Category Archives for "Food"

Plan to Get Back on Track

When you stumble- and we all do when it comes to eating- often, we find the next declaration out of our mouth is, I may as well eat the rest of the cake since I already had one piece”. In Jeremy Dean’s book Making Habits, Breaking Habits, he helps us to face the fact that we are not perfect in our quest to build a habit. We will miss a moment, miss a day, or more. It’s a given. What you need to know is what to do when that happens. Have a plan for when the plan breaks down.

When the plan fails, take these steps.

1. Identify the triggers. Find the moment or rewind your day until you can visualize the cross roads. The place in your life where you could have gone one way or the other. When we are in the moment it is hard to see this crossroad, but often playing our day back in your mind like you would rewind a video to see the good parts can help. It’s defining this moment that will help you most. The more specific you can make it the better. So think in terms of a) time, b) location, c) emotional state, d) other people around, e) the circumstance. So it might look like this: Right before I chose to go through the drive thru and order 4 donuts and coffee for myself, I was in a tense meeting at work that didn’t go well, I yelled at my co-worker for the silliest thing, I didn’t sleep well last night, and I forgot my gym clothes. The driver that cut me off right before I left the parking lot was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I just had to have a donut (or three).

2. Identify the old habit. Be specific about what you are trying to stop. Again, think of all the details about this old habit. For instance, I want to stop relying on donuts when I feel upset and stressed in the car while driving alone.

3. Identify the new habitKnow exactly what you want to do, but create a goal that will take less than 60 seconds to accomplish. That sounds too simple but it isn’t easy. For myself, that would be using my 60 seconds to drive past the donut store. Think about it, it sounds simple but it isn’t easy.

It’s hard to change your behavior. It takes courage to have to do things differently and resilience to keep at it.

To your best health,
Coach Nancy

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream

It’s hot and its summer, so of course we are thinking of dipping into some of the cool stuff to enjoy.

Guess what? It doesn’t have to be bad for you! Try this delicious and easy to make recipe next time you need a cool treat.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Ice Cream

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon cocao nibs
  • 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter
  • 3 scoops chocolate UMP
  • 4 cups of ice

Add all the ingredients into a powerful blender (we use a Vitamix). Using a damper, blend for 30-45 seconds. Going longer will melt your ice cream. Scoop this out and enjoy – it is really good!

Look for more new recipes soon using UMP’s newest flavor Graham Cracker! Watch out, it is fantastic!

Enjoy your summer,
Coach Nancy

Food Fun!

Nail the kale

Rock the broc

Win it with spinach

I'm maddish about raddish

Yes, this is what I do. I have fun with food. We’re all kids at heart. I’ve grown up a bit since my days in junior high and food fights. That only leaves me with a messy kitchen that I end up cleaning up. I find different ways to have fun with food now.

This week I had fun with new recipes. I experimented with making a spaghetti sauce that didn’t have hamburger in it as the protein but lentils.

It was surprisingly yummy. My kids ate it without question. Of course I used spaghetti squash as the noodles.

Here's how I made the sauce:

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 28-ounce can of petite tomatoes
  • 1 12-ounce can of tomato paste
  • 1½ cups of dried lentils, rinsed
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 tablespoons parsley
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper

Sauté the onion, celery and garlic until soft. Add the lentils and water and cook for about an hour on low, covered. Add in the tomatoes and tomato paste along with the seasonings. Cook uncovered about 15 minutes until lentils are soft and mushy. Serve over spaghetti squash.

I also had fun with my food this week by using paper plates. I’m not sure what it is, but it makes it like a whole different gathering something kid like when you eat on paper plates. P.S. I didn’t use paper plates the night I served spaghetti.

One more way to have fun with your food when it comes to how you serve it. Try serving your omelet in a mug. This recipe works great.

Besides what you eat, and how you eat, there is also where you eat. This week with the weather being so nice outside, we took our meals outside. What could be better than enjoying a great meal, with family, outside. Hint: you don’t have to clean up crumbs as much outside as you do at the kitchen table. Besides eating outdoors beats eating on the couch where everyone is glued to the TV and doesn’t even noticed you made a delicious meal for them.

