Meal Planning for Picky Eaters

meal planning for picky eaters

Meal planning for picky eaters can be a nightmare! How do you meal plan when the members of your family have different eating restrictions or preferences? Maybe you have kids who are picky eaters, a family member with a food allergy, or you’re the only vegetarian in your house.  This can create extra work for you, but most of the time it’s not necessary for you to cook two completely different meals.  Here are tips to ease your frustration when you’ve got family members who don’t want to eat the same thing.

4 Tips for Meal Planning for Picky Eaters:


  • Focus on the common denominator. Does everyone love pasta, tacos, or baked potatoes but not exactly the same kind?  Set up a pasta, taco, or baked potato bar!  Make several sauces or toppings on the side and let each person customize their own plate.

  • Make the “disputed” ingredient on the side. Since I eat mostly vegetarian, many times I will heat up cooked, diced chicken breast in a separate small skillet for my husband.  I will make our main dish vegetarian (Stir Fried Cashew & Broccoli, Cheese Ravioli with Artichoke Hearts, Veggie & Grain Bowls, etc.) and Nick can add in chicken.

  • If you’ve got kids who only eat 3 or 4 things, meal plan those out on your calendar alongside the adult meals.  See if you can at least correlate some side dishes.  For example, if your kids love hot dogs and mac & cheese, make the adult meal something that will pair well with the mac & cheese. Or make the grown-up version of their meal. In this instance, maybe some gourmet sausages sautéed with green peppers and onions.

  • Use freezer meals for the “odd man out.”  Sometimes there’s a meal that everyone – except one holdout – loves.  In this case, have the odd person out choose a freezer meal that they like and heat it up for them.


By using the above tips, meal planning for picky eaters doesn’t have a to be so stressful! What do you do to make mealtime with picky eaters easier for your family?


Mindful Meal Planning Book Cover 2

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Mindful Meal Planning: Eat Healthy While Saving Time, Money, & Stress! 


Home Remedies for Reducing Joint Pain and Improving Joint Mobility


Today’s post is by Katleen Brown.

Joint pain is a problem that many people face on a daily basis. Not only can this condition be painful, but it can also cause limitation in a person’s natural abilities and may even impair an affected individual’s ability to perform certain day-to-day activities, such as washing the dishes, typing out an e-mail or making a simple cup of coffee. While these activities may seem natural to many people, a person who experiences severe joint pain can confess that the tasks become much harder and even painful when the symptoms start to flare up.

The number one cause for joint pain is a disease known as arthritis. This term actually refers to more than 100 different types of diseases that affect the body’s joints, with the most common types being osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as gout, psoriatic arthritis and fibromyalgia. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that around 22.7%, or 54.4 million, of the adult population in the United States have doctor-diagnosed arthritis. They also report that, at the rate at which the disease is currently being diagnoses and by considering the rising trend in the prevalence of arthritis, as much as 78 million American may be diagnosed with arthritis by the year 2040.

Epsom Salts Natural Remedy

Dealing with Joint Pain… Naturally

Joint pain can be treated in many ways. If you visit a physician and complain about joint pain, they will most likely prescribe a series of NSAIDs for you. Painkillers and muscle relaxants can also be combined with NSAIDs in more severe cases as they can help to further reduce the pain and stiffness, as reported by WebMD. The most common types of NSAIDs that are used for joint pain, especially when the patient has a form of arthritis, includes Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Fenoprofen, Celecoxib and Diclofenac. Unfortunately, these medications can cause unpleasant side-effects, such as constipation and diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, headaches, drowsiness and a loss of appetite. Some of these drugs can also lead to ulcers, kidney problems and excessive bleeding.  The following tips and techniques can be used as alternative remedies to reduce joint pain and increase joint mobility without being at risk of these side-effects.

Exercise Relieves Pain And Improves Flexibility

Physical exercise on a regular basis can be very beneficial if you experience joint pain frequently. Even patients who have been diagnosed with arthritis can benefit greatly from exercising. Mayo Clinic explains that regular physical activity can help the muscles that surround joints become stronger, support your balance and help you maintain the strength of your bones. Physical exercise can also increase your energy (individuals with arthritis often feel weak and experience fatigue) and reduce your body weight if you are overweight (excess weight puts more pressure on your joints, which can lead to more pain).

