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!

Gift Yourself a Healthy New Year

Gift Yourself a Healthy New Year

During the season of giving to others, you deserve something special too. And there is no better gift than the one you give yourself. Besides, the transition into the new year is the perfect time to treat yourself to something that’ll make it even better. If you’re thinking, “What am I supposed to get myself?”, don’t worry, because you’re in the right place. We have waited all year to share some of our favorite things that make Well Balanced living easier. 

  1. For the meal planner: A weekly meal planning notepad
    This notepad allows you to write all your meals in one place while also serving as a grocery list
  1. For the cook: A veggie chopper/spiralizer
    Save time in the kitchen with this awesome kitchen tool that serves as a veggie chopper, dicer, and spiralizer.

  2. For the egg lover: DASH rapid egg cooker
    This contraption not only makes poached, hard-boiled, and scrambled eggs, but it also can be used for omelets! Bonus: it comes in cute colors

  3. For those who don’t have much time to cook- A slow cooker
    If time is limited, a slow cooker may be what you need. It can provide a wide variety of meals without the hassle of prep and kitchen clean up. Plus, slow cooker meals can easily provide a week’s worth of lunch or dinners.
  1. For the environmentally conscious: Stashers
    Plastic bags are so 2022. Leave the unnecessary waste behind and invest in reusable silicone storage bags. They’re great for snacks, lunches, traveling, and even safe in the freezer, dishwasher, and microwave.

  2. For those with trouble sleeping: Sleep headphones
    If you toss and turn at night, have trouble falling or staying asleep, or simply dislike bulky headphones then this is the gift for you. It is a headband that contains bluetooth speakers making it perfect for sleeping (or exercising).

  3. For the coffee/tea lover: Pressure activated mug warmer
    Do you love to sip on something warm throughout the day but get sick of several trips to the microwave? If you said yes, then this gift is what you need. This mug warmer is the perfect addition to your desk, assuring your beverages stay warm all day long.

  4. For those that don’t drink enough water- 64 oz. motivational water bottle
    Ditch dehydration with this awesome water bottle that reminds you when to drink. Not only is it motivational, it also provides your daily water needs.

  5. For the busy bee- Home gym equipment
    Don’t sweat it if a gym membership isn’t in the cards, this home workout set has enough gear to keep you fit without the weights..

  6. For those interested in learning more about nutrition- A clarity call with one of our coaches
    If you are wanting a friendly guide to walk with you on your health and wellness journey, then it might be time to chat with one of the Well Balanced coaches. Click here to book your complimentary clarity call.
Back-to-School Nutrition Basics 

Back-to-School Nutrition Basics 

Whether you’re getting readjusted to having your kiddos back in school, feeling the demands of those extracurriculars, starting classes, or getting back into the swing of things as the school year ramps up, it can feel like a juggling act to stick to your nutrition or wellness goals. 

The start of this new season is the best time to revisit and renew your health and wellness goals!  Below you’ll find plenty of simple and time-saving ways to ensure your nutrition gets an A+.

Nutrition Tips for Meal Planning

  • Recipe note cards. It’s an oldie but a goodie (or new to you!), write down a few family favorite recipes on note cards and keep them somewhere accessible. When it comes time to plan out the week’s meals and create the grocery list, you’ll already have a stash of recipes you know everyone enjoys. 
  • Opt for frozen produce. These days numerous different items are equally convenient and nutritious. Most grocery stores sell frozen bags of veggies that can easily be popped into the microwave. This is an excellent option for lunches when there is not enough time to cook ahead. The steamed veggies can easily be paired with leftovers or a protein of your choice.  (Tip: top the veggies with your favorite dressing or sauce to add some extra flavor)
  • Make a little extra. If time allows, when preparing dinner, cook an extra chicken breast or serving of that meal, that way, you’ll have something already made to eat with the steamed veggies. This cuts back on cooking time the next day and provides an easy meal without the stress. 
  • One pot meals. If you have a slow cooker or instant pot, one-pot meals such as chili or stew can make dinner less of a hassle. The slow cooker can also be used to cook a side dish ahead of time, such as cabbage, carrots, or potatoes. It can be as easy as throwing the ingredients in and letting them cook while you tackle the to-do list. For some one-pot slow cooker recipes, click here.

