Fit 'N' Well Mommy

Being a mommy doesn't always mean sacrifice

Holiday Survival Guide and Angie’s Popcorn Review and Giveaway!! December 7, 2012

Guess who was hanging from the lights this morning? It took Keenan several minutes to find “Peanut!” I had to prompt him to look up because he kept looking all over for her and asking, “Mommy, where is she?” He looked on the couch, in the coat closet, under the TV stand, under the coffee table, by the Christmas tree and in his toy box before I told him to look up to the ceiling, where he found her! It was SO hard for me to keep a straight face!

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Anyhow, this morning was a pancake kind of morning! I made Paleo pancakes topped with leftover coconut whipped cream and strawberries; they were SO good! It was interesting, because usually I can eat three small-medium size Paleo pancakes, but with the coconut whipped cream, two pancakes filled me up! The healthy fats in the coconut made the pancakes very filling (in a good way!).

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Speaking of healthy fats, I have one more day and then it is competition time! I’m excited, nervous and anxious all at the same time. I feel ready as I will ever be, but as I’ve said before, I just want to get it over with! I think the hardest thing is not knowing what to expect. I’m looking forward to resting tomorrow and then putting my game face on for Saturday!

On another note, I recently read an article on Health.com about surviving the holidays, which made me think about how I am managing my stress and keeping up with healthy habits (nutrition and exercise) throughout this holiday season. Since there are only two and a half weeks left until Christmas and still so much to do (at least for me!), I thought it would be good to put together my own little Holiday Survival Guide with tips on how to manage holiday stress, since I already put together a list of Healthy Holiday Eating Tips.

  • Keep up with your healthy eating habits. With so many parties to attend and things to do during this time of year, it is easy to slack off and eat more fast, processed and convenient foods or eat one too many desserts at your friend’s holiday party, especially if you are stressed (hello emotional eating!). Keep in mind that having good nutrition helps your body manage stress better. A properly fueled body can help keep your immune system strong (stress suppresses your immune system) and allow it to continue functioning at its prime to get everything checked off your to-do list! Also, by sticking to your healthy habits, you are less likely to gain those additional holiday pounds!
  • Get enough sleep. Sleep is so vital to keeping your energy levels high throughout the day, in addition to keeping you in a good mood. When we are tired, we more likely to feel irritable/ cranky and also crave sugar and caffeine to provide us with energy. By going to bed at a decent time each night and giving your body adequate rest, you are more likely to manage your stress better, have more energy, thus feeling better overall and keeping up with your healthy habits of good nutrition and exercise.
  • Stay active. With so many things to do during the holiday season, exercise can be put on the back burner. Instead of making excuses of not being able to exercise, make time for it by scheduling it into your day. Take some time on your lunch break to go for a walk or workout at your gym. Or, get up early before your kids wake-up to fit in a quick workout. Even better, involve your kids by taking them on a jog or walk to the park. The more you move, the better you will feel, both mentally and physically!
  • Breathe. When we are stressed, our breathing tends to be more shallow, taking less deep breaths. Take a few minutes to stop what you are doing and take three deep breaths. When I take time to breathe, I automatically feel better, even when I am extremely stressed. Breathing allows me to focus on my breath, relaxing my body, so I am better able to finish what needs to get done (feeling less overwhelmed).
  • Enjoy every moment. Most importantly, enjoy the special time of the holidays, cherishing each moment with your family and friends. It is such a magical time, so take time to really have fun and appreciate all the moments you get to spend with your loved ones!

Now onto Angie’s Popcorn!

Angie’s Popcorn generously sent me a box of their popcorn to try a few weeks ago. I had seen their Boom Chicka Pop popcorn in stores, but hadn’t tried it, so I was super excited when I received my box! Popcorn is one of my favorite snack foods, especially Kettle Corn, the kind that is freshly made in front of you at a street fair or festival. In fact, my family and friends would probably call me a “popcorn fanatic,” because I love it so much!

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Angie’s prides itself in making small-batch kettle corn and popcorn. They only use a few ingredients and pop it fresh, batch by batch in Minnesota. They offer several different flavors: Kettle Corn, Sweet and Salty, White Cheddar, Salted Caramel, Sweet and Spicy, Boom Chicka Pop Sea Salt, Boom Chicka Pop Lightly Sweet and a holiday line of Holidrizzle: Dark Chocolate Sea Salt and White Chocolate Peppermint. The company was started by Angie and Dan Bastian in 2001 who wanted to start a college fund for their daughters. They tested small batches of popcorn in their kitchen and sold them at local events. The demand for their popcorn increased and in 2004, they became the official popcorn for the Minnesota Vikings, thus growing into a real business.

