Work Week Lunch Ideas: Homemade, Easy, Quick and Healthy

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“I’m so busy I don’t have time to eat make myself a healthy lunch.”

I’ve heard this comment so many times. It’s a disempowering statement and puts you at the mercy of fast food which leads to weight gain, feeling like crap and accelerated aging. Yikes!

In our world today, we are all very busy and it’s so easy to grab and go, but what’s actually in that food you grab and eat? Extra fat, salt, and sugar that you don’t need.

Lunchtime can be a real challenge when you want to keep your food choices healthy. There are tantalizing treats scattered throughout your office break room and your desk is in close proximity to the vending machines that can easily tempt you and quickly veer you off of your path leaving you feeling disappointed and defeated. To avoid these negative feelings, it's crucial to be proactive about your meals for the work week.

What I think works best in this situation is to prepare your lunches, but you might have no idea what to make or feel that's too time-consuming. After all, do you really need one more thing to add to your to-do list? I hear you loud and clear.

I want to share with you some of my best and easiest lunches you can whip up in mere minutes so you can enjoy healthy lunches all week long.

Quinoa Lunch Bowl:Quinoa is a food that is easy to prepare, very nutritious and that is incredibly easy to take to work with you. Of course, you want a little more in your bowl than just quinoa, but you can add anything you want to make your bowl delicious and filling. You can steam or sauté vegetables that you enjoy - broccoli, zucchini, onion and a sauce of your choice, such as tahini or balsamic. Don’t forget to add your bean of choice for a fiber blast.

Pssst… If you don’t like quinoa try forbidden black rice, brown rice or even zucchini noodles.

Ready-To-Go Mason Jar Salads: These are so simple, delicious and you can prepare them for the whole week in one sitting. Use mason jar's to hold your salad ingredients so when you empty your jar into a bowl, it creates the perfect lunch salad for you. Start by putting dressing in first, then your toppings & veggies, and finish off your jar by adding your greens last. This will keep your dressing away from your greens, so they won't get soggy. You can store these in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Wrap It Up: Think outside of the box for this one and skip the flour tortilla and try a lettuce wrap. Simply, toss your favorite chopped veggies and any fitting leftover ingredients from your fridge in a lettuce leaf. Drizzle with a complementing sauce, wrap it up and call it a day. Wraps pair well with soup, so keep that in mind as you meal prep for the week.

Italian Style Spaghetti Squash This is definitely one of my go-to quick, affordable and healthy lunches. I always have a spaghetti squash on hand as they're so versatile. This is another great option for tossing in any leftover veggies from the fridge, mix with some marinara sauce and you've got yourself a pasta-free spaghetti that won't disappoint.

Some other ideas are soup, salads, leftover casserole, and hummus sandwiches with veggies. These are just a few examples of all the delicious meals you can quickly prepare at home and take to work without too much of a hassle. Some take a little more time than others, but you can always use Sunday to meal prep for the entire week, so you don’t have to wake up extra early on your work days. If possible, you could even leave all the meals you created at work so you can grab it during lunchtime, and you don’t have to take anything to work all week.

Do you have a lunch idea that supports your weight, wellness and time? Please leave a comment below and share.

Want to Feel Refreshed? Juice Cleanse for One Day

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In our super busy society, we are in the pursuit of having it all. As we work hard to achieve our goals, we don’t allow our bodies and psyche time to decompress and relax. In the past, I worked 7 days a week and pretty much forgot what it was like to have a weekend to myself. Have you been there or experiencing this now?

You might have the weekend off from work, but things like chores and running children around to all their activities can occupy all your time. In times like these, a vacation is a blessing and a change of routine is welcome. A day spent reading under a tree, smelling the flowers near a river or a walk in the woods can make all the difference.

Why it all matters to your overall wellness.

Have you ever thought about the foods and drinks you consume? What’s it made from, with and by whom? Many eat whatever comes their way. Because of the struggle to have time to cook at home, you may find yourself eating processed food or fast food most of the time.

Do you know that diet (what you eat on a daily basis) affects our behavior and mood? Dietary changes bring changes in our brains, which lead to change in attitude, hormones, and ability.

For many, our busy schedules don’t allow us to be as careful as we would like to be regarding what we put into our bodies on a daily basis. Most of us just don't have time to cook at home every day. In such situations, the tested and proven one-day juice cleanse is just the answer.

How does a juice cleanse work?

To lose weight, stay healthy, feel fresh, give your digestive system a break from hard-to-digest processed foods and maintain focus, you should try to go on a juice cleanse once a week. It is a rejuvenating experience. It will boost your metabolism due to the sudden change in diet and your digestive organs will thank you for a day off.

Which juices to drink?

Remember, the key is balance. Try to drink juices that leave you without an appetite. You should drink six juices a day to receive proper hydration. Play around with the four juice recipes I provide below to find out a combination that works for you and is appetizing. Make sure not to add any sugar or artificial flavors.

Remember this.

The most important factor is to not juice in a way that leaves you feeling faint, weak or so hungry that you are waking up for a midnight snack. If you do feel faint or weak you can supplement with a smoothie. If that doesn’t work do whatever you have to do to feel better (eat a piece of fruit). Juice cleanses are never about feeling deprived, they’re about being cleansed and feeling alive.

This doable and easy to follow a juice cleanse will help you succeed in making changes for one day. And when you have the discipline and the desire to implement this change, I promise many more will follow because you will feel so great. My hope is this juice cleanse will be an action you take that will propel you into other lifestyle changes creating massive change in what you put in your body and allow in your life.

Below are my 4 favorite juice recipes. I hope you enjoy them.

Juice #1

INGREDIENTS

2 Cucumbers (unpeeled)

1 Green apple (unpeeled)

1 handful Parsley

1 Lemon (juice of)

DIRECTIONS

Juice all ingredients in a juicer.

Juice #2

INGREDIENTS

3 Celery Stalks

1 Cucumber (with skin)

2 handfuls Romaine lettuce

2 handfuls Spinach

1 Pears

1 handful Parsley

1 handful Cilantro

4 ounces Coconut water

1 Lemon (juice of)

DIRECTIONS

Juice all ingredients in a juicer.

Juice #3

INGREDIENTS

4 Celery Stalks

½ Green apple

1 Cucumber (with skin)

3 Kale leaves

1 Lemon (juice of)

DIRECTIONS

Juice all ingredients in a juicer.

Juice #4

INGREDIENTS

3 Kale leaves

1cup Spinach

4 Celery Stalks

1 Cucumber (with skin)

1 Lemon (juice of)

1 Lime (juice of)

½ Green apple

3 sprigs Mint

DIRECTIONS

Juice all ingredients in a juicer.

This one-day juice cleanse will clean your internal organs and you will see the effect on your skin, overall health, and outlook on your life. The results will motivate and lead you towards opting for a healthy diet as you will feel so refreshed and healthy after this.

Grab-and-Go Salads for a Spring Day

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When I mention salads many people think of a diet because that’s the only time they will eat salads. If you‘ve been with me for a while you know by now that I don’t believe in diets (psst…they don’t work). But I do love salads and all the nutrients they offer us. Salads are a suburb way to get greens into your diet and are an excellent source of nutrition, fiber, and protein, as well as, being the key to a balanced diet.

Making salads a part of your everyday lifestyle will rev up your phytochemical (chemical compounds in plants that positively affects our health) intake, offer you more digestive enzymes and help keep you healthy. They help you look and feel younger as they are great for your skin, hair, and figure…ooh, la la. It is important to be aware of what you eat to help sustain a healthy body and life and there are numerous ways you can “toss” salads into your life. J

Now that you’re motivated to eat some salad, here are three easy-to-make salads that won’t take much of your time and taste delicious. Let’s get away from the standard Caesar Salad, although tasty, it’s a bit boring.

Try the following salads and then create your own.

Arugula Fruit Salad

Serves 2
INGREDIENTS

4 cups Arugula

1 cup Cooked red quinoa

1 Apple or Pear sliced

½ cup chopped pecans

½ of a cooked sweet potato diced (add more if you like)

Directions

Mix everything together in a bowl.

Dressing

3 Tbls balsamic vinegar

1 tsp finely mince shallot

1 small clove garlic

1 tsp Dijon-style mustard

1 tsp maple syrup

½ tsp sea salt

¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup olive oil

DIRECTIONS

Put all the ingredients into a mason jar. Close the lid and shake for 15 seconds to combine.

Toss salad ingredient in a big bowl with the amount of dressing you desire. Serve and enjoy.

Feel free to experiment and add or minus whatever you like as long as it's healthy.

Garden Party Salad

Serves 2
INGREDIENTS

4 cups greens (Mache, spinach, romaine)

4 radishes chopped

2 carrot shredded

1 medium cucumber (peeled and cubed)

1 Avocado diced

¼ cup sunflower seeds

½ tsp Olive oil

1 Lemon (juiced)

Pinch of sea salt

Fresh ground pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

Mix everything together, except for the lemon, in a large bowl. Squeeze the lemon juice on top and that’s it!

For some, it may not sound tasty, but once you try it you will love it. It will fill you up and keep you feeling fresh and energetic. Also, the combination of colors and freshness of the vegetables is quite visually appealing.

Fruit Salad

INGREDIENTS

2 Apple cubed

1-2 Kiwi cubed (or a banana sliced)

2 Orange peeled and cubed

1 Cup pineapple

Strawberries to taste

Blueberries to taste

1 Lemon juiced

2 to 3 pinches orange zest

DIRECTIONS

Mix everything, except for the orange zest and lemon, together in a mason jar. Add the zest and squeeze the lemon juice on top. Enjoy the fruits of your labor.

You can add or minus the fruits you like or dislike. You can also add dry fruits as seasoning to make it a little more exciting. This is an easy, colorful, tasty and very healthy low-calorie salad.

As you can see, you can’t go wrong with making tasty salads. The options are endless. The three recipes included here are very simple and quick recipes which will help you lose those extra pounds or to help continue maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Slow Cooker Minestrone Soup

In the effort to keep things simple and easy in the kitchen, I offer you another slow cooker recipe. This recipe provides a warm lunch or dinner on a cold winter day. It’s full of vegetables and the perfect soup to keep you healthy. Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Minestrone Soup

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 large can diced tomatoes

4 cups veggie stock

1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 onion, chopped

2 cups green beans, chopped

5 cloves garlic, diced

1 cup mushrooms, diced

3 stalks celery, chopped

3 carrots, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh basil

2 cups gluten-free pasta (you can substitute rinsed quinoa)

Heat the coconut oil in a pan. Sautee the onlons, garlic, carrots, celery, and mushrooms until soft ( about 7 to 10  minutes).

Add all ingredients, except pasta, to slow cooker, cooking on high for 2 hours. Adjust heat to low when needed, and simmer veggies to desired tenderness. Add uncooked pasta (or quinoa) 20-30 minutes before you are ready to serve.

Enjoy

 

Potato and Kale Slow Cooker Soup

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Wintertime is an opportunity to slow down and being more receptive and being intentional about how you want to live the upcoming year. This all sounds great in theory but if you like me, you have a list that keeps growing of things that need to be handled. This is when we find ourselves eating heavier, fatty foods that won’t support our energy or help us keep our weight at a healthy number.

