Tips For Eating Out of Boredom

Hi guys I hope you all had an awesome weekend.  I was able to workout on Saturday with a bunch of great people and even better my hubby put the workout together so I just showed up and he kicked my butt.  Stay tuned for the workout this week.  It was great.  I also got to run with my girls which is always one of the best parts of my weekend.  Running with friends just recharges me.  

Since school has been out and I am not on my normal crazy schedule I find myself bored eating.  Do any of you struggle with this issue? Many of us may mistake boredom for hunger and then reach for a bag of chips or a few handfuls of cereal and before you know it the box or bag is half empty.  I find I do this most of the time in the evening when I am catching up on The Bachelorette (yes I watch it)!   I was trying to find ways to combat this problem last week and I thought I would share a few that work for me.  

Bored Eating Tips

Be Aware

Recognize the pattern of eating. Do you mindless eat while watching TV?  If so be aware of that and recognize if you are really hungry or just bored.  Listen to your body.  

Drink Water or Tea

I like to sip on tea after dinner especially in the winter.  In the summer I tend to reach for flavored or sparkling water.  It helps me feel full and keeps me occupied while watching TV or reading.  As a bonus it will help with your hydration.  

Do Something Else

If you find yourself bored turn your attention to something else.  While watching TV you can paint your nails, do a puzzle, color, or something else that will keep you busy and not heading for that snack.  

Exercise

Take an after dinner walk or even better do a commercial break workout.  Pick an exercise like push ups and do them during commercials.  We could all benefit from stretching so why not stretch during your favorite TV show.  If you need some inspiration try this Bachelorette TV show workout game.  So fun!  

Sit At The Table

If you decide you want to eat something sit down at the table.  Don’t park yourself in front of the TV with that bag of pretzels.  If you sit down at the table you are less likely to consume the entire bag. 

For me summer can be difficult since I am not super busy but using these tips really has helped. 

Do you have any other tips to share?  If so comment below I would love to hear them.

Have a great week! 

Strawberry Mango Cauliflower Smoothie Recipe

Happy Monday!  We just got back from a trip to Yellowstone and The Grand Tetons and I have to say those parks are so beautiful.  We had a lot of fun sightseeing, hiking, battling some crazy storms and of course s’mores!  I cannot wait to go back.  You definitely need to allow a lot of time in each of these park to fully enjoy all they have to offer. 

This week I am getting back to my regular routine but I have noticed I am slacking in my veggie eating again.  I am not a big fan of raw vegetables and in the summer I don’t seem to cook as many.  I really want to focus this week on incorporating veggies into every meal and snack.  I also want to try to get my daughters to eat more veggies as well.  This is a difficult task.  They are not big veggie fans.  I did a little experiment today in my daily smoothie.  I added in some frozen cauliflower instead of my usual spinach or kale.  It was awesome!  I even added it to my daughters and she had no clue it was in there.  This is a big win!  Cauliflower has such a mild flavor you can add it into your smoothies or oatmeal (check out this recipe) and not even taste it.  This is the new favorite smoothie concoction for summer.  You have to give it a try!

Strawberry Mango Cauliflower Smoothie
Serves 1
A healthy and delicious smoothie recipe
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Prep Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 Cup Frozen Mango
  2. 1/2 Cup Strawberries (fresh or frozen)
  3. 1/2-1 Cup Frozen Cauliflower
  4. 1 Cup Milk of Choice
  5. 1 Scoop Vanilla Protein Powder (optional)
  6. Ice
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to high powered blender. Blend and enjoy immediately.
Notes
  1. You can use frozen riced cauliflower as well. I just used the regular frozen cauliflower and it worked great.
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Experiment with different blends and let me know if you have any good recipes in the comments below.  Have a great Holiday week! 

 

Friday I’m In Love:  Friday Faves Drink Edition

This week my Friday faves focuses on my favorite drinks.  I don’t know about you but it is tough to drink straight water all day long.  I thought I would share a few of my go to drinks when I am wanting something different than water or to change up my usual morning coffee.  So here goes:  

Matcha Green Tea

If you don’t know what matcha is, it is a green tea that comes in a powdered form and it contains the whole leaf.  Matcha has many benefits which include improving mood, enhancing weight loss, increased energy,  mental focus and is rich in antioxidants.  I have been using this powder from Jade Leaf Organics and it is amazing.  

