3 Ingredients You Should Substitute for Cleaner Eating

When it comes to clean eating, having a completely clean diet can seem like a lot of work. Start your clean eating diet out by simply switching these three common ingredients for a cleaner, healthier alternative ingredient.

  1. Honey for Sugar: Replacing sugar is one of the easiest ones to do because the options are many. In addition to replacing with honey you can use unsweetened applesauce or maple syrup. Sugar is used in many recipes or even just in your morning coffee or tea. By replacing with local honey you are also helping fight off your seasonal allergies.  When using different ingredients to replace sugar be sure to look up the conversion rates, as one cup of sugar does not equal one cup of honey.
  2. Quinoa for Rice: While rice is really yummy and over all not that bad for you, quinoa is full of protein, fiber and other nutrients making it a much more beneficial starch to include in your recipes and meals. Although the taste and texture is a little different, it is a very tasty rice replacement. There are countless recipes calling for the use of quinoa and plenty where you can simply substitute the called-for rice with quinoa.
  3. Plain Greek Yogurt for Sour Cream: Without a huge difference in taste, texture, or prices, most people wont even notice the change!  Sour Cream has basically zero nutritional value, so why do we use it as a filler and topper for so many of our common meals? Plain Greek Yogurt has less fat and calories than sour cream, and more protein, potassium and vitamins than sour cream. As an added bonus, Greek yogurt can be used as a tasty healthy addition to breakfast parfaits or smoothies.

5 Morning Rituals to Boost Weight Loss

Dieting and weight loss can be a daunting task to get motivated for. Enhance your results and your motivation by starting your day the right way.

  1. Eat Right: Start your day by eating within the first hour of waking up; doing so will promote a quicker metabolism throughout the rest of the day. By keeping the calories low (300-400) and the protein high (35-55grams) you are giving your body the boost it needs to get going in the morning, with enough protein to hold you over until snack or lunch time. Be sure to include berries, whole grains and veggies in your breakfast to make it a balanced breakfast, making your body happy. Some ideas for a healthy well rounded breakfasts are: oatmeal with berries, a breakfast burrito with spinach, yoghurt and granola, or eggs benedict.
  2. Get Moving: A quick 15-30 minute workout is sure to kick start your metabolism and increase your energy for the day. Making time to work out in the morning can be hard, but for a busy mom with kids to feed after work the morning is often the only time available. Find quick workouts you can do in your living room while the kids are still asleep, or head out to take the dog for a morning run instead of a morning walk. Be sure to follow any workout with stretching.
  3. Hydrate: Staying hydrated is key to a balanced and healthy body, and by drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning you will boost your metabolism and curb your empty stomach, which might tempt you to snack on and drink unhealthy things from the vending machine at work. Pack a reusable water bottle with you every day and use it as your go to drink when you are thirsty instead of a sugary juice or tea.
  4. Pack snacks: By bringing healthy snacks to work you can avoid the ever so tempting box of doughnuts somebody keeps leaving in the break room, and eat a smaller lunch. By snacking throughout the day, we avoid binge eating at the end of the day (binge eating leaves us prone to weight gain). Pack your snack each morning before work to be certain that you are eating on a regular basis and that it’s healthy.
  5. Visualize the Day: Be mindful and prepare yourself mentally for the day. Be ready to face challenges that test your will when it comes to sticking to your diet. Are you ready to walk right past that plate of cookies that the receptionist brought in to share? Do you know what you will be eating for lunch and dinner? Plan ahead so that your diet isn’t this big elephant in the room to work around when you are starving after work or on a time crunch during your lunch break. Pack a lunch or plan to eat a light healthy meal at the deli down the street. Know what you are going to eat and when so that your hunger and time limit doesn’t push you into going to the drive-through.

7 Healthy Microwave Meals For Your College Student

Every College student struggles to maintain a healthy diet.  With junk foods being the cheapest option and healthy meals being hard to cook in a dorm room, it is essential to find ways to cook healthy meals on a budget in a dorm room.  Check out these seven must-try healthy microwave foods for your college student.

  1. Baked Sweet Potato- We all know we can bake a potato in the microwave, so why not mix it up and bit and bake a tasty sweet potato in the microwave? This is one the easiest foods you can make, simply prick the potato all over with a fork, and cook for 8-10 minutes in the microwave. Afterward, season to flavor with salt, pepper, butter and brown sugar. For added sweetness you can add a few marshmallows too.
  2. Scrambled Eggs– Never skip a healthy breakfast again! Simply add eggs, milk, seasonings and cheese to taste, whisk into a bowl, cook for two minutes and done. For a fluffy texture, mix up the eggs every 30-45 seconds. Cook your eggs in a mug for a small circular shape to make egg sandwiches for breakfast as well!
  3. Single Serve Mac and Cheese – By first cooking your desired amount of noodles in a mug (roughly for 5-7 minutes), then adding cheese and milk and cooking for 30-45 seconds, this treat is ready almost faster than a regular box of mac and cheese! Try with various types of pasta adding different sauces in mug serving sizes as well. The options are large if you just make the serving size smaller so that a large pot is not required.
  4. Kale Chips- This one is easy and very healthy. If you want a tasty and easy way to get in your daily dose of vegetables this immune system-boosting leafy green is perfect! Simply clean and cut to desired size, add oil and salt and cook in the microwave until crispy like potato chips. This can also be done on the barbeque if your kitchen is not limited to a microwave forever.
  5. Most Vegetables– Almost every vegetable can be cooked in the microwave. From carrots to broccoli to artichokes, there is a microwave recipe for them all. Simply look up the type of vegetable you want to eat and how to cook it in the microwave. You will be surprised by the variety of options for cooking vegetables without using a full kitchen.
  6. Quinoa– One cup rinsed quinoa and two cups of water in one large microwave safe, covered dish. Microwaves for 7 minutes, stirring after 5. Let stand for 5-10 minutes and enjoy! Serve with the veggies you just cooked in the microwave and you have a complete meal! If quinoa isn’t your thing, any type of rice can be cooked using the same method in the microwave as well!
  7. Filet of Salmon– Rinse and place filet of Salmon skin down in microwave safe dish. Season to flavor with mayonnaise, lemon or just salt and pepper. Cover dish tightly with lid or microwave safe plastic wrap. Cook for 3 minutes and check for doneness, cook for additional 30 seconds until finished. Serve with quinoa, rice or veggies and enjoy.

