Healthy Meals and Snacks for Kids

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When I first started making small healthy changes in my life I knew my kid’s eating habits also needed to change, but being that I was already overwhelmed with just ME – I decided to table that for the moment. I focused on what I was eating, getting into a routine and finding recipes that I liked and that worked for our budget and then – I could focus on the kids.

Well, a funny thing happened. As I slowly started to change what was on my plate, my curious little humans would inevitably sneak over and peek in and ask me: “Mommy, what’s that?” “Mommy, what are those?”

They were so curious and I would take a leaf of spinach and offer it to them. Or take a roasted beet and give them a taste. Sometimes they would like it, sometimes they would make a face and give it back.

Then, when I started learning about sugar addiction and how powerful it is (To watch my video series on sugar addiction, click here) I really buckled down and decided that I needed to start to phase out sugar. If I could reduce it or remove as much of it from my children’s diet as possible, I could stop it from having such a stronghold over them in the future.

My personal struggle with sugar addiction has been long and hard and I knew I wanted better for my children. (My story of sugar addiction is here) So I started making healthier treats for me and the kids. I got them involved with the making of them – things like three ingredient pancakes and chia seed pudding. They loved them and so I stopped buying the cookies and animal crackers that I was used to buying them and one by one, the unhealthy food started being replaced by the healthier foods. And one by one, overwhelming things, like making my own granola, started to become second nature.

But it’s hard! And I remember knowing that I didn’t want my kids eating sugary cereal for breakfast, goldfish for snack, frozen chicken nuggets for lunch, cookies for snack #2 and then picking at their dinner and begging for ice cream afterward. I just didn’t know what to give them instead.

So, here are my favorite healthy substitutions for some of the unhealthy things my kids used to eat, and even better – these are some of my KIDS favorite things now too!!

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(disclaimer – I have FOUR kids. They each have their own favorite healthy foods and that’s ok. My husband and I don’t like the same things. I would HATE it if my husband FORCED me to eat HIS favorite healthy snacks, so I don’t MAKE my kids eat ONE particular healthy thing. Through trial and error I started offering them all sorts of healthy things and when we found something they liked, we went with it.

Also, I always eat the healthy things WITH them. At first, they were wary of hummus, but I was eating it and I gave it to them to try with some multi-seed crackers. They took little tiny licks of it, and then a little bit more, and the next thing I knew they had their fingers in the hummus and were finishing off the container. Next time, I brought out carrots and bell peppers to dip in the hummus. One of my children liked the carrots in the hummus – the others prefer the peppers. Small changes, being patient and modeling the behavior you want to see are all SUPER important with kids)

Breakfast:

Cereal was always a staple for me and the kids, but MAAAAN cereal is EXPENSIVE (as is milk) and FULL of sugar, and in an hour my kids were complaining that they were hungry! So I knew this was one of the first things that had to go!

Here are some of the healthier options I rotate with my kids now:

  • Scrambled eggs with cheese
  • Multi-grain toast with peanut butter
  • Whole grain waffles with peanut butter and banana slices and chia seeds
  • Whole Milk yogurt with fresh fruit and homemade granola
  • Daily Sunshine smoothie
  • Three Ingredient Pancakes
  • Oatmeal (not the packets that are filled with sugar and expensive, but just old fashioned oats from the big cylinder. I let the kids choose their toppings: honey, maple syrup, raisins, pecans, chia seeds, peanut butter, coconut flakes, berries – they love it!)

Snacks

Snacks were the next thing on my list to change. Crackers, crackers, crackers, and cookies and chips. Ugh!! I hated it, but I literally couldn’t think of anything else to give my kids for snack. NOW these are our favorite snacks and I literally don’t buy any crackers, cookies or chips anymore (and it helps my grocery budget SO much!!).

  • Carrots & Peppers with hummus
  • Fruit (Apples and Bananas are staples, but we usually just go with whatever is in season)
  • Popcorn (not the kind you microwave, but air popped on the stovetop. We LOOOOVE our Whirley Pop but you can do it in a regular pot as well. This way we control how much salt and butter goes on and again, it’s WAY cheaper to buy the corn in bulk than to get the microwave packets)
  • Daily Sunshine smoothie
  • Cheese sticks

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Lunch

I still feel like I could use some improvement in my lunches, but here’s what I have so far!

