Even though sandwiches aren’t something I usually associate with lots of veggies, it turns out there are kind of a lot of veggie-packed sandwiches out there. You see, I’m someone who’s not exactly great at eating the recommended 2 1/2 cups of vegetables I’m supposed to be eating every day per the USDA. If there’s a way to turn something that’s normally just meat, cheese, and an occasional slice of lettuce into what’s basically a salad between two slices of bread, I’m gonna know about it.
Before you tell me that all veggie sandwiches are boring, take a look at these 15 creative ideas and reconsider. While it might be easy to throw some tomatoes and sprouts on bread and call it a day, these ideas experiment in ways you would never expect, and they’re just as easy to make as their less-exciting counterparts. Get pumped for vegan BLTs that actually taste legit, bahn mi that are brimming with all of the veg, and cozy, satisfying wraps stuffed with broccoli and chickpeas. They aren’t all vegetarian, but a lot of them are, and most can easily be altered to become vegetarian, if that’s something you’re interested in. Bookmark them for later and before you know it, you’ll be eating more than enough vegetables every day—and you won’t hate it.
I love ice cream more than I love most things—I spent two years working at an ice cream parlor for Pete’s sake—but ice cream does not love me back. I’m lactose intolerant, so even just a few bites of the sweet, creamy stuff can flip my stomach completely upside down, which means that during the summer (peak ice cream season!) I have to find some creative workarounds to fill the ice cream-shaped hole in my heart.
I’m clearly not the only person so afflicted, because the internet is teeming with dairy-free frozen dessert recipes. Bloggers have transformed all the classics into lactose intolerant-friendly treats that taste just as good as their cream-filled counterparts. With ingredients like alternative milks and naturally creamy fruits (like bananas), pretty much everything from ice cream sandwiches to milky popsicles can be dairy-free.
These 15 recipes have all the dairy-free ice cream you could possibly want, plus ideas for frozen treats that don’t normally have dairy, like slushes and sorbets. So whatever kind of icy treat you’re looking for, you’ll definitely be able to find something here.
I love breakfast for so many reasons, but especially because it’s always reliably cheap to make. No matter how tight my finances, I can always count on an affordable carton of eggs or a giant, $3 caninster of oats to help me make something tasty, healthy, and satisfying enough to get me through my morning.
In fact, most classic breakfast ingredients are similarly inexpensive, which means it’s entirely possible to make a cheap morning meal on the regular. Believe it or not, anything from frittatas to chilaquiles can be made at home for less than $2 per serving, so you can save your money for fancier meals and still eat something totally amazing before noon.
Instead of figuring out the math yourself, make one of these 15 recipes, all of which will cost you less than $2 per serving. (Either the blogger calculated and provided this information, or we did the math using prices from Peapod.) In addition to being tasty and cheap, they’re filled with the fiber, protein, and healthy carbs you need to conquer your day. So they’re good for your wallet and even better for your body.
After you spent the last hour whipping up a healthy dinner, just looking at the leftovers piled in pots and pans leaves you exhausted.
Clean up is the worst. Why can’t those leftovers magically put themselves away? You want to wrap those extra veggies, that half of an avocado, and that leftover pasta in the bowl in plastic wrap and go binge watch Netflix.
But even though the undeniable convenience of plastic wrap pulls at you, you know you won’t use it. (You’d give yourself a guilt complex for days.)
“More people are realizing every day that the plastic they throw away has long-lasting consequences for our oceans, our soil, our drinking water supply, and the health of our bodies and our planet,” says Sarah Kaeck, founder of Bee’s Wrap, which makes reusable organic cotton wrap as an alternative to plastic wrap. “If we don’t make changes to the amount of plastic we’re consuming as a society, we’re on track to see more plastic than fish in the oceans by 2050.”
One study found that of the 6.3 billion metric tons of plastic waste we’ve generated, only 9 percent has been recycled, only 12 percent has been incinerated, and the vast majority—79 percent—has built up in landfills or the natural environment.
And one-time use plastic wrap and baggies have much to do with that problem.
