Freestyle Anti-Inflammatory Meal Prep for Winter in About an Hour

https://youtu.be/yl5GdkP1UfQ

So if you haven’t heard of “freestyle” anti-inflammatory meal prep before… it’s because I made it up. 😬

It’s basically when you don’t have time to put together a meal plan, so you go and grab just random seasonal produce, and in this case winter produce, and prep it ahead of time so that you can just make meals on the fly throughout the week.

anti-inflammatory meal prep for winter

So this is a really great way to start thinking in terms of more plant-forward meals and this is how we get healthy anti-inflammatory dinners on the table when we have just those dumpster fire weeks and weekends where everything is just complete chaos.

anti-inflammatory meal prep for winter

So truly, the basic steps of freestyle anti-inflammatory meal prep are:

  1. Shop
  2. Chop
  3. Roast
  4. Store
  5. Create meals

Shopping for your anti-inflammatory meal prep session

For this freestyle meal prep session I chose winter produce, which you can find a list for in the Freestyle meal prep guide ☝. So I grabbed a pumpkin, spaghetti squash, butternut squash, purple cabbage, kale, and collard greens.

We promote eating seasonally at TRUEWELL for a few reasons:

  1. Eating seasonally costs less
  2. You’re not getting produce that came from halfway around the world (in other words–you’re getting produce more local which means much more flavor, less transport and less chance of it getting harvested before it’s ripe), and
  3. Studies have shown produce that’s grown IN SEASON actually has substantially greater values of vitamins and phytonutrients than those out of season.
anti-inflammatory meal prep for winter

(And just to be clear on why I didn’t roast the pumpkin in my video… my kids freaked out about me roasting the pumpkin–cause they wanted to decorate it, and I had canned pumpkin in the pantry, so I used that for the meal that week…Long story short, kids ruin everything. 😂 Kidding. sort of)

Chopping veggies for your anti-inflammatory meal prep

So I started out with the spaghetti squash.

anti-inflammatory meal prep for winter

These used to intimidate the heck out of me but they’re actually pretty cool. For this session I cut the squash in half lengthwise, then cut strips; but I think it’s actually easier to just roast the halves and then scrape the insides out from those large pieces.

anti-inflammatory meal prep for winter

I have also learned that even scraping the seeds out is much easier when they’ve been roasted first.

anti-inflammatory meal prep for winter

So lay the pieces out evenly on a pan.

I use a BBQ grill mat liner, which I’ve learned is amazing, nothing sticks to it, which you can grab here:

{Some of the links are affiliate links, meaning I earn a small portion of the proceeds if you purchase it, with no additional charge to you.}

Next I started on the butternut squash. Cut the ends off, then cut it in half vertically.

anti-inflammatory meal prep for winter

Lay each half on the pan face down.

anti-inflammatory meal prep for winter

Then I started on the leeks. I peeled a few of the outside leaves, cut the end of the bulb off, then cut a slit down the center before chopping it. The dark green ends usually get pretty tough, so cut the white part and some of the lighter green part, then put it on the pan to roast as well.

anti-inflammatory meal prep for winter

Some of this produce is really best cooked right before eaten, as it’s sauteed or put into soups. But the squash always needs to be cooked anyway, and I also knew I wanted to put the leeks into a soup. So for sure these all needed to be roasted.

Roasting vegetables for anti-inflammatory meal prep

My normal base seasoning is salt, pepper, and garlic powder, which you can add or wait until you make your dish—And then roast it at 350 degrees F for about 25-30 minutes.

(For squash, it may take a bit longer to get it soft enough. You want to be able to scoop and scrape easily or else it will take forever…)

Then I got to work on the kale, and I knew I just wanted it for kale chips. You would think the bags of it already chopped would be more convenient, but I’ve found it takes longer to pick out all the stems than to just buy a bunch of it and trim them off myself.

anti-inflammatory meal prep for winter

I do a sort of scraping motion with the knife to get the leaves off, but you can also fold it in half and do just one cut to get the stems out.

Once all the leaves are torn and in a bowl, add oil, and massage it to soften the fibers.

For kale chips, don’t salt it until they’re out! They shrink and can turn out way too salty.

anti-inflammatory meal prep for winter

Kale chips go in the oven for about 20 minutes at 300 F.

anti-inflammatory meal prep for winter

Storing your anti-inflammatory meal prep vegetables

While that was cooking, I started cutting the greens.

I started on the collard greens. I wanted these to go in a soup, so I just washed them, trimmed them up the same way as kale, then store them in a baggie in the fridge until I need them that night.

anti-inflammatory meal prep for winter

👉 A method I’ve found useful is using a large 4-cup measuring cup to hold the baggie in place to put food into during meal prep if you don’t have the baggie stands.

anti-inflammatory meal prep for winter

The mustard greens got trimmed up the same way, and I wanted to sauté them later in the week, so I just store them in a baggie in the fridge as well.

anti-inflammatory meal prep for winter

Then I started on the cabbage. Peel those tough and usually dirty outer leaves, then chop it into slices, then into smaller pieces. I wanted to sauté it later in the week, so it goes into a baggie as well to store in the fridge.

I also grabbed some pears as a last minute add-on.

anti-inflammatory meal prep for winter

These can be peeled, but the skins are usually actually less tough than apples, so eating the skins is pretty yummy. Make sure you get the core out, it does have seeds like apples.

I chunked it up because I wanted to add it as a snack on top of Greek yogurt.

anti-inflammatory meal prep for winter

One trick is to cut the bottom off so it sits flat, then the top small part, then use an apple corer and slicer to slice it just like you would apples.

If you’re going to pre-cut them, they do also turn brown like apples, so add a bit of lemon juice to keep that from happening and store them in a container in the fridge.

anti-inflammatory meal prep for winter

Lastly we take the roasted veggies out of the oven and let them cool.

I put the leeks into a container to go in the fridge.

Then I started on the butternut squash. I’ve found using a grapefruit spoon with a serrated edge make scooping the seeds and flesh out really easy.

But I also sometimes use an avocado slicer to scoop it out. You can also use a paring knife to slice around the edges before scooping the flesh out.

I put it all in a container and seal it to store in the fridge.

Spaghetti squash can be a bit tricky. It definitely needs to be soft enough. But you can use a fork to scrape the spaghetti parts out into a container. Then store in the fridge.

And lastly, I pulled the kale chips out. Then I season with garlic and salt so it doesn’t get oversalted before because it shrinks. Scoop them into a container and enjoy as a snack.

anti-inflammatory meal prep for winter

Create anti-inflammatory dinners for the week

The meals we put together with this freestyle meal prep session were…

anti-inflammatory meal prep for winter

Pumpkin alfredo on spaghetti squash with grilled chicken…

anti-inflammatory meal prep for winter

Leek and cauliflower soup

anti-inflammatory meal prep for winter

Sauteed chicken sausage and red cabbage

anti-inflammatory meal prep for winter

Creamy Collard Greens Soup (with butternut squash)…

anti-inflammatory meal prep for winter

And for a snack I had a Winter Pear and Yogurt Bowl.

And as promised, to grab the FREE Freestyle Meal Prep printable guide, that is gonna help you have all the instructions on how to do this so you can just have it there for your backup plan; it has ideas for meals and even flavor pairings for winter dishes .

anti-inflammatory meal prep for winter

Know someone that would love to learn Freestyle Anti-Inflammatory Meal Prep? SHARE this post! 💖

anti-inflammatory meal prep for winter

Crispy Kale Chips

If you’re looking for a super easy and healthy winter snack, Crispy Kale Chips are a super easy choice! They’re the ‘savory cotton candy’ of the snack world. Each bite is lightly crisp but dissolves in each addictive bite.

The other plus is that these Crispy Kale Chips are crazy easy to make.

crispy kale chips

The printable recipe is below, and it’s also featured in our Winter Freestyle Meal Prep session (check it out and get the printable guide!)

Step 1: Choose your kale

First of all, opt for organic if you can. Greens easily soak up pesticides, especially since the part you eat isn’t protected by a shell or a pod cover or skin. Pesticides are inflammatory to all bodies, so it’s best to be safe. If that’s not an option, make sure you wash it well when you get home.

Second, I know it can be tempting to grab a bag of the pre-chopped kale, but that’s a huge mistake. The reason is that they don’t remove the stems, and you’ll be left for an hour just trying to trim out all the mini stems.

crispy kale chips

Instead, get a bundle of whole kale leaves.

Step 2: Trimming kale for kale chips

One method I’ve found to trim kale leaves is to hold the end of the stem, and use a paring knife to sort of scrape the leafy part away from the stem.

crispy kale chips

You do have to be careful that you don’t cut through the stem, especially if your knife is super sharp.

The other option would be to lay the whole leaf flat and just cut out the stem. Or, you could fold the leaf in half and just make a single cut to remove the stem of the kale.

crispy kale chips

Once the stems are removed, simply tear the pieces in medium to large chunks and place in a bowl.

Step 3: Massaging kale for kale chips

Adding oil is going to help with the crispness, so drizzle some avocado, warmed coconut oil, or MCT oil on the kale leaves in the bowl.

Some people don’t think it’s necessary, but I do like to massage the leaves to loosen the fibers. Also this allows the oil to get evenly distributed.

You’ll literally just stick your hands in, massage the leaves, and turn over chunks as you’re working to get the oil on everything.

*DON’T SEASON YET!

crispy kale chips

Step 4: Cooking kale for kale chips

Cooking the kale is super easy. You simply place the contents of the bowl on a large baking pan.

crispy kale chips

Kale cooks at 300 degrees F for about 20 minutes or so. Keep an eye out and make sure they’re getting browned (this is how they get crispy) without getting burned.

Step 5: Cool, season, and enjoy!

Let them cool to finish crisping, and then add sea salt or any other seasonings you wish. It’s best to wait until they’re cooked to season because they shrink and it’s really easy to over-season your kale chips.

Kale Chips flavor options

Some flavor options are:

  • Ranch (nutritional yeast + lemon juice + salt)
  • Chili Lime (chili powder + lime juice + salt)
  • Salt and Vinegar (vinegar + salt)
crispy kale chips

And enjoy! They can be stored in a baggie or container on the counter for a few days.

