A Positive Take on New Years Resolutions

Although New Year’s Resolutions have good intentions, a lot of us start off with extravagant, strict plans that quickly fade away. We try to give up entire food groups and start very intense exercise routines. We make large changes overnight that might be very hard to stick to. For this year, try making changes that are positive in nature and less dramatic. This way, you can actually see them through!

Positive changes with diet: Instead of saying “I won’t eat sugar anymore” or ” I will never have fast food” choose goals associated with what you do want to eat or drink. Here are some examples.

“I will eat a piece of fruit with lunch daily”

“I will drink 8 cups of water”

“I will eat a protein source with breakfast every morning”

Eating more nutritious foods will naturally result in eating less refined and processed foods anyway!

Choose exercise goals you will actually enjoy: Instead of signing up for a very intense challenge, ask yourself “What kind of exercise would I actually enjoy doing?” Maybe you’ve been wanting to try out a new class or maybe you like something competitive (like sports). Maybe you just want something relaxing like yoga or walking while you listen to a podcast. Nothing is too small if it will inspire you to be more consistent.

Pick out new, fun recipes: Instead of forcing yourself to eat anything you don’t like, or something boring, pick out new recipes that incorporate lots of fruits, vegetables and lean protein sources. Quarantine is a great time to experiment in the kitchen with the extra time you may have.

Last thoughts: Every change you make should feel like something you could do forever. If you ever have a feeling that you are waiting for a “diet” or “challenge” to end, this is a sign that you’ve selected something temporary. Your changes should feel so nature that you forget you’re even doing them. From there, slowly build on your habits to make a huge impact on your health and quality of life πŸ™‚

Grocery Shopping Tips

Grocery shopping can be a stressful time, even when we aren’t going through a pandemic. A lot of people find grocery shopping to be a chore and dislike crowds or long lines. Once you factor in the idea of choosing healthy food, it can feel a bit overwhelming. Here are some tips to make grocery shopping more enjoyable, and also to choose healthier food!

Tip #1- Schedule grocery shopping into your calendar, instead of going at the last minute. This allows you to intentionally choose times of the day where it is less busy. If you are going on the weekend, consider going earlier in the day, or later to avoid crowds. Setting aside time to grocery shop also helps you to take your time to read labels.

Tip #2- Shop the outside of the store. Most grocery stores places their produce at the outside of the store- fruits, veggies, dairy, eggs and meat. We want most of our foods to be simple, single ingredient foods so try to stock up on produce and make fewer selections from the middle of the store.

Tip #3- Consider frozen fruits & veggies. Frozen fruits and vegetables have just as many vitamins, minerals and fiber. They also can be less expensive, especially when certain foods are out of season. Look for the more plain varieties to avoid excess sodium.

Tip #4- Don’t shop hungry. Not only will this make you cranky, but you will also probably buy less healthy food!

Tip #5- Choose lots of variety. All fruits, vegetables, whole grains and meats have different vitamins and minerals. If we eat the same food all the time, not only do we get bored but we also set our selves up to miss out on important nutrients. Try to always pick out new foods and be mindful of what’s in season. Fruits and vegetables in season usually taste better and cost less.

Lastly, try to take your time and enjoy the process!

Staying Motivated

You may feel like when you start to eat healthy or exercise that you fall off the wagon a bit too easily. Many of us feel motivated and excited during the very beginning of making healthy changes but motivation can quickly fade. Learn how to make lifestyle changes instead of temporarily “dieting”.

  1. Enjoy the Changes: Don’t worry about having a perfectly clean diet or the most intense exercise routine. What matters most is finding something you can actually be consistent with. This means that you should enjoy both your food choices and exercise routine. Don’t cut out your favorite foods. Instead, create healthier versions to have on a regular basis and eat the richer foods in moderation.
  2. Accountability: It can help to have an accountability partner, someone who checks in with you to see how you are doing to motivate you when you may have less energy. This could either be a friend or family member (maybe one with similar goals) or a healthcare professional like a dietitian.
  3. Set Rewards: Provide yourself with consistent rewards for healthy behaviors. The only rule is that rewards should not be food related. Some ideas include new sneakers, a weekend vacation, a pedicure or massage.
  4. Boost Your Energy: Many people feel fatigued often with or without a known cause. This issue needs to be addressed because it could prevent you from enjoying the process or being consistent. Get enough sleep and manage your stress. If you still feel tired with plenty of sleep, check with your doctor. You may need blood work done to identify possible health issues like low vitamin d, anemia or even hypothyroidism

 

Lastly, stop trying to be perfect! Perfectionism holds us back much more than it actually helps so accept that none of us will ever have a perfectly healthy diet and that’s totally fine. Focus on gradual improvements instead!

Anti-Inflammatory Diet Basics

Inflammation is one way that the human body works to protect itself. However, many health conditions are also related to too much inflammation:

  • Heart Disease
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Chronic Pain
  • Cancer
  • Asthma

An anti-inflammatory diet is known to be a generally healthy diet and includes the following foods:

  • High omega 3 foods such as salmon, flaxseeds, chia seeds and walnuts
  • Fruits such as oranges, berries and pomegranates
  • Green and black tea
  • Vegetables such as onions, peppers and carrots
  • Spices like ginger and turmeric

Although specific foods get a reputation as being “super foods” there are some basic principles of an anti-inflammatory diet including eating lots of fruits and Β vegetables of all varieties and eating plenty of fiber. It is also recommended to avoid processed food and fatty animal products.

