Healthy Living

Free Webinar to Improve Your Child’s Eating Habits

Free Webinar to Improve Your Child’s Eating Habits

smile3Calling all parents of picky eaters!

Based on the feedback I received on these tips for getting your fussy eater to eat healthy, it’s apparent that the relationship between our kids and vegetables is often a rocky one (no surprise there!). 

That’s why I’m excited to share with you Dr. Orlena Kerek’s upcoming free webinar on improving your child’s eating habits.

Orlena, who regularly shares her wisdom over at Snotty Noses, is a pediatric doctor and mother of four. In other words, she knows her stuff!

I’m going to let her take it from here and tell you all about the webinar that will be held on February 24th.

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Health Insurance & The Affordable Care Act: What Your Family Needs to Know

Health Insurance & The Affordable Care Act: What Your Family Needs to Know

Thank you to UnitedHealthcare for sponsoring this conversation. The ideas, thoughts, and opinions are all mine.

Health Insurance & the Affordable Care Act: What Your Family Needs to Know #ad

When you bring up the topics of health insurance and the Affordable Care Act (ACA), most people have one of two reactions:

A) Premiums, deductibles, PPOs, oh my! This stuff is way over my head, so I’ll let someone else handle it.

or 

B) The Affordable Care Act? That is such a politically charged issue that I’d prefer to stay far away from it.

But because health coverage is so important to your family’s health, finances, and overall wellbeing, it’s important not to shy away from the topic.

With open enrollment for 2015 ending on February 15, now’s the right time to dive in and see if the ACA could be saving your family money, helping you get better coverage, or both. More →

Baked Pasta with Chicken Sausage

Baked Pasta with Chicken Sausage

delicious recipe for baked pasta with chicken sausageMy church has been booming with babies lately. 

It feels like every week another little one enters the world. In response, we cheer, we give thanks…and we cook.

To me, one of the best things you can do for a growing family is bring them a meal. Because in the first weeks after bringing a baby home—in the midst of the crying, the sleepless nights, and the tears of both joy and pain—everybody still needs to eat, but nobody wants to cook.

This Baked Pasta with Chicken Sausage has become my go-to meal for families with new babies. It’s mild enough that it suits most taste buds, it’s nutritious enough for those who are health-conscious (while still being hearty enough for a hungry, breastfeeding mama!), and I can easily take out the chicken sausage for vegetarian families.

Plus, if I bring along a bagged salad and maybe some garlic bread, I’ve given the family a complete meal—exactly what they need! More →

6 Things Happy People Do Every Morning

6 Things Happy People Do Every Morning

6 things happy people do every morning. Can't wait to add some of these to my morning routine!Maybe it’s because I’m a bona fide morning person, but I believe the AM hours are some of the most important ones of the day. 

Why? Because what you choose to do during that time sets the tone for the rest of your day.

If you start off feeling calm, refreshed, and joyful, you’re more likely to sustain that positive vibe as the day goes on. On the other hand, if you wake up and immediately feel rushed or sluggish (or worse—both!), it can be tough to snap out of it even when you really need to.

Want to make sure you’re consistently waking up on the right side of the bed? Try incorporating one or more of these into your morning routine.
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Vegetarian Black Bean and Squash Chili

Vegetarian Black Bean and Squash Chili

vegetarian black bean & squash chili recipe #slowcookerFor many people, the arrival of all things pumpkin represents the beginning of fall. While I love pumpkin as much as the next gal, for me the quintessential autumn food is definitely chili.

Give me the crunch of leaves underfoot, a cozy knit sweater, and a big bowl of chili and I’m a happy lady.

Oh, and a piece of cornbread doesn’t hurt either!

Vegetarian Black Bean and Squash Chili

We made this chili last weekend, and it was a hit! A great use of winter squash—that super nutritious and ever-affordable vegetable. What’s more, it’s a slow cooker recipe, which makes it that much more appealing to busy moms struggling to find the time to throw dinner together in the evening.

I used half a can of chipotle chiles, which gave just the right amount of heat for me. If you like your chili to have a full kick, throw in the whole can. More →

Healthy Pumpkin Spice Smoothie

Healthy Pumpkin Spice Smoothie

healthy pumpkin spice smoothie recipe. perfect for fall!Here we are again, straddling the seasons. One foot is pressed firmly on the summer side—with temps still in the high 80s in my neck of the woods—and the other foot is situated squarely on the side of fall, with kids back in school and riding boots on the covers of catalogs.

I find myself asking the question I always do during this in-between stage: What should I eat?

Well, today I have an answer.

For that wishy-washy day when the heat has you craving something refreshing but the date on the calendar has you yearning for something autumnal, I give you the Healthy Pumpkin Spice Smoothie. More →

New Study Says Babies Aren’t a Blank Slate

New Study Says Babies Aren’t a Blank Slate

how to give your baby a head start even before conceptionThe moment I learned I was pregnant, I started following all of the “rules”—making healthier choices and adhering to all the doctor recommendations in order to give my son a strong start in life.

That’s all well and good, but a new study published in the journal Science says giving kids that strong start actually begins much earlier—before they’re even conceived. 

Researchers found that during conception, the egg and sperm contribute not only genetic material, but also stored environmental information. For those of us who aren’t scientists, this basically means that parents’ lifestyle choices have an influence on their kiddos even before that egg and sperm come together—potentially leading to a higher risk of conditions like diabetes, heart disease, anxiety, and immune dysfunction.

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The 5-Word Motto Truly Healthy People Live By

The 5-Word Motto Truly Healthy People Live By

fell off the health wagon? here's the 5-word motto truly healthy people live byTell me if this sounds familiar: You fell off the healthy wagon for a few weeks—or months, or years, whatever—and can’t seem to jump back on because the thought of overhauling your diet or adding exercise to your already-crammed schedule is just too overwhelming. 

Or maybe you’ve been making really healthy choices for the past few weeks, but one indulgent weekend—too much chocolate and wine, not enough movement or sleep—has you feeling like you’ve blown it.

Well, here’s a little secret that people who maintain good health for years and years know: You’ve never blown it. More →

Healthy Taco Pasta

Healthy Taco Pasta

Healthy Taco Pasta. A fresh, healthy alternative to Hamburger Helper! #comfortfood

The first time I had Hamburger Helper was at a friend’s house when I was ten years old. I immediately deemed my friend’s mom the most amazing cook in the world.

I had no idea that all she did was brown some meat and add it to a packet of powder and dry pasta. I just knew it tasted good.

These days I try to eat more from the ground and less from a box, so Hamburger Helper has lost a lot of its appeal—though the concept behind it hasn’t. Protein mixed with pasta and topped with seasonings will always make for a delicious and easy meal.

Here’s one of my favorite Hamburger Helper alternatives: Healthy Taco Pasta.  More →

Eat Like Google: 3 Healthy Eating Tips from Google Headquarters

Eat Like Google: 3 Healthy Eating Tips from Google Headquarters

Healthy Eating Tips from Google

Staff members at Google, Inc. are known for being some of the happiest employees in the world, and the internet giant works hard to keep them that way.

Turns out Google is just as interested in keeping their waistlines in check.

When execs notice their workers overdoing it on the chips and soda, they attack the problem the “Google way”: scouring research, conducting surveys and crunching massive amounts of data to help their employees make scale-friendlier choices. Here’s how you can use the tech titan’s research in your own quest to eat healthier.

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Blueberry Coconut Baked Oatmeal

Blueberry Coconut Baked Oatmeal

Blueberry Coconut Baked OatmealI keep a running list on my smartphone called “Go-To Dinner Ideas.” It features meals that are both easy to make and sure to please, and I reference it often when making my grocery list for the upcoming two weeks (since we’re trying to save money by making fewer trips to the grocery store). 

The list features staples like tacos and pasta, plus some of our personal favorites like tuna melts and stir fries. 

It also includes these three delicious letters: B-F-D.

Breakfast For Dinner.

At least twice a month we have breakfast for dinner in some form or another—maybe an egg casserole with veggies or (my toddler’s personal favorite) pancakes with fresh fruit.

Last week we went with this Blueberry Coconut Baked Oatmeal, which totally hit the spot! More →

How to Get Fit in 30 Minutes a Day

How to Get Fit in 30 Minutes a Day

Crunched for time? You CAN get fit in just 30 minutes a day with these simple strategies!There was a time when I believed the only way to get in shape was to dedicate at least an hour per day to exercise.

While I may have been able to swing that in my former life (otherwise known as life before children and full-time employment), it just isn’t in the cards anymore. Spending that much at the gym would require me to give up other passions and pursuits, something I’m just not willing to do.

But that certainly doesn’t mean I can or should neglect working out completely. When I resumed exercising regularly after giving birth (which wasn’t until my son was about six months old), I did so with the mindset that a little bit of movement is always better than no movement at all.

To my surprise, I’ve managed to get into pretty decent shape with only intentionally exercising for 30 minutes a day.

Of course, I say that with this important caveat: To me, “pretty decent shape” doesn’t mean that I’m able to run a half-marathon in under two hours, the way I did a few years ago. My definition of “fit” currently doesn’t include triathlons or the ability to do fifteen pull-ups.

So what does that 30 minutes a day give me in terms of fitness?

The strength to hoist my almost-two-year-old around without being sore the next day.

The lung capacity to go for a family hike without huffing and puffing.

And the energy to end a busy day of working and mothering without totally collapsing.

I’ll take it!

Here’s how I’ve been making it work. More →