Mix and Match Whole30 Meal Plan

I must confess that I’m not much of a meal planner. I usually cook a bunch of stuff and stock up my fridge with lots of goodies for the week. Then, I just grab and reheat whatever I’m in the mood for. Here’s what my weekend cooking looked like.

Herb, herbs, and more herbs

Fresh herbs rock! They’re perfect to toss in your eggs, potatoes, other veggies, and just about everything else. This week, I got some dill, parsley, and cilantro. I’ve found that if I chop it up and put it in little containers that it’s less likely to wilt and go to waste in my fridge. I use herb scissors to get the job done quickly.

Veggies

Here’s what I do with veggies on the weekends:

  • Roast them Grab some potatoes, radish, broccoli, asparagus, green beans, and/or butternut squash and toss them on a sheet pan with parchment paper and roast, roast, roast.
  • Cut them up I usually have eggs in the morning and love opening the fridge and grabbing some pre-cut veggies. Save yourself the time and do the cutting on the weekend.
  • Try a couple of new veggie sides to stave off food boredom. Here are the recipes from the pictures above:
    1. Paleo OMG’s Lemon Herb and Dill Potatoes
    2. Whole Mom’s Moroccan Carrots (seriously, the vinaigrette is to die for!)
    3. Eat The Gain’s Balsamic Roasted Mushrooms
  • Keep it Simple I usually have a bag of green beans that I can microwave, potatoes (regular and sweet) that I can toss in the microwave, and some frozen cauliflower on hand. I’m not cooking gourmet on the weeknights–I need fast and simple!

Proteins

This doesn’t need to be complicated. Here’s what I made this weekend:

  1. Marinaded two lbs of salmon for the afternoon in The New Primal’s Citrus Herb marinade and put some dill on it when I baked it. Supper and lunches…done!
  2. Meatballs–no recipe. I just toss an egg, a bit of almond flour, and spices in with a pound of ground turkey or beef and they’re ready to go. I put in onions, grated zucchini, garlic–whatever I find in the fridge. I’ve found that it’s quicker and less messy to use a cookie scoop to make them. I throw them in a frying pan and cook them. The nice thing about this is you can toss them in some sauce, pour on some Frank’s Red Hot, or eat them naked.
  3. I don’t want to cook all my proteins in one go so I have some chicken thighs in the fridge to toss in the oven. I season it with TJ’s Umami seasoning and it’s done in less than an hour with leftovers to spare.
  4. In my freezer, I always have TJ’s frozen turkey burgers and I always make sure I have some beef burgers on hand in the freezer too. Take a pound of ground beef and make some patties to freeze. Plan ahead!
  5. Some weeks, I roast a chicken–it’s really the easiest way to get a bunch of protein to eat.

Plated Fats

In my kitchen, I have black olives, green olives, nuts, and salad dressings.

I love, love, love these two sauces and make them all the time. Try them, you won’t be disappointed.

What do you do to prep for the week?

Tips On Getting Your Kids To Eat Healthy Foods

Divided plates are a hit with my kids

Got a kid or kids that could live on a diet of pasta, chicken nuggets, and ketchup? I’ve made plenty of meals that have ended up on the floor for the dog to eat. I’ll skip over the obvious cutting out sugar, junk food, and blah, blah, blah because you all know that one. I want to tell you about what I do to engage my kids and help get them on board to eating healthy.

Fun Plates

I completely underestimated how much my kids would love to eat on something fun. I have a bunch of plates and bowls for them on one of our bottom shelves. They can pick their plate for their meal and it seems to make them a little more open to eating whatever is on it. Everything apparently is more appealing when there’s a dinosaur involved!

The Golden Rule

There’s only one rule in my kitchen, which mostly applies right now to my 6 year old daughter because my 2 year old son is…well, he’s 2. The golden rule is if something is on your plate that’s new, take ONE BITE. Just try it. You don’t have to like it, just try it.

I’ll put literally one piece of something new on their plates to try. I remember that my daughter didn’t want to try a red pepper and she had exactly one little piece on her plate along with one piece of red onion and one piece of yellow pepper. I told her she had to try one of those three things–her choice. She took a teeny tiny nibble of the red pepper and ended up taking another nibble. She told me it was actually good. I’ve gotten them to try a lot of food this way. The super small quantity isn’t overwhelming and just trying it (yep, they can spit it out if they don’t like it) is working for us.

