Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Healthy 5-Minute Lunches for the Whole Family

I’ve partnered with Stop & Shop to bring you this blog post. As always, the opinions expressed are all my own, and thank you for supporting CNC. I hope this post gives you some tasty, healthy, and easy lunch ideas for you and your family! 

Now that we’re all back to school, I wanted to share some healthy lunch ideas that the whole family will love – even the pickiest of eaters. You can quite literally whip up these lunches in a matter of minutes. Let’s just say healthy eating doesn’t get easier than this! 🙂

All of the foods and products featured are from the Stop & Shop in Norwell on Washington Street, which has an incredible selection and variety of healthy options at great prices. The Nature’s Promise line, in particular, is really affordable and includes all sorts of wholesome, good-for-you options – everything from organic foods to all kinds of products for individuals with food allergies and sensitivities.

To better learn what kids want to find in their lunch boxes this season, Stop & Shop commissioned a survey of kids and young teens between the ages of 8 and 15 throughout New England. Here are some top findings as well as some helpful back-to-school lunch tips from Stop & Shop Nutritionist, Julie Hersey, MS. RD, LDN.

MY OTHER RECIPES

  • Mom is the best: 59% of kids report their mothers make the best school lunches
  • Majority of kids bring their lunch to school: 69% percent of kids in New England bring their lunch to school at least a few times a week and 27% reporting that they bring their lunch every day
  • Variety is the spice of life: 50% of kids selected that they wish they had more lunchbox meal options and a larger variety

Back-to-school lunch tips

  • Have kids be actively involved in making their lunch as they will learn more about healthy eating
  • Pack school lunches the night before to minimize morning rush
  • Prepare extra food at dinner to have leftovers for school lunch the next day
  • Create a school lunch menu for the week and make a list of items you need to purchase
  • Look for sectioned or bento-style lunch boxes which helps with portion control and allows for a variety of food
  • Put lunch box drinks and cold food storage containers (excluding those containing milk) in the freezer the night before so they can serve as lunch icepacks
  • Be sure to put healthy options in your kids lunch box including granola bars and mixed fruit varieties for healthy snacks
  • Never pack nuts in your kid’s lunch box – even though your child may not be allergic to nuts, their classmates and lunch mates may be!

KRC Research conducted this research between August 3 and August 9, 2017 via an online survey of 849 kids, ages 8 to 15 years old.  

LUNCH IDEAS FOR KIDS

If you have little kids, you probably understand the struggle of getting them to eat healthy food. Most days, we struggle to get Quinn to eat anything at all! And, honestly, I can count on one hand how many bites of vegetables he’s eaten in the past year. He knows vegetables will make him strong (he tells us all the time), but he continues to say they’re “gross” and won’t eat them. Mal and I still reminisce about the days when Qman would eat just about anything, but…*sigh*… it is what it is, and we do our best to continue to offer healthy options and talk them up as much as possible.

Stop & Shop had a bunch of awesome options that I knew Qman would like. Right now, he’s really into anything that is “kid-sized,” so the hummus and guacamole singles were perfect. And, of course, I couldn’t pass up the Paw Patrol cheese sticks and drinkable yogurt with wild animals on them. Quinn was ALL about these products when he saw them and ate them right up! Woohoo, mom win! I kind of feel like I’m tricking Quinn into eating healthy food, but, hey, whatever works, right? Plus, I’m always pumped when food I buy for him and it doesn’t go to waste!

Read on for 3 fast, easy, and healthy lunch ideas for kids!

Nature’s Promise Organic Cereal Bar // Stonyfield YoKids Organic Smoothie // Nature’s Promise Organic Unsweetened Apple Sauce // Baby Carrots // Sabra Hummus Singles

Wholly Guacamole Mini // Baby Carrots // Annie’s Whole Wheat Bunnies // Stonyfield YoKids Organic Smoothie // Babybel Mozzarella // Apple 

Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich made on Dave’s Killer Bread // Paw Patrol Cheese Sticks // Health Warrior Chia Bar (aka “special bars” according to Quinn) // Strawberries

FYI: I found the adorable DinoBytes Sandwich Cutter in the bread aisle at Stop & Shop! 🙂

LUNCH IDEAS FOR ADULTS

You probably already know this, but I’m ALL about quick and easy meal ideas, especially if they’re healthy. This salmon salad (it also works with tuna) is one of my go-to lunches when I’m pressed for time and need a nutritious and satisfying meal.

