Skinny Chicken Salad {Healthy Family Recipes}

So, a couple weeks ago I had to come up with a way to cure my craving for a big chicken salad sandwich without killing my new healthy eating habits. Have you ever looked at what’s in a good chicken salad? Wowza, talk about heavy calories! So I created my own recipe using lighter ingredients. It’s not exactly perfect, and I may continue to tweak it, but it was good enough for me to scarf it down for several days in a row!


Chicken SaladMy family wasn’t quite as excited about the recipe as I was, but they don’t like any chicken salad, so I wasn’t too surprised by that. I think I’ll continue to make it and expect them to eat it, but I may mix it up for them with fun lettuce and cheese cutouts to put on their sandwiches, or give them crackers to scoop it up instead of putting it on bread.

One thing I did differently than most salads I’ve had was to add several different fruits, rather than just one. You could easily mix it up to match your tastes or be more seasonal. I think it would be yummy with nectarines instead of apples! Or apples and pecans for a delicious fall flavor.

Do you like chicken salad? Do you eat it with a fork? On a sandwich or in a wrap? Where do you get your FAVORITE chicken salad, and how much  does it run you in calories? Super curious if anyone else is a chicken salad junkie like me. 🙂

Let me know if you give the recipe a try!



Find Your Motivation

As I lay in bed this morning, the sun was coming through my window and the birds were chirping. Just a beautiful morning from the start. I was thinking about motivation and what exactly motivates me to get up, try my hardest, be my best. It’s funny because on mornings like this, I am extra motivated. I’ve realized I’m motivated by sunshine, my kids (who are sleeping soundly on this beautiful morning), my husband and my self-confidence. All of these things work together to keep me going!

Summer is winding down around here. My boys start school in one week from today. Our summer has been busy and fun-filled, and my workouts have struggled somewhat. I haven’t totally dropped the ball, but my routine is definitely not what it was a few months ago. I’m okay with that! Spending time with my family is worth it to me, but I’m realizing that I’m ready to get back at it, again. My body is ready for consistency and change! I’m recommitting today to start fresh after the summer craze. I’m not gonna lie, it won’t be easy. I like treats and I like sleeping in. Haha! It will take some serious will-power to get myself out of bed before any of my boys little eyes have opened, but it’s what I’m going to do.

Don’t let yourself think for a minute that because you got off track for a bit that you can’t get right back on and keep going! It’s never too late to change directions. Don’t worry about the treats you ate, the workout you missed or the mornings you slept. Start now. Start fresh and be happy with where you are!


5 Tips to Help Blast Belly Fat {Fitness Inspiration}

Did you know that your belly area is the first to pack on weight and the last to lose it? Did you know also that belly fat, even when a person is otherwise very fit, can cause a ton of health problems? According to a study done by the American Journal of Hypertension  “A larger waist measurement predicts the development of high blood pressure, regardless of total body fat.” Other studies have found that belly fat is linked to higher total cholesterol, insulin resistance, colorectal cancer, and diabetes.

So how do we take care of this problem area? After researching this, you can bet my Piyo CORE workout got a little extra attention today. Do we need more crunches and planks? Well, those are great for the abdominal muscles, but they aren’t necessarily going to get rid of the insulation. Belly fat is affected more by your nutrition and lifestyle than it is by your fitness level. Crazy!

Here are a few quick tips that can help you blast away the belly fat, revealing those pretty abdominal muscles you’ve been working so hard to find. Which of these tips do you think is YOUR problem area?


Looking Back {Monday Motivation}

A lot of us tend to struggle with seeing the big picture when we’re working toward a GIANT goal. Most of us know that it’s best to set smaller, incremental goals on our way to the GIANT goal, because it helps us stay motivated and have success. But if you’re like me, then when those smaller goals are reached you jump right to setting your next goal, and forget to look back. When I see that I’m not getting to my next small goal as quickly as I would like, I get discouraged and start wondering if it’s even possible.


This struggle can apply to all different kinds of goals. Financial goals, fitness or health goals, career, and family goals are all easier to reach when you take small steps. But taking these small, incremental steps makes it very easy to forget where you started! Every time you set a new “goal” on your path to the GIANT goal, your current position becomes your new “start” and you only compare with that. Hindsight may be 20/20, but you have to actually turn around and look to use that clear vision.

