7 Healthy Holiday Appetizers You Need to Make ASAP

healthy fruit and cheeses for Christmas

Healthy Holiday Appetizers To Lighten Up Your Holidays

Christmas may often become a time when our waistlines endure a little stretching, but with a bit of planning, intentionality, and these delicious and healthy holiday appetizers, you’ll be able to enjoy a happy, healthy holiday season.

When entertaining, or visiting those closest to you during this festive time, try to stay on track by following these helpful tips.

1. Ciao, Bruschetta

If you’re able to find some ripe, juicy tomatoes in the middle of winter, you’re well on your way to creating a delicious, nutritious holiday snack. Chop tomatoes, drizzle with heart-healthy olive oil, minced garlic, aromatic basil and serve over thinly sliced baguette rounds. Try opting for a whole-wheat baguette for added fibre, or spreading the toast round with goat cheese and drizzling with balsamic glaze for an extra flavour punch.

This healthy holiday appetizer will serve up a healthy dose of lycopene thanks to the tomatoes, and fill your belly with healthy vegetables, too.

2. Guacamole with Crudite

It’s no secret that avocados have really grown in popularity over the past few years, and for good reason. This green gem is loaded with potassium, healthy fats, and fibre, which will fill you up – the right way – so that you have less room to overindulge on sweets. Whip up a simple and easy batch of guacamole and serve in a beautiful bowl, with a side of freshly sliced vegetables to dip.

3. Lean and Mean Meatballs

Lighten up festive holiday meatballs by swapping out regular ground beef for it’s leaner counterparts; either chicken or turkey. Meatballs provide a good source of protein, and ensuring you use chicken or beef will reduce the amount of fat in each tasty treat. Try to sweeten the sauce using a reduced amount of sweetener, and opt for honey or maple syrup over white sugar.

4. Bacon-Wrapped Dates

Yes. We just said bacon. While these divine little indulgences may seem counterintuitive, dates are actually packed with fibre, among many other health benefits. Slice pitted dates down the middle, add a spoonful of goat cheese, then wrap each packet in one third of a slice of bacon. Secure with a toothpick, and bake on a cookie tray at 350 F until the dates have softened. These delicious treats incorporate whole foods and provide both fibre and a touch of protein from the goat cheese – much better than many alternatives.

5. Carrot Fries

Peel and slice carrots, season with cumin, salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Roast the sticks until tender and serve with a nutritious dip like tzaziki.

6. Buffalo Chicken Celery Boats

Simply pick up a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, pull chicken from bones, and toss with hot sauce in a bowl. Slice and trim celery sticks, fill with spicy chicken mix and drizzle with blue cheese dressing or crumbles of blue cheese.

7. Corn and Bean Salsa

Dice a few bell peppers and an avocado, and rinse and drain a can of black beans and corn and toss them together. Season with the juice of a lime, salt, and a spoonful of juice from a jar of banana peppers. Serve with baked tortilla chips for dipping.

Enjoy a ‘lightened up’ holiday spread this year by incorporating some of these delicious healthy holiday appetizer ideas today!

Taking care of your health is an important piece of enjoying a long, happy life. Ensuring you are covered with life insurance allows you to live worry-free that if anything were to happen, your loved ones will be covered financially.

Learn more about life insurance coverage, or speak with one of our experienced team members today about getting protected.

More Tips for a Healthy Lifestyle

5 Thoughtful Tips for a Stress Free Holiday Season

5 Harmful Habits You Need to Stop Today

5 Outstanding Tips for a Stress Free Holiday Season

Christmas, and the holiday season in general, can be a time of tremendous stress for many. Avoid the overwhelm by planning ahead and keeping these helpful tips for a stress free holiday season in mind.

1. Follow in Granny’s Footsteps

Remember the good old days when people, like Granny, paid with… cash?

Overspending is one of the holiday season’s major contributors in causing financial stress.

This year, leave your plastic at home and pay in cash.

If you’re married, start by sitting down with your partner or setting time aside alone to create a Christmas budget – and stick to it!

Get envelopes together with each person’s name on it, and fill the envelope with the right amount of cash. When it’s gone, the shopping spree ends.

By having a clear and concise plan for Christmas spending, and avoiding access to imaginary unlimited amounts of money available on credit cards, you’ll ease the financial stress inherent with uncontrolled spending.

2.  We’re Gonna Wrap Around The Clock Tonight

Bill Haley might have been on to something.

