My Goals for a Healthier, Happier 2015

Disclosure: This blog post is sponsored by General Mills Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition. I was compensated for my time to write this blog and share it on social media. My thoughts are my own.


Hello, 2015!

I love the New Year! While I don’t do “resolutions” in the typical sense, I think the New Year is a great time to set intentions. My commitment to health is life-long and as such, I’m always looking for ways to strengthen my health in ways that are realistic, compassionate and positive.

In my concierge private practice I help my clients focus on 3 key areas of wellness: food, fitness and fun. Borrowing from that mindset I’ve set three of my own self-care goals for a healthier and happier 2015.

Food Goal: Make “Healthy” Easier

As much as I love nutritious and delicious I don’t always have the time to prepare food from scratch. Sometimes I’m even eating on the fly and that is something I’m trying to work on too. Intuitive eating is important to me and it’s the best way for me to know when I need food and when I’ve had enough nourishment. In an effort to edge out time to sit and enjoy my food, I want to look for even more ways to make healthy eating as quick and easy as I can.

One way healthy eating can be made easy is by simplifying meals. Pairing a couple foods together in a “grab and go” style is pretty darn simple. (see my list below)

Yogurt with fruit and granola is a quick, balanced meal or snack.

Yogurt with fruit and granola is a quick, balanced meal or snack.

Whenever I’m putting a meal or snack together I think about the USDA Choose My Plate and I try to hit those components. A healthy and easy breakfast can be as simple as pairing a yogurt with fruit and granola, and it checks all the boxes of providing a balance of nutrients.

Did you know 
the 2010 Dietary Guidelines report the average American consumes only 52% of the recommended three cups of dairy per day? (Source: 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, Chapter 4, page 38)

Having yogurt available for a quick meal component or snack is an easy way to make sure you meet your nutrition needs. I also love using yogurts in smoothies or mixed with plain oats to add flavor and nutrients.

If there are kids in your life, consider sharing a yogurt snack with them. Currently, only 26% of teen girls meet the daily requirement for calcium.Adding yogurt as a rich source of calcium would help an additional 25% of girls get the calcium they need. (Source: NHANES 09-10, females 14-19 yrs, NCI Usual Intake Method was used to estimate % below EAR)

Here’s a list of ideas for easy food pairings:

  • any fruit with yogurt and granola
  • any fruit with cheese
  • vegetables with salsa, bean dip, or guacamole
  • eggs with vegetables and cheese
  • yogurt with plain oats and nuts or peanut butter

For more information about yogurt, calcium, and health the Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition website has a section on calcium worth checking out.

Fitness Goal: Embrace Joyful Movement

Living an active life is an important ingredient of living a healthy life. Unfortunately most of us don’t get enough exercise and a big part of the problem is we don’t actually enjoy what we’re doing. I love running, but if it means getting on that “dreadmill” you can forget it. I like challenging myself in group classes, but if the instructor is going to try to “motivate” me by focusing on reducing my thighs and getting bikini body ready, I’m out.

I have learned in life that the best type of exercise is the one you actually do. You’re more likely to be consistent with exercise if you are enjoying yourself. This is why I am specifically looking for joyful movement in 2015.

Find the fun in fitness!

Find the fun in fitness!

Here’s how I’m going to do it: before I do my regular workouts, even if I’m looking forward to them, I’m going to set an intention and dedication for the exercise like a little secret gift. “I’m taking care of me today in yoga because I love my sister and I want to be there for her in every way possible.”

The other thing I’m going to do is schedule more non-traditional exercise like going hiking with my family on the weekend. Or running around or dancing with my 2 year old – things she loves to do for a loooooong time. Instead of letting these things be “what I do when I run out of time for MY workout,” I want to appreciate the joy (and health benefits) of these activities as intentional movement.

Instead of stressing about how you’re not exercising, discover ways to move your body in your everyday routines. Maybe it’s running errands on foot or dancing around the house to your favorite tunes. Focus on moving your body in ways you love—you’ll be happier and healthier.

 Fun Goal: Learn to Meditate

Fun is anything you do for yourself to help yourself feel like things are going OK and you’re generally happy. It could be a one-off viral video that makes you all warm and fuzzy (cue cute panda in the snow video) or something new you try to enhance your life. The reason why I put fun on my clients’ wellness radar is because this is the most positive way we have to prevent being overwhelmed by stress.