Crispy Kale Chips

Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Snack
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 1 bunch kale leaves organic
  • 1 TBSP avocado oil or warmed coconut, or MCT

Instructions
 

  • Prehead the oven to 300 degress F.
  • Wash and trim all kale leaves.
  • Tear leaves into medium to large chunks and place in a large bowl.
  • Drizzle the oil, and massage to evenly distribute the oil.
  • Spread the entire bowl of kale on a baking sheet, spreading out as much as possible.
  • Cook for about 20 minutes, making sure the leaves are getting browned without burning to ensure crispness.
  • Remove from oven and let cool.
  • Season with sea salt or any other seasoning of choice.
  • Enjoy! (Can be stored on counter in a container for a few days)
Keyword anti-inflammatory, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Low-Carb, nightshade-free, Sugar-Free, Vegan

Like this recipe? Prep it and 5 others with the Winter Freestyle Meal Prep Guide!

crispy kale chips
crispy kale chips

Inflammatory Thanksgiving Foods to Avoid this Year

I’m SOOOO ready to be inflamed, in pain, and on a blood sugar and energy rollercoaster for weeks because of all the Thanksgiving foods that cause inflammation that I’m ’bout to stuff my face with!!! … said no one ever.

Honestly, the holidays can be so chaotic and stressful, I don’t understand the loads of inflammatory foods being added into the mix.

I get that there’s a lot of ‘give yourself a break and enjoy the holidays without feeling guilty’ mantras and advice floating around this time of year. But to be honest, those people don’t usually have (or acknowledge) inflammatory, blood sugar, or metabolic issues that wreak havoc when we binge on inflammatory foods.

So it isn’t really about the guilt. It’s about an entire month (or three) of our bodies and brains being completely out of balance just for the sake of a couple of meals.

On the other hand, it’s nice to feel some semblance of tradition during the holidays (and avoid irritating questions from Aunt Edna about why we’re not eating) as well.

So here are the top 5 inflammatory Thanksgiving foods to avoid this year, with swap suggestions.

Feel GOOD this holiday! Grab our Healthy Holiday Swap-Out Planner!

(1) Vegetable and seed oils

Not only are these types of oils extremely inflammatory due to the refining process, but they also contain omega-6 fats which are inflammatory.

To make matters worse, some Thanksgiving foods are fried. When oils– especially ones that are already inflammatory– are heated to super high temps and reheated, you’re adding a hefty amount of inflammatory free radicals to the mix.

It can be really difficult to avoid these when you’re using already processed foods in recipes. And you can guarantee these types of oils are used in pre-made foods and recipes.

👉 Instead, make recipes from scratch and opt for oils like avocado, extra virgin olive oil (only for non-heated foods), or coconut oil (organic, unrefined).

(2) Trans fats

These fats are in nearly any ultra-processed food you can find. They’ve been shown to contribute to heart disease and LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol). And although the US is in the process of banning trans fats (like other countries have), labeling laws still dictate that foods can have 0.5 grams or less per serving.

For now, all this means is that companies are using this loophole to make their serving size small enough that the trans fat amount is 0.5 or less.

👉 So check the ingredients list to make sure there are no trans fats. You’ll know if they are present because the ingredients will include ‘hydrogenated’ or ‘partially hydrogenated’ oil. If it says this, find a different option.

(3) Refined carbohydrates

Refined carbs seem to be a staple in holiday cuisine. From fried things to bread to desserts, they’re in a ton of sweet and savory recipes.

The biggest culprits of refined carbohydrate savory dishes at Thanksgiving are bread, rolls, breading, pasta, and corn-based foods.

👉 Instead, focus on proteins and veggies that aren’t covered in glazes, gravies, and dressings.

👉 In desserts, since these go hand in hand with sugar, unless you can guarantee they’re sugar-free, it’s best to steer clear of the dessert table, unless fresh fruit that’s not covered in sugar is available.

👉 A good tip is to plan ahead and bring your own sugar-free, refined-flour-free dessert.

(4) Sugar

Sugar is extremely inflammatory, and has about a thousand different names and forms these days. It’s being added more and more to savory dishes to balance flavors and sometimes make it more addicting.

What’s even worse is high fructose corn syrup. Both are added to nearly all ultra-processed foods these days. And you can guarantee all the desserts are loaded with some kind of sugar.

👉 Check ingredient labels! Ingredients have to be listed in order from most to least, so you can tell the general amount of sugar in a package– the best bet is to avoid any with sugar altogether. This may mean foregoing sweet potato souffle and the pink salad (or jello salad) and the dessert table.

Another source of sugar is also beverages. Sweet tea (mostly in the South), sodas, hydration drinks, and alcoholic drinks are huge culprits of sugar during the holidays.

👉 Opt for water or unsweetened tea, and create your own cocktail with the suggestions below.

(5) Alcoholic beverages

Alcohol seems to be a staple at the holidays for most. The problem is, being off work – and especially if you’re not the designated driver- tend to make many feel like they have a free pass to indulge to the max during the holidays.

Beer can drive up uric acid levels, which creates inflammation, wines can have sugars in them, and mixed drinks are normally loaded with sugar from the mixer base.

👉 To enjoy alcohol and still find a balance, alternate one drink with water. Hydration is extremely helpful in flushing inflammatory foods from the body.

👉 Choose dry red wines instead of beer or white wine.

👉 Mix liquor with sparkling water and a couple of drops of liquid stevia.

Tips for creating a more balanced Thanksgiving meal:

💎If you’re the one cooking the meal or contributing, it can be a lot easier to have control over what’s being served.

What we’ve learned through the years is that my husband’s and I’s families have only like two staple holiday recipes that are the same. The rest are recipes with super-inflammatory processed ingredients that the kids don’t even like.

That makes it much easier to eliminate inflammatory recipes and replace them with something much better for us.

💎We focus first on the protein and choose quality meats, and then prepare them with healthier options (ie- NOT frying an entire turkey).

💎Our second focus is on vegetables. We decide what dishes we can convert into healthier options from the old-school versions, and how we can make them taste amazing.

💎 If you’re not confident in altering recipes, search up options with the words, ‘Paleo’, ‘low-carb’, or ‘keto’ at the front, and make sure they’re sugar-free and refined-flour-free.

💎One thing my husband and I have discovered over the years is that when you experience nice restaurants- not chains- but ones with true chefs, is that they take a lot of pride in the flavor profiles and combinations of ingredients.

They also use very fresh ingredients and cook from scratch (for the most part). The result of that is incredibly delicious meals that aren’t processed, and – if the correct ingredients are used- aren’t inflammatory. The same holds true for the holidays.

Consider revamping some of your old-school recipes that use processed junk and challenge yourself to see how you can improve the health profile while maximizing the flavor profile.

Then save those in a binder for the next holiday season!

An amazing resource for doing this is a book called The Flavor Bible. We use this all the time to create new recipes or even add more pizzazz to existing ones.

{This is an affiliate link, which means if you click through and purchase, I’ll receive a small portion of the proceeds, at no extra charge to you.}

And as promised… Grab our free Healthy Holiday Swap-out Planning Sheet! 👇👇👇

SAVE or SHARE this post! 👇

Winter Pear and Yogurt Bowl

When apples are done for the fall, pears move right on in to take center stage! And this Winter Pear and Yogurt Bowl is super versatile, macro balanced, and oh so yummy!

pear and yogurt bowl

This recipe is also featured in the Winter Freestyle Meal Prep session (check it out and get your free guide!)

The thing that’s so great about nourishing yogurt bowls like this is that you can add whatever you feel like adding (like as long as it’s anti-inflammatory and falls in your macros if you’re trying to lose or gain weight.)

And although we used Greek yogurt for this bowl, if you’re dairy-free, you can simply sub that out for coconut or almond yogurt.

Another reason these are so easy is that you can just throw it together in 3 minutes.

But the yogurt mixture can be portioned out, and the toppings can separately be portioned out so you can meal prep them ahead of time for the week. (Win!)

Now, I really used to not like pears that much. Even though we had a pear tree as a kid, they were the variety that big food companies use to can (you know–the ones that sit on the grocery store shelves?) I don’t like the grittiness.

But if you get the winter varieties that are a bit smaller, the skin is actually very soft and the inside texture isn’t gritty. Which is why I now love pears. 🍐

Since I keep the skins on (they’re full of nutrients like apple skins are!) I use a trick to quickly and easily slice and core them.

How to quickly and easily cut and core a pear:

  1. Cut off a thin slice from the bottom of the pear so it sits flat
  2. Cut the top skinny part off
  3. Use an apple corer/slicer the same way you would an apple
pear and yogurt bowl

Here’s what I put into my creamy and nourishing Winter Pear and Yogurt Bowl:

Winter Pear and Yogurt Bowl

Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Course Breakfast, Snack
Servings 1

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt, Plain and unsweetened or coconut or almond yogurt for dairy-free or vegan
  • 1/2 pear halved and cored
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2-3 drops liquid stevia
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

Instructions
 

  • Dip yogurt into a bowl. Add the stevia and vanilla extract, then stir till completely mixed.
  • Top with pear slices. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
  • Enjoy!
Keyword anti-inflammatory, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Low-Carb, nightshade-free, Sugar-Free, Vegan

Like this recipe? Prep it and 5 others with the Winter Freestyle Meal Prep Guide! 👇

pear and yogurt bowl
pear and yogurt bowl

Sauteed Cabbage and Chicken Sausage One-Pan Meal

Cold winter nights call for warm and easy one-pan meals like this Sautéed Cabbage and Chicken Sausage.

sauteed cabbage and chicken sausage one-pan meal

Even though I’ve been averse to cabbage for a long time (from having my parents and grandparents tell me to eat some cabbage non-stop growing up), I’ve come back around to it.

Mainly because I know it’s chock-full of needed nutrients for winter and has anti-inflammatory properties. But also because when it’s cooked right, it’s actually really delicious. And that’s exactly what this dish is. Delicious. And easy.

Here’s how to make it:

sauteed cabbage and chicken sausage one-pan meal

Step 1: Chop the cabbage

Cabbage almost always has dirt on it, even if it looks clean at first. Make sure you peel the outer few layers and wash all the dirt off really good. (Gritty cabbage is unpleasant cabbage.)

Cut the cabbage into slices, then chop the slices into medium to smallish chunks. (This depends on what your preference is.)

*If you’re prepping this for later in the week, store it in a baggie until the night of.

sauteed cabbage and chicken sausage one-pan meal

Step 2: Sautee the cabbage

Next, add the avocado oil to a sautee pan and turn the heat to medium warm. Add the cabbage and salt, and sautee it until it’s on the verge of being soft.

Then add the dijon mustard and lemon juice.

Step 3: Add the sausage

Slice the chicken sausage into chunks or rounds and add it to the pan. Keep stirring until the chicken is warmed through.

