Category Archives: Food

6 Quick Tips for Lowering Sugar Intake

What we put into our bodies affects our health. Having a high sugar intake can cause so many issues within our body, and it’s an addiction I’ve tried to curtail within my own life (as evidenced by various Whole 30‘s!). 

Let’s chat about some of the health impacts of too much sugar…

According to the American Diabetes Association, while eating too much sugar doesn’t directly cause diabetes, it is strongly linked to type 2 diabetes. This disease not only has an impact on your body’s ability to produce insulin, but it can also negatively affect your eyesight. According to this eyeglasses buying guide created by Mark Agnew, founder and CEO of eyeglasses.com, this is an impact of diabetes that is often under-discussed. He notes,  diabetic retinopathy is quite common and is a type of eye damage familiar to many folks with diabetes.

The retina sends images via the optic nerve to the brain for processing. If you have too much glucose in your blood, it can cause irreversible damages to the delicate vessels which may mean poor vision, visual impairment or even blindness.

With our eyesight in mind, let’s take a look at some easy ways we can cut our sugar intake: 

  1. Cut Back on Sugar-Filled Drinks – Instead of reaching for a can of coke when you’re thirsty, opt for water or sugar free juices.
  2. Avoid Sugar-Loaded Desserts – These may be cakes, ice-creams or lots of chocolate, they will be jam packed with processed sugars that just don’t bode well with our bodies in large quantities. Consider making from scratch and enjoying in moderation.
  3. Avoid Sauces With Lots of Sugar – Many sauces have sugars in them. Ketchup is one of the most famous for having lots and lots of sugar inside, so always read labels if you’re looking to lower that sugar intake.
  4. Eat Full-Fat Foods – Many “low-fat” versions of things like yogurts or cheeses make up for the lack of flavor by adding sugar. 
  5. Eat Whole Foods – Eating single ingredient foods are a great way to steer clear of added sugar.
  6. Check for Sugar in Tinned Foods – Again, reading labels is key.

What foods are good?

There’s no need to fight those sugar cravings. They happen and they won’t go away until they’re satisfied. But, when they happen, you can make an effort to eat the right sugars. Instead of reaching for a cookie or candy bar the next time the craving strikes, grab a handful of fruit.

But, don’t grab just any fruit. You need a fruit that ranks low on the glycemic index. The glycemic index was created to rank the foods that cause high blood sugar. The food is typically ranked out of 100, with 100 being the largest blood sugar spike.

Here are some fruits that are low on the glycemic index and can be mixed with other things for a delicious snack or meal:

  • Berries – Add them to some granola with honey and milk to create a sweet delicious breakfast with natural sugars.
  • Figs – Eat them with crackers and cheeses or on their own. Full of goodness with a delicate flavor. 
  • Cherries – Great snack but beware of the pips; cherries are packed full of goodness!
  • Pears – Oven bake pears and top them with a crumble or put them in pies!
  • Apples – With peanut butter or almond butter for added elements, they are delicious and full of goodness. 
  • Peaches – Peaches can be enjoyed during spring and summer when they are at their peak.
  • Grapefruit – Squeeze this into a juice if it’s not too bitter for you. Delicious for breakfast.

Our eye health is just one of many things we must be sure to take care of. Too much sugar can affect our skin, our liver, pancreas, and heart.

Overall, the key to maintaining health for ALL your body parts is regular exercise, a good sleeping pattern, and a balanced, healthy diet.

Skip the processed desserts, cut back on refined sugars you don’t need in drinks and foods, stop adding sugar-filled sauces to your foods — these small changes will make a world of difference in your sugar intake and help you see, function, and live healthier in the long run!

Stay healthy, friends! xoxo 

Where to Eat in Madison, AL

best places to eat in madison, al

When it comes to eating out, I’m pretty basic. Give me a burger, a taco, or a slice of pizza and I’m a happy girl. And since eating out is such a rare treat for us (I’d say we eat 90% or so of our meals at home), when we DO indulge…I want what I want!

