When we made the decision to start this blog, our main goal was to share information. Many of us may remember the commercials and campaign, “The More You Know” and we truly feel the more you know, the more likely you are to make better and more informed decisions about your health. We strive not to come across as “judgy”.
So, here are some answers to questions we know some people may have.
Is anything off-limits?
what we aren’t buying
-juice (exceptions for birthday parties, special occasions, illness, etc.)
-cream of crap soups
-pre-packaged helper-style dinners
Here’s what we are mostly buying
-seasonal fruits and veggies (sticking to Clean 15, Dirty Dozen recommendations)
-organic, grass-fed and/or pastured meats
-organic dairy, eggs, and grains.
We also buy convenience foods—show us a parent who doesn’t occasionally, and we’ll show you a liar– (i.e. snack crackers, cereals, frozen pizza, chicken tenders) with simple, short ingredient labels.
So, What’s the Plan?
In our meal plans, you’ll find 14 dinners. Most people won’t end up using all 14 meal plans, and we tend to throw in a “lazy night” dinner. Friday night for most of our families tends to be a pizza night (homemade, frozen or takeout), or a simple stir fry or other quick and easy dish. In the warmer months, we’ll grill out one or two evenings on the weekend. Once or twice a month, we’ll head out to a local restaurant or eat with friends and family. Some nights, we try to use up leftovers or an excess of a certain ingredient. Other nights, we make a pb& j or a bowl of cereal. That said if you are in a similar situation where you don’t need 14 meals in a planning period, simply drop a couple of your least favorite meals or use them for lunches. Conversely, you could stretch out the meal plans for three weeks, adding a meal to cover 15 weeknight meals.
When I (Darrah) meal plan, I typically only use meat 4-5 days out of the week. We choose good quality, grass-fed or pastured meat, and we do have many local choices (shout out to the Wild Ramp! ) Ali typically eats meat for dinner every night. Jodi will do meatless occasionally, and Lindsey does more meat because her daughter has an egg and gluten allergy.
Tell Me More About Your Portion \sizes
So we understand our kids are on the younger side, and they may not be eating as big of portions as, say, an army of teen boys. But nearly all of the moms at least have been pregnant and/ or breastfeeding for seven years now… so that kind of makes up for the extra servings, huh?! Maybe. Most of the recipes we use here will make 4-6 servings. That usually includes three to four ounces per serving of meat. That’s the USDA recommendation, and just 3 ounces of chicken will give you 26 grams of protein! To put it in perspective, the recommendation for daily protein intake for women is 56 grams for a 150-pound woman and 65 grams for a 180-pound man. If you’re eating a well-balanced diet that includes not only meat but also dairy, nut or seed butters, beans or other legumes, eggs, etc., you should have no problem getting enough protein. That said, we are not doctors or nutritionists, so always consult yours for professional guidance.
But I have x,y or z allergies or aversions to that ingredient! What can I substitute?
Most of us are not “follow to a T” type cooks. We aren’t making beef Wellington or another fancy-shmancy dish that probably tastes best when you follow each step meticulously. The recipes we share here are ones we’ve found to be easy-moderate in difficulty and don’t call for any crazy expensive or hard-to-find ingredients. If you’re dealing with allergies, you likely are well-versed in common substitutions (i.e. almond milk or soy, oat, hemp, flax, etc for dairy-free, other nut or seed butter for peanut butter, gluten-free flour, coconut aminos for soy sauce, etc. etc. If you are constantly looking through our meal plans and just can’t find a good balance for your allergy or aversion, let us know! We’re near pro-Googler/Pinterest status. We will work with you to find what makes you healthy and happy!
What do you do for lunch?
We rely on leftovers a lot for lunch. I make seasonal lunch dishes (soups in cooler months, pasta salads, salads, etc for warmer months) and a lot of quinoa-based prep dishes for lunches. Everyone loves a simple pb& j or turkey sandwich. We also love chicken or egg salad in the summer as well, and sometimes this makes a great easy dinner.
Jodi and her family are huge fans of soups for lunch (sometimes even in the summer!) so she’ll make a big batch on Sunday for the week. They don’t eat a ton of bread but do like to make wraps for lunches and mix it up with a salad or two.
Lindsey’s household is egg and gluten-free, so they do a lot of gluten-free crackers and cheese, whole foods like fruits and/or veggie for snacks. Processed food, in general, is typically more difficult for their family due to these allergies.
Ali does a lot of leftovers as well. They also like snackables (cut up fruit, veggies, cheese, crackers, etc.)
How about breakfast?
Weekdays we rotate between:
-Dave’s Killer Bread organic cinnamon bread, bagels, or English muffins (when they’re on sale)
-egg muffins or egg casserole bake
-oatmeal bake, etc
Weekends dad takes over in the kitchen and makes us treats like pancakes, waffles, breakfast burritos, omelets, etc.
She says they keep it pretty simple and stick to oats (gluten-free) nearly every day.
Early work schedules and long commutes make breakfast a struggle for Jodi’s family, but they typically either do intermittent fasting or a simple smoothie. Her kids like yogurt (coconut-milk yogurt for her dairy-sensitive youngest) as well. Weekends, Josh also takes over and makes more extravagant breakfasts for the family.
Ali’s family likes all the typical breakfast foods as well, and have all the main staples on rotation. Ali loves making seasonal muffins for her family when time permits and she also likes prepping grab-and-go oat cups with different mix-ins.
Doesn’t life with toddlers seem like one giant snack session? Sometimes!
(Most of the time) I try to have a ton of fresh seasonal fruit and veggies available first for options. We keep grab-and-go containers filled with a variety of:
-nuts or seeds
-dried fruit (raisins, dried cranberries, figs, etc.)
-organic applesauce pouches
-granola bars (check for simple ingredients list)
Click here to find out how I stock my diaper bag.
Lindsey’s family likes gluten-free crackers and sticking to whole-food choices. As long as they check ingredients carefully, they also like to snack on things like Larabars.
Got a question we didn’t answer? Shoot us a message via email or Facebook and we’ll try to answer the best we can.