Healthy Living Tips

5 Easy and Healthy After-School Snacks

Hummus and carrots as a healthy snackMost children are really hungry and ready to eat a snack as soon as they get home from school. Because my kids always come home starving from their busy day at school, I have some simple and healthy snacks available that provide a good source of protein to help fill their hungry tummies and some good nutrition.

When you are at the grocery store looking for snacks, just remember kids should have one item that is high in protein, like Greek yogurt or cheese, with a fruit or a vegetable. To increase the chances of kids going for the healthier snacks, have them easily available by washing and slicing the carrots or celery ahead of time so the kids can grab them quickly when they come in the door, instead of reaching for cookies or chips.

Here are some snacks that are easy to prepare and can even be considered self-serve for kids ages five or older. They’re just enough to feed a hungry student, but not so much that dinner is spoiled.

  • String cheese and carrot sticks
  • Apple slices and peanut butter (use other nut butter for those with allergies)
  • Cold edamame with raisins, cherry tomatoes or cucumbers
  • A hardboiled egg and banana slices
  • Hummus with celery sticks

In all cases use the recommended serving size on your product and use the most natural, least sugar products you can find.

A healthy snack after school helps to boost your child’s energy and provide some good nutrition for their growing bodies.

  • Posted by  Candice Imwalle
  • Eating Healthy
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Healthy Chicken Fingers Recipe

Like most children, my kids love to eat chicken strips or chicken nuggets. Unfortunately, they are deep fried and full of unnecessary fat. So as an alternative, my kids and I came up with our own recipe for healthy and gluten free chicken fingers. They are delicious and one of my kids’ favorite recipes! You can see our version here.

You just need a few ingredients, and they don’t take very much time to prepare.

Three chicken breasts
Two eggs
Ground flaxseed
Garlic salt
Olive oil

To make:
Cut three white meat chicken breasts into strips.
Crack two eggs in a bowl and mix.
In a separate bowl, mix ground flaxseeds with garlic salt.
Dip the chicken strips into the egg and then the flaxseed mix.
Place them in a pan on your stove and sauté lightly in olive oil.

I hope you and your family enjoy these as much as we do!

  • Posted by  Candice Imwalle
  • Eating Healthy
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The Key Is Moderation

Everything in Moderation lifestyle advice on a notice boardMy daughter would live on macaroni and cheese if I let her. While macaroni and cheese isn’t the healthiest food to eat, it’s important to allow your kids (and yourself) to eat foods they enjoy as long as it’s a part of a balanced meal.

When we go out to eat or eat at home, we allow for wiggle room in the meal. It’s the 80/20 rule. This allows for an attainable goal. By being too rigid, children are more likely to rebel when you aren’t there to police their habits. The 80/20 rule means that 80 percent of everything we eat should be healthy. To make it easier for children to understand this rule, tell them that for every four healthy foods they eat, it is okay to eat one unhealthy food.

For example, if my daughter orders macaroni and cheese at a restaurant, she also orders a piece of grilled chicken and a side salad to go with it rather than just eating a big bowl of macaroni and cheese.

In this example, 4 to 1 ratio:

Chicken + cucumbers +tomatoes + spinach allows for macaroni and cheese.

Sounds easier, right?

Eating a balanced meal is something we have always done at home. Because I have been consistent with this, the children have come to expect a balanced meal and don’t question the guidelines.

So remember, it’s okay to eat foods like pizza and pasta, as long as you eat them in moderation and with other food items that make for a balanced meal.

I hope this is something you consider trying. Once you get into a routine of preparing and ordering meals this way, it will become second nature to you and your family.

  • Posted by  Candice Imwalle
  • Eating Healthy
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Top 7 Food Swaps

Coconut OilDid you know you can make a few simple changes in the kitchen that can help promote healthier eating for you and your family?When I’m grocery shopping, I look at the food I am buying, especially the items we eat frequently, to see if they can be swapped for a healthier alternative.

For example – sandwiches in kids’ lunches, we swap the white bread for a whole wheat or whole grain bread, which provides more essential nutrients.

