Ideas for a Nutrient Rich Breakfast

Family and breakfast foods are some of my favorite things! Breakfast is usually the rushed meal during the weekdays, especially now that Brent started morning kindergarten. I enjoyed this article of easy, healthy breakfast ideas:

By Alek S.

It’s a cliche, at this point, to say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day; we’ve all heard it before! However, being a cliche doesn’t make it any less true. A fulfilling breakfast can make or break your day, as it gives you a jumpstart to feel refreshed and the energy to go about the rest of your day. For this reason, you want to make sure that your breakfast is full of the nutrients that you need to get a proper start to the day.

Having a good diet in the morning will help both your physical and mental health. Nutrient-rich breakfasts can even help you lose weight, since you’re more able to resist mid-morning snacking, and make better food choices throughout the day. Proper nutrition can also have a powerful effect on your mental state throughout the day. Here are some ideas of how you can make your breakfast more nutrient rich…

Eat more eggs

Research has shown that higher egg consumption is correlated with lower amounts of heart disease. You’ve probably heard about all sorts of things concerning whether you should just eat the yolk, or just eat the white, but I wouldn’t worry too much about the specifics. Just eating eggs in the morning gives you a boost that is high in protein, yet relatively few calories. For any superstart breakfast, including eggs helps you get a leg up on the day and makes you feel full, without feeling bloated.

Use smoothies

If you need something easy to take on the go, then a smoothie that is full of different yogurt, fruits, and veggies can help you pack a heavy concentration of nutrients that can brighten your day. You can pretty much customize a smoothie to offer as many vitamins and nutrients as you want, which makes them a great breakfast for people who are looking for a specific diet.

Include supplements into your recipes

You can add nutrients to any meal that you make by including supplements that give more nutritional value. There are supplements that include protein or vitamins that don’t do much to change the flavor of a meal. However, you can also use supplements as part of the recipe to actually enhance the flavor of your breakfast. One example of this that is popular, nowadays, is using matcha tea powder in breakfast pastries, such as pancake, waffles, or even matcha scones! Matcha can add plenty of antioxidants and vitamins.

Use wheat flour

When you are making pancakes, scones, waffles, crepes, or anything of that ilk, it’s important to make the most of the carbohydrates. For this reason, you can add some extra nutrients to your breakfast by using wheat flour, in place of regular flour. Wheat flour will have a very different reaction to being baked than your typical white flour, but it is definitely still suitable to make things like pancakes. Wheat flour will pack a lot more of a nutritional punch, and it’s going to make you feel less weighed down than breakfast bread-based foods that are made from white flour.

Add more oatmeal

Whenever in doubt, almost add a small bowl of oats to your breakfast to give you a little extra health kick. Oats are a whole grain full of various vitamins and minerals, as well as an excellent source of fiber. Oats are also one of most protein and fat-rich grains that give you carbohydrates, as well as a healthy dose of other macronutrients. Oats have also been proven to lower cholesterol levels, and help decrease the risks of cardiovascular disease.

Berries

Including various types of berries into your morning routine is always a good idea (berries also make excellent snacks throughout the rest of the day). When you add together a cup of blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries, you have an excellent source of fiber that helps your body’s metabolism operate efficiently. Berries are also shown to increase the amount of good cholesterol in your body (HDL), while still lowering blood pressure.

Greek yogurt

Greek yogurt can make for an incredibly easy way to get a nutritional kick in the morning, since it contains a high amount of protein and probiotics. Yogurt also makes you feel more full, which means that you’ll be less inclined to eat empty calories.

*Looking to add more protein to your diet? Check out my favorite, easy recipe for protein bites!

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Wet brush: favorite de-tangler

One of my favorite things about Tessa is her curly hair! Right after she was born, one of the nurses exclaimed, ‘She has so much hair!’ Guess the old wives’ tale about heartburn and the amount of hair a newborn has is true, ha, ha! We’ve never cut her hair because I love it so much and it’s grown out pretty evenly. People always think I curl and style it which is nice since it just dries in nice ringlets! I can’t remember where I first saw an ad for the Wet Brush but as Tessa’s naturally curly hair is getting longer and less easy to untangle, I decided to try it.

