Fresh n' Lean Meal Prep Delivery Service Sun, 04 Dec 2022 07:43:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Easy & Healthy Keto Dinner Ideas (Under 10 Minutes!) Sun, 04 Dec 2022 07:43:50 +0000 Forget boring keto dinner ideas! It’s time to get creative with cooking and add some pizzazz to your diet with these 10 easy keto recipes made for those nights when you’re hungry and eager to eat.

The post Easy & Healthy Keto Dinner Ideas (Under 10 Minutes!) appeared first on Fresh n' Lean.


If you’re pressed for time or just not in the mood to cook, inspired keto dinner ideas can be hard to create on the fly. But having a few delicious recipes under your belt can help keep you satisfied, full, and healthy! Find inspiration with this list of easy keto dinner ideas, ready fast. (Though nothing beats keto meals ready-to-go in 3 minutes, delivered right to your door!) 

You can explore even more keto dinner ideas here the next time you’re struggling to come up with meal prep for the week, and after dinner’s done, indulge in these nutritionist-approved tasty keto dessert recipes

Table of Contents 
Skillet Baked Cheesy Jalapeño Chicken  
Garlic Shrimp Zoodle Pasta 
Bell Pepper Philly Cheesesteaks 
Unstuffed Beef Cabbage 
Shredded Chicken Zucchini Boats 
Salisbury Steak with Creamy Mushroom Gravy 
Turkey Bacon and Avocado Taquitos 
One Pot Ground Beef and Broccoli 
Buttered Basil Cod Filets 
Spicy Shredded Salmon Sushi Bowl 

Skillet Baked Cheesy Jalapeño Chicken

Dishes like this inspire many keto dinner ideas because chicken is high in protein and low in carbs.


4 skinless chicken breasts (pre-cooked or raw) 
8 oz low-fat cream cheese, softened 
3 jalapeños, chopped 
½ cup mozzarella, grated 
½ cup bacon, crumbled 
Salt & pepper to taste 


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. 
  2. Lay your chicken breasts (cooked or raw) flat on a lined baking sheet or covered with non-stick spray.  
  3. Spread softened cream cheese on top of chicken, coating evenly.  
  4. Sprinkle grated mozzarella, crumbled bacon, and chopped jalapeños on top of the cream cheese. 
  5. Bake in oven for about 10 minutes, or until cheese has melted. 
  6. For raw chicken, pat dry and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 30-40 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 165°F and the cheese is bubbling. 

Garlic Shrimp Zoodle Pasta 

Zoodles take the carbs out of pasta dishes and are extremely easy to make.


1 lb shrimp, washed, peeled & deveined  
4 cups zoodles (or 2-3 whole zucchinis spiralized) 
½ lemon zest 
⅓ cup lemon juice 
⅓ cup grated parmesan 
½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved 
4 Tbsp parsley, chopped 
½ Tbsp garlic, minced 
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil 
Salt & pepper to taste 


  1. Heat your olive oil in a large pan on medium-high heat. Once heated, add shrimp to pan and season with salt, and pepper. 
  2. After 1 minute, toss the shrimp and add minced garlic.  
  3. Cook shrimp until golden brown and transfer to a bowl, set aside.  
  4. In the same pan, add zoodles, cherry tomatoes, and lemon juice. Cook until tender.  
  5. Turn off heat, return shrimp to the pan with the zoodles. Add parm, parsley, and lemon zest and toss until mixed, then serve. 

Bell Pepper Philly Cheesesteaks 

Add some lettuce and top with another bell pepper to make a low-carb "sandwich!"


8 oz lean sirloin steak, cooked (or seasoned elk meat!)  
2-4 red bell peppers, halved and cleaned 
1 cup shredded lettuce 
1 Tbsp olive oil mayonnaise  
2 oz low-sodium mozzarella, shredded 
1 sweet onion, diced 
1 Tbsp garlic powder
Salt & pepper to taste 


  1. Pre-heat oven to 300°F.
  2. Make sure your sliced bell peppers are free of the stem, seeds, and inner pith. Spread mayo on the inside and add shredded lettuce on top. Place bell peppers on a baking sheet and set aside.
  3. Slice your cooked sirloin steak into thin slices*, and toss in a bowl with diced onion, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
  4. Add seasoned steak/onion mix to your bell peppers and top with shredded mozzarella.
  5. Bake in the oven until bell peppers are soft, and cheese is melted. Eat with a fork or as an opened-faced “sandwich.”

Note: *If you’re using our seasoned elk meat, you may want to slice the chunks into smaller, thinner pieces, so they fit into the bell pepper a little easier. 

Unstuffed Beef Cabbage 

This is a no-fuss version of stuffed cabbage wraps and can be made in less time, with less effort!


