Overnight Oats

Today, I wanted to piggyback off my “Hectic to Healthy: How to Jump Start Your Day in a Healthy Way” post and provide you with a few simple yet delicious Overnight Oats options!

This is an excellent way to ensure that you’re eating a nutritious breakfast that can be prepped in just a few short minutes the night before! Using Old Fashioned Oats where the only ingredient is 100% whole grain rolled oats will not only benefit your health but your wallet as well! For example, a 42oz canister of Quaker old-fashioned rolled oats will typically cost you roughly $3.99 with about 30 servings per canister (buying store-brand such as Market Pantry at Target or Giant brand will save you even more and it’s the same ingredient list!). A box of Quaker flavored oatmeal packets 8ct will typically cost you anywhere from $2.50 to $4.99. So, as you can see, you will get more meals for less money out of purchasing simply rolled oats, compared to single serving packets. Also, by purchasing plain oats, you’re eliminating the added sugars and fillers found in oatmeal-flavored packets, and your options are endless with the different flavor combinations and add-ins you can make!

Before I delve into the makings of overnight oats, I wanted to highlight a few of the benefits of 100% whole grain rolled oats and why it can make a great healthy option for breakfast!

  • Oats are a good source of insoluble and soluble fiber. A typical ½ cup serving will contain about 4 grams of fiber. Dietary fiber, a type of carbohydrate, passes through your body slowly, which in turn helps keep you feeling full longer. Some benefits of including an adequate amount of fiber in your diet include lowering blood LDL cholesterol levels (the “bad” cholesterol) and helping control blood sugar levels.
  • 100% whole grain rolled oats are rich in several minerals (did you read my previous post on the mineral, calcium? :)) including iron, zinc, thiamin, magnesium, phosphorus, and selenium.
  • With 5 grams of protein for ½ cup serving, 100% rolled old-fashioned oats are a good source of protein too! The protein content can be increased if made with milk instead of water as well.

So now that we have a better understanding of the health benefits of oats, it’s time for the fun part:

Overnight Oats

I hesitate to call these recipes since making overnight oats is SO SIMPLE with endless healthy options, so I will simply break down the steps and offer you a few healthy flavor enhancers and add-ins to try!

  • The general rule of thumb is to have a 1:1 ratio so 1 part rolled oats to 1 part liquid. For example, ½ cup of rolled oats to ½ cup of water or milk. If you like thicker oatmeal use less liquid and vice versa for thinner oats.
  • Once you add your oats and water/milk to a large cup, bowl, or mason jar, add fresh or frozen fruit such as blueberries, strawberries, banana slices, or apples. Fruit will increase the fiber content in addition to enhancing the vitamin and mineral amount as well!
  • Add healthy fats like nuts (i.e. almonds, walnuts, pecans), nut butters (i.e. almond, coconut), or seeds such as chia seeds or sunflower seeds. Adding healthy fats will help keep you feeling satiated longer after your meal and can help reduce your risk of bad cholesterol while also maintaining the functioning of your body’s cells.
  • If you want to add sweetness to your oats, some healthy options include natural flavor extracts such as vanilla, almond, or banana, cinnamon, nutmeg, a dash of honey or maple syrup, stevia, or no sugar added jam.
  • Other healthy add-ins can include greek yogurt which will add more protein and calcium to your breakfast while also increasing the volume and thickness of the oats or pumpkin puree which is packed with the antioxidant beta-carotene and Vitamin A!
  • Finally, give everything a good stir or add ingredients layer by layer starting with the oats, liquid, then add-ins and place in your refrigerator overnight!

Now, of course, if you have more time in the morning, you can opt to cook oats on the stove or in your microwave, but making overnight oats is an excellent breakfast option when crunched for time in the mornings or for when you simply don’t want to make breakfast!

Bon appétit!



Nutrition and healthy eating. (2012). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from: http://www.mayoclinic.org/fiber/ART-20043983?p=1

Healthy benefits of Oatmeal. (2015). Dairy Council of California. Retrieved from: http://www.healthyeating.org/Healthy-Eating/All-Star-Foods/Grains/Article-Viewer/Article/208/Health-Benefits-of-Oatmeal.aspx

Bone Health & Calcium Rich Foods

Today’s topic will focus on calcium and bone health! It can be intimating to hear about so many vitamins and minerals we’re suppose to consume within our diets. To keep it simple, eating a wide variety of nutrient dense foods is the easiest way to ensure you’re consuming an adequate amount of vitamins and minerals.

So, today I wanted to touch upon one of the main minerals-calcium. There are two groups of essential minerals that your body needs to thrive: trace and major minerals. Trace minerals are those that the body requires in small quantities for normal function, such as zinc and iron, whereas major minerals are those that are required in large amounts. Despite the differences in the amounts we need, trace and major minerals are equally as vital for our bodies to function optimally. Calcium is classified as MAJOR, as it’s the most abundant mineral within the body.

I’m sure you’ve heard by now that calcium is good for your bones. Not only is it good for your bones, but it is necessary for SO MANY other important functions within your body as well. Some of these functions include:

  • Muscle movement
  • Bone strength
  • Blood flow throughout the body
  • Hormone and enzyme release
  • Message delivery by nerves between the brain and all body parts

These processes that are constantly occurring throughout our body without us even knowing are incredibly important for our bodies to function healthily. Another fun fact about calcium is that almost all calcium is stored in our bones AND our teeth.

Okay, so now that we know how many great things calcium does for our bodies, let’s discuss what foods contain calcium. For the purposes of this blog post, I am going to stick to natural sources of calcium. I personally believe natural sources are ideal for calcium absorption, but calcium is also commonly consumed from foods that have been fortified with calcium as well such as some cereals or fruit juices.

Naturally Occurring Calcium Rich Foods

Dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese top the list as the best sources of calcium, but this doesn’t have to be your only source, especially for those who are lactose-intolerant. Surprisingly, vegetables such as leafy greens (i.e. kale, broccoli, turnips, bok choy, and cabbage) all contain a good source of calcium as well. Almonds (my personal favorite), fruits like oranges and figs (yum!), and legumes including white beans and black-eyed peas all include an adequate amount of calcium. Finally, canned seafood, in particular salmon and sardines, are an excellent source of calcium.

Do you any of these foods sound appealing to you?

Are they already apart of your diet?

Get creative in the kitchen and try incorporating some of these calcium rich foods into your diet today!

*As a reminder, I encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns with your physician regarding your health, as the information I provide should not replace any medical advice. I write based on my own personal research and experiences. 🙂


National Institutes of Health. (2013). Calcium. Retrieved from: http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Calcium-Consumer/

WedMD, LLC. (2014). Super Foods for your Bones. Retrieved from: http://www.medicinenet.com/super_foods_for_your_bones_pictures_slideshow/article.htm

Healthy Grocery Shopping Tips

Today I wanted to focus on SHOPPING in particular, food shopping! One of my favorite things to do ☺. It can sometimes be a little overwhelming at the store with so many different options. We walk in and are bombarded with a plethora of choices which may either make us want to pull our hair out or simply just grab the first things we see without much thought to the process. The last thing we want to do is take the time to read the food labels to determine the most nutritious items because who has time for that, right? Well, with just a few simple tweaks to your weekly (or bi-weekly) shopping trip, your shopping trip can be enjoyable AND healthy.


I always have a list of things I need to get at the grocery store with me when I shop. Without one, I KNOW I’ll forget things that I need and will end up having to run back to the store. An easy way to keep track of things you need, is to create a list on your phone and add to it when you run out of something. That way you’re not scrambling around last minute trying to remember what you need or don’t need. You can even take it a step further and plan ahead your meals, so it’ll give you a better idea of exactly what you’ll need.

BONUS TIP: To save money, CLIP COUPONS! It takes just a few minutes to scan through your weekly Sunday ads and clip coupons of items you know you use. Some grocery stores will double the savings of your manufacture coupons too! Overtime, these few extra minutes can lead to A LOT of money saved. Don’t forget to check your grocery store’s weekly ad too. Typically the new weekly sales begin on Fridays.


Fresh wholesome foods are always located on the perimeter of the store. Here is where you are able to find fresh fruits, veggies, dairy, meat, and fish. The center isles are typically where the more processed foods that may contain additives and artificial ingredients are located. However, all food is energy (calories=energy) and moderation is key to having a healthy, balanced diet; so although some foods may be more processed than others, it shouldn’t be viewed as off-limits or ‘bad.’ This leads me to my next tip.


Here is where you will be able to determine an item’s serving size, caloric total, nutrient breakdown (i.e. fats, proteins, carbs) and the vitamins & minerals (i.e. vitamin A, C, calcium) of what you’re buying. A good ‘rule of thumb’ is to limit high sodium, cholesterol, sugar, saturated and trans-fat foods while looking for more fiber, vitamin (i.e. A, E,C), mineral (potassium, calcium, iron) rich foods. I will save ‘how to read a nutrition label’ for another post!

Some ideas in case you feel lost in regard to great protein, carb, and fats include but are not limited to:
-PROTEIN include: lean meats, skinned poultry, legumes, nuts, greek yogurt, cottage cheese, eggs (and egg whites), seafood, tofu
-CARBOHYDRATES include: vegetables, fruits, oatmeal (i.e. rolled, steel cut, old fashioned, oat bran), potatoes (i.e red, white, sweet), 100% whole grain bread, whole grain cereals, beans, quinoa, rice
-FATS: extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, peanut and almond butters, nuts and seeds, cheese


The shorter the list of ingredients the better. Limit the amount of food items you eat that contain ingredients in which you cannot pronounce. If we cannot recognize the ingredient, our bodies will not either.

Healthy eating does NOT have to be boring. Don’t be afraid to try different foods; variety is the spice of life!

Travel Tips on How to Stay Healthy on Vacation

With the summer months almost here and temperatures steadily rising, this can only mean one thing: Vacation time! So in order to ensure that you stay healthy while on-the-go and avoid the temptation to eat for convenience (which not only will benefit your health but your wallet as well) you are going to want to check out these tips I have compiled for you to use during your next trip!


                Tip #1            

Pack your own snacks so that when hunger strikes, you’re not tempted to stop at a convenience store or fast-food joint. By bringing a balanced, nutrient dense snack or meal comprised of protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats, you’ll stay full and satisfied while also saving yourself money! Some great snack ideas include:

  • Nuts like almonds or pistachios
  • Nutrition bars (i.e Questbars, larabars) that are low in sugar but provide an adequate amount of protein (you don’t want to purchase protein bars that contain more grams of sugar than protein, the less ingredients the better!)
  • Fruits like oranges, bananas, or apples that are easy to travel with or dried fruit where the only ingredient is the fruit itself!
  • Pre-cut veggies like carrots, cucumbers, or celery
  • Almonds/peanut butters or hummus to pair with your fruit or veggies!

Tip #2:

As I recently visited several airports while traveling, I was able to take a look at several food and beverage options, and although you’ll still see your typical McDonalds, Wendy’s, pizza joints, and ice cream stands, there ARE places where you can make healthy choices! Here are some of my go-to eats for when I’m on the go at the airport!

  • Sandwiches- made with whole wheat, rye, or sourdough breads, lean deli meats, 1 slice of cheese, and veggies! Starbucks has several great options of pre-made sandwiches that are a good choice when on the go. There also will typically be several other sandwich places that will have similar options, where you may be able to customize your order as well!
  • Oatmeal- several places like Starbucks, McDonalds, or Au Bu Pain, will have oatmeal on their menu, which is also a great choice especially if you find yourself at the airport early in the morning before you’ve had breakfast! Stick to keeping it simple with small amounts of the add-ons like brown sugar, cream, etc. Keep to the rule of thumb of everything in moderation!
  • Yogurt- greek yogurt is a great choice (i.e. Chobani, Fage), as it has a higher protein content than regular yogurts, which will keep you full longer. These will typically be found in the magazine stores as the airport. Greek yogurt would pair nicely with fruit and some nuts to make an excellent healthy option!
  • Salads- greens are always a great option but opt for salads that have an adequate amount of protein (i.e. tofu, beans or chicken), veggies, and the dressing on the side! Asking for the dressing on the side will allow you to have more control of the portion, so you don’t find yourself with more dressing than salad 🙂 Sometimes you’ll find salads that have more added toppings like croutons, tortilla strips, or a lot of cheese than actual veggies and protein so try to keep those toppings to a minimum when looking for salad options while using the dressing sparingly.

Tip #3

Remember to stay HYDRATED! Traveling can leave you dehydrated and feeling sluggish, especially if you’re flying, so it can be easy to steer in the direction of wanting high sugar, caffeine-laden drinks. By drinking plenty of water during your travels, you will also be able to minimize feelings of jet lag after flying. Even if you’re traveling by car, train, bus etc. staying hydrated is still incredibly important. Do you know why? If not, then you MUST check out my previous post on ‘High Quality H20 and Why It’s so Important’!

Happy Traveling! 🙂


High Quality H20 and Why It’s so Important!

So we hear time and time again on the importance of water and why we need to drink it daily. We also typically hear that we need to consume 64ounces (8 cups) of water each day. This notion of 8 daily cups of 8oz of water has become popular over the years as a general rule of thumb, even though there’s no scientific evidence to back it up. While this is a good notion to live by, your water needs depend on a variety of different factors such as your physical activity level, body weight, and the temperature and humidity of where you live to name just a few.

So how much do you actually need?

According to the Institute of Medicine, it is recommended that the average, healthy female adult should consume roughly 9 cups (2.2liters) of total FLUID each day, whereas a healthy male adult should consume about 3 cups (3 liters)*. Active individuals need even more, particularly if you’re engaging in intense exercise and in hot temperatures. So the 8 cups of 8ounces each day (roughly 1.9 liters) isn’t too far off from the Institute of Medicine’s guidelines. Another important thing to keep in mind too is that the guidelines are a recommendation for your total FLUID intake, not simply just water, thus all fluid counts from water in beverages and in food (keeping in mind that some sources are better than others of course). For example, milk and juice are mostly comprised of water and, yes, even the beloved coffee has water, but sugar-laden beverages such as sweetened teas and coffees, juices, and sodas should not be the majority of your daily fluid intake and should be consumed sparingly. Some of the foods you eat on a daily basis can even contribute to your daily fluid intake! Fruits like oranges and watermelon and veggies like tomatoes, lettuce, celery and spinach are composed of mostly water too.

What does H20 do for your body?

 Water helps with:

  • Regulating your body temperature
  • Lubricating and cushions your joints and muscles
  • Protecting your spinal cord and other tissues
  • Eliminating wastes and toxins from your body

Why is it important?

Think of the plants in your garden. If you don’t give them enough water; they shrivel up, but once you give them water, they are able to perk right back up! That’s how it is for our bodies too. Water is in every cell, tissue, and organ within our bodies. Not enough water especially for athletes can lead to feeling fatigued, decreased performance, cardiovascular stress, heat illness, and dehydration. When your body is in a dehydrated state, you may experience more muscle cramping and loss of coordination. Twenty-four hours prior to vigorous exercise is particularly important for water consumption for athletes.


Easy tips to increasing your fluid intake:

Drinking plain water can be boring at times. I can definitely attest to that! Some easy ways to spice it up a bit and be more flavorful include:

  • Adding lemon or lime wedges or even mint to your water
  • Adding cucumber or oranges to a pitcher of water and letting it sit for a few hours in your fridge to enhance the taste!
  • Making ice cubes with frozen fruit and adding them to your water
  • Making iced tea with herbal caffeine free tea bags

And finally,

  • Keep a water bottle with you at all times! Places like Target, Kohl’s, or Walmart sell reusable waterbottles, such as the Contigo brand, that will not only help you keep up with your daily water intake but will also save you some money AND the environment!

*Some individuals have health problems that restrict their water intake. If you’re concerned about your fluid intake or have health issues, check with your doctor or a registered dietitian. He or she can help you determine the amount of water that’s right for you!


American Council of Excerise (ACE). (2008) Fit Facts. Retrieved from: http://www.acefitness.org/fitfacts/pdfs/fitfacts/itemid_173.pdf

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2012). Water: Meeting your Daily Water Needs. Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/everyone/basics/water.html

Institute of Medicine (n.d.). Dietary reference intakes for water, potassium, sodium, chloride and sulfate. http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/DRI//DRI_Water/73-185.pdf


From Hectic to Healthy: How to jump start your day in a healthy way!

With the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it can be easy to put our own health on the backburner when our days are filled with long hours at work, cramming for exams, lengthy commutes, driving your kids to and from extracurricular activities; the list can go on and on. Whatever the case may be, sometimes the last thing we want to do is fit in time for healthy eating right? Well, what if I told you that eating healthy CAN fit into your hectic day-to-day life by making just a few EASY and MANAGEABLE tweaks to jumpstart your day.


          I think the biggest issue is the lack of time in the morning.   We don’t want to lose any more precious minutes of sleep than we have to, so it can be easy to opt for convenience breakfast food items in the morning. One way to change this habit is to take the time the night before to have your breakfast already made for you in the morning to just grab and go! A few easy and delicious suggestions include:

  • Overnight oats: this may be one of my favorites. The flavor combinations are endless and it’s so simple and easy to make. Store in your fridge overnight and simply reheat in the morning! A simple google search can lead you to many overnight oat recipes!
  • Smoothies: have the ingredients lain out and readily available for you, so that in the AM all you have to do is dump it in your blender and go. You can even take a few extra minutes and put together a few frozen bags of smoothie ingredients to have in your freezer for mornings when you want a smoothie for breakfast.   Prepping your own pre-made smoothie bags can also save you money! Great suggestions for ingredients in your smoothies include a combination of protein (i.e. greek yogurt, milk) carbohydrates (i.e. fruit like bananas or berries), and healthy fats (i.e peanut or almond butters).
  • Hardboiled eggs: have some hardboiled eggs made and stored in your fridge to grab in the morning paired with a side of toast and fruit!
  • DIY Breakfast Sandwich: put together a sandwich the night before using a whole wheat English muffin or toast, an egg, and slice of cheese and there you have yourself a hearty, satisfying breakfast!

And there you have it! A few simple, quick breakfast ideas to kick start your day in a healthy way!

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