Stay Happy & Hydrated!

Happy Wednesday friends! It is officially summer over here in the dusty, dry desert(at least it feels like it). Thankfully Arizona is easing us into summer this year. Instead of blasting us with mid 100’s all day, we at least still have some cool mornings and cooler evenings to keep us sane!

Never the less a few weeks ago I started feeling dry. What do I mean by “dry”? To start, I was super tired… all the time. No matter how much sleep I got I was waking up groggy and going to bed earlier and earlier. My lips felt chapped and my head felt foggy. I was so unmotivated to do anything after work because all I wanted to do was hit the couch and relax. On top of this, I would get random occurrences of nausea and my muscles felt achey and tight. I knew immediately that I wasn’t hydrating myself well because this also happened to me shortly after moving to Arizona.

Summer months in the desert are HARD! It is almost harder with having a little relief in the mornings and late evenings because it makes me more inclined to spend time outdoors when I can. The dry air sucks every little bit of moisture out of my skin, hair, and makes it extra difficult to hydrate before and after a run. Because of these reasons, I have to really push myself to hydrate more often throughout the day. I always prided myself on drinking a lot of water, but even with my good habits I still feel I need to push myself a little harder!

Here are a few of my tips on how to stay well hydrated. These tips don’t just apply to me… staying hydrated is beneficial in general to pretty much everyone! Hope you enjoy, and happy hydration!

  1. Carry a large water bottle — ditch the plastic minis! The bigger the bottle, the better for me. I like physically seeing that I am making progress on my water goals. It gives me a way to measure how well I’m doing throughout the day or if I need to step up my game. I prefer water bottles or flasks that are 24 oz or more!
  2. Switch it up! I have shared before how much I enjoy bubbly, flavored waters such as La Croix. When I open up a La Croix, I can down it within 15 minutes because the bubble and hint of flavor is so enjoyable and refreshing to me on a hot day. Drinks such as La Croix are also typically caffeine and sugar free. Caffeine tends to be dehydrating (it makes you pee a lot!), and because I’m such a coffee addict I try to stay away from all other caffeinated beverages as much as possible!
  3. Take advantage of summer fruit! Some fruit such as watermelon or honey dew actually have a fairly high water content. Snacking on these fruits can actually provide a source of hydration all on its own. Of course… you still need to drink fluid, but this is a great way to snack and hydrate at the same time without even thinking about it!
  4. Choose water during your commute. On average, my drive to work is anywhere from 30-40 minutes. During this time, I always grab a water bottle or a carbonated water to sip on the drive. I use to drink coffee on my commute but found that I usually wanted coffee anyways once I arrived at work. Swapping the car ride coffee for water was easy knowing I would have a cup as soon as I settled in at my destination. It is almost like a game… I have to finish this bottle or can before I pull into the parking garage!
  5. Utilize different flavors as needed. I use to flavor my water a lot more with fresh fruit such as strawberries or lemon. I occasionally would slice up a cucumber and add a few pieces to my water in the morning if I wanted a flavor that was less sweet or tangy. I don’t do this as often now, but it is definitely a way to please your palate and give yourself a little variety!

Creamy Cranberry Chicken Salad

Looking for a fun and simple summertime lunch idea? This chicken salad is perfect for an afternoon by the pool or to prep ahead for lunch throughout the week. I made this recipe for lunch this week and packed sliced cucumbers to use in replacement of crackers or bread. It only got better as the days progressed!

Typically, the base for most chicken salads or other simple salads such as egg salad is mayonnaise. For this chicken salad, I used a plain, fat free Greek yogurt to not only add a little tanginess, but also bump up the protein content a bit! I was so pleasantly surprised how well this salad kept for 5 days!

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I used about 3/4 lb of chicken for this salad, but the recipe can easily be doubled for a larger crowd or to last a bit longer. I also used a pre-shredded chicken, but you can easily shred a small while chicken or cook 1-2 large chicken breasts, let them cool, and shred yourself.

I hope you give these easy and delicious summer recipe a try!! The weekend is right around the corner 🙂

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  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 3/4 lb shredded chicken
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/3 cup chopped bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • pinch black pepper
  • pinch of pink salt
  • 1/2 cup plain 0% Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp dijon mustard

Directions

Chop onion and bell pepper into small, bite-sized pieces.

In a medium sized bowl, make sure chicken is shredded to the texture you like. Add all ingredients and stir until chicken is fully coated. Taste to see if further seasoning is needed. Keep in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 5-6 days.

 


Making the most of Memorial Day weekend!

Ok, so long weekends are the best right?! I don’t think there is one person that I talked to today that wasn’t excited about having a little extra time this weekend to spend with family, friends, or soaking up the Arizona heat.

