Comment

3 Healthy School Lunches

The school year is starting up again, which means us moms are back to packing lunches! So to make your week a little easier, I found some creative and healthy lunches that your kids will LOVE!

*The order of the pictures above are corrilated with the order of the recipes below.  

Asian Yummies

Don't be fooled by the looks, this idea might look gourmet, but it takes the same amount of time as your classic PB&J! 

At Trader Joe's, you can get these chicken shumai dumplings in the freezer aisle. Just defrost them in the morning and you are good to go. Leave the mixed veggies frozen because they will defrost by lunchtime. They also serve as an ice pack to keep the rest of the meal cool! Then add in your choice of fruit and some white rice. 

The New Ham & Cheese Sandwich

If you are tired of your kids saying, "MOM, not another ham and cheese sandwich!", this is your answer!

Flip the sandwich inside out by wrapping some ham or turkey around a whole wheat pretzel. Then add in a cutie and strawberries or your kid's favorite fruit. Finally, add in some cheese and crackers. No need to cut the cheese into stars. Square slices taste just as great! :)

The Turkey Dog

Most kids love hot dogs, so why not give them a healthier version? That way you both win!

Slice up a turkey dog and add in crunchy sugar snap peas, sweet grapes and juicy watermelon. Then add in half of a burger or hot dog bun. Literally, as simple as that!

Have fun with it, ladies. And thanks for the ideas, redbook!

 

Love, Melissa

Comment

Comment

Greek Yogurt Chocolate Fudge Pops

When I came across this recipe, I immediately thought...."My boys are going to LOVE me when they get home!" A healthy version of fudge pops? YES, please!

The best part about this recipe is the pops are only made with four ingredients, and the least amount of ingredients, the better. That means it is easier to make and healthier. My kids love sweets, from milkshakes to cookies and ice cream, so this is such a great alternative to keep in the freezer for when they get home from school or for after dinner. 

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chocolate almond milk, cow's milk, or non-dairy milk of your choice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups vanilla Greek Yogurt (Full-fat recommended for creamiest results)

Instructions

  1. Get a small saucepan and melt the chocolate chips over medium-low heat. Stir constantly until completely melted.
  2. Increase the heat to medium and add in the milk. Bring to a gently simmer, stirring constantly, then remove from heat. Let cool for 5 minutes.
  3. Whisk in vanilla and Greek yogurt, mixing until completely smooth. 
  4. Place a fine-mesh sieve over a large bowl and pour the chocolate mixture through the sieve.
  5. Pour the strained liquid into the popsicle molds and place them in the freezer for 1 hour.
  6. Now at the popsicle sticks and freeze for 5 more hours or until hard. 

Original recipe from: Baker by Nature

 

Love, Melissa

Comment

Comment

Tricks Food Marketers Use to Deceive You

Deceptive nutrition labeling makes me so frustrated because food marketers can get away with it! They will put in excessively large print that children's cereals are a good source of protein, so you will look over the fact that they contain SO MUCH sugar.

Here are some misleading claims to look out for the next time you go to the grocery store:

 

Trans Fat = Hydrogenated Oil

Picture from WellnessFX.

Picture from WellnessFX.

 “If a product has less than .5g of trans fat, the FDA allows the food label to read ‘0 grams trans fats per serving.” (WellnessFX)

Talk about misleading! It is proven that trans fats causes heart disease. Instead of removing them from their products, food companies make the serving sizes small enough that they can put a big whopping ZERO on the food label.

If you see the words ‘hydrogenated’ or ‘partially hydrogenated’ oil on the ingredient label, that means trans fats!

ALSO: “To be labeled free of calories, a food should have fewer than 5 calories per RACC (reference amounts customarily consumed per eating occasion); to qualify as fat- or sugar-free, less than 0.5 g per RACC; and to be labeled sodium-free, fewer than 5 mg per RACC.” (Reader’s Digest)

 

Should I Buy the 'Fat-Free' Version?

Just because a label says ‘fat-free’ doesn’t mean it is good for weight loss. Fat actually isn’t the culprit; sugar is the one to avoid. Instead of choosing those options, go for foods like avocados or fish, which contain good fats and WAY lower amounts of sugar.

