Simple Morning Smoothie for Back to School

Today my kids officially started school again. It seems like just yesterday they were excitedly waiting for the bus to half day Kindergarten, yet this morning they were off to 8th and 5th grades. Time sure does fly! Mornings around here can be pretty crazy. There is the battle to wake up the kids, the arguing over who gets the bathroom next (we have two bathrooms mind you, but NO ONE wants to go downstairs….sigh), lunches, clothes, homework, snacks, clock watching for the bus and of course, breakfast! Thankfully both of my kids like smoothies and what they like is easy enough for me to make while waiting for my morning dose of life….caffeine….coffee to brew. The “Simple Morning Smoothie” for them is one of three things, Banana, Chocolate Peanut Butter or Strawberry Banana, which is featured below. I also typically add a half a scoop of protein or Shakeology to their smoothie, depending on how they’ve been eating. (Shakeology is always included in the chocolate peanut butter one). Simple Morning Smoothie

In all honesty I used to hate dragging out the blender to make these up, especially because they NEVER agree on which flavor they want, however since Mike got me the Ninja with the single serve blender cups, I don’t mind at all. It’s actually nice to hear them ask for a smoothie for breakfast or an after school snack, instead of a Pop-Tart, some sugary cereal, chips or cookies. PLUS I get to hide things inside of these that are good for them, like protein and ground flax seed …which they would never agree to purposely ingesting.

As parents we need to get creative to ensure our children are getting enough vitamins and minerals. I know I slack in this area from time to time because I get tired of battling every little thing. I end up feeling like a shitty parent because of it, so it’s nice to have some simple & nutritious tricks up my sleeve that leave everyone happy and smiling.

Do your kids like smoothies? I would love to know what flavors they enjoy so I could try them with mine!

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It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like A #12DaysOfFitness Challenge

It’s the most wonderful time of the year for many of us…although it can also be a stress filled and indulgent time.

If you are anything like me, the tree is up, you’ve been busy shopping and cookies & holiday treats have been baking! I LOVE Christmas cookies and I especially love making them with the help of my children. The excitement, giggles and smells of cookies in the oven are what makes Christmas such a happy time to me. Despite my love of this activity, it can be a dangerous one if you eat too many cookies, grab too much fast food because you were out late shopping, or consider a Venti Peppermint Mocha Latte to be lunch, while picking up forgotten presents at the mall.

Team those things up with holiday parties, cookie swaps and family gatherings and you have the perfect storm for a caloric overload, which can result in buttons popping, lack of energy when you crash from your sugar rush and don’t forget the dreaded muffin top!

Staying active this time of year is important for our minds as well as our waistlines. Everyone needs a little time for themselves where they can unplug, clear their minds and work out a little aggression.

With this in mind, I decided it would be fun to run a #12DaysOfFitness Challenge over on the Facebook Page! The graphic below has the list of moves, as well as how many reps should be done each day. The challenge will work as a progression each day, so you will complete the activity of the day PLUS all of the prior ones…just like the Twelve Days of Christmas song. Kinda fun, right?

#12DaysofFitness

These activities shouldn’t take long to do each day and if needed you can break them up (although you’ll see better results if you can complete them as a daily circuit). Be sure to stop by the Facebook Page, click LIKE and join in on any daily questions, information or check-in’s that will be provided.

I hope you find a little time for yourselves this holiday season to keep up the progress you’ve made, or to get a jump start on your New Years resolutions!

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Guiltless Thanksgiving

ThanksgivingThanksgiving is right around the corner! For many people, this is traditionally a family event, where more savory, less healthy foods are served. Turkey is usually the featured item in most Thanksgiving feasts (hence the term “Turkey Day” and why many of us look to run a “Turkey Trot” the morning of). Stuffing, mashed potatoes with gravy, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, corn, rolls, and various pies are commonly associated with Thanksgiving dinner. There is also the pre-meal watching of football with Hor d’oeurves, followed by the post-meal football watching, where people typically complain about being overstuffed and drift off into a tryptophan coma.

Don’t stuff yourself like a turkey this year! Opt for everything in moderation with these tips:

