One of the biggest nutrition obstacles for most people is figuring out what to eat for lunch. When I worked at a desk full-time, I can recall several times where I just couldn’t bring myself to pack a lunch or plan meals ahead. When I didn’t have a plan, I was much more likely to be impulsive with my food choices and eat something I didn’t necessarily want all that much just to bring a little excitement to my day. Can anyone relate?
This thought process and reluctance to change behavior, aka packing a lunch when you would rather just wing it, is normal. We are creatures of habit, so it sometimes takes doing something with reluctance and witnessing the benefits in order to reinforce a new habit. We have the tendency to turn the idea of change into a much larger, more difficult dilemma than it really is.
Eggs are small but mighty nutrition powerhouses. This egg salad recipe not only satisfies the body, mind and tastebuds, but it is a great (easy!) option to throw into your weekly rotation of meals, especially if you are struggling with finding good options that do not require a lot of time or energy.
I am offering you this simple recipe in hopes that you will try it, like it, and start to make more meals at home instead of feeling conflicted about what to eat out in a world of endless food choices. It’s all about balance, so let this recipe be a part of that equation!
Easy Egg Salad
Yields approximately 2-3 servings
- 4 large hard-boiled eggs
- 2 tablespoon light mayo
- 1 tablespoon light sour cream
- 1/2 teaspoon yellow mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon juice from sweet gherkins (optional)
- 1/4 tsp paprika (optional)
- Peel hard boiled eggs and dispose of shells. Separate the yolks from the egg whites by slicing each egg into halves, and place egg yolks in a bowl.
- Mash the yolks with a fork, and add mayo, sour cream, mustard, salt, pepper, and pickle juice. Mix ingredients until you reach a smooth consistency.
- Gently fold in the egg whites.
- Divide the egg salad evenly between two containers and store covered in the refrigerator until you’re ready to consume.
For an added touch of fancy, sprinkle paprika on top of the final product just before serving and/or consuming.
Serving Recommendation: serve egg salad with Mary’s Gone Crackers gluten-free original crackers.
Forward folds are underrated. They often are woven into the beginning of a yoga class as a warm-up to gently, gradually relieve tension in the body, specifically the shoulders, neck, lower back, hamstrings, hips and calf muscles. Forward folds are also great for mindfully strengthening the thighs, knees, lower back and abdominal muscles.
My favorite forward fold variation is Padangusthasana, a deeper variation of Uttanasana, (forward fold). To get into it, start in mountain pose (feet parallel, facing forward and hips distance apart, arms resting by your sides, palms facing outward and fingers spread apart, core hugging in, hips tucked under slightly, top of head reaching towards the sky, and stacking shoulders over hips over knees over heels). From mountain pose, imagine the top half of your body is a lever, and slowly hinge forward at the hips, keeping your head, neck and spine in one long line, moving together as one. For my visual peeps, imagine you are E.T. when he gets super anxious and his head extends out of his neck – this is exactly what you want to do from your head all the way down to your tailbone. I actually picture E.T. a lot when I move in a yoga class and it helps. I am going to have a difficult time teaching this in class without laughing now that I just shared one of my awkward yoga visualizations.
Now you’re ready to take a bind: Peace sign fingers (index and middle fingers) clasp around the big toes. Your thumbs meet the two fingers on the other side. Holding the bind in place, halfway lift (hinge at the tops again, slight or subtle bend in the knees to keep your spine protected like you are going to attempt to stand all the way back up), and use the bind to help draw your spine out a little longer as you keep your belly button pulling towards the spine. When you halfway lift, the top of your head is pointing straight ahead and your chest should be parallel to the floor, your spine and neck are in one straight, extending line, and your torso creates a 90 degree angle with your legs. Again, you are a lever.
To coordinate this with breath, take a deep INHALE through the nose as you halfway lift to lengthen the spine. Then, as you use the peace sign fingers bind to slowly, mindfully pull yourself back towards the ground while keeping a long spine, EXHALE. You want to pull the top of your head closer to the floor while keeping your spine and legs lengthening simultaneously. Hold the bind for five deep, slow rounds of inhaling and exhaling and you pull yourself closer to the ground on each EXHALE. This is when you can begin to take the bend out of your knees as long as it feels natural and comfortable on your spine and body. If you have straight legs and a bend in the elbows, then pull the elbows out to each side. Really engage your quadriceps here (and your core), pulling kneecaps up and make sure your toes are spread wide on the ground, but not gripping the floor. The less tension you can manifest in each pose, the more benefit you will receive.
