snack well | 4 ingredient bites

We're big fans of healthy on the go snacks!  But how often do you grab a "healthy" granola bar only to find loads of added sugar and tons of ingredients (most of which won't benefit us or fill us up).  So here's a 4 ingredient recipe to make a quick and delicious snack (think homemade Lara bars).  Mmm mmm. 

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1 cup almonds

1 cup dates

1 cup shredded coconut

1/2 cup raisins

You'll need a blender or food processor that can blend nuts.  Combine all ingredients and blend!  The mix will start to stick together on it's own.  Place the entire mix on plastic wrap and press together with hands.  You can flatten it out and cut into bars or roll into round bites like we did in the picture above.  Enjoy!

eat well | 7 ways to dress up your brown rice

Brown rice is easy, whole grain, gluten-free goodness. It's loaded with antioxidants and fiber and hasn't been stripped of all of it's nutrients (like white rice in the refining process). And because it's less processed, you won't get the blood sugar spike you get with refined grains. It is for sure our number one staple, served with a protein and veggie. But we'd be lying if we didn't say plain brown rice can be so boring. The good news is, it doesn't have to be. There are so many delicious ways to dress it up. It can be as simple as adding a little chicken broth and your favorite salsa. There are so many simple fixes that keep it just as healthy and effortless (although you can certainly elaborate). We've collected a handful of our favorites just for you.

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1 | fresh squeezed lemon juice + a bit of parmesan + parsley

2 | low sodium soy sauce + pineapple + green onions

3 | fresh squeezed lime juice + cilantro + chopped bell pepper

4 | chicken broth + garlic + black pepper

5 | vegetable broth + basil + cherry tomatoes

6 | low sodium soy sauce + freshly grated ginger + caramelized onions

7 | fresh squeezed lemon juice + lemon zest + chopped arugula

Maria | 5 things that help me reset

5 things that help Maria Cannon reset | Swell Mama

1 | Fresh flowers. Sometimes a bit of color, life and beauty in jar is all I need for a little boost.

2 | Morning walks. It's not always easy to get out the door in the morning, but when we do (even in our pjs), it's so worth it. Being outside, moving and breathing fresh air is a daily boost I don't like to miss.

3 | A green smoothie. I know I know, smoothies are all the rage right now but I don't think they're just a fad. They help me get that extra spinach or kale that I normally wouldn't eat, so for me, they're here to stay. Blending up all that goodness in one cup gives me the extra nutrition, fuel and motivation to stay healthy through out the day. 

4 | Moving furniture or rearranging even small decor. I know, weird, right? Something about having things around me organized or changed helps my mind feel organized and energized. Oh and moving furniture builds muscles too!

5 | A big juicy kiss from my baby boy. Being a mom is hard and draining and sometimes I don't know how I'm going to handle one more tantrum or 5:30am wake up call.  But then I ask Parker for a kiss and he comes straight at me with a "mmmm" and big wet one right on my lips. In that moment I'm overwhelmed with how amazing it is to be his mom, how sweet he is and how it is all worth it.

swell staples | flaxseed

Those healthy, easy items that we use all the time and always have on hand.

                    flaxseed sprinkled on oatmeal with strawberries and walnuts.. mmm mmm

                    flaxseed sprinkled on oatmeal with strawberries and walnuts.. mmm mmm

Ground flaxseed |  There's a lot of talk about good fats these days and for good reason (the health benefits are pretty great).  Flaxseeds contain Omega 3 fatty acids that we need to fight off heart disease, diabetes and some forms of cancer. One package of ground flaxseed goes a long way since you can get great benefits from just 1 tbsp per day.  Add it to oatmeal, smoothies, cereal, breakfast cookies... the possibilities are endless.  Since our bodies can't break down a whole flaxseed, make sure you buy it ground, find "flaxseed meal", or grind them up yourself to get the nutritional benefits.  You can buy flaxseed at most grocery stores or even order it online at Amazon.

snack well | 6 minute sweet potato

We could go on and on about sweet potatoes. They're packed with potassium, calcium, folate, beta-carotene and many other nutrients. You love them too, right? But you don’t even have 30 minutes to make your favorite sweet potato fries?  No problem!  Here’s an easy way to prepare sweet potatoes in under 10 minutes.

6 minute sweet potato | Swell Mama

1 | Pierce your sweet potato a few times with a fork or knife

2 | Cook in the microwave 3 minutes on each side. 

3 | Cut open and enjoy for a little snack, a side for lunch or dinner, or let cool and mash up for your littles!

>>> add cinnamon or salt and pepper for a bit more flavor or some natural peanut butter for protein.

Enjoy!