It’s Time for Pumpkin Everything!

It’s still in the 90’s here at the beach and I’m still wandering around barefoot, but my social media has gone crazy for FALL and with that, pumpkin EVERYTHING! It seems that every fall there’s more and more products featuring pumpkin, and everyone, just literally, eats it up!

Fortunately, when products contain actual pumpkin (not just those flavorful spices) is really can boost our nutrition! Pumpkin offers many health benefits and is very versatile when meal planning. It can be used in baked goods, soups, sauces, pies, and even pancakes and waffles. While some fabulous kitchen lovers may find it a joy to pick a fresh pumpkin and do the scooping and cleaning for fresh pumpkin puree for their recipe needs, canned puree is readily available for the rest of us in the grocery store.

Now-Is pumpkin a vegetable or fruit??? Although it comes from the squash family, pumpkin is biologically considered a fruit! It has incredible health benefits that liken it to a vegetable however. One 50 calorie cup of pumpkin has almost two and a half times the amount of vitamin A our body needs in one day! It also contains Fiber, vitamin C, potassium, vitamins B2 and E, and even iron. Pumpkin seeds offer even more nutrition like protein, vitamin K, magnesium, and even more iron! Pumpkin is considered a superfood because of its high levels of antioxidants that help reduce the risk of diseases like cancer and heart disease. The huge amount of vitamin A, and vitamin C in pumpkin can help boost the immune system and fight off illness and infection. Pumpkin also helps with better eyesight, healthier eyes, and even better skin!

As we move into fall and “pumpkin season” it’s important to point out-many of the pumpkin flavored treats we get so excited to partake of do not actually contain real pumpkin:( They also usually contain large amounts of sugar, fat, and empty calories, so be sure to keep that in mind as you treat yourself. For a yummy and super healthy pumpkin treat at home, try these muffins made with almond flour and canned pumpkin. The almond flour adds a super boost of nutrients like protein and vitamin E while adding a sweeter, moister, nuttier taste. Be sure to use canned pumpkin-not pumpkin pie filling!! Enjoy!! Happy Fall!

Pumpkin Muffins with Almond Flour

Heat oven to 350 F

Line muffin tins with cupcake papers

Ingredients

~In large bowl-MIX

1 ½ cups blanched almond flour

½ teaspoon salt

2 ½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

¾ teaspoon baking soda

~In small bowl-MIX

4 large eggs

¾ cup canned pumpkin

1/3 cup maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix dry ingredients in large bowl, wet ingredients in small bowl. Fold wet ingredients into dry, stir until combined. (you can mix in nuts, dried berries or raisins for an added treat ~add ½ cup if desired)

Pour evenly into muffin tin and bake for 20-22 minutes until evenly cooked through. Cool, and enjoy!

Calories 133

Carbs 11 grams

Protein 5 grams

Fat 8g grams

(nutritional info not including any add ins like nuts)

Ready to BOOST that Metabolism?

Hello Readers! It’s been a minute or two since I last posted, but I’m happy to be back to it! This has been summer of crazy schedules, crazy weather, and lots and lots to keep me super busy, but also super healthy and happy to share my passion of all things nutrition, fitness, and wellness with my clients and friends.

Honestly, one of the most popular conversations that I’ve have this summer concerns metabolism. How it works, how to make it work better, and why it slows down as we age. So, I thought I’d speak a bit on that today.

Did you know? After age 25, our metabolism-which is the rate at which our bodies change food into energy-begins to slow-in fact, it slows about 5% each decade. As the rate drops, and our metabolism slows, the food that is not converted into energy becomes excess weight, which becomes extra fat in our bodies. This explains those extra stubborn pounds that many gain as the decades march on. 

But it’s not impossible to reverse this decline as you age! If you want to give your metabolic rate a kick, eating the right foods and doing the right exercises is a key. However, you also need to make sure you’re leading a lifestyle that promotes optimal calorie burning. In this article I’m going to be taking a deeper look at this topic and listing the top lifestyle tips for boosting your metabolic rate.

Don’t Overdose On Caffeine

When consumed in moderation, caffeine can actually give your metabolism a boost. However, overdosing on caffeine can interfere with your body’s internal processes and cause you to become dehydrated, as well as your ability to get a good night’s rest. This has a negative effect on your metabolism and reduces the amount of calories you burn each day.

To prevent this from happening, limit your consumption to less than five caffeinated drinks per day. This will still allow you to enjoy plenty of black tea, coffee or green tea during the day without adversely affecting the amount of calories you burn.

Look For Opportunities To Stay Active

Every day is full of opportunities to stay active, burn some extra calories and rev up your metabolism. However, most people don’t look for these opportunities and as a result they don’t use up as many calories as they could during the day.

To make the most of these opportunities, be more aware of the options available to you and choose the one that’s best for your metabolism. For example, if you have a choice between taking the elevator and the stairs, take the stairs. If you’re planning to use the car for a short journey, consider jogging or cycling instead. Doing this will significantly increase your metabolism and allow you to burn plenty of extra calories each day. Aside from these added spurts of metabolism boosting habits, it’s also important to follow a regular program of an exercise that you enjoy. Look for something that brings you joy-whether it be dancing, swimming, biking, or even planned walks-and you will be more inclined to do it regularly. Even if you don’t think you can find time to exercise, I’m betting that you can-find some ideas here!

Moderate Your Alcohol Consumption

Like caffeine, alcoholic drinks are something that can be enjoyed in small quantities but when consumed excessively, they slow down your metabolism. The reason for this is that large amounts of alcohol cause your body to become dehydrated and this inhibits your metabolism and limits the total daily calories you burn. To prevent alcohol having a negative impact on your metabolism, limit your consumption to two alcoholic drinks per night and have at least two alcohol free days per week. Always drink plenty of water when consuming alcohol to avoid this dehydration-one glass of water for each drink consumed is great way to stay hydrated as well as lessen the after effects of the alcohol the next day.

Stay Hydrated

As mentioned above, dehydration slows down your metabolism and reduces the total number of calories you burn each day. Staying hydrated has the opposite effect, helps you maintain an optimal metabolism and maximizes the amount of calories you burn each day.

To ensure that you stay hydrated, consume the equivalent of eight glasses of water per day. There are plenty of different foods and drinks that can help you hit this target, so even if you’re not a huge fan of water, it’s still really easy to stay hydrated. Simply enjoy black tea, coffee, green tea, water rich fruits (such as grapefruit and melon) and water rich vegetables (such as broccoli and spinach) regularly and you’ll easily stay hydrated and burn the maximum amount of calories possible each day.

