Friday, September 28, 2012

Daily Dose 30 Day Healthy Living Challenge!!

Happy Friday Everyone!  Hope you all had a great week!  Update on my herbs, they still doing good, and all still alive!  My basil survived it's fall a couple weeks ago and is looking great :)  Any fun plans for the weekend?

So, the holidays are coming up quickly (Monday is October!), and that tends to be a rough time for eating well and maintaining healthy habits!  I think this is the perfect time for a 30 day challenge!  This pre-holiday 30 day challenge will be focused on very small daily goals that help reinforce healthy living habits.  No focus on weight or weight loss (of course if you are trying to lose, these all are helpful!).  Anyone can join.  To join in, make sure you have liked the Daily Dose Facebook Page here: Daily Dose Facebook.  That is where each day's goal will be posted, and scores will be posted.  They will be posted on the blog as well, you can check here and post your score here if you would rather.

So, how it will work is each day for 30 days a small goal for the next day will be posted, for example:
     +Walk 15 minutes today
     + Drink 8+ glasses of water today
     + Put the salt shaker down, no added salt today

Each day will be different, and then there will be one weekly goal, which will be posted on Wednesdays.  I like to have the weekend in the middle :)  That goal will be similar to the daily goal, but we will try to complete it each day for a week.  So, you will only have two things to think about during the day, and you will feel better!  You will be ready to come into the holiday season and be successful!  No counting calories or depriving yourself.  The goal is to feel better and find which habits you already do, and which you need to work on.  It's a perfect learning experience!

Each day you have the opportunity to get 2 points, one for the daily goal, and one for the weekly goal.  Post your score to Facebook on the goal post each day.  There will be a couple bonus points thrown in for fun and shake things up, but still will keep it simple.  The winner will be determined by the most points after 30 days, and will win a prize, there will be 3 super cool options to pick between :)  Only requirement is that you post daily.  You can miss one day posting and make up for it the next day by posting both day's scores, but if you miss 2 consecutive days you will be out for the win (but of course can still participate!)  So....who wants in??  It's only 30 days!  You can do it, and you will see results :) 

Two bonus points to start out with if you share this on your Facebook page or Twitter, just post a comment here or on facebook that you shared it :)  It will be fun to have a bigger group participating, more motivating!  If we have enough people participating, there will be two or even three winners!  

Competition starts next Wednesday, October 3, and goes through Friday, November 2.   Questions before you decide??  Post them here or on Facebook! 



Hope you got your daily dose of nutrition today, and thanks for reading! If you enjoy the blog, please share using the buttons below, or in the box to the right. Also, we would love to have you join us! Join this site in the "followers" box to the right. "Like" the blog on facebook, and follow me on twitter (@jennasteprd), tumblr, and pinterest using the the boxes on the right. Thanks, and have a great day! ~jenna

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

How Much Did You Really Burn?

How many times have you rationalized the smallish (or large!) piece of chocolate cake, because you ran/walked/worked out today?  Does a work out during the day really mean unlimited extras through the rest of the day?  I actually find this quite common and hear it frequently.  Another interesting statement I hear "I'm working out, but the scale isn't moving".  I believe these two concepts are one and the same.  I find that people think they burn more calories during a workout than they actually do AND assume those small treats or extras aren't contributing very much.  I think we all do this to some extent!  

Working out during the day, or even planning to work out, gives us freedom for the extras.  But, when those extras bring in more calories than the exercise burned, we aren't doing our waist lines any favors.(HOWEVER, you are still getting cardiovascular benefits, don't forget the importance of those!)  It can be so frustrating to be including exercise and not seeing the scale move, so pay attention to what you are eating too!  Get rid of the mindset of "I worked out, I can eat this".  Generally, you can't.  When my patients are trying to lose weight, I recommend the exercise be an added benefit to weight loss, and not an excuse to include extra food items!  For those trying to maintain their weight, figure out how much you are burning, and be aware of what you are adding in.  Make sure its a balance :)  Here are some examples:

For 150 lb person jogging at 3mph, they would burn approximately 190 calories in 30 minutes.  Walking for 30 minutes at 2mph, that would burn 84 calories.  Check out the chart below for a quick estimation of how much you burn based on how fast you go.  

So, lets say you are 150 lbs and jogged for 30 minutes at 3 mph, what could you eat extra?

