eating well

The science is in — eating well just became a WHOLE lot easier

I’ve gotta admit that I love it when my opinions are backed up by brilliant women and men wearing white lab coats.


It happened again last week when a new study published in JAMA confirmed that calorie-restriction ISN’T the best way to reach and maintain a healthy weight, and what really matters is food quality, not food quantity.


​For years I’ve been saying that WHAT you eat matters more than HOW MUCH you eat. And, when it comes to eating for self-love, we need to prioritize the foods that best nourish our bodies.

Eating well is how I overcame a decade of anorexia, bulimia, and binge-eating; providing my body with the nutrients it needed allowed me to regenerate physically, mentally, and emotionally.


Obsessing about portion sizes, eliminating macronutrients (fat, protein, and carbs), or avoiding healthy foods because they’re calorically dense takes up WAY too much mental real estate. Think about all the time and brainpower you can suddenly regain by letting go of such restrictive thinking.


The study, which was carried out on 600 people, found that participants lost a significant amount of weight by replacing added sugar, refined carbohydrates, and highly processed foods with vegetables, complex grains, and whole foods. Not rocket science, right?

​But here’s the clincher: unlike other studies that set extremely restrictive limitations on specific food groups, participants of this study lost weight regardless of the calories or portion sizes eaten.


It’s not that calories don’t matter, but food quality matters more. Plus, it becomes a lot easier to eat an appropriate number of calories for your weight, age, and physical activity level when you eat real food. (Are you more likely to overeat a farro, roasted vegetable, and feta cheese salad, or a packet of Doritos or bowl of mac & cheese?)

The bottom line is this

Eating well is very easy to do and doesn’t require you to follow every trend that the diet industry throws your way. Focusing on food quality is the cheapest, easiest and most enjoyable way to lose weight and gain better health.


This week I encourage you to let go of food-phobia. Then ask yourself, how you can make the meals you’re already eating a little more nutritious?


Let me know how it goes!



With love,



In my program, Slim Down With Self Love Bootcamp, I teach women exactly how to do this, so that they can let go of food fear, and eat in a way that makes them feel well, look well, and live well. Registration for the program has closed, but you can join the waitlist for our October release HERE.



pistachio pesto

This is how I eat more vegetables…

There’s a social media trend that gets my goat.


It’s when “fit girls” brag about eating crap while showing off their size-two waists.


Example A: Fit-girl takes a crop-top selfie, and writes,“needed to crush it in the gym today after last night’s pizza binge!”

Example B: Fit-girl tags photo of fit-friend, and writes, “What a babe! Can you believe she LOVES donuts?”


I know these types of girls, and the reality is this: they exercise like the dickens and follow STRICT diets. They are not sitting on their bums, binge-watching Grace & Frankie, and sucking on bonbons.


For them, eating donuts is the exception and not the rule, so why highlight it?

Do they think it makes them relatable?




It reminds me of rom-com scripts that have a woman pretend to be a beer-swilling, football-loving hottie, to get the guy. It’s a clichéd, anti-feminist storyline that is SO 1990s.


These days, it’s cool to both be yourself, and take your health seriously (without being a wanker about the way you eat).


You can definitely have some junk from time-to-time…IF the bulk of your food is good for you.


My husband and I balance our Friday night takeout and Sunday croissants with the Brontosaurian amount of veggies that we eat during the week. It’s called the 80/20 rule, and it’s just the way healthy living works.


This is a principle that a lot of people gloss over:


“Too simple.”

“Too boring.”

“Not sexy.”


But it’s also the principle that will keep you healthy, sane, and able to enjoy life.


So, on Sunday, while the cool kids were drinking mimosas and posting about it on Instagram, I was in the kitchen, blending up the recipes below. These three hidden-veggie hacks are a simple way to get more goodness onto your plate (and make the 80% part of the equation as tasty as the 20%).


Perhaps you’d like to give them a go?


Chickpea Carrot Hummus

Blending chickpeas with steamed carrots, ginger, and turmeric adds more nutrition and flavor.

