Spotlight on Blueberries

Mid-March is upon us and spring is attempting to “spring” here in south Texas. We never got much of a winter, but I think I’m not alone in saying we’re all ready for some sun and blue sky kinda days and leaving the grey foggy ones behind.

Of course with spring arriving it also heralds “berry” season and I can’t wait. I mean, not that I’ve taken a break from eating them, it just means they are crazy cheap and I can indulge even more freely 🙂

I love all kinds of berries. They make appearances in all my breakfast meals and are a healthy, nutrient laden, low cal snack.

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I wrote some other berry posts, find them here……https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/03/13/spotlight-on-strawberries/  https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/01/30/the-super-powers-of-blackberries/

Ok first things first.

I found it amusing getting my healthy facts, that the things that kept coming up first in my searches were for muffins, pancakes, breads, etc like hold on with the recipes Susan, we’ll get there 😉

Like other berries, blueberries pack a powerful nutritional and healthy punch. Blueberries are an Antioxidant Superfood. Packed with antioxidants and phytoflavinoids, these berries are  also high in potassium and vitamin C, making them the top choice of doctors and nutritionists. Not only can they lower your risk of heart disease and cancer, they are also anti-inflammatory.

Blueberries are among the most nutrient dense  berries. A 1-cup (148-gram) serving of blueberries contains :

  • Fiber: 4 grams
  • Vitamin C: 24% of the RDI
  • Vitamin K: 36% of the RDI
  • Manganese: 25% of the RDI
  • Small amounts of various other nutrients

They are also about 85% water, and an entire cup contains only 84 calories, with 15 grams of carbohydrates.

Blueberries are believed to have one of the highest antioxidant levels of all common fruits and vegetables.

The main antioxidant compounds in blueberries belong to a family of polyphenols antioxidants called flavonoids.

One group of flavonoids in particular — anthocyanins — is thought to be responsible for much of these berries’ beneficial health effects.

Blueberries have been shown to directly increase antioxidant levels in your body.

Blueberries may also lower blood pressure, prevent heart attacks, help maintain brain function and improve memory.

With the high Vitamin C content in blueberries, they are also considered an anti aging food. Anthocyanin in blueberries is responsible for preventing oxidative DNA damage, while the abundance of vitamin C is a big factor in building collagen.

Wanna stay looking younger? Add plenty of berries into your daily diet.

Other ways to incorporate them into your diet…

of course berries are a stand alone kinda thing and you can eat them “as is” but they also make great additions mixed in with yogurt or oatmeal.  Add them to smoothies or other drinks. I sometimes like them in salads.

But I’d say many people enjoy them wrapped up in tasty baked goods as well. And since life also deserves treats, I’ll leave you with a few tasty recipes for our friend, the blueberry 🙂

 

Your turn. Do you like blueberries? Do you have a favorite way to eat them?

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Holidays And Healthy Eating

December. A month packed full of tasty possibilities.  You may have office parties to navigate, neighborhood get togethers, church gatherings, and of course your own family festivities to attend.

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Food. There’s an abundance of delicious fares available during the holiday season.

Eat, drink and be merry now because January will soon arrive and all you’ll see will be weight loss shakes, diet books, and new plans for starvation after all your feasting has gone on.

Tell me I’m wrong. It’s a sad dismal reality every…single…year.

Like anything, I believe balance and moderation are crucial during the holiday season. Not only in regards to weight, but really, overall wellness and how you feel. To much excess in food or alcohol will make you feel sluggish, bloated and not your best.

Maintain balance and moderation and you won’t need or want any of those awful shakes. Live a constant healthy lifestyle and you can move through this season and not have to think about doing anything different in January.

I get it.

Among other things I love doing for Christmas is baking and making candy.  I’m old school so it’s all from scratch. Really, nothing is better than sugar cookies made with real butter.

A fat Santa? A fluffy reindeer? A round snowman? Who can resist a fun sugar cookie with frosting and sprinkles?

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Not me that’s for sure. Those are my favorite Christmas cookies and I don’t restrict myself… but nor do I go crazy and over eat on them as either.

It’s all about that balance, right?

I think where people often fail is having an “all or nothing” mentality. They restrict so much that when they decide they are going to have treats, it turns into a feeding frenzy.

Neither approach is really helpful or healthy.

Let’s be honest. Of course you/I/we all know we are going to indulge. It’s just a matter of how you handle the indulging part.

Make healthy eating your main thing.

I’ve said this before, I’ll say it again, just because we are in the “holiday season” doesn’t mean you just need to go hog wild eating everything in sight. It doesn’t mean you proclaim you’ll worry about it “next year”.

To keep feeling your best, limit any weight gain and enjoy yourself, make sure you keep your meals as healthy as possible.  If you know you will be participating in a party later that day, eat well, but don’t go to the extreme of not eating because you are “saving your calories”.

All you’ll do is show up ravenous and most likely eat way more than you would have.

Eat sensibly, go with a plan to the party, and then be super selective about what you eat.

For goodness sakes, don’t eat everything on the buffet if there are some things you don’t like a lot.

