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How to Get Sweet Potatoes Into Your Life

I love Sweet Potatoes..on so many levels!  Watch this awesome video on 5 quick ways to work them into your routine and then check out my Sweet Potato Slider recipe I mention on the video.

Easy Dinner Veggie

I am Zoodle Obsessed

I am currently obsessed with zucchini.  After having an amazing raw zucchini noodle (affectionately referred to as Zoodles) salad at a summer BBQ, I can’t seem to get enough of them.  In fact it motivated me to come back to this bog post one year later and give it a face lift.

I used to lightly saute the zoodles before eating them up.  After I had them raw, there is no way I will ever look back.  They have an extremely fresh, crisp taste and feel much more similar to a real noodle option when raw.

 

I’ve been making Zoodles for years since becoming gluten free.  It began with a hand held spiralizer and then evolved into making them on my KitchenAid Spilaizer attachment because of the volume and frequency I make them in.  Both are amazing options, but the KiichenAid is a worth while investment if you plan to put their production in high gear.  The bonus is that the attachment is strong enough to Spiralize potatoes of all kinds, including my favorite sweet potatoes.

 

And If You Are Lazy

Finally a company jumped on the veggie noodle train and made a quality option that you an buy fresh in store.  Veggie Noodle Co offers those of you with less time and culinary desire to still have a healthy noodle option on hand.  They offer spiral versions of lots of veggies including zucchini, sweet potato, butternut squash and beets.  You can find them in Whole Foods, Spouts Farmers Market and at Target.

 

The honest truth though is that it is much more cost effective to spiralize your own veggies.  I like to do a whole bunch at once and us them throughout the week for various recipes.  It gives us no excuse not to add a veggie into our meals.

 

 

Check out my video of the KitchenAid Spiralizer in action. This was literally the first Facebook Live video I ever did.  I was entirely nervous but excited.

Spiralized Noodle Recipe Ideas:

Here are a few spiral noodle recipes to get you started!

Zucchini Salad with Grilled Veggies (add chicken for a protein boost)

Shrimp Scampi: Zoodle Edition

Baked Sweet Potato Curly Fries

Skinny Pho

 

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk

The Skinny on Fats: 13 Tips to Control Your Fat Intake Each Day

Fat! We love it, we hate it and we can’t live without it…literally.  Fat is a macronutrient that acts as a secondary source of energy for our body.  Fats assist in absorption of certain micronutrients in the body, aides in the boundary of cells, cushions cells and in turn the body.  Fat plays a crucial role in hormone regulation and brain function (1). You need it–there is no denying it.

Poor, Misunderstood Fat
We don’t gain weight from fat, we gain weight from excess fat that puts our metabolism out of balance.  Each person’s body chemistry is unique, requiring its own quantity of fat that pushes their metabolic capacity and allows them to hit their goals. Adjusting fat ratios is key to fat loss, athletic performance and day to day health.

Fat and Tracking Macronutrient Intake

The important thing to understand about fat is its caloric value.  When the body metabolizes 1 gram of fat, it acquires 9 calories of useable energy as a fuel source.  This is in comparison to protein and carbohydrates which yield only 4 calories of energy. It is also the reason that being accurate when tracking fat intake is key, as it has more caloric consequence if over consumed.

In the name of FAT

In the name of  fat, I put together a quick reference of ways to decrease fat daily but also quick ways to increase fat daily.  At some point in your nutritional tracking journey, you’ll need to do both to satisfy your nutrition goals.

Easy ways to reduce Fat:13-tips-to-control-fat-intake-pinterest

  1. Reduce the number of yolks you consume with eggs, opt for egg whites or a combo.
  2. Choose 93/7% Ground beef over 80/20%.
  3. Replace your mayo, sour cream, spread with plain 0% fat greek yogurt.  It really does taste the same.
  4. Try almond milk or ultra filtered milk in your coffee over half and half or creamer.
  5. Chose a grilled chicken breast over a drumstick or thigh.
  6. Chose almond cheese over cow’s milk cheese.  Say what? No seriously it is delicious!
  7. Fill up on Veggies—their caloric value is little to none! You can load up on them to help you feel full with little macronutrient value but a heck of a lot micronutrient value.

