Protein

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Protein is a very popular food group right now. Trendy diets like the Paleo or Atkins diets, have brought a lot of attention to this food group. So with all this attention given to protein, do you know what protein actually does to benefit your body?

Here are some of the benefits of Protein

  • Protein helps your body build muscle, not just for body building, but for everyday people just living their lives.
  • Protein is also helpful in creating blood cells, building bones, and forming skin cells.
  • Protein also plays an important role in creating certain vitamins, hormones, and enzymes.
  • Many protein rich foods contain iron and zinc. Zinc is helpful in promoting a healthy immune system.
  • Nuts and Seeds are also included in the Protein Food group. Nuts and Seeds are a great source of various healthy fats which are important.

What foods are included in the Protein food group?

Meat: Beef, Pork, Deer

Poultry: Chicken, Turkey, Duck, etc

Nuts and Seeds

Eggs

Beans and Peas

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Menu Monday

Monday: Pesto Pasta

This week I am giving this recipe a try. Let me know if you try it too and whether or not you like it.

Tuesday: Black Bean Burrito

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Wednesday: French Bread PizzaScreen Shot 2019-05-06 at 12.26.50 PM

Thursday: Greek Chicken Rice Bowl

I am also trying out the new recipe fro Two Peas and Their Pod

Friday: Caesar Salad with Bread

I am simply going to buy some nice bread from the grocery store with pre-made Caesar Salad kit, because sometimes you don’t to cook or eat out on the weekends.

Vegetables

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What are the Benefits of Vegetables?

Vitamins: Just like grains, vegetables are a great source of many vitamins. Including potassium, folate, vitamin A and vitamin C. Potassium can be helpful in maintaining a healthy blood pressure. Vitamin A is important for eye and skin health.

Fiber: Helps with stomach and intestinal health. Keeps you regular.

Different Colors Mean Different Things:

One of the reasons it is so important to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables is because the different colors contain different vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants. Although each color generally is higher in one nutrient compared to another color, this isn’t 100% true all the time but it is a good rule of thumb to guide your fruit and vegetable choices.

  • Red Fruits and Vegetables: contain antioxidants which can help prevent cancer.
  • Purple/Blue Fruits and Vegetables: contain antioxidants which can be helpful in preventing cancer was well as stroke and heart disease.
  • Orange/Yellow Fruit and Vegetables: are a great source vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene and vitamin C.
  • Green Fruits and Vegetables: are a good source of folate. Folate is important for blood cell development. It is also important for pregnant women to take folate to prevent neural tube defects in their unborn baby.
  • Brown/white Fruits and Vegetables: Also contain antioxidants and some, like bananas and potatoes, are good sources of potassium.

Greek Inspired Veggie Salad

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I honestly don’t use a recipe for this salad I just make it to taste. You simply cut up the vegetables and drizzle olive oil and balsamic over the top. This is best in the summer with fresh garden tomatoes and cucumbers.

Ingredients:

  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Red Onion
  • Feta Cheese or Mozzarella Cheese
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt/Pepper
  • Balsamic Vinger or a Balsamic Glaze

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Tips on How to Eat More Vegetables:

  • Buy or make your own prepackaged vegetable bags and dipping sauce.
  • Buy a wide variety of colors to ensure you are getting all the vitamins.
  • Roast vegetables in the oven with a little olive oil and salt and pepper
  • Select vegetables that you actually like. Just because carrots have health benefits doesn’t mean you need to eat them if you don’t like them.

Intuitive Eating-Exercise

I have never been a lover of exercise, it is hard, sweaty, and it never seems to provide “results”. It wasn’t until I stopped focusing on changing or shaping my body that I actually starting enjoying exercise and looked forward to my daily exercise routine. Just like the other principles of Intuitive Eating, intuitive exercise is focused on doing what makes you feel good and what your body tells you it needs. The focus shouldn’t be on changing or fixing your body but rather simply moving your body in a way that is enjoyable to you. So with that in mind here are some questions I asked myself while trying to establish an enjoyable workout routine for myself. Hopefully this is helpful to you as you try to create a more intuitive exercise routine. 