Epsom Salts And Some Water

An Epsom salts bath is an age-old folk remedy. Epsom salt was originally produced in the springs located in Epsom, England. Even though the name includes the word “salt”, the substance isn’t really a type of salt. It is actually a mineral compound that consists of magnesium, as well as sulfate. There are many uses for Epsom salts. People use it to relax, to improve blood circulation, to regulate their blood sugar levels and even to treat constipation. Epsom salts are also often recommended to individuals who experience muscle aches and joint pain. It is reported that Epsom salts can also reduce inflammation, which is beneficial for individuals who experience pain and reduced flexibility in their joints.

Natural Remedies

Scientists and medical experts have discovered that many herbal plant extracts, spices and nutrients have medicinal properties that can reduce inflammation, inhibit pain receptors and even help to relief painful symptoms experienced by patients with arthritis. One of the most powerful natural substances is Turmeric, which is a spice that is used in curry and many other dishes. Apart from Turmeric, other compounds can also be used, such as Ginger, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Dandelion Leaves, White Willow Tea, and Peppermint oil. Supplements that contain a combination of vitamins, amino acids, botanical extracts and minerals can also be used. One example is Flexoplex, which contains Methylsulfonylmethane, Cat’s Claw Bark Powder, Hyaluronic Acid, Bromelain and Trypsin – all of which are naturally extracted chemical compounds that provide a relief in joint pain, increases joint flexibility and even protects joints and bones from breaking down in patients with arthritis.


Joint pain can be discomforting and interfere with your ability to perform tasks that you are usually able to perform. It can also have an adverse impact on your productivity at work. Fortunately, joint pain can be effectively treated. While the most common treatment option is medication, you should consider natural alternatives, combined with regular exercise, to experience a relief in these symptoms without the development of side-effect caused by medication.


Katleen Brown

Katleen Brown is a health, beauty and fitness writer. She loves to publish her articles on various health related websites. In her spare time, likes to do research to bring awareness. Recognizing the unity of body, mind, and outlook, she helps empower women to tune into their innate & inner wisdom to transform their health and truly flourish. 

Save Money on Your Next Car

Save Money on Your Next Car

Today’s guest post is by Barney Whistance.

Buying a car is a big decision. There’s much to consider. You have to decide which make and model you would prefer to buy, how good its resale value is, how economical the car would be for you. As you are weighing all these pros and cons you are also planning your budget for the automobile. There is no denying that vehicles don’t come cheap. Therefore it’s necessary you make a choice that suits you perfectly.

 A car that will last you for more than 150,000 miles without giving you major maintenance headaches is a good investment.  How many miles do you drive in a year? Some drivers might hit 150,000 in a matter of 5 years, and some aren’t even to 100,000 after 10 years.  Cars vary widely in fuel efficiency, which is why you should prefer to have a cheap but stable option. There are many things to consider when deciding on a budget, your method of payment, and your car model and manufacturer. Here is what you need to do in order to get the best deal and get the most out of your next car or truck.

Bargaining on the Internet:

You can buy just about anything on the internet today: a holiday gift, a stationary set for your office, your groceries, and yes, even cars. The Internet can be a convenient way to get the best deal on your car. This is because most sales people on the internet are hired on a salary and earn bonuses on volume instead of commissions based on the sale prices. This means that these people will have the incentive to give you the best price to make a sale.

Bidding War:

When purchasing a car, have as many options available as possible. When you are selecting a car dealer, talk to every dealer in your area that sells your preferred make and model. Then ask them to pitch you their best deal. Make a point in telling the dealers that you have also received offers from other dealers. This might even get them to give you an even a better deal. The offer could be in your budget or over. But a lower offer does not mean that you take their offer at once; take some time to think about and then make your decision.

Right Timing:

Don’t always go for this year’s model.  Dealers are under pressure to clear their sales floors of last year’s stock.  Not only will you save thousands, but you will also have a better opportunity to get more consumer reviews and feedback on the car’s performance. Two to three months after the new models come out is when prices start to drop on the previous year’s models.

Trading In Your Car:

Lastly, keep your car for as long as possible. Don’t trade your automobile after only a few years. Cars are one of the fastest depreciating assets on the market. Their values decrease as soon as you drive your new car off the dealer’s lot to your house.  Reap maximum benefits by owning it for as long as possible. When the car starts giving you more trouble than you can afford, only then plan on selling it. Most times, you will get more for your old car when you sell it to an individual versus trading it in at the car dealer.

