5 Tips for a Healthy Halloween

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Whether you’re under 10 years old or over 30, Halloween = candy overload.

I mean, who can resist that pillowcase full of bite sized butterfingers?

Instead of 聽feeling like the holiday聽got the best of you, we’ve got some tips聽to help聽you (and your kids) avoid聽the Halloween sugar hangover.

  1. Make a聽festive meal:聽Instead of sweets聽being the center of attention, get festive with savory foods. A healthy meal before trick-or-treating can make a big difference in late night snacking. Here are some ideas:

2. Try a candy inspired smoothie: Blend up one of聽these nutrient packed smoothie聽for an afternoon snack. With recipes聽like peanut butter cup, caramel apple and almond joy, they’re sure to leave your cravings feeling satisfied.

3. Make a splurge plan:聽If you know the Reese’s聽will be calling your name, make an agreement with yourself to only have聽a set amount. Be specific. When you know you only get 1 or two, you’ll enjoy it more and set yourself up to avoid binging. Before Halloween night, it’s also smart to set up expectations with your kids too.

4. Try this sugar hangover meal: protein + healthy fat + probiotics + water. Excess sugar can throw off our hunger/fullness signals and we can often end up with intense cravings. Eat a balanced, protein聽rich meal with a healthy fat to get your metabolism back on track. Refined sugar can also mess with your gut bacteria, so including a probiotic rich food like kefir, yogurt 聽or sauerkraut is a bonus. Example breakfast post Halloween: egg and vegetable scramble with avocado and sauerkraut or Greek yogurt and berries.

5.聽Stock up on the health(ier) stuff. For kids,聽Thrive market is a great online resource for stocking up on additive-free candies and treats. For the adults, choose dark chocolate聽or these better choices聽when it comes to the sweet stuff.

Mix-N-Match Stuffed Roasted Squash

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Are more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants cook?

Us too.

That’s why we love this mix-n-match guide for making stuffed winter squash.

A hearty and healthy meal you can adapt to whatever you have on hand.

Here’s how it works:

Base Ingredients

  • 1 squash (acorn, kabocha, butternut, delicata)
  • Olive oil
  • 2-3 cups of filling per squash (depending on size)

Filling

  • 1/2 – 1 cup protein –聽sausage, chicken, pork, tempeh, tofu or beans
  • 1/2 – 1 cup vegetables –聽onions, mushrooms, zucchini, peppers, greens
  • 1/2 – 1 cup cooked grains – quinoa, rice, farro
  • Herbs and/or spices
  • Optional: nuts/seeds – walnuts, almonds
  • Optional: shredded cheese for topping
  1. Preheat: Oven to 375
  2. Prep the squash: Slice the squash in half and聽scoop out the seeds
  3. Bake Squash: Place the squash halves cut-side-down in a baking dish and add about 1/4 inch water.聽Cover the dish with foil and bake聽until a knife easily slices through聽(anywhere from 30 to 50 minutes)
  4. Prep filling: While the squash is roasting, prepare any filling ingredients (cook meats or veggies fully)聽Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and season with spices and herbs.
  5. Stuff the squash halves:聽Rub inside of cooked squash with a little olive oil and pack聽with stuffing ingredients. Top with shredded cheese if using.
  6. Bake again: Re-cover the pan with the foil and bake the halves for another 15 to 20 minutes until tops are crispy and/or cheese is melted.

Here are some ways you could mix-n-match:

  1. Sausage + mushrooms + onions + kale + farro + sage + walnuts
  2. Chicken + bell peppers + black beans + chili powder + pepper jack cheese
  3. Turkey + onions + thyme + dried cranberries + parmesan cheese
  4. Tofu + mushrooms + spinach + garlic + scallions

Not sold on the mix-n-match idea? Here are 5 recipes to get you inspired:

  1. Sausage Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash
  2. Chipotle Chicken Stuffed Acorn Squash
  3. Beef, Mushroom and Caramelized Onion Stuffed Butternut Squash聽聽(paleo)
  4. Stuffed Butternut Squash with Quinoa (vegetarian)
  5. Wild Rice stuffed Butternut squash (vegan / vegetarian) *pictured above

This post was inspired by the Kitchn’s How to Make Stuffed Roasted Squash

20 Minute Cauliflower Lentil Tacos

Healthy, 20 minute tacos?

