Stress Less & Enjoy More This Holiday Season

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but it can also be the most stressful. Between work (Q4 deadlines are real y’all), holiday parties, shopping and travel there is simply too much going on in-between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.

This year try to get ahead of the stress by making a holiday stress prevention list. Simply make a list of what you expect from yourself (and your family) during the holidays. While writing this list you just might find your potential stressors. These are things you feel like you are expected to do, but perhaps don’t have time for, or you feel like don’t add value during this busy time. Once you have your list written, write down what changes you can make to prevent stress in that particular situation. Finally go through your list and make the changes that will make the most impact on your stress level. For example, if you are stressed about making a family dinner – don’t offer so many entree options or ask someone to bring a dessert/appetizer/side. If you have items on your list that seem unrealistic (like creating the most festive holiday atmosphere) now is the time to let them go!

This holiday season I encourage you to do less and enjoy more.

Choose 1-3 holiday activities per week (work holiday party, shop at the mall, write cards) and say “no” to the rest. Don’t forget YOUR needs! Take 3 minutes every day just for you during holiday season. Try something like:

  • Writing in a journal
  • Meditating
  • Stretching
  • Listening to calming music
  • Reading a book or magazine

What do you do during the holidays to enjoy more and stress less? Leave a comment below!

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things: Red Kitchen Items

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Today I am excited to share with you some of my favorite kitchen items my decor theme color: RED! I chose red as my kitchen decor theme to continue a flow from our living/dining room into the kitchen a few years ago. I absolutely love how it makes our house feel warm and comforting, and this time of year it is particularly festive!

Here are some of my favorite kitchen items that double as great holiday gifts or registry items!

My Favorite Kitchen Items:

dutch oven

Le Creuset Signature Cast-Iron 3 1/2-Qt. Essential Oven

I cannot say enough about how amazing enameled cast iron is. Not only can you take dishes from cooktop to the oven, but it’s also super easy to clean. I use my red essential oven to cook soups all winter long, but also love the high sides for cooking high volume dishes like sautéed kale.

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Le Creuset Heritage Stoneware Rectangular Covered Casserole

The beauty of enameled cast iron at a great price! The term “one pan meal” get’s a whole new meaning with this covered casserole – try layering potatoes and green beans on the bottom followed by a lean meat like chicken on top. Cover, cook and viola! This casserole dish is also gorgeous enough to take it right out of the oven and to bring it to a dinner party.

pie pan

Emelie Harvey Pie Pan

I had been dying to get my hands on one of these Instagram worth pie dishes all season and finally caved! The ceramic also retains heat very well – meaning you can take it out of the oven before your guests get here and it will stay warm for hours.

Fiestaware in Scarlet

We have a full set of Fiestaware in all different colors and I love the durability it has. We have had ours for over 3 years now and there are not cut marks on the plates and they hold up super well (even if you accidentally drop one in the sink while washing it).

silcone tools

Silicone 5 Piece Tools Set

I love these red silicone tools from Williams-Sonoma. The handles are stainless steel and look sleek, while also offering comfort. You can put them in the dishwasher and they have held up very well for us!

And those are my holiday and registry picks for a red themed kitchen! Have other ideas? Message me

 

 

 

Maintain Don’t Gain This Holiday Season

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On average, Americans gain between 1-5 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. While this may not seem like a lot, research has shown that those pounds are often never lost, and accumulate over time.

Between the office holiday party, increased amount of sweets laying around and cookie exchange parties – losing weight during the holidays is nearly impossible. Rather than trying to lose weight this holiday season – try to maintain your weight!

You know that little voice in your head? The one that says “It’s ok! I will eat these cookies now, and I will just set a weight loss goal for my New Year’s Resolution.” Avoid that New Year’s mentality!

Stay focused now and stick with your healthy lifestyle habits to stay on track to your health goals. You have worked so hard to get to where you are – don’t stop now!

