As a parent, I know that one of our greatest goals (and challenges!) is to set a good example for our children. We teach them to share with others, do their homework on time and learn good manners…but are we instilling the important lessons of eating well, staying physically active, maintaining a positive attitude and financial fitness?
Here are my top 11 tips to help your family get fit:
1. Take your kids to the supermarket: Next time you are cruising the produce aisle, have your kids choose an interesting fruit or vegetable they’d like to try. Being a part of the food shopping expedition can be both educational and empowering for your kids.
2. Let your kids take on the role of assistant chefs: Studies show that when kids are actively involved in food prep and cooking at a young age, they are more likely to try new foods and take an interest in eating well. Have them help you by washing foods, stirring ingredients, or chopping veggies if they’re old enough.
3. Create your own special snacks: Have everyone create their own family fun-style smoothies, pizzas, trail mixes or oatmeal bowls using a variety of healthy and yummy ingredients. One of my favorites is to add spinach or kale to a fruit smoothie. Call it a Banana Berry Blast and add baby spinach. The spinach gets so small they won’t even taste it. (Note: I’m not a believer in being sneaky in the kitchen and tricking your kids.)
4. Go to the local track: Paying for gym memberships for an entire family can be expensive. Instead, plan weekly meet-ups at the local track and run laps. Add a little friendly competition by creating “mini-Olympics” relay races!
5. Find a trail: Disconnect by turning off cell phones and reconnect with family and nature by finding local walking trails in the area. It can be the perfect time to get fresh air, enjoy the scenery, and catch up on the day.
6. Play the game: Instead of yelling at your kids for playing sedentary video games all day, make it a family affair! After dinner, plug in your gaming system and play active games like ones that make you dance, kickbox, or play tennis! You’ll burn even more calories from laughing so hard.
7. Financial fitness challenge: Family financial fitness is an area that many parents often overlook to teach their kids. A fun way to get your kids more involved is to give them the challenge of who can score the best deals on items the family needs to buy. Teach them how your credit card works. My favorite new credit card is The Amex EveryDay Credit Card since it rewards me for my daily purchases like groceries where I can earn 2x the points. By using The Amex EveryDay Card for my everyday spending, I’m able to earn 20% more points if I use the Card 20 times or more in a billing period. Have your kids help you keep track of your purchases and points and help you pick your reward!
8. Family Fun Run (or walk): Build character and fitness by signing up for a Family Fun Run. Together, you’ll raise money for a good cause and get a great workout to boot. The shared memory of crossing the finish line as a family and working as a team to help your community will be the best feeling of all!
9. Plan Fam-Fit vacations or day trips: Head to a nearby mountain for a day of skiing, go for long bike rides, or go apple picking at a local farm. Combine these heart-pumping outings with a healthy picnic lunch to optimize the experience.
10. Taste Test Challenge: Each week, have every family member write down one or two nutritious foods they’d like to try and place into a hat. Each week, draw a food selection from the hat and incorporate the ingredient into a crowd-pleasing recipe! Not only will this make healthy foods fun but it may also inspire the picky eaters in your family to be more experimental! Some ideas: quinoa, kale, lentils, and avocado!
11. Plant a garden together: Become a green-thumbed family by planting fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs! The family will get a great workout cultivating the garden. There’s always something special about healthy, organic food grown straight from your backyard that makes it taste extra delicious.
I was selected by American Express to help educate consumers about the Amex EveryDay Credit Card. As such, I was paid for my services, but tips and opinions shared about and American Express and the Amex EveryDay Credit Card are my own.
My top 20 healthy pantry foods I purchase allow me to always have healthy options at home. One of the most common questions I’m asked is “How can I help my family and I eat better?” One of the easiest ways you can help your entire family eat healthy is to make sure you have healthy pantry staples on-hand at all times. Here is my go-to top 20 list that makes healthy eating fast and simple. The list includes foods you should have stocked in your pantry, refrigerator and freezer to make healthy eating easier everyday .
This post was inspired by the Amex EveryDay Credit Card which is a no-annual fee card that rewards Card Members for those in-the-trenches purchases from honey to chicken broth- daily life demands: if you use the Card 20 times or more in a billing period, you earn 20% extra Membership Reward points. I’m thrilled to be working with the folks at American Express as the EveryDay credit card makes perfect sense to reward us for our purchases without an annual fee.
You earn 2x the points at grocery stores. As a registered dietitian and nutrition expert, I absolutely love this! You earn 1x on everything else and once you get to 20 transactions, you get the 20% bonus just because.
1. Canned tomatoes: one of the most versatile items you can stock up on that will add a flavorful punch to any recipe! Containing the cancer-fighting antioxidant lycopene, you can add canned tomatoes to stews, chili, or make your own pasta sauce. With so many options at the grocery store you can choose whole, chopped, diced, crushed, low-sodium and no-salt added versions.
2. Spices: add fabulous flavor to your food without all the calories and fat with a well-stocked spice rack! Using spices like cinnamon, oregano, thyme and ginger to flavor your food can also help you reduce your salt intake. Spice it up in your kitchen!
3. Frozen vegetables: great to keep on hand, especially when your favorite veggies are out of season or not available at the grocery store. Plus, research shows that they are just as nutritious as fresh veggies, since they’re packed at their peak of freshness.
4. Extra-virgin olive oil: this versatile oil full of healthy fats and can be used for salad dressings and making homemade hummus.
5. Honey: a natural sweetener that is extremely versatile and delicious. Wonderful to add to smoothies or try my Honey Peanut Butter Protein Energy Balls recipe. A popular favorite in my family and with the professional baseball players I work with are the peanut butter and honey sandwiches with bananas on whole wheat sandwich thins.
6. Eggs: one of nature’s perfect little protein packages, wrapped up in an assortment of essential vitamins and minerals. Enjoy eggs in a breakfast omelets or hard-boil for a high-protein snack.
7. Rolled Oats: my go-to breakfast is oatmeal, so stocking up on rolled oats means you will always have them on hand to make a quick and delicious breakfast to start your day on the right track. Try swapping out your regular morning cereal for a warm bowl of oatmeal for a filling breakfast that will give you lasting energy throughout the day.
8. Greek Yogurt: a staple in my refrigerator for several years, this high-protein yogurt will provide a satisfying snack or is a great addition to your meal. Providing sweetness without all of the added sugar of regular yogurt. You can also add your own flavor and sweetness to your Greek yogurt with fresh fruit.
9. Kefir: one of my top 10 foods to try in my latest book, The Pinterest Diet: How to Pin Your Way Thin. This protein packed drinkable gem is a great way to get probiotics in your diet without all the sugar. Kefir is a fermented milk and many new flavors and portable options are now available in grocery stores.
10. Black beans: a great source of protein and fiber for both vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. Regardless of whether you buy canned or dried, they can be a tasty addition to chili, salads, fajitas, pastas, entrees and soups. Just go on Pinterest to find lots of great recipes using black beans.
11. Frozen fruit: load up your freezer with your favorite frozen fruit. Frozen fruit is a great add-in for an energizing morning smoothie, added to your favorite Greek yogurt, or even simmered in a saucepan into a berry sauce for your favorite whole wheat French toast or pancakes.
12. Low-sodium chicken broth: this must-have makes it easy to put together a last-minute minute meal in a flash.
13. Sardines: one of my newest pantry staples that I love. Loaded in protein and omega 3′s, sardines are definitely making a comeback. Buy the sardines packed in water, lemon, or mustard options.
14. Nuts: keep an assortment of nuts on hand like pistachios, almonds, and walnuts. Nuts can add a great crunch to a salad and area always enjoyed as a healthy snack when eaten alone.
15. Peanut butter: a versatile and delicious food that provides a healthy fat boost to your meals and snacks. Look for the natural versions or peanuts or other nut butters. Look at the ingredients label and it should just contain only two ingredients: nuts and salt.
16. Quinoa: often confused to be a grain, quinoa is actually a seed. A complete protein, which means it contains all nine essential amino acids, quinoa is a perfect side to any meal or eaten as your main dish. There are so many delicious and healthy quinoa recipes available on Pinterest.
17. Whole wheat pasta: buy whole wheat pasta since it can have nearly 2-3 times as much fiber as regular pasta and more protein. This easy add can make mealtime a cinch and whole wheat pasta is much tastier than it was ten years ago.
18. Balsamic vinegar: one of my favorite ways to add a lot of flavor to many meals without many calories and no fat. I use in slow cooker recipes, vegetables, entrees, and sides. Every kitchen should have a good balsamic vinegar.
19. Energy bars: stocking your pantry with clean energy bars is a great way to be prepared for a snack attack or those times that you know you will be without food and need to throw one in your purse or car.
20. Freekeh: the newest food on this list that I keep stocked in my pantry, freekeh is a roasted grain that is loaded with protein and fiber and offered a great alternative to rice and other grains. It has a delicious nutty and chewy texture that is great for side dishes and salads.
Everyone has 20 purchases or pantry items that keeps theirs household running…now tell me, what’s your 20?
I am an American Express card member and an EveryDay Moms Ambassador.
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