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Fighting the Bloat

I have been trying to watch my sodium intake lately since I’ve been feeling a bit puffy. It can be difficult to keep your sodium consumption down if you lead a busy life where eating packaged foods keeps you from passing out because you aren’t able to find the time to make three fresh meals a day from scratch. As much as I try, I don’t always keep fresh fruits and veggies constantly stocked in the fridge.  Planning & making meals ahead of time is great in theory, but my plate is full in other areas!

I have made little changes in my habits to fight the bloat and noticed positive results over the past month. I drink lots of water to offset any higher sodium content in my diet and stopped drinking soda! I love my daily diet sodas for a caffeine kick since I don’t drink coffee. After a week or so of kicking the habit, I already felt less bloated and shed a few pounds in the process.   Even just cutting back your soda intake instead of quitting cold turkey can lead to feeling a little better in your skin.

One thing I love about Smart Ones® meals is their reasonable sodium content. Their website even has a list of products under 500mg of sodium.  How handy is that?!

For the busy vegetarian bee on the go, try planning three meals with Smart Ones® under 500mg products to stay well within a healthy day’s dose of sodium. Start your morning with the mouth watering, sweet and hearty Apples & Cinnamon Oatmeal made with delicious steel cut oats. Spend your afternoon indulging in the filling and zesty Santa Fe Style Rice & Beans for a fiesta lunch. Then end your day with a light yet flavorful sauce over crisp veggies and cute bow tie pasta with Pasta Primavera for dinner.

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Your tastebuds and waistline will thank you if you add these lower sodium dishes to your menu.

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Alternative Sweets for your ‘Sweet’

Holidays and sweets go hand in hand.  Valentine’s day is one of the many holidays pushing sweet treats and candies and chocolates in excess.  The biggest chocolate heart is supposed to show your loved one how much you love them.  That irks me.  It’s not the quantity, it’s the quality!  While at the grocery store last night I was surrounded by sweet temptations because of today’s holiday.  Do I love all of those things?  Heck yes!  But, in order to support this healthy lifestyle of mine, I came up with two options to battle the Valentine expectation of sweets for your ‘sweet’.  One is obviously healthier than the other, while the other one deals with making the right choice as far as portion size while at the grocery store.

1. Heart Shaped Fruits

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If you happen to have just 15-20 minutes to prepare something sweet and healthy this Valentines day evening, then I’d recommend the simple act of cutting up fruit like honeydew,  melon, apple, etc. into heart shapes (using a heart shaped cookie cutter is recommended if you aren’t confident in your carving skills) and piercing them with a BBQ skewers as pictured above.  It’s not only delicious and healthy, it’s simple and adorable!  Or get creative with it, make it your own Valentine presentation!  There are so many healthy alternative ideas  for holiday treats thanks to the wonderful internet that houses blogs like Sincerely, Paula where I first saw this recipe and where she lists a plethora of other healthy Valentine food options including both sweet and savory.  Obviously, the best choice health wise would be if you chose fruit instead of chocolates as your Valentine sweet.  I’d rather take a little extra time to create something unique on a holiday where store bought chocolates and cards are the norm, but I know that is not always possible when life gets in the way.  If you do not have the time to make something simple and unique for your loved one, it’s understandable for those who have very busy lifestyles.  This brings me to option #2.

2. Freshly Baked Mini Cupcakes

Cupcakes

I squeal with delight whenever I see mini cupcakes.  Most mini cupcakes are around 100 calories each.  Most larger cupcakes are around 300 calories, give or take depending on ingredients and freshly baked or packaged.  This means you can have just one mini cupcake for 100 calories if that’s all you can afford in your calorie count, or 3 mini cupcakes for the same calories as one larger one.  Besides the fact that you can easily pick up the better choice of mini cupcakes in most any grocery store on your way home tonight, mini cupcakes are just cute!  If you are someone who cannot have the box of 9 or 12 mini cupcakes in your house tempting you, opting for one larger cupcake from a bakery instead of a prepackaged 6 may be better.  Purchasing one large cupcake instead of an entire ice cream cake or a box of chocolates can mean so much more on a holiday like today.  To me, sharing something small and sweet with someone you love is extremely special and meaningful and intimate.  It shows you care about their health but you don’t want to miss out on the small joys in life, and you want to enjoy these things together.   Who wouldn’t love receiving just one adorable mini cupcake along with a lovely personal written note or spoken word of affection from your sweetheart?  Someone without a soul, that’s who! 🙂

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