All About Meal Prep

Meal prep is a great way to set yourself up for success. With no time to make a healthy meal when we’re hungry, we’re likely to resort to processed food, take-out, fast food, mindless eating, and overeating. With a kitchen full of healthy snacks and balanced meals on hand, it’s a lot easier to eat healthier. With one simple change, healthy eating becomes a whole lot happier.

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  • Schedule one or two days a week to prep. While it doesn’t have to be the same day each week, plan to take some time to prepare some meals and snacks to last you throughout the week. Think about the times when you cave and come up with some good preventative strategies. For example, if you’re always starving mid-afternoon, pack an extra snack to tide you over until dinner. This will keep your energy, blood sugar, and mood in check and help you to slow down and enjoy dinner because you won’t be famished when you finally sit down. If you struggle with breakfast, prep something simple that will fuel your day, like yummy muffins, berry bars, a frittata, or healthy bread.
  • Have a plan, make a list, and stick to it. Whether you’re using a meal template (google what you’re looking for, like “family meal plan” or “paleo meal plan.”) or creating your own, be sure to map it out. You’re less likely to throw those impulse cookies in the cart when you shop with a clear grocery list. Start collecting recipes that you’d like to make; use Pinterest or collect magazine pages so that you remember them. Another fun tip is to use themes, like taco Tuesday or breakfast for dinner. Lastly, remember to check the weather because it often impacts our cravings (think soup on a chilly day and BBQ when it’s warm.)

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  • Get your nutrients. Be sure that your plan includes carbs, protein, and healthy fats. For example, your energizing carbs could be oatmeal, sweet potatoes, and quinoa. Protein may be a chicken, hard-boiled eggs, and/or tempeh. Maybe you make individual portions of trail mix and some guacamole for healthy fats. Cater to your personal preferences, but be sure to prep produce, lean protein, whole grains, and healthy fats in bulk.
  • Leftovers are your friend. There’s nothing wrong with a good ol’ L/O. Leftovers come in super handy, so double your recipe or make a little extra knowing that you can have it the following day or freeze it for another time. You can even make leftovers ‘like new’ by adding them to a fresh bed of greens for a big salad or reinventing the meal.
  • Have fun. Prepping is not miserable! Turn on music, get your fam involved, and have fun!

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One Healthy Breakdown: if you care, P R E P A R E !

*For more meal prep tips, check out the queen of food prep, theleangreenbean.com

New Year Kick Start

Raise your hand if all that eating, drinking, and being merry took a little toll on you over the holidays. Ditto. Let’s move on and move up with this New Year Kick Start. We’re focusing on starting the year off feeling our absolute best…no juice cleanse included (you’re welcome!)

Your liver and kidneys constantly cleanse your body, so a typical juice/flush cleanse is just not necessary, healthy, or any fun at all! This kick start will “detox,” “cleanse,” and “reset;” however, instead of solely ridding the bad stuff, we’ll actually replace it with healthy goodness! Instead of focusing on deprivation, we’ll focus on fuel and fulfillment. Lets set precedents to make the next year (not just the next week) your healthiest, happiest yet!

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Although these tips are meant to be followed indefinitely, aim to be more strict this week, hence the term ‘kick start.’ With that said, everybody (and every body) is different, so do what works for you, your body, and your lifestyle.

  • Reduce your consumption of processed foods, fatty meat, dairy, sugar, alcohol, and caffeine.
  • Increase your consumption of fruits and veggies. Try to buy in-season and organic whenever possible, especially for the dirty dozen. Frozen organic produce is great too, as availability is limited in the winter and frozen produce maintains its nutrients.
  • Incorporate whole grains, legumes, healthy fats, and lean protein in moderation, but keep veggies the center of attention. For example, trade your taco or sandwich for a salad or use lettuce wraps instead of bread/tacos.
  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate with water, water, water (tea, kombucha, and sparkling water are good options too.) Aim to drink at least half of your body weight in ounces of water daily.

