7 easy swaps

7 Easy Swaps to Make Your Meals Healthy

7 Easy Swaps to Make Your Meals Healthy

Please welcome Guest Contributor, Brittnay Sharman.

A little bit of creativity is crucial when it comes to eating well. Rather than denying yourself or overindulging just a few tweaks here and there won’t have you missing out on anything. Turn these idea yummy ideas into habits to ensure you lead the healthiest lifestyle possible (while still enjoying it)!

Have you ever tried frozen banana in the blender? Well it is a game changer, tastes exactly like ice-cream! You’re going to learn to make some simple changes that will have you eating healthy in no time.

Homemade Muesli

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so start it off the right way.

Instead of kicking off the day with a bowl full of commercial cereal, which are sure to be filled with processed sugars and other preservatives, try having a bowl of homemade muesli as a healthy alternative!

Treat your body and taste buds the right way, by adding in your favourite fruits into your healthy homemade bowl of muesli!

Forget About the Fizzy Drinks

Fizzy drinks sure do taste good but we all know they aren’t in the slightest bit good for us. Many people tend to avoid drinking water because they think it is boring and have no flavour. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.

You could try kombucha, a fermented and sweetened tea drink. Make sure you look for a brand that is lower in sugar. Kombucha can be found at your local grocery and health food stores. You can even make your own kombucha. Soda lovers typically love kombucha because they can still get the carbonated taste they are used to.


Let’s Taco About It!

Pulled pork and tacos go together like mac and cheese! However, the cut of used for pulled pork is usually the shoulder which high in saturated fats and sodium. Instead you can try smoked pork tenderloin, it has a similar flavour and still melts in your mouth (not to mention it’s a nice lean as chicken breast).

Our families favourite tacos are piled high with avocado, cherry tomatoes, pork loin & chipotle lime. Kids love to build their own tacos, so on the table in all your ingredients in small bowls. Making your own always tastes better!

Use Steam Instead

Cooking veggies and fish by steaming them is a super healthy alternative. You retain all of their natural yummy flavours, whilst cooking them to perfection. By steaming your food, you’re adding no extra calories to your meal, making your favourite (usually unhealthy) meals, much healthier. You can top fish with flavourings like lemon and chilli and use the steam to infuse the flavours into your food.

Poach, Don’t Fry!

Poaching is another great way to cook foods you’d usually fry. Take eggs for example; if you usually fry your eggs, try poaching them next time. Cooking them in hot water means you aren’t using any oils in the cooking process.

Poached eggs are super healthy, and tasty; you aren’t covering up any of the natural flavour of the eggs with oil. As well as eggs, you can poach fish, fruit and even chicken, with scrummy results!

Make a Condiment the Star!

Have you tried making your sauces? If you have ever had a read of the back you will notice that sugar is one of the main ingredients. If you see some tomatoes on sale, why not make your own tomato sauce? Or you could try making a yummy pesto. It is great to add to pasta or as a coating on chicken.

If you looking for a creamy spread like butter, why not try avocado. It is a similar texture to butter and great to spread on flatbread or toast. It is super easy to also make salsa, hummus or even salad dressing.

We All Scream for Healthy Ice cream

We all love ice-cream, but if you have ever brought a tub and ‘accidentally’ finished the whole tub, this can help. If you see some brown bananas at the shop or have some, don’t throw them out, peel and freeze them now! When your ready for some yummy ice-cream grab them out and throw them in the blender for 1 mins -2 mins. You will find it turns into fluffy banana ice cream in no time!

It is delicious on its own, but you can add anything you love in ice-cream. You could throw in some blueberries, coconut milk or mint. You won’t believe how similar the consistency and taste is to ice cream!

Educating yourself is crucial when it comes to eating well. Rather than denying yourself or overindulging just a few tweaks here and there won’t have you missing out on anything. Turn these idea and behaviors in habits to ensure you lead the healthiest lifestyle possible (while still enjoying it)!

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How My Dog Is Getting Me Through Anxiety and Grief

how my dog Let me just tell you how my dog is getting me through one of the most difficult times of my life. Just as my family was recovering from the past year of helping my Dad through a brain injury, getting him settled into his new home, doing all we could to make sure he and my Mom were safe, taken care of, and as happy as they could be, despite the circumstances…my 57 year old brother died from complications of alcoholism.

That’s when the walls came down and I couldn’t take anymore.

Written on July 31st…11 days after my brother’s death:

I’m not gonna lie. I am struggling. This past year has done me in. And just when I realized how much had been chipped away and had made kind of a plan to get those pieces back, my brother died.

