Tag Archives: health

How To Read A Food Label

How To Read A Food Label

Last week we covered navigating the grocery store and how to best go about that to stay on track with our health and wellness goals. This week I want to help you learn how to decipher the black and white box aka a nutritional food label on the back of our food boxes. Learning how to read a food label in the grocery store as we are shopping is crucial to helping us make wise decisions that align with our goals. 

While I think most of us could recognize a food label, I am not sure that we all know how to read and interpret one. Nutritional food labels can be confusing at best and misleading at worst. It’s important to know how to read a food label so that we can make educated and wise choices when it comes to the food we are nourishing our bodies with. I want to break down this little black and white box so that the next time you head to the grocery store or pull something out of your pantry, you can read it, understand it, and be empowered to make healthier choices. Knowing how to properly read a food label can not only help us to limit nutrients like unhealthy fats (saturated and trans), but also give us an insight into increasing nutrients that we often do not consume enough of such as dietary fiber and calcium. 

The purpose of a nutrition food label is to help consumers make quick, informed decisions when it comes to food. A nutrition label can help educate us to make healthier food choices based on the information provided.

So, what are the key components to a food label? Every food label provides the following information (from the top of the label to the bottom)- serving size, calories, nutrients (macro and micronutrients), % DV (daily value), and a listing of each ingredient. Now- let’s break it down further and discuss each of these areas of a nutrition food label.

 

SERVING SIZE: The serving size is the amount that people typically eat at one time. This information is critical to how we read and interpret the remainder of the information below on the food label. The nutrition facts and information on each label are based on one serving size. For example, if the serving size is one cup and you consume two cups, you then need to double the calories consumed and double each of the other nutrients listed, as well as the % DV.

 

CALORIES: This area displays the total number of calories in a single serving. This number would need to be adjusted if you eat more or less of the serving size. The calories listed can help us manage our weight as calories are the measure of the amount of energy you get from one serving of that food. As a general rule of thumb, a food that contains 40 or less calories is a low-calorie food, a food with 100 calories is moderate, and a food containing 400 calories or more is a high caloric food. This guide is based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

 

MACRONUTRIENTS: Macronutrients include carbohydrates, fats, and protein. 

Carbohydrates- Carbohydrates are measured in grams on a nutrition label. Sugar, starch, and dietary fiber make up the total grams of carbs on the label. Fiber is a healthy nutrient that we want to aim to get 100% of the DV. Choose foods that have at least 2-4 grams of fiber per serving. It’s important to watch our sugar consumption as foods with added sugars add calories but do not provide essential nutritional value. Read the ingredient list to make sure added sugars are not in the first few ingredients. Sugar comes in many different names so be on the lookout for these words- sucrose, glucose, high fructose corn syrup, maple syrup, and fructose. 

Fat- When looking at the fat content on a food label, we want to pay attention specifically to the amount of saturated fat and trans fat. Trans fats raise bad cholesterol and lowers our good cholesterol, therefore we want to choose foods with 1 gram or less of trans fat. We also want to choose foods low in saturated fat to help prevent heart disease. 

Protein- Protein is an essential nutrient used by our body. Food labels generally do not provide a % DV for protein, so use the grams listed as a guide. Each gram of protein provides 4 calories. I typically encourage my clients to aim for 20-30 grams of protein per meal and around 10 grams for snacks. 

 

 

MICRONUTRIENTS: Micronutrients include vitamins and minerals, which are found in the lower section of a nutritional food label. Most Americans do not get enough fiber, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, calcium, and iron in their diets. When reading a food label, we want to be sure to get enough of these essential nutrients. Aim for a higher % DV (daily value) for nutrients like Vitamin A, C, D, calcium, and iron. 

Sodium- Sodium also known as salt, is one of the micronutrients that we need to be really watchful of. Most sodium in the American diet is hidden in packaged, processed foods, which is why we need to know how to read this portion of the food label. Look for 140 mg or less of sodium per serving. The daily recommended allowance for sodium is 2,300 mg but more ideally we should aim for around 1,500 mg of sodium per day for adults. 

