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10 Ways To Sneak Some Extra Fruits And Vegetables In Your Family’s Diet

We all know by now that we should be eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. But knowing and doing are two different things, aren’t they? Sometimes it is just not easy to get them all in there. We are constantly tempted to fill up on convenience and junk food. If your family is anything like mine, they’d much rather fill up on a bag of chips or a bowl of rice or pasta instead of trying an apple or a plate of steamed broccoli. So we’ll have to get creative. Here are a few ideas to “sneak” some extra vegetables and fruits in your family’s diet.

1. Start the day with a breakfast smoothie. All you have to do is throw some fruits, low-fat yogurt and ice in a blender. You may also want to add a scoop of protein powder in there for good measure. Just blend for a few seconds and you have the perfect breakfast ready to go. I like to sip mine in a thermal cup on the way to work. To make it even more appealing for your kids, use some frozen yogurt or a scoop of ice cream in the smoothie. They won’t believe that you are letting them have ice cream for breakfast.

2. Dried fruit makes an excellent snack any time of the day. Add some small cartons of raisins to your child’s lunch box, pack some yogurt-covered raisins in your husband’s briefcase and keep some trail mix sitting around for snacking. You can also add dried fruit to oatmeal and cereal in the morning. My family loves banana chips in their breakfast cereal.

3. Add some fruits and vegetables to your family’s sandwiches. You can add some banana, sliced apples or strawberry slices to a peanut butter sandwich. Top a turkey sandwich with lettuce, tomato, cucumber and anything else they will eat. You can even make a sub shop style vegetable sandwich by combining several different vegetables with some mayonnaise and cheese on bread.

4. Have a salad bar at dinner. Set out a variety of chopped vegetables, some cheese and croutons as well as several choices of salad dressing along with the lettuce and let everybody create their own perfect salad.

5. Let them drink their fruits and vegetables. Keep an assortment of fruit and vegetable juices in the fridge and encourage everyone to drink them as a snack. Get creative. You could start “family cocktail hour” by pouring everybody a glass of his or her favorite juice over ice. Add some straws, cocktail umbrellas and sit together to talk about how everybody’s day went.

6. Try this for dessert. Put a small scoop of ice cream or frozen yogurt in a bowl and top it with lots of fresh or frozen fruit.

7. Offer fruits and vegetables as snacks. You can cut apples into slices and top them with peanut butter or cheese. Cube cheese and serve with grapes. Cut up some fresh veggies and serve them with ranch dip. And of course there’s ants on a log. Spread some cream cheese or peanut butter on the inside of a stick of celery and sprinkle raisins on it (wow, fruit and vegetable in one snack).

8. Try some new fruits and vegetables. Pick something exotic to get your family’s curiosity. With a little luck their curiosity will outweigh their initial apprehension to trying something new. You could try artichokes, plantains, papaya, mango, star fruit, or anything else you can find in the produce department of your local store.

9. Make a pot of vegetable soup or a stew that’s heavy on veggies and easy on the meat. Both of these make some great comfort food when the weather gets cold.

10. Start “My Veggie Day”. Each family member gets to pick a vegetable one day of the week. They qualify to pick a vegetable as long as they tried each vegetable the week before, otherwise they lose a turn and Mom gets to pick.

Incorporate a few of these ideas and you will have everyone in your family eating more fruits and vegetables in no time.

Here is another tip:

Now that everyone in the family has gotten a taste for it, make sure you always have plenty of fresh fruits and veggies available and ready to snack on.


This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for educational and informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read.

Eat Your Stress Goodbye

When you’re stressed out, the foods that you’re turning to are most likely going to be traditional ‘comfort’ foods – think big meals, take-out, fatty foods, sweet foods, and alcohol. Let’s face it – we’ve all found some comfort in a tasty meal and a bottle of beer or glass of wine when we’ve been stressed out or upset about something. However, this isn’t a good permanent solution.

When you’re turning to unhealthy foods you can feel better temporarily, but in the long run, you will feel worse. When your body isn’t getting the right nutrition, you can begin to feel less energetic, more lethargic, and in some cases less able to concentrate and focus. All of this can lead to even more stress.

Foods that Fight Stress

If you’ve been feeling more stressed out than usual lately, it’s important to know which foods are best to choose and which to avoid when it comes to combating stress and helping you to deal with feelings of stress and anxiety. The best way to fight stress is to have a healthy, balanced diet which includes a moderate amount of each of the different food groups.

