Take a Bite into Great Health with Apples!

For many of us, it’s fall, which means apple season! As I packed my pantry bag this week to travel to Monday Night Football in Baltimore (GO RAVENS!) I was sure to throw in a few apples. Apples are truly one of the healthiest and easiest foods to keep on hand-no matter where you are or what you are doing! We’ve all heard the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”, and there is some real science behind the saying!

No matter what type of apple you eat (there are over 7500 varieties, 2500 different types of apples are found in the US alone!!) you will get some excellent nutritional benefits along with a sweet, juicy, crunchy, treat. There are SO many different types of apples you could eat one a day for 20 years and never eat the same kind twice! Because they are so portable, and don’t require refrigeration or preparation, they are perfect for traveling and busy lifestyles.

As I did a little research on this popular fall fruit, I learned some interesting facts. Did you know????

~The apple is a member of the rose family

~it takes the energy of 50 leaves to produce one apple

~apples range in size from as small as a cherry to the size of a grapefruit

~the largest apple ever produced was over 3 pounds

~in Chinese culture the word for apple is “ping” which also stands for peace.

~the average apple has 10 seeds

~top producers of apples are China, US, Turkey, Poland, and Italy.

~Apples were planted by Pilgrims in the Massachusetts Bay Colony

~apple juice is one of the most popular juices in the US

Apples are truly a nutritional marvel, with so many benefits for the body. Here’s just a few facts to get you thinking about grabbing an apple as you go about your awesome busy life!

Packed with nutrition!

The average apple is about 100 calories, and is full of great vitamins like C, K, A, E B1, B2, and B6. Eaten with the skin on, the apple gives us a great amount of fiber as well. Because apples are small, fresh, and portable, this makes it the perfect healthy snack!

Good for elimination and bowel health

One apple with its skin contains 4 to 5 grams of fiber – the most important nutrient in keeping your bowels working like clockwork. Fiber helps with constipation, and an ingredient found in apples called pectin has a congealing effect to also help with diarrhea. Pectin is considered a prebiotic, which means it feeds the good bacteria in your gut. Apples are a healthy gut food.

Keep your body young.

Apples contain polyphenois, which has an antioxidant effect on the body. Antioxidants help protect our bodies from aging, heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, and diabetes. When scientists compared a 1,500-milligram vitamin C supplement to one small apple, the results were astounding – the antioxidant values were equal. That means a fresh apple has more than 15 times the antioxidant power of the recommended daily dose of vitamin C. Apples also contain magnesium and potassium that help regulate your blood pressure and keep your heart beating steadily, and it’s the flavonoid quercetin, a naturally occurring antioxidant, that protects your artery walls from damage and keeps your blood flowing smoothly. Apples are also linked to better brain health and mental clarity.

Excellent For Weight Loss Efforts

Because apples are high in both fiber and water content, they are very filling. In studies, people that snacked on apple slices before meals ate fewer calories and felt fuller for longer periods of time!

Protects your Bones and Joints.

Eating fruit is a great way to maintain bone density and decrease the risk of arthritis. The high amounts of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties in apples promote bone health, and the trace mineral boron found in apples aids in joint health.

Be sure to buy apples that are unbruised, firm, and have good color. Take them out of their plastic bag and store them in your refrigerator – loose in the produce bin or in a paper bag is best. And since they will absorb odors, keep them away from strong-smelling foods like garlic and onions. If you have an opportunity to visit an orchard and go apple picking, I highly recommend doing so-there is nothing like the taste of an apple pulled directly from the tree!

For a special treat, try baking apples for a healthy and incredible smelling dessert or snack. Just core your apples and place them in a greased baking dish. Add a bit of apple cider or juice to the dish, and sprinkle the apples with maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, or apple pie spice. You can also fill the hole of the apples with oats, nuts, or raisins. Bake at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes, checking with a fork for softness. Top with a dash of yogurt or vanilla ice cream and enjoy!

If you are looking for more easy superfood recipes, be sure to check out my 5 Ingredient Superfood Cookbook! It contains power food recipes for breakfasts, lunches, dinners, desserts, and snacks. Get yours free here!

I’d love to help you with your health and wellness journey! If you are interested in a 30 minute conversation about your goals, please reach out!

10 Ways to Sneak Fruits and Veggies into Your Family’s Diet

I think that just about everyone knows that we should be eating at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day-I’ve even heard small children remind their parents while ordering in restaurants. But having the knowledge, and actually following through are very different things! Many times, fruits and veggies are not easily available or convenient, sometimes they are more expensive than junk food, and often, we are just tempted to grab a less healthy food to snack on or add to our meals.

A diet rich in fruits and vegetables has SO many benefits! These foods are chock full of vitamins and minerals, and many also offer fiber and protein. Antioxidants provided by many fruits and vegetables can help reduce the risk of developing heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Antioxidants help reduce inflammation in the body that can cause arthritis, joint pain, brain fog, headaches, and muscle stiffness, just to name a few. Fruits and veggies fill us up and keep us full while providing power packed nutrients without a lot of calories and have no fat. Fruits and veggies offer us nutrients that are good for literally every part of the body-our skin, hair, nails, muscles, bones, and brain. These are absolute super foods!

