6 Ways To Avoid The Flu This Winter

Flu Season

I must admit, my family and I have been lucky enough to keep the dreaded flu away over the past couple of years. Sure, we’ve all had the odd cold here and there but it has never got to the stage where we are bedridden for days. (Hopefully I haven’t jinxed us by saying that).

Once the flu takes hold, it can certainly stop many people in their tracks. It is spread so easily – in workplaces, in the home, at playcentres etc.

Below, David Smith provides some great tips on avoiding the flu this winter.

By taking a few simple steps each day, you can keep help keep the flu at bay this winter.

1. Keep it Clean

Germs love to live in mess and grime. Keeping the areas that you spend the most amount of time in is essential and this is particularly important for shared spaces such as offices.

Employers should be acting responsibly by investing in proper, daily cleaning services from specialists like AMC Commercial Cleaning to ensure that everything is as clean and hygienic as humanly possible.

2. Don’t underestimate the power of sleep

You can’t work effectively when you are tired and neither can your immune system. Making sure that you get plenty of regular, solid rest is imperative because it will keep your body alert and fighting fit when germs start trying to kick in. There are lots of ways to improve your sleep patterns – cutting down on sugar and caffeine throughout the day is a great place to start.

3. Garlic is your friend
Garlic’s effectiveness at warding off illness is considered a bit of an old wives’ tale but it’s true – garlic is a triple-threat to viruses. Fresh garlic is your best bet as its active ingredient, allicin, will still be present. It evaporates quickly after smashing the clove though so don’t mess around. Use it in your cooking for maximum effect. Home made chicken broth is a perfect home remedy. The garlic, onion, carrot and celery are great anti-inflammatories and can also clear the sinuses.

4. Exercise for immunity
Getting the body moving is a great way to ward off illness because it also circulates important components in your immune system at the same time. Getting regular exercise will allow your body to better fight off infections before they can spread. You don’t even have to be doing a full-blown work out at the gym either – 30 minutes of cardio in the morning is all you need to get the heart pumping!

5. Wash your hands
Keeping yours and your families hands clean is important especially if you want to avoid spreading germs. Germs can spread so quickly – from keyboards, to credit card machines, to trolley handles. Try to use a natural, chemical-free soap for best results. Carrying around a hand sanitiser is a no brainer and be sure to use it several times a day.

6. Keep stress levels under control
Stress, unfortunately, is something many of us have to deal with daily but if you let it overwhelm you, then your body’s going to be far more susceptible to illness and the flu is no exception.

If stress is starting to damage your health, start looking at ways to relax. Reduce your workload, and engage in hobbies and activities that you enjoy. Find something that helps you decompress and embrace it fully. The benefits are substantial.

Have you been struck down by the flu? Please share any tips that have worked for you.

This post has been written in collaboration with AMC Corporate Cleaning.

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How To Start A Running Club At Your Child’s School

Kids fitness

Kids have well and truly settled into school. I am amazed at how quickly these little people adapt to life as school kids and how less reliant they become on their parents. (She says as she wipes away the tears after being denied a kiss and cuddle from her preppie at drop off this morning).

I knew that I wanted to get involved at my son’s school somehow but wasn’t quite sure how. With so many parents already putting their hand up to help on the numeracy and literacy program, I decided to get involved in PE (Physical Education) instead. So I started a running club and you can too.

Below are my top tips on starting a running club at your child’s school.

1. Approach the principal at a convenient time for you both or you could do what I did and bail him/her up in the playground after school.

2. Find out who the PE teacher is and connect with them. Discuss with them your desire to assist in the PE program in some capacity. (ie Starting a running club).

3. Get the PE teacher to send out communication to students and parents (we chose Grade 3-6) to gauge interest. This can be done in the form of an email or letter which clearly states the day and time of the proposed running sessions. Be sure to get written consent by the parent and to ensure that any medical conditions are flagged with you. Put a cut off date on it to ensure that all respondents come back to you by the specified time.

4. To work with children, you will need to apply for a Working With Children’s Check. It is not a difficult process but an important one. Once approved, you will have your WWCC within 10 business days.

5. When all the forms have been signed and returned, you can get started on a program. Knowing the number of participants is important as it will help with the structure of the program. Mine runs for 9 weeks and we have 51 little runners that have signed up. Week to week I cover off something different. For example, one week we focus on intervals, the next sprints, the following continuous running for a set period of time. Variety is key to the success of a running club as it keeps the kids engaged.

