Busy Mom Meal Prep

busy mom green smoothie

I am so not the pinteresty, instagrammy meal prepper. 1) My ish ain’t pretty. and 2) I actually didn’t consider what I do “meal prep” until someone told me it counts since I’m “prepping” stuff for the week ahead of time. So I still don’t call it that lol, but I do process foods for the week to make life easier.

A few things to note:

  • I follow a generally low carb, clean lifestyle
  • John eats low carb but not necessarily clean
  • Kids follow not exactly clean diet with healthy carbs (whole grains etc)
  • I’m home with the kids during the day and am a serious grazer
  • John works outside the home and takes lunch most days

So how I do things:

I call it “processing” food. Which…is probably the worst word to use when you’re a clean eater, but this is how I process stuff.

I grocery shop every 7-9 days. My hauls tend to look like:

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I buy eggs, fruits for smoothies and kid snacks, a variety of veggies but always zucchini for spaghetti, onions/green peppers / tomato, bagged greens for smoothies and sauteeing as a side dish, bagged salads to make lunch easy, a variety of meats going by what’s on sale but always ground turkey, ground beef, spicy Italian sausage, and chicken breasts (often pork loins and roasts as well but again that’s by sale price).

Then I also purchase the things I like to graze on during the day: almonds, peanut butter, kimchi, cheese, deli meat (not clean, but low carb)

Immediately after I get home I:

  • throw away whatever’s gross in the fridge.
  • divide the ground beef (i buy the 4.5 lb pack) into 3 even portions and pop in freezer
  • divide the big pack of chicken breasts, cut them in half lengthwise and bag them up for seasoning or freezing
  • peel, halve and bag up bananas and pop in freezer (I also bag up whatever fruit will be for my shakes)

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Each week I make a few staples:

  • a big batch of chili (John takes this to work for lunches)
  • a batch (or 2) of turkey muffins (I eat these during my random grazing thru the week)
  • bake all the chicken breasts (2-3 batches because I flavor the different bags differently)
  • (sometimes) a big batch of pasta sauce (for zucchini noodles)

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We eat a lot of the same foods each week, but I (try to) season them differently so it doesn’t get boring.

Our dinner is often just meat, salad and veggies in some random combination…

Sweets are zero carb frozen treats, and I make these sugar free “cheesecakes” fairly often.

I make a lot of “catch all” dishes, throwing every random veggie we have left over into either an egg bake, a “meatloaf” a soup or something…

*Note: I DO make separate food for the kids. We let them try what we’re eating…(knowing they’re gunna most likely throw a fit) and then I’ll give them a pasta dish of some sort, or when they ask for it, oatmeal or mac n cheese or whatever. They don’t get any “sugar free” anything…  (And I sneak veggies & protein into everything they get #trickymommy)

What I am trying to get better at: 

  • pre-planning the new meals and recipes that I experiment with
  • enforcing that the kids eat more of the “family” meal

I’m no good with rigid stuff, so my loosey goosey meal prep/planning works for our house.

Do you do any form of meal “prep”?

Healthy Relationship Habits To Start Today #naturemade #ic #ad

This post was sponsored by Nature Made® as a part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central.

date night

Over Communicate

We’ve always heard that communication is crucial in relationships. It’s healthy to have open, honest communication. Taking the extra second to send a text to check in, or remind your spouse where you’ll be that night can make a major difference in both of your lives. Staying connected throughout your day increases your bond. If communication in your relationship is spotty, try a weekly meeting, or daily download chat sessions. You can also just try opening up a random conversation about something light to get both of your jaws flapping easily.

Play

I’ve shared how John and I are in competition. This is part of our play. Remembering to play is a way of keeping your relationship fun, upbeat and fresh. It’s hard to get bored or complacent if you’re always in a light-hearted challenge, or game. Play doesn’t have to be something official like doing a race or obstacle course together. You can randomly tickle your partner, or just make a silly face to keep the mood light. Not your style? Reminding your partner of something funny you two did or saw together is one way to get laughing and open the gates to play.

Get Healthy Together

Taking care of your health is a big part of keeping your relationship healthy. We want to feel great and also look great for our partner. Start eating healthier, drinking more water and taking daily vitamins. You can begin an easy exercise routine and ramp it up as you get stronger and fitter. Gyms often offer discounts for couples joining together.

