A Whole Foods Approach To Sports Nutrition: What Should I Eat Before a Workout?

Do your New Year’s Resolutions include kicking up your workout routine a notch? If they do, that is great! But equally as important as the workout is what you are eating. Proper nutrition is essential to getting the results you want in the gym or out on the playing field. With personal trainers selling supplements, CrossFitters pushing Paleo, and a new diet popping up every month, its hard to decipher what is actually healthy and what is just hype. Here are four expert tips to help you get the most out of a pre-workout meal.

  1. Don’t shun carbohydrates. I know we are constantly being told carbs make us fat. But it’s just not true. Eating more calories than we burn makes us fat. Carbs provide our body with a quick source of energy which is what we need while working out. Carbohydrates break down into glucose, which enters our muscle cells and gives us fuel to workout at maximum capacity. Good sources of carbs to eat before a workout are fruit, whole wheat bread, oatmeal, potatoes (white or sweet), and yogurt.
  2. Keep it real. Focus on whole, minimally processed foods as much as possible. For example, eat an apple rather than an apple flavored Nutri-Grain bar. Although I think bars serve their purpose, they shouldn’t be your number one go to. If you are “keeping it real” that also means tossing protein powders, “pre-workout shakes” and anything that doesn’t actually resemble food. If you can buy it at GNC, but not the farmers market, that is a good indicator that it is not a real food. Aside from shakes and powders having no nutritional advantage over eating a well balanced meal, there are risks associated with supplements such as kidney and liver failure. Although rare, it does happen and it is not worth the risk.
  3. Hydrate hydrate hydrate! It’s best to be well hydrated before beginning a workout. Try to drink 16 ounces of fluids a few hours prior to exercising and then 1 cup of water in the half hour before. If you are exercising for one hour or less plain water provides adequate hydration. If sweating heavily or exercising for prolonged periods of time a sports drink with carbohydrates and electrolytes is a better choice. Hydration needs are different for every individual and vary based on the type of workout you are doing. One of the best indicators of hydration is urine color; as my sports nutrition professor always said, your pee should be “light lemonade.” If it’s darker, you should start increasing your fluid intake before and during exercise.
  4. Timing matters. What and how much you should eat before working out varies based on how much time you have. If you are eating dinner at 5 pm and working out at 7 pm, it is likely that you don’t need any additional food. If you are working out straight after work at 5 pm and your last meal was at 12 noon, it is a good idea to have a pre-workout snack. Personally, if I’m working out after work I’m usually ravenous. So I eat an apple or granola bar on the way to the gym. I’m generally still hungry after that apple, but once I start working out I forget about my hunger and enjoy the sweat. This snack should mainly focus on carbs, but can have a bit of protein and healthy fats thrown in as well. If your workout is primarily strength based you will want to include more protein to aid with muscle recovery. If you do more cardio (like an hour long run) your snack should be mainly easy to digest carbs. Here are some good examples.

Pre-workout snack for cardio (<1 hour before workout): 1 banana or apple, 1 Tbsp nut butter, 1 cup of water

Pre-workout snack for strength training (<1 hour before workout): 1 cup Greek Yogurt, handful of berries or sliced fruit, 10 almonds

Pre-workout meal for cardio (2-3 hours before working out): 4 ounces baked chicken or fish, 1 cup brown rice, green salad with dressing, small dinner roll, 16 ounces water

Pre-workout meal for strength (2-3 hours before working out): 6 ounces baked chicken or fish, 1/2 cup brown rice, 1 cup roasted veggies in olive oil, 8 ounces water or milk

I hope this guide helps with your sports nutrition needs. Stay tuned for the next blog to learn what to eat after your workout.

 

 

Friday Favorites Round 4

frifave

Good Reads:

Savvy Sports Nutrition: What To Eat Before a Post-Work Gym Session

Easy Freezer Burritos. It’s been a while since I’ve had those orange wrapped frozen burritos, but I do remember they were pretty tasty! For fifteen cents I think I will start making my own!

