Saturday, March 30, 2013

Burn More Calories (#Infographic)

When you live the fit life, you tend to think about calories a lot. Like, for example, the amount of calories in your meal. Or the amount of calories that you burn during a workout—it's these calories, actually, that make the biggest difference when it comes to weight loss. The more calories you burn, the more likely you are to lose weight. Now, I recommend you talk with a registered dietitian if you wan to know exactly how many calories you should be eating and/or burning, but it never hurts to max your efforts to burn calories. So here's a handy Infographic for you:

 Question: Do you count calories? Why or why not?

Friday, March 29, 2013

A good day.

I woke up this morning and it literally felt like Spring. Mind you, we had snow up here in Michigan just a few days ago. But today, felt like Spring. I walked out the door in capri-style workout pants. The birds were chirping. The sun was shining.

I just love it when the sun comes out of hibernation. It shines down on Lake Michigan, and the lake reflects it right back into my little beach town. I can almost smell sunscreen at the beach despite the fact that beach weather is still a few months off. So days like these, I soak them up. When you live in Michigan, you know how quickly Spring can retreat back into Winter. But I have high hopes for the weather this time around. Spring just here. I cross my fingers for it (and the potential for comfortable outdoor running).

I also cross my fingers every time I drive up to my house. When you have a voice on the Internet, you never know when a package is going to show up from an awesome company. Today, my most favorite of all packages arrived.

And I found this in my mailbox:

FitFluential presented its Ambassadors with the opportunity to review a Kona Kase, so I signed up for one because A) I love me a good subscription service, and B) it targets athletes in training. And y'all know I'm training for a half marathon. If you follow me on Instagram, you already got a glimpse of what's inside—you'll see everything here, too. I just need some time to formulate my honest opinion. (I wouldn't dream of giving you anything but.)

Other highlights from the day:

1) I taught my 6:00am Circuit Class. I didn't get to teach it on Monday because I had to cover the 6:00pm class. Like any good teacher, I missed my students so it was nice to work out with them again.

2) Hannah and I split lunch at my favorite cafe, then headed to Target to get some white shoes to match her Easter dress. I just love little girls in Easter dresses. And the Archer Farms Peanut Butter & Jelly trail mix. So good (so bad).

2) I won a pair of Reebok Sublite Train 1.0 shoes from Blonde Ponytail. You guys...I never win anything! Gah! I can't wait for them to arrive. They. Are. Bright.

3) We put Mr. Bubbles in Hannah's bath tonight. As she stood by the side of the tub watching the bubbles grow, waiting for me to put her in them, she totally peed all over the tile floor (and my leg). Was I mad? Hell no. It was the funniest, cutest thing ever. Such innocence, really. She just looked at me like, "whaddya gonna do about it, Mommy? I had to go and you took my diaper off."

Question: What was the best part of your Friday?

Note: Chobani and Kona Kase sent me the goodies above in exchange for my honest opinion, good or bad. I never lie, fudge or make up thoughts or opinions of any products that I review, so you can rest assured that you're getting my unbiased thoughts in this and any forthcoming posts. In addition, I want you to know that I am very picky when it comes to free product reviews. If I think you'll like it, I'll do it. If not...well, then I won't. Just thought you should know.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Pinspiration Thursday (and a Kettlebell workout)

Someone put this quote on Facebook a few days ago. It totally spoke to me, so I pinned it. And then I wrote it on the whiteboard outside of my office, which is what you see above. (You might have already seen this image on my Instagram, Facebook and Twitter feeds. It's so good, it deserves a repeat share.) My office sits right outside of our main group fitness studio, so every class sees this quote before they start their workout.

Appropriate, right?

Yes. So be strong. You just never know...

And just in case you're looking for a new way to challenge your strong self, I give you this 25-minute kettlebell workout (that totally kicked my butt). Be sure to warm up, cool down and stretch.

Question: When was the last time you felt strong?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Not losing weight? Three things to remember...

An acquaintance of mine on Facebook has been talking about her weight loss journey. I'll spare you the details to honor her privacy, but she recently posted something that I think we can all relate to. These aren't her exact words, but she's been "eating less and working out" and "not seeing any changes on the scale." Sound familiar?

It should. I think it's a plan we've all subscribed to at one point in our lives. And it sounds completely logical, right? If you're gaining weight, you must be eating too much. So if you stop eating so much and start working out, then you'll lose weight. Right?

It's not always that simple.

