Gardening and Salad Parties are Great Ways To Get Everyone Eating Healthier

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Here are Some Tips and Ideas For Eating Healthy In the Classroom 

Maybe this isn't a Fit Tip but our room moms and students are so amazing that I have to showcase these literary pumpkins in as many places as possible.

Don't Miss the Fun With These Free Community Fitness Classes

There are so many different classes available that you don't want to miss out.  Thanks to Athleta for asking me to lead this extraordinary and empowering group of women and girls today at the UTC mall. Check the Athleta website to see what's coming up in the moth of November.  Also, please join us at Ivivva Carlsbad on November 15th at 10 am for a workout the whole family will enjoy.


Healthy Birthday Treats and Snacks

We're Looking Forward to a Year’s Worth of Healthy School Birthday Treats. Are You? Here's a List of Healthy Foods To Make Any Celebration Even Better.

*Rule of thumb: Please try avoiding processed foods containing the following ingredients:  High fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, artificial sweeteners, frosting, high sugar content

Pinterest is a great resource. Please share any recipes we can add to this list or any local stores or resources you love as well. Thanks for contributing to our healthy classroom community.

- Smoothies

- Low fat yogurt parfaits– dollop Greek yogurt into paper cups, sweeten w/honey & top w/granola, chopped fruit, or graham crackers.

- Trail Mix (made w/ dried fruit, popcorn, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate chips, pretzel sticks, etc…) Target, Trader Joe’s, etc.

- Healthier bread slices such as banana, zucchini, carrot, or pumpkin

- Angel food cake with fresh cut fruit

- Low-fat pudding

- Fruit served in ice cream cones

- Apple slices tossed in cinnamon add low fat yogurt or low fat frozen yogurt

- Healthy cupcake or muffins (with or without a healthy frosting)

- Home baked cookies (which you can control the sugar)

- Natural low-sugar granola bars

- Fruit skewers: Strawberries, tangerines, grapes, cold pineapple spears

- Dark chocolate “dipped” or “drizzled” strawberries

- Unbuttered Popcorn

- Popcorn tossed w/ cinnamon

- Natural fruit leathers(fruit as the only ingredient)

- Pretzels with peanut butter

- Watermelon slices

- 100% fruit juice popsicles

- “Pirate’s Booty” snacks

- Bagels topped w/cream cheese (mix chopped fruit into cream cheese for sweeter treat)

- Fresh healthy cookie & individual milk cartons (not chocolate)

- Non-food treats such as pencils, erasers, stickers, etc.

 

Shop the perimeters of grocery stores and don't venture to the center isles where simple carbs like to hide. Plus fridges look more colorful with fresh fruits and vegetables. Grocery store staples may include: spinach, bananas, blueberries, broccoli, apples, grapefruit (great for salads too) etc.

#EdBeat Twitter Chat for Teachers

Calling all educators, teachers, leaders, and principals, Please join the #EdBeat Twitter chat next Wednesday, August 26th, 8 pm EDT/ 5 PM PST as I guest moderate a health and wellness segment. I'm looking forward to connecting with so many inspiring and uplifting individuals to see how we can create a healthier generation of teachers and students. 

#EduNinja FitTipFriday

Teacher Tips For Eating Healthy This School Year:  How to Get Past These Excuses

1. There are so many snacks around my office/staff lounge.

Don’t be afraid to lead by example around the office. People will soon stop asking why you are eating healthy and join you. Take the time to pack a healthy snack and lunch alternatives so you aren't tempted.  Bring those with you to the staff lounge.  If you aren’t excited about what you packed - that’s when you’ll get tempted.  Check out the #FitTipFriday here during the start of the school year for some new snack, salad, and other lunch ideas.

2. But my students feelings will get hurt if I don’t eat their birthday cupcakes/holiday treats.  

Students at school are never offended when I politely decline a birthday cupcake.  I say “Sorry, but I am in ninja training.”  They’ll laugh.  I’ll eat the occasional Rice Krispie treat or chocolate covered strawberry but almost always stay away from doughnuts, candy, cupcakes etc.  Try getting your school’s administration to set a policy, or encourage students, and parents bring in healthier options. Pinterest has so many fun, healthy birthday treats.

