Top Holiday Swag for Aspiring Young Athletes

 

Top Holiday Swag for Aspiring Young Athletes

 

Shopping for holiday gifts for teens and kids can leave even the most connected parent feeling stumped. Keeping up with current trends can seem impossible, but if the kids on your holiday shopping list are athletes, you may have a little more luck. Finding gear that keeps your kids active while keeping them looking sharp can be simple if you know what to look for. Here are some of the hottest holiday gifts that your student-athlete will love — and actually use.

 

On Point Presents for High School Athletes

 

If you have a rising sports star on your holiday shopping list, you can score extra points by picking up gifts that will improve their performance. For the basketball players in your life, sporting the latest and greatest shoes will help them stand out on and off the court, but having good shoes can prevent injuries as well. A quality pair of basketball shoes will allow your player to hustle across the court, make quick pivots, and stay balanced on slick surfaces. Some of the best basketball kicks you can get right now include Nike Men’s Air Max Audacity and Adidas Performance Men’s Crazy Explosive basketball shoes. Got some female ballers on your list? Well, they no longer need to feel left out or stuck with less stylish options. LeBron James teamed up with Nike to create his very first women’s shoe to keep female players fresh on the court. These sneakers are all about female empowerment, so your girls are sure to love them.

 

Fitness Trackers for Exercise Enthusiasts

 

For young athletes, success is all about consistent training. The kids on your list who are passionate about sports and other physical activity are also likely to be passionate about their health and performance. That is a good thing, and a habit you want to encourage in your kids and younger family members. Childhood obesity is an ever-present epidemic among American children as television and smartphones keep more kids indoors and on the couch. But you can use an interest in technology to further fuel that interest in sports. Fitness trackers connect to those favorite devices and give your kids information on their movement, heart rate, and even sleeping habits. Unlike smartwatches, some trackers tend to be less expensive too, so you won’t be too stressed if your kids lose or damage their new gadget. However, if you do feel like splurging on a smartwatch, you could have the added benefit of being able to connect with your kid while he/she is on the go, without worrying about them carrying a bulky cell phone.

 

Hiking and Camping Gear for Outdoor Explorers

 

Some kids prefer to practice their passions outside, and that can come with some added benefits for their overall health. Outdoor activities, from hiking to skiing to rowing, are great ways for children to stay active and spending time in nature can also be a good way to manage mental health. Even better for students, a little fresh air can improve academic performance. So, help your kids stay in touch with their love of the great outdoors. Female hikers will love getting boots that can take them from the woods to the mall in style, all while keeping their toes dry and comfortable. A new backpack is also a fun gift option for any young athlete to help them keep their gear under control. Many backpacks can also double as a bag for school, so your child can show off their new gift when winter break is over.

 

Finding the perfect gift for your young athletes this season can be easy, so long as you know where to look for the latest styles and best gear. So, keep this article on-hand and do your homework as you start shopping, but also do a little homework on your own as well. And when all else fails, ask your kids what they would like or what would help them perform better in their athletic passions and pursuits.

 

Anya Williams

Visit  http://fitkids.info/.

 

Photo Credit: Unsplash

 

Abs After Baby

Abs After Baby

It is totally possible to have a flat stomach and have strong abdominal muscles after having a baby or two or three, even more. Taking care to build that foundation before jumping back into a crossfit program or bootcamp is so important. I understand, every mom wants to lose the baby weight super fast and fit back into the pre-baby clothing. I have been there, twice.

Keep in mind that the stress placed on the body while being pregnant can't be turned around in a very short time. Every woman at the 9th month of pregnancy will have a diastasis recti. This is the separation of the rectus abdominis muscles. I have created a video to show you how to check to see if you have a Diastasis.

Let's talk about the do's and don'ts. And building a strong core post baby. If you are only doing front loading abdominal exercises (which by the way should be avoided if you have diastasis) then you will not get back to 💯% post baby.

What are front loading ab exercises?
front planks, crunches, sit ups, no twisting (bicycles), boat pose, 100’s, mountain climbers. I think you get the picture. 😁

Side planks are definitely an exercise you want to add to your routine. You need to work your internal and external obliques as well. We want the muscles to fire equally. Being strong in one area causes an imbalance and can cause pain in other areas. Side planks can get pretty tricky!

