Winter Squash

Healthy Changes to Your Winter Nutrition

As the temperature drops, our nutritional needs change. Except for winter-sports enthusiasts, people become less physically active. After all, when it’s cold and snowy outside, even a trip to a neighborhood grocery store is a daunting task. With the advent of cold and flu season, staying healthy takes a bit more effort. What’s more, nutrition-packed fruits and vegetables that were plentiful during the summer may be in short supply—and take a bigger chunk out of our wallets.

However, there are many delicious and affordable ways to ensure proper nutrition during the dark days of winter. These tips will help you maintain optimum health and please your palate at the same time.

Go for Beans

There are many varieties of legumes, including garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas), lentils, lima beans, and pinto beans. These hearty foods have something in common: they are fiber and protein powerhouses. Beans can be added to stews and soups, served in salads, and cooked and eaten by themselves. To reduce gassiness, soak them in water for six to eight hours and rinse before preparing.

With the cold season in full swing, it’s a perfect time for chili.  Load up on the beans when cooking up your favorite chili.  This is a great stew recipe too!  Add whatever beans you enjoy.  Healthy and Hearty Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Try Some Spuds

Potatoes have an undeserved bad reputation for their starch content. However, they are chock full of vital nutrients. One potato provides hefty amounts of immunity-boosting vitamins B6 and C (29% and 25% of the recommended daily allowance of each). Fiber—4 grams in an average-size potato—and folate, essential for the proper development of unborn babies, are added bonuses. Purple potatoes are great sources of anthocyanins, antioxidants with a variety of benefits ranging from keeping heart disease at bay to reducing inflammation. Adding carrots, parsnips, turnips, and other roots vegetables to mashed potatoes is a delicious way to include vegetables in a wintertime dish.

Talk Turkey

This bird is not for Thanksgiving only. Low in calories and high in protein, it’s a natural in sandwiches, soup, salads, stir-fry, and by itself.

Include Winter Squash

Spaghetti, acorn, and butternut are only a few types of this colorful, tasty, nutritious vegetable. Winter squash is low-calorie and rich in fiber, vitamin A, folic acid, and vitamin C. Acorn squash also has 30% of the RDA of vitamin B1, 25% of B6, and 31% of magnesium. And butternut squash is a powerhouse of vitamins A and C: 179% and 31% of their respective daily requirements. Leave off the butter and syrup and try a little ghee, applesauce, maple syrup, brown sugar, or cinnamon.

Recipe: Simple Spaghetti Squash

Add Some Greens and Reds

Chard, collards, and kale flourish in winter.  The frosty weather can reduce kale’s bitter taste. With healthy amounts of vitamins C, A, and K—and plenty of folate in escarole, mustard greens, and collards—leafy greens can keep people’s immune systems in good shape. Red cabbage, a cousin of kale, contains few calories and lots of vitamin A, plus zeaxanthin and lutein, phytochemicals so important for eye health as people age.

Don’t Forget Fruit

Citrus fruit is loaded with vitamin C. Grapefruit, oranges, and their cousins are also excellent sources of all-important flavonoids. Hesperidin, the dominant flavonoid in citrus fruit, is known to raise HDL cholesterol (the good kind), reduce LDL cholesterol, and lower triglyceride levels. And if you have not yet tried pomegranate juice, you may want to add it to your daily regimen. It contains more antioxidants than any other kind. Studies show that pomegranate juice may help prevent free radicals from doing damage—and increase the flow of blood to the heart in patients whose tickers do not receive sufficient oxygen because of blocked arteries.

By adding these good-tasting and nutritious foods to the menu, you can ensure that you and your family will weather the chilly season. Enjoy!
P.S. If you’re looking for some delicious and healthy recipes for your holiday meals, I welcome you to check out my Healthy Holiday Guide
do you feel like you’re struggling with your nutrition and health goals this time of the year? let’s connect and schedule a free discovery session. click on the contact button here.  i look forward to talking with you soon. Contact

XOXO,

Kim

holiday

Top Tips for Staying Happy and Healthy During the Holidays

Holiday cheer and this time of the year is often filled with celebration, friends, family and togetherness.  It’s also filled with long “to-do” lists, stress, toxicity and unhealthy food.  Instead of adding additional physical and emotional stress to your plate, try some of these tips for a happier and healthier holiday season.

