Fresh Fruit Kabobs with Healthy Coconut Yogurt Dip

Fresh Fruit Kabobs with Healthy Coconut Yogurt Dip

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #GiantEagleSlashedPrices #CollectiveBias #ad

I love a good cookout, don’t you?  But a cookout is way more than just grilling up some burgers and opening a bag of chips.  So, for my next cookout, I’m making these fresh fruit kabobs with a lowfat yogurt dip as a light, refreshing and healthy dessert!  And now, Giant Eagle has made hosting a get together even better by slashing prices on so many of the items that I need for a cookout, but also on the items that my family already uses every day!Fresh Fruit Kabobs with Healthy Coconut Yogurt Dip // Money Savvy Living #fruitkabobs #yogurtdip #GiantEagleSlashedPrices


Spring is here, the weather is starting to warm up, and I am getting ready for all the fun cookouts that we will have this spring and summer!  One of the things that I enjoy the most about spring and summer is that there is so much fresh fruit that is in-season, and it makes a wonderful dessertespecially when paired with a delicious fruit dip!

Fresh Fruit Kabobs with Healthy Coconut Yogurt Dip // Money Savvy Living #fruitkabobs #yogurtdip #GiantEagleSlashedPricesWhen I’m getting ready for a cookout, I shop at Giant Eagle because I can get everything that I needand this time, I saved a ton of money because Giant Eagle just slashed prices on over 5000 items throughout the store!  You can check out all the items and the participating locations with the lower, slashed prices here.Fresh Fruit Kabobs with Healthy Coconut Yogurt Dip // Money Savvy Living #fruitkabobs #yogurtdip #GiantEagleSlashedPrices

The best part is, this wasn’t just an in-store sale going on (although they had those too!)these lower prices are permanent!  As I walked through the store, I was happy to see that the prices were slashed on many of the items that my family loves:

Fresh Fruit Kabobs with Healthy Coconut Yogurt Dip // Money Savvy Living #fruitkabobs #yogurtdip #GiantEagleSlashedPrices

So when I started looking for the ingredients that I needed for my fruit kabobs and yogurt dip, I was happy to see that many of the items that I needed were not just on sale, but that the prices have been slashed and now I was able to get them at a their new, lower prices!

Fresh Fruit Kabobs with Healthy Coconut Yogurt Dip // Money Savvy Living #fruitkabobs #yogurtdip #GiantEagleSlashedPrices

Giant Eagle even slashed prices on all of the great paper products that I need for my cookout too!Fresh Fruit Kabobs with Healthy Coconut Yogurt Dip // Money Savvy Living #fruitkabobs #yogurtdip #GiantEagleSlashedPrices

So I saw a huge savings in my weekly grocery bill already.  On this trip alone, I saved over $14, which was nearly 15 percent of my total!  This really got me thinking… these savings are really going to add up over the course of a year!

Fresh Fruit Kabobs with Healthy Coconut Yogurt Dip // Money Savvy Living #fruitkabobs #yogurtdip #GiantEagleSlashedPrices


Now that I got everything I that I needed for my cookout, I was ready to start making my healthier dessert:

Fresh Fruit Kabobs with Healthy Coconut Yogurt Dip

Print Recipe
Fresh Fruit Kabobs with Healthy Coconut Yogurt Dip
Fresh fruit kabobs with a healthy coconut yogurt dip makes a light, refreshing, and lowfat dessert, appetizer or snack.
Fresh Fruit Kabobs with Healthy Coconut Yogurt Dip // Money Savvy Living #fruitkabobs #yogurtdip #GiantEagleSlashedPrices
Cuisine American
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cuisine American
Prep Time 30 minutes
Fresh Fruit Kabobs with Healthy Coconut Yogurt Dip // Money Savvy Living #fruitkabobs #yogurtdip #GiantEagleSlashedPrices
  1. Mix Greek yogurt, vanilla, cinnamon, and honey until smooth. Pour into small serving dish and top with fresh coconut.
Share this Recipe

I made the kabobs using strawberries, blueberries, melon, mango, grapes, marshmallows, prunes, and yogurt covered cranberries.  But, of course, you can use any fruits that you like…

Wash and cut all fruit.  Make sure to cut fruit into approximately 1 inch chunks so they are bite-size, yet large enough to not break when put on the skewer. Alternate ingredients on skewers.




