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?

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…!

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?

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.

Organizing Your Whole30 Kitchen

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Who’s watched Marie Kondo on Netflix? You? If you haven’t, this tiny powerhouse shows you how to organize your whole home using her KonMari method. I’m a big fan and binged watched the series within a few days–it was worth the late nights. I’ve been purging my house of things that no longer spark joy ever since I watched it. Before, I even finished the series, I ordered her ‘The life-changing magic of tidying up’ book (it’s a must read!).

I’ve been stuck in a bit of a food rut lately where nothing seems to inspire me. Seeing that I’m in the kitchen A LOT cooking, I decided to reorganize my whole kitchen. Tackling my food rut from this angle (how I USE my kitchen) has put the spark back in my cooking. Last year, we replaced our counter tops and built up our back kitchen wall with cabinets and a pantry. I rearranged my kitchen then but looking back, it was nowhere near enough.

With my newly acquired organizational skills, I took a look at my kitchen a month of so ago and, holy cow, I had a lot of stuff. SO. MUCH. STUFF. Does anyone need four olive dishes with a cute little place on the side to put your toothpicks in? I had four. Three spatulas around the same size. Close to 30 mugs? Why? And, why did I own three French Presses, an iced coffee maker, AND a coffee maker? I don’t drink that much coffee!

SCAN YOUR CUPBOARDS/CABINETS

My rapidly decreasing cabinet space could be purged. I found my local Buy Nothing facebook page and offered my three French presses. They were scooped up by a neighbour pretty quickly and I didn’t have to do anything more than set it out on my front porch for them to pick up. I looked at everything. Extra wine glasses, extra mugs, pots and pans that were in my cupboard that I never used, extra tongs that I never used, little gadgets that I bought thinking that I’d used, and you guessed it, never used.

Just opening my cupboards up and taking a hard look at whether or not I needed it, was eye opening. I was storing a lot of stuff. I set out to get rid of it by either donating them, gifting them, or throwing them out. I have some empty cabinet space now…and I still have work to do!

Step two was to get some efficient storage. I got a couple of pull out shelves here. I have some deep cabinets that I’d have to get down and dig through to get a mixing bowl. It’s such a pain in the butt getting things so I found some pull out shelves that have been life changing–I love them! And, I loved that they were super easy to install! These two shelves are perfectly aligned and you’d never know they didn’t come with the new cupboards.

My frying pan storage was a royal pain in the butt. They were all stacked on top of one another and my husband would, and this is annoying, put them in the cabinet when they were not quite dry. I NEEDED a cookware organizer. For the sake of my sanity, I NEEDED this! The pull out shelves and cookware organizers are both from the same company, which I wanted so it would have the same look/feel to it. You can get the pull out cookware organizer here.

SPICES

After I got rid of everything extra and installed the pull outs, I needed to do something quick and easy that felt like a win. All this decluttering and purging is tiring! Reorganizing my spices and seasonings did the trick. I got it done in no time–I got rid of the duplicate spices, the way out of date spices, and almost empty bottles. It’s so great to cook when you can just open a door and grab something! You can see in the first picture how easy everything is to grab. With a couple of spice organizers, found here, I can keep everything nice and neat. Definitely key when you’re cooking as much as you do on Whole30.

FOOD

How does your fridge look right now? Tidy or a holy mess? I won’t lie, mine is always a work in progress. I cleaned it today after it had turned into a bit of a leftover/science experiment. The week got away from me and it had become untidy. I gave it a good clean today and refilled the plastic storage bins I have in the fridge with snacks for the kids and my Whole30 stuff. I’ve found keeping some of my stuff separate in storage bins helps me have what I need on hand and I don’t have to dig around the back of the fridge–just pull out the bin et voila, my stuff is all there!

I also have a shelf dedicated to my Whole30 stuff. Non-compliant stuff doesn’t touch that drawer! My husband has never done a round with me but knows he can grab anything from that shelf and it’s okay to cook with when he’s making a Whole30 meal. Whole30 meals are so easy to cook and I love that he’s willing to grab some almond flour instead of regular flour when cooking for us.

UNCLUTTER YOUR DRAWERS

This was the last thing I wanted to do yet it was once of the most useful things I did. I put it off until I did most of the kitchen. My utensil drawers didn’t need much work but I had a drawer full of all my odds and ends cooking stuff that was just thrown in (I moved the knives there!). Turns out I didn’t need three sets of measuring spoons after all! Everything that I use often is in there–you wouldn’t believe how much use I get out of my citrus squeezer! It’s one of my must have kitchen items!

