Tag Archives: dinner

Fourteen Reasons to be Grateful

iGnite -gratitude changes everything

Point to Ponder:
Do you regularly acknowledge what you are grateful for?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

As you have likely noticed, during the month of November we are celebrating gratitude! Not only are we eager to blast out our gratitude in our social media #ignitegratefulgram contest, but we are fired up to wear our gratitude loud and proud with our NEW ‘Grateful’ fall apparel.

We are not at all suggesting or asking that you post or wear your grateful spirit to be boastful about your “things”. Instead, the motivation behind our Grateful Campaign is to encourage the daily action of giving thanks for our amazing lives and blessings…because when life gets inevitably tough, a grateful spirit can change a bad day into a good day, and a good day into a great day, because gratitude changes everything. I’m hopeful that our Grateful Campaign will inspire and reignite a grateful spirit in everyone.

There is no denying that acknowledging our blessings on a daily basis leads to a physiological reaction that creates a happy and peacful state in the body. To go a step further, based on the findings from a fascinating gratitude experiment conducted by two psychologists, writing down what we are grateful for leads to even greater results. Check this out:

“Two psychologists, Michael McCollough of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, and Robert Emmons of the University of California at Davis, wrote an article about an experiment they conducted on gratitude and its impact on well-being. The study split several hundred people into three different groups and all of the participants were asked to keep daily diaries. The first group kept a diary of the events that occurred during the day without being told specifically to write about either good or bad things; the second group was told to record their unpleasant experiences; and the last group was instructed to make a daily list of things for which they were grateful. The results of the study indicated that daily gratitude exercises resulted in higher reported levels of 1. alertness, 2. enthusiasm, 3. determination, 4. optimism, and 5. energy. In addition, those in the gratitude group experienced less 6. depression and 7. stress, and 8. were more likely to help others, 9. exercised more regularly, and 10. made greater progress toward achieving personal goals. In addition, Dr. Emmons’ research shows that those who practice gratitude tend to be more 11. creative, 12. bounce back more quickly from adversity, 13. have a stronger immune system, and 14. have stronger social relationships than those who don’t practice gratitude. He further points out that “To say we feel grateful is not to say that everything in our lives is necessarily great. It just means we are aware of our blessings.” – The Change Blog

Something that I am experimenting with in our family is a gratitude jar. The jar sits in the middle of our dining room table and each evening at dinner, we talk about one thing we are grateful for, followed with writing it down on piece of paper and placing it in the jar. Because I have small children who can’t write, I have been writing what they say as as well as including the date. It has become a sweet and focused time which stirs up great conversation (even with a two and a four year old). My personal goal is to revisit the jar of notes during our Thanksgiving meal and to continue writing down what we are grateful for throughout the month of November and the remainder of the year.

Another idea is to print and cut out our Grateful Printables. Then, place your jar, printables and pen in a high-traffic area in your home and anytime you or your family members pass by it, drop a gratitude note in the jar. From a good nights rest, a warm a cup of coffee to the blessing of good health, family and friends, it all counts and taking the time to acknowledging your blessings will make a positive impact in your health, relationships and overall quality of life. And, several months from now or anytime you need a pick-me-up, all you have to do is read what’s in the jar and you are guaranteed a good laugh, happy cry and/or mood booster. Why? Because gratitude changes everything!

Action Item:
Print out our Grateful Printables. Place your jar, printables and pen in a high-traffic area in your home and anytime you or your family members pass by it, drop a gratitude note in the jar. Or, at dinner each evening have each family member write down and discuss what they are grateful for and place in the jar.

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A Nutrition Coach's Easy & Healthy Meal Ideas

A Nutrition Coach’s Easy, Healthy Meal Ideas

by Molly Daniels

by Molly Daniels

With my Nutrition Coaching clients, I’ve found that most of us are wanting and needing more healthy meal and snack ideas for ourselves and our families. So, I’ve put together a list of easy, quick and healthy ideas for each mealtime.

First, I believe in moderation and portion control. You should never completely deny yourself of anything, because when you do, you will most likely binge on it later.  If dessert calls your name weekly, feed your craving in a controlled way!

