April 21, 2024

Healthy Meals: Week at a Glance

Get Fit Quick Tip:

Weekly Meal Prep

Save time and energy by completing weekly meal prep. Choose one day each week to shop, chop, wash, prepare and cook. Healthy meals for the whole family will be at your disposal every day of the week:

Chop all veggies. Place in baggies so they are ready to go.

Wash produce. Prepare and clean produce so everyone in the family can simply grab and go!

Wash herbs. Wrap in paper towel, place in baggies and store in the fridge.

Bulk cook meats for the week. Portion out meat and store in air tight containers. All that’s needed is to heat it up.

Bulk cook entree’s to create left-overs. Cook casseroles, chili, soups and stews with a plan for left-overs. Refreshing a meal with a creative side dish or combination is a great way to minimize cooking during the week.


Parents: How exercise will help make your week easier! By David Hutchings

Parents have a hundred priorities to take care of in a day, and right at the bottom of that list is doing something for yourself.  The last thing you want to do is get in a workout. A far more attractive option is to flop down on the couch and get a few minutes shut-eye or watch TV or read a book.  What if I told you exercise will improve more than just your waistline?

Reduce stress. Taking care of a family is hard work, they have a hundred demands which, depending on their age they can’t communicate outside a scream.  This is stressful.  Exercise can help reduce your stress levels.  Exercise releases endorphins which will improve your mood and help you feel better about life in general.

Increase energy. Exercising regularly will increase in energy levels.  A lack of energy can definitely make life seem harder. Use exercise to boost energy, interest and enthusiasm for daily tasks.

Decrease aches and pains. Preventing injury is another thing that mums and dads should consider too.  Exercise makes your whole body stronger, therefore reducing injury during daily activities. Our one year old is already 9kg (20lb).  Picking him up and moving him about can put a lot of stress on the body.

Strengthen your core. Having a strong core and being strong generally can help prevent lower back injuries which often occur as a result of bending while carrying weight.  Such as putting children in cots, car seats, pushchairs etc.  Proper lifting technique helps too, which is often a by-product of a good training programme.

Improve self-esteem. Self esteem can be a big issue for new parents especially with the prevalence of post-natal depression or “baby blues”.  Even if you’re not prone to depression, I’ve never heard anyone say that more self-esteem is a bad thing!

So there you have it, a few reasons to get some exercise into your week.  I know it gets busy, stressful and tiring being a parent, especially a new one who is learning on top of all of this!  Start with 10-20 minutes, a few times a week, and you’ll see some great benefits in your life.

David Hutchings is the owner of 360 Degree Fitness Limited  — a mobile personal and small group training business based in Wellington, New Zealand. He trains a variety of clients from regular folks trying to get a little fitter to athletes looking to increase their speed and strength. He likes to fish, hang out with his wife and son, and also enjoys classic rock and a good barbecue.

Zucchini Nachos by Helen Agresti, R.D.

One of the most exciting aspects of my job is learning from my clients. One of them recently inspired me to try zucchini nachos. This was definitely an “aha moment” at the office. I thought, what an incredibly nutritious nacho idea–brilliant!
It took me a few tries to get the zucchini crispy enough to come close to resembling chips. Zucchini contains a good bit of water. Allowing the slices to dry out before grilling is key. Don’t get discouraged if your zucchini turns out too tender. Those batches make an incredibly delicious side dish the entire family will love.

(serves 4-6)
•    3 zucchini, cleaned and dried
•    sea salt, to taste
•    ground pepper, to taste
•    taco seasoning, to taste
•    shredded cheddar, to taste
•    ¾ c black beans, rinsed and dried
•    ¾ c corn, cooked
•    ½ c green onion
•    ¾ c vine ripe tomato, diced
•    1 dollop sour cream

1. Slice zucchini to no more than ¼ inch in thickness.
2. Place slices on a baking sheet lined with paper towel. Lightly sprinkle both sides of zucchini slices with salt and pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
3. Preheat grill to medium-high. Spray lightly with olive oil. Grill zucchini until tender and crisp on each side, about 2-3 minutes.
4. Just before the slices are ready to be removed from the grill, sprinkle with taco seasoning and shredded cheddar.
5. Place the zucchini slices on a platter and layer with beans, corn, green onion, tomatoes, and a dollop of sour cream.