      + 1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp Ben and Jerry's Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream
      + 1 of those cute small frosted sugar cookies
      + 1 oz of Tortilla Chips (usually 8-10) plus 1 Tbsp Guacamole and 2 Tbsp salsa
      + 1/2 Bagel plus 2 Tbsp light cream cheese

Note the serving sizes here!  Small.  It could definitely equal an extra treat when you are maintaining, but when you are trying to lose, be very conscious of the extras!  Use the chart below to get an idea of what you burn, and be aware!  Make that exercise count :)



Hope you got your daily dose of nutrition today, and thanks for reading! If you enjoy the blog, please share using the buttons below, or in the box to the right. Also, we would love to have you join us! Join this site in the "followers" box to the right. "Like" the blog on facebook, and follow me on twitter (@jennasteprd), tumblr, and pinterest using the the boxes on the right. Thanks, and have a great day! ~jenna

Monday, September 24, 2012

Pumpkin Cookies (Only 2 Ingredients Required)

Happy Monday!  Hope you all had a great weekend!  I got to have my parents come and stay with me, we had a great time!  Always fun to spend more time with them :)  We made a chocolate roll yesterday, yum!  Wheat free, and not bad health-wise as far as a dessert goes!  Plus, tastes awesome!  So, I will put that recipe up soon.  

Today, I have the easiest Pumpkin Cookies to share!  I am a huge pumpkin fan!  I love and look forward to all the food items pumpkin appears in during the fall season.  What is your favorite?  These cookies are 2 ingredients, maybe a couple extra if you want to add texture or variety.  Here is a picture of how they turn out if you frost them, I didn't get a picture of my last batch, so this is from a different site (here).  Her recipe is a little more involved, but i'm sure is delicious :)

http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSrwv6wkfhvmyA7wWcrLEBV5Sw2n67NzZebN2UIhbxkr7O6aP9-Easy Pumpkin Cookies
Ingredients
·         1 box Spice Cake mix (18.25oz)
·         1 can Pumpkin (15oz, the small one)
·         1 cup chocolate chips or chopped nuts or Raisins (optional - can do one, two, or all three!)

Directions
1.       Preheat oven to 350°F.  Spray baking sheets with cooking spray.
2.      In a large mixing bowl, combine cake mix, pumpkin and if desired, chocolate chips or nuts until well blended.
3.      Drop by large spoonfuls onto baking sheet.  Cookies don’t flatten and will come out pretty much how they look on the pan.
4.      Bake 12 min.  Can bake longer or shorter for different size cookies.

Now these cookies only have 52 calories each when you get 36 out of a batch, and use 1 cup of extras.  They have 0.5 grams fat, no cholesterol, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of protein, 11 carbs, and 350 IU Vitamin A.

Yay for fall and pumpkin foods!  What is your favorite pumpkin food?  Share below!


Hope you got your daily dose of nutrition today, and thanks for reading! If you enjoy the blog, please share using the buttons below, or in the box to the right. Also, we would love to have you join us! Join this site in the "followers" box to the right. "Like" the blog on facebook, and follow me on twitter (@jennasteprd), tumblr, and pinterest using the the boxes on the right. Thanks, and have a great day! ~jenna

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Omega 3 Fatty Acids


What are Omega 3 Fatty Acids?
·   Omega 3 fatty acids are an essential fatty acid.  This means that the body cannot turn the other fats we are eating into Omega 3’s, and we have to get them from our diet.
· There are three types of Omega 3’s: LNA (α-Linolenic acid), EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid), and DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid).  They are found in different amounts in different food products.  Nuts and seeds are highest in LNA, where seafood is higher in EPA and DHA.

Why do you need Omega 3 fats?
·  Studies have shown that that Omega 3 fats help prevent coronary artery disease, hypertension, and other diseases such as inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. 
·   They lower the amount of lipids (fats such as cholesterol and triglycerides) circulating in the bloodstream.
·  Omega 3 fats promote healthy cell membranes.  Healthy cell membranes can hold onto water and vital nutrients better.

How much Omega 3 do you need?
·  An adequate intake of Omega 3 for men is 1.6 g/day, and for women is 1.1 g/day.
·  Salmon, flax seed, and walnuts are excellent sources of Omega 3, try to include them in your diet regularly.  About 1 tsp flax seed in your cereal, 4-5 walnut halves, or eating salmon twice a week is a good amount.
·     If getting those foods in your diet is hard, you may need to supplement.
·   Many stores carry Omega 3 supplements.  Look for one that just contains Omega 3, and not both Omega 3 and 6.  Omega 6 is found in many foods you are getting in your diet, for example many oils, like canola oil and also in margarine, and most people don’t need to supplement with more of it.
·   Because they are fish oil, storing them in the freezer will eliminate any fishy smell they may have.
Image from here

