Tips to Reduce Holiday Stress

Tips to Reduce Holiday Stress

Has stress taken the fun out of your holidays? Put the “jolly” back in your holidays and create cherished holiday memories with these proven strategies.

  • Acknowledge that everything doesn’t need to be perfect.
  • Start holiday planning and preparations earlier.
  • Simplify wherever you can when planning and holding festive celebrations.
  • Stick to your budget.
  • Scale down your holiday plans.
  • Ponder what you really want to do to celebrate the holidays.
  • Talk with family members and friends about what they want to do.
  • Plan celebrations that express what the holidays truly mean for you.
  • Identify old family traditions. Which ones do you love?
  • Opt to keep holiday traditions that bring you joy and happiness.
  • Give yourself permission to let go of old traditions that you aren’t fond of.
  • Establish start and end times for parties.
  • Take shortcuts like buying pre-made pies to save time.
  • Examine options for pre-made meals or catering services.
  • Promptly ask for help when you need it.
  • Inform all prospective attendees of your holiday plans in advance.
  • Discuss challenging issues in advance with a person who tends to create tension.
  • Use place cards to assign seating in efforts to avoid tension-filled holiday gatherings.
  • Short-circuit disagreeable family discussions by interrupting or changing the subject.
  • Make a gift list, considering the amount of money you can comfortably spend.
  • Cut down your gift list.
  • Shop early and make notes about where to get low-cost gifts.
  • Ask for gift suggestions from the people on your gift list.
  • Consider giving gift cards to save time and precious energy.
  • Suggest a family name-drawing to reduce gift expenditures.
  • Reduce the amount of money you spend overall on the holidays and per gift.
  • Avoid making credit card purchases as much as possible.
  • Save money by making homemade food gifts.
  • Shop early and place gifts in a gift drawer so you’ll be ready for the holidays.
  • Schedule time to be with your kids for some special holiday moments.
  • Keep the kids busy with holiday crafts. They’ll enjoy it and you can get more done.
  • Take time daily to meditate, even if only for a few minutes.

Stress-Free Holiday Traveling

  • Plan holiday travel itineraries in advance.
  • Travel during off-peak hours.
  • Start out well-rested.
  • Build-in extra money to your travel budget in case of emergencies.
  • Arrive at the airport or other station early to more easily take care of last-minute challenges.
  • Expect to run into snags.
  • Pack light and carry on your bag, rather than checking it.
  • Allow extra time to travel from place to place and expect heavy traffic.
  • Send your gifts in advance or take gift cards.
  • Limit alcohol and caffeine.
  • Pack plenty of healthy snacks that travel well without refrigeration.
  • Bring plenty of things to keep the kids happily occupied.
  • Make waiting times go faster and regain a happy holiday feeling by meditating.
  • Use portable meditation props, like a favorite image on your smartphone or tablet.
  • Plan to arrive at your holiday destination rested and excited to share your holidays with loved ones.

Meditation for Holiday Travel

  • Sit up straight and relax your shoulders.
  • Let distracting thoughts dissolve away as you focus on deep breathing.
  • Think about your destination and the loved ones you’ll be visiting.
  • Remember that you’re surrounded by people making similar plans – just like you.
  • Once you’re feeling relaxed and happy, let go of the details and enjoy that warm feeling.
  • Imagine wrapping up those good feelings and presenting them to everyone around you.
  • Gradually return your attention to the present moment.
  • Remind yourself of the fellowship you felt while meditating.

Did you find this useful? Please share it with someone else who will enjoy it too!

Wishing you a happy & healthy holidays!

Mayra – Your Nutrition Dork Guide 🙂

Healthy Puerto Rican “Gazpacho”

Healthy Puerto Rican “Gazpacho”

Gazpacho is a cold dish made with “Bacalao.” Bacalao is salted codfish that is used in many ways in Puerto Rican dishes, and it’s actually one of the healthiest. It’s high in protein, omegas, and healthy fats.

Codfish health benefits include; high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, the same type found in oily fish or seafood like salmon, mackerel and sardines. It’s also one of the few and best vitamin D–rich foods. No wonder our ancestors were so healthy, they would eat bacalao almost every day.

Omega-3 fatty acids and healthy fats are proven to improve joint mobility, brain function, reduce inflammation, improve overall health, and much more. Check out more of the benefits in the resources below.