How Chipotle Made Hundreds of People Barf. oh, and diarrhea too, don’t forget that. A great short video explaining what happened, what they are doing to fix the situation, and of course there is a shout out to my home town!

Work, Sleep, Family, Fitness, or Friends: Pick Three. Because you can’t have them all!

The Birth Control Implant Nexplanon Really Works. As an early adopter (and lover) of Nexplanon I feel the need to spread the good word. If you can’t remember to take a pill, don’t want to get pregnant for 3 years, consider Nexplanon.

Good Eats:

Garlic Gouda and Parmesan Cauliflower

Garlic-Gouda-and-Parmesan-Cauliflower-Au-Gratin-2-682x1024

Pineapple Glazed Salmon

Pineapple-Glazed-Salmon-Recipe

Lemon Berry Cheezecake Parfait

Vegan Lemon Berry Cheezecake Parfait

One Pot Roasted Pepper Whole Wheat Pasta

one-pot-pasta-3-1-of-1

And now for some photos from last weekend. Noah’s train birthday party!

banner

cake

train PARTY FOR toddler

blow

matt

girls

babies

train party

Have a great weekend! I’m headed off to Big Bear with family and friends. Yay!!

Why You Will Never Find the Word “Detox” In My Recipes

image from natural mentor.com
image from natural mentor.com

This morning I opened up one of my favorite food blogs, excited to read about whatever great new recipe she had cooked up. Excited until I read the recipe title. The Best Detox Soup. That’s when all of my happiness turned into rage and annoyance Really, detox soup? Girl, you made soup. Sure, the soup is healthy, maybe it is THE BEST (who am I to judge?) but I will tell you it is not a freakin’ detox. And you are being a sell-out by giving it that title. I don’t care if adding the word detox to recipes gets more hits, it is completely false and misleading. The greenest green juice smoothie with chia seeds and organic grass fed fairy dust is not a “detox,” and neither is your soup.

By definition, a detoxification or detox for short, is the physiological or medicinal removal of toxic substances from a living organism, including the human body, which is mainly carried out by the liver. The liver, yes, you’re working liver can help detoxify you. If you think that eating detox soup, detox juice cleanse, supplements, or other “detox” diet is going to rid your body of toxins you are wrong. That’s not how it works.  Our kidneys and liver work hard to detoxify our bodies. Yes, you should eat healthy foods, maybe you should even eat lentil soup to help keep your organs healthy, but the soup itself is not a detox.

If you are thinking that there is no real harm in calling something a detox as long as it is healthy, that is at least partially true. I want you to make and eat her vegetable soup, I’m sure it’s awesome. I just don’t want you to be under the impression that the soup detoxifys you from last nights Corona’s, nachos, or rat poison. I also don’t recommend dropping cash on any non-food supplement type products being pushed as a detox. Because they don’t work and you don’t need them.

Last but not least, let’s talk about a sugar detox. If you want to detox from sugar, sure, I support you on that one. But why can’t we just go back to 2005 (the good ole’ days) and say something simple like “I’m not eating sugar this week.” or “No thanks, I don’t want cake today.” In 2016, abstaining from sugar is a drama filled event which all of your friends must be reminded of through constant Facebook updates (the headaches, the cravings, stay strong you can do this!) and early morning gym check ins.

Alright, as you may guess, I’m exaggerating ever so slightly. I just hope you understand that the word detox in relation to food is total B.S. and largely a marketing scam!

Friday Favorites # 3

friday favorites

Hi friends! How has your week been? Getting this published was a struggle, but I’m back for round 3 of Friday Favorites. Enjoy!

Good Reads

Mom, Thank You For Never Talking About Your Weight (Or Mine) If you have little ones, this is a must read! Even if you don’t, read it! I  feel so thankful to my Mom for not talking about her weight or dieting when my siblings and I were growing up. She may have embarrassed us by exercising to Sir Mix A-lot every morning or wearing short tennis skirts to pick us up at school, but the F-word was not a problem!

