With the end of winter quickly drawing near, it’s tempting to shift our focus to thoughts of trips to the beach, longer days and all the new, spring fashions. I would like to invite you, however, to savor the remaining month of winter. To help, I’m sharing two new healthy favorites that I gleaned from my Whole30 journey(s). The best part about these two recipes is that they are easy, healthy and delicious. Hopefully, you will give them a try, and perhaps they will help you linger in winter mode a bit longer.
COCONUT MILK COFFEE – coconut milk, not to be confused with coconut water, is the liquid derived from the meat of the coconut. Among its many benefits, it is known to be heart-friendly, good for weight loss, and helpful in building muscle. It is an excellent alternative to dairy milk or dairy creamer.
So, how does it work?
- First, I make sure my coconut milk is organic and does not contain harmful Guar gum.
- Brew your pot of coffee as you normally would.
- Stir in a dollop of coconut milk and enjoy.
- OR, if you want to have more of a latte finish, blend coffee and as much coconut milk as you’d like into a blender. Blend on high and then pour into your favorite coffee mug.
BUTTERNUT SQUASH – Considered a power food, butternut squash is low in calories, loaded with heart-friendly fiber, and a fantastic food for women who are pregnant as it is high in essential prenatal vitamins. In my third out of four attempts to complete Whole30, I discovered butternut squash soup and customized a recipe to my family’s liking. This soup is so easy and so delicious. You can have it for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a snack anywhere in between. I like my soup in a coffee mug while working at my desk.
Onawhimlife Butternut Squash Soup
1 butternut squash
1 can coconut milk
Sea salt to taste
Desired toppings: Bacon, chives and goat cheese for a savory finish; cinnamon or nutmeg for a sweeter, earthier taste.
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Cut butternut squash lengthwise and scoop the seeds out with a large spoon.
Spray baking sheet with coconut oil spray (or olive oil spray) then place the squash halves, cut side down, on a baking sheet.
Bake for about 45 minutes until the flesh is tender.
Allow squash to cool for at least 10 minutes before scooping out the flesh and placing it in a large pot. Stir contents, add coconut milk then place on stovetop.
Bring to a simmer, then turn to low for about 20 minutes.
If you like a smoother texture, scoop out a few cups of soup at a time and blend before pouring back in the pot. Repeat the process until you have attained the desired consistency.
Enjoy – Season as you like then enjoy!
One more, non-food suggestion for the rest of the season’s winter nights: Be a bear. Take advantage of the remains of Daylight Saving and go to sleep early as much as possible. I’m not ashamed to say that there have been many nights that my husband and I have crawled into bed shortly after putting our toddler down for the night. Countless studies show that getting at least eight hours of sleep each night can prevent weight gain, lessen chronic pain, improve mental clarity and even boost your sex life. And, the earlier you go sleep, the sooner you get to wake up and enjoy your coconut milk coffee!
Laura Watkins is a marketing manager who moonlights as a yoga instructor. She has developed programs for individuals with multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury and has taught individuals from a wide range of demographics. She is also the former editor for the National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability and a certified personal trainer through the American Council on Exercise. Laura is passionate about helping others lead healthy, active and independent lifestyles. She is currently training for her first half-marathon since giving birth to her daughter Ava Grace.