I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council. I received a stipend to facilitate my purchase for my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.
Another new year is upon us, and with it comes a new set of resolutions that will hopefully stick longer than they did last year.
Among those who make New Year’s resolutions, it is major lifestyle changes that sit atop most lists — eating better, being more active, and seeing the number on the scale steadily decrease. Where most go wrong, however, is setting goals that revolve around the big picture, rather than the little things that can be done everyday in order to achieve that end result. By making little changes in your daily life, you are more likely to stick with your New Year’s resolution and see it through, ultimately becoming that healthier, more active version of yourself that you’ve long envisioned.
Eating right and maintaining an active lifestyle are very important to me, but they haven’t always been. Growing up, I came to affectionately refer to myself as the “fat kid” of the family. While I wasn’t obese, I was overweight, especially when compared to the rest of my family who have always been very thin. I was never made to feel badly about myself, though. My grandmother and aunt were always very dedicated to making sure that I had a positive body image as I grew into an adult, but about four years ago I was faced with the harsh reality that I was no longer just overweight, and I was anything but healthy.
Lying on a gurney in a hospital emergency room after suddenly fainting and hitting my head on a brick wall while out with my fiance one night, I was made painfully aware that my irregular blood sugar levels and then-200 pound body would in time making me yet another type 2 diabetes statistic if I didn’t drastically change the way I was living. So that’s what I did. I changed. I changed nearly everything about the way I was living my life. I began eating healthier, understanding the types of carbohydrates and sugars my body could easily process, and on a schedule that would keep me fueled and energized throughout the day; and for the first time in my life, I began really exercising.
Now 65 pounds lighter (and thinner than I have been since my freshman year of high school) and healthier than I have been possibly ever, I am more of a believer than ever in the little things. It is the little changes you make and the effort you put into yourself each and every single day that really adds up to a healthy, functioning body that you look good and feel even better in.
Sometimes the little changes you can make to achieve a healthier lifestyle are as small as a blueberry.
We all know that blueberries are delicious, but these little blue dynamos pack huge nutritional benefits. One serving of blueberries (one cup) is just 80 calories and contains 3.6 grams of fiber, as well as vitamin C, vitamin K, and manganese. Low in calories and high in vitamins and nutrients, blueberries are a simple way to help meet your nutritional needs.
Blueberries are convenient and versatile, whether you’re snacking on them by the handful, topping yogurt or cereal in the morning, adding them to salads in the afternoon, or enjoying them with ice cream at night. They are an effortless and delicious addition to so many different meals, regardless of the time of day or year. Blueberries are in season domestically until September and then imported from South America during the winter months, making them attainable year-round. And if you happen to live in a rural area like I do, it’s always a good idea to keep a bag of frozen blueberries on-hand, which I like to pop into the blender with a handful of kale and spinach for a healthy smoothie that doesn’t taste like kale or spinach.
Blueberries are pretty much expected in pancakes, muffins, and waffles, but it’s January and I live in Pennsylvania. As much as I love a hearty, comforting meal, I could really use a break from below-freezing temperatures and snow — even if it’s just a mental vacation I am taking.
So I got some beautiful, fresh blueberries and lemons to make a sweet quick bread that will satisfy any sweet tooth without the density of a dessert, and bursting with flavors that remind me of summer.
Sweet, blissful summer… I miss you. Please come back to me.
Aside from the blueberries and lemon which are a must, I added chopped walnuts and white chocolate chips, but you can add any mix-ins your palette desires.
I can’t get enough of it. I have been munching on this bread for breakfast, mid-day for a snack, and at the end of the night for a light dessert.
This is a really delicious bread, and I am so excited to share the recipe with you.
- 1/3 cup melted butter
- 1 cup white sugar
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (or more to taste)
- 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 8x4 inch loaf pan and set aside.
- Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
- In a stand mixer or large mixing bowl, beat or combine melted butter, sugar, lemon juice, and eggs.
- Combine flour mixture with egg mixture alternately with milk. Beat or mix until combined.
- Fold in blueberries and lemon zest, then walnuts and chocolate chips (or the mix-ins you've decided to use in their place.)
- Bake for 65-70 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
- Cool bread in pan for at least 10 minutes.
For even more recipes highlighting the delicious versatility of blueberries, from salads and dessert bars to pizza and even burgers, the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council has you covered with unique flavor pairings and serving suggestions.
U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council Little Changes Sweepstakes
From now until February 16, head on over to the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council Little Changes Sweepstakes to enter for a chance to win an unforgettable trip for two to Los Angeles, California for the Little Changes Kitchen Challenge alongside actress, author, and TV host Alison Sweeney.
Runners up have a chance to snag one of four $500 Whole Foods or lululemon gift cards for a refreshed pantry or new workout wardrobe to help you make the little daily changes for a healthier lifestyle. When you choose to make little changes, you could end up winning big!
The sweepstakes ends February 16, so head on over to the sweepstakes website and enter your name and email for a chance to win.
What are some of your favorite ways to incorporate blueberries in your diet? Have a favorite blueberry recipe to share? Leave it in the comments, we’d love to see it!