Why you shouldn’t be too concerned if your doctor tells you you’re fat. BMI is BS, So How Do You Know if You Are Really Healthy? Oh P.S. did you notice the correct use of “your’s” above ^^

Sometimes, failing is good for us. I Failed at Whole 30, And I Couldn’t be Happier. 

Struggling with what to pack for your child (or yourself) for lunch? I came across this great list when a client requested school lunch ideas. 50 School Lunch Ideas (Healthy and Easy). 

Good Recipes

Chunky Guacamole

Chunky-Guacamole-1

White Chocolate Raspberry Smoothie. 

smoot

Heart Beets for Valentine’s Day

beets

The Best Ever Falafels

Falafels-8-of-13-683x1024

Mini Coconut Cream Tarts with Salted Chocolate

tart

Feel Good Friday (Happy News!)

30 Powerful Photos of Love From Around the World. Number 7, so heart warming.

It may have been shared a few times already, but as a former gymnast I can’t let you miss out on this awesome floor routine from  Sophia DeJesus. 

Happy Friday Everyone!! What are your plans for this long weekend? I’m excited for a very special two year old birthday party!

Which Milk is Best? Round Two

IMG_4222

Hi there, are you ready for round two of which milk is best? Hopefully today I can post pictures that are right side up. But who knows? Every day is a mystery at Nutty Nutrition. Yesterday we talked about cow milk and almond milk. Today its on to soy milk, coconut milk, cashew milk, hemp milk, rice milk, and last but not least, breast milk!

Soy Milk. Of all the plant-based milks, soy is closest to cow’s milk in terms of nutrition. Soy milk is a good source of protein, calcium, vitamins A and D (added), and provides some fat (but not as much as whole milk). A few years ago there was some concern over the relationship between soy intake and breast cancer due to the isoflavones found in soy (which are weak estrogen-like compounds found in plants). However, the research shows that soy does not raise your risk for breast cancer and it may even decrease your risk (although studies are mostly population based and have mixed results).coconut milk

Coconut Milk. Coconut milk is growing in popularity. From a nutritional stand point I don’t know why (if you like the way it tastes that’s one thing). It is high in saturated fat and it has no protein in it. Some people claim that the specific type of saturated fat found in coconut milk is better for you and doesn’t raise your risk for heart disease, but those claims are mostly unproven at this point.

Cashew Milk. Cashew milk is basically identical to almond milk, except with cashews. Choosing one over the other would just be a matter of taste preference.

Hemp and Flax Milk. Alright, if you really want to be granola go for the hemp milk. My grocery store doesn’t even carry it, but similar to flax milk, it is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids which most people could use more of.

Rice Milk. I would only recommend rice milk if you have ALL the allergies. It is soy-free, nut-free, dairy-free, etc. It is also flavor-free. But if you have a lot of food allergies or intolerances it might be a good choice for you.

Breast Milk. Breast milk is the best choice for babies, NOT adults. Believe it or not, a grown man (or woman) has different nutritional needs that an infant. There is no need to buy breast milk online, which is actually a lot more popular than you may think. Also, gross.

So, which one is best? It depends. Nearly every type of milk offers some type of nutritional advantage. If you have a milk allergy, intolerance, or just don’t believe in drinking cow’s milk for ethical reasons, plant-based milks are a great substitute! Just keep in mind that soy milk is the only plant-based milk that is going to give you any significant amount of protein.

Personally, I prefer one or two percent organic cow milk, but I’m definitely not opposed to soy or almond milk either. All of the milk alternatives that I investigated were fortified with key nutrients like vitamins A and D, but it likely varies by brand. I would recommend that you take a look at the nutrition facts and make sure that your milk has at least 30% of the DV of calcium and contains vitamin A (palmitate) and vitamin D. For adults with a balanced diet, it’s not really critical which type of milk you drink. You don’t even have to drink milk at all, as your calcium needs can be met though food (if you are eating a varied and balanced diet). However, for small children, I would be careful about giving a milk alternative if they are drinking a lot of milk and not eating much food.

