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.
I’ve tried several different styles of meal planning in the past, but most weren’t flexible enough for me. Events come up on the calendar, meetings run late, or I’m just too tired to cook anything. When I purchased my Happy Planner last December, I had no plans to use it as a meal planner. I just thought of it as a calendar, but what better place to meal plan than your calendar. You can see what events are scheduled that include dinner outside of the home or when you’ll need something quick. So here’s my setup.
As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, my family uses Blue Apron and Sun Basket for most of our meal preparation. With Blue Apron, you can schedule meals 4 weeks in advance and 3 weeks in advance with Sun Basket. I use a solid colored washi tape to write the meals that I’ve selected. Although there are so many cute designed washi tapes, solid is much easier to read when written on. I’d also recommend a lighter color. I use mainly yellow and pink. First, I cut the washi tape to fit the width of a day in my Happy Planner. I then write the meals I’ve selected on each piece of tape. Next, I’ll stick the tape where I “plan” to prepare each meal. But this time, when new events get added to the calendar or I decide “I’m not in the mood” for whatever I planned, I can easily remove the meal and move it to another day.
I also use these cute grocery cart stickers to mark the days that my Blue Apron and Sun Basket boxes will arrive. As I don’t regularly get each box every week, it’s a nice reminder to know when I need to check our front porch and get those items into the fridge.
Two 5ks in 2 days! That’s right, I participated in the Glo Run 5k on a Friday night, then the GO! St. Louis Run at the Raceway on Saturday night. The GO! St. Louis Run at the Raceway kicked off a week of racing themed events around the St. Louis metro area as a part of the “St. Louis Speed Festival”. Taking place at Gateway Motorsports Park, the night consisted of a 1 mile run, a 5k, and a Beer Relay. I participated in just the 5k, but had many friends in the various events. There were even challenge medals for competing in multiple events that night.
Covering nearly 200 acres, Gateway Motorsports Park is the largest outdoor entertainment facility in the St Louis region, encompassing a ¼-mile NHRA-sanctioned drag strip, 1.25-mile superspeedway, 1.6- mile road course, a state-of-the-art Karting facility and a new 14-acre, multi-purpose dirt off-road venue.
I arrived at the racetrack as the National Anthem was playing before the 1 mile run, which started at 6pm. The 5k was to start at 7pm, with the beer relay to run in heats starting at 8:30pm. The check-in tent was easy to spot, with NO line! Registration included a racer tank in red, along with a chipped time bib. I immediately ran into some of my friends from Big River Training Team who were waiting for the 5k and beer relay. We also had friends volunteering at the finish line, so chatted with them a bit while we were all waiting.
The 5k began and finished on the drag strip and included a loop of the racing oval. While advertised that the run would take place at dusk under the lights of the race track, sunset is not until after 8pm, so it was still light for the 7pm 5k and no lights were on. A little disappointing. It was still very cool to run on the race track though and was a little unusual to run on such a high bank at the end of the oval. Being on an IndyCar and drag racing courses, the race was flat.
We finished on the drag strip where we started. There was an announcer saying each of our names as we approached the finish line. Upon crossing the finish line, we were handed a bottle of water. Turning the corner, there was a line up of sports drink, various pretzels (rods, sticks, traditional, nuggets), and bananas. We were then handed our medals.
Participating in various GO! St Louis events before, they are all really well ran. I’d love if this race could be pushed back a little to actually run under the lights. A may have a slight obsession with night races now, with the Glo Run the night before and I just signed up for the Equinox half marathon, a night time race taking place at Westport Plaza in St Louis next month.
Interested in joining a future GO! St Louis event? Check out their website. They have all sorts of challenges you can sign up for by either racing multiple events in the same weekend or the same event at different race weekends. I completed the 5k Challenge last year, running three different 5ks – GO! St Louis in April, All American in June and GO! Halloween in October. I’ll be running the GO! Halloween half marathon this year.
