Make this year your healthiest Thanksgiving yet!

plan a healthy thanksgiving

It sure is! We know that Thanksgiving is notorious for being an opportunity to overindulge. Deep fried turkeys, sweet potatoes with marshmallow, and a few too many slices of pumpkin pie are incredibly easy to come by. But in comparison to some other holidays, Thanksgiving is actually incredibly easy to do in a healthier way. Do you know why? It’s because it’s a totally predictable holiday.

You already know what’s going to be on the table. There will be turkey. There will be pie. The surprises are few and far between. This means that you can use the power of predictability to plan out your meals before-hand, and make sure that you stay on your diet (within reason) even while you celebrate the holiday.

So before you pull up for Thanksgiving dinner: think back to previous year’s celebrations and ask yourself:

  • What dishes am I really looking forward to?
  • Which parts of the meal or only so-so, or can I get all year round?
  • What treats are worth indulging in?

Once you have an idea of your favorite and not-so-favorite parts of the holiday table, move on to the next question:

What is your goal in your Thanksgiving celebrations? Are you watching portions, or staying away from sugar? Do you want to get as many vegetables in your meal as possible, or are you maintaining gluten free? Figure out your one main goal for this meal, and how you can arrange your Thanksgiving plate accordingly.

Go in to your Thanksgiving with a clear vision of what’s worth it, what’s not, and what you want out of your meal. Doing so, you’ll enjoy your time with family and friends, instead of fretting the entire day about what you are or are not eating.

One final tip to make Thanksgiving a healthy holiday: Get active!

Suggest a walk after your Thanksgiving dinner with your family, throw a football around outside, or do a Thanksgiving morning run or yoga class.

These are all opportunities to get your body moving and your family bonding over something other than food on this fabulous holiday.

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

  Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day,   samantha attard sig

 

For more tips like this, be sure to join our Free Facebook group to take the guessing out of your diet planning.

 


samantha attard happy healthy humanSamantha Attard, PhD, is the founder of Happy Healthy Human. Sam is a performance coach and yoga instructor who helps people eat, move, and live with intention. Learn more here.

 

Join the Happy Healthy family to get special invites, event discounts, and lessons on living with intention.

 


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How your food is tricking you into thinking it’s healthy

food products are tricking you into thinking they're healthy photo

There was a scathing article in Mother Jones this week about Cheerios Protein.

Cheerios Protein, just because of it’s name, sounds healthy. Most of us know about the beneficial effects of protein on our diets. And this product: Cheerios PLUS Protein! Sounds like a better version of the breakfast cereal we all know and love.

 

But does Cheerios Protein live up to the hype? When you actually compare Cheerios Protein to original Cheerios, you see a pretty bleak picture: Cheerios Protein has just 0.7 more grams of protein than original Cheerios, and 14.9 more grams of sugar. Woah. It’s not the healthy product it first seemed like.

 

comparing cheerios and cheerios protein mother jones photo
Understanding this disconnect between the name of the product or the front-of-package labels is really important. Research studies have shown that the name of a product actually changes how we view the product, how we purchase, and most importantly, how we consume. For example, when people were served a food labeled as “low fat”, they actually ate 50% more of the product than if the very same product didn’t have a low fat label!

Plus, only certain names and health claims are actually regulated. Cheerios is allowed to call it product Cheerios Protein…even if it’s not all that different than regular Cheerios.

 

What does this mean for you? 

  1. Be aware of how a food name or label can subconsciously affect how you perceive the product and consume it.
  2. Whenever you do see a label that appears too good to be true (low fat donuts, healthy cookies, or high protein pancakes), take a look at the Nutrition Facts Panel and ingredients label on the back to see if the product lives up to the hype. Check out this post on choosing a healthy snack to help you make sense of what you find.

 

It’s sad but it’s true: we can’t necessarily trust what the front of a package tells us. So make reading the nutrition facts and ingredient lists a normal part of your shopping routine, and you’ll be sure that what you see is what you get.

 

Have you ever thought you had chosen a healthy product only to find out that it was less than nutritious? Share your experiences in the comments below – you might just save another reader from making the same mistake!

 

And for more tips like this, be sure to join our Free Facebook group where we talk about nutrition, health, and living well.

 

  Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day,   samantha attard sig

 


samantha attard happy healthy humanSamantha Attard, PhD, is the founder of Happy Healthy Human. Sam is a performance coach and yoga instructor who helps people eat, move, and live with intention. Learn more here.

