The Trouble With Concession Stands In Youth Sports

Continue having conversations with your kids and educating them on healthy habits. Instead of looking at the calories burned while they play sports, think about the long term effects unhealthy foods can have on them. Think about the message you … Continue reading

Giving without Receiving

  Over the  years I have tried to instill in my children the lesson that giving does not always mean receiving in return. Perhaps in the past they were too young, or there wasn’t a strong enough reason or passion … Continue reading

Let It Go (Part 2)

It has been four months since I’ve last sat down to write a post. How can that be? Where did the time go? I spent the last four months nannying for an infant whose parents were visiting scholars to the … Continue reading

The Truth About Fruit Snacks

Fruit snacks are fixtures in lunch boxes and party goody bags. They show up on soccer sidelines and are beloved by kids (yes, including mine). But for something that calls itself “fruit” and a “snack”, they’re also highly overrated. Here are the three biggest misconceptions about fruit snacks–and what ALL parents should know about these ubiquitous little pouches: Myth #1:…

http://www.realmomnutrition.com/2015/01/14/truth-about-fruit-snacks/

Why I’m Tired Of “Foods You Should Never Eat!” Lists

I am so over seeing this headline: “Foods You Should Never Eat!” There’s a good reason I see it so much. It’s effective. It’s just sensational enough to draw you in, just scary enough to make you flip to the page or click through to the article with a single worry: Oh no, could I be eating one of those foods???? Yes, you…

http://www.realmomnutrition.com/2015/01/09/why-im-tired-of-foods-you-should-never-eat-lists/

Perfection Doesn’t Exist

  This title has a lot of different meanings, but what I am referring to here specifically is overall health. I have driven myself nuts in the last year to ensure everything my family eats and does is healthy. I … Continue reading

Proper Fuel for Children’s Sports Performance

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My young children are already competitive athletes. My daughter plays on a travel softball team, and sometimes her tournaments last all day. Six games in two days to be exact. In order to get her through those long days and playing at her peak performance I pay special attention (even more so) to her nutrition needs. Fortunately, my daughter loves fruits and most vegetables. So getting her to eat those things is not the issue. She tends to not eat enough of the “tummy fillers” or carbohydrates on game day (or really any day). I almost always have to say, “Eat your sandwich. Then eat your fruit!”. Otherwise, she will easily wolf down half a watermelon, some grapes, an apple, and while she may fill up on that, an hour later she is hungry. Carbohydrates remain in the body longer, fill up the tummy, and digest easily and slowly to maintain blood sugar levels.

Rather than relying on the concession stand at games to feed  competitive athletes, I encourage parents to pack a healthy, well balanced lunch and healthy snacks to ensure their child’s performance level. Eating greasy, cheesy, oil dripping nachos and fries once in a while is not detrimental to a child’s overall weight and health when given in moderation. However, eaten in the middle of games or tournaments, these types of snacks will effect the child’s performance at that given time.  Those types of foods sit in the stomach and take hours to digest. Sometimes leaving the child with a stomach ache, gas, cramps, fatigue, and low energy. Also, candy and gatorade, or other sports drinks, have a high sugar content which also leads to tiredness and lack of energy.

Speaking of sports drinks, not only do they contain high amounts of sugar, but high amounts of sodium. Both of these can actually lead to dehydration, cramps, and nausea. Perhaps a child will be more apt to hydrate if their drink is flavored. If so, dilute the sports drink with at least 50% water or more. Gradually back off with the sports drink until the child will drink straight water. Research has shown that sports drinks are unnecessary for children’s sports performance. They are better suited for endurance athletes such as ultra marathoners or triathletes. If you haven’t read my post on hydration check it out.  Depending on a child’s age and size he/she should be consuming 5-9 ounces of water every 15-20 minutes. One trick to helping your child drink more water is to mark off their water bottle or buy a water bottle with the ounce levels on the side.

Besides packing fruits and vegetables, some great “tummy fillers” or complex carbohydrates are whole grain breads and pastas, pretzels, graham crackers, bagels, and cereal. Peanut butter or hummus are healthy proteins to eat with these easily digestible foods. Yogurt (especially Greek for added protein…..still working on my own children to eat this!) is a wonderful addition, but look for ones that are low in sugar and additives. Plain yogurt is best, and you can make any combination you want by adding fruit. Blending it at home and then freezing it in silicone pop molds is a healthy snack on the go. Plus these molds cut down on packaging therefore reducing waste in the earth’s landfills.

