In life, it’s the little things that count. Not the great big momentous occasions, but the daily moments that all strung together, make up your own personal circle of life. We cannot measure the quality of our lives by the big events like birthday celebrations, weddings, baptisms and graduations. It’s the day-to-day stuff that makes up your life.
This is also true with eating. It’s not just the big meal occasions—dinner out, Thanksgiving, birthday cake and such. Becoming a healthy eater has everything to do with daily decision making over what will go in your mouth, rather than worrying about a special occasion (I say, splurge and enjoy it! The next day, do penance and throw in a little extra exercise and pare a few calories off your daily intake for the next few days.)
But it’s those daily decisions that count; to choose not to drive thru and wait an extra 15 minutes to get home to real food. It’s choosing fruit over donuts; water over soda and not to have that bowl of ice cream watching TV. Those are the little decisions that matter much more so than eating an extra piece of pie at Thanksgiving. Yeah, overindulging is hard on your body and we talk about being “Thanksgiving full” as the ultimate test of fullness, but the daily awareness of what you put in your body is what the definitive cause and effect of how your body looks, feels and operates.
Sometimes it’s easy (like the above example of fruit over donuts). Other times, it’s harder to know what to do. Here are some easy swaps to help you to save calories, your health and your sanity, too, so you know that what you’re doing will make a difference!
Instead of a blueberry muffin (which, let’s be honest, is really a cupcake with blueberries in it!) have a cup of Greek yogurt with 1/2 a cup of blueberries stirred in. Save yourself 249 calories (and some considerable carbs!).
Instead of a 2 slices of whole wheat bread, have 1 Orowheat Sandwich Round (whole wheat also), saving yourself 140 calories!
Instead of 1 cup of white rice, have 1/2 cup of brown rice mixed with chopped steamed broccoli. You’ve just saved yourself nearly 100 calories (and ratcheted up the fiber count, too!).
Instead of a pork chop, go for an equal serving of pork tenderloin and save yourself 50 calories (plus a lot of fat grams!).
It’s not that difficult to make a big difference a little bit at a time. Awareness counts as much as calories do. Keep that in mind as you hit the grocery store this week!
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By: Leanne Ely
It can happen to the best of us—a healthy eating regimen completely derails for whatever reason. Life is hard! Things happen. People get sick, work gets chaotic, life just gets out of control from time to time and with that, one of the first things to go by the wayside is often proper meal prep. Without a plan for dinner, we turn to take out or fast food which are just not good ways to feed your family.
When you end up skidding off course for a couple of days it’s easy to let that stretch into weeks. People tell themselves that it’s too late now, they’re so far off track there’s no getting back on. This is the wrong way to look at things. One or two bad days doesn’t equate to a week-long fail! You have to get back on track and forgive yourself. But how about putting a system in place so that this derailment of your healthy lifestyle doesn’t happen in the first place?
The following suggestions will help you to keep yourself (and your loved ones) on the straight and narrow when it comes to your dinner choices!
1. Prep ingredients. One of the major reasons for getting off track with our eating is because we don’t prep ahead of time. If you chop your veggies when you bring them home, that prep is done for you when you go to make supper. When you bring home a package of chicken breasts, slice them up before putting them in the fridge or freezer. Portion out your ground beef and freeze in individual portions. Do as much of this prep work as you can in advance so that meals can come together much more quickly.
2. Freezer meals. When we’re busy, we tend to let nutrition take a back seat. Freezer menus allow you to do all of your meal prep at once so that you have a great selection of meals to cook up fresh when your schedule is chaotic. Having some fabulous freezer meals on hand is a real gift when you need to get something on the table fast. It’s like reaching for a frozen entree, only without the chemicals, sodium and preservatives!
3. Use the slow cooker. I swear, that little appliance in your cupboard can add years to your life! I could not function nearly as efficiently in the kitchen without my slow cooker to help me on crazy days and I encourage you to use yours often. Again, throwing something in the slow cooker in the morning when you know supper is going to be crazy is just a wise thing to do and it will help prevent you from calling the local pizza place on those frantic days.
4. Plan ahead. Thousands of families around the world can attest to the fact that Menu-Mailer helps them to keep their kitchens running smoothly. Every week our Menu-Mailer members receive a complete set of recipes for the week including serving suggestions, nutrition information and the all-important shopping lists.
PS–I love the way the private Facebook groups keep members of our challenges on track! Whether it’s the 21 Day Knockout (going on now) or the 10-Day Paleo Blitz (coming soon!), the support in the Facebook communities is amazing. To learn more about the upcoming blitz, click here for all the details
By: Leanne Ely
When apple cider ferments, the sugar in that cider gets broken down by bacteria and yeast into alcohol. From there, the cider becomes vinegar. Apple cider vinegar, to be precise.
Cider vinegar adds a wonderful zip to recipes calling for white vinegar, and unlike white vinegar, it also has quite a good nutritional profile (and doesn’t contain GMOs).
And just to clarify, we are talking about organic, raw apple cider vinegar here. Since apples are at the top of the Dirty Dozen list, it has to be organic.
Health benefits of raw apple cider vinegar:
Lowers blood pressure. The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar may help lower high blood pressure.
Lowers cholesterol. Apple cider vinegar may help to lower levels of “bad” cholesterol in the body.
Regulates blood sugar. Studies have shown that diabetics who consume two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bed have significant positive changes in their blood sugar levels the next morning.
Apple cider vinegar also has many anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. It can help remove toxins from the body and it can even help you to become more regular! Apple cider vinegar is rich in potassium, can aid in weight loss, is great for your skin (I actually use it instead of a toner!) and it may even slow the growth of cancer cells.