1 large head of cabbage, chopped 
1 lb ground beef (crumbled cooked beef patties will do!) 
½ cup riced cauliflower 
½ white onion, diced 
½ cup crushed tomatoes 
15 oz tomato sauce or low-sodium marinara 
4 cloves of garlic 
2 tsp dried oregano 
1 tsp onion powder 
½ cup water 
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil 
Salt & pepper to taste 


  1. Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.  
  2. Season ground beef with onion powder, salt, and pepper, then add to heated pan. (If using our pre-cooked beef patties, skip this step! Just crumble the patties and jump to step 3) 
  3. Add diced onion, garlic, and riced cauliflower to skillet, stirring often. Add meat and cook until browned, crumbling it as you go. 
  4. Add cabbage, crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, and dried oregano and continue cooking until cabbage is tender. Serve! 

Shredded Chicken Zucchini Boats 

This filling can be used in many other keto dinner ideas that require a stuffing!


2 medium zucchinis, halved lengthwise 
1 ½ cups shredded chicken (or ground turkey) 
4 oz low-fat cream cheese 
½ cup baby spinach, chopped 
1 cup parmesan, shredded 
1 tsp red pepper flakes 
½ Tbsp onion powder 
Pepper to taste 


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. 
  2. Hollow out a shallow indent in your halved zucchinis, leaving about ¼ in border on the edges. Set the scooped-out center aside for later. Arrange zucchini boats on a large baking pan and set aside. 
  3. For raw ground meat, heat 1 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil in a pan over medium high heat. Season meat with pepper and onion powder and add to the pan. Cook until browned. Let rest and cool, then shred. Proceed to next step. (If using cooked meat, skip this step!) 
  4. Toss your cooked chicken/turkey with zucchini insides, parmesan, cream cheese, and chopped spinach in a bowl. Season with onion powder, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Scoop mixture into zucchini boats.  
  5. Place zucchini boats back in the oven and cook until zucchini is tender. Let cool before digging in! 

Note: Try these other easy keto dinner ideas using chicken

Salisbury Steak with Creamy Mushroom Gravy 

Salisbury steak is a keto dish that isn't necessarily keto-restricted! Many dieters can enjoy this high protein nutritious meal.


4 beef patties 
2 Tbsp unsalted butter (or butter alternative) 
8 oz cremini mushrooms 
½ onion, diced 
2 cups low-sodium beef broth 
1 Tbsp low-fat cream cheese, chunked 
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil 
1 tsp dried parsley 
Salt & pepper to taste 


  1. Add olive oil to a skillet on medium heat. Add butter and diced onion to skillet and sauté until soft but not browned (about 3 minutes).  
  2. Add sliced mushrooms to pan and further sauté until mushrooms are soft and onions are browned (about 5 minutes). 
  3. Add beef broth, salt, and pepper and bring mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes.  
  4. Reduce heat and add chunked cream cheese. Mix until gravy is smooth and thickened.  
  5. Heat your beef patties (either in the microwave or in another pan with olive oil) and top with your gravy. Garnish with dried parsley and serve with your favorite veggies.* 

Note: *If you’re using raw ground beef or patties, simply season your meat and cook in a pan with extra virgin olive oil on medium-high heat until browned on either side (about 10-15 minutes), then top with your gravy and garnish. 

Turkey Bacon and Avocado Taquitos 

Cheese wraps can be used for other easy keto dinner ideas like tacos, wraps, and quesadillas.


6 slices mozzarella cheese 
6 oz sliced deli turkey 
3 slices of turkey bacon, cooked (or tempeh) 
½ avocado, thinly sliced 


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. 
  2. Place mozzarella slices on a greased pan and bake until edges have browned, and cheese is bubbly. Remove from oven and allow to cool until you can handle them with your bear hands. (For more cheese suggestions to use for this keto dinner idea, check out this guide.) 
  3. Place sliced turkey, cooked bacon, and avocado slices on one side, then tightly roll them up in the cheese. Let cheese firm and cool before eating. 

One Pot Ground Beef and Broccoli 

Stripped steak can also work for this dish, but ground beef cooks faster!


1 lb ground beef (or ~4 crumbled beef patties) 
10 oz broccoli florets, raw
3 cups baby spinach, rinsed
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil 
4 tsp apple cider vinegar 
¼ cup sesame oil 
2 garlic cloves, minced 
1 tsp onion powder 


  1. Add olive oil to a pot over medium heat. Add ground beef, onion powder, and minced garlic. (For raw ground beef, season and cook on medium-high heat for about 10-15 minutes until browned. Make sure to break apart the meat as it cooks! After, proceed to the next step.)  
  2. Stir in apple cider vinegar and sesame oil. Cook for 3 minutes. 
  3. Add broccoli florets and spinach to pot and stir. Cover with lid and let your ground beef and veggies steam for 3-5 minutes until the broccoli is tender. 
  4. Enjoy as-is or serve with riced cauliflower.

Buttered Basil Cod Filets 

Cod and other fatty white fish are a great addition to any keto meal.


