Cozy Dishes to Share with Friends and Family

As the cool air begins to creep in, we know that you’re eagerly counting down the days until that first cold snap hits where you can dive into your favorite comfort foods. The hearty, often heavy, recipes that we grew up on as children—casseroles, soups, chowders, and a variety of pies.

 These foods, while warm and comforting, are often filled with unhealthy ingredients that you’ve been working hard all year to eliminate from your pantry as you bring in more greens, fruits, and vegetables to your weekly shopping list. The fall (and approaching holiday season!) can tempt you to add some of these ingredients back to your grocery cart each week. To help you stick to the fresh, nutritious meals that you and your family have been enjoying throughout the year, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorite recipes to enjoy during the fall season.

 Regardless if you’re enjoying breakfast at home with your family, headed out to a tailgate and a football game, or inviting friends over for dinner, we have you covered.

Saturday Morning Brunch

When your kids are still snuggled up in the warmth of their beds under their favorite blanket, head to the kitchen to whip up a quiche that everyone can enjoy for brunch. This Crustless Tomato Quiche is a quick and easy way to start off the day. Bake it in the morning, let it cool for a few minutes, and then slice it up. Your family can enjoy it whenever they’re up and ready for their day or can even take a piece to go on the way out the door!

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Appetizer for a Tailgate

Here in the South, many weekends during the fall are spent gathering with friends around a tailgate before heading into the stadium to catch the big game. No matter what team you’re pulling for this season, having the perfect appetizer for the tailgate is always necessary on gameday. Our You’ll Be Asking for Mo’re Collard Dip makes for a great dip to share during the cooler months of the year. We can promise that your friends will be asking you for the recipe after a bite or two.

Dinner Party

Is there anything more comforting than a warm, filling soup on a chilly fall evening? We don’t think so! Our Smoked Sausage, Kale, & Potato Soup is a wonderful recipe to share with friends around your dining room table. Need to make this vegetarian friendly? Try subbing out the chicken broth for vegetable broth and leave out the sausage. Have a mixed group? Sauté the sausage in a pan on the side and let those who want to add it into their soup add it in as a topping when you serve it. This soup is delicious no matter the season, but it’s especially enjoyable during the colder months of the year.


 What recipes are you preparing this fall? We’d love to see what you are cooking up in your kitchen this season! Whether you’re sharing your shopping cart with your ingredients or your family enjoying your finished product, be sure to tag us in your photos and videos on social media with @naturesgreens and #FarmFreshGreens!

 Happy fall, y’all!

 

Fuel For Success

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Imagine you get into your car to head to work, but it doesn’t start because you put water in the gas tank. Of course, this would never happen - because you know cars require the proper fuel (gasoline) to start and run optimally. 

Now imagine you get into your car (and it starts!), and you head to work. But maybe it feels like you’ve actually boarded the struggle bus  - on your way to work you sit at a stop sign waiting for it to turn green, then your stomach is growling by 9:00, you have a headache by 12:00, and your eyes are just drooping alllll day looong….just me?! I didn’t think so. Just like our cars require the proper fuel to start and run efficiently, YOU require proper fuel to run smoothly and efficiently throughout the day. Let’s chat…  

Fuel For Success

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When I started paying attention to what I was eating and also how I was feeling in response, I noticed that I feel my best and do my best when I start the day with a nourishing breakfast - I’m talking one loaded with all the goods (carbs, fats, protein, oh my!). This combination truly keeps me running throughout the day. I know, I know - mornings are rushed and time is limited to make, let alone eat, breakfast! Trust me - I understand. I used to frequently find myself running out the door, with a piece of toast or whatever bar I could find in the pantry - and then inevitably I’d be hungry, tired, and on the verge of a headache by 9 am. 

CUE SMOOTHIES

Smoothies can easily be prepped in advance and travel well (#noexcuses). Not to mention, they are the perfect way to get in a few servings of fruits and veggies along with carbs, healthy fats, and protein first thing.  Veggies aren’t confined to lunch or dinner anymore! They’re quick, easy, and efficient. This green smoothie is one of my favorite energizing smoothies, and with the option to add some protein powder it makes also makes for a great post-workout option. Eat good, feel good - enjoy! 


This post was sponsored by WP Rawl. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Spicy Shakshuka Bites

Shakshuka. What is it and why am I seeing it everywhere?

A quick google search plus a 10 second glance, and I learned that Shakshuka literally means “a mixture”. The traditional version has Middle Eastern and North African routes, and combines tomatoes, onions and spices to make a saucy base with eggs poached on top. Despite its increase in trend factor, my inspiration was the morning struggle.

I am pretty devoted to my routine and my 5:18 alarm. I like to get up and get moving before I get working. For breakfast, I typically rotate through the same meals out of ease or convenience, and I even work at home. That got me thinking (and sympathizing) for the majority of people who have to go in to the office.

9 out of 10 times I will choose to have a savory breakfast and actually feel weird when I don’t get at least one veggie in. Some days I have the flexibility to spend more time on breakfast yet I still choose the norms because I’ll slack on creativity. I can’t help but to imagine my options would be even less if I went straight from the gym to an office. So, I thought of a nontraditional breakfast that I knew would not only be full of flavor and nutrients but could also portable. I ended up with Spicy Shakshuka Breakfast Bites.

RECIPE

Yield: 12 cups

Prep-time: 15 min

Cook-time: 30 min

Ingredients:

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  • 1 lb Nature’s Greens kale greens, lightly steamed

  • 12 eggs

  • 3 tbsp olive oil

  • ½ white onion, chopped

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 c tomatoes, chopped

  • 1 orange pepper, chopped

  • ⅓ c tomato paste

  • 1 tbsp Harissa

  • 2 tsp salt

  • ½ c fresh parsley, chopped 

  • ⅓ c filtered water

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add chopped onions, orange pepper, and garlic to the pan. Cook for about 2-3 minutes or until softened. 

  2. Add tomato paste, Harrisa and slowly begin to stir in water. With the pan still on medium, cook for 2 minutes before adding the chopped tomatoes and cooking for 2 additional minutes.

  3. Add more water if you find the mixture is too dry but you want it to be a bit thicker than normal. Stir in parsley, turn off heat and let sauce rest while preparing the kale.

    1. I steamed the kale using a large pot, steamer basket and filtered water for 3-4 minutes over medium/high heat.

  4. Divide kale evenly and press into the bottoms of a greased muffin pan. Next, spread a layer of sauce on top of the kale. Bake @ 350 F for 15 minutes. 

    1. I used a 12 cup silicone pan for easy removal.

  5. Remove pan and crack 1 egg into each well. Bake again for 11-15 minutes or until the egg cooked as desired. 

    1. 15 minutes was a bit too long for me and almost cooked the yolk through. I recommend under cooking or cooking until the whites have set if you plan to reheat in the future. 

  6. Let set and cool before removing from wells. Serve, store and enjoy a flavorful, quick meal at home or out the door.

This post was sponsored by WP Rawl. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Power Their Lunchbox

Happy September!

