The advice to not snack before bed is much more fiction than fact! The real story on noshing at night has a happy ending for those of us who are always hungry. Turns out it’s perfectly okay, if not a “good thing,” to eat a little something before bed, especially if you are trying to build or maintain muscle. However, before you start feeding your midnight munchies, there are exceptions and caveats – aren’t there always?!
Guzzle before Goodies: Drink a big glass of water and, if the meal or party is going to start after a scheduled meal time, eat a protein bar or other small protein-rich snack (around 200 cal) to tide you over. Time after time, I’ve read “eat a meal before heading out” as this will fill you up so that will not be tempted to overindulge on drinks and goodies at a holiday party. Um, unless you have willpower of steel, this doesn’t work – at least not for me. I always end up giving in with the “what the heck, it’s only once a year mindset” and, while it’s okay to splurge every now and then, but having consumed a full dinner (even if deemed “healthy”) just means you’ve gotten a head start on over-eating.
The Gift of Protein: Make sure you are not just using your entire calorie budget on all the wonderful baked treats of the season at the expense of eating enough protein. While pancakes, homemade breads, cookies, pies and more deserve a little attention this time of year, you can’t fuel a healthy lifestyle without adequate protein. Aim to get at 25 to 30 grams at EVERY meal, starting with breakfast, and also a couple 10 gram-ish protein snacks if you’ve been active during the day. Research has shown that consuming adequately timed and spaced protein not only helps with muscle management, but can moderate hunger and help you avoid over-snacking later in the day or evening.
By the way, you have to check out my new Sheet Pan Maple Beef Sausage recipe — it’s a less mess, less stress way to make a batch of protein for a holiday crowd. It tastes yummy and sure beats slinging bacon or links all morning.
Moderate your Mixology: Drink in moderation or, even better, don’t drink alcoholic beverages, heavy eggnogs or sugary punches at all. Wine, beer and other adult beverages are very high in carbs and calories, partying all night will take its toll in so many ways . . . I won’t preach. If and when I decide to have a drink, I limit myself to one and then turn to sparkling waters with a splash of juice or infused with fruit. I have also turned ONE drink, into two by halving the liquor or wine portion and topping off with a low-cal liquid.
Exercise Anywhere: Regardless whether stuck in a car travelling or in your mother-in-law’s lair, find a way to move about and sneak in a little exercise – even if just in 5 minute increments. We always pull over every hour on the road (for potty stops) and to bust out some roadside jumping jacks and burpees – I’m not kidding. When visiting relatives and out of your normal fitness routine, suggest that the group head out for a walk to see holiday lights or start up a friendly game of flag football. There are also lots of home workouts that need little or no equipment when snowed it. Also, check out my 40 Fitness Hacks for the Holidays or my Wrapping Paper Tube Workout – a graphic below, but also a video (seriously)!
Let Go of the Guilt: Despite the tips, the biggest tip is to enjoy the season and the quality time with family and friends. Many of us striving to live in the healthiest way we know how, often forever deny some of our past pleasures. If you want a slice of chocolate cake, have it! If you want a steaming mug of strawberry honey white hot chocolate, have it! If you’ve missed a few days or even a week of your normal workouts, fuggetabout it! We all deserve a break and time to recharge – a short time of splurging and relaxing over the holiday season isn’t going to set you significantly back (if at all).
What are your holiday plans?! What are you doing to stay active? What is your favorite splurge (mine is banana bread with absolutely no healthy modifications 😉 Please share in the comments – XOXO, Jennifer
White bread ain’t got nothing, not one single thing on my Nutty Purple Sweet Potato Flatbread. That is, unless you actually like gummy simple carbs and are willing to put your bod through the resulting blood sugar surge/crash and gathering of gluten all from eating one puny slice.
This kinda weird, but decidedly delicious flatbread has none of that nonsense. Featuring Stokes Purple®, a special type of California-grown, non-GMO sweet potato with purple skin and vibrant purple flesh that get even brighter when cooked, this bread alternative is nothing to “loaf” about – flat is where it’s at! #PurplePowerToThePeople
The texture of a Stokes Purple® is a little drier and denser than a traditional sweet potato, rendering it perfect for a substitute flour filler in my grain-free, gluten-free flatbread recipe. Purple sweet potatoes offer similar nutritional benefits of regular orange sweet potatoes in the fact that they are both healthy source of complex carbs with a low GI impact, are full of dietary fiber and many essential vitamins and minerals. The Stokes Purple® also has anthocyanins, a plant flavonoid that not only gives the potatoes their distinctive purple hue, but also have been linked to a host of health benefits including reductions in certain cancers, lowering of bad cholesterol, improvements in vision, liver and heart health, and have also been linked to boosts in cognition.
