Category Archives: Featured Today

One Woman’s Struggle with Weight Loss & Her Success

Tanya PhotoIf you’ve ever struggled to exercise or lose weight and given up over and over again you’re not alone. Many people struggle with low self esteem and a belief that weight loss is too hard. Tanya thought the same thing. Then her sister challenged her to get her body back and a special sister’s only trip to the Steve Harvey Awards in Atlanta if she lost 50 pounds. Tanya’s determination kicked in and she’s lost 67 POUNDS and is still going! Listen to her story!

Now how will Tanya continue her journey? Find out in this video!

We would love to hear about your weight loss journey! Please stop by our Facebook page and share your success or post in your comments below! You can also see more pictures from the 2015 Neighborhood Awards hosted by Steve Harvey on our Music and Media page.

What’s The Best Way To Refresh Post-workout? Coconut Water or Sports Drinks?

What’s the Best Way To Refresh Post-Workout- Coconut Water vs. Gatorade vs. Powerade?

This is a guest post by Shannon White, the choreographer of the MECKids Dream Team.

The “New” Kid in Town                                   

Before you divorce your favorite sports drink for nature’s alternative, ask yourself if you’ve tried to work it out. Let’s take a moment to make sure this is the right decision. Rehydration after a strenuous activity (like playing with your kids) is essential to ensure that your body replenishes its nutrients. In the last few years, coconut water has splashed on the scene in the U.S., with celebrity endorsements and big names like Pepsi and Coca-Cola getting in on the action too. Coconut water is far from new, however. Americans are “tardy for the party”; tropical countries (Caribbean, parts of Africa, Southeast Asia) where the young, green coconuts are found have been getting the “super water” straight from the source for many years.

MECKids Mission: To find out whether or not coconut water is an adequate, healthy substitute for popular sports drinks of today.

Water WIth Lemon

Why all the Fuss?

What is so great about coconut water anyway? If the liquid from this tropical fruit isn’t manipulated too much, coconut water is a natural, low calorie source of electrolytes (potassium, magnesium, phosphorous, sodium) with a slight nutty and refreshing taste. In fact, the Molecules scientific journal boasts that it can also help to prevent heart attacks and treat kidney stones. Its other benefits include:

  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Fights free radicals to help fight cancer
  • Can have anti-aging affects
  • Has trans-zeatin that is used to prevent and/or treat Alzheimer’s and dementia

So far so good, right? Let’s continue.

Potassium is the key electrolyte that contributes to coconut water’s star power— if electrolytes were famous, potassium would be an A-list celebrity. It helps not only control the amount of water in your body, but it also helps maintain a healthy pH level in the blood. Because there aren’t as many sources that are rich in potassium as say, sodium, potassium deficiency is very common, especially in African American women. If severe, it can be fatal (eek!).

Raw coconut water has about 20 times the potassium of Gatorade, which equals about four bananas. For all the banana haters out there, talk about a win!

Does it measure up?

e5aacdb5-c77f-4654-b0be-7179bf747b32Even though potassium is a salt (which we now know is important), it’s not the primary salt we lose while sweating it out. That prize goes to sodium. Here are the cold (and refreshing) facts: Powerade and Gatorade both have more than double the amount of sodium of coconut water per ounce. Normally, less sodium means it’s better for you. But in this case, sodium is the most essential electrolyte to the rehydration process (after a strenuous workout). The Scientific Committee on Food suggests 460-1150 milligrams of sodium per liter in order to rehydrate properly. Sodium helps the small intestine absorb water and carbohydrates, helping to replenish fluids and energy. In other words, coconut water does not have enough sodium content to roll with the rehydration “big dogs” Gatorade and Powerade. Stick with these engineered performance drinks for optimal rehydration after your workout.

