Adios 2018! Another year is in the rearview mirror and now you’re cruising through January with plenty of opportunities to make the most out of a fresh 365 days. Lucky for you, Giving Assistant is here to help you save money on brands that’ll help get you closer to enjoying a happier, healthier New Year.
Through the month of January, shop The Home Depot and Academy Sports + Outdoor to earn cash back on items that’ll help shape the ‘new you’ in 2019.
A few suggestions to get you started are listed below.
The Home Depot
In the New Year, get rid of or donate the unnecessary and unused things in your life.
Clearing out your closets (especially minimizing your wardrobe) is one of the most popular ways to declutter. It’s time to let go of crop tops that no longer fit, decades-old fashion trends, and sentimental T-shirts dotted with ink stains and holes.
After decluttering, keep your prized possessions within easy reach by using organization solutions, like the ClosetMaid White Wire Steel Closet System. Create customized storage spaces for bedroom closets, laundry rooms and basements with this DIY project kit. Arrange the adjustable parts just the way you like it to accommodate a 5-foot to 8-foot space.
Getting organized not only saves time, but also increases productivity.
Your goal is to create an uncomplicated system of storage that gives more breathing room to the items you use, need and love the most. Free-standing cabinets are pretty good for maximizing closet space and especially helpful when addressing your wardrobe needs. They also provide a stylish way to elevate your functional room décor.
The European-style, classic espresso Hampton Bay Wardrobe Cabinet comes with one fixed shelf and one hanging rail that are easy to assemble. Use the cabinet to organize your most absolute favorite threads or make seasonal must-haves easier to find.
Academy Sports + Outdoor
Cleared-out closets make room for a new sense of style to take over, including fashion statements that promote healthy habits.
Cozy, ultra-comfortable and fashion-forward, the Nike Women’s Funnel-Neck Fleece Hoodie is an every-day, activewear choice that’s ideal for morning runs, as well as weekend trips to the grocery store. Brushed-back fleece provides warmth with a paneled funnel-neck hood that further enhances coverage. Available in pink or white with gold metallic accents, Academy also carries a colorful range of funnel-neck hoodies that feature the smaller, embroidered Nike logo.
You love activewear but you don’t always love how it looks and fits? We get it. Luckily, ladies, you don’t have to sacrifice style for comfort and movability with Adidas’ activewear.
Ladies can also slay the sporty-casual look this year with Adidas’ iconic ‘3-Stripes’ design running down the sleeves of the Essentials Cotton Fleece 3S Over Head Hoodie.
A pair of men’s Nike Fleece Jogger Pants made with snug-fitting leg cuffs helps runners stay warmer and lighter on their feet.
And, thanks to sweat-wicking Nike Dry technology, the camo-patterned Dry Training Hoodie keeps men more comfortable during intense workouts.
And, don’t let the weather slow your progress! Conquer chilly days with the men’s Under Armour Big Logo Fleece Hoodie, an online exclusive that’s warm yet lightweight and flexible.
Put Some Pep in Your Step
Make good on a plan to stay physically fit in the New Year by moving in the right direction with increased activity. Hitting the pavement, court or treadmill in style is an excellent way to stay motivated in whatever you choose to do to get fit. Whether you’re taking it slow at the gym or training for a marathon, wearing the right attire that fits your needs can make all the difference.
Another way to maximize your health and happiness in 2019 is to keep saving all year round on the brands that’ll help crush your goals in the New Year. Download our Giving Assistant Button and you’ll also unlock constant savings and promo codes on much more than just your favorite must-haves.
It sure would be nice if there was a university parents-to-be could attend that offered courses with parenting tips in children’s nutrition and behavior. Yet, even after 4 years of vigorous studying on the matter, parents would almost certainly still be hit with a few surprises along the way!
That said, there are some tried-and-true tips that every parent should know. These 10 healthy parenting tips will make grocery shopping a breeze and ensure your children get all the nutrients they need to grow.
Parenting Tips for Healthy Grocery Shopping:
1) Pick items with as few ingredients as possible.
- If you notice only one or two ingredients on the list, chances are you know it’s natural.
- Seeing a half-dozen, unrecognizable ingredients increases the chance that it includes preservatives that cause allergies or health problems.