Yes, you heard us right.

Lentil Tacos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This taco filling made from lentils and cauliflower makes for a hearty, vegetable meal that satisfies when you’re craving tacos (and who doesn’t crave a good taco dinner every once in a while?).

Served in聽a fresh corn tortilla and聽garnished聽with your favorite taco toppings, you’ll have a tasty, healthy alternative to greasy restaurant tacos.

To make this recipe come together in under 20, you can use either pre-cooked lentils (we love the ones from Trader Joes) or your own cooked lentils. For a spicy finishing touch, try mixing 1 teaspoon of the liquid from chipotle peppers canned in adobo with 1/2 cup Greek yogurt.

Try these tacos for your next meatless Monday meal, busy weeknight dinner or lazy Saturday lunch. Either way, they’re sure to please!

Ingredients
(makes about 3 cups of filling or about 6 servings)
1 head cauliflower
2 cups pre-cooked lentils
1 yellow onion
1 jalapeno
2 cloves garlic
1 Tbs. Chili powder
1 Tsp. Cumin
1 Tsp. Smoked Paprika
Salt to taste

Organic corn tortillas

Optional Toppings:
Avocado
Cilantro
Greek yogurt or sour cream
Tomato
Salsa
Lime

Directions
1. Prepare the cauliflower by grating with a cheese grater or pulsing in a food processor to break up into small pieces (should be the consistency of like bigger rice)
2. Heat a large skillet and saute diced 聽onion with a little oil or broth until clear
4. Add cauliflower, garlic and spices and continue to saute until cauliflower is done (about 5 more minutes)
5. Add cooked lentils and saute until all ingredients are warmed and mixed
6. To serve, spoon into corn tortilla and garnish with toppings of choice

*image via cookieandkate, recipe modified from Kate’s Roasted Cauliflower and Lentil Tacos

4 Tips To Improve Digestion And Enjoy Thanksgiving Dinner

It’s 6pm after Thanksgiving dinner…how do you feel?

Stuffed? Bloated? Uncomfortable? Sick?

It’s all too common to eat too much, too quickly on this much anticipated meal. The result is that infamous Thanksgiving “food coma”聽that we all blame on the rich food.

But is it really the food itself, or is it how we eat it?

So much of how we feel after a meal has to do with what happens after we eat.

With these tips, 聽you’ll be able to walk away from Thanksgiving dinner feeling comfortable and satisfied.

Here are Molly’s 4 top tips to improve your digestion to enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner.


Tip #1: Chew Your Food. We know this sounds silly as you’re probably thinking “well, of course I chew my food”. But we mean REALLY chew your food. Ideally, your food should be almost liquid before swallowing.

Why it works: The first step of digestion is in your mouth. Not only do you physically break down your food by chewing, but the digestive enzymes in your saliva begin to chemically break down carbohydrates and proteins. The more you chew, the more you mix these enzymes with your food and kick start the digestive process.


Tip #2: Put your fork down between bites. Similar to tip #1, the idea is to slow down. While we all know that slowing down to eat is a good habit, it can be hard to put into practice (especially when we’re hungry or it’s a special meal like Thanksgiving)聽Getting into the habit of putting down your fork in between bites and allowing yourself to chew and swallow before picking up the fork again will help you eat slower and more mindfully.

Why it works:聽According the psychology of eating, slower eating means a faster metabolism. When we eat too fast, the body isn’t able to fire up digestion, absorb nutrients or聽correctly moderate聽hunger hormones to signal fullness.


Tip #3: Start with something sour or bitter. If there is any food that is naturally sour or bitter (think citrus vinaigrette, bitter greens like arugula or vegetable stalks) eat those first. Alternatively, you can create the same effect by taking 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar before eating.

