small steps add up to big changes.

by Janetha on January 14, 2016

in goals,recipes

hey, guys! already halfway through the month! are you all used to writing (or typing) “2016” yet? not me.. which tends to be a problem in my line of work.. i do a lot of data entry and keep messing up, haha.

as i mentioned, i have some goals i want to implement in this new year. long time readers know i was once very, very goal-oriented. and then that behavior and dedication went right out the window once i had a kid.

it’s funny.. i am a totally different person than i was just a couple of years ago. i know there is a time and season for everything, and i guess this is my season to not exercise and to eat a whole bunch of candy.

but i do know that the new me is not doing any favors for my future self. so what should i do? well.. i should do something about it. nothing huge. nothing crazy. i am not trying to set a goal to work out 5 days a week or eat clean 90% of the time. i know i would fail, and why set myself up for failure?

instead, i am making some small goals. some small changes that, in the long run, will add up to more. they will lead to healthier habits and a better way of life. i am hoping by implementing these small changes, i can be a little healthier than i was in 2015. it was a doozy of a year in terms of falling out of being physically fit and eating well. but i am still here, ready to take on a few changes. i wanted to share them with you today! i have also added a #healthyhack along with each goal, giving a simple way to achieve each one.

1. move more.

i definitely move more than i did pre-toddler. but aside from chasing fox around, i am pretty sedentary. that’s what a full-time desk job will do to you. i purchased a jawbone up2 with some of my christmas money, and i am excited to see how many steps i can get in throughout the day. every step counts!

#healthyhack: set a timer on my jawbone to move every 30 minutes. it’s a super cool feature, and it will vibrate to the interval you set it to! if you don’t have a device, you can set an alarm on your phone.

2. do a formal workout at least twice a week.

going from 5-6 workouts a week to zero was probably the worst thing i did for my physical fitness. i didn’t make exercise a priority, and my cardiovascular health has really suffered. while i don’t have an issue with my weight or how much i can lift, it really does bother me that i get so winded so quickly. i plan to do two formal workouts each week. i like HIIT-style workouts, because they are fast an effective. i have equipment here at home, and i also have access to my mom’s gym and i have a gym membership, so i really have no reason to not do two formal workouts a week. wish me luck!

#healthyhack: put the workout on my calendar, as an appointment. i don’t miss appointments for work, or other things on there like the dentist or doctor, so setting an appointment to actually do the workout will keep me on track.

3. drink water.

i was the gallon-a-day queen for years. now some days go by where it is dinnertime and i realize all i’ve had to drink all day is my morning coffee, and sometimes a dr. pepper. hydration is crucial to health, and i really need to step it up in the water drinking department. hold me to it.

#healthyhack: become the water bottle warrior! put a bottle of water in all places i might be.. the car, at my desk, by my bedside, in the living room.. as long as it is in plain sight and readily available, why not drink it?

4. incorporate vegetables into my diet.

as with the previous two points, there are days that go by where i don’t eat a single vegetable. i eat lots of eggs, bread, mac n cheese, cheese, deli meats.. but veggies typically consist of the lettuce on my sandwich. ha. i have never really been a veggie lover, and eating veggies has definitely always been hard for me. now that i don’t focus on clean eating, vegetable consumption has plummeted drastically. so i want to try to eat more.. at least a couple servings a day!

#healthyhack: prep veggies on sunday, right after grocery shopping. chopping them up and bagging them into individual portions for easy, on the go access will help with actually consuming them!

5. reduce sugar consumption.

typical busy mom, full time worker trap=eat lots of sugar to stay energized. not a great idea. i drink soda, eat candy, cookies, donuts.. and that’s gotta stop. well, not stop, just slow down. i need to be more mindful of my sugar consumption and cut back.

