Posted: December 29th, 2014 | Author: Sam | Filed under: Wellness | Tags: health, health resolutions, healthy habits | 2 Comments »
Of course we all know the truth about healthy living – there is no quick fix, or special pill that will “just magically work this time”. Healthy living takes good old fashioned hard work, smart eating, and exercise. But it’s slightly more complicated than that: most often, we know what to do to improve our health and well being, but we just don’t commit to doing it! Nothing on this list is new – but if you are looking to make changes this year, consider choosing 2-3 of the items on this list, and really focusing on them. Write them in your planner. Set a daily alarm. Make a small change, and see how far it gets you!
1. Focus on hydration.
You don’t need to be drinking glasses of water all day long – you can actually hydrate with soup, herbal or decaf tea, . If it helps, stick to a schedule (and if you work in an office place, you might use this as an excuse to head to the proverbial water cooler and get a quick stretch break in!
2. Commit to regular movement.
We all know that sitting for long hours is detrimental to health – but even if you are quite active, sitting for a long stretch of time during one part of the day can still be detrimental! I currently have my Jawbone Up24 set to gently buzz after any 15 minute stretch of inactivity.
3. Make this year the year of quality sleep.
Start by turning off the electronics. Let your phone charge outside your room, and read a book before bed. If you need an alarm, consider a device such as a Jawbone (see above) which can gently buzz you awake, or an alarm watch. Make your room your haven, sleep in full darkness, and keep your room cool. If you can, adopt an official “bed time”, and stick to it.
4. Take long walks.
Not for exercise, but for your brain. Let yourself relax and recharge. If you don’t have time for long walks, start with short ones: brisk 15 minute walks. If you are not used to the quiet of nature, listen to a podcast: I’m currently enjoy Serial, RadioLab, the Balanced Bites podcast, and the Tim Ferriss podcast.
Reduce stress by arming yourself with resources – while you are at it, if you need to learn more about setting up a healthy financial system, I highly recommend Ramit Sethi’s “I Will Teach You to be Rich” – which covers the gambit of personal finance in a very clear and actionable format.
6. Reinvigorate your workouts by choosing new things to explore – try one new class or activity a month. Or start a workout habit!
Consider a Couch to 5k plan this spring. If you live in a major metropolitan city and have a little bit to spend – sign up for ClassPass (which allows you to take fitness classes in hundreds of boutique fitness studios). Go Indoor Bouldering. Or to an indoor trampoline park. Or take a surfing lesson. Love running, swimming, and biking? Sign up for a Sprint Triathlon!
7. Enlist accountabili-buddies.
Okay, or just friends – to help you achieve new goals. An active social net is proven to help you achieve more than you might on your own. Consider signing up for a group running club, or start a walking group in your office. Or maybe you want to read more in 2015? Start a book club! Or a cookbook club!
8. Practice gratitude.
Consider ending your day taking a few minutes to write down 1-3 things that were meaningful to you. Gratitude helps us to appreciate what we have, but has also been scientifically shown to increase happiness! (Consider an extension in the workplace – a simple exercise of “what worked well” can also be an effective tool to improve processes.
9. Set short term, medium, and long term goals to help you achieve more in 2015.
Goal setting can be an effective practice to help you get more done in all aspects of your life. Break down large goals into smaller ones, by setting short term goals that are achievable on a small time frame. This can apply to weight loss (.5 to 2 pounds a week), to a running goal (working your way up to a mile), to a ‘BHAG’ – big, hairy, audacious goal. By focusing on our visions, we get ourselves much closer to great things than by simply waiting for chance.
10. Commit to practicing self care.
Massages. Long baths. Scheduled exercise. Healthy meals. Maybe you are the type of person who puts others first – by committing to putting your self first with self care, you help yourself to be a better person for both you and others. Some ideas for self care here on Pinterest.
Posted: December 25th, 2014 | Author: Sam | Filed under: Books | Tags: Bento, cookbooks, Lunch, lunches | No Comments »
When I’m building my lunches, often I’ll turn to a few lunch cookbooks on my shelf to help me think up new ideas other than the usual leftovers. Here are some of my favorite family friendly lunch cookbooks:
The Best Homemade Kids’ Lunches on the Planet: Make Lunches Your Kids Will Love with More Than 200 Deliciously Nutritious Meal Ideas – by Laura Fuentes
Laura Fuentes is the founder of MOMables.com, a lunch meal planning website that helps parents make fresh school lunches their kids will love. Her meal plans do the brainstorming and strategy for you, so that you can focus on all the other details that matter in the morning! After starting her successful business, she wrote this cookbook, building on all the ideas that she had gleaned from putting out a healthy weekly meal plan to her subscribers, and being a mom of 3 kids herself!
Weelicious Lunches: Think Outside the Lunch Box with More Than 160 Happier Meals – by Catherine McCord
We love Catherine McCord’s bright and happy recipe website Weelicious – featuring healthy recipes for the family. She covers food for babies, toddlers, school lunches, and family meals, and her colorful and flavorful style is front and center in her Weelicious Lunches cookbook!
The Just Bento Cookbook: Everyday Lunches To Go – by Maki Itoh was one of the original food bloggers, focusing on Japanese cooking and bentos – the fun, well designed Japanese lunch box. Her cookbook is a great extension of the breadth of bento ideas on her blog, and is useful for building a great lunch for both kids and adults.
Vegan Lunch Box Around the World: 125 Easy, International Lunches Kids and Grown-Ups Will Love! – by Jennifer McCann
We’re not vegan in this house, but I’m always looking for healthy vegetable forward meals, and this book is a great option if you’d like to add a few more vegetables to your lunches.