This is when I turn to my slow cooker for help. Yes, you do have to do some work to chop the vegetables and get them into the crockpot with the other ingredients, but this can all be done in about 10 to 15 minutes with roughly chopped of the veggies (the soup will be blended). This will allow you to have more time out of the kitchen so you can focus on completing to-do items and spending quality time with your family.

Now, just to be clear, I am not saying you should let a to-do list dictate your life. You know that I believe we all need to take time to take care of ourselves. A great way to do this on a busy day after work is to take 5-10 minutes and meditate be still, breathe, and be grateful for the delicious meal you are about to eat. Not only did you save time cooking and allow for some healing time for yourself, your body will be ready for a healthy meal.

Potato and kale soup is a perfect hearty soup that will leave you happy, satisfied and eating a home cooked meal that leaves you nourished. Enjoy!

Potato and Kale Soup

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS

1-tablespoon coconut oil

1 onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 carrots chopped

2 celery sticks, chopped

1 cup shitake mushrooms, diced

3 medium russet or gold potatoes, diced (I used Russet)

6 cups vegetable broths

1 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)_

2 tablespoons black pepper

1 bunch kale de-stemmed and chopped

Optional: Smoked paprika

DIRECTIONS

Sauté the onion garlic, carrots, celery and mushrooms in a pan with coconut oil to soften. Add all ingredients to a slow cooker and cook on low for 6 hours, or until potatoes are cooked through. 15 minutes before the time is up, add the chopped kale to the slow cooker to wilt.

TO SERVE:

Option one: In a high-speed blender, blend until smooth. This version is very silky and delicious. This is where I added the smoked paprika. Serve in a bowl. Enjoy!

Option 2: Serve as a chunky soup (just makes sure you chopped vegetables bite size. Serve in a bowl. Enjoy!

Want to freeze the leftovers? Put the blended soup into Mason jars with an inch free at the top for expansion and freeze. Just take the Mason jar out of the freezer and put into the refrigerator the night before you want to eat it.

Did you like the soup? Leave a comment below and let me know if you made the soup and how often you’ve used your slow cooker this year so far.

Slow Cooker Oatmeal

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Do you ever feel like you’ve simply run out of meal ideas? You might cook the same five dishes over and over, just like the majority of us or you’re just not inspired to cook anything. Your schedule is full enough, and having the time to get creative in the kitchen seems like a pipe dream.

This is where the crockpot/slow cooker is a dream come true.

Toss in your ingredients in the morning, go to work, and come home to a healthy, delicious, hot meal for you and your family. You have enough on your shoulders already...let me help you figure out what’s going to be on your plate.

Over the next three weeks, I’m giving you a recipe a week for you to try. They’re extremely healthy and hopefully inspire you in your kitchen.

Breakfast time can be one of the most rushed times of your day which might only leave you time for pouring boxed cereal in your bowl. On winter mornings I like something warm and slow cooker oatmeal is the perfect solution

Slow Cooker Oatmeal

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

1-cup steel cut oats

1.5 cups water

1.5 cups almond milk

2 apples, diced

3 tablespoons coconut sugar, brown sugar or maple syrup

1-tablespoon cinnamon

1/4-cup raisins

1-tablespoon coconut oil

  • Optional toppings: coconut flakes, fresh fruit, your favorite nuts (I love toasted pecans)

DIRECTIONS

Add all ingredients to well-oiled crockpot (use coconut oil) and stir well. Cook on low for 5-6 hours, or until cooked through.

Add optional toppings.

Enjoy!

Fun Halloween Foods That Aren't So Scary

Halloween and an absurd amount of processed sugar seem to go hand-in-hand. With all of the parties and trick-or-treating in the very near future, you may be scrambling to find some healthier versions of fun & festive Halloween foods and treats. Here are some of my favorite healthy versions of Halloween foods that will look great on your food table for that Halloween party that’s around the corner. Enjoy!

Tangerine Pumpkins

Simple, healthy and fun — drawing faces on your tangerines is a great addition to your fruit bowl this season. You can use any fruit with a rind on it for this: oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, even miniature pumpkins.

 

Halloween Fruit

Creating an entire plate of Halloween goodies is as simple as peeling some fruit. Cut small pieces of celery stalk, peel a tangerine, and insert the celery piece into the top as a stem. Peel banana, cut in half and stand each piece up on your plate. Create a simple ghoul face out of melted dark chocolate. Guilt-free and festive!

 

Pumpkin Peppers

The great thing about Pumpkin Peppers is you can add anything you want for the stuffing. I’ve seen them stuffed with mini-salads, rice and beans, roasted veggies, or anything you desire. Cut the top of the pepper off and remove insides, carve your pumpkin face with a knife, and stuff with your desired toppings.

 

Pumpkin Hummus

Pumpkin hummus is a fun, festive and healthy addition to your table spread this season. It’s also incredibly simple to create! 1 can chickpeas, drained & rinsed; 1/2 cup pumpkin puree; 1 tablespoon minced garlic; 1/3 cup tahini; 2 tablespoons lemon juice; 1 teaspoon cumin; add fresh cracked pepper and cayenne pepper if desired. Mix all ingredients in food processor, blend until smooth and desired consistency.

 

Candy Corn Fruit Cup

Using mason jars as your fruit cup holder, layer pieces of pineapple and orange slices to create a “candy corn” look. Top with a coconut whipped cream — my favorite — if you desire. These are great for parties and best of all, they’re healthy!

 

Pumpkin Bowl/Dip

It’s up to you what you’d like to put inside of it, but using a pumpkin as a bowl is as festive as you can get. These are perfect for parties — just put your dips inside of a sliced, hollowed pumpkin, and you’ll have a crowd pleaser on your hands.

 

Do you have unique and creative ideas to have a healthy Halloween? Leave a comment below and share your not-so spooky treats.

 

 

Got Food Cravings? Try These Food Swaps.