We need to think of our bodies and our children’s bodies, the way we think of our vehicles. In order to have our bodies living at their best, we need to properly maintain and fuel them, just as we do our cars. High performance cars do not run well on low grade gas, just as athletes do not perform well when they eat greasy, salty, sugary, fatty foods. Whether you’re an athlete or not, every body does not live well when not properly fueled. Feeling fatigued? Have low energy? Have trouble concentrating? It could have something to do with what you are feeding your body. It is well worth looking into dietary changes that will last a lifetime, and give you back your edge. Your drive. Your energy. Your MIND!

My guess is that parents feel that “just this one plate of cheese fries won’t hurt” so why not let them have it? I agree that all foods should be eaten in variety and moderation and I am not saying that you should deny your children these special, treat types of foods. However, there is a time and place for them. By establishing healthy eating habits at a young age will allow our children to make better choices in their teen and adult years.

While I still may be known as the “crazy snack lady” on the game fields, at least I can now say I am a certified health coach. Add that to my athletic training degree/certification and I believe I do have some merit speaking up about healthy living and sports performance! Healthier food and beverage options are in abundance. They may take extra time and effort to prepare, but your child’s overall health and sports performance is worth it! Aim to properly fuel their muscles and prevent fatigue with fruits, veggies, complex carbohydrates, protein, and WATER! Check out earlier posts for more snack options.

Healthy Fundraising Ideas

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I don’t participate in a lot of the fundraisers my children’s school holds. Namely because it seems many are centered around unhealthy ways of life. I would prefer not to visit Wendy’s or McDonald’s on a given night just so that those fast food joints can kick back a small percentage towards the school. My family and I haven’t been to a fast food joint in years, so why start now? I also don’t like choosing junk out of a catalogue that is just going to “junk” up my house or end up in the garbage, and eventually the landfill later. I want fundraisers that help instill healthy habits onto my children. Selling unhealthy foods to children “for a good cause” seems counterintuitive since those foods are not part of a balanced diet. Fast food, cookies, ice cream, candy all contribute to poor eating habits, and part of their education should be about healthy living.

Let’s focus on healthy alternatives that promote healthy behaviors. Here are a few ideas:

Fundraisers that support academics:

1. Spelling Bee (Participants would ask for donations to sponsor them, as well as admission could be charged to enter the bee, contest, fair.)

2. Math Contest

3. Science Fair

4. Workshops/classes on weekend (Sewing, knitting, wood working, cooking, robotics, etc)

5. Read-a-thon (Participants are sponsored for number of books they can read.)

Fundraisers that support the arts:

1. Concerts (Admission to be charged to enter these.)

2. Art shows

3.  Plays/musicals

4. Dances

5. Poetry reading/story telling contest

Fundraisers that support physical activity:

1. Dance-a-thon (Participants ask for donations for how long they might dance, jump, walk, bike, etc)

2. Jump rope-a-thon

3. Walk-a-thon

4. Bike-a-thon

5. Run/walk (Entry fee.)

6. Bowling night (Perhaps the venue would kick back percentage of earnings that night to the school.)

7. Sport tournament (Participants would pay an entry fee to play in a golf/tennis/etc tournament.)

Fundraisers that support the environment:

1. Garden show

2. Flower bulbs/seeds

3. Tree Planting

Fundraisers that support nutrition:

1. Fruit baskets

2. Mixed nuts

3. Healthy cookbook (Have parents donate a healthy recipe whole family loves and make a customized cookbook to sell.)

Other healthy fundraising ideas:

1. Auction (Local retailers donate goods/services or have artists hand make items. Good way for artists to get recognized.)

2. Healthy Kit Fundraiser (SunBuddy Sunscreen Fundraising)

3. Organic Soy Candles (Non toxic and good for the environment.)

4. Holiday wreaths

5. Sporting event (Trenton Thunder or even a college game.)

So, now that I got you thinking, can you think of any more healthy fundraising ideas? I would love to add them to the list.