Without knowing your exact situation, and since I'm not a Registered Dietitian, I can't exactly tell you good from bad when it comes to a diet that's right. BUT—I am a certified personal trainer. So I know some things. And I'm human, so I know other things, too. Which is why I am comfortable sharing with you three things to remember about weight loss.

1) Weight loss is not a destination. It is a journey, and one that you must travel with an open mind. It's not simple, it's not easy...but it's very enlightening when done correctly. You'll learn things about yourself, both physical and mental, as you embrace all of the twists, turns and roundabouts commonly associated with weight loss. While it's absolutely essential that you set achievable goals and/or benchmarks to hit along the way, try not to get too caught up in them. This is how you miss all of the smaller, littler achievements that truly make a difference. In essence, don't focus on losing ten pounds. Focus instead on how you're going to lose ten pounds...focus on what you're doing to lose those ten pounds.

2) Weight loss is not about restriction. When you can't have something, that's when you really want it the most. Teach yourself the right way and the right things to eat, and you'll really make a difference in your life. After all, it's truly not about eating less. Weight loss is about eating right.

This is especially true if you are working out, too. (Ahem, which you should be.) Remember that food is fuel. Rather, good food is fuel. So you have to find a balance, one that nourishes your body and soul without going overboard. Restricting yourself can send your body (your metabolism) into hibernation mode which means it will just hold on to what it's got to run its systems because it doesn't think it's getting anything more to work with. Does that make sense?

3) Weight loss cannot be judged by numbers alone. There are many factors that describe the success and/or failure of a weight loss journey. The numbers on the scale...they only tell part of the story. Think of them as one overarching number. I know...I know. You've heard this before. "Don't pay attention to the scale," blah...blah...blah. But it's so true. I can absolutely, 100% tell when my weight is up or down based solely on how I feel, how my clothes fit and how much energy I have. And right now, I feel like I'm actually down a bit because of all the running. But if I stepped on a scale right now, I bet for sure that I'd still weigh the same amount that I've weighed for a few months now. How is that possible? Because I've lost body fat and gained muscle. These things balance each other when it comes to the numbers. So, seriously...don't judge your progress by the scale alone. It only tells part of the story.

Tomorrow, I give you a kettlebell workout. Don't miss it!

Question: What's the one thing you always try to remember about weight loss?

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Shelf Life of Food (#Infographic)

At this house, we keep a fairly clean 'fridge because A) We make meals that produce leftovers that we'll actually eat, and B) Clutter is just not something we do. So if there's a funk in the 'fridge, we hunt it down immediately. We like to eat healthy, but we don't like to eat healthy food that's gone bad. Who does, right? But sometimes it can be very hard to know when something is far beyond its edible stage. Me, I err on the side of caution which means that I've probably thrown away perfectly good food in my day. So, I love this. And I think you will, too:

The Shelf Life of Food

Question: What's your take on leftovers? Do you eat them? Some people refuse to, and if that's you, I wanna know why!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

#ChiWomensHalf Training Update, Week 3

Three, three and four miles. Done and done. For good, actually. This is the last week that I run those distances in that particular order. Time to up the ante. I'm feeling good about it. Today's four-miler felt strong, even though I ran it on the treadmill. I somehow got myself through it. Gosh, I can't wait to get back outside—Still haven't been able to do that. And I'm still trying to figure out how to get some Yoga back into my life. So far, I've only been able to pull a few moves out of my pocket in combination with some regular stretching moves. Ugh, right? Not enough.

But, the legs are strong and that's huge for me. Let me clarify—My legs have always felt strong, thanks to years of gymnastics and cheerleading, but this time around...this training feels different. I think it's because I am Spinning consistently. I never really did any cross training the last few times around (except for the strength training), and the last time I ran a half...well, let's just say the last three miles felt less than wonderful.

I teach Spinning once a week, sometimes twice if I have to sub a class. This last week, though, I didn't teach at all because Hannah was sick on Tuesday and I had to keep her home from the gym. I did, however, try out a few Sufferfest videos with my dad on Saturday.

Please note the "I will beat my ass today to kick yours tomorrow" tagline.

He's got a Spinning bike at home, and he set up his road bike on a trainer. Holy hard, man. If you're looking for some cycling videos, these are definitely good options. Geared toward the road biker, for sure, but if you're a seasoned Spinning student then I think you could follow along with ease. I mean, don't misinterpret my use of "ease."

