Freezer Meals

The work week is typically filled with late nights and rushing around. It can be hard to maintain (let alone start) healthy, nutritious eating habits. How do you avoid giving in to fast food and processed meals? Plan ahead! Whether it is setting time during the week to go grocery shopping and prep for the next week’s meals, or making meals ahead of time, planning and prepping is what will keep you from regretting going through the drive-thru.Freezer Meals

We have found 10 great freezer meal recipes made and approved by the Salus Staff. Below you will find all 10 of the recipes with a link to their website. We have also taken the busy work out for you and created a combined grocery list of the ingredients you will need for all 10 recipes. Here are some tips to ensure smooth sailing while prepping your freezer meals.

  • Print the recipes off beforehand so you aren’t wasting time trying to find where they are on the internet.
  • Read through the recipe once before starting to make sure you get the gist.
  • Store your freezer meals in gallon or quart size freezer safe bags. Be sure to get as much air out of the bag as you can before closing it. You could also opt for using aluminum pans or dishes. Check out the Dollar Store for these! You can also choose to use plastic containers, but these can take up more space in your freezer.
  • Be sure to label your bags so you know what it is and when it should be used by.

Recipes:

  1. Burrito Pie (http://thrivinghomeblog.com/2013/06/burrito-pie-recipe/)
  2. Red Pepper Chicken (http://newleafwellness.biz/2014/09/22/6-chicken-freezer-crockpot-meals-30-minutes/)
  3. Lemon Pepper Chicken (http://newleafwellness.biz/2014/09/22/6-chicken-freezer-crockpot-meals-30-minutes/)
  4. Orange Ginger Chicken (http://newleafwellness.biz/2014/09/22/6-chicken-freezer-crockpot-meals-30-minutes/)
  5. Chicken, Brown Rice, and Veggie Casserole (http://thrivinghomeblog.com/2010/01/chicken-and-rice-it-tastes-so-nice/)
  6. Chicken Parmesan Casserole (http://thrivinghomeblog.com/2013/07/chicken-parmesan-casserole-recipe-an-easy-freezer-meal/)
  7. Italian Zucchini Turkey Burgers (http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/jamie-easons-livefit-recipes-italian-turkey-burgers.html)
  8. Firecracker Asian Salmon (http://thrivinghomeblog.com/2009/11/firecracker-salmon/)
  9. Vegetable Minestrone Soup (http://thrivinghomeblog.com/2011/01/healthy-vegetable-minestrone-soup/)
  10. Spinach Lasagna Roll-Ups (http://thrivinghomeblog.com/2011/03/meatless-monday-spinach-lasagna-roll-ups/)

Grocery List

Seasonings:

  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Poultry Seasoning
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Ground Thyme
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Dried Basil
  • Dried Oregano
  • Ground Ginger
  • Bay Leaf (1)

Meat

  • Grass Fed Beef (2 pounds)
  • Chicken (8 pounds)
  • Shredded Chicken (4 cups)
  • Extra Lean Turkey Breasts (2 packages)
  • Salmon (8 – 4 oz. fillets)

Produce

  • Onion (5)
  • Red Bell Peppers (1)
  • Lemons (1)
  • Oranges (1)
  • Ginger Root (1 inch)
  • Zucchini (4)
  • Garlic Cloves (15)
  • Broccoli (2 cups)
  • Cauliflower (2 cups)
  • Carrots (5 large)
  • Celery (4 stalks)
  • Fresh Parsley (1 bunch)
  • Green Onions (4 TB. chopped)
  • Green Beans (1 cup)
  • Frozen Sweet Peas (1 cup)

Canned

  • Minced Garlic
  • Sliced Black Olives (2 oz.)
  • Diced Green Chiles (4 oz.)
  • Diced Tomatoes (10 oz.)
  • Refried Beans (16 oz. x 2)
  • Red Enchilada Sauce (16 oz.)
  • Chicken Stock (7 ½ cups)
  • Marinara (1 jar)
  • Garbanzo Beans (15 oz.)
  • Tomato Juice (i.e. V8 – 4 cups)

