ETC: Week 40

Hello friends!

I hope all is well! This past week, we made it to 40 weeks! It’s very bittersweet because I am very happy baby girl is fully cooked, but I’m also very anxious to meet her already!

We had a rather busy week and even had some visitors, but still, no baby!

Our 40-week weekend was beautiful; warm and filled with sunshine! Saturday we ran our weekly errands and Sunday we didn’t move until about 1pm. After relaxing all morning, we decided to go on a long walk. We walked down to the lakefront path and took a stroll through Andersonville on the way home. It was nice to reminisce along my old running path. Once Naomi is here and old enough to be in the jogging stroller, she will quickly become well acquainted with that path as well!

I worked from home this week which was extremely stress relieving. Not having to commute on crowded public transportation or worry about my escape route from downtown to up north if labor were to start was a blessing. Also, not having to try and fit in to office maternity clothes was pretty nice. At this point, a few maternity items still fit because they are stretchy, but are they by no means comfortable.

My mom and sister also came to visit this week. Unfortunately for them, when they booked the trip, they had planned to spend time with the baby since it was technically 2 days passed my due date that they would arrive. Joke was on all of us because, Naomi never made her grand entrance into the world.

It was nice to see them both one last time without a baby though. We went to Homeslice pizza one night and Xoco another night. Two places we wouldn’t have been able to check out with a newborn. We also stopped and walked around Oz park. Did you know, the statues can talk to you?!?! You enter a website on your phone then Dorothy or Tin Man will call you and talk to you for a minute or two. It’s a neat idea and I can’t wait to take Naomi to see them, once she’s old enough to understand the hype.

My mom and sister left at the end of the week but booked another stay the first weekend in May. They will be guaranteed to meet Naomi this next time around!

It was also our precious Pumbaa’s birthday this week! He is 7 and I cannot believe where the time went. I adopted Pumbaa when I moved to Whitewater for college and since then, he’s become such an important part of our family. I hope he loves Naomi as much as he loves us. It may take some getting used to, but he’s a cuddly lover so I have faith in him.

We made it the entire week, everyday asking ourselves ‘is today the day?’ We’ve tried nearly every home remedy people suggest and have answered the “where is she” or “how are you feeling” question at least 55 million times (little to no exaggeration on that estimated number). I’m fully convinced that all of these “at home labor inducing tricks” only work if baby is ready and Naomi is just not ready yet.

It’s definitely bittersweet going past your due date. Yes, I am so happy she’s fully developed in my belly, but we are anxiously awaiting her arrival. There’s a sense of frustration that kicks in when you wake up in the morning and realize it’s time to get up for work but you haven’t had any contractions and today may not be the day. However, it’s a blessing to continue feeling her movements. Soon, she will only be able to kick me from the outside 🙂

Currently, I am 41 weeks and 2 days pregnant. Our next update WILL have a baby update because I will be induced at the end of the week if she doesn’t come out on her own. I personally think she just wanted to wait for the month of May because Te’s birthday is also in May; so we have a serious daddy’s girl on our hands! 🙂

We cannot wait to meet our little bundle and I cannot wait to be done with pregnancy! We’ve got quite an exciting week ahead – Stay tuned!!

Until next time..

ETC: Week 38

Hi friends!
I hope everyone is having a great week! This past week we completed our 38th week of pregnancy. We are coming so close to meeting our little girl and we can NOT wait!

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Olive Park – Chicago, IL

Luckily, no one was sick this week – Thank you, Jesus! 🙂 To start off the 38th week, we took a trip downtown to visit Olive Park. It is a very pretty part of the city and the weather was gorgeous! I started feeling some pains in my lower belly area while walking – they amounted to nothing but it was reassuring that my body seems to be preparing for labor and delivery!

After being sick last week, I took it easy this week. Instead of 5 am wake up calls to go to the gym, I started getting up at 6 and going on a 2 mile walk around my neighborhood. This is definitely a change in pace for me. I am used to HIIT and running workouts followed by weight training, so allowing myself to learn to apprecite walking as a workout has been interesting. It definitely feels good to stay mobile throughout these last couple of weeks, but I cannot wait to get back to running!

