Running with Kids – Family 5K {Running Fitness 5K Family Free Challenge}

So…apparently there’s this thing called running. It seems to be all the rage, and everyone’s talking about it.
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So I thought…hey…I’m gonna go with the “in” crowd. I’m gonna go running!

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Needless to say…that didn’t last too long.

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Then I managed to get myself wrapped up in this group of ladies called coaches. Fitness coaches. Me. Voted the most lazy, and I ended up running with the fit crowd.

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And when you run with the fit crowd…well…you kinda have to run.

Okay. That’s an exaggeration. I could overcome the peer pressure of all these hot, fit friends of mine doing the cool thing. I’m good. But then, I have these kids. They are getting kinda big. I’m not really sure how that happened. But all of a sudden they WANT to play sports. Say WHAT?

My daughter almost changed her mind on her chosen sport when she discovered that it involved running. Like..she was just gonna perch her pretty little self under the basket and shoot some hoops when her team was done with all that running mumbo-jumbo.

The fact that she still wants to play is proof that she’s serious…so I guess she gets to try! But first…we have to teach her how to run.

Okay…more exaggeration. But really. This girl puts molasses in January to shame. She moves at her own pace for sure. So we’re going to have to ease her into this. And me. We’re going to have to ease me into it.

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So I get this brilliant idea. Running! I’m going to start running with my kids this summer! Great idea, right?

Ask me in a couple weeks.

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But really…it’s a great idea! So…because I know myself, and I know I’ll quit…I need my support group. 😉 I’m opening up a FREE Facebook challenge group for us to talk about our progress. It will be AWESOME! And…I’ve even got some good runner friends coming to help us out. Cause you know…I don’t know the first thing about running. 😛

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Wanna join us? Go to www.tinyurl.com/kandiceschallenge and fill out my regular challenge group application, and just put in the comments that you wanna do the running with kids’ group. We start Monday…let’s do this!!!

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Ultimate Reset Final Results {Cleanse Supplements Weight Loss Nutrition Whole Foods}

Woot! I did it! Did you hear that? I DID IT! I have a really hard time sticking to things, I get bored and like to hop around. So the thought of spending money to NOT be able to eat any of the foods I love…well, let’s just say it’s no wonder it took me almost two years to decide to do this thing.

But…I did it! Yesterday was day 21 of my Ultimate Reset  , and I can honestly say I gave it everything I had! Does that mean I was perfect? Heck no! Did I cheat on my nutrition? Heck yes! But for the most part, I was pretty disciplined (a lot more than I’m used to, that’s for sure), and I got the results to prove it.

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So…you wanna hear how I did? 🙂

Energy

Before the Reset, I was SO tired all the time! It didn’t matter how much sleep I got, I couldn’t drag my butt out of  bed and I could hardly keep my eyes open after 3 pm. I was having frequent power naps in the afternoon because I just couldn’t stay awake. It was awful!

As with most cleanses, the instructions for the Reset warn you that you may feel more tired than usual during the first or second week. Considering the state I was in before I started, I was prepared for two weeks of being absolutely

To my surprise…my energy was through the ROOF! Almost within the first 24 hours my energy levels were improving, and they continued to improve throughout the entire program. There were a few sleepy days, but those usually followed a later-than-normal bedtime. It felt SO good to finally be able to function normally!

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Complexion

For about three months before the Reset, I was dealing with the WORST case of teenage-style breakouts. GROSS! I am well into my 30s, I should NOT have to put up with zits! It was SO frustrating! One of the possible side-effects of the Reset is a major breakout, due to the toxins being released from your body. I was more than a little nervous! Before the first week was halfway over, my skin was clearing up, and I hadn’t had ANY new breakouts. CRAZY! I had one minor breakout at the beginning of week 3, but it was gone in a day and my skin has been clear since.

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Cravings

Before I started, I was not only craving the crap NON-stop, but I was NOT liking the idea of any of the healthy stuff I needed. Vegetables were grossing me out, and most of the time I wasn’t even hungry. Unless there was cake. Or brownies. Or ice cream. Now THOSE made my tummy rumble! But put a plate of yummy salad in front of me and I would almost have to hold back the gag reflex. Not exactly ideal when you have to feed a family of 6 and preferably, feed them healthy.

I won’t lie and tell you I didn’t get tired of vegetables even during the Reset. After three weeks of 80% vegetables, I think most people would struggle. But, I can say that I am back to loving my veggies and getting hungry at all the right times again. If I’m hungry, it’s because it’s mealtime, not because there’s a cake in the house. And I found some AWESOME new recipes in the process that will be a regular addition to our menu. Sweet potato nachos are bomb, and this quinoa salad is so yummy and versatile!