What kind of milk do your prefer?

References:

Soy. http://www.breastcancer.org/tips/nutrition/reduce_risk/foods/soy

Ask the Doctor: Coconut Oil http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/coconut-oil

 

La La Leche: Which Milk is Best?

Which Milk is Best?
Me in the milk aisle, terribly confused by all the choices

Do you remember when your only milk options were red cap (whole milk) or blue (low-fat)? Ah yes, the good ole’ days. Well times have changed.  Now you are faced with hundreds of decisions when choosing something as simple as milk: dairy-free? lactose-free? sugar-free? nut-free? organic? It’s easy to see how all of these options could leave your mind spinning. Upon talking with some of my very smart friends I realized there is a lot of milk confusion out there and I am here to help clear it up.

Cow Milk. Humans have been drinking cow milk for over 7,000  years. Cow milk is very nutrient-dense providing 8 grams of protein, 33% of the daily value of calcium, vitamins A and D (Added), fat, and carbohydrates. For years, cow milk was our only choice and we didn’t question it. However, in recent years there have been growing concerns over drinking cow milk.  What about the hormones? Do I need to buy organic? How do they remove the lactose?

milk

If you are concerned about added hormones or antibiotics you should consider buying organic milk. In order to be certified organic the cow must be fed an organic diet which excludes antibiotics and bovine growth hormone (BGH or rBST). BGH allows the cow to produce more milk faster (making the farmer happy; the cow, probably not happy). However, it is worth noting that ALL milk (organic and conventional) is tested for any detectable levels of antibiotics and is thrown out if found to be positive. Additionally, one common concern such as pre-mature puberty in girls has never been linked to milk consumption.

Lactaid milk has the milk sugar lactose already broken down so it is easier to digest. This is a really simple process that is achieved by adding the enzyme lactase to milk. Babies have the enzyme lactase which does this for them, but many children and adults lose this enzyme as they get older and will become lactose intolerant. If you are lactose intolerant Lactaid milk is a good option. Or you can choose from one of the many non-dairy milks discussed below.

One last note on cow milk. Pasteurization is a good thing. Pasteurization is simply the process of heating milk (or any food/liquid) to kill 99% of the bacteria. If you live on a farm and want to drink raw milk, go for it. For the 99% of us that don’t live on farms you will be far safer drinking pasteurized milk. And no, pasteurization does not kill the healthy nutrients in your milk.

Whew, that was ALOT.  Next up – Almond Milk.

Almond Milk

Almond Milk. Almond milk is a good alternative if you want a plant-based source of calcium. It’s great for smoothies, pancakes, coffee-creamer etc. However, it is not nutritionally equivalent to cow milk. Almond milk is low in protein, calories (depending if you get original or sweetened), and fat. If you are looking to reduce your calorie intake this might be the best choice for you. If you are looking to fatten up your children it may not be the best option. Recently, there was an incident where a toddler developed scurvy (vitamin C deficiency) from being given almond milk instead of breast milk or formula. He was given almond milk from the time he was 2 months old (when babies really depend on the fat and protein in milk). Almond milk is not nutritionally complete, please do not give it to infants as their sole source of nutrition!

Another consideration with almond milk is carageenan. Carageenan is a really scary word to some people (thanks for the fear mongering, Food Babe). Carageenan is a polysaccharide (a type of carbohydrate) that is extracted from seaweed. There are two types of carrageenan, degraded carrageenan and undegraded. In 2001 one study showed that rats fed degraded carrageenan developed ulcers and intestinal damage. However, it is important to keep in mind that undegraded carrageenan is used in our food supply (not the type tested in this study). Undegraded carageenan has been used as a thickener and stabilizer in food since the 1930’s and it is approved as safe by the FDA and the World Health Organization.