“Plastic wrap or sandwich baggies are used for such a short period of time. And they’re difficult (and impossible, in some places) to recycle,” Kaeck says. “Most end up in the trash. And then, despite being used for just a brief period in one’s home, they persist forever in our environment.”
So, What’s That Plastic Wrap Doing to Your Health?
Besides adding unnecessary waste to the world, storing food in single-use plastic means worrying about your health.
“I always knew that plastic was crappy for the environment. There’s no evidence to suggest it ever biodegrades. But until my wife and I had kids, I didn’t really consider what effect it had on our health,” says Steve Reble, Co-Owner of etee (Everything Touches Everything Else), which makes beeswax and essential oil reusable food wraps.
“A little bit of time and digging taught me that it may also leach toxins into our food, which means we’re ingesting it,” he says. “While we wait for 100 percent confirmation from the scientific community, I’d rather keep plastic off my boys’ food.”
Kaeck says she also felt concern about the health effects of plastic. “I was worried about the implications of plastic for both my family’s health and the health of the planet,” she says of why she wanted to eliminate plastic wrap from her kitchen.
Here Are 15 Insanely Easy Ways to Store Food That Aren’t Plastic Wrap
Move over plastic wrap. So many better, more sustainable options exist. And many of these already live in your kitchen.
1. Mason jars
Oh, the mason jar. What can’t it do?
Mason jars work great as food storage containers. Whether you’re putting away the leftovers from dinner or storing dry goods, like rice, beans, and flour.
“We use a lot of mason jars and glass jars at home,” Kaeck says.“They last forever, are perfect for transporting beverages or soups, and serve all kinds of purposes in our kitchen.”
Reble also uses mason jars regularly. “My favourite (We’re Canadian. We add extra ‘u’s whenever we can.), plastic-free food storage—aside from etee—hands down is the glass mason jar,” he says. “Every single day I make a giant batch of smoothies and split it up into multiple jars for the fam to share. I’d be lost without my mason jars.”
2. Leftover jars from other food
Guess what? You don’t need to buy anything new to get awesome food storage containers.
Head out to your recycling bin and grab your extra glass jars from pickles, olives, pasta sauce, and salsa.
These glass jars work perfectly to store leftovers, homemade soups, and drinks.
3. Glass food storage containers
Recycle your plastic food storage containers and never look back.
You have a way better option: Glass.
Glass food storage containers last longer than plastic. You don’t have to worry about any potential contamination from your food touching plastic. And you can easily reheat food in the same container. What’s not to love?
4. Stainless steel food storage containers
Keep your food extra cold with reusable stainless steel food storage containers.
While you don’t want to use aluminum foil all the time for food storage (that’s not very sustainable), this shiny kitchen staple works well in a pinch.
Rinse off any food residue and you can reuse a piece of aluminum foil multiple times. And some curbside recycling programs even accept it. (Hint: Clean it off first.)
8. Paper bags
Use paper bags to store fragile produce in the fridge, like berries, dates, and figs. Paper bags also work well to ripen produce. Speed up ripening by placing avocados, tomatoes, and pears in paper bags and set them on the counter.
Paper bags aren’t super reusable but you can compost them.
9. Dish towels
Need to keep a salad cool while you finish making dinner? Covering a plate or a bowl in a dish towel works great for short-term food storage.
Besides using cheesecloth to make your own ghee butter or cold brew coffee, you can also use it to store foods that need a little ventilation, like certain produce and herbs. And cheese, of course.
11. Cloth napkins
Wrap up sandwiches, fruits and veggies, and pretty much any food that’s not liquid, in a cloth napkin for quick storage.
12. Fabric bowl covers
You already have a bunch of bowls. So, why buy more food storage containers?
Use bowls and fabric bowl covers for simple food storage. Cover berries, pasta, a salad, and whatever else with a fabric bowl cover and you’re good to go.
Tons of fabric bowl cover options are for sale on Etsy. If you’re crafty, you can even sew your own.
13. Silicone suction lids
Silicone suction lids make food storage easy. Besides also being super fun to use. (Who didn’t play with suction cups when they were kids?)
These food covers come in a variety of sizes to fit different containers.
