HealthStyle Holiday Meal Tips!

Ahhh the holidays….


The holidays are a time of gathering, showing gratitude, expressing love and spending time with those who are most important to you. For some, it is also a time of packing the plates full and indulging in fattening and not-so-healthy foods. For many, THAT is the highlight of their holiday. Then there comes the stuffed feelings, extra pounds, and zap in energy that they experience as a result of these heavy meals.


Many people want to know how to still enjoy their meals without sacrificing taste. In keeping with the mission of Tru HealthStyle, it’s time to give you some tips on ways to reduce the calories and fat.


Some tips and tricks:


  • Substitute low-sodium vegetable broth for chicken and beef broth in dishes


  • Use extra seasoning, herbs, and spices in dishes such as sage, garlic, thyme, cinnamon, nutmeg, curry, celery seed (or fresh celery) to give your food that extra flavor while cutting back on salt, butter, and other unhealthy fats. These herbs and spices are also wonderful for cold fall and winter days by working to naturally heat the body, which in turns keep you warm and burn calories.


  • Add healthier fiber rich food and textures to give your food more pizzazz and personality and help to give the feelings of being satisfied without stuffing yourself. For example add chopped nuts, greens, dried or fresh fruits, and other high fiber foods to your dishes. Fiber is very powerful for reducing the glycemic index after meals, increasing fecal size and weight, and promoting regular bowel movements.


  • Substitute heavy, syrupy drinks and sodas with freshly squeezed juices and other light drinks. For instance fresh ginger lemonade with agave as a sweetener makes a festive drink and may be prepared in place of these less healthier drinks.


  • Saute your vegetables lightly in olive oil or lightly steam them to retain more nutrients


  • Prepare smaller desserts or pre-cut dessert portions for your guests


  • Plan well in advance of the holidays for your healthy menu. Get together with everyone who is bringing a dish and discuss how to pull off a healthier meal this year.


  • Most of all, give thanks and gratitude. Give thanks for your health, your body that is carrying you through each and every day, and give thanks and gratitude for each day that is to come that will allow you to make healthier choices.


I may be reached for holiday meal and menu planning services. If you are in need of healthier dishes for the holiday, but have no recipes or no clue where to start, I will prepare a menu for you complete with holiday meal options, desserts, and drinks. I am also available for private small party chef/catering services for up to 50 people at this time through another service that I provide: Natural Flair Gourmet Food Services. You may inquire about these services by calling 510-356-3324 or email:

You can also purchase the Dynamic Holiday Recipe E-book at that contains cooked and raw pure vegetarian (vegan) recipes for the holidays.


In the meantime, here is a festive dish that can get you started!


Cranberry Wild Rice Salad

16 ounces precooked wild rice (can find at Trader Joe’s)

Or cook 3/4 cup dry rice according to package directions

1/3 cup dried cranberries

¼ cup chopped celery

¼ cup chopped red bell pepper

¼ cup seasoned rice vinegar

3 tablespoons olive oil

¼ cup toasted nuts (walnuts, pecans, or chopped almonds)


Directions: Mix all ingredients and chill. Makes 6 servings.




HealthStyle Bureau of Investigation Most Wanted: School Cafeteria Lunch Tray

HealthStyle Bureau of Investigation (H.B.I)

HBI’s Most Wanted: School Cafeteria Tray

Thinking back to my days as a school counselor, I recall lunchroom duty more times than should be allowed. It did however allow insight into what schools serve children. A lot of it is passed off as nutritious food, but is quite the opposite.

It would be nice if all parents and caretakers would just go sometime and observe the over-cooked, fat-drenched, sugar-loaded foods that some schools serve. Although some schools are moving in the right direction by providing healthier options, there is still MUCH more work to be done.

The HealthStyle Bureau of Investigation has decided to go undercover and investigate the typical lunchroom tray to find out exactly what is being served in some of these schools. What we found was alarming!

Remember those greasy pizza slices from back in the day? You know, the ones where the oil would just sit on top? Well we discovered they are STILL serving those along with greasy cheeseburgers, sodium-loaded hotdogs, macaroni and cheese, french fries, fruit and syrup cocktail cups, jello, overcooked veggies, sodas and pop for days, nutrient deficient iceberg lettuce,  and plenty of other foods that lack vitamins and nutrients. Now these are the suspects whose mug shots should be tacked up in the principal’s office.

Also do not forget the fact that many schools have snack sales and vending machines full of sodas, chips, cookies, and candy. Did you know that schools receive money for allowing vending machines to be placed in the schools? With the excessive talk of such a bad economy, why would any school turn down FREE money? Then on top of it, schools are spending so much money on other programs and the increased need for special education programs not to even mention funding that has been taken away from education– of all things. Very unfortunate. The problem is that the money is not really free. It is at the expense of children’s health, learning, and behavior in school to say the least.

Well, all of the blame cannot be placed on the school. It is time for parents to help out and take more responsibility to provide healthier alternatives.