Plate and enjoy!

Don’t be afraid to add a spinach or kale salad on the side! 🍃

The printable recipe is below, and it’s also featured in our Winter Freestyle Meal Prep session (check it out and get the printable guide!)

Sauteed Cabbage and Chicken Sausage Pan

Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course lunch, Main Course
Servings 4
Calories 279 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 16 oz chicken sausage Make sure there's no cheese inside for dairy-free
  • 1 head purple cabbage sliced and chopped
  • 2 TBSP avocado oil
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Instructions
 

  • Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the sausage and cook for six to eight minutes, until cooked through. Then remove and set aside.
  • Add the cabbage wedges to the skillet and cook until browned and slightly charred on both sides, about five minutes total.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, and salt. Add the sausage and cabbage to plates. Drizzle the dressing over the cabbage and enjoy!

Notes

Per serving:
Fat: 16g
Carbs: 11 g
Fiber: 3 g
Sugar: 5 g
Protein: 23 g
Keyword anti-inflammatory, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Low-Carb, nightshade-free, Sugar-Free

Like this recipe? Prep it and 5 others with the Winter Freestyle Meal Prep Guide! 👇

sauteed cabbage and chicken sausage one-pan meal
sauteed cabbage and chicken sausage one-pan meal

Creamy Pumpkin Alfredo with Spaghetti Squash Noodles

If you like alfredo sauce on anything you’ll LOVE this Creamy Pumpkin Alfredo with Spaghetti Squash Noodles!

pumpkin alfredo sauce

Honestly, my kids have made an Olympic sport of turning up their noses at dinners I make, then retracting their comments once they taste it.

This is one of those dinners. They loved it.

The thing that’s cool about this recipe, if you’re worried about the pumpkin taste, is that you actually can’t even taste the pumpkin. It makes the sauce a slightly more orange color, but adds a nutritional boost without even affecting the flavor hardly at all.

We like to use it on top of spaghetti squash because the seasonal winter produce is anti-inflammatory goodness that provides tons of fiber and vitamins like A, B6, and C. (All of which are amazing for cold and flu season!)

pumpkin alfredo sauce

The pumpkin in the alfredo sauce gives it an additional boost of those nutrients as well. Plus, the healthy fats in the alfredo sauce base are used to absorb alllll that Vitamin A. (Healthy triple whammy!)

The printable recipe is below, and it’s also featured in our Winter Freestyle Meal Prep session (check it out and get the printable guide!)

pumpkin alfredo sauce

Creamy Pumpkin Alfredo Sauce on Spaghetti Squash Noodles

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Main Course
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 2 TBSP avocado oil or butter
  • 5 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree canned
  • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream organic
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese organic, grated from the block

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cut the squash in half lengthwise. Place on a pan covered in foil. Roast for 30-40 minutes.
  • Remove squash from oven and let cool enough to touch.
  • Flip halves over, then use a fork to scrape the spaghetti 'noodles' out of the middle into a bowl.
  • For the sauce (don't make ahead of time, you want this to be made immediately before serving): Heat the avocado oil and garlic over medium heat. Add the pumpkin and cream, stirring. Simmer until lightly thickened, then add the parmesan cheese and stir until combined.
  • Plate the squash noodles, then top with pumpkin alfredo sauce.
  • This is also great topped with organic crumbled bacon or grilled chicken.
  • Enjoy!
Keyword anti-inflammatory, Gluten-Free, Low-Carb, nightshade-free, Sugar-Free

Like this recipe? Prep it and 5 others with the Winter Freestyle Meal Prep Guide!

pumpkin alfredo sauce
pumpkin alfredo sauce

Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix Recipe

If you’re all in on the anti-inflammatory diet, and it’s finally fall, then Pumpkin Spice Mix definitely needs to be one of your pantry staples.

Not only is it delicious, but it’s also made of super anti-inflammatory ingredients.

homemade pumpkin pie spice mix recipe

So, what happens regularly around our house is that I’m looking for my spice mix, and…. It’s been all used up by my kids, and they also conveniently forget to tell me we’re out of it.

So I started keeping spice mix recipes so I can make my own any time that happens.

Here’s how to make your own pumpkin spice mix to keep in your pantry.

homemade pumpkin pie spice mix recipe

Our ingredients are :

  • Ground cinnamon
  • Ground ginger
  • Ground nutmeg
  • Ground cloves
  • Ground allspice
  • And our last surprise ingredient is a pinch of ground black pepper.

The reason I love adding in ground black pepper is that all the other spices already have mega anti-inflammatory properties, but black pepper has a compound in it that boosts absorption of the nutrients in the other ingredients.

Now when I’m making spice mixes, I like to just use a measuring cup that has a spout like this one so I can pour it into the container without a funnel.

homemade pumpkin pie spice mix recipe

So I add all the spices into the measuring cup, no special order, then stir really well. You want to make sure to get everything mixed really really well, then pour into your storage container.

homemade pumpkin pie spice mix recipe

This spice mix is perfect in any recipe that calls for pumpkin pie spice mix, like pumpkin smoothies, pumpkin seed granola, pumpkin muffins, and even pumpkin pie.

homemade pumpkin pie spice recipe

Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice Recipe

Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Course Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 3 TBSP ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper a pinch

Instructions
 

  • Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. Make sure to mix thoroughly.
  • Pour into storage container.
  • Use in any recipe that calls for 'pumpkin pie spice mix'.
  • Store indefinitely in a cool, dark pantry.
Keyword anti-inflammatory, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Low-Carb, nightshade-free, Sugar-Free, Vegan

And if you really love anti-inflammatory seasonal fall recipes, check out my Fall Freestyle Meal Prep session where I grabbed random fall produce to make 4+ anti-inflammatory meals for the week with NO meal plan in place! 👇

homemade pumpkin pie spice mix recipe

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Cozy Keto Pumpkin Muffins

When it’s fall (ya’ll) 😆 everybody goes bonkers for pumpkin spice, and these keto pumpkin muffins should definitely be in your saved + often-used recipe collection.

keto pumpkin muffins

And I get it–it’s (hopefully where you live) starting to cool down, and that crisp snuggly feeling should be crankin’ up!

The only thing is… when we think of ‘cozy’ things, it usually veers in dramatically different directions: Either heavier soups and stews (savory), or warm, sweet breads (sweets direction).

Lucky for you, I’ve got the sweet covered with a fiber-filled, pumpkin-spice loaded muffin that is sugar-free, and also has the added benefit of being a great after-dinner snack (if you add on the pumpkin seeds–they contain melatonin. 😉)

keto pumpkin muffins

Now, I know some of us like stevia, some prefer erythritol, some like monk-fruit, and on and on. So I put 2 options in the directions to accommodate for either choice, because that one option will determine baking time.

So warm up some unsweetened coconut (or almond) milk and enjoy! 🍂

Cozy Keto Pumpkin Muffins

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 27 mins
Total Time 42 mins
Course Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Servings 6 muffins
Calories 156 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 4 eggs large
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree, canned
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 4 TBSP coconut oil melted
  • 1 tsp stevia liquid OR 1/3 cup erythritol (Swerve brand works great)
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice mix
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 6 TBSP coconut flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup pepitas, for topping (optional)

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Line your muffin tin with liners (paper tend to stick unless you spray with oil).
  • Whisk together eggs, pumpkin, vanilla, stevia (or erythritol), coconut oil, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium-sized bowl.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the coconut flour, salt, and baking powder. Then whisk into the pumpkin batter.
  • Evenly divide the mixture in the 6-muffin tin cups.
  • Bake 22-25 minutes (using stevia as the sweetener), or (27-29 minutes using erythritol as the sweetener).
  • Muffins are ready when a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Pop muffins onto a towel or cooling rack, and let them cool completely for optimal fluffy texture.
Keyword Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Low-Carb, Sugar-Free

Keto Pumpkin Pancakes | Anti-Inflammatory, Gluten-free, Dairy-free

Cooking breakfast for everyone on the weekends is one of my husband’s favorite things to do. And this is seriously one of my favorite breakfasts for fall.

Because how can you beat pancakes and pumpkin?

And since we’re on a mission to control our blood sugar levels, we’re doing it with an anti-inflammatory keto version of pumpkin pancakes that you’re gonna love!

One thing I wanna highlight for these keto pumpkin pancakes is that they’ve got a good amount of protein in them.

What we’ve found in our house is that the kids tend to veer more towards carbs in the morning, so if I use a higher protein recipe, they’re getting a better balanced meal that leads to less blood sugar spikes (and crashes) and keeps us full longer.

But the norm to accomplish this is to use a protein powder. Instead, I like to use egg white powder for that extra protein. (This trick also keeps it dairy-free.)

Also, if you don’t have pumpkin pie spice mix, grab that recipe HERE.

If you want MORE anti-inflammatory seasonal fall recipes, check out my Fall Freestyle Meal Prep Session where I grabbed random fall produce to make 4+ anti-inflammatory meals with NO meal plan in place!

keto pumpkin pancakes

Keto Pumpkin Pancakes

Anti-Inflammatory, Gluten free pancakes perfect for fall
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Breakfast, Snack
Servings 6 pancakes

Ingredients
  

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup egg white powder
  • 1 TBSP pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 TBSP erythritol or other granulated sugar-free natural sweetener
  • 2 TBSP water
  • 1 TBSP avocado oil to cook pancakes

Instructions
 

  • Place all ingredients except avocado oil in a blender; blend until combined- stopping halfway through to scrape the edges down.
  • Heat a large nonstick skillet to medium. Add avocado oil.
  • Pour batter into pan, trying to keep it equal to serving size.
  • Cook 3-4 minutes, flip and cook about 2 minutes until golden brown.
  • Serve warm. Enjoy!
Keyword anti-inflammatory, Gluten-Free, Low-Carb, nightshade-free, Sugar-Free

Roasted Leek and Cauliflower Soup

Truthfully, in the past I’d never tried leeks–even in something as yummy as this Roasted Leek and Cauliflower Soup.

roasted leek and cauliflower soup

I’m embarrassed to admit that every time I thought of leeks, I remembered the scene in Bridget Jones’ Diary where she tried to make leek soup and left the blue rubber band in it and the entire soup was blue. 😝 😹

But thankfully I got over it and now absolutely love the taste of leeks! Which is why this soup is so great. It truly embodies the anti-inflammatory winter produce with a warm, creamy, and filling soup.

roasted leek and cauliflower soup

Try it out, and don’t forget to top it with organic crumbled bacon or even some sharp cheddar and chives!