3. I have junk food in the house for the kids. 

You could start making some family changes by introducing healthier options and not keeping junk food in the house.  Instead keep it only for special occasions. Keep lots of fresh fruit and fruit salad on hand instead.

4. But it’s vacation!

Vacation is about having fun, relaxing, doing exciting new things, and exploring new places.  Don’t be afraid to try new foods on vacation. Maybe try appetizer sized portions of certain foods, split a meal with a friend, or eat half and have the other half boxed up to eat for another meal. Always ask what the healthiest option is, or ask if a dish can be modified. My boyfriend and I always ask if we can get regular sushi rolls made riceless or with light rice. We’ll also substitute out a carb side dish with fresh fruit or double veggies.

4. I just worked out so I can eat whatever I want.  

Please take the time to eat small portions and often. Eat and eat often. I spend over $200 per Cost Co run just to feed myself. I am always eating - about every two hours - but always snacking.  I rarely eat gigantic meals or skip snacks and also only buy healthy foods because working out doesn’t give you the green light to eat a lot unhealthy foods.

What’s On My Grocery List? (I’ll post more in an upcoming blog)

Lots of fresh fruit, smoothie ingredients, lean proteins, Greek non-fat yogurt.

5. I have social engagements: parties, happy hours dinners and I don’t want to stand out.

Quite honestly I have found these times to be great social conversation starters. Eat a big healthy meal before going anywhere, so you’re not hungry or tempted and always pack a healthy snack. Choose water, non sweetened iced tea etc. or limit yourself to a drink or two.

6. I don’t have time (or energy) to work out.

Being a teacher is not an easy job. Teaching 20 or more kids at a given time can zap your energy because each student needs your undivided attention, instruction, and feedback for 8 hours straight. But it is realistic to workout for an hour a day almost anywhere.  

Committing to working out before school 2 or more days a week can produce some of your best results . If you workout before school, you don't have to worry about after school meetings or obligations and your metabolism is revved up for the day.  Weekends are a great time to work out outside too almost wherever you are. (I’ll post some workouts.)

The key to working out in the morning is being extremely organized the night before.  From packing a gym bag to packing a huge day’s worth or food in your lunchbox to making a post-workout smoothie to take with you in the morning are all great ways of staying committed. 

Try meeting a friend at the gym to help hold you accountable.

7.  I don’t even eat a lot and I am still not losing weight.  Don’t skip breakfast.  The students in my class know that I start every day’s reading workshop with a green smoothie in my hand. They also know that I eat a healthy snack every two hours at recess, lunch, etc.  Don’t forget to eat quick snacks throughout the day.  

Try exercising in the morning and little exercises throughout the day. Just keep moving. Try eating your carbs earlier in the day as well. Low sugar oatmeal isn’t a bad option in the morning and keep you filled.

Drink lots of water throughout the day so you don’t mistake hunger for thirst. Eight glasses a day is good for many people.

8.  Okay so yesterday you ate the whole bag of granola or ate everything at the all you can eat buffet.  That’s okay there is nothing you can do about the eating you already did. (Don’t make a habit of it.)  Just be mindful today to eat a little less and/or burn some more calories today.  It is all balance not about being perfect.  

9. But I love dessert

Treat yourself in moderation.  I only eat epic desserts.  I don’t eat desserts just to eat something sweet. I eat fruit during the day and add fruit to my smoothies.  As far as real desserts I really only eat them if they are epic and how often are you offered epic desserts?  I don’t keep them in the house either or they would be gone in an instant.  I go to a local cupcake or frozen yogurt place to reward myself for long hours spent on report cards etc. It is a treat and not often.  If you are on vacation try splitting dessert with someone and not eating desserts everyday of the trip.  Try fresh fruit instead.  Easier said than done since refined sugar is so addicting.  I get it but once you get in the habit of not eating it you’ll find you won’t crave it as much.