You may think you are lined up properly and feeling the burn, but are you feeling the burn in the right places? Do you feel your back engaging? Is it your shoulder that is getting tired before your obliques?

If you are twisted in any way during the side plank you will be putting stress on the diastasis rather than fixing it and closing it. That is not what you want. Having the rectus abdominis pulled apart can make us appear to still have a belly after pregnancy. Working to make those muscles come back together and make them strong will help you to feel so much better about the way your stomach looks post baby.

This is just one exercise of course, but it is a good one! You want to make sure you are working all of your abdominal muscles to be strong all over and make sure you aren't causing more stress to your diastasis.

Take a picture of yourself or video yourself will exercising to see what you are doing. You can draw lines on yourself to see if everything is lining up correctly. Your belly button should be lined up with the center of your chest. Your hips and shoulders should be lining up together. Not having shoulders going towards the floor and hips opening up towards the ceiling which will cause a twist and stress on the diastasis.

It is completely possible to heal a diastasis and have a strong pelvic floor post baby. Looking like you are pregnant or having leaks during activities or coughing, sneezing, and laughing is not normal and can't be corrected.

Check out my Postpartum corrective exercise program  so you can start getting your pre-baby body back. The most important thing is you don't want to be living with back pain, leaks, having your belly pooching out. This is all stuff that can be correcting.

XOXO,

Candace

 

Meal Prep Week 3

Meal Prep Week 3

So technically this is week 4, but since my husband was out of town for an entire week I ended up with a lot of leftovers and meals that we did not end up making. All I did last week was make up some chicken salad to eat on during the week and make up some breakfast muffins to eat for breakfast. We had enough food for dinner each night so I didn't make up anything extra for dinner.

This week my husband is working evenings and we will not see each other much which means I don't make a ton of food since either of us usually don't eat a lot with our schedules the way they are. Maybe that is kind of strange, but when I am at home by myself with the kids we kind of just graze on food and don't eat a sit down dinner. So this is what my light week looks like for all of us.

eggI boiled eggs so our family of 4 could snack on them and take them in our lunches. The question always arises as to how to get the perfect boiled egg, am I right? Usually it is just how can I get my eggs to peel without butchering my eggs! We boil our eggs with some salt and olive oil in the pot and put a lid on the pot while boiling then turn off the burner and set them aside for a few minutes. Once they have cooled off a little we will tap them with a spoon and crack each one and let them sit about 5 minutes. This is what we believe has helped us peel the egg perfectly and easily. Now you can pour out the water and run some cold water over the eggs so you don't burn your fingers                                                                                      and start peeling. I didn't have any trouble peeling my eggs at all.

I decided to make my husband a pot roast so he could eat on that during the week to either take for lunch or eat before he goes into work. Here is a Whole 30 compliant recipe that I decided to use. You can never go wrong with a pot roast. We put in golden potatoes, carrots, and celery.

Easy Paleo Pot Roast (Whole 30 Compliant)

The other meal I decided to make is a tuna salad. I used to LOVE a tuna pasta salad my mom would make me as a child, but since I haven't eaten pasta for over 8 years I had to look up some new ways of making this delicious recipe. I decided to make ribbon zucchini and add in tuna, paleo mayo, and 2 boiled eggs.

13147409_10206578381163759_5735069280553344890_o  2 medium zucchini's                                                                     2 5 oz cans of Albacore Tuna packed in water                               2 Tbs paleo mayo (may need to adjust to your liking)                   2 boiled eggs chopped up                                                               Salt and Pepper to taste                                                                 Serve Cold

 

 

I also made a chicken salad again this week, but I decided to make my mom's chicken salad recipe this time which I absolutely love!

You will need:

  • 3 cups chicken shredded
  • 2 cups pineapple chopped
  • 1/2 cup cashews chopped
  • 1/3 cup paleo mayo

This can be served over a bed of spinach or eaten in butter lettuce leaves.

I also have put together a chicken stir fry meal that I can easily put in the skillet when I decide to make it this week. I went with cauliflower, carrots, and broccoli for my veggies and I will use coconut aminos as that is soy free and Whole 30 compliant. You can add any veggies you feel like. Here is a page that has several options:

Quick And Easy Paleo Stir-Fries

This is always such a stress release for me to have everything planned out for the week so I am not finding myself with just a few minutes to spare as I am getting ready to walk out the door in the morning only to realize I don't have anything prepared for my lunch. Make sure you have options in the fridge so you can grab them and go!