So, this is how I’ve organized my kitchen so far. It’s a work in progress but, right now, it feels efficient and fun to cook in. I like fun! I feel all chef-like when I have everything at hand and things are organized. It’s also super easy to clean, which is a big plus! Even today, I got rid of a two paper shopping bags of stuff and am continuing to declutter. IT FEELS GREAT!

What are your tips to keeping your kitchen clean?

Whole30 Crazy Dreams

You’re almost halfway through your Whole30 and you’ve just woken up from one of those crazy Whole30 dreams. Was it real? Did I really eat that chocolate cake…all of it, with a mountain of whipped cream on it? Yep, those crazy dreams can feel SO REAL and we hear about it all the time. We’ve collected some of them for you (we don’t want you to feel alone if you’re dreaming too!).


“I dreamt I ate a bottle of pink cake sprinkles. Not the little bottles you find in the grocery aisles but the 2 pound bottles I had access to as a cake decorator. I ate it all. I was so devastated when i woke up. Feel free to use my whole name”. – Julie Allen (full name!)

“Not exactly on topic but I dreamed I DIDN’T ruin it because my husband was putting mustard on chocolate, so that was gross and not one bit tempting.” – Kat I.

“I had a dream that I was eating a chocolate chip cookie and after eating about half of it decided to look at the ingredient list and was shocked to find that my chocolate chip cookie had sugar and flour and non-compliant ingredients in it. I woke up feeling so sad until I remembered it was a dream.” – Larissa F.

“I kept dreaming that I ruined it by eating chips and salsa. The third time, I realized it was a dream, and didn’t freak out. I woke up, heard a crinkle in the bed next to me, rolled over… and there was a bag of chips! OMG! How did they even get in my house? Did I sleepwalk to get them? How did I get downstairs? Then I REALLY woke up. Inception, Whole 30 style!” – Kristen Y.

“I have been on a round since last Friday and have had a recurring dream about going out for Chinese food and eating a whole order of crab Rangoon’s and having to call Kelsey M. to tell her I had to restart my round.” – Annya M.

“I dreamt I was at a party and accidentally ate something that wasn’t compliant and started spitting it out in the sink. Everyone was staring at me, I was trying explain to them it wasn’t compliant.” – Amanda G.

“In my dream, my in-laws invited us over for a Whole30 dinner. My MIL served us a lovely salad with a hamburger in a lettuce wrap. I took a huge bite of the burger only to find she’d stuffed it with cheese. CHEESE.When I was like “WTF?”, she shrugged and said “Oh, it’s only a little dairy!” I woke up so angry at my poor, innocent mother-in-law!” – Jennifer N.

“I dreamt about being a hawk.” – Kelly L. (A compliant hawk, I wonder! – Jenny)

“I dreamed I ate apple pancakes with syrup and scrambled eggs with cheese for breakfast. Then was so mad at myself for blowing it! I was so relieved when I woke up!” – Pamela B.

“Eating a mouthful of Cap’n Crunch cereal and spitting it out horrified that I slipped up and ate a pancake and woke up completely beside myself thinking I had ruined it.” – Kelly L.

“I dreamed my friend handed me a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch with milk and whip cream on top and I ate it. And then thought, OMG, I’m doing Whole30, I can’t eat this! And woke up. This was my first night of my first round.” – Morgan S.

“I dreamt I was eating cupcake after cupcake, all while thinking ‘damn it now I have to start over, might as well have another!’ And just inhaling them. Then I woke up.” – Megan S.

“In my dream, I took a bite of a chocolate covered maraschino cherry (which I don’t like at all) and woke up very upset that I broke my Whole30 round with something that was SO not worth it! Also, I dreamed I took a bite of a moldy, crusty slice of white bread.” – Rebecca S.

“I had a dream where I was eating a bagel I found under the seat of my car. I didn’t know how old it was…just that is was a bagel from “Bagel World.” If you are from my area, you know how good those are. I was driving down the road, sneaking it in before I picked my daughter up from school. Then I realized, “wait! I can’t have bagels!!! I was on day 10! Now I have to start over!” It was so vivid!!! Reminded me of the sneaking cigarette dream when I quit!” – Phyllis S.

