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Making Healthy Meal Planning Easy– Week Three

We are on a roll and just getting the hang of meal plans. The amount of time it takes this week will be shorter than the first two weeks. The process gets quicker and easier every week.

With week one and two’s meal plans in front of you, use it as the base for week three. If you loved each meal then just repeat the prior week’s meals. If you found a few meals that just didn’t work for your family than adjust that meal. It might be time to make a new recipe meal night. Adjust one or two meals. Don’t go crazy and change up everything that is working. Lets keep the changes small and consistent. Mix up the side dishes you served with a different meal and move forward. Don’t forget to make your grocery list too. Week three is done. Simple is Easiest, Simple is Best.

Still struggling to make it happen? Don’t give up. Anything new takes a bit longer until we have made the system our own. All this planning saves you time and loads of stress each day.

Start with the basics and keep moving forward.

  • Write down your family’s favorite meals. To help you out, list the dinner meals you ate last week. You might need to ask your kids for help. Shoot to write down five to seven meals.
  • Tweak these meals if they need it to be healthier versions. Make them contain only PPW. Protein, Produce and Water.
  • List out 2 or 3 PPW breakfast meals you enjoy eating.
  • Alternate these meals on your menu plan the first week. Remember breakfast doesn’t have to be traditional. Eating leftovers at breakfast makes things quick to reheat.
  • Lunch is next. Do you have time to make a meal each day for lunch or is leftovers a better choice. Remember “Simple is easiest, Simple is best”
  • If you choose to make your meals, prep as much as you can the night before.
  • Lunch can be easy. Baked chicken from the night before takes on a whole new appearance on top of a salad. Don’t have leftover chicken? Open a can/bag of tuna to place on top of the salad. Another option is to grab a few hard boiled eggs and make egg salad using an avocado as the mayonnaise. Add in a variety of raw veggies and your lunch is complete.

​You read Getting started with Planning Meals  or Week Two of Meal Planning.

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Two Recipes to Feed an Army

Making and preparing a dinner meal for your own family can be time consuming and taxing. The thought of feeding 15- 20 people can feel like an overwhelming event. I've found two recipes that make a crowd happily fed but its easy on the time budget as well. 

These two dinner meals go in a crockpot and can cook while you're doing other things. Glance over the recipes now, you'll see the time to put them together doesn't take long. 

Cilantro Lime Chicken

2 pounds skinless chicken breasts

1 cup chopped bell pepper (or 1/2 bag of frozen peppers)

The men enjoying their feast.

The men enjoying their feast.

¼ cup of lime juice

1 – 14 ounce can diced tomatoes

2 TBSP cilantro

3 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp cumin

I cup chopped onion (or ½ bag frozen chopped onion)

Everything goes in the crockpot and you cook it on low for 5-6 hours (or on high 2-3 hours).

This meal can also be made into a freezer meal for later. Combine everything in large Ziploc bag and toss to coat. When ready to cook, thaw overnight or just put straight into the crockpot frozen. If thawed, cook about 2 hours on high or 3-4 hours on low. If frozen, cook 3-4 hours on high, or 5-6 hours on low. Shred the chicken with two forks before serving.

Green Chili Pepper Stew

(This recipe came from Hall of Fame peep- Judie who modified the original recipe from the Green Chili Bible Cookbook)

2 pounds of beef stew meat

1 1/2 onions chopped (or a bag of frozen chopped onion)

1 garlic clove minced

Lyn and Jane love these mealtimes.

2 - 28 ounce cans of diced tomatoes

3 4.5 ounce cans of diced green chilis

2 squares of beef bouillon

Place all the ingredients in a crockpot and cook on low for 7-8 hours. 

This meal can also be made into a freezer meal for later. Combine everything in large Ziploc bag and toss to coat. When ready to cook, thaw overnight or just put straight into the crockpot frozen. If thawed, cook 7-8 hours on low. If frozen, cook 3-4 hours on high, and then 5-6 hours on low. 

Enjoy.

To Your Best Health,

Coach Nancy

5 Reasons to Journal What You Eat

Five Very Good Reasons for Keeping a Food Journal

  1. Account for all those ‘little extras’
. Aiming to lose a pound a week, but eating just a few extras (eg. a can of coke, a cookie and a packet of crisps) during the day can prevent you from seeing results on the scales.