Hope you got your daily dose of nutrition today, and thanks for reading! If you enjoy the blog, please share using the buttons below, or in the box to the right. Also, we would love to have you join us! Join this site in the "followers" box to the right. "Like" the blog on facebook, and follow me on twitter (@jennasteprd), tumblr, and pinterest using the the boxes on the right. Thanks, and have a great day! ~jenna

Friday, September 14, 2012

Mid Day Healthy Eating Tips

Today I just have a couple tips for making it through the most common snack time, mid day!  (You SHOULD have a snack at this time!)
  • Plan ahead!  Always get the mid afternoon munchies and the vending machine looks tempting?  Take a snack with you.  Some string cheese, a banana, some carrot sticks, a handful of nuts, or a yogurt if you can keep it cool, will fight off the munchies and keep you on track!  You will feel so much better eating something substantial instead of a bag of chips.
Image from here
  • Ride out the cravings.  The urge to overindulge or give in to a craving comes in waves.  If you can allow 10-15 minutes to pass, usually so will the craving.  Occupy the time by going on a quick walk, calling a friend or answering a few emails.  Focus on learning to tell the difference between cravings and hunger.  If you want to eat something particular and only that, that usually means it is a craving.  Hunger isn't specific for a single food.  If you are still hungry after 10-15 minutes take the time to pick out something that will be satisfying and keep you on track.
How do you decide if it is a craving or you are actually hungry?   What are your go to snacks?  Share in the comments!  Have a great day :)


Hope you got your daily dose of nutrition today, and thanks for reading! If you enjoy the blog, please share using the buttons below, or in the box to the right. Also, we would love to have you join us! Join this site in the "followers" box to the right. "Like" the blog on facebook, and follow me on twitter (@jennasteprd), tumblr, and pinterest using the the boxes on the right. Thanks, and have a great day! ~jenna

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Workout Wednesday - How to get started Running (Part 1)

I have shared in the past that running is not my thing.  (see here).  But it is such a good workout!  Cardio of some variety is so important in any routine, and running takes no equipment, gym pass or anything expensive.  With the nice weather (a little bit cooler now), you may want to shift your work out routine to something new and different, that takes advantage of being able to spend time outside.  But, how do you even begin?  Today is part 1 of my tips to get started running.

First, plan your schedule so that you're sure to set aside time to devote to your new running routine.  Plan a number of days that works for you, say 3-5, to start and you can always build from there.  Set aside the time.  Whether you have to schedule it in, or write it on the calendar, find the times you can run, and stick to it.  It takes time to develop and routine or habit, so staying with it will help it "stick" better!

When you start running, don't plan to go too far or too fast in the beginning.  When people do this, injury occurs more often.  In fact, that is the number one cause of injury among runners. Start by running/walking for 15-20 minutes at a time, three times per week. Gradually increase the amount of time you're running and the number of days you run, but do not increase either until you feel comfortable completing your current level of training. 

If 20 minutes of running is too much, don't be afraid to take walking breaks. Maybe after walking for 3-5 minutes as your warm up, you run for 1-2 minutes, then walk for 1-2 minutes.  Do this until you reach your 15-20 minutes. As you get stronger, begin eliminating the walk breaks.  If you want a structured plan, check out the Couch to 5K instructions here. They outline exactly how long to walk/run in a 20 minute time frame, 3 days a week when you are beginning runner.  Perfect!

        When you're a beginner, it's not necessary to worry about how many miles you are running. Focus on the number of minutes instead. Gradually you'll begin to cover more ground in the same amount of time, and that's when you'll want to increase the duration of your workout.

Not sure who this is by, sorry!

Hope you got your daily dose of nutrition today, and thanks for reading! If you enjoy the blog, please share using the buttons below, or in the box to the right. Also, we would love to have you join us! Join this site in the "followers" box to the right. "Like" the blog on facebook, and follow me on twitter (@jennasteprd), tumblr, and pinterest using the the boxes on the right. Thanks, and have a great day! ~jenna

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Fast Facts on Probiotics

So, do you eat yogurt?  Have you ever been looking at the label, reading the various things about probiotics on it, and thought to yourself "hmmm, not really sure what that is".  Here is your quick guide to probiotics!  What they are, how they work, and where to get them from.  Any other questions?  Comment below and I"m happy to answer them!

