Author Archives: Deanna Michaels

Fun Summer Activities for Kids at Home

boy in sprinkler and text summer activities your kids can do at home

Summer time. Our kids’ schedules change and as parents, we are still trying to get all of the same things done. The transition can be rough! Today I want to share a list of summer activities for kids at home!

Yes, that means this list is all things for the kids to keep busy with in your house or yard!

Outings around town can be fun, but some days we have things to get done (or we just really don’t what to load the kids up and drive somewhere) and it’s not possible to do that! Or maybe you don’t have a vehicle available.

This list is full of ways to keep your kids busy without ever leaving the house!

Having a ideas to choose from helps, because, if your kids are like mine, some days they play really well on their own and others they tend to fight constantly and just make mess after mess. Having direction helps!

When using these ideas, you could:

  • Give your child a list of items from this post to choose from each day
  • You select an activity that would work best that day
  • Put each item on a piece of paper and have one of the kids randomly pick one from a bucket

If you are looking for more summer ideas, I shared 10 free ways to beat the heat with kids and fun things to do when staycationing in a small town last week.

Affiliate links are used in my posts. See the disclosure page for more info.

girl smiling outside and text summer activities for kids at home

Summer Activities for Kids at Home

1. Movie Afternoon

During the hottest time of day, turn off the lights, pop some popcorn, and have everyone pile on the couch and watch a movie from your collection.

2. Forts

Give your kids some play sheets and clothespins and let them have at it. This provides hours of entertainment. You might even find your kids playing in their forts for days. Send them outside to use the clothesline pole, tree, swing set, and patio to assist in their building or let them take over your living room and dining room utilizing every chair you have in your house. It’s amazing what can be accomplished with such simple things.

3. Sprinkler

Hook up the sprinkler or turn the hose onto a mist if you don’t have a sprinkler. Both of my kids love the water. The minute water is on, they will have their faces in it. Set the sprinkler up on the ground so they can run through the spray or hang it over their play set and all of a sudden they have a water slide and water swing.

4. Slip and Slide

We didn’t use these often and seemed to destroy them quickly but found them to be a lot of fun. Buy one or you can use a tarp you already have.

5. Indoor picnic

100 plus degree temperatures don’t exactly beg you to go sit outside and enjoy your meal. It’s the perfect opportunity, though, to spread a blanket out on the living room floor and bring the picnic inside. A bonus is not having to worry about flies and bugs.

6. Indoor camping

Camping. Another thing I don’t even want to think about doing when it’s so hot. Bring blankets and pillows to the living room floor and have an air conditioned camp out. If you have the supplies, you could even do s’mores using the oven or stove.

7. Water Gun Fight

Why is it so fun to squirt water at someone else? Have a supply of good water guns and everyone in your family will want to participate!

8. Water Balloons

We all know it takes forever to fill the balloons and a fight is over in seconds. So, play games to keep the fun lasting longer:

  • water balloon toss
  • spoon race
  • race with the balloon between the knees
  • etc

When those are over, finish with a giant water balloon fight!

9. Messy Play

Summer is the perfect time for this because they can do the activities outside and get hosed off when they are done. Making a mud pit or filling the sandbox up with water will makes your child’s day. Check out this post from The Chaos and the Clutter for some ideas for hands on activities that will have your kids messy!

See, summer activities for kids at home don’t have to be boring or the same old things. We just have to think outside the box a little!

10. Star Gazing

Stay up late and wait for the stars to appear and then head outside and lay down on some blankets or your trampoline and see what constellations you can find and who can see a shooting star.

11. Giant Bubbles

Put your kids to work making this giant bubble wand (they’ll probably each end up wanting their own). I love that it’s simple and shouldn’t cost anything to make. Then you can even make your own bubble solution. This will impress the kids way more than the little plastic wands from the store.

12. Make Popsicles

Popsicles are the perfect way to cool off in the summer. Sure, you can buy a box but you can make them just as easily. They end up being healthier and cheaper. We love to freezer leftover smoothies in popsicle molds. You can also try this recipe that I posted from the 100 Days of Real Food cookbook or even just use apple or orange juice. My kids beg for these in any shape or form.

