Category: Holidays

Surviving a Buffet: Your guide to Christmas parties

Image from hipandhealthy.com

It’s the time of year when weekends are filled with Christmas related events: Family things, work Christmas parties, kids Christmas parties and Christmas events with friends. Sadly this also means huge amounts of unhealthy food. Generally Christmas means chips, dips, sausage rolls, sweets, pastries, meat, desserts, pudding, and all the trimmings. Nutritionally – not so great for our health. I recently went to my partners work Christmas party, and it turned out to be my worst nightmare – a seafood buffet. Firstly, I have a huge aversion to seafood (due to a bad bout of food poisoning from some bad seafood a few years ago) and secondly, buffets are crazy.

Our brains are designed to eat for survival, so when we are presented with huge piles of food (such as at Christmas time or at Buffets) our brain tells us we have to eat as much as possible. Back a few thousand years ago this would have been fine, as food was scarce, and we may never have known where the next meal was coming from. However, today food is abundant, most people never have to worry about the next meal, so when presented with large quantities of food, we are trying to override our brain’s natural instinct to eat as much as possible.

So, how, when it’s our natural instinct to eat as much as possible, do you survive Christmas? Here are a few ways you can attempt to override your brain during the silly season.

1. Fill HALF your plate with veggies and salad.
Your brain is going to want to pile your plate with as much food as possible (especially at buffets), by creating the illusion of a full plate, you tell your brain “there is plenty on my plate”. It can help to eat less of the high fat, high sugar and energy dense foods, by replacing them with the nutrient dense veggies.

2. Grab a smaller plate.
This one’s easy-Smaller plate = Less food. This only works if you grab one plate of food, so if you go back for seconds and thirds its void. However, same as number 1, if you trick your brain into thinking “my plate is full” then it can help to eat less of the rich food, and more of the good stuff. So even if you do end up with almost a whole plate of unhealthy food, at least the plate is smaller.

3. Eat slowly.
Christmas is a time for celebrating and spending time with friends and family, so take the time to enjoy the meal, the food and the company, and be mindful of what you are eating, and appreciate every mouthful. It’s a blessing to live with so much abundance, take the time to really make the most of being in a happy place with the people you love.

4. Save room for dessert.
An easy mistake to make is to eat the main course until you are full, then try to stuff more in during dessert. Not only is this uncomfortable, but really unhealthy to overstuff your stomach full of food. It will be playing havoc with your body’s ability to digest, as well as sky-rocketing your blood sugar. So, keep the mains small, save room for dessert!

5. Choose dessert wisely.
Instead of instantly running to the trifle and Christmas pudding, spend some time getting to know the fruit. Grab a bag handful of fruit first, then if you are still wanting something sweet either grab a very small portion of each dessert, or choose your favourite. It’s not great to be so full after eating that you can’t move.

On a final note, Christmas is a time for celebration, so don’t be completely hard on yourself and only go for the salads, give yourself the space to enjoy food that you might not normally eat, be happy, and most of all relax.

3 ways to have your healthiest Easter EVER!

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Easter is a time of year where we all over indulge on our favorite chocolate treats, its hard not to with the endless supplies of branded Easter eggs everywhere. But honestly, what are we really celebrating? For me its a time of self awareness, family, and connecting with my spirituality. No, i’m not Christian, but the days off always give me a chance to do some deep thinking. This year I would love for you to be more aware of what you are feeding your body and why. Here are my 3 ways to help you have your healthiest Easter EVER!

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http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2012/03/29/copycat-recipe-reeses-peanut-butter-eggs/

 

1. Swap out the chocolate! 

One of the easiest ways to put on a few extra grams over Easter is by over consuming sugary, fat laden chocolate. Let me tell you now, its not ok to spend a whole day eating chocolate, you are setting yourself up for disaster. Instead of buying expensive branded chocolate this year, buy the ingredients to make your own. See my Healthy little treats post for some great treat ideas, or try my Cherry ripe truffles for something a bit different.

This is especially important for kids, if we are teaching our kids that chocolate is something to be revered and that its ok to eat that much of something, then we are helping them to live a life of over-indulgence. Why not give your kids a small gift instead-like a book, pj’s or even a chicken!

