Posts Tagged 'healthy'

Memorial Day Madness

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With Memorial Day just around the corner, what better way to honor the soldiers who died serving our country than with celebrating it in the beautiful outdoors. Soak up the sun and throw a picnic with food that will fuel you for a day of celebration without feeling the guilt!

Starting off with a salad is a staple. Try out the Summer Tomato and Grilled Corn Salad!

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INGREDIENTS

  • 3 ears of corn, shucked
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped basil, packed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped mint, packed
  • 2 lbs. very ripe tomatoes, thickly sliced
  • Optional: Macedonian feta cheese (omit for vegan), extra mint and basil and some balsamic reduction, for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat your grill to medium-high and oil the grates.
  2. Grill the corn for 10 minutes, turning a few times. You want the kernels to turn bright yellow and let some of them get grill marks. Remove the corn from the grill and, when it is cool enough to handle, cut the kernels off. (The easiest way to cut the kernels off the cob is to stand the corn on one end and run the knife blade down the corn.)
  3. While the corn is grilling, prepare the rest of the salad. In a small bowl whisk together the balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, olive oil and garlic until it is smooth and creamy. Stir through the basil and mint. Add the grilled corn kernels to the bowl.
  4. Lay half the tomatoes out on your serving platter, sprinkle them with sea salt then top with half the corn and some feta cheese (if you’re using cheese). Top with the rest of the tomatoes, sprinkle with sea salt, the corn and any or all of the garnishes. Pour any remaining dressing on top and serve immediately.

Now on to the main entrée. Switch things up and stray from your tradition hot dog and bun combo and opt for the Grilled Portobello Mushroom and Broccolini Veggie Dogs!

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chives, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 Portobello mushrooms, stems removed
  • 8 ounces broccolini, trimmed
  • 6 top-sliced hot dog buns
  • 1/2 avocado, chopped

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pre-heat your grill to medium-high.
  2. Meanwhile, make the yogurt sauce. In your food processor with the blade attachment, process all the ingredients together until the herbs are finely chopped and the sauce is bright green. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Brush this dressing onto both sides of the Portobello mushrooms and the brocollini. Then add the vegetables to your grill. Cook the brocollini until it’s crisp-tender and has started to blacken in a few places, about 3 minutes total. Cook the mushrooms for about 5-6 minutes per side. Remove from the grill. Once the mushrooms are cool enough to handle, slice them into strips.
  4. To serve, spread some of the yogurt sauce onto the hot dog buns. Add a few slices of mushroom and some of the brocollini. Top with chopped avocado and extra fresh herbs, if desired. Enjoy immediately.

Finish the picnic off with something sweet. Elevate refreshing watermelon slices by topping it off with some blueberries and goat cheese!

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INGREDIENTS

  • Blueberry Compote
  • 12 oz blueberries
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 lemon, squeezed (about 2 tbsp lemon juice)
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • Vanilla Goat Cheese
  • 8 oz goat cheese
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Watermelon Pizza
  • 40 mint leaves (roughly)
  • ½ watermelon, sliced in half, sliced into triangles, and then sliced again into smaller triangles (see photo)

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Blueberry Compote:

First in a small pot over medium heat add your water and granulated sugar. Bring to a boil. Add your blueberries and lemon juice. Continue to boil, stirring every minute, until blueberries have burst and water begins to thicken, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature (will thicken as it cools). Place in fridge until ready to use.

  • Vanilla Goat Cheese:

In a small bowl add your log of goat cheese. Break up using a fork. Add your vanilla extract and honey. Whip together using a fork until mixed together. Set aside in fridge until ready to use.

  • Assembly

Once watermelon is sliced and ready to go, add one mint leaf, topping with 1 tsp goat cheese and 1 tsp blueberry compote. Continue to do this to each piece of watermelon until all slices are assembled. Store in fridge until ready to consume.

 

Stay safe and healthy this Memorial Day weekend!

Diana Banzon

 

 

Date Night Do’s

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The month of February is unfortunately coming to an end, but what better way to celebrate than a little date night to keep that spark alive? Date night is not restricted to only the month of February, but it is a fun reason to celebrate the season of love! Here are some date ideas that will give you an opportunity to bond with your significant other, while making a positive impact on your health and wellness. Through sickness and health, right?

