Four Ways to Get Your Family Ready for the School Year

The new school year is upon us and it’s time to get our lives in order. The summer was full of barbecues, sandy beaches and late nights. Now that’s it’s almost over, we are all looking forward to early mornings, long days and parent teacher meetings. Getting prepared to go back to school can be costly and it eats away at the precious summer time we have left. I don’t know if I’m alone in this but I love this time! I love the start of a new season! I am even more excited this year because my son is getting older and I’m learning more and more new ways to get us all ready for the new school year.
First on the agenda is developing a system for preparing breakfast and lunch. Try to keep it simple and organization is key. Create a space in the fridge just for items you are sure you’ll be using in the mornings. For instance, things like rolls, butter, cream cheese, milk, or whatever else you have for breakfast should be sectioned off together. The same goes for lunch items. Keep in mind, your are not limited to the fridge, feel free to do the same in the pantry. Not only does it save time but your children will always know where to find them.
Second, food preparation may take the most time when school starts however there are a million ideas across the web to make it easier and more fun for you and your family. The best thing to do here is to experiment. Utilize these last days of summer to cook up a few things and see what your family takes a liking to. This will help you create a rotation because, trust me, you will get tired of egg muffins very quickly.  Click here to find a few breakfast ideas. 
Next, create a routine to make getting dressed for school easier and more efficient. It seems to me like every school has a uniform policy and it works! If your child wears a uniform then you know what I mean. It makes preparing for the week go ever so smoothly but here’s a tip to make it go even smoother. Take about an hour every Sunday to go through this week’s uniform as well as the gym clothes with your child. Put them on hangers and label the days of the week on each. Make sure the younger kids can reach. This gets them started on dressing themselves in the morning, and it allows for a little bit more “me” time in those busy mornings.
The last tip I have is my favorite! Create a homework station. This is where it all goes down after school. It doesn’t matter if it’s at a desk/table or it’s simply a space held for a basket filled with school supplies, it’ll work once you reinforce that this space is where we come to work not play. This year I’ll be adding a large bin, which will be divided by months to collect all those many, many school papers my son comes home with. It’s a great tool for recognition of growth and achievement.  I keep my homework station pretty simple  but click here to find a few more fancy ideas for creating homework stations.
To make the back to school transition easy, you have to prepare. To make healthier breakfast, snack, and lunch choices, you have to prepare. So use these last few weeks to start doing just that. I guarantee you that the school days will go by easier if you follow these simple tips.
I encourage you all to share any other ideas you may have or plan on implementing to make back to school a breeze. I’d love to hear from you!
 

 

Losing Weight isn't just about the Numbers on the Scale

Trying to lose weight has got to be one of the biggest problems women deal with because our bodies go through so many changes throughout our lifetime. Our bodies go through so much whether it’s due to the miracle of life, age, or lifestyle changes that added stress and reduced your free time. We need to stop viewing healthy eating as a diet and start viewing it as a lifestyle. In this post, I offer a few tips that could get you on the right path.  
The first step is a change in mindset! Ladies, we work so hard and should give ourselves some credit instead of spending so much time putting ourselves down. Take a look in the mirror and tell yourself just how powerful you are. Be honest with about your weight loss goals. It won’t be easy but it’s all so possible with some practice, and a little bit of faith!
Say no to sugar! Sugar increases the risks of obesity and heart disease. It’s even been linked to cancer. The pounds would start to come off almost instantly just by removing sugar from your diet.  You’re probably thinking how can I remove sugar from my diet? I need it, things just wouldn’t taste the same without it. That simply isn’t true. Once you slowly ween yourself off of sugar, your taste buds will adjust. Soon things that used to taste good will begin to taste disgusting, and you’ll begin to question how you ever stomached it in the first place. Start paying attention to the nutritional content of the foods you buy. Start with soda and juices. They can have anywhere from 24 to a whopping 56 grams of sugar! It may not sound like a lot to you but take a moment to look up sugar equivalency for the things you like to drink, you’ll be surprised. Drink more water and fresh fruit juices. You’ll thank me later!
Crowding out! We love to eat and sometimes after being a supermom, we tend to eat, and eat a lot of whatever we get our hands on. I learned that we don’t necessarily need to cut them out we just need to portion what we eat and crowd out the not so good stuff. Everything in moderation, always keep that in mind. Imagine this, you are about to have some rice and chicken with some fried plantains. Are there any veggies on your plate? If not, before you fill your plate with all that goodness, put your greens first filling half the plate. Fill half of the other with rice, add a piece of chicken with one or two fried plantains. For moments when you’re going out to party, eat healthy at home so you’re not tempted to fill your face with too much greasy food. So the idea here isn’t to cut out bad foods (because that’s hard), just crowd it out.
Exercise Everywhere! As much as I love to be in a gym, a fitness class or working with a trainer, it isn’t always possible so we have to get creative. There are so many workouts you could try online and complete in the comfort of your own home. I’ve seen videos of moms working out with their children, encouraging fitness and allowing you to get the job done without having to ignore the little ones. Check Pinterest, YouTube, even Facebook and start your fitness journey. I promise you won’t regret it. Just start somewhere.
Ladies, please understand that your weight loss journey is only the beginning.  Don’t make it a priority for one season of your life but make it a lifestyle. Being healthy and happy is synonymous with one another and I want you to be both.  Begin this journey knowing that you can do it, you have support and it will be rewarding in the end.  
 

