Hypoallergenic Ingredient for Face, Hair, Skin and more!

You may or may not have noticed the presence of “glycerin” or “vegetable glycerin” in all sorts of products you use from protein bars to skin care products. But what is it?

Vegetable Glycerin
is produced from vegetable oil and is odorless, colorless, contains no animal products and is hypoallergenic! Vegetable glycerin can be used in cosmetics, body products, as well as food.

You can find 100% pure vegetable glycerin at some natural food stores, general stores or online. Look for “USP” to be food grade.

Vegetable Glycerin is in many body products because it attracts moisture, thus hydrating it, softening it and lubricating the skin. For its most basic use, massage a few drops of vegetable glycerin on dry skin as needed.

Exfoliating/Moisturizing Face Wash!

Mix 2 T glycerin, 3 T honey, ½ C green tea, and a few drops of lavender oil. Mix in a blender and store in a sealed container – voila! Quick and easy face wash that’s great for your skin!

Skin Care for Eczema!

Not only does vegetable glycerin hydrate but it also has antibacterial properties. Using a typical store product that contains it as just one of many ingredients will not have the same effect.

Dry, Brittle Hair?

Used on hair, with a carrier oil like coconut oil, glycerin can alleviate irritation plus it strengthens the hair and makes breakage and split ends less likely.

Invigorating Foot Moisturizer!

Soften and freshen your feet by massaging them with 1 oz carrier oil (like coconut oil), ½ oz glycerin, and 5 drops of lemon, tea tree, and eucalyptus oil.

Glycerin is used to keep foods moist and helps mix oil/water ingredients, is a natural preservative, and sweetens food! Glycerin does have more calories than sugar, but it has a low glycemic index which means it does not cause the insulin spike which is why it is found in numerous protein bars.

Here’s how you can make your own!

Easy Protein Bar Recipe!

Combine granola, whey protein, oil of your choice, food grade glycerin and water. Roll into to ½” thick, or less, and bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. That’s it!

Play around with different ratios for different nutrient make-ups and bar consistency

The Year of YES!

Maybe 2018 should be deemed The Year of YES!

I think we have all had those days …

  • I walked by the dog the other day thinking I should take her for a quick walk, but I kept going to the couch. Have you ever done this too? I wonder if my tail would wag as happily as my dogs’ at the invitation to go on a walk.
  • My kids wanted to go to the park, but I tried to talk them out of it. I don’t want to just sit there when I could be getting things done.  They talked me into it anyway.  They wanted me to play with them.  I was tired so I sat on the bench and waited mindlessly scrolling on my phone.
  • The kids are glued to their iPhone or iPad so often that I can hardly get their attention. Suddenly I have two notifications pop up on my phone and immediately log in to check.  I’ve read about having technology blackout times to refocus on important things in my life.
  • I have friends that are always inviting me to one run or another. Most recently it was a mud run.  I was afraid I would make a fool out of myself, having them wait for me or even hurting myself.
  • My significant other comes home and asks almost nightly if I want to go for a walk. I’ve turned them down citing a long day, rain, cold, smog…
  • I turned down my neighbors invite to come over to swim in their pool because I was worried that I would actually have to show up in a swimsuit.

I could be wrong, but I don’t think I’m alone here.  All these scenarios can be and are often very real.  What if we said yes just a little more often?

Fitness isn’t some crazy lifestyle requiring hundreds of hours in a gym, extremes in food or special equipment that costs thousands of dollars.

Fitness is a hundred simple choices a day that we have to make anyway.  Walk the dog or kick back on the couch? Throw the ball around with the kids or scroll a small screen?

Eat an apple or eat a cookie? Drop into the gym a few times per weeks with a friend or make an excuse not to go?

The foundation of fitness can be easy. We simply do the stuff we have to do anyway everyday a little differently.  We have to eat, so let’s eat some good food instead of pulling through that drive-thru on the way home.

