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15 Tips to Feed the Vegan or Vegetarian in Your Life


Vegetarian Awareness Month is wrapping up, but the meat-free mealtime fun doesn't have to end! In addition to giving away 5 copies of our e-book "Easy Vegan Meals by SparkPeople: The No-Stress, No-Guilt Way to Reap the Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet," today I'm sharing tips for anyone who might need to cook for a vegetarian or vegan. With the holidays on the horizon, I hope you find these tips to be of use.

When I wrote "Easy Vegan Meals by SparkPeople," I intended it to be for vegans, vegan wannabes, and those who love them. Don't worry--SparkPeople isn't taking the stance that we all need to ditch meat forever. But with at least 325,000 vegetarians and vegans on our site, we know that many of our members are interested in eating less meat and more plants. We believe there's room at the table for all of us. This book fills a niche, and I wrote it with the SparkPeople philosophy in mind--moderation, no fad diets, and taking small steps along the way to a healthier you.

That said, let's segue into tips for feeding the vegan or vegetarian in your life.
Posted 10/29/2012  2:00:00 PM By: Stepfanie Romine : 15 comments   10,154 views
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Easy School (and Work) Lunch Ideas


What kid or adult for that matter doesn't want to be the envy of the cafeteria, thanks to their delicious packed lunch?  In my family, when the kids hop into the car after school the first question or comment of the day usually pertains to the mid-day meal.
Most days I hear: "It was great, everyone wanted to trade with me!"  Of course, I also hear that lunch wasn't so good some days, too.
 
What does make a great lunch?  Is it something new, colorful, warm, hot, or one that comes in a packaged compartment tray?  As a Chef and mother of three boys the answer is yes to all of the above.  The chef in me thinks back to simple culinary training and passion for the seasons.  Warm soups, stews, or savory dishes are perfect for lunch on cool days whereas cold salads or sandwiches with fruit hit the spot of the hot days.  Just mix it up!  Check out these fun and easy ideas for you and your family to pack or even eat in for lunch meals.
Posted 9/10/2012  6:00:00 PM By: Meg Galvin : 23 comments   146,717 views
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CONTEST CLOSED Win a Copy of Our Healthy Lunches E-book


CONTEST CLOSED

SparkPeople want to help you get your kids off to a healthy start this school year. That's why we are giving away 10 copies of our latest e-book: A Month of Fun and Healthy School Lunches from SparkPeople, written by our very own Samantha Donohue, dailySpark blogger and healthy lunch packer extraordinaire.

Since Samantha's three children were born, she has prepared more than 8,000 healthy lunches, which means that she has also cut more than 64,000 crusts off her kids' sandwiches. She has tons of great tips and tricks for packing creative, nutritious meals that kids will like--and that won't take very much time! We also asked Dietitian Becky, who has a son in high school and a daughter in college, and Chef Meg, who has three teenage boy--including twins, for their best ideas! 

We think it's just what you need to get kids excited about packing lunch--with ideas and recipes for meals they'll actually eat.

Enter the contest today! 
Posted 8/27/2012  6:00:00 PM By: Stepfanie Romine : 5 comments   12,472 views
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A Month of Fun, Healthy School Lunches


Want to get kids off to a healthy start this school year? So does SparkPeople! That's why our very own Samantha Donohue, dailySpark blogger and healthy lunch packer extraordinaire, wrote our latest e-book: A Month of Fun and Healthy School Lunches from SparkPeople.

We think it's just what you need to get kids excited about packing lunch--with tips and recipes for meals they'll actually eat.

With A Month of Fun and Healthy School Lunches, you'll end the food fight and get kids excited about packing lunch--with fun yet simple meals they'll actually eat. Written by a mother of three, with 50 easy and healthy recipes plus plenty of ideas tested by real parents in real life, this e-book turns lunchtime into fun time while reinforcing the importance of eating right!

The book includes:
  • Tips for Making Healthy School Lunches Kids Will Actually Eat
  • Mom-Tested Tips for Saving Money and Time
  • Fun, Easy Ways to Turn Lunch into Something Special
  • The Basics of Planning a Healthy Lunch
  • Dozens of Meal Ideas: DIY Lunches, Finger Foods, Sandwich Makeovers and More
  • Also: Tips for Teens, Tweens, and Kids Who Insist on Buying Lunch
  • Bonus: 25 Healthy, Kid-Friendly After-School Snack Ideas!

The book is available now on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com for just $2.99.

No e-reader? No problem!  If you don't have an e-reader, such as a Kindle or NOOK, you can still read these e-books. Both Amazon and Barnes and Noble offer free downloads of their e-reader apps for PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, and other mobile devices. 


Click here for more info about our other great e-books, which are a fun way to learn more about healthy cooking.
Posted 8/13/2012  6:00:00 PM By: Stepfanie Romine : 2 comments   13,586 views
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Celebrate Your Freedom from Greasy Burgers: Save 50% on Our 'Grilling Guide'


Looking for new recipes for your Fourth of July or Canada Day cookout?
SparkPeople has you covered. Check out our "Ultimate Grilling Guide"--which is on sale to help you celebrate your independence from greasy burgers and mayo-laden salads. For just $1.99 (50% off through July 4) you can make grill season the healthiest season with "SparkPeople's Ultimate Grilling Guide" by World Master Chef Meg Galvin and Becky Hand, R.D., M.Ed.