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  • Start each morning with lemon water to stimulate your cleansing organs, boost metabolism, and aid digestion.
  • Include some sauerkraut or kimchi in your diet for a healthy gut.
  • Eat breakfast every day. Your body will not efficiently burn food if your stomach is empty, so be sure to eat breakfast within about an hour of waking (click here for breakfast recipes.)
  • Aim to move your body for 30-60 minutes every day, weather it’s a morning run, group fitness class, afternoon walk, yoga session, strength training, etc. Just do something, preferably something that you enjoy. Your body and mind will thank you.
  • Have a green smoothie a day, preferably in the morning to optimize nutritional benefits.

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  • Keep things simple by making big salads and veggie-based soups to keep on hand.

Here’s a quick and easy Detox Soup Recipe: using a Vitamix or high-speed blender, combine 8 ounces of bone broth, (or veggie/chicken broth ) 1 zucchini, (raw) 1 handful of greens, (romaine, spinach, or kale) 1 clove garlic, 1 teaspoon chopped scallions, 1 teaspoon basil, thyme, and other herbs of choice, 1/4 lemon, and 1/3 cup chickpeas. Heat mixture on stove and enjoy. Makes two servings.

  • If you find your sweet tooth ramping up, have fruit or tea. Low sugar fruits include grapefruit, berries, papaya, melon, and green apples. The fiber in fruit hinders sugar absorption, so don’t feel bad about eating a banana either! If you experience night cravings but are not physically hungry, brush your teeth and tell yourself that the kitchen is closed…until tomorrow. Just stepping out of the kitchen is sometimes enough to banish cravings and revert your mind.

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  • Tune in to your body’s cravings for warming, comforting winter eats. It only makes sense that our eating style should change with the seasons, just like the clothes that we wear.
  • Chew food slowly and eat consciously. Taking the time to tune in, chew each bite mindfully, and truly enjoy the pleasure that food brings fosters healthy digestion and satisfaction.
  • Why not take some time to clean out your fridge, pantry, and even closets? As you shop for replacements, keep foods, products, and cleaning products au natural.
  • Sleep a full eight hours as much as possible and make time for self-care and meditation. The way in which you treat your body and mind is just as important as the food you eat.

If you’d like more information about proper portions, reading labels, or a personalized meal plan, please email kiley@onehealthyhamptons.com to set up a personalized nutrition & wellness consultation today. We’ll start working towards your personal goals together.

One Healthy Breakdown: “People are so worried about what they eat between Christmas and the New Year, but they really should be worried about what they eat between the New Year and Christmas!” ~ anonymous

Healthy Holiday Eating with Bloom & Spark

Aside from cozy fires, warm sweaters, and time with family, the holidays are often full of endless parties and copious amounts of food. There’s no need to deprive ourselves; it goes against the abundance and gratitude that the season brings. Here’s how staying present at the party can help you to in maneuver tricky situations and feel your best:

food-sweet-cookies-christmasBefore the party, make a plan and stick to it. Think ahead what you will eat and what you won’t eat to feel good about yourself. By planning ahead, you can have what you like without going overboard. Maybe you skip fried food, minimize sweets, or limit drinks. Maybe you make a compromise with yourself – have the dessert but skip the appetizers. You could stay near the veggie plate while you chat to avoid mindlessly devouring the plate of pigs in a blanket. You could bring your own homemade dish to ensure that you at least have something healthy to eat. Whatever your game plan is, decide ahead of time and stick to your plan! Eating a light meal or healthy snack at home before you go to the party will ensure that you don’t grab whatever is in front of you out of hunger. These superfood balls may be just the trick to your nutritious and delicious pre-party plan.

