If you’ve been good all year and want to avoid the naughty list when it comes to food, here are some quick tips that can help during the holidays:
1. Watch your portion sizes.
2. Choose snacks that will satisfy your hunger..
3. Only eat if you’re hungry, not just because there’s food.
4. Drink plenty of water so you don’t think you’re hungry when you’re actually thirsty.
5. Stay active when spending time with family and friends - go for a walk, for example.
6. Get plenty of sleep to manage hunger properly and stick to exercise routines.
7. Keep fiber intake up to feel full and keep things regular.
8. Don’t make a meal out of desserts as they’re usually calorically-dense.
9. Limit liquid calories from juice and cocktails, as these can add up very quickly.
10. Use a smaller plate to help curb overeating.
Last week we looked at things that can decrease your sleep quality. Now let’s take a look at some things that can help increase the quality of the rest you get each night.
1. Exercise - Exercise has been shown to improve almost every aspect of sleep including the amount of time it takes to fall asleep, wakefulness throughout the night, and length of REM sleep.
2. Consistency - The circadian rhythms in your body thrive on consistency. Try to stick close to the same sleep/wake times, even on the weekends, to ensure you aren’t throwing off these patterns.
3. Magnesium - Ensure you’re eating enough of this mineral and consider supplementation to see if that helps. Magnesium has been shown to improve relaxation and improve quality of sleep.
4. Melatonin - This is what tells our brains when it’s time to relax and start heading to bed. It’s most abundant after a couple hours with no exposure to light from outside or from electronic screens. It can also be supplemented if needed.
5. Wind Down - Spend the last hour before you go to bed doing something relaxing, such as reading or taking a bath and make this a habit. Some kind of relaxing pre-bedtime ritual can help you wind down.
Sleep is a very important part of life. It’s needed for mental and physical restoration, so when you don’t sleep well, it makes for a long day where everything seems difficult.
Here are five things to avoid that decrease sleep quality:
1. Light: Melatonin can be affected by light, especially blue light. The sun gives off blue light, but so do electronics. Limit your exposure to blue light around bedtime and make sure where you sleep is reasonably dark.
2. Noise: The most disruptive noises during sleep are sudden ones. Consistent and even noise can actually help lull you to sleep. Things like white noise machines and earplugs can help if you’re in a very noisy environment.
3. Heat: Elevated body temperatures have been shown to make it harder to fall asleep and decrease quality of sleep. A cool room causes you to drift off easier and also enter deep sleep faster.
4. Alcohol: While it may seem that alcohol helps you sleep better, science has shown it actually decreases sleep quality. Even small amounts of alcohol inhibit entering REM sleep and decrease its duration when it does happen.
5. Caffeine: This may seem obvious, but caffeine and sleep don’t mix. Even if you are able to fall asleep with caffeine onboard, your sleep will be shallow and low quality since you’re more alert. This even affects regular caffeine users.
When it comes to breakfast, it doesn’t need to be complicated to get you started right. There are plenty of healthy options that require little to no prep and nutrient-rich. Here are some whole food breakfast ideas:
• Oats - low in calories, but high in fiber and protein
• Nuts - fiber, protein, and healthy fats but calorically-dense so go with a serving of about 1 ounce
• Eggs - nutritional powerhouse that provides protein, vitamins, and minerals to help you feel full
• Bananas - healthy alternative to sugar-rich foods, bananas are full of fiber and potassium which can help lower blood pressure
• Yogurt - go with the “no sugar added” varieties and go Greek for the highest protein amounts
• Grapefruit - low in calories but high in fiber and water content and very satisfying
• Berries - packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, berries also contain fiber and are a sweet way to start your day
If you’re faced with a mountain of leftover turkey (lucky), we’ve got some ideas for things you can make to use it up:
🦃 Turkey and Cheese Tortilla Rollups
🦃 Turkey Chili
🦃 Turkey Noodle Soup
🦃 Turkey Alfredo Pasta
🦃 Turkey Avocado Grilled Cheese
🦃 Turkey, Cranberry, and Brie Wraps
🦃 Cobb Salad with Turkey (Instead of Chicken)
Chances are, you’re going to encounter cranberry sauce of some kind tomorrow. Whether you prefer whole or jellied is up to you. The good news is, this powerful little red berry provides health benefits in either form.