Simple Salmon Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of wild salmon
  • chopped veggies of choice (I used cucumber and bell pepper)
  • grainy mustard
  • relish
  • salt + pepper


Directions: Drain water from salmon. Combine ingredients in a mixing bowl. Serve in a sandwich or pita, on rice cakes, chips, toast, crackers, sliced cucumbers, or your favorite veggies of choice. The options are endless!

Simple Salmon Salad // Rice Crackers // Baby Carrots // Bell Pepper // Banana // Justin’s Mini Peanut Butter Cup

Taco Cauliflower Rice Bowl // Wholly Guacamole // Apple 

This Taco Rice Cauliflower Rice Bowl is the easiest meal to throw together – and you can even make multiple batches at once and pack away for quick, grab-and-go lunches in the morning. Here’s how to make it: Steam cauliflower rice and white rice in the microwave. Meanwhile, remove the meat from the rotisserie chicken. When the rices are finished cooking, divide them between glass containers (I do a 50/50 split between cauliflower rice and white rice), top with chicken, salsa, and shredded cheese. I also typically include guacamole to complete the meal. Lunch is done!

I hope this blog post gave you guys some great ideas for planning lunches and making the whole process more enjoyable. I love that Stop & Shop makes things easy because they have everything I need to make my family’s favorite lunches!

 

Question of the Day

What are some of your favorite 5-minute lunches? 



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Testosterone Supplementation: My Primal Take

Stethoscope on notebook and pencil with TESTOSTERONE words as medical concept.After I turned 60, a routine checkup showed that I had lower-than-normal free testosterone levels. I hadn’t noticed anything that would have alerted me. No symptoms. No indication. Everything worked well. But it nagged at me. I knew testosterone did much more for a man’s health than just “build muscle”—which I had no real interest in at this point—so I decided to explore TRT, or testosterone replacement therapy.

I did a careful survey of the literature, coming away pleasantly surprised. The evidence was almost uniformly in favor, with the well-constructed studies showing major benefits for TRT. This is TRT, mind you. Not “juicing,” not steroid abuse. Restoration of biologically-appropriate levels of testosterone. Thus began my experiment….

In men with low testosterone levels, restoring those levels with TRT reduces the risk of atrial fibrillation.

In diabetic men aged 50-70, TRT improves muscle mass, reduces fat mass, and increases physical function.

In older men with low libido, TRT increases it. In men with diabetes, TRT increases libido and erection quality.

In older Japanese men, 12 months of TRT improved waist circumference, triglycerides, fasting blood sugar, body fat, and HbA1c.

Stepping back to look at the big picture, TRT starts looking even better:

Thirty-six months of TRT improves quality of life and sexual function while reducing anxiety.

In studies where TRT increases T levels to the normal range, all-cause mortality drops.

Not bad, right? Most people have a knee-jerk reaction to the notion of TRT. They think it means “cheating,” or “trying to look like one of those bodybuilding cover models.” But these are reasonable things to want as a person ages—no atrial fibrillations, an existent libido, lower body fat, strength maintenance, better metabolic health, and the ability to simply function in life. I’d go so far as to say everyone should have those things. It would take care of a lot of issues our world faces.

So, I talked to my doctor. He prescribed a small dose of supplemental testosterone, and (as I’ve mentioned on podcasts over the last few years) I began taking it.

What did I notice?

Really subtle things. My sense of “well-being” improved. Instead of ruminating on the things I wasn’t doing , I’d just move past them. Or take care of them, one way or another.

Maybe a small increase in overall energy. This wasn’t an issue, so it was difficult for me to perceive, but I think I felt a trifle more energetic throughout the day.

A boost to strength—with a caveat. It wasn’t that testosterone was making me stronger. It was giving me a more pronounced response to the training I was already doing.