The printable recipe is below, and it’s also featured in our Winter Freestyle Meal Prep session (check it out and get the printable guide!)

Roasted Leek and Cauliflower Soup

Prep Time 35 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Course Main Course
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 1 head cauliflower About 2 cups chopped
  • 2 leeks medium to small
  • 2 TBSP minced garlic
  • 2 TBSP avocado oil or melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup almond butter or cashew
  • 3 tsp thyme leaves fresh
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/8 tsp paprika
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the cauliflower florets and leeks on a baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 TBSP avocado oil and lightly season with salt and pepper.
  • Roast for 25 minutes, turning pan halfway through. Let it get lightly browned but not burned.
  • Let cool about 5-10 minutes, then, into a high-powered blender add all the roasted vegetables, almond butter, thyme leaves, lemon juice and half the water (1 1/2 cups).
  • Blend until pureed, then add the remaining ingredients and pulse a few more times.
  • Pour into a saucepan and let the soup heat until warmed up completely. Adjust seasonings to taste.
  • You may add more water or even broth if the soup is too thick.
  • Top with a dollop of sour cream or organic bacon crumbles. Enjoy
Keyword anti-inflammatory, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Low-Carb, nightshade-free, Sugar-Free, Vegan

Like this recipe? Prep it and 5 others with the Anti-Inflammatory Winter Freestyle Meal Prep Guide! 👇

roasted leek and cauliflower soup
roasted leek and cauliflower soup

12 Fall Foods that Decrease Inflammation in the Body

For many people with chronic inflammatory conditions, the break in heat from the summer is one of the happiest days of the year. I love that nature welcomes the season with pom poms of amber, tangerine, and leather hues. And what I also love is that there’s still a hefty amount of fall produce that are amazing sources of anti-oxidants with anti-inflammatory superpowers.

fall foods that decrease inflammation in the body

There really is no shortage of sources of superfoods for those of us following an anti-inflammatory diet.

fall foods that decrease inflammation in the body

So even though we’ve passed the seasonal truckloads of summer produce, there are still PLENTY of anti-inflammatory fall foods to help nourish and heal.

There are three main anti-inflammatory foods categories I want to highlight:

  1. Veg and Fruits,
  2. Herbs,
  3. and Spices.

Here are my favorites.

Veg and Fruits

fall foods that decrease inflammation in the body

WANT MORE FALL ANTI-INFLAMMATORY MEALS? CHECK OUT THE FALL FREESTYLE MEAL PREP SESSION! (4+ MEALS WITH ZERO MEAL PLAN IN PLACE! –> PERFECT FOR CRAZY WEEKS WITH NO TIME TO MEAL PLAN!) CLICK HERE TO READ MORE

Leafy Greens

Even though leafy greens start their appearance in the summer, fall leafy greens follow with even more flavor!

Greens like kale, arugula, collard greens, and swiss chard are packed full of vitamins and antioxidants. And they’re versatile enough that many can be eaten raw, cooked, as a stand-alone side, or even as a soup or casserole component.

fall foods that decrease inflammation in the body

Pumpkins

Arguably the most popular fall vegetable, pumpkins provide an amazing source of Vitamin A (the color gives you that hint on beta carotene), balanced polyunsaturated fats, Vitamins C and E, and several other essential minerals.

They’re also packed with fiber and healthy carbs, and can be stored for a long period of time (in a dry pantry or frozen) without going bad.  

Butternut Squash

Butternut squash is also packed with Vitamin A, but it’s also an amazing source of Vitamin C as well. Compared to pumpkins, it’s more dense in energy, meaning: per serving it contains more calories, carbs, and fiber.

What I love about butternut squash is that it’s flavor makes more amazing soups. But it’s versatile enough to serve in cubes as a side dish (or in a casserole), or as a substitute for potatoes if you’re looking for a lower carb alternative.

HAVE A DINNER PLAN IN PLACE FOR CRAZY WEEKS WITH *NO* MEAL PLAN, BUT ALL THE FALL PRODUCE WITH THE (free!) FALL FREESTYLE MEAL PREP GUIDE! 👇

fall foods that decrease inflammation in the body

Sweet Potatoes and White Potatoes

Sweet potatoes also have a ton of Vitamin A.  But aside from that, their nutritional value is nearly the same as white potatoes. And even though white potatoes have more carbs, this occurs as starches versus the sugar content in sweet potatoes, which is something to consider if you’re watching your blood sugar levels.  

Either are great options for soups or even just sliced and baked as healthier fries.

fall foods that decrease inflammation in the body

Beets

One of the most overlooked vegetables (in my opinion) is the beet. Beets are high in folate and manganese, but also contain betalains, which gives it the bright red color, and is associated with reduced cancer risk.

Not only can you eat the beet itself, but the greens are also a fantastic source of nutrition. Beets can be roasted, sauteed, pickled, or boiled; and the greens can be used in salads or saved for soup broths.

fall foods that decrease inflammation in the body

Apples

Ahhh…the quintessential fruit for fall! Apples peak season is September, so take advantage of this amazing time of year to get super fresh apples! The best way to eat them is raw, as fresh as possible, and with the skin on.

Not only do apples give tons of fiber, the skin contains quercetin, which is amazing for those with allergies, and it also reduces inflammation.

Herbs

Herbs are one of the most overlooked nutrition powerhouses in the plant family. They pack so much punch for such a little plant. But they’re also SO EASY to add in to any dish for extra flavor.

Here are my favorite anti-inflammatory herbs for fall.

fall foods that decrease inflammation in the body

Sage

Sage not only adds delicious earthy notes to fall and winter dishes, but also can be used in teas and as an essential oil. Sage is high in Vitamin K and vital minerals, but also contains antioxidants.

What’s so amazing about sage is that it’s been shown to relieve or cure illnesses like obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, depression, dementia, and lupus. But it’s also been used for centuries in traditional medicine for inflammation, bacterial, and viral infections, which makes it high on the list for cold and flu season.

fall foods that decrease inflammation in the body

Rosemary

Rosemary is full of iron, calcium, and vitamin B-6, and is also native to the Mediterranean—fitting for an anti-inflammatory diet rooted in the Mediterranean diet. It’s been used for a wide range of ailments including digestion, muscle pain, improved circulation and memory, and a boost to the immune system.

Aside from its fragrant and mouthwatering culinary powers, studies have proven its anti inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and neuroprotective properties. This means that even though it can fight free radicals and harmful bacteria, it can also be used in mood disorders, enhanced learning, anxiety, and sleep disorders.

fall foods that decrease inflammation in the body

Thyme

Thyme (another herb native to the Mediterranean) can be used as a treatment for anything from acne to GI disturbances to menstrual cramps (and a ton of stuff in between!) But it’s actually an extremely versatile culinary addition. It has an earthy flavor but can waver back and forth between savory or sweet dishes like stocks and stews, roasted vegetables, teas, and desserts.

Fall Spices

Although spices can generally be used year-round, the warmth of the following three are perfect for the cooling weather.

fall foods that decrease inflammation in the body

Ginger

Ginger has been touted to help anything from boosting the immune system, lowering blood sugar, and easing inflammation. Probably it’s most famous claims to fame include taming the GI tract and pulling down inflammation. These benefits are made possible due to the over 400 compounds that ginger contains.

Ginger has a fresh, zingy flavor, and although the dried version (teas and spice shakers) have a milder flavor than fresh, they can still have nearly the same health benefits. It’s best to use fresh, and ginger root can be cut up and put in the fridge or frozen to last even longer.

fall foods that decrease inflammation in the body

Cinnamon

There can be a lot of confusion over the type of cinnamon that’s best to use. Ceylon (known as ‘true’ cinnamon) and cassia (what you buy in the grocery store) are equally delicious and contain a compound called cinnamaldehyde that’s thought to be responsible for its health and metabolism benefits.

Cinnamon has been shown to contain more antioxidant activity than any other in a study against 26 other spices, is a potent anti-inflammatory, and has been shown to reduce insulin resistance (among other benefits).

fall foods that decrease inflammation in the body

Pumpkin pie spice

Honestly  my favorite spice for fall is a combination of several spices: Pumpkin pie spice. This mixture obviously enhances pumpkin flavor, but can be used in a variety of recipes in fall and winter.

The components of pumpkin pie spice include cinnamon and ginger, which we already covered. The other ingredients are nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and black pepper.

What’s so great about the blend in pumpkin pie spice is that all the ingredients have powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds just like the other spices mentioned.

So as long as you use healthy sweeteners and anti-inflammatory ingredients for whatever pumpkin spice recipe you’re making, you essentially have a superfood recipe with powerhouse ingredients for fall!

Let me know in the comments: What’s YOUR favorite anti-inflammatory fall food or recipe?

fall foods that decrease inflammation in the body

Healthy Pumpkin Spice Latte | Anti-Inflammatory | Sugar Free | Vegan

One of the biggest bummers of going anti-inflammatory was learning that sugar was TOTALLY out. Especially in the fall when I love me some PSL—

However—hope is not lost!

I’ve got a healthy pumpkin spice latte that won’t jack your blood sugar up (or your waistline) like a Starbucks PSL will.

Just for reference, the Starbucks PSL has FIFTY grams of sugar in it!!

It’s sugar-free, dairy-free, anti-inflammatory, and full of pumpkin spice goodness.

{And just in case you don’t have any pumpkin pie spice, you can grab that recipe HERE.}

Now let’s get started!

healthy pumpkin spice latte

Want the free printable PDF guide to learn how to Fall Freestyle Meal Prep with NO PLAN for crazy busy fall weeks? Grab the free GUIDE and get a discount on the FALL ANTI-INFLAMMATORY MEAL PLANNING KIT! Get it before the discount goes away! 👇👇👇

Gather your ingredients

First we start with our ingredients, which are:

Pumpkin puree, coffee, erythritol or other granulated natural sugar-free sweetener, vanilla extract, unsweetened non-dairy milk of your choice, and pumpkin pie spice.

healthy pumpkin spice latte

Prepare the 2 parts of your pumpkin spice latte

First, you need to go ahead and start your coffee brewing. This will take a few minutes.

While your coffee is brewing, add that cup of nondairy milk to a small saucepan and turn it to medium heat, then add in your sweetener, and the pumpkin puree.

healthy pumpkin spice latte

And then whisk it really well until it’s all mixed together,and let it get really warm.

Then turn off your heat, add the vanilla extract and pumpkin spice, give it another good whisk…

healthy pumpkin spice latte

And then you’re ready to pour it up!