 

% DAILY VALUE: This percentage is based on the daily value recommendations for key nutrients based on a 2,000 calorie diet by public health experts. The percent DV that you see on a food label is for the entire day, not just one meal or snack. For example, a food that has a 5% DV of fat provides 5% of the total fat a person should consume when eating 2,000 calories a day. A low % DV is 5% or less. We want to aim for low DV % in saturated and trans fat, cholesterol, and sodium. A high % DV is 20% or more. We want to aim for higher % DV in vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

 

INGREDIENT LIST: Any food that contains more than one ingredient, must list out each ingredient on the label. Ingredients are listed with the largest amounts first and in descending order by weight or amount used in the food item. The fewer the ingredients, the better. Another rule of thumb I like to go by when choosing foods is whether or not I am able to pronounce the ingredients listed. If I cannot pronounce certain ingredients or I don’t out rightly know what they are, I likely don’t want to be putting it into my body. Also- if you see any sugars listed in the first 3-5 ingredients, it’s best to leave it on the shelf and find a healthier option. A few other tips when it comes to reading ingredient lists- steer clear of bleached, white flour and words like fortified and enriched flour as these grains are refined and more heavily processed. Look for words like whole, sprouted, rolled, and stone ground. These are all unrefined, whole grains which are a much healthier option. 

There is one way we can avoid having to read a food label and that is to choose foods that do not have a food label- fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. We should aim to eat more fresh, whole foods that are not processed but I know there are times when we cannot avoid eating something that is packaged. I hope this post educated you on how to properly interpret a food label so that you feel empowered the next time you are at the grocery store so you can fill your cart with the healthiest choices.

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach, Certified Personal Trainer

Quick And Easy Healthy Snacks

Quick and easy healthy snacks…Snacking! It’s so fun and easy to do. But if we aren’t careful and mindful, it can quickly get out of hand and have a negative impact on our health/wellness goals. Admittedly, I am a grazer throughout the day, so I need to have options readily available so that I am making healthy choices as I “graze” and not just simply eating whatever because I am so famished, which can very easily happen. As a mama to a toddler, it’s also very tempting sometimes to reach for his snacks- ya know, the goldfish crackers, fig bars, animal crackers. But- if I am exercising self-awareness and mindful eating AND have healthy snacks on hand, this is less likely to happen. I’ve found that if I keep these favorite items of mine stocked in the pantry and refrigerator, I am more prone to eat them throughout the day instead of reaching for something unhealthy and nutrient void. 

Thankfully, my husband and I are pretty health conscious, so we don’t typically have a lot of “bad” food in the house, which definitely helps! Although the toddler snacks can be oh so tempting!  If it’s not there tempting you and having a stare down with you as you battle in your mind whether or not to eat it, then the better you are able to stick to your health goals. So, we just don’t even tempt ourselves, (especially with items like cookies, ice cream, chips, etc.). 

Here are some of my personal favorite snacks that are my go-to. Some of them are Paleo and if they aren’t, we always try to steer towards gluten free at a minimum. 

Hummus: Hummus is a great choice because it can be paired with so much- cut up veggies, baby carrots, crackers, pita bread, the list goes on. I typically eat hummus with fresh cut up veggies like carrots, baby bell peppers, or cucumbers. I also like hummus with gluten free rice crackers. 

Greek yogurt: We really don’t eat a lot of dairy in our household, but this is one staple I always have on hand. I love Greek yogurt because it is naturally fat-free and is loaded with protein! Now, if you really want the healthy option, you’ll need to opt for the plain greek yogurt. I know those flavored Chobani’s are so tasty but they are loaded with sugar- like 18 grams or something crazy! I know some of it is “natural” sugar from the fruit, but when you are most likely going to add more sugar with granola or another topper, I think it’s just best to go with the plain. You can dress up the plain very easily. Add some honey, fresh berries, Paleo cereal, granola and you’re set with a tasty and super healthy-protein rich snack. You can even use greek yogurt in smoothies or shakes! In fact, I’ve even substituted greek yogurt for sour cream in spinach dip and used it in banana bread too! 

Fruit: I always like to have a plethora of fruit available in our home. Our typical fruit list is this: Cuties (clementines), apples, bananas, mangoes, strawberries (or some other type of berry). Occasionally we will mix it up and get pineapple or pears or a melon of sorts. Fruit is great because you can eat it alone or use it as a topper on oatmeal, yogurt, cereal, and many other options. And it’s easy to grab and go and take with you to the office or as you run errands. Pair an apple or banana with peanut butter to get a combination of healthy fats and fiber. 