6. Goal setting! At the start of the program, I asked each child to come up with a goal. Something that they wanted to achieve by the end of the 9 weeks. It could be to run without stopping for 2kms or to improve their overall time at the school cross country run. Whatever it was they had to go home and write it down and keep it somewhere that they could see it. As a group, each week I get them to set a mini goal that they can achieve together. Last week it was to run 3 laps of the oval without stopping and this week they have increased that goal to 6 times. Giving them the power to come up with the goals themselves encourages team work and it also makes them feel a sense of achievement once they achieve their goals.

7. Keep it FUN! A sure way to get kids to lose interest in a running club is to just make them run and run and run. Kids develop many skills through play so be sure to include lots of games that will still put there running skills to the test. Try different games as a warm up, poison ball, tag, follow the leader. We also incorporate relays into the run club. I divide the group into either 2 or 4 teams then run relays that incorporate running with balancing and all over body conditioning. (burpees, star jumps, ski jumps). Each week I also provide the group with an interesting running fact. They absolutely love it and they all take turns to guess the answer. This is carried out during the warm up.

8. Mix up the location to prevent boredom. We alternate our sessions between the school oval and the neighbouring school oval which is substantially bigger.

9. Praise, praise, praise! Kids love to be told when they’re doing a good job. Throughout the course of the session, be sure to commend them on a job well done. It keeps them motivated and wanting to come back week after week.

10. Always cool down – Cooling down is an important part of any exercise regime and a kids running club is no exception. Our cool down’s always include a range of different stretches that focus on major muscle groups. It’s a great time to congratulate them on a job well done and to discuss goals for the following week.

So there you have it. How to start a school running club. Easy hey? Do you get involved in your child’s school? What have you put your hand up to do?


A Healthy View + Mother’s Day Giveaway

Mothers Day Giveaway

I’ve been in the giveaway kind of mood lately and with Mother’s Day just a few sleeps away, you’re going to love this one.

As many of you know, I was following a Paleoish lifestyle for a while. I don’t dislike it. In fact, I find the meals to be really tasty. I still do. I just found myself in the kitchen more than I wanted to be.

I didn’t get too caught up in the hype of knowing the name of the cow that I was eating nor did I get organic vegetables delivered to my door every single week. I did and do make an effort to purchase free range chicken and eggs (it’s an ethical thing) and I have been known to hang around the meat department at the supermarket and beat anyone off with a stick that tries to grab the grass fed meat that has just gone on sale.

The reason I’ve been so passionate about a healthy lifesyle extends far beyond my own desires to maintain a healthy mind and active body. It’s not just about me anymore.

My health journey has been ongoing for years and to be honest, I was looking for ways to overcome my children’s skin condition, ways to get my weight back to a healthy range post pregnancy and just general inspiration around healthy, clean and SIMPLE recipes that the whole family could enjoy. Let’s face it, I did not inherit my cooking skills from my mum!

Before I had children, I never expected the challenges that I would be faced as a parent. We have three littlies, all with eczema. Our little girl has been affected by it so much and also has anaphylactic reactions to pistachio and cashew nuts. It has not been an easy ride for her nor us.

As a parent, there comes a time where you have to say enough is enough to accepting script after script after script of antibiotics and steroid creams – so I turned to food instead.

I have been questioned by a few people about the way I feed my family, including my mum. “Oh Anita, don’t you think, you’re going a bit far with this whole healthy eating thing?”.

My answer simply is no, I do not. I am just doing what works for me and my family and that’s my message to everyone out there wanting to make changes to their diet.

I have seen a huge difference in the children’s skin by eliminating processed, sugary foods from their diets. The best part is, they don’t complain about eating good food either, well most of the time. I think it’s important to educate our children about the benefits of eating well, and eventually they just get it.

Sure my kids eat junk food sometimes, as do I but we are very clear about what forms the foundation of a healthy diet as well as the repercussions of having a high fat, high sugar diet.

I want my kids to have the tools to be able to be able to make their own decisions about what they do and do not eat. I think we owe it to them.

So many people have their opinion on Pete Evans, (if truth be told he was my pregnancy crush last year), and so do I.

Many of our meals come from his Family Food book and although not every meal has been a success, #ishouldnotbeallowedinthekitchen, we now have some staple family meals that we eat on a regular basis. (Banana loaf, zucchini pesto, chicken satay skewers to name a few).

I think Pete’s a bloody good bloke. I’ve met him a couple of times now and his heart is in the right place.

Anyone out there that is trying to genuinely help improve the lives of others (and there are a truck load out there including myself) are all in the same camp in my opinion, many with differing views and opinions but all with the same goal. How can that be such a bad thing?

