Most kids head straight to the kitchen after school. They down one salty or sweet snack after another in front of the TV. This can make them pack on the pounds, especially if they aren't active in sports.
September is Fruits & Vegetables: More Matters Month. That means it's the perfect excuse to swap out the unhealthy snacks at your house with some healthier options.
The problem is: kids are picky. If something looks healthy, they're probably not going to touch it. So instead of forcing them to finish their vegetables, give these delicious, kid-friendly veggie snacks a try.
Mash up some avocado with salt, red onion and a couple jalapeno peppers to create a tasty veggie dip. You can also blend beets with white beans and tuna for an ultra-nutritious dip. Spinach artichoke dips are favorites with some kids because they can taste the cheese more than the spinach.
If you're really in a rush, go for a low-fat veggie dip from the store. Give your kids baby carrots, celery sticks, cucumber slices and/or low-fat crackers for dipping.
Rainbow Vegetable Chips
Cut zucchini, beets, sweet potato, parsnips and carrots into chip shapes. Sprinkle some olive oil, salt and garlic powder on them before putting them in the oven.
Set the oven at 350 degrees and check every couple minutes until the chips are slightly brown and crunchy. If you want your vegetable chips to be extra crunchy, rinse off the vegetables and dry them with paper towels prior to cooking.
These are great because they taste sweet and salty, like regular potato chips, but have more nutritional content. If your kid likes spicy food, sprinkle some cayenne on the chips before baking for an extra kick.
Baked Potato With Veggies
A baked potato by itself isn't a very nutritious snack. However, adding pumpkin, broccoli or chili baked beans to the center of the potato can add some extra nutrients.
Sprinkle low-fat cheese onto the broccoli and beans for pickier kids. If you choose pumpkin, you can add some cinnamon and a bit of sugar to enhance the naturally sweet flavor. Avoid butter and salt if you can.
Your local grocery store might have edamame hummus. If not, you can make your own at home with edamame, chick peas, tahini, olive oil and water. A serving size of two teaspoons of this delicious hummus has a single gram of sugar, two grams of protein, iron, vitamin C and calcium.
Have your kids dip carrot sticks, celery sticks, broccoli florets and crackers into this hummus for a fulfilling and nutritious snack. Keep in mind that pickier kids might not be willing to give hummus a try.
Mash up sweet potato, potato, pumpkin, corn and frozen peas. Shape this mix into patties. Sprinkle some salt, pepper and your kid's favorite spices on top. Bake in the oven for 8 to 12 minutes. No bread required!
Coleslaw is a surprisingly tasty snack. You can find different types of coleslaw at just about every grocery store. Just make sure you check the ingredients. Some processed coleslaw contains added sugar and excess fat.
Dice up some carrots, cucumber, rice noodles and bean sprouts. Roll them up in rice paper wrappers. Serve to your kids with sweet chili dip for extra flavor. To add extra protein, you can cook some pulled pork in a slow cooker and mix it in once it's cooked all the way through.
Ants on a Log
Place peanut butter and raisins or peanut butter on celery sticks for a quick and easy treat your kids will love.
Miniature Veggie Pizzas
Let's face it. Kids love pizza. But pizza doesn't have to be a bad thing – not if you make it yourself.
Top an English muffin with tomato paste, low-fat cheese, diced onion, diced green pepper, diced mushrooms, pepperoni and your kid's favorite pizza toppings. Pop them in the convection oven until the cheese is golden brown.
If you don't have a convection oven, you can put them under a broiler for a few minutes. Watch them very carefully or they will burn. These healthy veggie-based miniature pizzas taste amazing, so even the pickiest kids will love them.
Mushrooms are a great vegetable for kids because they have a very mild flavor. Cook them right and almost every kid will be willing to give them a shot.
With this recipe, tell your kids the mushroom is like a boat or pizza crust, holding all the toppings in. Add sliced tomatoes, herbs and shredded chicken to Portabello mushroom caps. Top them with a low-fat cheese and grill until golden brown. You can leave out the herbs and tomatoes for especially picky kids.
These vegetable snack recipes are easy to put together and perfect even for picky eaters. They're also a great way for you to get the nutrients and energy you need to push through your workouts.
If you're looking for an easy way to build muscle tone, give these 7 Go-To TRX Moves a try. They're the perfect way to burn fat and tone your arms and legs.
Many people would like to be able to deal with all of the ups and downs life throws them with a quiet strength and grace. But this is not always an easy task. Becoming mentally strong is not something that you can just decide to do, and it usually doesn't happen overnight.
Being mentally and emotionally strong means that you can behave normally no matter how much stress is presented. In other words, you can go about your business no matter what happens.
And it's a lot harder than it sounds.
What Does Being Mentally Strong Look Like?
What Can I Do To Become Stronger Mentally?
Look at the curve balls life throws at you as chances to get stronger. This will allow you to begin gathering wisdom and clarity, things you will need when life gets really hard. When something bad happens, if you are mentally tough, you won't automatically break down. Instead, you find answers and solutions to problems.
Toughening your mind is like training your body. It takes hard work and perseverance. You have to want it.
If you want it, follow these steps every day.
Who Can Motivate Me?
People who are great motivators can be anyone from coworkers or friends from a club or church group to counselors or fitness coaches. A personal trainer is a great option because trainers encourage you to be your best both mentally and physically. They do this through custom workouts, motivation and encouragement.
When looking for a personal trainer, search for someone who you're comfortable around, challenges you to push yourself, and is genuinely interested in your life in and out of the gym. If you are interested in building strength, both physically and mentally, give me a call today.