Dinner

When it comes to dinner, they eat what we eat. I encourage them to eat at least three bites. Maybe it’s just my kids, but dinner is their LEAST consumed meal. They pick at it (well everyone except my oldest who is growing and consuming everything in sight) and push it around their plate. Foods they loved just the day before (like rice) all of a sudden they don’t like anymore. Frustration central.

So, I have my three bite rule, I sit with them (when I have the patience) and make the fork into a choo choo train or an airplane and help them finish a few more bites. In the end if they are just NOT having it, (and they’ve gotten in their three bites) I’ll give them some Daily Sunshine for “dessert” , they think they’ve “won” but really…I’m the winner here.

Treats

I really do try to limit sugar AS MUCH as possible for my kiddos – which is no easy feat. Not having it in the house makes it a LOT easier!!! But they are kids, and they still want some treats, so here are a few of our favorites.

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I hope these ideas are helpful to you. Again, take it slow with your kids, change one thing at a time. Food is a comfort and when it is changing it can feel disorienting and scary for adults and especially for kids.

The exciting thing is – if we can change their eating habits NOW they won’t have to undo as much damage later. If we can keep our kids from being the 1 in 3 that are overweight right now in America, we can teach them how to love and fuel their bodies and hopefully keep them from feelings of shame or self-loathing.

WE have to model it first and foremost – we can’t force anything on them, but through leading by example and making small changes to their diet, over time I think you will find that you can make a world of difference in your child’s life!

Breaking Down the Numbers: Does Shakeology Make Financial Sense?

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When I first started drinking Shakeology I fully intended to send it back. There was a money back guarantee and in my mind there was NO WAY Shakeology could be worth $130 for a month supply.

And then…I drank it.
Every day, for 30 days.

The cravings that used to RULE me were broken. My energy (which was non-existent) skyrocketed. My milk supply was way stronger than it had ever been, I was losing weight and I thought – “Oh crap…I have to find a way to keep drinking this stuff.”

So, I looked at ways to fit it into my budget – I shaved about $40 off our monthly eating out budget and then another $20 off our weekly grocery budget. BAM! I found $130 – It wasn’t that hard really…I stopped getting chips, cookies, fruit snacks, juice, ice cream and cereal.

Now OBVIOUSLY everyone is in a different place financially. So whether or not Shakeology will make sense financially for YOU is something that is incredibly unique to YOU, this is just MY story and me breaking down MY numbers to see if Shakeology financially makes sense.  Hopefully this blog post can give you some real life numbers and some ideas if this a product that you WANT in your life but are having trouble figuring out how it will actually work.

When we first decided to make it a monthly expense, we were living on one income. My husband is a teacher – so we were on a TIGHT budget, I had JUST  started coaching (and a BIG motivation for coaching WAS to help us afford Shakeology a little more comfortably – but that’s another story for another blog post!) but I wasn’t really making a ton of money at the beginning! So fitting Shakeology into our budget wasn’t something that was an EASY for us because we did not have hardly ANY extra income.

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But all of that was three YEARS ago and my new grocery habits have been so established at this point, I don’t even really think about it anymore. So I decided to take a week, REALLY look at the numbers and contrast every time I had my Shakeology against what I WOULD have had instead and see if it is not only “fitting” into my budget, but maybe….actually….SAVING me money, which would be RIDICULOUS because the nutritional density of Shakeology is outstanding.

(I am basing these costs on the FULL price of Shakeology which is $4.33 per shake, but of course I get a discount as a coach, so I actually saved EVEN more!)