Filling up on foods such as whole grains, leafy vegetables, and lean proteins as the basic staples of the diet is the best way to ensure that your body gets the optimum amounts of nutrients to fight both physical and mental health problems. When it comes to choosing the foods to eat, some have a range of great properties which help the body to combat stress. Choosing these stress-busting foods will help to heal and calm your mind permanently, rather than providing a temporary fix.

Some of the best stress-fighting foods include:

  • Avocado – Avocados are a creamy and versatile fruit which can be eaten in a range of different ways whether you enjoy it raw, made into sauces, dressings and dips, or in a smoothie. These nutrient-dense fruits have the properties to stress-proof your body, thanks to their high glutathione content which specifically blocks the intestinal absorption of certain fats which cause oxidative damage. Avocados also contain higher levels of vitamin E, folate, and beta-carotene than any other fruit, which boosts their stress-busting properties. However, be careful with portion control when eating avocado, as it is high in fat.
  • Blueberries – If you’re feeling stressed out and reaching for the snacks, swapping chocolate or chips for one of the best superfoods is a great way to help you deal with your stress levels and achieve a higher level of calm. Blueberries have some of the highest levels of antioxidants, especially antho-cyanin, which means that this berry has been linked to a wide range of health benefits including sharper cognition, better focus, and a clearer mind – all of which can help you to better deal with stress.
  • Chamomile Tea – Of course, it’s not all about what you’re eating when it comes to managing stress; what you’re drinking can also alleviate or worsen the stress you’re feeling. Drinking liquids which are high in sugars and caffeine, such as coffee, energy drinks or soda, can actually increase your stress levels if consumed regularly. Chamomile tea has long been used as a natural bedtime soother, and it has also been used in clinical trials, which determined that chamomile tea is effective in reducing the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder.
  • Chocolate – Although it’s usually seen as an unhealthy treat, there is an undeniable link between chocolate and our mood. Studies have shown that eating chocolate can actually make you happier. However, that doesn’t mean that you can start munching on chocolate bars every time you’re stressed out – chocolate works best as a de-stressor when eaten in moderation and as part of a healthy and balanced diet. Dark chocolate in particular is best for you, as it contains more flavonols and polyphenols, two hugely important antioxidants which can help combat stress, more than many fruit juices.
  • Beef – Grass-fed beef is not only kinder to the planet and to animals, it’s also good for people, too. Grass-fed beef has a huge range of antioxidants, including beta-carotene and Vitamins C and E, which can help your body to fight stress and anxiety. If you’re looking for more reasons to spend a little more money on organic, grass-fed beef, it’s also lower in fat than grain-fed beef whilst being higher in omega-3.
  • Oatmeal – Oatmeal is great in that it can be a filling comfort food, but also has a large number of healthy properties to actually make you feel better from the inside out. A complex carbohydrate, eating oatmeal causes your brain to produce higher levels of the feel-good chemical serotonin, helping you to feel calmer and less stressed. Studies have shown that kids who choose oatmeal for breakfast tend to be much sharper throughout the morning in school compared to kids who had alternative morning meals.
  • Walnuts – If you’re looking for a healthy snacking option which will help you to stay better in control of your stress levels, walnuts are a great choice. There is no denying the sweet, pleasant flavor of walnuts and they can be a tasty snack for in-between meals or as part of a desert. A versatile nut, walnuts are great for salads, or add them to a sweet treat such as coffee and walnut cake.
  • Pistachios – another food which is great for snacking on and can also help to combat stress and anxiety in the long term is pistachios. Studies have found that simply eating two small, snack-size portions of pistachios per day can lower vascular constriction when you are stressed, putting less pressure on your heart by further dilating your arteries. Along with this, the rhythmic, repetitive act of shelling pistachios can actually be quite therapeutic!
  • Green Leafy Vegetables – leafy, green vegetables should be a pivotal part of anyone’s diet. Along with helping to combat stress, leafy greens are full of nutrients and antioxidants which help to fight off disease and leave your body feeling healthier and more energized. Dark leafy greens, for example spinach, are especially good for you since they are rich in folate, which helps your body to produce more mood-regulating neurotransmitters such as serotonin, which is a ‘feel-good’ chemical. Making leafy greens a part of your diet will help you to feel happier and less stressed out overall.
  • Fermented foods – last but not least, eating fermented foods such as yogurt can help to keep your gut healthy, which actually in turn will help to improve your mental health and reduce stress levels. The beneficial bacteria which are found in fermented foods such as yogurt actually have a direct effect on your brain chemistry and transmit positive mood and behavior regulating signals to your brain via the vagus nerve.

