May’s Tiny Change: Sit Down to Eat

This post is part of Kale & Chocolate’s #12tinychanges challenge. Each month, we’re implementing one super small, super doable change – over a year, it really adds up! You can read about it here and share your progress on Instagram with the hashtag #12tinychanges for a chance to win some cool prizes! This is a nutritionist-approved change for SO many reasons!

If you’ve tried one of the #12tinychanges already, you know that each change is easy and doable. May’s tiny change is as simple as taking a seat! Here’s why…

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We’re simply going to sit down to eat, as often as possible. Why? It’s really, really important!

We’re not aiming for a tablecloth and two different types of forks, no need for the fancy China.
We’re not trying to make every meal a three-course marathon.
We’re not even shooting for a 100% success rate.

We’re just trying to make rushed, mindless eating the exception instead of the rule.

Who among us hasn’t been there – eating over the sink, picking the kids’ leftovers off their plates, standing in front of the fridge while scrolling through Instagram? (hand raised!) It happens…but it’s really not so good for any of us.

If you need more convincing, here are my top reasons why we should all eat sitting down:

Sitting = Knowing

When we eat on the go, we often eat fast, neglect to chew, and don’t even realize what is happening. Oftentimes, when we indulge in mindless snacking and full meals, we eat more than we need to, faster than we should, and don’t really enjoy it.

Stop Moving, Stop Stress

Shoving food into our mouths isn’t exactly relaxing. Trying to eat while navigating rush hour traffic is not calming (or satisfying!) Eating while we multitask can actually be quite stressful, and stressful situations can lead to the release of cortisol. Excess cortisol can lower metabolism, decrease immunity, and cause gastrointestinal problems. We can avoid all that if we just spend a few extra minutes eating veggie soup at a table instead of drinking it in a mug in the car!

Connecting > Consuming

Dozens of hours go into growing, harvesting, transporting, and preparing the food we eat. Water, sunshine, fossil fuels, and elbow grease make it possible. You put time and effort into preparing each dish, so why rush through the best part: eating it?

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Something that really helps to slow down and connect: Take five deep breaths before eating. It centers me, clears my mind, and turns my attention to the delicious meal in front of me.

Meals Create Community

Of course, we can’t eat every meal surrounded by friends and family, but sharing food is one of the best ways to connect and bond with others. Eating together is an opportunity to decompress and catch up on our lives. We tell stories, laugh, support each other, and make new memories.

When we cook together or prepare family recipes, we reconnect with our past and our heritage. Mom’s famous TLC Cookies don’t have the same calming, healing properties if we shove them down while standing over the counter as if we share the experience, sitting and tuned in.

So how do we find the time to eat sitting down?

Often, it’s as simple as making the commitment and realizing that, yes, we do have the few extra minutes to sit down if we make it a priority. Think of all the energy that goes into cooking food. We want to appreciate our efforts and not just shove it into our mouths without tasting it!

Let’s be honest about another mealtime distraction: messing around on social media or flipping through TV channels! If we can scroll through Instagram, we can sit down and eat that blueberry bliss smoothie bowl or quinoa & black bean salad.

If you really do need a little extra time in your jam-packed day, what if you set your alarm clock 15 minutes earlier? Or do some meal prep on Sundays? With a little bit of foresight, sitting down to eat is possible and rewarding!

One Healthy Breakdown: Sit. Breathe. Eat. Enjoy. It’s a simple change with big payoff.

 

February’s Tiny Change: Eat More Plants

*This post is part of Kale and Chocolate’s year-long #12tinychanges challenge. Each month, we’re implementing one small, super doable change-over a year it really adds up! Read about all changes here and share your progress on Instagram with the hashtag #12tinychanges!

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You’ve probably heard about the health benefits associated with eating a plant-based diet, like reducing your risk of heart disease, lowering your blood pressure, and adding years to your life. Food experts, nutritionists, and dietitians may disagree about the right diet, but amidst these debates, they have always been able to agree on at least one thing: MORE PLANTS = GOOD.