 

 

 

Inside Out (The Effects of Exercise Inside the Body)

I joined the local gym last August in an attempt to combat my anxiety and in general, my mental health, as well as to keep physically fit. I knew if I paid the money up front for one year, I would hold myself accountable to going most days of the week. I notice when I skip a day or two I am short tempered and irritable. Anyhow, in the eight months since I have been going to the gym these are some of the “motivators” I hear during class:

“It’s almost summer. Let’s get bikini ready.”

“It’s almost tank top season. Let’s pump up those arms.”

“It’s almost shorts season. Let’s work on those legs.”

“We work out so we can eat that cake/drink that wine.”

“Let’s burn off those extra calories from the weekend.”

“Let’s burn off those calories we ate this week from Thanksgiving/Christmas/Passover.”

Why do people exercise? Work out? Participate in sports or any physical activity? Is it out of vanity? Is it to look good? Maybe. Is it so they can eat whatever/whenever they want? Maybe. Society/social media tends to  focus  on how we are supposed to LOOK, instead of on how we  should FEEL inside (emotionally and physically). This needs to change. Not every person is ever going to be a size 2, nor should they be. That is below the norm and for some people, that is not a healthy size.

Let’s face it. Some people that go to the gym, are never going to wear a bikini, tank top, or shorts. And if they choose to, and they are not what society deems a “beach body”, I applaud them for having great self confidence. It doesn’t matter what one looks like, but how one feels inside. Physically. Emotionally. Spiritually. I believe a lot of gym goers, like myself, are at the gym because they want to be healthy. They are not at the gym striving for a “beach body”. Well, I’m not, anyway. I go to release tension, keep my anxiety at bay, and stay heart healthy.

Physical activity promotes good health in many ways. In an earlier post I wrote about the effects of exercise on mental health. We can physically see what exercise does to the outside of the body (tones muscles/keeps figures slim), but do we really know what it does to the inside of our body? Here are twelve effects physical activity has on the inside of the body:

1. Boosts high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good,” cholesterol and decreases unhealthy triglycerides. This helps the blood flow smoothly and decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease.

2. Delivers oxygen and nutrients to the tissues and helps the cardiovascular system work more efficiently.

3. Boosts the immune system.

4. Significantly reduces the risk of developing high blood pressure and can help to lower blood pressure in those who already have high blood pressure.

5.Prevents and helps control type 2 diabetes. Exercise helps insulin to work better and also makes the cells more sensitive to the effects of insulin.

6. Aids in digestion and promotes regular bowel movements.

7. Helps to prevent the build-up of plaque on the walls of arteries decreasing the risk of heart disease.

8. Weight-bearing exercises help preserve bone mass and thus protects against osteoporosis.

9. Builds and strengthens muscles, which can protect the bones from injury, and support and protect joints affected by arthritis. Strong muscles also give stability and improve balance and coordination.

10. Lubricates the joints, and reduces joint pain and stiffness. It also helps people with arthritis by increasing flexibility and muscle strength.

11. Improves respiratory efficiency.

12. Improves quality of life. Decreases risk of strokes, cancers, diabetes, heart disease. Slows the aging process and allows us to live longer.

Some of my friends are exercise instructors. I hope they still will be after this post. I am just trying to point out another way social media influences all of us, especially women. We all have to love the body we have, even the parts we don’t like. Big calves. Big butt. Wide hips. Flat chest. Round tummy. We need to stop focusing on what we wished we looked like and accept the body we have. Forget about burning calories and toning our bodies so we’ll look good in a bikini, tank top, shorts. Focus on how physical activity will make us FEEL. How it will prolong our lives. I hope to live a long time. I’ve only been given one body to live in, and I am going to do all I can to take care of it INSIDE and OUT!

 

Female Bodies: A Weighty Issue

BMI (Body Mass Index) is NOT useful when trying to calculate healthy body weight. Read why.

shattersnipe: malcontent & rainbows

Hypothesis:

We have, as a society, such a completely disordered, distorted perception of female bodies that the vast majority of people are incapable of recognising what “overweight” actually looks like on a woman, let alone “healthy”. As such, we’re now at a point where women are not only raised to hate their bodies as a matter of course, but are shown, from childhood, a wholly inaccurate picture of what they “should” look like – a narrow, nigh on impossible physical standard they are then punished, both socially and medically, for failing to attain.

