Here’s A Make-Ahead Meal Plan That Anyone Can Cook ~ Christine Byrne

Lauren Zaser / Alice Mongkongllite / BuzzFeed

Making dinner on weeknights can feel totally impossible—but it doesn’t have to be.

If you plan ahead and do a little cooking on Sunday, it’s completely possible to have dinner on the table every night in under 15 minutes. We created a complete grocery list and meal plan that has you cooking lots of vegetables, some rice, and a pork shoulder on a Sunday afternoon, then using the already-cooked ingredients to throw together simple, delicious, and varied meals throughout the week. 

Each recipe serves four people and takes less than 15 minutes to put together. To ensure that all of the ingredients stay fresh, cook the recipes in the order outlined below.

Below, you’ll find all five weeknight recipes, a grocery list, and step-by-step instructions for the Sunday prep session.

THE WEEKNIGHT DINNERS

MONDAY calls for a fun, colorful taco bowl.

MONDAY calls for a fun, colorful taco bowl.

Lauren Zaser / Alice Mongkongllite / BuzzFeed

All you have to do is heat up the rice, heat up the pork, and arrange everything as neatly (or messily) as you like. Recipe here.

Ease your TUESDAY blues with these with pork, vegetable, and avocado-stuffed pitas.

Ease your TUESDAY blues with these with pork, vegetable, and avocado-stuffed pitas.

Lauren Zaser / Alice Mongkongllite / BuzzFeed

Delicious and super fun. Recipe here.

On WEDNESDAY, dig into a heaping bowl of vegetable fried rice.

On WEDNESDAY, dig into a heaping bowl of vegetable fried rice.

Lauren Zaser / Alice Mongkongllite / BuzzFeed

“I like rice. Rice is great if you’re hungry and want 2000 of something.” 
– Mitch Hedberg

Recipe here.

Celebrate THURSDAY with this breakfast-y pork and veggie hash.

Celebrate THURSDAY with this breakfast-y pork and veggie hash.

Lauren Zaser / Alice Mongkongllite / BuzzFeed

Breakfast tastes so much better when you eat it for dinner. Recipe here.

And finally, take it home with a lil’ FRIDAY night egg and cheese action.

And finally, take it home with a lil' FRIDAY night egg and cheese action.

Lauren Zaser / Alice Mongkongllite / BuzzFeed

It’s only right to go wild on a Friday night, so knives and forks are optional. Recipe here.

Here are all the ingredients you’ll need to make these 5 dinners:

Here are all the ingredients you'll need to make these 5 dinners:

Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed

PRODUCE
Avocado, ripe, 2 medium
Beefsteak tomato, 2 medium
Broccoli, 4 small heads (about 3 pounds)
Carrots, 8 medium (about 2 pounds)
Cilantro, 1 bunch
Corn, 4 large ears OR 2 cups frozen kernels
Garlic, 1 head
Lime, 2
Red bell pepper, 4 large (about 2 pounds)
Romaine, 2 small hearts
Yellow onion, 3 large
Zucchini, 4 medium (about 2 pounds)

MEAT, EGGS AND DAIRY
Butter, 3 tablespoons
Cheddar cheese, 8 ounces
Eggs, 12 large
Pork shoulder, bone-in (about 5 pounds), 1 

PANTRY ITEMS
Balsamic vinegar, 1 small bottle
Pitas (white or wheat), 8 large
Hot sauce, 1 small bottle (optional)
Jasmine rice, 3 cups
Low-sodium chicken stock, 1 cup
Refried beans, 16-ounce can
Salsa, 1 small jar (optional)
Soy sauce, 1 small bottle
Unseasoned rice vinegar, 1 small bottle

Pssst… I’m assuming you have olive oil, kosher salt, and freshly ground pepper.

 

Go grocery shopping on Saturday or Sunday morning, then spend 2 to 3 hours cooking on Sunday afternoon.

THE MAKE-AHEADS

Start the slow cooker pork on Sunday morning, then shred it before you go to bed. (10 minutes to prep, 9 hours in the slow cooker.)

Start the slow cooker pork on Sunday morning, then shred it before you go to bed. (10 minutes to prep, 9 hours in the slow cooker.)

Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed

You could also start the pork on Sunday night and shred it Monday morning, if you don’t go grocery shopping until Sunday afternoon.

NOTE: If you don’t eat pork but still want to try this meal plan, you can substitute 3 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breast in the recipe below.

Follow the recipe preparation exactly, but cook on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours, instead of on low for 8 to 9 hours.

Make-Ahead Slow-Cooker Pork Shoulder
Makes 12 servings

INGREDIENTS
1 bone-in pork shoulder (about 5 pounds), skin removed
1 tablespoon kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup low-sodium chicken stock

PREPARATION
Season the pork shoulder on all sides with salt and pepper. Spread the sliced onion and garlic over the bottom of a slow cooker, then place the pork shoulder on top. Pour the balsamic vinegar and the chicken stock over the pork shoulder. 

Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 to 9 hours, until the pork is super tender and falling off the bone. Shred the meat with two forks, discard the bone, then cool completely before storing in airtight containers in the fridge.

