Living a Healthy Lifestyle When Life Gets Busy!

August 21st, 2015 - Articles, Healthy Lifestyle Tips, Inspiration, Kids/Family

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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.

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Creating Healthy & Balanced Back to School Lunches

August 11th, 2015 - Healthy Lifestyle Tips, Inspiration, Kids/Family

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A healthy back to school lunch is comprised of three main food groups which include a healthy source of protein, fat, and carbohydrate.

Lean proteins are important for maintaining, and building your child’s muscles, organs, and immune system. Healthy fats are important for developing your child’s brain and nervous system. Healthy carbohydrates are important for your child’s blood sugar levels to be stable, and gives them sustained energy levels. Complex carbohydrates (such as unrefined grains, fruits and vegetables) are also rich in fiber, which helps your child’s digestive system work well, and keeps them feeling satisfied.

Healthy Sources of Protein:

-Chicken breast (shredded, baked chicken nuggets, or grilled/baked chicken breast)

-Lean ground turkey, chicken, or extra lean ground beef

-Lean chicken or turkey sausage

-Plain low fat Greek yogurt

-Cottage cheese

-String cheese (or other lower fat cheese)

-Hard boiled eggs

Healthy Sources of Fat:

-Avocado

-Yolks of Eggs

-Almonds and Nut Butters (and other nuts/nut butters)

-Sunflower Seeds (and sunflower butter)

-Olive Oil & Coconut Oil (in moderation)

Healthy Sources of Whole Grains or Carbohydrates:

-Vegetables

-Fruit

-Quinoa

-Ezekiel Wraps and Breads

-Whole Grains (old fashioned oats)

-Whole Grain Breads, Wraps, Pastas, etc.

-Beans/Legumes (also a good source of protein)

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A Letter to My Biggest Fan, My Husband.

August 8th, 2015 - Inspiration, Kids/Family

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Today marks 6 years of being married to my very best friend Sean Farrell, who also happens to be the creative director, photographer, and graphic designer behind Dashing Dish!

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Many people do not know that Sean is actually one of the biggest reasons that Dashing Dish exists today. I will never forget the night that we sat on the couch in our apartment as a newly married couple, when Sean said to me, why don’t you share the recipes that you are so passionate about making online?! I had never even heard of a blog before, and had never visited a recipe website, so to me this was a foreign concept.

Although I didn’t know what this ‘website’ would look like, my husband encouraged me to sign up for a WordPress themed website, and share one of my favorite recipes. At that time I thought that this ‘recipe website’ would be a simple website where I would share a recipe every now and then, and perhaps those that I love (mostly family members) would visit from time to time…After all, I just started a full time nursing job, so I knew I wouldn’t have a lot of time to devote to it.

Little did I know that God had a beautiful ministry in the making, and it all began with the simple and sweet encouragement from my husband.

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About six months after starting Dashing Dish, I started to receive hundreds of e-mails from women of all ages, from all around the world. Whether it was about losing unwanted weight or finding freedom in the areas of eating disorders, each woman had their own story. I started to realize the great responsibility that God had given me with this website and that it was meant to share much more than recipes. I felt the Lord prompting me to share about the freedom and joy that can only be found in Him and to teach women how to find their true beauty in exchange for the ashes of their life (Isaiah 61:3). I came to a place where I knew beyond of shadow of a doubt that this was my calling and it was confirmed to me many times over.

Despite knowing my destiny was awaiting me, I started to have doubts. How could I have spent five long years in nursing school, and have the job of my dreams, and give it all up for something that wasn’t yet even established as a business or ministry!?! I began to wrestle with what my heart was telling me and I second-guessed myself at every turn.

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This is where my incredible husband came in again!

One night as I sat I sat in our bed rolling over the weight of the decision that I knew I was facing, my husband came in to pray with me. Tears poured out for the women that I knew God was calling me to reach…Yet at the same time, my thoughts and analytical brain was racing in every direction. My sweet husband grabbed my hand and said Katie, what is in here, and he pointed to my heart. He said, stop listening to all of the thoughts that are so loud right now, and all of the analyzing and rationalizing, and look at what is in your heart. What is God speaking in here?!?

I will never forget the evening that my husband spoke the words to my heart that encouraged me to take the step of faith.  That was the moment when I felt that I could be ‘brave’ enough to do what God was calling me to do, because my husband encouraged me to lean, trust, and depend on Him.