With 75 hearty, healthy recipes from Chef Meg, plus SparkPeople's members, this book is a must-have for the grill master in your house.

More than just a collection of recipes, you'll get:
  • Tips on grilling burgers, veggies--and everything in between
  • 13 ways to top your burger for 100 calories or less (including bacon!)
  • Step-by-step instructions for perfect steak, burgers, chicken, and more
  • Dozens of sauce combinations, plus 10 ways to spice up leftover grilled chicken
  • Advice on which meats are healthy, tasty choices for the grill
  • Tips for staying on track at BBQs, potlucks, and picnics
  • Answers to all your toughest BBQ questions
Intimidated by the grill? Frustrated with burned hockey-puck burgers and undercooked, bland chicken? With "SparkPeople's Ultimate Grilling Guide," you'll learn how to make your grill work for you--from appetizers to desserts.

Click here to download the book from BarnesandNoble.com.
Click here to download the book from Amazon.com.

Get a sneak peek inside the "Ultimate Grilling Guide" with our new slideshow, 13 Ways to Top Your Burger for 100 Calories or Less!


Posted 6/29/2012  6:00:00 PM By: Stepfanie Romine : 4 comments   6,356 views
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Get 75 Healthy, Hearty Recipes for the Grill


Summer is fast approaching, and with that comes grill season!

Who wants to heat up the house when you can barbecue in the backyard instead?
While picnics, potlucks, and parties are known for burgers, dogs, and other not-so-healthy fare, we believe that any meal can be a good-for-you one--even festive occasions.

That's why SparkPeople's healthy cooking expert and head dietitian paired up to write our latest e-book:  "SparkPeople's Ultimate Grilling Guide: 75 Hearty, Healthy Recipes You Can Really Sink Your Teeth Into," available now on Barnes and Noble and Amazon for $3.99.

Make grill season the healthiest season with "SparkPeople's Ultimate Grilling Guide" by World Master Chef Meg Galvin and Becky Hand, R.D., M.Ed.

With 75 hearty, healthy recipes from Chef Meg, plus SparkPeople's members, this book is a must-have for the grill master in your house.

More than just a collection of recipes, you'll get:
  • Tips on grilling burgers, veggies--and everything in between
  • 13 ways to top your burger for 100 calories or less (including bacon!)
  • Step-by-step instructions for perfect steak, burgers, chicken, and more
  • Dozens of sauce combinations, plus 10 ways to spice up leftover grilled chicken
  • Advice on which meats are healthy, tasty choices for the grill
  • Tips for staying on track at BBQs, potlucks, and picnics
  • Answers to all your toughest BBQ questions
Intimidated by the grill? Frustrated with burned hockey-puck burgers and undercooked, bland chicken? With "SparkPeople's Ultimate Grilling Guide," you'll learn how to make your grill work for you--from appetizers to desserts.
Click here to download the book from BarnesandNoble.com.
Click here to download the book from Amazon.com.
Posted 5/25/2012  10:00:00 AM By: Stepfanie Romine : 19,352 views
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Free E-Book: Mother's Day Brunch Recipes


Take a peek inside "The SparkPeople Cookbook: Love Your Food, Lose the Weight," with this FREE e-book, "Light and Easy Mother's Day Brunch Recipes from SparkPeople" written by Chef Meg. Get 3 sweet and 3 savory dishes that are perfect for Mother's Day brunch, plus a brand-new intro from Chef Meg!
Posted 4/30/2012  6:00:00 PM By: Stepfanie Romine : 4 comments   10,504 views
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10 No-Recipe Meals for Nights You Don't Feel Like Cooking


Most nights I look forward to cooking dinner. I listen to music on my iPod, perhaps enjoy a small glass of wine, and relax as I chop, sauté and braise. Other nights, when I come home starving, teach a late yoga class, or go for a long run after work, I want my meals to be no-fuss, no-muss, on the table in 20 minutes or less. (I must confess that I have a pretty sweet arrangement with my boyfriend: I cook, he cleans. I'm really good at making messes in the kitchen!) These are my top 10 go-to vegan meals. You can make them as simple or as fancy as you'd like. Use heat-and-eat rice, canned beans, and pre-chopped or frozen vegetables to save time, or gussy up these recipes (techniques, really) on nights when you're feeling creative. Add some fruit and a cup of calcium-fortified non-dairy milk (we vegans need strong bones!), and dinner is served.
Posted 3/8/2012  2:00:00 PM By: Stepfanie Romine : 26 comments   113,865 views
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Meatless March: Are You Taking the Challenge?


Happy March, everyone! Are you participating in the 30-Day Meatless Challenge?  
In addition to being the month that spring officially begins, March is also the time of Lent and Purim (did you know that Queen Esther might have been vegan?).