I should mention that if there’s a huge fuss about it, I don’t push it. I don’t want it to become something dreaded and on days that are long or if they’re tired, there’s no need to force it.

Grocery Shopping

Grocery shopping tends to be my alone time. I know, I know…living the vida loco over here. Don’t judge. I do bring the kids along sometimes and get them to pick out what THEY want for fruits and veggies. I encourage them to look for new stuff.

The other week, my daughter was with me and I ran into someone I knew and stopped to chat. I set her free in the produce section and told her to go pick what she wanted. It was interesting to see what she picked, the funniest being when she plopped a bag of green beans into the shopping cart. There were literally 14 beans…basically what she could fit in her little hand.

The great thing is that when she picks something, she wants to eat it. She’s asked about produce that she doesn’t know about and has been wanting to try cabbage. Who knows if she’ll like it but she’ll willing to try it and that’s all that counts.

Junior Chef

On days when you have time, toss an little apron on your kid(s) and let them channel their inner junior chef. I have supplies for them (see above)–my daughter loves her measuring spoons and cups and the salad spinner is the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Sometimes I put my daughter in charge of making a salad for the family or have her help her little brother stir something. Mix something, measure something, mash something, cut something…anything that’s age appropriate. She feels proud of herself and has a great time when she’s helped in some way to make a meal. Needless to say, I watch her carefully ’cause safety and all.

Little Herb Garden

When it’s finally warm enough, we go out and buy some starter herb plants. My daughter picks them and we talk about the smell of it and what it’s used for. City living doesn’t lend itself to gardening very well so, right now, we’re confined to a small little herb garden.

With the new herbs, we plant a bunch of them in containers and watch them grow. What kid doesn’t love getting their hands dirty? My daughter helps water them and when they’re big enough we go out on the deck to pick what we want to use for supper. It’s just another way to get her invested in eating well.

So, there you have it, this is what’s working for me and my family. I hide veggies in things and do all the other mom tricks to get them to eat healthy stuff. I want them to have a good and healthy relationship with food and am hoping that by giving them the tools and opportunity to make good choices that it’ll help.

Do you have any tips that you do to encourage your kids to eat healthy?

My Food Freedom Weekend


I’ve been on this journey for a long time – since October 2015, to be exact. I’ve done so many rounds of Whole30 that I’ve sort of lost track (9 or 10?) and I’ve had really solid periods of time living in Food Freedom.

My last round was in January/February of this year and since then I’ve been living a Food Freedom that’s been really close to Whole30 (adding in occasional sugar and some Whole30 no-no’s like plantain chips.) But to be honest, I haven’t had many situations over the past few months with possible “worth it” moments so it’s been pretty easy to stick to my comfortable Whole30-style eating. I don’t go out to eat much and I’ve stayed away from alcohol for more than five months – not because I am depriving myself but because it just hasn’t felt like it serves me.

Last weekend was the first chance I’ve had in a while to truly flex my Food Freedom muscles. I went to New Hampshire for the night to visit my fellow Whole30 Certified Coach and awesome friend Jen Woods Maloney. Driving up to New Hampshire by myself (I had nearly 24 hours off of MOM DUTY!) was a big deal for me as I do not like to drive but I
knew it would be worth it…and it was!

Here’s how I approached my big night away in Food Freedom:

  1. On Saturday morning, before I left, I made sure to get in one of my Jillian Michaels Yoga Meltdown DVD workouts. I had to put my daughter in front of Netflix while I did it but I knew that moving my body, doing a little yoga, and getting my sweat on would help me stay as calm as possible during the drive and as I thought about my food choices. Movement is KEY for me – it sets the stage to allow me to be my best self in whatever I do.
  2. I packed Whole30 compliant snacks with me for the car and ended up snacking on a few handfuls of raw cashews as I drove deep into the hills of New Hampshire.
  3. When I got to Jen’s house, we had a little snack before dinner. We enjoyed carrots with guacamole and Kite Hill dairy-free cream cheese spread. I also had an orange. I didn’t want to go into dinner starving or already eating junky foods. I had never had the Kite Hill spread before – and it was awesome. It’s compliant but should be used with caution, especially if you have a complicated relationship with cheese. (I do not so it was fine for me to have some and then we put it away.)
  4. At dinner, I made my biggest Food Freedom decision to date in 2019! I had my first glass of wine this year! I went through the Food Freedom questions in my head – Was it worth it? Would it mess me up? Did I really want it? Was there something else I could have instead? Would it add to my overall experience? I decided that it was worth it, this was a special occasion, if I was careful it would not mess me up, and that I did want it. I also knew I did not have to drive and I did not have to wake up to a 6-year-old the next morning. All of my boxes were checked! So, I ordered ONE glass of white wine and I enjoyed the heck out of it with my dinner.
  5. For dinner, I stuck to dishes that were Whole30-ish – obviously, I have no idea of the exact ingredients in each dish but I chose things that were familiar. I had bluefish pate with red onions and housemade potato chips as an appetizer, and scallops with asparagus, crispy potatoes, and tomato jam for my main dish. The food was delicious. I took home some of each which became my dinner the next night. It felt good to enjoy – but stop when I was ready. I also snuck two French Fries from Jen’s plate and those were worth it was well!
  6. I had no desire for dessert so that was easy to pass on – I was totally satisfied with my wine, my food, and the overall experience.
  7. Since I had not had wine in so many months, I took a preemptive approach to any side effects. I made sure to drink a lot of water that night and I did take some Ibuprofen – just in case of any inflammation. I also got to bed shortly after we got home and slept like a baby!!
  8. The next morning, I woke up feeling good! After coffee, Jen took me for a hike in nearby Laconia. The uphill was challenging at times and we were rewarded with a gorgeous view. As always, it felt great to move and I am lucky to have friends who have the same priorities that I do!
  9. Post-hike, we met up with two other Whole30 Coaches and friends (Amanda Alley
    and Dolly Sengsavang) for breakfast at a local spot. I chose poached eggs, bacon, steamed spinach, sweet potato hash, and more coffee with BYO-nutpods and collagen peptides! My dish came with gluten-free toast, which I never have, but I decided to try one square of it. It was good but I didn’t need more. I left the rest of my toast on the plate. It didn’t seem worth it to me.
  10. Before I hit the road, I loaded up on some of the tasty Whole30 food Amanda and Dolly had brought to enjoy by Jen’s pool. (This mama had to get back to soccer practice!) I packed up some buffalo chicken dip and Dolly’s famous tostones and some spinach and artichoke dip that Amanda had made. I was excited to enjoy this Whole30 compliant food back at home – I knew it would help me over the next few meals after being away. I also had plans for some easy meal prep when I returned
    home so I would be set up for success as I returned to my “regularly scheduled program” of eating. I made it home – back to my daughter and to real life. I was happy to have been away and feel recharged for a new week.

I am proud of myself for being a little flexible with my food and putting my Food Freedom skills into practice. Nothing “messed me up” and I did not let the wine or the meals out turn into “all-or-nothing” free-for-alls. I enjoyed and moved on. As a reformed dieter and former binge eater, it’s been a long road to get here but I’ve been doing the work. To me, this is what life – and Food Freedom – is all about.

How to Whole30 as a Teacher

I am an educator. It’s in my blood. It doesn’t seem to matter what I am doing because all of life seems to come back to learning and applying knowledge. Whole30 has been no different!

I am also a wife, mom to six kiddos (age range spanning 16 years – which means I will forever have teenagers – Lord help me!). I am a caretaker and as a school administrator in a large urban district working with at-risk students and families. I often do a fantastic job of taking care of everyone else, often at the expense of myself. But, my first Whole30 round in January 2018 changed all of that!

When you work in education, your entire world can be broken down into minutes and acronyms. You spend hours in PLCs learning about how PBL, RTI and MTSS are going to change your world. You work with students who are ADHA, ASD, EBD/LD or OHI and are tasked to create learning environments that are inclusive and differentiated to each individual, unique need. You debate if phonics or whole language is better and then agree on balanced literacy. The hours are of your day are full during the school year and your summer vacation is typically spent regrouping and preparing for the year ahead.

To be successful on Whole30, I focused in and fit it into my world….so let me share my Top 5 Tips for Educators in acronyms just for you!

1. MPLYLP – Meal Plan Like You Lesson Plan (Write it down)
Think about Whole30 in the same way you think about your lesson plans! Pull recipes, make grocery lists, shop and organize your food. I know I need breakfast ready for a quick reheat in the morning. Lunches need to be packed the night before so I can grab and go. I plan and make sure dinner is ready and available. Grab emergency items for when you are extra hungry or need a little something to make it through that afternoon staff meeting! Everything you pre-plan for the week sets you up for success during the day.