Feeling fatigue can affect every area of your life. It's not normal to feel exhausted if you're getting enough sleep. If your overall health is good but you still feel tired all the time, other factors could be at play.
Here are seven reasons why you might not be able to shake that constant feeling of exhaustion.
1. You Skip Workouts When You're Tired
You're tired and decide to skip your workout to save energy. But studies show that regular exercise boosts your endurance and strength, makes your cardiovascular system run more efficiently, and delivers oxygen and nutrients to your body's tissues.
Plus, people who exercise as little as three days a week for 20 minutes reported feeling less fatigued and more energized.
2. You Don't Drink Enough Water
Even minor levels of dehydration can cause energy loss. Not drinking enough water causes dehydration, which causes a reduction in blood volume. This makes your blood thicker and requires your heart to pump less efficiently. In turn, oxygen and nutrients reach your muscles and organs at a slower rate.
It's worth noting that eating fruits and vegetables can increase your fluid intake as well. (And, since September is Fruits & Vegetables: More Matters month, what better time to start adding produce to your diet?) Experts suggest dividing your body weight in half and drinking that number of fluid ounces per day.
3. You're Sitting Too Much
Your desk job may be sapping your energy level because prolonged sitting can slow your metabolism and diminish your overall health. The good news is that short stints of light-intensity walking will combat those feelings of fatigue.
Health experts say you should set an alarm reminder to get up and walk around every hour and stand when you're talking on the phone.
4. You Don't Consume Enough Iron
Studies show that an iron deficiency makes you feel tired because a decreased amount of oxygen is sent to the muscles and cells. There are many foods that increase your iron intake, including lean beef, eggs (with the yolk), dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, peanut butter, kidney beans, tofu and more.
5. You Eat Too Much Junk Food
The negative impact junk food has on our health is well known, including its relationship with fatigue. Foods loaded with sugar and simple carbs cause blood sugar spikes (followed by sharp drops) that cause exhaustion over the course of the day. Eating lean protein and a whole grain at every meal will prevent spikes and falls of blood sugar.
6. You Skip Breakfast
Your body uses what you consumed at dinner the night before to keep your blood and oxygen flowing. That said, you need to refuel in the morning, and when you skip breakfast chances are you're all but guaranteed to start your day sluggish. Breakfast kick-starts your metabolism - especially if it includes protein, whole grains, and healthy fat.
7. Your To-Do List Is Too Long
You'll feel defeated if your list of things to do is never-ending. You'll also notice your energy draining as you try to get everything done to no avail. If you've got a lot on your plate, break your day down into achievable goals and write down approximately how much each task will take. You'll feel empowered by your manageable list, not overwhelmed.
Get your energy back. Do these seven TRX moves every morning and you'll start each day off more awake and alert.
For some people, eating vegetables is pretty much torture. Vegetables have flavors and textures that can be pretty unappealing, especially depending on how you cook them.
But vegetables have so many positive health benefits that not eating them means missing out on essential nutrition. And you'd be surprised how much you may actually like a vegetable you've always hated if it's cooked in a different way.
September is Fruits & Vegetables: More Matters Month. That means it's the perfect time for you to try some new recipes to add some vegetables to your diet.
There are plenty of ways to make those carrots and broccoli and brussels sprouts taste great without sacrificing their nutritional value. Here are some chef secrets to cooking vegetables you'll actually want to eat.
1. Add Vinegar
Sometimes the flavor of the vegetable is what you can't stand. If this is the case, try adding some vinegar to your asparagus, carrots, or any other vegetables.
When we hear vinegar, we typically think of that strong, soured distilled vinegar. Doesn't sound like it would taste good, does it? But there are actually many different kinds of vinegar that each have a different flavor palate you might actually like.
Basalmic vinegar is a popular choice because it has a tart, fruity taste. Apple cider vinegar has a hint of sweet apple. Rice wine vinegar is probably the mildest vinegar and also has sweet undertones. Try different kinds and see what flavor you like best.
2. Roast Your Vegetables
Roasting is a healthy way to prepare your vegetables that also brings out their flavors. The dry heat of the oven creates an added depth of flavor because it caramelizes the natural sugars in vegetables.
A simple method for roasting vegetables is to cut them up into smaller pieces, drizzle them with olive oil, and then add salt and pepper. Roast for about 30 minutes on a baking sheet while turning them occasionally to keep them brown and tender.
3. Seasonings Can Make All The Difference
We've already discussed vinegar, but there's an endless list of seasonings that can transform vegetables into something you'll want to eat.
Adding herbs and spices can put more flavor in your vegetable dishes without adding extra calories. Some good pairing are ginger with carrots, garlic with green leafy vegetables, and basil and tomato.
There are no set rules for what seasonings work best with certain vegetables. Just try different flavor combinations and see what you like.
4. Blanch Vegetables For Extra Flavor
Blanching can take away the raw taste of most vegetables, including broccoli and cauliflower florets. And it doesn't take more than a minute.
Drop your vegetables into boiling water for 45 seconds and then drain before rinsing them with cold water. After rinsing and draining them one more time, they're ready for stir-fry, to be added to salads, or to use for dipping. Blanching vegetables also takes away the odor associated with hot veggies.
5. Healthy Fat Adds Flavor
Adding in a little healthy fat won't drive the calorie count of a salad too high and adds extra flavor. You can sautee vegetables in olive oil, or sprinkle on walnut or sesame oil after they've been steamed. You can also add nuts and seeds like sesame seeds, toasted pine nuts or finely chopped walnuts or pecans.
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