Having a new car is a luxury that not all can afford, so make the best use of it. Purchase it with proper research on the car models and the deals you are getting on it. Pay cash if you can!  If not, put as much money as you can as a down payment and finance the rest for the shortest period of time that you can reasonably afford.  Remember, it is a financial decision that you and your family will have to live with for some time.


Barney Whistance is an enthusiastic Finance and Economics blogger who is most interested in global economic climate. Apart from doing majors in Finance, he is also a Chartered Accountancy Student and planning to complete his Ph.D. in Finance before he turns 30. 

The Cure for Money Headaches

Today’s guest post is by Barney Whistance.

Planning a solid financial present is centered around four basic stages of financial management; creating an emergency fund, paying off debts, saving for larger long term goals, and investing in your financial future. Any sound financial plan also includes planning, foresight, and budgeting to get in the clear.

Here is a breakdown of the four stages of financial management that will get you on track to reach all your personal financial goals and dreams.


Cure for Money Headaches

Build an emergency fund

Your first step to eliminating money headaches will be saving enough for an emergency fund. This will give you and your family peace of mind to handle much of what life may throw at you in the coming years. This initial savings goal should include enough money to get through at least three months of living expenses in the event that you get laid off or have some other type of emergency, like a car or water heater breakdown. Even if you can’t get this saved straight away, keep it as a target to aim for. Also, make sure that the money is in an easy to access account. In an emergency you will need instant access to these funds. If you have not done so yet, create a workable monthly budget, with a line item for saving.   Tuck away as much as you can each month to stock up your emergency fund as quickly as possible.

Pay off debts

Debts are liabilities. They throw your finance in the red and set you up to pay more than the actual amount of the loan in interest payments over time. The second step, then, in creating a workable long-term financial plan, is to eliminate consumer debts completely. Throw all of your resources at your debts and you will be saving a large chunk of money in interest over time that you can then apply towards other parts of your plan.

When it comes it debts it makes sense to tackle the ones with the highest interest rates first. This usually starts with any retail credit cards you may have, and then goes on from there. Just make sure that you don’t neglect the minimum payments on your other loans and debts while you pay down the first. Any budget you have should include at least the minimum monthly required payments on all of your loan agreements.  Bank credit cards, student debts, and other personal loans should also be on this list. 

If you’re facing heaps of student debt in addition to credit card and personal loans, examine your loan types and current occupation to determine if you qualify for federal loan forgiveness or other types of loan reductions due to your career of choice. Government employees, teachers, those working in the non-profit sector, and certain healthcare workers – like those working in critically identified facilities, community clinics, and hospice care support settings – can qualify for loan reductions or even forgiveness after a period of two to ten years.

Currently, only about one percent of the 33 million people employed in the non-profit and government sectors are benefiting from the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. Check into the Federal PSLF and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSA) debt reduction programs to see if you qualify.

Build up your savings

Once you’ve built up your emergency fund, and paid off your consumer debt, you can concentrate on funding additional extras and loftier goals. These immediate savings goals might include:

  • Having enough money to go on a vacation and not have to worry about bills.

  • Saving up some extra cash to have on hand so you don’t have to worry about finances during maternity or paternity leave.

  • Putting together a down payment on a house or other property.

  • Buying a car with cash instead of taking out a loan.



The last stage of the journey is to ensure that you are putting money aside each month for important long-term goals like your children’s college education, pension plans, retirement savings accounts, and other long-term investments.

Consider diversifying your investments into physical properties. You don’t have to have a ton of money to break into the property market. With the explosion of crowd-sourced real-estate funding, like Fundrise, CrowdProperty, and Exceedant, just to name a few, you can now invest in part of a property or development project with as little as $20 and earn as much as 12 percent annual return. Diversifying into property investment early on is a great way to maximize your earnings over time.



Barney Whistance is an enthusiastic Finance and Economics blogger who is most interested in global economic climate. Apart from doing majors in Finance, he is also a Chartered Accountancy Student and planning to complete his Ph.D. in Finance before he turns 30. You find him on Twitter.

Don’t Borrow from Tomorrow’s Income


Today’s guest blog post is by Barney Whitstance.