In the summer time you can buy popsicle molds at most stores. Of course, Amazon also has them available. I have popsicle molds and also the silicone popsicle tubes. Those are great for slow eaters, but do be aware that silicone picks up the flavors from you freezer so you don’t want to keep them in there too long. 🙂

13. Make a Fairy Garden

Let your child’s creativity take over! There are some elaborate fairy gardens out there. Give them a flower pot or plastic container and have them explore your yard for supplies to design their own fairy garden. You could also let them raid your craft supplies and paint. This will keep them busy for a while.

14. Tin Can Stilts

This will be such a fun project. I can also so races happening after they are built. This post has a tutorial for making them and I love how they decorated the cans as well.

15. Backyard Pool

It’s summer. You can involve too much water. Whether this is simply a kiddie pool or you move up to a large inflatable pool or even a full blown above ground pool, your kids will love being able to get wet and play!

The pool is also a great place to fill up water squirters. My kids have used some form of these almost every summer!

16. Board Game

Instead of a movie afternoon, pull out your board games in the heat of the day for a perfect summer activity for kids! My kids love playing games as a family. I need to do a post on their favorites sometime soon.

17. Make Ooblek

Another fun activity. All you need in cornstarch and water. Food coloring is optional. Give each child a pan with cornstarch. Have them stir as you slowly had a little water and them let them have fun deciding if it’s a solid or a liquid.

Ooblek will dry out and you can store in container and simply rehydrate the cornstarch when they want to use it again.

18. Hands On Homemade Ice Cream

A few options here. Obviously you could do the old fashioned crank ice cream machine. But to make things a little different for your kids, try out making Coffee Can Ice Cream or they can each do their own Ice Cream in a Bag.

You will win best mom ever award for that one! 😉 Especially if you bring out ice cream toppings!

19. Books

Don’t dismiss the obvious. Hot summer afternoons are a great time to develop a love of reading. Choose a book to read aloud to your kids (this works to older kids too) and have them all have books to read independently. Involve snacks to make it more fun!

20. Poetry and Tea

Have every person select a poetry book (use the library if you need) and take turns reading poems aloud. Enjoy tea (or lemonade in tea cups) and scones or cookies while you do it.

What else would you add to this list of summer activities for kids at home? Those hot summer day can get long and it’s too easy to just let them turn on the television!

Ways to Beat the Heat (with kids) without leaving home!

Originally published July 18, 2014. Updated July 16, 2020.

Easy Mexican Haystacks Recipe

mexican haystacks ready to eat on a place

This Mexican Haystacks recipe is the perfect easy, cheap, and customizable supper! I even make this vegetarian so it’s the perfect meal for meatless Monday. But if you want to add meat, you can easily do so!

My kids already love tacos, taco salad, and quesadillas so this is sure to be a kid friendly meal idea. They will love being able to build their own haystack with their favorite toppings! Build it yourself suppers are always the most fun for kiddos.

If you’ve never had these before, you simply start with a bed of rice, add some ranch style beans, and then finish with crushed chips and whatever toppings you’d like.

The ingredients for Mexican Haystacks on a table

Here are some ideas for your Mexican Haystacks:

  • cooked rice (brown or white)
  • ranch style beans
  • chips
  • shredded lettuce
  • salsa
  • sour cream
  • avocado
  • cheese
  • olives
  • cilantro
  • tomatoes

If your family needs meat to make it a meal, brown up some ground beef and add it to the beans. You could also shred or dice some chicken cooked with taco seasoning or salsa. Like I said, this recipe is so easy to make fit the needs of your crew.

You can purchase a can of ranch style beans or you can do what I did and make your own! I’ll share how I made them in a post soon. Very easy and flavorful and you get to control the ingredients.

If you want to use salsa, be sure to check out this super easy and delicious recipe! It takes seconds to come together.

Plate and ingredients for Mexican Haystacks

Tortilla chips are my go to, but you could also use a Frito like chips. To make it healthier you could take corn tortillas and brush them with some oil, cut them into wedges, and bake until crispy. Whatever you prefer.