14. Silicone storage bags
Need to store and freeze liquids, like soups and stocks? Reusable silicone storage bags are a good bet. And you can clean them in the dishwasher. Easy peasy.
Look for silicone storage bags made from food grade silicone. So they don’t contain any nasty fillers, coatings, BPA, PVC, or phthalates.
15. Reusable food wrap
Perhaps the ultimate plastic wrap alternative is reusable food wraps.
Made from organic cotton infused with beeswax and tree resin, reusable food wraps are a lovely way to store food. Just rinse and reuse. Over and over.
They come in varying sizes, so you can use them to pack a sandwich, wrap up half of an onion, and cover a casserole.
They also help keep food fresh. And can last up to a year.
The best part? When they’ve seen a little too much love, you can toss them in your compost pile.
The Reusable Food Wrap Brands We Love
Choose sustainable food storage that starts from the earth and returns to it. Artisans today are bringing back a lost tradition of using natural materials to create convenient food storage wrappings. Naturally biodegradable, reusable, and convenient. We want these in our kitchens.
Bee’s Wrap food storage wraps are handmade in Vermont from organic cotton infused with beeswax, organic jojoba oil, and tree resin.
“We’ve designed these wraps to be used and reused, and they typically last for about a year with regular use in the kitchen,” Kaeck says. “And unlike plastic wrap, Bee’s Wrap is fully biodegradable. So when a wrap is ready to be retired from regular use, it can be composted (or cut up and used as a natural fire starter for your grill or fireplace.)”
And they not only store food, they help it last longer. “It keeps cheese and bread fresh; it’s perfect for wrapping up veggies and fruit; and it makes it easy to carry snacks and meals on the go in a lightweight, eco-friendly package,” Keyack says.
The pretty squares come in unique, fun designs. Each size has its own distinct pattern, so you can easily grab the size you need.
Reusable food wraps are part of a plastic-free revolution, according to Steve Reble, Co-Owner of etee, which stands for Everything Touches Everything Else. The company handmakes reusable food wraps in Toronto.
“Etee wraps are a great alternative because they keep most food, such as organic produce, snacks, sandwiches, and leftovers, as fresh as plastic without the side effects,” Reble says.
The company’s food wraps use 10 parts beeswax to one part non-GMO soy wax and tree resin to form a tacky but not overly sticky seal. “Etee food wraps use organic and whole ingredients, and have a slightly different formula than other traditional beeswax food wraps,” he says. “This formula makes our wraps more pliable and tacky, which makes for an amazing seal when wrapping produce or topping a bowl.”
Etee crates its colorful food wraps with ribbed edging from organic cotton muslin fabric with non-toxic, eco-friendly dyes.
Besides smelling amazing, added organic jojoba oils and cinnamon and clove essential oils help keep food fresh. The food wraps aren’t recommended for raw meats or for long-term freezer use.
Kirsten Hudson is a writer and journalist living in the Midwest. Her work has been featured in Natural Home magazine, The Herb Companion magazine, VintageKC magazine, The Huffington Post, and, of course, Organic Authority! She loves everything DIY, home, and garden—with a natural twist. You can follow along with her home projects on her home and lifestyle blog, Red Leaf Style, at redleafstyle.com.
Hands up if you’ve ever made a point to snap a picture of a particularly beautiful plate of food before you dig in. Yes? Me too. Actually, I’d say I take pictures of my food almost every day—sometimes that means catching a simple oatmeal breakfast in good morning light; other times it means forcing a friend to help stage a pizza cheese pull in public.
The thing is, even after years of amateur food photography, I can’t seem to even come close to recreating the perfect, scroll-stopping professional food photos that I see on my feed, in magazines, and on my favorite food blogs and websites. Specific lighting, strategically prepared food, and expensive camera equipment (all pretty inaccessible for most of us) are greatly responsible for this, but another key factor? Props. And, good news: replacing run-of-the-mill plates, bowls, glasses, and napkins with prettier ones is a realistic way to bring your food pics to the next level.