Questions to ask yourself to help you start Exercising Intuitively:

What time of day works for you? 

One of the first steps to establishing an exercise routine is to pick a time of day to exercise. Try to pick a time of day that will be the most enjoyable for you, not the recommended time someone says is best . Do you like to exercise first thing in the morning to wake you up, or later in the day to help you wind down?

What kind of movement do you like?

If you hate to run but enjoy walking, don’t pressure yourself into running. There are many different ways to move and exercise, so you should be able to find something that is enjoyable to you. Take some time and try out different workout classes, weight lifting routines, or running guides. There are so many exercise options available, you don’t need to do something that isn’t enjoyable or is painful for you.

Where do you like to workout?

You can exercise outside, in your home, or at the gym. There is no wrong or right answer to this question. Think about where you feel most comfortable exercising and then find an exercise routine that can be done at that location. 

Music, TV, or nothing?

Is exercising a time for you to catch up on your favorite show, listen to music, or just simply listen to the peaceful silence. I have personally found that when I workout outside I enjoy unplugging and listening to the everyday noises of the world around me. Unplugging while exercising gives me a chance to recharge mentally.

Social activity or alone?

It is important to determine whether or not you like to workout by yourself or with other people. If working out with other people makes you feel uncomfortable or insecure, you will likely make excuses to skip the yoga class you signed up for. If having other people around you helps motivate you and feel accountable, then doing a workout video at home may not be a great option for you.  

Facts about Intuitive Eating

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Intuitive Eating is NOT a diet: Intuitive Eating focuses on creating lifestyle changes which will help improve your health while maintaining a healthy relationship with food. It is a weight neutral approach to health and doesn’t preach that individuals need to be a certain size or weight to be healthy. 

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Intuitive Eating does NOT ignore good nutrition: Often times people think Intuitive Eating is just eating “junk food” all day long because you want to. In fact Intuitive Eating encourages you to eat a well balanced diet that that includes all the major food groups (fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, and protein) along with including sweet treats when you feel like it. 

Intuitive Eating encourages exercise: Intuitive Eating also requires you to exercise in a way that you find enjoyable. If you don’t like running but enjoy walking, don’t make yourself feel guilty about walking instead of running. Do whatever physical movement is enjoyable to you. Don’t stress about burning calories or building muscles, just move your body. 

DSC_0975 Intuitive Eating takes time:  To retrain your body to become an Intuitive Eater again, you must cut yourself some slack and realize it will take time to master this skill. Be patient, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you can’t change everything about your life in a day either. 

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Intuitive Eating helps address emotional eating: Emotional eating is a huge struggle for many people. Intuitive Eating helps you address this issue by encouraging you to seek professional help if needed, as well as trying to find new healthier coping skills for the stresses and traumas that are part of life. 

Intuitive Eating focuses on acceptance of both foods and body: If you are tired of seeing diets that promote strict control over food intake and promote only one “healthy” body type, then Intuitive Eating is for you. Living a healthy lifestyle can be obtained at all different sizes, there isn’t just one right body size and there isn’t just one food that will save your life. Good nutrition is listening to your body and accepting the differences in body types that make us all unique. 

For more information on Intuitive Eating check out these resources:

Positive Nutrition

The Real Life RD

Happily Fed

Grains

The food we eat is generally categorized into 5 major food groups: Fruits, Vegetables, Grains, Milk, and Protein. Each of the food groups provide different essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients. This is why it is so important to try and have foods from each of the different food groups on a daily basis.

So what essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients do grains provide, let’s find out.

What Grains Provide?

B vitamins: Thiamin, Folate, Niacin, and Riboflavin. These B vitamins help with various metabolic processes. They help release energy from protein, fats and carbohydrates. Folate or Folic acid is also important in forming blood cells, and for pregnant women, it can help prevent neural tube defects, like spina bifida, in your unborn child.