IMG_5792Bloom & Spark’s Superfood Balls:

Superfood balls are really popular right now for good reason! The great thing about them is that once you have the base, you can really add anything you want to make them your own. Start with dates and nuts in the food processor and feel free to add coconut flakes, cinnamon, vanilla extract, maca, goji berries, chocolate, even essential oils like peppermint and cinnamon. You could even roll them in ground up candy canes for a festive and tasty holiday touch! These are also the perfect thing to bring to a party if you want to avoid sugary desserts.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almonds
  • 10 dates
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp maca powder
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup ground flax
  • 1-2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

Directions: Mix everything (except the cocoa powder) in a food processor. Once all ingredients are incorporated, take out half of the mixture and set it aside in a bowl (if you want to make half of the batch chocolate like I did.) Add the cocoa powder to the mixture that’s still in the processor. (If the mixture is a little dry you can add 1-2 tsp of water while it’s still in the food processor to moisten.) Roll both mixtures into bite size balls and let them cool in the refrigerator before serving/eating. Yum!

IMG_5800*Caroline O’Neill is a year round Hamptons resident and health and wellness lifestyle blogger of Bloom & Spark with a passion for nutrition, yoga, food, spirituality and personal development.

 

30 Things I Learned on Whole30

I recently completed my first (and probably my last!) Whole30. 30 days of whole foods and not a speck of grains, dairy, soy, legumes, corn, baked goods, or added sugar of any kind. I know, I know, “what the heck did you eat?!” Lots and lots of plants, lean protein, nuts and seeds, that’s what! Oh, and not a drop of alcohol. Sounds fun, right?! If you’re wondering why I would do such a thing, (I don’t blame you!) The book It Starts With Food, by the founders of the Whole30 program, inspired me to dig deeper into my own diet and lifestyle, eliminating the foods/food groups above in order to re-evaluate how my body reacts to them after the 30 days. For more specifics about the Whole30 program, click here! unnamed(2)Although it was tough to adjust and even tougher to refrain from just one little teeny tiny drink, (hello, it is rosé season!) I learned a ton over the past 30 days. Here’s the good, the bad, and the ugly:

1. Sugar is errrrywhere and we’re all pretty seriously addicted to it. You’ve probably heard this in some capacity, but what does that mean?

2. Consuming sugar, artificial sweeteners, and natural alternatives like honey, maple syrup, and even stevia, on a regular basis not only “feed the sugar dragon,” but also throw off our taste buds, cravings, and ability to reach satiety normally.

3. Personally, I do not enjoy black coffee; however, I discovered over these thirty days that I do enjoy unsweetened coffee. Over the past ten years or so, I’ve transitioned from a serious overload of artificial sweetener to cutting back, replacing it with more natural stevia, cutting back on stevia, and now I finally was able to rid my coffee of any sweetener. Whole30 forced me to learn to enjoy my coffee simply with Homemade CocoNut Milk and this is definitely a habit I’m happy to keep. Now I truly savor my coffee, no longer crave it sweet, and rarely do I need a second cup. Remember that baby steps are the way to change a habit for the better. Try cutting the sweetener in your coffee in half to start, if you’re soda drinker, replace one soda a day with seltzer, or satisfy your sweet tooth by having a piece of fruit for dessert. It really does get easier and easier, trust me on this!

4. That’s not to say that occasionally indulging in sweets you truly love is not absolutely necessary to living a balanced life. My love affair with dark chocolate has rekindled and our flame is going strong…although I do not neeeeeeeed it daily like I used to!

5. While many people argue that they don’t have time to eat healthy, healthy meals made from real, whole foods can be very convenient. The Whole30 program made me simplify my meals, at first, simply because of less options to choose from, but now, out of habit. Going forward, I’ll continue with this practice as I’ve noticed that less-complicated meals are easier to digest.

6. I re-discovered some great staples I had been overlooking, like good old scrambled eggs. Nothing fancy necessary. Why? Because…

7. REAL FOOD TASTES GOOD! Seasoning your meals with herbs and spices, tasting the sweetness of a piece of fruit, and savoring the true flavors of food is what it’s all about. Again, baby steps. Your palette will adjust and your body will learn to not only like real foods, but crave them. Trust me, trust me, trust me.