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 large carrots, peeled, chopped, and par-cooked in microwave
  • 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried turmeric
  • a decent grind of black pepper and a pinch of Himalayan sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • splash of water to thin, if needed

Add everything to a high-speed blender or food processor and whiz to combine. Refrigerate for up to five days (or freeze some and defrost in the fridge overnight).

Eat with veggie crudités, seed crackers, or spread on your lunch sandwich.

Beet-Berry Smoothie (serves 1)

This antioxidant-rich smoothie provides a serve each of fat, protein, and veggies at breakfast. I make three at a time and freeze them in glass jars. To defrost: place in the fridge overnight.

  • 1 small beet, peeled, quartered, and steamed in the microwave (about 1.5 minutes)
  • 1 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla protein powder OR 1 tablespoon cacao powder (optional)
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk

Add everything to a blender and process until smooth. This smoothie should be thick enough to eat with a spoon; if it’s too thick, add a little water. Feel free to top with fresh berries and nuts, if you like.

Loaded Vegan Pistachio Pesto

This recipe is lighter and more nutrient dense than store-bought pestos, as I’ve reduced the oil, omitted the cheese, and used a bouquet of different herbs. Pistachios provide potassium and magnesium, and they tend to be cheaper than the pine nuts used in traditional pesto recipes.

  • 1 bunch each parsley, basil, cilantro (fresh coriander)
  • 1/2 cup shelled pistachio nuts
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and squashed with the back of a knife
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • a decent grind of black pepper and a pinch of Himalayan sea salt

Add everything to a food processor and whiz until smooth. Add a little more lemon juice or a tiny dash of water if needed.

Transfer half the pesto to a glass jar and drizzle olive oil over the top. Store in the fridge for 4-5 days, and use as a dip, a spread, or to toss through veg and pasta at dinner. Freeze remaining pesto in ice-cube trays to use in soups, pasta, meat dishes, etc.


Remember, healthy doesn’t have to be complicated, and it doesn’t have to be boring. It should be simple, sustainable, doable, and desirable, and that’s precisely what I’ll teach you in my new 7-week online program, Slim Down With Self Love Bootcamp. Click here to find out more.

With love,

How to stop feeling lonely

Feeling Lonely? These six tips will help.

Today’s topic is pretty personal. As a somewhat private person, I don’t like using myself as a case study until I’ve figured out a solution to whatever problem I’m having.

I’m not so keen to wave my “dirty laundry” to the world in real time.

But, what I’m feeling is something that you might be familiar with too, so I thought to bring it to the table.

In this post, we’re talking about loneliness, why you shouldn’t be ashamed of feeling lonely, and what you can do to combat being alone.

In case you don’t already know, I am introverted by nature. My at-home joker confidence rarely makes it past these four walls, which is why large social gatherings often fill me with dread. I primarily work from our kitchen table in the vast, sometimes soulless city of L.A. My husband frequently travels during the week, and I live 7,497 mi (12,066 km) from my family.

It’s safe to say that I spend a lot of time by myself. But that’s not what makes me lonely.

The thing about loneliness is that you don’t have to be alone to feel it. In fact, it’s entirely possible to be surrounded by people and still feel isolated and forgotten.

Loneliness doesn’t come from lacking social-media “friends” or not having enough numbers in our contact list. It comes from missing the genuine human interaction that we are designed to have. It’s craving the acknowledgment that OTHER. PEOPLE. SEE. YOU.

(An experience that I find increasingly hard to come by in day-to-day life.)

It’s hard to feel lonely at a raucous family dinner, when laughing with friends, or after you receive a warm smile from an acquaintance who remembers your face.

Unfortunately, the virtualization of our lives and workdays has made it more-and-more “unnecessary” to have these real-world interactions.

But we absolutely must.

In the last decade, researchers and doctors have documented the impact of social isolation on health, well-being, and mortality.

The findings weren’t great.

