3 Steps to a Healthy Thanksgiving

 

Thanksgiving is less than a week away! And while it is traditionally a holiday full of sweet treats, fat filled sides, and lots of calories, with some advanced preparation and knowledge, you can make it a healthy holiday. Follow these 3 steps to a healthy Thanksgiving:

Volunteer to Bring a Healthy Side

If you are worried that there won’t be any healthy sides at Thanksgiving dinner, bring your own. Your host will likely be thankful that you offered to bring something and you can control the ingredients and calories contained. Some of my favorites are sweet potatoes, green beans and mushrooms. Green beans and mushrooms can be simply sauteed with olive oil and garlic and taste delicious. Here are some recipes that I will be trying this year from Cooking Light:

Healthy Food Swaps

  • Swap skinless turkey breast for dark meat with skin and save up to 50 calories per 3 ounces
  • And if you have the choice between turkey and ham – go turkey!
  • Traditional pumpkin pie is the big winner over pecan pie (save up to 540 calories, 27 grams of sugar & 16 grams of fat per slice). Pumpkin pie also trumps apple pie.
  • Sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes
  • Skip the dinner roll and go for vegetables (celery, carrots, peppers, and broccoli) and hummus

Pick 1 Indulgence

If you love your mother’s pies, pick 1 pie, cut a small piece, and indulge. Choose healthier options for the rest of your meal and you’ll feel satisfied when you finally get that one indulgence.

 

What tips do you have to have a healthy Thanksgiving?

3 Steps to a Healthy Thanksgiving

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Shred10 – 5 Steps to Prep

Shred10 Prep Cover

Are you preparing to participate in a Shred10?  Or wondering how you could survive 10 days without dairy, gluten, refined sugar, alcohol and caffeine? Preparation is key! It’s very easy to fall back into unhealthy habits, but with a little advance work, you can do it!

Shred10 Background – What Is It?

Meal Plan

Meal planning is key! When you schedule your meals in advance, you can grocery shop for several meals at a time, and be prepared when dinnertime has come. I like to meal plan early in the day on Sunday while looking at the calendar for the week, then head to the grocery store later in the day. It’s important to look at your calendar when meal planning so you know when a quick meal is needed. For my family, we have one day where we go straight from work to soccer practice, then it’s nearly bed time for our little one. I can’t be planning a meal that requires an hour prep that day. That would be a perfect example for when a crock pot meal is needed.

See my full post on how I meal plan here – Meal Planning

Advance Prep

Prepare veggie strips (like carrots, celery, bell peppers) that you can keep in the fridge to snack on during the day. When you have a healthy snack ready, it is much easier to avoid the chips or candy so readily available. You can also roast veggies ahead of time to reheat for meals or snacking. Great veggies to roast include sweet potatoes, broccoli, squash, and brussel sprouts.

Going to the grocery store before Shred10 starts is also good advance prep. If you haven’t bought good food, you can’t eat good food. Planning and buying in advance prevents you from going through the drive-through, as you know you have something good to eat at home and you don’t want to waste the food that you have already paid for.

Mindset

Mindset is key in so many areas of life, but is essential in believing that you can accomplish your goals, including completing a Shred10. I love affirmations and here are a few that will work well as you prepare and complete your Shred10:

  • I always succeed.
  • I love and respect myself.
  • This is the greatest day of my life.
  • I am very positive at all times.
  • Everything I do turns out exquisitely better than I could have ever planned.

I use an app called My Affirmations that would periodically provide a notification with one of my affirmations. You can also write down your affirmations on index cards and pull them out throughout the day to read.

Get Your Kids Involved

The great thing about Shred10 is that it is safe for children too! Have your kids pick out their favorite fruits & veggies at the grocery store for lunch and snacks. My son loves coming up with new combinations to blend with his Complete shake, from blueberries and peaches to peanut butter and kale.

You can also let your kids help prepare meals. Give them age appropriate tasks like stirring and cutting. My son  also loves forming meat balls and anything that involves his hands. When kids help pick out their food and help prepare it, they take so much pride in the food and can’t wait to try it.

