Ulcerative Colitis and Probiotics


Just Thrive provided me with product for this review. There was no monetary compensation.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I do not share this very often, but I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis 12 years ago. Up until last spring, I had gone 4 years without having a flare up. When I had that flare up, was the first time I had to actually do more research and look into how to manage my gut health properly. Something that kept coming up was using a good probiotic.

On my quest to find the perfect probiotic, I was given the opportunity to try out and review a probiotic that is different from the others. I was so excited to be able to review Just Thrive Probiotic.

What makes Just Thrive different?

Just Thrive Probiotic and Antioxidant is a supplement that you take once daily. It introduces good bacteria back into your gut and helps to restore its natural balance. Most probiotics make the similar products, but they get digested when you eat them and don’t survive long enough to do any good. Just Thrive actually has the bacteria that can actually survive the harsh environment of your stomach to make it to where they’re needed in your gut. That means the probiotic can actually do the job that it is meant to do, which is heal your gut health and get you back on track.

How did I feel after using it for 30 Days?

My flare up from UC has been gone for a while, but I have on-and- off symptoms, mainly slight cramping that can be quite uncomfortable at times. After a week of using Just Thrive Probiotics, I stopped having that discomfort. The great thing is that after 30 days, I still have not had any cramping or other GI issues. Because my symptoms do come and go, I cannot say 100% that this was all due to taking Just Thrive, but I can tell you it did make a difference in how I am feeling. I’m so happy to have found a probiotic that I can trust and is finally helping me feel great.


Beachbody Health Bet 2016

Hey ladies!!

Myself and 3 other coaches will be running a challenge group starting September 5th. The group will be taking part in the Beachbody Health Bet. Beachbody will be splitting a pot that is now at 1.25 million dollars with the participants who:
Log their workouts at least 3x per week
Drink Shakeology 5x per week

The group will run September 5th-October 2nd and you will have a choice from a handful of Beachbody programs (PIYO, 21 Day Fix, Country Heat and more) plus 30 day supply of Shakeology.
The great part about our group is that each coach will be focusing on a specific segment. I am doing nutrition, my friend Mindy who is a fitness fanatic will be providing workout tips and my friend Allison is a self-care expert.

If you would like to get in on over a million dollars and get healthy at the same time, comment below of message me via my facebook page and I will help you enroll in our group 🙂


If we are not already lets connect:
Until next time,
Joanne Barnes-Jung
Independent Beachbody Coach

Our Family Vacation at the Royalton Punta Cana

Review of Royalton Punta Cana

Morning donut at the Cafe.

I had intended to write this post earlier but life got in the way! We took a family vacation in April to Royalton Punta Cana Resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. We have traveled with our toddler before but never out of the country for a full week. We were not sure what to expect and if she would be able to handle being so off of her routine. Two year olds are a lot of work and I was sure that being on vacation did not mean that was going to change.

We flew out in the morning and decided to upgrade our seats so that we would have more room. We have flown with Em many times and know that this is the way to go. For her and for our sanity, there is more room, snacks, food and drinks for the adults. The snacks and food come in handy because it is something to distract her.

Unfortunately in the middle of the flight she had a full melt down. I could only describe this as an almost panic attack. She was really upset that she could not get off the plane and was sobbing for a full 30 minutes until she passed out in my husbands arms. We were afraid that this was just a preview of our week.

We arrived at the airport and she was excited to be there. There was a band in the baggage area that she was content dancing with until we got our bags. We had hired a car service and that was also no problem. Our drivers were awesome and even shared some candy with Em. The ride to the airport is approximately 30 minutes.

The moment that we stepped out of the car at the Royalton Punta Cana, I was so impressed with how beautiful everything was. The view of the beach when we stepped into the lobby was incredible and we could not wait to get started. We had booked a luxury diamond club swim up room and were escorted to the diamond club lounge to check in. This process was smooth and painless, our room was not ready yet so our butler escorted us to the buffet for a quick-lunch. The buffet at Royalton Punta Cana is the best buffet I have had at any all-inclusive resort and I have been to a lot of them. We normally skip the buffet at all costs but we ate here several times. They also make the best cappuccino I have ever had in my life.

Review Royalton Punta Cana

Walking the grounds on day 1.

After lunch we were shown to our room and it was exactly what I was hoping for except for the fact that there was not an option for a suite. Since Em was in the room with us that meant at nap time in order for her to sleep, we had to sneak out on the patio and stay there till she woke up (2-2.5 hours). This was fine because we had a swim out room and Jon was able to swim to the bar while I lounged in the pool on our patio. The only time this was not good was at night. At night we would put her down, sneak on the patio with a few drinks but we could only go back in if we were planning on going to bed. Which meant some nights we were in bed at 9pm!

Normally when we travel we like to book a suite so that we are able to have separate sleeping areas and we do not disturb her sleeping. It also helps so that we have our own adult space. This was our only flaw in the room situation.The next obstacle was trying to figure out her vacation schedule. The first day we decided not to put her down to nap because she was having too much fun. BIG MISTAKE. By dinner time she was hysterical and we ended up forcing her to nap by letting her cry it out on the bed with us. This is when we decided the next day that she would have her regular nap like at home and we would go and swim out back. My biggest tip is keep your toddler on their routine!

Royalton Punta Cana Review

Nap time for toddler was adult swim time for us. Thankful for swim out rooms!

I am not going to give you a day by day re-cap. We would be here forever hahahaha. The food was hit or miss but the buffet had anything you could ask for. I loved the steak house and Mediterranean restaurants. Jon liked the buffet most of all because you could have them grill steak for you there and had many to choose from. They also had an unbelievable seafood bar. Lunch we would eat at the Italian buffet by the beach. They had yummy pizza and amazing chicken.

Our only complaint about our trip was the actual Diamond Service. They advertised it as being full luxury with your own butler to help you out with anything you need. We tipped him when we arrived and never saw him again. Every time we called him with the number he gave us, he said he was not available at the moment.

On the day of check out they told us to have our bags ready and they would be picked up. We waited 15 minutes no one came. We called and they said someone was on their way. Still no one came to pick them up, we called again and they said “We told you, someone is coming soon”. We told them that we were going to miss our car to the airport and had been waiting 30 minutes. Jon ended up carrying all the bags in the heat (2 suitcases, a travel crib and back pack) all the way across the resort.

The best part was when we got to the lobby our butler appeared and was asked us why we never called to tell them to pick them up!! We would go back and use Diamond service again but only because we liked having the swim up room for nap time. Also the Diamond Club staff was constantly trying to get you to sign up in a time share.

The ride back to the airport was fine and so was the flight. The funny thing is that every time we travel, she cries either on the way there or back but then is a perfect angel on other flight. If you have any questions about our trip to Royalton Punta Cana, leave a comment below. Have you ever done an all-inclusive trip with a toddler?

*We booked out trip online with hotels and it I would suggest that site for booking your hotel anywhere. We have gotten so many free nights by racking up stays on their site and will continue to use them. So easy and so many great deals. This post does contain an affiliate link.

One Pan Dinners Meal Prep Group

One Pan Dinners

Hey everyone!!

I am so excited to be running this new 5 day group idea that I had. Do you spilt up the household duties in your home?

In our home, I do the meal planning, my hubby does the actual cooking (he is amazing) and I do the dishes. I do not hate doing the dishes but I always love when there are less of them, especially pots and pans. We have started to become obsessed with one pan dinners and for a good reason. They are easy, quick and there is less mess!!

I have been running 5 Day Free Clean Eating Groups for a while now and love them. I have met so many fantastic ladies and made genuine friendships in them. But I love switching things up and this seems like a fun way to do it. The group will start on August 15th 2016 in a private Facebook Page.

  • 5 One Pan Dinner Ideas
  • Recipe Sharing
  • Meal Prep Tips
  • Shopping List
  • Health Tips
  • Motivation

Here is a quick One Pan Dinner (serves 2) that we love to do:


  • 2 Salmon Filets
  • 1 Lemon
  • Salt and Pepper (to taste)
  • 1 Bunch of Asparagus
  • Garlic Cloves (as many as you like!)
  • Olive Oil Spray


  1. Pre-Heat oven to 400.
  2. Get a sheet pan and spray with olive oil spray. Place Asparagus on the sheet pan and add as many garlic cloves as you plan on eating!
  3. Put into the oven and cook for 25 minutes.
  4. Take out of the oven. Move asparagus to each side to make space in the center of the pan. Place salmon in the center of the pan.
  5. Season salmon with salt and pepper and place 2 lemon slices on each filet.
  6. Put back in the oven for an addition 15-20 minutes depending on how you like your salmon cooked.
  7. Take out, plate and enjoy!

I love teaching other women how to eat clean and carry that over into their family life. I run clean eating groups as well as fitness and nutrition groups in order to do this. I believe that a healthy and happy Mommy will produce a happy and healthy family!

To be in the group message me on Facebook or email me at joannebjung@gmail.com

I can not wait to work with you!!

If we are not already lets connect:
Until next time,
Joanne Barnes-Jung
Independent Beachbody Coach

More Than Fit


“Your kids are kind of..no chill. Your whole family is…no chill,” so says my childless-by-choice friend as she sits on my couch, with my one-year-old, four-year-old, and Mini Aussie taking turns climbing on her.

Yep. No chill is a great way to describe my family and, really, my life. Part of that is me and my GO GO GO temperament, and part of that is the very true fact that my kids have endless bounds of energy.

Before having kids, I ran half-marathons. I started shortly after I got married – I had to get find myself, and my body, after some unhealthy habits developed during a few years at an unhappy job. After I had my son, I popped him right in the stroller, and we ran together. I was in phenomenal shape when I became pregnant with my daughter – I had just PR’d in the half-marathon and had even run a 7:30 mile. But popping that second baby right in the stroller? Yeah, I wanted to, but she didn’t. And my son was too young to handle those 10 mile runs on his little legs (oh, the whining…). Push a 35 pound pre-schooler and wear a newborn over 10 miles? Ain’t nobody got time for that.

So, I fell into some habits of feeling fit vs. athletic. We went for casual walks. I paid attention to my diet. We hiked when we could. I lost the baby weight, but my post-baby shape is different. I’m ready to move back across the spectrum and back to athletic. Why the change? I have two words for you.

Disney World.

Did I mention endless bounds of energy? Well, combine that with DISNEY, and you basically have internal combustion. My kid could have powered the whole park with the energy vibrating off his body as he ran from ride to ride, character to character, frozen lemonade to Dole Whip (oops). As I carried the wee one in her Tula and kept up with the boy in his light-up sneakers, I thought, “Yes, I want to do this in a few years, when they’re older and will understand it even more.”

My next thought? “I want to be healthy and strong enough to really enjoy it with them. I’ve got to stay more than fit.”

Yes, my fitness goals revolve around being fast and strong enough to keep pace with my kids at Disney World, or any place we travel. I don’t want to fall into the bad habit of, “Mommy’s too tired.” I want to chase, and run, and frolic, and play.

After our vacation, I hit the ground running. We stopped at my parents’ house to give and get hugs and use the pool – yes, twelve hours of travel, and the first thing we did was swim. First day back? Up and at ‘em, folks, because we are going for an adventure. The boy hopped on his bike, and the girl (finally!) happily climbed up into the stroller, and off we went for 5.5 miles of fun. And we’ve kept up that pace the past few days with walks and swims and bike rides. I know that I need more time to myself to really dig in and cross all the way back into being athletic, and not merely fit, but we are getting there – and the change in mindset powers it all.

And in the distance? I see fireworks and Mickey Mouse cheering for us.

About Roaring Mama Lion

Sofrito: The Perfect Seasoning for a Clean Eating Lifestyle

Clean eating is a concept that stresses eating healthy, wholesome and unprocessed foods. While the idea of clean eating may be easy to comprehend, things may become a little dicey when you are unsure of what to use to season your food. Unfortunately, many seasonings have added ingredients that are chemically processed.

I like to use my own seasoning, so I know exactly what I am eating. Sofrito is my favorite food base. It is a seasoning base that is used in Spanish cooking. The flavors are bold and powerful, without being spicy.

I make this recipe in bulk so I never run out! It is also a versatile recipe as it can be used in soups, sauces and with beans, meats, fish and vegetables.


Jillian Ibelli

Sofrito Recipe

Sofrito Recipe

Sofrito Recipe


4 peppers (green, red, yellow and orange are preferable, but red and green work as well)

2 bunches of cilantro (oregano can be substituted)

2 onions

3-4 heads of garlic


Prep: 45 minutes Special Equipment: Food Processor

1. Rough chop all ingredients.

2. Using a food processor combine all ingredients. Process to the consistency of a salsa.

3. Once processed, divide up into mason jars or glass jars. Store extra portions in freezer.

Note: I process the ingredients in small portions. Once each portion is processed, I add it to a large bowl, mixing occasionally.



About Jillian Ibelli

Jillian Ibelli is a stay-at- home mom, publicist and blogger. Her blog, My Family of Four dedicated to money saving tips for families. She lives in Westchester County, NY with her husband and two sons.

Twitter: @familyoffour85 Facebook:@myfamilyoffour Instagram:myfamilyoffourblog

21 Day Better You Bootcamp


I am about to launch an amazing new challenge group!! I have been brainstorming new ideas to help motivate my present and future clients. I had been looking for new ways to provide support, motivation and accountability. There will be new health tips specific to women’s physical and mental health, motivation, recipes and accountability just for you!!

This new group will be kicking off on June 20th, 2016!!

Are you looking for a change in your health and fitness routine? How many times have you started a program but not given it 100% of your self?

I have been there! I have started programs and really wanted to succeed but I did not know how to keep on track. I would workout like crazy then eat all the wrong foods afterwards. I was impatient when I would not see results instantly. Sound familiar? I had no idea that a lot of the time I was undoing all of the hard work that I had put in.

So, then I would get off track of the program, quit and figure that I just was meant to be out of shape and could never get the body I want. It is all genetics right??? hahahah WRONG.

I never really realized that no matter how many hours I put into exercise that nothing was going to out work a bad diet!

Eventually I discovered Beachbody and did the 21 Day Fix Program.  It was only 21 Days right? I did the program with some ladies (now my team members). I figured this was my best option, I was a new mom and did not have the time to hit the gym the way I used to. I was willing to commit and try anything to get my body back after baby.

Here are some of the things that I took away from being in a challenge group using 21 Day Fix, Shakeology and portion control:

  • Nutrition is more important than working out. You need to have both but if your nutrition is not on point, you will not lose the weight. You can spend hours on the treadmill and you will not lose unless you are eating properly.
  • You need to have support. Not matter how you decide to lose weight, you need the support of those around you. The great thing about challenge groups is that even if your family and friends do not support you, the group does. Anything you are experiencing or feeling, I am sure that some one else in the group will be sharing the same feelings or experience.
  • Having a plan and program to follow is one of the biggest keys to success. When the program is laid out for you, there is no guessing. You have a schedule that will tell you what workouts to do on what days. What you should be eating and when etc. Plus the 21 Day Fix comes with amazing containers that will help you to figure out portions. Believe me it works!
  • Drinking Shakeology daily. I have said this many times, Shakeology is one of my secret weapons. It is not a protein shake or an instant weight loss trick. I drank a million protein shakes before Shakeology and none of them did for me what it does. Because I had so many experiences with shakes in the past, I was a skeptic of the price. I gave it a shot as part of the program and I am so glad that I did. I drink mine in the morning and I am not hungry for 3-4 hours after. I stopped craving sweets and it took the pressure off of figuring out what to have for breakfast daily. Plus, it can be made in less than a minute. You can not get that with any meal! Another bonus: it has replaced any and all vitamins that I had taken in the past!
  • Having someone to check in on you and hold you accountable is priceless. I take my job as a coach to my challengers very seriously. It is amazing to have someone who will answer your questions and if I can not answer them I will try my best to find the answer for you. Previously to this I was writing my blog posts and wanting to help people with information but with my beachbody partnership, I actually get to help people and change lives every single day. My challengers are what motivates me everyday to keep going and to help more people!

The 21 Day Better You Bootcamp starts on June 20th and here are the requirements:

You make me your coach by going to my site and creating a free profile which makes me your COACH!

You contact me by messaging me using the message tab on my Facebook Page to be considered for a spot in the group.

You will be doing the 21 Day Fix Program or the 21 Day Fix Extreme. We will chat to decide which one is right for you.

You will be required to replace Shakeology for one of your meals each day for the very best results.  My goal is to teach you how to plan the other meals of the day so that you get the results you have always wanted.  At the end of the 21 days the choice is yours to continue with Shakeology. There will be no pressure in that 🙂

You must engage daily to the private Facebook group to share with us about your day, be accountable and participate in the group discussion at least once each day.

Plus… You get to workout in your own home but be connected to me 24/7 for support, fitness, recipes, nutrition and tips. Facebook is awesome for connecting via messages daily!

I am committed to getting you healthy and fit!! Are you ready to commit to yourself and your health?? You can do this!!!

If we are not already lets connect:
Until next time,
Joanne Barnes-Jung
Independent Beachbody Coach


5 Reasons you should join an MLM



We all have friends or family members that are a part of a MLM (multilevel marketing) and I am sure you have been approached at some point to join them. Why haven’t you jumped on board? I can not answer that for you but I can tell you why I did and maybe you can relate to my story.

I am a stay at home mom and I am not going to tell you that we were hurting for money, in debt or any of the other reasons some people started their MLM journey. I am a stay at home mom and we really did not need the extra income but I wanted to have something that I could do for me. I had been blogging for 2 years and loved it, my blog had started to bring in some modest income and I was putting it away for a vacation fund. Through blogging, I had signed up with some affiliates so that my blog could garner me some residual income. This was working for me and Beachbody was my best-selling affiliate product. I was also a Beachbody customer and had lost my baby weight with the 21 Day Fix and PIYO programs.

I realized that I had been actively selling Beachbody products on my site, writing reviews and articles about it, and had even encouraged some readers to become coaches in Beachbody. I finally decided to look into the opportunity myself. I am kicking myself now that I had not looked into it sooner. Why was I so reluctant to join?

I was reluctant based on all the negative things I had been exposed to out there. I was also afraid of becoming the type of Beachbody coach that would be in your face too much and lose friends over it. I realized that these reasons were silly. I needed to do what I wanted to do for me and not care what others thought. I joined, jumped into starting my business and have not looked back. I can tell you, I have not heard any negative feedback, I have not lost any friends (that I know of), and I actually made a whole new set of friends. That is one of the 5 reasons you should join an MLM. These are my top 5 reasons for joining an MLM today:

  1. Feeling of community: This is my favorite part. Being a stay at home mom, I often find myself looking for outside connections. Without the work place there is not a lot of ways for you to connect with like-minded individuals that have a passion for the same things that you do. When I joined Beachbody and Team Inspire, I found myself all of a sudden aligned with some amazing individuals that have been there to celebrate my successes and support me in my struggles. The relationships that I have made are in valuable to me and I know to the other women in my team feel the same way.
  2. Freedom to be your own boss: yes, I know you probably hear this one all the time. The reason you do is because it is true. You get to run your own business, you can log as many hours as you want in the day. If you want to go to a play date and do your work later on in the day, guess what??? you can!! If you are not already at home like I was, I will state the obvious…. Do not run out and quit your job right away. Start out part-time and work your way to that point. This may take a while due to maybe not having the time to put in to your business right away. With commitment and hard work it can and will happen for you if you really want it.
  3. Unlimited earning potential: unlike other jobs, you do not have a salary cap or a bonus structure that you can hit a ceiling on. The incredible thing is that you can put the work in and see if pay off in the long run and pay off big!! *I have seen people on my team make upwards of 4-5K in a week. So why not you?
  4. Training: there is an abundance of training available to you. I know with Beachbody and in Team Inspire we are always being offered trainings. Everything that you need to start your business, keep it going and to train others is out there for you. If you can not find it, the community I spoke of before is also there to help you figure it out!
  5. Personal growth: all MLM networks encourage personal development and I am so happy that Beachbody and Team Inspire have motivated me to start working on me. I have never been the person to read personal development books but there is a reason people say “Leaders are Readers”. The best leaders never stop working on themselves and these companies encourage and give you the resources to do just that.

What had inspired me to write this post right now? This month I have opened up applications for coaching with Team Inspire. If you are a fit mommy with an established brand/blog, or a fitness enthusiast who is hoping to take a leap into the fitness industry, but you’re not sure how to start, I want to help you!  This time around I will only be accepting 20 new coaches into our team. When you join Team INSPIRE this month, you will be trained with our new leadership team and will receive thousands of dollars worth of training in branding, marketing, relationship-building, professional development, and more.

If you are considering becoming a coach on a team that implements non-spammy marketing strategies, the time is now! I would love to partner with you and help you take your fitness brand/blog to the next level. The same applies if you have a passion for fitness and just do not know how to start. I will only be accepting applications this month. For more information message me using the message tab on my Facebook page or email me joannebjung@gmail.com to set up a phone interview this week!

*Beachbody does not guarantee any level of success or income from the Team Beachbody coaching opportunity. Each coach’s income depends on his/her own efforts, skill and diligence.

If we are not already lets connect:
Until next time,
Joanne Barnes-Jung
Independent Beachbody Coach



The Master’s Hammer and Chisel Review

The Master’s Hammer and Chisel review, finally! I have finally finished the program, I am not used to doing a program that is 8 weeks long. Even though it was 8 weeks, I loved it!

The workouts were challenging, and I really got into using weights more than I ever have been. The real shocker for me was that…. I actually preferred that Hammer workouts. Being a 21 Day Fix junkie, I assumed that I would prefer Autumn’s chisel workouts but I loved Sagi and his strength workouts more. The hammer workouts were something that I looked forward to and I even ended up increasing my free weights twice!

The diet was a challenge because we had some vacation time planned during the 8 weeks. Like I said earlier, 8 weeks was a long time for me to be strict with food. We travel a fair amount during the year and I normally enjoy food on my vacations and return to normal when I get back. So, if we are being honest here, I failed at the eating portion of the program. The meal guide was similar to the 21 Day Fix diet and included the portion control containers as well. Not sticking to the diet really effected my results for sure.

This workout program is not for beginners, There is equipment that is needed and most people do not have a chin up bar just hanging around the house. It is also not a major weight loss program, I found at times I was gaining weight and this would be due to intense amount of weight lifting that is involved in the program. I had never felt stronger by the end of the 8 weeks and I am really impressed with the fact that I had upped my weights twice. If you are a beginner, I would suggest starting off with the 21 Day Fix and then moving up to this program after a couple of rounds.

Hammer and Chisel Review

The Master's Hammer and Chisel Review

The Master's Hammer and Chisel Review

Starting Weight: 142.8 pounds                                       End Weight: 138.9
Right Arm: 10.5 inches                                                   Right Arm: 10 inches
Left Arm: 10 inches                                                         Left Arm: 10 inches
Waist: 29 inches                                                              Waist: 28 inches
Hips: 40 inches                                                               Hips: 38.5 inches
Right Thigh: 21.5 inches                                                 Right Thigh: 21 inches
Left Thigh: 21.5 inches                                                   Left Thigh: 21 inches

Will I do the program again?? Heck ya! I am currently doing a round of 21 Day Fix Extreme before I leave on holidays. I plan on giving Hammer and Chisel another shot when I get back. Jon will be re-joining me in this next round. He had to quit in the middle of doing Hammer and Chisel because he had injured his neck, not doing the program but go-carting at a work conference! I am psyched that he will be jumping back in with me, I love working out with a partner.

If you are interested in doing it with us or learning about any of the other programs that we offer, reach out to me via my Facebook page.

If we are not already lets connect:
Until next time,
Joanne Barnes-Jung
Independent Beachbody Coach

Lunch Ideas for Moms


As a mom it can be so busy at lunch time that it is easy to just eat leftovers from our children or even worse, skip over lunch altogether. Both of these are easily avoidable if we have a plan! I know that on days that I plan ahead and eat a healthy lunch, I am a better mom to my kids and I have way better energy. I am also more motivated to make healthier choices the rest of the day as I don’t crash in the afternoon. I am hoping that I can provide you with a few suggestions for ways that you can plan ahead and nourish your body midday.

Soup is a great way to eat a filling, yet low-calorie lunch and can be quite quick if you already have it made and portioned in the fridge or freezer. I like to make a big batch once or twice a month and pre-portion it so it is ready to just heat and enjoy. You don’t even need a recipe…just throw in lots of veggies, some vegetable broth or No Salt Added canned tomatoes, beans, leftover chicken and/or diced tofu and let it simmer. You can find a recipe for a soup I made last week in my most recent blog post. Some soups you can even enjoy cold on a hot summer day!

Looking for something less hearty, but loaded with nutrients? Then salads are your answer! Okay, I know this one seems boring and obvious but check out these combination ideas for a new twist on salad.

1) Mixed greens salad with strawberries, pineapple, almonds, and feta cheese with homemade dressing of olive oil and balsamic vinegar mix.

2) Greek salad with romaine lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, black olives, peppers, diced feta, and a homemade dressing of olive oil, Greek seasoning, and black olive tapenade.

3) Spinach salad with mushrooms, hard-boiled egg, baby tomatoes, and cheddar cheese with homemade honey mustard dressing.

4) Kale salad with avocado, cucumber, tomato, and pine nuts with Renee’s low fat Caesar salad dressing.

5) Mediterranean salad with spinach, roasted red peppers, sun dried tomatoes, roasted artichokes, green olives, and roasted garlic pods. Use the oils that the vegetables have been marinated in for dressing.

6) Mixed greens with snap peas, baby tomatoes, broccoli pieces, and diced chicken with poppy seed dressing.

7) Cut up veggies and cottage cheese for a dip. Use veggies that can easily scoop such as cucumbers slices, large chunks of peppers, celery, and sliced mushrooms.

8) Spinach with roasted beets, mandarin oranges, and goat cheese with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. (This one is great for the day after you served roasted beets at supper time.)

These can be eaten on their own or paired with a whole grain choice such as whole grain crackers, toast, or wrap.

Preparation is key for success with salads. Try getting the ingredients ready at some point in the week so that lack of time doesn’t prevent you from these healthy options. For example, cut vegetables, hard boil eggs, shred cheese, etc. Also, try to make extra of any lean protein from supper that you can add-on easily. Here are a few suggestions for prepping ahead of time:

1. Saturday or Sunday afternoon – preparing all vegetables for the week and placing in a Tupperware.

2. When you are preparing supper each night bring out vegetables that you may want cut up for the next day and do them then when you are already in the kitchen and have knives and cutting boards out etc.

3. If you have school children in your home that you prepare lunches for at night, then you could also make yours for the next day at that time…even if you will be home for lunch.

If you prefer a heartier lunch, here are a few quick, easy, and healthy choices you could try.

1. Whole grain wrap with natural peanut butter or almond butter, a sprinkle of hemp hearts, and sliced apple or banana.

2. Homemade banana muffin with almonds and sliced apples.

3. Steel cut oats with Greek yogurt and berries. This seems like more of a breakfast, but can certainly be a lunch as well.

4. 3-4 scrambled egg whites served with avocado, tomato, and whole grain crackers or wrap.

Add some cut up veggies on the side to any of these or pack more vegetables into your snacks and supper if they are missing from lunch.

When deciding on portions, everyone is a bit different. Ideally we leave a meal feeling satisfied, but planning to eat again in 2-3 hours. If you find that you eat lunch at noon and you are looking for a snack around 2:30 that is a good thing! Hunger sometimes gets a bad reputation but it is actually a sign of a good metabolism. Again, the key here is planning. Have an apple and some almonds or a mix of Greek yogurt and berries ready to go for when that mid-afternoon hunger strikes!

I hope this provides you with some inspiration for making lunch fun and enjoyable without cutting too much into your time budget! Thanks for reading!!!

Noelle Martin is a mom and a Registered Dietitian. She has four-year old twin boys and a one year old son. Prior to becoming a mom, she had a Private Practice where she counselled people of all ages.  Her specialty? Making healthy food fun and focussing on a positive relationship with food and our bodies. Now that she is a mom, she combines her expertise as an RD, with real life experience to offer you information, advice, recipes, and practical solutions that she also uses. Over the past five years, she has dealt with infertility, IVF, a twin pregnancy, breastfeeding twins, a singleton pregnancy (while still breastfeeding twins), breastfeeding one baby, infant allergies and intolerance, weight gain and weight loss, and picky eaters. You can find her on instagram (@mealsformeandmyminis) or her blog: mealsformeandmyminis.wordpress.com.

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