When it comes to living a healthy lifestyle, one of most common question I get asked is, “How can I still eat healthy when I am busy”? This is a great topic of conversation because being busy is certainly the norm in our society today. Although being busy while living a healthy lifestyle can be challenging at times, it certainly can be done!
Here are some of my favorite tips for living a healthy lifestyle while being busy:
1. Plan Ahead. Meal planning has proven to be one of the best ways to stay on track with a healthy lifestyle in my own life. During busy weekdays, it is incredibly helpful to have healthy meals that are planned and prepared. Meal planning can also help save money because you will be less likely to buy things that you don’t need.
I have also provided practical tools for getting healthy during busy times, such as recipes and a meal plan in my new book, Devotions for a Healthier You. The recipes provided in my devotional are wholesome, uncomplicated, and balanced, making it easy to incorporate them into even the busiest of schedules.
2. Be Prepared. Being prepared is essential when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle when you are busy. Being prepared can be as simple as carrying a small protein packed snack with you in your purse or car. It is also important to have ready to eat snacks in your house. These two preparations can prevent unhealthy choices when you find yourself busy and hungry.
3. Choose Wisely On the Go. You don’t have to let healthy eating fall by the wayside when you are on the go, at work, or at a get-together with friends. Filling up on healthy foods before you arrive to a social gathering is one of the best ways to stay on track when you are not at home. Another great option is to pack a meal to bring with you or bring a healthy dish to pass!
4. Be Active. Being active can be fun, and it does not have to take a lot of time out of your day. Taking a thirty-minute walk or doing spurts of activity throughout the day, such as taking the stairs, will benefit your health and give you energy.
5. Get Enough Sleep. Sleep is essential to living a healthy lifestyle. It is even more important that we get proper sleep when we are busy because our bodies are generally undergoing more stress during these times and they need the proper rest to recover. Our bodies do not work the way they should and we are less likely to make smart choices when it comes to our health if we do not get enough sleep. It is generally recommend that the average adult should aim for at least seven hours of sleep each night.
6. Be Well-Balanced. Living a healthy lifestyle should be something that is not only achievable, but is also maintainable long term. The only way that this is possible is with balance. I believe that one of the most important keys to living a healthy lifestyle is moderation. Too much of anything is never a healthy thing, even if they seem like a good thing. At Dashing Dish, my mission is to encourage others to enjoy life, make wise choices, and be motivated by health.
7. Don’t Skip Meals or Snacks. When we are extremely busy, it is a common tendency to skip meals or snacks, which can create a potential problem of overeating later in the day. Eating a heavy meal at night can be very hard on our digestive systems to process just before bed. We can also severely damage our metabolism in the long run when we put our bodies through this all too common ‘feast and famine’ cycle. To prevent skipping meals, try to eat a healthy snack or meal every three to four hours.
8. Pick Healthy Options when Dining Out. When life gets busy, it may be easier to get food from a restaurant than prepare it yourself. There are some steps that you can take to make the healthier choices. For example, when ordering off a menu, look for foods that are baked or grilled instead of fried. And when possible, try to order foods that are prepared without sauces or dressings, or get them on the side so you can control how much actually goes on the food.
9. Strengthen Your Spiritual Muscles. Sometimes when we get busy, we have a tendency to get stressed and emotional, which could potentially result in emotional or mindless eating. I personally have found that there are three powerful weapons to combat emotional eating. These three things include spending time with the Lord, praise and worship, and praying the Word of God! In my book, Devotions for a Healthier You, I have included prayers based on the promises of God that are specific to building you up spiritually and emotionally. I have also included over 70 devotions that have been inspired by my personal journal entries, which are meant to encourage and inspire you in all season of life.
If you struggle with staying healthy during busy times, I hope these tips help you on your journey to health. I believe that the very best place to start when it comes to eating healthy is to take the time to nourish both our bodies and soul. By honoring God and our bodies, we can live with passion and purpose in every area of our lives.
Have you ever had a day where you started the day with a healthy breakfast, brought a healthy lunch to work, had a healthy mid day snack, and had an overall healthy day….until the evening hit!
If you can relate to this scenario, I can pretty much guarantee you are not alone. In fact, I have talked to countless women about this very issue, and all of them have the same frustration: Evening snacking is holding them back from reaching their goals.
Before i say anything else, I want to clarify a few misconceptions on this topic:
Eating at night does not make you gain weight. Yes, thats right… There is no set time that you have to stop eating at night to lose weight. That is a huge myth. Sure, it is not ideal to go to bed stuffed, because it’s hard for your body to digest while laying down and sleeping. However, the time of day you eat has nothing to do with your weight. Calories are calories to your body, and regardless of the time of day.
Having treats, eating out, and enjoying foods that are not deemed as ‘healthy’ is entirely OK, and it will generally happen in the evening, because that is usually the time most people get together with friends, family, and enjoy food. If we make it our goal to eat healthy most of the time (at least 80% of the time), our bodies, minds, and soul will actually thank us for that occasional treat. That being said, as long as it is ONE meal or treat enjoyed, and not numerous meals or days of overeating, and indulgence, than it is perfectly acceptable and in my mind, encouraged! (Yes, I have my occasional treat too, my treat of choice is almost always frozen yogurt with my hubby on date nights or with friends on the weekend!)
