this system worked! My son is now 10 years old, and I can honestly say he is a good eater! He knows good choices from the not so good choices. He knows how to read food labels and recognizes the key ingredients to look out for such as high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors and color dyes. Although he still loves some of the typical “kid” food like pizza and fries from time to time, I know he is aware of the good things that he should be eating and why he should choose them. We also try to make healthier versions of some of the not so healthy items that kids typically like.
Whether or not you have a “picky eater”, here are 10 ways that you can get your child to eat healthier and ways to get your child involved so that you can create healthy habits that last! These 10 ways are all based on my experience with my son.
It’s definitely a process and takes time and patience to instill healthy habits, but I have seen first hand that it does work and you can have fun along the way with these simple tips!
Kids need an average of an hour of exercise a day. Some of the benefits of daily exercise for kids include: helps them maintain a healthy weight, strengthens their muscles and bones, improves concentration at school and increases their health and well-being. One of our favorite ways to get our daily exercise is with YOGA. I started doing yoga with my son when he was born, and then it became a regular part of our daily routine as he got older.
Kids yoga is playful and full of imagination and adventure. It’s about letting kids be creative and seeing what type of poses they are drawn too. My son always loved the eagle pose and other fun postures to test his balance. We have a few favorite yoga CD’s that we would play and dance along to, such as Feeling Good Today by Snatam Kaur, Happy by Shakta Kaur Khalsa. We also loved the DVD, Shanti the Yogi and the book Fly Like a Butterfly, by Shakta Kaur Khalsa, where yoga is done through story-telling and acting out the story using yoga poses. With yoga, kids will be quieting their mind, meditating, breathing, all while doing fun exercises.
Why should kids do yoga? Here are 7 reasons:
Kids will love this playful and creative way to exercise. Yoga is a healthy tool for their body, mind and spirit! Namaste!
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PLEASE NOTE: The information provided throughout my website pertaining to your health or wellness, is not intended to be a substitute for the professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by your own physician or health care provider. It is intended to be provided for informational, educational, and self-empowerment purposes only. This information should not be used to diagnose, treat or cure any illness or health condition. If you have, or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your physician or health care provider. A Health Coach is defined as a guide and mentor who empowers clients to take responsibility for their own health and supports them to implement and sustain lifestyle and behavior changes that will contribute to the achievement of their personal wellness goals. I became certified as a Health Coach because of my passion for health and wellness, and to work with others on incorporating positive and healthy changes in their lives.
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