  2. Be aware of when you’re eating Keeping a food diary highlights patterns, showing if you overeat at particular times. Perhaps you binge late at night, because you’ve been eating too little all day? Or perhaps you graze constantly? If you don’t keep a food diary because you have no hope of remembering everything you eat … you may need to change your habits.
  3. Fight ‘portion creep’ Those of us who’ve been dieting or maintaining for a long time often get used to “eyeballing” portions rather than weighing everything out. But if your weight loss has plateaued, or if those pounds are edging back on, keeping a diary means you need to weigh your foods. That “medium” portion might be bigger than you think…
  4. See your habits changing It can be motivational to look back on a food diary from a few months or even years ago and see how your nutritional choices have changed. Perhaps you’ve curbed your chocolate habit, or maybe you now eat proper meals instead of junk-food snacks. And if you’re having a bad day, flicking back to a “perfect” week in your diary is encouraging: if you did it once, you can do it again!
  5. Boost your self-control Knowing you have to write down everything you eat makes you think twice about that donut, or that second plateful at a buffet. Even if you’re the only person who’ll see your diary, recording your food intake is a very easy way to improve your self-control.

Starting a food journal is as easy as an empty sheet of paper and a pen. Use those two tools to write down everything you eat and drink for 3 days. You'll want to add details to your paper as well. Things like how much of each food did you eat, when, were you hungry? How was your food prepared? Did you eat at home? at the table, in the car, or inside a restaurant. 

Those questions work for me. But let me know what helps you best.

To your best health,

Coach Nancy

Coach Nancy’s Breakfast “Potatoes”

These Breakfast “Potatoes" are a great low-carb alternative to starchy potatoes. Turnips have a very similar taste and texture so you'll never know the difference.

1 large turnip, peeled and diced

1/4 onion, diced

3 slices bacon

1/2 teaspoon each of paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper

1 green onion, sliced, for garnish

Add the turnips, onions, bacon, and spices to a pan that has been heated to medium high heat. Cook 10-15 minutes stirring occasionally. Cook until the bacon is crispy and the turnip is soft. Top with green onion before serving.

Add an egg or two and voila, breakfast is served.

Shhhh……The first time I made this, I didn’t tell the kids I used turnip. They never asked so I never told.

To your Best Health,

Coach Nancy

Your Mom was Right- Eat Your Vegetables

Vegetables and Your Health

"Eating higher levels of veggies and fruits are associated with a lower incidence of:

Cardiovascular disease

Colon, prostate, cervical, lung, ovarian, pancreatic, thyroid, and breast cancer

High blood cholesterol

High blood pressure

Type 2 diabetes

Obesity

Stroke

Osteoporosis

and a lot more that aren’t on this list…” – Dr. John Berardi

There is no magic pill, potion, or lotion that is going to do all that. Now if that list doesn’t speak to you, do vitamins, minerals and fiber? PLUS you get to try an amazing variety of incredible tastes from all over the world – right from your very own kitchen!

Did You Know? Vegetables (and fruits) provide an alkaline load to the blood. Both proteins and grains present acid loads. Too much acid can cause loss of bone strength and muscle mass – not cool. Osteoporosis is not just about calcium. Stay balanced by getting enough veggies.

Here's what you can do:

Our goal is to get at least 2 servings of vegetables every time we eat. 1 counts, but at least 2 is way gooder!

What’s a serving?

1/2 cup raw chopped veggies

1 cup raw leafy vegetables

Here’s are some other (non-measuring cup) examples:

5 broccoli florets

10 baby carrots

1 tomato

4 slices of onion

1 cup of leafy greens (spring mix)

15 cherry tomatoes

0.5 bell pepper

1 cup of spinach

“But” you whine “I don’t like any of those!”

Lucky for you there are hundreds of vegetables in this great big wide world. Check out this alphabetical list to get you started. 


And there is even more good news.

 Filling up on those cancer fighting, free radical busting, vitamin and fiber packed veggies help you stay full longer

To your best health,
Coach Nancy

Pomegranate Salad

I fell in love with Pomegranates. They are just a fun little fruit right from the start. I love opening them up, I love the smell of the fruit, and those little seeds are delightful. This is one of my favorite salads in the Fall. It brings thoughts of summer back to me. 

FOR THE SALAD

4 cups any leafy greens (I like mixed greens)

1 clementine

1 avocado, sliced 

1/4 cup pomegranate seeds 

1/4 cup sliced red onion 

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, roasted

1/4 cup pecans 

FOR THE DRESSING

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil 

1 tsp balsamic vinegar 

Juice from 3 mandarin segments 

1/8 tsp garlic powder 

To taste sea salt and pepper 

Prepare all salad ingredients and toss several times to mix. In a small bowl, stir together the dressing ingredients and pour lightly over the salad. 

