Just Tell Me What To Do

If you just want to be told what to do here is your 4 Steps to Menu Planning:

1) Plan the entire week's meals taking into account obligations you may have. If you know you are going to be busy three evenings in the week, you better bulk cook a soup, chili, or roast so you don’t have to cook on those nights. Bulk cook & you still have good food available when you get home.


2) Check your refrigerator, pantry and cupboards for essential goods, then go grocery shopping to fulfill remaining items on your ingredient list.

3) Bulk cook proteins and starchy carbs to pair together. Also prepare any complete meals for the week.

4) Put everything in containers and store in the refrigerator.

5) Sit back, put your feet up, and take a moment to bask in your awesomeness.

To Your Best Health,

Coach Nancy

Check out the links in this article for recipes like: Taco Stuffed Summer Squash Boats, Kitchen Sink Soup, and three different roast recipes. 

Hot And Sour Peanut Dressing

This is one of those recipes that the sound of it, makes your mouth water. I love peanut dressings and I'm always on the look out for my next favorite one. This is a Hunan recipe sent to me from a dear friend in Boston. To serve it, create a base of your favorite salad greens, add shredded chicken, thin-sliced cucumbers, shredded or matchstick carrots, and any other crunchy veggies you like (I've also served it on a bed of zucchini noodles). You can make it fiery hot or tone it down.

2+ Tbs. crunchy peanut butter (or more, if     you like things peanutty as I do)                      
2 Tbs. coconut aminos
4 Tbs. vinegar (I use rice vinegar but white vinegar would do, as well)
1 tsp. hot red pepper oil (can omit this if you don't have any, which I often don't)
1 tsp. hot red pepper powder (I use Cayenne)
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 Tbs. sesame oil
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 Tbs. finely minced fresh ginger
1 Tbs. finely minced fresh garlic
1 Tbs. finely minced scallions
1 tsp. hot or Dijon mustard
3/4 to 1 cup chicken broth (I use less so dressing is thicker)

Mix all ingredients together. Shake or blend. Keeps well in the fridge. Note: I let each person pour on their own dressing on their own serving. If you drench a bowlful of salad with it, it loses its flavor and punch.

To Your Best Health,

Coach Nancy

Bring Awareness To Your Eating

Bring awareness to your meals.

I believe all of us have felt that overstuffed feeling after a meal. You know when you want to “rush to put on that pair of sweats so you can breath” feeling.

Eating just enough is like playing golf. You hit the ball and you want it to land on the fairway. Too much to one side and you are in the woods, too much to the other side and you’ve gone into the crowd. You want to be somewhere in the middle. But there is a bit of lee way in that middle ground. Goldilocks.

Let’s really enjoy those three meals.

Eat slowly. Enjoy each bite. Take small bites and chew to enjoy the food and the experience. (just that will take practice)

Identify the feelings and sensations that happen as you eat. These will help you to recognize ‘being satisfied’. Eating just enough.

Stop once you feel satisfied.

To Your Best Health,

Coach Nancy

A Happier Healthier You

Seven Steps to Get You There

1.  Get quality sleep

You’ve heard us say it many times but sleep is important. Getting 6-8 solid hours of sleep is essential for your body to rejuvinate, replenish, and repair itself. Your body is doing a lot while you sleep. Beyond the health benefits, think how much happier, smoother, and relaxed your day goes when you wake up ready to tackle the activities of your day.

2. Surround yourself with people that encourage you.

Most people are hard on themselves to begin with. We blast ourselves for not being perfect. Perfection in our diet, looks, actions, talk, relationships, and work will not happen. We need to be our best but don’t beat yourself up for a failure; learn from it and move on. The last thing we need to do is spend time with people that are critical toward us or people that are always bleak and downhearted. Spend time with people who see you and value you for who you are. They are the ones who make you feel like you can accomplish anything.

3. Exercise regularly

Exercise raises your serotonin levels. You know those happy ones. The physical challenges you overcome in your training will boost your confidence outside of the gym as well. Exercise sends you a message that you are worth the time and effort you make for yourself. 

4. Eat a clean healthy diet

Eating clean healthy food is another way of sending a message to yourself that you are worth it. You are worth the best foods, the time to plan your meals and prepare them. Avoid processed foods. Focus on foods fresh fruits and vegetables and a variety of protein.  Remember to healthy diet keeps your hormones in balance, which helps activate the cycle of a happier, healthier you.

