Category Archives for "Food"

Super Simple Tuna Salad

On a hot summer day, this is a dish that leaves the oven off, yet it also delivers a great source of protein, loads of veggies, and is complimented with a healthy fat in the avocado. It’s a win-win. While easy to make, this dish is also very adaptable. You can add thinly sliced radishes, sprinkle on chopped green onions, or add crunchy jicama fries on the side.

Super Simple Tuna Salad

  • 1 can tuna, drained
  • ½ cup sliced tomato (I use cherry tomatoes)
  • ¼ cup diced red onion
  • ½ cup shredded carrot
  • ½ cup diced cucumber
  • ½ an avocado, mashed with a fork
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Paprika, to taste

Stir all the ingredients in a mixing bowl until well combined. I serve this salad on top of a bed of greens but it is so yummy it can be eaten alone.

Almost No One Gets Hired to Eat a Slice of Cake

Few of us have a job, what you do to earn money, that you absolutely love all the time. It is called work because it is just that, work. Comparing work to food, usually doesn't have us calling for chocolate cake. Work is like eating anchovies (unless you like anchovies).

There are ways to help make 'work' feel more enjoyable but that's another blog post.

Sometimes working at improving our health feels like we have to eat anchovies but it doesn't have to. Improving your health should feel more like eating cake.

Here are three tips to improving your health feel more like eating cake:

1. Small starts, quick rewards. Create a system where you and your partner have to do small tasks and in return you get a small reward. For example, I can and I will drink 16 ounces of water and then I will eat breakfast. Or I will plan my meals the day before so that I can make getting to work on time more achievable. The smaller the task, the better, so you won't delay starting. Also small tasks done consistently over time reap a big payoff.

2. Recruit a friend or family member to join you. Two is much better than one in many ways. Humans are social creatures and you can use that to your advantage. Agree to set daily or weekly goals, and check in with each other daily. Share the work and set rewards for hitting your goals. Encourage each other and help each other when someone is faltering.

3. Get excited daily. It's easy to be excited about a project or goal when you first start, but that can die out. Renew your goal each day. Start by setting a goal for the day that you can accomplish and that you care about. Find inspiration, visualize your accomplishment, find some music that motivates you, find an inspirational quote or video ... anything to get you excited to accomplish your goal for the day! Don't forget to share it with your partner.

Better health doesn't have to feel like swallowing your daily dose of anchovies, you can actually enjoy it.

To your best health,
Coach Nancy

Put Your Oxygen Mask on First

We've all heard this analogy, "When cabin pressure drops, put on your own oxygen mask before helping those around you". You have to be taking care of yourself first in order to help those around you be well.

But are you truly living it? Are you each day putting time into yourself? Or are you too busy? Maybe too much stress to fit in drinking water today? Maybe just too tired to focus on planning your meals today?

Could it be that you are telling yourself the stress, the sleep, and the to-do list is more important than you are to yourself? Are you allowing your schedule, work or situations to tell yourself that you are not worth it?

I hear it all the time, "I'm too stressed to eat good"… "I'm just too tired to focus on taking a multivitamin"… "I have too much to do to eat broccoli". 

What if instead you were honest and said, "I'm just not worth eating good food"… “I'm just not a member of society that is worth taking a multivitamin"… "I am not valuable enough as a person to eat broccoli and receive its benefits”.

OW, harsh, huh?

I know this journey is not easy, but take time to help yourself first so that you can take time to help others. You are worth it. I believe in your ability to take on better health for you.

I can’t take the stress out of your life. I am not able to tuck you in each night promptly at 9pm and ensure you’ll sleep soundly for 8 hours straight. I certainly can’t tackle your to-do list (you have skills I just don’t have).

I'm here to help you. I can serve you the tools, but you are on the front lines doing all the work/ Here is a list of tools I can open up to you:

  • The Grateful Plate website
  • 21 + Nutrition Challenge
  • Get Fit NH in Concord or Epsom
  • ProCoach
  • Essential Nutrition LIVE
  • Happy Healthy Lives- No Food Guilt on Facebook
  • Physical Preparation Coaching
  • Nutrition Coaching
  • A friend who understands but is also willing to help (that's me 🙂 )

You are valuable to me. Keep making it happen.

To your best health,
Coach Nancy

Mexican Cauliflower Rice

Last week I shared with you one of my favorite past S3 recipes that I love because it makes a lot, is easy to grab and go, and tastes great weather its warm or cold. This is another one of those recipes that I love for those same reasons.