This month’s tiny change is just that – tiny. No need to cut foods out, restrict, or diet. Simply add more plant-based foods and recipes to your cooking repertoire. If you’re already eating a largely plant-based diet, wonderful! Try something new and interesting like DIY nut milk. If you’ve yet to dip your toe into plant-based cooking, start easy with something like chia seed pudding.

You don’t have to eat less or cut out anything. Just add more vibrant colors, nutrients, and variety to your meals. If a few of those delectable plant-based dishes happen to replace the less-than-healthy ones in your repertoire, that’s just a bonus! So what constitutes “plant-based,” exactly? Great question! Fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, nuts and seeds, and oils are all fair game – all things that originally stem from plants (pun intended!)

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Here are five ways you can make this tiny change easy and awesome!

1. Incorporate these plant-based foods into the way you already eat

The best thing about plant-based foods? You can fold them into absolutely any eating style – they’re totally inclusive! Eating Paleo? Vegetarian? Gluten-free? Locavore or seasonal eater? Great, simply add more plants to your daily routine!

2. View this as an opportunity to experiment with new recipes + types of food
Consider this a little nudge to explore new recipes or make reservations at a new restaurant. Asian, Indian, and Ethiopian cuisines include lots of plant-based dishes, many featuring interesting spices and flavor combinations. Give them all a try!

Instead of trying to plant-i-fy existing dishes, why not try something totally different? We’re much more likely to enjoy a recipe (and make it again) if we eat it with an open mind…rather than thinking “this was much better when I made it with a whole stick of butter…” This tiny change gives you the perfect excuse to push yourself toward easy experimentation and more adventurous eating.

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3. Know that this isn’t just about smoothies and salads
Gotta love a good green smoothie, but there are tons of luscious, decadent plant-based foods out there. In fact, if you want to try just one new plant-based recipe a week this month, how about some delicious oatmeal, hummuscookies, PB & J, sweet chocolate avocado mousse, and even ice cream?! Plant dishes can be sweet, savory, warm, chilled, and satisfy just about any craving!

4. Swap in one plant-based dish for one meat or dairy dish

Rather than overhauling your entire meal, try just swapping one dish. Munch on a batch of homemade veggie burgers and sweet potato fries for your Friday night Netflix marathon or warm up with butternut squash soup for meatless Monday. Whip up a balanced meal, use DIY nut milk in your smoothie or make guacamole instead of french onion dip. Just one tiny swap at a time; you’ll be amazed how easy it is to eat more plants!

5. Choose plant-based dishes when you’re eating out or grocery shopping

Now, you know I’m a huge advocate of DIY-ing, but most of us are short on time and long on obligations. Who among us hasn’t picked up dinner on the way home from a hectic day?

Remember, there are a surprising number of plant-based options at your local grocery store, and maybe even your favorite restaurant. Grab a tub of guac, baba ganoush, hummus or even black bean dip. Check out the salad bar for freshly prepared veggies, grains, and plant-based proteins to add to a bed of greens.

When you’re eating out, soups, salads, and vegetarian entrees are often plant-based, (and delicious) so give it a try. To help kickoff this tiny change, you could win amazing prizes and tools to fill up your plate with as many colors and nutrients as possible. You’ll be amazed by how simple it is to eat more plants. And the best part? This easy, delicious tiny change can set you on the road to a healthier heart, longer life, and happier body!

One Healthy Breakdown: Crack open you cookbooks and get ready to veg out!

Beet & Basil Hummus

In the spirit of DIY’ing, we’re making a simple favorite: hummus. This colorful version is not only bright and beautiful, it’s also full of flavor, healthy goodness, and only real foods (bye bye, chemicals.) Hummus is a well-rounded staple to enjoy often for it’s plant-based protein, carbs, and fat, but this one adds beets and basil for some serious vitamins and minerals (ie: magnesium, iron, potassium, folate, flavonoids, vitamins B & K, and more.) BEET THAT!