The kids will do what we do. If we move, they move. If we sit, they sit.  Let’s set the tone for an active life that will propel them into adulthood.

Simple walks a few times a week with our spouses can at least give us time to communicate uninterrupted or at its best assist us in earning a few more quality years together.

Fitness can be easy. Just move every day until you can’t.

And if you move every day you will most likely have many more days in your life to spend with your loved ones and to do that “when I retire”.

Let’s make 2018 the year of YES!  SURE!  I’M IN!

Spice Up Your Life With What You’ve Already Got!

It happens often, we’re ready to throw a quick dinner together and DOH! We’re out of this spice blend or packet. Most mixtures you can make yourself! Worst case scenario, do a quick google search and improvise. Let’s go over some of the most common blends. Feel free to print and keep handy in your pantry!

Scroll to the bottom for some super quick and easy recipes to try these out on!

DIY Italian Seasoning:

– 1/4 C Basil
– 2 T Thyme
– 2 T Marjoram
– 2 T Rosemary
– 2 T Oregano
– 2 T Coriander
– 2 t Garlic Powder

DIY Taco Seasoning:

– 1/4 C Chili Powder
– 1/4 C Cumin
– 1/4 C Sea Salt (Optional)
– 1 T Garlic Powder
– 1 T Onion Powder
– 2 t Paprika
– 1 t Oregano
– 1 t Black Pepper

DIY Ranch Seasoning:

– 1/2 C Parsley
– 4 T Onion Flakes
– 1 t Paprika
– 1 t Garlic Powder
– 1 t Onion Powder
– 1/2 t Cayenne Pepper (Optional)

DIY Fajita Seasoning:

– 1/4 C Chili Powder
– 2 T Sea Salt
– 2 T Paprika
– 1 T Onion Powder
– 1 T Garlic Powder
– 1 T Cumin
– 1 t Cayenne Pepper (Optional)
*use about 2 – 3 t per pound of meat

DIY Chili Seasoning:

– 1/2 C Chili Powder
– 1/4 C Garlic Powder
– 1/4 C Oregano
– 1/4 C Cumin
– 3 T Onion Powder
– 2 T Paprika
– 1 T Thyme
*1/4 C of mixture = 1 packet

DIY Pumpkin Pie Spice:

– 3 T Cinnamon
– 2 t Ginger
– 2 t Nutmeg
– 1 1/2 t Allspice
– 1 1/2 t Clove


Quick Taco Salad

• Brown 1lb ground turkey
• Add your taco seasoning with ¼ c water, bring to a boil and then simmer until the water is absorbed.
• Serve over a bed of lettuce greens, tomatoes, ¼ cup cold or cooked black beans, and topped with cubed avocado.


• 1 T Ranch Seasoning
• 1/2 C Cottage Cheese
• 2 T Plain Greek Yogurt
• 1 1/2 T Unsweetened Almond Milk

Ranch Dressing

• 1 T Ranch Seasoning
• 1/3 C Plain Greek Yogurt
• 1/4 C Coconut Milk

Quick Fajita Dinner

• Toss 2 C cooked brown rice with 1-2 tsp fajita seasoning and ½ C salsa.
• Sauté 1 lb roasted chicken, 1 small sliced onion, and 1 sliced bell pepper (and salt as desired) for 4-5 minutes.
• Serve chicken/veg mixture over rice mixture.

Precision Nutrition’s “Chili in a Flash”

• Brown 1 lb lean ground beef with 1/2 a chopped onion until cooked through.
• Add 1 chopped yellow bell pepper and 1 can drained kidney beans for 1-2 minutes.
• Add 1 C V8 spicy hot vegetable juice, 1/2 C raw cashews, and 1/4 C Chili Seasoning.
• Bring to a boil then simmer.

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

• 1 frozen banana
• 1/2 cup Vanilla Greek yogurt
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
• 1/2 cup skim milk
• 2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
• 2/3 cup pumpkin puree (canned or fresh)
• 1 cup ice

Add the ingredients in this order, blending along the way.