Mexican Cauliflower Rice

by Coach Nancy

  • 4 cups grated cauliflower
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • ½ medium onion, finely diced
  • 2 medium plum tomatoes, small dice
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds and membrane removed, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Chopped cilantro

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onions, tomatoes and jalapeno and sauté until just tender, about 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and cauliflower, sauté until the cauliflower is just tender, 2 minutes.

Add the tomato paste, cumin, paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper. Stir to evenly coat the vegetables and cook for 1 minute or until heated through. Add chopped cilantro and serve.

It’s Time to Give Your Kitchen a Makeover

I use a simple system of red, yellow, and green lights to get our transformation started. Red light is food you’ll want to take out and not let back into your kitchen. Yellow lights are food that you might have questions on or that you know are not quite great but not quite labeled junk food – yet. Green light foods are those that you have been proven healthy for you. Green light foods don’t cause your system aggravation and unwanted side effects. They are foods that your body loves to have on your plate for health reason. Can you say zucchini and broccoli?

As each door of the cupboard, pantry, fridge, and freezer opens, take each food item out to examine under the Red, Yellow, or Green light.

Step 1: Red light = junk foods. Terminate.

Let’s start with your list of the obvious “red lights” from your fridge and pantry. This could include things like:

  • Chips
  • Cheese crackers
  • Chocolates or candy
  • Soda/sweetened drinks
  • Instant foods like cake mixes and mashed potatoes
  • Margarine and other processed fats
  • Most frozen dinners
  • Most take out or restaurant leftovers
  • Bowls of candy or other snacks sitting around
  • Flavored nuts (i.e. beer nuts)

But please make your own list.

Step 2: Yellow light = trick foods. Triage.

Trick foods are foods that seem healthy but aren't. They’ve gone from something good (whole, minimally processed food) to something that a machine has put out, full of sugar and chemicals, and/or something that’s had all its original nutrients stripped out. It could also be items that you have in your cupboard for other family members that seem to trip you up. Consider minimizing and/or eliminating these:

  • Sweetened yogurt and frozen yogurt
  • Breads and bagels
  • Other baked goods
  • Most breakfast cereals
  • Crackers, even the whole grain ones
  • Granola bars
  • Regular peanut butter
  • Fruit juice nad sweetened dried fruits
  • "Healthy" junk food (i.e. "organic" cookies, baked potato chips, etc.)
  • Alcohol is negotiable - many people keep it on hand for social events but don't often drink it; other folks will drink it if it's there

This is a list you are going to work through. Right now it is giving you something to think about.

Step 3: Check for stuff you might not have thought of yet.

This is even more challenging than the so-called “healthier” foods in the “trick food” list, because you don’t think about these things being a problem… or think about them at all. (How much time do you spend thinking about BBQ sauce, anyway?) Most of these just pass under our radar, until we read the labels and discover that they’re sugar and chemical bombs. Or just not “food” at all. This includes:

  • Condiments
  • Relishes, mustards and ketchup
  • Salad dressings
  • Bread crumbs, croutons, and other dried bread products
  • Processed meats such as hot dogs, bacon, and deli meats
  • Spreads such as cheese whiz or sweetened cream cheeses

Again, you don’t have to throw out everything. It’s not an all-or-none process. Just make sure yellow-light foods know they’re on notice and have to earn their rent.

Your red/yellow/green light items could be as simple as putting foods in these categories. For instance:

  • Does this food come in a bag, box or plastic package?
    Red light
  • Does it have only a couple of ingredients on the label?
    Green light
  • Can you pronounce all of those ingredients?
    Yellow light
  • How far away is this food from what it used to be? And do you even know what it used to be?
    Yellow light
  • Is this food perishable?
    Green light (just about anything good for you goes bad quickly)

Step 4: Green lighting the kitchen.

Let's work on forming the "green light/wanted foods" list to help you restock the kitchen.

  • Fresh fruits
  • Fresh veggies
  • Eggs
  • Canned tuna/salmon/chicken
  • Nuts/seeds
  • All the wonderful cuts of meat you buy at the meat market

Step 5: Now its time to get to work.

Option 1: Throw out (or give away) any and all red light foods.

OR

Option 2: Take all the food that is not going to support your health and put it in ONE specific cupboard. Preferably out of the kitchen, maybe even in the basement. If you are looking in your refrigerator, move those red and yellow items into the produce drawer. Why not bring all those wonderful veggies to a fridge shelf where you can see them? Out of sight out of mind should be a slogan when you are dealing with family member’s food. Try to make it as difficult for you to see and eat.