 

Breast Feeding Isn't just about Mommy and Baby

This week we are celebrating World Breastfeeding Week. You may not hear this often but breastfeeding is kind of a BIG DEAL, supported by organizations like UNICEF and The World Health Organization with statements like, “It’s clear that breastfeeding is not only the cornerstone of a child’s healthy development it is also the foundation of country’s development”.  We mothers have the power to change the world one breastfed child at a time!  

There are many benefits to breastfeeding. First of all, it’s related to improved health outcomes for you and your baby. Breastfeeding protects your baby from all kinds of diseases. It is also related to decreased risks of you getting ovarian and breast cancers. Secondly, breastfed children are said to have higher intelligence levels.  Thirdly, it’s cost effective! Think of all the money you’ll save on gym expenses due to the weight loss benefits experienced during the first few months of breastfeeding. I’m going to stop there, though the list goes on and on about how breastfeeding is essential to you, your baby and the world! 

Moms, I know you all remember the day you were preparing to come home with your precious newborn from the hospital. The nurses were giving all sorts of advice while you were making certain to stock up on hospital diapers and such. The nurse or the lactation consultant made one last round to your room to make sure you were all set with the perfect way to breastfeed once you got home. As you got ready to leave, you were overcome with every emotion under the sun – fear, excitement, anxiety. Later that night, your home and your sweet baby is crying hysterically because he's hungry and you just don’t know what to do.  Maybe you’re struggling because your nipples are so sore that the thought of nursing made you want to cry or the baby just won’t latch on, or just maybe you aren’t producing enough milk. 

Maybe there were mommies like me, that truly loved breastfeeding and was pretty good with it, but the demand was so much that it was overwhelming. Or the support I needed to keep the grandmas a healthy distance wasn’t there. Or even the misinformation I received from the hospital about breastfeeding and formula. The hardest thing for me might have been not being bold or confident in my choice to want to exclusively breast-feed my son. 

In situations like these, you may have felt alone, scared, and possibly even like a bad mother! 

 There are going to be obstacles that you’ll encounter while breastfeeding your little one but all you have to remember is to be confident in your decision to breastfeed. Don’t forget that breastfeeding is bigger than you and me. We’re doing this for the betterment of the entire world! So when all things breastfeeding are going wrong, remember that you are providing your child with his/hers start at a prosperous and healthy life.  

If you’re experiencing rough times, stay strong and check out some of these resources with tips and more information on breastfeeding: 

 

La Leche League

Unicef

World Health Organization

 

 Happy World Breastfeeding Week!

 