So, here are the results:

Day 1: Saturday @ Legoland
Shakeology: $4.33
Salad: $10.50

Day 2: Sunday @ home cooked meal
Shakeology: $4.33
Beef roast with Potatoes: $4.10

Day 3: Monday @ home cooked meal
Shakeology: $4.33
Chicken and Rice and Broccoli: $3.83

Day 4: Tuesday @ home cooked meal
Shakeology: $4.33
Taco Tuesday: $3.00

Day 5: Wednesday @ Target
Shakeology: $4.33
Starbucks: $5.35

Day 6: Thursday @ home for a mid-afternoon snack
Shakeology: $4.33
Luna bar: $1.15

Day 7: Friday @ Breakfast with a friend
Shakeology: $4.33
Smoothie bowl: $11.50

Total savings: $9.12 for the week!!
If this number holds true for each week of the month that’s nearly $40 a month of SAVINGS.
Meaning, if I DIDN’T have this $130 bag of Shakeology, I would have spent $40 a month MORE.

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This is CRAZY. Even if I came out EVEN and Shakeology cost the exact same as whatever I substituted it with I would still be a WINNER because the nutritional density is SO MUCH higher – but the fact that it is SAVING me money, at the end of the day *mind blown*

I get to drink this incredible product and I’m actually going to end up in the BLACK, with money in my pocket from it?!? I mean….come on!

The next time someone tells me that Shakeology is expensive I am going to laugh in their face!! (not really, because I’m nice….but inside, yes – I will be laughing)

Especially when:
A smoothie from Daily Harvest is $7.00+
A smoothie from Smoothie King is $6.00+
A latte from Starbucks is $5.00+
A healthy salad from Chick Fil A is $7.00+
A cold pressed juice is $9.00+
A smoothie bowl is $10.00+
A healthy salad from the Whole Foods salad bar is $10.00+

And Shakeology has a higher nutritional density and profile than ALL OF THEM.

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I don’t have to buy prenatal vitamins (I’m still breastfeeding so I should be taking them), or probiotics, or digestive enzymes – and I didn’t even factor in THOSE savings in this equation. I didn’t factor in the savings that MANY of my clients have had because they no longer have to be on thyroid medications, diabetes meds, depression meds and more. (Disclaimer – Shakeology is not FDA approved to replace any of these medications, not that I give a rat’s ass what the FDA says because….well again, another topic for another post <insert Monsanto controlled government rant here> these are just results some of my clients have had from drinking Shakeology – their story – not something that I or Beachbody or anyone else claims will happen to everyone).

I’m not usually THIS strong about Shakeology, especially not here on my blog. But looking at my numbers from this week and I am flipping the heck out.

If you have no clue what Shakeology even is….watch this webinar I did on the SCIENCE behind Shakeology (warning, I am a total nerd face).

You can choose not to drink Shakeology for a NUMBER of reasons, and I respect that 100%….but if your reason has been that it’s too EXPENSIVE – take another look. Do the math. Get Shakeology, drink it for 30 days. Write down what you WOULD have eaten instead of the Shake, and see for yourself!

You can get your money back even if the bag is empty at the end of 30 days! (Disclaimer, if you go and try to get it from amazon or some other unauthorized source, Beachbody will not honor the money back guarantee, it is only valid for those who order through a certified Beachbody Coach … like me! <3 )

What do you have to lose? You’ll probably save money, feel amazing, maybe drop some weight, maybe stop eating the crap you know you shouldn’t eat but never have the will power to say no to…this is just MY story, and MY experience, but I encourage you to find your own!

(Disclaimer, yes I am a Beachbody coach and I sell Shakeology – but the numbers are the numbers – Shakeology saves me money. Period. Although, quite honestly, even if it didn’t, even if I came out even – even if *gasp* it COST me a little MORE!! I totally would.)

Coconut Cream and Cashew Crust Tart

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I’ve been having so much fun exploring raw foods and a vegan lifestyle. It’s not always been easy, especially when life is hectic and I don’t have a lot of time to prep foods. These past two weeks have been less than stellar in the nutrition department, so I decided to jump back into loving my body again and filling it with really good foods.

So, today, being day one of my back to raw and vegan diet AND also a holiday weekend I decided to try my hand at some coconut cream tarts.

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First the crust:

Cashew and Cocoa Crust

1 1/2 Cups of Raw Cashews
1 1/2 Tbs. Cacao Powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. Coconut Oil
1 Tbs. Maple Syrup

Put all the ingredients into a food processor and mix until it turns into a ball and sticks together.

