Tuesday, May 5, 2015

5 Tips to Help You Juggle It All When Things Get Really Busy

You are busy with work, parenting, volunteering, household chores and children's activities.  Sometimes there just isn't enough time in the day to get everything done.  It's easy to let nutrition fall to the wayside when this happens.  I know.  I allowed my family's busy schedule to be my excuse for poor nutrition for years.  It may not be a problem for you now, but poor nutrition will catch up to you eventually.....probably when you least expect it.  
 
 
So what is a busy family to do?  Here are 5 tips to help you keep the stress in check and really help you to keep Juggling Real Food and Real Life.
 
 1.  Remember that you are in control:  Coaches, scout leaders, volunteer commitments will always be pulling at you.  However, you are in control of your eating.  We certainly can't control how many practices are on the schedule or last-minute changes, but we can control what we put in our mouths. 
 
2.  Plan Ahead: Without a meal plan, you are planning to fail.  It really is that simple. You can make all of the excuses you want.  I know them all because I've used them all.  Time and time again, I have felt forced to run to the fast-food restaurant because I didn't have a plan and my family was "starving to death."  I've attached the printable meal planning calendar that I use.  What makes it unique is that there is a place to include all of the activities for the day.  This really helps me to plan out my day and my meals all at the same time.  It's really doesn't work for me to plan a baked pasta meal that takes an hour to cook if I have to be back out the door to practice in a half hour.  This planning calendar really helps me to avoid those situations and take control of my family's eating.   
 
 

 
 
3.  Put your family first: My dear friend Gaye over at Calm.Healthy.Sexy once said, "When you say yes to someone, you are saying no to someone else."  I think that is how it went.  Anyway.........the point is that as much of a superwoman as you are........you just can't do it all.  Something is going to fall.  That something is often our own nutrition and exercise.  Without good health, there is no way you are going to be able to keep up with your busy schedule.  One of the most important things you can do for you family is to make sure you are healthy.  Mothers are often the glue that holds families together.  You know how things fall apart when you are sick for just one day.  One of the toughest things I've had to do lately is to say "no thank you" (I like to be polite) to a group of Girl Scouts.  That group is so important to me, but by saying "no" to planning an event for them, I am able to enjoy my son's Eagle Scout Court of Honor, 2 graduations, my little one's birthdays.  Next year, when I don't have these other family obligations, I can go back to planning the event for Girl Scouts.  
 

Learn to say No Thank You
 
4.  Remember what makes you feel good.  When life is at its busiest we need to be on our "A" game.  I know that being really careful to eat clean and simple is what makes me feel at my best.  When I've had a weekend where I overindulge, I always start my Monday with a very simple meal and lots of water.  This week I am preparing to attend my son's college graduation.  There is nothing that is going to stop me from being there so I am preparing for the event by eating meals with just a few ingredients and mostly whole foods.  I can't afford to have fast or processed food cause me digestive distress and put me in jeopardy of missing this event. 
 
5.  Use "pockets of time" to prepare food: I'll admit it.  I get jealous when I see folks posting all of the food they have prepared for the week on Sunday.  I wish I could do that, but I can't.  I teach Sunday school and then we typically have Sunday dinner with my folks.  I don't have an entire day or even afternoon to prepare food. Family is my priority so I don't want to give up that family time.  Instead, I look at my schedule and use little "pockets of time" that I find to work on my meal prep.  Sunday evening, while the kids are getting their showers I often will boil some eggs and work on a blog post.  Monday when I prepare dinner, I quickly chop a few cucumbers so I have those ready to go for a few days.  Homemade granola comes together quickly and while it is baking in the oven, I can throw a load of laundry into the washing machine.  Take a look at your schedule and start using those pockets of time to prepare your food.  It takes some practice, but soon you will be Juggling like a pro.
 
Do you have any other tips for when things really get busy? 
 
 If you are looking for help in making the transition to eating more real food, you should check out the Real Food Experience posts. You can get get started at the beginning or jump around the challenges. You can find a complete round-up of the program here. Each week's challenge is full of terrific advice to help you transition from fast and processed food to a real food diet. Changes that will help you to live a healthy lifestyle and have the energy to keep up with your busy schedule. I would also love for you to join me on social media. You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram on a regular basis. Leave me a comment and let me know you are there. I love to visit with my readers. Yes, I'm a real person.
 
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Monday, May 4, 2015

Smoothie Shopping List - Prepare Your Kitchen to Make a Variety of Smoothies

It's no secret.  My family loves smoothies and I love to make them for my family.  They are packed with nutrition, easy to make, and delicious.  I love that they are a quick and easy way to start the day and that they satisfy my family's sweet tooth as well.  They are really perfect for any time of day. 