I have mostly been drinking it iced, added to smoothies, or as an iced green tea latte.  So good!!!!!  Here is my latest smoothie obsession:

Mango Matcha Green Smoothie
Serves 1
Healthy green smoothie with matcha
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Prep Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 small container of coconut water (approx. 11 oz)
  2. ½ Frozen Banana
  3. 1 Cup Mango Frozen
  4. 1 small handful of kale or spinach
  5. 1 scoop vegan vanilla Shakeology or vanilla protein powder
  6. 1 tsp Match Green Tea Powder
  7. Ice (if desired)
Instructions
  1. Blend all ingredients together until smooth and serve immediately.
http://4livingthewrightway.com/

Lucky Jack Cold Brew Coffee (or any cold brew coffee) iced coffee  When the weather gets warmer outside sometimes I like to sip an iced coffee.  I purchased a case of this cold brew on a whim while at Costco.   It is awesome.  I pour it over ice, add a splash of coconut milk or almond milk and a bit of agave nectar and I have myself a coffee shop iced latte without the added cost.  

Kombucha

I am still a big fan of kombucha.  My preferred brand is Humm Kombucha because I can fill up growlers with this stuff at our local grocery store.  My whole family is addicted to Kombucha!  My daughters seem to drink it all.  One of these days I would love to try making my own.  Kombucha has some great health benefits too! 

Flavor Infused Water I love to infuse my plain water with fruit and herbs. For some reason I drink a lot more water this way.  Some of my favorite things to ad are mint, lemon, ginger, frozen berries or fresh strawberries.  It’s fun to experiment with new flavor infusions.  The longer you let your water infuse the better it will taste.  

Just remember when the weather gets hot outside hydration is so important.  If you are like me and don’t like just plain water all the time give these a try.  If you are working out in the heat don’t forget your electrolytes.  If you need an alternative to store bought  sports drinks give my homemade sports drink a try.  It is so good!  

What are your favorite drinks?  I would love to hear them.  Comment below!  Have an amazing weekend!  

*this is not a sponsored post, just things I am into lately. 

Friday I’m In Love! Things I’m Into Lately

Happy Friday!  I hope you all have awesome plans for the weekend.  This week went super fast!  Which is great.  I thought I would share another things I am into lately post.  Don’t forget to let me know what you are loving lately in the comments below. 

 Trace Minerals 4,000 Volts Electrolyte Drops

Trace MineralsWhile I was browsing the co-op store a while back looking for an electrolyte drink one of the salespeople saw me looking very confused and asked me if I had tried the Trace Minerals  4,000 Volts.He proceeded to tell me how much he loved it.  He is a triathlete and runner and he had been using them for a while.  This product is awesome!  This electrolyte concentrate can turn any beverage into an electrolyte drink just by adding 1 teaspoon.  You can add it to juice or plain water.  I have been using it in plain water and coconut water but I plan to add it into my homemade sports drink as well.  It does has a slight salt taste in plain water but it doesn’t bother me.  You can get it locally at the co-op for my Boise/Meridian readers or you can order online.  Check their website for more information.

Sourdough Bread

You guys it is so easy to make sourdough bread!  I am not a baker, but I actually produced several loaves of homemade sourdough bread using this recipe and tips from one of my favorite bloggers.  My daughters and hubby are major bread junkies and I want to provide them with a good clean option.  I don’t eat a lot of bread and when I do it has to be the good stuff!  And this is super yummy! I don’t have a picture because we tend to devour it before I can get one!  I have been eating it as avocado toast.  Such a great breakfast option.  

mary-kay-nourishine-plus-lip--gloss-cafe-au-laitThis Lip Gloss

I found a new favorite lip gloss, well I actually borrowed it from my younger daughter and I keep using it.  It is a light color that looks so natural and pretty.  It is by Mary Kay and it is called Cafe Au Lait.  It is also very moisturizing and lasting.  I am not a Mary Kay representative, but my mom is.  You can order any products from her.  Just email me for her information.  I hear they are coming out with a charcoal mask and my daughter and I are dying to try it.  

