I’ve been painting the town green the past five years. What I mean by this is that I’ve been telling everyone and anyone about my love of plant-based eating, as well as drinking green juices and smoothies. My family has been on board, knowing that I feel vibrant and my health is stable. (So there aren’t many “EWWWWW, that looks gross” comments.) We hit a huge milestone four years ago. Not only did my then, 6-year old, ask to try my green smoothie recipe, but he also wanted seconds. That interested my husband, who has been craving them ever since.
I love smoothies and parties. You can often see me dancing and singing in my kitchen with an avocado in hand. Sometimes I have an audience, other times, it’s just me in my smoothie lab. I love playing around with different ingredients from frozen veggies to colorful superfoods. Want to create your own party with some plants? (You can thank Talia for the play on words or listen to her awesome podcast – Party in my Plants.) All you need are a few ingredients, an awesome high speed blender and family that’s open to trying new flavors. Here are a few of our recent favorites: Catch Me Mint and Mango Infusion Smoothies. Check out the recipes below and our healthy living page for more.
As a child, my mother was loving, thoughtful and wise, though the absolute strictest in the neighborhood. So as a result, I was naturally a semi-rebellious teen. She also served home cooked meals most nights and made us drink a cup of milk at each meal. Just to make her mad, I pushed for eating Hungry-Man salisbury steaks and diet soda whenever possible.
Now that I’m a parent, I often think about how I can motivate my son to make healthy choices. How do I find a balance between being “that parent” that doesn’t allow her kid to eat any junk food to one that feels defeated and serves whatever the child claims they will eat?
Being a first time mom, I opted for organic items when my son began eating “real food.” As I tried to figure out parenthood, spending a tad more money on organic foods gave me reassurance that he was ingesting quality items. But as he grew into his personality and demanded “more desserts,” it has become easier to veer away from wholesome selections and find pre-packaged items.
Being a busy mom and often too tired to fight, I looked for alternatives that made him smile. Oreos, Cheez-its, and Lunchables not only were convenient, but also instantly made him grin from eat to ear. So, while I knew it was wrong, before a tantrum or even a busy week I often stocked up on these items. As I have re-evaluated my eating to detox the cancer from my body, small steps have been taken to clean up my 6-year old’s diet, as well.
Welcome to Pretty Wellness TV – our YouTube channel highlighting clean living for the whole family. We’ll talk about health, happiness and being beautiful organically. Yesterday, to honor “Wellness Wednesday,” we spoke about the first healthy habit that we embraced.
Please send us in ideas and questions that you want us to cover on how we make clean living easy for our family. We will air weekly on Wednesdays or Thursdays with 2-minute health or wellness makeover tips.
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Some of my fondest childhood memories were at fast food restaurants. Whether it was the bright, happy meal packages at McDonald’s or the camaraderie of hanging out at Taco Bell with my teen-age friends, fast food joints were fun. Flash forward to motherhood and I gained a whole new appreciation for the drive-thru. Now, the endless days juggling appointments, meetings and kid activities mean that eating is often on the fly. I know better than to pick up a supersized chicken nugget meal with a side of grease and pound of sugar. But, I still am human and occasionally run late, forget to pack snacks or flat-out don’t have time to be uber-healthy. So, what does a health-conscious mom do when a quick pick up meal (for me and my son) is the only option? The answer is – choose smart.
In researching the menu items at different chains, I’ve found a few that are relatively wholesome and filling. Of course I strive to eat solid organic, fresh plant-based meals, so won’t make this a daily habit. These items aren’t perfect, but are better than vending machine choices or other cruddy fried favorites from the happy meal menus.
My Top Six Favorites for Fast Food on the Fly
This is my favorite fast-food joint. The items are fresh, largely organic and made in front of you. A salad with black beans, brown rice and a heaping spoonful of mild tomato salsa is a high fiber and nutrient filled meal. The kid’s meals (tacos or quesadillas) are decent healthy options, just skip the chips. While they don’t currently have drive-thru windows, using their Chipotle app makes it easy to order and pick up quickly.
2. The Whole Foods Salad Extravaganza Bar:
It really isn’t just a salad bar; it’s a whole lot more. There are about four islands of pre-made fresh and cooked food ranging from soups and salads to ethnic meals and gourmet items. I prefer to build a big plate of greens with juicy olives, beans and fun grains. For kids, there are plenty of pre-made choices that change daily. Though the grocery store checkout line can be long, purchasing at the coffee bar or express line makes paying a lot easier.
The slogan “eat fresh” is appealing, however know that it doesn’t apply to every item on the menu. Nonetheless, I’m still a fan. It isn’t organic and likely serves some genetically modified products (chips, pre-made breads, etc.) But, it is a good option for fresh vegetables when you are on-the-go. They make solid salads using real spinach leaves. Top it off with the salt and pepper mix, no dressing and it’s a healthy choice. (Adding avocado is also on the menu.) Their “Fresh Fit for Kids” meal includes apples, smaller sandwiches and Shamrock Farm milk (without added hormones.) Subway continues to grow franchises, many in highway rest stops, so a drive thru option could be available for an even quicker pick up.
4. Panera Bread:
Panera offers a slew of organic foods including cheese, milk and yogurt all well-loved by my five-year old. The rye bread is GMO-free and tastes yummy as a grilled cheese sandwich. The Mediterranean veggie with hummus (no cheese) on rye is a tasty lunch for those staying away from the nitrates in deli.
I’m not a fan of the sandwiches or even pre-made salads, but the baked potato dry is a solid clean eating staple. Adding sour cream, cheese or thick sauces diminishes any health benefits. So, I keep small packets of random condiments in my car. Organic dressings, mustards, ketchup and olive oil can be purchased from Minimus and are great for these fast food emergencies.
6. Boston Market:
While the sodium content in many of their dishes can be high, their healthy options seem to have the least ingredients and are made up of solid wholesome foods. Healthy and hearty menu items include white meat skinless rotisserie chicken, turkey breast, steamed vegetables and fruit.
What healthy options have you found as you are running around town?
Photo image courtesy of lamnee/freedigital photos.net. Sources include company websites and Organic Authority.