I don’t say this lightly. I say it because this is the only conclusion supported by the facts.

Let’s examine the evidence, shall we?

1: BMI

Overwhelmingly, the measurement used to determine whether or not someone is a “healthy weight” is the BMI, or Body Mass Index. Most people are still taught it in schools; indeed, it’s…

View original post 1,830 more words

My Nutrition Revolution

I thought it might be interesting to explore my nutrition revolution. That is, how I became interested in nutrition and how I revolutionized my own health. I was never sick. Never overly overweight (an extra 10 pounds). But I have definitely become healthier in many ways that one can’t see by looking at me.

I grew up a kid of the late ’70’s eating some processed foods. Oreos. Frito-Lay snack packs. Ice cream. That sort of thing. Nothing out of the ordinary and nothing outrageous. My mother cooked a nice, homemade dinner most nights of the week. I took a piece of fruit in my lunch to school. But beyond that one piece of fruit and whatever vegetable was served at dinner, I didn’t think to eat anymore, nor was I informed I should.  I ran cross country and track in high school and would come home famished before dinner. My snack of choice was a few oreos, some chips, anything that was easily accessible that I could snarf down. Fruit? Never. Vegetables? Never. I just didn’t know. Nor was I educated in nutrition. I don’t think my parents were either for that matter.  Until my  late 20’s I thought of food as a way to fill my belly and keep the hunger pain away. I didn’t think of it as a way to fuel my body and keep me healthy.

Off to college in 1994. Dining hall. Eat anything you want and as much as you want. Actually I really didn’t overeat in college. That has never been an issue for me. But I seriously lacked fruits and vegetables, and consumed to0 much processed foods, grains (carbs), dairy, and sugar.  After college I headed to Colorado to be a snowboard instructor. Every day for lunch we had pizza. Every. Day. Seriously. I didn’t give it much thought nutritionally. I love pizza. However, by the end of the season I was quite sick of eating it and ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches instead. Not much better. Had I known then, what I know now, I would have brought my lunch to work. At night I worked in a restaurant, so in the hour between jobs I came home, showered, and ate something quick and easy, such as Easy Mac. Remember that? I don’t even want to think about it. The thought of it now totally sickens me. While living in Colorado I did take a nutrition course at a local college, as I was interested in nutrition even then. However, looking back that class really taught me nothing except what calories were and how to calculate them. The old school way of looking at nutrition.

I moved to California in the fall of 200o after I suffered a neck injury from a car accident in CO. I wanted to be far from the snow capped mountains and snowboarding since I was sure I wouldn’t be able to snowboard the following winter due to my injury. I had a very difficult time finding work in San Diego. Restaurants wouldn’t hire me because apparently 2 years of restaurant experience wasn’t enough. And I had a college degree….in psychology, not waitressing/bartending…. but still, you’d think they’d take the fact I was college educated into consideration. I ended up working as a nanny for about 6 months. However, that barely paid the bills as it is expensive living in San Diego. I ate cheaply. I made the decision to pursue an entry level’s masters degree in athletic training, which was something I was interested in during college, but Saint Michael’s didn’t offer that degree.

So, after surviving the 6 months in San Diego I moved back east and waited for graduate school to begin in the fall of 2001. I learned how nutrition affected athletes. How eating certain foods fueled the body. I began looking at my plate differently. I added more fruits and vegetables to  my diet, and limited processed foods. I even lost some weight at this time without thinking much about it. I had my first child in 2005 and my second in 2007. I maintained my weight, but I still didn’t necessarily eat as healthy as I do now. What prompted more of a change?

After 8  years of living at our current boarding school, 7 women associated with the school (faculty/staff or spouses) were diagnosed with breast cancer, and 2 or 3 men were diagnosed with another type of cancer. Within the same time frame I knew women in town (not associated with our boarding school) that were also stricken with breast cancer and even members of my own extended family, one of whom was only 34 at the time she was diagnosed.  I began asking, “What the hell is wrong? Why are all these folks getting cancer?” That is when I began actively researching how nutrition affected disease. I began reading books and viewing food/disease/nutrition documentaries and from those I made the decision that many of today’s diseases can be prevented (maybe even cured) simply by eating certain foods and avoiding others.

