Although we usually think of fresh salsa as a summer dish, this superfoodified, veggie-licious side item is perfect for fall, too! With tailgates and dinner parties sprinkling your fall calendars, consider this easy table-topper for your next soiree or potluck.
What You’ll Need Makes 3 cups
– 1 orange, red or yellow pepper
– 1/2 of a small white or yellow onion
– 3-4 Roma tomatoes
– 1/4 cup fresh cilantro (1/2 of the typical bunch you find “pre-bunched” at the grocery store)
– 1 can of black beans
– 1 bag of frozen fresh corn
– 1/2 jalapeño pepper
– The juice of one lime
– Sea salt to taste
What You’ll Do
– Dice the pepper, onion & Roma tomatoes and put aside in a bowl
– Chop the jalapeño into tiny pieces and add to the bowl
– Squeeze the juice of the lime over peppers, onion and tomatoes
– Pour the frozen corn into a mesh strainer, and run water over the corn until no longer frozen (but still cold)
– Add the corn to the bowl
– Chop cilantro and add to the bowl
– Pour the black beans into the strainer and rinse, then pour into the bowl
‘Tis the season for spring breaks, weekend getaways & music festivals, and you know what that means? Road Trips!
But, for all their allure and adventure, they can also throw a wrench in our healthy habits. How easy it is to fall off the wagon when we are tempted to grab Fritos and Coca-Cola for “lunch” at the BP when stopping for gas, or chugging a Red Bull to stay alert for the five hour drive ahead.
We know we really should be making better choices, like walking away from the pre-packaged honey bun beckoning us in all its cellophaned glory, but we are ramped up from the anticipation of reaching our final destination, and we just want to get there already! We have adopted the vacation mindset and a spirit of urgency and indulgence! Besides, could there really be healthier choices lurking just off the interstate?
Indeed, you hungry traveler, there are!
Here are some secrets to help keep you on track no matter where the road takes you:
If you know you’ll be hungry before you’ll need a pit stop, pack healthy snacks & drinks from home. If your adventure includes lots of sightseeing or rushing from party to party, bring enough to last for the trip, if space allows.
Here’s an example: On a recent trip to Charleston (5 1/2 hours), I brought along two liters of water, baby carrots, a small tub of hummus and a medium-sixed (reusable) plastic container full of chopped romaine
lettuce leaves and leftover fresh basil rolls & sushi from dinner the night before. It was not only easy to eat in the car, but it kept me from binging on french fries or potato chips when I finally did stop. Since I had the water, I didn’t need to buy anything on the road either and could much more easily walk past the soda fridge or my old childhood favorite, the make-your-own-concoction fountain drink machine! (What is it about those whacky flavors that just spelled F-U-N!? …ah, memories. <sigh>)
Another easy-peasy hint along these lines: Fill snack size ziplock bags or a small container with your usual go-to’s, like veggie or apple slices, pretzels, hummus or nut butter, trail mix, lean meats or smoked fish, or whatever your heart desires. You can even make some lettuce wraps or sandwiches!
Scout out the healthy(ish) options in Convenience Stores
Worst case scenario, you (your kids, your S.O., your travel mates, your dog) have eaten all your finely prepared snacks, and popping into a grocery store to refuel with carrot sticks and hummus just isn’t a viable option. Don’t fret! In most gas stations, sunflower seeds and a variety of nuts are easily found, and some stop-n-go’s even have apples and bananas at the checkout. If the fresh fruit looks a little iffy, try to find some dried apricots or other trail mix with dried fruit, if you’re hankering for some sweet with your salty. As always, check the ingredient list for any additives or unrecognizable ingredients (i.e. sugar additives or you can’t pronounce them) before buying.
For even better luck with a wider array of choices, try to choose a gas station in a more populated/commercialized area, particularly a Pilot if you can find one. Added bonus with Pilot: they are usually well-lit, the bathrooms are clean, and the gas competitively priced!
Steer Clear of Sugar and Soft Drinks Ah, yes, sugar. Candy and sweets, though appealing and a throwback to our childhood jaunts in the family station wagon (Circus Peanuts, anyone?), will mess with your blood sugar, leaving you drowsyand craving more sugar later in your trip – both of which are quite inconvenient for the traveler on a mission to her final destination! Instead, count on your seeds and nuts to keep your blood sugar stable with their protein/fat content, and rely more heavily on water than on sugary, caffeine-laden colas to keep your thirst at bay. If you’re craving the carbonation, get a bottle of club soda. For those who travel with your own Stevia, put a few drops (or one of the individual packets) into the bottle, and you’ve just made your own all natural, refreshing soda without any of the guilt or garbage!
Let’s be honest, though, sometimes, we just need a jolt, and when the energy slump really hits you, particularly if you’re driving through the night, you really do have to have a pick-me-up. Pick up a coffee or hot tea with the least amount of additives.
Wherever your travels take you, Ramble On, Rosebuds, and enjoy your adventures!
As I was preparing for my super exciting trek to the north, it dawned on me!
With minimal breaks during day-long meetings, as well as a full day exploring the wonder of NYC on the docket before the weekend trotting hither tither and yon with my busy Connecticut Mommy Poppins, I might need snacks!
Eek! Hating to run the risk of no-GF friendly snacks, I had to plan ahead.
As much as I love my GO RAW Flax Snax and Live Granola bars, I really wanted to try to make my own tasty travel trail mix. (Saving me a trip to Whole Foods AND a bit o’ moola, too!)
Enter Yummy Bubby Trail Mix – named after Mommy Poppins’ younger son who I would be seeing this trip.
