Tag Archives: work life balance

What’s for Dinner?

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For some of you, I know that’s a dreaded question – especially in the middle of the week. And, that’s totally understandable! Sometimes you simply find yourself in a lets-just-order-takeout rut. When you come home after a long day, the last thing you want to do is cook!

Never fear. You can make life easier by doing a little prep on the weekends to figure out a couple of healthy meals that will give you a delicious and well-planned answer throughout the week to the question: what’s for dinner?

Here are five steps to help you answer the question: What’s for dinner

1. Make sure you have some basic ingredients on hand for dinner.

Check out my post about pantry essentials to help you cook more at home. Keep those items stocked in your kitchen so that weekdays are spent cooking rather than shopping (followed by cooking).

2. Choose two “compass” ingredients for dinner.

These two ingredients you will use to set the direction for your meal planning. There are a couple of ways to decide on your compass ingredients:
• Take a quick look at your pantry, fridge, and freezer. Which ingredients would you like to incorporate into your meals this week? For example, this week I found a couple of cans of garbanzo beans that became one of my two compass ingredients.
•If you head to the grocery store, try to find what’s on sale. For example, chicken thighs were on sale this week, so they became my second compass ingredient.

3. Choose two different dinner recipes that will stem from your compass ingredients.

You can do this a number of ways:
•Look ahead to your schedule for the week and figure out if there’s an evening that gives you 30-40 minutes to cook. If you have that time, find a recipe with your compass ingredient that takes that time. If you DON’T have the time, choose a slow cooker recipe to have ready when you walk in the door instead. For example, I made chicken thighs in the slow cooker for my mid-week meal this week.
• Identify other ingredients you might have on hand that could complement your compass ingredients. Do a web search for both of those ingredients. For example, I had extra carrots on hand as well as garbanzo beans. So, I found a recipe for garbanzo beans and greens that included both of those ingredients.

4. Next, determine how you will use the dinner leftovers from each recipe.

If you can transform one meal into another with minimal effort, you can get two meals out of one original recipe! For example, I served the chickpea recipe with farro one night, and then the chickpea recipe with whole grain tortillas the next night. AND for my chicken thighs, I served chicken with roasted zucchini on the side one night, and then the next night I served it with a green salad.

5. Pick one night to take it easy at dinner.

Now that you have four meals planned, take it easy for your fifth meal. You can keep it simple by serving whole grain pasta with jarred sauce (make it low sodium and no sugar), cooking breakfast for dinner, making sandwiches, or simply warming up a bulk meal you have in your freezer.

How do you answer the question: What’s for dinner? Let me know in the comments!

What's for dinner?

© 2017 Caitlin W Howe, LLC
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The postings on this site are my own (unless otherwise stated) and don't necessarily represent any other organization's positions, strategies or opinions. Thanks!

Do you know yourself? Six quizzes to get to know yourself better

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Do you know yourself? I mean, really know yourself? How does your personality influence how you adopt healthy habits? What are your key strengths ? How do you like to interact with people? What is your tendency when you are under stress? Continue reading Do you know yourself? Six quizzes to get to know yourself better

© 2017 Caitlin W Howe, LLC
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The postings on this site are my own (unless otherwise stated) and don't necessarily represent any other organization's positions, strategies or opinions. Thanks!

3 easy ways to bring more joy to your day

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Every once in a while, we need just a little pick-me-up. Here are three easy ways to bring more joy to your day. All three can be done without much effort, and completed quickly. And, when these strategies are practiced in the long-term, they can reap huge benefits.

Continue reading 3 easy ways to bring more joy to your day

© 2017 Caitlin W Howe, LLC
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The postings on this site are my own (unless otherwise stated) and don't necessarily represent any other organization's positions, strategies or opinions. Thanks!

How to Slow Down your Morning

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I talk a lot on this blog about productive mornings. This week, I tried something a little different, and I found that my productivity was great, and that my mind was relaxed, clear and ready for the day: I enjoyed a slower morning! Slowing down my morning (while still waking up early) gave me peace of mind before a busy day. Here’s how to slow down your morning:

First, I practiced my compass routine the Sunday night before.

So, the house was clean and food was prepped for the week.

When you follow a consistent weekly routine, it gives you more freedom to do what you want in the mornings.

Then, I began my morning at the usual time

…which is between 5:00 and 5:30 AM. I find it incredibly important to stay consistent with my bed time and the time I wake up.

Don’t shortchange your sleep to wake up early. According to the National Institutes of Health, adults need 7-8 hours of sleep each night. If you are waking up at 5:00 AM, I recommend going to bed no later than 10 PM for seven hours of sleep. Be realistic with yourself. If you know you need more than seven hours of sleep, make it a priority to go to bed earlier.

Next, I prioritized morning hydration.

I warmed up a cup of ginger tea and a big glass of cold water with lemon. Hydration matters, especially in the morning.

The average adult loses over one pound of water during the night (mostly through our moist breath). Dehydration can make you feel sleepy. Begin rehydrating yourself right away.

I set out the yoga mat in the living room instead of heading off to the gym.

During my yoga session, I watched the sun rise. It was an amazing sight that added such an energetic feeling to the morning.

To get started, try this 20-minute yoga sessions podcast to find a routine that works for you. I recommend episode 84, titled “Good Morning Yoga.”

I enjoyed a healthful breakfast.

A healthful breakfast will give you the nutrient-rich energy you need to be productive. And, people who eat breakfast weigh less than folks who skip it.

Finally, I wrote in my morning pages.

In her book The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron recommends writing three pages of your stream of consciousness, right after you wake up, to spark creative thoughts. Unlike a journal, morning pages don’t have structure—they simply exist to get your thoughts on paper. After my morning pages, my mind is clear and I feel prepared for the day.

What activities do you enjoy that slow down your morning?

How to slow down your morning

© 2017 Caitlin W Howe, LLC
Manners matter here! Not sure whether your comment is irrelevant, impolite, or disrespectful? Read my commenting rules Commenting Rules

The postings on this site are my own (unless otherwise stated) and don't necessarily represent any other organization's positions, strategies or opinions. Thanks!

Rise and shine: Adopt a new morning habit for daylight savings time

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With daylight savings ending this weekend, we gained an extra hour in the morning. While our bodies feel like we are waking up at 6 AM, the real time is 5 AM. What an amazing opportunity this is to adopt a positive morning habit! Rise and shine with these ideas and strategies.
Continue reading Rise and shine: Adopt a new morning habit for daylight savings time

© 2017 Caitlin W Howe, LLC
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The postings on this site are my own (unless otherwise stated) and don't necessarily represent any other organization's positions, strategies or opinions. Thanks!

Travel and Exercise: 26 ways to include exercise in your travel itinerary

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Americans travel. A lot. In fact, according to the US Travel Association, Americans took 1.7 billion trips for leisure and 452 million trips for business in 2014. That’s a lot of nights away from home. And, travel can be challenging. One of the many challenges that come with travelling is staying healthy. A key to healthy travel is to exercise.
Continue reading Travel and Exercise: 26 ways to include exercise in your travel itinerary

© 2017 Caitlin W Howe, LLC
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The postings on this site are my own (unless otherwise stated) and don't necessarily represent any other organization's positions, strategies or opinions. Thanks!

Save money, gain time, eat healthy: Cook your meals in bulk

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These last couple of weeks, we have been purchasing ready-made foods at the grocery store. And, I’ve noticed a couple of things: our grocery bill has gone up, we are eating more salt and fat, and are enjoying fewer whole grains and veggies. Why?
Continue reading Save money, gain time, eat healthy: Cook your meals in bulk

© 2017 Caitlin W Howe, LLC
Manners matter here! Not sure whether your comment is irrelevant, impolite, or disrespectful? Read my commenting rules Commenting Rules

The postings on this site are my own (unless otherwise stated) and don't necessarily represent any other organization's positions, strategies or opinions. Thanks!

27 Ideas for Your Stay-At-Home Holiday Weekend

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Sticking around for labor day? According to the American Express Spend and Save Tracker, 53% of us plan to get away during 2015’s summer holiday weekends, which means that about 47% of us plan to stay at home.

Staying home doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the time off. In fact, it’s a wonderful opportunity to rest, reflect, and boost your creativity. Continue reading 27 Ideas for Your Stay-At-Home Holiday Weekend

© 2017 Caitlin W Howe, LLC
Manners matter here! Not sure whether your comment is irrelevant, impolite, or disrespectful? Read my commenting rules Commenting Rules

The postings on this site are my own (unless otherwise stated) and don't necessarily represent any other organization's positions, strategies or opinions. Thanks!

Discovering the Work You Love, Part One: Find your Best Self in your Work

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This is a two-part post about discovering the work you love. I hope it will help you figure out what type of activities are right for you; activities that allow you to bring your best self to work.

Continue reading Discovering the Work You Love, Part One: Find your Best Self in your Work

© 2017 Caitlin W Howe, LLC
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The postings on this site are my own (unless otherwise stated) and don't necessarily represent any other organization's positions, strategies or opinions. Thanks!

Balancing Act: Four Steps to Achieve Better Balance

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Of the top 10 resolutions from 2014, 8 of them required (at least, in part) balancing time between work and personal life. This is a tough ask, but is important as we fulfill our resolutions for the new year. So, how do we go about doing this?

When I think of the word balance, I picture a tightrope walker hundreds of feet in the air, intently focused on adjusting every move to maintain balance.

Continue reading Balancing Act: Four Steps to Achieve Better Balance

© 2017 Caitlin W Howe, LLC
Manners matter here! Not sure whether your comment is irrelevant, impolite, or disrespectful? Read my commenting rules Commenting Rules

The postings on this site are my own (unless otherwise stated) and don't necessarily represent any other organization's positions, strategies or opinions. Thanks!