In life, it’s the little things that count. Not the great big momentous occasions, but the daily moments that all strung together, make up your own personal circle of life. We cannot measure the quality of our lives by the big events like birthday celebrations, weddings, baptisms and graduations. It’s the day-to-day stuff that makes up your life.
This is also true with eating. It’s not just the big meal occasions—dinner out, Thanksgiving, birthday cake and such. Becoming a healthy eater has everything to do with daily decision making over what will go in your mouth, rather than worrying about a special occasion (I say, splurge and enjoy it! The next day, do penance and throw in a little extra exercise and pare a few calories off your daily intake for the next few days.)
But it’s those daily decisions that count; to choose not to drive thru and wait an extra 15 minutes to get home to real food. It’s choosing fruit over donuts; water over soda and not to have that bowl of ice cream watching TV. Those are the little decisions that matter much more so than eating an extra piece of pie at Thanksgiving. Yeah, overindulging is hard on your body and we talk about being “Thanksgiving full” as the ultimate test of fullness, but the daily awareness of what you put in your body is what the definitive cause and effect of how your body looks, feels and operates.
Sometimes it’s easy (like the above example of fruit over donuts). Other times, it’s harder to know what to do. Here are some easy swaps to help you to save calories, your health and your sanity, too, so you know that what you’re doing will make a difference!
Instead of a blueberry muffin (which, let’s be honest, is really a cupcake with blueberries in it!) have a cup of Greek yogurt with 1/2 a cup of blueberries stirred in. Save yourself 249 calories (and some considerable carbs!).
Instead of a 2 slices of whole wheat bread, have 1 Orowheat Sandwich Round (whole wheat also), saving yourself 140 calories!
Instead of 1 cup of white rice, have 1/2 cup of brown rice mixed with chopped steamed broccoli. You’ve just saved yourself nearly 100 calories (and ratcheted up the fiber count, too!).
Instead of a pork chop, go for an equal serving of pork tenderloin and save yourself 50 calories (plus a lot of fat grams!).
It’s not that difficult to make a big difference a little bit at a time. Awareness counts as much as calories do. Keep that in mind as you hit the grocery store this week!
Our Dinner Answers menu planner allows you to completely personalize your grocery list and do your grocery shopping from your PHONE! Check it out!
Over the years, I’ve received a lot of emails from various people in all walks of life who plain and simple just do not like cooking.
Cooking for them is on the same par as toilet cleaning–they’ve said as much.
So they opt to go out to dinner or do take out–healthy and otherwise.
So why write me to tell me this if what they are doing is working for them?
The deal isn’t that it isn’t working for them; it’s just not working WELL for them. They are concerned about the cost and the nutrition aspects of doing this on a regular basis.
The cost is astronomical, both financially and health wise. Most families do not have the financial means to eat out every night, period—whether it is healthy or not.
A recent study revealed that for every dollar spent on food eaten out, only 27 cents worth of food was actually served.
What does that tell you about the economics of eating out? Is going out to dinner every night a worthy investment of your family’s dollars?
Lest you think I’m dumping on restaurants, let me assure you I am not. I love going out to dinner! I’m always on the prowl for a new restaurant and new dining experience.
But the day to day of feeding a family is expensive. Very few can afford to feed everyone well (as in healthy, fresh food) if they go out all the time.
And while I do love to cook for the most part, there are days when it frankly is a chore–I’m only human. I have other things I’d rather be doing and a bunch of people (my family, friends, employees, etc.) who want or need my attention.
But I have great news for those who panic at the idea of cooking a big family meal. Most of it can be done on the grill (and these days, outdoor grills with their propane tanks make it seasonless!) then all you really have to add is a big salad and presto, you’ve got dinner! Here is a recent grilled meal I recently made and it took me all of fifteen minutes to prepare. 🙂
Marinated Grilled Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
Brown Rice (if you’re paleo or low carb, make cauli-rice)
Grilled Zucchini and Yellow Squash
Big Green Salad
Take a big gallon-sized zipper topped plastic bag and fill it with raw chicken (I like to add extra so I can get some leftovers for lunch the next day). Next, add half a bottle of coconut aminos (or soy sauce) and about 1/2 a cup olive oil or avocado oil. Squeeze a whole lemon in there, add 1 teaspoon each garlic powder, thyme and oregano. Now add 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Mush the bag around so chicken is coated. You’ll want that to marinate for a few hours or overnight even. Cook your brown rice now—it will take the longest to cook or make some cauli-rice (or both if you’ve got different eating styles at your house).
Prepare your zucchini by slicing into rounds; same with the yellow squash. Throw these cut squashes into a big bowl and toss with a little olive oil (you don’t want it dripping in oil), salt and pepper and some fresh garlic pressed right into the squash (I use 2 cloves, but I love garlic and it keeps the vampires away). You can either sauté this in a pan on the stovetop or sauté it on the grill if you have a pan with holes in it. It’s awesome cooked this way and grilling pans with holes in them can be found anywhere—even the drugstore.
Fire up the barbecue and after it is preheated (make sure it’s clean, too!), add the chicken and watch it as you cook it, adjusting the heat as need be. If you’re cooking your veggies on the grill too, you will want to start them at the same time. Otherwise, cook them on the stovetop after your chicken is cooked (keep the chicken warm by wrapping the platter in foil and keeping it in a cold oven just long enough till the squash is cooked).
Set your table, get your salad together (I use already prepared salad bags from the grocery store, add some pine nuts, chopped whatever veggies I have on hand and my own vinaigrette, tossed altogether, yum!).
That’s it! You can serve your chicken on individual plates or serve everything family style—big platters in the middle of the table.
Then pass the food around, join hands and say a prayer of thanksgiving for all this wonderful food (and your family sitting ‘round the table) and above all else, relish this time.
One day they will be grown and gone and you’ll remember these days with fondness.
Getting dinner on the table doesn’t have to be stressful, and Dinner Answers can be the key to your success. Learn more here.
There is a true intimidation factor in cooking for some people—I get the emails from them so I know this is true. For me, having grown up in a home with parents who cooked, rarely eating out, I learned how to navigate my way in a kitchen early on.
It was (being honest here) a bit of surprise when I first started my website back in 2001 to learn that not everyone knew how to chop an onion. The cooking terms that I learned before I got my first Girl Scout badge (The Cooking badge naturally—I’ve got it taped to my bookcase, LOL!), have fallen by the wayside. Terms like dice, mince and julienne have turned into much simpler terms like chop, chop fine and chop into matchstick-sized pieces. But who cares, right? The deal is to get the cooking DONE, not worry about semantics.
Check out this testimonial we received from Heather:
Okay, I finally decided to try your system.
Well, first I get the menu – looks good, but I’m worried, because spaghetti and sauce is about the most I do. Then I see the grocery list – there are things on there that I’ve never ever bought before!
I go to the grocery store with your list in hand. For a family of 6 my average grocery bill was always over $120/week. With Leanne’s list – I spent $67.52.
Now, I decide to prepare the meal. First thing that I discover, a fancy sounding name doesn’t mean hours of cooking. Second thing, it really only takes about 1/2 hour to cook the whole thing! Finally, I find out that my kids eat things that don’t include mounds of sugar.
Thank you for helping me save money and my family’s health!!
Me again—the trick is, as Heather wrote, was not to be intimidated! She took a tool (the menu) and dove in and did the work. She discovered that doing so saved her a ton of money, her sanity, and made her feel like a hero in her own home! Isn’t that what we all want?
Don’t be intimidated by cooking! I’ve said in a million times, this is not brain surgery and it is something everyone can do, I promise! If you need help, I’ve got it for you in every way imaginable from free daily newsletters, to recipes and tips, grocery lists, freezer cooking, you name it. Don’t lose hope and think you can’t do this thing called cooking. YES, you can!!
