Joy to Wellness Blog

Let this blog be your guide for a healthier and happier life. Check in for delicious and healthy recipes, product reviews and tips to help you be well.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Drops

Peanut Butter Chocolate Drops

These are easy to make and great as an after school snack or weekend treat! Kid-friendly and mom-approved!

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 3/4 c chocolate chips (~ 1 pkg)
  • 1 cup oats (rolled or quick oats)
  • 1/4 c ground flax seed (will give treats substance but won’t overpower taste)
  • 1/2 c natural crunchy peanut butter
  1. Melt the coconut oil on the stove in a small sauce pan at medium heat.
  2. Add the chocolate chips and melt, stirring to keep the them from burning. Once melted, remove from stove top.
  3. Combine all ingredients, including chips and oil, in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Make small drops (~ 1 tbsp) and place onto cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
  5. Chill for 1 hour in refrigerator. Enjoy once drops have hardened.
  6. Keep in fridge for up to one week.
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Watermelon & Feta Salad

Watermelon & Feta Salad

This salad is a great recipe for summer’s end! Serve it at a barbeque or as a fresh side dish at any dinner gathering!

Ingredients

  • 1/4 watermelon, cut into bite sized cubes
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 15-20 small black olives, pitted and sliced
  • 3-4 oz feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a medium salad bowl. Gently stir until until all ingredients are lightly coated with balsamic vinegar.

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Peach and Tomato Salad

Peach and Tomato Salad

This salad is great as a side dish at dinner, and it sweet enough to serve for dessert!

Ingredients:

• 1 pint of grape tomatoes, cut in half
• 3-4 peaches, diced
• 2-3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
• 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips

Directions:
Place all ingredients in a salad bowl and stir until balsamic vinegar is well distributed. Serves 4.

 

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How to make progress toward a healthier you

How to make progress toward a healthier you

If you’re like most people, getting healthier is at the top of your mind. But thinking about it and actually making it happen are two different things. Today I offer some steps to get you started down a path of making progress toward a healthier you. These are steps I take each of my clients through to help them build a solid foundation for a healthier lifestyle. Coaching tip: It’s not enough to simply be motivated! Change is more likely to happen when you approach it deliberately.

  1. Identify what would be possible with good health. In other words, what do you want your health for? When you find the answer to this question, you’ll have found your TRUE reason for working toward a healthier lifestyle.
  2. Create a clear goal that feels challenging but not impossible. It’s important to stretch yourself, but it’s not worth your time to set goals you know you won’t have desire, energy or capacity for. Create a goal that will push you beyond your comfort zone but isn’t too much for you to handle. Confidence is important! Check out this article on goal setting from BeWell@Stanford.
  3. Remember that accountability is key. In other areas of our life – like at work – accountability is a given. We check in with our bosses to make sure we’re on track with projects, and we use systems like checklists and project plans to track our progress. An accountability system is important for our health and wellness too! As you work to change, ask yourself, “who can I check in with?” or “how can I keep track of my accomplishments?”

Want to learn more about my health coaching process and how it can help you improve your health? Contact me to schedule an introductory call (there’s no charge!).

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Add Avocado to your plate!

Add Avocado to your plate!

Looking to add something delicious AND healthy to your diet? How about avocado?

Avocados are a source of healthy fat, fiber and other beneficial nutrients. Read this informative article about avocado by Dr. Andrew Weil to learn more about this incredible fruit!

Here are some simple recipes that will help you add avocado to your plate.

  • @ Breakfast: Whole grain toast topped with 1 sunny side up egg + sliced avocado
  • @ Lunch: Plate of mixed greens with diced chicken breast, sliced avocado, fresh strawberries, olive oil and vinegar
  • @Dinner: Brown rice bowl with black beans, diced tomato & onion, and sliced avocado

 

Want to get back on track with healthier behaviors? Learn more about how I can help.

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Refreshing Minty Green Smoothie

Refreshing Minty Green Smoothie

This smoothie is refreshing and light, and a great way to start the day!