While processed foods may be quick, cheap, and easy, they are laden with chemicals and preservatives. The body has a difficult time digesting/processing these foods and therefore, they become stuck in our body adding bulk and wrecking havoc on our system. Think about the difference between a homemade brownie vs. a packaged brownie. Even if you leave a homemade brownie in plastic wrap or tupperware on the counter, it will get moldy or stale in a few days. If you leave a packaged brownie on the counter it will last for years! What exactly goes into that brownie to preserve its “freshness”? Nothing I want to put in my body!

When buying foods I stick to minimally or non processed foods. We eat vegetarian within the household 99% of the time, and I try to limit dairy when I can. I try to make most of of my family’s  baked goods/desserts, rather than buying them. I can make cookies with just a few ingredients vs. buying a box of Oreos that contains around 20 ingredients, including titanium dioxide, a chemical used to whiten the cream in Oreo cookies, as well as numerous other uses in the manufacturing of paper, plastic, and paint. Seriously? Who wants to put titanium dioxide in their body?

I buy lots of fruits and vegetables. I try to buy organic when it’s available, but I think it’s more important to have a diet high in fruits and vegetables despite them being organic or not. With minimally processed foods and plant sourced foods, the body takes in what it needs nutritionally and eliminates the rest. Nothing gets “stuck” in the body and causes issues. My husband, kids, and I hardly ever get sick. Not once did one of us get the nasty stomach bug that was rampant in this boarding school or the public school my children attend. I can’t think of one cold any of us had this winter. Yes, both kids had flu shots this year, but neither my husband nor I got inoculated. I swear the reason for our good health is due to what we eat and what we limit. Even in the last month I have found that eating more “real food” and limiting grains, dairy, alcohol, sugar, and processed foods that I have had less stomachaches and headaches. Smoothies have been my friend in the last month, as I am not a huge fruit eater. Even my daughter has been asking for a smoothie at breakfast or after school. If I could convert my son to drinking smoothies I’d be ecstatic and I know he would feel better (have less stomachaches).

Speaking of children, we need to start educating them now about healthy choices, healthy lifestyles. Now is the time to explore healthier options with children even though they may prefer the processed junk like granola bars, chips, cookies, etc. It is easier to start healthy habits as a child, than as an adult. Rather it is harder to break unhealthy habits as an adult, than as a child. One of the ways I do this is at snack time. I ask them to choose a fruit or vegetable first. When they finish that I let them choose something else. Since we don’t keep much processed junk in the house the choices usually are graham crackers and milk, pretzels, or a strawberry cereal bar (minimally processed foods). Hopefully this will aid them later in life to make healthy choices and not be a struggling adult trying to figure out how to lead a healthy lifestyle.

What are the ways you teach your children about healthy living?

 

DISCLAIMER: My family and I do eat pizza, ice cream, meat, Oreos, Doritos, etc. Just not on a daily basis. Those are “treats” for us. I am amazed at folks who stick to their non-processed, non-dairy, non-gluten, non-meat, non-sugar, and so on “diets” and never stray. But I like to live a little, and enjoy life while maintaining my health. Everything in moderation. That is the key.

 

 

Healthy Meals on the Go

Even though there is still a chance of snow this coming week, softball and baseball season in this household are under way. While I am excited about the season because I absolutely LOVE watching my children play their favorite sport, I am feeling completely overwhelmed. Why? Because my almost 9 year old daughter is playing on 3 softball teams this season, plus participating in Girls on the Run. I have volunteered to help with both her recreation and 8U softball teams, plus I coach Girls on the Run. My 6 year old son is only playing recreation baseball, thankfully. However, between practices and games, and the GOTR schedule, there is no time for regular meal prep or regular sit down family dinners during the week. Normally our family sits down together for dinner around 6 pm every night. This is the time we catch up with each other, discuss upcoming events, impart parental advice, and in general just be together as a family. While I realize it’s really only for a couple of months we have this crazy schedule, it still drives me batty. I want to feed  my family healthy dinners and I want to be able to have time where all four of us sit down and be with each other. Since I am coaching both softball and GOTR, I will also have to be at most practices and games, and therefore will have to prep meals earlier in the day. The criteria for these meals will be:

1. Healthy

2. Easily packable

3. Served cold or at room temp (or quickly re-heated)

These healthy dinners need to be eaten easily on the go, at the field, or served quickly after a practice/game so that my children can get to bed at a decent hour. Hopefully their homework will already be done!