Recently, I did two months without the TRT to see how I’d fare. It was fine. My free T got “up” to 6 pg and my total hit 600 ng. Free T is a little on the low end, but, again, there were no symptoms.

Using both ancient wisdom and modern science and technology, the Primal Blueprint seeks to restore ancestral metabolic health, emulate evolutionary movement patterns, and undo the damage modern living has wrought on our physiology and psychology. Testosterone levels in Western men have plummeted in the last few decades. We don’t have to just accept it.

To the extent you can find ways to improve your quality of life both short-term and long and not mess with delicate feedback loops, I suspect certain meds might be useful, like T3 for thyroid issues, despite one’s being full Primal, or metformin for life extension.

My wife, Carrie, has taken bioidentical hormones for years to deal with the symptoms of menopause. They’ve worked great for her. They weren’t available for most of human (pre)history, yet they’ve been an unequivocal boon to her life. 

I see TRT filling a similar role: as a modern tool to restore the ancestral baseline.

Just like taking antibiotics to eliminate a nasty infection you picked up at the hospital.

Just like using Meetup to find your tribe in your city.

Just like using iron barbells and weights forged in industrial metal plants run by robots to get stronger, fitter, and faster.

Being Primal is about utilizing modern tools to achieve ancestral health and wellness.

Once we hit a certain age, 50, 60, 65, “nature” doesn’t care about our ability to provide resources, hunt, fight, compete, or do any of the other things testosterone enables and enhances. That doesn’t mean we’re useless in an evolutionary sense—we still offer wisdom and leadership and grandparenting and our social support, all of which can improve the survival of our offspring—but our roles have changed. We just don’t “need” the same levels of testosterone.

That’s at a population level. Those are the selfish genes talking. We aren’t populations. We’re individuals. And as individuals, we don’t want to wither away into obsolescence. Live long, drop dead, remember?

But before you even think about TRT, confirm that you actually need it. And talk to a physician about risks, particularly if you have heart or prostate related issues.

Even if you get tested and your T and free T show up on the low end of dismal, consider other avenues you’ve been overlooking. First square away all the other factors that affect testosterone levels and ask yourself some questions. Are you sleeping 5 hours a night? Do you eat fast food every day? When’s the last time you picked up anything heavy or ran a sprint—or even taken a walk? Do you pamper yourself to the exclusion of ever feeling challenged? Do you blast the heat or air as soon as the temperature starts getting a little uncomfortable? Do you run from discomfort?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions (or “never” to the third one), your lifestyle is the problem and TRT won’t address the real issue.

We live evolutionarily aberrant lives. Even someone like me, the Primal guy himself, can’t keep up with all the lifestyle tips and optimizations. I still work a lot, maybe too much. I still stress too much. I wish I could play more. I move around a lot and have streamlined my workstation to allow constant low level movement, but at some point there’s no getting around the fact that I spend an inordinate amount of time staring into a lit-up screen. As do hundreds of millions of people every day. And this all impacts our hormones.

Whenever we critique an observational study, we point to the confounding variables you can’t control. Because there’s always something screwing with the results that the researchers can’t quantify or detect. The same goes for life: We can’t control every variable that confounds our quest for optimal health. We do our part, certainly. We take responsibility. But then we also recognize we have modern choices as well. 

TRT, or thyroid hormone, or antibiotics when you need them, or a CrossFit membership might look evolutionarily novel or synthetic at first glance, but they seek to right a wrong perpetrated on the human body, to restore a balance, to achieve your genetic destiny.

Anyway, that’s my take on testosterone replacement therapy—and use of meds or hormones in general for the purpose of restoring what was lost or taken from you. It’s a messy world, this modern one, and we can use all the help we can get.

Thanks for stopping by today. What do you think, folks? What’s your take on the subject? Have a great week.

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How ‘Bout Dem Apples

Apple picking on a misty Monday morning

Autumn is creeping in like fog over a mountain! Mazen’s class went on a field trip to Carter’s Mountain on Monday. It felt like we had the whole mountain to ourselves, and it was nice to be up there on a misty, cool morning.