Helen is the founder of Professional Nutrition Consulting and The 24_7 Dietitian app. She’s a mom of 5, contributor for the Huffington Post, triathlete, and chocolate lover. Helen is passionate about educating families on how to cook healthy meals and snacks at home. You can now receive Helen’s Personal Nutrition Coaching thru her 24_7 dietitian app-available on iOS and android. Go to www.pronutritionconsulting.com for more info.

Learning from your Kids by Jennifer Austin

School is out! Look no further than your children to gain inspiration how to enjoy living active. Add a little “recess” into your exercise and fitness program. Here’s what kids can teach US about having fun during physical activity:

Running as fast as you can feels great! Running wildly is fun. Rather than focusing on tensing this muscle and relaxing that muscle, stride length and time splits, etc, just run! Leave your watch at home and go. Adjust your stride by how your muscles feel. When you’re tired slow down, if you have a burst of energy, run faster. Keep it simple.

Abandoning structure is fun! Structured workouts do have a place in living healthy, but so do impromptu workouts. Bring the play back into your fitness. Adopt an anything-goes attitude with your exercise. Try a crab walk contest across the living room floor with your toddler, play tag with your dog in the backyard or see who can bring in the groceries from the car the fastest, do an impromptu set of walking lunges down your hallway. No rules, anything goes. Workout clothing and set exercise location are not always required to gain healthy living benefits.

There’s always room for one more player. There’s always room for a fellow-exerciser. Meeting others with the common interest of living healthy is a great way to find a new activity or training buddy. All exercisers have a common goal of improving health. Instead of allowing ego to interfere, it’s more fun to embrace them than to resent or feel threatened by a new player.

Get excited! Ever watch kids getting ready for recess? The teacher barely has time to open the door before the children are darting outside, practically climbing over one another to reach the school yard first. What excites you about your fitness? Find something! Crank up your favorite tunes, invite friends, try a different location, bring along your dog. If you don’t enjoy it, you won’t do it long-term.

Making up the rules as you go makes fitness fun. Diverting from your usual walking route to check out a house under construction provides extra interest and motivation. Deciding last minute to walk to lunch, instead of driving allows sunlight to boost your energy and mood. A simple walking the dog can become an interval training workout. Create a game you can play while at the park or beach with friends. Make up a scoring system, start a round-robin tournament, set up goal-posts using sticks or picnic tables. Before you know it, everyone will be chiming in to determine the game rules. Creativity with your healthy living adds spontaneity, go with it; be open to where it leads you!

Shouting, laughing and singing as you’re active is invigorating! Exercise doesn’t always have to be so serious. Having a sense of humor makes it more enjoyable…for everyone. Smiling is okay!

Full body moves are way more interesting. Climbing on a jungle-gym requires both arms, both legs and core muscles. Swinging requires arms holding on while kicking legs to create momentum. Playing handball against the backboard requires bending arms and legs, rotating our torso, running to retrieve the ball. Pulling on the ropes and bars means all of our muscles have to work together. Full body moves like Squat/Press and Lunge/Bicep Curl are great go-to total body exercises.

Exercise opportunities are everywhere. Bending, twisting, hopping, bouncing, twirling. Ever notice how a group of kids simply cannot sit still? As adults, we tend to only sit still. Stop it! Standing in line? Do heel and toe raises. Stuck in traffic? Pinch your shoulder blades together and pull your belly button in for 30 second intervals. Waiting for an appointment? Walk around the building.

Kids can teach us lots about adding the fun back into our fitness. Embrace your healthy living efforts as the one time during your day in which you can, have permission to, are able to…relax, enjoy yourself and have some fun moving, twisting, shouting, laughing, dancing, smiling, singing, running, climbing!

Getting Picky Eaters to Try New Foods by Kristen Yarker, R.D.

Child-Feeding Expert Child Feeding Expert’s Secret Tip for Using Packed Lunches to Get Picky Eaters to Try New Foods

It’s back to school. Which is the perfect time for me to share this secret tip that’s been super successful with my picky eater clients.