Dairy

  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese (5 cups)
  • Greek Yogurt (1 cup)
  • Fresh Asiago or Parmesan Cheese (½ cup)
  • Parmesan Cheese (½ cup)

Condiments

  • Peanut Oil (½ cup)
  • Soy Sauce (4 TB.)
  • Balsamic Vinegar (4 TB.)
  • Sesame Oil (1 tsp.)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (1 cup +)
  • Coconut Oil (2 TB.)
  • Honey (2 TB.)
  • Salt and Pepper

Miscellaneous

  • Brown Rice (2 cups)
  • Panko (2 cup)
  • Whole Wheat Elbow Pasta (1 cup)
  • Whole Wheat Tortillas (12)
  • Brown Sugar (3 tsp.)
  • Freezer Bags

Resources:

http://happymoneysaver.com/freezer-meal-tips-beginners/

http://thrivinghomeblog.com/healthy-recipes-index/healthy-freezer-meals-recipes/

The Apple Cider Vinegar Craze

Apple cider vinegar has been a recent health craze. Yes, that’s right, apple cider vinegar. You may already have it in your pantry to add to marinades and dressings, but that’s not all it can help with.

Apple cider vinegar, often abbreviated ACV, has been a folk remedy & household staple for its variety of uses and purposes; cleaning coffeemakers, killing weeds, and dressing salads. That’s not all this powerful tonic can do. Apple cider vinegar has been deemed an important health staple and continues to be heavily researched for its healthful benefits.

AVC is a natural product, resulting from the fermentation of apple juice to hard apple cider followed by a second fermentation to apple cider vinegar. This natural product retains all the nutritional perks of the apples plus additional acids & enzymes from the fermentation process.

While apple cider vinegar won’t magically make you skinny, it does appear to help with diabetes and blood sugar control. Registered Dietitians are even recommending AVC.

New research in The Journal of Functional Foods revealed that participants who drank a tablespoon of ACV mixed with 8 ounces of water prior to eating had lower blood glucose levels compared to participants who didn’t consume the tart solution. “Acetic acid, the main component in vinegar, may interfere with the body’s ability to digest starch,” says Carol Johnston, PhD, director of Arizona State University’s nutrition program. Carol has been studying apple cider vinegar for more than 10 years and believes its effects on blood sugar are similar to certain medications.

AVC has also been shown to help with digestive issues such as bloating and heartburn.

 

A tablespoon of vinegar mixed with 8 ounces of water and taken before a meal is a safe dose. Does the idea of drinking vinegar turns your stomach? Drizzle the same amount over a salad!

Apple cider vinegar has other healthful uses that include hair conditioning, skin care, dental care, pet use and as a cleaning agent, especially useful for those looking for something as natural and chemical-free as possible. For example, use ACV as an astringent, soaking a washcloth/cotton pad in diluted ACV and applying it to your face. Or, you can simply dab it right onto blemishes to dry them out and heal them.

Now there are a lot of crazy claims over the internet that are not all backed by science, but at the end of the day apple cider vinegar appears to be very healthy.

It’s not a “miracle” or a “cure-all,” but it does clearly have some important health benefits, especially for blood sugar control.

Now that you’ve read the many benefits and uses of Apple Cider Vinegar, I’ll let you decide if you will give it try!

Please note: No “super food” can magically boost your metabolism and lead to weight loss without making other changes to your dietary habits and lifestyle!

Resources:

Journal of Functional Foods; Volume 5, Issue 4, October 2013, Pages 2007–2011 – http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1756464613001874

About Healthhttp://altmedicine.about.com/od/applecidervinegardiet/a/applecidervineg.htm

US News-Healthhttp://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/2013/12/06/the-surprising-benefits-of-apple-cider-vinegar

 

A Beginner’s Guide to Snowshoeing

The snow is finally here! Let’s get out and enjoy it. If you are bored with your usual indoor workout routine and want to take it outside, give snowshoeing a try. This activity has been around for hundreds of years and is a sport that is easy to learn and fairly inexpensive as opposed to other winter sports, poses very little risk for injury and is an awesome way to burn off those extra holiday calories that creep up on us.

