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?!

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.

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?

Healthy Ways to Flavor Your Coffee Without Sugar

I so often hear that the hardest part about kicking a sugar habit is the morning cup of joe. Most coffee drinkers enjoy sweetening their coffee with a flavored creamer, sugar, or another artificial sweetener that proves difficult to ditch. There are actually many ways you can sweeten your cup naturally and without guilt — and today, I’m going to share a few options with you.

Cinnamon. A spice we all probably have in our cupboards, cinnamon is an excellent way to flavor your coffee without sugar. Cinnamon is also loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s also beneficial for helping sustain healthy blood sugar, so give it a shot!

Vanilla extract. Probably the most popular flavor choice for dairy creamer is french vanilla. Skip the sugary, dairy version and add a
few drops of pure vanilla extract to your coffee instead.

Cardamom. So, this spice won’t necessarily make your coffee taste a lot sweeter, it gives a more aromatic flavor to the coffee, and it also adds some health benefits. Add some cinnamon and cardamom to my coffee for a sweet and aromatic combination of flavors.

Cacao. Sprinkle some cacao powder to add a bit of a sweet, rich, chocolaty taste. Cacao is also loaded with antioxidants and is the perfect superfood to toss into your coffee. Yum!

Coconut cream. If you usually add creamer to your coffee, try using coconut cream. It’s not incredibly sweet, but it sweetens your coffee up a bit, also adding a light coconut flavor. You can even add a little cinnamon to this mix when you want to make it a little sweeter.

So, here you have quite a few options to make your coffee a little sweeter without turning to processed sugar on a daily basis. All options have a different flavor, so there must be at least one option here that appeals to you. Just try a few different combinations and you are sure to find a flavor that you like and that can replace the artificial sugar for you. What are you excited about trying?

Three Must Eat Breakfast Foods

Do you love your breakfast?  Do you have a short list of “go-to” recipes?  Do you need a bit of inspiration to start eating breakfast again? Getting some protein at each meal can help with blood sugar management, metabolism and weight loss.  This is because protein helps you feel fuller longer and uses up a bunch of calories to absorb and metabolize it.  I’m going to show you how to get the protein, as well as some veggies and healthy fats for your soon-to-be favorite new “go-to” breakfasts.

Breakfast Food #1: Eggs

Yes, eggs are the “quintessential” breakfast food.  And for good reason!

No, I’m not talking about processed egg whites in a carton.  I mean actual whole “eggs”.

Egg whites are mostly protein while the yolks are the real nutritional powerhouses.  Those yolks contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and healthy fats.

Eggs have been shown to help you feel full, keep you feeling fuller longer, and help to stabilize blood sugar and insulin.

Not to mention how easy it is to boil a bunch of eggs and keep them in the fridge for a “grab and go” breakfast when you’re running short on time.

And…nope the cholesterol in eggs is not associated with an increased risk of arterial or heart diseases.

One thing to consider is to try to prevent cooking the yolks at too high of a temperature because that can cause some of the cholesterol to become oxidized.  It’s the oxidized cholesterol that’s heart unhealthy.

Breakfast Food #2: Nuts and/or Seeds

Nuts and seeds contain protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.  Nuts and/or seeds would make a great contribution to breakfast.

You won’t be fooled by “candied” nuts, sweetened nut/seed butters, or chia “cereals” with added sugars – you know I’m talking about the real, whole, unsweetened food here.

Nuts and seeds are also the ultimate fast food if you’re running late in the mornings.  Grab a small handful of almonds, walnuts, or pumpkin seeds as you’re running out the door; you can nosh on them while you’re commuting.

Not to mention how easy it is to add a spoonful of nut/seed butter into your morning breakfast smoothie.

Hint: If you like a creamy latte in the mornings try making one with nut or seed butter.  Just add your regular hot tea and a tablespoon or two of a creamy nut or seed butter into your blender & blend until frothy.

Breakfast Food #3: Veggies

Yes, you already know you really should get protein at every meal including breakfast; but this also applies to veggies.  You know I would be remiss to not recommend veggies at every meal, right?

Veggies are powerhouses of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals, fiber, and water.  You can’t go wrong adding them into every single meal of the day so if you don’t already you should definitely try them for breakfast!

And no, you don’t need to have a salad or roasted veggies for breakfast if you don’t want to but you totally can!  You wouldn’t be breaking any “official” breakfast rules or anything like that.

Adding some protein to leftover veggies is a great combination for any meal.  Including breakfast.

I’ve included a delicious recipe below for you to try (and customize) for your next breakfast.

Recipe (Eggs & Veggies): Veggie Omelet

Serves 1

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon coconut oil

1 or 2 eggs (how hungry are you?)

¼ cup veggies (grated zucchini and/or sliced mushrooms and/or diced peppers)

dash salt, pepper and/or turmeric

 

Directions:

Add coconut oil to a frying pan and melt on low-medium heat (cast-iron pans are preferred).  In the meantime grab a bowl and beat the egg(s) with your vegetables of choice and the spices. Tilt pan to ensure the bottom is covered with the melted oil.  Pour egg mixture into pan and lightly fry the eggs without stirring. When the bottom is lightly done flip over in one side and cook until white is no longer runny. Serve & Enjoy!

Tip:  Substitute grated, sliced, or diced portion of your favorite vegetable.  Try grated carrots, chopped broccoli or diced tomato.

You may also want to check out Breakfast in a Pinch, a give you a few ideas for quick healthy breakfasts.

References:

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/eggs-worse-than-fast-food

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/encyclopedia/food/eggs/

https://authoritynutrition.com/eating-healthy-eggs/

https://authoritynutrition.com/12-best-foods-to-eat-in-morning/