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Eat a Rainbow – Go Green

Last week I introduced you to the idea of “Eating a Rainbow“. As a brief review, eating the rainbow means consuming a variety of fruits and vegetables from 5 different color groups to ensure you get all of the vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients you need to keep you healthy.

This week we are exploring the GREEN group of fruits and vegetables.

Green fruits and veggies are loaded with health enhancing compounds including:

  • Lutein-an antioxidant that helps reduce inflammation, fight cancer, and protect the eye from damage from the sun, blue light, cataracts, and macular degeneration
  • Folate-also known as vitamin B-9, an important factor in red blood cell formation, health cell development, treating depression, and preventing birth defects
  • Vitamin K-a vitamin necessary in the clotting of blood
  • Isothiocyanate-a group of phytonutrients that help fight the effects of carcinogens, cancer causing agents
  • Chlorophyll-a powerful antioxidant
  • Insoluble Fiber-helps support a healthy digestive system

It is important to remember that some vitamins, minerals, and other compounds found in these fruits and vegetables can interfere with certain medical conditions and medications, so it is best to talk to your medical professional about which green fruits and veggies are safe for you to include in your diet.

Fruits and vegetables in the green color group can help prevent cancer, reduce inflammation in the body, support healthy digestion, promote eye health, and boost the immune system. They are a delicious addition to your daily diet and add 1-2 servings per day can help ensure you meet the minimum daily requirement for 5-7 servings of fruits and vegetables per day.

Check out these recipes designed to help you add more green to your diet:

Bok Choy and Radish Coleslaw

Brussels Sprout, Kale, and Mango Salad


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Bok Choy and Radish Coleslaw

A member of the cabbage family, bok choy, is a leafy green vegetable loaded with vitamins A and C, minerals such as folate, iron, and calcium, as well as phytonutrients.

Less bitter than kale and more flavorful than collard greens, bok choy, can help: prevent cancer, reduce inflammation, strengthen bones, and support eye health.

Bok choy goes well with most types of Asian foods, especially stir fry, and makes a a terrific substitute for cabbage in slaws and salads.

Bok Choy and Radish Coleslaw

Ingredients:
  • 1 pound baby bok choy*, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 pound daikon radish, peopled ams cut into matchsticks
  • 1 bunch red radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup mint, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup basil, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 6 Tablespoons soy sauce**
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions:
  1. Combine bok choy, onion, daikon, red radish, mint, and basil in a large bowl.
  2. Combine the lime juice, mustard and soy sauce in a blender. Blend on high. While the motor is running, slowly drizzle in the oil until it is fully incorporated.
  3. Pour the dressing mixture over the vegetables and toss to coat.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Refrigerate for 30 minutes
  6. When ready to serve remove from the refrigerator and drain excess liquid.

*You can use Napa cabbage in place of bok choy

**You can replace soy sauce with tamari or fish sauce

Serves 4

Enjoy!


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Strawberry Caprese Salad Skewers

Strawberries are one of my favorite things about summer. As a child I picked strawberries to earn spending money, I think I ate more than I picked, but fortunately we were not charged for eating the profits.

There is something about the strawberry’s sweetness and slight tanginess that appeals to me and I try to make good use of them in my summer recipes.

The great thing about strawberries is that not only are they delicious, but they are packed with nutrients as well! Strawberries are loaded with antioxidants. Antioxidants help prevent damage to the body’s cells and can reduce the risk of heart disease, improve cognitive function (aka improve memory), protect the eyes from diseases like macular degeneration and cataracts, and even help prevent cancer. Strawberries also contain high levels of Vitamin C which supports immune system function. In addition, strawberries contain potassium and magnesium which can aid in lowing blood pressure.

One of my favorite summer strawberry recipes is Strawberry Caprese Salad Skewers. Creamy mozzarella combines with sweet strawberries, tangy tomatoes and crisp basil topped with a sweet tang of balsamic vinegar. This is a fun delicious recipe that makes a terrific appetizer or side dish for a picnic or summer potluck.