5 Maintain Don’t Gain Holiday Tips

  1. Plan Your Meals and Snacks. Staying on track with your health and wellness goals is all about planning, especially when you have a busy schedule. Meal planning is more important than ever during the holidays. Have a holiday party this week? Write it down and plan your healthy meals filled around it. This way you will be able to hop right back on the wagon if you splurge a little at the party.
  2. Implement Your Holiday Exercise Plan. Last month we talked about putting a healthy holiday exercise plan in place, now is the time to implement! Write down your exercise in your planner just like you would a doctor’s appointment. If you have to cancel, be sure to reschedule with yourself.
  3. Don’t save up. Research has shown that those who skip meals throughout the day when they have a big holiday meal or party coming up tend to overeat at that event. Continue to focus on your healthy breakfast, snack and lunch patterns and be sure to listen to your hunger and fullness ques.
  4. Set realistic goals. If you have a sweet tooth, swearing off sweets during the holidays may set you up for failure. Try and come up with a realistic and reasonable goal that you can stick to. Setting a goal to have a sweet treat just twice per week is more reasonable and can fit into a healthy lifestyle.
  5. Get 6-8 hours of sleep. A lack of sleep can weaken your immunity and increase your cravings for those high fat high sugar foods. Set a bedtime, and try to stick it. Also, don’t underestimate the power of a nap!

Want to know more? Set up your FREE 15 minute consultation today!

Healthy Holiday Party Tips

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Holiday party season is here! That means fun, cheer and often lots of food and drinks. Registered Dietitian Brittany L. Jones shares tips to help you enjoy the holiday party season, while maintaining your healthy lifestyle!

  1. Don’t skip meals.

Research shows that skipping meals can cause overeating later in the day. Stick to your normal meal and snack patterns as much as you can.

  1. Use a plate.

It might sound simple, but picking up a small plate will help you consume less. Avoid standing by the buffet or appetizer table and grazing. By using a plate you are more aware of what you are consuming, and are more likely to eat mindfully when going back for seconds.

  1. Bring a vegetable dish to the party.

Let’s be honest, you know there is going to be meat and carbs at the party so be the one who brings the vegetables to balance it out! Bringing a healthy vegetable dish can ensure that you have a healthy option, and also brings some beautiful *color* to the spread.

  1. Make half your plate vegetables.

Filling up half your plate with vegetables is an easy way to control your calories and carbs at a holiday party. Aim to have a quarter of your plate carbs and a quarter of your plate protein.

  1. Focus on lean protein.

Opt for chicken, turkey, and fish as your protein sources. Avoid higher calorie dishes with bacon and sausage.

  1. Survey the buffet and be picky.

Check out everything before making your final decision. Be picky and choose your favorites.

  1. DANCE!

Get moving and dance! It’s a great calorie burner, aids in digestion and can normalize your blood sugars after a big meal.

  1. Hold your drink in your non-dominant hand.

Holiday cocktail season is here! Avoid the hangover with this trick that will help you consume less.

  1. Make every other drink water.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Not only will consuming water help slow down your holiday cocktail consumption, it will also help you combat the higher salt content in party foods.

  1. Conversation has no calories!

Food sometimes takes over as the star of the holidays, but don’t forget the true meaning of this season. Talk with your friends and family IN PERSON (and not on social media).

For more healthy holiday tips, recipes and follow me on Facebook and Instagram.

Holiday Recipe Redux: Spritz Cookies

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The holiday baking season is upon us, and chances are you have an invitation to a holiday cookie exchange or an office party laying on you kitchen counter. Before you stress out over finding a semi-health conscious recipe, check out my healthy take on these easy to make classic holiday spritz cookies!

I used this standard Betty Crocker recipe as a base, and swapped out half of the flour for whole wheat to add fiber, and decreased the amount of sugar by half to reduce the calories. We also increased the vanilla for more natural flavoring!  For more ideas on healthy recipe swaps for your classic holiday recipes, check out my blog post here.

Spritz Cookies Makeover

Servings: 72 cookies (6 dozen)

Ingredients:

 

  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Colored sugar and/or sprinkles for decorating!

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 400F. Beat the melted butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on low. Add in the salt, egg and vanilla extract and beat on low with an electric mixer.
  2. Add in the flour and stir with a wooden spoon.
  3. Place the dough in a cookie press, and use the press to form different holiday cookie shapes onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
  4. Decorate with a moderate amount of colored sugar and/or sprinkles.
  5. Bake cookies for about 5 minutes, until set but not brown. Remove cookies onto a wire rack to cool.
  6. Bring cookies to your holiday cookie exchange and enjoy!

