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Category: Nutrition (page 1 of 2)

Keeping That New Year Resolution

New Year Resolution

Are you one of the many people who made a ton of New Year resolutions? Or did you just make one big resolution, like weight loss, quite smoking, eat better, or start exercising? The New Year seems to be a great starting point to step out on the ledge and make some changes. I, myself, believe any time is a good time but totally understand that the beginning of the calendar year might make it easier for some. It’s like starting your gym rotation on a Monday. It makes sense.

Chances are whether you made one big resolution or many small ones this New Year; you most likely will not make your goal. STOP! Before you throw your skinny caramel macchiato at your computer screen in hopes that I felt it, I am just the messenger, so please don’t shoot me. The truth is that more than half of the people who vow to make changes at the beginning of the new year barely make it to June before quitting. So much for calling it a lifestyle change when it only last six months. So why are so many people unable to fulfill their New Year Resolution? The short answer to this is that they did not plan well. So what does good planning look like? Well here are a few tips to help you stay on track.

Take It Slow

Many people hit the pavement at full speed straight out the gate. I admire their enthusiasm and understand it well but they must be careful not to burn themselves out. I know this firsthand because I struggle with this myself. It is better to start slow, like committing to only 30 minutes of exercise one or two days a week until you get the hang of it. You might not feel like you are getting anywhere at first, but you are. You are training your body to be active and that is a big thing. After a month or so start adding time to your gym sessions and adding extra days a week. This way you build yourself up to a full gym schedule and your body is prepared for the energy it is going to exert.

Narrow It Down

It is a great thing to want to make so many changes for personal growth but it is just not realistic to change them all at once. Trying to lose weight, stop smoking, read more books, go back to school and find the love of your life all in one year is just way too much to take on. Start small. Write down the list of thing you want to change and pick out the ones that matter most to you. It is also a good idea to start with a building block goal, one that will build up to a greater goal. If you want to lose weight, eat right, and exercise more than it might be a good idea to start with exercising first. Make your resolution and goals around exercising only and don’t think too much about the eating right and weight loss. When you start exercising your body will naturally start craving what it needs to fuel your workouts, plus you will automatically make healthier choices to make sure you don’t undo all that hard work you’ve put in. When you start working out and eating healthy you will start to see weight loss. It’s like a domino effect and you have met three of your goals without overwhelming yourself.

Make Goals You Can Reach

One of the biggest mistakes people make when setting up their resolutions is not making them realistic. You recently watched one of the many food documentaries on our countries food and have now made a resolution to only purchase all organic, gluten free, fair trade and vegan food for your children. The thing is you are a single mom and money is tight. Unless you are the greatest master of budgeting this world has ever seen, it just is not a tangible goal. (By the way, if you happen to be doing this please give me a call because I could use those awesome budgeting skills!) How about you start with cutting out highly processed foods and replacing them with fresh fruits and veggies from a local market. Getting your children to eat more fruits and vegetables a day will be extremely beneficial for them whether they are organic or not.

Track Your Progress

Sometimes we just need to visually see how far we have come, like a gold star on a chore chart. Make a list of the steps needed to achieve your goal. After each step is completed, cross it off your list. I do this with my everyday task and I feel like I get much more done than when I don’t do this. I also pencil in my gym time like it was an appointment in my planner and after I go I cross it off list. You are more likely to get up and go to the gym if you actually made time for it in your schedule. Seriously, this really works.

Tell The World

Tell your family, tell your friends, tell your coworkers. Sharing your plans and later your ups and downs with the people around you is necessary for the journey. It helps you from doing it all on your own. It also holds you accountable because people will ask you how your resolution is going. You might want join a support group or stick with friends who made similar resolutions. These people will be your own personal cheerleaders!

Prepare For A Fall

Plan for the best, prepare for the worst. That saying is one I live by. Some say if you have a plan B then there is no way you are going to be successful. I say that’s a bunch of hooey. There are many unexpected things that can happen in life. Kids get sick, cars break down, work runs late. Life happens. It is best for you to at least be prepared for it. Can’t make it to the gym, it’s ok. Plan to do a little home workout, or do 15 squats every time you go to the bathroom. Aunt Flo is coming to town and you have suddenly eaten every bit of salty and sugary snack your side of the equator. It… is… ok. Get a hold of yourself and put those meal-planning skills to use. Also plan to fill your house with healthy alternatives next month when Aunt Flo shows. Have a plan for when things don’t go as planned. Period.

 

Hopefully these tips help you in your journey.

25 After School Snacks Ideas

Hey all you F2L fans. Hope you guys had a fun-filled Labor Day weekend. Did you go where there was water and relax? Did you have a cookout? How about a trip to a theme park?

Here at the Claiborne house we spent our last weekend of the summer enjoying the beautiful weather and artist from all over the country. Every Labor Day weekend there is a wonderful event called the Art in the Park that’s held in the historic Marietta Square. Last year we went and I bought my husband a colorful pencil and pen drawing of the Chicago skyline. He is from Chicago and fell in love with this amazing and original art piece. It is now rightfully display above his desk in the office so he may enjoy it at will. This year we saw a very talented man who cuts out silhouettes. No out line drawing, just straight free hand cutting. I almost bought one of the kids.

Now that Labor Day has come and gone, summer is just a memory, and school is in full effect we are all scrambling to get back on a routine. In my house this includes meal planning. Planning of dinners, lunches, and after school snacks. Yep, we plan those too. The minute my kids enter the doorway they are asking what’s for snack. It is always a good idea to plan ahead and to have quick healthy options for them to choose from. Eating habits are established at a young age and follow you into adulthood. Showing your kids how to eat right now is one of the biggest tools you could give them to ensure they live a full and healthy life.

Have you ever found yourself scratching your head trying to figure out what in the world you are going to feed your munchkins when they come home from school? You’ve had a long day at work and you need to cook dinner, the kids are antsy, and you are on the spot. You start pulling stuff out of the panty and behold, you find a couple bags of fruit snacks. You think to yourself, “this will have to do, I mean they have snack written on the bag!” You hand them to the kids and they are happy but you know that something that sweet before dinner is not the best idea.

Don’t beat yourself up about it. You are not alone! Just about ever parent has this struggle. To be honest it is not a horrible snack if they only have it every now and again. Things could be worst. They could be better too. With a little bit of planning you could have a snacks on hand for when the kids come home or any other time they have a snack attack. Here are 25 after school snacks that are popular with my munchkins.

After School Snack Ideas copy

 

(Remember that these are snack and portion sizes should be small. You still want them to eat their dinner after all. )

  1. A banana with peanut butter
  2. Carrots and hummus
  3. Air popped popcorn
  4. Turkey slices wrapped in lettuce
  5. Celery with yogurt veggies dip
  6. An apple with almond butter
  7. Tortilla chips with homemade black bean dip
  8. Roasted chickpeas
  9. A small green salad
  10. Trail mix
  11. Cherry tomatoes and
  12. Cucumbers and tuna salad
  13. A homemade lentil samosa
  14. Mini pita pockets with chicken salad
  15. Pretzels and cheese squares
  16. Greek yogurt and berries
  17. A fruit smoothie
  18. Mini quinoa and ham muffins
  19. Homemade apple chips and yogurt
  20. Zucchini muffin
  21. Steamed edamame
  22. Boiled egg and grapes
  23. Carrot stick and honey mustard
  24. Raw broccoli and veggie dip
  25. Homemade kale chips

If you have great snack recipes share below. I’m always looking for new snacks to try.

Beat the Heat with These Cooling Foods

We are smack dab in the middle of summer. Yep. Sweaty, sticky, humidity so thick it wraps around you like a tightly laced corset cutting off your air supply, summer! I mean really, it’s hot. I’m one awkwardly place sweat stain away from having uncomfortable stares from strangers directed my way while I run my errands around town.

If you spend a great deal of time outdoors working or gardening, a weekend warrior or an outdoor free fitness guru then it is highly important that you keep hydrated. When the temperatures rise there is a risk of dehydration and an even greater risk for those who practice high intensity workouts and sweat profusely. Dehydration can set in when you have not taken in enough fluids or lose too many fluids through sweating. Symptoms such as light-headedness, nausea, weakness, confusion, a decrease in urine, and fainting could occur. Though an increase of thirst could occur as well, you should not always rely on thirst alone as a sign of dehydration. It is extremely important to drink plenty of liquids, water being the most effective, as well as making sure you drink beverages that will replenish your electrolytes.

Here are a few foods that are great at bringing your body temperature down and aiding in hydration.

Cooling and Hydrating Foods

Watermelon– Well I am sure this comes to no surprise. Watermelon has a very high water content, which helps your body temperature lower and keeps you well hydrated. The same goes for other melons like cantaloupe and honeydew.

Cucumbers– They have a high water content as well. Tried to incorporate cucumber into you lunches. I eat them in place of crackers when I have tuna or chicken salad. They are refreshing just on their own too.

Leafy Greens– Again, these have a high water content. Are you seeing a theme here? Basically, the higher the water content the better a food is at thinning your blood and helping your body release heat. So eat up those summer salads with berries galore.

Citrus Fruits– Oranges, limes, lemons, and grapefruit are high in vitamin C, which aid in body temperature regulation. This goes for other fruits high in vitamin C like pineapple, mango, kiwi, papaya, and radish.

Mint– You know that cooling sensation your mouth feels when you brush your teeth with a fresh minty toothpaste? Eating mint could cause that same cooling sensation and help you feel more comfortable in hotter weather. Try making a strawberry and mint lemonade to help you beat the heat.

Spicy foods– You are probably thinking that spicy foods warm you. Well you wouldn’t be wrong. Think about the spices that are used in hot and topical areas. These people know how to stay cool in the most heated conditions. Using spices like cayenne, red chili, and black pepper will warm your body internally, increasing your blood circulation. This will cause you to sweat and help you feel cooler faster.

Summertime can be a ton of fun but having a heat stroke could really throw a monkey wrench in your plans. Not to mention it’s very dangerous! Make sure you are keeping yourself properly hydrated and staying cool.