Strawberry Caprese Salad Skewers

  • Ingredients:
  • Marinade:
    • 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar, plain or strawberry infused
      2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
      Salt and pepper to taste

    Skewers:

    • 8 bamboo skewers, 6-8″ long
    • 24 ciliegine mozzarella balls
    • 24 cherry tomatoes, washed and dried
    • 16 strawberries, washed, dried and halved
    • 2 large bunches sweet basil, enough for 24 leaves, washed and dried
    • 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
    Instructions:
      Whisk together balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a medium sized bowl.
      Add mozzarella balls and marinade in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours.
      Wash and dry tomatoes, strawberries, and basil.
      To make skewers, slide 1 strawberry half to the end of the skewer followed by 1 basil leaf, 1 mozzarella ball, and finally 1 tomato, repeat 2 more times and finish with an additional half strawberry . Repeat the process for all 8 skewers.
      To serve, arrange skewers on a serving tray and drizzle with additional balsamic vinegar.

    If you do not want to go to the trouble of making skewers, combine marinade, mozzarella, tomatoes, strawberries, and 1/3 cup thinly sliced basil leaves in a bowl and gently mix. Serve over spinach or kale.

    ENJOY!


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    Pineapple and Papaya Salsa

    Salsa is a fun and delicious way to add fruits and vegetables to your diet. Whether they are made with tomatoes, peppers, or tropical fruits like the recipe today, salsa can be eaten alone, with tortilla chips (in moderation of course), or used to garnish fish, meat, tofu, or eggs.

    This pineapple and papaya salsa is loaded with beta-carotene, vitamin C, and enzymes that can help support and improve digestion.

    Pineapple and Papaya Salsa

    Ingredients:
    • 2 cups pineapple, cut into 1/2″ chunks
    • 2 cups papaya*, cut into 1/2″ chunks
    • 1/2 medium red onion, chopped
    • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
    • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
    • 2 tablespoons pepitas
    • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 teaspoon lime zest
    • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • Instructions:
    • Combine all ingredients in a nonmetal bowl and mix well.
    • Cover and place in refrigerator for 4-6 hours to allow flavors to mingle.

    Serving size= 2 Tablespoons

    Serve over chicken, pork tenderloin, grilled tofu, or a green salad in place of dressing.

    * If papaya is unavailable try mangos. Yum!


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    Take a Few Minutes to Relax this Summer

    Summertime is full of fun activities: picnics, pool parties, days at the beach, and family vacations give us the opportunity to get outside, enjoy nature and spend time with love ones. But summer fun can also lead to stress. Make sure you take 10-15 minutes every day to sit back and relax without distractions. Try this quick meditation to chill out and get your “me-time” fix:


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    Road Trippin’ Nutrition

    Summer is here and that means, vacation time! If your summer vacation involves a road trip, you may be tempted to leave your good nutrition habits at home. But, with a little bit of preplanning you can have room in the car for your luggage and your nutritional goals.

    Here are a few tips to help you stay on track on the road.

    1. Pack a cooler – Between luggage, golf clubs, beach umbrellas, and the floaty unicorn, space in the car can be limited, but leaving space in the front seat for a small cooler let’s you pack quick and healthy snacks that are easy to eat in the car. Pack snack size bags of bell pepper slices, carrot sticks, broccoli, blueberries, apple slices, raw nuts, or any other healthy finger foods. Protein bars or shakes, beef/chicken jerky, or freeze dried soy beans are great ways to add protein. Don’t forget to include a few bottles of water as well. Packing a cooler not only keeps your nutrition on point, but you will save time and money by not stopping to eat at less than healthy roadside establishments. For some inspiration, check out my Road Trippin’ Trail Mix recipe.
    2. Make smart convenience store choices – Eventually you are going to have to stop for gas. Fuel station convenience stores are full of snack options, unfortunately most of them are loaded with fat, sugar, and preservatives, but with a small amount of effort you can find healthy and tasty options. Most stores have refrigerated sections where you can find protein shakes, yogurt, fruit bowls, and my favorite, string cheese! If you simply MUST have some “junk food” opt for baked chips/cheese puffs, pretzels, or plain popcorn. Avoid the pitfalls of sugary drinks by choosing bottled water (I like sparkling water for variety) or unsweetened tea/coffee.
    3. Eat out smart – Healthy snacks are only going to get you so far down the road. You are going to have to stop somewhere to eat a real meal. Whether it’s a fast food joint or a roadside cafe, look for the best possible option when it comes to your nutritional goals. Most places have a few different salad options, even if a “salad” consists of lettuce, 2 tomato wedges, a slice of cucumber, and shredded cheese, add some protein and your good to go. If possible pass up the greasy burger and go for a grilled chicken sandwich instead. While you’re at it, only eat 1/2 of the bun or skip it altogether. It’s best to live without the fries, but it is vacation so if you must, order a small size and share it with your car-mate.
    4. Make a list of healthy options – Before you leave for your trip, make a list of potential snacks and meals. Having a list of healthy options handy when you go into the convenience store makes it easier to avoid the temptation of hot dogs and Twinkies. Also, do some research to find out what restaurants are on your route and what their menus offer. Make an effort to schedule your meal breaks at the restaurants with the healthiest options.

