soup: your stay slim secret for the holiday season

During the holiday season there are so many wonderful foods to try. It is easy to get carried away and give into every delicious morsel. However, it can be just as easy to stay on track AND feel satisfied. Soup is a great way to get loads of flavor without derailing your diet.  The right recipe will leave you feeling full and supply your body with much needed nutrients not found on the cookie tray. Here is one of our favorites courtesy of our friends at POPSUGAR Fitness:

spinach carrot
spinach carrot

Spinach Carrot Lentil Soup 

What You'll Need -

Ingredients (makes 4 servings)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, chopped

2/3 cup dry green lentils

1 3/4 cups water

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

2/3 cup chopped fresh spinach

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

How to Make It Happen - 

(Prep time: 10 minutes, Cook time: 40 minutes) 

Heat oil in a pot over medium heat. Stir in onion and cook until soft, about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the lentils and water and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until lentils are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Cooking times will vary depending on the freshness of the lentils.

Ladle a half cup of the soup liquid into a bowl and whisk in the flour to form a paste. Mix the paste into the soup. Add the spinach, lemon juice and salt. If you prefer a thinner soup, add a bit more water. Cook until spinach is wilted, about 5 minutes. Adjust salt and lemon to suit your taste.

Nutritional Info -

208 calories per 1 C. serving

healthy holiday shopping: 5 tips to take with you to your local market

grocery shopping
grocery shopping

-Before you head to the grocery store, make sure to plan your food list for your meals for the week. Stick to the list you create. You are less likely to deviate from the list and buy unhealthy, unneeded food. As well, making a list beforehand saves you time because you will not need to run back to the store for missed ingredients.

-Do Not shop when you are hungry!  Impulse purchases that satisfy unhealthy cravings are more likely to happen when you shop hungry. 

-Focus on filling your cart with foods from the periphery of the grocery store. Fill your cart with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy, lean meat, fish, poultry, beans, and nuts. These are foods usually found on the store perimeter.          

-Swap out an unhealthy food  for a healthy one!For example, try fresh salsa for toppings or dipping vegetables, instead of salad dressings.  Switch cow's milk for unsweetened almond milk! Trade your toast in for some oatmeal!  

-Be ADVENTUROUS! Do not be afraid to try new fruits or vegetables every week. This will keep you from getting bored with eating clean! 

curb your cravings with a nut

peanuts
peanuts

Really! It's not as crazy as it sounds.  Women's Health Magazine recently published an article which suggests that peanuts might just be the new miracle food. In "The Food That Fights Cravings", Julia Fawal references a study conducted at Purdue University and the Federal University of Vicosa in Brazil in which15 obese women were subject to three separate experiments. "In the first," Julie writes,  "they ate 1.5 ounces of peanuts with orange juice and Cream of Wheat cereal. In the second, the same women swapped the peanuts out for 3 tablespoons of peanut butter. Finally, in the last experiment, they had only the juice and cereal (researchers adjusted the portion sizes so that calorie counts remained the same throughout all three phases)." At the end of each experiment, researches took blood samples from each participant and "asked them to rate their appetite levels."  The women who ate peanuts with their breakfast reported being considerably less hungry for up to 12 hours after their meal than those who did not.  These same results were intensified in the subjects who consumed peanut butter.

While the exact reason behind the peanuts' appetite-suppressing effects is unclear, Richard Mattes, PhD, professor of food and nutrition at Purdue University said this: "For one thing, participants who ate peanuts had higher levels of peptide YY (in their blood), a hormone that makes you feel full after eating (levels of the hormone were even higher in participants who ate peanut butter). When the women had eaten peanuts or peanut butter with breakfast, their blood sugar levels also spiked less after they had a carb-heavy lunch."

Start Your Morning With These Easy, Appetite Suppressing Recipes:

chocPBbanana
chocPBbanana

Chocolate Peanut Butter & Banana Smoothie:

What You'll Need - 

1 medium sized banana

2 tbs creamy organic peanut butter

2 tablespoons Ovaltine Malt Beverage Mix

1 cup unsweetended vanila almond milk (or milk of your choice

2 cups ice

How To Make It Happen - 

Place all ingredients in and electric blender and mix until smooth.

Nutritional Info -

360 calories per serving

ezekiel bread mixed fruit
ezekiel bread mixed fruit

Peanut Butter Power Toast:

What You'll Need -

2 slices ezekiel raisin bread

2 tbs crunchy organic peanut butter

1/2 cup mixed berries (blueberries and raspberries)

How To Make It Happen -

Toast Ezekiel bread then apply 1 tbs peanut butter to each slice. Sprinkle berries over top and enjoy.

Nutritional Info -

380 calories per serving

pbwafflesammie
pbwafflesammie

Frozen Waffle Sammie:

What You'll Need -

2 frozen whole grain waffles

2 tbs organic peanut butter (crunchy or smooth)

1/2 banana, sliced

1 tsp honey

How To Make It Happen -

Toast waffles and then spread 1 tbs peanut butter on either side. Cover with sliced banana, drizzle with honey, and then sandwich together.

Nutritional Info -

430 calories per serving