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As I approached this huge next step in my life, Sean, (who is a graphic designer) began to create the new Dashing Dish website, (as you see it today), and he ended up spending one full year creating and developing it! So, not only would this ministry not even exist today without Sean, it also wouldn’t be the easy to use, beautiful, and family friendly, ad-free website that it is today, (I have to brag on him a little!) ;)

Fast forward 5 years after starting Dashing Dish, I look back and am in awe of the journey that the Lord has taken us on…and the way that the Lord used both my husband and my talents to reach people with His love in this unique way.

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Not only did Sean encourage me to start, step out, and design the Dashing Dish website, there are so many things that he does so humbly behind the scenes. He encourages me to dream big, and to do everything with excellence. He listens to my countless hours of practicing for videos, speeches, seminars, etc…and then he comes to every speaking event with me, (and might I add, they are mostly women’s events, and he is the only guy, but he sure can hold his own in a crowd of hundreds of ladies, all while carting around my books). He prays for me daily. He has the most generous and giving heart. He pursues the Lord daily in his personal life. He answers countless ‘technical’ emails, he designs every beautiful creative image we have on Dashing Dish, and DD’s Facebook page…and the list could go on and on.

The one thing that he does that really blesses me, and makes Dashing Dish possible, is that he shares my heart for each and every one of you! He prays for each person that visits DD on a daily basis, and he is constantly listening to my heart and what God is showing me for the women that visit.

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{Sean helping me prepare 6 dishes at 11 pm in a small hotel room for the Fox & Friends show in NYC on New Years Eve}

And for those of you who don’t already know, my husband has also been behind the scenes for the past year and a half, spending countless hours (on top of his regular work), designing a new and much improved Dashing Dish website and i Phone app! He has been working when he should be resting, in order to make the dreams that the Lord has been placing in my heart for this ministry for the past few years come alive! We are so incredibly excited about this new season of Dashing Dish, because we know that it was birthed by the inspiration that God gave us to make living a healthy lifestyle effortless!

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{Sean & Dan (our amazing developer here at DD) working together on the newest version of Dashing Dish}

I share this story today on Dashing Dish, because many people do not know the man behind this ministry. He not only is the reason that I started this journey, but the reason that I am brave enough to say ‘yes’ to each new step that the Lord brings our way. I stand here today in total and complete amazement to think of how the Lord had it all planned out from the very beginning when we met at the ripe age of 16 and became high school sweethearts!

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Sean, today I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for being a man after God’s own heart. Thank you for encouraging me to dream big, to step out, and to keep on running after Jesus. It is because of your obedient, sensitive, strong, and brave heart, that God is able to work in and through Dashing Dish the way He does…and I know that there are countless lives that will be touched because of it. You always tell me how proud you are of me, and now I want to tell you!

To my husband, I thank you for being my personal hero, and for being my biggest fan! Happy Anniversary! xo

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Healthy Eating Out Tips

August 5th, 2015 - Food News, Healthy Lifestyle Tips, Inspiration

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One of my favorite ‘date nights’ is spent going to Mongolian BBQ and getting frozen yogurt with my hubby. This isn’t something we do every day or even every week, and when we do eat out I still make healthier choices (like choosing lean meats and veggies to fill up most of my plate, and frozen yogurt). And because we don’t do it often, we enjoy it all the more when we do go out to eat!

Because I live a clean eating lifestyle, many people may think that this means that I never enjoy anything outside of my recipes and ‘clean eating’ foods, but this is certainly not the case! My theory is that all things can be enjoyed in moderation, and I think that it also helps that I actually enjoy the ‘clean eating’ foods that I make at home and eat on a daily basis.

And you know what!?! This mindset is what keeps me on track and living a healthy lifestyle year after year, because I never feel deprived, or like I ‘can’t’ have a certain food/food group. I believe that living a healthy lifestyle all comes down to what God created us to do, which is make good choices, and living a life of balance.

Many people think that it’s impossible to ‘eat out’ while maintaining their commitment to live a healthy lifestyle. While it can be a bit of a challenge at times, if you plan ahead (when possible), and keep a few tips in mind when placing your order, you can enjoy the best of both worlds! The great thing is, a few simple ‘requests’ can save you hundreds of calories that you’d never even miss!

