Cooking Tips That Render Amazing Meals

Everyone usually tries to make strives in order to have a healthy diet. Also, the food that we cook at our homes is comparatively healthier than the food we get at restaurants. Therefore, in order to strive a healthier diet, you need to cook more meals at your home. Cooking food at home not only saves your money but also, you can keep track on the portions of meat and the ingredients that you use. Although cooking food at home is not easy because it requires a lot of techniques, tips, and tricks such as chopping, dicing, slicing and much more. Cooking is considered as an art because, in cooking, any dish or any ingredient can be modified, changed, or omitted in the cooking procedure depending on the size or the taste of the people you are cooking for. Enlisted below are some of the amazing cooking tips and tricks that can effectively help you in the kitchen.

1.     How to Peel Ginger and Crush Garlic

The ginger used in most of the recipes is considered one of the basic ingredient in order to provide a specific taste. Also, ginger has always been used because of a wide variety of medicinal properties that it provides. Peeling a ginger is generally a hard task because of the crannies and nooks it has, therefore, peeling it with a regular sharp spoon instead of the knife is a great idea and then mince it using a fork.

Ginger is used in many delicious recipes such as Falafel Food, honey ginger chicken, toasted ginger salmon, ginger chicken soup, and much more. Even one of the best falafel in Dubai have garlic incorporated as the main ingredient. Also, garlic is an essential component of food dishes, therefore, you should know how to effectively crush a garlic with a knife. All you have to do is, use the flat part of the knife and with the paddling motion squash the garlic. This will give you a smooth paste with no lumps left.

2.     Separating Egg Whites Using A Water Bottle

Eggs are generally the best source of protein. They are extremely rich in nutrients and contain all the essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals that a human body needs. Undoubtedly both the yolk and the white of an egg are equally nutritious and are usually required separate in many of the recipes. Eggs are majorly used as a glue ingredient for most of the baking reactions. separating an egg is one of the hardest tasks because mostly bits of the shell are left while separating the yolk from the white. Therefore, crack an egg into a plate and then lightly squeeze the water bottle and then release the squeeze on the bottle. This method will effectively separate an egg white from the yolk. 

3.     Place Herbs And Spices In a Cold Place

Usually, when herbs and spices are placed above the stove or where heat and humidity are high and where the light is bright and sharp, these factors altogether cause the spices and herbs to lose their flavor. Therefore the best idea is to place the herbs and spices in a cold place where there is low or no light.

4.     Store The Stock For Later Use

Every time when you have to boil vegetables or make a soup, you need to serve enough time in order to cook stock, therefore, it is better to cook stock in large quantity so that it could be used for later. Invest your time in cooking a large quantity of stock and try to pack it in different plastic bags and store and freeze it in the refrigerator. In this way, you can easily use it for various purposes such as for boiling vegetables, and for making any kind of soup.

5.     Overnight Soaking of Brown Rice

If you have a busy schedule and you hardly get time to serve hours in the kitchen, the best thing you can do is soaking the brown rice overnight because the next day when you will cook these rice, it will take no time. There are various delicious brown recipes such as sweet and sour chicken with the brown rice, zucchini rice casserole, vegetable fried rice, and much more. Incorporating brown rice is one of the most effective ideas because it is extremely healthy and also this technique of soaking overnight can help you cook it in no time.

About The Author Rachel Stinson has always had a knack for writing, food, fashion, and places. Blogging has combined all four for her with an added bonus of enthusiastic audiences. She expertly analyzes real estates and restaurants with respect to pricing and people involved and can express her opinions in an unhesitant, engaging manner.

About The Author

Rachel Stinson has always had a knack for writing, food, fashion, and places. Blogging has combined all four for her with an added bonus of enthusiastic audiences. She expertly analyzes real estates and restaurants with respect to pricing and people involved and can express her opinions in an unhesitant, engaging manner.

Meet Kim: Supermom (with a bit of Expert assistance...)

When Kim's daughter was born with medical needs, her priority immediately became doing everything in her power to make sure she provides her with the best care possible. Of course, a vital element of this was nutrition, as ensuring her daughter was getting the nutrients she needed to thrive while also dealing with food allergies and intolerances was essential.

