Cognitive Restructuring: Changing Negative Thoughts and Reframing To Positive Thoughts

The Works Wellness Center offers some thoughts on changing negative thoughts and reframing to positive thoughts this week. These are times where this may be very useful! 

Cognitive restructuring is a way of changing negative thoughts and reframing them to positive thoughts. It is a way of rewiring your brain and pathways to change a negative or hard to deal with situation spin it into something optimistic. By doing this reframing, we are changing our affect and mood which trickles into everything we do. 

Follow this guide to start restructuring your thoughts for positivity:

Let’s say you have an initial thought of “The coronavirus outbreak is never going to end.”

  1. Hit the pause button – we as humans act on instinct to deal with strong emotions. Thinking the outbreak will never end may bring out anger which causes us to lash out. Or it may cause anxiety which makes us hide. Hit the pause button to briefly remove yourself from the situation to ask what’s actually going on.
  1. Identify the trigger – what caused the strong emotion to that initial thought? Was it the stress of being your child’s remote-learning coordinator? Was is the outlook of your financial future? Was it being cooped up inside with nowhere to go?
  1. Notice your automatic thoughts – automatic thoughts are thoughts that just happen to us instinctually – we didn’t choose them. For example, getting frustrated with simultaneously being your child’s “teacher” and parent may make you think “I can’t do this, I can’t handle this schedule, and it’s going to go on forever.” Or being cooped up inside may make you think “All the fitness milestones I hit are gone, and I’m back to where I started.” We all have automatic thoughts, and it’s important to notice what yours are so you can start to change them.
  1. Identify your emotional reaction and how strong it is – The type of emotions and how strong they are depend almost entirely of what type of thinking we engage in. If your automatic thought of not being able to handle being your child’s teacher and parent is “I can’t do this!” You’re likely going to feel anger and hopelessness. Likewise, if your automatic thought of staying inside all day is “I worked so hard at the gym, and now I’m worse off than before!” You’re probably going to feel a mixture of anxiety and fear. Try to notice how strong those emotions are.
  1. Generate alternative positive thoughts – Once you’ve identified the trigger, examined your automatic thoughts, and rated your emotional response, the next step is replacing your thoughts with something positive. Instead of thinking “I can’t do it,” maybe replace that with “I never realized how talented in school my kid is,” or “The scheduling tools I’m forced to learn now are really going to help me in the future.” Or instead of thinking “All my fitness has been lost,” think “This is a great time to seek out new ways to exercise. I am going to have so many backup plans to exercise when the gym opens up again!”
  1. Re-rate the intensity of your emotional response – After coming up with (hopefully multiple) alternative thoughts, see what emotions you’re feeling instead. You’re probably not as angry or frustrated, and instead are feeling hopeful and motivated. Noting these positive emotions will help fuel the cycle to continue cognitive restructuring new habits.

-Shared by Kendall Vaughan, Health Coach / Personal Trainer Works Wellness Center 

Welcome Erika! Inspirational Thoughts On Food.

When you approach food, think about how it is going to nourish you.
Ask about where the food came from and what it took to get to your plate. Appreciate the flavors and the textures and make it an experience in wholesomeness rather than a chore.
Move your body in the way that moves you so that it is enjoyable and it’s something that you want to incorporate into your weekly routine.
Try to eat as many meals as you can with your family, food has a way of bringing people together, creating memories, nostalgia, anticipation.
Develop a good relationship with food and your body so that it takes care of you for years to come.
One of my favorite quotes, “Be careful of your thoughts, your thoughts become your words. Be careful of your words, for your words become your actions. Be careful of your actions, your actions become your habits. Be careful of your habits, for your habits become your character. Be careful of your character, for your character becomes your destiny.”

Erika has always had a passion for health and nutrition. She believes that nutrition and exercise go hand-in-hand to increase well-being and an approach to food with a balanced mindset (dark chocolate please!) She loves hiking and running 5ks and has also ran a half-marathon where she trained with her 3 year old daughter in a stroller. She went to the University of New Hampshire and received her Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics with classes in EcoGastronomy. She loves to cook, garden, and spend time outdoors.

Email: [email protected]


A Day in the Life of a Dietitian

Once again we share “a day in the life” of what Dietitian, Holley Samuel ate one day, during this week.
Of course it’s been a whirlwind of change for everyone this week but we thought it may be fun to see what she was up to!


