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Maximize the End of 2018

Where does the time go?

It doesn’t seem possible, at least to me, but this Motivation Monday brings us to week 45 of 2018. If someone can explain how we only have seven weeks left in the year, please clue me in. I do find some comfort knowing many people share my sentiment that this year flew by faster than others in recent memory. Maybe it’s because here in New York, we had a not-so-hot spring, followed by a rainy summer and now we’re in the thick of darker, chillier days. Or maybe it’s just a symptom of getting older with each week bringing more responsibilities and more headaches than we remember as kids. Whatever the reason, now’s the time to embrace a take-charge attitude when it comes to your health and making sure 2018 ends on a high note.

Some of you might be thinking, “Laura, you do realize we’re about five minutes away from the start of another holiday season, right?” I do indeed. In fact, with Thanksgiving only 10 days away, there’s no time like the present to make some plans to do what you can to make healthy choices before the onslaught of festivities, food and cheer fill our calendars and our stomachs!

Am I saying now’s the time to re-arrange your entire life when it’s going to be re-arranged by that barrage of holiday happenings? Heck no! I simply want to encourage everyone to remember as the days grow more hectic, it’s even more important to carve out even 10 minutes for yourself to keep yourself physically and mentally focused. Here are three easy tips on how to keep being good to yourself as the year winds down:

  • Maintain Healthy Shopping Habits: Be sure there are fruits, veggies and whole grains on your holiday food shopping list. It’s okay if you want to bake cookies for your kids’ class party or neighbors’ holiday get-together. Just don’t skimp on the healthy stuff to keep your immune system strong and help you make smart pre-party choices on the days you are going to be indulging in some treats.
  • Fit Fitness Into Your Routine: I can’t think of a better time of year to try one of those “express” group fitness class at the gym. Many offer options ranging from 30-minute abs and stretch to 45-minute glutes classes.
  • Add Some Lavender to Your Life: If you’re adding vanilla, cinnamon or evergreen scented aromas to your holiday decor, add a hint of lavender, too. The fragrance from the oils of the lavender plant is believed to help promote calmness and wellness and it’s also said to help reduce stress and anxiety.

Be sure to check in next week when I’ll offer my annual smart feasting tips for Thanksgiving. I’ll keep the festive themes going as we get through the season together. Remember, a few smart choices can help you stay on track with your goals to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous – even as we gear up for the craziest time of the year!

The Zero-Guilt Staple That’s Helping Me Get Through The Holiday Season

NoOodles pic 1Since I kicked off the work week sharing some survival tips to help keep your health and fitness routine somewhat intact through the holiday party season, I thought I’d wrap things up by telling you about a newer staple in my pantry that’s become even more of a godsend at this time of year.

The item I’m talking about is a white plastic package containing NoOodle Noodles. My mom introduced me to these zero-calorie, zero-carb “noodles” that are also free of fat, gluten or soy. I admit, when she gave me my first couple of packages, I was super skeptical. I thought, how could a no-calorie noodle be any good? Well, if I wasn’t pleasantly surprised, I wouldn’t be writing about this wonder food.

According to the product’s website: “NoOodle™ Noodles are made from high-fiber glucomannan flour, which derives from the roots of the Asian Konjac Plant. Glucomannan flour is the same key ingredient used to make Japanese noodles, or NoOodle™. Like Japanese noodles, NoOodle™ have zero calories because they are made of glucomannan (soluble dietary fiber) and water, which are both calorie-free ingredients.”

Anyone who knows me will tell you I’m definitely not a cook. So, how do I use  NoOodles in my dinner “recipes”? My favorite way to use them is to add a package to grilled chicken or fish and spinach. The key is to strain the NoOodles, rinse them well and then add them to your meal once everything is prepped and seasoned.

For me, that means grilling the chicken or fish, slicing it up and adding it to the cooked spinach or whatever veggie I’ve nuked that night. Then, I’ll add some olive oil, very little sea salt and a few other spices. Finally, I toss in the strained NoOodles and mix everything together. NoOodles take on the flavor of whatever you add them to. Since they also have a high fiber content, I end up feeling comfortably full without any of the guilt of bulking up with high-calorie alternatives.

The NoOodles website has tons more information about the product as well as oodles of recipe ideas for those who are much more creative in the kitchen. (You can also order them right from the website.) If there are other NoOodles lovers out there, or if you try them after reading this post, I’d love to hear what you think!

I’m not saying a plate of NoOodles is ever going to take the place of my favorite pasta dish made by my mom or at one of my favorite Italian restaurants. What I do love about this zero-guilt item is that it allows me to bulk up my stay-at-home dinner nights while keeping me on track with my plans to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

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