Clear the Cupboards

As we just wrapped up Halloween, there is so much candy on our counters and throughout the house. Before Monday, I will be gathering all the candy and hiding it in a low, minimally used cabinet so I won’t be tempted.  Out of sight, out of mind. If you think you’ll still be tempted, you can go ahead and throw it all away or donate it to the many organizations who collect for military overseas.

Now is also a good time to clear your cupboards of other non-Shred10 approved items – sugar filled, processed, and gluten. If it’s not there, you can’t eat it.

Shred10 Infographic

What other things do you do to prepare?

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Healthy Nutrition On-the-Go – What’s in Your Bag? Healthy Snack Ideas

With so many demands on your time, it can be tough to keep up healthy habits on a daily basis.

That’s why it’s so important to pack healthy snacks in your car or handbag. You should look for items with protein and fiber and limited or no sugar.

Some of my favorites are:

Almonds

1/4 cup of almonds provides approximately 5 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber. Look for raw, unsalted almonds to avoid empty calories.

almonds

Dried Fruit

Although dried fruit can be calorie dense with high amounts of sugar, it’s a much better option than a candy bar from the vending machine. Dried fruit contains high amounts of beta carotene, vitamin E, niacin, iron, magnesium, potassium and calcium. My favorites include peaches, apricots and apples.

Blender Bottle and Single-Serving Juice Plus+ Complete Shake Mix

Now you’ve added 13 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber to your daily diet, while enjoying the delicious, creamy taste of French Vanilla or Dutch Chocolate. While the shakes taste great with almond milk, they can also be mixed with water, making it a great option for throwing in your bag. Just pack a bottle of water or find a water fountain when you’re out and about.

Juice Plus+ Complete Nutrition Bars

Nothing is more convenient than a Juice Plus+ Complete nutrition bar if you need a quick snack. Available in two delicious flavors – Dark Chocolate + Fig and Tart Cherry + Honey – they’re packed with protein and fiber. They are low-glycemic (meaning they won’t cause your blood sugar to shoot up), gluten-free, non-dairy, and vegeterian.

Juice Plus+ Complete Bars

 

What is your favorite snack for on-the-go eating?

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Meal Planning – Happy Planner & Washi Tape Style

Happy Planner with Washi Tape meal planning

I’ve tried several different styles of meal planning in the past, but most weren’t flexible enough for me. Events come up on the calendar, meetings run late, or I’m just too tired to cook anything. When I purchased my Happy Planner last December, I had no plans to use it as a meal planner. I just thought of it as a calendar, but what better place to meal plan than your calendar. You can see what events are scheduled that include dinner outside of the home or when you’ll need something quick.  So here’s my setup.

Happy Planner with Washi Tape meal planning

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, my family uses Blue Apron and Sun Basket for most of our meal preparation. With Blue Apron, you can schedule meals 4 weeks in advance and 3 weeks in advance with Sun Basket. I use a solid colored washi tape to write the meals that I’ve selected. Although there are so many cute designed washi tapes, solid is much easier to read when written on. I’d also recommend a lighter color. I use mainly yellow and pink. First, I cut the washi tape to fit the width of a day in my Happy Planner. I then write the meals I’ve selected on each piece of tape. Next, I’ll stick the tape where I “plan” to prepare each meal. But this time, when new events get added to the calendar or I decide “I’m not in the mood” for whatever I planned, I can easily remove the meal and move it to another day.

grocery cart stickers

I also use these cute grocery cart stickers to mark the days that my Blue Apron and Sun Basket boxes will arrive. As I don’t regularly get each box every week, it’s a nice reminder to know when I need to check our front porch and get those items into the fridge.

Happy Planner with washi tape & grocery stickers

How do you meal plan for your family?

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Back to School – Setting up for a Healthy Year

Schools all across the country are starting back this month. And while most families are busy getting school supplies ready and buying new clothes, how much thought is given to making sure kids are healthy enough to learn? Here are some steps to make sure you are setting your family up for a healthy year.

