Category Archives for "Food"

3 Simple Steps to Practicing Gratitude

It may seem simple, but most of us want to be known as grateful people but we don’t act like it. Showing appreciation is different than thinking it in your head. Being thankful has been shown to:

  • Create a stronger immune systems and lower blood pressure.
  • Give higher levels of positive emotion.
  • Bring you and others more joy, optimism, and happiness.
  • Circle you with more generosity and compassion.
  • Help you feel less lonely and isolated.

How can you practice being more grateful?

1. Write it all down!

Yes, just thinking about your daily gratitude can help but there is something very powerful about putting pen to paper and getting those grateful thoughts out of your head and into the open. It makes them more real and allows you to really gain a better perspective.

2. Make them authentic.

Just writing down three things as quick as you can isn't going to give you great results. They have to be something real and authentic to your daily life to give you the most benefit. They don't need to be some profound revelation. For example, I am grateful for the chair I am sitting on. It sure beats sitting on the floor.

3. Do it daily.

Being grateful once in awhile won't make the changes you are looking for. Working yourself up towards daily practice will help you to get the amazing benefits. It doesn't have to take you a long time every day, but this can be a skill that impacts not only your life but the lives of people close to you.

Bonus: Find a common theme.

This is a tip that you don't have to follow, but I have found to be helpful. Instead of writing down three random gratitudes every day, I try to find a common theme. It might be the relationships I have in my life, something to do with nature, or even my overall health. The theme does not matter, but it does help me focus on one area of my life for that day (or week) and get a much deeper appreciation.

Executing your gratitude does not need to be a difficult task. Use these tips to help make it a daily practice!

To your best health,
Coach Nancy

Leveling Up Is a Choice

Some people talk about continuing education as if it’s an option. Especially when you are talking nutrition and your own health, you have to keep on learning.

Let’s face it, our lives are very different than when we were kids. The time my kids spend playing is astounding to me. I wish it wouldn’t change but I know it will. Think back to when you were just driving. The amount of freedom it afforded you also cascaded to other choices and options. For me, I had the freedom to drive myself to work and therefore stop at any convenience store I wanted to buy what my paycheck could afford to feed me. That meant a lot of Little Debbie’s snack cakes.

Life has changed again. I am now the mother of 6 and Gigi (grandmother) to 3. I work full time. I rarely just ‘play’ and I certainly don’t have a whole lot of use for Little Debbie’s. While they still might taste good, I have learned what a diet of those can do to a teenager, and I don’t want to experiment with a 50-year-old body.

! am constantly learning about new hormones my body is not producing as well or hormones that are raging that I didn’t know effected sleep so much. I am glad there is someone out there who is knows all this medical stuff to help me out.

Don’t stop learning. While your circumstances are different from person to person and your life is constantly shifting gears, you have to match your nutritional needs to you.

I can help you do that. There are far too many barriers in health, but once you’ve started to make changes to your system (it could be the system of how you think about food, how you look at each meal, how you put portion sizes on your plate, etc), the opportunity to level up is largely driven by you. Level up the field by what you choose, by how much your chose, how often you chose to go outside of the plan and by who you choose to learn from.

To your best health,
Coach Nancy

Simple Garden Tomatoes

Right now is the perfect time for some tomatoes fresh out of the garden! Pick a few of your own and dress them up with this simple but delicious recipe!

  • 3 garden fresh tomatoes (or however many desired)
  • Olive oil
  • Mrs. Dash’s Garlic & Herb seasoning

Slice tomatoes and lay out on plate or serving dish. Brush on olive oil with a pastry brush. Sprinkle on Mrs. Dash’s Garlic & Herb seasonings (all Mrs. Dash seasonings are salt free). Cover and let sit for 30 minutes to an hour at room temperature.

S3 Party Recipes

Our S3 reveal party was a wonderful time of celebrating all the work and effort that went into 39 days of focusing on nutrition. It is all about the food. Food should be enjoyed. With these recipes, you can jump start your way to better health.

Omelet Muffins

  • 20 eggs, scrambled
  • 1 pound ground pork breakfast sausage
  • Veggies of choice - see the variations below.

Grease 13x9 inch pan with coconut oil.

