Tag Archives | health and wellness

How to Make Organic Instant Oatmeal for Cool Fall Mornings

I love oatmeal on cool, crisp fall mornings! Am I the only one? You can make your own organic instant oatmeal packed with flavor in a few simple steps taking your regular oatmeal from ho-hum to yum-yum. Read on to learn how you can make organic instant oatmeal and wake up to a better tomorrow.
 
Step 1: Bake It!
Preheat the oven to 350°, spread 4 cups of organic old-fashioned rolled oats on a baking sheet. Bake until lightly toasted, about 15 minutes. Let cool.
 
Step 2: Pulse It!
Pulse in a food processor until coarsely chopped.
 
Step 3: Mix It!
Mix in a cup of your favorite oatmeal add-ins such as; almonds, walnuts, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, brown sugar, and coconut.
 
Step 4: Store It!
Store in an air-tight container for up to 2 weeks.
 
Step 5: Boil It!
Stir boiling water into a cup of your organic instant oatmeal until you reach your desired consistency.
 
Step 6: Enjoy It!
Oatmeal is my favorite on a cool, crisp fall morning – top with honey too!

6 Healthy Back To School Lunchtime Snacks

 

Fall is right around the corner, and that means it’s back to school for children, teens, and young adults across the country. For parents, that means it’s time to handle getting lunches packed, balanced breakfasts on the table, and sleepyheads out of bed!

I always get a wonderful nostalgic feeling from the end of summer, back-to-school time. It always reinvigorates me and makes me excited to try new things and make changes in my life, even though my own schooldays are long past. I think part of this has definitely been from raising Eben! 

Watching him go through the process of starting a new grade each year has been so rewarding and inspiring (and now, he’s applying to Graduate School, can you believe it!) I always want to support him and his efforts at school, and part of that means making sure he’s well fed and properly fueled so his brain can do all that learning each day (at least until he leaves us!)

One of the things I like to try and do each year is come up with new types of healthy snacks. Kids always seem drawn to any kind of single-serving snacks and fun foods—just think about those awful packaged varieties that your kids have probably begged you to buy while shopping. Packing the same things all the time gets boring and doesn’t offer much variety in terms of vitamins and minerals, which only eating a broad diet can do.

If you’re stumped for new ideas when packing lunches, here are some of our favorites, which I’m sure your kids will love, too:

  • Fruit Skewers: Use whatever fruits you have on hand (melons, apples, clementines, grapes, etc.) and stick bite-sized chunks onto wooden skewers or reusable plastic or metal skewers if you want to be extra eco-conscious. These colorful snacks are fun to eat and easy to share with friends at school!

  • Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter & Pretzels: This fun, dippable snacks make eating healthy nut butter a breeze. Eben loves these so much he had already gone through the package of them before school started! Like a healthier version of Nutella, these snacks feel like an indulgence, but they’re made from high-quality, all-natural ingredients with a focus on sustainability. Definitely a winner!

  • Fruit and Vegetable Chips: Whether you choose to make these in the oven, dehydrator, or buy them from your local health food store (such a variety is available these days!), fruit or vegetable chips are a great way of making healthy eating fun and delicious for kids. The possibilities are endless: apples, sweet potatoes, kale, zucchini, eggplant, all with any combination of flavored salts, herbs, and spices.

  • Stonyfield Organics YoKids Squeezers: This squeezable yogurt is both healthy and tasty. Eben loves the Cherry and Berry flavor pack, and they never come home uneaten when I pack them in his lunch! As with all of the Stonyfield products, they are organic certified by the USDA and made with pasture-raised milk.

  • Nuts and Seeds: I buy organic nuts and seeds in bulk at Costco and pack them in Eben’s lunch every day. They are the perfect snack to grab right before a big test or for an after-lunch pick-me-up!

  • Homemade Granola Bars: Unlike their store-bought counterparts, when you make granola bars at home, you don’t need to add any processed sugars and can control exactly what goes into them. There are endless healthy granola bar recipes online, and I guarantee at least one of them can be made with whatever you have in your cupboards right now!

