Wednesday, December 26, 2012

1,000 Miles in 2013

So, let's get busy and make tracks.  Indoor/outdoor - does not matter.  Run, walk, bike, swim ... use your pedometer, use your FitBit, use your elliptical ...pop in a DVD, whatever works for you ... let's cover 1,000 miles in 2013.  Who is with me?   I've created a public event for this effort on Facebook, here is the link:

On your mark, get so - GO!

As always, make champion choices!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Fiction, Take Me Away!

Lord knows, this mama loves books ... I have entirely too many books.  I think I probably need to gather some up and donate to Good Will or try to sell them at Half Price Books here locally.  Some people suggest selling them on the internet, but honestly - that's more work than I care to get into at the moment, especially during the Christmas holiday season.

One thing I have asked for as a 'gift' this holiday season is a KindleFire.  I don't know if I am going to get it or not, but I am pretty convinced it would be a fun toy.   I have no intention to abandon the good old fashioned book that you can hold in your hand and write in the margins, but there are plenty of things I imagine would do well in an electronic format.  What about you?  Have you gone over the fence to electronic reading, or do you still have piles and piles of books in your home like I do?  Granted, most of mine are on shelves, but I do have piles here and there as well.   This picture above is just a small sampling of my inventory, not nearly everything I own.

But it occurred to me - - I never read fiction anymore.  I seemed to be consumed with health and fitness and motivation, and nutrition and things like that.  I am studying to become a certified personal trainer, and so everything I read - seems to be along those lines.  I think I need a good old fashioned romance novel or adventure story.  Not sure what I need - but I think I am longing for an enchanting story to take me away to far off islands or something.   I need suggestions.  GO!  What fiction books do you suggest?  And don't say '50 Shades of Grey'.

As always, make champion choices,

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

No Flu Tea?

Since 70% or your immune system is in your intestinal tract, it is important to nourish your gut. Soups made with meat, poultry or fish stock help to improve immune function, conserve energy through easier digestion and they nourish the intestinal tract itself.   Now while this meme up above calls itself 'NO Flue Tea', I'm thinking it is probably more like 'No Flu Soup'.  At any rate, sounds like a good thing to create.

I have been lucky (or blessed) ... I have not had the flu this year and none of my family has battled this either.  Do you guys believe in the flu shot?  Do you believe in home remedies?  Has anyone here battled the flu this season?  I surely hope not.  If you have tips or tricks - - please share!  Meanwhile, stay healthy!  Build up that immune system.  And by all means - - wash those hands!

As always, make champion choices,

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Debra Diet

The Debra Diet

I believe in eating whole unprocessed foods that come from nature as much as possible. I believe in fueling my body with nutrient dense foods for optimal performance in exercise and functional fitness in life. Longevity is my aim and I need to be able to keep up with the kids. I believe in moving your body in whatever way inspires you to get up and move it. I believe in exercising most days of the week if humanly possible, and let's face it - it is usually possible. I believe in getting good rest. I believe in drinking tons of water. I do not get hung up on spring water vs. distilled water, etc. Water is water and I love to drink it. Finally, I do NOT believe in restricting any certain foods, food groups or macro-nutrients. Carbs are not evil and bacon is not the devil's tongue. Fruit is enjoyed in abundance around here. I don't even believe Sugar is poison or wheat is killing us. If you do, that is great for you, stick to your beliefs just as I stick to mine. I don't label food into groups and I exclude nothing 100%. I believe in enjoying food the way God intended us to do, and not using it as poison or weapons. If you have food addiction issues, it's not about the food - it's about something else, and until you figure that out, you'll always struggle. I do not believe I should have to put a label on my food choices. If something makes me feel like crap, I don't eat it. If it gives me energy, I go for it. It's called the 'The Debra Diet' because my name is Debra and I eat what is best for ME.

