Smoothie Operator

No time in the mornings? We know the dilemma! Saving time and eating healthy does not have to mean grabbing fast food, or spending much more time meal prepping.  Between a busy life and work schedule, it is not always easy to do both. Smoothies can be a great solution for on-the-go people, just like you!

And if you are one of those amazing people who likes to get their workout in before work (we don’t know how you do it!), smoothies are lifesavers: work out, throw the ingredients in, blend and enjoy while you figure out what in the world to wear today. 

Here are a few smoothie tips that will help you get “Back to Fresh,” making 2017 healthy and delicious.

Source: https://stocksnap.io/photo/UZAO7L631Q

Source: https://stocksnap.io/photo/UZAO7L631Q

Tip #1: Use Many Ingredients

Using many ingredients in smoothies will not only enhance the flavor and taste of your smoothies, but could also add some extra good-for-you nutrients. Using a wide variety of ingredient such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, and oats will give you extra nutritional value. Also adding milk, honey, cocoa, mint leaves and other natural flavors can make eating healthy delicious.

 Tip #2: Get a Head Start: Prep! Prep! Prep!

Have you heard of meal prepping? We are sure a lot of you have, but if not, it may be the best way for you to save time! Instead of going through the process of chopping up ingredients in the morning for smoothies, prepare your next day meals at night. Freezing smoothie ingredients in muffin tins, or pre-measuring out ingredients can save you added time to an already time-saving meal choice!

 Tip #3: Mix it up A little

Would you eat the same thing, with the same ingredients, every day? Some of you may, but most people like variety. Choices are good and when it comes to staying on a healthy diet, trying different smoothie’s recipes can help you stay happy and motivated to keep up the healthy choices more consistently. Don’t just use the same 3 to 5 ingredients in your smoothie every time you make one. Plan out your smoothies like you would other meals during the week. Variety will keep you loving your healthy treat and on track to your goals!

Tip #4: Use Leafy Greens

Leafy greens are not only one of the healthiest things to put in your smoothies (and body), but they also blend well with other ingredients. Fruits like bananas, pineapple, strawberries and blueberries are usually go-to ingredients for smoothies!

Source: WP Rawl

Source: WP Rawl

 

For great smoothie recipes and more, visit our website: www.rawl.net/recipes/smoothies

 

 

 

Snack Your HEART Out!

Daily snacking can be a smart habit. In fact, one recent report found that people with the healthiest diets snack twice as often as those with the least healthy diets. Of course, what matters most is what you reach for (and why) when you nosh. To get that right check out these four simple rules of thumb.    

Develop a snack strategy

In other words, don’t snack randomly. Plan to snack during long stretches between meals. For example, if you eat lunch and noon and dinner at 7pm schedule a snack around 3 or 4pm. A well-timed snack can keep your metabolism revved, boost energy, regulate blood sugar and insulin levels, and prevent overeating later in the day.  

Eat real food

A snack is a chance to fit more nutrients into your day. To maximize that opportunity forego processed snacks in favor of fresh, whole foods. Always include produce - veggies, fruit, or both - paired with other good-for-you ingredients, including healthy fat, lean protein, and whole grains. Great choices include: cut veggies, like bell pepper and cucumber, with hummus or guacamole for dipping; a smoothie made with leafy greens, fresh or frozen fruit, chickpea flour, nuts or seeds; or hard boiled eggs, paired with avocado or olive tapenade, and veggies or fresh fruit.   

Raise your snacking awareness

Too often we munch out of habit, boredom, procrastination, or simply because food is there. Commit to becoming more discriminating about the “whys” behind your snack choices. You may discover that instead of being physical hungry you’re actually feeling anxious. Or perhaps you tend eat when others are eating, even if you don’t really need a snack. Once you’re aware of your patterns you can consciously work on making different choices, like talking to a friend rather than easing anxiety with food.