Tortilla Chips with Salsa and Guacamole: This is probably my least healthy snack that I eat, but it’s really not too bad. I LOVE salsa and guacamole! I could eat it everyday no problem! I always make sure to get gluten free corn tortilla chips or gluten free sweet potato tortilla chips. Recently, I’ve been really into the  blue corn tortilla chips. Yum! Newman’s Own has a great salsa that tastes so fresh and is full of different veggies so I feel like it’s not too terrible for me! Trader Joe’s also has some delicious, fresh salsa options. And if you are looking for the BEST guacamole recipe, hands down Alton Brown’s recipe on The Food Network is amazing! I use it every time!

Nuts and Dried Fruit: This is another great snack for on-the-go. Almonds are so incredibly good for you (within reason, of course). Grab a handful and snack away. I love dried fruit too! I love raisins on Ants on a Log or on top of a rice cake with peanut butter. I also love dried apricots, but I can only eat a few at a time because they are high in sugar. Instead of getting the generic store trail mix that isn’t the healthiest, opt to make your own. It’s really quite simple. Choose 1-2 nut varieties (think almonds, pecans, walnuts, cashews, brazil nuts), 1-2 dried fruit options (choose from dried banana chips, dried apricots, dried pineapple, dried apple, dried berries, raisins, craisins, etc.), 1-2 seed varieties (pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds are great), and if you are feeling adventurous, you can add in some yogurt chips or dark chocolate chips. 

Chia Seed Pudding: This simple to make snack is chalk full of fiber! Chia seeds are also high in antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation and improve heart health. Basically to make chia seed pudding, you soak your seeds in liquid and the seeds soak up the liquid to make a jelly-like consistency. You can add in a variety of add-ins such as berries, nut butter, cocoa powder or cinnamon. 

Prosciutto and Cheese: Nothing sounds better to me than a little meat and cheese platter. I love charcuterie boards and could literally eat them everyday! Make your own little snack board with some dried meats, high quality cheese, veggies, and fruit. 

It’s important to have healthy snacks available because there are always those moments when we “forget” to eat lunch or are just really hungry and it’s in those moments of feeling famished where we are the most vulnerable to blow our “diets” and grab for the Snickers or bag of potato chips. Creating snacks ahead of time or having something readily available and easy to make or grab helps us to maintain our healthy eating goals! Nowadays there are so many “healthy” packaged snack items. Try to stay away from too many packaged items (within reason) and aim for whole food options. Bars and healthy chip-like items may be “healthier” but they are still processed and not as nutrient dense as say an apple and peanut/nut butter. 

There are other great, healthy snack options out there but I just wanted to share some of my personal favorites and go-to snacks with y’all! Enjoy!

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach, Certified Personal Trainer
Connect with us!

Fall Back Into Good Habits

As the slow, dog days of summer come to a close and the fall is upon us, our minds begin to shift towards our back-to-school routine and family flow. Now, our fall routines and schedules likely look a little different this year due to COVID-19, but there are still some ways we can use this change of season to reignite and refine our goals and habits.  

It can be challenging to not let our mood and behaviors be dictated by the shift in seasons. Instead of letting ourselves slide into the shorter, darker, colder days of fall and winter that I think we all dread, we can instead view this shift in seasons as a time to jump start healthy habits to carry us through the remainder of the year. 

It’s easy for our healthy habits to take a back seat during the summer time…and that’s totally okay! In fact, I think for many of us, 2020 has caused a lot of our healthy habits to take a back seat due to all this year has held. If you’re anything like me, it’s been a struggle since March when all of the craziness began and our lives were turned upside down. 

Our routines and habits should shift in the summertime. I am not saying they should all disappear entirely either, but summer is the season for margin and to live a little slower and savor a little deeper. Those three to four months of the year are precious! So sit back, enjoy, and live a little. 

But with summer in the rear view mirror and school and with fall ahead, it’s the perfect time to reevaluate schedules, routines, and habits. Because after all, we can’t live in summer mode all year long. 

So, how can you fall back into good habits this school season? Here are some tips for how you can fall back into good habits in your home, body, and soul this Fall. 

 

HOME: Create Morning and Evening Family Routines and Systems.  

I don’t know about you, but life runs so much smoother when we live by routines. I am a believer in living a lifestyle of flexible routines. It’s important to build in margin for the moments when life happens and things don’t go as planned, hence the flexible piece of “flexible routines”. But we can’t live each day flying by the seat of our pants either. How do you find a healthy, practical, and attainable balance? Enter systems. Maintaining a lifestyle of flexible routines is possible through the creation and implementation of systems. What do I mean by systems? I mean creating daily habits that keep things moving around the home and with your family. Systems and flexible routines make daily life predictable, practical, and gives us more bandwidth for purpose filled days. When the necessary tasks of life are built into our days, it gives our head and heart more space to be emotionally present and to enjoy our time together because we know we have a plan in place to get the daily things done that need to get done. And don’t be afraid to include your children in the implementation of these systems! Sit down as a family and discuss how each person can contribute. Allow your children to take part in truly being a part of the family and contributing and taking on more responsibilities. It will empower them and also build a spirit of unity and teamwork among your family. 