~ Running For Dummies Blog posted some words in a recent blog that really spoke to me because I could almost have written them myself. I am paraphrasing here to state my own philosophy on eating, but wanted to give credit for the inspiration to do so.~

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Starfish Thoughts

A young girl was walking along a beach upon which thousands of starfish had been washed up during a terrible storm. When she came to each starfish, she would pick it up, and throw it back into the ocean. People watched her with amusement. 

She had been doing this for some time when a man approached her and said, “Little girl, why are you doing this? Look at this beach! You can’t save all these starfish. You can’t begin to make a difference!” 

The girl seemed crushed, suddenly deflated. But after a few moments, she bent down, picked up another starfish, and hurled it as far as she could into the ocean. Then she looked up at the man and replied, 

“Well, I made a difference to that one!” 

The old man looked at the girl inquisitively and thought about what she had done and said. Inspired, he joined the little girl in throwing starfish back into the sea. Soon others joined, and all the starfish were saved. - adapted from the Star Thrower by Loren C. Eiseley 

Perseverance against all odds and also against the critique of others is the very strength of idealism, as is refusing to accept failure. Do you understand that we hold in our hands the power to change a life, a mind, or a circumstance today? Yes, you do – right now – it is an amazing insight and motivator. At the same time, idealistic acts, even highly symbolic ones, have the power to inspire OTHERS to act, and sometimes in numbers significant enough to make a major or even complete impact on the problem at hand. Never doubt that what you do, and what you say, has an impact on others - as well as yourself. 

How much power do YOU have to change a mind or a life, a situation - or even your own habits... think about it. 

As always, make champion choices,

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Holiday Challenge

What's Going On?

SO, some crazy chickadee chicken lady I'm friends with on Facebook convinced me to join a 'Healthy Holidays Challenge'. Yes, she absolutely twisted my arm and threatened me with all sorts of odd violence if I didn't participate. (insert sarcasm font here). In all honesty, this is just what I need. I also joined a '50 Ways to Leave Your Flubber' challenge in my San Antonio Spark Team, well, because it's FUN!

Now is the time to de-funk my funk.... as I have been in QUITE some kind of funk lately, and it is almost (well it is) - - rather embarrassing as to how far off track this train has de-railed.

So, for me, it's back to basics, and these challenges are ideal because I am NOT waiting for New Year's to make changes. Last night was the time change thingy ... so it's a perfect time FOR change, don't ya think?

Personal Goal: To lose 10 lbs or 5% Body Fat

I stole this from the crazy chic on Facebook because it is a lofty goal for me too. I took all of my measurements yesterday and weight and made note. I think losing 10lbs is a very lofty goal for me and will be difficult to achieve over these last two months of the year. It may actually be a little unrealistic given certain health conditions I am doing battle with, but I need to shoot high to ensure that I will try my hardest (inspired by crazy chic friend)!

The Plan:
    In order to achieve this goal, I commit to the following Fab 15: 
  1. Working out at least 4 times a week for 30 minutes 
  2. Strength training at least 3 times a week, separate from #1 above {either body weight or weights}
  3. Drink 8+ glasses of water daily
  4. Get at least 5 servings of fruits/veggies daily
  5. Tracking my food every day in SparkPeople - even if it's not impressive
  6. Track my fitness minutes in SparkPeople
  7. 10,000 steps daily on FitBit
  8. 10 Flights of stairs daily on FitBit
  9. Allowing only one Fun Meal or Fast Food Meal a week -- been bad at this
  10. Blog/Journal and encourage my Spark teammates and Facebook groupies
  11. Try a new fitness activity
  12. Try a new fitness class either at my gym or the free ones provided by my city
  13. Explore a new park
  14. Try Yoga/Meditation at least once per week
  15. Participate in the challenges/rules I've committed to doing, and completing them (great at starting, not great at finishing)