 

 

2. Instead of chocolate eggs, try REAL eggs!

Why not paint your own eggs instead of buying chocolate ones. There is a great post from Organic gardening on how to naturally dye your own eggs, or Martha Stewart also has an awesome post on naturally dying your easter eggs. 

Its also a great time to point out how nutritious eggs really are. Eggs are nutrient rich and are a great addition to a healthy diet. Eggs are a source of at least 11 various vitamins and minerals, as well as having high quality protein, omega 3 and antioxidants. In particular eggs are a great source of folate, vitamin A, zinc, iron, and iodine. Eggs are very versatile and can be incorporated into a variety of foods and meals. Eggs can play a vital role in the diets of kids who are fussy, as they provide a wide array of nutrients. 

In fact, here are 4 of my favorite egg recipes.

 
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Carrot sticks with hummus anyone?

 

3. Get outside and move!

Easter is the perfect time to get outside with your loved ones to exercise. Why not try a hike, or play a new sport together, or take the dog for a beach walk. With those extra hours over this holiday, instead of lounging on the couch, just do something a little different. Maybe you have always wanted to try a new exercise-bike riding, yoga, swimming, roller skating. This long weekend, make the effort to actually try it. 

With the kids, have some good quality play time. They want to build a fort-why not? Playing pirates with some old boxes-go for it! Maybe its even time to plant your veggie garden. Get the kids involved and find out what to plant this time of year. 

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Hello happy!

Today is the United Nations International day of Happiness. The day was launched in 2012, and was developed because of the recognition that  the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human goal. Everyone wants to be happy, and the 3 components of global happiness were defined as social, economic and environmental well-being.

I think thats a pretty cool day to celebrate, and i’m going to spend the day doing all the things that make me happy!

1. Preparing good, healthy food with love, and sharing it with the people around me.
2. Cuddling my fur babies
3. Doing yoga and being mindful and present
4. Educating people about their health and well being
5. Spending time with the love of my life <3

Happy Happiness day!!

I would love to hear all the things that make you happy, or make your own list, and do all of those things today!

 

18 healthy green recipes to try this weekend

Its only a few days till St Patrick’s day-and how better to celebrate than with all things green!

Here are a few recipe ideas for the green lover in you:

Breakfast:

 

1. Green Eggs from Elena’s Pantry

2. Green Breakfast Bowl from Green Kitchen Stories

3. Lemon Frittata with Leek and Goats Cheese from The Kitchn

4. Green Pancakes from Choosing Raw

5. Almond flour Zucchini bread from Against All Grain

Lunch and Dinner:

 

6. Power Green Salad from The Sprouted Kitchen

7. Super Healthy Green Soup from Queen of Quinoa

8. Green Falafel from Food Wanderings
9. Green Pea and spinach risotto from The Healthy chef
10. Thai Green Curry from Not Quite Nigella

Snacks and Drinks:

11. Green Hummus from I Quit Sugar

12. Rocket Basil Pesto from Eat Drink Paleo

13. Power Green smoothie from Mind Body Green

14. Green Tea Latte from Just One Cookbook

15. Baked Kale Chips from Nom Nom Paleo

16. Lime, Ginger and Coconut Smoothie from The Healthy Foodie

Desserts:

17. Avocado Ice cream from All Among Friends

18. Lemon and Lime Coconut Cheesecake from This Rawsome Vegan Life

And the guys from The Green Smoothie Co have this great green smoothie ebook free on their website. Check it out!

5 Tips for a healthy happy Christmas

Christmas can be such a stressful time of year, where we are worried about the food being ready, have we bought enough presents, will the kids fight? However if we think about what Christmas is really about-spending time with our loved ones and having fun, does it really matter if the food is a disaster? Will the kids care if they don’t have ‘enough’ presents?

Everyone stresses a few days before, trying to get as much food as they can possibly fit into their fridge because, god forbid, the shops are closed for one day! I like to remember that Christmas is just another day of the year, and instead of worrying about whether we have made the ‘perfect’ meal or not, we should just spend time with the people we love, appreciating them, and enjoying their company. So what if all you have to eat is an endless supply of crackers, cheese and wine!

Here are my 5 tips for ensuring your Christmas is happy and healthy!

1. Be realistic about the meal. If you are horrible at cooking, its probably not the best time to get creative in the kitchen. Instead enroll the help of someone who can cook, and prepare something simple. A roast is actually pretty easy, and salads are a simple and healthy dish to serve with the traditional roast meal.

