Thursday, September 22, 2016

12 Healthy Pumpkin Snack Recipes

Happy first day of autumn! The weather has been in the 80s every day this week, but you can still feel fall in the air since it gets cool at night and a few changing leaves are peeking out of the neighborhood trees. I obviously need to share a pumpkin post today to celebrate the arrival of my favorite season. I asked a group of my fellow food bloggers to share their best healthy snack recipes using pumpkin. The result is 12 healthy pumpkin snack recipes that you can feel good about eating all season.


Check out these wonderful healthy food blogs by clicking on the pumpkin recipe links below or the direct link to each site. For more pumpkin recipe love, follow my Pumpkin board on Pinterest.





from Chicago Jogger










from Chicago Jogger










Looking for more pumpkin recipes? Try my:

Sunday, September 18, 2016

4 Meal Prep Tips + Perfect Fit Meals Review

This post is sponsored by Perfect Fit Meals. All opinions are my own.

As we move into the busy fall season, now is a great time to look at your meal prep and weekly cooking plans to take steps to become more efficient in the kitchen. The company Perfect Fit Meals recently reached out to me to try their fresh meals, which are available for purchase nationwide at various grocery stores. This also got me thinking about how to improve the meal prep in our house on a weekly basis - below my Perfect Fit Meals review are four meal prep tips I'm planning to start using this fall.


Perfect Fit Meals sent four meals for K and I to try. The meals come vacuum sealed and ready to warm up in the microwave. The timing was perfect to try Perfect Fit Meals, as we had just arrived home from a busy weekend visiting family and didn't have time to make it to the grocery store for our usual trip. Perfect Fit Meals include a 'use by' date since they are fresh and ready to eat. You can also freeze the meals, if needed.


We thought all four meals were delicious, though the portion sizes were a bit smaller than I usually make for dinner {under 400 calories}. This was no problem as we added a small side of our own at home to complete each dinner. Growing a baby takes a few extra calories I have found :)

K's favorite meal was the Havana Chicken {pictured below}, made with Cuban spices and paired with black beans, brown rice and green beans. He especially liked the generous serving of chicken and balanced food options in this meal, which included a high protein side and vegetable.


My favorite dish was the Turkey Enchilada Casserole {pictured below}, with lean ground turkey, enchilada sauce, black bean corn salsa, cheddar, and white corn tortilla strips. This dish reminded me of a delicious Mexican "lasagna" I made a few years ago. I love the protein in this meal from the ground turkey and beans.


As I mentioned above, Perfect Fit Meals are fresh and ready to serve after a quick warm-up in the microwave {the recommended time is 1-2 minutes per dish}. The meals are portion controlled and designed by dietitians; each meal averages 330 calories. In the Chicago area, Perfect Fit Meals are available for purchase at Jewel-Osco. Check out the Perfect Fit Meals store locator to find a location near you. Read the company's FAQ for more information.

I love the idea of having fresh meal options like Perfect Fit Meals for days when you are just too busy to cook. Taking time to prepare for weekly meals is something I have a goal of doing better this fall.


Here are the tips that our household is planning to use:

1) Prepare your own snacks.
2) Plan your meals for the week.
  • My goal is to plan meals for the coming week every weekend, including estimating what leftovers we will have and scheduling in any special events and solo meal nights when K is traveling for business. Writing down a plan before heading to the grocery store on Sunday morning makes for a more efficient trip, and helps ensure we don't buy too much {or too little} food.
3) Organize your meal inspiration.
  • I recently created a "recipes" bookmark folder on my phone and I regularly pin new recipes ideas on my Chicago Jogger Pinterest account. I also use the Notes application on my phone to keep track of groceries we need to pick up and add to a running list of meal ideas. This way I'm never without inspiration when the "what's for dinner"? question comes up.
4) Have easy, healthy meals ready to go for the unexpected.
  • No matter how much meal prep you do, life inevitably gets in the way and sometimes you need a meal that's ready to go with only a few minutes to prepare. I'm planning to have healthy options like Perfect Fit Meals ready for those busy nights.


How do you prep for weekly meals?