Pour it up like a barista

Put the coffee in your mug first, then pour the pumpkin milk mixture into the coffee.

healthy pumpkin spice latte

And enjoy your pumpkin spice latte that has mega anti-inflammatory ingredients WITHOUT the crazy amounts of sugar.

And if you really love anti-inflammatory seasonal fall recipes, check out my Fall Freestyle Meal Prep session where I grabbed random fall produce to make 4+ anti-inflammatory meals for the week with NO meal plan in place!

Pumpkin Spice Latte | Anti Inflammatory, Keto, Vegan

A healthy pumpkin spice latte that won't skyrocket your bloodsugar!
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Course Drinks
Servings 1

Ingredients
  

  • 4 oz coffee strong
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk of your choice, unsweetened
  • 1 TBSP pumpkin puree
  • 2 tsp erythritol to taste, or granulated natural sugar-free sweetener of choice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Instructions
 

  • Brew coffee while making pumpkin milk mixture.
  • Place a small saucepan on medium heat. Combine milk, pumpkin puree, and erythritol. Whisk together.
  • Keep whisking until mixture is warm.
  • Turn off heat. Add vanilla and pumpkin pie spice.
  • Pour coffee into a mug, then pour pumpkin milk mixture into it.
  • Enjoy!
Keyword anti-inflammatory, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Low-Carb, nightshade-free, Sugar-Free, Vegan

Want the free printable PDF guide to learn how to Fall Freestyle Meal Prep with NO PLAN for crazy busy fall weeks? Grab the free GUIDE and get a discount on the FALL ANTI-INFLAMMATORY MEAL PLANNING KIT! Get it before the discount goes away! 👇👇👇

healthy pumpkin spice latte

Anti Inflammatory Pumkin Cheesecake Smoothie

The Anti-Inflammatory Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake Smoothie You’ve Been Waiting For

Today we’re making what tastes like dessert but is a balanced meal with a fall-inspired yummy twist: Pumpkin Cheesecake Smoothies

pumpkin cheesecake smoothie anti inflammatory vegan gluten free

So, there’s nothing better than that break in heat from the summer and smelling fall in the air, and when it comes to easy, yummy, FAST meals, you can’t beat a smoothie.

This fall-inspired, anti inflammatory Pumpkin Cheesecake Smoothie owes its anti-inflammatory balanced macro goodness to pumpkin and banana and a surprise ingredient that gives it that creamy cheesecake mouthfeel that keeps us coming back for more. 😋

Want the free printable PDF guide to learn how to Fall Freestyle Meal Prep with NO PLAN for crazy busy fall weeks? Grab the free GUIDE and get a discount on the FALL ANTI-INFLAMMATORY MEAL PLANNING KIT! Get it before the discount goes away! 👇👇👇

And here’s how you make it…

pumpkin cheesecake smoothie anti inflammatory vegan gluten free

Prep Your Ingredients

Although many smoothies are just ‘dump and blend’, this one needs two ingredients pre-frozen: a banana and the pumpkin puree.

We keep bananas that were about to go bad in a baggie in the freezer so I always have them on hand for smoothies (or ice cream). But the pumpkin puree is a different story.

For this smoothie I measured out the pumpkin puree and placed it on a silmat and put it in the freezer. (This should freeze for about 30 minutes to an hour.)

pumpkin cheesecake smoothie anti inflammatory vegan gluten free

Dump and Blend

Once those 2 ingredients are frozen you’re free to dump them all in a high-powered blender (my choice is the Ninja), including our secret ingredient that we use instead of cream cheese: Silken tofu.

(Some links may be affiliate links, meaning if you click on and then purchase, I’ll get a portion of the proceeds, at no additional charge to you.) 🙂

Now, if you’ve never eaten or used tofu before, settle down. I used to avoid it like the plague because of all the bad press soy has gotten over the years. The truth is that it’s full of vegan (complete) protein, fiber, and healthy fat.

The reason some soy isn’t considered healthy is because if it’s NOT organic, it’s laden with chemicals, and the soy oil is extremely oxidized.

So choose organic and you’re good to go!

Also, if you can’t find silken (which is a much softer version), you can still use medium or firm, you may just have to add a few TBSP of water and blend longer for it to get super smooth.

Blend all your ingredients until super smooth (scraping the insides of the blender if needed).

pumpkin cheesecake smoothie anti inflammatory vegan gluten free

Then pour it up and enjoy!

pumpkin cheesecake smoothie anti inflammatory vegan gluten free
pumpkin cheesecake smoothie anti inflammatory vegan gluten free
pumpkin cheesecake smoothie anti inflammatory vegan

Pumpkin Cheesecake Smoothie

The Anti-Inflammatory Vegan Cheesecake Smoothie You've Been Waiting For
Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Servings 1
Calories 323 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 8 oz tofu silken
  • 1 banana frozen, small
  • 1/2 cup pureed pumpkin frozen for 30 min – 1 hour beforehand
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk or other non-dairy alternative
  • 2 TBSP lemon juice about 1/2 a lemon, juiced
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Instructions
 

  • Freeze pureed pumpkin beforehand for 30 min – 1 hour.
  • Add all ingredients to a high powered blender.
  • Blend until super smooth. Pour into a glass and enjoy!

Notes

Fat: 11
Carbs: 43
Fiber: 11
Protein: 22

Want the free printable PDF guide to learn how to Fall Freestyle Meal Prep with NO PLAN for crazy busy fall weeks? Grab the free GUIDE and get a discount on the FALL ANTI-INFLAMMATORY MEAL PLANNING KIT! Get it before the discount goes away! 👇👇👇

And if you really love anti-inflammatory seasonal fall recipes, check out my Fall Freestyle Meal Prep session where I grabbed random fall produce to make 4+ anti-inflammatory meals for the week with NO meal plan in place! >>>CLICK HERE<<<

Make sure you COMMENT BELOW on how you like it any substitutions you may have made!

*And don’t forget to PIN it or SHARE! 💖

pumpkin cheesecake smoothie anti inflammatory vegan gluten free

THE Fall Pumpkin Spice Superfood Smoothie

Your New Go-To Fall Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie

There’s nothing better than that break in heat from the summer and smelling fall 🍂 in the air, and when it comes to easy, yummy, FAST meals, you can’t beat a smoothie— And if you love pumpkin spice as much as I do, you’re gonna love this!

pumpkin spice superfood smoothie anti inflammatory

So this fall-inspired, Anti Inflammatory Pumpkin Spice Smoothie (that is a mouthful!)—is packed with anti-inflammatory goodness like pumpkin, avocado, spinach, and ginger, and I have a feeling it’s gonna become your GO TO smoothie for fall from now on.

Now, as much as I’d like this to be a gorgeous pumpkin color, as with all smoothies that have greens added…it’s green. But this absolutely doesn’t detract from it’s yumminess–pinky promise.

And here’s how you make it:

Step 1: Gather your ingredients

This smoothie is made with pumpkin, banana, avocado, spinach, ginger, pumpkin pie spice, ginger, nondairy milk, egg white powder, and keto maple syrup.

pumpkin spice superfood smoothie anti inflammatory

Want the free printable PDF guide to learn how to Fall Freestyle Meal Prep with NO PLAN for crazy busy fall weeks? Grab the free GUIDE and get a discount on the FALL ANTI-INFLAMMATORY MEAL PLANNING KIT! Get it before the discount goes away! 👇👇👇

Step 2: Put them all in the blender

Honestly this is why smoothies are so darn easy. You just put them all in the blender at once.

pumpkin spice superfood smoothie anti inflammatory

The one caveat for this smoothie (I’d suggest) is to hold off on the egg white powder until everything else is nice and smooth, because it can make it thicker.)

A high-powered blender is always recommended, like this Ninja, or if you want to spend more, the Vitamix is a favorite for a higher price tag.

(Some links may be affiliate links, meaning if you click on and then purchase, I’ll get a portion of the proceeds, at no additional charge to you.) 🙂

Step 3: Assess thickness

If your smoothie is having a hard time blending, you may need to add a little more liquid to it. If it gets too thick it can’t run back down to the bottom where the blades are doing their thang.

pumpkin spice superfood smoothie anti inflammatory

Step 4: Assess sweetness

I always like to do a little taste-test and just make sure the sweetness is where I like it. If it needs more, I add a tiny bit at a time. If there’s no sweetener in the recipe, I add a natural zero calorie sweetener like liquid stevia, monk fruit, or erythritol.

Step 5: Pour it up + enjoy!

In all honesty, sometimes smoothies make way more than I can handle in one sitting. So if it’s a bit too much, just store it in the fridge for up to a day.

pumpkin spice superfood smoothie anti inflammatory

Love fall anti-inflammatory recipes? Check out my Fall Freestyle Meal Prep Session where I prep for a whole week’s worth of meals by choosing random fall produce, and do it in about an hour! CLICK HERE to read!

And here’s the printable recipe:

pumpkin spice superfood smoothie anti inflammatory

The Pumpkin-Spice Superfood Smoothie: Your New GO TO Fall Smoothie

An anti-inflammatory smoothie made with fall superfoods.
Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Course Breakfast, Snack
Servings 1
Calories 267 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 banana frozen
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 2 cups baby spinach fresh
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 piece ginger fresh, grated
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk unsweetened
  • 1/4 cup keto maple syrup I used Lakanto brand
  • 2 TBSP egg white powder or plant-based plain protein powder

Instructions
 

  • Place all ingredients into a high-powered blender.
  • Blend until smooth.
  • If too thick, add a few TBSP of water at a time, or 4-5 ice cubes.
  • Taste test to determine if sweet enough.
  • Pour into a large glass and enjoy!

Notes

Per serving:
Fat- 9g
Carbs-40g
Fiber-7g
Protein-12g
Keyword anti-inflammatory, Gluten-Free, nightshade-free, Sugar-Free, Vegan

Want the free printable PDF guide to learn how to Fall Freestyle Meal Prep with NO PLAN for crazy busy fall weeks? Grab the free GUIDE and get a discount on the FALL ANTI-INFLAMMATORY MEAL PLANNING KIT! Get it before the discount goes away! 👇👇👇

PIN it or SHARE! 💖

pumpkin spice superfood smoothie anti inflammatory

Fall Freestyle Meal Prep in About an Hour

How to Get a Week of Fall Anti-Inflammatory Meals Prepped in About an Hour With No Plan

So, it’s fall, kids are back in school … which we’re infinitely grateful for, obviously, 😁 but that makes our weeks just, like… insanely crazy…

So when we’ve got weeks like this where we’re worried about getting kids home from school, homework, after-school activities–and we’re supposed to be cooking dinner, but we’ve got logistics for getting kids everywhere…

It can get pretty nutty.

