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Sunday, October 14, 2018

Fanci Fall food Recipes and More

Falls the season of festivals and great harvest and some of the most delicious food of the year. I know it is full of some of my favorite fruits and vegetables.  In this blog I am going to give you some well known fall food and their healthy benefits along with some healthy recipes to try that I got from eatingwell.com.  I would love to hear what you think so please share you comments and thoughts and if you have a recipe to share feel free to share as well!

Pumpkin

Who doesn't love pumpkin and not just in some latte either? This of course of like the Fall stable food and known mostly for the pie fillings or to carve our jack-o-lanterns. Pumpkins orange coloring means it loaded in beta-carotene, a plant based form of vitamin A which is necessary for vison and healthy skin. Pumpkin like most plants are low in calories with only 49 calories per cup, but high in potassium, fiber and vitamin C. The antioxidants in pumpkin  have also been found to help in controlling blood sugar and blood pressure.

If you want to add more pumpkin to your fall menu this year consider buying a whole pumpkin for maximum benefits. If you do buy can make sure it has only one ingredient "pumpkin" without any added sugars or preservatives. Oh and don't forget the seeds they are great roasted as a snack.

Curried Pumpkin and Mushroom Risotto

Fresh mushrooms and curry powder provide layers of flavor to this risotto, which gets creaminess from pumpkin and from slow-simmering the arborio rice in the traditional risotto method.

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium leeks, trimmed, halved, and thinly sliced (see Tips) or ⅔ cup chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 16 ounces fresh mushrooms (such as chanterelle, stemmed shiitake, cremini, and/or stemmed oyster), sliced
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 2¾ cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
  • ¾ cup arborio rice
  • ¾ cup canned pumpkin
  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas), toasted
  • Parsley sprigs (optional)
Prep:45 mins Ready In: 45 m 
In a large saucepan cook leeks in hot oil over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes or just until tender, stirring occasionally. 
Add mushrooms. Cook about 5 minutes or until nearly tender, stirring occasionally. 
Stir in curry powder. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan heat broth just to simmering; keep warm. 
Add rice to mushroom mixture and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often. Carefully add ½ cup of the hot broth. Cook and stir until liquid is absorbed. 
Add the remaining broth, ½ cup at a time, cooking and stirring until liquid is absorbed before adding more. (This should take about 20 minutes total). 
Stir in pumpkin. Cook and stir for 1 minute to heat through. 
Transfer to a serving dish. Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds. If desired, garnish with parsley sprigs. 
Tips: Slice only the white part of the leeks.

Nutrition information:  

Serving size: ½ cup
Per serving: 153 calories; 6 g fat (1 g sat); 3 g fiber; 22 g carbohydrates; 6 g protein; 53 mcg folate; 0 cholesterol; 4 g sugars; 5 mg vitamin C; 27 mg calcium; 2 mg iron; 199 mg sodium; 329 mg potassium 

Apples

Yeah apples are available year-round, they are however considered a seasonal fall fruit and are at their peak during this time.  Everyone has heard of the saying "An apple a day keeps the doctor away" and this is actually true in many ways. Apples are high in fiber , vitamin C and antioxidants. Apples help prevent or help manage  multiple diseases from cancer, to diabetes, to heart disease. The secret to the apple is eating the skin that is where all the good stuff is at.

Apples are eaten in a variety of ways, but the best way is the on-the-go snack. Add apple slices to salads to sweeten or mix them in with a spicy meat dish for a savory and sweet flavor. Be sure and try different types of apples as well because each has a slightly different nutrient profile.

Chicken & Spiced Apples


The buttery apples suit these chicken breasts, which are pounded thin so they cook evenly and quickly. You could also serve this compote with any roasted meat or vegetable.

