Guilty of Not So Healthy School Lunches #happilyblended

The kids started the school year off fabulous, with school lunches that is. I used to let my oldest eat the hot lunch at school but she started to put on a lot of weight and so as an experiment, I started packing her a home made lunch. Sadly, her Dad wasn’t on board with me on that area so she still had and still has on occasion hot lunch when she’s at her Dad’s overnight during school year. This means my experiment really wasn’t tested out 100%, but it was tested enough so that I noticed a significant weight decrease in my daughter while she wasn’t having school night sleep overs at her Dad’s home. You see, school lunches are great for families who need to use them or prefer to use them, but for my family all the hot lunch at school did was make my daughter gain weight.

Hot Lunch vs Cold Lunch for Schools

When you are in a family with a pain in the butt metabolism that isn’t so quick, you have to be sure to watch what you eat. Being a Mom, I want to try my best to set good examples by eating better choices and preparing better choices for my children during all meal times. It all started out with my kids having wonderful options in their school lunches, this school year is the first year my three children are all in school full time which means all three have home made cold lunch from their Mama to bring to school.

Kid Number One and Kid Number Two are not so picky eaters. The lunches for the oldest and middle child are usually some form of peppers with a sandwich of some sort and crackers or occasionally some cheese curls or chips alongside a carpi sun roaring water. While all options my children have may not be healthy; they also switch between having chips or such with pineapple, apples or bananas. Always a healthier option with a balance. I believe in allowing your kids “goodies” but keeping a balance between goodies and healthy. Kid one and Kid two are easy to balance out.

It’s kid Number Three …. he is the world’s pickiest eater and most stubborn. He once went five nights without eating dinner because he was convinced he didn’t like what I was cooking & my rule is you have to try it or go without, he wouldn’t try it and was just fine going without .. FOR FIVE WHOLE NIGHTS.

Kid Number Three has a different setup for lunch; I have found he does like pineapples and he loves mandarin style oranges. This son also only likes peanut butter and jelly for sandwiches but lately I have been sneaking in honey and peanut butter {because he loves honey for nearly every dipping food he eats}.

Lately, I have been failing miserable with a healthy balanced school lunch for all three of my kids. With two weeks of not working, so essentially living on one income in the house it was draining us and things are falling behind a bit. That means my kids lunches have not been as healthy as they started off, but I still feel they are not allowing them to gain the weight like my daughter had gained that one school year she had hot lunch at school.

Do I feel like a horrible Mom? Not really. I do feel bad because the whole point to making my kids lunches is so that they have healthier options and I cannot afford them at the moment.

Why does eating healthier have to cost more?? It’s absurd. I can’t wait til Spring when we can start our first home garden!

 

Ten Comfort Foods That Help Weight Loss

“This post is from Instawares Restaurant Supplies.  You can check out their blog to read more about the food service industry and the latest in kitchen equipment.”
 
Chicken noodle soup

When the cold weather is getting us down or we just feel stressed, we often turn to comfort foods to cheer us up. Unfortunately, many comfort foods are full of sugar and fat and ruin our weight loss plans. However, they’re not all loaded with calories and some comfort foods can actually help us lose weight. Choose some of the following healthy options that are not only satisfying, but will also keep your waistline in check.

Chicken Noodle Soup

The actual act of eating soup means you eat more slowly, helping your body notice feelings of fullness sooner. Even the water in chicken noodle soup helps fill you up. Best of all, chicken is full of the protein, vitamins, and fiber you need to speed up your metabolism. In scientific studies, chicken soup was also found to contain anti-inflammatory ingredients that can help alleviate symptoms of the common cold.

Oatmeal

Probably the best way to start the day is with a warm bowl of oatmeal. Just one cup contains four grams of fiber and six grams of protein, helping you feel fuller for longer. The fiber in the oatmeal will also improve your heart health by reducing the amount of cholesterol you absorb. Make this comfort food even healthier by adding a handful of blueberries, a few chopped walnuts, and some sliced banana.

Pot roast

Surprisingly low in fat and calories, a pot roast is a hearty, nutrient-rich treat. The meat helps your body work harder to break down the protein and use it for energy, meaning you will burn more calories during digestion. Try using less meat and more vegetables to support weight loss and be careful not to add too much salt.

Roasted Vegetables

Whether they are served as a side dish or simply eaten on their own, roasted vegetables give your body many essential nutrients. Carrots have a high water and fiber content, so they fill you up quicker than other foods, and parsnips are full of complex carbohydrates, which take longer to break down in the digestive system and make you feel full for longer.