Romantic Bike Rides

Known to be one of the best forms of cardio, it will really get that heart pumping – from both the physical effort being put into the activity and all the love you will be receiving from your partner! The exercise itself isn’t too strenuous that conversation can be held during your time together. It’s a perfect opportunity to catch up, while getting a work out in. You won’t even realize that you are busting a sweat because you are in such great company.

Couples Yoga

For overall intimacy to be established, there must be a healthy foundation of communication to take place. Doing yoga with a partner requires both communication and trust to cultivate that sense of safety when proceeding to various pose styles throughout the exercise. The teamwork needed to get the most out of the workout will both be a bonding experience and an opportunity to share some laughs.

It Takes Two to Tango

Ballroom dancing is a great way to show off some fiery passion and chemistry, while burning some calories on the dancefloor. There are a variety of dance styles out there that you are sure to find something that both you and your partner will enjoy. Take a class or go to a Latin club, you can pretty much make anywhere your dancefloor!

Farmer’s Market Date

Dates often have this misconception that they have to be so fancy and elaborate. Who says that you can’t have some real quality time doing the tedious task of grocery shopping with a partner that might be boring otherwise? Taking a nice stroll down you local farmer’s market will not only allow a chance for some quality conservations, but it will get your heart rate going. Eating organically and locally grown both benefits your community and your health – what more could you ask for? Aside from singling out only going to farmer markets, having another person being accountable for your food purchases while grocery shopping might just be the push you need to be more conscious about what you end up taking home!

Stay In for a Dinner Date

Cooking with each other is often overlooked since it could be something you and your partner do everyday, but taking time out of your day to make a real dinner that is healthy will not only save your wallet, but your health since you are aware of everything you are putting into the meal. Dim the lights, light a few candles, and BOOM – romance is air! 

Keep the ones you love on this earth around for that much longer by inhabiting a lifestyle of health and wellness. Date night have never looked so healthy!

 

Love,

Diana Banzon

 

Game Day Gainz

With the Super Bowl being all the rage last weekend, how healthy did you manage to eat at the preview party whether it be at a bar or at the comfort of a home? With National Marquette Day coming up, it is a smart idea to fuel up but in the healthiest way possible so you can ensure that you will have enough energy to last throughout all the fun festivities. Here are some recipes perfect for any game day weekend when you want to indulge, but without the guilt and sacrificing flavor!

Drinks 

This sets the mood for the party! What better than to celebrate with a punchful of jungle juice? It’s a party staple that is most convenient to serve to guests!  

Healthy Jungle Juice

  • 1-2 shots of vodka (that’s 1.5 – 3 oz.)
  • 2 oz. white wine like RIESLING
  • 2 oz. pomegranate juice
  • 4 oz. coconut water
  • 2 oz. pineapple juice
  • ½ lime, juiced
  • ice (optional)

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Appetizers

You need a variety! Keeping these options solely to finger food is the perfect party favor to keep everyone satisfied and fed!

Baked BBQ Chicken Egg Rolls

  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
  • 1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn, defrosted (optional)
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar or Monterey jack cheese
  • 15 egg roll wrappers
  1. In a small bowl whisk together the BBQ sauce, chicken broth, salt and pepper.
  2. Place the chicken breasts in a slow cooker and cover with the sauce.
  3. Set the slow cooker to low, cover, and let cook for 4-6 hours or until the chicken is tender and shreds easily.
  4. Shred the chicken with 2 forks and stir in the frozen corn.
  5. If the chicken needs more BBQ sauce go ahead and add more now.
  6. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  7. Fill each egg roll wrapper with a couple tablespoons of the shredded chicken, being careful not to overfill them.
  8. Top the chicken with some of the shredded cheese.
  9. Brush all around the edges of the egg roll wrapper, then tuck in the sides, and roll it up tightly like a burrito.
  10. Seal the end of the egg roll with a little more water then place it seam side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  11. Continue the process until all of the egg rolls are made.
  12. Spray or brush the tops of the egg rolls with oil then place them on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes or until they start to turn golden brown.
  13. Remove from the oven.