Minerals: Iron, Magnesium, Selenium. Magnesium helps build bones and Selenium helps protect your cells from harmful breakdown. Iron is important in moving oxygen around your body.

Fiber: Helps keep you regular, who doesn’t want that? It may also have benefits for your heart, so eat up!

What Types of Grains are there?

Grains are generally divided into two groups: refined and whole grain. Refined grains are grains which have had  nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and fiber removed during processing. Whole grains do not have these nutrients removed. They are generally considered “healthier” for you because they still have all the beneficial vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Just because whole grains contain more health benefits, it doesn’t mean you can only eat them. Good nutrition is about balance, I like to recommend eating half your grains as whole grains.

Whole Grains Examples: 100% whole wheat, brown rice, quinoa

Refined Grains Examples: All purpose flour (or baked goods made with it) white bread, white rice

Grain Recipe:

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Sometimes it can be hard to think of ways to incorporate the different food groups into a meal. So here is a very simple idea of how to use grains (quinoa and brown rice) in a recipe.

Veggie, Meatball, and Brown Rice/Quinoa Bowl

Ingredients:

1 medium Zucchini

½ medium Yellow Onion

½ Yellow Bell Pepper

½ Red Bell Pepper

1-2 handfuls of Cherry Tomatoes

1 handful of Baby Carrots

1 tbsp olive oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 cup Uncooked Brown Rice

1 pkg. pre-cooked Italian Meatballs

Instructions:

Prepare Brown Rice according to instructions on package. Cut zucchini, onion, bell peppers, and carrots into bit size pieces. Combine all the vegetables on a tinfoil lined cookie sheet. Drizzle the olive oil, salt and peppers over the vegetables. Toss the vegetables a few times to evenly coat the vegetables with olive oil mixture. Add the meatballs to the cookie sheet and place in the oven for 20 minutes at 350 F. Once vegetables are roasted, and the meatballs are warmed thru, combine with brown rice and serve.

Helpful Tips:

·      Cook the vegetables for the indicated time and temperature given on the packaging for the meatballs.

·      I often use Seeds of Change Organic Quinoa and Brown Rice Microwaveable packets. So easy and fast!

 

Resources: Choose My Plate Website

5 Tips for Menu Planning

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When I first started grocery shopping for myself in college I dreaded it. It seems like every time I went grocery shopping I spent so much money and still didn’t have enough food to last one person for one week. I realized I couldn’t maintain my spending so I started to try different tips and ideas to better budget and save at the grocery store. Below are 5 tips which I have found work best for me. Let me know if they are helpful for you too. Try one or two of them out and see if it helps you stick to a budget while eating a little healthier.

Taking a few minutes every week to plan a menu for the next week is one of the easiest ways to eat healthy and stay on a budget. Here are some tips to help start your menu planning for this week

Tip 1: Set aside a day and time every week when you can plan your menu and then pick a day to go grocery shopping.

Tip 2: Look through your Fridge, Freezer, and Pantry. Make a mental list of what ingredients you already have available. Start thinking of meals that you can make with the ingredients you already have.

Tip 3: Look at the weekly ads at the local grocery store you generally shop at. Try to incorporate the fruits, vegetables, and meat/poultry that are currently on sale.

Tip 4: Start by planning the main course for dinner, followed by dinner sides, lunch and snacks for the week. Try to use elements from one nights dinner for lunch or snacks throughout the week. Example: Dinner grilled chicken, roasted broccoli, and breadsticks. Lunch: Salad with grilled chicken strips. Snack: broccoli with hummus.

Tip 5: Try to use fruits and vegetables in multiple meals in different ways to prevent produce from going bad. Roast vegetables one night, the next night put them in a salad. Use fruit as a snack or make a fruit salad and lastly, throw some fruits and vegetables (like spinach and carrots) in a blender for a smoothie.

How do you like to grocery shop? Do you have any tricks or tips to making it easier and more affordable? Leave a comment below with your ideas, I would love to hear them.