“I dreamed there was a zombie apocalypse and I was freaking out…because of my lack of access to compliant foods…” – Cathy T.

“Last night, I had a dream I ruined by Whole30 by having a protein shake. A PROTEIN SHAKE OF ALL THINGS! I don’t even like them!” – Jen S.

and, last but not least….

“I had a dream the other night that the new leather boots I was wearing were not Whole30 compliant and I had to start over again. Day 15. It’s fine. I’m fine. Everything is fine.” – Kate B.

What was your craziest Whole30 dream? Leave us a comment.

Quick Weekend Meal Prep – Whole60 Edition

I am on the final days of my Whole60 (!!) and wanted to keep my meal prep game SIMPLE this weekend. I didn’t want to dedicate a big chunk of time to getting set for the week ahead so I chose easy ideas and spread out my prep into little pockets of work.

Here’s how I broke down my weekend to fit in meal prep — without spending hours in the kitchen!

I got a head start to the weekend by making sure I did my laundry and changed my sheets on Friday/Saturday morning so I could cross that off my to-do list. When I get these chores done, my mind is clearer and able to focus on the food prep part of my weekend.

On Saturday morning, I sat down and made a rough meal plan and shopping list and took out a pack of Thrive Market ground beef from the freezer to defrost.

On Saturday afternoon, I made sure to hit the supermarket (with my 5-year-old in tow) even though we were tired after a morning playdate. It’s not always easy to get up and go but we did it, and it wasn’t all that bad!

When we got home from the supermarket, I asked her to help me in the kitchen, and she obliged! Together, we made a batch of Whole30 mayo and she helped me cut a potato for a sheet pan chicken sausage dinner. I added Coleman’s Natural apple chicken sausage, diced potatoes, onion, broccoli, light olive oil and Trader Joe’s Everything But the Bagel spice. That cooked while I gave her a bath. One meal done!

Sunday morning, I got up at my normal 5 am time while she slept in! Since I knew I was going to have a chance to hit up a workout class in the evening, I used my early morning hours to do some quick prep. I made a batch of 40 Aprons Egg Roll in a Bowl and also spiced up the mayo I made on Saturday with some Frank’s Red Hot and salt to make it like the creamy chili sauce in the recipe.

I also turned my pack of ground beef into meatballs. I mixed the beef with chopped garlic, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, parsley, Italian seasoning blend, salt and pepper, nutritional yeast, and an egg. I popped those into the oven and while they baked, I sautéed some sweet potato noodles I bought yesterday in avocado oil with salt and pepper. I have a jar of Whole30 Approved Cucina Antica sauce I will use with the meatballs and veggie noodles. Easy peasy!

When my daughter woke up and before our Sunday playdate plans, I enlisted her help to make two batches of my favorite Crispy Green Beans (based off of this recipe from Low Carb Yum – I use nutritional yeast instead of parmesan cheese.)

I shared some of the Egg Roll in a Bowl, the crispy green beans, and the sweet potato noodles with my neighbors and at some point this week, they will share a Whole30 dish or two with me which adds variety to my meal plan!

I have lots of eggs to eat throughout the week as well as frozen burgers to pop into my Air Fryer for quick protein for a weeknight meal. I also have to finish up a little bit of food from last week – which I will do sooner than later – so I know that will get me through another meal or two.

While at the supermarket, I bought two packs of chicken tenders, which have become my go-to easy protein source. Later this week, I will likely turn one pack into Michelle Smith’s Grain-Free Popcorn Chicken, from The Whole Smiths’ Good Food Cookbook.

The other pack will probably become pulled chicken in my InstantPot and finished with either The New Primal Classic BBQ sauce or Buffalo Sauce.

I will do these when I have a little time – either early in the morning or in the evening when my daughter is asleep. I squeeze it in when I can!

To keep my veggie supply up later in the week, I will make a bag of cauliflower rice from the freezer and roast some sweet potatoes, onions, and the leftover broccoli from my sheet pan meal.

I know that I have enough “emergency food” to get me through and in a super duper pinch, I can always grab a Whole30 compliant salad at Sweetgreen toward the end of the week. I don’t think it will come to that but it’s nice to know I have a back-up if I need it.

And there you have it – quick and easy meal prep that didn’t take over my weekend or cause me serious stress. I kept it simple and I know I will finish my Whole60 strong!