Have you ever suffered from a food craving? Found yourself at the refrigerator door eating with the door open? I certainly have. Food cravings can seriously take control of your life until you feed the craving.

When you think about food cravings, typically the first thing that comes to mind would be some type of junk food. Something that is high in calories, low in nutrients, processed and quite unhealthy. Is that what you tend to crave when a craving kicks in? That would be me- give me sugar, give me chocolate.  What is your go-to craving -- chocolate chip cookies? A big bowl of ice cream? I would go right for the chocolate bar(s).

I'll be honest with you -- I believe in a balanced life. I'm not saying to never enjoy a sweet treat again. The issue with ingesting processed foods and the chemicals that come along with them on an ongoing basis is the danger of addiction. We absolutely don't want that, as it can disrupt the way our bodies function and wreak havoc in more ways than you can imagine.

So, if you feel like you may be addicted to sugar and/or processed foods, there is something you can do to help break the addiction. There are many foods you can add into your diet to balance your microbiome (gut bacteria) and get your good bacteria back to a healthy place. These foods are generally fermented foods that are filled with the good bacteria that your body needs to balance itself again and rid you of those cravings.

These fermented foods can include kimchi, Kombucha (look at the sugar content as they can get very sweet), sauerkraut, fermented beets, fermented carrots and coconut kefir to name a few. I'd love for you to choose at least one of these to add into your diet this week and get the good bacteria back into your body. Some doctors recommend taking a probiotic on a daily basis to help balance your bacteria, but after years of study, I believe that probiotics are great as you start getting your gut back into shape but you don’t want to rely on them. One they are expensive and secondly, the store bought probiotics might not carry the healthy probiotics stains your body needs to thrive. Eating fermented foods is the best and healthiest choice for you precious microbiome.

Do you have other cravings? Salt, something fizzy or creamy? Keep reading for help.

Exchange popular food cravings with these genius swaps…my favorite way of combating cravings is to trade out unhealthy foods with beneficial ones.

 

If you're wanting to put your hands in the potato chip bag... Try some raw carrot or celery sticks instead for that crunch. Dip the veggie sticks in hummus for a filling snack.

If you're craving fizzy sodas... Try some sparkling water such as Perrier or Pellegrino.   There are so many flavors to choose from; you're bound to find one you love -- and you can finally ditch that soda! Add a little Pomegranate juice to the sparkly and enjoy a virgin cocktail.

If you're hungry for a milkshake... Try a green smoothie instead to quench your desire for something cold and sweet. Adding chocolate, vanilla, or any other flavored protein powder will give you the milkshake taste you love without the sugar and bad fat while filling you up with protein.

Another helpful tip that I implement is to indulge mindfully. When you do decide to have a treat, enjoy a smaller portion than you’d even like to have. Teaching yourself restraint and how to indulge mindfully is an incredibly useful tool that you will always carry with you. I always have dark chocolate every day but just two squares. I get what I want to eat, it’s a healthier option instead of store-bought candy bars or cookies with trans fat and I don’t feel deprived at all. I feel extremely satisfied.

Let me know how you have won the war of food cravings by leaving a comment below.

 

4 Delicious Breakfast Ideas To Keep You Healthy While On-The-Go.

 

Do you skip breakfast in the mornings? I know people who love to eat breakfast and others who don’t need anything until lunchtime.

When you feel overwhelmed by your schedule and you’re constantly racing from one appointment to the next, it’s an incredibly popular decision to skip breakfast entirely. Mornings truly can be a rat race that we feel we’re constantly losing, so I understand the reasoning behind feeling like there’s no time to have a breakfast. After all, when you’re already scurrying around in a race against the clock, it seems impossible to find a chance to sit down for breakfast on top of everything else.

I’ve been there, too. We’ve all been there. I have certainly felt your confusion and frustration. I’m sure your mother told you that breakfast was the most important meal of the day, but in case you need another reminder… it’s time to stop skipping breakfast!

Now, with that said, I don’t recommend a huge breakfast for anyone. Eggs, bacon, and toast is not a well food combined meal and instead of fueling you will take away your precious energy for digestion.

So what is a good breakfast? Something light, healthy and full of nutrients for you. Below I’ll share some simple ideas that you can incorporate into your morning routine.

Eating breakfast helps improve concentration, memory and even helps boost your mood but if you eat a heavy pancake breakfast you’ll feel weighed down and lethargic. Finding a simple, healthy breakfast that works for your busy schedule is quite easy, and we’re going to do that today.

It’s essential to find time to eat a breakfast that is right for you. Personally, I can drink a green juice or smoothie and be great until lunchtime. However, others need something with a little bit more sustenance. You just went the entire night without eating, (or practicing intermittent fasting- not eating for at least 12, 16, or 18 hours) and you need to refuel your body for the day ahead. Breakfast is the perfect time to get in those important vitamins and nutrients your body needs to function well throughout the day.

Here are a few of my favorite healthy and simple breakfast ideas that fit perfectly into a busy schedule…

 

1. Toast with avocado and tomato. This breakfast tastes great and can be made within a couple of minutes. The avocado is full of healthy fats, and the tomato provides lycopene, which is an antioxidant that is brilliant at scavenging for cancer-causing free radicals. You can also add a boiled egg if you want more protein to fuel your body.

2. Fruit, Nut and Yogurt Parfait. Parfaits are a fun way to start your day. You simply layer up some yogurt, nuts, fruit, nut butter and honey to create a delicious breakfast full of healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. Kite Hill is a delicious plant-based and dairy free yogurt that you must try if you haven’t yet. If you don’t like yogurt, then use homemade almond milk or organic store-bought brand. I go heavier on the fruit than nuts because it’s a lighter option and works best for me.