4 Outdoor Activities You Must do This Summer in Alaska

 

Stay active and healthy this summer by enjoying these four adventures throughout Alaska.

  1. Climb Flat Top Mountain– Located in the Chugach State Park, Flat Top Mountain is a trek every Alaskan should go on this summer. It is one of the first things many Alaskans love to do as a kick off to summer, while many tread along the mountain all year long, the much easier summer adventure is very popular among South-central Alaskans. The trail is just under two miles one way, and hikers gain 1,300 feet in elevation so getting to the summit is considered a moderate to difficult hike, but a great one for day trips or a weekend outing. Said to be the most often hiked trail in Alaska, because it offers 360-degree views of the Alaska Range, Cook Inlet, Anchorage area, and the Chugach Range. So if you are looking for some beautiful views, berry picking in the fall and a good workout, you should hike Flat Top Mountain!
  2. Pick Berries at Hatcher Pass– This is more of a late summer adventure. Enjoy the end of season wild berry harvest by picking them yourself! This great family activity that lets the kids run around and enjoy themselves in beautiful Alaskan nature, while the family gets to bring home their fill in berries! Take this adventure a few steps further by having the kids identify other plants on the mountainside, if they don’t know some of them, take a small sample home to help look it up and identify it. Additionally, there are plenty of recipes for making jams and pies out of all those berries that the whole family can enjoy making and eating!
  3. Camping in Homer- Everyone must walk the Homer Spit, checking out all the little shops, skipping rocks into the picturesque bay or stopping for refreshments at the famous Salty Dawg Saloon. The road trip from the Anchorage area to Homer alone is worth the trip. Take the family out for a weekend in Homer. This small fishing town in Alaska has something for every type of Alaskan. From wildlife sight seeing, beautiful coastline hugged by high cliffs, fishing and a fun community atmosphere. Camping on the Homer spit can be very windy, so you may want to look for other campsites for a warmer experience. Additionally, the area gets pretty busy around holidays so if crowded campgrounds just aren’t your thing, go before or after major Holidays.
  4. Kayak on Eklutna Lake – If you own a kayak or need to rent one, paddling around Eklutna Lake is a must-do every summer in Alaska. With its very convenient central location between the Matanuska Valley and Anchorage Bowl, many Alaskan residents take advantage of this close-by, hidden oasis all summer long. From camping to bike rides to playing in the water on a kayak, Eklutna Lake has an Alaskan adventure for the whole family. It is especially beautiful to visit in the early fall when all the leaves begin to change and the summer crowds begin to clear out. You can rent gear from the Student Union Gear Room as a student at the University of Alaska Anchorage, from REI or from Lifetime Adventures located at Eklutna lake.

4 Foods You Can Grow in Your Garden in Alaska This Summer

Gardening in Alaska can present various problems such as cold weather and soil that may discourage home gardeners from trying their hand at Alaskan gardening. These four foods are all very nutritious and are known to have a good yield in Alaska.

  1. Potatoes: Although they need a lot of space, they grow fantastic in Alaska. If your garden has some extra space and good soil, your family could certainly benefit from many pounds of home grown potatoes. Usually planted in a row, it should only take 7-10 days for you to start seeing the sprouts coming out of the ground if planted properly. Follow easily available instructions for seeding and caring for your potato crop and your family shouldn’t have to buy potatoes all winter long!
  2. Carrots: Most varieties of carrots do great in Alaska, as long as you have some sandy/loose soil to plant them in. If the soil is too packed or rocky, your carrots will grow deformed and not so tasty. For best results be sure to pull extra seedlings so that there is only one carrot plant for every two inches. The yield should be heavy so spend your summer looking up various ways to cook with, store and prepare carrots for your family. Filled with Vitamin A, this tasty snack is healthy too!
  3. Brussel Sprouts: By starting this plant indoors and transplanting to your outdoor garden once the sprouts have begun will help with a stronger and healthier yield. This hardy vegetable can withstand severe frost, so it can grow until late fall. Filled with proteins, carbs and vitamins this little food is super yummy and goes great with most dinner meals. Having home grown Brussel sprouts this fall will convenient and yummy.
  4. Kale: This vegetable goes great in any Alaskan garden. With vitamins A and C as well as Potassium this leafy green is very beneficial for the whole family as well as super easy to grow. Pick the leaves young for the best flavor, as it grows quickly. Try adding fried kale to your summer BBQ and see what your friends think; it’s delicious!