This is my latest test recipe from the Oh She Glows Cookbook, and packs up quite nicely. Creamy Avocado Potato Salad and Super Power Chia Bread. Plus a Morning Glory Smoothie (I wouldn’t recommend bringing the glass, but it worked well to take this picture!)

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Another reason I am overwhelmed by this season is the lack of free play and down time for my children. I never intended my children’s schedules to be so busy. I have always said that I would not over schedule them with various activities. I don’t know how parents (or really the children) do it with multiple sports, Girl/Boy Scouts, Hebrew School/CCD, etc. Generally the rule in our house is one activity per season. We broke that rule in the fall when my daughter decided to participate in both soccer and Girls on the Run. Since GOTR is a character building program that enhances girls’ confidence and I had been coaching it for 5 seasons already, I was thrilled my daughter wanted to participate. However, this spring I should have put the kibosh on  it. I had no idea she would be involved in 3 softball teams! But she is insisting and remarked that she liked the looks of her busy schedule because in her words, “It energizes me!” So we will see how it goes.

I fully believe children should have the opportunity for free play. Making up their own games. Unorganized, unstructured, and unsupervised activity. Being the creators of their own rules and consequences. Fighting, decision making, solving problems. ALL. ON. THEIR. OWN. Free play teaches children to make friends, get along with others, learn to handle self control and their emotions, and makes them HAPPY!

Two questions for my readers:

1. What healthy meal ideas do you prepare that travel well or can be prepared ahead and served quickly?

2. How do you encourage free play in your children?

Week 2 NOT Starting off Good

I was so proud of myself for making it a week on  my food challenge seriously limiting grains, dairy, sugar, alcohol, and processed foods. I decided I could let them back in here and there and continue my great feeling. Nope. Sunday was great. I ate well all day, and had a small bowl of ice cream at the day’s end. Felt fine. Yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day and to celebrate our Irish heritage I made potato soup and served it with focaccia bread. Not so great. The bread has done me in. I had more than my share last night, and again at lunch today. Plus the bag of “Cowboy Bark” I bought at Trader Joe’s with the intention of sharing with my family, is so addictive and therefore, not good for me. I can’t stop at having a small piece. I did share with my daughter in her lunch today, as I knew I had to start doling it out to get it out of the house. My son would have had some (had he known), but he ate too much focaccia at lunch and was full before I could offer him the sweet treat. He is having a bit right now as an afternoon snack along with his applesauce. Don’t worry, honey, I saved the rest for you!

Plus on Tuesday mornings I am not able to get to the gym as I have the pleasure of taking care of a friend’s 1 year old. I guess I could go later in the day, or at night when there are classes offered, but I never seem to motivate. I am a morning workout kind of gal. If it doesn’t happen by 10, it doesn’t happen. I need to work on changing that. So with the lack of exercise coupled with the increased intake of grains and sugar, and lack of fruits and vegetables today I am feeling quite blah. My mind feels foggy. I have no energy. I am hoping the Green Monster Smoothie I just made puts some pep in my step!

Real Food 30 Day 1

I have never strictly followed any sort of nutrition program. I don’t like living like under such rules and I highly believe in moderation, variety, and enjoying treats here and there. So after much thought and a good night’s sleep I have decided to come up with my own program. Real Food 30. No processed foods/packaged foods for this girl. I still bought a few packaged things for the kids, but a lot less than usual. Until my half and half runs out, I plan on having that in my cup of coffee every morning. I just came back from Trader Joe’s and the fridge is stocked. Well, at least the two crisper drawers are and my hanging fruit basket! The pantry does  not have much more than yesterday, except for a few more cans of beans, olives, salsas, nuts, tomatoes, lentils….that sort of thing. For the next 30 days I will be chronicling this process.

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Breakfast:

Vegan Pumpkin Bread from OhSheGlows. I have been making this recipe for a couple of years now and the whole family LOVES it! However, I do make some changes to it. I reduced the sugar to 1/2 cup, left out the walnuts, and did not make the buttercream icing, which is divine. If you do make that it is more of a dessert! I made two loaves of this bread a few weeks back and froze them. So luckily we had something to eat for breakfast this morning since I still hadn’t been to the grocery store. I also had  my cup of coffee with half and half and a little liquid Stevia.