So, to give you an idea of what I want when it comes to dining establishments in our little town of Madison, AL, I thought I’d round up a few of our favorites. Here’s the list…

OLD BLACK BEAR

This is probably the spot we’ve visited the most since moving to Madison. It’s conveniently located in adorable Historic Madison Station. They brew their own beer, make their own spirits, and have a menu full of delicious pub-fare. Oh, and a banging brunch to boot. Their outdoor patio area is always hopping in the warmer months with picnic tables, live music, and outdoor games. Website HERE.

SAM & GREG’S PIZZERIA

Ok, now that we’ve covered where to get a burger and a beer, we can move on to my other favorite food group — pizza! (I’m a lady of simple pleasures.) This cozy pizzeria has a warehouse meets bistro feel with high ceilings, lots of exposed brick and outdoor balcony seating. As you can see in the picture above, I always opt for salami and banana peppers on my pies. Website HERE.

LUCIA’S COCINA MEXICANA

Lucia isn’t just a name, she’s actually the matriarch of the family that runs this establishment. There’s also a location on the square in Athens, AL, which we’ve been to more, but they’re both delicious. Ya girl is always down for a celebratory margarita. Facebook HERE.

THE CUBAN CAFE

Probably the thing I miss most about Miami, besides going to the beach in the Winter, is the Cuban food and coffee. But then The Cuban Cafe opened in Madison and welp! Miami?! Who needs ya! I can nab all my Cuban favorites at a super delicious and authentic place right up the road, thank you very much. Website HERE.

SAKURA SUSHI & STEAK HOUSE

This is definitely Chet’s favorite on this list — it’s the spot he always picks for birthdays, end of semester celebrations, etc. We love everything we’ve tried there and the atmosphere is always lively because they have hibachi (which we’ve never done because I can’t handle stuff like that lol). Weirdly, they also serve a bunch of really retro cocktails … which doesn’t SEEM like it would go with sushi, but I’m here for it. Website HERE.

LA PLACITA

This is just a little hole in the wall spot near us that I happen to love. Just your typical Mexican restaurant food but everything is insanely cheap. AND they put pineapples in a bunch of dishes which is a fast way to my heart. Facebook HERE.

SMOKEY’S BARBEQUE

Barbeque joints are a dime a dozen in this part of the world. But this is the first one we tried when we moved to town so I feel a sense of loyalty to them. Again, cheap, delicious food that’s perfect in a pinch when you don’t feel like cooking. It’s also a great spot to pick up a whole bunch of food for an event or to bring on a picnic/outdoor event. *sigh* Just thinking about it makes me ready for summertime! Website HERE.

P.S. Want more? Here’s a day in my life as an online content + marketing strategist.

A Budget Friendly Meal Plan for Busy Seasons

There are usually two scenarios that find people diving head first into the world of meal planning — they need to save time or they need to save money. But at this point in the year, it often seems those two go hand and hand. We’re in the heart of the fall semester, activities are ramping up, and something about the waning evening sunlight makes it feel like a mad rush between the end of work hours and climbing into bed at night. There’s no time for planning and executing a healthy dinner on the fly!

Then you’ve got money saving. Ah yes, I feel you there. Maybe you spent a little too extravagantly on summer travel or plan to spend extravagantly on the upcoming holidays. Either way, there’s no room for extravagance in this in-between!

Enter the power of the stupidly simple meal plan…

Shopping List

Breakfast

  • Oatmeal
  • Yogurt
  • Bananas

Lunch

  • Bread
  • Lunch meat
  • Cheese
  • Salad
  • Salad Dressing

Extras (Snacks, desserts, and lunch add-ons)

  • Granola bars
  • Fruit (apples, oranges, berries on sale)
  • Crackers
  • Hummus
  • Peanut butter
  • Cookies

Dinner

  • Chicken
  • Rice
  • Stir-fry vegetables
  • Bulk frozen veggie
  • Pasta noodles
  • Ground turkey or meatballs
  • Pasta sauce
  • Tortillas 
  • Shredded cheese
  • Avocados
  • Refried beans or black beans
  • Green peppers
  • BBQ sauce
  • Hamburger buns
  • Chips

Meal Plan

Breakfast – Oatmeal or yogurt topped w/ bananas

Lunch – Sandwich or salad w/ 2 sides of choice (and/or any dinner leftovers)

