Sweet potatoes are full of vitamin A and dietary fiber. In this recipe, they are cooked with green peppers and onions and seasoned with smoked sweet paprika. This makes a hearty breakfast when served with eggs, or use it as a side dish for grilled chicken or fish.
Yield: 6 servings
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
1 tbsp olive oil
½ cup chopped onion
¾ cup chopped green bell pepper
1 lb. sweet potatoes, chopped small (about 4 cups)
½ cup water
¼ tsp smoked sweet paprika
¼ tsp fine ground sea salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper
½ cup finely chopped spinach
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 1 minute. Add the bell pepper and cook for 1 more minute.
Stir in the sweet potatoes and cook for 8 to 10 minutes until some edges are browned and the pieces start to become tender. Turn the heat down to medium. Add the water, stir and cook for 7 to 10 minutes until the water has evaporated and the potatoes are tender.
Sprinkle in the paprika, salt, and pepper. Remove from the heat and stir the spinach just before serving.
Nutrition information for 1 serving: Calories 94; Total Fat 2.3 g; Saturated Fat 0.3 g; Trans Fat 0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 139 mg; Carbohydrate 17.4 g; Fiber 2.8 g; Sugar 4 g; Protein 1.5 g; Vitamin A 11086 IU; Vitamin C 12.7 mg; Calcium 31 mg; Iron 0.6 mg
Everything from sitting all day to running can cause tightness in the hips. Use these stretches to help ease tension and improve range of motion. Perform the stretches 2 to 3 times and hold each for 20 to 30 seconds.
Kneeling Hip Stretch
Stand in a lunge position with your right foot forward. Lower your left knee down to the ground. Place both hands on your right knee and gently shift your weight forward so that you feel a stretch through the left hip and thigh. Repeat with the opposite leg.
From the kneeling hip stretch, shift your weight back to the starting position. Raise your left arm overhead and gently bend from the torso to the right. You will feel the stretch from your arm down your side and down through your left hip. Repeat with your left leg forward to stretch the right hip.
Sit in a chair and cross your right foot over your left knee. Your ankle should be resting on the top of your left knee, and your shin should be as parallel to the floor as possible. The more flexible you are, the more parallel the shin will be. Gently press the right knee towards the floor and bend forward to feel the stretch in the right hip. Repeat with the left leg.
Lie on your back with your arms extended out to the sides and palms up. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor. Cross your legs with your right knee over your left. Twist at the torso to lower both legs to the ground on the left. Slowly return to center and lower both legs to the ground on the right. Return to start. Cross your legs with the left knee over the right and repeat.
When you encounter challenges, it is easy for negative self-talk to take over, but you can reduce it by using positive affirmations. A positive affirmation is a word or phrase that confirms a positive aspect about you or your life. These affirmations can be used when you accomplish a goal and when you fall short to improve your attitude and boost your self-confidence.
When you meet a food goal.
It’s important to set small, attainable goals so that you always have a reason to celebrate your healthy changes. You can emphasize the impact of meeting a food goal, like drinking enough water, reducing saturated fat, or eating five vegetables, by following it up with a positive affirmation. Repeating phrases, such as “eating healthy is getting easier,” “I can make healthy choices,” or “I have the power to improve my health with every bite,” will continue to boost your confidence.
When all the changes stress you out.
A healthy lifestyle is possible, but you may feel overwhelmed when starting out. Choosing healthier foods, exercising, and dealing with emotional issues may leave you unsure of where to start. Meditate on affirmations that focus on confidence in your ability to reach your goals such as “one day at a time,” “small changes make a big difference,” and “keep trying; it will get easier.”
When you gain weight.
It’s normal for the number on the the scale to fluctuate as you work towards your weight loss goal, but an increase is discouraging. Prevent weight gain from getting you off track by meditating on a phrase that focuses on the bigger picture. “Health is a journey,” “I am working hard; results will come,” or “my health includes more than weight” are all examples of affirmations that will help you view minor gains in a more positive way.
When you have to skip a workout.
Some days things simply don’t go as planned, and a workout will not be possible. Don’t let one missed day ruin how you view months of hard work. Be flexible and patient with yourself. “My fitness is improving,” “I am healthy,” and “a break is okay” will help you let go of your shortcomings and move forward with renewed commitment.
When you are faced with a challenging workout.
Nothing beats the feeling of accomplishment after a challenge, but sometimes you need a mental boost to push through. Stay focused and use phrases, like “I am strong,” “I can do this,” and “I am up for the challenge,” to change your attitude and reach new goals that you once thought were impossible.
The winter squash in these quesadillas provides a savory way to eat this seasonal vegetable while supplying 90 percent of the daily recommended vitamin A intake. You can use canned pumpkin or the puree from any variety of roasted winter squash, like butternut or acorn.
Yield: 4 servings
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 12 minutes
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp ground coriander
1/8 tsp fine ground sea salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1/3 cup pureed winter squash
8 corn tortillas
1/2 cup low-sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a small skillet. Add the onion and cook for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes.
Stir in the chili powder, cumin, coriander, salt, and black pepper. Cook for 1 minute and turn off the heat. Stir in the pureed squash and set aside.
Place 4 of the corn tortillas on a flat work surface. Spread an equal amount of the squash over each. Divide the black beans into 4 portions and sprinkle over the squash. Next, add ¼ of the cheese and top with another tortilla.
Preheat a large skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. Carefully place the quesadillas in the pan. Cook for about 3 minutes on each side, until the tortillas are browned and the fillings are warm with the cheese melted.
Cut each quesadilla into 4 wedges and serve.
Nutrition information for 1 serving: Calories 174; Total Fat 5.8 g; Saturated Fat 2 g; Trans Fat 0 g; Cholesterol 10 mg; Sodium 254 mg; Carbohydrate 25.4 g; Fiber 4.1 g; Sugar 2.3 g; Protein 6.4 g; Vitamin A 2699 IU; Vitamin C 1.8 mg; Calcium 153 mg; Iron 1.2 mg
Reaching your fitness goals requires keeping an accurate account of what you eat each day. We make keeping a food diary easy here at MyFoodDiary, and there are steps you can take to ensure that your reports are a true reflection of your intake. In addition to tracking your foods, examining your thoughts and feelings will also help you see your progress and target areas that need improvement.
Don’t forget about beverages.
Sodas, coffees, smoothies, energy drinks, and juices can contain as many calories as a full meal. Unfortunately, these liquid calories rarely make you feel full. It’s easy to forget about beverages when you update your food diary. Record everything you drink from water to soda, including small sips throughout the day.
Bites count too.
Do you nibble from your child’s plate? Do you taste while you are cooking? These calories count too. Do your best to estimate the amount for every bite so that you have an accurate report of total calories for each day.
Note how you feel.
We eat for many reasons that don’t always involve true hunger. Your family may have a set meal time, or maybe you are stressed or bored. When you record your food, also make notes about how you felt during the time you ate the food. Were you starving and grabbed what you could find? Did you choose an unhealthy option due to your social setting? Emotions play an important role in healthy eating. Record how you feel to better understand how your emotions affect your eating habits.
Look for patterns.
Food diaries are especially beneficial because they help you identify patterns in your eating. These patterns may be healthy, like you always eat a breakfast that is balanced in carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fat. Keep up those healthy habits. These patterns may also be unhealthy, like your late night snack always puts you over your calorie limit. Use these patterns as a way to identify what might be holding you back from reaching your goals, and then make a plan for how you will overcome these challenges.