Happy Holidays from Blush Nutrition!

I wrote this post for PureBarre.com and it originally appeared in December 2015.

Sauteed Green Beans with Toasted Almonds, Lemon & Garlic as Featured on Scene on 7

Today I had the pleasure of meeting Jamarcus Gaston from WSPA’s Scene on 7! I shared my top 3 Healthy Thanksgiving tips including:
1.  Make half your plate vegetables
2.  Be picky and if you can’t choose, opt for 2 Tablespoons of all of your favorites
3.  Bring a healthy dish with you!

For my last tip I shared my Sauteed Green Beans with Toasted Almonds, Lemon & Garlic recipe. It’s quick, easy and packed with fiber and good heart healthy fats! If you don’t have a dish to bring to Thanksgiving dinner – I’ve got you covered!

green beans

Sauteed Green Beans with Toasted Almonds, Lemon & Garlic 

Serves:4

​Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ​2 Cups green beans, trimmed
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 Cup slivered almonds

Directions:

  1. In a skillet over medium heat, add 1 Tablespoon of olive oil and the crushed garlic. Saute until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
  2. Add the remaining olive oil, lemon juice, green beans and black pepper. Toss to coat. Cook 3-5min or until the green beans are tender and crisp.
  3. Add the almonds and toss. Cook 1-2 minutes to toast the almonds.
  4. Serve and enjoy!

Nutrition Facts (1 serving): 116 Calories, 10.1g Total Fat, 1.2g Saturated Fat, 0g Trans Fat, 0mg Cholesterol, 4mg Sodium, 6.5g Total Carbohydrate, 2.9g Fiber, 1.2g Sugar, 2.5g Protein ​

See you guys next time and Happy Thanksgiving!
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Healthy Holiday Recipe Substitutions

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Thanksgiving is all about food, but sometimes that food isn’t always the healthiest.

Start out your holiday in the negative by supporting a local charity and running a Turkey Day Run. If you are in the Greenville, SC area – we look forward to seeing you at the Trees Greenville Turkey Day 8K! Interested? Register here. 

Another way to stick with your healthy lifestyle is by bringing a healthier version of your favorite dish to your Thanksgiving dinner this year! Check out these 10 easy recipe substitutions that can help transform your favorite holiday recipes into healthier versions. The recipe substitutions below can be used for cooking or baking, so be sure to try the one, two or three substitutions that work best for your holiday recipe!

10 Healthy Holiday Recipe Swaps

  1. Cut the amount of sugar in half. Does your dessert or cranberry sauce recipe call for 1 cup of sugar? Try adding 1/2 cup instead, I promise no one will even notice the difference.
  2. Half white and half whole wheat. If your recipe calls for all-purpose (white) flour only, try substituting some whole wheat flour for part of it. If it calls for 2 cups, try swapping one cup all-purpose flour for one cup of whole wheat flour to add in fiber and ease digestion.
  3. Look for reduced fat dairy. Dairy products (milk, cheese) contain saturated fats, which the American Heart Association recommends we consume in moderation. To keep the saturated fat in your recipe moderate, try substituting skim or 1% milk and part skim or 2% cheese in lieu of whole milk and cheeses. You will cut back on the calories in your dish as well!
  4. Switch out the sour cream. Dips are a popular appetizer dish on Thanksgiving, and many call for sour cream. If your favorite recipe is one of them, try switching the sour cream out for the same amount of nonfat Greek yogurt instead.  You will cut back on the saturated (bad) fat and calories, while also giving your dip a protein boost! Check out these other easy substitutions from Siggi’s yogurt.
  5.  Go for low sodium broth. Reduce the salt in your gravy by choosing low sodium broth or bouillon instead.
  6.  Opt for olive or avocado oil. Have you noticed that butter is a common ingredient in traditional Thanksgiving recipes? Try using olive oil or avocado oil instead of butter to sauté your green beans or roast your potatoes. This will keep the saturated fat content low and the healthy fats high.
  7. Lighten up your mashed potatoes. Instead of heavy cream, which is high in saturated fat and calories, try this: for every 1 cup of heavy cream in the recipe, substitute 2/3 cup skim milk and 1/3 cup olive oil instead.
  8. Try white meat turkey sausage in your stuffing. Be sure to look for the 97/3 lean ground turkey to decrease the number of calories and the level of saturated fats in your dish. The turkey sausage has the same texture as pork and it tastes so good your guests won’t have a clue that you have health-ified this dish! Check out my Long Grain & Wild Rice Rosemary Stuffing with Chicken & Mushroom recipe.
  9. Leave the frying pan in the cabinet. Roasting, baking, steaming, grilling, braising and sautéing can keep the flavor high and the calories low. Try these cooking methods for your holiday recipe instead of frying which can add additional calories, but not necessarily a ton of flavor.
  10. Say NO to trans fats! Many recipes call for prepared foods such as pie crusts and frostings, which often times can contain trans fats or partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs). PHOs raise your bad or LDL cholesterol, and contribute to heart disease. The USDA recognizes this risk and plans to eliminate partially hydrogenated oils in our food supply within the next 3 years, but until then we recommend reading the ingredients on prepared foods to ensure they do not contain PHO’s.