Check out the full recipe here!

5 Skin and Body Care Recipes You Can Do Yourself!

As this year comes to a close, let’s take some steps towards owning a little more responsibility for what we put in – and ON – our body! We’ve got some extremely easy recipes to replace products many of us pay big bucks for, and even better – they all contain purely natural, safe ingredients!

*Important Note: nearly all these recipes call for you to heat ingredients in a double boiler as opposed to over direct heat in order to avoid burning them!*

Body Butter

Shea butter comes from the seeds of the fruit of the Shea tree and is rich in vitamins A, E, and F. Shea butter has been used in Africa and other countries for years to improve skin and hair, AND it provides a mild SPF of about 6! Give your skin nutrients for collagen production to keep it soft, strong and healthy.

• Melt 1 C shea butter and ½ C coconut oil in a double boiler.
• Cool for ~ 30 minutes.
• Stir in ½ C olive oil or sweet almond oil

(play around with adding your favorite essential oils! For a fluffier effect, blend/whip with a hand mixer.)

Nurturing Lip Scrub

• Mix/Mash 2T sugar, 1 t coconut oil, 1/2 t sweet almond oil or coconut oil
• 1 t vanilla extract, and 1/4 t raw honey.
• Store in a small glass container.
• To use, gently rub on lips and rinse off with a warm washcloth.

Many of our recipes include coconut oil because it works so well, and is solid at room temperature. If you don’t have any coconut oil olive oil can be used in its place but it is not as well researched for being an effective skin moisturizer, and it is a little thinner so you may need to scale back the amount. Also note: if you don’t have any sweet almond oil you can replace with coconut oil and add a dash of almond extract.

Beeswax Hand Lotion

Beeswax is used in lotions and lip balms to create a barrier to hold moisture in the skin and helps thicken the mixtures. It has antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties that also protects from environmental toxins and irritants while still allowing the skin to breathe.

• Melt ¼ C coconut oil, ½ C shea butter, and 2 TBSP. beeswax in a double boiler.
• Optional – Add 30+ drops of your favorite essential oils.
• Pour into container to cool/harden.

Imitation "Burt's Bees" Lip Balm

• Melt 2T Shea Butter, 2 T Beeswax, 2 T coconut oil in a double boiler.
• Add around 30 drops of peppermint.
• Use a dropper to fill lip balm containers or add to a small container and apply with your finger.

As stated above, beeswax contains vitamin A which is thought to help soften and hydrate the skin! The Mayo Clinic even recommends using lip balms with beeswax during the cold winter months to avoid cracking, etc.

See more here!

Miracle Salve

Beeswax has been shown to have antibacterial properties which help fight/treat bacterial skin infections like diaper rash for instance. Learn how to make your own salve with beeswax, olive oil, and coconut oil! As you get comfortable making salves, try experimenting with infusing herb bundles to make salves for bug bites, burns, and more!

Here’s a great guide to help you get started!

• Melt 2 Oz Beeswax, 1/2 C coconut oil and 1 C olive oil in a double boiler
• Add 1 TBSP of Vitamin E oil (preserves shelf life as well as adds scar reduction properties!)
• 25 Drops of essential oil such as lavender, frankincense, tea tree, etc
• Pour into containers, will harden as it cools

Christmas Workout

As we wrap up another year, we could not ask for a better group of people to call our Ellipse family/community.

Although Ellipse Fitness isn’t open today, that doesn’t mean you can not get a great workout in today (if you want!).

Below is our gift to you. A Christmas workout!

So, grab your mom, dad, sister, uncle, cousin, significant other, niece, nephew, and do this holiday workout together or stash it for a snowy day!

70 Speed Skaters

60 Jacks

50 Speed Squats

40 Pogo Jumps (think fast jump rope feet)

30 Lower Body Mountain Climbers

20 Pushups

10 Burpees

1 Turkish Getup

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, and Happy Holidays!

Set Yourself Up For Holiday Success!