One more tip, I love using my rice cooker to make rice. It makes it easy and hands off. While the rice is cooking you will be able to get all your other ingredients ready. This is a 30 minute meal, so perfect for even busy weeknights.

Another great thing about this Mexican Haystacks recipe is that the leftovers are great. In fact, I always cook enough rice and beans and chop enough toppings that so that we can have it again the next night. Just store everything in separate small containers.

Now, on to the “recipe”!

Mexican Haystacks on a plate with a white text box and words

Yummy Mexican Haystacks Recipe

Easy Mexican Haystacks Recipe
Author: 
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: Tex Mex
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 4.5-6 cups cooked rice (approx 1.5-2 cup dry)
  • 3 cups ranch style beans (1 large can or use homemade)
Toppings
  • Chips
  • Lettuce, shredded
  • Tomatoes, diced
  • Cheese, shredded
  • Olives, sliced
  • Salsa
  • Cilantro
  • Onions, diced
  • Avocado, diced
Instructions
  1. Warm the beans and make sure the rice is cooking.
  2. Chop the toppings you want to use and put in individual dishes.
  3. Put rice on plate. Scoop beans over rice and finishing with desired toppings.
  4. Enjoy!
Notes
You will want between ¾ and 1 cup cooked rice per person!

 

What other easy Tex Mex recipes does your family enjoy? Any toppings you love to put on your Mexican Haystacks that I need to know about?

 

27+ Family Friendly Frugal Meals Under $5

plate of spaghetti and graphic with kid friendly meals under $5

Looking for family friendly suppers on a budget? Here is a great list of over 27 frugal meals for under $5! These ideas will make meal planning easier and cheaper.

When I was calculating these meal prices, I made sure they’d feed a family of 4 for a total cost of $5 or less. None of that 5 dollars per serving business, that isn’t a frugal meal on my budget so I know it’s likely not in your either.

One of the tricks to making meals on a budget is to be sure to use ingredients more than once. If you need lettuce for one recipe, plan on using it for a second one. The same goes for the bag of carrots, salsa, or rice that you buy.

Let’s also think about seasonings. If you have to buy garlic powder, salt, dried oregano every time a recipe calls for it, it’s hard to make any frugal meals. Replacing a container of a seasoning or herb just here and there makes it a lot friendlier on your budget.

Tips: If you are starting with an empty pantry, select a few seasonings to purchase each week until you are fully stocked with the variety you need.

Want more tips? Read  10 Ways to Drastically Lower Your Grocery Budget

bread, potato, orange, pasta and a jar of change on counter with graphic of meals under $5

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Tricks to turn some of your favorite recipes into frugal meals under $5:

As you think about your kids’ favorite meals, there are several ways to cut costs. Please note that meals that do not use meat as the primary ingredient are easiest to do this on.

  • Use less cheese
  • Use less meat (possibly stretch with beans or vegetables)
  • Use a different meat that you found marked down
  • Replace the meat with beans or lentils
  • Sub the veggies for ones you already have
  • Omit an ingredient
  • Use dried herbs instead of fresh

Once you have your main dish figured out, you might still need a side to finish off the meal and make sure your family is full and has eaten a veggie. 😉

Side dishes can get complicated and expensive, but they don’t need to be. Keep things simple. Use what you already have or what is in the grocery ads that week to make sure you keep to your grocery budget.

Cheap Side Dish Ideas:

See this post for the cheapest, healthy groceries to buy!

bread, pasta, potato, orange, and jar of change on counter partially covered by a graphic that says meals under $5

27+ Frugal Meals Under $5

Now we get to what you can actually feed your family for supper! Several of these frugal meals are ones my kids request weekly. Don’t think things have to be complicated, when you find cheap recipes your family enjoys, keep a list and put them on rotation!