Mindless snacking on unhealthy foods and binge eating disorder are two different things. If you suspect that you struggle with an eating disorder of any kind, (in this case binge eating disorder), please tell someone you trust as soon as possible, and seek professional help.
Now that we have cleared up those important points…
Here are some tips and ideas I have found to help keep your end of the day and weekend eating on track!
1. Don’t Skip Meals or Snacks. When we deprive our bodies of the energy and nutrients they need throughout the day, we are much more likely to overeat, later in the day when we finally give our bodies much needed fuel. The other downside to not eating a lot during the day, and then eating a lot at night is that it can be very hard on our digestive systems to process all of the food we ate just before bed. We can also severely damage our metabolism in the long run when we put our bodies through this all too common feast and famine cycle. Depending on your bodies needs, and the calories you are getting with each meal and snack, I recommend eating 3 meals and 1-3 snacks per day, and/or eating every 2-4 hours.
2. Get Enough Sleep. When our bodies are sleep deprived, we tend to reach for sugar, caffeine, and simple carbohydrates in an effort to get our energy levels up. It is much easier to stay in tune to your bodies true hunger signals when we get at least 7 hours of sleep a night.
3. Eat Plenty of Protein and Fiber. Be sure you are getting plenty of protein and a good amount of fiber with each meal and snacks. Protein and fiber help you feel satisfied and keep your blood sugar levels stead, preventing sugar cravings, and overeating later in the day. Eating a balanced diet, with good sources of lean protein, lots of fruits, veggies, and whole grains, and a moderate amount of healthy fats will ensure that we don’t feel deprived at the end of the day.
4. Stay Hydrated. Make sure you are getting plenty of water throughout the day. The part of our brain that signals thirst, also signals hunger, so it can be very easy to mistake the two. Sometimes we are simply dehydrated, but our brain signals make us think we are hungry. I personally like to fill up a big glass, and put some lemon juice, ice, and stevia in it- it tastes like sugar free lemonade, making it much easier to drink!
5. Remove Temptations. If you have certain food(s) that are hard to resist, don’t buy it, and get rid of it. There are a few foods that I won’t buy simply because I don’t want the needless temptation of having them in the house.
6. Keep Healthy Snacks on Hand. When you are leaving your house, make sure you bring a healthy snack with you. That way, if you find yourself stuck in a traffic jam, or out longer than expected, you won’t be overly hungry when it comes time for a meal. Also, if you are truly hungry at night, choose a healthy snack such as fruit (fresh or frozen), veggies and hummus, or a 1 minute single serve Dashing Dish dessert!
7. Stay Occupied. I believe one of the main reasons people tend to overeat in the evening is because it’s the only time of day that they are not preoccupied with something, making it easier to reach for food out of boredom. If this sounds familiar, I recommend reading a good book, playing a game, or even taking an evening walk to keep you from mindless eating. Another tip would be to chew sugar free gum, or sip on some decaf coffee, herbal tea sweetened with stevia if you find yourself eating mindlessly.
8. Have a Set Shut Off Time. One of the problems of staying up late is that it causes you to feel hungry when your body should be sleeping. Make it a point to set a time when you shut down and go to bed. In order to go to sleep at a decent hour of the night, make an effort to cut down on caffeine throughout the day. If you must have coffee during the day, try to limit the amount after 3 pm. Even if you are not tired, going to bed and spending time doing something relaxing will help you unwind, and keep you out of the kitchen, where it can be easier to make poor choices late at night.
9. Be Present at Meal Times. Often times we can get so busy that we are not truly ‘present’ when we are eating our nutritious meals and snacks throughout the day. If we make an effort to sit down and truly enjoy our meals, we will be less likely to feel deprived later on in the day.
10. Strengthen Your Spiritual Muscles. Sometimes what we think is hunger is truly not physical hunger at all…but rather it is something much deeper, resulting in emotional eating. In those cases I personally have found that there are three powerful weapons to combat emotional eating: Spend time with the Lord, Praise and Worship, and Pray the Word of God! I also love to go on walks, listen to worship music, and just spend time with the Lord. He always promises to draw near to us when we draw near to Him. He is able to strengthen, encourage, and steady our hearts better than we ever could on our own.
If you struggle with eating mindlessly at night (or any time of the day for that matter), I hope these tips help you on your journey to health! I believe that the very best place to start when it comes to overcoming any ‘bad’ habit in the area of nutrition is to start to see yourself as an overcomer! If you truly start to believe that you can become healthy and balanced in all things, it will just be a matter of time before your actions and behaviors line up with how you see yourself on the inside. I pray blessings over each one of you, and your journey to health! xo Katie
What about Devotions for a Healthier You do you want the reader to not just read with her mind but embrace with her heart?
Over the years, I have filled countless journals with precious gems that the Lord has revealed to me through the promises in His Word. This devotional book is filled with devotions that have been inspired by my personal journal entries, which range in topics from body image to understanding and receiving God’s great love for us. I truly want every woman to know how precious and beautiful they are to the Lord, and I pray that this book teaches every reader just how valuable they are to Him!