Get At Least 6 Hours Of Sleep Per Night

Getting six hours or more of high-quality sleep each night boosts your metabolism in numerous ways. First, it stimulates the release of growth hormone – a hormone which burns body fat and builds muscle (muscle cells burn three times more calories than fat cells, so naturally raises your metabolic rate). Second, it ensures that all your vital organs function optimally and prevents your metabolism from slowing down. If you’re not currently getting at least six hours of quality sleep on a nightly basis, make the effort to improve your sleep. You can even try some nutrient rich foods to help improve the quality of your sleep.

Eat When It Suits You Best

One of the biggest metabolism myths out there is that you need to eat five or six mini-meals at even intervals during the day. However, this is actually nothing more than a successful rumor created by supplement companies in order to sell more products. The truth is that as long as your total daily calories are consistent and in line with your basal metabolic rate (click here to calculate your BMR), the timing and number of meals you consume isn’t important.

So instead of struggling to fit five or six mini-meals into your day, create a meal plan that suits your lifestyle. By doing this, you’ll not only enjoy your meals more but you’ll be much more motivated as you’re not forcing yourself to eat when you’d rather not.

Utilize Spices

Spices are a great way to add a kick to your meals and they also boost your metabolism in the process. When you consume spices, they temporarily stimulate your body’s fat burning processes and this can result in you burning more body fat after you eat them. In addition to this, eating spices raises your body’s temperature and your body then uses up more calories as it regulates this temperature increase.

If you don’t currently utilize many spices in your cooking, start making some changes today. There are plenty of different spices available with different intensities and flavors, so you can easily find one that you like. Spices are also incredibly versatile and can be used to season fish, meat, nuts, vegetables and seeds.

Base Each Meal Around Protein

By basing every meal you eat around protein, you give your metabolism a huge natural boost. Unlike carbohydrates and fats (which burn very few calories during digestion), studies that when you consume protein, your body uses up 25% of the calories it contains during digestion.

If most of your meals are rich in processed carbohydrates (such as white pasta or white rice), base them around a protein source instead (such as fish or meat) and then top up the meal with vegetables. By doing this you’ll still get some nutrient packed carbohydrates in your meal but you’ll cut out the excess carbohydrate calories and enjoy the calorie burning effects of protein. If you need to brush up on the basics of nutrition check out this article.

Get Plenty Of Fiber

Like protein rich foods, foods that contain high levels of fiber require more energy to digest so naturally enhance your metabolism when you eat them. Fiber rich foods also increase the amount of nutrients you can absorb from your foods, protect against bowel disease and much more. Most plant-based foods contain high levels of fiber. Therefore, to get plenty of fiber in your diet, simply fill up on whole grains, fruits, nuts, seeds and vegetables.

Avoid Processed Carbs

As mentioned above, if your diet contains a high concentration of processed carbs and you want to maximize your metabolism, then you need to be replacing your carbohydrate rich meals with protein rich meals.

Processed carbs require very few calories to digest, so the more processed carbs you eat, the fewer total calories your digestive system burns off. In addition to this, processed carbs contain very few vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. These nutrients support numerous processes within your body (including metabolism) and by failing to get enough of them in your diet, you can slow down your metabolism and reduce the total amount of calories you burn each day.

To keep your nutrient levels topped up, increase the amount of calories you burn during digestion and maintain an optimal metabolism, cut back on processed carbs and instead fill up on fiber rich, nutrient packed, natural carbs such as fruits, nuts, seeds and vegetables.

Consider Macro or Carb Cycling

This is something I use with many of my clients that seem to be doing ALL the right things, but their metabolism just won’t kick in to give them the results they are looking for. Macro and Carb cycling can help give your metabolism the jump start is needs to burn those calories and help drop that extra weight/fat. Macro cycling (macros are percentages of protein, fat, and carbs that make up the caloric intake) is something I use personally when a few stubborn pounds sneak on, and carb cycling works wonders with athletes and people that workout regularly that want to get an edge on their performance and speed by dropping a bit of weight while focusing on powering up their workouts. This type of eating can be so beneficial, but it’s best done with guidance and motivation from a professional-like me:)

Eating as clean as possible, making a few lifestyle changes, and finding an exercise program that works for you is the key to all good health, and when combined with a diet that’s rich in metabolism boosting foods and drinks, with consistency, you can get your metabolism fired up in a few short weeks.

Nutrition, health, and wellness is 100% personal! I Because of this, I create and offer programs based on your lifestyle and your needs that are designed and priced just for YOU. Please reach out to me if you are interested in discovering how to best start your total wellness journey.

In health and wellness,

Sami Bee

from my business site Beewell.com

Super Sweet Potatoes

When it comes to sweet potatoes, I think most people instantly think of Thanksgiving dinner-but this amazing superfood definitely deserves to show up on your menu more often! Sweet potatoes are super filling, packed full of vitamins and antioxidants, and can be prepared in a variety of ways to please even the pickiest eater. You may be thinking that sweet potatoes are a cold weather food, but I’ve added a yummy, cold, summer salad recipe starring sweet potatoes at the end of this article!!

Sweet potatoes are a root veggie that can be found in bright colors like orange and purple, as well as white. One cup of sweet potato is only 180 calories, and offers incredible amounts of vitamin A, C, and B6, as well as potassium, manganese, copper, and niacin. Along with this power punch of vitamins comes 6 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber with only the slightest trace of fat. These amazing potatoes are absolute superfoods with so many benefits-they contain high levels of antioxidants that can protect our bodies from free radicals. Free radicals in our bodies cause inflammation and lead to chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, and even aging. The fiber in sweet potatoes helps with digestion and aids in gut health and healthy gut bacteria-leading to better immunity. Sweet potatoes are also packed with beta carotene to keep our eyes and eyesight healthy!

When buying sweet potatoes, look for potatoes that are smaller in size for a sweeter taste and creamier texture. The thicker the skin of the potato-the sweeter and moister the potato will be! Choose potatoes with firm, smooth, unblemished skin for the highest quality. Make your dishes more colorful and festive by choosing potatoes in different colors!

Get sweet potatoes into your diet in a myriad of ways: serve up sweet potato chips or fries, mash into super sweet potatoes, bake and add your favorite toppings, or even puree them and add them to baked goods for an extra punch of both flavor and vitamins. You can also add sweet potatoes to salads for a sweet and healthy boost-check out the recipe below!

