Healthy Eating at Home

This post is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona.

One of the big benefits of living in a warm place like Arizona is that the weather is beautiful! Even though the temperatures are slowly dropping, our winter weather is lovely and allows us to spend most of the fall and winter outside, usually without a coat.

Eating Healthy at Home starts with great ingredients.

Another benefit of this glorious weather is the longer growing season. Local farmers and gardeners don’t follow the same planting season as other areas of the country. Here, many crops are still going strong.

On a recent visit to a local farmers market I got to see this first hand. If you are struggling to eat healthy, a farmers market is just the inspiration you need.

Uptown Farmers Market Phoenix AZ

Family Trip to the Farmers Market

Farmers markets are a great place to bring your family. I think kids will have a new appreciation for fresh produce when they see it at a farmers market. Some vendors even have fruit for sampling. Who can resist that? They can also answer your questions about how the food was grown and new ways to prepare it.

The Uptown Market in Phoenix is a family-friendly place with an abundance of fresh veggies and fruit. You could easily do your weekly meal planning based on local finds.

Farmers Market Veggies

I filled my bag with potatoes, onions, celery, carrots, beans and much more. I bought the best sweet potatoes I’ve ever had! If I had planned better, I would have brought a hand cart so I could buy more!

We had family visiting us from out of state and I wanted to show them how great healthy food could taste. They were impressed with the vivid colors and flavors!

Fresh Heirloom tomatoes from the farmers market

Eating at Home

Instead of eating out several nights a week, start a new tradition of fixing healthy meals together using fresh ingredients. If you have a local farmers market, make that part of the tradition too!

In most cases, food you make at home will be healthier than food you purchase at a restaurant. Spend a little time shopping for fresh ingredients that you will enjoy all week. My farmers market veggies seemed to last longer than veggies I buy at the store. I’m sure there was less transport and storage time.

Fresh veggies from the farmers market

Even though it seems easier to go out to eat some nights, I feel like it actually takes longer. Between driving to a restaurant, waiting for our dinner and then eating, I could have cooked a meal, enjoyed it and cleaned up in the same amount of time.

Cultivating a Love of Healthy Eating

On days I let my kids help; it does take longer to prepare dinner. I’m not really a patient mom when it comes to cooking with my kids, but I know it’s important. The time I spend teaching my kids to prep, cook and enjoy healthy foods is an investment in their future. Cultivating this love is easier to do when your kids are small.

My eight year old takes pride in helping make dinner. A couple of times a month we have a baked potato night. He will wash the potatoes and put them in our electric pressure cooker. He is so proud that he can cook dinner for the family.

Fresh veggies from the farmers market

The next time I visit a farmers market, I plan to give each of my kids their own bag and a few dollars to make their own purchases. Everything I bought was surprisingly affordable, sometimes much cheaper than my grocery store.

When kids have a say in what they buy, they will be more likely to actually eat it. Go ahead and encourage your kids to choose their favorite veggies, have them pick one more new thing to try. Maybe they’ll discover they love zucchini or heirloom tomatoes.

Learn to eat healthier my choosing fresh veggies.

Sugar Swap

Make sure to take in all the farmers market has to offer. The Uptown Market recently had a really fun event sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona’s Nourishing Arizona initiative. People could bring in candy (it was right after Halloween) or other sugary treats and exchange them for five Homegrown Healthy Bucks at a Sugar Swap! The candy wrappers were used to create art and the Homegrown Healthy Bucks could be used to purchase fresh produce.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona at the Uptown Market in Phoenix.

Does your family visit farmers markets? How do you encourage eating healthy at home?

Summer Plant-Based Meal Plan and Shopping List

I just got back from two weeks of travel! We are home and ready to eat home cooking. However the last thing I want to do is cook every day. Instead, I’ll choose a few recipes from my Summer Plant-Based Meal Plan.

Summer meal plan that is plant-based with gluten-free options. Includes shopping list and recipes in a download.

This plant-based meal plan has some of my favorite recipes.

Summer Meal Plan

I created this meal plan last year as a gift to people on my email list. I don’t want anyone to miss out on it though so I’m giving everyone a chance to sign up and get it today!

This Summer Meal Plan is so big, and so full of great info! It’s an 8 page PDF that includes the 5 day dinner meal plan, a shopping list and recipes. When printing you can skip the first page to save ink. 

You can get this for FREE when you sign up for my newsletter.

I send out a weekly email full of plant-based tips every Saturday morning.

Sign up today!

Are you curious about what is in the meal plan?

This meal plan uses basic ingredients you normally see in my recipes plus a few fun summer additions like pineapple and mango!

You’ll find:

  • Salads
  • Pasta
  • Burritos
  • Stir Fry
  • Veggie Burgers

When you sign up you’ll be sent a confirmation email. Once you confirm your email address I’ll send you a link to download the meal plan.

Don’t miss out on this FREE Summer Meal Plan! This meal plan also works great for people with food allergies. There is a gluten-free option listed for any gluten used and there are no nuts used either.

 If you are looking for some new and delicious plant-based recipes, give this meal plan a try. The shopping list and recipes will make your week so much easier!

Ultimate Oatmeal Guide

Breakfast maybe the most important meal of the day but it’s also the most chaotic. Please tell me I’m not the only one who struggles to eat healthy in the midst of a busy morning.