Connecting with the Meal Expert Community

Throughout her quest to find the very best in resources and support for herself and her daughter, Kim connected with Certified Nutritionist Danielle Binns through an organization called Feeding Matters. Ever since, Kim followed Danielle on various social media platforms and eventually started working with her on a more direct basis - through nutritional consulting for her daughter, and taking part in a few different online programs and courses that Danielle runs through her business. 

Many of these programs focus specifically on, well - food! Preparing healthy meals for your toddler - whether they are picky-eaters or are dealing with complex medical needs such as Kim's daughter - is Danielle's bread and butter (gluten-free and dairy-free, of course!). Kim found Danielle's guidance - in particular her recipes and meal plans - very helpful in learning how to feed her daughter while also managing her food intolerances.

That's when Meal Garden came into play. Danielle hosts her programs right inside the Meal Garden digital meal planning tool in order to make it super simple for her moms to incorporate her specially designed recipes and meal plans into their lifestyle. Why share just PDFs of recipes and meal plans when you can instead provide an interactive and digital tool to empower moms to do it themselves?! Danielle understands the importance of meal planning, so she's been actively recruiting moms to join her in Meal Garden for well over a year now. 

After dabbling in the recipes and meal plans on Meal Garden for a few months, Kim knew she was on to something great, so she decided to sign up for an account of her own. That's when things went from good to great.

"Having my online cookbook, comprised of all of my hand-selected recipes (from Danielle Binns and other experts I trust) is a total life-saver for me - especially when I'm in a pinch. I could always just Google recipes, but having this specially curated database of meals that are right for my daughter and myself is second-to-none." - Kim

Like-minded people sharing only the best of meals

While Kim openly admits that she hardly ever uses the scheduling or grocery list functionality in the tool - it's the recipes that provide all the value she needs. It's a source for whole-food based recipes by nutrition experts she trusts, and she loves how it's all there - easy to access in the moment. Being apart of a community with a common mindset and philosophy around recipes has totally replaced the desire or need to search for recipe ideas outside of Meal Garden - it's just wouldn't make sense!

Committed to maintaining healthy success

It's been about six months since Kim first signed up for Meal Garden, and hasn't looked back since. To no surprise, her main driving motivation is indeed her daughter's needs. Meal Garden is a vital tool in her toolbox for keeping her daughter healthy and strong. Specifically, she's looking for dairy-free recipes with toddler-friendly texture, taste, and that also offer high nutritional content. Kim mentioned the Banana and Chia Pancakes as one of her all-time favourite breakfasts - for both her daughter as well as herself!

Click for recipe.

Click for recipe.

A fast-paced tool for a fast-paced lifestyle

At the end of the day, Kim has other things to occupy her time, so quickly finding and choosing healthy meals that are right for her family is what she's most thankful for.

"Thanks to Meal Garden, I've experienced a major reduction in stress about food and diet for my daughter, and I can focus on other things. I'm often 'in-a-pinch', and I'm grateful to lean on Meal Garden in those time-pressed moments!".

Congratulations again to Kim's success with our tool, and a big thank you to Meal Expert Danielle Binns for being such a valuable member of our community.

Meet Janice: The Veggie-Friendly Savvy Scheduler

It all started about 6 years ago when Janice decided to take the leap of faith into a plant-based diet. She was inspired by friends who were vegetarian or pescatarian, and who were dishing her out some incredibly tasty meals.

Maybe this veggie-centric diet wasn't as hard as it seems, Janice thought - unfortunately, she was wrong...

"Eating a vegetarian diet can be tricky, and it's easy to fall off the wagon if you don't plan accordingly", Janice admits.

Luckily, she found Meal Garden about a year ago, after messing around with other meal planning tools that either didn't fit her dietary needs or were simply too finicky to deal with.

Easy, simple vegetarian meals.

Janice is a woman on the go, and she doesn't want to waste time in the kitchen, so she's thankful for Meal Garden: "It's made it so easy to stick to my vegetarian diet, there's lots of simplified recipes with minimal prep time, so I don't have to spend hours figuring out what I need to eat to stay healthy and make sure I get enough protein throughout the week".

Automatic grocery list generator.

Another time saver? The grocery list app - Janice's all-time favourite feature of the tool. She admits that she HATES shopping...for FOOD that is! Taking the time to wander around the grocery store, and to think about "meal planning" for the week ahead, is just a total hassle in her eyes, so the automatic list is a "life-saver". 

Cost savings galore.

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Best of all, it's not just time-savings that Janice has been enjoying. Since signing up for a Meal Garden account, she has managed to reduce her weekly grocery costs by 1/3rd! That's right people - this savvy planner has confidently shared with me her good news: for herself and her husband, instead of the usual $600/month on grocery costs, she's got it down to a mere $400/month - that's just $100 a week!

What's her secret to the impressive cost savings? Meal planning. Most specifically: NOT throwing out/wasting food. Instead of fresh produce turning to soup in their crisper drawer, Janice and her partner use up exactly what they purchase each and every week, and nothing goes to waste. It's a green approach for the environment...and her wallet ;)

The learning curve + changing habits.

Now this all sounds great, right? But is it really all that easy?

While Janice says that she felt like the tool was easy and intuitive to use right from the start, it took her a good 2-4 months to really start using the Meal Garden tool consistently.

That's something we here on the Meal Garden team notice time and time again: it takes people a few months to really "get into the groove" of meal planning, but once it "clicks" - they're a master for life. 

Janice was kind enough to share her "secret" to staying on track: "The biggest thing is my text reminder - I'd be lost without it!" She's set up a weekly SMS notification that's sent straight to her cellphone, so she gets a little "ping" each and every Saturday morning, as she's sipping coffee on her porch, and is reminded: oh yeah, it's time to plan! 

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She quickly schedules a few of her favourite recipes (and likes to play around with some new ones too!) and BOOM - she's ready for her once-a-week Sunday shop. She likes to get all of the grocery shopping done and dusted on Sunday, so she doesn't have to worry about it throughout the week. Janice isn't afraid to admit that without these gentle reminders...she'd likely forget or simply not make it a priority!

Flexibility to eat intuitively.

Of course, we're all only human, so Janice does end up switching around meals throughout the week and makes changes to her plan as the days go by. That's actually what she loves about Meal Garden - how easy it is to swap things around!

"I often quickly poke around Meal Garden while I'm at work in the afternoon, around 1 or 2pm, and will decide if I really do want what I've scheduled for dinner that evening. If I'm not feeling it, it's as simply as swapping it around and planning another meal I've shopped for that week. I know I've got the ingredients for whatever's on my menu that week, so it's really not a bother or a problem - easy peasy!"

While Janice doesn't use the tool ALL of the time - she's thankful to have it as her go-to tool for when she does. It's there when she needs it, and that's all that matters. 

Spreading the love.

We're excited for Janice to gift Meal Garden to her daughter this month, as she's eager to share the benefits of planning ahead and enjoying life (& easy, healthy meals!).

5 Natural High Energy Foods For Exercising

As someone who cares about their health and fitness, exercise should be an important part of your life. Sometimes, however, you may find yourself lacking the energy to get going or find that you fizzle out before getting to the end of your workout.

Not getting sufficient sleep can sometimes be the culprit for lacking the energy to exercise. If this isn't the case, though, then the foods we eat are frequently the primary cause of this lack of stamina. Exercise is an important expenditure of time and energy on your part. It is critical, therefore, to eat foods before exercising that give you the energy needed to have as productive a workout as possible. The following is a list of five natural foods that can help you with this.

Apples 

Apples are known for being healthy in general, but they are also specifically good at giving you an energy boost for exercise. Eating whole apples, as opposed to the juice, gives you the soluble fiber you need to slow your body down in digesting the fructose contained in the apple. This is healthy in terms of not spiking your blood sugar levels, and it gives you a more sustained level of energy through your workout in contrast to a cup of coffee or some low-fiber, sugary treat.

Of course, it takes more than “an apple a day to keep the doctor away” as the old saying goes. That said, apples can be an important part of giving you the energy you need to do the other things that will also improve your health, and minimize those trips to the doctor's office. Additionally, apples are rich in vitamin C, which is a potent antioxidant for maintaining your overall health.