Ingredients:

  • 2 apples, preferably Braeburn, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3 teaspoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1⅛ teaspoons herbes de Provence, divided
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
Preparation : Active :20 mins Ready In: 20 min

Toss apple slices with lemon juice and cinnamon in a small bowl. 
Heat 1 teaspoon oil and 1 teaspoon butter in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the apples and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Keep warm. 
Mix 1 teaspoon herbs de Provence, salt and pepper. 
Place chicken between sheets of plastic wrap and pound with a meat mallet or the bottom of a small saucepan to a ½-inch thickness. 
Sprinkle the chicken on both sides with the seasoning mixture.
 Heat 1 teaspoon oil and 1 teaspoon butter in a large skillet over high heat. Add half the chicken and cook until no longer pink in the center, 2 to 3 minutes per side. 
Remove to a platter and keep warm. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and 1 teaspoon butter to the pan; heat over high heat. 
Cook the remaining chicken in the same manner. 
Add broth, lemon zest, the remaining ⅛ teaspoon herbs and any accumulated juices from the chicken to the pan.
 Cook, stirring to scrape up any browned bits, until slightly reduced, about 3 minutes. 
Spoon the sauce over the chicken and serve with the sautéed apples.

Nutrition information:  

Per serving: 185 calories; 7 g fat (2 g sat); 1 g fiber; 7 g carbohydrates; 24 g protein; 6 mcg folate; 68 mg cholesterol; 5 g sugars; 0 g added sugars; 119 IU vitamin A; 4 mg vitamin C; 29 mg calcium; 1 mg iron; 341 mg sodium; 276 mg potassium 

Butternut Squash

Butternut Squash is one of my all time favorite winter squashes that I love as a soup. Butternut squash is a cream colored elongated bell that often describe in tasting like sweet, a bit nutty and a little like a sweet potato.  It's healthy and hearty and can be used for both savory and sweet dishes.

The health benefits of this winter squash is almost endless. It contains beta carotene which is good for you skin and flu flighting phytonutrients and antioxidants. It also loaded with fiber and  vitamins such as A and C. Adding butternut squash to you fall and winter diet will help lower cholesterol and regulate blood pressure. So this fall favorite of mine will benefit you from head to toe.


Slow-Cooker Curried Butternut Squash Soup


Skip the roasting in this butternut squash soup recipe and let your slow cooker do the work instead. Just load up all the ingredients into the crock pot, set it and forget it for an easy, healthy dinner or packable lunches.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium butternut squash (2-2½ pounds), peeled, seeded and cubed (about 5 cups)
  • 3 cups "no-chicken" broth or vegetable broth
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 teaspoons curry powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk
  • 1-2 tablespoons lime juice, plus wedges for serving
  • Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish

Preparation: 10 min:  Ready In: 3 hrs. 45 mins 

Stir squash, broth, onion, curry powder, garlic powder and salt together in a 5-quart slow cooker.
 Cover and cook until the vegetables are very tender, 7 hours on Low or 3½ hours on High. 
Turn off heat and stir in coconut milk and lime juice to taste. 
Puree with an immersion blender until smooth. Garnish with cilantro.

To make ahead: Refrigerate soup for up to 4 days. Reheat before serving.

Nutrition information:  

Serving size: 1 cup

Per serving: 153 calories; 11 g fat(9 g sat); 3 g fiber; 15 g carbohydrates; 2 g protein; 34 mcg folate; 0 cholesterol; 0 g sugars; 0 g added sugars; 9,303 IU vitamin A; 20 mg vitamin C; 60 mg calcium; 2 mg iron; 424 mg sodium; 453 mg potassium

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (186% daily value), Vitamin C (33% dv) 

Parsnips

Parsnips are a white root vegetable that looks similar to carrots and often used in the same manner due to there hearty, dense texture.

They are low in calories and crazy  high in fiber which is great for digestion, lowering cholesterol and of course weight loss. This white root is also loaded with minerals from the soil  such as potassium, magnesium, zinc and iron which are all great for heart health.

If you want to add parsnips to your diet this fall  you will need to peel  and cut them much like you do carrots. They are great in soups and stews or even roasted, steamed and boiled.


