How to Pack Healthier Lunches this Week

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Are you in a lunch rut? 

 

Sick of driving through the same fast food restaurants, only to get food that is mildly satisfying and laden in calories?

 

You aren’t alone. Millions of Americans wish they could eat better at lunch, and we’re here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be hard! Here are a few simple tips on how to pack healthier lunches this week:

 

Move Leftovers Straight to Lunch Boxes

 

As your cleaning up the dinner dishes, simply pull out a lunch container and move part of the leftovers straight into that container. (Add a few extra fresh veggies and fruit while you’re at it.) Easy breezy lunch for tomorrow; just heat and serve!

 

Focus on Health

 

Remember that homemade lunches are generally healthier than picking something up last minute, and those health benefits are huge! Remind yourself that you’re packing lunches to make way for a healthier lifestyle and make it all about the bigger picture. 

 

Pack What You’ll Eat

 

It does no good to pack a lunch full of healthy fruits and veggies or a salad if you aren’t going to eat it! Make sure that your packed lunch is both healthy – and satisfying. This could mean a casserole loaded with veggies or a soup in the winter. 

 

Repurpose Leftovers

 

Leftover grilled chicken, taco meat, etc. are great staples for a healthy lunch the next day. Nearly any leftover veggies and protein can be turned into a unique and tasty salad.

 

Make Your Meals Ahead of Time

 

Pinterest is full of tutorials and tips on how to meal prep for lunches one day of the week – then have healthy meals all week long! You are much more likely to take your lunch everyday if it’s already prepared for you. 

 

What are your health eating tips? Cheers to packing healthy lunches this week! 

Cucumbers: Health Benefits You Don’t Want to Miss!

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Cucumbers are in season during the summer, and sadly, many people don’t see them as much more than a salad filler. But that is simply not the case! Here are 5 health benefits of cucumbers you don’t want to miss:

Aid in Lowering Blood Pressure

If you are worried about high blood pressure, cucumbers might be able to help. According to the American Heart Association, cucumbers contain lots of potassium, which reduces water retention, contributing to lower blood pressure readings. 

Improves Digestive Health

Cucumbers are pretty much straight fiber, and that fiber is great for digestive health. Fiber is what our body uses to maintain regular bowel movements and overall digestive health. If straight cucumbers aren’t really your thing, then pickles can really help with digestive health! The fermentation process of making a cucumber a pickle boosts the cucumbers ability to support good gut health. Who knew pickles had such health benefits?!

Extra Hydration

In the summer heat, it can be hard to stay hydrated! Since cucumbers are 95% water, add them to your diet for added hydration benefits! Throw them in a glass of water or eat them as a snack, cucumbers are perfect for meeting water intake goals.

Vitamin Packed

Never really seen a cucumber as much more than a vessel for water? Think again! While cucumbers are just fiber and water at their core, that fiber is full of vitamins and minerals that support your overall health and well-being. Cucumbers are rich in Vitamin K and have Vitamin C, Magnesium, Potassium, and Manganese. 

Improves Bone Health

Speaking of Vitamin K, studies have shown it supports healthy bones. Older women can particularly benefit from the added benefits of cucumbers for improving bone health. 

So how are you going to eat them? Throw them in a salad, add them to your water, or cut them up for a snack – tell us how you like to eat them! 

Beat the Summer Heat: 5 Ways to Stay Hydrated

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Summers in Texas can take their toll, and many people forget the dehydrated effects summer can have on their bodies. It’s tempting to carry on with the status quo and your normal routine, but if you plan to spend time outdoors or exercising in the heat, it’s important to take added precautions for your health. Here are 5 ways we recommend staying hydrated in the summer heat:

 

1.   Drink Water Above All

The summer heat can make us crave caffeinated beverages and cold alcoholic beverages, but be sure that water is your #1 source of liquid in the summer months. Nothing can hydrate your body like good, old-fashioned H2O. Not to mention, caffeine and alcohol can be dehydrating and have the opposite effect. Sport drinks are also great after a workout, but only in moderation due to their sugar levels.

2.   Be Aware of Your Body’s Needs

While all of us need to drink plenty of water in the summer (and year round for that matter), those with specific dietary needs or health conditions may need even more water to properly hydrate. If you struggle with diabetes, heart disease, or another health condition, talk with your doctor about your water intake requirements. 

3.   Watch Your Urine

It’s not the most pleasant thing, but watching the color of your urine is a good indicator of dehydration. The more hydrated your body, the lighter your urine color. 