 

Join the Happy Healthy family to get special invites, event discounts, and lessons on living with intention.

 

 


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Are you getting enough protein?

getting enough protein photo

Likely, yes. Most of us do not have a protein deficit – just 8-10 oz of meat can meet the daily recommendation of protein for most adults!

 

When and how we consume protein is another story.

Many of us focus our protein to 1 or 2 meals with a big hunk of meat.

 

Instead, aim to spread your protein intake throughout your day, so you constantly support muscle repair and growth throughout the day.

 

Also, don’t discount the power of beans, nuts, protein-rich grains, and even vegetables! They do contain some protein and help you reach your daily allotment.

 

Here are some ideas to help you get adequate protein throughout the day:

  • Start your breakfast with a veggie-filled omelet, yogurt and fruit, or a porridge made with high-protein grains like quinoa or buckwheat.
  • For lunch, eat 3-4oz of chicken or tuna, or add some chickpeas or other beans to a salad or soup.
  • Snack on fruit with some nuts or a cheese stick. Carrots & hummus are great too!
  • For dinner once again, add 3-4oz of meat, 1 cup of beans, or some poached eggs. Delish!

 

If you’d like to learn more about the science of protein (including the health benefits of a high protein diet), read my previous post here.

 

Do you have nutrition questions you’d like to see answered here? Send an email to info[at]behappyhealthyhuman[dot]com, and you could see your question answered here and on Periscope!

 

  Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day,   samantha attard sig

 

 


samantha attard happy healthy humanSamantha Attard, PhD, is the founder of Happy Healthy Human. Sam is a performance coach and yoga instructor who helps people eat, move, and live with intention. Learn more here.

Join the Happy Healthy family to get special invites, event discounts, and lessons on living with intention.


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Interview with an Entrepreneur: Oakkar Oakkar of Keona Health

oakkar oakkar keona health 

Welcome to installment 2 of the Interview with an Entrepreneur Series. This series is designed to highlight entrepreneurs that just get it. They work hard, support their employees, thrive at home, and manage to make time for self-care.

 

Juggling all of these aspects of work and home life aren’t easy. That’s why I wanted to find entrepreneurs and members of the start-up community who are working hard and living well so that we can learn from their successes and struggles in building a healthy business and life.

This week we’re talking with Oakkar Oakkar.

Continue reading…


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Spaghetti Squash with Lentil Ragu + 3 Healthy Spaghetti Squash Recipes

 

spaghetti squash with lentil ragu

Spaghetti squash doesn’t get the most love this time of year. Pumpkin is all-pervasive and butternut is a little prettier.

But spaghetti squash has one feature that differentiates it from the rest of the squashes and makes it a valuable tool in your fall recipe arsenal.

 

Spaghetti squash is a wonderful pasta replacement.

After roasting, spaghetti squash can be easily broken into strands that are the perfect vehicle for your favorite sauces.

 

It’s a great gluten-free, low-carb alternative to spaghetti. Plus, you don’t have to miss all of your favorite sauces, even if you are cutting out pasta from your diet.

 

A warning: spaghetti squash is not a perfect replacement. You will KNOW that you’re not eating regular pasta. But that doesn’t mean it’s any less delicious!

 

Note that spaghetti squash is more fragile than pasta. If you plan to re-heat it, be gentle with it, so it doesn’t squish together instead of keeping it’s separate strands. However, squash still is a great vehicle for a delicious sauce?

 

Today, I’m sharing 3 of my favorite spaghetti squash recipes from around the web, plus a recipe that I have been cooking my kitchen this fall season!

 

Leave your comments below: have you tried spaghetti squash? Did it live up to the spaghetti-replacement hype?

 

  Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day,   samantha attard sig

 

Healthy Spaghetti Squash Recipes I Love

 

Spaghetti Squash with Broccoli Pesto from Green Kitchen Stories

Get the Pesto Recipe HERE

green kitchen stories broccoli pesto

Stuffed Spaghetti Squash from Love & Lemons

Get the Recipe HERE

stuffed spaghetti squash love and lemons

Spaghetti Squash with Mushrooms and Parmasean from Pickled Plum

Get the Recipe HERE

mushroomspickeledplum

 

Spaghetti Squash with Lentil Ragu from Happy Healthy Human!