Dinners – 

Monday/#1: Chicken stir fry w/ frozen veggie

Tuesday/#2: Spaghetti w/ fruit salad

Wednesday/#3: Quesadilla w/ beans and guac

Thursday/#4: Stuffed peppers w/ frozen veggie

Friday/#5: Panini and chips

Saturday/#6: BBQ chicken sandwiches w/ frozen veggie/fruit salad/chips (whatever is left)

Sunday/#6: Eat out

What meals are on YOUR stupidly simple meal plan? Here’s to a stress-free and money-saving AUTUMN!! 🍂 🍁 🍂

Minimalist Dinner Plan (w/ freezer meals)

One really simple approach to creating your monthly dinner plan is batch cooking. Which, with all the overly complicated meal prep YouTube videos out there, can seem incredibly daunting. However, just a little bit goes a long way when cooking ahead for the month. (Especially if you’re just cooking for one or two and you’re ok with repeating foods!) “Feed your freezer today, feed yourself all month”… is that a saying? It should be.

Here are four things you can make for the month ahead to make dinners a little easier…

Baked Beans

A big pot of baked beans is kind of obnoxious to make on the regular. But it freezes incredibly well. This is a great side item, but I like it as the main dish. I got the idea from one of my favorite books, My Berlin Kitchen by Luisa Weiss, which talks about having baked beans for dinner with steamed broccoli and corn bread. Yum!

Alternative – Any other type of beans or grains

Twice-Baked Potatoes

These are more of the side item situation. You can make them the cheesy way or as more of a loaded baked potato with sour cream and bacon and chives. Then, add one half to round out a meat and veg meal. Or have both halves with a salad or some soup.

Alternative – Any other starchy side item

Starbucks Copycat Wraps

These have been my obsession lately. You basically cook some quinoa, corn, and black beans and throw them in a wrap with some jalapeno Havarti shredded cheese. Wrap ’em in aluminum foil and stick in your freezer for the quickest dinners. (Great if you have to take dinner on the go!) With some chips and a pickle spear you’ll feel like you grabbed fast food.

Alternative – Any other freezable sandwich or wrap

Buttermilk Pancakes

If there’s one thing I’m committed to on a deep and spiritual level, it’s breakfast for dinner. But I’m also way too lazy to make pancakes on a weeknight. Sunday around noon while listening to some tunes? Sure. When I’m starving after working all day? Not so much. Good thing you can throw a batch of these in your freezer then whip a few out as needed, scramble some eggs, fry up some sausage, and bingo-bango you’re eating like a brekky-for-dinner CHAMPION.

Alternative – Waffles, french toast, sourdough bread, etc.

How it all comes together…

If you’re cooking for a household of 2 and you make 6 potatoes, 2 lbs of beans, 18 pancakes, and 10 wraps…

That’s 6 meals with potato halves (3 if you’re doing the whole potato), 6 meals with beans, 3 meals with pancakes, and 5 meals with wraps. 20 meals that are partially complete before dinnertime even rolls around!

What do you think? Would you try this monthly dinner plan approach? Do you feed your freezer? Comment below! xoxo 

P.S. Quick + Easy Meal Plan for One on a Budget.

Recipe: Colorful Luteal Salad

As you might know from our second book club book, I’ve been very interested in the idea of cycle syncing lately. It’s really fun to play around with adapting different areas of life to the cyclical nature of women’s hormones. Especially when it comes to food! So I thought I’d pop on and show you an example of a meal I created for the Luteal Phase.

In the Luteal Phase, you want your foods to be rich in B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, and fiber. Combined, these can: 1) stave off sugar cravings, 2) mitigate fluid retention, and 3) help your liver and large intestine flush estrogen through the bowel. In addition, roasting or baking veggies increases their sugar concentration which gives you a healthier and natural source of sugars. This will help with the dip in estrogen in the second half of this phase.

With this in mind, I decided to throw together a salad that combined leafy greens, apples, chickpeas, and roasted butternut squash. Here’s how to make it!

What you’ll need:

Salad components —

1 small butternut squash, cubed (you’ll also need olive oil and S+P for roasting)

leafy greens

1 can of chickpeas

1 cup feta cheese

1 Granny Smith apple, diced

Sprinkle of fresh dill

Dressing components–

2 Tbsps olive oil

2 Tbsps balsamic vinegar

And how it all comes together:

– Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Toss your cubed butternut squash with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for about 30 minutes, tossing halfway through. Remove and let cool.

