Top 4 Food Trends of 2017

The New Year means new food trends! We’ve scoured through predictions made by RD’s, popular food bloggers (big difference between the two!), and everything in between to give you what we think will be the top 5 food trends of 2017. Check it out, so you can be in the know!

1. Bone Broth

With temperatures dropping, this is the perfect trend to try ASAP. Bone broth is essentially soup that provides added health benefits, such as, reducing intestinal inflammation and supports a healthy immune system. Bone broth contains healing compounds like collagen, glutamine, glycine, and proline that aid in healing your gut! You can either make your own with leftover bones from dinner or buy pre-made bone broth, we suggest buying high quality bone broth for the most benefit. Key words: pasture-raised and grass-fed. Be sure to find one with minimal added ingredients as well.

2. Fermented FoodsNewsletter Yogurt

Think yogurt, kombucha, kimchi, and kefir. Fermentation is not a new process, but it’s recently been getting a lot of attention due to its amazing health benefits. Fermented foods are rich in probiotics, which support a healthy digestive system and are very tasty! Try making a kefir and fruit smoothie in the morning or having kimchi as a side dish for dinner.


3. Food from the Philippines

This trend is taking the world by storm with its combination of Indonesian, Malaysian, Chinese, Spanish and American influences. Expect to see its unique flavors like turmeric, coconut milk, adobo spices and banana ketchup in restaurants around town. If you haven’t tried it before, definitely give it a chance!

4. Grain bowls

Grain bowls will be popular this year, partly because of their appeaPerson Holding White Ceramic Coffee Cup Leaning on Brown Wooden Tablerance, but also because of their function. Bowls are just easier than plates, you can put so many different foods in and mix it all up and it works! You can also have a grain bowl for any meal of the day, whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner. Some grains to try are quinoa, millet, wheat berries, and amaranth.

 

2017 looks like it’s going to be filled with opportunities to try some new and exciting foods. Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone, you never know what you might like!

Stretches for Stress

Stretches for Stress

While the holidays can be a really fun and exciting time of year, they also have the ability to raise stress levels.  Our calendars Person in White Shirt Standing in Front of Windowbecome more full, we’re out shopping in crazy crowds, and things that challenge our health and wellness goals are in front of us consistently.  Stretching is one way to reduce the stress response in the body.  It also helps to loosen up areas that tend to get tense from the extra stress.  Try these stretches this season to help target tight areas and find a little zen in the middle of the festive chaos.

Hip Opening

We tend to hold a lot of stress and anxiety in our hips.  A gentle stretch to open up this area of the body will benefit your entire well-being.

Bound Angle Pose/Butterfly

Start with feet together and knees out to the side.  You can place blocks under your knees if that feels good.  Sit up tall, back straight, then lean forward.  Hold for 5 to 10 deep breaths.

Double Pigeon

Stack the legs ankle-to-knee, ankle-to-knee. Sit on a block, or place blocks/a rolled blanket/towels under the thighs for if your hips feel too tight to comfortably sit in this pose. Once you are in the seated position, fold your upper body forward, reaching with a straight back.  Hold for 5 to 10 deep breaths.

Happy Baby Pose

Lie on your back and bend your knees in towards you stomach, soles of your feet reaching to the ceiling.  Inhale and grip the outsides of your feet with your hands (if you have difficulty holding your feet directly with your hands, hold onto a belt looped over each sole.) Open your knees slightly wider than your torso, then bring them up toward your armpits.  Position each ankle directly over the knee, so your shins are perpendicular to the floor. Flex through the heels. Gently push your feet up into your hands (or the belts) as you pull your hands down to create a resistance.

Inversions

Gentle inversions, especially when held comfortably, are calming to the body and help reduce the feelings of anxiety.

Forward Fold

With your feet hip-width apart, bend forward until your fingers or hands reach the floor.  You can have a slight bend in your knees for comfort.  Then bring opposite hand to opposite elbow, creating a box with your arms.  Allow your head and neck to hang and release so your arms create a frame around your face.  Your entire upper body should feel loose.  Hold for 5 to 10 deep breaths.

Legs Up a Wall

Lying on your back, sit your hips as close to where the floor meets the wall.  Bring your legs up so they extend up the wall.  Your body should be in an L shape.  You can use a towel or blanket under your lower back for comfort.  Allow your arms to rest to your side.  Hold for 5 to 10 minutes and breathe deeply.  This is also a great opportunity to practice mindfulness.

A common thread with these postures and stretches in the need to focus on your breath.  It helps you deepen the stretch and re-connect with your body.  Breathing also stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps to counteract our natural stress response. Practicing breathing on its own is also extremely powerful in combating the effects of stress on the body.