Take 1 Tbs of the crust and put it into each muffin tin with liners and press down. Put the muffin tin into the freezer for 30 minutes until solid.

Coconut Whipped Cream

Put full fat can of coconut milk in the refrigerator overnight, turn over the can and open it, pour out the coconut water and scoop out the cream into the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix the cream on high until it forms stiff peaks. Add 1 tsp of stevia to the cream and 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract. Once the whipped coconut cream is whipped, scoop about a tablespoon into each of the crusts and place one slice of a banana on top.

I know that bananas are higher carb fruits – honestly it was the only fruit I had, you can absolutely use another fruit that is lower carb.

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These tarts are so fresh and simple and delicious.
Let me know if you try them – I think the crust is my favorite part – I am looking forward to finding other delicious fillings for it.

Ok – Day one back on track in the books, feels good.

Five Ingredient Vegan Butternut Squash Soup

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Five ingredient recipes are my jam. As much as I love cooking, when I see recipes with 20+ ingredients in the list, my eyes start to glaze over and I just can’t.

But five ingredients?? I can do five.
And this recipe is AMAZING – my family (including my kids) all love it.

Here’s what you need:
– 1 Butternut squash soup -or- 2 bags of pre-cubed butternut squash soup (I found some at Trader Joe’s)
– Yellow Onion
– 2 cloves of Garlic
– 1 box of Vegetable Stock
– Raw Cashews

Seasonings:
– Salt
– Nutmeg
– Maple Syrup

Ok, on to the recipe:

Measure out 1 cup of raw cashews and soak in 2 cups of boiling water.

Chop up 1/2 of the yellow onion and 2 cloves of garlic, toss into a dutch oven with some olive oil to soften. Cube the butternut squash (or open the bag if you have the kind that is already cubed) and add it to the dutch oven and sauté for a bit (6 minutes) seasoning with salt.

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Add in 3 cups of vegetable stock and let simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the butternut squash can easily be pierced with a fork.

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Ladle 1/3rd of the squash and stock into a blender and blend until smooth, pour into a new container and add the next 3rd to the blender. Continue with the last bit of the soup and blend till smooth.

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Drain the cashews and add them to a high powered blender or food processor, add 1/2 cup of water and blend until it creates a cream. Pour this creme into the butternut squash soup and season with 1/2 tsp of nutmeg, salt to taste and 2 Tbs. Maple Syrup.

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You can top this with crispy chick peas or pumpkin seeds.

Enjoy!!

Raw Vegan Cheesecake

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So, this past week I did an experiment, I decided to go raw.
It was sort of spur of the moment, and never in my life have I had a desire to go raw. It seemed boring and scary and totally overwhelming. I never saw myself as THAT crunchy. I’m only moderately crunchy.

However, after two weeks of eating badly (like frozen pizza and PB&J badly) I felt like my body was fighting sickness, right on the verge and I knew I needed some LIVING foods in my body. I wanted to feel vibrant and alive again, so I went on Pinterest and decided to find some raw recipes.

It was amazing. I found some super delicious dishes, my body felt so incredible, my brain felt so clear and sharp and even though I have been incorporating some cooked foods back into my diet this week I am still eating vegan and about 50% raw.

This recipe is simple and delicious – the only bummer is the time you have to wait soaking the cashews, but I am the WORST and multiple step, preparation recipes so if I can do it – you totally can too!!

Here is the recipe, adapted from several i found online and what I had in my pantry. Makes 12 muffin tin sized cheesecakes.

THE CRUST

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1/2 Cup Medjool Dates
1 1/2 Cup Walnuts

Place dates and walnuts in a food processor and run until the mixture looks like gravel. With a large, uniform crumb, but if you pinch it, the mixture will stick together.

Season with a pinch of salt and place 1 large spoonful of the mixture in a muffin tin liner. Press the mixture down until it covers the bottom and makes a crust.