– Whisk together the dressing components with a bit of fresh dill.

-Toss salad components in the dressing and top with more fresh dill. Enjoy!

It might sound super simple, but I can’t recommend this combination of ingredients enough. This salad is my new favorite lunch!! : )

To learn more about how to cycle sync, check out THIS BOOK and all the book club posts —

Post 1 // Post 2 // Post 3 // Post 4

If you enjoy my blog content, please consider supporting what I do (and keeping me caffeinated). Thank you! xoxo ☕

Book Club: Woman Code Pt. 3 (Cycle Syncing Meal Ideas!!)

As promised, today we’re going to dive in to what drew me to WomanCode by Alisa Vitti in the first place — FOOD. The idea that our body benefits from different foods at different parts of our menstrual cycle made a lot of sense to me. Certainly I’ve seen how my body reacts to food differently (in a more negative sense — hi bloating!) throughout the month, but was there a way to use food to nourish my body and give it more of what it needed in each phase?

Vitti breaks down the science behind syncing your cycle with food and I thought it would be fun to explore ways to incorporate this cyclical approach to nutrition in our own lives. On a very surface level, without getting into any discussion of micronutrients and vitamin supplementation, we can start by looking at each phase of the cycle as a season —

Menstrual Phase = Winter
Follicular Phase = Spring
Ovulatory Phase = Summer
Luteal Phase = Fall

The way your eating shifts as the seasons change during a calendar year can be mirrored as you make your way through your cycle. Foods we often associate with a (northern hemisphere) Spring-time meal; like leafy lettuce, eggs, grapefruit, and split peas — are great for the Follicular Phase. While things like squash and sweet potato, brown rice, apples and dates, foods we associate with Autumn, are ingredients we might consider during the Luteal Phase. Thinking of these seasons occurring as you pass through your cycle’s phases is a great place to start when syncing your cycle nutritionally.

To learn more about foods for your cycle, I definitely recommend picking up a copy of WomanCode (if you haven’t already). Vitti goes in-depth on the topic in Chapter 5, and there’s a handy chart on pages 159-60 with all sorts of food ideas for each phase. Using this info as a jumping off point, I decided to “cook up” some meal inspiration for us!

(Note: As I’ve been trying to incorporate these nutritional changes in my own life, my approach has been focused on additions not subtractions. I find this to be the easiest and healthiest way to make lasting changes. I would never advocate for highly prescriptive and restrictive eating plans and, in my experience, completely changing your eating habits can lead to throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Instead, I’m looking for ways to introduce cycle-supporting foods along with the foods I already enjoy/know work well for my body.)  

Ok, let’s get into the phases…

Foods for your Follicular Phase // Inner Spring 

The Follicular Phase comes after menstruation and lasts 7-10 days. At the beginning of this phase your estrogen and progesterone levels are at the lowest and then estrogen begins to steadily rise. Along with that rise in estrogen comes a rise in energy and creativity. You might feel like you want to get out in the world and try new things! So, what foods can help us through this rising trajectory? Lighter foods and energy-building foods. Stuff like green smoothies, salads, foods with active cultures, oats, cashews, sprouts, etc. These foods are also high in Vitamins A & B which help with healthy egg maturation (lookin’ at you upcoming ovulation!).

Follicular Breakfast Ideas:
Oatmeal with cashew milk and cinnamon
Artichoke egg cups
Avocado toast

Follicular Lunch Ideas:
Split pea soup with toast and a plum
Almond butter and sour jelly sandwich with an orange and a hard-boiled egg
Romaine lettuce salad topped with sprouts, avocado and lentils
Serenity Bowl

Follicular Dinner Ideas:
Roast chicken with broccoli and zucchini
Breakfast for dinner — scrambled eggs, chicken sausage links, grapefruit & avocado
Chicken and Barley soup
Marinara sauce served over zucchini noodles

Follicular Snack Ideas:
Brazil nuts
Pickles
Pomegranate seeds

Foods for your Ovulatory Phase // Inner Summer

Ovulation begins around day 14 and may present with some tell-tale signs: cervical mucus, a desire to be more social, and flirtiness (hint, hint).  As you might imagine, your natural energy is at it’s peak in this phase and your mood is pretty stable due to that estrogen rise. As a result, you might want to stick to lighter grains, stay low on carbs, and focus on lighter preparation of vegetables (steamed or raw). You also want to make sure you metabolize and eliminate surplus estrogen and for that you need fiber-rich veggies. Foods like quinoa, nuts, bell peppers, brussel sprouts, strawberries, and salmon are all great during ovulation.

