If you’re trying to eat a healthy, anti-inflammatory diet, but are overwhelmed by how difficult it can be, I’m here to help. These meal prep products are my must-haves for maintaining a consistent healthy lifestyle and eating healthy. So keep reading to find out what kitchen tools you can use to help make healthful meals more consistently! For an even easier way to eat an anti-inflammatory diet, don’t forget to check out my 7-Day Anti-Inflammatory Diet Meal Plan & Guide.
Are you looking for an easier way to make healthy meals? I’ve got several awesome kitchen tools for healthy eating. Keep reading…
I made this list because we all need more items on our Amazon wish list! 😉
I started following an anti-inflammatory diet after getting so fed up with my chronic joint pain and endometriosis pain. I had gone from doctor to doctor with no real answers and only solutions with boatloads of side effects. I was in debilitating pain and feeling helpless.
That’s when I decided to take my health care into my own hands. I’ve learned that you have to be your own best advocate for your health.
One of the things that has helped me recover my health is following this anti-inflammatory diet. It’s not a quick fix or a cure-all, but it has made a huge difference in my life.
However, when I first started it was HARD. I had a difficult time finding meals that my family would actually eat and most of the recipes I found were very complicated and took a ton of meal prep.
However, I would be remiss to tell you all about the recipes I use without giving credit to my amazing kitchen tools! This is what helps me actually follow through with making these meals without all of the daunting meal prep tasks.
Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own. This post contains affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission when you buy through the links on this page.
Having good knives REALLY makes a difference in your cooking experience. Especially when you’re chopping lots of vegetables – it pays to have the right tools. My mother-in-law gifted us a set of Cutco knives for our wedding and they have been invaluable. I even bring them with us when we travel because I hate using dingy knives at vacation rentals!!
One of the nice perks about having a Cutco knife is that you can get it sharpened for free and their warranty is amazing – they really back these knives. Last year I sent in my knives and kitchen shears to be sharpened, and they replace the kitchen shears completely because they were slightly bent (I didn’t even notice!). That’s pretty amazing.
I can’t describe to you what a game changer this thing is for a busy mom. I love that I can prep a meal when I have a few minutes of free time during naps and then set it and forget it. It’s has all of the benefits of a slow cooker sped up – and more.
We actually have TWO instant pots now – the larger 8 quart one and the smaller 3 quart one. I’ll often use the larger one to make a big batch of dinner and the smaller one to make farro, risotto, rice, oatmeal or other starches.
In this post, we are discussing how to get your picky eater to eat healthy – whether that’s your toddler, preschooler or your husband! I share my favorite methods for encouraging my picky eaters to eat healthy foods.
Hey there, friend. You’re probably reading this because you want to know how to help your child to eat better, healthier, and more consistently.
First of all let me say that I am NOT a medical professional or dietitian. I’m just a regular ole mom like you who has struggled with the same things. This is what I’ve learned through experience, tons of research and consulting with doctors, nutritionists and registered dietitians. If you or your child has a health issue, please consult with your doctor.
Dr. Justin Coulson at Happy Families – a psychologist and father of 6 (!!) daughters – remarks that some of the most common mealtime mistakes are:
So, what do you do when you fall into some of those pitfalls? I know I have done ALL of those things at one point or another.
Tip #1: Take a deep breath.
Seriously. Take a deep breath. I’ll wait.
Now, hear this: your kid will be okay. They will not starve. They will not grow a third ear because they refuse to eat their broccoli. Let’s have some perspective on this.
One thing my doctor mom would always say: eating is not a learned behavior.
We are not taught to eat, it is something that we are biologically programmed to do. Yes, we learn bad behaviors and unhealthy habits – but starving ourselves is not typically one of those!
Recently, we realized that dinnertime had become a struggle for us with the kids. They just weren’t eating their food! We bribed them, cajoled them, throttled them (just kidding)…after weeks, we decided that they simply were not hungry at that time. So we adjusted their snack schedule and then finally made the decision that they did have to sit with us during family dinner, but they didn’t have to eat at that exact time. However, they couldn’t choose to eat something else: they had to eat a reasonable amount of dinner if/when they wanted a bedtime snack or treat.