Don’t Say it’s Over

cut coconutDon’t fret though, albeit coconut water isn’t your go-to after a workout, it can still be your go-to for a potassium supplement, along with the other benefits mentioned above. Just make sure you pick the right brand. Because of the mass marketing of coconut water, a lot of companies are cutting corners to get (and keep) their products on the shelves. Coconut water is incredibly perishable once it’s taken from the coconut, meaning that its nutrients are literally a ticking time bomb. Most companies use concentrates or heat to pasteurize the nutrients right out of the water or use a mature (and less nutritious) coconut as a substitute, masking the acidic taste with sweetener and fruit flavors.

Vani Hari of Foodbabe.com suggests keeping it simple. Pay attention to the labels and avoid:

  • Concentrates
  • Heat Pasteurization
  • Added “fruit” flavors
  • Added sweeteners

Try an organic or raw brand from your local organic store. If there isn’t one nearby, Amazon has a few organic brands that ship within a few days (Harmless Harvest is at the top of our list!) And if you happen to visit any tropical areas this summer, make sure you try the best way— straight from the source!

Do you drink coconut water or sports drinks after you workout and what has been your experience? Please share in the comments below!

So now it is time to decide if Gatorade or Powerade is better for you. Click here to take a look at our article for a comparison of the two.

 

 

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Why Cooking With Kids is Beneficial

bite size veggiesThis is a guest post by Stephanie Lomax, a personal chef in the Washington Metropolitan area.

In today’s hectic world planning out healthy meals for your kids on top of all your other responsibilities may seem like a daunting task. On top of that getting kids to eat healthy food may seem impossible. Cooking alongside your children can actually prove to be a rewarding and practical solution for both you and your children!!!

You’re a busy parent working on a high stress, fully packed schedule! Taking care of your children is a job in itself but if you work outside of the home you may find yourself exhausted at the end of the day!After a long, tiring day your children run to you and frantically ask “What’s for dinner?! I’m HUNGRY!” As a parent you are left with a challenging decision. You ask yourself: “How can I find the time to cook a delicious and nutritious meal on top of everything else?” or “Should I pick up some quick easy fast food?”. Neither option seems like the best choice. Well don’t worry, there is a better choice!

Cooking meals with your children may seem like it only adds challenges to a tough dilemma. However, with simple meals and a little bit of prep ahead of time the benefits can outweigh the challenges! Here are 5 benefits to cooking with your children and some simple ways to plan meals to cook with your kids.

Benefits:

  1. Teach kids the importance of healthy eating and give them tips to implement even into adulthood. With the right cooking coach they can learn to avoid prepared foods, fast food and see the importance of healthy eating from a young age. Kids are also most likely to appreciate foods they typically wouldn’t eat if they were a part of the preparation process.
  2. Keeps kids busy. If you’ve ever tried to multi-task watching children and keeping them from mischief while try to prepare a meal then you understand the importance of this! Instead of hearing “He hit me!” or “I didn’t do it!” keep your children right by your side and give them productive work to accomplish.
  3. Turns kids into successful adults. The skills learned while preparing meals can be used in all aspects of life even outside the kitchen! Cooking instills skills like teamwork, attention to detail, responsibility, time management, and motor skill development.
  4. Works out better for you in the long run. Imagine coming home to a nice, delicious, meal already prepared and waiting for you. Imagine it being prepared by your own children! If children are trained from a young age by the time they reach their pre-teen years they can become quite independent in the kitchen!
  5. Quality time! This is a phrase that may sound cliche but there really is something to it. Cooking with your kids allows you to get to know your children in a non-threatening, peaceful environment. Observe their work habits, exceptional skills and guide them into success! When you’re cooking talk to your children and really listen as they tell you about the things that excite, worry, or frustrate them.

Tips:

  • Cut vegetables and fruits in bulk and store them in the refrigerator ahead of time so they can be easily assembled when dinner time rolls around.
  • Incorporate a variety of fun colors, shapes, and flavors. If food looks fun, bright and fresh kids will be more likely to get excited about eating healthy.
  • Reinvent healthy alternatives to your child’s favorite meals! Examples: “Wheat-zza’s” (wheat pizzas) using wheat pitas or fresh noodle stir-fry chock full of vegetables instead of prepared noodle soup.
  • Give kids age appropriate tasks to complete. Ages 2-5 can stir, pour, and count food items placed in a dish. As they develop give kids more challenging responsibilities such as measurement, sifting, and proper knife and stove use (with supervision).

