25 Active Date Ideas

While going on dates can certainly be fun, a typical night out with a romantic partner often ends up being focused on eating and drinking. While a date at a night bar or restaurant is definitely deserved, why not think outside the box when it comes to spending an afternoon or evening with a partner?

Here are 25 — yes, 25 — active date ideas you can do any time of the year. Within this list, there has to be at least of a handful of activities you both will thoroughly enjoy.

Low-Key Date Ideas

Walk the dogs. If either of you has a pup, take a long walk with your dog together! If neither of you are pet owners, consider volunteering at a shelter and playing with the pups who need a home.

Mini golf. Walk around those 18 mini holes versus sitting on a bar stool. Mini golf is fun and keeps you on your toes, both figurately and literally.

Restorative yoga. A nice restore yoga class lengthens your limbs, relaxes your mind, and helps your body repair and rejuvenate. At the end of a class, you usually feel so good — a great feeling to also share with a partner.

Bowling. Lace up your bowling shoes and hit the alley. Walking up and down the bowling lane has to count for something. Just try to avoid the fried food that’s often sold at the bowling alley.

Explore the farmers market. Keep your body moving while moving around the maze at a farmers market. Bonus points for buying some fresh produce and making a healthy meal together when you get home.

Sledding. If the snow is in full-force, you don’t need to stay stuck inside. Grab a sled and head to the nearest hill for some sledding with your boo. Walking up the hill is a sneaky hill workout, too!

Tubing. Whether summer or winter, make a day out of it and go tubing. Whether you’re in the snow or on the water, staying seated in a tube is actually a sneaky core exercise, since you need to use your abs to ensure you don’t fall off.

Ice skating. A romantic evening out could mean heading to the ice rink. Hand in hand, skate around the rink while catching up on each other’s lives.

Rolling skating. For something a little easier than ice, roller skating is a fun and old-school way to get the heart pumping while enjoying some laughs together. If you’re extra cautious, wear some knee and elbow pads to protect your limbs.

Beach volleyball. Instead of basking in the sun on a beach chair all day, get up and go over to the volleyball nets. You’ll be guaranteed to build up a sweat on the sandy court — and can choose to be on your partner’s team, or add some friendly competition to your relationship and go 1 v 1.

Charity walk. To get your steps in and do something good for the world, go on a charity walk together. You can easily look up and see which ones are happening in a city or town near you.  

Laser tag. For some unconventional and creative fun, embrace your inner-kid and go play laser tag! You might be surprised by how much running and lunging you’ll end up doing.


High-Intense Dates

Snorkeling. For the adventurous spirits, make a date that’s slightly closer to the ocean floor. Take a snorkeling class together and swim and explore the sea to your heart’s content.

Tough Mudder. A date idea definitely outside of the box is signing up for an adventure race, like a Tough Mudder. These are obstacle-course style races that combine running with climbing, balancing, crawling, and jumping. Athletic couples would love something like this!

Paddleboarding. Head to a local lake in the summer and give your arms, legs, and core a sneaky workout while you’re enjoying the views with your date. Paddleboarding forces you to focus on your balance, too!

Kayak. If you’d prefer to stay seated, kayaking is another great summertime workout and date idea. You’ll be working your arm muscles while enjoying the serene scenes and the sun.

Rock climbing. Skip Tuesday takeout and head to the rock climbing gym instead. Rock climbing is especially fun with a partner since your loved one can be the belayer while you climb up the wall. Just remember to take turns!

Downhill skiing. If you live near the mountains, make a day out of hitting the slopes after a good snowstorm. Downhill skiing is a great workout for your quads and hamstrings.

Biking. Hopping on a bike with a beau is super fun and great for your body. Go on a cruise around town, or use it as your mode of transportation as you head to a restaurant or bar.

Running. Increase your endorphins together by going on a run! Running with a partner also helps motivate you to get out the door if you find it’s hard to lace up your shoes and get going.

Hiking. For a long day on your feet, pick a route and hit the trail with your loved one. You can choose from a leisurely two-mile hike, or do something longer with more elevation gain. Either option is more active than going to the movies.

Cross country ski. Cross-country skiing is a great aerobic exercise and a perfect excuse to get outside during the winter months. You can rent skis at a nearby store if you’re a beginner and aren’t ready to invest in a setup quite yet.

Spin class. To get hot and sweaty with your date, go to a spin class together. Spinning is super fun, intense, and a great way to get moving with your loved one.

Salsa dance club. If you want to learn something new, get your body moving, and share intimate time with your partner, check out a salsa dance class! They’re often offered at bars, so you can reward yourself with a drink afterward.

Run a 5K! Lastly, to add a little competition and a lot of fun to your day, run a race together! A 5K is a perfect distance for a date — not too short, not too long.


Get moving and grooving on your next date night! No matter what the weather is like, there is something you can do with your loved one that is fun, active, and will get your body moving in more ways than one.




12 Smart Food Swaps For A Healthy Heart

February is American Heart Month, and one of the best ways to maintain good heart health is to watch what you eat. Instead of depriving ourselves of delicious foods, we came up with some healthy swaps so you can still eat foods that will delight your taste buds, while also knowing you’re doing your body a favor.


1.Top your oatmeal with fresh fruit instead of sugar.

While a hearty bowl of oatmeal is a great start, we can add so much sugar to oats that it cancels out the health benefits. Instead of adding brown sugar or maple syrup, mix in fresh fruit to sweeten the oats up naturally while getting in some extra vitamins and minerals. For example, blueberries are an amazing topping since they are packed with vitamin C and manganese, along with antioxidants and anti-inflammatories that can keep your heart happy and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Pro-tip: For any fruits you love that are hard to find fresh, peek in the freezer aisle and grab the frozen version.

2. Choose eggs over cereal.

Another way to kick off your morning on the right foot is to choose an eggwhite sandwich (or keep the yolk!) over a bowl of cereal. Contrary to popular belief, an egg or two a day won’t lead to a dangerous spike in cholesterol. Instead, they are packed with protein, rich in vitamin D, B6, B12, and full of minerals like zinc, iron, and copper. This makes for a way better breakfast than cereal, which contains a lot of processed sugar and simple carbs.

