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.

 

Peppermint Mocha Chia Pudding

Wow. Peppermint, chocolate, and coffee culminate to make this perfectly decadent combination. Did we mention it’s super healthy too? Nutritious and delicious anytime of day! With no added sugar, this dessert-like treat can even be enjoyed for breakfast!

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Ingredients: (makes one meal serving or 2 smaller snack/dessert servings)

  • 2/3 cup almond or coconut milk (make your own!)
  • 4 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2-4 tablespoons coffee (cool/room temp)
  • 2 teaspoons cacoa powder
  • 2 small drops peppermint extract
  • 1/3 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt (optional)

Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate overnight. Mixture will thicken to pudding. Remove, stir again, and serve chilled. Enjoy this decadent (super healthy!) sweet treat!

One Healthy Breakdown: who says healthy doesn’t taste good delicious?!

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

Vegan “Lick the Bowl” Cupcakes

When Jackie McKay of McKay Kitchens mentioned this “to die for” cupcake/muffin creation, I knew they HAD to be shared on OHH! What’s not to love with an indulgent-tasting chocolate cupcake healthy enough to eat for breakfast?! This one’s packed with superfoods and super taste!

Jackie warns us that this vegan creation is very moist and healthy and taste like chocolate! We’ve confirmed that it’s absolutely acceptable to lick the bowl clean – enjoy!

10487382_10154373037745227_818886423355100688_nWet Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup chopped boiled beets
  • 1/2 cup local maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped kale or spinach
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 3/4 cup ground flax seeds
  • 1 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 1/4 cup raw cocoa
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Blend all wet ingredient in blender, adding warm water last and slowly, observing texture. Look for a purée to form. Fold together and pour into muffin or mini cupcake trays. Bake on 350 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on size of tray. Check center with a fork to make sure they’re cooked through. When cooked, turn oven off and let dehydrate for another hour.

One Healthy Breakdown: From one healthy foodie to another, keep up the good work!

Happy National Kale Day!

image(9)Today is the day. Wednesday, October 2nd officially marks the celebration of…KALE! Yes, kale is everywhere. Kale is trendy. Kale is crunchy. Kale is the king of superfoods. If you haven’t jumped on the kale train, you just may reconsider once you’ve tried the classic green juice’s indulgent, crunchy, yummy-in-my-tummy friend, kale chips!

Yummy (in my tummy) Kale Chips: Preheat oven to 325 degrees and cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Cut stems off one head of kale, wash and dry. Cut into pieces and spread out on cookie sheet. Massage kale with coconut oil (no more than a tablespoon total.) Sprinkle with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Bake for about 20 minutes or until crisps. Let cool and serve as chips. So crispy, so light, so healthy…SO good! For more clean, lean green recipes, sign up for One Healthy Hamptons’ Fab Fall Cleanse!

One Healthy Breakdown: National Kale Day – let the celebration begin!