Grab a deck of cards and be ready to get your workout on!
QUEEN = 12 MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS
KING = 12 LUNGES
JACK = 12 JUMPING JACKS
ACES = 12 BURPEES
JOKER = 12 PLANK WALK UPS
For the rest of the cards RED = SQUATS, BLACK = PUSH-UPS. The # on card dictates how many reps. For example, a BLACK 6 = 6 PUSH-UPS
Just like so many moms I know, I am totally Costco crazy! Not only is shopping in bulk a complete lifesaver, but Costco has so many amazing healthy products. And the thing I love even more than just their normal selection of healthy/clean eating ingredients is that Costco knows busy moms. They offer so many selections of convenient foods that make feeding your family not only healthier, but easier!
I’m all for you mamas that food prep every week! That is amazing and I’m seriously a little jealous of your awesomeness! Me, on the other hand, realized after years of trying to find a way to make healthy food prepping work for my family that I needed to succumb to the fact that “Food Prep Sunday” was just never going to work for us. With this realization, though, I needed to still find a way of keeping my family eating healthy with wholesome clean ingredients. This is where Costco’s amazing ability to sell healthy easy convenient foods has been one of my family’s biggest tools in keeping a pretty healthy lifestyle.
These kind of foods can sometimes be a little pricier, but I really do feel like we have a lot less waste when buying these foods in bulk at Costco. But, yes, our Costco bill can be pretty pricey. But that’s why I offset weeks that I do not shop at Costco with shopping at Aldi, which I am equally obsessed with! Aldi is a discount grocery store that offers tons of great healthy selections and is a great place to buy staples. I can usually buy a whole week of groceries for my family of 5 at Aldi for less than $80! Be sure to check out my blog about my favorite Aldi products soon!
There are so many amazing products at Costco that I want other moms to be trying out. I’ve decided to showcase 3 of my favorite Costco products monthly. Be sure to check them out and for sure leave me comments about some of your favorite Costco products.
The 3 products I decided to showcase for the month of April are the makings of a go to dinner at our house. It’s always good to have that quick easy dinner, that although easy, you can feel good feeding it to your family. Check these products out! These are things I make sure to keep on hand for those healthy but easy dinners.
#1 Love Beets: Organic Cooked Beets (found in the refrigerated section)
I found these 2 Costco trips ago and they instantly became a staple. Beets are loaded with vitamin C, fiber and potassium. I knew that I wanted to incorporate more of this superfood into our diets but didn’t really know how. I had heard people talk about how they would receive loads of beets in their co-op bundles and I was pretty much like, “Um, reasons to never join a co-op.” Not because I had anything against beets (I love super foods!), but because I had absolutely no idea how to cook them or what to do with them. Now, I’m pretty sure someone will tell me it’s so easy. But here is what I’m telling you- whether it be "I’m too busy" or "I'm just too lazy", I like things easy! And these beets are awesome because they are just that - so easy!
This pack comes with 2 individually air tight packages, each pack includes 8 already cooked beets. As long as the pack is closed they last for months but only a couple days once you open them, which makes you start adding them to stuff quick!
Since they are already cooked you can eat them raw on salads or add them to a smoothie. I like to cut them up and mix them with quinoa or whatever grain we are having with our dinner. I think they are great but the rest of my family is a little indifferent but here are my thoughts on that: I don’t care. I love to see my kids even reluctantly eating a beet because it’s good for them. They by no means hate them, it’s just not their favorite. And by eating them not only are they reaping the benefits of a superfood, they are also learning that sometimes we eat things because they are healthy for us, and not because they are our most favorite food ever! I like teaching my husband this rule as well!