3. Chow down on a homemade veggie burger versus a beef burger.

While meat in moderation is fine, our beef with beef is it’s high in unhealthy saturated fats, which has been connected to increasing “bad” LDL cholesterol. On the flip side, baking a homemade veggie burger means you’re in control of what you consume. Black bean and legume burgers are filled with protein and fiber without the extra fat. Chickpeas, sweet potatoes, and carrots are also great veggies to add to your burger. And not to worry; if you’re short on time, you can buy a premade veggie burger. Just make sure to read the label and watch out for added preservatives and sugar!

4. Add avocado versus mayo to sandwiches.

If you’re in need of a healthy condiment to spread on your sandwich, mashed avocado is a tasty substitute for mayonnaise. Avocado is rich in healthy monounsaturated fats that help lower inflammation and could also protect your heart. You’ll also get nutrients and fiber from avocados that you won’t get from mayo, which is filled with fats and oils.

5. Drink water with a splash of juice instead of fruit juice

If you want to stay hydrated but bored by your basic glass of water, add a splash of fruit juice to your glass versus drinking an entire cup of juice. You’d be surprised at how much flavor just a slash adds, giving you a tasty drink without all those extra calories from sugar.

6. Snack on walnuts (or any nut!) instead of chips.

If you’re craving a salty snack to hold you over until dinner, grab a handful of walnuts over chips. While chips contain sneaky amounts of saturated fats, walnuts are chock full of vitamin E and help boost your intake of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids — which are great for the heart, brain, and skin. Whenever possible, choose raw and unsalted nuts over the roasted and salted versions.

7. Eat grilled salmon instead of steak.

Like hamburgers, steak can also be filled with saturated fats which can elevate our levels of LDL cholesterol. For a heart-healthy superstar at the dinner table, a fatty fish like salmon contains a hefty amount of omega-3 fatty acids (the same polyunsaturated fats that are found in walnuts) which have been shown to benefit the heart and brain. Salmon is also an excellent source of selenium, an antioxidant.

8. Say so-long to white side dishes and enjoy green ones.

If you need some side dishes for a meal, skip the white starch — things like rice, potatoes, noodles, and bread. These foods could contribute to high blood sugar and could put you at risk for heart disease. Instead, fill your plates with greens like kale, broccoli, spinach, or brussel sprouts. You can steam them or saute them, roast ‘em or keep them raw.  However you enjoy them, adding green vegetables to your plate can lower high cholesterol and reduce internal inflammation, two risk factors for heart disease.

9. Use spinach instead of iceberg lettuce in salads

Speaking of greens, add dark green leafy greens like spinach and kale to your salad over iceberg lettuce. While the latter is devoid of heart-healthy vitamins and minerals, spinach is rich in iron, vitamin K, vitamin A, and vitamin C, and also contains manganese, magnesium, iron, and vitamin B2. There is a reason Popeye is obsessed with spinach. You should be, too!

10. Use more spices and less salt when cooking dishes.

While there’s nothing wrong with a bit of salt, people often use that as their default spice when needing to add extra flavor to a dish. If you have an existing heart condition, it’s especially important to watch your sodium intake. So instead of salt, add spices like garlic powder, ginger, pepper, lemon juice, or cumin to your food.

11. Enjoy a glass of red wine instead of a soda.

You can thank us later for this one. If you want to sip on something with a meal, skip the sugary soda and enjoy a glass of red wine. Some studies show that moderate amounts of alcohol (that means one drink for women and two for men) can contribute to happy heart health, and may even improve good HDL cholesterol levels. Red wine also contains polyphenols, which can increase the good cholesterol in our bodies and decrease inflammation. Cheers!

12. Swap baked goods out for dark chocolate.

To satisfy the sweet tooth in all of us, grab a nice chunk of dark chocolate versus a batch of baked goods. Cookies and cakes are chock-full of sugar, hydrogenated oils, simple carbs, and sugar, whereas chocolate has a smaller ingredient list. Chocolate’s main ingredient, cocoa, contains flavanols that help lower blood pressure and improve blood vessel function. Even better, some small studies show that dark chocolate can improve health heart and lower the risk of heart disease! Just don’t go too overboard; enjoy a square or two from a bar, verses chowing down on the entire thing.


With these small swaps, you should see major improvements in your health. Focus on one healthy swap a day, and consider increasing the number of healthy choices you make as you go on. Before you know it, you’ll be eating better than ever before, while never sacrificing flavor.



Starting the New Year With the ‘Right’ Mindset

With the holiday finally over and the new year upon us, I’d be shocked if you haven’t thought about New Year’s Resolutions yet. While resolutions are a fantastic way to jumpstart your diet and exercise routine…that doesn’t mean they’ll actually have an impact on your health.

In fact, I’d argue if you can’t stick to your resolutions long-term, you may find yourself in a bad cycle of fad dieting and binge eating! According to U.S. News, approximately 80% of resolutions fail by the second week of February. Let that sink in. That means 8 out of 10 of you reading this will not stick to your healthy resolution plans!

If you want your resolutions to survive this year and actually help you reach your goals, you’re in luck because I have a smart approach to help you make your dreams a reality. My secret? Your mindset!

Resolutions tend to fail because we think of a really big goal we want to accomplish, create an intense game plan to get there that involves unrealistic changes to our current schedule, and then find it’s hard to sustain this after our initial motivation subsides. Not to mention so many popular diets and online workouts have great intentions, however, neglect to understand what YOU need and fit that into your current lifestyle.

I’m here to tell you that a well-balanced exercise and nutrition program does not have to be hard to stick to, especially if you take into account your individual lifestyle. In fact, whenever I see new clients as a registered dietitian, I never drastically change a client’s diet or lifestyle after the first time meeting with them. Why? Because that’s so unrealistic and that would be setting most people up to fail!

Instead, approach your resolutions with small and healthy changes over a long period of time yield lasting results. 