And as a wise one said: "At least I know if I do all of these things, I should lose weight. In the end, if I did everything I said I would and don’t lose “enough”, I know I tried my hardest! The point is attempting to reach the goal." I concur completely. When I took my measurements and weight, I realized a sad truth ... and that is that in the last two years (of which I've been active online with fitness friends) ... I really have made no significant progress. I've been up and down - but I am pretty much in the same boat I was in when I started paying closer attention and joining fitness groups. I like to talk about fitness, and read about it, and show pictures of how I've lost over 100 pounds, but the truth is - that was a while ago - and I have made no such progress in quite some time. I still weigh over 200 pounds, still overweight, only 5'4", and not getting any younger. Yes, I do have some medical issues I am dealing with - - but I just refuse to believe they will define me and my success. I know so many people that are dealing with worse problems than myself, and they are making progress.

So anyway, Here is the link to the Facebook group for the Holiday Challenge I joined, in case anyone is interested:

And here is the link to my '50 Ways to Leave Your Flubber' challenge I joined on SparkPeople thanks to my good friends on my San Antonio Spark Team - if you want in on this challenge, you'll need a free SparkPeople account and to join our San Antonio Spark Team (You do not have to live in San Antonio)
Now go make champion choices, and choose a challenge for yourself,

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

What Does It Look Like?

What Does It
Look Like?

Success is a circle, 
no beginning - no end. 
A journey, unfolding ... 
an adventure within. 

Draw yourself a circle, 
create eyes open to see, 
that you are becoming, 
what you were meant to be. 

Draw yourself a circle, 
bigger than the last ... 
draw a mouth that smiles, 
when thinking of the past. 

Trace the inner circle, 
sketch a nose, oh anywhere... 
a nose that smells success, 
success that you will share. 

Trace the outer circle, 
create ears upon both sides... 
to listen for the wisdom... 
letting heroes be your guides. 

So what does it look like ... 
what does it look like to you? 
Ponder the paper scribbles, 
then grab a mirror for what is true. 

Success is your own reflection, 
no beginning, and no end ... 
master your own adventure, 
it looks like what is within. 

Author: Debra Sue Higginbotham 
a.k.a. (Healthy Habit Girl)

Now go make champion choices!

Monday, October 8, 2012

On The Edge...

I feel like I'm on the edge of something BIG ... and I have no idea why. I wonder what God is preparing me for, and I pray I am up for the challenge. 

Something is brewing and stirring inside me. I feel a new sense of energy and enthusiasm. I've been plagued by a funk of a mess that is hard to describe. 

I'm taking on some new interests, and cutting loose of some others. I'm trying to focus and streamline and fan the flame. 

I'm not there yet. I can't even remotely explain what I'm trying to say - and for someone who is loud and talks too much - that speaks volumes. 

I'm on the edge. I'm on the edge of my seat. I'm on the edge of something BIG. I inch closer and closer to the edge to get a better view of my vision. 

Holding my breath and breathing deeply at the same time. Ready to tackle. Ready for the adventure. My toes are dangling off the edge. I won't go over into a free fall ... I'm watching and taking in the skyline, ready to grow. But I won't stay too long in the preparation either. I will move my feet and pray at the same time. 

1-2-3 .... GO! Watch me fly.

As always, make champion choices,

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Dear Unwanted Pounds

An Open Letter to My Unwanted Pounds ... 

Dear Unwanted Pounds: 

I have a bone to pick with you. You are my dark clouds that, en masse, have been growing inside of me, haunting me. Terrorizing me, really. 

The fat cells that encompass you are like pigeons who hang around garbage dumpsters, waiting for half-eaten burritos. You are scavengers who lie in wait scooping up pancake molecules that swish past you in the current, feeding on them like starving savages. You are evil and you are not wanted here. I’m in the process of having you 'exorcised'. Let's consider my gym a priest, a personal exorcist, if you will. 

First he will come a calling and clean out all signs of the gastronomic devil: crackers, diet coke, bacon, oh I could go on. And that’s the problem. 

