Nutrition + Cooking Resources

I love to cook (and eat), although I used to be much more creative with recipes than I have been in recent months. One of the silver linings for me about staying home more means I’ve gotten some time back to spend in the kitchen. Below are some articles to help you with stocking your pantry and some of my favorite food blogs + cookbooks for inspiration.

Stocking Your Pantry

My Favorite Food Blogs + Cookbooks


Note: most of these are plant-based because that’s how I choose to eat. That said, you can easily add meat to many of the plant-based recipes here. This is not an endorsement of any specific diet – just a collection of things I enjoy.

  • Minimalist Baker – One of the things I love about Minimalist Baker is that many of her recipes are one pot/bowl/pan and 10 ingredients or fewer. She offers lots of vegan, gluten-free options, and recently started including recipes with meat and seafood. She also has a cookbook that I own and love. Some of my favorites from her: Cheesy Spaghetti Squash (which I top with Rao’s tomato sauce and Beyond Meat “ground beef”), Tofu Tostadas (cookbook only), and BBQ Black Bean Burgers (with some goat cheese on top + air fryer brussels sprouts)
  • Oh She Glows – Angela Liddon’s blog, Oh She Glows, saved me when I decided to go cold-turkey vegan in 2015 (what was I thinking…). Her recipes are flavorful and fun, and she has an excellent app that’s easy to navigate. She also has two cookbooks, The Oh She Glows Cookbook and Oh She Glows Everyday. I own both and they are well-loved. A few of my favorites are: Jumbo Stuffed Shells (even my dad liked these), Roasted Buddha Bowl (great for weekly meal prep and the sauce is incredible), and these Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies.
  • Thug Kitchen – If four-letter words aren’t your thing, Thug Kitchen might not be for you. But if you can handle the heat (their tagline is “Eat Like You Give a F*ck”), you’ll end up with some delicious food with a side of belly laughs – seriously, their cookbook gets an LOL from me every time I use it. A few favorites: Garlic Sriracha Noodles with Broccolini, Celery Seed Slaw, and these White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies (gotta have my desserts).
  • Rabbit and Wolves – Rabbit and Wolves is my favorite blog for comfort food. All of her recipes feel indulgent to me, even though they are packed with veggies. I pretty much pulled my whole Super Bowl menu from her site. My favorites are: Blackened Tofu with Cheesy Grits (I usually cook brussels or broccoli to eat with this), Firecracker Broccoli Ramen, and Roasted Apple and Root Veggie Stuffing.
  • Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat – Part education (with great illustrations) and part delicious recipes, if you want to understand more of the “why” behind your recipes, this is a great place to start.
  • Nothing Fancy/Alison Roman – I love Alison Roman. Remember those salted butter and chocolate chunk shortbread cookies that made the rounds on social media? Those are one of her genius recipes from her cookbook Dining In. She also writes for both NYTimes Cooking and Bon Appetit, so you can find content from her there, too. Cooking for groups of friends/family is one of my absolute favorite things, and this Nothing Fancy has some great options for entertaining.
  • NYTimes Cooking – NYTimes Cooking has an absurd amount of recipes and ideas to suit a wide variety of diets. Mark Bittman’s Cacio e Pepe recipe is a favorite for an easy, comforting dinner (especially for my Italian husband).

What are you cooking that you’ve been loving lately?


Mental Health Resources

During this uncertain time, mental health is especially important. Social isolation can have a huge impact on our well-being, and the new reality of staying in our homes most of the day can be very disorienting (is anyone else struggling to keep the days straight?). I’ve listed a few apps and articles below that are relevant to maintaining your mental health through this crisis.

