Category Archives for "Food"

Super Simple Sausage Supper

Surprisingly easy, this sausage super is one of our family favorites. The variations are endless but start with veggies and a sausage combination you know, then break out from there. The possibilities are endless.

Super Simple Sausage Supper

by Coach Nancy

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 2 medium onions, quartered
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 pounds sausage (my favorites are kielbasa, Italian & chorizo)
  • 1-2 tablespoons parsley
  • Olive oil

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cut the butternut squash into wedges. Place the squash, onion, red pepper flakes ad sausage in a roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil. Roast for an hour, stirring it halfway through. Supper is ready when everything is golden brown and tender. Remove from oven and sprinkle parsley over the top.

Why Wait Until You’re Hungry to Eat?

What does hunger feel like anyways?

Everyone describes hunger a bit differently. How do you describe that feeling?

I don't like to be hungry. Hungry means that I must not have any food in the house, the cupboards are bare, and there is no hope of eating a meal today. Hungry to me is the same as living in a 3rd world country and I’m on my way to starving (but I don’t, and I certainly am not starving).

Hunger gives me a bit of a panic attack. When I actually realize that I am still in my comfortable state of New Hampshire and life looks just like it did the day before, I know hunger is not starving but the empty feeling, maybe a bit hollow down inside of me.

To think about why I don’t like being hungry (thinking that starvation was just around the corner) was a big eye opener for me. Hunger in reality is a natural signal your body uses to let you know it needs some more fuel soon. That is it.

I know it is easy to let food do more than it is supposed to do. We have let food keep us company because we are bored. We let food be the shoulder to cry on when we are sad. We let food be the hug when we need comfort. We let food be the kicking block when we are stressed. Food is the fuel that keeps our bodies working.

Listening to your body talking to you is an effective way to reduce snacking. Like a turn signal in your car, when you see it you know soon there will be action taken on it. But like the car turning, it isn’t immediate. We don’t have to eat the first moment we notice we are hungry.

How can I start to work on this skill?

You can start with specific meals. For example, don’t have lunch until you actually are hungry. If you have the flexibility to hold off your work breaks until your body sends that hunger signal and you’ve noticed it for 30-60 minutes, then eat. It may mean you wait for hunger only for your last meal of the day. If the other two meals are scheduled by work or family needs, wait on the one meal you do have more control over.

Listen to how your body feels while you eat. Understanding the level at which you need to eat in order to remain comfortably full, not overstuffed, and yet ‘feel’ hunger before it is time to eat again sounds easy but is much more difficult to do. This cycle is one of the key skills for eating for your body's health.

Some of our bodies whisper, other shout, but they all talk to us. For each meal you will listen intently to hear it signal hunger. Hunger has some different levels. We're looking for that range of hunger where you are not emotionally irritated by the feeling or irrational in your judgement of the amount of food to satisfy your hunger.

My friend Georgie Fear puts it this way:

"Here are some tips on recognizing genuine body hunger and distinguishing it from false hunger (emotional or mental appetite):

Real hunger builds gradually, and may go through an initial phase of coming and going before becoming a steady sensation.
False hunger or a desire to eat may arise suddenly and doesn’t last for more than about 20 to 30 minutes. This is because it is generally triggered by an emotion, time of day, smelling or seeing and appetizing food or viewing an advertisement – not a genuine bodily need.
 If you aren’t sure whether you’re feeling genuine body hunger or a false hunger, simply take a 20- to 30-mintue wait-and-see period."

Practice Practice Practice.......Each meal is our chance to practice. As we experiment with nutritional skills, we'll see some mishaps as well as some successful completions. That’s okay. We need to find out what works for us in our individual life's challenges.

I know many of us want to be perfect and not let others see our mishaps. But you are human and so am I. You'll get back up and keep on practicing. It is actually freeing to stop trying to be perfect. You can learn your own resilience through struggles.

Lets stop talking and start doing. There are some crazy real life situations that are happening in my life for the next 6 weeks. Birthday parties, travel, extra work load, kids that are active outside the house, and my 31st wedding anniversary. I could let them control me or I can take charge and realize this is my life and I still want to be in a measure of control. Am I perfect through all that life seems to keep throwing at me? No, but I was better than last year. Isn’t that what it is all about? I’ll keep practicing being hungry before my meals. I know this is the natural cycle my body works best at.