Upcoming GO! St Louis events
October 22, 2017 – The Great GO! St Louis Halloween Race
Half marathon, 10k, 5k, 1 mile
April 6-8, 2018 – GO! St. Louis Marathon & Family Fitness Weekend
Marathon, half marathon, marathon relay, 7K, 5K run/walk, GO! St. Louis Read, Right & Run Marathon, children’s fun runs and a mature mile
The Glo Run St Louis was this past weekend and billed itself as a Run Through Luau. As a big supporter of the community, my employer (Wells Fargo Advisors) pays for race entries to selected races benefiting local charities. The Glo Run St Louis benefited Children’s Miracle Network and I was lucky enough to win one of the spots through the lottery.
I decided to take my 5 year old son with me, as he loves glo sticks and anything glow in the dark. The race started at the Upper Muny parking lot in Forest Park. We parked on the street at the entrance to the parking lot, so we’d have an easy exit from the park. Walking towards the check-in area, the first thing you notice is how long the lines are. I had received my bib number via email prior to the race and the lines were divided up by number, but the lines were so long you couldn’t make sure you were even in the correct line. Race day check in was the only option, so this is definitely an area for improvement.
My registration for the Chip Timed Run included a t-shirt, lei, 3 glo sticks, a flashlight, a bib and finisher medal. The initial long line was just for the bib and you had to go to separate tables for the remaining items. After collecting all our swag, we next jumped in line for body paint. My son opted for dots up the arms and face paint under the eyes. I followed suit with dots up my arms as well.
The Glo Run St Louis featured 5 on course neon luau themed zones:
Black Lights Luau
Luau Photo Op
Dancing Luau Giants
Arches of Luau
Black Lights Luau
Luau Photo Op
Arches of Luau
The race started at 8:10pm, just after sunset. As you can see, the course became dark and the flashlight came in handy to see in front of us. We started out running, but as you can expect with a 5 year old, we quickly resorted to walking and walked most of the course. Which was totally fine, as this race is definitely under the category of “Fun” races and had such fun photo ops. Of course, my son had to stop at each one for a picture.
Upon finishing the race, we were handed a bottle of water. As only the finishers who registered in the Chip Timed Run earned medals, we had to walk to another tent to pick ours up. They also had a table with granola bars and fruit snacks available to pick up. The whole night, they had a DJ playing music and a big dance party formed as people finished the race.
The Glo Run has events all over the US with 3 races remaining in 2017 – Twin Cities, Milwaukee, and Cedar Rapids. Learn more at The Glo Run.
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 year.
Steps for a Healthy 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.
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 piece of mind that they are getting the nutrients of 30 different fruits, vegetables and grains every day! And kid’s orders are free under the Family Health Study.
Looking for a quick, high intensity workout? Tabata may be your answer. The gym at my office started offering Tabata classes last year, and they have grown to be my favorite. But what is Tabata?
What is Tabata?
Tabata training is a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout, featuring exercise intervals that last just 20 seconds. HIIT workouts have been one of the fastest growing trends in the exercise world, due to their calorie burning potential in a short time.
Each exercise in a given Tabata workout lasts only four minutes, but it’s likely to be one of the longest four minutes you’ve ever endured. The structure of the program is as follows:
Workout hard for 20 seconds
Rest for 10 seconds
Complete 8 rounds
You push yourself as hard as you can for 20 seconds and rest for 10 seconds. This is one set. You’ll complete eight sets of each exercise.
You can do pretty much any exercise you wish. You can do squats, push-ups, burpees or any other exercise that works your large muscle groups. My office gym even has Tabata classes with core and cardio focuses. The best part is that the total class lasts only 20 minutes!
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard that the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is currently going on through August 6. If you’re needing a little fitness inspiration, sometimes a new outfit can be that motivation. Whether you can’t wait to show it off or set yourself a goal to buy something new if you workout so many times or reach a certain goal. I’ll share some of my favorite pieces from the sale.
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!