This year, instead of being consumed by the shopping frenzy, and then engulfed in a pile of last minute wrapping projects, take the time to wrap each gift you purchase as you purchase them.

By tucking into the storage box full of wrapping supplies early, you’ll also be able to purchase staples like clear tape or ribbons as you go instead of having those added to the already long list later on.

stress free holiday season

3. Eat The (Christmas) Frog

Any fan of self help books will be familiar with Brian Tracy’s famous phrase – eat the frog – which encourages the largest, toughest tasks to be tackled first.

The top-to-bottom list of cleaning tasks required to get your home in host-worthy condition can often become a major stressor when combined with all the other demands of the holiday season.

Tackle the deeper cleaning tasks like wiping down the baseboards or cleaning the inside of your oven as early on as possible, and don’t be afraid to enlist the help of your family!

4. Choose Empathy

It’s easy to let expectations run high around the holiday season and allowing this mindset to take root can often lead to disappointments and extra stress.

Hoping for the perfect gift from that special someone?

Praying Aunt Ethel won’t hit any nerves with awkward topics and intrusive questions at the dinner table?

It’s easy for extra family time around the holidays to become stressful but by choosing to approach any disappointments with empathy, you won’t only make for a more peaceful party but a less stressful experience for yourself.

Try to understand their point of view, circumstances or reasoning behind their actions and instead of scoffing at them and allowing yourself to become upset, choose to let it go.

5. A Card Counts

Getting caught up in trying to make everyone in your life feel considered and appreciated during the holiday season can become consuming.

Release the expectations that you may put on yourself of having to give a gift to everyone who matters in your life.

By writing a present purchasing list that includes everyone from the milk man to your dentist, you’re setting yourself, and your wallet, up for disaster.

Decide to write out a thoughtful and personalized card for individuals in your life that you’d like to include, and if you have the time, consider a batch of home baked Christmas cookies instead of a gift, to show you care.

Do you have any go-to tips that you follow around Christmas to create a stress free holiday season for you and your family? 

More Interesting Holiday Tips

The 3 Christmas Gifts You Really Ought To Insure

Stop Doing These 5 Things For a Healthier New Year

The Top Five Running Tips for Better Performance

Running is a great way to maintain a healthy body weight and lifestyle. We need to participate in cardiovascular activities in order to keep our heart strong and working correctly. Exercise has been shown to stave off many health risks and illnesses, so it is important that we try and exercise on a daily basis.

While many people find running and other cardio exercises difficult, especially if running is not your strong suit or you are a beginner, it can be fun and beneficial if you follow some crucial tips.

Here are five great tips to make running a breeze:

  1. Control your breathing
    Many people find running harder because of their breathing. When we breathe too fast and too hard, we tend to get that cramping feeling in our lower stomach. This is because our diaphragm is working overtime to try and compensate for how many breaths we are taking in a short period of time. Instead, try controlling your breathing using a counting technique or any other technique that works for you. Once you’re able to breathe at a normal, controlled pace, you’ll find that running is actually enjoyable.
  2. Drink a lot of water
    Staying hydrated is important for an enjoyable run. You should always try and drink a good amount of water one hour before you go running. This will allow the water to penetrate your muscles and tissues. When our muscles are dehydrated, they tend to cramp, making running a little difficult. Being properly hydrated ensures that all of our muscles are working and energized.
  3. Warm up first
    Before you start any run, you should first warm up. This does not mean you should stretch. Stretching before running can actually set you up for an injury. Instead, walk briskly for two minutes, and then gradually move into a jog. Once you’re warmed up you can start your run at your usual pace.
  4. Wear proper footwear
    Many people choose to run in whatever sneaker they happen to have lying around that they deem to be comfortable. However, having improper running shoes can actually lead to injury or discomfort, which is never good when you’re going for a long run. Go and get a sneaker that is properly fitted and is made for running. You’ll be glad you made the investment.
  5. Keep your chest high
    You should always run with your chest forward, as if it were being pulled by something. This is the proper form for running, as it does not promote the hunching of the shoulders, which will allow you breathe easier and protect the neck from any tension or stress.

If you’re looking to get into running, or are already a runner who is always looking to learn more tips, utilize the five tips above for a better performance. Or check out these other tips that can help you improve your running and keep you on the fast track to good health.

Call us today for health and insurance information.