THE FILLING

1 1/2 Cup raw cashews
6 Tbs. Coconut oil
Juice of 1 large lemon (about 1/4 Cup)
1/4 Cup maple syrup
2 tsp vanilla extract
frozen or fresh raspberries (optional)

Soak the cashews in water for 4 hours. Drain and place in food processor with the coconut oil, lemon juice, maple syrup, vanilla extract. Blend until silky smooth. Equally distribute the mixture into each tin, spreading smooth. Place 1 raspberry on top as decoration & for added flavor, or mix it to the mixture.

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Freeze for 1-2 hours.
Enjoy!

Less Dishes, Less Stress – My Meal Prep

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I’m constantly evaluating my life. What isn’t working, what is working, what could I do better, where do I need to focus my energy and change?

It might sound exhausting to some, but for me, it’s fun! I learned a few years ago that anything I’m not doing well isn’t something to shrink back from or feel like a failure over, but an opportunity to grow and change and improve and most importantly to SYSTEMIZE!!

I read this quote today: “Whatever area of your life you are feeling overwhelmed in, is an area you need a system for!”

So, when this past month was a disaster in the food department – meaning we ate frozen pizzas more times than I’d like to admit, and I would get to 7pm and look around and realize – oh, I guess I’d better cook something for my family! I knew what needed my attention – meal planning.

But not just meal planning… meal prep.

Meal prep is where you cook all (or some) of  your food ahead of time. It’s a great way to have quick, easy, healthy meals to eat all throughout the week. I typically do it on a Sunday, but I’ve never done it quite like this. I decided to prep EVERYTHING. From breakfast to dinner to snacks.

First I planned out my meals – I kept things simple, two options for breakfast, two for lunch and three for dinner. That was plenty variety for me!

Next I created a grocery list and went out and got all my stuff! Once I got it back home I went through all the things I needed to prep and organized it in such a way that I could get several things done at once. Multi-tasking and getting the most prep done in the lest amount of time.

So I had my food and I had my game plan all I needed was 2 hours on a Sunday with no kids to COOK. And that’s just what I got.

It was fun, it was a lot of work, a TON of dishes and in the end I had all the meals my little  heart could desire, packaged up and in my refrigerator.

Now, you may be wondering – what about your family? What will they eat? Well, some of the meals (like my taco salad) gave me plenty of leftovers so I could easily re-heat the taco meat, beans and corn and throw it on a plate with shredded cheese, salsa and some tortilla chips and have a great dinner for everyone. Other meals didn’t make enough extras, so I bough some simple foods – like quick cooking shrimp and decided to pair it with some pre-made quinoa and a spinach salad. Or – take one night and totally cop out and do a frozen pizza (because – life with four kids).

It’s been incredible. I’ve been able to focus on my kids and my work and projects and when it’s time to eat, just grab a container, heat it up and go! Less dishes during the week and dinner is being consumed on time! Which means the kids are going to bed on time, which means mama gets a nice quiet night….to blog.

If you are interested in this type of meal prep and feel like it might help you out but aren’t sure where to start, I actually created an e-book that not only gives you a menu and grocery list, but step by step instructions on how to cook, prep and package EVERYTHING for a whole week!!

Get Your FREE Copy of

The Meal Prep intensive!



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Coconut Curry Chicken

Am I the only one who feels the need to shout from the rooftops and do a happy dance every time I find a simple, health, delicious recipe? I mean, there are few things better (maybe the perfect cappuccino and a good book).

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This recipe can either be done in a crock pot -or- traditional oven! I used chicken breasts this time (because that’s all I had) but I actually prefer thighs – just because they are a bit juicier!

You just need three ingredients for this recipe (BOOM!):
– Chicken (2lbs of thighs or breasts)
– Coconut Milk (1 can)
– Curry Powder (as little or as much as you like – I like a lot!! probably 2 Tbs.)
– Salt (I salt the meat before pouring the coconut milk over and also after I put the curry powder)

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This is also a recipe you can spice up and make your own if you like – by adding chili powder, lime juice or fresh basil – but if you are anything like me, just getting the chicken defrosted, opening a can of coconut milk with one hand while holding the baby in the other and sprinkling some curry powder on top is just about all you can handle and it will still be crazy delicious!

