Monthly Archives: August 2014

Plan Ahead Weekday Lunches

Kale and edamame salad on rustic backgroundPlanning for a healthy breakfast and dinner seems easy for me; it’s lunch that tends to give me trouble. I’m usually busy working, running errands, or doing things around the house, and I really don’t want to stop and make something for lunch. This usually results in me snacking on chips, possibly a banana, or whatever I can easily grab, which is not very healthy. I’ve found that if I don’t plan ahead for lunch, I eat something unhealthy. Occasionally I plan ahead, and that’s when I eat amazing, healthy lunches. Here’s what I do.

On Sunday night I make two different items. One is usually some type of kale or pasta salad that will last a while in the fridge, and the other is some type of energy bar or high fiber muffins. As I go throughout my week, I now have a healthy salad and quick energy bars to grab each day at lunch time. By the end of the week, I’ve had my fill of those flavors, so that Sunday night I’ll make a different salad and energy food item.

I have to admit, I’m not always perfect, and some weeks I end up munching on whatever’s around, but I certainly eat better on the weeks when I plan ahead. Maybe this little trick will help you eat better lunches.

Berry Merry Muffins

Hello Reader! This is my first post with the DietTools team, and I am excited to talk health and fitness with you. My name is Laura, and eventually I’ll give a more detailed introduction about myself. Today, however, I want to talk about breakfast.

I have two kids. They started school this week. My preschooler goes to school in the morning and breakfast is part of their curriculum. Maybe not so much breakfast, but learning about manners and appropriate behaviors for eating in public. My son also happens to be lactose intolerant. So, when I looked at the school menu every meal option had dairy except one. I had to get on the “take your breakfast to school” boat really fast. Now, I’ve been packing school lunches for a while, but portable and healthy breakfasts had not really crossed my mind. This past week I’ve packed the following:

Monday – Egg taco, cheese stick, and grapes.

Tuesday – Baked oatmeal and sliced orange

Wednesday – Lactose free yogurt, blueberries and Cheerios

Thursday – Berry Merry Muffins and applesauce

oatmeal blueberry mufin

oatmeal blueberry muffin

Today’s Berry Merry Muffins were a new try for me. I was in search of a healthy, portable breakfast, and this one works. I liked this recipe because the ingredient list includes oatmeal, almond milk, fresh fruit and nuts, applesauce and maple syrup among other things. Its packed with foods that are good for your body. I actually did not have maple syrup and used honey instead without any problems.

If you make this recipe, be aware that the consistency will be different than most muffins. There is no flour in the recipe so it has a baked oatmeal consistency. The muffins are soft and will fall apart when they are fresh out of the oven. If you are using this for a portable breakfast, I would suggest making them far enough in advance that they will be able to cool before you pack them.

My kids enjoyed the muffins and this will be a recipe we will be making again!



A Good School Day Starts with a Good Breakfast

making healthy milkshakeAs we all know, it’s back to school time and anticipation is in the air. Everyone’s busy buying backpacks, pencils, calculators, and the all so important outfit to wear on the first day of school. Yes, I remember those days just like they were yesterday. With all the hustle and bustle, it’s easy to forget one of the most important things to start off a new school day: Breakfast. Having a good breakfast is one of the best ways to wake up your mind and get it ready to soak up new knowledge. Here are some suggestions to make sure this important item doesn’t get overlooked.

1. Plan your breakfast out the night before and allow enough preparation time.

2. Pick something that has good protein and fiber to give you energy and keep you full.

3. Try to avoid things high in sugar or overly processed.

4. Good breakfast ideas include: old fashioned oatmeal with brown sugar and fresh fruit, hard boiled eggs with a fruit smoothie, whole wheat toast with jam and nut butter, and a whole wheat bagel sandwich with egg, cheese and avocado.

Once you get into a routine, a healthy breakfast will be a great part of your day.

Diet Challenge #18: Fresh Fixes in 15 Minutes

Focusing this week on beating the “no time” excuse, we have a diet challenge that will compliment our challenge to Fit in Fitness.
diet challenge 18

The Challenge

Don’t let your busy schedule be an excuse for unhealthy eating. Many fresh and healthy meals can be made in 15 minutes. Try some of them this week.

The Details

The Best Weight Loss Programs for Busy People can help you find the right diet for you if you are really strapped for time.
Switching to frozen meals rather than eating out can help you save money. These guidelines can help you make a healthy Switch to Frozen Meals.
My Favorite 15 Minute Summer Meal.

Fitness Challenge #18: Fit in Fitness

So many of us use the excuse that we just don’t have the time to exercise. Life can be busy. It can really be a challenge sometimes to find the time to get in a workout. This week we hope you will join us for Fitness Challenge #18 which will encourage us to fit in fitness.
fitness challenge 18

The Challenge

Find time this week to fit fitness into each day. Whether its a 15 minute workout or a couple of squats while your brushing your teeth, find ways to be more active.