Oats with frozen blueberries, cinnamon, a splash of whole milk and 88 Acres Dark Chocolate Sunflower Seed butter and 30oz water with a splash of limeade (my favorite way to hydrate!) 













Next was a cold brew with oat milk from Adelle’s in Dover- my favorite coffee place! they made coffees to go today before closing for a while due to the COVID-19 situation. 













Making sure to stay hydrated with 30oz bottle #2 with a splash of limeade mid-morning! 















Lunch was a salad with Little Leaf Farms lettuce (it’s the best- trust me), a mini cucumber, 1 chopped carrot, 1/2 a small apple, walnuts, hemp seeds, cheddar cheese, a Starkist Tuna packet and Bolthouse Farms dressing. 











About 45 minutes after lunch, I broke out Trader Joe’s 72% cocoa dark chocolate (which Hazel wanted to be part of!). Don’t let the picture fool you- I had 3 squares, not 1 and I DID NOT SHARE! 😉 

Hazel NOT eating dark chocolate!

Mid-afternoon I had a 12oz of GTS Synergy Kombucha. I love purchasing these larger bottles to save money, since my husband and I both enjoy drinking kombucha a few times a week, each. Probiotics help support your immune system by boosting the good bacteria in your gut, which is the gatekeeper to your immune system! I want that gate to be mighty strong in times like these, especially! 









Dinner was everything but the kitchen sink, in bowl form.

We made sautéed peppers and onions with leftover white rice, low sodium canned chick peas (the store was out of black bean, which I would have preferred for this Mexican themed dish… but that’s ok!), salsa, 1 wholly Guacamole packet, and some sprinkle cheddar cheese on top.

I also drank one more 30oz water bottle with dinner!











Stress has been running a little high these days and my schedule is nothing like it normally is (in some ways this is helpful while in others it is not), so I have been making an effort to keep my meals pretty similar to what they typically are when there is no coronavirus pandemic! 

I hope this full day of eating helps give you some ideas of quick meals to make and allowed you to pause and think about how you can nourish yourself and practice self care next chance you get. -Holley 


Today we say farewell to Holley as she embarks on another adventure in in North Carolina! We will miss you, Holley! Thank you for leaving us with this great insight into your day!

Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds, Healthy Futures During School Closure

Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds, Healthy Futures During School Closure

By Jenny Brown

The no school quarantine memes and videos will without a doubt make you LOL but there is also some truth to them. Thus far my favorite is the dad who hears his daughter yelling for him and quickly grabs a background to camouflage himself into the couch. Raise your hand if this is you already on Day 5 of quarantine/remote learning? Whether you’ve gone from CEO to 3rd grade teacher or personal trainer to now 2nd AND 7th grade teacher, the struggle is real for all of us. How am I ever going to survive home school and this new quarantined lifestyle? This is the question we are all asking ourselves multiple times a day. 

Well, we will survive this and life will go back to our new normal, but until then let me share some secrets to creating the least restrictive, productive home school environment to ensure your littles continue to develop Healthy minds, Healthy Bodies, and Healthy Futures

Having taught Kindergarten and First Grade for many years, I have a few insights and resources to share with you all that I hope will be added to your “2020 Corona Home School Survival Guide”.

  A child’s school day is very predictable:  snack, math, writing, lunch, recess, they all occur relatively around the same time every day and or your child begins to memorize Monday-Friday’s schedule. Help your child adjust to this new school at home lifestyle by having them create, with assistance if needed, their own schedule. The more ownership they have over their schedule the easier it may be to follow. I realize life is nothing but a fluid situation right now, but the quicker we can create structure and predictability for your child, the more successful quarantine and remote learning will be for you and them! 

Learning can and should be fun. We realize you are not a teacher, nor have you ever had to make memorizing sight words entertaining. Don’t panic, there are many resources to help make these chunks of learning time enjoyable for both you and your child. Keep their brains engaged while offering out of the box lesson ideas to ensure healthy minds, healthy bodies and healthy futures and keep those quarantine blues away. Check out some indoor/outdoor lesson enhancements below. Please keep in mind these can all be differentiated to appropriate grade level and or subject. Get creative…have fun! 

Routines and fun can go hand-in-hand! 

Healthy Minds:

  • Create a daily challenge, for example have them collect objects from outside to spell out their name, sight words, or spelling words. 
  • Create a search for different household or outside objects that resemble shapes.
  • Instead of using paper, have them do their math with dry erase markers on windows or patio doors.
  • Bake or cook together to practice order or sequence with younger kiddos or fractions with older ones. 
  • Build a fort to read in.
  • Create building challenges inside or outside.