I can’t tell you what a stress reliever this has been for our family. We’re able to have fun, light-hearted meals without battling over food. The kids still eat their dinners – albeit, later than we would like – but they eat when they’re hungry and oftentimes they eat ALL of their dinner and more!
This all started with us taking a deep breath and gaining some perspective. What mattered was that our children ate and that they ate reasonably healthy, filling foods. It doesn’t HAVE to be on “our” schedule and it may not look like what we want it to, but we’re accomplishing our goal: happy, healthy children.
Tip #2: Don’t bring food into the house that you don’t want your child to eat.
If your kid only wants to have hot dogs and macaroni for dinner and cocoa puffs for breakfast – just don’t buy it anymore. If they fill up on Doritos and Chewy bars all afternoon long and then aren’t hungry for dinner – there’s a simple fix for that.
Look, I’m not saying this is easy to do…but I am saying it’s simple.
We recently stopped purchasing applesauce pouches – not because they were unhealthy, but because that was the only thing my son wanted to eat! We were spending more money on pouches than on any other category of food each week. So, I stopped buying them.
Now, let me tell you that at first he was devastated. It broke my heart. But, as kids do, he moved on. He doesn’t even ask for them anymore and is perfectly happy with the other snack choices that we offer him.
Tip #3: Have your picky eater eat what you eat but allow for flexibility.
I once heard a mom share how she got her child to eat a healthier breakfast: she made herself the healthy meal and gave her child something relatively bland/boring. Within seconds, the child was leaning over to see what her mom had to eat. Before the mom could take more than one bite, the child had commandeered the healthy meal!
This just shows us how much our kids look to us. If they see us eating fruits, vegetables and whole grains, they will be more likely to do the same.
Also, this is just a sanity check: don’t make a separate meal for your picky eater! This is a slippery slope. If you have 5 picky eaters in your family, will you make separate, customized meals for all of them?! Please stop this habit before it becomes a mom’s worst nightmare.
So, how do you do this?
By making balanced, healthy meals with flexibility.
Here’s an example: I’ll make this meal frequently in our household. However, we all eat it differently. I like to squeeze lime over mine and sprinkle some cilantro. Tyler likes to cover his in cheese and sour cream and then eat it with tortilla chips. Finn and Justus get a dollop of plain Greek yogurt to make theirs more creamy and get cheese like Papa. I’ve made one meal, but everyone gets what they like.
(By the way, here are some of the meals that I make frequently for our family. They’re healthy but relatively simple and flexible.)
Figure out what your mealtime boundaries will be and stick to them. For example: I won’t make separate meals for everyone in our family, but I will allow my child to slather their vegetables in cheese.
If you don’t have a plan, it’s so much easier for meals to get “blurry.”
What I mean is this: if you don’t know what you’re going to eat for breakfast (or lunch or dinner…) then we usually gravitate toward what’s easiest and what we’re craving in that moment. But that’s not always the healthiest option for us! However, when we plan ahead, we know exactly what we’re going to eat and it helps us to make better decisions.
The same goes for our kids: if we know what we’re going to feed them, it’s so much easier than staring into the fridge/pantry and asking them what they want to eat! That never goes well.
So that’s why I make a meal plan for the week on Sunday evenings. I sit down and plan out what we’re going to have for breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day and make sure I have a plan for snacks and treats. I try to do some batch cooking so that I’m not making meals from scratch for each and every meal of the day! For example, on Sunday nights I usually make a large batch of steel cut oats to feed us breakfast through the week (Monday-Friday…weekends are for pancakes 😉 ) and I’ll throw some sweet potatoes into the oven to feed us lunches through the week. For dinners, I generally try to make a meal that will feed us for two nights in a row so that I can have a little break from cooking.
Check out my healthy week-long meal plan. It includes a plan for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and desserts for 7 days – that’s 35 meals planned out for you along with recipes, tips and tricks for your picky eater, a grocery list and more.
It’s super important to have balance and a healthy perspective with our food choices, which is why I think it’s good to incorporate treats and desserts into our diets. It’s nice to have something to look forward to after a long day or week. Generally speaking, I try to have “healthy” desserts and treats for during the week and reserve the splurges for the weekends. For example, my four-year-old has a small handful of dark chocolate covered almonds during his quiet time (AKA little brother’s nap time) each day and then we usually have ice cream or roast marshmallows on Saturdays or Sundays. This gives us all something to look forward to and provides a nice balance in our diet.
