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6 Easy Ways to Reduce Daily Stress

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April is National Stress Awareness Month, but let’s face it—for some, stress is something that can be experienced all year round. Is stress entirely bad? No! The opposite actually. Some studies have found that people who experience moderate amounts of stress have better mental health than their non-stressed counterparts. However, too much stress can be seriously detrimental. WebMD cites cardiovascular disease, obesity and gastrointestinal complications, to name a few, as consequences of long-term stress.

Whether you experience lots of stress or hardly any at all, stress is a natural part of daily life. We’re sharing our top six simple ideas for managing and reducing your day-to-day tension.

Get Exercising!

Okay, okay. We may be bias but exercise has been clinically proven to reduce stress. Not only does exercise get your endorphins pumping, it improves your mood which, in turn, helps alleviate feelings of stress and strain.

Here are a few of our favorite workouts that will get your endorphins up and keep the stress levels down.

Get Your Sleep

The phrase “sleep it off” very well may have been coined for stressed-out folks. Why? Because a restful night of sleep restores your body by promoting better concentration, elevating your mood and encouraging more precise decision-making. It becomes a bit of a catch-22 when stress makes it difficult to sleep, but if the cycle can be broken—sleep will help equip you to take on the day feeling less anxious and more prepared for life’s curveballs.

Manage Your Time

There may be some big stressors in your life that can’t be helped but juggling too many things in too little time won’t help, either. By ensuring your time is spent meaningfully, you’ll feel less rushed or crunched in your daily life. Consider your stress reduced.

Make a List

Making a list—and checking it twice—won’t get rid of your stress, but it can help reduce your anxiety. By prioritizing and taking inventory of your achievements, you’ll reward yourself with the satisfaction of looming tasks now marked complete. When you’re feeling stressed, a list can help work through what needs your attention immediately and what can wait, giving you power over your to-do list and a sense of control when you’re spread a bit too thin.

Drink More Water

You may think this tip is a bit far-fetched, but the relationship between hydration and stress are no joke! When you stay hydrated, your body is able to keep cortisol levels low. Why does that matter? Cortisol is a stress hormone produced by your adrenal glands and keeping them in check is key to more relaxed well-being.

Cut Back on Caffeine

We hate to say it, but that extra cup of coffee may be doing your body more harm than good. If stress is creating problems in your life—it may be best to put the coffee down and pick up a glass of water instead. Caffeine can give you a much-needed boost to energize your stressful day, but beware—it can actually be causing you more stress. Caffeine increases cortisol in your system leading to a vicious stress-inducing cycle that a caffeine-cutback could help break.

What are your tried-and-true tips for dealing with stress? Let us know!

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Nutrition

The Best Healthy Summer Dishes to Please Any Crowd

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Whether you’re headed to a picnic, a pool party, or a barbeque, one thing is for sure – potluck season is in full swing! And while everyone loves a tray of bars or the midwest classic “snicker salad”, potlucks are a great place to try new, healthier recipes. Below are five options to shake up your summer potluck soirée!

Cucumber And Heirloom Tomato Salad

A refreshing alternative to the oily pasta salads or mayo filled cole slaw.

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

That cheesy barbeque staple everyone loves, with hidden veggies!

BBQ Black Bean Burgers

All the protein with more nutrients!

Deviled Eggs

A classic – with fewer calories.

Traditional Grilled Greek Kabobs

A colorful summer staple, that’s loaded with veggies!

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Nutrition

5 Smoothie Recipes to Keep Your Cool This Summer

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As summertime heats up, the need to cool down is more powerful than ever! We want you to be prepared, and the best way to beat the heat is a nutrient-packed smoothie that will help you cool off and keep you on track with your health and fitness goals. Whether you prefer a protein-heavy smoothie or like to load up on fruit, we’ve got a smoothie that will be perfect for you.

Check out the recipes, grab some frozen fruit and get blending! 

Matcha Mango Protein Smoothie

Pina Kale-Ada Smoothie

Double Chocolate Chunk Protein Shake

Smoothie Breakfast Bowl

Banana-Berry Green Smoothie

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Eating

Inexpensive 5-Ingredient BBQ Black Bean Burgers You Need to Try

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black bean burgerThis is a great recipe to keep on hand for when the pantry is bare and the grocery budget or shopping time is low. Each serving costs less than a buck to make—even less if you cook your own black beans from scratch—and it’s packed with nutrition. Sometimes eating healthy on a budget can be tricky, but this recipe makes it easy!

You might be tempted to fire up the food processor for this recipe, but trust me, you want to go manual for these burgers and mash up the black beans with a fork. The food processor takes black beans from, well…bean-like to mush in a matter of seconds. By just mashing your black beans roughly with a fork, you can easily control the texture of your burgers.

Also, when you’re browsing the aisles at the grocery store for barbecue sauce, make sure to read ingredients. There are some great options out there with recognizable ingredients, but there are also a few on the shelf that have artificial flavors, colors, and high fructose corn syrup. Skip those non-food versions and instead pick up a bottle that lists ingredients you recognize (or make your own if you have a rockin’ recipe!).

Top these gloriously healthy burgs with your favorite fixins and enjoy the beautiful weather. Happy patio season!

5-Ingredient BBQ Black Bean Burgers

Makes 3 large burgers

Ingredients

  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2/3 cups quick cooking oats (see notes)
  • Whole wheat burger buns and burger toppings, for serving

uncooked bean burger

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and set aside.
  2. In a medium-size mixing bowl, mash the black beans with a fork until you have a chunky paste (you’ll want to leave some of the bean chunks for texture).
  3. Add in the barbecue sauce, garlic powder, and onion powder. Stir until well-combined.
  4. Add in the oats, and stir until well-combined. You don’t want any lumps of oats.
  5. With wet hands, form the mixture into three even-sized patties. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, flip over, and then bake an additional 10 minutes or until the patties are slightly brown, beginning to crack on the edges, and feel solid.
  6. Serve immediately on whole grain buns with your favorite burger toppings.

Notes

Don’t have quick cooking oats on hand? Just take regular rolled/old fashioned oats and pulse them in a food processor until they are well-chopped, but not powdered.

Nutrition Per Burger

Does not include bun or toppings

250 calories, 2.8g fat, 46.6g carbs, 10.9g protein

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