4 cod filets 
5 Tbsp unsalted butter 
2 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped 
1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped 
1 tsp fresh parsley, chopped 
1 tsp garlic, minced 
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil 
1 tsp garlic salt 


  1. Heat your olive oil in a saucepan on low-medium heat and add the butter, chopped fresh herbs, and garlic salt until the butter is melted.  
  2. Add filets to the same pan and cook for 2-3 minutes, spooning the butter on top as they heat.* 
  3. After cooking and plating, top cod with more garlic butter sauce and serve with veggies

Note: *If cooking cod from scratch, make sure to pat the filets dry to make sure they cook properly! 

Spicy Shredded Salmon Sushi Bowl 

Nothing easier than throwing together a bowl of your favorite sushi items!


1 salmon filet, cooked 
3 sheets of dried seaweed (nori) or wet seaweed
½ cucumber, sliced 
1 small radish, sliced 
½ avocado, sliced 
⅜ cup shredded carrots
¾ cup rice cauliflower 
¼ cup mango, diced 
¼ cup tofu, cubed
½ tsp wasabi 
1 tsp low-sodium soy sauce 
3 Tbsp olive oil mayo 
Sesame seeds for garnish 


  1. Combine riced cauliflower, mayo, wasabi, and soy sauce in a bowl until rice is coated. 
  2. In the same bowl, gently mash your salmon with a fork until it is shredded and mix into the rice. 
  3. Top rice and salmon mix with diced cucumber, carrots, tofu, seaweed, radish, mango, and avocado. Garnish with sesame seeds. Drizzle with sriracha for more of a kick! 

Note: Try our salmon sushi bowl recipe or this philly roll recipe if you want more keto dinner ideas that are closer to a traditional sushi experience.  

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Dietician’s Guide to Weight-Loss on the Mediterranean Diet Tue, 22 Nov 2022 23:13:47 +0000 How can weight loss be so simple?! By just eating whole foods and avoiding processed foods, you can reduce your chances for a lot of heart issues AND lose weight.

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Mediterranean diet foods are effective at reducing inflammation in the body, upping fiber intake, and keeping blood sugar stable, which all promote healthy, long-term weight loss.  

Mediterranean diet weight loss is rapidly becoming encouraged by many health professionals due to the diet’s well-rounded healthy habits. This diet emphasizes eating more fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and whole grains, while limiting as much processed food as possible.  

It also encourages a more active lifestyle and eating habits that can promote better health. Eating a more Mediterranean-style diet is also a great way to improve heart and gut health, and slow down the aging process

Find out how the food included in this diet can support weight loss and improve your overall health! 

Table of Contents 
Eats & Don’t Eats for Mediterranean Diet Weight Loss  
Weight Loss Benefits of Mediterranean Diet Foods 
Reduces Inflammation 
Stabilizes Blood Sugar 
Improves Gut Health 
Mediterranean Diet Recipes for Weight Loss 

Eats & Don’t-Eats for Mediterranean Diet Weight Loss

The main rule for Mediterranean diet weight loss is to look for and enjoy as many whole foods as possible. Limiting dairy and red meat is also encouraged, but you can still incorporate them into your diet every so often.  

The Mediterranean diet doesn't take away any of the foods you love completely, it just encourages you to eat more of the foods that are better for you.

Here are the foods you should eat while on the Mediterranean diet: 

  • Fruits (all of them!) 
  • Vegetables (all of them!) 
  • Legumes (chickpeas, lentils, beans) 
  • Whole grains (quinoa, oats, brown rice, whole grain pastas, farro, couscous) 
  • Nuts & seeds (all of them!) 
  • Poultry (turkey, chicken, duck) 
  • Seafood (tuna, trout, mussels, sardines, shrimp, tilapia, squid, crab…all!) 
  • Healthy fats (fatty fish like salmon, olive oil, avocados, avocado oil) 

In general, you should avoid these foods as much as possible: 

  • Processed meats (bacon, deli meats, hot dogs) 
  • Refined grains (white bread, baked goods, white rice, white flour, crackers) 
  • Sugary drinks (juices, sodas, energy drinks) 
  • Refined oils (vegetable oil, canola oil, soybean oil, safflower oil) 
  • Processed foods (fast food, chips, microwave popcorn, frozen dinners) 
  • Added sugars (white sugar, candy, cookies) 

Dairy products can also be enjoyed in moderation, but you should look for low-fat, unflavored options like plain Greek yogurt, goat cheese, and low-fat ricotta. Eggs, red wine, and tofu products are okay too! 


Whole foods, limiting red meat and dairy, and avoiding processed foods and refined sugar will grant you the weight loss benefits of the Mediterranean diet. 

Weight Loss Benefits of Mediterranean Diet Foods 

What you eat often has as much impact on your health as traditional medicine and exercise! The foods eaten on the Mediterranean diet can do a lot to aid with long-term weight loss.  

Reduces Inflammation 

Chronic inflammation in the body caused by red meat and refined or processed foods can cause many health problems that slow down weight loss progress. If you’re looking switch to a Mediterranean diet for weight loss, this is important!  

Inflammation can make your body more resistant to insulin and can lead to metabolic syndromes which can lead to Type II Diabetes, visceral fat gain, and high cholesterol; none of which helps with weight loss! 