So before you set your resolution this year, focus on these 3 tips to create a positive mindset around your goals and resolutions that will actually survive the new year:

  • Set small goals. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely encourage you to dream big – long-term goals are important and help to keep you motivated! That being said, you must create small goals to accomplish weekly when making a lifestyle change to help you stay focused on the bigger picture, consistent, and to assess if you’re making progress.
  • Focus on your inner voice. How we talk to ourselves vastly impacts our ability to succeed. If you think you’re a failure for falling off the wagon one week, you’re more likely to fail next week too! Instead, change your inner voice towards success by catching those moments you talk negatively to yourself, and re-framing it in a motivational way. For example, say you set a goal around meal prepping your lunches every day before work. Instead of getting upset with yourself for not accomplishing it last week, change your mindset going into next week by saying “next week is a new week, and I can create a better plan to make sure I reach this goal!”
  • Consider your mindset instead of your weight. Around the New Year, we love to focus on weight loss as a goal. Honestly speaking, the end goal of weight loss isn’t always the healthiest. Not to mention, body composition (ie your fat mass versus muscle mass) is a far better indicator of success!

I always joke that anyone can lose weight by eating less than what they burn. That being said… that doesn’t always mean it’s a healthy goal. Instead, I like to think of weight loss as a side effect to a healthier mindset change. When we stop focusing on the scale and focus on healthy behaviors like drinking enough water throughout the day and eating nutritionally balanced meals plus whole foods, that’s when your health and weight will naturally change!

All things considered, the New Year is a great way motivation to finally create a plan for those goals you’ve been dreaming of. Although 80% of resolutions fail by the second week of February, 20% do succeed. With a good plan, a positive mindset, and following the above tips – any goal is possible for you this year.

Article courtesy of: Lauren Smith MS, RD, LDN – Dietitians of Palm Valley

21 Quick & Easy Breakfast Ideas For Busy Mornings

No matter if your day starts slow like a Sunday morning or is go-go-go, breakfast is still the most important meal of the day. The key to making sure you don’t skip it as you’re running out the door? One of these 21 Quick & Easy Breakfast Ideas.

If you are like us, then breakfast has always been a meal we have struggled with. We would rather squeeze in an extra 20 minutes of sleep than get up and make breakfast. And, to be honest, we have never really had much of an appetite in the morning. Unless you count our appetite for coffee and in that case we are definitely breakfast fans!

Over time we came to realize the importance of breakfast.  Not only does it help set the tone for our day, but it gives us the energy we need to work at our most optimal level and helps with weight management. Did you know that breakfast eaters have a tendency to weigh less? Yup! Those early morning eats prevent cravings later in the day. Who would have guessed!

That’s why we created easy breakfast foods like burritos, scramble bowls, and oatmeal. All of these are quick and easy breakfast options that can be ready in less than 5 minutes. But, for the days when you want something just a little bit ‘extra’ we have you covered there too!

Almost all 21 of these easy breakfast ideas can be made in less than 5 minutes. Some can be prepped the Sunday or night before, so the only time you’ll spend in the morning is opening the refrigerator door and grabbing your meal.

From meal prepped oatmeal to breakfast sandwiches and bagels, breakfast tacos, nachos and more. We have compiled a roundup of the most delicious easy breakfast ideas that you will want to keep on hand! Whether you decide to start the day sweet or savory, the one thing we can guarantee is that you will be out the door and off to a good start with one of these easy breakfast options in hand.

When you’re looking for a sweet start:

Strawberry Oatmeal Parfait

Easy Breakfast Strawberry Oatmeal Parfait

With a few simple ingredients, this Healthy Strawberry Oatmeal Parfait comes together in minutes making a fast and delicious way to start your day.

Meal Prep Oatmeal – 8 Ways

Easy Breakfast Ideas - Meal Prep Oatmeal

Oatmeal in a jar is the meal prep recipe that will change your morning routine. All it takes is 5 minutes of prep work the night before to ensure that you have an easy and energizing breakfast as you run out the door. A perfect grab-n-go idea!

Quick & Easy Oatmeal with Fruit

Easy Breakfast Ideas - Oatmeal and fruit

All you need is 3 minutes to cook this nutty bowl of oatmeal. Top it with fresh fruit and a drizzle of maple syrup for a satisfying breakfast in less than 5 minutes.

Pancake Puffs With Fruit & Syrup

Easy Breakfast Ideas Pancake Puffs With Fruit

You would never believe that you could be enjoying pancakes for breakfast in less than 5 minutes. Tack on an extra minute or two to plate nicely and add some fruit and syrup….you have what feels like a Sunday brunch in no time!

Pancake Puff Yogurt Bowls

Easy Breakfast Ideas - Pancake Puff Yogurt Bowls

Sometimes a simple yogurt bowl is all you need. While your pancake puffs cook, add yogurt, granola, nuts/seeds and fruit to a bowl. You will have a fast breakfast with a balance of carbs, protein and healthy fats in less than 5 minutes.

Sweet & Savory Pancake Puffs

Easy Breakfast Ideas - Pancake Puffs and Egg White Patties

It’s a double date with our pancake puffs and egg white patties. This sweet and savory duo requires less than 5 minutes in the microwave. We added some fresh fruit and avocado for healthy fats and good measure.

PB&J Waffles Sandwiches

Easy Breakfast Ideas - PBJ Waffle Sandwiches

PBJ is a staple for both breakfast and lunch. Toast 2 of our frozen waffles and layer with your favorite nut butter and jam. You will be transported back to your childhood in less than 5 minutes.

Apple Walnut Waffles

Easy Breakfast Ideas - Apple Walnut Topped Waffles

Feeling something a little more fancy with your waffles? Take 1 minute to top them with your favorite yogurt, sliced apples, walnuts, and a drizzle of maple syrup. If you slice your apple while the waffles toast, then you can be diving into this plate in less than 5 minutes.

Simple Topped Buttermilk Waffles

Easy Breakfast Ideas - Buttermilk Waffles With Toppings

When everyone in the house wants something different, just pull out all of the stops! All 3 of these topping combinations are ready in less than 5 minutes!

