Snack Time!

Happy Monday! We can’t believe July starts this week. This year is truly flying by. We are anxiously awaiting our next visit in August when Amanda is back in Michigan!

We wanted to share some of our favorite healthy snacks since we both love snacking. We try to eat 4-6 small meals a day, and we both can’t go more than a few hours without snacking. It’s good to keep our metabolism going but we also make sure our snacks are healthy and aren’t full of empty calories that don’t satisfy us. Here are a few of our favorite snacks:

  • Apple with almond butter: This is the perfect afternoon snack. Combining a protein and a carb satisfies hunger longer and it tastes amazing!

  • Yogurt with no added sugar: Yogurt it a great snack but make sure it doesn’t have a lot of added sugars. Look for yogurt with less than 10g of sugar. They are harder to find and may not look as appetizing, but they are still yummy!

  • Handful of whole almonds: An easy snack to keep at your desk or in your purse. A handful of almonds can easily keep you full until your next meal.

  • Carrots with hummus: This tasty snack incorporates a veggie with a dip that provides protein and essential vitamins and minerals. You can choose from a variety of hummus flavors, our favorite is garlic or roasted red pepper.

  • Smoothie: One of the best snacks after a workout or on a hot day! We love making ours with frozen bananas, fresh fruit, protein powder, greek yogurt, and almond milk. See this past blog post for a peanut butter banana smoothie recipe.

togetheratheart_pb&bsmoothie

  • Cottage cheese with fruit: While this combination doesn’t sound very appealing together, it is so delicious! Just add pineapple or peaches on top of a serving of cottage cheese and enjoy!

    What’s your favorite healthy snack? We’d love to hear!

    – A & M –

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    5 Ways to Be More Healthy

    Hi everyone! I hope you had a wonderful weekend. Yesterday was Meghan’s birthday so we had a fun FaceTime session to celebrate virtually. I missed being there to celebrate with her.

    I wanted to share some tips to be more healthy, as it’s been a big focus of mine lately. I’ve always been relatively healthy, but I’ve become more aware of my health in the past six months and I’ve never looked or felt better! So here are some of the things that have worked for me:

    1. Drink lemon water as soon as you wake up: Your body needs hydration after (hopefully) 8 hours of sleep. Lemon water is also linked to weight loss as it awakens your metabolism. I have a big glass with two lemon slices as soon as I finish my workout (before my coffee).

    togetheratheart_healthyliving

    2. Wear a fitness tracker: There’s something about tracking my steps, heart rate, sleep and calories that make me more responsible and aware of my health and fitness. Before I wore one I had no idea how little I walked during the week (I sit at a desk all day). I wear the Garmin Vivofit 2 that syncs with my heart rate monitor and it beeps when I’ve been sitting too long. Having this reminder during a busy day is key. I try to take two walks, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, which also makes me more productive. What a difference these walks have made!

    3. Closely monitor your sugar intake: This is a big one for me. I’ve always been conscious of calories, making sure I’m taking in less or the same amount of calories that I burn in a day. What I wasn’t aware of before was the amount of sugar in some of my lowfat/lowcalorie foods.  I’ve recently learned the importance of scanning nutrition labels for sugars, paying close attention to the first 3-5 ingredients to make sure there are no mentions of sugars. The hard part is that sugars have many names these days, so you can’t just look for the word sugar on your nutrition label. Look for things like high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, fructose, and agave. Let’s just say my pantry has changed quite a bit since I’ve starting scanning for these ingredients.

    4. Make easy changes: Try going sans cheese on that Chipotle order or making the switch from sugary coffee creamers to unsweetened almond milk or skim milk in your coffee. It’s crazy how quickly your body gets used to not having these “extras.” I recently made the switch from coffee creamer to unsweetened almond milk. I forgot to bring my almond milk one day to work and needed coffee. I put just a bit of creamer in, and couldn’t stand the taste of the creamer. It is really crazy how quickly your body adjusts and you don’t miss those things that once seemed like a necessity.

