Tofu, Mango, Spinach Salad

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Sometimes it’s hard to make just the right salad. Sometimes salads get boring. My goal is to inspire people to love their greens, love their salads. My photos aren’t the best this evening, I’m dealing with a teething baby, but I plan to take better quality images later on. I wanted to share this amazing salad that I threw together in less than ten minutes.

We were hungry this evening dinner time was here but we had a long day and didn’t feel like making a huge mess in the kitchen. I knew we needed something healthy, something delicious, something easy.

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I decided to make a healthy delicious, filling, fun salad. I started with a few different types of greens. Baby kale, romaine, spinach and arugula, I find mixing different greens makes it more interesting. After arranging my bed of greens, I chopped some veggies for my salad. I also decided that I wanted a sweet taste in my salad too. I chopped some mango, red pepper, onion, radish, and tomato. After arranging the veggies on my salad I chopped some firm organic tofu and lightly cooked it in some olive oil on an iron skillet. I seasoned my tofu with cayenne pepper, paprika, and black pepper. I cooked the tofu lightly and then tossed it on top of the salad. Lastly I added some avocado halves and walnut pieces to my salad.

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Most dressings are filled with sugar and additives so I’m always careful which dressings I use on my healthy salads. I used an organic, sesame ginger dressing on my salad. I only drizzled a small amount on top of it.

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This bright salad was fresh, delicious, filling and healthy. The flavors of the sweet mango, the avocado and the spice on the cooked tofu went perfectly together. We devoured these salads, big smiles on our faces. The best part was it was easy quick and didn’t dirty too many dishes! We were even able to share our salads with our little guy, he enjoys crawling around from one of us to the other begging for another slice of mango or avocado hehe! There are so many ways we can make eating our greens and veggies more interesting and fun! Hope you enjoyed this recipe more to come soon!

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Berry, Sweet Potato, Spinach, Salad | A Summer Fall Fusion

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We all could stand to eat more greens right? However it’s not always easy. Sometimes we need a little excitement, a little motivation to urge us to eat those greens. I like to make interesting unexpected salads to motivate me to make a salad at least once a day. This salad is a delicious combo of sweet berries, fresh veggies, and the unexpected twist of soft sweet potato as well! Of course as always you can experiment and add different veggies or other ingredients you love.

For my greens I started with baby kale, and spinach. On top of that I chopped some mushroom, radish and onion. I also added some raspberries, strawberries, almonds and some cooked sweet potato chunks. I was already cooking the sweet potato for my little guy so I just added some extra for myself! This recipe is so quick and delicious. The sweet berries mixed with the crispy greens, and the soft sweet potatoes on top, make an amazing fusion of flavor.

This salad is interesting and delicious. Fall is on our doorstep and we are going to be ready for all our favorite fall foods! Let’s get ready for it and put a spin on our green salads!! I challenge you to make yourself an interesting salad this week! How do you liven up your salad? We would love to hear about it!

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Hanging on to the last moments of summer | Mango Tempeh Taco Boat Recipe

 

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So I don’t know about you (for those of you who are on the same season cycle as we are) but I’m trying desperately to hold on to those last moments of summer. It’s been an amazing summer, probably one of the best I have ever had. This was our first summer with our precious boy.

I apologize for not posting in a while, I am sure some of you are dying for more recipes!! Well I have a great one for you today!! However, before that, let me talk a little about what’s been keeping me from posting and how I have been staying healthy on the go.

Augustus and I went to Nantucket, it was his first trip, we have family over on the island. We were in great need for a break and some time with our toes in the sand and our hearts by the ocean. Sadly daddy couldn’t join us because he was busy at home. So Augustus and I packed up and headed to the ferry to go to the beloved island. I had some preparation to do in order to stay healthy on the trip for Augustus and I. I packed some peaches, bananas, apples, sliced watermelon, blueberries, almond butter, clif bars, coconut yogurt, and some organic baby food pouches for baby. We snacked on some fruit on the two hour boat ride and then most of our snacks were for the rest of our time on Nantucket. When you’re visiting family you can’t always count on them having the healthy snacks you like nor do I ever expect that my family eats the way I do and can provide those items. I always bring my own food.