When my family was young, nutrition was a huge focus in my parenting. Meals were planned in advance, and we often needed to eat while running with a busy schedule. Two of my four children were picky eaters; One of them wanted to exist on chicken tenders and peanut butter for the first 12 years of his life! While getting fruit into my family’s diet was never an issue, getting vegetables in was always a challenge, so I had to get super creative. Fortunately, as the years went on, my family developed a taste for most vegetables, and I’m always impressed when they make sure to fill their plates as young adults. If you are struggling to get fruits and veggies into your diet, or your family’s diet, I’d like to offer some creative tips!

1. Start the day with a breakfast smoothie. Simply throw some fruits, low-fat yogurt and ice in a blender. To round out a perfect meal in a cup, add a scoop of protein powder. Just blend for a few seconds and you have the perfect breakfast. If you’d like to get super creative and mega nutritious, throw in a handful of spinach and a few ounces of carrot juice-it will add a powerful amount of nutrients while adding a bit of sweetness. Frozen fruits, like superfood blueberries, work fantastic in smoothies, and removes the need for ice. This is not only tasty and healthy, but portable and ready for an on the go lifestyle.

2. Dried fruit makes an excellent snack any time of the day. Add some small cartons of raisins to your lunch boxes, pack some yogurt-covered raisins in your briefcase and keep some trail mix sitting around for snacking. You can also add dried fruit to oatmeal and cereal in the morning, or mix it with nuts, or into yogurts as an added treat. Dried fruit is a great item to keep in the car for long trips, or in a backpack for hikes or long walks.

3. Add some fruits and vegetables to your family’s sandwiches. You can add some banana, sliced apples or strawberry slices to a peanut butter sandwich. Top a turkey or chicken sandwich with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, spinach….You can even make a sub shop style vegetable sandwich by combining several different vegetables with some favorite dressing and cheeses. Try over ripe banana on toast or switch up iceberg lettuce with spinach or kale to add more nutrition to your sandwiches.

4. Have a salad bar at dinner. This is always a fun way to get those veggies in! Set out a variety of chopped vegetables, some cheese and croutons as well as several choices of salad dressing along with the lettuce or other greens and let everybody create their own perfect salad. Add some fruit choices as well, and they will surely fill their plates.

5. Find creative ways to sneak veggies to your family meals by adding veggies to sauces pasta dishes, and broths. Blended veggies add a thickness to pasta sauces, soup broths, and even gravies. Try adding colorful veggies to homemade pizza-when my kids were small, broccoli was considered a pizza topping, and no one ever complained! Add several veggies like zucchini or sweet peppers to lasagnas, or even try replacing your pasta and rice with veggies versions like cauliflower rice or spinach based spaghetti.

6. Tip for a super yummy dessert. Put a small scoop of ice cream or frozen yogurt in a bowl and top it with lots of fresh or frozen fruit. This is not only a winner, but super tasty and refreshing on a hot day. Seasonal fruits make this a real treat!

7. Offer fruits and vegetables as snacks. You can cut apples into slices and top them with peanut butter or cheese. Cube cheese and serve with grapes. Cut up some fresh veggies and serve them with ranch dip. And don’t forget “ants on a log”. Spread some cream cheese or peanut butter on the inside of a stick of celery and sprinkle raisins on it (wow, fruit and vegetable in one snack).

8. Try some new fruits and vegetables. Pick something exotic to get your family’s curiosity. With a little luck their curiosity will outweigh their initial apprehension to trying something new. You could try artichokes, plantains, papaya, mango, star fruit, or anything else you can find in the produce department of your local store.

9. Make a pot of vegetable soup or a stew that’s heavy on veggies and easy on the meat. These can be great comfort food especially as the weather gets cooler.

10. Start “Veggie Day”. Each family member gets to pick a vegetable one day of the week. They qualify to pick a vegetable as long as they tried each vegetable the week before. This gives everyone a chance to try something new, without the pressures involved in usual mealtime “eat what is on your plate”.

Getting, and keeping, these super foods into your regular diet can be a game changer for both you and your loved ones. Keep in mind-tastes change-so even if you didn’t like a certain fruit or veggie when you were younger does not mean you won’t like it now. I did NOT like the taste of anything green as a child, but now love broccoli and kale. I also did not eat tomatoes until I was 20, and now they are one of my favorite foods! Keep trying new fruits and veggies, and new ways to prepare them, and soon you will be enjoying all the benefits to these amazing fresh foods!

If you’re looking for more info on cleaning up your diet, be sure to check out my newest freebie ebook, Learn How to Eat Clean and Feel Your BEST! Grab it here!