Give Yourself the Gift of Balance

What I’m proposing is a complete mindset shift around how you honor your body and your self-care needs during the holiday season. This is a time for giving, so how about you give yourself a gift that’s going to nourish you beyond the 10-minute sugar rush of that wretchedly unhealthy fruit cake your aunt likes to make.

Be mindful and intentional with your food choices

There is nothing wrong with enjoying good food during the holiday season.  You will have plenty of opportunities between the parties, work events and gatherings with friends and family.  With that being said, this should not be an opportunity to sabotage your goals and health between now and the New Year.  If you find yourself grabbing junk food or guzzling down extra alcohol, ask yourself how you’re feeling.  Are you stressed?  Depressed? Anxious?  Emotions play a huge role in our food (and alcohol) choices.  Being in tune with your mindset, feelings and intentions will play a large part in your choices.

If you know you have an upcoming event, make sure you eat something healthy and satisfying before you head out.  While at your event or party, enjoy a little bit of something you’re craving or wanting to try and fill the rest of your plate with lean protein and veggies.  You don’t have to feel deprived this holiday season, but don’t overdo it either.

Stay Active

Exercise is very important during the holiday season.  Have you heard “endorphin’s make you happy?”  It’s true!  Not only is it important to get that booty moving when it’s cold outside (and year round), but it helps with your mood too!  This is a great time to join a gym, start a new fitness class or find some new gal pals for accountability.  Are you more of the “outdoorsy” type?  Grab your skis or ice skates and bundle up for a fun event.  There are many options (indoors and outdoors) this holiday season.  Find what makes you happy and get others involved.  Whatever you choose, keep it moving!

 Find Time for Rest

Yes, exercise and movement  is important but so is rest!  Especially during the busy holiday season.  Your body needs it!!!  Not only will you feel more refreshed, but it will help with your stress levels and keep you from making poor choices.  If you’re finding it difficult to manage a rest and sleep schedule, you may need to make some changes in your routine.  Sleep should be a priority; especially this time of the year.  Try going to bed and waking up around the same time.  Limit your television and technology viewing a few hours before bed.  Relax in a hot bath with some lavender and other oils.  Grabbing a good book and cup of tea helps in the evening too.  Again, find what works for you and make it a priority.  Rest is not something that should be negotiable any time of year.

 Bump Up the Self Care

If you’re one of my clients or follow me on social media, you know how much I stress Self Care.  This is something I had to learn the hard way but it’s something I make a priority in my own lifestyle.  Especially during the busy holiday season.  Why?  Because it’s SO important!

Women are the first ones to put themselves last!  If you resonate with this statement, then you may need to ask yourself how much you’re adding self care into your lifestyle.  A hot epsom salt bath, massage, yoga class or new outfit can make a huge difference.  You’re not being selfish!  You’re taking care of you and in turn, will benefit so many around you.  When the holiday season is stressful and you’re feeling run down, bump up the self care.  It’s good for the body and mind!

set boundaries

Talk to your family and friends and explain that you’ll be doing things differently this year.  Share with them that just because it’s the holidays, it doesn’t mean you’re going to settle for nutritionally deprived foods that take more than they give your body.  Explain that you’ll be creating some healthy delicious options and offer to share with them, it is the holidays, after all!

Beware of Toxic People 

The holidays can bring upon stress when it comes to gatherings with friends and family.  We often hear about “tolerating” someone for an event or evening.  You may feel uncomfortable being around a group of friends or family members.  Whatever the case, choose wisely.  Ask yourself if the stress, anxiety and frustration is worth it.  I am not saying to isolate yourself from your family and friends, but choose what makes you happy and feel healthy.  Maintaining distance and setting limitations may better serve you.  You should surround yourself with those who light you up and make you happy.

exercise your creativity in the kitchen 

Try new and exciting recipes. Splurge and buy expensive superfoods, interesting fresh fruits and vegetables that you don’t always get, nuts and seeds and truffled extra-virgin olive oil.  I’ve become a huge fan of speciality oils and balsamic vinegars.  I love the incredible flavors and I enjoy cooking more when I use specialty ingredients.  If you’re looking to save money on Superfoods, I recommend Amazon and stores like Home Goods and Marshalls.