Easy Ways to Increase Fat:

  1. Take a fish oil supplement. Try using this in the evening when you need to fill small quantities to hit those counts.  A gel capsule can keep the fat content in a smaller amount or a liquid version to increase the fat content.
  2. Add a bit of oil based dressing, like olive or avocado, to a salad.
  3. Enjoy some nuts or nut butter (this is my go-to to increase fat) on your favorite piece of fruit or in your morning oats.
  4. Add an egg yolk.  Try another yolk in your morning eggs or prep some hard boiled eggs for a mid afternoon snack.
  5. Add some slices of avocado to your eggs, lean meat or dinner meal.  Mash it up as a condiment to make a healthy fat version of chicken salad.
  6. Throw a small bit of Kerrygold butter on your baked potato.

Keeping your dietary fat intake on track is the key to so many functions of the body–not to mention they can taste so.darn.good.  Use them in the right places in your daily routine to maximize their benefits.

Work Hard Be Kind,

Amanda

 

Sources:

(1) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6298507

 

Sweet Potato Sliders

It is no secret that I love sweet potatoes! I eat them pretty much every day. They are a great source of vitamins, high in fiber, and actually, possess more potassium than a banana. They are an excellent source of real food carbohydrates. Plus, they’re delicious, and you can’t beat delicious.

Since I’m gluten-free, I love finding ways to use sweet potatoes as a great alternative to traditional bread and bread products (like buns, rolls, etc). And now I have a delicious and nutritious sweet potato sliders recipe to share with you! Check out the recipe that puts a twist on traditional sliders.

Ingredients for Sweet Potato Sliders

1 Pound Lean Ground Beef or Turkey (93/7)

1 egg (or 1 serving egg whites to reduce fat)

½ Yellow Onion

Desired spices-salt, pepper, garlic salt, onion salt

Sweet Potato “Buns”:

2 large diameter sweet potatoes

Olive Oil spray

Salt and pepper

Optional Ingredients:

Spinach

Mushrooms

Grilled onions

Cheese

Condiments to taste

sweet potato sliders

Directions 

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Wash and then peel 2 large diameter sweet potatoes and slice them into discs, approximately 1/2 inch thick.
  3. Lightly spray a cookie sheet with olive oil. Place the sweet potato discs on the cookie sheet and lightly spray the side facing up with olive oil. Sprinkle potatoes lightly with salt and pepper.
  4. Place in the oven for 25 minutes or until sweet potatoes are soft and tender.
  5. While the sweet potatoes cook, mix ground meat, chopped onion, your desired spices, and egg into a large mixing bowl. Mix until egg is well blended into the mixture.
  6. Heat a skillet with a light spray of  olive oil on medium heat.
  7. Scoop approximately 1 oz of the beef mixture into the pan.  I use a Pampered Chef cookie dough scoop which makes the most perfect 1 oz portion size. Makes it super easy to measure!
  8. Allow sliders to cook for 1 min, then flip them and firmly press into the skillet to spread beef into a “slider” shape.
  9. Cook the sliders for 5-6 minutes, until the meat is browned on both sides and cooked throughout.
  10. Once all of the sliders are cooked, set them aside until the sweet potatoes are done and smelling oh so good!
  11. Once sweet potatoes are done, I like to turn the oven to broil and allow them to cook for another 2-3 minutes until lightly crisp. However, make sure to keep an eye on them, as each oven cook time is different.
  12. Once both the sweet potatoes and sliders are done — the magic happens :). Place one slider between 2 golden and crispy sweet potato slices. Finish each slider with your favorite slider options above and BOOM! The possibilities for toppings are endless — you can use traditional condiments like ketchup and mustard. You can add some spinach leaves. Using a great cheese blend is always welcomed. You could also sauté mushrooms and onions as an awesome topper.  The list goes on and on.
  13. Crush those sliders!