Don’t forget to offer lots of brain and sensory breaks for your child. If your child appears antsy, offer some yoga or stretching poses. If your children appear to be losing focus offer an active break of simon says, or jumping jacks. 


Healthy Bodies:

Student learning is never done all day sitting at a desk. The more you try and create the least restrictive environment for your child to learn the more successful you may be. Allow your child to design a small space they feel will allow them to work at their highest level. It’s ok for a child to work sitting on an exercise ball, with a lap desk, or even just standing. It’s ok that a few stuffed animals make pretend classmates. It is also extremely important to make sure your child keeps moving throughout the day. Remember each time they transition in school an active moment of some sort is experienced whether its walking to the lunch room, or standing up and putting supplies away.. Check out the resources listed below to help you keep your kiddo happy and moving. 

Cosmos Kids yoga –

Go Noodle – Koo Koo Kangaroo and Moosetube are known favorites.


Lastly there are an incredible amount of virtual resources available from storytelling to animal exhibits at zoos. Check out the resources below to help create a fun, engaging, memory making Covid-19 remote learning experience for you and your family. 


Wildlife Encounters Facebook Live videos


Mo Willems Lunch Doodles


San Diego Zoo Live Cameras


Fluency and Fitness


Ranger Rick Magazines


Healthy Futures:

Everything we do right now for our kiddo’s during this trying time will create resilience within them that will last for the years to come.

Jennifer Brown, Youth Program Manager at The Works!
Jenny is a graduate of The University of Southern Maine with a Bachelors in Social Work and a Masters of Science in Education. She has previously taught Kindergarten and First grade in two local elementary schools. She also brings past experiences in youth programming as both a Summer Camp Director and a Program Director.















Chasing Goals With a Newborn

By Beth Janelle

I’ve always set different goals in life, wanting that success, no matter what the process to reach that goal was. Growing up as an athlete, I focused on competitive soccer, basketball, swimming, tennis, hiking 4000 Footers, and once I was in my 20s, I took up running half and full marathon road races. I threw a couple long-distance obstacle course races in the mix too. Pounding the pavement turned into dodging trees in the woods on trail runs with my dog. Individual trail racing turned into ultra relay races up mountains with friends. I loved pushing my body to the limit to see what I could actually achieve with hard work and whatever elements were thrown at me!

Speaking of “pushing”, in April 2019, I went through a drug-free childbirth, which HAD to be my limit, right? Once I was fully recovered from the labor and delivery, I felt like I could do almost anything! I spent some time dreaming up a new challenge to take on. Finally, I could see it. I would complete a Triathlon.

Completing a Triathlon was always on my radar growing up: I was a competitive swimmer, a marathon runner, and who doesn’t know how to ride a bike?! It was my next challenge, with plenty of roadblocks. Not only did I have to set up a grueling fitness program to be able to swim, bike, and run all back-to-back-to-back, but I wanted to train for this while caring for a 6 week old breastfed baby. Would I have time? Would I have the energy? Would I be so out of shape after being pregnant for the past 9 months?

In May 2019, I decided to jump right in and see what would happen. I signed up for a Sprint Distance Triathlon, just to get my feet wet, to see if I liked the sport. I knew I could swim the 500 yards, bike the 12 miles, and run 3.2 miles as long as I could find the time to train. Even though I was pregnant for the past 9 months, I still exercised during the entire pregnancy. I made sure to adjust my workouts so I was only doing what I could handle and what was healthy for my baby. I did several days of strength training per week, yoga, walking, lap swimming, and even jogging every couple of days. I felt amazing during those 9 months, and I trained this way until the day before my son was born. I was able to get back into exercising so quickly at an advanced level because I retained my fitness throughout my pregnancy!

First I created my own training program which included 5-6 days of workouts, with a mix of short runs, longer bike rides, one day in the pool, and a few strength and High Intensity Interval Training days. I was able to complete most of the workouts while my baby was napping (luckily he was a great sleeper most of the time), or after my husband got home from work. Times proved to be tough though, and sometimes I just wanted to lie on the couch snuggling with my newborn! And even though sometimes that’s what I did for part of the day, my son would cheerfully play with his toys next to me as I finished a run on the Craigslist-purchased treadmill in our basement. I would count my reps with him while I used weights! Pushups with kisses were his favorite. Training for this race with a baby was actually doable…and fun!