8. Fat does not make you fat. How do I know? Well, I did not gain (or lose) any weight on Whole30, even though I was eating a lot more (healthy) fat on a daily basis – more nuts, oil, avocado, etc.

9. More fat is not better. Some is best.

10. Whole30 or not, portions size is crucial to healthy eating, even when eating all healthy foods.

11. Avocado has my <3 on a daily basis.

12. This may turn your world upside down: peanuts are not actually nuts. A peanut is a legume, like beans, which means that your body may react differently to peanuts or peanut butter than it does nuts and other nut butters. Just some food for thought. And, yes, I did cut out peanut butter for 30 days (if you know me at all, you know that peanut butter is my favorite food in the whole wide world.) Instead, I ate homemade almond and cashew butters as well as sunflower seed butter, that just may top peanut butter on my list of favorite foods. I’m happy to say that peanut butter does now make a regular appearance in my diet; however, it is not the only thing I think about morning, noon, and night, which is probably a good thing because there are other things in life, right?

13. Rules takes the guess work out. I’m not a big fan of long-term labels, strict diets, or restriction, but committing to a short-term plan can be motivating enough that there’s no need for willpower.

14. It’s really, REALLY scary what is in 95% of our “food” these days. For example, even something like store-bought “all natural” almond milk, which a lot of people think of as a healthy upgrade, has far more ingredients than just almonds. What the heck are locust bean gum or carrageenan and why are they in my almond milk?! I decided to break up with store-bought milk for the time being and stick to my new love, Homemade CocoNut Milk. Same with the aforementioned nut butters. Just make your own or buy the ones made with just nuts. There really is no need for ‘palm fruit oil’ in your jar of nut butter. Just like there’s no need for added sugar in your tomato sauce, soy isolate in your snacks, or high fructose corn syrup in…ANYTHING. That’s a no-no no matter what.

15. Which brings me to my next point that I just can’t say enough: READ YOUR LABELS.

16. And do what’s right for you. As I said…

17. Eating healthy doesn’t mean eating only the latest superfoods or trying the latest diet trend. It means knowing what foods make you feel healthy and good.

18. If a food/food group makes you feel energized and healthy, you should probably eat it.

19. If a food/food group makes you feel crappy, tired, or sick, you probably shouldn’t eat it.

20. Whole foods are super versatile, see below:

IMG_085721. Another little fun fact I learned over the past 30 days is that any woman in her 20’s or 30’s that declares that she’s not drinking will, without a doubt, be labeled as pregnant, whether it’s by your waiter or your best friends.

22. Drinking seltzer water or kombucha out of a wine glass is not the same as drinking wine, but that’s alright.

23. Waking up on a Sunday morning without any hint of a hangover or headache is worth all of the above – sacrificing the wine and being labeled pregnant.

24. Smoothies are delicious and nutritious. Smoothies aren’t on Whole30 due to a lack of chewing, the act that kick-starts digestion and satiation. So, what’s a smoothie lover to do? Chew your smoothie! Seriously, do it. I missed my smoothies, green smoothies, and smoothie bowls and am happy to introduce them back into my routine, especially heading into the summer season!

25. It is possible to have too much meat, even lean, organic, grass-fed meat. I got sick of chicken after the first week on Whole30. Happy to say that I’ve since reintroduced tempeh and veggie burgers for some delicious meatless protein. Although I know that for me, everything in moderation works when it comes to protein, I totally respect the vegetarians, vegans, and paleos of the world too. Did I mention to do what’s right for you?! I think I did.

26. The benefit of minty fresh breath after a garlicky meal just may outweigh the drawbacks of chewing gum. Again, something I cut wayyyy back but am not willing to give up completely. Yet.

27. The dreams are real folks. The Whole30 book warns that people on Whole30 may experience weird dreams about eating off-plan foods (which means that you start over at day one.) I’m pretty sure that I had some sort of cheating-on-Whole30-food dream every single night for a month straight. Some worse than others: on the eve of day 30, I dreamed that I weighed myself and the scale read 498 pounds. Thankfully, I woke up.

