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 week days, it is incredibly helpful to have healthy meals that are ready, (or at least part of the way prepared), and it also helps save money, and last minute take-out runs!
2. Be Prepared. Being prepared is essential when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle. Being prepared can be as simple as carrying a small protein packed snack with you in your purse or car. Having a healthy snack when you are out, and keeping your fridge and pantry stocked can prevent unhealthy choices when you find yourself busy and hungry.
3. Choose Wisely. You don’t have to let healthy eating fall by the wayside when you go out to eat, or are at a get together with friends. Making wise choices with what there is to offer is one of the best ways to stay on track when you are not eating at home. I personally like to fill up on veggies, fruit, and lean protein choices when possible. Another great option is to 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. Even if you take a 30 minute walk every day, try to do something to get your body moving at least 3-6 days a week. Not only will it help you maintain a healthy weight, but it will improve your mood and give you energy!
5. Get Enough Sleep. Sleep is essential to living a healthy lifestyle. Our bodies simply 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. I recommend getting at least 7 hours of sleep at night.
6. Be Well Balanced. Overall, 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 always say that the key to living a truly healthy lifestyle is moderation! Too much of anything is never a healthy thing, and that goes for all extremes, even if they seem like a good thing. Aim to enjoy life, make wise choices, and take care of your body. It will thank you in return!
If you know me, you know meal planning is one of the greatest strategies that I support for living a healthy lifestyle! The benefits to planning your meals every week are countless, but just to name a few- it will save you time, money, stress and unwanted calories! If the thought of meal planning seems overwhelming to you, here are a few tips to help simplify the process…but if you don’t know where to start, I suggest trying out some of my ready made meal plans to get you in the swing of things!
Step 1: Plan and Shop:
Write out meals and snacks you want for the week. You could use a calendar or just make a list.Make a grocery list for the ingredients you need, and get to shopping!
Step 2: Prepare the Food:
Take everything out of the bags, and organize groceries according to your recipes.
Step 3: Put Everything Together to Make the Recipe
Breakfast Ideas: Many of the Dashing Dish breakfast recipes are quick and easy to make. For this reason, you don’t necessarily need to prepare your breakfasts ahead of time, but it never hurts to plan ahead! When planning ahead, you can make something such as protein muffins for the week and pack them in a ziplock bag for busy mornings, or make overnight oatmeal the night before.
Lunch Ideas: Lunches can be easily be made ahead of time and can be put together in an assembly line fashion. If you’re making salads or sandwiches, you can prepare for the entire week by making them all at once in a Tupperware container or by wrapping them individually in foil. You can also plan ahead by making a big batch of soup or chili and divide it into portions for the week.
Dinner Ideas: You could either make a few different main dishes and a couple of side dishes. Or you could just cook your meat and chopping your vegetables ahead of time. This is helpful if your recipes calls for cooked chicken, for example, it will be ready to put right into your recipes for the week!
Here is a Look Inside a Week’s Worth of Meal Planning at My House!
For breakfast I almost always have one of my Dashing Dish Protein Shakes. The reason for this is that I generally work out right when I wake up most days of the week, and a cold thick protein packed shake always seems to hit the spot after a sweaty workout! Not to mention they are easy to make, and ready in a matter of minutes!
For snacks I prepare a batch of my muffins, no bake protein snacks, and/or protein bars. I generally have one of these with something else (such as fruit, Greek yogurt, almonds, etc.), or I enjoy two muffins/bars for a snack in between breakfast and lunch, and again between lunch and dinner. I have found that eating protein and fiber packed snacks prevents me from being too hungry at meal time, which can lead to cravings and overeating at meal time. Also, it has been proven that your metabolism increases when you fuel your body every 2-3 hours!
For this week’s snacks I prepared a batch of my Peanut Butter Chocolate Protein Muffins, and my Grain Free Peanut Butter Muffins. If I don’t end up eating them all in one week, I simply pop them in my freezer, and pull them out as I need them!
