Category Archives: Family Health

Muncher Cruncher Healthy Holiday Gift Guide 2016

I’ve had a lot of requests for some healthy holiday gift ideas for both your loved ones AND you! If you are trying to stick to a healthy lifestyle, the holidays are a GREAT time to gear up with everything you need to start the continue your journey!

I have SO many favorites I could list here…It’s hard to even know where to begin. However, Christmas is a great time to get that new pair of Nikes, new tops, some socks (I love Stance & Bombass) a new hat, a sweet jacket, some leggings, (I’ve listed all my favorites HERE) warm gear for those outdoor exercisers, etc…If you are needing the right clothes to get yourself excited about getting active, or to help others get excited. New clothes are an AWESOME Christmas gift.

WORKOUT GEAR: An Apple Watch, Garmin, Heart Rate Monitor, activity tracker, Hydroflask, exercise belt/arm band (to hold a phone or keys), new earbuds, blue tooth speaker, wireless headphones, hiking back pack, camelback, a new gym bag, hair elastics, head bands, gym bag necessities (antibacterial wipes/towel/hand sanitizer/gum/chapstick), workout gloves, etc.

EQUIPMENT: This can range from simple to extensive…jump rope, mat, bosu ball, medicine ball, kettlebell, dumbbells, resistance bands, physioball, exercise DVD’s, a foam roller…treadmill, elliptical, stationary bike, road bike, stairmill (in my dreams)…

SUBSCRIPTIONS/MEMBERSHIPS: Gym membership, personal training sessions, a meal plan, fit camp membership, Spotify subscription, Netflix subscription, fitness magazine subscription, healthy eBooks, a massage, race entries, etc.

HEALTHY TREATS/FOOD/COOKING: Gift certificates to your favorite healthy restaurants or health  food stores, nuts, popcorn, protein bars, jerky, cookware, healthy cook books, a small portable/packable cooler or tupperware, to take your healthy meals on the go, a blender, spiralizer, cocomotion, food processor, kitchen aid, other items to help with healthy cooking in the kitchen!

BEAUTY PRODUCTS: Body wash, perfume, lotion, body scrub, face masks, hair products, dry shampoo (a fitness gal’s best friend), hair elastics, nail polish, lip gloss, chapstick, gift certificates for a pedicure/manicure, etc.

Hopefully these suggestions can help you to find some great healthy holiday gifts, for your loved ones AND for your own list! xoxoxo

Muncher Cruncher Crockpot Healthy Ranch Chicken

The crockpot can be one of the best tools for busy people trying to eat healthy. It require very little effort to dump some ingredients into a crockpot, & let it do the work for you while you are running around all day. We had this super easy, and very delicious, healthy ranch chicken this past Sunday for dinner. It was a hit!

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  • 4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 dry ranch dressing packet
  • 1 can of Healthy Choice cream of chicken soup
  • 8 oz of neufchâtel cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 dash paprika
  • 1/8 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp parsley flakes

In a large crock pot, combine 4-6 chicken breasts with one dry ranch dressing packet. Cook on low for 4 hours, or until chicken is cooked through & falls apart.

Add in 1 can of Healthy Choice, Cream of Chicken soup, 8 OZ of neufchâtel cream cheese, 1/2 cup of chicken broth, 1 dash paprika, 1/8 tsp dried oregano, & 1/4 tsp parsley flakes. Cook for another 20-30 minutes until all ingredients combine.

Serve over brown rice or quinoa. We paired ours with some oven roasted veggies, & it made for the perfect meal!

NUTRITION BREAKDOWN: (for 1 serving) 25 g protein/12 g fat/6 g carbohydrates

8 Ways to Make Vacation Workouts Possible

I LOVE to travel. It is one of my favorite things to do. I love a weekend road trip. I love a tropical vacation. Heck, I love a day trip. It’s always so fun to explore new places with the people that I love! For a lot of people, “vacation mode” of life instantly comes with going on any sort of vacation. I’m all for relaxing every now and again, but I tend to feel better when I move…even on vacation. Actually, especially on vacation. My eating tends to be far from my, “norm” when I travel, so I always feel better if I can get some sort of a workout in. Processed with VSCOcam with m3 presetBeing active has become a way of life for me, no matter where I am. The following are some ways to get some exercise in while you are on vacation, no matter where you are!