Here at Ellipse Fitness Training Center we wish you and your families a very happy holiday! As this season comes to a close we have a few last minute tips, tricks and reminders to help you stay on track with your goals!

Maintain a regular schedule – Try to not to veer off your normal sleep, eat, and workout schedule during the busy holidays! Illness is opportunistic with large jumps in nutrition, sleep, and/or workout routines, so remain consistent to lessen your likelihood of getting sick. If you know you will be feasting at dinner, have a lighter balanced lunch like a salad with grilled chicken.
During busy times, try to schedule your days out ahead of time to maximize your time and keep those important appointments with yourself too!

Give to others – The holidays can be, for some, a stressful time. One thing that can put the holidays back in perspective is gratitude and giving to others. Let’s all find a way to help others this holiday season! There’s still time to ring bells for the Salvation Army, help out at a soup kitchen, cook a meal for a shut-in neighbor, shovel someone’s driveway after a snowstorm, and rekindle that feeling of doing something good. Remember all the blessings that are bestowed on our own lives.

Eat your meat (protein) – Our friends over at Examine.com concluded a recent analysis with this sentiment: “Since you’re going to splurge on food, focus your overeating on protein-rich foods. Not only does this have the greatest likelihood of minimizing fat gain during the overeating itself, but protein’s well-known satiating properties might help reduce overeating to begin with. As a bonus, if you are looking to manage blood sugar levels, eating protein before starchy carbohydrates has been shown to reduce post-meal blood glucose and insulin responses.“
Check out the full article here: https://examine.com/nutrition/meta-minimizing-fat-gain/

Seek out the better alternatives – Instead of the spinach and artichoke dip, think guacamole and salsa with vegetable crudites (remember? Bite size cut up veggies!). Instead of the pigs in a blanket, seek out the shrimp cocktail or meat kebabs. Bring your own healthier dessert! Here’s a super simple one:
Baked Apples
Core 2 honeycrisp apples and fill with stuffing (Mix 1 T walnuts, 1 T raisins, 1 T dried cranberries, ½ t cinnamon, ¼ t nutmeg).
Place apples in a loaf pan w/ ¼ c water on bottom and cover with foil. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes until apples are tender!

Bring a dish to pass – Plan ahead! Ask if you can bring a dish to your next outing. Bring something that you know you can eat that is still a healthy option. Try some of these appetizers from previous blog posts:

Spinach dip made with cottage cheese and greek yogurt

Fresh Fruit dip made with applesauce and yogurt

Ellipse Classic cottage cheese ranch dip

Relax and recharge – As the hustle and bustle picks up in these last days before Christmas, give yourself permission to relax. Sit back with your kids, significant other, pets – whomever – and watch a movie, play a board game, or simply enjoy each other’s company. Give yourself permission to do something non-productive for a while to re-center and recharge. When you are feeling at your best you are at your best for those around you too. Thank you for taking time for yourself and recharging with Ellipse Fitness! Happy Holidays!

It’s Celebration Season!

‘Tis the season for celebrations! We have several to highlight today, some well-known, some obscure, but learn some fun facts as well as good tips to store in your back pocket for later!

Happy Hanukkah!

Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, began this week and lasts for 8 days. Whether you are celebrating Hanukkah or not, check out these healthy Hanukkah recipes! Our personal favorite is “Winter Squash and Chicken Tzimmes” (pronounce sim-is) combines butternut squash, chicken thighs, and oranges. Yum!

Healthy Hanukkah Recipes!

Ready to get weird with it?? This week we celebrated several lesser-known holidays as well!

National Lager Day

Have you cooked with beer? Did you know when you cook with beer it loses some of it’s alcohol content? The long it’s cooked, the less content it has. Stir it in an Irish Coffee and you lose 15% of the content. Make a beef stew where it is simmered or baked for 2.5 hours you lose 95% of the alcohol. Get creative with your cooking to keep it exciting!

Check out this fairly simple recipe for Beer Can Chicken!

