Yesterday we recapped our very favorite MPMK ideas for living and parenting better in 2013, today I’m bringing back another favorite – my two favorite nutritionists, Megan and Katie, from Prescribe Nutrition – to give us all a crash course on how to quickly get in the habit of eating to look and feel better this spring.
Here’s Katie with her…
5-step plan to jump starting a better eating routine for spring…
So, how are you feeling these days?
A little tired? Maybe cranky? Some (or many) sugar highs that have lead to some deep lows? We know, we feel your grumbles. Today is all about some tips and tools that can have you feeling a whole lot better in no time at all.
Ready? Here’s the plan…
Step 1 – Eat Your Water
Think of hydration out of the box. Upping water is of course the best way to hydrate a dehydrated body but try mixing in some other hydrating foods (and their fun facts) like:
- Cucumber (96.7%). You can make a wonderful and easy detoxing cucumber soup – see recipe at the end of this post!
- Iceberg lettuce (95.6%). Sure it gets written off in the nutrition world but in actuality it can be a wonderful blend to a mixed (dark) greens salad OR in a rice, quinoa or bean salad. It packs a hydrating crunch.
- Celery (95.4%). This humble veggie contains folate and vitamins A, C, and K. Thanks in part to its high water content, celery neutralizes stomach acid and is often recommended as a natural remedy for heartburn and acid reflux.
- Radishes (95.3%). Get a little wild with these guys. The are crunchy, spicy and sweet all at once and contain the valuable antioxidant – catechin (also found in green tea). One of our favorite moves? Dice it up and mix it into your tuna salad.
Step 2 – Wake Up Your Body
The more alive your foods are, the more alive you’ll feel. Set a two-day (we are all about making it accessible) goal of whole food based meals. Here’s a sample that’s completely doable:
- Breakfast B- A warm bowl of gluten-free oats, fresh or frozen berries, half a sliced banana, a spoonful of almond butter and a sprinkle of flax or chia seeds. Cozy, yep. Filling, yep.
- Lunch – Check out the Kale Caesar recipe at the end of this post. SOOO good and so balanced. You can add a hardboiled egg and/or grilled or sautéed chicken.
- Dinner – Here’s a Chicken Mole that will have your neighbors (if you choose to share) thinking you are a top chef. Serious.
- Snacks – Well of course there will be snacks. Raw nuts, seeds, fruits, veggies. Or jam them all together and make a Quinoa Fruit Salad. A complete protein, with a kick. Add a little sliced avocado and your bases are covered!
Step 3 – Don’t Underestimate What Even the Tiniest Bit of Exercise Can Do
If you’re like most, the last thing we want to do is put on spandex or any sort of exercise gear and go to the gym when feeling “full”. Ahhhhh. But, as you surely know, as soon as you start feeling better those workouts will become more enticing by the day, so in the meantime start small.
If you’re going back to the office, make a pact that every 90 mins you’ll get up and walk for 10. Park away from your car and walk. Hit up the stairs – even a flight or two. I guess our point – you don’t have to go big or go home. Leave that to the NBA players or something.
Step 4 – Fight the Bloat
Here are some things about bloating that you might not know:
- Artificial sweeteners – You know those guys that are in all “diet” type foods? They contain chemical compounds called sucralose, aspartame and cyclamate that the digestive tract cannot break down easily. Digestive distress = bloat. More than that, sweeteners can be 300 times sweeter than natural sugar, and are known to increase appetite and cravings, resulting in overeating and wait for it…bloat.
- Dandelion tea. A mild and gentle diuretic that stimulates bile to help break down fatty meals that also make you bloated. Try drinking one cup per day. One of our favorites is a warm cup of Dandy Blend tea.
- Have a little mag. Try 200 milligrams of magnesium daily to fight fluid retention and to expel gas. This essential mineral eases constipation by relaxing the muscles in the intestinal walls. You can also find magnesium in green leafy vegetables such as spinach, legumes (beans and peas), nuts, seeds, whole grains and seafood.
Step 5 – Stress Less
Adding additional stress to your life directly affects the gut, and we really mean that. Digestions stops, bloating increases, and frankly it’s just an overall bummer, so be kind to yourself and remember that life is a journey, not a destination.
Here are the recipes Katie mentioned above to help out with your 5-step jump start plan:
Cucumber soup 4 servings
- 2 cups chopped cucumber
- 1 cup chopped zucchini
- 1 cup peeled and chopped avocado
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 2 cups lukewarm water
- Juice of a ½ large lemon
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Blend cucumber, zucchini, avocado, and garlic in a food processor or blender until very finely chopped, about 30 seconds.
- Whisk together water, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt in a bowl.
- Turn on the food processor and pour water mixture slowly through food processor’s feed tube while processing cucumber mixture. Process until smooth, about 1 minute.
Kale Caesar with Roasted Chickpeas 2 main servings or 4 side servings
- 1 bunch of dino kale, washed, center ribbed removed and sliced into 1” ribbons
- 1 bunch of romaine lettuce, washed, de-stemmed and sliced into 1” ribbons
- ¼ cup roasted chickpeas
- Sea salt
- Fresh ground pepper
- ⅔ cup fresh lemon juice (about 3-4 lemons)
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon water
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 ½ tablespoons dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
- ½ cup raw walnuts, soaked in water for 10 minutes, then drained
- 2 teaspoons garlic (roughly 2-3 large cloves)
- Blend all the dressing ingredients in a high speed blender or food processor. Store in a sealed jar in the refrigerator.
- Toss washed and dried lettuce and kale in a bowl with ½ cup of the dressing (or more to taste). Be sure to toss it until all leaves are coated evenly. Serve with roasted chickpeas instead of croutons. Finish with an extra sprinkle of ground flax seeds, freshly ground pepper, and a pinch of sea salt.
Recipe and photo contributed by Eat Life Whole.
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