Try the kid friendly recipe below!!!


Wheat-zzas (Pita Pizzas)

A healthier alternative to a kid favorite. This recipe uses wheat pita bread and a semi-homemade veggie marinara sauce.

Ingrediants

  • 6 pita rounds
  • 1 can tomato sauce (15 oz)
  • 1/2 cup shredded vegetables (try zucchini, carrots, or mushrooms)
  • A handful of fresh baby spinach
  • 8 oz shredded mozzarella
  • Toppings of your choice ( try incorporating your kids favorite veggies or use traditional toppings like pepperoni and sausage)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Meanwhile in a small saucepan combine the tomato sauce and shredded vegetables of your choice and bring to a boil. Turn the stove down to low and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  3. Warm pitas in the preheated oven or in a microwave for 1 minute, or until soft. Place them on a baking sheet. Spread lightly with tomato sauce, pressing to flatten while spreading.
  4. Layer pitas with first with fresh baby spinach, then with cheese, and last the toppings of your choice.
  5. Place pitas in the preheated oven 8 minutes, or until the pita bread has reached desired crispness. Serve whole, or cut into slices.

What the kids can do:

Kids 6 and under can help mash the warm pita, spread sauce, and sprinkle cheese. Older kids can mix the shredded vegetables with the tomato sauce, shred the vegetables (with supervision) and assemble their own pizzas with less supervision.


Stephanie is a freelance personal chef located in the DC metropolitan area and she specializes in meal prep. If you are a busy working professional, a parent, or a fitness enthusiast then you can benefit from her. She will meet with you to discuss your needs and food preferences and then she will prepare meals fresh for you in the comfort of your own home! Contact Stephanie at stephlomax0392@gmail.com for more information on her services.

MomNMe Fit Virtual 30 Day Fitness Challenge

 

The momNmeFit challenge is a virtual 30-day Fitness Challenge designed to provide mothers with a structured program that will help encourage, educate and empower them to a healthier lifestyle in 2015. However, unlike other fitness challenges, the momNmeFit challenge is a trailblazing program focusing on teaming mothers up with their kids so that they can participate in this journey of health and fitness as a family.

This 30-day adventure forges the proper habits needed for healthy living. Mothers and kids can embrace this challenge together, which allows them to experience a greater joy in their collective success and the improved overall health of their family.

Sophie B. echoes what a lot of momNmefit Challenge mothers have been expressing in regards to the example that they can set for their daughters:

“It’s very important to me to make sure I set a good example of healthy living for my daughter. As she enters her teenage years I know she will be more concerned with how she looks and I want her to be proud of how she looks. Most importantly I want her to develop healthy habits now that she will grow up with so taking this journey together will create great memories and great habits!”

The momNmeFit challenge makes hard work fun and exciting. The enrollment process is a breeze, low-cost and life changing.  And if that weren’t enough to entice moms and kids to enroll, participants can compete against each other for some really cool prizes.

Participants will receive daily accountability, encouragement, coaching, guidance and fitness goals. Mom’s must post one photo on their Social Media accounts to show their commitment and willingness to be held accountable.

Workouts will have a Bootcamp feel and encompass a wide range of muscle blasting, heart pumping exercises to help burn the calories and blast away the unwanted pounds. Individual fitness levels will be taken into consideration.

Participants will also learn how to shop for healthy living, tasty recipes and meal preparation. All the bases are covered in this program. And just to make sure participants stay on track, there are fitness raffles based on the family’s participation.

Rebecca M. is excited about the potential life changing habits that the momNmeFit challenge instills:

“This program will help people like me learn the habits needed for a healthier lifestyle. I’m excited to learn these lessons alongside my kids. Our family will be happier and healthier.”

Don’t let 2015 start off on the wrong foot. Put those New Year’s resolutions into action and get moving with the momNmeFit 30-day challenge.