Thai Coconut Curry Hope Hummus

If you like hummus but get tired of the boring regular stuff you have to tryHope Hummus this Thai Coconut Curry Hummus.  It is so good as a dip with veggies or crackers or mixed in with some tuna and topped on a bed of salad.  I have also had their spicy avocado hummus as well and it is delish.  I am addicted!  

I would love to hear what you are currently into so comment below.  I love to try new things!  Don’t forget to subscribe to get updates right to your inbox.  

I hope you guys have a great Holiday weekend!  

This is not a sponsored post I am just sharing the things I love! 

Tips To Beat Sugar Addiction

Sugar Addiction Tips Are you one of those people who crave sugar? I used to be a total sugar junkie!  I would always reach for something sweet in the late afternoon as a pick me up or after dinner as my dessert. It was starting to get a bit out of control!  So I decided to limit my sugar intake to see how I felt.  I did not realize how much better I felt when I didn’t have as much sugar in my diet.   Don’t get me wrong I still love dessert and dark chocolate (72% or higher), but now I am able to control those cravings and manage them better.  Having dessert or a sweet treat is fine in moderation, however I find that if I eat too much sugar my body starts to crave it and then I just keep wanting more.

Did you know that women should only consume 25 grams of added sugar a day and men no more than 38 grams.  That is a low number.  Only 6 teaspoons a day!  

A lot of my friends, family and gym goers ask me about controlling sugar cravings. I thought I would share a few ways to ditch the sugar addiction to feel and look your best.  

Eat Real Food

Cut out the processed foods.  Most of them have added sugar which is not needed.  Be aware of hidden sugar in yogurt, sauces, salad dressings and some breads.  

 Find A Swap

I love RX bars!  They are my current favorite bar.  These taste like dessert to me.  Or try banana “ice cream.”  Simply freeze a frozen banana in chunks throw it into the food processor or high powered blender add a splash of milk and process.  I like to add a little PB2, natural peanut butter or some chocolate protein powder  as well.  

Get the sugar out of the house!

If I have the stuff in my house I am more tempted to eat it, my hubby will eat it and so will my kiddos.  I cannot keep the stuff around.  It is too tempting.  Keep the temptation away. 

Ditch the artificial sweeteners

Consuming large amounts of artificial sweeteners (including stevia) can make your crave sugar.  There have also been studies showing increased weight gain with artificial sweeteners a well.  If you can’t totally get rid of them choose stevia or monk fruit and limit the amounts you consume.  

 Add more healthy fats and protein

Not only are these healthy they will also help you feel more satisfied.  I always have almonds on hand for my afternoon cravings.  Sometimes I pair them with an orange or an apple and it always leaves me satisfied.  

Drink tea after dinner

 I like to drink tea in the evening while watching TV or when I feel that craving kick in.  I like to drink Tulsi Tea (it helps for sleep), Licorice tea, or any tea that I have on hand.  I stick to decaf in the evening.  

Brush your teeth

If you crave sweets after dinner and want to try to avoid reaching into that candy dish.  Brush your teeth or chew gum.  For me this always works because I don’t want to brush my teeth again and the sweets won’t taste the same after toothpaste.  

Fresh Fruit  

Choose fresh fruit instead of candy.  Not only will it curb those sugar cravings it is full of vitamins, minerals, water and fiber too.  

Try Magnesium

If you crave chocolate (like I do) it could mean you are deficient in Magnesium Benefitsmagnesium.  Try to add magnesium rich foods like leafy greens, beans and nuts into your diet.  Or consult with your doctor about a magnesium supplement.  I take magnesium every night and it helps me sleep!  Check out these additional benefits of magnesium in this post

 

I hope these simple tips help you conquer that sweet tooth.  I have to remind myself how I feel after eating too much sugar and how hard it is to get off the stuff.  When I am not eating sugar I feel more energized, sleep much better, my skin looks so much better and I just feel better in general.  Believe me it is tough to kick it at first, but sooooo worth it!  I hope  you all have an amazing week!  

