healthy family

To Purell or Not To Purell...?

Now, for the more sour part.  My daughter, Magnolia, is starting Kindergarten in 2 days and one of the items on her list of school supplies was…Purell antibacterial hand sanitizer!  

Some of you may be thinking, "OK.  What's the big deal?" Others might be appalled. So, I decided to shoot a quick video all about how I feel about this and how I will be handling it.  Check out the video below!

I want to first point out that I did not get into too many details here - kept it pretty general.  There is so much more to know (like how it isn't as effective as we've been told and that it can cause infertility and estrogenic weight gain / obesity, etc.)  Rather, this video is to start the discussion and open the topic to continue to talk and / or allow you to dive into some more research on it.

If you'd like to continue the discussion on this topic, or ANYthing health / nutrition / fitness related, please head on over to my Facebook group - Lean In with Tara Allen Health - and join us.  It's a FREE resource for you.  :-)




In good health,
Tara


P.S. Are we friends on social yet?!?!  Check out my Facebook and Instagram pages and let's connect over there!

EATING MORE for weight loss

January is almost over!

How are those resolutions coming along?

I recorded a video LIVE on facebook last week that may help you with your weight loss goals AND hunger pangs.  We got into macros, portion sizes, quality foods, and how to ADD more food into your day while crowding out the junk.  This won't just help your waistline, it will help improve your overall health!

Happy Saturday,

Tara

You're Invited: 25 Tips to Stay Healthy During Holiday Travel

With Thanksgiving Day right around the corner (11 days away, to be exact), many people are finalizing plans to hit the road via plane, train, automobile, or all of the above to visit loved ones and tolerated ones alike.  :-)

Many of my clients tell me it's the hustle and bustle and travel of the holiday season that sets them back further than the actual holidays themselves when it comes to their health goals. Can you relate?  Me too!

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So, I have put something together for you!

Starting tomorrow, inside my private community on Facebook, we will be taking the whole week to talk about ways to stay on track while you make your rounds this holiday season.

To get in on the fun, join this (FREE) group of awesome ladies that are striving to take better care of themselves and their families.

Hope to see you inside the group!

In good health,

Tara

6 Easy Meal Ideas - Mix N' Match Style

Do you want to be able to make a few things on a weekend and have meals to eat for the rest of the week?  I'm not talking about the same meals every night either!

The video is complete with a baby vs. mom battle over a pen. I won, for the record.  Haha!

With just a few extra ingredients, your 1-2 hours in the kitchen on a weekend can create SIX different dinners to put on the table during the hustle and bustle of the weeknights.

Tell me, what's your favorite way to meal prep?

 

In good health,

Tara

Bringing Your Own Food

Hey Superstar (felt like an appropriate greeting for this rainy, Monday afternoon),

Have you ever tried to bring your own food somewhere and been denied?  Maybe you or your kiddos have food allergies or you're just trying to feed real food to your family?

This is something we are faced with all the time.  Usually it's no big deal - we just bring our little cooler bag everywhere with us.  However, there are some instances where outside food is not permitted.  

What do YOU do?  What has your experience been like?

Let's change the culture!  If there is a facility that cannot accommodate allergies and those looking to eat mostly unprocessed food, then they should be allowing outside food.  We're more than happy to buy silly souvenirs to make sure you make money on us.  :-P

In good health,

Tara

Super Green Protein Cookies

So here's the deal…my kids like cookies.  I like cookies.  There was a 2-for-1 deal on spirulina, and alas….the Super Green Protein Cookies recipe was born.  

I should mention, my investigative 3-year old does always double-check, "These are healthy cookies, right mama?".  Yes, of course!  And they're GREEN!  These cookies will awaken the inner Hulk in us all.  They satisfy a sweet or crunchy tooth without sending your blood sugar on a roller-coaster ride.

Spirulina is what gives these cookies its color and is a type of blue-green algae that comes packed with protein, vitamins A, K1, K2, B12, iron, chromium, and maganese.  With that fresh-from-the-ocean smell and taste, it's best to keep portions small and include it in recipes in which it can be camouflaged (such as these cookies or a smoothie).

