Prepping for Fall

basketfallvegFall is lurking! As you coast through the hot days and summer mindsets, we can easily get caught off guard that the seasons will be changing. Sticky high temps  gives the impression that summer is here to stay, then all of a sudden you wake up one morning to the hum of school traffic and evenings filled with assignments, sporting events or meetings. Which leads to over scheduled calendars, constant shuffling with little thought of healthy food, quality exercise or a good night’s sleep.

Here are a few thoughts to ponder that could help with preparing for the shift to fall.

  • Get Organized Now! Last minute summer and fall busy schedules tend to spiral out of control, lack of organization can often lead to undo stress.
  • Build your immune system before the influx of people, students, school, sporting events and more.
  • Self-Care! Do something for yourself and learn your limits.

Get Organized:

  • Establish a Routine Today!
    • Meal times, Workout plans and Bedtime schedules (Stick to it). Don’t wait, start practicing now.
  • Purge the Fridge
    • Get it ready for stocking healthy favorites that easily fit your schedule. (Apples with cheese, nuts and yogurts, celery and nut butter)
  • Plan it and Prep it!
    • Plan to keep go to meals in the freezer or on hand for a fast fix. This keeps you less dependent on the drive thru. Choose quick tacos or 10 Minute Turkey Pasta, recipe included below.
    • Use a slow day to prep snacks for on the go snacks or quick meals.
    • Use a mini chopper for prepping produce to add to salads, omelets and snacks. Preparing produce after purchase can help save time.

Immune Building 101:

  • Balance Your Diet
    • Choose colorful veggies and fruits to pair with meals to boost vitamin and mineral intake.
    • Reach for whole grains from wraps, pastas and breads loaded with fiber.
    • Pick lean proteins from seafood, poultry, pork, beef and plants such as beans, lentils, nuts and seeds.
  • Practice good handwashing while cooking and day to day tasks.
  • Exercise daily but don’t overdo it, excessive exercise can stress the immune system too. Find ways to establish a balance.

Self-Care: Save Time for Yourself!

  • The day-to-day grind can be taxing on the mind and body. Take some moments to enjoy your time with healthy food, music, art, etc.
    • Try a Hobby-Skillshare.com, Craftsy.com, Teachable.com are all sites to promote fun and new skills. such as art or cooking,
    • Unwind! Create a comfortable space and learn to relax! Try reading, yoga, walking or stretch
  • Avoid over scheduling yourself.

Websites to check out:

Mindy’s 10 Minute Turkey Pasta with Greens

Yields: 3-4 servings

Tools Needed:

  • Non-stick cooking spray or oil to prevent sticking
  • 1 medium skillet
  • 1 medium sauce pan
  • 1 knife and cutting board

Ingredients:

  • 1- 24oz. Can of Marinara Sauce
  • 1-14oz. package Turkey Sausage (or diced chicken or other low fat protein may require more cook time)
  • 1-16oz. package Frozen Tortellini (Ravioli or other pasta)
  • 6 Cups of Water
  • 1-10oz. package Frozen Broccoli (or any green/mixed vegetables such as peppers, squashes, mushrooms or spinach)

Instructions:

  1. Use non-stick spray or a tablespoon of oil in the pan to prevent sticking. Slice sausage (or other protein) into rings and lay flat in skillet on medium/low heat. Brown sausage for 4-5 minutes and flip to brown reverse sides.
  2. Bring water to boil ~6 cups (using suggested water amount on tortellini package *Do not boil Tortellini yet, it only takes 2 minutes, do this LAST*)
  3. Add broccoli to sausage skillet and cook until hot, fold broccoli and sausage occasionally. (You can roast broccoli in the oven with a little oil if you prefer)
  4. Lower temperature to sausage and broccoli to low.  Place tortellini in boiling water (following instructions on the back of pasta package) it takes only 2 minutes. Drain tortellini water and return pasta to pot, add marinara to cooked pasta and fold sauce carefully until heated.
  5. In a large serving bowl add pasta to the bottom and top with cooked broccoli and sausage.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese if desired.  (Recipe Summary: Cook sausage and broccoli, boil tortellini last and add sauce to pasta, pan pasta and sauce in bowl then line with sausage broccoli mixture, then sprinkle with cheese and serve)

Quick Tips: Defrost bagged broccoli before cooking meal to speed cooking. If using raw chicken, dice into smaller pieces to make cooking chicken time quicker, cook chicken all the way through for safety.

Turn this dish into a light and warm soup by adding 2 cans (16oz) of low sodium chicken broth and cook for 30 minutes without the tortellini.  Tortellini will fall apart if cooked for a long time.  Toss it back in a few minutes before serving.

Hospitality Dietitian Mindy Diller, MS, RDN, LD   mindy.diller@ttu.edu 

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