  • They compared chronic loneliness with chronic disease (1)
  • Research in Britain found that it could be more devastating than obesity, and as bad as smoking 15 cigarettes a day (2)
  • And overall, the data strongly linked chronic loneliness with early death (3)

Now, I want to make it very clear that I am not chronically lonely, and I’m not suggesting that you are. We all feel the tug of isolation from time-to-time, and that is different from experiencing the extreme social isolation on which this research focused.

In fact, I would argue that, in the right doses, loneliness can be quite a good thing, as it forces us to connect with ourselves on a deeper level.

However, if it becomes chronic, it becomes a problem.

(Fine print: if you do currently find yourself at that end of the spectrum, it will require your immediate attention.)

What this tells me is that no matter your situation at the moment, we should all be more vigilant about strengthening our social skills, creating more opportunities for genuine interaction, and using our self-love practice to avoid spiraling into loneliness when we are merely alone.

Below I’m sharing six tips for mitigating (non-chronic) loneliness, but I’d love for you to add to this list. Please, leave a comment below telling me your number one strategy for feeling full seen, heard, and valued.

Feel Your Feelings

Step one is to acknowledge WHAT you’re feeling and healthily process those emotions. You might need to have a cry, a whinge, write in your journal, or let out a frustrated GRRR! You might think it’s got something to do with who you are (it doesn’t), or that other people don’t feel the same way (they do). Whatever you do, don’t block your feelings with food or unhealthy lifestyle habits; these will only make you feel worse.

Move Your Body

Next, you might like to move your body. You’ve felt the emotions, and you’ve processed them, now you have to let them out. Go for a walk or a run, dance in the living room, throw a few Kung Fu kicks, or circle your arms like a determined Pelican. Whatever you do, your nervous system will appreciate you taking those bottled-up emotions and tossing them out into the world.

Make First Contact

Nope, I’m not talking about an alien invasion. I sometimes think that if I reach out to other people, they’ll only hang out with me as a sense of obligation (silly, I know). But the truth is that everyone feels busy, everyone feels a bit lonely, and perhaps they’re just as nervous as you are about being rejected. The next time you feel a little too alone, pick up the phone and call a friend.

Do Something Private In A Public Place

This one is all about surrounding yourself with other people, but not relying on them for your entertainment. For example, take a book to a local cafe, eat your lunch in a public park, or watch a movie at the cinema. Sometimes it’s nice just to have others around.

Plan An Outing Every Week

As an introvert, I enjoy spending time on my own…just not too much of it. Every week I make sure that I have one or two things on my calendar that get me out of the house and having fun. An outing gives me something to look forward to and makes me appreciate the opportunity to retreat-and-recharge at home later on.

Appreciate The Social Connections You Do Have

Are you making an effort to interact with others throughout the day? Do you engage in conversation with your co-workers? Are you asking the guy bagging your groceries about his day? Will you bend down to pet your neighbor’s dog? Or do you just keep yourself to yourself? Remember, to receive connection you will also need to initiate it.


I’d love to hear what you think about this topic. What’s your opinion on the state of loneliness in society today? And what are you doing to combat it in your own life? Please leave a comment below!


Until next week,

Cure for cellulite

My groundbreaking cellulite program

Back in 2013, I came up with my million dollar business idea — the ultimate cure for cellulite.

Compared to other sub-par cellulite programs on the market this one WOULD help women rid themselves of lumps and bumps forever, through a carefully curated, foolproof routine. It would be the ultimate cellulite solution.

The inspiration for this program came not long after I discovered my first derrière dimples at the tender age of 24. As I’ve written about before, this realization was soul crushing

However, as a pragmatic Taurean, I was buoyed in thinking that I could create a solution for millions of women around the world; this would no longer be a like it or lump it situation, I knew I could figure it out.

Fast forward three weeks: I was sitting at my dining room table, with hand-scrawled theories written on loose leaf paper strewn all around, and wondering why I hadn’t yet cracked the code for smooth, supple skin.