Five things to Stop Doing in the New Year to get Healthier

Improving overall happiness can be achieved through several different ways. Taking the effort to change your lifestyle starts with the decision to make your life healthier. Nobody wants to be sick, since an illness is inconvenient and awful. It deprives you from going to work, school, or the ability to look after yourself or your family. Nobody wants that!

It is easy to make lifestyle changes that improve your mental and physical health. Follow these five things to stop doing in 2016 in order to get healthier and make the best choices about nutrition, hygiene, counseling, relationships, and family.

  1. Stop ignoring basic hygiene

Maintaining clean hygiene starts with simply washing your hands more frequently. Washing your hands is proven to prevent germs from spreading and causing illnesses. Make it a habit to wash your hands whenever you come inside from shopping/ dog walking/ taking transit, etc. and always wash up before you eat.

  1. Give up bad sleep habits

Staying up late takes a toll, especially as you get older. Rest is an essential part of any individual’s day and the key to a happier, healthier life. Feeling rested means your body is ready to fight crime – well, at the very least fight bacteria that may cause an illness. A good night’s sleep also helps you be more productive at work and less likely to snap at your partner over little irritants (which may cause you to sleep on the couch which will lead to a poor night’s sleep….). Being well rested has also been linked to weight loss and improved mental health.

  1. Stay Away from Negative Relationships

Improve or form new relationships in 2016 to for a happier mental state. Mental health management includes having a strong support system. Spend less time with those that influence you in a negative way or that are intent on their own needs at the expense of yours. Everyone has their “off” days, but when your friend or family member is a chronic complainer or mired in drama and it’s too much for you to handle, let them know you need some space to ensure the both of you can focus on maintaining more positive relationships.

  1. Stop Ignoring Nutrition

Nutrition starts with a balanced diet. Include fruits and vegetables in your diet, and change up what you eat. Select whole grains when shopping for breads, since whole grains boost your
energy. Making the change to cut out too much sodium from your diet can lower blood pressure. Refreshing the body with plenty of water helps you avoid dehydration. This is not new information – and you know it! However, you may have yet to ditch the chips and soda from your pantry and replace them tea and fruit. Spend 2016 shedding one unhealthy food each month and start trying new, healthier foods. You don’t have to fall in love with kale, but you may come to adore cabbage or passion fruit.

  1. Stop Avoiding Exercise

This is another thing you know you should be doing, but have yet to make it a habit. Start today. Go outside and go for a short walk. If it’s cold, walk inside a mall or shopping complex. Keep moving for five minutes. Tomorrow, do it again, but add a couple of minutes. Work your way up to 30 minutes of active walking. You’ll feel so good you’ll want to add some resistance training or maybe take up running. The trick is to find something active you like to do and get started, even if it’s just for a few minutes on those first weeks.

Make 2016 your best year yet by dropping five unhealthy habits and replacing them with things that will make your future years happier, more productive and active.

Call your Edmonton Life Insurance brokers, Sadler Insurance, for more information on a healthier 2016: 780-433-4426

10 Ways to Reduce Stress Now

No matter who you are or what you do, you feel the effects of stress. Stress affects our bodies and minds negatively, sometimes even manifesting in physical symptoms. There may be no way to avoid stress because it comes with living life, but there are ways to instantly reduce that physical and mental heaviness that you can practice every day to lighten up your mood.

  1. Reach out and touch someone: Physical contact is proven to help lower stress-causing hormones. Holding hands, hugging, and kissing are all great ways to relieve stress. Grab your loved one and hold on tight.
  2. Get Physical: Exercise is one of the best ways to relieve stress. Getting your blood flowing a your l breath going is a great way to clear your head. You don’t have to run or do heavy physical activity if that’s not your thing; yoga, walking and even cleaning the house can cure that stressful feeling.
  3. Just Breathe: We all breathe, but how many times a day (or week) do you sit and focus on deep, slow breathing? Research shows that just 2 minutes a day of deep breathing can lower your heart rate and blood pressure as well as reduce stress. Inhale through your nose and exhale deeply shutting out distractions.
  4. Slow Down: Life moves quickly and most of us are probably guilty of not being “present”. Try 5 minutes of being aware of what’s happening around you. Put the distractions away and just be in the moment of what’s happening around you – you’ll enjoy things more.
  5. Ditch the Junk: Eating healthfully is hard when you’re stressed – comfort food is extremely appealing. But filling up on fatty, greasy or sugar filled foods will actually raise your stress level (and most likely the number on the scale). Try keeping the stress snacks out of the house and reaching for fruits, veggies, lean protein or whole grains. Food high in Omega-3 fatty acids, like tuna, is proven to help reduce your stress hormones.
  6. Rock Out: When you’re feeling the pressure, listening to soothing music can help clear your mind… And so can rocking out to your favourite band. Crank it up, dance around or sing your heart out!  (This also counts towards your daily exercise!)
  7. Have a Chat: Sometimes you just need to talk it out. Give your best bud a call and unload your woes. It can be very therapeutic to just “get it off your chest” and talk about work, life or home stresses.
  8. LOL: Laughing out loud immediately decreases adrenaline and cortisol – two stress causing hormones in your body. Dig up your favourite comedy, pop some corn and let loose if you’ve got the time.
  9. Find Time to Relax: Even if it’s just for 5 minutes, doing something relaxing like laying down with a heat wrap or taking a hot bath can melt stress away in no time. If you’ve got a little more time and some extra cash kicking around, book yourself a monthly massage.
  10. Chew Gum: Chewing sugarless gum can relieve stress, it tastes good and it can help prevent cavities. Enough said.