To your best health,
Coach Nancy

Stuffed Butternut Squash for Breakfast

This recipe can make a great meal anytime, but its my favorite for breakfast. Once the squash is stuffed, I just sliced it and serve it alongside eggs. Another tip: I bake my squash whole at 350 degrees for about an hour. Just pierce the squash with a fork a few times before it goes into the oven. Its so much easier to slice in half this way!

Stuffed Butternut Squash

by Coach Nancy

  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 1 pound ground sausage
  • 1 onion
  • 1 apple
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary (or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary)
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground sage
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cut the squash in half and scoop the seeds out. Lay cut side down in a pan filled with 1/4 inch of water. Cook until tender, approximately 45 minutes. Remove and allow to cool. (Or you can use my way of cooking the squash in the description above 🙂 ).

While the squash is baking, prepare the stuffing. Hint: You can always do this step ahead of time.

Dice the apple and onion into medium-sized pieces. In a skillet over medium-high heat, brown the sausage. Add the onion and cook for 5-10 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the apples and cook for another 5-10 minutes. Add all spices and cook until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.

When the squash is cool to the touch, use a spoon to scoop out some of the flesh and mix into the sausage mixture. Use a spoon to fill the squash boats. Return the squash to the oven and bake another 15 minutes at 375ºF until everything is heated through.

Sweet Potato Veggie Patties

These patties are such a versatile, healthy recipe. They can be eaten for breakfast, as an appetizer or snack, or as a side dish with your lunch or dinner. So many delicious options!

Sweet Potato Veggie Patties

by Coach Nancy

  • 1 cup grated sweet potato
  • 1 cup grated squash
  • 1 cup grated zucchini
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons almond flour
  • Sea salt
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Nutmeg
  • Coconut oil, for cooking

Mix grated veggies together and either pat with a paper towel, or wrap in a paper towel, and squeeze excess moisture out. Add eggs, almond flour, and spices, to taste. Mix thoroughly then form into patties. Heat coconut oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Place patties in skillet and cook until browned on one side, then flip and cook until second side is browned.

Eating Healthy – It’s Not Magic

My kids are totally into Harry Potter. He waves his wand and BAM, magic happens. It would be so nice if real life was like that. For change to occur in real life you have to put in the work.

You see habits don't have a way of changing with a snap of your fingers, do they? We are not going to magically stop doing the things we have been doing for years because a there is a big black hat that rolls around. Habits are formed one small step at a time. We talk about breaking habits, when what we should talk about is replacing habits.

  • How do we replace sleeping in with getting up and going to the gym?
  • How do replace eating drive-thru instead of having something at the crock pot at home?
  • How do we replace getting 6 hours of sleep a night with 7 or 8?

One teensy-weensy step at a time.

You and I don't have forever on this earth. We owe it to ourselves to make every day count. Monday is just as good a day to start as any other. In fact it's better, because it's today, and today is always the day to start.

So what one small step can you take today to get better?

Here's some suggestions for you.

  • You could try replacing one processed food with an unprocessed one.
  • You could add a new veggie to expand your repertoire.
  • You could stop eating at “80% full” instead of “100% full, but at least I didn’t have dessert!”.

Nobody is going to come busting down your door and making demands.

But we do want to know if we can help you start taking those small steps.

Don't wait for  next Monday or next January 1st 

One teensy-weensy step at a time!

​To Your Best Health,

Coach Nancy

Top 5 Things To Do Differently THIS Year

1. Don’t Starve Yourself- I’m speaking mostly to women here but really why do we try this one? We know we can’t keep it up forever. We know when we take that first bite of something yummy we won’t stop eating until it is all gone.

Let’s be sensible. A eating plan should be something we can stick with for a lifetime. Jutta Matta, PhD at Stanford University in CA, said, “A diet plan shouldn’t be done just to fit into a pair of jeans; it’s a healthy habit to manage or ward off chronic illness. You need to think of it as something you can do all your life.”

She also says, “If you believe a diet is complicated, that things are hard to calculate, chances are good you’ll quit the program before reaching your goal.”