Here is an example of a morning and evening system that you and your family can implement and adhere to for more joy filled days. Obviously this is just an example and you can choose the tasks/chores that are important to your family to consistently maintain each day so that you can love each other better under the roof of your home you all share. 

Morning: Make the Bed, unload the dishwasher, quick tidy, family morning prayer time before everyone heads out for the day. 

Evening: Dinner clean-up, quick tidy before bed, family reading time, prep backpacks, lunch boxes, and shoes for an easy morning the next day. 

 

BODY: Fit Family Fun. 

What if we shifted our thinking to simply more activity and less exercise. You don’t need to move within the walls of a formal gym for your movement to be formative. Take it outside. And while you are at it, bring the family with you. With the heat winding down, now is the perfect time to take an evening stroll post dinner or play ball outside after school. Or you could do one of my all-time favorite fall activities- take the family apple picking. It’s a great way to get in steps, eat yummy, fresh produce, and spend quality time together. 

Moving together as a family is a win-win for everyone. It helps you stay in shape and find the time to exercise, a common barrier for a lot of moms, and it helps your kiddos burn off energy from the school day. Plus- you get to do it together, which is always fun! What a great way to teach your children about stewarding their body and health well starting at a young age. 

 

SOUL: Set social media boundaries and socialize. 

Social media is a blessing and a curse. While it is a great way to connect and remain in touch with family and friends from afar, it can very easily run our days if we don’t set boundaries around screen time. If we are not mindful and aware, our screens can take precedent over the people right in front of us. Take some time to think about and examine your relationship with social media and your phone and set realistic goals as you enter into the fresh, fall season. And if you need a little help along the way and some accountability, iphone has a ‘screen time’ app where you can set time limits for certain apps such as Facebook and Instagram. These limits have tremendously helped me to set my phone down more often, look up, and be present. 

One of my favorite quotes and mantras to live by is that said of Annie Dillard: “How we live our days is how we live our lives.” This truth should permeate our everyday decisions and help us to keep running the race of healthy, positive, and life-giving routines and habits. I don’t know about you but I want to look back at my life when I am 80 years old and know that I lived each day with purpose and presence. I want to know that I ran the race well despite whatever hurdles I had to hop over. Living a lifestyle of healthy habits requires discipline and hard work. It takes effort to establish these routines and what is most valuable to your family, but the hard work on the front end is well worth the feelings of freedom and simplicity on the back end. 

Be graceful with yourself and your family as you enter into a new season and work to establish new habits. We as a family sit down and re-evaluate our systems and routines a few times a year. As seasons change, both physically and metaphorically, it’s important to recognize that and adjust accordingly so that everyone can thrive in their unique spaces while still maintaining a healthy and close family unit. 

While it’s sad to say so long to summer, I hope you feel a newfound inspiration to create healthy habits for yourself and your family going into this new fall season and the remainder of 2020. This year is not over yet, so don’t throw in the towel entirely just yet.  The fall is one of my favorite seasons because of it’s golden beauty, crisp air, and many opportunities for gatherings. Embrace this new season for all of its beauty and make the most of these last precious months of 2020. Who knows…your 2020 may redeem itself during these last few months of the year?! It’s worth a shot- your physical and mental health depend on it.

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach, Certified Personal Trainer

 

How To Build The Perfect Smoothie

A smoothie is a great way to get a boost of important nutrients in a fast and convenient way. They are also a great way to increase your protein intake, something I think we all likely struggle with. The goal for the average female should be to consume around 80-100 grams of protein per day. Adding protein to your smoothie is an effective way to get over 20 grams of protein in one go! You can use flavored protein powders or collagen powder to get that boost of important protein. 

Crafting a tasty and nutrient dense smoothie is not always as easy as we think. Whether we make it too runny, too thick, it tastes too much like kale, or it’s just hard to get down, making smoothies can be tricky. 