Enough about Pete. I want to let you in an amazing Low Sugar Lifestyle that I have discovered and when I say awesome, it’s been tried and tested by moi. It will seriously change yours and your families lives.

A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to win a 28 day eating program (thanks Mumma McD from Toilets aren’t for Turtles)

This Low Sugar Lifestyle was designed by mum and nutritionist, Michele Chevalley Hedge from A Healthy View.

If I’m honest, I was excited to win but a little apprehensive as I’d just signed up to Michelle Bridges 12WBT so there was going to be an overlap with the food component.

I had two weeks to really give this Low Sugar Lifestyle a good go before my 12 week challenge started and I was going to give it my best shot. There are a lot of healthy living programs out there and after watching a brief clip on this one, I was impressed. In fact, I have been so impressed with this program that I have incorporated these meals into my 12WBT.

I recently found out that I am fructose and lactose intolerant so meal times can get tricky, particularly when I have five hungry mouths to feed. Cooking different meals for everyone is not my idea of productive use of time.

Not only has Michele’s Low Sugar Lifestyle worked for me, but my WHOLE family absolutely love the food. The best, best, best part about this program, and this has been the absolute clincher for me, has been how quick, easy and tasty the meals have been.

Each day on the Low Sugar Lifestyle, you are sent a daily bite of useful information from Michele about the way in which you are eating. They are bite-size pieces of information and very easy to digest (pardon the pun).

We are into Week 3 and it’s fair to say that I have finally nailed a simple, fuss free way to eat. The meals are great, the kids are happy and I’ve started my 12WBT but will continue to use the recipes from the Low Sugar Lifestyle.

Take a look at the clip below for more information.

The exciting news is, Michele has kindly offered not ONE but TWO lucky readers the chance to WIN the 28 Day Low Sugar Lifestyle Program. They are valued at $79 each.

All you need to do is tell me in the comments below why you want to win. It’s as simple as that. Winner will be drawn this Sunday 10th May, 2015. (Mothers Day). Winners announced here. The most creative answers will win and the judges decision is final.

Good luck!

This GIVEAWAY has now closed. Congratulations to Benita Husband and Leanne Shea Langdown.


Keeping Families Fit – With Tiffiny Hall

The Premiere’s Active April proved to be a huge success with over 100,000 fitness enthusiasts signing up to get active with their families. If you didn’t get involved, be sure to in 2016.

Now I’ve had the privilege of rubbing shoulders with some of my favourite health and fitness idols recently. #luckyme. I trained with Michelle Bridges last month, interviewed the lovely Susie Burrell and today, I’m excited to share with you an interview with author, Active April ambassador and media presenter, Tiffiny Hall.

Tiff Hall interview

Below Tiffiny shares her tips on family fitness as well as her favourite family recipe.

1. You are an ambassador for Active April. Wow! That’s impressive. What inspired you to get involved?
I am currently filming The Biggest Loser Families, so I see the amazing benefits a family approach to health and fitness can have from one generation to the next every single day. When you create a family culture of clean eating, movement and support, you will find it easier to integrate healthy habits that last. Active April encourages families to be active for the month in many creative ways that makes fitness so much fun for everybody.

2. Family life is busy! What tips would you recommend to get the whole family moving?
Start a family sport or new activity like Taekwondo where you can achieve your black belts together, soccer, hiking, basketball, stand up paddle boarding or surfing.
Set fitness goals as a family, eg. Beat a push up PB, or a 1km run PB, or a 10km family bike ride on a new route or try a new fitness food as a family.
Keep it simple: play tag, a family game of basketball, a family walk with a picnic, a family swim or surf, or hide and seek, jump rope, hop scotch, laser tag, garden or explore a new park.

3. How much exercise should families do on a weekly basis?
I recommend 30 – 40 minutes of activity or movement a day. Weekends you can fit in an hour to do something fun. Playtime should be a big part of exercise, motivation and keeping active.

4. What sort of strategies do you have for family members that are resistant to keeping active?
Find the right ‘fit’ for them. You have to try different fitness ideas. If you have a recalcitrant teen chances are they won’t think it’s cool to go to the gym with you, but perhaps they’ll join a bootcamp with you if you coax their friend’s family to participate, or a dance class with a friend or perhaps they’ll want to enter a race with you like an obstacle race or a gentle 5km for charity. Lead by example, the more active and involved you are as a role model, the more motivated your family members will be.

5. What are your top exercises for primary aged children?
Keep exercise focused on play and games. Tunnel ball, tiggy, races, setting up circuit stations in the back yard that involves the family tramp, skipping ropes, balls and pillow boxing. Also trial new activities like swimming, basketball, soccer, running around a park. You can keep it simple, but as long as you’re being active and involved with them they’ll love it.