PREP NOTE: You’ll be using the pork in three different meals this week, so divide it equally among three airtight containers in the fridge.

Make the roasted vegetables in one or two batches. (10 minutes to prep, 40 minutes in the oven.)

Make the roasted vegetables in one or two batches. (10 minutes to prep, 40 minutes in the oven.)

Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed

Make-Ahead Big-Batch Roasted Vegetables
Makes about 2 cups of bell peppers, 3 cups of zucchini, and 3 cups of carrots

Note: If you have three racks in your oven, you can do these vegetables all at once. If not, cook in batches. 

INGREDIENTS
4 medium zucchini (about 2 pounds), sliced diagonally into coins about ½-inch thick
4 large red bell peppers (about 2 pounds), halved, cored, thinly sliced
8 medium carrots (about 2 pounds), peeled, sliced diagonally into coins about ¼-inch thick
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

PREPARATION
Preheat the oven to 400°F and line three large, rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, toss the zucchini with a tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper, then spread the zucchini out on one of the baking sheets. Repeat with the bell peppers and carrots and the remaining olive oil, using a different parchment-lined baking sheet for each vegetable. 

Roast in the preheated oven until the zucchini is soft and the carrots and peppers are cooked through but still al dente, about 40 minutes. 

Let the vegetables cool completely before storing them in three separate airtight containers in the fridge.

While the vegetables roast in the oven, cook the jasmine rice. (40 minutes on the stovetop or in a rice cooker.)

While the vegetables roast in the oven, cook the jasmine rice. (40 minutes on the stovetop or in a rice cooker.)

Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed

Make-Ahead Jasmine Rice
Makes 6 cups

INGREDIENTS
3 cups uncooked jasmine rice
3 cups cold water

PREPARATION
Rinse the rice by pouring it into a medium pot or bowl, covering it with cold water, then draining it through a fine mesh strainer, shaking the rice to dry it as much as possible. 

In a rice cooker: Combine the rinsed rice and the water in the rice cooker and cook according to the machine directions. Let the rice cool completely before storing in an airtight container in the fridge.

On the stovetop: Combine the rinsed rice and water in a medium pot. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, then turn the heat all the way down to low, cover, and let the rice cook, covered, for 23 minutes. Let the cooked rice sit, covered, for 10 minutes, then remove the lid and fluff with a fork. Let the rice cool completely before storing in an airtight container in the fridge.

While the roasted vegetables and rice cool, steam the broccoli. (5 minutes to prep, 6 minutes in the microwave or on the stovetop.)

While the roasted vegetables and rice cool, steam the broccoli. (5 minutes to prep, 6 minutes in the microwave or on the stovetop.)

Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed

Make-Ahead Steamed Broccoli
Makes about 5 cups broccoli

INGREDIENTS
4 small heads broccoli (about 3 pounds), cored and cut into bite-sized florets
1 teaspoon kosher salt

PREPARATION
In the microwave: Place the broccoli in a large, microwave-safe ceramic bowl or dish with a lid. Add the salt and 3 tablespoons of water. Cover and microwave on high for 6 minutes. Remove the dish from the microwave and uncover it right away. Let the broccoli cool, then store it in an airtight container in the fridge.

On the stovetop: Add an inch of water to a saucepan with a steamer basket and bring it to a boil over high heat. (If you don’t have a steamer basket, just use a large saucepan with a lid and put the broccoli directly into the water.) Add the salt to the water, then put the broccoli in the steamer basket. Cover and reduce the heat to medium. Steam until the broccoli is bright green but still slightly al dente, 6-7 minutes. Let the broccoli cool, then store it in an airtight container in the fridge.

You can also prep the corn by cutting it off the cob. Put a small mixing bowl upside-down inside a large mixing bowl, then lay the flat end of the cob on the base of the small bowl, and cut all the way down.

You can also prep the corn by cutting it off the cob. Put a small mixing bowl upside-down inside a large mixing bowl, then lay the flat end of the cob on the base of the small bowl, and cut all the way down.

Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed

Doing it this way is much less messy than using just a cutting board and letting the kernels fly everywhere. Use glass or plastic mixing bowls, since a metal bowl will dull your knife.

When the cooking is done, divide the food up into airtight containers. Let everything cool before you put the lids on, then store in the fridge.

When the cooking is done, divide the food up into airtight containers. Let everything cool before you put the lids on, then store in the fridge.

Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed

To save time during the week, you can divide the food up ahead of time based on how you’re going to use it.

PORK: Three containers, each with ⅓ of the pork
BROCCOLI: Two containers, one with ⅓ of the broccoli, one with ⅔ of the broccoli 
CARROTS: Two containers, one with ⅓ of the carrots, one with ⅔ of the carrots
RICE: Two containers, one with ⅓ of the rice, one with ⅔ of the rice

We didn’t divide up the peppers, zucchini, or corn, because we were out of space and thought those were the easiest to divide later. But, you can divide them if you want.