Summer Sweet Potato Salad

5 cups sweet potatoes  chopped into small pieces

½ tbsp olive oil

½ tsp sea salt

3 oz baby spinach chopped

¼ cup red onion diced

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

¼ cup dried cranberries

1 tbsp lemon juice

½ avocado chopped into small pieces

Preheat oven to 400F

Toss sweet potato pieces with olive oil and ½ tsp sea salt. Bake 30 minutes-flipping halfway through-until done.  Cool potatoes.

Mix spinach, onion, dried cranberries, apple cider vinegar and lemon juice in a large bowl, stir in potatoes, and add avocado. Add sea salt and pepper to taste. Store in fridge and serve cold.

Serves 4

Summer Means Watermelon!

It’s finally summertime in my little corner of the world, and I could not be happier! Although I live in rather warm and mild climate of southeast North Carolina, I found this winter to be rather brutal and was counting the days until summer while glaring at my winter coat hanging in my closet for several months. I’m definitely a warm weather kind of gal!

One of my favorite things about summer is the abundance of fresh fruits and veggies that show up in produce stands alongside my local roads. Freshly harvested strawberries, peaches, and tomatoes warm in the sun and make the air smell like sweet, sweet summer-it’s impossible not to buy them! The warm weather makes me crave meals made with lighter, fresher foods, and fruits are so sweet and ripe they taste like candy. One of my favorite fruits is watermelon, and everything about it-the taste, the smell, the joy of biting into it as the juices dribble down the chin-just screams SUMMERTIME!

Watermelon is not only a sweet and awesome summer treat, but a healthy addition to our diet! The word “water” is not just by chance-this fruit contains 92% water and helps keep us hydrated on hot days. This water content also make this delicious food super low in calories. A full cup pf watermelon contains about 50 calories and offers nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium. Watermelon is an antioxidant, which means it helps fight free radicals that can damage the cells of the body and lead to heart disease, cancers, and diabetes. The amazing fruit also contains and amino acid called citrulline which can improve exercise performance, aid in reduced muscle soreness, as well as lower blood pressure. Watermelon also has anti-inflammatory properties, as well as lycopene-which benefits the eyes. The vitamin C and A found in watermelon make this food skin healthy, and the high water content along with a small amount of fiber aids in digestion. This fruit is truly a body healthy choice!

When choosing a watermelon, pick one that is uniform is size, with a dark and dull coloring on the rind. Look for a melon that is heavy for its size-this means a higher water content and more sweetness. Check the “field spot” on the melon for the brightest yellow or orange color possible. The field spot shows how long the melon was on the vine and lying in the field-a white field spot means the melon is not yet ripe. Check the webbing or “sugar spots” on the melon-if they are large and long, the melon should be very sweet.

Serve watermelon by the slice, or in cubes with any meal for a refreshing side. Watermelon can also be added to any type of salad for a sweet crunch. Serve watermelon cubes with feta cheese or even prosciutto as an appetizer or snack. Get super creative and add watermelon to salsas, pickle it, or even try grilling it with your favorite spices! Add watermelon to your infused waters or follow the recipe below for a tasty frozen sorbet.

Watermelon Banana Sorbet

(makes 4 servings)

2 cup of cubed fresh watermelon

2 large bananas-frozen and cut into small chunks

1 tsp fresh lime juice

Place everything into a blender or food processor and pulse on high until smooth and creamy

Place into a covered container or ziploc bag-try to remove as much air as possible to prevent ice crystals from forming.

Freeze for 2-3 hours and enjoy this creamy, sweet, cold treat!

Eat Your Way to Better Sleep

Without a doubt, one of the biggest health concerns I hear about from friends, family, and clients is that they are just not getting proper sleep. Either they can’t fall asleep or, once they are asleep, they cannot seem to stay asleep. I, personally, am a lifelong insomniac who knows the struggle first hand. I’ve spent years trying to find what works for me-and that fix usually only lasts a few weeks or months before I’m looking for the next solution. Many turn to over the counter sleep meds which are not to be used regularly, or to herbal remedies which can have odd side effects. There are many different things you can try to get a better night’s sleep including certain foods that can help us drift off a little faster and stay asleep a little longer. These foods, along with some other great heath hacks can help you find that restful night’s sleep that you need and desire.

First-let’s address WHY good sleep is so important in our lives!

The Negative Effects of Not Getting Enough Sleep

Whether you are a “bad” sleeper, or perhaps just someone who’s life just doesn’t allow for much time for sleep, sleep deprivation can have a wide range of negative effects. Unfortunately, the disadvantages of not getting enough sleep are beyond daytime drowsiness and can’t be fixed with a daily dose of caffeine. Lack of sleep can jeopardize your safety and that of others around you or lead to serious health consequences. The following is a list of some surprising negative effects of inadequate sleep.

Faster Aging

Sleep deprivation can affect the way you look and accelerate the aging process. After just a few days of sleepless nights, many people start to develop wrinkles, dull skin and dark circles under the eyes. Much of this is caused by higher levels of cortisol (stress hormone) in the body which become elevated when you don’t get enough rest. When in excess, cortisol breaks down collagen – a protein that keeps the skin smooth, elastic and looking young.

Health Problems

A few nights of missed sleep can be fixed easily with more rest during subsequent days and is unlikely to have long lasting effects on your health. However, when you don’t sleep well for weeks, months, or even years, this will start to take a serious toll on your health and put you at a much higher risk of developing a range of health problems including depression, diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.

Increased Risk of Causing Accidents

Lack of sleep causes drowsiness that can increase the risk of accidents when driving, operating machines, and performing various other tasks. Drowsiness slows down your reaction times and this makes it much more difficult to respond when you need to. Therefore fatigue is one of the leading causes of automobile accidents on the roads today.

Poor Mental Performance

If you’re sleep deprived, many of your cognitive responses will not function at peak levels. Your attention span, reasoning, sense of judgment and problem-solving skills will be impaired when the body is not well rested. Lack of sleep also affects the way your brain processes and stores information and you’ll tend to forget things more often. All these factors make performing effectively and productively during the day very difficult.

Weight Gain

It may be hard to believe that not sleeping enough can cause you to pack on some extra pounds. However, recent studies have found that shortened sleep time decreases the levels of leptin (a hormone that suppresses your appetite) in your body while also elevating levels of ghrelin (a hormone that induces hunger).  A lack of sleep also reduces your human growth hormone (a hormone that stimulates muscle growth and fat burning) levels that limit the rate at which your body burns fat. The overall result is that if you don’t sleep enough, you’ll be more likely to overeat, and your body will burn off these excess calories at a slower rate.

