We write a lot about healthy eating on this blog. Everyone knows that we should be eating more fruits and veggies, more natural foods, less processed garbage, less red meat, etc.
But many of us still shovel cheeseburgers and French fries and soda into our mouths. Why is that??
I think in my case, it’s an “all or nothing” mindset. I get to a place that I call “the zone” in which I plan my meals, have plenty of healthy options, and avoid the junk. It works for a week, maybe a month, even 6 months. But then I start to fall back into my old habits and the pounds start creeping back up and my mindset becomes “I already blew it, so I may as well enjoy this doughnut!”
Plus, I love the taste of food. I’m guessing a lot of you can relate: some foods taste delicious, so I want to continue to enjoy them and I consciously choose to keep eating. I’m going to be brutally honest here: there have been times when my stomach was full, almost to the point of discomfort, and I still inhaled an extra slice of pizza or another piece of candy. WHAT IS UP WITH THAT?
It’s self-destruction, that’s what it is!! And it needs to stop. A lot of experts say that when we overeat it’s filling a void, so we need to figure out what the void is and take care of it with something other than food.
I think my void is boredom. Food is enjoyable and comforting and it’s fun to go to a restaurant with Dave and gab about our day while a server brings us delicious food.
But we know it’s bad for our health and finances, so we’re trying to do more cooking together and we’re trying new recipes to keep it fun. We actually sit down at the table to eat rather than in front of the TV, which “kind of” feels like we’re out at a restaurant. LOL. Plus, we always feel soooo much better on the nights when we stay in and cook, and we seem to appreciate the times we go out to eat if it’s not an everyday occurrence.
I just hope we stick with it!!
Do you find as spring approaches you have to fit more in? The days are getting longer. Everyone is emerging from their winter hibernation and making plans. Sports are starting again. Yards need to be cleaned up. Homes need repairs from the winter beating. Kids want to stay up later. Stress levels rise. It’s very important to manage your stress.
Here are some tips:
· Make lists and prioritize what has to be done today and what can wait for another day.
· Share your calendar with your significant other to avoid conflicting schedules.
· Review family schedules and make your plans and expectations clear each morning to your family.
· Make time for 30 minutes of exercise daily.
· Eat healthy, non-processed foods.
· Limit alcohol and caffeine.
· Ensure good quality sleep each night.
· Take a moment for a quiet walk by yourself to clear your head.
· Shake it off---play some fun music and just dance! You can include the whole family!
· Take a mini spa day, get a massage or give yourself a mani-pedi and mud mask.
· Take a bubble bath.
· Share meal responsibilities with your significant other and older children.
· Prepare lunches and snacks the night before; again have the entire family assist.
· Make larger meals to plan for left overs so that you do not have to cook every night.
· Make a family chore chart.
· Turn off all electronics, find a quiet place and mediate for a half hour.
· Do not be afraid to ask for help.
Enjoy a stress free day! Give us more suggestions on stress relief strategies that work for you!
I’m always looking for quick and healthy meals to prepare after work. I’ll share with you a few of my favorite go-to dishes. Please share with us some of your favorites! Bon Appetite!
Chicken and salsa-Preheat oven to 300 degrees, drizzle glass baking dish with olive oil, place chicken breasts, tenders or low fat thighs in glass dish, cover with chicken with salsa, cover glass dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes.
Pork Chops with pineapple and red peppers-Preheat oven to 350 degrees, drizzle glass baking dish with olive oil, put pork chops in dish, cover with crushed or chunk pineapple and cut up red pepper. Cover with foil. Bake for 45 minutes. Serve over rice.
Pasta with sausage and green peppers-Make pasta of your choice, sauté sausage slices in frying pan with green pepper slices. Mix together, sprinkle with olive oil.
Caesar Salad with Chicken, Shrimp or Salmon-Chop romaine lettuce, mix with Caesar dressing and shredded parmesan. Top with grilled chicken, shrimp or salmon.
Cheese sandwich with tomatoes and spinach-Lightly butter one side of two slices of whole grain bread, place cheese slice, thin sliced tomatoes and several pieces of spinach in the sandwich. Heat in frying pan until each side is nicely toasted.
Red potatoes, bacon and cheddar cheese-Preheat oven to 300 degrees, drizzle glass baking dish with olive oil, scrub red potatoes with brush and water, cut into small chunks with skin on, cut thick cut bacon into 1 inch pieces and scatter over potatoes. Cover dish with foil and bake for 60 minutes. Remove foil and sprinkle with cheddar cheese for last 10 minutes.
Brown rice with cilantro-Prepare rice as instructed on package, stir in fresh cilantro when finished.
Bacon wrapped asparagus-Preheat oven to 350 degrees, drizzle baking sheet with olive oil, take 4-5 spears of asparagus and wrap with a slice of bacon. Bake for 25 minutes.
Baked Brussel sprouts-Preheat oven to 350 degrees, drizzle baking sheet with olive oil, cut Brussel sprouts in half and place on baking sheet, salt and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes.
Stuffed mushrooms-Preheat oven to 350 degrees, prepare ¼ pound of sausage in skillet, mix with ¼ package of cream cheese and 2 tablespoons of minced green pepper. Spoon into fresh mushrooms with caps removed. Bake in oven for 15 minutes.
I'm a big reader. I started when I was quite young and haven't stopped. One of my earliest memories is curling up next to my mom on the couch while she read to me. I also remember our weekly visits to the library to stock up on books. I looked forward to those trips and as I got older the stack I would bring home got bigger and bigger. My mom instilled the value of reading into all of her kids and that continues to this day.
If you have children, I urge you to read to them. There are many benefits:
If your kids are older you can still encourage them to read. I have some friends who read the same books as their kids. Series such as Harry Potter, the Hunger Games, and Twilight all work well for this purpose. Once you have read the book you can discuss it with your children. You can also rent the movies for even more fun.
Yep, reading is wonderful and something (free!) and easy you can do with your kids. Why not hit your library this week and pick out a book?
Do you ever walk in a room and forget why you entered it? Do you forget a person’s name shortly after you have been introduced? Do you have a hard time remembering multiplication numbers? Your brain is like a muscle. It is import to exercise your brain daily. By exercising your brain, it gets stronger and you improve memory, attention span and language. Learning something new should be a daily goal. The brain grows more when you use new and different strategies rather than sticking to what you already know and find easy. So keep an open mind and consider these exercises:
· Get a word of the day calendar and attempt to use your new word in at least three different conversations each day.
· Learn a new language. Recruit a friend and continue speaking to each other in your foreign language. Reward yourself with a trip in which you can use your newly acquired skills.
· Play memory games.
· Listen to audio books on your commute to and from work.
· Subscribe to informative emails regarding your profession.
· Work puzzles (i.e. Sudoku puzzle, jig saw puzzles, word finds).
· Research random topics that come up during the day online.
· Download memory skill games onto your smart phone or laptop.
· Download random fact applications onto your smart phone or laptop.
· Print off a sheet of math problems and do them as fast as possible.
· Make up a story, tell it to a child or write it in a journal.
· Free write in a journal for a scheduled amount of time daily.
· Keep up to date on current events. Watch the national news.
· Limit television time to an hour a day.
· Read a different genre of book than you would normally choose for yourself, consider joining a book club.
· Go on a scavenger hunt.
· Find your way through a maze.
· Meditate to clear your mind and enable better focus.
· Exercise and eat well.
· Avoid toxic substances (alcohol, drugs, preservatives, excessive caffeine).
Enjoy your new mental health!
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