Author: megansheley

My Top 11 Picks At Trader Joe’s

My Top 11 Picks At Trader Joe’s

Unlike what seems the majority, Trader Joe’s isn’t my usual grocery store. It’s not the place that I go for my weekly grocery store hauls, but they have a handful of items that I most certainly won’t find anywhere else – like their one of […]

A Nutrition Coach’s Guide To Non-Perishables

A Nutrition Coach’s Guide To Non-Perishables

Non-perishable foods may not sound like the most appealing way to eat, but they can be a healthy, sustainable, and important food category to have stocked in your pantry. Although some items like boxed macaroni and cheese are non-perishable, they’re also packed with preservatives and […]

How To Make A Salad That Doesn’t Suck

How To Make A Salad That Doesn’t Suck

Let’s be honest, some salad’s suck. Most of the time they’re made with bland, minimal ingredients with not a lot of nutritional value (romaine, shredded cheese, and ranch dressing go-er’s, I’m looking at you). If you’re one of those people saying “salads suck” or “I’m always hungry after I eat a salad”, it’s most likely because you’re not adding in the correct food to keep you full and satisfied for a longer period of time.

Here’s the truth – salads don’t suck. They can be made to be not only extremely filling and nutritional, but delicious too, if you do it right. I have a salad most days for lunch, and I’m constantly asked, “how can you eat a salad everyday? Aren’t you hungry?” Nah, I’m not. Here’s why:

Base – If you’re big into romaine, try mixing it with spinach or kale (remember to massage with lemon juice & salt). They’re great options for a milder green packed with nutrients. Arugula is another great alternative for a little more flavor and spice. Mixing and matching greens can create a great combination of flavors and textures.

Fat – Fat has about 9 calories per gram, compared to 4 calories per gram in protein. Healthy fats keep you fuller for longer, not to mention the heart, brain, and skin health benefits that come with consuming Omega 3’s. My favorite fats to add to a salad are avocado, nuts, olive oil, and salmon.

Protein – It is a very common misconception that you need to have meat to get protein, or to stay full for a longer period of time. EHH. WRONG. While I’ll sometimes add chicken or salmon for protein on a salad, I’m completely fine skipping meat for the day – you should be too! There are plenty plant-based options that are packed with protein – quinoa, hemp seeds, and pumpkin seeds to name a few.

Fiber – “Eat more fiber” – we’ve all heard it. Fiber is simply a type of carbohydrate found naturally in plant-based foods that is not digestible in humans. Although fiber cannot be digested, it is being moved down the digestive tract as nutrients are being digested, and can do some great things that positively impact our health including aiding in healthy digestion, preventing obesity and diabetes, and lowering cholesterol. A lot of the foods I’ve mentioned above are packed with fiber – kale, avocado, nuts/seeds, and quinoa.

Texture – There’s a reason that croutons are everyone’s favorite part of the salad. Adding crunch in your salad is a great way to switch up the textures throughout. My favorite’s are sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and nuts.

Color / Flavor – Colorful food tastes better – it’s a fact. Adding in tons of bright vegetables will not only make your salad look more appetizing, but actually be more appetizing. Add however many veggies you’d like – tomatoes, red onion, bell peppers, cucumber, beets, corn, radish, or purple cabbage – or all? Never too many veggies! I always add cilantro to my salads because I love the flavor so much. It instantly makes it taste fresher by adding in an herb to your salad.

Health Additions – I always like to add something that has an added health benefit, such as sauerkraut for gut health, or nutritional yeast for B12 vitamins. Nutritional yeast is the same type of yeast that’s used to bake bread and brew beer. This yeast is grown specifically to be used as a food product. The yeast cells are killed during manufacturing and not alive in the final product. It is used a lot of vegan cooking as it has a very cheesy flavor and is a great addition to a salad.

Dressing – This is the part where most people slip up. Healthy salad dressings, while becoming easier to come by, are still a struggle if you’re not reading your labels. Most salad dressings are loaded with sugars, thickeners, and preservatives – making your thoughtfully crafted salad near pointless. My biggest tip for salad dressings: either make your own – here’s my easy homemade balsamic dressing, or READ  YOUR LABELS. Look for dressings with whole food ingredients that you can understand. Stay away from ones with vegetable oil bases, as they tend to be an inflammatory. A few of my favorite salad dressing brands are – Tessemaes, Salad Girl, Primal Kitchen, and Trader Joe’s Green Goddess.

