9 Fruits and Veggies A Day Makes for a Healthy Mama

However insane or ridiculous it might sound, it is possible to consume 9 servings of produce each day. Add kids, a job, hobbies and life to the mix and, well… it’s a bit more challenging, but still possible.

You might be wondering “why on earth do I need NINE servings of produce daily?”

I get it. Why would you go to the trouble of counting your fruits and veggies daily when most people are counting calories (a strategy that I don’t recommend)?

Counting your daily produce servings isn’t as silly as you’d think. In fact, we’d all be a whole lot healthier if we were eating the fruits and veggie requirements. And, I’d venture to guess that most of us aren’t even meeting half that!

In fact, America doesn’t even produce (or import) enough fruits and vegetables for every one of us to eat the USDA’s recommended daily intake (report from UCS here).

Changing policies to reverse this ridiculous situation will not be covered in this blog post (you’re welcome!). Instead I encourage you to create positive change with your wallet and fork.

While I’ll refrain from sharing the fascinating details of nutritional biochemistry, there are a few key reasons why a busy mom would want to eat 9 servings of fruits and veggies each day.

More energy to chase rug rats

Without enough magnesium and B vitamins, your body can’t produce energy for its cells – the result is one tired mama! Skip the fatigue and instead add in more spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms, and bananas to keep your energy stable.

Better immunity to fight off germ factories (aka kids)

The body uses vitamin A in veggies like sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach and kale to produce functional immune cells that fight off infections and bacteria. Plus, ongoing consumption of fruits and veggies high in vitamin C like strawberries, bell peppers and broccoli reduces duration and intensity of common colds.

Faster healing from cuts

Folate in leafy greens and asparagus is critical in repairing tissues from small kitchen cuts to wounds from c-sections.

Hang with the kiddos longer

Phytochemicals, the compounds in fruits and veggies that give them color, are used to fight off infection and disease. These same compounds speak to the genes in humans and can essentially keep our genes healthy! Harvard consistently sites several large studies that prove noshing on LOTS of fruits and veggies lowers your risk of heart disease, stroke and many forms of cancer.

Hopefully, these nuggets of knowledge will motivate you to quit counting calories and start counting produce servings! It doesn’t have to be as difficult as you think.

Here are two sample daily menus that include a whopping 9 servings of fruits and vegetables.

Sample Meal for 9+ Servings of Produce Daily


Sample Menu 9+ Servings Produce Daily

Did you learn anything new that will motivate you to eat more fruits and veggies? Which fruits and veggies could you add to your daily nutrition intake? Tell me one step you’re taking to boost your produce intake this week!

Preparing for Healthy Holiday

Happy Holidays. That’s a command – not a statement.

“I love it when the holidays hit and I’m so stressed out from purchasing gifts, cleaning, decorating and cooking!” Said no mom. Ever.

Stress holiday womanThe holidays are supposed to be wondrous. Families gather, delicious food is shared and bountiful blessings are bestowed on those who seek the true meaning in gathering and gift-giving. But all too often the stress of visiting with, ahem, less-than-perfect family members, financial obligations and errands has you wishing some of the holiday magic could send you elsewhere. Like to the nearest spa.

So here’s what I’m proposing for this upcoming season: Put yourself at the top of your list. Nourish your body properly, rest well and take care of your emotional health during this season and you’ll experience more fa la la’s than arrghs!

If you’re stressed, cortisol increases, which means so does your appetite . . . and your desire for sugar, salt and fat. Ugh. However, keep your cortisol calm and you’ll keep the crazies in check. Sound like a plan?

keep calm and love holidays


Here’s how:

  1. Make way for workouts: Schedule these in and don’t flake. Cardio workouts relax tense muscles and release endorphins perfect for stopping stress. Even just 10-15 minutes a day can do wonders for your stress level (and your metabolism)
  2. Meander to meditation: Whether you take a yoga class or sit still in your living room, you’re going to stop, think and breathe in a way that can radically reduce stress.
  3. Bust out a healthy breakfast: Choose something with healthy protein, lots of fiber and good carbs, such as steel-cut oatmeal, eggs or a smoothie. Bonus points if you buddy-up to blueberries.
  4. Suss out the sugar in your day: Be mindful of what you’re snacking on. Choose things like nuts and berries, crispy kale chips and apples with peanut butter, instead of “chocolate covered” something. Check that morning latte too, it could be the downfall of your entire day!

One final note. The more relaxed you appear, the better time your family will have. And that’s the whole point of the holiday season. Enjoy. Revel. Love. Repeat.

What steps are you taking this holiday season to stay relaxed and healthy? Tell me in the comments what are your biggest challenges, what’s worked for you in the past. Mama, I want to support you!

Bust Out of Bread Boredom

child bored and disgusted with bread

What if I told you that shutting out the sandwich is actually a good thing? The truth is bread – in all its fluffiness and yumminess – is processed by the body like sugar. Yup. sugar. Those yummy little whole grains are pulverized into flour to make bread. And, flour is essentially sugar to the body. Top that with many chemicals and preservatives laden in the commercially processed varieties and you’ve got yourself a pretty toxic, sugary meal.

So while packing a PB + J sandwich in your kiddo’s lunch may seem like a convenient option on a busy weekday morning, think again. The reality is that by doling out daily sandwiches, you’re actually serving up a hearty dose of sugar to your sweet kid. And we both know what that looks like come 3 p.m.

But there’s a better way, healthy mama, and it looks like this: leftovers. Your kiddo is sure to gobble up last night’s turkey dinner tomorrow – providing you add a new twist: simply chop up some bite-sized pieces and mix with olive oil mayo and slivers of celery. Add it to a kid-friendly thermos like Foogo and don’t forget the fork!kids lunch no bread

Other well-traveled options that have a knack for getting noticed include mini meatballs covered in tomato sauce or roasted turkey roll-ups with a little cranberry sauce or chopped apple inside. Yum.

And when the weather turns chilly, I turn my attention to soup. I make a batch in the crockpot, ladle some in a thermos the night before and then freeze the rest for another time. Super. Easy.

So move the sandwich out of the spotlight and into the wings when it comes to lunch time this week. Remember to make sure all the little supporting cast – carrots, fruit, yogurt with granola – are in place. And then wait and see who gets a standing ovation. My guess is you, healthy mama!

What’s your biggest challenge with busting out of bread boredom? Tell us in the comments. And, stay tuned this week on Facebook for more ideas to Bust Out of the Bread Boredom!