In this debt driven world, we thrive on our credit cards to make purchases, aiming to pay them off once we get our paychecks. This may seem like a good idea but in reality, it entraps us into valuing our job much more for the money it offers than for other factors like career growth and satisfaction. This makes us feel like slaves who spend money before we even lay our hands on it. We tend to open up various lines of credit where every month a certain amount is dedicated to fulfilling each stream. This over-reliance on “future income” is one of the biggest financial traps as it makes you vulnerable to overextending yourself with debt if you part ways with your job for whatever reason. Things need to align themselves financially if we are to keep ourselves safe from this over dependence on our jobs.  The way to go about it is to reduce your spending where you can, allowing you to save more than you previously and live off that mountain of cash you accumulated instead of being burdened by a pile of credit weighing down on you. Here are some guidelines to help you reduce your spending and save more money, thus reducing your financial dependence on your job:

Consider your house as a creature that can eat as much as you throw at it, while also retaining the ability to survive happily on a small amount of food every day. Utility bills are one of the biggest issues we ignore while setting our goals to reduce our spending.  However, they can substantially increase your savings if you turn your home into a more energy efficient place by cleaning coils, fixing air vents, keeping the air-conditioning in proper shape and using efficient lighting systems in your home.

Consider the idea of renting as it will save you a lot of money in property taxes, insurance, and mortgage payments. A mortgage payment can eat up a large portion of your salary.  Plus, if you lose your job and can’t make the payments, there’s the fear that the house will be gone and the previous payments will carry little value.  Buying a house isn’t a decision to make lightly.  Renting out rooms in your house and finding a house which reduces your commute can save you a considerable amount over the long run.

Insurance premiums – medical, auto, home, and the like – can also keep us over dependent on our paychecks.  First, be sure to shop different providers at least once every few years to ensure that you are getting the best deal.  Once you have a nice nest egg in your savings account, consider raising your deductibles which will lower your monthly payments.  Check into pharmacy clinics and urgent care centers and use them instead of heading to the emergency room which is sure to rack up large expenses. 

Do not fall prey to impulse buys and indulge in unnecessary spending and instead use that money to pay off any debt you might have accumulated first, starting with the ones that make you pay the highest amount of interest over a large period of time. Avoid credit cards as much as possible by making only cash payments for the items you purchase.

 Most of us have developed the habit of viewing our credit cards as a savior to salvage our pride in times of need. We can do away with it and begin to value our money that is present in our hands at the current moment which will not only help us in saving it but make us more strong, subtle and viable to not only survive but also do so ever so happily that we should have realized a long time ago.



Barney Whitstance is an enthusiastic Finance and Economics blogger who is most interested in global economic climate. Apart from doing majors in Finance, he is also a Chartered Accountancy Student and planning to complete his Ph.D. in Finance before he turns 30. You find him  on Twitter.

Attacking Student Loan Debt Post Graduation

After graduation attack student loan debt

Today’s guest blog post is by Barney Whitstance.

If you’ve just graduated or are taking a break from college and just started repaying your student loans, the tips below will help you to keep your student loans under control. If you work through these tips, they will help you avoid fees and added interest costs, keep your repayments affordable, and protect your credit ratings from being adversely affected.

1. Know about your loans. For your student loans it’s important to keep track of repayment status, lender, and balance. Having these details will help you determine your options for loan repayment and forgiveness. You may refer to National Student Loan Data System to check the current status of all your federal student loans, loan amounts, and repayment status.

2. Know your grace period. Every loan has different schedule and different grace periods. The grace period is the amount of time you can wait between finishing your college and starting your student loan repayments. For example, the grace period for Federal Stafford loans is six months and for Federal Perkins loans is nine months. The grace periods are different for different type of loans and different terms and conditions. Keep this in mind and be aware.

3. No need to panic. If you’re having trouble making payments due to issues like unemployment, poor health, or difficult financial conditions, you do have the option to legally manage your federal student loans. The legal ways to temporarily delay and postpone your federal student loan payments include both forbearance and deferments. You may also qualify for a Pay As You Earn (PAYE) plan to help reduce costs even if you’re working. If you are earning, but perhaps not enough, consider applying for the PAYE plan while you are underemployed or looking for a better job. An unemployed deferment may also be the right choice if you are having trouble finding work. However, interest accrues on loans during forbearances and on some types of loans during deferment, increasing your total debt.