The key components of a healthy and delicious smoothie include your base liquid, vegetables/fruit, healthy fats, protein, and fiber. You can make them even fancier by adding in fresh herbs/spices like mint or cinnamon, and adding in superfoods like goji berries, maca powder, or bee pollen just to name a few. 

So, why all of these ingredients. Well, let me explain.

 

  • We add in greens/vegetables to increase our intake of important nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. This is especially helpful if you struggle to eat enough greens and vegetables in your diet. 
  • We add in healthy fat to help us to stay full longer, help aid in brain health, and keep our bodies and hormones functioning optimally. 
  • Good ol’ fiber helps our gut to do what it’s supposed to do, if you know what I mean. 😉
  • Protein helps build and maintain lean muscle. 

 

Adding in these key components not only boosts our nutrient intake but it is also designed to help maintain a stable blood sugar level. When we don’t eat protein, healthy fat, and fiber in every meal, we are more prone to blood sugar spikes and dips which impacts our energy levels as well as our cravings. Including these components in our smoothies will help us stay full longer and mitigate these blood sugar spikes or other cravings which don’t align with our health goals. 

Here are a few tips to help your smoothie be as smooth as possible!

  1. Add frozen cauliflower or avocado to make your smoothie nice and creamy!
  2. Frozen fruit tends to blend better than fresh fruit and makes it thicker. 
  3. Put your frozen ingredients in the bottom of your blender first and then cover with other ingredients and liquid. 

 

Here are two smoothie recipes that you can make at home TODAY! 

 

Strawberry Banana Nut Smoothie:

1-2 cups Cashew Milk

½ to 1 cup Fresh/Frozen Strawberries

½ Fresh/Frozen Banana

½ cup Frozen Cauliflower

1-2 tbsp Nut Butter

1 Scoop Vanilla Protein Powder or Collagen Powder

1-2 tbsp Ground Flax Seed

 

Tropical Smoothie: 

1-2 cups Coconut Milk

½ Frozen Banana

½ cup Fresh/Frozen Pineapple

Handful of Fresh Spinach

1 Scoop Vanilla Protein Powder or Collagen Powder

1-2 tbsp. Hemp Seeds

 

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach
Certified Personal Trainer

Why You Need An Accountability Partner

Why do you need an accountability partner?

Setting a health or fitness goal (or any goal for that matter) is a great thing but it comes with a lot of challenges and hard work. In order to achieve our well set out goals it takes perseverance, diligence, and commitment. I’m not going to sugarcoat it, working towards goals takes TIME and EFFORT. But there are ways we can set ourselves up for SUCCESS.

According to research, the two factors that effectively help people achieve the behavior change they desire are incentives and accountability.” Let’s dig into accountability because I know this is HUGE!

I’ve experienced it time and time again with my health coaching clients and personal training clients…when you have someone you know is going to ask you about a specific thing, you are more likely to do it and stick to it. You know someone is waiting to ask you and simply knowing that, pushes you to action. The reality is, none of us like to admit we were wrong or we didn’t do what we said we were going to do. This goes against human nature. But when we only tell ourselves we are going to do something and we don’t, it’s not as big of a deal because most of us don’t have the same respect for ourselves as we do other people, especially as women. If we tell ourselves only and don’t follow through, we are queens of telling ourselves it was because of x, y, or z. We can tend to do this with others too, but we are more likely to follow through because there is fire under our bottoms. 😉 The reality is, it’s hard for ANYONE to follow through and commit to any goal when they keep it to themselves and have no one to answer to except themself. We are human and we tend to naturally want to avoid hard things, even if the hard thing is a good thing, like a health/fitness goal.

So, how do we get around the barrier of ourselves if we really want to make changes in our lives and achieve our goals? Enter in an accountability partner.  Having an accountability partner or support group is KEY to your success of your health and fitness goals.

I recently read an article on Entreprenuer.com that says that it is in fact possible to increase one’s chances of succeeding in achieving their goals. In fact, it’s possible to increase that change to a 95% chance, which is HUGE! How?? Well, according to The American Society of Training and Development, people are 65% more likely to meet a goal once admitting it to another person. But if someone is a part of an on-going meeting or has an accountability partner that they regularly check in with, that success increases to 95%.

An accountability partner could be a friend, co-worker, family member or you could be a part of a support group or a group like Weight Watchers.

So, who’s holding you accountable??

P.S. If you are wanting to improve your morning routine and wake up earlier and lead more purposeful days, join me in my 12-week morning makeover program! Accountability will be a large part of this program so you can be sure to make lasting change and transform your morning and your day! Check it out and sign up here. We start TOMORROW so if you want in, sign up NOW!

