The No-Cook Summer Recipes Series: Caprese Salad Skewers

The No-Cook Summer Recipes Series: Caprese Salad Skewers

The sun-kissed days of summer are in full swing, bringing with them an abundant harvest of vibrant fruits, fresh vegetables, and a medley of aromatic herbs. As we bask in the warmth of the season, the last thing we want is to spend time over a hot stove or grill.

This series was created with the summer heat in mind, so you can can stay fueled and cool all summer long!

Below are some simple and delicious caprese salad skewers. The simplicity of the ingredients and the ease of preparation make these skewers a popular choice for serving as finger food, appetizers, or even as a light summer snack. They offer a burst of fresh flavors that are sure to please any palate, making them a delightful addition to any summer gathering.

Summery Caprese Salad Skewers

The vibrant red tomatoes, creamy white mozzarella, and vibrant green basil leaves create a beautiful color combination, while providing a flavorful addition to any meal.
Prep Time 12 minutes
Total Time 12 minutes
Servings 4


  • 16 cherry tomatoes
  • 16 small fresh mozzarella balls
  • 16 fresh basil leaves
  • Balsamic glaze or reduction as desired
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 16 small skewers or toothpicks


  • Wash the cherry tomatoes and fresh basil leaves. Drain the mozzarella balls if they are packed in water.
  • Take a skewer or toothpick and start by threading one cherry tomato onto it, followed by one mozzarella ball, and then one basil leaf. Repeat this pattern until you have four ingredients on each skewer, ending with a cherry tomato on top.
  • Lightly season the skewers with a sprinkle of salt and pepper to taste.
  • Just before serving, drizzle the Caprese salad skewers with a balsamic glaze or balsamic reduction and a generous drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.
The No-Cook Summer Recipe Series: Watermelon Gazpacho

The No-Cook Summer Recipe Series: Watermelon Gazpacho

As the scorching summer sun beats down, the last thing we want is to spend hours slaving over a hot stove. Luckily, there are plenty of delicious recipes that are perfect for those hot summer days when you want to keep cool and avoid cooking altogether.

Our no-cook recipe series was created with the summer heat in mind, so you can can stay fueled and cool all summer long! We’ll be sharing family favorites, reinvented classics, and innovative concoctions that showcase the essence of summer on a plate over the next 4 posts.

To kick things off, we are introducing our zesty watermelon gazpacho. This cold soup is a packed with water-containing ingredients, making it a flavorful way to hydrate. With its inventive fusion of flavors and cooling properties, watermelon gazpacho has earned its place as a celebrated summer delicacy. Whether served as an elegant appetizer at a garden party or as a light and refreshing lunch on a scorching afternoon, this contemporary twist on a classic never fails to impress, delight, and rejuvenate.

Zesty Watermelon Gazpacho

Embracing the seasonal sweetness of ripe watermelons and blending it with the savory essence of vegetables, this modern twist on gazpacho is an absolute sensation for the taste buds.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Chill 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 2


  • 4 cups watermelon seeded and cubed
  • 1 cucumber peeled and diced
  • 1 red bell pepper seeded and diced
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh basil use as garnish


  • In a blender, combine the watermelon, cucumber, bell pepper, red onion, lime juice, and olive oil. Blend until smooth.
  • Season with salt and pepper according to your taste.
  • Refrigerate for at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to meld.
  • Serve chilled in bowls or glasses, garnished with fresh basil leaves.


For an extra kick- add a fresh jalapeño!
The Good Life

The Good Life

Are you searching for the secrets to a truly fulfilling and happy life? Look no further! In the latest book review on the Health Geeks Book Club Podcast, Kristen Norton and Eleanor Russell dive into the captivating pages of “The Good Life: Lessons from the World’s Longest Scientific Study of Happiness” by Robert Waldinger MD, Marc Schulz Ph.D., et al. This delightful book is a treasure trove of engaging stories, practical advice, and key research findings in the field of happiness.

“The Good Life” takes readers on a journey into the lives of some of the participants in the world’s longest scientific study on happiness, the Harvard Study of Adult Development. Drawing upon decades of research and real-life stories, the authors delve into the key factors that contribute to a meaningful and healthy life. They explore the importance of relationships, community, personal growth, and finding purpose.

