7 Healthy Ways to Ring In The New Year in 2017Written by Kelsey Blackwell | Thursday, December 29th, 2016

healthy-new-year-2017Donning your finest threads and popping a bottle (or two) of champagne, is not the only way to bring in 2017. While we enjoy a festive party just as much as anyone, we also love stepping into a new year feeling refreshed, renewed and ready for anything. Overindulging and/or staying out well past bedtime (no matter how fancy your dance-floor footwork) is just no way to start the subsequent morning on solid ground. Still, hitting the lights well before the first firework isn’t the way to go either. You’ve got to live a little, right? Here are 7 healthy ways to have your cake, ahem, coconut, and eat it too this year.

 

  1. Host a vegan potluck. During the New Year people are often thinking about stepping up their health regimen. This can translate to more openness around considering dietary changes. Introduce friends to a healthier way of eating, and show them how satisfying and delicious going vegan can be. When the clock strikes midnight, celebrate with a kombucha toast to really get into the spirit.
  2. Dance the night away – sans booze. Did you know dancing can burn upwards of 350 calories an hour? Don’t let your slick moves go to waste by ingesting just as much as you’re burning. A glass of champagne has roughly 95 calories per 4 oz., which can quickly add up.
  3. Give yourself drink tickets. Only you know how much alcohol you can reasonably consume without feeling “off” the next day. Make a plan before the big day by giving yourself a drinking budget and sticking to it even at the height of festive revelry.
  4. Do a new class. How long has that intro capoeira class been on your to-do list? Hot Yoga? Blues Dancing? What’s more empowering than starting the New Year literally in the act of crossing off one of your resolutions?
  5. Celebrate like an 8 year-old. Rather than scouring for a sitter or dropping the kids off with grandparents, make them the center of your celebration. Create your own New Year’s ritual by lighting candles and sharing aspirations. They’ll likely be delighted, and you’ll enjoy a low-pressure evening. Board games? Check! Mac & Cheese? Check! Lights out by 10? Check!
  6. Volunteer. The holiday season can be a tough time for many. Help brighten another’s day, (and, perhaps find a warm internal do-gooder glow) by offering your time at a local shelter, food bank, senior home or anywhere else your heart is called. Being in service to others is the ultimate reward.
  7. Meditate. Breath in, breath out and find your Zen during an evening of meditation. Many meditation centers offer open sits to the general public on New Year’s Eve and Day. If the holiday season left you feeling scattered, anxious and exhausted, or you simply want to experience a real break during the holiday break, sitting for a full day in a quiet space may be just the medicine you need.

Back To School Food GuideWritten by Susan Thanavaro | Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

School is starting up again, and while that adds chaos to any parent’s schedule, it doesn’t mean that your kid’s nutrition needs to suffer. Make sure your kid is staying healthy at school with these easy tips!

1. When it comes to lunch, forget peanut butter and jelly, a bag of chips and a sugary dessert. This lunch is all wrong since it’s packed with high-carbohydrate, high glycemic foods which will spike kids blood-sugar and then send them crashing hours later. Instead make sure your kids lunchbox is full of fruits, veggies, protein (like cold cuts), and good fats (like avocado or nuts).

2. Try to avoid letting your kid eat cafeteria food as well. While schools have made great progress since the days of mystery meat, if left alone your kid will probably run to the pizza line without even glancing at the salad bar.

3. Make sure there’s a healthy snack available. Kids will eat whatever’s near when they’re crashing, especially if it’s covered in frosting or sprinkles. Consider nuts, an apple or string cheese. Our new Fusion packs are also a great option since they’re Certified Organic, free from added sugar and delicious.

4. Being healthy doesn’t stop at the lunch table. If you need to bring food for some classroom party or it’s your child’s birthday try swapping out some traditional items for healthier ones. Bottled water instead of soda. Vegan cupcakes instead of store bought ones. Dried fruit instead of chips. You may not be the cool parent with these choices, but your kids bodies will be grateful.

If you aren’t sure where to get started, try our Dried Cranberry Turkey Wrap. It’s full of healthy protein, fruit and veggies and is the perfect substitute for a PB&J.

 

Figs make everything taste better—10 ways to use themWritten by Susan Thanavaro | Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

Summer is here which means we’re dreaming up all the ways we can dress up vanilla ice cream to cool off from the heat and enjoy this season. Sure, sprinkles and chocolate sauce are nice, but in the Made In Nature kitchen, we prefer to be more creative (and healthy) with our desserts. The blank slate of vanilla is perfect for showing off everything from slivered almonds to our new favorite, sautéed figs.

Here’s an easy recipe for our favorite sautéed figs, but it doesn’t just stop at ice cream and appetizers. Here are 10 other ways to incorporate figs into your summer diet.

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZsSM_x45wc

Fig Bruschetta: Toast baguette slices. Top with sautéed figs and goat cheese. Arrange on a baking sheet, sprinkle with chopped olives. Broil until nuts begin to brown. Sprinkle with favorite herb. We like fresh Thyme.

Figgy Ice Cream: Top your favorite vanilla bean ice cream with sautéed figs. Sprinkle with pistachios for delightful crunch.

Fig stuffed pork tenderloin: Slice pork in half lengthwise, cutting to, but not through, other side. Place between plastic wrap; pound to 1/2-inch thickness using a mallet or heavy skillet. Spread fig preserves and blue cheese over pork, leaving a 1/2-inch margin around outside edges. Roll up the pork like a jelly-roll, securing with twine as you go.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and place on a foil-lined jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray.  Bake at 450° for 20 minutes.

Crunchy fig, endive spears: For an easy appetizer, separate endive spears and dress with fig preserves, blue cheese and walnuts.

Goat cheese, arugula pizza with figs: Top pizza crust with olive oil, goat cheese and sautéed figs. Broil until cheese begins to bubble. Take out and top with thin slices of prosciutto and caramelized onions. Let cool slightly and top with fresh arugula. Buon appetito!

Fig ricotta: Top ricotta cheese with sautéed figs, drizzle with honey and sprinkle with thyme for a classic Italian breakfast.

Grilled chicken salad with figs: Top spinach with grilled chicken breast slices. Add toasted walnuts, blue cheese and diced figs. Dress with olive oil and red wine vinegar.

Yogurt with figs: Top Greek yogurt (we like plain, Vanilla works great as well) with figs, crushed pistachios and a drizzle of honey.

Linguine with figs and pancetta: Sauté radicchio with prosciutto and diced figs. Add mixture to linguine, toss with feta cheese and chopped parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add olive oil if the pasta is dry.

Chicken with fig sauce: Puree sautéed figs using a food processor and adding water as needed to desired texture. Serve on top of grilled or roasted chicken sprinkled with finishing pepper and rosemary for garnish.

 

What else can you do with figs? We think the possibilities are endless. Tell us about your favorite recipe in the comments section