Do you have any favorite easy meal prep hacks? Do your kids ever cook with you?

How To Work Whole30 On A Budget

Most of us don’t have money trees growing in our backyard (and if you do, I want to be friends and I want your address!), so budgets and food costs matter while on Whole30 and in your post-Whole30 life of Food Freedom.

It is also important to be able to afford to live your Food Freedom the way you need and want to. I am all about working hard to stay on a budget and have been since the beginning. We are a family of five (three hungry growing kids and two adults) and we definitely have a food budget. Since being introduced to Whole30 in Fall 2016, I have been trying to find ways to follow Whole30 (and bring many Whole30 meals to the dinner table for the rest of my family) while not breaking the bank!

Over time, I’ve learned some tricks to continue cutting costs which has allowed Whole30 and Food Freedom to be a part of my life for the long haul. Here are my best tips and tricks – I hope they help you save some money while living the Whole30 life!

Avoid pre-packaged

I am lucky enough to stay home with my kids which allows for a little more prep time in the kitchen. Prepping your own food, sauces, and other basics is a game changer for the budget savvy. It’s rare for me to buy veggies already prepped (chopped, diced, cubed, washed, spiralized or generally tied up with pretty bows etc.) Occasionally, if there is a sale, I will buy pre-riced cauliflower as a back-up veggie. The only thing I buy already prepped is the large containers of spring greens and baby spinach to use for salads. I eat salads with most of my meals (including breakfast!) I find that if I don’t have my greens ready to grab and go, I don’t eat enough veggies.

Make your own nut butter

Nut butters are amazing but can be IMHO so expensive when on a budget. I get a large bag of compliant almonds, use the food processor, some coconut oil and some salt. A few minutes later, I have several jars of compliant delicious fresh almond butter! It’s that easy!

Make your own bone broth or stock

Making your own nutritious and delicious bone broth is inexpensive and easy! I tend to use a fair amount of bone broth in cooking and also for drinking, especially in the winter months. Put water, chicken bones, veggie scraps, bay leaf and an onion chopped in half, salt and pepper in a crockpot and voilà – you will have bone broth after 24 hours!! If you don’t have chicken bones, you can often get them at a butcher for very little cost or even free. The recipe I use for bone broth is here.

Make your own sauces like dressing, mayo and marinades

Prepping your own stuff doesn’t stop with veggie! Homemade dressings, sauces and other basics are huge money savers. Every single week I prep homemade mayo and a salad dressing (usually dump ranch or a Waldorf type salad dressing). I love having them on hand to add as a fat or to make a sauce.

Buying pre-made marinades, salad dressings and mayo that are Whole30 compliant can quickly increase the grocery bill. Mayo literally takes about 1-2 minutes to make and marinades can also be quick and packed with flavor to mix-up the food boredom blahs mid-round. My personal favorites for dressings are Whole Sisters dump ranch and Waldorf dressing (although I use it on all salads). For marinades, I enjoy balsamic glazed chicken found here and for mayo use my own recipe found here.

Choose where you shop

I have a Costco membership and find that I often buy items in bulk because it saves tons of money. I buy most of my chicken and organic ground beef there along with coconut oil, Extra light EVOO and almonds. Check out this Costco blog post for tips and tricks.

Thrive is also a fantastic cost saving membership. You can get so many Whole30 and Paleo staples there along with other fantastic deals. You are able to get 25% off your first order when you sign up for a free trial membership with our Everyday Whole affiliate link.

Use what you buy

I used to totally overbuy when on a round of Whole30. I would have so many great recipes, get all the stuff and run out of time to make everything. I have found that when this is the case, I’ll plan a different recipe that isn’t as time consuming. I save veggie scraps for stock, chop up veggies that are on their last leg for frittatas, or get creative and put my ingredients into Google to see if there is another recipe I can make without wasting ingredients.

How do you save money while on a round of Whole30? Share your best tips in the comments!

Everyday Whole February Whole30 Discounts

Looking to save a little money this month? Or just need to stock up on some of your favorite products? We’ve got you covered! Here’s a round-up of some our group’s current deals and discounts. Some of these links are affiliate links – Thank you for your support!