Steps for a Healthy Year

1. Eat breakfast – We’ve heard it for years, but eating breakfast sets your child up for success for the day. Without breakfast, kids are going 15-16 hours without something to eat. I know when I’m hungry, I’m cranky and can’t stop thinking about my next meal. If your child is thinking about food, he or she is not paying attention to the teacher or test in front of them.
2. Get enough sleep – Sleep is so important and it’s sometimes difficult to see that kids don’t get enough sleep, because instead of slowing down, they wind up. In fact, sleepiness can look like symptoms of attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Sleep is required for the mind to process what happened the previous day and to allow the body to rest. Check out this table for the recommended amount of sleep by age.
Recommended Sleep Schedule
3. Add more fruits & vegetables – Besides the fact that eating plenty of fruits and vegetables may help reduce the risk of many diseases, including heart disease, high blood pressure and some cancers, fruits and veggies are rich in vitamins and minerals that help you feel healthy and energized. But it’s hard to get kids to eat those veggies, and even some fruits. That’s why I love Juice Plus+! It gives me the piece of mind that they are getting the nutrients of 30 different fruits, vegetables and grains every day! And kid’s orders are free under the Children’s Health Study.
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Shred10 Day #4 – I’ve Made It This Far

I’ve made it to Day #4. By Thursday I am usually running out of healthy snacks and feeling deprived by the afternoon, but I’ve been full and satisfied this week. I switched up when I drink my shakes for this round of the Shred10 and I think that’s made a ton of difference in keeping me full in the afternoon. I usually drink both shakes in the morning or have 1 in the morning and 1 in the afternoon, but this week I haven’t started my shakes until the afternoon. This does usually leave me finishing up after 6pm, but I’d prefer missing that guideline than eating something unhealthy because I’m starving.

Breakfast

I enjoyed 2 scrambled eggs with a slice of bacon from the office cafeteria this morning for breakfast. Quick and easy protein!

Lunch

As you know from Day #2, I have a real weakness for Chinese food. The special in the cafeteria was sweet n sour chicken with rice and a bottle of water.

Snack

I had prepped my 2 shakes again at home before leaving for work. Craving some chocolate mid-afternoon, the Chocolate Complete shake just hit the spot. Unsweetened almond milk, chia seeds, and Chocolate Complete, shaken until smooth. Perfect treat!

Chocolate Complete with chia seeds and unsweetened almond milk

Dinner

I made a simple dinner of salmon and arborio rice. Looks pretty plain, but pretty tasty. After dinner, I finished my shake that I hadn’t finished in the afternoon.

Sleep / Movement

Blogging has been keeping me up late at night, so I missed my sleep goal today, but I’m working on the blog earlier today, so hopefully I can catch up tomorrow. I also met my step goal! I use my Garmin’s autoadjusting goal, so when I meet my goal, my step goal for the next day goes up, and when I miss the goal, it goes down.

Water

I did a little better with my water today, but still short of my goal. 

Conclusion

I definitely attribute my blog to helping me be more accountable during this Shred10. I’m not perfect, but I feel the shred is a great tool to make you more aware of your food choices. There is always room for improvement, but without tracking my choices, I know that I wouldn’t be doing as well as I am.

Shred10 Tracker - Day #4

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Shred10 Day #3 – Recap

It’s Day #3 of Shred10. This is usually the day when most people start feeling the detox and may actually feel a little sick. I’ve felt pretty good so far, and have actually been feel full on less food than usual. Here’s the recap of the Shred10 guidelines I am following.Shred10 guidelines

 Breakfast

This morning, I blended together unsweetened almond milk, strawberries, blackberries, and chia seeds with some ice for a refreshing smoothie.

Lunch

I had to take my son to the dentist this morning, so we stopped at Qdoba on the way home. I ordered the burrito bowl with brown rice, black beans, adobo chicken, salsa verde, and lettuce. It had been a long time since I was last at Qdoba, and they’ve added quite a few options to their menu. Many of which are quite healthy.