I asked 11 food bloggers and professional food stylists to share their absolute favorite props for food styling. Below are 16 gorgeous kitchen products, at a variety of price points, that these experts love to use in their food photos. And hey, even if you have no interest in photographing your meals, they all look even better IRL.
The main draw of an Instant Pot is that it can cook things way faster than normal. It also functions as a slow-cooker and a yogurt- and rice-maker, but its pressure cooking function is its biggest claim to fame. With it, you can make stews and braises that might have once needed hours in just an hour—often even less than that. (If you don’t already have one, you can get one here!)
Since things like stews, braises, and other meaty dishes are generally what take the longest to make, most Instant Pot recipes focus on those kinds of recipes. That means there’s not a lot of Instant Pot inspiration out there for vegetarians or anyone who wants to eat meatless once in a while.
We rounded up 15 vegetarian recipes that speed up the cook time of meatless ingredients like beans, lentils, and whole grains. And since these ingredients are packed with essential nutrients like fiber, protein, and healthy carbs, these meals are all pretty darn healthy, too.
Practically overnight, Instant Pots have completely revolutionized the way busy people eat. Before, if you wanted to enjoy something like beef stew or carnitas tacos during the week, you’d have to plan dinner far in advance. Slow-cookers are a great way to make those kinds of recipes with little hassle, but they don’t really cut down the cook time—if you don’t remember to put dinner into your slow-cooker in the morning, you’re out of luck. Now, if you forget to get your slow-cooker going, you can just use an Instant Pot to make whatever you want instead.
The Instant Pot has many talents, one being that it can make slow-cooked dishes in a fraction of the time.
Along with its many other functions—like yogurt and rice making—the gadget is a pressure-cooker. Using the pressure-cook setting, you can make recipes that normally take hours in way, way less time. Beef stew might need 4 hours on a stovetop (or 8 in a slow-cooker!), but it only needs less than an hour in an Instant Pot, no joke.
These 15 Instant Pot recipes are filling, delicious, and all under 500 calories. To be clear, you don’t need to count calories to be healthy, and some people are better off ignoring calories altogether. Also keep in mind that these serving sizes are just suggestions. No matter what, the fact that these recipes are both easy to throw together and packed with flavor means they’re satisfying in every way.
I love sheet pan recipes because they’re easy to cook and to clean up. They’re almost always some combination of meat and veggies (protein, plus fiber and healthy carbs), so they tend to make for inherently balanced meals. Oh, and they’re equally easy to make meatless, if that’s your jam.
The recipes below are made on a single sheet pan, and they clock in at 500 calories or fewer per serving. To be clear, you don’t have to count calories to be healthy, and some people are better off ignoring calories altogether. Also, remember that everybody’s daily energy needs are different, depending on all kinds of factors like height, weight, lifestyle, medical history, and more.
Regardless of calories, these 15 recipes are easy and delicious, and they make for super easy cleanup. Next time you’d rather spend the evening cozied up on the couch while your dinner basically cooks itself, give one of these dinners a try. Feel free to add your favorite side dishes and garnishes, too!
When you need dinner as fast as possible, there’s nothing speedier than a stir-fry. Though all that stirring and frying may sound complicated if you’ve never done it before, it’s actually about as simple as it gets. Toss your veggies, your proteins, and your sauce in a pan, let it all cook until tender, and voilà—a well-rounded, healthy dinner is ready just like that.
There are a lot of exciting, low-maintenance meals out there, but none of them are more exciting or low-maintenance than a stir-fry. Seriously. The classic dish rarely takes more than 15 minutes to cook, and it can be made with all kinds of different ingredients. Though the famous iteration usually involves soy sauce, you can really use any kind of flavoring you please, whether that be Mexican-style spices or whatever you happen to have on hand.
Here are 17 stir-fry recipes that are so fast, you’ll never want to make anything else. None of them take more than 15 minutes to make, so they’re perfect for those nights when you’d rather not spend hours in the kitchen. They’re packed with lots of veggies and protein sources like ground turkey, chicken, and tofu, so they’ll keep you totally satisfied. And a bunch of them make plenty of leftovers, so you can pack them up and eat them for lunch, too.