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5 Tips for a Spring Body and Mind

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5 Tips for a Spring Body and Mind

Spring into a healthier and happy you!

1~ Hydrate!

Water is the answer to a ton of complaints we all throw out there on a daily basis. Tired and feeling lethargic? Might be dehydrated. Headache? Might need water. Skin looking a bit withered? Drink up!

Headed to the park, a festival or the pool? Water and water-rich snacks should be considered just as important as sunscreen when you’re packing it all up for the day. Sun/Heat stroke is no joke. You’ll enjoy your day so much more!

TIP: Keep a glass/bottle of something near you at all times. I find that if it’s there, I reach for it without even thinking about it. If it’s there I just drink. I am MUCH more hydrated on days I remember to bring my trusty BPA-free bottle with me. It’s simple but try it- it works! Plus this makes it easy to keep track of my intake.

2~Be Prepared!

Schedule this like you would a workout. It’s just as important. When we think about being healthy, exercise and diet should both come to mind, and both need to be a commitment you make to yourself. Schedule a few hours a week for food shopping and prep.

Helpful tip: Change your language.

No more “I don’t have time”. Instead say “It’s not priority. This bring a sense of accountability to the table. You have to be honest with yourself that it IS in fact a choice. You choose how you spend your time. Pay now, feel good later.

Convenience. Feel like stopping for a meal will be more convenient? Unlikely. Taking time and attention away from the momentum of a busy day to hunt down the next meal, all the while feeling guilty about your choices doesn’t seem like a win.

The Price. Feel like spending a few hours a week prepping and planning is a lot of time and energy? What’s the cost of NOT doing it?? In terms of health and money, it can be pretty expensive.

Create Habit. The more you do it, the more energy and inspiration you’ll have, to do it!! Rinse, repeat!

The Staples. Keep staples stocked at all times. My Staples; oils, Grains, proteins, nuts and seeds, stock and spices. Yours might be different. Note common elements in your favorite recipes and keep them stocked.

The Goods. Once you have your staples, add variety of produce and you’re set! Buy what you like and what looks good, what’s in season, etc. And listen to your body- it often craves the foods you need to round out your nutrients. And while you’re at it- try 1 new thing every two weeks at least. Keep those nutrients varied so you’re covering your vitamins and minerals.

Be Resourceful. Use your resources & get organized! Once you have the foods you like, use a myriad of social media sites to organize and find easy recipes to make in a pinch. This takes a lot of the planning and arduous admin work out of it. Who has the time for that?? It’s easier than you think! Subscribe to a few foodie sites for fresh ideas/inspiration. My Facebook page and Instagram always have fresh new ideas!

Ready-to-Go Meals. Portion things off when you cook them. Make a dish and portion them off right away into smaller to-go containers. You’re much more likely to grab this on your way out if you take this small step. One step closer to a healthy lunch!

Helpful Tip: Pack 2 snacks for the day.If you eat small meals throughout the day you avoid overeating at lunch or dinner, as well as that afternoon slump that can be such a bummer. As long as you’re packing healthy choices. Keep it simple! Try almond butter in celery, or diced apples and cucumber and bell pepper. This will also help you avoid the vending machine- this gets expensive!

A Clear Solution. Use glass storage! You can see your food so you’re less likely to let your food go bad. You can also put the glass in the microwave and oven (make sure to get microwave and oven-safe containers). And it’s easier to clean with less residue. And more environmentally friendly!! And no chemicals in your food!

Get it Together! Get organized at home! Get your cooking space ‘user-friendly’.

I don’t know about you but I’m much less likely to come home and cook if my kitchen is a disaster or there are dishes in the sink. Keep at least one designated space free for food prep and minimize clutter not h countertop. Store things away and have baskets handy for keys, phones, etc. And make sure to keep your most-used utensils in a drawer close by your prep station. Little things like this get you one step closer to a meal from scratch.

3~ Make Your Own Dressings!

Making dressing is one of my favorite things to do in the kitchen. You can really make or break a salad with whatever your pour onto it. And a lot of store bought dressings have added sugars, sodium, preservatives and other chemicals you can’t pronounce and that you certainly don’t need mucking up your bowl of goodies.

Vinegar is great for you- it can curb your calorie intake for the rest of the day. And acetic acid- the main component of vinegar- helps control blood pressure and blood sugar levels, curbing fat accumulation!

Olive Oil is a healthy fat that supports neurological function and makes our skin a little more glowy (I made that word up). Adding things like pepper, ginger and citrus zest well…Now you’re really getting after it- health, that is.

Real Talk

Now I know that most people are not going to get as geeked as I am about making dressings from scratch- I get out the mini food processor and I got o town! But there are some really accessible, easy ways to make your own, fast.

