TV-Free Family: 5 Things I’ve Learned Living Without Television

5 Things I've Learned Living Without Television

Hello! Corinne here. I’ve been wanting to share some insights I’ve gathered over the past six weeks of living TV-Free. And finally, it’s happening! When I say that we’re a TV-Free Family, I want to say that living 6 weeks without a television at home doesn’t mean we’re wedded to the idea forever.

I LOVE TELEVISION. Especially British TV shows (I’ve watched all seasons of The Great British Baking Show, Doc Martin, and Father Brown, Sherlock, and the list goes on—more times than I’d like to admit). It’s just that this experiment has been incredible and I wanted to share why.

I’m going to keep this post short and sweet though. My oldest two kids, Grace (3) and Audrey (7) were becoming TV addicts. They could zone out for hours at a time watching a show they’d seen 10 times before. (I wasn’t much better.) So when the TV went kaput one night, I turned to my husband Steve and said, “what if we didn’t replace it?” And we didn’t.

Sure there was some whining from the kids the first few days, but it subsided pretty quickly.

Here’s what I’ve observed from our tv-free family experiment:

We started doing new things (or more of the things that I always hoped we would do!).

We went to the library for the first time as a family (and have kept going weekly). The kids are comfortable talking to the librarians about books they’d like to find, we get 20-30 books out each week, and we’re getting out of the house and doing something for free! Total win. Also, the kids started asking to go outside more. They’ve spent countless hours digging in the dirt for worms, playing pretend in the backyard, and getting the back deck covered in play-doh or kinetic sand (rather than our kitchen floor). Another win. I guess a little boredom inside can really motivate a kid to go outdoors, who knew?!

We cook and eat more meals together as a family. 

We have a couple of step stools in the kitchen and my girls like to stand next to me while I get dinner ready. They love spending time together, stirring and measuring, and I feel so good about what they’re learning about food and the importance of family dinners. It’s a little slower and chaotic and sometimes it ends with me saying, “everyone out of the kitchen!” but most of the time I’m really glad we did it.

We do mundane things as a family and they’re more fun! 

Now that we aren’t glued to the latest episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, we’re happy to go as a family of five on a trip to Home Depot or the grocery store. Yes, I still enjoy the time I get alone on errands, but when we have the chance to go as a family, there’s always a funny moment to remember (there are probably tears or a tantrum from one of the kids too—but that would’ve happened at home anyway!) AND I’ve become much more comfortable with the kids in public, especially when things don’t go perfectly. It is what it is and I don’t waste as much time worrying about what everyone else might be thinking of one of the kids having a fit.

Morning and evening routines are easier with the kids.

We don’t have to deal with, “one more show, pleeeeaaaase!” when we’re asking them to brush their teeth, eat breakfast, get their PJs or clothes on, etc. This cuts way down on battles over the essentials of everyday life. Also, I’ve magically found time to go for a 20-minute walk most mornings and read before bed at night. This has been a total game changer for my energy and mental health throughout the day.

We found a way to enjoy movies and shows without a tv. 

We bought this projector, this adaptor, and this screen, and our living room transform into a home theater on Friday nights. Suddenly our popcorn popper was popping and movies like The Greatest Showman, Mary Poppins, Shrek, and The Goonies are so much more special when we haven’t been watching TV throughout the week.

The verdict on our 6-week tv-free family experiment…

I’m not sure if we’ll go back to TV any time soon. I definitely want to see if being a tv-free family helps make life more manageable during the school year. Most of all, I’ve just enjoyed being more present—whether it’s with the kids or when I have some time to myself (or with my husband) after the kids go to bed. Plus, we’ll be traveling to different friends and family’s homes on Sundays this fall during football season. Have you ever taken a TV hiatus?

In veggies and mud pies we trust,


Back to School: Weekend Meal Prep and Planning

Nothing slaps a parent or kid into shape like Back to School. It’s time to get back into routines, stop ordering out so much, stop sleeping in, start going to bed earlier, and start thinking about dinner before 8pm.

So, in episode 11 of the Healthyish podcast, Jen and Corinne share the importance of taking time on the weekends to plan and prep a few foods and meals to make the week MUCH easier—easier to survive without takeout food, with homework chaos, and with easy-peasy lunch packing. They also share school supplies shopping ideas and an idea for a budget-friendly anniversary dinner with kids. Join them as they swear by weekend prep to prevent overwhelm and insanity!

And for our fabulous 3-Day Weekend Prep e-guide, sign up for our mailing list on the right-hand column of the blog and we’ll send that your way. If we’ve wet your whistle, this “Lazy Lasagna” is a life-saver if you prepare one or two on the weekend. You can even construct one or two and stick them in the freezer to thaw and bake months down the road.

Share your favorite weekend food chores with us… what do YOU do with 10, 20, or 30 minutes on the weekend that makes your week of meals so much easier?!

