Monday Motivational Meal - Overnight Vegetarian Lasagna

Monday, May 27, 2019

Overnight Vegetarian Lasagna

Looking for a healthy, easy, make-ahead meal for your family? Here is a recipe that kids and dads can make too! This Overnight Vegetable Lasagna, from Cooking Light, is ideal for families with busy schedules and for days when it makes sense to prep a day ahead! This low calorie, low carb, easy-to-make family favorite is served up on Halsa!

Try this recipe here.


Guest Blog: A Sustainable Summer & Vacation Mindset

Sustainable Summer

Summer can be a great time for sharing with friends, family, and taking some time to relax and vacation. It can be a time to reconnect, rejuvenate, and revitalize. How can we make this relevant for the bariatric mindset in the summertime?

This is the time of year when there is a great opportunity for eating healthy. However, there are many who fall into the old habit of eating off track during vacations making it a 'free-for-all' leaving them discouraged upon returning. This can cause individuals to experience a push-pull with vacation times. It can also be a signal of emotional eating.

While there are many factors for creating lasting lifestyle change, among them are: fostering a healthy eating mindset, mastering one's mood and mental health, food choices, and motivation, all can help.

Being on vacation should be fun and relaxing. Keeping with your eating protocols or eating program is also essential for staying on track in the long-term.

Of course there is always room for allowances and splurges but if the entire vacation is a splurge, returning to a strict plan can cause people to fall back into the diet mentality.

The reason this is not preferred is because it causes a cycle of deprivation followed by out of control behavior. Having consistent behaviors even while on vacation can help individuals feel more in control no matter the situation. It can also help to sustain a healthy weight.

Creating a vacation mindset to include healthy eating patterns can help you prevent weight gain while away. Additionally, the purpose isn't just staving off weight; it's also to help prevent feeling deprived and enjoying yourself while away.

If you see vacation as a place to eat off track, it could be that this is part of the old pattern. Lifestyle change is about creating patterns of eating for the rest of your life, not for a short period of time. Similarly, you can enjoy your vacation eats and have a good time. Eating on vacation can be balanced, fulfilling, and enjoyable.

It's about shifting your mindset around how you see food during this time that helps you to stay on track.

Here are some of my top tips for sustaining lifestyle change when on vacation: 

1. Focus on Protein and Veggies (healthy carbs).
You may or may not know that proteins are the building blocks of muscle mass as they provide your body with essential amino acids. Vegetables also help your body maintain nutrition. Prioritizing these foods can help you stay fuller longer and on track without even realizing it. Also, heavier foods like dips/chips, and fried foods can make you feel tired and run down in the heat. Opt for fresher options if possible like salads, fresh fruits, and fresh veggies with veggie dips to help you feel good in your body.

2Plan ahead for splurges and allowances to prevent a food free-for-all. 
Yes, you can enjoy splurges on vacation, but if you eat half a cheesecake every night, you'll eventually feel like crap and gain weight. So instead of avoiding these types of foods altogether, it's important that you plan ahead and choose which of these is most important to you.

Eating anything and everything will leave you feeling heavy and potentially regretful. Planning ahead and thinking about what is MOST important regarding splurges and allowances will help you make better choices and avoid regretful decisions. Using decision making skills to have some foods and not others will also help you to feel more accountable to yourself, and build self-trust when you are putting your conscious brain in control rather than letting the 'free-for-all' just happen.

3Only eat until satiated and avoid snacking when not physically hungry. 
When on vacation, it's normal for there to be tons of food around, especially if you're on a cruise or a place where they provide buffet meals. Just because they have a buffet or tons of food does not mean you have to eat it. 

Eat until satiated and seek out these cues in your body. Eating until overstuffed can leave you feeling physically uncomfortable and unwell. Tune into your body for hunger cues and fullness cues. Again, this will help you feel better about yourself in the long run. You want to eat when you're hungry, not eat just for the sake of eating or because you are bored, etc. If you recognize that you are an emotional eater, you may need additional tools or skills to help you work through that. Seeking out counseling is a good option for that. Being conscious about eating when hungry and avoiding eating when you are not will also help you recognize hunger cues better, and will help you feel more in control.

