Love Freely, Laugh Genuinely, Eat Colorfully

MEAL PREP

Sometimes there never seems to be enough time in the day to do all the things that we need or want to, but we need to make our health a priority so that we can continue to do all the things that we need to do.  I try to make every situation fun so that it doesn't seem like a task.  When I meal prep, I often have music on (anything I am in the mood for), and a great snack (because I am always eating, even when prepping!).  I like to have the windows open so that I can get fresh air in the house.  One of the most important things is to always plan ahead;  I like to plan ahead to save time.  Look at your schedule and come up with a plan as to what day and time works best to grab fresh groceries and prep some meals.  Do what works best for you, this should be fun and helpful, not stressful! 

I have listed a few helpful tips to make meal preparation a little easier for you:

  • Check out what is available at your local farmers market and grocery stores to help plan meals ahead of time
  • Have some food containers washed and ready ( BPA free, glass, or stainless steel), you can even use glass mason jars
  • Plan what types of meals and how many you will make to help make your grocery trip easier
  • Keep in mind the shelf life for the food that you are making
  • If you are making salads, be sure to grab some 2-3oz. dressing containers (try to find reusable options)
  • Make meals in larger quantities to last for a few days (salads, hummus, vegetarian lasagna, soup, etc.) and divide them into a few containers
  • Utilize your time to the best of your ability (how can you use your stove and oven at the same time, prepping different ingredients at a time)


    xoxo


PROTEIN

One of the questions I get asked most as a Vegetarian is, how do I get protein in my diet?  There is a huge misconception that you are unable to get protein from sources other than from animal products.  Plant-based foods provide a great amount of protein. I get protein from a number of sources :
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Beans
  • Quinoa
  • Whole Grains (rice)
  • Legumes
  • Nut Butters
  • Nut Mylks
I incorporate and use the foods mentioned above throughout my day in the following ways:
  • Smoothies
  • Homemade Hummus
  • Homemade Nut Butters
  • Nut Milks
  • Baked Goods...


    xoxo


SNACKING

I am a huge snacker!  Many might say that "snacking" is not good for you and that you should focus on three meals a day and maybe a snack if needed.  What works best for me is, (and we are all different, so you have to listen to your body), eating when I am hungry.  Eating small "meals" throughout the day keeps our metabolism going and keeps us satisfied.   What matters most for my body, is what I am putting in it.  Snacking on carrots, cucumbers, celery, nut butters, smoothies, etc. can really help keep us fueled throughout the day.  Play around with some healthy snack items to see what works best for you. 




Below are a few ideas:

  • Raw nut mixes
  • Fresh fruit salads (with or without nuts/seeds)
  • Carrots
  • Olives
  • Nut/Seed Crackers
  • Sliced Cucumbers
  • Fresh Celery (with or without nut butter or a bit of raw honey)
  • Raw Pepper Slices

Do not starve yourself!  Plan ahead and put a little time aside to prepare some healthy snacks for yourself when you are on the go, or to take to work.


xoxo

FLAVOR

When you think of your favorite dish, you probably would say that one of the reasons you loved it was because it tasted so good!  Some of my favorite dishes have such great flavor that comes from simple fresh ingredients.  Lemon for example, is a wonderful ingredient that can be used in a variety of meals and drinks.  I no longer add sweeteners to my tea, instead I use lemon as a natural flavor enhancer.  Try making a homemade lemonade, it's out of this world! 

One of my favorite things to do on the weekends is to play around in the kitchen with a variety of different ingredients and trying out different flavors for some of my favorite dishes.  Using fresh herbs and spices helps to greatly impact the flavor, including which types of oils you use.  For instance, I love cooking with Extra Virgin Olive Oil in most dishes, but some have a stronger flavor, so I use certain ones to cook with and certain ones to create dressings with. 

Everyone craves different tastes in their cuisines, so spend a little extra time in the kitchen trying out what works best for your taste buds, and keep in mind that less is more.


xoxo


FRESH IS BEST

Our lives get so busy and unfortunately we put ourselves last, which greatly impacts our health.  Busy schedules cut down on time to cook something healthy so we can be guilty of grabbing unhealthy "convenience foods," which are detrimental to our health.  When you walk into a grocery store there are isles full of foods that come in a box, food that was manufactured in a facility where most of the nutrients is completely gone, in order to sustain a long shelf life.  These foods can be inexpensive and convenient because you can often eat them on the go or pop them in the microwave and...voila.

If you pick up those boxed foods and look at the ingredients listed, often times we cannot even pronounce what the ingredients are, often times you can't even guess what it is.  Large companies often trick us into believing we are eating something healthy with their marketing and labeling such as, "low-fat, whole-grain, sugar-free, etc."  It can be difficult understanding all of the labels and frustrating because we are trusting that what is listed in front of us is true.  When big cereal brands have "made with whole grains" on the box, we are led to believe that we are putting something good in our bodies, but when food has been so highly processed it has been stripped of most, if not all, of its nutrients, so that it can sustain a shelf like.