Why it works: The human digestive system is triggered by sour and bitter flavors. This is because we evolved eating the聽bitter flavors found in nature, such as greens, barks and herbs. However, the standard palette聽of sweet and salty can leave the digestive system behind.聽Jump starting your聽digestive enzymes (from the stomach, pancreas and gallbladder) to聽help increase the effectiveness and comfort of your digestion.


Tip #4: Move a little.聽While you don’t want to go for a run or even a walk right after eating, a leisurely walk 30-60 minutes after a big meal has been shown to improve digestion.

Why it Works:聽When we eat, our blood sugar increases. This spike in blood sugar is聽taxing on the body’s systems. In other words, the body doesn’t like high blood sugar and has to work hard to bring it聽back down. One way to help use the excess blood sugars is by moving. This will allow the body to spend it’s energy on other tasks, like digesting your food.


Pick one or more of these tips to practice at your Thanksgiving table聽and see how much it improves your digestion聽during and after your meal. 聽Which one will you be trying?聽We’d love to hear! Share by making a comment in the section below.

Mason Jar Burrito Bowls

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Our last blog post talked all about tips on how to stay healthy聽despite a busy schedule.

One of the main tools聽we discussed was setting aside a couple hours on the weekends to prep some healthy meals for the upcoming week.

Today, we want to share a recipe to help get you inspired: Mason Jar Burrito Bowls.

Mason jar salads are the easiest ways to prepare lot’s of food in a quick amount of time.聽The airtight seal keeps all the ingredients fresh, so that you can make enough to last the whole week.

With these burrito inspired, flavorful and hearty salads, you’ll聽never have an excuse for take-out lunch again.

Salad Ingredients
Chopped bell pepper
Cooked and cooled quinoa or riced cauliflower
Baked, cooled and cut sweet potato
Baked, cooled and cut organic chicken breast or black beans
Halved cherry tomatoes
Diced avocado
Chopped romaine lettuce

Dressing Ingredients
3 tbs rice vinegar
3 tbs olive oil
1/2 bunch parsley
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 tsp maple syrup
juice of 1 lime
pinch salt

Equipment Needed
4-5 large, wide mouth mason jars

Directions

  1. Prep ingredients and dressing
  2. Add 2 tablespoons of dressing to the bottom of the jar
  3. Then layer in ingredients in the order listed above, starting with crunchy vegetables, followed by grains and proteins, then soft vegetables and lettuce on top
  4. Seal with lid and store in fridge for up to 1 week

Feel free to substitute different vegetables, proteins or greens. You could also take a look at some of these ideas for other flavor combinations.

These salads are聽also perfect to pack for work, school lunches or travel days.

Make 5-6 with your favorite ingredients and flavors and you’ll be set for a week of healthy, satisfying lunches.

(Photo + Recipe Credit: Momo Wellness)

Healthy Autumn Recipes Contest

Hi Crew! Last week we asked you to send us your favorite Autumn recipes and one lucky winner would receive a $50 Whole Foods gift card. You all sent in some great stuff! Below are the entries…scroll to the bottom to find out who the winner is!

#1 Elizabeth Tobey (works out with Tyler in the evenings at GG Park), sent us a recipe for Baked Spaghetti Squash and Cheese. She recommends a really sharp cheddar for the cheese portion of this recipe.

#2 Sandra Short (works out with Annah in the mornings at Dolores park) sent us her own recipe:

Butternut Squash White Bean Soup
2 tsp olive oil
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
3 cups cubed butternut squash
2 zucchinis
3 cups swiss chard
2 can cannellini beans
8 cups organic chicken broth
3 sprigs thyme
salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and oregano to taste

Heat olive oil and sautee garlic and onions for 3 min.聽 Add butternut squash and zucchini (chopped) and sautee for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.聽 Add swiss chard, cannellini beans (all can contents), chicken broth, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and oregano and let simmer for about 30-40 minutes until vegetables are soft.聽 Serve with parm!

#3 Maya Hanaike (has worked out with us at Gap Inc. corporate classes) shared a recipe for Vegetarian Pumpkin Chili. She also mentions that she subbed in butternut squash for pumpkin and it was great.

