Coach Nancy
Author Archives: Coach Nancy

You Don’t Have To Be Perfect

I am so glad I don’t have to be perfect. Think of being 90%. There will be days when you are successful, and others when you are not.

But missing one mark here and there doesn’t call out the world distress signal. In fact, one or two missed check marks means you are perfectly human.

Allow yourself the struggle of not making it the first time out, maybe not even the second or the third. You might get six boxes checked off and then miss the seventh box.

Breaking your perfect score is not the end of the line. Stop trying to be perfect. Build on the struggles you have. Make yourself stronger each time through.

It is practice. I’ll say this over and over. Practice. I hear myself telling my kids often, don’t get so uptight when you don’t succeed the first time through.

At Christmas my kids decorated a ginger bread house. Karalynn is such a perfectionist that when it didn’t come out like the picture she was in tears. I had to remind her again that it was her first time and the people who did that house had practiced many times before taking that picture.

The same is true with your nutrition. After working at or practicing your habit of eating 3 (maybe 4) meals a day, you will find that the amount at which you have to work at it next week will be less. It will become easier.

The same will become true of Hunger Mastery. Many of us have struggled with this one a bit more but we are working at adjusting our schedule. It is becoming easier.

We started a new skill to practice. Don’t expect 100% right away.

In fact you might have to adjust how you are going to get better at this new skill. Maybe focusing on it two meals a day, Maybe knowing you can do it Monday through Friday.

But don’t worry about tomorrow. What can you do today to be successful?

To Your Best Health,

Coach Nancy


Grilled Brussels Sprouts

Its almost grilling season. I know this week seems like it is far away but it will be here before you know it. Roasted Brussels Sprouts are one of my favorite foods. Grilling them is a close second. 

Grilled Brussels Sprouts



1 pound Brussels sprouts, as uniform in size as possible

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Cut off the stem end of the Brussels sprouts and remove any yellowing outer leaves. Place the Brussels sprouts into a large, microwave safe mixing bowl and heat in the microwave on high for 3 minutes. Add the olive oil, garlic, mustard, paprika and salt and toss to combine. Allow the sprouts to cool until you can handle them. Skewer 4 to 5 Brussels sprouts onto each metal skewer with the stem ends facing in the same direction, leaving at least 1/2-inch in between each sprout. Place the skewers onto the grill with stem end closest to the flame. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Turn the skewers over and continue to cook for another 5 minutes. Serve as is or for additional flavor, remove the sprouts from the skewers, return them to the original mixing bowl and toss with any of the remaining oil and garlic mixture before serving.


Changing the Way I Eat is Hard

"I just start eating and don't stop. What I'd like to know is how I CHANGE that behavior."

 For some people this is an easier process of undoing than others. While some people have one or two poor habits to change you might have several- no worries.

Think of it as a scan of yarn that is all tangled up. Its going to take some time undoing and pulling on strands only to find that it tightened the knot.  Often experimenting with certain types of eating patterns will show us ways we can either loosen or tightened your knot. For example eating in a window of time is one pattern of nutrition that you might explore. It can solve some of your poor eating habits. Using a 8 hour window where you eat all your meals during that time, could be just what you need in order to stop night time snacking. Other options include only having a piece of fruit after having 3 servings of veggies first. This often gives you just what you need to help you achieve all the servings of vegetables you've been missing from your eating plan.

Other things will keep loosening the knot, but it will take time to untangle it all. Pull on one string each day. (pulling is the action item that you can do today) See what happens and if that string gives a bit- pull on it more tomorrow.

You're doing great showing up. Don't stop doing something each day to make yourself better.

To your best health,

Coach Nancy

 

Animal, Vegetable, or Mineral?

Do you remember playing this game when you were a kid?

If so, you are oooooold…like me!

Actually all three of those categories are vital in a balanced diet, but I want to talk about vegetables in particular.

We all have heard time and time again that’s it important to eat your fruits and vegetables, but how many of us actually do it on a daily basis?

The National Cancer Institutes encourages us to eat at least 3 to 5 servings of vegetables a day. New research has shown that broccoli is one of many vegetables that can inhibit some forms of cancer. I know Coach Meagan  already loves broccoli, now she has another reason to love it even more. – check it out ​here.

