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7 Things to Keep in Your Freezer at All Times

In a rush to get dinner on the table? Turn to your freezer for help. Keeping it stocked with healthy frozen foods (think: vegetables and fruits, fish fillets) and other essential ingredients that store well in the freezer will make it easy to whip together healthy meals. Plus, filling the freezer with healthy options makes it less enticing to run and get takeout. Here are some healthy ingredients to keep in your freezer.

  1. Whole-Wheat Pizza Dough: With as many topping options as your imagination can dream up, it’s nearly impossible to tire of pizza—and with whole-wheat dough at the ready, it’s a quick, nutritious meal to pull together. Top with lots of your favorite veggies, some lean protein and a sprinkling of part-skim mozzarella or other lower-fat cheese. Just take the pizza dough out of your freezer and let it thaw in your fridge 24 hours before you want to use it.
  2. Fish Fillets: Keeping frozen fish on hand is a great way to help boost your seafood intake.  Versatile, easy-to-find picks include wild salmon and farmed tilapia, and fillets in individually vacuum-sealed packages are less likely to get freezer burn.
  3. Fruits and Vegetables: There are many advantages to keeping frozen vegetables and fruits on hand. For starters, many come chopped, which cuts prep time.
  4. Whole-Grain Bread: Bread spoils easily, especially if it’s kept on the counter in plastic. Fortunately, breads (and bread products like wraps and hamburger buns) freeze beautifully and don’t take much time at all to thaw.
  5. Chicken Tenders: Like conventional chicken breasts, they’re a great source of lean protein but they’re much smaller so they thaw quickly. Their smaller size also makes them easy to add to a soup or stir-fry without having to commit to thawing and cooking a whole breast. Pick up a big package of tenders and repackage them in quart-size zip-top bags for convenience.
  6. Nuts: Nuts are full of good fats. They are great for baking, topping a salad or just plain snacking. And as it turns out, storing nuts in the freezer is actually better than storing them in your pantry: it prevents the oils from going rancid.
  7. Shredded Cheese: Don’t let loose-end blocks of forgotten cheese get moldy in the fridge. Shred what you don’t use and freeze it. This works best with solid cheeses like Cheddar or Monterey Jack. These thaw almost instantly and the texture and flavor remain unchanged.

Information from this article taken from




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We Are NOT Eating Our Veges!

According to this article from NPR, most of us are not following the guidelines set up for a healthy balance of vegetables in our diet.  Average consumption of vegetables is running around 1.5 cups per day, as opposed to the USDA’s recommendation of  2-3 cups.  Not only are we not consuming enough vegetables, but many of those we are consuming are full of fat and salt.

The article says that, on average, more than half of our vegetable intake is in the form of potatoes and tomatoes, and only 10% is from green vegetables.  Now, potatoes and tomatoes in their original form are not bad for you.  A baked potato is an excellent source of potassium and, if you consume the skin as well, there is also a good dose of fiber.  But, we are usually loading it up with fat in the form of butter, sour cream and/or deep fat fried.  If you are craving a potato, try baking and topping with a healthy, vege-laden salsa – and then don’t skip eating the skin!  Same story holds true with tomatoes, where we are seldom eating them in the raw form.  Most of the time, we are eating them in a processed form with a very high sodium content (think pizza or spaghetti sauce).

One finding researchers had is that we do tend to get our RDA of fruit servings, suggesting that fruit may just be easier to grab and run, where vegetables tend to take a bit of time to prepare.  With all the packaged convenience vegetables in the grocery aisles today, this may be becoming less of an issue.  One thing I always try to do when I come home from the grocery store is wash, chop, peel, dice and slice before putting the items into the refrigerator so that fruits and veges alike are as convenient for my family is a grabbing a cereal bar from the pantry.

If you have suggestions, or recipe ideas to add more vegetables into your diet, please share them with our readers!

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Overnight Oatmeal Recipe

One of my favorite things to wake up to in the morning is a hearty breakfast.  And if it’s already prepared, and healthy for you as well – how can it get any better??