Option 1: Vanilla yogurt + raspberries + pomegranate seeds

Option 2: Nutella + sliced pears + pomegranate seeds

Option 3: Peanut butter + bananas + shredded coconut


When you’re looking for a savory start:

Turkey Sausage Breakfast Potato Boats

Easy Breakfast Foods - Turkey Sausage Potato Boats

This easy to prepare Breakfast Turkey Sausage Potato Boat recipe is made with only 3 ingredients. Made in just minutes, baked potatoes are filled with our hearty Turkey Sausage Egg White Bowl and finished off with feta cheese for a balanced start to your day. Great for meal prep too!

Bacon & Egg Breakfast Bowl Lettuce Wraps

Bacon Egg Breakfast Bowl Lettuce Wraps

Have you jumped on the lettuce wrap train yet? If not, this is an easy way to do it! Just cook up one of our Frozen Bacon Breakfast Bowls and wrap it inside crunchy layers of your favorite lettuce! It’s a perfect eat-on-the-go idea!

Turkey Sausage Breakfast Bowl Tacos

Turkey Sausage Breakfast Tacos

Turkey Sausage Scramble Bowl Breakfast Tacos are a quick and nutrient dense way to kick-start your morning! With only 3 ingredients, this gluten-free breakfast can be in your hands in less than 5 minutes!

Bacon Egg Scramble Bowl Breakfast Nachos

Bacon Egg Scramble Bowl Breakfast Nachos

That’s right. We said Bacon & Egg Scramble Bowl Breakfast Nachos!  Tortilla chips layered with bacon, eggs, avocado, cojita cheese, fresh salsa, jalapeno, and cilantro make these breakfast nachos an epic way to start your day — in less than 5 minutes, of course!

Turkey Sausage Scramble Bowl and Pesto Toast

Turkey Sausage Scramble Bowl Toast

Are you a fan of toast Tuesday? We thought so! In that case, this combo is sure to satisfy! While toasting your favorite bread, cook your frozen breakfast meal in the microwave. When the toast is done layer it with pesto and your cooked breakfast bowl. The flavors are out of this world!

High Protein Egg White Breakfast Sandwiches

High Protein Egg White Patty Breakfast Sandwich

Never miss breakfast again with these easy to make, high protein egg white patty breakfast sandwiches. Great for mornings when you need something fast!

Make Ahead Egg White Patty Freezer Sandwiches

Make Ahead Egg White Patty Freezer Sandwiches

Easy Make-Ahead Egg White Patty Freezer Breakfast Sandwiches that are healthier than any fast food version! Whole grain English muffins are filled with high protein, low calorie egg white patties, lean ham, cheddar cheese for a quick and satisfying breakfast on-the-go!

Low Carb Egg White Patty Breakfast Tacos

Low Carb Egg White Patty Breakfast Tacos

Low Carb Egg White Patty Breakfast Tacos are a delicious, gluten-free, high-protein start to your day! Simple to make egg white patties are filled with guacamole, bacon, salsa, cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.

Bacon, Egg White Patty & Avocado Breakfast Sandwich

Bacon, Egg White Patty and Avocado Breakfast Sandwich

The secret to this epic sandwich? Having prepared bacon on hand and a few egg white patties that can be made in less than 2 minutes. Layer it all between 2 slices of toast with avocado (and cheese, if desired) for a killer start to your day!

Egg White Patty & Guacamole Bagels

Egg White Patty & Guacamole Bagels

Egg White Patty & Guacamole Breakfast Bagels are the way mornings were meant to start! Fresh bagels layered with an easy homemade guacamole, 60-second egg white patties and finished off with fresh cilantro. It doesn’t get any easier!

Southwestern Veggie Breakfast Burrito & Fruit

Southwestern Veggie Breakfast Burrito & Fruit

Who doesn’t love a breakfast burrito?! Warm one up in the microwave in less than 3 minutes and enjoy right away with fruit, or go one extra step and crisp the outside in a skillet to give it that golden color. Either way, this balanced plate can be ready to go in less than 10 minutes.

And when all else fails, just grab a burrito as you’re running out the door!Turkey Sausage Breakfast Burrito

Some days you just need to grab it and go! Toss one in your freezer bag and heat it at work for a 3 minute, easy, fast and balanced breakfast!









Reliable Fuel for When You’re in a Hurry

While you don’t need to wait for the New Year to establish resolutions for yourself, January normally ushers in a wave of motivation and a “go get ‘em” attitude for many. Whether you’re planning to tackle a big project at work for a promotion, build a healthier habit of physical activity a few times per week, or resolving to be more active in your community, many of these activities cause life to become a bit busier. Yet, that shouldn’t mean that nutrition and healthy fueling go by the wayside!

So, to help you ensure that good nutrition is still a part of your efforts to create and conquer a new goal, we’re sharing some tips for reliable fuel to eat when life gets a little hurried.


It’s oftentimes cited as the meal most difficult to squeeze into a busy morning, but the benefits of breakfast are many! With a little pre-planning you can be out the door quickly, but with a properly nourished body.

  •  Overnight Oats: an excellent gab-and-go option that can be made the night before for a day of mobile fuel. Oats provide soluble fiber to fill you up and sustain your energy levels throughout those important early morning meetings. Get creative with the toppings- add some nuts for protein, fresh fruit for essential vitamins and minerals, and something fun, like shredded coconut!
  • Breakfast Burritos: a one-handed way to spice up your morning. Eggs are amazingly versatile and can be cooked in a microwave to save major time. While the eggs are being cooked, simply layer a tortilla with some pre-chopped pico de gallo and a slice of cheese, then spoon on the eggs, wrap, and go! Or if even more strapped for time, microwave a Sriracha Scramble while you’re packing your bags for the office.
  • Frozen to Hot Oatmeal: if bringing your breakfast from home isn’t an option, is there a way you can fit it in at work? If your office has a freezer, the Organic Unsweetened Steel Cut Oatmeal can be reheated at work in a mere 3 minutes. With a jar of nut butter at your desk to add a spoonful of plant-protein, this breakfast practically makes itself.


Lunch is one of those meals that is either the biggest meal of a person’s day or it can get skipped all together; however, one that’s too large can leave you feeling sluggish, whereas not eating anything could turn you into a ravenous fridge-raider later that night. Try finding a balance with these easy lunch options that can fit in between the day’s tasks.

