Healthier Eating in ONE Step!

Looking for an easy healthy fix?  One simple step that will automatically make you healthier? Add a fruit and vegetable to every meal. Doing this one small thing will automatically increase your produce intake to at least six servings a day.  You’ll eat less unhealthy foods if you fill up with healthy and low-calorie fruits and vegetables.  If you mix up which fruits and veggies you enjoy with each meal, you’re also likely to hit your appropriate amounts of daily vitamins and minerals. How easy is this?  If you took my challenge last week, even on your busiest days you can just pull out your bowls of prepared fruits and vegetables or create a quick and healthy salad with your already prepared greens and dressing.  So no excuses of “I don’t have enough time” are allowed here. This is also something you can make fun for the whole family.  Create a challenge for your kids to see who can hit their servings for each meal.  Let them pick out a new fruit and veggie each week from the grocery – often kids are more likely to try something they have chosen themselves. This week I challenge you to try it for a week and see how you feel.  Don’t overthink it, just make sure to include at least one fruit and one vegetable every time you have a meal.  I’d love to hear in the comments how this made you feel, so please share! Looking for more ways to improve your health (and by default your family’s health)?  Let’s talk – I love to help busy working moms create a healthier and...

Food Prep for Weekly Success

It’s pretty apparent I believe strongly in preparing ahead of time.  Last week I shared how I keep lunch making stress to a minimum.  To keep things even easier and to help with all meals during the week, there are a few things I regularly do right after grocery shopping.  These few tasks will make EVERY working mom’s mealtimes go a little bit smoother. I know some of you will read this, roll your eyes, and say to yourself  “NO WAY!  I don’t have time for this nonsense.”  BUT, I timed myself and it took me twenty minutes start to finish.  The benefits include healthier eating and less stress for the whole week.  that’s worth twenty minutes to me.  Got older kids?  Make your life even easier and enlist their help. As soon as I get home from the grocery, I pull out the cutting board and a knife and prep a bowl of veggies.  Once that’s done, I can pack the veggie portion of school lunches in seconds, and if dinner is rushed, this bowl can be pulled out as a healthy side.  I also make a small bowl of dip or hummus to enjoy with the vegetables, and a pint size mason jar of healthy salad dressing (Just mix a few T of extra virgin olive oil with a few T of some type of vinegar, add salt, pepper and any other herbs you’d like.  You can also add a t or 2 of dijon mustard.  Yum!). Greens are washed and spun dry, then packaged in bags with a damp paper towel.  Now they are ready to be...
Easy and Healthy School Lunches

Easy and Healthy School Lunches

Wherever you live, I suspect school is back in full swing by now.  A few years ago, I did a post on my lunch “formula.”   The method I use to pack easy, healthy lunches for my kids.  This is still exactly how I do it, but as an update I thought I’d delve a little deeper into the details. Every week, I try to mix up the lunches so that the kids eat a variety of foods.  Below is an example week – you can see that each lunch follows my “formula,” but contains slightly different components. M – salad with leftover grilled chicken, cucumbers and sliced peppers, berries, pretzels, chocolate covered blueberries, water T – yogurt with granola, snap peas, watermelon, crackers, water W – hummus and pretzel crisps, celery/cucumber/carrots, sliced peaches/plums, chocolate square, water Th – soup or chili, whole apple, crackers, carrots, water F – peanut butter & jelly sandwich, applesauce, cucumbers, Pirate’s Booty or popcorn, water Notice how earlier in the week I include berries, watermelon, peppers and snap peas.  The items that are freshest and taste best right after I purchase them.  Apples and carrots tend to last longer so they are typically reserved for Thursday/Friday.  Ditto for peanut butter and jelly. I also often tuck a little note or joke in the lunchbox – not every day, but definitely several times a week.  Right now I’m LOVING Lunchbox Love – they are easy, pretty and fun, but you could totally take a post it note and make your own. I tend to prep and pack lunches the night before – usually while I’m making or...
Easy, Healthy Snacks for MOM!