As you can see, sleep holds a major key to our over health and wellbeing. That said, different people need different amounts of sleep. Some people cannot function on less than 8 hours, while others do just fine with 6. It’s important to be mindful of how you feel during the day. Do you need several cups of caffeine to make it through? Do you find yourself dozing off at your desk mid-day? Do you lack physical and mental energy regularly? If you experience these things, and know you are probably not getting enough sleep, it’s time to make an effort to make some changes.

And Now…The Positive Effects of Sleep

After an uninterrupted sleep session, you should feel refreshed, full of energy and ready to take on the day. The importance of sleep goes beyond boosting your mood and energy levels. In recent years, scientists have gone to great lengths to understand the health benefits that sleep brings. Here are a few awesome benefits of getting decent sleep:

Better Memory

Numerous studies have shown that sleep has a positive effect on your memory and allows the brain to become much better at remembering things. Researchers believe this is the result of a process known as memory consolidation whereby the brain recalls skills learned while you are awake.

Enhanced Concentration

Sleep is like nutrition for the brain. When you get enough of it, the chances of losing concentration during the day are much less. This makes you much more alert while you complete your daily tasks and has a direct positive impact on your effectiveness, productivity, and performance.

Faster Muscle Growth

The body releases growth hormone and builds new muscle cells while you are sleeping. Not only does it renew and revitalize your cells, but it also repairs any tissue damage. This is particularly beneficial if you perform weightlifting workouts, as the intense exercises that make up these workouts tear your muscles slightly so that they can grow back bigger and stronger. Sleep provides your body with the platform it needs to fully repair these torn muscles and maximize your muscle size and strength.

Increased Fat Loss

Researchers have found that getting enough sleep can help you eat less and even accelerate the rate at which your body burns fat. Sleeping helps regulate the levels of ghrelin and leptin in your body – 2 hormones that control hunger and appetite. It also stimulates the production of human growth hormone – the hormone that supports and speeds up your body’s fat burning processes.

Improved Physical Performance

If you’re an athlete who wants to improve your performance, getting good quality sleep every day can help you achieve this goal. Researchers at Stanford University ran a study on college football players who slept for at least 10 hours daily over several weeks. They found that not only did the well-rested athletes increase their average sprint times but also felt less tired and had more stamina during the day.

Reduced Stress Levels

When your body is sleep deprived, it goes into stress mode. Its functions remain on high alert, this causes a spike in blood pressure and cortisol – the stress hormone. High blood pressure increases your risk of heart attacks and stroke, while being stressed has a negative impact on your mood and increases your risk of falling into depression. By ensuring that you get enough sleep on a regular basis, you can keep your body out of stress mode and stay in a calm, relaxed state.

As you can see, sleep is crucial to our overall well-being! To get you started on your “better sleep” journey, try adding some of the following foods to your diet, and then, read on to see how you can make some others changes to set yourself up for a better night’s sleep.

Chamomile

Chamomile is commonly known as a mild tranquilizer or sleep inducer. It has calming effects that may decrease anxiety and initiate sleep.  Some chamomile tea can be a great idea before heading to bed to unwind, relax and de-stress.

Pistachios

Pistachios are not only tasty, but they are a jackpot for sleep. They are jampacked with magnesium, protein, and vitamin B6, which have a major role in inducing sleep. You can eat them raw or add them to a glass of warm milk.  However, more than one ounce of pistachios will have a reverse effect on your body; eat in moderation to avoid exacerbating your sleep issues.

Kiwi

Kiwis contain serotonin, a brain chemical that helps regulate your sleep cycle. Many people take serotonin supplements to help with sleep, but wouldn’t you rather eat something that tastes delicious to get the same effect? Not only do kiwis contain serotonin, but they also may boost your sleep abilities due to their levels of vitamin C and carotenoids which reduce inflammation.

Tart cherry juice

Tart cherry juice contains high levels of melatonin that regulate your internal clock and send signals for your body to get ready to sleep. A study conducted by Louisiana State University found that insomniacs who drank tart cherry juice increased their sleep time by 90 minutes!

Bananas

This fruit is a powerhouse of magnesium and potassium, which serve as natural sleep aids for your body. If you are feeling wide awake late into the night, try a banana to get yourself to sleep. You can even whip yourself up a thick sugar-free banana shake before you go to bed. Bananas are high-glycemic fruits, so try adding in some protein or good fat with that shake-like coconut oil or almond butter-so sugar levels don’t skyrocket into the night.

Walnuts

Walnuts contain tryptophan, which helps produce melatonin and serotonin in the body and improve the quality of our sleep by regulating the sleep cycles. University of Texas even found that walnuts contain their own source of melatonin, which may help you fall asleep faster. 

Pumpkin seeds

A cup of roasted pumpkin seeds contains around 649 mg of magnesium, which is nearly double the daily recommendation of the National Health Institute. Magnesium supports deep, restorative sleep by maintaining healthy levels of GABA (a neurotransmitter that promotes sleep). Magnesium deficiencies are associated with heightened stress and anxiety, which of course lead to less sleep, so these pumpkin seeds have many benefits.

Adding some or all these foods to your diet can help you finally find that great night’s sleep you’ve been looking for! To help you even more in getting that rest you need so badly, be sure to try the following tips to ensure the right routine and atmosphere for proper and restful sleep:

Sleep in a Cool, Dark & Quiet Room

Sleeping with the lights on is one of the major causes of sleep deprivation. When your eyes are exposed to light, neurons are aroused, and this disrupts your sleep. Research has also shown that light exposure before sleep suppresses the production of melatonin – the hormone that controls your sleep and wake cycles. A reduction in this hormone at night normally leads to varying levels of sleeplessness. To avoid sleep disruption due to night time exposure to light, always sleep with all the lights off. This includes the light emitted from electronic devices, so make sure your computer, phone, tablet, and other light producing equipment are either turned off or stored outside the bedroom.

Too much heat can also disrupt your sleep quality. To keep cool while you sleep, make sure you keep the window open and ensure the room is well ventilated. If you still find that you’re too warm after doing this, go to bed wearing lighter clothing and consider less blankets.

Noise is yet another thing that can have a detrimental impact on the quality of your sleep. To minimize the amount of noise in your room, make sure there’s nothing in the bedroom that could potentially make noises while you sleep. If it’s noisy outside your bedroom, try sleeping with a fan running (my entire family travels with box fans!) or even earplugs.