Chili

With its combination of fiber from the tomatoes and protein from the beef and beans, chili is one of the healthiest comfort foods you can eat. Research carried out at Canada’s Laval University suggested that the chemical compound capsaicin found in chilies could even boost your body’s ability to burn fat. The studies also showed that people ate considerably less at subsequent meals.

Chinese “Take-Out”

Instead of ordering a take-out, help your weight loss plans by cooking a Chinese meal yourself. Take-outs from restaurants often use higher quantities of oil in their cooking, and you’re not in control of any of the ingredients. Quick stir-fry cooking will make sure the vegetables retain more nutrients like vitamin C and folic acid. With added ginger, garlic, and chili, you’ll get even more health benefits.

Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup

Turn a classic grilled cheese into a healthier lunch by using a smaller amount of reduced-fat cheddar and boost the flavor by adding more tomato, basil, and red onion. Cook a homemade tomato soup using garlic, onions, carrots, celery, and chopped tomatoes and you can pack in even more nutrients.

Baked Potatoes

Replace mayonnaise and full-fat cheese with Greek yogurt and reduced-fat cheese and you can enjoy a satisfying meal that is also healthy. Potatoes are not renowned for helping weight loss, but they’re actually full of nutrients and help fill you up without adding inches to your waistline. Alternatively, try sweet potatoes. They’re rich in vitamins A and C and beta-carotene – a powerful antioxidant that slows the body’s release of glucose and insulin.

Minestrone

Adding more soups to your diet is a smart way to increase your intake of nutrients and cut back on the calories. Obviously, avoid creamed soups and instead, choose broth-based varieties. Minestrone is a particularly good soup for weight loss as it contains beans and vegetables, which add extra protein and fiber to your diet and keep you full for longer.

Collard greens

A single serving of this healthy vegetable contains more than your daily recommendation of vitamins A and K. It will also add a good amount of fiber to any meal, which research studies have shown can lower the body’s absorption of calories from carbohydrates.

Fortunately for everyone on a weight loss routine, there are still plenty of comfort foods to enjoy that also have added health benefits. Try some of these healthy comfort foods next time you need a pick-me-up and you can satisfy your body and mind without feeling guilty.

How to Make Weight Watchers Work for You

For people looking to lose weight, there is a plethora of options on the market. Weight Watchers is one such program that has become quite popular over time. With its unique ‘Points’ system, Weight Watchers delivers what it promises in its title: enabling people to watch their weight. Yet, the program may not work for you. This may be due to the nature of the program itself but more often than not, customers don’t know how to make Weight Watchers work for them. This is something you need to know about from the outset so that there is no problem later on.

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After all, what’s the point of starting a weight loss program that you are eventually going to give up on? Keeping this in mind, here are some pointers on how to make Weight Watchers work for you:

Maintain a Journal

From the outset, you need to maintain a journal of your progress on the program. As mentioned above, Weight Watchers has its own ‘Points’ system. You need to earn a certain number of points to complete the program. You have to keep track of how many points you have earned since you started the program which you can do by maintaining a journal. This will not only help you understand which stage of the program are you at but looking at the points you have earned will serve as a source of motivation for you.

Work Out

Now, this is something which is a must for every person following the Weight Watchers’ program. If you are not getting enough exercise, you might not lose weight as quickly as you expect to. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to spend a couple of hours at the gym every day. A light cardio workout is all that is needed. You can walk, cycle or jog for half an hour on a daily basis. Surely you will be able to spare 30 minutes regardless of how packed your schedule is. Once you join Weight Watchers Online, you will get access to a library of video exercise demos that will guide you to perform the right exercises.

Cook Yourself

You should try and prepare your own meals to eat while following the program. Weight Watchers will provide the guidelines regarding what you should eat throughout the course of a day. Moreover, you can find hundreds of tasty recipes on their official website. You can try them at home and make your own food. It is better to eat organic, healthy meals. Convenient though they are, packaged and processed foods don’t pack the same nutritious punch as the food you cook at home.

Shop with a List

Studies have shown that shopping lists clearly affect the shopping behavior. Make a list of the food items you are allowed to eat on the program so that you will stay within your allotted Points Plus. Having to remember the food items you need while you are out grocery shopping could prove to be a challenge. Therefore, make a list of the stuff you need. Also, add some pointers as to the variant of each item you have to buy. For instance, you might want to buy fresh meat instead of frozen. Leslie Fink, RD, has put together a useful Weight Watchers Shopping Guide.

Use Coupons

Coupons will make your weight loss more affordable to you. Weight Watchers has promotional deals all year around. Go to weightlosstriumph.com/ for the current promo codes.

