Friday Five!

Happy Friday, loves!!

Today I’m sharing my five favorite apps I can’t be without!

1. Instagram

I mean…did it happen if you didn’t document it on the ‘gram? I’ve always been more of an IG girl than FB. Sorry FB, but all the forwarded jokes and messages are just clutter to me. I use FB to connect and stay in touch with friends and family, of course, but I prefer the look and ease of Instagram. Plus, pictures. Lots of pictures.

2. Target Cartwheel

Do you guys have this downloaded? I’m assuming all of my readers are Target shoppers, since we are friends, right? I’ve had this app since it first became available. Now they also have Target Circle, which is connected to your Target account just like Cartwheel! All I know is when I check out via store or online checkout, I ALWAYS have a credit to apply to my total, along with my Cartwheel offers. Target just keeps getting better!

3. MyFitnessPal

I’m a tad obsessed with numbers. I mean, just a tad. By a tad, I mean a lot! I wear a FitBit 24-7. (Santa, please bring me an Apple Watch for Christmas so I can jump into the 21st century with the rest of the world, mmmmk). My FitBit is connected to MyFitnessPal, so all my workouts and steps transfer over from FitBit to MFP so I can see how many calories I can consume without turning into a double wide. I log all my calories. I know some people feel negatively about logging calories but it helps me see what I’m working with. MFP keeps me enlightened on what my macros are all day long so I know when to add more protein or cut back on fats. It’s very helpful!

4. Calm

How many of you struggle with just finding 5 minutes in the day to take a freaking breath? Last summer I downloaded this app to help with my anxiety. Little did I know that I would be unlocking this GINORMOUS portable resource of so much goodness! I actually love it so much that I pay the 60.00 per year for the full version. Don’t worry though, the free version has access to a ton of meditations, breathing exercises, music and even sleep stories. My anxiety was so major that I wanted the in depth meditation series’s. Now that my anxiety is semi under control, I use this app on road trips when get anxious or if I ever feel a feeling of panic start to come on. It’s pretty amazing!

5. Chick Fil-A One App/Starbucks

Like how I combined these two? I cheated since I technically have 6 apps here, but these are the two restaurant apps that I feel offer the best rewards and give back the most to their customers! Also, these are really the only places I go if I’m eating out haha. My favorite days are when I can get a free coffee and free medium fruit salad at Starbucks and Chick Fil-A, respectively. 😊. These apps are definitely worth the download!! You may actually be losing money if you don’t have them.

Alright guys! That’s all I have for today!!! What are your favorite apps and should I download them??

Have a great weekend!!!!

Xoxox

Mary

Food Swaps You Should Make Now (Especially if you have kids)

Let’s get this out of the way shall we? I’m not a dietician, though I would love to be. I’m not a doctor, but I am a mom and I feel like that gives me some credibility. Moms are superhuman, after all.

Typically, I place the most importance on buying organic/clean dairy, produce and meat. No one eats perfect but I get all “mama bear” when our kids are involved. If I can do my part and help prevent even a chance of them getting a terrible disease by spending a few more dollars at the grocery store, then you bet your mom jeans wearing behind that I’m gonna.

If you are not doing this already, please make these simple swaps soon:

Meats:

Packaged beef, chicken and lunch meat:

Beef, Chicken and lunch meat Swap: Buy grass fed, no antibiotic/no hormone beef, chicken and lunch meat. Yes, it will cost you a few more dollars, but you won’t be packing your body full of carcinogens, caramel colors and genetically modified meats.

Lunchables and Hot Dogs: PITCH THE LUNCHABLES. There is not one thing that is sustainable in that package. The drinks are sugar, the “meat” is processed, as is the cheese and the crackers and dessert are pretty much flavored chemicals. I mean, I get it…I love an oreo every now and then, but most kids get plenty of sugar throughout the day from other sources and don’t need dessert at every meal.

Lunchable Swap: Make your own. Brock and I give our kiddos pieces of organic lunch meat and deli cheeses (also organic) with fresh fruit and veggie stix/wheat crackers.

Regular pork/beef/chicken hot dogs (can someone please not tell me what By-Product is?) are HORRIBLE for kids to consume. They are full of nitrates and who knows what else. There has been research done to show that if a child eats 12 hot dogs a month, their risk of leukemia is 9 times greater. 12 hot dogs sounds like a lot, until you have kids, and realize that hot dogs are, regardless of what anyone thinks, a meal fit for a king to a child.

Hot Dog Swap: Buy nitrate free, organic beef or chicken hot dogs. They taste amazing and they are guilt free (health wise), so when your child wants a hot dog, you can feel good about giving them one.

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Dairy:

Milk Swap: For the love of all that is good and pure, buy organic! Will it be perfect, and 100% straight from the cow? Of course not, but it’s better than pumping your kids full of hormones and steroids. Have you seen the pictures of middle school girls today, as compared to when we were in middle school? There’s a reason they need bras at age 9. Just sayin.