And that right there is pretty much it! Put all three ingredients in the dish and cook for 1 hr. at 350 degrees (I like to put aluminum foil over the dish, especially when doing chicken breasts – so it stays juicy). If you are doing crock pot – you can put it on high for 4hrs.

I usually shred or cube the meat and serve it over brown rice and do a quick oriental veg mix (or ditch the rice and double up on veggies). The coconut curry sauce is SO good I smoother it over everything else on the plate.

Enjoy!

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Meal Plan and Grocery List for Week 1 of the 21 Day Fix

IMG_7573I am so excited for this round of the 21 Day Fix. I am doing it in the last 21 days of my pregnancy and honestly this will be a REALLY challenging time for me – husband out of town, my son’s birthday, oh and I’m about to give birth – but I know when I am following this program I feel AMAZING, so instead of letting those things be an excuse for me to slack off, I am actually letting them be a MOTIVATION for me to dial in and make this happen, because if there is ANY time that I need extra energy, stress relief and strength – it’s in these last few weeks!

Here is my meal plan for the first week and when I went shopping at Aldi I came in around $83 for everything, so I am sharing that shopping list as well! If you are interested in this program but feel intimidated to try it, shoot me a message! I’d be happy to encourage you, share meal plans, hook you up with a discount on the IMG_7528program and include you in my private groups on facebook where I offer coaching and daily motivation.

Ok, let’s get to the good stuff! Here is my meal plan for the week! With my pregnancy
weight and not calculating for a “weight loss” (not my goal right now!) I am in the third bracket of the 21 Day Fix eating plan (which is a heck of a lot of food!!!)

Monday
Breakfast: 2 Eggs scrambled with spinach, watermelon, whole wheat toast
Snack 1: Peach & Gluten Free Crackers
Lunch: Tuna on Salad with Quinoa and Cheese
Snack 2: Celery with Peanut Butter
Snack 3: Shakeology with 1/2 Banana
Dinner: Chicken Breasts, green beans, sweet potatoes

Tuesday
Breakfast: Turkey Bacon, Green Juice (spinach or kale blended with 1 fruit), Oatmeal
Snack 1: Sweet Peppers with Hummus
Lunch: 2 Hard boiled eggs, Sandwich thin, Spinach
Snack 2: Shakeology with 1/2 Banana and Kale
Dinner: Turkey Meatballs, red sauce, whole wheat pasta, side salad
Snack 3: Homemade all-fruit popsicles (for those late night sweet cravings!)

Wednesday
Breakfast: 2 Eggs scrambled with spinach, watermelon, whole wheat toast
Snack 1: Peach & Gluten Free Crackers
Lunch: Tuna on Salad with Quinoa and Cheese
Snack 2: Celery with Peanut Butter
Snack 3: Shakeology with 1/2 Banana
Dinner: Thai Turkey, Peppers and Mushroom sauteè, Brown Rice

Thursday
Breakfast: Turkey Bacon, Green Juice (spinach or kale blended with 1 fruit), Oatmeal
Snack 1: Sweet Peppers with Hummus
Lunch: 2 Hard boiled eggs, Sandwich thin, Spinach
Snack 2: Shakeology with 1/2 Banana and Kale
Dinner: Taco Salad (ground turkey over a large green salad), Chips and Salsa

Friday
Breakfast: 2 Eggs scrambled with spinach, watermelon, whole wheat toast
Snack 1: Peach & Gluten Free Crackers
Lunch: Tuna on Salad with Quinoa and Cheese
Snack 2: Celery with Peanut Butter
Snack 3: Shakeology with 1/2 Banana
Dinner: DAY OFF! Kids get pizza and I just have my Shakeology for dinner on this night! (mama needs a break every so often!!)