3. Make-Ahead Smoothie. When you have absolutely no time in the morning, prepare smoothies the night before. I like to use two bananas, at least a cup of berries, a few dates and a lot of greens. Blend and store in 2 16-ounce mason jars. This makes two big servings so you have breakfast for two mornings.

4. Overnight Oats and Chia. Mix in oats, chia seeds, honey and some nut-milk into a jar and then leave it overnight in the fridge. You can add other ingredients you may desire to make this to your taste, like cacao, blueberries, almond or peanut butter.

Do your best not to overcomplicate it – that’s exactly what causes the feeling of overwhelm that holds you back from eating breakfast daily. Save the heavier breakfast foods for your lazy day Sunday brunch.

I understand some people need food when they wake up because their digestion is a little off, but if you can, drink warm water and wait till you eliminate before you start feeding your belly again. This way you're not stuffing more food into your digestion system on top of what is still in your digestive tract and overwhelming your system.

Do you ear breakfast or skip it? Do you practice intermittent fasting? Leave a comment below and let's chat about it.

4 Simple Healthy Lunch Ideas For Your Busy Lifestyle (and more ideas for back to school)

If lunch isn’t planned ahead of time, it can be the easiest meal of the day to resort to convenience foods, which are generally junk foods. The vending machine in your office building is just one button away from a quick lunch when you’re pressed for time, right?

Luckily, it doesn’t take a ton of time to plan meals ahead of time! It only takes a commitment and a few minutes each day. I’m going to share with you some of my favorite ideas for simple, healthy lunches that I plan my meals around.

Here we go…

 

A Healthy Twist On Sandwiches

Although it’s not hard to spruce a sandwich up to be fairly healthy, you can make them even healthier by substituting any meat and cheese for vegetables of your choice. You can add things such as spinach, tomato, onion, avocado and more. Ditch the mayo and use hummus or guacamole. If you choose to use bread, be sure to choose a healthy, sprouted option, and a gluten-free option if needed.

 

A Simple Salad

Ditch those heavy salads drenched in Ranch dressing and create your own salad made up completely of raw vegetables and possibly and simple dressing like apple cider vinegar with fresh herbs.

Some great in season veggies to toss in your salads include:

  • Beets
  • Radish
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumber
  • Bell Peppers

 

A Healthy Wrap or Pinwheel

These are quite simple to make and easy to transport as a lunch. Toss all of your healthy ingredients into a sprouted tortilla or even a lettuce leaf as a wrap. Enjoy it as a simple wrap with a side of your favorite fruit, or spice it up and create your wrap into a pinwheel.

Pinwheels are made by rolling your ingredients in the tortilla and cutting it into bite-sized slices. Another option is to use thinly sliced zucchini as an alternative tortilla option for pinwheels. Use fewer ingredients than for wraps to create an easier to eat and less messy pinwheel.

 

Veggie Sushi Is All The Rage

Have you ever tried to make your own sushi? It’s a lot of fun and actually quite simple. There are loads of tutorial videos online, so give it a quick search one weekend when you have some free time to experiment.

Regardless if it’s homemade or purchased at a grocery store, veggie sushi is a great, light lunch that is quick and easy.

If available, try sushi with brown rice or even quinoa instead of white rice. Enjoy!

Not only are these simple recipes ideal for lunches, but they’re also perfect for picnics. Before summer comes to a close, make sure you enjoy a picnic in your favorite outdoor area. Bring along some freshly sliced watermelon and any other fruits you love to enjoy as a refreshing dessert afterward.

 

Back To School

Back to school is my favorite time of year. The possibilities of what’s’ to come as the summer comes to an end is fun and exciting. As autumn transitions into winter, delicious foods such as soups and stews bring us back to the kitchen for goodness for our souls!

If you have kids here’s some help for the back to school.

Sometimes it’s a struggle to get back into the groove of making lunches every day, and often you can hardly think of anything other than a sandwich to make.

I know exactly what it’s like to have your mind go blank when trying to be creative with lunches, so here are a few options in each category (main dish, veggies, fruit, etc.) to choose from, so you can create many lunches to come!

Main Options:

  • Zucchini & Carrot Muffins
  • Pasta with Olive Oil & Pesto
  • Mayo-free Egg Salad
  • Zucchini boats

Veggie Options:

  • Carrot & Celery Sticks
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Bell Pepper
  • Green Beans
  • Cucumber

Fruit Options:

  • Apple (maybe handpicked from an apple orchard)
  • Banana
  • Orange
  • Peach (Get the end of summer produce now)
  • Grapes
  • Pineapple

Miscellaneous Options:

  • Hummus for Veggies
  • Trail Mix
  • Protein Balls
  • Popcorn
  • Lara bar

I would love to hear your awesome back to school healthy lunch ideas. Leave a comment below and let's share recipes.

 

Delicious and Easy Homemade Almond Milk

Almonds and milk.jpgedited blog When Life hands you almonds, make almond milk.

When you write out your grocery list I’m sure there is some sort of “milk” on the list. At the store, we’re bombarded with different types of milk, percentages, and brands. How can we be sure of what we are getting? Is it pasteurized? Is it organic? Are there additives? What type of milk is best for you and your family? Was the cow treated poorly? Did the cows utters have puss on them? Going to the grocery store for milk can be an overwhelming experience nowadays.

I am a HUGE advocate of nut milks especially almond milk, and what’s really great is you can easily make it yourself! Almonds are so good for you and have tons of extra benefits that you may not be getting from other types of milk.

First, almond milk is dairy-free so it is great for those with a dairy allergy, sensitivity, or who just plain don’t like the taste of regular cow’s milk (like me). It also acts as a complete substitute for cow’s milk because you are getting just as much protein and calcium and way fewer preservatives and additives you will find elsewhere. It’s a win on all levels of living a healthy lifestyle.