To make your diet more anti-inflammatory, try making 80% of your food choices unprocessed and more nutritious and save the 20% for your treats!

 

 

 

Creamy Coconut Lime Chicken & Veggies

Ingredients for Creamy Coconut Lime Chicken & Veggies

  • Olive Oil – Extra virgin
  • Boneless, skinless chicken thighs – We used Farmer Focus organic chicken
  • Bell Pepper – Cored, seeded, and diced
  • Salt and pepper – To taste
  • Coconut milk – Helps make the sauce creamy
  • Lime – Juice and zest
  • Soy Sauce – Can use gluten-free
  • Garlic – Minced
  • Fresh ginger – Peeled and grated
  • Cayenne pepper – For a little spice
  • Frozen peas – No need to defrost
  • Brown rice – For serving

Easy directions for this one-pot meal

  1. Chicken: Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and bell pepper, season with salt and pepper, and cook until the chicken is browned on both sides and no longer pink in the middle, 6 to 10 minutes (depending on thickness). Transfer to plate and set aside.
  2. Sauce: Still over medium heat, whisk in the coconut milk, lime zest and juice, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and cayenne pepper. Bring to a boil then turn down to a simmer and cook while stirring occasionally until the sauce is smooth, 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Combine: Add the chicken and peppers back to the pan along with the peas and cook until everything is heated all the way through, another couple minutes. Season with salt and serve over brown rice.

Credit: http://www.100daysofrealfood.com

Tomato Pesto Cheese Toast (and other varieties!)

Need a quick snack or easy lunch idea? Check out these fun toast combinations!

Beet + Goat Cheese Toast

  • Whole-wheat loaf
  • Goat Cheese
  • Roasted Beets
  • Orange Slices
  • Honey Drizzle
  • Microgreens

Radish + Feta Cheese Toast

  • Whole-wheat loaf
  • Cream Cheese
  • Feta Crumbles
  • Thinly sliced radishes
  • Sliced chives or green onions
  • Olive oil drizzle
  • Salt & pepper

Orange + Honey Ricotta Cheese Toast

  • Whole-wheat loaf
  • Fresh ricotta cheese
  • Orange slices
  • Sliced mint leaves
  • Honey drizzle

Tomato + Pesto Cream Cheese Toast

  • Whole-wheat loaf
  • Cream cheese
  • Sliced cherry or grape tomatoes
  • Pesto (homemade recommended)
  • Balsamic Vinegar drizzle

 

Credit: http://www.100daysofrealfood.com

Quick Berry Frozen Yogurt

Ingredients

  • 2 cups frozen mixed berries, divided
  • 1 cup vanilla low-fat frozen yogurt, divided
  • 1/4 cup fat-free milk
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon agave syrup

How to Make It

Combine 1 cup berries, 3/4 cup yogurt, milk, mint, and agave syrup in the bowl of a food processor; process until smooth. Spoon into a freezer-safe container. Add remaining 1 cup berries and remaining 1/4 cup yogurt to processor; process until smooth. Swirl berry mixture into yogurt mixture. Serve immediately, or freeze until firm.

 

Credit: http://www.cookinglight.com

Crunchy Cucumber, Feta, and Almond Salad

Ingredients

  • 4 cups coarsely chopped romaine lettuce heart (about 1)
  • 2 1/2 cups (1/2-in.) diced English cucumber (about 1 medium)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted roasted almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

How to Make It

Combine lettuce, cucumber, almonds, and feta in a large bowl; toss. Combine dill and remaining ingredients in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add dill mixture to lettuce mixture; toss to coat.

 

Quarantine & Healthy Eating

Feeling less motivated while being stuck at home? Check out some different tips to eating healthier during COVID-19 and quarantine.

-Avoid boredom eating by being prepared with lots of hobbies or engaging activities. Examples include painting, playing games, completing a puzzle, reading, knitting, etc.

-Use this as an opportunity to practice cooking and try a new recipe! This is a great time to focus on eating more whole foods cooked from scratch. Also, cooking is another great way to avoid boredom!

-Maintain structure with your snacking if possible and choose snacks with protein (Greek yogurt, peanut butter, hard boiled eggs). This will keep you more satisfied.

-Got time on your hands? Try eating your meals more slowly and mindfully! This is a great practice so especially if you are spending more time at home, take this time to practice this skill.

-Eat at the table. With less structure, it’s easy to allow the whole day to turn into a snacking feast. Don’t eat in front of the TV and try to maintain structure with your eating location.

-Lastly, go easy on yourself! This is a stressful time for many of us and does not need to be a reason to eat perfectly at home. Focus on simple habits that keep you feeling good. It will pay off later!

 

 

 

 

 

Pineapple-Coconut Dessert Cup

Ingredients:

  • Cooking spray
  • 1/4 fresh pineapple, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon lime rind
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons light coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons 2% reduced-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons toasted chopped macadamia nuts

How to Make It:

  1. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Arrange pineapple on grill; cook 4-5 minutes on each side or until well marked. Remove from pan; cool. Coarsely chop. Combine syrup, rind, and juice in a bowl. Add pineapple; toss.
  2. Combine coconut milk and yogurt in a bowl, stirring vigorously with a whisk. Place half of pineapple in the bottom of a small mason jar or juice glass. Top with 1 tablespoon nuts, half of coconut milk mixture, remaining pineapple, remaining coconut milk mixture, and remaining nuts. Drizzle any remaining syrup mixture over top. Garnish with additional pineapple and lime rind, if desired.

Serves 1

 

Credit: http://www.cookinglight.com