Snowshoeing is known to maintain or improve cardiovascular fitness and can burn up to 600 calories per hour. If this sounds like a plan for you, here are some tips to get started.

Snowshoe 411
There are three types of snowshoes available – Recreational Hiking, Aerobic/Fitness and Hiking/Backpacking. Before you purchase or rent your snowshoes decide what terrain and purpose your snowshoeing will serve.

Recreational hiking snowshoes are a perfect selection for the first timer. They work best on simple terrain that doesn’t require a lot of climbing or steep descents.

Aerobic/Fitness shoes are best for active snowshoers engaging in running or cross training. They are sleek in design and generally more durable.

Hiking/Backpacking snowshoes are for the more experienced among us who prefer powder and creating their own trails. They are the most durable with a strong aluminum frame material made for flotation and support all type boots.

The cost of snowshoes can range from $100 to high end of $300. Retailers will often offer a package of shoes and poles as well as a storage bag. The most important aspect of your snowshoe purchase is the size. They are usually measured in inches and the length will depend on your weight. Most retailers who sell snowshoes have knowledgeable salespeople who can assist you with your choice. If you choose to purchase a used pair, please be sure to inspect the frame for defects.

Where to go Snowshoeing
Prime areas for snowshoeing are parks, trails not designated for cross country skiing, snow covered golf courses and Nordic areas around ski resorts.

Backcountry snowshoeing is of greater risk so make sure you have emergency supplies with you in case the terrain is more than you can handle. If your trek is planned on private property, be sure to seek the owner’s permission first.

snowshoeing

What to Wear
Footwear – Choose your footwear according to your snowshoe style. Water-proof boots are great for hiking and backcountry while trail running shoes are perfect for running/aerobic snowshoeing. Snowboard boots also work well.Wool socks and or a wood/silk combo are important to keep the feet warm. Never wear cotton socks.

Clothing – Dress in layers that can be removed with ease as your body heats up. Dri-fit material is an excellent base layer and a polyester fleece provides great insulation and heat retention even when wet. Other important pieces include gloves, hat and sunglasses or goggles.

Be sure to include a supply of nutrition such as nuts, bars or fruit as well as enough hydration to get you through your planned trip.

Snowshoeing will enhance and hasten those long winter months. Get out there and take a refreshing plunge in the snow.

Different Types of Cooking Oils

cooking oils pictureOlive oil, extra virgin olive oil, canola oil, vegetable oil, coconut oil, grapeseed oil . . . the list could literally go on and on. It can be cumbersome to approach the oil aisle at the grocery store. Which one should I use? Which one is better for me? Let’s take a look at a few to assist you in future cooking oil decision making!

When deciding what oil to use, consider the smoking point of the oil. This is important because smoke from oil produces toxic fumes and free radicals (which are harmful). Pending on what you cooking, some oils are better suited for higher temperatures. According to the Cleveland Clinic Health Hub, “A good rule of thumb is that the more refined the oil, the higher the smoke point. The smoke point only relates to fresh oil. If oil is used for cooking, then strained and re-used, it loses integrity.”

Oils can be broken in to 4 categories of smoking point – high, medium-high, medium, and no-heat.

high smoke point oil chart

Med High Smoke Point Oils

medium smoke point oils (2)

no heat oils

A quick overview as to what the types of fats we are looking at within these charts:
• Monounsaturated fat: Also known as the “good” kind of fat. This type of fat can be found in olives, avocados, and nuts.
• Polyunsaturated fat: Also known as the “good” kind of fat. This type of fat can be found in foods with omega-3 such as salmon and walnuts.
• Saturated fat: Referred to as the “bad” kind of fat. These types of fats can be found in high fat dairy items, red meats, and other animal products. Be careful not to consume too much saturated fat. Less than 7% of your daily fat of calories should come from saturated. The less the better!