If your curious about what Health and Wellness coaches DO, and how it can change your life for the BEST, check out this article, or even better-shoot me an email! I’d love to chat about your health and wellness goals and get a plan started with you!

Find Endless Energy in Your Life!

This year(s) have been pretty exhausting. I hear it daily-people are so tired, and everyone seems to be looking for a boost of energy that doesn’t involve MORE coffee or energy drinks. Because of this, I decided to spend some time putting together a little guide on Canva (love Canva!) with all of my best tips and information on increasing energy levels while also changing the mindset for an all around boost of positive energy.

Included in this free to download ebook: wellness tips for all around health and happiness, food and supplements for more energy, tips on organizing your routine for optimal health, and daily trackers with affirmations to get you started on the right path.

If you’ve been dragging a bit, reaching for too much caffeine, or just not feeling like you have enough energy to do ALL of the fabulous things you want to do, this guide can help get you on track and feeling ready to create, enjoy, and live the life you deserve and desire-and you DO deserve it!!!

You can find the guide here (this is my main business website). I hope you enjoy it-and maybe take some time to look around while you are there-there’s lots of other freebies to find!

Bee Well,

Sami Bee

Healthy Choices When Dining Out

For many, life is beginning to look a bit more “normal” after too many months of 2020, and that may mean more dining out with family and friends. One of the biggest questions I hear from my friends and clients these days is how to navigate a fun meal out without overdoing it or falling completely off of their health goals. As we move into cooler months, with less cookouts and BBQ’s, and more opportunities to dine out, I thought this might be a great topic to address.

Who doesn’t love dining out? Having someone wait on you, cook for you, and the chance to order dishes you might never prepare at home! Being able to relax and just enjoy good food and company without the worry of shopping, cooking, or cleaning up-so much fun! But for many that are trying to stick to a healthy lifestyle, dining out can bring many challenges. Portion sizes are usually massive, ingredients tend to be super rich, and we truly have no way of knowing exactly what, and how much, we are consuming.

The first thing to remember when dining out is to focus on enjoying your food and company without over-indulging. Pay more attention to your companions and savoring every bite, and you will find yourself more relaxed, and more mindful of what you eat. Dining out should be more about experiencing all of your senses-the different tastes, the aromas, the music, the lighting, and the mood-and less about filling your stomach. Relax, discuss the foods, try bites of different foods, and be fully aware of everything around you.

Plan Ahead

Fortunately, most restaurants offer their menus for online viewing and ordering. Take advantage of this by looking at it the menu ahead of time and coming up with a game plan for how you will order and eat. This can remove the stress of trying to come up with the perfect plan while others are talking or discussing what they might order.  Have a back up plan as well, just in case a menu item has sold out or isn’t available. Plan your meal based on a healthy protein source, veggies or salad, or even a healthy soup to begin your meal. Avoid the breadbasket, and ask to have your soup or salad brought before the entrée.

Don’t Starve Yourself!

Heading into a restaurant with an empty stomach and uncontrollable hunger is NOT a good idea! I’ve known many people that decided to not eat all day so that they could indulge at a dinner out, and it never goes very well. Plan to eat small, balanced meals throughout the day to avoid a situation in which you are hungry, cranky, and not thinking clearly. This can lead to overeating, and even binge eating.

Avoid “Bad” Words!

When deciding on your meal of choice, try to avoid the “bad” words. These words include “deep fried”, “rich”, “buttery”, “creamy”, and “battered”, just to name few. Instead, look for words like “fresh”, “farm grown”, and “lean”. Knowing the proper language can make choosing a meal so much easier.

Balance Your Plate

Be sure that your plate includes many colors, and a variety of nutrients. Base your meal on a healthy protein, and fill the remainder of your plate by ordering fresh veggies and a healthy grain like a rice dish, sweet potato, or baked potato. Ask for toppings, dressings, sauces, and condiments to be on the side so that you can control how much is on your food. *Did you know? Many restaurants use over 3 tablespoons of butter when serving a baked potato???? That’s 300 calories and 36 grams of fat in just a topping!!!!

Consider ½ To Go

This is one of my favorite tips for eating out! I’ve done this many times, and I’ve also had many times that I wished I had done so!

Ask for half of your meal to be placed in a carry out container before it even comes to the table. Portions are SO huge, and most can easily be divided into more than one meal-take half for lunch the next day! This allows you to focus on conversation and company, without the sudden realization that “Oh, NO, I ate ALL of it!” I have found myself in this situation-stuffed uncomfortably, barely realizing I was eating, and not feeling great after-even into the next day. I LOVE having leftovers for lunch the next day-and leaving dinner without feeling stuffed.

Share Treats

Because dining out is an experience that is to be enjoyed, be sure to indulge in small amounts of yumminess! Have a small taste of the appetizers, try a side portion of a new item on the menu, and yes-grab a fork and share the dessert! Everything is allowed in MODERATION!! Taste, enjoy, roll your eyes back in your head and say, “Ohmygosh, that is SO good!” But do it in moderation!!!

Make the Toast

Alcohol is a HUGE conversation with clients these days-absolutely HUGE. Due to that, I have done a great deal of research on the subject, and come up with a list of “healthier” drinks to avoid high calorie and high sugar intake. Sugar content in many alcohol beverages is super high, and I have found that for many that focus on healthy eating, the sugar hangover can be worse than the average alcohol hangover-even in small amounts of indulging. To avoid this, focus on spirits with low sugar content like tequila, vodka, and gin, and be sure your mixer of choice is not full of sugar as well. Avoid simple syrups and pre-made mixers, and focus on fresh juices or sugar free sodas. Keep in mind-alcohol slows your metabolism, and processes in the body AS a sugar.

Most importantly-stay hydrated! For each alcohol-based beverage, have a glass of water. You will thank me in the morning!

Be Mindful and Enjoy

Dining out is a fun activity that should be enjoyed completely and fully. Keep this in mind, plan and order carefully, and relax and enjoy! I truly believe that while our nutritional intake should be a clean as possible much of the time, food can also be an adventure of tastes that should be relished. Keeping the adage “everything in moderation” completely applies here. Be mindful of your meal and your company, embrace all that comes with it, and enjoy without overdoing.

If you’d like more info about finding your perfect, personalized health plan or reaching your goals, I’d love to help you on your journey! Let’s talk!

Also, make sure to download a free copy of my e-book, The BeeWell Guide to Clean Eating to get you started!

Let’s Fire Up that Metabolism!

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. 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.

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. So if you’re not currently getting at least six hours of quality sleep on a nightly basis, make the effort to improve your sleep patterns from today.

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.

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.

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. For even more focus on revving up the metabolism, I’d suggest a good protocol of detoxifying the system, adding probiotics, or even adding intermittent fasting to your life. This are things that I specialize in, and offer programs that are designed just for YOU. Please reach out to me if you are interested in learning how this might work in your wellness journey!

Healthy Meal Prep for the Busy Family

Everyone has seen all those pretty Pinterest and Instagram posts with the little containers of perfectly prepped and planned meals. This leads to the question-How can I possible do this with a family to feed??

It’s not as hard as it seems! With a few little tips, a clear grocery list, some input from your family, and an afternoon of cooking, you can have a week’s worth of healthy meals that will not only save time, but keep everyone’s bellies full-while sticking to a healthy food plan-and perhaps even saving some money and frustration at the same time.

Everyday I have people tell me that they cannot meal prep for a myriad of reasons:

-kids are picky eaters

-spouse refuses to eat “rabbit food”

-everyone in the household has different eating styles-allergies, vegetarian, gluten free, etc.

-it’s too expensive

-it’s too time consuming

With a little planning, ALL of these situations can be handled, and you will not only save time, but money.

In my home, meal prep solved ALL of those problems AND also solved the teenager issue of “There’s nothing to eat!” My family has consisted of a spouse that eats anything, a daughter that swings between vegan/vegetarian, a teen linebacker that needs food nonstop, a teen son with weight issues, and a person who experienced a million sensitivities who also eats extremely healthy (yes, that would be me, pre healing my gut-those issues are now completely gone! You can read about THAT here!). Meal prep has been an absolute blessing to me-the shopper, the cook, the mom.

To be straight up-you don’t need to prep your food in those pretty containers. You can, it looks nice in photos and stacked in the fridge, but it’s not necessary. It can be helpful for packing meals that need to be on the move, like lunch, or for the person in your family with specific food needs, but I tend to use regular large size Rubbermaid containers for prep. These can even be frozen for future use, and are microwave/dishwasher safe as well. I’ve also used Ziploc freezer bags, which work so well with small spaces in the fridge.

Make a Plan and Think Streamlining Your Proteins

The first thing you need to do is plan your meals. Ask your family for input if needed. List your favorite meals, take eating preferences into consideration, and make a menu with at least 4 main dinner meals. Look for ways to streamline your meals based on main ingredients; are there two or more meals with chicken? Beef? How can you prepare those meats for use in all your recipes? Is there a way to make or divide certain meals into half vegetarian? Half gluten free? Can you prepare some of a meal without onion, or peppers, or heavy spices that your children may not like? If you approach it this way-you will likely find that it’s not so hard to satisfy everyone in your family. For example, if you’re planning an Italian dish, can you make a small portion without meat sauce? Can you make a small portion with gluten free noodles? If your favorite dish is heavy on spice and onion,  you can separate a portion without those strong flavors. These portions are easily placed into their own small containers.

Check Your Schedule Plan your Shopping

Next, look at your schedule for the week. Are you home every night for dinner? Do you plan to eat out? Are there nights that you need to grab something and run? Make note of those occasions.

Using your meals as a guideline, start to plan your grocery list. To make things super easy, double some of your recipes for lunch leftovers, or for the freezer. List the produce and proteins you will need in total for all meals so that you can easily buy in bulk portions. Check your add-ons like spices, canned needs, cheese, etc; before doing your shopping.