In September I was ready for the Sprint Triathlon, but the competition was looking stiff! Everyone had fancy bikes, aerodynamic helmets, and expensive wetsuits. My bike was Used off Amazon and I borrowed my wetsuit from a friend. I felt a little embarrassed, but that was pushing me harder to prove that I didn’t need all the fancy gear. I was fast, and I was going to trust my training. Afterall, if I could go through childbirth, this should be a cakewalk!

That day I finished the 500yd swim, 12mile bike, and 3.2 mile run with a time of 1:26:58, and I literally sprinted the whole time! I felt amazingly strong and powerful through every leg of the race. I finished 1st in my age group (30-34 female) and 6th female overall! I was so happy with the outcome, and I was craving more! However, Triathlon racing season was over for the New England area, so I had to look South! I found a Triathlon in Sarasota, Florida on January 5th which was a longer (but flatter) course than the Sprint race I had just done. I would compete in the Olympic Distance race, an exhausting 1 mile swim, 27 mile bike, and 7 mile run. The distances didn’t scare me, but the plane ride with a 9 month old baby did!

I signed up for the race and got back to my training. I upped by distances and just took it day by day, trying to figure out when I could squeeze in a workout between entertaining my baby and scooting off to work for a few hours. The holidays quickly flew by, much faster than some of those workouts (especially on days where I had a back-to-back bike and running session which regularly took over two hours). With the help and support of my friends and family, I was ready for my Olympic Triathlon!

I arrived in Florida with my husband and son just a couple days before the race so we could get acclimated. Everything was lining up perfectly; the weather was supposed to be ideal, my rental bike was all set to go, and none of our luggage got lost! However, I got little sleep the night before the race, not because of nerves, but because of a teething baby, sick with a cold, who could not stop crying. My husband ended up driving around with the poor baby at 3am just so I could get a couple hours of sleep before I had to wake up for race day!

When my alarm went off at 6am, the last thing in the world I wanted to do was a Triathlon. But after watching some Tom Brady Motivational Speeches on YouTube, my adrenaline was pumping, and I was ready to crush the competition! The weeks of training paid off, and even though I was sleep deprived and also sick with that same cold my son had, I went as fast as I possibly could have on each leg of the race, all while feeling indestructible! I finished the run strong, and crossed the finish line with a time of 2:47:30, and literally breastfed my baby on the ground immediately after.

I was so depleted, but my Mommy Superpowers were kickin’ and after all that, I still needed to feed my son!

I ended up placing 3rd for Females overall, and 1st place in my Age Group.

To say I was feeling accomplished is an understatement. I was on top of the world! Not only was I able to piece together a multi-sport training schedule in between caring for an infant son and working part-time, but I finished the race feeling so strong, so tough, and now so overjoyed to get back out there and do another one! It all just reaffirms that if you set a goal, you can figure out a way to make it happen for yourself, and if there’s a will, there’s a way!

Challenging myself to see what I’m capable of has always been something that I’m passionate about, and I will continue to dream up something new and crazier than what might seem possible. Another Triathlon? An Ironman Race? Giving birth to Twins? Who knows what my next challenge will be!


Please note that if you are considering any fitness goals before, during or after pregnancy, reach out to your physician to get the all clear and then to a trainer to assist you in your journey! 



By Beth Janelle

Personal Training/Fitness & Wellness Consultant 


Phone: 603-742-2163  x801
Email: [email protected]

Education: NASM Certified Personal Trainer NASM Certified Corrective Exercise Specialist First Aid/CPR/AED Certified

Learn more about Beth here!


The Gift of Movement This Valentine’s Day

Feeling a bit hesitant on covering the kitchen counter with candy hearts, chocolate flowers, and an explosion of pink confetti for the family? Why not keep it simple and give the gift of movement? 

Valentine’s Day is the day of spreading love. Many say love and happiness go hand in hand, so how will you spark that love and happiness in your life and your families this Valentine’s Day? How will you spoil yourself and them, not only on this holiday but throughout the future? 

Stop for a moment and recall your last experience with movement of your body. Did you walk the dog, crawl around the house on all fours with your child on your back, go for a run after a stressful day, or attend a group fitness class with a friend? No matter what the movement was, take a moment to recall how your body felt after completing this movement. Not just physically but emotionally as well. 

