Sometimes the day passes me by and I realized I forgot to make dinner, or even think about what I want to make for dinner. On days like these, it’s easy to pick up the phone and call out for something. But when I do that, the meal usually isn’t as healthy as the meals I make at home. Even if I order the best choice, it’s still going to be higher in sodium, probably a huge portion, and most definitely cost a lot more than if I just cooked it myself.
So what’s the solution? Quick and healthy meals you can make in minutes with very little prep work. One of my favorites is Smothered Chicken with Onions (or you could make this with turkey too). All you need is:
1 pound thin sliced chicken breasts
2 cups fat free or low fat gravy (I use a store bought fat free gravy when I am in a hurry, but you could always make a lower sodium homemade one and freeze it for when you need it)
2 medium sweet onions, sliced
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 bag frozen broccoli florets
In a large pan, bring oil over a medium heat. Place in onions and sauté for a few minutes until tender.
Add in the chicken breasts and brown on both sides. Pour gravy on top and bring the mixture to a low boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer, cover pan, and allow to continue to cook for an additional 5 minutes or until chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165 F.
While chicken is simmering, steam or microwave frozen broccoli. Serve together with the chicken dish and enjoy!
Swimsuit season is right around the corner, so it’s time to ramp up your focus on your abs. Laying leg flutters are a great exercise for targeting the upper and lower abs. The longer you can do them, the more effective they are. For this week, I challenge you to perform this exercise for a total of 90 seconds a day. Who’s game?
To perform, pay close attention to form here, since proper form what makes this exercise effective. Poor forms will limit the challenge to your abs, and therefore limit your results.
- Lay on the floor face up. Your arms should be at your sides, and your ankles should be together.
- Slowly lift your shoulder blades and ankles off the floor about 1 to 2 inches. Tilt your pelvis so your back is pushing against the floor. You shouldn’t be arching, and your abs should be engaged.
- Quickly flutter your ankles back and forth for a set length of time and then relax. Remember to breathe throughout the exercise. Repeat three times.
Let me know how you do on the #LegFlutterCoreChallenge!
Deadlift with Baby
Deadlifts can be a great way to strengthen and the glutes and hamstrings. Although these are usually performed with free weights, you can sub out the weights for your baby instead.
To get started, stand with your feet shoulder width apart, core pulled in, and back straight. Hold your baby in a cradle position at chest level. Slowly lower your body forward at the waist keeping your back straight. Lower your upper body until parallel with the floor and then slowly return to the starting position. Repeat for 10 repetitions.
Note: Make sure you can fully support your baby before attempting this exercise. Performing this exercise with heavier babies is not recommended.
If you don’t know what falafel is, you are missing out! One struggle many of us have as parents is trying to get enough good sources of protein into our children’s diets. If you are always thinking along the lines of animal proteins (chicken, beef, pork, etc), you may find yourself getting bored with the lack of variety. Or you may be worried about your children eating too much animal protein and not enough plant based protein.
Even in our adult diets, we know that protein is essential. If you are aiming to lose weight, protein helps to keep you full for a longer period of time, therefore helping to cut back on cravings. But too much animal protein, especially the higher fat variety, can have a negative impact on your waistline and overall health.
I’ve been wracking my brain trying to come up with various plant-based protein sources my whole family will enjoy. Joey especially is a challenge. Although he enjoys the taste of foods like beans and lentils, he is currently not a big fan of their texture. When I was shopping the other day, I ran across Nature’s Early Choice Falafel with Quinoa. After analyzing its nutrition label, I decided to pick it up and give it a try.
Falafel is a ball or patty typically made from ground chickpeas, fava beans, or both. Usually this is deep fried in oil and served. However, falafel can be baked as well, making it a lower calorie option. This particular product also included quinoa in it’s blend, boosting both the protein and fiber content. And honestly, it was so simple to make. You just add water, mix, let it sit for 10 minutes, and then form into balls or patties.
Once you have made your patties or balls, you can choose to fry them or bake them. I used a lightly greased try to bake my patties. About 5 minutes per side in the over and they were crispy and ready to eat. They make a great snack option if you are looking for a crunch and they make the perfect bite-sized meal addition for my little one.
Do you think your family would enjoy a falafel?