Once you have your grocery list in hand, check local sales, and gather coupons if you are a frugal shopper-you can also save by shopping in bulk at places like Costco and Sam’s Club.

Plan Your Cooking

I highly recommend shopping and cooking on separate days, just to give your self a sanity break. Or, plan to cook 2 or 3 times a week, but cook more than one meal-again, using the same “main” item, like your protein, makes this mush easier! For example, using chicken bought for three meals, using one portion as a main dish, another portion for a chicken and rice dish, and another portion for chicken tacos or fajitas. The chicken is prepared at the same time, and you will have 3 dinners ready to go-and maybe even some leftovers for lunches!

Meal prep day was often an afternoon of family time when my kids were teens. They would help, learning to cook as we went along. One teen would chop veggies, another would cook up ground turkey or beef, while another stirred sauces and checked the oven. We could usually prep a week’s worth of lunches and dinners in an hour and a half. It was an absolute blessing to come home after a busy day and literally be able to list off menu items available to reheat from the fridge!

It’s been a few years since the teens became adults and moved on with their lives, but all of them still prep meals in advance. Even when I am alone at the beach, I cook once or twice a week for myself and enjoy having a very active lifestyle without concern about stopping to plan and fix my meals, or run the stove on a super hot summer day. Below is my all time healthy meal prepped favorite recipe for you to try and enjoy!

Meal planning and prep is a HUGELY popular topic with many of my clients and friends, and one of my favorite healthy lifestyle hacks to teach. If you’d like to learn more, or get some ideas and assistance in starting your journey with this great time saving healthy life hack, just reach out to me!

Meal Prepped Super Healthy, Super Yummy Chicken, Rice, and Veggies

This is SO easy and SO tasty! I keep it in my fridge year round for quick meals.

You will need:

Chicken breasts, cooked, and chopped into bite sized pieces.

Rice of your choice, I use brown rice in the cups that heat up in the microwave.

Steamed veggies of your choice-cook until blanched if storing them in the fridge.

Favorite sauce-I use a natural sweet and sour, but soy, hot sauce, all add a different flavor to this dish and can be used to mix it up.

I keep these things handy, and literally throw it all together, heat for a minute of two, add my sauce and salt and pepper-and I have a hot, incredible tasty and healthy meal ready in under two minutes!

from my professional website Beewell.com

The Magic of Blueberries!

For many of us, it’s blueberry season! I just got back from the grocery store with some, and was inspired to write about them! These indigo-colored berries are sweet, long lasting, and versatile. They are a great way to jazz up salads, smoothies, yogurt, pancakes, or waffles. Not only are they tasty and easy to snack on, but they are powerhouse superfoods with a wide range of benefits. Here are just a few magical benefits of the super sweet “candy of nature”!

High in nutrition

Blueberries are very nutritious. A cup contains four grams of fiber, 36% of your daily value (DV) of vitamin K, 24% DV of vitamin C, 25% DV of manganese and 15 grams of healthy carbohydrates.

Low in calories

Although they are high in nutrition, they are low in calories. One serving of 148 grams of blueberries only contains 84 calories.

King of anti-oxidants

Blueberries are often referred to as the king of antioxidants. They contain a high number of flavonoids that reduce the risk of various types of diseases and illnesses like cancer and heart problems. 

Promote anti-aging

Daily consumption of blueberries reduces the risk of DNA damage and the development of anti-aging symptoms.

Fight various diseases and illnesses

Blueberries can help reduce cholesterol, lower blood pressure and improve your memory and other brain activities.

Workout partner

Blueberries are great for restoring and repairing muscle damage after hard workout sessions. Add a handful of them to your post-workout protein shake or smoothie.

Help in losing weight

The fiber in blueberries helps you feel full, satiates cravings, and provides you with loads of long-lasting energy. Whip up a smoothie or throw them into some Greek yogurt to help keep your snacking healthy.

Healthy digestion

Having a handful of blueberries as a dessert after your meal will help to improve your digestion and will save your body from disturbing illnesses like constipation.

Promote clear and glowing skin

Blueberries promote clear skin. The high levels of vitamin C help reduce the damages of smoke, pollution and built up makeup. Try a blueberry facemask at home to help your skin regain its glow. 

Have luscious locks

The vitamins and nutrients in blueberries can help restore the luster and shine of your hair. You can even crush a handful of blueberries and add them to your hair oil as a hair mask. Apply, let sit for a few minutes, and rinse. Your hair will feel amazing.

You are strong when your bones are strong

Blueberries contain magnesium, calcium, iron, and phosphorus that promote strong, healthy bones. Daily consumption of a handful blueberries may help repair damaged bones and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

SO GOOD!

Blueberries can be adding to almost anything-throw some into yogurt, on top of your cereal, into salads, or mixed right into your protein pancakes or waffles. They add a sweetness that allows you to reduce the sugar in man recipes!