Putting Together Your Diet Plan

Planning your meals wisely is key to not only staying physically fit and healthy, but also to staying mentally strong and being able to best manage your levels of stress. Knowing which foods to avoid and which are the best to reach for to snack on when you’re feeling worried and anxious is important to helping you get control over your emotions and fears.

When you’re feeling stressed, you may be tempted to reach for classic ‘comfort foods’ – usually foods which are laden with sugar, very starchy, or greasy. However, although these foods can make you feel momentarily better, they will actually make you feel worse in the long run.

Having stress-busting snacks such as fresh berries, dark chocolate, yogurt, walnuts or pistachios, or even a fruit smoothie with avocado and leafy greens in it can help you to feel better in both the short and long term when it comes to stress. When it comes to combating and dealing with stress in the long run, it’s important to make sure that for the most part, you are eating a diet which is healthy and balanced.

In order to stay on track, it’s a good idea to make a meal plan for your week and plan ahead to make sure that you have a good selection of these stress-busting foods in your kitchen to make meals and snacks from when you’re feeling like stress-eating. Making sure that the majority of your meals include foods such as lean proteins and leafy green vegetables will not only make you feel healthier overall, but can improve your mental health and stress levels, too.


This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for educational and informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read.

Healthy Nutrition Changes Don’t Have To Be Hard!

One of the most important things to do when you are trying to get in shape is taking caution of your diet. This does not take any time from your schedule and you will feel much healthier when you eat the right foods in the right quantity.

One of the best ways to change your diet is to change to an organic one. It is good to increase the fiber in your diet, which will clean out your colon of all negative weight loss inhibitors. This means that instead of eating refined or processed foods, you should eat whole grain foods like brown rice and whole wheat bread. This has more fiber and less bad fats such as trans fat and cholesterol.

You should also increase your input of protein, minerals and vitamins. To do this it is good to eat more fruits and vegetables and substitute red meat for fish and chicken. These meats have less calories and fat and still provide more protein.

One of the most important parts of changing your diet is to completely eliminate junk food. This will include candy, chips, popcorn, ice cream, milk shakes and soda. You can substitute fruits and vegetable snacks instead. Instead of sodas you can drink water or dilute juice with water for flavor. You will find this makes a huge difference in your sugar and fat intake.

You will feel healthier and have more energy when you change your diet. At first you may feel a little different with the extra fiber and complete change in food but this will soon pass and your body will work better and more efficiently. You will have more energy and feel like an entirely new, better person.

Keeping fit does not just depend on exercises, diet also plays an important part in improving your. Remember that looking after your health and staying fit is an investment in yourself and something you should not neglect or you will find that you will regret poor health habits later. Diet is one part of staying fit that does not take any time and you will reap the benefits throughout your life once you get into a good habit. With these few points you can make huge strides towards staying fit and healthy and being able to do the things you want to do.


This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for educational and informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read.

Good Morning Time!

Whether you wake up full of energy or drag yourself from the pillow in a fog,

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thoughtful planning can make your mornings unfold more smoothly. You may or may not want to buckle your seat belt as you are reading this. Some you may like others you may already be doing and if this is the case than kudos to you!!!

  1. Skip the snooze button. Those extra ten minutes of light slumber are unlikely to generate real rest. In fact some mornings, grogginess is natural if your body has gotten the deep sleep in needs. Place your alarm clock across the room so you will have to get out of bed….but once your out…..stay out.
  2. Wake up with water. Our bodies are working even while we sleep. You can jump-start your metabolism and help curb calorie intake,
  3.  Don’t be derailed by technology. Ohhhhhh…..show of hands please. Guilty here.
  4.  Make movement a priority. Exercise early….you now before your brain knows what is going on.
  5. Eat for energy. Healthy breakfast is as important as the gas in your car. Don’t leave home without it.
  6. schedule personal time. While eating breakfast, journal, meditate, pray as the coffee brews.
  7. organize the night before.
  8. The last thing you want to do…..do it first.
  9. Position yourself for success.
  10. The best thing you can walk out the door with every morning is your smile. Don’t forget it!