A Sustainable Summer & Vacation Mindset

4. Prioritize activity and move your body. 
Continuing with movement while on vacation will help you to feel even better. Moving your body and working out isn't just for weight loss. It's also a great mood booster and mood regulator. Endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin are neurotransmitters that are released when you move your body. They are helpful in mood regulation and making you feel better. There are other physical benefits as well that help with stress release, blood pressure regulation, and overall heart health. Continuing to move your body while on vacation is a great benefit to lasting lifestyle change. Movement is great for boosting your brainpower and making you feel better. Feeling like you're in a funk? Get moving! This helps you shift how you're feeling faster than anything else. 

Whether you decide to visit the fitness center, take a walk on the beach, or opt for kayaking, playing outdoor volleyball, throwing some balls around on the tennis court, or a rock-climbing adventure, make sure that you're having fun and enjoying yourself. Moving your body can be fun.

5. Make sure you stay hydrated. 
Water is your friend. Staying hydrated on vacation is essential. Many opt for alcoholic beverages more while on vacation and these can cause dehydration.Therefore, having more water while on vacation will ensure that your body stays hydrated while you're on vacation.

Water helps your body flush toxins. Also, having water can help you maintain your weight loss because some foods laden with sodium can also cause your body to retain water. When you are drinking water regularly, you're helping your body push out the toxins, balance your fluid intake and process any excess sodium intake while on vacation.

Also, if you are having fun in the sun, this can cause dehydration as well. Making sure you're drinking enough water is essential for healthy body functions overall.

Drink lots of water in the summer

Vacation is a time to relax, refresh, and rejuvenate so keep these tips in mind to ensure your holiday is everything you hoped it would be. Also, use these tips to help you keep the weight off for the long-term because lasting lifestyle change goes beyond the day-to-day. Using tools while on vacation will help you feel successful no matter where you go or what you do.

Kristin Moussa
Kristin Lloyd-Moussa, LPC/LMHC, PhD Candidate is the Founder of Bariatric Mindset. Kristin Lloyd, LPC/LMHC is a psychotherapist and gastric sleeve patient committed to helping individuals conquer the mental, emotional, and behavioral aspects of adjusting to life after weight loss surgery. Through transformative workshops, group programs, online courses and books/workbooks, Bariatric Mindset guides people to overcome emotional eating, and other life stressors through ‘mindset shifts’, helping people achieve their best life following weight loss surgery. We believe that weight loss surgery is a tool and teaching people how to cultivate their ‘bariatric success mindset’ is the key to long-term success.

Cooking Light With Livliga: Tasty Meatless Lasagna

Friday, May 17, 2019

Overnight Vegetable Lasagna—Low Carb, Easy and Delish! 

Cooking Light Overnight Lasagna

As so many people are looking to add more vegetarian meals to their weekly diet, this recipe from my favorite Cooking Light cookbook, Low-fat Low-Calorie, is a great one to add to the repertoire. It is my go-to vegetarian meal when I need to plan ahead. It is truly an overnight recipe that you can make a day ahead and then bake at your convenience.

This recipe was the first vegetarian meal I prepared for my young family and that they liked. In fact, years later, our kids still request and enjoy this lasagna. It is the only lasagna I make!

What is amazing about this lasagna, in addition to being vegetarian, using lots of zucchini (really!?!), and is easy to make, is that its generous servings have only 35.7 carbs! To be considered low carb a recipe has to have less than 43 carbs in it. For a lasagna that uses real pasta noodles and also provides nice-sized servings, this is a dream come true!


  • 1 (14 ½-ounce) can stewed tomatoes, undrained, cut into smaller pieces if desired
  • 1 ½ cups fat-free, no-salt-added pasta sauce
  • 2 cups nonfat cottage cheese
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
  • 9 lasagna noodles, uncooked
  • 12 ounces fresh zucchini, trimmed and shredded (about 3 medium)
  • 6 (1-ounce) slices provolone cheese, cut into thin strips
  • Vegetable cooking spray


  1. Combine tomatoes and pasta sauce in a small bowl; stir well, and set aside. 
  2. Combine cottage cheese, Parmesan cheese, and pepper in a small bowl; stir well, and set aside.
  3. Spoon one-third tomato mixture into bottom of a 13 x 9 x 2 -inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Place 3 uncooked lasagna noodles over tomato mixture; top with one-third zucchini. Spoon one-third cottage cheese mixture evenly over zucchini; top with 2 slices provolone cheese. Repeat layers twice with remaining tomato mixture, noodles, zucchini, cheese mixture, and provolone slices. 
  4. Cover and refrigerate casserole overnight or for at least 8 hours until you are ready to bake.
  5. Bake at 350°, still covered, for 45 minutes. Uncover, and bake 15 additional minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Make-it-a-Meal Tip: We completed the meal  with a simple tossed green salad with 2 tablespoons of lite balsamic vinaigrette for 60 calories and a slice of grilled garlic bread for 112 calories. The total calories for the meal are 480. It is a delicious and satisfying meal all members of the family enjoy.