We are all aware science has proven that exercise and movement release endorphins and feel good brain chemicals. It’s also been said to reduce the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline in the body. We’ve all heard this many times, but have you actually stopped and reflected on how you really felt from the top of your head to the tips of your toes post movement? Did you feel like you could keep going for another mile, did you feel a sense of accomplishment Rocky Balboa famous climb style, did you feel so energized you came home from Zumba that you left your music on and danced around the kitchen making dinner. Was there a sense of happiness or uplifting energy? 

We all want to experience happiness as often as possible correct? We all want that feeling of content, joy, and gratitude. There are many methods in which we can seek this feeling and it varies from person to person. You can eat that Valentine’s Day chocolate heart and you will experience content and joy for about 8 seconds, but taking that jog before your significant other takes you out to a romantic Valentine’s dinner, or before your Galentine’s brunch, will leave you with more than just a euphoria of your tastebuds. It will leave you stronger, more confident, mentally clearer, and provide the opportunity for you to give your best self and that creates a love of yourself. When your self love game is strong, it shows. Friends take notice, significant others take notice, but most of all, your children take notice. You’re setting strong examples for them to follow. You’re not only ensuring your own healthy body, mind, and future but you’re offering them a chance at their own healthy body, healthy mind, and a healthy future. These all-in return create the sense of  joy and contentment we all constantly strive for, otherwise known as happiness. Give yourself and your family the gift of love and happiness this Valentine’s Day with movement. 



Jennifer Brown
Youth Programs Manager 

Jenny is a graduate of The University of Southern Maine with a Bachelors in Social Work and a Masters of Science in Education. She has previously taught Kindergarten and First Grade in two local elementary schools. She also brings experience in youth programming as both a Summer Camp Director and a Program Director.

Healthy Minds. Healthy Bodies. Healthy Futures. 


Looking for some new ideas today to get moving together? We’ve got plenty! Try one of our Challenges: Myzone MEPS Challenge or our Lap Pool “Swim Le Marathon De Paris”.  Enjoy some Group Fitness Classes while your children check out the Fitspot, Supervised Programs or take a swim together! Visit us at 23 Works Way in Somersworth or online at 😍❤️

Turn Resolutions into SMART Goals!

The decorations have been put away, the kids are back in school, and you are feeling motivated to start the new year ahead. January 1st rolls around every year and, like clockwork, you find yourself setting a handful of New Year Resolutions. “Get back into the gym”, “clean up my diet”, and “lose weight” are three resolutions that always seem to make their way to the top of the popularity list. While the intentions behind these resolutions are absolutely fantastic, there is one major adjustment that can be made that will aid in turning these resolutions into realistic goals. ­

That is specificity.

Did you know that people start falling off their New Year Resolutions right around January 12th?

Another eye-opening statistic according to a study by the University of Scranton states that only 8% of people actually achieve their New Year Resolutions! Two of the biggest explanations for why people fall off their resolutions are setting both unrealistic expectations and vague goals. When setting goals (at any point during the year) you should always ask yourself “Is this a SMART goal?”A SMART goal is a technique used to aid in creating and achieving both short and long term goals Your goals are considered SMART if you can check all of these boxes:

  • Is it SPECIFIC? Simply stating “get healthier” is not specific enough to hold you accountable. Are you looking to lose a certain amount of weight? Are you trying to get into a new exercise routine?
  • Is it MEASUREABLE? How are you going to measure the outcome of your goal? Are you shooting to drop 3% body fat? Are you aiming to increase your cardio frequency to 3-4 days per week?
  • Is it ATTAINABLE? Is this something that can be accomplished, or is it a lofty goal? Setting a weight loss goal of 50 lbs in 2 months would be unattainable and unrealistic. Getting to the gym 6 days per week may not be reasonable for your schedule.
  • Is it RELEVANT? Is this something that you really want to do? If you hate running and have ongoing joint pain, it would be silly to set a goal of “run a half marathon”. Your goals should be based on what you want!
  • Is it TIMELY? If your goal doesn’t have a deadline, how do you expect to reach this goal?

With all of this considered, let’s take our initial goal of “get healthier” and turn it into a SMART goal: By June 30th, I want to lose 10-15 lbs by cutting back on added sugars and getting 30 minutes of cardio 3 days per week. This is much more reasonable and gives you some wiggle room to indulge in your favorite sweets every once in a while instead of opting to cut out sugar completely.