Apple Celery Salad

Apple Celery Salad

Honey

This can be another part of your diet plan for giving you the energy to exercise. Honey has a blend of glucose and fructose for giving you energy, and it is believed that such a blend of carbs may be better than either of them alone. It also contains some vitamins and antioxidants that make it one of the healthiest sweeteners you can use.

The best part about honey is that, with its delicious taste, few people need much prompting to eat it. You can put it on a variety of other foods to add an invigorating sweetness to them. Just add a little to your breakfast smoothie or bowl of cereal and have that little extra skip in your step on the way to the gym. 

Baked Acorn Squash with Greek Yogurt & Honey

Baked Acorn Squash with Greek Yogurt & Honey

Yogurt 

Yogurt has been a favorite among health aficionados since long before Jamie Lee Curtis started doing commercials about it. Its probiotic benefits in helping to populate our guts with healthy bacteria are known to improve regularity and help with many digestive problems. This is critical to getting regular exercise because it's hard to feel like doing anything when you are afflicted with digestive issues.

Just as honey can be added to other foods to make them healthier, yogurt is great for adding things to in order to improve its health and energy benefits. In addition to a variety of fresh fruit, you can even add honey to it to sweeten it up a little more.

Beet, Yogurt, and Apple Salad with Chios Mastiha

Beet, Yogurt, and Apple Salad with Chios Mastiha

Oatmeal

This is another food that is great to have before a workout. As with many whole fruits, its fiber content slows down your body's absorption of its carbs, which results in a steady energy lasting throughout your workout.

Similar to honey and yogurt, the flexibility of oatmeal in terms of what can be mixed with it is a huge plus. Adding flaxseed oil to it can give you an excellent pre-workout energy boost, and mixing in some protein powder if you eat it after your workout can help with your recovery. Add a variety of fruits or nuts, such as blueberries or almonds, for a boost in health, energy and taste. 

Chewy Chia & Carob Chip Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

Chewy Chia & Carob Chip Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

A Healthy Trail Mix

Trail mix can be a healthy option for delivering the energy boost you may need for that next workout. Its mix of nuts and dried fruit can provide both the protein for sustained energy and the carbs for quick energy to start exercising and get you through to the end. That said, use caution when determining what trail mix you buy.

Many of the existing mixes can have a lot of added sugar and salt. Be sure to get a brand with as few additives as possible. For the ideal solution that is customized to your tastes, there are even plenty of recipes online to enable you to make your own - like this one from Meal Garden: 

Homemade Trail Mix Granola Protein Bars

Homemade Trail Mix Granola Protein Bars

Energy and Nutrition for Your Mind and Body

Another positive aspect of many of the above foods is that they have a mix of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that our bodies need to enable us to operate at a peak level. You should not underestimate how exercise can make you feel good mentally and put us in a good mood.

Being energized for exercise is as important for our minds as it is for our bodies. This is especially important if you are in a field where you depend on a clear head and creativity for your success. Perhaps you are a marketing executive who has to come up with creative ad campaigns. Similarly, you may be a member of a nonprofit or an educational institution, and you're charged with finding unique fundraising ideas. Getting the blood flowing faster a few times a week gets it flowing faster to the brain as well and gets you mentally energized.

"I am yoga instructor of 2 years and love what I do. I have a passion for fitness and health and like writing about it. I find happiness in staying active and healthy, and I hope to be able to help people with their health goals by writing about the things I've learned from experience." - Julia Carson

"I am yoga instructor of 2 years and love what I do. I have a passion for fitness and health and like writing about it. I find happiness in staying active and healthy, and I hope to be able to help people with their health goals by writing about the things I've learned from experience."

- Julia Carson

Refreshing Non-Alcoholic Drinks to Sip on this Summer

Summer is officially here! For a lot of us that means patio season drinks in sun! Although there is something so refreshing about having an ice-cold beer while catching up with friends on a patio, there are some delicious alternatives in Meal Garden if you're trying to be a little more health conscious.

Kombucha 

Kombucha is super refreshing and has many health benefits, especially for gut health! It is incredibly easy to make at home and once you've started your first batch, you can use that to make scobeys for as many batches as you want afterwards. 