Gingerbread House Day

An Armenian monk first brought gingerbread to Europe around 992 AD and it was often used to mold into images of the saints! It wasn’t until the story of Hansel and Gretel that the idea of gingerbread houses became more commonplace. Although not built into a house, we’ve got a great recipe to share for a Festive Gingerbread loaf.

You can replace ¼ tsp of ground ginger with FRESH ginger in recipes. Remember you can FREEZE whole ginger root too! Need some grated? Just pull out of the freezer and it’s super easy to grate. Toss back in the freezer when you’re done.

National Cocoa Day

Cocoa is harvested twice a year, as cocoa beans, then fermented and dried. The beans are then roasted and hulled to create cocoa nibs which can further be ground into cocoa liquor and then separated into cocoa butter and cocoa cake. Cocoa cake is the end product we see as baking cocoa or in other dry mixes. Know where your food comes from!

Metabolic Effect suggests to feel satiated and reduce cravings try adding 1-2 heaping TB raw organic cocoa powder to 8-12 oz of freshly boiled water, stir and enjoy! Add variety with a dash of cinnamon or cayenne pepper!

National Cupcake Day

Cupcakes don’t have to be disastrous! Choose to enjoy a cupcake at that party with no regrets, and plan for it with other balanced days in your week or look for a recipe with healthier alternatives. Here’s one that is sweetened with dates, banana, and the juice of an orange!

Did you know you can cook down dates with water to make a sugar alternative? Make a double batch of these moist, pudding like cupcakes, for a full cupcake pan of 12.

and our personal favorite…

National Chocolate-Covered Anything Day!

Although not fully chocolate covered, try this frozen yogurt bark!! This recipe is very forgiving. Try varying ratios to make smaller batches. The test recipe was 3 cups of plain greek yogurt (go for some kind of fat content for creaminess), ¼ c honey or syrup, and 1-2 tsp vanilla extract mixed. Spread on a parchment lined cookie sheet and top with 1.5 c sliced/chopped berries and ¼ cup chocolate chips! Freeze for 2-3 hours and then break into pieces. Get creative with shredded coconut, nuts, and more for variety

Let’s Talk Turkey! (Recipes Inside!)

Ground turkey is a very popular lean protein option that is super easy to prep and cook, so this week we are going over all sorts of ways you can use this ingredient to help craft healthy meals that are *most importantly* SIMPLE!


Did you know you can cook up ground turkey (or ground beef, etc) ahead of time, drain, and freeze? When you need ground meat for tacos, chili, pasta type dishes, etc you can pull out your frozen ground meat and toss into your meal to speed up that mid-week dinner. If you know a dish you regularly make, it can even be cooked up with seasonings and/or onion before freezing. Make sure to label and date it to stay organized. Be realistic: cooking fresh meals every day? Aint nobody got time for that…

One-Pot or Slow-Cooker Turkey Chili

In a large saucepan, cook
• 1 lb turkey
• 1 C. chopped onions
• 1 C. chopped green peppers
• 2 tsp minced garlic.
(This mixture could be pre-cooked and frozen for quicker chili next time!)

Stir in the following, bring to a boil and simmer before serving:
• 1 can crushed or diced tomatoes
• 1 can kidney beans rinsed/drained
• 1-12 oz can of V-8 or tomato juice
• 6oz can tomato paste
• 4 oz can green chiles
• Seasonings: 1 tbsp. dried parsley, 1 tbsp. ground cumin, 3 tsp chili powder, 2 tsp dried oregano, and pepper to taste
(Make this recipe even quicker by measuring and combining your seasonings ahead of time!)

Turkey and Eggplant Pasta

Have you tried a chickpea or lentil pasta yet? They have become regulars on store shelves, and they’re a great alternative to traditional pasta because they have around 25g of protein and 13-16g of fiber per serving! A couple popular brands are Banza and Tolerant.