To Your Best Health,

Coach Nancy

Three Simple Steps to Eating Less

Eating the food we need and not overindulging is challenging. The more consistent we are with portion control the better we maintain the body we want or the faster we get to the body we want. There are three things I want you to start doing.

1. Use a smaller plate size. Simple but effective way to see a plate full of food and yet the portions are smaller because the plate can only hold so much.


2. Don't go back for seconds. Enjoy the first serving but don't reach for a second spoonful (helping) of foods. 

3. Put a reminder on the table to eat slowly. By eating slowly you will your body the chance to naturally signal it is satisfied or 'full'. You can do this in a variety of different ways. Moving the kitchen clock so it is directly across from where you sit will remind you to eat slowly during your meals. Put out different placemats or place a vase of flower on the table. Use that cue of something different on the table to trigger you to act differently. Using a smaller forks and spoons will naturally slow you down as well.


Take one of these ideas or all three and use them to help you.

To Your Best Health,

Coach Nancy


A Recipe for Growing OLD

As we age, we tend to just fall into Old Age. We don't really know what to expect, we just judge what happens as part of aging and accept our new selves and our new life as OLD people. 

Here are ten things you can do to ensure you will be miserable while you enjoy OLD age

  1. Eat You Want. Eat like you did when you were young. By young I mean that age  you could devour what you wanted, when you wanted, and as much as you wanted without any true consequence
  2. Move as Little as Possible. Seriously just stop moving. You know it will hurt if you do too much. And since you are old, you might just break something or tear something up inside. And again since you are old you won't heal as well so don't risk it. 
  3. Stop Drinking Water. You're fed up with waking up in the middle of the night so you cut down on the amount of water your drinking. You're still drinking several cups of coffee a day plus maybe a soda or beer at night. Surely that will be enough fluid?
  4. Stress Yourself Out. Work is stressful, the kids are pulling you in many different directions, the lawn needs to be mowed again, the car needs new tires, your wife would like to go away for the weekend, and you really need to start planning for retirement. You've got so much to do and you know no one else will be able to take over your role quite as well as you. You're already dreading going back to the office tomorrow.... ugh. You've got too much to do right now, so best get on with it if you want to be home by 7pm.
  5. Feel Sorry For Yourself. Looking in the mirror you see the stress lines developing, what do they call them- age lines? Once again things are getting really hard, you want to eat all the foods you enjoy but you just started this new thing called Sugar Free Me and you can only eat steamed broccoli and baked chicken. (by the way that's not true but you like to tell yourself that). Your friends are all going out this weekend but you've already made plans with your lawn. You already had to miss the music festival. Its hard not to be upset about it all. 
  6. Hit the High Sugar Snacks and Convenience Foods. It seems like all you want since going Sugar Free Me is sugary snacks or something quick and easy from a fast food joint. I mean they can't be all that bad, they say they are a balanced meal, and they are always fresh never frozen. You're also so tired when you get home that you just can't face cooking dinner so you just buy some pre-packaged chicken breast with a mango and coriander glaze and stick them in the over while you steam a frozen veggie in the microwave.
    You have checked the back of the packets though, and apart from the preservatives and stabilizers there’s nothing bad in there. It says there’s nothing artificial on the front of the packet so that modified maize starch, dextrose and potassium nitrate must be OK to eat. 
  7. Don't Do Any Resistance Training. You read in a magazine today that you should be doing some resistant training to help you deal with postural changes and osteoporosis.
    It said something about the extra weight we gain as we age pulling your center of gravity forward and putting more strain on your lower back and the area around your shoulders. Thinking about it you have noticed your upper shoulders and neck aching after a day at the office and the backs of your legs and your lower back have been tightening up recently.
    Surely, lifting weights can’t be good for that though? Why would you want to put more strain on an area that’s already weak? 
    It also said something about strengthening your abdominals – the article referred to it as your core, but as far as you know you shouldn't do crunches, so you dismiss it without a second thought. 
  8. Don't Bother With Research. After all your mom is doing great in the retirement home, she gets out when the weather is perfect. And her mom before that lived to be 94 and her mom before that was ..... well old when she died. The point is that people have been growing old for generations and generations without all the books, DVDs, websites or whatever else is out there to read.
    If there’s anything you need in particular you can always Google it but as for buying and reading all this stuff; you’re pretty sure they all say the same thing. You’re pretty sure you can work it out by yourself; after all, growing old is a natural process, isn’t it? 
  9. Forget Vitamins and Supplements. You just don't like to take pills and beside you forget to take them anyway!
    You took that one thing your brother in law said worked for him for a while. Since it didn't seem to work for you, why bother?  For another thing they are really expensive (remember you do need to plan for retirement) and two, you’re eating frozen veg with your dinner every night and drinking juice in the day so you’ve probably got all you need anyway.
  10. Sleep Less, Work More. This is just a no brainer. Who has time to sleep? There is just not enough time in the day. See number 4 if you have any questions there. In fact sleep must not be needed since it is so hard to fall asleep, I am up two -three times to use the bathroom and then I wake up thinking of all the things I need to do the next morning. I might as well skip the sleep step and go right to work. 