Foods high in antioxidants and polyphenols (a compound that boosts heart health and immunity) can reduce the amount of harmful inflammation that develops in the body. Plant-based foods are very high in these anti-inflammatory nutrients, which makes many foods in the Mediterranean diet perfect candidates for reducing chronic inflammation.  

Mediterranean diet weight loss comes naturally when you follow a steady diet of natural, whole foods.

Vegetables like broccoli, spinach, carrots, and avocados are high in antioxidants, and so are fruits like blackberries, tomatoes, oranges, strawberries, and apples! 

But vegetables and fruits aren’t the only foods that can help reduce inflammation. You can also count on these foods (and spices!) to be high in helpful antioxidants for your Mediterranean diet weight loss:  

· Almonds 
· Walnuts 
· Salmon 
· Tuna 
· Paprika  
· Basil 
· Mint 
· Oregano 
· Chickpeas 
· Olive oil 


Inflammation caused by refined/processed foods can lead to many health issues related to weight gain such as diabetes and high cholesterol. Veggies and fruits have many antioxidants that reduce inflammation. 

Stabilizes Blood Sugar 

Simple carbs are the biggest culprits for high blood sugar levels, and don’t do much to keep you full. This can cause a vicious cycle of decreased energy and increased hunger, which makes you eat even more!  

Your body uses carbs (sugar) as its primary source of energy. After a meal, your blood sugar levels increase and then fall sharply as the body absorbs that sugar. Simple sugars are digested faster and are utilized for energy first which leads to a faster rise in blood sugar levels.  

Simple sugar foods that cause these fast spikes include white bread and rice, baked goods, convenience foods, pastries, and foods with added sugar (yes, even those sugar “substitutes” like stevia!)  

Processed foods work against you! They cause inflammation, carb crashes, and high blood sugar spikes.

Complex carbs take longer to digest, which keep you satiated for longer, and don’t raise your blood sugar levels as high. When you eat more complex carbs, you feel hungry less often and won’t feel the need to snack between meals. 

Mediterranean diet weight loss places importance on these complex, healthy carbs: 

· Whole grain pasta 
· Brown rice 
· Corn 
· Peas 
· Quinoa 
· Chickpeas 
· Millet 
· Barley 
· Sweet potatoes 
· Butternut squash 
· Potatoes 
· Black beans 
· Farro 
· Lentils 
· Oatmeal & steel cut oats 

But remember, any healthy food can be made unhealthy if you dress it up the wrong way! Preparing food in healthier ways goes a long way. For instance, instead of frying food, baking can give it the same level of crispiness while staying healthy!  


Simple sugars found in sugary, baked goods and refined grains cause blood sugar spikes that leave you feeling sluggish and hungry. Replacing them with complex carbs from whole grains and starchy veggies will leave you feeling full and energized, which will keep you from over-snacking.  

Improves Gut Health 

Reducing inflammation is one way gut health is improved, but it’s not the only way the Mediterranean diet helps with weight loss. Studies have shown that eating fibrous foods can help lower blood pressure, improve your body’s insulin responses, and help with weight loss. And great news, complex carbs are usually high in fiber! 

A healthy gut is a happy gut - and even better if you're using the Mediterranean diet for weight loss!

Fiber-rich foods – specifically soluble fiber – improve your metabolism and the number of helpful bacteria in your gut. The healthier the flora in your intestines, the easier it is to control weight-related health issues including general weight gain. 

Just another way the Mediterranean diet proves whole foods are super foods! 


Complex carb foods are also rich in fiber which improves your metabolism and the helpful digestive bacteria in your gut, which makes it easier to lose weight. 

Mediterranean Diet Recipes for Weight Loss 

While there’s nothing easier than getting fully cooked Mediterranean meals delivered straight to your door, sometimes you just want to improve your cooking skills. If your goal is to find some delicious Mediterranean diet recipes for weight loss, we’re going to make that easier for you with these tasty recipes: 

Charred Shrimp, Pesto, & Quinoa Buddha Bowl 

Calories: 429 Protein: 30.9g Fiber: 72.2g Fat: 22g

Quinoa and shrimp are high in fiber, and certainly delicious, making them a perfect, healthy Mediterranean diet dish.

Mediterranean-Style Mussels 

Calories: 197 Protein: 11g Fiber: 4g Fat: 9g

Seafood is encouraged over other kinds of meat because they tend to have healthier, lean fats.

Greek-Style Roasted Branzino 

Calories: 257.3 Protein: 41.9g Fiber: 2g Fat: 5.6g

Fish is high in protein which keeps you fuller longer, which really helps when it comes to reducing how much you eat throughout the day.

Mediterranean Farro Salad 

Calories: 261 Protein: 8g Fiber: 5g Fat: 15g

Farro is an excellent whole grain that is used in many Mediterranean diet recipes for weight loss.

Cranberry Walnut Grain-Free Granola 

Calories: 283 Protein: 6g Fiber: ~3g Fat: 24g

Homemade granola made with lots of nuts and seeds is full of nutritious vitamins and minerals and has WAY less sugar that store-bought granola.