Fresh, whole, real, unprocessed foods do have a much shorter shelf life, but also a shorter ingredient list (i.e. Broccoli is just broccoli, no hidden ingredients), and are packed with nutrients.  You know what ingredients you are getting when you buy fresh fruits or vegetables.  I often use organic frozen fruits and vegetables for my smoothies and other meal options, it is a great way to keep the product longer and can help cut some costs.  If you buy fresh fruits and vegetables in bulk at your farmers markets or groceries stores, a great option to decrease food waste is to freeze what you will not use!

If you wash fruits and vegetables ahead of time and keep them in the refrigerator in glass containers, they become a great grab and go snack, which cuts down on unhealthy snacking options.


xoxo


PAPAYA

This beauty is a great source of Vitamin C, Potassium, and Magnesium.  It is also very high in fiber which is great for our digestive system.  Vitamin C is good for our skin, and immune system.
Potassium helps maintain blood pressure, and regulate the function of our heart and muscles.  Magnesium is important for many reasons, especially our bone and cell formation, and maintaining our energy levels.

Here are three of my favorite ways to eat Papaya

  • Raw, chopped up as a snack
  • Homemade popsicles (the store bought popsicles are packed with sugar, so I like to make my own)
  • Smoothies ( I like to add spinach to my papaya smoothies with coconut water)
Papaya is not a very sweet fruit but it can be used in many ways, I even make a papaya dressing!


xoxo

JUICING PULP

I started juicing not to long ago, and for those of you that have never juiced before, you may find it interesting to know that there is a lot of pulp left over (fiber extracted during the juicing process).  After juicing at home the first few times, I was not sure what to do with all the left over pulp, so I started using the compost in my garden.  Then I realized there was more that I could utilize that fiber for.  I thought of some of the things I do often such as baking and making smoothies, so I decided that there was a way to incorporate those extra pulps.

I purchased BPA free ice cube trays so that I can now freeze the extra pulp.  I throw in the extra pulp for added fiber when baking muffins, banana breads, and cookies.  I also love adding some of the pulp to my smoothies (which I make often).  Most people who juice may not do this, but it works for me, I take some of that extra pulp after juicing and throw it in my cup!


Try to be creative to cut down on food waste, there are often ways that you can utilize left overs to make something more flavorful or healthy!


xoxo


FRESH HERBS

There are a number of fresh herbs that I use when cooking.  Some of my absolute favorites are:
  • Basil
  • Cilantro
  • Parsley
  • Sage
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme....
Depending on what types of dishes you make, you can really impact the flavor of the dish with fresh herbs.  The two I grew up using the most are Fresh Basil and Fresh Parsley.  Those were in almost every dish we cooked at home.  What many people do not realize is that you do not need to add a million ingredients to get flavor to dishes...think simplicity.  Sometimes one or two fresh herbs are all you need.

Now that the weather is so beautiful, it's time to grow fresh herbs in our gardens.  If you do not have the time or ability to tend to a garden, you can purchase fresh herbs at the grocery store and at your local farmers markets!  Not only do they smell and taste good, they also are very nutritious. 


xoxo 

EAT THE RAINBOW

Have you ever heard the saying, Eat the Rainbow?!









It refers to eating a diet full of colorful fruits and vegetables:

  • Oranges
  • Bananas
  • Grapes
  • Strawberries
  • Kiwi
  • Cabbage
  • Purple Potatoes
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Ginger
  • Blackberries...
Eating the rainbow helps get nutrient dense foods into your body, providing the nutrients the body needs to function properly, fight and prevent disease, and heal us from the inside out.  A diet rich in FRESH fruits and vegetables helps protect our bodies from illness and helps prevent preventable diseases such as diabetes and obesity.

The beauty of eating fresh fruits and vegetables is not having to worry about what ingredients are in it.  When was the last time you saw a nutrition label on broccoli?  Think of the ingredients in a lot of processed foods, it's difficult to even pronounce most of the ingredients. If we do not know what the ingredients are, our bodies will not either.

Eat better to feel better
  xoxo

NUTS ABOUT YOU

I love nuts, how about you?

I use raw nuts in a variety of different ways, making nut butters, nut milks, eating them raw with fruit, or throwing some in a fresh made salad.  Some of my favorites are:

  • Walnuts (omega-3)
  • Brazil Nuts (selenium)
  • Almonds (protein)
  • Pistachios (fiber)
These nuts provide a number of benefits.  I always try to select organic nuts that are raw so that they are not roasted in any refined oils.  Raw nuts are a great way to get protein and healthy fats into your diet.  Some people may have nut allergies so it is important to know what works for your body.  What works for one, may not work for another.



xoxo 

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