Quick and Easy Lunch: Cran-Lentil Salad

Happy Monday, my friends!  Are you staying warm? Christmas is coming so soon- just two more weeks!

Believe it or not, I actually adapted this week’s lunch recipe from one that I found in a Panera Bread email a few years back!  I simplified it a lot, and I love to make it the night before for work, or even as a quick supper.  It’s very high in protein and fiber, and the pepitas add great boosts of iron and zinc! Lentils and dried cranberries are great pantry staples that make this recipe full of flavor and easy on the budget.

 1 cup cooked green lentils (or whatever variety you prefer)

¼ cup dried cranberries (Craisins are perfect)

¼ cup either black peppered  or regular feta cheese, or blue cheese if you’re really bold

¼ pepitas (dried pumpkin seeds) or slivered almonds

Salt and pepper to taste (especially if using plain feta)

OPTIONAL: 1 T olive oil, citrus-based salad dressing, or 1 T orange juice: makes the salad more moist, adds a pop of flavor, and reconstitutes the cranberries a bit

This is easy- combine everything together!  I think this is another salad that is better the next day, after the flavors have time to really meld together.  I prefer it cold, or at least room temperature. Make it the night before and keep it in the fridge for the perfect lunch!

Staying Healthy on the Road: Tips for Traveling and Eating Well

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part of our travel route home tonight

Two weeks ago, I embarked on a two week journey with my husband and our close friends a the band, Willet, toured around the Midwestern US. At first, this was a difficult transition for me- I love to cook, and really value being in control of my diet and activity level. Being limited with food options, prearranged lodging, and long days got to me, but I quickly realized that I needed to let go of my control and embrace the opportunity. I could still be in control of my body, I just needed to be intentional and careful! So, with that in mind, I want to share some of my lessons learned from my first two weeks on tour:

-It is easy to eat mindlessly, and calories add up faster than you think. While, on the whole, I think that counting calories is a bad idea, I do think that having an idea of what your body needs and being mindful of what you are putting into your body is necessary for everyone. A few days into the trip a few of us downloaded a calorie counting app to aid in that process, which was eye-opening for everyone. We have to think about what our body needs, and what it doesn’t need, and eat accordingly. Which brings me to my next point…

-It is really important to stay true to a whole foods diet as much as possible. Traveling make us especially susceptible to fatigue, illness, adrenal exhaustion, among other things. Processed foods and increased caffeine intake can completely wipe out our immune system, while whole foods can make it stronger and better able to face the challenges of travel.

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we we thankful for a green room with a fruit platter

-Hydration is key, even if it means that you stop to pee more often. Drinking water helps the body naturally detoxify, and the more often you are doing that, the better. Hydrating also makes sure that basic body processes are functioning at optimum level, and maintains an even energy level. Not drinking water just isn’t a good idea.

-Fast food will always be terrible, but anywhere you go, there are at least a few good options, like salads or yogurt parfaits. My personal favorite is Wendy’s Apple Pecan Chicken Salad-the half portion makes a great meal by itself. Gas stations almost always have a healthy food selection of granola, trail mix, protein bars, fruit, or yogurt. It’s all about willpower.

-You have to be prepared. I hardly ever take conventional medicine, but I use medicinal teas and essential oils frequently. Before leaving, I packed a small bag with a few of my most common remedies, and I was able to continue to avoid conventional meds because I was prepared when I needed something. Sleepless nights were taken care of with lavender oil and chamomile tea, sinuses with eucalyptus, anxiety with kava root tea, and cramps with raspberry leaf tea. There’s something for everything, if you are willing to try!

-Exercise can make or break a trip. I started focusing on doing daily cardio about halfway through my trip and I noticed a by difference in my mood and energy level because of it. I aimed for 30-45min of cardio, and 10-15min of concentrated strength sequences per day. It’s fun to mix it up, too- running in new places, swimming laps at a pool, trying a new class at a gym.

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a pretty stop: st louis, mo

Next week we begin the first leg of a two month tour- and I am sure there will be more lessons to learn! What are your favorite ways to stay healthy when traveling? <