The goal is to eat:

  • Five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables
  • A variety of colorful fruits and vegetables
  • High fiber fruits and vegetables
  • At least one vitamin C rich fruit or vegetable
  • At least one vitamin A rich fruit or vegetable

What’s a serving size? Not all that much, really…

Vegetables:

  • 1 cup raw leafy greens
  • 1/2 cup fresh or cooked vegetables

Fruits:

  • 1 medium apple, orange or banana
  • 1/2 cup fresh, canned or cooked fruit
  • 1/4 cup dried fruit

The reason I bring the number of daily servings up is because we get asked a lot – Fresh, frozen, canned, organic – which should I eat?

To which are answer is “All of the above!”

You see it doesn’t really matter which of those choices you make if you aren’t eating enough.

For instance we get asked a lot about buying organic – it’s a hot topic right now, and it seems everything is organic. 

Organic is great, but what matters more is that you are getting enough fruits and veggies first, then worry about super high quality.

I also understand that fruits and vegetables can be expensive, and there is nothing wrong with choosing economical options. Personally my preference would be fresh (organic or not), frozen, and then canned. 

Tomato Plants

You know what may be even more important than organic? Buying your produce locally. A vegetable picked from the farm down the road is going to be tastier and healthier than organic produce shipped halfway across the globe.

Pretty soon Farmers Markets are going to start popping up here in NH, and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) are also gaining in popularity. A CSA is where you buy a share of a local farm and get a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly delivery of the farms crops, depending on the agreement.

Look, I am not trying to tell you it is easy to integrate more vegetables and fruits into your eating plan, if it was easy we would all do it all the time! What I am saying is it is worth the effort.  The health and disease prevention benefits are well documented and reliable.

So do what mom said – “Eat Your Vegetables” – she knew what she was talking about!

To your best health,

Coach Nancy


Homemade Ketchup

“Help I forgot to buy ketchup and dinner is going to be ready in 15 minutes.”

Imagine me watching my hamburgers cooking and going to the fridge to realize I was missing a crucial ingredient – ketchup. My family enjoys ‘Naked Hamburgers’ as a staple at dinner time. (Naked Hamburgers are burgers served without a bun.)  

I thought about using salsa and calling them Mexican burgers or laying a bit of pasta sauce under the burger and laying a slice of avocado and piece of basil on top for Italian burgers. I just wasn’t feeling the love so I did what all of us would do, I made my own ketchup. It was fast and my family loved the fresh taste this ketchup offers.

Homemade Ketchup

4 chopped pitted dates

1 6 -ounce can tomato paste

1 14 - ounce can diced tomatoes

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup broth or water, add this in little at a time

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Blend all ingredients together in a food processor or blender. Store in mason jars or similar jars in the fridge for 2-3 weeks.

Give it a try and let me know what you think.

To Your Best Health,

Coach Nancy

Happy Easter

I wish you and yours a very Happy Easter.

While I am spending time with some of my family today, I also know I will not be with others. My family is spread across the United States and out across the world. Sure I wish I could be with each one of them today. I love them. 

In stead I am going to be thankful that I am alive. That I can breath, sit up, eat the food placed in front of me, and realize not everyone is enjoying this day. Most of all I am thankful for God sending his Son to be my Savior. I have a relationship with Christ that most do not enjoy. For that I am truly thankful. 

Have a great day, hug your family, and be grateful deep down for it all.

To Your Best Health,

Coach Nancy


I Hate Meal Planning

​​​What's your biggest stumbling block today?
"I hate planning.  I often use my planning time for other more fun stuff. It's really something I dislike."


Planning meals has been proven to help you in your health journey. Its right up there with stepping on the scale if your goal is weight loss. On top of that there are other side benefits that you'll love is that it saves time, relieves stress, and keeps money in your wallet. And yet, it stills feels like the one thing that holds us back. Lets look at meal planning with a slightly different twist.

What if you look at planning more like giving you options?

Here is what I would do as an experiment to see how you succeed with this version of meal planning.

1. List out all the dinner meals you and your family enjoy eating during this time of year. That list will probably be a bit different in the Summer vs. the Fall vs. the cold of Winter. How many did you get? Aim for at least 10 different dinner meals. Remember some of these might be the quick options like picking up a rotisserie chicken while others are all day cooking affairs like homemade spaghetti sauce.

2. Do you have on hand all the items to make these meals? Check your cupboards, freezer, and fridge. Some items can be kept, like canned goods, in your cupboard; others are best fresh so you'll have to purchase those items. But then others can be pulled from the freezer when you need them. 

3. Look at your schedule. See what is coming up that might pull you away from making a meal or that might require a meal that is very quick to make. I leave cans of tuna in my cupboard because when fast and speedy is required, I can quickly put tuna on a salad or cook up some tuna patties. If you will be away from home one night, you'll end up with more options to chose from on the other evenings.