Following advice that I had found on the internet and read in books, I had:

  • Avoided crossing my legs for three weeks
  • Kept my feet elevated at night to reverse blood flow
  • Stopped eating chicken skin AND cottage cheese
  • Exercised my thighs with hundreds of teeny-tiny little pulses (thanks, but not really, Tracy Anderson)
  • Spent a medically unadvised amount of time in saunas and heated rooms to sweat out the toxins that contributed to my shameful cellulite
  • Dry body brushed on a daily basis: sweeping upwards on the thighs and downwards on the glutes
  • Popped collagen supplements and steered clear of any food that would further break down my skin’s apparently delicate structure
  • And I even spent $99 purchasing a “personalized cellulite removal schedule” that contained eight cellulite reversal exercises. You read that right, $99 for eight, one-move exercises.

But even with all of these interventions, one month later the little buggers were still there.

Ultimately, spending hours each day researching what I had to do to “look better” wasn’t a practical use of my time or my limited finances. As it turns out, weight loss trial and error is both time-consuming AND expensive.

So I archived my research and got back to real life. Eating chicken skin, crossing my legs and exercising in a way that made my entire body feel good.

As it turns out, while I’m still acquainted with my fair share of dimples (as is 90% of the female population), living a healthy, un-obsessed lifestyle did more for toning body than any “groundbreaking” cellulite program could.

Last week I invited you to join me in taking this year one day at a time.

Today I offer up another 2018 wellness proposal: be willing to follow through with sustainable, daily health and lifestyle practices, and stay committed to adopting an attitude of self-love. These two habits will do more for the look, feel and longevity of your body than any flash-in-the-pan fitness and diet plan ever could.


Have a beautiful day (and remember to not get bogged down in the details).


With love,


P.S. Just in case you’re wondering if I concocted this whole cellulite story…here’s a screenshot of my anti-cellulite research:


How to get rid of cellulite


Want to know how to make 2018 great?

Happy New Year! No doubt your inbox is already overflowing with advice on how to make 2018 great. Full disclosure: this is NOT one of those emails.

I learned years ago that any resolution made through the effervescent lens of a bottle of bubbly is fairly unlikely to come to fruition

Plus, when you consider that 92% of resolution-makers quit long before they reach their goals, it begs the question — should we make them at all?

In my opinion, we should not.

Rather than planning out the next 12 months, what if we just focused on the next 12 hours instead? After all, 365 pretty good days will turn into a damn good year before you know it.

That’s my plan for this year. Instead of spending time thinking about how I can improve myself and my life, I’m choosing to take it day-by-day and week-by-week, with the intention of being rather than becoming.

I have to admit, the idea of taking each day as it comes makes me feel a little untethered. The little Negative Nellie voice inside my head is already berating me for not doing more and being more. But I’m going to practice what I preach…and tell her to zip it!

Being rather becoming doesn’t mean you won’t make progress. In fact, I have a hunch that in doing rather than deliberating you will move ahead in leaps and bounds.

When we take life one day at a time we will quickly realize that we’re actually good at it.

It’s easy to forget how simple it is to be healthy, how easy it is to “choose happy”, and how valuable we already are, sans resolutions to lose weight, be better people, make more money or improve our relationships.

Instead of worrying about the rest of the year, start living for today. Today you can make a change for better health. Today you can choose to laugh instead of cry. Today you can be great!

In the words of our old mate, Albert Einstein:

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.”



Until next week,

Why it’s essential to make your own decisions (or how not to be a fickle wife)

Remember a while back that I told you that I struggled with healthy decision making? Well, I’ve been working on it and wanted to report back.

To quickly recap, I used to outsource certain lifestyle decisions (usually those that may be seen as “less healthy”), so that I could have the experience without being responsible for the outcome.

Whether the question was to get takeout for dinner, skip a workout, watch a movie instead of doing housework, or have a glass of wine on Tuesday night, while I may have wanted to do the activity, I didn’t want to be the one who suggested it.

So instead of using my voice, as an independent thinker and 21st century woman, I relied on my sneaky wifely ways to make my husband choose — this was basically an insurance policy that said it was his fault if I felt crappy later on.

I mean, how crummy is that? I shouldn’t even be admitting it publicly, but I decided to fess up incase you’re doing it too.