What are Probiotics?
·    Probiotics are live microorganisms, which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.  This definition comes from the World Health Organization.
·     Most Probiotics are similar to those that are naturally found in people’s GI tracts.
·  There are many different types of Probiotics, and they function in many different ways throughout the GI tract.

How do they work?
·    Each person has a different mix of bacteria in their GI tract, some good, and some harmful.  It is a balancing act to keep both in check.  There are two major ways this can be thrown off:
o  Antibiotics can kill off the good bacteria along with the unfriendly bacteria
o Unfriendly bacteria can upset the balance too.  Researchers are exploring whether Probiotics can halt the unfriendly bacteria
·      Some Probiotics are able to inhibit the growth of unfavorable bacteria
·  Other Probiotics reduce the pH of your gut, making it an intolerable place for other bacteria
·   There are many other different ways they work to improve the health of your GI tract, some studies show they help with diarrhea, constipation, and other symptoms.

Where do you get Probiotics?
·   Most commonly, Probiotics are present in yogurt.  You want to look for one that contains “live active cultures”. 
·   Probiotics are also popping up in a variety of other products.  The artificial sweetener Nevella contains Probiotics that are shelf stable, and also hold up to being baked.
·       Probiotics are also in fermented foods, such as sauerkraut.
·       There are a number of supplements out there promoting Probiotics.  Talk to a health care provider before starting any new supplements.




Hope you got your daily dose of nutrition today, and thanks for reading! If you enjoy the blog, please share using the buttons below, or in the box to the right. Also, we would love to have you join us! Join this site in the "followers" box to the right. "Like" the blog on facebook, and follow me on twitter (@jennasteprd), tumblr, and pinterest using the the boxes on the right. Thanks, and have a great day! ~jenna

Friday, September 7, 2012

Friday Fit Tip

Hey!  It's Friday!  I hope you all had a wonderful week, and a great weekend ahead!  I have more house projects planned for this weekend, and I'm excited to work on that!

So, I think I jinxed myself with my herb post yesterday!  They had all been doing so well, and I have been using them in cooking, which I love!  Well, yesterday, I was working on painting a door, and I could tell the wind was picking up and it was going to start raining.  I have my herb pots lined up on these little arches about 3 feet off the ground.  It is the perfect place because the animals can't get them, they get good sunlight all day, and they are really easy to water and check.  Well, when it rains here, usually it pours.  I thought I had a minute to finish what I was doing before going to get the herbs and bring them to cover, when all the sudden I could tell it was raining, and hard.  

So I ran out to save them, and my basil (which is my favorite and had been doing amazing), was blown off the arch in the wind :(  it of course landed up-side-down, and broke all the little stems.  I am so sad.  So I have to get a new Basil plant I think.  

All the rest survived, and didn't mind the cooler, wet day yesterday.  i had another pot break yesterday too with the wind, and found two chairs at the bottom of the pool.  The winds must have been really bad yesterday!  So, I think I will probably make pesto, quickly use up all the basil, and start a new one.  

Ok, so on a different note, my fit tip today is about not skipping meals.  

Picture from here

We have talked about not skipping breakfast,which is very important, but I want to remind you that you will be better off by not skipping any meals (and even throwing in a couple snacks through out the day!).  Skipping meals causes your blood sugar to drop, leaving you feeling weak, irritable and light headed.  (Some of us might get more irritable than others when going to long without eating....)  

One huge trick to weight loss is keeping that blood sugar stable!  When you do go to long, we have a tendency to overeat, or make poor decisions on what to eat, and that causes our blood sugar to spike.  This up and down is not a good thing!  Eating smaller meals more often keeps it stable, and keeps us feeling better!  This also controls our appetite, allowing us to make better decisions about what we are going to eat!

What helps you to not skip meals or get your snacks in?  Share in the comments below!  

Hope you got your daily dose of nutrition today, and thanks for reading! If you enjoy the blog, please share using the buttons below, or in the box to the right. Also, we would love to have you join us! Join this site in the "followers" box to the right. "Like" the blog on facebook, and follow me on twitter (@jennasteprd), tumblr, and pinterest using the the boxes on the right. Thanks, and have a great day! ~jenna

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Tips for an Herb Garden

Let me start by telling you I do not have a green thumb.  I have an inability to keep any plant alive.  I don't know exactly why.  I think in the past, I forgot about them.  Or maybe I didn't do the research to learn how to properly care for my new plant(s).  At first, my husband was supportive in getting new plants for the house, and surprised when they turned up withered and dead in a month or two (if they even lasted that long...).  Eventually, he quit letting me buy plants and told me it was like a death sentence bringing them to our house. (Do you understand how bad I am??)  Now that we have a large yard, he has been in charge of the plants, and does a beautiful job caring for them, and six months later, they are flourishing.  We have one house plant right now, and he cares for that as well