Monday at work they threw me a baby shower. We had a delicious Sweet Mandy B’s cake (Chocolate with vanilla frosting – YUM) and the sales team got together and got Te and I an extremely generous gift card to Target. We are very thankful to have so much support from both of our work families in the city! I had a doctor appointment on Monday night (as I do every Monday now days :)) and it was super quick. Everything seems good, we’re just waiting on baby girl to come on out!

Tuesday night we had some friends over, Natalie and Reni, for a taco Tuesday celebration. It was so wonderful to see them and catch up! They just returned from a trip to Japan so we talked all about their travels and caught up on life. We also asked them to be Godparents to our little Naomi and we are so excited they said yes! 🙂 She is so lucky to have such positive influences in her life – they will be such great role models for her growing up!!

The rest of the week, we took it easy as well. We continue to clean the house and prep for baby as much as possible, but we’re pretty much all set. Now, we wait! I am feeling very ready to meet the baby! Also, I only have a few items of clothing that fit me now and I refuse to buy anything new, so dressing for work.. and life, really, is becoming quite a challenge. Also, the swelling I’m experiencing in my feet/ankles/legs/fingers is intense. I am ready to be done with the discomfort that comes along with these last couple of weeks!

Te and I put a fun little bet on Naomi’s birthday. I said April 16th (Which if you’re reading this now, it didn’t happen..) and Te said Thursday, April 20th. We’ll see if either of us are right! I couldn’t care less what day she comes, I just pray she comes before or on her due date. I am not looking forward to 41 weeks of pregnancy – I want to meet you little Naomi!! 

We just started our 39th week of pregnancy this past Saturday and we are hoping it was the last bump photo we have to take! I’ll update you next week with a bumpdate and HOPEFULLY, a baby intro! 🙂

Stay tuned!

Until next time..

ETC: T-30 days

 

We are so close! In less than 30 days we will be Bates, party of 3!

Looking ahead, since we aren’t sure when our little girl will make her grand appearance, I’m going to try and give an update every week. Don’t hold me to it, but I’ll try my best 🙂

For this post, join me as I take a look at back at our 8th month of pregnancy.

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Warning, this was a crazy busy week for us! For our 1 year anniversary, Te bought me tickets to a bread baking class. I was super excited because I’ve always wanted to go to a couple’s cooking class! We learned how to make sourdough bread and once everything came out of the oven, the instructor pointed out a loaf that was ‘perfect’. Low and behold, it was Te’s 🙂 It was also pretty ‘punny’ that we had our bread bun in the oven while I also have a ‘bun in the oven’ 🙂

Next on our list, we drove to Milwaukee to pick up a stroller. Also, I met with my long time friend Jenny and my sister for brunch. It was so nice to catch up!

Another thing we did was attend a home buying class! Redfin hosted a free class where they provided dinner and some tips for first time buyers. It was eye opening and left us feeling optimistic about *someday* buying our own humble abode.

Also this week, we went to our first Chicago Blackhawks game! It was magical 🙂 We have now been to every major Chicago sporting event (yes, including the Chicago Fire and the Chicago Wolves). The atmosphere at the Blackhawks game was unreal – I think it’s my new favorite type of event! We saw some friends at the game and were able to catch up with them a bit, which added to the excitement of the evening!

Believe it or not, we ALSO had a baby shower this week [I warned you, it was a very busy this week!]. Te’s Shred co-workers-turned-family threw us the cutest shower. We got our first diaper cake and Naomi got her first pair of (gold) Nike’s!! We are so thankful for the Shred team who has truly become family for us.

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This week, the city of Chicago celebrated St. Patrick’s Day by dyeing the river green! I’ve never gone to see the green river so we decided this year was the year we would go check it out! I couldn’t believe how truly green it was!

Unfortunately, after our many festivities of week 33, Te came down with the flu during week 34. It was a very tough week because he was VERY sick so I was trying my best to care for him while not getting sick myself.

On top of Te being sick, we scheduled a vet appointment for Pumbaa. It. Was. Awful. Our cat HATES the vet. It’s truly the worst time of year when we have to take him. He gets angry and hisses and is very mean. I understand he’s scared, but jeeze!!! At any rate, we got his shots so he’s ready for baby. However, Te had to clean poop and pee off of Pumbaa’s butt when we got home because they kept him in the kennel to administer the shot, he got scared and let loose. I felt terrible because I couldn’t help since I have to avoid cat poop while pregnant. UGH! What a day it was. We both took a long nap after that event.