To get a super powerful morning or post workout kick, try making a power smoothie with blueberries as the star!

Allow yourself to be creative, use your favorite add-ons, and make this a power filled addition to your daily nutrition!

Start with your favorite milk-almond, oat, it’s your choice! Add in some spinach or kale (I promise-you won’t taste it!!), perhaps a scoop of your favorite protein powder, and a handful of blueberries and blend! To add more nutrition and power to your shake, try adding some greek yogurt, chia seeds, or flax seeds. For a little added sweetness, try adding half a banana to this. YUMMY! If blueberries are not in season where you live, frozen blueberries work just as well, and make give your smoothie an extra creamy and milkshake type of texture and taste.

If you’re looking for ways to clean up your diet, find the right nutrition for your lifestyle, learn how to reduce stress in your lifestyle, or gain focus and motivation to make healthy choices in your life to live the best life ever, please feel free to connect and set up a personalized plan just for you. You can also follow me on IG for daily inspiration, tips, and freebies.

Be blessed and BeeWell!

Intermittent Fasting 101

Intermittent fasting has become a hugely popular way of eating and living for health, fat burn, longevity, and even brain clarity. It’s not so much considered a “diet” as it is a lifestyle and eating pattern. In recent months, it’s become a huge topic in many of my circles and groups, and it’s often one of the first topics my perspective clients want to discuss when we begin our health relationship. So, this week, while searching for the perfect topic for a blog post, IF-intermittent fasting just seemed like the perfect choice!

This way of eating doesn’t so much involve “what you eat”, but “when you eat”, so the restrictions as to food choices are not as critical as most eating plans. Pairing intermittent fasting with a healthy balanced diet can result in not only weight loss, but many other really incredible health benefits as well.

There have proven to be many benefits to living the IF lifestyle. When it comes to weight loss or maintaining weight, IF works! Eating within specific time frames leads to lower calorie intake without the dreaded focus on food choices or food restrictions. During periods of fasting, human growth hormones increase quickly, leading to stored fat loss and muscle retention, and insulin levels appear to drop quickly, which makes fat loss easier. And, incredibly enough, “autophagy” occurs after a short period of fasting-this is when our cells begin to digest and get rid of old and dysfunctional cells, replacing them with new cells. There are also changes to hormone levels and genes during this process that affect longevity, aging, and help protect against disease.

While people using IF usually find that making the adjustment to this lifestyle a little challenging, they soon come to realize that it becomes a rather easy lifestyle change, and are pleased to see rapid, visible results that keep them motivated to continue on. They find that weight loss is quicker, easier, and more convenient, report a decrease in inflammation in the body, find better brain clarity and mood balance, and find that their metabolism increases, and their sleep is better. Many people even report that they feel as though they have cleansed or detoxed their entire body systems!

The WHAT and the HOW

There are several ways of doing IF, and it can easily be structured to fit your particular lifestyle and habits.

16/8 is the most popular method of this lifestyle, in which you fast for 16 hours, and eat within an 8 hour period 7 days a week. For many, this may mean stopping food intake at 8pm, and not eating another meal until noon the next day.

2/24 in another way of doing IF. With this method, fasting is done for a full 24 hours twice a week, and a regular schedule of eating exists for the remaining 5 days. Low calorie beverages are allowed during this type of fasting, and some people even incorporate drinking bone broth into their fasting phases for added gut health benefits.

5:2 is yet another way of doing IF, and this method has one eating less than 500 calories 2 days a week, and eating regularly on the remaining days. This method does have the added responsibility of counting and monitoring calories and/or marcos on the two days of restricted eating, so keep that in mind when making your plans. This form of IF only works if you are NOT using the other 5 days to eat very large amounts of food.

*All of these methods work with reducing caloric intake when a healthy, somewhat moderated approach is taken during “eating times”. Some healthy regard for fueling your body and monitoring your intake is necessary as with any healthy lifestyle choice.

In my own personal experience with intermittent fasting, I have found that it works wonderfully. I have done IF in many ways over the last several months, generally using a 17/7 schedule as a regular routine. On occasion, I fast for 2-4 days every few months to balance my gut and detox my body and soul. You can read about my longer fasts here if you are interested. My routine 17/7 eating pattern has proven to improve my sleep, and given me more mental clarity and focus. It has also helped remove my nightly cravings for carbs, which is a huge win! I have also noticed that when my fasting period is up, I am NOT as likely to want to eat large meals-my stomach seems to feel full much quicker, and I stay full for longer periods of time.

Many people doing IF use apps to track their fasts and inspire or challenge them. I have found that using an app to track my fasts does two things-inspires and motivates me to complete my fast, and, there’s something about hitting the “start fast” button each night that adds some form of “closure” to my day. It’s kind of like telling my brain and stomach “We are DONE!” It’s all about MINDSET!