We found a 2 pack on Amazon so I actually use one on my own hair too. This is by far the best product we use for Tessa’s hair. Before we were using a wide tooth comb and a de-tangle spray. The Wet Brush is easy to use and does a fantastic job! I always start brushing at the ends and with Tessa then in sections. It’s much easier to use than our previous method. wet brush wet brushwet brush

 

5 Ways to Keep Your Family Healthy

The last segment in this health series focuses on family health. Growing up, my family always had a rule to take your shoes off when entering in the house. We’ve also kept this tradition and it definitely keeps the house cleaner with less dirt and germs entering the living space.

keeping your family healthy

There are so many reasons why we moms want to keep our family as healthy as possible, not least because our kids are a pain to look after when they get ill and the man-flu our partners complain of is unbearable to live with. That alone is reason enough to go above and beyond the call of duty and make sure that we are doing all we can in the healthy family stakes.

Water Not Food

Overeating a is a big issue at the moment, a pandemic that has certainly taken America by storm. So, the next time your kid says they are hungry, instead of reaching for a snack packed full of E-numbers, given them a glass of water instead. The reason you should do this is thirst and hunger can be really hard to differentiate, meaning your kids could actually be thirsty instead of hungry. Of course, your kids may complain because they don’t like water, in which case you should spruce it up a bit with some sliced fruit and tell them to enjoy.

Always Wash Hands

Pretty much every type of cold, flu or viral bacteria is spread through hand-to-hand contact, which is exactly why you should encourage your kids to get their scrub on. It is just the most effective way to protect your family from catching all those things that are out there. Get into the habit of your kids cleaning their hands every time they come into the house. That, or start having antibacterial hand wash dotted about your home.

Doctor On-Call

Going to the doctor every time your partner gets the man-flu (and claims it is life threatening) or your kids say their tummy hurts is a tiring process. Booking an appointment, getting into the car, sitting in a waiting room full of people with contagious flu’s, and all that sort of stuff is time-consuming. That is why you should join the 21st century and sign up to 365 Doc. You can get a doctor’s opinion from anywhere using your phone and not have to suffer any waiting times or run the risk of catching the actual flu when nothing was wrong in the first place. Oh, the irony.

No Shoes Policy

Wearing shoes around your house is a surefire way to encourage the spread of germs. Think about it. You’ve been wearing your shoes outside, stomping around in pesticides, germs, toxins, allergens and whatever else, and now you’re stomping them into the floor of your home. We read one statistic that said the sole of each shoe contains over 400,000 bacteria. So, yeah, take them off at the door and leave them there. Simple.

Stretch As A Family

Why not add a little stretching into your morning routine. Wake up, come down stairs, pop the kettle on, and then have a little stretch together while you wait. You don’t need to go overboard and start learning a thousand different yoga poses. Just a reaching up into the air and then trying to touch your toes a few times over will be enough to get your circulation going, and that will keep your immune system running high.

How to Get Better Posture

The second post in this series of health collaborations is about posture. Good posture is not only good for your body’s alignment but can also enhance your self confidence. My biggest key to better posture that is also mentioned later in this post is core and abdominal strength. Some of my favorite core exercises here.

Posture is more important than many people think. With correct posture, you are likely to live longer, have far less trouble with aches and pains in old age, and even  – some studies suggest – live a happier life. But poor posture seems to be almost something of an epidemic at the moment. If you are concerned that your posture is not quite as good as it could be, you will be glad to know that there are a number of steps you can take to improve it. Many of these are relatively simple and straightforward, and yet can make a huge difference to how you live your life.

Developing A Mindfulness Of Body

One of the most important changes you can possibly make is to start to be a little more mindful of what your body is actually doing from moment to moment. Many people go through their daily lives not really paying close attention to their bodies. This inattentiveness can lead on to many problems, and bad posture is just one of them. The more aware you are of what your back is actually doing, the better equipped you will be to keep it – literally – on the straight and narrow.

