Tag Archives: healthy tips

Celebrate the Season with Fruits & Veggies

A guest post from Produce for Better Health Foundation.

imageThe arrival of the holiday season means it’s time for celebration. At this festive time of year a person can find themselves eating on the run, skipping meals, eating too much, or too often. Don’t neglect your health! Fill your belly with the fruits and vegetables of the season for a happy, healthy holiday.

Here are some tips for incorporating delicious and healthy fruit and vegetables dishes into your holiday.

  • Start every meal with a festive salad; top mixed greens with your favorite veggies, then add sliced apples or pears, dried cranberries, mandarin orange segments, or shiny pomegranate seeds. Delight your palette with unexpected salad ingredients like jicama or avocado. For another beautiful salad option, slice a variety of citrus fruits such as tangerines, grapefruits and naval oranges, top with torn fresh basil leaves, then drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.
  • Soup makes a great beginning for a meal and it’s a wonderful way to fill up without adding many calories, as long as you stay away from the cream-based type. A broth-based soup containing red bell peppers, orange carrots, yellow corn and green peas is warm, satisfying, and colorful.
  • Vegetable medleys make an attractive side dish expanding the meal’s flavor. Try adding a small amount of chopped nuts or fun shaped pasta to mixed veggies to make them more special than your average weeknight dinner fare.
  • Fruit can serve as the centerpiece at mealtime and then be passed around when it’s time for dessert. Slice off the leafy pineapple top, place it in the center of a platter and surround it with a combination of pineapple chunks, strawberries, grapes, kiwifruit, orange sections, apple slices or other fruit. Sprinkle with lemon or lime juice and toss on a handful of dried fruit or your favorite nuts.

There are other ways to incorporate fruits and vegetables into your holiday celebrations besides just on the menu.

  • Put out festive baskets or bowls filled with a beautiful arrangement of seasonal fruits & veggies as decorations at your next holiday get-together. Unlike flowers or other decorative displays, they can be eaten as part of post-party meals saving you the trouble of disposing of flowers.
  • Teach your child the spirit of giving by helping you donate non-perishable fruits & veggies to a local food pantry or homeless shelter. You can also suggest that they donate old clothes or toys they no longer play with as a way to make room for anticipated holiday gifts. This helps others while teaching your child a valuable lesson by letting them feel the joy of giving.

There are many wonderful recipes that feature winter fruits and vegetables. Balsamic Citrus Carrots and Crazy Curly Broccoli Bake are two festive side-dishes that will add a beautiful combination of colors and fun to the holiday table. If you’re looking for a few fun, yet educational gift ideas, surf over to www.pbhcatalog.com for some inexpensive items that make great stocking stuffers or gift exchange presents for all the young children and teachers on your list. More seasonal fruit & vegetable inspiration can be found online at www.FruitsAndVeggiesMoreMatters.org.

Happy Holidays to you and your families.

DIET-FREE: The Eight Habits That Will Change Your Life

image I recently discovered DIET-FREE, a healthy lifestyle program designed by Registered Dietitian Zonya Foco, and I am a fan.  If you want to get healthy while learning to embrace life and listen to your body, then this program might be perfect for you.

How does it work?  DIET-FREE consists of eight simple habits, that you work on adopting into your lifestyle one at a time.  The eight habits happen to spell out the acronym DIET-FREE:

Drink Water… and think before you drink anything else.

Include breakfast… and stop eating two to three hours before bed.

Eat often… and include a fruit or vegetable each time.

Tame your sweet tooth… so you will naturally eat as little sugar as possible.

Find the fat… and know the good, the bad and the ugly.image

Replace processed, chemically enhanced foods for wholesome, close-to-the-farm foods.

Eat only until you are no longer hungry.

Every day exercise… and make it your middle name.

And, Zonya reminds us: every once in awhile, when the urge or circumstance dictates, it’s okay to live outside the guidelines of these habits!

These are great principles; ones that I strive to live by. You rock, Zonya!  To learn more about DIET-FREE check out Zonya’s website.  And, for a convenient printable version of the eight habits, check out this DIET-FREE handout.

4 Tips to Avoid the Afternoon Slump

image A lawyer-to-be friend of mine who is studying for the bar asked me today for tips to help her avoid the afternoon slump.  I thought this was an excellent question, so I decided to blog about it.  Here are 4 foolproof tricks to help you avoid the afternoon slump:

  • Eat a light lunch: When you eat a meal, blood is directed to your stomach to help it digest the food.  The more calories in the meal, the more blood that will be sent to your stomach.  The more blood sent to your stomach, the less leftover for your brain. So, by keeping your lunch light, you will help save some blood to keep your brain neurons firing.  Some excellent light lunches include:
  • Eat 1-2 healthy snacks: If you’re going to eat a light lunch, you will still need some energy to help fuel your brain throughout the day.  So, pre-plan 1-2 healthy “power” snacks.  A power snack is about 200 calories and combines fiber and protein.  Some ideas include:
    • An apple + 1 ounce walnuts
    • Baby carrots, celery sticks + 1 Tablespoon lowfat ranch dip
    • 6 whole-grain crackers + 2 Tablespoons hummus
    • 1 orange + 1 cup lowfat yogurt
  • Take a physical activity break: This may just be the most important tip to keep that afternoon slump at bay.  When you feel your eyes glazing over and a yawn coming on, its time to take a physical activity break.  10 minutes is all you need to get the blood pumping and send it back to your brain.  Great physical activity breaks include:
    • Going for a walk outside
    • Arm circles, marching in place and jumping jacks
    • Light stretching or yoga
  • Get enough sleep at night: None of these tips will keep you from dozing off if you’re sleep deprived.  Aim for 8 hours of restful sleep each night.  The good news is that eating healthfully and taking physical activity breaks will actually help you to sleep better.

With these 4 tips combined, you will be sure to be Zzzz-Free in the afternoon!