Author:Jennifer

Tips to Make Healthier Choices in the School Cafeteria

Getting food in the school cafeteria can be a very easy, convenient way to get your lunch every day.  It can also be a very cost-effective way for many families, depending on your situation and school district. And while it’s so important to get your midday fuel to keep you energized and focused for the rest of the school day, many of the options available in the cafeteria can be unhealthy and void of key nutrients that you need.

So, how do you stay on track with your Kurbo goals when you get your lunch at school?  Here are a few tips to help you make healthier choices in the school cafeteria:

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How to Celebrate Valentine’s Day Without Candy

It feels like the holidays were only yesterday, and we are just now getting past all the celebrating, food and treats.  Maybe you have taken the new year as an opportunity to make a fresh start to your health and fitness goals.  And, just like that, another candy and sugar-filled holiday is upon us – Valentine’s Day!  Another day that tempts us with heart-shaped candies that we get with every Valentine at school and chocolate, cookies and cupcakes that we get from our family and friends.

And, while it’s hard to tell from everything we see in the stores and on TV, Valentine’s Day is not really about candy and sugar.  It’s about showing love to the special people in our lives.  This can be done in many, many ways that don’t involve added sugar at all!  Consider these ideas for celebrating Valentine’s Day without candy:

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Italian Lentil Butternut Squash Soup

There are a lot of things I like to do in winter.  Dress in big warm sweaters, sit in front of a fire, go for walks in the crisp, winter air and eat warm, comforting food.  One of my favorite winter foods is soup.  There are so many options, and the best part is, the more green lights you add, the better the soup tastes!

Here is a recipe to one of my favorite soups, Italian Lentil Butternut Squash Soup.  It’s easy to make and made with only green and yellow light ingredients:

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Fun Winter Exercises

It’s winter, and it’s cold outside.  Depending on where you live, it may even be raining or snowing, making you just want to curl up in a blanket to watch tv.  And while I’m not against getting warm and snuggly and relaxing on the couch, this can always be done AFTER you’ve gotten your daily exercise. Don’t let the cold weather stop you from reaching your health goals!  For some ideas on what to do, here are some fun winter time exercises for you to consider:

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3 Tips on How to Work in More Exercise while Spending Time with Friends and Family

I’ve heard some people say their New Year’s resolution is to get in more exercise and some also say they want to spend more time with friends and family. What if I told you we could combine the two! Exercising with friends and family makes it a lot easier and way more fun for you while allowing you to be a positive influence on the ones you love. Here are a few ideas to get you started!

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New Year’s Eve Recipe: Spinach Artichoke Dip

New Year’s Eve – the final celebration to end the holidays with a bang! Usually that means more time with family and friends…and more food! For us, New Year’s Eve is less about the formal meal and more about having fun, wearing funny hats and enjoying finger food and appetizers. If you’re not paying attention, grazing all these appetizers can really add up and pack on more red lights than you meant to. That’s why it’s a good idea to prepare some green and yellow light options that you can feel good about.

Whether your tradition is to ring in the new year with a traditional sit-down dinner, or just an array of appetizers, this warm green and yellow light Spinach Artichoke Dip recipe is sure to add a spark to any New Year’s Eve celebration!

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Pumpkin Pie Smoothie Bowl

One way I like to enjoy the taste of pumpkin pie while minimizing my red lights is to experiment with pumpkin myself.  Pumpkin, after all, is a green light.  So why not combine it with even more yummy green lights and turn a pumpkin pie into a real health treat?

One of my favorite recipes is for a Pumpkin Pie Smoothie Bowl.  It’s like having a bowl full of pumpkin pie filling!  It’s great for a snack, sweet treat, or even breakfast.

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Making Shopping For Clothes Fun Again – Stay Body Positive!

Whether going clothes shopping for you means spending a whole day browsing through all the shops at the mall or heading straight to your favorite store, shopping for new clothes can be really exciting.  I mean, who doesn’t love to get a cool new outfit that they can show off at school on Monday? Shopping should be a FUN experience!  However, with all the outside pressure from the media and magazines, wearing a certain style and fitting into an “ideal” size can make clothes shopping very stressful.  So, what’s the trick to making shopping fun again?  Stay body positive!