There are certain times in the day when it is particularly beneficial to practise this. When you are sitting, particularly at a desk, try to remain aware of how your back is arched. Similarly, when you are walking you can use that time to simply pay attention to how you hold yourself. This simple act of drawing attention to your body is only the first step, but it is one of the most vital, and even just doing that is likely to make a difference at first.

Giving Yourself The Gift Of Sleep

Sleep is a hugely important health concern as it is, but it is especially relevant when it comes to trying to improve your posture. Many people often completely overlook the importance of their sleeping position and comfortability, but it is vital if you are truly serious about keeping your posture strong and healthy. Fortunately, there is plenty that you can do to improve your quality of sleep.

First, take a look at how comfortable – or not – your bed is. If it is not comfortable, it is more likely that you will shift around as you sleep, and this in itself can often be a cause of poor posture. Similarly, if you are sleeping on a mattress which is either too hard or too soft,  your posture will suffer – and besides, you will be causing harm to your back in the long run anyway. You should aim for a mattress which supports you, but does not envelop you. This plush beds mattress review gives an example of the kind of mattress which offers a good level of support. Remember that your pillows are important too – memory foam is a healthy option here, and you should endeavor to support your neck a little too.

It’s not just the bed itself however. If you are not sleeping as soundly as you could, you might be causing harm to your back, and making your posture in waking life much worse. Therefore, it is also important to carry out any other essential tasks aimed at improving your quality of sleep. This could mean working to get the temperature just right, choosing calming colors for your decor, and limiting the amount of caffeine you have in your diet. It all helps.

Training Your Body

Many people who want to improve their posture will carry out the things mentioned above first and foremost, without too much hassle. But many fewer people will ever look to training their body more generally. However, the better in shape you stay, the more chance you have of retaining a decent posture throughout your life. Training is vital – but what kind of training is best for this specific aim? The answer might surprise you.

Most of all, you need to make sure that you are working to stabilize your core. There are many specific workouts you can do to achieve this. The single leg extension, for example, can be particularly beneficial. In this exercise, you lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat, and your hands behind your head. Then it is a case of pulling your navel in and up towards your spine. Done right and repeatedly, this can improve your core hugely. That, in turn, means that your core muscles will find it easier to hold your body upright, therefore improving your posture naturally.

With a little concentration and some basic changes, you can improve your posture easily and quickly. Doing so will automatically lead to a better way of life, and this is something that anyone should consider doing.

Muscle Sculpting

This the first of 3 health and wellness posts I’m collaborating with other writers on. I’ve enjoyed yoga for years and continue to find amazing benefits including flexibility and strength. More recently, I’ve been swimming more. Dave and I signed up for a sprint triathlon that’s actually in a couple weeks so we’ve been forced to swim more, ha, ha! While my swimming endurance is something I can definitely work on, I have liked mixing up my exercise routine and the benefit of using different muscles. Here are a few suggestions for muscle sculpting:

yoga

Most of us know that lots of aerobic exercises are good for heart health and weight loss. You might enjoy walking a lot, and perhaps you even go jogging occasionally. Did you know that combining these exercises with some weight work can help you to sculpt your body shape more easily? Of course, standing around with dumbbells doesn’t sound like fun, so here are some of the best ways to enjoy toning and building up your muscles:

Yoga

All you need for this one is a workout mat and enough space to put it down. You can find lots of really good Yoga poses online, or even join a class to get more from it. Yoga builds strength in most of your muscle groups. It particularly works the core muscle and can help to improve your posture. Did you know that Yoga can be used for relaxation as well as energizing? Best of all, it serves as the perfect warm-up to stretch all those muscles out well. Low impact stuff that’s fun and good for toning!

Kettlebells

This is the exercise that’s taking America by storm right now. Kettlebells are relatively cheap to buy and you only really need one. Start with just a couple of kilos, especially if you’re coming back to exercise. If you’re asking what muscles do kettlebell swings work, then you’re not alone. After all, it’s just one weight with one handle. How effective can it be? The trick is to use kettlebell swings to work your shoulders, back, and hips. If you don’t want bulky legs, this is perfect because it tones rather than adding mass.