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We did make one stop at the grocery store for more bananas, peaches and coconut yogurt! How did I end up with these children in my cart? So the other huge part of staying healthy on the island was when we went out to eat. I focused on making healthy choices for myself and bringing healthy foods for Augustus. I always chose a healthy green salad with my meals and let Augustus have some chopped tomatoes and other veggies. I made good choices like at one restaurant I had an arugula feta pizza, another night we all had roasted vegetable tapas, delicious yet nutritious!! So I’ll do another post on eating healthy when eating out but I just wanted to share a little about how we did it on our trip. Needless to say we had a wonderful time and were sad to leave. Until next time Nantucket ❤️

So here is an amazing recipe that I have been making to grasp on to the last days of warmth and summer feelings! Mango Tempeh Taco Boats!

 

This new take on tacos is healthy, fresh and delicious! The tempeh veggie stir fry mixed with the spicy sweet tangy mango salsa, is an amazing combo! You can also innovate this recipe with some improvisations. I used romaine for the taco boats but you could use collard greens, lettuce, kale or cabbage even. The veggie stir fry could be made with a variety of your favorite vegetables, and also the salsa could be improvised as well! Maybe add mushrooms to your stir fry or pineapple to your salsa.

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This meal is so satisfying! The tempeh fills you up and the delicious combination of other flavors keeps you wanting another helping! What an excellent alternative to the usual tacos filled with meat and cheese in cased in greasy taco shells. You can get the same delicious idea with a healthy twist! Hope you will try this recipe and I would love to hear about how you changed it to incorporate your favorite foods!!

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Starting healthy habits early | How to raise a healthy baby

 

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When it comes to health, I feel like one of the biggest questions is, “How do I get my kids to eat veggies” or “How do I make sure my kids are eating healthy enough?” I made it my personal mission even during my pregnancy to be healthy and when my son was born to start him on a super healthy lifestyle.

My fiancé and I decided that we would implement an extremely healthy eating pattern for him right away. When Augustus turned the appropriate age for eating purée foods we started immediately. Here is a list breakdown of his first few months of eating, what we did and why.

First Food: So other than breastmilk Augustus’ first food was avocados. We used to blend them with breastmilk and feed that mixture to him! Huge hit! We chose this as his first food because we didn’t want to choose a sweet fruit and ignite that sweet tooth right away, we deliberately set out to create a taste for veggies for him. He still LOVES avocados and eats them regularly.

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Teething: When we knew our little guy’s teeth were hurting we did use some frozen fruit in a mesh teether to help soothe him. He wasn’t quite sure how to use it at first but with a little help he grew to really enjoy the teether and it gave him much relief from his sore gums.

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Fruit Purée: As Augustus began to get used to swallowing something besides breastmilk and he enjoyed the eating experience, we began experimenting with other foods! We thought we would try some fruit. So after avocados we tried bananas. We blended banana with breastmilk, avocado and breastmilk, really any combination we tried was a hit!! After that we got more adventurous trying berry purée and other fruits.

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Variety: Something we kept in mind while starting Augustus’ food experience was that we wanted him to find fruits and veggies delicious and exciting. Sure this is easy for his age because they pretty much eat what you give them not having a preference yet and not using words to ask for something else. Already other mommies with babies his same age have asked “how do you get your son to eat veggies?? My baby won’t touch them” and basically my trick is, offering a variety of veggies for him to try. I always offer veggies first except for breakfast.

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Avoid Processed Foods: So this rule we have set has really helped us expand Augustus’ pallet for fruits and vegetables. We don’t give Augustus any processed foods. So before introducing him to foods we did not give him rice cereal, and as he began to try foods we didn’t let him have any of those baby cookies or any processed treats like that. It is very tempting to let him have things that are easy like that but we have not done it once. We really believe it has helped him gain a great taste for all the fruits or veggies he loves! Augustus has not had anything but breastmilk, fruits and vegetables and a little rice so far at eight months.

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Consistency: Since Augustus has started to really eat solid meals and breastfeeding has been restricted to evenings and sometimes before nap times, we have had to be consistent. We routinely give him a variety of fruits and vegetables and introduce new things here and there. He has developed favorites and hardly dislikes any of the things he has tried.

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Practice what we preach: The last way we have given our son a healthy start to life is through our own healthy habits as well. Augustus is now getting to the age where he only wants what mommy and daddy are eating. Luckily aside from maybe being too spicy our meals are something he can have. He can share bananas and almond butter in the morning with me and have some tomatoes and avocado off of daddy’s salad in the evening. Staying healthy ourselves makes it easier to show our son how to be healthy too. If he is surrounded by healthy natural foods and doesn’t have a taste for sugary or salty processed food products, he only wants what we give him. Our thought is, why give him cookies or muffins or things like that if he doesn’t need them? Why let him even taste those things, and why tempt him by eating them ourselves? This is serious motivation to stay healthy ourselves so that we are setting a good example for him.

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You might be wondering, how do we know these tips are useful? Our son is only eight months old. Well, before being a mommy I was a nanny for many years and was very helpful in getting kids to eat veggies that they typically denied. So sure, we are only at the beginning with his food journey, it might get more challenging as he gets older and develops more preferences but we are still going to use these tips and avoid giving him anything that will start a bad habit. So far it’s working really well and we have a happy healthy baby boy that has not been sick one time and enjoys his food very much!

Below are some of Augustus’ typical meals and how I prepare them!

Breakfast: 

 

Baby breakfast smoothie-I love to blend up fruits and almond milk to make an easy smoothie that he can drink himself. He loves strawberry & banana, mixed berry, and spinach banana.

Chopped bananas and blueberries: I chop up these fruits into bit size pieces and feed them to my little guy who gobbles them right up!

Lunch:

Guacamole-Mommy and baby can enjoy some fresh home made guacamole! I blend up avocados, tomatoes, onion and cilantro with a little lemon juice and voila! A healthy lunch for baby and snack for me!

Veggie blend combos- Many veggies can be blended together to make delicious meals for baby! My favorites are sweet potato, avocado, beets, greens, carrot, etc!

Dinner:

We love to try new things and dinner is a great time to do that! We live to let baby try black beans, chickpeas, different veggies and sometimes rices or quinoa. Augustus loves sitting in his high chair and trying new tastes!

Good luck with your healthy journey for your baby! I would love to hear what you do to help your baby try new healthy foods and love them! Comment below and tell me more!!

Interesting food facts that make you want to eat healthy!

 

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Something I love to do is learn about the different health benefits of my favorite foods! Once I learn about a new benefit there is to eating a certain food I am so motivated to incorporate it into my next meal! I thought maybe I would share some interesting food facts that you might not know that will make you excited to eat healthier!!

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Arugula: 

Arugula is a nutrient rich green that will add an amazing amount of flavor to any dish you use it in! We love to add arugula to a sandwich or our vegan tacos! Arugula is a tangy delicious healthy food! Rich in calcium, cancer preventing nutrients and vitamins A and K there isn’t a reason not to use this amazing plant in your meals! Arugula has been proven to aid in eye health too! Next time you’re at the store grab yourself some arugula to make a salad or garnish your sandwiches for lunch!!

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Mango

Mangos are such a delicious way to be healthy! High in potassium, antioxidants and vitamins A and K mangos are great for your immune system to prevent colds and flus! Mangos are also a pre-biotic, meaning they provide good bacteria for your gut to prevent digestive problems. Mangos are great in smoothies, fruit salads and even added on green salads for a burst of flavor! There really isn’t any reason not to get yourself a mango and start incorporating them into your meals this week!!

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Cilantro

Cilantro is a delicious herb used for many great recipes!! We use cilantro the most for guacamole! Cilantro is proven to have more vitamin C than even oranges!! Adding some fresh cilantro to a salad is sure to boost the flavor and nutrient value!!

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Peaches 

This beautiful fruit is an excellent addition to any regular diet! Peaches have been shown to benefit the body in many ways. The aroma of peaches is said to have calming effects on the body, reducing pain, lifting depression and creating an overall sense of well-being. They are also a great snack that’s easy to bring on the go!!

