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
~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!
Carbs 11 grams
Protein 5 grams
Fat 8g grams
(nutritional info not including any add ins like nuts)
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.
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!
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.
As I stated in my last post, the average Thanksgiving Day dinner intake, according to The Calorie Control Council, is around 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat. And that doesn’t include our drinks, appetizers or leftovers, or our sampling of food. That’s SO much food! (If you missed my crazy Thanksgiving food video, watch it HERE) While Thanksgiving only comes once a year, and I believe whole heartedly in enjoying everything in moderation, I thought I’d use this week’s post to provide some healthier alternatives to the typical fare served at this American feast. Whether you pick just a few to give your holiday meal a healthier and lighter edge or use these to give your everyday meals a healthier kick is completely up to you. It’s always nice to know some simple tricks to change up your meals to get less fat and more nutrition.
Turkey is a staple of many Thanksgiving dinners, and it’s a healthy choice! 4 oz of turkey has 120 calories, a whooping 24 grams of protein and is very low in fat. It’s high in vitamins B3, B6, B12, magnesium and potassium. If you are a fan of dark cuts of turkey, or the skin of the turkey you will eating a bit more fat.
Use turkey leftovers in salads, soups, curries, and sandwiches for healthy meals in the days following the holiday for extra protein packed meals.
Potatoes are my absolute favorite holiday food, and I’m pretty famous for mine! Potatoes are loaded with nutrients like fiber, vitamins C and B, potassium, magnesium, niacin, and folate when eaten with the skin. Peeling potatoes reduces the nutritional value. Potatoes are also rich in antioxidants, and colored potatoes (red or purple) offer even more nutritional value.
I don’t cut any corners with my mashed potatoes on holidays because we eat them so rarely. If you’d like to cut down on the amount of fat in your mashed potatoes, try using less butter, and either skim milk or chicken broth instead of full fat milk or cream. If you’d like to get that extra punch of nutrition, consider mashing your potatoes with the skins still on them. And be sure to go easy on adding gravy!
Sweet potatoes Are known to be superfoods! However, adding all the sugar, butter, and marshmallows can turn this holiday dish into a dessert food rather quickly. Sweet potatoes provide 400% of daily vitamin A, and provide high amounts of B, C and D. This antioxidant food boosts brain, heart, and even reproductive health, and can help control blood sugar levels. If you want to make delicious sweet potatoes without all the sugar and unhealthy fats, consider replacing the butter with coconut oil, and using unsweetened applesauce instead of sugar. Walnuts or almonds can be used in place of pecans for a healthier nut choice.
Squash is super healthy, with butternut being the best. This low-calorie superfood is packed with vitamins A, C, E, B1, B3, B6, and tons of minerals like magnesium, calcium, potassium, and folate. Great for bone health, eye health, immune function, and tissue repair. Try adding some squash to your plate this holiday season for a colorful and healthy change.
Greens make a super healthy addition to any meal. Kale, collards, spinach, cabbage, beet greens, watercress, turnip greens are all fantastic choices. Greens are super super low in calories, high in vitamin A, C, K, calcium, fiber, magnesium, calcium, and iron.
Cranberries are low in calories, and a superfood with vitamin C, E, K1, and many minerals. They are 90% water when served fresh, but when canned add another 24 grams of sugar to your meal. To make cranberry sauce without the added sugar, try using stevia and orange juice to sweeten your berries.
Grain bread with olive oil dip and seasonings I love bread and staying away from the rolls is a huge feat for me at most holiday meals. To add a little health to your holiday breadbasket, consider using a chewy whole grain bread with a side of olive oil for dipping. Add seasonings to your oil and heat briefly to get the infused flavors in each bite. The whole grains will up your vitamin B, and olive oil is one of the most nutritious fats, as well as having anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.
Brussel sprouts are low in calories and high in anti-inflammatory properties. They also offer vitamin k for bone and blood health and contain healthy fatty acids which boost brain health.
Green peas contain almost every vitamin and mineral! They are high in fiber and antioxidants and help regulate blood sugar as well as aid in digestive health and immune function. Be sure to get these green jewels on your plate this holiday!
Sauerkraut was a huge family favorite when I was growing up in Maryland. This food made from fermented cabbage is a probiotic that aids in digestion and improves gut health. For the healthiest version of this tangy dish, avoid canned versions as they are super high in sodium.
Pomegranates are considered one of the most nutritious fruits on earth – and they are sweet and delicious. Pomegranates are high in fiber, offer protein, and are packed with vitamin C, vitamin K, folate and potassium. They have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. The juice may cut your risk of heart disease.
Pomegranates also help lower blood pressure, can ease arthritis pain, and are great for brain function. They can also help with workout/athletic performance and fatigue.