Did you know that during in ancient times, fasting during Lent was much stricter--in some places, all animal products were forbidden--and in other countries, predominantly in the East, only vegan foods are consumed during Lent?

March is also National Nutrition Month, and March 20 is Meatout day.

And SparkPeople's first official e-book, "Easy Vegan Meals by SparkPeople: The No-Stress, No-Guilt Way to Reap the Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet," published earlier this week. (Thanks to you, the book has been #1 in vegetarian and low-fat diet e-books on Amazon all week, and it also was in the top five of all vegetarian cookbooks--"real" and e-books. WooHoo!)

I can't think of a better time to experiment with meatless meals.

Many of you have had questions regarding the challenge. It's simple. We're using the Vegetarian Team as our home base, and I'm posting a new thread each week. (Click here for this week's thread.) Feel free to post your questions and comments there, and on my weekly blogs, which will run Fridays through the month of March.

I called this the "Meatless Challenge" because it allows for some flexibility in your food choices. Meatless includes vegan and vegetarian meals. You can define meatless however you please; I'm not hear to judge!

So what should we be doing?
Posted 3/2/2012  10:00:00 AM By: Stepfanie Romine : 73 comments   21,162 views
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The No-Stress, No-Guilt Approach to Meatless Meals


I'm thrilled to announce that SparkPeople has just published the first in a line of ebooks, "Easy Vegan Meals by SparkPeople: The No-Stress, No-Guilt Way to Reap the Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet."

As many of you know, I am editor of SparkRecipes and dailySpark, and co-author of "The SparkPeople Cookbook." I love food--writing, editing, researching, and, of course, eating it.

What you might not know about me is that I'm vegan, meaning I don't eat meat, dairy, eggs or anything else that comes from an animal. About 1% of Americans eat this way (for reference, 3% of Americans are vegetarian), but that number is growing. Due to my love of creating tasty, easy plant-based recipes, I was really excited to launch our ebook series with a vegan cookbook and guide.

Don't worry--SparkPeople isn't taking the stance that we all need to ditch meat forever. But with at least 325,000 vegetarians and vegans on our site, we know that many of our members are interested in eating less meat and more plants. This book fills a niche, and I wrote it with the SparkPeople philosophy in mind--moderation, no fad diets, and taking small steps along the way to a healthier you. 

I am passionate about sharing the vegan lifestyle with others, but I (and SparkPeople) will never pressure you or guilt you into giving up meat, cheese, or eggs forever. I'd rather have each of you take one step toward a healthier you than alienate even one reader with a "diet" that seems complicated and stressful.

Why vegan for me?
In 2010, I adopted an all-plant diet accidentally, unintentionally and without fanfare--all the while claiming that I could never be a vegan. (That's a good story--I explain in the ebook.) My excuses varied depending on the situation: it would be too costly, I loved cheese too much, I couldn't imagine interrogating every server at every restaurant for the rest of my life. I admit: I was wrong about veganism. Today, I remain happily, healthfully vegan.

I've discovered that a plant-based diet is neither restrictive nor difficult, neither expensive nor time-consuming, and I'm hoping you'll give it a try--at least for a little while. 

My body is the strongest and healthiest it has ever been. A vegan diet allows me to maintain a rigorous six-day-a-week Ashtanga yoga practice while training for half-marathons and teaching yoga.  My boyfriend, a competitive cyclist, fuels with a plant-based diet as well. We each became vegan shortly before we met (within a week of each other, it turned out!), and the early days of our relationship were spent cooking up vegan feasts in my tiny apartment kitchen. 

The motivators for a vegan diet can be pretty heavy topics, but what they all have in common is compassion and kindness: for others, for yourself, or for the earth and its animals. That's why I believe in the "no-stress, no-guilt" approach to meatless meals. 

That's also why, along with other experts and members here at SparkPeople, I wrote "Easy Vegan Meals by SparkPeople: The No-Stress, No-Guilt Way to Reap the Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet," which is available for $2.99 on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.

To celebrate this new e-book and encourage others to embrace more plant-based meals, I'm launching the 30-Day Meatless Challenge, starting March 1.

As I said, this isn't like other books on veganism. We focus solely on the positive aspects of a plant-based diet. Whether you are looking to add a few vegan recipes to your weekly meal plans, experiment with plant-based eating for a few weeks during Lent, or make it a lifelong journey, I hope you'll be inspired to embrace meatless meals at least for a little while from a healthy, whole-foods perspective using the new book.

If you want to eat plants 100% of the time and get healthy while doing it, I'm thrilled--and this is the book and the challenge for you. But remember that if you want to experiment with more meatless meals, learn how to cook for a vegan in your life, or just learn what the heck vegans eat, this book is for you, too.

Click here to buy or preview "Easy Vegan Meals by SparkPeople: The No-Stress, No-Guilt Way to Reap the Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet" on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.

Posted 2/27/2012  6:00:00 PM By: Stepfanie Romine : 101 comments   97,151 views
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