                                  Learn to make your own kombucha here.

                                  Learn to make your own kombucha here.

Fresh-Pressed Juice 

Take advantage of the greens and fresh fruits that are in season! Don't forget to save the pulp as it can be used in many baking and dip recipes! 

                                    Try our favourite Rise n' Shine juice. Click here for the recipe!

                                    Try our favourite Rise n' Shine juice. Click here for the recipe!

Lemonade 

Try a twist on a refreshing summer classic using our Raspberry Chia Lemonade, Raspberry Goji Lemonade or Sparkling Watermelon Lemonade to keep you cool all summer! 

Cocktail Copies

Try making non-alcoholic versions of your favourite cocktails. This way you can still enjoy the flavour of your favourites without the empty calories from alcohol. Some of our favourites are Meal Garden's Avocado and Strawberry Mojitos

Pro tip: mint packs a great refreshing flavour in summer beverages and will be sure to satisfy any                                                                    cocktail craving!

Pro tip: mint packs a great refreshing flavour in summer beverages and will be sure to satisfy any                                                                    cocktail craving!

Infused Water

Get creative with different fruit and herb combinations like:


Citrus Water: orange, lemon, lime

Grapefruit Kiwi: grapefruit, mint, kiwi slices

Blackberry Sage: sage, blackberries

Mango Basil: Mango, basil leaves

                   Also try using these combinations with soda water for a bit of fizzy deliciousness! 

                   Also try using these combinations with soda water for a bit of fizzy deliciousness! 

Share your favourite summer drink ideas in our community on Facebook here!

 

 

Meal Planning Tips from Nature’s Emporium

Meal planning is your biggest key to success because if you neglect your meal plan, your whole week ends up being rushed and you can end up resorting to something that’s easier for dinner, instead of something you could have prepared for ahead of time.
— Nicole, In-House Nutritionist at Nature's Emporium

We spent some time at Nature’s Emporium last week discussing meal planning with their In-House Nutritionist, Nicole, and she shared some of her favourite strategies for success.

One of her pro-tips was to find a day that work’s best with your schedule - like on a Sunday before your week starts, to plan your meals for the week ahead. In the morning, you can sit down and schedule recipes to your week in Meal Garden. Then in the afternoon, you can use your Meal Garden grocery list to go shopping! Another great feature that will elevate your meal-planning is the “Add note” feature in the scheduler.

Maybe you want to remind yourself to soak some legumes overnight – make a note of it the day before to keep you on track!

Some other quick tips for meal planning glory include:

-       Batch cook roasted vegetables

-       Batch cook rice and quinoa at the beginning of the week and grab throughout the week           as needed

-       Have pre-cut fruits and vegetables in the fridge so you’ll always a healthy snack at the             ready

-       Make extra portions of soups and stews and freeze them for future if you need a quick             meal

One of Nicole’s favourite quick-fix meals are one-pot or one-pan meals. They are quick and easy to make and involve very little clean-up! 

Instant Pot Frozen Chicken Breast & Sauce

Instant Pot Frozen Chicken Breast & Sauce

Easy Burrito Bowls

Easy Burrito Bowls

If you want to see more of our visit with Nicole, check out our video:

Come join us for more helpful meal planning chats in our community on Facebook here!

Summer Girls Night Ideas

After a long week a girls night with your best friends can be a great way to unwind and catch up with your best buds. Whether its going out that interests you or having a relaxing night in, coming up with ideas of things to do with your your girls can leave you drawing a blank! Check out some of these great ideas, inspired by summer, for your next girls night: 

Have an Adult Pizza Party 

Invite your girls over to make some personal pizzas. You'll be sure to come up with some great creations and, paired with a nice bottle of wine, these can be enjoyed in your backyard over a weekly catch-up session! 

Try this Homemade Spinach Pizza, a Meal Garden favourite!

Try this Homemade Spinach Pizza, a Meal Garden favourite!

Host an Ice Cream Buffet 

Get some fresh fruits, nuts, shredded coconut, cacao nibs and put on top of your favourite ice creams and frozen yogurts. Everyone loves an ice cream buffet so why not make a healthy version and lay down a nice spread to satisfy your sweet cravings? 