Want to know how to start your New Years Resolution NOW? Contact me for more information on special holiday pricing.

Healthy For The Holidays

Healthy For The Holidays

Do you ever feel like you’re stuck in the eye of a hurricane? Back to school came in like a beast, and now you’re stuck in the calm before the storm (Thanksgiving is just 6 weeks away – ah!). Many of us have fallen off the nutrition and fitness wagon in recent months, so why not use the lull before the holiday mayhem to build back your healthy habits?

Check out these 3 easy tips to get you back on the wagon before the holidays:

  1. Start your holiday exercise habit now. Let’s face it – starting an exercise program during the holidays is not all that realistic. Think about where you want to be with your health and wellness on Thanksgiving in 6 weeks and start NOW! Maybe it’s working towards exercising 3 days per week, or maybe it’s running in your local Turkey Trot. Either way, you have 42 days to make it a habit. Ready. Set. Go!
  2. Meal plan like a boss. Once holiday parties start cluttering up your calendar, it is going to be very important to have your meal planning skills down pat. Does planning 21 meals for the week stress you out? Try starting with dinners only and build from there.
  3. Find healthy holiday recipes. If you already know what your holiday plans look like, start looking up and trying out healthy holiday recipes. Vegetable side dishes like green beans and slivered almonds, sautéed carrots, and roasted Brussels sprouts are always a good place to start. Check out the new Blush Nutrition Fall eBook for an awesome healthy apple crumble pie recipe as well!

Want to know more? Ask Brittany about her custom meal planning and nutrition coaching packages to help you reach your goals and stay on track during the holidays! 

 

Q&A with Brittany L. Jones, MS, RD, LD

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Get to know the owner of Blush Nutrition!

What made you want to work in wedding wellness?

I wanted to work with brides, grooms, their families and best friends because I know what they are going through! I know what the pressure feels like to balance work, wedding planning and wellness – unfortunately wellness sometimes falls out of the equation because there just aren’t enough hours in the day. I want to make starting out as your best self in your new life as a married couple as easy as possible!

How many weddings have you been to?

I have attended 18 weddings, including my own I guess it’s 19 now! When we got in the car in the end of the night my husband said “that was my favorite wedding ever.” It was too cute!

What kind of services do you offer?

I offer meal planning and nutrition counseling as packages of 3 or 6 sessions, combined with unlimited phone and email access. I also offer a la carte services such as grocery shopping, healthy pantry raids/refrigerator organization and grocery shopping and delivery.

You said you are a newly wed, when and where did you get married?

I married my husband Trevor on April 29th, 2017 in Mt. Pleasant, SC (Charleston area). We found the most amazing historic and natural venue right on the Charleston Harbor – it really was the best day ever!

What made you want to be a dietitian?