Ingredients:

  • handful of spinach
  • 5-6 mint leaves
  • 3 tbsp raw whole flax seed
  • 1/2 banana
  • 2-3 strawberries (frozen or fresh)
  • 1 1/2 cup water (for creamier version, replace 1/2 cup of water with milk of choice)
  • couple ice cubes

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a blender or NutriBullet, blend until smooth.

What’s your favorite green smoothie recipe? Share it by sending me a tweet or posting it on my Facebook page!

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How to upgrade your brown bag lunch with healthier foods

How to upgrade your brown bag lunch with healthier foods

If you’re packing your lunch, chances are you’re striving to make healthy choices. Good for you! But keep this in mind – not all brown bag lunches are equal. Just because you packed it doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Here I offer some tips for creating a healthy lunch rich in WHOLE, FRESH and REAL foods, and free of unwanted ingredients like artificial flavors, artificial colors, preservatives, additives and sugar – all which I categorize as NON-food ingredients. (Check out my blog post “Packing your lunch? Find out what’s really in your brown bag” to learn what foods to avoid).

Here are some tips to help get you started:

  • Color: Where there is color, there is nutrition! Lunches full of color are lunches rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, which we could all use more of!
  • Package-free: More times than not, a food in a package has been processed and contains added ingredients. Therefore it’s a modified version of the original food. So…focus on foods that aren’t packaged – i.e., whole, fresh foods – and your diet will automatically be higher in nutrients your body needs. 
  • Minimal Ingredients: When picking out foods that are packaged, aim for options that contain only a few ingredients. The fewer the better because it will help ensure that there’s less stuff – i.e., preservatives, additives, artificial colors, artificial flavors, added sugar.  Also – make sure you can recognize the names of the ingredients. If you can’t pronounce something, it’s likely unnecessary for your diet.

Here are some of my favorite go-to lunch foods:

Apple
Fresh fruit: a great source of natural fiber, fresh fruit also contains natural sugars (instead of added sugar!) to   fuel our bodies with energy. Better to get your sugar here because it’s paired with the fiber which will ensure a slower absorption by your body, keeping you from experiencing quick spikes in blood sugar.

 

hardboiled egg

Slices of Pepper / Original horizontal border with water's drop and real reflection

Fresh vegetables: Fresh vegetables are loaded with nutrients and there are endless options out there to create variety and flavor for your lunch. Try carrots one day and greens the next. Dip grape tomatoes or sliced peppers into homemade hummus or guacamole.

 

 

eggs

 

Hardboiled egg: Skip the processed lunch meat and go for this delicious and easy-to-prepare source of protein. Make a batch of eggs at the beginning of the week so they’re on hand to grab and go.

 

 

chia seedsChia Pod: Cha-cha-cha-chia!! The Chia Pod is one of my favorite snacks! If you like pudding, you’re going to love this sweet treat! What’s even better – this version of pudding is free of added sugar and is gluten and dairy free! If you’re not familiar with the health benefits of chia seeds, check out this informative article by Dr. Oz – these little seeds are full of Omega 3’s, fiber, protein and more. Want to make chia seed pudding at home? It’s easy! Check out my homemade recipe. 

hardboiled egg

Plantain Chips: Need a little crunch but want to avoid the fried potato chips? Good idea! Look no further, plantain chips are the answer! Trader Joe’s plantain chips are roasted and contain just three ingredients – plantains, oil and sea salt. chips

 

Looking to incorporate healthy habits like these into your routine? Not sure how to get started? Contact me to schedule an introductory health coaching session and we’ll create your next steps!

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How to make your health kick stick in the New Year

How to make your health kick stick in the New Year

What are your New Year’s resolutions and are you sticking to them? The new year’s hype will soon be over, and if you’re like most people, you’ll struggle to keep up with changes. Here are some tips to help you make your health kick stick this new year.

