What to do with the kids this winter break.

school-breeak

These breaks sneak up on me every Winter and Spring, leaving me with  not much planned for the whole 7 days the kiddos are home from school. This time, although it did sneak up on me again, I’m determined to have some things planned so we’re not left twiddling our thumbs and irritated with one another by the end of next week . Here are 3 ideas I’ve come up with so far. Please share any ideas you have with me in the comments section, I’d love to hear them.

  1. Make a kids style boot camp.                       kids-exercising-e1442248538999My boys love everything to do with the military and are really getting into exercise, so this is a fun and healthy way to occupy their time and get them active. Girls enjoy this exercise too and I find it makes them feel empowered and tough. You can prepare for this active and healthy routine by getting a clip board and writing down the exercises with check boxes next to each  for when they are complete. Try making one child in charge for each set and call them the “Sargeant”. Once they’ve completed the workout award them with some homemade badges that you prepped before hand.

Sample boot camp for kids. Make sure you are carefully demonstrating each exercise and watching their form so they don’t hurt themselves. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just watch for any over exaggerated positioning or aggressive movements that might lead to injury.

  •  Run in place for 30 seconds
  • 10 Jumping Jacks.
  • 5-10 Push ups on knees.
  • 10 squats.
  • 10 side lunges.
  • Run up and down the stairs 2 times.

2. Make a fun obstacle course.

Get your kids involved in the process of making it, children tend to really like helping with this and it gets the creative juices flowing creative.

Some ideas for your obstacle course.

  • Supplies: Dining room chairs, string and notecards with numbers on them. Loop the string through the chairs attaching the numbers onto the string with clothes pins. Have them step through the string and grab their assigned number. For and added challenge make them try to not touch the string in the process. obstacle-course
  • Using throw pillows, toss them around the room and have them jump from one to the other. For an added challenge tape letters on the pillows in no particular order and have them jump in alphabetical order.

3. Make some healthy cookies! (my personal favorite)

I love baking with my kids and baking something healthy is a great way to not only teach them their way around a kitchen, but also to talk about the importance of eating healthy. As you make this healthy recipe talk about the ingredients and why they are good for them. Talk about the purpose of eating as being a way to fuel their bodies. This will help get them thinking about eating a different way, not just for taste but for energy and wellness.

Example of a healthy recipe: Carrot and Apple Oat Cookies from Super Healthy Kids.

Ingredients
  • 2 cup – flour, whole wheat
  • 1 cup – oats, dry
  • 1/2 teaspoon – baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon – baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon – cinnamon
  • 1 large – egg
  • 1/3 cup – coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup – honey
  • 1 teaspoon – vanilla extract
  • 1 cup grated – carrot
  • 1 cup, grated – apple
  • 1 medium – banana

Optional:

  • 1/3 cup – chocolate chips, semisweet
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with grease-proof paper.
  2. In a large bowl mix together the whole wheat flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon.
  3. In a separate smaller bowl beat the egg. Add the melted coconut oil, honey and vanilla extract and stir well. Add this mixture to the large bowl with the dry ingredients and mix until well combined.
  4. Add the grated carrot, grated apple and mashed banana and again stir until everything is well mixed together. If using the chocolate chips, add now.
  5. Roll the cookie dough into 1 inch sized balls. The dough should make approximately 20 balls. Place each on the cookie sheet and press down lightly with a fork.
  6. Bake in the oven for 13-15 minutes. Allow to cool on a wire rack.

STORAGE:

  • The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days. They can also be frozen for up to 3 months.

Please send me any ideas you have for the time I have with my kids next week! WOuld love some more options!

Thanks for reading!

XO,

Hil

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I forgot my sneakers!”

frustrated-woman

You know the feeling. After treading your heels all morning you finally manage to pack yourself and your kids up to go to the gym only to realize you forgot an important piece of equipment. Your sneakers!

This is what happened to me on Saturday. It’s snowy here in New England so snow boots are the uniform right now. In an attempt to remember everything I need for my kids, I forgot my sneakers. I even went back in my house specifically to get my gym shoes and water bottle. I remembered the water bottle.

As frustrated as this scenario is, there is a solution.