Have some fun this week with your food.

To your best health,
Coach Nancy

What’s in Your Cupboard?

I went shopping yesterday. 

You may be saying, “Big deal. Why should I care about your grocery shopping?”

Well, many of you have asked me, “What do you eat? How do you make PPW (Protein, Produce, and Water) a reality?”

I thought I might answer that question with a few pictures. While you won’t see exactly what lunch or dinner is, you will see what I use to fix our meals (lunch was Salmon Cakes, salad and Zucchini and Summer Squash, while dinner is Spaghetti Squash Pie).

Our cupboards for our dry goods are filled with spices, tuna, natural peanut butter, and things like ketchup and mustard. The salmon was here until lunch time. This is it besides a big box of oatmeal, dried beans, and almonds. Those are down below so the kids can reach it.

Here’s the fridge. All the typical stuff is here. Veggies located in the bins below but also scattered throughout the place. My rule of thumb is that my grocery cart should not be known for its fruit or highly processed food in a box. If you see me in the store, look for a wide selection of veggies. The white bowl on the top shelf is full of hard boiled eggs. There are over 48 eggs in the picture. They make a great snack – quick and easy.

And the freezer? Its been stocked with frozen veggies, some of which are from our garden. Frozen shrimp, chicken, and other meats. I guess I didn’t need to say ‘frozen’. Imagine that - frozen food in a freezer?

And then finally the picture of my counter (I avoided the piles of papers and stuff that piles high only to clutter). You’ll see the fresh fruit my family enjoys eating.

If you see me at the grocery store, say hi. What’s in the grocery cart won’t embarrass me. I am not always perfectly compliant. No one is. But in general what you see is Protein, Produce, and Water.

Hope you enjoyed taking a peek into the Carlson's cupboards!

Now ask yourself, "What in MY cupboard?"

To your best health,
Coach Nancy

Eating For Two? What to eat during pregnancy (Infographic)

Are you really eating for two? How the food you eat affects you and your baby.

by Coach Nancy Carlson, Pn2


Staying healthy while we are pregnant makes logical sense, and your diet during these nine months can matter more than you may think. Here's what you need to know.


When I was pregnant I did have food craving. Not pickles and ice cream so much, but chocolate? Umm, yeah. And chocolate ice cream probably was on the list, come to think of it.

But while it's perfectly normal (and necessary) to gain weight when we are pregnant, that number is not unlimited. And we all know how hard it can be to get it back off, and any extra isn't going to make that any easier!

Print out this simple guide to help you create your optimal pregnancy nutrition plan. You'll get insight on how much to eat, the kinds of food that will keep you and your baby healthy, and some things to avoid during your pregnancy. I'll be honest, with my first couple I didn't pay as much attention as I should have, probably because I didn't know what I didn't know. This is better.

Click here for a fully printable copy of this infographic you can take anywhere.

Want to learn more? Check out Dr. John Berardi's expanded article; Eating during pregnancy: Foods that support your health - and your baby's. 

Eat, move, and live... easier.

At the Grateful Plate, our passion is helping you figure out how to make fitness and nutrition fit into your life, your way. Find out how you can stop dieting forever and start living better here.

Eating Healthy Can Easily Be Summed Up in These 3 Rules

Eating good (or healthy) can easily be summed up in the three rules below. By following these three rules, you’ll make ‘good’ eating, healthy eating.

1) Eat a wide range of veggies every time you eat (with a special emphasis on green veggies). A great rule of thumb when it comes to produce is to consume at least one green item AND as many other colors as possible at each and every meal to get the most health benefits.

2) Eat a wide range of lean proteins at each meal. A great rule of thumb here is to consume at least a fist-sized portion of anything that had a face, that ran, flew, or swam at some point (sorry, doesn’t sound as appetizing this way, but it’s one way to remember!). Protein is the only macronutrient responsible for building and repairing lean muscle.

3) Eat a wide range of healthy fats at each meal (olive oil, coconut oil, beef, salmon, whole eggs, avocado, mixed nuts, flax, full-fat cheese, etc.). Sufficient dietary fat intake is critical to beneficial hormone production. Hormones are designed to help us, not hinder us. They actually make everything else run smoothly and correctly.