And now, Sunday night. Time to prep for the week.

Question: What's on your fitness agenda this week?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Pinspiration Thursday

Ever wake up and say "ain't no way I'm working out today" only to regret it by mid-afternoon? Ever indulge in a bad-for-you lunch and immediately wish you hadn't? Choices like this, we make them because we're human. And because sometimes life gets the best of us whether we want it to or not. So lemme let you in on a little secret:

Source: viaTara on Pinterest

It's the truth, ya know.

No matter how hard you try, accept that you're going to slip up and do something that's not so conducive to the fit life. Why? I'll say it again: Because you're human! Therefore, you are not perfect. Which means you need to realize this: A misstep does not have to throw you off completely. Why? See above. You can hit the restart button, but only if you let yourself. Translation: Only if you let yourself let go. Dwell on whatever misstep you've made and, well...who wants to sit and stew in a pile of negativity? Not me. And I bet not you.

So even if there is but one or two hours left in your day, hit the reset button. Just do it. Refocus your thoughts, learn from that misstep and get back to being your bad-a self.

Question: How do you get yourself back on track after a misstep or less-than-fit choice?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Oatmeal Raisin Peanut Butter Bites

Did you guys know that Monday was supposedly Oatmeal Cookie Day? I love all of these unofficial holidays. And oatmeal cookies. But I could do without the calories and sugar. So to celebrate, I made oatmeal raisin peanut butter bites.

I know, still a bit high in the calorie department, but at least I can attribute that to fresh, homemade peanut butter. Right? I like to think of peanut butter as a quality calorie, least when it's homemade and of one ingredient: Peanuts.

Peanut butter bites rock my world. They're an ideal snack for me because A) The recipe makes a ton, and B) They are delicious. Oh, and C) They are really nutritious if you use the right ingredients. And that's the beauty of peanut butter bites. You can use virtually any ingredient to create something wonderful. The combo is yours.

Alright, fine. Also—D) They're super portable and easy to eat on the go. Literally, you just grab and go. They're meant to be stored in the 'fridge, but that doesn't mean they can't sit on your desk drawer or gym bag for a few hours. It just softens the peanut butter which, in the essence of full disclosure, is not a bad thing.

Let's get to the recipe:

Source: Me!

• 1 cup peanut butter
• 1/3 cup honey
• 2 tsp. vanilla protein powder
• 1/2 cup raisins
• 3/4 cup oats
• 1 tsp. cinnamon
• 2 tbsp. walnuts, chopped

Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl. Chill for an hour. Form in to bite-sized balls. Store in the refrigerator until consumption.

Yep. That easy.

Question: What ingredients would you put into your peanut butter balls?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

60-Minute Total Body Workout

Hello, friends. Let's make it a total-body Tuesday, shall we? If you're in the mood for 60 minutes of head-to-toe toning, then I've got the workout for you. It's the very same workout I put together for yesterday's 6:00AM class—I assure you, I'm feeling it today. Particularly in my legs, which is great because I have such a hard time pushing my legs to fatigue. (Usually, this only happens after a long run or a grueling session on the bike filled with tons o' climbs.) Enjoy:

But please, remember to exercise smartly. Check with your doctor before beginning anything rigorous, and always...always work to your own fitness. Translation: Modify as needed.

Speaking of modifications, no work at the gym for me today. My girl is sick, so I kept her home with me and out of the nursery to give her little immune system time to heal. And right now, as I type this, she's beginning to stir from her afternoon nap. Better go!

Question: How many exercises do you typically combine into a circuit?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

#ChiWomensHalf Training Update, Week 2

I hate it when weekends swirl past me. I never realize how quickly its happening until Sunday night hits and it's like—what. Over with? Damn. So I have to keep reminding myself that this happens because I'm busy doing things. For example, I spent a few hours on Saturday morning in this little room:

It's the staff fitness office at my gym, and it was in desperate need of some love and attention. There are 20-some people that flow through such a tiny little space on a regular basis and it showed big time. From a Bingo set to heart rate monitors that don't work, from old stinky shoes to magazines from 2008...holy mess. I have been dying to get my hands on this room since forever, and so I finally carved some time out of my schedule to get down and dirty with the dusty place. And in all honesty, it was kind of fun.