After an entire week under the weather (poor babe 😦 ) and an awful vet appointment, we were able to get out of the house that weekend and turn our frowns upside down. We went to see Beauty and the Beast! I’ve been dying to see the movie and for Valentine’s Day, Te ordered tickets for us to go. It was amazing. I cried at least 5 times in the theatre and twice when we left. I also indulged on delicious movie theatre popcorn which was incredible.

All in all, it was a happy ending to a very tough week.

35.

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This week was much easier. Slower pace and no illness! We always wanted to take a photo at this adorable coffee shop and of course, try their coffee. Well when we arrived, unfortunately the coffee shop was closed. 😦 We still took the picture then went back to our car. Before we left, we stopped in to Goddess & the Baker to get a latte and a scone. To our surprise, as we were waiting for our order, a ginormous (tall) guy walked in and right away, Te knew who he was [Paul Zipser from the Bulls]. Te went up to him and showed him a photo that Te took of him while at the Bulls game. They talked briefly and we let him get on his way. I would have had NO idea this guy played for the Bulls but thanks to hubby, we got to briefly meet him.

36.

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9 months pregnant. Woah. In the next 4 weeks (or 5-6.. but hopefully 4 :)) we will meet our little girl! This week was ALL about nesting. We got the changing table we’d been eyeing up and were able to organize everything in Naomi’s space. We gave our apartment a mini makeover and a deep clean since we aren’t sure when we will have time to do that again.

On the way to take our bump pic this week, we decided to stop at Cafe Tola to get an empanada snack. They had chicken mole empanadas which, if you know me, you know I LOVE mole. It was absolutely delicious! We decided to scrap our original photo plan and take our bump pic on the side of the Cafe Tola building because, well.. Hey Kanye! 👋🏽🤣

Also this week, Jaime & Tiffany came to Chicago and spent the day with us! It was so fun seeing them. They brought Naomi some of the most adorable gifts. She’s so blessed to have such thoughtful family! During their visit, we went to HopLeaf because it’s been on our “to-do” list forever. After a couple of drinks for the boys, we went to DMK for dinner and completely indulged in some of the city’s best burgers and fries. We don’t have much planned for the rest of the week so I’m excited for another slow, uneventful couple of days.

We are very close to meeting our princess. I may or may not have a “bumpdate” for you next week – I could possibly have a baby update!

Stay tuned!

Until next time..

ETC: It’s the Final Countdown

Hello friends! I hope you’ve had a great couple of weeks!

Since my last bump update, we have come quite a long way! From a scare of gestational diabetes to entering my third trimester which I’m calling,”the final countdown”. We were planning for a quiet month but we ended up doing a lot and it was great! Take a ride down memory lane with me as I look back on month 6 and look ahead towards month 7 and my final trimester of pregnancy!

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Ahhh, the CTA. We had to take a picture on our trusty transportation system. 🙂 Yes, the one where you get asked for money by the needy, stand packed like a sardine on the way home from a long day at work (standing like that 7 months pregnant is super fun…), see people throw up on themselves/the floors of the train, and even get to sit in cars that smell of cigarettes, urine and feces. Who doesn’t love public transportation?!?! 🙂 In all seriousness though, I’m thankful for the CTA because despite the ridiculous things that may happen, it’s a safe way to get from point A to point B without having to pay for gas or sit in rush hour traffic.

Week 25 we celebrated the birthday of a friend’s one year old! It was such a fun party and made me realize that we are in for lots of fun birthday celebrations to come! Mama was feeling a bit cranky this week, and day in particular (sorry papa!) but the party was a fun way to forget about the stress and spend time with close friends. 

We also had brunch with my sissie and her new man at an awesome cereal bar in the city. It was amazing being able to catch up with her and enjoy a delicious breakfast! 

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[I would just like to point out that it’s mid-January in this photo and although chilly, I’m capable of taking a photo outside without a coat – THANK YOU Chicago]. Week 26 started off with a baby registry event at Babies R Us. It was great! Lucky for us, we were the only people who showed up so we “won” a pack of pampers! Woot woot for free diapers 🙂 After the event, we went out with some friends for brunch at Orange in Roscoe Village and it was delicious. It was great to catch up with people we haven’t seen in forever! Papa also had his first paid photography gig after brunch and it went so well! Naomi and I are so proud of you babe!! ❤

During this week I had a couple of different lunch dates with some of my favorite ladies! It’s so fun getting together and hearing about what’s going on in everyone’s lives. I’m so proud of my ambitious friends!! 