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Ingredients: (makes one large bowl or ~5 single servings)

  • 2 medium-sized red beets (cooked to soften, I boiled mine for 20 minutes)
  • 1 handful fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup chickpeas or white beans (I used canned organic, washed)
  • 1/3 lemon (skin and all)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1.5 tablespoons pine nuts (or pistachios or cashews)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • dash of sea salt and pepper

Just blend all ingredients in Vitamix/high-powered blender or food processor until smooth. Serve with crudite and/or whole-grain crackers or chips for the perfect healthy appetizer. Also add to your salads/meals for a colorful boost of healthy flavor!

One Healthy Breakdown: if hummus and pesto had a baby, it would be this recipe 🙂

January’s Tiny Change: Do It Yourself

OHH Intro: we couldn’t be more into this month’s challenge to DIY (do it yourself!) You’ll save money, eat way healthier, spend way less time grocery shopping, and shock yourself with how good it feels (and tastes!) Read on for Kale & Chocolate’s rundown of how to become a DIY’er…

If you’re just joining us, this post is part of Kale & Chocolate’s year-long #12tinychanges challenge. Each month, we’re implementing one super small, super doable change—it really adds up over the course of a year! You can read about all the changes here. Share your progress on Instagram with the hashtag #12tinychanges for a chance to win awesome prizes!

Welcome to 2016! Most people think of January 1st as the one and only day to turn over a new leaf, but if you’ve been participating in the #12tinychanges challenge, you’ve been building healthy habits since September (go you!) And if you’re new to the challenge, welcome to the simplest, least painful habit-shifting program you’ll ever tackle, #12tinychanges challenge.

blog-images-chocolate-barkAfter the holidays, when so many of us fall off of our routines, we may be tempted to kick off the new year with some BIG promises to ourselves, but it’s really, really, really hard to stick to BIG goasl for the long haul. The population at the gym has already cut in half since January 1. Instead of being one of those, get on board this tiny change and bite off exactly what we can chew. Sound good? Let’s spend a little time in the kitchen in DIY mode making delicious items we may ordinarily buy.

Are you already asking why on earth you’d complicate your life by hand-making purchasable foods? It probably seems more convenient to just grab things off the grocery store shelf and plunk down some cash. But once you try making some of these everyday items on your own, you’ll be amazed by how easy (and delicious) it can be! Why waste precious time and energy running to the store for almond milk when you can make your own tastier version in five minutes right in your own kitchen? What about your morning smoothie? How about that $15 jar of almond butter we all know and love?

IMG_3513You might think it will be boring, time-consuming, or expensive to DIY. Guess what – it’s not! It’s actually fun, significantly cheaper, and far healthier than buying everything pre-made.

Why should you try DIY-ing something you’d normally buy?

It’s incredibly satisfying + fulfilling. Few of us have ever made our own bread, nut butters or jams. (Hello, awesome homemade PB & J!) Contemplating the processes of making these items can feel intimidating, totally understand. Until I started creating my own staples, there were so many recipes I avoided because I feared their complexity. Why should I spend time learning how to DIY something when I could just toss it into my cart and buy it instantly?

Making your own staples can actually have a ripple effect through your whole life. Confidence and capability in one area often trickle over into other areas of your life, in the kitchen and beyond. Once you’ve mastered whipping up your own almond milk or putting together mason jar salads, there’s no telling what you’ll attempt! If you think something is out of your reach or beyond your skill set, it’s extremely satisfying to finally try it, figure it out…and then work it seamlessly into your weekly routine.

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When you make it yourself, you can customize it. Have you ever bought a granola bar and thought, “Hmm, I wish this was a tad less sweet…or why does this have 20 grams of sugar and tons of chemicals in it?!” When you make your own bars or bites, you can customize them to taste exactly the way you like…without the chemicals!