I love cooking with fresh herbs.  Herbs are expensive though (with the exception of cilantro and parsley usually), and hard to keep on hand.  I have wanted an herb garden for years, but never had a good set up for one.  I have the perfect set up for one now.  So, I am trying again. (I did have basil make it through a summer once)  This time though, I am determined to keep them alive, and to see them do wonderful things.  I have been researching herb gardens, reading everything I can to learn how to properly prepare for my little garden, and my neighbor owns a nursery, so I pick his brain as well.  

I want to share some of what I have learned so far, and probably write about this again in the future as I learn more.  (I know this is an odd time to post about this, but I live in such a warm climate, that I can leave them outside for months still, and bring in only on the coldest days, you can start yours inside now and have growing herbs for next year!)

Here is a picture of my line up so far:

So far, so good.  I have Chives, Basil, Cilantro, Sweet Basil, Dill, Italian Oregano, Sage, Apple Mint, and Rosemary.  I still want plain Mint, Parsley, Fennel, Lavender, Thyme, and Tarragon.  I guess I will see how my 9 do first!

I picked planting them in pots for a few reason.  First, animals eat my other plants.  In pots, I can have them up off the ground.  Second, I can move them around to find the best spot for lots of sun, but if it is a very hot day, and especially right at first, I can move them into the shade.  Third, most of the year I can leave them outside, but for a few possible days that it may freeze, I can bring them inside.  Lastly, we have really hard, nutrient poor soil.  I wanted them to have great soil and the best chance for survival!  

For my pots, I decided to go with 8 inch plastic pots with drainage built into the bottom.  They are light-weight and inexpensive.  (light weight is good as I move them around to protect them from animals, storms, and too much sunlight at first).  Drainage holes are good to protect the plants from drowning, and 8 inches will allow the plants to expand as they grow (hopefully).

Because my pots are not that big, I bought potting soil for them.  I bought a 32 quart bag for 9 pots, and I have enough left over for at least 2 more.  My potting soil has time released food for the plants.  For large pots, you can use peanuts or wine corks to fill the bottom (this and other great info from Alanna Kellogg).

Herbs need a sunny place to live.  All the herbs that I have need 6+ hours of sunlight daily.  Herbs love SUN.  My neighbor recommended leaving the little info stick in, and calling that the south side of the plant.  Plants get "sunburned" on one side, and he says it is best to keep that side south.  

Herbs need watered daily, and some, like cilantro, need soil kept moist.  On really hot, dry days, it may need watered more than once.  Remember to water in the morning, before it gets too hot.  When the days cool down, that isn't as important. 

It is a good idea to fertilize them every 3-4 weeks for best growth, you can of course find organic fertilizer for this!  Herbs need nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorous, which can come from organic sources.

For the most part, harvest herbs as you need them.  For perennials, like basil, do not let them bloom.  The plant will spend it's energy on that bloom, when you really want the leaves.  Snip the bloom as soon as it appears.  Also, when that bloom appears, you will have the best and most fragrant leaves, so snip some of those too. 

Do you grow herbs?  Tell me which ones in the comment section, any tips you have, and if you want to send me a picture, I will post it here!  (send it too jennasteprd@gmail.com)



Hope you got your daily dose of nutrition today, and thanks for reading! If you enjoy the blog, please share using the buttons below, or in the box to the right. Also, we would love to have you join us! Join this site in the "followers" box to the right. "Like" the blog on facebook, and follow me on twitter (@jennasteprd), tumblr, and pinterest using the the boxes on the right. Thanks, and have a great day! ~jenna

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Try the Step Test

Want to see how in shape you are?  Grab a friend and try the Step Test.  This test is designed to see how quickly your heart can return to a normal rate.  Developed in 1972 by McArdle and colleagues.  You can do this quick test periodically to see if you are making improvements in your fitness level.

You will need:
Stop Watch/Timer
Step (16.25 inches high)
Metronome (if possible...not required, but helpful.  Free online version at http://www.metronomeonline.com/)
Helpful graphs below

You will be stepping on and off the step for 3 minutes.  Men should step at about 24 steps per minute, which on the metronome is 96 beats per minute (bpm).  Women should step at 22 steps per minute, which is 88 bpm on the metronome.  You should be able to hear the metronome ticking.  For each tick, step up, (tick) up, (tick) down, (tick) down.  So, up up (both feet on the step), down down (both feet on the ground). Continue this for 3 minutes.