Check out our collection of homemade frozen desserts here. 

Check out our collection of homemade frozen desserts here

Chit Chat and Charcuterie 

Who doesn't love charcuterie? Appetizers, dips and snacks paired with a movie make this girls night classic a success. Impress your friends  with one of our amazing appetizers like our Smoky Corn & Jalapeño Dip or our or Loaded Sweet Potato Nachos

 

Our delicious Loaded Sweet Potato Nachos along with the rest of our amazing appetizer recipes                                                              can be found here.

Our delicious Loaded Sweet Potato Nachos along with the rest of our amazing appetizer recipes                                                              can be found here.

Get into Barbecuing

Summer is a great time to enjoy a barbecue and great company on the deck. Make a nigh out of it by getting a bunch of meat and veggies together to make skewers! Then grill up some sides like asparagus and corn and enjoy with some refreshing beverages. 

                                    Try our Grilled Glazed Beef & Veggie Kebabs.

                                    Try our Grilled Glazed Beef & Veggie Kebabs.

Have a Taco Night

Do you and your girls have a Taco Tuesday ritual? If you don't get on it because its tons of fun! There is a taco for every occasion - beef, chicken, fish tofu, kimchi, lentils, sweet potato and black beans to name a few. Tacos are some of the most versatile meals and its just as much fun to put them together as it is to eat them. This is a girls night staple! 

                                    Try this easy fish taco recipe at your next girls night!

                                    Try this easy fish taco recipe at your next girls night!

Your girls can be some of the most important people in your life. Make your girls nights legendary with these delicious meals! 

Meal Garden Best Practices: How to Build Your Own Meal Plan

The following post comes from in-house Meal Garden Nutritionist and Customer Service Specialist Tina Gravalos...

CNP & RCNP

I am a passionate advocate for all things holistic health, with an interest in pre/postnatal, pediatric, digestive and preventative wellness. I believe there is a strong urgency in educating people on the importance of nourishing their bodies, with the purest of foods, and lifestyle practices, to be the healthiest version of themselves.

 

Meal planning can be intimidating and overwhelming, I get it. I often tell clients that they can do it on their own, with a little help from meal planning tools, like Meal Garden, and I usually get a blank stare. I’m here to tell you, you can TOTALLY do it! Meal Garden was created for the purpose of getting people, just like you, to build out amazing meal plans for you and your family in a simple and effective way.

 

One of my favourite things about Meal Garden is that you can see exactly what nutrients you are getting from your recipe. The algorithm is able to break it down for you from protein, carbs and fats to vitamins and minerals like Vitamin A and Iron.

 

Here is how I do it:

 

Go to your schedule and click ‘Breakfast’ for Monday. I want something that is quick to make but will pack a nutritious punch.

Where it says ‘Ready in’, I select 15 minutes. In the search bar, this is where you can get creative or be really specific for what you want. I want something that is going to give me energy while keeping me full throughout the morning. I type in ‘smoothie’. I found the perfect one to start my morning: Chia Berry Green Protein Smoothie.

I checked out the nutrients and it’s got a great combo of carbs, protein and fat that will fuel my morning! This recipe is for one serving but what is great is that you can say you want it as a leftover for breakfast the next day and it will adjust the measurements accordingly.

 

My Top 3 Tips for Successful Meal Planning...

 

1. MAKE TIME FOR IT.

On Saturday’s, take an hour or two out of your day to build your meal plan for the week. On Sunday’s you can grocery shop using the grocery list that is generated for you in the tool, after you build out your plan. After your shop is complete, the fun part begins! Look at your week and see what you can prep in advance. For example, I know I’ll be having the Chia Berry Green Protein Smoothie for breakfast on Monday and Tuesday so I will grab the bananas, berries and spinach needed, put them in a container and pop it in the freezer. In the morning, I put it all in the blender with the water, protein powder and chia seeds and boom!

 

2. SEARCH FOR RECIPES THE SMART WAY.    

Make use of the awesome hashtags that Meal Garden has to offer. For example, I want my meals to have more than 20g of protein so when I am searching in the cookbook, I type “#protein>20”. This will filter out all the recipes that have more than 20g of protein which will make your search for delicious, nutritious and filling meals, that much easier. It’s important to get a good amount of protein in your meals to keep you feeling satiated until you next meal! Protein is also super important for many processes that your bodies go through daily. You can do this with other categories like fats, carbs and calories.