#healthyhack: have alternatives to the sugary treat. fresh fruit, jerky, or other snack items that are a healthier choice are great to have on hand.

as you can see, the five small changes above are all very do-able. nothing is over the top or impossible. i feel like having realistic goals is a surefire way to improve my health and fitness.

as a part of #4, i fixed a nutritious and veggie-filled dish for dinner last night. as you may know, i am a dreamfields pasta ambassador.


dreamfields is encouraging us to be a little healthier in 2016, by using #healthyhacks along the way. i already am making a healthier choice by using dreamfields pasta, which is a great option for any pasta lover. their pasta has 5 grams of fiber and 7 grams of protein per serving. the prebiotic fiber aids in healthy digestion, and you would never know it wasn’t the same as traditional pasta. it tastes the same and has the same texture. that’s not typical of “healthier” pasta choices. plus, it’s fox and marshall approved.

i amped up the veggies in this recipe, in hopes to incorporate veggies into my diet. notice i didn’t say “more” veggies. i just said veggies. because, yes, there are days more often than not that i don’t eat a single, solitary vegetable. i know, it’s stupid, but it’s true. so i am working on that!


here is the recipe i created last night. it is quick and simple, and the whole family loved it. i hope you try it and love it, too!

roasted tomato, mushroom & asparagus linguine 
prep time: 10 minutes, cook time: 30 minutes
serves 6


  • 1 package dreamfields linguine
  • 8 oz grape tomatoes
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 small shallots, peeled and diced
  • 1 lb asparagus, chopped into 1” pieces
  • 8 oz crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 tb flour
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp salt (to taste)
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp black pepper (to taste)
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, divided


  1. cook pasta according to package directions. set aside in large bowl.
  2. preheat oven to 400 degrees F. spray a rimmed baking sheet or with cooking spray, arrange tomatoes on sheet in a single layer, and roast for 25-30 minutes or until tomatoes are soft and begin to shrivel.
  3. meanwhile, heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. add garlic and shallots, and saute until translucent, about five minutes.
  4. add asparagus and saute 5 minutes, until softened.
  5. add mushrooms and saute 5 more minutes, until softened. remove from heat and set aside.
  6. heat milk in a saucepan over medium heat. once it begins to simmer, whisk in flour, continually stirring until it thickens. whisk in wine, salt, pepper, and 1/2 cup parmesan cheese. (start with just 1/4 tsp of each salt and pepper, and add more at the end as needed.)
  7. combine pasta, tomatoes, veggies, fresh basil, and sauce in a large saucepan.  toss until everything is coated. top with the remaining parmesan cheese. add salt & pepper, as needed.




nutrition information (1/6 of recipe): 350 calories; 16 g protein; 59 g carbs; 7 g total fat; 2 g saturated fat; 10 mg cholesterol; 300 mg sodium; 8 g total dietary fiber. not too shabby!

i love using shallots instead of onions in dishes like this. they are a bit more mild and sweet, and pair really well with the sweetness of the roasted tomatoes.


speaking of roasted tomatoes.. aren’t they the BEST? fox was eating them up like candy! they are so, so good.


we served the pasta alongside a grilled chicken breast for added protein. it was delicious!

if you would like a chance to win some delicious & nutritious dreamfields pasta to try this recipe for yourself, and to implement some #healthyhacks into your new year, just enter the giveaway below! one reader will win a dreamfields pasta prize pack.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


i would love to hear what changes (big or small!) you plan to make in 2016. and i wish you (and myself) luck with those changes!


1. what’s your favorite recipe that is veggie-filled? <—this is more for me than for you, i would love some ideas! especially ideas on how to get fox to eat them with me!

2. are you a resolution-setter? what are your resolutions for the new year?

3. what is a #healthyhack you are going to implement in 2016?

xo. janetha g.

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Becca January 14, 2016 at 7:28 am

My healthy hack is to subscribe to an organic fruit and veggie box. We get our delivery every other week, and it saves me time at the grocery store and we’ve tried some new items we’ve never tried before!