#2 Path of Life: Organic Quinoa & Kale
(found in the freezer section near the pizzas)
Speaking of easy, these microwave steam packs rock! I’m a fan of a lot of quinoa based products that can be found at Costco. Since quinoa is a super dinner staple at my house, I like to have a variety of options to keep my little ones' healthy food palates liking me. If you’ve never had quinoa, it makes a great substitution to rice. But unlike rice, quinoa is complete protein, and that’s just one of it’s amazing health benefits. It’s also naturally gluten free and contains all nine essential amino acids. The Path of Life quinoa packs are so great because not only can you make one in 4 minutes in the microwave, but it is super kale heavy. Combining 2 super foods in 4 minutes!! Can’t beat that! This big bag has 5 steam packs in it. When I am making a steam pack for myself, I usually only use 1/3 and save the rest for later. Works great! Word to the wise, these are pre seasoned but if you like your food with a lot of flavor you may want to add some extra spice to accompany whatever else you are having. This is a side that I often add the above beets to. Try it, it’s so yummy!
#3 Costco Fresh Salmon
(Found with seafood in the meats department)
It was really hard for me to narrow down my first 3 Costco picks, but I finally decided to choose Costco’s fresh salmon as my last choice for April. I chose the salmon because it goes perfectly with the above choices! These 3 things together, usually with another vegetable are a dinner staple for us. We buy the 3 lb salmon filet, and then cut it up to give our family of five, three different meals. Take in mind I have little ones and I usually have my little guys share one of the smaller filets. We cook this salmon a variety of ways; from baking to pan searing. My family loves a lot of flavor, especially spicy flavors, so I use a lot of metabolism revving cayenne for seasoning. But obviously, season to your own family’s preferences. Not only is salmon loaded with protein, but it includes 2 omega 3’s. These healthy fats help with brain, nerve and eye function.
It’s so important to expose our children to a variety of healthy foods now. Sure, they aren’t going to like all of them but I promise you sometimes kids can surprise you! And by exposing them to a nutrient rich diet from a young age sets them up for a lifetime of healthy habits!
I know how hard a healthy lifestyle can be with kids around. It seems there is always a plethora of junk to eat and, trust me, I know all about how sometimes the only chance a busy mama has to eat is when she’s stealing leftover Teddy Grahams from her three year old. We’ve all been there and most likely we will all be there again. Hey, that happens sometimes. Don’t beat yourself up over it. A mom’s got to do what a mom’s got to do. But here are some easy important tips to helping reign in that snack stealing habit in:
First off, planning your daily meals from the time you wake up until the time you go to bed will become your super hero power of restraint against that mindless snacking. Have a list of go to’s for every meal and be prepared for your ever changing life!
That means pack yourself a snack when you are on the move. Have a selection of easy to eat on the go foods for all of your meals. We all know that sometimes that’s where life is going to take you and it’s when you’re not prepared that those snack stealing tendencies start to rear their ugly heads. High quality protein bars and trail mix are my go to’s!
OK, the next one may not always be the most cost efficient or least wasteful but I’ve found it works for my family. When it comes to snack foods for my kids I almost always try to buy them in individualized pre portion bags. The reason I do this is because I would notice myself mindlessly snacking when I would dish my kids out a snack. I’d give them a couple crackers and then I’d have a few. A few crackers no big deal, right? Well, it doesn’t take much to add up to a hundred calories and when you are doing that multiple times a day it really adds up. Plus, I would notice I would do it for the wrong reasons. I wasn’t eating because I was hungry, but because I could, or it was just a couple, or I didn’t want the rest of the bag to go to waste. Whatever my excuse was, it was not ever a very valid one. I do usually split up the small bags between my kids during snacks, if we aren’t on the go. This makes it less wasteful and also keeps their portion sizes in check. Added bonus!