Consider these tips to staying body positive next time you go clothes shopping:

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Pad Thai Makeover

I really love Asian food. Especially all the yummy noodle dishes! But when you eat out at most Asian restaurants, a lot of the choices are stir fried in red-light oils and made with red-light noodles. One of my very favorites is Pad Thai. Let’s see how we can make a healthier version of this popular dish!

First off, all of the ingredients don’t have to match perfectly. This is more of a Pad Thai inspired version, but it tastes great and definitely satisfies a noodle craving! One of my favorite ways to make healthy makeovers of my favorite dishes is by adding more green lights (like veggies) to the original. If you do this, you know that you’re really making that green light count go up and are staying within your red light budget for the week!

Check out this easy Pad Thai makeover:

Ingredients

contains 4 servings

one serving: one scoop of the hand, contains 2 yellow lights, 1 green light
• 6-8 oz flat brown rice noodles
• 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
• 2 chicken breasts, cubed
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• ½ onion or 2 green onions, chopped or thinly sliced
• 1 carrot, cut in thin sticks or shredded
• 2 cups of broccoli
• ¼ cup cilantro leaves, chopped
• Other veggie options:
o 1 red bell pepper, sliced thin
o 1 cup of bean sprouts
• 4 tbsp. soy sauce
• 2 tbsp. rice vinegar
• 1 lime, cut in wedges

Directions

Cook noodles in a pot according to directions on the package. In a large skillet, heat olive oil on low/medium heat and brown the garlic. Cook chicken until cooked through and slightly browned. Add in the rest of your veggies, season with salt and pepper to taste, and continue to cook until they reach desired softness. Turn off the heat. Then, add in drained noodles and the soy sauce/vinegar and combine thoroughly. Serve topped with chopped cilantro and with some fresh lime juice squeezed on top.

DIY Lunchables

Lunchables that you buy in the grocery store have become a huge success. They’re easy, convenient, have a variety of foods to mix and match, are fun to eat – what’s not to like?

Well, let’s give some of these ingredients a closer look. The closer we look, the more red lights we’ll see! Most premade lunchables have some crackers or enriched flour product (red lights), cheese (red light), cookie or candy or chocolate bar (red lights) and juice (red light). Maybe worse than all those red lights is that there are no green lights! Kurbo kids know that good health is not just about red lights, but also about getting plenty of green lights at all meals.

The good news is that lunchables are very easy to make yourself! Use a tupperware that is sectioned off and fill the compartments with your own healthy options. Not only can you cut out a lot of those red lights, but you can add your own tasty green lights and keep yourself on track.

Give these DIY Lunchables a try:

1) Hummus Rice Cake Box

Ingredients:
• Plain mini rice cakes
• Low-fat cheese
• Hummus
• Carrot and celery sticks
• Grapes
• Water

Use the hummus as dip for your celery and carrots and as a spread for your rice cakes. Assemble your mini rice cakes with a layer of hummus and a slice of cheese. Have some sweet grapes for dessert! Add a bottle of water or a thermos of water flavored with some fruit.

2) Mini Turkey Pitas

Ingredients:
• Whole Wheat Pita cut in quarters
• Turkey slices
• Lettuce
• Tomato slices
• Mustard
• 10 almonds
• Apple slices
• Water

Make mini pita triangles stuffed with lettuce, tomato and turkey, spread with a little mustard. As your dessert, enjoy some almonds and apple slices.

3) Ham Roll-Ups

Ingredients:
• Whole Wheat tortilla
• Ham slices
• Low-fat cheese
• Lettuce
• Strawberries
• Water

Roll up your ham slices with a slice of low-fat cheese and lettuce in a whole wheat tortilla. Enjoy some sweet strawberries for dessert!

DIY Lunchables are easy, and so fun to make! Get creative with your options and find your perfect combination. Don’t forget to fill your container with plenty of yellow and green lights!