Fresh Fruit Kabobs with Healthy Coconut Yogurt Dip // Money Savvy Living #fruitkabobs #yogurtdip #GiantEagleSlashedPrices


How much will you save on your weekly grocery bill with the new slashed prices?  

Fresh Beet Root, Carrot & Apple Juice to Boost Your Immune System

Fresh Beet Root, Carrot & Apple Juice to Boost Your Immune System

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #GiantEagleDelivers #CollectiveBias #ad

Did you make a New Year’s resolution to live healthier this year?  I know I didand this year, Giant Eagle is going to help me keep my resolution!

Hmmm, you might be wondering exactly how my local grocery store is going to do that?  Well, shopping for fresh produce and picking out healthier options just got easier and less time-consuming with Giant Eagle’s Curbside Express Delivery!

As a mother, it is my goal to give my family healthy meals and snacks, but as you probably know, that can be really time-consuming.  So when I found out that Giant Eagle now offers Curbside Express Delivery, I was pretty excited!  This is a huge time saver!

Here’s how it works:
  • Go online and pick your local Giant Eagle store
  • Connect your Advantage Card to your Curbside Express account
  • Choose the groceries that you wantit can be fresh produce, freezer items, meat, dairy, canned goods, etc.:
    • Shop weekly specials or search for the products you want
    • Find your item
    • Add it to your cart
    • Select how many of each item you want

  • Select a time and date
  • And kick back and relax while a personal shopper puts your grocery order together
  • Be ready for delivery of your order!

**Even if you are not located in an area that has delivery, your local store may still have Curbside Express at the store, meaning that they will still get your order ready at a specific time and date and all you have to do is drive to the store, sit in your car and they will bring your order out to you!  Still a huge time-saver!**

Now, if you’re like me, you might be a bit skeptical about having someone else pick out your produce.  I am super-picky when it comes to selecting produce.  I like to make sure that I’m not buying fruit or vegetables that are bruised or on the verge of going bad.

So how did my personal shopper with Giant Eagle Curbside Express do?
  • My order was ready on-time!
  • Before delivery of my order, they went over some substitutions that they had to make and offered me some additional options because a few items were out of stock. (You can choose to keep or delete the substituted items)
  • My bill was finalized and my groceries were delivered.
  • All items were correct in my order, and the produce all looked great!

Knowing that winter is here— and that cold and flu season is upon us, I want to make sure our bodies are getting the vitamins and nutrients that we need, so to help boost our immune systems, I am going to make fresh juice with all the wonderful, produce that I just got.

Now, my kids probably wouldn’t choose to eat beets on their own, but I can hide them in some fresh juice that has been sweetened with some fruit and sneak in the goodness!

Fresh Beet Root, Carrot & Apple Juice

Peel and wash all produce thoroughly before juicing.

  • 2 beet roots (I don’t juice the beet leaves, I save those and will cook those as a side dish later!)
  • 6 medium size carrots
  • 3 apples (any variety that you like)
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 small cucumber
  • 2-3 oranges

Put through your juicer and blend juices together.  Strain if preferred to remove some of the pulp… and enjoy!

Why are these fruits and vegetables so good for immunity?

Beet roota rich source of iron, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sulphur, iodine, manganese and copper. Additionally, beetroot is rich in folic acid. This rejuvenates the resistance of the body to fight toxicity.

Carrots—rich in Vitamin A and can help reduce toxins

Apples—rich in important antioxidants, flavanoids, and dietary fiber.  Apples are just good for overall health and they help to sweeten up this juice combo!

Lemon—has many nourishing elements, such as: vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin A, vitamin E, folate, niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, copper, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, phosphorus, and protein.

Cucumber—very effective detoxifying agent, which clears the blood stream of excess uric acid; soothing and anti-inflammatory

Oranges—excellent source of vitamin C; also helps to sweeten this juice combo!


New year, new you… what will you do to live healthier this year?

Mint Chocolate Chip Smoothie

Mint Chocolate Chip Smoothie

This post may contain affiliate links or sponsored content.  Please know that all opinions are honestly conveyed and are mine alone.

Do you love mint chocolate chip ice cream or Thin Mint cookies?  If so, this smoothie is definitely for you!

This is just one of the ways I love to use the mint that I grow in my backyard garden (you can also check out the creamy mint and avocado sauce that I make for veggie dip and use as a burger topping).  Any time fresh fruit and herbs are in season, I try to incorporate them any way I can to give my morning breakfast routine a bit a variety and this is my newest way to do that!