In addition to building the reader up spiritually, I also hope this book will bring practical knowledge on how to live a physically fit and healthy lifestyle. For that reason, I have included recipes, tips, and a meal plan to equip the reader with the tools they need to build a healthy foundation.
What is the thing that surprised you the most about writing this book? Any thoughts or stories on something you had to take to heart again yourself in the book?
When I was writing this book, it allowed me to dive into the Word of God in a deep and rich way, spending countless hours pouring over the scriptures that tell us who we are in Christ. It was truly a refreshing time for me, as I was able to meditate on the great and precious promises that the Lord has made to us, His daughters! I was also able to go back and read journal entries from years past, and see where the Lord has brought me, and how he truly did take the ashes of my life and turn them into something beautiful.
Why do you believe women struggle so much with eating, our thought life, our body image? How will your book help them?
I believe that a lot of the struggles that women face when it comes to body image and feeling beautiful comes from our society today. There are pressures coming from many different sources, all of which bombard women with the false expectations to look a certain way, and have it all together. I truly believe that this message is meant to target women’s deepest desire, which is their need to feel loved, and worthy of love. Ultimately, this love and feeling of worthiness can only be filled by our creator, but it is not until we have a revelation of this that we can finally be freed from these false expectations and pressures.
God never created us to all look the same, be the same, or act the same, and His Word tells us that He created each one of us as His masterpiece. My devotional book teaches women how to find the fullness of their worth in the Lord, and it will draw them into a deeper understanding of His Great love for us.
What is the most rewarding thing to you about offering a devotional for women to refer to when they are feeling like they need some encouragement and a way to focus their thinking and beliefs toward the Creator?
I feel so incredibly honored to be able to share the truths that God has revealed to me in His Word with others! I have always said that I wish I could download everything that God has poured into me over the years that has allowed me to find my identity and value in Him…and I can honestly say that I was able to do just that when writing this book. I am filled with gratitude, humility, and thankfulness to the Lord that He has allowed me to share the truths that brought me so much freedom me over the years with other women!
What have you experienced personally that led to you creating The Dashing Dish, recipes, and connecting with God when it comes to something we do everyday: eat or think about eating?!
I believe that much of my passion in the kitchen was developed as a part of the healing process for me when I was recovering from eating disorders. I can now say that each and every recipe that I create is truly inspired by Him, in order to bring health and enjoyment to every one that I am able to share them with!
As I create each recipe, I do so with the belief that God wants us to enjoy our every day life, which includes sitting down to eat our meals each day! This is evident in the fact that He gave us taste buds, and in the fact that He filled the earth with plenty of wonderful tasting foods to nourish our bodies! This is why it is my passion to create simple and healthy meals that not only feed the body, but nourish the soul.
If you haven’t already ‘met’ Sarah Shaffer, I would love to introduce you to this phenomenal woman! :) She joined the Dashing Dish team this past summer, and she has already been an incredible blessing to this ministry and to countless women! She has not only ministered individually to so many precious hearts, but her devotionals and more recently, the Fit Spirit Challenge she led has ministered to thousands! Sarah truly has one of the most beautiful and humble hearts I know, and I can say with sincerity that she seeks the Lord daily for what His heart is for each and every woman who visits Dashing Dish!
Because of you Sarah, this ministry has extended the heart of our Father to more hearts that I could have ever reached on my own. I’m so thankful for you, and can’t wait to see what the Lord has in store!
Now…Let’s get to know more about this dynamic woman, Sarah Shaffer!
Tell us a little bit about yourself!
Well, I’m a little like vanilla ice cream (pretty simple) at the core, but enjoy some sprinkles now and then! Through and through I am a home-loving, yoga-pant wearing, lover of Jesus and my family. Coffee has a huge portion of my heart as well. ☺ I’m a born and bred Coloradan, God knew I belonged here. I adore my home state. I thrive outdoors in our amazing weather and The Lord speaks to me here though radiant sunset kissed mountain tops. I love God’s word. I am fascinated by it! And, as I continue to grow in it, my other true love emerges more and more. I love sharing the Lords messages! I remember when my son was born feeling nervous over how to teach Him about God. The Lord clearly spoke these words to me “teach Him as I teach you.” The same hold true today, one of my greatest gifts has been opportunities to simply share with others what God shares with me!
What passage or verse in Scripture is currently influencing your walk with the Lord?
Getting a little rocked by John 3:30!!! The Lord has been speaking to me a lot about the scriptural teaching of self-forgetfulness (dying to self). It’s taught in passages throughout the Word and I’ve been on a treasure hunt learning more about the concept. The Lord is really showing me that the key to true joy lies in these verses. I’m working on putting all of this together and will be excited to share it with everyone!
Have you struggled with your personal identity? How has God affirmed that you are His?