Please comment below and let me know which recipes you have absolutely loved and ones that maybe you didn't care that much for.

Happy Meal Planning!

Candace 

Meal Prep Part 2

Meal Prep Part 2 is Under Way!

Another week down prepping for my week alongside a friend. Which, let's face it, anything that you do with a friend is just going to be more fun and you get things done a lot faster! It took us about 2 hours to prep for the week and that was with 4 boys 6 years and under running around playing superheros and 1 casualty that took place. My youngest gashed his forehead somehow while playing and we doctored him up and sat with him for a bit before continuing on.

Never a dull moment!

This week I decided that I wanted to make a chicken salad to eat so I went with the below recipe. I did tweak it a bit by adding chopped up cashews and grapes. It is to die for! Just eat on top of sliced zucchini or cucumbers.

Ranch Chicken Salad Recipe {Paleo- Whole30 Compliant}

My friend Kristen suggested we look for a shepherd's pie and make a cauliflower mash as the topping. I was excited to give it a try because I haven't ever had shepherd's pie before. So I used this recipe and just replaced the sweet potatoes for a head of cauliflower. I boiled the cauliflower in water and then put in my Ninja blender along with coconut oil and I was done with my topping. We put the meal together and placed in the freezer without cooking so all we will have to do when we get home is cook it for 15-20 minutes.

Paleo Shepherd’s Pie

The next meal was decided on because we wanted to do something with zucchini noodles. We decided on a crock pot spaghetti. I placed all of the ingredients in a freezer bag except for the canned tomatoes and tomato sauce. Those are things I will add to the crockpot the morning I decide to cook the meal. I went ahead and add the zoodles to the freezer bag as well to cook in the crockpot so you there will not be a need to make anything once you get home with this meal.

Crock Pot Spaghetti Sauce with meat

I have been a little obsessed with broccoli slaw lately. I know - weird! IT... IS... SO... GOOD! Super easy to make as well. I like to eat this on nights that it is really hot and I don't feel like I can eat a heavy meal. I also like to have this for lunch. We made a pack of Whole30 approved bacon and crumbled it in our slaw, used cranberries, and chopped pecans. You can even add kale to your slaw to add another great super food!

Best of Whole30 Recipes: Pot-Luck Perfection

And the last meal is a go to for my family... Chicken Fajitas in the crockpot. I have listed a recipe that shows you baking them, however, you can throw all of the ingredients into a freezer bag with the chicken raw. The day you decide to serve this meal pull it out of the freezer and place in the fridge to thaw. You will just put it in the crockpot the morning of and when you get home it will be ready to serve. You just purchase some butter lettuce to serve the mixture on and there is your meal! You can also just put over a bed of spinach and eat as a salad which is just as good.

One-Dish Chicken Fajita Bake

I hope that you enjoy the meals I have been putting together each week. I know that my family has enjoyed them and I can definitely see a difference in how I feel because I am not stopping to get any food elsewhere during the day.

xoxo,

Candace

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Essentially Fit

My Weekly Meal Prep – Essentially Fit

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The point of meal prepping is to to help you save time during the week and also save you some money! I am ALL about saving TIME. We are super busy with the kids starting soccer practice, archery and our regular church activities that we have during the week. In order to keep from spending a lot of money on eating out I spend an hour or so prepping all of my dinners for the week on the weekend.

Now this doesn't mean that you have to cook everything ahead of time. I have an even better way to save you time. Slow cooker freezer meals! All except for 1 ingredient will go in the bag uncooked. So I took 5 different meals and chopped my veggies, added the meat, and put the spices in the bag together and then freeze them. If the recipe called for broth or cream of coconut then I left that out and will add to the crockpot the day of cooking. The night before all you do is put the meal you want to have in the fridge to thaw so before you leave in the morning you will pour the ingredients into your slow cooker and follow the directions that you wrote on the outside of the bag. Super easy! Dinner will be ready when you get home. 🙂

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Here are the recipes that I decided to create this week. I basically took the ingredients for each recipe and placed in a gallon size freezer bag with a couple of exceptions. You don't want to add the chicken stock, beef stock, cream of coconut, or kale to the bags. Oh and the guacamole you will make ahead and just place in the fridge. I decided this was going to be my first meal of the week. 😉

You will want to write yourself instructions on your freezer bag what you will need the day of, so on the Zuppa Toscana recipe I wrote: Add 4 cups chicken stock to slow cooker - Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Once cooked add coconut cream (fat at the top of coconut milk) to slow cooker and simmer about 5 minutes. Serve with crumbled bacon on top.