Easy, Healthy Snacks for MOM!

After two weeks of school, we are back into a solid routine.  Yes!  Part of it means that due to nightly sports practices, dinner are being eaten much later.  So, in addition to fixing the kids a snack after school each day, I’ve been fixing myself one also!  If I’m going to eat a snack every day, I need to make sure it’s healthy, right?  I’ve found that by adding a filling and healthy snack to my later afternoon routine, I can avoid stuffing my face with everything in sight as I prepare dinner (not that that has ever happened!). Since I’m hungry, tired and dealing with homework, carpooling, sports and cranky kids, I created a list of go to snacks.  This way it’s one less decision to make.  I can grab my snack (and often the kids eat the same thing), and feel confident I made a good choice. What’s on my list? There are three main categories I enjoy:  savory, salty and sweet. Savory Tomatoes with balsamic vinegar, olive oil and basil (frequent right now while the tomatoes are ripe!) Hummus with sliced cucumber and celery Crackers and cheese Salty peanuts popcorn edamame with sea salt Sweet apples & peanut butter dip “healthy” fudge yogurt, frozen blueberries and granola Having the snacks ready (or at least the ingredients prepped) makes life SO easy!  I just pull out what I feel like enjoying and I’m satisfied and able to wait for a later dinner.  All of these snacks can be prepped ahead of time (I cut up veggies on Sunday or Monday night to have on hand all...

Do you need a new vantage point?

Recently I was reading an issue of Southern Living magazine, and I came across an article with some advice for landscaping.  There was a paragraph in this article about providing different vantage points in yard.  In other words, finding small spots in your yard to enjoy a different view or to invoke a different feeling. For some reason, that idea of a different vantage point got stuck in my brain.  I started to think about how we could and should often have different vantage points for our lives. Think about that for a second. How fabulous would it be to be able to view any aspect of your life differently?  Especially areas that trouble or stress you out.  Guess what?  You can totally do this. Let me give you an example: First Vantage Point:  “My evenings are crazy!  I’m so busy hauling kids around to their practices that I don’t have time to get ANYTHING else done.  Forget healthy dinners, exercise and a clean house – I spend all my time in the car and when we finally get home all I want to do is veg and then go to sleep!” Alternate Vantage Point:  “Wow, I am so lucky to have a flexible job that allows my kids to participate in sports they love.  And I can accomplish a lot of work, exercise or just relax with a book while they are doing their thing!” See that twist?  Same situation – different vantage point.  I know which one I want to see.  By coming at the situation from the second viewpoint, you’ll create a positive vibe and a...
Make ANY Recipe Healthier

Make ANY Recipe Healthier

I have to admit that I love cookbooks – I have way too many and I’ve been known to read them like novels . . . am I the only crazy one out there?  I sure hope not!!!   I also have to admit I’m not very good at following recipes – I tend to estimate versus measure and I’m always substituting, adding extra ingredients, etc.  One thing I will often do is change things up a bit to make a recipe a little bit healthier.  If I find something that looks delicious, I always think about what I could change to add nutrition, remove fat and calories or boost flavor.  Then I mark up my cookbook pages with the changes. Interested in learning how to do that?  It takes a little practice to figure out what works and doesn’t work, but here is the basic process: Example – How to make a recipe healthier: 1.  Find a recipe.  For this example I’m going to use the Parmesan Chicken recipe from The Barefoot Contessa Family Style Cookbook.  It’s actually a pretty decent (health-wise) recipe, but we’ll bump it up a bit! Original recipe – see picture (like the star on the page?  That’s how I know it was a winner for my family): My version: Parmesan Chicken Serves 6 6 boneless, skinless organic chicken breasts 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour 1/2  t. sea salt (Real Salt is my favorite brand) 1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper 1 extra-large organic, pasture-raised egg 1 cup dry bread crumbs (here you can really bump up the nutrition and cut down the cost...

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