Nuts although high in fat, 1oz of most nuts contains 170 calories, 5 grams protein, 3 grams of fiber, vitamin E, and magnesium. Nuts are an antioxidant powerhouse can reduce free radicals that cause cell damage and can help lower bad cholesterol and reduce inflammation. When choosing nuts, keep in mind that a serving is only 1 ounce, and for most nuts that is less than a palmful.
Cocoa for a hot holiday drink consider a cup of real cocoa! The properties in cocoa aid in maintaining blood sugar, can reduce bad cholesterol, support brain and heart health, and can even aid with depression. Look for cocoa made with dark chocolate with 70%cocoa solids and little added sugars. To give your cocoa a holiday flair, consider adding some peppermint.
Peppermint Mint adds holiday flavor to many of our treats, and it’s super soothing to our stomachs! Mints, like peppermint, can help relive headaches, can boost energy and concentration, and have even been known to relieve symptoms of allergies. Mint provides antioxidant, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Pumpkin is a super popular holiday flavor that seems to show up EVERYWHERE and in EVERYTHING! When choosing pumpkin for your recipes, be sure to purchase plain pumpkin, and not pumpkin pie filling. Pumpkin is super filling and low in calories while high in vitamins A, C, B2, and E. Pumpkin also offers minerals like potassium, manganese, iron, and copper. It’s great for vision, lungs, heart, skin, and can help lower blood pressure.
I’ve added an amazing Pumpkin Cake recipe (below) for you to try and enjoy this holiday season! Only 5 healthy ingredients and super easy! Enjoy!
I hope that you got some great nutritional info, as well as tips to get you in a healthy state of mind for the holiday season. For more great tips on surviving the holidays and staying in great health, download my free Holiday Guide! And, if you find yourself nervous about how you will approach and navigate your health during this holiday season or are looking forward to making awesome changes in the wonderful new year of 2022, I SO encourage you to get in touch with me and invest in your health and well-being NOW. As a coach, I can motivate you, keep you goal oriented, develop strategies to get through tough situations, help with managing stress, controlling sugar cravings, balancing hormones, finding the right exercise and eating plan, and guide you as you invest in the most important asset you have-YOUR HEALTH. Let me, help you, be the BEST you, and live your BEST life! I look forward to hearing from you! Contact me!
Easy, Tasty, Healthy Pumpkin Cake
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 50 mi
¾ cup (150g) coconut sugar
1 cup (230g) pumpkin puree
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup (125g) self-rising flour
Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
In a large bowl, combine the eggs and sugar.
Beat with a hand mixer for 5 minutes until the mixture is fluffy and has tripled in volume.
Add the pumpkin puree and cinnamon and beat until everything is well-combined.
Sift the flour into the egg mixture and very gently fold, making sure that you do not deflate the eggs.
Grease an 8-inch (20cm) diameter cake pan and pour the batter into it.
Bake for about 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
Remove the cake from the oven, let it cool, then slice and serve. Store this cake in an airtight container.
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!
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!
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
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.
I recently released my free cookbook full of super healthy 5 ingredient recipes on my website, and I wanted to be sure to share them here with you! This cookbook offers 19 recipes for breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and even desserts that are full of superfoods and whole ingredients to provide you with powerful nutrients for energy and vitality-and they are super yummy as well!
To give you a sneak peek, I want to share a dessert recipe here for you to try!
2 cups (250g) all-purpose whole wheat flour 3 tsp. baking powder 1 cup (180g) coconut sugar 1 egg 2 apples, peeled, cored and cut into chucks
½ cup coconut oil, melted (panty ingredient)
Preheat the oven to 360°F (180°C). Prepare an 8-inch (20cm) baking tin lined with baking paper.
Place the flour, baking powder and sugar into a large bowl and mix well. Add in the egg and melted coconut oil and stir until combined.
Now add in the apples; using your hands incorporate them into the batter.
Place the batter into the lined tin and bake for 35-40 minutes. Once ready remove from the oven and allow to cool. Store this cake in an airtight container.
Serves: 12 Prep: 10 mins Cook: 40 mins
Nutrition per serving: 227 kcal 10g Fats 36g Carbs 2g Protein
This is a “bonus” recipe, not included in the cookbook, just for you!
For more recipes including Protein Pancakes, Stuffed Peppers, Slow Cooked Fajitas, Black bean brownies, and many more, simply go to www.beewell.com/recipes to download your copy now!
It’s Superbowl Weekend, which means it’s time for football friendly snacking! Even though parties are still on the backburner, I’m offering up a few yummy and super healthy crowd-pleasing dips that are a convenient and delicious way to consume a wide variety of anti-inflammatory vegetables, spices, and healthy fats. While we love the convenience of purchased dips like packaged hummus, many brands contain unnecessary levels of fat and preservatives. Making dips yourself allows you to control the flavor and quality – and it’s easy!
The best dips begin with a creamy base made from foods such as beans, lentils, avocados, edamame, and roasted vegetables [eggplant, carrots, squash, zucchini, peppers, cauliflower] that are blended with oil or another liquid. Add flavor boosters such as tahini, garlic, hot sauce, nut butters, nuts and seeds, lemon or lime juice and zest to add dimension. Finish by seasoning with fresh and dried herbs, spices, salt and pepper and your dip is complete. Here are some of our favorite combinations with healthy “vehicle to your mouth” ideas:
Ingredient and flavor combinations
Chickpea hummus [and other beans] – The classic chickpea base is very versatile and can be made with any bean. Add tahini, garlic, lemon, and cumin to chickpeas for a traditional version. Variations include [but are not limited to] roasted red pepper, lemon kale, Moroccan carrot, roasted zucchini, kalamata olive, spicy sriracha, and creamy pesto. Try this crowd-pleasing version for Lemon Dill Hummus!
Avocado, AKA guacamole! We love the healthy fats in avocado, but the calories can be intimidating. Cut the amount of avocado in half by adding defrosted edamame beans – you will decrease the calories and increase the protein. Win, win. Add some greens to keep your dip bright and fresh. This Kale and Avocado Guacamole is a team favorite.
Roasted vegetables – Baba ganoush is the ultimate example here – a combination of roasted eggplant, tahini, lemon, and garlic. Other roasted vegetables that work well in dips are butternut squash, cauliflower, zucchini, carrots, and peppers. Roasting them allows you to process vegetables until creamy. Start with store-bought for this nutrient-dense and super flavorful Roasted Red Pepper Walnut Dip.
Vehicles: (GET IN MY MOUTH!)
Carrot chips or sticks – You can purchase prepared crinkle cut carrot chips or slice carrots on angle. Baby carrots work too.
Cucumber chips – Slice cucumbers on an angle to maximize surface area for scooping.
Broccoli or cauliflower – Lightly steam these vegetables to bring out their sweetness – you want them to still have the firmness necessary to dip.
Green beans – Remove stems, rinse, and dip. If you prefer, you can lightly steam these as well.
Endive – This nutrient dense vegetable is the ultimate chip – perfect shape, size, and sturdiness.
Peppers – Red, yellow, and orange peppers provide a variety of phytonutrients and are milder than green peppers.
Celery sticks – Firm and crisp, celery is a go to vehicle.
Snap peas – These can be consumed raw or lightly steamed.
Cherry tomatoes – We love using grape tomatoes on our crudités platters, but dipping them can be tricky. Using toothpicks can help keep your fingers free of dip.
I hope you get a chance to try them while watching the game. Go Team!!!
4 roasted red peppers, If jarred peppers, drain and rinse (fresh roasted red peppers work too)
1 Tbs olive oil
3 Tbs balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp cumin, ground
1 lemon, juiced (for 2 Tbs juice)
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 cup walnuts, raw
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
salt, to taste
Drain and rinse roasted red peppers. If using freshly roasted red peppers, you can leave the skin on.
Add all ingredients to a food processor and process until creamy with a bit of texture.
Garnish with some additional walnuts and a drizzle of olive oil. Season with salt to taste.
Serve with fresh vegetables like endive.
Fat 22.6g Saturated Fat 2.3g
Carbohydrates 8g Dietary Fiber 2g Sugars 4g
4 cup shelled edamame, defrosted (peas work well too)
2 cup kale, spines removed and chopped
1/2 cup lime juice
2 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
2 Cloves garlic, pressed or minced
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
hot sauce, as desired
Remove spines and chop kale.
Chop cherry tomatoes.
Press or mince garlic cloves.
Cut avocados in half, remove pit, and scoop flesh into food processor. Add beans, kale, and lime juice and pulse until creamy. Add some water if you need some more creaminess or more lime juice to increase tartness.
Add tomatoes, onion, garlic, cumin to processor and pulse until just combined
Stir in hot sauce and salt to taste.
Serve with baked chips and raw vegetables.
Fat 13g Saturated Fats 2.3
Carbohydrates 15g Dietary Fiber 9g Sugars 5g
1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 Tbs tahini paste
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 Clove garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbs dill, fresh, chopped
1/4 cup scallions, chopped
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
Drain and rinse chickpeas.
Zest and juice lemon.
Chop dill, scallions, garlic.
Add chickpeas, tahini, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, juice of lemon [about 3 tablespoons], and garlic to a food processor. Pulse until combined.
Run processor while adding olive oil and continue running until hummus is smooth, stopping to scrape down sides. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Add more lemon juice if desired.
Add dill and scallions and pulse to combine. Do not run too long or the dip will turn green.