If you are looking to jumpstart your heart rate while toning your lower and upper body all at once, this is the perfect exercise for you. Using your little one, you will squat and press your way to tighter glutes and quads while also helping to tone and define your upper body and core.
To get started, stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Feel should be turned out as if you will be doing a plié. Hold your baby facing away from you, your hands should be under his arms and around his chest (note: this exercise should only be done with older babies who have good head and neck control). Lift your baby up over your head and lower him down to your right knee as you slowly squat down by bending at the knees. As you perform the exercise, make sure to keep your chest and head up and back straight. Now, lift baby up over your head as you straighten your knees. Then lower him down to your left knee as you bend your knees to perform a squat. Repeat this exercise, alternating from one side to the next. Perform this exercise at a quick pace (but not so quick you sacrifice form) to gain a cardio benefit as well.
Trader Joe’s Spinach Kale Bites
Spinach and kale are known as superfoods for a variety of reasons. They both are packed full of disease fighting antioxidants. In addition, they are great sources of nutrients such as iron, vitamin C, and calcium. Although these two foods offer many health benefits, it can be hard at times to get little ones to eat their greens.
I stopped at Trader Joe’s after a business meeting the other day and was so excited to find their “Spinach Kale Bites” in the frozen section. They looked like the perfect finger food and, based on the ingredient list, made a really healthy choice.
I bought them and took them home to make for the family and see the responses. The bites are filled with spinach and kale along with egg, breadcrumbs, onion, and parmesan cheese. Since they do contain nice, large pieces of spinach and kale, I wasn’t sure what Joey’s response would be. In the past, he tended to pull pieces of spinach out from foods and not eat them (my guess is due to the texture).
After baking these in the oven (you just place them on a baking tray and bake for 15-20 minutes), I broke them into bite sized pieces for Joey to see what would happen. The response- he couldn’t get enough! I was pleasantly shocked and quite happy that he loved them so much. In fact he liked them SO much, he demanded more and more and wouldn’t eat anything else that was served to him! These definitely were a win with my little one (myself too- they really taste great).
If you are looking for an easy way to get in more greens into your child’s diet, I would highly recommend giving these a try. I plan to try making these on my own next and will post the recipe. Now that I know Joey loves them so much, I want to make up a few large batches to keep on hand in the freezer.
February is American Heart Month, so it’s the perfect time to get your whole family on board with eating their way to a healthier heart. One of my favorite ways to do this is by taking “less healthy” foods that we all love and tweaking the recipe to make them meals that not only taste great, but are great for us as well.
Pizza is a huge family favorite in my house. However, traditional pizzeria pizza can be high in saturated fat from large amounts of cheese, loaded with sodium, and packed full of refined carbohydrates thanks to the white flour crust. This easy recipe for bruschetta pizza instead tastes just as good (I actually think it tastes better than take-out varieties), provides you with much less sodium, a good source of whole grains, and practically a full serving of vegetables in each slice. Here’s how to make it:
½ cup tomato sauce (homemade or your favorite store variety)
2 tablespoons minced garlic
16 ounces 100% whole-wheat pizza dough
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
2 cups fresh bruschetta
1 small red onion, sliced
2 Tbs parmesan cheese, grated
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
2. Using a rolling pin, create a 16-inch diameter pizza from the whole-wheat dough (or you can make the dough into fun shapes like this heart pizza I made for my family).
3. Spread the tomato sauce and garlic evenly over the dough, and then place the fresh mozzarella slices evenly over the sauce. Top the mozzarella with the bruschetta and onion. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
4. Place the pizza on a pizza stone or round pan. Place in the oven, and cook for 15 minutes, or until the edges brown slightly. Slice with a pizza cutter even slices and serve warm.
Thanks to @Welchs for sending me the the great heart shaped plates! These are perfect for serving up my favorite heart healthy foods!
Planks are great! They challenge your whole body- from your glutes to your shoulder. And they can be done in a variety of ways: one legged plank, side plank, and a forearm plank, just to name a few. The more often you plank and the longer you hold the plank for, the more it benefits your entire body.
For this Friday Fitness Challenge I challenge you to Plank It! For a total of 5 minutes per day. You could perform 10- 30 second planks during the day, or one long and intense 5 minute plank. However you choose to do it, make sure you maintain good form.
When performing a plank, keep your body in a straight line from your toes to your head. Don’t allow your back to sag. Keep you head up looking straight ahead. Your shoulders should be in line with your wrists. Only hold a plank for as long as you can maintain good form. When your form starts to suffer, take a rest and restart your plank again a little bit later.
How do you plan to #PlankIt this week?