Buried in casseroles,

Jen & Corinne

Packing Healthy School Lunches for Middle Schoolers, High Schoolers and Adults


We’re back with more lunch tips! In episode 10, we continue with our lunch-packing tips for pre-teens, teenagers, and adults (check out episode 9 for tips for preschoolers and elementary school kids). You’ll hear more about building on our 5 food group lunch packing formula, but with extra servings of veggies and proteins and also pull in tips for athletic kids, working parents and stay-at-home parents. 

Easy Lunch Boxes 3-compartment lunch container:

KIND bars for additional snacks and before sports practices:

Larabar variety pack for filling and easy nutrition:

Share your lunch tips in the comments below. Happy packing!

Jen & Corinne

Caulipower Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten-Free, Vegan)

There are two problems with being a dietitian. The first one is that people often feel like you’re counting the calories they put into their mouths (believe me, I don’t like math THAT much), and the second one is that when you’re strolling down the aisles of the grocery store and see flour made out of cauliflower, you buy it. THIS STUFF.

I figured I couldn’t go wrong with cookies, right? Well, the Reilly clan had mixed reviews at first… mainly because the 4 critical kids *knew* that there was cauliflower in there (‘Why can’t we just have NORMAL chocolate chip cookies?!?”)… but when the cookies cooled down, the mild cauliflowerness disappeared and the reviews shot up from 3 to 5 stars! Boom. Buying cauliflower flour just moved out of the problem category. So, voila! Enjoy.

In veggies, Jen

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Building and Packing a Healthy School Lunch (ages 3-10)


Hey Parents! So you’ve had a little break from packing your kids’ school lunches… but admit it, you’ve kind of missed it, right? Yes? Just a little? Well… I’ll confess that I’m actually quite excited about getting into the school lunch packing routine again even though I’ve packed 3,510 (no joke!) school lunches for my kids over the years… and one of my kids isn’t even in kindergarten yet! So much lunch-packing fun still ahead over here chez Reilly.

In Episode 9 of the Delish and Healthyish Podcast, Corinne and I give our tips for packing healthy school lunches for younger kids. You can listen here:

Next week in Episode 10, we’ll tackle lunches for big kids and grown-ups. But first! Here are our tips for younger kid lunches summarized:

1. Bake something with your kids that shows up in their lunch. They’re more likely to eat it, love it, and brag about it. Stay tuned for our 3-Step Weekend Prep E-Guide for a scrumptious apple muffin recipe which fits perfectly into a healthy kid lunch.

2. Build lunches from the 5 categories: fruit, veggie, protein, carby-snack-granola bar-type thing, and dessert. Make a list of which foods fit into each category, paste the list on your kitchen wall, and let your kids choose or even make their own lunches with the 5 magical components. Here are some examples:

* Unsweetened applesauce (pre-packaged) + cherry tomatoes + PB&J half sandwich + mini chocolate cupcake (don’t forget the applesauce spoon!)

* Blueberries + baby carrots + hummus + crackers + 2 brownie bites

* Grapes + fresh green beans + Larabar mini + edamame beans + apple muffin

* Watermelon chunks + bell pepper slices + Kite Hill Greek yogurt + individual bag of Skinny Pop + small handful chocolate chips

3. Use containers that have multiple compartments with 1 lid and use silicone muffin cups to further divide the big sections. Avoid lots of little Tupperware in various sizes — tops get lost, they don’t stack well, and who has time to wash all those little pieces every night?! Here are our favorite containers:

Bento Lunch Box by Lucentee: 3 compartments; pack of 7 with different colored lids for $16; Beware that they are NOT leak proof, so only use packaged items or solid items in these. Medium-sized compartment fits an individual applesauce container. Size is 9” x 6” x 2” total.

Easy Lunch Boxes 4-compartment snack box: Meant for snacks, but perfect for preschool lunches. Pack of 4 containers for $13. Size is 6” x 6” x 2” total. Again not leak-proof, so contain yogurt or applesauce within the compartments or toss those in separately.

* Hot lunch 10-ounce Thermos. Use this when it’s cold out and you want to send something warm like lentil soup, veggie chili, mac and cheese, pasta or smart dogs. Then, toss additional lunch items in ziplocks or a smaller container.

4. Mass produce as much as possible on the weekends or Monday night. You can pre-chop veggies, make mini muffins or little cookies, portion out hummus into condiment containers, or my favorite mass production activity which is a 4-loaf-of-bread sandwich making undertaking and freezing them in half-sandwich portions. Use snack-size ziplocks and make a zillion peanut butter, sunflower seed butter, Don’t Go Nuts chocolate soybean spread, and cream cheese half sandwiches to freeze. Pull them out the morning of or night before–they only take about an hour to thaw out.

5. Send a sweet note in their lunchbox. If you don’t have time to write something, check out these cute notes to keep on hand.