- Try to find unsweetened, unsalted foods with no additives in them.
2) Learn the alternative names for sugar.
- This sweetener comes in a variety of forms and derives from a vast number of foods. For instance: fructose comes from corn as well as fruits. Avoid “high fructose corn syrup” that manufacturers transform it into during processing.
- Other forms of sugar include glucose, sucrose and dextrose. Although not harmful in small amounts, watch out for them.
3) Look for certified “organic” labels.
- Foods that are officially organic will have been produced using USDA standards for growing natural foods.
- For meat, look for options that are “grass-fed” and produced “without the use of hormones.”
4) Do not be fooled by “all-natural.”
- This can mean many things and is often just a sneaky way to market a product. The best way to know what a food has in it is to check out the ingredients. Educate yourself and investigate on your own.
- Read the nutritional label to find out what vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates, and fiber the item offers.
- Always look for “organic” or pesticide/insecticide free items.
5) Use foods in their rawest forms when possible.
- You can use blueberries, strawberries, spinach, carrots, lemons, almonds, flax seeds, wheat and oats in their purest form.
- In some cases, you might have to do some grinding or pureeing to gain the full benefits.
6) Be careful where you get seafood.
- Make sure to choose “Wild Caught” when looking for Alaskan Salmon.
- Stores like Whole Foods, Walmart, or Target should have fresh supplies of fish that are not harvested from contaminated waters.
Health- Conscious Parenting Tips for Eating at Home
7) Keep your recipes simple.
- Finding an assortment of simple, easy healthy recipes you love will make you more likely to stay on task.
- Quick meals include: baking chicken breasts, preparing fish, or putting a roast with some vegetables in a slow cooker. A fresh salad on the side is always fast, healthy, and delicious.
8) Bake instead of fry
- You can of course enjoy the occasional crispy potato, breaded fish or chicken wing. More regularly, it’s a wise choice to lightly bread and dust them with oil.
- Place the items in the oven instead of dousing them in partially hydrogenated oil to crisp them.
9) Make wise choices when preparing snacks
- Try varying your snack time routine by offering dark chocolate covered pomegranate seeds or Calbee snapea crisps.
- Drugstore online has a large selection of unique snacks that are healthier than the standard potato chips or chocolate chip cookies.
10) Create balance in your child’s meals
- Make sure you introduce your child to a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and proteins.
- People develop their lifelong eating habits from a young age, so implementing a balanced diet now will also serve your child in the future.
Use these parenting tips to ensure your child’s meals are nourishing and chemical-free!
Now that you’re armed with this knowledge, you’re ready to take on (just about) anything parenting throws at you. Well, at the very least the grocery shopping and meals are under control!
We here at The Good Life are avid organic food enthusiasts. The truth about non-organic veggies is downright scary:
- They are sprayed with insecticides, herbicides, pesticides and fungicides in order to reduce crop damage due to bugs and pests.
- Rinsing and scrubbing the vegetables doesn’t remove the residue.
Yuck! We’d really prefer not to ingest these sneaky, unwanted chemicals. We know we can always trust organic veggies to be clean and safe. Certified organic vegetables must meet a list of requirements, including:
- They cannot be sprayed with any type of chemical.
- The use of human waste as fertilizer is forbidden.
- The land must not have been sprayed with any pesticides, herbicides, insecticides or fungicides for at least three years.
Still, sometimes it just isn’t possible to be 100% perfect. That’s why we are simplifying your organic shopping checklist by bringing you the 12 most important vegetables to buy organic. If you fall off the wagon a bit on the others, so be it!
Buying Organic Veggies Doesn’t Have to Cost You a Fortune
How to make organic grocery shopping affordable:
Don’t be intimidated by the thought of high grocery bills. Major super stores, such as Walmart and Target, now offer a selection of organic produce. No one should sacrifice his or her health due to lack of funds. Lower prices mean everyone can afford to make optimal nutrition a priority.
12 Vegetables To Always Purchase Organic
- More than 90 % of all non-organic celery stalks contain 60 or more different types of herbicides, pesticides and fungicides.
- These include: 13 chemicals that are known to cause cancer, 31 hormone disrupting chemicals, and 14 chemicals known to cause reproductive or developmental problems.