Keep healthy back-ups on hand

My new snack recipes that incorporate greens include deviled eggs, white bean dip, and spiced maple popcorn. But when you can’t get into the kitchen to whip something up, stash healthy portable options in your bag, so you’ll have them at the ready. A small banana and a golf ball sized portion of almonds will do, or an apple with pumpkin seeds. Stocking a healthy reserve means you’ll never have to go without if you’re hungry, or get stuck with a less than stellar option.         

Breakfast ME!

We have all heard it for years - Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!  Eating a nutritious breakfast with fruits and vegetables helps maintain blood sugar levels, prevents binge eating and sets the tone for a healthy day of eating.

Short on time in the morning? Don't let that stop you from starting your day off the right way!

Here are some great quick tips:

1. Get a head start! Getting up 10 minutes earlier or planning out your breakfast the night before can help you get a nutritious "on-the-go" breakfast

https://www.pexels.com/photo/red-bear-child-childhood-4604/

https://www.pexels.com/photo/red-bear-child-childhood-4604/

2. Add fruits and veggies! Cut up fruits and veggies you can toss into an omelet, oatmeal, or whole grain cereal the next morning. 

Maple-Spiced-Kale-Oats_1050.jpg

3. Make a smoothie! Blend some fruit, yogurt, almond milk and kale for a green power smoothie to-go!

4. The key to a healthy lifestyle is PLANNING! Try to plan out your meals throughout the day starting with breakfast. This may help you control your calorie intake. (Kale Brownie Points if you are able to plan a whole week's menu on Sunday!)

https://www.pexels.com/photo/iphone-notebook-pen-working-34578/

https://www.pexels.com/photo/iphone-notebook-pen-working-34578/

In 2017, we are continuing our Back to Fresh mission with fresh, new and healthy recipes from our friend and registered dietitian Cynthia Sass.  So join us in our #BacktoFreshChallenge by eating fresh, wholesome ingredients and less of the processed stuff.

We hope that this new year, brings a new YOU! Start your journey now by making these small changes for a healthier lifestyle.  

 

Source: Fruits and Veggies More Matters

How to Balance That Holiday Sweet Tooth!

Has that sweet tooth been giving you those dreaded pangs for something incredibly sweet this holiday season? Don’t worry! We are here to tell you how to show that tooth who is BOSS and “just say no!”

1.       Keep a well-balanced diet. This can help calm your cravings! Vegetables like our beloved greens can help keep cravings at bay.

Source: https://www.legsmart.com/blogs/healthwellness/7595799-the-importance-of-a-balanced-diet

Source: https://www.legsmart.com/blogs/healthwellness/7595799-the-importance-of-a-balanced-diet

2.       Have protein with each meal or snack. A lean protein, nut or cheese can help balance your blood sugar and avoid that dreaded sugar crash.

Source: http://www.rawl.net/recipes/shrimp-pico.aspx

Source: http://www.rawl.net/recipes/shrimp-pico.aspx

3.       Trade in the typical sandwich-bread style foods or wraps for a bed of greens! Ditching a wrap and placing the contents over greens can instantly slash 200 calories from your meal, the amount in four large candy canes.     

Source: http://www.rawl.net/recipes/kale-teriyaki-chicken-salad.aspx

Source: http://www.rawl.net/recipes/kale-teriyaki-chicken-salad.aspx

4.       Trade in the high carb goodies like cookies, cakes or bagels for smoothie made with fresh greens. A nutritious breakfast can set you up for a whole day of healthy eating.  Remember: Breakfast is the most important meal of your day! 

Source: https://www.reference.com/health/teeth-hurt-eat-sweets-da7d16e340f2d27Credit: Andrew Olney OJO Images Getty Images

Source: https://www.reference.com/health/teeth-hurt-eat-sweets-da7d16e340f2d27Credit: Andrew Olney OJO Images Getty Images

Saying “NO” to sweets may be hard – but it will definitely be worth the effort! You can keep sweetness in your life, but try it in other forms… a sweet kitty, a good book or a cuddly baby. 

EAT GREENS! Your Body Will Thank You Later.

