Thanksgiving is Almost Here

5 Tips for a Safe Thanksgiving for Your Pets

Thanksgiving is next week and my menu is finally coming together. Of course yams with marshmallows, and plenty of turkey and ham are the stars of the show, and I won’t forget the delicious pumpkin or pecan pie. It makes my mouth water just thinking about it.

The same foods that you enjoy so much, could be toxic for your pets. Many foods are on the no-no list, so you need to be vigilant, but it doesn’t mean pets can’t enjoy safer Thanksgiving treats.

Here are five tips to make Thanksgiving safe for your pets:

Feed Small Bites of Turkey

Those begging eyes are hard to resist, and you can give your pets small bites of turkey. Make sure the turkey is boneless and well-cooked, so they don’t digest salmonella bacteria.

Don’t Let your Pet Lick the Dessert Bowl

You can’t celebrate Thanksgiving without dessert, at least in my opinion, but don’t let your pets stick their nose in the batter. This is particularly true if you are using raw eggs. This also applies to people and I have seen some warning signs on cookie mixes not to eat the raw dough.

Give Dog Chews instead of Turkey Bones

Dogs usually love to chew on turkey bones, but bones can splinter easily and cause blockages in the digestive system. Instead, offer bones made specifically for dogs.

Don’t Feed Foods with Nuts

Nuts are commonly used for Thanksgiving favorites such as sweet potatoes, Waldorf salad, and as a filling or garnish for holiday pies. High fat nuts such as walnuts, pecans, and almonds can cause diarrhea and vomiting in your pets.

Make a Holiday Meal for your Pets

There’s no reason for pets to miss out on all the fun and food, so take a few bites of boneless turkey, mashed and sweet potatoes and put them in a puzzle feeder. Puzzle feeders come in all shapes and sizes and it takes time to get all the food to come out. This keeps pets from gobbling food too fast, or begging at the holiday table.

Make this a holiday to remember for both you and your pets. Throw your diet out the window and enjoy all the goodies. Tomorrow you can get back on track again.

 

Are You Exhausted With Multiple Store Runs?

5 Tips To Better Meal Planning

 

There never seems to be enough time in the day to get everything done.  You want to make healthy meals for your family, but ordering a pizza or hitting the drive-thru of your favorite fast food is really tempting.

This is where some good meal preparation tips come in handy, and with a little time set aside and organization, you can prep healthy meal ingredients ahead of time and they’re ready to go when you’re ready to cook. Here are five tips to better meal planning:

Meal Planning Time Schedule

How far in advance do you want to plan your meals? This can be weekly, or monthly. Plan for dinner or all three meals and snacks.

Once you get your scheduled meals planned, you can see how much prep work you have to do. It also eliminates daily store runs where you frantically search the aisles for something tasty for dinner.

Stock Pantry Staples

What ingredients do you already have? It’s a good idea to keep some pantry staples such as rice, pasta, tomato sauce, flour, sugar, and dried beans on hand.

Stock your favorite herbs and spices, as well as olive oil, vinegar, and soy sauce. Mustard and mayo can be used for making sandwiches or preparing salads such as macaroni, potato, or chicken.

Make Freezer Packets

There are two basic elements to meal prepping: chopping vegetables and putting ingredients for meals into containers, and actually cooking some aspects of the meal and freezing them. You can do one or both of these options depending on how much time you think you will have.

Use Correct Containers

Make sure lids are air-tight to keep food fresh. Plastic is fine to use, but you should know what type of plastic you are using. Make sure they are refrigerator-, freezer-, microwave-, and dishwasher-safe first of all. Also check that the plastic containers don’t have any BPA, which can be dangerous when adding or cooking food in these containers.

Freeze casseroles in a glass dish, but if you just ate the casserole for dinner, let it cool down first or the glass may crack.

Meal Prep Ideas

If you’re making salad, put greens and veggies together in containers, and salad toppings and cheese in a separate container.

Decide what meat you want to use for multiple meals, then bake or cook it all at the same time. Do this in the oven or your slow cooker. Meat like chicken breasts, fish filets, and strips of steak work great for this.