After 3 minutes, wait 5 seconds, then take a 15 second pulse.  Times that number by 4, to get your beats per minute. (say my pulse was 16, do 16 times 4 = 64, that would be my beats per minute)  Check your beats per minute against the graph below to see where your fitness level is.  Try the test again in a month and see if you have improved!





Hope you got your daily dose of nutrition today, and thanks for reading! If you enjoy the blog, please share using the buttons below, or in the box to the right. Also, we would love to have you join us! Join this site in the "followers" box to the right. "Like" the blog on facebook, and follow me on twitter (@jennasteprd), tumblr, and pinterest using the the boxes on the right. Thanks, and have a great day! ~jenna

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Back to School - Lunch Ideas

Well, it's September, and fall is definitely in the air.  I love fall, after summer, it is my favorite season.  I love apples, pumpkin foods, boots, sweaters, soups, the colors, and the list goes on.  Another aspect of fall is the start of school.  With school starting, comes in a change in structure, as well as eating habits.  Whether your child takes lunch from home or buys school lunch, I have a few tips and ideas for you.  Also, even if you don't have kids read up, these lunch ideas are perfect for taking to work or on the run for a busy day!
Image from here

If your kids are buying school lunch, there are a couple ways to make sure they are getting the best nutrition possible.  Get a menu to see the hot meal of the day, and also find out what other options are offered each day.  Find out if the school offers a salad bar, and what is on there.  Discuss with your kids what will be offered the next day, and make a game plan for what they will choose.  If they don't like the hot meal, discuss which of the sides would be the best alternative.  

Discuss the options with the main meal, and make sure they are taking fruit and/or vegetables.  Are they getting milk?  Encourage them too!  Find out what sweets are offered, and come up with a plan for how often they can include one.  I have seen schools that offer ice cream, cookies, cake, and other sweets DAILY!  I have met with kids who have drained their monthly account for school lunch in 2 weeks, because of the extras they were allowed to purchase.  Talk with your kids and help them make healthy choices at school!

Taking home lunch?  This year, get out of the peanut butter and jelly sandwich rut!  Many of the lunches I hear about are almost all carbs or grain choices. (Sandwich, pretzels, cookie, apple)  If your little one loves sandwiches, trying making them on deli flats or sandwich thins, to save on carbs, while upping fiber and protein in the bread.  If PB&J is a favorite, plan to include that maybe 2x a week, and try something else on the other days.  Include your child on the lunch preparation, this helps ensure they will eat what is packed.
Image from here

Part of opening up lunch options is having the right equipment :)  A while back, I was meeting with this 8 yr old and her mom.  I was asking about lunches, and her mom was telling me how the applesauce she packed always came home unopened.  I asked the girl if she didn't like applesauce, to which she responded "I love applesauce, but Mom, you never pack me a spoon so I can eat the applesauce!".  Oops!  I don't think her mom will ever forget a spoon again!  So, have the right equipment on hand!  Stock up on plastic spoons or forks, or make sure they have an easy way to bring home real ones.  Also, you need a bag that will keep cold food cold, or a thermos to keep hot food hot!  

Here are some ideas to mix up lunch:
-Soup or chili (in the thermos) with crackers
-Bagel thin with light cream cheese and Ham
-Bagel thins made into mini pizzas (either in advance and kept warm, or if they like it cold, send some sauce, cheese, and toppings for at school.
-Turkey hot dog with bun (keep the turkey dog warm in the thermos)
-Wraps (try with turkey, ham, chicken, or tuna, with a little cheese and any veggies)
-Quesadillas, kept warm
-Grilled cheese Sandwich with tomato soup
-Pita bread with Hummus
-boiled egg with precooked bacon or turkey bacon (breakfast for lunch!)
-String cheese
-Yogurt
-Applesauce (with a SPOON!), grapes, clementines
-Cut up veggies (carrots, celery, cucumbers, cauliflower, peppers, cherry tomatoes, with a little light ranch dressing to dip)
-Edamame
-Pudding Cup
-Pretzels, baked chips, vegetable straws (portioned amounts)
-Water or Low Fat Milk (avoid juice)

The easiest way to do home lunch is to have most everything prepped and ready to put in the lunch bag in advance.  Have veggies chopped, snacks such as pretzels pre-portioned in their bags, whatever you can do in advance, will make the morning much smoother!

What do you send or take for lunch?  Share in the comments section below!

Hope you got your daily dose of nutrition today, and thanks for reading! If you enjoy the blog, please share using the buttons below, or in the box to the right. Also, we would love to have you join us! Join this site in the "followers" box to the right. "Like" the blog on facebook, and follow me on twitter (@jennasteprd), tumblr, and pinterest using the the boxes on the right. Thanks, and have a great day! ~jenna

Monday, September 3, 2012

Homemade Granola Rocks!

Happy Labor Day!  Today I wanted to share my version of homemade granola.  My husband loves granola, but most of the boxes I look at are really high in sugar and calories, without contributing enough protein or fiber.  So, we came up with everything we wanted to include and tried quite a few different combos till we found the best!  My husband wanted to make sure it had "clumps" in it, so after trial and error, we found a preparation that gives great "clumps" :)


Granola
Ingredients
Makes 26 1/2 cup servings
4 C Oats (or 3 C oats + 1 Cup All Bran Cereal)
1 C sliced almonds
1/2 C whole amonds
1 1/2 C walnuts
3/4 C pumpkin seeds
1 C Shredded Coconut
1 1/2 C Wheat Bran
1/4 C Ground Flax Seed
1/2 C + 2 Tbsp Sugar Free Syrup
1/4 C + 1 Tbsp Brown Sugar (or spenda Blend)
1 Tbsp Cinnamon
1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 C Dark Chocolate chips (optional)

Directions
Preheat oven to 325 F degrees
First mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl (oats through flax seed)
I was watching this cute boy while making granola, he was a great helper!  This is a fun one to make with kids!  They can help add all the dry ingredients and stir.









In a small saucepan, combine sugar free syrup, brown sugar or blend, Vanilla, and cinnamon. 

 Cook over medium heat until it comes to a boil, then take off heat.

 Pour liquid over dry ingredients, a little at a time and stir to combine well. 


To get the best clumps, pack granola one cup at a time into a measuring cup, then dump onto baking trays (spray trays with cooking spray to avoid sticking)


 This recipe makes about 3 cookie sheets worth.  Bake at 325 for 20 minutes, stirring at 10 minutes.


If you are a chocolate lover, top each pan with 15-16 large dark chocolate chips, then stick back in oven for 2-3 minutes until melted. 

Stir pan again when chocolate chips are melted, and let rest until cool.  Store in an air tight container.

Its amazing, enjoy!  For 1/2 cup,  it is 174 calories, 7 grams of fiber, 6 grams of protein!  It is full of heart healthy omega 3 fatty acids as well - everything good for you!  :)


Hope you got your daily dose of nutrition today, and thanks for reading! If you enjoy the blog, please share using the buttons below, or in the box to the right. Also, we would love to have you join us! Join this site in the "followers" box to the right. "Like" the blog on facebook, and follow me on twitter (@jennasteprd), tumblr, and pinterest using the the boxes on the right. Thanks, and have a great day! ~jenna

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Leibster Award

A big Thanks to my dear friend Andrea for nominating my blog and me for the Liebster Award!  Her blog is awesome (she writes a few that all rock) - check her out here: http://aatchison1985.blogspot.com

The Liebster Award is given by bloggers to up and coming bloggers as a way to spread the word about smaller blogs who deserve a bigger audience. This award is an honor, but once nominated you must earn it:
  • You must list 11 things about yourself
  • Answer 11 questions put to you by the person who nominated you
  • Choose up to 11 bloggers with less than 200 followers to nominate and post 11 questions for them to answer
  • Visit your nominee's pages to inform them of their award
So here is my attempt to earn it :)

