It’s time to kick off the second week of the Healthy New Year 6 Week Challenge that I’m hosting with my friend Liz of The Lemon Bowl. There are now 500 of you who have accepted the challenge formally, sharing ideas in our Facebook group. Come on over! It’s not too late to join. If you’re not here for the challenge, scroll down for the linguini recipe.
Last week we focused on hydration. And this week…
you knew it was coming…
…the challenge is exercise! If you don’t currently have an exercise routine, please don’t run away, screaming in terror. Liz and I aren’t going to suggest that you start training for a triathlon or work the elliptical until you drop. That’s not what this challenge is all about.
Move your body!
That could include walking, running, yoga, skiing, strength training, swimming, rock climbing…you get the picture. Try a few different things until you find one or more things that really spark your fire.
I call myself a runner, but that wasn’t always the case. In fact, I wrote about that in How I Started, 2 Blocks at a Time. It wasn’t pretty and there were a lot of days that were just plain hard and even discouraging. But I stuck with it and got to the point where I am now. Not only do I enjoy going out for a run and feel so much more energetic and content when I do, but I actually miss it when I decide to roll over and go back to sleep rather than lacing up my running shoes. If you are interested in starting a walk-run program, check out my post on How to: Train for a 5k Run.
If you’re already exercising regularly, what can you do the change things up to challenge your body? Maybe you could learn a new swimming stroke, try out that Pilates class at the gym or add some hill running into your routine. Making changes will help you reach the next level of fitness and keep things fresh and interesting.
A body that’s moving needs proper nutrition to keep it healthy and fueled. One of those components is protein. When you exercise, you actually break down some of your muscles, producing tiny tears. Eating a protein-rich snack or meal within one to two hours of exercising gives your body the necessary building blocks to repair itself.
My favorite protein-filled snacks and meals include hummus with veggies (have you tried Sabra’s new Lemon Twist hummus…seriously good!), hard-boiled eggs (be sure to check out Liz’s Hummus Deviled Eggs with Za’atar…yes, please!), and my Slow Cooker Hoisin Chicken and Fisherman’s Soup recipes.
We always have Sabra hummus in our fridge – everything from their classic (which I use in this recipe) to roasted red pepper flavors. I love to spread it on sandwiches and use it as a topping for fish, and was excited to discover that it makes an easy, healthy sauce for pasta when mixed with vegetable broth and a little rice vinegar. Don’t leave out the rice vinegar – it gives the dish a kick of acidity.
Be sure to check out Liz’s tips on exercise and Hummus Deviled Eggs with Za’atar!
Let’s get week two and the #HealthyNewYear exercise challenge started!
Hummus Linguini with Zucchini
This easy pasta dish has plenty of flavor and protein, and is a fantastic vegetarian meal.
- 13 oz. whole wheat linguini
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1/2 onion, thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 4 cups julienned zucchini
- 3/4 cup vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup Sabra hummus
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1/4 cup minced flat-leaf parsley
- 1/4 tsp salt, plus more to taste
- 1/4 tsp ground pepper, plus more to taste
- Cook the linguini according to package directions.
- Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet set over medium heat.
- Add the onion and cook until tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, and cook for 30 seconds.
- Add the zucchini and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Stir in the vegetable broth, hummus and rice vinegar, and cook until the hummus dissolves and the sauce is warm.
- Add the linguini, feta cheese, parsley, salt and pepper to sauce, and toss until the pasta is coated. Serve.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Sabra Dipping Co. All opinions are my own.