From Stress to Success in the City: Tips for Establishing a Work-Life Balance

Establishing a work-life balance is important for living a healthy, stress-free life. Your career is just one part of your life. As young professionals, making strides towards balancing your work with other responsibilities and interests will help create healthy habits that will last through your future professional career.

When you let your work take over your life, the other parts suffer. Health, social life, family, community involvement, and personal interests are all components of your life that should not be neglected due to a crazy schedule or workload.

The path to stress free living.

Taking time to prioritize your work, home life, and free time will spare you from being “all work and no play.”

Haley’s 5 Tips for Establishing a Work-Life Balance

  1. Take a Day of Rest: Pick a day of the week (usually on the weekend) to rest. Do not plan anything or do any work. Making room for rest will leave you energized and de-stressed through the rest of the week.
  2. Establish Boundaries: Create space so your work does not constantly follow you. For some people this could mean leaving your work at the office. For others who may work at home, setting office hours that you strictly adhere to will give a clear end to your work.
  3. Learn How to (Gracefully) Say No: This goes for work and social life. For your office, hours and boundaries should clearly be set. Learning how to say no to the “extras” that co-workers or bosses are unnecessarily pushing on you will keep you from working additional hours. As for your social agenda, you don’t have to go to everything you are invited to attend. For those of you who suffer from FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) like me, your friends will not forget about you. Saying no to things gives you space and time so you stay stress free.
  4. Prioritize: Figure out what is important to you. Establishing goals and interests will help you navigate life and balance your time.
  5. Clear the Clutter in your Life: Literally and figuratively clean up your life. Keeping your home clean will keep you from feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Let go of friends or activities that are holding you back from reaching your full potential.  The longer you let clutter build up, the harder it is to manage.

Proactively planning and organizing your life is the key to a successful work-life balance. Carve out time during your week to check yourself and your plans. If you have trouble sticking to your goals and established boundaries, seek out an accountability partner--a friend or even professional who will check in on you and your balancing act.

Don't let your work load consume your time and leave you stressed. Enjoy putting time into your career but don't let it consume your day. Remember these tips to create a routine that balances your career with all other important aspects of your life.

HaleyFulford-TheWiseLatinaClubA food enthusiast and native Georgia Peach, Haley recently graduated from Appalachian State University with a Bachelors of Science in Sustainable Development. Currently working at the United States House of Representatives, she is passionate about the outdoors, improved access to quality education for all, public policy, and documenting “from stress to success in the city.” Click here to read more about and connect with Haley.

Edited by Viviana Hurtado, Ph.D.

How do you balance life and work?

From Stress To Success in the City: Ten Tips for Relieving Office Anxiety

Navigating a heavy workload and performance pressure in the office can take a toll on your mind and body. For National Employee Wellness Month, make a conscious effort to reduce your stress levels to support your overall well being. While working out and eating well outside the office is necessary, bringing health goals into the office is just as important for living a stress-free life.

Low or normal blood pressure, better sleep, less sick days from work, and a healthy body are all benefits of reducing stress levels in the workplace. Remember these ten tips to curb office anxiety.

Stressing in the office.

Haley's Top Ten Tips for Relieving Office Anxiety

  1. Consider a Standing Desk: Standing desks provide you with movement and subtle exercise throughout the day. Higher energy levels, increased core and leg strength, and increased concentration are all benefits of standing at your desk.
  2. Take Short Walks: Walking around frequently increases blood circulation throughout your body, giving you more energy. If you sit at your desk, this is a great chance to check your posture and exercise your body.
  3. Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water at work! Staying hydrated is important for performance inside and out of the office. The more hydrated you become the less sluggish you will feel. In return, you will be more productive.
  4. Keep a Healthy Diet: Eating healthy food helps you manage your weight and stress so that you do not turn to eating as a form of comfort in high anxiety situations.
  5. Rest your Eyes: Staring at computer screens and reading documents strains our eyes. Look away from the computer regularly to keep your eyes healthy and strong.
  6. Squeeze a Stress ball: Keeping a stress ball at your desk to squeeze on can help you release tension that you may otherwise store in your body.
  7. Invest in Essential Oils: Many types of essential oils help reduce stress. Keep a small bottle at your desk. You can apply the oils directly to the skin, smell them, or burn them (not advised because starting a fire in your office would be awkward and potentially cause you to have more anxiety).
  8. Keep a Plant at your Desk: Office space can often times be boring and monochromatic. Plants not only add color. They offer many benefits to an office space such as helping to reduce sickness, improve air quality, and calm your nerves.
  9. Counseling: If you are feeling extremely anxious and would like an objective third party to talk to about your crazy workload or M.I.A. coworker, consider counseling.
  10. Stay Involved Outside of Work: It is tempting to run straight to the couch after work, but finding interests to develop apart from work can reduce stress and just as important, create a work-life balance.

As professionals, we tend to let work become our entire lives which can lead to an overwhelming amount of anxiety. Taking steps to stay stress free in the office is imperative for your long-term and short-term health. For National Employee Wellness Month, adopt these tips to go from stress to success in the office. Don't forget to share with your co-workers!

HaleyFulford-TheWiseLatinaClubA food enthusiast and native Georgia Peach, Haley recently graduated from Appalachian State University with a Bachelors of Science in Sustainable Development. Currently working at the United States House of Representatives, she is passionate about the outdoors, improved access to quality education for all, public policy, and documenting “from stress to success in the city.” Click here to read more about and connect with Haley.

Edited by Viviana Hurtado, Ph.D.

How do you deal with office anxiety?

From Stress to Success in the City: Employee Fitness Outside of the Office

Establishing a workout routine and intentionally exercising outside can be a key to reducing stress from the workday grind. Physical activity, fresh air and sunshine contribute to your overall well-being. For National Employee Wellness Month, consider outdoor fitness to stay in shape and healthy after work hours to reap the benefits 9 to 5.

Physical activity is one component of overall health and well-being that shouldn’t be overlooked. It gives you energy, helps you focus, and can increase your work productivity. Exercising regularly helps you maintain a healthy weight while also reducing stress levels, lowering your blood pressure, and boosting your immune system. Taking your #sweatlife outside is not only great for your physical strength, but also your mental health. It's also easier during the spring and summer when towns and cities offer plenty of outdoor exercise options.

Stand Up Paddleboarding

Haley's 5 Ways for Employees to Stay Fit Outside

  1. Find Outdoor Fitness Classes: Many gyms, hotels, and hosting free outdoor fitness classes such as yoga and total body workouts. Most of these classes if taught in a studio are expensive. Grab a friend or colleague and go!
  2. Take it to the Water: Swimming, kayaking, rowing, and stand up paddleboarding (SUP) are all fun activities. You’ll get a lot of sunshine which provides much needed Vitamin D and arms that rival First Lady Michelle Obama's.
  3. Train for a Race: Races are always a great way to incorporate fitness as an outdoor activity. The training and races encourage you to get out of the gym and into fresh air. Whether you bike, run, mud run, or swim, find a training buddy and sign-up for your first race.
  4. Utilize Public Facilities: Public pools, tennis courts, golf courses, and running/biking trails are all of free resources and provide a great venue for exercise.
  5. Join a Recreational Team: Playing on a softball, kickball, soccer, or tennis team gives you fitness with a side of fun during the summer season. Intramural or recreational sports are (meant to be) lighthearted competition and time to enjoy with friends and family.

Fitness Money Saving Tips: Some outdoor activities during the summer can be costly. To save on summer adventures, check out websites like Groupon and Gilt City for deals and savings on fitness attire, equipmentand classes.

Summer Fitness Safety Tips: Remember to drink plenty of water and wear sunscreen when planning to exercise outside. Taking care of your skin and staying hydrated is just as important as the physical activity itself which you can read more about in Fitness: 5 Tips for a Safe Workout in Summer Heat

Group Fitness in the Park

During National Employee Wellness Month, establish a regular workout routine as an investment for your health now and for the future. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle means feeling more energetic at work and taking less sick-days. Get your sweat on with a few colleagues after work or during your lunch break knowing that healthy employees encourage happy offices.

HaleyFulford-TheWiseLatinaClubA food enthusiast and native Georgia Peach, Haley recently graduated from Appalachian State University with a Bachelors of Science in Sustainable Development. Currently working at the United States House of Representatives, she is passionate about the outdoors, improved access to quality education for all, public policy, and documenting “from stress to success in the city.” Click here to read more about and connect with Haley.

Edited by Viviana Hurtado, Ph.D.

How do you stay active outside?

From Stress to Success in the City: Biking Benefits During National Bike Month

Biking is a fun and cost effective way to get to work which is why many professionals are catching on. It is time to ditch the planes, trains, and automobiles (okay maybe not planes) and start riding your bike to work. I commute to work on my bike because I am looking to stay fit, save money, and be conscious of the environment. This National Bike Month, I am highlighting why I bike to work and choose “green” options, such as bike sharing, rather than driving or taking public transport.

Between 2000 and 2011, the number of people in the U.S. commuting by bike grew by more than 47%. Bike racks and lanes are popping up all across America to accommodate the growing number of bike commuters in cities. To encourage and support biking to work, The League of American Bicyclists established an annual Bike to Work Day which is how I'm getting to the office on May 16th for this year's Bike to Work Day.

National Bike Month

If you live in a city, you do not have to own a bike to reap the benefits of using one. Bike shares, which give people the option of renting a bike rather than buying one, are appearing in many cities across the country. My city, Washington, D.C., has seen great success with its bike share program, and up until the release of New York's, had the largest program in the nation. Other cities such as Atlanta, GA, Charlotte, NC, and Boulder, CO have launched similar programs.

When choosing alternative forms of transportation for your daily commute, consider the real, tangible benefits of biking.

 Haley's Benefits of Biking to Work

  1. Keeps You Fit: I like to call this indirect exercise. Much like a night of dancing or a game of two-hand touch football with friends, your health benefits from biking without spending time in the gym. Before your know it, people will mistake your legs for Heidi Klum’s, but you might not have to insure them like she does!
  2. Saves Money: Choosing to bike to work saves you money. Driving your car and using public transportation can be expensive, especially with gas prices continually rising. You can even calculate how much money you will save by choosing 2 wheels over 4.
  3. "Go Green”: In the age where people are becoming conscious of clean air and blue skies, biking to work takes one more air-polluting automobile off the street. Choosing to ride your bike is one small change in your routine that, combined with other riders, makes a huge impact on the health of people and the environment.

Even turtles move quickly on bikes.

City planners, interest groups, and policy makers have all heard the war cry from bikers for safety on the streets, and slowly are beginning to favor transportation policy that encourages biking and biking safely. Even the U.S. House of Representatives where I work has created a Bike Caucus to support the cause.

Biking in the city can be dangerous. Keep these tips in mind to stay safe:

Haley's Biking Safety Tips 

  • Always wear a helmet (yes I know safety can make for an unfortunate hair day)
  • Make sure you can be seen (this means flashing lights, neon spokes, or the fluorescent crossing guard vest)
  • Lock your bike up (including your front wheel which people really love to steal them)
  • Use your hand signals people! (Remember how mad it makes you when someone turns in front of you without using their blinker? People feel the same way when you’re driving like a maniac on your bike)
  • Get in a bike lane ASAP (City planners, step up your lane game!)

Commuting by bike is healthy for your lifestyle, your finances, and the environment. During National Bike Month, join many other professionals choosing to bike to work. Stay committed to your two-wheeled commute beyond this one day to continue reaping your biking benefits. 

HaleyFulford-TheWiseLatinaClubA food enthusiast and native Georgia Peach, Haley recently graduated from Appalachian State University with a Bachelors of Science in Sustainable Development. Currently interning at the United States House of Representatives, she is passionate about the outdoors, improved access to quality education for all, public policy, and documenting “from stress to success in the city.” Click here to read more about and connect with Haley.

Edited by Viviana Hurtado, Ph.D.

How do you get to work?

Dominican Independence Day Meatless Monday: Mangú Recipe

Heart disease is the leading cause of death of all Americans with Latinos being particularly at risk. ¿Por qué? Latinos have high rates of diabetes, high blood pressure, and excess weight. Fortunately, healthy eating can reduce your risk of heart disease. Many traditional Hispanic dishes are as healthy as they are delicioso. For the final week of American Heart Month and in celebration of Dominican Independence Day, serve a heart-healthy traditional Dominican breakfast dish, mangú.

The Dominican Republic celebrates its Independence Day on February 27, commemorating the end of the Dominican Independence War in 1844 which resulted in the nation's independence from neighboring Haiti. This day culminates a month of carnival celebrations complete with parades, costumes, and fiestas with friends and familia

My favorite way to honor culture is through good food. A Dominican amiga recommended I try her favorite dish from home, mangú. This dish is hearty yet simple--mashed green plantains topped with pickled onions. I immediately loved the complex sabor: tart onions balance the natural sweetness of the plátanos.

This receta is as nutritious as it is delicious. Main ingredient plantains are rich in potassium and vitamins A and C. Low in fat, calories, and cholesterol, this fruit is a smart choice which will help you maintain a healthy blood pressure.  Also, plantains are full of fiber which keeps you feeling full longer, making it easier to maintain a healthy weight.

Healthy Tips: Cook with olive oil instead of butter. If you crave more flavor, skip the salt and add a chopped jalapeño pepper into the plantain mash.

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Mangú Recipe

Ingredientes Mangú

  • 5 green plantains
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Onion Topping

  • 1 red onion
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Instrucciones

  1. Peel the plantains with a knife and cut into small pieces.
  2. Bring water to a boil and add the plantains. Cover and cook for 20 minutes.
  3. As plantains are cooking, peel and cut the onion into small rounds and place in a bowl and mix in vinegar and salt. Heat olive oil in a small skillet then add the onion vinegar mixture. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. When plantains are soft, turn off the stove and pour about 1 cup of the plantain water into a measuring cup. Strain the remaining water from the pot, then gradually pour the cup of water back onto the plantains while mashing with a potato masher until smooth.
  5. Serve mashed plantains with onions on top. Enjoy!

Meatless_Monday_Dominican_Independence_Day_Mangu_Recipe-TheWiseLatinaClub-NatalieFierro

Dominicans traditionally enjoy this breakfast dish with fried cheese and salami or bacon. I keep my meal vegan and serve mangú with sautéed spinach and whole-grain toast.

Craving more plantain dishes? Try the savory fried green plantain tostones recipe which I share in Meatless Monday: Colombian Independence Day Patacones with Hogao Sauce. My all-time favorite Hispanic dish is sweet fried ripe plantains which I share in Meatless Monday: Hispanic Heritage Month Plátanos Maduros Recipe.

Check out more Dominican recipes here and here.

We can impact our life-long health by making smart choices on a daily basis, starting with what we eat. This Meatless Monday, serve sabroso mangú to celebrate Dominican Independence and your commitment healthy living. It is easy to reduce your risk of heart disease when healthy recipes are this delicious!

¿Need Meatless Monday inspiration? Click here to read more of my recipes.

Natalie Wagner FierroA teacher by day, The Wise Latina Club’s Natalie Wagner Fierro is the co-founder of the Institute for Student Health. She equally loves food (cooking or dining in Washington’s restaurants) and burning calories by distance running, practicing yoga, and archery. Click here to read more about and connect with Natalie.

Edited by: Viviana Hurtado, Ph.D.

What are your favorite Dominican dishes?

Black History Month Meatless Monday: A Day of Healthy Foods

Health disparities still exist among racial and ethnic minorities despite our nation's strides in pursuit of equality such as the 1964 Civil Rights Act which integrated schools and prohibits discrimination in employment and public places. For example, African Americans are at a higher risk for heart disease--the number one cause of death in the United States. This Black History Month, I want to shine a spotlight on the health inequalities and the smart lifestyle choices which can reduce them.

 44% of African American men and 48% of African American women suffer from heart disease. African American men are at nearly twice the risk of having a first stroke and are 30% more likely to die from heart disease than non-Hispanic white men. Why? African Americans have the highest rates of heart disease risk factors including high blood pressure and obesity. Also, African Americans are 55 percent more likely than whites to be uninsured which can limit access to preventative screening and health education.

Fortunately, we can all reduce our health risks without even stepping foot into a doctor's office by healthy eating, regular exercise, and not smoking.

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The first step to healthy eating is knowing which foods are best for you. I share 5 healthy food tips in American Heart Month Meatless Monday: 5 Food Choices to Keep Your Heart Healthy, including eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and skipping sugary snacks and animal products.

Not sure where to fit in extra frutas and verduras? Try these healthy options for each meal of the day:

A Day of Heart-Healthy Foods

Meatless_Monday_Black_History_Month_Healthy_Day-TheWiseLatinaClub-NatalieFierro

Collective change begins with individual action. For Black History Month, honor the struggles and achievements of those who fought for racial equality by working to eliminate remaining inequities, including health disparities.

I teach my students about healthy eating so they have the tools and knowledge to make smart choices for themselves and their families, now and in the future. Increase your intake of healthy foods and reduce your risk of diet-related disease. But don't stop there--encourage your loved ones to do the same.

¿Need Meatless Monday inspiration? Click here to read more of my recipes.

Natalie Wagner FierroA teacher by day, The Wise Latina Club’s Natalie Wagner Fierro is the co-founder of the Institute for Student Health. She equally loves food (cooking or dining in Washington’s restaurants) and burning calories by distance running, practicing yoga, and archery. Click here to read more about and connect with Natalie.

Edited by: Viviana Hurtado, Ph.D.

What do you eat each day to protect your health?

Valentine's Day Meatless Monday: 3 Tips to Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Show your amor how much you care this Valentine's Day by making both of your health a priority and plan a healthy date for February 14th.

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3 Valentine's Day Tips for a Healthy Relationship

  1. Eat at home: Dishes served in restaurants tend to have more fat, calories, and sodium than home-cooked meals, which can lead to weight gain and increased risk of diet-related diseases. Eating in su casa allows you to choose healthy and fresh ingredients and control how your food is prepared. Whether you surprise your sweetheart with a special meal or spend time cooking together, make it feel like a night out with music, flowers, and candles. Linger at the table for sobremesa time talking and enjoying each other's company.
  2. Stay active: Ditch the typical dinner-and-a-movie date and choose an activity that keeps you moving such as mini-golf, bowling, or dancing as I recommend in Valentine’s Day Fitness: ¿Shall We Dance?. In addition to burning calories, shared activities are great for building memories and strengthening relationships. Extend this tradition beyond Valentine's Day and pursue a hobby together. My husband and I take a weekly salsa dance class and make a point to walk the dog walk together once a day.
  3. Skip the chocolates: Instead of sending sweets, give a meaningful gift that reminds your amor of time you spend together. My husband knows I am crazy about framed photos and handwritten notes. You will cut empty calories and show how thoughtful you are.

Meatless_Monday_Valentines_Day_Dance_Healthy-TheWiseLatinaClub-NatalieFierro

Eating healthy foods and staying active have many benefits beyond looking and feeling fabulous. You will also increase your energy level, reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, some forms of cancer, and even add years to your life.

Although we know how important healthy living is, it can be tough to regularly make smart choices when it is so tempting to grab a bag of chips instead of chopping fresh veggies or choose the couch over the gym.

How can you help your honey stay healthy? Make smart choices yourself.

Partners often adopt each other's health habits including activity level and go-to foods. In fact, spouses of people with type 2 diabetes are 26 per cent more likely to develop the disease. In addition to setting a healthy example, talk with your amor about why your individual health is important to your relationship. Evaluate whether you are making smart choices in your time together. And moving forward, resolve to make a plan to support each other.

Need help getting started? I've got you covered. Check out my Meatless Monday tips and recipes and fun fitness ideas.

Valentine's Day is a perfect time to reflect on the health of your relationship. Make smart choices today to have more time and energy with your loved ones for years to come.

¿Need Meatless Monday inspiration? Click here to read more of my recipes.

Natalie Wagner FierroA teacher by day, The Wise Latina Club’s Natalie Wagner Fierro is the co-founder of the Institute for Student Health. She equally loves food (cooking or dining in Washington’s restaurants) and burning calories by distance running, practicing yoga, and archery. Click here to read more about and connect with Natalie.

Edited by: Viviana Hurtado, Ph.D.

What healthy habits do you share with your sweetheart?

American Heart Month Meatless Monday: 5 Food Choices to Keep Your Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States. More than 1/2 of Latinas have three or more risk factors which include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, physical inactivity, obesity, and smoking. Fortunately, you have the power to prevent and curb risk factors and reduce the chance of a heart attack by 80%. February is American Heart Month, making now the perfect time to focus on your heart health.

The food you eat has a huge impact on your heart. Committing to a healthy diet will help you maintain a healthy weight and lower your cholesterol and blood pressure.

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Natalie's 5 Healthy Heart Diet Tips

  1. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables: The USDA recommends filling ½ your plate with frutas and verduras. Fresh produce is key to keeping your heart healthy. In addition to providing your body with necessary vitamins and minerals,  plant foods protect blood vessels by wiping out free radicals in the bloodstream. For a quick delicious dish with fruits and veggies, try the grapefruit and spinach salad I share in Cervical Cancer Awareness Month Meatless Monday: Grapefruit Spinach Salad Recipe, or my favorite snack green smoothies, which I recommend in Nutrition: ¡Go Green for your Health!
  2. Choose whole grains: Whole-grain foods are made with each part of the grain kernel (unlike multi-grain foods which use more than one type of grain) and are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants which can help lower your blood pressure, lower your cholesterol, and keep arteries clear. Look for whole-grain versions of breads and pastas and start your day with a hearty bowl of oatmeal.
  3. Reduce meat and dairy intake: Animal products can be high in fat and calories, whereas a vegetarian diet can lower cholesterol, blood sugars, and weight. Can’t give up meat entirely? Serve smaller portions or cut the carne from one meal a day or one day a week. Click here to read my Meatless Monday recipes.
  4. Skip the salt: Reducing your sodium intake can help lower your blood pressure. Skip the table salt and add sabor with flavorful herbs, lime, or spicy peppers. Choose fresh or frozen foods over canned and processed varieties which are often higher in sodium.
  5. Don’t overeat: Even healthy foods should be eaten in moderation to prevent weight gain. Review recommended portion sizes here, and check out simple ways to maintain a healthy weight in Healthy Weight Awareness Month Meatless Monday: 5 Tips to Make Healthy Eating a Habit.

In addition to healthy eating, adopt these healthy heart habits to lower your risk:

  • Keep your weight and stress levels low by getting regular physical activity.
  • Quit smoking today or don't even think about starting!
  • Schedule regular checkups to monitor cholesterol and blood pressure.
  • Always call 9-1-1 at any symptoms of a heart attack: shortness of breath, pressure or pain in the chest or upper abdomen, lightheadedness or fainting, upper back pressure, or extreme fatigue.

Nothing is as important as your health. Keep your heart strong by committing to healthy habits all year long.

¿Need Meatless Monday inspiration? Click here to read more of my recipes.

Natalie Wagner FierroA teacher by day, The Wise Latina Club’s Natalie Wagner Fierro is the co-founder of the Institute for Student Health. She equally loves food (cooking or dining in Washington’s restaurants) and burning calories by distance running, practicing yoga, and archery. Click here to read more about and connect with Natalie.

Edited by: Viviana Hurtado, Ph.D.

What healthy choices do you make regularly to protect your heart?

National Soup Month Meatless Monday: Vegetarian Pozole Recipe

When a snow storm shut me in last week, I warmed up with hot vegetarian pozole, a Mexican hominy stew. The timing couldn't have been more on cue since January is National Soup Month, making it the perfect time to experiment with healthy soup recipes.

Sopa is not only a great way to warm up in the winter. Soups can be a smart staple of a healthy diet. Soup can help you eat less by keeping you feeling full. A study by Pennsylvania State University revealed that people who ate soup before a meal consumed 20% less calories than those who did not. Plus, soups containing vegetables are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidants.

Pozole is one of my favorite Mexican dishes--the lime and chile give the broth a delicious sabor. Main ingredient hominy has been a staple food in Central America for hundreds of years and is made by soaking maize in a lime solution which causes the kernel to expand. I made the receta vegetarian by replacing the pork or beef traditionally found in this stew with potatoes, beans and squash. One bowl is all you need but it is so sabroso you will want a second!

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Natalie's Vegetarian Pozole Recipe

Ingredientes

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-4 dried Poblano chilis
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 zucchini squash, cut in 1-inch rounds
  • 1 medium potato, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 cups diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups cooked pinto beans
  • 2 15 oz cans hominy, drained and rinsed
  • juice of 2 limes

Instrucciones

  1. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add chopped onions, oregano, salt, and chiles and stir until onions and chiles are soft.
  2. Add vegetable stock followed by the lime juice. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for about ten minutes.
  3. Add hominy, zucchini and potato and cook until potatoes are almost soft.
  4. Add beans and tomatoes and let simmer an additional ten minutes.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

¡Qué rico! 