Saturday
Breakfast: Turkey Bacon, Green Juice (spinach or kale blended with 1 fruit), Oatmeal
Snack 1: Sweet Peppers with Hummus
Lunch: 2 Hard boiled eggs, Sandwich thin, Spinach
Snack 2: Shakeology with 1/2 Banana and Kale
Dinner: Turkey Sausage with peppers and onions and sweet potatoes
Snack 3: Homemade all-fruit popsicles

Sunday
Breakfast: 2 Eggs scrambled with spinach, watermelon, whole wheat toast
Snack 1: Peach & Gluten Free Crackers
Lunch: Tuna on Salad with Quinoa and Cheese
Snack 2: Celery with Peanut Butter
Snack 3: Shakeology with 1/2 Banana
Dinner: Salad with Chicken Breasts and Brown Rice

IMG_7552As you can see, I simply rotate my breakfast, lunch and snacks every other day and my dinners are the only things that stay unique throughout the week. This is just my way of simplifying things!!

Now onto my grocery list!!

Dairy:
3 Dozen large eggs – $2.37 (they were $0.79 each!)
Butter – $2.99
3 32oz containers of yogurt (for the kid’s breakfast) – $0.75 (they were $0.25 each!)
Sharp Cheddar – $1.69
Organic Whole Milk – $2.95

Produce:
Mushrooms – $1.29
Peaches – $2.79
Baby Carrots – $0.99
Celery – $1.39
Yellow Onions – $1.69
Bananas – $1.76
9 Multi-colored Peppers – $4.47
Organic Grape Tomatoes – $1.29
Organic Kale – $3.48
Flat Leaf Spinach – $1.79
Watermelon: $2.99
2 containers Strawberries – $2.60
Red Grapes – $1.78
Blueberries – $1.29

Meat:
2lbs Ground Turkey – $3.78
Boneless Chicken Breasts – $5.49
Turkey Sausage – $4.00
Turkey Bacon – $1.89

Grains:
Gluten Free crackers – $2.98
Brown Rice – $2.79
Granola (for kid’s breakfast) – $1.99
Old Fashioned Oats – $2.39
Wheat Bread – $1.79

Misc:
Frozen Pizzas (for the kids) – $8.00
Hummus – $1.99
Toilet Paper – $1.99
Coffee – $5.29

Total – $82.33

Obviously there were some amazing deals this week (Eggs, Yogurt, Fruit) but beyond that this is what I typically pay for groceries. I try to feed our family of five for under $100 a week! Hope this helps as you are planning your own healthy menu!

If you are interested in following my 21 Day Fix journey you will find every day documented on my facebook page!
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Spinach and Sunflower Seed Pasta

This was one of those “throw everything I have leftover in the pantry” dishes that turned out AMAZING! I had whole wheat pasta and chicken breasts but I wasn’t sure how to make them tasty and it ended up being way better than I could have hoped!
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For this recipe, you will need:
– Chicken Breasts
– Pasta
– Olive Oil
– Chopped spinach (frozen or fresh)
– Lemons
– Sunflower seeds
– Sun-dried tomatoes

Here’s what I did:

Slice the chicken breasts into bite sized pieces and cook on the stovetop in a small amount of olive oil until done. Season with salt and pepper.

While the chicken is going, put a pot of water to boil and add salt to the water. Cook your pasta as directed.

When the chicken is done, use that same pan (with whatever oil and seasonings are left) toIMG_6225 cook frozen chopped spinach. (I used about 1/2 bag of frozen). Season with salt, pepper and fresh lemon juice. Once the spinach is cooked add sunflower seeds and sun-dried tomatoes. Add in a little more olive oil and the chicken. Mix together to combine everything and then add this spinach, sunflower, chicken mixture with your cooked pasta. I used 2 full lemons because I love the lemon flavor, but you can tweak the amount of all the ingredients (sun-dried tomatoes, sun flower seeds, etc.) to your own unique tastes.

You could also use pine nuts instead of sunflower seeds, or fresh tomatoes, it’s a very customizable recipe, but the lemon juice and having some sort of nutty element is what really made this meal so delicious.

EVERYONE went back for seconds!

Quick Meal Round-Up

IMG_5134I don’t know if you are anything like me, but lately I have been so caught up in homeschooling the kids, projects around the house and work that there are more days than not I am looking at the clock and thinking: “It’s already time to eat and I am starving, but cooking is going to take FOREVER!!!” (So sorry if you were hoping this was the blog of a fit, homeschool mom who always has meals perfectly planned out and a crock pot schedule that would make your grandma proud..not so much).