  1. Explore on foot or on bike. If possible, rent bikes to ride around your new territory, or choose to walk from one place to the next instead of driving or taking public transportation. Even if you can’t fit in the time for an actual workout, you can get a LOT of exercise by simply walking! Sight seeing or traveling on foot can allow you to really take things in.
  2. Get up early & get it done. If you really want to get your workout in before you get your vacation on, make time for it. It’s as simple as that. Chances are as the day goes on, you will get busy & it won’t be as likely to happen.
  3. Find new trails or hikes. With the amazing technology we have in our day, it’s SO easy to google awesome trails, hikes, parks, and other sights where you can get a great workout. Find a set of stairs you can run up and down, or a city hill you can run up and down, and what could be better than walking or running beachside? It’s as easy as that.
  4. Get your body weight exercise on. If you aren’t wanting to brave the unknown, you can easily get your workout on in your room. A workout of pushups, burpees, high knees, lunges, squat jumps, sit-ups, & planks takes very little room & can be very effective.
  5. Bring some DVD’s. There are a lot of at home workout programs that you can bring with you that are perfect to do right in the comfort of your tiny hotel room.
  6. Explore hotel or local gyms. I always think it’s fun and adventurous to seek out new workout spots. Try out the hotel gym, or look up local gyms that have great reviews!
  7. Find a stair well. I have done this on several occasions in a hotel. Plug in your headphones and run up and down the stairwell, pausing at the top or bottom to do some jump squats, pushups, lunges, planks, or tricep dips. Stairs are an awesome workout!
  8.  Go shopping. You might laugh, but doing laps around a mall or shopping center can get a lot of steps in!

Don’t let a change in your location or your schedule throw off your workout routine! You can be active & get a GREAT workout in, no matter where you go! 🙂

10 Reasons I love to Exercise That Have Nothing to do with Health

I talk to people about why exercise is great for health & weight loss all the day long, and the list of reasons I could give you as to why it is so good for you is quite lengthy. However, many of the reasons why I love to exercise have nothing to do with health.