My go-to superfood salad is right here, and it’s a weekly staple for me. Keeps me full and satisfied for hours and it’s began to be something my body craves. Whether you’re an avid salad eater, or if this is your first one, I hope you’ve learned something and been inspired to add something new to your salad next time around.

What are your favorite salad toppings? Let me know in the comments below.

xoxo,
Megan

The Skincare Routine That Healed My Skin

The Skincare Routine That Healed My Skin

I was made to believe I always had good skin, but that was just the Birth Control talking. I was on birth control for almost 16 years. I went on it went I was 15 years old, before I had even gone through puberty. My […]

Why I became A Health Coach

Why I became A Health Coach

“Why’d you decide to become a Health Coach?” I get this question a lot. So, here’s my story. I went to college at the University of Minnesota, and I studied Public Health. I mostly chose that major because by year 3 of me still not […]

My Experience With IIN

Some of the most common questions that I get regarding Health Coaching is about the school that I went through to get to where I am. I went to school at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition – an online-based Nutrition and Holistic Wellness school that set me up for success in a scary career-transitioning phase of my life. I did a lot of research on different programs that were out there, which can be overwhelming solely due to the amount of different programs that are promising similar things. Just going off what they all market on their websites wasn’t doing it for me – so I tried to talk to someone that had gone through the program and could provide a more personal experience.

If I hadn’t enjoyed my experience at IIN, I would not waste my time with a blog post about it. I whole-heartedly recommend this school as it allowed me the flexibility I needed, and also filled me with so much knowledge and re-confirmed my interest and passion for this subject.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Do you need any prior learning experience in order to enroll in IIN? 

No. The only pre-requisites for enrolling in IIN is drive, passion, and determination to be a part of the movement that’s making a difference in the world and the way we eat. Whether its a transformative personal experience or career change, if you fulfill the aforementioned qualifications, you’ll find success within this program. I was a Public Health major at the University of Minnesota, but having this degree only confirmed my interests, it didn’t leverage me into the program by any means.

Why did you choose IIN over all of the other options out there? 

One thing that stuck out to me about this program was that it assisted in the business aspects of setting up your own coaching practice – which personally for me seemed very daunting. It provides you with marketing materials, legal documents, and a website setup. Although I chose to create my own website, the offer for a website is on the table. I was drawn to a lot of the lecturers that IIN had for some of their modules, as I’ve read books by them, seen them speak live, read their articles online, etc. IIN was the one name that continued to pop up when talking to various people about their experiences in different schools.

Can I do IIN while working a full-time job?

Yes. Your hours would be long, but it’s definitely doable. I wanted to choose a school that was online so I would be able to have flexibility to work and build a side business, all while tuning into classes and completing school work and exams. This option allowed me to listen to lectures at my own pace, as long as I was ready for the 4 quarterly exams that take place.

What was the biggest surprise throughout the course?

They didn’t seem to market this as much as I’d expect them to, but I loved that they focused on a holistic approach to wellness, instead of just honing in on that the food you put into your body is all that matters in order to be healthy. It teaches Primary Food and Secondary Food. Secondary Food is nutrition. Primary Food is physical activity, relationships, career, and spirituality. Being unhealthy in your primary food makes it almost impossible to be considered healthy. It discusses that lacking fulfillment in one of those primary food areas may be the root cause of disordered, unmindful, or unhealthy eating habits. This was always something that I believed in, so it was really great to dive deeper into that understanding.

What is your favorite theory that IIN teaches and stands by?

BIO-INDIVIDUALITY. One person’s medicine could be another person’s poison. To assume the fact that everyone should be eating the same or following the same diet is completely wrong. What may work for me, may cause inflammation and bloating to someone else. Finding what works for YOUR body and what makes YOU feel good both physically and mentally is how you should determine what you should be eating – not how your friends and family are eating. Please be conscious when noticing other people’s dietary patterns or requests, you have no idea how their body reacts to certain foods.

If you’re interested in learning more about my experience with IIN, or thinking about pulling the trigger on taking the step to change yours and other’s lives, sign up for further information here. As an ambassador of the program, if you apply using that link I get a prize! So as a thank you I’ll take you to coffee and tell you all you want to know about my experience with the program and get you as ready as I can for your upcoming journey!

I hope this answered some questions you have, leave a comment if you have any other questions and I can include them in this post!

xoxo,
Megan

My Morning Routine For A Successful Day

My Morning Routine For A Successful Day

Ah, mornings. You either love them or you hate them. I’ve grown to love the morning sunlight as I’ve taken it as an opportunity to set the tone for a new day. I have developed a routine that keeps me checking things off my to-do […]

Eat This, Not That.

Eat This, Not That.

I’ve recently been loving re-creating some of my favorite foods at home with healthier and more wholesome substitutes. It’s been a fun journey exploring how to incorporate new and better ingredients into foods I love to make me feel a little bit better about eating […]

Simple Tips For A Healthy Vacation

Simple Tips For A Healthy Vacation

Traveling is meant to be a fun experience, but sometimes after a weekend (or week) of over-indulging in food and drinks, the flight or drive home can become a ride-of-shame. To avoid this nagging feeling of guilt, it’s important to stay mindful of your day-to-day food choices and activity levels during your vacations.

Tips to stay on track:

Prep for the airport and airplane.

For anyone that’s been to an airport before, you know that health-food stores are hard to come by. If you’re hungry, you’re usually resorting to a bag of Chex Mix at the magazine store or a plate of nachos from TGI Friday’s. Occasionally you will stumble upon some prepackaged veggies and hummus that will break the bank – so, it’s best to come prepared and bring your own snacks! Packing a homemade granola with nuts, seeds, and dried fruits, a travel sized nut butter, or something as simple as an RxBar will help fight off the urge to grab that bag of Doritos from the snack cart mid-flight.

Stay hydrated.

This one may seem obvious, but it’s even more crucial if you’re traveling on an airplane. Lower levels of humidity in airplanes can severely dehydrate your body, leaving you to start out your vacation feeling sluggish and dry. Drinking water will help your body stay balanced while it is constantly trying to acclimate to time, climate, and elevation changes during your trip. TIP: Invest in a reusable water container for travel (Nalgene, S’well, or even a mason jar.) Not only do the flight attendants give you more water to refill it, but the amount of plastic used for drinks on airplanes is mind blowing! So do your part – bring something reusable!

Move your body.

Just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean you need to ditch your workouts. Maybe you won’t be doing your same workout routine you’re used to doing at home, but something as simple as starting your day with a run or a quick 20-minute body weight circuit can help ease the stress of travel. Exercise helps your body hit the ‘reset’ button and get your internal clock back on schedule if you are experiencing jetlag.  I’ve found that investing in some light, travel-friendly workout equipment (resistance bands, jump rope, and of course, your sneakers!) help keep me motivated to get up and move!  If you’re struggling to find workout inspiration and routines while outside the gym, YouTube is your best friend.

Indulge in moderation.

Everyone knows that some of the best vacations usually consist of a higher food and alcohol consumption. One of my favorite parts of traveling to new places is experiencing local cuisine and trying new restaurants. As you’re sampling local fare, practice mindful eating by slowing down to appreciate your meal and don’t lose sight of the ingredients you’re putting into your body. Starting every morning off with a balanced breakfast filled with protein, fats, and fiber sets a solid tone for the rest of your day by keeping you satiated until lunch and avoiding any cravings for unhealthy foods later in the day.

Do your research.

In most cases, the location you’re visiting likely has outings, events, and cafe’s similar to the ones you enjoy visiting at home. Do you research on weekend farmer’s markets or natural food cafe’s and restaurants. Immersing yourself in the culture and cuisine of the city you’re visiting is one of the best parts about exploring new grounds, so staying in every night and cooking can put a damper on the experience. I usually start by creating a list before traveling to my destination of healthier options to dine out at. That way, I’m not scrambling last minute when the hunger hits and resorting to the local fast food joint or chips and salsa at the pool bar.

Unplug from work.

Vacations are meant to be a time to recharge, spend time exploring, and make memories with people we love.  Checking your work e-mail every 20 minutes or stepping away from dinner because your boss is calling can really mess with your vacation vibes, so try to leave the work phone at home. If your boss requires you to be available, try to set expectations before you leave the office about how often you’ll be checking in. Be present, enjoy the sights, the smells, and the feels of your new destination and return that call or e-mail when you get back home.

Most importantly, be kind to yourself. The post-vacation blues, the bloat from travel, and the guilt from overindulging make for a perfect storm to fall into a slump when returning home. Remind yourself that it’s okay to stray away from your normal habits! Don’t beat yourself up for having an extra slice of pizza. Get back into your normal routine upon returning home and give yourself a pat on the back for taking the steps to be healthier in a situation where it’s so easy not to be!

What are your favorite ways to stay healthy on your vacations? Let me know in the comments below!

xoxo,
Megan