Second, it is important to always combine your macronutrients, meaning always eat a carbohydrate with a protein, or a fat with a protein, etc.  It’s just like working several muscle groups at one time in a workout by doing compound exercises — make sure to “compound” your diet!  And, of course, the more colorful your plate, the better.

Breakfast:

  1. Toast (bread of your choice, but preferably whole grain, or gluten-free if you have an allergy) with mashed and spread avocado, scrambled eggs and salsa on top
  2. Breakfast taco on a corn or spelt tortilla with scrambled eggs, avocado, any and all vegetables of your choice and salsa
  3. Smoothie with 1 banana, frozen blueberries, frozen strawberries, frozen cherries, frozen blackberries, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter or almond butter, a little drizzle of honey and almond milk
  4. On-the-go: Oatmega Bar (several flavor choices exist and can be found at HEB, Central Market and Whole Foods). If you eat this before a workout or before heading to work, make sure to eat a good protein-filled snack again around 10:00am

Lunch:

  1. Half of a sandwich loaded with greens and vegetables and your choice of protein with side choices of: vegetables and hummus (if not having for a snack that same day), handful of corn chips and salsa, or side salad
  2. Power bowl (inspired by Maudie’s Tex-Mex): Spanish rice, whole black beans, avocado, tomato, onion, corn chips and salsa on the side
  3. Spinach salad with fresh pear, toasted walnuts, bleu cheese and topped with your choice of protein. Lightly drizzle a vinaigrette for the dressing.
  4. On-the go: homemade smoothie or small smoothie from your local healthy smoothie shop (my Austin favorite: JuiceLand)

Dinner:

  1. Mixed green salad with big avocado chunks, tomato and onion with the Hot Dang (any of the 4 flavors and can be found at HEB, Central Market and Whole Foods) veggie burger on top
  2. Stir fry: brown rice (we use frozen and heat up on the stove), vegetables of your choice including carrots, edamame, broccoli, cabbage, etc. and protein of your choice like grilled chicken, shrimp or fish
  3. Quesadillas on corn or spelt tortillas with refried black beans, cheese, protein of your choice, avocado or homemade guacamole mentioned in the snack section, any vegetables including spinach, tomato, onion, peppers, mushrooms
  4. Breakfast for dinner: If you did not have eggs that morning, try making scrambled eggs with a green smoothie (1 banana, handful of kale and/or spinach, frozen blueberries, tablespoon of peanut butter or almond butter, almond milk) on the side.
  5. Grilled salmon with a side of roasted quinoa: Quinoa is so easy to make and you can add diced, roasted vegetables, avocado chunks and roasted walnuts.

Snacks:

  1. Raw vegetables (carrots, celery, bell peppers, cucumber) and hummus
  2. 1/2 – 1 cup (depending on hunger) of mixed nuts with almonds, walnuts, cashews, and dried fruit (be aware of the sugar content of the dried fruit)
  3. Apple slices or crackers (Nut Thins) with peanut butter or almond butter on top
  4. Homemade guacamole (avocado, tomato, onion, cilantro and juice of 1/2 lime) with vegetables or a handful of corn chips
  5. One of iGnite’s Peanut Butter Protein Bars
  6. Two hard-boiled eggs — try covering them with salsa!

Dessert:

  1. Handful (about 5-7) of dark chocolate covered almonds
  2. 1 small scoop dark chocolate ice cream
  3. Small bowl of mixed fruit

Happy healthy eating!

Molly Daniels graduated from the University of Texas with a Bachelors of Science in Nutrition. After having worked through her own health and nutrition challenges, and drawing on her expertise in physical fitness, Molly provides a balanced and practical approach to basic nutrition coaching for women seeking guidance, accountability and overall health improvements.

Click here to learn more about Nutrition Coaching services through iGnite. 

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Go-To, Healthy Summer Dinners

We all get into routines when it comes to at-home cooking. It’s simply a lot of effort tracking down new recipes and thinking of new things to cook, right? We couldn’t agree more, so we asked the iGnite Leaders for some of their favorite go-to dinners to provide you with fresh inspiration for healthy dinners to prepare at home. No more boring dinners!