Yoga. You don’t need sneakers, you don’t even need socks, to do a cardio boosting yoga flow. Here’s the routine I do to get my cardio in and strength training exercises to round it out. Sun Salutations are the back bone of this cardio boosting routine, if you do not know how to perform them here is a great instructional video.

sun-salutations

  1. Stretch and warm up.
  2. Perform 3 sun salutations.
  3. Leg Workout.
    1. 20 squats.
    2. 10 front lunges.
    3. 10 side lunges, right and left.
    4. 10 back lunges.
  4. Perform 6 sun salutations.
  5. Ab workout.
    1. 20 basic crunches.
    2. 20 side crunches, right then left.
    3. 20 leg lifts.
    4. 30 second planks, regular and side.
  6. Perform 9 sun salutations.
  7. Arm workout.
    1. 10 push ups, 10 tricep dips (repeat twice)
  8. Perform 12 Sun Salutations .

Rest and stretch.

Any questions?

Thanks for reading!

Xo,

Hilary

Benefits of Anti-Inflammatories

super-foods-list-e1414255217133

I’ve been talking quite a bit about foods that cause inflammation, today I want to talk about ones that help relieve it. Inflammation is caused when our bodies recognize something in our bodies as foreign and try to attack is. This is a good thing but not if it persists for days on end creates unnecessary chronic pain. It has also been linked to diseases such as arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, cancer and even depression.

inflammation

The #1 food that causes inflammation is sugar. Other foods to avoid include red meat, fried foods, vegetable oil, refined flour, artificial sweeteners and the list goes on…

Here are a list of some of my favorite anti-inflammatory foods and how to eat them.

  1. Green leafy vegetables such as Kale, Spinach and Collard Greens. I love  these types of veggies sautéed with olive oil (another ) lemon and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  2. Salmon. I generally like to bake my salmon, you can throw in a lot of vegetables to amp up the nutrients levels and help making dinner a lot easier by cooking your protein and veggies all at once. easier clean up as well.
  3. Spice it up. There are a LOTS of spices that you can add to many dishes to add flavor and give you the anti-inflammatory benefits. Here are a few: Turmeric, ginger, cayenne pepper, garlic, and black pepper.

What’s your favorite?

XO,

Hil

Benefits of HIIT (high intensity interval training)

hiit

Yesterday I posted a link to my weekly HIIT workout which you can see here. I’m trying to come up with a method to the madness in terms of what I post and when. Every Monday I will post a HIIT workout and Wednesdays I will post some more concentrated strength training exercises.

Today I want to talk a little about the benefits of interval training. I personally love it because I can easily do it at home and my kids sometimes even join in. Here’s a list of some of the other great advantages.

  1. Burns the most calories in the least amount of time. The Tabata format in particular (this is working at your maximum capacity for 20 seconds then taking a 10 second break for a total of 4 minutes per set) has been proven to torch calories and continue burning calories at a high rate for up to 30 minutes post workout.
  2. Mixes up your workout so you never get bored. I love that this type of workout entails doing different exercises. I tend to get bored with repetitive cardio and this solves that problem by changing up what I’m doing every 30 to 60 seconds.
  3. Challenges muscle memory. HIIT creates muscle confusion so your muscles do not get bored and are always working hard.
  4. Gives you a full body workout. If you get the right combination of exercises together you will get a full body workout in the process of calorie blasting. Mix it up with some calorie burning running, butt boosting squats, bicycle crunches and planks and you’ve covered all of your body parts. I recommend mixing in strength training with your HIIT, but it’s not necessary since you are already doing strength exercise with this workout.

What’s your favorite workout to do in high intensity intervals?

Thanks for reading!

XO,

Hil

Tom Brady’s Diet, Nightshades and Inflammation.

tomandgiseleworkingout

If you read my post on Wednesday I spoke about Tom and Gisele’s diet and how one of the exclusions from this diet is nightshades. These include tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants and peppers. This is a sort of peculiar exclusion and I was asked if I thought that the good outweigh the bad in terms of eating them. So I did a little more research on the subject and I’ll break down what I found and what my thoughts are on the subject. And please feel free to share yours in the comments below.

Brady doesn’t eat nightshades because they cause inflammation. It is true that these foods can cause inflammation but, from what I’ve read, this side effect varies from person to person. Generally they are not bad enough to keep you from eating these nutrient rich foods.

Inflammation is most commonly associated with arthritus. A subject close to my heart as I have suffered from this for most of my life. It is actually the most common cause of discomfort, pain and injury. If you are unfamiliar with what arthritus is, it is simply painful inflammation and stiffness of the joints. Many people don’t realize they have it or perhaps don’t want to admit to having it, as it is commonly associated with being elderly. Although it is true that it gets worse with age, symptoms commonly occur in people of any age, especially in those that are very physically active like athletes.

If you’re curious, the number one food that causes inflammation is sugar. This is another exemption from Brady’s diet for good reason.

red-peppers

Nightshades include Red Bell Peppers which are rich in healthy nutrients.

