Featured in this article:
Name: Maggie Michalczyk
Location: Chicago, IL
Occupation: Registered Dietitian
Why we love Maggie: When we first met Maggie, we thought we had died and gone to pumpkin heaven. It’s rare that we find anyone more championing of superfoods than us, but Maggie comes close! With a dietitian background and a love for all things pumpkin, Maggie creates dreamy recipes full of pumpkin and pumpkin seeds on her blog and her Instagram, @onceuponapumpkin (all the photos in this blog are from her!). Through October, Maggie will be talking all things pumpkin with Health Warrior and sharing some brand new recipes and snack hacks on our blog!
What is your health story?
I became interested in health and nutrition during high school. It was then when I started noticing what I was putting into my body and how it made me feel. I also worked at a fitness center at the time, so the combination of finding enjoyment in making healthy meals at home and for my school lunches, and getting into fitness made me realize it was something I wanted to learn more about and share with other people!
We know you’re a pumpkin-lover! How did that come to be? Why pumpkins?
The short answer? Pumpkins make people happy! And nothing makes me happier then when I show people a new way to use pumpkin or pumpkin seeds. Of course, I’ve always liked fall, and when the pumpkin craze really began to take off about two years ago I made it my mission to be the pumpkin dietitian! Spiced, shaped, seasoned or flavored, if there’s a pumpkin flavor I will find it and make a healthier version in my kitchen!
What is your favorite Health Warrior Bar?
All of the Pumpkin Seed Bars, of course! I’m not sure I can pick a favorite out of those three! Honey Cracked Pepper with Turmeric has such a unique taste, which I definitely crave!
When do you find yourself reaching for one?
Definitely when I’m on-the-go or after a workout! The simple, all natural ingredients are perfect for a snack between meals. I reach for one after a workout too because they are full of magnesium, which your muscles need to replenish and relax after a workout—add that to the 8 grams of protein, and it’s perfect post workout!
How often do you workout and what do you do?
I try to work out about 5-6 times a week, but every day is not the same! I switch it up with HIT classes, yoga and long runs around a lake by my house. I used to do the same routine every day, which stopped challenging my body and got clearly got very boring! These days I’m the first one to try a new work out class or switch it up with weights, bands, TRX, and jump roping!
What’s your biggest workout tip?
When you’re looking for that extra push at the end or a motivational mantra to get you through a workout, visualize yourself at the finish line. Think about how great you will feel knowing you’ve accomplished something that you didn’t think you could do, and how it will get you that much closer to reaching your fitness goals. Also, this may sound funny but I listen to songs of celebrities who are fit and are often spotted working out to motivate me. My playlist is filled with Fergie, Carrie Underwood, Beyoncé, and Ellie Goulding cause we know they work for that body just like us!
Who do you look for motivation?
Other strong, positive women! The field of dietetics is female dominated and there are so many woman pioneering new ways to help people with their health and nutrition. This motivates me to get out there and be part of the movement.
What is your go-to quick meal?
Quinoa everything and anything! On Sundays I always prep a big bowl, and use it in different ways throughout the week for quick, simple meals. I start with a base of quinoa, add greens, veggies, and top with pumpkin seeds for a quinoa bowl. I keep that fun by changing up the veggies and protein I add to it.
When do you feel most like a warrior?
Nothing makes me feel more like a warrior than when I do something that I thought I couldn’t do. Most times that is when I’m covered in sweat, crushing a workout! Just recently I did my first TV segment, and when I finished, the same “warrior rush” came over me. The nerves went away, and I automatically wanted to do it again!
What’s the weirdest thing about you?
I could eat something with pumpkin or pumpkin seeds in some way for every meal all 12 months of the year, and it wouldn’t bother me one bit! You know they have pumpkin chicken rub too these days, right?! Also, I strongly dislike all burgers of any kind! Weird but true!
What’s the coolest thing about you?
I’m the youngest of three…by a lot! My older sisters are 13 and 16 years older than me! Growing up that sometimes made me feel like my family was different, but now I realize how truly lucky I am to have such amazing role models to look up to, and never a shortage of life advice for whatever I may be going through!
What’s in your Netflix queue?
Fuller House and Stranger Things. I’m clearly all over the board!
Current workout pump up jam?
Look What You Made Me Do. By TSwift!
What’s the last book you read?
Big Little Lies!
What are your goals for the next year?
My goals for the next year would be to gain more experience with individual nutrition counseling, continue to grow my blog, and definitely to be more present and mindful. Over the past two years I’ve spent a lot of time on my phone, and I do love social media, however taking that time to unplug and live in the moment is definitely a goal of mine!
If you could give one piece of advice for anyone aiming to be more healthy, what would it be?
Don’t be so hard on yourself! Every work of art took time, and so does building a foundation for a healthy life. Acknowledge your small wins like making it to the gym that day, and use those to create the momentum for your next milestone. A setback is just that, so don’t think that one bad day means you have to start all over. Know that you are doing the best you can, and that tomorrow is a new chance to make healthy choices!