A word on snacking for picky eaters…
In our house, over-snacking has led to many food battles. Dinner time was ROUGH until we figured out that we need to schedule our snacks. So, each day we have snacks at 10:00am and at 3:00pm. The boys’ snacks typically consist of one pantry item such as a Larabar, whole grain crackers, dried cranberries or popcorn AND one or two refrigerator/produce items such as a clementine, apple, grapes, cheese stick or goat cheese with their crackers.
Tip #5: Give some choices…and take some choices away.
It’s a give and take here. Literally.
One of the silliest things I do is ask my four-year-old what he wants to eat for lunch.
I know exactly what he wants to eat for lunch: a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Every time.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with a good ole pb&j – but when I ask him what he wants and it’s not: a. what I want to give him or b. all that healthy for him…then we’ve got problems.
One of the goals here is to de-pressurize our meals. We don’t want our kids to pick up on our anxiety over their eating – that’s never good.
So, stop asking your kid what they want to eat. Instead, pre-determine what you will feed them, and THEN give them options. For example:
Would you like cinnamon on top of your sweet potato?
Do you want blueberries or strawberries on your yogurt?
Would you want your avocado on your sandwich or on the side?
You see what I’m getting at here?
Tip #6: Involve your picky eater in the meal prep process.
One way that I get my four-year-old to try new foods is by having him cook alongside me. When he was first starting to eat solids, I would let him play with the spices and we would do the “smell game” where I would let him sniff various spices. As he got older, he started to help me do some basic measuring, scooping and mixing. He cracked eggs and whisked them. Now he peels potatoes, chops zucchini, and adds seasonings to our meals.
We’ve started keeping a garden and it’s been wonderful for getting him to eat vegetables! After all, they’re the work of his own hands.
Tip #7: Mix new, healthy foods with old favorites
If you’re trying to get your kid (or picky eating husband!) to eat broccoli, for example, try mixing it with other foods they already like to eat. If you leave the broccoli on its own on their plate, it’s much easier to push it to the side than if its covered in cheese and mixed with macaroni!
This works all of the time with my husband. He has a very limited number of vegetables that he likes, but if l chop up onions, bell peppers, zucchini or other veggies small enough and mix them with the “approved” foods, he either won’t notice them at all, or only grumble slightly as he eats them.
Tip #8: Regularly introduce new foods to your picky eater
Each weekly, as I’m grocery shopping, I try to choose one new fruit, vegetable or whole grain to try. I like to treat this more as an experiment than as something I expect my family to happily devour. I choose foods that are in season, inexpensive, and interesting.
Together, we learn how to prepare and eat our new food. For example, a few months ago, we purchased one pomegranate. I didn’t even know how to cut up a pomegranate! So Finn and I watched a video together about how to cut one up. He helped me pick the seeds out of the pomegranate and we remarked on the color and texture, how interesting the fruit was. It was fun!
Now, fast forward several months and pomegranates are one of their favorite fruits!
On the other hand, a few months ago we tried pitaya (also known as dragon fruit). It was a super neat looking fruit – but none of us loved the taste. It had the texture of a kiwifruit, but to us, it didn’t actually taste like much. We had a few small bites and put the rest in a smoothie. No harm done – it was a fun experiment for the family. No pressure, just an interesting experience for all of us.
Another example of this was when we purchased an eggplant. Finn and I scrolled through Pinterest searching for “eggplant recipes” and I let him pick the recipe for us to make together. We made eggplant pizzas and it was fun!
I’m not advocating for us to come up with unique meals every night of the week – that’s not realistic or sustainable. We all tend to eat the same meals and foods over and over again – which is totally fine and normal! – but it’s helpful to introduce new foods in a fun way with no pressure.
Tip #9: Consult with a pediatric dietitian
If you’re at your wits end with your picky eater, I highly recommend consulting with a pediatric dietitian. This is someone who knows a ton about nutrition, healthy eating, a balanced mindset when it comes to food AND knows about kids.
