A Healthier Holiday Menu

A Healthier Holiday

Vanessa Lennick, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Licensed & Registered Dietitian

A healthier holiday article from a Registered Dietitian and you’re probably expecting a lot of “eat this, not that” advice. Or “here’s how to make your favorites healthier” type recipes… am I right?! Here’s the reality, Thanksgiving and Christmas are only a few days out of the year and instead of over-restricting, enjoy your favorite foods. Let’s be honest, mashed cauliflower does not taste as good as my mom’s mashed potatoes!

As a Registered Dietitian, if I could make-over your holiday meals it would be to simply add more vegetables. Don’t complicate it. Look for simple ways to add more vegetables. You will add quality to your meals that will actually fuel your body and even keep you from overeating. (It’s hard to overeat on broccoli!) Here are three recipes to do just that.


Roasted Beet and Carrot Salad

This Roasted Beet & Carrot Salad is not only pretty to look at, it’s also bursting with flavour and nutrients! The perfect salad for entertaining during the holidays! Serves: 4


  • A can of sliced beets or 2 medium beets, trimmed, peeled, quartered and sliced a ¼ inch thick
  • Bag of fresh pre cut carrot chips or 2 large carrots, sliced ¼ inch thick
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 medium shallots, peeled and quartered lengthwise
  • ¼ cup unsalted pumpkin seeds
  • Package of Pre Cut and clean kale or 6 cups chopped kale (stems removed and cut into smaller pieces)
  • ⅓ cup dried cranberries
  • Optional Add Ins:
  • 4 oz. goats cheese


  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine beets, carrots, 2 tbsp. of the olive oil and salt and pepper. Add carrots and beets to a baking sheet and roast in oven for 10 minutes.
  2. Remove from oven and toss the shallots and pumpkin seeds with the beets and carrots on the baking sheet. Roast for an additional 20-25 minutes or until the vegetables are just tender.
  3. Meanwhile, place the chopped kale in the same bowl where the beets and carrots were. Add remaining tablespoon of olive oil and massage into kale leaves with your hands until the leaves are bright green and tender, about 2-5 minutes.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the dressing.
  5. Remove vegetables from the oven and allow them to cool for 5 minutes. Add vegetable mixture to the bowl with the kale and toss with the dressing until well combined. Add the dried cranberries. Allow salad to sit for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavours to combine. Serve cold or at room temperature.


Spinach Cheese Balls


  • 1 frozen package of spinach (10 oz), thawed and thoroughly drained
  • 2 cups of shredded mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour or all-purpose flour (may need more depending on moistness of spinach)
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 2 teaspoon italian seasoning
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • fresh ground pepper
  • Marinara sauce for dipping


  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray or line with parchment paper.  (Don’t use wax paper 😉 that’s what I did accidently and the fire alarms were blasting)
  2. Mix all ingredients (except marinara dipping sauce) in a medium bowl. Shape into 1 inch balls. Place on baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Herbed Ricotta and Walnut Appetizer


  • 1 large sweet potatoes sliced into ¼-inch rounds
  • 1 tablespoon Grapeseed or olive oil
  • Ground cinnamon

Herbed Ricotta:

  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1-½ teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon honey
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt or to taste

For Serving:

  • 1 cup raw walnuts roasted pre-chopped
  • ¾ cup dried cranberries
  • honey


  1. Add all of the ingredients for the herbed ricotta to a small bowl and stir well to combine. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Add the sweet potato slices to a large mixing bowl and drizzle with grapeseed or olive oil. Sprinkle sea salt and ground cinnamon over rounds. Use your hands to rub the oil and seasoning on both sides of the sweet potato rounds. Arrange rounds on a large baking sheet (or two if necessary). Bake for 20 minutes. Flip the rounds, then bake for another 17 to 20 minutes, or until rounds are cooked through and crispy on the edges
  3. Spread walnuts on a baking sheet. 10 minutes before the potato rounds are finished cooking, place the walnuts in the oven to roast.
  4. Remove sweet potato rounds and walnuts from the oven. Place walnuts on a cutting board and chop.
  5. Place oven on high broil setting and move the oven wrack second to the top shelf. Place a dollop of herbed ricotta on each sweet potato round and place in the oven for 2 minutes, just until ricotta is melty and warm.
  6. Add chopped walnuts and dried cranberries to the rounds. Drizzle with honey and serve!