Homemade Pizza
The amounts below make 2 large pizzas

  • Pizza dough ($.75)
  • Pizza Sauce – make half of the recipe ($.40)
  • Cheese ($1.69-$2.50 depending on amount of cheese you use)
  • Toppings, price varies

Homemade Pizza Pockets

  • Same price as homemade pizza

Quesadillas

  • Tortillas ($1 or homemade)
  • 8 ounces cheese ($1.69)
  • 1 Chicken breast ($2)

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup
This recipes serves 8. Cut the amounts in half for one meal or make is as for two easy, cheap suppers.

  • 4 cups stock, homemade is free ($2)
  • Beans – cook dried beans to be even cheaper ($1.50)
  • Corn ($.50)
  • Fire roasted tomatoes ($.75)
  • Green Chilis ($.50)
  • Salsa ($.75)
  • Rice ($.50)

Grill

  • Hot Dogs or Bratwursts ($2-$2.50)
  • Chicken Legs ($2)

Breakfast for Dinner

Breakfast Burritos

  • Tortillas ($1)
  • Eggs ($1)
  • Breakfast sausage ($2)
  • 4 ounces cheese ($.85)
  • additional ingredients, optional

Baked Omelette 

  • Eggs, 8 ($.75)
  • Meat, 1/4-1/2 pound ($1)
  • Onion and Bell Pepper, or other veggies ($1)
  • Homemade Biscuits or toast ($1)

Spaghetti

  • Pasta ($1)
  • Jar of sauce or homemade ($1-2)
  • Ground turkey, optional ($2)

BLTs

  • 8 slices bread, homemade or purchased, ($.50)
  • 1 large tomato ($1)
  • 4 lettuce leaves ($.50)
  • 12 slices bacon ($2.50)

Baked Potatoes

  • 4 Potatoes ($2)
  • 4 ounces cheddar cheese ($.85)
  • Sour cream ($1)
  • 4 slices bacon ($.75)

Taquitos

  • Flour tortillas ($1)
  • Cheese, 6 ounces ($1.27)
  • Chicken ($2)
  • Seasonings ($.25)
  • Salsa and sour cream ($.50)

Vegetarian Chili

  • Vegetables ($2)
  • Beans ($1 if you use dried, $2.10 for canned)
  • Seasonings ($1)
  • Toppings, optional – use what you have

Meatless Lentil Chili

  • Lentils ($.50)
  • Diced Tomatoes ($.75)
  • Veggies ($.75)
  • Broth, free if homemade ($2)
  • Seasonings ($.50)

Tomato Soup

  • one onion ($.40)
  • fresh garlic ($.50)
  • 2 cans fire roasted tomatoes ($1.60)
  • Chicken stock, free if homemade from scraps ($2)
  • Seasoning – use dried basil if you don’t have fresh growing ($.25)

Beans and Rice

  • 1 pound dried beans ($1)
  • 1 cup rice ($.50)
  • 1 onion ($.50)
  • Seasonings

Chicken Noodle Soup

Make half of the above recipe: Broth, onion, garlic, carrots, potatoes, celery, green beans, chicken, and egg noodles.

Meatballs

  • Use ground turkey to save money – 1 pound ($2)
  • Rice or mashed potatoes ($1)
  • Seasonings ($.50)

Fried Rice

  • Rice ($1)
  • Ginger and garlic ($.50)
  • Veggies ($1.50)
  • Seasonings ($.50)
  • Meat and eggs, optional

Vegetarian Taco Salad

  • Lettuce ($1.50)
  • Salsa ($.75)
  • Beans ($.50 for dried)
  • Chips ($1)
  • Cheese, 4 ounces ($.85)
  • Additional toppings you have, free

Chicken Tacos

  • Tortillas ($1)
  • Chicken breast ($2)
  • 4 ounces cheese ($.85)
  • Salsa ($.75)
  • 2 lettuce leaves

Macaroni and Cheese
Check out these three super easy recipes!

