What’s For Dinner?

Do you struggle with figuring out what to cook for dinner, too?

You just worked all day, and instead of looking forward to going home to relax… you’re dreading the commute home because you have no idea what you’re feeding your crew for dinner.

Sound familiar?

You have enough on your plate — you shouldn’t have to worry what you’re going to put on everyone else’s plate, too.  Here are a few quick meals with minimal prep time.  Enjoy!

  1. Stuffed Sweet Potato Bar. Bake sweet potatoes and leave out all the toppings you have on hand to create your own baked sweet potato bar.
  2. Open face Avocado sandwich & soup. Add your favorite toppings on a slice of bread with smashed avocado.  Tomato and red onion would be yummy.  Pair with your favorite soup — you can even pick this up from the hot bar at the store already made.
  3. Flatbread on pita and salad. Take personal pan pizzas to a healthier level with these simple flatbreads on a pita.  Pair with a small side salad — simple and delicious!

What’d you have for dinner last night?  Inspire me!

Health Benefits of Your Favorite Holiday Spices and Seasonings

It’s true that the holidays have earned a bad reputation for unhealthy eating. However, used appropriately, the seasonings and spices you turn to for flavoring your dishes have some incredible health benefits. Here are a few of my favorites:

Cinnamon. The smell of it instantly conjures up images of the holidays with snowy hills and cozy times by the fireplace. It’s warm and spicy and is terrific in your cookies and other holiday treats. In ancient times, it was used to help with indigestion, and it’s been shown to have incredible anti-inflammatory effects.

Rosemary. The heavenly scent and sublime flavor of rosemary is a lovely addition to any dish. Rosemary is excellent for helping quell indigestion, as well. It also has antioxidants, which helps chase away those meddlesome free radicals.

Peppermint. Ah, is there anything more refreshing than peppermint in your hot cocoa? It too is rich in antioxidants, making it another winning
herb to keep on hand.

Ginger. In Asian cultures, ginger was used in the creation of just about every single dish. It can cleanse the body, relieve nausea and boost the
appetite. During the holidays, powdered ginger is used in soups, cookies, cakes, and salad dressings too.

Nutmeg. Warming and soothing, just like cinnamon, nutmeg is added to tons of savory dishes as well as your beloved pumpkin pie. It has a calming property to it which might explain why we feel so relaxed after eating foods that are seasoned with nutmeg.

Cloves. Earthy, warm, and sweet, cloves impart an interesting flavor to everything from savory dishes to sweets. They have lots of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants.

Are you getting ready to cook and bake for the holidays? Which of these spices is your favorite to use?

Do you struggle with sleep?  Sometimes no matter how much we dream of a good night’s sleep, our bodies have other plans.

I’m sure you are well aware of what NOT to drink to disrupt your sleep… like a big, hot, delicious cup of coffee.

But do you know what you SHOULD drink to help you catch some Zzz’s?

Here are some of my favorite drinks that are helpful for drifting off to sleep:

– Sleepytime Tea.  There are many different brands to choose from that you can find at any grocery store, so pick one up and give it a try.

– Golden milk.  It’s also great for your health overall, too!  Golden milk is so versatile and can be easily made vegan by using plant-based choices.

– Tart Cherry Juice.  Naturally a source of melatonin which helps promote healthy sleep.

– Magnesium.  Helps to promote great sleep, and is also helpful for digestion.

So tell me, what do you do to get a great night’s sleep?!

The holiday season typically involves a lot of travel.  Bustling airports, busy highways, and packed trains.  Winter is also flu season and rampant with germs with all of these people around!

When I travel this time of year, I take extra precautions for staying healthy during my travels.

— About a week before I travel, I start increasing my immune boosters.  Aside from regular vitamins, Elderberry syrup works like a charm.  I also make sure to get enough sleep so that my body isn’t beaten down!

— Pack your vitamins and immune boosters to take with you.  I can’t even count how many times I felt an illness coming on during my travels due to the abundance of germs I was surrounded by on airplanes and public transportation.  Having your arsenal with you to combat it right away, before it sets in, is key.

— Pack your food.  It can be hard (or extremely expensive!) to eat healthy foods in airports and while traveling.  Pack yourself a healthy and easily transportable meal and snacks, so you don’t have to go hungry.

— Bring the antibacterial wipes or your favorite bacteria killing essential oil.

What do you do to keep the germs at bay as you travel?  Leave a comment below — I’m always looking for new ideas!

Shake Up Fall With These Sweet Potato Recipes

Sweet potatoes are a Fall staple. They’re delicious, grounding, and so versatile with many ways to add them to your dishes. But few people know what to do with them besides merely baking them or serving them in that almost dessert-like way that we most commonly associate with the holidays. They’re an excellent source of beta-carotene, fiber, potassium, and a ton of vitamins, so they’re
certainly a great option to have around. If you’re looking for creative ways to enjoy them, here are four different recipes to shake things up.

