long island

Lentil - Veggie Soup

When does soup season officially start in your household?  My car said it was 45 degrees outside yesterday morning when I was up and out early.  Commence souping!  

I've been focusing on natural immunity boosting this past week with my private Facebook community, Lean In with Tara Allen Health.  The omnipresent echo of late October sniffles always seem to inspire my most nurturing of recipes.  Besides the winning ingredients (garlic, spices, plants, protein) in this next recipe, the fact that it is a soup - a hot liquid - will be key in helping to fight off some germs.  When we bring a mug of something nice and hot close to our face (no burning yourself though, deal?!), the steam helps to kill off those pesky buggers that like to hang out in our nostrils and cause head colds.  So, take your time with your soup or tea or coffee and try to inhale as you canoodle with your warm cup of ANYthing. :-)

Here's a soup recipe that I happen to love.  I wanted something warming, hearty, plant-based, and free of dairy and gluten so my whole family could partake.  If it passes that taste-test for your family, make it in large batches next time around and freeze some so if/when you ARE feeling under the weather, you have this on the ready and don't even have to worry about cooking.

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***Lentil-Veggie Soup***

 

Ingredients:

 

1 pound lentils, rinsed

2 quarts broth (chicken, veggie, whatever)

1 cup onion, chopped

1 cup tomatoes, chopped

1/2 cup celery, chopped

1/2 cup carrots, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 T olive oil

2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp chili powder

 

Directions:

 

1. Pour olive oil in bottom of large saucepan on stovetop (medium heat).

2. Add carrots, celery, onion, and garlic, and cook about 5 minutes (onions should become slightly translucent).

3. Add all remaining ingredients.

4. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low.

5. Cook an additional 30-35 minutes on low.

6. Serve as is for a chunkier consistency.  Or, use an immersion blender (or transfer to a blender in batches) for a smoother consistency (picky toddlers, anyone?). ;-)

7. Freeze any leftovers that won't be eaten over the next few days.

 

FREE Webinar!

In just 3 days, I am hosting a FREE webinar - The truth about calorie-counting and what you can do instead.

This live event is for you is you find yourself jumping from diet to diet, have ever tried to count your calories or macros, or would like to learn more about your metabolism and a better way to manage portions without making you want to pull your hair out.

Is this you?  Join the group now so you're all set to pop in and catch the webinar!  If you can't make it live, the replay will be available in this group as well.

Can't wait to see you there!

In good health,

Tara

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Wine and Weight Loss

Have you ever wondered what, if anything, your beloved glass of wine at the end of a long & hard day might have to do with your weight loss efforts?

I went live on my Facebook page yesterday to discuss how your (well-deserved!) glass of pinot or merlot is messing with your fat loss efforts.  I know, I know....don't shoot the messenger!

Check out the video if you want to learn the 3 ways alcohol consumption can interfere with your weight management and body composition goals.

What's coming up???

FREE Webinar: The Truth About Calorie Counting: Why it doesn't work and what you can do instead.

Whatcha doing next Tuesday, August 22nd at 8 PM EST?  Join me LIVE as I talk about the reasons calorie counting does not work for weight loss and tell you what you can do instead!

This free webinar will be hosted inside of my Facebook group, Lean In with Tara Allen Health.  The replay will be made available there as well if you can't make it at that time.  :-)  Join now so you are all ready to watch on Tuesday!

In good health,

Tara

Pioneer Nutrition and Fitness Coaching

Some of you have been requesting more information about my new coaching program.  Most importantly, you get me as your coach.  ;-)  I am your partner, guide, educator, cheerleader, and accountability buddy.  I have partnered with another company to bring you the best of the tech world, while allowing me to focus completely on YOU and your health journey.  Along with high-quality videos, we will be communicating through the very portal where you will also view your daily lessons and workout program. 

What does this portal look like once you get started?  Well, here is a sneak peak!