2. POW – Prep on Weekends (Don’t fail to prep)
I prep on Saturdays. I grocery shop first thing in the morning and then prep it when I get home. I roast or air fry veggies because roasted veggies are just as yummy cold as they are reheated. Poaching chicken ensures I have a quick protein to add to any meal and I make sure I have hard-boiled eggs on hand. I toss together things like Egg Roll in a Bowl or make easy soups packed with veggies. I keep big meals for the weekend when I have time to BBQ. Snack size bags work great for veggies or meat sticks. Portioning out food makes it ready to go because then there is no excuse.

3. FIP – Find Your Posse
Find your people and support each other. Most people are intrigued with my Whole30 meals and support me if I share my reasoning behind it. Yes, to some it sounds crazy, but people will still cheer you on. Find those people and hang on to them!

4. H3 – Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate (keep those fluids coming)

Water, LaCroix, Hot Tea, Iced Tea, Coffee – whatever it is, grab it! This keeps you going more than you know and is the easiest thing to keep in hand in the classroom or hallway. Buy a fun bottle or insulated cup and keep it filled. This helps regulate your hunger as well.

5. KISS – Keep it Simple Sister/Sir (cold meals, no reheating, grab and go)
Simplicity is key! When I first started, I was making condiments and fancy dishes. Now, the lazy deviled egg is the way to go. I know when I am home, having my tools close at hand makes my time more efficient. Cleaning out my fridge so I don’t have to think about what I am grabbing and if it is compliant is the best.

Following these few steps has made it possible for me to be successful during some of the most difficult times of the year. They also hold me accountable during breaks and summer vacation when the change in routine throws things off. Staying focused through the end will ensure your success and a long string of NSVs!

Here’s to summer vacation, fellow educators…!

How to Use Bone Broth in Your Whole30 Cooking

Bone broth, a food with ancient roots, has made a comeback. It’s known to help improve gut and joint health, boost immunity, and heal wounds. Bone broth is especially popular in Whole30 circles as a stand-alone drink or as an ingredient in a recipe.

Husband and wife Ryan and Katherine Harvey are right in the mix of things with their Whole30 Approved company Bare Bones Broth, selling several varieties of bone broth along with collagen peptides both online and in several markets across the country. Read more about their story here!

Bare Bones Broth has big news: On May 8, the company will launch their classic beef and classic chicken bone broths in Whole Foods Markets nationwide!

To celebrate, we’re highlighting some favorite recipes from our Facebook group and other blogs that incorporate bone broth. We hope you enjoy these delicious and nutrient-rich dishes!

Whole30 Chicken and Broccoli Casserole

Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili

Cleansing Carrot Autumn Squash Soup (omit the maple syrup)

Instant Pot Roasted Potatoes


Stuffed Delicata Squash

Whole30 Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla-Less Soup

Chocolate Chili

Bone Broth Pumpkin Spice Latte (Omit the agave/honey)

Whole30 Bone Broth Sausage & Vegetable Soup

Creamy Sausage & Potato Casserole

Paleo Whole30 Zuppa Toscana

Want to grab some Bare Bones Broth online? Use code “JUJUSWHOLE30” for 15% off your order at www.barebonesbroth.com

Can't Get Your Whole30 Round Started? Start here.

We’ve heard from a lot of people about how tough it is to get motivated to start a round. I get it. It’s tough. Is it worth it? YES! You do need to have your head in the game to start so, if you’ve been putting off doing a round, let’s tackle the top reasons that might be stopping you.

Mental Preparation
You need your head in the right place to start because when you do a round it is a commitment that you’re making to yourself. For me, getting ready means whipping my kitchen into Whole30 shape. But that takes time! Yeah, I know. That’s why I put a podcast on to listen to so the time passes quicker. Need a podcast recommendation… you can listen to Melissa Urban’s new Whole30 podcast, Do The Thing. If you want a non food related one and one of my personal favourites, try Aaron Manhke’s Unobscured. It’s the real story about what happened in Salem during the witch trials (I live in Salem so it’s a history lesson for me and super interesting!).

Your podcast is on and your ready to go so let’s get started by purging your kitchen and your mind. Click here to get the checklist.