Onion Pepper Mushroom Omelet –
Use all frozen veggies, add those to the pan first, next add sausage and mix gently, pour eggs on top and bake about an hour or until set.

Onion Pepper and Spinach Omelet –
Use all frozen veggies, then add sausage pour on eggs last and bake until set.

Onion Mixed Peppers Broccoli Omelet –
Love those frozen veggies – one bag of each, add in sausage and pour eggs over. Bake for about an hour.

Onion Mixed Peppers Asparagus Omelet –
Add all the veggies to the pan, then add sausage and pour eggs over it all. Bake for about an hour.

Want to make a smaller batch?

  • Coconut oil or paper muffin liners
  • 8 eggs
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 1/2 lb chicken or sausage, cooked and cut or crumbled into small pieces
  • 2 cups diced vegetables (1 red bell pepper, 1/4 lb asparagus or broccoli and 1/2 yellow onion is a great combo, but use whatever is on hand)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 8 muffin cups with coconut oil or line with paper baking cups. Fill any remaining muffin cups with 1" of water, so they do not scorch while baking.

Beat the eggs in a bowl and add meat, vegetables, salt, ground pepper, and any other ingredients you wish to add. Pour mixture into the muffin cups. Bake for 18-20 minutes.

Chicken Salad with Cucumber & Melon

  • Cooked chicken, chopped (your portion size)
  • ½ cup diced cantaloupe or honeydew melon
  • ½ cup finely chopped cucumber
  • ½ cup finely chopped tomato
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1½ teaspoons orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons light olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro
  • Pinch of pepper

Combine lime juice, orange juice, olive oil, cilantro and pepper in a jar. Shake to combine. Mix everything else into a large bowl. Drizzle with dressing and toss ingredients to coat everything.

You can also find the Breakfast Salad recipe right here!

Don’t Fear Fear

When it comes to health and nutrition, what are you afraid of?

- I'm afraid that eating healthy won't work, that my will power is not strong enough, that I won't look like myself anymore.

- I'm afraid it will work and I'll have to live a life of restriction forever in order to keep the weight off.

- I'm afraid if I lose the weight I want to, my relationship with my partner will change.

- Sometimes I think I wear my weight as a suit of armor, if I don't have the weight anymore, how will I protect myself?

- I'm a perfectionist, I'm certainly afraid of failure - failing to lose weight or keep it off or make the right eating choices, etc.

Being afraid is normal. Not knowing what is going to happen can be unraveling. Focusing on the ‘What If’s’ can be paralyzing.

Pick ONE small thing you could do today to confront your fear.

- The biggest thing I do to confront my fears daily is to stay with others who are in the same place physically and mentally as I am. Seriously. I can't tell you how many times I think to myself, "I thought I was alone in that thought/feeling/fear."

-Daily I fear this isn't going to work, but I still work on eating one healthy meal at a time. I don’t have to make or eat all my meals at once so why focus on them all at one time?

- Notice when I am feeding myself negative self-talk and then combat it with some affirmation - sounds a bit woo-woo, but it keeps me from staying still. I can move forward and plan my next meal.

-I know these "head fears” are in fact a way to sabotage myself. If I keep listening to the ‘What if’s?’ my fear is reinforced. Instead, I’m addressing fear, “Fear, I see right through you! And I'm determined to make it through.”

Fear is real. But like the monster under our beds as a child, find a way to turn the light on to diminish your fears. Then keep the lights on.

To your best health,
Coach Nancy

Dwell On “Do”, Not “Done”

Lately, I have spent time paying attention to the personal productivity concept. You know the things I am talking about. Those small changes to what you do on a daily basis or a technique that can save you anywhere from 30 seconds to 30 minutes.

A personal eye opening example of a Productivity Hack is when you're filling your dishwasher at home, put all of the forks in the same cutlery compartment, so when it comes time to empty the dishwasher, you can simply grab them all in one go. You won’t have to spend time sorting the knives from the forks.

Now, these sorts of small tweaks to your day can play a role in getting more done in the same amount of times.

But in my opinion, the biggest productivity wins come from something else entirely: having the right productivity mindset.

For example, I hear from students that they would love to change how they are eating BUT they have this and that as a challenge in front of them.

