5 Easy Weeknight Meals: Your 7 Day Family Jump Start!

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A Great Night and Easy Party Idea!

Thank you to everyone who attended the Healthy Family, Healthy You launch party at Chabad of Potomac! I hope you had as much fun as I did. And thank you to all of you who couldn’t make it but have been ordering up a storm! (If you haven’t gotten to it yet, go to Amazon or here to order a signed copy, personally delivered by moi!)

I could feel the Healthy Family, Healthy You community creating itself!

A number of you said you are concerned about your own community’s culture of junk food as a reward – whether that’s public school or shul. Let’s speak further about specific situations and brainstorm ways to help, by phone or email. In addition, please visit my workshop page and see what might be most fun, effective and inspiring in one of your communities (we all have more than one). Whether you are interested in a workshop or not, I’m happy to brainstorm with you.

If you are on Facebook or Twitter, please join me there! If you aren’t subscribed to my blog, please do! Please share your healthy ideas with me and with all the other Healthy Mama’s.See fun pictures of the party below, along with an easy and impressive plan for your next party!

See the fun tools below. Create “fries” out of anything and feel free to keep them raw (I’m about to make purple carrot fries for afternoon carpool). Make shapes from your fruits and veggies and make spaghetti using zucchini and carrots.

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There were so many books to sign! Next time, I’ll be sure to sign all of the pre-orders ahead of time!

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Try this for your next party: A rainbow buffet! Check out the baby bananas.

If you’re looking at the pictures below and thinking, “Wait, she had DELI?!” I did not! As part of the “Substitution is your Strategy” theme, that’s rolled up dried guava (you can get it at Shalom Kosher) as a substitution for fruit roll ups full of food coloring and high fructose corn syrup. Guests also enjoyed my homemade granola bar bites.

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I saw, from all the nods of your heads, that I am coming from a place that you know. We’re all doing the best we can, while many aspects of our society and culture work against our best intentions. So let’s create our own culture – of health and happiness, of Shabbat and holiday meals (and kiddushim!) without guilt. Not without pleasure, just guilt.

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Remember, “Substitution is your Strategy!”

Together, we can do anything!
Yours in Health,

Natasha Nadel

photos by Coach Marlene McCallum at Most Powerful Life


What do you want to change?

The recent blog post about making changes to the culture of sugar in the Modern Orthodox world has gone viral. Rachel Cyrulnik writes on The Times of Israel blog that kids expect junk because that’s what we give them.

“I live in a Modern Orthodox community where Shabbat parties, lollypops from the candy man at shul, and soda, cake and candy at Kiddush are weekly staples in our children’s lives. Sugar is the common fare used to provide rewards and treats in school, camp and shul.”

Whether you’re Jewish or not, observant or not, we all live in a culture that uses sugary treats, such as baked goods and junk food to indicate happiness and celebration. Why are we linking artificially sweet food and food coloring to joy? Because that’s how it was done for us.

The problem with the way things are now is threefold:

1. In the past, to have a homemade baked treat for one’s birthday might have meant butter, flour and sugar, but at least it was all real – and usually without food coloring.

2. Today, even food that is considered “healthy”(such as granola bars) is highly processed and full of added sugars, including high fructose corn syrup, which contributes to Americans’ uphill battle against ill health and obesity. It takes immense effort to eat real, unprocessed food that will actually contribute to our health, rather than take away from it.

3. Today, our children are given candy and treats everywhere. It’s no longer about special occasions. Even if it is, those special occasions seem to occur multiple times a day. It’s a play date, let’s have cookies. It’s kid’s groups at your house of worship, let’s have potato chips and juice. It’s a birthday, let’s have cake. It’s Shabbat, let’s have piles of candy. We’re in the checkout line at home depot, let’s pick up those peanut M and M’s.

When you can’t even go to Home Depot without candy being shoved in your face, I’d say we have a real problem. Obviously, that example isn’t about culture, it’s about a corporation trying to sell their product everywhere possible to make money. While there’s nothing wrong with that concept, we still have to figure out how to protect our families’ health and crowd out some of that edible processed junk and replace it with real food.