A lot of my clients tell me they just don’t like green vegetables. Often it’s because they were forced to eat them as a child, or were introduced to green veggies in unappetizing ways. Unfortunately those negative early associations can last a lifetime, but there are important reasons to overcome them, and learn to love your veggies, including greens.  

(Image Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/foodanddrinknews/10453749/Cant-get-children-to-eat-greens-Blame-it-on-the-survival-instinct.html)

(Image Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/foodanddrinknews/10453749/Cant-get-children-to-eat-greens-Blame-it-on-the-survival-instinct.html)

You’re probably aware that greens are nutrient rich, but you might not know just how potent they are as health protectors. Leafy greens have been shown to help fight chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, and heart disease. They also protect your brain, and fend off aging. One study compared people who don’t eat green leafy veggies to those who consume one to two servings per day. The green eaters had cognitive abilities that were equivalent to folks 11 years younger. That’s powerful.

(Image Source: http://www.pnmag.com/baby-buzz/look-alive-its-national-eye-health-and-safety-month/)

(Image Source: http://www.pnmag.com/baby-buzz/look-alive-its-national-eye-health-and-safety-month/)

Greens also protect your eyes, and may reduce the risk of developing glaucoma by as much as 30%. Additional benefits include stronger immunity, enhanced energy and mood, and weight control. Replacing foods like pasta, rice, and bread with raw or cooked grains doesn’t just save calories and cut carbs. Research shows that higher antioxidant intakes are associated with leaner bodies, and greens are a potent antioxidant source.   

If you’re convinced that greens deserve a place in your eating routine but you’re not sure where to start take baby steps. Try whipping greens into a fruit smoothie- they blend right in and the sweetness of fruit overpowers any bitterness, so you won’t feel like you’re drinking a salad. Next add greens to staple meals, such as omelets or chili. As a next step make greens the star of meals, like entree salads and stir frys. If you’re adventurous you can even blends greens into desserts, and snack on kale chips or collard crisps. Just find a way to start, and if you don’t like one recipe, commit to trying another. It is well worth the effort, because this is one small eating change has the potential to lead to major quality of life results. So begin embracing greens today. Your body will truly thank you later!   

The Green Party

Not sure whom to vote for in this election?  The choice is clear: the greens party, of course!  It is often said that campaigning for any seat in office is grueling and demanding of the body.  That is why it is so important to get your greens in and stay on top of your energy!  Here is our political agenda and why you should vote for Nature’s Greens®!

1.       Stay Young: Vitamin K is critical in preventing certain age-related conditions.  Insufficient amount of greens can lead to cardiovascular disease, bone fragility, and arterial and kidney problems.  While in a demanding job, it is crucial to take care of yourself!

2.       Lowers Cholesterol: Mustard greens and kale help lower cholesterol.  High cholesterol is not good for anyone and it is especially important to maintain a healthy level when you are in a stressful job!

(image source: http://www.debbish.com/diet-schmiet/a-healthy-heart/)

(image source: http://www.debbish.com/diet-schmiet/a-healthy-heart/)

3.       Vision: Move over carrots!  Leafy greens are good sources of carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which help filter high-energy light that may cause eye damage.  Lutein and zeaxanthin reduce discomfort caused by glare.  This decreases the risk of cataracts and increases how far you can see!

(image source: http://www.dancingdogblog.com/2013/10/fido-google-glass-for-service-dogs-serious-pet-tech/dog-w-glasses/)

(image source: http://www.dancingdogblog.com/2013/10/fido-google-glass-for-service-dogs-serious-pet-tech/dog-w-glasses/)

4.       Body Fuel: Just like cars, our bodies run out of steam.  Greens will give you energy that will sustain your body and get you through the day!

 5.       Bone Health: Not a milk fan?  Greens can help you get to the 1,000 milligram per day calcium goal.  This is especially important for preventing diseases like osteoporosis.

6.       Colon Cancer Prevention: Greens are part of the nutrient-rich Brassica family.  A higher intake of these vegetables has proven to decrease the risk of colon cancer. 