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach
Certified Personal Trainer

Get Your Move On

Get your move on with exercise. You may love it or hate it but you likely know it’s good for your physical and mental health. Perhaps you, like many of us, struggle to find the time to exercise each day or even a few days a week. I’m here to tell you that it IS possible to find the time and you don’t need as much time as you probably think you do.  So, let’s get your move on!

There are so many people who think if you cannot commit a solid 45 minutes to an hour for exercise, then why do it at all?! Don’t buy into that all or nothing mentality. You can get a super EFFECTIVE workout while also being EFFICIENT with your time! I am talking 20-30 minutes. That’s it! 

In fact, research has shown that you no longer need to work-out in longer blocks (at least 10 minutes) for it to be effective and count towards your weekly goal of 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise. Mini exercise sessions such as a quick jog through the parking lot, doing squats throughout the day, or taking the stairs- it all adds up! Research also supports that small bouts of exercise throughout the day can provide many of the same benefits as a longer, continuous workout. These benefits include improvements in your cardiovascular health, weight loss, and even helping to promote long term adherence and consistency in an exercise program. Short and steady wins the race. It’s a great place to start especially if you are short on time or new to exercise. 

According to an article at Harvard Health, only 19% of women get the recommended amount of exercise each week here in America. So, how do we improve this? How can you improve this in your life? My answer- get your move on. Simply MOVE MORE! Take the stairs, park further at the grocery store, do core exercises while watching TV. Make the absolute best use of your time and I think you’ll be surprised how much movement you can actually get in a day. 

Here are 10 quick ways to get that burst of energy and movement into your day!

 

  1. Clean…vacuuming and mopping especially. 
  2. Walk around the work floor every hour.
  3. Do core exercises while watching TV.
  4. Play outside with your kiddos- play tag, frisbee, or kick a soccer ball
  5. Run up the stairs a few times.
  6. Do squats or lunges while cooking dinner.
  7. Start your day with 10 push-ups right when you get out of bed…it’ll help wake you up too!
  8. Park further away at the grocery store or Target.
  9. Get a standing desk and do squats and calf raises while you respond to emails.
  10. Go for a quick walk around the block post dinner with the family- quality time and movement time! Double win.
~Meghan 
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach, Certified Personal Trainer

Mornings Matter For Your Health & Wellness

Mornings can be tough. I don’t know about you but getting out of bed in the morning can be a STRUGGLE. I’ve never been a natural morning person. Developing a morning routine has taken years and years of practice, trial and error, and certain life circumstances to get me on board with being more of a morning person. I by no means am perfect and still struggle, BUT I’ve found a rhythm and routine where the pros definitely outweigh the cons. 

Our mornings truly set the tone for our entire day. Are your mornings marked by rushing and running out the door? Are you stressed out before your feet even hit the ground out of bed? Are you tired of being tired and overwhelmed and exhausted as you go through your days? When we start our morning, our day this way, it only lends to more stress, more unrest, more frustration. And this has a great impact on our health and wellness- physically and mentally. When we don’t start our mornings well, we typically grab a fast breakfast that may not be the most nutritious to fuel our bodies. Perhaps we drink too much caffeine and don’t start our day hydrating our dehydrated bodies with good ‘ol water. Maybe you’re already so stressed out from the morning madness that you make unhealthy choices the rest of the day. 

Our mornings matter! And it matters how we steward them because it affects every single aspect of our lives and overall health and wellness.In order to live a life of stewardship and simplicity, it starts with our morning! Your morning routine doesn’t need to be complicated or get you out of bed at 5 AM. It just needs to be CONSISTENT and PLANNED. A morning well spent brings a day of content. You don’t even need to work-out first thing if that really isn’t your jam and isn’t life giving for you. Perhaps the BEST way to spend your morning is catching up on dishes or laundry or sitting still and meditating/praying over your day. Whatever it is that will fuel you and fill you for the day, do that! 

When we begin our day making healthy choices, we will naturally continue those healthy decisions the remainder of the day. When you wake up feeling energized and rested, you will make your daily choices out of a place of peace and wellness versus making brash decisions rooted in immediate gratification and just trying to survive the next hour. 

I’m on a mission to help women reclaim their days by reclaiming their mornings. I so desire to see you live a life of wellness rooted in joy and peace. If this non-morning person can figure out a life-giving, grace-filled, morning routine, YOU can too! 

