Thursday, November 12, 2015

7 ways to stay on track during the Holidays

I love the holidays! The lights, the smells, family gatherings, decorations and more. However, with the Holidays can come hectic schedules, parties and more parties, which usually means more and more food! Not to mention the neighbor and co-worker gifts that fill the countertops. Pair that with seemingly less time for exercise, and some would fear the year's hard work in fitness and weight loss is lost.

Many of us started the year with health goals such as weight loss or weight maintenance.
Statistics show that the average American gains 5-10 pounds over the Holidays.

What do you say about NOT becoming part of that statistic?

Whether your efforts have been consistent or more like a roller coaster pattern, none of us want to back track on any of the progress we have made.  I have compiled a list of 7 ways to stay on track during the Holidays.

1. Write down your goal. A goal unwritten is merely a wish. Write your goal and motivation and place it somewhere you will see it often. Let it remind you of what you want to accomplish during the Holidays. Let it build you up in confidence that you CAN succeed.

2. Get rid of the "D" word. Diet has gotten a negative connotation in our society. It has become what we "have" to eat or what we "can't" eat. I give you the challenge to rather see "Diet" simply as WHAT you eat. Keep the goal to eat sensibly through the Holidays. If you indulge on the pumpkin pie, let it be just enough to satisfy the taste buds. Don't wait until Monday to get back on track.

3. Use a fitness/food tracker. With hectic schedules it can be tricky to remember all that we are doing for exercise and all that we put into our mouths. Fitness trackers can help motivate by giving feedback on how many calories you've consumed, how many steps you've taken, and calories you have burned during the day. (,, etc)

4. Schedule your workouts. Write down on a calendar or on your phone when/where you are going to exercise. Make an appointment with yourself. If you for see you cannot keep to your regular location and time, make sure to at least do some HIIT or Tabata training at home. 20 min of a good sweat is better than doing nothing at all!

5. Don't got to a party or gathering hungry. Going to a party hungry ignites the smells and emotional connections with food and is likely to lead to overeating. Have a reasonable snack before going such as apples and peanut butter, or some raw veggies. Also, while visiting at the party, keep a glass of water in your hand. This will keep the hands occupied and less able to reach for the goodies.

6. Enlist a friend! Guaranteed you aren't the only person on the block concerned about weight gain over the holidays. Form a workout group or challenge group with friends or co-workers. Add some incentive such as money, movie tickets, music etc. to the person who is able to maintain and not gain weight over the Holidays.

7.  Think rewards! Motivation is a big key to staying on track. Choose a reward for yourself and when you can get the reward. For example, "when I exercise at least 4 days a week from November to February 1st, then I get to buy new workout clothes." Perhaps each day you meet your goal for eating or exercise, place a token in a jar. When you reach "x" tokens, you receive "x" reward. (Preferably a non-food reward!) Rewards help us celebrate progress along the way to our ultimate goal.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Try something new, don't be afraid of what might challenge you, take a few chances, push yourself.       BECAUSE...

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Back to School

Back to School: Get your snack on!

It's back to school time for most kids. This year, I have two kids in school and two left at home. This first week, we are learning new dynamics, a new pace and getting back to a routine again.  Hopefully by week 4, we'll have the hang of things!

I like when the kids start school. It gives us all some space and personally, I get a little break from being the sole entertainer, scheduler, etc.! A few things I don't look forward to, are making breakfast, packing lunches, and rushing out the door. I've found that planning and having a schedule of what I'll prepare decreases my pains a bit! I don't want my kids to eat school lunch and I want them to learn how to create a healthy meal, so home lunch it is. Watch for a future post for some "out of the box" home lunch ideas and make ahead breakfasts.

In these first weeks of school, I am trying to stockpile healthy snacks to have accessible when the kids come home. The question, "Mom, I'm hungry. Can I have a snack?" gets really old!  I have found that establishing what the snack options are and having them in one spot, makes life easier.
  • I found this basket and decided it would be our snack basket. It sits on the counter where everyone can reach. Common snacks: fruit leather, fruit, pretzels, whole fruit snacks, crackers,  nuts, granola bars.

  • Then I have one drawer in the fridge designated to snack foods- like apples, string cheese, veggies, cottage cheese etc. Ideally, the fruit and veggies are washed, cut and ready to eat, but my kids are old enough to use the apple cutter and a small knife.