And just to make it easier on you, I have broken it down for you so you can build it from scratch with confidence. If you go to the store and look in the dressing aisle, you’ll see that a few of the seasoning packets come with a carafe you can use to make your dressing- get one of these! There are lines on the container that tell you how much oil, vinegar and water to put in, and then you add the seasoning packet- piece of cake! (Or cucumber….or whatever). And you can add more flavor from there and customize it. If you want to forego the carafe, you can typically follow a 3:1 ratio (Oil:Vinegar) as a base, with a few TBSP of water mixed in, and add seasoning as you wish.

Yes there is little more sodium in these packets than I’d like, but if you’re eating your salad instead of a double cheeseburger with fries, you’re doing okay. Progress not Perfection!

*FUN TIP: If you make the dressing in a bowl, and pour the olive oil in slowly while whisking quickly, you whip in air that makes the dressing a little thicker so it coats your salad better and less drops to that lake wasteland at the bottom of the bowl.

Here are some great starters recipes and add ons to get you mixing—

Vinegar: Red Wine

Oil: Evoo

Extras: Try diced/pureed shallots and a little white wine mustard

Pour it On: Green or yellow beans, peas, sliced shallots, julienne zucchini and parmesan on arugula/ mixed greens. Add a little sautéed pancetta for a naughty little kick

 

Vinegar: Champagne

Oil: Evoo

Extras: Try white wine mustard, dijon, or honey mustard!

Pour it On: Steamed asparagus, cherry/grape tomato, organic sweet corn (buy corn organic if you can!) and sliced red onion with peppercorn feta or blue cheese crumbles

 

Vinegar: Apple Cider

Oil: Evoo

Extras: Try a little honey (2-3 tsp)

Pour it On: Sliced apple (green or red work- depending on how tart you like it), dried cranberries or raisins, nuts, micro greens and any lettuce (I like mixed spring greens or romaine)

 

Vinegar: Balsamic

Oil: Evoo

Extras: Try honey and a little organic strawberry yogurt (This will replace about 1/2 of the Evoo)

Pour it On: Blackberries/Bluberries, slices strawberries, mandarin oranges and butter lettuce

 

Vinegar: Apple Cider, Champagne or White Wine

Oil: Avocado Oil

Extras: Try pureed avocado

Pour it On: Organic sweet corn, tomato, black beans and onion and diced avocado in a romaine boat. Top with a little shredded cheese for a little more YUM!

 

Vinegar: Apple Cider, Champagne or White Wine

Oil: Evoo

Extras: Try lemon zest

Pour it On: Artichoke hearts, olives, tomato, hearts of palm, feta or parmesan on romaine

And don’t be afraid to take liberties with these- do what you like and have fun! Add some grilled steak strips or a little salmon. Pour the dressing over some steamed veggies or onto a wrap or sandwich. I had a friend DRINK leftover ginger orange dressing I made because it was all healthy juices from fruit and roots. They’re THAT good when you make them from scratch!

4~ Try these Salt/Fat/Sugar Substitutes

Substitute Fats, Sugars and Salts with Herbs and Spices for a More Mindful Bite

Food companies tend to pile on the salt, sugar and fat to keep you coming back for more- they want you addicted! And it works- those rushes of dopamine and pleasure are what keep us coming back to the things we eat with a guilty conscience.

But our food already has its own symphony of flavor and we don’t need all of that extra noise. Unfortunately, we can’t always hear it because salt, sugar and fat bring such a racket! Try to tone it down a bit and see what happens- you will start to enjoy a much wider variety of tastes and appreciate the instruments of nourishment. Your health will thank you!

Here’s a list of some Top Contenders

Here are some flavor-boosters that replace the fillers with nutrients and taste great!

Vinegar- curbs calorie intake throughout the day (up to 16%), and the acetic acid helps control blood pressure, blood sugar levels and curbs fat accumulation.

Black Pepper - Stimulates the nervous system which stimulates digestion and metabolism. it also promotes the absorption of certain anti-inflammatories by up to 2000 times, like the active component of Tumeric.

Garlic- Garlic’s benefits are endless, but for starters, besides having a wide array of flavor profiles depending on the cooking method, it fights bacteria (also anti-viral) and boosts immunity. **Put it in after cooking as well- heat can denature some of the immunity boosting properties.

Onion - Minimum calories, maximum flavor! This can be sued fresh, dried, caramelized…It adds so much flavor and without the guilt.

Citrus Zest - AZ state University researchers found that fat oxidation in the boy can be directly related to the amount of Vitamin C in the bloodstream, and that one TBSP of citrus zest/week can reduce the risk of certain types of skin cancer by 30%.

Cinnamon - Boosts metabolism of glucose and cholesterol, and one tsp of cinnamon has more antioxidant properties than a cup of blueberries. Try adding it to your shake, cereal or coffee for a boost.

Ginger - Anti-inflammatory properties. Dried powdered ginger is event better, believe it or not. Try it with chicken, salad dressings, soups, etc.

Parsley - Has Vitamins C and A, Calcium and TONS of bioflavanoids (antioxidants)!

Rosemary - Adding this herb to red meats (if you must) also helps protect against cancer-causing HCA’s in red meats (prevents their formation).