Snack Plate: toss some odds and ends into a lunch box and call it a midday meal. A few snack items from each food group can make up a nutritious lunch in no time at all. Try whole grain crackers, some slices of cheese, a piece of fruit, and an easy vegetable like baby carrots or pre-sliced bell pepper strips.

Dinner Again: stash some food from last night’s dinner in a container for your next day’s lunch. The mindset of “cook once, eat twice” is ideal for when on a time crunch. These leftovers could be anything from a soup that needs to be quickly reheated at work, to a salad of left over roasted veggies, quinoa, and chickpeas that can be eaten cold in between juggling kids and activities.

Heated Up Healthy: when you don’t have time to pack lunch, but would prefer to not turn to fast food, grab a healthy frozen option that only takes minutes in a microwave. A Chicken Black Bean Bowl could be your answer to good nutrition in a hurry!


The end of the day undoubtedly brings more chaos- wrapping up work, picking up kids, and walking the dog- so dinner needs to be fast and painless. To make that happen, let others do the work for you!

Sheet Pan Meals: grab a large sheet pan and let your oven do the rest of the work. Toss your favorite vegetables in olive oil, lay them alongside some seasoned chicken breasts, and bake for 20-30 minutes. While it’s cooking, go help your kids with homework, and come back to a fully cooked, fuss-free dinner.

Slow Cooker: dinner could be ready and waiting for you with the help of a crock-pot. Dump in the ingredients for your favorite soup or chili in the morning, let it simmer all day, and walk into dinner already taken care of.

Halfway to Dinner: pick up something like a rotisserie chicken or pre-cooked salmon filets from the deli counter to get half of the dinner figured out. Using a pre-cooked protein saves time and let’s you focus on other, equally easy, dinner tasks such as putting together a green salad and cooking up brown rice.


Let’s say all of your planning for quick and easy meals didn’t go, well, to plan. Snacks on the go can be an answer to reliable fuel if chosen wisely.

Energy Bites: making up a batch of portable energy bites over the weekend could save you on a particularly busy day. Typically made with dates, nuts, and extras like hemp seeds, coconut flakes, or chocolate chips, these bites can be calorie dense and packed with healthy fats and protein to satisfy a midday hunger pang.

Roasted Chickpeas: a portable option that’s plant based. Protein snacks are great to sustain hunger and energy levels, but so many are perishable (think cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese). Roasted chickpea snacks are now sold pre-packaged, are a great crunchy snack option, and come in a variety of exciting flavors.

Fruit and a Friend: toss an apple or banana into your bag or desk drawer, but don’t forget its protein friend! Some dry roasted almonds, pistachios, or a squeezable peanut butter packet are great additions to a crunchy fruit snack

Article Courtesy of: Casey Seiden MS, RD,CDE 

Pre and Post Workout Nutrition For Optimal Health

As the New Year rolls in there is one thing that is sure to happen: the gym gets SO much busier! As a year-round gym-goer myself, rather than seeing the extra foot traffic and machine usage as a nuisance I see it in a positive light. I love that so many people are thinking about their physical health and making time for a sweat session! 

Whether you’re adding a new fitness routine in as part of your New Year’s resolution or if you’re continuing your usual routine it’s important to make sure your nutrition is being considered, too.  Making sure you are adequately fueling your body will help you to achieve your fitness goals in a healthy and safe way. Here are three key nutrition tips to fuel your active lifestyle!

  1. Pre-Workout Fuel: Before working out it is important to give your body the energy to actually do the workout. This is best done by focusing on giving your body carbohydrates, while also adding in little protein. The carbohydrates are most important for giving you energy and the protein will allow your muscles to begin repairing. You might try toast and peanut butter, cereal and milk, oatmeal, or a yogurt cup.
  2. PostWorkout Fuel: Just as it’s important to give your body proper nutrition before you workout, it’s just as important to give it the energy it needs to recover. Your muscles need protein to help them repair, and when they’re given adequate nutrition after exercise they will repair even stronger than they were! Our muscles also deplete their energy stores during exercise, which will need to be replaced. After a workout make sure to focus on consuming protein to really help those muscles repair while adding in some carbohydrates to restore your energy. Some great options are chocolate milk, greek yogurt and granola, a burrito, or a turkey sandwich.
  3. Hydration: Giving yourself enough water is something that is often forgotten. However, it’s so important when you’re physically active! Water is needed for our bodies to produce sweat, which helps to keep us cool and prevent overheating during workouts. Not consuming enough water can also lead to muscle fatigue and cramping, not ideal during a workout! It’s a good idea to keep a water bottle on you to sip on before, during and after exercise.

Now, you may also be wondering what the best strategy is for nutrition in order to reach your fitness goals. There are so many out there like calorie counting, macro counting, sticking to a paleo diet, etc. So, what should you do? My advice, and personal experience is none of the above. I highly recommend adapting an intuitive eating approach to nutrition.

When you stick to strict food rules, such as “X” number of calories a day, only allowing yourself so much of each macro, or avoiding food groups you can set you up for developing a disordered eating pattern, and possibly lead to an eating disorder. As someone who has personally recovered from a  6 -year struggle with an eating disorder, it has become my passion to help others avoid this.

What is intuitive eating? To put it simply, intuitive eating is normal eating. It’s about learning to understand which foods make your body feel it’s best, in turn allowing it to function optimally and help you achieve your fitness goals. Intuitive eating is not a diet, it is a sustainable way of eating. This last part is key. Intuitive eating is NOT a diet.  Research has consistently shown that 95% of diets don’t work and that the end result is usually MORE weight gain! Additionally, diets cause stress, anxiety, and frustration. And I don’t know about you, but that is not something I need more of in my life! I’m guessing you don’t either.

So, with intuitive eating, you may be thinking you’ll simply eat cookies and cake all the time. Well, this isn’t exactly true. At first, you may consume higher amounts of these foods, which is necessary for your body to realize that these foods are not restricted, they are not bad, and they can have them whenever they want. Once your body realizes this there is less of a desire for these foods because they’re no longer seen as “off limits”, which only makes us want them even more. Additionally, you’ll begin to realize which foods fuel your body optimally, such as a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, protein, grains and, for many, dairy. By learning to eat intuitively you’ll also find your “set point weight”. This is the weight that your body wants to be and can maintain effortlessly, without thought.