CORN: Three containers, each with ⅓ of the corn
BELL PEPPERS: Three containers, each with ⅓ of the bell peppers
ZUCCHINI: Two containers, one with ⅓ of the zucchini, one with ⅔ of the zucchini

19 Make-Ahead Lunch Ideas For Anyone Who’s Always Cold ~ Maitland Quitmeyer

BuzzFeed Life

1. Homemade Instant Noodle Cups

 

Just add hot water, and you’ve got ramen that’s way tastier and better for you. Slurp away. Get the recipe here.

2. Curried Cauliflower Chickpea Wraps

Curried Cauliflower Chickpea Wraps

This wrap is delicious hot or cold, but when your cubicle is more like an ice cube-icle, pop this baby in the microwave. Get the recipe here.

3. Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Casseroles

Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Casseroles

~Layers of flavors~. Get the recipe here.

4. Egg Fried Rice in a Mug

Egg Fried Rice in a Mug

Assemble the ingredients at home, nuke at work. Get the recipe here.

5. Bacon Cheeseburger Wraps

Bacon Cheeseburger Wraps

Get the recipe here.

6. Peanut Lime Chicken Lunch Bowls

Peanut Lime Chicken Lunch Bowls

Peanut sauce. Get the recipe here.

7. Ground Turkey & Sweet Potato Stuffed Peppers

Ground Turkey & Sweet Potato Stuffed Peppers

Thirty minutes to whip up a batch, one minute to nuke in the communal microwave. Get the recipe here.

8. Freezer Breakfast Sandwiches

Freezer Breakfast Sandwiches

Basically the DIY version of all day McDonald’s breakfast (but better for you!). Get the recipe here.

9. Light Fajita Quesadillas

Light Fajita Quesadillas

Warm it up to get that perfect ~cheese stretch~. Get the recipe here.

10. Minestrone Soup

 

Make a big batch, freeze it in portions, take it to work. Get the recipe here.

11. Homemade Hot Pockets

Homemade Hot Pockets

Just stuff some leftovers in puff pastry and bake. Then microwave at work. Plus, you can nuke these straight from the freezer.  Get the recipe here.

12. Instant Oatmeal Jars

Instant Oatmeal Jars

Just add hot water to get a healthy and customizable meal in your cubicle. Get the recipe here.

13. Chicken Teriyaki Meatballs with Rice and Asparagus

Chicken Teriyaki Meatballs with Rice and Asparagus

Almost too pretty to eat. Almost. Get the recipe here.

14. Vegan Lentil, Sweet Potato & Kale Pockets

Vegan Lentil, Sweet Potato & Kale Pockets

No fork, no problem. Get the recipe here.

15. BBQ Sundae Supper

BBQ Sundae Supper

So you can pretend you’re in the sunshine instead of under fluorescent lights. Get the recipe here.

16. Country Breakfast Bowls

Country Breakfast Bowls

Eat breakfast for lunch; make all your coworkers jealous. Get the recipe here.

17. Homemade Alphabet Spaghetti with Meatballs

Homemade Alphabet Spaghetti with Meatballs

Bring a little childhood joy to the workplace. Get the recipe here.

18. Chili-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Chili-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

A baked sweet potato is basically a ~potato bowl~. Get the recipe here.

19. And chase these delicious lunches down with holiday spice hot cocoa.

 

Just keep the mix at your desk for those 4 p.m. sugar crashes. Get the recipe here.

 

 

http://www.buzzfeed.com/maitlandquitmeyer/easy-hot-lunch-ideas#.vbBNr9ZBk5

23 Healthier Versions Of Your Favorite Holiday Treats ~ Christine Byrne

1. Healthy Three-Ingredient Brownies

Healthy Three-Ingredient Brownies

Super easy, and totally gluten-free. Recipe here.

2. Dark Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Bars

Dark Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Bars

Lots of oats, a little whole wheat flour, and some coconut oil are the healthier swaps that make these (still decadent) cookie bars a little more wholesome. Recipe here.

3. Skinny Cranberry Bliss Bars

Skinny Cranberry Bliss Bars

Applesauce and Greek yogurt lighten up these super-festive treats. Recipe here.

4. Superfood Chocolate Bark

Superfood Chocolate Bark

Great as a DIY hostess gift, or just as a healthyish sweet treat to have around. Recipe here.

5. Healthier Buckeyes

Healthier Buckeyes

Applesauce and pureed cannellini beans lighten these up but, to be clear, there’s still plenty of chocolate and peanut butter going on. Recipe here.

6. Chocolate Pomegranate Clusters

Chocolate Pomegranate Clusters

A little naughty, a little nice. Recipe here.

7. Carrot-Apple Bread

 

Great for a holiday brunch, especially because you can make it the night before and not have to fuss in the morning. Recipe here.

8. Chocolate-Dipped Satsumas

Chocolate-Dipped Satsumas

That chocolate-orange combo doesn’t have to be over-the-top indulgent. Recipe here.

9. No-Bake Cranberry Jam Tarts

No-Bake Cranberry Jam Tarts

I mean, these could even pass for breakfast. Recipe here.

10. Cinnamon-Sugar Baked Apples

Cinnamon-Sugar Baked Apples

Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed

You won’t even miss the crust. Recipe here.

11. Gluten-Free, Vegan Rum Balls

Gluten-Free, Vegan Rum Balls

These couldn’t be easier. Recipe here.

12. Whole Wheat Spiced Apple Cake

Whole Wheat Spiced Apple Cake

Recipe here.

13. Skinny Confetti Cookies

Skinny Confetti Cookies

Recipe here.

14. Cranberry-Almond Greek Yogurt Cake

 

Nobody will even KNOW this is healthy. Recipe here.

15. Vegan Monkey Bread

 

Yep. Recipe here.

16. Skinny Eggnog Cupcakes

Skinny Eggnog Cupcakes

Frankly, more delicious than actual eggnog. Recipe here.

17. Healthy Gingerbread Muffins

Healthy Gingerbread Muffins

Wake up and smell the sugar and spice and everything nice. Recipe here.

18. Eggnog Pudding

Eggnog Pudding

Recipe here.

19. Honey Upside-Down Cranberry Cake

 

Upside-down never felt so right side-up. Recipe here.

20. Almond Milk Hot Chocolate

Almond Milk Hot Chocolate

Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed

Still plenty delicious. Recipe here.

21. Paleo Double Chocolate Pistachio BIscotti

Paleo Double Chocolate Pistachio BIscotti

Recipe here.

22. Mulled Beetroot Orange Juice

Mulled Beetroot Orange Juice

A mulled wine alternative that you can start drinking well before five o’clock. Recipe here.

23. Soft and Healthy Gingerbread Cookies

Soft and Healthy Gingerbread Cookies

The season just isn’t complete without them. Recipe here.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/christinebyrne/happy-healthy-holidays#.sevxWjbD93

7 Easy Ways To Eat Healthier This Week ~ Christine Byrne

1. Experiment with healthier baking substitutions this holiday season.

Experiment with healthier baking substitutions this holiday season.

No need to go crazy, or substitute EVERYTHING in a recipe, but a couple swaps here and there are worth trying, if you want. Learn more here.

2. Try an in-season fruit or vegetable that you’ve never had. If you like summer stone fruits like peaches and plums, you’ll probably love persimmons, too.

They’re also super versatile. You can freeze them and freeze them and blend them into sorbet, or roast them and add them to a salad. They also taste great straight up.

3. Stuck in a rut with make-ahead lunch ideas? Shake things up with this salmon, quinoa, and butternut squash.

Stuck in a rut with make-ahead lunch ideas? Shake things up with this salmon, quinoa, and butternut squash.

Recipe here.

4. Colder weather calls for comfort food, but it doesn’t have to be heavy. Try making a healthy soup to eat for lunches and dinners.

Colder weather calls for comfort food, but it doesn't have to be heavy. Try making a healthy soup to eat for lunches and dinners.

Learn more here.

5. Try this butternut squash mac and cheese. It’s a little healthier than the original, but has enough of the good stuff to feed your soul.

Try this butternut squash mac and cheese. It's a little healthier than the original, but has enough of the good stuff to feed your soul.

Recipe here.

6. You don’t have to abstain from alcohol during holiday parties, but it might help to keep in mind that all drinks are NOT are not created equal in terms of sugar and calories.

You don't have to abstain from alcohol during holiday parties, but it might help to keep in mind that all drinks are NOT are not created equal in terms of sugar and calories.

Design by Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

Here are some lower-calorie cocktail options to try. Also worth noting: Less sugar = less of a hangover.

7. Think outside of the box for breakfast. Stuffed sweet potato? Why not!?

Think outside of the box for breakfast. Stuffed sweet potato? Why not!?

There’s also a killer recipe for quinoa granola to put inside. Recipe here.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/christinebyrne/healthy-holiday-season#.dk88om2VDa

22 Pictures That Prove There’s No Place On Earth Like Planet Fitness ~ Matt Stopera & Dave Stopera

1. Nowhere on Earth will you find a gym with PIZZA DAY:

Nowhere on Earth will you find a gym with PIZZA DAY:

2. …a table FULL OF DELICIOUS BAGELS and spreads…

...a table FULL OF DELICIOUS BAGELS and spreads...

3. …and a elliptical cupholder FULL OF TOOTSIE ROLL WRAPS.

...and a elliptical cupholder FULL OF TOOTSIE ROLL WRAPS.

IT’S A GYM, PEOPLE.

4. THIS IS NOT NORMAL.

THIS IS NOT NORMAL.

5. You shouldn’t be stepping on candies!!!!

You shouldn't be stepping on candies!!!!

6. Nowhere on Earth will you find a man HOVERBOARDING while LIFTING WEIGHTS…

Nowhere on Earth will you find a man HOVERBOARDING while LIFTING WEIGHTS...

7. …a full bottle of Skyy vodka in a gym locker room…

...a full bottle of Skyy vodka in a gym locker room...

8. …a DOG?!?!?…

...a DOG?!?!?...

9. …FLIES?!?!…

...FLIES?!?!...

10. …or literally a guy from Dragon Ball Z.

...or literally a guy from Dragon Ball Z.