So Did you get ALL that?

How many of the rules are you following right now?

Be honest with yourself. You see, even just a couple of the steps above are enough to guarantee yourself a less than ideal circumstances to age gracefully. The trouble is most of the rules above work as a vicious circle and one bad habit leads into another. 

Change yourself by no longer following one of those rules and break that cycle.

To Your Best Health no matter the age,

Coach Nancy

 


School is Back In Session

Now What?

This school year is all different for me. I have one going back to 'real' school and two staying with me for another year of homeschooling. If it was the right thing, I'd keep all my kids home with me every day forever. I don't think my married boys would like that, and I also am willing to admit they can gain from being away from the nest. 

School schedules can make life a bit more hectic and harried in the morning. 

Here are a five things I do for my specific situation that make sure each morning is enjoyable, stress free and ready to go:

1. Prepare the coffee pot. I put fresh coffee grounds in and make sure the water tank is full. I then hit the automatic button and voila in the morning my coffee is ready for me. I even put the mug next to the coffee maker; all I have to do is pour. If you are a tea drinker, you can have your tea bag out and water ready to go. It may sound silly, but sometimes we’re a little foggy in the morning and spend a lot of time trying to remember what we were just about to do.

2. Box up your lunch. Whether it is left overs or a fresh salad, put it in Tupperware the night before so that all you have to do is grab and go. Since I stay home and send one to school, he boxes up his lunch the night before. This mom isn't able to run a forgotten lunch down to the school. 

3. No dishes in the sink. This is a house rule. Who wants to start their day by cleaning up a mess? A clean home really is a happy home. This is one I am working on, so please be patient if you see that kitchen clutter at my house.

4. My kids make their own breakfast. I know a lot of you have young kids who need to get up and get ready for school…how can you help them and you have a better morning and not feel rushed? You would be surprised what a minute here and a minute there can do to change the mood of the entire day. If you don’t have kids, then all you have to worry about is YOU and getting yourself ready for the next morning, and you can use the same practices for your own breakfast. If you usually have veggies with your eggs, make sure your veggies are chopped and ready to go for the morning.

5. Make a daily list. What do you WANT your morning routine to look like and what CAN happen the night before to help that run smooth. I live and operate off of lists. I know we have to veer off that path because things come up every now and then, but routines are a good thing and we can’t get into a routine without a plan.

What are you going to do to make sure you have the day you want to have? You are in control, but not without a plan!

To Your Best Health,

Coach Nancy

Happy Birthday!

Beginning in August and going through the first week of October our family has managed to pack in 6 birthdays. That is almost a birthday every 10 days. I love birthdays and I wouldn't change my family at all. All that celebrating can add on quickly though. (Did you see my daughters made three cakes for 1 birthday?)

I'm going to take it a bit easy this year. I'll totally love on my family and I will hang out and celebrate but I plan to do it with self control too. My birthday is the last one on this merry list and I want to enjoy it.

Here is my plan:

  1. When the celebrating begins with food eat in moderation. One piece of cake is fantastic, I don't need two.
  2. Hold off on the ice cream. I'm a cake type of girl so I don't really need the cake to go with it. (which one do you like better?)
  3. Some of our birthdays include a birthday 'favorite' meal. I'll chose wisely here too. Protein and produce are a must. Since I'll be treating myself to a piece of cake, I'll hold off on any bread products in the meal.
  4. We don't always have to celebrate with cake. Dean's birthday usually finds us enjoying strawberries with home made whipped cream. Fruit can  make a delicious change of pace for dessert. We might opt for this strawberry treat. Angel Food Frosting with Strawberries

Karalynn's birthday started off this list, next is my oldest son's, Tim. I probably won't be seeing him so if you happen to, give him a hug from his mom and tell him Happy Birthday. I'm sure Coach Dean will tell you when his birthday is but if you write it down now you won't forget September 13th. 

To you best Health,

Coach Nancy


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