Also this week, I found out a close friend of mine from work was leaving so that she could stay home with her daughter. It was so bittersweet because, although I am happy for her, selfishly, I want to keep her at work so we can still hang out! Now our work lunch dates will just transition in to play dates for our girls, so I guess it’s not so bad! 🙂

Lastly, I found out I failed my initial gestational diabetes test this week. It was really hard on me because I felt like my body was failing. I eat pretty clean still and I am still exercising 3-5 days per week. ‘How could this happen’, I thought? After the initial shock and terribly sad feelings, I learned that sometimes it just happens. No matter how healthy you are, sometimes the condition pops up strictly due to hormones and how your body is reacting to them, not necessarily because of what you’re eating or how active you are. That made me feel better. But I was SO scared to take the long gestational diabetes test because I absolutely H A T E getting my blood drawn…
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..This is the look of a 27 week pregnant woman who HATES getting her blood drawn. This same woman who failed her first gestational diabetes test so she had to wake up at 6:30 AM on a Saturday to get her blood drawn FOUR different times; once in an already bruised arm/vein and three times in the other arm, over a three hour span of time. Thanks to God, I have an incredibly supportive and caring husband who sat with me in the hospital from 7 am until nearly 11 am waiting for me to get the blood draws. Thanks again to God for protecting me and Naomi from the condition they were testing for which was gestational diabetes [We passed!]. Despite the morning being one of my least favorite, once the test was over we went outside and it was nearly 50+ degrees! It was absolutely beautiful and it helped bring up my spirits a bit. I mean, can you deny the amazingness of a warm, sunny day in January in Chicago?! 

We also went to a friend’s house this week to watch the Packer game. It was great to see some old friends and catch up, but the Packers played awful and lost, which was very sad. 😦 There’s always next year, I guess! 

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At 28 weeks, Naomi went to her first Bulls game. Although they also lost, it was a great time! [And no, Naomi is not bad luck for sports, if that’s what you’re thinking. Proof: the Cubs won the World Series after 100+ years of losing. It’s not her fault the Packers didn’t want to meet Trump and the Bulls couldn’t pull it together! 😉 ]

Also this past week, Te and I cat sat our second favorite kitty ever, Myko. It was so great to see him because last time we watched him he was SO tiny and now he looks like a big lion. This got me thinking about how I cannot wait for Naomi to meet Pumbaa… and well, #AllTheCats really. I will be converting her to a cat lady immediately. 🙂 

One last thing we did this week was go out to celebrate a friend’s birthday. After seeing her, Te and I went to dinner. We wanted to try this new burger place nearby but when we got there, it was filled with kids. We were contemplating leaving because we wanted an adult date night. I was frantically searching for a new place nearby that we could go even as the hostess was walking us to our table. The hostess laid down our menus at our table and before walking away said “your server, Naomi, will be right with you.” So inevitably we took that as a sign we should stay 🙂 I am glad we did; the burgers were great and the s’mores sundae was even better!

As I look back, month 6 was filled with many ups and downs. All in all, it was a great month with lots of love from friends and family and a few date nights sprinkled in!

As I look ahead to month 7, we’ve got a lot coming up! 

This coming weekend, we have our first baby shower in Wisconsin. I am so excited to see family and close friends who I have not seen in so long!! It’s going to be a great day to celebrate this little lady! 

February 21st is Te and I’s one year wedding anniversary which I am SO excited to celebrate!! This past year went so quickly and was filled with so many wonderful memories. I’m excited for forever with my beau.

At the end of the month we have another shower planned in Chicago and it’s at THEE best ice cream shop in the city. I’m pretty excited I passed my diabetes test so I can indulge a bit 🙂

So, we still have 12 weeks to go!  It’s not the final, final countdown BUT we’re getting close. We are now officially in the third trimester; the final trimester (aka so close). I’m getting more and more excited to meet this little girl every day but for now, I’m ok with waiting roughly 12 more weeks. 

Until next time..

Explore: A World Without TV

Hello friends,

I hope your weeks have been going well as the new year is upon us! Have you been sticking with the resolutions you made?

