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Pace Yourself on Holiday Treats

The holidays are officially here and I know one of the biggest downsides, and biggest upsides, is that it’s cookie season. I am an avid baker, and I love trying new recipes out, which means I also looove eating cookies. Unfortunately, that’s not the best choice when it comes to healthy eating, so this means falling back on my favorite thing. Moderation.

Everything in moderation is my standard for things. I don’t overindulge, but I also don’t restrict myself to where I won’t have a piece of chocolate cake if I want it. However, I do have to exercise a bit more self control during Christmas cookie times because those are so delicious. Just make sure to pace yourself. Set yourself a limit and enjoy only a few a day, and make sure you have other healthy snacks in there too. There’s no harm in helping yourself to an extra cookie or two if you can balance it out.

One thing I like to do is pick and choose where my sugar comes from. If I go to Starbucks that day, I avoid the extra sugars elsewhere like in desserts, because I know that White Chocolate Mocha or Peppermint Mocha I love so much is loaded with sugar. However, if I’ve been having unsweetened herbal tea and water, then there is no reason for me to refuse the dessert menu or not help myself to a couple of cookies from the tray.

Another option is to lower the sugar count in your cookies. There are so many recipes out there and it’s easy to do. Another thing I like to do is increase the flour while decreasing the sugar. You get fluffier cookies, and the sweetness really doesn’t change.

Do you have any tips or suggestions for pacing yourself during the holidays? Drop them below, I’d love to read them!

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Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie

Recently, my household has been dealing with a shoulder injury. Nothing too serious thankfully, but enough so that a doctor visit was necessary, and so is an ice pack and rest. Inflammation can be a serious issue, especially if ignored for a while, but luckily, there are ways to help improve it. I started whipping up an anti-inflammatory smoothie to help with this issue and reduce inflammation naturally.

You’ll Need:

1 cup of coconut or almond milk

1 scoop of Tone It Up Vanilla and Greens protein

2 teaspoons turmeric

1 teaspoon honey

Frozen fruit of your choice

3 teaspoons flaxseed

Preparation:

This is the simple part, throw it all together in a blender, and then enjoy! If you want to change up the thickness, add more fruit, if you prefer a thinner smoothie, use less fruit or add more milk.

It won’t cure inflammation, but with those superfoods in there, it can certainly help your muscles to heal and start feeling better!

Chia Seed Pudding

Hey y’all! If you’re looking for a healthy breakfast option or even an afternoon snack, look no further than chia seed pudding. It takes literally 4 ingredients or less, and is super easy to make. Check it out! Oh and it also tastes amazing, since that part is super important 🙂

chia seed pudding

Chia Seed Pudding (Serves 1)

You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup of almond milk (I use Silk Unsweetened Original)
  • 3-4 tablespoons of chia seeds (I used about 3.5 tablespoons to make mine thicker)
  • 1/2 tablespoon of honey (add this at the end, I added mine at the beginning and it didn’t mix too well and wound up at the bottom)
  • Fresh fruit to top (I like a good mix of berries)

How To:

  • Stir in chia seeds in with almond milk until well mixed.
  • Put in fridge overnight or at least 3 hours.
  • Add honey and fresh fruit when ready to eat.

What did I tell you? Super easy, healthy, and delicious!

If you’re not sure why you need chia seeds, check out this article to read up on this superfood https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-proven-health-benefits-of-chia-seeds

Pumpkin Zucchini Chocolate Chip Bread

In the spirit of fall, this recipe comes from https://www.ambitiouskitchen.com/healthy-pumpkin-zucchini-chocolate-chip-bread// and looks like an absolutely delectable option for a mid-morning snack that’s guilt-free. Check it out!

You’ll Need:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

How to Prepare:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a bread loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves.

In another bowl, combine pumpkin, zucchini, honey, oil, egg, and vanilla until smooth. Add in almond milk.

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until combined.

Add chocolate chips.

Bake for 50-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

This is super easy prep, and will make a delicious fall-themed snack that is perfect for an afternoon party or mid-morning snack with your cup of coffee. Not to mention, it’s got some veggies right in it!

 

Cinnamon Sugar Chips

Hey y’all are you ready for some fall? I have been waiting all year for my favorite season, and while it sadly hasn’t arrived here yet, I mean, it is Florida, still enjoying that 90 degree weather, but that doesn’t mean I can’t still enjoy the season in my air conditioning! This easy recipe is a great snack to have on-hand and a great way to get into the fall festivities.

You’ll Need:

  • 3 flour tortillas
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • one adorable fall cookie cutter (I suggest pumpkins or acorns)

To Prepare:

  • Cut out shapes in tortillas until all removed.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Mix the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl
  • Brush both sides of the tortilla in melted butter
  • Coat both sides of the tortilla in the cinnamon sugar mixture
  • Set on baking pan lined with wax paper
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes or until crispy

 

Whether for a school meeting or just as a snack around the house, this is sure to be a hit!

