enjoying the holidays

Last year I was in the midst of a “healthy holidays” series and I came to an important realization.

The holidays are meant to be enjoyed, without stressing out about how many calories are in that cup of egg nog and worrying about being perfectly healthy the whole time. I’m going to eat cheese and drink wine with abandon! ;)

Here is what you should do in the next week!

Always fill a stocking. (Your own counts!)

Eat cookies. (keyword: homemade)

Do something active with your family. (I’m hoping for a hike in 80 degree weather before flying to Minnesota later that day!)

Enjoy a large, family meal that focuses as much on the laughter and the company as it does the food.

Kiss under mistletoe.

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Start a tradition.

Listen to all the holiday music you can.

Donate something. Time, money, etc. (Donate to Medical Missions in Haiti here)

Wear some fun holiday makeup!

Take a day off from the computer/twitter/facebook/etc. (We can all use it.)

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Be Thankful for what you have.

Think of those who aren’t as lucky.

Enjoy the holiday season! Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah or whatever you are celebrating!

 

ask the nutritionist: how to shop for frozen meals

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As much as we all wish that we could lovingly prepare delicious, healthy meals at home for every meal, it simply isn’t always the case.

I’m a fan of frozen meals as they can easily replace take-out or fast food and can be much healthier and much less expensive.

There are a number of great frozen food companies out there providing quick meals that are relatively healthy. You just have to weed the good from the bad. It’s a big aisle. :)

What to Look For: 

  • Contains vegetables
  • Made with some whole grains
  • Less than or around 500 mg of sodium per meal (though I must admit that I’m not really a stickler when it comes to sodium)
  • Calories – since frozen entrees are usually the main component of my meal – I need there to be about 300-350 – and then I’ll usually add more vegetables as a side dish
  • At least 10-15 grams of protein
  • At least 5-10 grams of fiber

Great Options: 

  • Kashi: Red Curry Chicken, Mayan Harvest Bake, Sweet & Sour Chicken
  • Amy’s: Brown Rice & Veggie Bowl, Indian Tofu Spinach Wrap, Indian Palak Paneer
  • Cedarlane’s: Chicken Burrito Grande, Fajita Chicken Burrito
  • French Meadow Cafe: Chicken Curry, Chicken Pomodoro Pasta
Love or hate frozen meals – and – what is your favorite kind? 

ask the nutritionist: favorite protein sources

Don’t worry, I’m not going to give you a science lesson on protein. I like the food aspect so much more than the scientific one. :)

Protein. We all need it. Some of us get too much. Some of us don’t get enough.

Sometimes it is easy to get enough. Other times its not.

I am definitely what I would consider a “protein person.” I need a decent amount of protein (and fat) at each meal or I get hungry. And then I get really crabby. Ask the Taster, he’ll tell you it isn’t pretty.

Here are some of my favorite – EASY – ways to get in protein!

Favorite, Easy Proteins: 

  • peanut butter or other nut butters
  • cheese sticks
  • greek yogurt
  • tofu
  • hard boiled eggs
  • edamame
  • protein bars like thinkThin
  • sprouted bread
  • cottage cheese
  • tuna
  • beans like lentils
  • protein shake/smoothie 
  • oatmeal
What are your favorite ways to eat protein? 

ask the nutritionist: staying healthy while on the road

As you know, I spent almost the last week on the road, and prior to that, a week moving, and now, still not quite moved into our own place. Can I just tell you how much I’m dying to cook in my own kitchen again? It feels like it has been forever!

Staying healthy on the road, or while traveling isn’t always easy, and it certainly isn’t always perfect, but it’s worth it!

There are times when you get up too early to workout (hello 4:30 am!). There are times when the only options are fast food. There are times when you are stuck in a small town and dinner options are limited to chinese or pizza. But there are also times when you can fit in a great workout. There are times when you can eat a delicious, healthy meal. And there are times when being healthy just comes naturally.

Here are my favorite tips for healthy living while traveling (some of which I just learned on this last trip!)

  • Pack healthy snacks to munch on! We brought kale chips (a ridiculous four bags), apples, peanut butter, nuts, dark chocolate, roasted seaweed and more!
  • Bring a water bottle and re-fill it where you can. This saves money and the environment! (Hint: hotel fitness centers usually have a good water source)
  • Ask the restaurants what their veggie is (they don’t always advertise it) and get a side of it with your meal if it doesn’t come with one. I had a buffalo burger while we were in South Dakota – I didn’t eat the bun, I ordered coleslaw with it and then got a side of the veggie. It was a great meal.
  • Oatmeal and peanut butter (or greek yogurt) is a great way to start out the day and can be eaten on the road. I packed oatmeal + flax in plastic baggies then got hot water and a cup from gas stations.
  • If you do stop for fast food – split a meal!
  • Bring your favorite tea bags – I was so glad I had my favorite tea for the trip – again, hot water is typically free.
  • Probiotics – I always take them, but traveling can mess with your system even more than normal, so taking probiotics was/is a must!
  • Workout – figure out how it will work best for you. There were times on our trip that using the fitness center was best and there were times, when a hike was exercise for the day. The Nike Training app also came in really handy and was a great switch up from the usual cardio and weights.
  • Know that eating while traveling probably won’t be the same as eating at home and that’s ok. I have probably never eaten more fried potatoes in my life (fries, tater tots, etc.) but I know that isn’t the norm and it makes me so much more excited for meals at home – full of veggies!
What are your favorite tips for staying healthy while traveling or on the road?