I can literally tell you that I had no idea who I was until as recently as five years ago. I never understood my worth. As a result, I would “morph” into whoever I sensed different people desired me to be at any given moment in hopes of gaining their approval. It was flat exhausting! When I finally understood and believed that God was not disappointed in me, that I was not a failure in His eyes, and that when I lived with His love for me in the forefront of my mind, the opinions of those around me naturally had less power. I also realized that all of a sudden not only was I more comfortable with myself, and had a deep sense of God’s approval, I discovered that my earthly relationships were deeper and more genuine as well. I spent the better part of my life trying to be “perfect” for others. The truth is, not only is that impossible, people desperately want fellowship with imperfect people. We all just want to know that we’re not alone and walking together is so much more the heart of God than exhausting ourselves to convince others that we’re the only human not struggling! I still have to be aware of my thoughts, especially when it comes to my physical appearance, but now I know it’s part of my calling and has holy motivation! Now I’m effective for God!
What is your favorite go-to meal to make for your family and why?
Honestly one of my greatest pleasures is feeding my family well. It’s an act of love for me. My husband blesses my heart because he receives it as an act of service and thoroughly enjoys being fed well. ☺ We tend to enjoy “simple” food. I almost always have what I need for any given meal already in my fridge or pantry because most of what I cook only requires very basic ingredients. The Dashing Dish meals are a perfect example. For me personally, my very favorite meal is a lot of pretty veggies and protein. I like them plain and simple with salt and pepper, and hot sauce for sure!
Your family has been affected by various food allergies. Do you have any helpful tips for moms that have had to navigate around the food allergies in their family?
We have. But as He always does, God has used what the Enemy intended for harm (anxiety, stress) and used it for good (healing, teaching). My husband was very sick to the point of near death about 5 years ago. At that point food took on a whole new meaning for us. I began to emotionally “detach” myself from food as I embraced the idea that if we were going to heal, I couldn’t attach so much value to what we could, or more importantly could not eat. The Lord has been incredible and healed my husband, and later my son, right before my very eyes. I get emotional every time I talk about it. My advice would be to get support if you don’t know where to begin, understanding how many options there are is a great source of peace and power. And, prepare. It takes work, but preparing to not feel “different” has been a huge part of our success. I take cupcakes to birthday parties, bring our favorites to Thanksgiving, send pizza for pizza parties – we rarely end up feeling “left out”. While I don’t claim any medical expertise, I am happy to help support moms who need it in this area by sharing our journey!
You are a certified health coach and fitness instructor. How have these certifications helped you guide others on their journey to health.
In ways you might not expect! The more I learn, the more I let go of! I’ve really settled into the knowledge that this life is a journey and the only way to be successful long-term is to find peace through balance. Extremes rarely bless us or last. It’s true in exercise and food. My whole focus when I coach people is to help them seek peace and pursue it. There is SO much information (mostly mixed) and it breeds a spirit of confusion that breaks my heart. Helping people uncover layers and breath into the way God intends to bless us with abundant life has been my greatest privilege.
In today society, there are so many definitions of health. What does being healthy look like to you?
The Lord really spoke to my heart one day about this very question. I wrote a short devotion about it that day, I hope it’s a blessing.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to start eating healthy and exercising, but doesn’t know where to start?
Start with your mind. We usually reverse it and determine to eat “better” and exercise and then work to find the “willpower” to sustain it. True health begins in the mind. 1 Peter 1:13 says, “So think clearly and exercise self-control.” We renew our minds and then exercise self-control. We have to do both, but the mind must be right first for the body to follow in a truly healthy way. Then, I would encourage them to pray Romans 12:2 for God’s plan about food and exercise. I love the amplified version that says, “Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for YOU].” The Lord has a different journey for each of His children and to imply that there is one standard of health that applies to everyone is unfair and sets us up for deception and failure. Healthy eating should be about enjoying foods that make you feel great, give you energy, nourish your body, but also leave you feeling satisfied and praising God! I always tell people if you walk away from your meal feeling physically satisfied and blessed it was a good choice, if you walk away resenting everyone who just ate a slice of pizza while you ate salad and grilled chicken, more balance may be helpful. A healthy life can include pizza in reasonable portions, because if your goal is to walk away singing praises for the blessing of a great meal, your mind is in the right place! The same goes for exercise. Start by seeking Gods direction for the best form of exercise for you. Trust Him to lead you into His perfect will, what is good and acceptable in His sight for YOU and your body. Allow yourself to experiment with exercise until you find something that is a blessing to your body. For example I love, love, love weight training, because it makes me feel strong and healthy! Exercise really is a blessing and should not be something we do to punish our bodies.
Since joining the Dashing Dish team, you have had quite the impact on so many women! One of them being the 31 day Fit Spirit Challenge that you led in January this year. Tell us how leading this challenge impacted your personal spiritual walk.
The truth is that so many women have had an impact on ME – truly!!! I feel so blessed to GET to be a part of these journeys! The depth of gratitude and humility I feel before the Lord for the privilege of being used by Him even in the smallest ways to help draw people near to him and lead them into truth is something I don’t have adequate words to describe. I’ve never understood as deeply the truth of God’s promise that iron sharpens iron as I have come to over the past six months.
Complete the phrases: Jesus is My Love___. I am _CHANGED__.
If you haven’t noticed, the term ‘high in protein’ has become a common buzzword with all of the diets that are becoming popular these days. If you have been following Dashing Dish for a while, you probably know that I don’t support diets, but I do recommend incorporating protein rich foods into your daily meals and snacks!