5. Finish what you Started

Something motivated you to start each and every action you do each day. An angry boss might motivate you to be on time each day to work, while a small paycheck might motivate you to show up to work. There are also motivations to do laundry, plan meals, make physical training each time you are scheduled. Once you start something you will soon find there are often obstacles that get in our way. Laundry might be put on hold while dealing with a sibling dispute, dinner might be late on the table because an unexpected phone call interrupted your prep time. Each time you overcome an obstacle and succeed by finishing your task it adds to your sense of accomplishment. Taking the obstacles seriously will enable you to focus on it and then get back to your plan. It is a great feeling to start something and cross it off your daily list. It is even a bigger boost to cross things off your weekly or monthly to do list.

6. Eliminate “Can’t” and “But” from your vocabulary

Those obstacles that get in your way when working toward a goal will come. How we handle those obstacles define our success. When we start allowing those obstacles and life to get in our way we often start making excuses. You’ll start off by saying “ I can’t get the laundry done today because the kids were acting up.” “I didn’t get to my training session but I did walk a lot while doing errands.” Those words are self-defeating. Turn those two little words into possibilities. You can do anything you truly set your mind to.

7. Focus on yourself

All of us were created differently with special talents and abilities. They define us, they give us character and personality. We all have something we are really good at. Focus on those things. I’m not saying we shouldn’t stretch our selves in our weaker areas but comparing ourselves to others is unfair. You are unique. Enjoy that part of you that makes you special.

 

To Your Best Health,

Coach Nancy

Homemade Salsa

My daughter Amy was fixing lunch for our family to have a picnic outside. Her heart was set on tacos. She worked hard to feed her family. She had to thaw the hamburger, cook it and then create a taco spice blend. She sliced the olives, mashed the avocado for guacamole, and she made homemade salsa. (her mom didn’t have a stash in the fridge)

I was so proud of her. She did all of this because she wanted too. We all enjoyed the Spring weather but most of all I enjoyed being the mom of this brilliant 11 year old.

Homemade Salsa

1 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes, drained

1 fresh Jalapeno peppers, chopped

1 small onion, chopped

2 Tablespoons lime juice

3 cloves garlic, peeled

1 Tablespoon dried parsley

1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

1teaspoon pepper

3 dashes hot sauce

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse 3-10 times.

If you have a child who loves to cook, allow them to the spread their wings and serve you lunch. They can very well surprise you.

To your best health,

Coach Nancy

You Don’t Have To Be Perfect

I am so glad I don’t have to be perfect. Think of being 90%. There will be days when you are successful, and others when you are not.

But missing one mark here and there doesn’t call out the world distress signal. In fact, one or two missed check marks means you are perfectly human.

Allow yourself the struggle of not making it the first time out, maybe not even the second or the third. You might get six boxes checked off and then miss the seventh box.

Breaking your perfect score is not the end of the line. Stop trying to be perfect. Build on the struggles you have. Make yourself stronger each time through.

It is practice. I’ll say this over and over. Practice. I hear myself telling my kids often, don’t get so uptight when you don’t succeed the first time through.

At Christmas my kids decorated a ginger bread house. Karalynn is such a perfectionist that when it didn’t come out like the picture she was in tears. I had to remind her again that it was her first time and the people who did that house had practiced many times before taking that picture.

The same is true with your nutrition. After working at or practicing your habit of eating 3 (maybe 4) meals a day, you will find that the amount at which you have to work at it next week will be less. It will become easier.

The same will become true of Hunger Mastery. Many of us have struggled with this one a bit more but we are working at adjusting our schedule. It is becoming easier.

We started a new skill to practice. Don’t expect 100% right away.

In fact you might have to adjust how you are going to get better at this new skill. Maybe focusing on it two meals a day, Maybe knowing you can do it Monday through Friday.

But don’t worry about tomorrow. What can you do today to be successful?

To Your Best Health,

Coach Nancy


Grilled Brussels Sprouts

Its almost grilling season. I know this week seems like it is far away but it will be here before you know it. Roasted Brussels Sprouts are one of my favorite foods. Grilling them is a close second. 

Grilled Brussels Sprouts



1 pound Brussels sprouts, as uniform in size as possible

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Cut off the stem end of the Brussels sprouts and remove any yellowing outer leaves. Place the Brussels sprouts into a large, microwave safe mixing bowl and heat in the microwave on high for 3 minutes. Add the olive oil, garlic, mustard, paprika and salt and toss to combine. Allow the sprouts to cool until you can handle them. Skewer 4 to 5 Brussels sprouts onto each metal skewer with the stem ends facing in the same direction, leaving at least 1/2-inch in between each sprout. Place the skewers onto the grill with stem end closest to the flame. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Turn the skewers over and continue to cook for another 5 minutes. Serve as is or for additional flavor, remove the sprouts from the skewers, return them to the original mixing bowl and toss with any of the remaining oil and garlic mixture before serving.