I actually started out as a physical therapy major at a small school in Connecticut when I realized that I wanted to work in preventative medicine and wellness. I took several cooking classes in my senior year of high school and really developed a passion for cooking and people that I just could not shake. I only lasted one semester before I transferred and changed my major to nutrition.

Where did you go to school?

I receiving my Bachelor’s in Nutrition Science and Dietetics from Syracuse University in 2010, with a Minor in Hospitality Management. I then attended the Medical University of South Carolina for my ACEND Accredited Dietetic Internship to become a Registered Dietitian and graduated in 2011. I just recently graduated with my Master’s in Health Communications from Boston University in December of 2016.

What’s the difference between a nutritionist and a dietitian?

A Registered Dietitian has qualifications that must be met, while nutritionists do not. These qualifications make them the food and nutrition expert – they include:

  • Minimum of a bachelor’s degree with course work including food and nutrition sciences, food service systems management, business, economics, sociology, biochemistry, physiology, microbiology and chemistry
  • Completed an accredited dietetic internship
  • Passed the national Registered Dietitian examination
  • Completes continuing professional educational requirements to maintain registration (75 every 5 years)

What is your professional background in?

I started out my career in outpatient nutrition counseling focused on weight loss, heart disease and diabetes. I focused on one-on-one and couples counseling, as well as group classes and food demonstrations. I then branched out into health communications and worked as both a social media manager and a content marketing manager. In addition to Blush Nutrition, I am currently working as a dietitian in corporate wellness.

How did you meet your husband?

Long story short, Trevor and I met at the Greenville Zoo. Not because we just love animals (although we do), but more so because we love wine. The charity event we were both attending was called Sippin’ Safari. I thought he was cute and asked him to take a picture of my friends and I – the rest is history!

Beach or mountains?

I live in the Blue Ridge Mountains and moved here six years ago now, but I have to say I cried the entire way from Charleston. I love life in our city of Greenville, but I hope that I will make it back to living on the beach again one day!

What is your favorite kind of wine?

Sauvignon Blanc all day er day.

Do you have any fur babies?

Yes – Lilly Jones! Lilly is a golden collie mix that my husband rescued seven years ago. She is beautiful, too energetic, smart and loves to cuddle. I don’t know what I would do without a dog, and you will probably see her a lot on our Instagram page.

What is your favorite movie?

My absolute favorite movie of all time is The Parent Trap (’98 the Lindsay Lohan version). It actually has an amazing soundtrack and our recessional song at our wedding was “This will be” because of the wedding in this movie.

Anyone who knows me knows that I watch pretty much the same 10 movies over and over again. They include: The Parent Trap, Father of the Bride 1&2, When Harry Met Sally, The Wedding Planner, SATC the Movie, The Holiday, Somethings Gotta Give, Sweet Home Alabama and Sleepless in Seattle.

Want to know more about Blush Nutrition? Email Brittany.

Photography: Jenna Marie Weddings

 

Skinny Cucumber Gin Fizz

Blush Nutrition Skinny Cucumber Gin Fizz

As I sit here and write this blog post in 95 degree heat with our power out (Duke Energy help!) I can’t help but dream up refreshing, guilt free cocktails!

One of the questions on my bridal shower questionnaire was “what is Brittany’s favorite vegetable?” Obviously this stumped everyone, because no dietitian really has one favorite vegetable, however I said a cucumber because I love that you can both eat and drink it! Not to mention cucumber + gin = everything. 

If you haven’t heard of Spindrift Water yet, you are in for an awesome surprise! We had been making seltzer water cocktails for quite some time now, but the real juice in Splindrift makes it so much more flavorful and refreshing. Also, cucumber + gin = everything.

Check out my recipe for this perfect hot summer night cocktail that totally fits into your healthy lifestyle. It tastes like a craft cocktail, but only has 3 ingedients!

Skinny Cucumber Gin Fizz

Serves: 1

(123 calories)

Ingredients:

  • 1.5oz Gin
  • 0.5oz St. Germain
  • 4oz Spindrift Cucumber Seltzer

Directions

  1. Add 4-5 ice cubes to a low ball glass.
  2. Add the gin, St. Germain and seltzer. Stir.
  3. Enjoy!!

 

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