Cilantro - Has a chemical that kills salmonella.

Oregano - Just to give you an idea- Oregano (when used fish as a rub, for example) has 40 X the antioxidant property as an apple.

Basil - Has vitamins A, C and K

Mint - has a considerable amount of vitamin A with smaller amounts of C and B vitamins and iron.

 

More Ideas!

Healthy mayo substitute: Mash up an avocado, mix in 1/4 tsp of chopped oregano and the juice and zest of 1/4 lemon or lime. YUM!

Try making your own low-sodium “salt” by mixing dried garlic, dried onion, a pinch of salt and some of your favorite dried herbs.

And fresh is best- fresh herbs have the most nutrients and flavor. Try these tips for growing and storing your own herbs all year long.

 

5~ Ditch the Starch!

Use these recipes as examples of how you can replace the starch in your diet with higher fiber and higher protein foods! No more drag- just energy!

No-starch Quiche

This is great for breakfast, a snack..dinner. Ya. You can have breakfast for dinner. You’re the boss- In QUICHE you didn’t know. This recipe is super easy, and high-protein/ starch-free to help you hit those spring fitness goals (like fitness quiche in your mouth). It’s filling and delicious for breakfast, lunch, dinner or that brunch you didn’t know what to bring to- total crowd pleaser!

The crust takes a minute to prep and 20 to bake, and the filling is super simple and you can make lots of different variations (ideas below). Want to make it go further? Make twice the filling, pour what you need into your crust and use the rest to make quiche muffins for a quick on-the-go breakfast.

CRUST

What You Need:

2 C Cooked and Cooled Quinoa (Any kind is fine)

1 Humane Certified egg

Cooking spray

Pie pan

 

What You Do:

Preheat oven to 375

Lightly mix the egg and 2C cooked, cooled quinoa

Gently press the mixture into a greased/sprayed pie pan-into the base and up to the sides- making sure not to leave holes

Bake about 20 minutes, until crust is golden brown and a little crispy

FILLING

What You Need:

4 Humane Certified eggs

1- 1.5 C cheeses/meats/veggies of your choice (suggestions below)

salt, pepper, seasonings (also suggested below)

What You Do:

Lightly beat egg and fold in veggies/meats/cheeses and seasoning

Gently pour into quinoa crust until it comes just to the rim

Bake 25-35 min until egg is just slightly golden brown on top/ toothpick comes out clean

Let cool, slices and serve!

 

VARIATIONS

You can make this many, many ways. And you can gauge how much filler you want to add to the egg. Add less for more egg or more for a more hearty pie. Your call. The following are general guidelines- go nuts!

~Spinach, sundried tomato, artichoke, parmesan, salt and pepper

~Chorizo and bell pepper, salt, pepper and paprika

~Sausage, chive and cheddar

~Fennel, leek, mushroom, gorgonzola, salt and pepper

~Artichoke, broccoli, onion, salt, pepper and garlic

Go nuts! Throw some things in there and see how it turns out.

 

Chipotle Apple Turkey Burger in Lettuce Wraps

This awesome wrap is tasty and full of good stuff. Skip the bun and go for some lettuce wraps to ditch the starch and add some crunch. The kids will even like it!

Ingredients

    3 tbsp. canola oil

    1 onion

    ½ c. finely chopped celery

    ½ c. finely chopped Granny Smith apple

    2 scallions

    1 small canned chipotle in adobo

    1½ lb. lean ground turkey breast

    1 tbsp. minced flat-leaf parsley

    2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest

    kosher salt

    Freshly ground black pepper

 

Instructions

In a nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the canola oil. Add the sliced onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden and softened, about 25 minutes. Transfer the onion to a bowl. Wipe out the skillet.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the canola oil in the skillet. Add the celery, apple, and scallions and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and add the chipotle; let cool.

Stir in the turkey, parsley, 1 teaspoon of the lemon zest, 2 teaspoons of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Shape the mixture into 1” wide by 3-4” long rectangular patties.

In the skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of canola oil. Add the burgers and cook over moderately high heat, turning once, until no longer pink inside.

Serve in Bibb or Butter lettuce wraps! *(I used “living lettuce”, and it was fantastic! So fresh and crisp!)

 

These Condiments Though!

Savory Tomatoes

Slice tomato at about 1/3” thick, sprinkle with salt and pepper, drizzle with balsamic and olive oil and let sit for a few minutes before serving (add crushed red pepper to the mix for a kick)

 

Chipotle Chutney

Puree 1-2 chipotle peppers and some (2-4 TBSP) adobo sauce left over from your burger masterpiece, with green apple (about 1/4 med apple), celery (1 stalk), and choice of bbq/curry spices (cumin, coffee, molasses, cardamom, etc) to make a chutney.

 

Chipotle Mayo

Puree 1-2 chipotle peppers and some adobo sauce with white wine the same spices and a little low-fat mayo for a crazy kick.

 

Pickled Onions

Try this easy homemade pickled onion recipe for another flavor-booster

 

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