I want to invite you to join me for my BRAND NEW FREE 5-day workshop series called Mornings Well Designed. You can join here

Here is what we’ll cover:

 

  • Discover hidden time in your day so you can get all the things done you need to AND want to!
  • Learn how to steward your mornings well so you can BEST steward your home, body, and soul.
  • Find a flexible, sustainable, grace-filled morning routine that will serve you and your family in your unique lifestyle.
  • Leverage your mornings so your days go from rushed and ragged to productive and peaceful. 

 

Are you in?? We will begin the LIVE workshop TODAY, Monday Aug. 24 and continue each day this week. Join me for live trainings each day this week at 2 PM EST (if you cannot make it live that is ok. The videos will be saved and posted for you to watch when it is convenient for you). I hope you’ll join me on transforming your mornings! See you in class!

Sign Up Here: homebodysoul.lpages.co/mornings-well-designed-workshop

 

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach, Certified Personal Trainer

 

Building A Healthy Plate

Building yourself a healthy plate….Have you ever struggled with knowing how to put together a well-rounded, nutritionally balanced meal? Sometimes it’s easiest to just grab and go…am I right?! But then you likely find yourself reaching for the chips, candy, or some other snack within two hours of your last “meal” because it wasn’t nutritionally dense enough to hold you over. Today I want to guide you through building a healthy, nutritious, and satisfying plate. The goal should be to eat a well-rounded meal every 4 hours with maybe 1-2 healthy snacks per day. 

For each meal, your plate should contain each of the macronutrients which are protein, fat, and complex/healthy carbohydrates. It is also important to add in fiber to each meal to help slow digestion and to aid in blood sugar control. 

Let’s break it down…a healthy, well-balanced plate should consist of 50% vegetables, 25% lean protein, 25% complex, healthy carbohydrates, and 1-2 tablespoons of healthy fat. This breakdown will ensure you are getting the most bang for your buck nutritionally and providing your body with proper fuel for energy. When we build our plates this way, not only are we fueling our bodies well, but we are also positively impacting our metabolisms to function optimally. 

Half of your plate should be full of colorful vegetables that span all the colors of the rainbow…think kale, spinach, carrots, bell peppers, purple cabbage, squash…just to name a few. Vegetables have many benefits for our health- they can help in reducing inflammation, they are full of antioxidants, and they provide important vitamins and minerals. 

Now, let’s walk through some examples of the other components on your plate. 

Here are some examples of Lean Proteins: Aim for 20-30 grams of protein at each meal and 10 grams of protein with snacks. Remember, you want 25% of your plate to be lean protein. 

  • Grilled or baked chicken thighs or breasts (preferably without skin)
  • Ground turkey or roasted turkey
  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Eggs
  • Steak
  • Pork
  • Seafood

Here are some examples of Healthy, Complex Carbohydrates: Our goal is 25% of our plate to be made up of these.

  • Brown Rice
  • Quinoa
  • Oats
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Quinoa/Chickpea Pasta

Here are some examples of Healthy Fats: Aim to include 1-2 tablespoons per meal. This can also include the oils you are cooking with. 

  • Olive Oil
  • Avocado
  • Nuts
  • Salad Dressing
  • Coconut Oil
  • Nuts

Here are some examples of Fiber: Try to get in your fiber with the 50% vegetables on your plate. 

  • Avocado
  • Berries
  • Chia Seeds
  • Beans/Lentils
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts

Along with building a healthy plate, it’s important to have some healthy snacks in mind as well. Here are some snack ideas that incorporate protein, healthy fat, and fiber and will keep you feeling full and provide you with energy and great nutrition. 

  • Greek yogurt with berries and flax/chia seeds
  • String cheese with cut up veggies and hummus
  • Apple and peanut/nut butter
  • Nut and seed mix with various nuts, pumpkin seeds, and some dried fruit

Here are two example meals using this ‘build a healthy plate’ formula. 

 

LUNCH CHOPPED SALAD + CHICKEN

Cut up a combination of colorful, fresh vegetables and leafy greens. Top the salad with slices of roasted turkey or chicken, avocado and a simple Extra Virgin Olive Oil vinaigrette.

DINNER ROASTED SALMON + BROCCOLI

Cook a piece of salmon (skin-side down) at 450 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes (or until cooked to your liking). Meanwhile, sauté broccoli with garlic and coconut oil in a pan. Squeeze ½ a lemon over the top and serve alongside ¼ to ½ cup of quinoa.