Skinny Apple Pie Spiced Quinoa and Oat Granola

Apple Pie Spiced GranolaI love granola!  Sometimes I get a bit lazy and end up buying it in the bulk section at our co-op, but it is so much cheaper to make it on your own. Plus it is also super easy!   I thought I would share this yummy granola recipe I threw together.  It is yummy by itself or to top a smoothie bowl or yogurt.  

I kept Apple Pie Quinoa Oat Granolathis granola on the lighter side by using only 1 tablespoon of oil  and my mother-in -law’s homemade apple butter. Sometimes granola can be high fat due to the amount of nuts and oils that are added.  This recipe can easily be changed to your personal tastes as well.  A serving is 1/4 cup. 

 

 

Skinny Apple Pie Spiced Quinoa Oat Granola
Serves 12
A light and healthy granola.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. ¾ Cup Quinoa Flakes
  2. 1 Cup Rolled Oats
  3. ¼ Cup Ground Flax Seeds
  4. ¼ Cup Sunflower Seeds (or other seed of choice)
  5. ¼ Cup Walnuts (pecans or almonds would be great)
  6. ½ Cup Raisins
  7. ¼ Cup Apple Butter or Unsweetened Apple Sauce
  8. ¼ Cup Agave or Real Maple Syrup
  9. 1 teaspoon melted coconut oil
  10. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  11. ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  12. ½ teaspoon apple pie spice
  13. Dash of salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Combine oats, quinoa flakes, flax, nuts, seeds and raisins in a large bowls.  Set aside.  Combine apple butter, agave, coconut oil, vanilla until well mixed.  Add in spices and salt.  Drizzle over oat mixture and mix well.  Spread evenly on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake in oven for 10 minutes at 325 degrees.  Toss and return to the oven for another 10-15 minutes until nicely toasted.  Cool and store in a sealable container.
Notes
  1. This recipe can easily be modified to your personal tastes.  I have made it with pecans and dried cranberries and it tastes great too.  This recipe is not overly sweet so if you like a sweeter granola feel free to add more agave or maple syrup to taste.
http://4livingthewrightway.com/
My kids love to eat this granola alone, but it can be served with milk as well.  I hope you enjoy.  Have a great week!

Friday I’m In Love: Things I am Into Lately

Things I am loving Lately

I hope you are all having an amazing week.   People always ask me about my favorite snacks, recipes, workouts, and products.  So I thought I would share the things I have been into lately.  

This Book

Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living

This book is awesome.  I just finished up a women’s group and we studied this book.  It really spoke to me.  It was a great reminder to stay present.  Leave behind all the busyness and franticness.  If you get a chance read it!  It will change the way you think and act!  

Collagen Peptides by Sports Research

I ran out of these and kept forgetting to order them.  It had been about a month of not taking them and I could tell a difference in both my skin and my digestion.  I will definitely be keeping this as one of my supplements. I like to mix it in my morning coffee before I hit the gym.  You cannot even taste it.   You can read more about the benefits of Collagen here

 

Tulsi Tea

A friend of me got me into drinking this tea in the evening.  She suggested I try it to help with stress, anxiety and combat sleep issues.  According to the package, some of the benefits are stress relief, aids digestion, anti-aging and boosts the immune system.  I am currently drinking the Organic India Lemon Ginger flavor.  It does have a bit of a ginger bite to it, but I like that!  I have noticed that it does provide a calming effect after a stressful day and can help me relax prior to bed.  I do drink it a few hours before bedtime to avoid nighttime potty breaks.  

 

Spartan Workouts

Since I did the Spartan last summer I still get emails with the workouts and some of them are awesome.  I haven’t done this workout in a while and it is a killer.  If you are preparing for a Spartan Race I highly recommend it.  I am still sore!!!

RX Bars

Have you guys tried these?  These bars are so good and so clean!  I personally love the peanut butter flavor the best.  I like to eat these as dessert or as a pre-run snack with my coffee.  

 

New Vegan Shakeology Flavors

I love Shakeology!  Now they have added 2 new vegan flavors.  Vanilla and Cafe Latte!  I love the Chocolate flavor.  I am so glad that I have two new flavors to add to my daily Shakeology habit.  If you have never tried Shakeology you have to try it.  It has made a huge difference in my overall health and well being.  I am a Beachbody Coach so feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the products. 

http://www.shakeology.com/4livingthewrightway

Have an amazing weekend! 

