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What’s for dinner? 10 easy ideas both kids + grown-ups will love

As a busy mom and owner of a nutrition counseling private practice, I am a big fan of one meal for the whole family. I am not a short order cook and I encourage you not to be too—it just makes your life so much easier!


Here are 10 dinners that are quick, simple and fun for the whole family to enjoy:

1. Build your own taco bar

Start the assembly line with an option of a lettuce leaf, whole wheat tortilla bread, or collard green wrap. Then...

  1. Choose 1 or 2 protein options such as black beans, chicken breast strips or taco style meat (select lean ground turkey or chicken and lightly sauté with avocado oil and onions, garlic, tomato paste, and paprika).
  2. Choose an assortment of vegetables such as cauliflower or broccoli rice (add cut up cauliflower or broccoli to a food processor, pulverize until it is evenly chopped into small pieces, sauté lightly with avocado oil and pepper to taste), avocado, oven baked sweet potatoes, lightly sautéed peppers and onions.
  3. Choose 1-3 options of toppings: Greek yogurt, salsa verde, guacamole or low fat part skim mozzarella cheese.

Psst—If you want a little change, this taco is a huge hit in my house too and is filled with nutrient packed superfoods: Salmon Tacos with Red Cabbage Slaw and Spinach Walnut Pesto.

2. Pumpkin chickpea pasta

Boil 1 box of chickpea pasta for 7 minutes. Drain liquids, transfer back to the bowl and add 2 cups of pumpkin puree, 1 cup cheddar cheese (shredded), ½ cup 2% milk, 1 Tablespoon avocado oil, 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder and black pepper to taste.

3. Oven-“fried” fish with roasted broccoli and sweet potato fries

Bread any white fish (I like cod or halibut) by dipping the fish fillets into eggs and almond meal. Season with basil and black pepper, and bake at 400F with skin side down for about 20-25 minutes until fish flakes easily when tested.

Roast broccoli with a touch of avocado oil and garlic, bake on 375F for about 30 minutes.

Cut sweet potatoes into julienne strips, season with cinnamon and bake on 425F for 20 minutes.

Psst—To make it fun for younger kids, you could use a cookie cutter prior to breading and make the fish into a particular shape. My son loves dinosaurs so any food shaped like a dinosaur is sure to be a win!

4. Spaghetti squash bowl with meatballs

Cut spaghetti squash in half, remove pits, and place the skin side up in a medium sized oven pan.

Spray each side lightly with avocado oil and bake on 350F for 30 minutes, flipping midway through.

While the spaghetti squash is cooking, prep the meatballs: Add 1 lb lean ground turkey or chicken to a medium size bowl with ½ cup rolled oats, ½ cup finely chopped mushrooms or zucchini, 1 onion, 2 whole eggs, paprika, black pepper, and garlic powder to taste. Mix the meatball mixture, form into meatballs and add to a large pot of simmered low sodium tomato sauce. Cook for about 20 minutes.

Once the spaghetti squash is ready, use a fork to remove the flesh and plate with meatballs and sauce on top.

5. Veggie frittata

Scramble 5 whole eggs and 7 egg whites in a bowl. Add veggies of your choice to mixture (I particularly love mushrooms and broccoli together). Welcome ½ cup part skim shredded mozzarella cheese or 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast.

Fill up medium sized pan and bake on 350F for about 20 minutes.

6. Tofu scramble

Use a fork to crumble the tofu into bite sized pieces. Add tofu, thinly sliced pepper, tomatoes, onions and spinach with avocado oil to an iron skillet on the stove top. Season with garlic powder, black pepper and basil.

Sautee lightly and enjoy with roasted potatoes or 1-2 slices of toasted whole wheat bread and avocado.

7. Black bean and beef sliders

With a potato masher or fork, mash ¼ cup cooked black beans with 1 tablespoon avocado oil, and garlic powder until very creamy. Mix the black bean mixture with ½ pound ground lean beef. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Broil for about 20 minutes, flipping midway through. Toast whole wheat buns and add mustard, ketchup, lettuce, tomato, cucumbers to your liking. (This makes about 8 sliders.)

8. Spinach stuffed chicken breasts

Cut a pocket into each chicken breast, going almost all the way through.

Divide ½ cup chopped spinach and 2 tablespoons chopped basil for 4 chicken breasts and fill each chicken breast pocket with it, adding 2-3 lemon slices. Use toothpicks to hold the pockets closed. Season chicken with black pepper and salt to taste.

Bake chicken on 350F for about 25- 30 minutes. Serve with quinoa and a side of steamed broccoli. (This recipe is for 4 chicken breasts.)

9. Turkey bean chili

Heat 2 teaspoons of avocado oil in a large pot over medium heat. Place 1-pound ground lean turkey in the pot and cook until evenly brown. Stir in 1 chopped onion, 1 cup carrots and parsnips and cook until tender.