These days, lots of pediatric dietitians are doing online or phone consults – so you don’t even have to leave the house. For example, Betsy Britt at GroWell Nutrition has an online picky eating course – or you can do a personalized family consult via Zoom.
Having tension and difficulty during mealtimes with a picky eater can be SO challenging. But don’t give up, mama! Think of this as an exercise in growth, just like working out: when you first start to exercise, it’s hard and you’re sore and tired. But after a while, it becomes easier and easier. You get stronger, have more energy and feel more confident. It’s the same thing with parenting! Choosing to do the “hard things” for and with our children is draining at first, but over time it becomes easier and we all reap the benefits.
Dietitian and mother of two, Betsy Britt of GroWell Nutrition, says that it can take 20-30 introductions for a child to accept a new food. That’s A LOT of tries! So don’t worry if it doesn’t go well the first time, or the second time….or the fifteenth time.
I heard this tip from Betsy last year as my youngest, Justus, was starting to eat solids for the first time. This has been instrumental in helping him to become a well-rounded eater.
I will also say that physical growth and the natural process of maturing will help our kids as well if we’re consistent and patient. For example, there were foods that Justus did not eat last year but now (because I kept introducing those foods) he loves them!
Also, it’s hard to explain to an 18 month old why they should eat their veggies, but it’s much easier now with my 4-year-old. I can explain to him the benefits of each food and he really likes that!
These carrots are filled with beta carotene which help keep your eyes really healthy – it especially helps you to be able to see better at night!
This chicken has lots of protein to help build your muscles up so you can be strong like mama!
Your avocado that you’re eating has some really healthy fats – that helps your heart to be even more powerful! Can you feel your heart beat?
Those blueberries have tons of antioxidants in them, which helps your body have more energy to fight off bad-guy germs!
With three boys around our dinner table, there’s a lot of muscle-showing, karate-chopping, and pirate-like ‘arrghh’ going on while we eat. It’s a little chaotic, but it’s also fun and makes our meals way more interesting.
Well, friend, I hope this is helpful for you in your journey toward better health and more sanity! Don’t forget: you are not alone. Always feel free to reach out to me for prayers and support. I’d love to pray for you!
Comment below: what are some unique ways you’ve gotten your picky eater to eat healthy foods more consistently?
A simple anti-inflammatory stir fry that’s easy to make and filled with inflammation fighting foods!
If you’re looking for a go-to anti-inflammatory meal, this is mine. This simple stir fry is chock full of inflammation fighting foods, it’s easily customized and very versatile depending on what veggies you love in your stir fry. Also, it’s dairy-free, gluten free, sugar free and yet, it’s NOT taste-free!! 😉
There’s so many different ways to make this dish – and that’s what makes it my go-to weeknight meal that we don’t get tired of. You can swap out rice for rice noodles or even spaghetti squash as the base. You can utilize in-season vegetables along with tried-and-true veggies your family loves. I’ll also occasionally include chunks of pineapple or mango for a sweet surprise!
So, pick your family’s favorite veggies, throw them on the pan with some olive or coconut oil and stir fry away! You can easily make this a vegetarian dish or include shrimp, seared tuna or beef.
One way to make this dish even simpler is to purchase pre-chopped veggies in your produce department. Some stores even have a “stir fry” bag with fresh (not frozen) vegetables that are perfect for a weeknight stir fry. Alternatively, you could chop up your veggies in the morning or the night before so that you can throw them on the pan right when you get home. I’ve also been known to use kitchen shears to make my chopping and cutting even easier! 😉
So, what makes this stir fry “anti-inflammatory”?
It’s filled with tons of inflammation-fighting foods with tons of antioxidants such as broccoli, snap peas, garlic, onion, peppers and, of course, olive oil.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Christmas music, sparkling lights, exchanging gifts, reflections on Jesus and His birth. It’s a beautiful time. However, if you’re trying to eat healthy or manage a chronic illness, it can be difficult to navigate the holiday season that so strongly revolves around food – particularly, sweets. So, how do you find balance this holiday season?
Luckily, I have some tips for us from my friend and dietitian, Betsy Britt of GroWell Nutrition! She has three recommendations for us:
Start the day with fitness: consider getting the family outside for a touch football game or even a 5k walk or run.