Here are some healthy habits I’ve made in 2016 to get you started:

Nature Made (the best-selling vitamin brand) is giving away 20 $50 gift cards to Walmart! Enter to win below:

Nature Made Wellness 6

I-C will randomly select 20 winners from all program entries and will handle fulfillment of the winning prizes.

Check out the Nature Made Daily Boost program when you have a moment and visit Walmart for lots of Nature Made products at a low price every day.

Remember the Kids!

kaya nature made

Parenting together makes for a healthy unit overall. It’s important to share the duties of parenting so that no feelings of resentment or overwhelm evolve. Including your kids in activities you would normally do solo or as a couple helps the family bond get stronger. Something as simple as going to Walmart as a family or taking a walk together after dinner has an impact, and (bonus) is a healthy habit you can all do together.

What healthy relationship habits do you have? 

 

5 Healthy Habits for Work At Home Moms

healthy habits

Being a work at home mom is no joke. I won’t get into the debate of who works harder, moms working outside the home, or stay at home moms, or work at home moms…. If you’re a mother…you’re automatically a working mom. The end. Kids are a full time job, period. And they are the hardest work I’ve done. I enjoy being a work at home mom (WAHM) and wouldn’t trade it for the world. Being at home throughout the day with children is a privilege that offers many benefits to us as a family, but health-wise can have a lot of drawbacks.

When I was working a 9-5 job in NY during my lunch hour I would go right downstairs to the gym. Super convenient. My lunches were healthy because it was just as easy to grab a pre-made salad as it was a burger. At home, with children, and working on building my business, I have new challenges in my healthy lifestyle journey. As work at home moms we are constantly trying to balance (even though balance is a deceiving term) getting work done and growing our business, with keeping house, taking good care of the kids, giving spouse attention and oh yeah…maybe a little self care too. We’re running from store to event, to playground, we’re cooking meal after meal, balancing the budget, cleaning up, doing laundry, planning, fixing, tweaking… and maybe actually working to earn our income. Between all of these obligations, it’s easy to grab unhealthy snacks, munch on the kids’ stuff, skip workouts, procrastinate or get so bogged down that we don’t take the proper care of ourselves.




I have found a few tricks that help me keep my healthy habits a big part of my life without letting other areas suffer. Maybe they’ll work for you too:

Put Junk/Kids Foods Out of Sight

Out of sight out of mind. Right? Wrong. (you know exactly where you hid the damn cookies. stop it.) But out of sight, less likely to binge on! I recently did a dump of all the processed foods, white sugar, white flour leftover, etc. I took it out of the cabinets and gave some way, tossed some out. It just had to go. Now, we do have some “junk” food left, and those are on the top shelf and only come out randomly for the kids. (I literally have to get a chair to climb up and get down their mac n cheese boxes) The fridge only has healthy foods (except for my mom’s jams for the kids pb&j sandwiches) If you don’t toss your favorite junk foods, I suggest you have your spouse hide the items and make sure he or she is strong enough not to bend and give them to you when you’re feeling hangry.  (This tip works for moms that work outside the home too!)

Make Play and Exercise Synonymous  

Using playtime for exercise is the easiest way to sneak it in while working from home. Try to start thinking of them as the same thing instead of viewing exercise as drudgery you have to “make it through.”

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At the playground I get it in. When we’re out in the backyard I do walking lunges, and jump squats all around the yard. The kids and I play tag (better known as “i’m gunna getcha” in our house) and pretend we’re animals zooming through the forest. I make our daily walks more of a workout for me by adding in sprints. “Ok Ro, let’s hop like a bunny to that tree down there.” walk to recover “Now let’s go fast like a race car to that mailbox” etc. etc. (bonus: this wears their little butts out, and makes going down for naptime less of a hassle. #momwins)

Be Competitive

My 5k training would likely be more sporadic if John didn’t lose his mind and challenge me to a monthly mileage competition on the Nike+ Running app. This fool’s about to get smoked, but whatever… The point is that a little healthy competition is a great motivator for the work at home mom. Use Dietbet or other apps to compete with others digitally, or challenge your spouse or even your kids to little competitions around the house. (Planking contests, etc) You can get some friends together that have similar goals and encourage each other (while silently vowing to beat them at whatever it is.) Signing up for a 5k may be the motivation you need to start moving. Download a couch to 5k app on your phone and follow along with a friend or whoever you’re competing with.