Top 3 reasons why I loved this book:

  1. Engaging Stories: “The Good Life” is full of compelling stories of individuals with various life choices and circumstances. These stories illustrate that despite various trials and tribulations we might face, we can be protected by the power of relationships, resilience, and finding joy in ordinary moments.
  2. Practical Advice: The book provides practical guidance on nurturing and maintaining healthy relationships, fostering personal growth, and finding meaning and purpose in everyday life. It offers actionable steps for readers to improve their well-being and happiness.
  3. Friendly Tone: One of the standout features of “The Good Life” is its warm and friendly tone. The authors’ approachable style of sharing what they have learned from the Adult Development Study makes the ideas and research findings accessible and relatable.

Bottom line:

“The Good Life” is a must-read for anyone seeking genuine happiness and a long, healthy life. Its compelling stories, practical advice, and friendly tone make it an enjoyable and informative read.

Don’t miss the opportunity to embark on this transformative journey toward happiness and well-being. Grab a copy of “The Good Life” today and unlock the secrets to living your best life.

Hungry for the Good Life?

5 Expert Tips to Eat Healthy While Traveling

5 Expert Tips to Eat Healthy While Traveling

Maintaining a healthy diet can be challenging, especially when you’re on the go. 

Traveling often leads to irregular meal patterns, changes in eating patterns, and added stress which can suck the fun out of vacation. 

Luckily, with a little planning and conscious decision-making, you can achieve balance even while exploring new destinations. 

To help, we’ve compiled 5 essential tips to help you eat healthy while traveling, allowing you to nourish your body and enjoy your journey to the fullest.

1. Plan Ahead and Pack Smart:

One of the keys to eating healthy while traveling is being prepared. Take the time to plan your meals and snacks in advance, especially for long journeys. 

If there is a kitchen available at your destination, perhaps bringing some items from home and cooking a few meals throughout the trip can provide balance. 

Ahead of traveling, prepare a variety of healthy options such as:

  • fruit and raw veggies
  • cheese sticks
  • whole grain crackers with nut butter
  • homemade energy bites
  • trail mix

These portable and nutritious choices will come in handy during flights, train rides, or long drives. Additionally, consider packing a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated throughout your journey. Pro tip: a cooler can come in handy

2. Research Your Destination:

Before embarking on your trip, spend some time researching the local food scene and identifying healthier dining options. 

Look for restaurants that prioritize fresh ingredients, whole grains, lean proteins, and vegetable-based dishes. By knowing where to find healthier choices, you’ll be able to enjoy delicious meals without compromising your dietary goals. 

Is there a grocery store nearby?

 If there are not a lot of options available, bringing along some fresh, canned, or dried fruits and vegetables to snack on throughout the day is a great way to incorporate produce without having to stress.

3. Remember the Well Balanced Plate:

While traveling, our regular eating habits are sometimes left at home. Practicing mindful eating and using the Well Balanced Plate is a great way to incorporate some balance.

When dining out, aim to have a protein, starch, and veggie on your plate. Other options include:

  • Ordering a salad for the table to share
  • Opting for vegetable side-dish
  • Splitting the meal and/or dessert with a loved one

 Moreover, listen to your body’s hunger and fullness cues, as it’s essential to nourish yourself adequately, which is easier when we don’t let ourselves get too hungry. And remember, it’s all about balance, so don’t forget to enjoy the yummy options too!

4. Choose Nutrient-Dense Snacks:

Snacks can make or break your healthy eating routine while traveling. 

Opt for nutrient-dense options that provide sustained energy and keep you satisfied between meals. Some excellent choices include:

  • Fresh fruits
  • Nuts
  • Yogurt
  • Cheese stick
  • Veggies with dip 
  • Hummus + whole wheat pita

Nutritious snacks help prevent intense hunger or dips in energy!

5. Prioritize Local Produce and Cuisine:

Exploring local food markets and trying traditional dishes is an exciting part of traveling. 

Embrace the opportunity to experience new flavors and include locally sourced fruits, vegetables, and traditional dishes in your meals. Not only will you get a taste of the local culture, but you’ll also be more likely to consume fresher and healthier ingredients. 

Take the chance to ask locals or food vendors about their favorite healthy options, and you might discover hidden gems that align with your dietary needs.

In summary…

Eating healthy while traveling is not an impossible task; it simply requires a bit of planning and mindful decision-making. 