#4 Laura Vernon (works out with us at Gap Inc. classes) shared her own recipe for a Vegetarian Chili:
Ingredients:
路butternut squash (1)
路yellow or white onion (1)
路garlic
路chili powder
路ground cumin
路ground cayenne pepper
路smoked paprika (optional)
路black beans (2-3 cans)
路low sodium vegetable stock
路diced tomatoes in juice (1 can)
路swiss or rainbow chard leaves
路extra virgin olive oil
路salt & pepper
路greek yogurt
路fresh cilantro
路hot sauce (optional)
聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 聽
路Directions
路Heat 2-3 T olive oil in the bottom of a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add 1 onion and 3 cloves garlic (both finely chopped) and saute until onions are softened, about 10 min.
路Add 1 butternut squash (peeled and cut into half-inch cubes) and toss to coat with the onion and garlic mixture. Add 2 T chili powder, 2 t cumin, 1/4 t cayenne pepper, and 1/4 t smoked paprika (optional). Distribute the spices into the vegetables and continue cooking for 1-2 more min.
路Add 2 or 3 cans of black beans (drained and rinsed), 2 and 1/2 c low sodium vegetable stock, and 1 14-oz can of diced tomatoes in juice. Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer, uncovered, until the squash is tender (about 20 min).
路Coarsely chop the leaves from 1 small bunch of rainbow chard and add to the chili, simmering for another 3-5 until wilted but still brightly colored. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve. Top with greek yogurt, freshly chopped cilantro, and your favorite hot sauce.

#5 Veronica Miller (works out with Brooks in the evenings on the Embarcadero) sent us recipe for Roasted Butternut Squash with Kale and Almond Pecan Parmesan.

#6 Linda Anderson (works out with Tracy in mornings at GG Park) sent us a recipe for Moroccan Pumpkin and Lentils. She recommends using kabocha squash which does not need to be peeled. She also adds kale or chard sometimes. And it is a one pot meal!

#7 Bella Wong (works out with Tracy in the mornings at GG Park) sent us two of her own recipes:

Farro Bake:
*soak 1 cup of bulk farro for 6-8 hours*

1/2 medium onion (chopped)
1 clove of garlic (chopped)
1 cup uncooked farro
1 cup kale, or any veggie (chopped)
2 1/2 veggie broth or chicken broth
1 cup tomato sauce

– Preheat oven to 400 degrees
– Over med heat- saute onion and garlic for about 2-3 mins- be careful not to burn as the garlic will taste bitter
– don’t forget to add salt/pepper onion/garlic
– add drained farro and kale/veggies and saute for 4-5 mins- be sure to keep stirring to evenly brown the farro
– add 2 1/2 cups of broth and stir occasionally
– once it starts boiling- stir 1 cup of tomato sauce
– once it boils again- pour into a 9×9 baking dish
– optional: parm cheese can be mixed in during this step
– cover with foil (add a few slits on the foil to vent)
– cook for 20-25 mins- then add bread crumb mix (recipe below)*
– cook with bread crumb mix for an additional 20-25 mins until golden brown
– this should bake for about 40-45 mins

* you can also add parm cheese on top, but for the last 10 mins of baking.

OPTIONAL:
Bread Crumb mixture:
1/2 cup聽 melted butter
1- 1 1/2 cup bread

– Mix until it’s no longer liquidy
– You can add cheese as an option
– Top the farro during the last 20 mins of baking.

___________________________________________

Roasted Garbanzo beans w/ Cauliflower and Olives

– 1 head of cauliflower- cut into florets
– 8 cloves of chopped garlic
– 24 green olives- halved
– 1 can of Garbanzo beans- drained
– 1/2 tsp Chilli flakes- optional

Preheat oven to 450

– In a large bowl mix and coat all ingredients with olive oil
– Salt and pepper to taste (the olives are pretty salty- so not much salt is needed)
– spread on foil lined cookie sheet
– Bake for 15-20 mins or until crisp/golden brown – be sure to stir after 10 mins of baking

Okay, we’re hungry just reading through all these and are even more excited about the Autumn season of eats! Comfort food can be healthy, as y’all have proved here! And the winner of the contest is….LINDA ANDERSON! With her Moroccan Pumpkin and Lentils recipe!