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Spring Cleaning for Your Kitchen Cabinets

One favorite you’ll always find in my fridge!

We made it to the first Motivation Monday of April!

Ironically after last week’s post about when it’s time to skip the workout, I got hit with a virus and the whole week turned into a blur of sniffles and crazy work deadlines. That means today’s post will be extra short and sweet featuring one easy tip on how you can get your healthy eating plans in shape for the season. Many of us are getting into spring cleaning mode. So as you prepare to clean out the closets and drawers, don’t forget to give the pantry and kitchen cabinets a once over, too!

If you still have leftover holiday candy taking up space on the shelves, now’s a good time to bring those treats to the office where they’re guaranteed to be gobbled up quickly. (Better than you being tempted to eat an entire box of empty calories, right?) Of course, anything existing beyond an expiration date should just be tossed.

While you purge those food-filled spaces, it’s also a good time to take stock of what’s in your fridge and what you can add for a little variety. This is the time of year when lots of colorful fruits and veggies are at their peak and can add some flair to your daily menu. As you head to the grocery store or local farmer’s market, remember to fill your basket with a variety of color ranging from red to green to make sure you’re taking in a wide variety of vitamins, minerals and phytochemical. (Those are the plant chemicals known for helping to fight and prevent disease.) Here are a few ideas to freshen up your diet:

Rainbow chard: Getting bored with spinach? Try substituting your soups or stir-fries with this colorful veggie  packed with nutrients like vitamins C and K, potassium, and iron.

Arugula: This is my favorite leafy green. (Sorry, kale!) It’s a little bitter with hints of pepper and mustard flavors. One half cup of fresh arugula has 2 calories, vitamins A, C, K, and folate. Arugula also contains the antioxidant lutein, which is known to benefit the heart, eyes and skin.

Strawberries: One serving – that’s eight strawberries – has more vitamin C than an orange! They also contain powerful anti-inflammatory antioxidants called anthocyanins. If you’re craving something sweet and don’t want the side order of guilt,  strawberries make a great dessert, too.

Mangos:  Another sweet treat, one cup of sliced mango has 107 calories and three grams of fiber. They’re also packed with antioxidant vitamins A and C and also contain vitamins E, B6, K, and potassium. Mangos contain plant chemicals called flavonoids, which may help control high blood pressure and help reduce the risk of heart disease.

What healthy foods do you look forward to enjoying at this time of year? Whatever is on your menu, now’s the time to look forward to a new month filled with healthy foods and all our plans to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Here’s to a Happy and Healthy Holiday Season!

holiday-party-picWe’re in the thick of it now. The 2016 holiday season has officially begun.

This is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. However, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when we’re bombarded with end-of-year deadlines and all those extra items on our already endless to-do lists. Throw in the shorter days, colder temperatures and more than a few extra calories courtesy of all those holiday get-togethers and it can be tempting to say “Well, the rest of the year is a wash. I’ll just start my healthy habits again in January.” On this Motivation Monday, I’m here with a few simple words of encouragement: you’re better than that.

Is this the time of year for enjoying seasonal favorites like Christmas cookies, holiday-themed cocktails and a smorgasbord of decadent appetizers?Absolutely! Does that mean every day from now until January 1st needs to be a free-for-all? Absolutely not! A little planning and a few tricks can help you stay on track. Here are my top tips to get you through the season ahead:

  1. Do NOT skip meals! I admit I used to do this a lot in my “younger” days. If I had a party to go to after work, I’d skimp all day and save up for the big event. This never worked out well, as I always arrived super hungry and filled up on the first high-calorie items I could get my hands on. A better plan? Eat breakfast and small meals every few hours throughout the day so you keep your blood sugar levels steady and you don’t feel the need to attack the buffet.
  2. Get Sneaky About Exercise: Now’s the time to park the car a little farther away from the entrance to the office or mall and/or take the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator. If your schedule forces you to switch things up, taking a brief and brisk walk in the morning is better than getting no activity at all – especially if you have to skip your favorite group exercise class to make it to a social event right after a long day at work.
  3. Stock Up on Healthy Seasonal Favorites: ‘Tis the season to enjoy portable, sensible snacks including apples, pears and grapes. When you have time to make a meal, broccoli, butternut squash and Brussels sprouts are all in season and ready to enjoy.

Remember, while it’s okay to indulge and enjoy what’s left of 2016, a few simple steps can keep you from completely throwing in the towel on your plans to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

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