Save your calories for your most favorite foods 😉

I wish I could claim the fat loss hack below….

I saw this and it was perfect to share here. I tend to operate this way and find it easy to do.  I especially love the second part. To often people think if they’ve had one “bad” meal they should just throw in the towel and eat bad the rest of the day.  No… you get back to sensible eating again.

I think this is a great reminder as we go through the holidays that one meal full of extras doesn’t have to be what the rest of our day is like.

Eat your normal foods more often than not, if you eat extra treats get back to normal at your next meal. Keep things simple.

fat hacks

Other things to consider…

Make sure vegetables and fruit are a big part of your daily diet. Well, you should even if it isn’t Christmas time, but more so now. They keep you full, give you energy and keep that sluggish feeling from setting in when you’ve had an overly laden high fat/carb meal.

Drink adequate water. This will help keep you hydrated, especially if alcohol makes it’s rounds with you.  Water can help flush excess sodium from foods we’ve consumed and it also helps prevent headaches that can come from to much excess.

Mindful eating. So often we graze and just load food into our mouths without even being aware of what it is or why we are eating it. Think about what you eat. If you aren’t hungry, walk away from it.  Find something else to occupy you till the desire passes.

Keep up with your exercise. Not only does it help reduce stress, it also allows time for you to think and sort ideas, clear your mind and help with creativity.  Not only that, it can help keep your weight in check as well. Don’t dismiss it as not having enough time. I am a big fan of HIIT workouts that are 20 minutes, but packed with lots of hard work.

Trust me, you’ve got 20 minutes in your day to do something positive for yourself.  Check out this weeks Monday Musings for one of my 20 minute workouts.

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/12/10/monday-musings-29/

Keeping a few simple strategies in mind will let you enjoy the tastes and flavors of the season you love while keeping you from gaining excess pounds to deal with in the new year.

Your turn. Do you have any tips or tricks for enjoying the holiday season but not being to self indulgent? Do you keep up with your exercise ?

 

Is Good Nutrition The Fountain Of Youth?

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You don’t have to look far and wide today to know there is a big push on looking younger and all kinds of ways people are trying to accomplish that.

Botox and plastic surgery, magic creams and treatments the list is long…..

Aging is just a fact of natural life. I get that. At classic “middle aged” status I do get it.  Wear and tear on your body is pretty normal and to be expected. All I want to do is age gracefully and take the best care of myself that I can.

I do not want to do things that make me start to not look like myself, or plastic and stretched or whatever you want to call it.

I will say this though. I don’t know why people overlook what I think is, the most important thing to looking healthy and keeping a younger appearance.

Are you ready?

Food. You know that old adage “you are what you eat”? holds a lot of truth.

A diet that is high in sugars, processed, refined or fast foods and alcohol will take a toll on you leaving you not only puffy and sluggish but it can overall affect your appearance.

A diet that is high in fruits, veggies, and lean protein will not only keep you lean but change your outer appearance too. Loaded with vitamins, minerals, and tons of good nutrients our bodies need these foods. It makes logical and natural sense to eat them…. they were created for us to eat!

I guess the most relevant illustration I can share with you is a couple months ago I was in a department store at the make up counter talking to a young girl about doing my makeup for my sons wedding.  When I shared my age with her she said ” I don’t believe you” I laughed and told her I wasn’t lying.

Her next words? ” Can I please ask what you use on your skin?”

My response? I eat lots of healthy foods and drink a lot of water.

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Some of my fav snacks….

She went on to tell me she didn’t eat that great and maybe she needed to try that… I encouraged her to give it a try. It’s certainly not an overnight treatment program, but more like a lifelong treatment program that with consistency and time, you will get results.

Not only that with improved healthy eating it will change your body composition ( lose fat), give you energy, and internally you’ll get better lab results.

Gosh this sounds like an ad for one of those “health” products 😉

Ok so here’s my pick for top 5 foods for looking fresh….

Blueberries…. antioxidants banish free radicals keeping skin cells healthier

Salmon…. a 4 oz filet has a few days worth of omega-3’s. They’re found only in the oily part of the fish but actually help clear pores

Avocados … my fav….. are a good source of Vitamin E so they help block UV rays and prevent dry skin. Halve an avocado and it mash on toast or fill with fresh salsa. I’ll pretty much eat it any way possible 😉

Carrots… your mom was on to something. Say yes to them for smoother skin. This veggies Vitamin A helps fight off wrinkles.

Spinach…. another daily fav on mine…. it’s packed with Vitamin C which helps produce skin firming collagen. Not only that you can eat vast amounts of this super food for virtually no calories =) It is now what I use for “lettuce” in salads and it’s a regular in my morning sautéed veggie mix =)

of course, there many more great foods to enhance your health…. strawberries, black berries,  sweet potatoes, broccoli, all dark leafy greens, squash…the list goes on… and again… you can eat lots of these things for minimal calories…. win/win 😉

Try incorporating more of these great foods into your daily diet… you’ve got nothing to lose.

What about you ? Have you seen a visible health improvement in how you eat ?

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