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Find joy in the day to day.

Naturally, we have ways to cope with some amounts of daily stress without getting derailed. But then there are those days where life seems to blow up in our face and stress gets to the best of us. It interrupts our sleep, drains our physical and mental energy, making motivation to eat balanced and exercise even more challenging.

Having fun on a day-to-day basis is like practicing for the inevitable sh!8 storm. It strengthens our resilience so we can bounce back more easily, and hopefully control the emotional damages of the stress tornado.

There are a bagillion ways to have fun. For me, I want to experience meditation on a deeper level as a way to help keep my mind open and aware in the present moment. I tend to be one of those people who skips over appreciation and contentment in the day to day. I have to remember to enjoy the Play Doh mess everywhere because watching my daughter get creative is priceless. (Even dried up and smashed into the expensive area rug we swore we could keep clean before kids!)

If you’re interested in exploring meditation at all, I encourage you to try loving-kindness meditation (metta). It has been shown to enhance positivity and overall happiness. Or check out these free guided meditations on YouTube.

Taking some time to recharge and refresh will put you in a better frame of mind to tackle your day and enjoy yourself while you’re at it.

 Now, It’s Your Turn

I’d love to hear from you! What goals have you set to live a healthier and happier 2015? Feel free to share your comments below.


Disclosure: This blog post is sponsored by General Mills Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition. I was compensated for my time to write this blog and share it on social media. My thoughts are my own.

#HappyHolidaysChallenge: Help is Not a 4-letter Word

Hello there! If you’re reading for the first time or just stopping by for the fun, I’m doing a “Happy Holidays” wellness challenge to help you cultivate more health and happiness the rest of 2014. Catch up on the details on how to join and win the prizes. Or if it already sounds like a good idea, sign up below.

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This week’s post is a guest contribution from a dear friend of mine, Leslie Schilling. She runs a super cool and helpful service called “Your Supper Solution” and she is doing a giveaway for a free trial subscription. Read on to learn more.

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When Leslie and I were brainstorming content ideas, I loved the idea of “help” because most people are afraid to ask for it, even though we ALL need it. Frankly, I actually believe that women struggle with assuming that it’s OK to have excessive responsibility fall on our plate and then we should feel guilty for asking for help.

I have Sheryl Sandberg to thank when she said in Lean In (and I’m paraphrasing here, but it goes something like this).

It’s not your job to do it all and delegate stuff. Your loved ones need to step up to the plate and take responsibility instead of waiting for YOU to delegate it. It’s their job too.

Then she brilliantly goes on to say something like don’t try to control the process when someone is helping because that just makes them want to give up. I agree, let people help, their way, not your way. Get out of their way and take the help.

Here’s more from Leslie!

You Can Do It Challenge: Keep Your Holiday Sanity and Ask for Help

_MG_0798During the holidays it’s easy to say “oh well, I’ll resolve to eat better in the New Year.” Don’t let the stress of the holidays flip the “tis the season” insanity switch.

Maintaining self-care planning and self-care time are essential to feeling energized and healthy during the holiday season. One of the forgotten self-care strategies that just might help you keep your holiday sanity is asking for help!

We totally forget that we can enlist others to support us in our self-care efforts. Remember, the answer is always no until you ask!

Here are a few ways to ask for help:

  • Ask family members to sit down for a “business” meeting weekly to discuss schedules and needs for the week. By getting this info in advance, you plan your self-care times, grocery runs, gym stops, etc…
  • Ask a friend, family member or coworker to share the lunch load. If I bring you a tasty, balanced lunch on Monday, your pal can bring one for you on Tuesday.
  • Ask family members to pitch in with getting meals on the table. Did you know that when kids spend more time assisting with meal preparation, they’re more likely to try new foods? They help you, you help them… Slap a bow on that!
  • Ask a family member or friend to give you the gift of time. If my husband gave me the gift of getting my little one ready two mornings a week so I could hit the gym or go for a walk, it would be fantastic! You bet that’s on my “ask for help” list for a happy holiday.
  • Ask a help around the house. If you’re like me, sometimes it can be hard to relax when the house is messy or out of order. Ask family members to pitch in and have specific duties each day. If your budget permits, hire a service to help keep the house clean. This is the best money I’ve spent over the last two years. It’s been worth the budget tweaks to not fret over saber-tooth dust bunnies.
  • And last but not least, ask for help with meal planning. This may be one of the most crucial self-care strategies. It doesn’t matter if you’re feeding one or a large family, you’ve got to have at least dinners planned. Knowing what’s coming for dinner can help you fuel well all day long. If you find this is a task you just can’t tackle, don’t fret, just ask me for help! I’m the queen of dinner menu planning. My monthly dinner menu services helps you get dinner on the table seven nights a week and creatively incorporates leftovers. Want to know more? Check out YourSupperSolution.com