Essentially what they are saying is: “That is great for you, but it is impossible for me.”

And that might just be the case, BUT what if it wasn’t the case? What if you could do such and such and succeed?

Having a mind frame that allows for the possibility will also allow for challenges to not become impassable obstacles but just a hurdle to overcome.

I recently read an article that was expressing this thought when it came to planning for retirement. They had developed a catch phrase: Dwell on Do, not Done.

Truth be told, I can get caught up in the fact that life is busy and stressful and doesn’t seem to run perfectly smooth for very long if much at all. I get impatient. I want to be DONE.

You see, I take my work very seriously, so does Dean, my husband. Working alongside of Dean we can dive into a problem, and honestly assess what was going wrong.

Usually we discover the core issue isn’t a problem that a "productivity hack" could solve.

Instead, what was required was a change in mindset for how the challenge was perceived.

If we had to be at 'done' on day one, it would require a whole lot of fixing.

The breakthrough comes when you view it in an entirely new way. When you take a problem and break it done into do-able pieces. And then Dwelling on the Do.

How can this help you?

​If your problem is that you want to lose 50 pounds, dwell on what it would take to lose one pound. Then DO that until it doesn’t work anymore.

If your challenge is drinking enough water to stay properly hydrated, dwell on drinking more water than you currently are even if that is just 4 ounces more. Then DO that until you reach your goal.

If your challenge is to eat foods that will support your physical needs, dwell on knowing what those foods are and do what it takes to eat those foods.

Dwell on Do is the power of small, targeted productivity changes.

Now, of course, finding the right practices, habits, and routines that will work best for you is a personal journey, but it helps to have good teachers and guides along the way.

That is where I come in. I’ve helped hundreds of people find that next step. The one thing that will make productivity increase in their health and fitness.

I won’t toot my own horn more than just to say that I’ve been where you are, I’ve found a way out and I can help you like I’ve helped others.

If you're looking to find the right practices, habits and routines that will work for you, The Grateful Plate is the best place to start.

I'm here for you.

To your best health,
Coach Nancy​

Smoky Cauliflower Hummus

This hummus has a great smoky flavor and is sure to be a favorite. Try this as a dip for cucumbers and carrots or as a spread for your favorite burger this summer.

Smoky Cauliflower Hummus

  • ½ head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into 2-in. florets (about 4 cups florets)
  • 4½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided 
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3½ tablespoons well-stirred tahini (sesame seed paste)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Put cauliflower florets in a large bowl and add 1 tablespoon oil, the paprika, ½ teaspoon salt, the cumin, chili flakes, and garlic. Toss to coat thoroughly.

Spread florets evenly on a large rimmed baking sheet and roast for about 18 to 20 minutes, stirring once, until florets are cooked through and a little crispy. Let cool.

Put ½ cup water in a blender with roasted cauliflower and garlic, lemon juice, remaining 3 tablespoons oil, the tahini, and remaining 1½ teaspoons salt. Blend, adding more water if needed and scraping sides often, until you have a creamy purée, about 4 minutes. Taste and add more salt or lemon juice if you like.

Spoon into a serving bowl and sprinkle with a pinch of smoked paprika. Make up to 3 days ahead and chill in an airtight container.

Don’t Wish For Easy

"Don't wish it was easier, wish you were better." 
– Jim Rohn

Think about that for a moment.

The truth is that change is challenging. Often as I work my way through a new recipe or change my timing of meals or even just try to drink more water. I wish it would just be over. I want to be out of the changing part of the situation and be to where it is already done. I don’t like change, it’s hard.

In reality I know that the process of change is actually a curriculum to becoming a better version of myself.

The question is, how are we facing that curriculum?

Are we leaning into it? Am I looking at change and saying bring it on with all of the challenges of doing and being different?

Or am I complaining, wishing that it was easier?

I do both of these. Don’t you? Of course, but the more we shift our perspective from the latter to the former, the better we will be.

Where can you make that shift? I’ve found two areas have helped me the most. Using these two tools have changed my eating so that being healthier is easier for me to tackle.

