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6 Health Habits to Take Home from Japan

japan

Recently I was  lucky enough to spend 10 days in Japan. It was cherry blossom season—and a trip that’s been on my bucket list for a while. I only learned two new Japanese words—”konichiwa” is “hello” and “arigato” is “thank you”—but I figured out at least a few explanations for why Japan continues to rate high in rankings of the world’s healthiest countries. Here are a few tricks that are helping our neighbors to the west—who boast the greatest proportion of citizens over 100—live long and healthy lives:

 

sashimi

Fish comes first: Eaten raw, cooked, or somewhere in between, not a day went by that I didn’t have fish during my trip. All of this seafood was good for my body and brain: the blend of lean protein and healthy fats makes fish a staple in many diet and healthy eating programs. I’ve always liked sushi, but this visit gave me a new appreciation for sashimi—basically raw fish any rice: You get all of the benefits of the fish without the calories or sugar of the rice!


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Sticky Red Wine Chicken and Veggies Stir Fry is Way Better than Carryout!

The conversation with my husband that I dread more than any other is, “what would you like to have for dinner this week?” And then he shrugs.

How can someone have so little opinion about what they eat? For an uber-picky eater like myself, I want absolute involvement.

red wine stir fry

So when, one day, he said, “Can you make this?” and shared a recipe for chicken and asparagus stir fry, he had my attention. I agreed to make it and put it on the weekly meal plan – I wanted to reward him, if you will, for being involved in the decision! But also, the simple ingredients showed promise of being a really easy dinner that tasted great.

Winner winner Asian-inspired chicken dinner… this has become a go-to staple in our house!
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Make Dinner and Your Resolution with 17 Day Diet’s General Slim’s Chicken Recipe

We’re kicking off the new year with the same focus as most of you – to improve ourselves in the coming months. Whether that’s weight loss, more energy, or just cooking more healthful food at home, we’re taking on our new year changes one step at a time. And in the case of this General Slim’s chicken stir-fry makeover by 17 Day Diet — one bite and one cycle at a time!

17 day diet general slims chicken

The 17 Day Diet just nabbed a spot in the top five of our annual Most Popular Diets of the Year list, outranking Weight Watchers, Biggest Loser and Diet to Go. Most impressive, it’s been in that top five since its debut three years ago when it was the number one diet of the year! Since that first self-published book from Dr. Mike Moreno, Simon and Schuster have bought the rights and worked with the man known casually as Dr. Mike to produce a series of books including a cookbook and an anti-aging plan. Before the clock struck midnight for 2014, the newest book in the series hit shelves – The 17 Day Diet Breakthrough Edition.

17 day diet breakthrough edition

The best selling weight loss plan offers three new chapters focusing on subjects like whey protein, supplements, and even a fasting day. But the part we love most are the 50 new recipes! Some of your soon-to-be faves include Cream Light Fettucine Alfredo, Elegant Poached Salmon with Dill Sauce, Harvest French Toast, and even Mom’s Apple Pie.

This new stir fry recipe was our favorite from the book, hands down. Not only is it easy – as in so entirely not complicated you have no excuses not to make this! – but it also tastes amazing.
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Thanksgivukkah Means Latkes for Everyone! Celebrate with Elana from a Meal and a Spiel

Meet someone who not only seems to speak my language about life in general, but speaks my food language fluently. Elana Horwich does her thing with food and words over at MealAndASpiel.com, which serves as a web presence for this worldly chef’s fun-having cooking school. Rustic Italian techniques, prioritized flavor, and a loveable sass… see, Elana is like my culinary kindred spirit.

She kind of summed up the enthusiasm around this rare two holidays in one so well that we wanted her to tell you for herself. So enjoy Elana’s Thanksgivukkah message, which is as much a lesson in embracing our diverse, multi-cultured landscape as it is a free invitation to gobble down on her Thanksgivukkah Latkes with Butternut Chutney.

Why did you start your food blog?

Before I am a cook, I am a teacher. It is intrinsic to who I am. Since I truly believe that cooking with love adds genuine goodness to the human condition and since I can personally only teach so many people at a time in a cooking class, I started my food blog to share my passion and knowledge with those I will never have an opportunity to meet. It is my gift to the world.

How would you describe your approach to eating/health?

My definition of good food is that it should make you roll around on the floor shouting “MAMMMMMMAAAAA!!!!” While you are there rolling around on the floor your belly shouldn’t hurt and it should be easy to stand up afterwards. That about sums it up.
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35 Quick and Healthy School Night Dinners Your Kids Will Actually Eat

What’s for dinner is the most impossible question to answer on our best nights, but during the chaos and rush of back to school it feels nearly hopeless. Adjusting to new schedules and adding extracurriculars to an already crammed-tight calendar and you’ve got a recipe for another drive-through dinner.

This year, don’t sweat it. Put prioritizing dinner on your back to school list. Any of these dinners can be thrown together and in the mouths of your hungry family in 30 minutes or less. They’re also healthier meals you can feel good about serving. And in many cases you can eat them on the run.

We may not change how you see dinner as a necessary evil, but we can certainly take the devil out of the details!

Mexican and Southwest

quesadilla black beans

Black Bean and Mushroom Quesadillas

For meatless Monday or exclusive vegetarians, hearty black beans and mushrooms melted together with cheese is simple and satisfying.

