Healthy Travel Snacks to Pack on Your Next Trip

In my last post I shared some practical ways to stay healthy while traveling. A large part of that involves being prepared with healthy snacks. Here are a few of my favorites…

healthy travel snacks

I like healthy travel snacks that are as minimally, processed as possible, will fill me up, satisfy my sweet tooth, and still be nutritious. These are snacks I typically bring along for plane rides, road trips, or weekends away. I tend to make poor food choices when I’m not prepared, so I am always careful to carry healthy travel snacks with me.   Continue reading

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How to Get Your Fitness Groove Back

How to Get Your

 

Recently I found myself in a serious health and fitness slump lasting several weeks. Oopsy! It happens. There had just been so much excitement lately and I was grateful for every minute of it– traveling, hosting guests, celebrating, and just life in general! Life gets busy. That’s just a fact! But how does one stay healthy when they’re so busy? How do you pull yourself out of a slump? I’ve learned it’s important to live a little, not take yourself so seriously and find YOUR version of balance.  Continue reading

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Eating More Vegetables and Fruits

Today I want to talk to you about a healthy habit that is not only going to help you manage your weight, but also improve your overall wellbeing.  This healthy habit is eating MORE.  Yes you read that right! …specifically, eating MORE vegetables and fruits.  Can you guess how many servings of veggies and fruits you should be consuming daily? Experts recommend 5 to 9 servings per day! When I initially heard this recommendation I was pretty surprised and realized I was getting no where near this amount.  Are you?

STRIVEFOR

Dont worry I’ve got you covered. Since changing my eating habits I’ve fallen head over heels in love with veggies and fruits discovering a variety of ways to get my recommended amount (and more) with ease every single day. But before I give you those hot tips, let’s talk about why the experts think we should eat more of this good stuff.

Vegetables and fruits are not only nutritious and delicious, but they are also naturally low in calories. Now that’s a big win! More benefits include fiber to keep you full longer and keep your digestive system happy 🙂  These foods can also reduce risk of disease and provide vitamins and minerals which keep you energized and healthy. I think these are all pretty great reasons to eat your veggies (I guess mom was right all along, as usual).

Don’t panic– vegetables and fruits are so versatile and easy to incorporate into any meal or snack.  Here are my top tips on how to eat more vegetables and fruits.

[ HOW TO EAT MORE VEGGIES & FRUITS: ]
1. Juices and Smoothies – this is my favorite way to sneak in both veggies & fruits! (Be careful to read the labels & avoid added sugars and additives).
2. Soups– Great one-pot-meal!
3. Salads– Pile on the veggies!
4. Meatless Mondays – trade out one meal a week for a vegetarian dish.
5. Be Sneaky– chop veggies small enough to hide into sauces, burgers, meatloaves, etc.
6. Take Shortcuts– frozen veggies are just fine (and much easier to prep), pre-chop and wash your produce so it’s readily available to you, and if you buy canned watch out for BPA and sodium contents.
7. Recipe Re-do– Try making your favorite foods a little healthier (for example, add veggies to your omelets, make kale chips, use avocado instead of butter when baking)
8. Fill at least half of your plate with veggies
9. Try supplementing with green powder boosts for days where your on the go and really lacking in veggies.
10. DIY salad dressings! Swap the fattening, high calorie dressing and make your own
A few suggestions I’d like to leave you with are to aim for more vegetables compared to fruits.  For example, if you consume 5 servings of veggies/fruits in a day be sure to try having at least 3 of those servings from vegetables and 2 from fruit.  And when you eat out, don’t be afraid to ask for a side of vegetables or substitute your fries for veggies.

 

Do a little experimenting, try some new produce, and step out of your comfort zone.  This one small change can lead to BIG results.  It just requires a little bit of effort on your part but YOU CAN DO IT.

