Be & Eat Well

Be and Eat Well Wellness Challenge

5 Tips for Summer Health

Summer is in full swing and the heat is here! It’s easy to get wrapped up in family activities, basking in the sun and staying up late around the campfire. Here are a few tips to make sure not to forget about your own health and well-being so you can enjoy all your time in the sun, feeling great!

1. Sleep! These long days and short nights tempt us to stay up later than we should and we end up feeling tired and worn out before the weekend even starts! Try to stick with your usual routine, be it 6, 7, 8 or 9 hours of sleep per night- life is too short not to get sleep!

2. Drink water! Add fresh or frozen fruit to your water to flavor it, drink it cold with lots of ice, room temperature, or sip warm water with lemon. Anyway you like to drink it is the best way. 64 oz is the recommended daily water intake for the average adult. Make sure to listen to your body and drink up when you’re outside sweating!

3. Eat fresh, local, seasonal vegetables and fruit! Take advantage of the summer growing season and color your plate with fresh greens, zucchini, green beans and okra while adding fresh blueberries, peaches (my all-time favorite fruit!) or blackberries to a salad, snack or breakfast.

4. Stand, stretch and smile. Make sure you’re stopping to take breaks and breathe fresh air when you’re on those long road-trips. Stand up on the plane, walk around the airport, bring a resistance band with you for on-the-go exercise. Make sure to smile, vacation should be fun–don’t let the little things get to you!

5. Make yourself a priority! Always. Do this. Take time for YOU. You need it. You deserve it. You can’t take care of your family or plan a meal or vacation if you’re not giving yourself what you need. Read a book you’ve had on your bookshelf all year, schedule a massage, spend some time in nature, do whatever gives you the downtime and energy you need to make this summer the best yet! Love yourself.



What are you doing to make sure you’re staying healthy and feeling good this summer? We’d love to hear your comments below!

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Be and Eat Well Wellness Challenge

Springtime Strawberry Banana Muffins

strawberry banana muffins

What to do on a rainy Sunday afternoon? Bake muffins of course! I usually do some meal prepping on the weekends and lately I’ve been into baking some sort of breakfast bread/muffin. Seeing that there was a pint of fresh strawberries sitting on the shelf in the frig looking lonely, I decided to combine them with a couple bananas that needed to be baked into something.

strawberry banana muffins

You’re probably wondering where these vibrant beauties came from. Here in North Carolina, our farmers markets have begun and fresh produce is soon to be ready in our backyard (literally!) We aren’t growing any fruit this year, so I’ll continue to seek out more of these juicy strawberries at our local Tuesday market. The National Farmers Market Directory makes it easy to locate all the local farmers markets in your area, so be sure to check it out!

strawberry banana muffins

I find that baking muffins and quick breads at home make great breakfasts on-the-go and prevents the urge to buy a sweet treat with your morning cup of joe.  If you’d like to add more protein to your breakfast, try folding in slivered almonds to the mixture, or spread a table spoon of almond butter on top of these muffins to keep you satisfied a little longer.


Fresh Strawberry Banana Muffins

Recipe adapted from Cookie and Kate

Makes 12 muffins


        • 1 & 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
        • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
        • 1 tsp baking powder
        • 1/2 tsp baking soda
        • 1/2 tsp salt
        • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
        • 1/3 cup olive oil
        • 1 tsp vanilla extract
        • 2 eggs
        • 2 mashed bananas equaling ~1 cup
        • 1 & 1/4 cup fresh chopped strawberries


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with liners or grease well.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together in large bowl and stir with wire whisk, set aside.
  3. Combine oil, vanilla extract, eggs and mashed banana together in a separate bowl, whisk well.
  4. Add the liquid ingredients to the flour mixture, stir with wooden spoon until just combined.
  5. Gently fold in strawberries.
  6. Use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to ladle batter into the muffin tin.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the muffin comes out clean.
  8. Cool muffin tin on wire rack for 10 minutes, then gently slide the muffins out of the tin and onto the rack to finish cooling.
  9. Keep at room temperature or place in refrigerator or freezer for extended shelf life.
  10. Enjoy!

Let me know how they turned out for you!

strawberry banana muffins

strawberry banana muffins


Be and Eat Well Wellness Challenge

“Good” vs “Bad” Foods- Shifting your Mindset from Restriction to Nourishment

I was recently asked the question during a nutrition consultation, “What foods should I stay away from?”  I have to admit, I am asked this question quite a bit.  The media and society has intentionally (or unintentionally) labeled food or food groups as “good” or “bad.” This begins a spiral of questions, confusion, shame, guilt, restrictions, cravings or depression when eating or even thinking about what to eat. I’d like to share a few thoughts I have on this topic and hope to bring you some peace around eating and shift your mindset to lessen your anxiety around eating “good” or “bad” foods.

Definition of “good”: to be desired or approved of. Definition of “bad”: of poor quality or a low standard. These two definitions bring a subjective stance to each of these words, as every single person who walks this earth has a different opinion of what is desirable and what is poor quality or a low standard, in terms of food. Yes, we have learned that fruits and vegetables are labeled as “good” while sugar, sweets and candy are “bad” but in the end, and overall, these foods, either “good” or “bad,” all contain calories. What is a calorie? The measure of energy in food. All food, no matter what it it, contains energy. This same measure of energy can respond entirely different from one person to the next. No matter if you choose to eat a doughnut or an apple, this food is nourishing your body. Definition of nourishing: (of food) containing substances necessary for growth, health and good condition. We need energy, we need growth, we need health, we need good condition, or (as I define it), well-being in life.

How do we go about our days, weeks, months knowing what foods we should eat, to give us nourishment? Again, this is going to be subjective and unique to each individual, as we all have our own distinguishing tastes, preferences and health conditions to consider. What we do know is that our decision does not include restriction of food. Definition of restriction: a limiting condition or measure. What does restriction create? The urge, the craving, the over-indulgence of a certain food or experience. I have a hunch you have all heard this before, that if you really want a piece of cake, eat it, otherwise you’ll continue to crave it and then over-indulge when you do choose to eat it. Over-indulgence then can lead to having feelings of guilt, shame, sadness, bloating, negative body image, resentment, etc. If we start to limit/avoid foods such as desserts and label them as “bad”, that might also ask us to question eating certain food groups such as carbs, red meat, healthy fats, etc. These foods may have higher calories, but again, asking ourselves the question of what type of food is nourishing, at this moment in my life, rather than what food is “good” or “bad”? Did I just finish a hard workout? Am I celebrating a friend’s birthday? Am I trying to lose weight? Am I trying to heal a certain disease or condition? What are YOU trying to accomplish?

A new diet seems to appear every few months. How many have you tried? How many have worked? Did you listen to your body or did you follow a plan that was made for you and everyone else in the world? Did you restrict yourself and then over-indulgence a few days in? Did you complete the diet? If so, how did you feel? Were you focusing on weight loss or nourishing your body? Did you make any long-term behavior changes around food choices, exercise or well-being? Are you still following through? How do you eat now? Do you label your food as “good” or “bad”? Do you allow yourself treats? If so, what are they? Are you happy with your food choices overall? Do you feel well? Do you struggle with chronic health conditions or obesity?

Going back to the initial question, “What foods should I stay away from?” My answer – NONE. Restriction is not the answer. Let’s rephrase this question: “Which foods can I add to my meals on a daily basis that will nourish my body?” OR “What foods make me feel good, physically, mentally, emotionally?”  If we think about adding, versus subtracting, we’re setting ourselves up for long-term success. Rather than focusing on what you “can’t” eat, try focusing on your goals, your motivations, how your body feels when you eat certain foods, how much energy you have, how well you sleep, how well you’re able to manage your stress. These are the questions that will provide you with the answers you’re looking for. Yes, it might require a little more effort rather than following a list of forbidden “bad” foods and allowed “good” foods, but in the end, this will teach you how to listen to your body, how to eat in order to live a life feeling nourished and deciding for yourself, which foods bring you happiness and joy in the present and in the future.

“Good” vs “Bad” Foods- Shifting your Mindset from Restriction to Nourishment

I’d love to hear your thoughts and if this helped to shed some light on the notion of labeling foods as “good” or “bad.” If you’d like to learn more or discuss your individual goals, I’d love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below or email me at