BYTES of Informationon Motherhood, Food, Fitness & Real Life

Friday Fitness Challenge: Belly Fat Blasting Arm Circles

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Whan to blast belly fat, but hate crunches? You’re in luck! Core exercises don’t always need to be done on the floor. This exercise helps you get up off the floor and works your obliques, upper and lower abs, as well as your shoulders and arms.

For this week’s Fitness Challenge, I challenge you to perform a total of 30 arm circles (15 in each direction) daily for a full week. Are you up for the #FatBlastingArmCircle challenge?

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To perform:

  1. Stand with your legs slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Hold a 5-pound dumbbell (or use a filled water bottle if a dumbbell isn’t available) with both hands in front of your body with straight arms.

                        Keep your back straight and your core tight. See Figure 10-2 to get an idea of the position you should be in. If you prefer, you can start with no weight and gradually build up.

  1. While keeping both hands on the weight and your arms straight, slowly make a large circle with your arms to the right, above your head, to the left, and back to the starting position.

                        Keep your core tight the whole time you’re making the circle.

  1. Repeat the preceding step 15 times to the right and 15 times to the left for one set. Rest for 30 seconds.


Advanced: Over time, build up to an 8- or 10-pound dumbbell.



Keep me updated on how you are doing with your #FatBlastingArmCircle challenge!





Workout Wednesday: Straight Leg Side Raises with Your Baby

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Outer thighs can be a trouble area, especially if you have found yourself sitting more. Toning the thighs however is easy with this exercise (and it’s a fun way to bond with your baby!). Wearing your baby forward facing in the carrier of your choice, stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Raise your arms out to the side and slightly bend your base knee to maintain balance throughout the exercise. Slowly raise your right leg up to the side. Your foot should be turned in slightly, so that your heel is pointing towards the ceiling. Raise your leg a little lower than waist high, and then lower down towards the floor. Only allow your foot to come very near to the floor, but don’t allow it to actually be placed on the floor. Now, repeat the exercise by raising your right leg again. Remember, each time you lower your leg, don’t allow your foot to touch the floor. Perform 15 leg raises on your right leg and then 15 on your left leg.


Note: Perform this exercise in front of a floor length mirror to help you maintain good form. This is also a great way to keep your baby entertained!

Mom’s Pantry Product Review: Little Duck Organic Freeze Dried Fruit

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My little one just loves crunchy foods (so do I)! He will eat many fruits and vegetables, but if the texture doesn’t appeal to him, he tends to chew the food and then spit it back out (lovely I know!). So to help boost his fruit intake (without him returning it back to his plat after a few chews!), I turned to freeze dried fruit.


You may have seen freeze dried fruits (and even vegetables) and wondered if they are a healthy option or just a sugar-filled snack. Well first, you want to look at the ingredient list. The product should contain only the fruit in its ingredient list and no added sugars. I also like to look for organic fruit options when possible (especially for fruits like strawberries), since I am feeding this to the baby. Studies have shown that the antioxidant phytochemicals found in the fruits’ fresh state are retained at levels almost as high after freeze-drying. These studies have also found that the phytochemicals in freeze-dried fruits can reach our bloodstream. Which means that freeze dried fruits offer many of the same benefits as fresh (and can often be a lot easier to get our kids- or even our spouses- to eat them!).


I stopped at Stop & Shop the other day and found a new brand of freeze dried fruits I had not seen before, Little Duck Organics. They come from New York, so I’m not sure if they are available nationwide yet or just locally. What I loved about them though is they offered a variety of fruits, are already broken up into bite sized pieces appropriate for toddlers, and most importantly Joey can’t get enough! These are definitely a win in my book!

Kitchen Mania Monday: 10 Minute Meals- Smothered Chicken

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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!


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