If people are getting fatter and sicker, then are these same meals really working? Some additional quick stats that we also found in our investigation:

30-40% of children’s calories are eaten at school each day

80% of US schools cook fewer than half of their entrees from scratch (translates to an abundance of processed foods)

Twelve million youth between the ages of 2 and 19 years old are obese!

Well in keeping with the purpose of what we do here at Tru HealthStyle Concepts it of course the perfect opportunity to help you protect and serve your body and health by providing you with some “simple solutions for true health”.

Time to upgrade the KidStyle in the school lunchroom.

Suspect #1 – Cheeseburger:

The cheeseburger is by no means a first-offender to health crimes with its approximate 400 calories, 54 mg of cholesterol, 19 grams of fat and a rap sheet that includes high cholesterol, constipation, high blood pressure, clogged arteries, among many other health challenges.

Healthier option: Veggie burger with no cheese– has approximately 262 calories, no cholesterol, 5.8 grams of fiber, 15.9 grams of protein, and 0.7 grams of saturated fat

Suspect #2 Fruit cocktail cup:

This usual accomplice in the lunch tray crimes weighs in with a whopping 16  grams of sugar and 1 gram of fiber (barely) with a rap sheet that includes being a main culprit contributing to diabetes and hyperactivity in children.

Healthier option: A bowl of berries which provide fiber, a natural source of sugar, vitamin C, magnesium, folate, and potassium. All of these nutrients support the body and it’s immune/defense system

Suspect #3 One can of an orange soda/pop:

We saved the best one for last. Soda pop has been on the HBI’s Most Wanted list for decades! It has been difficult to apprehend this suspect due to the ever-changing names and identification. Beware: although not officially armed, it has chameleon type tendencies. Every time they change the concept to a “healthier sounding soda” it is more difficult to identify it as a criminal. It contains approximately 75 grams of sugar, no fiber, and 125 milligrams of sodium not to mention loads of high fructose corn syrup and the fact that it is a very acidic beverage. This ring leader of health crimes causes health challenges related to obesity and weight gain, liver problems, adrenal gland problems, and diabetes.

Healthier option: A fresh fruit smoothie which contains fiber, a natural source of sugar, and nutrients—varies by fruit used.

To further upgrade your KidStyle related to health, encourage children to exercise or engage in physical activity at home or in the community. A lot of younger people are living a much more sedentary HealthStyle these days, especially since some schools are phasing out the requirement for physical education and recess while the amount of video games and text message marathons are increasing. Engage in more family activities. One great activity is cooking healthy meals together. Also, discuss how certain foods make your children feel after eating them. You may be surprised at their reaction.

To give you a jump start, here is a simple smoothie recipe that can be enjoyed at breakfast, lunch, or anytime during the day to be honest. Feel free to substitute any ingredients based on preference, allergies, etc:
1/2 cup fresh pineapple
1/2 cup chopped fresh papaya
1/2 cup fresh raspberries
1/2 banana
Water and ice cubes depending on how think or thick you would like it.

Blend in a blender until smooth and enjoy!

This smoothie is so full of fiber, nutrients, and antioxidants! The pineapple and papaya are great for the skin and pineapple is great for reducing inflammation and breaking down mucous in the body. Also, if you double your pineapple amount, you can get almost 75% of the daily recommended amount of manganese (responsible for helping the body strengthen tissues and structures, helps improve memory, brain and nerve function). The papaya is great for keeping the skin, hair, and eyes healthy and glowing as well (great for the nails also). Then the raspberries are great for building the blood and the banana is full of potassium which helps with heart function, maintaining fluid balance in the cells, and stabilizing blood pressure.

For more healthy recipes and superior services be sure to check out

Hello world!

Hello World and welcome to the Tru HealthStyle Concepts blog. This is going to be an interesting and fun journey!

If you know me from my first entrepreneurial venture Dynamic Raw Food Creations, then you know I have a passion for health, including an important aspect–food. Well as many know, my interests go much further than that and I know part of my life’s work includes teaching, sharing, and helping others. Through divine guidance and assistance, I was led to start a new venture that would allow me to express and use more of my talents, knowledge, and skills to bring more to people to who need and require these things to live healthier lives.

Tru HealthStyle Concepts was developed as a way for me to help others prosper in the area of overall health without sacrificing style, passion, versatility, and excitement. After all, health is partly the result of a person’s style of life.  How does a person live life?

Most people think that living a more natural lifestyle has to be difficult, boring, restricting, and expensive. Well, I’m here to tell you that it does NOT. Like everything else, it just depends on how informed a person is and what they are willing to invest in. What is more important?

One main goal of Tru HealthStyle solutions is proving simple solutions for TRUE health. So, sit back enjoy the ride and subscribe to the posts as there will be regular themes to provide fun and creative solutions.

Also, be on the lookout for the new website very soon: There is much in store!

Peace, blessings, and health to you,

*Tena Burnett*