- Non-organic cucumbers can contain as many as 35 different chemicals.
- It is not known how many of those chemicals penetrate beyond the skin, which means peeling may not remove all the residue.
- Popular chemicals include Endosulfan Sulfate, o-Phenylphenol and Methamidophos.
3) Green Beans
Non-organic green beans can contain this toxic residue:
- 22 hormone disrupting chemicals
- Even after multiple rinses, these chemicals do not completely wash off.
Tip: to find organic canned green beans, try Amazon.
4) Hot Peppers
- Hot peppers are susceptible to blister beetles, cutworms and tomato hornworms.
- To keep pests away from hot pepper plants, traditional farmers spray multiple powerful insecticides.
- These chemicals can remain on the pepper even after performing a triple-wash.
5) Cherry Tomatoes
- Non-organic cherry tomatoes are one of the 10 dirtiest foods available in grocery stores.
- Non-organic farmers use a variety of chemicals to increase crop yields and prevent pest damage.
- Chemicals remain on the skin of the tomatoes even after processing and shipping.
Tip: you can find organic cherry tomatoes at Whole Foods.
6) Imported Snap Peas
- Imported non-organic snap peas rank in the top 10 of the most chemically-laden vegetables.
- Local snap peas contain fewer chemicals, but to avoid pesticide residue entirely, it’s best to purchase organic snap peas.
- Traditionally grown, non-organic kale contains several different pesticides, herbicides and insecticides (in spite of being naturally pest resistant).
Luckily, it is very easy to find an organic version. Walmart has several organic kale options.
- All types of traditionally grown, non-organic lettuce contain pesticides to deter cutworms, snails, and slugs.
- Tests have identified up to 50 different chemicals on lettuce leaves
- These include: 12 carcinogens, 29 hormone disrupting chemicals, and 10 toxins that interfere with reproduction and human development.
Tip: you can buy organic lettuce at Target.
- Potatoes are susceptible to leaf-hoppers, potato beetles, cutworms and grubs.
- In order to deter these pests, non-organic farmers spray up to 35 different chemicals onto the leaves, stems, and surrounding soil.
- Pesticides remain on the potato even after commercial processing, packaging, and home washing.
- All forms of non-organic spinach, except canned, can contain up to 50 different chemicals.
- These include: 8 chemicals known to cause cancer, 25 hormone disrupting chemicals, and 8 neurotoxins.
11) Squash (Summer and Winter)
- Summer and winter squash can contain up to 41 different chemicals.
- These include: Endosulfan Sulfate, Dieldrin, and Phenylphenol.
- Each of these is known to cause cancer, disrupt hormones, and damage baby and child development.
12) Sweet/Bell Peppers
- Bell peppers can contain as many as 50 different pesticides, herbicides and insecticides.
- These include: 11 known carcinogens, 26 hormone disruptors, and 13 neurotoxins.
Organic Veggies for Chemical-Free Bellies
No one wants a belly full of chemicals and toxins. We aren’t meant to consume such high levels of these poisons. If pesticides are tough enough to kill off masses of insects, you can bet they’re tough enough to hurt your body. With these 12 must-be organic vegetables in your grocery cart, you’re sure to fill up in the healthiest, cleanest way.
Blending, juicing, peeling, chopping. Is it just us, or are fruits and veggies slightly high maintenance? These days, it seems like most health enthusiasts are walking versions of either juices or smoothies. You know the phrase: you are what you eat.
Intrigued, we sorted through the conflicting reports our fellow health nuts have shared on the virtues and pitfalls of juicing and blending.
Enough of this war, already. We all want the same thing: quick supplies of energy and immunity boosting macro and micro-nutrients.
Here, we’ll give you the down-low on the pros and cons of juicing and blending.
Juicing: Fast Vitamin Boost or Sugary Fake?
Definition= the process of extracting the water from the fruit or vegetable.
Credible, unbiased information about juicing can be hard to find. We’ll do our best to give it to you straight.
Most citrus fruits can be juiced using a manual juicer, including oranges, limes, lemons and grapefruits. Nearly everything else requires a custom juicer in order to extract the water.
There are 2 types of juicers:
- Centrifugal juicers: operate at high speeds. They spin the juice away from the pulp and into a glass or bowl. The pulp, skins, and seeds are launched into a separate waste container.
- Masticating juicers: grind and squeeze the juice from the fruits and vegetables and are much more efficient than centrifugal juicers.
Benefits of Juicing
1) Provides a high quantity of vitamins and minerals without being high calorie.
- Calorie Comparison: 1 medium orange contains 62 calories. Juicing that same orange reduces the calorie content by 23 calories.
- Advocates claim they’ve had success with juicing for weight loss.
2) Smooth Digestion:
- If you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Crohn’s Disease, or another type of stomach or intestinal ailment that affects the way you absorb nutrients, juicing will allow you to get the vitamins and minerals your body needs without aggravating your digestive system.
- How does this work? Juicing eliminates the fiber from the fruits and vegetables. High fiber foods can be harder for your stomach to digest.
Drawbacks of Juicing
1) It actually depletes most of the fruit and veggie nutrients you seek.
- The majority of vital nutrients in fruits and vegetables reside in the skin and pulp (both eliminated when juiced).
- By juicing them, you are only extracting vitamins and minerals that are water soluble (and losing the rest).
2) Juices are extremely high in sugar.
- Critics of juicing point out that people are essentially drinking sugar water, because these beverages can reach the sugar content of candy bars!
- Juicing significantly decreases the amount of fiber in fruit, so you increase your risk of hunger and a blood sugar crash later in the day.
3) You miss out on the healthy fruits and veggies that cannot be juiced:
- Avocados, bananas, and eggplants, to name a few.
- These have very little juice content, so attempting to juice them would clog your juicer.
Blending: Convenient Meal or High Calorie Ordeal?
Definition = putting fruits and vegetables into a blender and grating or chopping them until they are smooth and creamy.
Blenders are significantly less expensive than juicers. Smoothies make excellent meal replacements for breakfast and lunch.
Benefits of Blending
1) Increases your fiber intake and allows you to consume ALL available vitamins and minerals.
- Fiber helps slow digestion, which means less hunger throughout the day (often leading to fewer calories consumed later on. Hello, weight loss!).
2) Blending offers more variety.
- Bananas, avocados, and eggplant can all be put into a blender.
- Blending leafy green vegetables provides more nutrients than juicing.
3) You can add protein powders, milk, and wheat germ.
- An increase in protein means more energy.
Drawbacks of Blending
1) Calorie Comparison:
- If not done carefully, blending can create very high calories drinks.
- Example = a smoothie that includes 1 banana, 16 ounces of strawberries, 8 ounces of blueberries and 2 large carrots is 437 calories (or roughly the same amount of calories as two pieces of dry toast and two scrambled eggs cooked in a tablespoon of butter).
2) Getting the right consistency is a tricky business.
- Too much water or ice can turn the smoothie into something that resembles a pulpy juice.
- Too little water can result in blending difficulties and a drink that resembles a chunky paste.
Helpful Blending tips:
- cut back on calories in smoothies by using coconut water instead of milk.
- Finding the right consistency can be a matter of trial and error, but once you have it done, you’re set for life!
Looking for the perfect juicer or blender?
- Reasonably priced, high functioning juicers: available at Walmart and Amazon.
- Affordable, popular brands of blenders: at Target and Kmart.
Gold Medal Winner?
We tend to lean toward blending over juicing, because smoothies are richer in fiber, protein, and nutrients. They make a safer daily meal.
Still, people who are juicing and blending all strive for the same positive goal: cleaner, healthier bodies. A vitamin packed juice may bring you the quick energy kick you need.
IN THE END: your decision depends on your personal goals. If you seek a healthy meal replacement, blending is ideal. If you want a low-calorie, easily digestible drink, juicing may be for you.
We’re bringing you a mouth-watering, money-saving quinoa recipe that will score you gourmet chef status in 10 minutes!
Raising a family sure does cost a hefty chunk of cash these days: soccer leagues, ballet classes, back-to-school clothes, doctor visits, 3 college tuitions, and even vet visits for that time Milo stepped on a thorn at the family picnic. Are we forgetting anything? Oh yes, daily meals. To make your life easier (and bank account steadier), we have a quick, affordable Quinoa dish so yummy you’ll have the whole family rushing to the table (and Milo sniffing underneath it).