6. What does a healthy lifestyle mean to you?

A holistic approach to balanced nutrition, emotional fitness, mental resilience and physical wellness. A healthy lifestyle is all about longevity, energy and being the best I can be so I can give to those I love.

7. If you could recommend 3 top outdoor activities for families, what would they be?

Exploring a new park and playing a game of cricket, football, a circuit, running race or throwing the frisbee with the family dog. I still do this and we love going to the park together for a picnic, barbecue and a family game of soccer.

Beach – swimming, stand up paddle boarding, surfing, beach runs and walks. I grew up going to the beach with my dad teaching me how to surf and beach walks with my mum collecting shells.

Gardening! Teach the kids about nature and the outdoors. Plant some herbs. I’ve built fairy gardens with my little cousins.

8. Do you have a favourite family recipe that you could share?

1 small wholemeal pita bread (about 12 centimetres in diameter)
2 tablespoons tomato passata
¼ red capsicum, thinly sliced
1 button mushroom, sliced
3 cherry tomatoes, halved
¼ cup grated reduced-fat mozzarella
2 tablespoons grated parmesan
1 teaspoon dried oregano

1. Preheat oven to 210 degrees
2. Spread the tomato passata over to pita bread and top with the capsicum, mushroom, tomato, cheeses and oregano
3. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until crisp and golden. YUMMO!

Thanks Tiffiny, you’re an inspiration to many. Thank you for sharing your wise words with us.

So tell me, did you get involved in Active April and who’s your fitness idol?


Portion Control – Size Matters + GIVEAWAY

Growing up, I never really understood the importance of portion control.

I was raised by my Italian father and my Lithuanian mother. One of our core family values was to celebrate each meal together. With four kids, life was busy so it was the only time we really came together and it was nice.

Most nights there was enough food to feed a small army. Dinner usually consisted of entree, main and desert and we weren’t allowed to leave the table until we were finished. Any wonder the family Jack Russell was a little on the podgy side.

Looking back, I wish we weren’t forced to eat everything on our plate because it has stuck with me for life and has contributed to the relationship that I have with food today.

I didn’t have the internet growing up (old duck me), so I didn’t have all of the resources that we have today to help keep us on track with our food, our physical activity, our healthy mindset. Thankfully, sport was something that I became passionate about at a very young age.

Had I not been as active as I was in my adolescent years, I honestly believe that I would be severely overweight today, perhaps even obese.

As a mum to three, the core value of celebrating food together as a family has not changed. I make an effort each night to sit with the kids at the dinner table, talk about our day and we each do a gratitude.

What I don’t force them to do is eat everything on their plate. Old habits die hard though and I still seem to pile the food onto their plates the same way mum used to do with me. I’m working on that.

Most of the time, they finish their meals but I don’t go too hard on them if they don’t.

Variety and the size of our meals is especially important if we are to ensure adequate nutrients and maintain a healthy weight. A simple way to look at it is to make sure that in every meal you are getting enough protein, (a fistful), carbohydrates and good fats. (Don’t forget lots of colourful vegies!).

This where a portion control plate can come in very handy.

If you were to leave your children in charge of preparing the meals, would they know the required amount of macronutrients they need in a meal? Take a look at this for more insight.

The Healthy Active Kids program was created by teachers in partnership with the Australian Institute of Sport and supported by Nestlé Australia. Established in 1999, the program aims to raise awareness of nutrition, health and wellness and promote physical activity among primary school age children.

The site is very interactive and super user friendly. There is a page for teachers, one for families and one for kids. What I really love about it is it provides information on everything from healthy recipes to ideas for indoor and outdoor activities.

Kids can head over to the site and play interactive games and take a quiz on nutrition. Cool hey? You will find engaging lesson plans, fun videos, stimulating worksheets and helpful handouts which will enhance yours and your families understanding of healthy, active living.

In conjunction with Nestle and Healthy Active Kids, I’m excited to be able to offer not 1 but 2 lucky families a portion plate pack.

Portion Plate

To enter, simply like my Lil Busy Bodies Facebook page and tell me in the comments below how your family would benefit from a portion plate pack.

Giveaway closes Friday 8th May at 5pm AEST. (Australian residents only) The most creative entries will win and the judges decision is final.

Good luck and here’s to healthy, active family living!

This giveaway has now closed. Congratulations Renee Wilson and Kathy Bowdlert.

I’m sharing the love thanks to the gorgeous Grace from With Some Grace for FYBF.


Copyright 2013 Fit Mother Hubbard