Spaghetti Squash with Lentil Ragu
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main Dish
Ingredients
  • One Large Spaghetti Squash
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups cooked lentils
  • ½ yellow or white onion, sliced
  • 1 can chopped or diced tomatoes (make sure there is no added salt or sugar)
  • 1 large portobello cap, sliced into ¼ inch strips
  • 2 medium zucchini, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Roast the squash: cut the spaghetti squash in half, salt generously, and lay cut side down on a baking sheet.
  2. Bake the squash at 425F for 40-50 minutes or until soft.
  3. While the squash bakes, drizzle olive oil in a large saucepan over low-medium heat.
  4. Once the oil is heated, add the chopped onion, salt, and sauté until onions turn soft (~10 minutes)
  5. Add mushrooms and zucchini and stir to coat.
  6. After 2 minutes, add canned tomatoes and stir.
  7. Adjust heat to keep the sauce simmering for ~20-30 minutes.
  8. Add cooked lentils, add salt and pepper to taste, and heat through for 3-4 minutes.
  9. When complete, use a fork to break the spaghetti squash into strands. Lay spaghetti squash on the plate and spoon ragu on top.
  10. Serve warm for best results!

 


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Faster is better, right?

downsides of living too fast

This post originally appeared in my free weekly newsletter that’s filled with tips and tools to keep you living well every day. If you liked this post, and want to have more messages like this delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe here! Thanks.

I think it started in the first grade. That’s when they first gave those timed math tests. You’d have to do addition problems as fast as you can, seeing how many you could complete before the timer went off.

Taking your time meant missed opportunities for more points. Pondering your answers was out of the question. Your job was to just move on to the next one.

Many of us still take this “faster is better” approach in our personal and professional lives. How quickly can we get that report back to the boss? What’s the fastest dinner we can make? 8-minute workout, please?

Our desire for more causes us to get into hyper-efficiency mode, trying to crunch as much as possible into as little time as possible.

But there are important downsides to this fast-moving life.
Continue reading…


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What are nitrates, and should you worry about eating them?

Hi Friends.

Today I want to talk with you about a little molecule that causes a lot of strife in the nutrition world.

Nitrates.

Nitrate is a chemical compound that has a nitrogen atom connected to three oxygen atoms.

We find nitrate naturally in nutritious vegetables like beets, spinach, and other dark leafy greens. But, they are also added to products like bacon, hot dogs, and deli meats to make them a more vibrant color and give them a longer shelf-life.

Nitrates can follow two different pathways in your body.

Nitrates are an important part of your diet because they can lower your blood pressure. Nitrates lower your blood pressure when they form nitric oxide, which is a vasodilator (meaning it relaxes your blood vessels).

In fact, a recent study found that drinking raw beet juice reduced blood pressure in hypertensive patients just as much as taking blood pressure medication!

Nitrates in beets and spinach are so good for you because they have a high antioxidant content. These antioxidants make it more likely for nitrates to turn into nitric oxide.

Nitrates in processed meats have been associated with increased risk of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.

This is because the nitrates in processed meats are more likely to form nitroasamines.
Nitrates in processed meats don’t have antioxidants to promote nitric oxide formation. And, the presence of protein in the meat makes it more likely for nitrosamines to form.

So, depending on which pathway the nitrates follow, nitrates are either good for you (forming nitric oxide), or bad for you (forming nitrosamines).

You also have to pay attention to your mouth microbiome.
It turns out that an important component of the nitrate to nitric oxide pathway is your mouth bacteria. That’s right, just like your microbiome in your intestines, the bacteria in your mouth play an important role in your health. The bacteria in your mouth promote the formation of nitrites, which sets them up for the nitric oxide pathway.

How do you get the benefits of nitrates without the risks?

    Get your nitrates from antioxidant-rich veggies. Beets, celery, dark leafy greens – Love these water- and nitrate-rich foods to help keep your blood pressure in check.
  1. Look for nitrate-free meats Look for uncured bacon and nitrate-free deli meats to make sure you’re not getting too many of these nitrates from protein-rich sources that promote nitrosamine formation.
  2. Cook your processed meats low and slow. If you are eating a processed meat product, cook it low and slow. Nitrosamine formation increases at high heat and when the meat gets burned or charred. A microwave can actually be the best way to cook your bacon!
  3. Move away from the mouthwash. Mouthwash can feel like you’re doing good things for your body, but it’s actually killing all of those beneficial bacteria that are needed to actually convert the nitrates to the nitric oxide pathway. So stick to plain ol’ brushing, flossing, and even oil pulling for your best oral hygiene.