Some other benefits include:

  • Almond milk helps with weight management. One cup of almond milk contains 60 calories, compared to cow milk that contains 146 calories in whole milk, 122 calories for 2%, 102 calories for 1%, and 86 calories for skim milk. I’m not a fan of calorie counting, but if you are a calorie counter, this will give you some insight.
  • Due to the lack of animal saturated fat, sodium, and no cholesterol with an increased value of healthy fats, almond milk is a heart healthy option.
  • Strengthens bones with its calcium and vitamin D content.
  • Contains 50% of your daily value of vitamin E to help keep your skin glowing and healthy.
  • Has little effect on your blood sugar because almond milk is low in carbs.
  • Helps with digestion through fiber content.
  • Lactose-free.
  • It doesn’t require refrigeration so you can take it literally everywhere since it is still great at room temperature.
  • It is super easy to make yourself!

Here is a fantastic easy recipe I use weekly to help you make your own almond milk! 

EASY ALMOND MILK

Makes 4 cups

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup raw almonds, soaked for 8 hours
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 or 4 de-pitted dates or Liquid Stevia sweetener to taste (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONSRemove almonds from the water and place in a blender. Add the 4 cups of fresh water and blend for 2 minutes or until the almonds are ground down.

Pour the almond milk into a nut milk bag over a large bowl. Squeeze the bag to allow the milk to run through and leave the pulp inside the bag.

Put the milk back into your rinsed out blender and add the dates or stevia to sweeten your milk if you desire, and blend. Place it in a container and refrigerate. The milk should be good for 2-4 days before spoiling.

Are you making your own nut milks at home> I’d love to hear from you. Which nut milk is your favorite? Do you like it sweetened or plain Jane?

Healthy Summer BBQ Recipes

FB Header The hot days of summer are a time of celebration, holidays and backyard barbeques.  You may feel like you have to ditch your healthy eating when you commit to attending or throwing a BBQ, but that couldn't be further from the truth!

There are countless ways to eat healthily at your friend’s BBQ. If you are hosting the event, you have a tremendous amount of healthy and delicious options to choose from while planning your menu.

Here are a few healthy menu options for your summer BBQ. These recipes are slimming, filling, tasty and perfect for weight loss goals and overall wellness.

 

APPETIZERS

 

Guacamole

Ingredients:

3 avocados, mashed

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

1/2 onion, chopped

1 tomato, diced

2 tablespoons lime juice

Jalapeños (optional)

Directions: Mix all ingredients together and enjoy!

 

Watermelon Pizza

Slice watermelon and cut into triangles, like a pizza.

Drizzle with balsamic vinegar, sprinkle feta cheese (optional), sprinkle almonds or walnut slices. Top with any other desired fruits such as pomegranate seeds, strawberries or blueberries.

 

ENTREES

 

Grilled Vegetables

Simple as that, but oh so delicious! Drizzle veggies of choice (I highly recommend zucchini, red pepper, and tomatoes) with olive oil and fresh herbs. Grill to preferred tenderness.

 

Portobello Burger

Drizzle olive oil over Portobello caps and grill until cooked through. Use Portobello caps as a burger bun. Place burger of choice (veggie, black bean,) between Portobello caps. Top with toppings of choice and enjoy!

 

SIDES

 

Cucumber Dill Salad

Ingredients:

3 cucumbers, sliced

1 white onion, sliced

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 stalk green onion, sliced

2 tablespoons freshly chopped dill (if you don’t like dill use mint).

Directions: Toss all ingredients and chill before serving.

 

Chickpea Tomato Salad

Ingredients:

1 can garbanzo beans, drained

1/2 red onion, sliced

1 tablespoons garlic, minced

1 cup cucumber, chopped

1/2 cup parsley, chopped

2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in halves

1/3 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

Freshly cracked black pepper.

Directions: Toss all ingredients and chill.

 

Avocado Potato Salad

Ingredients: 2 pounds small red potatoes

3 avocados, mashed

1/2 cup onion, chopped

1 tablespoon garlic, minced

Freshly cracked black pepper

Directions: Cook potatoes until tender. Cut potatoes and stir in remaining ingredients.

 

DESSERTS

 

Chocolate Banana Nice Cream

Ingredients:

2 bananas

3 tablespoons cacao powder

Directions: Slice bananas and freeze for 30-45 minutes. Blend frozen bananas with cacao powder. Blend until smooth and top with any additional desired toppings.

Grilled Pineapple A La Mode 

Ingredients:

Pineapple cut into rings

Vegan Coconut milk Ice Cream

Directions: Slice pineapples and grill briefly until warm. Top with your favorite vegan coconut milk ice-cream and sprinkle with honey.

 

Now it's your turn. Let me know what you think. Did you try any of the recipes? Leave a comment below and share your favorite healthy BBQ dish

Roasted Chickpeas- A Great Snack for Your Summer Travels

Roasted Chickpeas I’ve talked many times about how I love snacks on my blog. My favorite snack is fruit, which is so good for you! Plus, it’s so easy to take a banana, apple or orange on the road with you.

Many people have asked what I snack on besides fruit so I wanted to share my favorite, easy to travel with and high fiber snack…Roasted Chickpeas.

When you roast chickpeas, they become a crispy, crunchy treat that you can eat by the handful (or on a salad if there are any left). This savory snack helps you keep your healthy lifestyle while you are on the go and can easily be carried in your purse or bag. These slightly addictive roasted chickpeas are low calorie and perfect for your fit figure and weight loss goals

Fair warning- be careful not to eat the whole batch in one sitting or you’ll be a little too gassy for you’re the other travelers around you!

