All Entries For family
Whether it's the holiday season sneaking around the corner, summer activities, school functions or the busy time at work, schedules have a way of becoming a carefully balanced juggling act. As a result, getting a healthy dinner on the table often takes a back seat to social events, the kids' extracurricular activities, shopping or baking. With the help of a trusty slow cooker and a long list of recipes, though, healthy meals can still be incorporated into your evening plans in almost no time and with very little effort. Slow cooker recipes require only a few minutes of your attention—just prep, go about your day and come home to a finished, nutritious meal.
Salsa Chicken Dice a few veggies, pop open some salsa and tomatoes and you've got a meal your family will love. 178 Calories, 4g Fat, 27g Protein
Marinara Chicken & Vegetables Throw your ingredients together in the slow cooker first thing in the morning. A hearty, healthy dinner will be waiting when you get home! 177 Calories, 4g Fat, 27g Protein
Creamy Italian Chicken With its creamy base and just a touch of zesty flavor, this chicken dish is one your family will request by name.385 Calories, 13g Fat, 41g Protein
Spanish Chicken Don't think you can create a gourmet meal in a slow cooker? This roasted pepper and almond recipe begs to differ. 322 Calories, 6g Fat, 31g Protein
Buffalo Chicken Not only is this four-ingredient chicken lighter than traditional Buffalo wings, it's also more versatile. 115 Calories, 5g Fat, 16g Protein
Chicken Tortilla Soup This flavorful soup will make you rethink how you enjoy Taco Tuesday. 89 Calories, 2g Fat, 8g Protein
Chicken Stew This hearty stew is brimming with both flavor and veggies. 203 Calories, 4g Fat, 21g Protein
Orange Chicken The ingredients might not sound like they go together--orange marmalade, soy sauce and barbecue sauce--but trust us, you're going to flip for this unique mix of flavors. 318 Calories, 5g Fat, 46g Protein
Chicken & Veggie Mac & Cheese This recipe contains cheesy goodness for the kids and veggies in every bite for you. 464 Calories, 15g Fat, 26g Protein
Rotisserie Chicken Supermarket rotisserie chickens are a busy cook's best friend. When you have time to plan ahead, make your own—right in your slow cooker! 278 Calories, 12g Fat, 42g Protein
Honey Mustard Chicken A homemade honey mustard sauce takes this tender chicken recipe to the next level of deliciousness. 200 Calories, 5g Fat, 25g Protein
Bourbon Street Chicken If the idea of shredded dark meat in a sweet sauce isn't enough to convince you to make this, will the fact that the recipe has been shared more than 136,000 times help? 168 Calories, 4g Fat, 20g Protein
Click here for more healthy slow cooker chicken ideas.
How often do you use your slow cooker? What healthy slow cooker chicken recipes will you be trying?
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If your kid’s idea of cooking involves a three-step process of opening, toasting and eating a Pop-Tart, then National Kids Take Over the Kitchen Day (September 13th) was probably invented with your family in mind. If you don’t already involve your child in cooking, getting him or her started at a young age is a great way to instill healthy eating habits that can last a lifetime (looking at you, college years!). When kids learn to cook healthy meals for themselves, they will likely be less inclined to rely on fast food, delivery or frozen meals as they age. Whether your child is four or fourteen, there is a job he or she can help perform. Little ones can help with washing fresh veggies or scooping ingredients into measuring cups, while older kids can assist with more prep work and even man the stovetop, with supervision, of course.
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The family that gets active together, stays together. Bringing the family together for a day or an afternoon of movement is both fun and offers an opportunity to stay connected even when schedules are hectic. Plus, you’ll be instilling great health and fitness values in your children. Make a commitment to unleash your inner child and spend valuable quality time with those you love by trying some of these family-friendly activities.
Zoo Adventure Walk Lions and tigers and fitness, oh my! Consider taking your family to the zoo for an educational and fun way to get your move on. Track your steps and the distance covered during your zoo adventure by wearing a pedometer or using an app on your phone. Keep the kids engaged by encouraging them to count the number of steps between animal exhibits and the number of different animals they encounter. Plus, the fun doesn’t have to stop when you leave the zoo! Back at home, take turns acting out all the different animals.
