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
This post is in no way sponsored by Shipt, H-E-B or Amazon Prime Pantry. I'm simply sharing my thoughts on each service and how they could help you and your family!
If you're curious about how grocery delivery works and the different options available, you've come to the right place. And if you're thinking "I could never in a million years let someone else shop for my groceries" (I was in that camp), please keep reading. Grocery delivery and curbside options have seriously changed my life- I'm not even exaggerating. I feel like I've discovered the secret to fitting more hours in the day!
I'll be covering Shipt, Amazon Prime Pantry & H-E-B Curbside below. This is not an exhaustive list- I realize there are many options available nowadays, but I'm just presenting the 411 on the 3 I've become most familiar with. If you're not in Texas, skip over the H-E-B curbside part below!
And if you're still shaking your head "NO" thinking that grocery delivery is just impossible for you for a variety of reasons, I promise I came up with every reason NOT to try it. A trusted professional (my therapist) was actually the one who recommended it and my initial response was something to the effect of "Do you not even know me?! Do we not work on my control issues like ALL the time?!". And I didn't give in to her on-point recommendation until I was pregnant with morning (all-day) sickness. Oh, how I wish I would have done this years ago! If you think you've got me on control issues... I assure you I'm a bonafide Type A, control freak.
-Cost: $99 for annual membership (about $8.25) or $14/month to month
-Delivery Fee: Free over $35 order (so basically free every time because who seriously spends less than $35 at the grocery store?!)
-Order from mobile app or computer
-Same day delivery, sometimes within 1-2 hours
-Access to anything at your grocery store
-HUGE TIME-SAVER----have I mentioned that yet? No driving. No parking. No shopping. No driving home. No unloading (that's right- the Shipt Shopper does that for you, which is a huge help for this preggo not to lug in huge bottles of water and tea.
-Very user-friendly mobile app that stores all your previously ordered items. It literally takes 2 minutes to select my frequent items from my "buy it again" category and it also stores previous notes about items (how green I like my bananas or that I want the salad with the farthest expiration date)
-Great communication between the shopper and customer. You're notified via text when the shopper arrives at the store and finishes the order. They also text you to ask questions (if you want them to) about items the store may not have in stock and what substitution you like.
-Unlimited orders per day. I recently needed groceries for the week AND groceries for a recipe. The recipe required items available at a different store (Central Market) so I placed an order for H-E-B and an order for Central Market.
-Great for last minute needs. I've placed orders and had all my items show up 2 hours later.
-All the shoppers I've had so far (about half a dozen) have been SUPER nice and accommodating. And I would be lying if I said I haven't had some fairly complicated orders.
-More expensive than actually going to the grocery store yourself. BUT the time you save- oh my gosh, the time saving factor is seriously priceless. I've noticed most items are anywhere from 20 cents to 50 cents more than the in-store price.
-Can't use manufacturer's coupons
-Human error. In this case, I've yet to have a Shipt shopper make an error, but I've actually entered the wrong item in the app a couple times so they purchased it and I was stuck with it.
-Subjectivity when picking produce. Although you can enter "notes" with each item, someone else may think something is more ripe than what you would think or small/larger than the "medium" onion you requested. I'm SUPER picky with my produce and I've yet to be hugely disappointed, but it's still not the same as when I pick out my bananas or avocados.
-Items in Shipt app don't have nutritional information
You can save $10 on your first order if you use the link below. Note- I haven't partnered with Shipt, I just LOVE their service and they give ALL their users a free code to give to family and friends!
Amazon Prime Pantry Basics
-Free for Prime Members (Prime membership is $99/year)
-Designed for ordering bulk items, dry goods and other household items
-Flat delivery rate of $5.99 for a box weighing up to 45 pounds or 4 cubic feet
-Shipped via ground delivery
-Great deals on certain items. For example, I could order my calcium supplement for $16.00 on Amazon Prime and the same item was a little over $8.00 if ordered through Prime Pantry. That's a HUGE savings!
-Cheap shipping/minimal fees. Since many of us already have Prime memberships, it almost seems like a "free" service.
-Multiple coupons/future credits often issued. In addition to some items being on sale, there are often bundles that if you buy a certain amount of a particular type of item, you can take an extra X amount off your order. I've also noticed some orders generate promo codes for discounts on your next order.
-Limited items. Obviously you can't order perishable items, but I found that at least half a dozen household items I wanted to order weren't available.
-Can't use manufacturer's coupons
-Nutrition information not available on most items
-Requires much more planning ahead. Shipments usually arrive in 3-5 days from when the order is placed so if you need something "last minute", Prime Pantry won't cut it.
-Possible issues with items leaking/busting. Shipping laundry detergent, gallon jugs of tea and a liter of mouthwash could possibly result in a spill or two. My last order was actually never delivered because something was spilled/damaged. It took a while to sort this out which was frustrating, but I'm all about giving second chances so I definitely plan on placing another order.
H-E-B Curbside Basics
-Order placed online from your computer and picked up at a designated time at your local H-E-B
-$4.95 fee per order
-Available at some, but not all H-E-Bs
-Excellent pricing, items marked up about 3% so you're looking at a $100 order costing an extra ~$3
-Easy ordering, has a "previously purchased" section for easy reordering
-You can "Shop by Aisle" which helps me not forget items I need to order and look at the "weekly add" for specials
-Fairly quick ordering capabilities. Sometimes same day is available, but I've found most times placing an order the day before is best for getting the pickup time that's best for you.