Mental Health

  • TalkSpace – TalkSpace is an online therapy platform. After an initial assessment, they match you with a therapist who you can reach via text and/or video chat. Subscription plans start at $65.00/week.
  • BetterHelp – BetterHelp is another online therapy platform. After signing up, you’ll be matched with an online counselor depending on your objectives. Plans range from $40.00 – $70.00/week, billed monthly.
  • MDLive – MDLive is a telehealth platform that offers access to doctors for a variety of needs, including behavior health. Registration is free, and once you’re signed up you can use their app to search for providers.
  • A psychologist’s science-based tips for emotional resilience during the coronavirus crisis – This Washington Post article outlines recommendations for maintaining psychological well-being during COVID-19.
  • Helping Children Cope with Changes Resulting from COVID-19 – This article from the National Association of School Psychologists has some great tips for helping your children cope with all of the recent changes to their lives.
  • Suggestions for Dealing with Isolation – This post was written by someone who spent years bed-ridden, and has some great recommendations for staying engaged with the world.
  • Headspace – This popular meditation app is offering a series of free meditations called Weathering the Storm. They also have a larger library for members.
  • Calm – Another popular meditation app, Calm offers meditations, nature scenes, mindful movement, and more. They offer a 7-day free trial, so you can test it out before committing fully.
  • Mindful – Mindful is a health magazine that covers many topics, including meditation. Check out their website for online resources, or subscribe to receive print and/or digital copies of the magazine.

How are you managing your mental health during COVID-19? Include your ideas below!


Tips for Working From Home

Many of us are lucky enough to have jobs where we’re now working from home/teleworking/remote/whatever term you like to use. For a lot of people, doing this full-time is a new experience. While we may have the opportunity or need to do this occasionally, doing it on a full-time basis can be really disorienting, especially if you have children who are now home from school or daycare, as well. I’ve been working from home now for a while, so I thought it might be helpful for me to share a few things that have worked for me in making this transition.

  1. Create a schedule (and stick to it). This is my number one recommendation for successfully working from home, and it honestly takes some time and practice to develop. Experiment with different formats to find what works best for you. Maybe you prefer to workout in the morning, maybe it works better for you to do it at lunch. Maybe you need to start work earlier than usual because you’re splitting child care time with your spouse. Check in with yourself at the end of each day and think through what worked well and what didn’t. Give yourself some grace while you’re finding your way – every day will not be as productive as you want it to be, and that’s ok.
  2. Have a designated work space that’s different from your leisure space. If you can, which I know is tricky depending on where you live, try to have a designated work space that is different from your leisure space. If you’re working in a space that you generally use for leisure time, it sends the wrong signal to your brain. Ideally, your work space is also one you can walk away from at the end of the day. When it’s time to stop working, you want to be able to turn off your computer and physically walk away from your work so you can completely disconnect. It’s easy to fall into a routine of working late when you’re working at home because you lose the distinct action of leaving the office. Try to simulate that as best you can at home, because now more than ever it’s important to give yourself time to recharge.
  3. Set boundaries for work and personal time. Building off of the previous point, this will help with balance and it will also help with those folks who don’t always understand what it means to be working from home (Hi, Mom!). For most of us, working from home doesn’t mean you’re available all hours of the day, so be sure you’re signing off around the time you usually would if you were in the office (obviously depending on your work needs). It also doesn’t mean that you’re available at any time for your friends or family who want to, say, take the day and go shopping. Set some boundaries and don’t be afraid to gently enforce them.
  4. Keep getting face time with your co-workers. Working from home can feel isolating. While at one point you were constantly surrounded by colleagues to engage with, your only colleague now may be your roommate/significant other/pet. Try to use video meetings when you can and take a few minutes at the beginning of each meeting for a quick catch-up. Schedule video “coffee chats” with colleagues to stay connected and engaged. Remember, #alonetogether.
  5. Don’t forget to move! When I was working full-time in an office, I moved a decent amount between getting coffee, going to meetings, getting lunch, etc. At home, I initially found I was moving less because there wasn’t anywhere I really needed to go. Now, I keep an eye on the clock and try to take a ~5 minute movement break every hour. Even if it’s just standing in front of my desk and stretching for a minute, it makes a big difference for me in staying focused. With the weather warming up, maybe try adding a walk around the block to your lunch break.


At-Home Fitness Resources

Live Stream and On-Demand Classes


Before COVID-19, there were already a lot of great fitness resources online, but since it started I have been amazed at the number of studios and gyms who have adapted to continue to help their members remotely. Below is a list of several options for online classes and programs, many with free trial periods. Be sure to also check out your local studios, as many have moved their classes online as well!

