Healthy Holidays: Maintaining Balance at Mealtime

standard November 17, 2017 2 responses

The holiday season is notorious for gorging on rich foods, over eating and binging, and throwing self-control out the window. But does every year have to come with dread over ruining your diet and sidelining those hard-worked goals from the past 10-11 months? It is indeed possible to have balance during the holidays and still enjoy Grandma’s classic cookie recipe.

On any given day, at any given meal, the thought of balancing the types of foods you are eating, as well as the right amount of food, can be challenging. Add in the approaching Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, and it is easy to feel like you’ve lost a battle before you’ve even started. Regardless of the day or the occasion, there are some ways to make sure you listen to your body, honor your hunger cues, and still enjoy all those delicious special holiday dishes.

1. Take Inventory.

Before filling your plate, opt for a walk around the room and make a note of what you’d like to indulge in. This way, you don’t load up before you discover that Aunt Sally brought her famous potato casserole and Mom splurged on that cream pie. You can also decide at the beginning which foods you are going to choose. You do not have to eat everything just because it is there. Go for the ones you love, the ones you enjoy, the ones that look interesting. If it’s not your favorite, don’t add it to your plate just because. Really stop and think about which foods you really WANT to add to your meal.

2. Start Small.

When you first fill your plate, take just enough for a taste or small portion of each food. Then you can go back for seconds (either voluntarily or forced by Grandma) without any guilt of ruining your diet. Your total portion will end up being about what you would have taken in the first place. If you have tried a dish you don’t really like, you won’t feel bad leaving it on your plate because there won’t be enough there to make it a big deal. And if you weren’t sure which foods you wanted to start with, you now know which you’d like to enjoy to round out your meal. Just make sure to give yourself about 20 minutes after eating to let your food settle and begin to digest before indulging in a second plate. You may find you don’t really need it.

3. Enjoy It.

It is the holidays, and they only come around once a year, so go ahead and splurge on your favorite treat. Just make sure to do so in moderation. You do not have to try every dessert on the table. Nor do you have to have a heaping portion or finish your plate if you are given a pre-portioned serving. Enjoy the taste and flavor and set it down when you have had your fill.


Master Meal Planning with Get Meal Prepped!

standard November 13, 2017 Leave a response

Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored by Get Meal Prepped, nor have I been paid to write this post. This post does contain affiliate links. Purchases from these links may result in a small commission used to support Neat & Nutritious. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

I thought I had meal planning all figured out. I had a rhythm, a routine, a process for each week. And then I had a baby and all routines went out the window. Getting meals on the table for a family vs just an individual or couple is at least 10 times harder, even when you’re just adding one baby to the mix.

We eat 3-4 times a day. But meal planning shouldn’t take up all of our free time. In my quest for a simplified, less stressful life, there has got to be an easy and simple way to prepare healthy, nutritious meals for our families.

That’s where Get Meal Prepped comes in! I had the chance to interview Susan Watson and Andrea Hardy, registered dietitians from Nutrition Academy, on their latest online course, Get Meal Prepped.

What is the “Get Meal Prepped – Family Style” E-Course?
Get Meal Prepped – Family Style: Is a step-by-step course to teach you exactly what you need to know to need your family healthy meals, with time to spare. This online course teaches you not just the ‘what’, but the HOW of meal prep. Are you ready to meal prep and plan without fails, flops & frustrations? Then Get Meal Prepped is for you!

Created by registered dietitian and co-founder of Nutrition Academy, Susan Watson, Get Meal Prepped is ALL the skills and kitchen-hacks YOU need to know to get nutritious meals on the table for your family, fast.

Is this course for me?
Does this sound like you?
• You’re tired of the ‘food rut’ = spaghetti, hot dogs, pizza, REPEAT
• You hate spending an extra $100/wk eating out or ordering in
• You are running to the grocery store at 5 pm every day to figure out dinner
• You desperately want to enjoy a healthy home cooked meal around the dinner with your family, without the fuss

If you said yes to any of these, then you’ve probably already recognized you NEED a change. Maybe you’ve been waiting for the motivation or right time to get started – or the right plan to fall into your lap. Lucky for you, Get Meal Prepped will give you the skills to solve these meal time dilemmas!

What will Get Meal Prepped teach me?
This course will teach you:
• The ins and outs of meal planning from the start to the finish
• How to streamline your grocery shopping experiences
• How to plan and create balanced meals in record time
• How to create stress free meal times
• Time saving methods to meal prep including big batch cooking, using cooked components, and freezing strategies.
• Dietitian and kid-approved breakfast, lunch and dinners that are quick and easy!

Let’s create confidence and competence in the kitchen with Get Meal Prepped.

If I get one thing out of this course what will it be?
You CAN provide balanced healthy meals for you family with less stress. There isn’t just one way to meal plan, or one way to eat.

This course will teach you a variety of ways to meal plan that will suit your life, your eating habits, and your financial budget. No generic advice – just plenty of tried and true ways that work with even the most challenging families! Sports? We got you covered. A parent working away from home? We can help you with that too. We’ve taught hundreds of people to meal plan – let us help you.

