Challenge #9

Wow, July flew by!  I think having the 80/20 challenge tucked away in my head may have helped me find balance some of the time.  I will admit to too many fries, slices of pizza, and ice cream cones while at the beach for a week, but I think that just having the idea of striving for balance in the forefront of my mind went a long way.  (And what’s a beach vacation without a few ice cream treats?)  A few healthy salads topped with salmon, a wonderful grilled tuna wrap for lunch (twice!), fruit for snacking at the beach, made for a very enjoyable but not too destructive vacation.

So, for our last challenge of the month I thought we would focus on veggies.  We’ve been talking fruit a lot around here lately but veggies really pack the biggest nutritional punch there is.  The farmer’s markets, roadside stands, and grocery stores are abundant with local vegetables right now.  Instead of grabbing your usual, take a moment to really look around.  What looks a little intimidating?   Is there anything you have never prepared at home before?  Well, now is the time!   Grab that baby and throw it (gently) in the shopping bag!   If you have no idea what to do with it, take it home and google away.  You will be amazed at the ideas right at your fingertips.   There will be super simple recipes and ones that require oodles of ingredients.  Pick one that sounds good and give it a try.  You may find that you have a new favorite, you may find that you have a new least favorite, the point is to try something NEW, get out of your comfort zone!  For some extra fun, involve your kids.   Let them pick out something they’d like to try, then have them help in the research and preparing.  It’s mind-boggling what your kids will eat if they have had something to do with the creating!

We hope you have enjoyed this month of challenges.   If we could all make little changes (like drinking more water), big changes (like giving up soda), and fun changes (like kissing our partners more often!), we’d all be better for it.  Hopefully, you have seen for yourself what a difference a few good choices can make.  After all, healthier and happier is what it’s all about!

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Challenge #8

TGIF!  Looking forward to our last weekend before school starts for my kids on a year-round schedule.  We’ve had 4 weeks of fun and I know they will want to blow it out this weekend with lots of pool time, ice cream, and probably a trip to a favorite pizza or Mexican restaurant.  When I know “crazy” is coming, it helps to stock my fridge with quick, healthy options to grab on the way to the pool or for a fast lunch.  I like to make a salad that will last all weekend and be sure to have plenty of fruit on hand.

The challenge for the weekend is two-fold.  First, take a few minutes to prepare or shop for some easy, healthy options.  I love this cold chickpea salad recipe.  I have to run out this morning for more tomatoes but I promise to make it today and post a picture.  It is super easy and you can be creative and add whatever other chopped veggie you’d like.  The second part of the challenge is to look ahead to your weekend and see where you can carve out at least 30 minutes of time for yourself.  If you can find an hour, even better.  Sneak off to the hammock, coffee shop, closest park. Take a book or take nothing at all.  Just be. Breathe. Observe. Enjoy!

Cold Chickpea Cucumber Salad

Ingredients:

2 pints grape tomatoes, sliced in half (of course, any variety will work!)

2  15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1  large cucumber, peeled, quartered and sliced

1 cup snipped fresh cilantro (or 3 cubes frozen Trader Joes cilantro, microwave for a few seconds, mix with a drizzle of olive oil and add to bowl)

1/2 cup finely chopped red onion

juice of 1/2 lemon

6 T olive oil 

4 T red wine vinegar

 2 tsp coarse kosher salt

1 clove garlic, minced

Toss everything together and chill for at least an hour.  I like this salad even better the second day when all the flavors have really mingled.

Be back later with a photo!

Melissa

 

Happiness is frequently contagious

This video was in my email today, sent to me by a person in my life that is full of inspiration. It’s a reminder that there is no language barrier when it comes to happiness. I really liked it and thought I would share. I hope it brings a smile to your face and perhaps it will inspire you to get up and dance 🙂

-Andrea

http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap120710.html

She threw away his Oreos!

In making a change for the better and getting rid of the temptations in the pantry she threw it all away!  At first I thought, what a totally bold move, I don’t know if I could actually just throw food in the trash and then she said to me “I put the crap food in the trash or in my body, what’s the difference?”  She is not just talking about herself but her 3-year-old son and husband as well.  In an attempt to break the cycle of bad eating for the next generation and raise her son on unprocessed food (as much as possible), she threw it all away.  So, that night when her hubby got home from work and went to the pantry to find it, well, made over, he slowly walked into the living room, peered into the doorway and asks “where is all the food?”  It sparked conversation I’m sure but in the end they came to an agreement.  Her 30-something year-old husband can have his Lucky Charms for breakfast and his Oreos and whatever other junk HE wants to buy HIMSELF, but it is going to be stored on his “special shelf” (in the basement) so that the other 2 members of their family are not faced with the temptation.

They both want to raise a healthy eater and avoid the pitfalls of being raised on junk food, that is agreed.  It just may take Dad a little longer to break the bad habits from his past.  So, I give a shout out to you and anyone else out there that has decided to grow your little one(s) with fresh ingredients instead of the processed  stuff.  It’s not always easy, BUT we are always  here to support you!

A few months ago, Lucky Charms Dad told me that he felt like exposing his child to healthy foods “was like giving him a gift”.  I know all will be well with this family.

– How will your family grow?

Andrea

Challenge #7

Hope you had a happy and healthy weekend!  Slow going around here this morning after a week at the beach and all of the unpacking and decompressing that entails.

For all of you soda drinkers out there, the challenge this week may feel like, well, a challenge!  Try to replace every soda with a seltzer water.  There are so many varieties out there to choose from these days.  You can also try adding a few tablespoons of your favorite juice to a plain or flavored seltzer to give it some extra zing.  My favorite combo is a glass of Trader Joe’s lime seltzer with a splash of Pom juice.  The new Hint seltzer waters are also good.  Be sure to read the labels; some of the seltzers can have added sugar!

 

Challenge #6

Happy Friday!  Let’s all make an effort to be extra active this weekend. Let’s play outside for at least an hour with the kids, take a hike, show off your kick ball skills!   Sometimes the heat of the summer finds us dragging through the day and escaping to the air conditioning; totally understandable when the thermometer is creeping past 100 degrees!  But getting outside, even if only for an hour, and doing something to make you sweat it out a bit is a good thing!  Drink extra water during and after your activity, and then post-shower you can go back to your chilly A/C:)

Don’t forget to keep trying to add fruit to your day.  Grab a piece of fruit on your way out the door to run errands and you’ll have something to snack on when the Target salted pretzels and Starbucks Frappuccinos are shouting out to you.  Force yourself to have that first bite before making a decision on the junky stuff and chances are good that you will decide you don’t need it.  If it sounds like I know what I am talking about, well, you are darn right I do.  This is a tried-and-true method used by yours truly:)

Enjoy your weekend!

Melissa