HERE'S MORE DETAILS ON THIS AWESOME FEATURE IN MEAL GARDEN.

 

3. REPURPOSE TO SAVE TIME AND EFFORT    

Leftovers, leftovers, leftovers. Why not make enough of that delicious curry chickpea stew you made for dinner? You can make any recipe in Meal Garden a leftover meal. Like I mentioned above, the Chia Berry Green Protein Smoothie recipe is for one serving but I wanted to have it for the next day as well so I just adjusted the measurements accordingly and there you have it, leftovers. Planning for leftovers makes your life that much easier!

 


Don’t be afraid to get creative in the kitchen! Meal planning is so much fun. It gives you a chance to really get to know what you’re putting into your body. When you make meals yourself, you appreciate them so much more. Branch out, have fun, you’ve got this!

3 Most Effective Tips to Lose Baby Weight

Feeling pressure to return to your pre-pregnancy weight? In many cases, this is easier said than done - especially when you add taking care of a brand new baby and a new schedule to the mix. In fact, most new moms don’t drop their extra pounds until their babies are a year old.

This doesn't mean that losing weight after a new baby is impossible. But, it's important that you be patient with your yourself.

Looking for tips to help you get started on your journey? Taking heed of the following three steps will help you find your waistline in a healthy way. And, the best part about it? You won't lose your mind or sacrifice vital bonding time with your baby.

Before We Begin

After the birth of your baby, your body is very fragile. Thus, it’s important that you are gentle with yourself when attempting to lose the baby weight. Secondly, it is recommended that you talk to your doctor before you begin your weight loss regimen, especially if any of the following pertains to you:

●      Back and/or pelvis pain

●      You had complications during delivery

●      Incontinence

Tip #1: Eat Smart

Just because you’re no longer carrying your baby doesn’t mean you’re not eating for two. Even if you chose to forego the breastfeeding route, you will need lots of energy to take proper care of both you and the baby.

[*For those of you who are still prenatal, check out the following meal plan designed just for you*]

When making smart eating decisions post-delivery, your goal isn't to go on a diet. Depriving yourself of your favorite foods, coupled with the added stress of being a new mom, can actually make you gain weight.

Instead, consider this simple concept - moderation is key. In other words, too much of anything is not good for you. And, when possible, opt for organic foods as they tend to be free of toxic ingredients. In addition:

●     Eat smaller, but more frequent meals

●     Drink lots of water

●     Eat breakfast every day

●     Include fiber rich foods like seeds, grains, beans, and oats in your meals

●     Go easy on sugary and fatty foods

●     Add more fruits and vegetables to your diet

Here's a meal plan that you may want to consider along your journey...

Tip #2: Get Moving Mama

All those midnight feedings and diaper changes can wreak havoc with your nerves. And, to make things worse, this stress can prevent you from losing weight.

What is a new mom to do? Thankfully, not only is yoga one of the best exercises to reduce tummy size, it's a proven stress buster as well, not even counting the benefits that yoga has on your mind. But, before you begin your new yoga regimen, make sure to pick up the following items:

●     Mat: Prevents your feet and hands from slipping. It also serves as a barrier between you and the floor

●     Blanket: Used to make certain poses more comfortable

●     Blocks: Make it easier to do poses that require a little more flexibility than you presently possess

●     Strap: Helps deepen stretches

●     Comfortable clothing: Wearing comfortable clothes that are breathable and allow freedom of movement will ensure that you won’t have to constantly rearrange them. Lycra and cotton tops and bottoms are snug but comfortable.