 All of the items on the summer bucket list have been checked off, the sand has been rinsed out from everyone’s bathing suits, and the book bags are packed and ready for a new school year. It’s a new beginning for everyone—new teachers, new classmates, and supplies to make it the best year yet.

 You and your child shopped for all of the things on their school supply list from pencils and notebooks to rulers and calculators. Your child even picked out the perfect lunch box! But have you picked out the perfect foods to fill their lunch box with every day? How about the perfect foods to fuel your child before and after the school day? No worries—we’re here to help! Help your child have a successful day at school by providing healthy, filling foods that will keep hunger pangs at bay and that will help them stay focused in class.

 Breakfast: Superfood Lemon Blueberry Scones

 Whether you have the time in the morning to enjoy a meal together around the table or you’re grabbing something to go to enjoy in the car, these Superfood Lemon Blueberry Scones are a great way to jumpstart your child’s day.

 You can even make these scones ahead of time! They can be served fresh out of the oven or can be made in advance and served room temperature. No matter how you choose to enjoy them, these scones are filled with kale, blueberries, and a hint of lemon, and they’re a delicious way to start out the morning.

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 Lunch: Make Ahead Beans and Greens Quesadillas

 Fill your child’s lunchbox with a diverse, colorful lunch that includes servings of fruit, vegetables, and proteins to ensure that they stay full and focused on school throughout the afternoon. One of our favorite lunches to pack? Make Ahead Beans and Greens Quesadillas.

 Some great things to include alongside the Beans and Greens Quesadillas include fresh fruit, granola, yogurt, and avocados.

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 Afternoon Snack: Cool Fruit and Veggie Pops

 Whew—after a long day at school where you child has been absorbing new lessons, socializing with their friends, and discovering their artistic abilities, they’re going to come home tired. Skip the chips and the candy, and instead, surprise your child with a cold, sweet treat at the end of the day with these Cool Fruit and Veggie Pops.

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 How do you fuel your child’s lunchbox during the school year? We’d love to know! Share your photos on social media and tag us @naturegreans and #farmfreshgreens. Happy school year to you and your family!

Meal Prep Strategies to Fit Your Life

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Meal prep: two little words that can bring up a lot of different feelings. Some people feel very strongly against meal prep or simply have zero interest. Others are totally passionate about meal prep and how much time it saves during the week. Then there are other people who see some benefits but do it more as a chore.

Honestly, I’ve felt all of those things before. You may have, too, and that’s okay! Before I had kids, even when I worked full time outside of the home, I just never saw the appeal of meal prep. I loved cooking, even after a long day at work. I didn’t even like to have leftovers!

Fast forward a couple of years and now I run my own business and, oh yeah, we’ve added two kids to the fam! My lifestyle has totally changed now compared to when it was just my husband and I, and I am 100% aboard the meal prep train now. Meal prepping is a simple habit that makes a huge, positive impact on decreasing the stress of my week, feeding my family nourishing foods, a positive impact on my budget, and allows me more time to spend on weeknights with my family.

Do you have to meal prep? Not at all. But as a registered dietitian, I work my hardest to empower my clients with strategies to create simple, healthy habits for a balanced lifestyle. And every week I hear more and more how meal prep is a strategy that allows many of my clients to continue to make healthy choices when they’re tired, busy, or when life just generally happens.

One key to meal prep? You have to find a strategy that works for you. That’s why some people are obsessed with identical meals for every day of the week but to others that feels like a foodie’s prison sentence. Check out six of my favorite meal prep strategies:

One Recipe Used Many Ways

I like to make easy recipes with simple ingredients that I can use for multiple meals. A couple of my favorites:

Lemon Garlic Turnip Greens

Lemon Garlic Turnip Greens

●     Lemon Garlic Turnip Greens: these turnip greens are simply sauteed and given a flavor boost in 15 minutes. And being such a simple recipe, they pair with a lot. I will grab a portion with some eggs and fruit for breakfast, throw in a wrap or tacos with some black beans or shredded chicken, and tomatoes and guac, stir in with some pasta and parmesan, or add as a leafy green side dish to a protein and complex carb.

●     Salsa Chicken: all you really need is chicken and salsa - that’s it! And it’s a versatile recipe that it can be prepared in the oven, on the stove, in a slow cooker, or (my personal favorite) in the Instant Pot. This can be used on salads, in tacos, burritos, grain bowls, in enchiladas, on sandwiches, and more!

DIY Freezer Meals

 My freezer is my BFF when it comes to meal prep. I’m definitely one of those people who doesn’t always love eating the same thing every day. One of my favorite meal prep strategies is to freeze the leftovers when I make things like soups, proteins, grains, etc. 

But I don’t just dump all of the leftovers into a single bag or container and pop it in the freezer. I’ve learned that I’m far less likely to use the leftovers this way. The key for me is to freeze leftovers in individual portions. This way I can grab portioned components from the freezer to quickly make my own freezer meal.

My current favorites? Cilantro lime quinoa with fajita chicken and vegetables. I use a general guideline of making half of my plate non-starchy vegetables, so I’ll usually round out the meal with something simple like raw veggies, bagged salad mix, or frozen vegetables steamed in the microwave.

Pre-Chop and Measure

If I have a specific recipe or two I want to make for the week but am not sure if I’ll have time to make the whole recipe the night of, I prep what I can in advance. This usually looks like chopping vegetables or proteins and pre-measuring ingredients.

Some favorite recipes to pre-chop and measure to have ready to make on a busy weeknight include:

●     Healthy Sweet and Sour Chicken

●     Adobo Lime Portobello Tacos

●     Sheet Pan Chicken and Vegetables

Prep Basic Meal Components

 One really popular meal prep strategy is component cooking. So this means preparing individual components that can be ready to use either in a recipe or a quick meal later in the week. Think like roasting vegetables, cooking spaghetti squash, making hard boiled eggs, preparing a batch of rice, or making salmon patties.

Shop Your Meal Prep

We all have those weeks where there’s no time (or even sometimes desire!) to meal prep, right? Try shopping for nourishing and convenient staples which can make a big difference in your healthy eating, budget, and time for the week.

Some of my favorite foods to shop and have meal ready include:

●     Rotisserie chicken

Nature’s Greens triple-washed leafy greens.

Nature’s Greens triple-washed leafy greens.

●     Pre-washed and chopped salad kits and leafy greens (like Nature’s Greens convenient bagged greens!)

●     Canned tuna

●     Canned beans (I buy no salt added and then still drain and rinse before using)

●     Frozen vegetables

●     Frozen fruit

●     Sauces, salsa, and salad dressings (look for lower sodium and lower added sugar options)

Pick and choose what’s worth it to you. Example: if you love butternut squash but have a terrible (and even unsafe) time trying to peel it and chop it, buy a bag of chopped butternut squash cubes that are ready to go.

Don’t Forget - Food Should Taste Good

One final meal prep reminder - don’t forget that your food should taste good! I find meal prep can often by synonymous with bland, boring, “diet food” but that doesn’t have to be the case at all! Don’t forget to either make or purchase things like fresh herbs, sauces, and salad dressings.