Sweet Potato Sliders Nutritional Information

Each slider has a rough macronutrient value of 5 grams of protein, 3 grams of fat and 6 grams of carbs.  (Nutritional information will vary depending on size and ingredients used)

So there you have it, my super simple and easy sweet potato sliders recipe. Not only is this recipe super delicious, but it’s filling and good for you. Sweet potatoes can be used in so many different ways, and the sweet potato sliders recipe is just one of my favorites!

What’s your favorite way to use sweet potatoes?

Work Hard Be Kind,

Amanda

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Kickin’ It Old School during Snack time

healthy nostalgic snacks

I’m sure you remember quite a bit of your childhood. When it comes to food, nostalgia is REAL. The thought of healthy nostalgic snacks take me right back to after school TV and riding bikes with teh neighborhood kids.

There are some snacks that have withstood the test of time and others that have gone to snack heaven. There are snacks I think about that make me nostalgic and others that make me want to puke.

I am a child of the 80’s and grew up on snacks like Planter’s Cheese Balls (remember those in the blue can), on Keebler’s Magic in the middle cookies, on “Squeeze It’s”, and of course, fruit by the foot. But, the healthy nostalgic snacks that I think of really bring back fond memories and have stuck with me to this day.

Afternoon Snacking

The afternoon is a snack time for me and my kids. We tend to eat dinner later to accommodate my husband’s work schedule and I love a balanced snack to hold me over until then. These snacks are typically snacks that I love and that my kids love too. Thankfully, my kids will escape a pantry full of 80’s snacks because it’s my goal to provide an afternoon snack that is fun, healthy, delicious and that they will remember and love!

Why do people snack?

Statista.com reports that in 2014, North American’s spent over 124 billion dollars in snacks in grocery stores. According to research conducted by the Mintel Group, “62 percent of U.S. consumers snack mainly to satisfy a craving. One-quarter of Americans snack because they are bored, while 16 percent do so because they are stressed.

Say what!?!

This data is clear evidence that snacking is tied to emotion and your mood. Thus, further supporting the need to have healthy snack options at home to avoid that oh-so-tempting 80’s style snack binge.

No need to be FANCY

Some of the best snacks and for that matter, meals, are the simple ones. Ones that don’t take the entire kitchen to prepare, that are pretty to look at, and that have great tasting ingredients. I’ve put together for you three simple, old-school style, healthy nostalgic snacks for your snack attack that you can make now…like right now!

Plus, you may already have many of these ingredients in your fridge and pantry, which is a double win.

Ants on a Log

For this quick and easy recipe, you’ll need:

1 tablespoon of Peanut/Almond/Sunbutter (sub with 1 serving PB2/Fit to reduce fat)
.5 ounce of Raisins
1 celery stalk

All you have to do is spread your nut butter of choice on that celery stalk, sprinkle those “ants” right on top, and enjoy the salty and sweet taste.

My kiddos love it…especially if I sing “The Ants Go Marching One-by-One!” (which I highly recommend doing, it’s so much fun).

Snack Macros: 8g of Fat, 15 g carbs, 4g of protein
(Macros based on 1 tablespoon Kirkland Organic Peanut Butter)

Apple Cinnamon Yogurt

This is one of the simplest healthy nostalgic snacks. You only need a few ingredients.

4 ounces Plain Greek Yogurt 0% fat
2 ounces All Natural Applesauce
Sprinkle of Cinnamon
(You could also add 1 serving PB2 for a thicker, peanut butter taste)

Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl and sprinkle with cinnamon to taste. Then, dip in your spoon and enjoy! Sweet with a little kick of cinnamon. This recipe is a winner!

Snack Macros: 0g of fat, 12g of carbs, 12g of protein

Rice Pudding-ish

¼ cup cooked white rice
2-4 ounces Greek yogurt 0% fat
1 tablespoon honey
Sprinkle of Cinnamon

Another simple and easy snack. Just combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and enjoy! Just as a note, you can alter these quantities to suit your palate texture requirements as well.

A great idea is to prepare a “rice reserve” for the week. This reserve is easy to pull from for meals and snacks and can be spiced in lots of ways as you need it. Plus, extra rice on hand never hurt anyone, and it can last a while in the fridge!