Get Healthier at Home

You know what they say….”It starts in the home/” Wait, are we talking about raising children or eating healthy. BOTH! Here are some tips to get healthier at home.

Practice portion control to immediately lower how much sugar you are eating.

Skip the soda, pop, whatever you want to

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call it….it’s not good for you. Sugary drinks are the single largest source of added sugar in America. Instead, drink plain water or add fruit to it. If you go to pinterest (ahhhh yes I am addicted but in a good way!) you will find so many ways to “dress up” a plain glass of water. Drink unsweetened tea, unsweetened almond milk, or black coffee.

Trade sugary foods for fiber, healthy fats and lean protein. Whole grains, fish, low-fat meals, buts and high fiber veggies such as broccoli and brussels sprouts (my fav!) contain key nutrients and fill you up more than pastries or chips.

Rather than topping your cereal and oatmeal with sugar, add fresh strawberries, slice up a banana. Cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg enhance the flavor without adding extra sugar.

5 benefits of limiting sugar.

  1. You will lose weight.
  2. You will improve your overall health.
  3.  You will look younger.
  4. You’ll experience fewer cravings.
  5. You’ll reset your palate.


Why Stretch?

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Once upon a time, stretching was the norm before a workout. Usually this involved a lot of toe touching, perhaps a foot propped up and a bend forward for the hamstrings, and an occasional calf stretching then…..

Research showed these types of stretches were ineffective at improving performance. So stretching switched to a post workout activity. The idea was to stretch the muscles once that had been given the proper chance to warm up. Today, fitness professionals have settled on a few guidelines, supported by ongoing research. Should I take the time to stretch? YES! Before and after.

  1. Dynamic Stretching gently engages muscles pre-workout, and prepares them for more demanding movements.
  2. Static Stretching is what many of us would consider the “traditional” stretching. This involves stretching a specific body part, holding it for 15 to 30 seconds. Dynamic stretches are a better choice before your workout. The type of stretches really depend on your goals. Someone who is jogging will have a different warm up than someone who is strength training.

When you stretch you lengthen your  muscles. You also give your joints a greater range of mobility. Stretching helps make everyday activities easier, prevents injuries, and helps make your muscles longer, leaner and stronger.

Valentines Day

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Some celebrate it. For others it is just another day of the month. Studies show that the average amount people spend on Valentines Day is $147.00. This year instead of spending that money on a giant stuffed bear, chocolates, or a last-minute gift consider a cooking class, tickets to the theater. Research shows that experiences make people happier than material things. If cards are important to you, bring your Valentines with you to the store, walk down the card aisle, you each pick a card you think fits your love, hand it to them, you read them together then tuck them back onto the shelf. I actually read some people do this! True story folks I can’t make it up. Makes sense in a way though….I mean after all cards are today almost as much as a gift. Regardless of how you choose to spend your day/evening with your Valentine make it special, be creative. You have so many healthy options out there. Healthy meals do exist. I always tell my husband not to waste money on flowers because they just die. To me a piece of scratch paper wrote on about what we mean to each other is far more treasured than any materialistic item. Be grateful for who you have in your life, let them know how much they mean to you and remember strawberries are ALWAYS a good choice too!

Roll and Release

So it begins!

You finally decided to focus on yourself! First of all kuddos!!  It’s a hard decision to make when we get so absorbed in the hustle and bustle of everyday mom/dad life or just life in general! You attended your first workout of the year, made it through the entire week…yay you!! Now your muscles are talking to you. Tomorrow is rest day but they just won’t shut up. They are going to benefit from roll and release. Foam rollers can be picked up at any Wal-Mart store or fitness related store for a little bit of nothing. You can not put a price on making those muscles happy especially when you are in the long haul together for life. By applying pressure to pinpointed spots on muscles, tendons, and ligaments, foam rolling can loosen tight soft tissue and can improve blood flow This stimulates your muscles for optimal recovery and performance and gives your bones a better support system.Is it bad to foam roll every day? No. It reduces soreness and tightness from working out as it works by massaging away fascia build up in your muscles, which often lead to painful sore muscles. Is it better to foam roll before or after a workout? Foam rolling prior to a workout can help decrease muscle density and promote a better warm up. Rolling after a workout may help muscles recover from strenuous workouts. You can always check out you tube videos to ensure you are getting the most out of your rolling and doing it properly.

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