If you are still questioning the safety of carrageenan, I have great news! Many nut milks have removed it from their product. Both Silk and Almond Breeze are no longer using carrageenan. Yep, go check the ingredient list on your almond milk, I bet you won’t find carrageenan (actually I’m only making this claim for the U.S., for my Canadian and Aussie readers I’m not promising you anything). Instead of carrageenan many milk companies are using gellan gum as a stabilizer, there is currently no controversy (to my knowledge) over gellan gum.

Alright friends, we just barely scraped the surface of plant-based milk. Tomorrow look for round two featuring soy milk, the ever popular coconut milk, rice milk and more!

Refereces:

Is Organice Better for Your Health?

Almond Milk and Carrageenan: Stop the Panic!

Friday Favorites

friday

Hi Friends! On Fridays I’m going to be rounding up some of my favorite foodie finds from the week. Also some non-foodie things because sometimes we (me!) need a break from that! How was your week? My week has been a little more hectic than usual, but definitely in a good and exciting way! I’m on a seemingly never ending quest to be fluent in Spanish, so I’m waking up early to Skype with a Spanish teacher in Nicaragua before work. Every morning we have a nice little chat about nutrition, culture, and our mutual disgust for Donald trump. I also have a few new career opportunities on the horizon so we will see how that pans on. But first, some blog lovin!

Good Reads

Fat Doesn’t Make you Fat (And neither do carbs…)

Four Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Quit Sugar From one of my favorite Canadian, tell it like it is dietitians.

Take Your F*ckin Lunch Break! It’s good advice. And while you’re at it, don’t go to work when you are sick either!!

How to Stop Grazing on Snacks throughout the Day. Grazing on snacks has never really been my issue, but I know that it is for many of my clients. Here’s how to nip that habit in the butt!

Good Eats

Coconut Kale and Blueberry Smoothie by Danielle Omar at the Healthy Aperture Blog

blueberry_smoothie2

Roasted Artichokes with Black Truffle Aioli Love me some artichokes, I usually boil them, but I’m definitely going to try this roasting method! artichoke

Banana Chocolate Chip Chia Pancakes. Yes please! My family has determined that pancakes made with almond milk are the absolute best, and bonus these are filled with lots of other nutritious ingredients as well! panc

Crunchy Lentil Tacos You might think you’re taco needs meat, believe me, it doesn’t. Give these a try. taco

Chipotle Stuffed Sweet Potatoes. A whole meal in a sweet potato, why didn’t I think of that?pot

French Onion Soup As fancy as this soup looks, it’s actually quite simple and has a short ingredient list!French-Onion-Soup-4-678x1024

Vegan Chocolate Cake with Avocado Frosting. For the plant based chocolate lover in your life. vegan chocolate cake

Feel Good Friday (News to make you happy!)

Have you seen this girl perform her perfect routine with one leg? AMAZING!  As a former gymnast I can tell you that just walking on the balance beam is hard enough.

Just in case we needed another reason to save the polar bears…

Kathryn Smith is the first full time female coach in the NFL. You go girl!!

Have a great weekend everyone!!

Why I don’t Recommend Drinking Water for Weight Loss

drinking water doesn't help weight loss
Nearly half the people that step into my office tell me their plan is to lose weight by drinking more water. Of course, you should drink water, regardless of your health goals. It’s just the notion that more is better, that I really have an issue with. I have heard water recommendations by “trainers” and other “nutritionists” that are sky high for no apparent reason. It’s even becoming somewhat of a fitness challenge to drink as much water as possible throughout the day. I’m not sure what the prize is? You get to go the bathroom every hour, congratulations! 99% of us do NOT need to drink a gallon of water per day, maybe if you are running a marathon in 90 degree weather you do.water6

There is a paucity of evidence that drinking more water alone will cause weight loss (without other dietary interventions). Why not focus on things that we know produce real results?  Like increasing fruit and vegetable intake, consuming higher protein meals, increasing physical activity, and decreasing sugar sweetened beverage consumption.