Here are some of my favorite sauces, dressings, and dips to prep for more enjoyable eating:

●     3-Ingredient Honey Mustard Dressing

●     4-Ingredient Garlic Ginger Sauce (for an easy stir fry)

●     Cilantro Lime Dressing

●     5-Minute Avocado Green Sauce

●     Orange Basil Pesto

●     Salted Caramel Honeycrisp Apple Butter(all fruit-sweetened/ no added sugar)

●     Nut-Free Romesco Sauce

●     3-Ingredient Spinach Artichoke Dip

Are you a meal prepper? Share with us your favorite meal prep strategies that help make your busy days more manageable!

This is a sponsored blog written by Lindsey Janeiro, RDN, LDN. All opinions are hers. Visit https://nutritiontofit.com for more of her work!

Meal Prep Strategies For The Week Ahead!

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One of the easiest prep strategies for building meals that are healthful and balanced is to make the components for grain bowls, but with the portions of the greens and grains reversed. This not only allows you to fit in more veggies, but it also prevents carb overload - all while providing a generously portioned meal that is filling, energizing, and satisfying.

Ready some glass storage contains with lids to fill with your ingredients. The first step is to prep your greens, like kale or collards. Plan for at least two cups per meal. Simply chop a generous portion, drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil, and massage, using your hands, until the greens are slightly wilted. Transfer to a large container and seal. This will be the base of your reverse grain bowl.

Next, prep some additional veggies. These can be raw, like diced tomato, cucumber, bell pepper, and red onion, or shredded zucchini. They can also be sautéed, grilled, or oven roasted. Aim for at least two additional colors, and at least a half cup per meal.          

Prepare some simple grains, which include naturally gluten free options, like brown or wild rice, quinoa, or corn. Plan for a half cup cooked per meal.

Protein is next. This can include plant based choices, like beans, lentils, or chickpeas – about a half cup per meal. Or you may opt for about three ounces per meal of cooked lean animal protein, like browned extra lean ground turkey. For a time saving shortcut buy canned beans, tinned salmon, or ready-to-eat rotisserie chicken. One or two hard boiled eggs is another easy option.

The last step is a finishing sauce. This can include a healthful store bought option, like dairy free pesto or olive tapenade, a semi-premade sauce, like jarred tahini seasoned with added herbs and spices, or a from-scratch choice, like a simple balsamic vinaigrette or creamy pureed avocado sauce.   

When you’re ready to eat, pull out your containers. Fill the bottom of a bowl with your greens, add more veggies, top with your grain, then protein. You can warm some of these up if you prefer, or leave them chilled. Drizzle with your finishing sauce and you’re ready to go!   

Many of these ingredients require minimal or no prep. And taking some extra time on the weekend to cook some whole grains and fill your containers is well worth the effort. Meal prepping ensures that during the busy work week all you need to do to eat healthfully is grab your components, assemble, and enjoy!

How do you feel about meal prep? Please share some of your favorite ingredients, tips, and healthy dishes.

 

 

All Prepped and Everywhere to Be

Imagine this: after hitting snooze on your alarm for just a few more minutes of extra sleep, you wake up and hit the ground running for a busy day of activities for both you and your family. There are permission slips to be signed, carpools to school, meetings at work, soccer practice for your daughter, a play date for your son, and everything in between. You’re running late, and there’s no time to make breakfast for the family. What do you do?

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 Do you decide that a quick pit stop by a local fast food joint on the way to dropping the kids off is exactly what the morning calls for? After all, you’ve got to get you and the kids fed and what’s better than a sausage, egg, and cheese biscuit with a side of hash browns?

 Or do you open up your fridge, grab the smoothies that you meal prepped over the weekend, and hop in the car to get on your way for the day?

 We know that that this first scenario is one that many families are trapped in during busy weeks. According to the CDC, between 2013 and 2016, 36% of adult Americans consumed fast food on any given day. Yes, we know that it can be incredibly easy and tempting to swing through the drive-thru line at a fast food restaurant to grab a quick meal on the go. It beats going into a restaurant and sitting down for a healthier meal and it keeps you and your family on track to making it to your next scheduled activity. But here’s the good news: you can break out of this cycle! Fast food restaurants don’t have to be your go to during busy weeks.

 You can achieve the second, healthier scenario easily with one step: meal prepping!

 Meal prepping is something that we all love here at WP Rawl. There’s no more satisfying start to a week than knowing that all of your grocery shopping is complete and that there’s going to be a healthy, delicious meal available to you and your family for breakfast, lunch, dinner (and the snacks in between, too!) Just think about how much more you’ll be able to enjoy your week and the time that you’re able to spend with your family when you aren’t worried about having to run out to the store or getting dinner going in the kitchen.

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Cranberry Pecan Chickpea Salad

Breakfast is often times the most skipped meal of the day—or the one you’re most likely to run to the local drive-thru for in your hurry to start your day. So we’ve rounded up a few ideas for breakfasts or mid-day snacks that can make you feel prepped and ready to tackle the week once you’ve put them together on Sunday evening.

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"Not So Hidden Greens" Smoothie

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Superfood Lemon Blueberry Scones

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Quinoa Kale Pizza Bites

 You can make several batches of one, or make all three to mix and match throughout the week—however you choose, you know that you’ll be better prepared for the day when you’re all prepped and ready to go!

We would love to see all of the ways that you’re taking your meals on the go! Tag us in your photos and videos on social media with @naturesgreens and #farmfreshgreens.

Smoothies On The Go!

When it comes to meals on the go it doesn’t get much easier than smoothies. The right smoothie can serve as a complete meal replacement, and you can even use meal prep techniques to create savvy shortcuts, so you can get out the door both quickly and healthfully.

 To craft a smoothie that mimics a meal, be sure to include veggies. One of the easiest and most nutritious is a generous handful of ready-to-eat bagged kale. Next, choose a protein source. If you dislike protein powders, opt for almond flour, which is a pulverized form of this whole plant food. A quarter cup provides 8 grams of protein, and an almost equivalent amount of heart healthy fat. Next up is fruit. I like to use a combination of frozen blueberries and a few pre-soaked dates. Dates provide natural sweetness, bundled with antioxidants, fiber, and key nutrients, like potassium, which supports healthy blood pressure and heart function, muscle contractions, prevents muscle cramps, and helps maintain muscle mass.

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Here’s a smart smoothie trick. The pigments in greens and berries are both beautiful on their own, but they tend to clash when combined, to create an unappetizing, dull color. To brighten up your smoothie, add a peeled raw baby beet. Beet pigments overpower greens, which results in a bright, gorgeous hue. Fresh beets also add bonus nutrients, including folate, which is needed for healing and mental health, and magnesium, which improves mood and sleep. Finally, sprinkle in some all natural, anti-inflammatory seasonings, like fresh ginger root and a combo of ground turmeric and black pepper. Now your smoothie contains all of the puzzle pieces found in a well, balanced meal. The result: a quick and simple dish you can take with you and easily sip, that will leave you feeling full, satisfied, and energized for hours. 