By incorporating these 5 tips into your travel routine, you can stay on track with your health goals without feeling restricted or deprived. 

Remember, it’s about balance and making the best choices available to you in each situation. So as you embark on your next adventure, nourish your body with wholesome foods, and savor every moment of your travel experience. Bon voyage and bon appétit!

How Food Affects Mood

How Food Affects Mood

May is National Mental Health Month, giving us the opportunity to discuss how food impacts mood.

Nutrition and mental health are closely intertwined. Studies have shown that what we eat can have a significant impact on our mental well-being. In this blog, we will explore the relationship between nutrition and mental health, and provide some tips on how to improve your diet to support your mental health.

The Link Between Nutrition and Mental Health

The gut is often referred to as the “second brain”. A vital component of gut (and overall health) is the microbiome. The gut microbiome is defined as the trillions of microbes (such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi) living in our intestines. Gut microbes produce substances (hormones, messenger molecules, neurotransmitters, etc.) that enter our blood vessels and travel to the brain, impacting our mood. These microbes act as messengers, interacting directly with the central nervous system and the communication between the two is commonly referred to as the gut-brain axis. Just as the gut influences the brain, the brain influences the gut. Our mental state can play a huge role in digestion and motility. During times of heightened stress or anxiety we may experience an upset stomach or constipation.

But, how is food connected to this? Our food choices determine the type of bacteria in our gut which in turn influences the messages sent to our brain, thanks to the gut-brain axis. If we eat foods that promote healthy bacteria, our gut will communicate messages to the brain that improve our mood and vice versa. But, it doesn’t stop there. Certain nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, and antioxidants, are essential for the production of neurotransmitters in the brain, which regulate our mood, emotions, and behavior. 

Nutrition Tips That Will Support Your Mental Health

1. Eat a Balanced Diet
The best way to ensure that you are getting all the nutrients your body needs is to eat a balanced diet that includes a variety of different foods. The saying “eat the rainbow” has never been more accurate. Aim to incorporate a rainbow of fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. A diverse microbiome is a healthy one, and a healthy gut promotes a healthy brain.

2. Include Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for brain health, and have been shown to be particularly effective in reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety. You can get omega-3s from fatty fish like salmon and tuna, as well as from nuts and seeds like walnuts and flaxseed.

3. Get Enough B Vitamins
B vitamins are important for the production of neurotransmitters in the brain. You can get B vitamins from a variety of different foods, including whole grains, leafy greens, nuts and seeds, and lean proteins.

4. Limit Processed Foods
Processed foods (candy, hot dogs, certain frozen entrees, etc.) can contribute to inflammation in the body, which has been linked to mental health problems. Try to enjoy these foods in moderation, focusing on whole foods as much as possible. 

5. Add in Fiber 
Fiber is not digested by our bodies, it is digested by our gut bacteria and they love it! Fiber ferments in our gut, producing short chain fatty acids (SCFAs). SFCAs are important for our hormonal health, immune system, and brain behavior. High fiber foods include legumes (beans, peas, lentils), broccoli, nuts and seeds, berries, pears, apples, avocado, carrots, artichokes, whole grains, and much more. 

6. Enjoy Fermented Foods
Fermented foods can benefit the microbiome by optimizing its function by supplying and promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria. Examples of fermented foods include yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, tempeh, and miso.

If you are looking to implement any or all of these 6 strategies to improve your mental and physical health, your friendly Well Balanced dietitians are here to help.


 1.    Elizabeth Pennisi. May. 7, 2020. “Meet the ‘Psychobiome’: the Gut Bacteria That May Alter How You Think, Feel, and Act.” Science, American Association For The Advancement of Science , 11 May 2020, 

What are IBS elimination diets?

What are IBS elimination diets?

April is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Awareness Month, so we couldn’t miss the opportunity to discuss one of our favorite topics: gut health. 

For those that haven’t heard of it, IBS is a chronic gastrointestinal disorder that affects the stomach and intestines, also called the GI tract. IBS causes a range of symptoms, including abdominal pain, bloating, and changes in bowel habits. 

While the exact cause of IBS is unknown, research suggests that it may be related to abnormal contractions of the colon, which can cause gas, bloating, and changes in bowel movements. 