We have three kids and that’s what we struggle with every single week—

So this method has actually been a lifesaver for us so that on weeks where I don’t even have the brainpower to put a meal plan together, this is our lifesaver.

We have a backup.

And I’m gonna show you how to do that; I’m gonna show you the example meals that we made for the week with all of the produce that we got; and if you scroll till the end I’m gonna tell you how to get the GUIDE that shows you all of the details for all of this so you can keep it on hand for ANY time you have weeks like this.

And I’m also gonna let you know how to get a discount on our Fall Anti-Inflammatory Meal Planning Kit, which is 4 weeks of anti-inflammatory meals, including:

  • Dinners
  • Lunches
  • Breakfasts and Snacks
  • Smoothies
  • Desserts
  • And even Fall-Inspired cocktails!

…SO..let’s get to it!

Step 1: Choose your produce

So for Freestyle meal prep, you start out with simply choosing a bunch of SEASONAL produce- and in our shopping order for this meal prep session I got:

  • broccoli,
  • brussels sprouts,
  • kale already chopped up in a bag,
  • mushrooms, you can choose any kind,
  • sweet potatoes,
  • regular potatoes,
  • an onion,
  • and cauliflower.

And all of this was just random stuff that I know my family will eat and that gave us a pretty good variety for meals this week.

Step 2: Prep your workspace

And after washing all the produce, I pre-heated both ovens for 350 degrees F.

The tools you’ll need for your meal prep session are a large cutting board, good knives, and roasting pans- probably with a lip, and something to line it with so stuff doesn’t stick.

Now I use something I found by accident with is a BBQ grilling mat—I love these because I can cut them to fit perfectly in my pan and NOTHING sticks to them—they come in a pack all rolled up in a box.

(Some links may be affiliate links, meaning if you click on and then purchase, I’ll get a portion of the proceeds, at no additional charge to you.) 🙂

Step 3: Get your base seasoning out

So our base seasoning includes avodado oil to drizzle on, I use this to cook with because it has a high smoke point. Or you can use something like this Misto spray can where you put the oil in, pump air in to build pressure, and spray it on.

Then season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and it’s ready to go in the oven.

Want the free printable PDF guide to learn how to do this? Grab it as well as a discount on the FALL ANTI-INFLAMMATORY MEAL PLANNING KIT! Get it before the discount goes away! 👇👇👇

Step 4: Prep foods that cook the longest first

So, even though I didn’t have full meals planned out when I got all this produce, I had a loose plan for a few things. So I knew I’d want to do baked potatoes one night, so since they take an hour to bake you’ll want to do these first if you’re doing baked potatoes one night.

And for baked potatoes, you just coat each one individually with oil, salt it, wrap it in foil, and then punch some holes with a fork.

Once I’ve got those all set and into the oven for one hour, I get to work chopping everything else.

Step 5: Prep all other foods that cook the same length of time

Broccoli and cauliflower

I started out with broccoli, and just basically cut all the florets off—and if you don’t like to chop you can always buy the bags where it’s pre-chopped. It does save time, but may cost a little more.

Once these were all cut up, I put them all on the pan on one end, because I put the cauliflower on the other end.

Then I started with the cauliflower and removed that large base then cut those into florets as well, breaking some of them apart. And you can also buy these prechopped if you don’t like cutting them up- it does save a lot of time and mess.

Then I placed all those on the second half of the pan where the broccoli was. I cook these on the same pan because cook at right about the same rate.

And then I wanted a bit more flavor than just our base seasoning, so I chopped an onion into chunks and just spread it out evenly on the pan.

Brussels sprouts

Next I prepped brussels sprouts, and the easiest way to do these is chop off the end piece slice them in half and lay them face down on the pan.

I arranged mine with a hole in the middle for all the loose little leaves because they get extra crispy and are a super yummy snack!

Then drizzle or spray with oil, then season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.—and they’re ready to go!

Mushrooms.

I decided to split the mushrooms and do half chopped pretty small and the other half roasted.

I chopped one half because I like to mix them in with ground meat to give it bulk and really boost the vitamin content-and my kids can never tell! I don’t precook those, so I just put them in a baggie to store in the fridge until the night I needed them.

The other half I just spread out on the pan, and I had a pack of sage I grabbed at the store as well—this is such a fragrant and nutrition-packed herb, and perfect for colder weather.

So I just chopped some of it, sprinkled it on the mushrooms, then added our oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder and it’s ready to go.

Sweet potatoes

I roughly chopped the sweet potatoes because I had loosely planned mashed sweet potates with cinnamon- my kids love those- and the rest I planned to use in my lunches during the week.

But that meant that all of them needed to be chopped.

Regular potatoes

Then I started on the rest of the regular potatoes I had. So for the ones I wasn’t using for a whole baked potato, we like to sometimes do homemade fries and this tool makes it super easy.

It’s a fry cutter and has this grid blade inside to cut the potato in perfectly squared fries.

So how it works is that you take the lid off, place the potato wedge on top of that grid, then put the lid on and push it down to force the potato through the grid. And you have perfectly shaped fries.

So I repeated this process until I got all the rest of the potatoes cut, then put them with the sweet potatoes on a pan, because they cook at about the same rate. I got them all seasoned and ready for the oven.

Step 6: Put all prepped veggies into the oven

All of the veggies go into the oven at that 350 degrees F for 30 minutes- just keep an eye out and take out anything that’s cooking a little too much.

Step 7: Any veg that won’t be pre-cooked

And the last thing I prepped was kale. Since this came in a bag, I picked out any bad pieces since it was already chopped, and planned to wilt some one night for dinner, and then would have a massaged kale salad one night as well.

So once all the bad pieces were picked out I just stored it in a Ziploc in the fridge.

Step 8: Remove veggies from oven

And when they’re done, just take all the pans out, and let them cool…

Step 9: Store prepped veggies

Then start putting them into your storage containers.

I do recommend putting them in separate containers because some veggies do have a higher water content and a lot of times they get a little bit mushy in there and you don’t want that water running into the other vegetables.

And then you’ve got all your veggies prepped for the week! You can store all of these AND your baked potatoes in the fridge until the night you need them.

4+ Meals with pre-prepped fall anti-inflammatory vegetables

The meals we cooked with our freestyle meal prep session were:

Chicken sausage with the broccoli and cauliflower,

Baked potato with shredded chicken, sugar-free bbq sauce, mushrooms, and brussels sprouts,

Turkey burgers that had the chopped mushrooms with sage built into it, and those homemade fries with Dijon mustard for dipping, and a massaged kale salad, AND

Lemony baked cod with wilted kale and mashed sweet potatoes with cinnamon.

And there ya go! That’s how to do Fall Freestyle Meal prep!

Want the free printable PDF guide to learn how to do this? Grab it as well as a discount on the FALL ANTI-INFLAMMATORY MEAL PLANNING KIT! Get it before the discount goes away! 👇👇👇

PIN IT for later or SHARE! 👇

Summer Freestyle Meal Prep for Anti-Inflammatory Dinners in Under an Hour

You know those weeks when there’s so damn much going on that you can already feel yourself teetering before the week even starts?

Well, we tend to have a lot of those around here. So even though I have a meal planning system set up with essentially my whole year of meals planned out, I still have weeks where a formal plan feels like too much to put on myself or anyone else.

So what I came up with is called Freestyle Meal Prep.

anti inflammatory meal prep

What is Freestyle Meal Prep?

Freestyle Meal Prep is what I call it when you don’t really have a formal meal plan or meal prep plan but you do know that you need food easy and ready for the week, if you’re like me and have crazy weeks sometimes where this would be really your lifeline for sticking to your anti-inflammatory diet all week with no planning.

This is really important when you’re managing inflammation and/or blood sugar levels, because your diet is the number one thing you can change to keep inflammation under control.

Now a lot of meal preppers who rely on the ‘cook once eat twice’ method will usually cook meats and then chop veggies at the start of the week but I like to do the opposite of that. Instead, I like to chop and cook veggies and any grains or other complex carbs that I might use during the week, like quinoa, rice, beans, or lentils and then cook meat the night of.

Here’s why I flip that around:

Proteins

So number one, we found that when we cook meats and then reheat them for our dinners they tend to end up pretty dry so they don’t taste nearly as good and then if you have leftovers you’d really just end up reheating those all over again making it taste even worse.

We have a lot of complainers in our household and that’s one of the main things that they complain about is the meat being dry. Also, meats in particular build up histamine as leftovers and I personally have a histamine issue that makes it better for my allergies and inflammation to just cook meats fresh the day of.

Starchy Carbohydrates

Number two is that studies are showing that cooking carbohydrates and then letting them cool and then reheating them again actually increases the amount of resistance starches significantly.

What this means is that those carbs aren’t causing that huge blood sugar spike. Instead, it’s keeping you at more of a steady blood sugar level over a longer period of time keeping you feeling full for longer.

This trick with resistant starches is important because it helps feed your good gut bacteria which helps with inflammation but it also keeps that blood sugar more steady which also helps with inflammation. So it’s kind of a two-fold punch there.

Learning to plan meals around veggies

And then number three: Moving into an anti-inflammatory diet will really just show you how amazing you can feel by eating more plant-based, plant-forward, or sometimes called a flexitarian style of eating. And doing this makes it really easy to just cook all the veggies up front since they store and reheat well and then plan meals around all of the veggies instead of meats.

This actually saves me a ton of time and is my go-to when I don’t have the brain power or the time to do actual meal planning and prep for the week while still getting all those meals on the table for my family at night and then also having lunches for me during the week.

And this method really is super simple so let’s get into it!

How to do Freestyle Meal Prep

So first things first– when I do freestyle meal prep I have my list of seasonal veggies and just add whatever sounds good that week to my grocery order. If you don’t do grocery orders online and you actually go into the store, just take your seasonal veggie list and choose the produce off of there that is appropriate for that season.

anti inflammatory meal prep

Step 1: Get out your prep foods and supplies

So to get started I get all that produce out. I get out my cutting board, my good knives, and a pan to roast the veggies on. Then I go ahead and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

anti inflammatory meal prep

Some people like to use a Sil match to roast veggies on because stuff doesn’t stick, but I found it really hard to find one of these that fits my pan perfectly. I do still use this for things that I bake that won’t leak into the oven, but for roasting veggies I found a secret kitchen tool that I accidentally stumbled onto.