One of the ways that I make smoothie prep nice and easy is to keep a variety of smoothie making supplies on hand at all times.  When the kids start grumbling that they want something sweet or "tasty" as high school boy asks for, I want to make sure I have plenty of nutritious "tasty" to offer them.

This post contains affiliate links.  That means I am linking over to Amazon to show you the products that I use.  If you purchase these products or anything from Amazon using my links, I will receive a small payment for referring you.  I am required to disclose this, but I also want to let you know that your purchase is a great way to help keep this blog going.  Now back to the smoothies.............  


Smoothie Shopping List
 
 
The ingredients that I like to keep on hand include: 
  • Milk or Juice - I usually keep coconut water on hand too.  You need to have some liquid to create a more drinkable smoothie. Milk, orange juice, pineapple juice.........whatever your favorite.... all work great in smoothies.
  • Favorite Fresh Fruit Keep your favorite fresh fruit ready to go. If you chop them ahead of time, you will be even more prepared to make smoothies in a hurry. Strawberries, mango, watermelon.....There is no end to the combinations of fruit you can use.
  • Favorite Frozen Fruit- I like to use frozen fruit in place of ice. I think it adds more flavor and still provides the icy texture that I love.  I keep a bag of bananas in my freezer for this purpose.  As the bananas get too ripe for my kids to eat, I peel them and put them in the freezer for smoothies. 
  • Honey/Maple Syrup - Although not always necessary (fruit is so sweet) I like to use honey or maple syrup as a sweetener for my smoothies.
  • Plain Yogurt - Yogurt add additional creaminess and protein to your smoothies.  If you really want to amp up the protein........try Greek yogurt.
  • Peanut or other Nut Butter - Peanut butter is another way to add protein to your smoothie.  I'm also a little bit obsessed with the flavor and texture it adds to my smoothies. Yum!
  • Shredded Coconut - I like to "chew" my smoothies a bit.  I feel like I've eaten something when I activate those chewing sensors in my mouth.  Coconut is a great add in for this purpose.  Not to mention, I love the tropical flavors you can create using it in smoothies.
  • Dark Chocolate Chips - Dark chocolate has lots of wonderful health benefits and.........it's chocolate.  What's not to like? Although I like the bitter flavor of really dark chocolate, I find that it is much sweeter when combined with fruit in a smoothie.
  • Chia Seeds - Chia seeds are a simple add-in for a smoothie that really amps up its hydration powers.  I like to buy them from my local vendor, but I also buy chia seeds at Amazon.  I love Prime!
Organic Chia Seeds
 

  • Flax Seeds - Although it is a tiny seed, flaxseed is packed with lots of micronutrients.  There are some reports that flaxseed helps to prevent heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes.  Hmm......I think I can throw those in too. 
  • Straws - I like to keep colorful straws at the ready to make drinking our smoothies more fun.  If I make them more of an "event" for my family they are less likely to seek out other "events."  What I mean when I say "events" are things like going to the ice cream store, coffee shops, donut shops for fun drinks.  There is no reason why eating healthy food at home has to be boring.  Check out these really fun neon flexible straws.
Flexible Neon Straws
 

  • Fun Cups or Travel Mugs - This goes along with the straws and keeping it all fun.  Give your family a fun cup to drink the smoothies you have created and they will keep coming back for more.  I also like to combat the "on the fly" situations by having travel mugs for everyone to grab and go.  I can't tell you how many times I think we have time to eat and that time changes to "we gotta go now!"  My travel mugs allow me to be flexible and keep the real food smoothies available for my family.  We also like to freeze smoothies in these silicone tubes for lunchbox smoothies.  They are another way to grab a smoothie on the way out of the door.   
Norpro Silcone tubes
 
If you are looking for some smoothie recipes to get you started, take a look at these fantastic spring smoothie recipes.  I also think playing around in the kitchen with a variety of ingredients is a fun way to spend some free time........if you ever have any.  Toss some ingredients together in your blender and see what your family loves. 
 
7 New Spring Smoothie Recipes to Try
 
 
What is your favorite smoothie combination?  How often do you make smoothies?  Do you think you would make more smoothies if you always had the ingredients on hand?
 
 
If you are looking for a new blender I love this combination food processor/blender.  There is no need to have two machines which saves a lot of room in small kitchens like mine.  Check it out here.  Do you have a favorite blender that you use for making smoothies??
 
Ninja Kitchen System Pulse
 
If you are looking for help in making the transition to eating more real food, you should check out the Real Food Experience posts. You can get get started at the beginning or jump around the challenges. You can find a complete round-up of the program here. Each week's challenge is full of terrific advice to help you transition from fast and processed food to a real food diet. Changes that will help you to live a healthy lifestyle and have the energy to keep up with your busy schedule. I would also love for you to join me on social media. You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram on a regular basis. Leave me a comment and let me know you are there. I love to visit with my readers. Yes, I'm a real person.