Enter to Win

YSS Twitter headerWant to win a free membership? Leave a comment below about how you can use help with meal planning and you could be chosen to win a free trial membership. (Winners will be chosen at random by Rebecca and notified over e-mail.)

Save Big Now

Ready to ask for meal planning help now? Use the coupon code: SNTFF2014 for 50% your first month at YourSupperSolution.com. You sure won’t need a diet-related resolution because you’ll have a plan.

Now go on. Ask someone to help you today!

About Leslie

Leslie is a Memphis-based dietitian specializing in disordered eating and sport nutrition. She owns Schilling Nutrition Therapy, LLC, and YourSupperSolution.com. Leslie is the nutritionist for the Memphis Grizzlies NBA team. She uses social media and her speaking platforms to deliver science-based, non-diet lifestyle messages with a dash of humor.

#HappyHolidaysChallenge: Clean Out, Unplug, Restart

Hello, folks! There’s only one more holiday before 2015 and “it’s the big one”. It’s the one where we start over, reset, and “resolve” to improve. I’ve got some great ideas for how you can start a health transformation by striving for better health and happiness. The best part… there is nothing crazy, irrational, on unattainable about my plan. Stay tuned to learn more about it next week.

If you aren’t signed up for the challenge, there is still time. Everyone in the challenge will automatically get a free gift in January 2015. Just click the button below and give your e-mail address to get the gift. You’ll also be eligible to win this week’s prize packs (details below!)

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Out with the Old, In with the New

If you want to change things in your life, you have to do something different. It sounds simple enough but it’s actually quite challenging – especially when distractions get in our way. A distraction is anything that is keeping you from focusing on what you want to be doing.

One of the best things you can do for yourself is make room. Make the room you need to do the work you need to do. We only have 24 hours in a day. Doing more in an already packed schedule is just setting yourself up for overwhelm and eventual failure.

Let something NEW in by getting rid of the OLD first. Clean up your distractions and you’ll be in a better place to start fresh.

You can do it challenge: Clean out one part of your life today.

I spent an hour and unsubscribed from nearly all my automated e-mails. I realized that I was spending around 10 minutes a day skimming headlines, deciding if I wanted to keep it or delete it. The ones I kept and didn’t have time to read continued to distract me as they piled up and I still didn’t read them.

I bet I spend at least 2 hours a week of wasted time just deciding whether or not I wanted to keep automated email updates, worrying what I would miss if I deleted it, and reading some that actually turned out to be not THAT useful anyway!

It felt great to take an hour an unsubscribe from e-mails. Now I have room for more productive and rewarding time.

Ask yourself “is this helpful or is it a distraction?” If it’s a distraction, get rid of it.

Here are a few other ideas for things you can clean up (or come up with your own):

  • Closet – What’s old, doesn’t fit, you don’t wear that make it harder to get dressed every day. Treat yourself to some new duds you love. Don’t forget the workout gear.
  • Junk drawers – Clutter gets moved from space to space to eventually die in a junk drawer. Get rid of the old gum, chap stick, and receipts. Only put stuff back in that has a logical space and function for your life.
  • Refrigerator, freezer, and pantry – Make cooking easier by having a nice clean, streamlined kitchen area.
  • Bedroom – Remove technology, a major distraction to good sleep. Replace it with some lavendar oil or cream, which is calming and will help you fall asleep.

Enter to Win

This week there will be two prize packs. All you need to do to win is leave a comment below about one thing you are cleaning out of your life and why. Two winners will be chosen at random and notified.

Prize Package:  One copy of Good Things for a Full Life by Deb Hornell, a bookmark, coffee mug and Starbucks gift card

About Good Things for a Full Life by Deb Hornell:

When veteran leadership consultant Deb Hornell decided to write a book on living a full and satisfying life she knew she’d be borrowing, in part, from a family tradition of sharing good things as her family sat down to dinner each night. An antidote for facing obstacles and demonstrating gratitude for the good that can happen each day, this daily ritual reflects Deb’s positive outlook on life. Drawing on her successful experiences working with organizations like Abbott laboratories  McDonald’s Corporation, Motorola, Inc., and Tupperware International, Hornell offers readers an opportunity to evaluate their own individual development plan, not unlike those used by the executives she’s coached for over 25 years. Good Things for a Full Life embraces four distinct areas: 1) spiritual: goals and actions to feed the spirit, including creative and artistic activities, volunteer work, and religious pursuits; 2) personal: goals and actions to deepen relationships with family and friends; 3) professional: work-related goals and actions to enhance career results and satisfaction; and 4) physical: goals and actions focused on a nourished body and overall sound health.

Website: http://www.hornellpartners.com/wp/ Twitter: @DebHornell Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HornellPartners

Prize Package: Simple Mills baking mixes and muffin tin.

Simple mills makes grain-free baking mixes that are made with simple, whole-food ingredients and are naturally high in protein and low in sugar. The products are made with almond flour. Here is a coupon code you can use now at SimpleMills.com and save 15% SCRITCHFIELD15.

Fun Food Ideas for Christmas and New Years Parties

Happy, Healthy Holidays

There’s no doubt that the holiday season is the time to be merry – from good food to good friends, the festivities are in full swing. This week I appeared on Let’s Talk Live DC to share some of my favorite dishes and hostess gifts that you can share at your upcoming Christmas feast. Keep reading to learn my favorite time-saving tips and tricks.

Try Something New at the Table

Try something new like these Turbana sweet plantains in cranberry sauce for your holiday table. turbanaPlantains are like bananas, but they taste different and cook differently too. Plantains actually have more potassium per serving than bananas and one serving  provides 3.5 grams of fiber. You can pick up plantains and other Turbana tropical produce at Shoppers Food Warehouse and Giant stores.

Not only is Turbana a pioneer in sustainability and social consciousness for their Columbian farmers, but they also give right here in D.C. by partnering with Marine Corps Marathon as the official composting partner. Visit Turbana for more delicious recipes and while you’re there check out Turbana’s Growing Smiles, Sharing Goodness movement.

Add Flavor with Citrus

citrus-bruschetta

Looking for a festive crowd pleasing dish for your next party? Bring this Citrus Bruschetta with Goat Cheese to your holiday parties. I used Sunkist Cara Cara oranges for a unique flavor punch.

Cara Caras are considered a superfood called “The Power Orange”. They are an excellent source of Vitamins A and C and a good source of fiber. Plus, they get their rich pink color from the antioxidant Lycopene.

If you’ve never had a Cara Cara orange, you’re in for a real treat. Their sweet and tangy cranberry-like zing pairs perfectly with the creamy goat cheese in this easy entertaining recipe. And cara caras are seedless! Cara Caras are available from December through May. Check out Sunkist.com for more recipes.

Mix It Up with Grapes from California

WildRiceStuffingwGrapesGrapes from California are now in season through January. One ¾ cup serving of grapes contains just 90 calories, no fat, no cholesterol and virtually no 
sodium. Mix fresh grapes of all colors—red, black and green–into your holiday meals including appetizers, side dishes, entrees and desserts for color, crunch and taste.

Try this Savory Wild Rice Stuffing with beautiful grapes and hazelnuts. This dish goes well with anyCrispyPhylloCupswGrapes entree you’re serving over the holidays. Instead of cheese and crackers at your holiday party, make these Crispy Phyllo Cups with Fruited Brie, with festive red and green colors. You can get these recipes and more at GrapesFromCalifornia.com.

Bring a Hostess Gift

Kindseason‘Tis the season to be KIND. This limited edition holiday cube is not just a gift, it’s an experience. Filled with 20 Nuts & Spices chocolate flavors, the cube makes a perfect gift for any snack lover!

With 4  delicious varieties: Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt, Dark Chocolate Mocha Almond, Dark Chocolate Chili Almond, Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Pecan there’s a flavor for everyone.

Inside you’ll find a #kindawesome card which you can use this season to celebrate someone spreading kindness. Give this card to a KIND person and they can redeem it for a sample of KIND snacks as a “thank-you” for being KIND. You can purchase this gift at KINDSnacks.com now and into the New Year.