Obstacle Course Earn the title of Parent (or Grandparent) of the Week by creating an obstacle course in the backyard or at a local park. All you need is outdoor chalk, a hula hoop, ball, bucket or trash can, cones and a towel to build a fun and challenging circuit. Do each station once, then repeat the entire circuit for a total of ten times through.
- Jumping Jacks 10
- Hula hoop Try to keep the hoop moving for one minute.
- Push-Ups 10-15
- Hopscotch Set up the classic game with chalk or tape.
- Basketball Bounce the basketball 10 times before throwing it into an empty bucket or trash can.
- Toe Touch Hops Reach to the sky, reach down to touch your toes, then swing arms up and jump hop to the sky. Do this 10 times.
- Cone Drills With a set of at least five rubber cones, have everyone weave in and out of the cones before running back to the first cone. Repeat this 10 times. If you don’t have cones, be creative by using water bottles or washcloths.
- Beatle Bug Sit-Ups Start on your back and then bring knees and upper body together like a bug. Stay in this position, then repeat 15 more times.
Jump Rope Grab a jump rope and spend some time in the driveway as everyone takes turns jumping. Compete to see who can jump the most consecutive times and challenge each other to try new tricks.
DIY Slip and Slide Spray a large piece of tarp with water and a little baby oil, set the hose at the top of the tarp and you’re in business. Let everyone take turns running and sliding as far as they can along the tarp. (Note: If you live in an area with water usage concerns, use a low flow of water.)
Volleyball Set up your own volleyball fun using a clothesline and ball. Choose teams and play on!
Fire Fly Run Mason jars and a setting sun are all you need for this fun nighttime activity. Hit your local park or another open space where the fireflies will be out in numbers. Run around as everyone tries to spot and catch the fireflies—just remember to let them go after you catch them.
Flashlight Tag Arm everyone with a flashlight and head to the backyard to run around as you try to ‘’tag’’ people by shining a flashlight on them.
Dance Party Gather everyone outside or in the living room for a dance party. Play each family member’s favorite songs while you all do crazy moves and express yourself through dance.
How do you get your family moving? Share you favorite family activity in the comments!
About the Author
Kim Truman is an all-around trainer and nutrition coach based in Dallas, Texas. She is well-known for her enthusiastic and motivational coaching style, as well as her high-energy workout programs. Discover more about Kim and her mission at www.kimtrumanfitness.com.
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This year, let’s do Mother’s Day the healthy way. We love delicious, leisurely brunches just as much as the next person, but how did long lines and too many pancakes become the best way to honor all that mom does? Why not show mom you love her by treating her to a healthy outing, instead? No matter where you live, there are plenty of active activities that will get your blood pumping while you spend quality time with the woman who always remembered to cut the crusts off your PB&J. (Or, if you’re a mom yourself, suggest that your kids take you out for one of these fun and healthy events this Sunday.) Read More ›
Father's Day is quickly approaching, so you might be thinking about ways to recognize the special dad in your life. Fitness-related gifts can be a unique option to the traditional tie or coffee mug. Whether you have $1 or $100 (or more) to spend this year, consider getting dad something that he can enjoy while benefitting his health at the same time! Read More ›
Every day I work hard to be a good mom. There are days where I’m proud of the job I’ve done, and other days when I’m not. I think that kind of goes with the territory. I know I’m not perfect, but I always try to make decisions based on what I think is right for my family. Some of those decisions aren’t the norm, but instead of being proud of paving my own path, recently I’ve started apologizing for them. It’s time for me to stop being sorry and start embracing my differences.
My daughter started kindergarten last month, which means I’ve been getting involved at school, going to meetings and introducing myself to other parents in her class. A few weeks ago, I went to a meeting where moms were chatting about popular meals they serve for dinner. Most of the foods they were mentioning were things my kids never eat, because admittedly, I’m pretty picky about what we have. Most of our meals don’t come from a box or fast food drive through, and I try to serve healthy foods as much as possible (leaving room for special treats now and then.) I stayed quiet through the conversation, because I didn’t want to come off as judging other parents. Every parent has their own things they focus on, and one of mine happens to be the quality of our food. When I came to pick my daughter up from a playdate a few days after this, her friend’s mom asked “What does she eat for lunch?” She named a few foods she asked if my daughter would like to eat, and my daughter had never had them before. Yes, hotdogs are on that list.