My suggestion is to stick to getting in protein, produce, and water every meal. Be creative, call it the PPW plan. Say it with me PPW- protein, produce, water!

2. Don’t Go It Alone- Find a partner, write out your goals and share them with others. Support groups like AA are successful not only for the advice, but the emotional help from others who are going through or have conquered their addiction. Support is vital to reaching your goals quicker. It is easy to cheat on your eating plan, or skip your training session if no one knows about your doing it.

3. Don’t Buy Before You Try- Our two week free tryout to Get Fit NH Smart Group Training is for your benefit as much as ours. So many people in January with high enthusiasm sign up for a year at the local gym and buy an online meal plan without testing it out first. Two weeks into the year, they realize they dislike the food choices and the hours the gym offers, don’t match with their schedule. Feeling frustrated, they stop going to the gym and head to their local grocery store to stock up on cookies and donuts.

4. Don’t Make It Complicated- Save your sanity! When thinking of getting healthy, seek out the experts. Researching the latest fitness gadget or buying a fitness video is not the same as having the hands on benefit of a personal coach in the room who knows you. Although we might do research on the internet if we think we have a problem, we wouldn’t (or shouldn’t) rely on the information there to treat and cure us, we visit our personal physician. The same is true for nutrition, although magazines can list out foods to ‘trim the tummy’, they can’t see you and your individual needs. You need a coach to help you know what choices are right for you.

5. Don’t Quit- Our motto is Make It Happen. We strive to instill this in our training sessions because it affects our mental and physical state. There will be days when life gets in the way and fitting it all in becomes hard. We have to fight through it. As a mom I can describe it like this: you walk into your house exhausted. Its trashed. You have company coming and you only want to go to bed. What do you do? You can grumble and complain, yell and scream, cry and pout; but in the end you pick yourself up and do what it takes to make it happen. The cleaning might not be the best cleaning you’ve ever done and dinner for company might include easy to prepare dishes but in the end you do what it takes. You work through it all. You make it happen.

Yes, there will be days when it is more of a mental game than physically doing what it takes to get food on the table. Guess what? By overcoming the mental the physical gets done. It’s a double win, since the physical gets done the mental side gets a prize, a boost, a high five of sorts.

The flip side is true as well. When the mental side looses and physical side loses too. They bring each other down one more notch. Its like they are scolding each other and they both walk away pouting.

Dig down deep and Make it Happen!

The coaches at The Grateful Plate are trained to help you.  Our program is unique. You can not buy it anywhere else. But the biggest difference is that we truly have a passion to change the world. We know that by helping you get healthier, health and wellness will spread to those closest to you. From there it fans out like a beautiful spider web. Together lets make 2017 your year for a better healthier you.

To your best health,

Coach Nancy

Clean Up The Clutter

Its January already? Yes, I know it is the second week but that is the thought that went through my mind at the beginning of the year. Is there any one else like that?

I thought so.

Christmas and New Years are filled with fun, family, outings, shopping, and parties. Its crazy busy and all of a sudden January steps in. For most people life slows down just a bit but not for me. January is one of our busiest times of the year. Knowing this, Dean and I had to simplify life. Our menu plan had to be simplified. We didn’t want meals to creep up that we were not prepared for. If we did that our health gets pushed to the side.

With all the busyness we made that area simple for us. Our goal? Simple meals that we've eaten before. Nothing fancy but meals we knew we could count on. Meals our family already enjoyed.

What in the world does that have to do with you?

Well……. Are you busy? Is your plate full driving here and there with the kids? Getting to work? A Social life? Adding in time for the love of your life? Business meetings in the evenings? Saturday sports for the kids?

3 Strategies I Use to Get My Meals On the Table In January​

  1. Plan One week of meals: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” This is going to take some planning and organization. Figure out which nights you will be home to cook dinner and which nights you need a quicker option (a go-to meal or something from the freezer). Then plan what you will make for dinner the nights you are home. Make sure you will have some leftovers for breakfast and lunch. Also make a plan for some breakfast and lunch options that are quick and easy. This will make creating your grocery list very simple. I then repeat my meal plan the next week. 

  2. Grocery Shop: Stock your fridge with lean proteins, eggs, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Fill your pantry with cooking staples such as (coconut oil, almond meal, and a variety of spices).