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when you eat out that will allow you to maintain a healthy lifestyle:

  • Be prepared. If possible, go online before going to the restaurant to see what options there are that sound good to you that are reasonably healthy as well! A lot of restaurants offer nutrition information online now, and if not, the calories for specific dishes can often be found using search engines! Try to looking for something with around 500 calories or less for one meal, (unless you plan on splitting an entree with someone).
  • Fill up on the veggies. When looking at the menu, try to steer clear of dishes with anything ‘white’, which is ultimately just empty calories. Whether it be white pasta, bread, rice, or buns. Instead, try to choose options that fill the plate with veggies and lean sources of protein. You could even make a special request to have a lean turkey burger without the bun, or wrapped in lettuce, or you could swap out a side of rice with a side of steamed veggies, (just make sure to order them without butter).
  • Watch portions. Most restaurant portions are double what a ‘normal’ portion size should be. One way to mind your portion size while eating out is to eat slowly, paying attention to when you are truly satisfied, (not stuffed), and getting a to-go box to take the leftovers home. Another great way to portion control is to split an entree with someone!
  • Beware of salad dressings and sauces. If you order a salad, always ask for dressing on the side, and ask for a low fat dressing if possible. If low fat dressing is not an option, dip your fork in the dressing before each bite. As far as sauces, you may be surprised how much sugar, calories, and fat can be added to your food with just the sauce alone. Make it a practice to order dishes without the sauce, or ask for the sauce on the side so you can control how much goes on your food.
  • Look carefully at salad toppings. When choosing a salad, make sure none of the ingredients are fried, (if they are, ask them to leave them off). Also ask for high fat ingredients such as nuts and cheeses on the side, this way you can control how much goes on.
  • Skip the bread basket. The bread served before meals is truly nothing but empty calories, and generally a lot of empty calories at that, (with butter it could easily add up to 500 calories, which is the calorie contents of a meal!)
  • Skip the fancy drinks. Ordering drinks to go along with your meal can add up to as many as 200-500 calories to your meal, (which is a meal in itself!) Instead of ordering a drink, ask for water with lemon. If you squeeze some lemon juice in your water, and add a packet of stevia, it tastes almost like lemonade, and it will save you money as well! You could also bring Tru Lemonade packets with you and add them to water, or stevia packets and add them to unsweetened iced tea!
  • Don’t drink your calories. Stick with water, seltzer, or a diet soda. If you must have alcohol, limit yourself to one drink. A glass of wine, a light beer, a shot of hard liquor mixed with club soda all have around 100 calories, (which is much better than mixed drinks, which can contain hundreds of calories for one drink!)
  • Know your terms. As a general rule, order foods that are broiled, grilled, roasted or steamed. Steer clear of foods that are fried, and sautéed, (which means that are cooked in a pan with oil).
  • Don’t be embarrassed to make special requests. With all of the allergies out there today, you can be sure that wait staff and cooks are very used to getting special orders! If you ask for ‘no butter’, sauce on the side, or steamed versus sautéed, you could save yourself hundreds of calories that you would never even miss!

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Intuitive Eating versus Tracking Calories

July 29th, 2015 - Disordered Eating, Inspiration

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I have received many questions about counting calories, so I thought I would share my thoughts after using both approaches in my personal journey to health. In general, I do think that counting calories, especially at first can be beneficial for someone who is just starting to read nutrition labels and get familiar with their bodies needs. However, I always suggest that the ultimate goal to aim for is to listen to your body, rather than counting calories long term.

Counting calories in the beginning of a weight loss journey can be helpful because you can get a realistic sense of how to space out calories throughout your day to best fuel your body, and you get familiar with portion sizes in general. On the other hand, when it comes to maintaining this long-term, counting calories really isn’t realistic, and it can even become obsessive if taken to the extreme.

I personally found that counting calories for about a month in the beginning of my journey worked well for me, because it allowed me to get familiar with how to space calories out throughout my day in a way that made me feel energized throughout the day. After becoming ‘familiar’ with proper portion sizes, I decided to stop tracking calories and start to listen to my body’s natural hunger cues.

Although I don’t track calories anymore, I still pay attention to the amount of calories, fat, sugar, carbohydrates, and protein in the foods I am eating. However, this is more about being informed and aware of what I am putting in my body. For example, something may seem healthy, especially with all of the tricky labels out there, but if you don’t pay attention or do any planning on your part, you could easily end up taking in a lot of calories, fat, and sugar without even realizing it.

So, although I am aware of what I am eating, I don’t keep a running total of calories for the day on paper, or in general. Here are a few reasons why I don’t count calories:

1. Eating out, and eating with friends and family can get tricky. In general, if you are tracking food and you don’t know how many calories, points, etc. are in something, this can lead to anxiety… Or even a ‘bingeing’ mentality, when you throw all care out the window because you don’t know what to write down. Instead, when I am at a get-together, I try to pick the healthiest choices that I see and make it my goal to focus more on enjoying the people I’m with rather than on the food.  If I do pick a dessert or something that I know isn’t so healthy, then I stick to one portion, and really spend time enjoying each bite, or I share it.