4. Again take a peak at your schedule, this time looking for those times when you might be able to spend more time in your kitchen than usual. I often can do this on Sundays. Its during this time, I prep what I can for other meals, but I can also make a dish that takes more time than I usually have to prepare dinner. 

5. With your favorite dinner meal ideas in one hand and the list of items you need to make these meals in another, head off to the store. 

6. Now when it comes time for your next dinner, you've got options to choose from. 

What do you think?

To Your Best Health,

Coach Nancy


Tips for Eating Out

Going out to a restaurant can be difficult. Last time I went I found 4 items on the menu, that could easily be adjusted. Each of those I needed to substitute an item or ask the server not to bring out something but I walked away totally satisfied.

It can be done.

My Tips to you:

Be prepared when eating out: Look over the menu before you go. Decide before you go. Foods look and smell tempting so don't let your will power be put to the test.

Ask the server not to leave the bread on the table or not to leave you the appetizer plate.

Soups just like casseroles will have added hidden things like sugars in them.

Look for menu items that have no sauce or glaze. But you can also ask the server not to add that to your dish.

Order meats that are grilled.

Instead of rice or a potato many restaurants will double your portion size of veggies without additional cost.

When ordering a salad ask for the croutons, cheese, or crispy pita strips to be left off as well as the salad dressing. I have found many places that will bring out a bottle of olive oil and vinegar so you can pour your own on. But when all else fails, ask to have a few lemon slices brought out. Squeezed lemon on your salad is fantastic!

If you are not sure of the ingredient list – ask

If available, you can request the special allergy menus, too, which usually include gluten-free, dairy-free, wheat-free, soy-free, etc. options...

Be over - the - top kind when asking for special requests or substitutions, your server will appreciate it and will more than likely help you out even more.

More tips from those who frequent restaurants? Let us know where you eat and what you get.

To Your Best Health,

Coach Nancy


Dear Newbie:

I wanted to write a quick little note to encourage you. Starting a new way of living healthy is challenging. I've been there. In fact some days I feel like I am still there. Each day please wake up to make the decision to live healthy again. Post reminders on your bathroom mirror, your car's dashboard, and your computer screen at work. These little reminders will help you to continue to make decisions that will further your progress until they become more natural. Our goal is to make small changes each day that become our new normal. People that meet us a month from now will know a different you than the one standing in front of your mirror today. 

Now there will be days when all goes well and it feels like smooth sailing. Some days will be a bit more challenging but you'll muddle through. Still other days will seem like you've only stepped backward.

Keep going!

It will get easier. Take baby steps. As you increase in confidence make those steps a bit bigger and stronger. Soon you'll look back through time and see all those little steps have added up. 

You've got this. 

From one whose walked these steps before you.  

Kitchen Sink Soup

Its been snowing quite a bit lately and I have been in the mood for soup more than usual this winter. This recipe is a favorite because it makes such a large batch of soup, but also because it uses up just about anything I have in my fridge. Bonus is my kids love it.

Kitchen Sink Soup

3 pounds ground beef

3-4 cups chicken broth

3-4 cups water (or more if needed – less if you want yours more “stew like”)

2 cups diced tomatoes

1 large sweet potato, diced

6 carrots, chopped

1 yellow bell pepper, chopped

5 celery stalks, chopped

2-3 cups shredded green cabbage

3 small shallots, finely diced (about 1/2 cup)

3-4 garlic cloves, minced

2-3 teaspoons ground cumin

1-2 teaspoons coriander

2 teaspoons chili powder

1-2 tablespoons dried basil

About 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

In a large soup pot add the sweet potatoes, carrots, chicken broth, and water and bring to a boil

In a separate large pot or skillet, brown the 3 pounds of ground beef, and season with a little bit of salt and pepper, and set aside. You can also use ground chicken, turkey, or lamb.

After the soup pot comes to a boil, add the shallots, garlic, diced tomatoes, celery, and bell pepper and let simmer for about 10 minutes.

Add the browned ground beef and shredded cabbage and continue to simmer until the potatoes and carrots are tender.

Season with all of the spices. Taste, and add more seasoning if desired.

Stir in the fresh cilantro and serve.

*Tips: Garnish with more fresh cilantro if desired, diced green onions, minced jalapeños and more shredded green cabbage. With your leftovers, eat a bowl of soup for breakfast topped with fried or poached egg!

To Your Best Health,

Coach Nancy


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