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve come to the realization that  in order for me to achieve a lot of my goals, I’ve really got to change my routine. I discovered there’s a huge distraction in my world that gobbles up my time and does not allow me to focus on more important things, like my resolutions. That big distraction, is our television.

I am in a routine where immediately in the morning, I wake up and turn on the TV. After work, I come home and before even making dinner, I’ll turn on the TV. Mind you, while I’m cooking I cannot hear or see the TV, so that’s a wasteful habit in and of itself. I’m in a rut where TV is just comfortable background noise. And to be honest, a lot of times even if the TV is on, I’m not watching it. I’m probably laying on the couch, scrolling through my phone or as of late, you can most likely find me sleeping.

Once the TV goes on I feel as though my night is just that. TV watching, phone scrolling and sleeping by 8pm. I lose the motivation to do yoga or write a blog or read my 10 pages, because I get sucked in to being a comfortable blob while my mind is not challenged to grow. This is not how I want to live and I definitely do not want my child to be raised in front of the TV screen. Life without TV is quiet and pretty soon, I will not know ‘quiet’ as I do now, so before baby comes, I’m going to soak up every second of it.

Now, maybe some of this routine has to do with the fact that it’s currently winter in the Midwest. That means, when I get home at 6PM, it’s dark (and already has been for nearly 2 hours), it’s freezing and there’s not a whole lot to do outside. Because of this, us Midwesterners get trapped into our homes and most of us sit in front of a TV to pass the time.

Over the next month, I plan to challenge myself to break this habit. Instead of watching TV all night once I get home, I plan to go in a separate room and do something productive – read, yoga, write a blog, etc. I’m not going to cut it out completely because there are still a few shows that I’m interested in watching; Wheel of Fortune, This Is Us and Teen Mom (stop judging me, you know you watch it too) to be specific. Instead of watching TV all night, I’ll pop in front of the TV when these shows are on and once they’re over, I’ll leave the TV and go do something else.

I talk a lot about health and wellness, and I do a lot to keep my body healthy; working out and eating a mostly healthy diet. However, wellness is mind, body and soul and TV is not fostering any healthy habits for my mind, or body or soul for that matter.

Do you have a TV in your home? How often do you watch it? Does it distract you from completing other tasks?

Do you want to join me in this monthly TV cleanse? If so, let me know in the comments below. We can hold each other accountable and then in a month, talk about all of the amazing things we accomplished with the extra time we had! Good luck!

Until next time..

Explore: 30 days with no added sugar

Hi friends! I hope all has been excellent with you all! The busy summer has taken over but I’ve had a bit of a revelation over the past week and I wanted to share my thoughts and observations with you!

We’ve got a lot to catch up on, but I’ll keep it brief. If you are following me on Instagram (@MrsLeahBates), I’m sure you’re already in the know. First things first, the marathon is in 62 days (WUT!). I’m up to 16 miles as my longest run so far and I’m feeling great. Secondly, I reached my fundraising goal of $1,000 for Girls on the Run!! Along with all of the generous donations from friends, I planned and organized a fundraiser, Shred To Inspire. It was a huge hit with 20 people signed up and $500 raised!

All of my training has forced me to really examine my nutrition. I indulged a bit too much in July and used the excuse ‘well, I ran a lot today so  large ice cream and a beer is ok.’ Don’t get me wrong, it IS ok. It’s not so much the calorie intake I was worried about, it’s more so the way that I felt and the way that I trained due to my diet. For this reason, hubby and I decided to cut out added sugar from our diet for the month of August.

Before starting, I knew things like ice cream and cookies were going to be cut out. However, I didn’t realize ketchup, mayo, bread, some deli meats and bacon.. literally almost everything, has added sugar. It’s scary and eye-opening to realize all of the places we can find added sugar without necessarily indulging in anything sweet. During this process I do still plan to drink protein shakes a couple of days per week. My protein powder has <1g of sugar so technically, I guess you could say, I’m on a very low, no-sugar added diet. But throughout the month, that along with the occasional piece of gum will be my only added sugar intake.

You might be thinking, ‘So, what are you eating then?’ Well, pretty much nothing that is prepackaged. No ketchup or mayo or dressing from a bottle, everything is homemade using whole30 and no sugar added recipes. It does takes a little bit of extra time to meal prep on Sunday’s now, but once I’m done, we have breakfast, lunch, snacks and sauces ready to go for the week. Then, once I get home I just make dinner with all of my precut veggies or warm up my roasted veggies and that’s it!