Use these tips to help you prepare healthier meals. Your body will thank you.

 

 

 

 

How To Go From Frazzled to Fabulous

And Have Fun Doing It!

 

I’ve always been a heavy exerciser and I’m now in my early 60s and still walking 45 minutes a day. Exercising has helped to control my weight, kept my cholesterol in check, and given me energy to power through the day.

A few days ago I  was out of breath at about the 20-minute mark. What in the world was going on? Since I can’t afford to see the doctor for every litle thing that comes up,  it was up to me to identify the problem and correct it.

Thankfully it was an easy fix and I just needed to add more protein to my diet. If you’re feeling tired and out of sorts, here are five foods that can help you go from frazzled to fabulous:

Eggs

If you’re on a tight schedule, you may not have time to stand over a hot stove and scramble eggs or make omelets. For a quicker protein fix, I like to boil a few eggs, and when morning comes I grab a couple and can be on my way. One large egg has six grams of protein, so they are delicious and nutritious.

Chopped Nuts

My favorite breakfast food is a nice hot bowl of oatmeal but if you add brown sugar, and raisins it can taste too sweet. A fourth of a cup of peanuts has seven grams of protein and adds some delicious crunch.

Cottage Cheese

I like cottage cheese right from the carton, and if you buy the low-fat version, it’s a whopping 28 grams of protein per cup. Cottage cheese can be added to lasagna, spread on toast, or as a tasty addition to pancakes or waffles. Mix with fruit and you have a good-for-you dessert that won’t break the calorie bank.

Tuna

It’s fun to go out to lunch, but restaurants serve such large portions, that you often overeat. Tuna comes in a convenient pouch so you don’t have to worry about opening a can. Each pouch has 16 grams of protein and will fill you up so you’re not tempted to hit the vending machine later.

Peanut Butter

I would love to shake the hand of the person who first created peanut butter. Now there are convenient single-serving cups so you can carry it in your purse. It’s delicious as a dip for veggies, smeared on a banana, or as a spread for your favorite sandwich. As a bonus, it has about eight grams of protein.

Feel free to add your own special touch to these ideas. It’s fun to experiment with different combinations and textures.

4 Mistakes Women After 50 Make

Thankfully They're Easy to Fix!

Getting older doesn’t have to suck. You may get to retire, do some traveling, or volunteer with your favorite charity. Gone are the days when you had to rise at the crack of dawn, commute in heavy traffic, and get in a good mood by the time you hit your desk.

However, like everything else in life, getting older means you may have more wrinkles, and your hair is turning gray. It is frustrating when you are piling on the pounds even though you are still watching your diet and exercising.

You still want to look and feel your best, and by changing up a few things, you’ll feel better about yourself.

Here are four mistakes women make after 50:

Dieting

I’m not naturally thin and it seems I am constantly counting calories, and balancing things out when I eat something more fattening.  If you concentrate on just eating specific foods such as low-carb, it may work at first, but eventually you want more carbohydrates and you may end up heavier instead of thinner.

Small frequent meals of lean protein, whole grains, and dark leafy greens will help keep hunger away so you can lose those stubborn pounds. If you slip up and eat something sweet, don’t feel guilty, just get back on track.

Wearing Wrong Bra Size

I was surprised to hear that most women wear the wrong bra size. Your clothes fit and look better if you are wearing the right bra.  Department stores may offer free bra fittings a few times a year and there is an expert on hand to take proper measurements.

If you are wearing white or light-colored tops, buy bras that are close to your skin color.

Wearing Baggy Clothes

You don’t always feel like showing off your body when you’ve packed on extra weight, and dressing in baggy clothes makes you look even heavier. You want a garment that is not too tight, and defines your waist. If you need help achieving that look, consult a tailor who will take measurements and make sure you look your best.

Dying Hair One Color

No one seems to be a fan of gray hair, and you may want to do the 50-yard dash to your hair stylist for an immediate color job. It’s tempting to go with one solid color, which may end up looking too light or dark.  It can also make your face look older.