Avoid Caffeine After 3pm

As you probably know, coffee is a rich source of caffeine. These chemicals change the brain’s chemistry by binding with sleeping inducing receptors known as adenosine to keep you awake. The stimulating effects of caffeine can wreak havoc on your sleep because they take hours to wear off. Therefore, if you are an avid coffee drinker, (or other forms of caffeine) consider stopping consumption at 3pm. If that doesn’t help, consider stopping it even earlier.

Get Comfortable Before You Sleep

There are many ways to get comfortable before going to bed and these can improve the quality of your sleep. For instance, taking a hot shower raises your core body temperature and this helps to improve sleep. Alternatively, having a hot bath can relax your muscles and help you to have a soothing night of sleep.

Try Essential Oils or Scent Therapy

Essential oils and natural scents such as cedar wood, roman chamomile, sandalwood, valerian, or lavender are all-natural relaxants and can help you have an amazing night’s sleep. There are lots of ways you can use these scents to enhance your sleep quality. If you’re having a bath before bed, try putting a few drops of your favorite sleep-inducing scents into the bath and then allow the aromas to work their magic. Using these scents in the bedroom can also help calm the body and bring about sleep.

Unwind Before Bed

One final way to maximize your sleep quality is to start unwinding and getting ready for bed a few hours before you sleep. Disconnecting from the Internet, switching off the TV and your other electronic devices, and spending the last few hours of the day doing a relaxing activity can change your quality of sleep. For the last 30 minutes of the day, try to stop everything, empty your mind, and focus fully on getting ready for sleep. In my personal life, I discovered that 15 minutes of restorative yoga, followed by a calming period of meditative breathing was my ticket to sounder, and deeper sleep.

Sleep is just one of the pillars of great health, and it’s in balancing all the pillars that leads to ultimate wellness. If you are interested in finding the balance in your life, and becoming the healthiest and happiest you can be, let’s connect and chat! I’d love to hear from you and get you started on your own personal wellness journey.

 Be Blessed and BeeWell

Nutrition Labels 101

One of the biggest questions I get from people trying to change their eating habits is about food labels and food packaging. Whether you are trying to eat healthier, lose or gain weight, or just get the highest quality food for your dollar, reading food labels is an important part of the process. Although the labels have gotten a bit easier to read in recent years, they can still be a bit confusing, and the way products are designed and marketed on the shelves can be even more confusing. Knowing how to read these labels can make eating, and grocery shopping, much simpler, as well as healthier.

When we are selecting our groceries, the very first thing we see is the packaging. Food companies know this, and they try all sorts of tactics to make you think you are getting the best product as well as the best value-whether it’s true or not. Using “healthy claims” on packaging is a huge trend, and many of these claims are completely misleading. “Organic” or “pure cane sugar” is, after all, still just sugar; It’s not any healthier, and it doesn’t make the product better for you. Advertising “made with whole grains” on a box of sugary cereal is often found to be just a sprinkling of grains mixed into bleached white flour. If you look at a box of gummy fruit snacks, you will often see “made with real fruit” on the packaging, when in reality 40% of the product is corn syrup, and there may be 4 other types of sugar added before the tiniest bit of fruit enters the product. Being aware of these sneaky practices can help make your choices much easier.

Servings and Serving Sizes:

One of the biggest lessons in nutrition label is SERVING SIZE! This is without a doubt the most enlightening thing for many people to realize! A popular example: a serving of soda is 12oz and 150 calories-not 150 calories per 22oz bottle! An average small bag of chips grabbed with your lunch may say “160 calories per serving” but, in reality that bag may have 3 or more servings in it! Serving sizes are usually LESS that the average person expects! Always check the serving sizes before calculating your intake or calories and nutrients. If you consume the entire product, be sure to multiply ALL the calories and nutrition by the number of servings in the package.

The Ingredients:

Ingredients are found at the bottom of the nutrition label, and they are listed in order of quantity. The first few ingredients tell you the bulk of what the food is made of. If those first few ingredients include things like sugars (corn syrup is just highly process sugar!), refined grains, or hydrogenated oils-it is not a healthy food! If the product has several lines of ingredients, or many ingredients that are just long scientific words that you don’t know as “food”, you may want to choose another food option. Healthy whole ingredients give us the heathiest food-it’s that simple!

Reading Nutritional Percent Values:

All the nutrients including vitamins and minerals are listed with Daily Value percentages. These numbers are based on a total of 2000 calories a day. If your normal calorie intake in higher or lower than 2000 calories, by sure to adjust your intake accordingly. These values are based on a daily consumption-not each meal. If you track your nutrients carefully, be sure to take notice of this.

Sugars:

If eating less sugar is one of your nutrition goals, checking the ingredients is super important. Food companies know that many are trying to reduce sugar intake-so they use many forms of sugar to sweeten their products and these ingredients will be listed with different names, often in large quantities: high fructose corn syrup, malt syrup, lactose, dextrose, oat syrup, agave necter, ethyl malto, glucose, maltodextrin, and fruit juice concentrate are just a few of the many words that mean just one thing-SUGAR. It is recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans to keep added sugars to less than 10% of your calorie intake for each day. If you are trying to eliminate or lessen the amount of sugar in your diet, check out my guide to Sugar for free HERE.

Fats:

Look for foods with low amounts of saturated fats, and no trans fats. These types of fats are linked to obesity and heart disease. On the flip side, look for foods that have unsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat can actually lower the risks of disease! These fats include olive oils, nuts, seeds, and fish. These are heathy fats that are good for the heart, lowering cholesterol, and keeping the skin, joints, and overall health in check.

Best Advice!:

Shopping the perimeters of the grocery store and buying WHOLE foods is your best bet for a healthy diet. Fill your cart with an abundance of colorful fruits and veggies in the produce department, look for lean sources of protein in your seafood and meat department, and choose health dairy products to round out your cart. When venturing into the aisles of the store, be sure to choose whole grains packaged with little processing like whole grain breads, brown rice, and grain pastas.

If you are interested in learning more about healthy eating, check out my free guide to Clean Eating, and/or this blog post on the beginner’s guide to healthy eating!

If you are focused on changing your health habits to build a better YOU-consider one on one coaching! I’m educated, trained, and certified in nutrition, wellness, motivation, and fitness to guide you on your entire health journey! I look forward to chatting with you on a free call to discuss your personal health and wellness plan-reach out to me here.

Reposted from my business site BeeWell.com

Amazing Almonds

Almonds are crunchy, tasty, filling, and absolutely packed with superfood benefits! I keep individual serving packs of almonds in my pantry for a grab and go snack on busy days, or for when I just need a little protein boost before or after Pilates class. Just a single 1 ounce serving satiates my hunger and fulfills my need to crunch on something while providing me with so many great nutrients. How can you beat that???