Summertime holiday weekends are typically filled with cookouts and fun activities, but do you ever get sick of the same old hamburger, hot dog, potato salad menu? Don’t get me wrong, I love a good potato salad, but sometimes I just want something a little different!

Today I’m going to pull some of my favorite recipes for cookouts and summer time parties. I’m also going to give you some tips on how to liven up these recipes even more and tailor them to whatever function you are attending or hosting!

  1. Instead of regular burgers, try these turkey burgers with a fun twist!

Simple Turkey Burger

  • For a spicy flare, add 1/2 can of green chilies, a sprinkle of shredded cheddar cheese, a and a pinch of chili powder.
  • For a more salty/savory burger, mix in 1 Tsp of dried thyme and 1/4 cup of crumbled feta cheese!

2. Instead of regular pasta salad, try this creamier avocado pasta salad!

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Creamy Avocado Pasta Salad

  • Add various veggies that you enjoy; you don’t have to just stick to what is in the recipe! Try cooked green beans, snack peas, red pepper, etc!

3. For dessert, skip the typically cupcakes or cookies and go for something fun, festive,           and light!

Banana ‘Nilla Party Parfait

  • Add different fruit that fits the occasion. For example, for Memorial day, add blue and red fruit (such as strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries) for a more patriotic look!

4. Need another side that will keep well for leftovers? Take a spin off the normal salad!

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Fresh and Fast Lemon Broccoli Salad

  • Swap the golden raisins for cranberries or use green apple instead of Gala for a more “tart” and crisp bite!

 

 


Controlling the Cocktails

This is going to be a fun post… really! I think ya’ll are going to like!

Now, I know everyone may not be on the same page here so if you are like me and look forward a refreshing cocktail Friday after a long work week then you should probably keep reading. If that doesn’t sound appealing to you, maybe this post isn’t for you but please go ahead and read anyway! A lot of what I’m going to talk about can still be applicable for those who do not consume alcohol.

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Fruity Summer Wine Spritzer: 4oz white wine, splash of Lemon La Croix sparkling water, ice, frozen blueberries, frozen peaches

When 5 o’clock hits on a Friday, you better believe I’m thinking one of two things: 1. How fast can I get home to see my pup and hub. 2. Where are we going to dinner tonight. I think I’ve mentioned before that Friday is typically Jeff and I’s date night, so I am always looking forward to putting on a cute outfit, enjoying a fun and yummy dinner, and yes… finishing it off with a cool and refreshing cocktail!

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Because of the lifestyle that I choose to live, I am fairly adamant about not “over-doing” it with any type of alcoholic beverage. I am by no means promoting the consumption of alcohol, but having a glass of wine on a Friday or making a fun summer drink to enjoy on the patio with my husband I think is completely OK for me. I know for some, it is hard to find a balance with consuming alcohol, especially for those who are “dieting” or watching what they consume. That is why this post is going to be so fun! I’m going to give you some easy tips to cut back the calories, and have a fun and refreshing drink responsibly that won’t make you feel “guilty” or ruin your health efforts.

Whether it is altering a drink recipe, or just simply knowing your limits, there are many ways to keep you beverages under control and fitting into your lifestyle if you choose!

Tips to cutting down the calories:

  1. Choose your mixers wisely. Stick to things that are natural and have minimal added sugar. Skip the premixed drinks and make a cocktail on your own or order something with minimal ingredients. Utilizes fresh fruit for flavor, soda water or essenced sparkling water for bubbles, or a splash of 100% juice for a little sweetness.
  2. Don’t over-do it. Nothing is worse than someone who has been over-served so don’t be that person. Enjoying a glass of wine with dinner is one thing, but downing a bottle of wine in an hour is another. I hate feeling out of control, so for this reason I am fairly frugal with how many cocktails or beverages I will consume in one sitting. Are your friends bugging you because you aren’t “keeping up?” Order a tall sparkling water and ask for a little fresh lime and mint. The next time you are asked “where’s your drink?” smile and politely hold up your pretty little “mock-tail”. No one will know the difference! One last little note — NEVER drink and drive.
  3. Cut wine with sparkling water or soda water. I know this sounds odd.. but have you ever heard of a wine spritzer? Order 1/2 glass of white wine and ask for it to be topped off with a little sparkling water and a few ice cubes!

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If you are looking to make something special for your next dinner party or social event, try one of these fun and flirty cocktails with a “healthy” twist! I also provided an alcohol-free “mock-tail” that looked unbelievably yummy!