Mint Chocolate Chip Smoothie

Mint Chocolate Chip Smoothie

In a blender, add the following:


Blend until smooth…and enjoy!


What is your favorite smoothie flavor?


*This post contains direct links to my JP+ Virtual Franchise. Should you choose to buy a product through here, I would receive a commission.


For more smoothie recipes:

Blueberry Mango Smoothie // Money Savvy Living

Blueberry Mango Smoothie


Chocolate Caramel Chia Smoothie


Orange Julius Copycat Strawberry Banana Smoothie




Chocolate Caramel Chia Smoothie

Chocolate Caramel Chia Smoothie

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CollectiveBias #PlantBasedGoodness 

Chocolate Caramel Chia Smoothie // Money Savvy Living // #PlantBasedGoodness

It is so hard to believe the kids are going back to school already… feels like summer just started!  However, not only do my kids go back to school again this week, but my oldest son starts middle school and my youngest son starts kindergarten.  So, lots of change coming our way, and yes, there are sure to be some tears– probably mostly from me though!

Mornings can be hectic… finishing up homework, getting lunches packed, making sure the kids have a healthy breakfast before heading out the door to catch the bus… but what about my own breakfast?  I have to admit that, more than once, I have skipped breakfast because I simply haven’t had the time.  But now, that excuse is gone.  Even when I don’t have much time, I can still reach for Silk Almondmilk to help get my day started off the right way!


Chocolate Caramel Chia Smoothie // Money Savvy Living // #PlantBasedGoodness


I was used to getting my almondmilk in the refrigerated section before, but now, I can get shelf-stable, individual bottles of Silk Almondmilk at my local Walmart.  Maybe that doesn’t sound like a big deal, but for my busy life, I actually like being able to stock up on things so I don’t have to visit the store quite as often.  And being able to stock up on this delicious almondmilk means that I have a quick breakfast-starter always available in my pantry.


Chocolate Caramel Chia Smoothie // Money Savvy Living // #PlantBasedGoodness


Even though I am looking for a quick breakfast, I am still health-conscious.  I really don’t want to start my day out with a donut just because it is quick and easy.  For me, making a smoothie for breakfast is a quick, easy, healthier option.  And using Silk Almondmilk as the base of my smoothie is a good choice because of how it’s made:

  • good source of calcium
  • contains NO: dairy, gluten, egg, casein, or MSG
  • NO artificial colors, flavors, or additives

Chocolate Caramel Chia Smoothie // Money Savvy Living // #PlantBasedGoodness


On my last trip to Walmart, I picked up the Silk Almondmilk Unsweetened Vanilla and the Silk Almondmilk and Cashewmilk with Caramel.  And right now, you can save on these products with a $1.00 off coupon from Ibotta!

Ibotta Coupon Silk Almondmilk // Money Savvy Living // #PlantBasedGoodness


To make sure I get a good breakfast, and get the kids sent off to start the school year, I’m going to make a Chocolate Caramel Chia Smoothie:


Chocolate Caramel Chia Smoothie

Chocolate Caramel Chia Smoothie


  • 1 cup Silk Almondmilk and Cashewmilk with Caramel
  • 1 Banana
  • 1 Tbsp Unsweetened Cocao
  • 1 Tsp Chia Seeds
  • 2 Tbsp Peanut Butter
  • Ice Cubes


  1. Put all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour into your favorite smoothie cup.
  3. Top with whipped cream and drizzle with caramel (**optional).
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Chocolate Caramel Chia Smoothie // Money Savvy Living // #PlantBasedGoodness


Get Social with Silk:  Twitter // Pinterest // Instagram

How will Silk Almondmilk make your back to school schedule more manageable?  


Avoid the Stomach Bug This Winter by Doing One Simple Thing

Avoid the Stomach Bug This Winter

We are heading into the middle of winter—the heart of flu season.  And as any mother with school-age children, I worry about all the germs that they are around and bringing them back home and getting everyone sick.

As a teacher myself, I know what it is like in a classroom.  Kids sneezing into their hand, instead of their elbow, or worse yet, not covering their sneeze at all.  Seeing a student use a tissue to blow their nose and wondering to myself what might have missed the tissue and be left on their hands… I could go on and on with the stories… I was fortunate enough though to have a sink in the classroom and would send those little sweethearts right over to wash their hands—every time I saw one of these incidents occur.

I’m not a germaphobe or anything, but I just really, really don’t like to get sick.  I especially don’t like for my kids to be sick.  Nothing worse than having to take care of a miserable, sick child and being helpless to make them feel better.

Luckily for our family, we have not encountered the stomach bug for a few years now.  Last winter, only one of my three boys was sick when we thought he had strep throat (even that turned out to be negative), but none of us encountered the flu or stomach bug… Can I get a “hallelujah” for that?!  And so far this winter, we have been fortunate to, even though I have heard and seen that it is going around.  Yes, even though I am not teaching now, I still volunteer at the school and got to experience a child vomiting just a few feet away from me.  And on my preschool son’s field trip a little girl got sick right in the middle of all the fun.  So I know those germs are going around.

I have felt pretty fortunate that it hasn’t hit our house lately—didn’t know why we had lucked out, but hey, you never look a gift horse in the mouth right?!  So I’ve just been thankful.


Avoid the Stomach Bug This Winter by Doing One Simple Thing | Money Savvy Living


Then, I read an article that talked about how grape juice can actually stop the stomach bug.  Weird but true, I guess.  I’m no scientist, so I can’t really back that up one way or the other.  However, it got me thinking…

Just over a year ago, my family had started taking whole food supplements—just because I wanted to do something “heathy” for my family.  I try to make nutritious and healthy meals, but I know we fall short, so this was just a way for us to bridge that gap in our diets.  There are three varieties that we take—Garden, Orchard, and a Vineyard Blend—my husband and I take the capsules and the kids take the chewable gummies—which actually taste good!  Now, they are all packed with goodness because these are whole foods that have just been dehydrated, so we are getting all the vitamins and minerals directly from the source.  But it is the vineyard ones that came to mind for me after finding out about the goodness of grape juice.  I knew it had lots of good antioxidants and immune boosters in it, but I went back and read the ingredients and confirmed that it had concord grape in it.  So for over a year now, we have been flooding our bodies every day with that extra boost of goodness—one that seems to have had an impact on our immune systems and fighting off the stomach bug!


Avoid the Stomach Bug This Winter by Doing One Simple Thing | Money Savvy Living


After reading that article, I am definitely going to make sure we get our vineyard goodness in everyday… plus there are so many other good vitamins from plants that we wouldn’t get otherwise… I mean, when was the last time you ate black currant, elderberry, pomegranate, or artichoke??  Confirmation for me that the steps that we have taken toward a healthy lifestyle have been worth it!


Avoid the Stomach Bug This Winter by Doing One Simple Thing | Money Savvy Living


*You may notice that some of the links are to my own virtual franchise.  If you’d like more information on how get your family on the path to health and start your own virtual franchise and earn income from home, check out my post on Side Hustles That Will Actually Give You a Full Time Income.

Creamy Avocado & Mint Dip

Avocado Mint Dip 3


When ever you make a veggie tray to take to a party, you always serve it with dip, right?  It definitely tastes more appealing to eat vegetables when smothered in some sort of ranch or French Onion dip.  However, I always feel a bit guilty because I know that the benefit of eating all those good, fresh veggies was most likely just cancelled out by the artery-clogging fat of the dip.


I’m not alone in this feeling, am I?


So this year, I decided to plant my own little herb garden.  I figure, they are perennials, so they should come back next year, they will look nice, and I can actually use them throughout the summer and early autumn in my cooking.  Now if you don’t have your own herbs, it could get pretty expensive to buy all of this at the grocery store.  But, I have probably spent around $15 for all of these herb plants (probably about what it would cost to buy fresh herbs at the grocery store for just this recipe!) and I can use them all summer long… and hopefully, they will make it through the winter and grow again next year!  So making this will literally cost just a few cents by the time I average it out over everything I will use these herbs for this year.  Well worth the initial investment!


Herb Garden | Money Savvy Living

Top: peppermint, spearmint, mojito Middle: dill, basil, thyme Bottom: lavender, chives


If you are new to gardening, here are some pointers on starting your own herb garden that are important to know, such as how to prepare the soil, where to plant your herbs, etc.  Or, if you have limited space, or live in an apartment, you pay even want to consider a tower container garden, which is compact enough to go on a balcony or rooftop.  Tower gardens are also especially good for very dry areas because they use less water as well…


So now, instead of eating a fattening pre-made dip with preservatives and who-knows-what in it, this fresh dip is a much healthier alternative:


Creamy Avocado & Mint Dip | Money Savvy Living


And the best thing about this dip is that it is so versatile.  It can be used on sandwiches, burgers, even on pasta… so I guess, it really is a sauce too!  However you choose to use it…. healthy, fresh, delicious!


Creamy Avocado & Mint Dip | Money Savvy Living



Creamy Avocado & Mint Dip

Creamy Avocado & Mint Dip

  • ½ cup shredded cucumber (squeeze liquid out)
  • 3 cups fresh mint leaves (I use a mixture of peppermint, spearmint, & mojito)
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • Chives
  • Dill
  • ½ avocado (you can add the entire avocado if desired)
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Put all ingredients into a food processor, except for the olive oil.  Start to pulse the food processor and blend ingredients, drizzling in the olive oil slowly.


I love to add herbs and ingredients by taste, so you may want to start with this recipe and then tweak it a bit by adding more of any ingredients of the flavors that you want to bring out…


Creamy Avocado & Mint Dip | Money Savvy Living


*This post contains direct links to my JP+/TG Virtual Franchise. Should you choose to buy a product through here, I would receive a commission.

Cinnamon Roll Smoothie

Cinnamon Roll Smoothie |Money Savvy Living


Who doesn’t love a warm, gooey cinnamon roll?!  That is one of my favorite breakfast treats.  Of course, I don’t love all the fat and calories that are packed into those decadent pastries.


Every now and then, I do allow myself to have a cinnamon roll (maybe a few times a year!)  But now, I can have some of those ooey, gooey delicious cinnamon roll flavors any time that I want in my breakfast smoothie.


Cinnamon Roll Smoothie | Money Savvy Living


This recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, and sugar-free:

Cinnamon Roll Smoothie

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1½ cup almond milk
  • ½ cup coconut water
  • cinnamon to taste
  • splash of pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup Vanilla Juice Plus+ Complete protein


Blend until smooth…and enjoy!


**Add less milk if you want a thicker consistency.

**Smoothie tip** using a frozen banana gives my smoothie a much creamier texture (almost like a milkshake!)


*This post contains direct links to my JP+ Virtual Franchise. Should you choose to buy a product through here, I would receive a commission.




New Year, New You: Transformation, Not Resolution

Transformation Not Resolution | Money Savvy Living


Have you made a New Year’s Resolution to get healthier, eat better, or lose weight?  You are not alone.  Nearly 40% of all New Year’s Resolutions that are made are related to making healthier choices.  Did you also know that less than 8% of people will actually carry through with their resolutions in a meaningful way?  Of course, we all know how it goes, everyone is excited to commit to a new path on January 1 and by January 15, most have already slipped away from their new goals…


So this year, try something different.  Don’t make a resolution.


Decide to make a transformation in your life.


So let’s look at the difference.  A resolution is the act of finding an answer or solution to a conflict or problem; the act of resolving something.  A transformation is a complete or major change in someone’s or something’s appearance, form, etc.


I don’t want to just find the answer or solution.  I want to implement the solution to get results.  Knowing and doing are two entirely different things.  Perhaps, that’s why so many resolutions fail.  People simply know what to do, but don’t know how to implement it or maybe aim for too many changes, or changes that they can’t live with and set themselves up for failure.


We know that cutting out sugar and caffeine and gluten from our diets would make us healthier.  But how many people can really drop all of those things from their lives “cold-turkey” and actually stick with it.  Probably not many.  I know that I would never be able to do that.  Maybe for a few days, but probably not for the long term.  Because those are lifestyle changes that I wouldn’t want to keep.


That is exactly why this year I am not making a resolution to “lose weight” or “get healthy.”  This year, I am deciding to transform what I am doing, by adding in simple changes that I can make—that I know I can live with—and will actually continue doing.  It has to be a lifestyle change, not just being able to withstand a few days or weeks of deprivation to on a quest to obtain a magical overnight result.


Here are 5 changes that I have made, and consistently been able to live with and make a part of my lifestyle.  If you are looking to get on the path to a healthier lifestyle, these changes may be a good starting place for you as well.


Activity Tracker This summer, I bought an activity tracker to monitor how much—or how little—I am moving during the day.  Sometimes, it is amazing how active I am, and other days, it is a daunting wake-up call to get moving.  It is amazing How My Activity Tracker Has Changed My Life.  My goal is to get at least 7000 steps each day, which equals 3.5 miles.  At this rate, I will walk nearly 1300 miles during the course of a year.  Maybe you are just starting out and have a goal of 5000 steps per day, or maybe you already hit 7000 steps per day, then you can add a couple thousand to that… regardless of where you are at with your activity, you can make an effort to be more active and burn additional calories.  Here is a conversion chart to help you figure out how many miles you are currently walking and how many you want to set for a goal. Smoothie with a Whole Food Boost | Money Savvy Living Replace A Meal I really have never been a breakfast eater.  I am just not ready for a big meal first thing in the day.  So for me, a smoothie is a great option.  Now, over the years, I have tried many smoothies and some have a metallic after-taste or a are chalky—and if I don’t like the way it tastes, or it gives me a headache, I won’t stick with it—and I will end up just skipping breakfast altogether.  And when I skip breakfast, I am so hungry by the time lunch rolls around, I either eat something that is fast and convenient (not at all healthy) or even over-eat because I have waited too long—am I the only one with this problem or is this familiar to you too?  That is why I am so glad that I found Juice Plus+ Complete.  It is a whole food, plant-based protein shake, with no artificial fillers, preservatives, or colors, it’s gluten free—and best of all, it actually tastes good.  This one works well with my body and I have been able to keep this habit as a part of my daily routine.  This was just one of the things that I have been doing that kept me from gaining weight through the holidays and I have actually lost five pounds…  

A photo posted by Gina Young (@gyoung118) on

Take a Whole Food Supplement

While I have taken different herbs and vitamins over the years, I added a whole food supplement into the mix.  I had tried them before, but this time, I consistently have taken them… and noticed a difference.  The first thing that I noticed was more energy—I wasn’t as tired in the mornings.  I also noticed that I wasn’t snacking as much.  I felt satisfied after eating a meal.  Before starting these, I felt that my body was always craving something, but I didn’t know what… so I’d grab some crackers or chips to fill the void—and that was just extra calories and fat—and it never curbed that feeling.  Lastly, this was not something that I noticed, but my hairstylist pointed it out when I went in for a haircut (and highlights)—she mentioned how fast my hair was growing and said it was so much faster than most other people—and she had never noticed this (or said anything) before.  Hmmmm, maybe it was this supplement… giving my body extra vitamins and nutrients that I didn’t have before…

Drink More Water | Money Savvy Living

Drink More Water

I have always been aware of drinking a lot of water, but I noticed that when taking these supplements, I made myself drink an entire cup of water each time I took these throughout the day—in additional to the amount of water that I was already drinking.  Drink more water. This may be the easiest thing that you can do to improve your health. Simply. Drink. Water. There are several health benefits of drinking water, including:

  • Water Helps Maintain the Balance of Body Fluids
  • Water Can Help Control Calories
  • Water Helps Energize Muscles
  • Water Helps Keep Skin Looking Good
  • Water Helps Your Kidneys
  • Water Helps Maintain Normal Bowel Function

sugar and weight gain |Money Savvy Living

Cut Down on Soda and Sugar

Just think of all the extra sugar and calories that you are consuming when you drink a can of pop. Not only are there health problems associated with drinking soda, such as a link to obesity, kidney damage, certain cancers, and even elevated blood pressure, but studies have also shown that you can actually lose weight when you do nothing else besides stop drinking soda.


Are you ready to transform?  Or are you just going to ease away from your New Year’s resolution in a couple of weeks?  Are you ready to make this year different?


#OneSimpleChange #6WT


*This article does contain affiliate links, so if you choose to purchase through here, I will make a commission, although it does not increase the cost to you, the consumer.  These are also products that I truly recommend and use myself and decided to partner with the company as a result of trying the products first.

10 Ways to Avoid Gaining 10 Pounds this Holiday Season

10 Ways to Not Gain 10 Pounds over the Holidays | Money Savvy Living


Now that we are in early December, I am really starting to think about… drumroll please…. weight gain.


You probably thought that I was going to say Christmas, didn’t you? Well, you are sort-of right. The weight gain that I am thinking about is actually associated with Christmas and New Year’s…and to be perfectly honest, Thanksgiving and Halloween, as well.


This time of year is absolutely horrible to my body.


It is getting colder. So I know the number of days that I will have outside—and the more active lifestyle that the outdoors are conducive to—is fading away. I will be wearing big, bulky sweaters soon anyways, so I can just hide those few extra pounds and not worry about my weight until swimsuit season rolls around again.


We have soooo much candy from Halloween. I have three kids, who each hit the candy jackpot on October 31. Yes, I know that was well over a month ago, but the candy still lingers in the pantry… the candy is literally just staring at us every time we open the cupboard. I’m pretty sure the kids hear it calling their names because they ask several times a day if they can have a “treat.” And even though I can’t remember the last time that I actually bought a candy bar for myself, when these little bite-sized treats are around, it is very easy to tell myself that I can have one… or two, it’s really just a bite anyways, not very many calories or fat could possibly even be in something so small…


I want to enjoy the holidays. Christmas is coming. I don’t want to have to worry about counting calories at every family gathering or party that I attend. After all, nothing celebrates the birth of Jesus and ringing in the new year like excessive gluttony.


It is really easy to feel complacent about it too. I mean, these are all really good excuses as to why I will likely gain weight over the next few months, right?


Ummm, NO.


This year, I am making a commitment to not allow myself the excuses and I am taking action. Now, I started before Halloween, but it’s still not too late to either change your eating habits, or lay out a plan, before Christmas to help you avoid gaining that extra holiday weight.


I am not starving myself to do this though. I am eating somewhat normally, but have just tweaked things a bit—and I have lost five pounds in the last six weeks. Ok, that may not sound like much, however, I lost weight instead of gaining it through Halloween and Thanksgiving—and that’s a pretty big deal.


I have decided to make certain lifestyle changes that I can live with and not feel that I am depriving myself or starving my body—because, ultimately, your body will reject that and you may end up gaining more weight than what you lost when you decide to stop “dieting.”


So what am I doing? How am I implementing small changes into my lifestyle? Here are 10 simple things that I am doing—and anyone can do—to be healthier and avoid the holiday weight gain:




Wear an activity tracker. Everyday. Simple, right? Throughout the day, I find it quite motivating to see my progress and if my steps are low, I know to pick it up a bit and go for a walk outside, get on the treadmill, or do something with the kids (they are always begging me to play soccer or basketball or catch…)


Drink a protein shake in the morning. I am not a breakfast person. Never have been. But, if I don’t have anything breakfast, I am so hungry by lunch time that I tend to eat too much or just make terrible, unhealthy choices because I simply want to eat something—anything—and the unhealthy choices are typically convenient. Drinking a breakfast shake gives my body the feeling of being satisfied because it takes away the hunger factor. Now, I have tried several different types of protein powder and definitely don’t like the ones that are infused with manufactured vitamins and minerals. Those tend to have a metallic-taste to me, and give me a headache. Plus, if it is something that I am going to barely be able to choke down, I can tell you that I won’t keep the habit as a part of my life. That is why I love the Complete Shakes from Juice Plus+. (Just so you know, I don’t recommend these because I am a consultant with the company, I am a consultant with Juice Plus because I love their products so much—and I have been trying different products and making a smoothie for breakfast since I was in college, so I have tried a lot!) They are whole food based—no artificial fillers, colors, or flavors—and they actually taste good, so this is a habit that I can keep.


protein smoothie


Take a whole food supplement. Studies show that you are basically wasting your money on vitamins and supplements unless you are buying whole food supplements. In fact, a study by The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center states, “Whole foods contain a wide array of nutrients including vitamins, minerals and a number of other biologically active compounds, collectively known as phytonutrients. These phytonutrients, such as 3,3′-diindolylmethane (DIM) in broccoli or isoprenoids and polyphenols in other vegetables, may work in concert to provide the best support for cancer prevention and control.” A whole food supplement is just that, a supplement to your diet. It does not replace eating healthy, but it does help to bridge the gap in your diet from what you are actually getting and what you should be getting.


Reduce the amount of processed foods that you eat. Many times, we turn to processed foods because they are basically dinner-in-a-box—they are convenient. While they may save you a bit of time, the nutritional value is definitely lacking… and you usually pay a bit of a premium for the convenience. Whole foods are foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. For example, when you eat an apple, you are getting all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients that are naturally occurring in that particular food. When foods are processed, they have been refined in some way. The natural form has changed, and through this processing or refinement, the naturally occurring vitamins and minerals may have been stripped away, so you are only getting the nutrients from what is left.


Drink more water. This may be the easiest thing that you can do to improve your health. Simply. Drink. Water. There are several health benefits of drinking water, including:

  • Water Helps Maintain the Balance of Body Fluids
  • Water Can Help Control Calories
  • Water Helps Energize Muscles
  • Water Helps Keep Skin Looking Good
  • Water Helps Your Kidneys
  • Water Helps Maintain Normal Bowel Function

If you are looking for more than just “plain” water to add to your diet, you may want to check out why some people drink salt water or lemon water

Read nutrition labels. Making healthy food choices starts by knowing what is in the food that you are eating. Make choices that are: gluten-free, organic, no preservatives or added nitrates, no artificial colors, and no artificial flavors.


sugar and weight gain


Cut down on your intake of soda and alcohol. Just think of all the extra sugar and calories that you are consuming when you drink a can of pop. Not only are there health problems associated with drinking soda, such as a link to obesity, kidney damage, certain cancers, and even elevated blood pressure, but studies have also shown that you can actually lose weight when you do nothing else besides stop drinking soda.


Get enough sleep. It is sometimes hard to see the immediate connection between sleep deprivation and potential weight gain, but your body needs enough time to rest and repair so that you are able to lead an active and healthy lifestyle. If you are tired, then you may not have the energy to cook a healthy meal and may pick up fast food instead. You may also feel like you don’t have the energy to work out or be active, so you would choose to sit on the sofa and watch TV rather than going for a walk… and those choices to eat the fast food and be a couch potato, in turn, make you feel even more sluggish.


healthy snack choice


Make healthy snack choices. Instead of picking up a bag of potato chips, reach for fruits and veggies. It does take a bit of planning and work sometimes to make these snack available. But if you have a container in your refrigerator with carrot and celery sticks, pre-washed grapes, or apple slices, it is easier for you—and your kids—to reach for a healthier snack. I happen to just love these little California mandarin oranges… they are so sweet it can cure your sweet tooth as well—a much better choice than a cookie!


Breathe deep. Did you know that breathing exercises can help to reduce stress and anxiety, stimulate energy, and benefit physical and emotional health? And all of these things can help contribute to weight loss. Try these different breathing exercises, and breathe your way to better health:

  • Deep Abdominal Breathing: Slow breathing exercises may affect corticol activity and help reduce anxiety, according to the report of A.W. Yuen and J.W. Sanders in “Can Slow Breathing Exercises Improve Seizure Control in People.” Shallow breathing can occur during times of stress. Deep abdominal breathing, which brings the breath deep into the belly, helps counteract shallow breathing and creates a sense of calm. Try this deep abdominal breathing technique to reduce stress and regain focus on your weight loss goals. Sit in a comfortable position and begin by slowly exhaling through your nose for a count of five. Let all the air in your abdomen out and imagine your stomach fully deflating. Pause at the bottom of the breath for two counts then slowly inhale for a five count, allowing your abdomen to fill back up with air. Repeat five to 10 times.
  • Bellows Breathing Exercise: The bellows breathing exercise stimulates energy. Also referred to as the fire breath or stimulating breath technique, this exercise activates the lungs and chest to allow for normal breathing to occur, according to Marcelle Pick, OBGYN, NP in “Deep Breathing: The Truly Essential Exercise.” Perform the bellows breathing exercise by sitting up straight in a chair. Close your mouth and breathe in and out rapidly. Imagine your breath moving similarly to a bike pump. Continue the rapid breathing for up to 15 seconds to stimulate energy. Try performing this technique for a boost of energy before your workouts or cardio exercise.
  • Three-Part Breathing: Breathing exercises benefit physical and emotional health. Use breathing consciously to influence the involuntary nervous system, which regulates bodily functions such as digestion and circulation. Try the three-part breathing exercise to influence your health and well-being. Begin by sitting comfortably. Exhale through your nose and slowly let the air flow out of your body. Release the air in a wave movement by letting the air out of the chest first, then the upper abdomen, and finally the diaphragm. Pause for two counts, then inhale slowly, reversing the order. Repeat for five to 10 breaths.


While I have this plan in place to live a healthier lifestyle, I will still be happy to partake in all the Christmas meals and goodies that will be around. Totally depriving yourself is not good, but overindulging isn’t an option either. As with anything—keep a healthy balance in mind.




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