    5. Build a time to work out into your schedule: Working out has to be a priority and it should be put on the top of the to-do list. Make sure to find a time that works for you in your day and build it in to your schedule just like you would a meeting at work or a doctors appointment. For me I like to knock it out right when I wake up in the morning, so I’ve set an appointment with myself for 5:30am every morning. I’m not going to tell you it’s easy to get out of bed that early, especially to workout. It does make it easier when I tell myself that I can’t miss it, just like I can’t miss that call with my client later in the day.

    togetheratheart_healthyliving

    I hope these tips are helpful and have gotten you thinking about how you can incorporate some of these into your life. Let’s go kick some butt this week!

    – A –

    Staying Healthy While Working

    Happy Monday my friends! Since we have been talking a lot about fitness and motivation in the new year, I wanted to keep the momentum going and share some tips on how to stay healthy while you are at work. As a nurse, I totally understand how challenging it can be to eat healthy, get enough rest, and fit exercise in with a busy schedule. I hope these tips help you to keep reaching your goals in 2016!

    Lately, I have been utilizing my Fitbit to help me track some of these things as I aim to start 2016 on a healthy note. I have been tracking my sleep almost every night which helps me get to bed earlier as I set a goal of eight hours of sleep each night on my Fitbit. I also track my water intake daily. My goal is 64 ounces of water everyday which is a little hard to reach, but definitely a good goal. Lastly, I track my workouts on my Fitbit and I set my goal to working out five days a week. Setting goals and tracking my progress definitely helps me keep track of my health. There are so many different apps and fitness trackers out there now which is great! Now lets get to some tips shall we…

     togetheratheart_healthyatwork 

    Healthy Eating

    • Pack your own food- It can be easy to not pack your own food and settle for buying something at your work’s cafeteria or a local fast food restaurant. However, even some of the sandwiches and salads offered at the cafeteria at my work are packed with unnecessary fat and carbs. It is important to know what you are putting in your body and packing your own lunch can help with this. Some of my favorite lunches to bring to work include a chicken salad sandwich or a salad packed with veggies and either salmon or chicken.
    • Eat small snacks throughout the day- To help keep your energy up and increase your metabolism, eating snacks throughout the day is key as long as they are healthy. For example, the other day at work I had a banana for my first snack a few hours into my shift, my lunch mid-shift, and then I had chocolate almond milk for my last snack. Some nutritious snack examples are yogurt with fruit, almonds, or a nutrition bar.
    • Stay hydrated!- I don’t know about you guys, but I feel 100 times better when I drink water throughout the day. I bring a reusable water bottle or cup to work and keep it filled so I can grab a drink whenever possible. Buying some cute water bottles definitely helped to motivate me to increase my water intake.

     

      Sleep

      • Get to bed early enough- Aiming to get 7-9 hours of sleep a night is important so you can feel energized for your day of work. With so many distractions, it can challenging to get to sleep at a decent time. Working twelve hour shifts, I don’t get home until about eight o’clock which doesn’t give me much time to eat and unwind for the night. I try to get into bed 15 minutes to a half hour before I want to be sleeping so I can relax a little bit first (I usually read a chapter or yes you caught me, browse social media). The Fitbit tracker shows how long it takes you to fall asleep (usually 7 minutes for me) as well as how many times you were restless during the night which takes away from the amount of sleep you actually got. It can be kind of daunting to track your sleep, but it definitely helps me realize how much I actually get!

      Exercise

      • Plan your workouts- Planning your exercise schedule ahead of time helps to eliminate excuses (i.e. too tired, errands to do after work). My dad, for example, brings his workout clothes to work with him so that he can stop by the gym on the way home. My sister sweats it out in the morning before she goes to work (major props to her!) knowing that she doesn’t always want to exercise after a long day . For me, I schedule Pure Barre classes early in the week and know which days I want to hit the gym according to my work schedule. If I don’t feel like doing either, I usually at least try to do a workout dvd or Pinterest workout. Some workouts I have been loving lately include 21 day Fix, Jillian Michaels, and Yoga with Adriene (on youtube). Find what works for you and stick with it!
      • Get your steps in at work- Being a nurse, I usually don’t have trouble getting my steps in. However some professionals may be stuck at a desk for most of the day. When my shifts are slower, I walk the halls to get my steps in (and stay awake). I have also done stretches after charting and staring at the computer for a long time. It is important to rejuvenate your body after sitting for long periods of time. If you are in an office, take the longer route to the bathroom, go up and down stairs a few times, or walk outside and get some fresh air when possible!

       togetheratheart_healthyatwork 
      I hope these tips help you to stay healthy despite busy work and personal schedules. It is important to focus on your well-being so you can be your best self at work and home. Feel free to share your healthy living tips in the comments!