The most popular form of almonds is unshelled, and either raw or roasted, salted or unsalted. We can also find almonds used in SO many products in our grocery stores like almond milks, almond butter, and almond flour, with each of these products offering their own healthy benefits and many uses.

Considered a superfood, these yummy nuts are an antioxidant-which means they can protect your cells from damage that leads to disease and aging of the body. These amazing nuts also help with lowering blood sugar, blood pressure and LDL cholesterol levels! A single serving of almonds contains 6 grams of energy producing protein, 3.5 grams of fiber, and 14 grams of fat-9 of which are heart healthy monounsaturated fats. Almonds also contain a high amount of vitamin E, magnesium, manganese, and a good amount of cooper, phosphorus, and vitamin B2. That’s a LOT of GREAT nutrition coming from a small handful of food! Bonus-if you’re concerned about your calorie intake, it’s important to note: 10-15% of the calories in almonds is NOT absorbed by the body! And the protein and fiber content in almonds has been known to keep you feeling full for longer periods of time-therefore capable of helping you reduce your calorie intake!

There are so many ways to add this incredible power food to your diet. Consider sprinkling slivered almonds into your cereals, yogurts, salads, or oatmeal. When baking, use slivered almonds in muffins, breads, cakes, cookies and brownies. When preparing meals, add slivered almonds to rice pilafs and omelets. Using almond milk and almond flour in place of cow’s milk and wheat flour in your recipes will add protein and nutrients to everything you prepare, and almond flour is gluten free! *If using almond flour to replace wheat flour in your favorite recipes, start with a 1:1 ratio and know that because almond flour contains a bit more moisture, you made need to add more to get the right consistency for your recipe. When I use almond flour and almond milk in my recipes, I find that my foods are a bit more moist, and have a slightly sweet, nutty flavor. One of my absolute favorite go to recipes is my low carb pancakes-and the recipe is below. I prepare these weekly, keep them in my fridge, and simply heat and eat. They are SO SO good!!! 

A fun fact about almonds: 80% of the world’s almonds are grown in California! Other countries that produce almonds are Spain, Iran, and Morocco-but Cali wins as the biggest producer in the world with over 500 miles of farms-mostly family owned!

Be sure to keep some almonds around for a healthy heart boosting snack-even better-grab some almonds dipped in dark chocolate and get even MORE healthy benefits from your snack! If you’re looking for a yummy way to add these nutrient packed nuts into your diet, give my favorite recipe a try:

Low Carb “Pancakes”

5 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup almond milk

6 tablespoons melted butter (must be cooled)

3  1/3 cups almond flour

6 tbsp Swerve Sweetener or Monk fruit sweetener

1 tbsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

Preheat oven to 400°F and grease 11X17 inch baking pan-or muffin pan (I use the “all edges” brownie pan from Pampered Chef) *Makes 12 servings.

Combine eggs, almond milk, cooled melted butter, and vanilla extract in a blender and blend until well mixed.

In a separate bowl, combine almond flour, sweetener, baking powder and salt.

Slowly add the flour mixture to the blender, blending and scraping sides of blender until all ingredients are well blended. Let batter sit briefly until thickened.

Pour batter into greased baking dish and spread evenly, or scoop by 1/3 cup each into muffin tin. (I use the Pampered Chef brownie pan with the 12 individual cups)

Bake 13-17 minutes until edges are golden brown and centers are firm to the touch. Carefully remove from pan and allow to cool. If using a baking dish, cut into 12 even pieces.

These can be refrigerated for up to a week in a Ziploc bag. Simply heat for 30 seconds in the microwave and serve.

Serve with butter and your fav low carb syrup, or with berries. *My son eats them with peanut butter.

Nutrition:

Cals.  130

Fat 11 grams  Sat 4.5 grams

Carbs 8 grams  Fiber 1 gram

Protein   5 grams

Set a Goal-Reach a Goal!

Hello Heathy Readers! It’s been a bit since I last posted because I was focused on reaching a goal I had set for myself! After a few decades, I finally got recertified as a personal trainer! It required a few months of study, a lot of focus, and a rather crazy end story concerning my final exam, but I passed with flying colors and can now tuck that long term goal away in my “accomplished” folder.(if curious, you can read about my crazy exam issue at the end of this post) All of this got me thinking about how we go about setting and, hopefully, reaching all those goals as we travel through life. Whether your goal is related to work, school, health or hobbies, having a clear-cut plan to reach your goal is the key. Why do some people reach their goals, while others just seem to talk about, or wish for, their goals to be completed-but never seem to make progress? The difference is all in the approach!

The very first thing we need to do when setting goals is to be very clear on what the end goal is-what does it look like in your life? How will it affect your life? Does the end goal make you excited? Is it a priority in your future? Is it a priority now? Defining your goal is the first step to reaching it-but be sure to define it clearly and concisely. Take a few minutes to write your goal down and consider making your goal public as well. Saying your goal out loud to the people around you can keep you accountable, and even elicit encouragement and support.

Next, make sure your goal is a SMART goal! SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time Based.

SPECIFIC: Be sure that your goal is specific and detailed. Instead of setting a goal to “get fit” think more detailed. Consider setting a more specific goal that involves being fit, like running a certain distance, participating in an athletic endeavor, or lifting a certain amount of weight. This provides you with an end result that proves accomplishment!

MEASURABLE: How will you measure your success as you reach for your goal? Breaking your goal into small measurable pieces will keep you motivated and inspire you to continue on! Measurable mini goals are the small steps that lead you to big changes! Instead of aiming for a giant goal like “lose 25 pounds” all at once, break that goal into small goals, perhaps 5 pounds at a time. Each time your reach a small goal, celebrate yourself and aim forward to the next!

ATTAINABLE: Be sure your goal is possible yet somewhat challenging. I once knew someone that always said that their goal in life was to win the lottery. However, in a 10 year period, they never once bought a lottery ticket! That’s not a goal-that’s a wish or a dream! Make sure your goal is something you CAN do with work and WILL do with focus!

RELEVANT: Align your goal with your abilities and life. Be sure that your goal leads you to a more positive and happy existence and leaves you feeling accomplished and proud. Your goal should keep you inspired and motivated as you work towards it and mean something to your current life.

TIME BASED: Your goal should fit a timeline and have an ending date. Not having a time frame in mind for accomplishing your goal can leave you in a state of procrastination with a lack of focus.