    Today I was trying out a new addition for the snack basket... initial plan- protein oat balls.... they turned into granola. We love to improvise in the kitchen! (I had a bit more than fit into my container, so I added a piece of fabric and the recipe.... makes a great teacher gift!)
Here's the recipe:

Protein Oat Energy Granola (bars or balls)
Adapted from

• 1 cup natural, creamy peanut butter
• 1/4 cup honey, 1/4 cup Pure Maple Syrup
• ½ teaspoon vanilla
• 6 cups quick oats
2 cups Rice Krispy cereal
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 2 teaspoons cinnamon
• 1 cup raisins or Craisins
•  6 tablespoons chia seeds
Combine peanut butter and honey/syrup and heat to combine. Add remaining ingredients until coated and well mixed. Spread on a silicone mat or lightly greased cookie sheet and bake for 12 min at 325 degrees. Remove, let cool, and store in an airtight container. Keeps up to 2 weeks.
* If you add another 1/4 cup honey and omit Rice Krispy cereal, you can form into balls or spread onto a baking sheet for granola bars. No need to bake in the oven. Place in fridge for 20 min until firm, cut into bars and place in plastic container or wrap individually in plastic wrap.
*Serve with low fat yogurt, sprinkle atop fruit, or simply eat plain.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Homemade Fruit Leather

Homemade Fruit Leather

Easy, Healthy and Affordable!


3 cups of fruit of choice (rinsed, dried, pitted etc.), or 2 whole mangos
  * I like to combine fruit like banana and strawberry, apple/mango etc. Get creative! Even add some vegetable purees!
  *If using more tart fruits, you can use 1Tbsp of agave nectar to sweeten the mixture.
Parchment paper or silicone baking mats

Heat oven to 175 Degree F.
Add fruit into a food processor and blend until smooth

Place silicone baking mat or parchment paper on a baking sheet.
Spread mixture onto a  silicone baking mat/ parchment paper about 1/8 inch thick.

Place in the oven and let dehydrate for 3 hours.  Increase or decrease time based on the thickness of your mixture.

Let cool, cut into strips with a pizza cutter. Roll fruit strips and store in an airtight plastic bag or container.

* You can also use a food dehydrator if you have that luxury!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Preserving the Harvest

How to freeze Fruits and Vegetables- make the most of the Summer/Fall Harvest

Have you ever run into a good price on produce or found that you had purchased more than you could eat before it started to turn? Read on to see how to freeze and preserve the foods so they don’t go to waste.

Vegetables: Wash the vegetables, then boil and blanch. A basic rule of thumb is to blanch (boil) the vegetable for 2-4 min, then put them in an ice bath for an equivalent amount of time. Strain vegetables and place on a baking sheet. Place in freezer for 2-3 hours, or until firm. Place in freezer bags and place in freezer for future use. (see a list here.)

Fruit: Wash fruit, remove stems and seeds, slice if desired, allow to dry. Then spread on a baking sheet and place in freezer for 2-3 hours, or firm. Place in freezer bags and place in freezer for future use.

Quick Tips
·     Freeze fruits and veggies when they're at their peak of freshness.
·     Freeze fruits and vegetables quickly.
·     Store in heavy-weight, air-tight containers or freezer bags.
·     Fill containers to the top and remove as much air as possible from freezer bags.

Once frozen, these can be used in soups, smoothies, casseroles, slow cooker meals and more. The nutrients are maintained and so is the flavor, without the worry of preservatives that may be found in frozen and canned foods purchased in the store.

Friday, July 3, 2015


In honor of the holiday and BBQ's that take place,
try these sure to become BBQ favorites.

barely adapted from Cooking Light, June 2011
{Note: this sherbet will freeze pretty solid – remove from the freezer 5-10 minute before serving to let it warm up slightly and make it easier to scoop.}
1/4 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
2 cups cubed mango (peeled)
1/2 cup sugar or 1/4 cup honey/agave nectar
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 (13.5 oz) can light coconut milk
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Spread the coconut in an even layer on the baking sheet. Bake for 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the coconut is golden brown. Don’t walk away, it can burn *very* quickly. Remove the baking sheet to a wire rack and let the coconut cool while you prepare the rest of the recipe.
In the bowl of your food processor (or blender), combine the mango, sugar, lime juice, and coconut milk. Process until the mixture is completely smooth. If desired, transfer to your refrigerator and chill for a few hours (this isn’t strictly necessary, but I always like to get the mixture very cold before churning).
Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to an airtight container and store in your freezer. You’ll want to give it a few hours to firm up before serving. Sprinkle some of the toasted coconut on top of each serving.
Makes about 1 quart
    For the Salad
  • 1 pound Brussels Sprouts
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • For the Lemon Vinaigrette
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
    For the Salad
  1. Shred the Brussels Sprouts using a mandolin, or finely shred the Brussels using a sharp knife.
  2. Toss the shredded Brussels with the dried cranberries, avocado and parmesan cheese. Drizzle with the lemon vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper as needed.
  3. For the Lemon Vinaigrette
  4. Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