I am 100% all about a positive work environment, so cleaning the staff's office was a first step toward making sure that all of my teammates are happy at and proud of where they work. I think they'll like how it looks:

Now, to find some motivation for the empty walls. Love me some good motivation, as evidenced by the white board outside my own office:

But anyway, that's that.
Let me update you on my running game:

Not the best of weeks, I'll admit. Although every last run counts, I'm still in the very early weeks of training, so I'm not beating myself up too badly for missing that Thursday morning run. I don't take extra rest days too often, so when I do, I really need it. And I really needed it this week. But, I will also admit, that my other two runs were pretty good. I can pretty much crank out any mileage below six without a problem, but still—I have to make sure all these easy runs count because they're forming the base at which I'll run those longer miles.

Another thing I'm noticing: Yoga is taking a backseat to all of this training. I was doing Yoga every Wednesday, and then I switched it out for a day of running. I need to find a way to get it back onto my schedule. First thought: Do some yoga post-run, which means I need to absorb some of what's going on in my Tara Stiles DVDs so I can whip it out on my own. We'll see how that goes.

And now, I'm off to get ready for the morning. Baby girl is tucked away in bed, I've already got the laundry going...there's hope for me getting a good night's sleep, I think.

Question: What are some good yoga resources for runners? Got any links to DVDs and/or YouTube videos that I should be watching?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Pinspiration Thursday

My alarm went off at 6:00am this morning and I turned it off. I didn't hit "snooze," I just turned it off. There wasn't any way I was getting myself out of bed to run three miles. I'll spare you the details, but this happens to me about once every month. ANYWAY. I let my mind pay too much attention to the way that I was feeling that I had completely forgotten about the way I'd feel AFTER my run. And yes, as I sit here now and write this, I am filled with regret. Perhaps if I had read this, I would have found it in me to lace up and go:

Sigh. And sad. Epic fail—but honestly, I've been popping Advil all day. I'll catch up with an awesome four-miler this weekend. No more cop-out training runs! Focus, Tara.

Speaking of focus, I power-shopped like a madwoman today. Mostly for some decorative gear for the living room we're in the middle of redecorating, but when a girl walks into TJ Maxx for house stuff, she never walks out with just house stuff. It's as bad as Target for me, really. Sweet score alert:

Not only did I find this discounted bag of delicious granola bars that I can typically only find at Starbucks (for some odd reason), I found these super-discounted Mondetta Performance Gear items:

Yep. Happy dancin'. I'm in desperate need of fitness gear, particularly pants, but I missed majorly on those today. I am so picky when it comes to pants. I don't A) want anything that's going to show sweat, and B) don't want anything that's going to show my butt cheeks through overstretched fabric. I teach group fitness, I bend over in front of people. Not good and not good.

Oh, and if you're wondering who Mina Samuels is, she wrote Run Like a Girl and it's actually a pretty decent book. I reviewed it a few years ago. It's full of girl power and athleticism.

Question: Is there a time that an excuse got the best of you, leading to fitness regret and/or fail? Tell me about it. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Pinterest Success Story: Grow Green Onions

I really shouldn't be devoting an entire post to this particular Pinterest success story. I mean, the donuts were complicated, sure. But this...this is one of those things that will totally make you ask: "Why didn't I think of that?!" See pin, can you find it?

There it is, folks. Stuck right in the middle. How to grow your own green onions. (Now you see it, right? Among some other delicious pins on my"On food and drink." board....) Do I even need to explain this pin? Didn't think so. I'll just prove to you that it really works.

Photographic Evidence, Part 1:

This was taken a day after I cut them. You can see where I cut them, and that they grew overnight.

Photographic Evidence, Part 2:

Photographic Evidence, Part 3:

I took this picture today. I swear on my running shoes that it's the same bunch. I mean, these bad boys cost nothing at the store. But in my house, I'm the only one that eats them on any all things Mexican and/or salad. So I often throw away unused onions. Which means I'm spending money on something I'm not, in fact, using. But now I don't have to worry about that.

I'm growing green onions. If I don't use them in time, it will hurt me that I've let good food go bad, but I can feel a little better about it by snipping off what's bad so that I can wait patiently for more to grow. Or, look at it this way, if you eat green onions a lot, you can have your own little green onion patch on your kitchen sink! See how many times you can grow onions before you have to buy another bunch!

Honestly, though. I wonder how long I can keep these guys growin'.

(Hey, follow me on Pinterest.)

Question: What's the last thing you discovered that made you wonder "Why didn't I think of that?!"

