Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tips for a Thinner Turkey Day!

Thanksgiving is coming in just 2 days, and I'm already getting all giddy about it, as it's hands down my favorite holiday. For one day a year, all my family comes together to eat good food, drink good wine and be merry! But just 'cause Turkey Day is known to make you overindulge and feel the need to unbutton those pants, doesn't mean it has to be a day of gluttony. Here, 7 tips to make this years Thanksgiving just a tad healthier. 
1. Go for a morning run! Sign up for a Turkey Trot in your neighborhood, take a morning spin class at your gym, or just go for a light jog with your family. Starting your day off on the right track will make you feel much better throughout the day!
2. Eat breakfast! Many people fast before the big meal because they know how much food they are going to be eating. However, that's actually counterproductive. Instead, go for a healthy, light breakfast like fresh fruit with toast and nut butter, or an egg white omelet. This will keep you satisfied until Thanksgiving meal is served, and you'll be much less likely to overindulge.
3. Fill up on protein. Turkey is actually a healthy, lean protein that's super good for you so don't be shy on the meat! Pack on lots of turkey, and then several of your favorite side dishes. If your a vegetarian, make a good portion of your plate healthy veggies, like roasted butternut squash and broccoli and then pack on some of your favorite treats!
4. Do indulge in what you love...just not the whole darn dish! Don't be afraid to treat yourself. After all, it is Thanksgiving and this grand holiday only comes once a year. I like to fill my plate with lotsa healthy stuff, and then take a few good-sized scoops of my annual favorites, like my aunt's broccoli casserole (so cheesy and delish), grandma's stuffing and my mom's mashed potatoes with homemade gravy!
5. When dessert time rolls around, pick one dessert, like a slice of homemade cheesecake or apple pie. If your a try-all kinda gal, take a tiny sliver of each dessert that hits your eye, such as a small chocolate chip cookie, a corner of grandma's chocolate cream pie, and a scoop of pudding. Just don't overdue it and you'll feel good as new!
6. Share leftovers! If you host Thanksgiving at your household, give out doggie-bags to all your guests so your not eating Thanksgiving dinner again and again for the next week. If you travel for Thanksgiving, take a small to-go bag of your favorites if the host tries to hand out food at the end! Maybe you loved that cranberry sauce or string bean casserole, so feel free to take what you enjoyed most!
7. Walk it off! My family likes to take a 20 minute stroll after the big meal to digest a bit, that is if the weather holds up. Go for a quick walk to get all that food moving, and your tummy will feel a lot better afterward!

Monday, November 23, 2009

30 (More) "Happy Things"

I received so much positive, cheerful feedback from the post 2 weeks ago-"The Simple Things"-that I decided to post an additional 30 things that make me smile. Enjoy! : ) And please, add your own at the end!
1. English accents (or any accent for that matter)
2. Sitting by the TV on a rainy day and watching episode after episode of your favorite sitcom
3. S'mores by the campfire
4. Christmas CARDS
5. Colorful scarves
6. The smell of bacon upon waking
7. The first snowfall
8. Family vacations
9. Thanksgiving dinner
10. Summer BBQ's
11. Dressing up
12. Carving pumpkins+then roasting the seeds afterward
13. Couple's first dance at weddings
14. Sentimental toasts
15. Fancy hats on fancy ladies
16. Tea parties
17. Sleepover parties
18. Family dinners
19. Awkward people who aren't afraid to laugh at themselves
20. The color purple
21. Looking for beach glass and coming across that perfect shade of blue or purple
22. Listening to waves crashing at the beach
23. Decorating the Christmas tree...in PJ's...with Christmas music in the background
24. Little kids saying blunt things (ya just gotta laugh!)
25. Walking in the city for hours
26. Fresh flower bouquets
27. Naps
28. Warm laundry
29. Clean flannel sheets for the winter(especially warm socks and underwear)
30. Making homemade cookies all day long for loved ones. . . and licking the batter!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Healthy Low fat Fall Recipes