This is a 12-month program.  12 months will pass whether you make a change or not.  I want you to be the person you've always imagined one year from today.  And, I want you to start seeing and feeling this progress as soon as we start working together!

Hit me up with all of your questions!  Tara@TaraAllenHealth.com

 

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

Watermelon "Cookies"

I've been on a watermelon kick lately, because…Summer.  Our latest creation involved the baby, the toddler, some fun cookie cutters, and MOST DEFINITELY a couple of baths afterwards.  ;-)

Check it out:

Squeezing Exercise in (For Busy Peeps)

I was approached by the Diabetes Council a few weeks ago to participate in an article about squeezing movement into our busiest of days.  With a little preparation and a bit of creativity, you can rack up a good amount of heart-racing, muscle-pumping exercise right there inside of the daily grind…and fun!

Interested in these tips?  Be sure to stop and read #26.  ;-) 

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.

Are you sure? Pediasure? That time when I disagreed with my kids' pediatrician...

I had an interesting experience at the pediatrician's office last week with my 1-year old.  Watch the video to find out what happened and what we plan on doing about it.

Have you ever disagreed with advice given to you for your child by his/her doc?  What did you say or do?

***Please note: I respect our pediatrician, her experience, her knowledge, and her kindness a great deal.  She's an amazing professional and mother, from what I can tell.  This in no way means that I have not or do not take other advice she gives.  However, I am very comfortable with the level of knowledge I hold in the field of nutrition.  I am also very aware of the alarmingly low amount of nutrition education given to doctors as they are coming up.  I hope that changes very soon.  Regardless, here I am trying to do my part - as a coach to my clients AND as a mother to my kiddos.  

When you know better, you do better.  Let's do better.

 

In good health,

Tara

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

Acid Blockers - Helpful or Harmful?

Acid blockers are some of the most frequently prescribed medications for GERD / reflux / heart burn.  Do you or anyone you know take these?  Although they can be helpful in certain situations for certain people for a certain (typically limited) amount of time, this is not what is seen 'in the real world'.  Watch the video for some more information about acid blockers.  As always, be sure to discuss ANY changes to your medication with your prescribing practitioner beforehand.

What types of lifestyle changes may help with your symptoms?  Feel free to reach out to me for some more tips or strategies.

In good health,

Tara

Puffed Rice Treats

Puffed Rice Treats

Puffed Rice Treats

We set out on a mission to create something new for this weekend.  With out-of-state friends coming for a visit (and one with a peanut and tree nut allergy), we decided to venture away from our usual desserts which often have nut flour or nut butter in the mix somewhere.

After seeing the packaged version of this dessert on the store shelves, I decided I would try my hand at my own version.  Puffed brown rice with no other ingredients could work as the base and sunflower seed butter would help add flavor.  Honey seemed like the perfect option to sweeten and hold it all together.

My first trial-run came out great.  So, obviously, I switched it up the real deal.  (why?!?!)  Actually, I tried to cut corners and didn't freeze them long enough before cutting and they ended up being very crumbly - but still delicious!

These are a bit sweet for me, so I plan to make them again with a lot less honey as a better (and healthier) snack option.  They may get a bit crumbly again without as much honey sticking it all together, but I don't mind the granola consistency.

***Note: Make sure to get sunflower seed butter that's not made on shared equipment in a warehouse that also makes nut butters if you're cooking for someone with food allergies.  I'm sure you all know that already!  :-/  Luckily we looked over the package together first. Although they seemed to be a hit with most, our friend with the allergy was not able to try these.  What a silly mistake!  Ugh.  Live and learn.  ;-)

Puffed Rice Treats all mixed and ready to be compacted down a bit more and frozen for a little before cutting into squares.

Puffed Rice Treats all mixed and ready to be compacted down a bit more and frozen for a little before cutting into squares.