Ready to try Dinner Answers like Heather did? We’ve got it right here for you.
One of things I used to promote was eating 5-6 small meals a day–that’s right, you just kept that jaw chewing and your body in digestive mode pretty much all day.
Well guess what?
It doesn’t work!
As a matter of fact, it’s ruinous to your health and will keep your blood sugar levels perpetually up (that means your pancreas is exhausted from constantly pumping insulin–and that eventually leads to diabetes type 2, folks).
Snacking also increases the risk of bacterial overgrowth in the intestinal tract. This is because the digestive waves need time to reset and to move things along. If you’re a snacker, there’s constantly food in there and there’s no time for the reset to happen. Food stays in the system too long and you end up with SIBO (Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth).
NOT everyone ends up with SIBO of course, but it does put you more at risk.
Snacking all day (yes, even healthy snacks!) also puts you at higher risk for acid reflux, especially if you’re a nighttime snacker.
Or how about constipation? That’s a fun one! Snackers are more likely to be constipated because of the lack of peristalsis; larger meals will trigger the nervous system’s reflex, but constant snacking will not.
And finally, it messes up your hormones–leptin and ghrelin are the hunger hormones. Proper leptin levels help you stay in control while ghrelin is the gremlin making you want to strap on the feedbag!
You are constantly stimulating that gremlin and suppressing your leptin if you’re always eating throwing everything out of whack, turning yourself into a food beast!
Eat three good meals a day–better, eat TWO good meals a day.
And start your day with a collagen rich smoothie like one of my favorites:
Green Garden Chocolate Smoothie
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 celery stick, chopped
1/2 cucumber, sliced
1/2 apple, peeled
1/2 cup fresh kale, chopped
1 tablespoon flax seeds
2 scoops Perfect Paleo Protein 2.0
1 scoop FiberMender 3.0
In a blender, add unsweetened coconut milk, celery, cucumber, apple, kale, flax seeds, PPP and Fibermender 3.0; blend until smooth and enjoy! It’s ok to add a tad more milk or water, if a thinner smoothie is preferred.
Here’s the deal–we were sold a bill of goods a few years back when it came to eating 5-6 small meals a day.
Yes eating like this means you won’t ever feel hungry, but you need to know what hunger feels like so you know when it’s time to eat!
AND you need to give your poor body a break!
2 tasty, healthy meals a day, one amazing, nutrient dense, keep you full smoothie each day is the ticket to holding on to your health AND holding on to a healthy weight.
If you have weight to lose, this formula works well too!
Do your own research–you’ll be surprised at this all-you-can-eat small meal deal has become a relic of the past, it just plain doesn’t work and it keeps your body in a state of stress as well.
And speaking of research, check this out:
In one study, a high protein breakfast smoothie (at least 20 grams of protein) helps you eat less calories (but still get the nutrients you need when you make them our way!).
In another study, high protein breakfasts help cut cravings by 60% and late night snacking in half!
Three more studies–one shows that increasing your protein especially with a breakfast smoothie, helps you to eat up to 441 calories less per day without actively trying to limit your portions.
Love this study–smoothies containing at least 20 grams of protein, decreased hunger by 50-65%! WOO HOO!!
AND, by the end of a 12 week study, participants lost an average of 11 pounds!!
Now THAT is great news!
Making sure your protein rich smoothies are nutrient rich is the key!
PS–We’ll help you dial this smoothie thing in–we’ll send you a FREE smoothie recipe ebook with each order of our Perfect Paleo Protein! (YES, that includes the Kits!)
You can’t have the holidays without pumpkin EVERYTHING!! But for those of us trying to stay away from dairy, gluten, and refined sugar – the holidays can feel like the 7th circle of hell – running into temptation at every corner!
So after some recipe testing, we finally found a delicious holiday classic that’s actually PALEO APPROVED!!! May we present our Paleo Tahini Pumpkin Pie and Maple Cardamom Coconut Whipped Cream:
Paleo Tahini Pumpkin Pie