Now that you made sure your goal is SMART, it’s time to plan it out. I’m a planner; I’m such a planner, I sometimes get so exhausted planning HOW I will do something, I find myself needing to take a break from my plans to regain my inspiration! That said, the plan you put in place does not have to be set in stone, or even incredibly detailed. Think of this as an “outline” of how you will reach your goal. Break it down into small steps and give yourself props as you reach those milestones along the way. This will keep both your focus and your inspiration high.

Once your goal is outlined, decide how often you will take the steps needed to reach it. Will this be a daily journey? A weekly task? How much time will you devote to achieving the goal? Next-put it physically on your schedule! Block time out on your calendar, create reminders, and treat this timeslot as you would any other appointment or job. This is YOUR time; this is time for accomplishing your goal. Treat it with respect, importance, focus, and honor this time as an investment into yourself.

Consider finding support and accountability as you progress towards your goal. Telling others your plan will make it more real. Discussing your goals and the steps you need to take with others may offer you new ideas or perspective as well. Finding others that may share your goal can be incredibly helpful with support, knowledge, motivation, or inspiration.

Set up time to evaluate your process, celebrate your accomplishments, and make changes to any steps that may need it. Ask yourself: What worked for me? What didn’t work for me? What might need tweaking? How can I approach this differently? What can I do to make this process simpler? Remember-the journey that leads us to our goals is often as important as the goal itself.

Reaching our goals requires patience, planning, focus, and drive. Finding the right mindset is very important in this process. Surround yourself with positive support and vibes, develop a plan for any possible setbacks, and whatever you do-DON’T GIVE UP! Keep your eye on the prize, take small steps with diligence and care, and you will WIN!

Many of our goals involve our health and wellness. If you are looking for support, knowledge, education, and experience with planning and reaching your goals in nutrition, fitness, habits, stress levels, meal planning, or any other facet of your ultimate wellness, reach out to me to chat about how I can help you better reach your goals. Be sure to check out other articles on my blog for detailed health hacks, recipes, motivation and more.

*As promised-the crazy final exam story: I spent 6 months studying, opened the final exam and instantly saw questions about subject matter that was NOT addressed in my program. I contacted the school to discover after several long, confusing phone calls, that while I had been given, and studied, edition 9 of the text-the school gave me the edition 10 final exam. They sent me pdfs of the addition subject matter (175 pages!) and told me to do my best.

I waded through the additional materials, made some sense of it, took notes, and reopened the exam. As I answered question 100 out of 200, my phone rang…..The student advisor apologized and told me they had upgrade my course to edition 10….but in doing so-canceled out my entire exam and I had to START OVER…

YIKES!

Goal accomplished tho!!

from my business page: beewell.com

Healthy Treats for You and Your Sweet

I hope you had a chance to check out the Superfood Super Sunday healthy snack recipes I posted for Super Bowl Sunday! Super Bowl Sunday is followed up with that awesome day of LOVE, Valentine’s Day-or, for some of you, perhaps you’ll be celebrating the joy of your female friendships with Galentine’s Day! Either way, I’ve got you covered with some super yummy, yet super health sweet snacks to celebrate with! Share your love of yummy, healthy treats with someone you love this holiday-or just enjoy them while treating YOURSELf-after all SELF LOVE is the BEST LOVE!

Check out this superfood, super healthy treats and be sure to share the recipes with friends! Happy Love Day!

Low Carb Strawberry Banana Cake

4 small ripe bananas

1 cup wheat flour

½ cup buckwheat flour

¼ cup coconut oil

2 tbsp. stevia/xylitol or Swerve

1 egg

1 tsp. baking powder

10 strawberries, halved

Pre-heat oven to 350°F Directions: 

Peel the bananas and place them in a food processor or high-speed blender. Mix until smooth. Add in the egg, oil and sweetener, then mix again. Next, add in the flours and baking powder, and mix until a smooth batter is formed. Transfer the batter into a greased or silicon cake tray.  Place the halved strawberries on top and bake for around 60 minutes, until the cake is golden brown and cooked through.

Serves 16

Nutrition per serving:

104 cal  5g Fats 16g Carbs  2g Protein

HEALTHY FERRERO ROCHER

Ingredients:

1 cup + 12 hazelnuts

2 tbsp. cocoa powder

2 tbsp. agave syrup

1 tsp. vanilla extract

pinch of sea salt

2 tbsp. dark chocolate chunks

Directions:

Add 1 cup of hazelnuts into a food processor and blitz until chopped into tiny pieces.

 Next, add the cacao powder, agave syrup, vanilla extract, sea salt and chocolate. Pulse until all the ingredients start to stick together. If the mixture is too dry, add 1-2 teaspoon of water.

 Roll the mixture into bite-size balls and insert one hazelnut into the centre of each ball.

 Serve right away or store in the fridge for later.

Nutrition per 1:

91 cal    8g Fats 6g Carbs    2g Protein

Dark Chocolate Banana Bites

Ingredients:

3 ripe bananas

⅓ cup natural peanut butter

½ cup dark chocolate chips

2 tsp. coconut oil

Directions:

Peel and slice the bananas. Line a tray or chopping board with baking paper. 

Place about ½ teaspoon of peanut butter onto the banana slices and top with another banana slice to make a little ‘sandwich’. You should be able to make around 30 sandwiches.  

 Place the bananas on the prepared baking paper and store it in the freezer for about 1 hour. 

Next, melt the chocolate chips and coconut oil in the microwave or using the water bath method.

 Once the chocolate is melted, dip each frozen banana sandwich into the melted chocolate so that half of it is coated.

 Place the chocolate covered sandwiches back on the baking paper platter, and into the freezer for another 15-20 minutes.

 Once the chocolate is set, you can transfer the bananas into a container and store in the freezer for up to 1-2 months. 

The longer the bananas stay in the freezer, the harder they will get. So remove them from the freezer for about 5 minutes before eating.

Nutrition per 2 bites:

99 cal   6g Fats 12g Carbs    2g Protein

Superfood Super Sunday

Super Bowl Sunday is upon us, and in my family-that means HOLIDAY! As a child this was always one of the biggest days of the year in my house as we also celebrated my football obsessed dad’s birthday on the same day. The amount of food bought and consumed was ridiculous! We usually started off the day with a huge breakfast, and about 2 hours later the table and countertops in the kitchen would be completely covered with lunchmeats, chips, cookies, various chips, potato salad, macaroni salad, and brownies. My father would cook his yearly kielbasa sausage and sauerkraut in the crockpot, and the stove top would be covered in hotdogs, chili, and all the fixens. Beer, wine, and mixed drink rounded it out for this all day feast-which also ended with birthday cake. Needless to say, many people left our house with tummy aches over the years, but they always returned for another crazy football feast.