Ways to Swap Out Unhealthy Foods for Healthy Foods

Hey y’all, so I think it’s been drilled into us enough that healthy eating is super important. The more junk food you eat, the “junkier” you feel, whereas healthier foods will give you energy and nutrients, and help keep you from getting sick. However, we all know, junk food tastes really good sometimes. We are in football season, which means football parties and football food, not to mention we have Halloween and Christmas and Thanksgiving coming up in a few months. All of these things generally mean there are some unhealthy food options in there. Luckily, there are ways to swap out unhealthy foods for healthy foods, and it won’t even be that painful!

Moderation is always what I use when it comes to healthy eating. I’m not big on dieting or diet foods, and I think the instant you cut something out of your diet completely, the more you crave it, or at least, that’s how it has always worked for me. So, rather than do that, it’s better to find a nice healthy balance. With these tips, you can hopefully do just that while enjoying everything the upcoming seasons have to offer.

  • Try non-dairy milk options instead. If you’re noticing that you are having some stomach issues after drinking milk or you just want to try to get away from dairy in general, try almond, coconut, or oat milk. I’ve had all of the above, and since I can no longer have dairy in my diet really, I’ve found that all of the above make great substitutions and in my opinion, taste better than real milk anyway.
  • Lessen the sugar in recipes. I know it may seem like it’ll be a huge deal to start changing recipes, but this is something I did last year for Christmas cookies, and they tasted the exact same, and were healthier with less sugar. Talk about a win-win!
  • Try a lean white meat instead of as much red meat. Again, this is moderation, so don’t cut it completely from your diet, but definitely try swapping it out here and there. White meat is notoriously better for you than red meat, so see how you like it. An easy way to do this is to use ground turkey instead of ground beef in recipes. This is another thing that I think tastes better, so I try to swap it out as often as I can.
  • Get your veggies in your smoothie. I used to be someone who had a strawberry banana smoothie with chocolate in it. Tastes delicious, but I definitely lost the health factor. Now, each morning I have a tropical smoothie with protein powder and some greens like spinach and/or kale. It still tastes delicious as the protein powder gives it an extra sweetness, and I can feel good each time I make one knowing I’m fueling my body rather than putting extra junk in it.
  • Try different fruits for desserts. Let me explain. So instead of a banana split with ice cream, try a banana split with yogurt. Top it with fruit and nuts and even coconut flakes. It’s much healthier, and will still get that sweet tooth satisfied. If you’re craving a different dessert, try cut up bananas with honey and some cinnamon. Again, you’ll satisfy the sweet tooth without having too much added sugar.
  • If you aren’t a huge fan of vegetables, find ways to sneak them in. One way is to have pasta filled with vegetables or even spiralized veggies instead of pasta. For example, I tried a butternut squash stuffed shell recipe this year, and it was delicious. I’ve made it several times, and absolutely love it. If you’re more daring, cook up spiralized zucchini and squash and put some tomato sauce on it. You may not even notice that you’re eating veggies instead of pasta. I can attest, it tastes delicious.
  • Eat baked chips instead of regular. This way, you’ll still get your chips, but they’re a smidge healthier when they’re baked.

I hope these tips help, and that you find something here that helps you to have some healthier options in the future. Let me know if you have any tips you’d like to share!

Cinnamon Apple Breakfast Quinoa

In honor of fall being just around the corner, I present to you, a cinnamon apple breakfast quinoa recipe that is sure to delight your tastebuds and keep you feeling full all morning long! This recipe makes enough for two, so if you’re cooking for more, just go ahead and double or triple the recipe.

You’ll Need:

  • 1/2 cup of quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups of water
  • 2 large apples, peeled, cored, and diced
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • A dash of honey to taste

How To Prepare:

  • Put quinoa, water, and apples in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer 20-25 minutes.
  • Remove from heat, stir in cinnamon, and serve with a dash of honey!

That’s it, it’s super easy! For drool-worthy pics and to check out the original recipe, go here. Enjoy!

Cinnamon Apple Breakfast Quinoa

Bowtie Lasagna

Try this bowtie lasagna for those nights you’re cramped on time and need a delicious meal the whole family will love!

You’ll Need:

1 pound ground beef

1 box bowtie pasta

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 jar spaghetti sauce

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1 cup shredded mozzarella (there’s a great vegan alternative, if you have any dairy allergies or intolerance)

1 cup sour cream (again, if necessary, there are vegan alternatives)

Preparation:

  • Boil pasta until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  • In separate pan, brown beef and drain excess fat.
  • Add pasta to beef pan.
  • Drizzle on olive oil, then add sauce, salt, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning. Stir all together.
  • Add cheese and sour cream.
  • Stir over low heat until the cheese melts completely.
  • Enjoy!

That’s it, you’re done! This can literally be ready in 30 minutes, perfect for a busy weeknight dinner.

Cucumber Quinoa Salad

Try something easy and healthy one night this week. This recipe for a Cucumber Quinoa Salad is easy to prepare, takes barely any time, and is perfect for a healthy summer meal.

You’ll Need:

  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 2 cups of cooked and then chilled quinoa
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese (there are vegan options available)
  • 1/3 cup basil (fresh preferably, but packaged will work too, just make sure it’s in small pieces)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How to Prepare:

  • Toss the quinoa, cucumber, cheese and basil together.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk the remaining ingredients together.
  • Combine and enjoy!

Original recipe can be found here: https://www.gimmesomeoven.com/cucumber-quinoa-salad-recipe/

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