Monday, March 11, 2013

Total Body Tabata Workout

Every try Tabata training? I love it. Tabata is quick, efficient and downright dirty in a it's-gonna-kick-your-butt kind of way. Be forewarned, Tabata training is not for everyone. In fact, it's typically reserved for those with an intermediate or advanced level of fitness. Let's dive in a little deeper.

Tabata workouts employ a 20-second/10-second/4-minute format. So, you'll do 20 seconds of hardcore work followed by ten seconds of resting for a total of four minutes, which is equal to one Tabata. "Hardcore work" is defined, quite simply, as max effort. This is why Tabata training is typically reserved for intermediate or advanced individuals.

This form of exercise was actually developed by one Dr. Isumi Tabata, and it was tested on Olympic speed skaters from Japan. Via these tests, he was able to see that this form of high-intensity training had the potential to produce results far more efficiently than other, more traditional forms of aerobic activity. A good workout in 4 minutes? I know, right.

Tabata training basically taxes both your aerobic and anaerobic systems. So it challenges your body in a way that forces it to perform at max in terms of oxygen intake, meaning, it trains your body to make gains with less fuel (so to speak). Generally speaking, it makes you sweat bullets. And you've heard the saying: "Sweat is fat crying."

You'll need a timer, or at the very least, a large clock on the wall that you can keep an eye on. Pick an exercise, let's go with jumping jacks, and go at max for 20 seconds. Rest for ten seconds, then repeat until you've clocked four minutes of jumping jacks/rest. BUT DON'T DO ANY OF THIS UNTIL YOU WARM UP. Always warm up. And cool down.

• You really need a timer. Tabata training isn't effective without one.
• It's truly only for the intermediate or advanced exerciser.
• Give it all you got in those 20-second intervals. Seriously.
• Don't do it more than two, maybe three times a week and never on consecutive days.
• It's great for the hotel room. Or when you don't have access to your gym/home equipment.

And now that we've gotten all of that out of the way, here's a 15-Minute Total Body Tabata Workout you can try. Questions? Lemme know: dailydose (dot) notes (at) gmail (dot) com.

Question: What's your favorite high-intensity move?

Sunday, March 10, 2013

#ChiWomensHalf Training Update

Let the training commence! Week 1 is done. And as you can see, I clocked one extra mile because I forgot that I was only scheduled for two miles on Wednesday. Ha! So I ran a total of ten miles this week on top of everything else I do, and I still feel good—It's good to be running toward a goal again. Now, if only the weather would turn so that I can run outside a little more. Unfortunately, it's too cold to put my daughter in The BOB for an afternoon running adventure, and by the time my husband gets home from work and we eat dinner, it's too late (and too dark) for me to be running outside. SO. I'm confined to the gym and the dreaded treadmill right now. I can't do much more than four miles on that thing. It's just too awful! Here's to Week 2.

And here's to the winner of my Happy Family giveaway:

Hannah loved eating Puffs! We haven't had any in the house as of late because she's gotten the hang of much crunchier foods, although I'm certain she'd still eat Puffs if I gave them to her. In fact, they were the first "hard" snack I ever gave her. They dissolved really quickly, which meant less worry for me. And they were most excellent on the go. But these days, as mentioned, girl is pretty much eating what we eat. Gosh, it's like she's a teenager.

Question:  How many miles can you clock on a treadmill before you get bored?

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Pinspiration Thursday

I decided to dive back into the quote book again for today's Pinspiration Thursday. I'm feeling nostalgic about all the time I invested in it. Up until two weeks ago, it's been collecting dust. Time to put it to use again, I thought. There's a reason I wrote down all those quotes, right? Yes. So, I give you this one:

I find it particularly inspiring because I just started training for the Chicago Women's Half Marathon. I ran my last—and only—half marathon in October of 2009. So, almost three and a half years ago. Life has certainly changed since then, and I won't have as much freedom to train. But, really...that doesn't matter. I can do this. It'll be easy at times, also hard. 13 miles seems quite long to me right now, but I just have to remind myself that, even though it's a race, I'm not running against anyone else. Just myself.

I'll be running this race for the pure enjoyment of it. To prove to myself that I can do it. And that's what you have to do when faced with a challenge. Tune out the distractions. No matter what, it's all about you.

And you're the only one that'll keep you from crossing the finish line.

PS: There's still time to enter my Happy Family giveaway. Tell all your mom friends!