You’re probably asking yourself, “but is all of the extra meal prep time worth it”? So far, yes!! The first 2-3 days, I felt extremely tired. My body was probably on a super detox because we had just topped off our last sugary day with a largeeee ice cream, beer, nachos, a burger and #alltheranch. Other than that, throughout the week, I felt pretty normal and didn’t have too many sweet cravings (probably because of all of the fruit we’ve been eating).

I did have an awesome ‘aha’ moment this passed weekend on my long run. When I started no added sugar, I was thinking I’d make and exception for Gatorade and Gu or blocks during my long runs. Then I realized I could try dates, a naturally occurring form of instant sugar and carbs. I brought 2 dates with me for my run + 1/2 of a lara bar (I ate the other half of the lara bar before I left the house). At mile 5, I was about 45 minutes into my run and could tell I was starting to wear down. I ate my first date and instantly felt better. I didn’t get achy in my knees or have to rush to the bathroom at mile 6 or 7 either. Once I hit mile 9.5, it was time for the second date. I thought for sure I’d have to make a stop soon, but no, I felt great. Around mile 12 I ate one half of the piece of lara bar I brought with me and then I rounded out mile 14 with the other half. I got home and felt incredible. 16 miles was my longest run yet and it’s a record breaker because I didn’t stop once for any sort of break except very short water breaks.

However, I will have to see how the next couple of weeks go, as this will now be my new plan for marathon training. I will say that I think eating complex carbs, protein and fat without any added sugar really helped regulate my system throughout the week. By sticking to a no-added sugar diet on my run and finding natural ways to stay fueled, it helped with my success.

I’m so excited to continue this journey and will keep you updated on the outcome of my next long run.

Have you ever done a no added sugar diet? Any tips? Did you notice anything difference in your training or just day to day life? Leave it in the comments!

Until next time..

ETC: A 4 Week Nutrition Journey – Part 2

Hi friends! I am writing this blog from the vet’s office in the wee hours of Tuesday morning. Our cat, Pumbaa, is not feeling well. He’s been up all night puking and just not his normal, cuddly self. If you could say some prayers for his recovery, Te and I would greatly appreciate it!!

Being stuck in the animal ER is a great segue to today’s topic. It’s the perfect example of how life happens and sometimes you simply don’t have time for everything you’d like to do. When you find yourself in a pinch like this, it’s best to be prepared with healthy foods that can be taken on the go so you don’t default to Taco Bell.

First, let’s back up a little bit. Last week we started our 4 week nutrition journey. We talked about some fundamentals and 4 common objections to healthy eating. How did it go last week? Did you take a peek at your local Aldi’s selection? What are your thoughts? Leave some feedback in the comments below!

Now, let’s dig in to this week’s objection. Time!

Objection #2. But Taco Bell is quick!

Life is busy and things don’t go according to plans sometimes. In these situations, how do you fuel your body? Are you quick to turn to Taco Bell and other fast food options or do you wait until you have access to a healthier option?

Healthy options can be available just as quickly as Taco Bell. I’m sure you’re thinking, ‘Yeah right, it takes forever to cook a healthy meal (or snack).‘ But really, it doesn’t! Let’s take a look at some basic food items you could use to make a quick snack or meal.

Ideas for quick snacks:

  • Hard boiled eggs
  • 1 handful of trail mix
  • A string cheese stick
  • A piece of fruit or small handful (Apple, banana, red pears, berries, melon and grapefruit are some of my favorites)
  • A cup of plain Greek yogurt with a drizzle of honey, some berries and/or dash of cinnamon spice (key here is to get plain Greek yogurt to avoid the added sugar- check your label! Yogurt seems healthy until you realize one small cup packs about 15g of sugar. Considering we should only take in about 25-30g of added sugar per day, that yogurt cup doesn’t seem like such a good idea after all. Dress it up with natural sugar in fruit or some honey instead of buying the triple berry version at the store.)
  • Lara bars (I love my 6-ingredients-or-less bars!)
  • A protein shake (1 scoop of protein powder + water +lots of shaking = yumm!)
  • 1 serving of cottage cheese
  • A few slices of sandwich meat (deli or roasted) with an ounce of cheese

These are all snacks you can just grab and go or package up (i.e. trail mix or cottage cheese) to take with you in a pinch.