Make Time Before You’re Forced to Find Time

Coaching Food for Thought

Having now seen hundreds of people walk through our doors with the goal of getting healthier, losing weight, getting stronger, feeling better, having more energy (the list goes on and on), I can safely state this with 100% confidence: if you don’t MAKE the time for your health now, you will be forced to FIND the time later in life.

It’s easy to skip the yoga class or run you planned on taking when there’s work to be done or a house to be cleaned.

It’s easy to skip planning and prepping healthy meals for your family and hit up the drive night after night instead.

It’s easy to stay up late watching Netflix instead of prioritizing bedtime and hitting the hay.

But, here’s the rub – if you keep taking the easy way(s) out and don’t MAKE the time for your health NOW, I can confidently say you will, at some point, be FORCED to FIND the time down the road.

Don’t let a health scare or diagnosis be the wake-up call you need. Carve out the time you need now to start making deposits into your future healthy self today – the investment is worth it!

Wellness Coaching will help – together we will determine what the priorities are and why and then HOW you will carve out the time needed to make it happen.

Call 751-2974 or email me at email me to schedule a free coaching consult.

Lindsey Peterson
Certified Wellness Coach
Proximal50 Life Center

3 Tips for a Healthy School Year

It’s back-to-school time! Here are some tips from Callie, P50’s Registered Nurse, for a healthy school year!

Develop a Sleep Routine
Getting enough sleep is critical for a child to be successful in school. Children who do not get enough sleep have difficulty concentrating and learning as well as they can.

  • Set a consistent bedtime for your child and stick with it every night. Having a bedtime routine that is consistent will help your child settle down and fall asleep. Components of a calming pre-bedtime routine may involve a bath/shower, reading with them, and tucking them in and saying good-night to them.
  • Have your child turn off electronic devices well before bedtime.
  • Try to have the home as quiet and calm as possible when younger children are trying to fall asleep.

Insufficient sleep is associated with lower academic achievement in middle school, high school and college; as well as higher rates of absenteeism and tardiness. Here are your target for optimal amount of sleep:

  • Younger children need 10-12 hours of sleep per night
  • Elementary kids need 9-12 hours of sleep per night
  • Teenagers need 8-10 hours of sleep per night
  • Parents need 7-8 hours of sleep per night – you being rested is important too!


Wash Hands, Sing a Song

According to Mayo Clinic, the most effective way to avoid spreading or catching germs is hand washing.

To encourage kids and make sure they’ve spent enough time on this healthful task, ask them to sing the alphabet song or “Happy Birthday to You” from start to finish as they wash the fronts and backs of their hands and in-between fingers.

Simple soap and water is best, but hand sanitizers will do when soap and water aren’t available.

Remind your children to always cough or sneeze into the crooks of their elbows or into their sleeves.


Food is Fuel
Teach kids that fuel for playing and learning comes from the food they eat.

Fruits, vegetables, protein, complex carbohydrates are all important to growing bodies and expanding minds. Start with a healthy breakfast – yogurt & fruit , oatmeal. Keep the fridge stocked with fruits, vegetables, string cheese for after-school snacks.

We know dinner can be chaotic, but it can also be a great time to disconnect so you can reconnect as a family.

Callie Stein
Registered Nurse
Proximal50 Life Center

What IS a “Wellness Coach”, anyway?

What IS a “Wellness Coach,” anyway?

If you’ve been following Proximal50 for any duration of time, you likely know that what part of what sets us apart from any other “gym” is our list of professional services. Our list includes Physical Therapists, a Registered Nurse, a Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist, certified personal trainers, a licensed massage therapist…and a Wellcoaches(r) Certified Health and Wellness Coach (hereinafter referred to as “wellness coach”). What exactly IS that and how can she help you? 

Our clients come to us in search of better health – wanting to start an exercise program, wanting to make better food choices, wanting to treat chronic pain, wanting to better manage chronic illness, and overall just wanting to FEEL BETTER. The tricky thing is that it’s not necessarily that people don’t want to be healthy or innately know more or less what to do. Often they do know, but then will try the latest diet or intense exercise strategy as a quick fix. The problem is that these solutions don’t stick and people end up feeling frustrated, defeated, and alone.