 To plan ahead, take some time on the weekend to create smoothie kits. Gather about five freezer safe containers. If you crave variety, mimic the above formula to create mix and match combinations that include different foods from the same food groups. For example, instead of blueberries use frozen cherries, banana, or a chopped green apple, choose collard greens in place of kale, chickpea flour or sprouted pumpkin seeds instead of almond flour, cinnamon rather than ginger, etc. Fill each container with all of the ingredients that go into one smoothie except for the liquid. Seal and stash in the freezer. When you’re ready, simply grab a container, transfer the contents into your blender, add water or nut milk, blend, and you’re ready to go!          

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 A smoothie can replace breakfast, lunch, or dinner. And pre-prepping the ingredients in advance is a savvy way to ensure that in a pinch you’ll have a healthy, well-balanced meal in your hands in mere minutes.  Give it a try, and let us know what you think. We’d love to hear about your favorite combinations, and how smoothie meals make you feel!

Find the recipe for Cynthia’s Make Ahead Superfood Meal Replacement Smoothie HERE!

          

 

 

 

 

Three Delicious Ways to Enjoy Your Greens on the Go This Summer

Happy summer, everyone!

Summer is one of our very favorite seasons of the year at WP Rawl. No matter where you look, you see the color GREEN everywhere. From the green leaves on the trees to the greens that are popping up in our fields, our favorite color is all around us. It’s even in our kitchens each day as we prep and enjoy our meals.

We don’t know about y’all, but we tend to stay on the go during the summer months. The extra daylight hours have us up and out the door early in the morning and staying out later in the evenings. Combined with the warm weather, we like to spend the majority of our days outside. That can make mealtimes a little tricky in our homes as we are spending less time gathered around the table for mealtimes. Most of our meals are actually on the go.

But you know what? We’re not sacrificing nutrition despite being on the go! We’re taking our greens everywhere that we go with us this season. Vacations? Sure, we’ve got our greens there. Early morning swim practices with the kids? Yup, you can bet we have a cup full of greens down by the pool, too. Here are some of our tried and true recipes that make enjoying greens on the go very easy.

Chocolate Kale Zucchini Mini Muffins

Our Chocolate Kale Zucchini Mini Muffins are perfect to meal prep ahead of time! Whip up a batch of these on Sunday night to enjoy for a quick breakfast during the week. They even make for a great snack during the day.

Watermelon Apple Salad with Greens

Prepped and served from a mason jar, our Watermelon Apple Sale with Greens is not only super easy to eat on the go, but it’s also a cute way to enjoy a salad. Prep this one the night before or first thing in the morning before you head out the door for your day’s adventures.

Smoothie

Hands down, the easiest way to take your greens to go this summer? In a smoothie! Smoothies are cool, tasty, and exceptionally refreshing to enjoy during the hot summer months. We have an abundance of smoothie recipes for you to enjoy on our website. What’s your favorite one to enjoy? Smoothies are so easy to customize—you can take any of our recipes and tailor them specifically to your tastes and needs.

How are you taking your greens to go this summer? We would love to see! Tag us in your photos and videos on social media with @naturesgreens and #backtofresh.

Fuel For Your Body

With this fast paced world we live in, most of us don’t have more than 5 or 10 minutes for breakfast or lunch! Here’s a little background on me, I used to work in corporate America. During that time I woke up at 6 AM, was out the door by 6:30 and walking in the door at work by 7:15-30 AM (that LA commute is a real thing). I would be bogged down with meetings and emails and lucky if I actually got time to eat breakfast and lunch! I didn’t want to compromise my health by not eating anything. I soon learned that smoothies were the absolute best way to nourish my body and give it fuel without taking time away from work. The night before I would make a large smoothie with fruits, nuts, seeds, protein powders and greens. The next day, I would just throw it in my bag and store it in the work fridge ready to be consumed! After drinking it I felt so rejuvenated and energized, it completely helped me be more productive!

My best tip…

My best tip for people who don’t have much time but care about their health? SMOOTHIES! That’s why I created a really simple and delicious smoothie recipe for you to try out next time you’re crunched on time. It will leave you feeling satiated and energized so you can take care of your family, be productive at work or crush that gym session. 

This smoothie contains bananas which are an amazing source of potassium! Potassium helps move waste out of our cells, and nutrients into our cells. Peanut butter is made from peanuts (obviously), it contains zinc which also helps us cope with stress and provides us with sustained energy. Cinnamon thins the blood and provides sweetness without compensating the nutrition. Dates provide us with fiber. Last but not least, I use Nature’s Greens collard greens in this smoothie because they are one of the best sources of vitamin c, they help boost the immune system and provide a high source of antioxidants which help reduce inflammation and keep your skin glowing!

Ingredients

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1/2 large frozen banana

1/2 cup of almond milk (any plant based milk will work)

1/2 cup cold water

2 large handfuls of Natures Greens collard greens

2 tbsp peanut butter

1 tbsp ground flaxseeds

1 scoop of collagen or vanilla protein powder (optional)

1 pitted date

1/2 tsp cinnamon

2-3 ice cubes

Directions

Blend all of the ingredients together in a high powered blender until smooth. Add more or less water depending on how thick you want the smoothie. Enjoy right away or store in the fridge in a shaker bottle to consume the next day!

Fueling Your Summer Adventures

Summertime is here and we know that your social calendars are filling up with all of the vacations, outdoor adventures, and celebrations that come with the season. What do you have planned for your summer? It can be such a busy season of the year and you’ll need all of your energy to keep up with the variety of activities that you have planned. Make the most out of the long days and warmer weather by ensuring that you’re eating well.

We know that you will want to fuel your body right for all of the activities that you have planned with your family this season. Summer is one of our favorite times of the year because there are so many great fresh fruits and vegetables that are currently in season. It’s so easy to pick up local produce from your neighborhood grocery store, farmers market, or produce stand to take home and make into a delicious snack or meal.

We grow and harvest an abundance of fresh produce that you can greatly benefit from. Did you know that each one of the greens we grow on our farm are packed with nutrients that are essential to keeping you moving day in and day out? They can even help you fight fatigue! You can skip the afternoon naps with our help so you don’t have to miss a minute of fun this summer.

Kale Greens

Green Apple & Kale Smoothie Bowl

Green Apple & Kale Smoothie Bowl

Kale is one of the most nutrient-dense foods available for you to consume as it includes healthy doses of Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Manganese, Calcium, Copper, Potassium, and Magnesium. It also has iron, which helps keep your iron levels high to avoid an iron deficiency, which leads to fatigue.

Get your morning started off on the right foot with our Green Apple & Kale Smoothie Bowl.