Ovulatory Breakfast Ideas:
Almond croissant
Fruit Salad – cantaloupe, raspberry, and strawberries
Sliced banana topped with almond butter and shredded coconut
Smoothie made with coconut milk and frozen fruit

Ovulatory Lunch Ideas:
Tuna salad over spinach with dry-roasted almonds and raspberries on the side
Lamb Tacos
Spinach salad topped with feta, strawberries, pistachios and fennel, served with balsamic dressing

Ovulatory Dinner Ideas:
Red Lentil Dal over quinoa or red lentil soup
Eggplant Parmesan
Salmon served with asparagus and quinoa

Ovulatory Snack Ideas:
Tortilla chips
Pecan Pie Lara Bars
Chocolate covered strawberries

Foods for your Luteal Phase // Inner Autumn

During the Luteal Phase, progesterone starts to rise after ovulation. You may experience waning energy levels and near the end of the phase many women begin to notice PMS symptoms like mood swings, bloating, acne, and tender breasts. So in this phase you want to focus on foods that promote hormone health in a way that helps alleviate these symptoms. Foods like collard greens, spinach, and kale are rich in magnesium and help reduce bloating. Sweet potatoes, parsnips, and carrots help counteract irritability because they’re rich in B-Complex. And, similar to the ovulatory phase, you want to flush out excess estrogen (which can be the culprit of many PMS symptoms) with fiber; so brown rice, apples, dates, and root vegetables can all help decongest the large intestine.

Luteal Breakfast Ideas:
Roast sweet potato topped with nut butter, banana, and cacao nibs
Pumpkin overnight oats
Chocolate Omelette 

Luteal Lunch Ideas:
Hummus and Veggie plate with pumpkin-zucchini-carrot bread
Turkey sandwich served with an apple and coleslaw
Beef hotdog with carrots/celery and hummus and a peach
Taco mixture (rice, ground beef/beans, veggies)in a collard wrap

Luteal Dinner Ideas:
Beef fried rice
Baked cod with collard greens and sweet potato
Sweet potato, parsnip, and kale soup

Luteal Snack Ideas:
Date balls
Beef sticks
Roasted chickpeas

Foods for your Menstrual Phase // Inner Winter

The menstrual phase begins on day 1 of your cycle aka when you get your period. So, when you’re in the menstrual phase you’re losing blood. Therefore, it’s important to eat foods during menstruation that contain trace minerals and iron as well as help build blood. Essentially, foods for your menstrual phase should be deeply restorative to the blood and kidneys. These can include seaweed, beets, beans, water-rich fruits, and miso. Because your body is involved in an intense elimination process during this phase, you want to ADD nutrients back into your body through your food.

Menstrual Breakfast Ideas:
Kasha cereal
Smoothie made with protein powder and blackberries/blueberries
Bacon, kale & mushroom fry-up
Buckwheat blueberry muffins

Menstrual Lunch Ideas:
Brown rice sushi rolls with seaweed salad and miso soup
Tomato soup with grilled cheese
3-Bean soup and side salad

Menstrual Dinner Ideas:
Vegetarian Chili
Catfish and chips
Crab cakes with warm beet salad
Roast duck with wild rice and cranberry sauce

Menstrual Snack Ideas:
Grapes
Beet juice
Miso soup

What do you think? Will you try out some cycle-supporting foods in your coming phases // inner seasons? Let me know below! 

Check out last week’s post for tons of cycle syncing resources.

Stay tuned for PART 4!!!