-Easy Substitutions. Someone from the curbside team can call you if they're out of a particular item.
-Coupons and promotions often available. There was recently a promo code for FOUR free curbside orders for new users!
-Requires slightly more planning ahead, compared to Shipt that can deliver something within about 2 hours
-Can't use manufacturers coupons
-Same cons as Shipt regarding picking out produce and human error
-No mobile app. I love building a grocery list AS an order so this is a big con for me.
In short, I think Shipt is the best option in terms of saving the most time and being the most convenient. I think H-E-B curbside is the best priced option that still saves the actual grocery shopping time. Amazon Prime Pantry needs to make more items available, but is still a great option when you have several days to wait for items and just want to take advantage of your Prime membership and stock up on much-needed household items!
Lastly, if you're like I WAS (super resistant to jumping on the grocery delivery bandwagon), just do it. You will only regret not doing it sooner! <3 Shannon
Disclosure: I am thrilled to partner with Balchem, a nutrition ingredient supplier for this post. As always, all opinions are my own.
Happy New Year, y'all! I couldn't be more excited about this year and all that's in store. Y'all will continue to find simple recipes here at KISS in the Kitchen (remember, KISS = Keep it simple, Shannon!) with simple/few ingredients, helpful tips and tricks to make cooking and life a bit easier, and up to date nutrition info that's important for you and your family! It's always my goal to be transparent and share all of this in the context of my own life- with celebrations and struggles alike!
This past August I wrote about the importance of choline for maternal and fetal health, but little did I know I'd get some incredibly exciting and relevant news just one month later- yep, those 2 little pink lines appeared and the reality began to sink in that this family is growing!
And can I just be REALLY honest about something? Just because I'm a dietitian doesn't mean I have it all together, that my diet is perfect, that I don't experience nausea to where the only first trimester goal is just survival (more on this in a bit) or that I automatically feel confident in all my food/nutrition choices. Just like every mom-to-be, I second guessed everything and also turned to some of my closest friends/colleagues to make sure I was selecting the best supplements, setting realistic goals and for confirmation on a variety of decisions because pregnancy brain- yeah, it's a thing.
I've had a lot of women ask me over the years if prenatal vitamins are really necessary in pregnancy and the answer is YES. There are some vitamins, minerals and micronutrients, like folic acid, Vitamin D, iron, DHA and choline, that can be either very difficult or almost impossible to achieve from diet alone during pregnancy. Choline was on my radar for most of 2017, especially after learning that only 8% of Americans AND only 8.51% of pregnant women meet the Adequate Intake for Choline!* And did you know that...
Although I'm quite familiar with choline containing foods and the goal of consuming the recommended daily intake of 550mg, meeting that goal was much easier said than done. I normally love eggs, salmon, beef, edamame and a handful of other choline-abundant foods, but when morning (all-day) sickness hit hard, and crackers, ginger ale and cereal were all I could possibly consider eating, I knew it was time to add in supplemental choline. This personal realization also happened to be very consistent with current research findings- that unless you're eating 2 eggs daily or taking a dietary supplement, it's incredibly difficult to meet the Adequate Intake for choline*.
Choline actually wasn't recognized as an essential nutrient until the late 1990's, but it has many important functions throughout the lifespan. During pregnancy, it helps support overall fetal growth, but especially supports a baby's growing brain and also potentially protects against neural tube defects. In fact, new research from choline expert Marie Caudill provides compelling evidence that pregnant women may need nearly double the currently recommended amount of choline each day, particularly in the last trimester, to support improved cognitive function in their infants, including improved information processing skills.**
I'm now well into the second trimester and fortunately most of the nausea and food aversions have subsided. I'm actually able to eat AND enjoy some of my favorite foods, like eggs and beef, that happen to be choline-containing foods!
One of my favorite easy lunch or dinners to whip together has been this Pregnancy Power Salad. It's loaded with fiber, protein and choline- a big nutrition win for pregnancy or even if you're just looking for some New Year's menu inspo!
Although I really enjoy this salad, there are days where because of time or energy, healthy and homemade options aren't always a reality. Taking supplemental choline, in addition to my prenatal vitamin, gives me the peace of mind that both myself and my baby girl are getting all the choline we need for optimal health. Choline is also just as important during the postpartum period, especially for breastfeeding mommas, so I'm grateful I found a supplement and eating pattern that is working so well now!
I'd love to hear from you and your thoughts on today's post! So many women (myself included until last year) aren't too familiar with choline. I'd be happy to answer any other questions and I want to wish you all a wonderful start to the New Year and a blessed 2018! <3 Shannon
*Wallace, T., & Fulgoni, V. (2017). Usual Choline Intakes Are Associated with Egg and Protein Food Consumption in the United States. Nutrients, 9(8), 839. doi:10.3390/nu9080839
**Caudill, M., Strupp A., et al. (2017). Maternal choline supplementation during the third trimester of pregnancy improves infant information processing speed: a randomized, double-blind, controlled feeding study. The FASEB Journal, published ahead of print December 7, 2017, doi:10.1096/fj.201700692RR
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.