Honestly, I just want to give up. I want to hide. I want to be alone. I want to avoid anything that is remotely hard.
But I can’t do that. I am a mother. I am a wife. I am a daughter. I am a sister. I am a teacher. I am a friend.

I CAN’T HIDE.

And I feel it in my gut, my chest, my neck, my shoulders. It literally hurts to know that I can’t hide. It hurts to know that I have to do things that are hard. Then I get mad.

So I lash out. I cry. I yell. I shut down. I ignore. I medicate. I sleep.

I look so forward to sleep. Thank God I can sleep. And right when I wake up, I am tricked into thinking that I can face this day. But the first hard thing, no matter how small, brings that pain right back.

My heart starts to beat way too fast and the tightness creeps in.

Damnit. Here we go again.

Funny how things happen. Back in the beginning of June, we got a dog. We thought we deserved a reward after housing my parents for eight months and certainly wanted to treat my six year old daughter to something fun. She had endured a great deal of hard adult stuff.

The dog, originally named Rowe, is a sweet, female, three year old yellow lab. She was a stray picked up in Savannah, GA by Labrador Retriever Rescue of Florida and brought to Jacksonville, FL for a meet and greet at Petsmart. We had actually gone there to meet another chocolate lab named Libby. But Libby was younger, still puppy-like, and did not have any training. In the midst of all this doggie fun, as I was sitting on the floor, just observing, Rowe came and plopped herself in my lap and turned her belly up for a scratch. I got my husband’s attention, gave her some time with our daughter, and a week later, she was the newest member of our family.

I will admit, at first, I wondered what the heck I had done. Rowe attached herself to me. I became her person. She followed me around like a … well, a dog. I wondered, why, after just getting my parents out of my house did I just acquire another living, breathing, eating mammal who requires my attention, my time, my love, my energy?? What had I done?

Soon, I knew just what I had done and it was the best decision I could have made. The first thing we did was change her name from Rowe to Savannah. We didn’t love the name Rowe and I realized one day that it rhymes with ‘no’.  We were working hard on using her name along with commands and the idea of saying “Rowe, no” or  “No, Rowe” wasn’t going to work. So, I suggested Savannah, her old stomping grounds, and it stuck.

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The second thing we discovered was how freaking happy she is. When we wake up in the morning or come home from work, you would think we were celebrities! She greets us with such vim and vigor! She simply makes us smile and laugh, a lot.

And lastly, yes, she has made me her person. Sometimes, I complain that she is ALWAYS there. But to tell you the truth, after the anxiety of caring for my parents, and the grief of my brother’s death, I can tell you without a doubt that this dog chose me for a reason. A very sound reason. She came into our lives at exactly the right time and knew precisely what we needed: love, happiness, and laughter.

Thank you Savannah. You are an angel.

how my dog

One more thing I love about having a dog is being able to shop the pet aisle! We loved buying Savannah new toys, treats, beds, a crate, and all those fun things that come along with a fur family member. Check out Dog Product Picker for some great Christmas gift ideas for your dog. And thank you to Intellifluence and Dog Product Picker for the opportunity to write about our new family member.

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Be Careful Out There Yogis; Your Body Needs You…

Be Careful Out There Yogis; Your Body Needs You…

As I picked up one of my favorite magazines and started to flip through it, I was so excited to see an eight page article about yoga. Wow! It had lots of information, beautiful graphics, and even a map showing all the yoga studios in the area. But as I read it, I became more and more disappointed.

This ‘beginner’s guide’, in my opinion, was actually quite intimidating in itself. The information was overwhelming. The graphics were gorgeous, yet not comprehensive. The map was helpful, yet furthered my concerns.

But enough about the article. I am really not here to criticize the magazine or the article’s author. It really was a nice article and any exposure yoga receives is good. And this magazine has always been one of my favorites and still is.

What I want to do, as a Certified Integrative Yoga Therapy Instructor, is take it back several steps and offer my own ideas about starting or continuing a yoga practice.