These are just a few tips to help when those food excuses start creeping in.  I’ll be sure to post: recipes, workout tips, grocery lists etc. with the #fittipfriday hashtag on Twitter and a link to my website. Here’s to a healthy and happy school year!

Join the Fun and Try A Free Community Bootcamp for All Ages at Athleta in the UTC Mall.  

Be sure to check the website schedule.  I teach a bootcamp class every other month. Don't be surprised if we warm-up with a game of partner tag or SPUD to get the bootcamp started.

Today was another special workout because my elementary teacher friends came out to try something totally new and outside the box.  I saw lots of smiles from the partner tag warm-up then sprinkled throughout the this indoor/outdoor workout today. We worked through 10 full-body stations, then took it outside using our environment for some functional fitness, and  then a core series.  I'm so proud of my team of teachers. You rock!  Click here to see a copy of the workout if you want to give it a try.

Join Us For the Next Round of Athleta Bootcamp at the Westfield UTC Mall in La Jolla Sunday, April 19th at 9:30

 If you missed Westfield UTC Mall's two day discovery "Weekend Escape"celebrating San Diego's outdoor lifestyle while inspiring the community to rejuvenate it's health and fitness regimen - don't worry.  

You'll have another opportunity to join us Sunday, April 19th from 9:30 - 10:30 at the Athleta store for round three of bootcamp. The Weekend Escape bootcamp class provided fast-paced bodyweight exercises with modifications for people of all ages and abilities.  A third grade friend, who is passionate about fitness, was even kind enough to join me on the Palm Plaza stage to model fun partner exercises that can be done just about anywhere.  

The bootcamp incorporated volleyball movements, core balance, boxing movements, core strength, cardio blasts, and partner exercises.  The next bootcamp will be different, so you'll have to come check it out.

Getting Creative With Times and Places To Workout...In and Out of the Classroom

Everyone is always looking for the best time to workout, ways to mix up workout routines, and how to save time without sacrificing calorie-burning time. How do you do it?  Be prepared to get creative.

The other morning I squeezed in a great 45 minute bodyweight workout routine at school, well before students arrived.  What a great place to workout and with so many different resources to use both inside and outside the classroom.

By working out where I work, this automatically saved 20 minutes of driving time versus going to the gym.  Have you ever thought about working out at your work?  I set my timer for 1 minute stations and 'got to work.'

On my indoor routine, I included biking and bicep curls, tricep dips on chairs, pushups on chairs, pull-ups from under the counter, plyo hop-ups on the desk, squats with reams of paper, burpees, Russian twists, and sit-ups.

Getting Creative Outside the Classroom

Part two of the preschool workout was outside. There were so many possibilities but for this particular morning it included, sprints, dunking on the elementary basketball hoop, hopping over railings, stair hops, and precision jumps.

 

Freedom In Motion: Inspired Through Movement

Let's get moving while increasing opportunities and awareness for families, schools, and communities to get moving too.  We all know that children need sixty minutes of fun movement a day, and adults need thirty fun-filled minutes per day. One student here, even set up a timed course around the outside of his house for his mom to run.  She's loving it.  Another student started running with his mom three times a week and has inspired her to cook healthier meals and pack healthier snacks.  Check out the Let's Move website for learning more facts, gathering tips on eating healthy, getting active, and taking action.

Watch out American Ninja Warrior Season 18. These #littleninjas are training and having fun: running quintuple steps, balancing on wooden beams, rolling on wheels, and attempting the warped wall. Go #littleninjas!

Watch out American Ninja Warrior Season 18. These #littleninjas are training and having fun: running quintuple steps, balancing on wooden beams, rolling on wheels, and attempting the warped wall. Go #littleninjas!