 

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Discipline

Have I mentioned how hard it is for me to stick to something? For real, I have always struggled to follow-through with something I’ve committed to doing, so the idea of committing to 21 days of healthy eating and supplements…well, let’s just say I was skeptical.

There were certainly days where I caved and added some chicken to my vegetarian meal, or sneaked a few licks of my toddler’s ice cream cone (cause it was melting, of course!), but for the most part, I was able to restrain myself and discipline myself like I’ve never done before. And bonus? I don’t even really WANT to go hog wild now that the Reset is over. I’m pretty content to allow myself a small treat here and there, but I don’t feel like I need to get in the kitchen and bake up a huge batch of brownies.

So, there you have it…that’s my results from the Ultimate Reset. All in all, I would say it was well-worth the investment AND the efforts, because I’m feeling better than I have in months! Thanks for stopping by to check out my results! Feel free to share this with anyone who is considering a cleanse system of any kind. Many of the “easy” cleanses out there (juice, anyone?) can do more harm than good, because you’re not providing your body with the most essential nutrients. Ultimate Reset takes care of you by providing all natural supplements to support your body while ridding it of toxins, so you’re not doing more damage. So if you, or someone you know, is considering a cleanse, shoot me an email at kandie_mcd@yahoo.com and we can talk in more detail about the Reset.

Kandice

 

What’s that? You wanted MORE? Oh, you wanted to hear if I lost any weight? Shoot, I forgot that part. 😉 Let me just say that being a Fit-Minded Mama is about FAR more than the number on the scale. Being fit is a journey, and it’s a feeling. It’s not an image. Yes, I want to lose weight, and yes, I want to look amazing. BUT, it is far more important to FEEL amazing and be able to keep up with my kids on all our summer adventures. It’s priceless to have the knowledge that I can do hard things and that I CAN complete something I’ve set out to do. So while weight loss is exciting and super cool…it’s not the whole picture.

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That being said…I did lose a LITTLE weight. Not a ton, mind you, but enough to make me happy. Who wouldn’t be pretty pleased to lose eleven pounds in twenty-one days? 🙂

If you would like to know more about the Ultimate Reset, or you would like to make ME your free coach so we can work on your health and fitness goals, just fill out the form below and I’ll get back to you ASAP!

Ultimate Reset Week 2 Review {Beachbody Ultimate Reset Cleanse Review}

Well, week two is DONE! I am freaking PROUD of all that I accomplished this week. I managed to survive a camping trip. I don’t know about you, but camping is synonymous with s’mores, licorice, candy, chips, cookies, and any number of other treats/snacks that are definitely NOT allowed. My mom and I planned all our meals around what we could eat and it worked out great! I even managed to avoid having even a single lick of my kids’ square ice cream cones!

Success? I think so.

I even survived the end-of-soccer pizza party last night, to which my boys convinced me to bring dessert pizza for the treat. OREO and COOKIE DOUGH dessert pizza from our favorite pizza buffet. That was a pretty big test!

But… I did it! Not a single bite.

And you know what? I wasn’t even all that interested!

So, here’s a quick-ish, rambling, probably a little annoying, video, reviewing my week and talking about my plans for after the Reset is done. In ONE WEEK! Check it out!

 

So, there you have it! Week 2 is done, now on to week 3 and completion of one of the HARDEST things I’ve ever done! What’s the hardest thing YOU have done lately?

Kandice

**If you want more info about the Reset or 21 Day Fix and 21 Day Fix Extreme programs, just fill out the form below and I’ll get back to you ASAP!

Sweet Potato Nachos {Healthy Clean Eating Family Ideas Free Challenge}

So, after almost two weeks of eating very little other than TONS of fruits and veggies…I have to admit, I’ve gotten a little bored.

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But you know…there’s nothing better than boredom to fuel creativity! It has been super fun to branch out from the recipes in my Ultimate Reset guide book and find something else that will work. Today I decided to *finally* try a recipe that’s been floating around for awhile…with my own modifications of course. (Have I ever told you that I refuse to conform to recipes? I’m kinda a rebel that way.)

Wow.

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For real, this was so much better than I ever imagined. I didn’t even miss the normal, salty tortilla chips. I liked it so much that I’m most likely going to have it again tomorrow…after I go to the store for more sweet potatoes.

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So, since I’m coming up with some pretty freaking amazing new recipes, I think it’s high time I share them, don’t you?? 🙂 I’ve decided to host a FREE 5-day clean eating DETOX group on Facebook this week! We’re going to DETOX from all the CRAP we eat and fill up on all this delicious, whole food!
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Have you ever done a clean eating group? It’s awesome! I’ll provide you with a complete meal plan, shopping list, weekend survival tips, and tons more. We will help each other stay strong through the 5 days and celebrate our successes when it’s done!

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Wanna join us? Shoot me an email at kandie_mcd@yahoo.com OR fill out the form below and I’ll message you ASAP. The group starts Wednesday, so don’t wait!

 

Kandice

Ultimate Reset – Week 1 Progress {Beachbody Ultimate Reset Cleanse Progress Transformation Results}

So, I mentioned it in my post yesterday, but wanted to elaborate a bit more. I’m doing a 21 day cleanse called the Ultimate Reset. Might just be one of the hardest things I’ve ever done! But, it’s working! I feel so freaking good I can’t hardly believe it!

Today is day 8, so the start of week 2. I wanted to give a little more info about what I’m doing, and share my results. Check out my vid, cause that’s a whole lot easier than typing it all. 😀

Crazy, right? SIX pounds! I’m so dang excited to see what this next week brings that it’s making it a ton easier to be good. Today is the first day I haven’t had an afternoon snack (which is optional) the whole time!

And because I promised…here are my before/progress pics. This is just right before I started and today. I can’t tell you how hard it is to share that first pic. First of all….gross! Those shorts are nasty. 😛 I do NOT have a booty-short-body yet. BUT, it shows my shape well and helps me to see the progress. Still have a ways to go, but I’m happy to see the muffin top disappearing!

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All in all, I’m pretty happy with my results so far. It’s a dang good thing, cause I’d probably quit otherwise. 😛 I don’t know about you, but I need RESULTS to keep going! Stay tuned for more results as the time goes on. Two more weeks to go and I’m done with this and hopefully back to healthy habits that will get me through all the crazy summer food! Thanks for stopping by!

Kandice

If you are interested in knowing more about the Ultimate Reset, or would like MY help to keep you accountable to your health and fitness goals, complete the form below and we’ll chat!

 

Is This Real?

So…I started a new workout program on Saturday. It’s called the 21 Day Fix Extreme. Have you heard of it?
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Every time Beachbody releases a new program, I start it as soon as I can so I’m better able to recommend the right program for my challengers. So I started this the day after it arrived in the mail, with almost no clue what I was getting myself into.

I finished my first workout and thought, “Dang, that was awesome!” I was able to do the whole 30 minute workout (ONLY 30 minutes!) without quitting, which is a big deal for me. I struggle big time with cardio. And I really didn’t feel very fatigued.

So I thought…why not do more? I popped  in a Piyo disc and prepared to do a quick 20 PiYo_logo_COO_1024x1024minutes of Piyo to stretch my muscles out and prepare for an early Valentine’s Day dinner date with my man.

Yeah. About 3 minutes into the warm-up, my legs started to tremble and shiver. It was like a giant earthquake centered in my kneecaps. Clearly, Piyo was not happening.

 

Still, I felt pretty dang good. For completing the first workout in what was being proclaimed as a VERY advancedMAX30_Logo_low_res
workout, I felt pretty dang good about myself.

Now, keep in mind…I’ve just completed the ENTIRE 60 days of Insanity: Max 30. If you know anything at all about Insanity, you know this was a huge accomplishment. 21 days of Fix Extreme should be a piece of cake, right? Right?!

Then Sunday came. Help.
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As the day progressed, I realized I was in extreme peril. Stairs became like Mt Everest and the toilet…well, let’s just say I’m happy there were no witnesses.

Leg-Day

The schedule for this deceptively destructive new program called for yoga on Sunday, and I knew it would help me. I put it off, and put it off, and very nearly said “No way!” But I knew the next day was going to leave me paralyzed in pain if I didn’t stretch out those muscles.

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Luckily…yoga was 30 minutes of sweet relief. Did my legs stop hurting? No. They did just started hurting in download (1)different ways, taking my mind off the pain of the previous day’s workout. Yes, if you  had been me, you would have called it sweet relief too.

 
Monday came and I was feeling pretty determined. I even prepared to do my workout BEFORE taking the kids to school, which is unprecedented for me. I knew I had to bust it out quick before the day took over.

Open the schedule.

Plyo Fix.
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Crap.