Nutrition Tips if You are On the Go

  • Keep snacks in the car. There is no shame in the car snack game! If you are spending hours driving each day, keep some items like trail mix, protein bars, jerky, or whole grain crackers in your car. 
  • Pack breakfast AND lunch ahead of time. Not only having your lunch packed and ready to go, but also your breakfast, can set you up for success–especially if you find yourself rushing out the door. Skipping breakfast can often lead to cravings and poor food choices throughout the day. Opt for options like overnight oats, yogurt parfaits, smoothies, or egg bites that can be made the night before and are easy to grab on the way out. Another option is to have things like trail mix, protein bars, protein shakes, and fruit like bananas, apples, or oranges around that way, you can grab a few items and skip the meal prep. 
  • Plan ahead. If your day is booked back to back with meetings or classes, then scheduling in time for mealtime may be helpful. Some of the brilliant members of the Well Balanced Tribe have voiced how putting lunch on their schedule helped them take the time to stop working or studying to eat. Simply looking at the day or week ahead can help you get an idea of when and where you might be able to eat.

Time Efficient Recipes

Tools for Simplifying Meal Prep 

  • Veggie chopper: this easy-to-use tool minimizes the time you spend chopping and helps create more uniform pieces of your favorite veggies
  • Veggie spiralizer: add some flare to your pasta nights with this veggie spiralizer; it can transform many veggies into noodles
How to Stick To Your Nutrition Goals This Summer

How to Stick To Your Nutrition Goals This Summer

Summer is right around the corner, and the warmer weather is already here, which means more outdoor adventures after work, more time at the pool, and more getaways! However, with the summer fun comes a change to schedules and routines. For many, this means there is less time for cooking, exercise, and health goals. But what if we told you that you don’t have to put your goals and wellness journey on pause during the warmer months? There are many ways to keep your health a priority as summer heats up. 


Summer, The Well Balanced Way 

Barbecues, graduation parties, vacations, oh my! All can seem like a wrench thrown into nutrition goals. However, remembering how to build a well balanced plate, ditching the all or nothing mindset, and simply enjoying good food and even better company can lead to a stress-free summer. The summer months offer an opportunity to create wonderful memories and oftentimes that includes yummy treats which should be enjoyed guilt-free! Every little effort counts, whether that’s cooking at home 2x per week, eating a side of veggies at 1-2 meals, or going on walks on your lunch break.

Nutritious Food, Fast

If time is more scarce in the summer, do not worry because there are plenty of delicious recipes that can be done in a flash. 

Recipes in 10 minutes or under:

Recipes in 30 minutes or under:

If you find yourself in the car more often in the summer between driving to the beach, drop offs and pickups from camp, or summer get-togethers, then having accessible yet nutritious snacks might be helpful. Keep these in the car or pantry for easy access no matter where you are:

  • trail mix
  • jerky sticks
  • protein bars
  • crunchy chickpeas
  • individually packaged popcorn or nuts 
  • crackers and peanut butter
  • protein powder (mix with water or milk of choice)
  • perishable items that are easy to grab on the way out of the house: 
    • fruit 
    • cheese sticks
    • yogurt
    • baby carrots
    • shelled edamame
    • pre-cut veggies (peppers, cucumbers, radishes, etc.)

This time of year is meant to be enjoyed without the sacrifice of your health goals. Finding quick and easy recipes, bringing fruit or veggies with you to a cook-out, stocking up on nutritious grab-and-go items, and practicing balance will help create a summer without worry. If you are interested in hearing more about sticking to health goals in the summer then watch our most recent webinar. And as always, enjoy the journey!  

Dietitians Give Meal Prep Solution a Try and Here’s What They Thought

Dietitians Give Meal Prep Solution a Try and Here’s What They Thought

Meal planning and preparation are some of the most common struggles we (Lucy, Kristen and Bella) hear about from clients. Whether it’s due to a time constraint, creative block, picky eaters at home, or disinterest in cooking, meal planning and prep often take a back seat in many of our lives. That’s why at Well Balanced we are always looking for new ways to help our clients plan and cook their meals without breaking the bank or requiring hours in the kitchen. So over the past few weeks Kristen and Bella decided to give some meal prep help a try from a local company, Long Life Meal Prep. 

Check out our reviews below!