  1. It challenges me. Growing up I was a dancer. I was always working towards achieving different things. Improving specific form, learning new techniques, increasing my skill level, and working toward competitions and performances were what I thrived on. Sadly, dancing isn’t something that I do much of anymore. However, I still love to move my body. I still love to be challenged. I like working toward different athletic goals, improving form, and pushing myself to reach higher levels of achievement.
  2. I get to watch all sorts of TV. I’m not really one to sit around and watch TV, and if I do, it is usually the background to me cooking, writing programs, answering emails, etc. When I do my cardio, however, I LOVE watching whatever happens to be catching my eye at the time. Some of my favorites…Parenthood, The Biggest Loser, Scandal, Suits, Gossip Girl, Project Runway…and whatever else has been suggested to me at the time. I don’t feel guilty about it at all because it is time well spent, zoned out, and very stress-relieving.
  3. I get to jam to my new music. As you know from my many workout playlists, I LOVE finding new music. It must be the dancer in me, but there are just some songs that get me going. It’s like a breath of energy that is almost inexplicable. For example…anytime I am running and I hear Eminem, Lose Yourself, I am instantly pumped. Tired or not, I feel empowered. Music has that effect on me, and I love it.
  4. Working out is social for me. I love doing my cardio on my own time. It is me time. However, I LOVE lifting with others. I spend a lot of time at the gym working out with friends, and it’s really fun to me. I love doing active things with other people like hiking, rollerblading (yep it’s 2015 & I still blade), going for a run, going for a bike ride, or even just a walk. It’s quality time spent together. iloveit4
  5. It gives me energy. I know, this could fall under the category of “health,” but healthiness aside, when I don’t workout I feel sluggish. Exercise gets me going. Not exercising makes me want to take a nap. Sounds backwards, but for me it’s true.
  6. Exercising = Not stressing about food as much. Let it be said first. You CANNOT out exercise a bad diet. I fully, FULLY …F U L L Y….support eating healthy. I am a big fan of a clean, whole foods diet. However, I know that when I am eating well, and working out I don’t have to stress about every single calorie that I eat. Exercise allows for a little buffer/wiggle room. I fully support that. iloveit1
  7. I get to wear workout clothes & shoes, which happen to be my favorite thing ever. This one speaks for itself.iloveit5
  8. It gives me an excuse to be outside. I love the sun. It warms my soul. I love being outside where I can enjoy the sun. Exercising outdoors gives me a reason to be outside, and I love that. I’m not even mad if I get tan while that is happening either. 🙂iloveit2  
  9. It gives me confidence. For the most part, we tend to be really hard on ourselves. It is extremely easy to get drawn into negative self talk about the way we think we look, the way we feel about ourselves, and the way we wish we thought/looked/felt. When I am regularly exercising, I feel better about myself. My confidence in the way I look and feel is increased. I don’t mean it in a prideful way at all. I just know that I feel better about myself when I exercise.
  10. It’s fun. I know like %80 of the people out there might not agree with me there, but I have grown to love it. It makes me happy. I love the way it makes me feel, (sometimes not until after, but still.) I love the feeling of accomplishment that comes with checking a daily workout off my list. I like being active. I like trying new activities. I like the endorphins that come from exercise. iloveit3


How to Travel & Keep Up Your Healthy Habits

I love to travel. I love weekend getaways. I love day trips. I love adventures just about anywhere, near or far. Most people think of vacations, and they tend to think of vacationing from all responsibility, including any healthy habits they may have. While I do think that there is a time and a place for indulgence, I also think that making good health a part of your lifestyle wherever you are will make you happier (and healthier) in the long run. Don’t get me wrong, vacations are meant to be enjoyed. You should try wonderful food, and indulge every now and then, but if you can keep to some healthy habits along the way you may find that you enjoy those wonderful foods and indulgences far more!

1. BYOB. Bring your own breakfast. Breakfast is usually the hardest meal on vacation because going out to breakfast more than likely means pastries, pancakes, heavy syrup, cheesy eggs, and donuts. It is easy to bring along some protein bars, fresh fruit, oatmeal packets, almonds, nut butter, jerky, and other packable items that you can eat for breakfast that will start your day on a better note than an excessive blood sugar high.

2. Find something active to do everyday. It is amazing what you can do with your surroundings. Go out for a morning walk and explore wherever you may be. Utilize the hotel gym. Do a simple and quick circuit in your hotel room. Go for a run. Plan some activities in your day that require some walking so you are sure to get some exercise in. vacationThere are a lot of cities that offer awesome bike tours, or that have fun parks and gardens to explore. Walking around town is great exercise!

3. Don’t be afraid to make use of your surroundings. alexandersbeachThere are park benches, hills, playgrounds, and all sorts of sidewalks everywhere you go that you can make use of. It is a matter of going and doing!

4. Choose healthy eats. I am one hundred percent convinced that you can eat healthy just about anywhere. It is jus a matter of being willing to look for healthy options. Bring snacks with you if you are worried that there aren’t going to be options that you will eat. It is better to be prepared than to find yourself starving, leaving you likely to eat whatever you  can get your hands on. It is also a good idea to bring your own healthy snacks to have on hand for in-between times! Protein bars, nuts, popcorn, jerky, string cheese, dried fruit, fresh fruit, baby carrots, fresh veggies…etc. Even if you may not be able to exercise like you would normally, you can still make good eating decisions.