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Asparagus: 

Who doesn’t love some beautiful asparagus with dinner? Well asparagus is rich in vitamin K, and is proven to help the digestive tract. It’s so easy to chop some asparagus and add it to a stir fry or as a side dish to any meal!!

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Raspberries

Did you know raspberries can be white? These nutrient dense little beauties whether white red or any other color are great defense against colds and flu. They prevent respiratory infections and are full of phytonutrients which lower the risk of chronic disease! This fruit is one of the highest in fiber content. I love to add some raspberries to oatmeal or even a green salad!

KIWI

Kiwi

Its not surprising to find out that such a beautiful fruit is also packed with so many awesome beneficial nutrients! Kiwis are packed with vitamin C and yet another choice that contains even more than oranges! They can also be beneficial in preventing symptoms of asthma when eated regularly. Kiwis look gorgeous garnishing a fruit salad or as a side to your breakfast dish!

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Bananas

I know I keep using this photo in my posts but just love it! We LOVE bananas in our home!! We always get funny looks at the grocery store during checkout because we buy like 3-5 bundles a week! Did you know that ripe banana with brown spots are full of cancer fighting nutrients (TNF). Basically the riper your banana the better it is for you, which is amazing because super ripe bananas are so sweet! They are excellent in smoothies! Bananas are also full of a nutrient called (FOS) Fructooligosaccharide that helps your body absorb calcium properly! Bananas are a no brained staple for our family and my little one’s favorite fruit!

I hope these tips and facts inspire you and encourage you to make healthy choices! What food facts do you know? I would LOVE to know more facts about the healthy foods we love!! Share and comment below!! Thanks for following! -Alexa-

 

 

Eight Steps to Start Your Healthy Lifestyle!

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So, as promised we are going to get right into it! Here is a little pic of my son enjoying a delicious peach to inspire you! Hehe!

However I bet some of you might be overwhelmed. Maybe you have some questions and you are thinking of this in more of a diet-mindset. Let me be really clear here. I DO NOT advocate for diets. What I do is NOT dieting! DIETS DO NOT WORK. Just wanted to make sure we were on the same page.

What I am talking about is your lifestyle. This means, its a commitment. Before I loose anyone who is intimidated by commitment, its not hard! We are just going to take it one step at a time. That is how I stepped into my now vegetarian, almost vegan, plant based healthy eating lifestyle, or at least that is what I like to call it!

This is about being healthy, so stressing about this, is honestly the opposite of what we are going for. This isn’t meant to be stressful or hard. You should not be depriving yourself, instead substituting old (unhealthy habits) with new healthy exciting alternatives that will become your new staples! Easy right?

Food should be exciting, fun, happy, colorful, delicious and so much more! So lets go!

StepONE

Step One “Don’t overwhelm yourself, take it one step at a time”

This is supposed to be fun like we talked about before, so don’t rush it. It takes time to make any sort of change in life. Do not expect this to be an overnight thing. It takes research, trial and error, and time to implement the things you learn. I certainly did not get to where I am overnight. I just started doing things differently one step at a time. Remind yourself what being healthy truly is about. Its about giving your body what it needs to be at its best, and this is going to be a big change for some of you. Your body will need to adjust to the new way you are eating. So do yourself a favor and take it slow!

StepTWO

Step Two “Start eating the fruits and veggies you already know you like!”

So this is easy! Maybe when you go to the store you have to keep yourself in budget right? So instead of buying those sweet treats get some fruits and veggies that you already know you like! I like to try and keep myself in the outer isles of the grocery store. I actually stick to mainly the produce section and then only grab a few other items from the other parts of the store but we will get there. So ask yourself, what do you already know you like? Maybe you love bananas? Or peaches? Maybe you really enjoy celery? Whatever it is, get yourself some of those things you already know you love! Don’t go overboard thinking “IM GOING TO BE HEALTHY” and buy a bunch of produce you never buy and never eat. We all know good produce can be expensive and you have to stick to things you know first. Your health is definitely worth investing in but lets make sure you aren’t going to waste it. So make a list of produce items you are familiar with and go from there. Pack an apple in your lunch tomorrow instead of those chips, or have a banana on the way to work. This is easy and will get you going in the right direction.