  1. Put your health on your to-do list, every day. Your health is as important as your next client meeting, or that report you owe your boss, so make sure it’s front and center on your list of daily tasks.
  2. Dig a little deeper to find your motivation. Sure, it would be nice to get back into your favorite pair of jeans, but is that the real reason you want to make healthy choices this year? Think about why your health matters, and use that to drive your daily habits.
  3. Do something to support your health first thing in the morning. Review your list of resolutions and aim to incorporate a health supporting activity before you head out for the day. My top 2 morning habits: including leafy greens in my breakfast and drinking 20-30 oz of water.

Learn how I can support you in achieving better health in the new year.

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Self-care during the Holidays

Self-care during the Holidays

Here are a few suggestions for managing stress during the holidays from Jennifer Gibson, PysD LLC

Although the holidays are a time for celebration and connection with the ones we love, they can also be a time of increased stress.  It is important to be mindful of our stress levels and the potential for adding to existing stress, so that we can make sure to truly enjoy connecting with our loved ones and celebrate the holidays.  Our loved ones will enjoy us more too, if we are enjoying ourselves.  Here are a few suggestions for managing stress during the holidays.

1. Keep to your routines as much as possible.
As much as you can maintain your sleep, regular diet, and exercise, the better you will feel during and after the holidays.  Don’t forget about any other stress-reducing strategies you use regularly, as they can come in handy.


2. It’s okay to say “no.” 
You may be invited to several gatherings between your children’s connections and your own.  Be mindful of the commitments you have made and the ones you are planning to make, and to say “no” to anything unneccesary.  You may feel bad saying “no,” but you will feel worse if you over-commit, depriving yourself of energy or enthusiasm for more cherished activities.

3. Stay within your budget. 
With the holidays can come increased expenses.  Be mindful of your budget and prioritize the things you want to purchase, and let go of the things you are tempted to spend money on that are not necessarily important.  You will feel much better after the holidays if you have left yourself in a good place financially when they are over.

4. Strained relationships. 
The holidays are known for bringing people together, which can be difficult when you are experiencing strained relationships with those you might see.  Take some time to yourself prior to these encounters, rehearse how you might handle these situations, and ground yourself in who you are.  Remember that you are never obligated to stay anywhere that you do not feel comfortable.


5. Loss. 
As much as we are excited to see the loved ones in our lives during the holidays, we can also be aware of the loved ones that are no longer with us.  If this happens to you, recognize when you are having feelings, accept them and allow yourself to experience them, and take care of yourself.  Go for a walk, call a close friend, or take a break from what you are doing and relax for a moment.  If you are aware of situations or circumstances that might elicit these feelings, prepare for them and have compassion for yourself.  There is a strong focus on family during the holidays, and although this may be difficult, it is an opportunity to work on feelings that may have been put aside for one reason or another.

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Three tips for mindful eating this Thanksgiving

Three tips for mindful eating this Thanksgiving

There’s no way to avoid food on Thanksgiving, but we can avoid overeating it! Try these tips to help you slow down and eat more mindfully on Turkey Day.

#1: Stay hydrated
Drink water throughout the day. You’ll feel less hungry when meal time comes, and you’ll automatically redirect some of your attention away from the food and onto a healthy behavior. Plus, even though you’ll still indulge in stuffing and pie, your body will benefit from this healthy decision all day long.

#2: Leave room for dessert
It’s unlikely you’ll skip dessert on Thanksgiving, so do your body a (healthy!) favor by leaving room for it in your belly! Eating when you’re too full does nothing positive for your health, so pace yourself at dinner so that you can enjoy every bite at dessert.

#3: Give Thanks!
This holiday is about giving thanks, so rather than taking the day for granted, take a pause and think about all you have to be thankful for, including your health. Something else to give thanks for? Your food! A moment of thanks before your first bite will help you slow you down during meal time and appreciate your meal.

New Year, Health You Special! Purchase any Joy to Wellness Health Coaching Service between now and December 31st, 2014 and receive 10% off! Then, schedule your service for the new year or start now. (It’s up to you!)

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