Fast Habit is the first app I used, and it was a free version. It simply alerted me to start fasting each night at the time I had set, and alerted me the next day when my fast was over. Simple, basic, free. Highly recommended for the beginner.

Fastic is the app I currently use. I have the paid version for the bells and whistles. This app also sends me alerts-including one an hour before my fasting time starts in case I need to take advantage of getting in my last meal. The paid version also offers daily lessons on nutrition, mindset, diet biology, motivation, and other interesting facts. I’ve learned a lot using this app, and it’s also highly recommended. Apps, of course, are not needed, you can simply add your start and finish times to a reminder on your phone calendar.

The “WHO” in Intermittent Fasting

While many studies show that Intermittent Fasting is a safe form of eating for most adults, there are some people that should not follow this lifestyle. If you are underweight, pregnant, trying to conceive, breastfeeding, or suffer from any eating disorder, this lifestyle is not recommended.

One should seek guidance from a medical professional before attempting Intermittent Fasting if they have diabetes, low blood sugar, are on medications, have low blood pressure, or have a serious illness.

Side Effects Possibly Experienced During IF

For most healthy individuals, side effects are very mild and, as the body adjusts and adapts, temporary. Hunger pains, food cravings, low energy, disrupted sleep, irritability, bad breath, and dehydration can occur in the early stages of IF.

Many of these side effects can be due to dehydration; people tend to drink less fluids when not eating meals and snacks throughout the course of a day. To alleviate this issue, be sure to consume fluids regularly throughout the day. 64oz of water should be the goal, and tea and coffee are allowed. (keeping in mind that caffeine will dehydrate you, make sure the bulk of fluids is water!)

I hope that you’ve learned a few things about this “all the rage” healthy lifestyle choice and perhaps have decided to try this out for yourself. If you’d like to learn more about intermittent fasting as a lifestyle, or are looking to make other healthy lifestyle changes to improve your life, I encourage you to reach out to me for a free and fun conversation about finding the steps, information, and motivation to live your absolute BEST life!

Please visit my professional site BeeWell.com for more info, freebies and tips!

Super Fresh and Healthy Summer Eating: Starring Kale!

It’s summer time for many of us, and it’s a fantastic time to add some fresh, light, and healthy veggies to our diet! If you’re looking for a power packed but super low calorie vegetable to add to your summer meals, leafy greens like kale, is a great choice. Kale grows well year round and is easy to find at any grocery store. It is a superfood filled with health benefits like helping to reduce various types of cancer and type 2 diabetes, boosting digestive health, and helping to manage blood pressure. Kale has antioxidants to help remove toxins from the body, as well as fiber, and a huge range of vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, K, and A, as well as calcium, magnesium, and manganese. Kale is a perfect staple for many diets, from clean eating to Paleo or Keto. At 33 nutrient packed calories a cup, kale is considered one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet!

To get you started on your quest to add this amazing green to your diet, here is a personal summer favorite recipe of mine-chicken kale soup, as well as four different types of kale salads to try out this summer!

Chicken Kale Summer Soup

1 sweet Onion chopped

1 bunch scallions chopped

2 tbsp minced garlic

3 carrots sliced

1 tbsp butter

½ bunch kale, washed and torn into small pieces

1 15oz can diced tomatoes rinsed

2-3 chicken breasts cooked and chopped

6-8 cups chicken broth

salt and pepper to taste

Saute the butter, onions, scallions, garlic and carrots until soft, add chicken broth and heat to a beginning boil. Add chicken and tomatoes, cook on low heat for 10 minutes. Add kale pieces, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook on very low heat an additional 10 minutes.

This is a super tasty, very light summer soup that is less than 90 calories a serving.

Citrus Kale Salad with Dressing

2 ruby red grapefruit

2 oranges

6-8 oz kale washed and torn into smallish pieces

3 tbsp orange juice

3 tbsp white wine vinegar

2 ½ tbsp. Dijon mustard

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp honey

pepper to taste

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

small red onion sliced

4 oz feta or goat cheese

Peel and section oranges and grapefruits, removing pits. Cut into bite sized pieces.

Mix together orange juice, white wine vinegar, Dijon, sugar, salt, and olive oil-whisk until blended well. 

Toss kale, onion, and ½ of dressing together, add salt and pepper to taste. Top with citrus pieces, onion, and sprinkle with cheese. Serve with remaining dressing.

And, a few other super easy ideas for superfood kale salads:

Chopped Kale Superfoods Salad

This salad is great when you want a chopped salad and have some berries and quinoa you want to use as well. Adding quinoa, makes it a heartier salad that really fills you up. It’s an ideal meal if you follow a clean eating diet.

 Use chopped kale for this chopped salad, then add rinsed uncooked or cooked (cooled) quinoa for a nice crunch. You can add a variety of superfood toppings to this for a powerful summer meal.  Berries, like cranberries and pomegranate seeds work well with this. For more crunch and added healthy fats and proteins, add some crushed walnuts as well.