28. There is something so refreshing about breaking up with the scale. You’re not allowed to weigh yourself during the Whole30 program at all. I’m not a big fan of weighing myself daily, or even weekly, because the number doesn’t often correspond with actual progress. “Non-scale victories” are often much better than a number – looser pants, higher energy, clearer skin, toned muscles, etc. Regarding the scale, if the number makes you feel stuck, negative, guilty, or ashamed, stop weighing yourself and rely on how you feel, inside and out, and how you fit into your clothes. If the scale makes you feel confident and accountable, go for it.

29. Being a proud member of the clean plate club is just plain overrated. Having a healthy diet means eating until your body is satisfied, whether it be fish and veggies or a rich, decadent brownie. It’s not about finishing every last bite, it’s about enjoying one bite at a time, regardless of what you’re eating, and putting the fork down when you’ve had enough (enough means you’re satiated, not loosening your belt in a food coma.) This is easier said than done, I know, so it’s worth the mental effort to work on improving this habit, one meal at a time.

30. Healthy eating is not a mindless activity. It takes awareness, consciousness, presence, and purpose. Some examples include being mindful of how certain foods/food groups make your body feel, inquiring about food preparation when eating out, not digging into the bread basket or snacking simply because the food is right in front of you, and savoring occasional indulgences sans guilt.

So what’s the conclusion here? Honestly, I think that Whole30 has a TON of positive aspects (primarily eating whole foods) and a few negatives (too extreme, too much meat, and not enough smoothies.) Though I’m not the biggest proponent of this exact plan, I’m really happy that I experienced it because I did learn a lot and got rid of some poor habits. What made me stick with it after finding these faults? The sheer fact that I had made a commitment to myself.

Whole30 has lots of great aspects to it and I know that it has changed lots of lives for the better. If this seems like a plan that may be right for you, I encourage you to commit fully as well. Although 30 days may not be realistic, I would suggest an elimination diet for anyone looking to getting to know your body better, especially if you believe you may have an unidentified food sensitivity. Give your body a break from a certain food or food group for about two weeks and then reintroduce it to evaluate your body’s response. That way, as long as other food choices remain consistent, you should be able to tell 24-48 hours after consuming that food/food group if your body is sensitive to it. How will you know? You’ll know. Either it will make you feel fine, good, the same, or it will make you feel not so good in some way. As mentioned above, if it makes you feel yucky, try to cut it out of your diet as much as possible. Lastly, I repeat: read your labels and just eat real food!

IMG_0647One Healthy Breakdown: lessons learned, tools in toolkit, carry on.

Labels Shmabels

I often get asked what I eat. “What are you? Vegan? Vegetarian? Paleo?” Nope. Nope. Nope. I guess I’d say I’m just a “happy, healthy eater.”

1620486_482742691837906_61031964_n*this may or not be me, happily eating

Yup, I love food, talking about food, learning about food, cooking food, and, most of all, eating food. We’re constantly learning about how food affects us – it’s an exciting time for the science of nutrition. Food is everywhere and keeping up with food trends is a full time job.

Pick up any food-related magazine or book or browse the internet for 5 minutes and you’ll get 17 different dietary suggestions…all negating each other. Gluten free or dairy free? Juice or smoothie? High carb or low carb? Plant-based or protein-packed? Paleo’s in, vegan’s out. Or is it the other way around? How do we know what rules to stick to and what rules to rule out?!

What if there were no rules? No labels? If there are no rules, there’s no restriction. There’s no bad vs. good or one size fits all…because there isn’t.  There’s only food and how it makes us feel. Every single one of us is SO DIFFERENT that there are no generalizations when it comes to food. Genetically, we are different. We live different lifestyles and have different goals, cravings, needs, bodies, and beliefs about food. What works for you may not work for me and vice versa and foods that make me feel good may make you feel not so good and vice versa.

One Healthy Breakdown: Do eat what’s right for you; what makes you feel healthy and happy.