I couldn’t be more excited for the New Year! Although KISS in the Kitchen will always be a food and nutrition blog, I’m excited to expand it a bit to include more components of healthy living. I’m also excited that these days there is more and more focus on non-diet philosophies and other important factors that contribute to our health. I would argue our physical, spiritual and mental well-being are just as important (and sometimes more) than the food we put in our bodies. I can eat “healthy” food all day long, but if I’m underslept, overworked, not moving my body and being over-exposured to toxins/chemicals through my environment, that food can’t possible compensate for all those other negative lifestyle factors. That’s actually good news though- it means there are more ways to work on being healthful than just food and I’m excited to share my favorite ways to boost your health that aren’t food or exercise related!
1.) Ditch the plastic. Use less plastic and store your food in less plastic. There's a few ways to do this, but I'm finding the easiest way to transition is by slowly replacing your plastic storage containers with glass ones. There are also silicone storage bags that are great for keeping snacks fresh!
2.) Choose safer skincare/beauty products. This has become a huge passion project for me. After having Joy, I began doing more research into what is actually in my skincare and makeup and needless to say, I no longer felt comfortable using those products- especially with her licking on me! Once you know better, you do better. I started with simple switches like a natural deodorant and natural chapstick. Primally Pure is my favorite brand for both of those things, as well as body butter and dry shampoo. If you're interested in trying out any of their products, you can use the code "KISS" at checkout for 10% off your first order!
I'm also in the process to converting all my skincare and makeup to Beautycounter. Beautycounter bans more than 1500 ingredients from their products and is truly on a mission to get safer skincare in the hands of everyone. I couldn't be more excited to be a party of a company that is making a difference in the skincare and beauty industry and has such honorable practices. Plus, their safer skincare and makeup performs really well. If safer beauty is an interest or passion for you, shoot me an email- I'd love to chat with you more!
3. Put the phone down. I understand how hard this one can be. I'm sure some of you reading this are thinking you can tackle less plastic and safer beauty, but less screentime is going to be a bit too hard. It's hard, but oh so worth it. For the sake of being present, resting your mind and having meaningful connections, reduce the time you spend on your phone. Start by not having it at the dinner table or in the bed at night or utilize the screentime limit feature you can now find on your Iphone!
4. Read more. When's the last time you cracked open a book or magazine? Personally, I have magazines piling up on my coffee table and several books on a shelf that I purchased pre-baby and just haven't had a chance to read. Whether you're reading something educational, Your Bible or a fiction book, consider committing to daily or at least weekly reading this year!
5. Focus on your breath. We tend to rush around so much and pay very little attention to our breathing. Focusing on our breath or doing deep breathing exercises is an excellent way to reduce stress. Whether you actually stop to complete some deep breathing exercises or you just pause to pay attention to your breath, both are beneficial. When feeling stressed, an excellent first response is to take a deep breath.
I'm wishing y'all a blessed and prosperous New Year that is full of health! I'm looking forward to sharing more simple, healthy and delicious recipes with y'all in 2019! <3 Shannon
I've been wanting to write this post for a while, but I didn't quite feel like I was out of survival mode yet! I *think* I'm starting to get my head a teeny bit above water (granted we haven't hit the dreaded 4 month sleep regression yet) and feel like I have enough clarity to share a few things that have been super helpful during the past 3+ months.
1.) ASK for help and/or make a list of things you need ahead of time and when someone asks what they can bring, tell them! My strong point is definitely not vocalizing my needs, but in this season of what felt like complete drowning at times, I found myself more willing to ask for help. The problem was I didn't always know what I needed or frankly have the mental energy to think about it. Looking back, I should have made a list of things I wanted/needed. Examples include making a list of favorite snacks, drinks, restaurants (even specific menu items at a restaurant) and household chores. It may sound ridiculous but if there's specific instructions for something in your house (i.e. washer/dryer), type them out and tape them up. There are usually a lot of people willing and wanting to help when a new baby comes home, but they can only help as much as you allow. Set everyone up for success by thinking about your needs ahead of time!
2.) A good probiotic. Seriously. 70% of your immunity is in your gut and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out it's easier to get sick when you're literally running on no sleep. I also had to receive antibiotics prior to delivery so all the more reason I loaded up on probiotics. My best friend even made me homemade bone broth when she was here helping for the week after we brought Joy home!
3.) Create a snack/hydration basket to always have nearby where you feed your baby. This is something EVERY mom needs- doesn't matter if you're breastfeeding, pumping or bottle-feeding, we all have a usual place we feed the baby and there should be some nutritious snacks and drinks there! I'm surprised I didn't figure this one out sooner, but I feel like every time I sat down to feed the baby, I somehow failed to have something to drink or eat. At first I just started stashing dark chocolate in a little bin (seriously), but then nuts, granola bars, and dried fruits and veggies joined the dark chocolate. It may sound a bit extreme, but we have a mini-fridge (that we already had- didn't purchase it specifically for this) next to where I pump/feed Joy. It's stocked with waters, La Croix and electrolyte drinks. I have zero excuse for not staying hydrated.
4.) Keep easy/healthy ready-to-eat items on standby, consider grocery delivery or even a mealkit delivery service and plan ahead!! The old motto of you either fail to plan or plan to fail is even more true when you're trying to keep a household going after bringing a new baby home. I was so fortunate to have my best friend stay with us the first week after Joy was born and she cooked up a storm! She left us with a freezer stocked full of frozen meals, but I learned the hard way that I still had to plan ahead to thaw them [duh]. That sounds so silly, but I would stumble into the kitchen at 5pm and think "We can eat the chicken and rice casserole for dinner...", but then realize it actually needs to thaw. Plan ahead- write a tentative meal plan out for the week. Even if that includes take out, at least you know ahead of time and that also helps you identify the best time for someone to bring a meal over when they ask what you need! And I can't stress enough how grocery delivery and curbside have saved my butt. We wouldn't have any fresh groceries if it wasn't for those options and I even wrote a post comparing Shipt, H-E-B curbside and Prime Pantry!
5.) Rely on sheet pan meals and freezer meals. Here are a few of my favorite KISS in the Kitchen sheet pan meals and also a round-up of 25 meals that are freezer-friendly!
Hope you found these tips helpful! Mamas, you are doing a great job and your little ones are so blessed to have you! <3 Shannon
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It brings me great joy to announce that we are now a family of three! Our sweet baby girl, Joy Elisabeth, was born on June 2nd and our lives have been forever changed. I can't wait to share more details on her birth, our newborn essentials and much more in the weeks and months to come! My best friend came in for a week right after Joy was born and she cooked up a storm for days- making sure our freezer was stocked with nutritious and delicious meals! We feel SO tremendously grateful every time we enjoy these meals!
Freezer meals are so helpful for transitional times in life! Whether it's a new baby, new job or even just getting back in the swing of a school year, freezer meals can totally save the day. As fantastic as freezer meals can be, they can be a bit tricky if recipes use ingredients that aren't super freezer-friendly (check out this podcast all about the basics of freezer cooking!) But rest assured, I've compiled 25 freezer-friendly recipes from my registered dietitian friends that y'all are going to love!
Baked Butternut Squash French Toast from Amy Gorin Nutrition
Freezer-Friendly Homemade Breakfast Sandwiches from Emily Kyle Nutrition
Blueberry Protein Pancakes (GF, DF) from Nutrition Starring YOU
Breakfast Burritos and Freezer Meal Prep from Eat Real Live Well
Triple Berry Lactation Waffles from Bucket List Tummy
Feast Day Soup from KISS in the Kitchen
Better For You Chili from Elizabeth Ward, MS, RD
Root Vegetable and Bean Soup from Tobi Amidor Nutrition
Freezer-Friendly Taco Soup from The Grateful Grazer
Roasted Tomato Soup from Foods with Judes
Vegan Lasagna with Tofu Ricotta from CitNutritionally
Rib Sticking Meatloaf Makeover from Liz's Healthy Table
Ginger Miso Turkey Burgers from Jessica Levinson, MDS, RDN, CDN
Stewed Chicken with Tomatoes and Capers from The Baby Steps Dietitian
Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli Lasagna from How to Eat
Lightened up Mexican Lasagna from Healthy Inspiration
Flaxseed Chicken Tenders from Nutrition to Fit
Mushroom Black Bean Veggie Burgers from The Foodie Dietitian
Eggplant Pesto Meatballs from Triad to Wellness
Stay tuned for a delicious summer salad recipe from my intern, Amanda, coming your way soon!
Welcome to KISS in the Kitchen! I'm Shannon, and my dad always told me "Keep it simple, Shannon". And that's what you'll find here- simple recipes and simple ideas to help you get healthier and happier.