Neissa Neissa’s Pick: Salmon + Quinoa + a Big Delicious Green Salad

Molly Molly’s Pick: Quesadillas Loaded with Veggies
(recipe below)

Kathleen Kathleen’s Pick : Turkey Burgers and Corn Salad
(recipes below)

Cary Fyfe Cary’s Pick: Tilapia (olive oil and lemon) + Roasted Mixed Potatoes (regular and sweet) + Spinach/Arugula  Salad with Pecans & Sweet Yellow Tomatoes (…and a brownie for dessert!)

 Amy’s Pick: Chilled Gazpacho + Pistachio Spinach Salad + Crusty  Olive Bread
(recipes below)

Catherine Hearn Catherine’s Pick: Roasted Chicken Breast + Baked Sweet Potatoes with  Oregano + Kale Salad with chopped Walnuts & Dried  Cranberries
(recipes below)

FEATURED RECIPES: 

Photo: Southern Living

Photo: Southern Living

Kathleen’s Summer Go-To: Turkey Burgers and Corn Salad
“Really fast & easy!”

TURKEY BURGERS
2 lb. Italian Seasoned Ground Turkey (two 1 lb.pkgs from grocery store)
Chopped Red Onion
2 Cups Chopped Spinach (I just use the frozen package and thaw it)

  1. Mix all together and make burgers!
  2. Cook in oven or on Grill.

CORN SALAD
3 Cans Shoe Peg Corn
3 Cans Black Beans drained and rinsed
1 Chopped Red Pepper
1 bunch Chopped Cilantro
1 bunch Chopped Green Onions
Salt and Pepper
DRESSING: 1/2 c. Red Wine Vinegar and 1/2 c. Olive Oil mixed together– just pour over and chill!!

Amy’s Go-To: A big healthy bowl of chilled Gazpacho along with Pistachio Spinach Salad and Crusty Olive Bread

Photo: cookistry.com

Photo: cookistry.com

WHOLE FOODS GAZPACHO
1 large onion
1 1/2 lbs. tomatoes, seeded
2 large cucumbers, seeded
1 medium red pepper, seeded
1/2 cup fresh cilantro (I like more!)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups tomato puree
1 cup tomato juice
1 Tbls. lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
1/8 cup good quality balsamic vinegar

  1. Combine the olive oil, tomato puree, tomato juice, and lemon juice in a large bowl.
  2. Pour half the liquid ingredients into a Vitamix or blender and add half the onion, tomatoes, pepper and cilantro, roughly chopped. Pulse to chop coarsely. Repeat with the remaining vegetable and liquid ingredients.
  3. Combine both batches in a large container.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste, and blend in the balsamic vinegar.
  5. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight.
  6. Add fresh cilantro before serving and drizzle some good quality extra virgin olive oil over the top (optional.)

SPINACH SALAD WITH PISTACHIOS (easy, healthy and Paleo-friendly)
5 ounces baby spinach
1/2 cup roasted pistachios
1/2 cup dried cherries
MUSTARD ORANGE DRESSING
2 Tbls. olive extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbls. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbls. orange juice, freshly squeezed
1 tsp. dijon mustard

  1.  In a large salad bowl, toss together spinach, pistachios and cherries
  2. In a jar, combine olive oil, vinegar, orange juice, mustard and shake well
  3. Drizzle the dressing over the salad
  4. Toss and serve
Photo: allrecipes.com

Photo: allrecipes.com

Catherine’s favorite: EASY BAKED SWEET POTATOES WITH OREGANO
(Makes 4 servings)

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 large sweet potatoes
2 pinches dried oregano
2 pinches salt
2 pinches ground black pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat the bottom of a glass or non-stick baking dish with olive oil, just enough to coat.
  2. Wash and peel the sweet potatoes. Cut them into medium size pieces. Place the cut sweet potatoes in the baking dish and turn them so that they are coated with the olive oil. Sprinkle moderately with oregano, and salt and pepper (to taste).
  3. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F oven for 60 minutes or until soft.
Photo: myrecipes.com

Photo: myrecipes.com

Molly’s quick & easy go-to: QUESADILLAS LOADED WITH VEGGIES
Corn tortillas
Refried black beans
Any and all veggies….spinach, onion, bell pepper, avocado (or pre-made  guacamole)
Salsa
Cheese to your liking
Add any other protein you’d like (preferably a lean protein such as chicken, shrimp, etc.)

What are YOUR favorite healthy summer dinners? Leave a comment and share your ideas