*Disclaimer I am an Amazon associate and do get paid by Amazon for some advertising.  The money earned goes directly back to supporting my blog.  I only recommend the products I love!

 

Last Week’s Workouts and My Favorite Post Workout Breakfast Recipe

Hi guys, as promised here are my workouts for the past week including my strength training plan.  I wasn’t able to fit in a 3rd day in addition to my classes I teach and OT this week but I am planning to get back on track this week.  It was a bit crazy around my house with Easter, family in town and my oldest daughters Birthday.   To top it off I am feeling a cold coming on!  UGH!!!  I also included my favorite post workout breakfast recipe. 

Monday:  Strength and Conditioning

Warm Up:  Jog, Bike or Row 5 Minutes

Deadlift:  Just like last week I worked on finding my 1 Rep Max.  After a warmup of lighter weights I gradually increased until I found a challenging weight.  Don’t forget to write down your weight for future workouts.  

Circuit 1

  • Glute Hamstring Curls (use a ball or machine) 15 Reps
  • 400 Meter Row (time each one and try to beat your time on the next round)
  • Weighted Step Ups (20 Total, 10 Each Leg)

Repeat 3x

Circuit 2

  • Hanging Leg Raises (this  one was tough for me) 10 Reps
  • Run .25 Miles (keep track of your time for this and try to beat it on the next round)

Repeat 3-4x

Tuesday:  Taught a new class Step 360x and Chisel

Wednesday:  Orange Theory Workout

Thursday:  Taught a new HIIT cardio class and yoga class.

Friday:   Cycle Bar Class

Saturday:  Strength and Cardio Conditioning

Warm Up Jog 5 Minutes

Bench Press (80% of max from last week) 3 Sets of 8

Circuit 1

  • Single Arm Rows (12 reps each side)
  • Weighted Side Bends or Windmill (10 Reps Each Side)   
  • 10  Burpees
  • 10 Pull Ups (use assistance if needed)

Repeat 3 x

Circuit 2

  • Squat Press (10 Reps)
  • Dumbbell Pullovers (12-15 Reps)
  • KettleBell Swing (10 Reps)
  • Run .25 Miles (push your pace here)

Repeat 3x

Core

  • Weighted Russian Twist (20 Total)
  • Lying Leg Raise (10 Total)

Repeat 3x

Cool Down and Stretch

Sunday:  Easy 4 Mile Sunrise Easter Run

My favorite post workout Breakfast

This week I was on one of my oatmeal kicks again.  I love to add egg whites into my oatmeal to add extra volume and protein.  Have you guys ever tried it?  If not you have to give it a try.  The key is to cook it slowly and stir often so you don’t end up with scrambled eggs in your oatmeal.  

Here is how I make it:

  • ½ Cup Rolled Oats
  • ½ Ripe Mashed Banana
  • ½ Cup Egg Whites (I use the liquid in a carton)
  • ½ Cup Almond Milk (you could use water or another milk)

Combine all the ingredients in a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave for 2 minutes stirring every 20-30 seconds.  When finished top with 1 tablespoon of nut butter and some stevia (optional).   

This is my favorite breakfast and it always fills me up.  Give it a try!  I hope you guys have a great week! 

Spring It On!!!! May health and Fitness Challenge

As many of you may know I am a Beachbody coach.  I fell in love with the workouts a long time ago when P90x first came out and I am totally in love with Chalene Johnson.  I used to teach turbo kick way back in the day!  I was hesitant to try Shakeology and I bit the bullet and tried it.  I fell in love with that too!  It has made such a difference in my energy level, digestion and totally helps control my cravings!!!! You can read my full review here

I am gearing up to coach another challenge group starting in May and Beachbody has an amazing deal right now! 