Natalie's Tips for Healthier Soups

The first step to healthy eating is knowing which foods are good for you. Armed with this knowledge, step two is making daily healthy choices to lower your risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and some forms of cancer. With a few more winter months ahead, stay warm and healthy with delicious and nutritious soups.

¿Need Meatless Monday inspiration? Click here to read more of my recipes.

Natalie Wagner FierroA teacher by day, The Wise Latina Club’s Natalie Wagner Fierro is the co-founder of the Institute for Student Health. She equally loves food (cooking or dining in Washington’s restaurants) and burning calories by distance running, practicing yoga, and archery. Click here to read more about and connect with Natalie.

Edited by: Viviana Hurtado, Ph.D.

What is your favorite healthy soup recipe?

Healthy Weight Awareness Month Meatless Monday: 5 Tips to Make Healthy Eating a Habit

69% of Americans are overweight and 35% are considered obese. This obesity crisis impacts the Hispanic community as well, with 39% of Latinos in the United States considered obese. Fortunately, we can control our weight with healthy eating and regular physical activity. This January, which is Healthy Weight Awareness Month, adopt healthy habits that will keep your body strong all year long.

Achieving a healthy weight is not about how you look, but ensuring that your body can function properly. Carrying excess weight puts strain on your heart, lungs, and joints, while maintaining a healthy weight can increase your mood and energy level and decrease your risk of diseases including heart disease, diabetes, and some forms of cancer.

¿So what is a healthy weight?

Your BMI, or Body Mass Index, determines the target weight for your height. A BMI of 19-24 is considered healthy, while individuals with a BMI of 25-29.9 are considered overweight (having more bodyweight than is healthy for your height), and those with a BMI of 30 or more are considered obese (having excess fat).

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Of course I'd love to maintain a healthy weight, but the diets I have tried never last.

Maintaining a healthy weight isn't achieved through fad diets or skipping meals, but by committing to a lifetime of healthy eating.

Easier said than done? Not with these simple habits:

5 Tips to Make Healthy Eating a Habit

  1. Identify healthy options: Knowing which foods are best for you is key to making healthy choices. Be aware of both what is on your plate and how it is prepared. Opt for a balanced meal with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and protein and avoid cream or cheese-based dishes. Choose baked and steamed options over fried foods and eat your fruits and veggies raw as often as possible. Brush up on good-for-you foods here.
  2. Surround yourself with (healthy) foods you love: It is easy to make a healthy choice when you have delicious good-for-you options readily available. I always have frutas for a smoothie in my kitchen. Identify 1-2 healthy dishes you love to eat at each meal and keep ingredients on hand.
  3. Make your own: Cooking meals yourself can help you cut calories and fat as fast food and restaurant entrees often have larger portion sizes and excess salt, sugar, and butter. Don't have time to cook every night? Me neither. Set aside a few hours on the weekend and make several large dishes you can freeze for later in the week.
  4. Everything in moderation: Even healthy foods can lead to weight gain when eaten in excess. Avoid overeating by drinking plenty of water, eating slowly, and stopping when you being to feel full. Check out this link to see portion sizes for adults.
  5. Cut back on animal products: Meat and dairy are often higher in fats and cholesterol than plant foods-- it's no wonder vegetarians are less likely to be obese than meat-eaters. If giving up meat all together isn't for you, try cutting the carne out of one meal each day or one day a week. Click here to read my Meatless Monday recipes.

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In addition to eating well, regular exercise is vital to keeping your body strong. Aim to get 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week and strength training twice a week. Click here for my fitness suggestions.

Any lifestyle change is easier when you focus on what you will gain rather than what you are giving up. Maintaining a healthy weight increases your chance of a long, healthy life. Make healthy eating a part of your routine this month to feel and look your best for years to come.

¿Need Meatless Monday inspiration? Click here to read more of my recipes.

Natalie Wagner FierroA teacher by day, The Wise Latina Club’s Natalie Wagner Fierro is the co-founder of the Institute for Student Health. She equally loves food (cooking or dining in Washington’s restaurants) and burning calories by distance running, practicing yoga, and archery. Click here to read more about and connect with Natalie.

Edited by: Viviana Hurtado, Ph.D.

What do you do to keep your body healthy?