If you use highlights with your natural color, including the gray, it blends in better, or you can try mixed highlights.

Learn to embrace this time in your life, and go for your dream life.

 

 

4 Ways to Add Dark Leafy Greens to Your Diet

And Not Feel Like You're Just Eating Rabbit Food!

 

It’s important to keep up healthy eating habits in menopause. Eating the required number of fruit servings is easy to do, but including dark leafy greens in your diet is more challenging.

Dark leafy greens such as salad greens, kale, and spinach are excellent sources of Vitamin B, which your body needs to produce healthy red blood cells and you’ll feel more energetic.

There are many choices to choose from, and the trick is knowing how to prepare them so that it’s something you look forward to eating. Here are four delicious ways to prepare dark leafy greens:

Soups

Soups are one of those foods that allows you to stir in any vegetables you have on hand. A handful of spinach can be added to the soup during the last five minutes of cooking. If you’re making a cream soup, like potato, blend in some de-stemmed kale leaves.

Wraps

Spread your favorite tortillas with protein such as chicken or turkey, and pile on the romaine lettuce, spinach, or arugula. I like the spinach tortillas, but use the kind you like or experiment with a new flavor.

Kale Chips

Kale is rich in Vitamins A, C, and K. Kale chips can be purchased at a health food store, but you may want to try making them at home. This easy recipe only calls for three ingredients and then bakes in the oven.

If you want to experiment, blend in some herbs or spices. For extra crunchy chips, try adding sunflower seeds or cashews.

Omelet

The sky is the limit when it comes to making an omelet, and it’s also the perfect opportunity to sneak in some vegetables. This tasty omelet calls for a pound of leafy greens including collard greens, mustard greens, and beet greens.

How do you use dark leafy greens in your diet?

The Great Cholesterol Debate

How Many Eggs Can You Safely Eat in a Week?

 

It’s challenging enough to cope with menopause symptoms such as hot flashes, weight gain, and high blood pressure, without having to worry about high cholesterol levels. This is meant to be an enjoyable time in your life, and that includes eating your favorite foods.

If you go to a breakfast buffet, you’ll see a long line at the omelet station. Most people wouldn’t even think of eating breakfast without eggs, and a made-to-order omelet with all the meat and cheese you want is an egg lovers dream.

There has been a debate in the medical community for years over how many eggs you can eat without raising your cholesterol levels. Now, there is good news for egg lovers. According to a 2015 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, it’s safe to eat twelve eggs a week. The trick is to find healthier ways to prepare eggs, so you don’t have to feel deprived.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, one large egg has about 180mg cholesterol and it’s all in the yolk.  I like hardboiled eggs, which are high in potassium, zinc, iron, vitamin E, and folate. At only 80 calories, I can have a nutritious breakfast or snack without breaking the calorie bank.

Poached eggs are easy to prepare. Add a splash of vinegar to a pan of simmering water, tip in the egg, and leave for three minutes. Drain with a slotted spoon and you’re ready to chow down.

Eggs are not usually prepared as a stand-alone dish, and are often accompanied by bacon, sausage, ham, or hash browns, and the saturated fat or oil you’re using to prepare these side dishes can increase your risk of a heart attack.

If you like a more substantial breakfast, take a whole-grain tortilla, and stuff it with scrambled eggs, lean turkey sausage, and diced tomato. You can bake low-fat eggs in a bread bowl for a special weekend breakfast or brunch.

Stay away from high-calorie toppings such as sour cream or cheese. Invest in a non-stick skillet so you don’t have to use oil when you fry your eggs. You can top eggs with salsa, or use herbs such as parsley, tarragon, or chives.

Prepare a whole-grain cereal to go with your eggs so you cover all the nutritional bases, or if you want to serve eggs for dinner pair with your favorite vegetables.

 

 

Comfort Foods You’ll Go Nuts Over

You Won't Even Have to Buy a New Wardrobe!