StepTHREE

Step Three “Eliminate as many processed foods as possible”

Now this step may be a little harder. Believe me, I know it was hard for me at first. I can reassure you though, now I HARDLY crave these things I have eliminated. Let me clarify what foods I am talking about. I am referring to, wheat, corn, sugar products. Cookies, Chips, crackers, snack bars, candy, white breads, muffins, cakes, desserts, and things like that. I am not saying you should eliminate these things all together right off the bat, just try and substitute. Remember the last step we talked about, the fruits and veggies you already know you like? That is what you should be replacing these items with. Skip the poptarts and have some bananas in the morning. Ditch the greasy potato chips and try some carrots and celery with hummus. Kick the packages pastry treats and try some dates, or figs. I know this is easier said than done, you might have to take this one slow and keep at it. Our bodies become very used to what we eat. If we eat sugary, salty, starch processed food products, our body will crave them. The more fresh healthy hydrating produce we eat, the more our body will crave that. So its all about introducing your body to new things and making those things into new habits. Your body will understand and know what to predict and crave the right things.

StepFOUR

Step Four “Stay Hydrated! Water Water Water Water Water”

I cannot say this enough. Did you know that roughly 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated? Did you know dehydration has been shown to cause so many health issues including digestive problems, poor circulation, headaches, mood swings, joint issues, extreme fatigue or dizziness and so much more… (Read more about dehydration HERE)

If you can start your day off with a big beautiful glass of water, you will be doing yourself more favors than you even realize. You will have an easier time throughout your day, concentrating, not craving those sugary processed foods, detoxifying your body and so much more! Better yet, start your day with a water and add a slice of lemon and you will be releasing even more toxins from your body! What a delicious and refreshing way to do your body a service, who doesn’t love lemon water? If you can have a glass of water before every meal you will prevent yourself from eating more than you need, hence you may even see some healthy weight loss if that is something you are trying to achieve. Staying hydrated is just a no-brainer!! When I decided I needed to drink more water, I went out and bought myself a HUGE reusable water bottle and I bring it everywhere I go. I make sure I fill that baby up at least twice a day but most days more than that! Sugary drinks are not hydrating for your body and actually leave you craving more junk. The best solution is to kick those drinks and stick with water. If you find it hard to eliminate those drinks, atleast limit the amount you have more and more with time. Try drinking a glass of water before reaching for a soda or bottled juice, that way maybe you won’t need it. This is such a simple yet important step and it will help you with the entire goal of being more healthy over all!

StepFIVE

Step Five “Find someone to join you, a support system”

So this one can be tricky too, but if you can accomplish it, your journey to healthier living will be so much easier. I hear all the time from couples “My husband won’t eat healthy, I cook these healthy meals and he doesn’t like them” or “My kids won’t eat the healthy meals I make for myself I am the only one in my house eating this way.” This is such a shame because working together for this healthier goal is so much better. My fiance and I decided together we were going to make this journey to better living. We have been on the same page every step of the way. We watch documentaries about food together, we shop together, we have made all these decisions together. (I chose this goofy photo of us above to represent this step) This has honestly made this transition so much better. We support each other, congratulate one another on making healthy decisions, and never put the other down if we had a rough day and couldn’t make all our goals. If you can find a friend, a spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, family member, anyone who will support you, even if they don’t want to make these same changes, at least someone to share your triumphs with. These triumphs may seem small but with time even the smallest changes you are making are actually huge to your overall health and wellness. Over a years time you will see so much positive change, over a few years, you will never want to go back.

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Step Six “Plan your healthy meals, get into the habit of eating healthy”

The next few steps are going to be a bit similar. Step six is about planning on what you are going to eat so you aren’t reaching for junk. This can include being at home or out and about where as step seven is about finding recipes you will like to try and step eight is about trying those recipes and cooking at home more often.