We hope you will vote for us this November and forever!  We will bring a fresh change to your life and you will be very happy with the outcome.  We are Nature’s Greens® and we approve this message.

(image source: http://womensvoicesforchange.org/poetry-sunday-the-poem-that-became-the-song.htm)

(image source: http://womensvoicesforchange.org/poetry-sunday-the-poem-that-became-the-song.htm)

KALE for all your BASIC Needs

Oh beloved kale. Seemingly overnight you morphed from a discarded, disregarded garnish to today’s “it” superfood. We’ve all seen devotees pay homage to their beloved kale on t-shirts, hats, mugs, and countless Instagram pics. And get this: Kale can boast an astonishing 400% surge on restaurant menus. So just how did this little known veggie suddenly jet into the limelight?  

Nobody knows for sure, but it seems to have started when chefs, who are always reinventing food, adopted kale as a darling. Celebrities then began publicly sharing their kale love. And you may recall that kale gained widespread media attention when a t-shirt maker, who produced an Eat More Kale silkscreen, was challenged by Chick-fil-A, who felt the slogan was too similar to their Eat Mor Chikin campaign.

When the big kale buzz began, nutritionists like me were over the moon. Leafy green consumption had been pretty flat for over three decades, and most Americans were far short of the recommended minimum intake of three cups of dark green veggies per week. Filling that gap immediately ups the intake of several critical nutrients, including vitamins A and C, folate, potassium, and fiber. Plus, kale is loaded with antioxidants and tied to anti-inflammation. This member of the cruciferous veggie family (along with its relatives broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage) helps fight heart disease by protecting the bends and branches in blood vessels; areas that tend to be the most prone to cholesterol build-up. Kale’s natural detoxers have been shown to deactivate cancer-causing substances and stop or slow the growth of existing cancer cells. Additionally, recent research found that eating just one and a half extra servings of leafy greens a day lowered the risk of type 2 diabetes by 14%.

Eating more kale is also a savvy weight loss strategy. In addition to being filling and low in calories, published research has tied higher antioxidant intakes to leaner bodies. Plus, the chewing kale requires ups satiety, to help decrease hunger levels and naturally curb eating. One recent study found that just adding green plant membranes to the diets of overweight women resulted in weight loss, smaller waist measurements, and a reduced desire to eat. Pretty powerful stuff!

 

So regardless of how kale became hip I’m thrilled that it’s not a fizzling fad. Being a regular kale eater (or drinker) is one of the most impactful ways you can protect your health. It’s also one of the easiest. You can enjoy kale in a smoothie or frittata at breakfast, salad at lunch, or sautéed at dinner. Kale chips are an easy breezy and satisfying snack, and you can even bake kale into desserts. Few veggies are as versatile and simultaneously nutrient dense. So I say, “Kale yeah” to this nutrition trend. America, let’s keep on kaling on! 

    

 

Brain Food 101

Summer is almost over, but don’t be discouraged! August begins the fun challenge of fueling our brains. With kids heading back to school and family summer vacations coming to an end, now is the time to focus on building brain power. How to do this you might ask? Well, starting with the perfect foods to get your brain cells pumping is just the ticket!

Here is our quick guide to Brain Food 101:

#1 Dark leafy greens

Kale, collard greens, spinach, and broccoli are good sources of vitamin E, vitamin K, lutein and folate. Studies have found that vitamin k, lutein and folate are helping keep the brain healthy.

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Source: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150330112227.htm

#2 Beets

This root vegetable boosts brain power according to Scientists at Wake Forest University. Beets can increase blood flow to the brain thus improving mental performance.

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Source: http://www.shape.com/healthy-eating/diet-tips/11-best-foods-your-brain

#3 Eggs

Eggs, but more specifically the yolks of the egg are the leading source of choline. Choline is a precursor for acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in helping you remember things like where you left the car keys. Eating protein-rich foods like eggs for breakfast can improve overall cognitive performance, according to Swiss researchers.