Snack/Dinner

Working from home today, my son wanted to make a smoothie with all the fruit we had on hand. So we blended unsweetened almond milk with Dutch Chocolate Juice Plus+ Complete, strawberries, chia seeds, blackberries, blueberries, and a whole banana.

My son didn’t drink much of his smoothie, so I saved his for later and drank it after our Family Fitness Night.

Family Fitness Night

I’m president of my church’s Ladies Club and we hosted a Family Fitness Night tonight at a local park. I led the kids in a warm up, helped demonstrate the obstacle course, and ran a game of nutrition red light green light. Instead of yelling red light or green light, I would shout out a healthy green light food or an unhealthy red light food. The kids had a fun time learning about new vegetables.

We also led the kids through a yoga story through the jungle and handed out jump ropes, bananas and apples.

 Water

Even less water today. Something I need to focus on for sure.

Water tracker - Day #3

Sleep/Movement

I met the 7 hour sleep goal again, but fell way short of my step goal. Working from home really takes me off my feet as I work at a large campus that requires a bit of walking to get to/from parking and around for meetings.

Conclusion

Nutritionally, I did pretty good today. Ate healthy meals, with lots of fruit. It’s tough to finish all meals before 6pm with a busy family and working full-time, but the key is to try and eat early enough that your body has time to start digestion. My focus tomorrow is WATER!

Day #3 Ttracker

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Shred10 Day #2

Thanks for following along with me to Day #2 of the 10 day Shred10. Let’s review the guidelines I’m following.

Shred10 guidelines

Breakfast

I finished off the Mango-chia overnight oatmeal that I had started on Day #1. Still delicious on Day #2. I’ll be trying out different variations of this recipe including strawberries and whatever fruit I can find fresh.

I also took my Juice Plus+ trio capsules, Juice Plus+ omega, and Doterra probiotic and TriEase.

Exercise

I made it to the gym today! My first time in weeks. I attended a 30 minute Strength class at my office gym. It included 3 groups of 4 exercises that we completed twice for 45 seconds per exercise. Having not been to class in awhile, I chose a lighter weight (8 pounds). The exercises ranged from bicep curls with an overhead press and tricep dip to various ab work like planks. Definitely a great work out!

Lunch

My weakness at work is when the Lulu Dim Sum truck comes to campus. I love their General Tso Chicken! I splurged, after just working out, and ordered the General Tso, but with green beans instead of rice. Even though I’m not perfect with the Shred10, I love how it makes me aware of my food choices. I chose a vegetable instead of a starch. I then spent my lunch hour googling the ingredients in General Tso, what is gluten free, and what is considered processed food.  The traditional General Tso sauce recipe includes sugar and soy sauce (which may or may not be gluten free). But I did learn that the chicken is battered in cornstarch, which is gluten free.

Snack/Dinner

I had several meetings this afternoon, leaving me to start my double shake at 4pm. I took a break when I got home from work and didn’t finish it off until 9pm. So, I missed that 6pm cutoff, but just didn’t feel hungry. Again, I had made my shake in the morning with just Dutch Chocolate Juice Plus+ Complete, unsweetened almond milk, and chia seeds. I throw everything in my shaker bottle, shake, and refrigerate until I’m ready to drink.

Sleep/Movement

I met the 7 hours of sleep goal, and fell a little short of my step goal, but I did get in that exercise as mentioned earlier.

Water

Fell much shorter on my water goal today. I do pretty well at work, but seem to stop drinking water when I get home. I have the same water bottle at work and home, so need to work on keeping it within arms reach, especially as I’m sitting at the computer working on my blog and social media posts.

Conclusion

Today was much tougher than Day #1. Having the accountability of this blog did make me choose a healthier option at lunch than I would have otherwise, but nearly every aspect will use some special attention tomorrow, especially as I am working from home and won’t get the movement around the office.