I used goji berries too, to add texture, sweetness, and plant magic, but feel free to substitute with raisins or omit altogether.  The green-red combo was really pretty though!  I'm thinking I'll have to repost this recipe closer to the holidays for the Christmas celebrators.  (Can someone remind me?  I've got that mommy-brain-sleep-deprived thing going on).  ;-)

The key to the perfect crunch is allowing them to bake until the edges are golden-brown and then being patient enough to let them cool down on a cooling rack (or some other place where the air can get all around).

This recipe makes about 24 cookies.  I've had a lot of inquiries recently about serving sizes (more information to come on that).  To be technical, 1-2 cookies is a good serving for most… per sitting.  So just stand up and sit back down to have more.  Ha!  Wouldn't it be wonderful if it worked like that?!?!

Let me know if you try these and what you think.  The million $ question…did your kids like them?

 

In good health,

Tara

Super Green Protein Cookies

Ingredients:

 

Dry:

1.5 cups almond flour

½ cup ground flaxseeds

3 T dried goji berries (sub: raisins)

1 T hemp seeds

1 T chia seeds

1.5 tsp. spirulina powder

½ tsp. baking soda

¼ tsp. salt

 

Wet:

¼ cup coconut oil, melted

¼ cup honey

1 T vanilla

 

Directions:

1.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2.    In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients and stir well.

3.    In a medium bowl, combine all wet ingredients and stir well.

4.    Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until dough is formed.

5.    On a greased baking pan, place tablespoon-sized balls about an inch apart.  Press down / flatten slightly with a fork.

6.    Bake for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees F – until the edges are golden brown.

7.    For best results (and crunch!), allow to cool 5 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack for an additional 20-30 minutes.

27 Healthy School Snack Options

With our little threenager's impending entry into preschool, I was feeling relieved about the rumors (and downright claims) that this particular school program is known to be "strict" and "healthy" in their nutrition policies.

Awesome!  I got 99 worries, but a snack ain't one!  :-P

Then, this curious little packet arrived in the mail.  Along with doctor forms, emergency contacts, and mandatory meetings came a sheet claiming to educate parents, like myself, about what is considered a 'healthy snack'.  This…..THIS is what they wrote:

Hmmmm…..really?!?  "Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers", "animal crackers", and "graham crackers" made THEIR list!

Hmmmm…..really?!?  "Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers", "animal crackers", and "graham crackers" made THEIR list!

WHAT in the graham cracker did I just read?!?!  

A few of the items, at least, are in fact healthy.  However, my biggest problem with this list is that it comes from an authority that claims to have a superior understanding of what we *should* be feeding our children.  This means that some parents without much knowledge in nutrition may trust and follow these guidelines in hopes of nourishing their kiddos.  If goldfish and graham crackers are a healthy, everyday-type snack, what do they consider a treat?!

I do not judge others' decisions for what they feed their families, when, why, etc.  I like to believe that everyone is doing the best they know how.  I also believe this is one of my purposes in life - to help raise the bar.

After posting this list on social media a couple of weeks ago, some of you said you'd like to see me post a list of my own.  So, I am!

**The following list takes into consideration that most schools are tree nut and peanut free these days.  Although there are no overt peanuts or tree nuts in this list, many packages / ingredients will need to be double-checked to make sure they are in-line with your school's allergen policy.

Feel free to use these ideas however you see fit - to send in for snack, to combine and give as a quick meal, or just enjoy at home with your kiddos.  You will find some of these are meant to be paired together with other items on the list to balance it out, because….can you really eat hummus by itself?  ;-)  (Give me a spoon - I certainly can!)

