Mindful Meal Planning: The Perfect Parfait

Creating a sustainable, healthy lifestyle involves mindfulness, and a little bit of creativity. Although people know that a healthy diet is essential to a longer, healthier life, we often find it difficult and time consuming to prepare healthier meals. With a little planning, preparing meals can be more pleasurable as well as more efficient if they are prepared ahead of time. If you think about the foods that are good fuel for your body, they are vibrantly colorful. Fresh ripe fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices are the colors of the rainbow. Gathering these ingredients for your meals is an adventure in itself.  Whether you are at the local grocery store, farmers market, your own garden or getting them delivered, acquiring the right produce is an exercise in mindfulness. Immerse yourself in the sensory delight of examining each one; take in the color, shape and size, feel for just the right amount of ripeness, and smell the heady aroma that indicates that your produce is at the peak of its flavor. You just can’t get that from grabbing a box out of the freezer case! Taking the time to prepare your own meals is a way to honor yourself and your body by properly nourishing it, which will give you more energy to go about your daily activities. Set aside some time on the weekends to plan your meals out. Put on some music and create healthy, nutritious meals that will keep you energized and productive throughout the day. Gather a few recipes, wash and cut up whole fruits and vegetables into ready to use sizes to save money and help get healthy, tasty meals on the table quicker. We often sabotage our intentions to eat healthily with our first meal of the day. People prefer quick on-the-go breakfasts to accompany our busy and hectic lives, so we don’t carve out enough time in our day to prepare a healthy breakfast. However, by spending a little bit of time on the weekends, you can prepare your breakfast for the week. Breakfast parfaits are a quick and healthy breakfast that you can enjoy. Every morning, you can have a beautifully prepared, healthy breakfast ready so that you can take the time to breathe, savor and enjoy the start of YOUR day knowing that you will be well fueled until lunch time.
Screen Shot 2015-07-03 at 12.34.32 PM Yogurt parfait with peaches and pecans, chia pudding parfait with mixed fruit salad, overnight oats and chia seed pudding parfait with fresh raspberries, almonds and raspberry jam Breakfast Parfaits (raw, vegan, gluten free, dairy-free) Overnight oat or chia seed pudding 1 cup steel cut oats or chia seeds 2 tablespoons flax seeds (optional) 2 cups almond, coconut or other milk 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Put all the ingredients in a container and mix well.  Let sit in the refrigerator overnight.  Stir before serving.  You can serve this in a bowl with your favorite toppings or make a batch of parfaits so you can grab and go. To make the parfaits: Gather 4 to 5, 8-12 oz canning jars or single serving size lidded storage containers, your pre-made overnight pudding or yogurt and some fresh or dried fruit cut into bite sized pieces and any favorite toppings like nuts, seeds, cacao nibs, shredded coconut or granola. For each serving, layer about ¾ cup overnight pudding with fruit and other toppings into each jar or container.  Close tightly with a lid and store in the refrigerator until ready to eat.  These will keep about 1 week in the refrigerator. This is a chance to let your culinary creativity loose.  Some combinations to get your started: Maple banana walnut:  overnight pudding or yogurt, sliced bananas sprinkled with cinnamon, chopped walnuts and a drizzle of maple syrup Chocolate strawberry:  layer overnight pudding or yogurt, sliced strawberries, cacao nibs, chopped pecans and a drizzle of agave nectar Tropical sunrise:  layer overnight pudding or yogurt, cubed mango or pineapple, unsweetened coconut flakes, almonds and a drizzle of agave nectar
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Overnight oat pudding topped with mango, raspberries and granola

Melinda Parkhurst

Melinda Parkhurst is a creative lifestyle blogger, tribal fusion dancer, mixed media artist, photographer and a certified Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Educator. She revels in all things creative while trying to be kind to the earth. At any time, you can find her dabbling in all manners of creative endeavors, digging in the dirt, or stirring a pot on the stove. She has performed in festivals all along the East Coast and can be seen in the Miles Copeland documentary, American Bellydancer. Her artwork has been feature at the Annemarie Sculpture Garden and Arts Center, the Popcorn Gallery at Glen Echo Park and in the Smithsonian Associates Art Studio catalog. Beginning in the Spring, she will be obtaining her M.A. in Transpersonal Psychology with a specialization in Creativity at Atlantic University. Follow her adventures and be inspired to create a rich, fulfilling lifestyle of your own at http://resourcefulcookie.com


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