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Skinny Zucchini Mozzarella Sticks

  • 1 Large Zucchini
  • 2 Individually Packed Light String Cheese Sticks, very cold
  • ¼ Cup Italian-Style Panko Breadcrumbs (Plain is okay)
  • 2 Tablespoons Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 Teaspoon Garlic Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • ¼ Cup Flour
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • Cooking Spray
  • Toothpicks
  1. Preheat oven to 425°. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside. Remove the ends of the zucchini and cut in half and then into ½ inch strips. Remove string cheese from packaging and cut in half widthwise. Cut each halve into thirds. Each string cheese should yield 6 small pieces about the same length as the zucchini pieces. You should have a total of 12 pieces of string cheese In a shallow bowl, combine the panko breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, garlic salt, onion powder and pepper. Mix well. Place the flour in a separate shallow bowl. Additionally, beat the egg in a separate bowl. Take each zucchini piece and pair it with a string cheese piece. Secure in place with a toothpick. Dip the zucchini/string cheese into the flour mixture, making sure to shake off any excess and then into the egg mixture. Finally, dip into panko mixture and place on foil lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Turn the zucchini sticks one time during the cooking process and spray the tops with a little cooking spray. Serve with dipping sauce of choice.

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Light Shrimp Cocktail Bites

  • 36 Triscuits your favorite flavor
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c. water
  • 8 oz. light cream cheese
  • 1/4 c. non-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 c. green onion diced
  • zesty cocktail sauce
  • 36 medium pre-cooked shrimp thawed, rinsed and patted dry
  1. Whisk together eggs and water and pour in a shallow dish. Soak Triscuits for 8-10 minutes in the mixture until they are just soft enough to press into mini muffin tins. After pressing all of the Triscuits into mini muffin tins sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Bake the Triscuits for 30 min at 350°. Remove from the tins and allow to cool to room temperature. (You can make the Triscuit cups ahead a day or two in advance and store in an airtight container.)
  2. In a medium bowl, add the cream cheese, Greek yogurt, Worcestershire sauce & lemon juice. Using a hand mixer, beat on high for 2-3 minutes until smooth. Scoop the mixture into a sandwich bag and snip the corner of the bag. Using the bag, pipe a Tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture into each Triscuit, top with 1/2 tsp. cocktail sauce and one shrimp.
  3. Garnish the cups with green onions and serve immediately.

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Dessert

Homemade Peanut Butter Oreos

Cookies:

  • 3/4 cup spelt flour (Readers have reported success with Arrowhead Mills gf as well.) (120g)
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp dutch cocoa powder (30g) (Regular cocoa is fine; the Oreo cookies just won’t taste as authentic.)
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp xylitol or sugar (or coconut sugar) (78g)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup vegetable or coconut oil (44g)
  • 3 tbsp milk of choice (45g)
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup (or agave) (30g)

Filling:

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (or allergy-free alternative) (110g)
  • 1/2 cup coconut butter (For a coconut-free version, see “nutrition info” link below) (110g)
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  • stevia extract to taste, or 1/4 cup powdered sugar

Combine first 5 ingredients, and stir very well. In a separate bowl, combine all liquid ingredients for the cookies. Mix wet into dry to form a dough, then refrigerate 30 minutes before baking. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Put dough in a plastic bag, and smush into one big ball. Remove from bag, roll into a thin dough, and cut flat circles using a circle cutter or a circle-shaped lid. Bake on a greased cookie tray for 11-14 minutes (depending on whether you want softer or crispier cookies). They’ll still look a little underdone when they come out of the oven, but that’s ok. Important: allow to cool 10 minutes before removing from the tray.

For the filling: first make sure your coconut butter is softened. Mix all filling ingredients in a small food processor (or very patiently with a fork, if you must. Texture might be a bit crumbly if you mix by hand; be sure to start with softened peanut butter). Divide filling among half of the cookie discs, then top with remaining cookie discs and fridge so filling firms up. Makes 20-25 sandwich cookies, depending on the size of your circle cutter and whether or not you bother to re-roll all the dough.

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Be the MVP at your next game day get-together with these nutritious, but tasty recipes!

 

Have a happy game day!

Diana Banzon

 

Save Your Summer!

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With summer coming to a close, we need to take advantage of everything the season has to offer! When it gets too hot, we take the season for granted wishing for the fall and winter to come faster. Until then, let’s make use of the limited time left in the summer and focus on ourselves and all things health and wellness the last of the season can provide us! 