Snack Macros: 1g of fat, 31 g of carbs, 9g of protein (based on 3 ounces of 0% fat yogurt)

The beauty of all of these recipes above is that you can tweak each to meet your needs and taste. Snacks are optional, but good health and good taste don’t have to be.

Although those 80’s snacks like Gushers and Bugles (you remember them…I know you do!) bring back love in your heart, don’t let them bring any love to your belly. Enjoy that afternoon snack with all health benefits included. So — get in that kitchen and get your snack on, and enjoy those healthy nostalgic snacks!

What were some of your favorite healthy nostalgic snacks?

Work Hard Be Kind,
AWalk

* All calories calculated using CalorieKing.com

“E” is for Effort

We’re all fighting a daily chaotic battle, like being a parent, spouse, employee, boss, athlete, a food prepper (is that even a thing?), a coach — you get the idea. Somewhere in there we are supposed to take time to take care of ourselves. It isn’t easy, but I notice that when I start to find time for myself, all the other roles I fill in life are richer for it. So can we just make changes to live healthier and give ourselves an e for effort?

E For Effort

“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out!” – Robert Collier

Successful people in life exist because they give effort day in and day out. Their effort is consistent. Being healthy, tracking your macros or whatever tool you use is no different. Don’t let time, money or others be that something that holds you back from giving the effort you need to give. Take time to self-reflect and hold yourself accountable for your effort. The moment you begin to results will follow you around.

Make Time

The number one excuse I hear from people who are not reaching their nutritional goals, or for that matter any goal, is because they don’t have the time to. The time to meal prep, the time to cook at home or the time to assure their intake each day is spot on. The gift of time isn’t always as giving as we’d like but I believe it’s important to make the time each and every single day to reach your goals. There are so many different ways you can make more time in your day and week, but there are three that have really helped me and my clients reach their goals.

Plan At Night

One of the biggest ways to get an e for effort is to spend 5 minutes at the end of every day and plan for the next day. The way I like to do it is to work backward and think about what I plan to make for dinner, but do what works best for you. Make sure you remember to take out and defrost your protein (if needed) and pack your lunch and stick it in the fridge. That way, if your morning is chaotic, you’ll still stay on track. It’s a simple game changer that is usually overlooked, but planning at night can save you so much time!

Reuse

Investing in glass reusable containers or even mason jars is a great choice to both help the environment and save time and money. You can portion out leftovers or meals into the containers, and then they are ready to go. Just reheat your leftovers and you have a yummy meal! Use a dry erase marker or a sticky note on the lids of those containers to write down the portions contained inside.

Portion Out Snacks

Along with meal prepping, spend some time portioning out your other food. On a non-work day, spend some time portioning out veggies, fruits, and other snacks. Put them in ready to go containers or bags and put them somewhere that is easily accessible. That way you can just grab them and go about your day.

Putting In Effort Works

My client roster ranges from those who have been tracking their food for over six months to those that have been for 6 days. No matter how long they’ve been doing this, they all share one similarity. And what’s that similarity you may ask? They get out what they put in! I’ve had clients this week surpass their goal weight and clients hit major PRs! The common thread is that they are committed and are putting in all they have. In turn, they are getting out all they possibly can. Talk about e for effort. It just proves that putting in a little work can equal amazing results.

I want you to celebrate that same success! There are 168 hours in a week. You deserve to devote at least one of those hours, that’s 8.6 minutes per day, to planning your nutrition. This week I hope you make time to regroup and find time for yourself…in nutrition, in health, and in whatever role you fill in life. “E” is for effort–make it the biggest “E” you possibly can in all aspects of life.

What is one thing you can change this week to boost your healthy living efforts?

Work Hard Be Kind,
AWalk

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Work Hard, Be Kind

This is it—my first big blog post. I have been  so nervous about this post.  For months I was in blog purgatory. Should I? What would people think? Would there even be interest? It was the encouragement of my client base, my friends and above all, my husband that led me this direction. Then, I had a moment, an epiphany if you will. You know the kind that feels life changing—like the planets aligned to send you a sign. I was listening to an Amy Porterfield podcast when she interviewed this amazingly spunky social media marketer. The person interviewed said…”isn’t it better to have 2 people who believe in you madly than to be followed by many, who barely believe?” It was in that moment I realized, who cares about anybody else. If I follow my passion, my heart and who I am, the rest will fall into place. So—here I am, vulnerable as ever, sharing my passion.

