Tricking Your Kids into Eating Healthy Foods: 5 Snack Ideas

Tricking Your Kids into Eating Healthy: 5 Snack IdeasI don’t have kids—nor are they anywhere on the radar—but sometimes when I’m coming up with new recipes, I find myself thinking of ways I’ll trick my future spawn into eating healthy foods. Like telling them green juice is actually slime from Nickelodeon (as a 90’s child, this totally would have worked on me); or calling anything with pureed chickpeas in it “cookie dough”; and stirring flax and chia seeds into anything and everything. Maybe if I start the brainwashing at a young enough age, I can even convince them that raw kale tastes good. Kids, c’mon, it’s like a Snickers bar, only green, I promise…

Now I’m well aware none of these are going to work because I have the strongest picky eater karma ever coming my way (as a kid, I would eat nothing but plain pasta with butter and sugar cubes…seriously), but hey, a girl can dream. And when Nasoya asked me to write a post about back-to-school recipes, I decided to roundup some P&I snacks that have made me think “this will be awesome for tricking my future kids into eating healthy.” This post is based on 0 years of parenting experience (unless you count that one time I petsat my friend’s dog…no? Not the same thing? Ok…), so let’s have some fun with it. :)

Shhh Don’t Tell Them It’s Healthy: 5 Snack Ideas for Kids

Frozen Banana Treats

greek-yogurt-almond-frozen-bananasSo many directions to go with these! Wanna keep it easy? You can melt some semi-sweet dark chocolate chips; dip sliced banana chunks in it; and pop in the freezer for a health(ier) sweet snack/dessert. Wanna keep it easy but also win Parent of the Year? Make these Greek Yogurt & Crushed Almond Banana Popsicles. Your kids will love them, you’ll love them—it’s a win-win.

Fun Hummuses (Hummus? Hummi?)


Chipotle Tofu Hummus using Nasoya Tofu

Neither my spellchecker nor I know what the plural of “hummus” is, and while Google says “hummuses,” I think we can all agree “hummi” sounds best. But anyway…

Do I think most kids are going to voluntarily eat plain hummus? Probably not until they’re a bit older. But there are so many flavor variations out there, you’re bound to find one your kids enjoy. Sweet Potato Hummus is a great one to try because it’s just that—sweet! It’s great to eat as a dip with carrot sticks or to spread on crackers and top with sliced grapes (trust me on that—sweet potato + grapes = $$$).

If hummus as a dip just isn’t going to work, you can use it as a healthy sandwich spread to replace that awesome creamy texture usually provided by mayonnaise and/or cheese. I’d skip the flavored varieties and use plain hummus on sandwiches if you’re trying to sneak it passed the kids. And if your child is lactose intolerant (or you’re just trying to cut out some dairy), try this Chipotle Tofu Hummus as a melted cheese replacement on burritos. Tofu is a great addition to hummus for giving it a smooth, almost cheese-like texture, and the subtle smoky chipotle taste blends well with traditional Mexican food ingredients.

Just Call It a Muffin and Don’t Say the “Q” Word Outloud…

Apple Banana Quinoa Breakfast CupsThese Apple Banana Quinoa Cups makes for a delicious breakfast muffin replacement or a snack any time of day. And they’ve been approved by tons of real kids, so I don’t even have to waste another sentence defending their place on this roundup. :)

Chickpea “Cookie Dough”

Chickpea Chocolate Chip "Cookie Dough" Bites (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, no added sugar)Between my obsession with hummus and the following recipe, it’s surprising I haven’t yet turned into a chickpea. These Chickpea “Cookie Dough” Bites are dairy-free, grain-free, and use no added sugar—yet are delicious! And they’re super filling, so your kids won’t need more than two or three in their lunchbox to make it through snacktime.


peanut-butter-berry-smoothie-2I asked my mom about sneaking healthy food into my and my brother’s diet as a kid, and she said smoothies were always her go-to. She’d even put powdered acidophilus in them if one of us had been on antibiotics or had any GI issues (news to me—ha!). There are COUNTLESS smoothie combos out there that will get the thumbs-up from kiddos, but if your kid loves PB&J sandwiches, you might try swapping them for this Peanut Butter Berry Smoothie—it’s a winner!