Mediterranean Chickpea Skillet 

Calories: 315.1 Protein: 11.2g Fiber: 5.6g Fat: 4.9g

Chickpeas are a high source of protein, making them ideal for weight loss and those looking to eat more plant-based foods.

Italian Grilled Eggplant with Basil and Parsley 

Calories: 204 Protein: 2g Fiber: 5g Fat: 19g

Eggplant can be used as a bread or meat patty replacement in burgers, or even as a standalone dish just like in this recipe!

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20 Easy Doctor-Approved Keto Desserts (Recipes Included) Thu, 17 Nov 2022 17:56:55 +0000 Don't deny yourself sweets on keto! Have these easy keto dessert recipes on-hand the next time you’re in the mood for something indulgent (and perhaps chocolatey).

The post 20 Easy Doctor-Approved Keto Desserts (Recipes Included) appeared first on Fresh n' Lean.


Carbs and dessert usually go hand-in-hand. Keto desert recipes, however, use a few creative substitutes and keto-friendly ingredients that don’t deprive you of your after-dinner course.  

Need the main course taken care of first? We got you. Fully loaded keto meals ready for delivery for your breakfast, lunch, and dinner here.  

Table of Contents 
Chocolate Cake 
Peanut Butter Cookies 
Snickerdoodle Cookie Bars 
Keto Cheesecake 
Cream Cheese Bombs 
Blueberry Dump Cake 
Chocolate Zucchini Muffins 
Almond Butter Cups 
Pumpkin Brownies 
Low-Carb Pumpkin Pie 
Fudgy Chocolate Brownies 
Ricotta Dessert Cups 
Lemon Meringue Pie 
Chocolate-Covered Strawberries 
Berries & Cream Popsicles 
Oreo Dirt Cake 
Raspberry Chia Pudding 
Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars 
Dark Chocolate Bark 
Soft & Chewy Chocolate Cookies 

Chocolate Cake 

Calories: 184g Total Carbs: 6g Net Carbs: 3g Fat: 17g 

We would have failed to give you good keto dessert recipes if we didn't include a chocolate cake.

The big kahuna: chocolate cake! By just using almond flour and allulose sugar or monkfruit sugar, you too can enjoy a decadent slice with very few carbs. 

Peanut Butter Cookies 

Calories: 200g Total Carbs: 6g Net Carbs: 1.8g Fat: 17g 

Lots of dessert recipes are made keto with just a few flour and sugar substitutions.

For those that can’t get enough of peanut butter OR cookies. 

Snickerdoodle Cookie Bars 

Calories: 178g Total Carbs: 3g Net Carbs: 3g Fat: 16g  

Almond butter helps thicken up these keto snickerdoodle cookie bars.

Speaking of cookies, everyone’s favorite cinnamon cookie comes in keto form using deliciously rich ingredients like almond butter, eggs, and vanilla extract. 

Keto Cheesecake  

Calories: 200g Total Carbs: 4g Net Carbs: 1.5g Fat: 17g

Cheese is a big star in many keto recipes. This cheesecake recipe only make sense.

Cream cheese and vanilla extract work well in many keto desserts, but maybe none as well as in this cheesecake recipe! Eat plain, drizzled with dark chocolate, or with a low-carb fruit topping.  

Cream Cheese Bombs 

Calories: 50g Total Carbs: 0.3g Net Carbs: 0.3g Fat: 5g 

AKA a smaller version of a full cheesecake!

You can make a bunch of different flavors with these by just swapping out key ingredients. Try chocolate, vanilla, mocha, peanut butter, cinnamon roll, lemon cheesecake, or chocolate chip to satisfy a variety of cravings. 

Blueberry Dump Cake 

Calories: 199g Total Carbs: 9g Net Carbs: 7g Fat: 18g 

Use your berries to the fullest! Add some eggs and flour and you have a beautiful rich dessert.

This is a great family-sized dessert that is also perfect for those on the paleo diet. The beauty of this dessert is that you don’t have to fuss over appearances; the flavor is what matters most! 

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins 

Calories: 169g Total Carbs: 10g Net Carbs: 2.5g Fat: 12g 

Adding non-starchy veggies to your desserts will certainly bring down their carbs.

The fiber in the zucchini balances out the carbs to make this a low-carb chocolatey treat. 

Almond Butter Cups 

Calories: 101g Total Carbs: 5g Net Carbs: 5g Fat: 9g 

Dark chocolate is keto-friendly and works in many desserts.

If you’re a Reese’s fan, this one’s for you! Just melt some chocolate and coconut oil, and layer in your almond butter before refrigerating.  

Pumpkin Brownies 

Calories: 139g Total Carbs: 4g Net Carbs: 4g Fat: 10g 

Tapioca, coconut butter, and maple syrup are putting in the WORK.

All you PSL lovers can continue the pumpkin celebration with these keto brownies.  