Curried Parsnip & Apple Soup


This creamy parsnip and apple soup recipe has amazing flavor from the combination of curry powder, coriander, cumin and ginger. Be sure to use fresh curry powder when making this soup. Not sure if yours is fresh? Open the jar: the aroma should meet your nose immediately. Serve with flatbread or whole-wheat rolls.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1½ pounds parsnips (about 5 medium), peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 medium russet potato (about 8 ounces), peeled and chopped
  • 1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled and chopped
  • 1½ teaspoons mild curry powder
  • 1½ teaspoons ground coriander, plus more for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 4 teaspoons lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • ½ cup low-fat plain yogurt

Preparation: Active: 45 mins Ready In: 1 hr. 5 mins

Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. 
Add parsnips and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion begins to brown, 5 to 7 minutes.
 Add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, 45 seconds.
 Add broth, water, potato, apple, curry powder, coriander, cumin and ginger; bring to a boil. 
Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the vegetables are tender when mashed against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon, about 20 minutes. 
Puree the soup in the pot with an immersion blender until smooth. (Alternatively, blend the soup in batches in a blender with the lid slightly ajar. 
Use caution when blending hot liquids. Return the soup to the pot.) Add lemon juice, salt and pepper. Serve with dollops of yogurt swirled on top, garnished with pinches of coriander.

Nutrition information: 

Serving size: 2 cups

Per serving: 303 calories; 6 g fat(1 g sat); 12 g fiber; 58 g carbohydrates; 8 g protein; 132 mcg folate; 6 mg cholesterol; 19 g sugars; 0 g added sugars; 52 IU vitamin A; 41 mg vitamin C; 152 mg calcium; 2 mg iron; 444 mg sodium; 1,202 mg potassium

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (68% daily value), Folate (33% dv) 

Cranberries

Cranberries best known for cranberry sauce during Thanksgiving is almost as popular as pumpkin during the fall season. This tiny tart berry is packed with nutritional value and high in antioxidants. Cranberries have been  shown  to be beneficial with many medical condition such as decreasing blood pressure, improving immune system, lowering the risk of cancer and preventing urinary tract infections by keeping the bladder healthy.

Cranberries are best enjoyed dried because they are sweeter and less tart. Dried cranberries can be used on top of hot cereals or added to baked goods, but do be on th
e look out for added sugar because that adds calories. The same goes for cranberry juice which is usually mixed with other fruit juices to add sweetness.

Cranberry Whole Wheat Scones


This quick bread scone recipe id packed with flavor and diabetic-friendly! An ideal treat to serve for breakfast or brunch

Ingredients:
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar or sugar substitute equivalent to 3 tablespoons sugar (see Tip)
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger or cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅓ cup butter
  • ½ cup refrigerated or frozen egg product, thawed, or 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • ⅓ cup buttermilk
  • ¾ cup dried cranberries or dried currants
  • ½ cup  Buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons rolled oats
Preparation: 15 mins Ready In: 30 mins

Preheat oven to 400°F. 
In a large bowl, stir together all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, sugar, baking powder, ginger, baking soda and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. 
Make a well in the center of the flour mixture.
 In a small bowl, beat egg slightly then stir in the ⅓ cup buttermilk and cranberries.
 Add buttermilk mixture all at once to

flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (some of the dough may look dry). Turn out the dough onto a floured surface. 
Knead dough until nearly smooth, about 10 to 12 strokes. 
Pat or lightly roll dough to an 8-inch circle about ¾ inch thick. Brush top with additional buttermilk and sprinkle with oats, pressing gently into dough. 
Cut into 12 wedges. Place dough wedges 1 inch apart on an ungreased or parchment-lined baking sheet. 
Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until edges are light browned. Serve warm.

Tip: If using sugar Substitute, choose from Splenda® Granular, Equal® Spoonful or packets, and Sweet 'N Low® packets or bulk. Follow package directions to use product amount equivalent to 3 tablespoon sugar.