I have been going through this recently on my weight loss journey. I like to work in increments of 10 pounds, because it feels SO nice to see a “new” number on the scale in the tens spot. For someone who weighed in at a few pounds more than her 6’4″ husband just two years ago, it feels pretty dang awesome to see those tens “melt away” on the scale.

But then I start feeling “stuck”. I start wondering if my end  goal really is possible at all, and maybe my current weight is a good place to stop. But I KNOW that I need to lose more to be healthy, so I become frustrated with my inability to make progress.

When you can see your progress visually, there is absolutely no denying progress. As fitness coaches, we DRILL our new challengers with the need to take “before” pictures, weight and measurements. Just nine months ago I finally gave in to the regular nudges being sent my way by Micah Folsom and signed up with her as my coach. I am SO grateful to her for her persistance, and her willingness to share her own journey and be vulnerable, as well as her insistence that I take “before” pictures. Without that, I would probably still be sitting on the couch feeling sorry for myself. Instead, my life had changed completely from anything I could have imagined. 10567966_10204416807368235_336258411_n

I’m 45 pounds lighter than I was just nine months ago. I knew that already, but until I took a new picture and put it side-by-side with my starting picture, I really didn’t know that. I was too busy seeing the next step in my progress and my body’s unwillingness to reach it. But just LOOK at this! I cannot deny that I have made tremendous progress in my fitness journey in just nine months when I look at this image. And that knowledge gives me the power to push through to the next step of my goal.

Not only has my fitness journey been incredible this year, but my professional life has taken a turn around a completely blind corner into a new adventure that I never saw coming. I have come to realize that I am obsessed with the inner workings of business. Blame it on the bachelor’s degree in Business Management, but I’m constantly looking at the potential of a small company, wondering at the success of a large one, and looking for new opportunities around me. I have poured my heart and soul into a photography business for the last four years, and last year I felt like I was really enjoying the success I had worked so hard to obtain. But when I looked at the bottom line at the end of the year, I realized I had been working my tail off and sacrificing time with my family for about $4/hr. What?! I can only believe that the opportunity to become a fitness coach came to me just at the moment I needed it the most, when I was so burned out from my business and disheartened by what I now saw as a failure. I am SO blessed to be able to share these triumphs with amazing people every single day! I am grateful for the team I have to work with, all of whom inspire me with their success, their determination, and their acceptance. I am completely humbled by the progress of those who have been willing to call me “coach”, and by their gratitude for whatever assistance I have given them. There is no feeling in the world quite like the one that comes when a good friend and customer thanks you for your help and tells you how much their life has changed for the better.

What goals are you working toward? Do you set new goals at the beginning of the year, only to realize at the beginning of the next that you didn’t make an ounce of progress? Do you get frustrated by your inability to move forward in whatever journey you have started for yourself? Please take a moment and look back at where you started…I’m willing to be that it will be an eye opener, and that view will give you the strength you need to take the next step in your journey. But the most important part is taking that first step. If you want something in your life to change, it is your responsibility to make it happen.

If I can do this, anyone can do it.

If you are like me and are struggling to reach fitness goals that seem totally out of reach, I would love to help you! Just follow this link and sign up, free of charge, and we’ll start chatting about how we can make sure YOU are able to take the next step. If you would like to know more about coaching, I would like to invite YOU to join a brief Sneak Peek into Coaching group being hosted by my team. The group begins one week from today and will last just four days. In just a few minutes each day, you’ll be able to see how coaching has helped so many people, and how it could help you and bless your life as well. If you would like to join our group and learn more, click the menu above where it says “Join Fit-KNOW-logy Nation” and fill out the quick application.


Back-to-School Healthy Lunch Ideas {Healthy Family Recipes}

Hello to all our new friends from The Benson Street! We are so excited today to participate in their Back-to-School series. Can you believe we’re already preparing to send our kids back to school? Where did the summer go? Our school starts a little later than some, waiting until after Labor Day, but others I know are going  back in the next week or two, so for them it’s definitely crunch time!

I don’t know about you, but every time I happen to be in my kids’ school during the lunch hour, the old familiar smells of school lunch assault me with a giant punch in the gut. YUCK! I don’t know what ever made me think school lunch was awesome, but as a mom it grosses me out. Add to that the increasing cost of school lunch (we pay $2.10/day…how much is YOUR school lunch?), and we’re committed to taking cold lunches as much as possible. But the PB&J sandwiches (or meat and cheese for my oldest) get pretty boring, pretty quick. We struggle to find enough new ideas that are fast, easy, and store well, all while keeping the kids more interested in eating their lunch (in the ridiculous 10-15 minutes they are allotted to eat) than in talking and playing with their friends.

