Fight the holiday sweet cravings with these easy tips!

Come December, it can be hard to escape the endless supply of holiday cookies, pies and other treats. Whether at home or in the office, it seems there is a never ending flow of indulgent temptations that have us craving for sweets!

While it can be easy to throw healthy eating plans aside and say you’ll rebound after New Year’s – that’s not the way to look and feel your best. Our bodies crave nutrients and if you’re constantly filling-up on empty calories at every party, you’re going to go through the holiday season sluggish and unbalanced.

Did you know that it’s possible to enjoy your favorite holiday dishes, make smart choices for your body and even feel like you’re getting to indulge your sweet tooth a bit? Trust me. Here are some tips to help you get through the holiday season feeling your best:

  • Never show up to a holiday party starving. I’ve often heard friends say that they’re skipping lunch because they’re going out to dinner tonight. While it might seem logical to try and save your calories for later, you’re just setting yourself up to binge. That’s not healthy for your body and that’s not the way to have a positive relationship with food. Before going out, have a nutritious snack. The Balance Bar® Peanut Butter has 15g of protein to keep you satisfied and it provides that sweet, indulgent taste we all seem to crave during the holidays. Talk about a win-win!
  • We often entertain family and friends during the holidays. After a long, delicious dinner together, you can end up sitting at the table talking and laughing…and having another piece of cake even though you’re already full. This year, encourage everyone to go for a long walk after dinner. The fresh air will feel great and you can still talk while doing something active and healthy for your body.
  • Most of us have at least a few days off from work during the holidays. Use this extra time out of the office to try a new gym class or meet friends at the ice-skating rink. Many gyms offer great deals during the holiday season. Do some research and get moving!

Between groceries, cooking and gift shopping – the holidays can feel like one long to-do list. During this season of giving, don’t forget to take care of yourself and your body. The best gift you can give yourself is your health and happiness.

Cheers!
Gabby Reece*

Gabby Reece* writes awesome articles as a paid spokesperson for Balance Bar®. We also send her delicious Balance Bar® products for free, so…best job ever?

Armour for the Grind

I have been traveling this past week, and something really obvious dawned on me.  I don’t just need to stay in shape for my health and to look the way I want.  It really has become an armor to help protect me in this intense time.  Traffic, phones, TV, computers, children, work, the pressure of consuming more.  I mean, we live at a tough pace.  If you are not healthy, fit, and strong and still pulling it off day to day, it’s really only a matter of time. No wonder people are snapping and miserable.  As much as I love getting up in the morning, there are times that it is a serious grind out there.  My schedule is flexible. I can’t imagine you warriors who are out there 5, 6 days a week.  My hats are off to you.

NOW STOP!

Ask yourself, is it worth it?  If this is the only way you can make it happen, do you have to sacrifice yourself and your health to do it?   Find out from within yourself what your life’s mission is and what you want to be saying about the meaning of your life at the end of the day.  Is it to kill it and make it up the ladder?  Hang with the family?  Keep exploring and seeking out new experiences?  Keep buying new stuff? Hey, whatever makes you happy — go for it.  Just don’t get on that crazy treadmill that spits you out years down the road.  Then you’re standing there, scratching your head, asking how you got here. Life is now.  Your body is now.  Your happiness is now.

If you’re in the grind, find your tiny square that is all yours.  Protect it and don’t sacrifice it for anything.  Put your most important assets in that square.  No, not your bling bling.  You.  Your heart. Your happiness.  Your loved ones.  Your dreams. Your character.  Your soul.  You know where I was going with the square right?  YOUR HEALTH.  Protect your square and all the things you place in it.  Don’t let time, money, or pressure make you infringe on what is YOURS.

It is hard enough out there.  Get some armor on.  Move your body and watch what you eat.  Give yourself a fighting chance to deal with it all. By putting in that 20% effort to improve your health, you will make it 100% easier to deal with what modern life is requiring of us.

By Gabby Reece

Smart Choices after the Halloween Sweet Rush

If you’re like my family, this weekend was full of costumes, face paint, trick-or-treating and sugar! While I’m normally pretty good about keeping my girls’ sweets to a minimum, but of course battle them getting enough greens. However, I do let them indulge on special occasions like Halloween.

Trying to say “no” to all of the tempting Halloween candy would be very hard, if not impossible, for even the most determined parent. Not to mention I feel like you make a bigger issue of sugar vs. teaching them where it fits into their nutrition life. In fact, after just an hour of trick-or-treating with my girls, I found myself craving the sweets in their bags. Not to mention, I’ve been so busy lately filming my upcoming show S.T.R.O.N.G that a “quick sugar fix” seemed extremely appealing. I imagine many of you have been faced with similar sugar temptations.

If you did indulge in one too many Halloween candies, don’t punish yourself. Just focus on getting back on track and making smarter decisions. Here are some ways you can treat your body a little kinder this week.