This dish is excellent as a standalone item. However, it offers a versatile enough flavor for a buffet-style menu.
You can modify the dish and add the finished product to lettuce or spinach salads that call for cooked eggs. Also, consider using the leftovers for a nutritious, fast breakfast dish.
Where to buy Quinoa?
You can find all the ingredients you’ll need for our “10-Minute Quinoa, Kale, & Poached Egg Recipe” at your local grocery store or online at Target.
— 1 to 2 eggs
— ½ cup cooked quinoa
— 1 cup baby kale (optional: organic greens)
— Olive oil (optional: garlic-infused olive oil)
— Ground lemon zest
— 1 teaspoon vinegar (optional: apple cider instead of white)
— 1 to 2 pinches ground coarse sea salt and pepper
Quinoa Dinner Preparation Instructions:
1. Boil water in a small saucepan. While waiting for your water to heat up, sauté the kale and cooked quinoa in olive oil. For extra flavor, try garlic-infused oil.
Once complete, follow these steps:
- Cover the greens after cooking.
- Turn off heat and let the kale/quinoa mixture stand until it wilts.
- Scoop the cooked greens onto an attractive plate.
- Don’t forget about your boiling water!
2. Turn boiling water heat to low, stir in vinegar and add cracked eggs. When adding the vinegar, stir the substance rapidly in a circular motion. This will create a whirlpool funnel. Quickly drop the cracked egg into it. Slide eggs into the center of the whirlpool.
3. Let the egg simmer for 3-4 minutes. Keep the egg in the water until the whites appear cooked. This poaching process will usually leave the yoke a little runny. However, if you prefer a firmer yoke, you could let it cook a minute or two longer. Be careful not to overcook it, which could leave it rubbery.
4. Use a slotted spoon to remove the cooked eggs from the water. Place the eggs on top of the kale/quinoa greens you prepared just minutes ago. Grind some lemon peel and sprinkle the zest over the top of the dish. Then, spread a few pinches of ground sea salt and crushed black pepper over it. You want just enough salt and pepper to flavor the dish, but not overpower it.
Estimated Preparation Time
This recipe takes only 10 minutes to prepare: an ideal choice for busy parents who have hungry mouths to feed. It is easy to double or triple the batch when you need to cook dinner for your whole family.
Like This Quinoa Dish?
To discover similar quinoa dishes, browse Whole Foods or check out the 10 Best Quinoa Recipes from Bon Appetit.
We know what we’re having for dinner tonight – quinoa! Until next time, gourmet girls.
Adopt these 10 Healthy Habits to Lose Weight easily and feel confident all summer long.
We are so thrilled summer is approaching: lounging poolside with a pina colada in hand, diving under the salty waves at the beach. But, wait a second. There is one part of this image we are not so stoked on: bikini time. This season of swimsuits, shorts, and dresses is not one we want to spend stressing about covering up.
We are positive you look beautiful just the way you are, but we do believe in the value of feeling healthy and confident. Our philosophy on weight loss is that it should be done naturally, in a way that keeps you satisfied and full, not starved. You can think of these more as healthy lifestyle changes that we should all strive for to attain our most balanced, strongest selves. With our top 10 healthy habits to help you lose weight easily without depriving yourself. In fact, we actually recommend you eat (dark, organic) chocolate!
Lose Weight with these 10 Healthy Habits:
1) Sleep Soundly
Obtaining the full recommended number of hours of sleep each night (between 7-9 hours) is paramount to successful weight loss.
- When you are overly tired, your body becomes lethargic which sends a signal to your brain that this exhaustion is actually due to lack of food.
- Your brain thinks, “Uh oh, better send some hunger pangs to the stomach as a warning.” Hence, you crave more food, and often overeat, to provide you with energy.
2) Please Don’t Skip Meals
While you may think this is an effective way to cut back on your calorie intake, it actually backlashes every time. Calories are not a source of evil. If calories come from wholesome, real foods, you will be adequately nourished and have less cravings. Here’s the ugly downward spiral when you skip a meal:
- You are essentially starving your body and causing your hunger to increase until it becomes an insurmountable force.
- This often leads to eating double or triple the amount of food at your next meal.
Eat breakfast to kickstart your metabolism each morning.