  • Water is your best friend! Water helps control your appetite by making you feel fuller faster. Drink plenty of it to stay fuller and keep your cravings under control.
  • Eat Slowly! It only takes 20 minutes for your brain to register that you’re full. Make sure you savor your food, and slow down. This teamed up with drinking lots of water will keep you from going overboard and over stuffing yourself. It will also give your mind a chance to catch up with your body and realize that you are full. Eating is not a race. The slower you eat the more you will enjoy your meal, because you will take the time to enjoy bite and the flavors it offers.
  • Eat Before the Feast! Don’t go to dinner starving. Make sure you eat a healthy breakfast (high in protein and fiber) and a low calorie snack before heading out to your Thanksgiving destination or your guests arrive.  Eating a healthy breakfast and snack will help to ensure you won’t be starving when it’s time for your holiday gathering.
  • Opt for the Special Stuff! Don’t waste your calories on large portions of food you can eat every day. Focus on smaller portions of the favorites your family makes only once or twice a year. Keep in mind that some holiday foods are better choices than others, but don’t deprive yourself of higher calorie favorites that are special to your family. Just remember it’s all about moderation! Sometimes, just a small taste is enough to satisfy the craving.
  • Say No to Seconds! If you eat slowly and drink plenty of water with your meal, you shouldn’t feel the need to go for seconds. If you’re visiting and your host keeps pushing you to have seconds, politely say, “No.” and compliment the meal they served.
  • Avoid Finger Foods! Hor d’oeurves can be very high in calories and fat. If you forgot to have a snack before arriving at your destination, opt for crudité. This is also a great option for you bring with you. Your host/hostess will appreciate the offer when they invite you and you’ll ensure that there is a healthy snack for you to enjoy while watching football and waiting for the main course to be served.
  • Stop When You’re Full! It sounds obvious, but stopping when you’re full is probably one of the hardest things to do at the Thanksgiving table. It’s difficult to do when so many “special” foods are present and everyone else is helping themselves to seconds. It will be easier to stop if you slow down and enjoy each bite, drink lots of water and avoid wearing pants with an elastic waist!
  • Limit Alcohol! Alcohol impairs your thought process and makes it that much easier to justify a third helping mashed potatoes or another slice of pie with ice-cream. Let’s not forget that it can also be high in empty calories and removes your brain to mouth filter (which might not  be the best thing when surrounded by family!) Have a glass of wine, a wine spritzer or enjoy a light beer or two. Between alcoholic drinks, enjoy some sparkling water so you stay hydrated, limit alcohol calories, and stay sober.
  • Make Healthy Choices! Thankfully, many Thanksgiving staples fit into a healthy meal plan. Turkey is a great source of protein, and sweet potatoes are loaded with vitamin A. Just take a minute and think before you eat. If you’re preparing the meal, cut back on salt and butter in the side dishes. Try to use whole-grain breads whenever possible and remember that herbs and spices add a lot of flavor without added fat and sodium.

As you head out to your Thanksgiving feast or open your door to host family, remember it’s okay to say “No”, just be polite when doing so. Some people show their love through food and will insist on you having seconds. Others may feel threatened by your healthy lifestyle and pile food onto your plate because it makes them feel better about themselves. Politely saying “no” in these situations shouldn’t produce hard feelings. If you’ll be visiting family, offer to bring a healthy side or the crudité to ensure you’ll stay on track. Some of the other guests might also appreciate this!

Above all, creating a calorie deficit by exercising to burn off extra calories before you head out and face your favorite foods is key. Sign up for a Turkey Trot the morning of Thanksgiving, go for a brisk walk, head to the gym or do your favorite workout DVD. Treat that morning like you would any other and stick to your workout routine. After dinner, invite family to take a walk around the neighborhood, instead of heading to the couch or recliner and drifting off to sleep. It is a wonderful way for families to get some physical activity and quality time together. Have a lot of kids at your gathering? Bring a football, head out into the yard and throw the ball around, instead of just watching it on TV. Be creative and innovative! Have fun, stay active and look for the healthier options at your Thanksgiving meal. Your waistline will definitely thank you!

Don’t forget the #EarnThatTurkey Challenge that is going on now! Join us and stay active in the days leading up to Thanksgiving!

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Summer Recap

Can you believe summer is almost over? I feel like the past two months have been a total blur and that’s probably because it’s the first time I’ve been home for the summer with the kids in a long time.

I normally keep the same schedule all year because I’m working, but this year I had the opportunity to be home with them for their whole vacation. We spent a lot of time at my mother’s pool, took a family day trip to Hershey Park, went to Coney Island and of course celebrated both of their birthdays!

As a result, I have had little time to blog the way I would like to, but that’s okay. I’ll have all fall and winter to catch up and share my adventures in fitness with you all.

Here are some of my favorite photos from this summer…

summer

Mini Golf and Splashing in the pool to start the summer off right!

coney island

An afternoon in Brooklyn at Coney Island. We checked out the aquarium, ate at Nathan’s and of course rode on some rides.

Point Pleasant

It wouldn’t be summer without a day at Jenkinson’s at Point Pleasant!

Hershey Park

The highlight of summer for me has been our trip to Hershey Park. It was our first time there and we had a blast. Can’t wait to return for the holidays!

Birthday Fun

Maddie turned 12 this summer and we celebrate with a few friends, Monster Mini Golf, pizza and cake!

Minecraft Party

Matt is all about Minecraft this summer, so of course his 9th birthday was a Minecraft theme!