Bella: 

If you were to talk to my friends and family you would quickly learn I am often the butt of many jokes due to the oxymoron of being a RD that doesn’t always do a good job at feeding herself. Between my work schedule and being a full time student, I often lack the motivation (and time)  to cook 3 meals a day. If I don’t meal prep on Sundays, then I often struggle to come up with dinner ideas. That’s why, just like my clients, I am always looking for new tips and tricks to get nutritious fuel without the hassle. 

So when I had the chance to try Long Life Meal Prep, I couldn’t resist. I found that their meals were a good base, and that adding some additional sauces, spices, and veggies took them to the next level. The convenience was the best part. All I had to do was reheat, add some additional flavors and within minutes BOOM, dinner was served! 

Chickpeas, spaghetti, and spinach – one of Bella’s favorites.

Veggie burritos with cilantro lime dressing

Kristen:

Countless times I tell myself I am going to put together a nice lunch for myself but something stops me from following through with lunch prep- whether it’s the overwhelm of starting or simply time already feeling stretched thin. If I’m lucky, I’ll have leftovers to reheat, but I’m not going to lie some days I end up just eating a granola bar or scramble to put a ho-hum lunch together.

I was excited to get a little help from Long Life Meal Prep since I can be so inconsistent with lunch. It’s funny how making a family dinner that we will all enjoy together is a lot easier to prioritize than my individual lunches. I know I’m not alone because I hear all the time from clients who agree that cooking for yourself is a lot harder to do.

Whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner you have a hard time keeping up with, consider getting a little help. It was so nice having these meals ready for me when things got busy. Why not take something off your plate and make healthy eating easier?

Mixed vegetables with potatoes, kale, carrots, and mushrooms. Kristen added leftover chicken and curry powder to round out the meal and reheated in a skillet.

Chicken and zucchini covered with tomato sauce and cheese.

Pro Tips for Using a Meal Prep service like Long Life Meal Prep:

Letting someone take over the job of prepping frees up more brain space and creativity to make the meals work for you. Don’t assume that every meal is perfect for you as is. Put some time and effort into making it satisfying and filling. These meals often start at a low calorie level. You may need more energy to make it through the day. Here’s what you can add to your meals.

  • Flavor. Some meals are loaded with flavor like Bourbon Grilled Chicken or Honey Sriracha Chicken Bowl. If you choose a more basic meal, think of it as a blank slate to add your own type of flare! It can quickly be jazzed up with your favorite sauce or seasoning blends.  Flavor boosters don’t have to add a ton of extra calories or unneccesary ingredients if you make your own or pick high-quality store bought versions. (Need help? Lucy and Bella will be sharing fast and easy ways to add flavor to your meals on this month’s webinar. Sign up now!)
  • Fiber. Some meals may be too low in carbohydrates for you and could use a fiber boost. Simply add some whole grains, starchy vegetables, beans, or your favorite bread to the meal to round it out and make it complete.
  • Fun. Long Life Meal Prep has some fun snack/dessert options that are made with minimal sugar and added protein. Adding fun items like this to your routine in addition to Well Balanced meals will make it easier to eat well without feeling like you are missing out on anything.

A few more tips:

  • If you have time, heat your meals in an air fyer, toaster oven or on a skillet. This delivers the best flavor and quality.
  • If you can’t eat your meal within the week, keep them in the freezer for later. The day before you are ready to eat it, put it in the refrigerator to thaw overnight before heating the next day.
  • Need help getting your meals just right? Give them a call. They will be happy to work with you to personalize your order.

Meals are tightly sealed to stay fresh.

Having the nutrition facts allows you to customize your meals to meet your nutrition needs.

Wanna Try Long Life Meal Prep, too? Here’s how:

Long Life Meal Prep is a company based in Jamestown, NC, but they ship anywhere. If you live near one of their “pick-up” locations you can save 20% off your order by dropping in to grab your meals each week.

Here’s how to order:

  • Simply browse the menu
  • Add meals, snacks and juices to your cart
  • Select either delivery or find your pick up location at check out
  • Enjoy your food!

Ready to try? Use the code: WellBalance10 to get 10% off your first order! Put Well Balanced Nutrition in the comments section on follow up orders to let them know who sent them.