Now that we are nearing the end of January, some of you may have trickled away from your resolutions or have fallen off track a little bit. What I am about to say might surprise you a little bit, but… THAT’S OKAY! You are human! We all fall off track more than we like to admit. There is no reason whatsoever that you should beat yourself up over that. Instead of allowing yourself to totally derail after you have gone off course, cut yourself some slack and do a mental check-in. Put pen to paper and map out the following sequence to get yourself back on board:

  • What was your goal? Was it SMART? Was it too lofty?
  • If you determine you set your expectations too high, readjust! Make it more specific, change up the time frame or the measurements.
  • Where did you go wrong? Did you set a weight loss goal of 10 lbs in 3 months but only lost 8? Maybe your workouts started to slack during the last month. How can you switch this goal up in the future to make it more attainable?
  • Write out a list of all the things you have accomplished. If you only lost 8 lbs instead of 10, honor that 8 lb weight loss! You earned it. Give yourself a break and pat yourself on the back for the things you DID do. You can’t climb a flight of stairs without taking the first step.
  • What is your inner voice telling you? You spend the most time with your own thoughts – you better make sure those are positive ones. Thank your body for all of its hard work and instead of telling yourself “I did what I said I wasn’t going to do. I am a failure”, tell yourself “I can do this. I have already done xyz”.

If you’re still going strong with your New Year Resolutions – that’s amazing and you should be very proud of yourself! If you have fallen off – tomorrow is a new day. Collect yourself, reset new goals for tomorrow, crush them, and then repeat the next day. Sometimes the biggest successes come from falling off a little bit and recognizing where you went wrong. Brush off the dust and get back on the horse! Happy Goal Setting!

-Jessica Machaby, MS, Certified Health Coach

Learn more about setting SMART goals and other wellness opportunities at The Works by visiting our website today. 

A Day in the Life, What a Dietitian Eats in a Day

We asked Holley Samuel, RD, LD, CPT what a day may look like for her. She graciously shared a snippet of what a workday has looked like for her. Check it out below!

This is how I eat most week days during the work week. On weekends or when I am not working things may look a little different. Also during different times of the year my taste buds change just like anyone else’s! By no means am I perfect, but I don’t believe in being perfect because that wouldn’t be any fun!

Please keep in mind that this is what I eat in a day and what I have found, through a lot of trial and error, what works best for my body and its needs. You should always discuss your needs and nutrition habits with your registered dietitian so that you are catering to what works for you!

Breakfast is usually between 6-7am:

Nearly every morning for the past several years, I’ve started my day with oatmeal. My favorite combination is: old fashioned oats, Wyman’s of Maine wild blueberries, 2% milk, 1 scoop of Vital Proteins collagen powder to support my joints in the training I do as an endurance athlete (and to support hair skin and nails too of course!), a hefty scoop of Teddy’s natural peanut butter, and a healthy amount of cinnamon mixed in! I try to make time in the morning to sit down and enjoy breakfast, as it sets the tone for my day. 


Coffee at 10am:

Sometime mid morning on most days of the week, I will make myself an iced coffee. I enjoy using a store bought cold brew with any flavor of the Bliss creamers. These creamers are great if you like traditional flavored coffee creamers but don’t want any of the hydrogenated oils or high fructose corn syrups!

Mid morning snack is usually around 11am:

Between breakfast and lunch I sometimes need a morning snack, especially if my exercise for the day happened in the morning. Chocolate hummus and an apple or rice cakes are a quick and easy go-to that are satisfying and provide plenty of fiber to keep me full until lunchtime.

Lunch is usually between 12-2pm:

For lunches I either have a salad like the one pictured above, or leftovers from the night before! I try to keep easy things on hand to prep for lunches or prepare extra dinner for leftovers so that I have a balanced lunch to eat most days. This salad has Little Leaf Farms lettuce (go try it if you haven’t yet! I find it at Hannaford or Market Basket), carrot, cucumber, craisins, walnuts, sundried tomatoes, chick peas, and chicken! I like using bolthouse farms dressings or just regular olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Adding a dash of dried basil, oregano, and parsley also helps spice up salads!

Mid-afternoon snack + kombucha is between 3-5pm:

Some days mid-afternoon or with lunch I like to have a kombucha as a pick me up! I am not a huge fan of the taste or smell of yogurt, so I like to get my probiotics in through kombucha! Since adding kombucha to my diet over the past few years, I’ve found my digestion improved and I rarely catch the common cold anymore. I usually have 2-3 bottles a week.