Two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar per day is enough for you to experience these great health benefits. If you add some to your salad dressings and stir a bit into one of your daily servings of water, you won’t have any problem sneaking this nutritious acid into your diet.
But be warned–straight up apple cider vinegar is much too acidic to drink straight. It will eat the enamel off your teeth and damage your throat. But you can get apple cider vinegar capsules if you like, or you can dilute your cider vinegar in water before drinking it down.
Now, before I let you go, did you know that it’s Crock-Tober at Saving Dinner? It’s time to rock your crock! We’ll show you exactly how, you don’t want to miss this! Click here for details!
By: Leanne Ely
Getting adequate protein is essential for optimal health. Proteins are required for giving strength and structure to your body’s tissues and cells. We need protein to control biochemical reactions and to help the immune system run smoothly. Protein regulates the body’s metabolism, and they are also responsible for the regulation of hormones and the activities hormones control.
We need protein for cell division, which makes sure we always have a good supply of healthy new cells. And, of course, proteins are the building blocks of muscle.
The amount of protein you needs depends on your weight.
Unlike other nutritional requirements, the amount of protein you need depends on your weight. You need to do a little bit of math here. According to the USDA’s Dietary Reference Intakes, you need x grams of protein per kg of body weight per day.
To figure out your weight in kgs, divide your weight in pounds by 2.2.
So, if you weigh 150 pounds, you weigh 68.1 kgs.
For babies up to one year: 1 gram per kg/per day. So, if the baby weighs 11 kg, he or she needs 11 grams of protein per day.
Children 1–3: 0.87 g/kg/day
Children 4–13: 0.76 g/kg/day
Males 14–18: 0.73 g/kg/day
Females 14–18: 0.71 g/kg/day
All adults 19+: 0.66 g/kg/day
Expectant moms: 0.88 g/kg/day
Lactating women: 1.05 g/kg/day
So, if you are a 150 pound adult, you weigh 68 kgs and you need 46.3 grams of protein per day.
Clear as mud?
Now that you know how much protein you need (I’ll give you a minute to figure out the math!), it’s time to figure out where your best sources of protein are found.
Best sources of protein
Beef steak: 42 grams per 6 ounce
Chicken breast: 30 grams per 3.5-ounce serving
Hamburger patty: 28 grams per 4-ounce serving
Fish fillet: 22 grams per 3.- ounce serving
Tuna: 40 grams per 6-ounce can
Pork loin: 29 grams per 4-ounce serving
Other forms of protein:
Eggs: 6 grams per egg
Milk: 8 grams per cup
Cottage cheese: 15 grams per 0.5 cup
Yogurt: 8–10 grams per cup (check your label)
Almonds: 9 grams per 0.25 cup
Pumpkin seeds: 8 grams per 0.25 cup
Flax seeds: 8 grams per 0.25 cup
Your morning smoothie is a great way to start the day with a good shot of protein, but you have to be very careful about how you choose to get that protein into your blender! Many forms of protein powder are chock full of chemicals, GMOs and synthetic ingredients.
Our Saving Dinner Perfect Paleo Protein is my absolute favorite. And hands down, what I recommend! Especially with our 10 Day Paleo Blitz happening! Get yours now and join us!
Think Outside the Side Dish
by Leanne Ely
How many of us live in households where the dinner plate consists of a serving of meat, a starch and a small portion of vegetables?
Now that I eat a Paleo diet, my plate looks a lot different than it once did. No longer do we eat rice, couscous or pasta at my house.
When you live without grains and avoid starchy foods like potatoes, meals can be a little bit challenging for the first little while . . . until you learn to think outside the traditional side dish!
One of the best side effects of following a primarily protein- and veggie-based diet is that you get creative with your produce because, well, you need something to fill up that plate!
Vegetables around me live in fear because they know they will be eaten with wild, reckless abandon. I want you to live with that same passion for veggies so here’s a little inspiration to help you start thinking beyond starch.
Non-starch side dishes to explore
Bell peppers. Oh, how I adore a sauté of bell peppers and onions. Cooked in some butter or coconut oil with a sprinkle of sea salt and some ground pepper, this side dish is delicious with almost everything, but especially with grilled meats.
Greens. Look at salad as being worthy of taking up more space on your plate. I have written about salads many times, but I encourage you to experiment with the green stuff to see what you like best. Create a kale salad. Wilt a variety of chard and beet greens. Enjoy dandelion greens and spinach. There are more than enough greens to eat a different one each day!
Cauliflower. Roast it, steam it and puree it into a mash. I love my cauliflower and you will never catch me without this delicious vegetable in my fridge.
Sweet potatoes. Yes they’re starchy, but their nutritional profile makes sweet potatoes worthy of being enjoyed often. Roast them for best results!
Zucchini noodles. Did you know you can julienne zucchini into noodles? It’s true. What a great way to get in some more veggies while cutting out starchy sides.
Mushroom and zucchini. Sauté some zucchini and mushrooms together with whatever seasoning you like for a tasty treat. This makes a nice side dish for a spicy main.
Sliced cucumbers. Cool and refreshing cucumbers make a wonderful side dish for spicy curries. Why fill up on starchy rice when you can add more veggies to your diet?
Cabbage slaw. Finely sliced cabbage (red or green) mixed with a dressing of Greek yogurt, cider vinegar, honey and some sea salt & freshly ground black pepper makes a fantastic side dish. Guilt free, too!
What is your favorite non-starchy side dish?