This lean-muscled priest will 'exorcise' you, making me scream in pain as I repeatedly and incessantly flap about, without much grace. He'll yell at me. Or you. It’s hard to tell, frankly. 

“Get out!” he will yell. “Get out of this body!” Oh, he’ll be talking to you, then. 

“If it hurts, that means it’s working.” The personal exorcist’s lips will curl with a simplistic smile. I imagine he will not like you. 

When the exorcism is done, he will mutter something about what a fine job I have done. 

“This body needs work, but now there is less poison.” 

He'll say the only reason you hang around, the reason you “possess” me is because I keep feeding you, enabling you. If I quit throwing fried chicken and cheese nips into my dumpster, you will leave me and look for sustenance elsewhere. 

But I don’t know if I can. You tempt me so. I fear I’ve already sold my soul to you and it may be too late for redemption. 

The priest will strongly suggest that the only path to salvation is to attend his church regularly, like three to four times a week! 

“A pound for a pound.” 

But I know this church and it’s full of devoted folks. Far more diligent than me. These people hit it religiously. I want such passion and determination. 

Those dedicated souls, well they do have fewer fat cells. And they do look happy. 

So, it's farewell to you - my unwanted pounds. Prepare yourselves to be EXERCISED ! :) 

Sincerely, Your Master 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

We're Expecting!

Hey everybody, I have some AMAZING news, We are EXPECTING! 12 weeks!! I know I'm in denial too! I can't believe it. I wasn't going to put it on online, but wanted to go ahead and make everyone aware. I mean who would have guessed that we're expecting!? 

Yes, we are expecting Santa in just 12 weeks!

Now go make champion choices, 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Any Little Step!

Do you know that sometimes the only thing that it takes to make a change is desire. Once you desire change you open yourself to the possibility of change. Some call this "thought, word, and deed". 

This is my take on that phrase. For change to happen first it has to be thought of, you have to realize you want to change. Then you start talking about it in your head, to your friends, out loud to whomever will listen. Finally, you take action. It may be a small action, but the very act of doing something different creates change. 

You want 'more and better'? Well, then start making more and better constructive use of what you already have - rather than waiting on what you think you still need. Your only path to having a better environment is by making 'more and better' constructive use of your current environment. Start there. Your answers are almost always, right beneath your own feet - not out there somewhere in the cosmos waiting to land on you.

So, if you know you need to make a change, stop feeling so overwhelmed. Stop and allow yourself to not look at the big picture, but at the little steps you can take today. What little step are you going to take today?

As always, make champion choices,

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Dog's Life

As most of you know, I have a teenage daughter who is 15 years old ... but we also are hosting a foreign exchange student from Taiwan.  Her name is Celine and she is 16.   The girls are getting along really well - and my 3 boys just love her ... so she is fitting into our family quite well.  What is really cool, is that she also loves our dogs.   We always enjoy hosting foreign exchange students; as we have done it many times, but we especially love it when the slide into our hectic family as if they've been here forever :)

So today Celine and my daughter, Victoria, washed the dogs.  It was kind of endearing to see.  It also made me a little jealous - man I wish somebody would pamper ME like that! :)   As a matter of fact, a dog doesn't really have to think about choices or habits at all ... we humans decide their food, when we walk them, where they can sleep, when they can bathe, etc.  These dogs, are indeed, at our mercy, but all they do is offer us unconditional love.  Wouldn't it be great if someone else made all of our choices for us and all we had to do was follow along, wag our tail, lick some faces and sleep a lot! Heck, somebody else even cleans up their poop! :)

Okay - maybe I'm being silly ... but since I suspect that anyone reading this is, in fact, a human - - and not a dog - - you do actually have to take responsibility for your choices and habits.   It's not a dog's life, after all ... but it sure is fun to have their world collide with ours, isn't it?


As always, make champion choices,

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

October Unprocessed

So tell me - honestly - DO you think you are able to go an entire month without eating anything (any food) that is processed.  Basically, does it come in a box, can or package?   Eat only foods that would pass the 'kitchen test' - - meaning that a normal person with average skills and typical resources could re-create the food in their kitchen.  