To get the most out of your yoga-inspired post-delivery workout regimen, some recommended poses include:

●     Tiger pose: Relieves back pain, helps weight loss, improves digestive health, and tones the shoulders, arms, and legs

●     Cobra pose: Relieves lower back pain, firms the buttocks, tones the abdomen, shoulders, and arms, and improves oxygen and blood circulation

●     Pigeon pose: Helps tone the lower half of the body (i.e. legs, thighs, and hips), reduces stiffness in the lower body, increases hip flexibility, and relieves anxiety and stress

Tip #3: Get Enough Sleep

After the birth of new baby, it can seem impossible to get a full night’s sleep. But, lack of sleep can actually make it more challenging for you to lose the baby weight. When you’re tired, your body releases stress hormones (like cortisol) that can help promote weight gain. It's also less likely that you will choose healthy foods and/or engage in physical activity.

To ensure you get enough sleep, try napping when the baby is sleeping. This might mean that you have to let the laundry and/or the dishes pile up but, that's ok. You need all the sleep you can get to take good care of both you and baby.

When you begin your post pregnancy weight loss plan, it bears repeating that you should be patient with yourself. Ignore stories of the lucky ones that get back in shape within a few weeks after delivery. Quick weight loss like this is unrealistic for the average new mother. Your focus should be on losing weight gradually and, with the above tips, you will be well on your way. Good luck and, as always, namaste.

This was a guest post by Emily Adams, who is a marketing specialist at YogiWear - having a main focus on development and implementation of marketing ideas. Her primary talking points are yoga life, benefits of yoga, yogi lifestyle and yoga wear.

No longer scared to eat: meal planning made friendly, fun and anxiety-free!

After being diagnosed with gestational diabetes, food become a major source of stress for Heather - she knew how important it was to make the right decisions on exactly what, how and when to eat. Unfortunately, doing it alone was daunting to say the least.

Googling recipes + make-shift manual meal planning simply wasn't cutting it.

I had the pleasure of meeting Heather in Chico, California when presenting to a wonderful group of women at the Be Alpha Strong gym. These holistic health warriors were the perfect candidates for the Holistic Health Toolkit recently launched in Meal Garden, so it was an honour to share some of recipes, meal plans, and guides available in this digital kit with them!

A few weeks after the in-person workshop, back in Toronto, I was delighted to see that Heather was making the most of the digital toolkit - planning & scheduling recipes galore:

"I watched your presentation - it was awesome and I signed up that week.

I LOVE how easy it is to schedule meal plans and the option to schedule leftovers.

I love that I can search low carb and low sugar.

The website is very user friendly. I like the emails that you send out. it reminds me, oh yeah! I need to meal plan!!!

The shopping list is AMAZING! I love being able to go to the bulk food section and choose my items so quickly.  

I also really appreciate how you write your recipes. I can pick up your sense of humour and it makes me feel happy like a real human has made it and so can I!

Thank you for helping me feed my family healthy meals :)"

One of Heather's (& her daughter's) favourite recipes has been these Toddler Muffins:

This delicious dairy-free muffin recipe comes to us from picky-eater specialist Danielle Binns!

This delicious dairy-free muffin recipe comes to us from picky-eater specialist Danielle Binns!

In fact, her daughter loves them SO much, she literally tried putting the entire piece in her mouth!

Heather also reached out to the Meal Garden team for recipe inspiration when it was time to prepare her daughter's birthday party cake - she was looking for a sugar-free alternative, with perhaps a healthy frosting. Here's what our team suggested:

Looks like it was a hit!

Looks like it was a hit!

Months later, I was able to reconnect with Heather as I was back in California hosting a health-focused wellness retreat day, Camp Anthea, which I was excited to invite her to! 

It was so lovely to hear just how much Meal Garden has been able to totally transform Heather's life for the better...

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"Healthy, easy and affordable meals - yay! I have made several healthy recipes that my husband, toddler and I enjoy."

Today, Heather still shares her Meal Garden journey with friends and family on her social media accounts...inspiring others to jump on the healthy-bandwagon she is leading :)

This is one of the recipes from the Holistic Health Toolkit - a vegan "death breath" caesar salad.

This is one of the recipes from the Holistic Health Toolkit - a vegan "death breath" caesar salad.

"THANK YOU for making a recipe website that is DOABLE, yummy and healthy!"

 

A huge congratulations to Heather for being such a positive source of inspiration to our Meal Garden community!


Are you the next success story? For Heather, it all started by diving into the Holistic Health Toolkit - get yours today and make for a happier and healthier tomorrow!