Category: family

How often do you eat together with your loved ones?

Meals are better togetherbut making them a priority is a challenge, especially on weeknights.

Having five or more family meals a week would be optimal, but if you are currently well below that don’t fret. Try to add just one more per week and work your way up slowly.

Remember, these do not need to be family dinners. If evenings are busy and rushed for you, plan to have breakfast together! You could do a simple oatmeal buffet with lots of fun toppings (i.e. anything you have in the cupboard).

family mealPhoto credit: woodleywonderworks

Eat Real Food!


Eat real food.

Sounds simple. Right? But, is it? Where’s the “real food”? Diet crazes, demands for convenience foods, and industrial/agricultural innovations have left grocery stores packed with anything but. Our great grandparents probably wouldn’t recognize most of what’s on the shelves these days as food! There seems to be a low fat, baked or “healthier” version of everything but, are they really healthier? Or, are they just a more processed, chemically laden version of the original?

Food labels and packages are no help, and can be very misleading. Most fruit snacks that tout they are 100% real fruit are really just repackaged sugar. An average 14 gram serving contains 11 grams of sugar and pretty much nothing else. Parents end up buying them for kid’s lunches thinking they are doing something good for their kids. Or what about a product like Sunny D that contains almost no real juice and the second ingredient is corn syrup! The commercial implies it will help our children grow up “happy, healthy and successful” when it’s really just sugar water full of emulsifiers, dies, gums and even oil….yuch!!! What kind of juice contains oil?

Alfresco Dining_HWO

So what’s my advice?

  • Eat real food. Or, as Michael Pollan would say “Eat food. Not too much, Mostly Plants.”
  • Become a “qualitarian”, make every bite a quality bite!
  • Get a variety of foods from all 4 food groups and don’t limit any particular group, they are all important for a balanced diet.
  • Share food with friends and family. Multiple studies have shown that this has huge social benefits and fosters healthy relationships with food, especially for children.
  • Check out those ingredient labels – they should be short and pronounceable. Or better yet try incorporating more foods without ingredient labels into your diet, as these are usually minimally processed, real foods!
  • Focus on eating food, not nutrients.
  • Buy food from farmers markets when possible, and support your local economy!


Try getting your kids in the kitchen too, this is a great environment for learning and bonding. I have amazing memories of being in the kitchen with my sister and grandma rolling out pastry for pies or making cookies for grandpa. This website has great kid-friendly recipes –>

When all else fails just stick to the basics, and enjoy good food and traditions with friends and family!

Do you have real food experiences or memories you would like to share? Leave a comment below!

Salsa Chicken


It’s March!!!!!


…. are you wondering why I am so excited??

It’s National Nutrition Month!

How should you celebrate this fabulous month? Making the delicious recipes off my blog is a good start, but why not make a nutrition month goal?

The theme of nutrition month 2013 is “Best Food Forward: Plan, Shop, Cook, Enjoy!”  Here are some tips for some things to try this month:

  • Get each family member to write down their favorite recipe and the shopping list for it; keep those lists on hand for quick ideas when you’re in a pinch at the grocery store
  • Have each family member responsible for planning meals for 1-2 days out of the week (kids are more invested in helping and eating if they help plan and this is a great teaching tool for them as well!)
  • Get a dry erase board and stick it to your fridge, use it to write out your weekly meal plan. That way whose ever home first knows what’s for dinner and can start the prep.
  • Write a shopping list … and stick to it! This will help you spend less money on impulse buys and things you don’t need at the store.
  • Start your prep when you unpack your groceries: hard boil some eggs, wash and chop veggies, put washed fruit in a bowl by the front door, portion and freeze large packs of meat etc.
  • Cook and enjoy food with friends and family. There are countless studies showing the benefits of enjoying good, wholesome foods with others.

If all else fails my most important nutrition month tip is to stick to real, simple foods!

In honor of promoting real and simple food I am blogging about my favorite weeknight chicken recipe. It is so fast (about 5 min to prep) and so delicious!


Salsa Chicken

Source: modified from allrecipies


  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 4 tsp taco seasoning
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 3/4 cup shredded aged cheddar cheese
  • Greek yogurt


  1. Preheat oven to 375 F
  2. Place chicken breast in a lightly greased 9×13 baking dish and sprinkle both sides of breasts with taco seasoning
  3. Top each breast with 1/4 cup salsa (sometimes I like more, especially if it’s homemade salsa!)
  4. Bake in preheated oven 25-35 min, or until internal temp reaches 165 F
  5. Sprinkle chicken evenly with cheese and bake for another couple min until the cheese melts
  6. Top with Greek yogurt and serve

The first time my mom made this recipe she accidentally bought vanilla Greek yogurt to top it with…. and liked it! ..Weird I know… I think moments like this run in the family. What recipe “mistake” have you made that ended up working out?


- Formerly known as Apron Strings and Healthy Things -

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