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  1. Put safety first. Know your body and it’s limitations. Honor it. Practice the type of yoga that allows helpful and safe movement in your body, not the type that forces struggle and strain. Muscle spasms in the back often lead people to start a yoga practice. But a safe and modified yoga practice is essential in this case, or the spasms can become worse. One of the best ways to do this is to use props like blocks, bolsters, straps, blankets, and the wall. Use what you need to stay safe and feel good.
  2. Look for classes with descriptions using words like gentle, modified, slow, and well…beginners. Even if you are returning to yoga after a previous practice of intermediate, advanced, even power yoga, there is obviously a reason you took a break. Enter your new practice gradually and give yourself time to work back into it. And by all means, if you’ve never done yoga before, a gentle class suited for beginners is a must. And what’s even better is a Beginner’s Series, where you can learn the postures in detail.
  3. Do YOUR yoga. Even if you don’t know what that is yet, you do know your body, so honor it. All of your postures will look different from someone else’s and that is perfect. Your yoga. Your mat. Your choices.
  4. Try out a few different instructors and stick with the one who actually gives you instructions, cues, corrections, modifications, and positive feedback. Unfortunately, we are a dying breed. But we are out there and we want to help you.
  5. Breathe. Your body will thank you for it. It will actually move more easily and be open to new postures if you give it oxygen. Inhale deeply to open and lengthen the body. Exhale long and slow to settle into the posture. It will take a few reminders but practice will make it perfect.

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I’ve been doing yoga for 13 years now and have been certified for almost two. I was lucky enough to learn from the very best instructors in this area. When people take my class for the first time, they say things like this:

  • no one ever told me I was doing that wrong
  • you are just what I was looking for
  • I’m so glad you give instructions and corrections
  • I’ve never been sure how to do many of the poses
  • your voice is soothing and makes me comfortable
  • it feels like coming home

This list isn’t for bragging. This list tells me that I’m doing what I was trained to do. Teach yoga in a safe, positive, and friendly environment. Allow my students to practice at a level and pace suited to their needs.

I teach yoga four times a week at three different locations to a variety of ages, genders, levels, physical abilities, and personalities. My job is to serve all of them, as best as I can.

So, I ask all yoga instructors and students…please be careful out there.

And call me if you need me.

Libby Blumberg, RYT 200

904-521-7097

libby@shantimomforone.com

be careful

be careful

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how to

How to Quit Your Spending Addiction in 5 Simple Steps

How to Quit Your Spending Addiction in 5 Simple Steps

We all want to save more and spend less – but that can be tough when it’s so easy to use your money. These days, there are countless pieces of technology out there that make it simpler than ever to spend without even realizing how much cash you’re wasting. Signing up to monthly subscriptions takes a matter of minutes, and you can confirm a purchase with a tap on your smartphone screen.

So, in a world where it’s incredibly easy to form an addiction for your spending habits, how do you change your financial health for the better? Here are some simple tips to help you reduce costs and prepare for the future.

1.     Plan Your Budget and Set Savings Goals

There are few things more important when it comes to making sure that you stick to your budget plans, than having a strategy in place. Your budget is a great way to give yourself an insight into where you’re overspending, and where you can cut back to improve your savings. Just remember that you’ll need to keep track of the money you spend to keep your budget as accurate as possible. Write down, or record everything you buy, from a morning newspaper, to a fresh cup of coffee.

Additionally, while you’re setting up your budget, make sure that you have an overarching goal in place to keep you motivated when the going gets tough. Sometimes it’s harder to control your spending than you might think, a few simple goals could help to keep you inspired.

2.     Stop Eating Out

As tempting as it can be to simply grab some fast food for dinner after a long day at work or buy a sandwich from the canteen for your lunch, you can save a serious amount of money simply by using the food you buy from the grocery store. Think about how you can plan to pack your lunches for work all week, and stock up on the ingredients you’ll need in advance.

Work with your family to come up with a list of meals that you’ll want to eat in the week ahead. If it helps, try choosing a theme for certain days, like make your own pizza day on Fridays, or taco Tuesday. Alternatively, you can look into trying out new recipes with ingredients you know everyone enjoys.

3.     Ditch the Credit Cards

Credit cards can be a huge problem when you’re trying to save more and spend less. It’s easy to over-spend when you don’t have to see any cash going out of your wallet or bank account. The best thing you can do to make sure that you stay on track towards your goals, is to get rid of the credit cards and replace them with cold hard cash instead.

Figure out exactly how much money you’re going to need when you go shopping, and only take that cash amount with you. That way, you can ensure that you don’t spend any more than you planned to. If you see something extra that you want to buy, you’ll have to go back home for your card, and that will give you time to think about whether you really need the extra item.

4.     Don’t Underestimate Little Savings

When you’ve got big goals for your money, it’s easy to overlook the little savings that you can accomplish simply by giving up your morning coffee or switching your electricity or gas supplier. Many people struggle with their budget because they’re looking for big ways to make a difference all at once. However, the truth is that the best results come from the smallest changes.

