Whole foods, plant-based shopping for beginners

My shopping list is hilariously predictable. Every single week I get the same thing: a ton of fruits & veggies; a few cans of beans; some whole wheat tortillas; bulk items like quinoa, baking soda, and brown rice noodles; kid snacks like pretzels, crackers, and trail mix; a couple of things of almond milk, and bread. Occasionally I go nuts and buy some sparkling water and fruit juice to make my own soda, or maybe I’ll get a few non-WFPB items like butter and cage-free brown eggs for some of my more conventional comfort food recipes. But seriously, my list rarely if ever changes. (If you don’t believe me, check out this post here and this one here.)

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8 scrumptious on-the-go snacks that are ridiculously good for you

As I always say: When you’ve got kids, snack time is a way of life. But guess what: It should be that way for grown-ups, too.

As adults we’ve learned to ignore our hunger signals, either by ignoring them outright in some insane attempt at weight loss or because we’re too busy to stop and eat. Or maybe you’re the type of person who would LOVE to chow down whenever the mood strikes, but you know it’s not a good idea to just shovel in any old thing that sounds good at the moment (because for me, the answer to that question is always French fries — always).

The solution to that problem is obvious: Make snacks a part of your regular meal plan so you’ll always be prepared when hunger strikes. And when you’ve got nothing but healthy, delicious goodness on hand, there’s no need to feel guilty about indulging in a mid-afternoon crunch-fest.

If you’re a parent, the best snacks are not only ones that are healthy, but delicious for both you and your kids. That’s why I make ready-to-eat snack bags for my kids, because there’s nothing worse than being surrounded by ravenous children with their hands out the minute you sneak off to open your very own snack. (Seriously it’s the worst. I start feeling all stabby when that happens. So I try not to let it happen, ever.)

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25 ways to make cooking a whole lot easier

There’s no getting around it: If you want to eat healthier, you’re going to have to cook. At least a little. And, yes, often.

When people ask me about the way I eat or how I feed my family I continually hear people say, “Well, I’d like to eat healthier, but I can’t cook.” Or even worse, “I don’t cook.” As though this is an insurmountable obstacle, like, “Well, I’d like to be able to draw with my right hand, but I’m left-handed.” And even then, if you were determined enough to draw with your right hand, I’m sure you would find a way.

Let’s be honest here: Saying that you can’t heat healthy because you can’t cook is an excuse. A cop-out. It’s a barricade you put there yourself. Whenever I hear someone tell me that they can’t cook it’s all I can do to keep myself from saying something quippy, like, “Yes, well, Bobby Flay/Paula Deen/The Pioneer Woman/Emeril Lagasse/your-favorite-chef-here wasn’t born with a spatula in his/her hand. At some point they had to learn, too. If you can’t cook it’s only because you haven’t taken the time to learn.”

OK, enough with the snark. I get that cooking can be tricky and time-consuming and seem totally overwhelming if you’ve never cooked a dish in your life. I’m not saying it’s the easiest thing in the world; what I am saying is that if this is your excuse for not eating better, it’s not a very good one — because anyone can learn how to cook. You may not be the next Giada de Laurentis, but if you get in the kitchen and give yourself a chance, you can figure this out. Yes, even those of you who feel so helpless in the kitchen you can’t even crack an egg. You got this. I promise.

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How to store fresh herbs

There’s nothing like fresh herbs in a dish. They add a brightness and bring another dimension of flavor to a dish that just can’t be replicated. Even if you don’t have your own herb garden, you can still get fresh herbs from the grocery store (or from a generous friend — ask around!). The trouble is, it’s very easy for freshly-cut herbs to wilt in a hurry once you’ve brought them home.

There are a few tricks you can use to get the most of your herbs. Here are two ways to store your herbs so they stay fresher longer and you can enjoy every last bit.

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The urge to purge … your home, that is

I just got back from an 8-day family vacation to California. As with any trip with small children, it had its less-than-ideal moments (like when my poor baby girl threw up all over herself — and my husband, and the restaurant — after dinner on our last day at Disneyland). But overall, it was a wonderful trip and I loved getting away with my family.

The thing about vacations is, it takes a LOT of work to prepare for them, plus a lot of work getting life back in order again once you get home. This is especially true if you have little ones; it seems like you have to pack everything but the kitchen sink — and it sure felt that way beforehand, as I ran errand after errand making sure we had everything we needed before we took off.

My work paid off and nothing was forgotten. In fact, we not only had everything we needed, we had ONLY the things we needed. No extras taking up space; just the basics that took care of all our needs. And you know, it was really nice. For once I didn’t have to sift through an overflowing closet and wrack my brain trying to figure out what to wear each morning, and I didn’t have to clean up piles and piles of toys that the kids had gotten out during the day or dig through drawers of makeup trying to find the perfect shade of eyeshadow. I had exactly what I needed — no more, no less.

And then we came home to a house that’s overflowing with stuff.

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7 reasons you should make ready-to-eat snack bags

When you’ve got little kids, snack time is a way of life. It seems like someone is always hungry or begging for a snack, which can mean countless trips for mom to the pantry or fridge each week. One of my favorite ways to streamline my life in the kitchen is to make ready-to-eat snack bags, all prepped and easily accessible for little hands.

Having snack bags is like meal planning for snacks. You don’t necessarily need to make a strict plan, but you do need to think ahead to have treats on hand. After that, it’s easy as pie.  Continue reading

One week of eating the Healthy Little Changes Way

I make some pretty big claims on my home page:

♥  Lose weight easily and keep it off effortlessly.

♥  Make healthy, delicious meals your whole family will enjoy.

♥  Cut your grocery budget and keep it under control.

♥  Get organized so that cooking from scratch becomes an easy, seamless part of every day.

It may sound like a lot of hyped-up promises, but let me assure you, it’s not. This is the real deal, folks. I know, because I live this way.

I’m in the process of writing detailed eGuides to give you all the knowledge you’ll need for implementing my plan into your own life, but now, I’m going to give you a behind-the-scenes look at how I make this work in my life. Continue reading