Changing the Way I Eat is Hard

"I just start eating and don't stop. What I'd like to know is how I CHANGE that behavior."

 For some people this is an easier process of undoing than others. While some people have one or two poor habits to change you might have several- no worries.

Think of it as a scan of yarn that is all tangled up. Its going to take some time undoing and pulling on strands only to find that it tightened the knot.  Often experimenting with certain types of eating patterns will show us ways we can either loosen or tightened your knot. For example eating in a window of time is one pattern of nutrition that you might explore. It can solve some of your poor eating habits. Using a 8 hour window where you eat all your meals during that time, could be just what you need in order to stop night time snacking. Other options include only having a piece of fruit after having 3 servings of veggies first. This often gives you just what you need to help you achieve all the servings of vegetables you've been missing from your eating plan.

Other things will keep loosening the knot, but it will take time to untangle it all. Pull on one string each day. (pulling is the action item that you can do today) See what happens and if that string gives a bit- pull on it more tomorrow.

You're doing great showing up. Don't stop doing something each day to make yourself better.

To your best health,

Coach Nancy

 

Animal, Vegetable, or Mineral?

Do you remember playing this game when you were a kid?

If so, you are oooooold…like me!

Actually all three of those categories are vital in a balanced diet, but I want to talk about vegetables in particular.

We all have heard time and time again that’s it important to eat your fruits and vegetables, but how many of us actually do it on a daily basis?

The National Cancer Institutes encourages us to eat at least 3 to 5 servings of vegetables a day. New research has shown that broccoli is one of many vegetables that can inhibit some forms of cancer. I know Coach Meagan  already loves broccoli, now she has another reason to love it even more. – check it out ​here.

The goal is to eat:

  • Five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables
  • A variety of colorful fruits and vegetables
  • High fiber fruits and vegetables
  • At least one vitamin C rich fruit or vegetable
  • At least one vitamin A rich fruit or vegetable

What’s a serving size? Not all that much, really…

Vegetables:

  • 1 cup raw leafy greens
  • 1/2 cup fresh or cooked vegetables

Fruits:

  • 1 medium apple, orange or banana
  • 1/2 cup fresh, canned or cooked fruit
  • 1/4 cup dried fruit

The reason I bring the number of daily servings up is because we get asked a lot – Fresh, frozen, canned, organic – which should I eat?

To which are answer is “All of the above!”

You see it doesn’t really matter which of those choices you make if you aren’t eating enough.

For instance we get asked a lot about buying organic – it’s a hot topic right now, and it seems everything is organic. 

Organic is great, but what matters more is that you are getting enough fruits and veggies first, then worry about super high quality.

I also understand that fruits and vegetables can be expensive, and there is nothing wrong with choosing economical options. Personally my preference would be fresh (organic or not), frozen, and then canned. 

Tomato Plants

You know what may be even more important than organic? Buying your produce locally. A vegetable picked from the farm down the road is going to be tastier and healthier than organic produce shipped halfway across the globe.

Pretty soon Farmers Markets are going to start popping up here in NH, and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) are also gaining in popularity. A CSA is where you buy a share of a local farm and get a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly delivery of the farms crops, depending on the agreement.

Look, I am not trying to tell you it is easy to integrate more vegetables and fruits into your eating plan, if it was easy we would all do it all the time! What I am saying is it is worth the effort.  The health and disease prevention benefits are well documented and reliable.

So do what mom said – “Eat Your Vegetables” – she knew what she was talking about!

To your best health,

Coach Nancy


Homemade Ketchup

“Help I forgot to buy ketchup and dinner is going to be ready in 15 minutes.”

Imagine me watching my hamburgers cooking and going to the fridge to realize I was missing a crucial ingredient – ketchup. My family enjoys ‘Naked Hamburgers’ as a staple at dinner time. (Naked Hamburgers are burgers served without a bun.)  

I thought about using salsa and calling them Mexican burgers or laying a bit of pasta sauce under the burger and laying a slice of avocado and piece of basil on top for Italian burgers. I just wasn’t feeling the love so I did what all of us would do, I made my own ketchup. It was fast and my family loved the fresh taste this ketchup offers.

Homemade Ketchup

4 chopped pitted dates

1 6 -ounce can tomato paste

1 14 - ounce can diced tomatoes

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup broth or water, add this in little at a time

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Blend all ingredients together in a food processor or blender. Store in mason jars or similar jars in the fridge for 2-3 weeks.

Give it a try and let me know what you think.

To Your Best Health,

Coach Nancy