Protein Balls…Energy Balls…DynaBites…Whatever you call them, they are very much the rage for quick and easy kid-friendly snacking. The recipes are endless, but this is my favorite basic protein energy ball recipe, with ingredients that I nearly always have on hand.
With just 4 ingredients – oatmeal, nut butter, honey & Juice Plus+ Complete – prep time is super simple! Kids can even do it and enjoy rolling the ingredients into balls.
While oatmeal is naturally gluten-free, many manufacturers process the oatmeal in the same facilities and sometimes, the same equipment, as grains containing gluten, so have some cross-contamination. I always like to look specifically for gluten-free grains to minimize inflammation.
You can use any nut butter of choice for this recipe, but I usually use creamy peanut butter, because that’s what we have on hand. Almond butter also provides a nice creamy nutty taste, while crunchy varieties add some texture.
Juice Plus+ Complete is my protein powder of choice because it is vegan and contains 13g of plant-based protein and 7g of fiber per serving with no added sugars. This recipe uses two servings of Complete and makes approximately 20 balls.
Place the prepped balls on a cookie sheet and leave in the freezer until firm, about 2 hours. Once firm, DynaBites should be stored in the fridge.
Whether sending your child to college for the first time or getting ready for kindergarten, get ready for the shock to the immune system that comes with new surroundings. New kids, new germs, new stress. And for those going away from home from the first time, you as a parent won’t be there to make sure they eat as they should. Studies show that 95% of college students don’t eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables they need for a healthy immune system! That’s where Juice Plus+ comes in for your back to school immunity support and nutritional peace of mind.
Though not just for kids, Juice Plus+ Chewables deliver added whole food-based nutrition from up to 30 different fruits, vegetables, and grains in a tasty, soft chewable form. The appealing taste comes from two all-natural sweeteners – tapioca syrup and organic cane syrup – with absolutely no high fructose corn syrup. It contains no artificial flavors or artificial colors and is 100% vegetarian; the ‘chewiness’ comes from fruit pectins, not gelatin.
When you sign up for the Juice Plus+ Family Health Study, you can receive Juice Plus+ capsules or gummy chewables for your child – free of charge (just pay shipping)– for up to four years as a study participant. Your child must be between the ages of 4 and 18 or a full-time undergraduate college student in a four-year degree program. All it takes is 1 participating adult with their own capsules or chewables order.
Back to School Immunity
Backed by research at universities in the United States and around the world, Juice Plus+ has been shown to support key measures of immune system function, making it the perfect support for your back to school immunity.
It has taken me a while to get this post completed, but I felt I had so much to say!, The first weekend of December, I participated in the St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend with my good friend Sherry. This was by far one of the most inspirational weekends that I have ever had. Between touring St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, hearing from the families of current and former patients, and the actual race itself, I have never been more in awe of the work done at St. Jude and what more I can do.
Thursday – Travel
Sherry and I drove to West Memphis, Arkansas from St Louis after work on Thursday. It’s just about a 4 hour drive for us straight down I-55. We stayed at the Knights Inn in West Memphis, a cute Marine-owned facility. A hot breakfast was provided along with all sorts of personal care items in the room, including a pair of slippers. The whole place was decorated in American flag decor. While not the most modern, it was very clean and the staff very personable.
Friday AM – St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
We started the day with a tour of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. We met other participants in the marathon weekend at the convention center for a bus ride over to the hospital complex. We had to go through security and I noticed that all cars had to go through security just to enter the complex.
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital – Main Entrance
Statue of St. Jude
Danny Thomas ALSAC Pavilion
We were dropped off in front of the Main Entrance to the hospital, with the statue of St. Jude greeting us. Directly across from the main entrance was the Danny Thomas ALSAC Pavilion. We had a brief introduction in the pavilion and met our tour guide. We learned that ALSAC (American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities) was also formed by Danny Thomas and is the fundraising and awareness organization for the hospital. Its sole mission is to raise the funds and awareness necessary to operate and maintain St. Jude. Danny Thomas was an entertainer, who when struggling in the industry, prayed to St. Jude for guidance, saying he would build a shrine to him. His shrine became what we know as St Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
While at the hospital, we were able to see registration, the cafeteria, the research wing, the Teen Art Gallery, and various clinical areas. For privacy concerns, we were not allowed to take any pictures with or of patients, but we were allowed to take pictures of their beautiful art, made during art therapy.