After these two experiences (as well as a few others involving the toys my children have compared to other kids), I felt the need to apologize to them. “I’m sorry that I’m different than other parents. I’m sorry I focus a lot on what you eat, and don’t just buy you everything you want the second you ask for it.” When my husband heard me doing this, he pulled me aside. “Why would you apologize for doing things for our kids that you feel are going to make them better, healthier people? Don’t be sorry for that.” The more I thought about it, the more I knew he was right. My kids eat plenty of treats, just not all-day, every day. My kids get new toys and we do lots of fun things together, even if I’m not buying the latest, most expensive gadgets on the market. I do these things because I think they are right for my family, which is why everyone makes the choices they do. I just need to get more comfortable in my own skin and not be so self-conscious about it.
The path towards a healthier lifestyle isn’t always the popular choice. Sometimes you have to turn down seconds at the dinner table, or decide against the rich dessert that everyone else is devouring. Have you ever felt the need to apologize for that, as if you’re doing something wrong? Do you apologize to family or friends for making time to work out instead of things others might like you to do? I think there’s a difference between being selfish, and just saying you’re sorry for making different choices. In the end, we all have one life to live. The way you make yours great isn’t going to be the same as everyone else, but that’s okay. That’s what makes each of us unique.
What do you think?
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My young kids like to be in control. Whether it’s what they are wearing, which toy they play with or what’s for lunch, they like to make decisions. Although it can get frustrating at times (“I’m sorry honey, we aren’t going to wear winter boots today because it’s 97 degrees outside.”) I can understand. So much of their lives are planned out for them that it’s exciting when they get to make a few choices on their own.
I’ve started involving my children more in the meal planning process. I don’t mind cooking dinner but I hate having to come up with ideas all the time. So I’ll ask them for suggestions, or give them choices to pick from, either in the planning stage or once I make the food. It doesn’t bother me to make a few different vegetables and then let them choose which ones they want. I know the food will get eaten eventually, and I like having leftovers for future meals. I find that when given the choice, they don’t usually pick just the carrots or just the green beans. They usually want a little of both, and end up eating more vegetables than they would have if there was just one. A new study of adults came to the same conclusion: variety helps increase intake. Read More ›
The topic of childhood obesity is interesting to me, both personally and professionally. My job is to help people create a healthier lifestyle, and I’m also the mother of three small children. But I’ll be honest, when I see stories on the news about the latest obesity statistics, it’s easy to start tuning out all of the depressing facts and figures. Mainstream media talks a lot about the problem (that’s become an epidemic), but not as much about the solution. What can we start doing today, right now, in our own homes and communities to help turn this around? What can we do to make sure the next generation isn’t the first one to have a shorter lifespan than their mothers and fathers? Read More ›
I often joke about the negative things motherhood has brought to my life- lack of sleep, no free time, an acceleration of the aging process, etc. The truth is, motherhood has brought an innumerable amount of positive things to my life. In addition to the great things about my kids, becoming a mom has developed a more compassionate and non-judgmental side to my personality that I might not have had otherwise. Instead of being annoyed or just walking past the mom with the screaming baby in the grocery store, I’m much more likely to ask if there’s anything I can do to help. When I see someone with a different parenting style than mine, I try hard to understand and be respectful of the fact that we aren’t all the same, instead of automatically assuming what they are doing is wrong. Read More ›
Disney began focusing on providing healthier kids' meals at their Parks and Resorts beginning back in 2006. Now kids' meals routinely include low-fat milk and carrots unless parents opt out. Disney internal statistics reveal that parents will stick with these healthier side options six out of ten times instead of requesting substitutions. With more than 12 million kids' meals served annually in Disney Parks and Resorts in the U.S. alone, the changes are making a difference in how children are eating. In September of 2010, The Walt Disney Company launched Disney Magic of Healthy Living, a national multimedia initiative to help families raise healthy, happy kids.
Last month the Walt Disney Company took another step forward in their brand commitment to healthy eating by introducing new food advertising standards. Under Disney's new standards, after 2015 all food and beverage products seeking advertisement, sponsorship, or promotion on any Disney-owned television channels (including Saturday morning programming on Disney owned ABC), radio stations, or Web sites will need to comply with the company's new nutrition criteria for programming targeting children under the age of 12.
