Staying Fit @ Family Functions


Labor Day weekend is coming up and for many of you that means one last HURRAH of summer. Families celebrate with BBQs, camping, or family trips over the long weekend. It’s a weekend meant to be relaxing and a time to take a break from the normal routine, but don’t let all your fun plans derail your health and fitness goals. Here a few tips to make sure you stay on track:

1. Prep Before You Go: Whether it’s a road trip or just a day at the park, bring your own healthy snacks and a reusable water bottle so you’re not tempted to stop  for junk food when you get hungry or thirsty. Almonds, apples, cheese sticks,  and boxes of raisins are all small enough to fit in a purse or day pack.

2. Fit in your fitness: When choosing a destination for your trip, see if your hotel offers a fitness room or pool to exercise in–then make sure to schedule a time to use it! Hiking with your family or walking around to explore the town or in the mountains are other great options for fitting in your exercise while on vacation.



3. Eat with Caution: When you’re eating out on vacation, look at portion sizes on the plates of the people around you. Are they huge?  If so, think about splitting an entree with someone or put half of it in a to-go box as soon as it comes so you don’t overeat. Many restaurants even have a “light” menu with entrees with fewer calories and made with cleaner ingredients. If you don’t see one, don’t be afraid to ask your server for some healthy suggestions.

4. Be The Example: At your next barbecue or camping trip be the one who brings the healthy side dish (remember, healthy doesn’t mean yucky) or the one to start up a game of kickball or volleyball with the group!  We can’t control what other people bring to the party, but you can eat a hamburger with all the veggies but without the white bun or mayo. Just do the best you can with the food options there are. When you’re hanging out together with friends or family, offer to grab someone else a water while you get yours or offer refill the veggies on their plates. For some healthy recipe ideas to take to your next family party or camping trip, browse through my RECIPE INDEX


DIY Olympic Backyard Games

backyard olympics

We’re in the middle of the 2016 Summer Olympics and I thought it might be fun to host our own backyard Olympics. This would make a fun activity for your next family night or just a fun way to end the summer before kids go back to school.  Playing family games like this is a great way to show children that being outside and being active is FUN rather than a chore to do. These games would also be a great way to teach kids about good sportsmanship and supporting their siblings and family members. The list of ideas was compiled from Pinterest and you can search there for even more ideas. I picked ones that were budget friendly and easy to set up (i.e. I didn’t have to buy new equipment to make it happen). If you have small kids, think about pairing a small child with an older one or a parent to work as a team.

Ideas for Olympic Game stations around the yard:

  • volleyball, badminton, croquet, kickball, baseball
  • 3 legged race
  • obstacle course (use objects to climb over, jump over, run around, balance on, etc..)
  • water balloon toss with blankets/towels



Other ideas for your family Olympics

If you really want to go all out, check out these printable event cards, banners, medals, and more!

FREE Olympic Printables


Olympic Rings fruit platter (You could use veggies too!)


Teach kids about Brazil, this year’s host of the Olympic Games!

Tasty Tuesday: 5 Ways to Use Zucchini


It seems like all anyone knows how to do with zucchini is make bread. Which is fine, but some zucchini bread recipes are really unhealthy with lots of added sugar and oil. If you’re looking for some healthier ways to use your garden zucchini, try these 5 healthy, clean eating recipes:

  1. zucchini-pizza-boats6+srgb.
    Photo Via

    Zucchini Pizza Boats

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 12 boats, about 6 servings

  • 6 small zucchini (2 1/2 lbs)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup marinara sauce (I used Classico Four Cheese)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (6 oz)
  • 1/3 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese (1.4 oz)
  • 1/2 cup mini pepperoni slices
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano
  • Directions
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat liner, set aside.
  • Cut each zucchini into halves through the length (if they don’t lie flat trim a thin portion from bottoms so that they will lie mostly flat. I only had to do this with one of them). Pat insides dry with paper towels (cut portion). Align on prepared baking sheet. In a bowl, stir together olive oil and garlic then brush lightly over tops of zucchini. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste then brush a slightly heaping 1 Tbsp marinara sauce over each zucchini, leaving a small rim near edges uncoated. Sprinkle tops evenly with mozzarella cheese then with parmesan cheese. Top with pepperoni slices (placing them more near centers as the cheese will melt and spread). Bake in preheated oven 12 – 18 minutes (bake time will vary depending on how thick your zucchini are and how crisp/tender you want them).
  • Remove from oven and sprinkle with chopped fresh oregano. Serve warm.
  • Recipe Source: The Comfort of Cooking

2. Crispy Baked Zucchini Fries


  • 3-4 large zucchini
  • 1 cup bread crumbs (panko or itlian or a mixture of both)
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ tsp garlic powder (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Pre-heat oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with aluminium foil or parchment paper and lightly grease with oil. Set aside.
  2. Combine 2 eggs in a small shallow bowl and set aside. Combine the breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese in another bowl and set aside. Pre-pare zucchini by trimming the ends and cutting into ½ inch strips or slices.
  3. Dip zucchini strips into egg mixture then in breadcrumb mixture and transfer to pre-greased baking sheet. Repeat until all the zucchini strips are coated with egg and breadcrumbs.
  4. Seasoning with salt, pepper and garlic powder then drizzle with olive oil or generously spray with cooking spray.
  5. Bake in preheated oven, turning once, until golden and crisp, 30 to 35 minutes or until golden and crispy. Enjoy hot with chipotle sauce, ketchup or your favorite dipping sauce!

