Fostering Health Nutrition and Well-Being

Published on: 10/23/2023
rain and spots of light over an ocean
No matter where you live, who you are, what your daily routine looks like, your ethnicity, your religion, or what your future goals might look like today, we are all feeling the weight of the world right now. And it is heavy. It is devastating to the souls of all of us humans. It is overwhelming and numbing as we feel helpless and sad while searching for hope, peace, and much more. Focus on breathing, our families, our friends, how we can help, and how we can maintain our health, physically and emotionally, and we can continue to rise each day and be the best versions of ourselves.

Don’t look away. Don’t look down.
Don’t pretend not to see hurt.
Look people in the eye.
Even when their pain is overwhelming.
And when you are hurting and in pain, find the people who can look you in the eye.
We need to know we are not alone – especially when we are hurting.

~Brené Brown As a dietitian and health coach, I lean into the best ways to nourish yourself and those around you with healthy food and healthy habits to help you stay on your path to living your healthiest life. Constant news exposure affects our mental and physical well-being. From stress and anxiety, to possibly less energy to move and less desire to prepare healthy meals, we might not feel like our best selves lately. Keep in mind how any movement is always helpful, for both our physical and mental health. As our appetites at meals may have decreased, or if you are more of an emotional eater, balanced snacks can help you meet your daily nutritional goals and keep you energized. 

Healthy fibrous snacks contain a balance of protein plus produce. Produce is low in calories but rich in filling fiber and fluid. And high-protein foods help you feel satisfied for longer. When you skip meals or snacks throughout the day, you may slow your metabolism down as your body is still determining when the next meal is coming. A healthy snack keeps your metabolism burning at a higher rate, helping you reach your weight loss goals or manage your weight. As a bonus, you’ll add energy, vitamins, minerals, and yummy flavors to your day.

Some of my favorites include:

  • Small apple with a tablespoon of peanut butter
  • Cup of raw carrots with 1/4 cup of hummus or guacamole
  • 1-2 tablespoons of raisins with a handful of almonds
  • Part-skim ricotta cheese + a medium-sized pear
  • Low-fat cottage cheese + a cup of cubed pineapple
  • Hard-boiled egg + red pepper slices

Do your best to avoid the following foods, which do not provide much nutrition:

  • Potato chips – these salty snacks are hard to stop at one serving. Plus, only one gram of fiber does not help fill you up, so you often keep going and going. At 10 grams of fat per serving, the calories will add up, creating more of a roadblock on your weight loss journey.
  • Peanut butter or cheese mini cracker sandwiches – I hear about these often from clients snacking on the go. These little tempting sandwich snacks barely contain any protein or fiber and are high in both fat and saturated fat. Raisins and almonds are a healthier protein + produce on-the-go option.
  • Granola bars may contain healthy whole-food ingredients like oats and nuts, but can also be loaded with sugar, oil, and additives. Highly processed foods can creep their way into your diet, even when you’re trying to make healthier choices, like a granola bar. Try 1/4 cup of walnuts and a small box of raisins instead, still getting crunchy sweetness, without the additional sugar, oil, and additives. Be choosy when choosing a granola bar! Many fit into a healthy meal plan and many do not so much.

Are you feeling the weight of the world or are you truly hungry for a snack? Here are some tips to help you decipher what you are experiencing, so you can make the healthiest choice:

  • Listen to Your Body – When you get a craving, assess if you are actually hungry. Gauging your hunger helps you decide if you should eat, and how much.
  • Understand Your Triggers – A trigger is any cue that makes you want food. It can be a person, a thought, a place, a time, or a feeling.
  • Practice Mindful Breathing – Sit somewhere you won’t be disturbed. Get comfortable. Then simply focus on your breath—in and out. When your mind starts to wander, bring it back to your breath. This soothing routine can relieve stress and help you gain control of your body and mind.
  • Surf the Urge – Cravings, like all feelings, will come and go. No feeling lasts forever. Cravings usually disappear after you eat. Or they vanish on their own in just 10-20 minutes. When you get a craving, remind yourself that this feeling is only temporary.
  • Ride the Wave – After you’ve surfed the urge, ride the wave. Before caving into a craving, wait 20 minutes for the urge to pass. If it hasn’t gone away, you might actually be hungry—or really want that snack. At that point, you can decide if you want to eat.
  • Put Up a Yield Sign – You could use an actual “Yield” sign or anything that empowers you to pause. Place it on your fridge, your pantry, or anywhere you feel it might be powerful. It can remind you to slow down and check in with yourself before you turn to food.