In the 6 years that I’ve worked with Moms and Dads of picky eaters, I’ve noticed that almost every family makes the same mistake. The only time that they offer their picky child a challenging food is at dinner. (Note that a “challenging food” is either a new food or one that their child has seen many times but refuses to eat). This backfires because even toddlers and preschoolers will notice this pattern. And so they will refuse to eat, act out, or come up with any other excuse not to come to the table and eat dinner. For many kids, picky eating stems from being afraid of the food. It’s a developmental stage that I call “food-wariness”. Instead of facing their fears, kids will do everything that they can to avoid the dreaded challenging food.

The first step to getting these kids to try new foods on their own is to have them become accustomed to seeing a new food in front of them. It’s the first baby step in overcoming their fear. By frequently presenting a new food, they become accustomed to the food’s presence. Thus they become more confident. Eventually that confidence, along with their desire to grow up, is what motivates them to try new foods.

So what’s this secret, successful tip that I promised to share?
Include challenging foods in packed lunches.

Now take note that I’m not saying to pack a lunch that only includes challenging foods. What I’m saying is to frequently (not necessarily every day) pack one challenging food along with your child’s favorites. The “bento-box” style lunch kits make it easy to include a challenging food because the challenging food won’t touch your child’s favorites. And, we all know how much young kids don’t like their foods to touch.
Even if your fussy eater doesn’t eat the challenging food, you’re building their food-confidence because you’re helping them become accustomed to seeing a challenging food in front of them. And, what’s even better is that you don’t have to watch your child not eat it (which I know drives so many parents nuts)!

Child-feeding expert Kristen Yarker, MSc, RD helps Moms and Dads support their picky eaters to try new foods on their own (without being forceful or sneaky). Get scientific evidence-based answers to real questions from real parents (recipes too!) by signing up for her 101 Healthy Snack Ideas at: kristenyarker.com

Summer Refreshment by Shirley Plant

Summer Popsicles- Dairy, Sugar Free and Chemical Free

Making your own homemade popsicles means you control the sugar content and leave behind the chemicals, plus many kids who have food allergies cannot have store bought frozen treats.

Using frozen or fresh fruit and dairy free milks are a great way to provide a healthy treat for kids- add in some ground chia or even hempseeds to add some protein to your pops! Check out the recipes below and enjoy!

Peach Cardamom

2 cups frozen peaches
1- 1 1/2 cups vanilla hemp milk
1 tbsp honey
pinch cardamom

Blend all ingredients until smooth and pour into popsicle molds and freeze


1 cup frozen strawberries
1/2 cup frozen peaches
1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/2 cup coconut water

Blend ingredients in a food processor until smooth
Pour into popsicle molds and freeze

Recipe by Shirley Plant- Nutrition Coach and Author of Finally Food I Can Eat
www.deliciousalternatives.com. Follow her on Twitter via @sherrecipes

Healthy Eating for Kids (Even Picky Eaters) by Kristen Yarker R.D.

Summer Inspires Healthy Eating for Kids (Even Picky Eaters)

I LOVE summer! Not because of it’s lazy, hazy days, but because it’s the easiest time of year to get kids (even picky eaters) excited about trying fruits and vegetables. Summer is the time for vegetable gardens and Farmers’ Markets! Both of which are fantastic ways to get kids interested in trying new foods. Why are these such powerful tools for getting kids to eat vegetables?


It’s All Mine: Toddlers and Preschoolers are in what I call the “me do it” stage. Independence, skill mastery, and learning how the world works are all highly important. Growing vegetables uses this developmental stage to your advantage. Many children will eat vegetables that they’ve grown themselves that they otherwise wouldn’t have touched with a 10-foot pole.

Variety is Inspiring: When you grow your own and visit the Farmers’ Market you get to experience a huge variety of vegetables and fruit that you won’t find in a grocery store. Engage your child’s innate curiosity to compare and contrast.

Veggies, Veggies, Everywhere: We’re creatures of our environment. What’s even better than role modeling eating veggies? Spending time growing veggies and at locations where everyone eats veggies – a.k.a. the Farmers’ Market! The underlying message that you’re teaching your child is that it’s normal to eat vegetables. This is a great way to counteract all the advertising that kids are exposed to for highly processed junk foods.