Collard Greens

Power Greens Collard Wrap

Power Greens Collard Wrap

Just as nutrient-dense as kale greens are, collard greens are helping you bring in a robust variety of vitamins and nutrients from fiber and calcium to vitamin K, vitamin A, and vitamin C. We know what you’re thinking: collards? Aren’t those only for traditional New Year’s Day meals or for when you’re eating supper in the South? Not at all! You an easily incorporate collard greens into your weekly meal plans—often times without even needing to cook it!

Keep your energy going throughout the workday or during lunch on your vacation with a quick and easy Power Greens Collard Wraps.

How are you fueling your body this summer? We’d love to see! Tag us in your photos and videos on social media with @naturesgreens and #backtofresh. Happy adventuring!

The Best Kale Egg White Breakfast Muffins to Fuel Your Body

Inspired by Nature’s Green’s Tuscan Kale, I wanted to put a mediterranean twist on breakfast. Filled with sun-dried tomatoes, Kalamata olives, capers, red onion and kale, these muffins are screaming mediterranean vacay. Don’t mind if I do!

Not only do these make for a great breakfast, but they can serve as meal prep for the work week, because we all know just how manic Monday’s can be. Save time, and make these ahead! Store them in the fridge and heat them up in the microwave when you’re ready to eat.

Egg White Muffins

Ingredients

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  • 2 cups egg whites

  • 2 1/2 cups Nature’s Green’s Tuscan Kale

  • 2 Tablespoon oil

  • 1/2 cup diced red onion

  • 1 tsp capers

  • 4 Kalalama olives, sliced

  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, julienned

  • 1/3 cup goat cheese

  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh basil

  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a muffin pan with cooking spray.

  2. In a large pan, add the oil and sauté the onion until translucent. Add the capers, olives and kale. Cook four 3-4 minutes.

  3. Remove from heat and divide the mixture between 9 muffin cups. Add sun dried tomatoes to each one, along with the goat cheese and pour the egg whites to the top of each cup.

  4. Bake the muffins for 10-12  minutes, or until the egg whites are fully cooked. Remove the muffins from the oven and let them cool for 5 minutes in the pan before using a knife to loosen the muffins from the cups.

  5. Top each muffin with fresh chopped basil and serve immediately or if freezing, transfer the fully cooled muffins to a sealable plastic bag and store them in the freezer. To re-heat: microwave the muffins for 30 seconds or until thawed and serve.









The Mindful Eating Challenge

Mindfulness… It’s a total buzz word as of late but what does it even mean?

Mindfulness is bringing our awareness to the here and now. It’s about being fully aware of our surroundings in that particular moment in time. Here are some examples of questions you may ask yourself to become present: How deep is my breathing? What are the sounds around me? Can I release any tension I am holding onto in my bodies? 

Mindful Eating

This leads us to the topic of mindful eating. Mindful eating is about using our senses before, while, and after eating our food. For example, we can ask questions like what does the food smell like, what does it look like, what is the taste and finally what is the texture in our mouth? It’s about being aware of our hunger cues, doesn’t mean that just because its 12 noon, and we usually eat every day at 12 noon, we have to eat then. Or just because I usually practice intermittent fasting and don’t begin eating my first meal until 10 am, that I need to wait until 10 am to eat. What if our body is telling us we are hungry earlier, or later than 10 am? It’s about tuning into our body to figure what what it’s telling us, what it needs and in turn, what type of fuel we should feed it.

In the culture we currently live in, it’s totally normal to eat almost unconsciously. Most people eat at their desk while working, or eat while watching TV at home. I myself have a bad habit of eating while responding to emails. But the issue with that is we don’t get to actually enjoy the beautiful food in front of us. We don’t get to appreciate that it’s nourishing our bodies and giving us brain fuel to make it through the day. We just chew & swallow to finish the task and be able to move on to the next item on our to-do list. I mean, let’s face it, who else has finished a whole bag of popcorn or chips and thought, “oops, I wasn’t even hungry..” I know I have!

Breaking these mindless eating habits actually requires some motivation, self-compassion and practice. That’s why I have set up a quick 6-step plan on how we can steer away from these mindless eating habits and begin adopting some mindful eating habits! For the next 2 weeks, we are going to try to enjoy each meal mindfully. Here’s how:

  • Step 1: Decide if you’re actually hungry. Take a moment to figure out if emotions have triggered you to begin eating (such as feeling sad, bored or lonely). 

  • Step 2: Serve your food.

  • Step 3: Smell - Take a few deep breaths in and out before you begin eating. Smell the food and get excited about the flavors about to happen!

  • Step 4: Sight - What does the food look like? What is the most gorgeous part of the presentation? Anything in particular you’re excited to taste?

  • Step 5: Taste - Take your first bite of food, chew it for quite some time. Set your fork down. Now try to extract all of the flavors and textures. What does it actually taste like?

  • Step 6: While you enjoy the rest of your meal, think about where your food is coming from, and who may have grown your food. Think about what it’s doing for your body. For example, certain fresh organic vegetables can provide our bodies with vitamins and minerals to keep our skin glowing and our digestive system working properly.

I have created a kale and pink grapefruit salad recipe for you below. It is actually a great recipe to start with because you’ll have so many different flavors and textures to examine. I love using Natures Greens because they are pre-washed and ready to consume, making it easier for me to have some more time to practice mindful eating!

Challenge

Let’s start by applying this 6-step process of mindful eating to one meal a day, yup, just one meal (I totally get it can be overwhelming to change our habits overnight). Pick whichever meal you feel it can be the most practical to start with, and give yourself a challenge of doing it every day for 14 days. Whenever you are mindfully eating, tag me your social media posts @recipes4health & I will re-share! So who’s in?

Kale & Pink Grapefruit Salad

Serves: 2

Prep Time: 10 minutes

DIRECTIONS

Salad:

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  • 6-8 cups of Natures Green Organic Kale Greens (pre-chopped & pre washed)

  • 1 large grapefruit

  • 1 ripe avocado

  • 1/4 cup roasted pecans

  • 1/4 cup feta cheese crumbles

  • 2 tbsp dried cranberries

Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil + 1 tbsp 

  • 1-2 tbsp grapefruit juice

  • 1 tbsp ACV

  • 1 tsp dijon mustard

  • 1/2 tsp maple syrup 

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 1/4 tsp pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Using a sharp knife, chop the kale into fine pieces and add them into a large bowl.

  2. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to the kale and use your hands to massage all throughout the leaves. Doing this will help break down the coarseness of the kale and help it be easier to digest.

  3. Next use a sharp knife to cut and peel the grapefruit, then discard. Working over a small bowl, cut between the membranes to release the segments into a bowl. Leave the juice aside to use for the dressing. Add the grapefruit segments into the bowl of kale.

  4. Slice an avocado in half, remove the seed carefully with a knife. Slice the inside of the avocado with a knife, then scoop out the insides with a spoon. Add it to the bowl of kale.