Question: Have you signed up for any races lately? Are you currently in the midst of a great challenge against you and yourself? Tell me about it.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Three Years

Three years ago, I sat at my computer and did something that I had always wanted to do: I started a blog. I didn't know who would read it or if it would last, but I knew that I wanted it to be about health and fitness. I wanted to put valuable information out there that people could actually use. Plus, maybe just a little bit of me, too. I wanted to have fun with it...I knew that I did not want it to become a job. I love writing, and I wanted to love blogging no matter what. And here I sit today.

Still typing away, still loving every minute of it. A Daily Dose of Fit has grown significantly since that first post, as have I. I've worked with some really great brands, attended some awesome events and shared some great milestones in my personal life. Tomorrow, we start Year 4. It's another beginning for Daily Dose as I continue to have fun with new ways to share information. And really, it's another beginning for me, too.

I was recently promoted at the gym, and will be representing my coworkers as the Fitness Director. I have big shoes to fill, and I have learned much from the wearer of said shoes. It's all still very new to me right now, and that's all I have to say about it for the time being, but I'm excited. I'm very much up for the adventure.

For this adventure, too—Otherwise known as Year 4 of A Daily Dose of Fit. And what better way to kick it off than with some half marathon training. I mean...right?! I did three quick miles this morning in my Saucony Triumph 10 running shoes. I haven't been wearing them much lately because I knew that my running game was about to significantly increase and I wanted to preserve them for that, but they're back in action. I'm back in action.

And then I spent some time with these guys:

I have yet to use my CPR training, and I hope I never have a reason to. But I am certainly glad that I am fully prepared to assist in a situation that might require it. God forbid it's ever on my daughter.

Honestly, the little baby mannequins creep me out.

Speaking of babies, don't forget to enter my Happy Family giveaway.

Question: This is random and not at all related to the post above, but I'm in desperate need of some workout pants. Mine are all too big, and I always seem to pick the kind that fall down. Recommendations? Go!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Healthy Food for Toddlers (#giveaway)

So my little Hannah is officially a toddler. As in, she toddles her way around the house all day long. Crawling? That's for babies, this girl is moving! And growing faster than I like, actually. And she is now eating everything. Well, except for peanuts. We still haven't tested those out yet. But everything else—she isn't picky. In fact, she loves it all. Which makes my job a lot easier come meal time. Unless we're on the go. Sometimes I don't have time to pack a meal for her, sometimes I can't find anything on the restaurant menu. This is where Happy Family saves me.

I like to stock my kitchen with a few grab-and-go items so that, if I can't make it for her myself, I know she'll have some healthy foods to eat no matter what. So when Happy Family offered to send me coupons for the above, I couldn't say no. Obviously Hannah was thrilled, too. Photo shoot outtake:

She absolutely loved everything. And I loved that it was all organic, with lists of ingredients full of items that I could A) pronounce and B) define. Take a look at these Happy Munchies: Rice Cakes.

They made for an excellent addition to a post-nap milk snack. Just three make a serving size. While they look to be a Cheddar flavor, they're actually carrot-based! And crunchy, which was fun for her. (And, in the name of full-disclosure...I might have eaten one or two myself. Love me a rice cake!)

She was also a huge fan of the Happy Yogis.

Banana Mango is always a hit in our house, although I'm certain she'd devour the Mixed Berry and Strawberry flavors, too. Just like the rice cakes, these make a nice addition to snack time. And theyr'e super portable. Unlike traditional yogurt, which can be messy when you're on-the-go.

Speaking of on-the-go, we ran some errands a few weekends ago in a town about 45 minutes from our house, which forced us to enjoy a few meals outside of the home. I packed a Happy Tot Plus squeeze pack for lunch, which went nicely with a grilled chicken kid's meal from Chick-fil-a. (<-don fast="" food="" good="" i="" in="" indulge="" it="" judge="" me.="" nbsp="" occasion.="" on="" only="" p="" place="" s="" so="" t="" the="">
So with the addition of her milk, Hannah was able to enjoy a gourmet meal of sorts! I mean, it's not like Chick-fil-a has a Kale, Apple, Mango option on their menu—I might have also sample this out of pure curiosity. It sounds like an odd combination, but it was quite tasty. There might be a kale, apple and mango salad in my future someway, somehow.

I digress.

Out of all the products Hannah tested, I think her favorite...mine, too...came because of the Sweet Potato, Apple, Carrot and Cinnamon Happy Tot pouch. Hello, pancakes:

With the coupons, Happy Family sent me a few recipe cards to play with (one of which was for the pancakes above...which were clearly well-received.). As you can imagine, each recipe incorporates a Happy Family product. So here's the thing: Even if you don't have kids, you can still enjoy Happy Family products! Well, at least the pouches. It's like baking with applesauce, really.