So back to the sweet potato flatbread details, the recipe also features almond meal, and coarsely chopped pumpkin and sunflower seeds. There are a couple eggs in the recipe, but otherwise it’s dairy-free and suitable for a vegetarian or gluten-free diet. If you have an allergy to nuts, sub out the almond meal for an equivalent amount of oat-flour to keep it nut-free.
Eat this gluten-free flatbread warm out of the oven, spread with a little honey butter – it’s like eating a sweet potato in portable, easy-to-pick-up format. But, a little more interesting and flavorful than that “sweet potato toast” trend on Pinterest. You can also use two slices to bookend your favorite sandwich fillings – since I made these right after the holidays, my gluten-free sandwich is layered with leftovers including turkey, cranberry relish and spinach!
Stokes Purple Sweet Potatoes available in select markets and by mail.
Have you ever had a purple sweet potato? What are your favorite potato toppings or sammie stuffings? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Sandwich Bros. The opinions and text are all mine.
Life is to short. I want to wake up and seize the day immediately, but I also want to eat a good breakfast. This could explain why I’m often fashionably late. My morning meal is often the reason I am running a bit behind, I’m a stickler on eating a protein-rich, balanced breakfast and often the preparation takes more time than anticipated.
I’d say about half the month, my meal prep game is strong – I’ve got meats pre-portioned in the freezer and waiting to be tossed into egg scrambles or I’ve made master mixes of my protein mug cakes. But there are admittedly weeks when the frenetic pace of managing work, training and crazy-busy family schedule has me falling off pace. But, thank goodness to one of my new favorite finds for the freezer – Sandwich Bros. Flatbread Pocket Sandwiches in their breakfast flavors.
Packaged individually, family members can grab a Pocket out of the freezer and make a protein-rich breakfast in less than 2 minutes with absolutely no stress or thinking. I don’t think too well before a couple cups of coffee! Another plus, they are “ Really…Really Tasty!”
I love the Egg White & Turkey Sausage variety, this flatbread pocket is filled with a fluffy egg white cheddar omelet and lean Jones® sausage patty. If counting calories, you’ll be happy to learn this breakfast item has only has 150 calories per serving and 4 weight watchers points. The only macro I track is protein, with a goal of 25 – 30 grams per meal. Getting enough protein in the morning helps you start the day right, providing longer-lasting energy, promotes satiety, aids in muscle management, and can prevent unhealthy snacking later in the day.
This yummy Egg White & Turkey Sausage has 11 grams of protein, that’s really good considering only 150 calories! I’ll typically pair this low-cal breakfast entree with a small sugar-free Greek yogurt topped with fruit for another 18 grams of protein. I’m totally winning breakfast, and I only opened a few wrappers!
When I’m feeling fancy, I pull open my produce drawer to see what veggies I have to stuff in my flatbread pocket to add even more nutrition. Today I found spinach and tomatoes! Mushrooms, peppers, zucchini, and onions make yummy stuffers too. Add the veggies to the pocket before or after microwaving, depending on the texture you prefer! It’s so easy!
There are other Sandwich Bros. Flatbread Pocket Sandwiches for breakfast including Egg & Cheese, Sausage & Cheese, and Turkey Sausage and Cheese. They also make other flatbread sandwiches that work for a quick lunch, dinner or snak. Get a COUPON and try them yourself – you can find them at Walgreens, Walmart and Sam’s Club along with other locations. Start the day off right and get that #SandwichBrosSmile
In addition to the COUPON, here’s a deal you don’t want to miss! I’m hosting a giveaway and one lucky entrant will win an entire year’s supply of Sandwich Bros. Flatbread Pocket Sandwiches – 52 free product coupons (to use on 4-ct or 6-ct boxes)! Whoohooo, if you win, breakfast problems will be solved for a good long while! Enter via the Rafflecopter app below:
Maple Pecan Pumpkin Popcorn: So much goodness here, this is a delicious and easy-to-make fall snack. Forget about Cracker Jacks, make your own healthier autumn-inspired version with real maple syrup, a bit of butter and real pumpkin along withthe right spices. Also, did you know you can make your own “clean” popcorn right in the microwave with nothing more than a brown paper lunch sack – that’s how I’ve been doing it for years! Also, do NOT use maple FLAVORED syrup for this recipes, that would be a nasty, corn-syrupy shame. I love the 100% Organic Maple Syrup from NOW Real Food – it’s a light and delicate-tasting amber syrup that makes me think of a crisp, cool breeze and rustle of leaves with every taste! Recipe for the Healthier Maple Pecan Pumpkin Popcorn at the bottom of the post!