If you enjoy my book club, please consider supporting what I do (and helping me keep my book-shelf stocked). Thank you! xoxo ☕

5 YouTube Meal Preps

meal prep inspiration youtube

Hi Friends! Quick question — Do you meal prep? Meal prepping, or preparing meals and ingredients ahead of time, is the stuff of Instagram legends and Pinterest queens. But if you’re wanting to make specific food choices and save some serious dough, prepping meals ahead of time is awesome. Even for us regular folks who aren’t capturing it all on our phone’s camera roll.

(Bonus: Make your food decisions ONE TIME instead of multiple times a day…brain space FTW!) 

One of my favorite places to turn for meal prep inspiration? YOUTUBE! Below are five different preps suitable for a variety of lifestyles. Check ’em out!

For when you only have an hour….

For when you are on a budget….

For when you want to bring your lunch to work….

For when you want a versatile plan to repeat every week….

For when you prep for the whole family….

Which would you try? I’d love to hear your thoughts! xoxo

P.S. 7 YouTube channels to check out for capsule wardrobe inspiration!

My 15 Whole 30 Must-Haves

I successfully completed my third (!) Whole 30 *thunderous applause* and thought, my not talk about it a bit on the interwebz. You can read everything I ate during my very first round HERE. But today, I wanna talk about the foods that I have to have in order to make it through. If you’re wanting to undertake your own Whole 30 (read up on it, first and foremost), give these foods a shot! However, I think what’s super great about the Whole 30 process is you really learn what foods feel best for you personally. So experiment and have fun!

Here’s what I need for a successful Whole 30…

 

  • Lara bars – great in a pinch if you get HANGRY
  • Guacamole pods – an easy (read: lazy) way to add some healthy fats to your lunchbox
  • Aidells Chicken & Apple Sausage – my favorite sheet pan dinner to cook up on busy nights = these sausages + baby red potatoes + broccoli
  • GT’s Kombucha – afternoon pick-me-up
  • Flavored seltzer water – not married to La Croix, the store brands work just fine for me
  • Almond butter – gotta pair my fruit with protein
  • Applesauce pouches – just make sure there’s no added sugar (my husband calls these baby food but *shrugs*)
  • Carrot and red bell pepper sticks – when you’re off sugar, raw veggies like these taste AMAZING
  • Chicken burgers – TJ’s has a pre-made, compliant option but we just get ground chicken and make ’em ourselves
  • Potato and sweet potato latkes/home fries/hash browns – honestly do you even NEED bread when you can have a latke??
  • Bananas – I just can’t be bothered to cook eggs every single morning so these are my go-to brekky fuel
  • Banana pepper rings – the best way to top a salad imho
  • Salami – what can I say? I love my Italian meats
  • Ghee – when I DO cook eggs, this is the business
  • Plantain chips – for crunch

Have you ever completed a round of Whole 30? What would you consider your must-haves? Share below! ❤ 

Health-Boosting Foods to Eat this Winter!

health-boosting foods to eat in the winter*This post may contain affiliate links.

After three winters in South Florida, I’d almost forgotten how inevitable the cold and flu season is up in this part of the country. For all the traffic, mosquitoes, and … boob sweat (yeah, I said it) — I’ll give Miami one thing; my immune system was *BLINGING* in that climate.

Between our holiday travels, I came down with a nasty cold that didn’t seem to clear for what felt like weeks. (And because I’m nothing if not dramatic, of course I turned to WebMD…which basically said I needed a CT scan…leading me to Google, “can CT scans cause cancer?” You know the drill, lol.)

Anywho…enough about my brush with death, *ahem* I mean, cold. I attribute my recuperation to this Whole 30 I’m currently undertaking, which has included an uptick in health-boosting foods.

I’m resolved to keep consuming a plethora of the following categories all winter long…

Eat Your Omega 3’s

Omega 3 fatty acids are healthy fats that are found in a ton of food types; including nuts,  seeds and fish as well. Omega 3 is vital if you want to reduce joint pain and stiffness. Eating foods filled with Omega 3’s may help to boost the immune system by enhancing the functioning of immune cells. 

Recipes:
Slow-Roasted Salmon
Ginger-Garlic Tofu
Cherry Crumble

Eat Your Fiber

Soluble fiber is essential to your body. You can find it in fruits and veg, nuts and even oats. Consuming fiber-rich dishes is a fantastic way to decrease inflammation and boost your immune system. Soluble fiber can also reduce your cholesterol levels. 