It’s a barbecue grill mat and I’m telling you nothing sticks to this! They usually come in a pack rolled up all nice in a box (linked below).

anti inflammatory meal prep

And what I do is actually cut them to fit my pans that have lips so that they fit perfectly. And I’ve done this with baking sheets and I’ve also done this with CorningWare dishes.

(Disclaimer: This is an affiliate link, so if you decide to purchase this product, I made a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra charge to you.)

Now for this summer meal prep session, I’ve got zucchini, summer squash, eggplant, green beans, bell peppers, and onions, and I wanted to try fennel this week. Fennel looks a little bit like a celery plant but it has a flavor that’s more like anise, a little bit like licorice. It’s definitely not for everyone but at least wanted to try it out.

anti inflammatory meal prep

Step 2: Wash and chop

Once I make sure that everything’s been washed, I get started chopping.

What’s so easy about this whole process is that there’s almost no wrong way to do it. I literally either slice or chop the veggies however I want as long as I get the pieces all about the same size. This just ensures that all those vegetable chunks cook at about the same rate.

Squash and zucchini

For the squash and zucchini I just slice them in half lengthwise and then just chop slices all the way down.

anti inflammatory meal prep

Eggplant

Eggplants are tricky for some because they are part of the food family called nightshades. Nightshades cause inflammation in some people, but this isn’t a guarantee. Research has shown that nightshades causing inflammation is highly personal to each individual and any conditions they have, and the best way to know if you personally react is to do an elimination diet.

I like eggplants because they’re pretty filling but they have a soft texture without being mushy with liquid. Eggplant slices are really great for eggplant parmigiana, so it may help to slice it if you’d like to use it that way. I’ve been told by an Italian chef before that they sometimes do that and leave the skin on to help the eggplant slice stay intact during cooking.

But I also like to peel mine and cut it into those kind of half slices or half moon slices to roast as well. One thing I’ve learned through the years about eggplant is that you may need to switch your peeling tool depending on the thickness of the skin.

In this meal prep session I tried my larger knife and it wasn’t working very well so I then tried my peeler which is actually really sharp but it wasn’t doing that well either. So for safety’s sake I moved on to a much smaller paring knife which worked great.

Fennel

Next I chopped my fennel. Now fennel is like a large celery bulb in shape and texture. I just sliced the end off where the root is and then sliced off the stalks and then just sliced up the large bulb.

It can be a little difficult to do it this way just because the pieces fall apart a little bit, but just kind of do the best you can. Then lay the slices out and just drizzle them with oil and season them and everything before you roast.

anti inflammatory meal prep

Bell peppers and onions

Then I moved on to my peppers and onions. now for bell peppers I usually will cut off the top and then I’ll work the knife around the insides to pull out that seed pod. Then I’ll turn it upside down and give it a tap to get all those seeds out and then flip it upside down to cut it into slices. I did the same thing with my green, red, and orange bell peppers.

Then when those were done I peeled the skin of my onion. If I’m making something like maybe pico de gallo for a Mexican dish I’ll go ahead and cut some onions into smaller pieces, so I did go ahead and do a little of that. And then I cut the rest of it into larger slices to roast with the bell peppers.

Other veggies that don’t get cooked

The last thing in this session that I did was chop green beans. I do like roasted green beans, but I knew that we wanted fish one night this week and I love sauteing green beans during the summer because the fresh ones taste really great when they still have a bit of crunch to them.

So the green beans did not get roasted but they did get put into a storage container in the fridge.

Seasoning

Once I’ve got enough veggies to fill a pan I place all the chunks in sections.

The easiest way to prep roasted veggies–especially when you don’t know what actual meals you’ll be cooking for in the week yet–is is to do just the basics of oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder if you want.

I used avocado oil because it has good monounsaturated fats, which is great for pulling down inflammation, and it also has a high smoke point. You can use the mister if you want a lighter coating of oil rather than it being drizzled.

anti inflammatory meal prep

Roasting time

Then everything’s ready and goes into the oven. We have a double oven so I actually take full advantage of that on days like this when I’ve got several pans to cook all at the same time. I’ll just leave the light on in there so I can check in case something may need to come out a little earlier.

The general time that I cook veggies is about 30 minutes.

Cooling + storing meal prepped vegetables

The last step is getting them out of the oven, letting them cool a bit, and then getting them into containers to store in the fridge. In our house, we use glass Pyrex storage containers that are rectangular shaped. I’m not sure who thought using round containers inside of a square-shaped fridge was a good idea of it in our house it pushes other dishes around and nearly pops them out of the fridge regularly, so we use square or rectangular shaped.

And then when they’re cool enough put the lids on and you can stack them nice and neat in the fridge until you need them during the week.

anti inflammatory meal prep

Creating ‘freestyle meals’ during the week

Once you have all of your veggies prepped ready to go in your meal prep container stored in the fridge, during the week, basically you just have to pair the veggies with different meats or sauces or flavor profiles to create just about limitless combinations for meals.

So this particular summer week we did:

anti inflammatory meal prep

Grilled salmon with sliced tomatoes and those sauteed green beans,

anti inflammatory meal prep

A low-carb version of eggplant Parmesan with tomato sauce and a side salad,

anti inflammatory meal prep

Fajita bowls with peppers and onion where we cooked chicken added canned black beans and then sliced avocado and brown rice,

anti inflammatory meal prep

And then I paired sauteed tofu with squash zucchini and pesto and that can easily have chicken subbed in for the tofu.

So if you’d like a printable PDF for freestyle meal prep for crazy busy weeks that include some sauce recipe options, there is a link below 👇, and if you grab that you’re also going to get a discount on the four week seasonal anti-inflammatory meal plan kit that has four whole weeks of anti-inflammatory dinners, lunches, breakfast and snacks, desserts, smoothies, and even cocktails!

Let me know in the comments: What meals have you made during freestyle summer meal prep?! 💖 🍍

Blueberry Paleo Pancakes

One of the best things about summer has got to be the delicious assortment of fresh berries. And if your family is like mine, it’s pretty darn rare for anyone to turn their nose up these gorgeous juicy gems.

Our typical problem with baking with them is that so many recipes add in (totally unnecessary) sugar to sweeten berries up. The thing is, if they’re in season and fresh, they absolutely don’t need extra sweetness.

And one of our absolute favorite ways to use them is in pancakes. And these Paleo blueberry pancakes are super yummy AND can easily take a switchout for whichever summer berry goodness you have on hand!

blueberry paleo pancakes

Blueberry Paleo Pancakes

These Paleo blueberry pancakes are super yummy AND can easily take a switchout for whichever summer berry goodness you have on hand!
Cook Time 15 mins
Course Breakfast, Snack
Servings 2
Calories 241 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 4 Eggs
  • 1/4 cup Unsweetened Almond Milk or milk of choice
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/3 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 1/2 TBSP monk fruit sweetener granulated, or keto maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 tsp avocado oil for pan
  • 1/4 cup blueberries fresh or frozen; or other summer berries

Instructions
 

  • In a mixing bowl, whisk all the wet ingredients EXCEPT the blueberries; in a separate bowl mix all the dry ingredients. Then add the dry into the wet a little at a time, whisking until completely combined.
  • Either add blueberries into batter, or save for topping pancakes (or both!)
  • Heat a pan over medium heat. When the pan is hot add the oil. Spoon the batter into the pan in scant 1/4 cup portions to form small pancakes. Divide the blueberries between pancakes and cook for about three to five minutes per side or until golden brown and cooked through. Repeat with any remaining batter, adding more oil to the pan as needed.
  • Divide pancakes between plates and enjoy!
Keyword anti-inflammatory, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Low-Carb, nightshade-free, Sugar-Free
Blueberry paleo pancakes

The Best Diet for Anxiety: Ultimate Guide

If I’d known the best diet for anxiety fifteen years ago… I would have jumped on it immediately. Spending my two-week training time at a new job just trying to function like a normal human (ie, NOT having a panick attack) was not what I was prepared for.

Sure I had lots of stress in those previous months… new job, new city, new house, and lots of months of trying to get pregnant to no avail. But getting to the point that I felt like I was going crazy all day, every day was not what I signed up for.

best diet for anxiety depression

And that’s unfortunately how so many others roll into their first anxiety attacks… unsuspecting. The sad truth is that many others have experienced this since childhood, especially the teenage years.

We had to deal with this first-hand with our oldest daughter, and I was at a loss. Because I, too, knew what it felt like…but at the time I was under the misconception that it was because she was raised in the day and age of ‘participation trophies’ and needed to just suck it up. She didn’t understand what ‘real’ stress felt like.

best diet for anxiety depression

It took a lot of education and self-imposed nutritional therapy to understand that anxiety (and depression) are highly influenced by what we eat as well as how we treat our bodies in a holistic way.

It’s not a ‘frame of mind’ to suffer from this…It’s a chemical state.

But what many fail to understand is that just because it’s chemical doesn’t automatically mean medication is necessary. I don’t for a second think medication may not be necessary; I personally took it for a decade.

But what I didn’t know then, and do know now, is that anxiety and depression can be largely resolved by lifestyle changes–including an anti-anxiety diet.

Anxiety and depression symptoms

Years ago I thought anxiety and depression looked like people who just withdrew and worried a lot. Now I know better. In fact, symptoms can include any of all of these:

  • Feel like you’re going crazy
  • Claustrophobic
  • Irritable
  • Uninterested
  • Unmotivated
  • Brain fog
  • Numb
  • Chest pain
  • Short of breath
  • Stomach issues
  • Heart palpitations
  • Sweating
  • Clammy
  • Physical pains where you’re holding stress or trauma
  • Overly emotional
  • Sad
  • ADD
  • Out of your body

And this isn’t an exhaustive list.

best diet for anxiety depression

The Gut-Brain Link

What’s been discovered in the last few decades is that the gut and brain and intricately linked. So much so that the gut is now called ‘the second brain’.

Research has shown that our connection has a ton to do with our gut bacteria and nutrition levels. 

Nutrition levels are usually pretty self-explanatory for many: Eat more of what you’re deficient in.

Gut bacteria can be a bit trickier. This is because it isn’t as simple as popping a probiotic once a day. Gut bacteria is influenced by what you eat that you should or shouldn’t, the amount of exercise you do or don’t get, how well or poorly you’re managing stress, and how much and the quality of sleep you are or aren’t getting. 