While my muffins/bars are baking, I start to prepare my veggies and fruit for the weeks meals. I start by washing them in a large colander, (I use the same one, which means less dishes to clean!)
Then I dry and cut the veggies/fruit, and put them into individual tupperwear or ziplock bags. This way I have the veggies ready to go for recipes, or for a snack, or to throw in a salad!
Next I prepare my meats for the recipes I’m making for the week. This is certainly optional, but I personally find that if I cook up my ground meats, and chicken ahead of time, I am much more eager to whip a recipe together on a busy week night because half of the battle is already won! ;)
This week I prepared my Honey Mustard Chicken, and some lean ground turkey and lean ground beef (my husbands request- and just and note- you can swap this out for ground turkey in any of my recipes if your family prefers beef!)
I used the chicken and veggies that I prepared this week in my salads, which was one of the lunches my husband and i ate for the week.
I also prepared a batch of my Chicken Pot Pie Muffins for another option for lunches,. There was really no prep work required for these, except for the fact that I made them on meal prep day so they would be ready in the fridge when we were hungry. We enjoyed with some Garlic Parmesan Roasted Broccoli, which I chopped during meal prep, and washed and baked just before eating, since it tastes best freshly made!
Throughout the week I used the lean ground turkey to make my Italian Stuffed Peppers…
And my lean ground beef to make my Crockpot Layered Mexican Pizza for another dinner we enjoyed!
On the weekend I had family over, so I threw together a batch of my Crockpot Sweet Potato Turkey Chili before church, and it was ready when we got home! Crockpot recipes are my favorite for weekends!
My husband and I don’t always eat dessert, but when we want a healthy option, we generally make one of my Single Serve Desserts (which doesn’t require meal prep-because they only take a few minutes to make!) or I will prepare a batch of my Healthy Cookies, or a Dashing Dish dessert if we are having family or guests over for the weekend!
For more ideas on Meal Planning, be sure to check out these posts:
Also, be sure to check out my new cookbook: 100 Recipes for Clean Eating for some of these recipes and some of my personal faves for meal planning!
Not sure what recipes to try first? This might inspire you! Here are 25 of the most popular Dashing Dish recipes on Pinterest!
Setting Goals and Living on Purpose by Sarah Robbins
As I write this I have tears in my eyes. I have battled my weight for over 10 years–and while some would conclude this statement with “…and I finally won”, I would instead say, “I am winning every day”. I will never be done eating healthy, exercising, and disciplining myself to healthy habits daily. For the first time in a long time, I can say that I’m content with where I am at on my journey, and know that I will get there–with time, and daily discipline. I’ve worked so hard–but the results are worth it…and the best result of all is that I am free in my mind!
People have asked so many times–“what is your secret?” The truth be told–there is no secret! I was over 200 pounds 10 years ago. I did Weight Watchers and Curves (exercise) consistently–I would loose weight, and then my weight loss would stall. It wasn’t until I got more disciplined in the quality of my food (I started eating clean, and my favorite recipes are found on Dashing Dish!) and started working out at a gym–consistently that I was able to reach my goals. There is no secret–the answer lies in hard work, daily effort, and consistent activity over time. I also started to renew my mind to who God said I was, and started to see myself as valuable enough to take care of my health. In the end, it wasn’t easy, but I never gave up, and it is so worth it!
I do the same thing with my business (I run a successful home-based business, and am also a best-selling author!) People often inquire about the success we’ve achieved through our business, asking “what is the secret to your success?” The truth be told–there is no secret! I started my business as a broke, shy, young kindergarten teacher–with no network, and I was in a business of networking! I poured a lot of time into professional development, and I got out and did the work–even when I was shy, scared, and afraid! I went to networking events–ALONE! I made a few phone calls–EVERY DAY! Just like weight loss, I was focused on daily activity (a few new contacts every day), I was tracking my results by making daily notes in my planner, and did consistent activity over a long period of time (7 years!) Success did not happen over night! However, just like losing weight, the hard work is worth it. Because of our business, we’ve been able to use our earnings to bless children in need all around the globe—we just got back from India where we opened an orphanage for 117 children! Was it easy? NO! Was it worth it? You bet! Now I can live more, give more, and experience life more!