Granted, there are times when drinking more water will benefit you. Below are a few examples of times that drinking water is very important and it may help you achieve weight loss.

  1. If you are chronically dehydrated. Dehydration is most often seen in athletes, but if you are just a regular gym goer it is possible that you are dehydrated as well. The best and simplest way to determine hydration status is by looking at your urine. If you are peeing the golden arches (dark yellow, low volume) you are dehydrated and should drink more water (or fluids of any type: Gatorade, soup, smoothie, tea, etc.) Your pee does not have to be clear though, that would actually indicate over hydration. As my sports nutrition professor used to say, you want to pee “light lemonade” color. If you really want a quantitative fluid recommendation the Institute of Medicine recommends 2.2 liters per day for women, and 3 liters per day for men. However, individual needs vary based on body composition, exercise, the weather, etc. Just look at your pee! It’s a much better indicator.
  2. If you are guzzling soda or juice. This is where water really does the trick. If you swap two sodas a day for water instead you will be consuming 300 less calories per day (assuming the rest of your diet stays constant). This alone could result in a 30 pound weight loss in a year. However, if you were to switch that soda for plain coffee or tea you would also get the same result.
  3. Drinking two cups of water before meals? There is one published study that had promising results when participants were asked to drink 16 ounces of water before meals. The study claims that the water helped the participants feel more full and satiated before eating, and therefore ate less when it came to meal time. However, other studies have found that water has no affect on satiety.

Can you drink too much water? It’s possible, but you have to try really really hard for it actually to be harmful. At Chico state University a fraternity was banned from binge drinking alcohol due to too many deaths. So what did they do instead? They binged on water, and guess what? More college students died. Drinking extremely large amounts of water can cause hyponatremia (low blood sodium) and death. Although, this is very rare and would not happen under normal circumstances. But, if you are drinking a lot of water just to be cool or to try to “out drink” someone I would not recommend it.

Water is good for you, but MORE water is not necessarily better (and likely won’t help you lose weight). If you are a water hater, try jazzing up your water with one of these simple tricks. In the mean time, why don’t you get to work on some of those other healthy habits mentioned above!

 

 

Why I’m Saying No to Bacon

Why I'm Saying No To Bacon

Hi friends!

Well, my hopes of pumping out blogs upon returning home have not come to fruition, mostly because I have been too busy fighting off the Panamanian Death Plague for the last ten days. I’m one round of antibiotics deep and this illness is still going strong. Bleh!

In other news, I have decided I’m going to be a real vegetarian again. I guess I will have to change my “about me” bio. I have been a vegetarian on and off (mostly on) for the last twenty years. I can’t remember exactly how I decided to be a vegetarian when I was 7 years old, but I do think it had something to do with my sister chasing me with a “pig’s wiener” AKA hot dog.11875046_452608311587157_2652740731473849173_o

12314408_485266338321354_5380129902542458961_o

When I was in Nicaragua I came across too many sweet little piggys, and thought, I really don’t need to be eating these adorable, intelligent creatures. While I may enjoy the crunch of crispy bacon, there are many other plant based foods that I enjoy just as much. So I have decided I will be saying farewell to bacon, pepperoni, and the occasional fried chicken. Yes, I’m probably still going to eat fish from time to time. It’s hard for me to feel REALLY bad for fish. At least If they are wild caught they don’t have to experience the torture that most factory farm animals endure their entire lives. As for eggs and dairy, it is hard to bake without them, so I’m not going full vegan. But I am committing to buying organic and small farm dairy and eggs whenever possible.

In honor of Nutty Nutrition officially becoming a vegetarian blog, I thought I would share with you some of my favorite vegetarian and vegan bloggers.

The Muffin Myth. Katie is a fellow nutritionist who loves debunking food myths just as much as I do. She also has you covered anytime a “Snack Attack” strikes. Try her no sugar banana bran muffins.

no_sugar_banana_date_bran_muffins

Oh My Veggies. This is my go to source for all things vegetarian. From Saturday Potlucks to vegetarian cooking tips, OMV has you covered.