Have questions? Contact one of our insurance brokers today.

Water Safety Tips

Every year around 140 children in Canada almost drown, and about 60 drown. Most of these incidents are preventable. The majority are in swimming pools but it is just as important to be cautious around every body of water you visit this summer. Here are 10 tips to keep your kids safe and to have a happy summer.

  1. Supervise your children always and closely when you around any body of water. Even dozing on blanket or reading a book can be dangerous if you have a child under the age of 5. Kids should not be allowed to be near water on their own. If a child does go missing, ALWAYS check the nearest body of water first.
  2. Educate your children on safety rules. Whether you are at a pool, in a hot tub, at the lake or near a pond, tell them what they need to know. For instance teaching them about currents and riptides would be prudent if you are near a lake or ocean.
  3. Tell them why they shouldn’t push, grab or jump on people. It is extremely hard to keep yourself afloat, let along ty and support another child.
  4. Never dive into a body of water – always jump feet first.
  5. Remove all inflatable toys and mattresses from the pool when small children are in it. They can not only get trapped underneath, but those toys also provide a sight barrier for parents.
  6. Teach your kids how to swim. Enrolling them in lessons is a very important step if they are around the water a lot.
  7. Take responsibility as the pool owner (if you are one):
    *Learn how to swim
    *Learn CPR
    *Fence off your pool
    *Install a locked cover on your pool or hot tub
    *Keep lifesaving devices beside the pool
    *Practice active supervision
    All of these are mandatory not only to save lives, but also to prevent any home insurance issues.
  8. Make life jackets mandatory for everyone if you are near or on a body of water.
  9. Stay within an arm’s length of children under the age of 8 years old in any body of water.
  10. Never rely on older children to supervise the younger ones.

Make your summer a happy one and practice water safety. For more safety tips, click here.

For information on water safety and your Edmonton home insurance, contact us today.

7 Helpful Health Tips for Desk Dwellers

Desk jobs can wreak havoc on your health. Let’s face it: sitting down for 8 hours a day at a computer doesn’t sound, look or feel healthy! But in this day and age some people just don’t have a choice. So what do you do to keep your mind and body sharp if you work a desk job? Here are some quick and easy tips to beat unhealthy work habits at the office:

  1. Buy a pedometer. It may sound old school but tracking your steps throughout the day will give you a great idea of whether or not you’re getting the exercise your body needs.
  2. Bike to work. In Alberta this may be a difficult task in the winter but when the ground is clear why not choose an alternative to driving?
  3. Take the stairs. Don’t just take the stairs to and from your office at the beginning and end of everyday – walk up and down during your break times. (Don’t forget to have a pair of office walking shoes at your disposal – no heels allowed!)
  4. Practice good posture. Slumping over your keyboard is a posture no-no! Sit up straight and tighten those core muscles.
  5. Drink water. All day, every day. Skip the coffee and pop – you’ll be surprised how much better your body and brain function when properly hydrated.
  6. Exercise during breaks. Going for a quick walk outside or doing a few push ups and squats will not only help your circulation, it will get your heart pumping.
  7. Plan ahead. Restaurants and fast food are tempting when you’re starved and sometimes lunches out are inevitable. But on most days your in the office bring a healthy bagged lunch. Spend 5 minutes the night before and make sure you also add a couple of healthy snacks like veggies and hummus for those munchy moments during the day.