2. If you count calories, you can actually over eat. If you count calories, then chances are you will feel like you need to finish every single bite, even if you are truly full, in an effort to track the calories properly! This is a bit crazy if you think about it, because God really did put a signal inside each one of us to tell us we are satisfied for a reason! When I was first learning to pay attention to my body, I would take a few bites, put my fork down, and really pay attention to how I felt. Then, when I felt like my stomach was satisfied, I stopped, and saved the rest for later. Sure, it was tough to do this at first, and it does take practice (and prayer) in the beginning, but eventually you will be so in tune with your body, you won’t even have to think twice about it!

3. It can lead to bingeing. For me personally, counting calories led to binges when I let myself have a day off of counting. This was most likely because I felt like I had to use the ‘freedom from tracking’ to it’s fullest  by eating whatever came across my path. Again, this is not entirely logical if you think about it, because there will always be another chance to eat any certain type of food again. However, on the days that I wasn’t counting calories, I felt as though I had to eat everything like it was my last chance to eat, knowing that the very next day I was going to be back to tracking.

Those are just a few of the reasons I don’t advocate counting calories long term. On that note, I will say that everyone is different, and everyone has different things that work for them. So, all that being said, if tracking is what works for you! In general, I would say that it is better to have some kind of plan than no plan at all!

A realistic way of incorporating all that I have just discussed would be to start counting calories for about a month or so, just so that you can get an idea of how much to eat, and  become familiar with composing meals that are a good balance of protein and fiber to keep you satisfied. There are a couple ways you can do this, but you may want to start by using My Fitness Pal, (which is a free website/i Phone app that has all Dashing Dish recipes already plugged in), or Weight Watchers, (which my recipes also include).

With that foundation established, you should be able to move onto truly listening to your body, and eating until you are satisfied. Like I said, this may seem ‘strange’ at first, but that is how God created our bodies to function! He gave us the ability to know when we are hungry, and full, so we would eat only what our bodies truly need! Also, with this approach, I find that it is easier to put the focus on eating healthy and nutritious foods rather than all the numbers.

When combined with the main principals of healthy eating, (limiting amount of processed foods and sugar, trying to get a good balance of protein, fiber, and healthy fats with meals, and filling up on healthy snacks in between meals), you should be able to maintain a healthy weight in a way that is sustainable for life!

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Dashing Dish: Healthy Traveling Tips

July 24th, 2015 - Food News, Inspiration, Recipe Round-Ups

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Traveling can be so refreshing.  It is a time away from the every day ‘routine’ and a time to rest and relax! This can also mean a time of seriously getting off track when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. To some to degree, this can be a good thing- I always think it is good to change things up from time to time, so I take this opportunity to try some new foods, enjoy a few treats, and shake up my workouts!

However, if you don’t plan ahead, it can definitely go from being a good ‘change’ to a bad one, especially if you find yourself completely skimping out on fiber, water, and indulge in too much sugar and processed foods. Without some sort of balance, I can tell you from past experience that it is only a matter of time before you start to notice that your body (especially your digestive system) will not be happy!

For that reason, I always make sure I plan ahead when I travel and bring some healthy snacks and options with me. I hope this inspires you guys to plan ahead and pack some of your own favorite healthy treats on your next vacation! In the end, I can promise that your body will thank you!

For snacks I like to bring fruit, particularly apples because they are high in fiber and lower in sugar. They also keep fresh for a long time, and you can even buy individual nut butter packets to have with them for a well rounded snack. I also like to bring a small bag of baby carrots. I am not a huge fan of eating them once they are warm, so I try to eat those first when I’m on a long car ride, or I bring a small cooler or lunch bag if possible. I also enjoy small 100 calorie bags of popcorn on trips, because let’s face it, sometimes you need something salty and crunchy! I found this amazing kettle corn at Trader Joes, and it is amazing! Lightly salted roasted almonds are always a great snack as well. I buy the 100 calorie pack since they are higher in calories.

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Whenever I travel, I try to pack some good sources of protein that are portable. The best option I have found when I don’t have access to a cooler or fridge is protein powder and peanut flour. I also bring oats with me and make peanut butter protein oatmeal with just a little water, oats, stevia, peanut flour, and protein powder! You would be amazed at how good it tastes and how much it fills you up!