  3. Establish “Go-To Meals”: Pick 2-3 meals that can be prepared in about 15 minutes on those nights that you get home late and don’t feel like cooking. Our favorite is breakfast for dinner, and the recipe I make most often is Carlson Breakfast Hash. Use Your crock pot as much as possible. One of our favorite meals is Chicken Enchilada Soup.  My last tip/suggestion here is to cook several meals on the weekend and freeze some. 

Our Family Favorite to Make Each Week

Carlson Family Secret Meatball Recipe

Coconut oil

1.5 pounds ground beef (we use a mixture of venison and beef)

½ yellow onion, diced

1 egg, whisked

¼ cup almond flour

1 teaspoon cumin

½ teaspoon chili powder

Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat and add onions. Cook until onions are translucent. In a large bowl, add ground beef, onions, egg, almond flour, and seasonings. Mix thoroughly using your hands. Roll into little bite-sized balls and place on a parchment paper lines baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the size of the meatballs. Serve with the tomato sauce recipe from below.

Secret Tomato Sauce to go with the Secret Meatball Recipe

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 onion, diced

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

3 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped (or 1 tablespoon dried thyme)

½ medium carrot, finely shredded

2 28-ounce cans peeled whole tomatoes, crushed by hand

Salt

In a saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft and light golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the thyme and carrot and cook 5 more minutes, until the carrot is soft. Add the tomatoes and juices from tomato cans and bring to a boil, stirring often. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt. The sauce can be refrigerated for 1 week or frozen for 6 months.

The end result of getting your meal planning done ahead of time?

You can relax knowing your plan is thought out in advance. You have planned your meals and therefore have a shopping list to be prepared for those meals. Your time frees up as you've taken the few minutes to plan and now it is time to execute the plan. You reap a multitude of benefits the whole day long knowing your meals are going to be less stressful, more organized.

To your best health,

Coach Nancy

Make Your Own Eggbeaters

Breakfast for most of us is a rush rush occasion. Often grabbing just a few bites of food if at all. I'm fortunate enough to have time to eat with my kids each morning, but that doesn't mean I have all the time in the world to cook breakfast. Kathy, Ski Erg World Champion, taught me this quick tip. She makes her own eggbeaters. What a great idea to get those veggies and protein in one dish quickly.

Make Your Own Eggbeaters

by Coach Nancy

  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup onion
  • 1/2 cup red and green pepper

Blend until thoroughly mixed in a blender. Store in glass mason jar for 2-3 days. Shake before using.

Variations:

Any vegetable will work instead of the onion and peppers. Try adding these options in the blender: 2-3 stalks asparagus, ½ cup broccoli, or mushrooms. After blending, you can add: ½ cup salsa, ¼ cup green onions, and also experiment with different spices.

Eating Right at the Holidays

Christmas is a busy time of year. Don’t let it be an excuse to not eat healthy meals prepared at home. My favorite kitchen aid is my crock pot. It serves up delicious meals without a lot of fuss. Plus it makes the house smell good all day while it cooks. Here are three meals when served with a salad will keep you on track nutritionally.

Salsa Style Pork

  • 1 pound pork loin, cut into one inch cubes
  • 1- 20 ounce jar of salsa
  • 1- 4 ounce jar of diced green chilies, drained
  • 1- 15 ounce can of black beans, drained
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

Combine pork loin, salsa, chilies, and black beans in crock pot and mix well. Cover and cook for 6-8 hours on low. Sprinkle cheese and cilantro over top and serve.

Herbed Turkey Breast

  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 12 baby carrots
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1- 4 pound boneless turkey breast
  • 1- 14 ounce can of chicken broth
  • 1 Tablespoon rosemary
  • 1/8 teaspoon sage
  • 1/8 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon marjoram
  • 1/8 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

Place vegetables in the bottom of the crock pot. Top with turkey breast. Combine seasonings and chicken broth. Pour over the top. Cover and cook on low heat for 5-7 hours.