Kids Yogurt Swap: Buy organic, but make sure you find a kind that still has added probiotics and live cultures. Strong immune systems start in the gut and kids need those probiotics to build a strong defense against school/daycare germs.

Adult Yogurt Swap: The main thing I look for when purchasing yogurt for myself is artificial sweeteners. I buy organic for the kids, but since I don’t consume much yogurt, my main concern is staying away from sweeteners like aspartame and sucrulose –aka Splenda. Some of my go-to brands are Fage 0% or 2% with cherry and mixed berry. I also occasionally buy Dannon Oikos greek yogurt or Chobani.

Cheese: I tend to not be as strict on cheese, but I refuse to buy the American cheese slices. People—hear me when I say it’s not real cheese. It even says on the package “Processed cheese product.” Product, NOT cheese. Sorry fake cheese lovers, but Velveeta falls into the same category. When you hold a lighter under it, it doesn’t even melt…but it does turn black. Imagine what it’s doing to your digestive tract. Its crazy and you should stay away. If you aren’t sure what real cheese should taste like, put fresh Gouda or brie on a sandwich, or bake it. You can thank me later. If you are lactose intolerant or trying to avoid dairy, goat cheese is an excellent alternative and so good!

Cheese Swap: I buy simple truth organic cheese straight from the Kroger deli, Horizon organic cheese string cheese and Sargento naturals (I understand that term is used very loosely) deli cheese slices. At least it melts…and tastes like cheese. I personally use a lot of feta cheese myself. I buy the Athenos fat free or tomato and basil flavor. Oh and as far as shredded cheese goes, we don’t use a ton, but generally I’m ok with the Kroger 2% sharp cheddar as long as it smells fresh.

Produce:

You don’t always have to buy organic fruits and veggies. In fact, I’m beginning to learn that some of the frozen fruits and veggies are the smartest way to go. In case you haven’t heard about these lists, here are what most consider the “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15” in regards to produce.

Dirty Dozen: Consider buying these items organic:

-Apples

-Strawberries

-Grapes

-Celery

-Peaches

-Spinach

-Bell Peppers

-Nectarines

-Cucumbers

-Tomatoes

-Snap Peas

-Potatoes

(Hot Peppers and Blueberries are included as add ons)

Clean 15: Items that are grown safer and do not need to be organic:

-Avocados

-Sweet Corn

-Pineapples

-Cabbage

-Sweet Peas (Frozen)

-Onions

-Asparagus

-Mangoes

-Papayas

-Kiwi

-Eggplant

-Grapefruit

-Cantaloupe

-Cauliflower

-Sweet Potatoes

I personally will only buy organic in these items: raspberries, strawberries, bananas, apples, blueberries and kiwi. This is because the kids eat so many of them and half of the time Brayden gets the container out of the fridge and eats them right out of the box. I’m not about to tell him he can’t eat them until I’ve washed everything because that will deter him from eating them. Buying organic makes me feel a little more at ease if the kids get to the fruit before I do!

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Next on my to-do list: getting back into the habit of packing Brayden’s lunch again. I know he likes to buy it at school because it’s the “cool” thing to do, but I know for a fact that the foods they are serving aren’t the best quality. At first I thought it was great because he was getting a protein, veggie and fruit. I knew if given the choice he would choose chocolate milk for his drink, and I don’t think that’s worth the battle to fight. However, the past few weeks I’ve been asking him what his veggies and fruits consisted of and I hear things like “applesauce with cinnamon, goldfish crackers, pineapple with juice and lots of carrots and corn.” He doesn’t like carrots (he gets it honestly) so he always chooses the goldfish and corn. And cinnamon applesauce? Oy! I never buy that for the house. In fact, I don’t think I’ve had that since I had my wisdom teeth removed when I was 19!

Nutrition is something I feel passionately about. Because of that, you would think I would be 20 pounds lighter and never have meals out, or never go over 1300 calories a day. Well, sometimes too much knowledge can work against you too. Knowing what I need to do also allows me to know what the max calorie allotment I can handle before I start to gain. I’m a little more than stubborn and need to work through this.

I truly hope this list helped open some eyes about foods that families consume everyday. No meal is ever going to be absolutely perfect and there are lots of ways to create a calorie deficit to lose weight. I tend to focus on the whole food side of nutrition and not so much “dieting”. Just because you are skinny from dieting, does not mean you are healthy. What we put into our bodies everyday is like a fuel to keep us working properly and healthy. It’s extremely important.

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I’ll conclude with one of my favorite scriptures from the Bible; which really puts a healthy lifestyle into perspective:

PS.139 13-16

For you formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb.  I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.  My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the parts of the Earth.  Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.  And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet, there were none of them.

Treat your body, and your families’ bodies the way He wants you to treat them.

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