    Your nutritional goals don’t have to stay at home when you go on vacation. With a little planning, you can make sure you have room for healthy habits and the unicorn floaty.

    Wherever you roam, have fun, be safe, and have a happy, healthy trip!


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    Road Trippin Trail Mix

    Having a quick, easy to eat, healthy snack when your on the road can help you stick to your nutrition goals. This recipe combines healthy nuts and antioxidant laden blueberries with freeze dried soy beans for protein, and dark chocolate nibs for a little treat.

    Ingredients:

    • 1/2 cup freeze dried blueberries
    • 1/2 cup freeze dried soy beans or lentils
    • 1/4 cup dried cherries, unsweetened
    • 1/4 cup raw almonds
    • 1/4 cup raw walnuts
    • 1/4 cup raw cashews
    • 1/4 cup pepitas or sunflower seeds, shelled
    • 1/4 cup dark chocolate nibs, optional

    -Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Measure by 1/4 cup into 10 individual containers/snack bags.

    *Add variety by changing up the nuts. Pistachios, hazelnuts, or Brazil nuts are great options.


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    Chocolate Mint Smoothie

  • There is nothing quite like a scoop of mint chocolate ice cream on a hot summer day. Unfortunately, ice cream is not the healthiest way to relax and cool off.
  • This recipe combines delicious chocolate protein with cooling mint for a tasty and healthy summer treat.
  • Not only do the mint leaves pack a powerful antioxidant punch, but mint also helps improve digestion, boost liver function, and lower body temperature (yep, eating mint actually makes you cool)!
  • The avocado adds a creamy consistency while providing a healthy dose of fat!
  • I love this smoothie after a long day in the heat when I need some nutrition but don’t feel like eating a meal.
  • Chocolate Mint Protein Smoothie

    Ingredients:

    2 cups organic spinach (or kale if you like stronger greens)

  • 1-1/2 cup milk (unsweetened almond or coconut work great, but you can use nonfat dairy milk if you prefer; water works too)
  • 1 cup ice (more or less, for desired thickness)
  • ½ avocado, pit and skin removed
  • 1 scoop Chocolate PureTrim Mediterranean Wellness Shakes*
  • ¼ cup fresh mint leaves, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon dark chocolate chips or cacao nibs
  • Directions:
    • Combine all ingredients in a power blend per and blend until smooth.
      Sit back, cool off, and enjoy!

    *PureTrim shakes contain 21 grams of vegan protein, antioxidants, a blend of essential fatty acids, probiotics, and less than 8 grams of net carbs. Oh yeah, and they actually taste great too! Order yours now!

    Don’t forget to check out our other healthy, yummy recipes on our Recipes page!