Just Keep Moving

With the holidays approaching, shorter days, and colder nights, it's easy to get cozy and comfortable.  But it's a lot more fun to keep moving. Are you getting bored? Maybe get a pass to try out a new gym, get workout inspiration from your favorite Instagramers, work out with a friend you haven't seen in a while, sign up for a new race, join a challenge group, or try a new activity. With all those tasty treats appearing on holiday tables everywhere soon - remember -just keep moving.

A Fun Sequence From Freedom In Motion

Precision Jumps

Movement isn't just about how fast, how high, or how dynamic your movements can be. Like anything, it's about balance and precision. It's about being dynamic, efficient, and landing softly with precision.  Click here for parkour terms .

Movement isn't just about how fast, how high, or how dynamic your movements can be. Like anything, it's about balance and precision. It's about being dynamic, efficient, and landing softly with precision. Click here for parkour terms.

Ryan Ford of Apex Movement wrote a great beginner's guide to parkour and freerunning. The basics are clearly explained with step by step instructions and non examples/common mistakes too. Click here to read it and watch the video tutorials: http://www.apexmovement.com/blog/how-to-start-parkour-a-beginners-guide/

Parkour 101: Learning the Basics 

Dash, Kong, and Kash:  Time to Learn, Drill and Refine the Basics, so It's Second Nature.

Having some fun my first day learning the dash, kong, and kash. Yes, I have some work ahead of me.  Click here  to learn some more parkour terminology.

Having some fun my first day learning the dash, kong, and kash. Yes, I have some work ahead of me. Click here to learn some more parkour terminology.

Working on Strength and Stamina?  Boot Camp is Another Great Addition to Your Routine.

Check the calendar to see what's happening at the Athleta UTC Mall in La Jolla, CA. There are so many great classes. I had the opportunity to teach a Boot Camp class and can't wait to do it again soon. I'll be sure to let everyone know the next time I teach, and I'm looking forward to seeing my Athleta family again for Boot Camp Round 2.

Check the calendar to see what's happening at the Athleta UTC Mall in La Jolla, CA. There are so many great classes. I had the opportunity to teach a Boot Camp class and can't wait to do it again soon. I'll be sure to let everyone know the next time I teach, and I'm looking forward to seeing my Athleta family again for Boot Camp Round 2.

Let's Wake Up, Burn Some Calories, and Have Some Fun!

Thanks my friends. Here we see Lexi and Mimi showing us how it's done! We had three rounds of ten high-intensity stations with a few surprises thrown into the mix. What a great, hardworking crew.

Thanks my friends. Here we see Lexi and Mimi showing us how it's done! We had three rounds of ten high-intensity stations with a few surprises thrown into the mix. What a great, hardworking crew.

Managing Injuries With Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation, and Bacteria From The Gut of Silkworks?

We all know about R.I.C.E. within the first 24-48 hours when we are caring for an injury.  We even know that eating more tomatoes, leafy green vegetables, almonds, salmon, strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges helps to reduce inflammation.  But did anyone every tell you that ingesting the bacteria found in the gut of silkworms may help reduce inflammation, alleviate pain, increase cardiovascular health, and possibly dissolve dead or damaged tissue without harming living, healthy tissue? Click here to read more about this amazing anti-inflammatory called Serrapeptase.

There isn't a lot of evidence supporting that salt water is an effective strategy for helping injuries, but I had no trouble following the doctor's orders anyway!

There isn't a lot of evidence supporting that salt water is an effective strategy for helping injuries, but I had no trouble following the doctor's orders anyway!

It's Summer!  Get Out Of The Gym and Onto the Trails

Hiking is so great for the body, mind, and spirit. It’s so inexpensive and easy to start. Plus it is a great excuse to travel, see amazing places, and feel like you are on top of the world.  The act of hiking puts you in the moment of experiencing everything new and fresh in nature.  You are most likely just a short drive away from a hike right now.