  • Pasta ($1)
  • Cheese ($1.69)
  • Milk ($.50)

Chicken Baked Thighs

  • 4 chicken thighs or drumsticks ($2)
  • Seasoning from recipe ($.50)

Turkey Sloppy Joes

  • Buns – homemade or bought ($1)
  • 1 pound ground turkey ($2)
  • Tomato Sauce ($.25)
  • 1/2 onion ($.25)
  • Seasonings ($.50)

Lentil Soup

  • Lentils ($1)
  • Veggies ($1)
  • Diced tomatoes ($.50)
  • Broth, free if homemade
  • Seasonings
  • You can always add meat if you have extra

Bean and Cheese Burritos
This recipe will give you extra for the freezer!

French Bread Pizza

  • Loaf of french bread ($1)
  • Pizza sauce ($.40 for half this recipe)
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese ($1.69)
  • Pepperoni or another topping ($1-2)

Grilled Cheese

  • 8 large slices of bread, homemade or bought ($1)
  • 8 ounces cheese ($1.69)
  • 2 tablespoons butter ($.20)

Eggroll in a Bowl

  • Ground meat ($2)
  • Cabbage ($1.50)
  • Veggies ($1)
  • Seasonings ($.50)
  • Rice or cauliflower rice, optional

Soup

  • You’ve already seen several soups on this list, but soup is something that’s so easy to throw together. See what’s in your fridge and freezer needing to be used and cook it up with broth and seasonings and you have supper for almost nothing!

One last suggestion. Don’t forget about leftovers! Leftovers are my favorite. They cost nothing and I don’t have to spend time cooking or cleaning the kitchen.

Cookbooks are also a great place to draw inspiration from! Below are some of my favorite to look at for cheap meals that are also easy! You can see if your library has them to look at before you purchase.


There is my long list of ideas for frugal meals to feed your family! What Are are your favorite cheap meals?

plate of spaghetti with fork and graphic for meals under $5

random ingredients and a jar of change on a counter with graphics about kid friendly meals under $5

ingredients and jar of change on counter. Green overlay saying meals under $5

Easy Cucumber Tomato Salad With Balsamic

Close up of cucumber tomato salad in a bowl

My friends’ with gardens always seem to have an over abundance of tomatoes and cucumbers each summer. Seeing that I do not have a green thumb, I’m always more than willing to help them out. One of my favorite things to make with them is this delicious and easy tomato cucumber salad with feta and balsamic.

It is so good.

After all, how can you go wrong with a fresh cucumber tomato salad with balsamic.

The ingredients are simple:

  • Cucumbers
  • Tomatoes (preferably vine ripened)
  • Onions (red or another more mild onion)
  • Garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Fresh basil
  • Feta cheese
  • Salt and pepper, of course

Ingredients for cucumber tomato salad on a cutting board

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There’s nothing not to love! Unless you are one who doesn’t like feta or onions or basil. If that’s the case, leave it out or swap it with a different ingredient and it will just be a tomato cucumber salad instead of tomato cucumber salad with feta. 😉

You could try these subs:

  • Oregano instead of basil.
  • Freshly grated Parmesan instead of the feta.
  • Apple cider vinegar instead of balsamic.
  • Adding sliced olives.

Isn’t that one of the great things about salads? They are so customizable!

It is also so easy.

You can have this cucumber tomato feta salad with balsamic done in 10 minutes. Honestly, that would probably include the time it takes to wash the dishes. 😉 All it takes is a little bit of cutting and a little pouring and you are done!

cucumber tomato salad with feta with a pink text box

Be sure to make it at least an hour before serving because it tastes best after the flavors are allowed to marinate for a while.

Let talk how to chiffonade basil! I taught my daughter what this meant when making the recipe together this weekend. It’s super easy. You stack the basil leaves on top of each other and then gently roll the pile together (roll from the long side). Next you slice the basil into thin ribbons using a sharp knife. A sharp knife is important, otherwise your basil will end up bruised.

One tool recommendation. A few years ago I received a microplane to use for garlic and ginger and I love it! I makes doing the garlic so easy in the recipe and also makes it paste like.

One more note, I never like to give exact salt amounts because everyone’s tastes are so different. Maybe start with a 1/4-1/2 teaspoon, taste and add more if needed.

I’ve made this salad pretty much always. Both of my girls love it (as long as I’m sure to use a more mild onion). In fact, I used to have to “fight” my oldest for it, when she was 3. It’s just that yummy.