Grilled Sweet Potato Fries. Before it gets too cold out and you tuck the grill away, put it use by grilling sweet potatoes. Slice them up, drizzle with olive oil and seasonings of choice.  You could even make them in the oven 🙂

Sweet Potato Pancakes. This recipe for 2-ingredient sweet potato pancakes will be your new favorite. One steamed sweet potato plus two eggs equal this awesome breakfast that’s easy enough for any day of the week. Blend ingredients and cook in pan – it’s as easy as that.

Honey-Roasted Sweet Potatoes. Who said you needed marshmallows to make sweet potatoes sweet? Drizzle your sweet potatoes with honey before roasting to add a little sweetness and flavor.

Sweet Potato Kale Frittata. Frittatas are an easy way to make a classy breakfast without much fuss. You can feed the whole family
with this delicious frittata that combines eggs, kale, and sweet potatoes. Combine all ingredients and bake at 350 for approximately 10-15 minutes.

Now that you have a few more sweet potato tricks up your sleeve, you can put them to good use. Let them fill you up naturally and
bring more balance to your plate. What are your favorite ways to enjoy sweet potatoes? Let me know in the comments below.

Magnesium – Why You Need it

and How to Get More Of It

According to the National Institute of Health, about 90% of the population is deficient in magnesium. That means there’s a better than good chance that you are too. Magnesium is an essential mineral that your body uses in hundreds of biochemical processes.

So, how does magnesium help you? This is just a short list of all the things magnesium helps your body do well.

Keeps your bowels healthy. If you’re frequently constipated, magnesium can naturally keep things moving along through your body so you’ll feel better regularly.

Keeps your heart healthy. Magnesium regulates your blood pressure and helps your body absorb calcium. It also keeps the blood flowing correctly, which in turn keeps a happy heart!

Boosts brain activity. If you always feel like you’re in a fog, magnesium can help lift that cloud from your brain. It gives your brain and your nerves the ability to have better cognitive function as well as comfort by supporting calm and relaxed moods, which in turn will lead to better sleep.

Strengthens bones. Strong bones are essential for keeping up with our daily activities. Taking in enough magnesium will prevent problems down the road.

Now that you understand how important magnesium is, you should take steps to get more of it into your everyday life. You can take high quality supplements for it, or you can eat foods rich it in. Foods that you may want to try include spinach, Swiss chard, avocados, figs, bananas, artichokes, wild-caught salmon, almonds, pumpkin seeds, cashews, black beans, and one I’m sure you’ll love to hear – dark chocolate! Your best bet is to go for organics when it comes to fruits and vegetables simply because conventional methods of farming often deplete the soil of essential minerals.

Are you eating any magnesium rich foods today?

The holidays are sneaking up on us again!

Would you like to make this year different?

Would you like to actually stay on track with your health goals this year, like you say you will do every year?

Would you like to do so in a fun way with a lot of awesome support?

Join us for the Fit & Festive Healthy Holiday Challenge.

The weekly email topics include:

Eating for Energy

Stress Management

Keeping Your Sanity

You will also have access to a private Facebook group where I will post daily tips and we can share our struggles and successes. Maybe we can even share recipes 🙂

I’m also including a few free eBooks: Surviving the Holidays, Mindful Eating During the Holidays, and Fun & Feasible Fitness at Home.

Join for free by signing up HERE!

Date: December 3, 2017—December 23, 2017
Event: Fit & Festive Holiday Challenge
Sponsor: Kim Zajan, CHC
Venue: Private Facebook Group
Public: Public
Registration: Click here to register.
More Info: Click here for more information.

Healthy Thanksgiving Sides to Swap

Without Sacrificing Flavor

From Halloween to Thanksgiving and well beyond into the New Year, the autumn and following winter holidays can wreak havoc on our healthy routines we worked so hard to cultivate.

A little indulgence isn’t a bad thing, but you’ll want to save that for a slice of Mom’s famous pecan pie instead of racking up endless calories on the traditional side dishes that you usually serve at Thanksgiving. If you’re thinking bland and boring, think again.  There’s no need to cut out flavor when you make these healthy Thanksgiving side dish swaps!

Serve yogurt-based dips or hummus. You can’t host a Thanksgiving dinner without some snacks and appetizers to keep everyone occupied while they wait for the main event. Making these healthier options is as quick as a few ingredient swaps. Avoid using sour cream or mayonnaise-based dips and instead, use Greek yogurt or non-dairy yogurt as the base. No one will be able to tell the difference.  Or dip veggies into hummus which has fiber and protein and is high in iron and b vitamins.