Nutrition information: 

Serving size: 1 scone

Per serving: 167 calories; 5 g fat(3 g sat); 1 g fiber; 26 g carbohydrates; 4 g protein; 47 mcg folate; 14 mg cholesterol; 9 g sugars; 284 IU vitamin A; 0 mg vitamin C; 28 mg calcium; 1 mg iron; 169 mg sodium; 61 mg potassium 

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potatoes are another one of my favorite foods and not just in the fall. I have them pretty much all year around rather than the typical potatoes. Sweet potatoes are known for their high source of beta-carotene due to orange color, but did you know they don't only come in orange but white and purple as well which contain even more nutrients!

Just one sweet potato of average size contains  200 percent of the vitamin A needed for the day. They are high in vitamin C, B6 and several minerals. They are lower in the glycemic index the white potatoes which means they don't raise blood sugar as quickly and why I prefer them in my diet. The purple sweet potatoes  in particular have been found to lower blood pressure and a high level of antioxidants.  Eating a combination of sweet potatoes will help you get the best benefits and guess what there are over 200 varieties.

Sweet potatoes can be baked roasted and eaten plain. They do taste good with a bit of butter or I prefer olive oil and it helps your body  absorb the fat-soluble vitamin A.  A dash of cinnamon or some nutmeg will bring out that flavor or they can be mashed and added to casseroles or soups just like white potatoes.


 Sweet Potato, Apple, and Bacon Mini Casseroles


These sweet and savory mini casseroles are ready in just an hour. Refrigerate or freeze the leftovers to enjoy later.

Ingredients:

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 10 slices lower sodium, less fat bacon
  • 2 cups chopped cooking apples
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 1 10-ounce sweet potato, peeled and cut into ¼-inch pieces
  • 2 teaspoons snipped fresh thyme or ½ teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1½ cups refrigerated or frozen egg product, thawed, or 6 eggs, lightly beaten
  • ¾ cup fat-free milk
  • ¾ cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese (3 ounces)
Preparation: 30 mins Ready In:1 hrs.  

Preheat oven to 350°F. 
Coat twelve 2½-inch muffin cups with cooking spray. 
Cut four of the bacon slices crosswise into thirds; chop remaining bacon.
 In a 12-inch skillet cook large bacon pieces over medium until crisp. 
Drain bacon on paper towels; discard drippings.
 Add chopped bacon, apples, and onion to skillet. 
Cook over medium 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
Add sweet potato; cook 10 minutes or just until potato is tender, stirring frequently. Stir in thyme and pepper. Divide potato mixture among prepared muffin cups.
 In a medium bowl combine egg and milk; pour over potato mixture (cups will be full). 
Top with cheese. Bake 25 minutes or until puffed and a knife comes out clean. Cool in cups 5 minutes. Remove from cups. 
Top with large bacon pieces. Serve warm.

Nutrition information:  

Serving size: 2 mini casseroles

Per serving: 198 calories; 6 g fat(3 g sat); 3 g fiber; 22 g carbohydrates; 15 g protein; 16 mg cholesterol; 11 g sugars; 387 mg sodium

Cauliflower

Cauliflower is a bland but versatile vegetable that can easily be used any dish. It is very low in calories and very high in fiber. It is high in vitamins C,K, B6, and folate this vegetables has been shown to be beneficial for reducing risk of gastrointestinal and lung cancer.

Cauliflower can be roasted or evened mashed like potatoes and often used as a substituted for mash potatoes. You can also pickle it or add it to soups. However my favorite way of eating it is raw with a bit of humus.


Chipotle-Lime Cauliflower Tacos


In this vegetarian taco recipe, cauliflower is tossed with a smoky-tangy sauce made with honey, lime juice and chipotles in adobo sauce before being roasted. Serve with more hot sauce, if desired.