Ashley S January 14, 2016 at 7:56 am

My healthy hack is using greek yogurt as sour cream. Also, I like to use spaghetti squash in place of noodles depending on the dish. :)

karla January 14, 2016 at 9:34 am

This pasta looks yummy!

Erica January 14, 2016 at 10:24 am

Great, realistic goals! I only work half time at my regular job (outside of teaching at the gym) and I feel pinched! I can only imagine how difficult it must be working full time. My healthyhack…..and it’s not really a hack, but a good Mom trick…once your kids are able to help in the kitchen, let them! Sure it may take a little more time/be a little more messy, but Kaylin is way more likely to eat something she helps make!

1. what’s your favorite recipe that is veggie-filled? Stuffed shells! You can chop veggies super tiny and mix them into the stuffing mixture

2. are you a resolution-setter? what are your resolutions for the new year? Not really…but I think I’m especially not into it this year because I’m pregnant! I think once I have the baby, I’ll be setting some goals.

stephanie January 14, 2016 at 10:40 am

Good luck with the goals! While I don’t have kids, I know lots of parents say the same thing about priorities changing so I think it’s great that you recognize you still need to focus on your own health in order to be a good role model for your kiddo!

I never struggle to get veggies in my diet, but I am a huge pasta lover and have fully recognized that I lack portion-control when I eat actual noodles. So, I love to use veggie substitutes: my Veggetti spiralizer makes zucchini noodles super easy, I love baked spaghetti squash, and pre-packaged broccoli slaw also works great in a pinch! I’m lactose intolerant so I like to make a veganized version of alfredo using any of the above veggie substitutes instead of pasta, or I’ll use diced tomatoes and lots of other good veggies to make a spaghetti-like dish. Zucchini noodles also work great with broccoli, carrots, peapods, and peanut sauce!

Katy January 14, 2016 at 11:03 am

Yummy. I will need to look for that pasta locally here in CA. good luck with your goals. You will kick butt!

Tracy January 14, 2016 at 11:50 am

My favorite way to eat my veggies is to roast them. I just pick 3 or 4 different kinds chop them, toss them in olive oil, season with salt and pepper and pop in he oven at 375 for 30-45 minutes.

Ivori January 14, 2016 at 12:28 pm

We struggle with adding veggies to our daily diet as well. I signed up for blue apron a few weeks back and this is helping us out immensely…we get 3 meals (for 2 people) every other week. Each meal actually turns into four helpings so over half the week we are getting our veggie fix now.

Jennifer T January 14, 2016 at 12:29 pm

My little guy has become the pickiest with veggies here lately. He loves rice though so he’ll eat them in fried rice, so I cut them up pretty small and mix them in. That and sneaking them in smoothies seem to work really well.
My healthy hack has been packing my lunch the night before when I’m cleaning up from dinner. This way in the morning when I’m trying to get out the door, I don’t just say forget about it and buy my lunch out. I just throw my pre packed lunch in my bag and it’s usually much healthier than anything I would get out. That and a programmable coffee maker!

marie January 14, 2016 at 1:19 pm

My water bottle is ALWAYS with me.

Harneet January 14, 2016 at 2:43 pm

My #healthyhack for 2016 is to say NO to microwaveable pop-corn. I bought my own popper for christmas, will make healthy alternatives with little salt and EVOO instead of the chemically packaged ones.

Amy Z. January 14, 2016 at 3:36 pm

I also have the goal of reducing sugar in my diet! My #healthyhack for this is that frozen grapes and cherries are great to satisfy sugar cravings in a healthier way.
For adding veggies to our meals, we love sweet potato and vegetable chili.

Laura January 14, 2016 at 3:50 pm

My #healthyhack is to lay out my gym clothes the night before. That way I can roll out of bed and throw them on without thinking :)

Natash January 14, 2016 at 5:07 pm

Healthy hack favorite is keeping and defrosting frozen veggies daily. i put a bag in the fridge so it’s ready when I get home. Always have a big bowl of it for dinner and snacking!

Jeffrey January 15, 2016 at 8:58 am

My #healthyhack is to never, ever skip breakfast. I’ve found myself snacking all day on foods that aren’t good for me in order to fill the void left by skipping the most important meal of the day!

Sarah Clark January 15, 2016 at 9:33 am

My #healthyhack is to buy from your local Farmers Market, the food is locally grown and it’s like buying fresh off the farm!

Jennifer Essad January 15, 2016 at 11:33 am

I love to clean veggies when I get home from the store for us to enjoy with meals and on the go. At the end of the week what’s left goes into a batch of soup or a stir fry #healthyhack

Jo January 15, 2016 at 12:05 pm

My healthy hack is to add some collagen protein to my tea to keep my appetitie down.

Melissa R January 15, 2016 at 12:49 pm

I say “no” to soda and sugary drinks and “yes” to green and herbal teas.

betty January 15, 2016 at 2:42 pm

only 8 net carbs?!! i can get down with a pasta dish like that!

Vickie January 15, 2016 at 4:07 pm

I love #healthyHack s.. I few
#HealthyHack: to substitute plain Greek yogurt and canned milk for cream based recipes, salad dressings, mayo based recipes.
#HealhyHack: To only use healthier Stevia in place of refined sugar
#HealthyHack: replace southern sweet tea and all teas with-extremely beneficial green tea.
#HealthyHack: for Sautée I am now only using healthy grape seed oil..

Vickie January 15, 2016 at 4:10 pm

Arggg. Blasted auto-correct!

Sally R. January 15, 2016 at 5:06 pm

My healthy hack is to use 1/2 spaghetti squash and 1/2 Dreamfields Pasta when making pasta dishes like spaghetti, excellent taste and I get an extra veggie for the day

Carol B January 15, 2016 at 9:10 pm

My healthy hack is while at work, take the long way to and from the bathroom. If you are drinking water like you are supposed to, that will mean a lot of trips to the bathroom and a lot of extra steps.

Karen D January 16, 2016 at 6:43 am

My healthy hack is using jackfruit instead of pork for pulled ‘pork’ sandwiches

Lauren January 16, 2016 at 10:03 am

I like to make half brown rice and half white rice.

Sheila Carvell January 16, 2016 at 2:58 pm

Healthy pasta is a huge part of our families diet! This would be a huge blessing!

Laura January 16, 2016 at 4:40 pm

My #healthyhack is prepping meal stuff beforehand…makes a huge difference!

Annette January 16, 2016 at 8:12 pm

My healthy hack is to have frozen fruits on hand. Frozen bananas satisfy my desire for ice cream and frozen pineapple and mango satisfy my desire for frozen fruit bars and sorbet.

Erin January 18, 2016 at 9:00 am

Roasted brussels sprouts! So good- I just use olive oil, salt and pepper, roast at 425 for 25ish minutes. So good. No real resolutions, but I’ve started doing most of my cooking on the weekends so we have healthy lunches and dinners ready to go for the week!

kim January 18, 2016 at 9:34 pm

Yum! Love the pasta dish with extra veggies!

Meganb January 19, 2016 at 2:01 pm

I’m not really into New Years resolutions…when I want to change something in my life, I have a do it now mentality. I would like to resolve to win the lottery, but I’m not sure if it works like that. I would like to secretly save (by throwing loose change into a giant water bottle) and take my boys on a dream trip to the islands…or costa rica.

Calee January 26, 2016 at 5:32 pm

LOL your post-kid life sounds like my grad school life. I was going to write a post about how I don’t do things the way I used to (super-dedicated to specific diet and workout bullshit), but I always walk for 20-30 mins a day, eat something green, and try to do a 30+ minute workout 3-5x a week. I have reminders on my phone for all of these things, and I typically get at least the walk and green thing in. I’m trying to cut down my sugar consumption (my trick is not to eat anything sugary — including fruit — until later in the day … since sugar makes you want more sugar). It seriously helps.

Good luck. You’ll do great on these goals.

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