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I also enjoy protein bars when I travel, because there are times when you need protein, and fast! I like Mojo, Quest, Chocolite, and Think Thins! The main thing to look at with bars is the calories, protein, and sugar! I always check to make sure the calories are not much over 200 per bar, the sugar is less than 10 grams, and the protein is around 10-20 grams per bar.

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I don’t always bring wrap bread with me, but if I am going somewhere that I can prepare my own food (and I will have a kitchen and fridge), then I like to bring a few packs of high fiber wraps with me. Wrap sandwiches are great for packing up in a cooler and taking with you to the beach for example! Jospeph’s and La Tortilla are my favorite brands. High fiber bran crackers are also a great thing to have around for a quick snack! I like to put a little peanut butter and low sugar jelly on them or some tuna salad!

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I love to bring a water bottle with me just about everywhere I go.  I like to fill it up with ice water and carry a few all natural drink mixes around in my purse! That way I always stay hydrated, without filling up on chemicals, sugar, or calories that are in most beverages! Another great quick and healthy beverage option that that travels well is my Protein Iced Coffee recipe! If you bring a shaker bottle, a packed of instant coffee, protein powder, and stevia, then it only requires that you have access to cold water (and/or ice water) on the road, and you have delicious and protein packed coffee treat!

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If possible, I like to make a batch of my homemade muffins to bring with me. I love bringing muffins to snack on because they taste delicious and are packed with protein and fiber to keep me satisfied for a long time! They also stay good for about 1 week, which is perfect for a trip!

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And last but not least, I do like to bring a few different flavors of gum. Now, I am the first to admit that there are chemicals in sugar free gum, but to me, if you chew it in moderation, I feel like it’s better than chewing on sugary gum anytime, especially when it comes to my teeth. I like the dessert gums by Extra, Orbit and Trident flavors!

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These are just a few ideas of some of my favorite travel snacks and treats! Of course, it really depends on the type of trip you are going on, how you are traveling, and where you are going, but I almost always try to plan ahead and pack accordingly. Being prepared and planning ahead is one of the best things you could do when traveling! I also always carry stevia packets in my purse (I like to use them in my coffee), and I try to always have a protein bar in my purse as well just in case!

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Also, if you are able to bring a cooler with you on your trip, some great options to pack are:

Overall, when I am on vacation, I try to be really flexible and enjoy new things…That is what vacation is about after all! However, I try to pick healthier options, and get active in some way every day! If you are traveling this summer, I hope this provided some ideas for your next trip!

If you are looking to find any of these items, many of them can be found on my Favorite Products List!

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Tips for a Healthy Summer!

July 10th, 2015 - Inspiration, Kids/Family

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1. Enjoy Fresh Summer Fruit & Veggies. Take advantage of in season fresh produce and farmers markets. Also, wash and cut produce right away all at once so it is ready to eat, and to cut down on prep time in the kitchen!

2. Make Your Own Frozen & Iced Drinks. Skip the sugary frozen drinks and high calorie and high sugar fruit drinks and sweetened iced tea and swap it out for a home made healthy version instead! Check out the Dashing Dish shakes & smoothies, iced coffee, and try out True Lemon drink mix packets or make your own lemonade or iced tea sweetened with stevia!

3. Plan Ahead when Traveling. When traveling, pack some healthy snacks and/or meals to go! Some great options for snacks are protein bars, apples, nuts, or even some homemade Dashing Dish protein packed snacks! For meals, try packing some wrap sandwiches or salads in a cooler along with some Greek yogurt, string cheese, carrots and fruit! This will save you time, money, and prevent unhealthy choices!

4. Make Your Own Frozen Treats. Instead of buying ice cream for home, make your own Dashing Dish ice cream, popsicles, and sorbet! This will save you tons of unwanted sugar and calories, and you can still enjoy your favorite frozen treats in a clean, healthy way!

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35 Clean Eating Summer Time Snacks for Kids!

June 17th, 2015 - Inspiration, Kids/Family, Recipe Round-Ups

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Summer is here, which means kids are out of school, and snacks will be enjoyed at home all summer long! Whip up any of these quick and easy snacks, and you are sure to have healthy happy kids! Simply click on the picture to go to the recipe!

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35 Clean Eating Summer Recipes on Dashing Dish

May 22nd, 2015 - Food News, Inspiration, Recipe Round-Ups

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Putting an End to Mindless Eating

May 13th, 2015 - Articles, Disordered Eating, Inspiration

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snacking

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

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