Despite its prevalence, IBS is often misunderstood and misdiagnosed, leading to frustration and anxiety for those who suffer from it.  Some people find stress and anxiety will trigger their IBS symptoms making it a vicious cycle of suffering. 

Thanks to the internet and emerging research there are plenty of diets and suggested treatment plans out there, inspiring us to break down a few of the most common short-term elimination diets in this post. 

What is an elimination diet? 

An elimination diet involves removing certain foods or food groups from your diet for a short time. The goal of an elimination diet is to remove potentially problematic foods temporarily to heal and rest the gut, then methodically add them back in to detect which foods are likely triggering symptoms. Though they take time and require professional support, elimination diets can help you learn more about your body and feel more empowered in your choices. 

However, it cannot be stressed enough that these are not meant to be used long-term or ongoing as they cut out entire food groups and can lead to further imbalance of gut microbiome (aka the bacteria that make up your digestive system). The support of a dietitian is a useful tool as they are there to help support you, monitor symptoms and progress, and make sure you are still getting all the nutrients you need during the elimination period. 


FODMAP is an acronym that stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols. Simply put, they are sugars that are not completely digested and absorbed by the body. Examples of FODMAP foods include apples, artichokes, garlic, black beans, cashews, and certain dairy products. 

As FODMAPs make their way down the GI tract, they pass through the small intestine attracting water. Then, they reach the large intestine where they are fermented by bacteria. The water and fermentation process causes the intestinal wall to expand because the fermented sugars produce gas. The expansion from gas and water can be a painful process for those with IBS. 

A low-FODMAP diet has shown to be effective in reducing general symptoms of IBS in randomized controlled trials. The low FODMAP diet works to reduce these sugars in the diet during an elimination period that lasts 3-6 weeks. This time is thought to help the gut heal and identify if the high FODMAP foods are causing issues for your body. After 3-6 weeks, FODMAPs are reintroduced one at a time to help you identify any trigger foods.

Although this can be a tedious process, your friendly nutrition coaches can help you through it. At Well Balanced we have many resources that make low FODMAP approachable, including a low FODMAP meal planning software that is available as an add-on service to our clients.  


According to the website the Whole30 Program is structured in 2 phases: 30 days of elimination and 10 days of reintroduction. 

During the first 30 days, you eliminate real and artificial sugars, alcohol, grains, legumes, dairy, carrageenan, sulfites, healthy versions of treats or junk food, and the habit of weighing yourself. 

As for the reintroduction phase, the program states  “introduce one food group at a time, then go back to the elimination phase for two days to reset.” The reset time is to monitor your body’s reaction and/or symptoms to each specific food or beverage category. 

You’ll reintroduce food groups in order of least likely to be problematic to most likely: gluten-free grains, legumes, dairy, and gluten containing grains. You can also reintroduce added sugars and alcohol; however, these are optional and best to do under the supervision of a registered dietitian

The Whole30 diet is a non-scientific way to find out if dairy, grains, legumes, or sugar are specific triggers to your IBS symptoms.


LEAP therapy, as described by Susan Linke, RD, MS, CLT, is an effective anti-inflammatory eating plan “that simplifies what used to be a very difficult process by combining the best blood test with a simple but extremely effective method of building a healthy and delicious diet.” So, let’s break it down:

  • The blood test included in LEAP therapy is called a Mediator Release Test (MRT®). What makes it unique, according to LEAP, is its ability to “quantify the degree of the inflammatory response in sensitivity pathways.” But, what exactly does that mean? MRT® not only identifies the foods that cause reactions, but it also determines different degrees of reactivity to foods giving insight to what foods are friends or foe based on your unique biology. 
  • With these results, and the help of a professional, you can build an eating plan that is rich with the foods you enjoy and free of those that cause symptoms (digestive issues, headaches, brain fog, etc.) making it a valuable tool for those suffering with IBS. With this unique yet accessible science, your life can be more than symptom free, it can be healed by getting to the gut of the problem. 

If you are interested in learning more or want to make friends with your tummy and better understand your symptoms, schedule a clarity call with Nutrition Coach Lucy (our gut health guru) today!

Healthy Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins

Healthy Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins

It’s always great to have a go-to recipe that never fails to impress, and that’s what I’ve found with these muffins! It’s hard to believe they contain various fruits and vegetables – because they just taste great! Even picky eaters will likely love them!

