Tips for Staying Fit While Enjoying the July 4th Holiday

Eat before you meet. Arriving hungry to a barbecue will make it difficult to resist overindulging.  Eat a balanced breakfast and a morning snack before your afternoon barbecue.

Plan your indulgences. Decide in advance what one or two treats you must have to feel like your holiday traditions are fulfilled, and let yourself have them. Don’t feel the need to sample it all.

Enjoy your favorite foods, but in smaller portions.  Fill your plate with nutritious food and only a minimal amount of higher calorie items.

Make it a plate, a celebratory meal, not an all you can eat buffet.

Eat consciously, not socially. Be mindful of how much food you’ve consumed.

Drink plenty of water. This reduces hunger and occurrence of dehydration, which can mask itself as hunger.

Bring lighter fare to share. Make a lower calorie version of your favorite dessert, appetizer, or side dish. Offer to bring a salad, fruit or veggie platter. Purchase leaner meats such as turkey burgers or 93% lean ground beef.

Sensational Salads

Salads by themselves full of fiber and antioxidants. However, adding too much of the wrong ingredients can quickly turn a healthy summer meal into a Big Mac. Here are some tips to dress your salad without the extra saturated fats and calories….

Start with a base of dark leafy greens.

Dark leafy greens like spinach, arugula, romaine and kale contain more antioxidants than pale iceberg lettuce. They’re also good sources of vitamins A, C, and K and folate and minerals such as iron and calcium.

Add a rainbow of color.

Adding a variety colorful fruits and vegetables to your salad will enhance your salad with vitamins and antioxidants.  The flavor and sweetness fruits add can also help you cut back on, or eliminate, high-calorie salad dressings. 

Keep the protein lean.

Turning your salad into a meal will require some lean protein and some heart-healthy fats. Try sliced hard-boiled egg whites, tuna, skinless chicken or turkey breast, shrimp, salmon cottage cheese or beans.   When selecting beef, choose lean cuts like sirloin, top round roast and bottom round roast. Measure your protein sources (3-4 oz. serving), since meats have more calories than fruit or vegetables. Cheese adds a little protein, but it also adds a lot of saturated fat.  Two ounces of cubed cheddar cheese adds an additional 200 calories and 12 grams saturated fat!  When making your own salad, choose a reduced fat cheese containing 3 grams of fat or less per serving.

Choose plant-based unsaturated fats.

Fat is an essential nutrient, so be sure to include some unsaturated, plant based fats with your salad like avocado, nuts, seeds or vinaigrette dressing. However, you’ll need to be aware of how much fat you add to your salad. Two tablespoons of nuts, seeds or salad dressing, or ¼ avocado can provide all of the fat you need for a meal. Try some fresh lemon and lime juice on your salad, as a healthy alternative to salad dressing.

Add a healthy crunch.

Many salad lovers like to add an additional “crunch” to their meal. Bacon bits and croutons add flavor with little nutritional value and a lot of calories in generous portions. If added crunch is a must, consider chopped nuts or seeds (see portions above). When ordering a salad at a restaurant, look for the phrases crispy, crunchy or battered in the meat description. These phrases imply that the meat was fried, adding lots of additional, unnecessary calories to your salad.




Black Bean Soup

Congratulations to our recipe exchange raffle winner, Laura Siroka!

black bean soup.jpg


  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 - 3 Tbs chili powder
  • 1 - 1 1/2 Tbs ground cumin
  • Pinch black pepper
  • 4 Cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 5 (15oz) cans black beans; rinsed & drained
  • 1 (15oz) can corn (or 1 - 1 1/2 cups frozen)
  • 2 (4oz) cans diced green chili peppers
  • 1 (15oz) can crushed or diced tomatoes


Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Saute onion, celery, carrots and garlic for 5 minutes.  Season with chili powder, cumin, and black pepper; cook for 1 minute.  Stir in vegetable broth, 2 cans of beans, corn, and chili peppers.  Bring to a boil.

Meanwhile, in a food processor or blender, process remaining 3 cans beans and tomatoes until smooth. Stir into boiling soup mixture, reduce heat to medium, and simmer for 15 minutes.

Spring Cleaning

I had a thought this morning - what if we all did a little spring cleaning for our health? Let me explain what I mean....

It's that time of year when spring cleaning commences: we start getting rid of clutter in the house, things we don't need, and start fresh again. What if we tossed out things that hold us back from being our healthiest, from achieving our personal best? I'm talking about things like self-defeating thoughts, old mindsets or even habits that sabotage our goals and dreams. Wouldn't that feel good? Below is a spring cleaning checklist, along with some inspiring motivation quotes to kick off our spring training!


Spring cleaning can take on many forms with nutrition. It far exceeds reducing clutter," (those empty calorie foods that have no nutritional value).  More importantly it means we're making room for the healthy foods our body needs. There is something empowering about focusing on what we can have rather than what "we can't have" or want to avoid. Socrates said, "the secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new." What new foods will you build into your menu this season?


We all know that achieving or maintaining a healthy weight without exercise is not a realistic goal. So the question is NOT whether or not you "spring into motion" but rather what is it that you need in order to achieve the goal of moving more?

Sometimes it requires the old saying "out with the old and in with the new." This has two meanings. First, if something worked in the past, but it doesn't work now, throw it out. Find what will work for you in this season of your life. Second, sometimes our bodies adapt to a specific form of exercise, and changing your workout is exactly what your body needs to jumpstart your program and your results. Albert Einstein said, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Sometimes it's simply time for a change. You can change your mode of activity, or even the intensity or duration of the exercise that you are doing now. Untapped potential awaits you.


What you believe shapes your reality and your outcome. The truth is you can achieve anything you want. Most of the time the only thing holding us back is an unproductive thought.

Thomas Jefferson said, "Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude." It's time to dismantle disempowering thoughts and engage in healthy, productive thinking that leads to goal achievement. Here are some refreshing motivation quotes to get you started:

"Life begins at the end of your comfort zone." ~Neale Donald Walsh

"Small daily improvements are the key to staggering long-term results." ~Author Unknown

"Keep doing the hard things until the hard things become the easy things." ~Author Unknown

"The voice inside yourself that says you can't do this is a liar." ~Author Unknown


Yours In Health,

Lisa Carr