Kale and Veggies Salad

Another great option for kale salad is one that uses even more veggies. You can also add berries to this salad if you wish as well. Simply replace your lettuce with kale!This can be a good main course, but it works well as a light lunch or a side dish as well. This salad uses fresh kale, along with some brussel sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower, all of which are available throughout the summer season. If you want to add a little fat to the salad, you can add some bacon bits as well. Nuts taste great on the top. Leave it as-is or make a simple dressing with olive oil, red wine vinegar, honey, and some lemon juice.

Kale and Apple Salad

Kale happens to taste great when combined with sweet fruits. This kale and apple salad is perfect when you want to combine fresh flavors for a brand new taste. Use your chopped kale, along with some sliced sweet apples, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, or even sliced and pitted cherries, and add some chopped walnuts or almonds. To add more protein to this salad, add sprinkles of goat or feta cheese. Add a splash of lemon juice for a tasty light dressing.

The Absolute Beginners Guide to Eating Healthy

If you’re currently not eating a healthy diet, it can be difficult to start such a plan. However, healthy eating, along with some enjoyable form of exercise is very important for maintaining good bodily function and goes a long way towards living a disease-free life. If you struggle with healthy eating, then you know that breaking unhealthy habits can be the most difficult part of the process. Therefore, if you truly want to live the best lifestyle possible, it is important to follow tips in order to start eating a more healthy diet.

A great first step when you want to start eating your way to a healthy lifestyle is to rid your home of all temptations that will distract you from following better eating habits. Ideally it would be a smart choice to keep junk foods and beverages out of your house so you will not be tempted to snack during those times of day when you find yourself eating out of boredom or stress. If you’re worried about being hungry, keep healthy snacks like carrot sticks, yogurt, fresh fruit, or whole-wheat crackers on hand. If you find that you just cannot bear to toss out the sweets, try keeping small portions of those foods for special occasions only. Eating a few, (emphasis on few) of these won’t ruin your diet but also will give you that little sugary fix you crave.

Another great step to healthy eating, when you’re first starting the process, is to take a few moments to learn what foods are the healthiest for you and how they work within the body. To start eating healthy, we must begin by thinking healthy. Most people understand that fruits, vegetables, and low-fat meats and dairy products are good for them, but few people understand why. The key is learning about the nutrients the body needs to be at it’s optimal health. When you understand how specific nutrients work and why you need them, it becomes easier for you to make healthier choices for your body. Knowledge, especially in this case, really is power! You body, after all, is a machine and machines run best when powered by the right fuel!

Preparation is a major key in starting a new healthy diet. You must take into consideration your schedule for meals. If you often eat in a rushed hurry at odd times of day, you are probably more inclined to grab a rushed meal-that will probably do more harm than good. So plan ahead! Instead of grabbing a fast food lunch on the go, take a bagged lunch to work, complete with a healthy wrap or some lean meat, and some fresh fruit and vegetables. Try a little meal planning for your evening meals-having a planned, prepped and ready meal waiting for when you arrive home would be ideal, but in our fast paced lifestyle, sometimes this just can’t be done. One way to solve this problem is to plan out your evening meals for the week before you do your weekly shopping. Focus your meal prep around 2 main foods each week. For example, in week 1, plan 3 meals using chicken breasts, and 3 meals using lean beef. Cooking those foods at the same time, then adding other ingredients to make several prepped meals will ensure that you have healthy, tasty foods available when you are too tired to plan or cook. Think: chicken breasts with a hearty salad one night, chicken and bean chili another night, and even a hearty chicken soup for another meal. Doubling up on these foods can also provide easy healthy lunches.

When planning your grocery shopping, always have a plan and a list ready. To eat as clean as possible, and to avoid the temptations of high calorie, nutrient low, packaged foods, focus your shopping trip on the perimeters of the store: produce, meats, dairy. Fill your cart with seasonal fruits and veggies for side dishes and snacks. Look for lean cuts of meat, and lower fat versions of your favorite daily products. Never shop when you are hungry! Have a small healthy meal or snack before leaving for your shopping trip so that you are not tempted into buying things just to satisfy your need to eat.

Start with baby steps. Even if you only replace one soda a day with a glass of water, you are really improving your calorie intake. If you eat fast food every day for lunch, try replacing that half of the time with better quality foods. When you start by taking small steps you aren’t cutting out all of the foods you love all at once. By taking your time to learn about your eating habits and slowly replacing them with better meals, by taking the time to learn and understand why you should be doing that and making the necessary changes in an orderly fashion, you will feel much better within yourself physically, mentally and emotionally and well on the road to becoming as healthy as you can be.

If you are ready to take the next step but looking for guidance, knowledge, and motivation, consider setting up a time to discuss and set your goals, gain the nutritional knowledge that you need, learn meal planning and prep, stress relief, and more, and get started on a fantastic journey to finding yourself in the best health possible. Today can easily be a changing day in your life. Contact me now for a free 30 minute call.

www.beewell.com