Monday, December 1, 2008

Weekly Tip- Fish, Pregnancy & DHA

Many pregnant and nursing women become fearful of fish & shellfish because some types contain high levels of mercury. Mercury is a metal that can harm the brain of your unborn baby - even before it is conceived. Fish however is a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. DHA is a fatty acid important to your baby's developing brain. Fish is one of the best sources of DHA. So don't cut fish out all together. Eat low mercury fish 2-3 times per week up to 12 oz total for the week. You may also want to consider taking an omega-3 fatty acid supplement that has been third party tested not to contain mercury (Nordic Naturals is a trusted brand). So how can you reap the benefits of eating fish without the dangers of mercury? Follow these tips.

Don't Eat: - Swordfish - Tilefish - King mackerel - Shark - Raw or uncooked fish or shellfish (e.g. clams, oysters, scallops). - Refrigerated uncooked smoked fish (labeled Nova-style, lox, kippered or jerky)

Eat Up to 1 Serving (6 ounces) per Week: - Tuna Steaks - Canned albacore or chunk white tuna - Halibut - Snapper

Eat Up to 2 Servings (12 ounces) Per Week: - Shrimp, crab, clams, oysters, scallops - Canned Light Tuna - Salmon - Mahi Mahi - Pollock - Catfish - Cod

Check before Eating Fish caught in Local Waters- State health departments have guidelines on fish from local waters. Or get local fish advisories at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Web Site. - If you're unsure about the safety of a fish from local waters, only eat 6 ounces per week and don't eat any other fish that week. Eat a variety of small, young non-fatty fish.

Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration; Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition

Fitness Tip: Chart your fitness progress as a family and set goals. Post a chart in a common area, and give each other stickers for reaching goals.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Weekly Tip

Drink More Water!
When pregnant and breast feeding you need 60+ ounces of liquid a day. You will hear this so much that water will begin to not sound good anymore. Try making yourself a spritzer when you have had enough of the plain tap version. Add a splash of juice to sparkling water for a refreshing, hydrating change.

Always carry water with you when you are on-the-go so you can sip throughout the day (using an aluminum or stainless steel reusable water bottle is best for your health and that of the environment – brands such as SIGG or Klean Kanteen are great options).

Fitness Tip: Train for a "child friendly race/walk" with your child. Set periodic, attainable, goals (distance, time, exploring new terrain like a hilly park) to keep it interesting and challenging.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

10,000 Strides Challenge

As moms, we know how busy the holiday season can get. It is so easy to veer off track of your fitness program and begin making excuses. This year at Stroller Strides, we have created a fun team challenge to help you stay active through the crazy holiday season.

Introducing the 10,000 Strides Challenge!
To walk 10,000 steps per day for 6 weeks over the Thanksgiving through New Year’s holiday.
COST: $5 (which covers the cost of your pedometer)
PRIZE: Knowing that you got through the holiday season being healthier and more active! The winning team will also win Team Stroller Strides jerseys.

Wearing a pedometer, you will track how many steps you take each day. This will be a team competition- teams of 3 will be organized and each team will select a team captain and team name. The team captain will be responsible for keeping track of each team member’s results and emailing the total steps walked by the team each week to Jackie.

Think 10,000 steps sounds like a lot? I bet you would be surprised how many steps you walk a day just being a mom. You will wear the pedometer from the time you get up in the morning, until you go to bed at night- including Stroller Strides class! If you take part in other physical activity where you can not wear your pedometer, you can visit the website to calculate your steps.

The Challenge will begin on Monday, November 24th and end on Sunday, January 4th.

Getting started:
-If you would like to sign up for the 10,000 Strides Challenge, complete a registration form and return to Jackie no later than Friday, November 14th.
-Select your team- if you need help finding a team, just let us know!
-Get to know your team mates and select a team captain.
-Create a fun team name.
-Email Team Name and Team Members to Jackie at by Friday, November 21st.
-Talk with your team mates and set some goals (ex. Everyone walks at least 10,000 steps each day), discuss your other fitness goals and be prepared to encourage each other along the way!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Weekly Tip- Eat a Rainbow of Foods

A general rule when it comes to food is the brighter the better because the color pigments of foods are where all the vitamins and phytonutrients are found. Potatoes and jicama are some of the few natural white foods. Most often, if a food is white, it has been processed in some way, i.e. white bread & sugar. White is not a color of the rainbow, so eating a rainbow of foods will help you increase fruits and vegetables in your diet and reduce the processed foods in you diet. What foods make up the rainbow?

Red: tomatoes, strawberries, raspberries, beets, red peppers, radishes, pomegranate
Orange: oranges, persimmons, yams, butternut squash, carrots, apricots
Yellow: onions, yellow peppers, Yukon potatoes, spaghetti squash, sweet potatoes, bananas
Green: kale, broccoli, spinach, asparagus, lettuce, green peppers, herbs, peas, green beans, kiwi
Blue: blueberries, blackberries, blue potatoes, acai berry
Purple: eggplant, grapes, figs, plums

Challenge your kids to find the rainbow on their plate!

Fitness Tip: Take the family dog out for a walk together, or if your child is old enough, give him this daily task (or more than once a day - even better for both child and dog!). If you don’t have a dog, help your child arrange to walk a neighbor's dog

Sneaky Tip: Think your little one won't eat Kale? I mix a handful of fresh kale in with a strawberry banana smoothie- put it in a colored sippy cup with straw and they will never know! You can't even taste it. Do this with your own smoothie's to up your veggie intake. Here's my recipe: 1 c. milk, 1/2 c. frozen strawberries, 1/2 frozen banana, 1 c. fresh kale, 1 scoop vanilla protein powder, 2 T flax meal. Blend and enjoy.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Weekly Tip

Healthy snacking is a great way to maintain energy levels throughout the day and decrease the chance of “binge eating” at the next meal (snacking is “good” not “bad” activity – as long as it is done in a healthy manner). Keep a variety of bite-sized munchies available at all times for quick on-the-go snacks for the whole family. One thing to keep in mind is a combination of protein and a small amount of carbohydrate help balance hunger and keeps blood sugar steady. Here are some snack ideas which meet this criterion:

· Hard boiled eggs & whole wheat toast
· Pear and string cheese
· Smoothies (choose small size)
· Mixed nuts and dried fruit
· Chips & salsa
· Soup and crackers
· Carrots and hummus
· Toast with almond butter
· Instant oatmeal with added flaxseed, raisins, walnuts
· Apple and peanut butter
· Whole wheat crackers and cheese
· Non-fat yogurt with granola
· Low-fat chocolate milk and graham crackers with peanut butter
· LUNA or LUNA Sunrise bars for mom
· Clif Kid ZBaRs or Twisted Fruit for the kids

As moms know all too well, kids love to interact with their food! So, give them some dipping options like cherry tomatoes or carrot sticks in hummus, celery sticks in peanut butter. They’ll have fun and eat at healthy snack at the same time!

Fitness Tip: Go for a family walk/stroll after dinner.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Mom's With a Mission

What is “Moms with a Mission”?
Women, especially moms, are invaluable change agents. LUNA Moms Club, powered by Stroller Strides, harnesses this power through its “Moms with a Mission” mantra. Our goal is to provide a platform for you to help better the community where you live and play through organizing and inspiring your LUNA Moms Club members to share information and to participate in activities focused on giving back to children, families and the environment. Not only will you be making a huge impact in your community but through your actions you will be teaching and inspiring the next generation to do so as well.
Quarter 4 Mission: Family Nutrition and Fitness
Without immediate intervention, this generation of children stands to be the first in history to have a shorter life span than that of its parents. Mothers are the primary decision makers when it comes to providing healthy foods, snacks and encouraging adequate exercise for their families. LUNA and Stroller Strides are passionate about educating our moms (and dads!) to make informed choices and model the behaviors that will help their children develop life-long habits. This Mom’s with a Mission initiative is about empowering mom with resources and knowledge about nutrition and healthy eating, while bringing awareness to the issue of inactivity and obesity in our youth. We believe these changes begin at home with mom. Through the choices parents make, they can inspire a generation towards health and fitness.

Did you know?
-That this is the first time in history when a generation is expected to live shorter lives than their parents
- One of every three kids is at risk of becoming overweight
- 92% of elementary schools in America do not offer physical education
- Eating the 12 most contaminated (non organic) fruits and vegetables each day, on average, exposes you to 20 pesticides each day
- Organic frozen vegetables are just as good for you as fresh
- Women who choose organic meat and dairy have more nutrients in their breast milk

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Replenish the Well

Today I was reading through an email I got from one of our partners Luna Bar about postpartum depression. There were some great suggestions for taking care of yourself during the postpartum period. I thought the tips could easily relate to the everyday life of a mom, not just those who are recently postpartum, so I wanted to share with you all.

Suggestions for taking care of yourself during the postpartum period

· Even if you are unable to sleep, try to rest when the baby sleeps. Your body has worked hard to create the baby you delivered, and your body needs to recover.
· Eat healthfully. Avoid ‘junk food’ and try to eat recommended servings of fruits, vegetables and grains daily. Avoid caffeine, alcohol and sugary drinks, opting for water instead.
· Try to exercise regularly. Physical activity releases endorphins in the brain, resulting in a ‘natural high’.
· Ask for and accept help. Realize that there are no perfect mothers, and that everyone needs help from time to time. Also remember that others are unable to read your mind, but are often willing to help in any way possible. Concrete suggestions (“please wash and put away the baby’s laundry”) will ensure that you are getting the help you want the most.
· Avoid stress when possible. For example, if you know the news broadcast on the radio will upset you, put in some favorite music or change the station. Take time for your relationship. Try doing things you enjoyed doing ‘pre-baby’ together. Make regular ‘dates’ with yourself. Schedule time for you to go to the park, get your nails done, take a walk, or whatever it is that soothes you. As a mother you give of yourself seemingly constantly. You need time to ‘replenish the well’ so that you can feel healthy and more relaxed

Friday, September 5, 2008

Stroller Strides on You Tube

Check out this Stroller Strides video on You Tube

This one features Farel, our fabulous Stroller Strides National Fitness Director who some of you met last April when she came to our Chicago class. There are a couple other videos too- enjoy!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Busy weekend!

We had a very busy weekend at Stroller Strides. It all began on Friday with a Closing Ceremony Celebration. All month long we have had an Olympic Theme at Stroller Strides classes and we had the "Closing Ceremonies" at My Gym. The ever creative My Gym instructors put together an entire program of Olympic themed activities for the little ones- including a balance beam, floor exercise and a medal ceremony at the end (it was the cutest ever!). Not to be forgotten, our Olympian moms got to show off their stuff with a push-up contest and plank-off (holding the plank position as long as possible). A fun time was had by all and I guarantee that everyone slept well that night!

On Sunday, several of us participated in the WTTW Fun and Run, a fundraising run for our local PBS station. There was a 5k run and a 3k family walk. All of the favorite PBS characters were in attendance- Elmo, Cookie Monster, Curious George, Clifford... the list goes on. A few of the dad's and grandma's came out and gave the moms a break from the strollers for the run- thanks guys! Anyone else feel weird without the stroller? I just love activities that get the entire family involved in fitness together. After the race there were photo ops for the kids and giant bouncy slides and obstacle coarses- although I think they had the most fun chasing eachother around before the race.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Here we go!

Ok, so I've decided to give this whole blogging thing a shot. I am now officially a blogger! I created this blog to help spread the word about Stroller Strides, a fitness programs for moms that has absolutely changed my life. I am always asked in class how I got started, so here's my story:

I had my daughter M in September 2006. I returned to work after 8 weeks maternity leave to find that my entire mindset had changed. I just couldn't bear leaving her at home with someone else, while I went to work and counted the hours down until I got home. So I began looking in to other options. I had seen the Stroller Strides on the Today show years ago, before I'd had children, and it seemed like such a great program! Mom's could get a great workout, meet other moms and do it all with their baby. I looked up
Stroller Strides online to see if there were any classes in the area. When I found out that there was no location in the City yet, something clicked. One thing led to another, and I decided to take a leap of faith and start Stroller Strides Chicago.

I became a Certified Group Fitness Instructor through the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America and Stroller Strides Certified in pre and post natal fitness. We started offering classes in July of last year, and have been going strong ever since.

So what is it I LOVE about Stroller Strides? Everything! Not only is Stroller Strides an excellent workout, but it's fun. We keep things fresh and change things up as much as possible so there is no getting bored with your workout. It's not like you dread going to Stroller Strides like you may dread going to the gym to squeeze in that workout. You get to stay with your little one, get to see your friends in class and get a great workout- what more could you ask for? More? Ok, well not only do we have 7 classes a week to choose from, but we have playgroups 2 times a week, Mom's Night's Out at least once a month, and special afternoon playtimes. Stroller Strides is as much a social and support network of moms as it is an exercise class.

Want to check out our current schedule? Visit
Stroller Strides Chicago for more information. Your first class is always FREE! You can sign up for a FREE preview online.