Have you ever done a plyometrics workout? If you haven’t, you should. You really should become familiar with a form of cardiovascular exercise that is disguised as a fun, upbeat workout and in truth hides something sinister. Pain. More pain.

Still. I pushed play.

And I did the work.

Trembling legs and all.

For about 15 minutes. download (2)

Then she said the naughty B word: burpees.

I was done. I couldn’t do it. I hate to say it, but my weak and feeble mind overpowered my body.

Which must actually mean that my body is far more weak than I had assumed.

Now…a very large part to a successful round of 21 Day Fix or 21 Day Fix Extreme lies in the nutrition. Both programs come with a very specific nutrition guide in which you use color-coded portion control containers to dictate how much of which foods you can eat in a day. Generally, I really love this plan. It takes all the guesswork out of planning a healthy meal, and totally eliminates the need to count calories.

But Sunday is family day. And since my family decided to make the trek to Grandma’s house…I was weak. And I ate. And ate some more. And maybe a teensy bit more. No bueno.

Then, after my utter defeat yesterday, I allowed myself to be wooed into enjoying the treats for Family Home Evening. Not as bad as Sunday, but still…I caved. Sugar. It is my arch nemesis, my saboteur; sugar is the foe, the attacker, the opposition to all things healthy and fit in my world.

So this morning, as I stepped on the scale (I know, I know…the scale doesn’t tell the whole story.), I was more than a little petrified. Would all my hard work be for naught? Pointless pain? Useless suffering?

Here goes nothing…

Huh.

Would you look at that.

Is that right? Try again. It IS right!

Guess what? Down three pounds. In three days. After being attacked not once, not twice, but THREE times by the merciless mercenary disguised as sugar. And still down three pounds.

Whoa! This program is LEGIT! And I don’t use that word lightly, because I feel like an imposter. But for real…this program is doing EXACTLY what it was advertised to do. Burning fat, building muscle, only 30 minutes (or less, in my case) each day with simple nutrition. Wow.

I’m back in the game. Completely committed to finishing the next 18 days, and now I cannot WAIT to see my results!

Join me? YOU can do this. You  can choose from the new Extreme, if you’re more advanced in the world of fitness. Or you can start with the original 21DF…which ANYONE can do.

Join me for a 21 day health & fitness workshop, in which we’ll focus on your nutrition, add in focused workouts, and share delicious recipes that will convince your body you are NOT eating healthy, when in fact, you are!
RenewIGFill out the contact form below, or email me at kandie_mcd@yahoo.com for registration information. Can’t wait to hear those fat cells scream!

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If I Can Do This….So Can You!

I’ve had a lot of people asking me lately why I closed my photography business in favor of this new life as a coach. And even more people who consider the option of becoming a coach themselves, only to say, “No, that would never work for me like it has for you. I’m just not that into fitness.”

Um…no. It’s not like that.

I’m not the crazy, athletic, super fit girl you remember from high school. I’m the girl no one remembers because she always had her nose in a book, because she turned down the head coach on his offer to join the girls’ basketball team  (because I was tall) in favor of…well…laziness.

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And yes, it was more than laziness…I am SO shy. Most people who know me don’t believe it, but I’ve come a long way from where I was in high school and shortly after. And I still have a lot of anxiety over new places, new experience, and new people. I remember when I was a kid, I had pretty well determined that I was not ever going to college, that it just wasn’t something I wanted. Because I was TERRIFIED of doing something I’d never done before. I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom…because I was too scared at the thought of getting a job.

Here’s something vulnerable…but maybe it will prove just how timid I really am (or was). In 3rd grade I was given the opportunity to participate in a week-long cheer camp, offered by the high school cheer team. I was SO excited about it, but SO terrified. TERRIFIED. So terrified, in fact….that I wet my pants right in the middle of the first class.

scan0002  That. Was. Awful. THIRD GRADE! It’s something I’ve always remembered with a sick feeling in my stomach because it was so embarrassing. But I was THAT nervous to be in a new place with people I didn’t know, without my parents or anyone I trusted around me. Terrible.


Enter: Adulthood. I chose to enter adulthood cold-turkey and got married just three months after my high school graduation. It’s not something I would ever recommend to any other teenager, because it was HARD and I missed out on a lot of growing experiences.

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But it’s also not something I regret, because it was right for me. How do I know? Because we’re still happily married almost 14 years and 4 kids later. It was the right choice for us at the time.

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But it was hard! We stayed close to home, but even still…I stopped going to church (I was VERY active in my church and it killed me slowly to stop going.) just because I was terrified to go to a new ward for the first time in my life by myself (my husband was not active at the time). For two years I was inactive because of that fear. Ridiculous, really.