After learning to become an intuitive eater I can personally say that I am in the best shape of my life. By learning to listen to my body I have been able to gain more muscle and strength that I ever was able to when I followed food rules and restrictions. No two bodies are the same and no one can possible know what your body needs besides YOU. That is why it is so important to become in-tune with your body and learn to listen to what it is telling you it needs. Our bodies are pretty smart about what they need, but we have to listen to them in order to get that information.

Another benefit from becoming an intuitive eater is the mental space you’ll gain. Counting calories or macros or constantly thinking about what foods you can and cannot eat takes SO much energy! When you become and intuitive eater you will spend less time thinking about food and spend more time and energy living! For instance, when you’re in your fitness class or lifting weights you can focus on the workout you are doing rather than being consumed with food thoughts. This will actually allow you to have a better workout since you’ll be able to focus on the here-and-now!

So, as we start the New Year, and likely new fitness routines, let’s focus on fueling our body optimally without food rules and restrictions! You’ll find yourself much more healthy and happy!

Article courtesy of: Colleen Christensen, R.D.

Cozy Self-Care Rituals to Try During the Holidays

It’s the most wonderful time of the year — yet it also might be one of the most stressful. The holidays are usually jam-packed with stuff — ranging from lots of food and family time to holiday parties, evening events, gift giving, and trips to visit loved ones.

When you jam a lot of good into a month or so, it begins to take a toll on your mental and physical health. Whether you love or loathe the holidays, you’re going to undoubtedly feel tired, stressed, and most likely in need for some solo chill time.

It’s important to take care of yourself so you can stay energized and joyful as we head towards the new year! Rather than simply describing a few typical self-care tips, here are some especially comfy ones you can do to feel extra cozy and cared-for this holiday season.

7 Cozy Self-Care Rituals for the Holidays

Meditate lying down. Meditating is a hard but super rewarding habit to form. Yet no matter how seasoned of a meditator you are, it’s sometimes uncomfortable! (I’ve been there: trying to keep my back upright, my shoulders relaxed, and instead I’m thinking about my aching spine and hips.) I recently discovered that meditating while lying down allows me to focus way more on my breathing than my body. It’s also way more comfortable! So give it a whirl; lie down on a soft floor (carpet works great) and focus on counting your inhales and exhales. For some guided support, use an app like Headspace or Calm. Keep it cozy by wearing warm socks, and if you have it, turn on a diffuser that’s filled with peppermint and lavender oil to really set the mood.

Enjoy a cup of tea before bed. Tea is scientifically proven to be calming and relaxing while packing a punch when it comes to nutritional benefits. In the cold months, get into the habit of sipping on some herbal teas, which can be great for fighting colds, boosting your immune system, and improving digestion. And if you’re anything like me, you’re probably eating a bit more than you normally do during the holidays — so anything to help your stomach digest food is an A+ in my book!

Take a warm bath with essential oils. Nobody can bother you when you’re in the bathroom. Put your tub to good use and start taking more bubble baths! The warm water will soothe your body and mind, and the quiet time will allow you to disconnect from others. Leave your phone behind and take a book with you to the bath instead. For some extra calming effects, add a drop or two of eucalyptus oil. You’ll feel like you’re at a spa.

Up the ante on your sleep. Sleep is always super important, but it might be even more critical during the holidays. Stay cognizant of how many Zzz’s you’re getting a night, and try not to lose sleep no matter how packed your schedule might be. Squeezing in some afternoon naps may help, too, so if you have the flexibility to doze off for a bit during the day, take advantage of that as a way to recharge.

Try yin yoga. Yoga is always a great tool for relaxing your mind. Yin is especially a helpful way to give yourself some self-love. Yin Yoga involves variations of seated and supine poses that are typically held for 3 to 5 minutes, with the goal of accessing deeper layers of the fascia tissues. It’s both intense and extremely rejuvenating; you’ll leave the class feeling like you have a new set of muscles!

Do things by candlelight. For some reason, the flickering of a candle adds a mood to the room that’s both calming and soothing. Decorate your home with candles throughout the house, and use them when you’re reading at night, while you’re taking said bubble bath, or when you’re having a romantic dinner with friends or loved ones. Dim the lights and break out the wicks — the atmosphere it creates will most certainly make your spirits soar.

Eat well with room for indulgence. Food is often the main attraction during the holidays. And while nobody can argue that holiday cookies aren’t delicious, the number of sweets and salts we eat can become stressful. Rather than worrying about an uptick in your cookie consumption, give yourself a healthy bout of room for indulging, while focusing on eating healthy whenever possible. You can eat that extra slice of pie, and then perhaps make yourself a healthful veggie omelet the next morning. Maybe skip the second glass of wine and instead make a cup of hot tea to enjoy before bed.

At the end of the day, the holidays are all about balance: balancing social stuff with solo-time, eating both salads and sweets, and checking in with yourself to see if you’re taking on too much. Hopefully, these self-care suggestions can help you feel a little bit more ease and allow you to enjoy all the fun and love that encompasses this time of the year.

3 Snow Day Workouts Anyone Can Enjoy

Let’s set the scene. You wake up snuggled under your warm bed. You had grand plans the night before to get a good workout in today, but once you wake up, you look out the window and see it: snow. Piled high. There’s been a snow storm.

While it’s perfectly reasonable to use snow days as a chance to stay inside all day, that doesn’t mean you still can’t get your heart rate up. Without equipment, coaches, or studios, consider dedicating just 20-30 minutes of your snow day to your body and mind.

Continue reading for a few different snow day workouts to get the heart pumping before you jump back into sweats and enjoy the rest of the day on the couch with some Netflix. We’re not judging — we’ll be right beside you!

3 Snow Day Workouts Anyone Can Enjoy

HIIT(high-intensity interval training) is a great way to do a lot with a little. It involves alternate spurts of vigorous activity with short recovery periods to burn lots of calories in less time. Whether you’re a fitness pro or just startingout, HIIT can be adapted to anyone. The key to doing HIIT well is doing the moves with proper form, so don’t rush too quickly through them, but also don’t move too slowly. Listen to your body to find the right pace and rhythm.