It makes a delicious side dish to go with any grilled meat and wouldn’t it be a great salad for your 4th of July celebration.

I also love to eat this as my lunch (served on a bed of spinach is my favorite) and don’t ever tire of it.

Go make this! I hope you enjoy a yummy cucumber tomato salad with balsamic as much as we do.

Cucumber tomato salad with feta in a bowlYou might also be interested these recipes:

A fun side salad: Garbanzo Bean and Roasted Corn Salad
A main dish salad: Mandarin Salad

Cucumber Tomato Salad with Balsamic

Cucumber Tomato Salad with Balsamic
Author: 
Recipe type: Side Dish
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 side servings
 
An easy and delicious cucumber tomato salad with feta and balsamic. It comes together in minutes and has lots of flavor.
Ingredients
  • 1 English cucumber or seeded regular cucumber (around 2.5 cups)
  • 3 vine ripened tomatoes (2.5-3 cups)
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • ¼ cup minced onion (red or mild)
  • 2-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2-4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • fresh basil (1/8 cups lightly packed chiffonade of basil)
  • 4 tablespoons feta cheese
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Cut the cucumber into fourths the long way and then slice. (Be sure to peel if you aren't using an English one.)
  2. Cut the tomatoes into bite sized chunks.
  3. Chiffonade the basil leaves.
  4. Add the garlic, onion, 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, basil, and salt & pepper to the bowl. Taste and adjust salt, pepper, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.
  5. Sprinkle the feta cheese over the top of the dish.
  6. Refrigerate until serving.

Originally published June 2014. Updated May 2020.

cucumber tomato salad with feta in a bowl with white text boxpicture of cucumber tomato salad with green text boxoverhead shot of cucumber tomato salad with feta and balsamic in a bowl

Whole30 Tips To Make it a Success

fresh produce and raw meat for whole30

Changing how we eat can be so difficult. A month of drastic diet changes is no small feat. Way to go for thinking about giving it a try. Here are some great Whole30 tips to help make your journey a success!

A Whole30 is a good jump start no matter your long term eating plan and will help you notice food sensitivities you otherwise might have missed.

It took  months of thinking about it before we completed our first Whole30.

What exactly is a Whole30? It’s a 30 day nutritional program designed to change your cravings, habits, help heal your body, and give you a good restart. They have a great post of the many benefits here.

The rules (foods you can and can’t eat) can seem a little daunting. Knowing I was going to have to avoid so many foods that were a standard part of our mostly real food diet stopped me from committing for a long time. There are no sweeteners allowed of any kind (not even honey), no grains (quinoa, oats, rice etc), no legumes or peanut butter, no dairy, no carrageenan, MSG, or sulfites, and you also aren’t allowed to create plan ingredient approved “baked goods”. (It’s sort-of like a paleo plan but more strict.)

That’s a lot of nos! So to help you start, and ensure that you’ll finish out the 30 days strong, here are 12 tips for a successful Whole30.

fresh produce and raw meat with white graphichs

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Whole30 Tips

1. Plan, Plan, Plan

Menu plan for all three meals and snacks. In fact, plan for at least a week at a time or even for the whole 30 days.

Food on Whole30 can take more time to prepare than you are used to so don’t leave it to the last minute or you’ll find yourself stressed or grabbing foods that aren’t on plan. I promise a written menu really helps keep that from happening.

Use Pinterest to keep track of recipes you’d like to try and find some great resources. I have a list of Whole30 Soup Recipes and Whole30 Breakfast Recipes to get you started.

I also liked using these cookbooks for recipe inspiration! I was able to find them at my library, but here are the Amazon links for them:


2. Mentally Prepare for a Hard Start

Don’t expect it to be a bed of roses! You will struggle and possible feel miserable the early days. I found myself thinking about food (I couldn’t eat) continuously! Be prepared for this and be prepared to stick it out. You can do it.

Because of this, if possible, you might want to plan your Whole30 to start when life won’t be too crazy or stressful.