Meal Prep

Your kitchen is Whole30 ready. Now what? The idea of preparing 90 meals over the course of 30 days can be a bit daunting. The feeling that you’re tied to your kitchen and have an endless mountain of dishes in your near future can be discouraging. I get it. Over multiple rounds, I’ve found ways to save time. Here’s some of the stuff I do:

  • Cut up veggies when I get back from grocery shopping or the night before I’m making a recipe

  • Set aside Sunday afternoon to cook for the beginning of the week. I work from home on Tuesday and usually do a bit of cooking that day too

    • I always make a sauce that I can dump on everything so I don’t have to think about a plated fat

    • Make double batches to freeze

  • Minimize the amount of dishes I use (I reuse bowls, for example, instead of taking out another clean one!)

  • Use parchment paper when doing anything on sheet pans

If you’re wondering what to cook, here is a five day meal plan and a five week meal plan.

Being a ‘Hermit’ and Missing ‘Good’ Food

Worried about not being able to go out to eat or worried about an upcoming friends’ night where one of your besties makes her famous double chocolate cheesecake? You can absolutely pre-plan for social events that you know are coming up. There’s probably something on the menu that you can eat. You can skip that cheesecake.

For me, I find it just easier to skip the restaurants when on a round and I don’t miss it–I just find what I’m cooking is better at home! But, I’m also deeply entrenched into the whole married with small kids gig and we don’t go out that often to eat. Back in the sans-kids days, I went out to eat ALL THE TIME. Try (I know, I know, easier said than done!) to flip the script and frame your gatherings around friends and family, not food. It’s 30 days, you can do it! Let them admire and be jealous of your iron-will when you say to them ‘No thanks, I’m on a Whole30 round’.

What do you do to get your head back in the Whole30 game?

Move It Monday – A Look Back at My Week of Movement

To me, moving my body is one of my top four priorities, along with caring for my daughter, prepping healthy food, and focusing on my job. Although I am a busy, working mom with a long commute, I make time to move. It’s not always easy – and sometimes means I work out when I’m not in the mood – but I get it done.

How do I do it? I belong to a gym that’s across the street from my office, which is expensive but worth it for me. At the start of each week, I look at my schedule and plug in workouts like appointments on my calendar. We all know that life happens so sometimes things don’t go as planned but I try to stick with as closely as possible.

The other key to my success as a regular exerciser is that I get up VERY early. Like 4:30/5 am early – Sometimes I use these hours to move via a DVD at home. Other times I use the early morning to get work and blog stuff done so I have time to get my workout in later in the day. I make every moment count!

Here’s a look back at my movement from last week and a little bit about how I made it happen. On the days I go into work, I walk about 3 miles in my commute and take the stairs up and down to my desk on the 8th floor. If there’s a way to move my body, I will always take it!

Note: This week included movement every day. Some weeks are like this, and others are not. I do take occasional rest days but my body truly feels best with daily movement. You will see that I had variety in my workouts, although I did not do yoga this week, which I usually do. I took advantage of bright spots in a rainy week to get outside for three runs in a week, which has not happened in a while.

Sunday: I was at my parents’ house over the weekend for Passover and I knew that if I didn’t get my movement in on Sunday morning, it was not going to happen. (The rest of the day was filled with driving back to my house, unpacking, food shopping, cooking, spending time outside with my daughter, and taking her to/from her Dad’s house for an Easter Egg Hunt.) I got up and ran 3 miles in my old neighborhood. I felt strong and happy – There is nothing like starting your day off with a good run! Done and done!

Monday: I had a meeting out of the office in the morning but it began earlier than planned so I was able to get to my gym on time for my regular lunchtime 45-minute Body Pump class. Body Pump is a barbell workout that uses light to moderate weights with lots of repetitions. It’s a total body workout – We hit squats, back, arms, chest, glutes, abs – if it’s on your body, it gets worked! I love this class and always leave feeling extra empowered.

Tuesday: Today, I went to a lunchtime “Press” class. It’s a 45-minute class that builds strength and utilizes a variety of equipment to sculpt all major muscle groups. There’s nothing like feeling strong in the middle of the work day! After the workout, it’s back up the 8 flights of stairs to my desk, where I eat my lunch.

Wednesday: I started my day with a 6 am barre class at my local studio. I love getting my workout in and done before the day begins. Wednesday morning is the only morning my daughter wakes up at her dad’s house so I definitely take advantage of the early morning!