Puffed Rice Treats

(gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free)

 

Serves 16

 

Ingredients:

 

4 cups puffed brown rice

½ cup sunflower seed butter

½ cup raw honey

 

 

Directions:

 

1.    Pour puffed rice into a large mixing bowl.

2.    In a saucepan on the stove, bring sunflower seed butter and honey to a rolling boil.  Remove from heat.

3.    Pour sunflower seed/honey into bowl with puffed rice and stir well to combine.

4.    Spoon mixture into a pan (8x8 cake pan works well) on top of parchment paper.

5.    Using a spatula (or spoon), press down hard to compact mixture.

6.    Place in the freezer for 30-60 minutes.

7.    Remove and cut into 16 squares.  J

 

Do you plan on making these?  They come together in about 5 minutes.  Then just freeze for a bit and cut up into squares and you look like you've been working hard all day in the kitchen!

Let me know how yours come out.

 

In good health,

Tara

Need more veggies? Here are 8 ways to get them in!

"…but I don't like veggies!"

"My kids would never eat that!"

"The fiber…it's no good for my belly."

"I'm saving room for dessert."  :-P

No matter the excuse, most of us know that the vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, bioflavenoids (words that just mean plant magic), fiber, and perfectly-slow-digesting carbs that come packaged in food we know as "vegetables" are really important to our overall health goals. 

So, put your big girl (or big boy) panties on and watch this video for 8 tips on increasing the amount of veggies you (and anyone you love or even mildly tolerate) consume in a day.

How do you make sure to get your leafy greens and rainbow-colored veggies in?

 

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

Spring is here - what should I eat now?

There may still be some patches on snow hunkering down here in New York, but the calendar has moved on.  Spring has SPRUNG!  Along with all of the extra cleaning, organizing, outside walks, and Summer vacation planning that people seem to always squeeze into the first week of Spring, we're usually ready to change up our food.  WIth lots of green and sprouts starting to come up this time of the year, Spring makes for the perfect time to introduce new greens into your diet.  When we are more conscious of eating in-season, we derive health-benefits from fresher and less pesticide-ridden foods, can enjoy locally grown plants, and save money (!) in the process (Remember that whole supply and demand thing from High School Economics class?).

The following is a list of vegetables that are in-season for this time of year here in the U.S.  Some of these grow year-round or are harvested during multiple seasons, so if you thought of any as Winter or Summer crops, you may not be wrong.  However, these are all great choices for *at least* March, April, and May.  

Pick up your favorites and maybe challenge yourself to try a new veggie every week or 2.  Let the Spring meal planning and cooking begin!

 

Artichokes

Arugula

Asparagus

Beets

Bok Choy

Broccoli Rabe

Brussels Sprouts

Cabbage

Carrots

Celery

Chard

Chicory

Collard Greens

Cress

Dandelion Greens

Endive

Fava Beans

Fava Greens

Fennel

Garlic

Kale

Kohlrabi

Leeks

Lettuce

Mushrooms

Mustard Greens

Nettles

Onions

Parsnips

Pea Shoots

Peas

Purslane

Radishes

Rutabagas

Scallions

Spinach

Sprouts

Turnips

 

In good health,

Tara

Marie Claire LIVE - Meal Prepping and Saving Money!

This past Tuesday, I had the opportunity to share my top tips on lowering your grocery bill and eating healthy through meal prepping LIVE on Marie Claire.  Shout out to #TheFix host, Brittney Levine and videographer, Rosa, who were as sweet as can be!  We had fun and the time FLEW!  I want to share a couple more tips with you guys that I didn't get to mention in the shoot.

1) Choose the day and time you will be going shopping.  Avoid shopping while hungry or rushed. Those hunger pangs will steer you right towards the impulse buys at the check-out counter…not wallet- (or health-) friendly.  By choosing a time when you are a bit less rushed, you will likely take a few extra minutes comparing prices and nutrition labels…key items to be successful with your shopping trip!

2) Decrease food waste.  In your planning phase, make a "use first" column that includes produce and leftovers that may go bad in the next day or two.  Be creative and find ways to use up those items before making something new.  