Nutrition Dork Tip: Make sure the package says “Wild Caught” and/or codfish from Alaska. Due to ocean contamination, we need to make sure we get our fish and any other seafood from great healthy sources.

GAZPACHO RECIPE

Ingredients:

  • 1 pack of fully cooked boneless salted cod or pollock fish fillets (pollock is a marine fish species of the cod family)
  • 2 or 3 small ripe avocados (the more the merrier)
  • 1 or 1/2 small chopped yellow or red onion (your preference)
  • 2 ripe tomatoes
  • 2 – 3 tbs of extra virgin olive oil
  • Optional: 1 tsp of vinegar or squeezed lemon (maintains the freshness of the salad)
  • Pink salt (if needed) and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Rinse the salt of the fish very well (2 or 3 times). You can also soak overnight or for a few hours. I usually rinse the fish very well, then boil it to remove the excess salt. Sporadically taste the fish to make sure it’s to your liking.
  • Let it cool and rinse with cold water.
  • In a large bowl mix the chopped avocados, chopped onion, chopped tomatoes, olive oil, vinegar, and lemon juice.
  • Pull the fish into flakes and make sure there are no stray bones.
  • Add the fish to the bowl with the rest of the ingredients and mix very well.
  • Add pepper to taste and salt if needed. The fish might still have some remaining salt.
  • Serve immediately and ENJOY!
  • You can refrigerate for up to 24 hours but it’s best when served immediately.
  • Typically this dish is served inside soft roll, or with white rice as shown in the picture. 
  • Other healthy pairings are, 1 cup of brown rice, and/or cooked quinoa, for a low-carb option.  
  • If served with quinoa, this dish is high in protein, omegas, and healthy fats. All proven to promote weight loss, so ENJOY!!

Note: For a healthy vegan option, omit the fish and add over greens for a tasty and delicious salad!

Buen Provecho!

Mayra – Your Nutrition Dork Guide!

 

Resources:

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/17-health-benefits-of-omega-3#section14

https://draxe.com/omega-3-benefits-plus-top-10-omega-3-foods-list/

http://nourishingtraditions.com/are-we-over-dosing-on-omega-3s-or-why-we-need-fish-liver-oil-not-fish-oil/

Cauliflower “Arroz con Pollo”

Cauliflower “Arroz con Pollo”

My first time trying this and it came out perfect!

It tasted like Puerto Rican “arroz con pollo.” A bit mushy, but if you are okay with that, and just looking for the flavor to satisfy your craving, then you are in luck! It’s a great alternative for a low carb diet.

Here’s the recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb – cooked pulled chicken
  • 1-2 tbs – healthy fat of choice
  • 1-2 tbs – homemade “sofrito
  • 1-2 tbs – homemade “sazón
  • 1-2 tbs – homemade “adobo
  • Optional: olives, diced red peppers, and onions.
  • 2 tbs – plain tomato sauce
  • 2 lbs – cauliflower rice
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  • For the chicken, boil 2-3 chicken breasts for approximately 10 minutes or until pink is gone. Let cool and pull the chicken in treads using 2 forks.
  • In a separate pot, add healthy fat and “sofrito” on high temperature until the “sofrito” sizzles and releases the aroma.
  • Quickly mix together the “sazón”, “adobo”, and tomato sauce. At this moment you can also add any olives, onions, peppers, or any extra ingredients you’d like to add.
  • Add the chicken, mix well with all the ingredients until the chicken absorbs the color and flavor.
  • Add the cauliflower and mix well.
  • Add the salt and pepper to taste.
  • Lower temperature and cover.
  • Do not add water. The cauliflower will release juices as it cooks.
  • Cook on low for approximately 10-15 minutes, mixing in between to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom.

NOTE: Make sure the flavor is to your liking. Everyone makes Puerto Rican foods in different ways. My rule of thumb is, if you are familiar with Puerto Rican food, start the recipe as you normally would at the beginning. When it comes time to add the rice and water, you’d add the cauliflower rice instead, minus the water. The cauliflower will release juices as it cooks and there is no need for extra water.

Enjoy!!

Made with love,

Mayra – Your Nutrition Dork Guide

Finished product! Yummy!

References:
https://draxe.com/healthy-cooking-oils/
https://empoweredsustenance.com/lard-is-healthy/

Puerto Rican Sofrito

Puerto Rican Sofrito

Everyone makes Puerto Rican sofrito in their own way. Just like cooking, we all have our own styles. This is my personal way of making sofrito. You will find that everyone makes it slightly different. There isn’t a perfect, right or wrong way, we all have our own “Sabor” aka style. After making sofrito a few times, and cooking with it, you’ll be able to play around with the recipe and make it your own.