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup lime juice (from about 2 limes)
  • 1-2 tablespoons chopped chipotles in adobo sauce (see Tips)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 small head cauliflower (see Tips), cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 (15 ounce) can refried black beans, warmed
  • 8 corn tortillas, warmed
  • ½ cup crumbled queso fresco or feta cheese
  • Sliced red cabbage, fresh cilantro, guacamole, jalapeño slices and/or lime wedges for serving

Preparation: 20 mins Ready In:
40 mins

Preheat oven to 450°F.
 Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil. 
Combine lime juice, chipotles to taste, honey, garlic and salt in a blender. 
Process until mostly smooth. Place cauliflower in a large bowl, add the sauce and stir to coat. 
Transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle onion on top.
 Roast, stirring once, until the cauliflower is tender and browned in spots, 18 to 20 minutes. Serve the vegetables and beans in tortillas, topped with cheese and garnished with cabbage, cilantro, guacamole, jalapeños and/or lime wedges.

Tips: Look for small cans of smoked chipotle peppers in adobo sauce near other Mexican ingredients in well-stocked supermarkets. Once opened, refrigerate for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 6 months.

To prep cauliflower: Remove any outer leaves. Cut off the stem. Turn head upside down and, holding the knife at a 45-degree angle, slice around the stem to remove the core from center of head. Cut the head into large florets. Then, cut or slice florets to desired sizes.

Nutrition information:  


Serving size: 2 tacos each

Per serving: 288 calories; 7 g fat(2 g sat); 11 g fiber; 48 g carbohydrates; 12 g protein; 46 mcg folate; 11 mg cholesterol; 7 g sugars; 4 g added sugars; 132 IU vitamin A; 38 mg vitamin C; 186 mg calcium; 3 mg iron; 613 mg sodium; 662 mg potassium

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (63% daily value)







Thursday, September 20, 2018

Fanci Benefits to Stretching

Stretching is one of the most basic and natural action we do. If you think about it we do it almost instinctively when we wake up from a good nights sleep or from a long period of time of inactivity. This is just stretching in what I would call it in it's "raw" from with no real structure or routine to it.

Most of us  don't think of stretching in the form of routine like we do exercise nor do we think of the countless benefits that go along with it.  Adding a stretching routine to your day or as an add on to exercise routine is just as important to your health and body function as your regular exercise. In this blog I want to list the benefits of stretching along with a "how too" when it comes to stretching.

Lets start off with the benefits. Stretching benefits people of all ages young and old. Here are some benefits to stretching:
  •  It increase flexibility and joint range of motion- Flexible muscles can improve your over all daily performance. Daily tasks such as lifting packages, bending  down to tie your shoes or walking the dog become easier and less tiring. Flexibility tends to diminish as you get older, but one  can regain and maintain it.
  • It improves your circulation-Stretching increases blood flow to your muscles. Blood flowing to your muscles brings nourishment and gets rid of waste byproducts in the muscle tissue. This then reduces muscle soreness and helps to speed recovery from muscle and joint injuries. The less sore your muscles are the less painful it will be to work those muscles and to exercise in general. 
  • It improves your posture- Frequent stretching can help keep your muscles from getting tight, allowing you to maintain proper posture. Maintaining posture can minimize discomfort and keep aches and pains at a minimum.
  • A natural stress reliever- Stretching relaxes tight, tense muscles that often accompany stress.
  •  Regular stretching enhances coordination- Maintaining the full range of motion through your joints keeps you in better balance. Coordination and balance will help keep you mobile and less prone to injury from falls, especially as you get older.
  • Stretching improves athletic performance- If your muscles are already contracted because you haven't stretched, then they will be less effective during exercise. Regular stretching will relax all your muscles and therefore enable them to be more available during exercise.
With all these benefits from stretching and especially with it helping sending a greater nutrient supply to muscles and  decreasing the  risk of injury and increasing recovery time you got to ask yourself, why not add stretching to your daily routine?

