Over the last few years wearable fitness trackers have gained popularity and for good reason. It’s fun to see how much you move in a day and give ourselves a mental high-five!
Interestingly, we feel the opposite when it comes to tracking food. Somehow, we see more failure with food tracking – even when we are making good decisions.
Like most things, this can change with perspective. What if, we competed with friends over eating different colored vegetables? Probably sounds lame, but I’d bet you never thought you’d compete with friends over how many steps you walk in a day ;). It could even be something like cooking dinner at home or packing lunch for work.
Here’s a challenge: pick a group of 5 people (friends, family, co-workers, whomever) and challenge them to a healthy eating competition. Take a photo (it can be fruit, veggies, a meal you made, a snack, etc) post it to Instagram and use #SFHWhealthyeatingchallenge and tag me @susanfishback and your friends! Post between January 3 – 13 and I’ll pick a winner of $20 to Trader Joe’s – if you don’t have a Trader Joe’s, we’ll figure it out ;).
Chicken with garlic and thyme
Marinate chicken in fresh thyme, 3 minced garlic cloves, salt, pepper and olive oil for 30 minutes and grill. We tossed asparagus in olive oil and grilled it with the chicken.
Chicken sausage with peppers and onions
Cut 3 peppers and 1 onion into strips and place them in a bowl with a little olive oil, salt and pepper (Trader Joe’s Everyday seasoning is good too!)
Grill chicken sausage, and the onion-pepper mixture. We use equal parts veggie to sausage in a roll or on a plate if you are watching carbs 🙂
Strawberries with chocolate mint
Slice strawberries and place in a bowl with fresh mint (or chocolate mint). Remove the mint leaves before serving
Each week I fill my house with healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner options for my husband and our boys. By the time I’m done rationing the fruit and preparing meals – I’ve missed my own food. As a result, I often skip breakfast and indulge in a large, unhealthy lunch.
Why is the health of my family more important than mine? It’s not! All of our health is important. The better I fuel my body, the better I can be for myself and my family.
For the last two weeks, I’ve been making myself an equal participant in the healthy planning. I include myself in the fruit rationing and meal preparation. My energy has increased, and my workouts have been more effective.
Do you put others ahead of your own health? Look at your own meals and decide if you would feed them to the rest of your family. Remember to take care of yourself – you are worth it!!
Macro shot of a box of clementines, Citrus reticulata 'Clementine' . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
We all know that fresh fruit and vegetables are good for us, but they often get thrown into the refrigerator drawer and forgotten about. Often when we are hungry, we want a quick fix and cutting up fruit and veggies can be a pain. The key is to make fruit and vegetables the easy choice.
Buying fruit that can be washed and put into a bowl on the counter is a great place to start. Most kids love apples, bananas and clementines (you probably love them too when you think to eat one). By having them on the counter they can help themselves. The next time they say they are hungry or want a snack, direct them to the fruit bowl. Eventually, they will do it on their own.
Another way to make eating fresh produce easy is to prepare it when you get home from the store. In my house, I have to ration the melon. I cut up the cantaloupe or watermelon and put them into single serving containers. This makes it easy for the kids to grab but they don’t sit with the big container and eat it all in one sitting. I do the same thing for grapes.
Next, is veggies. Baby carrots are a staple in my home. The boys take them from the fridge and eat many a day. Cucumbers are another easy one to prepare ahead. You can cut them in circles or into sticks and put them into containers. I mix it up with the kids so it seems different. Celery is another one to prepare ahead. Basically, it is all about making the fruits and veggies easy to grab finger foods.
Preparing single servings ahead of time is not only easier around the house, but makes it easy to pack them in lunches or for a snack on an outing. Maybe take the family for a walk and enjoy some fresh produce in the middle of your adventure. It will help refresh you and keep you going.
Enjoy the warmer weather and all that it gives us!!
Veggies from the patio garden
I have the opposite of a green thumb and yet I try to grow a garden every year. Over the last few years, I have learned my limits and where to put my plants. My yard is very shady, so I use a lot of planters on my deck (the sunniest spot on our property). Each year the kids and I plant seeds and watch them grow. Given my lack of a green thumb, this usually results in my buying seedlings when the weather is warm but the kids enjoy selecting seeds and watching them sprout.
It is fun to take the kids to the store and let them pick vegetables to grow in our garden. You would be surprised at what they pick out. I don’t sway them from picking vegetables that they don’t usually eat or limit them to foods that will grow better in New England. Once the weather warms up, we plant the vegetables outside and the kids play an active role in watering the plants and picking our vegetables. They are willing to try anything off the plant. The cherry tomatoes rarely make it into the house. It may not become their favorite food, but at least they try something new. My youngest also picks herbs off the plants and eats them on the deck. He can smell very minty at times 🙂
Involving the kids in the process makes for a great project and helps them learn about where food comes from and makes it more fun to eat their vegetables. My older son’s school took this philosophy and created a garden at the school. A group of volunteers and a lot of help from the community has led to a great garden. The entire school planted seeds and the kids were able to go out and check the progress. Each student was able to pick from the garden at the beginning of the season and again at the end. They were even able to supply the school cafeteria with lettuce and vegetables for salads in the fall. Being New England, the growing season isn’t very long but they certainly made the best of it.
It doesn’t take much to start a few plants. Put soil in an old egg carton and then have the kids place one seed in each spot. Continue to water and you will see sprouts quickly. The squashes tend to have big sprouts so the kids really like to see them. They will need to be transferred to bigger containers as they grow or they can go outside if you live in a warmer area. Making it a family adventure helps to ease the work and more fun to share the bounty. A fresh salad from the garden makes summer dinners that much more fun!
Here are a few links about starting a garden: