Carica papaya — also simply known as papaya or pawpaw — is a type of tropical, fruit-bearing tree native to Mexico and northern regions of South America.

Today, papaya is one of the most widely cultivated crops in the world. Its fruit, seeds, and leaves are frequently utilized in a variety of culinary and folk medicine practices.

Papaya leaf contains unique plant compounds that have demonstrated broad pharmacological potential in test-tube and animal studies.

Although human research is lacking, many papaya leaf preparations, such as teas, extracts, tablets, and juices, are often used to treat illnesses and promote health in numerous ways.

Here are 7 emerging benefits and uses of papaya leaf.

1. May treat symptoms related to dengue fever

One of the most prominent medicinal benefits of papaya leaf is its potential to treat certain symptoms associated with dengue fever.

Dengue is a mosquito-borne virus that can be transmitted to humans and cause flu-like symptoms, such as fever, fatigue, headaches, nausea, vomiting, and skin rashes.

Severe cases can also result in reduced platelet levels in the blood. Low platelet levels can contribute to an increased risk of bleeding and are potentially fatal if left untreated.

While there’s currently no cure for dengue, several treatments are available for managing its symptoms — one of which is papaya leaf.

Three human studies that included several hundred people with dengue found that papaya leaf extract significantly increased blood platelet levels.

What’s more, the papaya leaf therapy had very few associated side effects and was found to be much more cost effective than conventional treatments.

2. May promote balanced blood sugar

Papaya leaf is often used in Mexican folk medicine as a natural therapy for treating diabetes and improving blood sugar control.

Studies in mice with diabetes have found papaya leaf extract to have potent antioxidant and blood-sugar-lowering effects. This is attributed to papaya leaf’s ability to protect insulin-producing cells in the pancreas from damage and premature death.

Still, no scientific evidence indicates that the same or similar effects may occur in humans.

More research is needed to determine whether papaya leaf can be used to help manage high blood sugar levels in humans.

3. May support digestive function

Papaya leaf teas and extracts are often used as an alternative therapy to alleviate uncomfortable digestive symptoms, such as gas, bloating, and heartburn.

Papaya leaf contains fiber — a nutrient that supports healthy digestive function — and a unique compound called papain.

Papain is well known for its ability to break down large proteins into smaller, easier-to-digest proteins and amino acids. It’s even used as a meat tenderizer in culinary practices.

One study found that the supplemental use of a papain powder sourced from papaya fruit reduced negative digestive symptoms, including constipation and heartburn, in people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

No scientific studies have specifically evaluated papaya leaf’s ability to treat similar types of digestive disturbances.

Most of the evidence favoring its use for this purpose is limited to anecdotal reports, and there’s no guarantee it’ll improve your digestive function in any way.

4. May have anti-inflammatory effects

Various papaya leaf preparations are frequently used to remedy a broad range of internal and external inflammatory conditions, including skin rashes, muscle aches, and joint pain.

Papaya leaf contains various nutrients and plant compounds with potential anti-inflammatory benefits, such as papain, flavonoids, and vitamin E.

One study found that papaya leaf extract significantly reduced inflammation and swelling in the paws of rats with arthritis.

Yet, no human studies have confirmed these results.

Thus, at this point, scientific evidence is insufficient to determine whether papaya leaf can treat acute or chronic inflammation in humans.

5. May support hair growth

Topical applications of papaya leaf masks and juices are often used to improve hair growth and scalp health, but evidence to support its efficacy for these purposes is extremely limited.

Some research suggests that high levels of oxidative stress in the body may contribute to hair loss. Eating antioxidant-rich foods may help alleviate oxidative stress and subsequently improve hair growth.

Papaya leaf contains several compounds with antioxidant properties, such as flavonoids and vitamin E.

Proponents of using papaya leaf to improve hair growth often cite its rich supply of antioxidants. However, there’s no significant evidence that the topical application of papaya leaves can benefit the hair growth process.

Certain types of dandruff are caused by an overgrowth of a fungus called Malassezia, which can impede hair growth.

Papaya leaf has demonstrated antifungal properties in test-tube studies, so it’s often thought to support hair and scalp health by inhibiting the growth of dandruff-causing fungus.

However, papaya leaf has not been specifically tested against Malassezia, so there’s no guarantee it’ll have beneficial effects.

6. May promote healthy skin

Papaya leaf is frequently consumed orally or applied topically as a way to maintain soft, clear, and youthful-looking skin.

A protein-dissolving enzyme in papaya leaf called papain can be used topically as an exfoliant to remove dead skin cells and potentially reduce the occurrence of clogged pores, ingrown hairs, and acne.

Moreover, papaya leaf enzymes have been used to promote wound healing, and one study found they minimized the appearance of scar tissue in rabbits.

7. May have anticancer properties

Papaya leaf has been used in traditional medicine practices to prevent and treat certain types of cancer, but modern research is still lacking.

Papaya leaf extract has demonstrated a powerful ability to inhibit the growth of prostate and breast cancer cells in test-tube studies, but neither animal nor human experiments have replicated these results.

Although consuming papaya leaves and other antioxidant-rich foods may play a role in cancer prevention, they have not been proven to have any curative abilities.

Safety precautions

Although more research is needed to prove many of the purported benefits of papaya leaf, it has a pretty good safety record.

A 2014 animal study found that papaya leaf had no toxic effects even at very large doses, and human studies have reported very few negative side effects.

That said, if you’re allergic to papaya, you should not consume papaya leaves in any form. Moreover, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you should consult your healthcare provider prior to consuming any papaya leaf preparations.

Although papaya leaf itself is generally considered safe for most people, it’s important that you only choose the highest quality products if you’re purchasing it in supplement form.

Nutritional and herbal supplements are not closely regulated in some countries, including the United States.

Supplement manufacturers do not have to prove the safety or efficacy of their products before they’re sold. As such, they may contain contaminants or other potentially harmful ingredients that aren’t listed on the label.

To avoid any unintended negative consequences, opt for supplements that have been tested for purity by a third-party organization, such as NSF or US Pharmacopoeia.

Dosage

There’s currently not enough evidence to make precise dosage recommendations for each of the possible uses of papaya leaf.

However, taking three doses of up to 1 ounce (30 mL) of papaya leaf extract per day is considered safe and effective for the treatment of dengue fever.

If you’re unsure how much papaya leaf you should consume, consult a qualified healthcare provider.

The bottom line

Papaya is one of the most widely cultivated plants in the world, and its fruit, seeds, and leaves are used for a variety of culinary and medicinal purposes.

Papaya leaf is often consumed as an extract, tea, or juice and has been found to treat symptoms related to dengue fever.

Other common uses include reducing inflammation, improving blood sugar control, supporting skin and hair health, and preventing cancer.

However, there’s not enough evidence available to determine whether it’s effective for any of these purposes.

Papaya leaf is generally considered safe, but it should be avoided if you’re allergic to it.

Always consult your healthcare provider prior to adding any herbal supplements to your health and wellness routine.

Source: Health Line 

Bananas are extremely healthy and delicious.

They contain several essential nutrients and provide benefits for digestion, heart health and weight loss.

Aside from being very nutritious, they are also a highly convenient snack food.

Here are 11 science-based health benefits of bananas.

1. Bananas Contain Many Important Nutrients

Bananas are among the world’s most popular fruits.

Native to Southeast Asia, they are now grown in many warm parts of the world.

Bananas vary in color, size and shape.

The most common type is the Cavendish, which is a type of dessert banana. Green when unripe, it yellows as it matures.

Bananas contain a fair amount of fiber, as well as several antioxidants. One medium-sized banana (118 grams) also boasts:

  • Potassium: 9% of the RDI
  • Vitamin B6: 33% of the RDI
  • Vitamin C: 11% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 8% of the RDI
  • Copper: 10% of the RDI
  • Manganese: 14% of the RDI
  • Net carbs: 24 grams
  • Fiber: 3.1 grams
  • Protein: 1.3 grams
  • Fat: 0.4 grams

Each banana has only about 105 calories and consists almost exclusively of water and carbs. Bananas hold very little protein and almost no fat.

The carbs in green, unripe bananas consist mostly of starch and resistant starch, but as the banana ripens, the starch turns into sugar (glucose, fructose and sucrose).

2. Bananas Contain Nutrients That Moderate Blood Sugar Levels

Bananas are rich in pectin, a type of fiber that gives the flesh its spongy structural form (4).

Unripe bananas contain resistant starch, which acts like soluble fiber and escapes digestion.

Both pectin and resistant starch may moderate blood sugar levels after meals and reduce appetite by slowing the emptying of your stomach.

Furthermore, bananas also rank low to medium on the glycemic index (GI), which is a measure — from 0–100 — of how quickly foods increase blood sugar levels.

The GI value of unripe bananas is about 30, while ripe bananas rank at about 60. The average value of all bananas is 51.

This means that bananas should not cause major spikes in blood sugar levels in healthy individuals.

However, this may not apply to people with type 2 diabetes, who should probably avoid eating a lot of well-ripened bananas — and monitor their blood sugar carefully if they do.

3. Bananas May Improve Digestive Health

Dietary fiber has been linked to many health benefits, including improved digestion.

A medium-sized banana has about 3 grams of fiber, making bananas a fairly good fiber source.

Bananas contain two main types of fiber:

  • Pectin: Decreases as the banana ripens.
  • Resistant starch: Found in unripe bananas.

Resistant starch escapes digestion and ends up in your large intestine, where it becomes food for the beneficial bacteria in your gut.

Additionally, some test-tube studies propose that pectin may help protect against colon cancer.

4. Bananas May Aid Weight Loss

No study has directly tested the effects of bananas on weight loss. However, bananas do have several attributes that should make them a weight-loss-friendly-food.

For starters, bananas have relatively few calories. An average banana has just over 100 calories — yet it is also very nutritious and filling.

Eating more fiber from vegetables and fruits like bananas has repeatedly been linked to lower body weight and weight loss. Furthermore, unripe bananas are packed with resistant starch, so they tend to be very filling and may reduce your appetite.

5. Bananas May Support Heart Health

Potassium is a mineral that is essential for heart health — especially blood pressure control.

Despite its importance, few people get enough potassium in their diet.

Bananas are a great dietary source of potassium. One medium-sized banana (118 grams) contains 9% of the RDI.

A potassium-rich diet can help lower blood pressure, and people who eat plenty of potassium have up to a 27% lower risk of heart disease.

Furthermore, bananas contain a decent amount of magnesium, which is also important for heart health.

6. Bananas Contain Powerful Antioxidants

Fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of dietary antioxidants, and bananas are no exception.

They contain several types of potent antioxidants, including dopamine and catechins.

These antioxidants are linked to many health benefits, such as a reduced risk of heart disease and degenerative illnesses.

However, it is a common misunderstanding that the dopamine from bananas acts as a feel-good chemical in your brain.

In reality, dopamine from bananas does not cross the blood-brain barrier. It simply acts as a strong antioxidant instead of altering hormones or mood.

7. Bananas May Help You Feel More Full

Resistant starch is a type of indigestible carb — found in unripe bananas and other foods — which functions like soluble fiber in your body.

As a rule of thumb, you can estimate that the greener the banana, the higher its resistant starch content.

On the other hand, yellow, ripe bananas contain lower amounts of resistant starch and total fiber — but proportionally higher amounts of soluble fiber.

Both pectin and resistant starch offer appetite-reducing effects and increase the feeling of fullness after meals.

8. Unripe Bananas May Improve Insulin Sensitivity

Insulin resistance is a major risk factor for many of the world’s most serious diseases, including type 2 diabetes.

Several studies reveal that 15–30 grams of resistant starch per day may improve insulin sensitivity by 33–50% in as few as four weeks.

Unripe bananas are a great source of resistant starch. Therefore, they may help improve insulin sensitivity.

However, the reason for these effects is not well understood, and not all studies agree on the matter.

More studies should be conducted on bananas and insulin sensitivity.

9. Bananas May Improve Kidney Health

Potassium is essential for blood pressure control and healthy kidney function.

As a good dietary source of potassium, bananas may be especially beneficial for maintaining healthy kidneys.

One 13-year study in women determined that those who ate bananas 2–3 times per week were 33% less likely to develop kidney disease.

Other studies note that those who eat bananas 4–6 times a week are almost 50% less likely to develop kidney disease than those who don’t eat this fruit.

10. Bananas May Have Benefits for Exercise

Bananas are often referred to as the perfect food for athletes largely due to their mineral content and easily digested carbs.

Eating bananas may help reduce exercise-related muscle cramps and soreness, which affect up to 95% of the general population.

The reason for the cramps is largely unknown, but a popular theory blames a mixture of dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.

However, research gives mixed findings about bananas and muscle cramps. While some studies find them helpful, others find no effects.

That said, bananas do provide excellent nutrition before, during and after endurance exercise.

11. Bananas Are Easy to Add to Your Diet

Not only are bananas incredibly healthy — they’re also one of the most convenient snack foods around.

Bananas make a great addition to yogurt, cereal and smoothies. You can even use them instead of sugar in your baking and cooking.

Furthermore, bananas rarely contain any pesticides or pollutants due to their thick protective peel.

Bananas are incredibly easy to eat and transport. They are usually well-tolerated and easily digested — they simply have to be peeled and eaten.

It doesn’t get much easier than that.

The Bottom Line

Bananas are a popular fruit that happens to provide numerous health benefits.

Among other things, they may boost digestive and heart health due to their fiber and antioxidant content.

They may even aid weight loss, as they’re relatively low-calorie and nutrient-dense.

Ripe bananas are a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth. What’s more, both yellow and green bananas can keep you healthy and feeling full.

Source: Health Line

Bloating is when your belly feels swollen after eating.

It is usually caused by excess gas production or disturbances in the movement of the muscles of the digestive system.

Bloating can often cause pain, discomfort and a “stuffed” feeling. It can also make your stomach look bigger.

“Bloating” is not the same as water retention, but the two terms are often used interchangeably. Put simply, bloating involves excessive amounts of solids, liquids or gas in your digestive system.

However, in some people, bloating is caused mostly by increased sensitivity. It just feels as if there is increased pressure in the abdomen, even though there isn’t.

About 16–30% of people report that they regularly experience bloating, so this is very common.

Although bloating is sometimes caused by serious medical conditions, it is most often caused by the diet and some foods or ingredients you are intolerant to.

Here are 11 proven ways to reduce or eliminate bloating.

1. Don’t Eat Too Much at a Time

Being stuffed can feel like being bloated, but the problem is that you simply ate too much.

If you’re eating big meals and tend to feel uncomfortable afterward, then try smaller portions. Add another daily meal if necessary.

A subset of people who experience bloating don’t really have an enlarged stomach or increased pressure in the abdomen. The issue is mostly sensory.

A person with a tendency to be bloated will experience discomfort from a smaller amount of food than a person who rarely feels bloated.

For this reason, simply eating smaller meals can be incredibly useful.

Chewing your food better can have a two-fold effect. It reduces the amount of air you swallow with the food (a cause of bloating), and it also makes you eat slower, which is linked to reduced food intake and smaller portions.

2. Rule Out Food Allergies and Intolerances to Common Foods

Food allergies and intolerances are relatively common.

When you eat foods that you are intolerant to, it can cause excess gas production, bloating and other symptoms.

Here are some common foods and ingredients to consider:

  • Lactose: Lactose intolerance is associated with many digestive symptoms, including bloating. Lactose is the main carbohydrate in milk.
  • Fructose: Fructose intolerance can lead to bloating.
  • Eggs: Gas and bloating are common symptoms of egg allergy.
  • Wheat and gluten: Many people are intolerant to gluten, a protein in wheat, spelt, barley and some other grains. This can lead to various adverse effects on digestion, including bloating.

Both lactose and fructose are a part of a larger group of indigestible carbs or fiber known as FODMAPs. FODMAP intolerance is one of the most common causes of bloating and abdominal pain.

If you strongly suspect that you have a food allergy or intolerance, see a doctor.

3. Avoid Swallowing Air and Gases

There are two sources of gas in the digestive system.

One is gas produced by the bacteria in the gut. The other is air or gas that is swallowed when you eat or drink. The biggest offender here is carbonated beverages like soda or fizzy drinks.

They contain bubbles with carbon dioxide, a gas that can be released from the liquid after it reaches your stomach.

Chewing gum, drinking through a straw and eating while talking or while in a hurry can also lead to increased amounts of swallowed air.

4. Don’t Eat Foods That Give You Gas

Some high-fiber foods can make people produce large amounts of gas.

Major players include legumes like beans and lentils, as well as some whole grains.

Try keeping a food diary to figure out if certain foods tend to make you more gassy or bloated than others.

Fatty foods can also slow down digestion and the emptying of the stomach. This can have benefits for satiety (and possibly help with weight loss), but can be a problem for people with a tendency to bloat.

Try eating less beans and fatty foods to see if it helps.

5. Try a Low-FODMAP Diet

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is the most common digestive disorder in the world.

It has no known cause, but is believed to affect about 14% of people, most of which are undiagnosed.

Common symptoms include bloating, abdominal pain, discomfort, diarrhea and/or constipation.

The majority of IBS patients experience bloating, and about 60% of them report bloating as their worst symptom, scoring even higher than abdominal pain.

Numerous studies have shown that indigestible carbohydrates called FODMAPs can drastically exacerbate symptoms in IBS patients.

A low-FODMAP diet has been shown to lead to major reductions in symptoms such as bloating, at least in IBS patients.

If you have problems with bloating, with or without other digestive symptoms, a low-FODMAP diet may be a good way to fix it.

Here are some common high-FODMAP foods:

  • Wheat
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Artichokes
  • Beans
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Watermelon

This diet can be difficult to follow if you’re used to eating many of these foods, but may be worth trying out if you have bloating or other digestive problems.

6. Be Careful With Sugar Alcohols

Sugar alcohols are commonly found in sugar-free foods and chewing gums.

These sweeteners are generally considered to be safe alternatives to sugar.

However, they may cause digestive problems in high amounts. The bacteria in your large intestine digest them and produce gas.

Sugar alcohols are actually FODMAPs as well, so they are excluded on a low-FODMAP diet.

Try avoiding sugar alcohols like xylitol, sorbitol and mannitol. The sugar alcohol erythritol may be better tolerated than the others, but it can also cause digestive issues in large doses.

7. Take Digestive Enzyme Supplements

Certain over-the-counter products may also help with bloating, such as supplemental enzymes that can help break down indigestible carbohydrates.

Notable ones include:

  • Lactase: An enzyme that breaks down lactose, which is useful for people with lactose intolerance.
  • Beano: Contains the enzyme alpha-galactosidase, which can help break down indigestible carbohydrates from various foods.

In many cases, these types of supplements can provide almost immediate relief.

8. Don’t Be Constipated

Constipation is a very common digestive problem, and can have many different causes.

Studies show that constipation can often exacerbate symptoms of bloating.

Getting more soluble fiber is often recommended for constipation.

However, increasing fiber needs to be done with caution for people who have gas and/or bloating, because fiber can often make things worse.

You might want to try drinking more water or increasing your physical activity, both of which can be effective against constipation

9. Take Probiotics

Gas produced by the bacteria in the intestine is a major contributor to bloating.

There are many different types of bacteria that reside there, and they can vary between individuals.

It seems logical that the number and type of bacteria could have something to do with gas production, and there are some studies to support this.

Several clinical studies have shown that certain probiotic supplements can help reduce gas production and bloating in people with digestive problems.

However, other studies showed that probiotics can help reduce gas, but not symptoms of bloating.

This may depend on the individual, as well as the type of probiotic strain used.

Probiotic supplements can have numerous other benefits, so they are definitely worth trying out.

They can take a while to start working though, so be patient.

10. Peppermint Oil Can Help

Bloating may also be caused by altered function of the muscles in the digestive tract.

Drugs called antispasmodics, which can help reduce muscle spasms, have been shown to be of use.

Peppermint oil is a natural substance that is believed to function in a similar way.

11. See a Doctor to Rule Out a Chronic and/or Serious Condition

If you have chronic bloating that causes severe problems in your life, or becomes a lot worse all of a sudden, definitely see a doctor.

There is always the possibility of some serious medical condition, and diagnosing digestive problems can be complicated.

However, in many cases, bloating can be reduced — or even eliminated — with simple changes in diet.

 

Source: HealthLine

Meal planning can seem like a daunting task, especially when you’re on a budget.

What’s more, coming up with delicious, nutritious, and kid-friendly meals can be quite the balancing act.

Still, plenty of recipes are not only scrumptious and nutritious for the whole family but can also get your kids engaged in the kitchen. Moreover, it’s possible to do all your shopping at once instead of constantly stepping out to the store.

Monday

Breakfast

Egg sandwiches with sliced oranges

Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs (one per sandwich)
  • 4 whole grain English muffins
  • Cheddar cheese, sliced or shredded
  • 1 tomato (one slice per sandwich)
  • lettuce
  • 2 oranges (slice up and serve as a side)

Instructions: Crack each egg and add gently to an oiled or nonstick pan over medium heat. Cook until the whites have turned opaque. Gently place a spatula underneath, flip the eggs, and cook for another minute or so.

While the eggs are cooking, cut the English muffins in half and toast them until golden brown. Add the egg, cheese, tomato, and lettuce to one half, then place the other half on top and serve.

Tip: It’s easy to expand this recipe to yield more servings. Simply add additional eggs and English muffins as needed.

Lunch

Lettuce wraps with milk

Ingredients:

  • Bibb lettuce
  • 2 bell peppers, sliced
  • matchstick carrots
  • 2 avocados
  • 1 block (350 grams) of extra firm tofu
  • 1 teaspoon of mayonnaise, sriracha, or other condiments as desired
  • 1 cup (240 mL) of cow’s milk or soy milk per person

Instructions: Slice the tofu, peppers, carrots, and avocado. On a large lettuce leaf, add the mayonnaise and other condiments. Next, add the vegetables and tofu, though try not to add too many ingredients to each leaf. Finally, tightly roll the lettuce leaf with the ingredients inside.

Note: Cooking the tofu is optional. Tofu can safely be eaten from the package. If you choose to cook it, add it to a lightly oiled pan and fry until golden brown.

Tip: For a fun family event, prepare all the ingredients and place them on a serving platter. Allow your family members to prepare their own wraps. You can also swap out the tofu for chicken or turkey slices.

Snack

Sliced apples and peanut butter

Ingredients:

  • 4 apples, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons (32 grams) of peanut butter per person

Dinner

Rotisserie chicken with roasted vegetables

Ingredients:

  • store-bought rotisserie chicken
  • Yukon Gold potatoes, chopped
  • carrots, sliced
  • 1 cup (175 grams) of broccoli, chopped
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 tablespoons (45 mL) of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) of Dijon mustard
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt, pepper, and pepper flakes to taste

Instructions: Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). In a bowl, mix the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, garlic, and spices. Place the vegetables on a baking pan and drizzle them with this mixture, then bake them for 40 minutes or until crispy and tender. Serve with chicken.

Tip: Refrigerate the leftover chicken for tomorrow.

Tuesday

Breakfast

Oatmeal with fruit

Ingredients:

  • 4 instant packets of plain oatmeal
  • 2 cups (142 grams) of frozen berries
  • 3 tablespoons (30 grams) of hemp seeds (optional)
  • a handful of chopped walnuts (optional)
  • brown sugar (to taste)
  • 1 cup (240 mL) of milk or soy milk per person

Instructions: Cook instant oatmeal in a large pot using water or milk as the base, following packet instructions for measurements. Just before it’s ready, mix in the frozen berries. Serve with 1 cup (240 mL) of milk or soy milk.

Lunch

Chicken sandwiches with tomato soup

Ingredients:

  • leftover chicken (from the day before) or sliced deli chicken
  • 4 whole grain ciabatta buns
  • lettuce, torn
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • Cheddar cheese
  • mayonnaise, mustard, or other condiments as desired
  • 2 cans (10 ounces or 294 mL) of low sodium tomato soup

Instructions: Follow the directions on the tomato soup package, which may require stovetop cooking. For additional protein, use milk or soy milk instead of water.

Tip: You can let your family members make their own sandwiches. If you don’t have leftover chicken from Monday, use sliced deli chicken instead.

Snack

Hummus and sliced veggies

Ingredients:

  • 1 large English cucumber, sliced
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 package of hummus

Tip: To get your kids involved, let them choose the type of vegetables.

Dinner

Vegetarian tacos

Ingredients:

  • 4–6 soft- or hard-shell tacos
  • 1 can (19 ounces or 540 grams) of black beans, rinsed well
  • Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • lettuce, shredded
  • salsa
  • sour cream
  • taco seasoning

Wednesday

Breakfast

Cheerios with fruit

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (27 grams) of plain Cheerios (or similar brand)
  • 1 cup (240 mL) of cow’s milk or soy milk
  • 1 banana, sliced (per person)

Tip: While you can use other types of milk, soy and dairy milk have the highest protein content.

Lunch

Egg salad sandwiches with grapes

Ingredients:

  • 8 slices of whole wheat bread
  • 6 hard boiled eggs
  • 3 tablespoons (45 mL) of store-bought or homemade mayonnaise
  • 1–2 teaspoons (5–10 mL) of Dijon mustard
  • 4 lettuce leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup (151 grams) of grapes per person

Instructions: Peel the hard-boiled eggs and cut them into quarters. In a medium-sized bowl, add the eggs, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper. Using a fork, mix the eggs and condiments. Make sandwiches using the whole wheat bread and lettuce.

Snack

Air-popped popcorn with drizzled dark chocolate

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup (96 grams) of popcorn kernels
  • 1 cup (175 grams) of dark chocolate chips, melted

Tip: If you don’t own an air popper, simply add 2–3 tablespoons (30–45 mL) of olive or coconut oil to a large pot, then the popcorn kernels. Place a lid on top and cook until almost all of the kernels have stopped popping. Watch it carefully to avoid burning.

Dinner

Pasta with tomato sauce, ground turkey, and veggies

Ingredients:

  • 1 package (900 grams) of macaroni or rotini noodles
  • 1 jar (15 ounces or 443 mL) of tomato sauce
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup (175 grams) of broccoli, chopped
  • 1 pound (454 grams) of lean ground turkey
  • Parmesan cheese, to taste

Instructions: While the pasta is cooking, add ground turkey to a large pan and cook it over medium heat. Prepare the vegetables and add them to the pan. Pour in the tomato sauce near the end. Drain the noodles, add the sauce, and serve.

Tip: Make an extra batch of noodles or save extras for leftovers tomorrow.

Thursday

Breakfast

Whole wheat bagel with peanut butter and banana

Ingredients:

  • 4 whole wheat bagels
  • 1–2 tablespoons (16–32 grams) of peanut butter
  • 4 bananas

Tip: Give your kids a glass of cow’s milk or soy milk for additional protein.

Lunch

Pasta salad

Ingredients:

  • 4–6 cups (630–960 grams) of cooked, leftover pasta
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 English cucumber, chopped
  • 1 cup (150 grams) of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup (73 grams) of black olives, pitted and halved
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 ounces (113 grams) of feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) of olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons (45 mL) of red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) orange or lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • red pepper flakes (to taste)

Instructions: In a medium bowl, mix the olive oil, red wine vinegar, orange or lemon juice, honey, black pepper, salt, and red pepper flakes. Set aside. Prepare the veggies raw and stir them into the cooked pasta in a large bowl. Add dressing and stir well.

Snack

Boiled eggs and celery sticks

Ingredients:

  • 8 hard-boiled eggs
  • celery sticks, chopped

Dinner

Homemade burgers with french fries

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound (454 grams) of ground beef
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • 1 package (2.2 pounds or 1 kg) of cut french fries
  • Monterey Jack cheese slices
  • lettuce leaves
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • several pickles, sliced
  • mayonnaise, mustard, relish, ketchup, vinegar, or other condiments as desired
  • salt, pepper, and other spices to taste

Instructions: Prepare 4 patties with the ground beef, salt, pepper, and other spices. Place them on a baking sheet and bake them at 425°F (218°C) for 15 minutes. Prepare the toppings and place them on a serving tray. Cook the french fries according to package instructions.

Tip: Allow your kids to choose their own toppings and dress their own burgers.

Friday

Breakfast

Cottage cheese with fruit

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (210 grams) of cottage cheese per person
  • strawberries, sliced
  • blueberries
  • kiwi, sliced
  • drizzle of honey (optional)

Tip: Allow your kids to mix and match the fruit of their choice.

Lunch

Mini pizzas

Ingredients:

  • 4 whole wheat English muffins
  • 4 tablespoons (60 mL) of tomato sauce
  • 16 slices of pepperoni (or other protein)
  • 1 cup (56 grams) of shredded cheese
  • 1 tomato, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 of an onion, diced
  • 1 handful of baby spinach

Instructions: Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Cut the English muffins in half, then add the tomato sauce, pepperoni, cheese, tomato, onion, and spinach. Bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese has melted.

Tip: To involve your children, allow them to assemble their own pizzas.

Snack

Fruit smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1–2 cups (197–394 grams) of frozen berries
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup (250 mL) of Greek yogurt
  • 1–2 cups (250–500 mL) of water
  • 3 tablespoons (30 grams) of hemp seeds (optional)

Instructions: In a blender, add the water and Greek yogurt. Next, add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.

Dinner

Tofu stir-fry

Ingredients:

  • 1 block (350 grams) of extra firm tofu, cubed
  • 2 cups (185 grams) of instant brown rice
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 cup (175 grams) of broccoli, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1–2 tablespoons (15–30 grams) of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1–2 tablespoons (15–30 mL) of honey (or to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) of red wine vinegar or orange juice
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) of sesame oil or vegetable oil

Instructions: Prepare the brown rice according to box instructions. While it’s cooking, slice the veggies and tofu and set them aside. To make the sauce, mix the ginger, garlic, honey, soy sauce, oil, and red wine vinegar or orange juice in a medium-sized bowl.

In a large, oiled skillet, cook the tofu until light brown. Remove from heat and place on a paper towel. Add the broccoli, pepper, onion, carrots, and 1/4 of the stir fry sauce to the skillet. Cook until tender, then add the cooked tofu, rice, and remaining sauce to the skillet.

Tip: You can use any leftover veggies in the stir fry to reduce food waste.

Saturday

Breakfast

Baked frittata

Ingredients:

  • 8 eggs
  • 1/2 cup (118 mL) of water
  • 1 cup (175 grams) of broccoli
  • 2 cups (60 grams) of baby spinach
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup (56 grams) of shredded cheese
  • 1 teaspoon of thyme
  • salt, pepper, and pepper flakes to taste

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Whisk the eggs, water, and spices in a bowl.
  3. Lightly oil a large skillet, cast-iron pan, or oven-safe pan with cooking spray.
  4. While the oven is preheating, sauté the veggies in a skillet or pan over medium heat.
  5. After a few minutes, add the egg mixture to the pan. Cook for 1–2 minutes or until the bottom is cooked and the top is beginning to bubble.
  6. Sprinkle grated cheese on top.
  7. Bake it in the oven for 8–10 minutes or until done. To check, place a cake tester or knife in the center of the frittata. If the egg continues to run, leave it for another few minutes and retest.

Lunch

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with strawberries

Ingredients:

  • 8 slices of whole wheat bread
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of peanut butter or nut-free butter
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of jam
  • 1 cup (152 grams) of strawberries per person

Snack

Turkey roll-ups

Ingredients:

  • 8 mini soft-shell tortillas
  • 8 slices of turkey
  • 2 medium avocados (or a package of guacamole)
  • 1 cup (56 grams) of shredded cheese
  • 1 cup (30 grams) of baby spinach

Instructions: Lay tortilla shells flat and spread avocado or guacamole on top. Next, add one slice of turkey, baby spinach, and shredded cheese to each tortilla. Roll the tortilla tightly and cut in half.

Tip: To keep the roll-ups from falling apart, add a toothpick. Be sure to remove the toothpick before serving it to small children.

Dinner

Homemade chili

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound (454 grams) of ground beef
  • 1 can (19 ounces or 540 grams) red kidney beans, rinsed
  • 1 can (14 ounces or 400 grams) of stewed tomatoes
  • 1 jar (15 ounces or 443 mL) of tomato sauce
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 cups (475 mL) of low sodium beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) of chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • shredded cheese (optional as a garnish)

Instructions: In a large soup pot, sauté the onions in oil until translucent. Next, add the ground beef to the pot, breaking it apart with a wooden spoon. Cook until the meat has browned. Add all spices, tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes, and red kidney beans.

Next, add the broth and bring it to a bowl. Reduce the temperature to medium heat and cook for 30 minutes. Top with cheese if desired.

Sunday

Brunch

French toast and fruit

Ingredients:

  • 6–8 eggs
  • 8 slices of whole wheat bread
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (151 grams) of blackberries or strawberries, frozen or fresh
  • maple syrup (to taste)

Instructions: In a wide bowl, whisk the eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla extract until combined and fluffy. Oil a large skillet with butter or oil and bring it to medium heat. Place the bread into the egg mixture and coat each side. Fry both sides of the bread until golden brown.

Repeat this process until all the bread is cooked. Serve with fruit and maple syrup.

Tip: For an extra treat, top with whipped cream or powdered sugar.

Snack

Cheese, crackers, and grapes

Ingredients:

  • 5 whole grain crackers per person
  • 2 ounces (50 grams) of Cheddar cheese, sliced (per person)
  • 1/2 cup (50 grams) of grapes

Tip: Many crackers are made with refined flours, oils, and sugar. For a healthier option, select 100% whole grain crackers.

Dinner

Quesadillas

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium-sized soft-shell tortillas
  • 1 pound (454 grams) of boneless chicken breasts, sliced
  • 2 red bell peppers, sliced
  • 1/2 of a red onion, chopped
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 cup (56 grams) of Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup (56 grams) of Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 package of taco seasoning
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil, as needed
  • sour cream, as needed
  • salsa, as needed

Instructions: Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). In a large skillet, add the oil, peppers, and onion. Cook them for about 5 minutes. Add the chicken and spices and fry until completely cooked through and golden on the outside.

Place each tortilla shell on a baking tray. Add the cooked veggies and chicken to one side of the tortillas, then top with avocado and cheese. Fold the other side of the tortilla over. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with sour cream and salsa.

Tip: For a vegetarian option, you can use black beans instead of chicken.

Shopping list

The following list can be used as a shopping guide to help you gather groceries for this 1-week meal plan. You may need to adjust the portions depending on the size and needs of your family.

Vegetables and fruit

  • 4 medium tomatoes
  • 1 package of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 bunch of celery
  • 1 package of baby spinach
  • 1 large head of Bibb lettuce
  • 2 oranges
  • 2 large English cucumbers
  • 1 large piece of ginger
  • 2 packages of strawberries
  • 1 package of blueberries
  • 1 package of blackberries
  • 2 kiwis
  • 6 bell peppers
  • 1 pack of matchstick carrots
  • 5 avocados
  • 1–2 heads of broccoli
  • 7 yellow onions
  • 2 red onions
  • 4 bulbs of garlic
  • 3 large carrots
  • 1 bag of Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 1 large bag of frozen berries
  • 1 bunch of bananas
  • 1 large bag of grapes
  • 1 jar of black olives
  • 1 jug (33 fluid ounces or 1 liter) of orange juice

Grains and carbs

  • 8 whole grain English muffins
  • 4 packets of plain, instant oatmeal
  • 1 bag of hemp seeds (optional)
  • 2 loaves of whole wheat bread
  • 1 package (900 grams) of macaroni or rotini noodles
  • 1 package of whole wheat bagels
  • 4 whole grain ciabatta buns
  • 1 package of hamburger buns
  • 1 package of instant brown rice
  • 1 package of mini soft tortillas
  • 1 package of medium-sized soft-shell tortillas
  • 1 box of whole grain crackers
  • 6 hard-shell tacos

Dairy

  • 2 dozen eggs
  • 2 blocks (450 grams) of Cheddar cheese
  • 1.5 gallons (6 liters) of cow’s or soy milk
  • 4 ounces (113 grams) of feta cheese
  • 1 package of Monterey Jack cheese slices
  • 24 ounces (650 grams) of cottage cheese
  • 24 ounces (650 grams) of Greek yogurt

Proteins

  • 2 blocks (500 grams) of extra firm tofu
  • 1 store-bought rotisserie chicken
  • 1 can (19 ounces or 540 grams) of black beans
  • 1 can (19 ounces or 540 grams) of red kidney beans
  • 1 pound (454 grams) of ground turkey
  • 2 pounds (900 grams) of ground beef
  • 1 pound (450 grams) of boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 package of pepperoni slices
  • 1 package of turkey slices

Canned and packaged items

  • 2 cans of low sodium tomato soup
  • 1 can (14 ounces or 400 grams) of stewed tomatoes
  • 2 jars (30 ounces or 890 mL) of tomato sauce
  • 1 bag of chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1 package of hummus
  • 1 box of original, plain Cheerios (or similar brand)
  • 1/2 cup (96 grams) of popcorn kernels
  • 1 cup (175 grams) of dark chocolate chips
  • 1 jar of peanut butter
  • 1 jar of strawberry jam
  • 1 package (2.2 pounds or 1 kg) of cut french fries
  • 2 cups (500 mL) of low sodium beef broth

Pantry staples

Since these items are usually pantry staples, you may not need to buy them. Still, it’s best to review your pantry inventory before shopping.

  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • red wine vinegar
  • Dijon mustard
  • mayonnaise
  • sriracha
  • salt
  • honey
  • pepper
  • thyme
  • soy sauce
  • sesame oil
  • vegetable oil
  • pepper flakes
  • brown sugar
  • salsa
  • sour cream
  • taco seasoning
  • Parmesan cheese
  • pickles
  • chili powder
  • garlic powder
  • cumin
  • cayenne pepper
  • cinnamon
  • nutmeg
  • vanilla extract
  • maple syrup

The bottom line

Coming up with a weeklong meal plan that meets the needs of your whole family can be tricky.

Notably, this 1-week meal plan provides your family with delicious, nutritious, and kid-friendly meals. Use the shopping list as a reference and adjust it based on your family’s needs and budget. When possible, involve your kids and other family members in cooking.

At the end of the week, ask your family members which meals they liked best. You can then revise this list or use it again for another week.

Source: Health Line

If the idea of a home workout makes you yawn, think again!

When executed correctly, using just your body weight can give you a run for your money.

So, whether the gym isn’t your thing or you’re short on time, clear out a space in the living room and prepare to sweat.

The 30 bodyweight moves we’ve detailed below can be scaled for beginner, intermediate, and advanced exercisers, so start where you feel ready and progress from there.

Beginner routine

Our 10 picks for beginner bodyweight exercises will provide a full-body workout.

Complete 2 sets of 10 to 15 reps of each exercise, with 1 minute of rest between each move.

This circuit should take about 15 minutes — a great beginner routine.

Bridge

Activate your core and posterior chain (a fancy term for the backside of your body) with a bridge. This is a great exercise to use as a warmup.

Directions:

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor, and your arms extended by your sides.
  2. Pushing through your feet and bracing your core, raise your bottom off the ground until your hips are fully extended, squeezing your glutes at the top.
  3. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat.

Chair squat

Squat to strengthen your legs and core, which will make everyday movements easier. Starting with a chair underneath you will help you master proper form.

Directions:

  1. Stand in front of the chair with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointed slightly out.
  2. Hinging at your hips and bending your knees, lower back and down until your bottom touches the chair, allowing your arms to extend out in front of you.
  3. Push up through your heels and return to the starting position.

Knee pushup

A beginner-style pushup, this move will help you build strength before attempting a standard pushup.

Directions:

  1. Get into a high plank position from your knees.
  2. Maintaining a straight line from your head to your knees, bend your elbows to lower yourself down to the ground. Keep your elbows at a 45-degree angle.
  3. Push back up to start.

Stationary lunge

Hit your quads, hamstrings, and glutes with a stationary lunge.

Directions:

  1. Split your stance with your right leg in front. Your right foot should be flat on the ground, and your left foot should be up on its toes.
  2. Bend your knees and lunge, stopping when your right thigh is parallel to the ground.
  3. Push up through your right foot to return to the starting position. Repeat for desired number of reps, then switch legs.

Plank to Downward Dog

This move will test your upper body, especially your shoulders. Who says you need weights for a shoulder workout?

Directions:

  1. Get into a high plank position, with your hands stacked underneath your shoulders and your feet close together.
  2. Keeping your core engaged and your hands and feet stationary, pike your hips up and back into the Downward Dog pose. Your body should form a triangle with the ground. Keep your neck neutral. Your gaze should be directed toward your feet.
  3. Hold here for a second, then return to the plank. Repeat.

Straight-leg donkey kick

Build those glutes with donkey kicks.

Directions:

  1. Get on all fours, with your hands aligned with your shoulders and your knees aligned with your hips.
  2. Keeping your back straight, push your right foot out to the imaginary wall behind you while keeping your leg straight.
  3. Your foot should remain flexed (toes pointing down to the floor) throughout. Take care to keep your hips square to the ground. Squeeze your buttocks at the top.
  4. Return to the starting position. Repeat for the desired number of reps. Repeat on the other leg.

Bird Dog

A full-body move that requires balance and stability, the Bird Dog pose is easily scalable to your ability level. Start with this version if you’re a beginner.

Directions:

  1. Get on all fours, ensuring your hands are directly underneath your shoulders and your knees are underneath your hips.
  2. Keeping your neck neutral, simultaneously extend your left arm and right leg, keeping your hips square to the ground. Pause here for 2 seconds.
  3. Return to the start position. Repeat with your right arm and left leg.

Forearm plank

A full-body exercise that requires strength and balance, planks put the core into overdrive.

Directions:

  1. Assume a plank position on your forearms. Your body should form a straight line from head to feet.
  2. Ensure your lower back and hips don’t sag. Hold the position for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Side-lying hip abduction

You may not think about strengthening your hip muscles until they start to bother you, but please reconsider!

This is especially the case if you sit all day. Counteracting that with hip-targeting movements will be very beneficial.

Directions:

  1. Lie on your left side, with your left leg straight, right leg straight, and right foot resting on the ground.
  2. Lift your right leg up, maintaining the position of your body. Make sure your hips don’t open up.
  3. Return to the start position. Repeat for the desired number of reps, then do the other side.

Bicycle crunch

Although you’ll work your core with almost all of these strength exercises, a targeted ab move doesn’t hurt.

Directions:

  1. Lie on your back and bring your legs to a tabletop position. Bend your elbows, and put your hands behind your head.
  2. Crunch up and bring your right elbow to your left knee, straightening your right leg.
  3. Release the crunch slightly. Bend your right leg and straighten your left leg, then bring your left elbow to your right knee.
  4. Repeat for the desired number of reps.

Intermediate routine

If you’ve mastered the beginner routine, you’re ready to take on these intermediate moves.

Complete 2 sets of 10 to 15 reps of each exercise below, then move on to the next after 1 minute of rest.

An alternative, more advanced approach is to complete timed rounds. For instance, complete 1 minute of each exercise and repeat the circuit twice.

Compete against yourself to get just 1 or 2 more reps each time you complete the routine.

Single-leg bridge

Any time you take an exercise to a single leg, you’ll automatically make it harder.

Here, follow the steps for a bridge, but lift one foot off the ground while keeping your leg bent for an intermediate challenge.

Complete the same number of reps on each side.

Squat

Taking out the chair allows you to master the form of a regular bodyweight squat.

The same motion is still applicable here, though. Imagine you’re sitting down in a chair by hinging at the hips and pushing your bottom back.

Pushup

A standard pushup is the more challenging version of a knee pushup. Assume a high plank position and complete the pushup in the same way, allowing your elbows to flare out at a 45-degree angle.

Walking lunge

By traveling instead of staying stationary in a lunge, you’ll add aspects of stability, mobility, and balance.

Start with your feet together and step forward, lunging with your right leg. Stand up, then repeat with your left leg.

Pike pushups

Adding a pushup to your pike will target those shoulders even more. The movement here is all in the arms, so keep the rest of your body stable.

To perform, assume a pike position and bend at the elbows — allowing them to flare out to the sides — directing the top of your head toward the ground.

Get-up squat

Get-up squats are great for time under tension, or keeping your legs and glutes under continuous work, which adds to the burn.

Directions:

  1. Drop down into a squat position. You won’t stand at all during this move.
  2. Drop your knees down to the ground one at a time so you’re kneeling.
  3. Step your feet back to the ground one at a time, maintaining that squat position.
  4. Repeat as quickly as you can while maintaining good form.

Superman

Work your lower back — and the whole backside of your body — with a superman. Go as slowly as you can here to really reap the benefits of this move.

Directions:

  1. Lie on your stomach, arms and legs extended.
  2. Keeping your neck neutral, recruit your core and the back of your body to simultaneously raise your arms and legs up and off the ground as high as they’ll go.
  3. Pause for 1 second at the top, and slowly lower back to the start position.

Plank with alternating leg lift

Adding a leg lift to a regular plank makes you unstable, requiring your core to work in overdrive and your three limbs to support more weight.

Lift one leg up, hold for 5 seconds, and return it to the ground. Repeat with the other leg.

Kneeling side plank with hip abduction

Holding your body up with your knee and your extended arm during a hip abduction makes this move an upper body exercise, too. Plus, it recruits the core even more.

To perform, assume a kneeling side plank, then lift the free leg up, pause, and lower it back down. Repeat on both sides.

Dead bug

Activate those deep core muscles with a dead bug.

Directions:

  1. Start lying on your back, legs at tabletop, and arms extended in front of you.
  2. In a coordinated motion, extend your left leg and drop your right arm above your head, taking care that your lower back stays flat to the ground.
  3. Bring your leg back to tabletop and your arm in front of you, then repeat with the opposite arm and leg.

 

Advanced routine

When the intermediate routine becomes a breeze, take a stab at these advanced moves.

Bridge with leg extended

Lifting the foot then extending the leg straight out will make a single-leg bridge even more difficult.

Keep your foot flexed throughout the movement. Complete the same number of reps on both legs.

Overhead squat

Extending your arms overhead will challenge your mobility and range of motion in your upper body, as well as give your lower body the benefits of a squat.

To perform, complete a squat with your arms extended overhead throughout.

One-legged pushup

Lifting one leg will again put more weight into your other three limbs, thus creating more of a challenge.

To get it done, assume a pushup position and lift one leg off the ground, then complete the pushup.

Jumping lunges

Jumping exercises — often known as plyometrics — require you to give it your max effort for a short interval of time.

Because of the power and strength they require, you’ll feel the burn quickly.

Add a jump to your lunge, really exploding up in each rep, to challenge yourself.

Elevated pike pushups

Elevating your feet in a pike pushup will make this version the hardest.

Put your feet on an elevated surface, like a bench or a step, and complete an elevated pike pushup.

The higher the surface, the more challenging it will be.

Get-up squat with jump

Instead of stepping your feet back up from kneeling, jump them. You’ll need lots of power and strength for this move.

Advanced Bird Dog

Get into a high plank position, then complete a Bird Dog, lifting one arm and the opposite leg simultaneously.

As with all advanced exercises, maintaining a straight spine is key here.

One-leg or one-arm plank

Lifting one arm or one leg — and holding it there — will take a plank up a notch. Hold for as many seconds as you can, then switch sides.

One leg will be more challenging than one arm, so choose the right version for you.

Side plank with hip abduction

Plank off your foot instead of your knee for a full-body challenge in this hip abduction.

To perform, assume a side plank, then perform a leg lift. Repeat on both sides.

Hollow hold to jackknife

This move requires you to contract your abs throughout.

Directions:

  1. Get into a hollow hold position: Lie on your back and extend your arms above your head. Engage your core, lift your legs and upper body off the floor, and hold them there.
  2. Add in a jackknife: Crunch up, bringing your arms overhead toward your toes and your legs toward the center of your body.
  3. Slowly release back to the jackknife position and repeat.
The bottom line

Bodyweight exercises will make your at-home workout challenging no matter your fitness level. Start with our beginner routine, and in just a matter of months, you could be well on your way to mastering the advanced routine. Earn that sweat equity today!

Owned and run by the NHS, the NHS App is a simple and secure way to access a range of NHS services on your smartphone or tablet.

The NHS App is available now on iOS and Android.

Cardio is more than just running on a treadmill! This Latin dance workout proves you can get your heart rate up while shaking your hips and shimmying your shoulders. Nicole Steen, a cardio dance expert at Equinox, knows how to keep you moving and to keep it fun. New to dance? No worries, we offer modifications. Press play and get ready to cha-cha.

Reality is, we don’t always have an hour or two to fit in fitness. The good news is, there’s growing evidence that short, intense workouts can have significant impact, whether your goals are weight loss, muscle toning, or just working up a sweat.

When you’re short on time but don’t want to forgo fitness, a great workout video can make all the difference. Healthline searched for the year’s best workout videos that last 30 minutes or less. From full-body to core, flexibility to fat-burning, there’s a quick, challenging workout here for everyone.

30-Minute No-Equipment Cardio & HIIT Workout

Get ready to torch calories with Le Sweat founder Charlee Atkins! This no-equipment workout includes three circuits that are going to get your heart rate up and have you feeling the burn. Get your towels ready!

30 minute fat burning home workout for beginners

This workout is part of Real Start and Real Start Plus – a workout plan made for real people with real people. All workouts in this plan are low impact, realistic and effective. Achievable, low impact results, while you are having some fun.

1.0 Mile Happy Walk

Walk at Home by Leslie Sansone is a YouTube channel for at home walking workouts and fitness exercises. Join Join the Walk at Home crew on mile walk workouts, fat burning workouts, workout plans and more. Who does not like walking?

30-Minute Hip-Hop Tabata to Torch Calories

Dance away calories with this hip-hop Tabata from Keaira LaShae. Tuck jumps have never been so fun. This is an amazing method to get in shape, lose some pounds and have fun all at the very same time.

30-Minute HIIT Cardio Workout with Warm Up – No Equipment at Home

In this high intensity cardio bodyweight workout from trainer Lita Lewis, you’ll spike your heart rate with high-knees, fast feet, and star jumps; plus work your core and lower body with jumping lunges and planks – at home! No equipment needed!

20 MIN FULL BODY WORKOUT – Beginner Version

This video is super effective and especially the SLOWNESS gives you so much room to perform everything concentrated, thinking of the exact muscles you want to train. The burn was seriously insane for me! No Equipment necessary and not much space needed.

30-Minute No-Equipment Full-Body Toning Workout

Fitness and dance expert Nicole Steen makes sure you hit every muscle in your body in this 30-minute no-equipment workout. Nicole alternates between toning moves and cardio bursts while standing, then brings you down to the mat for the workout’s second half. Expect to feel the burn from top to bottom with this one!

30-Minute Cardio Latin Dance Workout

Cardio is more than just running on a treadmill! This Latin dance workout proves you can get your heart rate up while shaking your hips and shimmying your shoulders. Nicole Steen, a cardio dance expert at Equinox, knows how to keep you moving and to keep it fun. New to dance? No worries, we offer modifications. Press play and get ready to cha-cha.

30 Minute Fat-Burning & Strengthening Workout

30-minute full-body workout routine for strong beginners to intermediate to strengthen their muscles and to maximize fat burning effect at their best (while keeping it safe).

Low Impact 30 minute cardio workout- Beginner/intermediate

In this 30 minute cardio workout, Daniel will take you through a number of interval drills to raise your heart rate, burn calories and release those feel good hormones. This low impact cardio workout includes a warm up and a cool down before and after the exercise routine, we advise you follow both for safety and best practise.

Though self-isolating is the best way to protect against COVID-19, being stuck at home can lead to some unhealthy behaviors, including overeating due to stress and boredom.

While taking comfort in food during times of stress is a normal reaction, overeating regularly can negatively affect your health and increase your stress and anxiety levels.

Here are 13 ways to prevent stress eating when you’re stuck at home.
1. Check in with yourself

One of the most helpful ways to prevent overeating is to understand why it’s happening in the first place. There are many reasons why you may be compelled to overeat, including being stressed out or bored.

If you find yourself eating too frequently or eating too much in one sitting, take a minute and check in with yourself. First, it’s important to determine whether you’re eating because you’re hungry and need nourishment, or whether there’s another reason.

Before you eat, pay special attention to how you’re feeling, such as stressed, bored, lonely, or anxious. Simply pausing and evaluating the situation can help you understand what compels you to overeat and may help prevent overeating in the future.

That said, combating overeating is rarely easy, and you may have to seek professional help, especially if it’s a common occurrence or you eat to the point of discomfort and experience feelings of shame or guilt afterward. These may be signs of disordered eating.

2. Remove temptation

Though having a jar of cookies or bowl of colorful candy on the counter may add to the visual appeal of your kitchen, this practice may lead to overeating.

Having tempting foods within eyesight can lead to frequent snacking and overeating, even when you aren’t hungry.

Research has shown that visual exposure to high calorie foods stimulates the striatum, a part of your brain that modulates impulse control, which may lead to increased cravings and overeating.

For this reason, it’s best to keep particularly tempting foods, including sugary baked goods, candy, chips, and cookies, out of sight, such as in a pantry or cupboard.

To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a tasty treat occasionally, even when you’re not necessarily hungry. However, overindulging too often can harm both your physical and mental health.

3. Maintain a healthy meal schedule

You shouldn’t change your normal eating schedule just because you’re stuck at home. If you’re used to having three meals a day, try to continue that schedule while you’re working from home. The same goes for if you typically consume only two meals and a snack.

Though it’s easy to stray from your normal dietary pattern when your day-to-day schedule gets disrupted, it’s important to maintain some semblance of normalcy when it comes to eating.

You may find yourself adapting your eating pattern to accommodate your new normal, and that’s OK. Just try to maintain a regular eating pattern based on your individual needs and your preferred eating times.

If you’re really thrown off and find yourself constantly snacking, try making a schedule that includes at least two solid meals per day and following it until you feel that you have become comfortably consistent with your eating habits.

4. Don’t restrict

One of the most important nutrition rules to follow to prevent overeating is to not deprive your body of food. Oftentimes, being overly restrictive with food intake or consuming too few calories can lead to bunging on high calorie foods and overeating.

It’s never a good idea to follow a highly restrictive diet or deprive yourself of food, especially during stressful times.

Research has shown that restrictive dieting is not only ineffective for long-term weight loss but also can harm your physical and mental health and increase your stress levels.

5. Bring out your inner chef

Some good things come along with being stuck at home. Not having the option to eat out at restaurants makes you cook more meals yourself, which has been shown to improve overall health.

For example, a study in 11,396 people found that eating home-cooked meals more frequently was associated with a greater intake of fruits and vegetables.

Plus, it found that people who ate home-cooked meals more than 5 times per week were 28% less likely to be overweight and 24% less likely to have excess body fat, compared with those who ate home-cooked meals less than 3 times per week.

What’s more, planning your meals a few days ahead can help you kill time and has even been shown to improve diet quality and reduce obesity risk.

6. Stay hydrated

Being stuck at home gives you more time to focus on healthy habits, including drinking enough fluids. Maintaining proper hydration is important for overall health and may help you prevent overeating related to stress.

In fact, research has found an association between chronic dehydration and an elevated risk of obesity. Plus, being dehydrated can lead to alterations in mood, attention, and energy levels, which can also affect your eating habits.

To combat dehydration, add a few slices of fresh fruit to your water to boost its flavor, which may help you drink more water throughout the day without adding a significant amount of sugar or number of calories to your diet.

7. Get moving

Being stuck at home can take a serious toll on your activity levels, leading to boredom, stress, and increased snacking frequency. To combat this, make some time for daily physical activity.

If you’re feeling lost due to the closing of your favourite gym or workout studio, try something new like a home workout on YouTube, taking a hike in nature, or simply walking or jogging around your neighbourhood.

Research has shown that physical activity can boost mood and reduce stress, which may reduce your chances of stress eating.

8. Prevent boredom

When you suddenly find yourself with a lot of extra free time, boredom can quickly set in once you have tackled your to-do list for the day.

However, boredom can be prevented by making good use of your spare time. Everyone has hobbies that they have always wanted to try or projects that have been put off due to busy schedules.

Now is the perfect time to learn a new skill, tackle a home improvement project, organise your living spaces, take an educational course, or start a new hobby.

Learning something new or starting a project can not only prevent boredom but also likely make you feel more accomplished and less stressed.

9. Be present

Modern-day life is full of distractions. From smartphones to televisions to social media, you’re surrounded by technology meant to distract you from your daily life.

Though catching up on a favourite TV show can help take your mind off of stressful events, it’s important to minimise distractions when eating a meal or snack, especially if you find yourself frequently overeating.

If you’re used to dining while parked in front of your television, smartphone, or computer, try eating in a less distracting environment. Attempt to concentrate only on your food, paying special attention to feelings of hunger and fullness.

Being more present while you eat may help prevent overeating and can help you become more aware of your eating patterns and food intake.

Mindful eating is an excellent tool that can be used to bring more awareness to your eating habits.

10. Practice portion control

It’s common for people to snack on foods directly from the containers in which they were sold, which may lead to overeating.

For example, grabbing a pint of ice cream from the freezer and eating directly from the container rather than doling out a single portion in a dish may cause you to eat more than you intended.

To combat this, practice portion control by serving yourself a single portion of food rather than eating out of larger containers.

11. Choose filling, nutritious foods

Stocking your kitchen with filling, nutrient-dense foods can not only help improve your overall health but also combat the tendency to stress eat highly palatable foods.

For example, filling your fridge and pantry with foods that can help fill you up in a healthful way — rather than foods rich in empty calories like candy, chips, and soda — is a smart way to prevent the chances of noshing on unhealthy choices.

Filling foods are ones that are high in protein, fibre, and healthy fats. Nuts, seeds, avocados, beans, and eggs are just some examples of nutritious, satisfying choices that can help fill you up and prevent overeating.

12. Be mindful of alcohol intake

While a glass of wine or tasty cocktail can be a relaxing way to unwind, keep in mind that alcohol lowers your inhibitions, increases appetite, and may increase the chances of overeating.

Plus, drinking too much alcohol harms your health in a number of ways and can lead to dependence issues.

Try to stay within the guidelines set by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), which suggests that alcoholic beverages be limited to one drink per day or less for women and two or fewer drinks per day for men.

13. Keep your overall health in mind

During stressful times, it’s more important than ever to keep your overall health in mind. Eating nutritious foods is just one part of keeping yourself healthy and happy.

Practising self-compassion and doing the best that you can given the current circumstances is what’s most important.

This is not the time to restrict, overexercise, try a fad diet, compare yourself to others, or focus on weaknesses. If you’re struggling with insecurities, body image issues, or anxiety, use this time to foster a new, healthy relationship with your mind and body.

The bottom line

Given the current circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, you may find yourself stuck at home and feeling stressed and bored, which may increase your chances of overeating.

While indulging in comfort foods occasionally, especially during times of stress, is completely normal, overeating regularly can take a toll on your physical and mental health.

The evidence-based tips above may help you control stress eating and improve many other aspects of your health as well.

One of the good self improvement channels you can watch on YouTube is Alux.com. Here is one of their great videos exploring why people sabotage their chances of success. It highlights the  the following reasons as to why smart people self-sabotage:

  1. Poor prioritisation skills
  2. Impostor syndrome
  3. Always being late
  4. Being a negativist (negative people)
  5. It’s never enough(when i get enough money then i’ll be happy)
  6. Shitty role models
  7. Not giving your body what it needs
  8. Trying to keep with everybody just for appearances
  9. Staying in toxic relationships
  10. Inability to control our mind and emotion
  11. Not asking for what you want
  12. Accepting outdated ideologies
  13. Feeling entitled and arrogant
  14. Being scared to go out of your comfort zone
  15. Not finishing what you start
  16. The bonus point is, if you don’t have something , it’s because you don’t want it hard enough.

In response to Covid-19, the Marcus Garvey Action Group (MGAG) and partners will be delivering African Caribbean cooked meals to the elderly and vulnerable in Nottingham.

These African Caribbean dishes will be prepared and delivered to people every Sunday. They include Curry chicken, Mutton, Boneless fish,  Vegetarian, White rice and Rice & peas. The standard price per meal is £2.00 but a donation of £3.50 is requested, subject to income.

The booking for meals and delivery can be done by:

  • Completing this online form
  • Calling MGAG on 07598947966 any day between 10am and 7pm
  • Calling ACNA on 07871730197 or 0115 969 1364 Monday to Friday 10am to 2pm

They also require volunteers. If you can help, please contact ACNA on acnacentre@gmail.com.

MGAG is working in partnership with Hope Fostering Services, Chayah, Go Vision, ACNA, TunTum Housing, Hyson Green Youth Club and Jamaican Diaspora. You can get more detaoffering Sunday catering and home delivery meals