Dancing

There are so many different kinds of dancing, but all of them demand a strong core and good posture. This immediately lifts your entire frame. As you’re up on your ball joints a lot, your legs, ankles, and glutes will enjoy a lot of toning. Best of all, the music motivates you to keep going. There are lots of dance exercise classes, but a standard ballroom, jazz, street, or ballet class will work wonders. Plus it’s social and lots of fun!

Swimming

Do you remember those pregnancy exercise in the water classes? Some people love them, others hate them. Now you’re back to basics, and it’s time to get in the water and start swimming! The movements you ‘enjoyed’ before are actually pretty good warm-ups. But it is the breaststroke and front crawl that is going to help you tone up your shoulders, arms, and back.

Laying on the sofa?

Yes, laying on the sofa can help you tone and even build up your leg muscles. This can be ideal for anyone with a weakened back. For squishier couch seat cushions, add a pillow or two under your lower back as you lay on the sofa. Now raise your legs in the air, one at a time. From here you can start to explore the range of movement in your hips that are comfortable. Leg pushes, splits and kicks can help push the excess fluid away from ankles and knees. And you’ll get some great toning if you perform these during your favorite soap opera each night!

5 Ways to Counter Negative Self Talk

I came across this article and wanted to share it because I think at one time or another we could all use a pick me up! One of the points is one I’ve talked about as a monthly health tipdon’t compare yourself to others. I firmly believe everyone has something unique to contribute to the world.

5 Steps to Counter Negative Self Talk

By Aurora McCausland

There are plenty of outside forces that affect the way we view ourselves. Some can be good, but all too often, those influences make us feel insufficient, insecure, and alienated. Social media, for example, is an ever-present force, and it often turns negative despite our best efforts. It’s too easy to compare yourself to others and the best parts of their lives, since the best parts of their lives are the only parts they bother to post on social media.

The negative messages can get more and more pointed and heated, whether they’re flaming comments on your Youtube video, or constantly-undermining language from your mother-in-law. However, as bad as these voices can be, the worst thing is when your own internal voices start adopting that criticism. Here are some tips to help you identify and counter negative self-talk.

Stop comparing yourself to others

If you find yourself comparing yourself and your life to other people, then you’ll need to remove the avenues where it makes it easy to compare yourself to them. If you find yourself scrolling through Instagram and feeling bad because everyone else seems to have clean homes, then maybe you should stop following those individuals. It may seem harsh, but your mental health is important, and if you still feel bad, you can explain to your friends why you have to take a break from following them.

Seek support

Sometimes, just removing those influences isn’t enough to keep yourself from feeling negative towards yourself. Because sometimes, it’s a deeper problem than just wishing your kitchen was as clean as someone you follow on social media. Being negative can be the root of mental illness, and letting those negative thoughts fester will only make the problem worse. Talking about the issues can help you feel better, as long as it’s done in a safe space. This could be something that you’ll want to talk to a licensed professional about. Certain therapeutic techniques, like dialectical behavior therapy, for example, help you to target problematic habits and behavior so that you can start having a healthier outlook.

Holistic approaches

There are other things you can do to improve your overall mental health. Some people experience a better wellbeing when they engage in activities such as meditation, yoga, and regular chiropractic visits. These practices are great because not only are they beneficial to your body and your overall physical health, but they carry mental health benefits that will change your life. One of the keys to countering your negative self talk is to eradicate the problem at it’s root. The root of these insecurities is a weak mental state, and by exercising your mind and cultivating a positive environment, you’ll find yourself thinking more positive thoughts and enjoying your life more fully.

Writing therapy

If you’re not comfortable attending therapy, a great alternative is to engage in writing therapy. Writing therapy gives you a creative, and healthy, outlet to express yourself and your thoughts. There are great writing prompts and journaling programs that can help you make the most of your writing therapy practices. Many therapists actually recommend writing therapy as part of your regular therapy practices. Sometimes, the best way to understand your thoughts and the way that you feel is to talk through them. This can be through either talking to someone that your trust, or you can write them out.

Writing them out can sometimes be even more beneficial because some people find that they’re more comfortable writing about their innermost thoughts than they are talking about them. Your journal can’t judge you or make you feel uncomfortable by opening up, and that’s one of the most valuable things about writing therapy practices.

