All of us wish that we could take the time to be a little healthier, I’m sure. There are some little things that you can do that take very little time to make your day as healthy as possible. When you are healthy, you feel good. And when Mama feels good, don’t we all? Here are some tips that I gleaned from a few resources, as well as some I threw in myself. Follow these and your day is sure to end with you feeling mega-great!
In the A.M.
- Wake up to natural light. Your body likes it. This could be as simple as waking to an alarm and then throwing open the blinds. You will definitely wake up faster with the natural light pouring in!
- Do some stretches to get your blood flowing- just a couple minutes is enough.
- Sit down and eat a nice breakfast, full of protein, whole grains, low-fat dairy and fruit. This will give you the energy you need to get your day started and take you through mid-morning.
- If possible, only have one cup of coffee so that you avoid a crash later on in the morning. If you have to have more than one, try one cup of regular and one cup of decaf.
- Get moving right after breakfast for at least 20 minutes. Just sitting there is doing nothing for you or your metabolism. Your nice breakfast will have given you energy to get up and going, so do it! 20 minutes of light to moderate activity will give you even more energy to start your day (this could be cleaning up the kitchen, taking the dog for a walk or running around getting the kids ready, too!)
- Eat a mid-morning snack. Pick from one of the recipes below, or just have a piece of fruit to hold you over until lunchtime. Going into lunch ravenous will only cause you to overeat, which in turn causes mega after-lunch crashes in the afternoon…not fun!
From noon to evening
- Eat a lunch rich in protein, balanced with veggies-a-plenty and a serving of whole grains or nuts. This will keep your mood and energy up throughout the afternoon.
- Be briefly active after lunch (take a quick stroll, go grab your mail upstairs, etc.)
- The after-lunch afternoon slump is brutal. Instead of falling into that slump, focus your attention on doing a different task than the one at hand or get up and walk around a bit. Also, some breathing and stretches will do the trick.
- Have a snack that is balanced in protein and carbs, such as one of the options below.
- Have a light dinner. Eating a big meal right before bedtime can make digestion more difficult and can lead to sleep problems.
- Instead of a rich dessert, have some herbal tea and some fresh berries with yogurt or a frozen fruit/yogurt bar.
- Get some movement in right after dinner by making a point to clean up the kitchen immediately after eating. By getting moving, you aid both your metabolism and digestion.
- Try to hit the sack before 11 p.m. Those who go to bed later and wake up later have been proven to gain and retain more weight over time.
- Do some meditating or light yoga before going to bed to get into a relaxation state. Taking a warm bath infused with lavender is also a nice way to get your body into sleep mode. You could even rub some lavender oil on your pulse points to get the fragrance on you.
- Try to stick to the same routine every night- washing your face and brushing your teeth at relatively the same time. Your body will be trained to fall asleep around that time every night, making it easier for you to get some quality z’s.
SNACK RECIPES (one of these in mid-morning and one in the afternoon is ideal):
- Coconut Celery- Fill 3 celery ribs with 1 tbsp. peanut or other nut butter; sprinkle with 2 tbsp. each shredded coconut and dried blueberries
- Apricot Supreme- Slice open 4 dried apricots and stuff with 2 tbsp. low-fat cream cheese (I like the whipped variety). Top each with half a walnut or pecan
- “Peppy” Popcorn- Blend 3 cups air-popped popcorn with 1 tbsp. Parmesan and a pinch of cayenne pepper
- Yummy Yogurt- Top 1 small container of low-fat Greek style vanilla yogurt with 6 mandarin orange segments and 1 tsp. chopped pistachios
- Try to get in about 30-45 minutes of cardio about three times a week, along with a few brief resistance training sessions (about 25 minutes per session is sufficient). Also, yoga at least once a week aids in strength, flexibility and balance.
- Never go more than three hours without eating something (healthy, that is!).
- Drink LOTS of water!
Since Perdue chicken breasts were on sale at the beginning of this week at Jewel-Osco (Buy One Get One Free), I have decided to focus this week’s recipe around chicken! (I hope you stocked up while you could!) The Megacool thing about these recipes is that you only have to cook the chicken once, then re-use it for the rest of the meals! Love that time-saving factor!
So, fire up the grill one last time before cold weather hits and get to grilling your chicken!
NOTE: highlighted food items will lead you to a coupon! Yippeee!
Dinner 1 (BBQ Chicken Breasts w/veggies)
- Put some barbeque chicken breasts on the grill (enough for a meal for your family). I usually wait until the last 5-8 minutes of grilling to put on the bbq sauce so that it doesn’t stick to the grill as much!
- While you are at it, throw on several more pieces of chicken without bbq sauce to use in your recipes for the rest of the week. You could use the same marinade on the chicken breasts that I used on my drumsticks in this recipe.
- Serve the bbq chicken breasts with some steamed veggies and whole grain buns or brown rice (the steamable microwave kind from Trader Joe’s is amazing! It’s organic and cooks in 3 minutes!)