My Passion

I pondered how to begin my blog, what would be the most important to open up with? I realized that my audience needs to know where I came from and what led me to this point to truly understand the origin of my passion. Nutrition is personal. To some, like a religion. And just like religion, there are a million interpretations of what nutrition should look like. High fat, high carb, low fat , low carb…what is truly best? What I’ve come to realize…it’s all the best if it works for you. The act of bettering yourself is what truly matters at the end of the day. In a world of so much craziness and tearing each other down, the gift of kindness is one that we all have to give. The gift to support each other in our attempts to be better. Nutrition and living a healthier lifestyle is no different.

 

Work Hard Be Kind

”Work Hard, Be Kind…” It is our family’s motto. So much so that I whisper it to my kids as they head into school, so much so that it hangs on a banner in our kitchen and so much so that I had a shirt made to spread it to others. I feel like life can really be that simple.

So–it’s become my mission. To support people in their attempts to live a healthier lifestyle. To show people how to eat real food and find a healthy balance to enjoy something they love each day too. To spread nutritional love and support anybody and everybody who is trying each day to better themselves.

 

My Childhood

I grew up in a house where soda, Little Debbie’s and homemade noodles were a staple. It was no fault of my parents; honestly I think children of the 80s all had a similar experience. This health awareness revolution didn’t start until much later. Like most girls, I’ve always been self-conscience about my body but my parents never failed in making me feel beautiful. College became my true exposure to the importance of health. I was on my own, the controller of what I put in my body and the consequences it came with. I became obsessed, in an unhealthy way, with working out and eating. Part of it was being away from home and the other was the beginning of my desire to find a healthy, sustainable life.

After being Pre-Med and getting my degree in Life Science with a Physiology emphasis, I decided teaching was my path not doctoring (is that a word??). While completing my masters, I also became certified in group fitness. Along with teaching high school science and coaching basketball, I taught Spin, TBC, Step aerobics, etc. in order to help others find a fun way to be active. At that time, I had an unhealthy relationship with food. If I knew I was going to a social event I would jump on the treadmill for hours. If I indulged in Coldstone, I immediately had to go for a run. I joked and told people “I run to eat.” Little did they know—I really wasn’t joking. I punished myself for loving food—and I know many of you can relate.

 

When Nutrition Trumps Fitness

It wasn’t until after marriage and our second child that nutrition really began to trump fitness. I realized that my bad nutrition would never out due the calories I burned on that treadmill. I wasn’t cute and pregnant. I gained over 60 lbs with my daughter and dialed it back to 40lbs with our second. After two babies, my 20 something body was gone and I hated the new one I had acquired.

My body changed externally and internally. Through pregnancy I had acquired autoimmune changes that made me gluten intolerant. This diagnosis led me to the Paleo diet. I loved it, became obsessed with it and lost much of my baby weight with it. Then, I became the “Paleo Nazi.” I was the one at the party everybody thought they had to justify their eating habits to. I’ll be honest—I judged people for their food choices like I had an awakening they hadn’t yet experienced. I look back and hate myself for it. What I don’t apologize for is the knowledge that turning to a Paleo life gave me. It taught me food quality matters. That any “diet” should focus on whole foods made of mostly vegetables, fruits, lean meats and nuts and seeds. But what the Paleo diet is missing—is reality. I never let myself indulge and was truly miserable for it. I would watch friends enjoy chips and salsa and other treats at parties and be miserable. I was afraid to leave it for fear of weight gain and those dreaded “carbs.” I desperately needed freed. Freed from food guilt.