Eat a good breakfast: don’t skip breakfast to ‘save room’ for the afternoon feast. This may lead to binge eating less healthy foods later in the day.
Skip the seconds: enjoy your first plate of food and wait 20 minutes before deciding whether you are still hungry for more.
Personally, I’m choosing to be intentional about what to eat – and where to splurge – for the holidays. I’m swapping out the typical green bean casserole for this delicious, and much healthier, roasted honey garlic green bean dish. I’m also looking forward to sharing my favorite kale salad with everyone!
I plan to splurge on my mom’s sweet potato casserole (the kind with the roasted mini marshmallows on top – yum!). I’m allergic to apples, but every year I have a slice of my mother-in-law’s award winning apple pie.
If you’re looking for anti-inflammatory-approved side dishes to ‘upgrade’ your typical holiday fare, here are some excellent options:
I’ve made this recipe a few times – Tyler and the kids LOVE it so I plan to make it for Thanksgiving as well. Instead of sautéing the green beans, I throw all of the ingredients together on a pan and roast the green beans at 425* for about 15 minutes. I like to throw some sliced almonds on there, too!
It’s officially fall! And here in Florida, it’s starting to feel like it, too. The mornings are a breezy 70 degrees, which means here in Tampa we’ve got our boots and scarves on!
Sort of. 😉
For most of us, fall means all things pumpkin, maple and apple! I’m excited to share this delicious pumpkin steel cut oats recipe with you. Not only does it fulfill the need for pumpkin spice, it’s got a lot of inflammation fighting power, it’s filling and it’s super flavorful.
Today I’m going to share with you one of my favorite anti-inflammatory diet meals: my Easy Mexican Cauliflower Rice Bowl. This is another crowd-pleaser in our house. The boys eat it up with a big spoon!
Reasons why I love this Easy Mexican Cauliflower Rice Bowl:
It’s sneakily healthy – swapping out cauliflower rice for white or even brown rice means that you’re eating lots of veggies in each bite…and you don’t even know it!
It’s a simple, quick weeknight recipe. I typically make a double (or even triple) batch of this during the week and it’ll take me less than 30 minutes from beginning to end. Cauliflower rice cooks so quickly and you can just throw all the ingredients together!
This is a low-carb, low-calorie option if you’re looking for go-to low-carb or low-cal recipes!
It’s versatile – I can easily make this meal with shredded chicken, ground beef or turkey, or vegetarian. I’ve also easily swapped cooked white rice for the cauliflower rice when making this for large groups (with people who may or may not like cauliflower rice!) and it’s so yum.
My boys love it – Tyler loves this recipe because it’s super filling while also being low-calorie. Both Finn and Justus will gobble this down as soon as I put it on their plates.
Toppings galore – this dish is easily personalized depending on what toppings you like. I love to put avocado, an extra squeeze of lime juice and more cilantro on mine. Tyler appreciates covering it in cheese and sour cream, and Finn does all of the above! Whatever your eaters like, this meal can offer it.
How to cook cauliflower rice
There are three options for making cauliflower rice:
Buy cauliflower heads, chop them and put them in a food processor to make the “rice.” This is the most time-intensive option.
Buy a pre-chopped cauliflower head. With this option, the cauliflower is already “riced” for you. Typically you can find this in the produce section where you would find other bags of pre-chopped vegetables. This is the simplest, quickest option.
Buy frozen cauliflower rice. This option allows you to save the cauliflower rice for longer – I usually buy a large bag from Costco so I can use it whenever I want to. However, it takes slightly longer to cook all the way through (about 10 minutes instead of 5).
Any of these options work – obviously if you want to rice the cauliflower yourself, it will take longer. Also, if you purchase fresh cauliflower (either a whole cauliflower head or a bag of fresh cauliflower rice) it will cook quicker than the frozen cauliflower rice.
This is one of my favorite anti-inflammatory diet meals! This butternut squash Thai curry is so incredibly flavorful and versatile. It packs an immune-building punch with all of the inflammation-fighting foods in this recipe. This meal is one that I love to make for company or if I’m bringing a meal to someone – it’s unique and delicious.