There is new promotion going on right now that is too good to pass up. The On Demand Challenge pack is on SALE!!!!!   They dropped the price by $40.  If you aren’t familiar with Beachbody’s unlimited On Demand Program here are the details:

  • You get 12 months of unlimited streaming of all the workout programs (21 Day Fix, Insanity, P90x, Country Heat and a ton more).  
  • 30 Day Supply of Shakeology.  If you have been waiting to try it now is the time.  I am in LOVE with Shakeology and they have 2 new vegan flavors.  Cafe Latte and Vanilla.  I cannot wait to try them.  
  • Meal Planning and Prep
  • Personal coaching from  yours truly!  
  • Access to my online challenge group where you will get motivation, tips, workouts and tons of support from others.  Comment below if you want in my May Challenge Group or are interested in this amazing deal!  
  • Even better if you don’t love Shakeology you can get your money fully refunded even if the bag is empty!!!! 

This offer is only available for a short amount of time so don’t wait!  Let’s SPRING IT ON!!!!!  Who’s in????? 

Email me at 4livingthewrightway@gmail.com for more details! 

Cruise Recap:  Food, Fitness and Fun!

Cruise Tips Hi guys, I hope you all had an awesome Spring Break.  I am so lucky as a teacher I get a week off for Spring Break.  This year we decided to take a cruise.  The hubby and I had only been on one cruise before about 15 years ago, so I was ready for the adventure. A lot of people have been asking how it was and if we would go again, so I thought I would share a little post vacay recap and some helpful tips if you think you may want to plan a cruise.   

We chose Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Sea.  It is a new ship that has only been cruising for about a year.  The ship is HUGE!  I cannot even begin to describe it.  It had water slides, regular slides, zip lines, a rock wall, pools, bars, ice skating and so much more!  We didn’t even have time to do everything.  

Plan Ahead

My first tip is to plan in advance.  We booked our cruise about a year in advance.  This gave us plenty of time to save money for our excursions and to plan the activities we wanted to do.  Plus this ship books up fast.  We also had time to research each port and plan our excursions.  One suggestions I would make is to explore the ship more on the first day.  We jam packed our first day and I think we should have explored more.  Also if you have an opportunity to talk to people as they are getting off the ship do it.  While we were waiting to board I talked to a few ladies who were coming off the ship and they gave me a lot of good suggestions and tips.  Also make your show reservations early because they do book up pretty fast.  

What To Wear

Formal Night

I totally over packed like I always do!  I like to have a lot of options for what to wear.  On this cruise we had 2 formal nights and the rest were casual.  It was fun to get dressed up and fancy for the formal nights.  Most people were dressed in something you would wear for a wedding, but I did see some people in elegant evening gowns and tuxedos.  I stuck to simple dresses.  The one thing that was hard was dressing my girls for these formal nights.  We don’t have a lot of formal events we go  to and my older daughter hates wearing dresses so that was difficult.  For the formal nights she chose to wear a simple black dress and changed up her jewelry and shoes each night.  No one ever questioned what we were wearing in the dining room on any night.  For the rest of the cruise we were in our bathing suits, shorts and tank tops, sun dresses and cover ups.  I did pack workout clothing for each day and I ended up running out of shorts to wear.  I also packed a small amount of laundry detergent so I ended up hand washing my shorts in the sink.  

Silk Dining Room
Jogging Track

Workouts
Yes you can workout on a cruise!  I worked out probably 5 out of the 7 days, plus before we left we made a pact that we would never take the elevator.  We climbed a lot of stairs.  We only took the elevator 2-3 times.  On average we walked about 6-9 miles a day between walking the ship and taking the stairs.  As for workouts I pretty much did simple quick workouts because I didn’t want to spend all morning in the gym.  Our ship had a running track and some classes.  Most of the classes like the spinning, yoga and TRX you had to pay extra and I didn’t want to pay.  Most of my workouts were about 30-40 minutes.  Here is a glimpse of what I  did:

  • Day 1:  Off
  • Day 2:  2.5 Mile Run Intervals (around the outdoor track) and weights
  • Day 3:  2 Mile Run with Body Weight Strength Training (on the track)
  • Day 4:  Bike 15 Minutes and I took an Ab Class
  • Day 5:  Run 2 Miles and I took a Stretch Class
  • Day 6:  Off
  • Day  7:  Run 3 Miles and Upper Body Weights

The gym was pretty nice and not super packed, but I was up really early like usual.  It was well equipped and I really liked the jogging track.  You got to see the sunrise as you jogged if you timed it just right.  The only complaint I had about the gym was that it smelled like cigarette smoke.  It was right above the casino and boy could you smell it.  That was not the greatest.  