Snack:

I was hungry when I came home from Trader Joe’s since I only had a small piece of the pumpkin bread before I left, so I made a bowl of European Style Plain Full Fat Yogurt with a handful of various nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, and macademia), a teaspoon of chia seed, handful of blueberries and raspberries, and a tablespoon of toasted coconut. Not bad. Not great. But I definitely could get used to it. I should note, however, that I never measure anything. I just eyeball it when I am cooking/preparing meals. Baking is about the only thing I measure ingredients for!

Lunch:

BIG SALAD with spinach and romaine, carrots, pepper, white button mushrooms, handful of cashews, scallions, and 1/2 of an avocado. The dressing I made and used atop the salad that my husband and I shared (and we have enough left over for a small side salad for dinner tonight) is actually a Moroccan dipping sauce.  My husband also ate a banana and peanut butter with the salad. I ate a handful of nuts I mixed up earlier (almonds, hazelnuts, and macademia). The kids had some cheese and crackers, grapes, and 1/2 apple. Normally, I would have given them more to eat, but it was already 2:30. We are clearly still on vacation mode. I had them each try one of the nuts, and peanut butter on one cracker. My 6 year old son did not like any of the nuts or peanut butter. He spit all the nuts in the garbage! Guess it is going to have to be black beans for him at lunch since he doesn’t like any other source of protein! My 8 year old daughter ate everything without complaint, but she did not like the nuts. She did mention she would eat salted almonds! OK!

Snack: Cherry Pie Larabar (the only packaged food  I plan on eating until I can come up with my own recipe)

Dinner: Crustless quiche cups with spinach, onion, mushrooms, and pepper. I added ham and cheese to the kids. For a side I attempted at making hash — zucchini and sweet potato hash! I didn’t mind it, neither did Marc, but neither kid was very fond of it. They ate it anyway. Marc ended up finishing the salad from lunch, and I finished the chickpea dish from last night. The kids had some graham crackers and milk. Clearly the quiche cups and hash was not enough food for any of us.

I am just not sure this Real Food 30 Challenge I have set up for myself is going to last. I might just have to concentrate on breakfast, lunch, and snacks for myself, and go back to our regular vegetarian family meals for dinner. My stomach feels good. Although I do still feel hungry. Maybe I’ll have another handful of nuts or blend some Greek yogurt and frozen berries later.

Real Food

I have been wanting to switch my entire nutrition towards eating “real food” for some time now. I would to seriously limit processed foods, and limit sugars, grains, dairy, alcohol, and gluten as much as possible. In order to begin eating this way, I was thinking about completing the Whole 30 program as my sister had glowing remarks about how much better she felt after completing it. I am interested in this “resetting” process or “cleanse” as I see it, but I just think it’s too hard with a family in which I am the main meal preparer. My husband did offer to help more with meal preparation, which I appreciated, but I am hesitant. Not only do I get really anxious having someone else in the kitchen helping with meal prep, I really want the entire family to also adopt eating real food, but I don’t feel it’s fair since we are already a vegetarian family within the home. The children are allowed to eat meat outside of the home. I just won’t prepare it in our home. Friends and family might be thinking, “how could she possibly limit the children’s variety of kid friendly food than she already has?!!” But, it is possible.  I know that I feel better when I eat real food, and I also notice a huge difference in my son’s behavior and how he feels when he eats a diet richer in real food. He has more energy, less stomachaches, less tantrums when he is tired. Yes, kids can burn off the calories of all the “kid friendly food” such as donuts, macaroni and cheese, hot dogs, pasta, chicken tenders, french fries, but it’s not about them gaining weight or being out of shape. It’s about them feeling good inside (their stomachs…..they, too, experience gassiness or bloating that us adults do) and learning healthy eating habits at an early age. I personally would prefer it if restaurants got rid of children’s menus so that my children would order off the adult menu. The chefs could make the meals “kid sized” or we could take home the leftovers. I am sick of the restaurants that only offer hot dogs, mac and cheese, hamburger, pizza, and chicken tenders. Thankfully more restaurants are adding healthier side options such as applesauce, carrots, and broccoli instead of just pairing the main kid meal with FRENCH FRIES! But I digress…..