Very-Veggie Chocolate Chip Muffins

These muffins are full of vegetables and fruits. Great for a snack, part of breakfast or lunch, and will go quickly!
Course Baked Goods
Cuisine American, Breakfast, snacks
Prep Time 40 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 12 people
Calories 161kcal
Author Kristen Norton


  • 1 electric hand mixer
  • 2 bowls
  • 1 food processor
  • 2 mini muffin tins


  • 1 2/3 cups white whole-wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup collagen powder, unflavored see notes
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup broccoli chopped
  • 1 zucchini medium, chopped
  • 1/2 apple medium
  • 1 banana ripe
  • 2 carrots whole small to medium carrots will work
  • 2 Tbs milk (2% cow's milk was used, any type of milk should work)
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt (Plain or Flavored) We love Oikos
  • 4 Tbs butter unsalted, room temp
  • 2 eggs large
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup Enjoy Life Mini Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips


  • Wash, chop and steam the broccoli.
  • Wash and chop apple, zucchini, and carrots into large chunks.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Place cupcake liners into mini muffin pan; set aside.
  • In a medium bowl mix together flour, collagen, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt; set aside.
  • In a food processor, combine steamed broccoli, zucchini, apple, carrots, banana, a milk, and yogurt. Purée until smooth.
  • In a mixer or another bowl, combine the brown sugar + butter and beat until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth.
  • Add the fruit and veggie puree into the wet ingredients and stir until combined.
  • Add dry ingredients to the wet and mix until just combined.
  • Fold in chocolate chips.
  • Fill muffin cups about 2/3 full with batter.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes or until tops are slightly brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and muffins bounce back when touched.
  • Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.


What is Collagen Powder? Collagen is an essential protein found in our bodies and plays a vital role in maintaining the health of our skin, hair, nails, joints, and bones. Typical diets no longer contain many collagen sources (collagen comes from animal connective tissues such as bones, skin, and cartilage). As we age, our bodies produce less collagen, leading to wrinkles, joint pain, and other signs of aging. This is where collagen powder comes in as a dietary supplement. Some studies suggest that collagen powder may help improve gut health and reduce inflammation.
Collagen powder is typically unflavored and can be added to your favorite drinks or foods, making it easy to incorporate into your daily routine.
Is it okay for children? Collagen is safe for children in small amounts, such as in this muffin recipe. 
What if I don't have collagen powder or don't want to use it? 
  • Replace collagen with whole wheat flour. 
  • Substitute with any other protein supplement. 
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: 4 mini muffins
Calories 161
Total Fat 5.4g
     Saturated Fat 2.9g
     Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 41mg
Sodium 201mg
Total Carbohydrates 24g
     Dietary Fiber 3g
     Total Sugars 9g
Protein 6g
Legumes: Fuel For Our Future

Legumes: Fuel For Our Future

March is National Nutrition Month, and this year the theme is all about fuel for our future. Food choices impact more than our physical longevity. The food we purchase has the potential to significantly harm or help our planet, influencing the life expectancy of the environment we leave for future generations. 

Over the years at Well Balanced Nutrition, we have promoted healthy eating and lifestyle habits that promote a healthy mind, body, and environment. These practices include eating local, buying seasonal foods, cart-smart options, and more! However, there is one food group that we particularly love because it not only promotes a long healthy life but it also supports a prosperous planet. That food group is… LEGUMES!

What are legumes?

Legumes are a family of plants that includes beans, lentils, peas, and chickpeas. They have been a staple food in many cultures for centuries and are known for their nutritional value. Recent research has shown that legumes may also have a role in promoting longevity.

What is longevity?

Longevity, or the ability to live a long and healthy life, is influenced by many factors, including genetics, lifestyle, and diet. The Mediterranean diet, rich in legumes, has been associated with lower rates of chronic diseases and longer life expectancy.

How do legumes promote a long healthy life?