Our class’s schedule started with apple picking, and we headed for the rows of Golden Delicious apples. Mazen loved hunting for “the biggest ones ever!” and we filled up two bags. Apple crisp is in our future!

Next up was a hayride! This was my favorite part of the day. The subtle jostling almost put me back to sleep!

On a clear day you can see for miles and miles.

Our class attended Apple School after this, which was a cute tour through the four seasons of apple growing. It was cute to watch the kids answer questions and make comments. Mazen was very pleased to have his mom with him in “school” and kept asking me if I was staying longer.

And, of course, we ended with a pair of apple cider donuts. These were SO good – almost cakey!

The field trip meant no school all day, so we spent our afternoon making a giant pillow fort.

He really sealed himself in!

For dinner that night we had simple lemony baked salmon (salt, pepper, garlic powder, olive oil, and lemon slices, baked at 400° for 20 minutes), plus a salad made from cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, olive oil, S+P, kale salad mix, and balsamic vinegar.

I hope you guys are having a great week!

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T-Rex Tuesday

Good morning, friends! Happy Hump Day to you!

I feel like it’s been a weird week already – anyone else? All day yesterday, I thought it was Monday, so I woke up today questioning whether it was Tuesday or Wednesday… or maybe even Thursday? Wouldn’t that be nice? My weekend actually starts a little early this week as I’m spending Friday with Qman. Friday night, we’re heading into the city (on a boat?) with friends to see David Gray and then we have a special adventure planned for Quinn on Sunday. Obviously, I am very much looking forward to the weekend! Are you looking forward to the weekend already? Any big plans?

Yesterday started bright and early with a double shot of espresso. Qman is over his clock (he won’t stay in bed until 7:00 anymore), so he was up and at ’em super early. (Related: He woke up at 5:00 AM today, but I miraculously got him back to bed.)

After coffee, I took Murphy for a walk. (If you watched my IG Stories yesterday, you saw that he was not trilled about an early-morning walk and pretty much just wanted to go back to bed. #puglife)

Once Murphy was walked, I said goodbye to Mal and then got myself and Quinn ready for the day. On school days, I let Qman pick one toy for the ride to school. Yesterday’s toy was his T-Rex Snapper.

It, of course, needed to chomp our mums before we got into the car! 🙂

Back at home, I whipped up breakfast: Scrambled eggs with onion salt, spinach, and avocado. Delicious!

Then, I got down to business. Holy To Do list. The morning actually flew by, so, before I knew it, Kerrie was on her way over to my house to work on some projects for Designed to Fit and Nutrition House. I didn’t have a ton of time for lunch, but I was exactly starving either, so I whipped up a quick smoothie.

After that, it was ALLTHEWORK.

It was also quite the frustrating day, technologically-wise.


Mid-afternoon, my stomach started to grumble, so I snacked on an Oikos Triple Zero.

And then some sugar snap peas.

When Mal got home with Quinn, we took Murphy for a walk around the neighborhood.

Have I mentioned that Murphy is a ridiculous creature?

Back at home, I whipped up dinner, which was a spinach salad with purple chopped cabbage, shredded chicken, and sliced almonds with Trader Joe’s Sesame Soy Ginger Vinaigrette. It was SO GOOD and SO EASY to make!

After we put Quinn to bed, Mal and I caught up with Big Brother (!!), and I snacked on two (I went back for a second one) rice cakes with peanut butter, ground flax, and cinnamon.

And my night concluded with lots of pug cuddles!

Question of the Day

What type of Tuesday did you have? 

What are you looking forward to this weekend?

P.S. Just a quick reminder about our webinar TONIGHT! If you’re unable to make it, be sure to still register so you can receive the recording!

Grow Your Coaching Business with Nutrition House Software
Wednesday, Sep 20, 2017
7:00 PM – 8:00 PM EDT
Join Designed to Fit Nutrition co-founders Kerrie and Tina to learn about how they scaled their one-on-one nutrition service from 20 clients to 600 in less than a year. Be the first to preview their client management system, Nutrition House Software, and find out how it can take your business to the next level!
Please feel free to share this webinar with anyone who might be interested! 🙂

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