  5. Add the pecans, feta cheese and cranberries into the bowl too. 

  6. For the dressing, add all of the ingredients into a mason jar and shake well. 

  7. Add the dressing to the bowl and toss well.


Mindful Eating

Barbecue Chicken Pizza with Mustard Greens Pesto. Rachael Hartley, RD

Barbecue Chicken Pizza with Mustard Greens Pesto. Rachael Hartley, RD

Most of us would say yes, we’re mindful eaters, because we’re aware of the things that we’re eating and we’re attempting to eat healthy, nutritional things. But being a mindful eater is more than just choosing the things that benefit our bodies and health the most. Being a mindful eater means being fully attentive to the food on the plate in front of you and being aware of your senses while eating.

Consider this: when you grabbed breakfast this morning, did you eat it on the go while wrangling children out the door on the way to school? When you had a snack at work, were you busy plugging away at a spreadsheet or reading through a report? What about dinner? We’re willing to bet that there was something there too that was pulling your full attention away from your meal.

If you were multitasking while you were eating, you were unknowingly being a mindless eater. You did not have the opportunity to sit down and savor every aspect of your food from the color and texture to the taste and the aroma. Mindful eaters bring all of their senses to the table each time they sit down for a meal.

Mindful eaters also ensure that they have a healthy appetite when it comes time to eat a snack or a meal rather than waiting until they’re famished. When you approach mealtimes this way, you’re then able to put a smaller portion on your plate and take your time eating it. You’re not trying to rapidly fill up a void in your belly and you’re about to more accurately judge how much food you will need to eat to be full.

Simply, mindful eating is about slowing down, savoring, and giving your body just what it needs rather than overindulging. It’s about giving your body time to catch up with your brain so you know when you’re full instead of eating quickly and eating more than you need without realizing until it’s too late. That full belly you experience on Thanksgiving after you had that extra helping of grandma’s homemade mac and cheese? That’s the feeling we’re talking about, and that’s a feeling that mindful eaters are able to easily avoid.

How can you become a more mindful eater? Here are a few tips to help get you started along the path of being more mindful when it comes to your snacks and meals: 

1 - It starts at the store.

Proper meal planning and prepping goes a long way towards mindfully eating! When you have all of your meals planned out and ready to go, you’re more like to cook them, gather around the table with them, and enjoy them.

2 - Serve a smaller portion.

Relax—it’s easy to go back for seconds if you are truly still hungry after the first helping, but a smaller portion allows for your body to have the time to communicate to your brain that it’s satiated. We so often pile our plates high—because most of the time, the food is delicious and we want to enjoy as much of it as possible!—rather than being conscious of how much food our body really needs to be full.

 3 - Turn off the distractions.

Set your phone down, turn the TV off, or step away from your desk. Overindulgence happens so easily when we’re not paying attention to our food and when we let our attention be split as we multitask.


What steps do you take each day to be a mindful eater? We’d love to know! Share your steps with us—post a picture or video on social media, and be sure to tag @naturesgreens and #FarmFreshGreens!

Not So Hidden Greens

At WP Rawl, we love our greens! But we know that sometimes it can be difficult to get someone to add greens into their everyday diet despite the abundant nutritional value that greens provide.

When introducing greens to your children, you want to avoid fooling them or tricking them into eating greens. It’s likely to cause mistrust. Instead, offer up dishes that incorporate greens in a way that you won’t notice a difference in taste or texture just because a green has been added. You can do this by pairing a green with a trusted favorite—you’ll be more likely to get even the pickiest eaters at the table to try a bite (or two!) without much protest.

You can also invite your children into the kitchen to help you prepare a snack or cook a meal that includes greens on the ingredient list. Not only will you be creating memories and teaching necessary life skills, but it’s an easy way to introduce new ingredients to your children. Let them feel, taste, and cook with different ingredients as a way to become more familiar with them. The more familiar they are, the more likely they are to try them and enjoy them!

Green Smoothies

Sweet Green Smoothie

Sweet Green Smoothie

Our Sweet Green Smoothie combines 1 1/2 cups of collard greens with lime juice, mango juice, orange juice, and grapes to create a sweet, flavorful smoothie. You’ll notice the collard greens in the smoothie by the bright green color, but it blends in exceptionally well with the fruit juices and grapes.

Beans & Greens Quesadilla

Put a new twist on Taco Tuesday at your house with our Beans & Greens Quesadilla. In addition to all of your favorite Mexican flavors, this quesadilla also includes a heaping handful of kale. The kale is mixed in with the black beans, corn, bell pepper, and spices, and you’ll barely notice it when you bite into the quesadilla!

Quinoa Kale Pizza Bites

Quinoa Kale Pizza Bites

Quinoa Kale Pizza Bites

Are your kids craving pizza this week? Try out our Quinoa Kale Pizza Bites dipped in marinara sauce. It’s an easy meal to cook with your children—let them mix all of the ingredients together in the mixing bowl and spoon the mixture into the muffin tin. You’ll definitely see pops of green in the pizza bites, but your kids will be too busy devouring them to realize they’re eating kale.

How do you add greens to your everyday recipes so you and your family can enjoy them without noticing that they are there? We’d love to know! Share your recipes with us on Social Media by tagging @naturesgreens and #BacktoFresh. We can’t wait to see what you all are preparing in your kitchens!

Green Banana Oat Pancakes

Green Eggs and Ham

When I was younger, my kindergarten teacher made our class green eggs and ham just like in the Dr. Seuss children's book. I remember being repulsed by the idea that my eggs were... green! Eggs shouldn't be green. After my sweet kindergarten teacher insisted that the green food tasted just like eggs, and assured us that we would like it, I decided to take a bite. Turns out, I was afraid of nothing. The green eggs and ham tasted just like... eggs and ham.

Fast forward to the present, and now I enjoy incorporating green foods into most of my meals. Having a big green salad at every meal isn't ideal, so I like to incorporate greens into my everyday meals. Most of the time, you can't even taste the greens! Not only does adding greens to your recipes give you those extra vitamins, but it also adds a pop of fun color.

Why are Greens so Important?

Greens like spinach, kale, swiss chard, and arugula are filled with essential micronutrients such as iron, vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and I could go on. It is essential to feed your body vitamins and minerals so that it can carry out normal processes of growth and development. In addition, it helps your body produce enzymes and hormones that aid in bodily functions such as digestion, detoxing, the menstruation, respiration, blood flow, and more.

I usually incorporate greens into all my meals, but breakfast. For breakfast, it's easy for me to simply grab some oatmeal with nut butter and berries. Lately, I've been getting creative in the kitchen trying to create a recipe that is packed with nutrients and also delicious.

Today, I am sharing with you a pancake recipe with hidden KALE. Just like the green eggs and ham, you can't taste the kale in this recipe. Your body will absorb the nutrients of the kale without sacrificing the taste of breakfast pancakes.

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Green Banana Oat Pancakes

Servings: 1-2

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

1 ¾ Cup Oat Flour

1 Mashed Banana

1 tsp Baking Soda

1 Egg

1 tbsp Coconut Oil

¼ tsp Sea Salt

1 ¼ Almond Milk (or any non dairy milk)

1 cup Steamed Kale

2 tsp Matcha Powder (optional)

Directions

1.    Blend steamed kale in a blender or food processor. The kale should become a creamy consistency. Set kale aside in a bowl.