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I have to say, I loved all of their popcorn! I can’t say that too much about other products, but Angie’s does a great job in making good popcorn, simply (with as few ingredients as possible). The salted caramel was the first bag that we opened and my husband, mom (she was at our house the day the popcorn arrived), and Keenan were pleasantly surprised. It was excellent–not overly sweet, but still salty at the same time. My mom couldn’t stop eating it! My husband immediately opened the Sweet and Spicy (since he loves anything with spice) and fell in love. I could barely have any, because he kept the whole bag for himself! It was really good! The white cheddar was another one of my favorites, perfectly balanced with cheddar, salt and a hint of sweetness. The Boom Chicka Pop was also excellent, very fresh air-popped popcorn with a hint of salt. Lastly, the Kettle Corn was my all-time favorite (of course). I couldn’t believe how fresh and perfectly balanced the salt vs. sweet was! It tasted like it was freshly popped at a local street fair or farmer’s market! All in all, I was very impressed by Angie’s Popcorn and I can’t wait to try their holiday flavors! I will definitely be eating their popcorn again…maybe bringing it for a snack on our flight to Montreal to see my brother!  You can buy their popcorn in pretty much any grocery store, as well as Costco. Of course, you can buy it online from them, or on amazon, too. As an added bonus, each bag is pretty inexpensive, costing you less than $3.50!

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Angie’s was so generous that they offered to send one lucky reader a box of their assorted popcorn, too!

To enter the giveaway, please follow the steps below:

1. Leave a comment on this post stating why you would like to win some popcorn!

(Optional) Earn four additional entries by:

1. Like Fit ‘N’ Well Mommy’s Facebook page

2. Follow Fit ‘N’ Well Mommy on Twitter: @FitNWellMommy

3. Post on YOUR Facebook page or Tweet, “I want to win a box of popcorn from Angie’s Popcorn and Fit ‘N’ Well Mommy!”

4. Follow Fit ‘N’ Well Mommy by email

*Make sure to leave a second, third or fourth comment on this post with your Facebook post, Tweet, like or following, in order for your extra entries to be counted (a total of 5 chances to win!!).

The giveaway ends next Tuesday, December 11th at 8 p.m. PST!! Good luck!

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Healthy Holiday Eating Tips + New Pumpkin Recipe! November 20, 2012

Wow, Thanksgiving is only two days away! I can’t wait! Tonight, I’m making Artichoke Torta (our family’s tradition) and getting everything packed to head to my parents’ house tomorrow. Keenan is so excited to go to my parents’ house that he keeps saying, “Go to Nonna and Avo’s house now!” I keep reminding him that we are going tomorrow and not today. He definitely has Thanksgiving down because when I ask him why we are going to Nonna and Avo’s house, he says “Thanksgiving and eat yummy food!” It is too cute!

Speaking of Thanksgiving and all of the delicious food that will be around, it is a great time to re-evaluate your eating habits during the holiday season, check-in on your goals, and have a plan in place to not get off-track. For myself, I look forward to eating all of the tasty goodies that I only get once a year. I allow myself to splurge, having a little bit of everything (though not going overboard). I always try to get some sort of exercise in on Thanksgiving or really push myself the day before, as well as working out the day after. I say “try” because it doesn’t always work out the way I plan, so I just aim to do my best. We usually do something fun as a family the day after Thanksgiving, so I might not have a chance to work out. Either way, I try not to be hard on myself and just plan to get back on track the following day (by then, my body is usually craving my normal routine!).

In preparation for the holiday season, here are a few healthy eating tips that I try to follow:

  • Don’t starve yourself: With a big meal ahead, you might be tempted to eat as little as possible (or nothing) during the day, to save your calories. By not eating, your metabolism actually slow down. In addition, you might feel cranky, irritable and even tired, if your body isn’t consuming its regular calories as it is used to. Instead, eat as you normally do during the day, but a little lighter, saving room for consuming extra calories at your holiday feast.
  • Portions: Since most of the foods at your holiday feast are probably ones you only get once a year, allow yourself a small handful size portion of everything and don’t go back for seconds. By having a taste of everything, you won’t feel guilty or too full! Even if you think you are still hungry, save yourself for a small slice of pie or other dessert. I’m sure that after having dessert your stomach will feel satisfied! We tend to eat with our eyes instead of our stomachs, so having a small portion of everything will be enough.
  • Leftovers: I love Thanksgiving leftovers because you can do so much with them! When you think you need a second helping of your grandma’s casserole or mashed potatoes, think about saving it for the next day. This way, you get to enjoy your “once a year goodies” again the next day (without stuffing yourself the day of your feast). Change up the form, like turning mashed potatoes into potato pancakes with some turkey and cranberries. Or, chop leftover turkey into small pieces and add to a salad for lunch the next day.
  • Exercise: Keep moving! Plan your exercise accordingly. If you don’t have time to fit in a workout on the holiday or the day after, do as much as you can on the days leading up to it. I try to workout extra hard on the few days leading up to Thanksgiving and Christmas, as well as plan some time on the days after to workout (to make up for all of the calories I consumed!). If it means involving your family in your exercise, do it (what a great way to model healthy behavior!)! Go for a jog with your little one in the BOB stroller, a long family walk, ice skating, sledding or snow skiing! Most importantly, stay as active as you can during the holiday season, making sure to not miss a workout no matter how many things you have to do. The more you move, the more you will be able to stay fit throughout the holiday season and not gain those extra pounds!
  • Maintain: If you have been working on weight or body fat loss the past few months, change your focus to just maintaining during the holidays. With all of the tempting goodies, it is hard to eat healthy 100% of the time. Take off some of the pressure and allow yourself to taste everything (a small handful size portion), without depriving yourself. But, keep things in check so you don’t go overboard. Be mindful of how your clothes fit and how you feel to make sure you don’t get completely off-track.
  • Being Mindful: Take the time to truly savor each bite of the scrumptious food you will be eating. Listen to your body and know when you are full. Enjoy and cherish the time you are spending with your loved ones, appreciating each and every moment. Sometimes we get in “rush mode” (as I like to call it), due to the craziness of life and we forget to slow down during the holidays, taking the time to appreciate the important things in our life like family.
  • Don’t Beat Yourself Up: If all else fails and you indulge in a little too much pumpkin pie, egg nog, gingerbread or stuffing, don’t be too hard on yourself. Get back on track the next day with your healthy eating and exercising. One day isn’t going to destroy all that you have worked hard for!

Well, today was another “semi-lazy” day at home. We were going to meet some friends at the park, but Keenan woke up late (8:05 a.m.!) and after eating breakfast, preparing tonight’s dinner (another new recipe, coming soon!), cleaning out Keenan’s closet and battling an eye infection (…from trying a new eyeliner on Sunday. Ugh, my eyes are just too sensitive!), we both were not motivated to leave the house. Instead, we had some good play-time of making soup in his kitchen, racing his cars, dancing and riding his trike. By the time Keenan went down for his nap, he was pretty tired! It was a great morning!

Lining up his cars and trucks for a race!

After Keenan went down for his nap, I headed to the box to do some extra work of kettlebell swings, snatches, GHD (glute hamstring developer), double unders and bench presses. Once he wakes up from his nap, we’ll head to the box to do today’s WOD of burpee box jumps, deadlifts and double unders (which I’m not looking forward to!).

Before I forget, here is my new recipe for pumpkin muffins. After searching the internet for new pumpkin ideas, I came across a couple of recipes for pumpkin pie muffins, so I experimented and came up with my Paleo-friendly ones!

Healthy pumpkin goodness!

Paleo Pumpkin Pie Muffins (makes 8 muffins):

Ingredients:
Muffins:
– 2 cups almond flour
– 1 tbsp baking powder
–  1/2 cup xylitol
– 1 tsp raw honey
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
– 1/2 tsp cinnamon
– 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
– pinch of salt
1 cup pumpkin
2 tbsp applesauce
2 eggs
1/4 cup any milk
1/4 cup coconut oil
Filling:
1/2 cup pumpkin
2 tbsp xylitol
2 tbsp applesauce
1 tbsp coconut oil
– pinch of salt
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Meanwhile, mix all of the dry ingredients of the muffins together in a large bowl.
3. In a separate (small) bowl, mix the wet ingredients.
4. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until well combined. Set aside.
5. Prep a muffin tin by spraying it with cooking spray.
6. Mix all ingredients of the filling in a small bowl.
7. Add a scoop of the muffin batter into each muffin tin (leaving enough to cover the filling).
8. Next, add a scoop of the filling on top of the muffin batter, followed by another scoop of the batter (so the filling is in the middle).
9. Bake for 20-25 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out clean). Enjoy!
*Notes: If you don’t have Xylitol (or don’t want to use it), you can sub it for more raw honey!
Questions: How do you stay on track with your healthy eating and exercise routine during the holidays? Do you have any tips that you follow?
 

 
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