As you can see, we’ve had a busy summer and I look forward to time with friends this Labor Day weekend. Mike and I also started working out together again. He’s doing a Focus T25/Body Beast Hybrid, and I’m still doing T25 but joining him on the nights he does Beast! I missed weight lifting too much to just do cardio daily…we’ll see how this goes!

How has your summer been? Are you ready for fall or wishing there were still a few weeks left to summer?

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Holy Heatwave, Batman!

It has been a scorcher here in NJ this past week. Temps in the upper 90’s with heat indexes of 105+ mean lots of time in the air conditioned house or cooling off at the pool.

Thankfully, my mother lives in a development with a pool and we are allowed there everyday after 1pm…so of course, that’s where we have been!

~ I owe you a post on the Rugged Maniac, which we did last Sunday! I have lots of photos to share with you…it was so much fun! ~

Fishies

Matt

Maddie

Poolside

While hanging by the pool and splashing around cools you off, it still zaps your energy levels. As a result, I haven’t really been working out much this week. My focus has been on staying hydrated and the heat killing my energy has made me catch up on sleep!

I’m really looking forward to a break in this craziness, especially since Mike is on vacation this week. I’d like to be able to go to the beach or walk around an amusement park without melting.

If you’re experiencing this heatwave, how have you been keeping cool?

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A Fun Family Weekend

This past weekend was Father’s Day weekend and I must say, it was really nice.

Saturday, the hubs had to work and the little man had a birthday party to attend, but that night we attended a local festival. Our town hosts this large shindig every year in our local recreation center (the same one where my beloved trail is). They have tons of food trucks, different vendors, live entertainment and then a field full of inflatable bounce houses and slides for the kids. They also have a bungee type jump and rock climbing wall for the older kids, and they even added a DJ on the basketball courts for the teen crowd this year, which my daughter liked.

My hubs and I both splurged on dinner that night. I decided to have a Philly cheese-steak and he had sausage and peppers. If you’ve been to a fair or festival, you know how awesome they are, despite the price. Stuff like this takes me back to my childhood in Brooklyn at our annual festival, and I’m a fan of trips down memory lane.

Remember kids…it okay to eat stuff you like that isn’t 100% healthy from time to time. Just don’t turn it into a daily habit!

The night was spent watching our son bounce, slide and make friends with the animals in the petting-zoo. Once it got dark, we found our daughter, grabbed a sweet treat and headed over to pick a spot to watch the fireworks before heading home. There is something about ice-cream and fireworks that just summer, right?

Petting zoo

Family minus one

Father’s Day was spent at home in our yard.

I woke up early, ran to the grocery store for some fresh baked rolls for lunch and then I stopped at Dunkin Donuts for some daddy treats and coffee. I skipped the donuts but I did treat myself to a warm bagel. I have a weakness for the little nutritional black holes….especially when they are hot out of the oven. (I know, there is much healthy going on in this post, we’re human…like you.)

We thankfully had really nice weather and just enjoyed sitting outside, grilling and having fun. We had yummy burgers for lunch and dinner was grilled cilantro lime chicken and grilled corn, tossed with over roasted potatoes, onions, peppers and hot sausage. It was another experiment and turned out really good! I actually can’t wait to make it again, since it was super easy and flavorful.

Because donuts aren’t bad enough, I made a cake. A cake surrounded by Kit-Kat’s and topped with M&M’s. (I know…what the hell…but dad’s deserve treats…plus I blame Pinterest!) I spent the entire afternoon telling the kids, my husband and my mother to quit trying to steal M&M’s off the cake. It was exhausting, but so worth it!

Dad's Run on Dunkin

Super Dad

 

Yesterday was hubs day off from work, so he and I headed to the movies to see Man of Steel, which he has been dying to see all weekend. We went to an IMAX theater to see it, and I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. I really liked the way they told the story, and Henry Cavill really brought Superman/Clark Kent to life for me. Michael Shannon was excellent as Zod and I was surprised that I liked Russell Crowe as Jor-El. My biggest gripe was the length of the film…too long! Hollywood really needs to quit making movies that are 2.5 hours and longer. First off, they are a day killer. The movie started at 12:45 and we didn’t get out until almost 4pm…I don’t have time for that. Second, movie theater drinks are HUGE and my bladder is small. If I get up to use the bathroom, I’ll miss part of the movie. As a result, I sit there with a full bladder, squirming around waiting for the movie to end. THIS is why I can’t wait to see Monsters University, Despicable Me 2 and TURBO. Kid movies are always a normal length and they are bladder friendly!

Monsters University ID

 

Well…I hope I didn’t bore you to death with my weekend and I hope you enjoyed yours! Did you do anything fun? Have you seen any good movies lately? Looking forward to anything coming out soon?

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