BBQ Chicken Tacos with Avocado Coleslaw

Fire up the grill and you’re only 30 minutes away from the best tacos ever! Buy pre-shredded coleslaw to really save prep time.

Mexican Stuffed Peppers - Barr and Table

These peppers use protein-rich quinoa instead of rice and can be prepped and served in just 30 minutes with on-hand ingredients.

Chorizo Nachos

Biggest Loser has a homemade chorizo recipe that tastes and looks like the real deal but is much better for you (just make it in advance).

Apple Sausage Quesadillas

The kids can practically make these themselves and will love every last comforting bite.

Classic Comforts

meatloaf mug

Meatloaf in a Mug - My Recipes

Individual meatloaves are made in minutes in the microwave. Not only are they adorable, but they practically make themselves.

Oven-Fried Chicken Tenders

This drive-thru favorite is better than ever when you use panko to get that crispy crunch the kids crave.

BBQ Pork Sliders

It takes only 30 minutes to roast a tenderloin, which you can then shred, toss in your favorite BBQ sauce, and serve!

Turkey Meatball Subs

The sandwich shop has nothing on our effortless meatball subs, made lighter with ground turkey. Serve in hot dog buns for tiny hands.

Pumpkin Chili

Chili in 30 minutes is possible. The pumpkin adds delicious nutrition without influencing the flavor much at all.

Sandwiches

finished pita

Mediterranean Chicken, Pear, and Arugula Stuffed Pitas - Fit Bottomed Eats

Our original recipe for FBE starts with a store-bought rotisserie chicken for the ultimate in hand-held, get-out-the-door meals.

Best Club Sandwich Ever

We use Applegate Farms ham, turkey, and bacon to craft a cleaner sandwich that’s finished with avocados and veggies.

Oprah’s Love Sandwich

This grilled panini sandwich presses turkey and cheese together for a super-quick, hot and ready dinner.

Almond Butter Banana Crazy

It doesn’t get any easier – we fold almond butter with banana slices and sprinkle a few dried cranberries.

Super Sloppy Joes - Meal Makeover Moms

This family favorite is made lighter with ground turkey and always gets two messy thumbs up from the kids.

 

Meals On a Stick

chicken stick

Maple Ginger Chicken on a Stick - Green Lite Bites

Make the marinade in the morning and dinner is literally minutes away when you get home. Roni says kids will eat anything on a stick!

Bayou Kabobs

Shrimp, sausages, and peppers take less than 15 minutes on the grill.

Fancy Fish Sticks

A Jillian Michaels creation that is super family friendly and way better than any frozen fish stick in a box.

Jalapeno Cheddar Burger Bite Kabobs

Hand-held burgers without the bun are stuffed with gooey cheddar cheese and a bit of jalapeno pepper for big flavor.

Stuffed Almond Butter and Jam French Toast Kabobs - Nibbles by Nic

It’s breakfast for dinner in a whole new way! You could even add bites of ham to the kabobs if you’re looking for more protein.

 

Pasta and Noodles

butternut squash macaroni

Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese

An Abra Pappa original that uses less, but higher quality cheese and a butternut squash puree for a kid-approved mac!

Creamy Avocado Pasta - In Good Taste

One of our very favorite 15-minute dinners. Prepare it meatless or top with shrimp.

Tomato Basil Alphabet Soup

A super simple homemade soup that easily fills thermoses for feel-good brown bag lunches all week long!

Spaghetti Squash with Fresh Tomato and Basil Sauce

It’s a no-noodle pasta dish and they’ll never know the difference! More nutritious and just as fast as a heap of spaghetti.

Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli - Picky Eater Blog

Turn a package of store-bought ravioli in to a quick and easy feel good dinner the kids will rave about!

Breakfast for Dinner

waffle panini

Prosciutto and Apple Waffle Paninis – HelloGiggles

If you’ve made the waffles in advance, or have frozen available, the prep time on these is dramatically reduced!

Pigs in Comforters

Biggest Loser’s Chef Devin Alexanders rolls all-beef hot dogs in buttermilk biscuits.

Cornbread Waffles - Edible Perspective

Prepare these heartier waffles with our oven-baked chicken tenders for a better take on chicken and waffles!

Egg and Kielbasa Sausage Pizza – Kid Friendly Home

The eggs form a breadless crust that holds kielbasa sausage, fresh herbs, and both cheddar and parmesan cheeses.

Carrot Cake Pancakes – Grimmway Farms

We crafted these using Grimmway’s famous baby carrots. Topped with cream cheese and walnuts, they’re quite satisfying.

 

Mediterr-Asian

Hoppin Johns Hummus

Black Eyed Pea Hummus

Our “new year” hummus will bring good luck to your pupils. Serve with warm pita and fresh veggies for an easy, filling dinner.

Crispy Pork Wontons

Another winner of a dinner from Chef Devin, these wontons bake up in minutes and are easily eaten on the go.

Mediterranean Fish Tacos - Food Network

A Rachael Ray original that takes only 30 minutes to prep and serve and offers a lighter, cooler meal for those hot and busy nights.

Chinese Potstickers with Turkey - Super Healthy Kids

If you’ve got about 20 minutes, a food processor, and a pot of boiling water, you’ve got time to make a super lean take-out-inspired meal!

Caprese Grilled Cheese

The grilled cheese is all grown up! We make it better with real mozzarella, fresh basil, and juicy tomatoes.

meal planner

Keep it all organized! Download our FREE meal planner worksheets HERE!