So, I was perusing through the web, when I came across these Top 10 Low fat Fall Recipes by About.com, and knowing me, I just HAD to click on the link. 
While browsing through some of the "top 10," all of the recipes looked absolutely delicious but I was especially compelled to test out the Stuffed Acorn Squash, Pumpkin Pancakes (though I'll have to substitute brown rice flour and soy milk to make them gluten/dairy free), and Baked Apples
Those three in particular were screaming "fall," and envisioning the scents and comfort while cooking these foods put me in a cozy, put-on-some-PJ's and hit the kitchen mindset.
I can't wait to try these recipes out throughout the next week, and other fall favorites I come across.
Please, I urge you to share your own healthy fall dishes for others to try in their own kitchen! 
Ok, time to hit the kitchen and whoop up some breakfast-all this food talk is making me hungryyy.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Healthy Quote of the Day

"A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor's book."  ~Irish Proverb

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Question of the Week: Food On the Go!

Q: "First of all, I LOVE your blog... you have so many great ideas and I love reading about them. I have a problem that you might be able to help me out with...I just moved into my first apartment a few months ago after living in dorms the past few years and i'm loving it, but my one issue is making food for myself. I like cooking my own meals (so much cheaper and healthier than eating out) but with my crazy class schedule I just dont have the time to cook during the week. Do you have any suggestions/recipes that are good to make over the weekend then freeze to eat later in the week?"-Kristen, 20

A: Kristen, I feel your pain. Transitioning from the dorm life to an apartment for the first time can be difficult when it comes to eating healthy in the kitchen. But, good news you aren't doomed and there are plenty of quick meals you can make ahead of time or even the day of (yes, even on those extra hectic days!) 
For breakfast:
>whip up a quick smoothie with soy or skim milk, a slightly mushy banana, and frozen berries of your choice. Add cinnamon, flaxseed oil or peanut butter for an extra healthy boost to get you going during the day! Seriously, smoothies are my savior when I'm in a rush to get somewhere!
>breakfast burrito: scramble up 2 eggs or egg whites, and top with low fat cheese and some salsa. Add black beans if you have 'em! Wrap it up in a whole wheat wrap and take it to go while your heading out the door!
>Make healthy muffins ahead of time, and pop 'em in the fridge or freezer to stay fresh, so you can grab one whenever you're in a rush!
For lunch:
>cut up fruits and veggies ahead of time during the weekend, so you can throw together a quick salad when you're on the go. Add hummus, tuna or a hard-boiled egg for some extra protein! 
*Tip: I hard-boil several eggs at the beginning of the week so I can have them on hand whenever I'm in a rush!
>Whole grain wrap: Throw together turkey, tuna or any other lean meat, and wrap it up in tin foil to head out the door for your busy day. Be creative-add on chopped apples, raisins or vidalia onions for some extra flavor!
>Take rice cakes, unsalted nuts 'n' fresh fruit with you whenever your out of the apartment for a long day. You never know when those munchies are going to hit and this is a much better option than settling for the vending machine or a burger from your cafeteria!
>tuna melt: make tuna ahead of time if you want and just pop it in the toaster with some light cheese on a piece of whole grain bread or wheat wrap! Top with lettuce and veggies : )
For dinner:
>Pop a sweet potato in the mic for about 6 minutes, and sprinkle with cinnamon 'n' sugar, or spices and a light buttery spread like Smart Balance. Serve with a large salad or some chicken you had precooked in the freezer ahead of time. Seriously-quickest, yummiest meal!
>Buy Boil-in-a-Bag brown rice by Success, which cooks in 8 minutes. Meanwhile thaw out your chicken and frozen veggies to throw in. Add a dash of low-sodium soy sauce and you've got yourself a 10 minute meal!
>Make a chili, lentil or chicken soup ahead of time and freeze it for those times your schedule is extra crazy! Take it out the day of and put it in the fridge so it will be thawed out by the time your ready for din! Try these healthy chicken soup recipes from Woman's Day; substitute extra veggies and veggie stock for the chicken to make these comforting soups vegetarian-friendly! 
>Make meat sauce ahead of time with some fresh marinara, tomatoes, garlic and lean turkey burger. Freeze and use it whenever your craving a yummy pasta dish. It'll take 10 min to make the pasta, and you can forget about the whole sauce schpeel! Use brown rice or whole grain pasta for ultimate health benefits!
>Have store bought veggie burgers and turkey burgers on hand for when you seriously have ZERO time. I love Dr. Praeger's Veggie Burgers-in the California flavor-and the original Bahama Rice Burgers.
>Marinate chicken with some light italian dressing, lemon, garlic and spices of choice and freeze to add to any dish during the week! You can even use it for a Mexi night and make fajitas-just have all the veggies precut and top with salsa or light sour cream!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Simple Things in Life