The price of convenience

Life is busy! It is filled with family, work, meetings, appointments, deadlines, and the daily hustle and bustle. We rush, rush, rush. We run from A to B and on to C in such a hurry we sometimes forget to eat. Or if we do, we opt for what is convenient, on hand, quick and easy. In a world filled with McDonald’s, Snak Paks, Uncrustables, Lunchables, and gas station roller food, most of what is convenient isn’t so healthy. I’m here to tell you that there are better options. Don’t sacrifice your health for the sake of convenience!

Lets run through many American’s typical day of eating habits. They start their day off by handing their kids a PopTart as they’re heading out the door. They buy a skinny latte and a sugary pastry from the coffee shop on their way to work. They want their kids to eat a hot lunch so they pack them some Easy Mac. They add Crasins, a CapriSun, and as a little treat they give them Jell-O. Lunches for them consist of a fast food joint in which each day they rotate to add variety. After work they rush to take one kid to soccer practice, the other to piano lessons, and by the time they are finally in route home, they either decide to grab a pizza or pop a frozen dinner in the oven. Not only have they feed their family a ton of food that lacks nutrients and is heavily processed, they have probably spent double for the convenience. Give your health a fight chance and your wallet a break.

So what is the alternative you ask?

Well waking up 15-20 minutes earlier to whip up some veggie omelets really isn’t so bad. But if you must hold on to those last few minutes of sleep, than make some overnight oatmeal in a crock-pot.  Cut up some apples; add some cinnamon and a little honey and you’ll have the kids begging for it every morning.

Lunch doesn’t have to come in a greasy bag with a super sized soda or in prepackaged containers. My kids love salads, tuna and pita bread, lettuce wraps, and quinoa bites (quinoa baked in a muffin tin with eggs, cheese, ham, and anything else you want). All of these are great options for you as well. I find it to be much more “convenient” to make everyone in my house the same lunch. Fresh fruits and veggies are always great sides. You could also pack raw almonds, Greek yogurt, and my kids’ favorite, kale chips! I only give my kids milk or water for lunch. I highly limit their juice intake because it is loaded with sugar.

You don’t have to slave over the stove and produce a five-course meal in order for it to be healthy. Bake a spaghetti squash, cook up some ground turkey, toss in broccoli and sauce and you have yourself a meal. Roasting some vegetables and fish doesn’t take much time at all. I know I have mentioned it already, but a crock-pot is one of the best appliances you could own. I’ve made soups, stews, chicken and lentils, lean pork and apples, chili, and a laundry list of other dishes. I really don’t know how I would get by without my handy crock-pot.  Plus if you make a little extra at dinnertime you can always take leftovers for lunch!

The key to making healthy meals more convenient is a little preplanning. Sure, it’s going to take you a little extra time the night before to put everything together in a crock-pot or to bake some quinoa bites but I promise your body will thank you. Don’t fall into the groove of “but it’s convenient” and “I don’t have time.” Don’t keep making the same unhealthy food choices. Don’t let your health pay the hefty price for convenience. Take a little time and prepare a real meal. Sit down and eat real food. Think of your body as a car. If you pump it with watered down fuel it will still run, but for how long? Food is your fuel to live!

Keep away vampires and cancer!!

You know the myth, garlic wards off vampires (Sorry Twilight Fans), well it also wards off germs and cancer. Now you might not believe in vampire but the germs and cancer part is for sure real! Yes, you will need to carry mints after eating garlic, but it is a great herb to add to your dishes.

Garlic is part of the onion family. When you purchase garlic you are buying it by the bulb. When dishes call for cloves of garlic they are referring to the little sections on the inside. Garlic has antiviral, antibacterial, anti-fungal properties and has been used to treat bacteria, virus, fungi and yeast skin conditions. It has been used lately as a supplement that helps enhance your immune system and overall health.

Garlic contains a sulfur compound name allicin, which is where it’s distinctive odor and flavor  comes from. When you chop or chew garlic it produces this chemical. Allicin is a powerful antibiotic and greatly helps prevent the ability of germs to grow and reproduce. Having high levels of Vitamin C, it is well know to help promote a healthy immune system.

Garlic is one of the most popular foods to eat to help prevent cancer. Scientists think that because garlic boosts the production hydrogen sulfide that it is extremely successful at fighting off a variety of cancers. Hydrogen sulfide occurs both naturally and from human-made processes.  Hydrogen sulfide is produced during the digestion of food containing vegetable or animal proteins.There are numerous studies on the effect garlic has on cancer. You should check out the National Cancer Institute to find more info.

So not only is garlic awesome at helping you stay healthy but it is very delicious. I joke by saying I add garlic to everything, which is only partial a joke. I really do add garlic to just about every dish. I always add more garlic than is asked for in a recipe, but do be careful, it can make a dish taste spicy. If you want a subtle garlic taste, add the garlic at the start of cooking. If you want a stronger garlic flavor, add the garlic right at the end of cooking. If you are anything like me and really love the taste of garlic, add some in the beginning and end.

garlic

I also have this nifty little garlic chopper that has wheels on it to make the job of chopping easy. If you have children that like to help out in the kitchen I highly recommend it. My kids love to roll it all over the countertops!

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