  • If a taste of those delicious chocolate treats now has you craving even more chocolate – try to indulge in a smarter, more nutritious choice. There are actually yummy, better-for-you options on the market! The Balance Bar® Chocolate Mint Cookie Crunch has a crunchy cookie base and a chocolate coating to please your sweet tooth. Each bar has 14g of protein and 2g of fiber, keeping you energized and satisfied until your next meal.
  • Pick something active for the whole family to do together. If the weather is still mild enough in your area, go for a long weekend hike. Or, look up a local rock climbing wall and spend the afternoon conquering your fear of heights. Getting your body moving will help you feel more balanced and less guilty about any sweet splurges.
  • Use the shorter days as an opportunity to spend more time in the kitchen experimenting with nutritious meals. Carrots, broccoli, celery, brussels sprouts and chard are all readily available this time of year. See if you can create a new family favorite recipe.
  • Make sure you are hydrated because the simple act of drinking water can help you avoid making certain menacing nutritional choices.

 This same thought process can also be useful as we head into the busy holiday season. Everyone is likely to over-indulge at least once over the holidays. Instead of dwelling on it or using it as an excuse to forgo any diet plans; use that indulgence as an opportunity to recommit to your goals. In the days following, think of new ways to make smarter choices for your body. You’ll lose the guilt and end up feeling much happier, healthier and more balanced.

Cheers!

Gabby Reece*

 

Gabby Reece* writes awesome articles as a paid spokesperson for Balance Bar®. We also send her delicious Balance Bar® products for free, so…best job ever?

Tips for Balanced, Healthy Eating

In this fast paced world we live in, one of the most challenging things to do is eat healthy.  Let’s face it – grabbing the nearest “anything” is so simple and can provide temporary relief, but that doesn’t help us reach or maintain our health goals in the long term. I have seen over and over that trying to eat with balanced nutrition lends itself to leading a balanced and happy life.

I’m going to share with you some of my basic philosophies on balanced and healthy eating. I’ve tried to keep this realistic, but still consider most of our end goals: maintaining a healthy weight, good energy, solid sleep, and for some, losing a few pounds.

The 80/20 rule

If you can partake in eating whole foods 80% of the time then the other 20% won’t kill you.  If your regular meals contain veggies, healthy carbs (sweet potatoes, quinoa, etc.) and animal protein (if you eat it), then you are off to a solid start.  I would suggest taking wholesome snacks with you on the road or to work to avoid damaging snacking.  Throw some nuts, fruit or a Balance Bar – one of my favorites is Chocolate Peanut Butter – into your bag to help support you when you are hungry and need some fuel.

Control the portions

Not over eating is a very simple way to eat more balanced.   When you go out to eat, immediately ask the server to put half of your food to go.  Not only will you have a meal for later, but you will avoid over eating at one sitting.  We have a tendency to take “clean your plate” literally and the truth of the matter is we simply don’t need to eat that much food.  When you are cooking at home, serve your meals on a smaller plate and you will never know the difference.

Don’t avoid the healthy fat

We have been trained to be afraid of all fats but the truth of the matter is we need the healthy fats in our diets for so many reasons.  Make sure you have enough good fat in every meal (nuts, olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, etc.).  This will help you feel satisfied and avoid over eating.  Not to mention there are a ton of health benefits to eating good fats, and one of them is better brain function which is helpful when we are trying to lead a more balanced life.  I won’t even get into that it’s good for your bones, skin, and immune system.

Keep it simple

Consume foods with as few ingredients as possible, and make sure you can pronounce or at least know what the ingredients are.  When you pick up a bag of food with 50 ingredients and the last 48 you can’t say or recognize, feel free to avoid.  What’s great about lettuce is we know what’s in it. Now if I was going to get serious I would also say eat organic as often as you can because you want to avoid as many harmful pesticides, chemicals or hormones as possible.

Give up your worst habit

I don’t think it’s realistic to just switch your eating habits or take a full 180 degree turn.  How about for today and this week you take out the one worst food you consume regularly.  Is it soda?  Try Pellegrino or club soda as a substitute.  Is pizza your go-to for lunch?  Try something new like tuna and a salad instead. Do not throw a bomb in your life that you know you can’t achieve – stick with something you’re comfortable with and get rid of your one worst eating habit.  You can do it.

Variety is the spice of life

Try to fill your plates throughout the day with a rainbow of colors. We eat a lot of tan food and it is suggested that eating a variety of colored whole foods is always a great map to eating more balanced.

Don’t diet

We know they don’t work and they often feel restrictive.  Instead, look at food as something that should serve you and your end goals.  When you reach for something ask yourself “how is this going to affect me and what I want to get out of my food”?  Also, if you are reaching for something for pure pleasure then know it – slow down, enjoy it, and don’t beat yourself up.  If you are grabbing a food item out of stress, then maybe take a quick walk to distract yourself.

Eat your calories and don’t drink your calories

Americans consume about 20% of their calories in liquids.  Most sodas and juices are loaded with calories.  Drink water and save the calories for the fun stuff.  Not to mention so many times we feel hungry but we’re simply dehydrated. Being hydrated is imperative for balanced health.

Be kind to yourself

If you have an off day or week, don’t worry about it.  Just get back up on the horse since each day is a new opportunity.

We are all just doing the best we can, and eating a balanced diet can be great support in trying to lead a balanced and happy life.  I would love to hear how you all get it done.  Any tricks or secrets are welcomed.  You can even join me at the Balance Project at project.balance.com to share your insights or anecdotes.

 

Aloha, Gabby Reece

 

* Gabrielle Reece is a paid endorser for Balance Bar, Gabby receives compensation, including free product, for support of Balance Bar Company and its products.