Some other examples of food swaps to consider include:

  1. Coconut or olive oil and vinegar instead of salad dressing – There are a lot of great tasting salad dressings to use on salads, however many of them are full of unnecessary sugars, fats and calories. Olive oil or Coconut oil and balsamic vinegar are a great substitute for salad dressing.
  2. Greek yogurt for yogurts high in sugar – Many flavored yogurts are high in sugar. Try substituting plain Greek yogurt that is higher in protein and less sugar. Adding berries makes it taste as good as the sugary yogurt with berries. Plain Greek yogurt can also be a substitute for sour cream.
  3. Apple or cucumber slices instead of crackers or chips – Use sliced apples or cucumbers (cucumbers have less calories and carbs) to put cheese or spread peanut butter (other nut butter for those with allergies) on for a much healthier snack. Enjoy apple and cucumber slices with your sandwich instead of chips.
  4. Ground turkey for ground beef – Ground turkey typically has less fat and is a great alternative to ground beef.
  5. 1 whole fruit instead of sugary juice – Most juice, even those labelled as “100% pure” are mostly full of sugar. There are more nutrients and fiber in whole fruit than there are in juice.
  6. Quinoa versus pasta-low glycemic, high in protein, high in fiber. When sauce is added, it tastes just like pasta. Tell your kids it’s “baby pasta” to get them to eat it. 
  7. Coconut oil instead of butter to cook eggs, veggies, and anything else that tastes good with butter. Coconut oil tastes exactly like butter when you cook with it, but it is filled with medium chain triglycerides which have shown to promote weight loss.

The healthy swaps are endless, but making a few here and there is a great way to slowly transition to a more healthy eating style in your family.

  • Posted by  Candice Imwalle
  • Eating Healthy
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How to Get a Great Workout When Traveling

exercise in a hotelLike many people, my job requires a ton of travel. It is still important to maintain healthy habits, such as eating good foods on the road, but also finding a way to exercise anywhere.

Most hotel gyms have, at minimum, a treadmill and mats on the floor. You can get a great cardio workout in less than an hour by doing the following:

  • 30-35 minutes on a hotel treadmill
    • On the treadmill do 10 minutes of fast walking with the incline at 10 or above. This simulates walking up hill. This warms up your legs fast, but also works out for legs and glutes – the muscles which prevent your butt from sagging with age and lack of exercise.
    • Next, do 10 minutes of jogging at a pace you can maintain for 10 minutes with a slight incline-3-5. If you’re a regular exerciser, aim for 4.5-6 mph
    • End with 10 minutes of flat road sprints with no incline. Set the treadmill for the fastest pace you can maintain for 15 seconds. I set it at 8.5 mph and do 15-second intervals- sprint for 15 seconds, rest for 15 seconds, and so on. Alternate between sprinting and resting by putting each foot on either side of the treadmill track. There isn’t enough time to adjust the treadmill to alternate between the rest and sprint pace, so this is the best way to do it. Just be very careful to hold onto the sides of the treadmill so you have a good grip when you stop running and when you start running. Start at the highest pace you can comfortably handle. It took me a while to work up to 8.5mph, so just do the best you can when you begin this process.
    • After the flat road springs, finish with a 5 minute cool-down, walking at a slower pace and no incline.
    • If running presents a challenge, alter the above regime. For example, just do the uphill walk, or half the time uphill walk, half jog. Either way, make sure you do at least 30 minutes
  • Follow the cardio workout with weight resistance exercise for 15-20 minutes
    • Rotate the following in 3 sets of 10 repetitions
      • 10-15lb hand weights for lateral shoulder raises, overhead raises, chest presses-laying on the floor or bench
    • Pushups-3 sets of 10
    • Pilates-style abdominal crunches – Pump arms for a count of 100

If you’re traveling to a place with no access to a fitness room, use the outdoors. Enjoy the city you’re visiting and find a park or just run the streets. Please make sure you are in a neighborhood where this is safe to do. You can also look for a local yoga studio and a class that fits your schedule. Try

Last, but not least, you can always do a resistance band workout in your room. These can be found at any sporting goods store. They travel easily and give you a great resistance workout. By continuing your exercise patterns on the road, you will benefit from the natural endorphins with no interruptions due to frequent travel. Enjoy!

  • Posted by  Candice Imwalle
  • Exercise for Health
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How to Get Kids to Eat Quinoa

Quinoa grainI told my kids when they were little that quinoa is “baby pasta.” It’s how pasta starts out before it grows up!

It was a little stretch of the truth to get them to embrace a food that is a healthy alternative to processed pasta that has little nutritional value. These days they’re old enough to realize it’s not a pasta, but they love the flavor and texture, so it doesn’t matter.