By the end of 2012, consumers will also begin seeing the new Mickey Check symbol on Disney-licensed food products. Disney anticipates this tool will help consumers easily identify nutritious choices in stores, online and while visiting Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. Disney also updated their nutrition guidelines to reflect current federal standards and recommendations. The new criteria include not only specifics related to calories but also to reducing saturated fat, sodium, and sugar.
Let's take a closer look at the details of the Disney Nutrition Guideline Criteria to see how they stack up nutritionally.
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When I was little, I had no concept of where my food came from. I just knew that my mom went to the store and came back with lots of things for my family to eat. I never thought about the journey my food went through to make it into the store and eventually onto my plate.
Over the past few years I got interested in starting a garden. I like the idea of growing my own food, and I also like my kids being involved in the process of planting, taking care of, and eventually eating the fruits and vegetables from our own backyard. I think that gives them a much greater appreciation for what food goes through to make it to our table. Last year we started small with two container gardens. This year we are expanding to a small raised bed in the backyard (and who knows where we might go from there!) I let the kids help decide what we are going to plant and they help with watering, weeding, and picking the produce when it’s ripe. They get so excited about the food we grow, and would much rather eat it than just about anything else. It’s a great way to teach them something and develop healthy habits at the same time.
“Studies show that children are more likely to eat the foods they grow, choose at the grocery store, and/or prepare. These activities often expand the variety of foods they enjoy and can mean a wider range of nutrients consumed. It is also a good tactic for children who are picky eaters.”
My kids love helping me cook. That’s one area where I’m trying to develop more patience. I spend a fair amount of time cooking, but I like to do everything myself so that it gets done as quickly as possible. When the kids help, it slows down the process and speeds up the mess, but it’s worth it. My kids are more likely to eat something they helped make because they feel pride in it, and also because they are sure of exactly what’s in it. (“Mom can’t sneak in some mushrooms or zucchini if she knows I’m watching!”)
Whether your children learn about about food through gardening, meal preparation or just talking about healthy eating, parents are the best teachers and examples. Establishing healthy habits early will help your kids develop habits to last a lifetime. Check out Tips, Tricks and Treats to Teach Kids to Cook and A Parent’s Guide to Nutrition for Kids for more ideas.
Do you agree that healthy eating habits begin at home? How do you teach the young people in your life to develop an appreciation for healthy food?
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If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it 937 times: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day—for you, and for your kids. You just spent eight hours with no food or water. You’re dehydrated, your blood sugar is low and you have little energy. And now it’s time to hurry the kids off to school before the eight-hour workday. More so than any other point in the day, you all need nourishment. Breakfast eaters typically cruise until lunch, while beaming with energy.
Scratch those unhealthy breakfasts. Here are some healthy and quick ideas for the whole family: Read More ›
You have heard it said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. While some people question this recommendation, others have quick and healthy breakfast favorites they regularly include at the beginning of their day. Many of us enjoy a warm bowl of oatmeal during cold winter months and have created healthy recipes to tickle our taste buds. As the weather changes, some of us seek out cooler healthy breakfast alternatives like fruit smoothies, yogurt or cold cereal.
With all the food-labeling loopholes, selecting a healthy cereal can be tricky. Ignore the catchy claims on the front of the box and go straight to the nutrition facts label instead. Here's what to look for:
- Remember the "Rule of Fives": Choose cereals with at least 5 grams of fiber per serving, and less than 5 grams of sugar.
- Look for each serving to contain at least 3 grams of protein.
- Read the ingredients list. The top ingredients should be "whole wheat," or "wheat bran"—not just "wheat." These whole grains are naturally low in fat, and high in fiber.
- Avoid cereals that list hydrogenated oils, artificial dyes or colors, and chemical preservatives as ingredients—these have no place in a healthy diet!
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Have you thought about how great it would be to include your family in your pursuit to exercise more regularly? Family exercise will improve the health of your loved ones, make exercise more fun, and at the same time develop stronger connections between all of you. With a little creativity, you can find a way to make it work for everyone.
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One of my biggest pet peeves has always been people who complain about things, but never do anything to change them. For example, it’s hard for me to bite my tongue when friends complain about our political system, but never take the time to go out and vote. If you’re unhappy about something, I think you should speak up and do something to make it better instead of always just grumbling about how it’s not right. That’s why I’ve decided to do something that makes me slightly uncomfortable, but is important to me and my family. Read More ›