Monthly Archives: November 2011

Mindful Holiday Eating

Hi Everyone!  I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! 

Well Black Friday’s behind us but Cyber Monday has arrived and if your “inbox” looks anything like mine you’re probably feeling like it’s holiday crunch time!  Many of my clients have been asking for ideas for maneuvering this busy time of year when our wellness routines so frequently get shuffled to the bottom of the list!  

My belief is that Mindful Holiday Eating isn’t about getting it perfect so much as it is staying consciously connected to all that inspires us to live well in the first place!  We simply feel better when we’re eating healthy, moving our bodies and taking the time to decompress.  So I look at it like this, weaving even a few of these principles into our busy days this holiday season, is sure to keep us aware and tuned in!  I read once that every day is an opportunity to do something healthy for ourselves.  I love that . . . .

Every healthy choice we make this holiday season (and every season) makes a positive impact on our overall well-being, and ultimately, creates a lifestyle!  As we move through the holidays and the bright days of the New Year arrive, perhaps the best gift we can give ourselves is our commitment to living one healthy choice at a time!   

Here are a few thoughts on keeping you in the flow this holiday season!!  Cheers!!  Heidi

Choose Breakfast – Start your day with a breakfast that satisfies!  Include lean proteins like low-fat yogurt, milk or soymilk, eggs or a slice of low fat meat or cheese; healthy fats like peanut or almond butter and avocado; Fiber-rich choices like bananas, apples, oranges, oatmeal, whole grain breads and cereals.  Try adding banana slices and chopped walnuts to oatmeal and serve with a glass of skim milk or light soymilk!  Make oatmeal in advance and store in the refrigerator for those rushed mornings!

Choose Plenty Of Colorful Fruits And Vegetables – 2 at every meal if you can!  Fruits and vegetabels are loaded with fibers for filling you up – and studies show that if we see them, we’re much more likely to eat them!  So store in clear containers in the refrigerator.

Snack Before The Party! – Snacks keep us satiated and they’re a great choice before a holiday party when you don’t want to arrive hungry!  Keep snacks at approximately 100-200 calories combining foods containing proteins and fibers (see above).  Try a sliced apple with almond butter or 1 oz string cheese with a few dried figs, dates or cranberries.

Position Yourself For Success – Avoid standing right in front of the chip ‘n dip bowls or appetizer table.  Fill a small plate with your favorites and move to the opposite side of the room.  Limit yourself to one pass at the buffet line.

Eat To Gently Satisfy Your Hunger – One of my personal favorites!  When is the last time you ate to gently satisfy . . . Be aware of your natural pause when eating.  That moment when you put your fork down and take a breath as you begin to notice yourself becoming satiated.  Use this opportunity to listen to your body perhaps indicating that you are satisfied!

Limit Sugar-Loaded Beverages – They are one of the #1 sources of calories in the American diet!  Sodas, sport beverages, sweetened tea, eggnog, gourmet coffee drinks and even hot chocolate can contribute excess calories to the day.  On the occasions you do decide to have a treat look for low-fat, low sugar varieties and go for smaller 8-12oz sizes.

Stay Hydrated – It’s easy to confuse hunger for thirst and even mild dehydration can zap your energy!  Most adults need approximately 8 (eight ounce) glasses of water each day (more if you’re exercising).  Add lemon, lime or orange slices to water for a clean fresh flavor!

Slow Down With A Pot of Something Warm – Simmer a pot of soup, chili or spaghetti sauce for healthy stay-at-home meals.  Make extra and store in the freezer for those crazy-busy weeks (and skip the take-out pizza)!  Choose healthy broth-based and bean soups and try lean ground turkey for chili and pasta sauces.

Stay Active – Thirty minutes of exercise most days of the week, will keep you consciously connected to your body and less likely to go back for seconds!  If you don’t have 30 minutes then go for 15!  Remember, every choice adds up and keeps you plugged in!  Gather family and friends for a brisk winter walk!

Indulge! – Yes, by allowing yourself to indulge mindfully in your favorite holiday treats you’ll avoid the all-or-nothing trap (where you find yourself saying ”no” to the foods you love for so long that you ultimately end up at a party stuffing yourself with foods you don’t even like)!  Just keep portions small.

Keep Expectations Reasonable – Perhaps one of the most powerful tools!  Embracing healthy habits is a lifelong process!  Focus for example on maintaining weight during the holidays and not losing it.

Oh So Sweet Potatoes

I’ve been eating a lot of sweet potatoes lately, mostly for breakfast!  They’re loaded with fibers and antioxidant beta carotene.  They really fill me up especially when I add a few walnuts or pecans.  Though they’re already sweet, I do play around a lot adding things like chunky applesauce, cinnamon, nutmeg or a drizzle of maple syrup.  They’re great with a glass of soymilk!  I always bake a few at the start of the week and keep them in the refrigerator, ready to go!  Simple enough!   

 This year for Thanksgiving we’ll be in Springfield with PK’s parents.  My assignment is sweet potatoes so thought I’d try something new and take my love of sweet potatoes to the next level (keeping breakfast this week front of mind of course)!  I wanted to include cloves, orange zest and nuts.  This is what I came up with! 

 Sweet Potatoes With Pecans And Orange Zest

5 Medium Sweet Potatoes
1/2 Cup Real Maple Syrup
Juice & Zest of 1 Orange (approx. ½ cup)
1 Tbsp + 2 tsp Butter
2 tsp Corn Starch
1/4 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8-1/4 tsp ground cloves (according to taste)
1 Tbsp Water
1/2 Cup Toasted Pecans

  1.   Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Lightly butter an 8×8 inch pan.  Wash sweet potatoes and place on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.  Pierce potatoes with a fork and bake until tender, approximately 1 hour.  Let cool. 

2.   While potatoes are baking – combine maple syrup, fresh orange juice, 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp butter, corn starch, salt, cinnamon, cloves and water.  Blend with a spoon until smooth and allow to thicken.  Add orange zest and set aside.     

3.   Toss the pecans and remaining 1 tsp butter (melted) together and pour out onto a baking sheet (I used the foil lined sheet from the potatoes).  Place in a 350 degree oven for 4-5 minutes (be careful not to burn them).

4.   Peel the potatoes and scoop them into a bowl.  Add ½ the toasted pecans and the orange juice/maple syrup sauce.  Gently blend forming a smooth yet somewhat chunky mixture.  Pour into pan and sprinkle with remaining pecans.  Bake for approximately 25 minutes until bubbly.  Serves 6-8.    Enjoy!         

 Variation:   You can also fill small ramekin dishes and bake for approximately 15 minutes.  This is what they look like! 

Honestly, if Autumn were to taste like something this just might be it!

Hello World!

Hello World!  That’s how Word Press gets you started on your very first post.  You can change the title of course but I wouldn’t dream of it.  Hello World is exactly what I want to say!  It’s taken me 2 years to start this blog.  Crazy I know, but I kept finding reasons why I couldn’t or shouldn’t.  Then just the other day, very off the cuff and for no particular reason,  Mick said to me, “mom you know sometimes you just gotta get into the head of a kid!”  Actually, he’s said that a couple of times recently. 

This is what happened next!   

And then the dog and I jumped in! 

Now this is JOY! 

I’m so grateful for Mick’s invitation and for how he pulls me into the moments of life.  He keeps me mindful. 

In this season of gathering and thanksgiving there’s so much I’m grateful for – my faith,  my health,  my family and friends and my work.  But today, right now, I’m grateful that I’m moving my blog ideas forward, mindful that two years is long enough! 

 As I’m thinking of Thanksgiving and the many holiday weeks to come and all of the delicious food, treats and traditions we’ll be sharing with others, my mind is all a buzz!  There’s so many healthy ideas to share for maneuvering this busy time of year!  Tis the season of living mindfully and the opportunity to get plugged into all that inspires us to live well!!  I hope you’ll stay tuned!  I’d love to hear from you! 

Hello World indeed!