• 4 1/2 cups cubed peeled eggplant (about 1 pound)
• 1 pound Italian Turkey (or Chicken) Sausage
• 1 tsp garlic powder
• 2 tablespoons tomato paste
• 1 teaspoon dried oregano
• 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
• 6 cups CHICKPEA or LENTIL penne pasta (about 10 ounces uncooked)
• 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Cook eggplant, sausage, and garlic in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat 5 minutes or until sausage is browned and eggplant is tender. Add tomato paste, oregano and tomatoes; cook over medium heat 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Place cooked pasta in a large bowl. Serve over 1 serving of pasta, top with cheese, and parsley; toss well.

Turkey Taco Salad

Many pre-packaged taco seasonings contain unnecessary ingredients like added sugars, starch, or worse! Fortunately, it’s super easy to make your own. Check out this previous blog post for a homemade “packet” replacement and full recipe for Taco Salad. Make a large batch of seasoning to store in a container and grab a scoop the next time!

Turkey Breakfast Wrap

Use some of your leftover ground turkey taco meat for breakfast the next day! Scramble eggs with green peppers, tomatoes and/or salsa, and ¼-1/2 cup of leftover taco meat. Top with a sprinkle of cheese and eat, or take on the go by wrapping in a sprouted grain wrap!

BRRR! Winter has arrived! Warm up with
Healthy Turkey Meatloaf

In a large mixing bowl combine:

• 1.5 lb ground turkey
• 1 chopped onion
• 4 egg whites
• 1 C salsa
• ¾ C rolled oats
• 1 pkg veg soup mix
• ¼ tsp black pepper

Press into a 9” X 5” bread pan. Spread ¼ C ketchup on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes or until center is no longer pink.
Serves: 6

A Failure to Plan is a Plan to Fail! (Holiday Version)

A Failure to Plan is a Plan to Fail

This is one of our favorite aphorisms here at Ellipse Fitness that we find ourselves continuously coming back to! This time of year there is plenty of planning to go around: planning festivities or parties, planning travel, planning shopping.

It is very important that you put at least a minimal amount of work to help you plan for your health and wellness this holiday season as well! Otherwise you might find yourself jumping in with the sea of New Year’s Resolution gym-goers storming gym doors everywhere come 2018!

Plan Your Indulgences!

Plan to eat healthy whenever you can during this busy season! Not only will you find yourself less likely to eat mindless calories, you can plan for indulgences and not deal with the guilt of over-eating! Keep in mind that celebrations are really about family and friends, joy and love, peace and goodwill to man! Food is secondary.

Plan Your Workouts!

Book your sessions out NOW and hold to this appointment with yourself. It will be all too easy to unbook and say tomorrow is another day. Treat it like you would that salon appointment you had to book out 3 months ago, a meeting with your boss to discuss a raise you are due, or night out with the oldest and best friends! Your workout will not only keep you headed toward your fitness goals but also help relieve some of the stress that can go along with the holidays.

Plan For The Holiday Feast!

It’s an old piece of conventional wisdom to only allow yourself one trip to the buffet spread, but also consider trying to ensure that no food touches any other food on your plate! Controlling the portion sizes of those holiday indulgences will make getting back on track that much easier!

Plan The Holiday Spirits!

Enjoy a glass of ice water several times throughout the day! Ice water upon waking tells your metabolism “it’s time to wake up”! Ice water before you leave for the party will help you have a feeling of fullness. Ice water between the spirits will cut down on the high calories of alcoholic beverages! (Not to mention dehydration is the leading cause of hangover after a night of drinks, drink up! H20 that is)

Plan For A Long Day

It’s easy to get caught up in running from one event to another; holiday shopping, decorating, and still trying to keep up with “business as usual”. PLAN for the cases you may not get to that lunch or dinner you had prepped. Keep a stash of longer shelf life, but healthy, snacks. With the cold weather here, it’s easy to store nuts, seeds, dried fruit, Rx Bars, jerky, and more in your car, purse, or coat pocket. Plan for success!