San Jacinto Peak via The Marion Mountain Trailhead - This recent hike reminded me how much I miss and love running through the woods as a child. Naturalist John Muir wrote, “The view from San Jacinto is the most sublime spectacle to be found anywhere on this earth!” I agree. The view from the summit is amazing - feels like you are on top of the world. From the peak you could see the Inland Empire, Palm Desert, the San Bernardino and San Gabriel Mountains, Palomar Mountain in San Diego, Santiago and Modjeska Peaks, and on a really clear day, you might even catch a glimpse of Catalina Island.

San Jacinto Peak via The Marion Mountain Trailhead - This recent hike reminded me how much I miss and love running through the woods as a child. Naturalist John Muir wrote, “The view from San Jacinto is the most sublime spectacle to be found anywhere on this earth!” I agree. The view from the summit is amazing - feels like you are on top of the world. From the peak you could see the Inland Empire, Palm Desert, the San Bernardino and San Gabriel Mountains, Palomar Mountain in San Diego, Santiago and Modjeska Peaks, and on a really clear day, you might even catch a glimpse of Catalina Island.

With changing landscapes, and new adventures around every corner, hiking is a great change from the monotony of the stair stepper, predictable group class, and rat race of the gym.  Call up a friend, plan a trip to meet up, take the family, or hike with a someone you haven’t seen in a while.  Enjoy the time together, and when you get to the top of the mountain, the accomplishment feels amazing.   It's a feeling you won't get when the stair stepper buzzer goes off at the gym.

A last minute hike to top of the Manitou Incline Trail in Colorado Springs, Colorado. My favorite part of this hike was stopping to eat apples and catch up. Playing around in the trees at top of the incline trail was pretty fun too before descending another 2,000 stairs to quickly catch a plane.

A last minute hike to top of the Manitou Incline Trail in Colorado Springs, Colorado. My favorite part of this hike was stopping to eat apples and catch up. Playing around in the trees at top of the incline trail was pretty fun too before descending another 2,000 stairs to quickly catch a plane.

The Physical Benefits Of Hiking

    •    Lower your risk of heart disease

    •    Improve your blood pressure and blood sugar levels

    •    Boost bone density, since  walking is a weight-bearing exercise

    •    Build strength in your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and the muscles in your hips and lower legs

    •    Strengthen your core

    •    Improve balance

    •    Help control your weigh 

    •    Boost your mood.

Locals said I couldn't leave Colorado without doing The Manitou Incline hike. What a great one - The Incline is famous for its sweeping views and steep grade, as steep as 68% in places, near Colorado Springs. The incline gains over 2,000 feet of elevation in less than one mile and the view from the top was amazing.

Locals said I couldn't leave Colorado without doing The Manitou Incline hike. What a great one - The Incline is famous for its sweeping views and steep grade, as steep as 68% in places, near Colorado Springs. The incline gains over 2,000 feet of elevation in less than one mile and the view from the top was amazing.

Potential Calories Burned?

How many calories does hiking burn? Consider variables such as: weight, muscle content, and current fitness level. For example if you weigh 100 pounds you may burn 400 calories per hour as compared to a person weighing 200 lbs who may burn closer to 550 calories. Environmental factors will also affect how many calories you burn, such as the incline of your hike, how much you pack, your pace, weather conditions, and of course distance. 

What Do You Need?

1. Check a map for the length, difficulty, and expected time to complete the hike.

2. Invest in a good pair of hiking boots or trail running shoes.

3. Bring plenty of water.  A small Camel Pac backpack is comfortable and lightweight.  Make sure to drink small amounts of water regularly.

4. Prepare snacks - trail mix, apples, oranges, almonds, protein bars.

5. Have a hiking partner, cell phone, and always let someone else know where you are.

6. Take in a little vitamin D, but don’t forget a hat and sunscreen.

A little bouldering along the San Jacinto Peak Trail near Idyllwild, CA.

What Training Can I Do To Be Prepared?

Putting yourself through hiking preparation workouts on the stair climber, or walking on incline on the treadmill at the gym are both good ways to prep your body for the challenge. Strength training is also important to well rounded fitness. 

