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My Favorite Meal Plans & Snack Ideas

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My Favorite Meal Plans & Snack Ideas

Let’s start with the one above. Maybe it’s the colors. Maybe it’s the artistic designs. But, I love this visual from Parents Magazine for alternative sandwich ideas. I can’t bear to toss it, although I’ve posted it before. I have piles of Nutrition articles and colorful handouts, but this cute little guy always catches my eye. Great sandwich ideas too! Give one a try this week.


meal plan 2

This was actually one of my meal plans that I wrote up. I don’t remember what computer system I was using, but you were able to input everything you ate in a day and it would print this out for you. This was basically what I ate while I was trying to drop my body fat down. (I eat 2 Whole eggs now, though, in the morning.) 

Here is Another One: (I use Steel Cut Oats, but couldn’t find it in this computer system). 

meal plan 1


Here’s another ‘cute’ little thing I’ve saved over the years. Again, the artistic designs and colors grab me, but it won’t let me throw it out. Every few years I find it and it makes me laugh. I have no idea where I got this from. It must be over 7 years old.

Meal Plan 3


I love this visual. Tired of eating “lame-snacks”? Have a Mini-Meal instead. Same calories but you feel like you’re eating something more substantial. 


meal plan 4


Last one. High Fiber means a lot of things to different people. I have SO many people tell me they eat a lot of fiber and when they give me their daily recall, they’ve eaten 4 baby carrots and some instant oatmeal. No. No. No. Here is a great visual of 3 different Fiber intakes, and how to make yours better. 

meal plan 6

Mmmm. Much better, eh? Big difference. Try to increase your fiber intake this week and let’s see how you do.

Okay, so I hope my little walk down Nutrition-Memory-Lane from my piles of papers helped you again. There’s some great tips here to make some positive changes today. What do you think?

I love hearing from you!

CHRISTINE ARDIGO – Author of Cheating to Survive & Every Five Years

The greatest compliment you can give me is when you share this with others.
I sincerely appreciate it:

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Happy & Healthy School Lunches

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Nutritious, Delicious and Kid Friendly School Lunches

I hope everyone enjoyed their summer, and the school year is going well, so far. This post is dedicated to healthy school lunches and snacks to start this year off right. You have all weekend to plan, shop, and cook!

I actually love when there’s nothing on the school menu for my daughter to eat. Then I can pack her lunch and know that it will be healthier than:

  1. Cheese and Pepperoni Stromboli
  2. Turkey and Mashed Potatoes topped with Nacho Cheese
  3. Meatball Dunkers with Sauce

It also gives me the opportunity to be creative and have a little fun. With childhood obesity increasing, and the money in our wallets decreasing, it’s a great way to provide healthy, less expensive foods. 2/3 of their meal should be fruits, veggies, and whole grains. The other 1/3: lean proteins. Cut foods up into tiny pieces so they won’t waste time doing it themselves. Foods they can pop in their mouths are fun.


You can basically put anything on a skewer and how much fun is it to eat! Try these combos:


  • French Toast triangles, Peach slices
  • Waffle pieces, Strawberries, Blueberries


  • Grilled Chicken pieces, Broccoli and Carrots
  • Shrimp, Snow Peapods, Yellow Pepper strips
  • Turkey slices, Apple wedges

319383_513793095302963_1937870441_n Live Well with Lynn


  • Roll up Peanut Butter and Bananas in a Whole Wheat wrap
  • Roll up Turkey slices, Spinach and part-skim milk Mozzarella Cheese
  • Roll up American Cheese and Tomatoes

1620478_10201482252074334_980162669_n                 St. Patrick’s Day Lunch


  • Swap plain old white bread and rolls for Whole Grain English Muffins, Tortillas, Pitas, mini Bagels, and Triscuits
  • Swap mayo for plain Greek Yogurt
  • Swap sugary Jelly for Bananas and Berries in Peanut Butter Sandwiches
  • Swap homemade trail mix for chips Recipes:



All of these pictures were from my friend Jeannine Z and her crafty creations. Make lunch fun for your kids and they’ll be excited to eat. You may not have time to do these lunch creations every day, but once or twice a week or even on special occasions or holidays is entirely doable. If you still don’t have time, throw in a silly note, some stickers, a tiny toy or plastic flower, a fancy napkin or use cookie cutters to cut the fruit, veggies and sandwiches into fun shapes once in a while.

jeannine1Valentine’s Day Lunch

P.S. Because I love Kabobs so much, I will add a few more for snack time and dinner:

  1. Meatballs, Raviolis and Zucchini Kabob
  2. Sweet & Sour Chicken, pineapple, and Red Pepper Strips on a kabob
  3. Angel Food cake, Strawberries and Blueberries on a kabob
  4. Bananas dipped in yogurt and then dipped in Low Fat Granola or crushed Chocolate pieces on a kabob
  5. Apple, Brown Rice-Cakes smeared with Peanut Butter kabobs

P.S. My all time, FAVORITE, school lunches. You gotta check these out!

P.S.S For those with a lot more time on their hands then me: Gotta love this one:

What are some of your favorite lunches to make for your kids? Let me Know!
I love hearing from you!

CHRISTINE ARDIGO – Author of Cheating to Survive & Every Five Years

The greatest compliment you can give me is when you share this with others.
I sincerely appreciate it:

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Beware of Fake Nutrition Claims on Food Labels

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fake foods

Fake Nutrition Claims on Food Labels

I’m not a salesman, but if I wanted you to buy my food product, I would say whatever I wanted to GET you to buy it. Especially if there was just a news story covering some exciting new breakthrough. Everywhere you go, you see low-fat, low-sugar, no trans-fats, no cholesterol, all natural, etc. But many of these foods never had these things in them to begin with, and many take one item out to put another one in.

All Natural

What does that even mean? A lot of things are ‘naturally’ occurring but would you eat them? How ’bout some Arsenic pie? Yum! But hey! It’s all natural. Natural just means it was not chemically made, but it still can be a product that’s high in calories, or low in nutrients. Ignore this claim.


Many of us are watching our cholesterol, but did you know that many of the products with this claim, never HAD cholesterol? Cholesterol only comes from animals, (meats, eggs, seafood, dairy) so something like potato chips (that come from the ground) never had cholesterol!  What they fail to mention is that the product is extremely high in fat and salt. But hey, don’t worry: there’s no cholesterol in here! If it comes from an animal, it’ll have it. If it came from the ground, it never did.


Low-Fat – Low-Sugar 

Unfortunately, for many processed, packaged foods, they need to make the end product taste good. So, they either need to add sugar, or fat. (or salt). Guess what? When they take one out, they add the other. They won’t tell you that, but trust me, when the fat comes out they add a ton of sugar and vice versa. (I’m still talking about processed foods. When they remove fat from things like milk and yogurt, they just remove the fat). Or worse, they add weird additives, chemicals and food-alternatives to make up for the missing consistency. Stick with REAL food and just eat less of it.


Again, depending on the food, this may mean nothing. Sometimes it’s just good ol’ less salt being added. Sometimes the item never had salt. Sometimes, there is “less” salt, but it can still be very high in fat and calories, like chips. No-Salt-Added or Unsalted → just mean no salt is added during processing, but not necessarily sodium-free. Reduced Sodium → just means at least 25% less sodium than in the original product, but the original product could be extremely high in salt! Here’s a better guide. Shoot for less than 2,400mg of sodium a day.

  • Salt/Sodium-Free → Less than 5 mg of sodium per serving
  • Very Low Sodium → 35 mg of sodium or less per serving
  • Low Sodium → 140 mg of sodium or less per serving


Organic just let’s you know how the food was grown and processed. It can still be high in sodium, fat and sugar. Read the Label.


Multiple Grains

Another claim that means nothing. Multiple what-kind-of-grains? 7 grain bread may sound healthy, but it can be several lame grains that are refined and mixed together. Also if it says “made with whole grains” it might have 1% whole grains and the other 99% can be refined. It must say 100% whole grain, or 100% whole wheat. Look for the percentage and the word “whole”.

Good Source of Something

This is a big joke. Ice cream and cheese  are a good source of calcium, but should you eat tons of it? No. Juices may be a good source of Vitamin C, but it can still be extremely high in sugar AND they might have added the Vitamin C to begin with! They could add calcium to things like waffles, and if you are lactose intolerant, that may be a way for you to get your calcium, but the food itself can be crap. Look at your source. Is that really where you want to get your nutrients from?

Trans Fats

Although companies are removing the Trans fats, and many food labels may claim there are no Trans Fats in the product, there may still be some. A product can have up to .5gm of Trans Fats per serving and be allowed to claim that it contains ZERO! If the words “partially-hydrogenated” is on the food label, you can be sure it contains some Trans-Fats. Also, if they’re taking out the Trans-Fats, they’re just adding in another Saturated fat in it’s place.

If Something Claims Something, it has to have this: (but the product can still be bad for you, as above)

  • Low fat – 3 grams fat or less per serving
  • Fat-free – Less than 1/2 gram fat per serving
  • Low sodium – Less than 140 milligrams sodium per serving
  • Low calorie – Less than 40 calories per serving
  • Calorie free – Less than 5 calories per serving
  • Low cholesterol – Less than 20 milligrams cholesterol and 2 grams saturated fat

Other Tidbits

  1. Read serving sizes. Even those little snack bags MAY contain more than 1 serving!
  2. Good Source of fiber: it better have at least 3gms per serving (5gms is better)
  3. The longer the list of ingredients, the more processed it is. Find ones that have 5 ingredients or less. Or don’t buy it.
  4. Reduced fat products will not help you lose weight, especially if fat is replaced with sugar, and the product still contains a lot of calories.

Still Confused? (I don’t blame you)

For a more detailed explanation of How to Read a Food Label, click HERE and HERE

P.S. It’s a lot easier eating something without a food label on it!  So what do you think?

I love hearing from you!

CHRISTINE ARDIGO – Author of Cheating to Survive & Every Five Years

The greatest compliment you can give me is when you share this with others.
I sincerely appreciate it:

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