Ideas for quick dinners:

  • Egg tacos (My favorite! Make 2 scrambled eggs and mix in some cheese and maybe veggies you have cut up or avocado, heat up 2 tortillas, enjoy!)
  • Avocado BLT salad (mix 2 hard boiled eggs with avocado and chopped up bacon and put on bread, crackers or over spinach, enjoy!)
  • Chicken anything! (Heat coconut oil in a pan, add chicken breast, cover and cook for a couple of minutes on each side, top with your favorite sauce, cheese and/or avocado and enjoy along side veggies or on a sandwich, enjoy!)
  • Zucchini noodle spaghetti (This one requires a vegetti of some sort but once you have it, put your zucchini through the veggeti, warm up some gluten free spaghetti sauce and top your ‘noodles’ with sauce and parmesean cheese, enjoy!)

You’re either thinking, “Wow, these are great ideas! I can’t wait to try them” or “Wow, those sound great but I still won’t have time to cook these meals or snacks each night.” If you’re saying the latter, here are some tips for making time to prepare healthy meals and snacks:

Pick a day to prepare these snacks ahead of time. If you don’t have two free hours in any given day, take just 20 minutes each day. Package your creations up in plastic bags and/or Tupperware so you have them ready to go (including the days you’re running late or you’re unexpectedly taking your cat to the vet). You’re thinking “But Leah, I really don’t have time to do that.” and I’m thinking “I bet you do.

That 10 minutes you spend scrolling through your Facebook news feed after work? Spend it packing up trail mix or cottage cheese for the week. The 30 minutes before bed where you’re deciding if the next episode of Big Bang Theory is worth it? Decide yes, turn it up loud and head to the kitchen to cook some chicken and boil some eggs. Those #SundayFunday afternoons you spend binge watching Netflix, sulking in the fact that Monday is coming? Open your Netflix app on your phone, head to the kitchen and spend 2 hours watching your favorite show while prepping an entire week’s worth of food. [That is my preferred method of preparation, by the way. How else do you think I found time to watch the full season of Fuller House? 🙂 ]

The fact of the matter is that we are all busy. You have to prioritize your health into your busy schedule and plan for the unexpected. If you reorganize some of your down time (aka social media or TV time) you can use it to set yourself up for a healthy week, no matter what unexpected things may or may not pop up.  

Now that you have some quick, healthy snack and meal ideas, your homework is to make a few! If you’re thinking “Ughh, but I hate cooking! I always burn things and don’t know where to start!” then stay tuned for next week’s post which will offer some practical cooking tips and tricks!

And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for has arrived; recipe time! Since this week is all about being quick, I’m going to share a delicious snack idea that is quick to make and serves perfect as a sweet treat or a wholesome breakfast on the go.

Energy Bites

Ingredients

  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/3 cup sunflower butter (or almond or peanut butter. Based on my experience, I suggest using the creamy version)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds*
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts*
  • 1/4 cup dried cherries*

* indicates that this item can be swapped out with a variety of ingredients depending on what type of energy bite you’re hoping to make. Some examples of ingredients include chia seeds, flax seeds, chopped walnuts, chopped almonds, chopped pecans, dark chocolate chocolate chips, shredded coconut, dried cherries, dried cranberries, any dried fruit really, the list of options is almost never ending!

Directions

  • Mix all ingredients in a large bowl
  • Scoop out 1 tbsp of mixture and roll into a ball
  • Place energy bites onto a pan covered with wax paper and freeze for 2 hours*. After 2 hours, remove from the freezer and store in airtight container in the refrigerator or cupboard, depending on your preference.

*if you don’t want to freeze them you can eat them right away or store in the refrigerator right off the bat.



The best part about this recipe is that you can customize it to your preference AND you can find all of the ingredients at Aldi! Don’t like nuts? Use coconut. Don’t want them cold? Keep them in the cupboard. Don’t want them for breakfast but need a healthy dessert option? Add chocolate chips. Don’t have all day to prepare a snack? These only take 5 minutes! The recipe yields about 18-22 balls depending on the size and makes 9-10 servings.

I hope you are now feeling equipped with some quick, healthy snack and meal options! Stay well my friends! I look forward to hearing about your week 1 experiences in the comments below!

Until next time..