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2.    In a separate bowl, add oat flour, baking soda, salt, and matcha powder if your want your pancakes to be even more green. Mix together the ingredients.

3.    In the bowl with the kale, add the mashed banana, egg, melted coconut oil, and almond milk.  Mix ingredients together.

4.    Mix together the wet ingredients and the dry ingredients.

5.    Warm up your pan to medium heat. Add some coconut oil to the bottom of the pan to keep your pancakes from sticking. Take 1/4 of your batter and pour it onto the pan. When the top of the pancake starts creating bubbles, you know it's time to flip.

6.    Once all the pancakes are cooked, serve immediately. Add toppings such as maple syrup, strawberries, raspberries, or chocolate chips.

For more recipe ideas, visit my website gababoutit.com!


This post was sponsored by WP Rawl. All opinions are my own.

The Benefits of Dark Leafy Greens on Our Health

“Eat your greens!”

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I’m sure you’ve heard this time and time again – especially with the latest health/diet trends.  But the facts are there, you guys.  There really is something to eating dark leafy greens for your health!

When I say “dark , leafy greens”, what do I mean, exactly?  Kale, collard greens, turnip greens, mustard greens, spinach, chicory, arugula, swiss chard, etc. are all examples of nutrient powerhouses.

Now, what can they actually DO for you?  I’m glad you asked.  

·      They’re chalked full of vitamin K, which thins your blood, helping to prevent blood clots, heart attacks, and strokes.

·      They’re high in folate, beta-carotene, polyphenols, and lutein, which all act as antioxidants for the body and help to reduce risk (or slow growth of) certain types of cancer.

·      Leafy greens are full of nitrates (the good kind) that help to burn fat.  Umm, yes please!

·      They help to reduce inflammation in the body via essential fatty acids (omega-3) and phytonutrients.

·      All leafy greens contain lots of fiber, which feed good gut bacteria and help prevent colon cancer.  

·      They’re known for lowering cholesterol and triglycerides because of their fiber and healthy omega-3’s that I mentioned before.

·      They can actually provide UV protection due to carotenoids, which come from the antioxidants in the plants.  I’ll take a little extra sunscreen!

·      Leafy greens can boost your workouts because of their antioxidants, as well as helping you recover post-workout because of the same, which reduce inflammation.

 Isn’t that amazing??  Who knew that such little leaves could do SO much?!  

 Now, a lot of people think that “eating greens” has to be boring.  I beg to differ!  There are SO many ways to cook them now.  Let me name a few:

·      Sauteed in a pan sprayed/drizzled with avocado oil for 4-5 min and seasoned with lemon pepper or sea salt and pepper.

·      In salads, massaged with your hands for 30+ seconds with a little olive oil or lemon juice.

·      In soups/stews, added in about 15 min before serving.

·      As “chips” (such as kale), tossing with avocado oil and baking at 400 degrees for 10-12 min (or until crispy).

·      In wraps, tacos, etc. (after massaging for 30+ seconds).

·      Tossed into smoothies/shakes (just a handful will do!) after a workout.

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When choosing greens, I always look for fresh, preservative-free, organic (when possible) options.  Nature’s Greens is an amazing line that not only delivers the best, farm-fresh greens, but they also pre-wash them for you, which makes them super convenient for my busy schedule.

I hope you now see the AMAZING nutritional benefits of those leafy, green plants. Take advantage of them, friends!

Jayme Williams, RN, CPT, FNS, WLS

For more of my content, visit my website jaymewilliamsfitness.com!


This post is sponsored by WP Rawl. All opinions are my own.

5 Ways to Get Moving This Spring

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Are you moving as much as you should? Being physically active can improve your overall health. At times, we often hear so much about diet, but don’t realize that physical activity is just as important. Most people do not get enough physical activity, and everyone can benefit from being more active. 

According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, it is important to get a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. Easier said than done right? Between work, school, family obligations, it can very difficult to designate time to get those minutes in daily. Physical activity is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle because of its many benefits such as helping to improve blood pressure, weight maintenance, regulating blood sugars and more. It’s time to better your health by moving your body. Here are 5 fun ways to stay active.

1. Invite a friend and get hiking! Hiking is such a powerful cardio workout with so many health benefits, plus it’s fun (especially when you are doing with your loved ones or friends). Hiking can build strength in your glutes, as well as build muscles in your hips and lower legs. Hiking is also a great way to enjoy nature. Research hiking trails in your location, grab somebody, and get ready for a fun and fulfilling workout that you will enjoy!

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2. Let’s Dance! Can’t dance? No worries, dancing for a workout is really all about moving your body, not catching the beat. Dance workouts make exercising more fun and less painful. What’s not to love about sweating away to your very own dance party and jamming? Dancing can be a great heart pounding, cardio workout. Pop in your favorite dance cardio video and get to it!

3. Take a class. Are you getting bored doing the same workouts? Well it’s time to switch it up! The good news is that there are so many fitness classes out there that can help you mix up your workout routine. It’s even more exciting when you are taking it with a friend. A few classes you can try are yoga, kickboxing, ZUMBA, spinning and many many more. Research some fitness classes in your local area and find one that works for you.

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4. Walk! Walking might be one of the easiest workouts you can do, if you are physically capable. It doesn’t require much effort and it goes a very long way. When you go out, aim to park your car further away from where you are going, to get in some extra steps. Call a friend or family member to go for a walk with you or to talk on the phone with you while you walk. You’ll be amazed at how quickly 30 minutes can fly by when you have someone by your side. You might even motivate each other to add more minutes. Spend most of your days at a desk? Aim to take multiple small breaks throughout the day to help you get active. You can set a timer on your phone to get up and go for a walk around the office. On the days you feel that you want something more relaxed, you can try walking.

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5. Use a fitness app. Oh yes... the digital age brings us so many cool gadgets almost everyday. Do you have a smartphone? Most likely you do, but awesome news is that now it can be a great workout companion. There are so many new fitness apps that include step-by-step instructions for different workouts from yoga, to strength training, running and more. If fitness apps are your thing, it can definitely be well worth downloading.

Whichever type of physical activity you choose to do, make sure it is fun and enjoyable! Don’t forget to stretch before and after to avoid tight muscles, drink plenty of water and consume a healthy meal or snack.

The right foods before and after exercise can boost your results. Your body burns carbohydrates for fuel, they give you the energy to power through that jog or fitness class. When you’re done, refueling with a combination of protein and carbs can help you rebuild muscle. For pre and post workout snacks and meals, visit Nature’s Greens!

This post was sponsored by WP Rawl. All thoughts and opinions are from Valerie Agyeman, RDN. For more of her work around wellness and nutrition, visit her website: http://flourishheights.com

Fueling Your Body for Fitness

Being mindful of what you put into your body can help you to meet your fitness goals faster, and it can also help you prepare for and recover from a run, a pickup game of soccer with friends, or a workout at the gym. Exercising is only half the battle of a healthy lifestyle—your diet plays an extremely important part, too. Everyone is different, so with all of this, it’s best to try and understand how your body specifically responds to different practices.