Resources:

http://health.clevelandclinic.org/2014/10/heart-healthy-cooking-oils-101/

Relax and Live, The Tibetan Way

We all want to live long, vibrant and healthy lives right? The Tibetan monks live longer than any of us can imagine because they followed the “Five Tibetan Rites.”

The Tibetan Five Rights Exercise Program is a an example of a yoga program because it can unite and relax the body, mind, and spirit. Today this is sometimes referred to as Mind/ Body Healing.

Yoga is thought to have arrived in Tibet via India in the 11th or 12th century. The Tibetan monks over time developed and modified yoga into these exercises the Monks developed an efficient program of activities that the west now calls the “Five Tibetan Rites.”

The benefits of practicing “The Rites:”

  • A more youthful appearance
  • Improves your sleep and has you waking up feeling refreshed and energetic
  • Relief from some serious medical problems including difficulties (i.e: spines, problems with joints or pain)
  • Improve your emotional and mental health; enhance your sense of well-being and harmony, and high energy

Who doesn’t want to experience these benefits and live long healthy lives?! Give the Five Rites Exercises below a try!

How Do I Practice the Five Rites Exercise Program?

The “Five Tibetan Rites” are what the ancient Tibetans developed over many centuries of time. Therefore, it’s crucial to do the “Five Tibetan Rites” precisely as presented without varying the form or sequence to achieve some of the benefits accrued .

Pre Cautions: As with any new exercise program it is best to start out slow and gradually increase your intensity or repetitions. Please talk with a physician prior to beginning these exercises.

At first, do each exercise three times. For maximum benefit, practice the rites in the morning before you eat breakfast. If this is not possible do them anytime during the day.

The following exercises are a good place to begin introducing the rites into a daily practice.

Begin standing, tilt your head towards your left shoulder and hold for five seconds, now tilt your head towards your chest and hold for five seconds. Now, tilt your head towards your right shoulder and hold it five seconds, lastly tilt your head backward and hold it five seconds. Return your head back to start position.

warm up exercise #1

Breathing: Exhale as you move your head around, and inhale as you return to an upright position.

Now, slowly rotate your shoulders in a circular forward motion and a backward circular motion five times each direction

warm up exercise #2Next lift your arms up with elbows bent and in front of the heart. Place your fingertips together and palms apart. Begin to press your fingers inward until their inside surfaces are almost touching. Your palms should not be touching. Release and repeat five more times.

warm up exercise #3Now hold your arms in front of you with you palms facing you. Clasp your right hand around your left wrist, place your thumb on the inside of the wrist. Now gently but firmly squeeze five times. Release and repeat on the right wrist.

warm up exercise #4

Next move on the floor, on your back, rest the upper part of your body on your upper arms. Flex your knees and rhythmically bang Them up and down against the floor in rapid succession. Your heels should remain on the floor throughout this exercise. Do this exercise for 20 – 30 seconds.

 

 

Now move on your hands and knees, with your hands positioned underneath your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Now bring your chin up and move your hips so that the tailbone moves up, causing your back to arch downward.

warm up excercise #5Next, tuck your chin into your chest and move your back so that your pelvis and tailbone moves down, arching your back upward to the sky.

warm up excercise #6Breathing: Inhale as you lift your tailbone up and exhale as you round your back and move your tailbone down.

Sources

www.t5t.com

www.MKprojects.com

www.sharecare.com

Holiday Stress?!

Holiday Stress
The holidays are a great way to appreciate family & friends and time spent together, but they can also be very stressful.

No sooner have we put away the Thanksgiving turkey and are frantically putting up the holiday decorations and finding the perfect presents we need to wrap for Christmas…. All while trying to plan & prepare for the relatives arrival (uh oh!).

The holidays bring constant motion for many, as well as feelings of being overwhelmed, depression and even loneliness for others.