Healthy food can be totally gourmet and special too. Make your own homemade chocolate with mint leaves and stevia for sweetness. Adorn your salads with pomegranates and walnuts.  Go out of your comfort zone and see what healthy meals you can whip up with some new ingredients.

If you’re looking for a SWEET and healthier treat, I welcome you to check out my favorite recipe to share with friends and family during the holidays.  Not only is this Bark super easy to make but it’s enjoyed by many!  It stores well, looks adorable in a treat bag and is enjoyed just as much when frozen or refrigerated.  

RECIPE:

Dark Chocolate Coconut and Cranberry Bark

I hope you found some value in these tips.  Even though they are all important, incorporating a few of them can make a huge difference in your holiday season.  This time of the year passes so quickly, so I encourage you to make it a magical, happy time.
Your health and happiness should be a huge priority!  You don’t have to wait until the New Year to get started!  

P.S. i’m sharing additional tips, tricks and tons of recipes in my healthy holiday survival guide. for additional details or to purchase a copy, click here: Healthy Holiday Guide

 

from my home to yours, happy holidays!!!

XOXO,

Kim

Happiness

Daily Practices for Increased Happiness

It’s the holiday season and a time when we embrace and exude gratitude, thankfulness, happiness and joy.  This may be the case for many but it’s also a time of stress, frustrations, negativity, loneliness and struggle.

I’ve always loved the holidays but especially so as a child.  Do you remember those joyful feelings when you were little?  The excitement and energy!

When I became a police officer, I saw a different side of the holidays.  I saw hardships, unhealthy relationships, struggles and sadness.  It took a strong mindset to keep that feeling of joy and gratitude.  It was through those experiences and my own struggles that I worked on my own health and happiness.  Discovering new joys and blessings.  Gratitude like I’ve never felt before, yet it took work, personal development and growth.

Finding something to be happy about just once a day can be difficult. Finding something to be happy about so that you are a happier person overall can seem almost impossible. If you are finding yourself in this situation, you may be wondering how to get out of it so you have less stress and anxiety as well as increasing your happiness and getting to a better place in your life. Here are some daily practices that can help you be a happier person.  Especially during the holiday season.

Gratitude Journal

One way to become a happier person, through mindfulness and daily practice, is to start a gratitude journal. You do not need a full journal to do this. In fact, you can use your daily planner or online planner for this. You can even use social media. The key point to this daily practice is to find at least one thing a day you are thankful for or have gratitude for. This can be anything. Let’s face it, we all have bad days. It is finding the good in that bad day that helps us become happier. So, it can be anything from having a great cup of coffee that morning to being happy the day is over so you can start fresh the next day. The point is to recognize the happiness or good and note it.

Every morning I start my day with gratitude, growth and goals.  This daily routine has been a game changer for me.  Start your day listing 1, 5 or 10 things that you’re grateful for.  Like I said, it can be the simplest things.  I recommend sticking to this routine daily.  You can choose to list your gratitudes in the morning, at night or both.  Notice the shift in how it makes you feel and be mindful of your thoughts and feelings around it.

Reducing for Charity

Reducing for charity may seem like an odd endeavor as a daily practice, but it is something that can be very fulfilling for both parties. The idea here is to remove something from your life each day or week that you do not need. This can be anything from a toy your child no longer plays with or has outgrown to an extra set of dishes you really don’t need. Place these items in a box and at the end of the week or month and give the box to charity. These items are no longer cluttering your day and causing a storage issue, and you are helping someone else who may want or need them.  The happiness comes in when you find the joy in either getting the items out of your house or seeing that they can bring joy to someone else through your charity.

Breath Walking

Breath walking may be something that is new to you, but it can make you a happier person. The concept here is to go on a walk in nature each day for a few minutes or more. Just get away from everything. Step out into nature with no electronics. Now this doesn’t mean to go out with no way of contacting anyone in an emergency. It simply means to turn off distractions and phones and just walk. Concentrate on your breath as you move and walk and work to calm it. Notice the sounds and nature around you, and let go of the stress of the day through your breathing. You will find yourself healthier and happier at the end of the walk and as the walks progress, you may find yourself more adapted to handling your daily stress as well.

Meditation

Meditation is a great way to slow down, relax and fill your happiness tank.  There are different forms of meditation, so discover which one works best for you and build on it.  There are guided meditations, quiet time alone, breath work, listening to quiet music while relaxing your mind and just being still.  Many have discovered that clarity, calmness and fulfillment come from meditation.  When we calm the body and mind, amazing things happen.