Drink More Water

Last, but not the least, you have to drink more water. This is a tip that works for non-dieters as well. Getting sufficient fluids in your body makes you feel fuller for a longer time. As you don’t feel hungry every few hours, your food intake is reduced naturally. Plus, drinking water is necessary for your health and wellbeing. You should drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of fresh water a day. Water was the fountain of youth for a woman who claims that drinking 6 bottles of water a day took 10 years off her face.

These are some of the tips that will you make Weight Watchers work for you. As you can see, it doesn’t take too much effort to stay on track and lose weight. If you are apprehensive about the cost of the program, you can always find coupons online. Avail the discounts and follow Weight Watchers. Who knows, it may be the perfect weight loss solution for you.

Trying to Eat Healthier as a Family

My family and I are really on this “eating healthier” kick, no we are not going all crazy but we are trying to eliminate the easy boxed meals that were predominately our world up until a month or two ago. Sure we still have an occasional boxed mashed potatoes mix or the hamburger helper packages from time to time; I don’t believe we will ever be 100% anti-boxed meals. With that being said, we are trying to be about 65 – 70% healthier with our food choices.

My Easy Pasta Bake

I haven’t ever been the parent who buys chips or sodas by the regular for the kids nor have I been into buying too many junk snack options or drinks, however, my youngest is a super picky eater. Right now I am choosing my battles and continue to offer him things he will eat while giving a wide range of other options to the other kids and myself. Lately I have been using the internet as a tool to find recipes that are better for us.

With my age, now 32 years, I know my family health history will start to play into my daily life. This means I want to not only start eating better to ensure happy heart health but also to ensure the pounds come off and I start seeing a regular doctor. I happen to love pasta, it is my one addiction that is difficult to break. I am also a pizza addict. If someone asks me what my favorite dinner is, the answer would be somewhere between pizza and lasagna. The cool thing about learning to eat and cook healthier is that there are healthy options of your best loved foods, I mentioned lasagna; there is a paleo lasagna recipe that I am thinking about trying to make for the family one evening.

Since we have been cooking “from scratch” around here, my boyfriend has lost two pants sizes and while I am still struggling with losing any weight, I am proud to see that my healthier cooking is keeping the kids faster longer as well as helping my boyfriend lose some weight. Eventually my body will catch up, it just happens to be slightly slow in response to this healthy food eating.

If you could give up one food cooked in an unhealthy way and learn to like a healthier version of that meal, what would it be?

The Picky eater and The Not So Picky Eaters

It always amazes me just how different my three children can be, it’s oh so obvious at dinner time. My youngest is the pickiest eater alive and for the first four years of his life he would occasionally try new foods while other times he would go 4-5 nights without diner because he was that stubborn to even try dinner. My older two kids always impress me, it makes me proud at how they handle the food situations.

Chili Home madeYou see, sometimes we are broke so all we have for food is pasta, sauce and maybe a veggie of some sort. There was one time we had egg noodles and peas for dinner, because that is all we had to eat. There are other times where ramon noodles are our only option for dinner or a sandwich. If we go long periods like that, I feel like I am failing, but short term it doesn’t bother me so much. I was a single Mom for the first few years of my daughter’s life so I was used to having little to no food at times. My daughter was used to it as well. Even while the boys were growing up we would go without great food options due to low funds.

I feel that the two older kids are better at saying “I don’t really care for this but I will eat it” because they have lived longer, are more mature than the little guy and that they realize Mom does her best to provide, which means sometimes I offer all I can offer. Nothing makes me more proud than when I hear my older two kids tell me it’s okay I will eat this food, even though I don’t really care for it. This shows me that I have taught my older two kids to be thankful for what they do have and that they do have something. I often remind my kids that there are families who literally have no food, so for us to have any food is something to cherish.

I am still at a loss as to how to get my youngest to try more foods and eat more nutritiously like the rest of us usually do. My youngest is extremely high strung, the pediatrician said ADHD but I feel ADHD is a diagnosis that is tossed out too freely. While I agree, my youngest appears to be ADHD more often than not, he usually can go grocery shopping, go to the library events and even attend school just fine, to me that isn’t ADHD.  His Dad and I are in agreement that we refuse to medicate our youngest unless his hyperactivity makes it impossible for him to function in society as expected. To us, he is a normal five year old and while the pediatrician says ADHD he also said that the youngest is a normal five year old boy.

One way I can think of to get this picky eater more nutrition is to make smoothies and sneak same color veggies into foods he will eat. The pediatrician agreed that is probably the best way to deal with this picky eater for now, because while he can prescribe vitamins, they wouldn’t be as great for his body as getting those nutrients in variety of foods would.

So … as school is in session for all three children I am working more and gearing up to ensure we don’t have to go long periods without food, leaving me with more options to sneak in those healthy things my youngest needs.

What are some ways you have snuck good foods into your child’s diet?

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