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Source: http://www.shape.com/healthy-eating/diet-tips/11-best-foods-your-brain

#4 Fish

Fish like salmon, mackerel and tuna are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, including docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).  In the brain, tends to be very important for the normal functioning of neurons.

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Source: http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20434658,00.html

#5 Avocado

A rich source of the antioxidant vitamin E, avocados are also high in vitamin C which is associated with lowering the risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

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Source: http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20434658_5,00.html

#6 Berries

Blueberries, strawberries, and acai berries help put the brakes on age-related cognitive deterioration and help rid toxic proteins associated with age-related memory loss.

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Olympic Fuel

Source: https://colorlib.com/wp/all-olympic-logos-1924-2016/

Source: https://colorlib.com/wp/all-olympic-logos-1924-2016/

I love that the Olympic games inspire many people to become more active and eat healthier. As a sports nutritionist who works with professional and competitive athletes, I know that nutrition is a key piece of the athletic puzzle. Healthy meals and snacks fuel exercise, and support recovery from the wear and tear training puts on the body. But the same principles that apply to Olympians hold true for everyone; even people who are just starting to become active. 

Whether you like to walk, hike, bike, swim, take fitness classes, or play a sport, like tennis, you need energy to move your body. That’s why what you eat before you’re active is so key. A too heavy meal, an unhealthy one, or food that’s difficult to digest, can leave you feeling sluggish. But eating too little can leave you feeling weak. To properly fuel up and feel invigorated during exercise the best strategy is to reach for nutrient-rich carbohydrates, your cells’ preferred fuel source. Great options include a banana, a small bowl of oatmeal flavored with a touch of honey or maple syrup and cinnamon, or a baked sweet potato.

Source: http://www.mythirtyspot.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/VegFruits.jpg

Source: http://www.mythirtyspot.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/VegFruits.jpg

Protein is a building block of muscle, so after being active be sure to include a protein-rich food for recovery. An ideal post-exercise meal should also include good fat, which is also needed for healing muscles and joints. Plenty of produce is another important element to replenish nutrients and provide antioxidants. One quick option is a smoothie made with leafy greens, fresh or frozen fruit, avocado, nut butter or nut milk, and protein powder or Greek yogurt.  Take Nature’s Greens Kool Kale Smoothie here for a test drive! For a savory meal whip up an omelet made with veggies and avocado, with a side of fruit, or a gingery veggie and citrus stir fry, paired with salmon, shrimp, or chicken, and topped with nuts or seeds. 

To stay hydrated as you work up a sweat follow this general rule of thumb: drink at least two cups of water two hours before exercise, another two cups fifteen minutes prior, and a half cup every fifteen to twenty minutes during, and a few cups afterwards. If you’re sweating heavily be sure to use a sports drink or electrolyte replacer, since plain water alone won’t replenish electrolytes.

Making healthy eating a priority can motivate you to be more active, and help you get the most out of any activity you engage in. And the combination will deliver a healthier, happier, fitter you. So this summer chant “Go USA!” and “Go me!”

 

 

Traveling Greens: Helpful Tips to Store Green Meals on the Go

Ever feel like your snacks while traveling are just plain old junk?  With summer approaching, we look ahead at convenient ways to store greens on-the-go.  Out with the chips and in with the green.  Keep your nutrition on point while out and about and you won’t miss a beat.  Here are five ways to bring your greens with you:

 

1.       Make your green meals ahead of time and put them in a storage container.  Here is a great salad to make for your next travel day that will get you on the Mason jar trend!

 

2.      Double your batch of smoothies to store as a good morning or afternoon snack.  Put it in the freezer at work for those 3 pm hunger pangs or in a cooler in your car.  Find our many smoothie recipes here!

3. Got a flight to catch?  Worried about eating peanuts, pretzels, and snack boxes?  Try packing good-for-you snacks for your flight that will keep you energized and your nutrition in shape.  Slice up some goodies that can last outside of the refrigerator like bell peppers, cucumbers, or fresh fruit.  Almonds and kale chips are also a good option.  Pack them in your carry-on and enjoy your flight.

Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/xlibber/4676723312

Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/xlibber/4676723312

4. Going to the beach or park?  Pack your cooler with tasty and healthy summer treats.  Opt for fresh fruit and chilled lean proteins.  You can even make this easy salad ahead of time to keep in the cooler.

5. Whether you are prepping for the work week or your meals for a trip, this is the most effective way to keep your nutrition on point.  Check out companies like Fuel Food for inspiration on how to make and what to put in your meal kit.  We've made it easy for you to prep your meals.  Just follow the steps below! 

BTF-FBinfo-meals.jpg

Spring into Action: 3 Ways to Lose Weight and Keep the Pounds Off

Spring into Action: 3 Ways to Lose Weight and Keep the Pounds Off

We searched and navigated our way through the best tried and true tips from the pros – the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics – to bring you information from the nutrition experts including our very own partner and registered dietician, Cynthia Sass. 

The Modern Pot luck: A Great Way to Share Health!

Pot luck dinners are back, but here’s the modern twist: these days dishes shared with good friends over great conversations are Instagram worthy, delicious, and good for you. Forget casseroles drowning in heavy sauces or layered dishes loaded with refined starches and animal fat. Contemporary pot lucks are all about enjoying meals that are simultaneously satisfying and energizing, and greens are the perfect place to begin.

Maple Coconut Collard Green Crisps

Maple Coconut Collard Green Crisps

Fresh bagged greens can be transformed into a number of beautiful dishes that fit into any course. For example, start with refreshing smoothies served in mason jars, made by whipping greens with green fruits, like apple, kiwi, or grapes, doctored up with mint and ginger. Serve up mini crustless quiche loaded with chopped greens as an appetizer. For a main course serve a brothy stew or veggie soap loaded with greens, in-season veggies, and lentils or beans, or go for a simple stir fry or entrée salad paired with lean protein and a colorful starch, like black rice, purple barley, squash, or yams. You can even incorporate greens into desserts, from sneaking a green puree into brownies or cake, to serving up chocolate dipped or cocoa dusted kale chips.   

Pot lucks offer the opportunity to get creative, play food stylist, and channel with your inner chef. Bonus: lightened up meals will leave you feeling energized, not stuffed and sleepy, because enjoying the company of friends it’s what it’s really all about. So show us your get together. Tag us in a photo of your #BacktoFresh pot luck on social media and we’ll send you a #BacktoFresh t-shirt!   

Super Easy Ways to Be Sweet to Your Heart!

Super Easy Ways to Be Sweet to Your Heart!

February is the month of love and American Heart Month. So why not celebrate both? By living a healthy lifestyle, you can help keep your blood pressure, cholesterol, and sugar at normal levels while also lowering your risk for heart disease and heart attack.

Welcome to a Fresh 2016!

First of all, I am so excited to be the Leafy Greens Ambassador for Nature’s Greens and WP Rawl. 2016 marks the beginning of our journey together where we will make small changes to lead a healthier lifestyle and I am excited that you are in for the ride! So let’s get started and talk about clean eating.

Delivering Fresh: An Insight into the World of Truck Drivers

Delivering Fresh: An Insight into the World of Truck Drivers

You've seen them on the interstate. Big trucks with eighteen wheels and a white trailer carrying...well, something. Maybe when you were a kid, you tried to get the driver to blow the horn and considered it an accomplishment of sorts if you succeeded. Chances are, that's the most interaction people have with truck drivers on a day to day basis.

5 Things Not To Forget When You Tailgate

5 Things Not To Forget When You Tailgate

We've all been there. That moment when you arrive at the stadium, heart full of anticipation and excitement. You start setting up your tailgate, and then it hits you like a ton of bricks.

You forgot something.

We want you to be as prepared as you can for all your tailgating needs, so we've put together a list of five things not to forget!