Thursday: I worked from home today because I had an early afternoon work meeting near where I live. It was sunny and warm-ish – a bright spot in the middle of a rainy streak. I knew I wanted some time outside so I laced up my sneakers and knocked out 3.6 miles after I took my daughter to school and before I dug into my work. I also did some push-ups for extra credit!

Friday: I had today off from work due to Passover and my daughter had school so I was a free agent for part of the day! I scheduled my errands and my to-do list around getting to a “Matte Plus” class at my barre studio. It’s basically barre using heavier weights so it incorporates some more intense strength training.

Saturday: I was up a few times in the night with my daughter so when 5 am rolled around, I wasn’t too excited by the idea of early morning yoga. So, I stayed in a bed a little longer and decided to go for a run while she was in Hebrew School. I mapped out a total of 3.4 miles from the synagogue and back – and even had time to hit Whole Foods for some meal prep supplies before I had to pick her up.

Sunday: I had some time in the morning when my daughter was with her dad, and with most of my meal prep done (I did this Saturday evening and early Sunday morning), I took my very favorite Hott Barre class, with one of my favorite instructors who has been out on maternity leave and was making a guest substitute appearance. The class is a barre class done entirely on a matte. It fuses elements of yoga, Pilates, ballet and traditional weight training in a heated room. It ends with a nice stretch and some aroma therapy – and I love it! It was sweaty for sure, but I left refreshed and ready to tackle the new week ahead of me.

How will you move this week? Do you schedule it on your calendar? How do you keep yourself accountable?

Whole30 Meal Plan: Your First Five Days

Meal prepping can be daunting, especially when you can barely find time to sit down and drink a coffee uninterrupted. After several rounds, I’ve got my meal prepping routine down to a science. Any new recipes, I make on Sundays along with prepping lots and lots of veggies. Any recipes that require chopped veggies, I cut the night before because by the time I get home from work I don’t want to spend any time chopping. Mid week, I toss a couple of sheet pans of veggies in the oven to roast so I won’t be eating 4 day old roasted veggies.

I like to make some sauces on the weekend to use throughout the week so I can put a big dollop of it on my plate and be done with thinking about it. Make it easy and do the same! I’m leaving the plated flats out of the meal plan below so you can mix and match. Here are some awesome sauces–make two and you’ll be all set for the week!

Eat The Gain’s Spicy Avocado Lime Sauce

Whole Sister’s Dump Ranch

The Whole Smith’s Perfect Paleo Pesto

Lemon Tree Dwelling’s Olive Tapenade

Fit Mitten Kitchen’s BBQ Sauce

Guacamole – One avocado, diced tomatoes and red onions, garlic, lime, and salt. Simple and delish!

What You’re Making This Week:

Mexican Breakfast Casserole

Greek Breakfast Casserole

Oven Baked Green Beans (use nutritional yeast instead of parm cheese)

Cilantro and Lime Salmon

Egg Roll In A Bowl

Roasted Veggies – no recipes, just roast a couple of sheet pans of whatever veggies and seasoning you want!

Chicken Thighs – grab some Umami seasoning from Trader Joes’. Cook at 375F until browned!

Cauliflower Rice – this is so simple to pan fry! Keep it interesting by tossing in some garlic and minced onion. Crack an egg or two and scramble it in for extra tasty texture.

A Few Tips:

– Double or triple your batches. Trust me, you’ll be grateful you did when on Day17 you get home after a grueling day and don’t want to cook!

– Have some containers or freezer bags on hand for freezing and leftovers.

– Invest in a citrus squeezer. I use mine all the time–amazing how much lemon and lime are in recipes

– Invest in a crinkle cutter to keep things interesting.

– Try one or two new recipes a week to keep things interesting.

Working Food Freedom at the Most Magical Place on Earth… Disney World

I recently went to Disney World with my family – and to be honest, before the trip, the thought of not being able to make my own food made a little anxious. But I was fresh off a Whole30 coaching round with Judith Forman so I was revved up to succeed in my Food Freedom!

I made a game plan, practiced a lot of self-talk and thought a lot about what makes a food worth for me. I knew I was going to be smart about breakfast and snacks and that I would be as reasonable as possible with lunch and dinner when we were at the various parks.