Cyrulnik paints an accurate picture of how every other minute seems to have become an occasion for unhealthy eating and asks for communal help in making systemic changes that will improve our health.

Cyrulnik writes, “I ask our community institutions — schools and shuls — to create policies and infrastructure that actually help community members engage in healthier lifestyles. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Water at Kiddush instead of soda. A Shabbat afternoon walking group. Requiring one healthy snack at a school birthday party.”

Looking at this list, I was actually quite pleased to say that my shul’s regular Kiddush is generally quite healthy, with water instead of soda, numerous salads, healthy dips with raw veggies, and only one sweet. The cholent is generally vegetarian and truly healthy. You can have your sesame noodles and tortilla chips too, but it is the healthiest Kiddush I’ve ever seen.

In addition, my daughter’s school doesn’t allow sugary treats for birthday parties. While some would say this is being a killjoy, I think changing that system from the time kids are young and removing about 20 times per year they would be consuming cupcakes and candy, will continue to be invaluable for the rest of their lives. It doesn’t mean you can’t have fun or eat something delicious, like making fun projects with sweet, ripe fruit.

What do you suggest? Where can you see one of your communities improve? Is it at school, your house of worship, your play group? Let me know your intentions here or over on Facebook.

I intend to take on the holiday meal. In my community, that means Friday night dinner and Shabbat lunch EVERY WEEK. For those of you who aren’t observant or Jewish, this is like having Thanksgiving EVERY WEEK, plus numerous holiday celebrations throughout the year that are sometimes three days long (8 days in the case of Chanukah!).

For more information and ideas about why this matters and what you can do to ensure your guests still leave happy, full and satisfied, see my new Healthy Mama’s Guide and the companion cookbook. You’ll find nutrition information you probably haven’t heard before, a strategic plan for your own family, and recipes you can use to both celebrate something and improve the health of your family. My motto is, “Substitution is your strategy.”

For 3 “done for you” healthy holiday meal plans, the 2 books and over 100 healthy recipes, come to my Book Launch Party and Healthy Holiday Program on Sunday night, September 20 (in Potomac, MD). If you can’t make it or aren’t local, you can buy the books on Amazon or through me for signed/dedicated copies. Both options are available HERE.

In addition, you can bring this program and many others to your own community. Be in touch! I look forward to planning a fun, community and family-changing event with you!

Which workshop will you choose?



Links Fixed-RSVP Today for Book/Healthy Chaggim Event!

Come to the Party and Healthy Holiday Program!
September 20, 2015 7:30-9:00pm, Chabad of Potomac
Get your signed Healthy Family, Healthy You books there! or…
Get your signed Healthy Family, Healthy You books delivered to your door!
(But we’ll miss you terribly at the party!)

HFHY Front Cover with dash Cookbook Front Cover

Healthy menu planning, spiritual and practical preparation for the rest of the Yom Tovim. Walk away with new menus, recipes, and inspiration! Both books, light refreshments, program and take home resources all included in event price. Price: $36. Payment (a check mailed or dropped off by me) confirms your book will be ordered and ready for you at the event! (If you don’t have my address, email (or PM) me To pay by credit card, please click below. Note that the price to pay by credit card ($37.34) includes the $1.34 PayPal fee because a portion of the proceeds will be donated to our host, Chabad of Potomac.

RSVP’s needed by September 9 to guarantee book delivery for event. If you RSVP after that, no worries. Come party, but I might have to drop off or ship your books the following week. You’ll be too busy with Rosh Hashanah after September 9 anyway, so RSVP and put it on your calendar today!

If you can’t make the event but want the books personally signed by moi, click on the 2nd PayPal button below to purchase. I’ll make your order, sign the books and ship them out to you. You can also order (non-signed) copies through Amazon shortly before the book launch party.

ALL are welcome as I know many great, healthy cooks aren’t even parents or aren’t even married!

If you are ready to party and plan healthy chaggim/future gatherings) order below and tell me whom to make the dedication out to. They’ll be signed and ready for you at the event!

Name for book dedication

If you can’t attend the Book Launch Party and Program but want to purchase both books (personally signed by moi), order below!

Name for book dedication:

HFHY Front Cover with dash Cookbook Front Cover