Shred10 Day #2 Tracker

Missed Day #1? Catch it here.

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Shred10 Day #1 – How Did I Do?

Guidelines

Over the next 10 days, I’ll be following the guidelines of the Shred10 program and sharing my journey here. What aspect of the program would be most difficult for you? For me, exercise will be a challenge since my husband is out of town and I have 2 small children. I also struggle to drink enough water, so I’ll be focusing on that aspect as well.

Shred10 guidelines

Breakfast

I prepared the Mango-chia overnight oatmeal from Sun Basket Sunday evening in preparation for Shred10 starting on Monday. The recipe used almond milk and gluten free oats, making it fit the Shred10 guidelines, and honey is any acceptable sweetener too. The recipe made 2 servings (picture shown is 2 servings – filling 1 pint sized mason jar).

 

I also started my day with the Juice Plus+ trio and Omega blend. I love how easy it is to get 30 fruits and vegetables, and start my day off nutritionally sound.

I also take the Doterra probiotic and TriEase, as seasonal allergens are on high right now in St Louis.

Lunch

I’m lucky to have access to an amazing cafeteria at work, with lots of healthy options. Today, I went with the salad bar and choose mixed greens with mushrooms, egg, broccoli, grilled chicken, and sunflower seeds.

It was hard for me to stay away from the cheese and roll, but I did it!

 Cafeteria salad

Snack/Dinner

I started drinking my 2 shakes around 3pm and continued working on them until the 6pm cutoff, counting as a snack and my dinner. I made my shakes at home before work and left in the fridge during the day. My favorite preparation is to shake the Juice Plus+ Complete powder with unsweetened almond milk and chia seeds. The chia seeds take on some of the milk and make the shake more like a milk shake. Delicious!

Water

I drank 60 oz, just short of my 70 oz goal. I like the Hydra Coach app to track my water. It breaks down your goal during the day, so you can see if you’re on track and will give you notifications if you’re falling behind.

Sleep / Movement

I use my Garmin Vivoactive to track my sleep and steps. I did very good on sleep, going to bed early Sunday night. But fell short of my step goal and didn’t do any organized fitness activity.

Conclusion

Day #1 went pretty well, just need to find a way to add more movement during the day.

Shred10 Tracker - Day 1

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Taste of the Shred – A Shred10 Potluck

Thursday evening, my friend Sherry hosted a Taste of the Shred event, to highlight food that is approved during Shred10 (see my post here for more information on the Shred10 program). She asked each guest to bring a dish that fulfilled the Shred10 guidelines of no dairy, no gluten, no added sugars, no caffeine, no processed foods, and no alcohol. We had a large spread of fresh fruits, vegetables, and prepared dishes.

As people gathered, we snacked on hummus with gluten-free crackers and asparagus, and grapes. Sherry had prepared a beautiful lemon-lime infused water, along with a decaf peppermint tea.lemon-lime infused water

Many children were in attendance as well, and they enjoyed snacking on the Juice Plus+ gummy chewables.Juice Plus+ gummies

One of my favorite dishes was a mixed greens salad with a variety of toppings to choose from, including peas, sunflower seeds, mushrooms, white beans, tomatoes, walnuts and radishes. Sherry also made a home made dressing of vinegar, olive oil and honey. Most store bought dressings have added sugars, which we are avoiding during the Shred10. If you haven’t tried making your own dressing yet, it’s very easy. Sherry learned her recipe directly from the White House chef and it is delicious.

Other popular dishes were a butternut squash dish baked with onions and tomatoes, a Mexican fruit salad (recipe here) and Chocolate Complete Energy Balls.

Chocolate Complete Energy Balls
Juice Plus+ Chocolate Complete can be purchased here.

After enjoying dinner, we all went around the table introducing ourselves and sharing our health goals. Many people were looking for improved health and more energy. It was a great variety of guests and an event that we plan to host monthly during the week prior to each new Shred10.

Stay tuned for my posts sharing my journey on this month’s shred.

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