11. THIS ISN’T A DANG NIGHTCLUB, PEOPLE! YOU CAN’T SMOKE AND LIFT!

THIS ISN'T A DANG NIGHTCLUB, PEOPLE! YOU CAN'T SMOKE AND LIFT!

AND THAT’S ONLY THE BEGINNING!

12. Nowhere on Earth will you find candy on a treadmill…

Nowhere on Earth will you find candy on a treadmill...

13. …a person who is literally taking a power nap…

...a person who is literally taking a power nap...

14. …or Drake’s Uncle Jacob practicing his best “Hotline Bling.”

15. Nowhere on Earth will you EVER find someone using a treadmill like this…

22 Pictures That Prove There's No Place On Earth Like Planet Fitness

16. …a leg machine like this…

22 Pictures That Prove There's No Place On Earth Like Planet Fitness

17. …or a pull-up machine like this.

22 Pictures That Prove There's No Place On Earth Like Planet Fitness

18. YOU ARE NOT A MERMAID!

22 Pictures That Prove There's No Place On Earth Like Planet Fitness

19. THIS DOESN’T EVEN MAKE SENSE?????

22 Pictures That Prove There's No Place On Earth Like Planet Fitness

20. I AM SO CONFUSED.

22 Pictures That Prove There's No Place On Earth Like Planet Fitness

21. WHAT ARE YOU EVEN DOING?!?!

WHAT ARE YOU EVEN DOING?!?!

22. In conclusion, Planet Fitness is the only place on Earth where you’ll find a literal bus shaped like a hot dog in the parking lot.

In conclusion, Planet Fitness is the only place on Earth where you'll find a literal bus shaped like a hot dog in the parking lot.

There really is no place like Planet Fitness in the world.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/hey-lets-get-some-pizza#.ss25b7EA69

19 Healthier, Grown-Up Versions Of Your Favorite Childhood Foods ~ Shannon Rosenberg

Alice Mongkongllite / BuzzFeed

Sometimes you just want to take a break from being an adult, relax, and enjoy a throwback food that brings you back to simpler times.

New Line Cinema / Via fuckyeahwillferrel.tumblr.com

Here are some awesome, healthier alternatives to the foods your inner child is craving hard. They’re prepared with mostly whole foods, fewer processed ingredients, and less added sugar. And since they’re all homemade, you can actually control what you’re putting into there.

1. 3-Ingredient Honey Mustard Cornflake Chicken

This simple recipe is a great alternative to the fried options you see in restaurants and freezer meals, and it calls for just cornflakes, sliced boneless chicken breasts or thighs, and a quarter-cup of honey mustard. Get the recipe here.

2. Healthy Mac ‘n’ Cheese

Healthy Mac 'n' Cheese

Nothing is more comforting than a steaming bowl of mac ‘n’ cheese. This homemade version uses less butter and salt, includes veggies, and you can always mix in lower-fat cheese along with the regular kind if you want an even lighter version. Get the recipe here.

3. Best Ever Sloppy Joes

Best Ever Sloppy Joes

This sloppy joe is easy to make and uses extra-lean ground beef. Get the recipe here.

4. Heart-Shaped Chocolate Chip Banana Pancakes

Heart-Shaped Chocolate Chip Banana Pancakes

Yes, adults can eat cute-shaped breakfasts, too. This recipe calls for whole wheat flour and uses egg whites and banana for texture. Get the recipe here.

5. Healthy Homemade Hot Pockets

Healthy Homemade Hot Pockets

Pizza pockets are EVERYTHING. And this copycat recipe is made with whole wheat flour and a from-scratch pizza sauce that’s prepared with fresh tomatoes, basil, and a little bit of salt and pepper. Get the recipe here.

6. Baked Mozzarella Sticks

Baked Mozzarella Sticks

These are made with bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, pepper, egg, and reduced-fat mozzarella string cheese. Get the recipe here.

7. Cheesy Sweet Potato Broccoli Tots

Cheesy Sweet Potato Broccoli Tots

Sally Tamarkin / Via BuzzFeed

This sneaky take on the Tater Tot is actually hiding sweet potatoes, broccoli, and rolled oats. Get the recipe here.

8. Vegan Cheez-Its

Vegan Cheez-Its

This recipe uses whole wheat pastry flour for its texture and nutritional yeast to get its cheesy flavor. Get the recipe here.

9. Cauliflower-Crust Grilled Cheese

Cauliflower-Crust Grilled Cheese

Try this delicious, melty grilled cheese, which substitutes cauliflower for bread and packs lots of protein. Get the recipe here.

10. Cheeseburger Quinoa Skillet

Cheeseburger Quinoa Skillet

Hamburger Helper is great and will always have a special place in our hearts, but this protein-packed quinoa skillet can satisfy that craving with whole, unprocessed ingredients. Get the recipe here.

11. Cauliflower Crust Ham and Cheese Stromboli

Cauliflower Crust Ham and Cheese Stromboli

Think of this as a remixed ham and cheese sandwich. Oh, and the crust is hiding vegetables. Get the recipe here.