Made with more red, yellow, and orange peppers.

Ingredients:

  • 1 small bag of yellow onions
  • About the same amount of onions, buy a variety of peppers (green, red, orange, yellow). It’s your choice, although they can all be green.
  • 1 bunch of cilantro (and/or culantro)
  • 6 to 8 oz. of peeled garlic cloves. I don’t measure, but I’d say about 2 or 3 handfuls. I like a lot of garlic so I buy a pack of already peeled garlic cloves and put it all in there.

The next 2 ingredients are optional, as these are harder to find in stores sometimes. It all depends on where you live, and how much access you have to Latino groceries. No biggie if you can’t find these, as cilantro and bell peppers are very similar in flavor.

  • About 2 handfuls of “Ajisito” aka “Aji dulce” (similar to a sweet pepper).
  • 1 bunch of “Recao” aka culantro. In stores, it would be near the cilantro as they are very similar in taste. If you do find it, it’ll be long green leaves and probably say “Recao” on it.

Note: You would add these in addition to the other ingredients.

Directions:

Mix all the ingredients together in a blender, if it’s too hard to mix, add a bit of water or oil until they start to blend. If they don’t all fit, you can start a bit at a time or in batches.

To store; Keep 1 jar or container in the fridge to use as needed, and freeze the rest.  You can either use various plastic containers or use ice cube trays to freeze the sofrito in portions, then move to a large ziplock bag, and save in the freezer. It’s all up to you!

Sofrito is a very important ingredient in Puerto Rican cooking, and even on a daily basis. It’s used in rice, beans, stews, soups, meats, and more. It’s what gives Puerto Rican foods it’s amazing flavor.

Depending on what I’m making, I use about 1 or 2 tbs at a time. It all depends on the amount of food you are making. Examples, for 1 can of beans, I’d use 1 tbs, and for 3 cups of rice, I’d use 2 tbs. It is all preference, and you may have to play around with it to find out yours.

I hope you enjoy this recipe, and able to apply to your next Puerto Rican dish!

Made with love,

Mayra – Your Nutrition Dork Guide

Adobo and Sazón Seasonings, made Healthy

Adobo and Sazón Seasonings, made Healthy

I choose to make my own adobo and sazón because most packaged ones sold in stores are loaded with unhealthy ingredients like MSG, GMO’s, artificial colors, fillers, and bleached/refined salt. Any white salt means it has been bleached, refined, processed, and stripped from its natural color and nutrition.

I personally use Himalayan pink salt in it’s most natural form. That would mean that it has not been depleted of its pure form, color, and natural minerals. Pure salts have minerals that our bodies actually benefit from. Other good choices are natural sea salt, celtic salt, and any other salts with their natural color.

RECIPES:

Adobo

  • 2 tbs. Himalayan fine pink salt
  • 1 tsp. Garlic powder 
  • 1 tsp. Ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. Oregano 
  • 1/2 tsp. Turmeric 
  • Mix all together and place it in a labeled shaker.

Sazón 

  • 2 tbs. Ground annatto (achiote molido)
  • 2 tsp. Ground turmeric 
  • 1 tsp. Ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. Garlic powder
  • Mix all together and place it in a labeled shaker. Optional:  you can also add 1 tbs of Himalayan salt. I make one of each because depending on what I’m making, I like salted or unsalted sazón.

Nutrition Dork Tips: You can also make them ORGANIC by buying all the individual seasonings labeled USDA Organic. Adobo and Sazón are typically used to season meats, rice, beans, stew, and soups. Adobo is mainly used to season meats, while sazón is used to give food a nice orange/yellow color and a bit of Latin flavor.

Please note that we only do small quantities at a time in order to avoid the product from caking. In order to avoid the hassle of buying individual seasonings, and mixing up in small amounts, we are in the process of manufacturing our very own adobo and sazón. We are very excited and can’t wait to share it with everyone! #staytuned

I hope you enjoy these Latin/Puerto Rican staple seasonings and able to create delicious foods with a bit of Latin “Sabor” (flavor).

Made with love,

Mayra – Your Nutrition Dork Guide

Reference:
https://chriskresser.com/shaking-up-the-salt-myth-healthy-salt-recommendations/

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