 

Much Needed Change

I was in need of a change. I had plateaued—I was unhappy with my health, my body, my athletic performance and my burden of not feeling honest about food. I began my own work with a nutrition coach, who later became my mentor, and it truly changed my life. Flexible dieting, or macro tracking, has been the most freeing food experience of my life. It is moderation to a tee. It has showed me, more than ever, that whole foods should be the bulk of your diet because they are truly the “biggest bang for your buck.” It has showed me that being on either extreme of the nutritional spectrum has no sustainability. Food is amazing. Food is meant to be enjoyed…in a way that meets your own personal goals that only you know. It has showed me that nutrient timing is critical to maximize your results. Most of all—it has showed me that I can enjoy the things I want because I am the driving force behind my own nutrition. Food is not WHO I am. Food is FUEL.

Here I am now: many clients coached, hundreds of pounds lost, personal records crushed and so many healthy relationships with food reestablished. I am only motivated more to continue to guide others in their journey. Watching my passion to support and encourage clients cultivate their success is gratification beyond words. What started as a small side hobby has turned into something that I truly feel inspired to do each day. Good nutrition and changing your food lifestyle is addictive. I can’t wait to continue to help others feel that same addiction.

So—here I am, “AWALK”…working hard, being kind and spreading nutritional love. Can’t wait for you to join me and take “AWALKmyway.”

5 Ways to Better your Burger

It’s summertime so you know what that means…BBQ! In my house, we have burgers almost every week. They are simple, taste good, and can be done in so many ways. Because we have them so frequently, I am always looking for ways to spice them up and avoid boredom, and of course, maintain my macros.

Here is a list of a few simple things you can do to save the fat (or add it too) and better your burger.

better your burger

Add Veggies

Veggies are always my number one go to. My favorites are lettuce, arugula, pickles, jalapenos, tomatoes, salsa, mushrooms, and peppers, but you can use anything you and your family enjoy.

All of my favorite veggies have little to no caloric value, can be sautéd on the grill with the burgers, or can be slapped on at the end! You can also sauté them up in a pan with a light spray of EVOO or some beef broth for more flavor. The possibilities really are endless!

Grill Your Onions

I know an onion is a veggie, but I really had to talk about onions twice and give them their own section. Onions alone can completely change the flavor of your food and they really help better your burger.

Grilled onions are freakin’ delicious, and they amp up anything you put them on! Sweet, a little caramelized, but with a really nice crunch, grilled onions are the best addition to a burger that I’ve had in a long time.

So how do you easily grill your onions?

All you have to do is take big full slices of an onion, slap it on the grill with a little spray of EVOO (or, if you’re not trying to save the fat, you can sauté them in some Kerrygold butter). Boom, that’s it, and OH.MY.GOSH! They’re so good!

Add Frank’s Sauce

Just like their awesome marketing slogan says “That #$%@ tastes good on everything!”. I love using Frank’s Buffalo sauce. It’s the one I use the most often, and it adds a great flavor.

You can mix it right into the meat before grilling or pour over after. The choice is up to you! A big plus to using the Frank’s Buffalo sauce is that the macros are amazing with no fat, no protein, and no carbs per 1 tablespoon. You can’t really beat that!

Add Hummus

Okay, it might sound a little weird to add hummus to a burger, but bear with me here. I love hummus. I love using hummus on a daily basis. It’s packed with vitamins and nutrients. So I thought, why not add it to my burgers? And it changed my burger game.

Hummus is such a great and easy way to better your burger, and I highly recommend trying different flavors too! It’s just an awesome spread. My favorite is the garlic style hummus. Plus, it’s macro friendly!

Feta cheese

Mmm, I love cheese. Feta is probably my favorite cheese to add to a burger! I’ve even been able to find some great lower fat options made by Athenos.

In our family, my hubby will make a pocket for the feta, then put the burger on the grill with the feta inside. When you bite into the warm, melty feta it is a flavor bomb! Plus, it helps keep the burger super juicy, and that’s always a plus!

Change The Meat

Who says you have to use ground beef for a burger? You can easily change up your meat options to give your burger unique flavor! Some of the top options I’ve tried (and recommend) have been Elk, Bison, Turkey, and a combo of them!