You may notice that most of my recipes are high in protein, and often times I even supplement my recipes with protein powder. My recipes are also naturally lower in simple carbohydrates, due to the fact that my recipes don’t contain flour, sugar, or processed ingredients. I personally have found that eating this way (a balance of protein, and healthy fats/carbohydrates) makes my body function and feel it’s best, all while helping maintain a healthy weight.
Now, you may be wondering, when it comes to health, and weight loss/maintenance, what are the actual benefits of protein? Well, i’m glad you asked!
Here are five benefits to adding protein rich foods to your diet:
1. Foods high in protein help you feel full, and more satisfied for longer periods of time. In general, protein rich foods take your body a long time to break down and digest, which means it keeps you feeling fuller longer.
2. Protein helps balance out blood sugar swings. Pairing protein with carbohydrates in a meal or snack slows down the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream, which helps balance your blood sugar, preventing insulin spikes that can lead to fat storage and cravings.
3. Protein helps preserve muscle tissue during weight loss. A part of the weight loss process includes losing not only fat tissue, but muscle tissue as well. The reason for this is because during weight loss, your body looks to burn not only fat, but protein for energy (in order to synthesize glucose, which is used for energy). When you make sure that your protein intake is sufficient through your diet, your body will be less likely to break down your muscle tissue as a source of protein used for energy.
4. Protein aids in muscle recovery. The problem with losing muscle is that it is increases your basal metabolic rate (BMR), which accounts for over two-thirds of calories burned at rest. Protein is comprised of amino acids, which helps spare lean muscle during weight loss, so the body can burn more fat (instead of muscle) for energy.
5. Protein can help you maintain your weight long term. It requires more energy to digest protein, which means that our bodies burn calories just breaking it down! This is called the thermic effect of food (TEF), or the energy we use to digest food into small, absorbable components. In addition, as I mentioned above, protein aids in preserving lean muscle also helps with long term weight maintenance!
A few important things I want to mention is that consuming more protein alone won’t make you lose or maintain weight. Any macronutrient (fat, protein, carbs) still has calories, and at the end of the day, if you are consuming more calories than your body requires, you will have a hard time losing or maintaining weight…(And eating too few calories also has an negative effect on your weight- so remember, slow and steady wins the race!) The key is truly a balance of protein, healthy fats, whole grains, and proper exercise that leads to a healthy body.
That being said, how do you know how much protein you should have in a day? A general rule of thumb is 1 gram of protein per 1 lb of body weight. However, that may vary based on your exercise, age, gender, etc. but using this basic formula is generally enough for the average person.
If you are looking for ways to implement more protein into your diet, Dashing Dish is a great place to start, where all of my recipes are high in protein, with the proper balance of healthy fats, and whole grains! Also, be sure to check out my new cookbook, Dashing Dish: 100 Simple Recipes for Clean Eating, which is packed with 100 delicious and simple protein packed recipes!
The holidays are a special time of year filled with family, friends, and seasonal treats. Here are a few tips on enjoying the holidays in a balanced way!
1. Choose a Healthy Alternative- Eating healthy year round, (yes even during the holidays) can be done! It doesn’t mean giving up the foods you enjoy most, but simply swapping them with a healthier alternative! In fact, once you do so, you will notice how good you feel, and I can promise you will wonder why you ever even enjoyed those sugary treats to begin with!
2. Pick and Choose your Treats- The holidays are filled with special treats that only come around this season. There is nothing wrong with enjoying one or two of your grandma’s favorite cookies, or a piece of your mom’s famous pie…But the problem comes when people enjoy every holiday treat that is put in front of them. If you simply think ahead of time about what you REALLY want to enjoy this holiday season, it will keep you from having to work extra hard to take off those holiday treats in January! Plus, the added bonus is that you will truly savor and enjoy every bite of those holiday treats you do have much more when you only have a few of them!
3. Be Prepared- One way to prevent overeating is by eating small frequent meals throughout the day, and always having a protein rich snack before heading off to parties or holiday dinners. That way, when you finally sit down to eat a meal, you will be able to properly pay attention to your body’s hunger cues because you won’t be overly famished to begin with.
4. The party is about MORE than what is on your PLATE- Food is an element of a celebration, but not the defining factor, or the most important thing. If you keep this in mind when you’re on your way to a party, you can remind yourself that spending time with family and friends is the highlight of the event. This helps take the focus off the food and puts it back on the things that matter most.
5. It’s OK to say NO- During the holidays, many people are offering foods left and right as a gesture of love. I have learned that If I’m truly full, it is ok to be honest and politely say, “No thank you”. Most people will respect you when you politely say no. The great thing about this is, it allows you to say yes to the things you truly do enjoy this time of year!
6. BRING your OWN dish to pass- If you bring your own dish to pass, you can bring something that is tasty and healthy! The best part is, Dashing Dish offers tons of seasonal eats that are just as rich and delicious as the traditional dish, so no one will even know its healthy until you tell them!