 

The Meaning of 'Multigrain' and 'Natural'

Multigrain means jack squat. The FDA hasn’t given this claim an official definition, so food marketers can put ‘multigrain’ on the label when the food actually contains just 1 grain of wheat flour. Now, what is that 1 grain going to do for you? :)

This is the same case for ‘natural’ claims. So, if ‘100% natural’ is on the food label, there is no science to back that up. The FDA also has no definition for the word ‘natural,’ so food marketers have free reign to use it with no punishment if they are lying.

 

Exaggerated Advertising is Legal

In advertising, puffery is a widely-used strategy that is totally legal. Companies can exaggerate just about anything if it technically can’t be proven. For example, if a cereal says, ‘Healthiest Cereal in the WORLD,’ don’t believe it. That statement can’t be proven, so it falls under the category of puffery.

They could technically be telling the truth, but how can anyone prove if 5 grams of Vitamin A is better than 4 grams of fiber? It’s like comparing apples and oranges to prove that statement.

There are plenty of tricks out there you should be aware of, so I want to encourage you to do your research. Before you go to the grocery store, study up on the tricky words, so you won’t be deceived!

 

Love, Melissa 

Comment

Comment

Easy Living Room Workouts

Your living room is your newest best friend! You don't need a fancy gym at your house or even a gym membership to kick it into gear. You just need a little bit of open space in your living room. Tip: I usually turn on the TV to make it go faster!

Here is a weekly workout plan for you to try out. You get to work your abs, arms, thighs, booty, core and legs each week. Give yourself some rest days at the end of the week or in between days. Remember, it's about quality, not quantity, so don't rush through each move just to get it done. Take your time and focus on the technique. That is when you will start seeing RESULTS! 

Comment

Comment

Dance Those Pounds Away

HOWDY!

Have you heard about it yet? It’s taking Country Music by storm. It’s all the buzz! It’s COUNTRY HEAT!!! 

You may be saying “What the heck is Country Heat?” Think of the latest country music, fun dance moves and weight loss. No, it’s not line dancing, I promise! Haha. It is like Zumba with a country twist.

So check this out, I had a few friends in the test group for this program and their results were GREAT! Angie lost 14 inches and 8 of them in her waist!! Fran lost 7 inches and most of them in her waist. 

As I have gotten older, it has gotten much harder for me to lose weight, especially around my middle. In my 20s I could drop weight quickly, but now in my 40s, it takes much more discipline and dedication. I think Country Heat is exactly what I needed!

Country Heat was just released and all I can say is, the time flies by. The songs are very relevant, and I had fun while my body was getting a great workout in.

I just got back from Nashville where the trainer Autumn Calabrese did live workouts so we could try it out. SO MUCH FUN!!! She even took the time to go over the nutrition plan that comes with the program. It comes with seven portion control containers and a 90-page booklet that explains how the containers are supposed to be used. It also has TONS of recipes!

These are recipes that my boys would eat too. 

Raise your hand if you’ve ever been guilty of eating the same thing day after day after day. I’ve done it too. It’s just so darn easy to fall back onto the trusty meals and snack, like carrots and hummus! While there’s nothing wrong with eating the same meal or snack every day, it can be a load of fun to shake things up from your usual routine.  

Everyone knows that apples and peanut butter go well together, but what about apples and coconut? Yes…yum!!! But I would have never thought of that if it wasn’t suggested in the Country Heat nutrition guide. 

I want to personally invite you to try Country Heat with me. We will have fun sharing what moves gave us the hardest time and how much we laugh at ourselves while still burning calories. You do this workout in your own home. I have started a Country Heat group on Facebook where we can connect with several other women. I am sharing recipes and fun videos. The best part is getting to celebrate our results and success together!! 

I have an exclusive ordering link to get it CHEAPER! Check it out by clicking the button below. 

Don’t miss out on this fun!!! 

 

Have a Blessed Day, 

Melissa 

Comment

Comment

Healthy Edible Jewelry

Do your kids like to make homemade bracelets? Maybe some with beads, others with candy or pipe cleaners? Well, I came across this genius idea from One Little Project at a Time, and I had to share! 

Instead of using typical candy, use healthy candy, like dried apples, cheerios, dried cherries, banana chips, candied blueberries or yogurt covered raisins. Your kids won't even know the difference because these snacks are yummy too. The list is limitless!

The best snack options are clearly foods with holes in the middle, but you can experiment with other options to see what will stay intact when you put the needle through them.  

To start, all you need is snacks, a large dull needle, elastic cording, and scissors, then you are open for business. 

You can even try to teach your kids patterns, so they are getting something educational out of this jewelry making business too! 

For more details, check out the original blog at One Little Project at a Time

 

Love, 
Melissa 

Comment

Comment

Eating Healthy While Traveling

I am currently taking a trip from Dallas to Atlanta for my son’s baseball tournament, so we have been on the road A LOT! And then in a few weeks, I am traveling to Nashville to speak at the Beachbody National Conference, which means I need to look my best and feel my best. So here are my top tips for eating healthy while traveling!

First off, prepare as much food to take with you as possible. For example, cut up carrots, celery, red and green peppers, and bring salad mixes with you. Put the dressings in a few separate containers, so you can eat the salads on the go. You can make them as veggie heavy as you want

Second, try bringing homemade options! You can make your own salad dressing or wheat pasta! This does take a lot of preparation, but the calories saved are just unbelievable. You could have a really fulfilling salad for under 300 calories or a combo meal at a fast food restaurant that will put you over 1,000 calories. For the pasta, bring sauce too so you can heat up a quick meal in your hotel’s microwave.

Third, bring LOTS of peanut butter! Get your protein baby. What an easy and filling snack by itself or on celery or apples. 

Lastly, if your family is not about this, there ARE options at fast food restaurants. So if you bring your own salad dressing, just order a salad and hold the dressing, then add your own! And when you are deciding to add chicken, don’t cheat and go with the crispy…I know it’s tempting! The grilled is still great too!

It takes some time to train your brain, but you will eventually be just as satisfied with that grilled chicken as you currently are with the crispy. That applies to other foods too!

 

Love, Melissa

Comment

Comment

The Secret to Portion Control

I have ALWAYS hated counting calories. I know it’s a good thing to do so we don’t over do it on the food we eat. But it can also be so daunting to keep up with and write down. I know I am TERRIBLE at keeping track of things like that. I mean I can hardly remember what I ate in a day matter of fact how many calories were in that item.

I was so thrilled when the company I support and have worked alongside with for almost 10 years came out with portion control containers. I’m sure you have heard of this product. It’s called 21 Day Fix. Have you seen the infomercials on TV? If you are friends with me on Facebook, then I know you have seen me talk a lot about it. Why do I mention it so often? Because it truly WORKS!!

I don’t count calories anymore!! I just shove food into those cute containers and make meals. I don’t even have to think about what to make, I just look up recipes on Pinterest or look in the book that comes with the program. I have had so many clients get QUICK results with this full program. Here are a few reasons why:

 

  1. Simple eating - It’s much easier than counting calories 
  2. The meals are good so the whole family likes them
  3. Simple Fitness - The workouts that come with the program WORK, and they are not too hard 
  4. You don’t have to think about what to eat for breakfast. The plan comes with 30 breakfasts!! 
  5. You can still have your wine
  6. You can still enjoy chips and salsa and EVEN chocolate
  7. You do not starve 
  8. You have support with me being your coach, and you join a private Facebook page to ask questions and get tips

This is not a diet. This is a way to be healthy!!! This month I am helping 10 women lose 10 pounds by August 1 doing 21 Day Fix.

I have a private Facebook group called Summer Strong and Healthy. This is where the group will connect, where I will share tips and recipes and where we will celebrate results!! This month, each lady will get a customized water bottle so you know you are drinking enough water each day. :)

Now I still have a few spots open if you are thinking this is EXACTLY what you need to kick off 10 pounds and keep it off.  

Check out this link. There are some before and after pictures to view plus a video. If you want in the group, email me at melissa@faithlovefitness.com, and I will send you the link to get into the group that will include everything you need to get started. 

Let’s do this together!!!!!!! 

 

All about the 21 Day Fix containers

I’m here if you have questions or want more info on the group. 

 

Happy Summer!! 

Love, Melissa

Comment

Comment

Healthy Summer Snacks

It’s super hot here in Texas, and I am constantly looking for healthy snacks that provide some hydration, freshness and nutrients for my two VERY busy and active boys who are both going through a growth spirt.

They could easily eat our pantry and refrigerator clean. As a mom who has a passion for being healthy, I want my boys to snack on healthy foods throughout the day. Here are 3 recipes that are both tasty and healthy!

Blackberry & Vanilla Yogurt Swirled Popsicles

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups vanilla yogurt, divide
  •  1 cup fresh or frozen blackberries

Directions:

  1. Combine about half of the yogurt in a medium bowl with berries. Using a fork, mash together berries and yogurt enough to color the yogurt but still leave chunks of fruit. 
  2. Alternating, spoon berry yogurt and plain yogurt into popsicle molds. 
  3. Freeze. 

Cucumber Sandwiches

Ingredients:

  • Tomatoes
  • Avocado
  • Sliced chicken or turkey
  • Sliced cheese
  • Sea salt
  • Cucumbers 
  • Toothpicks

Directions:

  1. Begin by slicing the cucumber, tomato, and avocado into 1/4″ thick slices. You can add other veggies too if you like.  I think red onion would be delicious!
  2. Cut the sliced chicken into 1/2″ wide pieces.
  3. Layer the veggies, cheese, and meat between the two cucumber slices and hold together with a toothpick. I added a bit of sea salt to tomato and cucumber as I stacked them.

 

Fruit Salsa & Cinnamon Chips

Ingredients:

Fruit Salsa

  • 1 Pint Strawberries
  • 2 Kiwi
  • 1 Granny Smith Apple
  • 1/2 of a Lemon

Cinnamon Chips

  • 1/2 Stick Butter
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1 - 2 Tbsp Cinnamon (to your taste)
  • 6 Tortillas, flour

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°F

Fruit Salsa

  1. Remove caps from strawberries and peel kiwis and apple.
  2. Finely dice all fruit and mix together in a large bowl.
  3. Add 1/4 cup sugar and juice from half of a lemon and mix thoroughly.
  4. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. This can be made a day ahead of time and refrigerated overnight.

Cinnamon Chips

  1. Melt half a stick of butter in the microwave.
  2. Lay out 6 tortillas and brush butter over them, covering them completely. Mix sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle over tortilla covering completely.
  3. 4  Cut tortillas into wedges and arrange on the baking sheet.
  4. 5  Bake for approximately 7 minutes or until crispy.

 

Love, Melissa

Comment

Comment

Understanding Food Labels 101

Understanding food labels is so important because the more you understand what you are putting in your body, the faster you can lose weight. Here are the basics:

1. Serving Size: Start off by looking at the serving size. It can be SO easy to ignore the serving size and just look at the calories and assume you are only eating say 150 calories. A good way to control the amount you eat is to NOT eat from the bag or container. Instead, pour out the serving size and put away the large bag/container. 

2. Limit the Next Section: When it comes to saturated fat, trans fat and sodium, LIMIT them as much as possible. A good rule of thumb is to have no more than 11-13 grams of saturated fat and the lowest amount of trans fat as possible. For sodium, 1,500 mg should be your limit.

3.  Enjoy this Section: When it comes to dietary fiber, protein, vitamins, iron, calcium and folic acid, get enough of these nutrients. Below are the recommended amounts you need per day of some of these vitamins and minerals. 

Vitamin A: 700 mcg
Vitamin E: 15 mg
Vitamin C: 75 mg
Vitamin D: 5 mcg
Calcium: 1,000 mg
Iron: 18 mg
Folic Acid: 400 mcg

4. Bottom Section: This section gives you a guideline for a 2,000 or 2,500 calorie diet. When you look at the % Daily Value, it is basing those percentages off the bottom guidelines. Some people need to eat less than 2,000/2,500 calories and some need to eat more depending on your gender, weight, metabolism, etc. So these guidelines could be accurate for you or should just be ignored!
 

Did You Know? "When the Nutrition Facts label says a food contains “0 g” of trans fat, but includes 'partially hydrogenated oil' in the ingredient list, it means the food contains trans fat, but less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving. So, if you eat more than one serving, you could quickly reach your daily limit of trans fat." - American Heart Association

Sources: American Heart Association, Reader's Digest Best Health

 

Love, Melissa

Comment