 

For meal ideas incorporating vegetables and fruit check out: 
http://greatist.com/health/40-unexpected-ways-add-veggies-meal/

http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/easy-ways-to-add-fruits-veggies-to-your-day

 

health coach

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Plant-Based Eating: What, Why, & How

People are often curious about my diet, wondering what I eat versus don’t eat and why.  Well here it is… I follow a “mostly” plant-based eating lifestyle. I say “mostly” because who doesn’t enjoy a treat here and there!  🙂

 

So what is a plant based diet?  I would sum up the description with the famous quote by food writer, Michael Pollan, as stated in his book In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto — “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” 1

plant-based

According to the folks over at Forks Over Knives, a whole foods, plant-based diet incorporates a wealth of fruits and vegetables, beans/legumes, and grains. Eating mostly plants focuses on eating foods that are in their natural state, unrefined, and minimally processed.

A plant-based lifestyle aims to reduce (or eliminate) meat, dairy, eggs, refined foods (bleached flour, refined sugars, and oils)2. It may sound complicated but I promise it’s not. It’s just different from what we are all used to. As with all changes, we need to give ourselves time to adjust.

So basically if it’s from a plant and has minimal processing and recognizable ingredients on the label, it’s plant-based diet approved.

 

{ Two guiding principles for successful plant-based eating: }

#1 Eat more vegetables &  #2 Eat less processed foods

 

Why should anyone eat this way?  Well because it can save your life that’s why. It can help you live a better life.  It may take some work on your part to be intentional and not fall back into old habits, but soon enough it becomes second nature. My body actually craves fruits and veggies.. my taste buds have completely changed!  But as with any major lifestyle change, you cannot stay motivated (or even get started) unless you have good reason for doing so and it becomes a habit.

Here are the top 3 reasons to follow a mostly plant-based lifestyle:

  1. Good for animals 
  • By eating this way you are showing that you do not support animal cruelty.
    • Best practices tip: Even if you are not a vegan & enjoy animal products, try to buy products from animals that have been humanely raised.
  • You can still make an impact by forgoing meet for one day a week (think Meatless Mondays!)
  1. Great for the environment 
  • Large amounts of grain are grown just to feed animals, but we would save so much water and other energy resources if the grain produced was used to feed humans instead3.
  • Producing just 1 pound of beef requires 15 pounds of grain4.
  • Animal products are among the highest producers of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere5.
  1. Even better for YOU & your body
  • Helps prevent disease (& can in some cases reverse it)! Eating a plant based diet can help prevent and treat chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, lower blood pressure & cholesterol, help with weight loss, digestion, and inflammatory diseases6.
  • Improves your overall health & wellness by providing more antioxidants, nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and more fiber 7.

Good for animals

 

 

How do i actually incorporate this into my life?  Personally, I follow the “80/20 rule” by eating the whole foods, plant-based way 80% of the time and allowing for a few treats (occasional eggs, some dairy & even desserts) 20% of the time. I believe embracing a mostly plant-based eating approach is one of the best things you can do for your health and the environment but I also believe in balance. I know if I am too strict on myself I will not have a healthy relationship with food and be miserable.

Listen to your body and adjust your dietary habits accordingly. Everyone is different. Find what works for you but always keeping in mind the two plant-based principles.

 

{ A TOP TIP for anyone interested in taking the first step toward a plant-based approach }

Work toward adding 5 servings of fruits and vegetables into your day

(at least 3 servings should be veggies + 2 servings should be fruit)

 

Got it? Good. Now go try it out! Be sure to comment with your results and experiences.

***Check out additional resources here.

 

– x o x o –  


| References |

1 In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto by Michael Pollan http://www.amazon.com/In-Defense-Food-Eaters-Manifesto/dp/0143114964

2 http://www.forksoverknives.com

3 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carole-bartolotto/plant-based-diet_b_3807973.html

4 http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-greenhouse-hamburger/

5 http://report_ewg_meat_eaters_guide_to_health_and_climate_2011.pdf/

6 http://health.usnews.com/health-news/health-wellness/slideshows/reasons-to-choose-a-plant-based-diet/1

7 http://www.onegreenplanet.org/natural-health/amazing-health-benefits-of-embracing-a-plant-based-diet/

 

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