Dinner 2 (Chicken Strip Salad)
- For the next night’s dinner, cut the chicken breasts into strips and serve over your favorite lettuce or salad blend. Add some fresh sliced strawberries, some feta cheese and walnuts for a healthy, heartier dinner salad! (Just don’t go overboard with the nuts and cheese! 1-2 tbsps. of nuts and 1 tbsp of feta cheese is plenty to get you the taste and health benefits you need!) Use the dressing from my Very Vegetable Salad recipe to drizzle on top!
Dinner 3 (Chicken Fajitas)
- On the third night, reheat the remaining chicken strips with salsa, sliced & grilled peppers & onions, crushed garlic, a squeeze of lime juice and a dash of oregano to make delcious chicken fajitas wrapped in steaming whole wheat tortillas ( I like the Target brand Archer Farms Simply Balanced Whole Wheat tortillas!). Serve with slices of avocado if you like on the side!
I hope you enjoy your chicken this week! If you have any strips left over, you could even freeze them and use them to make dinner at a later date! Let me know how you liked the recipes!
Real Simple magazine is running a promotion right now that is perfect for the rush of the day during back-to-school season. If you go here and sign up, they will send you their editors’ daily tips and easy ideas to help you eat healthier, organize meals, discover new recipe ideas, and connect with your family during dinner. And, just for joining, you’ll be automatically entered into their sweepstakes to win a grand prize of $2000 in groceries! Take the 4-week online challenge today! Megacool!
Here are some awesome resources I came across that Whole Foods offers on their site/blog. And, the good part is that you don’t have to have a Whole Foods store nearby to take advantage of the tools they offer on their site. In the links I have provided below, you will find lots of goodies and be able to take advantage of the coupons, too, if you have a Whole Foods store that you go to!
Meal planner, recipes, and activities for kids here!
Coupons for Whole Foods here!
Watch a short video about making healthy lunches for your kids, leave a comment, and enter to win a $100 gift card to The Container Store! Yippeee!
Head on over to the Rubbermaid website to start saving on their products! I love their glass containers with Easy Find lids for storing and freezing leftovers from my Megacool recipes, such as this Shredded Pork one!
Did you know that Meijer’s website has a spot where you can go online and download coupons that you want on products sold at Meijer? I didn’t know that I could do that until I discovered the Meijer Mealbox! Visit the link to start saving even more at your Meijer!
FREE downloadable organizational tools!
MommyTracked is a cute website that offers lots of helpful suggestions on being an organized mommy and keeping your sanity! I found these free downloads that will definitely come in handy for planning my next party and keeping my family’s meals and activities organized during the week. Check it out for yourself!
So, if you are familiar with “My Philosophy” then you know I only endorse on my blog the products that I feel pass my test: NO high fructose corn syrup, NO hydrogenated oils, NO white enriched flour, and NO artifical preservatives. I strongly believe that many health problems in the United States today stem from the use of artificial and BAD ingredients in foods that we eat; diabetes, cancer, hyperactivity, mood swings, migraines, chronic fatigue and pain, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, obesity, sleep disorders, depression (the list goes on and on) can all be linked somehow to these ingredients. (Read more about the effects of these ingredients here.) I have made it my mission to try my best to eliminate these ingredients in my family’s diet. So, this page is dedicated to those foods and companies that I have found actually produce food that is GOOD FOR YOU! I find most of these foods at my local Target, Walmart, Jewel, Costco and Meijer. This page will consistently be updated as I find more foods and companies that are dedicated to the same quality I am. My sincere hope is that you and your families can benefit in many ways from this list! Enjoy the coupons you can get from some of these websites as well (I have tried to link you directly to some, but others you may have to register with and form an account…only takes a minute!)
- Kashi (cereals, snacks, granola, frozen meals, etc.) COUPON
- Annie’s Homegrown (Kids’ snacks, mac & cheese, etc.)
- Horizon Dairy (milk) COUPON
- Old Orchard (juice) COUPON
- Healthy Life (bread)
- Stonyfield (yogurt) COUPON
- Polaner (all natural fruit spread)
- Smart Balance (butter, popcorn, etc.)
- Barilla (pasta)
- Prego (pasta sauce)
- Smuckers (all natural peanut butter)
- Hunt’s (No high fructose corn syrup ketchup)
- Archer Farms Organic (Target brand) (various products)
- Apple and Eve (juices and squeezable fruits) COUPON
- Wild Harvest Organic (various products and good advice about Green Living and Going Organic)
- Coffee Mate Natural Bliss (coffee creamer) COUPON
- Betty Crocker Gold Medal (whole wheat flour)(Please note that this is about the only item I buy from Betty Crocker)
- Amy’s (various frozen meals such as mac & cheese, burritos, brown rice & tofu & veggies, pizzas, to name a few…) COUPON
- Van’s Foods (waffles, french toast sticks, etc.)
- Sensible Portions (Veggie Straws, Apple Straws, etc.)