Nutrition Tips for the Onset of Menopause

Nutrition Tips for the Onset of Menopause

Menopause. The change. Whatever you call it, it’s important to remember that it’s not a disease to be treated, but rather a normal stage of life. Menopause “officially” starts 12 months after your last period. That happens, on average, around the age of 51.  Perimenopause often starts in the early- to mid-40s. This is when some may start feeling symptoms like:

  • Weight gain—especially around the midsection
  • Hot flashes and night sweats
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Mood fluctuations

Why does this even happen? Some of the reasons behind all these changes include your changing hormones, metabolism, stress levels, and lifestyle.

Because your body goes through all these changes, its nutritional needs also change. Here are some expert nutrition tips to help you navigate the onset of menopause.

Nutrition tips for Perimenopause and Menopause

1. Hydration is Helpful

Some key menopausal symptoms may be improved simply by drinking more fluids. If hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, or bladder infections are affecting you, try drinking at least six 8-oz glasses of water per day to help hydrate you. It’s important to remember that we all slowly lose our sense of thirst with age. This means you can become less hydrated without even noticing it, through no fault of your own. So find ways to make it easy and appealing to sip on a hydrating beverage all day long. If water is challenging to drink, try herbal teas or jazz up your water with a lemon or lime. Start early in the morning so you get your fluids in well before it wakes you up in the middle of the night.

2. Rethink that Night Time Drink

Although that glass of wine feels like a great way to unwind at the end of the day, think about whether it is truly helpful. Alcohol can worsen hot flashes and make it harder to stay asleep. It can also increase your risk of getting or worsening many health conditions. Not to mention it can make you forgetful and confused, and can even lead to loss of muscle mass, balance problems, falls, and accidents. A nightly glass of wine may also be contributing unnecessary calories, especially with a heavy pour.

3. Cut down on spicy foods, caffeine, and sugar

If hot flashes bother you, consider avoiding common triggers like spicy foods and caffeine.

When it comes to sugar, the simplest way to cut down is to replace sugar-sweetened drinks with water or herbal tea. Also, excess sugar can be coming from things like chocolate, doughnuts, pastries, desserts, and snacks. If the thought of cutting out all sweets doesn’t sound fair (we agree), try eating smaller portions or even half-sized desserts. A recent study showed that menopausal women who ate more sweets, fats, and snacks suffered from menopausal symptoms more than those who ate more fruits and vegetables. We’re talking hot flashes, night sweats, muscle and joint problems, and bladder issues were all worse for the dessert-lovers. Again, that doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself completely! Find creative ways to enjoy sweets in a new, healthier way.

4. Be mindful of your energy needs. 

For most, metabolism slows down gradually as we age. It happens for many reasons including the fact that we tend to move around less throughout the day, exercise less, and we lose muscle mass that doesn’t get used regularly.  This means that by continuing to eat the same amount of food as you did in your 30s and 40s, you’ll start gaining weight. On average, women in their 50s and 60s gain about 1.5 pounds every year. Mindful eating can help. Try starting with smaller portions and paying attention to how much you need to feel full and satisfied.

PRO TIP: Avoid eating large meals close to bedtime, particularly if you have trouble sleeping.

5. Eat higher-quality foods

Focus on quality foods packed with nutrients (i.e., nutrient-dense foods). Think fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains. Eating enough protein cans support your muscles and bones. You can get protein from legumes, nuts, seeds, fish, and/or poultry. A recent study showed that menopausal women who ate the most greens had the fewest complaints about typical menopausal symptoms like hot flashes. By eating more nutrient-dense foods like these ones you’ll get more vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein—all of which are very important to maintain your health at and beyond menopause.

PRO TIP:  Your bones love calcium and vitamin D. Some of the richest sources of these are dairy products, fish with bones, and foods fortified with these nutrients (check your labels).

Bottom Line

A few simple diet and lifestyle changes can help you navigate the onset of menopause.

Be sure to drink enough fluids, but minimize alcohol; cut down on spicy foods, caffeine, and sugar; eat mindfully and focus on higher-quality food. Lastly, include soy foods in your diet if you enjoy them, but don’t expect it to miraculously solve any bothersome menopausal symptoms.

If you’d like personalized nutrition recommendations and coaching to help you feel your best during perimenopause and menopause, let’s start with a phone conversation to see how we can help! Set up a call today. 

Related: 

The Truth About Hormones and Nutrition – Free Workshop Recording. Nutrition can help support your hormone health. We share nutrition tips to help with sleep, your menstrual cycle, stress, and appetite.