Today was one of those days where my morning started off so well that I just knew it was going to be a good day. I woke up at 7 a.m., got some cleaning done and then trekked off to Shaw's to buy some waffles 'n' turkey bacon for breakfast-which was so delish, by the way. Anyway, while at Shaw's, as I walked by the deli, an older man and middle-aged woman began humming and singing to "What a Night," with huge smiles on their faces. Then, the older man looked at the woman and said, "Ya gotta be happy in the morning. . . sometimes, ya just gotta smile." That made my day, as odd as that is. Really, it's the little, simple things in life that get me.
So, it got me thinking of some of the little things in life that always make me smile, no matter what I'm dealing with. I put together a list of 30 of my personal "happy" things...
1. Breakfast buffets, especially at nice hotels or on vacation
2. Reading a book by the fireplace on a cold, cold night
3. Used Bookstores, or any bookstore for that matter
4. Beatles music
5. My funny, sometimes odd, loving family 
6. Buying a new dress
7. Victoria's Secret Underwear-can't beat 5 for 25
8. Older couple's smiling and holding hands with their spouse-when you can tell their love hasn't changed an inch
9. Peanut butter...on anything
10. Thanksgiving dinner (pre-bloat/stomachache)
11. When the cups at Starbucks dress up for the winter
12. Seeing people with good hearts do a random act of kindness to a stranger
13. Brewing a fresh pot of coffee early in the morning
14. Laughing...hysterically...so hard until your stomach hurts
15. Making mysterious sexy eyes at a stranger, and then looking back to see they did a double take as well
16. Love letters or cute little notes left on scrap paper or napkins
17. Fall/Winter-y scented candles, like warm apple crisp, pumpkin pie and cupcake
18. Getting butterflies
19. Those little after dinner mints they give you at fancy restaurants
20. Having a crush
21. Dressing up for a fancy girls night out/dinner date
22. Getting unexpected good news
23. Receiving an unexpected letter in the mail
24. A spontaneous adventure 
25. Surprises, or having someone turn out different(good different)than you at first thought
26. Romance, and hearing love stories of how people met. . . 
27. Long, hot showers
28. The first snowfall 
29. When you go to check out at a store and everything is miraculously on SALE
30. Having a dream + people with ambitions
Now, feel free to share your own "happy" things. . . 

Monday, November 9, 2009

Instead of That, Try This. . .

There are plenty times in life when we have the utter urge to do something bad, wrong, regretful, etc. but catch ourselves with a better, healthier alternative. Here, 7 simple BETTER choices for those tricky times...

When you feel like you could punch something/one-------->go for a long run 'n' sweat it out.
Instead of going overboard and binging on brownie batter----->eat a piece of dark chocolate or order a small soy latte.
Instead of sobbing over a bad day----->phone a great friend and talk it out!
Instead of stressing over your overly hectic life----->sip on a cup of chamomile or peppermint tea.
Instead of settling for the vending machine during your midday munchies--->bring an apple with peanut butter to work!
Instead of bitching someone out in an argument---->listen and try to understand their side of the story for once.
Instead of spending a zillion bucks on take out yet again--->make a healthy din at home. Go here for some ideas! 