7. Learn to Bounce Back- I find that one of the greatest downfalls when it comes to overeating is that it sets most people on a dangerous slippery slope. If you do overeat- don’t make that mistake! Remember, it is not one meal that will make you unhealthy so don’t let it get you in a defeated mindset! Just make the simple choice to bounce back. Start the next day by being active and make the choice to get right back on track with a healthy lifestyle! That is what balance is all about after all!
I wasn’t always someone who enjoyed working out early in the morning, but now I can’t imagine it any other way! Here are my top ten tips to getting in an early morning workout!
1. Be Prepared- One of the most important steps for me to make my early morning workouts happen is to be prepared! I like to have my clothes laid out, my workout bottle filled and ready in the fridge, and my workouts written and ready to go! That way, I get to set my alarm with just enough time to wash my face, brush my teeth, and throw on my clothes. Being prepared means less things to think about when it’s early in the morning!
2. Find Workout Buddies- There is something so much more motivating about working out with a buddy or a group of friends! Not to mention, having someone at the gym to meet you makes it that much easier to jump out of bed knowing that someone is counting on you to be there at a certain time! My favorite workout buddy is my sister, Emily. We meet each other at the gym early a few times a week, (she is a teacher, so we have to meet at 5:30 am so she can get to school on time), but the great thing about our workouts are that they are done before I know it and then we have the rest of our day to enjoy! Click Here for a Circuit Partner Workout!
3. Go to Bed Earlier- Let’s face it… one of the most common reasons many people don’t like to workout early is that they feel too tired. If this sounds familiar, I have great news…This can be solved by getting to bed at a reasonable time! I find that if I get at least 7 hours of sleep, I feel great the rest of the day, despite how early I get up! For example, when I know I am waking up at 5 am to meet my sister, I try to be in bed by 10 pm. To me, that is not too unreasonable and it is totally worth it to me knowing I will feel great the next day after I have allowed my body to get enough rest!
4. Eat a Quick Pre-Workout Snack- I personally don’t like to have a lot of food in my stomach when I workout (it gives me stomach cramps), but often, I like to eat something really light before heading out the door. If you are someone that prefers to eat before a workout, I recommend something with carbohydrates and not too high in protein, unless you are able to eat at least 30-60 minutes before your workout. This gives your body time to digest it. I suggest anything from Dashing Dish muffins, overnight oatmeal, or some dry low sugar cereal. Again, this will vary from person to person, so I recommend experimenting with a few different options to see what works best for you. Also, be sure to always have a water bottle ready to go! Being hydrated is especially important before you’ve had anything to eat or drink for the day.
5. Get in the Mindset- I can honestly say that I enjoy working out early in the morning, but that wasn’t always the case. In fact, there was a time when I would cringe at the thought of rolling out of bed and working out. However, I have found over time that there are more pros than cons when it comes to getting it done first thing. Here are a few examples of the benefits: Working out in the morning means that I don’t have to think about it the rest of the day, I feel more energized the rest of my day, and I tend to want to take care of my body the rest of the day, knowing that I put in the time and effort to workout!
6. Find a Workout You Enjoy- This might come as a shock to some of you, but I firmly believe that you can and should enjoy your workouts. If you are currently doing something that you find to be boring or you are doing something you dread, I want to encourage you to find something you enjoy. Yes it is possible! With all the options available today, there is no reason that you can’t find something that you love and feel that you are good at, and it doesn’t even have to be done at a gym! Try going with some friends to a work out class, buy some workout DVDs, or sign up for a walk/run/biking event. Do whatever you can to get out of your comfort zone. You never know, you might try something once and look forward to working out the rest of your life! Click Here for Some Fun & Easy Workout Ideas!
7. Workout at Home- One of the greatest reasons for not working out early is that you simply don’t have time! For most of us, the morning can be one of the busiest times of all…But there is an answer! Working out at home is one of the best and easiest ways to get an early morning workout in, because it doesn’t require the extra time to drive to and from a gym. I have plenty of at home workouts that require only a few simple pieces of equipment (such as dumbbells), as well as some that don’t require anything except for your own body weight! Click Here for an At Home Total Body Circuit Workout!
8. Plan Out Your Workouts- Having a plan, especially when it’s early in the morning is key to getting a good workout in! I know that if I didn’t plan my workouts ahead of time on my early workout days, that I would most likely have a hard time pushing myself in the gym. I don’t know about you, but the last thing that I can get my brain to do at 5:30 am is plan out a workout, nor do we have time when I am meeting my sister, who has to leave the gym at 6:30 am. The best thing we ever did was buy a simple and cheap notebook from Target and write out all of our workouts every Sunday so that we know what we are doing for the whole week in advance! It is also more motivating to know what we are doing ahead of time and have an organized game plan.
9. Have a Workout Playlist Ready- I don’t know about you, but having an awesome workout playlist gets me in the mood to workout! Don’t have any idea where to start with a ‘clean’ and uplifting playlist!? No problem! One of my current favorites is Hillsong Young & Free! Click Here for a Awesome Workout Playlist!