Roasted Chickpeas

INGREDIENTS

1 15.5 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon chili powder

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Mix until chickpeas are well coated. Spread the chickpeas onto a baking sheet. Roast until slightly crisp, about 45 minutes. Store in a baggie for travel or store in a glass mason jar for home.

Do you have a go-to travel snack that you’d like to share? Please leave a comment below and share.

 

CHILLED AND SPICY CANTALOUPE SOUP

Spiced Cantaloupe Soup I always look forward to eating melons in the summer. They are refreshing, delicious and hydrating, not to mention how healthy they are for your vitality and weight loss goals.

I’ve written in previous blogs about my stand on fruit….it’s great for you and has fiber built in so it’s not sugar bomb going into your body (diabetics should consult with their physician when adding fruit into their diet). Fruit is full of anti-aging and energy supplying nutrients. Plus, the satisfying sweetness helps fight off the candy bar cravings that seem to hit at our weak moments.

When I was a teenager, my family had a recipe for cantaloupe soup and I remember it being so good as we ate it on the back porch during the hot summer months in Georgia. I wanted to recreate the recipe for you Paige style…simple and delicious!   Enjoy!

Chilled and Spicy Cantaloupe Soup

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

1 cantaloupe, peeled and chopped

1 carrot, roughly chopped

½ cup sunflower seeds

1-inch piece of fresh ginger

Handful mint leaves

Juice of 1 lemon

DIRECTIONS

Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth. Serve immediately.

Hey, I would love to hear what you think of the recipe. Leave a message below and let me know if you blended up this goodness and if you made any changes for your taste buds.

 

Tahini Oatmeal Balls

Sweet Oatmeal Tahini Balls Want to know a little secret? I always have some combination of protein balls in my fridge to snack on when I need an energy boost or a quick bite to hold me over until dinner. Energy balls, protein balls or snack balls- no matter what you call them, they are a healthy treat to keep your hands out of the cookie bag and keep the weight off. Cue the fireworks!

With 4th of July right around the corner, I thought I’d share one of my favorite protein ball recipes with you. It’s the perfect snack to take with you if your traveling on a plane or by car or just share at the backyard party you plan to attend. No matter what your holiday plans are, make these protein balls and keep them with you for a healthy, quick snack.

Tahini Oatmeal Balls

Serving varies due to size of balls

INGREDIENTS

1 ½ cups rolled oats

2 scoops vanilla protein powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons chia seeds

½ cup tahini

5 dates

¼ cup water or dairy-free milk

 

DIRECTIONS

Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender. Mix well. Scoop and roll into balls and store in airtight container.

 

Ok, It's your turn. I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below and share a healthy snack you’re going to make for the fireworks.

Roasted Cauliflower with Pesto and Quinoa

RFSpring17 Roasted Cauliflower with Pesto and Quinoa Move over kale! Cauliflower is the hot new veggie these days, although this amazing vegetable has been keeping people healthy for centuries. You can make a vegan cheese sauce with it, make soups creamier with it, and make pizza crust, mashed “potatoes,” and buffalo wings with cauliflower.

It’s so much fun to get into the kitchen and see what you can create, but sometimes you just want to cook something simple and quick that you know is going to be delicious. That’s when I turn to the good old standard of roasted vegetables—in this case, cauliflower.

In the recipe below, I layer this amazing white vegetable with an herb pesto that assists your body in its daily detox job and quinoa for protein.

Personally, I love pesto and any variation of this green sauce is always exciting to me. If you don’t prefer any of the herbs used in my recipe, just change it. That’s the beauty of pesto—it’s a playground of tasty creativity.

This recipe is a perfect summer dinner with not so much time in the kitchen and plenty of time for an after-dinner walk or play. Enjoy!

 

ROASTED CAULIFLOWER WITH PESTO AND QUINOA

SERVES 2

1 large head of cauliflower, chopped

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 teaspoon garlic powder

2 tablespoons Detox Pesto (see below)

1 cup cooked quinoa

2 cups mixed greens

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

Preheat your oven to 425 or 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Add chopped cauliflower to a large roasting pan. Massage with coconut oil, garlic powder, sea salt, and black pepper. Roast for about 30 minutes until tender. Remove from the oven and coat with Detox Pesto. Serve on top of quinoa and mixed greens.

 

QUINOA

SERVES 2

1 cup uncooked quinoa

2 cups water or vegetable broth

DIRECTIONS

Add quinoa and liquid to a pot over a medium flame. Bring to a boil, then lower the flame and cover. Simmer the quinoa for about 15 to 20 minutes. The quinoa should be tender.

 

DETOX PESTO

MAKES 2 CUPS

1 cup cilantro

½ cup parsley

½ cup mint

½ cup pumpkin seeds

1 garlic clove

1 lemon, juiced

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

Combine the cilantro, parsley, mint, pumpkin seeds, and garlic in a food processor or high-speed blender. Blend until finely chopped. Add the lemon juice and slowly add extra virgin olive oil in a steady drizzle. Blend until the mixture becomes a smooth, light paste. Add enough olive oil to keep it moist and spreadable. Season with sea salt and black pepper. Cover tightly and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 4 days.

Did you try the recipe? Leave a comment below, and let me know what you think!

 

Cacao Smoothie

RFSpring17 Cacao Smoothie What tastes like a dessert, helps you lose weight, builds bones and is ultra healthy for you? A cacao smoothie!

I believe it’s important to get as many greens in to your diet, and if you’ve been reading my blog through the years, you know smoothies are one of my favorite ways to drink and digest my greens (besides green juices). I drink a smoothie everyday. I’m also a salad lover but let’s be honest, how many salads can you eat in a day to get all the greens your body needs for impeccable function? Too many! You’d be chewing like a cow all day long to get all the greens you need to fuel your cells. That’s why blending, drinking and enjoying them in a smoothie is the perfect, fiber rich way to add greens to your day.