Food

I realize that a lot of people go on cruises for the food.  I would say that I am not that type of a person. I don’t really care about eating a ton of food and drinking a lot of alcohol.  We opted to not purchase a drink package  and brought our own wine on the ship.  You could  bring 2 bottles per stateroom.  We took our wine to dinner with us on the formal nights.  The food in the dining room was excellent.  There were plenty of options and they did have vegetarian, gluten free and lactose free  selections available.  I really enjoyed the dining room.  There were a lot of other places to grab quick bites to eat like pizza places, sandwich shops and snack bars.  For the most part we ate our lunches and breakfast at the Solarium Bistro  which was always less crowded and had a lot of healthy options.  The main buffet had a lot of options but I really did not like it.  It was super crowded and to me it seemed like a food frenzy.  Not only were the plates heaped with food but a lot of it was left behind.   The first time we went to the buffet I had to tell my daughters to take one serving because you could always go back for more.  It is very easy to overeat at a buffet.  We only went there twice and it was not my favorite place.  I did my best to eat healthy during the day and at dinner enjoyed wine, appetizers and dessert.  

Tips:  

Here are a few bonus tips that I feel were helpful and some things I would do differently as well.  

  • Book your excursion with the cruise line.  They did a great job of getting us on and off the ship in a timely manner and all of our excursions were amazing.  We especially loved the Jamaica River Float and Zip Line excursion with Chukka.  The people were amazing!
  • Pack a cheap floating mat, I wished I had one on our beach day in Haiti.  They charged $18 to rent one.  No thanks!
  • Pack clothespins to hang up all your wet clothes in the bathroom because there are not a lot of towel racks and they can help hang up clothes too.  
  • Pack a water bottle.  I filled my water bottle on the ship most of the time and did not have to purchase water.  I only had to buy bottled water 2-3 times mostly off the ship.
  • Pack a highlighter.  If you are a planner like me you will need this.  They give you a ship itinerary for each day and I liked to highlight the activities I wanted to do.  
  • Pack small bills.  I had to change out my money a few times and this took some time so I would pack 5’s and 1’s.
  • Pack your own wine to save money.  Our ship allowed us to pack it and did not even charge a corkage fee.  We also bought another bottle of wine on the last cruising day when it was 60% off.  
  • Pack bug spray.  Our cruise line notified us that we would be traveling in areas with the Zika virus so we brought bug spray.  In Jamaica we got a ton of bug bites even with the bug spray.  
  • You won’t need a power strip.  We had plenty of plug ins and we didn’t even use the power strip we brought.
  • We packed walkie talkies but did not even use them.  
  • Pack sticky notes to leave notes for your family, stateroom attendant or reminders to yourself.  
  • I thought I wanted a balcony in our room, but it was pretty spendy so we opted not to get one.  I am glad.  We were rarely in our room.  We maybe spent 2 hours of the 7 days in our room besides sleeping and getting ready.  
  • The kids area was great.  My younger daughter loved it.  My older daughter didn’t really love the teen area.  There were a lot of teen activities but they were not very well planned out.  She missed the meet and greet night so that was tough.  Be sure your teen hits the meet and greet I am sure it will help  them meet new people.  
  • There were not a lot of dairy free options at the buffet or coffee places.  I even asked and they said no at the coffee shop.  This was a bit annoying.  At the buffet the waitress said they could get me some soy milk.  
  • If you can use the spa do it.  I purchased a simple thermal suite package where I could use the infrared sauna and the steam room as well as relax on a hot stone loungers.  Plus I had access to the locker room and showers.  I pretty much used it every day and it helped to shower in there rather than my room.  I felt it was worth it.
  • Take the stairs everywhere!  Not only will you rack up some miles and get a good leg workout but you will also save a lot of time.  The elevators were packed!

Have an awesome week.  If you have any tips you would like to share please leave them in the comments.  It’s nice to gather tips from all you fellow cruisers out there.