The balance of staying informed and staying healthy is so important for your many todays and tomorrows.  Here is to nourishing yourself with self-love, healthy foods, the closeness of family and friends, and lots of hugs. ❤️

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SUNDAY BAGEL SALAD
In many Jewish households, a classic Sunday morning brunch often features bagels and lox. Despite the recent low-carb trend, the toppings you typically enjoy on a bagel are just as delicious as the bagel itself. Yes, bagels can fit within a healthy meal plan, but they come with a cost of over 300 calories and 60 grams of carbs on average. This bagel salad is a satisfying and tasty way to enjoy the sensational bagel flavors more often, as part of a healthy brunch, lunch, or dinner. 🥗

INGREDIENTS
Dressing:
3 ounces cream cheese, reduced fat, softened to room temperature
1 teaspoon spicy brown mustard
3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 Tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 Tablespoon water
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Salad:
2 cups salad greens
1-ounce Swiss cheese, reduced-fat
2 ounces Nova lox
2 Tablespoons chopped red onion
½ Roma tomato, chopped
Everything But the Bagel seasoning, optional
½ cup Pumpernickel croutons – see recipe below

PREPARATION
For the dressing – Place the cream cheese through pepper in a blender and blend until smooth. Taste and add more pepper if desired. This makes 2 cups of dressing. Use ¼ cup for the recipe.
For the salad – Place the salad greens in a bowl. Toss with a ¼ cup of the prepared dressing. Place the Swiss cheese on a flat surface. Place the lox on top of the cheese and roll up together the short way. Slice into circles and place on top of salad greens. Sprinkle red onions, tomatoes, and pumpernickel croutons on top. As desired, add Everything But the Bagel seasoning and a touch more of the dressing. Who needs a bagel?! Makes 1 meal serving or 2 side salad servings.

Pumpernickel croutons 
INGREDIENTS: 
3 slices of pumpernickel bread
2 Tablespoons olive oil
salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste
PREPARATION: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Slice the pumpernickel bread into 1-inch cubes. Place cubes in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add the oil and seasonings and toss well to coat. Spread the cubes out evenly on a sheet pan. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 10-15 minutes, tossing halfway through. Remove from oven and let cool. Use a half-cup for the recipe and store leftovers in an airtight container for 4-5 days.


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CORNY SWEET POTATO FRIES
I named these fries for their cornmeal dusting, which adds quite a tasty coating to this sweet and crispy combination. The malt vinegar dip is a zingy and protein-packing side that completes this dish. These oven-fried potatoes are not only delicious but also a fun and nutritious way to enjoy nutrient-dense sweet potatoes. They’re an excellent choice as a side dish to grilled chicken (or chicken wings when it is game time 🏈), complemented by fresh veggies that pair nicely with the side dip.

INGREDIENTS
Dip:
½ cup nonfat Greek yogurt, plain
1 ½ Tablespoons malt vinegar
Fries:
¼ cup cornmeal
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
3 small or 2 medium sweet potatoes, washed and peeled, sliced into thin strips
2 Tablespoons olive oil

PREPARATION
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. 
Dip:
In a small serving bowl, mix the yogurt and vinegar, stirring until well blended. Cover and chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve. 
Fries:
In a small mixing bowl, add the cornmeal, salt, garlic powder, pepper, and paprika. Mix until well combined. 
Cover a large-rimmed baking sheet with nonstick foil and set aside. Place prepared sweet potatoes into a large mixing bowl. Add the olive oil and toss well until combined (I think using your clean hands works best here). Add the spice mixture and toss well to coat all the soon-to-be fries. Spread the potatoes onto the prepared baking sheet. Place in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes, tossing every 5-6 minutes. 
Place sweet potato fries on a serving dish and serve with the prepared dip. Enjoy! 
Makes approximately 4 side-dish servings.


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APPLE AND POMEGRANATE COCKTAIL
This is a new version of my fall cocktail from last Thanksgiving, with an apple twist for October. This recipe is adaptable for various group sizes; it’s easy to prepare for a small group and can be easily scaled up for larger gatherings or downsized for just one or two people. 🍎 🍎

INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 cups apple juice, no sugar added
1/2 cup pomegranate juice, no sugar added
1 cup sparkling water
9 ounces of vodka (1.5 ounces per serving or 1 shot glass)
ice cubes
½ apple, cut into 6 thin slices
1 cup cranberries
6 sprigs fresh rosemary

PREPARATION
Pour apple juice, pomegranate juice, and sparkling water into a small pitcher. Stir well. Add the vodka and ice cubes and stir again. Pour into 6 cocktail glasses. Cut a small hole in the center of each apple slice. Slide a rosemary spring halfway through each apple slice. Garnish each glass with the rosemary sprig and apple slice and about a tablespoon of cranberries. Sip slowly, as this goes down with ease… Makes 6 servings.


For comments, thoughts, consultations, requests, or anything else you feel the need to share, please do: amy@rebelliousrd.com or visit me at rebelliousrd.com.

REFERENCES:

  • Warren JM, Smith N, Ashwell M. A structured literature review on the role of mindfulness, mindful eating and intuitive eating in changing eating behaviours: effectiveness and associated potential mechanisms. Nutr Res Rev. 2017 Dec;30(2):272–283. doi: 10.1017/S0954422417000154. Epub 2017 Jul 18. PMID: 28718396.
  • https://www.headspace.com/meditation/how-to-relax

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With a longstanding dedication to healthy cooking and eating, I promote nutrition with a rebellious twist: the belief that perfection is not required for success on your wellness journey. 

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