3) Your Mother was Right: Breakfast is the Most Important Meal
Eating breakfast is necessary to balance your blood sugar and boost your energy.
- When you sleep, your metabolism slows and does not increase until after you have eaten your first meal of the day.
- To jumpstart your metabolism in the morning, eat at least 200 calories within two hours of waking.Try one of our Paleo Pancake Recipes to kickstart your day the healthy way!
4) Listen to those Cravings
Yes, self control and discipline is important when implementing a healthy diet. If you are craving several pieces of cake, it’s probably wise not to go there. (Unless you’ve just had a miserable week and need to let loose… in that case, heck, have at it!). What’s really important on a day-to-day basis, is that you do not deprive yourself so much that you regularly binge. Here’s how it works:
- If you are really craving a chocolate bar, you should enjoy one chocolate bar. Dark, organic chocolate can actually lower stress and be a healthy source of magnesium.
- Substituting carrot sticks or a granola bar won’t satisfy the craving and may result in you overeating by adding a chocolate bar anyway.
5) Make Healthy Swaps
There’s no need to dump out your entire pantry and fridge to start a healthy diet. Simple swaps can make an enormous difference.
- Skip the butter in mashed potatoes and add flavorful vegetables and spices instead.
- Switch your cow’s milk with almond or coconut milk.
- Lose the fried foods and choose to bake or broil.
6) Keep it Interesting by Trying a New Healthy Food Each Week
Have you ever reached a diet plateau? Healthy eating does not have to be bland or boring. It’s crucial to be creative with your meals and have fun with them.
- Experiment by adding a health food to your meals, like quinoa or chia seeds, that you’ve never eaten. You may find you love the new addition of flavor, and if not, scratch it off the shopping list! Are you eating these 10 superfoods for healthy weight loss?
- Don’t worry about the cost of organic, nutritious foods. Even Walmart and Target offer local and organic produce at affordable prices.
Exercise 4 times a week to help you lose weight, lower stress levels, and supercharge your brain.
7) Exercise (Even Just a Little!) Ever Day
To lose weight, lower stress levels, and supercharge your brain, it is critical to exercise daily. With such busy schedules, we may feel it’s difficult to dedicate daily hours at the gym. Good news! We can have similar effects just by adding 20 or 30 minutes a day. Quick healthy habits to adopt:
- Instead of driving to the store or work, ride your bike.
- Recruit a family member or friend to take nightly strolls with you after dinner. Jump rope or do a series of yoga stretches at home. Anything to get yourself moving.
If you’re looking to drop more weight quickly, you will benefit from exercising vigorously for 60 minutes three to four times a week:
- To ensure you stick to it, schedule specific times to exercise (in the early morning before work, at your lunch break, or on your way home from the office).
- If you’d like to save time and money by working out at home, consider yoga videos, exercise equipment, and ankle weights from Amazon.
8) Keep a Food and Exercise Journal
Writing down your food choices and exercise progress keeps you on track and inspires you with evidence of how far you’ve come. It is easy to eat mindlessly, but physically writing it down brings awareness to the act.
- At the end of the day, read over everything you ate that day. This self-reflection is eye-opening. You become your own personal nutritionist and coach.
- Writing down how much you are exercising is equally important. You will begin finding more creative ways to add it into your schedule.
- If you’d like a professional dieting journal, they are available at Amazon.
9) Watch Out for Sneaky Artificial Ingredients
Your body does not know how to process and break down artificial ingredients, so you end up storing them in your body as excess weight.
- Always choose natural foods, including whole grains, fruits and vegetables and read labels.
- Artificial ingredients and highly processed foods are empty calories that lack the fuel your body needs to function optimally.
10) Supplement with Vitamins and Minerals
Nourishing your body with proper vitamins and minerals is essential for safe, healthy weight loss.
- Take a daily multivitamin.
- B vitamins, especially B-12, can increase metabolism.
- Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium (needed to support your bones during all that exercise!).
- Vitamin C boosts your immune system, decreases muscle recovery time, and helps your body recover from stress.
- Try Drugstore.com or VitaCost to cut down on your costs.
See You at the Beach!
Adopting these simple healthy habits for life makes losing weight stress-free, so you can spend more time worrying about which of the many pool parties to attend and less about your bikini bod.