Add 2 cups of water into the pot. Mix in 4 diced tomatoes, 2 tablespoons tomato paste, 16 ounces of kidney beans and garlic. Season with ½ teaspoon of chili powder, paprika, oregano, cayenne pepper, cumin, salt, and pepper.

Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 30 minutes.

Psst—If you want to make vegetarian, omit the turkey and add an additional 16 ounces of beans instead.

10. Homemade pizza

Choose the pizza crust you desire below and the instructions that follow.

A. Pre-made whole wheat pizza crust. Bring dough to room temperature and then use a rolling pan to evenly roll dough into your desired pizza crust shape. If you have a pizza stone, place the crust on the pizza stone and add low sodium tomato sauce and desired toppings (such as broccoli, red peppers, mushrooms, artichokes) and ½ cup low fat mozzarella cheese. Bake in oven for about 30 minutes on 400F.

B. Home-made cauliflower crust. In a bowl, combine 1 head of cauliflower with ¼ cup shredded mozzarella, ¼ grated Parmesan cheese, ½ teaspoon oregano, ¼ teaspoon garlic powder, 2 eggs and salt to taste.

Transfer to the center of the baking sheet and spread the mixture into a circle, resembling a pizza crust. Bake at 400F for 20 minutes.

Remove and add low sodium tomato sauce with desired toppings (such as broccoli, red peppers, mushrooms, artichokes) and ¼ cup part skim shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake in oven for an additional 10 minutes.

Psst—If you want the crust to be a bit more crispy, return the pizza to the oven and increase the temperature to 450F for an additional 5 minutes.

Who says you have to wait for birthdays or holidays to give your bestie a great gift? A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs in these more-than-trying times. We've rounded up some of our favorite go-to gifts that are certain to be a bright spot in her week. But be warned, you may want to snag a few for yourself. (You deserve it, mama.)

Here are some our favorite "just because" gifts to give our hardworking mama friends.

New Mother face + body care duo

volition face + body care duo

This correcting oil and stretch mark minimizer is perfect for the pregnant mama looking to keep her pregnancy glow. The correcting oil brightens the skin while reducing dark spots, and the stretch mark minimizer works to smooth her ever-growing belly.

$70

Allover roller

esker allover roller

This jade roller goes beyond your typical face roller and can be used anywhere on the body. It works to increase stimulation and reduce puffiness and is perfect for applying any oils to the face or body. Plus, it feels like a mini spa treatment.

$65

Kombucha making kit

farmsteady kombucha making kit

What could be a more perfect gift for the health-obsessed friend? This kombucha making kit comes with everything you need to brew your own homemade green tea kombucha. They'll think this is the tastiest gift ever.

$45

Laetitia lipstick

cupid & psyche laetitia

This red lipstick is perfect for your makeup enthusiast bestie who is looking to spruce up her life in quarantine. Crafted in the United States, these bee and vegan-friendly and cruelty-free lipsticks are created to flatter all complexions. Cupid and Psyche Beauty makes finding the perfect red lip way too easy!

$23

Jigsaw puzzle

inner piecec jigsaw puzzle

Mamas need to destress now more than ever during quarantine. This adorable jigsaw puzzle is perfect for the mama who needs a brain break! The 500-piece puzzle designed by artist Ray Oranges features an abstract gradient design that fits a standard frame when completed. Bonus: It's printed on recycled paper and the company donates $1 from every puzzle sold to youth mindfulness programs.

$30

Matilda's Bloombox

matilda's bloombox

If we have to be stuck inside, we might as well have some gorgeous florals to brighten up the space. Matilda's Bloombox locally sources blooms, delivers them to her door and provides simple tips on how to arrange it into a beautiful bouquet.

$39

'I Am Enough' bracelet

I Am Enough bracelet

Let this dainty bracelet serve as a constant reminder to your bestie that she is enough. She'll wear this on her wrist and read this daily oath to herself, "I Am Enough."

$35

Glow assorted teas

vahdam low assorted teas

This tea gift box set covers the entire spectrum of flavors from sweet to spicy. Individually packaged in beautiful tins, your gal pal will feel like a queen sipping her morning tea. Originally $40, this set is currently on sale for just $24. We'll take two, please.

$24

Find your voice journal

find your voice journal

Journaling is a great way to ease anxiety and will slow your bestie's racing mind before bed. This gift is perfect for first time journalists and includes prompts, daily quotes and coloring pages to help her unlock her potential and find her voice.

$22

Premium frother

shore magic premium frother

This gift is fitting for your latte-sipping bestie who can't go a day without her coffee. All she has to do is add two scoops of collagen to her favorite drink, and she'll have a perfectly foamy drink ready in seconds. Skipping the drive-thru line has never been so easy!

$25

Bath soak infusion kit

maude bath soak infusion kit

Say hello to hydration! She'll be feeling smooth and relaxed as ever after a long bath soaking in these salts. This vegan + cruelty-free set incorporates dead sea salt and dehydrated coconut milk powder for an ultra hydrating experience.

$32

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

It's a hard-earned title she answers to a hundred times per day. Whether she's new to the club or a seasoned professional, this delicate script 'mama' necklace is guaranteed to be a perfect fit.

$105

Superfood honey

Beekeeper's Naturals B.Powered honey

With a lack of sleep and jam-packed days, getting through the afternoon can be a real challenge. Send her a powerful pick-me-up in the form of a therapeutic blend of royal jelly, bee pollen, propolis and raw honey. It makes the ideal companion for tea, smoothies, yogurt or even on its on.

$17

Calming midnight mask with melatonin

Who doesn't deserve a reminder to pamper themself every once in awhile? Even better, this mask does all its work at night while you're sleeping with no extra effort needed. It's an amazing plant-powered antioxidant-packed mask that has melatonin, wild dandelion leaf and hyaluronic acid to rehydrate, repair and reset facial skin. It's so good, you might want to gift it to yourself. We won't tell, mama.

$68

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When expecting a baby, there is a lot you can test-run in advance: Take that stroller around the block. Go for a spin with the car seat secured in place. Learn how to use the baby carrier with help from a doll. But breastfeeding? It's not exactly possible to practice before baby's arrival.

The absence of a trial makes it all the more important to prepare in other ways for breastfeeding success—and it can be as simple as adding a few of our lactation aiding favorites to your registry.

MilkBliss chocolate chip soft baked lactation cookies

MilkBliss lactation cookies

Studies have shown the top reason women stop breastfeeding within the first year is because they are concerned about their milk supply being enough to nourish baby. Consider MilkBliss Lactation Cookies to be your secret weapon. Not only are they wholesome and delicious, but they were formulated specifically for breastfeeding moms based on the science of galactagogues—also known as milk boosters. They also come in peanut butter and wild blueberry flavors.

$23

Evereden multi-purpose healing balm

Evereden multipurpose healing balm

Also up there on the list of reasons women stop breastfeeding: the toll the early days can take on nipples. Made from just five ingredients, this all natural healing balm is ideal for soothing chafed nipples, making for a much more comfortable experience for mama as her body adjusts to the needs of a breastfeeding baby.

$20

Lansinoh milk storage bags

Lansinoh milk storage bags

For a breastfeeding mama, there are few things more precious and valuable than the milk she worked so hard to pump—and it's the stuff of nightmares to imagine it spilling out in the fridge. With these double-sealed milk storage bags, you can be assured your breastmilk is safe and sound until baby needs it.

$12.50

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Nursing a baby is a 24/7 job, which calls for some wardrobe modifications. Because Belly Bandit specializes in making things more comfortable for the postpartum mama, they've truly thought of every detail—from the breathable fabric to the clips that can be easily opened with one hand.

$47

boob-ease soothing therapy pillows

Boob Ease soothing therapy pillows

For nursing moms, duct can quickly become a four-letter word when you suspect it's getting clogged. By keeping these soothing breast pillows in your breastfeeding arsenal, you can immediately go on the defense against plugged milk ducts by heating the pads in the microwave or cooling them in the freezer.

$25

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

A unfortunate reality of nursing is that it can really seem to limit the wardrobe options when you have to think about providing easy, discrete access. But by adding functional basics to your closet, you can feel confident and prepared for breastfeeding on the go.

$59

Bebe au Lait premium cotton nursing cover

Bebe au Lait cotton nursing cover

Nursing in public isn't every mama's cup of tea. But babies can't always wait until you've found a private place to get down to business if that's your preference. That's where a nursing cover comes in handy. This one is made from premium cotton and features a patented neckline that allows for airflow and eye contact even while you're covered.

$36

Lactation Lab basic breastmilk testing kit

Lactation Lab breastmilk testing kit

Curious to learn more about the liquid gold you're making, mama? The testing kit from Lactation Labs analyzes your breast milk for basic nutritional content like calories and protein, as well as vitamins, fatty acids and environmental toxins to help boost your breastfeeding confidence.

$99

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Our list of 100 baby names that should be on everyone's list this year includes more choices than in the past of names that are obscure and surprising. That's because there are so many more unusual baby names coming into widespread use and baby namers have become a lot more adventurous.

Expectant parents do not need to be told to move beyond Jennifer and Jason. Their thinking about names has evolved to the point that the most useful thing we can do is offer a large menu of intriguing choices.

Here are our picks for the 100 best surprising + unusual baby names now.


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