At this time of year, everyone is focused on keeping an active and healthy lifestyle. So we thought we would share with you some of our healthy habits and some of our favorite healthy recipes.
Over the holidays I read Target 100 by Liz Josefsberg and it was a breakthrough for me. I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a reasonable and simple way of looking at eating, sleeping and exercising to make a healthy life change. I realized I have been dehydrated and eating when what I really needed was more water and lots of it! Per Liz’s targets, I am trying to drink 100 oz of water per day and limit carbs to 100 grams per day.
For exercise I’m loving the combination of barre classes and spinning. The barre classes give me stretching, toning and balance, and I’ve been alternating spinning and cardio. Barre 3 in Livingston has a very friendly atmosphere, the owner is delightful and a great teacher. These classes have eliminated any back pain I was having. (Yes, that is me in the background of this photo!) FlyWheel classes are short and sort of sweet. The music helps and you’re in and out and sweaty in 45 minutes. So far I have lost 8 lbs!
To help us maintain a healthy diet, my daughter Sylvie has been making this chia pudding. It’s so easy and it’s a healthy dessert, snack or breakfast. Chia seeds help you feel full and contain beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, carbohydrates, protein, fiber, antioxidants, and calcium. Here is the recipe for you to add to your repertoire of healthy recipes.
- 1 1/2 cups dairy-free milk (we used DIY coconut – use creamier milks for creamier, thicker pudding, such as full fat coconut and cashew)
- 1/2 cup chia seeds
- 1-2 Tbsp maple syrup (more or less to taste)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- for serving: compote, mint, fresh fruit
- To a mixing bowl add dairy free milk, chia seeds, maple syrup (to taste), and vanilla. Whisk to combine.
- Cover and refrigerate overnight (or at least 6 hours). The chia pudding should be thick and creamy. If not, add more chia seeds, stir, and refrigerate for another hour or so.
- Enjoy as is, or layer with compote or fresh fruit! Will keep covered in the refrigerator up to 5 days.
My favorite place to work out is Body By Struggle in Maplewood. Every workout with Struggle is different and HARD! He really taylors the workouts to each class and each exercise to your needs. The variety of equipment is mind boggling and guaranteed to push you – way more than I ever push myself in the gym. Struggle also has great advice about lifestyle and healthy eating.
One of my favorite healthy recipes is for Eton Mess, a traditional English dessert consisting of a mixture of strawberries, broken meringue, and whipped double cream. It is believed to have originated from Eton College and is served at the annual cricket match against Harrow School. In this healthy version of Eton Mess I use yogurt rather than whipped double cream.
Ingredients for Meringue Nests
- 2 large egg whites – I often use the cartons of egg white so I don’t have to find a use for the leftover yolks, in which case you’d need 70g.
- 100 g caster sugar
Make the Meringue
- Pre-heat your oven to 100ºC/80ºC fan.
- Put your 2 egg whites into a large bowl and whisk on a low speed until foamy. Once foamy, increase the speed to medium until the egg whites form stiff peaks.
- Add the caster sugar (100g) a tablespoon at a time and whisk until combined. You’ll now have a lovely stiff, glossy meringue.
Pipe the Meringue Nests
- Line your baking tray with grease-proof paper or non-stick baking sheet.
- Put you meringue into a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle.
- Start by piping a dot in the center of your meringue nest, then in one continuous motion go around the dot twice to make a bigger circle, and then go around again on top of the outer circle to make the sides.
- Repeat until you’ve piped all 8 nests. Don’t worry if they’re not completely perfect – that’s what makes them look homemade, and you can always cover any mishaps with plenty of cream and fruit.
Bake the meringue nests
- Place the meringue nests into the oven and bake for 1 hour 45 minutes.
- Once cooked turn off the oven and DON’T open the door. Leave the meringues in the oven until it has cooled completely and then take them out (the slow cooling helps to prevent the nests from cracking). I usually make my meringues in the evening and then leave them to cool overnight.
- Remove them from the oven and serve.