Now you have it - a simple plan of addressing the food in your kitchen. Red lights you get rid of or make it difficult to see. Yellow lighted foods are put on stand by, maybe even taken out until you know which direction they really belong. Green light foods should be easy to see and easy to reach for. They are what stand out most when your kitchen is made over. By keeping food that will help your nutrition grow in plain sight, you are making it easier for yourself to eat in health supportive way.

To your best health,
Coach Nancy

Egg Roll in a Bowl

We did S3 a few years ago and I acquired a few recipes from my team. I just had to share them again with you. They transport easily. They can be eaten hot out of the pan or served chilled. They work at a pot luck because they both make so much. This is here one of my all-time favorite recipes.

Egg Roll in a Bowl

by Coach Nancy

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 package coleslaw mix
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
  • 3-4 tablespoons coconut aminos
  • 1-2 teaspoons rice vinegar

Cook ground beef in a skillet until browned and cooked through. Remove from pan leaving the drippings. Add celery, onion and garlic to the pan and sauté until cooked and softened. Add coleslaw mix and continue to cook for about 15 minutes. Mix ground beef back in. Add the ginger, coconut aminos, and rice vinegar. Allow to simmer for 5-10 minutes and it is ready!

Tips for Healthy Eating While Dining Out

The Western diet of fast food, pour from a can or out of a box, heat and serve, grab and go is slowly killing us. All of those choices are of little value to your body’s health. They come at a high price in calories but in exchange for low nutritional value.

The term “Fast Food” is commonly associated with hamburgers, greasy French fries, and cola. However, popular family restaurant menu items can be ordered “to go” without waiting for their preparation or standing in a long line. You can even pay with a credit card over the phone if you’re in a real hurry. But, fast food does not have to be high-calorie and a low nutritional food choice.

Tips to help you choose well:

  • Know that an average fast-food meal can run as high as 1800 calories or more.
  • Know the nutritional value of the foods you order. Sometimes “good choices”, are higher in the nutrients or calories. Fat-free or low-fat items are usually higher in sugar and salt.
  • If you're having fast-food for one meal, make all the other meals that day contain the right portion of lean protein, produce, and healthy fats.
  • Know how your food is cooked. Chicken and fish can be good choices - but not if they are breaded and deep fried.
  • Avoid jumbo, giant, deluxe, biggie-sized or super-sized. Larger portions mean more calories, fat, sugar and salt.

When Dining Out...

Tempting menus, extra-large portions and festive atmospheres make it easy to overlook supportive eating. You'll begin to pack on pounds if you make poor choices a habit. It is possible to enjoy yourself and still make supportive choices. Following a few simple rules when eating out can make it possible to maintain your nutrition plan.

  1. Order food to go – Studies show that people tend to consume more food when they are not eating at their own kitchen tables. Take home and have the option of providing a healthier side dish such as fruit or vegetables.
  2. KNOW where you will go and what you will eat ahead of time.
  3. Avoid buffets – they are invitations to OVEREATING.
  4. CHOOSE wisely - use the guidelines of Supportive Menu Design.
  5. Ask the server not to bring the bread basket.
  6. ASK how food is prepared – ask for baked, broiled, roasted, poached or steamed.
  7. Don't be afraid to special order – ask for your vegetables and main dishes to be served without the sauces.
  8. Watch portion size – servings can be 3-5 times more than what you need. Pack half your meal to-go before starting.
  9. Split a meal with a friend. You’ll avoid the temptation to overeat.
  10. WATER - drink at least one full-glass of water before eating. You'll feel full sooner, you will eat less.
  11. Order an appetizer and a salad as your meal.
  12. Front load your meal with a nutritious salad or bowl of soup to take the edge off your appetite.
  13. Order sauce and dressing on the side – control calories and enjoy the taste.
  14. Order first. You're less likely to be influenced by the choices of your companions.
  15. Eat Slowly. Savor the flavors and textures of your food, and enjoy the company you're with. When you eat slowly, you give your body's internal clock the time it needs to know when you've had enough. Remember the hunger scale.
  16. Save dessert for later – a great trick to play is instead of ordering dessert at a restaurant, go somewhere else. By the time you get there, you will not be as hungry and will end up eating half or even skipping dessert entirely.

You can dine out while remaining true to your goals. The key is always to plan ahead, choose wisely and you'll find foods that fit into your meal plan.

To your best health,
Coach Nancy

Write Your Own Food Story

I was challenged by my nutrition coach to make a food time line.

Yes, I have a coach to help me. Would you want it any other way?

But back to my assignment, I created a visual time line. It took me from my earliest memories to the present time. As I traveled this path, I noticed a few things but I’ll let you look at my time line and then I’ll tell you my discoveries.