Now that you know the benefits to stretching you need to know the "How to" when it comes to stretching. You want to make sure you are stretching right to avoid over stretching and unnecessary  injury. Tips to proper stretching are:

  • Warm up the muscles you wish to stretch first-Stretching cold muscles  increase your risk of pulling muscles.  You should warm them up  by walking, marching in place, pumping your arms or any other low intensity  exercise you enjoy for about five minutes.
  • Hold the stretch to 15 to 30 seconds- It takes time to lengthen tissues safely. If you are not holding the stretch long enough you may be rushing or bouncing  through your stretch so hold yoru stretch for a good 15 to 30 seconds. For most muscle groups if you hold the stretch for 30 seconds you will only have to do  each stretch once.
  • Do not bounce- Many people think bouncing helps get a better stretch, but it can causes little micro tears which in the long run tighten up the muscles even further making you even less flexible and more prone to pain. Every move you make should be  smooth and gentle. Lean into the stretch gradually,  and only push to the point of mild tension and hold. Each time you do this you will be able to go a little further, but do not force it.
  • Focus on a pain free stretch- If you feel a pain in the stretch at all you gone to far and you need to ease up on the stretch a bit.
  • Don't forget form and function- Like with exercise there is proper form with stretching. So keep that in mind when doing your stretching routine. Pay attention to the muscles and make sure you form for each stretch is attained properly. Also consider the ranger of motion (ROM) that you plan to put your muscles through. The whole point of stretching is
    achieving a specific ROM , so the muscles will not be used to going that far  and if you push to hard at first you could end up with an injury. 
  • Relax and breath freely- In other words don't hold your breath. Make sure you breath in and out just the same as exercising as you stretch and you will be able to further in the stretch as well because you muscles are relaxing more.
  • Stretch both sides- This is  to make sure joint range of motion is equal as possible on both side of the body.
  • Stretch before and after your workout- Doing light stretching after you warm up followed by a more thorough stretching after your workout is best for you body and helps with recovery time after workouts.
So the bottom line to avoid over stretching and potential damage of your muscle and joints, avoid pain when stretching. Never rush yourself beyond what is comfortable, only stretch to the point where you can feel tension in your muscles. By doing this you avoid injury and get the max benefits of stretching.

While I have given you some great benefits of stretching and tips on how to stretch it is not always easy to stretch by yourself or just finding a routine you enjoy. Believe it or not there are places you can go to get stretched out and of course you have yoga. If you want info on these specialty places contact me.

I also am skilled and certified in stretching so I can help you as well.

A few last notes for you all so that you don't get discourage with stretching especially those who may be very tight. It takes 3 months for your muscles to fully respond to stretching and 6 months for you tendons and ligaments to respond to stretching.  So just like with exercising you need to be consistent and patient.

Please leave a comment and feel free to contact me on anything you like to hear about. I want to hear from YOU!


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Tips on Basic Nutrition

Whether you are taking a walk, lifting weights or taking a day off to recover, your body needs fuel to survive, lose weight, build muscle and to perform daily basic activities. It is important that you live a healthy balance lifestyle no matter where you are in your walk of  life. The healthier and more well balance your life is today will effect your future self and a big chunk of what effects that is what you put into your mouth.

 But where do we start? Take a stroll down the aisle in the supermarket and you will see all types of foods labeled "low-fat"  "low-carb" "low- calorie"  "fat-free" and "Gluten-free". Flip through a magazine and find an advice column on how to lose weight. Walk into a gym and you are bound to over hear a conversation on how person is trying this diet or product to lose weight verses another. All this comes down to is that nutrition has become a part of the American lifestyle with tons of information out there. So  much information in fact trying to figure what information is reliable is a chore and can be stressful in itself.

 The answer is really quite simply. Stick with the basics and forget all the crazy diet fads and products out there. Yes, a few diets have their place if suggested by a doctor due to health reasons but the bulk of the diets out there are unnecessary and unhealthy. Going back to the simple art of eating well will help more than anything. Learning the basics when it comes to food and what to put into your body. With the proper spices, recipes and nutritional information you can make any meal healthy and satisfying and full of taste. You can learn the lost art of proper nutrition. 