Afternoon snacks are some of my favorite! I often get a sweet tooth by 3pm and no one wants to see me “hangry” at work. Perfect Bars are my favorite energy bars because they are peanut or almond butter based, which is very filling and satisfying. This walnut brownie flavor it my favorite! Usually I make energy bites or energy balls for the week, but this week I was running short on time and these bars were on sale at Hannaford- a Perfect Bar a day keeps the “hanger” away!

Dinner is around 8-9pm:

Most days of the week I eat dinner between 8-9pm before heading to bed by 10pm. I absolutely must meal prep or keep easy to cook things on hand because of my schedule. This week, I cooked up quinoa, roasted sweet potatoes, and some chicken to have on hand to make bowls and salads with. I keep steam-able veggies, avocados, canned beans, condiments, and hummus on hand to add more flavor and fiber as well! This bowl came together in under 5 minutes and clearly my chocolate lab, Hazel, wanted some of the action too!


Tea at 9:30pm:

Last but not least, some immunity tea! My mother-in-law makes this for herself and shared her recipe with me! I combine ginger and chamomile tea+ elderberry concentrate+ honey. If you are trying to fight off any germs, this tea may not be a bad idea. It tastes amazing too as a bonus!



Water? Yes please! 

Hydration, hydration, hydration! I am not as great as keeping myself hydrated during the winter months as I am in the summer months. A key player in my hydration game is this cup! It holds 30 oz of water (I got it off Amazon along with the stainless steel straw- save the turtles!), and I make myself drink two of these while I am at work. This ensures I am getting at least 60 oz of water at work, not counting any other water I may drink at home (usually 1-3 more glasses). I have also found that everything tastes better through a straw, which is why I gravitated towards this cup! 

What’s your day like? We’d love to hear from you! 

Quick Healthy Snacks for your Kids!

We all know the impact that a busy family lifestyle can have on maintaining a healthy diet. On the one hand, a quick bag of chips when you’re rushing out the door seems like the easiest solution, but when it comes to your family, it’s important to weigh the consequences that unhealthy choices can have on long-term health. Although it may seem difficult to stray from the easy, pre-made solutions you can buy in the center aisles of any grocery store, the health benefits of nutritious foods and snacks are well worth the tiny bit of extra work. With a few of the following tips, making healthy foods will not only be fun and easy, but most importantly delicious! Here are a few helpful tips to get your kiddos eating those healthy snacks.

Step One: Meal Prep. Yes, I said it. Although our weekends fill up quickly, this is typically the best period during the week to set aside some time to prepare food. Now, I know many of you may be rolling your eyes and saying, “Absolutely not, we don’t have time for that,” but I promise you- it is well worth it. Like the start of any new habit, the first few weeks are the toughest and require diligence and dedication to initiate this lifestyle change. But think of it this way: an hour or so of meal prep at some point over the weekend allows extra time for read aloud before bed, or an extra 20-30 minutes of self-care time for after the kids are asleep and you’ve just had a long day doing your own thing. That time at night you used to spend making lunch sides can now be spent with your feet up, beverage in hand, to help you unwind. Get creative with your new-found time! Not only will this give you more personal time, but it will also help grow healthy children. Take it slow; start with prepping snacks for one or two days of the week, and see how your evolution as a meal prepper unfolds. It is also helpful to keep a folder in your kitchen with recipes, so that you have everything in one place. If you are switching between magazines, cookbooks, and recipes on your computer, it will get confusing and take much longer.

So, to start, here are a few recipes for those kids that like to push their fruit and vegetables to the side of their plate each night and refuse those “yucky’’ food groups. These ideas can help make healthy food fun for the kids! Every fun shape, animal, or face created increases the chances that your child will take a bite. Take a chance and relish in the rewards.

Frozen Blueberry Bites
2 ingredients – does it get any simpler? And the best part: it tastes like a frozen dessert!

All you will need to prep these quick, on-the-go friendly snacks are yogurt, blueberries, and a freezer. You can use your favorite choice of yogurt: flavored or plain. Drop the desired amount of blueberries into the yogurt and fish out with a toothpick. Place the yogurt covered blueberry on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and place in freezer.

Pull out on a hot day for a quick snack during your swim break or bring a cooler filled with them for your next picnic.