1. Ayoba-Yo – Use code WHOLE30FB10 for 10% off South African dried meat and a new delicious spice blend.

2. Bare Bones Broth – Use the code “JUJUSWHOLE30” to save 15% on your order of bone broth and collagen peptides.

3. Chomps – Get 15% off your order + free shipping when you shop. Use code WHOLE30. Good through August 2019.

4. Cooked – Get 10% off your first order of ready-made Whole30 Approved meals when you use the code WHOLE30FB.

5. Cucina Antica – Get 25% off your purchase of Whole30 Approved tomato sauce with code EverydayWhole. Good through February 20.

6. Gather Superfoods – Use the code “WHOLE30” for 30% off your ghee order.

7. Georgia Grinders — Use code “WHOLE30” for 20% off your nut butter order. Good for the month of February.

8. Naked Bacon – Use code EVERYDAYWHOLE for 10% off your order of heritage breed raised Whole30 Approved bacon and sausage links, made in small batches.

9. nutpods— Use code “JUJUSWHOLE30” to save 15% off your first order. One coupon use per customer.

10. Paleo Powder – Use code “everydaywhole” for 15% off your order of Whole30 Approved seasoning blends.

11. Tiny Little Chef – Use code WHOLE30 for 20% off your order of handmade seasoning blends.

12. The New Primal – Use code “whole30facebook” for 25% off your order of sauces, marinades, and beef thins!

13. Thrive Market – Use the link for 25% off your first order when you activate your trial membership. You will also be directed to a list of our favorite Whole30 compliant products!

14. True Fare – Use code MYWHOLE30FB for 10% off your order of chef-prepared frozen Whole30 meals.

15. Wild Zora Foods – Use code WHOLE30FB for 20% off your order of meat and veggie bars.

17. WholeMade Kitchen – Boston’s North Shore only! Get 10% off your order of homemade Whole30 Approved meals with code EDW10 at checkout. Good through March 31. Order online!

ENJOY!

Five Ways Being Selfish Makes Me a Better Person

Being described as “selfish” is usually considered a negative character flaw… and sometimes it is. There are certain times and relationships where it is appropriate and even necessary to put others’ needs before our own. In close, loving relationships such as with a spouse or our children it is better to be selfless most of the time. However, even then, we must draw the line and do what’s best for ourselves.

It seems especially hard for women to put ourselves first. We’ll wear ourselves out trying to be everything to everyone. We feel guilty about saying, “no” even when we should.

I’ve decided that starting now, I’m going to be unapologetically SELFISH. Here are five ways that being selfish is good for us and the people that matter in our lives.

1. I am more productive when I have fewer things on my “to do list.”
I’m all about creating a list of tasks that need to be done. But when that list is a mile long, I feel overwhelmed and anxious. So, I’ll prioritize what’s important, delegate the rest, and say, “no” to everything else.

2. When it comes to social activities, I’ll only commit to things I really want to do whenever possible.
There’s no worse feeling than agreeing to attend an event and regretting it on the day of when you don’t want to go. Save yourself and the host the trouble and politely decline the invitation from the beginning.

3. I will put my marriage/family first.
Yes, that is being selfish because my family is important to me. I don’t have children, but that doesn’t mean I have lots of free time. I love my husband and spending time with him. So, when it’s family time, everything else can wait.

4. Work-life balance is necessary.
I will work a regularly scheduled work day that includes breaks, time off, and vacation. I am not available 24/7/365 even if you see me on social media.

5. Taking care of myself is my number one priority. Body, mind, and soul.
It’s impossible to put my best foot forward in any area of my life if I’m not taking care of myself. What that means to me is getting proper rest, being physically active, eating nutrition meals, taking supplements, and getting regular check-ups. I’ll also keep my mind sharp and feed my soul by doing things that I enjoy and things that help me grow.

When we’re our best selves, everyone benefits. It’s OK to say, “no” without explaining yourself. Be selfish and feel good about it.

Here are a few of my favorite things to do for myself:

  • Sleeping in or taking a nap

  • Listening to music

  • At-home spa treatments

  • Reading

  • Quality time with my husband

  • Going to the park

  • Writing hand-written letters and postcards

  • Browsing in stores

  • Treating myself at a coffee shop

  • Quiet time alone

What things do you enjoy doing for yourself?

Jennifer Amoako is a proud military wife and a Whole30 Certified Coach specializing in holistic wellness. Her mission is to change the perception of what “healthy” looks like. Jennifer currently lives in the Washington, D.C. area with her husband.

You can follow her on Instagram @ajenniferyourthoughts and online at www.ajenniferyourthoughts.com.