A few things to note
Your spine is the priority in pretty much every pose; therefore, if you do not keep that in the front of your mind and take care of it throughout your practice and movements, you need to back up, reset priorities and allow your body to open up. If you lose the integrity of your spine, it will not matter that your legs are able to straighten or your head can reach the ground. If you have super tight hamstrings, keep a gentle bend in your knees for the entirety of this pose with a long spine.
With that being said, while it’s perfectly fine to keep a bend in the knees, make sure you are also getting something out of the pose. There is a fine balance in everything we do…hence, Planks & Pizza. We need to acknowledge when we reach a point where we are doing too much and pushing too hard, and on the flip side, we must recognize if we are at a place of complacency where should push ourselves a little harder to make a little progress. The goal with Padangusthasana is to work on the tightness in your hamstrings while moving safely, so if you aren’t feeling a stretch on the upper back side of your legs, you may need to go back through the steps and find what option works best for you.
Lastly, regardless of where you are in your practice, please remember that just because you may have to bend your knees today, doesn’t mean you will next week. Part of yoga is learning to love and accept yourself and your body where they are in their current state. Let everything else go, work on the mind as you work on opening up your body and trust the process one-hundred percent.
Easter candy smacks you in the face every time you walk into the grocery store, so shouldn’t we create a nice place for it to live before we shovel it in by the handfuls? Call it an excuse to buy the candy, but I’m calling it arts and crafts meets a perfect dessert pairing that’s festive and aesthetically pleasing. You’re welcome.
Mini Coconut Macaroon Cups
- nonstick cooking spray
- 5 egg whites
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 14 ounces shredded unsweetened coconut
- Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Spray mini muffin tins thoroughly with cooking spray and set aside.
- Add egg whites, sugar, salt and vanilla extract to a medium-sized bowl, and whisk well. Mix in the shredded coconut until evenly coated, and you’re ready to nest.
- Fill each muffin tin (cup) two-thirds full with coconut mixture, and pack down. Then, make a deep indentation into the center of each cup with a wooden spoon handle, and lightly press mixture up the sides of each cup
- Set a timer, and check the color of the mini cups after 20 minutes. The edges should be a crispy, golden brown color, and the centers a lighter golden brown. If edges still need to cook a little longer, check in increments of 5 minutes until you are satisfied with the aesthetic.
- Remove tins and allow to cool (still remaining in tins) on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Use a paring knife to carefully loosen the edges of each cup form the tin and remove to cool completely on a wire cooling rack.
- Decorate each cup with your favorite Easter candy, and wow your peeps!
Not only do these Mini Coconut Macaroon Cups require MINIMAL TIME and MINIMAL CLEAN-UP, but crafting them is truly easy-peasy and an activity for all ages. Give your kids something to do besides dyeing eggs this year, and then take pictures to one-up all of your friends’ kids. (Just kidding…that is completely up to you).
I highly recommend using a combination of Whoppers Mini Robin Eggs, Reese’s Pieces Eggs, and Cadbury Mini Eggs to decorate the macaroon cups and add a variety of textures and flavors.
Note: Recipe adapted from the lovely Martha Stewart. Check out her recipe video here.
As a dietitian, providing healthier options to my clients is the bare minimum of what I do. If it tastes like cardboard, what is the point? Therefore, if I am offering suggestions or recipes, I am going to try them out for myself first to make sure they pass the test. If I can’t find a realistic option, then I will create one. And this is one of the main reasons why I spend hours of my time in my kitchen working on new recipes to share with my clients as well as my readers.
The recipe development process is timely, yes. But it can also be also pretty fun if you like to taste-test. In my kitchen, a recipe is never 100% complete, but at some point you have to put the forks down to write it all down. This chicken salad tune-up is a healthier option to the mayo-overloaded chicken salad without sacrificing the flavor.