So planning your meals is not only a great way to keep yourself on track with making healthy decisions but it also helps you stay on budget. For us, planning usually consists of thinking about what we might like to eat this week and planning our grocery list based on that. However, we do go out to eat as well, not often but to celebrate birthdays, special events, meet with clients, or once in a while just because we deserve it. We have made a habit out of making really healthy choices to the best of our ability while we are out also. Now the world does not make it easy to have a healthy lifestyle and dine out, but we do our best. If we are going to a restaurant someone else has chosen, we look up the menu and make sure they have options for our lifestyle needs. Its just like if you had a food allergy or maybe lactose intolerance, you would plan ahead to make sure you could be accommodated. Well we do the same with our healthy eating. We skim the menu to make sure we know the options. If the restaurant has not been chosen yet, we suggest one of our favorite places where we know we have healthy options that will keep us in check with our healthy lifestyle. This may seem silly but its really important not to derail yourself because your body will get used to what you are eating and crave those things, give your body the things you want to crave. We make a point to know the restaurants near by that serve really fresh delicious foods we enjoy and try to go to those places when we are going out. We have actually been known to turn down a social event if everyone is going to a place that serves food we know wont be a good idea for us. Some places make it very hard to eat healthy and because of that we do not go there. Some people may think this is extreme and we certainly don’t expect that other people do this or even understand but its just the way we choose to do things. So plan ahead and make sure you are comfortable taking your new lifestyle out to dinner!

StepSEVEN

Step Seven “Find new healthy recipes that you are excited to try, anticipate eating healthier”

Lets be excited about eating healthy!! That is what its all about. Changing your lifestyle is never going to work if you constantly think you are just depriving yourself of the things you love to eat. Instead remind yourself that you are actually giving your body the good stuff. Remember that eating healthy is going to make everything better and the more you do it the easier it will be!

A great thing to do is use this amazing tool, the internet, to find recipes that you are excited about! Scour Pinterest and find some meals that incorporate those veggies you love, or find some cool ways to get more fruit into your every day life. There are so many resources online to help you accomplish this! I will be posting LOTS of recipes on here and you are not going to want to miss them! My trick is I make Pinterest boards for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner, I pin a bunch of recipes and once I try them, I print the recipe if I like it and put it in my cook book! Now I have a beautiful book filled with meals I know I love! Easy way to make sure choosing your meals for the week is not a struggle! So invite some friends over, try that new recipe, make eating healthy a fun and social experience!

StepEIGHT

Step Eight “Cook at home more often”

Last but certainly not the least. The KEY I would say to maintaining the new healthy lifestyle you are going to create for yourself is cooking at home! I know life is busy, you families with multiple kids, parents both working, its hard I know. It is possible though. Single people not sure how to cook for one? Invite those friends over, cook together, what a wonderful excuse to have a good time and eat some awesome food. With some meal preparation at the beginning of each week this step can become a reality. Let the kids come help, delegate jobs, “You wash the spinach, and you get out the veggies for the salad” Let it be a fun experience, put on some music, enjoy it. Use those new recipies you pinned on Pinterest, be excited about this meal you are going to prepare, and know that cooking at home and making healthy choices is going to do wonderful things for you, your family or friends. Cooking a meal at home and sitting down as friends or as a family to eat is not only important for eating right, but its a great way to connect with one another too. After all isn’t that just as important to us?

So there you have it. Eight steps to start this journey to a healthier lifestyle. I might have more tips and steps down the road, but this is an excellent beginning. Even if you do one of these steps a week until you are getting the hang of it that is okay. Like I mentioned a few times in this article, I want to stress the point that this is supposed to be enjoyable. This isn’t about counting calories, or weighing yourself daily. This is supposed to be fun, food is fun. Try new recipes, take photos of your food, post it on Facebook and Instagram, who cares what other people think. I am totally that girl who takes a photo of her meal before she eats it, to me, food is exciting. Good food is worth sharing even if its just a photo online. I hope this is helpful to some of you looking for a starting line. Please do not hesitate to ask a question, make a comment, or share another helpful tip you thought of! I would love to hear it!

As always thank you for following me! -Alexa-