Be the Reason Someone Smiles

This is something my father taught me as a young girl.  It’s something I’ve carried with me through the years and something I exercise daily.  Be the reason someone smiles today- and everyday!  Whether you open the door for a stranger, say hello to someone walking down the street or engage a joyful conversation with someone in the grocery checkout line.  Engage with others, smile, exude your happiness and joy.  Whatever works for you… discover it and do it some more.

I’ve discovered many ways to encourage others to smile and it not only brightens someone else’s day, but it fills my gratitude, joy and happiness tank.  So, be the reason someone smiles today. 😁

As you start adding these daily practices into your life, you will start seeing a change for the better and seeing yourself becoming happier. Remember, start slow and discover what works best for you. It’s all about letting the process develop in your life at your own pace.

From my home to yours, blessing and best wishes for a Healthy and Happy Holiday Season!

XOXO,

Kim

 

Harvest Apple, Sweet Potato and Brussels Skillet

When the seasons shift to fall and the crispness flows through the air, I love the combination of many fall harvest flavors.  Especially in a delicious, healthy and hearty dish.

My family recently traveled  back to my roots (near our family’s old farm).  Our family enjoyed a weekend of festivals and I came home with a bounty of fresh picked, juicy apples.  We also had a yummy pack of pepper bacon from the local butcher.  These ingredients inspired me to break out the cast iron skillet and have some creative fun.

This gorgeous harvest skillet packs the incredible flavors of fresh apples, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, farm fresh bacon and more.

 

Not only is this harvest skillet dish incredibly delicious, but it also serves up a variety of vitamins, antioxidants, phytonutrients, fiber, minerals and may help with reducing inflammation.

 

With the holidays upon us, this dish would be a great addition to your family or holiday meal.  You could serve this dish as a yummy brunch side, add it to your dinner spread or add protein (chicken, sausage, bison, etc) to make a large skillet meal.  Get your creative juices flowing and have fun while cooking this heart and healthy meal.

 

Harvest Apple, Sweet Potato and Brussels Skillet

ingredients:

  • 1 TBSP Avocado Oil
  • 2 Sweet Potatoes, cut and cubed ( Skins are optional- I left them on)
  • 1 Pound of Brussels, trimmed and cut into quarters
  • 3 Apples of Choice, cored, cut  and cubed (I used Stamen Apples from Virginia)
  • 5 Slices of Farm Fresh Bacon, chopped (Can be modified for more or less)
  • 1 Large Onion, peeled and chopped
  • 4 Cloves of Garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 TBSP Real Maple Syrup
  • 1/2 Reduced Sodium Vegetable Broth
  • 2 tsp Fresh Thyme, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp Fresh Rosemary, finely chopped
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste

Directions:

  1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a cast iron skillet, toss cut sweet potatoes in oil and roast them in the over for about 10 minutes.  They will be cooked but not golden brown and fully cooked.
  3. Remove the potatoes carefully from the oven.  Increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees.
  4. Begin to add the Brussels, apples, onion, bacon, garlic and fresh herbs to the potatoes.  Carefully toss and combine all ingredients.  If desired, mix in the salt and pepper.
  5. Roast in the oven for 10-15 minutes, tossing throughout the cooking process if needed.
  6. Remove the skillet from the oven and add broth as needed while loosening up the bacon and browned ingredients with a spoon.
  7. Drizzle with maple syrup, carefully toss and roast another 5-10 minutes until the ingredients are fully cooked and the bacon is browned.
  8. Enjoy!

 

 

Notes:  I used pepper bacon and don’t usually cook with salt, so you may want to make these adjustments depending on your preference and ingredients.

If you don’t want to use sweet potatoes, butternut squash or pumpkin would make a great addition to this dish.

Additional cooking time may be needed depending on your oven.

Optional Toppings: Nuts (such as pecans), cheese (goat, etc), dried fruit such as cranberries.

Recommended Cooking Items:

12.5-inch Skillet: Lodge Cast Iron Skillet

15-inch Skillet: Lodge Cast Iron Skillet

Looking for additional healthy recipes this Holiday Season?  I welcome you to check out my Healthy Holiday Guide

XOXO,

Kim

Halloween Sugar

Top 10 Health Tips for Kicking Sugar Cravings

Halloween is a fun time to enjoy sweet treats, dressing up, holiday parties and fun with the kiddos.