Barre/Pilates/Strength

  • FlyBarre – On their Instagram, @flywheelsports, they’re hosting live classes for both FlyBarre and FlyFit (cross-training)
  • PureBarre On-Demand – For those who are addicted to LTB-ing in the studio, you can get your LTB on from home instead! PB On Demand offers a 7-day free trial, followed by several subscription options after your trial ends.
  • Melissa Wood Health – Former model-turned-health guru Melissa Wood leads a series of low-impact “flows” for upper, lower, and full body. She also has guided meditation options. She offers a 7-day free trial, so you can test her method before fully committing.
  • Barre 3 – They’re offering a 15-day free trial, which gives you access to an on-demand library of workouts from 15-60 minutes.
  • Peloton – It’s not just a bike, y’all! Peloton does have bike and tread workouts, but they also have a huge library of strength, HIIT cardio, yoga, outdoor running, and pilates workouts (they also have meditations). They offer a 30-day free trial, so you get lots of time to try it out!

Cardio/Dance/HIIT

  • The Sculpt Society – Workouts by creator Megan Roup combine dance and strength moves for a full-body cardio and strength workout. TSS offers a 14-day free trial and then several subscription options after.
  • Body By Simone – A part-dance, part-strength workout created by famous LA trainer, Simone de la Rue. 14-day free trial available.

Yoga

  • Alo Moves – Alo Moves offers yoga (and barre) classes on-demand, with a 14-day free trial option.
  • CorePower – This yoga company is offering some of their workouts without signing up, but you will need a subscription to access their full library (14-day free trial available).
  • Down Dog – This app lets you customize your flow, including length, music, and difficulty

Setting Up Your Home Gym


Many of the studios and programs listed above offer bodyweight and no-equipment workouts, but if you’re looking for equipment to build out your home gym, here is what I currently have in mine (Note: all of these link to items in-stock at the time of posting). Don’t want to purchase equipment right now? Check with your local studios about renting their equipment. I’ve seen several who are offering this option while they’re closed and it’s a great way to continue to support them.

  • Resistance bands – honestly, if I could only have one tool in my home set-up, this is what I would pick. Resistance bands are so versatile, and you can do pretty much any exercise you’d do on a cable machine in the gym with these guys. I also love that they’re very easy to throw in a suitcase when you travel and space-friendly for smaller apartments.
  • Mini bands – I have similar thoughts on these as I do with resistance bands, although they’re slightly less versatile because they’re smaller
  • Stability ball – I love this for balance and core work. It’s not the most space-friendly, though.
  • Kettlebell – This is another great piece of equipment that you can do a lot with. I only have one, and it’s the heaviest weight in my home arsenal. I use it mostly for lower body work.
  • Dumbbells – I have several sets of these: 20lb, 10lb, 5lb, and 3lb. I snagged the smaller ones recently because you can combine them with the heavier ones to increase weight as you get stronger!
  • Step – This is not as space-friendly, but I love step work to adjust the challenge of the movement you’re doing, or for cardio.
  • Sliders – These guys… They aren’t the most-used piece of equipment I have, but that’s often because they make everything so. freaking. hard. There are different types for hard surfaces vs. carpet, so make sure you get the right ones for the surface you’ll be using during your workouts. The ones I have (and the ones that are linked) are made so that you can use one side for hard surface and one for carpet.

A few other multi-purpose options:

  • This resistance band/slider kit, which I would recommend if you’re looking for something relatively inexpensive, versatile, and minimally space intensive.
  • TRX Home2 System – I LOVE TRX. I have wanted a TRX system at home for a long time, but I’ve never sprung for one because they have them at my gym, which I love going to. Depending on how long this outbreak lasts, I may crack and get one. TRX is super challenging, very versatile, and effective using only bodyweight (but you can add weight to a lot of exercises if you want an extra challenge). The home system comes with a door anchor, but you can also buy a wall/ceiling mount if you’d prefer.

How are you staying active at home? Leave your ideas and tips below!