5. Make your healthy lifestyle the norm. If you do your best to stick to your normal healthy habits while you are away from home, it won’t be a big effort to get back into your routine when you get home. Remember that everyday you choose to eat what you eat, to exercise or not, to make healthy decisions vs. unhealthy ones…so decide to be healthy. Make it who you are. I promise you will benefit from it.

6. Enjoy some R&R. As much as exercise and being active is healthy, relaxation is healthy too. It may be good for you to rest a bit if need be. Take advantage of getting some good sleep, resting up, and relaxing on your vacations too. It’s all about a healthy balance!

Ten Things That will Keep Your Summer Healthy

Summer is the best. I love the weather. I love the fun family times. I love the holidays. I love the fresh produce. I love the fun vacations. I love the outdoor activities. I love it ALL!! However, With all of this goodness that I love comes a busy schedule that often lends itself to missed workouts, increased summer treats, and excuses for not living the healthy way you are wanting to be living. Make this summer different! The following are some tips that can help you to have a fun, happy, and HEALTHY summer.

1. Pre plan your meals. With summer being so busy, having an idea of what you want to eat for the week can help you to keep yourself on track with healthy meals.

2. Plan meals that are quick & easy. Planning your meals is important, but I find myself wanting to be in a hot kitchen as little as possible. Are you the same way? With that being said, I would make your meals easy and simple. Make healthy salads. Use your crock pot. Capitalize on all the fresh produce that is around. It is so good!aug14132

3. Stock up on healthy snacks you can grab. Having healthy snacks on hand (veggies & hummus, fruit, popcorn, Larabars, Questbars, nuts, etc) allows you to have healthy stuff to take with you on the go on all of your summer adventures. Instead of getting cheese fries and nachos at the pool, bring your own goods and you will be well prepared! 

4. Get your workouts done in the morning. Summer is hot. When you get your workouts done early in the morning, you will not have to worry about sweating during the heat of the day. Summer mornings are magical. The sun rises early and it is beautiful outside! Getting your workout out of the way will allow you to enjoy your busy summer activities without having the need to workout hanging over your head.

5. Get Grilling. Oh, how I love grilling in the summertime. It is the best. You can whip up some amazing healthy options on the grill. Experiment grilling your chicken, fish, and lean cuts of beef with different marinades and rubs. Make shish kabobs. Grill your veggies. The possibilities are endless. The cleanup is minimal, and the taste is off the charts. Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

6. Hydrate. The heat of summer means an increase in sweat. Don’t forget to stay hydrated. Bring a water bottle with you wherever you go. It will help to keep you cool and hydrated!

7. Make your summer ACTivities ACTive. Find things to do outside to enjoy the beautiful summer weather. Go on hikes. Explore your surroundings. Ride bikes. Go for walks. Go paddle boarding. Just go! You will burn calories and make awesome memories. IMG_7499

8. Choose your “cool treats” wisely. One of the hardest things for me during the summer is to not want to dive into a giant waffle cone of ice cream or shave ice every single day. It is just what sounds good to me with the hot weather. I’m not saying you can’t dig into these delights every now and again, but I’d do so sparingly. These cool treats tend to be backed with sugar, which isn’t going to help you reach your goals. Go for frozen yogurt instead, make your own fruit smoothies, make your own banana ice cream, etc.

9. Change your transportation. Instead of driving everywhere ride your bike or walk! You will up your calorie burn, and you will see your surroundings in a whole new way!

10. Don’t use vacations as an excuse. Summer vacations are the best. I get that. However, going from one vacation to the next with a “vacation mentality” is going to kill your goals. Decide to stay healthy and active while you are on vacation. Keep moving. Make healthy eating choices. You can do it. You just have to decide to do so!