Plan To Be Kind!

To YOURSELF! Don’t beat yourself up or give up, based on one incident! Get back on track; life isn’t a perfect circle! You’re going to go off track or mismanage a perfectly planned evening. Get over it! Wake up, drink your ice water, get to the gym and MOVE ON!

What do you want most out of this holiday season?? Fun, family, friends and happiness? Or an aching belly, bloating, and the weight of guilt from too much indulgence?

Check out last week’s blog post for some tips, tricks and recipes to help with your planning!

Give thanks and be merry!

Holiday Survival Guide!

Your health account, your bank account, they’re the same thing. The more you put in, the more you can take out. Exercise is king and nutrition is queen. Together you have a kingdom”

– Jack LaLanne

Holiday lights, party invites, cookies, and recipes abound. Ready or not, the holidays are here! Tips for good health and nutrition need to become part of your holiday schedule, unless you plan to spend another January playing catch-up. Time is one commodity where everyone holds equal shares. To suggest that one is too busy to plan is, at best, an easy excuse to use this time of year. We like to say, “a failure to plan, is a plan to fail.”

Start with eating breakfast. Studies show those who eat breakfast, compared to those who don’t, can lose 27% more fat just by eating breakfast all other things equal (don’t forget the protein!).

Make exercise a priority! No duh, right? Here is a concrete way to take action on this front: Make appointments on the calendar at least 3 times each week. These appointments should be treated as a top priority – non-negotiable. Do not reschedule any of these 3 workouts. There are four other days of the week to allow more flexibility. Thanksgiving Day is the greatest day of the year to exercise. Do NOT skip it. Run a 5k or come kickbox at Ellipse Fitness! It is something of a tradition worth experiencing!

Snack…smart! Saving your appetite and caloric intake for that one large meal only leads to a painful, bloated trip to the couch or throne of another kind! Eat two small meals/snacks throughout the day. Suggestions: veggies and Greek yogurt with seasoning mix to use as your dip; cottage cheese with tomatoes or berries; protein shake; a piece of fruit and almonds.

Choose wisely. Make appropriate meal selections. Turkey, veggies, and sweet potatoes (skip the marshmallow and brown sugar-they are sweet all by themselves. HINT: cinnamon with a little butter). Ask yourself: How bad do I really want _______ (i.e. crescent rolls, green bean casserole, etc.)? Is it worth it? Start filling your plate with turkey and veggies FIRST, then choose one small serving of your favorite guilty pleasure side.

Eat dessert! That’s right. Not “just a little piece” or the infamous “bite of his” either. Eat a full serving of dessert. Do not eat a whole pie, but indulge in a piece of the very best available. If your grandma makes the greatest apple pie in the whole world, savor every piece of that apple pie. Pass on the so-so cookies bought at the store because everyone ‘had to bring something.’ Those end-of-the-aisle sales are not special order for a reason. There is nothing special about it. If dessert isn’t your favorite, then of course don’t eat it just because…but if you spend the entire meal dreaming of what comes next, then make choices on the front end so you can indulge in what you love most. Healthy eating is not about recusing yourself from every pleasure, but about being smart and savoring what you value!

Charged with bringing a dish to pass? Bring the veggie tray with a healthy option you can munch with confidence!

Fiesta Ranch Dip
2 c plain Greek yogurt (or 1 ¾ c of cottage cheese + ¼ c of water-pureed)
1 package Fiesta Ranch salad dressing mix

Or make this delicious version of the sweet potato casserole and skip the tired ol’ marshmallow topped canned yams

Sweet Potato Crunch
Cut, boil, and mash 4-6 sweet potatoes. Place potatoes in a casserole dish.
Melt 4-6 tablespoons of real butter and stir in 2 tablespoons of cinnamon (apple pie spice or pumpkin spice makes for a nice twist as well) to coat 3 cups of plain corn flakes.
Top mashed sweet potatoes with corn flakes and bake for an additional 25 minutes at 350 degrees.