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Get Back to Basics: Easy Ways to Fuel Up and Stay Fit:

Busy schedules can make it harder to eat right and stay fit. That’s why California Raisins and celebrity fitness trainer Valerie Waters have teamed up to create simple solutions for fueling families all school year long.

“Just because budgets have tightened doesn’t mean families have to cut back on healthy eating and exercise,” says Waters. “In fact, natural foods are more likely to pack a greater nutritional punch and fitness doesn’t need to be attached to workout machines or hefty gym membership fees.”

Waters is known for helping celebrity moms stay fit while juggling demanding work and family schedules. With a philosophy of keeping fitness and nutrition accessible and uncomplicated, Waters offers the following basic tips for parents who want to help keep their families healthy and active all year long:

Plan, prepare and pack.

Don’t let piano lessons and soccer practice derail healthy eating. Have a plan in place. Set aside time on a Sunday evening to pack your refrigerator and pantry with items like pre-cut veggies, pre-packaged California Raisins, cubed cheese, and hard-boiled eggs to quickly prepare grab-and-go lunches. Also, think double-duty. When cooking meat items such as chicken, prepare enough to slice and serve in a sandwich, salad or wrap for lunches and cook a few extra servings with every meal to serve throughout the week to avoid grabbing take-out when under a time crunch.

Less is more.

When it comes to preparing meals, tackling a recipe list with fewer ingredients is a lot less stressful and often times more healthful. Families are looking to familiar favorites and naturally nutrient-rich foods to prepare healthy meals at home. By mastering just a few simple recipes, you can prepare a healthy meal in less time than it would take for a pizza delivery!

Redefine play time.

Fitness is fun when it’s a family affair and when you think outside of the box. There are no rules about what fitness should look like; in fact, some of the best workouts are gained through the games we played as a child. Try activities like playing tag. When you run, stop and start, it’s a great exercise for your muscles and coordination. Also, try going outside to play catch or taking a family bike ride after dinner. Fitness doesn’t have to be formal and everyone benefits from moving and being together.

Play with your food.

There’s no better way to introduce new fruits and veggies into your child’s lunch box than a fun trip to your local farmer’s market or grocery store. Making them a part of the decision process will increase their chances of trying new things while developing healthier eating habits. Allow children to sample and select the fruits or veggies you will prepare for dinner and pack in their school lunches. On average, it takes 8 to 12 tries for a child to accept new foods, so be patient.

Take a coffee table break.

Demanding schedules often force fitness regimes to the wayside. But working out doesn’t have to mean expensive memberships and hours at the gym. It can be as simple as moving your coffee table and making space in your living room to do a short 25 to 30 minute strength-training circuit. What’s most important is that moms build their day around this time and be consistent. Even if it’s just 15 minutes a day, you will burn calories and gain energy. For easy to follow along, at-home fitness videos, visit

Top 5 foods to fuel the family

To keep the family rolling full speed ahead — while sticking to your budget — look for foods that will give you the most nutrient bang for the buck.

1. Beans

Packed with protein, fiber and B vitamins, beans are one of the most nutrient-rich, cost-effective foods on earth.

2. Whole Grains

Whole grain rice and oatmeal are just the beginning. Not only are these grains affordable and easy to cook, they’re loaded with important fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.

3. California Raisins

On average, one ounce of raisins costs about 20 cents, truly pennies when you consider the fiber, antioxidants, and potassium raisins deliver.

4. Whole Chicken

Buying a whole chicken, rather than individual cuts, will not only cost less per pound, but will provide you and your family with at least a couple of meals. Cook it in your slow cooker for a delicious, no-fuss, nutrient-rich meal and save the leftovers for salads and soups.

5. Seasonal and Local Fruits and Vegetables

Generally speaking, fruits and vegetables cost less when they are in season and are not grown too far from the market. Look for the following fruits and vegetables this fall/winter grown in the United States: apples, pears, oranges, grapefruit, California Raisins, sweet potatoes, eggplant, onions, potatoes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and more.

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