If you’re looking for a different approach to mindful breathing, try Alternate Nostril Breathing.

  • Sit comfortably and let yourself breathe naturally for a few months.
  • Rest your left hand on your lap.
  • Make a “peace sign” with your right hand. Fold the two extended fingers toward the palm or rest them lightly on the bridge of your nose. Place your thumb gently onto your right nostril. Place your ring and little fingers gently onto your left nostril.
  • Close your eyes and begin by softly closing your right nostril (using your right thumb) and inhale slowly, deeply, smoothly, gently and without strain through your left nostril.
  • Close your left nostril (using your ring and little fingers) and release closure of your right. Exhale through your right nostril. Inhale through your right nostril.
  • Close your right nostril and release closure of your left. Exhale through your left nostril.
  • Try this for a few rounds.  When you’re done, sit comfortably and allow yourself to breathe naturally before ending your mindful breathing practice.

Namaste!

Fit Gifts

Maybe you still have a few people to find the perfect gift for or your entire list may still need checked off, either way, we’d like to give you a few ideas to help those you love stay fit throughout the year.

Image result for fitbit alta

For HerFitbit Alta

A slim wristband that will help her track her steps, sleep, and remind her to meditate during the day.  It comes in a variety of colors and looks fashionable too.

Image result for Fossil Q

For Him: Fossil Q

With a variety of options, these fitness trackers look like a real watch while also measuring steps and acting as a smartwatch.

 

Image result for resistance bandsFor the Traveler: Resistance Bands

These are light and easily make it through security.  They make a perfect stocking stuffer or a nice gift for a co-worker.

 

 

Image result for swell bottleFor the Yogi: Swell Bottle

If they’re spending a lot of time in a hot yoga studio, they will want a water bottle that will keep their water cold.

 

Image result for grid miniFor the Runner: Grid Mini

A mini foam roller they can keep in the car, at their desk, or easily travel to races with is a perfect present!

 

Image result for oster mini blenderFor the Gym-GoerPersonal Blender

After a tough workout, they will want to get home and whip up a quick smoothie to help them rebuild muscle.

 

Image result for day pack for hikingFor the Hiker: Day Pack

A small backpack that will help them carry the essentials for a long hike is the perfect fit for the outdoorsy person on your list.

Quick and Healthy: Recipes for Busy Weeknights

We’re big proponents of planning out your meals and even meal prepping when you have the time.  But, as we enter one of busiest times of the year, having options on hand that are quick, delicious, and of course healthy is a no-brainer.  Below you will find links to our favorite recipes that require few ingredients and take less than 30 minutes to get on the table.  We also recommend making a little extra for leftovers, whether you take them for lunch or use them again the next night to simplify things a bit!

Mediterranean Panzanella Salad

Black Bean and Corn Quesadillas (serve with a tossed salad)

Shrimp and Grits (Quinoa)barbecue, bbq, delicious

Pesto Salmon Kebabs (serve with roasted vegetables and brown rice)

Open Faced Avocado BLT Sandwich

Creamy Spinach and Artichoke Pasta (yes, it is healthy! We recommend whole wheat pasta)

Roasted Chicken and Vegetables (makes great leftovers)

5 Ingredient White Chicken Chili

Korean Beef Bowl (for the meat lover in your life, opt for grass fed ground beef or sub ground turkey)

 

Apple Galette with Yogurt Drizzle

Because this recipe requires half the crust as a normal apple pie, it provides all the holiday festivity for less calories, fat, and sugar.  Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 refrigerated pie crust
  • applegaletteholidays2 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 pounds of apples, cut crosswise in 1/8-inch thick slices
  • 1 egg white
  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Combine the flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt, brown sugar, lemon juice, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and apples in a large bowl; toss to coat.
  3. Unwrap dough; place on a large piece of lightly floured parchment paper. Roll dough to a 15-inch circle. Place parchment paper with dough on a baking sheet. Spoon apple mixture onto dough, leaving a 2-inch border. Fold edges of dough over filling to partially cover. Brush edges of dough with egg white. Bake at 425°F for 25 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Cut into 8 wedges.
  4. Combine remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup yogurt, and vanilla bean paste in a bowl, stirring with a whisk. Serve with galette.

Recipe adapted from Cookinglight.com

Fit for the Holidays

It’s that time of year again!  Leftover Halloween candy gives way to Thanksgiving buffets.  Then follow the holiday parties, cookie baking, New Year’s toasts, and the next thing we know, we’ve entered into another year and our health and fitness goals that we were maintaining so beautifully somehow got left in the dust.