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    Chocolate Mint Smoothie

  • There is nothing quite like a scoop of mint chocolate ice cream on a hot summer day. Unfortunately, ice cream is not the healthiest way to relax and cool off.
  • This recipe combines delicious chocolate protein with cooling mint for a tasty and healthy summer treat.
  • Not only do the mint leaves pack a powerful antioxidant punch, but mint also helps improve digestion, boost liver function, and lower body temperature (yep, eating mint actually makes you cool)!
  • The avocado adds a creamy consistency while providing a healthy dose of fat!
  • I love this smoothie after a long hot day when I need some nutrition but don’t feel like eating a meal.
  • Chocolate Mint Protein Smoothie

    Ingredients:

    2 cups organic spinach (or kale if you like stronger greens)

  • 1-1/2 cup milk (unsweetened almond or coconut work great, but you can use nonfat dairy milk if you prefer; water works too)
  • 1 cup ice (more or less, for desired thickness)
  • ½ avocado, pitted and skin removed
  • 1 packet Chocolate PureTrim Mediterranean Wellness Shakes*
  • ¼ cup fresh mint leaves, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon dark chocolate chips or cacao nibs
  • Directions:
    • Combine all ingredients in a power blender and blend until smooth.
      Sit back, cool off, and enjoy!

    *PureTrim shakes contain 21 grams of vegan protein, antioxidants, a blend of essential fatty acids, probiotics, and less than 8 grams of net carbs. Oh yeah, and they actually taste great too! Order yours now!

    Don’t forget to check out our other healthy, yummy recipes on our Recipes page!


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    3 Tips for Preventing Vacation Weight Gain

    Summer is here. For many of us that means weeks (or months) of dieting and extra trips to the gym to “get in shape” for our summer vacation. We cut the carbs, suffer through bowls of dressing free lettuce, trade our lattes for black coffee, and schlog through hours of treadmill interval workouts just so we can look good in our swimsuit, only to ruin our hard won efforts as soon as we reach our destination.

    Summer vacation does not have to mean weight gain. Implementing 3 simple techniques can help you maintain your pre-vaca physique. All without giving up the food and fun of your trip.

    Technique #1 – Eat slowly

    Taking time to eat slowly and savor your meals can help prevent overeating. Research shows that people who eat slowly and mindfully, aka focusing on what you’re eating, consume fewer calories than individuals who scarf down a meal. Take time to enjoy every meal. You are on vacation after all, why not make the most of each moment including meal time.

    Technique 1A – Take a bite of food then put your fork down. Savor the bite. How does it taste? What flavors do you notice? Do you even like it? If not, stop eating it. Chew slowly, swallow, take a breath, repeat.

    Technique #2 – Eat until 80% full

    Vacation often offers the opportunity to partake of foods we normally would not eat at home. Unfortunately, we often over do it by justifying it’s ok because we are “on vacation”. This is a sure way to regain pre-vacation weight losses. Eating until your a 80% full allows you to enjoy your favorite vacation foods while reducing the amount of calories you would ordinarily ingest. This applies to alcohol and sugary beverages as well. For example, if you would normally drink 3-4 alcohol drinks per day on vacation cut it back to 2-3 (or less).

    Technique 2A – Ordering a variety of appetizers rather than an entree is a terrific way to sample all the culinary delights your destination has to offer while allowing you to eat smaller portions.

    Technique #3 – Keep Moving

    Vacation time can be a terrific excuse to skip your workouts, but it is those workouts that got you into summer shape to begin with, so don’t ditch them entirely. You don’t have to hit the gym. Walking can be a great way to burn calories while on vacation. Try walking to dinner rather than taking a cab, take a walking tour of the city, bike ride through the countryside, kayak around the lake, splash and play in the hotel pool, or create a 10-15 min HIIT routine you can do in your hotel room. Being active for 15-20 minutes or more each day while you are on vacation can go a long way in preventing vacation weight gain.

    Staying healthy and keeping your weight in check while on vacation does not have to mean giving up trying and enjoying new foods or spending time locked inside the gym. Adding these 3 techniques to your vacation itinerary can insure you look as good (or better) after your trip as you did before.

    Are you ready to learn more nutritional habits that can have you looking and feeling your best? Then our Nutritional Coaching program is for you! Visit our website to learn more and get signed up: I’m ready to feel great!

    Have a happy, healthy vacation!!