The Sun

Obviously the sun is present year round, but who wants to be outside during the brink of winter? It is recommended to get at least 10-15 minutes of sun a day. The benefits of Vitamin D serves as a significant contribution for overall health; protects against inflammation, lowers high blood pressure, helps muscles, improves brain function and may even protect against cancer. Everything Is better in moderation, so be sure to still stay on top of protecting yourself with SPF and avoid overexposure because that can lead to some negatives effects. Get the last of your vitamin D before it gets too cold to do so!

The Produce

Thanks to transportation, we have the ability to gather produce from all over the world year round. But nothing can beat a stroll at your local farmer’s market knowing that everything was locally grown and purchasing from them will do nothing but support your fellow farmers who work hard to produce their craft! Getting the best quality at the best price for produce is going to be difficult when it starts to cool down. Refresh yourself with all the fresh fruits and veggies the season has to offer before they are gone or hard to find!

Vegetables in Season Now:

  • Radishes
  • Arugula
  • Cucumber
  • Beets
  • Bell Peppers
  • Carrots
  • Zucchini
  • Garlic
  • Corn
  • Rhubarb

Fruits in Season Now:

  • Apricots
  • Plums
  • Cherries
  • Blackberries
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Peaches
  • Tomatoes
  • Passion Fruit
  • Melon
  • Lemon
  • Limes

The Warmth of the Weather

Although the heat can get the best of us, just sweat it all out! Yes, it may feel gross, but that might change your mind once you are aware of the benefits and how it can help cool you down. It can help prevent you from getting sick due to all the toxins the sweat releases from your body. Sweat is notoriously known to contribute to acne, but believe it or not,  it can help help eliminate blackheads and blemishes because it helps your pores open up and release the build up inside. It also eases pain. Whether it be from a workout or waking up to back pain from sleep, it is the ultimate motivation to get up and go and what better place to do it then outside in the warmth!

The Activities

Getting outside and taking in that fresh air is what the warm weather is all about! Whether it be a dip in a local pool, beach, or lake, or resorting to a bike ride to go to your designated location instead of driving, or something as simple as a jog, is all the motivation to get yourself out and moving!

 

Enjoy all the benefits the summer has to offer before it’s too late and get ready to welcome fall with open arms!

Diana Banzon

 

Be Cool for Back the School: Habits to Gain!

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With school just around the corner, it is finally time to get your life back into the routine of things! Going from the laziness that summer allowed us to have, to having a jam pack schedule can be overwhelming. The best way to achieve overall productivity is planning tasks ahead and sticking to a structure that works! Here are some habits to nail down in order to balance your health with the craziness that life can throw at us that I plan personally implement into my routine this school year!

Show Up To Class

Sounds easy, right? It’s easy to lose motivation throughout the year but know that trying to catch up to compensate for the time lost will be end up being more difficult to do in the long run because all that content taught simply adds up. You are also paying good more to get a quality education. Colleges come with different price tags, but estimates show that it costs around $140 to attend class. Would you ever willingly throw that money down the drain? I don’t think so. To make this easier on yourself and know that your money is being put to good use, JUST GO, for the sake of yourselves and the faculty that take time out of their day to teach you!

Pack Your Lunch

Having your lunch thoughtfully plan out may seem like work, but it has the potential to save you money , time, and hopefully eat better in the long run. It gives you the ability to customize everything to your liking to avoid tossing out waste. With that being said, “healthy” by no means needs to equivalate being bland and boring. Here are some recipes for you to try to change things up and experiment with what fits your taste best: https://www.joyfulhealthyeats.com/39-of-the-ultimate-back-to-school-recipes/

Staying Hydrated

Drinking water has the power to do many things, but it becomes a vital tool throughout the school year because it helps with your concentration better than caffeine does. I like to drink water from my Camelback water bottle that holds 32 oz. to help me be accountable for how much I drink and to keep track of it. I try to refill it at least once a day to reach the recommended 8 glasses a day!

Maintain a Sleeping Routine

Procrastination always finds its way to creep on us, leading to disregard our sleep essentially messing up our sleep cycle and schedule as a whole. Going to bed and waking up at the same time helps keep a steady routine that is determined to stick. It keeps all the tasks in your day organized knowing that there will be time for everything if managed correctly. Also, who doesn’t love the satisfaction of being assured that you are going to get a full night’s rest? No more guessing games!

Many college students and faculty fall victim to putting their work first and health second. It doesn’t have to be that way if your habits fall in line of a good routine that is stable and works!