As a nutrition coach, one of the most common statements I hear is “I eat really good but….”. Then the blank is filled in with the challenge that person is facing.

We all have challenges and issues when it comes to eating healthy. Instead of focusing on what stops you from success, place your priority on these three things when you eat.

To your best health,
Coach Nancy

Garlic Roasted Broccoli

I love broccoli, but I can't eat it plain every time! This is a great way to add some flavor to your broccoli but still keep the prep and cook time simple. It comes out delicious!

  • 2 heads of broccoli, cut into florets
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large bowl, toss the broccoli florets with olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Spread the broccoli in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until florets are tender enough to pierce with a fork and the edges are browning, about 15 minutes. Turn once halfway through the baking process and add red pepper flakes, if using. After baking, squeeze lemon juice liberally over the broccoli before serving.

Amy’s Summer Pops

My youngest daughter loves making these and sharing with her friends on a hot summer day.

  • 1/4 of a watermelon, or 8 cups diced watermelon
  • 15-20 blueberries
  • Popsicle molds

Place watermelon in a blender and blend until texture of applesauce. This takes about 10 seconds. Pour watermelon into freezer molds and then add 3-5 blueberries per pop.

Freeze and enjoy!

3 Simple Steps to Make Your Nutrition Go as Planned

I'm here to share with you 3 simple steps to making your nutrition go as planned:

1. Plan your meals for the following week on Wednesday morning. Don't forget to create a grocery list at the same time.

2. Grocery shop on Sunday. Stick to the perimeter of the store to avoid temptation (with the exception of frozen veggies!). Keep to your list. 

3. Sunday is prep day. If you don’t have it prepped and planned ahead of time, there is a pretty good chance you will forget something or just skip it (like adding those extra veggies, because you didn’t want to cut them up!). “Prep day” includes:

  • Cut up veggies and bag them for each meal they’re going with
  • Prep meat, whether that means cutting it up or just taking it out of the packaging
  • Try some crock pot meals made easy. Here is Coach Dean's Spicy Shredded Beef. Place it in a freezer bag, add some of your cut up veggies, label it "Monday Dinner" and pop it in the freezer. On Monday, take it out and put it in the crockpot to cook. 
  • I like to brown any ground beef at the same time so its ready to add seasoning for a meal. This saves me time when I'm ready to use it.

You can modify these tips to fit your schedule, too. By taking the time do this, you’re saving precious time during the week and there is no extra thinking involved.

Make sure you take into account days that you might be working late or getting home late. When you plan ahead, you can mark those days down for dinner in the crockpot. That way when you get home your house smells amazing and you are eating your nutritious, planned meal.

Bonus! Here is a quick lunch idea:

  • On your prep day as you are cutting all of those veggies, place a few in several small Ziploc baggies. Add a slice of lettuce to each bag as well. You can mix and match some of those veggies if you like. In another small baggie, add 2-3 slices of deli meat. You’ve just created a the fixins’ for a lettuce wrap sandwich and fresh veggies for your lunch at work or school.

To your best health,
Coach Nancy

Karalynn’s Super Scrumptious Kale Chips

My daughter has fallen in love with kale chips. Brookford Farm’s CSA program delivers a large bag of kale to us each week. Before it even gets into the house, she is asking to make kale chips. Since they take about 15 minutes to make, the kale chips at our house will be devoured in less than 45 minutes after it arrives fresh at our door. In short, my kids love them!

  • 1 large bag of kale, washed
  • ¼-½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1-2 tablespoon olive oil

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare the kale by taking the large rib out of each leaf. We do this by holding the leafy part of the plant and pulling the stem up towards our hand until it breaks off. Depending on the size of the leaf, we might break the leaf in two pieces.

Lay the leaves out so that none are overlapping each other on a cookie sheet. Drizzle olive oil across the leaves and then use your hands to mix the olive oil around on the kale. Again, lay out the leaves so they aren’t overlapping each other. Sprinkle garlic powder on top. You’ll have to judge how much you want to your taste. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the leaves are crispy. My kids eat them right off the pan as soon as they are cooled!

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