Fuel for the Holiday Rush

Whether you’re planning a road trip this holiday season or a last-minute crazed shopper like me, The Fresh Food line at 7-Eleven makes it convenient to eat a healthy bite while on-the-go. The Fresh Foods line offers sandwiches, wraps, salads, whole and fresh cut fruit and yogurt parfaits, all made fresh.turkey-sandwich1

Fresh Salads: 7-Eleven’s salads are available in 4 different varieties all under 500 calories. They come in easy and portable packaging, which makes them a great lunch option.

Sandwiches: 7-Eleven’s sandwiches are all prepared locally and delivered fresh every day. They are made with fresh ingredients including premium meats and fresh-blended spreads.

Snacks: 7-Eleven has a fresh selection of snack options including hard boiled eggs, yogurt parfaits, and Carrot and Celery packs with dips.

Now it’s your turn – what are your favorite tips and tricks for holiday entertaining?  Leave a comment below or find me on Twitter @ScritchfieldRD.

Disclosure: I was compensated by Grapes from California, Turbana, KIND, Sunkist, and 7-Eleven for my work on the TV segment, but was not compensated to write this blog.

Last Minute Gift Ideas to Give Yourself!

Hello there! If you’re reading for the first time or just stopping by for the fun, I’m doing a “Happy Holidays” wellness challenge to help you cultivate more health and happiness the rest of 2014. Catch up on the details on how to join and win the prizes. Or if it already sounds like a good idea, sign up below.

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Last Minute Gifts for Your #1 Fan (YOU!)

Last week I talked about the value of giving gratitude and love to others. It’s amazing that something so free is actually priceless. Now, don’t forget gifts for yourself… Yes, you need to treat yourself.

If you are not your #1 fan, ask yourself why not? Why should other people believe in you more than you do? When I decided to run my first (and only) 50 miler, it was because I said “I can’t” and a stranger said to me “yes, you can”. I signed up because I thought “it’s not cool that this stranger believes in me more than me.”

You Can Do It Challenge: Give yourself one gift.

If you don’t love yourself wholeheartedly (fully and completely) then imagine how freakin’ hard it is to put yourself first. Why would you want to take care of yourself? It’s a lot to  

5 Gift Ideas For You

  1. Books I’m loving 14,000 things to be happy about (in case you need all of them!) Embody (my favorite body image book that came out this year) and for lots of laughs Yes Please (Amy Poehler’s memoir)
  2. Workout “stuff” whether you need better shoes, clothes, more tunes, a pedometer or a splurge on classes for a new kind of workout, invest in yourself.
  3. Lavendar oil from calm to sleep and nausea to dry skin, I l-o-v-e this essential oil.
  4. Loving kindness meditation (this one is FREE) Meditation is so Zen, so effective, and so f-ing hard (at least for me). It’s something I want to work on. My favorite is loving kindness. Here’s an intro and here are 5 reasons LKM makes you happier.
  5. Anything to inspire you in the kitchen. Whether it’s a new cookbook/recipes, kitchen gadget, or dropping some coin on new ingredients. Spending an hour on a meal might not be realistic most days of the week, but when you find recipes you love, you learn a new skill for gifts that keep on giving.

We finally splurged on a waffle maker! Yes, the nutritionist has a waffle maker — a double! We can’t wait for all the wonderful memories and moments that will come with making fresh waffles for our daughter, their friends, cousins, and anyone else who enters our life and breakfast table. Food is way more than just food. It’s nourishment for body, mind, and soul. That counts way more than calories!

You Can Do It Challenge: Give yourself one of these gifts or something special  you have in mind that shows how much you love yourself.

Check In

How are you doing so far? Leave a comment on the blog or on Facebook. If you’re on Twitter, follow me and the #HappyHolidaysChallenge for even more motivation.

If you’re not “officially” in the challenge yet, what are you waiting for? Sign up below.

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Challenge Your Friends

People do better with support from friends. (It’s a scientific fact!) Ask your friends to join you by sharing on social media or just send them this e-mail with the link to subscribe to the challenge.

Facebook: Join me and Rebecca Scritchfield for a free 60-day wellness challenge. Get healthier and happier this holiday season. http://wp.me/p2T0R-20c #HappyHolidaysChallenge

Twitter: I’m taking the #HappyHolidaysChallenge with @ScritchfieldRD. Join us http://wp.me/p2T0R-20c