Cacao is full of antioxidants to keep you looking and feeling your best and taste amazing in this smoothie. Also, the tahini in the cacao smoothie is a great source of calcium and gives the smoothie a nice thickness. The banana gives you potassium so it’s great for an after workout snack or meal.

Enjoy!

CACAO SMOOTHIE

Serves 1-2

1 ½ cups water or dairy-free milk

1 cup spinach

1 cup mixed greens

1 banana

2 tablespoons raw cacao

2 tablespoons tahini

Dash of ground cinnamon powder

Blend all the ingredients in a high-speed blender. Enjoy!

 

Did you try the recipe? Leave a comment below and let me know what you think.

 

 

Energizing Spiced Apricot Balls

SpicedApricotBalls I was out and about this weekend giving some family members a tour of New York City and needed a quick energy pick me up. Most people would think a coffee shop, right? Well, I quit caffeine 3 years ago and have never looked back.

So what’s a girl to do but arm herself with protein balls to get her through the Empire State Building and One World Trade Center? I made protein balls for the long day and they were the perfect treat for a long, fun day.

Many of you know I talk openly about my sugar addiction all my life. I grew up on Little Debbie Snack Cakes and Rice Krispy treats. I no longer turn to cookies or candy to fill my sugar needs. BUT, I still do eat fruit (and of course dark chocolate).

Here’s the thing, I believe natural (think fruit) foods are amazing for us. They are naturally grown in the earth, sweet, so juicy and satisfying. I know there are many people out in world right now scarring you to death about eating fruit and that bananas are the devil. I’m here to tell you that fruit is good for you (women with diabetes and any blood sugar disorder please talk to your physician).

Fruit contains fiber (to slow down the sugar absorption), antioxidants (to slow down aging) and many vitamins and nutrients to keep you healthy and help you fight off disease. So when I make my protein balls, I make them with fruit.

The Spiced Apricot Balls recipe below contains dried apricots and dates as a sweetener and a binder. Dates are full of calcium for your bones, zinc to help support your immune system and weight loss, iron to keep you strong like Popeye, and magnesium which supports better sleep.

I make my protein balls on Sunday and have them to snack on all week. They are easy to carry in a glass container in your purse or bag.

Enjoy!

Spiced Apricot Balls

Makes about 10 balls

INGREDIENTS

8 pitted dates

1 cup dried apricots roughly chopped

½ cup sunflower seeds

½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon nutmeg

DIRECTIONS

Add all the ingredients to a food processor. Blend until all the ingredients are mixed well. Form into balls and store in the refrigerator in an air-tight container.

I'd love to hear from you. Did you try the recipe? Are you eating fruit? Leave a comment below and let me know.

 

Fig Green Smoothie

FigSmoothie When I was a teenager, my favorite cookie was a Fig Newton. There is nothing like this cookie with its distinct flavor. It’s so tasty.

When I moved to NYC to pursue my dancing career, I had no money and was living on bagels and pasta. I took dance class every night after long days of auditioning and working. I treated myself each evening to a Fig Newton at a deli nearby. I would conclude my evening enjoying these cookies as I traveled back to Astoria on the subway. I looked forward to the cookies everyday with anticipation.

These days, Fig Newton’s are not on my meal plan or agenda but I still love figs and their delicious flavor so I decided to throw them into a smoothie and see what it tasted like. The verdict is…outstanding and healthier than any fig newton you can buy in the store.

I love dried figs and they are great source of calcium, iron, zinc and B-vitamins. In addition, they are co-factors in metabolizing fat, carbohydrates and protein.

Fig it Smoothie

INGREDIENTS

1 ½ cups dairy-free milk or water (I used homemade almond milk)

1 cup kale or spinach

½ avocado

2 to 3 figs chopped (I used dried figs that were soaked in warm water for 10 minutes)

Dash of cinnamon powder

Dash of nutmeg powder

DIRECTIONS

If you are using dried figs and soaking them, drain the soaking water and put the figs with all the other ingredients into a high-speed blender and blend.

 

Were you a Fig Newton lover too? Leave a comment below and share if you have healthy alternatives for enjoying figs.

 

 

 

 

 

Rockstar Vegetable: Cauliflower Rice with Thyme

CauliflowerRicewithThyme Cauliflower is the hot new vegetable lately. There are so many things you can do with this white wonder of goodness. I’ve used cauliflower in a vegan Alfredo sauce, as a thickener in soups and roasted with other veggies.

Today, I want to share a wonderful, simple dinner recipe to help you with your weight loss goals and keep you slim and trim.

Cauliflower is an antioxidant powerhouse helping you look young and healthy. Its fiber acts as a digestive aid to keep thing flowing and has sulfur-containing nutrients that help your body detox.

This heart health- boosting vegetable is very versatile, filling and easy to make.

CAULIFLOWER RICE WITH THYME

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

1 large head of cauliflower, grated

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 teaspoon thyme*

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

If you are preparing your cauliflower rice from scratch, simply chop the head into smaller florets. Use a box grater to grate the cauliflower into smaller granules of “rice.” Alternatively, you can chop the florets in a food processor or blender in batches until you get the consistency of rice. Many stores also sell raw cauliflower “rice” in a package in the produce aisle if you are looking for a shortcut.

Add the coconut oil to a large sauté pan on high heat. Once the oil is melted, add the cauliflower and sauté for about 5 to 8 minutes. Add the thyme, sea salt, and black pepper. Serve with your choice of salad or other sautéed vegetables.

* If you don’t like thyme, try another spice. Make it Italian with basil and oregano or add cumin for a Mexican flavor.

**Please add any side veggies or beans to make this a full meal.

Did you like this recipe? Leave a comment below and let me know what you served with the Cauliflower Rice.