The good news was that we did have a mini-fridge in our hotel room so I created the cleanest, easiest breakfasts that I could eat on the go while hustling to get my three young kids up, dressed, fed, and out the door. Lettuce boats with mayo and turkey it was! At home, this is a quick lunch I can make when I’m in a rush and need something to eat (also adding tomatoes, pickles and avocado), but for Disney World, this was my staple 5-minute Whole30-ish breakfast. Sometimes I didn’t even manage to make the lettuce boats with romaine but literally took a half a head of romaine, washed and dried it, threw mayo on top and turkey on top of that and shoved it in my mouth while pushing a double stroller. There was nothing about it that was pretty, but honestly, starting my day with delicious fresh food put me in a great mood.

For lunches, a lot of the quick service places (meaning you are using the Disney food plan but not going to a sit-down restaurant) offer at least one variety of salad with protein and dressing. I never found the quick service salad meal to be enough food for me so I supplemented the protein and veggies with dried seaweed and a meat stick. Many of these meals include an alcoholic beverage and as much as I would like to dream about that being a good idea, I opted for water because mid-day drinking at Disney World with three kids sounded awful. I saw it as fueling my body with what it needed at the time instead of looking at the “wasted money.”

My in-laws, who we traveled with, planned on one sit-down meal a day at a restaurant in the parks. This was a great chance to truly practice Food Freedom and think of my “worth it” foods. Each meal came with either an appetizer OR a dessert. I looked at the dessert menu before even ordering to see if there was anything that was truly worth it for me and based on that, decided if I was going to order dessert or an appetizer.

I knew if I didn’t order an appetizer (usually a side salad) I would have been more tempted to have dessert every night. One night at Epcot, we ate dinner at one of the Italian restaurants and tiramisu was a “worth it” dessert for me. It was delicious and worth every bite. I have a serious sweet tooth so although I didn’t choose to have dessert every day, I did have it at least three times. Only one time did I realize that afterwards, it wasn’t worth it and I was really eating it because I felt a weird internal obligation to try it.

I kept alcohol relatively limited because the idea of waking up with a headache from wine or a super sugary cocktail was absolutely NOT worth it. I did have a cider or two at times and a very occasional cocktail (vodka soda.)

Not every moment was successful. My mother-in-law (whom I dearly love) is queen of “kid friendly” snacks (translation: white flour, sugar filled, nutrient empty snacks), and there was a time when I mindlessly grabbed a pack of animal cookies and ate them. Also, our last afternoon at the park, we all had ice cream (mind you ice cream on a hot day is a total weakness for me) and after I finished my ice cream, I finished my daughter’s because she ordered way too much for her little 5-year-old belly.

Overall, I felt like Disney World was a fun and fantastic experience without indulging in everything my taste buds could dream of. I also felt like having a general plan with some specific snacks on hand was enough to help me to not focus on food, enjoy the fun family time and live my Food Freedom in a mindful and balanced manner. I was able to feel energetic the whole time and didn’t have the gluten grumpiness I would have had if I was not practicing a mindful Food Freedom.

My takeaways

  1. Think about what your worth is… Is it a feeling, and experience or a particular flavor?

  2. Start your day off right to set the tone for the rest of your eating. Even though you might have indulged more than was worth it the night before, you have a clean start in the morning.

  3. Have snacks on hand to supplement meals lacking in some of the Whole30 meal template items. For example, I brought Seasnax and some veggie pouches for meals that didn’t have enough veggies. I brought some veggie/ meat sticks for extra protein, Lara Bars and other compliant snack items since we were on the go.

  4. Use your resources: Instacart, Amazon Prime and Thrive Market can be used for deliveries to hotels or vacation rental homes.

  5. Be kind and flexible with yourself. You are on vacation and Food Freedom is a process.

Soup, Salad, and Sushi

Hi all! I would love to say I have a full-fledged blog, but for now I’m simply too busy so I like to share and communicate through Instagram – I’m @onmollysplate. Quick bio, I’m 26 years old, I live in Brookline, MA, and I recently finished my masters’ degree in nutrition at Boston University. I am also a registered dietitian!

I fell into nutrition after being diagnosed with multiple food allergies in 2011, at age 18. Dietary restrictions are now my passion! This post is going to play homage to the spring season, with lighter fare that still packs a TON of flavor. I’ve dubbed it “soup, salad, and sushi” – so here we go!