This course incorporates nutrition education in the most practical way possible – through the meals you prepare. You will learn important nutrition concepts, like how to balance your meals so you can stay full and keep your energy levels up ALL day – as well as how to plan snacks that work for you and your family’s life, and are nutritious!

After completing this course, you will be able to:
• Plan balanced nutritious meals for you and your family
• Cook 1-2 times per week, but have meals ready to eat all week long
• Know how to incorporate healthy snacks into your diet to keep you energized for the day, and not overeat at meals
• Know the batch cooking secrets to success that will save you time in the kitchen when preparing meals
• Prevent recipe ruts and never get bored with your meals you prepare again
• Master your time in the kitchen and not be a slave to the stove
• Be super efficient at the grocery store … “get in and get out in record time”
• Make the most out of your time in the kitchen by putting your appliances to work for you

How do I sign up?
The Get Meal prepped Family Style is a membership based course run through the Nutrition Academy. Sign up here.

Additional FAQ

When does the course start and finish?
The course is a completely self-paced online course – you decide when you start and when you finish. After your initial purchase, you will have unlimited access to the course!

How long do participants have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, participants have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like – across any and all devices they own.

What if a participant is unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! Get Meal Prepped™ has a 14-day money back guarantee. If you get into the course and realize that our strategies are not helping you plan your meals, let us know in the first 2 weeks and we will give you a full refund. All that I ask is that you show me that you have completed all the modules and assignments, and demonstrate that you have tried the different methods recommended in the course. This money-back guarantee is in place because my course does get results, but you have to put in the work to succeed. I know if you take the time to implement these strategies you will be saving time & money, eating better, and less stressed out.

You guys, this program is amazing! I’ve had the chance to try it out myself, and it is full of useful tips and information to get you on a simplified meal planning routine, just in time for the holidays and end of the year madness. Get ahead of the holiday stress, and check out Get Meal Prepped today!

Fuss Free Fudgy Chocolate Brownies

standard November 10, 2017 2 responses

Disclaimer: I was gifted a copy of Sam Turnbull’s Fuss Free Vegan in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I love baking, especially around the holidays. However, I generally do not bake a lot, and I don’t post many baking recipes here. Cooking is so much more intuitive and flexible, and at this stage of my life with a business and a baby, easier.


You guys have to make these brownies. As soon as I got a copy of  Sam Turbull’s new cookbook, Fuss Free Vegan, in the mail, I knew I was in trouble. There were so many delicious recipes I wanted to try. The lettuce wraps are a light and hearty, protein packed lunch for busy mamas. The peanut noodles will please everyone. And the vegan cheeses are divine. And made from REAL food. Every recipe in this book is so simple, with few ingredients (that you actually know and understand and can find in your regular grocery store), and packed with flavor. There is a recipe for every staple, something sure to please everyone in your house, even the plant-based skeptics. Many of these recipes do call for all-purpose flour and white sugar, which is not something I recommend or use myself. However, I swapped my go-to gluten-free flour blend and coconut sugar 1:1 on every recipe I tried, including these brownies, and had great results. So whichever flour or sugar combination you choose to go with, you really cannot go wrong with these recipes. Also, from prep, to cooking, to cleanup, I spent less than 30 minutes with minimal dishes. Some recipes had a longer cook time, but I was able to sit back and relax (or more likely, move on to another urgent task) until it was time to eat.

Back to the brownies.

After making a handful of recipes, it came down to two. Blueberry bliss muffins. Or fudgy chocolate brownies. I’m a sucker for a good muffin, especially in the morning with a cup of coffee on cold mornings. But once I tried these brownies, I was sold. So was the husband.

I really didn’t think this recipe was going to work. Usually vegan recipes have some sort of vegan alternative for the eggs and butter used in traditional preparation of baked goods. Sam doesn’t do that. And somehow there is magic that brings these brownies to life. They fluff up in the oven, and settle down into a gooey, rich piece of heaven once they cool. The trick is to follow the instructions for letting them cool. Don’t skip this step because you want brownies now! Trust me. The waiting is worth it.

Fudgy Chocolate Brownies

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 12


  • 1 cup vegan chocolate chips
  • ½ cup vegan butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • ½ cup non-dairy milk (such as soy or almond)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)


  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease an 8x8-inch baking pan.
  2. In a small saucepan, melt together the chocolate chips and butter, making sure to remove the saucepan from the heat just as it’s finished melting to ensure you don’t burn the chocolate.
  3. Pour the melted chocolate into a mixing bowl. Add the sugar,non-dairy milk, and vanilla and mix well. Now add the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt and mix until combined. Finally, add the walnuts (if using).
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and bake for 30–35 minutes, until the brownies are pulling away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs on it. Let the brownies cool and set overnight. This is the key to perfect gooey brownies.
  5. To store, let the brownies cool completely, then cover with foil or plastic wrap and keep at room temperature for the best texture. For longer storage put in an airtight container and store in the fridge.

Excerpted from Fuss Free Vegan: 101 Everyday Comfort Food Favorites, Veganized. Copyright © 2017 Samantha Turnbull. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

Sam blogs over at It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken, and if you love this recipe, you want to make sure to check out her other delicious fuss free meals. You can also grab a copy of her cookbook (affiliate link) and make easy fuss free vegan meals every day of the week!