Enough about me…let’s talk about you…
What do you need to conquer during this year of your life? What are those looming thoughts you need to tackle in 2015? Do you want to start living a healthy lifestyle? Is it success in your business? You only have one precious life–and you deserve to live more, give more, love more, and experience the best of life more. It’s time to tackle these obstacles and pursue your victory–every single day! Set your “Big goal” for yourself–then break it down into daily activity–what do you need to do to get there? Whose help do you need?
Maybe you need an accountability partner working toward a similar goal? If it’s getting healthy, join the gym together–split a training package–go to Weight Watchers as a team. If it is a business goal, find someone to work with and agree to check in with each other weekly. Agree to be positive, collaborative, solution-oriented, and encouraging. People think they need to “work with a leader” to be successful–and that’s not the case. Like weight loss- YOU KNOW WHAT YOU NEED TO DO! It’s about working with someone who is going for the same goals, and doing consistent activity–every single day. Let’s consider weight loss for a moment–I’m not going to start by running a marathon (heck, I don’t run unless someone is chasing me). Do I aspire to be fit like a marathon runner? Sure! But I have to start somewhere– and initially that was at a local Curves gym with a friend working at my pace. Find your partner, start today!
Today is your day. 2015 is YOUR year. You are seeing this for a reason. Don’t let one more day go by–one more looming thought go through your mind. Set the goal. Write it down (NOW!) Break that big goal into monthly goals–then break that into daily activity goals for what you need to do to get there. Find an accountability partner and go through the program together. Give yourself the time it takes. Never quit. YOU DESERVE TO LOVE YOUR LIFE AND HAVE VICTORY!!!
There are no secrets when it comes to long term, lasting victory–it boils down to daily activity, consistency, and giving your goals the long-term focus and time it takes… I heard this quote yesterday and I loved it–“Success is never owned, it is rented, and the rent is due every single day! “- Rory Vaden
If I could reach through this screen right now and hug you–I would. I hope that by me sharing my long and sometimes painful journey with you (it took 10 years of going on a weight roller coaster to finally to lose the weight the healthy way )–Today I simply want to encourage you–that if I can do it, SO CAN YOU! You are beautiful, you are capable, you are MORE THAN A CONQUERER! Let’s DO this!
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!
Here are some ideas for some delicious (and secretly nutritious) appetizers, sides, and desserts for the biggest meal of the year!
First Let’s Start with Some Favorites from Previous Years:
And Now for Some New:
Stay Tuned for Even More Thanksgiving Recipes in the Next Couple of Weeks on Dashing Dish!
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.~Proverbs 22:6
If your family is anything like ours, busy is the word that seems to describe your schedule most of the time. Something I’ve really taken to the Lord lately is my concern over busyness pushing out time for my kids to enjoy time with the Lord. My heart’s desire is that my kids will learn early to love their time with the Lord, to desire it and to prioritize it. Of course, I have to model that for them, but I really needed the Lord to show me ways for THEM to spend time with Him amidst their busy schedules. He’s been so faithful, I hope some of the ideas God’s given me bless your family too.
Homework – my son attends public school so he don’t have bible time, but he does have homework! He is required to read for 40 minutes per week. So, the Lord showed me to make his reading time his Bible time. First thing in the morning at breakfast, he reads to us for 10 minutes from his bible or a daily devotion. He is meeting his homework requirements, improving his reading skills, hiding God’s work in his heart first thing in the morning, and it’s been an unexpected blessing to me too! I get something out of HIS time with the Lord every day!