When money is tight, every little saving opportunity you can find will make an impact. Whether that means cutting out coupons from your local newspaper or shopping online so you can avoid paying for petrol.

5.     Know the True Cost of Everything

Finally, whenever you’re considering making a purchase that’s not on your monthly list of essential expenses, take the time to think carefully about the “true cost” you’re agreeing to take on. A good way to do this is to calculate how many hours you’d have to work to earn the money to pay for whatever you want to buy. For instance, if you were lucky enough to make $20 an hour, and you wanted to spend $80 on a meal, you might not feel too bad about using those four hours of work.

On the other hand, if you’re only earning $10 an hour, then $80 on one meal converts to a whole day at work instead.

 

 

 

 

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Creative Kids Cultural Ideas and Activities

I am happy to share some of my thoughts as a guest blogger on cultural activities ideas for kids and the importance of multicultural games for our children. From learning about different cultures music, various foods, new languages, national sports and loads more. This really is a fun and important activity for the children to learn. Learning something culturally different has never been more important. Learning to appreciate cultural diversity is a gift to your child that they will take with them through life and reap the benefits.

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However, let’s be frank, teaching children about cultural diversity is daunting and it’s not surprising. There are so many different countries to think about, cultural norms to respect and each of those has its own style of expression within each, so yes, it can be hard just to get started, but hopefully by sharing a few easy-to-do cultural games/activities this will be a great place to start with your kids.

Why is it important to teach multicultural activities?

There is growing complexity in the world we live in and the once well-defined boundaries are now coming down, due to the ever-increasing interconnectedness of the world we live in. Therefore, equipping children with the right tools to be able to question racial slurs and national rhetoric, which is all too common all over the world is crucial for us as a whole.

 

Multicultural Games and Activities for Kids

There are fun games and cultural crafts for kids to explore which help make learning a joy. From great books exploring other countries and what makes them special to learning how to meet and greet in a different language. There are some great simple ways to get children learning while exploring creative ways to learn about the world.

Introduce kids to music from another country 

Listening to music is part of most family’s daily routines whether in the car or at home doing some house work, but when is the last time you played some music from Botswana? Or how about the Aborigine didgeridoo? Well, this simple activity is a great way to learn and share about a new sound, talk about the people and some of their cultural norms.

Eat out and get the kids trying new food from another country

We all love to eat out and kids are no different. Take the whole family to a new restaurant and try some new cuisine.

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Books that teach kids about other Countries

There are some amazing books that help children to learn about other countries and contain interesting facts about the spoken language. These explore simple ideas like: what does money look like, facts about the places and what do people from that country typically look like.

Cultural crafts for kids

By exploring racial differences through arts and crafts can be a good way of sharing the concept in a hands-on-approach. Drawing activities and making your own people with cut-out carboard can be an excellent way of showing preschoolers that we are all cut from the same cloth.

Learn the world map

The world is a big place, but with a print out of the word and some colouring pens this can be a great way to ensure they know the difference between each country.

Make a recipe for another country

Show your children how to make food is always a good idea. One fun idea is to make each dish something unique from a different country – Pizza from Italy went down well with my kids!

Listen to YouTube and hear people speaking different languages

This is a really easy activity to do with the kids and something that can be filled with laughs. I would always recommend try to pick a few good videos before go randomly selecting, but with a children filter on it’s fine.

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Conclusion

Whether multicultural activities for preschoolers or cultural crafts for older kids – there is something out there to begin exploring with your children the diversity of the world!

 

Reference:

10 Cultural Diversity Activities For Elementary Students

The Importance of Teaching Multiculturalism & Diversity

https://familymaven.io/kidsactivities/kidsactivities/14-fun-multicultural-education-activities-vzhjYA0r402Q3OsaCcVAUg

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cultural-education

 

About the Author

Matt Morrisey is a former teacher who has travelled all over the world teaching children English, from China to the UK Matt is well known. Matt’s parents are teachers and his only brother works for a children’s charity in UK.

Matt currently is a contributor at STAR WALK KIDS and loves to write about new tech toys, outdoor games for kids, parenting hacks and fun future facts for kids that range from national geographic topics to gaming at home. He loves techy drones and can’t wait until he opens his window to allow a drone to enter with an Amazon package. Not long now.

His work has been read by readers all over the world and features on blogs and websites all over the world. Matt recently decided to go back to university to do his PhD where he looks to continue his career.