We have been in Florida for a week. Vacation mode meant a lot of eating out. Wine. Beer. Dessert. I figured it’s a good time to start over since our fridge and pantry are almost completely bare and therefore, have to go grocery shopping. But first I need to have some sort of meal plan in mind before I shop. I have spent the better part of the day pouring over websites such as Whole 30 and 100 Days of Real Food, and other blogs and sites trying to get meal ideas that the whole family would enjoy. But it is so  hard and time consuming. Besides unpacking and cooking lunch and dinner, I literally have been sitting at my computer since we got home around 2 pm and it is now 10 pm. I plan on transitioning slowly to give everyone time to adjust. I also don’t plan on committing to this nutrition lifestyle 100%, but there are some definite changes that need to be made. Of course it will take more work on my part since real food definitely takes more prep work. I hate meal planning!

Don’t believe me about my pantry and fridge? Here, take a look.Somehow we managed to make 2 meals out of what was left in the freezer (unfortunately packaged foods/frozen foods……mahi mahi burgers/veggie burgers/frozen corn/edamame) for today’s lunch and dinner. I, however, decided to try something new and sauteed up a can of chickpeas with a can of fire roasted tomatoes with green chilies. I added some spices (garam masala, cumin, and coriander) and at the last minute added some edamame and corn. It was delicious! Everyone else turned up their nose up at it, but I love meals like that. I just would like to get my family on board as well!

Bare Pantry

How about that one lime in the crisper drawer! Ha.Bare Fridge

It’s what you put in that counts

If you are interested in learning more about the food we eat check out these documentaries:
Food Inc, Food Matters, A Place at the Table, Supersize Me, The Gerson Miracle, Forks Over Knives

On The Funny Side

I like to think that I have always eaten pretty well. My mom always cooked for us, there was never a lot of junk food around. I remember her telling us to pick a cereal out but it had to have less than a certain number of grams of sugar in it. Mom was the original label reader. I was never a big fast food eater but sometimes french fries are just really delicious. I don’t drink soda, save for the fountain Coke I treat myself to about three times a year.  I make dinner 6 nights a week, I don’t cook on Fridays. Everyone should get a night off! There is always plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables in our house and what I make is what’s for dinner. You don’t have to eat it but I’m not making something else. I am not a short order cook.

A…

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10 Strategies to Promote Healthy Behavior Change

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How many times have you vowed to eat better. Exercise more. Lose weight. Get stronger. Sleep more. Yet somehow you fall short. Why is that? There can be a number of reasons why your good intentions towards healthy behavior failed. Rather than focusing on that, below are some strategies to promote healthy behavior change. You need to change your environment in order to change your behavior. This is called stimulus control.  “Stimulus control in an important modification and motivational strategy that involves altering the environment to encourage healthy behaviors and make following the modification program as easy as possible. Stimulus control is related to operant conditioning, as it refers to manipulating the stimuli in the environment to trigger the behavior of exercise or healthy eating.”

1. Lay out your workout clothes, socks, shoes for early morning workouts.

2. Keep a gym bag in the car with all the necessary items (clothes, shoes, yoga mat, water bottle, towel, etc.)

3. If you decide to join a fitness center, find one that is the direct path between work and home, and then schedule work out times that coincide at the times you will be driving past the facility.

4. Socialize with people who live healthy lifestyles. That way  you create a support system for behavioral change with others who have similar interests and goals.

5. Stick to your grocery list and don’t buy items that are not on the list. Not having certain foods in the house makes it easier to adhere to eating healthier.

6. Post signs in your kitchen….on the refrigerator, cabinets, pantry…. listing foods that you should eat.

7. Wear or bring comfortable shoes to work so you take the stairs instead of the elevator, or so that during breaks you can take a walk.

8. Leave your cash at home so  you don’t make impulse buys on snacks, etc. Pack a healthy lunch/snack and bring to work.

9. Remove the candy bowl from your desk.

10. Join a group that engages in physical activity together (running/biking/hiking/walking club).

As we say at Girls on the Run, “Be yourself. Have fun. Try your best.”