4.   Hydrate More When Exercising

Of course, it’s important to drink water when exercising, but even more so in the hot summer months! This is especially true if you are exercising outdoors or prone to excessive sweating. You’ll need to counteract the water loss through sweat with proper water intake. Not only will this keep you hydrated during the workout, but will aid in recovery post-workout as well.

5.   Load Up on Fruits & Veggies

Many fruits and veggies are high in water content, making them an even more vital part of your diet during the summer months. Look to add more watermelon, celery, cantaloupe, cucumbers, and honeydew to your diet in the summer months to aid in hydration.

Kitchen Hacks: 5 Ways to Help your Produce Last Longer

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Tis the season of fresh fruit and veggies a’plenty at the grocery store, farmers markets, and backyard gardens. And because there is so much great, fresh produce in season right now, it can be tempting to over buy and then let your fruits and vegetables spoil. 

While we can’t help you with your purchasing decisions, we can help you extend the life of that fresh produce with a few simple kitchen storage hacks:

Wash and Dry Berries for Storage

When you get home from the store, immediately take your delicate berries out of their containers and wash with cold water. From there, spread them over a paper towel in a shallow bowl or container for refrigerator storage. Berries don’t do well when moisture is involved, and cleaning and allowing them to breathe will extend their life.

Keep Ethylene Producers Separated

Some produce emits ethylene gas; others react to it. Bananas, avocados, melons, kiwis, mangos, nectarines, tomatoes, plums, and pears are all examples of produce that emit ethylene gas, a gas that essentially speeds up the ripening process. Be aware of this and keep these fruits and vegetables separate from others that may be sensitive to ethylene, like leafy greens and apples.

Leave Mushrooms Until Time to Eat

Mushrooms don’t like to be washed until right before they are consumed, so your best bet is to leave them in their original storage container until you are ready to use them.

Put Peppers in a Paper Bag

Want to keep your peppers crisp and fresh longer? Then put them into the refrigerator in a paper bag. You’ll be amazed how long they will last. 

Wrap Celery in Aluminum Foil

Celery is one of those ethylene-emitting vegetables that can ripen too quickly and become soft and spoiled before you’re ready to use it. Instead, seal it in aluminum foil – then store it in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. It should extend the life of your celery to 3-4 weeks. 

Everything You Need to Know about Cooking with Jalapeños

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In Texas, we sure love jalapeños. We love the spice that comes with each bite, kicking our favorite Tex-Mex and Southern dishes up a notch. 

If you’ve ever been nervous to attempt cooking with jalapenos, you’re not alone. That’s why Savory Catering is here with everything you need to know about cooking with jalapenos:

 

How Do I Manage the Heat of Jalapeno Peppers?

Many people are told the heat from jalapeno peppers comes from the seeds, but this isn’t entirely accurate. The membranes and inner parts of the pepper are actually what contains the most heat, so if you’re looking to cut some heat, cut out the entire inside of the pepper – not just the seeds.

How Hot are Jalapenos Compared to Other Hot Peppers?

Can you substitute other hot peppers for jalapenos? Sure. But you’re likely looking at a hotter pepper. As a general rule, the smaller the hot pepper, the more heat it packs. Jalapenos are considered the mildest hot pepper.

What is the Best Way to Store Jalapeno Peppers?

Store fresh jalapeno peppers in the refrigerator, and they should last at least 7 days. They can also be frozen very easily and used for recipes that required cooked jalapenos (they aren’t good to use fresh after freezing.) Simply chop the jalapenos and place in a freezer bag, then add whatever amount needed your recipes in the future. 

How do I Avoid Burning My Hands From Cutting Jalapeno Peppers?

You’ll do this once and then never again! Jalapenos have an oil in their skins containing capsaicin that is great in foods – but not on your hands! To avoid burning your hands from cutting peppers, always wear gloves. 

My Hands are Burning from Jalapeño Peppers. Now what?! 

If you’re already made the mistake of cutting the peppers without gloves, then you can try to dissolve the oils by using dish soap, alcohol, or olive oil. 

How Do I Determine My Target Heart Rate for Exercise?

We all know the importance of physical activity and exercise when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle. However, it’s possible that even with regular exercise, you aren’t maximizing your potential.

 

The Target Heart Rate

When working out, your goal is to find your target heart rate. This is the heart rate that stretches you – but doesn’t overexert you. Staying within your target heart rate means you’re strengthening your cardiovascular abilities and burning the maximum amount of calories. 

 

How Do I Determine Target Heart Rate?

Calculating your target heart rate is simple with a few minor calculations before you begin your workout:

·      Determine Max Heart Rate: Subtract your current age from 220. 

·      Determine Resting Heart Rate: Count how many times your heart beats in 60 seconds. (Most adults will be between 60-100 beats per minute.)

·      Calculate Heart Rate Reserve: Subtract resting heart rate from maximum heart rate. 

·      Calculate Your Target Heart Rate: Multiply your Heart Rate Reserve times .7 – and then times .85 – then add your resting heart rate to both numbers. 

In essence, your target heart rate is 70%-85% of your maximum heart rate. 

 

How Do I Get Started?

Exercising for long periods of time under your target heart rate might seem daunting. Instead, start out with interval training that introduces 60 second spurts of high intensity aerobic activity (think sprinting), with longer periods of less intense activity. This method has been proven to aid in weight loss and maximize heart health. 

You’ll also want to consult your doctor if you have other risk factors for heart disease, diabetic, etc. Plus – some medications are shown to interfere with heart rate and may alter your target heart rate from what you think it should be based on the calculation. Pushing yourself to your fitness goals is one thing, but not if it comes at the cost of your overall health. 

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Mixology 101: Tools to Make the Perfect Cocktails at Home

Crafting cocktails at home is a fun hobby, but if you really want to make the best cocktails, then you need the right gear. Whether you are new to mixing drinks or been at it for years, here are 5 tools we recommend having on hand to make the perfect cocktails at home:

 

1.  Wood Muddler

When it comes to muddling mint or other herbs, you want a hardy, solid muddler that can muddle and mash with ease. We like wood because it doesn’t break and can last for years, it simply gets a great patina over time. Look for something made out of walnut, cherry, or oak for added durability. 

 

2.  Shaker

There are varying types of shakers on the market. Novices often prefer a traditional shaker known as a Cobbler Shaker – but if you want to play with the big boys – then go for a Boston-style shaker. 

 

3.  Quality Bar Tool Set

Various recipes will call for different times, so you want to make sure you have them all on hand. Purchase a high quality bar tool set that includes at least a strainer, tongs, jigger, and a spoon. 

 

4.  Citrus Peeler

If you want those cocktails to really pop with the right pop of citrus rind, then invest in a peeler specifically designed to peel the rind of citrus with ease. Trust us, your guests will be impressed! 

 

5.  Juicer

When mixing cocktails, fresh is always best, so skip the bottled lemon and lime juice and squeeze your own instead. Having a hand juicer on hand makes that process a lot easier and maximizes the amount of juice that comes out with each squeeze. 

 

So there you have it…invest in each of these tools for making the perfect cocktails at home, and you’ll be set for whatever drink comes your way. Cheers! 

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6 Awesome Uses for Lemons You’ve Never Heard Of 

When life gives you lemons….use them for all sorts of awesome things around house! 

 

Sure, lemons are wonderful this time of year – in flavored water, in cocktails, in desserts, and even in cooking and marinades – but they are also great for all sorts of things around the house that you’ve never even heard of! Here are 6 of our favorite household uses for lemons:

 

1.  Cleaning Cutting Boards

You know that wooden cutting board you can’t put in the dishwasher, but want to be sure it’s disinfected? Rub some lemon on it! Just a sprinkle of baking soda, combined with lemon juice, and scrub it around for all natural disinfecting power. 

 

2.  Shine Bathroom Fixtures

If you’re bathroom fixtures have gone a little dingy due to hard water spots, then half a lemon might be just what you need! Rub lemon on the fixtures to remove tough mineral stains and make them look like new.

 

3.  Remove Fabric Stains

Lemon juice is a great stain fighter! Sweat stains can be removed by soaking in lemon juice. For a rust stain (or any other stubborn stain for that matter), rub the area with lemon juice and salt and let it sit in the sun. Repeat until the stain has faded completely.

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4.  Natural Air Freshener

Boil a pot of water, then add lemons and fresh lavender to the mix, reducing to a simmer. Your home will fill with the fresh scents without any chemicals.

 

5.  Weed Spray

The acidic properties in lemon juice are great for killing off pesky weeds without harsh chemicals. Just be sure not to over spray into plants you want to keep!

 

6.  Fruit & Vegetable Spray

Ever wondered if your fruit and vegetables are actually clean after washing them with water? Try spraying them with lemon juice first! The acidity breaks down pesticides that are stuck on the food before you wash.