Low-Carb Pumpkin Pie 

Calories: 244g Total Carbs: 8g Net Carbs: 4g Fat: 21g 

Enjoy Thanksgiving with keto dessert recipes like this that doesn't sacrifice flavor.

Have a classic Thanksgiving with a low-carb pumpkin pie recipe made with pumpkin puree, heavy cream, and almond flour pie crust.  

Fudgy Chocolate Brownies  

Calories: 180g Total Carbs: 5g Net Carbs: 3g Fat: 17g 

Keto dessert recipes that eliminate flour entirely are the best!

Nobody will be able to tell this isn’t “the real thing” because it’s chock-full of rich chocolate chip morsels and cocoa powder. Just don’t mention the words “keto dessert” and you’re secret’s safe with us!

Ricotta Dessert Cups 

Calories: 202g Total Carbs: 9g Net Carbs: 7g Fat: 13g 

Cheese, cheese, and more cheese made into a simple sweet keto dessert.

Berries are typically low in carbs which makes them the star of many keto dessert recipes! 

Lemon Meringue Pie 

Calories: 175g Total Carbs: 6g Net Carbs: 3g Fat: 16g 

The best part? The meringue is fluffy, airy, and just a little bit toasted.

If you’re feeling lazy when it comes to pie-making, this recipe uses an old-fashioned graham cracker pie crust that’s easy to make (or to buy). 

Chocolate-Covered Strawberries 

Calories: 78g Total Carbs: 6g Net Carbs: 1g Fat: 5g 

Keto dessert recipes don't get any simpler than this!

Doesn’t get any easier than this! Dip strawberries into some dark chocolate and freeze. Boom. 

Berries & Cream Popsicles 

Calories: 158g Total Carbs: 4.4g Net Carbs: 2.6g Fat: 9.4g 

Keep cool with a creamy keto dessert made with summer berries.

For those hot days, or those days when you just want to enjoy a frozen fruity treat. Try a blueberry lemon version here

Oreo Dirt Cake 

Calories: 279g Total Carbs: 5.3g Net Carbs: 4g Fat: 30g 

Don't forget to serve with gummy worms or a decorative flower!

The kiddos may love this, but that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying it too! If you have room after dinner for a more indulgent treat, this keto dessert is perfect for both you and the little ones.  

Raspberry Chia Pudding 

Calories: 217g Total Carbs: 13g Net Carbs: 4.6g Fat: 17.6g 

Double up this keto dessert as a breakfast recipe if you need to.

For an overnight treat that can double as your breakfast, chia pudding is your choice.  

Calories: 190g Total Carbs: 4g Net Carbs: 4g Fat: 17g 

Another classic dessert you can still enjoy on the keto diet.

Topping your chocolate chip cookies with sea salt gives it a great salty finish that compliments the sweetness of one of the easiest keto dessert recipes.  

Dark Chocolate Bark  

Calories: 108g Total Carbs: 7g Net Carbs: 6g Fat: 7g 

Many nuts and seeds can be consumed on the keto diet, like the ones in this recipe.

Another one of the simplest and quickest keto dessert recipes that only needs melted chocolate and some of your favorite keto-approved fruit and nut toppings.  

Soft & Chewy Chocolate Cookies  

Calories: 124g Total Carbs: 4.3g Net Carbs: 1.8g Fat: 10g 

Did someone say chocolate!?

Last but not least, when your chocolate craving won’t be satisfied by anything less than a double chocolate chocolate chip creation.  

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Survey: Over 92% of Americans Can’t Afford Groceries and 50% Report a Decline in Health Mon, 14 Nov 2022 18:21:16 +0000 We surveyed 1500 people from across the U.S. (roughly representative of the population) and nearly 75% want to eat healthier but can't afford to

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In a time of Economic hardship due to the pandemic and socio-political effects therein, difficulties purchasing healthy items at grocery stores is commonplace. Equivocal challenges apparently exist within the bounds of ordinary food purchasing, the data suggests. Despite an overwhelming majority of the population desiring to eat healthier, the macroeconomic realities are forcing many to cut back instead. We sought to determine the microeconomic causal relation between consumers’ incomes, choice of groceries and purchasing habits. We hope this survey study can serve in helping achieve more accessible prices, especially on healthy food.  


The self-reported Data, roughly representative of the U.S. population, shows the vast majority of Americans (92.87%) think Groceries are too expensive and 50-66% of the population have to shop less, buy lower quality ingredients or buy less items in general, this includes foregoing Organic or Premium ingredients and even the very basics, such as Meat or Poultry.  

The devastating consequences of more than 9 in 10 people struggling with prices of food cannot be overstated. This, according to the data, has consequences on the health of around 50% of the population which has declined in the last year, and nearly 75% of the population wanting to eat healthier but not being able to because of finances.  

Collectively the Data shows us that we’re in an unsustainable economic situation with food value and specifically, the unattainability of good quality & healthy food, which a supermajority desire access to.  


Survey respondents were selected at random to broadly reflect the U.S. population.  