It’s Obvious Where It Comes From: Picky eaters are often little conspiracy theorists, highly suspicious of the food that suddenly appears on the plate in front of them. In contrast, when you grow a food yourself, you know exactly where it comes from. At a Farmers’ Market, all the food is out in the open. You’re encouraged to touch, smell, and meet the person who grew the veggies and fruit.

I want to end with a cautionary note. The effectiveness of these summer hobbies to inspire your picky eater to try new foods is related to the attitude that you bring. Yes, you! Make sure that you’re open to and excited about trying new veggies and fruit. Be a vegetable growing, buying, and eating role model!

Child-feeding expert Kristen Yarker, MSc, RD helps Moms and Dads support their picky eaters to try new foods on their own (without being forceful or sneaky). Get scientific evidence-based answers to real questions from real parents (recipes too!) by signing up for her 101 Healthy Snack Ideas at: kristenyarker.com

Girls, You Need to Lift Weights! By Maggie Ayre

5 Reasons Every Teen Girl Should be Familiar with a Heavy Pair of Dumbbells

I’m afraid stories that lifting weights will make you bulk up simply aren’t true. Our bodies simply don’t contain enough testosterone for that to happen. So let’s lift weights for these 5 awesome reasons instead.


Lifting weights burns fat. If you’re looking to slim down then you must lift weights. Lifting weights raises the body’s metabolism forcing it to burn more fat.

Lifting weights develops strong bones. We need strong bones to support strong muscles. Lifting weights increases bone density. Strong bones are less likely to fracture or break plus you’re reducing the risk of osteoporosis as you age.

Strength training increases energy levels. As your metabolism increases so will your energy levels. You may find that you’re eating more too but if you’re not gaining fat and what you’re eating is good for you who’s complaining?

Strength training decreases stress levels. Lifting weights leads to an amazing series of events.
Firstly, exercising increases your dopamine levels making you happier. Secondly, your confidence soars as you realise how strong you are and the exercises you can do. Subsequently, your confidence in all areas of life shoots up and with this your stress levels decrease markedly.

Lifting weights increases your strength. OK, so I know stating lifting weights makes you stronger is pretty much common sense but it still needs to be said. What makes it cooler is that at the same time as your strength increases your co-ordination and spatial awareness get much better.

So, girls what are you waiting for?

Maggie Ayre is the UKs leading Fitness Coach for Teen Girls. Email maggieayre@mail.com for more information. As well as one-to-one and small group nutrition and fitness work with teens she has developed the 3G Program designed to be run at schools as part of the PE curriculum. She also offers mentoring for PE departments on how to re-engage teen girls with PE and has recently published her third book; “Nutrition for Exam Success – A Parent’s Guide” which is now available as a Kindle and paperback at Amazon.

Back-to-School Healthy Eating Tips by Michele Stalker

Yes, it can be done!

It’s that time of year again when the children return to school and routines fall back into place. One of the most dreaded tasks for parents is making and packing healthy snacks. What if I told you there is a solution that will free up your time and eliminate this task from your long to-do list? Does this sound too good to be true? Well, with a little preparation and planning, it can be done.


Step 1: Educate about Healthy Lunches

Sit down with your children and help them prepare a list of foods they enjoy to eat. Consider separating your list into the different food groups such as Protein, Fruits and Vegetables, Grains, and Dairy.

You could also think about dividing things into categories such as Main Meal (i.e. sandwich or wrap, leftovers in a thermos, etc.), Fruits & Vegetables, Snack (i.e. crackers, dried fruit, popcorn, etc.), and Treat (muffin, cookies, etc.). As time goes on, they can add to their list when they try foods they like. Most schools now have nut-free policies, so remember to make sure you keep this in mind when selecting appropriate foods.

Step 2: Select Litterless Containers

Take a look at your children’s lunch box or lunch bag and decide what system might work best for you. Keep in mind what kind of food they like to eat. If they like sandwiches, you might need containers or reusable sandwich wrappers. If they prefer hot lunches, they might need some thermoses. There are so many options available either online or in stores. Involve your children in picking out the right products for their lunch. Have fun with it! Be sure to label everything so you have a better chance of having things returned if they end up in the lost and found.