Blessings.,

Meghan Meredith

HomeBodySoul, Founder

Certified Health and Wellness Coach
Certified Personal Trainer
Connect with us @homebodysoul

No Pain, No Gain

No pain, no gain…


“You will suffer one of two pains in your lifetime—the pain of disciplining yourself or the pain of regret from not disciplining yourself.  That is a hard truth no matter what you think or what you want to believe.”

“You must learn to go to war with yourself on certain character traits, habits and/or addictions or you will suffer from not doing so.”

I have heard the above things many, many times over the last 51 years and NEVER did they sink in as much as they are right now.  At the moment I am watching two people literally suffer horribly on a daily basis from NOT disciplining themselves when it was hard to do so.  Whatever they told themselves on a daily basis for decades that made it OK to not take care of their physical bodies and their health is not even close to worth what they are suffering now— I promise you that it is IMPERATIVE that you take care of yourself— eating right and doing something to exercise on a regular and consistent basis is worth every momentary pain that it might cause you now—to find the time or fit it in or force yourself to do it.  That drink that you don’t have, the cupcakes that you don’t eat, the ice cream you walk away from the cigarette you don’t smoke—whatever it is get it under control NOW.

Do NOT wait until tomorrow, or next Tuesday or your next birthday or for the kids to be out of preschool or for the pandemic to be over— GET ON IT NOW.  

Watching people that you care about live in hell on a daily basis will make you understand VERY quickly that the time to discipline yourself is RIGHT NOW.  Our job in this life is to keep learning and keep pushing ourselves to do better and be better—whatever the hell that means for each of us.  Only YOU can say where you need to start shoring yourself up…and believe me you know where those places are and you know the stories that you are telling yourself about WHY you don’t do what you need to do.

Physical health is something that I cannot stress enough— if I showed you right now what I am having to witness you would weep—good people that were vibrant and bright lights diminished now to mere shadows of themselves due to extra weight, bad diets and the inability to get consistent exercise which leads to catastrophic outcomes with physical and mental well-being— and ALL of this could have been prevented if they had chosen their hard instead of waiting for it to choose them.

There is nothing more heartbreaking than watching this and understanding that you cannot help or save people that will not help or save themselves—so what I CAN do is USE this to make a difference in my life and perhaps in yours too.

I am now getting right up in the morning and doing at least yoga and on most days I am doing the yoga and then a workout of some sort— I want to be running up and down stairs easily when I am 80 plus— PLEASE take care of yourselves—start doing it now—today.

Sending love and light.

 XO, Noelle

 

Sugar, Ahhhh, Honey, Honey

Sugar, ahhh honey, honey…

I watch what I eat every time I eat.  Lately…I’ve been watching my sugar intake.  

I read an article recently about hidden sugars.  What?  Did you know that sugar is disguised within the ingredient list by using an alias?  So the consumer doesn’t realize how much sugar is in the product, the manufacturer uses different sugars so it doesn’t seem so bad.   

Whether it’s natural Non-GMO cane sugar from the earth, honey from the bees or stevia from the plant…. 

There are more than 56 names;

Sugar, raw sugar, brown sugar, confectioner’s sugar, honey, molasses, chicory root, agave syrup, corn syrup, brown rice syrup, maple syrup, erythritol, maltitol, sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, fructose, sucrose, dextrose, galactose, glucose, maltose, barley malt, turbinado…etc etc.  

Then there’s artificial sweeteners, which you should stay away from at all costs: saccharin, acesulfame, neotame, sucralose & the ever so popular aspartame; found in Sweet n Low, Equal, Splenda & who knows where else.  Although these sugar substitutes help reduce the amount of sugar in your diet, they may not necessarily help with your overall health.  The overstimulation caused by enjoying this artificial sweetness may cause people to consume sweeter intake elsewhere.

Lastly, stay away from high fructose corn syrup; an artificial sugar made from corn syrup, which adds unnatural amounts of fructose to your diet along with excess weight.

Back to my ‘watching my sugar intake’.  The daily allowance for a female is 6 teaspoons (25gm) per 100 #’s of weight.  I weigh 125, which means I can have 7.5 teaspoons (31.25gm) per day.  That’s not a lot to work with since the protein bar I want to eat for my afternoon snack has 13gm in it.  

Ahhhhh…..As I hum along with the Archies, I am reminded with so many other things in my life…moderation is key.  

xoxo

Your God girl

Tracy