What about you? Do you have any favorite back-to-school snack ideas that your kids devour? Or any packing secrets or life-changing products you can’t do without? I’d love to hear about them—the more inspiration, the better!

5 Eco-Friendly Ways to Plan for Thanksgiving Dinner

Hello, Friends! I am pretty excited, Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Thanksgiving is going to look a lot different this year. Most gatherings will be super small or social distanced.

Either way, it will still be a ton of fun and work! To get you started, there are many eco-friendly ways to green your Thanksgiving dinner – all of which are easier to implement if you plan ahead. Many of these ideas will save you money and time while cutting down on the amount of waste that can accumulate from a big family dinner. Read on to learn my 5 favorite eco-friendly ways to plan your Thanksgiving dinner and start planning today!

1. Decorating 101
You don’t have to spend any money when decorating for Thanksgiving, instead use items that you already have or consider bringing natural items indoors. We always have a handful of pumpkins leftover from Halloween that we use as Thanksgiving decorations. And Eben and I like to take a nature walk to collect natural elements (pine-cones, acorns, branches, and leaves) to display as our Thanksgiving table centerpiece.

2. How Much is Enough?
It is really easy to go overboard when planning the Thanksgiving menu. Consider the dishes that you will be serving and ask yourself if you are making more than is necessary. Choose a few dishes that you are sure your guests will love and skip the rest. Also, consider which parts of Thanksgiving dinner you want to or can afford to purchase organic and whenever possible, avoid pre-packaged items.

3. Consider the Table
Do you have enough dinnerware for everyone at your dinner party? If not, consider borrowing place settings from close friends or family members instead of purchasing new. If you aren’t a china and tablecloth kind of family and choose to go with disposable place settings, choose a great compostable version that is made from 100% recycled materials.

4. Think Seasonal
When choosing fruits and vegetables for your Thanksgiving menu, think seasonal. You want to avoid purchasing produce that is imported from far away. You may consider joining a local CSA for the holiday season – not only will you have delicious, local foods to serve this Thanksgiving, but you will be supporting a local farm too.

5. Plan for Leftovers
What do you plan to do with the Thanksgiving dinner leftovers? If you are planning on sending goodies home with your guests, have glass reusable storage containers ready to go. If you made more than your family can consume, you could donate some of the leftovers to a local food bank, freeze them for later or have a menu plan for the days after Thanksgiving so all of the leftovers will be used.

How do you green your Thanksgiving dinner? I would love to hear – please share your thoughts in the comments!

5 Home Remedies That Actually Work

Many people want to know about natural home remedies that work for alleviating ailments and illnesses. For instance, kombucha, a natural fermented drink, can help kill harmful bacteria. There are other natural home remedies that work for alleviating pain and discomfort. Here are the top five to look into.

Honey

People in the U.S. get about one billion colds each year, and many people look for over-the-counter medicines to relieve their symptoms. However, they may already have a natural remedy in their kitchen cabinet. Research shows that honey is more effective at relieving cold symptoms such as a sore throat and a cough.

Tumeric

If you’re one of the 1 in 25 working-age adults in the United States who face work limitations attributed to arthritis, an ingredient in your spice rack may be able to help. Turmeric is a versatile spice from India that has been used to treat certain ailments for centuries, including arthritis. Research shows that turmeric can reduce rheumatoid arthritis inflammation. However, it’s best to talk to your healthcare provider before adding a turmeric supplement to your treatment routine.

Ginger

Ginger has been shown to relieve nausea and vomiting, and also ease stomach cramps and bloating. It’s especially helpful for women experiencing pregnancy-related nausea. Before taking any, it’s best to contact your doctor to ask about adding ginger into your daily routine.

Cherry Juice

58 million people go to a gym or health club each year, which means millions of people may be dealing with sore muscles. After a particularly tough workout, reach for cherry juice. Cherry juice has been shown to help with sore muscles, as well as reducing pain and inflammation. It’s filled with rich antioxidants that relieve pain, the most effective one being anthocyanins. Ask your doctor about incorporating raw cherry juice into your diet if your muscles are frequently sore.