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

5 Simple Yet Satisfying Things to Do Right Now

1. Watch a feel good holiday-esque movie, such as Love Actually, The Holiday or even Elf. Hey, it is actually November now, so it's kinda OK to get into holiday spirit, right?
2. Make a delish, comforting warm fall dessert like hot apple cider with pumpkin pie or apple crisp. (Try Maiann's low-sugar healthy apple crisp recipe!
3. Go to your local grocery store and buy some butternut squash-it's the perfect time of year to get it on sale! Carve out the seeds, then chop it up into small pieces and drizzle with cinnamon and a few TB of agave syrup or light  maple syrup. Bake on 350 for 45 minutes to an hour. 
4. Clean out your closet. Get all those summer tanks 'n' dresses out of there and make way for fall fashion!
5. Walk around your city and take snapshots of anything and everything: the pretty leaves, a cute older couple or an antique building. Find the beauty in everything.

Monday, November 2, 2009

EEEK! WHAT DID I JUST EAT??!: Detoxifying After a Rough Night

Ok, I have to admit-between me and my best friend together, we utterly, completely let ourselves go the other night. It all started when we went out to a Halloween party and the first thing we saw (unfortunately) was the snack table, filled with loads of candy, donuts, cookies and anything 'n' everything sweet. 
Grazing over the snacks, we both acted as though we were never going to get the chance to eat again. I frantically shoved everything in my mouth as if I were in a race-1/2 a gingersnap cookie, a chocolate chip cookie, the top part (aka the good part) of two chocolate Funfetti cupcakes, a chunk of a Reese's cup that was on top of the cupcake. I think it's safe to say that I went crazy and lost sight of all senses. 
As my friend smuggled a handful of Reese's and butterfingers into her purse, struggling to zip it shut, I knew we had gone a bit over the top. Five minutes later, I felt a stomachache coming on as I glanced over at my friend who was hunched over by a bench, saying she felt nauseous and had to sit down for a bit. 
My God. How did we let this happen?
Yes, our inhibitions were a a tad off because we had a few cocktails, but YEESH. We could have at least stopped it at one cupcake or a cookie and called it a night, but instead we acted as if it was Thanksgiving dinner (gone desserts). 
Of course, it's great to treat ourselves once in a while, but is it really worth it when it causes this much pain?
The next morning, we both woke up feeling blah, as we pathetically attempted to feel better by nibbling on toast smeared with peanut butter. 
Well I'm not writing this post to shame those who have a little too much fun sometimes (aka overindulge). I'm writing this because I'm sure many of you have had nights like this as well, or times where you just let yourself go, just a little too much.
But, no worries! I'm here to tell you what to do to patch up last nights mistakes!

1. Guzzle lots of H20: As soon as you realize the damage being done, grab water immediately. As soon as I got home that unfortunate Halloween night, I guzzled two large glasses of water before bed, and fortunately felt a little better in the a.m. Water will help flush out the toxins and make you feel brand new again!
2. Steer Clear of the Sodium: Salt will make you feel bloated, and most definitely will not get rid of that blah feeling. Keep your food choices simple and fresh the next day i.e. no processed crap.
3. Eat a balanced, healthy breakfast: Just because you're feeling like a fatty doesn't mean you should fast! Believe it or not, eating will actually help you feel better. But this doesn't mean pancakes, bacon and greasy goodness! Instead, chose a healthy breakfast like egg whites with veggies or fresh fruit and some yogurt.
4. Load up on Fruit: Fruit, especially anything with high water content like melon, grapefruit and berries, helps clean your system out. Try to incorporate fruit into each meal that day, or snack on some between meals to cure the bloat.
5. Get Movin'!: Get off your butt to help move things along and sweat out the toxins! Go for a loooong walk, run, bike ride or anything to get yourself off the couch. Even though you feel like a big blob and just want to sit all day long by the tube, getting out will make you feel much, much better-trust me!
Feel free to add any more tips you find help cure things after one of  those days!