20-minute No Equipment HIIT Routine

Here’s a 20-minute HIIT routine you can do practically anywhere. Go through this sequence four times, and do each exercise/move for 45 seconds. Rest between moves for 15 seconds.

Push-ups: To do a traditional push-up, start with your hands shoulder-width apart in plank pose. Bend your elbows and lower toward the ground, keeping your elbows at a 45-degree angle to your body. To modify (no shame!) try doing them with your knees on the ground.

Squats: Stand up straight with your feet hip-width apart. Make sure to keep your feet directly under your hips, and place your hands on your hips. Tighten your core as you start to sit, lowing your booty to the floor.

Mountain climbers: Get into a plank position, and then bring your right knee to your right shoulder. Switch sides. Start moving faster so it’s as if you’re running in place, though in plank formation!

Tricep dips: You’ll need a low table or chair for this one. Place your hands on either said chair or table with your back facing it. Put your legs straight out and hold onto your surface with your palms. Lower as far as you can, bending from the elbows. Come back up. You should feel this in, surprise, your triceps.

Jumping lunge. Start standing tall with your feet staggered, your right foot a bit in front of your left. Keep your knees bent in a slight lunge. Push off the bottom of both feet into a jump, and switch the position of your feet mid-air, landing in a basic lunge with your right leg in front. Without stopping, repeat this movement, alternating which leg is in front.

The Science-Backed 7-Minute Workout

If you’re crunched for time (to start baking cookies…) then you can, at the very least, do this 7-minute workout. The sequence first became known in 2013, when The New York Times published the workout, along with some scientific validation behind it. This workout includes 12 exercises and calls for a chair, a wall, and your own body weight. Each exercise should be done for 30 seconds with only a few seconds of rest between each.

  1. Jumping jacks
  2. Wall sits
  3. Push up
  4. Abdominal crunch
  5. Step-up to chair
  6. Squats
  7. Tricep dips
  8. Planks
  9. High knees running in place
  10. Lunge
  11. Push up with rotation
  12. Side plank

If you’re feeling fiery, repeat this sequence as many times as you fancy!

Stay-Inside Yoga Flow

If you’re not feeling anything too intense, not a problem at all. You can still move a bit with a nice yoga sequence in order to relax your muscles, stretch your ligaments, and clear your head. There are a ton of resources online to find the exact type of flow for you, from something more restorative to one that is a bit more intense. Youtube is a hub for many yoga recordings you can listen to (and watch!) or you can also download an app, like FitStar Yoga or Daily Yoga. The sky’s the limit when it comes to free resources, so get downloading and down-dogging!

After your snow day workout is complete, give yourself a nice pat on the back. You deserve to cozy up and enjoy the rest of your afternoon inside, staying nice and warm. However, if you’re really looking for more, you can always shovel the driveway —that counts as a workout, too!

How To Start Meal Prepping

Often times, the biggest thing getting in the way of a healthy and hearty meal is, well, cooking it. Yet if one of your commitments to yourself in 2019 is to eat well, this has to include getting your healthy game on in the kitchen.

One of the most powerful and helpful ways to eat well without the hassle is to meal prep. By dedicating some time in the kitchen to prepare, plan, and prep healthy creations, you’ll thank yourself for weeks, or even months to come. Here’s your foolproof guide to meal prep like a pro and fill your plates with healthful and nutrient-rich food every day and night.

Your 8-Step Guide to Meal Prep Paradise

Create a schedule. The most important part of meal prepping is creating a schedule that works for you — and sticking to it. Many people tend to meal prep for a chunk of the afternoon on Sunday in order to have meals for the week. Others love doing it on Wednesdays. It doesn’t really matter when the meal prepping happens, just as long as it gets done. And sticking to the same day and time every week helps make it a habit and a fun tradition.

Start with good containers. When you meal prep, you’ll have a lot to store away. It sounds silly, but having handy containers, from various-sized Tupperware to mason jars and Ziplock bags, will become your number one friend once everything is ready to get stored away. Make sure you have an array of sizes for your food, from tiny Tupperware for dressings and toasted nuts to large containers for cooked rice or quinoa.

Get your kitchen in order. A clean and organized kitchen is a very, very happy kitchen. Start with a clean space, and clear off all your counter space. Invest in a few cutting boards, good knives, and the appliances you like, like a blender, food processor, rice cooker, and crockpot.


Prep your entertainment. You’ll likely be spending at least a few hours in the kitchen, so get yourself psyched with some good entertainment. This could be listening to a book on tape, tuning into a podcast, or having a special meal prep playlist on Spotify. If your entertainment comes from other people, recruit helpers in the kitchen: partners, friends, children, or neighbors! 

Stock up on staples. While every week’s creations might look different, they will probably all include some of the same ingredients. Considering buying certain staples in bulk, like olive oil, various vinegar, uncooked grains (oatmeal, rice, quinoa, couscous), salt and pepper, bags of frozen spinach, bread crumbs, canned beans and veggies, maple syrup — the list goes on! You’ll have a good idea of what you’ll use based on the foods you typically like to make. Over time, buying in bulk will save you lots of time and money.

Build a meal list for the week. Now that you are stocked with staples, it’s time to get the rest of the ingredients. The easiest way to get exactly what you need from the store is to decide which meals you’ll be making. For example, if you have a list that contains sweet potato soup, Mediterranean quinoa salad, turkey burgers, spinach and ricotta pizza, and a buddha bowl, it’ll be easy to break those meals down and notate every ingredient you’ll need to get if it’s not already in the pantry or fridge.

Master multi-tasking. You’ll most likely be making a lot of meals. Instead of focusing on one thing at a time, get into multi-tasking mode! While onions are softening in the pan, get your ingredients chopped for whatever is going in the crockpot. As one thing is cooking, another thing can be stirring. The beauty of multiple cutting boards and burners, along with enough counter space, means you can work on a bunch of things all at once and finish in half the time.