Recipes:
Lentil Salad
Maple-Cinnamon Applesauce
Overnight Oatmeal

Eat Your Orange and Greens

Eating vegetables and fruits that are dark green or orange in color is great for winter. They are packed with all sorts of micro-nutrients to keep you healthy during this season. Think: spinach, kale, squash, carrots, and oranges.

Recipes:
Simplest Kale Salad
Stuffed Butternut Squash
Orange and Avocado Salsa

Eat Your Spices

Onions, ginger and garlic are perfect for adding a bit of flavor to a dish. Not only do they make food taste great, but they are also ideal for boosting immune function. Turmeric is another spice to throw into your winter rotation. Used in Indian and Chinese medicine, it is great for boosting your immune system. It can also help with heart disease and inflammation. It’s super versatile, and whenever you’re making a warm, comforting dish, it is the perfect addition.

Recipes:
Tomato-Garlic Lentil Bowls
Scallion-Ginger Broth
Sunshine Smoothie

What are YOUR thoughts on food as medicine? What dishes are you cooking up to stay healthy this winter? I’d love to know! xoxo

Two-Week Minimalist Meal Plan

Have a poke around Pinterest or a scroll through YouTube and you’ll soon find that there are a million and a half ways to meal plan.

Today, I’d like to talk about just one of them. This rather minimalist approach to meal planning involves selecting “default meals” for each dinner of the week. That way, when the 5 o’clock, “I’m too tired to think about what’s for dinner rolls around,” you’re already sorted. And because rotating through JUST seven dinners can feel a bit limiting for some, I thought it might be fun to explore the possibilities of a TWO-WEEK minimalist meal plan.

A few breakfast, snack, and lunch options for each week + 14 dinners. Sounds easy enough, right? There are plenty of opportunities for substitutions and mild modifications to keep things interesting. And the best part? If you’re out for the night and won’t be preparing dinner — just skip that night’s dinner. You can pick it back up the next time the day rolls around.

Here’s what I came up with…

Week One –

Breakfast

At home (think-weekends): Greek yogurt bowls with banana, berries, and granola

On the run (think-week days): Green smoothies or toast with nut butter and fruit

 

Lunch

At home: Black bean quesadillas with avocado and fruit

Packed: Salad in a jar with whole wheat crackers

 

Snacks

Ants on a log, veggies with hummus, and “energy” date balls

 

Dinner

Monday: Chili and cornbread

Tuesday: Deconstructed cabbage rolls and steamed broccoli

Wednesday: Roast chicken (or rotisserie) and root veggies

Thursday: Pasta and salad

Friday: Tacos (or taco bowl) and corn (or corn chips with guac)

Saturday: Soup and garlic bread and salad

Sunday: Breakfast for dinner

 

Dessert

Daily treat: a couple squares from a bar of dark chocolate

Special treat: Banana “nice” cream

 

Week Two-

Breakfast

At home: Pancakes

On the run: Egg cups with fruit or apple cinnamon steel cut oats

 

Lunch

At home: Chicken salad over greens with fruit

Packed: Leftovers

 

Snacks

Fruit, roasted chickpeas, air-popped popcorn

 

Dinner

Monday: Thai food

Tuesday: Hummus tuna melt and steamed broccoli

Wednesday: Buffalo chicken nuggets and sweet potato tots

Thursday: Steak and roasted potatoes

Friday: Black bean burgers and fries and kale salad

Saturday: Homemade pizza

Sunday: Shop the pantry/fridge and throw something together!

 

Dessert

Daily treat: a couple squares from a bar of dark chocolate

Special treat: chocolate chip cookies

The above is an example of a Two-Week Minimalist Meal Plan that would work for me and my family. To create your own, think about the types of dinners you turn to time and time again. Which do you enjoy cooking? Which ones taste delicious at the end of a busy day? Happy meal planning!

Do any of you meal plan? Would you consider this minimalist approach?

If you enjoy my blog content, please consider supporting what I do (and keeping me caffeinated). Thank you! xoxo ☕