A Chicken Salad Tune-Up
yields approximately 3-4 servings
- 32 oz Organic Chicken Broth, Reduced Sodium
- 1-2 lb Organic Chicken Breast
- 1-2 stalks Celery (finely chopped)
- 1/4 cup Onion (finely chopped)
- 1/2 cup Organic Mayonnaise
- 1/3 cup Greek yogurt
- 2 tsp Onion Powder
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1 tsp Fresh Ground Pepper
- 1 tsp Kosher Salt
- Pour chicken broth into crock pot and turn on high heat.
- Once liquid begins to simmer, add chicken breasts, cover with a lid and turn heat to low. Allow chicken to slow cook for 4-6 hours until tender.
- Chop celery and onion while chicken is slow cooking. Place into a small, covered container and store in refrigerator until ready to use.
- In a small mixing bowl, stir mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, and spices. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.
- Once chicken has cooked, remove from crockpot and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Shred chicken with two forks while it is still hot. Allow to cool for 15-20 minutes, then cover container with foil and place in refrigerator to chill.
- Once chicken has cooled, add remaining ingredients and combine well. Adjust seasonings to your preference.
I recommend pairing this chicken salad with Trader Joe’s Raisin Rosemary Crisps or Mary’s Gone Crackers depending on your taste preferences and diet restrictions. The Raisin Rosemary Crisps bring a slight sweetness to the chicken salad game for a great sweet and savory combo, and they are a good bang for your buck with respect to calories and taste (90 calories for 11 crackers). Mary’s Gone Crackers allows the chicken salad to take the spotlight, and they are organic, vegan, non-gmo and gluten-free! You really cannot go wrong with either choice.
Yoga allows us to make shifts in the way we think and how we talk to ourselves.
Challenging the body and cultivating a slower, steady breath in our yoga practice gives us the chance to not only strengthen our bodies, but also clear out the clutter for our minds and our emotional well-being. And while I am a huge believer in the practice of yoga, you don’t have to find these shifts on your yoga mat. It’s more about spending time away from distractions and intentionally working on the way you think, the stories you tell yourself, and your perceptions of what happens around you. We often cannot control our surroundings, but we can control our thoughts – even though sometimes this seems impossible or too difficult.
We are all guilty of sometimes neglecting the importance of taking breaks from our busy lives to slow down. We feel like we simply do not have the time. However, by giving ourselves permission to slow down, we achieve a healthier life balance by allowing our mind to process and prioritize what really matters and let go of the rest.
How often do you take time to slow down and check in with yourself?
Take this non-yoga scenario: You go to the grocery store without a list, and you buy everything you need. You return home to put your groceries away and realize you forgot eggs. Suddenly, the errand you thought you checked off your list isn’t actually checked off. You have to make a second trip, and the second trip is super annoying because now you are just wasting time. You feel flustered because had you slowed down to make a list, you would not have forgotten the eggs. Instead you are spending time racing back to the grocery store and playing chicken in the parking lot.
Situations like these are completely unnecessary and avoidable…if we have the right approach. When we commit to making tiny changes over time instead of all at once, it is less overwhelming. When we pause every now and then to think instead of rushing through life, we are actually freeing up more time by determining how to accomplish tasks more efficiently, not just quickly. Our minds can wrap around this way of thinking much easier because it is more realistic. The more we do it, the easier it becomes because we are cultivating new patterns that eventually make their way into the habit category. We want to make tiny shifts in our thinking and our behaviors so that they ultimately become newer, better habits!
In yoga, we turn inward to focus on the breath and often set an intention for the practice. One of my favorite intentions is “breathe through it” or “keep breathing” because when I get overwhelmed, my natural tendency (habit) is to hold my breath. The more I can focus on my breathing when I am overwhelmed, overworked or flustered in my yoga practice, the easier this becomes. Practice makes progress, and consistent practice turns into habit.
We have to find faith in the process and trust that everything unfolds as it should. We are our own teachers – our best, truest teachers. The more we take time to pause and check in – whether it is on or off the mat – the more we learn from ourselves. We listen more to our own voices, and less to the distraction of outside chatter and pressures that sometimes can do more harm than good.
If you are interested in developing your yoga practice, or have never tried yoga before and want to see what it is all about, go to my Yoga page here or Contact me here. I would love to set up some time to chat with you about your personal goals and how we can work together to help you reach them.