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Healthy Summer Foods

I love to eat fruits I love all kinds of fruit some of my favorite fruits are Sunkist oranges, Mangos, Watermelon, peaches, and Melon. Fruit is such an amazing food because there are so many delicious kinds, it’s healthy, and it gives you energy. Vegetables are also another very healthy food source but I can’t say they are the best tasting things around but they are highly beneficial. Also, there are ways you can prepare and cook vegetables to make them taste good, some vegetables are actually delicious. Some of my favorite vegetables include broccoli, lettuce, Asparagus, carrots, and celery. Now that its summer there are many healthy summer foods for your diet.

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One of the benefits of it being summer is that a lot of the fruit is in season and there are a lot of choices, I always liked to go into the grocery store and try fruits that I have never tried before. There is also a delicious vegetable known has corn that is best in the summer, nothing says summer like sweet corn. Corn is a delicious vegetable that is commonly grilled or baked and when my family and I go to the beaches in Delaware we make sure to have some corn because the corn is delicious over there. Corn also has two antioxidants (lutein and zeaxanthin) that act has sunglasses that form pigment to filter out some of the sun’s harmful rays.

Believe it or not tomatoes also protect you from the sun as well because lycopene which is Capturewhat makes the tomatoes red is also known to protect you from sun burn it’s also known to prevent chronic disease. Watermelon also as lycopene which will prevent sunburn but it is also good for staying hydrated because it is 92% water. I think watermelon is a good thing to have before a game half, at time break, and after a game because it gives you energy and replenished your lost nutrients, especially now that it’s getting hot and it’s good to stay hydrated. If you like tea then there aren’t too many things better than drinking a refreshing class of iced tea on a hot day, but tea is also good for your body. Drinking tea regularly is known to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and diabetes. It’s also good for your mouth, teeth, and gums, because tea is rich in antioxidants. It’s always good to drink freshly brewed tea teas that are rich in antioxidants include black, green, oolong, white or herbal.

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Beach Vibes!

 

Tons of people head to the beach through out there summer vacations because who doesn’t love the beach? Whether you like to walk on the board walk, sit on the beach, or swim in the ocean the beach is a great place for everybody. During the summer I usually go to Bethany Beach in Delaware with my family I’ve also gone to Ocean City, New Jersey this summer they are both really fun places to go to. The beach may be a very fun place to go to but it’s also a good place to exercise at a lot of people get a good workout at the beach without even intending on it! When I was at the beach I noticed that I was doing tons of walking from place to place because when you’re at the beach you don’t want to spend time in the car. Walking is so simple but it’s a good exercise especially if you’re doing a lot of it. When I was at the beach we would walk everywhere that we could because we had been in the car for hours so we wanted to avoid the car as much as we could. At most beaches there are tons of places that rent out bikes, and that’s because biking around the boardwalk or just around the town is a popular thing. We did not rent bikes when we were there but we really wanted to because it’s a good work out and it does not take as long as walking. If you spend a lot of time on the beach than you are probably doing a lot of exercise as well because there is a lot of things to do on the beach like playing sports like volleyball, soccer, and football another thing that kids do at the beach that is a great workout is shoveling you know how you’ve always wanted to “dig a hole to china” in the sand well I’ve dug holes in the sand and it’s quite the workout. Finally, the ocean is a great place to exercise in because you’re not only swimming but you’re going against the waves and the currents add all those together and you get a pretty decent workout this is my favorite thing to do at the beach.

 

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Powerade VS. Gatorade

Powerade VS. Gatorade

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Water is one of the best things for you and we need it to survive because it keeps you hydrated. There are also other drinks that help you hydrate by giving you electrolytes and nutrients lost in sweat like Gatorade and Powerade. The question is which one is better for you I drink both when I’m playing soccer in my games, at practice, or at a camp. The best thing about both of them is that they are beneficial and they both taste good there are also many flavors to try, time to find out which one is better.