Can’t wait to hear from all the moms out there in the comments section today!

  • What are some ways you sneak healthy foods into your kids’ diets?
  • Have you had any hilarious failed attempts?

Also, feel free to crush my dreams and tell me which of these recipes would never get the green light from your little ones. :)

This post was sponsored by Nasoya. I was given full creative control over the content, and all opinions are my own…as always.



Burpee Breakdown AMRAP Pyramid Workout

Burpee Breakdown AMRAP Pyramid WorkoutHappy Friday! For any of you lucky ducks heading out to the beach or a lake for the weekend, this is a great workout to bring along with you. No equipment required, but holy sh*t does it do the trick. I’m sure you already guessed that by the word “burpee” though. :)

As I mentioned before, I’m in the (slow) process of moving, so my belongings (and workout equipment…and schedule) are all over the place. I wanted to get in a sweat before the movers arrived yesterday, and put together this seemingly simple workout. It’s basically just burpees, then each individual part of a burpee (the jumping of the feet into plank, the push up, the vertical jump back into squat). Yeah, not so “simple” when you try doing it without stopping for 10 minutes…then 8…then 6…then 4…then 2. This one’s a killer—enjoy!

Burpee Breakdown AMRAP Pyramid Workout

This workout is made up of 5 AMRAPS, each two minutes shorter than the previous, descending in a pyramid structure. First round is 10 minutes, second is 8 mins, and so on, down to a final round of 2 mins. AMRAP stands for As Many Rounds/Reps As Possible, so you’ll be going through the following sequence of exercises as many times as you can in the given time period. Take a minute break in between each AMRAP (maybe just 30 seconds between the last two since they’re short).

This workout will take 30 minutes in total. If you’re a beginner or looking for a shorter workout, just eliminate the first round and start with an 8-min AMRAP.

Burpee Breakdown AMRAP Pyramid Workout

  • Burpees:Start standing, feet about shoulder-width apart. Squat down, bringing your hands to the ground by your feet and jump both feet back into a plank position. Quickly jump your feet back up by your hands and shift the weight into your feet, bring torso upright into a low squat position. From here, jump up, arms overhead. Land softly on your feet, sinking right back down into a squat and starting from the top. If you want more upper body workout of this workout, add in a push up each time you’re in plank position.
  • Frog Stamps:Start in a plank position, hands aligned under shoulders, core tight. Jump your feet up towards the outside of your hands, landing in a wide-stance crouching position, and then jump the feet quickly back to plank. Try to keep these quick! Up, back, up, back—no pause, keep the feet moving.
  • Push Ups: Do these from your knees if you need to modify! It’s better to keep proper form (i.e. not sagging your back as you lower) from your knees than have sloppy form on your toes.
  • Jump Squats:Feet about shoulder-width apart, squat down, sending your hips and butt back and down (not the knees forward!). Bring your hands in front of you as you sink down. From there, explosively jump straight up, swinging your arms back behind you as you do. Land softly and sink right back into a squat, hands swinging forward.

I didn’t write down how many rounds I got in during each AMRAP (no pen and paper…again, I’m moving, my life is a mess), but I did keep track of how many breaks I had to take. The goal of an AMRAP is, of course, to not take any breaks until the timer goes off, but c’mon, 10 minutes straight of burpees?? If you need a few seconds to breathe and walk it out, take a break, but try to keep it brief (under 15 seconds) and take as few as possible. I took two quick breathers during the 10-min and 8-min rounds, one during the 6-min, and pushed through the last two without a break (but slowed down a lot during the last minute of the 4-min round). Keep in mind these “breathers” are in addition to the 1-min breaks that are given between each AMRAP.

At the start of a round, tell yourself you’re going to go as long as possible without taking a breather. It’s better to slow your pace than stop altogether, so try that before breaking.

Burpee Breakdown AMRAP Pyramid Workout

WEARING | tank: Yogadude // leggings: Target

Speaking of what I’m wearing, I’m including a couple Yogadude tanks in that big Facebook giveaway I have planned for when the page hits 5k likes!