We have some quick and easy breakfast items like frozen waffles and cereal but we don’t feel as satisfied after eating them. Maybe because they are processed foods and not whole foods. I want a hot, filling breakfast.

My go to breakfast is Oatmeal.

Everything you need to know about oatmeal

You may be thinking, “oatmeal takes too long” or “it’s too complicated.” I want to share my tricks for easy, delicious oatmeal that everyone in your house will love. [Read more…]

Broccoli and Mushroom Stir Fry

stir fry broccoli and mushroom After a long day I really don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. That is one of the reasons I’m such a fan of Batch Cooking. Sometimes I need a quick and easy meal. Stir fry’s are such an easy option. Since I don’t cook with oil some may argue that this isn’t a true stir fry. The extra fat found in oil isn’t really needed if you use a little water in its place. (You can view this post to see how I use water for fried rice.)

We almost always have cooked  brown rice in the fridge. We use it in so many recipes it is a staple in our diet. When I don’t have rice cooked, I can make it quickly in my Instant Pot. This stir fry can be made with whatever veggies you have on hand but half my household loves mushrooms so this dish was for them.

stir fry broccoli and mushroom

Broccoli and Mushroom Stir Fry

Ingredients

  • 1 crown broccoli, chopped
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 8 oz mushrooms sliced
  • 1/2 an onion, diced
  • 4 cups cooked brown rice
  • Bragg Liquid Aminos (or soy sauce or Tamari)

As with many of my recipes, you can add more ingredients or remove items you don’t like without a huge problem with the recipe. For example, if you aren’t a big fan of mushrooms use less or use bell peppers in their place.

Do

  1. In a hot skillet or wok add diced onions and sliced carrots, cover with a lid. Check on them regularly and stir. When they begin to stick pour a few tablespoons of water in the skillet and stir again.
  2. Once the carrots are starting to soften, dump in the mushrooms. These will need to cook for several minutes. Once they have exuded their juices and look shiny, pour the broccoli in and cover once again.
  3. Check veggies every few minutes and stir. If they begin to stick to the pan add more water again.
  4. Once all of the veggies are cooked to a tender/crisp consistency dump in your cooked rice and stir. You can use less than 4 cups if desired.  You can also heat the rice separately if desired.
  5. Pour Bragg Liquid Aminos over the rice and veggies. I’d start with a little and add more to taste. We probably use a couple of tablespoons but it is a high sodium food so limit it if necessary.

This meal comes together in less than 20 minutes. If you have to cook the rice allow yourself sufficient time. This is a really easy meal to make and packs perfectly in a lunch box (I only recommend it for adult or older kids lunches).

If you like this, check out my other great Asian inspired meals, Veggie Pad Thai and my easy Oil-Free (un)Fried Rice.

Don’t forget to enter the EasyLunchBoxes Giveaway!

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Easy Summer Meals in 20 Minutes or Less

20 Easy Summer Plant-Based Meals that are ready in 20 minutes or less

I don’t know about you but I lose interest in cooking when the temperatures are over 90 degrees. I want to cool off, not stand over the stove! In fact, I rarely use my oven between May and October because it heats up my house so much. Occasionally, I use the oven in the morning if I really need to bake. Who want’s to bake when you can buy So Delicious Ice Cream?

Today I’m sharing some of my favorite summer meals that are ready in 20 minutes or less. Many don’t require any cooking at all.

20 Easy Summer Meals

1. Toast with SunButter and Fruit (yes this is an acceptable meal in the summer)

2. Veggie Sandwiches

3. Microwave Baked Potatoes (don’t hate on the microwave, use the Crock Pot if you like but it’s too hot for the oven here)

4. Pancakes, try GF Jules recipe for gluten-free or Happy Herbivore’s for wheat

5. Taco Salad using canned beans

6. Nachos using my Unfried Beans or Unfried Black Beans, these are life changing!

7. Tostadas

8. Pasta Salad, make sure to chop the veggies while the pasta is cooking

9. Veggie and Hummus, yes this can be a meal

10. (Vegan) Yogurt Parfait, yes this can be a meal too. It’s hot people!

11. Smoothies

12. Vegan Pad Thai

13. Quesadillas, using canned beans

14. ChickPea Salad, there is a sweet and savory versions, on sandwiches

15. Quinoa Veggie Bowl

16. Faux Tuna Salad Sandwiches

17. Sun Butter and Jelly Sandwich with fruit on the side

18. Quinoa Tacos or Lentil Tacos (both cook in about 20 minutes)

19.Veggie Wrap or Veggie Stuffed Pitas

20. Black Bean Mango Salad

BONUS IDEAS

Not if you have a Crock Pot or Instant Pot you can get a lot of cooking done without actually spending time in the kitchen. Try these recipes!

21. Mexican Casserole Crock Pot version or Instant Pot version

22. Cheesy Broccoli and Rice Casserole in the Crock Pot

23. Potato Kale Soup both versions listed

24. Oatmeal (we love it for dinner) using Jill’s 3 minute approach

25. Your favorite Soups or Chili

There you have it, 20 Easy Summer Meals that are ready in 20 minutes or less plus 5 bonus recipes for the Crock Pot or the Instant Pot!

Now I want to hear your favorite recipes for summer!

This page contains affiliate links.

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