3. Mentally Prepare to be Over it at the End

By the time 30 days are over you’ll probably be ready to just quit and think, “surely 27 days is good enough” – especially as events and functions come up and it would just be more fun to be able to eat “regular” food again. Knowing this will happen will allow yourself to combat it.

Possibly, set a reward for yourself if you stick out the 30 days! A little extra motivation never hurts.

4. Have the Entire Family Do It

Let me tell you, it would have been torture if everyone else in my house was eating cheese, grains, and chocolate and I had to watch. The temptation to take a bite would be huge and I don’t think my attitude would have been as great. I didn’t cheat, but it was a family project. I’m not sure the results would have been the same otherwise.

So turn it into a family challenge and celebrate with a special outing when you are done!

5. Do it With a Friend

My sister and her husband did a Whole30 the same time we did. It was amazing! Having another person responsible for the majority of the cooking to talk to was so helpful. We could brainstorm together and take meals from each other’s menus, and, of course, keep each other accountable.

6. Repeat Meals

Please, don’t feel like you need to come up with 30 breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. If you find a meal you love – especially one the kids love – make it every week. Or even more often. It simplifies everything and it’s nice to have solid meals everyone will eat to fall back on.

20 Whole30 breakfast ideas and recipes! Great resource for healthy breakfasts - the hardest for me to come up with recipes for. (My FAVORTIE breakfast casserole is on this list)

7. Do Lots of Kitchen Prep at One Time

You’ll be using many fruits, vegetables, and meats during this month. That means a lot of prepping those fruits, vegetables, and meats.

Instead of spending hours in the kitchen each day preparing these items, take some time on the weekends to wash, peel, chop all the food you can for the next several days. Bonus, you only have to do those dishes once.

8. Plan for Leftovers to Save Time in the Kitchen

One of the big deterrents of the Whole30 is the amount of time you have to spend in the kitchen.

Make extra each night (at least on the recipes your family loves) so you can have leftovers on a busy day or use them for lunches!

9. Try New Things

If you don’t venture beyond scrambled eggs for breakfast and carrots and broccoli for your veggies, it will be a long 30 days. Get out of your rut. Be creative with seasonings and spices!

Try cooking some veggies you don’t love in a new way and pick out some new produce you’ve never tried.

10. Save Up to Increase Your Grocery Budget

Set aside a extra money before your Whole30 begins! We keep our grocery budget low and we definitely spent more during this challenge. Probably double what we normally spend. Only buying produce, meats, dried fruit, and nuts can get a little pricey. Watch for meats to get marked down and start stocking up in the months prior as well.

You’ll find great tips for cutting costs on your normal grocery budget in this post. Then set the money saved aside for your Whole30:

10 super easy ways to drastically lower your grocery budget! I've saved thousands of dollars doing these over the years. GREAT ideas!

11. Get Rid of Temptation

Had there been a bag of my favorite candy staring me in the face every time I opened up the cabinet or cheese in the refrigerator it would have been a really long month and I’d have been much more incline to just cheat a bite of something here or there.

Bury them in the deepest part of your pantry, pass ingredients on to a friend, or toss them – do what it takes so they won’t be taunting you!!!

12. There’s NO Perfect Time

Our lives are busy. There’s always things going on. If you try to wait for the perfect 30 days where you have nothing going on that will take you out of your home, you’ll never do it. That’s a big part of the reason it took me soooo long to commit.

Find a time that works best – probably avoiding major holidays and birthdays of your family members – and put it on the calendar.

Lastly, don’t let fear keep you from getting started! Take the plunge and set aside 30 days for recharging your body, breaking cravings, and possibly losing a few inches and pounds and becoming a healthier you. You’ve got this, especially with these Whole30 tips that will help you succeed!

Have you done a Whole30? What tips do you have?

If you haven’t done a Whole30, are you thinking about it?

fresh produce and raw meat with pink text box

fresh produce and raw meat with green graphics

A Whole30 is a great way to help heal your body and ditch cravings. It's not easy, but it's worth it! Here are some tips for a successful Whole30!

Originally published January 2015. Updated May 2020.