My next tip for keeping your eating in check in a world that can sometimes be dictated by motherhood is to learn your trigger points. We all have those things. A bag of Ruffles and french onion dip or a box of Peanut Butter Patties. We all have those things that we just can’t say no to. I’m for sure not saying to never enjoy those things but I am saying that if you know if there is a bag of Doritos in your house you are going to end up eating the whole thing, well then it probably shouldn’t be in your house. The more you spend time planning your meals, the more you will become aware of those trigger points and won’t even want to put yourself in a position of becoming weak to them. For example, I love to bake. In the healthy eating preschool cooking class that I teach we make a lot of healthy baked goods. So great and fun to share with my family!! Um…not always so much!! The problem I have found is when I bake things I totally end up overeating. I think I tell myself, “I made it! I don’t want it to go to waste!” And then I eat an entire loaf of banana bread in a day! No matter how “healthy” it is, a whole loaf of banana bread in a day may be excessive. So baking things. YES, BAKING THINGS, is a trigger for me. And, yes, I still love to bake but knowing about my “problem” helps me keep things in check. I just know that when I’m going to bake I need to separate part of it for immediate eating and store/freeze the rest, or I treat my baking as a treat. I relax and enjoy what I made but try to keep in mind that just like with all treats I don’t need to go nuts.
The last tip I have for you ties in with knowing your trigger points. It’s to remember that you are your children’s teachers when it comes to growing up and living a healthy lifestyle. Remember how we talked about forgetting about all that stuff from the past? Most of us ladies have grown up with all sorts of diet, health and fitness garbage filling our heads. This is your chance to change that for your children. Be real about health and nutrition with your kids. Kids need to learn about the importance of food fueling their bodies. They also need to know the importance of making healthy choices. Fill your home with a variety of healthy foods and make that their normal lifestyle. Don’t get me wrong, my kids have had Pop Tarts before but they also have quinoa on a regular basis. It’s all about balance. A treat is a treat. Treats aren’t special if you have them all the time. Enjoy them with the special satisfaction that they aren’t something you can have all the time. That’s why they are a treat! What a great life tool to share with your children by instilling that in them in an early age!!
For the past 7 years I have been teaching a preschool cooking class to groups of 3 & 4 year olds. Cooking provides kids a variety of chances to learn all kinds of skills. We use math when counting and measuring ingredients. We use a variety of social skills, trust me when 20 3 year olds are waiting for cookies to bake they really have to work on their ability to be patient! They even use large motor skills when stirring! My total passion with this cooking class is teaching these kids about healthy foods. All of my students know that if I say we are making cookies there will for sure be some sort of "secret ingredient" that's going to turn that treat healthy!
I'm pretty sure 7 years of teaching preschoolers about nutritious eating makes me an expert on getting your little ones to at least try some of those healthy meals. What I think is so amazing about cooking class with these kids is that I don't really need to hide the fact that we are making something healthy. We talk about superfoods, macronutrients, whole grains, protein etc. They are learning the power behind making healthy eating choices. They are learning that their bodies need healthy food so that they have those big superhero muscles, strong bones to grow and most importantly all the energy they need to play and learn all day long!!
Letting kids know the power behind their eating choices at an early age can hopefully lead them into an adulthood of healthy living! Of course, the kids were super excited about making cookies. We talked about how cookies are normally a treat and that treats are ok sometimes but our body likes is to eat healthy foods more often because they give us all the things we to be strong and full of energy. But the "cool" thing about these cookies were that they were healthy at the same time! More a snack than a treat. AWESOME. We, also, talked about one of my favorite superfoods, quinoa! We talked about how it was filled with protein to help our muscles grow strong.
These cookies have very little sugar and turned out very dense, almost like a scone. They would make a great snack or even breakfast! Hope you get a chance to make them at home. They were so easy and a perfect thing to try making with your own preschooler as a helper. Kids love to help on the kitchen. The sense of pride of creating their own dish is another way to get them to take an interest in healthier foods. You'll love seeing your little one scarf down a cookie made with quinoa and they will love eating a cookie that they got to help make!
Chocolate Chip Quinoa Cookies
3/4 c quinoa
2 c whole wheat flour
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/4 c honey
1 c unsweetened vanilla soy milk
1/2 c olive oil
Dark chocolate chips
Mix together dry ingredients. Then add wet. Lastly mix in chocolate chips. These cookies get big and this should make a dozen big cookies! Scoop into balls on baking pan and bake at 350. They should be done in about 10-15 min.