I have to admit that I am a foodie and comfort foods are high on my favorites list.  Extra crispy fried chicken, pizza, meatloaf, macaroni and cheese, I could gain weight just thinking about them. If I knew I wouldn’t put on ten pounds, I would probably cook them every week.

If you’re like me, you want to be healthy in menopause, but you don’t want to miss out on your old favorite foods. The trick is to learn to cook the same foods with a healthy twist, and you can maintain your shape and still be satisfied.

Here are five healthier versions of your favorite comfort foods:

Meatloaf

My family had meatloaf every week growing up, and I always looked forward to a big slice drowned in catsup.

The traditional meatloaf recipes are usually made with ground beef or pork, and that is an awful lot of fat and sodium. Lighten things up by substituting ground turkey and you’ll lose half the fat but none of the taste.

Fried Chicken

Who can resist an extra crispy piece or two of fried chicken? I have to admit our family often made the short drive to KFC and bought a barrel of chicken and a few sides.

Try this tasty recipe that browns on the stove, then finishes in the oven. Flour and cornmeal make the chicken crunchy so you won’t feel deprived.  Each piece is only 2.5 grams of saturated fat.

Lasagna

Lasagna is easy to put together and my version starts with uncooked noodles. Unfortunately, the other layers of ground beef, sour cream and cottage cheese pack a big fat wallop. I never forgot to add a pretty good-sized package of mozzarella cheese to make the final fat count go sky-high.

A lighter version of lasagna features store-bought pesto, and whole-wheat lasagna noodles. Skim milk mozzarella and ricotta cheeses give you that tasty cheese bite, but not all the fat and calories.

Yummy Brownies

Of course you have to have dessert, at least according to my mom, who served dessert every night. Brownies are one of my favorites, and the more chocolate the better. I guess I have to be a killjoy and say that most brownies have too much sugar, fat, and calories. I am still waiting for new research that says brownies will prolong your life.

I found an unusual brownie recipe that calls for spinach, black beans, and applesauce. There is still an abundance of chocolate and even some pecans to give them some crunch.

Give these recipes a try and see if they fit into your healthy lifestyle.

My Knees Are Killing Me!

5 Helpful Tips To Deal with Osteoarthritis

 

You have to love menopause. One year I have an aching back, then an aching neck, and now I have a pair of aching knees. Welcome to the world of osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is often referred to as degenerative joint disease, and affects approximately 27 million people, according to the Arthritis Foundation.

I have always been an active walker and usually logged 10,000 steps a day on a regular basis. I use a Cho-Pat strap to hold my patella in place, but that’s not working as well now. So I am looking into combining the walking with something like biking or shadow boxing.

I found an interesting article that details how eating the right foods may also help knee pain and I would always rather eat delicious food than down a multitude of pills. Here are five helpful tips to deal with osteoarthritis:

Lose Extra Pounds

A recent study was conducted with people who were overweight or obese and suffered from knee osteoarthritis. For each pound lost, there was a four-pound reduction in knee joint stress.

It would be nice if you could eat chocolate cake with a gooey frosting to help you lose weight. Unfortunately, it’s sticking to the basics of less food and more exercise. Eat smaller portions, limit sugary treats, and drink water instead of soda or juice.

Replace Fats with Olive Oil

There is a compound in olive oil called oleocanthal that may help prevent inflammation.

Olive oil can usually be used in recipes that call for butter or vegetable oil, or as a delicious addition to spaghetti sauce. Do as the Italians do and use it as a dip for crusty French bread.

Eat More Fish

It’s always nice when you’re trying to eat healthier, to eat something that actually tastes good. Tuna and salmon are good sources of Omega-3 fatty acids, which help lubricate stiff joints in the morning, so it’s easier for you to start your day. Other fish that are rich in Omega-3 acids are herring, mackerel, and sardines.

Boost Vitamin C Intake

Vitamin C helps build healthy collagen and connective tissue. Strawberries, oranges, and grapefruit are all good sources of Vitamin C. On the vegetable side, broccoli, cabbage, and kale can be cooked alone, added to a stir-fry, or tossed in a salad.