  1. Take it one step at a time - don’t try to change everything all at once. Pick something you know will be relatively easy for you to tackle. By picking something easy, it will give you success and propel you forward.
  2. Be patient with yourself - change isn’t easy. Being perfect is not what you are working towards but figuring out how to change is.

Take one step at a time and give yourself a little grace if it doesn’t go as you expect the first time out.

To your best health,
Coach Nancy

Introducing You to Jicama

Did you know that I am not normal? And maybe you aren’t either!

And I mean that in a good way.

I’m not normal in the sense that I want to be the best version of the healthiest me I can be. I am constantly looking for ways to challenge myself to become better.

Sadly, that's not normal.

Most people just coast through life not wanting to put in the time or effort to be the best.

Unfortunately, most people coast through life accepting their health as unchangeable. They do what is typical in our society - eat too much, sit too long, go for the easy way out.

I enjoy physical activity! I prep food every week. I care what goes into my body. And I'm guessing but I probably eat more than the average person when it comes to vegetables.

I don't have any hard data on this, but just by talking with hundreds of people, I would guess the average person consumes less than two servings of vegetables per day.

And most of those are the same ones, over and over again.

A lot of people just don't know what or how to cook certain foods.

My biggest challenge doing this over the computer is that while I can tell you all about a certain vegetable, I can show you what it looks like, I can even tell you what is great about a certain veggie... until I can get you to experience it, it’s just to ‘weird’ to even think about.

I’m going to introduce you to jicama today. Just to say it seems a bit odd, but think of the first letter as being an “H”. It looks a bit like an odd shaped potato. In fact you would peel it like a potato and the inside reminds me of a white potato. BUT the similarities stop there. It tastes different, in fact ,you can eat it raw or cooked.

Jashbrowns are a favorite way to cook jicama for rockstar Jennifer.

I peel the jicama, which is a root vegetable, and then slice it into thin French fry shapes. I add these to a taco salad so that I have crunch without a taco shell. My kids love it this way too.

Check out this recipe highlighting jicama paired with cucumbers as a side dish.

Jicama Cucumber Salad with Chili Dressing

  • ¼ cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced onion
  • 1-1½ teaspoons chili powder, plus more for garnish
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups diced peeled jicama
  • 1 medium English cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

Puree vinegar, oil, onion, chili powder and salt in a blender until smooth. Toss jicama and cucumber with the dressing in a large bowl; stir in mint. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes. Sprinkle the salad with more chili powder before serving, if desired.

A simple concept - eat five servings of vegetables every day. I’m hoping I’ve given you enough education so that jicama doesn’t feel so weird when thinking of vegetables. By adding jicama to your grocery list, you can up your vegetable count.

To your best health,
Coach Nancy

Make Two Lists

Everyone knows that vegetables are good for you. Medical professionals are always shouting out the goodness of adding more and more vegetables to your nutrition plan. These lists are your reasons for eating more vegetables. I gave you some ideas but don’t copy my list, create your own.

Each list has a purpose. Each list is real and true.

On one list, identify the grievances, the fears, and challenges with adding more vegetables to your day.

  • People will look at you strange in the grocery store
  • Some vegetables are expensive
  • I don’t know how to cook all the vegetables sold in the store
  • I might not eat it before they go bad
  • My family is going to complain

It's all legitimate, it's all real. Don't hold back.

On the other list, write down the benefits, advantages and opportunities you have when more vegetables are on your plate each day.

  • Your plate will have a lot more color with each vegetable
  • New recipes are exciting to make and try
  • You’ll be eating foods that are full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber
  • Veggies tend to have a significant lower number of calories compared to bread, pasta and rice
  • Learning new things will keep your brain engaged as well as be good for your body
  • Your family likes new adventures so they’ll be supportive
  • Dropping a few pounds or more is your goal and will most likely be result of better eating habits
  • You’ve been wanting more energy and this is one way to work on that

Now, take one list and put it in a drawer. Take the other list and tape it up on your refrigerator. Read the list in the drawer once a month or once a year, just to remind you that it's safe and sound. Read the other list every day.

The daily list will determine what you notice, how you interpret what you see and the story you tell yourself about what's happening and what will happen.

You get to pick which list goes where.

Picking your list is possibly the most important thing you'll do all day.

To your best health,
Coach Nancy