And for the record, I didn’t actually do this workout barefoot on concrete. Just demoing the moves for the tutorial. I wasn’t lying when I said my belongings are all over the place—I had no sneakers! :)

Have a kickass weekend!


The Spinning Instructor Certification from Mad Dogg Athletics (Overview/My Thoughts)

Review of the Mad Dogg Spinning Instructor Certification ProgramMan I feel like this post was years in the making! I talked about getting certified FOR-EH-VER (The Sandlot voice). Over Memorial Day weekend, I finally bit the bullet and went to a Mad Dogg Spinning® certification workshop, and then this past week I took the exam online to finish things up. I know, I know, my procrastination skills are impressive. Please hold your applause.

Before I get into all the details, I just want to remind you all of the difference between Spinning® and indoor cycling/”spin” so we’re all on the same page. I did a whole post about it HERE, but to summarize: Spinning® is based on outdoor cycling—anything you wouldn’t do on a road bike, you wouldn’t do on a stationary bike in a Spinning class. It’s what most people associate with traditional “spin”/spinning classes. Indoor cycling (also called “spin”) is this new wave of stationary bike workouts (think Soul Cycle) where you’re riding to the beat of the music (maybe not all the time), changing positions a lot, maybe even dancing a bit, doing push ups on the bike, and might have some hand weight upper-body portions as well. 

If you don’t feel like reading through this whole post, here’s your two-sentence summary: If you want to teach traditional Spinning classes, this is a great program led by passionate and uber-informed master instructors—I highly recommend it. If you want to teach indoor cycling (the new trend in stationary bike fitness that involves a lot of movement, choreography, and upper body portions of the workout), it’s not worth the cost—don’t do it.

Why I Chose Mad Dogg Athletics/To Get Certified at All

Even when I was sure I wanted to start instructing, I went back and forth a lot about whether getting certified was even necessary. I had a lot of fitness professionals and current instructors tell me it was a waste of money and I shouldn’t do it. That advice, coupled with the facts that I already had group fitness experience under my belt from teaching at Btone, had this blog as a major fitness resume booster, aaaand have friends who just happen to own a spin studio…well, let’s just say things were stacked in favor of me not taking a certification course.

Ultimately though, I don’t just want to be a kickass instructor, I want to be an accredited, knowledgeable instructor. As a fitness professional, I am always trying to absorb as much information in the field as possible, and I figured if nothing else, I would learn proper form on the bike, safety/set-up tips, and the “WHY” behind stationary bike workouts. I like leading an awesome workout and then being able to explain why it was good for your body, why I had you move your body in those certain ways, and how things can be modified to accommodate both beginner and advanced students.

So why Mad Dogg Athletics? And why Spinning® when I knew I would be teaching indoor cycling? Well, I couldn’t really find any other program (at least not in the New England area) that looked even half as legit. It was pretty much my only option. Plus, after creeping around online and looking at the bios of some of my favorite instructors in Boston, the majority of them seemed to have all gone through Mad Dogg (even those not teaching a traditional Spinning program).

The Logistics of the Spinning Instructor Certification Program

The certification program costs $325. You sign up for a training session near you by going to the Spinning website and entering your zip code to see what’s closest and works with your schedule. After signing up, you’ll receive a text manual in the mail. They suggest you read through Phase 1 of it before your workshop.

The hands-on training session lasts all day (nine hours), and during it you’ll be on and off the bikes, working with a Spinning Master Instructor to go over proper form on the bike as well as hit the big topics covered in the manual. You probably spent ¾ of the time doing the classroom-esque learning, and the remaining hour and a half to two hours on the bikes. The first time you’re spinning is for a “form ride” and the second time is an actual class lead by your instructor (that’s the last thing you do during the day).

They emphasize heart rate a lot during the training, and it’s suggested you bring a heart rate monitor with you to the workshop. I went out and bought one just for that reason, but I would say it wasn’t totally necessary—so don’t worry if you don’t have one.

After the workshop is completed, you have 1 year to take the exam (it’s online, but also located in the back of your manual in case you’d rather mail it in for grading). Although you have a year, definitely just take it right after the workshop. It’s 50 questions, some multiple-choice and some True/False. It’s super easy considering it’s open-book, and definitely not something to stress over. The real meat of getting certified is in the all-day workshop—not the test.

If you attend the workshop and pass the test (80% and above is passing), you’re officially a Spinning® instructor, and get your certificate mailed to you after the exam.

My Experience Getting Certified

First off, the Master Instructor who led our training workshop, Angie Scott, was AWESOME. Super passionate about the program, an experienced cyclist, incredibly knowledgeable—she rocked. I went in totally on Team Indoor Cycling, but as class went on, I actually found myself reaching for the Spinning Kool-Aid(!!). It was a total testament to Angie.

As someone who’s never worked out on a bike that isn’t stationary (aside from leisurely bike rides), I found it fascinating to listen to Angie talk about the world of cycling and triathlons. Even though it’s not something I personally have an interest in doing, I just love learning about any and all things related to fitness. In the Spinning program, you don’t do anything on the stationary bike that you wouldn’t do outdoors, and I loved learning all the rationale behind it. A good example is sprinting. In indoor cycling classes you frequently sprint with very little resistance on the wheel so you can move your feet as fast as possible. In Spinning, you always have resistance on the wheel because in a cycling race, the person who pedals the fastest at the highest gear wins a sprint. Never would have thought of it like that before the certification program.

We also worked a lot with heart rate monitors, which I’ve never done before, and I loved learning about the ways you can use them to train smarter and more efficiently. I will say though, when I wore mine while riding the bikes, I found myself staring at my wrist the entire workout instead of just enjoying the class. That’s exactly what happens to me when I go to Flywheel and stare at the Torq board the whole effing class. It takes something away from the experience for me, so while I can’t see myself using one personally, it was great getting more familiar with a tool that could help me more efficiently train others.

To sum up the day: My initial skepticism turned into enthusiasm within the first hour of the workshop, but I still left feeling conflicted. Spinning or indoor cycling? Is there a happy medium? Can I teach indoor cycling classes while still incorporating some of the stuff I learned from the Spinning program? I think the answer is yes. I also think that at the end of the day, my passion for stationary bike workouts was born when I took my first indoor cycling class—that’s where my heart is, and despite the positive experience with the Spinning program, that’s what I want to teach. 

Final Thoughts—Was It Worth $325?

For me personally, even though I loved the workshop, I have to say (with hesitation) “no.” But that’s because I ultimately don’t want to teach the Spinning® program. I like indoor cycling/”spin” classes—everything to the beat of the music, changing positions a lot, dancing around on the bike, adding in some upper body work—they’re so much fun! And I do think they are safe, as long as you keep the choreography within reason and emphasize proper form. That being said, if you’re an outdoor cyclist, triathlete, or just love traditional Spinning classes, then I would highly recommend Mad Dogg and this certification program. I love that it’s so hands-on, and if the other Master Instructors are anything like Angie, you’ll learn a ton.

Some things gained from the program that I’ll certainly use in my spin classes are the proper bike setup techniques; info about heart rate monitors and how to use them to better improve your training; and guidelines for proper form in each of the bike positions and execution of moves. Other than that though, I think what has prepared me most to teach is just the fact that over the last couple years, I’ve probably taken 500 classes with tons of different instructors at tons of different studios and gyms—everything from Soul Cycle to someone’s living room. I’ve learned what I like, what makes a great class, and picked up on instructing techniques from those rockstar teachers who make you leave class wanting to be them (you know the ones, right??).

So again, if you want to teach Spinning®, this program is great and a total must-do. If you want to teach indoor cycling/”spin”, however, it’s not really necessary (although some gyms might want you to have a certification so you look official on paper as well as on the bike). I recommend you take a ton of classes (especially at the studio you want to teach at!), practice your ass off, work on your cardiovascular stamina, put together an epic playlist, and be familiar with the basics of proper form on the bike. The certification doesn’t hurt, of course, but it’s not very applicable to this new trend in stationary bike workouts. 

Any instructors out there go through Mad Dogg? What are your thoughts?