This holiday season can be different!  As with any other time of the year where our routines may be a little out of whack (think vacations or work trips), we may need to adapt our goals to fit the time we have available and circumstances we may confront.  And while we are at it, let’s not overlook that the holidays are meant to be a special time of year.  It’s time to reclaim the next two months and enjoy our time with friends and family.

Try these tips to stay on track:

  • Maximize your workouts. You may not have as much time now due to travel or extra obligations on the weekends, therefore you need to condense your typical 45 to 60 minute workout into 20 to 30 minutes.  HIIT training for cardio or circuit training for strength are two ways to get the most bang for your exercise buck.  HIIT (high intensity interval training) consists of hard effort intervals followed by recovery intervals.  If you are new to this, we recommend trying a 1:2 ratio, such as 1 minute hard intensity effort, followed by 2 minutes of a easy/moderate recovery effort, repeated a few times.  Circuit training is a strength training method that keeps your heart rate elevated while working your muscles.  You move quickly through a handful of exercise stations with little to no rest in between.  Once you complete the sequence of stations, you rest, then complete the circuit 1 to 2 more times.
  • Stock up for success. While there may be more temptations in your office now, or extra baked goods finding their way into your house, be sure to stay stocked up on healthy foods.  Also, don’t overlook the benefits of staying fueled.  When we get too hungry, it makes it harder to say no to foods we didn’t plan for.
  • Plan it out. Speaking of planning, plan for the treats.  We don’t want you to go through the entire holiday season eating nothing but kale and chicken, however, when you do have a treat, make sure it’s part of your plan.  At a holiday party, you may plan to have 1 to 2 glasses of wine, but you also may plan to pass on the dessert.
  • Gear up! If travel is a part of your holiday plans, try investing in a set of resistance bands or a jump rope for an on the go workout.  You may just inspire a relative to join you for a few sets.

Note:  Always complete an effective warm up and cool down before and after any workout, and consult your doctor when you start new workout programs.

In the News: Is Diet Soda Better?

This question comes up quite frequently.  The thought is that diet soda has no calories and therefore should help us all decrease our overall calorie intake if we usually drink soda.  The logic behind this reasoning may be flawed as we dig through the research.

To understand the findings better, let’s first talk about the biggest difference between regular soda and diet soda: artificial sweeteners.  Think Splenda, Sweet N Low, and Equal.  Essentially the sweeteners you see in the yellow, pink, and blue packets at the coffee shop.  These sweeteners are being used in more than just our coffee.  Many packaged food products use them to reduce calorie and sugar content, and they are the reason diet soda is called “diet”. Therefore, our reasoning behind consuming foods with these sweeteners is that if there are no calories or sugar in a product, our bodies will not respond as they typically would when do consume calories or sugar.

Research is proving this wrong.  In one study, participants who consumed an artificial sweetener before a sugar treat released 20 percent more insulin than the participants who just had water prior to the sugar treat.  Why is this important?  Insulin, which is a hormone, helps our body absorb sugar, but it also tells our body to stop burning fat.  Other research studies are producing similar outcomes: that artificial sweetener may affect our metabolism. 

The lesson we should take away from these studies is that artificial sweeteners may have been too good to be true.  For our healthiest selves, we should focus on staying hydrated through water and unsweetened teas.  If you’re trying to cut out soda, try these tips:

  • Try making your favorite iced teas at home. Steep 6 to 8 tea bags for 10 minutes in 2 cups of water that were brought to a boil.  Remove the tea bags, then pour the tea concentrate into a gallon pitcher and fill with cold water.  Enjoy!  Try adding sliced citrus for extra flavor.
  • Sparkling water with fruit can be a good way to enjoy the bubbles without the extra sugar.
  • Carry a water bottle with you to reduce the temptation to grab a can of soda on the run.

References:

No Bake Pumpkin Energy Bites

With fall finally in full swing and Halloween right around the corner, there is no lack of pumpkin recipes. But not all are created equal. Many pumpkin recipes are loaded with excess sugar, which takes away from the health benefits. If you are looking for a recipe that you can make in about 10 minutes with limited equipment, this is the perfect recipe for you to try!

Prep Time: 10 minutes Yields: ~25 1 inch balls

Ingredients:pumpkinbites-6

  • 8 oz. (about 1 packed cup) chopped dates
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 Tbsp. chia seeds or flax seeds
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats (dry, not cooked)
  • 1 cup toasted coconut flakes
  • 1 cup toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

Directions:

Combine dates, honey, pumpkin puree, chia or flax seeds, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt in a food processor, and pulse until smooth and combined. Then, transfer the mixture to a large bowl, and stir in the oats, coconut flakes and pepitas until evenly combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Once the mixture is cool, use a spoon or cookie scoop to shape into 1-inch balls. Alternately, you can line a small baking pan with parchment paper, and press the mixture evenly into the pan, let it cool, and then cut into bars. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Enjoy!