And yes, their recipes are just as healthy as their products. From the website: "When you feed your child Happy products, every bite really counts. We work with pediatricians and nutritionists to develop our recipes, starting with the very best organic and 100% natural fruits, vegetables, dairy, meats, and grains."

But that's enough about that, let's get to the giveaway. Oh, yes...a giveaway! Happy Family is more than willing to provide one of you with a Happiest Toddler package much like I received:

So, you'll get a Happy Family tote and coupons for free samples of the products shown above, plus Happy Family recipes (including the aforementioned pancake recipe). Unfortunately, this giveaway is only open to residents of the United States. If that's you, please leave a comment on this post—describe your tot's favorite on-the-go snack—to enter. It's that easy.

Additional entries can be received by following Happy Family on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Or by following A Daily Dose of Fit on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram.

Please leave a separate comment with each entry.

This giveaway will be open until Friday, March 8, at Midnight EST. I will announce the winner on Sunday, March 10.

Note: I received coupons for free samples to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Broiled Grapefruit with Brown Sugar and Greek Yogurt

I have this huge stack of magazines next to my bed. I've been reading Les Mis, which is why I am just now tapping into all of my February issues. First up, Eating Well with its bright citrus cover that (of course) convinced me to buy a grapefruit:

I think grapefruit is delicious, but I realize that some of you might hate it. It's fairly tart, I know. Definitely an acquired taste, or at least one you either love or hate without room to be convinced otherwise. But, there's no denying how good for you a grapefruit is.

According to the article in Eating Well, grapefruit is loaded with "immunity boosting Vitamin C," "heart-healthy fiber" and potassium. And when you choose pink or red grapefruit varieties, you get some cancer-busting lycopene, too. But did you know that grapefruit and all its nutritiousness didn't always exist? Ruby Red varieties in particular were a happy accident brought on by Mother Nature.

And then, this happy accident somehow ended up in Florida, the rest of which is delicious history.

When I was little, I used to eat grapefruit with a sprinkle of sugar. These days, I love it plain. And now, thanks to a recipe from (where else?) this very issue of Eating Light, I think I'll enjoy it broiled on occasion.

Admittedly, it doesn't look as pretty as grapefruit does when it's freshly cut, but we all know that looks can be deceiving.

Broiled grapefruit tastes good. Really good—I think it's the brown sugar and cinnamon. With a light dusting of melted butter and a sprinkle of the aforementioned, broiled grapefruit is good. I'll admit, I was skeptical. But now I'm convinced.

I topped mine with some plain Chobani mixed with a touch of vanilla and some additional brown sugar and cinnamon—and then I topped everything with another small sprinkle of brown sugar and cinnamon. Why not, eh?

To die for. Follow the original recipe, or do what I did and make your own loosely based version. Either way, it's so easy. And have I mentioned that it's so good? It is.

Question: What is your favorite citrus fruit? How do you like to eat it?

Friday, March 1, 2013

#ChiWomensHalf Marathon Training Plan

I'm all set to knock another item off my list of 2013 goals, plans and resolutions. Mom and I registered for the Chicago Women's Half Marathon, which is on June 23—I'm really excited. It sounds like such an awesome race, and I'm ready to get out there and test the legs with some serious mileage. I got up to nine miles at the Hot Chocolate 15K this fall, but I haven't gone above that since my last half marathon in 2009. So I'm ready. Seriously ready.

There's only one problem, and I use that term lightly: I won't have as much time to train. In fact, I will only have time to run three times per week. Two short runs during the week and a longer run on the weekend. That's all that my teaching schedule allows for. I mean, unless I totally want to bust my butt, but that's never a good thing. And family time is really important to me, so I don't want to give up too much of it to running. So, we'll see. I have high hopes that it'll go well. And with the added bonus of a Spinning class every week, I think my strength and endurance levels will be just fine.

I've come up with the following half marathon training plan, which will remain flexible to leave room for any work-related schedule changes. Or fun, local races that might fit in somehow. We'll see:

I sense some new running shoes in my future. Oh darn.


Question: What, if any, races are you training for right now? What is your biggest challenge when it comes to finding time for all of your runs? Work? Kids? What? How are you coping?


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