3) If you can't use the seen-better-days food up in time, use your freezer!  Bananas freeze well and can be thrown into smoothies or banana bread.  Veggies can be pureed into a soup and frozen that way.  What about herbs?  Divide them up into ice cube trays with some olive oil (or whatever liquid you might use them with).  This is a great tip to help your groceries last a few extra weeks and months.

What are your favorite tricks to save money while staying healthy?

Stretch and Relax….and eat muffins!

You know what I love almost as much as helping people for a living?  I love, love, LOVE, the diversity in my days and weeks.  I enjoy working one-on-one with my clients, and then heading to a corporate wellness event.  With a parent expo, speaking engagement, and LIVE (what!?!?) show all coming up in the next week, taking the time to visit my friends at National Business Capital here on Long Island last week to STRETCH and RELAX came at a good time.  Besides, it was about 12 hours after the Blizzard and everyone's tired backs needed the break!

We started with a silly little game to warm up our bodies, minds, and hearts.  Followed that up with some deep breathing and full-body stretching.  Topped it off with healthy muffins for everyone…"You get a muffin, you get a muffin, YOU get a muffin too!" (in my best Oprah voice).

Thanks for having me back, National Business Capital.  You guys rock!

Tip for you all:  Take a few minutes extra in your warm shower.  As you're washing your body, take an inventory of how things are feeling.  What's tight, what's achy?  Then after you've shampooed (or do you shampoo first?  Hmmm), do a little self-massage on tight areas and practice some range-of-motion right there under the warm stream of water.  Your muscles will be looser and more forgiving when they are warm. Plus, it's a nice quiet place to get an uninterrupted minute or two.  Well, unless you have young children.  :-/  They follow us everywhere.  

Let me know how it goes.  Disclaimer:  NO slipping allowed!  We're not talking about big, sweeping movements that should leave you off-balance, but if you're a bit unsteady on your feet, do the stretching after the shower instead.

Happy Thursday, everyone.

In good health,

Tara

Red Velvet LOVE Brownies

February is in full swing as we are approaching the middle of the month already.  How?!?  With the famous groundhog forecasting 6 more weeks of Winter, I suppose we should've been expecting the blizzard we were met with today on Long Island.

Snow and all, February is a time for love, heart-shaped everything, shades of pink and red, heart health, and lots and lots of…chocolate!!

So, what if you're on a roll with upgrading your health so far in 2017, but still looking for something that looks and tastes like an indulgence?  What if you or a family member have some food allergies / sensitivities that prevent you from being able to eat most of the store-bought or homemade recipes out there?  I hope this Red Velvet Love Brownie recipe fills that void for you!

These bad boys are gluten-free, dairy-free, high in protein and fiber, and contain healthy fats plus a full serving of veggies.  They're chocolate-y, yet low glycemic…how's that for showing your heart some love this month?!

Black beans in brownies?!?!  Yup!  They work great for texture, color, and add lots of nutrition!  

Black beans in brownies?!?!  Yup!  They work great for texture, color, and add lots of nutrition!  

Beets bring the "red velvet" hint of color while adding a bit of subtle sweetness.

Beets bring the "red velvet" hint of color while adding a bit of subtle sweetness.

Brownie batter all mixed up.

Brownie batter all mixed up.

Red Velvet Love Brownies

Ingredients:

  • 1 (15-oz) can of black beans, rinsed (BPA-free can)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup beets (sliced and cooked - either roast in oven or buy a jar)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 3 T coconut oil, melted
  • 1 T water
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup cacao powder
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened / dairy-free / gluten-free chocolate chips
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Mix wet ingredients in food processor, high-speed blender (keep scraping sides down), or with a mixer.
  4. Combine wet ingredients into bowl with dry ingredients and mix well.
  5. Pour into well-greased muffin tin or line with paper liners.  This makes adorable, round brownies with slightly crispy edges that are like getting the highly sought-after corner piece each time.  ;-)
  6. For the look pictured up top (with the heart in the middle), cut a beet slice into the heart shape and press onto top.  Other ideas for toppings include: chocolate chips, hemp seeds, walnuts, or anything else your creative mind comes up with.
  7. Bake 20-25 minutes - until edges start to pull away from muffin tin and become slightly crispy.
  8. Share with your favorite people!
Little hands couldn't wait for me to finish the photo shoot.  ;-)