10. Re-Fuel with a Healthy Post-Workout Breakfast- If you do make the time and effort to start your day off with a workout, be sure to fuel your body properly throughout the rest of the day! As important as working out is, nutrition really is the most important component when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle! If you are worried that you don’t have time to workout and prep a healthy breakfast in the morning, no worries! I have tons of healthy breakfast options on Dashing Dish that are super speedy to make and can even be made the night before. I personally like to re-fuel with something that is higher in protein and complex carbohydrates. My personal favorite is one of my Dashing Dish protein shakes! Click Here for a List of 20 Quick and Easy Breakfast Ideas.
Eating healthy does not have to mean expensive grocery bills. Here are some of my favorite tips for eating healthy on a budget!
1. Plan Ahead- Make a grocery list and stick to it. The best way to avoid impulse buying is to plan what you need before you get to the store. That way you are not tempted to buy things that you don’t need.
2. Be Prepared- Pack your lunches, snacks, and eat before you go out. When you pack your own food you prevent yourself from over eating, you always know what is in your food, and you save time and money!
3. Buy in Bulk- There are times when it is smart to buy in bulk. One example is discounted meat. If you look for discounts on meat and buy it in big batches, you can store it in your freezer until you are ready to use it. It is also smart to buy products in bulk that you use a lot. For example, if you use a lot of lettuce, look for one large bag, and compare the price to two smaller bags. Chances are, buying more of something that you will use will save you money in the long run.
4. Buy Frozen- If you think you won’t be able to use something up before it spoils such as fruit or vegetables, buy them frozen. Not only will this save you money, but it will prevent you from throwing money away on spoiled groceries.
5. Buy In-Season Produce- Food grown in season is not only more affordable, but it also tastes better. Look for root vegetables in the winter, apples, potatoes, and squash in the fall, and broccoli and berries in the summer. Farmers markets may also have a better deal on produce than grocery stores.
6. Buy Generic- Name brands often have increased prices due to the packaging and advertising costs.
7. Be Selective with Organic- If you can afford to shop at Whole Foods, and/or buy all of your groceries from the organic foods section at your grocery store, that is wonderful! However, if you are on a tight budget, buying everything organic can add up quickly. Instead of buying all organic, I suggest being selective with what you buy organic, and for the rest of your groceries, look for products with as few ‘added’ ingredients as possible. For fruits and veggies, spend the money to buy “dirty dozen” in the organic section. I also suggest spending the extra money to buy organic meat, and if you happen to find it on sale, buy it in bulk and freeze it. And last but not least, I recommend buying organic dairy products if possible. I also suggest looking for a Trader Joes near you when it comes to buying organic, because they tend to have the best prices.
8. Get the Customer Card & Clip Coupons- Many grocery stores hold sales and specials for customer card holders only. Signing up for these costumer cards are often free and only take a few moments. Also, sign up for newsletters about sales and deals at the stores you frequently shop at. Investing a few minutes clipping and/or printing coupons each week can save you a lot of money on groceries.
9. Buy a Reusable Water Bottle- Don’t spend money on soft drinks, juices, or bottled water. Instead invest in a few nice water bottles and refill them. Not only will this save you money, but it will save you tons of sugar and calories!
10. Get Creative with Leftovers- If you happen to have leftovers of some of your ingredients, don’t throw them away. Instead, put them to good use and get creative by putting them into a different recipe, or freeze them if possible.
One of my primary goals with Dashing Dish recipes is to keep the recipes simple, quick, and made with a few basic ingredients that most people have on hand…All while being delicious and using ‘clean’ (not processed) ingredients!
You may have noticed that Dashing Dish recipes are unique and different from almost any other recipe. What makes them different is that I create each recipe based on my personal philosophy of cooking…It has to be simple, healthy, and use ingredients that are already in your pantry.
The recipes on this website are one of a kind in that there is no added sugar, butter, or flour in any of them. In fact, the majority of my recipes are gluten free, sugar free, whole grain recipes that are high in fiber and protein. All of these components have been proven to keep you satisfied and help you reach and maintain a healthy weight for life!
Most of my recipes are listed as ‘Clean Eating’, which simply means that I use foods in their most natural state, and don’t include any processed ingredients. One example of this is that I use whole grain oats in my baked goods rather than white or whole wheat flour, (which is essentially a whole grain that has beens stripped of it’s nutrition in a factory).
Here’s What You Will Find in My Pantry, and in Dashing Dish Recipes:
My number one goal is that my recipes are not only enjoyable to your palate, but to your whole body as well!
With these foods on hand, you are just about guaranteed to be able to almost any recipe on Dashing Dish! Hope it helps keep you organized and prepared to whip together a DD creation any time of day! To find out where I get some of my products, check out my “Favorite Products” page!