Butternut squash is an incredible food – packed with vitamin A and vitamin C, which help with immune function and are powerful antioxidants. It also happens to be relatively low in calories, which is a double win!
If you’re battling with chronic pain or any kind of inflammatory issue, exercising regularly and eating an anti-inflammatory diet could help reduce the inflammation in your body. What we eat can either speed up or slow down the inflammatory processes throughout our bodies. That’s why I try to keep an anti-inflammatory diet regimen throughout the week – which can be tricky when you’re cooking for others, including a picky husband, a toddler and a baby!
My husband (a picky eater) and my kids (not-so-picky eaters) LOVE this meal. Even my one-year-old shovels this curry into his mouth. I typically add a dollop of plain Greek yogurt to cool the curry a bit for them.
This recipe is versatile. It can easily be made vegetarian/vegan if you omit the chicken. The vegetables in here (butternut squash, sweet potato) can readily be swapped out with one another. For example, you could use 4 cups of sweet potato OR 4 cups of butternut squash if you only want one over the other. You could also substitute carrots or other squash in place of one of the vegetables.
For this post, we will discuss the anti-inflammatory diet: meals, recipes and ideas for beginners, picky eaters and kids! This lifestyle can be beneficial for those with IBS, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromylagia, endometriosis, PCOS, and general chronic pain. Please discuss any diet or exercise changes with your doctor or a registered dietitian.
After battling with chronic pain in my joints and endometriosis for several years, going from doctor to doctor, medication to medication, I turned to more natural methods in a desperate attempt to control my pain. Today, I am healthier and more functional than I have been in 8 years through a combination of eating an anti-inflammatory diet, exercising regularly (even when I’m in pain!), and finding the right medication balance for me. This is just my personal experience, but it has made such a difference in my own life that I believe it can help others, too!
Don’t forget to download the Anti-inflammatory “Eat This Not That” List – you can post it on your fridge or use it for meal planning to help you get started with your inflammation-fighting meals.
I’ve spent a lot of time searching Pinterest for anti-inflammatory foods that I could consistently eat AND feed my family at the same time. It was tough to find! Most of the recipes I found were inaccessible, difficult to make on a regular basis or just wouldn’t appease my picky eaters. However, over the past several months I’ve accrued a collection of some of my favorite anti-inflammatory recipes and wanted to share them with you!
What is the anti-inflammatory diet?
First of all, “the” anti-inflammatory diet is not a diet plan. It is a lifestyle and way of eating. I don’t like calling it a “diet” – I call it my eating regimen.
The point of an anti-inflammatory regimen is to cut out inflammation-causing foods and incorporate as many inflammation-fighting foods as possible. These foods are high in natural antioxidants and polyphenols – which are protective compounds found in plants.
Since different people will respond differently to various foods, the anti-inflammatory diet will look a little different from individual to individual.
Generally speaking, there is not “one way” to do an anti-inflammatory diet. Yes, you should absolutely cut out red meat, sugar and processed foods and then focus on foods that will reduce inflammation in YOUR body. What that will look like for each individual person is a little different.
One example: I am allergic to apples. Apples have lots of anti-inflammatory properties, but in my own body, they cause inflammation.
These oat quinoa energy bites have been a favorite in our household for a long time! I was first introduced to them when I was breastfeeding Finn and have worked on “perfecting” them the past few years. I will warn you though: these are addictive!!
Because of my chronic pain, I’m also committed to creating meals that are anti-inflammatory – packed with inflammation fighting foods and devoid of foods that cause inflammation. To read more about this, check out my post Anti-Inflammatory Meals for the Whole Family.
I LOVE one pan meals. Anything that can help with the ease of preparation and clean up is a win-win-win for me! Lately, because of my chronic pain, I’ve been doing an anti-inflammatory eating regimen (essentially cutting out dairy, gluten, white sugar and adding as many inflammation fighting foods as possible) so I’ve been experimenting with different alternatives to typical meals. This one pan gluten free (GF) chicken tenders recipe with broccoli and sun-dried tomatoes is a big hit in our house.
Because of my chronic pain, I’m also committed to creating meals that are anti-inflammatory – packed with inflammation fighting foods and devoid of foods that cause inflammation. To read more about this, check out my post Anti-Inflammatory Meals for the Whole Family.