Instructions for Eton Mess
- Pop the meringue nests into a freezer bag and scrunch them up until broken into pieces.
- Mash half of the strawberries with the back of a fork until almost smooth.
- Layer the ingredients into serving glasses. Start with some strawberries, along with a spoonful of their juices. Mix half of the crushed meringues through the yogurt and add some of this.
- Top with a bit more fruit and some of the crushed meringues. Repeat until all the ingredients are used up and the glasses are full. Serve immediately.
Replace the strawberries in this recipe with any fruit you like. It works really well with raspberries, blueberries or stone fruit such as peaches, as well as almost everything else.
Using frozen, rather than fresh fruit in the recipe is a great way to get an even prettier and cheaper dish. When the frozen fruit has been defrosted it is really lovely and juicy, creating beautiful swirls in the finished Eton mess.
Top with fat free Greek yogurt and a spoonful of almond butter.
I love tennis. Tennis provides physical exercise, requires mental concentration, and it allows for social interaction too. I belong to Maplewood “Little” Club which provides all of that during the outdoor summer months, plus a great group of members, non-tennis activities, and serene tennis facilities. Tennis is a great way to burn some calories and have fun while doing it.
The USDA recommends eating grains daily, and at least half of those should be whole grains. Whole grains provide fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that will improve your health. With that in mind, here is a recipe that I love to make. I top the waffles with a small dollop of peanut butter and only a dribble of syrup. I can enjoy a decadent breakfast while maintaining healthy eating habits.
WHOLE GRAIN WAFFLES
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 3/4 cups skim milk
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/2 cup flax seed meal
- 1/4 cup wheat germ
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, oil, applesauce, and vanilla. Beat in whole wheat pastry flour, flax seed meal, wheat germ, all-purpose flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt until batter is smooth.
- Preheat a waffle iron, and coat with cooking spray. Pour batter into waffle iron in batches, and cook until crisp and golden brown.
My favorite form of exercise is walking my dog Bella around town. She is always willing to go for a walk no matter what the weather. We have been known to walk in torrential downpours, wind storms and blizzards. We never miss a day!
Something as simple as a daily brisk walk can help you live a healthier life. And the faster, farther and more frequently you walk, the greater the benefits. Regular brisk walking can help you maintain a healthy weight, strengthen your bones and muscles, improve your mood, balance and coordination, and prevent or manage various conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.
Walking is also a great way to socialize. I have met many people walking around town that I probably never would have met. I keep up on all the local goings-on by talking with my neighbors and the people who work for the town. And while Bella and I are out walking, I also indulge in one of my favorite hobbies – iPhone photography.
Overall, I find walking offers me both physical and mental benefits. And it is just as good for Bella!
This is a quick, easy recipe for quinoa that I came across a few years ago. Quinoa is considered to be one of the world’s most popular health foods. It is gluten-free, high in protein and one of the few plant foods that contain all nine essential amino acids. It is also high in fiber, magnesium, B vitamins, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin E and various beneficial antioxidants.
One of the nice things about this recipe is that you can include whatever veggies you happen to have in the refrigerator.
CHICKEN WITH QUINOA AND VEGGIES
- 1 cup rinsed quinoa
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cut into strips
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 zucchini, diced
- 1 tomato, diced
- 4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
- 8 fresh basil leaves
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- Bring the quinoa and chicken broth to a boil in a saucepan; reduce heat to a simmer and cover the pan. Simmer until the broth is absorbed, the quinoa is fluffy, and the white line is visible in the grain, about 12 minutes.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet; cook and stir the garlic and onion until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chicken breast strips and cook until the chicken is still slightly pink in the middle, about 5 more minutes. Remove the chicken meat and set aside. Pour 2 more tablespoons of olive oil in the skillet and cook and stir the zucchini and tomato until the zucchini is tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Return chicken to skillet and sprinkle with feta cheese, basil leaves, and lime juice. Cook until the chicken is fully cooked and hot, about 10 more minutes. Serve over hot quinoa.