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5 Ways to use the Holiday Season to get Healthier and Happier than you were before!

Go into the New Year, having developed healthy habits that will increase your success, health and happiness, forever!

Imagine going into January feeling good about yourself, instead of feeling like you need to make drastic declarations and resolutions.

I know the usual tips for healthy holidays, such as eating an apple before a holiday party and drinking a glass of water for every alcoholic drink you consume.

Apple Heart For Healthy Fitness

Those are great. However, I have a few new tips that I think you’ll find pretty easy to follow! After all, when it comes to feeling good, you can’t have enough advice, right?

1. ALCOHOL 

I find it a hassle to follow the standard advice of drinking a glass of water in between each alcoholic drink. If you’re at a bar, it could take you 15 minutes to get a glass of water from the bartender. If you’re at a holiday party, they probably won’t even serve water. I have a different suggestion. Drink the water with your drink. For instance, scotch and “soda” (club soda) or water or white wine spritzers. If you like white wine, spritzers are a fantastic replacement for a full glass of wine. They taste pretty much the same as wine, but you’re consuming less alcohol, fewer calories and staying hydrated. Less alcohol also means your lack of inhibition from too much alcohol won’t cause you to overeat (or embarrass yourself at the office party!).

2. EAT FAT

Empty white flour breads, pasta, fries, and other fried foods, will only fuel your hunger. If you add healthy fat (avocados, nuts or seeds (and not oil!) to each meal, along with a large amount of fruits and vegetables, you will feel satisfied longer and be able to…

3. STOP EATING!

Look for every opportunity NOT to eat. If you wake up and you’re not hungry, wait until you are hungry to eat. In the meantime, drink water.

I also suggest you wait until mid morning to consume coffee if you can. That’s because caffeine can make you shaky and hungry – and also need to eat between breakfast and lunch.

If you don’t have an event one evening, make it a point to have a bowl of vegetable soup for dinner (and a salad if you’d like), and then STOP EATING.

Be sure not to eat for 12 hours (in a row) each day (after you have that down, try for 14) and work hard not to snack between meals.Your body develops habits. If you make it a habit not to eat between meals (even if it’s difficult the first few days), your body won’t be looking for food all the time.  Soon, you’ll find you don’t feel as hungry as you used to each day. In addition, this will help you go into a holiday party feeling confident that you can make good choices.

At the party, survey all of the food first and then decide what you can’t live without. Then take a few bites of each and be done with it. Focus on drinking water or a watered down drink after that. Say to yourself, “I came. I enjoyed several treats. I’m done. Now I’m going to hang out with my friends.”

Think of how great you’ll feel about yourself when you get home and when you wake up next day. Or, if you’re tempted to over -indulge, think of how down you’ll feel physically and mentally if you do so. Then, choose YOU. Choose health. Choose happiness. Not cake. You can do it!

broccoli-vegetable-mustache-92313-104

4. LIFT WEIGHTS.

Even if you’re not at your happiest weight, start to lift weights and you’ll soon feel stronger and more confident. This will leak into your eating habits and even how you carry yourself each day. Confident-looking people receive different treatment than the meek. You can truly change your daily life, belief in yourself, and others confidence in you, this way. Pick 2 to 3 times each day you can pick up free weights and do 1 or 2 specific exercises. Be sure to vary them so that all of your muscle groups will work throughout the week. You don’t have to make time to go to the gym. We can all steal 5 minutes a few times per day. For proper form and exercise ideas, see a personal trainer in person or on YouTube.

5. LISTEN TO THIS BOOK! 

The American Way of Eating: Undercover at Walmart, Applebee's, Farm Fields and the Dinner Table | [Tracie McMillan]

The American Way of Eating by Tracie McMillan. This reporter goes undercover picking crops in California, working in produce at Walmart and working at Applebee’s. You will have a new appreciation for fresh fruits and vegetables, their ability to nourish and give pleasure, and your ability to purchase, cook and eat them.

As an aside, I started out listening to books to get me to stop hating doing dishes and cleaning up the kitchen. Instead, I’m rewarded by the pleasure of enjoying a book. I’ve now discovered that some books are even better in audio, because of the depth it can add to the characters. I listened to Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison by Piper Kerman. I can’t imagine that book, or this, without the character’s accents. It almost feels like listening to television. When you don’t have to imagine the accents, it is more relaxing and entertaining to “read”.

Imagine going into January feeling good about yourself, instead of feeling like you need to make drastic declarations and resolutions.

Ready, set, go!

Happy Holidays!

Thanksgiving (w/Kids) Made Easy!

Thanksgiving (w/Kids) Made Easy!

Easiest, Healthiest Thanksgiving Menu Ever!

Hello, my Healthy Mamas!

First, I want to let you guys (and gals – I’m from Chicago – you guys is gender inclusive!) know that the Healthy Family Healthy You book is wrapping up at lightning speed right now! In the next week, my beta readers will have received all but one chapter. I’m so excited to share this information with you and look forward to connecting further over our shared goals!

Second, here are some tips to use this menu:

1. Use the recipes that speak to you and not the ones that don’t.

2. Add in your own family favorites, healthy or not.

3. Have fun and don’t make it too much work for yourself!

Make your grocery list, decide when you’re going to go shopping and when you’re going to cook which dishes so you aren’t stressed out when your family shows up!

Let me know how it goes!

Entire menu serves 10-12, depending on how many of your guests are children.