Surround yourself with positivity

You are what you manifest. If you’re constantly telling yourself that you’re messy, sloppy, ugly, or unsuccessful, you will become those things. If you tell yourself that you’re tidy, attractive, successful, and kind, then you’ll be those things. Your thoughts become actions, so make sure that you’re thinking good, positive things. It can be hard to just dispel your negative thoughts and replace them with positive thoughts, sadly it isn’t that simple.

Make sure that you are surrounded by positive people. If there are people in your life that are negative, then maybe consider spending less of your time with them, and seek out friendships and colleagues that are positive and make you feel good about yourself. Fill your home with beautiful things that make you feel peaceful, and listen to music that is uplifting and wholesome. Surrounding yourself with beautiful nature can be another great way to surround yourself with positivity. It’s easier to think wonderful, positive thoughts, when you’re in a beautiful atmosphere that promotes peaceful thoughts and feelings.

You don’t have to live with uncomfortable and negative feelings. There are ways to combat those feelings and start feeling comfortable with yourself and your life again. There are avenues to seek help or find the help yourself, you just have to consciously make an effort to be positive and start loving yourself and your life. 

Summer highlights

This summer went by way too fast! We kicked off the summer with a road trip to Ansley’s baptism in Idaho with a few days in Salt Lake on our way up. We had an awesome staycation in Newport, an anniversary weekend in Seattle and then another road trip to Provo, Utah for Jake’s wedding! We saw the 7 Magic Mountains again, checked out the improved BYU bookstore, looked for Pokemon around campus, had Bam Bams BBQ with the LeSueurs and the Nashes who also happened to be visiting Utah, found some great babysitters for the wedding festivites – which included Bruges waffles, one of my favorite places in Utah!

The kids also took tennis and swim lessons the last half of summer at their future high school (when Tessa was finally potty trained, ha, ha!!!) They are continuing to improve with their swimming and being comfortable in the water. I think they liked tennis?? Maybe a little too early to tell if they’ll play when they’re older but we’ll probably do more lessons next summer!

Health Tip

health tips give a complimentThis month’s health tip is guaranteed to help you feel better and someone else! If you’re feeling down, a great way to feel a little better is to reach out and compliment someone. While you may not see the impact of your compliment, the recipient will remember it. Focusing on others is something that helps me to see outside my own needs and usually gives me a better perspective on any problems I’m having.

*more health tips here

Seattle

Seattle

We recently celebrated our 11th anniversary in Seattle! We celebrated our decade anniversary last year closing on our house in Texas – so much has happened since then!!! This year, my parents were kind enough to come up and watch the kids for a long weekend while Dave and I flew to Seattle. It was nice and sunny, and pretty warm for Seattle (85 degrees), we stayed at the Marqueen Hotel and could see the Space Needle from our hotel window.

Seattle space needle

Seattle marqueen hotel

We had a great time walking around the city, going to a Mariners game and meeting up with friends we know from BYU tailgating (some which live in Seattle now). Safeco field is an awesome venue, it was perfect weather for a game, lots of good food including garlic fries, good atmosphere and company! Plus we could check another stadium off our list.

Seattle

Seattle

We of course, took a tour of the Space Needle and checked out the Museum of Pop Culture.  We also walked around Pike Place Market and saw the gum wall which was kinda cool and kinda gross ha, ha! We also stopped by the Fremont Troll, the Elliott Bay Bookstore and some record shops (for Dave). We ate our weight in food including one of my new favorite donut shops – Top Pot Doughnuts – which has a very delicious apple fritter!Seattle

Seattle

Seattle gum wall

Seattle fremont troll

Seattle

Seattle top pot donuts

While we missed the kids, it was so nice to relax, not be tied down to a schedule, have time to read, not have to cook or clean, walk around and explore a new city and most importantly, just enjoy each other’s company! It was an added treat to be able to sleep through the night since Tessa still hasn’t recovered her sleep schedule from a few months ago.    Seattle    Seattle is a city we would definitely go back to visit! Until next time!