My first recipe has to do with Passover, which has always been a very important holiday for my family. I did a lot of brainstorming on how to remake a classic, matzoh ball soup. I finally figured it out – classic chicken soup, pack it full of vegetables, and boil very small, round, golden potatoes ‘til tender as can be. You get the feeling of the classic soup whilst still staying healthy + veggie packed!

Whole30 Matzoh Ball Soup (Warning: This makes a LOT of soup. Feel free to cut recipe in half if not cooking for a crowd!)

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons good quality olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup chopped onions

2 cups chopped carrots

2 cups chopped celery

1 gallon chicken stock (homemade or store bought)

2 pounds small golden potatoes, as round as possible, rinsed (Note: You don’t have to use these cute little round guys, I just found that they looked the most like matzoh balls. Feel free to sub red bliss potatoes, chopped Idaho potatoes, or radishes for a lower carb option.)

Salt and pepper, to taste

Shredded cooked chicken (about 3-4 cups. Can be white or dark meat)

Chopped parsley, to garnish

Directions:

Heat olive oil in large pot over medium high Heat. Add garlic and onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add remaining vegetables and cook until softened, about 15 minutes. Add in chicken stock and potatoes. Bring to a boil until potatoes are tender, about 20-25 minutes. Add a good dash of salt and pepper to taste. After potatoes are cooked, reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes to ensure everything is cooked. Turn off heat and add it shredded cooked chicken. Serve hot, garnish with fresh parsley, if desired.

Ok so, we did our soup, what about our salad?? Today’s spring-inspired dish is something I get asked to make for every cookout, birthday, and barbecue, especially in the spring and summer. It’s a lemon and dill potato salad and it’s out of this world!! Simple to whip up and it only gets better as it sits in the fridge. Hope everyone likes it!

Lemony Potato Salad

Ingredients:

2 pounds of potatoes of your choice, rinsed (I opt not to peel potatoes as the skin contains nutrients)

-Lower carb options: 2 pounds radishes, rinsed, or 2 heads of cauliflower, chopped small

1 cup Whole30 compliant mayo

1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

1/3 cup minced shallot

4 cloves minced garlic

1/2 cup chopped dill

Salt + pepper, to taste

Directions:

Cook potatoes or substitute however you like – I often prick with a fork and microwave to save time, but you can steam or boil as well! Allow potatoes to cool. While potatoes are cooling, combine all other ingredients. You should have a thick dressing! When cooled, chop potatoes into bite-sized pieces. Mix potatoes + dressing until well combined. Add salt + pepper to taste. This can sit in the fridge for at least 3-4 day’s and only gets better as it sits!!

And our third S of our alliteration filled blog post – SUSHI! When the weather warms up, nothing quite beats some cold sushi to cool you down (though honestly, I eat sushi all year long). This isn’t so much a recipe, but more of a “sushi idea talk” – quick anecdote, in college I found myself spending way too much money on sushi each week, so I taught myself how to make it. My friends were so impressed, I ended up selling sushi all around campus and delivered in my ancient minivan. I’ve come a long way since then, and here are my top ideas, tips, and tricks for sushi making during Whole30!

  1. Sushi rolls – If you want a classic roll, the trick is to mix steamed cauliflower rice with a binder – this can be mashed avocado, cashew cream, Kite Hill cream cheese, or even some coconut cream. Then it will get sticky and you can place onto seaweed! Fill with any raw veggie, sushi grade fish, cooked shrimp, smoked salmon, avocado, mango, baked sweet potato, or even canned tuna or shredded chicken! Dip into coconut aminos (or make a Whole30 spicy mayo!) and enjoy!

  2. Sashimi – This is the easiest. Simply buy your fish, slice carefully (against the grain, i.e. the opposite way of the marbling), and serve with sliced avocado, dipping sauces, and cucumber and carrot slices

  3. Poke bowls – This is a crowd pleaser! Cube your fish (or cooked shrimp, scallops, etc), and mix with whatever you like – I use coconut aminos, fresh ginger, garlic, cilantro, homemade siracha, scallions, mango, and cucumber. Serve over steamed cauliflower rice with sliced avocado + shredded carrots!

  4. Don’t like fish? Make a veggie sushi side! Make rolls with just veggies, have some veggies to dip into spicy mayo, or you can even use hearts of palm to be mock fish in your poke!

Thanks for bearing with me everyone! As mentioned above, you can find me on Instagram @onmollysplate – Feel free to reach out any time!!