Every week I speak with women who blame their situation on circumstances outside their control:

  • “My co-worker brought donuts to the office…”
  • “My husband wanted to get popcorn at the movies…”
  • “The weather wasn’t nice enough to go for a walk…”

Sure, these external challenges may impact your decision making, but at the end of the day it is still your choice to eat the donut, share the popcorn or skip the walk.

And you know what? Making that decision is fine as long as it’s YOU who makes it.

Since I wrote about this concept earlier in the year I’ve been very intentional about making decisions that will benefit my long term health goals while also nourishing my short term lifestyle desires.

What I’ve found is that I feel more in control of my actions and outcomes by simply being the one to choose.

I feel confident saying NO to certain things without feeling deprived, and I can experience great satisfaction from saying YES, without the situation then spiraling out of control and leaving me worse-for-wear.

Because by making the first decision, to say yes or no, I then give myself permission to make all the following decisions. For example: how much I eat, how long I participate in an activity, and when I want to do something different…that’s all up to me.

As it turns out, decision making is liberating!

This new habit is definitely one that I’m sticking with, so now I want to throw the gauntlet to you.

  • Have you been “going with the flow” a little too regularly in your own life?
  • Are you outsourcing your decisions (and then feeling regretful and perhaps even resentful)?
  • Are you willing to do something about it?

This week I challenge you to pay attention to both the decisions that you’re making AND those that you’re avoiding.

What choices do you shy away from, and why?

Finally, commit to making a new decision, just one to start, and put yourself back in the driver’s seat of your own health and happiness.

Of course, as always, let me know how you go by leaving a comment below.



With love,

wellness-obsession jennifer dene

Perhaps you’re overcomplicating this health thing?

The Los Angeles wellness obsession has gone bonkers.

This isn’t new information— I live in a city where people pay thousands of dollars to have their fat frozen and spend a week’s take-home wage on juice cleansing — but it’s gotten out of control.

The straw that has broken this camel’s back came last night when I popped into the supermarket. As I quickly dashed about filling my basket with veg, milk and eggs, my inquisitive-journalist ears picked up the sounds of a conversation that would only take place in a city like L.A.

Following the treble tones, I turned into the aisle to find two women having an anxious and in-depth conversation about which brand of water they should buy.

I kid you not.

It went like this:

“This one is reverse osmosis”, says the brunette wearing a red neckerchief and holding a $6.99 bottle of H20.

“But this one has added electrolytes,” counters the blonde, pointing her manicured fingers at a label that has flown halfway across the world to sit on this mid-Wilshire shelf.

“Perhaps we should buy the glass bottles?” suggests the first. “To avoid BPAs.”

“Sure, that works…just make sure you read the nutrition label,” replies the second, a little more quietly as she catches me watching, transfixed.

I tear my eyes away, stash a few (home-brand) club sodas into my basket and head to the self service checkout, trying not to giggle at the scene I just observed.

Read the nutrition label on your water? Now that’s a new one!

Look, I’m not scoffing at these women’s determination to hydrate — drinking clean water is very, very important. And if you have the luxury of being able to afford the brand that is alkalized, charcoal-filtered or lovingly bottled at a cold mountain spring, and drinking that type of water floats your boat, then power to you.

But the reality is that it’s totally unnecessary to take a simple health habit — drink more water — and make it something complicated, and frankly a little bourgeoisie. Honestly, do YOU have the time or mental bandwidth to deliberate the pros and cons of various water brands? I sure as heck don’t!

As your wellness coach I suggest that you spend more time drinking water and less time worrying about the ideal way to do it. (Insider tip: the tap turns to the left.)

This goes for any new healthy habit…the easiest way to make progress is by simply starting.

Want to get fit? Lace up your sneakers and walk around your neighborhood.

Want to eat healthier? Load up your basket with fruit, veg and whole grains, and stop buying brightly colored boxes plastered with words like “healthy!” and “fiber!”. (These words are often there to disguise the whopping amount of sugar, sodium or trans-fats that the product contains.)

I know that I’ve talked about this before, but I will continue to beat the drum until we all get the message that being healthy is actually very simple.

The healthiest people that I know are not the ones who agonize over every last detail to make the perfect choice. They don’t obsess over what they eat, how they move, or what they weigh. They don’t trap themselves into rigid lifestyle habits or overload their days with unrealistic goals and expectations. And they certainly don’t spend Sunday evening in the supermarket, analyzing the merits of drinking water.

So your goal for this week is to commit to becoming one of the healthy ones.

You can do that in three steps:

  1. Pinpoint an area of your life that is being held back by perfectionism, analysis-paralysis or straight up laziness.
  2. Set an intention to change one single habit related to that area.
  3. Take swift action, today, tomorrow, the next day, and so on; improve as you go, and know that each day you choose to do something different is the day that your life will change.

As always, let me know how it goes…


With love,

People Criticize Your Healthy Lifestyle

What To Do When People Criticize Your Healthy Lifestyle

I recently had afternoon tea with a couple of close friends in Sydney. It had been about 8 months since we’d last seen each other, during which time I knew they had made some dietary tweaks. Being the curious health coach that I am, I wanted to ask them how it all went.

They told me that by making a few simple lifestyle updates — and bringing just a little more awareness to what was going on their plate — they’ve landed on a way of eating that makes them look and feel great.

I was thrilled! I love hearing that simple strategies bring great results, as that’s my philosophy through and through.

Yet as we chatted more about food, our conversation revealed a challenge that my friends had been facing. It was something that I’m also intimately familiar with and it rings true for many friends and clients who have chosen to shake things up in the healthy living department.

It’s been my experience that when you change how you eat – specifically, when you choose to become a more healthy eater – it’s not uncommon to feel isolated, teased or even ostracized by people that you know.

That’s why in today’s post I wanted to talk about how to handle this situation, as you may experience it too.

Let’s start with WHY “changing your diet” is such a touchy subject.

At its most fundamental level food is nothing more than a source of energy, vitamins and minerals. But we all know that it’s more than that.

Food is culture, family tradition, memories, and at the heart of many (if not most) social events.

This can make it a tricky subject to talk about.

You see, when you decide to change your diet it can send a message to the people around you that you no longer agree with something that you used to do. This wouldn’t be a problem if it wasn’t for the fact that what you’re changing is most likely something that they’re still doing. You’re upsetting the status quo, and they might see you as judging the lifestyle choices they’ve made.

In short, your personal development choices might make people uneasy.

Let me give you an example:

In 2009 one of my best friends was diagnosed with Chron’s disease and placed on a strict anti-inflammatory diet. Despite already being a healthy eater, this was a major lifestyle change (especially for someone who was only 21).

Back then, anti-inflammatory diets weren’t really a big thing. Paleo and veganism lived on the fringes of society, and many people thought autoimmune diseases sounded a little woo-woo…a little “all in their heads”.

So one day my friend told our group that she would no longer be able to participate in our Friday night habit of drinking gin and tonics, and eating Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.

That didn’t go down so well.

Without minimizing my own culpability — I can remember using the expression “you can’t even have one?” —  I can tell you that another member of our group (let’s call her ‘Z’) was absolutely shattered.

“What good is it to live in a world where you can’t eat ice cream?” she cried dramatically.

The next Friday night my friend arrived at our house with an apple, a carrot, a bag of nuts and a bottle of water. Z was appalled and couldn’t stop talking about how “dangerous” and “extreme” this diet was.

(Apples, it seems, can have that effect on some people.)

You see, by changing her own diet my friend was challenging the shared Friday night experience that we had come to know and love. Her choices made us all question if we should do things differently too.

To be honest, we weren’t even thinking about WHY she was making those updates (and in hindsight, offering to support her through the process would have been the preferred reaction), but we were only thinking about ourselves.  We didn’t like feeling guilty about our own choice to be less than healthy on Friday nights and it seemed to us like she no longer wanted to be part of the pack.