Create your own trail mix exactly how you like it. Add more of the things you love while skipping the unnecessary sugar, salt, and fillers found in the packaged versions. When you DIY, you know exactly what’s going in…and you control exactly which not-so-healthy ingredients you leave out!

You can view DIY-ing through the lens of curiosity + experimentation. This tiny change is just that: tiny. You don’t have to replace every store-bought condiment or staple in your house. You don’t have to make everything you eat from scratch. You don’t have to whip up award-winning sauces or a picture perfect superfood smoothie bowl the first time you try, just take it one step at a time.

Consider how making from scratch improves the quality of the food you eat, and how much you’ll learn about your ingredients. Notice how much more you appreciate your meals when they include your homemade staples, this will lead to more mindful eating and enjoyment!

If you’re really interested in kicking up the DIY challenge a notch or two, check out my book, Whole Food Energy. It’s packed with 200 easy-to-make recipes designed specifically for busy, active people who want to stock their kitchens & pantries with healthy homemade snacks and light bites to eat on the go. It’s pretty much a DIY goldmine!

Remember to go slowly and pick one or two DIY projects a week. Once you experience a homemade latte, (best part, you don’t have to leave the house!) sweet potato fries, (better than take out!) or the best brunch around, you’ll be hooked.

Lastly, I want to give you the tools to get going. I’m giving away amazing prizes each week throughout January on Instagram. Think: signed copies of my book, superfoods from Windy City Organicsc to enhance your creations, and much more! Just tag #12tinychanges to enter and follow @kaleandchocolate and @hamptonskiley while you’re at it!

One Healthy Breakdown: No time like the present, start gathering your ingredients and get ready to dig in!

Carrot Cake Oatmeal

Holla to my fellow carrot cake lovers out there! Offering a healthy twist on the heavenly dessert we all know and love. Not only delicious, this one’s also super nutritious and good warm or cold!

FullSizeRender_1Carrot Cake Oatmeal: (makes one serving)

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk or almond milk
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp walnut pieces
  • 1 tsp coconut oil or coconut butter
  • Optional: 1 tsp shredded coconut, 1 tsp raisins, or 1 tsp nut butter of choice
  • For post-workout/added protein: add 1 egg while cooking

IMG_3474Cook oats on stovetop in coconut/almond milk, adding vanilla, cinnamon, and pie spice and stir. Follow by adding grated carrots, maple syrup, walnuts, and coconut oil/butter and continue to stir. Once mixture is thick, turn off heat and transfer to bowl. Top with shredded coconut, nut butter, and/or raisins and enjoy warm. Thank me later…

FullSizeRenderOne Healthy Breakdown: Carrot cake oatmeal makes breakfast the perfect time to have your cake and it too…with a healthy dose of veggies that is!

 

Healthy Holidays OHH Style

The magic of the holiday season surrounds us and we’re determined to make it through feeling healthy, happy, grounded, rested, well-fed, balanced, and ready for 2016!

IMG_3036Although it’s easy as pie to cut sleep, eat all the cookies, skip breakfast, have another cocktail, and end up completely burned out, tired, bloated, hungover, guilty, and miserable come January, let’s not!

hangoverOHH’s #HealthyHoliday Tips:

Keep it simple: yes, there will be parties and cocktails, gingerbread, latkes, toasts, roasts, cookie exchanges, peppermint bark, and a hundred reasons to indulge. And that’s ok. But all of those ‘extras’ sure do add up. To offset the indulgences, keep things simple at home. No need to make a three-course meal; instead, allow yourself permission to keep things light and basic. Make a “kitchen sink” salad, smoothie, or snack – just make sure you’re using whole foods. Keeping meals simple allows our body to maximize digestion and nutrient-absorption. Here’s a super simple salad made of arugula, sauerkraut, tomatoes, avocado, and hard-boiled eggs for your dose of greens, probiotics, healthy fat and protein all in one!