After our hospital tour, we grabbed some lunch in downtown Memphis at a cute coffee shop / bar called Tamp & Tap. With soups, salads, sandwiches and all day breakfast, you can complete your meal with coffee or a local draft.
Friday PM – Juice Plus+Global Headquarters
Next, we headed to the Juice Plus+ Global Headquarters for another tour. Their offices are located in Collierville, just outside of Memphis. We were joined by other representatives of the Juice Plus+ company who were also participating in the marathon weekend. We were given a tour of the various offices within the building, including getting to see where our founder Jay Martin sits.
Outside of the Juice Plus+ building, there is a beautiful park-like setting with a pond and walking path for employees. Overlooking the grounds is a statue of two figures in conversation. It represents the relationships that we all have and how it takes relationships to build our business. It’s all about heart.
Friday PM – Race Expo
After our tour of Juice Plus+, it was finally time for us to hit the Race Expo. You began the expo by picking up your race bib. As a St. Jude Hero, I was able to go to a special VIP line, where in addition to my bib, I also received a St. Jude running hat and a wristband that would get me special perks throughout the expo and on race day. To become a St. Jude Hero, you have to commit to fundraise and raise at least $500. Raising more than $1,000 gives you even greater perks, such as a race jacket and hotel stay during the weekend. You also receive a special training t-shirt and race singlet while training, and incentives for meeting certain fundraising goals throughout the process. This was my second year as a St. Jude Hero and I’m already ready to sign up for next year.
After getting your bib, you head through the Race Store. There are St. Jude logo’d shirts, hats, gloves, mugs, you name it. So many great items! And as a Hero, you also get some credit to shop in the store. Next stop was race shirts. You get a great long-sleeve wicking shirt for registering for the race and it’s specific to the race that you entered (marathon, half marathon, etc.). Another Hero perk is getting your name on the Pace Cars and I was able to find my name this year!
As the title sponsor of the race, Juice Plus+ had a big display with volunteers sharing about whole food nutrition. And as a Hero, our wristbands got us a St. Jude branded shaker bottle and Juice Plus+ Complete individual packets. It was then on to the rest of the Expo vendors. There were hundreds of different vendors, some promoting other races, some selling running paraphernalia (shoes, clothes, gels, jewelry), and others promoting different food items (chocolate milk anyone?).
Friday PM – Juice Plus+ Reception
When registering for the race, I signed up on Team Juice Plus+, since I am a Juice Plus+ distributor. They invited us to a reception at an event hall just down the street from the convention center. With an open bar and heavy appetizers, it was quite the reception. Our founder, Jay Martin even showed up and addressed all the runners. They also recognized those runners who had raised over $2,000 with a special gift.
Sherry & I with Jay Martin (Juice Plus+ Founder & Chairman)
Sherry & I with Meredith Martin (Vice President, North American Marketing)
Friday PM – Pasta Party
Another perk of being a St. Jude Hero is a free ticket to the Pasta Party. Think of it as dining with thousands of your closest friends. Buffet tables were set up a green salad and a few types of pasta with marinara, meat sauce, and pesto. They even had a gluten free option. We sat down at a table in the back with a few open seats. Little did we know that there was a whole program scheduled for the party. Richard C. Shadyac Jr. , CEO of ALSAC, spoke to the audience, along with the father of patient. They also recognized the top fundraising individuals and teams. It was inspiring to hear the stories of current and former patients who are leading the fundraising efforts for the weekend. Up next – Rest for the Big Day!
Saturday AM – Race Time
The Big Day! The half marathon started at 8am, and they recommended that we be in our race corrals at 7:30am. After learning from last year, we walked one block parallel to the race start line and corrals to avoid the congestion. As a slow runner, my recommended corral was Corral 14. While walking to the corral, we were able to watch the first runners from the 10k race that started earlier. Sherry was participating in the 5k, which started after the marathon and half marathon.
And we were off! The race started at the corner of 2nd and Monroe in downtown Memphis. We started out heading north, but quickly turned around and entered Beale Street around Mile 1. We continued in a southern fashion until Mile 3, when we hit the waterfront. We stayed directly on Riverside Drive for 1 mile, but continuing north until Mile 5. From here, we turned east and made our way onto the campus of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. With the weather being warmer than usual, we were greeted by so many patients and families and you were reminded why you were there. We continued heading east until Mile 9 before turning around and back to AutoZone Park for the finish.
Entering St. Jude Campus
St. Jude Campus
Entering AutoZone Park, the streets are line with spectators cheering you on. The actual finish line was just inside the park, entering from right field. The grassed out field was full of runners stretching and taking pictures and just taking in the moment. Once you were ready to move on, you proceeded off of the field and walked along the left field corridor to the outfield deck, where pizza, beer, donuts, chocolate milk, sports drink, and soup were waiting for us. We were also given access to the Juice Plus+ box in the stadium, where they had even more food for us.
I left this weekend so inspired! Between the hospital tour and Pasta Party, I was ready to donate everything that I had to St. Jude. I have already committed to myself to sign up as a St. Jude Hero at the Gold Level next year, raising at least $1,500!
Want to participate? Registration for St. Jude Heroes begins in May and open registration in June.
With so many demands on your time, it can be tough to keep up healthy habits on a daily basis.
That’s why it’s so important to pack healthy snacks in your car or handbag. You should look for items with protein and fiber and limited or no sugar.
Some of my favorites are:
1/4 cup of almonds provides approximately 5 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber. Look for raw, unsalted almonds to avoid empty calories.
Although dried fruit can be calorie dense with high amounts of sugar, it’s a much better option than a candy bar from the vending machine. Dried fruit contains high amounts of beta carotene, vitamin E, niacin, iron, magnesium, potassium and calcium. My favorites include peaches, apricots and apples.
Now you’ve added 13 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber to your daily diet, while enjoying the delicious, creamy taste of French Vanilla or Dutch Chocolate. While the shakes taste great with almond milk, they can also be mixed with water, making it a great option for throwing in your bag. Just pack a bottle of water or find a water fountain when you’re out and about.
Nothing is more convenient than a Juice Plus+ Complete nutrition bar if you need a quick snack. Available in two delicious flavors – Dark Chocolate + Fig and Tart Cherry + Honey – they’re packed with protein and fiber. They are low-glycemic (meaning they won’t cause your blood sugar to shoot up), gluten-free, non-dairy, and vegeterian.
Schools all across the country are gearing up for students to return in the next month or two. And while most families are busy getting school supplies ready and buying new clothes, how much thought is given to making sure kids are healthy enough to learn? Here are some steps to make sure you are setting your family up for a healthy school year.
3 Steps for a Healthy School Year
1. Eat breakfast
We’ve heard it for years, but eating breakfast sets your child up for success for the day. Without breakfast, kids are going 15-16 hours without something to eat. I know when I’m hungry, I’m cranky and can’t stop thinking about my next meal. If your child is thinking about food, he or she is not paying attention to the teacher or test in front of them.
Look for a breakfast with a healthy balance of protein, fiber, and fat. This combination will help keep your child full for longer, without the crash of a sugary cereal or breakfast pastry. Check out my board of quick and healthy breakfasts for some inspiration.
2. Get enough sleep
Sleep is so important and it’s sometimes difficult to see that kids don’t get enough sleep, because instead of slowing down, they wind up. In fact, sleepiness can look like symptoms of attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Sleep is required for the mind to process what happened the previous day and to allow the body to rest. Check out this table for the recommended amount of sleep by age.
3. Add more fruits & vegetables
Besides the fact that eating plenty of fruits and vegetables may help reduce the risk of many diseases, including heart disease, high blood pressure, and some cancers, fruits and veggies are rich in vitamins and minerals that help you feel healthy and energized. But it’s hard to get kids to eat those veggies and even some fruits. That’s why I love Juice Plus+! It gives me the peace of mind that my kids are getting the nutrients of 30 different fruits, vegetables, and grains every day! And kid’s orders are free under the Family Health Study.
In St Louis City, Paul Hamilton (owner of Eleven Eleven Mississippi, Vin de Set, PW Pizza, The Malt House Cellar, Grand Petite Market, and 21st Street Brewers Bar) has started a Tower to Table dinner program featuring a tour of Hamilton Farms (and their 61 Tower Farms) with dinner at either Eleven Eleven Mississippi or Vin de Set. I was able to attend this past week with dinner at Eleven Eleven Mississippi.
The tour was held at Hamilton Farms located on Chouteau Ave in St Louis city, across the street from the building housing PW Pizza, Vin de Set, and Grand Petite Market. This is an urban setting just south of downtown St Louis. Walking in, there are Tower Gardens lining both walls in 2 rows each, for a total of 61 towers.
The middle area is the farmer’s work area, where he had some seedlings started for future growing in the towers. Hamilton Farms also includes a traditional garden across the street where they grow tomatoes, carrots, and other root vegetables. They also have a beehive and chickens on the farm to provide fresh produce, eggs, and honey to their restaurants and brewery.
Hamilton Farms employs one farmer, who led our tour and explained how the aeroponic towers worked. The Tower Farms used by Hamilton Farms are very similar to the Tower Gardens available residentially, except the Tower Farms have 11 pods, which can hold a total of 44 plants per tower. Tower Gardens can hold 7 pods, for a total of 28 plants per tower. The Tower Farms are also able to be connected to a water source for continual replenishment of the basin.
The towers at Hamilton Farms were currently growing peppers, kale, lemongrass, lemon bomb, basil, and various lettuces. With the aeroponic growing system, there is no soil for weeds to grow and plants can grow all year within the greenhouse. The plants in the Tower Farms also grow quicker and larger than traditionally grown plants.
When we arrived at Eleven Eleven Mississippi, they had our table ready with menus for the evening tucked into our napkins. Dinner was paired with an optional 2 course wine pairing. We started with the Goat Cheese Stuffed Banana Pepper over a bed of garden greens, candied walnuts and a basil vinaigrette. I would not normally eat peppers, but I decided to at least try everything on the menu. I ended up eating the entire pepper. It was a great little starter, similar to a salad course.
The second course was a Hickory Smoked Salmon with sauteed sorrel, patty pan squash, grilled fennel, with a lemon drop-champagne butter. This was my favorite course! Sauteed sorrel was very similar to a sauteed spinach or kale. The farmer on the tour had forewarned us that lemon drop was going to be used in the evening’s meal and that it’s commonly used to numb the mouth. Fortunately, we did not encounter any numbing of the mouth.
The third course was a Roasted Duck Breast with russian blue potato puree, wilted tuscan kale, sun gold tomato-mint relist and pomegranate molasses. Again, tomatoes are not a vegetable that I have learned to like, but I did try it. They were very sweet, and one did the trick for me. The potato puree tasted like mashed potatoes blended until very smooth. Overall, a very delicious dish.
Upcoming Tower to Table Events
I would highly recommend the Tower to Table dinner and tour to anyone in or visiting St Louis. It’s very reasonably priced, and you get very high quality food.
Tower To Table Dinners will be offered at Vin de Set August 2nd and September 6th. Limited space available. Reservations are required. Please call 314-241-8989. They will also be offered at Eleven Eleven Mississippi August 16th and September 20th. Limited space available. Reservations are required. Please call 314-241-9999.
Aeroponic Tower Garden Tour (optional) 6pm located at 2101 Chouteau Ave, dinner 6:45 pm, three- course dinner $29.99 plus tax & gratuity. Optional two-course wine pairing $11.99 plus tax & gratuity.
More on Tower Gardens
We have 3 Tower Gardens growing at our home right now. They are full of green beans, kale, cauliflower, zucchini, tomatoes, strawberries, brussel sprouts, parsley, and marigolds. They are really easy to care for, only requiring upkeep about once a week to refill the water. As mentioned above, there is no weeding! The towers run on a timer where they get water pumped up to the roots for 15 minutes, then rest for 15-45 minutes depending on the heat and type of plants. You can find out more at the Tower Garden website.