 
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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Let's Get Real Friday Party # 88

Woot! Woot! Let's get this Friday started. Let's Get Real is all about Healthy Living. That's right! It's all about Real Food, fitness, health and wellness, and home life tips and tricks from Real people. That's you! Grab a cup of coffee (or other preferred beverage ). Relax into a comfy spot and take some time to get to know the great folks that link up here.

Let's Get Real Weekly Link Party



** Special Note: If you are a blogger looking for an active sharing group, we have the group for you. The Let's Get Real Facebook group has daily follow threads, support, and friendship. Come on over and join us.

Let's Get Real Hosts




Nicky:Blog/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Google+
Gaye:Blog/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Google+
Heather:Blog/Facebook/Twitter/Google+


** If you are interested in co-hosting Let's Get Real with us, we would love to have you. Please email Christina at:jugglingrealfoodandreallife@gmail.com. It's super easy to host and a whole lot of fun.



I'm not big on rules (since this is what I do for fun), but I do have a couple of guidelines.


1. Follow all your hosts. We follow back! Leave a comment for us on the post and we will know you are a new follower.
2. Please don't link and run! Follow and comment on at least 3 other blogs. The more effort you put into getting to know everyone, the more you will get in return. Everyone is here to get more readers and traffic to their blogs so let's show them some love!
3. Let people know where you party! Add our party badge or link back to the party on your blog or post.

http://www.jugglingrealfoodandreallife.com



We will be pinning our favorites!!

My Let's Get Real Featured blogger this week is:
(Drum Roll Please!)
Janette shares her method for poaching eggs in this post.  Poached eggs are so delicious, but many of us shy away from making them because we don't have the technique.  Never fear.....it's nice and easy if you follow Janette's advice.


Muffins With Mom

It's almost Mother's Day and that has got me thinking about my life as a mother.  I have been a mother for 22 years now.  That's a long time!  It's the longest job I've ever had.  It's also the work that I'm most proud of.  My children are the reason I get up every morning......and that's not just because they are noisy and want breakfast. 




Muffins........why muffins, Christina?  I'm glad you asked.  Let me tell you why muffins and mother's day go hand-in-hand for me.  Years ago, when I was the young mother of one and then two children, I organized a fundraiser to raise money for our local mental health agency.  We sold and delivered beautiful Mother's Day breakfast baskets.  They contained a napkin, a plant, a beautiful mug, various other items.  My favorite was always the muffin.  You see, the last basket delivered was always delivered by my boys to me.  They delivered it to me in bed and I enjoyed many Mother's Days which started with eating that muffin while still snuggled in under the blankets.  What mom doesn't love breakfast in bed served by 2 incredibly huggable little boys?

As the kids got older and #3 and #4 arrived, I really enjoyed the Muffins with Mom events that their schools held each year.  Are you beginning to see why I love muffins so much?  Some of the best conversations (and hugs) I have ever had with my children have been while eating those muffins.

I am a very sentimental woman.  I try cherish each moment (even those that drive me bonkers) with my children and I try to remember how special they are.  As the mother of a 22 year old son, I have come to understand how quickly those early years pass. 

This Mother's Day, I encourage you to spend time enjoying a muffin with your children.  Take the time to talk to them and get to know them for the really awesome people they are.  Unplug from all of the devices and have some good old-fashioned conversation.  Ask them about what matters to them and share a story from your childhood.  My kids always seem to get a kick out of finding out that I used to be a kid like them.  For those of you who have mothers that have gone to be with the angels, I encourage you to eat a muffin in her honor.  Your mother shines on in you.  

Hugs from me to all of you mothers out there.  Enjoy your day.  Here are some muffin recipes you may want to try.  Make them up ahead of time so you can rest on your day off......if that is even possible.  A mother's work is never done.   


Peanut Butter and Dark Chocolate Chip Muffins
 
 
Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins
 
 
Whole Wheat Banana Muffins
 

 
Pumpkin Spice Muffins
 
 
Do you have any Mother's Day traditions or memories you would like to share?  I would love to hear them.  Leave me a note in the comments below.
 
If you are looking for help in making the transition to eating more real food, you should check out the Real Food Experience posts. You can get get started at the beginning or jump around the challenges. You can find a complete round-up of the program here. Each week's challenge is full of terrific advice to help you transition from fast and processed food to a real food diet. Changes that will help you to live a healthy lifestyle and have the energy to keep up with your busy schedule. I would also love for you to join me on social media. You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram on a regular basis. Leave me a comment and let me know you are there. I love to visit with my readers. Yes, I'm a real person.

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