I don’t know about you, but I love it when dinner is pretty much ready when I get home! Especially in the winter when the days are short and it is already dark when I get home. This recipe pairs well with some whole grain or gluten free bread right out of the oven.
I hope you enjoy!
- 4-5 Chicken Breasts
- 1 Large Yellow Onion, Chopped
- 4 Celery Stalks, Chopped
- 1 l Large Bag of Frozen Mixed Vegetables
- 3 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
- 1½ tsp Sea Salt
- 1 tsp.Ground Black Pepper
- 1 tsp.Thyme
- 1 tsp. Oregano
- 3½ cups Low Sodium Chicken Stock/ Broth
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 1 cup Plain Greek Yogurt
- 3-4Tbsp Cornstarch (To Thicken) * Optional
- Add the chicken, yellow onion, celery, mixed vegetables, garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, oregano, and chicken broth to the slow cooker and stir to combine.
- Add the bay leaves, cover, and cook on Low for 7-8 hours, or until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender.
- Remove and discard bay leaves. Remove the chicken breasts, shred, and set aside.
- Measure out 1½ to 2 cups of the liquid and contents from the slow cooker and place into a blender. I use a small individual blender. Blend until smooth and return to the slow cooker. This will thicken the soup.
- To thicken additionally, mix ½ cup of the liquid with 3-4tbsp. cornstarch and dissolve into the liquids. Returning to the slow cooker after.
- Return the cooked, shredded chicken to the slow cooker, and mix in the plain greek yogurt.
- Re-cover and cook an additional 30 minutes to reheat. Season to taste before serving.
Somehow these foods have managed to gain notoriety as ‘health foods’. Cleaver marketing may have been they reason they have been deemed as good choices when watching our waistlines. The truth is even though they’ve been given a halo, it doesn’t mean they are truely health foods. Here are a few that made my list and why.
1. Granola- We usually think granola=healthy. This is partly because it has been marketed to us, as a ‘health food’. The truth is store bought granola is usually high is sugar and fat (and not the good kinds). Think 200cals per 1/4- 1/2 cup!
2. Veggie Straws and Chips- But they have veggies in them right?! Here is where you need to take a look at the ingredient list. Usually that first ingredient is still some type of potato product- i.e. Chips.
3. 100 Calorie Packs- These little packs trick you into thinking you are doing something good by only eating 100 tasteless calories. The problem- no nutrition and who sticks to eating just one?!
4. Pretzels- Unless you buy a special whole grain brand, they are the same as eating white bread. No fiber and not many nutrients.
5. Juices and Prepackaged Smoothies- It’s made from fruit so it’s healthy right?! Fruit is always best in it’s original package. Meaning the whole fruit. The fiber helps you digest it more slowly. Drinking only the juice spikes your blood sugar more. I don’t count juices as a serving- unless it’s blended in a homemade smoothie. Another note- premade smoothies often contain lots of added sugars too.
6. Energy Bars- Take a peek at that ingredient list before buying. Often the first ingredient is some type of syrup. Which means sugar is what it contains most of. Especially brands like Cliff and others.. read those labels!
7. Sports Drinks- If you are an intense athlete exercising for more than 1hr in extreme heat, then yes by all means grab a sorts drunk. However, if you just walked 30min on the treadmill stick to good old H2O.
8. Gluten Free Processed Foods- Things have gotten a bit out of hand with the Gluten Free craze. Just because it is Gluten Free doesn’t mean it’s healthy. There are lots of processed products out there with this halo.
9. Organic Candy and Other Treats- Candy is candy. Organic or not, sweet treats usually do not have much nutritional value. So even though it’s organic, it doesn’t make it healthy.
10. Prepackaged Oatmeal Packets- While oats in general are a healthy choice, those convenient little packets are not. Typically they are loaded with sugar. You are better off buying the large container and portioning out your own and adding in real fruit and nuts.
I hope this makes you think a little more about your daily choices!
Gretchen Riddle, CHES, CHWC, NLC
I’ll admit I haven’t been exercising at the same level that was my norm before my son. Up until about 7-8 months I was jogging (or walking fast 😉) about 3x a week and using weights. Since then it’s been a bit of a struggle to find my new routine. I’m sure other moms can relate. So after over a year of getting in sporadic workouts, I finally made the decision to go back to what worked before.
When I first started working out and going to a gym I used the recumbent bike frequently to start my workout. I’d begin there, then move on to weights. I loved being able to read a magazine or book, watch tv and listen to music while riding. It was a great break from school. Which wasn’t the most intense workout, but was great for starting out.
This got me thinking recently. I have a treadmill but needed something quieter, because the only time I could work out was when my son was sleeping. A friend of mine had a bike that was compact and a reasonable price, so I thought why not check into it.
I’ve only used it a few times, but I already love how quiet it is and I can have some ‘me time’ looking at magazines again while moving a little.
So the moral of the story, sometimes it takes thinking back to what worked in the past to find something that you enjoy.
What is your favorite way to get in exercise?!
It’s human nature to go through cycles. Sometimes we are eager and motivated and others not so much. When it’s 75 degrees outside and the sun is shining down, I have a strong drive to get out and run. While on cloudy days, I’d rather sit on the couch. I think most of us can relate. The key is being in the motivated stage more often than not.
How do you make exercising a habit and get through those not-so-motivating days? Here are a few tried and true tips to help you make a habit:
Like many other things in life, it’s best to schedule it in like an appointment. Go ahead and sign-up for that race or class, and set a date with a friend to meet up and walk or run. Then actually write it on your calendar and add it to the one on your phone. Set a reminder too! Treating it like an appointment makes you less likely to skip out. Even if you just have 10 minutes on your lunch break still schedule it!
Having a plan at the beginning of the week will make you more likely to be active throughout the week. After a few weeks you’ll find what works best for you and will be likely to continue.
Keep things interesting. Don’t be afraid to try new activities with family or friends. Variety can help prevent boredom and burnout. Never tried Zumba or yoga? Sign up for a class.
Exercising first thing is a great way to make sure you get it in. Too many times we get started with the day and think ‘After I do this, I’ll go walk.’ and it keeps getting pushed off and turns into ‘I’ll do it tomorrow.’ Go walk first thing and check it off your to-do list!
Keep track of your progress. Even simply making a note of how far you walk can help. This way you can look back and see how far you’ve come from time to time. On those hard days when you aren’t motivated it can be great to look back and say ‘When I started I could only walk 15 minutes 3 times a week. Now I’m up to an hour a day!’
Keep yourself motivated to continue by planning non-food rewards. For Example: If I run three times a week for the next two months I can buy myself the new purse or watch I’ve been wanting. That item will be even more special because you earned it too.
*Don’t forget small pockets of time you have here and there that are not planned can still be great opportunities to move more. Get in the habit of having the mindset to look for ways throughout your day to walk a little farther and simply be more active.
How do you keep exercise routine?