So, a few staples that we ALWAYS have on hand during the school year (as in, if we run out, we make a midnight-run to the grocery store or the kids won’t have a lunch) are:

  • Ritz Crackers
  • Peanut Butter
  • Fresh fruit and veggies (apples are most common, pears are next)
  • Chocolate Chips
  • Cheese
  • Tortillas

Yep, you’ll notice there wasn’t any “bread” on that list. My kids get tired of sandwiches too quickly, so we save those for occasional lunches so they’ll actually eat it! 🙂 Instead we’ll use tortillas, since they store better, don’t get moldy, we ALWAYS have fresh tortillas on hand, and they don’t get as squished in the lunch bag.

Now you have the staples, you’re all set, right? Wrong! It’s still super easy to get stuck in a rut when you’re using the same old ingredients, so here are a few of our favorites. Maybe you’ll find something new your kids will love!


  1. Peanut Butter with Apples: Have you tried it? Delicious! Send some peanut butter in a small container and let the kids dip their apples. Make it a little sweeter by mixing in some mini chocolate chips!
  2. Slice an apple and send it just like that! If you send fruit whole it’s harder for the kids to eat and would take their whole lunchtime, but a sliced apple can easily be munched down or shared with friends. Check out below for our tip on how to slice an apple and keep it fresh until lunch.
  3. Apple Slices with Cheese: I’ve heard of this combination a ton but hadn’t really tried it until recently…it’s awesome! Send the apple slices and cheese separate and let the kids build their own “sandwiches”.
  4. Crackers with Apples and Cheese…same concept as #3 but add a cracker for added crunch, salt, and fiber. The kids love making their own stacks and seeing how big a bite they can take.
  5. Cracker & Cheese Stacks: Easy peasy, like a homemade lunchable. Just send a small stack of crackers with some slices of your family’s favorite cheese and let the kids enjoy. Add a veggie or fruit to the side and they’ll have a great meal that will keep them full all day long.
  6. Peanut Butter Banana Wrap: Tortillas spread with peanut butter, with sliced banana on top, then rolled up and cut in half…awesome “sandwich” that tastes like dessert! Add a little drizzle of honey before rolling if you like your bananas green and tart like we do.
  7. Apple Cheddar Wrap: tortilla, thin apple slices and thin cheese slices (or grated cheese), rolled up and cut in half. Yum!
  8. Chocolate Peanut Butter Wrap: Replace bananas in the PB&Banana wrap with chocolate chips. This is my kids’ favorite and one they love to make themselves. Scroll down to see my daughter making her own!

You can add variety to any of these ideas with the addition of some other simple ingredients, like leftover roast or lunch meat. Add turkey to the Apple Cheddar Wrap for some extra protein, or add leftover roast to the Cracker & Cheese Stacks. Add chopped almonds to any of the peanut butter wraps for extra crunch. Or add unsweetened coconut to the peanut butter and chocolate chip blend for dipping apples. Get creative! All of these are super easy to make, so put the kids in charge of their own lunch and let them take ownership of the things they get to eat each day.

Now, have you ever struggled with sending sliced apples to school? Hate the way they turn brown and slimy, but don’t want to take the time to soak them in lemon juice? Yeah, me too. Here’s our solution:

SlicedAppleMethodSee? Easy-peasy! You can secure the apple quickly with a rubber band around the middle. Unless you’re like me and rubber bands aren’t exactly on hand, then you can toss it into a sandwich bag to keep the pieces together. It works like a charm! Another trick we’ve done to keep it all together is to slice each side, but not go all the way down, keeping the bottom attached just a little on each slice. The kids can just pull it apart when they’re ready to eat and you don’t need anything to keep it together!

Still need more ideas? Yeah, me too! So I’ve been pinning like CRAZY, and there are SO many good recipes and ideas out there. Head over to our Healthy School Lunches board on Pinterest and see all the awesomeness we’re finding! Make sure to click over to The Benson Street to see all the awesome Back-to-School goodness that has been shared all month!