As you traveled down my food path with me from earliest memories to present time, what did you notice? You see, I can remember all the wonderful memories of family and of the foods I ate while growing up. From fighting over maple and brown sugar oatmeal with my brothers, to enjoying making potatoes from a box for my mom. Through my teen years of Little Debbies to working at Dominos Pizza. I started to really learn to cook after getting married. Once Dean decided to change his health by changing his nutrition, you can see how real foods and loads of color were added to our meals.

For me, I see the color in my meals in my early twenties came from the packaging my meal was wrapped in while now it comes from the actual food.

I want to challenge you to do this experiment. It brings up loads of great memories and some not so wonderful ones. But the visual impact this exercise had for me shows me I am on the right path, but that path is still changing.

To your best health,
Coach Nancy

Don’t Be on the Donut Diet

The "Donut Diet" requires you to have donuts on hand - makes sense, right?

(P.S. Don't be on the Donut Diet)

I want to get down to brass tacks. Because diets don't work, period.

The very word itself lends itself to a temporary fix rather than a permanent change.

It’s one of the reasons I don’t just hand you a menu plan and say “eat that”. What happens when you reach the end of the plan, or the one we gave you doesn’t work for you?

You go back to your default eating, which is what got you where you were in the first place. And that just doesn’t make sense.

Short term thinking rarely leads to long term success. When we focus on the “outcome” rather than the behaviors, we set ourselves up for failure.

Let’s say you want to lose 10 pounds in the next 2 months. Your whole focus is on that 10 pounds, and at the end of the 8 weeks you weigh yourself and you lost 8½ pounds. Your mind immediately focuses on the 1½ pounds you didn’t lose. I have seen it over and over again. You were wildly successful, and yet somehow you still are disappointed.

So how do we stop that?

We create and track measurable behaviors (or habits) that are supportive of our long term goals. The habit is something I can control and measure. If the habit I am developing is to eat breakfast every day, I either did it or I didn’t. When I do it consistently I know it will positively affect my desired outcome

Many of you struggle the most with planning. It was by far the biggest factor to derail you the quickest from your goals.

So let's hear what you found planning does for you:

Scott said "Planning helps you to shop more efficiently and you don't end up buying stuff you don't need (or is unhealthy for you!)"

Rebecca said, "This has helped me budget and eat better!"

According to Stephanie, "This helps me stay more true to my nutritional (fat loss) goals when I plan."

Deb said, "It will definitely help me to stay on track the whole week."

Stacey found, "Now I'm much better prepared, feel less anxiety over 'what's for dinner' and have started making a larger variety of healthy dinner choices."

The list goes on to include Mary, "It will help me to stay on track, and I won't be inclined to 'just pick something up'."

Melissa said, "it will keep me from running to the store and just grabbing something that probably wouldn't be good for me."

I could go on and on. My point is that planning meals for the week will:

  • Save time at the store and at mealtime
  • Save you money
  • Mean less stress
  • Equal a happier family - they know what the plan is and for some families they get to help with the planning
  • Provide you with healthier meals
  • Make life easier for you
  • Keep you off the donut diet 🙂

You will not have to think on the fly. Check out these tips to planning your first week of meals.

So saving time, saving money, saving your sanity, and making the whole family happy all with a little well spent time at the beginning of each week.

And you? Do you want any of these things to come to you?

To your best health,
Coach Nancy

Healthy Crockpot Breakfast Casserole

This is a hit at my house with my kids and it’s also a hit for me as it’s so quick to prepare. In fact, I prepare it the night before, and then pull the crockpot out of the refrigerator at 4:30am. Its ready to eat when I am. It’s a great medley of sweet potatoes, scrambled eggs, veggies, and bacon – all in one.

Healthy Crockpot Breakfast Casserole

by Coach Nancy

  • 12 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons ground mustard
  • ½ teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 30-ounce bag sweet potato cubes (or fresh sweet potato cubes cut in chunks)
  • 4 slices cooked bacon
  • ½ onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 bell peppers, roughly chopped
  • 1 small head broccoli, roughly chopped

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, mustard, garlic salt, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Lightly grease the bottom of the crockpot. Place half the potatoes on the bottom. Layer with half the bacon, onion, bell peppers, and broccoli. Add the other half of the potatoes, then top with the rest of the veggies. Pour the egg mixture on top. Cover and cook for 4 hours on low. Serve it hot!

Quick tip: Riced sweet potatoes and broccoli can be used. Frozen pepper and onion make for a faster prep time as well.

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