I’ve made it to Day #4. By Thursday I am usually running out of healthy snacks and feeling deprived by the afternoon, but I’ve been full and satisfied this week. I switched up when I drink my shakes for this round of the Shred10 and I think that’s made a ton of difference in keeping me full in the afternoon. I usually drink both shakes in the morning or have 1 in the morning and 1 in the afternoon, but this week I haven’t started my shakes until the afternoon. This does usually leave me finishing up after 6pm, but I’d prefer missing that guideline than eating something unhealthy because I’m starving.
I enjoyed 2 scrambled eggs with a slice of bacon from the office cafeteria this morning for breakfast. Quick and easy protein!
As you know from Day #2, I have a real weakness for Chinese food. The special in the cafeteria was sweet n sour chicken with rice and a bottle of water.
I had prepped my 2 shakes again at home before leaving for work. Craving some chocolate mid-afternoon, the Chocolate Complete shake just hit the spot. Unsweetened almond milk, chia seeds, and Chocolate Complete, shaken until smooth. Perfect treat!
I made a simple dinner of salmon and arborio rice. Looks pretty plain, but pretty tasty. After dinner, I finished my shake that I hadn’t finished in the afternoon.
Sleep / Movement
Blogging has been keeping me up late at night, so I missed my sleep goal today, but I’m working on the blog earlier today, so hopefully I can catch up tomorrow. I also met my step goal! I use my Garmin’s autoadjusting goal, so when I meet my goal, my step goal for the next day goes up, and when I miss the goal, it goes down.
I did a little better with my water today, but still short of my goal.
I definitely attribute my blog to helping me be more accountable during this Shred10. I’m not perfect, but I feel the shred is a great tool to make you more aware of your food choices. There is always room for improvement, but without tracking my choices, I know that I wouldn’t be doing as well as I am.
It’s Day #3 of Shred10. This is usually the day when most people start feeling the detox and may actually feel a little sick. I’ve felt pretty good so far, and have actually been feel full on less food than usual. Here’s the recap of the Shred10 guidelines I am following.
This morning, I blended together unsweetened almond milk, strawberries, blackberries, and chia seeds with some ice for a refreshing smoothie.
I had to take my son to the dentist this morning, so we stopped at Qdoba on the way home. I ordered the burrito bowl with brown rice, black beans, adobo chicken, salsa verde, and lettuce. It had been a long time since I was last at Qdoba, and they’ve added quite a few options to their menu. Many of which are quite healthy.
Working from home today, my son wanted to make a smoothie with all the fruit we had on hand. So we blended unsweetened almond milk with Dutch Chocolate Juice Plus+ Complete, strawberries, chia seeds, blackberries, blueberries, and a whole banana.
My son didn’t drink much of his smoothie, so I saved his for later and drank it after our Family Fitness Night.
Family Fitness Night
I’m president of my church’s Ladies Club and we hosted a Family Fitness Night tonight at a local park. I led the kids in a warm up, helped demonstrate the obstacle course, and ran a game of nutrition red light green light. Instead of yelling red light or green light, I would shout out a healthy green light food or an unhealthy red light food. The kids had a fun time learning about new vegetables.
We also led the kids through a yoga story through the jungle and handed out jump ropes, bananas and apples.
Even less water today. Something I need to focus on for sure.
I met the 7 hour sleep goal again, but fell way short of my step goal. Working from home really takes me off my feet as I work at a large campus that requires a bit of walking to get to/from parking and around for meetings.
Nutritionally, I did pretty good today. Ate healthy meals, with lots of fruit. It’s tough to finish all meals before 6pm with a busy family and working full-time, but the key is to try and eat early enough that your body has time to start digestion. My focus tomorrow is WATER!
Thanks for following along with me to Day #2 of the 10 day Shred10. Let’s review the guidelines I’m following.
I finished off the Mango-chia overnight oatmeal that I had started on Day #1. Still delicious on Day #2. I’ll be trying out different variations of this recipe including strawberries and whatever fruit I can find fresh.
I also took my Juice Plus+ trio capsules, Juice Plus+ omega, and Doterra probiotic and TriEase.
I made it to the gym today! My first time in weeks. I attended a 30 minute Strength class at my office gym. It included 3 groups of 4 exercises that we completed twice for 45 seconds per exercise. Having not been to class in awhile, I chose a lighter weight (8 pounds). The exercises ranged from bicep curls with an overhead press and tricep dip to various ab work like planks. Definitely a great work out!
My weakness at work is when the Lulu Dim Sum truck comes to campus. I love their General Tso Chicken! I splurged, after just working out, and ordered the General Tso, but with green beans instead of rice. Even though I’m not perfect with the Shred10, I love how it makes me aware of my food choices. I chose a vegetable instead of a starch. I then spent my lunch hour googling the ingredients in General Tso, what is gluten free, and what is considered processed food. The traditional General Tso sauce recipe includes sugar and soy sauce (which may or may not be gluten free). But I did learn that the chicken is battered in cornstarch, which is gluten free.
I had several meetings this afternoon, leaving me to start my double shake at 4pm. I took a break when I got home from work and didn’t finish it off until 9pm. So, I missed that 6pm cutoff, but just didn’t feel hungry. Again, I had made my shake in the morning with just Dutch Chocolate Juice Plus+ Complete, unsweetened almond milk, and chia seeds. I throw everything in my shaker bottle, shake, and refrigerate until I’m ready to drink.
I met the 7 hours of sleep goal, and fell a little short of my step goal, but I did get in that exercise as mentioned earlier.
Fell much shorter on my water goal today. I do pretty well at work, but seem to stop drinking water when I get home. I have the same water bottle at work and home, so need to work on keeping it within arms reach, especially as I’m sitting at the computer working on my blog and social media posts.
Today was much tougher than Day #1. Having the accountability of this blog did make me choose a healthier option at lunch than I would have otherwise, but nearly every aspect will use some special attention tomorrow, especially as I am working from home and won’t get the movement around the office.
Over the next 10 days, I’ll be following the guidelines of the Shred10 program and sharing my journey here. What aspect of the program would be most difficult for you? For me, exercise will be a challenge since my husband is out of town and I have 2 small children. I also struggle to drink enough water, so I’ll be focusing on that aspect as well.
I prepared the Mango-chia overnight oatmeal from Sun Basket Sunday evening in preparation for Shred10 starting on Monday. The recipe used almond milk and gluten free oats, making it fit the Shred10 guidelines, and honey is any acceptable sweetener too. The recipe made 2 servings (picture shown is 2 servings – filling 1 pint sized mason jar).
I also started my day with the Juice Plus+ trio and Omega blend. I love how easy it is to get 30 fruits and vegetables, and start my day off nutritionally sound.
I also take the Doterra probiotic and TriEase, as seasonal allergens are on high right now in St Louis.
I’m lucky to have access to an amazing cafeteria at work, with lots of healthy options. Today, I went with the salad bar and choose mixed greens with mushrooms, egg, broccoli, grilled chicken, and sunflower seeds.
It was hard for me to stay away from the cheese and roll, but I did it!
I started drinking my 2 shakes around 3pm and continued working on them until the 6pm cutoff, counting as a snack and my dinner. I made my shakes at home before work and left in the fridge during the day. My favorite preparation is to shake the Juice Plus+ Complete powder with unsweetened almond milk and chia seeds. The chia seeds take on some of the milk and make the shake more like a milk shake. Delicious!
I drank 60 oz, just short of my 70 oz goal. I like the Hydra Coach app to track my water. It breaks down your goal during the day, so you can see if you’re on track and will give you notifications if you’re falling behind.
Sleep / Movement
I use my Garmin Vivoactive to track my sleep and steps. I did very good on sleep, going to bed early Sunday night. But fell short of my step goal and didn’t do any organized fitness activity.
Day #1 went pretty well, just need to find a way to add more movement during the day.