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Quick Guide to Container Gardening

Quick Guide to Container Gardening


Fire escape garden

These days more and more people are taking an interest in knowing where their food
comes from. Whether you’re concerned about your health, your food budget or the
planet – container gardening is a simple way to bring healthy, whole unprocessed food
back to your kitchen.

garden tools I recommend:

• trowel – use to dig

• soil scoop – use to transfer soil from bag to container

• pruners – use to trim leaves and dead flowers

• watering can w/rosettes – use to water plants evenly and gently

• 18in containers

• garden soil – use organic vegetable potting soil or a self-made mix of equal parts

peat moss, peat humus, compost and builder’s sand

• bedding plants – choose the right plant based on climate, growing habits, and

finally – food preference

quick tips to get started:

1. Choose your container

There are many options for gardening containers such as ceramic, wood & plastic.
Containers meet your aesthetic needs, as well as, be big enough to support full
grown plants, have drainage holes in the bottom and made without toxic chemicals
coatings.  You don’t have to spend a lot on pots. Check thrift stores for sturdy, gently
used pots.

2. Create proper drainage

Put holes in the bottom of your container for drainage so your plant roots do not stand
in water – which can lead to root rot. Many pots have indentations for holes that you can
punch through with a screwdriver.

3. Select healthy plants

Here’s the fun part! Bedding plants typically come 1 per pack or 4-6 per “tear-
apart” pack. Select plants carefully and choose healthy vibrant plants. Look for
plants with healthy white or pale yellow roots. Avoid the urge to buy blooming plants
– bushy compact plants will root better. Check the plant’s growing conditions – sun,
water, temp, and spacing to ensure it will thrive where you live.

4. Give ’em space

Don’t overcrowd plants. Look to the plant’s label tag to find out how much space is
needed between plants for optimal growth. Completely cover roots and plant base with
organic potting soil and a light layer of mulch..

5. Water, but don’t flood

Water your plants regularly. But don’t over water. Check the weather and don’t water on
rainy days. Nature’s water is better than tap!

6.  Take pictures

Take a photo of your garden on the day of planting. Use your photos to chronicle
growing conditions everyday so next time around you’ll know which things worked well
and which ones didn’t.

7. Cook and eat

The whole point of your garden is to eat it! Plan meals around the fruits and vegetables you are
growing. Nothing tastes better than a fresh summer tomato garnished with ribbons of basil from
your own garden. Search sites like www.Foodandme.net for quick ways to cook and eat your
fresh fare.

Look at your garden every day. You’ll be amazed at how easy it is to grow your own food – full
of nutrients and free of chemicals!!! Enjoy your growing experience and start planning for next
year’s garden!

Tonya Peele is the author of Quick Wins for Healthy Eating: Easy Changes You and Your
Family Can Make Now! She blogs at www.foodandme.net

Photo Credit:
Fire Escape Garden by By Saucy Salad

Posted in Guest Posts, News0 Comments

Healthy Eating At Every Age

an array of local produce, arranged in baskets, Boudha, Kathmandu, Nepal

An age appropriate diet can help us maintain a sustained feeling of vitality throughout the years; while laying the foundation to enable us to meet the challenges that life will surely bring. Eating our way to effortless health and vitality looks a little like this…

In our teens and 20’s

This is the time to capitalize on our body’s natural good health; our bone density and metabolism are at their peak during this time, so treating our bodies with respect will pay dividends in the long run. To feed our bones, we should consume a diet rich in calcium; and bolster our muscles, with proteins found in eggs, nuts, tofu, fish and lean proteins. As iron deficiency is very common in many young women, supplementing with leafy green vegetables, dried fruit and red meat helps to redress the imbalance.

The 20’s is likely to see rise to indulgent alcohol consumption; but we should take care to limit our intake- alcohol is high in calories, dehydrating and it disturbs our sleep patterns.

During our teens and 20’s our cells regenerate at an enviable pace; but one would be wise not to take advantage. Balanced regular meals and limited alcohol consumption will keep energy levels and moods balanced.

30’s

Our thirties is when the natural decline of muscle mass and slowing of metabolism begin to make their presence known; but the best offense is a great defense, which can be found in lean protein sources such as eggs, fish, red meat, beans and legumes. As the 30’s is the reproductive age for most women, limiting alcohol consumption and consuming folate rich foods helps to preserve fertility; folate is found in abundance in leafy greens and fortified whole grains (not to be confused with whole wheat).

As we age, watching our weight becomes more of a challenge so swap out saturated fats for plant oils, reduce salt intake and increase fiber consumption. This is also the age where visible signs of aging begin to creep in, by consuming brightly colored vegetables and drinking green tea, we help our bodies banish those pesky free radicals- it often said that antioxidants are the best adult acne skincare product; so for those suffering from wrinkles and acne, be sure to consume as many antioxidants sources as possible!

40’s and Beyond

Estrogen levels in women being to dip in the 40’s, which encourages weight accumulation around our middles; but resistance training and balanced diet will help counteract these hormonal changes. During our 40’s and beyond the healthy habits we forge from our teens pay in dividends; but it is never too late to make healthy changes. Even as late as our 50’s changes in our diet can significantly impact the delay of age related diseases such as dementia and could even reduce our risk of certain cancers.

Our bodies are our temples, and treating them with the respect by eating a diet rich in whole grains, brightly colored produce and lean proteins will help stave off disease, hormone related weight gain and visible signs of aging!

Bianca Osbourne is a freelance health writer and natural foods chef; she writes voraciously about skincare for nutrition and super foods for health!

Photo Credit:

local produce by Wonderlane

Posted in Guest Posts0 Comments

Healthy Mexican Pizzas

Hello friends of Fit Moms Fit Kids Club!  I’m Kasey, the dietitian blogger behind Fit For Wellness.  I believe in practicing what you preach and I understand the challenges of being busy while still making healthy family dinners a priority.  I would like to share a delicious, kid friendly meal that takes thirty minutes or less to prepare.

Healthy Mexican Pizzas

Ingredients

corn tortillas
fat-free refried beans
extra lean ground beef
Kasey’s taco seasoning (see recipe below)
low-fat shredded cheddar cheese
salsa
fresh cilantro
fresh jalapeño
fat-free plain Greek Yogurt (optional)
Guacamole (optional)

Instead of frying the corn tortillas, I baked them at 375 degrees for about ten minutes.
Before…

After…

While the tortillas were baking, I browned the ground beef, added my homemade taco seasoning plus a quarter cup of water, and simmered for a couple minutes.

Kasey’s Taco Seasoning

1 teaspoon Chili Powder
1 teaspoon Paprika
1 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/4 teaspoon Onion Powder
1/4 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Ground Oregano

Once the tortillas were baked and the beef browned, it was time to assemble the pizzas.

First layer was a tortilla topped with beans…

Next, I spread on the seasoned ground beef followed by another tortilla.  Then, a layer of salsa and cheese followed.  To finish, I topped the pizzas with fresh, chopped jalapeños and baked in the oven at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes.
I garnished with fresh cilantro, a dollop of plain nonfat Greek yogurt (fat free sour cream would also work), and guacamole.

The Verdict = Watch out Taco Bell, these pizzas were easy, healthy, and delicious!

I think my favorite ingredient was the fresh cilantro- So GOOD!!! My husband is already asking me to cook them again!

Kasey Lopez works full-time as a clinical dietitian

treating a variety of medical conditions and is certified in Adult Weight Management.

www.fitforwellness.com

Posted in Guest Posts, News5 Comments

Going Green…Smoothie Style

(This is a guest post by Katrina Simeck )

Most of us know that the US Department of Health recommends eating 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Raise your hand if you, and your kids, are getting that. Hmmm…I’m guessing that very few readers have their hands raised (although I applaud those that do!). Squeezing in that many servings can be a challenge unless your kitchen is modeled after a salad bar. Several months ago, I went on a blog reading bend about eating clean, consuming whole foods, and incorporating raw foods…all in an effort to find new ways to add fruits & veggies to my menus. I read a mention here & there about the idea of making green smoothies and challenged myself to try one. The rest is green smoothie history. I now drink a green smoothie nearly every day. With 4-5 servings of fruits & veggies per glass, it’s a great way to start my day! I get a few funny looks when I drink them at work or in front of company, and always get the same questions…

What makes it green?

My smoothies often start with spinach, although I’m also a fan of beet greens and kale. Any leafy green will work! You’ll find your favorites as you experiment with different combinations.

What else do you add?

I like to mix up my green smoothie combinations. I typically start with about 2 cups of baby spinach, and then add a cup of frozen banana slices, then a variety of other fruits. I mix fresh fruit & frozen, depending on what is in season.

Do you use water or milk?

I use water to blend my smoothies, but I know that some people use milk, soy, or almond milk. I’ve used coconut water, also.

Do you have a special blender?

Nope! I have a pretty basic blender. I find that the best method is to blend the greens & water first, and then add fruits one at a time. Make sure that you’re adding plenty of water so that you don’t strain the blender’s motor.

Do you use supplements or powders?

I like to give my smoothies an extra boost of nutrition by adding greens powder, spirulina, or chia seeds. I’ve also heard of adding wheatgrass and flaxseed. I’m a fan of Amazing Grass and Vitamin Shoppe’s Spirulina Powder.

What is your favorite smoothie recipe?

My go-to smoothie –


2 cups baby spinach
water
1 frozen banana
1 cup peaches
1 cup pineapple
1 teaspoon spirulina powder
1 tablespoon chia seeds

I highly recommend picking up a copy of The Green Smoothie Revolution for lots of
delicious recipes.

How do I get my kids to drink green?

I’ll admit it…my teens turn their noses up at the green color. If they were younger, I’d probably tempt them by coming up with cutesy names like “Shrek Smoothie” or “Hulk Helpings.” Instead, I just add a few berries to make their smoothies a pleasing pink or purple color.

As a lifelong member of the picky-eaters club, I completely understand if green smoothies seem, uhm, adventurous. Drink your spinach? Add algae? If it means that I have to spend less time at the salad bar…a resounding green YES!

Katrina Simeck blogs about scrapbooking, photography, and raising teens at www.katrinasimeck.com.

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