Technology – Admittedly, I am not a huge technology person. I timidly tip-toed into the Apple store when I could no longer deny that I may in fact be the sole surviving flip-phone owner. However, I do love that technology makes the Word of God so accessible! Blessed are those who HEAR the Word and obey it. My kids love to listen to the Word before bed, it’s a great way for them to wind down and to cover their minds and hearts before they fall asleep. My daughter is only four, so she does best with a Bible Stick (BibleStick KIDZ Bible is available at www.faithcomesbyhearing.com), an amazing little tool that’s simple to use, and she LOVES it. My son uses an Ipod so I can download so many amazing options for him to enjoy. Some of our favorites are:
Ultimately, my prayer is that my kids will seek out God’s word because they LOVE it, because they desire it and because it truly is alive and real in their lives. I am so thankful for God’s creativity and faithfulness to provide fun ways for our kids to be led into all truth as they hide His word in their hearts. I hope your family is as blessed by this as we have been. xo Sarah
There are varying opinions about how to handle Halloween, but there’s one thing we can all agree on –there will be candy! Lots and lots of candy!
When my son turned two I sought the Lord about how to handle Halloween in our home. At that point he was toddling around with tiny steps and there was a huge part of me that really wanted to put him in some crazy cute get-up and show him off to all the neighbors! I had such fond memories of fall evenings running with friends from house to house on that night. Then, rushing home with excitement to revel in the bounty I’d collected. It was a good, pure memory for me and one I desired for my own kids.
I really needed the Lords guidance though to help set a precedent with our kids for Halloween. I don’t believe there is any one “right” way for everyone, but what the Lord showed me has been a blessing and is still the way we approach Halloween six years later. The kids know that their costume choices have to follow the Philippians 4:8 rule (whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.) and be “silly” in nature – nothing scary or “dark”. And, we are very, very careful to “guard our gates” (an awesome article about this here, http://sarahbessey.com/guard-gates/). In other words, we are very careful about what our little eyes see. We intentionally choose to get candy from homes where the “light is on” both literally and figuratively.
I had great peace about how we would handle Halloween, but in the early years of seeking more balance in my health, Halloween posed another source of stress and anxiety for me. The candy, oh the endless, endless candy! I simply did not want all that temptation, nor did I really feel that my kids should be eating that much candy for seemingly months on end. So, again, I sought the Lord and as always He was faithful with an answer that has blessed me ever since. I want to share it with you in hopes that it helps bring more peace and balance to you this year!
The kids collect as much candy as they want to, after all the collection is half the fun. We all sit down together and sort, and ooh and ahh over the amount, then we ALL pick our three favorite pieces to enjoy right then and there. I participated in this right from the get-go. I want to model balance for my kids and let them see that it’s ok to enjoy something like small amounts of candy once in a while without it leading to disordered eating. Then, they are given the choice to trade in their candy or keep it. They can “trade” their candy for an experience (I did toys the first year, but quickly realized that wasn’t the best option). They hand over the remainder of the candy, and in trade I give them an IOU for a trip to the museum, or the zoo, or the movies, any healthy experience they choose.
So you may be thinking, ok great Sarah, but what if they choose the candy!? I know! Admittedly, I still wait for their answers with bated breath hoping it’s never the candy. If they choose the candy, they get to keep as many additional pieces as they are in years (four pieces for my four year old, eight for my eight year old, etc.). Can I be honest though? They never have! I think there is almost a tiny, albeit, denied part of them that almost feels relieved to have that much abundance controlled for them – I think it’s overwhelming even for kids!
As for the rest of the candy, I either offer it to my dry cleaner to hand out throughout the year, or friends, I simply toss it. It’s ok. I’ve let go of the guilt. I really think it’s ok to just let that one go – guilt be gone in Jesus name! I pray this blesses you and your family and may THE light of the world shine on you this fall season!