You likely know our Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist is going to help you with what you eat. Our massage therapist is going to massage your muscles. Our personal trainers are going to take you through a workout. What does a wellness coach do? A wellness coach guides clients through the process of creating a vision for their health and well-being. A wellness coach helps a client develop a healthy mindset and helps with them work on actually implementing healthy habits (instead of just thinking about them). A wellness coach works to encourage and empower the client every step of the way, always from a judgement-free zone, to reach their personalized goals.

Simply put, our wellness coach has a different tool belt than our other professionals, she is specially trained to help clients CONSTRUCT a plan to reach their goals, equipped to dredge up emotion to make clients feel CONNECTED to their goals, and help BUILD the motivation to get them there. Coaching is about having an accountability partner who will support and encourage even when you feel ready to quit (ESPECIALLY when you feel ready to quit).

Are you wondering if YOU could benefit from some wellness coaching? Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you have trouble sticking to health-related goals?
  • Do you struggle to keep a calm and positive mindset?
  • Are you always low on energy and motivation?
  • Do you struggle with work-life balance?
  • Do you find it difficult to prioritize your health?
  • Do you rarely let yourself relax?
  • Do you want to make healthy changes to your lifestyle but you’re not sure where to start?

If you answered yes to any of these questions and are READY to make some changes, wellness coaching would be a great option for you. Contact Lindsey to schedule a free consult today! 

Lindsey Peterson
Certified Wellness Coach

Take a Better Bite: Healthy Grain Bowls

Healthy Grain Bowl = Grain + Green + Protein + Produce + Enhancement 


Pain. The Good. The Bad. What’s the Difference?

There is a sort of spectrum when it comes to how people interrupt pain: there are those that do not tolerate discomfort of any kind and then there are those that don’t think they are going to see progress until they work themselves into an injury. There is a fine line between these two groups and it is that sweet spot that we find strength, flexibility and endurance to tolerate all of our desired activities.

When working on flexibility and strength, we must push past our current level of strength and flexibility which leads to muscles burning from fatigue or muscles straining because of an increased stretch. This will likely cause some muscle soreness the following day showing that your muscles were challenged in a way that will encourage them to build. It is important when working on an exercise program to differentiate these types of discomfort from true and harmful pain.

On the other side, if you are repeatedly performing activities that cause sharp, shooting or pinching pain, you are inevitably going to hurt that muscle/joint leading to restricted motion all together. Too often, we meet with new physical therapy patients to learn that they continue to perform the exercises that hurt them simply because they think that is normal. We cannot say it enough: PAIN IS NOT NORMAL. When it is more than just discomfort, when it comes back again and again, when it just doesn’t go away – that’s the harmful type of pain. The good news is, we can help. Not only can physical therapy relieve pain but it can be help avoid pain in the future!

Call 751-2974 to schedule a consult with a P50 Physical Therapist

3 Ways to Find TIME for Fitness

As a Certified Wellness Coach and Exercise Physiologist, one of the biggest barriers I commonly hear with starting or sticking with an exercise plan is TIME. We live in a fast-paced, busy world and it can be daunting to think about how exercise can or will fit in with all your other obligations. Luckily, there is a 3-step process you can go through to make regular exercise a part of your reality.

1. FIND the Time
The first step is to map out your regular routine on a weekly planner or calendar, ideally one that is broken down into thirty-minute blocks. Begin by filling in your regular obligations – work (including any breaks!), sleep, recurring appointments or meetings, etc. Once you’ve filled in all of your regular obligations, look for the empty chunks of time. Notice where you may have an extra thirty minutes or an hour and look at these spaces as opportunities for fitness. This is the first step of finding time for fitness.

[Note: this could and should be done on a weekly basis so you can set yourself up for success. If you have a busier than normal schedule one week, you may realize you might not have time to get to the gym, but you might be more inclined to take a 20 minute walk around the block (and lose the “guilt” for not going to the gym because it wasn’t part of your plan!) On the flip side, your next week might not be as busy and you have more time to get to the gym. It really is all about balance, even when it comes to our time!]