Let’s Take a Look:
🍁 Vitamin C and Manganese
Vitamin C provides many benefits for your body such as skin, muscle, and bone health as well as strengthening your immune system. Manganese is essential for growth and metabolism.
Cranberries contain insoluble and soluble fiber. Insoluble fiber helps keep you regular and soluble fiber helps boost healthy gut bacteria.
The outer cranberry skin is high in antioxidant plant compounds called polyphenols. These help protect you from damage caused by environmental toxins. Antioxidants have been shown to be instrumental in fighting heart disease and cancer.
This powerful antioxidant is abundant in cranberries. It has been shown to reduce inflammation and thereby reduce the risks of heart and kidney diseases. It also provides relief from allergy symptoms and can reduce blood pressure.
*Keep in mind that fresh, whole cranberries are very tart. Cranberry sauce is usually fairly high in sugar to keep it palatable so it may not be a low-calorie food.
When the Thanksgiving pies come around next week, they may be topped with a fluffy whipped topping of some sort. Some people make their own whipped cream, but most reach for either Cool Whip or Reddi-wip. What’s different about the two of those? Let’s check it out:
🍂 Original Cool Whip Ingredients: Water, Corn Syrup, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (Coconut And Palm Kernel Oils), Skim Milk, Contains Less Than 2% Of Light Cream, Sodium Caseinate (From Milk), Natural And Artificial Flavor, Xanthan And Guar Gums, Modified Food Starch, Polysorbate 60, Sorbitan Monostearate, Sodium Polyphosphate, Beta Carotene (Color).
🍂 Original Reddi-wip Ingredients: Cream, Water, Sugar, Corn Syrup, Nonfat Milk, Less than 2% of Mono- and Diglycerides, Natural Flavor, Carrageenan.
🍂 Calories in a 2 Tbsp serving
-Cool Whip: 25
🍂 Summing it up
-Cool Whip: Made of oil and syrups, higher in calories, doesn’t contain cream, artificial flavors, spoon out of a container to serve.
-Reddi-wip: Cream is the first ingredient but also has sugar and corn syrup, lower in calories, simpler ingredients, but contains mono- and diglycerides, spray out of an aerosol can to serve.
Thanksgiving is one week from today and we wanted to share a few turkey facts that you can pass around the table along with the stuffing and cranberry sauce.
🦃 The average weight of a turkey purchased at Thanksgiving is 15 pounds.
🦃 Pasture-raised turkeys have higher omega-3 content than factory-farmed ones.
🦃 Most turkeys have 70% white meat and 30% dark meat.
🦃 Dark meat usually contains more vitamins and minerals than white meat, but also more fat and calories.
🦃 Most of the fat content in turkey meat comes from the skin.
🦃 The top turkey-producing state is Minnesota.
There's a saying that states an apple a day keeps the doctor away. But what is it about this fruit that makes it so powerful? Let’s take a look:
• Nutritional Powerhouse
Apples are packed with a wide variety of vitamins and minerals including Vitamins C, K, A, E, B1, B2, B6 as well as potassium, manganese, and copper.
The fiber and water in apples help aid in digestion and make you feel full and satisfied. They’ll help keep you regular and can help you avoid overeating.
• Heart Health
The soluble fiber in apples can lower your cholesterol. Additionally, compounds called polyphenols have antioxidant effects and can lower blood pressure.
• Gut Health
Apples contain pectin, which is a type of fiber that provides prebiotic benefits for your digestive system. This means that it feeds the good bacteria in your gut.
• Reduce Inflammation
A flavonoid called quercetin can be found in apples. This acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and can reduce the risk of allergic reactions. Think of it as nature’s Benadryl.
With cold and flu season upon us, it’s important to do what we can to avoid sickness. Regular hand-washing is a must, but the foods you eat can also help keep you protected. Here are the vitamins and minerals that give your immune system a boost as well as the foods you can find them in:
Beef, fortified cereals, egg yolks, cashews
Sweet potatoes, kale, carrots, tuna, butternut squash, spinach
Bell peppers, kiwi, strawberries, oranges, broccoli
Salmon, oysters, shrimp, egg yolks
•Selenium/White Blood Cell Production
Eggs, mushrooms, kefir, oysters, lobster, Brazil nuts