People may think that Gatorade is better because it has more flavors that are delicious from cucumber lime to fierce melon. but is that the only reason why it’s good? Gatorade started in 1965 at the University of Florida (home of the gators). Gatorade is used to fight dehydration and is a mix of water, carbohydrates, and electrolytes all of those together are very effective with handling dehydration. Your body starts to cramp when you do not have enough potassium but drinks like Gatorade and orange juice have potassium which will help you avoid those extremely painful cramps. Gatorade also has different types of drinks for different situations some of them are for before you play, while you play, and after you play there are also energy chews. Gatorade also gives you the opportunity to have it where ever you have water because they sell Gatorade powder in which you can make your own Gatorade just by mixing it with water.

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Gatorade is not the only sports drink out there that tastes good and is good for you Powerade is Gatorade’s prime competition. People may prefer Powerade because it has Vitamins in it (B-3, B-6, and B-12) and it tastes good. Aside from giving you carbs, electrolytes and water Powerade also provides you with vitamins like B-3, B-6, and B-12. Based off of a 2,000calorie diet per day Powerade provides ten percent of your daily value of vitamins. Vitamin B-3 is associated converting food into energy and digestion, Vitamin B-6 is associated with the production of red blood cells, which adds oxygen to the blood stream, and Vitamin B-12 maintains the blood cell count. Also Powerade also offers a zero calorie version which is good for people who do not want such sugary drinks. I think Powerade is great because it contains these vitamins and I also think that is why it is so popular among athletes.

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So now it is time to decide which one overall is better for you Gatorade or Powerade. Gatorade’s best features are all the different flavors they have, and all the different forms they have. Powerade’s best features are they have vitamins and minerals (B-3, B-6, and B-12), and it has a zero calorie form. Because Gatorade and Powerade are so similar the best way to see which one is better for you is to do it based off of nutritional facts. For carbs,Gatorade uses sucrose, and dextrose which are two simple sugars and Powerade uses high fructose corn syrup which is associated with certain health issues. For electrolytes Gatorade has more potassium and sodium which is necessary for athletes but Powerade also features vitamins. Powerade and Gatorade are both great sports drinks but if you are doing marathon level distances or high level intensity activities than Gatorade is the better choice, Gatorade also has a lot more flavors than Powerade.

Staying Hydrated

Staying healthy does not just mean run, play and workout. You have to take care of yourself in order to take care of yourself. Healthy food for energy and water to stay hydrated. Most kids do not know the importance of H2o. It is our jobs as parents to ensure that they don’t get thirsty. Drinking plenty of water is an obviously the easiest and best way to stay hydrated.

After a while a lot of kids get tired of water. Bottles get left behind half full and most would rather play in water during a hot day rather than drink it. There are certain foods that help you stay hydrated. Watermelon is number one on my list. Maybe the fact that it is 91% water is why they named it Watermelon. Not only is it a summer staple, but eating it will help ensure that kids are getting some of that important hydration they need. You can also get a pitcher of water, cube up watermelon and add them to the water. It will make the water look more appealing to the little ones. Grapefruit and strawberries are also about 90% water. How easy is it to put out a bowl of fruit? Cantaloupe, baby carrots and celery are other options. Having your kids eat their water is pretty cool.

Along the lines of eating fruit to stay hydrated, adding fruit to water as a flavor is a great idea just like the cubed watermelon I suggested above. Dice up pineapples, oranges, apples, kiwi, or strawberries. If you freeze them first, it keeps the fruit fresher and water cooler longer. Each kid can choose their own flavor, the longer they sit they more flavor that they add to the water. Have you ever tried coconut water? It is delicious.
Make fruit pops. Since so many fruits contain so much water, freeze them and make pops. What kid doesn’t like a fruit pop? You can use cranberry, orange or apple juice. Add your diced fruit and freeze. Simple. Try yogurt too. Yogurt is surprisingly full of water. For every 6 oz of yogurt, it contains about 5 oz of water.
Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetThere are so many ways to stay hydrated, you have no excuse. The body loses about 10 cups of water a day. As the temperature rises, imagine how much more our youngsters are sweating out. Make sure that for every meal, you serve them water and water filled snacks.