3. Zucchini Salsazucchinisalsa

4. Zucchini Tots


  • cooking spray
  • 1 packed cup grated zucchini
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 medium onion, minced
  • 1/4 cup grated reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt and black pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.  Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Grate the zucchini into a clean dish towel until you have 1 packed cup.  Wring all of the excess water out of the zucchini, there will be a lot of water. In a medium bowl, combine all of the ingredients and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Spoon 1 tablespoon of mixture in your hands and roll into small ovals. Place on the cookie sheet and bake for 16 to 18 minutes, turning halfway though cooking until golden. Makes 16.

5. Kung Pao Chicken Zoodles (Thanks to Jackie, one of my challengers for sharing this with me!)

Photo Via


  • 2 medium zucchini, about 8 oz each, ends trimmed
  • 1 teaspoon grapeseed or canola oil
  • 6 oz skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp fresh ground ginger
  • 2 tbsp crushed dry roasted peanuts
  • 2 tbsp thinly sliced scallions along diagonal

For the sauce:

  • 1 1/2 tbsp reduced soy sauce (tamari for gluten free)
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp hoisin sauce
  • 2 1/2 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tbsp Sambal Oelek Red Chili Paste (or more to taste)
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp cornstarch


Using a spiralizer fitted with a shredder blade (this makes a thicker noodle), or a mandolin fitted with a julienne blade, cut the zucchini into long spaghetti-like strips. If using a spiralizer, use kitchen scissors to cut the strands into pieces that are about 8 inches long so they’re easier to eat.

In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, balsamic, hoisin, water, red chili paste, sugar and cornstarch; set aside.

Season chicken with salt and pepper, to taste. Heat oil in a large, deep nonstick pan or wok over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until browned and cooked through, about 4 to 5 minutes. Set aside.

Reduce heat to medium, add sesame oil, garlic and ginger to the skillet and cook until fragrant, about  30 seconds. Add the bell pepper, stir in soy sauce mixture and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until thickened and bubbling, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in zucchini noodles and cook, mixing for about two minutes until just tender and mixed with the sauce. If it seems dry, don’t worry the zucchini will release moisture which helps create a sauce. Once cooked, mix in chicken and divide between 2 bowls (about 2 cups each) and top with peanuts and scallions.

Tasty Tuesday: Zucchini Salsa


The zucchini is ON right now! If you planted this popular veggie in your garden, chances are you have more than enough to make this easy and refreshing salsa. And if you didn’t plant a garden, chances are you can pick some up at a local farmer’s market or even from a neighbor who has more than enough to share! This recipe was shared with me from a friend who cans this salsa each year, and her family enjoys it all year long! Loaded with veggies, it’s a tasty way to enjoy that summer-fresh taste year-round!

And if you’ve never canned before, this is the perfect recipe to start on! It’s seriously so easy. Most people I know who can are happy to share their canning knowledge, so don’t be afraid to ask and learn how to do it!

Zucchini Salsa

  • 10 cups tomatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped (I put them in the blender with the skins on…so much easier! Just do a small batch of tomatoes in the blender at a time so you can control how chunky you want your salsa–you don’t want to totally liquify them!)
  • 8 cups grated zucchini
  • 4 cups chopped onions
  • 2 cups chopped green peppers
  • 4 yellow banana peppers, chopped
  • 3 jalapenos chopped

(I chop all my peppers and onions in a food processor, it’s faster than by hand! Just be careful not to overdo it! I like my salsa a little chunky!)

  • 5 Tbsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 1/2 cups vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp dry mustard
  • 4 dashes Tabasco hot sauce
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 Tbsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 2 (6oz) cans tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch


  1. mix all ingredients in a large stock pot
  2. bring to slow boil, stirring occasionally
  3. simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally
  4. fill sterile canning jars and place on sterilized lids
  5. Salsa can be processed in hot water bath for 30 minutes or in a pressure canner for 5 minutes.
  6. Recipe will make about 12 pints or 6 quarts

Besides chips and salsa, use this veggie loaded salsa as a topping on eggs or in your tacos/fajitas! You can even make a double batch and give some away as neighbor gifts at Christmas time–it’s a huge hit!

Tasty Tuesday: Let’s Get Saucy!


Some people have the misconception that eating clean automatically means giving up any sauces you enjoy putting on your favorite foods. It’s true that typical sauces are full of added sugars, salts, and can really add calories to your meal if you’re not careful. But, that doesn’t mean that you can’t find healthy alternatives to your favorite dips or sauces to use occasionally.

With summer picnics and BBQs in full swing (not to mention a big holiday weekend coming up) impress your party guests with these 21 Day Fix Approved sauces & dips perfect for your next summer get together.