Four New Ways to Keep Your Body Hydrated this Summer

These past few weeks, the weather has been really good to us with summer-like temperatures and all I want to do is sit back, sip Pina Colada and chew on the piece of pineapple they use to adorn the glass. Though that may sound great, this summer, my goal is to stay hydrated and full of energy.
Imagine being out on one of the hottest summer days. You're sweaty, your clothes are sticky, and the kids just keep going and going. You're miserable and uncomfortable but it gets worse... you get on the train and the A/C isn't working!! What do you do? How do you plan on staying cool?
As you may already know, drinking water is one of the single most important things you can do this year to stay cool during the summer. I could sit here and list all the benefits of water, which would be a mile long but I won’t. Just know that we all need it. Here’s a tip that may help encourage you to drink more this season. Go out and get a really cute bottle for you and everyone else in your family, stick them in the fridge or freezer at night so you’ll wake up to super cool water that you can carry with you throughout the day.
I know there are some of us that just can’t drink the recommended 8 glasses of water a day, no matter how much you try. If you are one of those people, did you know you could get a lot of your water from the foods you eat? Yup, that’s right, there are plenty of fruits and veggies that have a high content of water in them.
Have you ever had an enormous piece of watermelon then wonder why you’re running to the bathroom soon after? That’s because watermelon contains about 90% water per volume, but let’s not forget about the crazy amount of nutrients it has.  Watermelon is also believed to cool you down by allowing your body to sweat (just don’t forget to put on some deodorant). Not to mention, children love it so very much and don’t be afraid to mix it up with honeydew and cantaloupe melons, they are just as good!
In addition, fresh cucumbers aren’t just good for your eyes ladies, they also have such a high water content it’s ridiculous! Add them to your salads, eat them as a snack, eat them however you like.
Coconut water is also a great hydrator. I may live in NYC but there’s no reason to not drink refreshingly cool coconut water imagining I’m lying on a hammock somewhere in the Caribbean.  It’s awesome for rehydrating under the sun but more importantly, it just tastes good.  The next time you go grocery shopping pick up a few bottles. My personal favorite is Vita Coco, which you can order right here, but honestly as long as coconut water is the only ingredient, you’re good! Just remember we live in NYC, and there’s nothing better than finding a small street vendor that’s selling fresh coconuts right on the corner!
Lastly but surely not least is tea.  We can go on and on about tea and I will in a later post but the benefits are simply too good to pass up.  Black tea is filled with antioxidants and makes for some great iced tea to help keep you cool on those hot summer days. Don’t get too crazy with the sugar but you can get creative and use different types of teas. Try Tazo Passion Iced Tea, it’s soooo good! Please remember to tell me what you try and if there’s any other foods you eat or drink to stay hydrated this summer.
 
 

Your body is Your body.....love it

 

We are all so very different, so beautiful and unique in our own very special way yet we act so similar. We spend so much time working to look like the next girl or trying the next fad diet only to realize that it doesn’t work for you. Well for starters, of course it’s not working because you are not the next girl. You are not Beyonce! You are YOU! Your body is like no other. It’s mind boggling how we look at other women and think she’s perfect and little do we know she’s probably thinking how bloated she looks. Ladies we need to embrace ourselves, especially after pregnancy!
Our bodies change, they are all different but they are all amazing! Let that sink in for a minute. There is no one, no not one person like you with that body of yours that has been holding you down, which you probably aren’t treating the best! You can’t do just anything to your body and expect a change. Nor can you continue to maintain the same ole habits and expect miracles. What may work for one person can probably kill you. You ever go out with your girlfriends and you all enjoy the same appetizers but at the end of the night one has to run to the bathroom, the other is a little nauseated but you’re doing just fine? Well in retrospect, what you ate probably wasn’t bad at all it’s just everyone’s body reacted differently to it.  
It’s always so fascinating to hear one girl say I’m going on a no carb diet for the next month because she saw some girl on Instagram do it.  Wouldn’t you want to consult a doctor, nutritionist or even a health coach before making such a brave decision? Most people don’t even though they should. Body image is so important to us but we must remember to go about changing it in the right way. I believe our focus is so off. If we’d only focus on feeding our bodies nutritious healthful foods and exercising to keep us energized and healthy then a slim body would be a by-product of those efforts.
My husband and I took an ayuverdic cooking class and it was amazing. We learned so much about the ayuverdic lifestyle and in turn learned so much about our bodies. For those who don’t know, ayurveda translates into “knowledge of life” and is a 4,000 year old system of well-being that originated in India. The philosophy of Ayurveda focuses on a person’s health in a preventative, long term way and the Ayurvedic diet is a whole medical system, where you eat according to your mind-body type. They believe that everyone has a different body type or dosha. There are three types of doshas: vata (wind & space), pitta (fire & water) and kapha (earth and water). Everyone has a combination of one, two or all three and it is called their “prakriti”.  When one is out of balance, it throws everything else off.  However, when you start to understand your body, you figure out what works best for you. 
 
So ladies, I know that this is the unofficial start of the summer and we want our bodies to look super good, but do yourself a favor and get to know your body first. Figure out what healthy foods and exercises do your body well, and even what lifestyle you want to live and your body will thank you for it!!!