I still have things in my diet that I know I should eliminate.  I also have a bit of a problem with the fast food drive-thru scene.   I'm working on it.  Wondering, though - - if I should try a whole month cold turkey - - go completely UNPROCESSED.

If you want to do this with me - sign up at the website above.  I am not sponsoring this in any way shape or form, and it does not benefit me at all if you sign up ... just passing along the information because I found it very interesting, and I definitely plan to participate myself.  I would love to have some cheerleaders along the way.

So now people - go check out this link: - and after you look at it and/or sign up - come back here!

As always, make champion choices,

Saturday, September 15, 2012

A SAD Diet

"I know people who have lost weight and reversed disease on raw, vegan, paleo, primal, low carb, low fat, DASH, 80/10/10, Mediterranean, etc, ad nauseum. The common denominator in ALL the diets I've seen people have success with: switching from SAD* to whole foods." 

*SAD = Standard American Diet 

That's why we don't advocate a specific diet, and why many of us poke at any dogmatic philosophy that claims it is the ONE True Ideal Human Diet. On the other hand, any diet that emphasizes real whole foods gets MY stamp of approval! Now if someone wants to follow said particular diets above, including all of the ones I listed there, I'm okay with it... especially if it works for you and you're successful. I'm not ANTI-anything, other than dogma of course. 

Rule of thumb: "If it comes from a plant, it's good for you. If it's made 'in' a plant, it's not." 


As always, make champion choices,

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Daughter Dear

You know what I love about my daughter dear?  Well, there are lots of things, but one thing in particular is that she is a fabulous cook.  I hate cooking.  Truly, I do.  I keep having this idea that I am going to magically turn into some amazing chef and prepare mouth watering meals for my family that makes others swoon.  Yeah, that's not happening.  I can follow a recipe, I can follow instructions, but I do not invent or create any kind of masterpiece in the kitchen.   Daughter dear, however, is excellent at this - and I love that about her.  She is a healthy minded teenager and enjoys cooking.  I really love it when she grills salmon for me, or simple things like scrambling eggs.

Now if only I could get the child interested in CLEANING up the mess after she cooks - we'd be set.

As always, make champion choices,

Saturday, August 25, 2012

More Philosophy...

...and because I clearly have a lot to say ... here is more on my own personal philosophy ! 

I'm all about being healthy and getting fit. Yes! However; I will never be one to push this mentality of "you gotta get up at 5 am to workout" unless you just enjoy that. I do not believe in making people feel guilty or lazy (and by people I mainly mean me) ... for not giving 100%, or if you're sitting watching tv or relaxing sometimes. Hey, I've got four kids, two dogs and a husband, sometimes I need to sit on the couch and relax. 

I understand some people do fitness comps and if that's your thing, awesomesauce, but it's not mine. Unless you have a deadline for some sort of muscleman show, why on Earth should I push my body to the extreme? Workout yes, do what you can when you can yes, obsess about your physique to the point where you suffer physically and mentally and it takes over your life, and you ignore your family? Um, nope, not me. 

I have seen soooo much progress in me, my weight and myself ... and my workouts have never once looked as crazy and extreme as some of these "motivational" pics I've seen all over Facebook, etc. I will go as far as to say my workouts are probably wimpy compared to most, but I am amazed how effective those wimpy workouts have been. Why should I aim for the "hurt yourself" level? Seriously, people - go at your own pace and don't stress about it. This will keep it enjoyable for life and you won't burn yourself out quickly. The ONLY person you need to compare yourself to - is well, YOURSELF. Not me, not Jillian Michaels - - not anybody. 