12. Healthy Homemade Mango Fruit Roll-Ups

Healthy Homemade Mango Fruit Roll-Ups

If you can get your hands on three mangos and a blender or food processor, you’ll have everything you need for this healthier version of Fruit Roll-Ups. Get the recipe here.

13. Pigs in a Blanket

Pigs in a Blanket

OK, so it’s hard to make these healthy, but you can cut down on the fat by using Pillsbury reduced-fat crescent rolls and Hebrew National 97% fat-free hot dogs. Get the recipe here.

14. Crispy Baked Fish Sticks With Greek Yogurt Tartar Sauce

Crispy Baked Fish Sticks With Greek Yogurt Tartar Sauce

Give the beer batter a rest. This version calls for a little flour, three eggs, multigrain cracker chips, simple seasonings, and voilà! Get the recipe here.

15. Open-Faced PB&J Sandwich

Open-Faced PB&J Sandwich

This grown-up version calls for homemade pecan butter (or any nut butter of your choice) and blueberry jam from scratch. That way you skip all the processed ingredients and get straight to the good stuff. Get the recipe here.

16. Strawberry Rhubarb Pop-Tarts

Strawberry Rhubarb Pop-Tarts

Because POP-TARTS. This DIY version is way lower in sugar and made with fresh fruit. Get the recipe here.

17. “Hostess” Cupcakes

"Hostess" Cupcakes

These copycat snacks are a part of Bon Appétit’s “Junk Food Makeover” series and are made with better-for-you ingredients like coconut oil, applesauce, and chia seeds. Get the recipe here.

18. Pepper Jack–Stuffed Turkey Zucchini Meat Loaf

Pepper Jack–Stuffed Turkey Zucchini Meat Loaf

This hearty recipe — made with lean turkey breast, shredded zucchini, pepper jack cheese, panko breadcrumbs, and tomato sauce — is probably even better than what mom used to make. Get the recipe here.

19. Easy Chicken Pot Pie Soup

Easy Chicken Pot Pie Soup

This thick and homey soup has all the creamy flavor as your favorite pot pie; pie crust optional (but not really because come on). Get the recipe here.

All right, time to dig in!

http://www.buzzfeed.com/shannonrosenberg/ma-wheres-the-meatloaf#.raxg6vOjoL

Why It Was Easier to Be Skinny in the 1980s ~ Olga Khazan

There’s a meme aimed at Millennial catharsis called “Old Economy Steve.” It’s a series of pictures of a late-70s teenager, who presumably is now a middle-aged man, that mocks some of the messages Millennials say they hear from older generations—and shows why they’re deeply janky. Old Economy Steve graduates and gets a job right away. Old Economy Steve “worked his way through college” because tuition was $400. And so forth.

Quickmeme

We can now add another one to that list: Old Economy Steve ate at McDonald’s almost every day, and he still somehow had a 32-inch waist.

MemeGenerator.net

study published recently in the journal Obesity Research & Clinical Practice found that it’s harder for adults today to maintain the same weight as those 20 to 30 years ago did, even at the same levels of food intake and exercise.

The authors examined the dietary data of 36,400 Americans between 1971 and 2008 and the physical activity data of 14,419 people between 1988 and 2006. They grouped the data sets together by the amount of food and activity, age, and BMI.

They found a very surprising correlation: A given person, in 2006, eating the same amount of calories, taking in the same quantities of macronutrients like protein and fat, and exercising the same amount as a person of the same age did in 1988 would have a BMI that was about 2.3 points higher. In other words, people today are about 10 percent heavier than people were in the 1980s, even if they follow the exact same diet and exercise plans.

“Our study results suggest that if you are 25, you’d have to eat even less and exercise more than those older, to prevent gaining weight,” Jennifer Kuk, a professor of kinesiology and health science at Toronto’s York University, said in a statement. “However, it also indicates there may be other specific changes contributing to the rise in obesity beyond just diet and exercise.”

Just what those other changes might be, though, are still a matter of hypothesis. In an interview, Kuk proffered three different factors that might be making harder for adults today to stay thin.

First, people are exposed to more chemicals that might be weight-gain inducing. Pesticides, flame retardants, and the substances in food packaging might all be altering our hormonal processes and tweaking the way our bodies put on and maintain weight.

Second, the use of prescription drugs has risen dramatically since the ‘70s and ‘80s. Prozac, the first blockbuster SSRI, came out in 1988. Antidepressants are now one of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the U.S., and many of them have been linked to weight gain.

Finally, Kuk and the other study authors think that the microbiomes of Americans might have somehow changed between the 1980s and now. It’s well known that some types of gut bacteria make a person more prone to weight gain and obesity. Americans are eating more meat than they were a few decades ago, and many animal products are treated with hormones and antibiotics in order to promote growth. All that meat might be changing gut bacteria in ways that are subtle, at first, but add up over time. Kuk believes the proliferation of artificial sweeteners could also be playing a role.

The fact that the body weights of Americans today are influenced by factors beyond their control is a sign, Kuk says, that society should be kinder to people of all body types.