9_ways_to_use_leftover_cranberry_sauce

Hurry The Food Up. Howie is hilarious and will help you make the perfect vegan pancake.

Vegan-Banana-Pancakes-3

Minimalist Baker. Minimalist? not so much. Amazing, oh yes. Dana is the vegan baking and cooking master.

20-minute-Easy-Apple-Arugula-Salad-with-Pecans-and-Lemon-Vinaigrette.-A-healthy-hearty-side-dish-for-fall-and-winter.-salad-recipe-vegan-healthy-dinner-meal-minimalistbaker

The Roasted Root– Beautiful photography, gourmet vegan, vegetarian and paleo recipes

Vegan Corn Chowder by the Roasted Root

The Foodie Dietitian. Kara Lydon is a fellow dietitian, foodie and yogi. She creates amazing recipes and focuses on mindful eating and healthful living.

Wild-Blueberry-Pomegranate-Bruschetta-2

What are some of your favorite blogs? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

 

 

The One Thing Missing From Your Thanksgiving Table

turkeyIs it the Green Bean Casserole? The mashed potatoes? Uncle Fred? Nope, the one thing missing from your table, is The Thankful Basket! The Thankful Basket has transformed our Thanksgiving dinner from ho-hum to probably my second/third favorite holiday. Fourth of July provides some stiff competition 🙂

Okay, I know what you are thinking, either 1) I don’t know what a Thankful Basket is but it sounds totally lame (those were my sentiments exactly when I heard about it. or 2) I don’t need a basket to be thankful. This is probably also true, but I’m telling you, the Thankful Basket only sounds lame. With the Thankful Basket your friends and family will have more fun, be more thankful, and I dare I say it, eat just a little bit healthier too.

How it works: Get a nice bread basket, cookie jar, or any container-type thing. Label it “The Thankful Basket” and put small pieces of paper and pens next to it. Tell your guests they need to write what they are thankful for on the paper, fold it in half and put it in the basket (don’t write your name on it). They will probably groan and complain, its fine, just make them do it. Next year they will understand the magic and happily oblige.

After you eat your fabulous meal you bust out the Thankful Basket. Please, please make sure that the room is well lit and everyone is wearing their glasses! Otherwise there is just too many poorly read, misconstrued thankful messages. One by one, each person takes a and paper reads it out loud.  Then the whole table tries to guess who wrote it. Whether the message is heart-felt or hilarious everyone has a good time guessing who wrote what and playing along. Here are some examples of past favorites…

“I am Thankful for family, both the one I grew up with and the new one I’ve come to know and love. I am thankful for my fiance too!”

“I am thankful my pants fit”

As you can see, sentimental or silly, they both get the job done! I’m feeling particularly nostalgic this year because I won’t be with my family at home in California this Thanksgiving. As most of you know, I’m in Panama. But I Am looking forward to celebrating with my Panamanian family, and you can bet that I’m going to make them do the Thankful Basket.

In other news, here are some fabulous recipes that may very well be missing from your Thanksgiving Table as well…

Green Bean Casserole from Nourished Simply

greenbean-casserole-recipe-redux

Grandma’s Corn Casserole

Green Chile Corn Casserole www.nuttynutritionandfitness.com

Thanksgiving Salad by Pinch of Yum

Thanksgiving-Salad-1

Vanilla Bean Sweet Potato Casserole by Well Plated

Sweet-Potato-Casserole-with-Pecan-Topping-Vegan-Gluten-Free

Healthier Oatmeal Pecan Pie

oatmeal pecan pie
I love you pecan pie

Sweet Potato Cake with Marshmallow Frosting

IMG_7582

Hey Mom and Dad,

P.S. I’m coming home for Thanksgiving!! I can’t wait to spend the day cooking with you 🙂

Do you have any fun Thanksgiving traditions? If you decide to use the Thankful basket this year let me know!