Ask you doctor if you need to take a Vitamin C supplement.

 

 

Tired of Wondering What’s for Dinner?

5 Benefits of An Online Menu Planner

Dinnertime has its challenges. You want your family to eat healthy, but at the end of a long day, you don’t feel like standing over a hot stove all night, so fast food is often a convenient option.

What if you could have a pre-set menu for each day and not have to make a last-minute run to the grocery store? Best of all, what if these foods were family favorites, and even the picky eaters in your house would clean their plates.

Using an online menu planner makes all the difference, and you’ll be able to put a nutritious meal on the table in no time. Here are five benefits:

Keeps Your Recipes in One Place

If you’re like me, you probably have your favorite recipes in different cookbooks, filed in a recipe box, or saved online. Plan to Eat is an online menu planner that keeps your recipes all in one place. Using a simple bookmark tool, you can also drag and drop any online recipes you want to try.

Choose Recipes for Specific Dates

Your recipes will be on the left side of your screen and a calendar will be on the right. Choose which recipes you wish to use and drag it to the date and meal that you want to serve it. You can plan weekly menus or if you want to be more organized, plan for the whole month.

Use An Automated Grocery List

How many times have you shopped and forgot the most important ingredients you came for? It’s not fun to have to make another mad dash to the store. When you decide to make a recipe from your online planner, an automated grocery list is generated, so you can quickly pick out your items and head for the checkout line.

Waste Less Food

It’s easy to buy too much food and end up throwing it away. Now, you can stick to your automated grocery list, and if you end up with leftovers, you can schedule them for another day.

Cook in Batches

If you’re like me, you have a busy schedule. However, if you can carve out some extra time, maybe on a weekend, cooking meals ahead and freezing will allow you get dinner on the table in record time. Use stackable plastic jars or plastic freezer bags that keep out moisture and oxygen.On the day you plan to serve, all you have to do is defrost,  add a salad or bread, and dinner is ready.

Online menu planners may offer a 30-day trial so you can use it and see if it works for you.

Taking Care of Your Health in Menopause

4 Changes to Make for Better Bone Health

 

I‘ve always been interested in good health, but when I took a bone density test, I was given a diagnosis of osteopenia. Osteopenia occurs when your bones are weaker than normal, but not to the point of having osteoporosis, when bones are more likely to fracture.

A woman in menopause has enough problems with hot flashes, depression, weight gain, and dry skin without having bone health added to the mix.

Here are four changes you can make for better bone health:

Eat Calcium-Rich Foods

Foods that are rich in calcium usually include some of your favorite foods. In the main dish department, cook dried beans such as pinto, navy, or kidney beans. Dairy products such as low-fat or non-fat milk can be used in cooking or poured over your morning breakfast cereal. I have developed a taste for Greek yogurt, which is also a good source of calcium.

Take Calcium Supplements

It is hard to eat enough calcium-rich foods for optimum bone health, especially if you’re watching your calories.  Your doctor may recommend taking a calcium supplement. For a woman in menopause who might not be producing as much stomach acid, calcium citrate may be more easily absorbed.

Increase Vitamin D Levels

One of the best sources of Vitamin D is sunlight.  Now, with all the emphasis on making sure you apply sunscreen every 20 minutes when you’re outside, you don’t get those beneficial rays that could increase your Vitamin D.

A Vitamin D3 supplement promotes calcium absorption and bone mineralization. Your doctor will advise which dosage requirement will work best for you. I take 1000 IUs a day, but if your levels are lower, you may need to take more until your bone density increases.

Strength Training

Any exercise is beneficial but when you’re working on better bone health, you need to do some strength training. When I first heard about strength training for women, I had a picture in my mind of standing in the gym lifting weights. You can lift weights, but not everyone can pony up the big bucks for a gym membership, and there are exercises you can do at home that are just as beneficial.

Start out slowly, and if you have physical limitations such as joint replacement, bad knees, or high blood pressure, talk to your doctor first.

Since I have been following these tips, my last bone density test showed my bone mass had increased.