And our best tip yet… get those lunches packed at night! This will free you up in the morning for a walk, or even just save you from screaming “WAIT!! I haven’t packed your lunch yet!!” Tune in next week for more tips for middle school, high school, and adult lunches.

In colorful lunches and of course BPA-free plastic,

Jen & Corinne

Watermelon Protein Cooler — Your New Favorite Smoothie and Treat!

Watermelon Smoothie

No matter if it’s a hot summer day or a chilly winter morning, this watermelon cooler will refresh you and put an energizing kick in your step. It’s kid- and partner-tested and approved, so get that blender out and go for it!
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Refrigerator Purge and Organization

How to Purge and Organize Your Fridge

Hi, Kitchen Org Gurus! In episode 8 of the podcast, we continue on our kitchen organization journey from episode 7 as we tackle refrigerator purge and organization!

Say goodbye to expired condiments, disorganized shelves, and funky unidentifiable leftovers by using our simple tips. It’s so much easier to enjoy your time in the kitchen when you can find the things you need quickly. And, check out these handy dandy containers and labeling systems to get you started and keep your family on board too:

Clear Refrigerator Organizer Bin

Clear Refrigerator Bins – Set of 2

Chalkboard Labels for Fridge Bins

Velcro Stickies for Laminated Fridge Labels

18-Piece Glass Food Storage Container Set

We’re on Pinterest now too!

Share your favorite kitchen and fridge organization strategies with us–we’re still taking notes too! xo

Jen & Corinne

Kitchen Organization: Minimizing Utensils, Clearing Clutter, and Zen-ifying Your Space


Eating well in a disorganized and cluttered kitchen is next to impossible. In episode 7 of the Delish and Healthyish podcast (listen on iTunes here), Jen and Corinne talk about how they decluttered, downsized and organized their kitchens to cut down on food prep time and make their spaces more zen. By donating extra spatulas, mismatched glasses, extra mixers, cutting boards, unused appliances and creating “zones,” you too can enjoy your space and cut down on time looking for your can opener. 

Check out these links for some awesome space-savers and kitchen organization tools:

Inside Cabinet Door Paper Towel Holder 

Door or Wall Ziplock, Foil and Wrap Rack 

Pan and Pot Organizer

Interlocking Drawer Organizer Bins 

Adjustable Drawer Dividers 

Cheers to taking a deep dive into your kitchen clutter. Share in the comments your favorite kitchen organization hacks!


Restaurants with Kids: Do It, Or Stay Home?

Restaurants with Kids: Do it or stay home?

Eating out with our kids is something we rarely do… it’s full-on chaos, expensive, and when we get home, half the kids are hungry. But, it *can* be fun, healthy-ish, and even enjoyable if you take this week’s podcast (episode 6!) tips to heart.

Take a listen and hear how Corinne and I navigate eating out with little ones, including ordering veggie sides and the kids’ food early, and bringing along fun things for them to do like these:

Peaceable Kingdom Games to Go

Melissa & Doug Sticker Pad

And! The awesome podcast book we keep mentioning is here:

  • Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls Podcast and Book 

Share your restaurant kid hacks in the comments below. We’re always looking for more ideas too! 


Jen (& Corinne)

Healthy Family Snacking

Healthy Family Snacking TipsWhat up snackers?! Who doesn’t love a good snack break? I know my house is a big fan of the snack because my kids’ favorite meal is something we call “Snackin’ Dinner”… We spread a tablecloth on the floor of the family room, put a movie on, and chow from a giant platter of snacks: nuts, seeds, olives, chopped veggies, crackers, hummus, sun-dried tomatoes, cheese pieces, edamame beans, pretzels, you name it!

Well, in this week’s podcast (episode 5–woohoo!), we talk about Healthy Family Snacking, to help you get you started on making sure snacking doesn’t take over your life, interrupt the stellar nutrition of your meals, or ruin the serenity of your kitchen.

Here are a couple teaser tips:

  1. Let kids be independent with their snacks within your healthy guidelines. It’s ok if they make a mess! This gives them some freedom when they may not have much choice at mealtime.
  2. Set a “no snack window” timeframe before meals when snacking isn’t allowed. It could be an hour, 2 hours, or even 3 hours before a meal (and by meal, I probably mean dinner). Announce that snacking is about to close and let the wildlings go kookoo. Then, hopefully they’re still hungry for the next meal thanks to the window.
  3. Establish a specific snack space in your kitchen so kids can help themselves. We have a dedicated snack bin in the fridge for individual peanut butter and hummus in these condiment cups for dipping pretzels or veggies, plus a doubled-up snack drawer tower which is filled with individual applesauces, seaweed snacks, packs of nuts, granola bars, larabar minis, kind bars, individual pretzel packs, and other nutritious options. The tower sits on the floor of the pantry so it can be reached by all the kids and they know to grab a variety and not just 6 granola bars:

What are your snack hacks? Share in the comments!