I have practically ZERO patience when I am hungry, but ordering out or going to a restaurant always seems to take much longer than it did in my head and the food is never super healthy (plus, it gets pricy) – so here are some of my EASIEST, quickest meals to literally THROW together, when you are starving and time has gotten away from  you.

IMG_0828Taco Salad – or my lazy version. I almost always have some ground turkey meat in my freezer, defrost that bad boy, cook it up with some cumin, salt, garlic powder, chili powder and throw over some greens and tomatoes. If I’m going to be fancy I’ll throw salsa, shredded cheese and maybe even open a can of black beans and add those too.

If you have some time on the weekend – not a bad idea to cook up some of this “taco turkey” and have it on hand for busy nights.IMG_0574

 

Mediterranean Chicken – wow, that name sounds a lot fancier than this dish actually is. For this meal I just chopped up some rotisserie chicken – or left over chicken breast and topped it with tomatoes, cucumbers and feta cheese. I like to season with fresh lemon juice and salt and pepper. Of course if you REALLY want to get fancy, some fresh mint would be divine, but it’s pretty delicious just as is.

Again – if you have time on the weekends, pick up a rotisserie chicken, or cook a bunch of chicken breasts ahead of time – honestly, protein is the hardest thing to cook quickly, so if you can do it ahead of time and have some pre-cooked options on hand it will save you big time!!

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Bun-less Burger – this may look fancy, but it was one of those, what do I have on hand that is quick and easy and will fill me up because I am HANGRY, meals. I just cooked up a hamburger, we had no buns, so I just topped it with some cheddar cheese and a tomato slice and put a side of lettuce (can’t really call it a true salad because it is literally JUST lettuce, but the crunch was nice and I drizzled it with some Italian dressing and I thought it was tasty!)

The sweet potato fries was just me using up our last sweet potato, I cut it into thin strips, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and roasted in the oven for 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Processed with VSCOcam with m3 preset

Shakeology – This is not my clever way to do a little pitch on Shakeology, I HAD to add it to the list, because more often than not, when I am flat out exhausted, hungry and have no time, this is what I have for lunch or dinner (or breakfast). I get a lot of questions about Shakeology – you can read more here if you like. This recipe is one of my VERY favorites: Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk + Chocolate Shakeology + 1/2 banana + handful of ice. Fill the blender in THAT order, blend and add 1 tsp of peanut butter. SO. FREAKING.GOOD.

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Fresh Cabbage Salad – Cabbage is one of my all time favorite veggies. This salad comes together super fast, simply slice the cabbage into thin strips and drizzle with a dressing made from mixing: 2 Tbs. Rice Vinegar, 3 Tbs. Olive Oil, 2 Tbs. Honey, salt, pepper, ginger. (If you don’t have Rice Vinegar in your kitchen I am not even going to give you a substitute because it just WON’T be the same, buy some – now! It’s amazing!! You’ll find it with the oriental foods in your grocery store and once you have it you’ll use it ALL the time!) I add chopped almonds and cubed chicken (again, having that protein already cooked is a life-saver) and it’s a pretty incredible little meal. IMG_3215

 

Broccoli & Cheese Pasta – This is pretty much a leftover throw together. Whenever I make pasta I always have just a little leftover, not sure how or why but it’s true. On this lovely day I threw some cubed chicken and then heated up one of those vegetable steamer bags (are those not the greatest invention of all time?) of broccoli. I tossed a ton of broccoli on top of the pasta and chicken and a generous sprinkle of mozzarella cheese and had a super quick delicious meal.

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I suppose, if there is one reccuring theme in all my meals it’s: cook your protein ahead of time!! It really is probably the biggest obstacle to health eating. Veggies can be eaten raw, carbs are quick to cook but protein is it’s own little beast. I don’t have many fish dishes here, but fish is another great protein to have on hand because it does cook super fast, and also eggs – mmmmm I could do an entire post on eggs!

Hope these meals inspired you and that you continue to make your health a priority – no matter how crazy or busy life is – don’t get caught up in culinary perfection and let that keep you from doing what you need to to fuel your body right!!