Don’t be stuck just making the same ground beef burgers all of the time. Granted, beef burgers are delicious, but there is nothing wrong with switching it up from time to time in the meat department. Plus, some of these options are leaner than beef, which means you can save on the fat content if you need too!

Whatever you do, just make sure you’re cooking whatever meat you choose properly and to the correct temperature. No one needs to get sick by trying out a new kind of meat. Be smart and safe out there!

So those are my super easy tips on how to create and enjoy a better burger. If your family is anything like mine, burgers are on the menu quite often, but they don’t have to be boring and uninspiring! These simple tips are just the start of all the possibilities you have to better your burger. Get out there and explore!

How do you plan on making a better burger this summer?

Work Hard Be Kind,

Amanda

 

5 Simple Tips to Make Healthy Living Easier

Make Healthy Living Easier

When trying to eat healthily, sometimes you just don’t know where to start. Even if you’ve been on the healthy living journey for a while, it can be difficult to stay motivated, make the right choices, and stay the course. So how can you make healthy living easier and more enjoyable, while still living your day to day life? Here are my top 5 simple tips to make healthy living easier!

Clean Out Your Pantry

First things first, let’s clean out the pantry! Get rid of any cookies, chocolate, ice cream, candy or whatever really makes you overindulge and feel bad about your body, mind, and journey.  No, this won’t be forever. It will be until you can have better acquisition of your goals and gain a sustainable eating pattern.

By cleaning out your pantry (and fridge!), you are giving yourself the opportunity to start fresh and really get in the mindset of being healthy for the long haul. You won’t be tempted by foods that aren’t the best for you, and you’ll also have the opportunity to buy plenty of healthy and delicious options to choose from.

Prep Your Produce

It’s time to chop up your veggies and fruits! Turn up your favorite Pandora station and spend an hour or two just preparing raw veggies and fruits.  Wash and cut up your produce and store them in containers so they are ready to eat. Also, make sure to store your fruits and veggies properly, so nothing goes to waste! You will have no excuse other than to enjoy the delicious and healthy bounty in your fridge and pantry.

You can also use mason jars to store so they stay fresh and at your disposal, and these are also great on-the-go options. If you have kids, get them involved! You are their first example of what a healthy eating lifestyle looks like.

Let them tear up the lettuce, chop up the strawberries, and rinse the celery. Keeping them involved in the kitchen builds their confidence and shows them that healthy eating doesn’t have to be hard or time-consuming.

Meal Plan

Take some time at the beginning of the week to plan it! Take 30 minutes to plan a rough outline of your lunches and dinners before you even set foot in the grocery store. If you plan before you go grocery shopping for the week, you will have a focused mission and are less likely to purchase less nutritious (and more expensive) options.

Remember, you don’t have to make meal planning complicated. Keep it simple when you first start. Protein, Carb, Veggies/Fruit. That’s it. When you get more experience or time in the kitchen, then you can experiment and go all out!

Cook Extra

Along with meal planning and prepping, go ahead and make an extra serving or two when you cook! By portioning out an extra serving or servings of the protein, carb, and veggies you plan to prepare for dinner, you’ll have some extras leftover for lunch!

You’ll be able to enjoy your delicious creation the next day, with no added prep or cook time. Plus, this will keep you from having to order out or choosing an unhealthy option at work or home, and it will save you money. Who doesn’t love saving money on healthy food?

Keep It Simple

Along with keeping meals simple with choosing a protein, carb, and veggie, keep it simple in the preparation of these items. Cooking doesn’t have to be fancy or gourmet for it to be delicious and nutritious. Let’s face it — we’re busy. We have jobs, kids, households to run, and more.

We don’t usually have the time or energy for complicated meals anyways. And if you have kids, trust me, they won’t be tough food critics. They’ll just appreciate the fact that they get to have the dinner experience with their family. Plus, you’ll have extra time with your family if you aren’t spending hours in the kitchen, and that’s always a better option.

So those are my 5 simple tips to make healthy living easier, and they won’t take much time at all to get started! You don’t have to be perfect to be healthy, you just need to get going and give it a little effort.

Do you have any healthy living tips?  I’d love to hear them and add them to the list!

Work Hard Be Kind,

Amanda