  • A number of factors, including unrealistic expectations, financial pressures, and too many commitments can cause stress and anxiety at holiday time.
  • A holiday stress poll by the APA showed that more than eight out of 10 Americans anticipate stress during the holiday season.
  • During holidays, stress and depression are higher than at any other time throughout the year.

Balancing the demands of shopping, parties, family obligations, and house guests may contribute to feelings of being overwhelmed and increased tension. People who do not view themselves as depressed may develop stress responses and may experience a number of physical and emotional symptoms including:

  • headaches
  • excessive drinking
  • overeating
  • insomnia

Are your expectations for the holidays realistic? Asking yourself this question is the first step to managing holiday stress.

Give the following tips a try to help minimize those holiday stressors and to avoid being a scrooge!

  • Plan ahead! That goes for decorating, traveling, meals, and shopping!
  • Ask people what they want instead of scouring the earth to find the perfect gifts.
  • Shop early, when there is more of a selection and to avoid long lines.
  • Stick to your gift budget – keep it simple or homemade.
  • Simplify holiday commitments and traditions.
  • Don’t abandon healthy habits! Incorporate regular physical activity into each day & continue to log your holiday meals
  • Slow down! Take time for yourself – go for a walk, get a massage, or read a book to take a break from all the Holi-dazzle!
  • Remember what’s important.

 

 

Sources:

Mayo Clinic; http://mayoclinic.org

Cleveland Clinic; http://clevelandclinic.org

American Psychological Association; http://www.apa.org/

American Heart Association; http://www.heart.org

Traveling with Food

A healthy lifestyle shouldn’t come to a screeching halt when you have to travel. Whether it is a business trip, visiting family for the holidays, or going on a vacation, it can seem difficult to maintain your healthy eating patterns. When there is a will, there is a way! Even though you won’t be at home, you can still find ways to avoid stopping for fast food or having to subside to the overly processed airline meals. Here are a few tips that can help you on your next expedition!

Traveling By Car:

  • This is one of the easiest ways to travel with food as you don’t have to worry about restrictions!
  • If you plan on staying in a hotel, call ahead and ask if they have a refrigerator and/or microwave.
  • Pack along a small grill (like a George Foreman, very light weight) or a plug-in skillet if you want to cook chicken, fish, or eggs in your room. These are even great tools to warm-up your food.
  • Pre-cook meat like chicken, turkey burgers, and/or hardboiled eggs. Pack them in a cooler with a lot of ice.
  • Avoid stopping at the nearest gas station for snacks by packing your own trail mix, tuna, roasted chickpeas, popcorn, beef jerky, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, etc. Think outside the box!
  • Bring a water bottle and pending on how long the drive is, a few gallons of water so you can refill your water bottle.

Traveling By Plane or Train:

  • First things first, purchase a cooler that you can carry on to a plane or train.
  • Security will allow meat, vegetables, fruits, nuts, potatoes, rice, dry oatmeal (just need hot water and bam you have a meal!), tuna and solid foods to pass through (just no liquids). Freeze your precooked meats that you won’t be eating that day and put in your cooler so they will last the entire trip.
    • TIP: Your ice packs must be frozen in order to be taken on to a plane. If they are thawed, they will be confiscated. Pack along some empty gallon plastic bags just in case they toss your ice bag away. Once you get across security, you can ask a restaurant for ice to fill up your plastic bag and put in your cooler (double-bag your ice so it doesn’t leak).
  • Bring an empty water bottle. You can’t bring liquids through security, but you can bring an empty water bottle in which you can fill up at the bubbler.

Foods for thought to be brought:

  • Turkey patties
  • Chicken
  • Salmon
  • Tuna (packed in water)
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Natural granola bars (5 ingredients or less)
  • Dry oats
  • Rice cakes
  • Baked sweet potatoes
  • Nuts
  • Cut up vegetables like peppers, carrots, cucumbers, snap peas
  • Fruit like apples, bananas, and oranges travel well

Resource(s): Oxygen Magazine April 2014; http://www.oxygenmag.com/