Change your workout mindset

This is something I am still working on. I’m conditioned from organized sports in HS and college to go hard and long. Short bursts don’t feel like they’re “working” but I know intellectually that it all makes a difference. So I encourage you to work on your exercise mindset as well. What old mindset do you have to break?

Old: Workouts take long and are boring // New: Short workouts are effective and fun

Old: I hate cardio/running/treadmills etc. // New: Dancing is fun cardio that I can do at home

Old: I dont like/dont have weights/gym. // New: I can get a full workout using just my body weight at home

Old: I have no space at home to work out // New: I don’t need a lot of space to work out

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Schedule in Fit Breaks

Every work at home mama knows that sometimes you can get into the zone and just work work work without breaks.  You’re grinding away at the computer, all hunched over and tensed up and don’t even realize it until you’re so daggone tired and your eyes are killing you and you’ve got a crick in your neck. Please try not to make that a habit. (I’m talking to myself here too.) Every now and then stand up, stretch, walk around your house, or around the block, take deep breaths, drink some water, and then return to work. You can set your alarm for these.

On days that I don’t have both children, I’m able to get work done during the day. At the top of each hour I will get up, do some ab workouts or jog around the house and sip on water. I reward myself for this by making my “fit break time” also my “check facebook guiltlessly for a couple minutes time.”  Hey, whatever works for you!

The Takeaway:

We have 5011 things to take care of as WAHMs and our fitness and well being has to be a priority. If mommy’s not healthy, the household suffers. So, try these techniques above, or come up with your own healthy habits and share them below!

What are your healthy habits?

TV’s Best Weight Loss Reality Shows

best weight loss reality shows - OKDani.com - These are the best weight loss motivation reality shows on tv today

As someone who’s big into health and fitness I admit I love weight-loss reality shows. I really do. They’re so inspiring, and also feed my reality show addiction while still being positive. (I can’t stand the reality shows that just show people looking like idiots for no reason.) I prefer competition shows. If you’re displaying a talent I’ll never have like on Inkmaster, Top Chef or Project Runway, I’m all in. These days I watch shows on demand at random times and have discovered a few new health/fitness shows to enjoy:

Extreme Makeover Weight Loss

This show follows the obese contestant over a year, working with a trainer for 90 days and then on their own. The trainer actually lives with them for a while at the beginning of their journey and then leaves them to continue with what they learned. It’s a full year of focusing on fitness and then if the contestant reaches a certain weight goal, they  are given surgery for their loose skin. Crazy. Over the year we see the person shrink, but also see the mental and emotional struggles and changes as well. It’s inspiring to see the ups and downs, the accomplishments and bouts of self doubt that the person goes through. It’s very relatable seeing the self sabotage, the excuses, and also the overcoming of it, and the new mindset that evolves as the person sees results and breakthroughs.

My Diet is Better than Yours

First off… my ex is on this show. Outside of that… it’s pretty interesting and I’d like to see how it ends up. Contestants lose weight by following the diet plan of an expert, and then whoever loses most weight each week wins. This is a newer show, and I’m watching on demand so I’m not up to date. A twist is coming, in that the contestants now have to continue their prescribed diet plan without their expert. I love that this show is happening in the real world. With Extreme Makeover, the people are taking off of work for a year to change their life. In My Diet is Better than Yours, we see the contestants going to work, dealing with their children, and attending events. It’s great to see how a variety of people do life while trying to make health and fitness a higher priority.




Fit to Fat to Fit

This is my new favorite. I’ve only seen 3 episodes but boy oh boy I’m loving it so far. The premise is, that personal trainers who are super fit, can’t truly understand their obese patients because they haven’t been in their position before. So, trainers agree to gain a bunch of weight for 4 months, and then lose it along side their new client.

When I saw the commercial I was like…this is some bull. But after watching the first two episodes I was hooked. It’s incredible to see the trainers change their mindsets in such a major way, just by stopping their usual normal habits. Their energy levels, esteem, word choices, behavior, self image etc all skews downward. There’s a somewhat depressive state that comes over them. And they see how the unhealthy food choice is so easy to make and can become an addiction very easily.