65% earned <$75K and 83% <$100K*  

50% or more of respondents were from the biggest locations/economies = California, Illinois, New York, Florida, Texas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Georgia  

Majority of respondents were either working or self-employed  

Around 50% had no children**  


  • 92.87% said grocery prices are too high (food too expensive)  
  • 65.93% take less trips to the store due to inflation – this includes 82% dining out less for the same reason (so it’s not a swap of spending, money itself is the problem)  
  • 50-55% of people shop less, buy less stuff, and spend more time at home  
  • 57% have to stop buying Organic or Premium ingredients  
  • 74.60% would eat healthier if they could afford it  
  • Around 50% of people feel unhealthier now than they did a year ago  
  • 57.5% are buying less meat and poultry  
  • 71% of people Meal Prep now more than a year ago (once a day or a week)  

*100% of all 1500 respondents answered all 14 questions. However, not all respondents submitted entries to multi-variant questions. (i.e. 31.33% (470) participants answered ‘buying lower quality foods’ to combat inflation, which of 7 variants is 9.91% of the total answers.)


The self-reported Data, roughly representative of the U.S. population, shows the vast majority of Americans (92.87%) think Groceries are too expensive and 50-66% of the population have to shop less, buy lower quality ingredients or buy less items in general, this includes forgoing Organic or Premium ingredients and even the very basics, such as Meat or Poultry.  

The devastating consequences of more than 9 in 10 people struggling with prices of food cannot be overstated. This, according to the data, has consequences on the health of around 50% of the population which has declined in the last year, and nearly 75% of the population wanting to eat healthier but not being able to because of finances.  

Collectively the Data shows us that we’re in an unsustainable economic situation with food value and specifically, the unattainability of good quality & healthy food, which a supermajority desire access to. Most Americans can’t afford good food, and their health, as well as their quality of life – are paying the price. Solutions around supporting healthier food options, and economic accessibility to, as well as focusing inflationary discussion on the necessities instead of the luxuries – would be a good start to improving the quality of life of the public.  

The Historic Impact of Food Inflation in The U.S.   

Historically, when access to quality nutrition suffers due to an economic downturn, it’s not uncommon to see a decline in physical and mental health, productivity, and fertility.  

During the Global Financial Crisis of 2008, the combination of high food prices with widespread financial distress made it difficult for families in the U.S. to afford quality ingredients. To cope with rising costs, households across the country reduced the quantity and quality of food consumed.   

As a result, there was a significant drop in self-rated health, a rise in morbidity, and an acceleration in already growing suicide rates.  

While history may not repeat itself, it often rhymes and we’re starting to see similar trends among consumers.  

The Current Economy Shows Similar Data  

Our study found Americans have started to cut back severely to manage food inflation:  

  • 82% of consumers are dining out less  
  • 65% are taking less trips to the grocery store  
  • 57% are replacing organic or premium ingredients with lower quality food items  

These shifts in consumer behaviors could lead to devastating short and long-term impacts. In fact, our findings show that 50% of Americans reported a decline in their health in the past year.  

Ultimately, food inflation will increase health disparities and food insecurity and could result in long-lasting detrimental effects on people’s overall health and well-being,said PhD MPH Tayah Kline, Concordia University.

If this trend persists, the negative effects could reach far beyond public health.   

The Financial Burden of Poor Food Quality   

It’s well-known that a healthy population contributes to greater worker productivity and economic output; unfortunately, the opposite is also true. The fiscal drag created by an unhealthy workforce can create a compound effect that cripples an already sluggish post-pandemic economy.  

When it comes to productivity and national economic output, indirect costs related to preventable chronic diseases can surpass $1 trillion per year. Additionally, over 1 million deaths from cardiovascular diet-related diseases occur annually in the U.S (global deaths total up to almost 10 million).   

It’s important to note it’s not a lack of desire but ability that prevents consumers from making healthier choices. Our survey found 75% of participants expressed a desire to eat healthier but couldn’t due to finances. Similarly, another recent study by the Heritage Foundation Center found that the average American worker lost $4,200 in annual purchasing power as a result of consumer prices rising 12.7% since January 2021.   

Considering over 60% of American households live paycheck to paycheck, the reduction in buying power may have significant unforeseen repercussions. While it’s still uncertain whether inflation will continue to rise or stabilize, one thing is clear: a weaker wallet leads to a weaker population, which leads to a weaker economy, leads to a weaker wallet.  

Barriers To Organic Certification Are Keeping Farmers Out  

One of the biggest obstacles to healthy food distribution are the hoops farms must jump through to become certified organic. The certification process can be rigorous and costly, requiring the hiring of an inspector and incurring a host of sales, production, inspection, and annual fees. The documentation alone can cost thousands of dollars.   

Additionally, it takes farmers a full 36 months to make the transition and become officially certified. Imagine owning a business and letting it tank for three years in the hopes that it’ll not only survive but thrive. To make the shift even riskier, the Organic Trade Association (OTA) recently reported organic food sales have slowed. After organic food purchases soared to 13% in 2020, growth dragged to 2% the following year.   