A healthy snack that's incredibly crunchy, crispy and addicting!
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup Panko*
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 zucchinis, thinly sliced to 1/4-inch thick rounds
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
  • In a large bowl, combine Panko and Parmesan; set aside.
  • Working in batches, dredge zucchini rounds in flour, dip into eggs, then dredge in Panko mixture, pressing to coat.
  • Add zucchini rounds to the skillet, 5 or 6 at a time, and cook until evenly golden and crispy, about 1 minute on each side. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. 
  • Option: cover and dredge the zucchini- then bake in 400 degree oven for 8 min or until golden brown. Turning over half way through.
  • Serve immediately.

Friday, June 5, 2015


We all have the rough paths of life, the set backs, and rocky roads.  I wanted to share a little something I’ve been doing to push through my recent rocky road!

I tore my ACL(ligament in your knee that keeps it from moving side to side and lets it bend and straighten. Pretty important!) in April. We were just 7 days from moving.  I had just signed up to participate in the RAGNAR Wasatch Back and was motivated to improve on my personal record that I set this last year in a Half Marathon.

Now what?  I can hobble along at the gym, ride the stationary bike just enough to break a sweat, but I can’t quite get my heart rate up. What a bummer! I long to be the person I see running down the street!

I don’t want this to be an excuse to gain weight, to eat horribly, or lose all the progress I have already made.
So here’s something I put together now that I had surgery and am now working on my range of motion and strength. Whether you’re rehabbing or just need a good workout at home- take a look.


Do 4 rounds
20 pushups (on the back of a couch, edge of counter, or seat of a chair)
20 lateral step ups each leg (use a stair or exercise step. Keep one foot planted on step, squat down until opposite foot barely touches the ground, return to standing)
30-60 sec plank
20 tricep dips on seat of chair
20 lat pull downs with exercise band
15 wall squats
20 pushups
30-60 sec plank
15 superman raises
15 wall squats
20 seated weighted shoulder press
30-60 sec plank with 4 jacks (Hold 4 seconds, jack for 4)

Thursday, May 21, 2015


Protein is a necessary nutrient for energy, muscle growth, muscle maintenance, and balancing blood sugar. The average protein need is .8 grams per kilogram of body weight.( Example: 130 lb/2.2= 59.09kg x .8g= 47 grams protein). 
Concerned about how much protein you are getting, what's in the protein powder, or want a protein packed shake your kids will love? Try this recipe that packs 22 grams of protein into 12 ounces- with all natural ingredients!
12 ounces of Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Shake:
·         1 Cup milk
·         1/2 cup silken soft tofu
·         2 tablespoons unsweetened natural peanut butter
·         1 tablespoon chia seeds
·         1-2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
·         1-2 tablespoons honey
Blend all ingredients together in a high powered blender until smooth as milk!  Store in the fridge and serve cold. (source:

Monday, April 27, 2015

Moving Forward: part 2

Last month I wrote here about working to improve at least one area of your life that you felt was feasible to change right now.  These were the steps:

a)     Pick AT LEAST one area that we would like to progress in.
b)     Identify triggers or cues that lead to the behavior you want to change.
c)      List one way you plan to move forward in that area each day(routine).
d)     Finally, set a follow up date to check on our status(plan).
e)     KEY: Make sure it is feasible for you and not so drastic that’ll you’ll stop after a few days or even a week. Change takes time, patience, and multiple attempts! Make it so easy it’s hard to NOT do it!

I took on the challenge, hopped on the roller coaster ride with the focus to control my sweet tooth! (FYI- brushing my teeth with the kids helped! I was too tired to do it again so it deterred me from eating again!)

Here are a few other things I learned:

1) I was far from perfect at it! However, each time I “thought” about it, I became more consistent than I was when I began this challenge a month ago.

2) My previous realization that sometimes you have to come back to “status quo” to start moving forward again was reconfirmed. Even though I knew the “right” choice to make, I had to focus on the SMALL steps to make it happen. Often requiring me to start over each day.

3) As I found myself improving on my first goal, my CONFIDENCE to “attack” other goals increased! Areas I wasn’t specifically focused on had naturally moved in the right direction! Life brings unexpected hills- be forgiving of yourself and recommit.

4) JOY- although each day still has its struggles, I have found more joy in the day to day. 

5) Most importantly- Believe in Yourself and decide to change for YOU. You have greater abilities than you know. Recognize too that others are on this path with you. We can all work together, bolster, support and lift one another as we work to improve.

Please share some of your experiences!