      Holiday Mania

      Happy Monday everyone. Only eleven days until Christmas! This weekend Kevin and I attended two holiday parties. It was a great weekend of celebrations, but I’m a little tired from all of the fun. 🙂

      Every holiday season brings holiday parties galore, shopping for gifts and endless amounts of food and holiday treats that are hard to resist. Personally I love the holidays, but I find myself so busy that it’s often hard to really enjoy the season. And of course there’s delicious food at all the parties that makes it so difficult not to derail from my usual diet.

      My rule of thumb for controlling what I eat at holiday parties is allowing myself to splurge a little.  For example, I might treat myself to cookie after dinner, but skip the bread.  For me, I like to allow myself one treat a day, but otherwise stick to my normal diet. For times where I indulge a little too much, I make sure to hit the gym extra hard the next day. It’s definitely difficult to stay on track during the holidays, but allowing yourself to indulge here and there while mostly making good food and exercise choices is key.

      Through all of the craziness, I try to keep my regular workout schedule, working out 5-6 times per week. Here’s an example of a 20 minute workout that targets the whole body in short amount of time. No excuses on not being able to fit this into your busy holiday schedule!

      Easy 20 minute holiday workout (3 sets of each):

      • 12 squats with a kettle bell
      • 12 burpees with a jump at the top of each one
      • 60 second forearm plank
      • 12 lunges
      • 12 bicep curls with weight bar

      This year I decided to think about my New Year resolutions including my health and fitness goals in November and December  instead of waiting until January. This way I can finish out the year strong (as my dad would say). I’ve also found that writing down my goals makes me more accountable and more likely to achieve them. I’ve also already set my goals for 2016, and encourage everyone to do the same. I hope everyone enjoys the next few weeks of celebrations and time with family and friends!

      – A –

      Guilt-Free Dessert

      Hope you all enjoyed your weekend! We both had a relaxing and productive weekend, and had a FaceTime date to catch up with each other! We did some brainstorming, and decided to share some easy and healthy dessert recipes that we indulged in on Sunday night.

      It is no secret that we both enjoy dessert (who doesn’t?). However, we try to limit ourselves and are always looking for healthy dessert alternatives to satisfy our sweet tooth. We hope you enjoy these fruit and chocolate treats in place of the usual ice cream or cookie after dinner.

      Amanda’s Sweet Banana Bites:

      I made some yummy chocolate covered peanut butter banana bites inspired by a recipe I found on SkinnyMom. These are pretty easy to make, and are a healthier alternative to an after meal dessert or snack.

      togetheratheart_dessert

      Ingredients:

      • ¼ cup dark chocolate chips, melted
      • ⅛ cup natural peanut butter
      • ⅛ cup unsweetened applesauce
      • 2 ripe bananas
      • sea salt

      togetheratheart_dessert

      Directions:

      Slice two ripe bananas into 1/2 inch pieces. I found it easier to dip the larger slices, so don’t cut them too skinny. Mix peanut butter and applesauce and cover each banana slice with a thin layer of the mixture. Place on a baking tray with parchment paper and freeze for 30 minutes. When the bananas are frozen, melt chocolate chips and dip each banana slice into the melted chocolate so one side is covered. Sprinkle the tray of bananas with sea salt, and freeze for another 15-20 minutes. Enjoy!

      Meg’s Easy Apple Snack 

      After visiting the local cider mill today, I was eager to eat one of the delicious Honeycrisp apples I bought so I decided to make a sweet, yet healthy dessert inspired by Pinterest of course.

      Ingredients: 

      • One apple
      • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
      • Handful of chocolate chips

      Directions:

      Cut up the apple into bite-sized pieces (I use an apple slicer then cut up the apple further using a knife). Place the apple pieces in a bowl. Microwave the peanut butter until it is a pourable consistency (about 30 seconds). Pour peanut butter over apple slices. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top. And eat up! Easy right?

      Talk to you guys soon!

      – A & M –