Peppermint

Peppermint can bring relief for many illnesses and ailments. It can help manage the pain of headaches and migraines, clear clogged sinuses, and ease upset stomachs. It can also freshen your breath and help you sleep better. Many people drink peppermint tea because it can help alleviate these symptoms.

There are a number of natural home remedies that can alleviate uncomfortable symptoms. While it may be tempting to automatically start using these remedies in your normal routine, you should talk to your doctor about using these remedies, especially if you’re on certain medications. They’ll tell you if they’re safe to use.

6 Ways to Boost Your Health and Wellness When Working From Home

Pre-pandemic, up to 50% of the U.S. workforce held a job compatible with remote work. Now, millions of Americans are working from work for the first time. While working from home can certainly make you more productive, it can also take a toll on your health and wellbeing. The lack of physical boundaries between the domestic and the professional can leave you thinking about work when you should be relaxing.

To help give you back some self-control over your wellbeing, here are a few ways you can boost your health and wellness even while working away in your quarantined hobbit-hole.

1. Get your greens in

When you’re working from home, it’s all too easy to forego making a healthy lunch. Instead, you might find yourself reaching for ready-to-go snacks that are high in salt or sugar content so you can quickly get back to work instead of taking the time to really get in the vitamins and nutrients you need for the day. To maintain your health and improve your mood, make sure that you’re not treating your meals like a chore. Opt for organic fruits and vegetables that are good for you that will help your body thrive. Organic veggies also make for great snack options so instead of nabbing a bag of chips or a granola bar on your way to your desk, grab a bag of baby carrots or some cut celery instead.

2. Set up a designated work area

You don’t necessarily need to set up a home office when you’re working at home. But you should definitely have a designated work area. The reason for this is that, once you move away from your work area, you’ll be able to relax. If your work area is also your relaxation area, then thoughts about work will continue to plague you as you try to read or watch Netflix. A designated workspace also helps you keep your professional work organized. Storage and data security are important and you don’t want to mix up work notes with your out-of-work to-do lists.

3. Take active breaks

It’s all too easy to forget about taking a break when you’re working from home, especially if your home is plenty comfortable and cozy. But it’s important to remember that your body needs some rest from sitting for so long. Throughout the day, remember to get up and stretch. Doing a few strengthening exercises during those breaks can also help to get the blood pumping.

4. Avoid work communication during non-work hours

If you have flexible hours, you might feel the urge to use them to stay on the clock on certain days longer than you originally planned to respond to emails and stay in correspondence with co-workers. However, those emails will still be there during the next business day. Remember to clock out of your work mindset at the end of the workday and don’t give in to urges to keep going. Your rest is important.

5. Use a calming app at the end of the workday

When you’re working from home, it can be tricky to separate the professional and the domestic even when you have a separate work area. Consider using an app like Headspace or another calming meditation app to help put your mind at ease after you clock out for the day. Even if you meditate just for a few minutes, the small transition will help you leave your work on the table instead of carrying it with you throughout the rest of the day. Just be sure to check app reviews before you download anything new as some apps have recently been removed from Apple App stores and Google Play.

It can be challenging to help ease your mind and keep your body happy when you’re working from home. By following the tips above, you can help to boost your health and wellness even while remote working.

6. Keep the home clean and organized

We are all influenced by our surroundings. When working from home, the knowledge that there are problems with the home could lead to mental distractions. While a tidy and uncluttered property should be at the top of your agenda, it’s not the only issue. Infestations are another potential problem, not least because they can damage work equipment and cause sick days. Asking how do you get bed bugs? is the first step to stopping the issue. After all, prevention is the best form of protection. Alternatively, if they do enter your home, you must treat the issue ASAP. When your mind is free from distractions, you’ll be far better placed to focus on your work. Perfect.

It can be challenging to help ease your mind and keep your body happy when you’re working from home. By following the tips above, you can help to boost your health and wellness even while remote working.