FullSizeRender3Eat your veggies: there’s no way around it – veggies are healthy and you must eat them. Don’t fret, you can easily increase your veggie intake in a yummy, easy way. Try making a meal that centers around vegetables instead of meat or pasta, like a meatless stir fry, hearty soup, or holiday smoothie. We don’t often give veggies the opportunity to be the main attraction, but doing so is a super simple, healthy, and affordable way to fuel our bodies. Secondly, try replacing your usual comfort foods with veggie-loaded options. Instead of your go-to mashed potatoes, try cauliflower mash. Forget the french fries and instead roast a new variation of squash, like acorn, delicata, spaghetti, butternut, kobucha, or pumpkin. When you’re urged to grab chips or crackers to snack on, eat crudite to satisfy that craving for a crunch.

Treat yo’self: we’ve said it before and we’ll say again – it’s all about balance. Let go of the labels and ditch the all-or-nothing attitude. Indulging in holiday treats is not only acceptable, it’s actually good for you! Consciously eating food that gives you immense pleasure can fulfill your heart, satisfy your cravings, and feed your soul. Whether it’s a family recipe that you look forward to every year or a new discovery on your journey, choose to indulge wisely and enjoy every single bite.

balancedNews flash: it’s not just about the treats. Or the veggies. Indulge in something that has absolutely nothing to do with food, like a bubble bath, scented candle, holiday movie, pedicure, song download, nature walk, novel, dance party, magazine, TV marathon, or anything that makes you feel pampered and rejuvenated. Just like we deserve to enjoy the cookie, we deserve a break, some self-care, and even a good nap!

Move and be still: we already established that most of us will be indulging a bit this season and that is A ok…as long as we remember to move (ie: exercise) and be still (ie: meditate/sleep/breathe.) Schedule your workouts (and your stillness) as you would meetings and don’t skip ’em. Get your turkey trot on, try a new class, rake leaves, shovel snow…whatever it takes to stay active and accountable. And mindful. Taking time to slow down, live in the moment, and embrace the holiday spirit is equally as important. Combine the moving and the stillness with a yoga class or non-workout workout. Sweat, enjoy, breathe, repeat.

One Healthy Breakdown: here’s to spreading health and holiday cheer this year!

The Freshest Shrimp Tacos

Inspired by fresh local produce at the farmer’s market, Deirdre created a light, colorful summer recipe for one of her very favorites: tacos! These shrimp tacos pack tons of flavor and freshness!

IMG_5708Ingredients: (makes 4 tacos)

  • 8 oz. shredded red or green cabbage (or mix)
  • 1 lb. raw shrimp, washed, peeled, and deveined
  • 16 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 orange
  • 3 Limes
  • 1-2 avocados, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
  • 2 ears of corn, raw cut right off the cob
  • 2 heaping table spoons of Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
  • A handful of resh cilantro, chopped
  • Cayenne pepper, kosher salt & fresh ground pepper, and hot sauce to taste

For the cabbage corn slaw, combine the following in a large bowl and whisk together until smooth:

  • Juice of 2 limes
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • Greek yogurt/sour cream
  • Diced jalapeño to taste
  • Few splashes of hot sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • A dash of cayenne, salt, and pepper
  • Shredded cabbage
  • Corn

Mix and set aside.

For the shrimp, combine:

  • Shrimp
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • A pinch of cayenne, salt, and pepper
  • Few dashes of hot sauce

Heat a non-stick pan on med-high. Add a splash of olive oil and sauté shrimp until opaque. Build your tacos on warm tortillas of your choice or top a bed of greens for a taco salad! Add avocado, chopped cilantro and hot sauce (optional.) Enjoy!

One Healthy Breakdown: fresh enough for taco Tuesday or taco any day!

Local Delivery, Local Goodness, Local Special!