Nutritional Information

Serves: 8. Calories: 308. Calories from fat 25%; Fat 8.5g; Saturated fat 5.1g; Mono fat 0.0g; Poly fat 0.0g; Protein 22.4g; Carbohydrate 35.7g; Fiber 2.3g; Cholesterol 23mg; Iron 0.0mg; Sodium 783mg; Calcium 0.0mg


How to Start a Healthy Lifestyle

Friday, May 10, 2019

There are so many parts and ebb and flows to living a healthy lifestyle. First things first, though, you have to get started. This can be a hard step. We like the way things are and we know how to stay the same…it is our comfort zone. We have to want to change. And change cannot be wished for or created in a place that is our comfort zone of sameness. We have to shake things up, do things differently, and unseat the destructive, unhealthy sameness that has caused us to need and want to change.

Making changes does not mean you have to upend your life, quit your job, move to a different city, walk away from family, or start over again. Sometimes those dramatic moments are when we do make big life altering changes but it is not the norm. For most of us it is about doing some things differently and adding new health-minded activities to the way we go about living our lives.

It is about figuring out how to be in control of our food environment and more in charge of our lives.  It is hard for a lot of us, but when it comes to our health, we need to be the first priority. What do you think needs to change first in your life to help you get started on the road to more health and happiness?

Some ideas:
Eat less
Eat healthier
Sleep more
Eliminate some stress
Drink more water
Drink less alcohol
Find time for fun
Work less

All these ideas can contribute to living a healthy lifestyle. All are possible to achieve. They hold different levels of priority for each of us depending on our own lives. Hands down, however, eating healthy can contribute to your success in all other priorities. If we can get a handle on what we eat and how much we eat we can improve the quality of our overall lives profoundly. 

Creating a healthy food environment in your home can make a world of difference for you and the ones you love. Start by replacing packaged food with fresh, whole foods. Buy oranges or bananas or grapes, whatever is cheapest and in season and make it available on your kitchen table. New to cooking or planning meals? Scan the internet and foodie blogs, like Live Vibrant, Bariatric Foodie and Diabetic Foodie to find recipes and make-it-a-meal ideas. Start with planning a few meals a week and build up to a weeks worth of menus. Find a way to be mindful of portions from the recipes you choose to the way you serve up (Livliga can really help in this area!). 

Start with a few easy changes, commit to them, and then add on additional changes that are on your priority list. Before you know it, or even realize it, you are living a happier and healthier life. Remember, you can be in control and you are in charge of living life as your healthiest you!

Get your FREE  Get Started Guide!

Join in Our Healthy Mother's Day Giveaway!

Sunday, May 5, 2019
This week we are celebrating our moms with a healthy indulgence! For anyone who has a mom, wished they were a mom, enjoys being a mom or who loves someone who is a mom, Livliga wants to celebrate you and all moms with a Healthy Mother’s Day Giveaway.

What can you win?! Up for grabs is a Set of 4 Celebrate Mugs, Box of Chamomile Lavender Tea, Relaxing Lavender Spa Bath Salts; Celebrate Bistro Towels (Set of 2), AND a Livliga 25% discount certificate for a future purchase!

All you have to do is like Livliga's Facebook page and add a comment below the Giveaway Post that includes entering and linking one or many of your Facebook friend’s name(s) OR share the post to your timeline/page. It is that easy!

We are accepting entries May 5 – 12.  

The Winner will be announced on Mother’s Day!— Sunday, May 12 at 5PM MST

Go to our Facebook Page  to enter the giveaway!

With Mother's Day almost here, enjoy some inspiration from Livliga for this special time to pamper our mom's! Kids of all ages, here is a great recipe for that person in your life for whom you want to show extra appreciation. We have a delicious recipe on our blog that features breakfast in bed served up on Livliga's exquisite Celebrate dinnerware. It's simple, fresh and tasty!

Check out this delicious  recipe on our blog!

And don't forget to join in the fun of the Mother's Day Giveaway to top off this mom's day of indulgence with a gift just for her!