  1. Pay the most expensive loans first. If you’re planning on paying off one or more of your loans ahead of the schedule, start paying of the loan with the highest interest rate. If you have any private loans, start paying them off first, since they usually have higher interest rates compared to government loans. The only exception is with the IRS, you don’t want them in your life, get IRS payments out of the way first then tackle the remaining debts.

    Alternatively, you can also apply the debt-snowball method to your loan repayments as well. It works in the opposite way. You pay off the smallest loans first and only make minimum payments on the rest, ignoring interest rates. Once the first small debt is paid off you then roll over the total amount you’re able to pay each month until all your debts are paid off. This creates momentum and motivates to keep you going because you see progress quickly.

5. Pay extra if you can. If your financial condition allows you to pay more than your required monthly payment, every time or on and off, doing so can the lower the total amount of interest you have to pay over the life of the loan. Make sure to specify in a note that the extra amount of money should be applied towards your loan balance. If you don’t specify, your extra payment may automatically be credited as a prepay on a future payment meaning you might not be billed for the next month.

Paying down student debt doesn’t have to be scary or hard. Take the time to ensure your understand your loans’ terms and conditions. This can help you make the best choices for your current situation. Apply for federal programs and other deferments if needed. Continue making calculated extra payments each month as often as possible in order to pay less interest over the course of the loan. With some strategic planning and resolve, you will be sure to make progress in no time.


Barney Whistance is an enthusiastic Finance and Economics blogger who is most interested in global economic climate. Apart from doing majors in Finance, he is also a Chartered Accountancy Student and planning to complete his Ph.D. in Finance before he turns 30. You find him  on Twitter.

Student Loans: A Real Menace For Young Adults

Student Loan Stress

This week’s guest blog post is by James Smith.

Student loans have become a real menace for young adults today. While tuition keeps soaring, students keep racking up huge amounts of debt which can follow them all the way into their 40s. For some however, student loans are quite manageable; for others, they are quite a pain. Here are some ways students nowadays find themselves in huge debts before they even graduate, and how you can avoid them.

Blowing Through Your Student Loan Cash  

Rather than utilizing financial aid for books, educational costs, room and board, numerous students will back their indulgent lifestyle of partying, clothes, devices, and eating out. These school loans you’ve worked so hard to get ought to be paying for your education, not you social life…so utilize the cash astutely.

Credit Card Debt

Indeed, even mindful grown-ups can pile on some weighty credit card debt, yet students, who have no reasonable salary other than their school loan money, and what money their parents give them, should not be getting into credit card debt. This is a formula for credit disaster, since students won’t just have their school loans to reimburse when they graduate, but also have huge credit card balances.

Overdue payment

Not Paying Your Bills on Time

Racking up gigantic credit debt and not paying your bills on time is an approach guaranteed to make it difficult buy a car or lease an apartment after you graduate. Keep the credit cards to a minimum, and pay your bills on time to keep your great credit rating. You’ll thank yourself in a couple of years.

Terrible Budgeting

Being a college student for the most part means living on a fixed income. Whether it’s your financial aid cash or cash from part-time work, or even money from mom and dad, your income is generally restricted and setting up a financial plan is critical. A month to month spending plan doesn’t mean you can’t do the things you need to do, yet it assures that you know the “must-pays” will really get paid. Make sense of precisely what bills and costs you have each month and arrange to pay those first. Any cash over and above that you can spend for social/recreational things.

Heading off to a College That’s Pricey

Rather than heading off to your community college for your pre-req classes and burning through $25 a unit, numerous students feel they need to go to the 4 year college straight out of high school. Numerous students end up returning home and setting off to a community college anyway.  Going to a nearby, reasonably priced, school first is a decent approach to spare cash, and get those required classes checked off your list cheaply. After you’ve finished these courses, transfer to a 4 year school to finish your college degree. This will spare tons of dollars that you would have piled on student loans, and been paying off a long way into your 30′s and beyond.

Such a variety of awful financial decisions students make is an aftereffect of lack of basic financial education. Students haven’t been taught by their parents or teachers the significance of keeping up a decent credit score, paying bills on time, and planning expenses. Astute spending amid the college years will guarantee that the cash you make in the wake of graduating will be spent on things you need and want, not for credit card payments and student loans.

James Smith

James Smith is a passionate blogger who loves to write on trending topics. Currently he is conducting research on portfolio investments. Follow him on Twitter @Jamessmith1609