Why quinoa? According this article in Forbes, quinoa has 7 benefits:

  1. It’s a protein-rich food – it’s one of the most protein-rich foods we can et.
  2. It’s has almost twice as much fiber as other grains.
  3. It has iron.
  4. It has lysine.
  5. It’s rich in magnesium.
  6. It’s high in Riboflavin.
  7. It has a high content of manganese.

But wait! There’s more. Quinoa is also gluten free, has all eight essential amino acids (which is unheard of in any other food), is easy to cook and mixes well with a lot of different flavor profiles – from Mexican and Greek to Italian and Asian.

Even if you’re introducing quinoa for the first time and you can’t fool your kids into thinking it’s “baby pasta,” try it as a replacement to pasta or rice a few times and encourage them to taste it. It’s mild in flavor and has a good texture to it.

Looking for ways to prepare quinoa? I compiled a few good recipes here. Some are more adventurous in effort and flavor, but all will give you a great way to prepare it.

I also use quinoa to make “rice pudding” with almond or coconut milk, stevia cinnamon and crushed walnuts.

That’s how I get my kids to eat quinoa.

How about you? Any suggestions or recipes?

  • Posted by  Candice Imwalle
  • Eating Healthy
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Tips for Making Healthy Choices While Traveling

plane-silhouette-1414861-mIn my job I travel a lot. But I don’t let all the travel keep me from making healthy choices.

When it comes to eating, there are many restaurants out there that advertise their healthy menu, and those are the ones you should attempt to frequent whenever possible, while traveling. However, if you are a business traveler and your customers or co-workers prefer the typical steakhouse or you are in airports most of the time, it’s important that you get comfortable with ordering things “special.”

The good news is, most restaurants will accommodate your requests, and you can do it quietly with the waiter, or before your meal, so you aren’t looking like Sally from “When Harry Met Sally” all the time. Even steakhouses that drench everything in butter and salt will have fish and vegetarian options and are willing to cook the dish plain for you. All you have to do is politely ask and even make a joke out of it “I am about to destroy the chef’s master recipe by asking you to make it as boring as possible.”

Sometimes you have to “over correct” and ask for “zero butter, zero salt, no sauce, no oil,” then ask for the salt and oil on the side so you are able to season it yourself. Once you are accustomed to tasting food without butter, sauces or salt, it becomes like second nature to ask for things plain or “on the side.”

A prime example of “on the side” is salad dressing. You might think you’re making a healthy choice in ordering a salad, but salad dressings can ruin a perfectly healthy salad. It is best to order the dressing with the least amount of cream or sugar (Vinaigrette typically is low sugar, but make sure you ask.).

  • Posted by  Candice Imwalle
  • Eating Healthy
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Local Mom, Kids Write Healthy Eating Fairytale to Inspire Good Food Choices


(Aug. 7, 2014 – Phoenix, Ariz.) What do you do when you can’t find a children’s book about the importance of healthy eating? Write one yourself! That’s what new author Candice Imwalle did.

Imwalle was concerned about the increasing obesity rates in the U.S. and how unhealthy eating would impact her children, Isabella and Cameron. As a medical device sales representative, she regularly encountered patients with vascular disease and Type 2 Diabetes, most commonly caused by a lifetime of poor food choices. She did not want this fate for her children.

Last year the single mom wrote and published her first children’s book – Sir Morgan and the Kingdom of Horrible Food. She also enlisted the writing help of her kids to make sure the book was both fun and educational for a younger audience.

“As parents, it is important that we educate our children at a very early age about the impact healthy eating choices have on our body and our lives,” said Imwalle. “When reading this book, children understand the message that eating low sugar and whole foods is important for a lifetime of good health. It’s perfectly ok to have unhealthy food in moderation, but to make processed foods, like chicken nuggets, hot dogs and pizza, the majority of a child’s diet will have a negative impact on their health.”

Sir Morgan and the Kingdom of Horrible Food is a colorful fairytale about a land where residents have no consequence for eating high-fat, high-sugar and high-calorie foods until an evil witch casts a spell on the citizens and the negative effects of these decadent foods impacts the way they look and feel.

Unlike any other book in the market today, this story provides parents a wonderful way to start a dialog with children about the importance of choosing healthy, good-for-you foods instead of junk food. Sir Morgan and the Kingdom of Horrible Food is a compelling, unique and educational book that will have kids and parents captivated from start to finish.

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