Posts Tagged ‘healthy eating’
Visiting the farmers market during summer months is always a delight because one of my favorite farmers picks out a watermelon for me to enjoy during the next week. When fresh, crisp and sweet, I find watermelon as enjoyable as a bowl of ice cream. And yes — I still enjoy naturally made ice cream or frozen yogurt from time to time. But I balance those treats out with fresh fruit. And during the summer, I do everything I can to enjoy watermelon for all it’s worth.
Studies have revealed that besides being delicious, watermelon delivers several health benefits, including being an excellent source of Vitamin C as well as a good source of Vitamins A and B6. It also contains the carotenoid antioxidant lycopene, which can help neutralize free radicals and help prevent prostate cancer. Watermelon has been shown to reduce the risk of other types of cancers as well. Plus, its high water content makes it great for hydration. What’s more, it’s a terrific dessert or snack for kids and can help them understand that not every “treat” has to come covered in fudge.
When given the option at the farmers market, I always go for seedless watermelon. I’m not a happy camper if I must interrupt my chewing with spitting seeds into a nearby napkin (even though I suppose it burns a few more calories).
According to produce specialists, Mid-June through mid-August is when watermelon is at its ripest (with July being the most prized month of all). So let’s go watermelon shopping, shall we?
When picking a whole watermelon, size matters since 80% of a watermelon is water. Pick one of the largest you can find, while making sure the exterior doesn’t have any visible cuts, bruising, dents or soft spots. Experts also suggest looking for a yellowish area on the melon’s exterior, which indicates its ripeness after sitting in the sun.
Next, do what you’ve likely seen other shoppers do — knock-knock on the exterior with your knuckle. You’re listening for a slight echo to your knock, which indicates that the fruit is ripe. A dull thud could indicate otherwise.
When preparing watermelon for guests, or myself, I make sure to make the eating experience as relaxed and “special” as possible — therefore I don’t usually serve it in wedges. Giving food a more delectable presentation is something I strive for almost every time I eat. This helps my brain, eyes and other senses know that I’m eating, which helps ‘up’ the enjoyment factor — and, therefore, the satisfaction and fullness factors.
I suggest slicing watermelon into quarters, length wise, then taking a quarter and carefully running a knife along the red center’s outer edge and the whiteness of the rind. Cut all the way around on both sides, so that the whole quarter of the red stuff could slip out. But don’t slip it out just yet. Next, cut the fruit from side to side, on both exposed sides of the quarter. Finally, cut across your long slices, from left to right, leaving about 1/2 to 2/3 of an inch between each slice.
Next, slide your perfectly prepared chunks into serving bowls. But before you serve the fruit, put the bowls into the freezer for 5-10 minutes to give the fruit an extra kick of crispiness.
When time to serve, pull the bowls from the freezer and serve with a napkin underneath (to keep the bowl from being too chilly to the touch). The watermelon chunks should have a minimal layer of frost that kicks up the flavor and the crunchy quotient, making for a texture-y, sweet and delicious eating experience. (Careful not to keep the chunks in the freezer too long or the pieces will freeze and require a little defrosting before being comfortably edible).
Saving the uneaten portion of the watermelon can be handled two ways — either by “chunking up” the remaining portion and putting it into airtight containers and storing in the fridge; or wrapping up the other half or quarters (rind and all) in cellophane wrap and then wrapping them in an additional plastic bag before putting into the fridge (to avoid having to clean up leaked watermelon juice at a later time). Plan on consuming the leftover fruit sooner rather than later to enjoy it at its freshest.
Watermelon. When enjoyed at its peak, it can kick ice cream’s butt anytime. Or, at the very least, tie it in deliciousness.
Today’s reminder? There’s no one, singular way to reach your goals — no matter if those goals are health-, career- or relationship-oriented. Everyone’s path to their weight loss success will be different (even when participating with friends on a similar diet or healthy eating program).
The key to true dieting success lies in learning to listen to our bodies (and then responding accordingly). This alone dictates that there will be individual aspects to every journey. So try not to compare your path to someone else’s (much less their success to yours). You’ve got it going on — whether at the beginning, in the middle or at the end of your weight loss journey. (And if you’re anything like me, you know that journey never really ends.)
So celebrate your individuality and your individual path. There’s no one way. There’s no singular right way. There is your way. And that’s what really matters.
Photo Source: Pinterest
Longtime readers know that I’m always reminding people wanting to lose excess weight that getting enough sleep is one of the four tenants to lasting health (along with healthy eating, exercise and drinking enough water). But for many of us, getting a good night’s sleep is something that’s easier said (and/or dreamed about) than done. What seems like a 24-hour work cycle keeps us all on our toes night and day. And many of us end up robbing much-needed rest time in order to be able to accomplish everything we “need” to get done. But make no mistake, sleep is essential.
WebMD has this Sleep Checklist, shared above, that might prove beneficial to those of us wanting to improve our sleep habits (and time). Although I must point out that my loyal sidekick, Latte, does not agree with the third tip from the bottom. But as with any check- or idea-list, we can pick and choose the suggestions that resonate with us and ignore the rest. Even so, there are some good ideas here for catching more Zzzzs and improving our overall health. You can read more about WebMD’s Better Sleep Checklist by clicking here.
And to all? A good night!
Photo Source: WedMD
Please excuse the coarse language… But I am really moved by this meme and thought maybe some of you would be, too. How many thoughts and voices are we carrying around in our heads that are telling us we’re not good enough or that our dreams and goals don’t matter? Yes, we’ve all been through a lot of stuff in our past. Some of it good. Some of it very challenging. And some of it we wish we could do-over. But that was then and this is now.
Today is a new day — a real chance to let that old crap go and move forward with a free and spirited heart. What we can see, we can be. Whether or not that has to do with our commitment to healthy eating, exercise or another dream or goal that we deserve. So let go of what was and celebrate what is: beautiful, wonderful you.
(And yes, you matter!)
Nutrition guru Joy Bauer has always been someone who inspires me. And lucky for us Just Stoppers, she’s allowed me to feature one of the delicious recipes from her new best selling book, From Junk Food to Joy Food, here. This Frozen Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cups recipe takes all the guilt out of a decadent treat and is a blast to make. And the best part? We don’t have to “go off” of our diets or healthy eating plans to make and enjoy it. Joy also uses all natural ingredients in the recipe, which is always a big plus.
From Junk Food to Joy Food is loaded with these kinds of recipe makeovers — the kind that take everyday favorites (usually loaded with calories, salt, etc.) and swaps them out for brand new, healthier versions of the recipes (each of which guarantees the same amount of flavor and satisfaction — but without the food hangover). And no, this is not a paid endorsement. Although I’d happily bribe Joy for being gracious enough to let me share this recipe.
For more information on From Junk Food to Joy Food, click here. And for more recipes and tips from Joy herself, you can click to her website. In the meantime, if you try the recipe below, please be sure to invite me over!
JOY BAUER’S FROZEN CHOCOLATE–PEANUT BUTTER CUPS
Junk Food version (before): 290 calories
Joy Food version (after): 165 calories
1 ripe banana
¼ cup creamy nut or seed butter (peanut, almond, sunflower seed, etc.)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup dark chocolate chips, or 3-ounce dark chocolate bar
¼ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
In a small bowl, mix together the banana, nut butter, and vanilla. Mash everything together well and set aside.
Place 6 liners in a muffin tin and spray the liners liberally with nonstick oil spray. Silicone muffin liners work best, as it’s easier to remove the chocolate when it’s time to eat. Set the muffin tin aside.
In a saucepan, melt the chocolate and almond milk on medium heat, stirring constantly.
Once the chocolate is smooth, add a generous tablespoon of the mixture to the bottom of each muffin liner. Then stick the muffin tin in the freezer to firm up the chocolate (about 10 minutes).
Once the chocolate is firm, distribute the banana filling evenly among the muffin cups and spread the filling out with your fingers. Then split the remaining chocolate among the cups, using your fingers to spread each layer evenly.
Place the tin back in the freezer for at least 4 hours (overnight works best).
When you’re ready to eat, pop each cup out of its liner and serve immediately!
(Makes 6 servings.)
Photo Source: Joy Bauer