Carrot Stars
A great alternative to chips and only 4 ingredients! This recipe does require oat flour. If you don’t have oat flour readily available, you can create your own oat flour by grinding oats in a food processor. It is so easy, and it takes seconds.
You will need
• 200g grated carrots (around 1 1/2 packed cups)
• 1/2 cup water
• 70 g grated cheddar cheese (1/2 cup)
• 2 eggs
• 4 tbsp oat flour

1. Pre heat oven to 180C / 350F
2. Mixed the carrot and water in a bowl, cover and microwave on high for 3 mins
3. Drain the carrots and then place them on a clean cloth / absorbent paper and squeeze out the liquid. (You need to get the carrots quite dry)
4. Place the carrots back in the bowl and mix with the remaining ingredients
5. Prepare a baking tray with baking paper or use a silicon baking sheet
6. Form star shapes of the mixture onto the sheet using a cookie cutter. (Mine were around 1/2 cm thick)
7. Bake for approx. 13 mins (until crispy on the sides)

Peanut Butter Cheerio Clusters
Super quick to throw in a bag and make for a great pre practice energy snack. In a bowl, melt 1/4 cup maple syrup (or honey) and 1/4 cup peanut butter in the microwave for about 30 to 45 seconds, until smooth. Add 3/4 cup Honey Nut Cheerios (or another lightly sweetened whole grain cereal) to the bowl and toss to coat. Dollop spoonfuls of the mixture onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Set aside to harden, about 10 minutes. If your child has a nut allergy or you prefer to replace the peanut butter with a seed butter, a good substitution could be sunflower seed butter, pumpkin seed butter or raw tahini.

Cheesy Quinoa Crackers

They are great to add to lunchboxes or to have out and about for a snack.



•80g (1 cup) Quinoa Flakes
• 1 tbsp Sesame Seeds
• 100g Butter
• 100g (1 cup) Cheddar Cheese grated
• 135g (1 cup) Spelt Flour
• 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
• 3 tbsp Milk
1. Preheat Oven to 180C / 350f and line a baking tray with baking paper.
2. Add the quinoa flakes and sesame seeds to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
3. Add the butter, cheese, flour and baking powder and pulse until crumbly. Add the milk and continue to process until the mixture comes together.
4. Gently knead the dough on a floured surface and then roll, between sheets of baking paper, until approx 5mm thick.
5. Cut out desired shapes using cookie cutters.
6. Bake for approx 12 mins, or until lightly golden.
7. Allow to cool for approx 2 mins before transferring to racks to completely cool.


Recipes shared from: and
Other great resource includes:

Jennifer Brown, Youth Program Manager
Jenny is a graduate of The University of Southern Maine with a Bachelors in Social Work and a Masters of Science in Education. She has previously taught Kindergarten and First grade in two local elementary schools. She also brings experience in youth programming as both a Summer Camp Director and a Program Director.

The Journey to Becoming an Instructor: Jill’s Story

Thank-you, Jill for sharing your inspiring journey!


Written by Jill Thorpe


I started my journey as a member of The Works.


I was recovering from a back injury, was 60lbs overweight and battling other health issues. I came to The Works looking for a way to get moving and improve my health.  I quickly found my way to group fitness and I never looked back.


What I found was so much more than I expected. I found a community full of support, encouragement and friendship. 


The other members and the instructors were a big part of the driving force that helped keep me coming back for more. My love for health and fitness grew more and more everyday.  Losing weight and regaining my health was the most amazing feeling. Eventually I found myself traveling to  Pennsylvania  to start my first certification. Within a few months I was certified as a Les Mills Body Vive/Tone instructor.  I felt so fortunate to be able to share my passion with other people. I quickly began studying to gain my Ace Group Fitness Certification. I wanted to learn as much as I could and then share what I have learned with everyone that comes to my classes.


I found my niche in HIIT and endurance training. I enjoy a total body challenge mixing cardio and strength in various ways through use of many types of equipment. I love teaching classes that everyone, no matter where they are in their journey can participate in.

I continue to teach my first certification, Tone every Sunday morning at 8:30am and Wednesdays at 6:40pm. I teach FIT on Monday at 4:50pm, Fortitude at 6:40pm on Tuesdays and my NEW class Circuit Training on Friday at 4:30

If you look into my classes you find a wide variety of members. I enjoy being able to connect and teach to everyone who takes my classes. I am so lucky to be teaching at The Works. 

Check out the full class schedules here