Roast veggies instead of creaming them. Creamed peas or creamed spinach, and even that green bean casserole everyone loves are delicious, but they can rack up the calories and heaviness on your plate. Instead, roast your vegetables by lightly coating them with coconut oil and balsamic vinegar for a lighter, fresher alternative.

Sweet potato fries instead of candied yams. Simply carve up wedges of sweet potatoes and bake them until they’re soft. You can season them with a pinch of chili powder, sea salt, and fresh ground pepper.

Mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes. You can give this side dish a healthy makeover by mashing cauliflower instead. The kids won’t even notice!

By making healthier choices to serve with your Thanksgiving meal, it allows you room to enjoy something worth the extra calories, or even have another glass of wine, without feeling guilty about it.  Life without indulges isn’t good for anyone, but overindulging as we tend to do during the holidays can add up. If you play your holidays smart, you won’t need to go into boot camp mode right before swimsuit season!

What are you making for Thanksgiving this year?

 

Warm, Healthy Drinks to Enjoy This Autumn

One of the most comforting parts of autumn is curling up with a warm beverage and letting it warm you from the inside out. Coincidentally, it’s even more enjoyable when these drinks are also beneficial for you. So today, I’m going to share with you some of my autumn-approved,  comforting and healthy beverages.

A Healthier Hot Chocolate. Is it even autumn without at least one cup of hot cocoa? A healthier alternative to the pre-packaged packets at the grocery store is easier to create than you may imagine. Use almond milk, cacao powder, maple syrup to sweeten if needed, and you can even melt a piece of dark chocolate to add an extra chocolatey punch.

Warm lemon water. This is my favorite thing to drink in the mornings. Yes, even more than coffee! Starting your day with a cup of hot water and a squeeze of lemon has more benefits than just a cozy warm beverage. It helps detox your body, jumpstart your digestion and give you a natural boost of energy first thing in the morning.

Hot Tea, of course. With many different options, here are my favorites. A simple, homemade ginger tea is not only comforting, but immune boosting. Simply boil water and steep fresh, peeled ginger root in it. Or before bedtime, a chamomile tea is ideal. It’s calming, delicious and soothes you straight to bed. Green tea or matcha teas are always incredibly delicious and enjoyable, as well.

A chai tea latte. Blend hot water, peppercorns, cloves, cardamom, ginger, nutmeg and a cinnamon stick and make your own DIY chai tea latte. After you make your chai tea, add in your almond milk to create the latte. If you ‘d prefer not to make it yourself, there are healthy premade options, as well.

Enjoy!

Some of these drinks are perfect for the cold mornings, and others are perfect for your bedtime ritual. A drink can be found for each autumn day, whether you’re craving something sweet, creamy or spicy. And not to forget that all of these drinks are good for you and won’t stand in the way of your health goals, some will even help you towards them even faster. Drink up!

Ditch the Recipe and Get More Confident in the Kitchen

We’ve been programmed to believe that recipes must lead the way in our cooking and meal planning. You likely have tons of cookbooks and even more recipes pinned on Pinterest. But how many of them have you actually gotten around to making? And, why is that? I’ll tell you exactly why. It’s overwhelming. It’s new. And it doesn’t make our lives easier. Having to awkwardly read each line of the recipe between each step causes a simple meal to turn into hours in the kitchen. And quite frankly, we typically don’t have time for that in our busy schedules. Maybe on a weekend when you’re feeling adventurous in the kitchen, but on a regular weeknight, you want dinner on the table without a headache.

The trick is in learning a few simple pairings. Your meals don’t have to come from recipes.  Figure out your “meal staples” and you’ll increase your confidence in the kitchen.  What types of meats does your family eat regularly?  What vegetables does your family like?   Are there certain grains or starches that you eat more often than others.  We cook with a lot of chicken, both breasts & thighs, and beef chuck roast.   Green beans are one of my families favorites.   As many of you know I am gluten free.  I eat some rice and potatoes.  Next think about the flavors and spices that your family enjoys.  I love Mexican 🙂

Get comfortable with a few simple soups or crockpot meals. If you’re a meat eater, it’s incredibly simple to pair a healthy
portion of meat with a vegetable of choice and a side salad. So whatever protocol you follow, find a way to simplify. Just like making different outfits from the clothes in your closet, we do the same thing in the kitchen. We have our staples that we use on a regular basis, and we find ways to spruce them up and make our meals different. This also helps with grocery shopping — you know exactly what you’re getting on a weekly basis and it makes your shopping a breeze.

So, how are you in the kitchen? Is this something you struggle with?