“There’s a huge weight bias against people with obesity,” she said. “They’re judged as lazy and self-indulgent. That’s really not the case. If our research is correct, you need to eat even less and exercise even more” just to be same weight as your parents were at your age.

The exercise part is perhaps one area where Old Economy Steve doesn’t have an edge. A membership at one of the newfangled fitness centers of 1987 would gofor about $2,800 per year in today’s dollars, and that’s still what it costs today.

 

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/09/why-it-was-easier-to-be-skinny-in-the-1980s/407974/?utm_source=yahoo

So What Is Self Care? ~ University of Kentucky

So What Is “Self Care”?

Self care includes any intentional actions you take to care for your physical, mental and emotional health. Good self care is a challenge for many people and it can be especially challenging for survivors of interpersonal violence and abuse. It can also be an important part of the healing process. Self care is unique for everyone. Below are some ideas to get you started in developing your own self care plan. It can be overwhelming to consider taking on many new things. It may be helpful to start with a couple of ideas and build on that.

Physical self-care is an area that people often overlook

Planet

Food

  • Food is a type of self-care that people often overlook. People are often so busy that they don’t have time to eat regularly or that they substitute fast food for regular meals.
  • It’s not always reasonable to expect people to get 3 square meals a day (plus snacks!) but everyone should make sure they get adequate nutrition.
  • One example of a self care goal: Even if it’s a small amount, I will eat something for each meal. Exercise
  • avoExercise is one of the most overlooked types of self-care. The CDC recommends at least 30 minutes of exercise 5 times a week.
  • Exercise, even if it’s just a quick walk at lunchtime, can help combat feelings of sadness or depression and prevent chronic health problems.
  • One example of a self care goal: I will go for a walk Tuesday and Thursday after I get out of my morning class.

     

     

     

    Sleep

  • Although everyone has different needs, a reasonable guideline is that most people need between 7-10 hours of sleep per night.
  • One example of a self care goal: I will go to bed by 11:00 p.m. during the week so that I can get enough sleep.

    Medical care

    • Getting medical attention when you need it is an important form of physical self-care.
    • Some survivors put off getting medical care until problems that might have been relatively easy to take care of have become more complicated.
    • One example of a self care goal: I will set aside money in my budget (or seek financial help) so that I

      can get my prescriptions filled every month.
      Some information adapted from RAINN.org, UK Violence Intervention and Prevention Program

Watch

Emotional self-care will mean different things for different people. It might mean:

Counseling

  • This could mean seeing a psychologist, a clinical social worker, or therapist.
  • The VIP Center can help refer you to a counselor.
  • The UK Counseling Center provides free services to UK students.
  • One example of a self care goal: I will find out more about the UK Counseling Center so that I can decide whether this might be helpful for me.

    Keeping a journal

  • Some survivors find that recording their thoughts and feelings in a journal or diary helps them manage their emotions after an assault or abusive situation.
  • One example of a self care goal: I will write in my journal at least 3 times this week.

    Meditation or relaxation exercises

• Relaxation techniques or meditation help many survivors with their emotional self-care. For example:  Sit or stand comfortably, with your feet flat on the floor and your back straight. Place one hand

over your belly button. Breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose and let your stomach expand as you inhale. Hold your breath for a few seconds, then exhale slowly through your mouth, sighing as you breathe out. Concentrate on relaxing your stomach muscles as you breathe in. When you are doing this exercise correctly, you will feel your stomach rise and fall about an inch as you breathe in and out. Try to keep the rest of your body relaxed—your shoulders should not rise and fall as you breathe! Slowly count to 4 as you inhale and to 4 again as you exhale. At the end of the exhalation, take another deep breath. After 3-4 cycles of breathing you should begin to feel the calming effects.

• One example of a self care goal: I will practice deep breathing before I go to sleep to calm down from the day.

Emotional self-care can also involve the people around you.

It’s important to make sure that the people in your life are supportive

  • Nurture relationships with people that make you feel good about yourself!
  • Make spending time with friends and family a priority
  • If you have trouble finding people who can support your experience as a survivor, consider joining a support group for survivors or getting involved with the VIP Center

    Be wary of…

  • Friends or family who only call when they need something
  • People who always leave you feeling tired or depressed when you see them
  • Friends who never have the time to listen to you

Some information adapted from RAINN.org, UK Violence Intervention and Prevention Program

• Anyone who dismisses or belittles your experience as a survivor

Smile Yellow Face 3

You can deal with these people by setting limits.

  • You don’t have to cut them out of your life (especially with family, that may not even be an option!)

    but choose the time you will spend with them carefully.

  • Make sure that your time with these people has a clear end.
  • Cut back on the time you spend with people who don’t make you feel good, or spend time with them

    in a group rather than one-on-one.

    Screen your calls!!

• There’s no rule that says you have to answer your phone every time it rings. If you don’t feel like

talking on the phone, call people back at a time that’s more convenient for you. You can deal with these people by letting some go.

  • If there are people in your life who consistently make you feel bad about yourself, consider letting those friendships or relationships go.
  • This can be a difficult decision. Remember that you deserve to have people around you who genuinely care about you and who support you.