Sirloin Tip Roast with Horseradish

  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¾ teaspoon oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon basil
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼pound boneless beef sirloin tip roast, cut in half
  • ½ cup beef broth

Combine seasonings. Spread over roast halves. Place in slow cooker. Add broth. Cook on low 6-8 hours. Remove from cooker. Let stand for 15 minutes before slicing diagonally across the grain. Scoop juices from crock pot into gravy dish. Serve with horseradish if desired.

Enjoy,

Coach Nancy

10 Holiday Strategies to Save You From Stretchy Pants

Nobody likes to be left out of the holiday fun, including all those holiday parties. Here’s some pointers that will allow you to be social and enjoy yourself without splitting your pants before the New Year:

1.) Train With High-Intensity Activity Before and/or After a Big Meal or Holiday Feast

I know, I know, tell it to the judge. I promised strategies, but I simply cannot go without recommending some activity. Your body is most receptive to higher carbs within 30 minutes before and within three hours following an intense workout. Ideally you would want to workout out before AND after a big meal, but if you can only do one, that will suffice. Don’t obsess over it – Even a 20-30 plus minute walk a few hours afterwards can help a little bit..

2.) Do NOT save up your calories for your Holiday Feast

Eat as you normally would on a good nutrition plan – At each meal, get in your protein and veggies. If you go into that huge meal in a fasted state, you are going to overeat, and because you are so hungry, your body will be craving all the high sugar and fat foods! You are just setting yourself up for a sugar crash and fat gain.

3.) Do NOT Gorge Yourself

Maintain your discipline, and eat until you are satisfied, not until you have to loosen your belt. Remember this: binge eating is not the habit of lean individuals. It is imperative to understand that that holiday meals are not a ticket to eat as much as you can in as little time as possible. Eat to live, don’t live to eat.

4.) Eat Healthy Fats and a Protein-Rich Meal An Hour Before the Big Party

This is another great way to help you from stuffing your face with sugar cookies. Healthy fats and protein are a powerful combination in helping you be full and satisfied. A great strategy is to have a protein shake adding in 2 Tablespoons of flaxseed. Nutritious, delicious, easy to prepare and it won’t go from your mouth to your hips.

5.) First Things First – Eat Your Vegetables

Just because it’s a holiday meal doesn’t mean you can’t eat any nutritious food. Head for the vegetable and meat tray and get something good in you. This will leave less room for the unhealthier, higher calorie treats.

6.) Water, Water, Everywhere

Water competes for space in your stomach and really does help keep you from overeating. For every plate of food you eat, drink a glass of water. After that second plate, when you have 1 full liter of water in your stomach, I bet you might just throw in the towel!

7.) Immediately Resume Your Normal Eating Schedule at the Next Meal

Ok, you had your fun, and what’s done is done. It’s time to get right back on the wagon, and back to normal, healthy eating habits. Don’t let one meal become one week and then turn into a month.

8.) Don’t Eat Junk Food at Breakfast or Bedtime

Eating a highly refined carbohydrate meal first thing in the morning will make your blood sugar levels go crazy for the rest of the day resulting in greater junk food cravings and uncontrollable hunger. On the other hand, eating a big meal before bed will result in a bunch of unused energy that will be stored as body fat and can cause trouble sleeping.

9.) Don’t Drink Your Calories

It is way too easy to get way too many calories in liquid form. One can easily consume over 1,000 calories per day from liquid calories alone. This means that in one week, you will gain 2 lbs of body fat from just fluids! Those holiday lattes ARE yummy, but the extra fat attached to your backside not so much! Also, sugar laden and alcoholic beverages tend to make you hungrier in general and often hungrier for junk food in particular. Furthermore, your body cannot burn fat until the alcohol is processed out of your body. It could be setting you back anywhere from a few days to as long as a full week!

10.) Avoid Eating Meals that are High in Carbohydrates Alone

The absolute worst thing that you can do is to eat a meal that is high in carbohydrates without balancing it out with some protein and healthy fats.  The high amount of carbs will lead to a rapid increase in blood sugar levels , which increases the potent fat-storing hormone Insulin. Good for a Sumo wrestler, bad for you.

Following the strategies outlined above will keep those stretchy pants at bay this holiday.

Don’t give into the mindset that holiday fat gain has to happen. Following these simple strategies will help you enter the new year better than ever!

To Your Best Health,

Nancy

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