  1. Dried chickpeas
  2. Cheese stick (organic, if possible)
  3. Fruit - apple, banana, fruit salad
  4. Sunflower seed butter
  5. Hummus
  6. Guacamole (with a squeeze of lemon or lime juice)
  7. Seed crackers (such as Mary's Gone Crackers brand)
  8. 100% whole grain crackers
  9. Raw veggies - peppers, halved grape tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, snap peas, green beans, halved olives
  10. "Chips" made from baked sweet potatoes, zucchini, beets, or kale
  11. Seaweed
  12. Homemade granola (99.9% of store-bought has added sugar)
  13. Apple "nachos" - include sunflower seed butter, hemp seeds, and coconut flakes
  14. Trail mix with just seeds and dried fruit (goji berries, raisins)
  15. Freeze-dried fruit
  16. Hardboiled eggs or deviled eggs
  17. Celery with sunflower seed butter or tahini and raisins ("ants on a log")
  18. Air-popped (organic) popcorn
  19. Seed pretzels (such as Mary's Gone Crackers brand)
  20. Yogurt (coconut or Greek - unsweetened and plain…send in fruit to dress it up)
  21. Applesauce (make yourself or buy organic with no added ingredients)
  22. Savory yogurt dip (add spices, herbs such as dill, etc.
  23. Chia seed pudding
  24. Brown rice cakes 
  25. Yogurt parfait - layer yogurt with fruit, seeds, granola, a layer of chia seed pudding, etc.
  26. A smoothie
  27. Small portion of leftovers or soup (a small thermos is helpful here)

As a special treat for holidays, birthdays, or other celebrations, consider sending in a homemade / healthy muffin or "cookies" such as those made from oats + banana.

Raw veggies are crunchy, colorful, and convenient little vehicles to get dips into little mouths.  :-)

Raw veggies are crunchy, colorful, and convenient little vehicles to get dips into little mouths.  :-)

I hope this helps!

 

In good health,

Tara

Organic Landscaping - weeding through the options

Check out my latest video in which I am asking you for help.

Weeds, and lawns, and organic landscaping…oh my!

Just another decision to make in the "real world".  Another set of priorities to reconcile.  This is life!  We want our children to have a beautiful, lush lawn to run around on, get their fair share of grass stains on, play ball on, and take their obligatory prom pictures on.  We want to have BBQs, cookouts, and fun with friends and family.  We want to sit around the (baby) pool and under the shade while we take too many pictures on our kiddos.

AND, we want to do all of this without the use of industrial pesticides.  No Monsanto.  No Glyphosate.  No thank you!

So, where does this leave us?  What to do?  This is a real question!  Please weigh in and help us with our dilemma.

P.S. We live on Long Island (New York) and are open to both organic landscaping company recommendations and DIY options.

Thanks!

In good health amongst the weeds,

Tara

Banana Sushi Shenanigans

Do you ever plan to make something really elaborate to bring to a party only to realize you have 5 minutes left to pull something together?  Please tell me it's not just me!

This weekend I was busy working hard and momming harder until nearly the time we had to leave.  That's ok!  This is where creativity shows up at just the right time.  I saw my banana hammock and knew I wanted to make something that looked and tasted fancier than it really was.  ;-)  Enter… Banana Sushi! 

P.S.  It truly took only 5 minutes to make.  Then I dropped it everywhere.  Batch #2 took another 5 minutes.  So if you're clumsy like me, allot 5 minutes (batch 1) + 5 minutes (batch 2) + 3 minutes (clean-up) = 13 minutes…still totally doable, right?! 

Side note:  This "chocolate" works for just about any chocolate-y recipe you want.  Feel free to add peanut butter too if you're feeling extra indulgent.  Just please, please, please - for the love of nut butter - make sure your peanut butter has nothing but peanuts listed in the ingredients.  Sugar, hydrogenated oils, and high fructose corn syrup have NO business being in YOUR peanut butter.  

Enjoy!

 

Banana Sushi

Ingredients:

 

Bananas

Cacao powder

Coconut oil

Honey

Hemp seeds

 

*Note: no measurements are listed because I just played around with the ingredients until I got the consistency and taste I wanted.   For me, I didn't want it to be too sweet, so I didn't use too much honey.  

 

Directions:

 

1. Cut banana in 1/4 inch slices.

2. In one bowl, mix coconut oil, cacao powder, and honey in a bowl.

3. Pour hemp seeds in a seperate bowl.

4. Dip bananas in chocolate mix until coated and then spoon hemp seeds on half of them.

5. Place coated bananas on wax paper.

6. Freeze for at least an hour before devouring.  ;-)

Banana Sushi waiting for their dip in the freezer

Banana Sushi waiting for their dip in the freezer