But the silly thing is, that wasn’t her intent at all.  She was just making the best decision for herself, and for whatever reason that made us feel uncomfortable.  I learned then and there that everyone is responsible for their own choices, and we all need to take ownership of our individual lifestyle decisions.

Since then I’ve been blazing my own healthy trail, which means that I’ve been on the receiving end of this kind of healthy living criticism, and while I don’t believe that people do it maliciously, after a while it does get pretty old.

So in the video below I’m sharing three strategies that you can use to minimize these sorts of experiences, which will allow you to eat what you want, when you want, without feeling judged OR making other people too uncomfortable.

Once you’ve had a chance to watch I’d love to hear from you. So stick around and join in the discussion at the bottom of the page.

What To Do When People Criticize Your Healthy Lifestyle


Now I’d love to hear from you!

Have you ever felt shunned for making healthy lifestyle changes? How did you handle it? Let me know by leaving a comment below.


With love,

make meal prep easier jennifer dene wellness

How To Make Meal Prep Easier (Your “Dear Abby” Wellness Qs Answered)

Here’s a potentially embarrassing confession: I’d get a real kick out of writing for the Dear Abby column. I love sharing helpful advice and thoughtful opinions from the comfort of my own living room…just ask my husband!

However, considering that it’s been almost seven years since graduating with my journalism degree, and Jeanne Phillips — the current owner of the “Abby” pen name — hasn’t yet reached out to me on LinkedIn, I feel that the time has come to take matters into my own hands.

So we’ll be trying a little experiment for the next month or so…

Every Wednesday I’ll dedicate a post to one simple solution or strategy that will make it easier for you to squeeze more healthy habits into your every day life.

I’ll get the ball rolling, but I’d love for you to join in the discussion (see details at the end of this post).

My mission is to help women get back in the driver’s seat of their own health and happiness, by making healthy living simple AND enjoyable. This series should help.

Now on to today’s question…

What is one thing that I can do this weekend to make meal prep easier (if I only have one hour to spare)?

Even an hour spent in the kitchen on the weekend will ultimately save you time and money  — and make it easier to stick with your healthy eating habits. It’s a great way to get a head start on your weekday meals.

If there was only ONE thing that I could get done each weekend, it would be to cook and freeze my grains and starches. Preparing foods like rice, quinoa and sweet potatoes during the week is time-consuming, and it doesn’t make sense to do it on a meal-by-meal basis.

Instead, one Sunday a month my husband and I bulk cook these staples, and freeze them in portion sized freezer bags or tupperware containers. Come a random Tuesday evening I’m thrilled to thaw a bag of rice, bake a piece of fish, and cook some veggies with a dollop of butter. While dinner would have taken an hour if we were waiting on the grain, it comes together in 15 minutes (and there’s less washing up).

What can you cook and freeze?

Lots of things actually! We’ve had great success with the following, but I encourage you to experiment (note: these are listed in order of how long they take to cook): 

  • Beans (black, white, kidney, chickpeas…)
  • Lentils
  • Rice (basmati, white, brown and black)
  • Sweet potatoes (cubed and roasted)
  • Mashed potato or sweet potato
  • Butternut squash (cubed and roasted)
  • Quinoa
  • Pasta


TO COOK: Double or triple your regular quantity. Cook as normal. Allow to cool. Freeze in portions that are suitable for you and your family.

TO USE: Defrost in the fridge overnight, or use the microwave; heat in the oven, or use the microwave.

TIP: Start with the ingredient that takes the longest to cook — such as roasting sweet potatoes or boiling rice — and then move on to a quick-cook, like quinoa or pasta. That way everything should be done around the same time…roughly 45 minutes later.

Now I’d Love To Hear From You (Dear Abby…)

What are you struggling with in your health, fitness or self care / self love routine at the moment? What healthy habits do you see other people doing and you wonder — how do they do that? Nothing is too silly or too small!

Let me know in the comments below, and I’ll answer those Qs over the next couple of weeks.

Don’t like the idea of commenting publicly? Email with the subject line: Q&A Post


Thank you for your energy, and making this community one that is positive, kind and purpose-driven.


With love,