Also wanted to shout out some other this I’m loving this fall season. First, yay for the POPSUGAR, they sent me the September Must Have Box and, it’s definitely a must have! This awesome lifestyle subscription box always knows how to win me over with products that I’ll obviously love (like the GFB Dark Chocolate Coconut Bites) to unexpected surprises (like the Jack & Lucy Black Felt Hat) that I never knew I needed, but now wonder how I ever lived without! And this specially curated box of goodies even makes the practical contents (like the MANI E.R. purse manicure repair kit) super hip and cool.
If you are looking for a unique gift that gives for a month or e even all year, consider giving your bestie a subscription to the POPSUGAR Must Have Box. Use code SHOP5 (which never expires) at checkout to save $5 off your FIRST Must Have Box!
Second, I’m loving Tommie Copper Compression, again . . . as usual! But this time I’m focused on their compression “sleeves” made for nearly every part and parcel of our limbs! Sometimes I ask a little too much of my bod and not even a rest day can resolve my minor aches and pains. However, I really dislike being sidelined from training – – that’s why you’ll typically see me in some sort of compression gear. If you’ve ever seen my Instagram feed, you’ll see that I’m a huge fan of compression socks. But I also wear compression sleeves for ankle, knee, wrists, elbow and quads when needed for both during exercise support and post-workout recovery. Personally, I really like the Tommie Copper brand – the targeted compression sleeves are low-profile, unobtrusive and make my muscles, tendons and joints feel good (or at least lessen the feeling that I’ve been run over by a truck)!
Tweet “Maple Pecan Pumpkin Popcorn + Fall Faves @nowfoods @tommiecopper @PopsugarMH #ad”]
Of all the fall foods, what is your favorite? Or at least, favorite fall flavor? Ever try compression gear for anywhere other than your legs or rear? Please share in the comments, XOXO — JEnnifer
We are up to our chin guards in football season, so I’ve kicked up my family-friendly, meal-prepping madness into overtime. With just a little “overtime” work on Sunday, I can prepare a couple batches of my BBQ Beef, Black Bean and Sweet ‘Tater Taquitos and have enough for a couple quick-fix, weeknight dinners and leftovers for snacking on the big game day. By the way and sorry for the questionable rhyming (haha), I originally developed these onfleek-o taquitos for BeefLovingTexans.com, so check it out!
While my teenage boys and their always-hungry friends are munching what they assume to be merely crispy, crunchy, cheesy, beefy taquitos (rolled small tacos by any other name!), I snicker in silent satisfaction knowing I’ve snuck in some wholesome nutrition to fuel their busy, active bodies. Lean beef for muscle-making protein and iron, beans for even more protein plus fiber, and sweet potato in a whole grain tortillas for a double-whammy of healthy complex carbs for long-lasting giddy-up-and-go. As Guy Fieri would say in his own punderful way, “You can’t beato these taquitos!”
These tasty taquitos can be devoured right out of the oven, or freeze a batch and then just toss in the oven (or toaster oven!) on those endless days that have gone into double overtime. This is an easy way to pass the proverbial ball over to the kids and let them do some quarterbacking in the kitchen.
Just add a simple side salad and your favorite Texas-style condiments like guacamole, sour cream, pico de gallo and barbeque sauce.My Mojo Citrus Guacamole makes a tasty team up!
One the taquito innards are made, assemble by adding a spoonful in the middle of a whole grain tortilla, rolling up and baking (no frying here and they are still super crunchy). While corn tortillas are traditional for taquitos, I’ve found that the corn-flour “mix” tortillas are more pliable and less prone to crack. If needed, insert a toothpick to keep tortillas secure, but don’t forget to remove before serving!
Favorite football team? Any football players on the family roster this year? Favorite thing to roll in a tortilla? Please share in commets! XOXO , Jennifer
Football parties, tailgating and fall season gathers require dip to draw people together. Just think of all the great gossip, high-fiving and friendly smack talk that has gone down in, what I like to call, the “Chip and Dip Zone.”
But, maybe you hesitate to enter the ZONE for fear of the cheesy dip – is it made of mystery processed “cheese,” loaded with fat upon fat, or just boringly bland? I’ll admit, these thoughts cross my mind, especially flashbacks of tepid fake orange stadium cheese on stale round tortilla chips. That’s why I came up with my Lower-Fat Blue Cheese & Fire-Roasted Tomato Queso – it’s bold and it’s better for you made with REAL ingredients.
I think you’ll definitely widen your mind (and mouth) in appreciation for my Blue Cheese & Fire-roasted Tomato Queso. This unique cheese dip marrieds the audacious attitude blue-cheese with the smoky laid-back goodness of tomatoes roasted over flames. I’ve used my fav brand of blue cheese (Simply Artisan Reserve Blue Cheese Crumbles) and canned fire-roasted tomatoes which. Of course, canned tomatoes are convenient and taste great in recipes, but did you know that they contain more lycopene (a free-radical destroying antioxidant) than those fresh off the vine? It’s true!