I whipped up the mix the night before we headed off by using various ingredients that were on-hand and put it in snack size Ziploc bags for grab-n-go, purse-sized snacks. Pre-packaged power foods!
Here’s the basic recipe:
– 1/4 c. roasted & salted sunflower seeds
– 1 Tbl. raw goji berries and/or other dried berries
– 1-2 Tbl. dried cranberries
– 1/2 Tbl. raw cacao nibs
If your diet allows for it, mix in some other delights, like almonds, raisins, toasted pumpkin seeds, cashews, walnuts or bits of granola. Have fun and be creative!
Yummy Bubby turned out to be simply delectable and certainly came in handy when my blood sugar dipped throughout the busy weekend! There was also the added bonus of having a satisfied spirit (& belly) in knowing that I had created my own little convenient GF travel snack and didn’t have to worry! One Caveat when creating your own Yummy Bubby mix:
Keep a low-GI ratio, which just means stay mindful that your super-charged nuts and seeds aren’t outnumbered by dried fruits, granola, etc. in your concoction.
Huffington Post’s Healthy Living rocks my world with this quick article and slide show about how to eat for more energy. Ever since doing a Clean Eating Detox a few weeks ago, I’ve been working towards kicking the caffeine habit. It’s been easier than I thought since I gave up the highly-processed creamers (I used to adore the Fat Free French Vanilla!!) and all those other artificially sweetened add-in’s a few years ago. Back in the day, a Skinny Vanilla Latte? Yes, please! Make it a double!
Needless to say, black coffee is much easier to walk away from than lattes and cappuccinos; however, weaning myself off of
the gentle jolt from a Cup o’ Joe definitely takes some getting used to. (So does falling asleep at 7PM, let me tell you!
Allegedly, it’s all part of your body adjusting, but yikes, does it put a damper on a girl’s social life for a good week or so!)
That said, finding these oldies-but-goodies on how to naturally boost our energy levels is both serendipitous and motivating. Simple and easy-to-remember techniques that help combat blood sugar dips and mid-afternoon slumps? Sounds like a must-read to me!
Check out the Post for the tip(s) that will help you triumph over your own 2PM Cookie Monsters and Energy Drink temptations!
My favorite is #2: Eat The Right Food Combos for maximum energy: fruit or veggie + a whole grain + lean protein + plant-based fat + herb/spice. (LOVE that herbs/spices are having a moment in the spotlight of energizing superfoods! Turmeric, Ginger, Garlic, oh my!)
Which tips speak to you?! Leave us a comment and share your thoughts on how you overcome lulls in your own energy.
Chia seeds are one of my go-to favorite superfoods & add-in’s for many of my breakfasts and snacks. From smoothies to rice pudding to chia pudding to pancakes to oatmeal, I have a hard time not sprinkling them in!
Here’s the scoop: Chia seeds are an ancient superfood, touted by the Mayans, Aztecs and Incas. Listen to this: Chia actually means “strength” in the language of the Mayans, and some say, the seeds were considered “running food” because messengers could run all day fueled by these tiny little seeds. A wee seed for strength and running? Sign me up!
Why is the Chia Seed such a nutritious powerhouse, you ask?
One ounce (or 2 tablespoons) of chia seeds contains only 137 calories, but provides four grams of protein and 11 grams of fiber
Not only are they packed with protein, fiber, magnesium, calcium, and ALA (a type of omega-3 fatty acid), but chia seeds are also high in Omega-3’s (higher than even flaxseed)
30% of the chia seed’s oil is Omega 3 oil. 40% of its oil is Omega 6 oil. This ratio provides the nice balance for anyone looking to supplement Essential Fatty Acids (named as such because they are essential, but our bodies don’t produce them on our own)
The chia seed’s substantially dense percentage in alpha-linolenic fatty acid (ALA) also makes this seed a healthy dietary source of fatty acids. (ALA’s have been found to lower risks of cardiovascular disease and reduce levels of anxiety, stress and cortisol, which left at high levels can tax the adrenal glands, throw other hormones outta whack, contribute to belly fat, and encourage other less-than-awesome physical effects on our bodies)
Chia seeds are a complete source of protein. They actually have 2 times the protein of any other seed or grain and also help stabilize blood sugar (Ding, ding! Huge benefit for this girl!)
Chia seeds are fabulous colon cleansers, bind to toxins, and actually clear out the digestive tract so that you absorb more nutrients and eliminate waste more efficiently.
Chia seeds do not need to be ground to be eaten. They are relatively easy-to-digest seeds (compared with its cousin, the flax seeds, which often have to be ground for folks to digest)
Chia seeds can be used as an egg-substitute for the vegan crowd
You can find chia seeds packaged similarly to quinoa in your local grocery store, in the bulk section of natural food stores, or even on Amazon.com.
To get these little guys in your diet can be super duper easy. Here are a few ideas:
Add a scoop to your smoothie – no need to grind! I actually prefer adding the seeds after I finish blending simply for the fun texture … Gentle warning: the seeds develop a gel-like casing after sitting in liquid, which may catch you by surprise if you don’t know it’s coming
Sprinkle on your yogurt
Whip up some chia seed pudding
Add a tablespoon to some water or juice (if you’re a little iffy with textures, this one might not be for you)
Add a couple teaspoons to your pancake mix or morning oats
Before placing your toast in the oven or toaster oven, spray a little oil or spread a little of your butter-spread on your toast and sprinkle on the chia seeds. The butter spread will keep the chia seeds on the toast; once the bread is toasted, continue on with your usual toppings. *This one is not advised if you’re using a regular toaster; those seeds will likely fall right off!