 

Be Happier in 4 Simple Steps

The title may be a bit misleading. While the steps are simple, creating happiness can be more difficult than we think. We live in an environment with constant stress, whether it is due to work, family, or other triggers. Sometimes it seems impossible to get out of a slump. Try these tips today to see the impacts immediately!

  1. Practice gratitude

Make a conscious effort to think about positive aspects of your life. When you dwell on the negatives, it can consume your mind, but the same is true when you highlight the positives. Try this exercise to help keep a majority of your thoughts positive. If a negative thought arises, try to think about 3 positives to focus on instead. This is where the idea of keeping a gratitude journal comes from. It helps you create a pattern of highlighting a few things that you’re grateful for or that just made you happy each day.

  1. Complete a random act of kindness

Research has shown that people who engage in random kind acts are happier. Doing something nice for someone else has been shown to reduce anxiety, decrease depression, and increase your connection with that person. The acts can be as small as holding open the door for a stranger or donating to your favorite charity.

  1. Recite a mantra

Have a mantra on hand for times when you are feeling especially stressed, angry, sad or anxious. Write it on a piece of paper and post it somewhere you look often. Here are some examples. Feel free to take one of these or create your own!

  • I am in complete control of determining my emotions.
  • I accept abundant love, happiness, and positive energy into my life.
  • I will observe myself free of judgment.
  1. Meditate

Meditation has been shown to increase happiness, reduce stress, and increase self-awareness. If you are new to meditation, try an app to guide you through it. Our favorite is Calm. You will be amazed at how you feel after taking a short break from your daily stressors. If finding time throughout the day feels difficult, try waking up a few minutes earlier or try it right before bed.

Now that you have read the tips, it is time to put them into action. Start small by implementing one a day and work your way up to having these become a part of your daily routine.happy-5

Yogurt Choice Overload

Finding the perfect healthy snack can be difficult because often times the most convenient ones are low in nutritional value. A fantastic and versatile choice is yogurt! If you go into the grocery stores these days, there are many varieties making it difficult to choose. Yogurt is a great snack due to its protein, vitamin D, and calcium content, not to mention the probiotics! While regular yogurt is an oldie but goodie, try these variations to shake up your snack time.

Greek

In the process of making Greek yogurt, some water is removed, making it thicker than regular yogurt. The taste is also slightly tangy and less sweet than other varieties, making it great for a savory dressing or dip to pair with veggies. Try this recipe as a great snack on the go!

Honey Mustard Greek Yogurt Diphealthyhoneymustard_1

Stir ½ cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt, ¼ cup honey, ¼ cup spicy brown mustard, and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice in a bowl and mix until creamy. Store in the refrigerator and serve with your favorite veggies or whole-wheat crackers.

Skyr

From Iceland, this yogurt is rich in flavor and creamy in texture. Skyr is not quite asgranola-parfait-2 thick as Greek yogurt and is sweeter, which makes it great for parfaits. Prepare this recipe the night before or day of and run out the door.

Granola Parfait

Layer ½ cup of Skyr yogurt, 1 cup mixed berries, and ¼ cup of your favorite granola. Optional: top with your favorite nuts. Store in a plastic container and refrigerate.

Swiss-Style

Also referred to as stirred yogurt, the preparation of this yogurt yields a thinner and creamier texture than Greek or even Skyr. This type is slightly lower in protein and higher in carbohydrates, which means it’s naturally sweeter than other options. Try this recipe if you have a sweet tooth and are craving chocolate!

Chocolate and Banana Frozen Yogurtchocbananayogurt-3

Add 1 frozen banana, ½ tablespoon honey, ½ cup Swiss-style yogurt, 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract into a food processor. Process until creamy, which should be about 2-3 minutes. Then, transfer to an airtight container and freeze for at least 6 hours.

Kefir

If you suffer from lactose intolerance, this choice may be right for you. Kefir has beneficial bacteria and is fermented with yeast, which increases the probiotic amounts above other yogurt products. Kefir is much thinner than the other varieties, making it great for smoothies!

Raspberry Smoothieberry-smoothie-4

Place 1 cup plain kefir, ½ frozen banana, ½ cup raspberries, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, 1 tablespoon flaxseeds, and ½ cup of ice in a blender for about 30-60 seconds or until smooth.

Now that you are familiar with the different types of yogurts and how versatile of a snack they can be, there is just one thing to keep in mind. Sugar is often added to all varieties of yogurts so when possible, it is best to get plain, unsweetened yogurt and add you own flavors, such as fruits, honey, agave, or stevia. Now it’s time to pack your snack for tomorrow, just don’t forget your spoon (or straw)!