Step 3: Prepare a Lunch Station

Dedicate some space in your kitchen that is easily accessible for your kids so they can prepare their lunches. You will need to clear out a shelf space in a lower cabinet or perhaps a drawer. Stock this space with their lunch bags, containers, water bottles, a small cutting board, approved snacks, and other food they like for their lunches. Other suggestions include storing small containers of leftovers in the freezer for days they want a quick hot meal (just heat & put in a thermos in the morning).

It may take some time at first to assist the kids in the preparation of their lunches. However, once they have mastered the art of lunch making, then step back and let them do it themselves! You might even notice they will come home with most of it gone. Go ahead, what are you waiting for?

By Michele Stalker (www.morganizedmom.com)

3 Tips for a Healthy Home by Brett Klika, C.S.C.S

It has gone from a disturbing trend to a national epidemic. Our nation’s youth are becoming overweight, obese, and unhealthy due to a variety of lifestyle factors.  According to the Center for Disease control, about one-third of our nation’s youth are overweight.  17% are considered obese, of which 70% carry at least 1 risk factor for cardiovascular disease. It is estimated that 80% of these obese youth will grow to become obese adults.

A marked decrease in physical activity and an increase in the consumption of low nutrient food items are two of the lifestyle factors commonly linked to primary causes of this health calamity.

A smorgasbord of finger pointing has erupted over who is responsible for letting this happen to our children. Schools have fewer PE programs, urban communities lack safe outdoor activity areas, junk food companies target youth in their marketing, and video games command youth free-time pursuits. Before we unholster our pointing fingers to join the shootout, some compelling data out of Duke University suggests we may find a better solution by looking at how we introduce physical activity at home.

Researchers determined that parents’ attitudes and behaviors towards exercise was an extremely powerful predictor of physical activity patterns in youth under 10 years of age.  This is in line with previous research by the U.S. Department of Health.

If home really is where the health is, what can we as busy, stressed out, over-committed parents do to introduce our kids to a healthy, active lifestyle?  

Below are three simple, practical strategies to introduce your children to a life of health and happiness.

1.    Watch your language! Our children’s attitudes and behaviors toward physical activity and exercise are directly correlated to ours.  If we as adults approach physical activity as a punishment, i.e. “Dad has to do exercise because he got fat,” kids begin to share our view and act accordingly. Exercise isn’t punishment.  Highlight the positives in your language towards physical activity i.e.,  “Mom’s going to exercise so she can get some energy!”

2.  Focus on fun! If children don’t enjoy an activity, the odds of them continuing to do it are slim to none.  Forcing children into activities they don’t enjoy ensures they will avoid them whenever possible.  Longitudinal research on high performing athletes has demonstrated that the primary factor in long-term athletic success is a child’s level of enjoyment with their chosen sport. Fortunately, there are a variety of possible physical activities youth can be involved in.  Keep experimenting until you find something they enjoy then facilitate their participation in that activity whenever possible.

3.  Be active with them! Some of my favorite memories of childhood were family bike rides, whiffle ball games in the back yard, and scenic hikes to “secret” (brilliant parent marketing term) locations.  I honestly don’t remember much about sitting around watching sitcoms.

What will your kids remember about physical activity and your family?  

Go to the park, make up games, go outside, and make a conscious effort to limit technology (TV, i-devices, video games, etc.).  Technology is part of modern life, however, it can become a consuming addiction that negatively impacts every member of the household. Focus on becoming a physical activity role model for your children in your thoughts and actions. We can all do our part to reverse the current negative trends and guide our youth to one day become happy, healthy, disease-free adults.

Brett Klika C.S.C.S., author of “The Underground Workout Manual- Exercise and Fat Loss in the Real World” (www.undergroundworkoutmanual.com) is a world- renowned human performance specialist, motivational speaker, author, and educator. He uses this knowledge and experience to motivate individuals and audiences around the world through his writing, speaking, DVD’s, and free blog, www.brettklika.com.