Here is a more specific breakdown of the DD Pantry Staples, according to a grocery store breakdown:
Lean Ground Turkey or Beef
Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
Beans (Garbanzo Beans, Black Beans, Kidney Beans, White Beans)
Protein Powder (I like Designer Whey- Vanilla Flavor)
Low Fat Cottage Cheese
Plain Lowfat Greek Yogurt
Unsweetened Almond Milk (or low fat/skim milk)
Cheese (Grated Parmesan, Thin Sliced or 2% Shredded Cheddar, Feta, Thin Sliced Swiss)
Ezekiel Bread/Whole Grain Bread
Low Carb /High Fiber Wraps
Quinoa/Whole Grain Rice
Old Fashioned Oats (use gluten free if sensitive)
Oat Flour (Made from Old Fashioned Oats Ground in a Blender/Food Processor)
Almonds/Almond Flour (Made from Almond Ground in a Blender/Food Processor)
Peanut Flour (aka PB2)
Occasionally: Coconut Flour
Broccoli, Onions, Spinach, Cauliflower, Sweet Potatoes, Lettuce, Bell Peppers, Corn
Zucchini, Summer Squash
Spaghetti Squash, Butternut Squash, Pumpkin
Tomatoes, Berries, Avocado, Bananas, Apples, Unsweetened Applesauce
Onion Powder/Dried Minced Onion
Minced Garlic/Garlic Powder
Italian Seasoning (or basil/oregano)
Taco Seasoning (or cumin, chili seasoning and salt)
Pumpkin/Apple Pie Spice (in the fall mostly)
Stevia (Baking or Packets)
Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
Honey/Low Sugar Maple Syrup
Low Sugar Ketchup
White Vinegar/Rice Vinegar/Red Wine Vinegar
Occasionally: Tru Whip (in desserts)
I am blessed and honored to say I married my best friend.
I met my husband when I was 16 years old. I moved from Wisconsin to Saline Michigan my sophomore year of high school, and I was petrified that I wouldn’t make any friends, considering that most people already have their established ‘cliques’ at this age. As I left behind everything that was ‘normal’ to me, I remember praying and asking the Lord to provide me with Godly friends in my new home town. As always, He was faithful!
I will never forget the first time I went to my first youth group service at Saline Assembly of God. It was there that I not only met my husband Sean, but it was also the night that He gave his life to the Lord! (God sure did have a plan!) We started hanging out in groups with other friends, getting to know each other, and we started to develop a closer relationship as we spent hours on the phone talking about everything under the sun! We made the decision to start to date a few months later, and over the course of the next few years we truly became best friends.
I now know that God brought Sean into my life at an early age for many reasons. For one, I was pretty shy in high school, and being new certainly didn’t help. God provided an amazing friend through Sean, who was always there for me when I needed a true friend, and someone to lift me up. Sean was also very firm in his faith, and refused to give into the pressures that so often surround kids in high school. When I was tempted to go down the wrong path, he reminded me of the truth, and that I was better than that. I lost almost all of my ‘so called friends’ as a result of refusing to give into what was popular, but Sean stood by my side, and always encouraged me that I had a bright future.
Ten years later, (and almost four years into marriage), I can honestly say that I love my husband more each day. He is truly my best friend, and just as he was in high school, he is one of my biggest cheerleaders and encouragers!
Now, from this wonderful story you may look at my husband and my relationship and think this must mean we have it ‘all together’, and that we never have any problems. This is of course far from the truth. Just as every couple does, we certainly have faced our fair share of challenges, and yes, the day-to-day business threatens to pull us apart at times, and I can honestly say that there have been times where we have even hurt each other deeply.
So…How does our relationship continue to grow and flourish in the midst of the hard times? We are best friends.
To us, one of the most important parts of being best friends means that we give each other grace when we hurt one another. No, this isn’t easy in our own strength, but when we go to the Lord and let Him fill us with His forgiveness, love, and grace, we are then able to pour it back out into each other’s lives. It also means maintaining a humble attitude at all times, and admitting when we are wrong. This is only possible because of the Holy Spirit, who so gently ‘nudges’ us when we are not loving or respecting one another as God has asked us to.
Being best friends also means that we take time for one another. We don’t do this perfectly, but in this fast-paced world we recognize the importance for taking time out of our week to talk, laugh, and just have fun! My husband and I have a particularly interesting situation as we both work from home. One might think this would allow for ample time to spend together, when in fact it can pose one of the greatest challenges to know when to ‘turn off’ our computers, and stop working for the day. Because of this we have set specific boundaries and guidelines to ensure that we make time for one another, and put our relationship at a higher priority than work.
Being best friends as a married couple means that we continue to ‘date’ one another. What I mean by this is that we make sure that we block off at least one night a week as a ‘date night’. This doesn’t have to be something that costs money, or something extravagant. In fact, many times some of our best ‘date nights’ are just hanging out in our pajama’s watching our favorite movie, but there are certainly dates where we dress up for each other as well!!! This helps keep that balance of romancing one another and trying to make one another feel special, as we did when we were dating. Although my husband and I don’t have kids yet, we talk about how important it will be to maintain this especially when we do have children. We firmly believe that children feel more secure in their home when their parents have a strong relationship with one another, so this is something that will continue to be important to us.
And last but not least, being best friends means praying together and reminding each other of who we are in the Lord. As I said earlier, our relationship has not always been perfect, and it never will be. We are both people that are running the race for the Lord, which means that we are growing daily in Him, but we still have faults and flaws. When we start each day off by coming together in prayer, it is then that we become a three stranded cord that is not easily broken! I truly believe that God uses married couples in such an amazing and powerful way to further His kingdom, and encourage one another to press on, and pray for one another and lift each other up when one falls down. My husband and I keep the true purpose of our marriage in the forefront of our minds, as we press on towards the goal to which He has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus!