How To Stay Healthy Over The Holiday Season

It’s getting cold outside, the evenings are drawing in and this is the week that America celebrates Thanksgiving. At this time of the year, it’s natural for us to turn to rich, heavy, comforting foods. With the sugar craziness that starts at Halloween and finishes after New Year’s, many of us throw out our diet and nutrition goals and forget about healthy food options and our good intentions from the summertime.

Don’t worry, here are some easy tips that you can use throughout the entire holiday party season that will keep you healthy and won’t have you starting all over again with unrealistic health goals on January 1.

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Three Ways To Stay Cool And Healthy This Summer

watermelon

As temperatures are rising this month and we’re all eagerly awaiting the summer holidays, it got me thinking about how we can stay cool in the heat. During the winter months, we rely on soups, stews and rich comfort food to keep our bodies warm. Right now we need to switch our grocery shopping and cooking around to lighter and fresher meals. Here are my top 3 tips to stay cool this summer so you can stay cool and happy all season long.

  1. Stay hydrated. This is the number one rule of the summer. As we are more active and sweat more, we need to stay well hydrated every day. Increase the number of glasses of water you drink or try a green juice or smoothie. Coconut water is also very hydrating. Just try to steer clear of iced coffee, soda and alcohol which you may think are refreshing but are actually very dehydrating.
  2. Eat lighter meals, especially salads and chilled soups. What I love about the summer is not having to use my oven so much. You can make hearty salads like my massaged kale salad or Greek holiday in a bowl and add some smoked salmon or sardines on the side. Why not make a big batch of gazpacho too for lunch throughout the week? Cooling snacks such as watermelon, grapefruit and cucumbers are perfect to beat the summer heat.
  3. Eat smaller portions. I’m sure you don’t feel like sitting down to a roast dinner or huge curry in the summer. Lighter meals and lots of cooling snacks will hydrate you and give you energy throughout the day.

What are you favorite ways to cool down naturally with food or drink over the summer? I’d love to hear your tips!

How Real Simple Is Getting Healthy This Summer

Real Simple Magazine and Anneka StreetLast Friday, my friend Laurisa and I hosted a healthy breakfast event at Real Simple magazine in Manhattan. We were up bright and early to serve Green Beauty smoothies with chia seeds for the editorial and marketing teams. The staff oohed and aahed at the beautiful smoothies and tried to guess all the delicious detoxing ingredients (hint: avocado, spinach and coconut anyone?) in the smoothies. As readers of this blog will know, I’m a big smoothie aficionado and try to start my day with them throwing in all sorts of fruits and veggies into the blender as well as protein powder and my homemade almond milk.

We were also at Real Simple to present the next 5-Day Reset Challenge starting on June 23. It’s a mini program that will help you lose weight, get rid of carb and sugar cravings and back into your skinny jeans in time for summer.  It’s completely healthy, nutritious and delicious.

Your benefits:
• Lose up to 5 pounds in 5 days
• Get better eating habits
• Control cravings for carbs and sugar
• Improve your nutrition
• Look and feel fabulous

What’s included:
• Recipes from Anneka for smoothies, healthy dinners and snacks
• Vegan protein powder for up to 3 smoothies per day
• Probiotics
• Multi-vitamins
• Daily support
• Access to private Facebook group

Join the Real Simple team and sign up today by emailing me and I will send you all the information!

Summery Greek Chopped Salad

Greek Summer Holiday In A Bowl

Greek Summer Holiday In A Bowl

Our local food coop in Brooklyn organizes monthly cooking classes with students from the Natural Gourmet Institute. It’s a fantasy of mine to attend this school one day, but for now I’m happy to attend these monthly classes and learn from the culinary masters. Recently, we were shown how to make this delicious Greek (or Mediterranean inspired) chopped salad and here’s my version of it. It’s so fresh and perfect for picnics and summer gatherings and will be sure to impress your friends.

I love this kind of summer cooking: using the freshest ingredients with the freshest of flavors. The original recipe calls for sour cream but I think it makes it too rich and I love the tangy taste of Greek yogurt here. This salad has beautiful notes of lemon and dill and tastes just like a Greek summer holiday in a bowl. Enjoy!

Summery Greek Chopped Salad

Makes 8 servings

1 tub organic cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 large long cucumber, diced (you can peel it if you want to)
1 can chickpeas, rinsed
6 oz feta cheese, diced into small pieces or crumbles
1 small bunch of fresh dill, finely chopped or 1 tbsp dried dill
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 lemon, zest and juice
1 large clove of garlic, minced
Sea salt and black pepper

Method

  1. Mix the Greek yogurt, zest and juice of lemon, dill and garlic together in a small bowl. Set aside for 10 minutes so that the flavors mingle beautifully together. Add sea salt and black pepper to taste.
  2. Chop cucumbers and tomatoes. Rinse the chickpeas. Chop the feta cheese. Place in a large salad bowl.
  3. Pour over the yogurt dressing and toss. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes before serving.

 

 

Vegan Spicy Sweet Potato Stew

Vegan Spicy Sweet Potato Stew

It’s been a little quiet here over on the Hello to Healthy blog. Please forgive me. I just moved (again). Moving sucks. No other word for it. We’re still unpacking over a week later but now I feel a little clearer and am back to the blog. Lots of recipes and healthy inspiration to come!

This recipe is just so wonderful, I couldn’t not share it. I dragged my children to our local Farmers’ Market on Saturday. In subzero temperatures, they were not happy. So our visit was super quick and they calmed down after we had picked out some apples and fresh bread rolls for lunch. In the middle of the market, the amazing volunteers were giving out little samples of this stew. It wasn’t much to look at and I was skeptical. But when I tasted it – oh my! Delicious sweet potato, coconut milk, flavors of rosemary and chili filled my mouth. If you think vegan food is bland and boring, try this. It’s got so many delicate layers of flavors and is perfect for this polar vortex that we are living through right now. It’s also the perfect dish to impress your guests at a potluck or dinner party.

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Chocolate and Avocado: A Marriage Made in Heaven

Recently, I started experimenting in my small Brooklyn kitchen with two of my favorite ingredients: chocolate and avocados. I’d heard from many vegan friends about a wonderful chocolate avocado pudding and just had to try it out. A few licks of the spoon and bowls later, I was hooked. Then I decided to put chocolate and avocado in my morning smoothies. And finally my biggest triumph was a minty avocado chocolate bar that had my son eating avocados for the first time in his life! Who knew that these two delicious foods work so well together? They taste utterly decadent but are healthy too. It really is a marriage made in heaven!

Here are my favorite chocolate-avocado concoctions that I’m making right now. Make sure you use the best quality ingredients: organic avocados and unsweetened cocoa powder for maximum health benefits. These recipes are sugar free, dairy free, gluten free, low glycemic and super easy to whip up.

Chocolate Avocado Pudding with seasonal berries

Chocolate Avocado Pudding with seasonal berries

Chocolate Avocado Pudding
The avocado in this pudding gives this vegan, gluten free dessert a wonderful creamy texture and heart healthy fats too. You only need a small dessert bowl to fill you up.

Ingredients:
1 ripe avocado, peeled
1/4 cup raw unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Toppings: seasonal berries (e.g. blueberries, raspberries, strawberries), slivered or sliced almonds

Put all the ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Top with berries for extra antioxidants or almonds for extra crunch.

Chocolate Avocado Morning Smoothie
What a great way to start the day! Make sure you use high-quality protein powder. Guaranteed to give you energy all day long.

1/2 avocado, peeled
1/4 banana (for extra creaminess and sweetness)
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 scoops chocolate protein powder
2-3 ice cubes

Put all ingredients in blender until smooth.

Minty Avocado Bars - everybody loves them!

Minty Avocado Bars – everybody loves them!

Minty Chocolate-Avocado Squares
My son has never ever ever eaten avocados not even as an innocent infant. We made this recipe together in 10 minutes and he couldn’t get enough! 

First make the chocolate layer:
1/4 cup raw unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
pinch of sea salt
Melt everything together in a saucepan on low heat and stir well.

Pour into a square baking or glass dish lined with parchment or waxed paper. Place in the freezer to chill and harden.

Next make the minty avocado cream layer:
2 ripe avocados
1/2 cup coconut oil
splash of lime or lemon juice
pinch of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
3-4 tablespoons of maple syrup
Put it all together in a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy.

Spoon avocado cream over the chocolate layer and leave in freezer until hard (don’t worry, you won’t have to wait long!) Then you can cut up into small squares with a sharp knife and enjoy. We preferred to keep our bars in the freezer to retain their shape and cool minty taste.

(This recipe is adapted from the Swiss Paleo blog)

Top 3 Cooling Foods for Summer

Cool as a cucumber!

Cool as a cucumber!

Temperatures are reaching the 90s and everyone is heading to the beach. Who wants to turn the oven on in this sticky heat? Summer is all about simple salads made with the freshest, seasonal ingredients.

Here are my top three recommendations for foods to keep you cool during the long summer months:

Watermelon

What would summer be without watermelon? This fruit has a high water content, is low in sugar but high in vitamins A and C. It’s slimming, refreshing and makes a low-calorie snack. It’s also delicious combined in a summer watermelon and tomato salad.

Cucumber

Stay cool as a cucumber by adding this water packed vegetable to any chopped salad or making cucumber sticks to go with your favorite dips or combining diced cucumber with plain yogurt to make Greek tzatziki.

Mint

Mint is very cooling and refreshing and is perfect in any salad or summer cocktail. Why not combine it with watermelon and cucumber to make the ultimate cooling salad?

Fill your summer with refreshing summer ingredients to help you stay cool all season long! Don’t forget to also stay hydrated with lots of filtered water or green juices.