The Details

Check out these 15 minute workouts:
15 Minute Fat Shredding Workout
Quick 15 Minute Workout from Home

Don’t have 15 minutes? Try the 6 Minute Workout for your Belly, Butt and Thighs.

Fighting My Genes With My Jeans

Fighting my Genes with my JeansFor as long as I can remember, I’ve never been petite. I was always the tallest girl in my class, could never fit into the tiny clothes my friends could, and was usually taller than most guys. Fortunately, I played lots of sports growing up, so I kept in shape. As I became an adult, I noticed it was much harder to avoid gaining weight. As time went on, things just got worse.

In between my first and second child, and after my second child was born, I put on a lot of weight. I was frustrated because I could see other women bounce back from pregnancy without any problem, but for me it seemed like such a struggle. I started to use bad genes as an excuse for being overweight. Truth be told, I do come from a family where being overweight is not unusual, and our genes really do make it more difficult for us to keep off added weight, but it’s not impossible.

A few years ago I decided to make a big change. I stopped eating most dairy and meat items, started exercising regularly, and I started losing weight. Fast forward to today and since that time I have dropped nearly 50 pounds, was able to complete a handful of 5K’s, one 10K, two half marathons, one duathlon, and am very active and happy. I decided to fight against my genes and get in shape for myself and my family. Yes, genes do have an affect on how you gain weight and accumulate fat, but you can fight back and stay healthy.

The picture on the left is me in 2009, the one on the right is me in 2013. I am no longer hiding behind baggy shorts and over-sized t-shirts. I am wearing cute, fitted jeans, and enjoying feeling healthy and happy!

Losing weight takes time and patience, and you can’t do it all at once. Just 10 minutes of exercise each day can start you on your weight loss journey. Join our Exercise 10 Minutes A Day Challenge and get a jump start on the New Year.

My New Favorite Chocolate Indulgence

Rich and Creamy Chocolate MilkshakeI love chocolate. No matter how hard I try, I can’t avoid it. So, instead of fighting the urge, I give into the urge in healthy ways. Chocolate in itself is not bad for you, it’s what you add to it that makes it unhealthy. I came across this recipe for a Coffee Almond Shake, made it, loved it, and have now added it to my list of healthy chocolate indulgences.

It’s perfect for when you need a little pick me up in the morning, or late afternoon. I love it because it includes three of my all time favorite flavors: Almond, Chocolate and Coffee. I do have to issue a warning. This shake is very addicting, so be careful to maintain control and limit yourself to no more than 2 a week. Enjoy!


Diet Challenge #17: Brown Bag for Adults

Packing your own lunch for work can save you both calories and money. With a little preparation you can pack lunches that are portable and nutritious.

The Challenge

Pack your lunch at least two times this week.

The Details

Learn how you can Save Your Pennies with the Help of a Brown Bag. Also, these Healthy Brown Bag Lunch Ideas are just the thing to get you inspired!

Try some of our quick and portable recipes:
BBQ Turkey Sandwich
Hummus Veggie Tortilla Wraps
Fresh Fruit Skewers

Fitness Challenge #17: Deskercise

When you are working a full work day it can be difficult to get in a workout. This week however, we’re going to try and fit in some quick exercises during the day.
fitness challenge #17

The Challenge

Fit in at least one exercise into your work day. If you can work in even more, great!

The Details

We have compiled some great articles and videos that can give you ideas for staying in shape at the office. Making small changes like taking the stairs can add activity to your day.
Get Fit Over Lunch with These Office Friendly Moves.
Diet and Fitness For a Desk Job.
6 Fitness Devices to Help You Shape Up at the Office.
5 Minute Deskercise Workout.

Cotton is your Workout Enemy

sporty fashion itemWhile growing up I played soccer, basketball and softball and really enjoyed it. I spent most of my youth wearing t-shirts, sports shorts, sweats and athletic shoes. I always felt like they were the very most comfortable clothes to wear. Fast forward 20 years (yes I am dating myself here) and as I started to run as an adult, I realized cotton was not what I remembered.

I started to notice that when I ran, my 35 year old legs tended to rub together more than my 16 year old legs had. Not only did they chafe, they also started to ride up as I ran. I also noticed that my cotton t-shirts stuck to my body and felt very heavy. I looked at other runners and realized most of them weren’t wearing cotton, they were wearing thin, light weight, breathable fabrics. I figured the majority couldn’t be wrong, so I bought similar work out clothes and I have never looked back!

I used to think clothes like that were only for rich, professional athletes, but now I see they are completely practical for everyday runners. By wearing fitted, breathable clothing, your body can move better, breathe better, and avoid chafing. If you’re used to baggy t-shirts and shorts, it might be hard at first to have more of your body exposed, but once you feel how comfortable it is, you’ll never go back!