In the interest of trying to add more healthy carbs into our diets, give this simple recipe a try:

Overnight Oatmeal

Makes: 8 servings, 1 cup each

Active Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 7 to 8 hours (slow-cooker time)

  • 8 cups water
  • 2 cups steel-cut oats, (see Ingredient note)
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste


Combine water, oats, dried cranberries,nuts and salt in a 5- or 6-quart slow cooker. Turn heat to low. Put the lid on and cook until the oats are tender and the porridge is creamy, 7 to 8 hours.

  • Ingredient Note: Steel-cut oats, sometimes labeled “Irish oatmeal,” look like small pebbles. They are toasted oat groats—the oat kernel that has been removed from the husk that have been cut in 2 or 3 pieces. Do not substitute regular rolled oats, which have a shorter cooking time, in the slow-cooker oatmeal recipe.


Per serving: 193 calories; 3 g fat (0 g sat, 1 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 34 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 6 g protein; 9 g fiber; 77 mg sodium; 195 mg potassium.


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Below is the fifth and last in our 5-part series on Protein Packed Pasta Recipes.  I found 5 protein-packed recipes from Men’s Health to help you add a little variety to your dinner table, while still eating healthy.  Have you tested any of the recipes yet?  Please share your thoughts!

Watch our blog over the next several weeks for all 5 recipes.  Please note, the recipes are SINGLE SERVING.  I left them that way, rather than converting them to 2-4 servings so that you can adapt them to fit your own mealtime needs.  But don’t forget to double, triple, etc. the ingredients when you are at the store, or you will come up short at dinnertime!

If you don’t like the taste of whole-wheat pasta, or can’t digest it well, you can substitute quinoa or rice pasta into these recipes. The nutritional difference is minimal and they’re prepared the same way.


1 ½ tsp flour
¼ cup fat-free milk
Olive oil spray
4 oz large, peeled, raw shrimp (ideally 20–25)
1 cup asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
Garlic powder, to taste
2 oz 75% light or low-fat cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup cooked (2 oz dry) whole-wheat pasta shells
1 tbsp jarred bacon pieces

1) In a small bowl, using a whisk, mix the flour with 1 tbsp milk until smooth. Gradually add the remaining milk, and then transfer to a small saucepan and set aside.

2) Place a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Mist with cooking spray. When pan is hot, add shrimp and asparagus in a single layer. Sprinkle lightly with garlic powder. Cook shrimp 1–2 minutes per side until no longer pink; stir asparagus occasionally.

3) While the shrimp and asparagus cook, place the milk mixture over medium heat. Add cheese and stir constantly until the cheese is melted and the mixture is smooth. Stir in the cooked shells, shrimp, and asparagus and transfer to a serving bowl. Top with bacon bits and enjoy immediately.

521 calories, 55g protein, 55g carbs, 10g fat

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Health Benefits of A Good Night’s Sleep

Here are 4 health benefits of getting a good night’s sleep.  Researchers recommend adults aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night.

smiley face1. A stronger immune system

Skimping on sleep can compromise your immune system. An article in the journal Sleep reported that sleep deprivation had the same effect on the immune system as physical stress—such as from an illness or surgery, or grieving for a loved one.

2. Younger skin

Researchers at Cornell University found that one night of sleep deprivation may cause your skin to lose elasticity, firmness and moisture. It also makes fine lines and wrinkles more noticeable.

3. Healthier heart

When it comes to heart health, research definitely supports the need for a good snooze. Adults who regularly sleep less than six hours a night have an increased risk of heart attacks and of developing high blood pressure compared to those who sleep 7 to 8 hours per night.

4. Trimmer waist

If you sleep enough, you can lose weight. Plenty of research confirms that adults who sleep less than six hours a night are at higher risk of being overweight. According to a study at the University of Colorado, the effect of sleep may be even more powerful than we realized. This study indicates that even just a few sleepless nights in a row can cause almost-instant weight gain. Participants gained on average two pounds after one week of five-hour nights.  One reason for this weight gain is because a lack of sleep increases hunger and appetite by decreasing levels of the hormone that tells us we’ve eaten enough. It also increases levels of a hormone that signals the body to eat. Lack of sleep also ramps up our craving for high-fat, high-carbohydrate foods.

Information for this article taken from