11 Things about myself:

1. We dated in high school. My husband and I dated in high school for a couple months, we even went to prom together.  A few years later he called me out of the blue to go on a date, and we got married that same year!
2. Loves dogs. I have two dogs, Kendell (Australian Shepherd) and Daxton (Chihuahua)  They are totally spoiled!  We love them tons. 
3. I love CrossFit.  I have tried most workout methods and I feel like that one gives the best results, ever.  I don't however eat Paleo.  I have done 3-4 months of paleo eating, but it isn't for me.
4. I'm addicted to cookbooks.  Yes I know you can find every recipe I ever wanted on the internet, but I love actual cook books.  I have 100s by now, on everything.  I love reading them and looking at all the yummy food pictures.  So inspiring.  They introduce to recipes I wouldn't even begin to search for (you don't know what you don't know - think about that one!)
5. Moving. Speaking of cookbooks, I have moved 9 times in the last 8 years.  Some big moves (across the country), some only an hour away.  My husband HATES my cookbooks when we move.  Moving books is so not fun.
6. I love to travel.  I love to go new places and explore.  I love to eat when we travel.  I love to try all the new foods, restaurants, cuisines, etc.  I also love going to markets or grocery stores (especially small towns in Europe).
7. I rode a camel this year.  In Morocco, we had the opportunity, and both my husband and I jumped on one.  That is how I spent my birthday this year.
8. I'm Scuba Certified.  One of my biggest fears is drowning, but I was able to face that fear and get scuba certified 6.5 years ago.  I have done some awesome dives, and always look forward to the next one.  I have seen several sharks, which is always a little scary, but so cool.
9. Almost Certified Personal Trainer.  I am working on my personal training certification.  I love wellness coaching, and I have the nutrition side down, now I want to have that exercise background as well.  I will finish that up this year!
10. Dislikes Strawberries.  I know, who doesn't like strawberries??  Well I don't.  I also don't like peas.  Basically the only two foods I don't like, and even then, I will still eat them in things.  
11. Soup Lover. Since I told you the foods I don't like, I will tell you how much I love soups. All kinds.  My family used to make fun of me for ordering soup and salad at most restaurants.  Now my husband makes fun of me, because I will make huge batches of it, and eat it daily.  I never get bored with it.

Questions from Andrea:

  1. Why do you blog?
    A couple reasons, first, I have all these nutrition things in my head all day, every day.  I find new cool products, create new recipes, etc, and my husband suggested I share what I talk about in blog form.  (Maybe he wanted me to share less with him! Ha)  I used to send out daily emails called Daily Dose of Nutrition, and I wanted a better way to see them all, blogging made sense!
  2. If you had a million (tax free) dollars to spend what would you use it for?
    Hmm, I really want to go back to Europe, and travel to so many places, I would love to use it for travel.  I'm a saver, so the practical side of me would like to answer "pay off everything, and have a retirement" Super boring, but i'm programmed like that...
  3. If you were to go on any reality TV show which would it be? and why?
    I would love to go on Food network's show that gives a show to the winner!  I think it is called "The Next Food Network Star"  That would be such a cool thing, to have a food network show!  I have so many ideas for one!  I love cooking, being in the kitchen is so comfortable to me, and I think I could do a great job!
  4. If you could have dinner with any one person alive or dead who would it be? and why?
    This is a challenging one, but I would pick my Grandpa, he passed away almost ten years ago, and was sick for a long time before that.  I would love to talk to him again and spend just a few hours with him.  Miss him so much.
  5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would you live?
    I may pick Southern California, or Maui.  I love warm weather, hate snow, so my choice would be driven by that.  No where crazy, because I like to be able to see my family often.  I could also spend a year in Malaga, Spain, nice year round, and beautiful, right on the ocean!  I do love Arizona weather, dry heat is good with me! (there just isn't a lot to do or places close by!)
  6. If you had a super power what would it be? and what would you use it for?
    I would love to have a perfect memory (like on limitless), and retain everything.  I would love to be that super smart!
  7. What is your favorite movie?
    It always changes as new things come out, I love the Sex and City movie (girly, I know).  I also love The King's Speech, and Home Alone (really all christmas movies!)
  8. Where is your favorite vacation spot?
    I loved Spain, can't wait to go back.  I also love Playa del Carmen in Mexico, and Maui.  Maui is awesome because we can scuba dive right off the beach, and see amazing things!  Playa Del Carmen (or Rivera Maya) is so beautiful, relaxing, and again great diving!
  9. What is your favorite book?
    Gone with the Wind...amazing.  
  10. If you could tell your 15 year old self one thing what would it be?
    Probably to pay attention in Chemistry because you will be doing years of it in college!  (and they will be difficult!)
  11. What is your favorite band/artist?
    Depends on the day and my mood!  Always, I love listening to Billy Joel.  I'm a piano player, and love listening to his skills!  One of the first concerts I ever went to was when he and Elton John toured together years ago!
My Questions:

1. Where is your favorite place to travel too?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. Where would you love to visit one day?
4. What is your favorite book?
5. Why do you blog?
6. If you had a superpower, what would it be?
7. If you could drive any car in the world, what would you pick?
8. What makes you happy?
9. If you were on a reality show, what would it be and why?  Would you win?
10. What is your favorite book?
11. What is the first concert you ever went too?

My Nominations:
1. Annie Writes.
2. The Websters
3. Becky Cooper
4. Speaking Of Kids

There are a few more I would like to nominate.  I will put them up soon :)