I shared the BBQ sauce recipe in last week’s post about healthy lunch ideas. But in case you missed it, here it is again:

grilling-8-365Clean Eating BBQ Sauce

  • 6 oz can of tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbs molasses
  • 1 Tbs raw sugar
  • 2 Tbs Worcestershire sauce (Lea & Perrins has all clean ingredients and you can get it pretty much anywhere)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
  • a pinch of salt
  • black pepper, to taste

Mix all ingredients in saucepan over medium heat. Stir until combined and heated through.


Healthy Ranch Dressing/Dip

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dill
  • 1/2 tsp parsley

combine all ingredients in bowl and mix well. Allow time to chill before serving.

frui dip big3 Ingredient Creamy Fruit Dip

  • 2/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 tbs honey
  • 3 tbs nut butter

Combine all ingredients and chill before serving



Tasty Tuesday: Healthy KID APPROVED lunch ideas


Lunchtime can be a challenge with kids during the summertime (or anytime for that matter!) It can be so tempting to reach for those premade lunch items at the grocery store like chicken nuggets or corn-dogs. Whether you’re on the go or just wanting to get out of the “what’s for lunch” rut, these fast and easy recipe ideas are a fun way to involve your kids in the cooking process and to help teach them healthy cooking habits.

These recipe ideas are great if you have kids who love to help cook or just love choices–remember, kids are more likely to try new things and eat their meals if they feel ownership during the process–i.e. either helped cook or helped choose toppings/ingredients.3562117084_f72ca0506c_b

  1. Homemade quesadillas in a whole wheat wrap–take whole wheal tortilla and add cheese, black beans, corn to one side. Fold in half and microwave starting at about 30 seconds. Cut with a pizza cutter into triangles or use cookie cutters to make fun shapes. Let kids dip in salsa or guacamole if desired.


2. Almond butter and banana rolled in whole wheat wrap: Spread your nut butter over 15093563857_af7ef6db7e_ctortilla, place banana in the middle and roll up. Fun extras: drizzle with honey, add nuts, raisins, craisins, or sunflower seeds *Side note* I have a friend who tells her kids this is a “monkey lunch” and they love that!

3.Turkey roll ups: turkey, cheese, and pickles rolled up and pinned with a toothpick or wrapped in a large lettuce leaf.

4.Homemade lunchable: whole wheat crackers, cheese slices, and turkey

5. Tuna Pita Sandwich: Whole wheat pita stuffed with tuna fish and any extras like: tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, or sprouts3704624235_46a01b6d01_b

6. 2795689618_3f0f66356b_oMini pizzas made on whole wheat English muffins: If you’re using store bought sauce, pay attention to added sugars or salt. Spread sauce on English muffin, top with desired veggies or meats, sprinkle with cheese. Bake on foil lined sheet until cheese melts. You can also make these ahead of time and freeze before baking for a future use.


7. Grilled cheese sticks: Just a regular grilled cheese cut into strips. For some reason, kids love eating them this way!

8. BBQ Chicken sandwiches made with 21 Day Fix BBQ Sauce:


  • 6 oz can of tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbs molasses
  • 1 Tbs raw sugar
  • 2 Tbs Worcestershire sauce (Lea & Perrins has all clean ingredients and you can get it pretty much anywhere)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
  • a pinch of salt
  • black pepper, to taste

Heat all ingredients together in a small pot over medium heat and bring to a bubble. Check seasonings and adjust if necessary. Let bubble, giving it a stir every minute or two, for about five minutes. That’s it!

For sandwiches: mix well with shredded chicken and serve on whole wheat bread/bun.  This is a recipe that you can make ahead of time, split chicken mixed with BBQ sauce into single servings using Ziploc bags, and freeze. Just pull out the night before and place in fridge to thaw for lunch the next the day.

Fun Lunch Sides:

  • cheese sticks
  • hard boiled eggs
  • fresh fruit
  • carrots and celery
  • Yogurt
  • Applesauce
  • Popcorn
  • Raisins or Craisins
  • Pretzles



Tasty Tuesday: Guilt Free Frozen Treats



The days are getting hotter around here and sometimes a frozen treat just sounds so good! Keep cool this summer with these guilt-free frozen “ice cream” ideas. Both are dairy free and come together in less than 15 minutes. And the process of watching the ingredients turn into “ice cream” is so magical, your kids will love helping you prepare this too!

2 Ingredient Dole Whip:


1/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk (or you can use almond milk)

1 Cup frozen pineapple

Place ingredients in food processor (or a blender works if you don’t have one) and blend until you’ve reached your desired consistency.. Eat immediately or put in freezer for later. Makes 2 servings

4 Ingredient Strawberry-Banana Ice Cream

2 bananas frozen in slices

1/2 cup strawberries

1 and 1/4 tsp Vanilla

1/4 cup almond or coconut milk

Place all ingredients in food processor (or blender) and blend until you’ve reached your desired consistency. Eat immediately or put in freezer for later. Garnish with fresh strawberries if desired. Makes 4 servings