Hope Wissel, Tasty Tuesday Recipes

5 Simple Tips for Healthy Habits

As many of you know, I have been on WW for an eternity. LOL.   I lost my initial 105 pounds and am happy to say, I have kept most of it off.  MS has caused some weight gain – the only thing I can attribute it to since I track and am stepping. I’m not beating myself up over it.  It is all about healthier eating and NOT the numbers on the scale.  Now if I could only remember that, all would be well.  Are you focused on healthy eating or the numbers on the scale?

Here are five tips to help you adopt some new healthy habits:

1.     START WITH A PLAN 

Planning out your meals for the week is a great way to set you up for success. I started doing it so I didn’t have to deal with MS struggles over what to fix for dinner.

My advice – Keep it simple. 

I usually plan out on Friday or Saturday knowing I will grocery shop on Sunday or Monday.  Pick least busy day of the week and take a few minutes to pick out some recipes and create a grocery list. I have a meal planner I post on the fridge so I can not only plan meals but also not repeat the same ones constantly.  For some, having “Meatless Mondays” or “Taco Tuesdays” can make it a lot easier!  Epicure has several collections with pre-made grocery lists, swap options, perfectly balanced plate suggestions, and pro tips throughout!

2.     MAKE TIME FOR COOKING 

Now for the fun part—preparing those delicious recipes you picked out!  Making time for cooking gives you the opportunity to try out new recipes, make good food choices, or even remake your favorite takeout dishes in a healthier way at home! YES, it’s also a great way to lower your food bill. Meal prepping looks different for everyone.  For some, it may involve prepping a variety of foods in larger quantities, so you don’t have to worry about it during the week. For others, it is cooking once and using the meat in several meals during the week.  Of course, you’ll need plenty of containers to store your meals and keep things fresh. Our storage solutions make it simple to portion out your ingredients and tackle hassle-free meals on the go!

3.     EAT COLORFULLY 

Adding color to your plate is a simple way to ensure you’re getting a variety of nutrients. Keep an eye out for recipes with more vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts and seeds. These foods are full of antioxidants, fiber, protein and healthy fats—key components to maintaining good health! Plant-based foods are also friendlier to our environment as they require fewer resources and greenhouse gases to produce. You’ll be reducing your carbon footprint while also benefiting from the amazing nutrition benefits these foods bring to the table.  Check out some of our favorite plant-based recipes here!

4.     MAKE USE OF HERBS & SPICES 

Many people consume more sodium than they need. It’s easy to exceed the dietary recommendations, but the good news is salt is a largely acquired taste. So, over time you can actually sensitize your pallet to embrace lower levels of salt. Changing to sea salt or himalayan pink salt is better too. Seasoning your food with more herbs and spices is a great way to limit your sodium intake without missing out on flavor!  Epicure’s hand-crafted spice blends are perfect for creating low-sodium meals while also simplifying your time in the kitchen!  Many of them have NO sodium too!

5.     DON’T SKIP OUT ON DESSERT! 

Toss out the idea there are morally “good” and “bad” foods!

A healthy, sustainable diet won’t leave you feeling deprived and miserable. Food is meant to be enjoyed and your journey to good health should be no different. By giving yourself permission to eat “bad” foods, they lose their novelty and we’re less likely to obsess over them. Remember it’s not about restricting yourself, rather making balanced choices. Give yourself the freedom to consume the foods you love and your health journey will be a lot more enjoyable.  PLUS you’ll be more likely to stick to your routine long term.  Take a look at some of our favorite healthy dessert options !

The journey towards getting AND keeping healthy habits can take time so be kind to yourself. There may be challenges along the way but try to view them as opportunities to learn and grow. I am always here to bounce ideas around with you.  Remember, you are NOT alone. If you’re looking for motivation, support, and dietitian-approved tips, we invite you to join our online community and #EpicLife Challenge starting on May 10th!

Have an Epic day!

Travel Tips

5 Holiday Travel Tips

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Who is traveling this holiday season?  Are you already dreading the holiday weight gain as a result?  Here are some GREAT tips from Hungry Girl:

1. First and foremost, pack emergency snacks. You’ll need them for standard snacking, of course, but also for unforeseen circumstances that could lengthen your travel time: flight delays, a long time taxiing on the runway, traffic on the way to your destination, etc. And during the flight, you probably don’t want to get stuck eating the calorie-heavy options that airlines offer. (Don’t be fooled by those cheese-and-cracker snack boxes — they often have 800+ calories each!) Pack your carry-on with several shelf-stable snacks that are high in protein and/or fiber, don’t take up too much space, and won’t get crushed in transit: apples, jerky, snack bars, etc. Avoid anything messy or smelly. (Sorry, pomegranates and tuna.) Click here for more emergency snacks. Forgot to pack ’em? No worries. You can usually find decent options in the terminal, like those picks I mentioned. Just read labels and watch out for multi-serving snacks that look like single servings.

2. Plan ahead in terms of meals. You might be tempted to skip a meal in your rush to get to the airport, but try to leave time for a filling breakfast, lunch, or dinner at home before you go. That’s where you’ll have the most control, and you’re about to be out of that comfort zone for a while. If you know you’re going to need a meal at some point during your travels, plan on grabbing it at the airport, not in flight. There are loads more healthy options at the airport. If you don’t have time to eat the meal before boarding, you can always bring it on the plane with you. Need some motivation for hunting down low-calorie meals? You’re probably going to enjoy a few indulgent dishes when you get to your destination — don’t blow your decadent-food budget on airport food!

3. Put your fast-food skills and chain-restaurant know-how to the test. Here’s a one-sentence refresher on surviving a fast-food meal: Always look at nutritional stats before you order, choose grilled not crispy, and hold the mayo. You can almost always find a basic salad with grilled chicken, whether it’s at a fast-food counter or on a chain-restaurant menu. Click here for a huge collection of survival guides.

4. When the drink cart comes around, water is your best bet. (If you need sparkles, get club soda.) Even better, grab a bottle or two of H2O at the airport. Not only will it help you avoid the sugary calories in soda and juice, but it’s also the best for hydration. (Plus, you’ll be covered if turbulence prevents the drink cart from coming through the cabin.) And staying hydrated can keep you from thinking you’re hungry. Besides water, tomato juice is a personal favorite — it’s really satisfying!

5. When you get off that plane and on to your destination, hit the grocery store sooner rather than later. Stock up on smart snacks and even some meal staples, so you’re not at the mercy of the hotel mini bar or your host’s half-empty fridge. And don’t forget to plan and pack for the trip back!

Overall, do the best you can, and don’t beat yourself up if you make a few bad choices. Just get right back on track whenever you can. Happy travels!

What is YOUR best tip for staying on track when you travel?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!