2. Be prepared. Find recipes of what you want to cook a week in advance, and gather what ingredients you can early. For the food that needs to be fresh, write a comprehensive list, and get to the shops early on Christmas eve. If you can, prepare food in the days leading up to Christmas. Be prepared with snacks, just in case the meal doesn’t turned out as planned.

3. Don’t overeat. I know I prepare way too much at Christmas, and that leads to portions that are insane. Then you get that really awful super full feeling, that leaves you tired, bloated and lethargic. this year, put out smaller plates, don’t make huge amounts, and wait 30 minutes before having seconds.

4. Give leftovers to family to take home. I’m sure that your family doesn’t need a 3/4 of a pasta salad, a whole uneaten chicken, and 50 sausage rolls to eat for the next week. Be generous and give it to others. That will give you space to get back on track with your normal eating habits.

5. Choose healthy options. This means whole wheat crackers, fruit and veggie platters with dips, fresh juice, dark chocolate, soda water, and if you can limiting the fat, sugar and salt from your dishes. Choose fresh, whole foods that give your family lots of nutrients and energy to enjoy the rest of the day playing sports and running around outside!

Have a happy and healthy Christmas!

Christmas Orange and Cinnamon Bliss Balls

I’m loving all the Christmas themed food things popping up everywhere at the moment, for me, i’m planning on having a wholefood Christmas filled with lots of lovely veggies and raw snacks! The tricky part is choosing the right kind of treats, which is why I have come up with my own bliss balls. Everybody has their own version, and mine are a lovely orange and cinnamon flavour.

1 cup Dates chopped
1 cup Cashews
2 Tbsp Cacao powder
1/4 cup Coconut oil
1/2 cup Walnuts
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
rind from one orange
Dessicated coconut and chia seeds for outside
Place dates and cashews in a food processor and blend until combined and cashews are finely chopped (Should all stick together in a ball). Put the dates and cashew mix into a bowl, then processed walnuts until very fine. Melt coconut oil in microwave for 30 seconds, then add all ingredients into the bowl with the date and cashew mix.
Roll into balls and place on a lined baking tray in the fridge or freezer for 30 minutes, or until set. I also rolled mine in desiccated coconut and chia seeds.
*Variations: ginger and lemon, cranberry and almond, vanilla and cherry, rum and raisin
Enjoy xx

 

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Hey!

I’m getting really excited because Christmas is just around the corner, and exams are all over, which means I’m on holidays for 3 months! And for you guys, that means lots and lots and lots of blog posts full of recipes, nutrition information and cool stuff!

I’ve started thinking about Christmas shopping, and what I’m going to buy for my friends and family! I don’t agree too much with the hype and pressure that is placed on families this time of year, like spending hundreds of dollars on plastic toys that kids will play with for a few weeks. And I really don’t like the shopping centers this time of year (or the rest of the year really). The stores all entice us to feel guilty if we don’t buy everything for everyone, its really awful, and doesn’t bode well with my values.

So this year, I’m not buying many presents, and when I do, ill buy them online, and really think hard about what I’m buying, where it came from, who made it, what am I supporting, and if the gift is the right thing for that person. I think online shopping has really allowed us to buy really great gifts after researching and finding something perfect. As much as I can this year I will be making all my gifts. I’m hoping to make a whole bunch of jams and chutneys, as well as some DIY crafty things.

Here are my top 6 gift ideas for this year if you are going to buy gifts:

  • Books: There are some really great books out there especially from some really amazing people, which are inspiring you to lead a healthy and inspired life!
Book love

Book love by brittany-smith on Polyvore

  • Organic Beauty products: There is something lovely about buying people things they wouldn’t buy for themselves, giving them the gift to love and accept themselves and their body.
Organic Beauty products
Organic Beauty products by brittany-smith featuring Paul Frank
  • Cooking utensils: Having good quality cooking utensils is vital for anyone who wants to cook good quality food.
    Cooking utensils Christmas list
  • Stationery: Being organised is one of my top priorities, and buy giving your loved ones the tools they need to be organised, you are giving them the time and space to create beautiful lives.
Stationery Christmas List
Stationery Christmas List by brittany-smith