These are called the CORE 4 pillars of health at TRUEWELL, and they work in a holistic and synergistic way. They can all stack together to work for or against you. Usually the best place to start is nutrition because you gotta eat everyday. 

best diet for anxiety depression

The best diet for anxiety and depression

After being in the wellness and nutrition space for over a decade, I’ve personally been through many dietary styles and researched even more. And what I’ve come to find is that although many dieticians and nutritionists dismiss dietary styles that eliminate some foods… this isn’t always a bad thing like they’d have you think. 

What’s become popular of late is health ‘gurus’ giving advice that you don’t have to quit this or quit that and that it’s unhealthy to restrict yourself in that way. 

I have a problem with this when it comes to conditions that rely on quitting certain foods. Because the price you pay isn’t just your physical health; it’s also your quality of life.

And this is especially true when it comes to anxiety and depression. 

That being said, my highest recommendation for an anti-anxiety and depression diet is an anti-inflammatory diet. Here’s why:

  1. The AI diet starts with the foundation as the Mediterranean diet, which has had heavy research for the last 15-20 years backing it up.
  2. An AI diet goes even further than that to be truly personalized for your unique needs.
  3. It doesn’t normally require counting anything (unless you’re also using it as a tool to lose weight). 
  4. It promotes highly nutritious foods.
  5. It truly is a dietary style meant to be incorporated as a way of life, for life.

How does an Anti-Inflammatory diet help anxiety and depression?

An anti-inflammatory diet starts out with the Mediterranean diet as a foundation. The Mediterranean diet follows these guidelines:

  1. Cut out sugar and processed foods, and instead eat complex carbohydrates like vegetables, low-sugar fruits, beans and legumes, and whole (or cracked) grains for high amounts of fiber and resistant starches. These are the best foods to feed your good gut bacteria (remember we talked about how important gut health is?)
  2. Cut refined flours: These are absorbed into the bloodstream extremely fast and have the same effect as eating sugar.
  3. Stop drinking alcohol (at least temporarily until you know how you react to it). The Med Diet includes red wine, in moderation.
  4. Cut out trans fats and most saturated fats. 
  5. The basic Mediterranean Diet includes low-fat dairy in moderation

To go a step further in refining the diet for anxiety and depression, you should also:

  1. Cut out gluten as it’s been shown to induce inflammation in the gut even in people who don’t have celiac. Those with anxiety and depression commonly also have adrenal fatigue on some level, and gluten aggravates this state as well
  2. Eliminate artificial sweeteners, which have also been shown to have a huge negative impact on gut bacteria
  3. Cut out dairy until you know how you react to it
  4. Consider an elimination diet to determine if you have food sensitivities

The way that this helps with anxiety and depression is that it eliminates the foods putting your body into an imbalanced state via the gut, and starts to repair the gut so that it can function at peak performance.

This allows your neurotransmitters to do their job in managing anxiety and depression properly.

best diet for anxiety depression

What foods can I eat for anxiety and depression?

The best place to start is getting a balance of macros at each meal with the TRUEWELL trifecta:

  1. High quality protein (at least 3 oz at each meal; the size of your palm). Examples would be fatty cold-water fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel), organic grass-fed beef, pork, or poultry. Soy is also an option (organic). 
  2. Fiber (gluten-free) with resistant starches (fill your plate as much as possible with vegetables, and then add complex carbs like whole or cracked grains, beans, or legumes).
  3. Healthy fats (about the size of your thumb). These would be monounsaturated fats (olive or avocado oil), a few nuts, or some cheese (if you can tolerate it without symptoms). 
best diet for anxiety depression

You should also add a really good probiotic. But just know that these don’t really do much if you’re not taking them with complex carbs. This is because the fiber and resistant starches are food for your good gut bacteria. When these little bugs are happy, they reduce inflammation in your gut and body.

A good multi-vitamin with methylated forms of Vitamin B is also really helpful as B deficiencies have been linked with anxiety and depression.

A great place to start with the Anti-Inflammatory diet is right here at TRUEWELL.

I’ve personally beat my anxiety and depression with diet and lifestyle, and no longer take meds (after relying on them for 10 years!) to manage this. In five years I’ve only had one panic attack, and it was caused by food poisoning. (And look – I’ve got 4 kids and operate the majority of the time as a single working mom, so that should say something!)

If you’re ready to get started balancing your body with nutrition to finally have anxiety-free days that you’re excited to live, grab the Anti-Anxiety Nutrition Starter Kit and learn how the Anti-Inflammatory Diet is the solution you’ve been looking for, and how to get started on it QUICK. 👇

Kick anxiety to the curb by giving your body the nourishment it’s been missing.

🥑 Learn the two biggest offenders in foods when it comes to anxiety and depression,

🥑 Get started QUICK with a 3-day Anti-Inflammatory meal plan with delicious, fool-proof meals hand-picked to start obliterating anxiety, 

🥑 Discover the CORE 4 pillars that all work together either for you or against you when it comes to managing your anxiety. 

✨ Enter your name + email to get the Anti-Anxiety Nutrition Starter Kit! 👇

best diet for anxiety depression

*Disclaimer: This is for informational purposes only and not intended to diagnose, prevent, or treat any condition. If you’re having suicidal thoughts, get help immediately.

Top 3 Mistakes in Anti Inflammatory Meal Planning + What to Do Instead

So look, meal planning can be tough enough on its own, but when you add in a dietary style that you’re totally new to, that just makes it that much more complicated. 

When doing anti-inflammatory meal planning there are three major mistakes that I see clients making over and over again that are costing you serious time, money, and the ability to get those anti-inflammatory meals cooked and on the table every night so that you can feel amazing every day. So let’s chat about those to make sure you’re not making those same mistakes, and let you in on what to do instead.

top 3 mistakes in anti inflammatory meal planning

🌟Don’t know which foods are on the ‘go/no-go’ list for an Anti-Inflammatory Diet? Check out ‘Anti-Inflammatory Diet for Beginners’

Anti Inflammatory Meal Planning Mistake #1: Being overly ambitious

Mistake number one is being overly ambitious and thinking that you need to cook every night of the week.

So I get it–when we get excited about something new (especially if it’s supposed to help us reach our goals like managing a condition, getting your blood sugar under control, or even kick-starting weight loss), we just want to jump all in…But I want you to slow your roll for a minute because when we get overly ambitious and think that we need to cook every single night you’re sorta asking for trouble.

top 3 mistakes in anti inflammatory meal planning

The problem is that when we decide to jump all in and cook every single night, we’re going to get completely overwhelmed. And the usual response to getting overwhelmed is to shut down and do nothing. So I want to prevent that and just kind of take a step back instead. 

The reason that we’re going to take a step back on that is that when you stop putting that kind of pressure on yourself and allow yourself to learn in a really more relaxed way where you can learn to enjoy planning, prepping, and cooking and then appreciate what this dietary style can do for your body. 

So instead what I want you to do is maybe start out cooking three to four dinners in your first few weeks to get started…And take that time to get used to the types of food that you can be using. There’s a little bit different way of cooking sometimes for anti-inflammatory meals and I want you to really just kind of get the hang of what this whole dietary lifestyle and style is about before getting overwhelmed with the whole meal planning part of it. 

One of the really great strategies for this is when you cook those three to four meals go ahead and cook a little bit more so that you can have extra for other meals… which leads us into mistake number two. 

Anti Inflammatory Meal Planning Mistake #1: Not cooking enough food

So before you get all up in arms and overwhelmed at that let me just explain. It takes no extra time to cook 4 servings of a recipe versus 8 servings of a recipe. You’re simply using double the ingredients so what I want you to think about is that when you’re only cooking one recipe at a time for whatever meal that is you’re missing out on the opportunity to save so much time later. 

The reason why that happens is that whenever you cook more you have extra time, you have a fallback, and you have a backup plan. 

top 3 mistakes in anti inflammatory meal planning

I know a lot of families who do one night a week for leftovers for dinner, (we absolutely do that because it saves me cooking one night of the week and it also saves all of the other clean up that happens, and it cleans up whatever is left over in the fridge.) 

So instead, think about doing one and a half or even doubling up on your recipes. You do also have the option to take one recipe and cook it for your dinner that night and then make a second one at the same time to freeze for later. So I always recommend doing that and or making double at the recipe so that you can have enough for lunch the next day. 

I work out of the house but whenever I did not work out of the house I would get into that hangry situation right before lunch because I’d been really busy working and usually forgot to have a snack. So by the time lunch got there I was just being like in this annoyed, starving state where I really didn’t care what I went to eat, so I would just grab the closest most convenient thing that I could. Which would never work out on this type of dietary style. 

So if you make enough for lunch the next day you can be assured that whatever you’re eating for lunch is compliant with the anti-inflammatory diet and that way you’re not even worrying about what you’re eating the next day because you know that it fit in because you made it for your dinner the night before.

Mistake #3: Not setting enough time aside

Mistake number three is not setting enough time aside for meal prep and for actual cooking

So the problem in this is that you’re making things more frantic for yourself if you have kids–and especially smaller ones. This could actually be pushing their bedtime later which we know makes us more stressed out and most of all you’re stressing yourself out trying to frantically cook a whole meal when you don’t really have enough time to cook it. 

top 3 mistakes in anti inflammatory meal planning

Here’s why: When you do allow yourself enough time, it just makes your time spent cooking way more relaxing… You just assemble the ingredients cook what needs to be cooked at your own pace, no rush…Instead of frantically running around with your hair on fire just to get dinner ready. 

But it also gives you peace of mind during the day because you know that those things are already prepped and ready to go and have the extra time to cook dinner. 

I can’t tell you the number of clients that tell me that even though they have meal plans technically done they still have anxiety about getting the meals actually cooked at night because of how long it will take. 

What to do instead is to make sure that you schedule in an hour maybe on Sunday (or one other day at the start of the week) to meal prep: chop veggies and even go ahead and make some of the meat even sauces. Sometimes if it’s a casserole a lot of those ingredients are pre-cooked and then you can just assemble them the night of and then just stick them in the oven so that you have as little to do as possible on the day of.

Bonus points!

Add even more bonus points if you go ahead and shop and then prep all of your veggies the minute that you get back inside with the groceries so that you’re saving yourself an extra trip of taking things back out of the fridge just to chop them and then put them back in the fridge.

Let me know in the comments if you’ve been making any of these mistakes (or even others that I didn’t touch on!)

Get started THIS WEEK on the Anti-Inflammatory Diet by grabbing the 1-Week Anti-Inflammatory Meal Plan below! 💖

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anti inflammatory meal planning mistakes