May 18, 2016

3 ways to add more veggies & fruit to your day


Eating enough fresh fruits and vegetables is one of the keys to health. We have all read that more produce is the answer, whether we are seeking brighter skin, clearer minds, or smaller waistlines. Yet finding ways to enjoy and incorporate enough vegetables can be a challenge. Am I the only one who feels that way?

Some days it is easy: I have a smoothie at breakfast, a salad at lunch, and stir-fry at dinner. Those days, I hit my goal of 7 servings of fruits and vegetables with ease.

But other days, it is 8pm, I haven’t had dinner, and I still need 3 or 4 more servings of vegetables. I am a huge believer in counting vegetable servings and not calories. It just seems when I am eating enough produce, I am making healthy choices all day and there is no need to monitor my calorie consumption.


Below are some of my favorite ways to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into my diet. What do you do to increase the amount of produce you eat?

|1.| I snack on veggies while I cook.

Yes, my mother taught me not to “spoil my dinner,” but sometimes I am starving. While I cook dinner (or even assemble lunch), I put a bowl of baby carrots, sliced cucumber, or bell pepper slices out. It gives me something to munch on while I cook, and helps me get a serving of vegetables in before my meal even starts. And lets be honest, if I spoil my dinner with sliced cucumber, has any harm really been done?

|2.| Pick a “veggies meal” each day.

I read Bethenny Frankel’s book years ago, and she explained that she counts the number of protein meals and carb meals she has each day. This keeps her from eating all carbs or all protein. I think a similar concept works with produce. Each day, I mentally check off which meal will be the one where I get most of my vegetables. Maybe it is the salad at lunch. Maybe a vegetable stew at dinner. Maybe a produce-filled smoothie at breakfast.

By mentally knowing where my produce is coming from, I can better enjoy the rest of my meals and avoid the 8pm crisis.

|3.| Make a bedtime smoothie.

Smoothies are often considered breakfast meals, but I love one before bed. I have a crazy sweet tooth, and about an hour after dinner, I start wanting chocolate. Blending a banana, spinach, cocoa powder, and almond milk makes a quick and easy treat before bed, and helps me enjoy a few more servings of fruits and vegetables.

How do you keep track of your servings of fruit and vegetables? 

May 5, 2016

Lunch Inspiration from Instagram

Coming up with lunch ideas each week is hard. Dinner, not so bad. I love trying new recipes and relaxing in the evenings. Breakfast, easy. I like routine on the breakfast front and I don’t mind eating the same 4 meals over and over (kidding).

Below are some of my favorite instagram accounts for lunch inspiration! I love seeing these daily meal ideas – and actually on a plate to eat, not posed for a photo.

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Cait of @CaitsPlate is hands down my favorite. She posts almost all her meals, and they are things that I could totally see myself eating and feeling full on (read: not just some kale and crackers). Love this lunch with egg & avocado toast.

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I found Emily (@emilyeatsrealfood) during my Whole30. She is killing the post Whole30 life and has great Whole30-ish meal ideas. She is also an avid runner, which is fun to follow. 🙂

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@fitfoodieg posts tons of meal ideals that are full of real foods and fresh produce. Also, how awesome is this lunch box? I want one of these! She builds a lot of snack-y type lunches, which I love!

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Arielle of @eatreal.inspirehealth is full of colorful photos that represent balanced eating to me – LOVE! Lots of veggies, with a splash of fries, makes me excited to eat. I also like that her meals use real foods and not weird combos of high protein bars/juices/powders, etc. You know what I am talking about.

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Look at this gorgeous bowl by @shutthekaleup – why can’t I eat like this every day???? So many gorgeous and health-packed meals. Her feed always makes me hungry.

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And finally, @twise_of_lemons makes me want to eat more veggies, which is always the inspiration I need at lunch (because I love a good pb&j at lunchtime). Follow her for some awesome lunch ideas!

There it is, my top lunch inspirations! Some days, I flip through my insta feed before packing my lunch and I always end up with more creative meals on those days. 

What are your tips for keeping lunch healthy? 

March 1, 2016

5 Things to Add to Your Salad

Winter Salad Recipe & Image via How Sweet Eats 

Salads are an interesting balance. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good salad, but its tricky. On one hand, I need salads to be filling. I’m getting my veggies and yummy greens, but I also want fats and protein to fill me up and keep me satisfied.

On the other hand, I don’t want to fall into the salad trap that becomes unhealthy (think restaurant salads with creamy dressing, fried toppings, and loads of cheese).

How I Build My Salads:

To keep the balance, I start with fresh greens – usually spinach, baby kale, or a spring mix – and build a base of about 2 cups of greens. Then, I add more fresh veggies, like cucumber, peppers, and tomatoes. Ideally, I add a cup of these veggies. Next up is protein, which might be an egg (fried or boiled), beans, turkey, chicken, or fish. Finally, I add little extras for added flavor.

Looking to add something to your salads? Here are some ideas!

1| Roasted Veggies: So much more flavor and texture! I like butternut squash, bell peppers, zucchini, and sweet potatoes. I roasted them at the beginning of the week, and add them to salads as I go!

2| Fruit: For fresh fruit, I reach for apples, pears, and berries. For dried fruit, I add cranberries, blueberries, and apricots.

3| Fats: Avocado, pecans, walnuts, and sunflower seeds are all favorites.

4| Protein: Canned tuna is an easy go-to for me, as well as sliced turkey or chicken from the deli. A frozen turkey burger or veggie burger is always a quick option when time is tight. Crumbled turkey bacon is also a fun addition! (Going veggie? add a protein rich grain like quinoa)

5| Extras: Olives, pickled banana peppers, artichoke hearts, marinated mushrooms, or even a spoonful of olive tapenade.

Here are some yummy salad recipes to try:


Nicoise Salad via Simply Recipes 


Kale & Butternut Squash Salad via Little Broken