 

Tip of The Week - July 14th

Having Friends Over For Dinner?  Try This Fast, Easy, No Fail, Juicy Chicken Recipe That People Will Love

Ok.  We are breathing in summer and loving it.  If you are on the East Coast or Mid West maybe you are enjoying warm days, family get togethers, picnics, and nights with lightning bugs.  Maybe out West you are enjoying the beaches, breezy days, mountains, and beautiful views.  Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, it is always nice to have an easy chicken recipe so you can enjoy time with friends and family without worrying about what's for dinner. 

This is my #1 go to recipe.  I found it years ago, when flipping through a Real Simple magazine while visiting friends in Venice Beach, and experiencing California for the first time. Finally, this hand written, grease stained, lots of love recipe is getting typed up so you can try it. Enjoy!

Chicken Pollo alla Firenze

You most likely have most of the ingredients at your house already!

You most likely have most of the ingredients at your house already!

 Here's How Easy It Is:

2 cups plus 2 Tablespoons dry sherry
3 whole chicken breasts, split and boned
2 cloves garlic (I use two spoonfuls of minced)
3 Tablespoons olive oil
3 cups fresh spinach leaves, shredded
2 cups coarsely chopped mushrooms
1/3 cup sliced green onions
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups prepared Ken's Italian salad dressing
1 cup Italian seasoned dry bread crumbs
1/3 cup grated Romano cheese
Steamed fresh asparagus on the side (I know the picture shows it inside the chicken.) 

What to Do:

- Pour 2 cups sherry into a large, shallow dish.  Add chicken, turning to coat.  Cover; marinate in fridge - 3 hours.

- Chop garlic until minced. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, spinach, mushrooms, green onions, salt, pepper, and remaining 2 Tablespoons sherry. Cook and stir 3 to 5 minutes or until spinach is completely wilted; cool spinach mixture.- Place dressing in another shallow dish; set aside.  Combine breadcrumbs with Romano cheese in shallow dish; set aside.  Preheat oven to 375.

- Remove chicken from marinade; discard marinade.  Slice a pocket into side of each chicken breast where breasts were originally attached.

- Fill pockets in chicken with spinach mixture.

- Secure pockets with wooden toothpicks to enclose mixtures. 

- Coat each filled chicken breast with dressing, shaking off excess.  Place each chicken breast in bread crumb mixture; spoon bread crumb mixture over chicken to coat.
Place chicken in single layer in greased 13x9 in. Baking pan.  Drizzle with remaining dressing.  Cover; bake 15 min.  Uncover; bake 10 minutes or until chicken is tender. Serve with asparagus. 

Makes 6 servings.

Super Protein Smoothies for Summer

Summer is here and smoothies are a great way to pack in important nutrients.  Not all smoothies are good for us so why not make your own? You can easily control what goes into them and your body.

* Don't forget to add 2 1/2 cups of ice

School's out for summer, so I have time create, and try different protein smoothies.  These are just some of the fun recipes and delicious staple ingredients can be used.  Keep choosing the healthier options cause there are so many great tasting smoothies out there with important health benefits. Please e-mail me if you'd like to share any of your favorites.  I'm always on the lookout  for a great protein smoothie.

Superfood Trail Mixes For Hiking and Snacking

Trail mixes are great if you are looking for a small, quick snack to fill you up in a hurry.  They are easy to prepare, carry, and eat. Grab a handful or two, but if you are counting calories, they do add up quickly. On average, a 1/4-cup serving of trail mix has about 175 calories.

There are so many great trail mixes out there, but making your own healthy version is so easy. Plus, you get to control the ratios of cashews to goji berries or decide if you want coconut or not.  ‘Superfoods’ are getting a lot of hype these days.  Why not include a few? 

The options are really endless from: almonds, strawberries, cherries, goji berries, blueberries, mulberries, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, cashews etc.  Click here to read more about the health benefits.  The next time you’re going out for a hike or looking for a quick snack, go to your local health food store to pick up some amazing ingredients, for an amazing trail mix made by you.