Are you a fan of the popular blog Snack Girl? You should be. Author Lisa Cain dishes up recipes and strategies for healthy eating in a way that’s smart, funny, and best of all, totally nonjudgmental. You’re not getting Wisdom From On High, from someone who naturally prefers kale over cookies (and can’t believe everyone doesn’t!). You’re getting hard-won wisdom from someone’s who been there, someone who struggled with her weight and changed how she ate for the better, someone who isn’t afraid to admit that sometimes it’s hard.

Her new book Snack Girl to the Rescue! is a totally real, relatable guide to healthy eating. In it, she describes her journey (which included reading every diet book she could find and leaving a Weight Watchers meeting in tears) and walks you through exactly how she got on a better path–so you can do it too. She also includes 100 healthy recipes for meals and snacks that follow her same accessible approach: no fancy ingredients, recognizable, and “simple enough to make every day and tasty enough that you’ll want to”.

I featured some of Snack Girl’s no-bake cookies on my blog two years ago (read: “Simple No Bake Cookie Balls“). The No-Bake Lemon Balls–made with just almonds, dates, fresh lemon juice, and coconut–still rank among my favorites. If you love lemon, I recommend making them immediately.

One of the goals of Lisa’s blog and book is to make healthy eating easier, which is why I love her method for making brown rice–that, and because I’m a failure when it comes to stove-top rice. (For some reason, I can’t resist lift the lid during cooking.)

Make a batch of this oven-baked rice and tuck leftover servings into the freezer for busy nights.

How to Make Brown Rice in the Oven at Real Mom Nutrition

Easy Baked Brown Rice
Serves: 6 (1/2 cup serving)
  • 3 cups brown rice
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoons coarse salt (or ½ teaspoon fine salt)
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a teakettle or pot, bring 5 cups of water to a boil.
  3. Put the rice in a 9x13 casserole or other baking dish that will hold at least 12 cups; if the dish does not have a lid, use aluminum foil to cover it.
  4. Dot the butter into the rice and sprinkle on the salt.
  5. Add the boiling water, stir, cover, and bake for 1 hour.
  6. After 1 hour, remove the cover and fluff the rice with a fork.
  7. Serve or put in containers to freeze for later use.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of Snack Girl to the Rescue! All opinions are my own. 

This post contains an affiliate link. If you purchase a product through this link, your cost will be the same but I will receive a small commission to help with operating costs of this blog. I only link to products I personally use and love. Thanks for your support!


5 Tips for Easing Mealtime Stress

by Sally on June 18, 2014

Tips for Managing Mealtime at Real Mom Nutrition

Whenever a new mom tells me what a great eater her one year old is, I smile politely and say something encouraging like, “Gee, that’s great!” But I’m actually thinking, “You don’t even know what’s coming!”

Feeding toddlers can be challenging–after all, their growth has slowed (which can lower appetite) and they’re testing out their newfound independence. But stay the course: Continue to offer your child an array of healthy foods because “research shows that when left to make their own choices children will, over time, eat in a way that is nutritionally balanced,” says Dr. Yvonne Gustafson, Ph.D., co-author of the new book Tools For The Toddler Years(You can enter to win a copy of the book in this giveaway that ends Friday.) 

She offers these reassuring pointers that ring true for kids of all ages:

1. Each meal does not have to be nutritionally “perfect.” It is what is eaten over the course of a day—some pediatricians suggest over the course of a week—that matters. So, if on Tuesday your toddler is on a cereal kick, remember that it can be balanced with other essential nutrients on Thursday.

2. Understanding portion size can help you resist the urge to “push” food. In general, a serving size is one measured tablespoon per age of child. How many chunks of green bean can actually fit in a measured tablespoon? Two, maybe three?  When your toddler eats four bites of green bean she has probably eaten an amount appropriate to her age and size. Further, you may find that when portions are kept small it is easier for the child to focus, rather than be distracted by the science of mixing and smearing all the food before them.

3. Understand that your child may have his own internal eating clock. He may love a big breakfast and lighter fare for dinner. Or, he may not be ready for very much food until mid-morning. Noticing and planning your offerings to match your child’s preferences can create a more positive relationship with food.

4. Expect fluctuations. When a child is in a growth spurt everything about serving size and interest in food can shift. Some days it may seem your child packs away more food than you! In the absence of power struggles over food, trust her body to eat what it needs to maintain the energy she needs.

5. Be aware of alternative sources of nutrition. For instance, for the child not yet ready to handle the textures of meat, try mashed up beans or cubes of tofu for protein.

For more parenting tips, check out Your Parenting Matters.

6 Tips for Managing Mealtime at Real Mom Nutrition

Illustration by Greg Bonnell


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Are my kids perfect eaters? No way! Neither am I. (Anyway, there’s no such thing–read: “The Myth of Perfect Eating“). But I do hope my kids don’t follow in my finicky eater footsteps and instead, become what psychologist Dr. Kathleen Cuneo calls “successful eaters”. Successful eaters don’t have to happily gobble up everything you put in front […]

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{Recipe} Easy Fish Tacos

April 28, 2014

My kids weren’t always fans of fish. Until I made fish tacos. Apparently, being able to wrap your fish in a warm tortilla and pile on whatever toppings you want was a game-changer for them. This recipe is featured in my new cookbook, Cooking Light Dinnertime Survival Guide (read: “A Peek Inside My New Cookbook!“). What I […]

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Win My New Cookbook: Dinnertime Survival Guide!

April 22, 2014

I was over the moon when Cooking Light asked me to write a cookbook for busy parents. I’m pretty darn proud of the finished product, Dinnertime Survival Guide, which officially launched this week. I set out to write a cookbook I’d want to read myself–one that was easy to scan, that had a line-up of recipes that […]

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A Peek Inside My New Cookbook!

April 15, 2014

Complete the following statement: Cooking dinner every night… A. Is really important and allows me to express my love for my family and communicate our food values. B. Can sometimes feel like chore at the end of a very long day. C. Makes me want to run screaming out the back door, jump into my […]

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{Giveaway} A Freezer Meal Cooking Program to Help You Reclaim the Dinner Hour

April 10, 2014

Ever feel a 5pm wave of angst when you realize you have no idea what’s for dinner? I do. It’s a lousy feeling. Batch cooking and freezing is one of the best ways to replace that wave of angst with a wave of relief. Having a set of freezer-friendly recipes and expert instructions helps an […]

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From-Scratch Cooking Confession: I Can’t Keep Up!

March 3, 2014

I believe that a diet based around whole foods is the way to go. I believe we should know what’s in our food, that we should strive to eat food that isn’t laden with preservatives and artificial flavors. Over the years, my suspicion about ingredients like artificial colors has grown, and I’ve become increasingly annoyed with […]

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6 Ways to Add Fun to Family Dinner

January 15, 2014

  On a recent Sunday, my husband and I were cooking together, and the boys were pretending we were on a cooking show. It extended to dinner time, when they wanted to judge the dish (a new-to-them chili). So we asked them to rate the chili on a scale of 1-5 for various categories like […]

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“Help! My child eats hardly any dinner…then wants a snack 10 minutes later!” Sound familiar?

January 10, 2014

This week, I reached out to readers on my Real Mom Nutrition Facebook page asking for their most frustrating feeding dilemma when it came to their kids–and promised that feeding expert and parent educator Dr. Dina Rose would address one of them on this blog. Dr. Rose, who is full of effective strategies for diffusing […]

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