The trainers then diet and exercise along with their clients and everyone loses weight, improves their mindset, rah rah. But you can tell that the trainers do have a new perspective on dealing with clients that have a lot of weight to lose.

(My only criticism – These trainers already know what it feels like, looks like, tastes like to be fit, healthy, make the better food choice, wake up at 5am to work out etc. So getting back in shape is a lot easier for them. It’s just a matter of getting back on the horse. Whereas, the contestant never has done this before. Everything is new and they don’t have the “oh yeah, I can do this, I’ve done this before” mindset to help them through.

The Biggest Loser

This is the OG of fitness shows and isn’t new at all. I have watched The Biggest Loser on and off ever since it started. Loved me some Jillian and Bob. That program has gotten so huge. Jillian has myriad products and programs and now has her own reality show, Bob has books and programs all over as well. The brand itself has loads of books, apps, sites, programs.. It’s HUGE.


If you’re not familiar, contestants go to a weight loss ranch where they are put into groups and work with a trainer, learn about healthy eating, exercise super hard and compete in challenges as a group. They are weighed each week and the members of the group that lost the least % of weight, vote out a member. (That’s what I have always disliked about the show. Voting goes by popularity or friends versus, you lost the least weight, you go home.)

I was a Biggest Loser devotee when it first started, but now I only watch the first two and last two episodes of each season. Just to see the participants’ journeys. The show feels…different to me now.

What are your favorite fitness shows?

the best weight loss reality shows on television - okdani.com - watch these reality tv shows for weight loss motivation

TVs Best Weight Loss Reality Shows - OKDani.com - Get weight loss inspiration and fitness motivation from reality tv.... no for real!

Look Cute While Working out #LiquidoActive #Giveaway

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I have a very important question for you:

How cute are my leggings?

I said before that cute workout clothes make workouts more fun. It’s really true!

These have got to be the cutest (and most wearable) workout and yoga clothes I’ve seen in a while.

Liquido Active (Clothes with a conscience) is my new fave legging/yoga pants spot.

liquido tanks

I tried their pants and bra, let me tell you, don’t go for a jog in this bra in the pic above. Just use it for yoga and pilates…maybe biking or ab work or something with no bouncing around… trust me.

The pants are so perfect in fit, and style. I like that they just feel like soft, smooth…nothing. They’re not tight to you like compression leggings (which I also love) but they’re not loose like how some of the cheap quality yoga pants are after wearing them for a few hours. I want some that go down over the ankle though.

They have tons of adorable patterns:

liquido leggings

I’m obsessed.

Makes me want to return to yoga! yet again (and not the P90X3 yoga that’s on sched for today)

I wore them for almost a full day on the cruise and didn’t have to pull them up down (or out) to readjust them at all. And I got quite a few compliments on the pattern (called soul sister) #egoboost. 

The collection in the line that these pants came from was designed by Tiffany Cruikshank, an amazing yogini and natural health guru.

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Here are a few wellness tips from Tiffany for OK Dani readers:

Three health/wellness tips on pursuing a balanced lifestyle:

  1. Never forget how important something simple like water is to your health. Check out the book, You’re Not Sick, You’re Thirsty!
  2. Be conscious of everything you feed your mind. Our perspective is shaped by everything we do & see & experience. Try ending your day by reflecting on 3 great things that happened every day for week and notice how your perspective changes.
  3. Notice the things you don’t do and how that affects your health & wellness. We spend so much time focusing on our goals & to do lists but it’s also really important to take time to rest and relax. As you get clearer in your purpose it becomes easier to say no to the things that aren’t as important to prioritize your time. In Chinese Medicine this is an essential component of our health & longevity, even though it’s difficult to put a value on the time we spend not doing things. Start noticing the value of the time you take for yourself to relax and rejuvenate. Do less in order to give your body and mind a break to restore and repair yourself—whether that’s a relaxing bath, time to meditate or spending time with someone you love without an agenda.

Do less? You got it!!! I’m down for that. ::takes nap::

GIVEAWAY TIME!!

Now, one lucky winner has the opportunity to win her own piece from the Liquido Active line!!

Enter Below to WIN WIN WIN!!

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GOOD LUCK!!