The Good Farm Delivery brings the best in local eats and goodies right to your door, not only making farm-to-table possible, but also incredibly convenient and fun! Shop the online farmer’s market for anything from “good grab” bundles or à la cart produce to handmade cleaning products, coffee, and much more. Whether you frequent The Good Farm or have yet to order,  you’re invited to take advantage of their “Locals Month” promotion by getting one free delivery during the month of June! Just order by 8pm on Tuesday for Friday delivery (Southampton to Montauk, Memorial Day thru September.)

TGFDlogoThe Good Farm Delivery, solely sourced from East End farms and artisans, was founded by Megan Schmidt, cookbook contributor, food stylist, local food advocate, passionate home cook, and mom. As a true believer in the benefits of locally-made food and products, Megan wondered how she could make eating locally in the Hamptons easy and convenient. After all, many seasonal residents are just figuring out Water Mill from Wainscott, let alone sourcing local food. The Good Farm Delivery has returned for its third season to curate, collect, package, and deliver the best local food right to your doorstep. No hassle, just real, good stuff.

081613So, get shopping! Use code ‘LOCAL2015’ at check-out on any order during the month of June for free delivery! All Good Farm clients receive 10% off any OHH Nutrition Package this season as well! The Good Farm and One Healthy Hamptons want you to get healthy, get local, and get cookin’!

One Healthy Breakdown: Bringing the farmers’ market right to your Hamptons door step! That’s GOOD!

 

 

Sticky Oats

Oatmeal is a traditional favorite breakfast for a reason; it provides energy, fiber, and tons of nutrients. Low on the glycemic index, oatmeal is a great way to start your day. Just be sure to opt for whole rolled or steel-cut oats (preferably organic) instead of instant oatmeal as processing strips nutrients and adds unnecessary sugar. For a super healthy, protein-packed oatmeal that’s delicious and nutritious, try sticky oats!

FullSizeRender_2Sticky oats: (makes 2 servings)

  • 2/3 cup rolled oats (preferably organic)
  • 1 egg + 1 egg white
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seed

Bring 1 cup of water to a boil on stove. Add all ingredients above and stir at low heat until desired consistency (about 10 minutes.) Add your favorite oatmeal toppings (nut butter, dried fruit, etc.) and enjoy!

One Healthy Breakdown: the stickier, the better!

Nothin’ Like EVOO

10702069_904476514773_3840381980300393958_nCiao bella! Although I am a huge fan of all things coconut oil, there’s just nothin’ like the one and only EVOO. Olive oil, rich in phytonutrients and antioxidants, is a fundamental part of the Mediterranean Diet. My recent trip to Italy for our honeymoon spiked quite a rekindling for my relationship with olive oil. I’ve always used and loved it, but my appreciation for the oil grew stronger as Italians just don’t live without it. From salad to octopus, (yup) pasta to dessert, olive oil was as essential as water (and wine!) at every meal. Every bite was a bit tastier, richer, and more satiating.

10689850_904476659483_2449018094796810023_nMaking pasta from scratch in Rome!

Olive oil is a monounsaturated fat – aka a healthy fat. Although it is very high in fat content, olive oil’s health benefits are unparalleled. A diet consisting of EVOO regularly is correlated with lower rates of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, cancer, and Alzheimer’s. The phytonutrients in olive oil help to strengthen and protect the blood vessel cells, prevent blockages, and aid digestion. It also transforms a bowl of spaghetti into a work of culinary magic. Bellissima!

1017740_904477602593_2597989234029221327_nWhy EVOO? Extra virgin olive oil is fresh-pressed, less processed, and more pure than regular olive oil. EVOO has been proven to reduce inflammation, cholesterol, and blood pressure. So, instead of butter, margarine, dressing, sauce, etc., turn to EVOO. Olive oil can also be used to treat a sunburn, condition hair, moisturize skin and lips, rid stickiness, polish surfaces, fix a jam, remove eye makeup, and so much more. Who knew?!

One Healthy Breakdown: Rekindle your relationship with this old fave today and you won’t be sorry!