All Posts tagged healthy family

How to upgrade your brown bag lunch with healthier foods

How to upgrade your brown bag lunch with healthier foods

If you’re packing your lunch, chances are you’re striving to make healthy choices. Good for you! But keep this in mind – not all brown bag lunches are equal. Just because you packed it doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Here I offer some tips for creating a healthy lunch rich in WHOLE, FRESH and REAL foods, and free of unwanted ingredients like artificial flavors, artificial colors, preservatives, additives and sugar – all which I categorize as NON-food ingredients. (Check out my blog post “Packing your lunch? Find out what’s really in your brown bag” to learn what foods to avoid).

Here are some tips to help get you started:

  • Color: Where there is color, there is nutrition! Lunches full of color are lunches rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, which we could all use more of!
  • Package-free: More times than not, a food in a package has been processed and contains added ingredients. Therefore it’s a modified version of the original food. So…focus on foods that aren’t packaged – i.e., whole, fresh foods – and your diet will automatically be higher in nutrients your body needs. 
  • Minimal Ingredients: When picking out foods that are packaged, aim for options that contain only a few ingredients. The fewer the better because it will help ensure that there’s less stuff – i.e., preservatives, additives, artificial colors, artificial flavors, added sugar.  Also – make sure you can recognize the names of the ingredients. If you can’t pronounce something, it’s likely unnecessary for your diet.

Here are some of my favorite go-to lunch foods:

Fresh fruit: a great source of natural fiber, fresh fruit also contains natural sugars (instead of added sugar!) to   fuel our bodies with energy. Better to get your sugar here because it’s paired with the fiber which will ensure a slower absorption by your body, keeping you from experiencing quick spikes in blood sugar.


hardboiled egg

Slices of Pepper / Original horizontal border with water's drop and real reflection

Fresh vegetables: Fresh vegetables are loaded with nutrients and there are endless options out there to create variety and flavor for your lunch. Try carrots one day and greens the next. Dip grape tomatoes or sliced peppers into homemade hummus or guacamole.





Hardboiled egg: Skip the processed lunch meat and go for this delicious and easy-to-prepare source of protein. Make a batch of eggs at the beginning of the week so they’re on hand to grab and go.



chia seedsChia Pod: Cha-cha-cha-chia!! The Chia Pod is one of my favorite snacks! If you like pudding, you’re going to love this sweet treat! What’s even better – this version of pudding is free of added sugar and is gluten and dairy free! If you’re not familiar with the health benefits of chia seeds, check out this informative article by Dr. Oz – these little seeds are full of Omega 3’s, fiber, protein and more. Want to make chia seed pudding at home? It’s easy! Check out my homemade recipe. 

hardboiled egg

Plantain Chips: Need a little crunch but want to avoid the fried potato chips? Good idea! Look no further, plantain chips are the answer! Trader Joe’s plantain chips are roasted and contain just three ingredients – plantains, oil and sea salt. chips


Looking to incorporate healthy habits like these into your routine? Not sure how to get started? Contact me to schedule an introductory health coaching session and we’ll create your next steps!


Three tips to help you avoid post-holiday guilt

Three tips to help you avoid post-holiday guilt

Do you fall off the healthy wagon during the holidays? It’s easy to use the holidays as an excuse to make bad decisions, but this just leaves us feeling guilty when the new year arrives. This year get ahead of the holidays so that you can stay healthy and happy all the way through. Follow these three easy tips:

Tip #1: Find a Partner in Health
Two key ingredients for getting to a healthier place in life and staying there are ACCOUNTABILITY and SUPPORT. To help with these, find a friend, coworker or family member to do healthy activities with – walks during your lunch hour, yoga on the weekend or a healthy cooking class. Keep each other posted on progress via text or Facebook.

Tip #2: Start Menu Planning Now
We all have good intentions for making healthy meals, but without a plan it’s easy to just give up and return to our unhealthy staples like grilled cheese or pizza. Same goes for the holidays. If you want to make a healthier holiday feast this year, start planning NOW. Search for healthy recipes and test them out ahead of time rather than waiting until the week before which will likely leave you stressed for time and returning to your usual menu. Find healthy ideas on Whole Foods Recipe Page where you can search by categories like dietary type (ex “sugar conscious”) or type of dish.

Tip #3: Ditch the “next year I’ll do better” mentality
Your health cannot be put on hold based on what time of year it is.  It’s time to ditch the “I’ll start my workout routine after the holidays” or “I deserve this because it’s Christmas” mentality and commit to your health once and for all. This doesn’t mean you’ll never eat a cookie again or you won’t experience temporary set backs. What it does mean is A NEW VIEW ON YOU, which is a healthy, balanced and consistent you.

Ready to get healthy once and for all? Check out my 3-Month Wellness Program!


Packing your lunch? Find out what’s really in your brown bag

Packing your lunch? Find out what’s really in your brown bag

Unhealthy Foods

Unhealthy Foods

We all want to do our bodies good, especially at lunchtime when we’re hungry for energy to get us through the rest of the day! Packing your lunch is a great way to avoid unhealthy fast food, or if you’re packing it for your kids, a sure way to help them bypass the not-so-healthy cafeteria food at school. But are the lunches you’re packing like most typical American brown bag lunches? If so, they’re probably  loaded with foods that come from packages and contain unwanted “mystery” ingredients like additives, preservatives, added sugar, artificial colors and flavors.

Here’s a list of foods we commonly pack in our brown bags or kids’ lunch boxes. Take a read to learn about the unhealthy ingredients they contain. Then, check out my blog post, “How to upgrade your brown bag lunch with healthier foods.”Unhealthy Foods

Unhealthy Foods

Unhealthy Foods

Multigrain Crackers

“Multigrain” foods: Don’t be fooled by promises of whole grains in crackers, breads and cereals. Most of these packaged foods are made from FLOUR and therefore are NOT whole. This can be confusing, but what it boils down to is this: once a grain is ground into a powdery flour substance IT NO LONGER EQUALS A WHOLE GRAIN, which means the nutritional benefits have diminished.

Read what Dr. Andrew Weil has to say about true whole grains and why it’s best to opt for these instead of       packaged and processed versions.


low calorie cookies Processed sweets: There’s nothing healthy about added sugar, and packaged desserts – cookies, cupcakes, candy – are loaded with it! Nabisco 100 calorie Chips Ahoy cookies, for example, contain multiple sweeteners on top of enriched flour and artificial flavors. If you’re looking for something sweet, ditch the packaged versions and make some homemade treats instead. Though still not the healthiest choice, at least you’ll know what’s in your own cookies and cakes, and  you’ll be keeping yourself from ingredients that aren’t really food in the first place (like artificial colors, highly processed flours, etc.)

lowfat yogurt


Sugary yogurts: Be advised – while yogurt naturally contains sugar from lactose, most flavored varieties contain added sugar, especially those labeled “light”.


P B & JSandwiches: Yes, sandwiches are tasty, but our favorites like PB & J or turkey and cheese are usually packed with added sugar, enriched flour and preservatives. Typical ingredients like peanut butter and jelly contain multiple added sweeteners like sugar, molasses and high fructose corn syrup. Sliced deli meats aren’t usually just meat – in fact, most contain added sugar, anti-caking agents and preservatives. And don’t be fooled by the health promises of bread! Just like other multigrain products (see above), bread is not a healthy source of whole grains despite what the message on the packaged might say.

Looking to rid your diet of unhealthy foods like these? Not sure how to get started? Contact me to schedule an introductory health coaching session and we’ll create your next steps!


Jon Stewart Gets Personal About Celiac Disease – The Shmooze

Jon Stewart Gets Personal About Celiac Disease – The Shmooze

This video features an informative conversation that Jon Stewart recently had with Jennifer Esposito, author of Jennifer’s Way, a book about the health challenges she faced as a person with Celiac Disease. Jon Stewart’s son happens to also suffer from this disease.

Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disease that is caused by gluten damaging the small intestine. The small intestine is vital for one’s health, as it is responsible for food and nutrient absorption in our bodies. Those with Celiac Disease should not ingest gluten, which is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley and any foods or ingredients derived from these grains. Gluten can also show up in medicines and other products like cosmetics.

What’s great about the interview is Jennifer’s emphasis on her journey to being properly diagnosed, and the struggles she faced along the way when doctors did not believe her symptoms were real. This is the case for so many individuals who unknowingly have Celiac Disease but are suffering from a range of debilitating symptoms like chronic fatigue, bowel disorders, insomnia, depression and more. As Jennifer points out, the search for an accurate medical diagnosis can be long and difficult. Jon Stewart lists a few his son experienced and as Jennifer states, there are approximately 300 associated with the disease.

It’s great to see a serious and sensible conversation about Celiac Disease  (and gluten in general) being held in the mainstream on a program like the Daily Show. Often the dialogue occurs without caution or sensitivity towards those who suffer from gluten-related disorders. The more conversations we can create like these, the better off the entire gluten-free community will be.

Jon Stewart Gets Personal About Celiac Disease – The Shmooze.



Teach your kids to eat healthy foods, part 1

Teach your kids to eat healthy foods, part 1

Having trouble convincing your kids to eat healthy foods? I joined forces with Karen Orlich, CEO of k.o. kidz, a green-lving and organic lifestyle company, to compile some of the best tips (mom and kid tested!) to help you empower your kids to engage in healthy eating. There are too many tips to include in just one post! Stay tuned for more tips in the upcoming weeks!

Tip #1: Encourage and Reinforce

One of the most important factors to children eating well is to ‘encourage and reinforce’.

It’s so easy to let our kids be the boss and give in to demands for hot dogs, pizza, and candy. Instead, stay strong to these ‘requests’ and patiently reply, “You are so lucky that I’m giving you ___ (insert healthy option) today. It has protein and vitamin C to make your muscles strong and skin healthy.” Include whatever health benefit you’d like to highlight from the chosen food. Lean meats=muscle mass, vitamin C=healthy skin, calcium=strong bones, etc.

Take advantage of these opportunities to educate your kid(s) on the ‘why’ and ‘how’ to eat healthy. And, always follow your kid’s first bite of that healthy alternative to greasy, salt or sugar infested, processed food with, “Yah! I love ___!! Can I have the next bite? Please, please, PLEASE!” Once your kids are old enough, they’ll eat well just so they won’t have to endure your theatrics.

Tip #2: Invite Susan to dinner….Lazy Susan that is! 

If you want your kids to have interest in healthy eating, you must engage them in healthy eating! So here’s an idea – “Lazy Susan” dinners. The Lazy Susan Dinner requires very little work from the home Chef (YOU!) and encourages kids to engage in mealtime rather than simply letting you be in charge.  The goal here is to keep things simple in the kitchen – no need for fancy recipes – and empower your kids to explore flavors.

On the menu? Nothing but WHOLE foods. You’ll simply need to choose a grain, vegetable and protein, plus 5-6 condiments. From there, your kids will be in charge of adding flavor to their food with the condiments you’ve selected. Not only will they have fun doing so, they’ll learn what flavors they like and don’t like.

Step 1 – Choose your ingredients – grain, protein, vegetable and condiments. Here are some ideas:

Whole Grains: Brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, kasha, amaranth – all are GF! (check out Dr. Weil’s “Cooking with Whole Grains” for more ideas).
Protein: Chicken, beef, shrimp, pork, tofu, tempeh, salmon, black beans, bison, turkey
Vegetables: spinach, collard greens, kale, carrots, onion, snap peas, broccoli, bok choy, green beans, peppers, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, asparagus (feel free to choose multiple)


Vinegars – apple cider, rice, balsamic
Sauces – hot sauce, gluten-free tamari soy sauce, tomato sauce
Oils – extra virgin olive oil, toasted sesame oil, coconut oil, chili oil

Herbs – cilantro, parsley, mint, basil, thyme

Spices – oregano, tumeric, cumin, curry powder, garlic, ginger, cinnamon
Nuts – pine, brazil, cashews, walnuts, pistachios
Seeds – pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, ground flax
Other – sea salt, sea vegetables like nori or dulse flakes, mustard, ketchup, coconut milk, nutritional yeast, parmesan cheese, sauerkraut, sliced avocado, fresh minced garlic

Step 2 – Prepare each ingredient. 
For the grain, you may prepare it now, or to save time, make a batch ahead of time and simply reheat for dinner. Proteins and vegetables can easily be prepared in sauté pans. Be sure proteins are cooked through to the required temperature.

Step 3 – Prepare a bowl for each family member (each bowl will have 3 layers)

Layer 1: Grain
Layer 2: Vegetable
Layer 3: Protein

Step 4 – Enjoy dinner with Lazy Susan.
Load up the Lazy Susan with the condiments you chose, and put it at the center of the dinner table. Invite family members – including the kids – to dress up their bowls with whatever condiments they would like. The kids will LOVE both spinning the Lazy Susan around AND the freedom you’ve given them to make choices at dinner time. Encourage them to try all of the condiments by giving them a small bowl for taste-testing.

Do you have any tips to share? Like these suggestions? Would love to hear from you! Send me a tweet or post to my Facebook page!


Why does my health matter?


When it comes to your wellness, ask yourself this question:

 “Why does my health matter?” 


It’s an important question to ask yourself. Without the answer, you’re likely to get stuck in your quest to be healthier. Why? Because action is driven by purpose, so healthy changes will only become habits if you know why they matter. And if we only make better choices based on insignificant reasons – like getting into a pair of jeans or impressing an ex – we’ll continue to make choices based on others, instead of what’s really important.

If you’re not sure why your health matters, see if any of these statements make sense for your life:

“If I ate more green vegetables, I would have more energy to play outside with my kids.”
“Drinking less caffeine each day would leave me less anxious and more productive at my job.”
“If I could eliminate my symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, I would enjoy dates with my husband more.”
“Making healthy decisions now would mean more time with my kids in the future.”
“If I brought home healthier foods for my family, I would be setting my children up for a lifetime of healthy eating habits”

Your health matters because your LIFE matters. A healthy you means so much more than losing weight or looking good in your bathing suit. When you are healthy, life is simply better.

Now ask yourself the question again. “Why does my health matter?”  

Next Step – write down your answer and revisit it daily. You can even carry it with your to remind yourself to make better choices each day. What could this do for you? Perhaps it will mean less sugar-filled coffee and more water… a big green salad instead of a plate of fries…less couch time and more activity…the opportunities are endless!

Want to know why your health matters? Contact me to schedule an introductory health coaching session. We’ll explore this question and identify your goals for a healthier you.