     

    Another challenge can be in finding time for fun leisure activities

    Many of us have full time jobs, go to school, volunteer and have families. Finding time to do activities that you enjoy is an important aspect of self-care.Smiling Buddha

  • Be aware of things you may be doing that take up a lot of your time but don’t support your self care such as too much time on the internet, watching TV, even sleeping. These can all be relaxing, enjoyable activities in moderation but can become a way of retreating and isolating yourself.

     

    Get involved in a sport or hobby that you love!! Find other people who are doing the same thing! Knowing that people are counting on you to show up can help motivate you.

    Make a date night and stick with it, either with a partner, a friend or a group of friends.
    Turn off your cell phones (within reason. If the babysitter needs to be able to find you, consider leaving him/her the number of the restaurant so that you can turn off your ringer!)
    Treat leisure appointments as seriously as business appointments. If you have plans to do something for fun, mark it on your calendar!
    Make your self-care a priority, not something that happens (or doesn’t happen!) by accident.

Some information adapted from RAINN.org, UK Violence Intervention and Prevention Program

http://www.uky.edu/StudentAffairs/VIPCenter/downloads/self%20care%20defined.pdf

3 Healthy Alternatives to Potato Chips (With Easy Recipes Too) ~ The Doctors

Before you grab a bag of potato chips to snack on – and then probably end up eating the entire bag – consider these healthier (and tasty!) alternatives that won’t pack on the pounds. 

Rose Petal Chips

THE DOCTORS

They’re made from beets, a veggie rich in essential vitamins and minerals, such as potassium, magnesium, iron and vitamins A, B and C. And, they are particularly beneficial for pregnant women. Additionally, this recipe spices things up with a sprinkle of rosemary, which has been shown to reduce inflammation, increase blood flow and stimulate the immune system.

Get the recipe! 

Source: Running to the Kitchen  

Brussels Sprout Chips

THE DOCTORS

Brussels sprouts are not just your old-school stinky veggie. These chips are rich in vitamin C and because they’re high in fiber, they can aid in digestion as well as help to reduce cholesterol. 

Get the recipe here! 

Source: Epicurious  


Parsnip Chips

THE DOCTORS

A relative of carrots, celery and parsley, parsnips are indeed a power veggie. It’s a naturally sweet root vegetable that can boost the immune system and help to promote nerve function, red blood cell growth and dental health.  Plus, parsnips are rich in dietary fiber, potassium and vitamin C, and may help prevent heart disease. 

Get the recipe here!  

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/3-healthy-alternatives-to-potato-chips-with-easy-recipes-too_55e9cdc2e4b03784e275bc2d

8 Impossible-to-Resist Veggie Dishes by Jennifer Segal

VEGGIE

Every now and again, I come across a vegetable dish that makes me think I could be a very happy vegetarian. From a hearty summer white bean ragout to balsamic-glazed roasted beets, here are a few of my favorites.

1. Summer White Bean Ragout

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This quick ragout of white beans and sweet summer tomatoes might just be my favorite recipe of the summer. The tomatoes — just barely cooked — burst in your mouth when you bite into them, while fresh herbs and a splash of balsamic vinegar liven the dish up. Serve with toasted garlic bread for sopping up the broth. GET THE RECIPE

2. Creamed Zucchini with Garlic & Basil

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Imagine creamed spinach, only with zucchini. This delicate yet rich dish is easy to make — and it’s great for entertaining because you can make it ahead of time. GET THE RECIPE

3. Roasted Pepper Salad with Feta, Pine Nuts & Basil

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Next time you’re asked to bring a veggie or salad to a get-together, try these sweet and smoky bell peppers topped with feta, toasted pine nuts, basil and olives. The salad looks gorgeous on a platter and is delicious with toasted pita bread. GET THE RECIPE

4. Roasted Broccoli with Chipotle Honey Butter

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In this recipe, broccoli florets are tossed in a sweet, spicy and smoky chipotle-honey butter before roasting. It’s as delicious as it sounds, and the broccoli has enough flavor to carry an entire meal.
GET THE RECIPE

5. Sautéed Zucchini & Cherry Tomatoes

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This summery dish of sautéed zucchini, burst cherry tomatoes and meltingly sweet red onions is one of those dishes where the whole is far greater than the sum of its parts. Make it now before the season ends! GET THE RECIPE

6. Golden Roasted Cauliflower with Pecorino Romano Cheese

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Want to get your family to love cauliflower? Try roasting it and tossing it with cheese. It worked for me. GET THE RECIPE

7. Sautéed Asparagus and Peas

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Combining veggies in a side dish makes them so much more interesting. In this simple and elegant dish, sweet green peas and asparagus are quickly sautéed with butter, shallots, and a touch of honey.  GET THE RECIPE

8. Balsamic-Glazed Roasted Beets

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If you’re a beet lover like I am, you are going to love (and maybe even obsess over) these simply prepared beets. They’re oven-roasted, which intensifies their natural sweetness, and then tossed in a tart and syrupy balsamic reduction.  GET THE RECIPE

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jennifer-segal/8-impossible-to-resist-ve_b_8005382.html