Do you have any favorite cookbooks for healthy lunch ideas?
Posted: January 28th, 2012 | Author: Sam | Filed under: Meal Planning | Tags: a farm girl dabbles, black beans, cook this now, eat live run, lasagna soup, mashed potato, pork tenderloin, posole, turkey burgers | 1 Comment »
For the past two weeks, I’ve been working full-time in a new office, so my meals have been shaken up slightly. (Also why I’m posting this at the end of two weeks, rather than the beginning). I’ve made it a goal to eat in at least four nights a week, and the key to my success has been batch cooking on the weekend.
Each Sunday, I hard boiled 10 eggs (two for each weekday), boiled a pot of Rancho Gordo beans, and prepped two of our weeknight dinners. I made a large salad for my weekly lunches, and took leftovers several days of the week for lunch.
Some of the highlights:
Black Bean Soup with Pork Tenderloin: I used a can of Goya black bean soup, and mixed it with a batch of freshly cooked black beans that I had made. To accompany, a pork tenderloin, crusted in cumin, salt and chile powder, and oven roasted.
Turkey BBQ Burgers with Mashed Potatoes and Roasted Broccoli: The ratio of these burgers was off – I prefer using lamb for these. I simply pour some bbq sauce into the meat, add an egg, and form into patties. They bake in the oven into meatloaf-like burgers.
Lasagna Soup: Adapted from this recipe at A Farm Girl Dabbles, from a recipe from Kowalksi’s markets. I scaled it down to two people, and blew the budget on this relatively inexpensive dish using Calabro ricotta, Maplebrook mozzarella, and some aged parmigiano. Excellent.
Coconut-Chile Braised Chicken Thighs: Adapted from Melissa Clark’s recipe for shortribs in her new cookbook ‘Cook This Now‘. This was one of the recipes I cooked on a Sunday night, and served several days later. It only made the flavors better!
Chicken Posole Stew: Inspired by Jenna’s Chicken Tortilla Soup over at Eat Live Run. Used cooked black beans from the batch cooking. Another recipe made on Sunday night. Made for great lunches as well.
Mashed Potatoes with Bolognese, Ricotta, and Parmigiano: I wasn’t quite going for health food when I made this bowl – mashed potatoes, topped with some grass fed ground beef cooked in a rustic tomato sauce. Add a spoonful of ricotta and a grating of parmigiano – the ultimate comfort!
What is on your dinner table this week?
Posted: January 9th, 2012 | Author: Sam | Filed under: Meal Planning | Tags: bbq, chili, meal plan, refried beans, shrimp, steak, turkey | No Comments »
Last week’s meal plan was a good one – the Turkey chili verde, Jamie’s Asian Noodle Salad and the Lemony Chicken Gyros (which I served with some marinated carrots) were winners! Sunday we skipped the teriyaki, and instead had an easy chicken tikka masala (Trader Joe’s) from the freezer with pinto beans and naan. We ate home cooked dinners six out of the seven days this week, which was good for both the waist and the wallet!
This week we are going to be a little bit busy, so dinners are going to have to be easy and quick most days. (Also, our favorite spicy italian chicken sausage are on sale this week at Whole foods, so we are going to stock up, and they might end up on the menu again this week.)
Monday: Jaden’s Coconut Shrimp with black pepper pasta. Mango Sorbet.
Tuesday: Grass-fed sirloin steaks, topped with home made guacamole, and served with roasted broccoli with garlic oil.
Wednesday: Refried beans with pepperjack cheese and tomatillo salsa from the Homesick Texan Cookbook. (It was so good that I’m making another batch). Topped with a fried egg and avocado. Warm tortillas.
Thursday: Takeout night!
Friday: Work Dinner
Saturday: Turkey Chili with more of the leftover tomatillo salsa. Special dessert from Russo’s. (Either a fruit tart or a cannoli).
Sunday: BBQ pulled chicken (likely from Trader Joe’s), with pinto beans, and roasted broccoli. Sorbet for dessert.
Posted: January 2nd, 2012 | Author: Sam | Filed under: Meal Planning | Tags: meal planning, menu planning | No Comments »
Spiffing up my meal planning was one of my top Kitchen Resolutions this year. I do a fair bit of meal planning already, but I’m always looking to improve! Sharing my meal plan is another good excuse to actually get them done by Monday!
January is a great time for soups and stews, so two are featured this week. I’m also trying to keep things light and fresh to make up for holiday overkill, but this isn’t diet food! For this week:
Monday: Turkey and vegetable chili (no recipe!) with tomatillo salsa (from the Homesick Texan Cookbook), topped with pepper jack and yogurt. Side of spinach, either under the chili, or steamed with some garlic.
Tuesday: Jamie Oliver’s Fresh Asian Noodle Salad with cucumbers, carrots, and five spice turkey.
Wednesday: Nigel Slater’s Main Course Soup for a Winter’s Day from Appetite. With beans, carrots, celery, leeks, garlic, parsley, butter, and a ham hock. (Or parmesan rind if I decide to do veg.)
Thursday: Lemony Chicken Gyros with Tzatziki and Feta from Can You Stay For Dinner with cucumber and tomato salad.
Friday: Turkey sausage, mashed potato, and roasted brussels sprouts.
Saturday: Take-out. (Most likely Japanese, possibly pizza.)
Sunday: Chicken teriyaki stir fry with ginger-sesame broccoli. (Although, possibly something lighter as we are brunching around noon.)
What are you cooking this week?