There is much excitement with all of the decorations, spooky fun and festivals.  Yet, as soon as Halloween comes and goes, we start to hear the words sugar and holidays.  Clients and friends are already feeling the affects of the Halloween fun and they’re already thinking about what’s ahead with the upcoming holiday season.

There are ways to enjoy the holiday season without the guilt, constant crashes, weight gain and delayed resolutions.  Below are some of my top tips that may help you enjoy the holidays without the hard.

Tips for Kicking Sugar Cravings

 

Consider Your Caffein Intake.  

Caffeine is often consumed during the busy holiday season when many are feeling tired and exhausted.  Though there are some health benefits to coffee, it can also dehydrate the body, increase blood sugar swings and may cause sugar cravings.

Stay Hydrated.

Speaking of hydration… There are times that we are hungry or crave sugar and in fact, we’re dehydrated.  Try to stay hydrated throughout the day and if you feel added cravings coming about, drink some water and wait a few minutes. Not a fan of plain water?  Try infusing it with lemons, limes, berries or cucumbers.

“Crowd Out” Sweet Cravings with Naturally Sweet Fruits and Veggies.

Consuming sweet flavored fruits and veggies can help satisfy the sweet tooth you may be craving.  Here is one of my favorite sweet veggies.  Delicious, healthy and tastes like sweet healthy candy. Healthy Honey Glazed Carrots

Avoid Foods Consisting of Added Sugars, Chemicals and Artificial Sweeteners.

When sweetening dishes, swap out the above items for healthier options such as local raw honey, pure maple syrup, dried fruits (dates are my favorite) and stevia.

Stay Active and Keep Your Booty Moving.

Movement and activity helps to balance blood sugar levels, reduces stress, boosts energy and increases happiness.  When cravings hit, grab a workout with a friend, walk your dog, ride your bike, practice yoga or light stretching.  Switch it up and do more of what you enjoy.

Make Time for Rest and Relaxation.

When the body is exhausted, lacking sleep or stressed, it will crave the quickest form of energy available.  That form is often times sugar. Rest and relaxation is so important for the body and mind.

Consider the Amount of Animal Meat You’re Consuming.

When looking at Traditional Chinese Medicine and yin-yang principles of eating, too much or too little animal food can create imbalances in the body.  Slowing down while eating, being mindful and discovering the foods right for your body can help create balance of your own bio-individuality.

Eliminate Low-Fat and Fat Free Foods.

When our foods shifted towards low fat and fat free, there was a spike in sales of these products.  Many thought these foods would help them lose weight and live healthier lifestyles. In actuality, these foods contain high quantities of sugar to compensate for their lack of flavor and fat.  These foods will take the body on a rollercoaster of ups and downs.

Have Fun with Spices.

Spices and natural sweeteners (above) will naturally sweeten your foods.  Try experimenting with spices such as cinnamon, cloves, coroner and cardamom.  During the fall and winter seasons, your body craves foods and spices that are warming.

Consider Your Primary Foods.

Primary foods are different from the nutrition we have on our plate.  When we slow down and find joy in non-food ways, we discover a sweetness and zest for life.  Cravings are often related to other things going on in our lives.

Consider your current lifestyle and ways that you can make some adjustments to nurture more areas of your life beyond your plate. This is actually quite an empowering process.

 

When life is sweet, sugar isn’t needed!

 

Are you already thinking about the sugar crashes, diving into your grandmother’s mashed potatoes, the family pumpkin pie or the variety of cocktails you know will be served at your office party?  I know this is a time where we begin to accept and prepare the exhaustion, stress, bloating, weight gain and more.

You don’t have to relive other holidays like those in the past.  

There is a way to enjoy the tastes and cheer of the holidays while feeling confident and sexy in your holiday dress.

If you’re looking for a program and community that will help you THRIVE NOT SURVIVE through the holidays, I welcome you to join us!

The next Fall Fuel for You program begins Monday, November 11th.  If you have any questions, I welcome you to directly message me here. Contact

Looking for additional tips and recipes this holiday season?  Check out my Healthy Holiday Guide

Cheers to a Happy and Healthy Holiday Season!

XOXO,

Kim