Super Bowl Sunday is thought to be the second highest food consumption day of the year, right after Thanksgiving. Some online articles suggest that the average viewer eats almost 11000 calories on that day, with the most popular foods being pizza, wings, chips and dips, deviled eggs, chili, and hotdogs. Men’s Fitness magazine stated that American’s drink 345 million gallons of beer each Super Bowl Sunday! This is, of course, considered a holiday for many, and it’s perfectly ok to splurge on occasion, but if you are thinking about keeping focused on your health goals while enjoying this year’s big game (or any big event with food!) this article is for you!

Consider this average list of consumption during a regular sports party:

2 slices of pepperoni pizza

6 wings

Nachos with cheese and toppings

Endless amounts various chips (but let’s say 2 servings)

4 cookies

2 beers (only 2!)

2 sodas

Does that sound about right? Have you found yourself eating this way? I know this happens in my house!

This, my friend, is 2800 calories worth of food-with a whopping 100 grams of FAT. Add a loss by your favorite team, and you might find you had a really bad day! (I can attest to this…I once threw a vacuum cleaner off an upstairs balcony after a loss-and my dad was famous for breaking doors after bad games….mediation has helped!:))

Having a great time and enjoying great food while ALSO sticking to your health goals is completely possible. It can easily be done by making a plan, sticking to a few guidelines, and having a few good recipes for tasty, healthy party food.

When I approach a day that revolves around food, I like to go in with a plan. I start my day with a super healthy, filling, but light breakfast like oatmeal and fruit. I focus on getting my exercise for the day in before game time, and drink as much of my water as possible. It’s important to get something healthy and nutritious into your stomach BEFORE showing up where there is lots of party food!

The guidelines I follow and lay out for my clients in any situation that involves an “all day” food situation are as follows.

-Stay hydrated! Keep drinking that water. If you chose to drink alcohol, match each drink with an equal amount of water. This will flush your system, as well as help avoid overindulging and getting a hangover.

-scan the food offerings and make a plan: what will you enjoy as your actual meal? What will you snack on? What will you indulge in for dessert? When will you eat these foods?

-remember portion control! Take small amounts of the foods you want to enjoy and be sure to put them on a plate and actually take time to enjoy them. And, to remind you and ME-potato chips DO fit on a plate and it’s a great way to eat only a serving size! (I’m a chip girl-just don’t let me stand by the bowl!)

~always have healthy options available. Veggie and fruit trays with hummus or lower fat dip are a great start.

~choose mustard over mayo on your sandwich or hotdog and consider skipping the cheese.

~cheese or veggie pizza instead of pepperoni or fatty meats and stick to one slice for a very healthy change.

~use a smaller plate for your choices, eat slowly, and don’t eat out of giant bowls or packages.

~make the decision to only eat at a certain point of the day perhaps at halftime.

~instead of pizza, hotdogs or hamburgers, try some grilled kebabs with lean meats, veggies and fruits.

~do a search for some healthy game day snack recipes (there are TONS) and try a new one out each week. And check out the recipes that follow this article!

Now, to add some fun to your day! Let’s get up and move and get everyone involved with fun and exercise!

~make some bets with your family and friends, with crazy exercise as the consequence. Your team scores-they have to do pushups, their team scores-you have to do jumping jacks. This can be done with all aspect of the game, even down to ref calls and uniform choices!

~get up and move during commercial breaks, long replay decisions, and halftime. March around the house, step outside for some fresh air and take a quick walk around the yard. And don’t forget to get up and dance during that old school halftime show!

~have a themed “party game” available during game breaks-shoot hoops into a wastepaper basket, throw the ball around in the front yard, be creative and have some fun with it!

 Above all, remember that this time is for having fun, relaxing with family and friends, and socializing. The food and drinks are just an added attraction to the day and partaking in a huge feast of food is not a requirement or expectation. Focus on your family and friends, and your team, and have a great and healthy time.

GO TEAM!

Check out some of these healthier choice recipes for your game day, and be sure to check out these awesome DIP recipes as well!

Healthy Deviled Eggs

Make your deviled eggs with Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise and turn your deviled eggs into a superfood explosion! These are packed with protein and super yummy!

 Ingredients:

Hard boiled eggs, cooking the yolks well (leave in hot water for 13 minutes)

Plain whole milk Greek yogurt

Dijon Mustard or your other favorite spiced mustard

Salt and pepper

Favorite spices-paprika, cayenne pepper, or try a Maryland favorite-Old Bay for a yummy twist

 Directions:

Cut each egg in half lengthwise. Scoop yolks into a small bowl. Place egg whites on a serving dish.

Mash egg yolks with a fork and add the rest of the ingredients until it is smooth and to your tasting and texture.  

Spoon mixture into egg whites, or for a fancy decorative look, use an icing bag with a tip and squeeze into whites.

Sprinkle with paprika or old bay, or use another topping as desired-bacon bits, relish, hot peppers. 

Keep chilled until ready to serve and enjoy!

Zucchini Fries

Ingredients:

1 lb.  zucchini

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 egg

1 tsp.  milk

4 tbsp. breadcrumbs

1 tsp. dried oregano

1 tsp. dried thyme

3 tbsp. olive oil

Directions:

Preheat oven to 430°F . Cut zucchini into fry-like pieces. 

Crack the egg into a bowl and whisk with the milk. Season with salt, pepper, add the crushed garlic, oregano, and thyme. Mix well.

On a separate plate, have your breadcrumbs ready. 

Grease a large baking tray with 1 tbsp. of olive oil. 

Dip the zucchini in the egg, then roll in the breadcrumbs and place on the baking tray. Place the tray in the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes. Turn the fries 2-3 times during this time, drizzling them with the remaining 2 tbsp. of olive oil. 

Season with salt and serve.

Nutrition per serving: Serves 4

177 cal     12g Fat. 14g Carbs   5g Protein

Veggie Chili Salad

Ingredients:

14 oz. can black beans, rinsed, drained

7 oz. can sweet corn, rinsed, drained

1 red bell pepper, sliced

bunch coriander, chopped

5 oz.  hot salsa

Directions:

Rinse the black beans and corn under cold running water, rinse thoroughly and drain well. Slice the pepper into small strips. Chop the coriander coarsely.

Mix the beans, corn, pepper and coriander with the salsa in a medium bowl. This salad can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Serving suggestions:

Guacamole Baked Tortilla chips Veggies

Nutrition per serving: 4 servings

 144 cal    2g Fats 28g Carbs     8g Protein