To learn more about nitrates in video form, check out my recent Periscope!


 

Make sure to follow along at HappyHealthySam.
 
 

Want to join the discussion after the show? Join our FREE private Facebook group to continue the conversation!

 
 

  Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day,   samantha attard sig
 


samantha attard happy healthy humanSamantha Attard, PhD, is the founder of Happy Healthy Human. Sam is a performance coach and yoga instructor who helps people eat, move, and live with intention. Learn more here.

Join the Happy Healthy family to get special invites, event discounts, and lessons on living with intention.


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Don’t choose the chicken or the egg, just get started

So a question for you: what came first, the chicken or the egg?

We need to chicken to make the egg. But without the egg, how did the chicken come to be?

 

We laugh at this childhood conundrum, but many of us are living it out every day. We ask ourselves:

    • How do we lose weight? Does it come with better eating or more exercise?
    • How do we feel less stress? Do we say no more, or do we add more low-stress activities to our lives?
    • How do we get more productive? Do we turn off email or do we download a new app to help organize?

We take these questions much more seriously than the “chicken or the egg” one, and finding the answer can become paralyzing. Instead of just taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or packing a piece of fruit for an afternoon snack, we think we need to make a grand plan and revolutionize all of our activities at once.

I’m here to tell you that similar the chicken or the egg question….it doesn’t matter what you choose. The diet or the exercise. Less email or more tools.

What matters is that you start SOMEWHERE. Because the huge secret to achieving your goal, whether it be weight loss, more energy, or less stress, is to start somewhere and just keep going.

The experts know that habits clump together. So start with one thing that you KNOW will bring you closer to your goals, and just do it. Over time, doing it will become easier, and you’ll be able to add more healthy habits in to your repertoire, until healthy choices become the norm throughout your day.

Where you begin matters less than remembering to KEEP GOING. Day after day, you slowly retrain your brain to act in a way that promotes your health.

That means that you need a system for accountability. You need someone to tell you if you’re getting off track, and someone to celebrate with when you stay on course.

A little guidance on which healthy habits to choose can also be useful. Many of us get stuck because we don’t know what to change. That’s why a framework to get you started and to keep you moving towards your goals can make or break your success

Introducing Happy Healthy Human Pro.

Happy Healthy Pro is my new program to help my dear readers, viewers, and members of the community start building healthy eating and living habits in to their everyday life.

Together, we will focus on specific habits that can help you lose weight, eat better, and live happier. Happy Healthy Human Pro provides you with structured support throughout the week, so you can take these strategies I share with you on a weekly basis and make them a natural part of your day.

I built this program to provide guidance, information, accountability, and support: all of the things you need to achieve your unique health goals. The program includes video content, an interactive Facebook group,and extra resources to keep you living happier and healthier every day.

The most beautiful part? I am offering this program on a sliding scale because I want all members of our community to be able to access this powerful content.

Click here for more information, and thank you for considering becoming a Pro. If there’s someone in your life that you feel could benefit from this program, I’d be very grateful if you pass it along.

The program starts October 15th, so sign up today!

 

  Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day,   samantha attard sig

 


samantha attard happy healthy humanSamantha Attard, PhD, is the founder of Happy Healthy Human. Sam is a performance coach and yoga instructor who helps people eat, move, and live with intention. Learn more here.

Join the Happy Healthy family to get special invites, event discounts, and lessons on living with intention.


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Ginger-y delicious energy bar recipe

ginger energy bar recipe 1Confession: I am a Periscope addict.

 

Seriously. I had always heard about people being obsessed with social media..but I never got that bug. Sure…I’m on Facebook. Yes, taking photos on Instagram is pretty fun.

 

But Periscope is so much better than that (for me). It’s like a big party! You show up every day, see all of your friends, and (in my case) talk about nutrition and health.
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Gratitude is Boring: revive your lifeless practice today

tips for more gratitude

This post originally appeared in my free weekly newsletter that’s filled with tips and tools to keep you living well every day. If you liked this post, and want to have more messages like this delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe here! Thanks.

Having a gratitude practice is a bit “in vogue” right now. From celebrities to self-help books, people are claiming that gratitude helps you feel happy, attract a mate, reduce stress, and even prevent disease!
Continue reading…


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