You can get 30 minutes of physical activity every day, as recommended by the Mayo Clinic, but if you’re not fueling your body with the right nutrition, you’re won’t reap all of the available benefits of a healthy lifestyle. Adding in extra time at the gym in the mornings before work or going on long walks with your family at the end of the day are great things to do, but at the end of the day, you’ve got to be eating right in addition to the physical activity.

The Revival Smoothie. 😍

The Revival Smoothie. 😍

Before you hit the gym, make a smoothie at home that’s filled with fruit and greens. The Revival smoothie created by Tasty As Fit is a perfect one to add to your workout routine. Enjoy a smoothie like this one, or any other one filled with fruits and greens, about an hour before you plan to workout. Your body will have time to digest the smoothie before you start getting your heart rate up at the gym.

Did you know that kale is a wonderful green to eat after you complete a workout? Kale can help manage inflammation after your finish exercising for the day, per the US News and World Report. Inflammation can cause stiffness, soreness, and your body’s ability to bounce back after a strenuous workout. So go ahead—toss some kale into a post-workout smoothie or add a dark leafy greens salad filled with kale to go along with your dinner for the evening.

How are you fueling your body for your workouts and your fitness goals? We’d love for you to share with us! Post a picture or video on social media, and be sure to tag @naturesgreens and #FarmFreshGreens!

What to Eat Before and After a Workout and Why

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Sure, we know that food and exercise go hand in hand, but sometimes with all of the information out there knowing what to eat before and after a workout becomes harder than the workout itself!

Everyone’s needs are a little different depending on their goals, and type of exercise, but there are a couple of nutrition guidelines when it comes to what to eat before and after a workout that will ensure you a fueled up to perform your best and replenish your muscles properly after a sweat sesh. It’s very important to take into consideration how you feel depending on what you eat before and after a workout and how it makes you feel during it. It may require some trial and error to get it right but once you know what makes you feel your best you’ll be ready to take on any workout out there!

Even as a dietitian sometimes I don’t fuel up properly or wait too long to eat after a workout and find myself not feeling so great. It happens! There will always be circumstances that prevent us from perfect execution but the bottom line is if you can roughly follow these guidelines and prepare in advance it will not only allow you to get stronger in your workouts, hep your body recover properly and take the guesswork out of what to eat before and after hitting the gym.

Pre Workout Nutrition

Carbs are key. Prior to a workout we want to make sure our bodies have enough energy, and that energy comes from carbs. Carbs are broken down in our bodies into glucose and then stored in the muscles as glycogen. We need enough carbs to replenish that glycogen store when we’re using it up during exercise. You’ll want what you have before a workout to be mostly carbs with a litte bit of protein too.

You’ll often see runners eating a plain white bagel when gearing up for a run because it’s a simple carbohydrate, which is easier to digest than let’s say a multigrain bagel with seeds (more fiber = slower to digest). Another fun fact here is that carbohydrate loading actually does not just happen the night before a race, you’re body can store carbohydrate 1-7 days in advance. Something to keep in mind if you’re a runner!

Protein is also important for muscle protein synthesis and recovery. A small amount of protein paired with the carbohydrates before a workout provides amino acids to help reduce inflammation as well as build muscle tissue.

When it comes to fat, even healthy sources of fat like avocado, nuts, and nut butter can be hard on the stomach to digest. Some people can tolerate nuts well before hitting the gym, but my recommendation is to keep consumption of this macronutrient at a minimum before the gym.

Pre-workout snack / meals ideas:

Aim for timing of consumption to be 2-3 hours before your workout. If what you’re having is more of a meal than a snack air on the side of 3 hours and if it’s getting close to workout time go for something like a banana or a granola bar.  

  • 1 slice of toast with hummus, kale and 1 slice of turkey on top

  • ½ cup carrots + ½ cup sliced peppers with 2 tbsp. hummus and 1 hard-boiled egg

  • Banana or apple slices with 1 tbsp. nut butter

  • Greek yogurt with low sugar granola + ¼ cup fruit

  • Granola bar (look for ones that have 10 grams of sugar or less if possible. Depending on the size and what’s in the bar it might be smart to have half and save half for after the workout)

  • ½ cup oatmeal with banana slices + 1 tbsp. hemp seeds

  • ½ of a wrap with turkey, spinach, tomatoes and hummus

Post Workout Nutrition

Eating after a workout is super important--your muscles are literally hungry for energy so refueling properly is crucial for replenishment, preventing muscle injury and oh yeah to keep from being hangry!

The optimal carbohydrate-to-protein ratio for this post workout nutrition is 3:1 (3 grams of carbohydrate for every 1 gram of protein). Research shows this carbohydrate-protein combination consumed within 30 minutes of exercise nearly doubles the insulin response, which results in more stored glycogen aka your body is ready and needing that energy vs. storing it as fat. This stored glycogen is then ready to fuel your next workout!

I rely on a few fool-proof snack and meals ideas that I try to always have in my fridge or in my bag so that I can refuel soon after a tough workout. Timing is also an important part of the refueling equation. Some might not be as sensitive to waiting longer to eat after a workout, but I know for me it’s key to eat within 30 minutes to an hour after a workout.

Post-workout snack / meal ideas:

Aim for timing of consumption to be within 30 minutes to an hour after a workout for the reasons stated above!  

Kale Cauliflower Power Breakfast Bowl

Kale Cauliflower Power Breakfast Bowl

  • Kale cauliflower power breakfast bowl

  • Protein smoothie: 1 cup almond milk + 1 cup kale, ½ cup blueberries, 1 tsp. freshly grated ginger, blended plus your protein powder of choice

  • Banana with 2 tbsp. nut butter and a hard-boiled egg (bananas are great before or after because of their carb content--they fuel or refuel your muscles fast!)

  • Baked salmon or chicken with brown rice or quinoa and roasted veggies

  • Kale sausage and egg muffins with toast

Hello Hydration

Staying hydrated before and after a workout is also equally as important as what you eat! Dehydration can cause muscle cramping, and overall fatigue going into a workout.

Here again, there’s no one-size-fits-all method to determining fluid needs during exercise, a good place to start is drinking about 2 cups of water 2 to 3 hours before exercise and 1 cup of water 10 to 20 minutes before working out. Being cognizant that you are working out that day and staying on top of your water intake (aka refilling a reusable water bottle a few times) will help ensure you are feeling good all throughout the activity.

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In the hours after exercise, people should aim for approximately 16 to 24 ounces of fluid for every pound (0.5 kg) of body weight lost during exercise to replenish fluids. After more intense workouts consider opting for coconut water to help replenish electrolytes like potassium and magnesium lost through sweat. These minerals are also super important for proper muscle contraction and relaxation, so if you like the taste this is a smart hydration option!


This post was sponsored by WP Rawl. All opinions are from Maggie Michalczyk, RDN.