Meanwhile; I am taking a certification course to become a certified personal trainer, and I show up there every Saturday (just started really). I am 43 yrs old and still have weight to lose. I am completely out of place there. They are younger, hipper, stronger, etc. I probably look like a frumpy mom to them. I do not LOOK like a personal trainer in the least. I am certainly not a fitness model, and have no desire to be. Even if I hit an ideal physique, you'll never see me on stage because that's not my goal or my thing. FOR OTHERS, it is - and that is great - but it's not me, so why compare. 

And you know what - these people in this class, they don't know me. They don't know I've lost over 100 pounds. They don't know how far I've come and what medications I've eliminated through diet and exercise. They don't know me. SO, do I care that I am a fish out of water in this class? Not in the least. I show up. And quite frankly, I can't wait to shock the hell out of 'em all. 


As always, make champion choices,

Friday, August 24, 2012

My Personal Philosophy !

My philosophy: 

I don't count calories, grams of fat, weight watchers points and I don't diet. I don't do an hour of cardio. I rarely get on an elliptical or spin bike or machine of that nature. I aim for healthy unprocessed foods and tons of them! I believe in moving your body every day, lifting heavy things and breaking a sweat doing the things we love. I like to climb hills and cherish the view at top. I like to ride my bike in the neighborhood and feel the wind in my hair. I like to swim in the ocean or a lake or a pool or any kind of water that is safe. I walk and walk and walk and walk some more. I'm not a runner, but I don't have to be because I get where I'm going just fine. I have hand weights in my bedroom. I make good use of my stairs. I lift heavy children and toss them around. I have an awesome exercise DVD collection that often collects dust because I'd rather be outside living life. Don't get me wrong, there's a place for DVD's, and machines at the gym and tracking food calories/points if you need to ... but the ultimate life goal is to be healthy enough to enjoy longevity and be around long enough to continuously pursue new dreams. Eat real food, enjoy real fitness and live life in the real world. 


As always, make champion choices,

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Every BODY is Beautiful!

It really is all about being healthy. Health and beauty come in all shapes and sizes. 

I personally follow my 80/20 philosophy. I eat healthy 80% of the time and splurge the other 20% of the time. And 'healthy' means something different to everyone. There is no right or wrong by the way. 

80% has all sorts of meanings, such as: 
* eating raw foods 
* eating vegetarian foods 
* eating vegan foods 
* eating meats as long as they're not fried 
* no processed foods 
* no refined carbs 

At the end of the day, there are no right or wrong choices when you select what healthy means to YOU. If you choose to eat healthy 80% of the time, you will be much healthier than the average person in this country. 

Courtesy of Dennisse Lisseth 

As always, make champion choices,

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Fat and Happy?

I'd like a healthy discussion debate on this image. Is it okay to be 'fat and happy'? Personally, what I do hate seeing is people completely obsessed with unrealistic images of what healthy is, or trying to box themselves into a 'perfect diet' mentality that all the so-called gurus are following. I hate to see unhealthy relationships with food. But what about the people that are clearly overweight, or obese. If they're happy that way, is that okay? What are your thoughts? 

As for me, myself and I ... my goals are health and longevity ... and I worry far more about what the numbers from my blood say ... then what the numbers on a scale say. 

As always, make champion choices,

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Do You Believe?

You have to believe you will succeed, 
or else you will not be willing 
to make the effort. . . . 

With belief comes action. 
With action comes results. 

Without belief - - 
there is neither action nor results. 

So tell me - - what do you believe? 

As always, make champion choices,

Monday, August 6, 2012

Wakeup Call

SO, I'm a bit sad today. A classmate of mine (age 43) died yesterday. He went into the hospital a few days ago with blood sugar of 1,500 and septic intestines. He had surgery but never woke up and died yesterday. He was diabetic and had no clue. This makes me so sad. He was just at our high school reunion one week earlier. 

Pay attention to your bodies people. If there is anything you're putting off - stop it. Go get that mammogram or colonoscopy or whatever it is you're procrastinating about. If you have something about your lifestyle that you KNOW you need to change, get on it. Tomorrow is not promised to any of us. Consider this your little mini wake-up call or kick in the booty from moi (not that you need it). 