Here are some ways in which legumes promote longevity:

  1. Rich in nutrients: Legumes are a good source of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, such as folate, iron, and potassium. These nutrients are essential for maintaining a healthy body and preventing chronic diseases.
  2. Lowers the risk of chronic diseases: Legumes have been shown to reduce the risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. This is due to their high fiber content, which helps regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
  3. Reduces inflammation: Chronic inflammation is a risk factor for many age-related diseases, such as arthritis, Alzheimer’s, and cancer. Legumes contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that help reduce inflammation in the body.
  4. Helps maintain a healthy weight: Legumes are low in fat and high in fiber, which helps keep you feeling full and satisfied. Eating legumes can help you maintain a healthy weight, which is associated with a longer lifespan.
  5. Improves gut health: Legumes contain prebiotics, food for the beneficial bacteria in your gut. A healthy gut microbiome is essential for overall health and may play a role in longevity.
  6. Sustainable food source: Legumes are an environmentally sustainable food source, as they require less water and fertilizers than other crops. Choosing legumes over meat as a protein source can also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support sustainable agriculture.

Now you can understand why we’re hooked on legumes! They are a nutritious and environmentally friendly food source that can help promote longevity. Including various legumes in your diet can provide numerous health benefits and may help you live a longer and healthier life. 

How Can I Make Time for Self-Care?

How Can I Make Time for Self-Care?

The start of the new year is full of hopeful chatter about new  health goals and routines. However, we know  how hard it can be to form new habits when you are still recovering from a busy holiday season. Time is often the barrier, not a lack of desire to make good choices. Recently this was confirmed when we asked our tribe, what is the biggest wellness challenge you are facing? And the most popular answer was: finding time for self-care. 

Before we dive into what self-care is and the simple ways anyone can incorporate it into their life, I want to stress what self-care is not. When people think about the term self-care they often mistake it for selfishness or self-indulgence. Wellness marketing promotes self-care in the form of fancy products or services often targeted to burned out moms, overworked individuals, and confused consumers. Businesses see our deepest pains and frustrations and use them to sell us their product as the solution. Many of these products and services have really great advertising that make us believe it could really be the answer. However, more often than not, it’s a waste of money or a band-aid covering up a deeper issue. 

So, what is self-care?

I recently stumbled upon a study in BMC Palliative Care and fell in love with their definition. The article described self-care as “the self-initiated behavior that people choose to incorporate to promote good health and general well-being.” The words “self-initiated” made this stand out among any other description I’ve read. What this means is that self-care is based on what you need, and you get to decide when to practice it. Self-care looks different for everyone; for some it may be a skincare routine before bed, for others it may be a 5 minute meditation before starting the day, or eating healthy and moving their bodies regularly. All that matters is that the practice is on your terms and it’s something you do intentionally that brings you joy. When introducing self-care into your routine, remember to check in with your expectations, take some time to think about what you have the time and energy for, and know every little bit counts.

How do I make the time?

Now that we’ve covered what self-care is and is not, let’s discuss how you can make the time to incorporate it. At Well Balanced we understand there are some seasons of life where time is limited. That’s why we developed the tips below to help you sprinkle in self-care wherever and whenever possible.

Ways to add in self-care: 

  • Time blocking. It may feel silly at first, but setting aside time or making an appointment with yourself can help guarantee you are prioritizing your needs. Have 10 minutes between meetings? Block that time so you can spend those few moments doing something for yourself.
  • Microbreaks. Taking 5-10 minutes to step away from your desk can help boost energy levels, decrease fatigue, and increase self-care. Get up and drink a glass of water, walk to the mailbox, or listen to your favorite song. Small breaks are a great way to add in self-care without having to rearrange your schedule. 
  • Check in with yourself. Taking a moment to ask yourself, “What do I need right now?” or “How can I support myself today?” creates the space for you to recognize and support your needs. Whatever it is, make sure you find time to incorporate it in small amounts during the day. 
  • Unwind after the day. Whether it’s a walk around the neighborhood, listening to a podcast on the commute home, or watching the sunset from your window, having an activity to transition into the evening is a great way to let go of the day while tending to yourself.
  • Plan something to look forward to. Having something fun or relaxing planned is not only motivating, but it also allows you to set aside time to do things that bring you happiness. It can be as simple as catching up on a TV show after the kids go to bed, or it can be something more involved like a weekend getaway. Doing the things you enjoy, no matter what it looks like, is a wonderful form of self-care.
  • Set and keep boundaries. Sometimes the ultimate self-care is drawing a line between what is ok and not okay. Whether that relates to how many things you are willing to put on your calendar, how much you respond to emails after hours, or how many activities your kids can be involved in. Those conversations can be difficult but worthwhile when they protect your wellbeing.