10 Ways to Shape Up For Summer…and Forever

Well. we have been talking about getting in shape for summer for quite some time now. Guess what guys? It’s HERE!! YESSSS. As you well know by now, summer makes me the happiest human alive. I LOVE it. Sunshine. Warmth. The outdoors. Yes, yes, and yes. However, now that summer has so quickly come upon us, have you found yourself wondering why you still haven’t gotten into the summer shape you’ve been planning on? If this is the case, the following tips may help get you back on track…not just for the summer, but forever. yhike2

  1. Get into seasonal produce. – There is nothing like garden fresh produce. There just isn’t. If eating your fruits and veggies is a struggle for you, trying some local, fresh produce may help. I mean is there really anything better than fresh, flavorful, right-off-the-vine tomatoes? NO.
  2. Exercise in the morning. – Summertime gets busy. There are always a lot of activities going on. Summertime also gets toasty. As the day gets busier and hotter, you are less likely to want to get your sweat on. If you plan on getting your workout in and over with first thing, you won’t have to worry about it the rest of the day. If you can make this a lifetime habit, you will benefit HUGELY from doing so. Promise.
  3. Make your workouts quick and worthwhile. – You are busy. I know. Guess what? So is everyone else. Use the precious time you do have effectively. If you don’t know how to do this, seek the help of a professional who does. Info on the resources I offer are HERE.
  4. Cut out the crap. – Stop with all the snacking. It’s not helping you. I know that summer can be full of poolside snacks, movie snacks, picnic snacks, and late-night snacks, and they are all great and wonderful. Except they’re not. If you are trying to attain some health and fitness goals, cut out the crap.
  5. Make your summer an active one. – One of the best things you can do to get in shape is to move more. One of the best ways to do this is to make moving more fun! Get your family involved. Go hiking, take bike rides, go on walks, explore your city, go to the pool, make a bucket list or copy mine. 🙂
  6. Drink lots of water. – Water helps to keep you hydrated and happy. It also helps to keep you keep you feeling full, and in the summer it can be so refreshing. Keep water on hand at all times!
  7. Plan your {simple} meals in advance. – It can be hard to get excited about cooking in the summer when it’s toasty and busy. SO, plan your week ahead of time. Think of simple meals that require little cooking and prep. Use the grill. Throw together some easy salads. Use your crock pot. Take the family on a picnic.
  8. Check your sugar intake. – The ice cream, frozen yogurt, slurpees, shaved ice, and smoothies seem to sound good all the time when it’s hot out. However, if you are wanting to slim down, these items all contain a LOT of sugar. You may want to track your sugar intake to determine if you are over doing it. Try not to exceed 30 grams per day. I think sugar is the KEY element to improving your physique. Want more info about sugar? Read HERE.
  9. Sign up for some races. – Need some motivation to exercise? Sign up for a family fun run, 5K, 10K, 1/2 marathon, relay, or heck…even a marathon or triathlon. This will help you to have a goal to work towards, and will keep you exercising.
  10. Stop making excuses. – Like I said before, summer is here. So, now is the time to stop saying you will “get in shape for summer” and just get in shape. You CAN do it. It IS possible. Yep, it’s going to take some work and some discipline. Yeah, it might be kinda tough at times. First and foremost, it’s going to take you just starting. There is always a reason not to. There is always a vacation, a family event, a holiday, a season change, a sale on your favorite candy, and a neighbor dropping off treats on your doorstep. Instead of finding excuses, find solutions. MAKE IT HAPPEN.

Happy Summer. 🙂



Here Comes Summer, Now Let’s Get Moving! {Bucket listing}

There is nothing I love more than summer. Warm weather and sunshine make me really happy! I’ve already been able to get a small taste of the beautiful outdoors this weekend. bridalveilI’ve come up with a bucket list of things that I want to do in Utah this summer!bucketlist I have already been to Stewart Falls and on a photo field trip, and I’ve loved every minute of it! This is still a list in progress. I’ve already added to it…

– Hike Ensign Peak, Paddle Boarding in Deer Creek Reservoir, & Bike down the Provo Canyon Trail.

My challenge to you is to create a bucket list of your own! Get your friends and family involved in deciding what it is you want to do this summer. Find some activities that will get you out and active! You will have some incredible adventures and memories that will help you keep up a healthy lifestyle!

Now…for you how are around Utah Valley…what am I missing??