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

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Looking for a Healthy Dinner in 10 minutes? Look no further!

For my second vegan Passover this past year, I was determined not to starve! :)- Not that I really starved the year before – I just didn’t have a lot of options. I googled “vegan passover” and what did I find?! This fabulous domain name is owned by Rena Reich, a vegan blogger in Israel (formerly of Texas). I loved her vegan Passover e-cookbook and we quickly became online “friends.” She recently asked me to guest blog for her and here is what we published this week!


Vegan Start

10 Minute Taco Bar

You come home from work or carpool or kids’ afterschool activities and have no idea what’s for dinner. Put down the box of pizza bagels! There is a different 10 minute family dinner that will give you lots of protein and veggies! It’s even quicker than ordering pizza! Here is your new go-to 10 minute dinner, with ingredients that are pretty easy to keep on hand, or use for something else if you never get around to making the tacos. We all need as much flexibility as we can, right?

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Get the recipe here!

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?