1. Artichoke Tushies (aka bottoms)!

Ingredients

2 cans artichoke bottoms (5-7 each can), rinsed and drained

1/8 cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs

1 Tb nutritional yeast, ½ tsp Italian seasoning

Olive Oil Spray

Directions

Preheat oven to 400

Line baking pan with parchment paper and spray with olive oil. Place the artichoke bottoms in the pan. Spray the tops with the olive oil spray. In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, nutritional yeast and Italian seasoning. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the artichoke bottoms. Give another quick olive oil spray on top of the whole dish.

Bake at 400 for 15-17 min or browned on top.

2. Multicolored Fun with Food!

Ingredients

1 bag, frozen multicolored cauliflower (found in the frozen section of most health food stores)

1 bag frozen multicolored carrots (found in the frozen section of most health food stores)

Directions

Boil each bag separately on stove top or steam in microwave until crisp tender. Find two pretty bowls and place each of the vegetables in its own bowl.  Pumpkin bowls? Make sure the bowls will reinforce how adorable and impressive your multicolored veggies are!  Even if you’re serving buffet style, place these on the table.

3. Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients

10-12 sweet potatoes

1 bag, small vanilla vegan marshmallows

Directions

Bake sweet potatoes (can do in micro or oven) and split in half. Place marshmallows on top of each half and bake at 350 until browned (about 20 minutes).

4.  Brussels Sprouts with fresh cranberries and orange zest

Ingredients

2.5 lbs  Brussels sprouts (I used (3) 12 oz steam bags – so already pretty trimmed and clean)

4 tablespoons coconut oil. melted

1 cup fresh cranberries

¼ cup maple syrup

Sea salt and pepper to taste

Zest of 1 Orange

Optional: Vegan Parmesan

Brussels sprouts

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 (for 20-25 minutes). Turn at 15 minutes.

Trim ends off (already washed) Brussels sprouts (or cut them from stalk) and remove any outer yellow leaves. Cut in half. Dry if still wet from washing. Toss Brussels sprouts with coconut oil and cranberries in a bowl and place in a baking pan with low sides. Roast for about 30 minutes, stirring halfway through, until Brussels sprouts are browning and crisping. Add orange zest and bake for 5 more minutes. Toss with maple syrup and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm. Optional: Sprinkle some vegan parmesan (from a shaker – it’s not fake food I promise. Walnuts, hemp seeds and nutritional yeast. Available at health food stores) before serving.

5. Polenta with Mushrooms and Gravy

Ingredients

8 oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced

6 oz portabella mushrooms, sliced, then chopped

1 cup water

1/8 tsp salt

2 Tb organic cornstarch

1 roll Ancient Quinoa Polenta (preferably the one with red Quinoa mixed in, but plain is okay too), sliced.

Directions

Preheat oven to 350. (Or, see alternative stove top directions below).

Cook mushrooms in the 1 cup of water (use a small pot) about 10-15 minutes, on high heat, stirring occasionally until they are soft and much smaller,[See polenta directions below. You can take care of the polenta while you wait for the mushrooms to cook]. Take the mushrooms out of the pot with a slotted spoon and set aside in a bowl. Turn the heat off and whisk cornstarch in with the liquid until it has dissolved. Add salt and cook on low heat until the mixture thickens significantly. Whisk almost constantly to prevent burning and lumps. Add the mushrooms back into the pot and stir.

Polenta: Cut into half inch rounds. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper and then a cooling rack (if you don’t have one, simply flip the polenta rounds half way through so both sides crisp).  Lay the rounds on the cookie sheet and spray one side with olive oil. Flip and spray the other side. Cook at 350 until crisp on both sides.

Alternatively, you may pan fry the polenta in a touch of olive oil until crisp on both sides.

6. Baby apple pies (serves 12)

Ingredients

6 diced apples (peeled if your kids refuse to eat the apple skin or are too young to properly chew it)

Sprinkle of cinnamon or apple pie spice

1 Tablespoon of water

Optional: 1 teaspoon brown sugar

Optional: Non-dairy whipped cream or the cream off the top of a can of full fat coconut milk, refrigerated ahead of time.
2 packs of mini graham cracker crusts (come in packs of 6)

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a glass bowl and microwave uncovered for 4-5 minutes. (Or bake at 375 for 45-60 minutes).

Place apples into mini graham cracker crusts and put non-dairy whip on top.

 

 

Cooking sophisticated food with the kids!

Cooking sophisticated food with the kids!

We’ve been cooking up a storm over here, as always! I am always trying other bloggers’ recipes but I don’t always remember to tell or show you. See below for a super delicious salad from www.BrooklynSupper.com. My son especially loved mixing it. First, he gladly ate the greens covered in roasted garlic dressing (so healthy!!!). Then he decided he would only eat the carrots – as in all of them. So much so that I had to roast more! He was afraid of the beets, which was fine. What was I thinking giving a 2 year old boy something that will stain purple everywhere?! I’m hoping he ingested a couple of the pumpkin seeds with his carrots. Regardless, he got some great antioxidants and immune boosters tonight!

Roasted Vegetable Salad with Garlic Dressing and Toasted Pepitas

by Elizabeth Stark of www.BrooklynSupper.com

Guest post on www.withfoodandlove.com

Salad by Brooklyn Supper

This salad was completely delicious, but took a bit of elbow grease to make. It was totally worth it. Warm, filling comfort food that is really a meal in itself.