2. MAKE the Time
Next, examine where the gaps in your schedule are and how these might align with some of the activities you are interested in. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to try Yoga, your work schedule is flexible and you notice your gym has a Wednesday Body Flow class over the lunch hour (hint, hint!). You might notice you have a gap every day when you get off work at 4:15 and before you pick the kids up at 5:30 that there’s a 30 minute HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) class you could hit up (pun intended) at 4:30pm (another hint hint!). Or, you might see you have time for a 15 minute walk with the kids a few nights per week. Once you have found some activities that interest you, and that would fit into your schedule, make the time for them.

3. TAKE the Time
Now that you’ve identified free time in your schedule and decided on the fun fitness activities you would like to fill it with, it’s time to commit to your plan. Treat each workout with the same priority that you would an appointment for something important. Just like you need to show up and be prepared for others, it is vital to show up for yourself. Do whatever you need to do in order to keep these important appointments with yourself, whether it is setting reminders on your phone, having a workout buddy, or a wellness coach or personal trainer to hold you accountable (hint hint!)

Remember to frequently reflect on WHY you’ve decided fitness should be a priority in your life (wellness coaching can help with that!) so that you are able to maintain your focus. Repeat this process as often as needed for continued success!


Lindsey Peterson is a Certified Wellness Coach at Proximal50 Life Center. Lindsey coaches her clients to create sustainable lifestyle changes and to help them improve their overall well‐being. She provides support for creating realistic goals and navigating the challenges & obstacles that often get in our way.

Mental Health Monday: Gut Health

#4Mind4Body Mental Health Month Challenge

Mental health is essential to everyone’s overall health and well-being, and mental illnesses are common and treatable. So much of what we do physically impacts us mentally –it’s important to pay attention to both your physical health and your mental health, which can help you achieve overall wellness and set you on a path to recovery.

This May is Mental Health Month; Proximal50 Life Center is raising awareness about the connection between physical health and mental health, through the theme Fitness #4Mind4Body. The campaign is meant to educate and inform individuals about how eating healthy foods, gut health, managing stress, exercising, and getting enough sleep can go a long way in making you healthy all around.

A healthy lifestyle can help to prevent the onset or worsening of mental health conditions like depression and anxiety, as well as heart disease, diabetes, obesity and other chronic health problems. It can also play a big role in helping people recover from these conditions.

Getting the appropriate amount of exercise can help control weight, improve mental health, and help you live longer and healthier. Recent research is also connecting your nutrition and gut health with your mental health. Sleep also plays a critical role in all aspects of our life and overall health. Getting a good night’s sleep is important to having enough physical and mental energy to take on daily responsibilities. And we all know that stress can have a huge impact on all aspects of our health, so it’s important to take time to focus on stress-reducing activities like meditation or yoga.

Proximal50 Life Center wants everyone to know that mental illnesses are real, and recovery is always the goal. Living a healthy lifestyle may not be easy, but by looking at your overall health every day – both physically and mentally – you can go a long way in ensuring that you focus on your Fitness #4Mind4Body. For more information, visit www.mentalhealthamerica.net/may.

Call 751-2974 or click here to schedule your free consult and learn how the team of health professionals of Proximal50 can help you.

One More Rep: Lunges!

Ahhh lunges… you either love ’em or hate ’em. But let’s face it, they are one helluva a good way to target your legs.

Three reasons you should be doing lunges in your strength routine:

  1. Lunges mimic several of our daily movement patterns from kneeling down to help a child or tie your shoe to simply walking. Building strength through lunges will help you move better (and safer) throughout your day.
  2. Lunges also train muscular imbalances. In a squat your stronger leg can dominate, but in a lunge you work one leg at a time forcing you to build strength independently in each leg.
  3. Lunges challenge your balance and stabilizing muscles (including your core) important for total strength and injury prevention.

Now this isn’t to say squats and other leg exercises aren’t important too – just make sure lunges are working their way into your training routine.

Below are some trainer tips to get one more rep for a better lunge!

  1. Step forward with toes pointing straight ahead
  2. Lengthen up tall through your spine
  3. Tighten core & lift your chest
  4. Knee over toes – keep the knee stable & minimize side-to-side movement
  5. Drive through your front heel, keeping your weight out of your front toes
  6. Start with body weight lunges to focus on technique