Welcome back,

Diana Banzon

 

 

 

Apple Cider Vinegar: Fad or Fail?

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My mom has always sworn by apple cider vinegar, but is this just a trend or does the benefits really amount to all the hype it has received? Let’s investigate as to why this magic elixir has gotten so much buzz in the health industry and come to a conclusion whether it is something you should consider implementing into your daily routine!

What is apple cider vinegar?

It i made out of crushed apples or apple cider that is then exposed to yeast. The sugars eventually ferment into alcohol. Bacteria is then added to the alcohol solution, which further ferments it to acetic acid – an active ingredient in vinegar.

1. Regulates blood sugar levels

Consuming apple cider vinegar was found to decrease blood sugar levels by an average of 31% percent. Further studies proved that giving diabetic rats apple cider vinegar managed to reduce blood sugar levels over a span of as little as four weeks. In relation to blood sugar levels, vinegar ingestion improves insulin sensitivity to those facing diabetes.

2. Helps promote weight loss

Studies show that vinegar can increase satiety, causing you to eat 200-275 fewer calories than usual.

A study in 175 people with obesity showed that daily apple cider vinegar consumption led to reduced belly fat and weight loss (13):

  • 15 mL (1 tablespoon): Lost 2.6 pounds, or 1.2 kilograms.
  • 30 mL (2 tablespoons): Lost 3.7 pounds, or 1.7 kilograms.

Despite the results not being too significant during a three month span, this has the potential to make a difference and add up over a matter of time if done consistently.

3. Improves heart health

With vinegar having the ability to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, it eventually translates to reducing heart disease risk factors in the long run. Improvement seen within blood sugar levels, insulin sensitivity, and diabetes all contribute to reducing the risk of developing heart complications. 

4. Harnesses properties that could fight against cancer

Apple cider vinegar contains properties that have the capability to kill cancer cells and reduce the size of tumors according to some studies that have been tested on rats. However, studies that have been tested on humans that show that vinegar consumption is in fact linked to a decrease in esophageal cancer in China.

5. Improves skin health

Vinegar has antibacterial and healing properties, which treats both active acne and the scarring that is left behind. The lactic acid in the vinegar is responsible for lightening pigmentation caused from acne and is proven to show the results in as little as three months under consistent use.

 

Hasta la Pasta, Hello Zoodles

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Lately, I have been experimenting with healthy recipes, testing out the meals that I genuinely enjoy eating, while ditching the meals that I feel like I am being forced to eat only because of its health benefits. Since being healthy is a lifestyle choice, it should be enjoyable in order to help the routine to stick and maintain that lasting motivation to keep continuing it. Zoodles (zucchini noodles) have been all the rage lately, so I wanted to hop onto the bandwagon and see what the fuss was all about. As a highly dedicated advocate of all things pasta and carbs, I could not see myself finding an alternative that was better for me, let alone GOOD! But low and behold, I proved myself wrong when I made zoodles for the first time. The manner in how they absorb the flavor of any sauce you put on top, the quick speed it takes to thoroughly cook them, and the sweet, nutty flavor are only a couple reasons that made this a immediate go-to staple for me!

Ingredients

  • Zucchini (spiralized)
  • Choice of Vegetables (I prefer broccoli and mushrooms)
  • Choice of Meat (I prefer no meat)
  • Sauce (Sriracha, Peanut Butter, Soy Sauce, Honey)
  • Garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Peanuts

Directions

  1. Turn stove to medium heat
  2. Drizzle pan with olive oil
  3. Saute garlic into pan when it medium temperature
  4. Saute vegetables in the pan – follow up with meat if desired
  5. Mix sauce ingredients together and drizzle some of it onto the vegetables (and meat)
    1. I don’t follow strict measurements and usually eyeball the ratio, while trying it out periodically to get the taste and consistency to fit my liking
  6. Saute the zoodles with the vegetables and meat
  7. Let simmer until everything is cooked thoroughly
  8. Serve onto plate and top with crushed peanuts

I personally like my zoodles prepared incorporating Asian flavors, but if you are more open to other varieties, here is a list that I plan on trying in the future! Experiment, try some out, and modify it to your liking! Just know that you are doing your body good using zoodles as an alternative to your traditional pasta noodles! 

Diet plays a significant role of what keeps us going throughout the day, so why not make it the part of our day that we are are looking forward to instead of dreading!


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