Freeze, freeze, freeze! After you’ve cooked everything up (congrats!) it’s time to decide what goes in the fridge and what goes in the freezer. While preparing meals for the week is great, others like to prepare vats of soups, burgers, and stuffed peppers that can go straight in the freezer and be ready for those evenings when you simply don’t want to cook. Freezing food is never a bad idea, just remember to defrost anything ahead of time that you plan on eating that day.

If you can accomplish these eight steps, then consider yourself a meal prep mastermind! Not only will you save time and money, but you’ll also be able to eat healthier with way fewer road blocks in your way — building amazing and healthy habits for the new year.

Superfoods for Preventing Colds

We hate to break it to you, but it’s officially fall, which means winter is right around the corner. And depending on where you live, the cold temps might already be in full swing. Cold weather often comes with cold and flu season, too, a sad side effect to the approaching holidays, snow-filled days, and opportunities to cozy up next to a fireplace.

Don’t let cold-season sideline you from the snuggly temps that are approaching! Luckily, certain foods can help stifle those sneezes, runny noses, and yucky flus we’re unfortunately vulnerable to catch as the seasons shift.

Here are nine foods that will help strengthen your immune system during the cooler weather months. They’re also quite delicious and versatile, so you shouldn’t have a problem fitting them onto your plates and into your diet.

Eat This, Not That


If you feel a cold coming on, soup is a great way to combat feeling crumby. In addition to it feeling comforting and warm, you can add so many different things to the pot that have immune-boosting qualities. Chicken noodle soup is a classic, and for good reason — chicken is filled with zinc and iron, and carrots are rich vitamin C. These are all nutrients your body needs to fight off toxins and germs. The broth also helps secrete mucus which protects the body against new germs coming in. An ultimate immune boosting soup includes ingredients that we’ll mention below, but we’ll tell you them now: kale, bok choy, shiitake mushrooms, turmeric, and garlic. Lastly, it goes without saying that soup simply helps soothe your body.


Mushrooms are often thought of as medicinal since they’re naturally grown and have a lot of amazing health benefits. In addition to keeping your immune system in check, they’re also amazing at boosting brain power, packing a punch of antioxidants into your body, and even helping with your hormones. There are a lot of different mushrooms out there. Skip the white button ones you often see in the grocery aisle and choose ones that are more “exotic” sounding that contain potent phytonutrients. These include mushrooms like shiitake, reishi, enoki, and maitake. You can add them to soup, stir fry’s, salads, or sautee them in olive oil and enjoy as a side dish!

Green tea

Green tea has a laundry list of health benefits, one of which is boosting our immunity. Tea is filled with polyphenols, which are plant antioxidants that help protect your body against colds and flus, and can even speed up the healing process if you’re already sick. One of the most powerful parts of green tea is a compound called EEGCG. Not only does it help speed up your metabolism, it also wards off infections. And here’s an amazing bonus: EGCGs have been shown to inhibit the growth of cancer cells. And just like soup, tea is warm and cozy to consume, and will make you feel good simply by sipping it.


Vitamin C for the win! Vitamin C is important for cold prevention because it stimulates the function of your white blood cells that attack foreign bacteria and viruses that enter our bodies. In other words, Vitamin C helps reduce our chances of getting sick. Other citrus fruits, like grapefruit, lemons, and limes, are packed with vitamins as well. The best part is it doesn’t take much to get the vitamins you need; just one orange contains 120 percent of our recommended dietary intake. Slice up an orange and eat it on the go, add it to an Asian salad, or throw it in a smoothie! Just don’t only rely on orange juice as your source of Vitamin C; fruit juices contain a lot of sugar that your body doesn’t really need.


The sweet thing about honey is it can help soothe your throat and keep coughing at a minimum. Plus, the phytonutrients in raw honey are known for having antibacterial and anti-viral properties that can give your immune system a healthy boost and ward off colds and flus. Honey also provides a natural shot of energy, and its antioxidants can fight bad cholesterol and free radicals in the body. Add a spoonful to your morning oatmeal, use it as a sweetener in coffee or tea, or add some to a morning slice of toast!


Garlic is filled with potent antioxidants that block germs and keep your body protected. This pungent-tasting bulb also has antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial properties that prevent sickness. The superstar is allicin, garlic’s key compound that has all those potent and germ-fighting properties. The best way to capture all of garlic’s health benefits is to eat it raw. While they might be too potent for most, you can try chopping it up and adding olive oil and salt for a raw garlic “dip.” Another option that’s a little easier to swallow is adding raw garlic to homemade guacamole or hummus. Of course, you can cook it too, adding sauteed garlic to nearly any savory dish for a burst of flavor while fighting off pesky germs.

Sweet potato

Similar to oranges and other citrus fruits, sweet potatoes have high amounts of vitamin C. That said, sweet potatoes also contain a large amount of  beta-carotene, which scientists say helps increase help increase “T cell activity,” which help fight infection. Lastly, Vitamin A is also found in sweet potatoes, which strengthen our mucus membranes found in the nose and throat. You can bake, roast, or pan fry potatoes. They’re also great in soups and on salads. And if you’re feeling really creative, use them as a base in a homemade veggie burger!


Ginger is spicy, warming, and full of flavor. It also breaks down mucus in our bodies which helps clear the respiratory tract and feel less congested. Ginger also contains those well-known phytochemicals that fight off viruses and keep colds far away. You can make your own ginger tea with raw ginger or add it to virtually any stir-fry or soup. And if you have a sweet tooth, treat yo’self and make an immune-boosting sweet potato pie baked with ginger. Extra points if you use honey as your sweetener!


Last but not least: yogurt. Yogurt is filled with probiotics which is “good bacteria” your body needs to ward away bad bacteria in your body. That bad bacteria can easily make you sick by weakening your immune system. Just beware of yogurts that are filled with added sugars. The easiest thing you can do is buy unsweetened yogurt and add a touch of sweetness with immune-boosting honey.

Nobody likes getting sick. While sometimes it might feel inevitable, there are natural things you can do for your body that’ll help protect you from feeling crummy. In addition to your diet, also make sure to stay super hydrated, avoid processed foods, and get a good amount of sleep every night!