While this cheese dip recipe requires a whisk, it’s quite easy prepare, coming together in just 15 minutes or less– and you can keep it warmed for a party but pouring into a small slow cooker. It was first whipped up to celebrated International Beer Day with Litehouse Foods. Using low-fat dairy products help keep this snack sensible in moderation and, if you are on a gluten-free diet, it is easy to swap out flour used in the roux with a gluten-free flour blend (I use Living Now Gluten-Free All-Purpose Baking Flour, it’s inexpensive and provides the right texture for my recipe)
Serve Lower-Fat Blue Cheese & Fire-Roasted Tomato Queso with veggie sticks, artisan chips, or chunks of crusty bread. I’ve even reheated the leftovers and poured over cooked zoodles and topped with shrimp for an impromptu “pasta” dinner.
If you are hosting a huge football party, you might want to consider adding my Healthy Snack Stadium to your spread of snacks, appetizers and game-day grub.
[Tweet Not yer stadium cheese dip! Lower-Fat Blue Cheese & Fire-Roasted Tomato Queso #fitfluential #livinglitehouse”]
What football team(s) are you rooting for this season? Are you typically an at-home or stadium spectator? Please share in comments, xoxo Jennifer
Treats, desserts, goodies, nom noms, whatever name you longingly call a little something sweet after or between meals don’t have to be off limits or induce guilt. In fact, if you are craving something outside of your normal healthy-eating routine, it’s better to go ahead and satisfy the urge with a reasonable-sized portion rather than setting aside an entire day to pigging out on whatever “cheats” you want.
Really, when you think about it, no food is a “cheat.” All food provides calories, which translate into energy to burn through the day. — however, as most of us know, some food provides better quality energy than others! Most experts would recommend keeping your treats to 200 calories or less and don’t feel obligated to indulge everyday if you don’t really want it! If you calorie needs are in the range of 2,000 per day, then a 200 calorie treat makes up only 10 percent – just make sure your remaining diet is balanced with lean protein, healthy whole grains and lots and lots of veggies and some fruit.
1) Guilt- Free: Postponing a treat or small splurge and labeling it as “bad” also sets you up for an unhealthy relationship with food, it creates guilt. A day set aside to “cheating,” how can that be a good thing?
2) More- Consistent: A daily treat is there every day if you want/need it! Our bodies respond better to consistent behavior, rather that dieting and overindulging to the extremes.
3) Enjoyment: Enjoy your food, all of it. Being well, healthy and happy means living your life embracing food for what it can do for you and not obsessing over a specific diet, what is good or bad, or setting unrealistic expectations.
4) Extra Energy+: A daily treat can give you those extra calories and other important nutrients you need on days when especially active. You definitely need to consider your activity level when planning snacks!
4) Hormones Happier: Studies have shown that with calorie and carb restriction, Leptin (the hunger hormone) is altered, messing up its ability to tell your brain you are full and to stop eating. Similarly, T3 (the thyroid hormone) can be decreased by calorie restriction and extreme dieting, creating a backfiring situation where your metabolism slows down.
5) Sustainable for Life: With a daily treat, there are no feelings of abstinence, meaning its easy to keep an overall healthy diet for life. If you’re eating a variety of colorful, whole foods the majority of the time, a treat now and then or every single day has no harm!
You know, some days I slice myself a piece of chocolate cake and other times I’m completely satisfied with a healthy snack like these New Outshine Simply Yogurt Bars I found at Target* – they totally take, errrr, the cake! I really appreciate how Outshine® uses simple and honest ingredients — 100% yogurt, blended with real fruit, that’s it! These healthy treats contain no artificial colors or flavorings* and are not gunked up with high fructose corn syrup – with each lick and am treated to simply the bright, delightlful flavor as Mother Nature intended. *Check the Store Locator for other locations.
Outshine Simply Yogurt Bars are available in seven creamy and yummy varieties including Strawberry, Peach, Blueberry, Pineapple, Lemon, Strawberry Banana, and Mango. Also good to know, each frozen bar contains live & active cultures, 5 grams of protein, and 10% of our daily requirement for calcium. The company also makes all fruit bars and fruit & veggie frozen bars!
Of course, Outshine Simply Yogurt Bars make a smart choice to eat after a workout – that little blast of protein helps speed muscle recovery.
And, because Outshine Simply Yogurt Bars are so sensible, I like to occasionally dress these healthy frozen snacks up a little more with my favorite sundae toppings – like today I used the Blueberry bars and topped with whipped topping, fresh blueberries, granola and crushed dehydrated raspberries (those are the “healthy red sprinkles”).
Also, check out Outshine on Instagram — they have a very cute, vibrant and happy page!
What is your snacking philosophy? What is your favorite healthy dessert or yogurt flavor? Any big plans for these last days of warm weather? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer