Posts for the ‘Inspiration’ Category

Why to Connect with a Personal Trainer

By Laura Del Guerra, RD, CDE, Take Control Health Coach

A few years ago, I found myself struggling to follow through on my intentions to eat right and exercise regularly. I was promising myself “You’ll start next week.” Then next week would come and I would continue down the same road. I weighed more than I wanted to, was out of shape, and had signed up for a week long kayaking school that I was truly unprepared for.

Realizing changing on my own would not be possible, I called the gym where I had an unused membership, and inquired about hiring a personal trainer. I will be the first to admit, this was FAR outside my comfort zone. First, I was intimidated by the idea of going to a gym, and second, I was afraid to somewhat publicly reveal my physical vulnerabilities. However, I faced my fears and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

I started working with a personal trainer twice a week, and over the course of the year, the change was fairly dramatic. The first thing I noticed is how much better I moved through space. I was more flexible, my balance improved, sitting and standing were easy. I went from minimal exercise, to doing something every day and looking forward to it! I put a ton of miles on my mountain bike, hiking shoes, paddle board, and kayak.

Not only did I achieve many personal goals over time, I gained a new perspective on going to a gym and working with a trainer. I sat down with my trainer, Cole, to interview him about the benefits and misconceptions about working with a trainer.

When is a good time to hire a personal trainer?

There are several ‘good’ times:

  • When the goals you have set aren’t being attained
  • If you are using the gym and have no idea what to do for an exercise routine
  • If you just joined the gym but are not going
  • You are already fit but want to know what to do to get to the next level of fitness

What should I expect at my first meeting with a trainer?

This is a time to get to meet and begin to form a relationship. You will be asked to fill out a health history. This will provide your trainer with information on injuries, smoking history, any chronic health conditions and other important medical information. Be prepared to discuss your goals. What do you want out of this relationship? What has kept you from achieving your physical activity goals in the past? You will also do several assessments including flexibility, aerobic testing, core strength, and mobility testing.

As a trainer how do you decide which exercises will be right?

I look at what my client’s goal is. For example, Laura’s goal was to be a competent whitewater kayaker, so our focus was increasing core strength, shoulder mobility, and back strength. In addition, we focused on overall mobility, as this is something that decreases with age.

What do you tell people who say: “I don’t like gyms because everyone is so judgmental.”

Many people are not comfortable in gyms. I work to take these people into a place that is out of the way and less populated than the main part of the gym. Over time we slowly move out to more populated areas. During these times, I train them on how to safely use different pieces of equipment. I also work to ensure I do not push someone past their level of fitness.

How do you respond when people ask you if they can do the same exercises at home without a personal trainer?

This is a very individualized question and depends the person’s individual preference and needs. The answer is a question of how much do I want to rely on my trainer. Overall, the biggest thing is that people continue to exercise when they are not with their personal trainer. For some clients a training session once a week is adequate and they have a plan for exercise on other days of the week. For clients who travel extensively, for example, we build their routine around hotel gyms. And finally, some people rely heavily on their trainers meeting with them several times a week and do not want to think about exercise outside the gym.

Are all Personal Trainers the same? How do I choose one?

Trainers are as individual as the people they train. Every trainer has a different style. Because you’ll be spending time regularly with this individual, it is important that first and foremost you like your trainer. If not, you won’t be motivated to go to the gym and meeting your goals will be much harder. If you’re compatible, the next thing to look at is the trainer’s background. Ask the gym what they require of the trainers they hire. What education do they have? Do they hold a college degree? If so, in what field? What type of certifications do they hold? Not all certifications are equal. Look for trainers who are certified and hold credentials from ACSM, NSCA, and NASM. All of these things will help you pick the trainer best suited for you.

What are the biggest misconceptions about Personal Trainers?

Personal trainers are notoriously misinterpreted, especially regarding education and training. However, once you start looking into their background, you’ll typically find they know more than you think they would. Many don’t realize trainers are certified nationally or that continuing education is a requirement.

So if you’ve been thinking about working with a trainer, I highly encourage you to do so. It has been a life-changing experience for me, to finally achieve some physical goals that eluded me for years. Not only that, but I’ve acquired a new perspective about going to a gym, and I’m no longer afraid! Feel free to contact me or your health coach directly if you’d like more information about how a personal trainer could work for you.


IN CONTROL — Person of the Month: Jenni W.

By Kat Van Fossen, Take Control Health Coach

I chose Jenni W. as our Person of the Month because she showed that, even with a slow start, great results can come in the long run. She learned that losing weight is a process, starting with setting a goal of losing weight in 2 pound increments. Jenni far surpassed her own beliefs and expectations of herself by completing a marathon! She gain confidence and the strength to make good nutrition and exercise choices on a daily basis.

What made you decide to join Take Control’s Lifestyle Management program? I had been slowly gaining weight and spending less time on my health and fitness over the past several years. I reached a point where I decided “enough was enough,” and I needed to do something different to change direction. I had a gym membership which was going mostly unused, and I had almost cancelled it many times. My employer offered a gym reimbursement through Take Control, so I decided to try and utilize it as a catalyst to make a change.

What were your reasons/motivation for wanting to make changes regarding your health? My parents and in-laws began having health problems as they grew older, and I wanted to fight that and stay as healthy as possible as long as possible.

What are the biggest challenges and accomplishments in your health since you started?  What do you feel was your biggest obstacle? At this point in my life and career, my schedule is extremely busy and demanding, and I often don’t get enough sleep.  Both my schedule and fatigue create challenges for being consistent with exercise. Initially in the program, I wasn’t making a lot of progress, but about halfway through the year, I set a goal of accomplishing a marathon, and that really jump-started a significant change in my lifestyle.

What did you do to stay motivated? I found a marathon training program that I liked, and which seemed that it would be do-able with my schedule, and allow me to achieve my goal without injury. I also knew that in order to train as necessary, I needed to improve my nutrition. Finally, I set weight-loss goals in two-pound increments, and whenever I would reach a goal, I would mark the next goal on my bathroom mirror, so it was a reminder every morning and evening.

What have you gained through this process? I ran a marathon!!  Accomplishing this goal, and actually far surpassing my own beliefs and expectations of what I could do, has given me a huge confidence boost. I’m also healthier, and more inclined to make good choices about nutrition and exercise on a daily basis.

What differences do you see in yourself and the impact it has had on your health and life? I have set new goals, and have a new-found drive to work hard and place a higher priority on my health and my personal well-being. I believe that I’m also a better spouse, employee, and friend because of it.

What advice or encouragement would you give others in our program? Don’t let fear of failure hold you back. Challenge yourself with something that inspires you, and start with baby steps. If it scares you a little, it will be all the more rewarding when you accomplish it. Do it your own way – don’t feel like you have to do it the way your friends or others do.

Jenni learned how to follow healthy nutrition, and to keep her body well-fueled. She gained a good sense of work/life balance, and finds the time to take care of herself. Not only has she started training for marathons, but she is in it to win it: the marathon of a healthy lifestyle.


  • Weight loss of 15 pounds
  • Gained confidence in her body
  • Gained the ability to push herself
  • Completed a marathon
  • Gained a new high priority on her health and well-being
  • Became a better spouse, employee, and friend

September Start-Over Strategies

By Alicia Kaluza, MS, RD, LN

Do you feel like you fell off track? Well, you are not alone. Many of us go through phases of motivation, from feeling on track, to unmotivated and completely off track. So how do you start-over?

First, let’s not think of it as starting over so much as it is re-evaluating where we are going. Every time we fall off track, we can learn something from it. So we are always moving forward in some way, by learning something new, or with progress toward our goals. It’s a much more positive way to look at things. The more positive you are, the more likely you are to keep yourself moving forward.

However, if you do find yourself in a place where you are “starting over” then here are a few ideas to help you get back on track.


Write new goals. Choose 2-3 things that you can realistically achieve in the next 4 weeks. Make it a SMART goal: Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timed

Example: I will go to the gym 3 times per week on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, for 30 minutes at a time.

Partner Up

Connect with a friend, family member, co-worker, or gym member — a workout buddy or accountability partner can create new motivation to tackle your goals and stay on track. Plus, it can be more fun with a friend!

Go Shopping

Buy yourself a new workout outfit or water bottle to track your water intake. Sometimes making ourselves a priority by doing something nice can reinvigorate our motivation and reason why. And when you feel good, you are more motivated to stick with it.


Clutter can cause a lot of stress and distraction. When you take some time to declutter your office, bedroom, or workout space, it can bring you a sense of relief and calmness. Reduced stress makes it easier to tackle a new task or goal.


Be intentional with your week. Start each week by writing your intentions, what you want to accomplish as a whole. Not just your specific goals, but thinking about your personal and professional needs as well.


Be realistic and patient. Don’t expect results 24 hours after you start. With patience you will see results, and you don’t have to be perfect to achieve them. The moment you stop expecting perfection, will be the moment you see the biggest change in your journey.

Use any one of these ideas, and you can find yourself back on track, and in a positive place moving forward. The biggest challenge will be taking the first steps. But ultimately, whatever start-over strategy you choose will be up to you. Just remember that you are capable, and it is never too late to make a change or get started.


IN CONTROL — Person of the Month: Cathy M.

By Julie Walker and Lindsay Watkins, Take Control Staff

Cathy had a slow start, but then around month 6 something clicked. She committed to food prep, and a food plan, and has been dedicated ever since! She is a great candidate for Person of the Month, not just because of her physical changes, but her mental changes were so apparent! She is happier, healthier and much more confident!

What made you decide to join Take Control’s Lifestyle Management program? Almost a year ago, I was recommended to apply to the Take Control program to assist me with lowering my BMI.

What were your reasons/motivation for wanting to make changes regarding your health? I had gained 20 pounds in the last four years, and was never able to get the weight off. I saw a wedding photo this year and realized it was time to make that change. I disliked the way I looked.

What are the biggest challenges and accomplishments in your health since you started?  What do you feel was your biggest obstacle? The first six months in the program did not go well for me, I struggled with eating and food selection. It wasn’t until my I hit my second blood test, I realized it was really time I take control of my life, and work hard on myself. The biggest challenge was committing to being honest with my eating and what I reported on my log. I had to commit to not cheating (a little candy here, a little chips here and there). My biggest accomplishment was sticking to a food plan (not cheating), and then seeing positive results. Wow! I discovered that it was really the food I was eating that was the big problem. My biggest obstacle was cooking. So I made a deal with my husband, and we now cook together in the kitchen every night. My favorite part of my day!

What did you do to stay motivated?  In order to stay motivated I created a journal. I wrote down everything I ate, as well as my exercise. It’s amazing to see results when you commit to something. Once I got past sugar cravings, I found my body started to improve. Having a friend like my husband cheering me on was a great thing, too. I find our nightly kitchen time is great bonding time we never had before.

What have you gained through this process? My wellness coach has been with me every step of the way. I learned that this is not a diet, it’s a lifestyle change. Making healthy choices will give you healthy results. I love how I feel now. This process was huge for me.

What differences do you see in yourself and the impact it has had on your health and life? So far, I have lost 15 pounds and over 6 inches from my body in measurements. I weigh myself weekly, take a photograph for progress tracking, and take weekly measurements. Each week varies in progress, but the scale and inches continue to change in a positive direction. I have tried so many diets over the last four years to assist me with a positive body change, but the Take Control program has given me hope, and I am loving my progress. It feels great to look in the mirror and see my old self. It’s wonderful to pull out my old clothes, and to breathe in pants without sucking it in. I am no longer afraid to be in front of the camera. I feel so much more confident, now that I’ve lost weight. This change has impacted my life in such an amazing, positive way. I feel healthier. I can run without aches and pains in my joints. I can feel my abs — and it’s been a long time since that has been the case. I am not hiding behind someone else, I am proud to stand alone and not afraid of what I look like. I included my start and current photo so you can easily see the big change in just 54 days. If I can do this, anyone can. What clicked for me was seeing my wedding photo and understanding I was not happy with myself. Now I feel more confident, I feel better inside and out. I know being healthy takes work and dedication. I use a daily log book to track everything I do from food intake to exercise. I am working on fine tuning my body and I have 8 more pounds to go to reach my goal weight. I am so thankful for the Take Control program, and the chance it’s given me to make a total lifestyle change.

What advice or encouragement would you give others in our program? My advice to others is don’t give up. Commit to your plan. If it does not go well, don’t give up. Give it time. Keep the strength and just get out there and do something. One of my favorite quotes is by Nelson Mandela:  “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”  This quote means a lot to me because I thought it was impossible to lose weight – heck, I didn’t lose any for the first six months! But I kept at it and never gave up. I switched things up, and finally saw great results.





  • Lost 16 pounds and over 17 inches so far!
  • Gained confidence
  • Learned to enjoy cooking and planning meals
  • Gained happiness


Stress Management Exercise

By Linda Hogg, RD, LN, and Julie Walker, Take Control Staff

Stress is one of the biggest roadblocks that exists when it comes to creating a healthy lifestyle. It often keeps us from getting to what really matters in life, our health and wellness. We can try to exercise and eat right, but when we get overwhelmed with stress, we get distracted and tend to abandon any plans to put our energy into what truly matters: day-to-day action steps toward health and living well.

Stress roadblocks needs to be addressed head on. Otherwise, stress becomes common-place, never budging out of the way. Stress builds slowly, and since it creeps up on us, we may not see it building until it’s overwhelming. Before your stress builds so high that you’re paralyzed, use the following exercise to stay ahead of it.

Early in the morning, or by mid-day, make a quick list of today’s stressors. Divide a piece of paper into two columns: the first column is for things you have control over. The second column is for things you do not have control over. As you brainstorm today’s tasks, keep the process simple and quick. Examples of things you have control over include doing a chore, paying a bill, making an appointment – stressors where you can identify clear action steps, or that have simple solutions.

In the right-hand column, write down the things that you don’t have control over – only time could solve them, or possibly a decision or action by another person. The decision or action needed to make these go away would not be in your control. The uncontrollable stressors may consume your thoughts. They may even keep you up at night, when in fact, they need to be put to rest so you can focus on what’s controllable. If the list of uncontrollable stressors is overwhelming, take a moment to tear off that side of your paper, tear it up, and throw it away. Let it go for the day. Turn your focus to what can be wrapped up.

Ultimately, you need time to focus on what is controllable, and what actions steps you can take to chip away at those stressors. The practice of writing down your stressors makes them, well, less stressful. Often the list is shorter or more manageable than you imagine. If the list is larger than you imagined, take a moment to prioritize it. If you’ve over-committed your time for the day or the week, look for things you can reschedule or cancel.

When you take a few minutes to be pro-active with your stressors, you free yourself emotionally to stay on track with your healthy lifestyle habits. Eating healthy and exercising are two of the best ways to reduce stress. To get there, give this exercise a try. Take a moment each morning to inventory your stressors, and remove the roadblocks which build up if left unaddressed. From there, you can move on with what plans you have to make you more healthy!


Reap the Rewards

By Kelly Sedgwick, Take Control Health Coach

Ever find yourself saying, “I know it wasn’t good for me, but I ate it because I wanted to reward myself”? Sometimes we get so focused on achieving our daily goals, we forget to stop and celebrate in a way that actually supports the goals and healthy lifestyle we’re designing for ourselves.

Rewards are something we give ourselves to celebrate achievements, but also ways we maintain our motivation to continue our pursuit and practice of living healthy. When you reach a milestone, it’s important to reward yourself and celebrate your achievement, especially since milestones are typically set a few months out and require consistent effort to achieve. Just knowing that there’s a tangible reward awaiting can help you reach your goal!

The same as it is with setting goals, setting rewards should be unique to you and something you are willing to work for to receive. Be specific about the reward and make it something you really want.

Consider these suggestions for your next reward:

  • Buy the new workout jacket, running shoes, workout pants, or heart rate monitor that you’ve been eyeing
  • Get a massage
  • Buy a personal training session or a specialty exercise class that you’ve been wanting to attend
  • Plan a vacation or weekend getaway
  • Schedule a new adventure, like zip-lining or white-water rafting
  • Go to the movies
  • Splurge on the good seats to a concert performance
  • Get a manicure and/or pedicure
  • But a great book, album, or movie that you’ve wanted
  • Schedule a day off to relax and enjoy a good book or watch your favorite movie or TV show
  • Purchase dumbbells, a medicine ball, or resistance bands
  • Buy new tool(s) or supplies for your favorite hobby

Remember, every reward should be something you’re willing to work for; and should support the goals you achieve. Be creative – set a reward that is unique, exciting and motivating to you!

IN CONTROL – Person of the Month: Meriem H.

By Kat Van Fossen, Take Control Health Coach

I chose Meriem as our Person of the Month because of her positivity! Her outlook is not only the glass is half full, but she also figured out how to use the other half. Meriam showed bravery every step of the way – she was not afraid or intimidated to either lose weight or to stop smoking.

What made you decide to join Take Control’s Lifestyle Management program? I was tired of being overweight, and tired of struggling to lose it by myself.

What were your reasons/motivation for wanting to make changes regarding your health?  I wanted to get healthier for both my kids and for myself. I was always on the go, so I had no idea how to fit exercise or cooking into my lifestyle. I need someone to give me some guidance on how to fit everything into my life.

What are the biggest challenges and accomplishments in your health since you started?  What do you feel was your biggest obstacle? Not only did I need to lose weight, but I was smoking to keep from gaining more weight. Smoking was my biggest obstacle, because I was so afraid that if I quit smoking I would gain weight. Enrolling in Take Control gave me the tools to take on both problems at once. I was able to quit smoking and at the same time work on losing weight. The combination of being able to do that really set things in motion.

What did you do to stay motivated? Change was really hard because I had such a routine in place. But once I started paying attention to what I was doing, I was able to bring a newfound intention and focus to my habits. That awareness allowed me to truly “TAKE CONTROL” and break the robotic-type of behavior and routine I had been following. Once I put the intention in motion, things got so much easier and easier. Once things got easier, the motivation really increased. Taking the time to stop and look at my habits, and choosing to tweak them for the better really empowered me.

What have you gained through this process? I gained a lot more confidence in myself, and the drive to do better, not only for myself, but also for my family.

What differences do you see in yourself and the impact it has had on your health and life? My attitude has improved, my happiness has increased, and my stress level has decreased.

What advice or encouragement would you give others in our program? I would say try it! I was worried at first, but my health coach Kat eased that worry quickly. It didn’t matter if I had a good month or a bad month, she was positive and helped me gain confidence. Many weight loss programs want you to spend money for food, videos, or products. Take Control encourages you to work with what you have, and slowly add the changes into your life. But the key aspect was that you are a making the decisions throughout the process, not just doing what they say, you are in involved the whole way.


  • Stopped smoking!
  • Lost 33 pounds
  • Gained confidence
  • Improved attitude
  • Decreased stress
  • Gained mindfulness
  • Gained happiness

26 Tangible Practices for Self-Care and Self-Love

By Kelly Sedgwick, Take Control Health Coach

This year, it seems as though I keep hearing the term “self-care” everywhere. “What are you doing for self-care?” I continue to be asked. What is self-care, why do I keep hearing about it, and why is it all that important anyway? Well, until recently, I hadn’t really dug into what the term really meant. On the surface I knew it meant daily practices that gave me an opportunity to treat myself well each day. But the term is really about a deep connection, and genuine respect, for yourself; and the tangible art of expressing kindness to yourself.

Self-love is not just a concept in our head but unfortunately, we’ve been taught for a long time that if we’re not constantly working hard or taking care of others, we’re being selfish. What we’re not taught, is that taking care of yourself is actually the only way we can truly care for, or give to others. If you don’t work on yourself, if you don’t take time to express love for yourself, you don’t feed your soul, and you can’t authentically show up and be loving to anyone else.

Self-acceptance, self-esteem, and self-compassion can get us through painful times in our lives, help us to bounce back from failure, teach us to love others better, and help us reach our goals. For many of us, however, self-love isn’t a given. We’re not all taught the deeply valuable art of holding ourselves with kindness, and truly treating ourselves well.

Changing our thoughts or our emotions by simply deciding to do so can be challenging, but there are ways to accomplish this through the art of choosing physical actions that support different thoughts. When self-destructive thoughts start shouting in your head, you can decide to do something — to take an action of kindness toward yourself, and behave as if you love yourself unconditionally. Doing so sends messages to the subconscious mind that you actually do love yourself, and deserve the kindness you’re experiencing.

“You have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.” – Louise L. Hay

As we slowly learn how to love ourselves better, we start to expect others to treat us with kindness as well. We start to realize that of course we love ourselves. Of course we deserve love.

So how do we live in self-love? Just like anything else: we practice.

If you’re like me and weren’t taught the art of loving yourself, the list below may seem trivial at first, but commit to putting at least 1, if not more of them into practice, every single day. You’ll see a noticeable change in your overall outlook on life. Pick one from the list and start today.

  1. Buy yourself fresh flowers.
  2. Clean your house or apartment.
  3. Organize your work space and files.
  4. Eat while focusing only on your food.
  5. Make a list of fun activities to do and post on your fridge.
  6. Make a list of all the things you like about yourself.
  7. Each night before bed write down the happiest moment of your day.
  8. Start the day with two minutes of meditation.
  9. Wear clothes you love.
  10. Put your fork down between bites.
  11. Get eight hours of sleep.
  12. Read a good book.
  13. Buy something you’ve always wanted.
  14. Be of service — volunteer, help a friend, etc.
  15. Compliment someone today.
  16. Get your sweat on. Go for a hike or long walk.
  17. Smile.
  18. When you grocery shop say, “I am choosing this for my body because I love her/him.”
  19. Stand up straight and tall.
  20. Try something new: dance classes, cooking lessons, yoga.
  21. Invite your friends over for a girls’ or guys’ night.
  22. Call your mom and tell her you love her (or your dad, sister, etc.).
  23. Play with your pet without distraction.
  24. When someone offers you a compliment, simply say, “Thank you.”
  25. Clean your fridge and fill it with fresh foods.
  26. Hire a personal trainer, life coach or counselor.

What other ways do you practice self-care? Feel free to share in the comments below!

Easy No-Cook Lunches, AKA the “Adult Lunchable”

By Alicia Kaluza, MS, RD, LN, Take Control Health Coach

Packing a lunch is a great way to stay on track with your health goals. Sometimes it’s hard to get ideas for what to pack. Some office environments have limited kitchen resources, or you have limited time to cook.

Try no-cook lunches, or what I like to call “Adult Lunchables.” These are also referred to as Bento Box lunches. You’ve likely seen pre-made kid’s Lunchables at the supermarket – boxes of crackers, cheese, meat, etc. This is a healthy twist on that idea. The varieties are endless — you can pack anything you like, from the classic crackers, meat, and cheese, to more complex combinations with wraps or salads.

Adult Lunchables are both easy to put together, and easy to eat. Preparation is fairly simple — keep some go-to options on hand. I’ve put together some ideas in categories. If you pick an item from each category, it will help you create a balanced meal. The goal is to make it simple, but add variety without overwhelming ourselves.

For example, I put together a lunch with the following: 1 cup Greek yogurt, 1 cup berries, 1-2 tablespoons peanut butter, and 1 cup of raw veggies. That combination includes protein from the yogurt, carbohydrates from the berries and veggies, and fat from the peanut butter. You can certainly add or subtract items and amounts to make sure you eat enough calories for your body.



  • Greek yogurt – ½ to 1 cup
  • Cottage cheese – ½ to 1 cup
  • Hard boiled eggs – 1 to 2 eggs
  • Canned Tuna or Chicken: one tin or pouch
  • Deli slices: 3 ounces, look for nitrate and nitrite-free options
  • Leftover grilled chicken or other protein: 3-4 ounces
  • Edamame: 1 cup
  • Chickpeas: ½ cup


  • Whole grain crackers: for example Triscuits (6-8 crackers) or a single serving based on the box of crackers you choose
  • Whole wheat tortilla: 8 inch in diameter, or look for high fiber options
  • Whole wheat pita
  • Serving of fruit: apple, banana, grapes (1 cup or 32 grapes), berries (1 cup of any variety), kiwi, orange, 2 cuties or mandarin oranges
  • Unlimited vegetables: carrots, celery, sliced cucumber, sliced bell peppers, salad greens


  • Individually portioned nut butters: peanut butter, almond butter, or keep a tablespoon with your designated jar and stick to 1 to 2 tablespoons
  • Servings of nuts: pistachios (40 nuts), almonds (23 almonds), cashews (16-18 nuts)
  • Avocado: ¼ to ½ of fruit
  • String cheese, or 1 ounce of cheese
  • Guacamole: 2 tablespoons
  • Olives: 10-12 small to medium sized olives of any variety.
  • Olive oil: 1 tablespoon
  • Salad dressing: 1-2 tablespoons
  • Hummus: 1-2 tablespoons

Below is a sample week with some combinations I put together to create a balanced lunch. This may also give you some ideas to build your own “Lunchable:”

6-8 Triscuits
3 ounces of deli slices
1 string cheese or sliced cheese
1 cup berries
Carrot sticks
1-2 tablespoon hummus

1 cup cottage cheese
½ cup blueberries
1 tablespoon almond butter
Cucumber slices
2 tbsp. hummus

Whole wheat tortilla
Lettuce or other salad green
Sliced cucumber, bell peppers, onion
½ of a ripe avocado
1 tbsp. hummus
Small apple or orange

Whole grain crackers
Chicken salad-made with 2 tbsp. Greek yogurt, mustard to taste, salt and pepper
¼ of an avocado
Celery and carrot sticks
Serving of grapes

Whole Wheat Pita
Tuna salad-made with 2 tbsp. Greek yogurt, mustard to taste, salt and pepper
Sliced cucumbers
1 tablespoon peanut or almond butter

Two hardboiled eggs
Grapes (1 cup or 32 grapes)
String cheese
1 cup Veggies sticks
2 tablespoons hummus

If you want something complex, especially with the summer weather, then prep ahead a veggie-rich pasta salad with healthy fats like avocado. You can also prep fresh fruits salads at the beginning of the week to accompany your lunch and save time.

For additional ideas and inspiration check out 25 Healthy and Photo-Worthy Bento Box Lunch Ideas from

What great lunches did you put together? Let us know in the comments below.


Summer Workout Chart

By Richel Stropky, Take Control Health Coach

Summer officially begins June 20th! You may not be inclined to head to the gym this month, but don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. We’ve put together a summer workout chart. Pick your category, then pick your activity — whether you’re completing chores, or spending time with friends and family, there is something for everyone.

Wash your car

Mow the lawn

Play a game of chase or tug-of-war with the dog

Paint or stain the fence

Wash the dog

Wash the house windows

Sweep the sidewalks, patio or deck

Clean out the garage & gutters

Volunteer to walk dogs from humane society each week

Ride your bike to the local farmers market

Hike to a place to pick berries or just for a picnic

Fly a kite

Toss a Frisbee

Climb a tree

Play at a water park

Rock Climb

Power skip

Road race

Ride a roller coaster

Visit the State Fair

Ride a horse

Build a sand castle or walk on a beach

Play Sand volleyball


Water Ski

Paddle board

Tread water or on your back

Rope Swing

Fly fish

Play fetch with the dog

Run through the sprinklers with the kids

Have a water balloon fight

Relay race

Sack races

Play a game with the kids: tag, flag football or Red Rover

Join a kickball league

Have a family fitness scavenger hunt

Jump rope

Power skip contest

Raise money for a local charity with a car wash

Play badminton or croquet

Watch the sunset

Play relaxing music as you cook dinner

Enjoy an outdoor concert

Eat a meal outside

Read a book in a lawn chair

Buy a hammock


What did we miss? Add your suggestions in the comments!