As always, make champion choices!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Challenge For You!

Challenge of the Week: Starting Monday August 6th 

Try to make it through an entire week without complaining! 

James 5:7-11 

As always, make champion choices!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

40 Unexpected Ways to Sneak in Veggies


1. Frittata it. We love starting the weekend with an egg-heavy brunch. Mix eggs with veggies for a healthy and hearty breakfast. Bonus points if you make enough to munch on all week! 

2. Add finely minced broccoli to scrambled eggs. This veggie addition doesn’t change the texture of eggs and fits in at least a whole serving of veggies. 

3. Steam and puree or finely grate cauliflower to mix with scrambled eggs. Try it with chicken or tuna salad for an entrée. 

4. Bake ‘em. Breakfast sweets can be packed with veggies, too. Try making some travel-friendly bran muffins packed with zucchini and carrots in addition to the classic raisins, walnuts, and cinnamon. 

5. Veg out on savory oatmeal. Yeah, the classic might be brown sugar with fruit, but oatmeal (or steel-cut oats) can be savory, too. Cook plain oats with water and add your choice of steamed or sautéed veggies. Top with an egg for extra protein and season with salt, pepper, or a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. 

6. Make pudding a healthy breakfast. Only if it’s avocado-based! 

7. Try pumpkin or butternut squash pancakes or waffles. When the skillet is heating next Saturday morning, throw some pumpkin or squash puree into any pancake or waffle mix to fit in an extra serving of veggies (and get a fun orange tinge, too). 

8. Add greens to breakfast smoothies. A handful of spinach or kale blends well with any fruit smoothie. Try the classic “Green Monster” by blending 1 cup milk of choice, 1 frozen banana, 2 handfuls spinach, and 1 tablespoon almond butter. 

9. Grab an avocado smoothie. Like the green smoothie, this avocado-based treat is perfect for breakfast or a nutritious midday snack. Packed with healthy fats, vitamin E, and vitamin B6, avocados are definitely one superfood we’d love to learn to liquefy. 

10. Slurp a carrot smoothie. Carrot juice is pretty easy to find, but without an expensive juicer at home, it’s hard to make on demand. Luckily, grated carrots are easy-peasy to fit into any fruity smoothie. Bonus points: Because we’re using all parts of the veggie, none of the fiber is lost from the juicing process. 

Pasta and Grains 
11. Green up pasta dishes. When spaghetti and meatballs is on the menu, add a load of extra veggies to the dish itself instead of opting for a boring ’ol side salad. 

12. Substitute veggie strips like zucchini, squash, asparagus, or spaghetti squash and skip the pasta altogether. Add veggies to the sauce too for bonus points. 

13. Remember herbs are leafy greens too! Add fresh herbs to any rice, pasta, or grain dish. Or whip up a quick homemade herb pesto to add to scrambled eggs or use as a sandwich spread. 

14. Fancy up macaroni and cheese.It’s a childhood favorite, but grown ups crave it too — don’t lie! When guilt sets in for wanting to demolish the whole box, throw in a load of fresh veggies to justify the choice. Spinach, tomatoes, peas, and broccoli make awesome additions. Extra credit for skipping the boxed mixes and making it all from scratch. 

15. Mix the potatoes. Sweet and regular mashed potatoes are perennial favorites. To add some extra nutritional value, mix the two types of potatoes 1-to-1 in a mash. 

16. Sneak them in casseroles.Anytime that casserole dish comes out of the cupboard, get out the grater, too. Finely shredded zucchini or summer squash can be added to virtually any casserole without changing taste or texture! 

17. Sub greens for sandwich wraps or breakfast burritos. For tougher greens like collards, kale, or chard, blanch the greens and pat dry before wrapping. 