So here are some tips to help you get started to change your eating habits and start living a healthier lifestyle.

1) Know the difference between whole foods and processed foods. A whole food is a food with little or no refining or processing and contains no artificial additives or preservatives. A whole food item is in its natural, or very close to natural, state.

Processed foods are foods that have a list of ingredients that make it taste better and last longer on the shelf. Not all processed foods are bad because that is the way we have preserved some of our whole foods for hundreds of years. The best way to make sure you are eating the best quality of food is to read the ingredients.  If you don’t know what something is then don’t buy it.  Another good tip is: the more ingredients it has, the more processed and less nutritious it is.  

2) Load up on your vegetables and when you do think of the rainbow.  At present only 1 of 4 Americans only get the daily serving size of vegetables  that are recommend. Simply upping your consumption of vegetables foods packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants helps to lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Not to mention vegetables are very low in calories and takes more energy for you body to digest them than for you to eat them.   Make sure you eat vegetables of a variety of colors.  The more diverse of color, when it comes to vegetables in your diet, the better!

3) Choose your protein wisely. Stick with lean cuts of meat such as turkey, chicken, fish and lean cuts of beef. If you prefer not to eat meat tofu is a great source of protein along with legumes, lentils and beans. Also take note that more protein is not always better, there is such a thing as too much protein. 3 to 5 oz of any protein source is enough for a meat and fill the rest of your plate with vegetables or healthy starch.  

4) Include healthy fats into your diet. Fats are very important for our diet and our bodies function. Healthy fats provide a huge source of energy, help us feel fuller faster, carry fat soluble vitamins and essential fatty acids , keep our skin and hair looking healthy while protecting our vital organs. The best type of healthy fats come from plants such as olive oil, coconut oil or various other type plant based oils, peanuts, almonds, cashew or any other type of nut or nut butters, avocado and olives. To make sure you get a healthy dose of Omega 3's eat plenty of fish or take some fish oil pills.

5) Make it flavorful.  Probably the biggest criticism of “healthy” cooking has been that it is bland or flavorless. It doesn’t have to be. Use plenty of spices, herbs and citrus to make your food taste great. All you have to do is get creative with your cooking try a bit of that and a dash of that and you will be amazed what you will come up with. Not to mention that many of the spices and herbs come with extra healthy benefits of their own.

6) If you want something sweet go for natural sugars. Natural sugars such as fruits and honey rather than anything processed or refined is a lot better and filled with vitamins minerals and fiber all the while satisfying  you sweet tooth not to mention considerable lower in calories per serving.

7) Be a savvy shopper. One of the best ways to being a healthier eater is being a smart shopper and the best way to start that is to plan your meals. Concentrate your shopping in the outer sections of most supermarkets produce, seafood, meat and dairy departments where the healthiest and least-processed ingredients tend to be. In the freezer section, head for frozen vegetables and fruits. In the inner aisles, go for whole grains,  dried beans, spice and herbs.

8) Learn to read labels. Check the nutrition information and also look at what ingredients are in the product.  This goes back to tip 1 when choosing the best processed foods. A general rule: the simpler the ingredient list is to read, the better.

9) Never skip breakfast it's the most important meal of the day. It literally means "break the fast" which translates to kick starting your metabolism, muscles, and mind after an 8 or more hour period of food deprivation. This also means it sets you in the right direction for rest of the meals throughout the day by helping control your blood sugar and sets your body up to better metabolize  through out the day and also keeps you from over eating come lunch time or dinner time. Eating breakfast keeps not only keeps you on track with food but with your mood and mind as well. A healthy breakfast keeps a health shape mind and happy mood full of energy. So never skip breakfast.


There are some easy to follow tips to get you started on the right path.  I even added a few photo tips for you as well. If you need anymore help feel free to contact me at alisha@fancifit.com. I can answer you questions or if you like can design a consume meal plan just for you.