Real Food on a Budget?

When we are traveling, one of our favorite things to do is find local restaurants and try them out.  Although we are all very adventurous eaters, we do try to eat as healthy as possible, even while on the road.  You’ll often find us enjoying vegetarian dishes, beans & rice, salads and fresh fruit.  Not to say that we don’t tend to indulge a little more when away from home, we just try to keep what we eat as close to real food (food that isn’t heavily processed, has simple, whole food ingredients, and isn’t high in sugar) as possible. Because we aren’t as strict when traveling, when we are at home, it’s super important for me to create meals that are as healthy as possible.  That way I can ensure we are following my 80/20 rule of 80% healthy eating and 20% not quite as healthy.  I do love to cook, but with a full-time job, kids in two different schools, and year-round sports it can be challenging to get a real food meal on the table. One of my favorite tricks is to find cookbooks I love that have pages full of delicious real food recipes.  Then I’ll plan the weekly menu using just that one cookbook – it’s fun for me, easy as I’m not looking up recipes all over the place, and if I like the author, I find I’m happy with the meals. Lisa Leake’s cookbooks are some of my favorites.  I’ve been using 100 Days of Real Food: Fast & Fabulous: The Easy and Delicious Way to Cut Out Processed Food and 100 Days...
Thanksgiving Round-Up

Thanksgiving Round-Up

Happy Thanksgiving!  Hope you all have some fun and fulfilling plans for the next few days.  Today I thought I’d share a round-up of my favorite Thanksgiving posts and recipes. Everything Thanksgiving, all in one place! Recipes: Fresh Cranberries – I made these last night for the Thanksgiving I’m hosting Saturday.  Perfect to make ahead and check them off your list! Cranberry Mimosas – I’m totally adding these to my holiday gathering this year – YUM! Green Beans – so much better than the traditional green bean casserole Easy Cheese Plate – people love to snack on this while waiting for the turkey to finish cooking Traditions: Thanksgiving “Awards” – a fun family tradition my daughter created a few years ago – always a hit! Thanksgiving Leaves – this year I’m planning on adding this as a new tradition – simple and meaningful Burn off that dinner! – We’ve had kickball games, walks in the woods and other kinds of fun – I don’t know what it will be this year, but we’ll do something active after we eat. How will you spend your Thanksgiving holiday?  Are there any traditions that must be followed for your family? Ready to kick start a healthier and happier life?  Check out Make the Most of Every Day and stop letting life pass you...

Healthier Eating in ONE Step!

Looking for an easy healthy fix?  One simple step that will automatically make you healthier? Add a fruit and vegetable to every meal. Doing this one small thing will automatically increase your produce intake to at least six servings a day.  You’ll eat less unhealthy foods if you fill up with healthy and low-calorie fruits and vegetables.  If you mix up which fruits and veggies you enjoy with each meal, you’re also likely to hit your appropriate amounts of daily vitamins and minerals. How easy is this?  If you took my challenge last week, even on your busiest days you can just pull out your bowls of prepared fruits and vegetables or create a quick and healthy salad with your already prepared greens and dressing.  So no excuses of “I don’t have enough time” are allowed here. This is also something you can make fun for the whole family.  Create a challenge for your kids to see who can hit their servings for each meal.  Let them pick out a new fruit and veggie each week from the grocery – often kids are more likely to try something they have chosen themselves. This week I challenge you to try it for a week and see how you feel.  Don’t overthink it, just make sure to include at least one fruit and one vegetable every time you have a meal.  I’d love to hear in the comments how this made you feel, so please share! Looking for more ways to improve your health (and by default your family’s health)?  Let’s talk – I love to help busy working moms create a healthier and...

Food Prep for Weekly Success

It’s pretty apparent I believe strongly in preparing ahead of time.  Last week I shared how I keep lunch making stress to a minimum.  To keep things even easier and to help with all meals during the week, there are a few things I regularly do right after grocery shopping.  These few tasks will make EVERY working mom’s mealtimes go a little bit smoother. I know some of you will read this, roll your eyes, and say to yourself  “NO WAY!  I don’t have time for this nonsense.”  BUT, I timed myself and it took me twenty minutes start to finish.  The benefits include healthier eating and less stress for the whole week.  that’s worth twenty minutes to me.  Got older kids?  Make your life even easier and enlist their help. As soon as I get home from the grocery, I pull out the cutting board and a knife and prep a bowl of veggies.  Once that’s done, I can pack the veggie portion of school lunches in seconds, and if dinner is rushed, this bowl can be pulled out as a healthy side.  I also make a small bowl of dip or hummus to enjoy with the vegetables, and a pint size mason jar of healthy salad dressing (Just mix a few T of extra virgin olive oil with a few T of some type of vinegar, add salt, pepper and any other herbs you’d like.  You can also add a t or 2 of dijon mustard.  Yum!). Greens are washed and spun dry, then packaged in bags with a damp paper towel.  Now they are ready to be...
Easy and Healthy School Lunches

Easy and Healthy School Lunches

Wherever you live, I suspect school is back in full swing by now.  A few years ago, I did a post on my lunch “formula.”   The method I use to pack easy, healthy lunches for my kids.  This is still exactly how I do it, but as an update I thought I’d delve a little deeper into the details. Every week, I try to mix up the lunches so that the kids eat a variety of foods.  Below is an example week – you can see that each lunch follows my “formula,” but contains slightly different components. M – salad with leftover grilled chicken, cucumbers and sliced peppers, berries, pretzels, chocolate covered blueberries, water T – yogurt with granola, snap peas, watermelon, crackers, water W – hummus and pretzel crisps, celery/cucumber/carrots, sliced peaches/plums, chocolate square, water Th – soup or chili, whole apple, crackers, carrots, water F – peanut butter & jelly sandwich, applesauce, cucumbers, Pirate’s Booty or popcorn, water Notice how earlier in the week I include berries, watermelon, peppers and snap peas.  The items that are freshest and taste best right after I purchase them.  Apples and carrots tend to last longer so they are typically reserved for Thursday/Friday.  Ditto for peanut butter and jelly. I also often tuck a little note or joke in the lunchbox – not every day, but definitely several times a week.  Right now I’m LOVING Lunchbox Love – they are easy, pretty and fun, but you could totally take a post it note and make your own. I tend to prep and pack lunches the night before – usually while I’m making or...

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