Grapefruit Mocktail

3 oz red grapefruit juice
3oz cranberry juice
2 oz seltzer water or sparkling water
1 lime wedge
Mint leaves

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Recipe & picture from Health Magazine

Basil-Cucumber Gin Cooler

2-inch piece of cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 tsp grated lemon zest
2 fresh basil leaves
1 tsp agave nectar
1 1/2 oz gin
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
ice cubes
splash of seltzer
1 thin slice lemon, for garnish
1 thin slice cucumber, for garnish

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Recipe & picture from SkinnyTaste

Watermelon Cucumber Mint Cocktail

2 cups seedless watermelon, cubed
½ medium cucumber, peeled, de-seeded and sliced
10-12 leaves fresh mint
2 tbsp date syrup*
2½ tbsp fresh lime juice
⅓ cup vodka
*Date syrup: 10 medjool dates pitted and soaked, 1 1/2 cups water

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Recipe & picture from Hummusapien

Fresh and Fast Lemon Broccoli Salad

So ya’ll already know I’m totally ready for summer! Today is absolutely beautiful, and after my work out I decided to sit by the pool for a few minutes before coming inside to meal prep. If I’m making a salad, I want it to be flavorful, crunchy, and satisfying. This salad is super light and actually gets better with time. I usually let it sit for a day before trying it, so that made it even more perfect for meal prep!

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I’m going to give you both the dressing and the salad recipe. The dressing is super simple and can be used on other salads as well. It is so easy to make your own dressings, and if you have mason jars or small sealed containers they can keep for at least a week in the refrigerator (if not longer!). You can easily control the ingredients when you make your own dressing, allowing there to be a lot of flexibility and versatility in what you create! I tend to not like a lot of dressing on my salads, so if you want a little more liquid just double what I am going to provide today.

Quick side note. Does anyone else notice that when the weather gets nicer they tend to eat out more? I am currently trying so hard to break this habit. As soon as the sunny days and comfortable cool nights come around all I want to do is sit outside at a restaurant, people watch, and enjoy a yummy bite to eat with hub. While we never choose anything to outrageous and have a pretty good balance of healthy options with a little indulgence, there is no doubt that the more I eat out the puffier I tend to feel. Whether its the occasional alcoholic beverage or just too much salt in our meal, having multiple meals out per week can leave me feeling a little sluggish and heavy come Monday.

If you tend to have the same experience, here are a few tips for still being able to enjoy the outdoor and dining experience without the unwanted side effects! These are all things I try to do myself, so I definitely speak from experience!

  • Make dinner at home ahead of time and just go out for a drink or two. Instead of going out and getting your meal and a few drinks, skip the meal and just grab a drink. People watching and enjoying conversation with others is just as good without the food!
  • Eat something light (a greek yogurt with a little fruit, a few slices of rolled turkey with cheese, a plate of raw veggies with hummus, a small slice of leftover chicken breast with a few whole wheat crackers) so that you aren’t as hungry when you go out. Then you can just split an appetizer with your significant other or a friend and still feel satisfied at the end of the night.
  • Just drink water! There is no rule that you have to have a caloric drink or alcoholic beverage at lunch or dinner! It is ok to just drink water! If you really want that beverage, consider cutting it with something that is non-caloric. A good example of this would be ordering a wine spritzer instead of a glass of wine. Ask the serving to only pour 1/2 a glass of white wine and top it off with a little seltzer or soda water. They will typically cut the price as well!

Ok!!! Now on to that delicious recipe!! I hope you give this super easy and delicious salad a try. You can always add other elements such as more raw vegetables, slivered or chopped nuts, etc. Enjoy!

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Fresh and Fast Lemon Broccoli Salad

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy with some prep involved
  • Print

Ingredients

Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tsp honey
  • pinch of salt and pepper

Salad:

  • 1 head raw broccoli, chopped into bite-size florets (about 2.5 cups)
  • 1, 12 oz container of broccoli slaw (This is just carrots, cabbage, and broccoli already chopped! I purchased mine at Sprouts!)
  • 1/2 cup roasted, unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup raisins (golden or regular is fine)
  • 1 medium Gala apple, diced (Or use whatever apple you like best!)
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • pinch of salt and pepper

Directions

Prepare all the fruit and veggie ingredients as needed. Chop them as fine or as large as you’d like. in a large bowl, add the broccoli, broccoli slaw, diced apple, sunflower seeds, and raisins.

In a mason jar or sealed container, add the dressing ingredients and agitate by shaking. Pour the dressing on top of the salad and lightly toss with your hands. Add a little extra squeeze of lemon juice on top with a pinch of salt and pepper if needed. Store in a sealed container for up to 4 days

 

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