Give yourself the directions of what you need to add the day of in case you misplace your recipe or don't use the meal until later on down the road included quantities of each item needing to be added. Write the date you made the meal and how long it will take to cook in the slow cooker.

Paleo Zuppa Toscana

Serve this Beef Stroganoff over cauliflower rice and I am adding broccoli and you have a wonderful meal! On freezer bag write: Cook on low 6 hours, Add 1 1/4 cup beef broth, After cooked add coconut cream and mix 3 T arrowroot starch with 2 T water together then add to slow cooker and simmer for 30 minutes before serving.

Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff (Paleo, Dairy-Free, Whole 30)

I think you get the point on how I wrote instructions on the freezer bags. You don't need to cook any food ahead of time. This will save you a ton of time and you won't have to worry about what you are going to have for dinner at all! Most of these meals will serve 4-6 and you can have leftovers for lunch as well.

Seasoned Chicken, Potatoes and Green beans

The other two recipes I made are linked below.

http://www.realfoodwholelife.com/blog/slow-cooker-chicken-kale-sweet-potato-stew

http://livingmy20sdaybyday.blogspot.com/2014/02/whole30-fajitas-guacamole.html

I hope you enjoy the meals and experience how much easier it is to prep your meals before your week starts. All the headaches and time you saved by doing so and you will be rewarded for it.

Enjoy the meals and let me know if you have any questions!

Candace

Should you measure out your food?

When it comes to losing weight it can be very overwhelming. What do I eat, how much do I eat, when do I eat? All of these questions and not sure where to even start!

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There are a couple of ways to look at how to start thinking about making changes. You can decide which one will be best for you. Back in 2004 when I finally started to drop weight and it came off fairly quickly (20 pounds in 3 months) I learned how to eat based on writing down my foods and having a check list. I marked off the foods I ate from each meal as the day went by. So if I ate a large meal at breakfast that meant I didn't have a lot for lunch or dinner.

My day would look like this:

  • 2 servings of Fruit
  • 3 servings of Veggies (greens were unlimited)
  • 4 servings of Protein
  • 2 servings of Starches/Carbs
  • 1 serving of Fat
  • 2 servings of Seeds, Oils, Dressing

This is based on a 1200-1500 calorie diet. If you are feeling hungry then add more greens to your meals to start out with to see if that helps you stay full. You may need to play around with the combination of foods. Fats/Carbs/Protein mixed at each meal. You may need more veggies (good carbs) at each meal versus your protein portion or the opposite.

Now becoming familiar with what a serving is was the other challenge. Let's keep it simple!

  • 1 cup is a serving for Fruits and Veggies
  • 3/4 cup for Protein
  • 1/2 cup for Starches/Carbs
  • 1/3 cup Healthy Fats (cheese, nuts, coconut, avocado)
  • 1 Tablespoon dressing or seeds

foodmeasurements

The above chart is handy to have when you are out and about. Trying to determine how much you should eat should become fairly easy when you can use your hand as a guide for measuring. When you are at home and making a plate or packing your lunch and snacks it is good to measure things out. I am sure you are not actually aware of how much you are eating of each food.

 

This is when your eyes become open and you see how much you are actually taking in each day. What makes it even easier is when you buy containers that are already 1/2 cup or 1 cup serving sizes. That way you can pack each item in the container and not have to measure it out. You will know that you are eating the correct portions. When I am making things like a chicken salad I will put my veggies in a container, my protein in a container, mayo in my tablespoon container and mix it all together later. That way the food isn't soggy! 🙂

If you are eating almonds and a fruit as a snack it is helpful to put the almonds in a 1 ounce container (1/2 a handful) so you don't overeat your nuts. 😉 It is actually very easy to eat too much when you eat directly from the container. So pour out your food into a container to eat from instead of eating from a bag or container.

Let me know if you have any questions!

Candace