Little hands couldn't wait for me to finish the photo shoot.  ;-)

Red Velvet Love Brownies with various toppings. Pictured (starting top left and going clock-wise): Walnuts, chocolate chip and hemp seeds, heart-shaped beet, chocolate chip.

Red Velvet Love Brownies with various toppings. Pictured (starting top left and going clock-wise): Walnuts, chocolate chip and hemp seeds, heart-shaped beet, chocolate chip.

Alright guys…will you dare to try these?  It is definitely "different" to bake with black beans, but they taste so chocolate-y and are healthycome on now!  Brownies for lunch, anyone?

In good health,

Tara

Raising Healthy Eaters: What about parties?

As a result of several conversations I've had with other mamas over the past week or so all about this topic, I decided it warranted a little 'air time' here.

Are you trying to raise healthy eaters?  Wanting to teach your children about the connection between what they put in their bodies and how they feel, think, and behave?  Or, maybe your kiddos have food allergies or sensitivities.  Regardless of your individual journey, it seems we all share a similar contemplative tug-of-war between our health values and the desire for our children to "fit in" at birthday parties and social events.

As a mama to a 3-year old little girl and 1-year old little boy, I'm well-aware of the fact that we've juuuuuust scratched the surface with our experiences.  We haven't had to deal with buying and sharing school lunches, parties every weekend, or trips to friends' houses without us.  We have, however, had some sticky situations: unexpected snack times at toddler classes, lunch (and dessert) served at 9 AM birthday parties, and daily snack-time at nursery school that often comes served-up with significant doses of food dye, sugar, and hydrogenated oils.

This video was shot on a whim.  It came after yet another conversation with a mama-friend of mine who was fed up with a recent and frustrating experience at birthday party which ended with her kids eating more candy in one sitting than they ever had before.

If you have 5 minutes, please watch this video and weigh in.  I want to hear from all you mamas (and dads, caregivers) out there.  What do you do?  How do you FEEL?  Is this frustrating to you?  If so, how do you manage to bridge the gap between your kiddos' health and your childrens' requests and need to feel included?  Do you BYOF (bring your own food)?

Leave your comments below…I'd love to hear from you!

In health,

Tara

Stretch and Relax

Last month I was asked to come into the very friendly and progressive company, National Business Capital, to have a bit of fun with the employees and take them through a nice stretching routine that they can implement into their busy days right at or next to their desks!  We laughed, we took deep breaths, we got the blood flowing.  I received several awesome emails afterwards letting me know about different ways in which that morning visit improved their day.  :-)

It's a new year and as such, I see many companies embracing employee wellness programs now more than ever.  Yay for 2017!  Yay for smart management!  WIth increased employee satisfaction and productivity and decreased sick days, you can see how the value and ROI far surpasses the investment.

Do you own or work for a company like this?  Do you want to see more companies - large AND small - taking time to educate and motivate their employees to take good care of their minds & bodies?  

Employee wellness programs may include stretching breaks, yoga, meditation, workout classes or personal trainers, nutrition consults, cooking demos, one-on-one health coaching, vital signs and consultations, a group sport, race, or contest.

I challenge you to speak with your boss about a potential employee wellness program being implemented or upgraded in your company.  If you ARE the boss, keep this in mind… healthy and productive employees are your biggest asset!

Pictured:  Silly activity at National Business Capital to "break the ice" before we started Stretch and Relax.  (Sorry to those I did not capture in the picture!  Next time I'll try to take more pictures).