Self-care in seconds: If you are on a strict time crunch, look no further because here are some suggestions that can help you take care of yourself without having to sacrifice time. 

  • Deep breathing for 30-60 seconds. Take a few moments to focus only on your breath, deeply breathing in and out for as long as you need. Breathwork can help regulate blood pressure, calm the nervous system, and recenter your focus, promoting small moments of self-care.
  • The 20/20/20 strategy. This tool can be a great way to add in microbreaks or moments of self-care throughout the day. Stop every 20 minutes to focus on an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds before returning to close up viewing. This will help prevent eye strain and allow you to reset in the midst of a busy day.
  • Check-in with your body. Pay attention to your physical sensations, relax your shoulders, unclench your jaw, adjust your posture, and maybe stretch for a moment. Releasing the tension in your body is a simple yet effective way to care for yourself.
  • The 54321 practice. Focus on 5 things you see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you hear, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste. This will help bring you into the present moment and tend to yourself for a few brief moments. 
  • Hug it out. If you have a friend, coworker, child, or loved one around then a brief embrace might be a great way to show love to yourself and another person, while receiving love in return.  

Self-care does not need to be a drawn out process or costly activity. It can be done in seconds and practiced anywhere, at any time. It is accessible to everyone and essential for overall health and wellbeing. If you are interested in learning more about self-care or need more guidance on how to incorporate it into your life, we encourage you to reach out to one of our coaches. In the meantime, remember to take care of yourself the way you care for others! 

New Year’s Resolution Guide

New Year’s Resolution Guide

New year, NOT new you. A change in the calendar year does not mean you have to change who you are. Quite often New Year’s resolutions make us feel we are not good enough the way we are. 

That’s why we’re here to tell you that you are worthy just as you are right now. 

At Well Balanced we believe that resolutions can start at any time since each new day is a fresh start. However, if you like setting new goals in the new year we are here to help! Below are red flags to look for and simple tips for creating a plan that fits your needs.

Resolution Red Flags

  • Restrictive
    Whether it is a diet or lifestyle change, if it restricts aspects of your life or foods that you enjoy, then it will likely be hard to maintain. Not to mention it is not healthy to cut out food groups, dramatically reduce calories, or withold things we love. Instead of cutting things out, focus on balance or adding in healthier foods and habits.
  • Costly
    Resolutions do not need to break the bank. In fact, many life changing shifts are free. For example, adding in a meditation or gratitude practice costs you nothing financially, but gives you priceless mental gains. 
  • Shaming
    If a resolution includes negative words that make you feel less than or guilty, then it may be beneficial to rethink or reframe it. Instead of telling yourself to “stop” a certain behavior, ask what you can add in or change. Words matter, so make sure your goals have a positive ring to them. 
  • All or nothing
    When making changes, it is important they’re flexible and realistic. If you have to completely stop a behavior or cut out a certain food altogether, then it is not sustainable in the long run. Focusing on small reductions or taking baby steps towards cutting something out will actually make the change more sustainable. 

Tips for a Well Balanced Resolution 

  • Have a list of values
    Before setting goals or coming up with your resolution, write down your core values. Setting goals for goals sake is not always beneficial, whereas goals aligned with your values will help you stay connected to yourself and what matters most to you, making it easier to stick to them. If you need help identifying your values, we recommend starting with Brene Brown’s core values exercise.
  • Make them SMART
    SMART goals are those that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound. The more specified the goal or resolution, the better. For example, rather than saying “I want to workout more in the new year” make it SMART by saying “I will go to the gym 3 times a week for the next 3 months and use a workout plan.” When you specify what exactly you are going to do and put time limits around the goal, you are more likely to follow through. 
  • Visualize obstacles
    When setting goals, it is important to visualize possible roadblocks in order to equip yourself with the tools to overcome them. When you imagine possible challenges, you weaken the element of surprise and make it easier to stick to a new habit.
  • Remember: consistency over perfection
    Resolutions are not about perfecting a certain aspect of you or your life, rather they are about growth and evolution. So when it comes to your goals, remember it is more important (and beneficial) to do something consistently rather than perfectly. The more often you participate in a behavior or do something routinely, the more likely it’ll become a habit.

If you’re not sure how to get started, be sure to book a complimentary coaching call with one of our friendly dietitians at Well Balanced Nutrition!