18. Try veggie grilled cheese. Cheese sandwiched between two slices of bread doesn’t have too much green value. Every time the cheesy craving strikes, throw in a few layers of veggies, too. Spinach or arugula, tomato, and avocado make awesome additions. 

19. Make vegetarian quesadillas. Instead of opting for the classic chicken-and-cheese, throw in a variety of veggies and cut down the cheese by half for a healthier version. Some favorite fillings are corn, peppers, onions, and greens. 

20. Bite a better burger by adding carrot puree to ground beef recipes. From hamburgers to meatloaf, a few steamed and pureed carrots (or a mix of carrot and sweet potato) go a long way. 

Sauces and Condiments 
21. Pick a pumpkin marinara sauce. Tomato sauce is a great vehicle for any extra pureed veggies. The easiest? Throw in a can of pumpkin puree! 

22. Load up. Basic tomato sauce is great — definitely counts as one veggie! But the more veggies added, the better. Try adding pureed carrots or winter squash, peppers, onions, or greens. 

23. Health up the Hollandaise. Nothing’s better than a Sunday-morning plate of Eggs Benedict, but the classic Hollandaise sauce can be less than healthy. Try subbing this avocado Hollandaiseto fit in some extra green. 

24. Mix butternut squash puree and grated cheese to use as a spread in grilled cheese, quesadillas, or pizzas. 

25. Spice up salad dressing. Say bye-bye to classic oil and vinegar and hello to veggie-based dressings. Some ideas include butternut squash, tomato, beet, or zucchini. 

26. Bake an egg in an avocado. It’s the perfect healthy vehicle for some seriously awesome protein! 

27. Turn it into a fry. Slice zucchini, avocado, carrot, or green beans, lightly bread and bake until crispy. 

28. Cook up kale chips. Lightly coated in oil and sprinkled with salt, crispy kale chips are a great (and much healthier) stand-in for potato chips. 

29. Serve a colorful pie. Yes, a cheesy, meaty pizza pie is hard to pass up, but a really great pizza is a great vehicle for a big pile of veggies. Practically anything works, from greens and tomato to roasted squash or root vegetables. 

30. Prepare a pizza salad. If pizza’s on the dinner table, throw a salad on top for a fun meal to eat, and an easy two-in-one dinner. A favorite? Arugula salad with tomatoes and Parmesan on top of a mixed veggie pizza. 

31. Splurge on spinach. Tomato sauce is a great way to get a serving of veggies. Even better? Spread a layer of spinach puree on the pizza dough BEFORE spreading the sauce for another dose of veg (and some extra greens). 

Soups and Stews 
32. Add veggie puree to chicken soup. Making classic chicken soup? Add a can of pureed tomatoes, squash, or potato. It will make for a thicker soup and will sneak in some extra veggies. 

33. Add carrot, sweet potato, or butternut squash puree to any chili or stew recipe. 

Baked Goods and Desserts 
34. Bake veggies into bread. Another sweet veggie-packed delight, zucchini bread can be a great way to get in a serving of veggies while fulfilling that sweet tooth. 

35. Disguise greens in chocolate! These spinach brownies use pureed spinach leaves in the wet mixture to get in that extra dose of greens in the dessert course, too! (They’re vegan, too.) 

36. Choose chocolate cake with carrot and squash. Chocolate cake base is perfect to disguise the veggies packed in the batter. Make avocado frosting for even more veggie bonus points! 

37. Pair chocolate and beets. The cocoa covers the earthy beet flavor well and the sweetness of the beets pair well with the sugary cake. 

38. Stick to the sweet stuff. Lets just admit it, chocolate is basically the best way to hide veggiesin pretty much anything. Case in point: sweet potato brownies. 

39. Add carrot or sweet potato puree to chocolate chip cookies. 

40. Pack avocados in chocolate pudding. Yes, we can even sneak some extra nutrients intochocolate pudding. Plus, avocados’ silky texture gives this pudding another plus. 

Courtesy of: Be Nourished By Nature 

As always, make champion choices!