As far as consuming nightshades, I believe the good outweighs the bad. Tomatoes and peppers are high in vitamins A, C and K. They are also a great source of anti-oxidants like lycopene.

Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that may help protect cells from damage. – WebMD

It is commonly associated with lowering your risk of heart disease and cancer. Although too much of it is not good either, so eating foods rich in this antioxidant in moderation is suggested. But isn’t that true of all things?

As far as nightshades causing inflammation goes, the jury is still out. They have been proven to cause some inflammation but, according to the Arthritis Foundation, not enough to abstain from these foods all together. It is worth noting that they have also been shown to improve symptoms of arthritis in some people.

My recommendation, do what works for you. If you notice more pain from inflammation when you eat nightshades, don’t eat them. GEnius!

Thanks for reading and please share any questions comments you have on the subject below.

XO,

Hilary

 

 

Kids and Physical Fitness.

girl-hoola-hooping

Hula Hooping is a fun way for your family to get some cardio (and work that mid-section).

The the topic of the Super Bowl and football has me thinking about kids and physical fitness. Many children, mine included, are talking about football and getting excited for the game this weekend. I wanted to talk a little about how you can use this topic, and other ideas, to motivate your children to workout and be physically fit. Most kids don’t need a strict workout regimen as they probably get enough exercise by running and playing with their friends. But it is a good idea to start talking about why exercise is important and if your children love football that’s a good way to inspire them to want to be physically active and fit throughout their life.

Tips for inspiring your children to be active:

  1. On the topic of football, if your children enjoy watching sports and maybe have a favorite player, tell them how important it is for athletes to take care of their bodies with diet and exercise. For  example, I spoke about Tom Brady’s diet on the blog yesterday, this is a very strict diet that I don’t think any child should partake in, but it’s an example of how disciplined athletes need to be to stay in top physical condition.
  2. Workout in front of your children. My husband and I are constantly exercising in front of our children so they know how important working out is to us. Explain to them why you workout and the benefits you get from it.
  3. Show them some of the exercises you do to stay in shape and stay strong. Some basic exercises like crunches, push-ups (starting on their knees for better posture), squats and lunges are a good way to familiarize them with strength training. You can also give a basic anatomy lesson by telling them what muscle groups they are working.
  4. Talk about aerobic exercise. They probably get enough of this running around with their friends and playing sports. But explaining to them how these activities are beneficial is a good idea.

Do you have any suggestions to add to the list?

xo,

Hil

The diet of the ultimate couple.

tomandgisele

The Super Bowl is this weekend. “Thanks captain obvious!”, you’re saying to yourself. I bring it up, just like everyone else in America, because today I’m talking about the man of the hour, Tom Brady. Love um or hate um, he’s in amazing physical condition, especially for a 39 year old athlete who’s been going hard on the football field for over half his life. So how does he do it? His diet has been subject to both awe and criticism. But whatever he’s eating, it’s working for both him and his beautiful wife, Gisele. So let’s take a closer look at their healthy habits.

This was taken from an interview with his personal Chef, Allen Campbell, on Boston.com:

What Brady does eat:

80 percent of what they eat is vegetables. [I buy] the freshest vegetables. If it’s not organic, I don’t use it. And whole grains: brown rice, quinoa, millet, beans. The other 20 percent is lean meats: grass-fed organic steak, duck every now and then, and chicken. As for fish, I mostly cook wild salmon.

What Brady doesn’t eat:

No white sugar. No white flour. No MSG. I’ll use raw olive oil, but I never cook with olive oil. I only cook with coconut oil. Fats like canola oil turn into trans fats. … I use Himalayan pink salt as the sodium. I never use iodized salt.
[Tom] doesn’t eat nightshades, because they’re not anti-inflammatory. So no tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, or eggplants. Tomatoes trickle in every now and then, but just maybe once a month. I’m very cautious about tomatoes. They cause inflammation.

A lot of people like to hate on Tom’s diet. Obviously they’re just jealous because the guy is definitely doing something right. He’s up for his fifth Super Bowl ring after all!

My take on it is that it is very strict, and there’s no way I could abide by this diet. But, when people ask me what to eat I always tell them vegetables,  lean protein (like chicken and fish) and whole grains (like brown rice), which pretty much sums up Tom and Gisele’s nutrition plan. I do think cutting out “nightshades” like tomatoes, is going too far. Tomatoes, for example, are very good for you. Think about adding anti-inflammatory spices to your meal to reduce those affects.

What’s your take on it? Would you give this diet a try?

xo,

Hil