Then we did something that would change me forever. We moved away. I did NOT want to do that. I did not want to leave the security of our hometown, our families, and everything we had known our whole lives. But it was necessary for my husband to get the best education in his chosen field…so move we did. Luckily, we moved to the same area my husband’s older sister lived in with her family, so I clung to them like white on rice. Melodie helped me so much with that transition, and I’ll always be grateful for that.

Slowly, over the 2.5 years we lived there, I was able to come out of my shell. Slowly. But it helped me to become independent of my parents, which has helped me in many ways to be a stronger individual. And it helped us grow closer together as a couple, which is probably a big factor in our happiness today.

I didn’t completely overcome my trepidation during our time away, however. As soon as my husband graduated college, I begged and pleaded until he chose a job close to home, despite the major decrease in income and the need to sell our first home.

We moved back, and over the first few years I came to realize just how much I had changed. I didn’t really NEED to be with our families as much. I could feel that independence I had gained taking over. We chose to live 30 minutes away from our families, and it was the perfect combination of independence and closeness. Now we can enjoy a close relationship with our  family while still being our own family unit.

Still, even with all these advancements in my own confidence, I was still terrified at the thought of new places and experiences. I was literally sick to my stomach the first day I had to attend college courses on campus. I was 25 years old and had two children, but I was terrified to the point of being ill. And it was like that EVERY semester when I started new classes.


Okay, so what does all this have to do with coaching? Just this: If I can do it…you can do it.

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Seriously. Did you read all that ridiculous FEAR that I blabbed up there?? I was and still am terrified by new places and experiences. I still  hate talking on the telephone because I never know if I’m interrupting something or who’s going to answer, etc. I’ve come a long way toward being more confident…but that fear still remains when I encounter the need to do something new.

So, want the nitty gritty details of why coaching can be possible for anyone, including a timid introvert like me?

What can it do for me? 

There are three main areas of “influence” to coaching…at least, that’s what we’ll call it for the purpose of this discussion.

First, personal development and growth. I know…it sounds hokey. I was one who would be handed one of those “self-help” books and think it was for the hippies. SO weird, no thanks. But, as part of our training and growth in this business, we are encouraged to read at least 10 pages in a personal development book each day. For most of us, once we get started it turns into an hour or more a day because we love it so much.

The result? You learn a great deal about yourself, your areas of strength and weakness and how to improve in both. You learn how to deal with other people in a more friendly, positive way, irregardless of their behavior toward you. You learn how to take charge of your life and your destiny (yes, one of those hokey words) and choose what is in your future rather than just letting it happen. In short, you get put back in the driver’s seat of your own life. It is an incredible, empowering experience, and one that I would recommend to anyone…coach or not.

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Second, there is a huge personal accountability that comes with this business. When you are helping other people with their health and fitness goals, you can’t NOT keep up with your own. You can’t surround yourself daily with people who are striving to lose weight, tone up, and be healthy, without having it influence you for the better. I never would have lost as much weight as I have or stuck with any of my own programs without this accountability aspect.

And third, of course, are the financial benefits. This is the part most people want to know about right from the first. They want to know how much money they will make. Well…it’s not like that. It’s not a JOB where you are given a salary or hourly wage and you always know how much is coming to you. This is a business, and it’s going to be different  for everyone. For some, they jump in with both feet and take off from the first, and their income shows it. Others are less consistent, more hesitant to trust it or really give it their all…and their income shows it. This really is a case of “You get what you give.”

That being said, I can tell you that I have replaced the income I was earning as a photographer. I built my photography business over a period of more than 3 years. I’ve only been a coach for one year.


That’s it in a nutshell. That’s my PROOF that you can do this. I don’t CARE what your personal weaknesses are. I guarantee there’s another successful coach somewhere in our organization who has dealt with something similar and overcome it. The point is that this business offers a new life, it offers hope for those dreams you gave up on long ago. It offers an opportunity for you to change who you are and become something you CHOOSE to become, rather than just letting life happen.

If I can do this. . . so can you.

If you would like to learn more about coaching, head over and fill out this quick form so I can get to know YOU a little better. I’ll get in touch ASAP and take the time to answer all of YOUR questions! This is not a journey you will ever have to take alone!

I DARE you to consider this. I dare you to dream a little more than you have in years. I dare you to believe that there is something incredible in your future.

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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!

Kandice

 

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?

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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!

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  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!

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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!