For many, the barriers to entry and economic uncertainty that comes with them aren’t enough of an incentive to transition their farms. Perhaps, loosening the guidelines while keeping consumers safe or making certifications cheaper to obtain could help encourage production and reduce the cost of organic food in the U.S.   

Lopsided Food Prices Are Forcing Unhealthy Tradeoffs  

Despite the FDA’s blanket food standards, prices and practices can vary dramatically by state. Hawaii and Alaska, for example, have some of the highest cost of groceries, whereas Texas boasts some of the lowest. In 2018, the price of a dozen eggs in Hawaii was $4.49, in Illinois, Kansas, and Virginia, it was less than a dollar. Nevertheless, significant differences in food costs aren’t limited to the state level.   

According to a report published by Feeding America, seven counties including Pike, Alabama, Leon, Florida, and Lafayette, Mississippi fall into the top 10% for food insecurity and meal cost. In other words, the hundreds of thousands of residents living in these communities are struggling to feed themselves due to high meal costs.   

Considering this study was published in 2019, it’s not farfetched to assume conditions have gotten worse with recent food inflation, in fact our study is showing that the problem is much more widespread.   

While these communities may not have the highest expenses in the nation, the reality is their wages haven’t caught up to the rising costs of living. The counties affected by these conditions “can force families to choose between buying food and paying for housing,” a tradeoff no one should have to make. As food costs continue to rise, financial challenges could continue to affect states and counties disproportionally, widening the gap between resilient economies and those less so.   

U.S. vs Global Food Standards   

Considering the U.S., it’s important to examine how our food standards compare to the rest of the world. Despite the FDA’s intensive food standards, the U.S. doesn’t rank in the top ten according to the Global Food Security Index.   

The four measurements on the index include affordability, availability, quality and safety, and sustainability and adaptation. Curiously, seven out of the top ten countries reside in the European Union. Bearing in mind America is the current wealthiest country in the world, the disparity should be accounted for.   

While the U.S. ranks well for quality and safety, there are still several concerns regarding the management of mismanagement of food distribution. According to the FDA, there are 48 million cases of food-borne illness, more than 125,000 hospitalizations due to largely preventable food-borne illnesses every ear. This year, there have been more than 1,800 entries for food recalls so far.  

For comparison, EU countries only get 50,000 cases of food-borne illness annually while serving 100 million more residents than the U.S. The difference can be traced to a number of factors, mainly, the EU focuses more resources on food safety practices and enforces preventive policies instead of those accounting for probability.  

A Lack of Funding Is Leading to Spotty Regulation  

In America there are over 155,000 food facilities, more than 1 million food establishments, and over 2 million farms. Considering the broad scope of coverage, the FDA simply doesn’t have the resources to adequately monitor and inspect the entire food supply chain. This resource issue has led to overregulation in some areas and a lack thereof in others.   

For example, in the American food system use of the term “organic” requires a farm to go through an intensive, three-year process but products labeled “wellness” or “natural” have zero official regulation. This inconsistency in food descriptions and marketing is confusing buyers.  

A recent consumer report found 73% of shoppers seek out foods labeled “natural” even though the term isn’t clearly defined or regulated by the FDA. As a result consumers may be misled and run unnecessary risks in their effort to find affordably healthy food.   

Lagging Behind In Funding, Regulation, and Food Security  

Similarly, there are many potentially harmful additives allowed in American food production that haven’t been reassessed since they were first introduced or have slipped up the FDA’s nose. Since toxicology research is constantly progressing, legal ingredients could continue to put consumer health at risk as more evidence emerges condemning them.   

In the case of titanium dioxide, a food additive used in milk, candy, and sauces, EU regulators reassessed its use and made the decision to ban it after new research surfaced raising concerns of genotoxicity. In the U.S. however, the additive is still legal and widely used under the “Generally Recognized As Safe” (GRAS) program.   

Under the GRAS program, chemicals and additives can automatically receive FDA approval without going through the petition and review process as long as scientists have consensus that their use is generally recognized as safe. It has been estimated that thousands of additives have been approved under this policy without the FDA’s knowledge.  

While the original GRAS program intended to reevaluate substances in keeping up with new findings, the program ultimately became too resource intensive. In 1997, the FDA determined it could no longer dedicate adequate resources to the GRAS petition program and opted for a voluntary notification program instead.  

This policy created a loophole allowing companies and manufacturers to introduce chemicals and additives to food without independent evaluation. Since many of the studies around food research are industry-funded, this presents an obvious conflict of interest pinning public health against corporate profit. If the U.S. continues to lag behind other countries in funding, consistency of regulation, and food security, this could escalate the health crisis consumers are facing today.  

Short and Long-Term Solutions   

Closing Loopholes and Revising Policy   

The good news is the U.S. is already taking steps towards solutions such as reforming the GRAS system. The new revisions were introduced by the Ensuring Safe and Toxic-Free Foods Act of 2022 and will help close loopholes that endanger public health through our food system.   

Most importantly, it’ll require manufacturers to provide proper supporting evidence for designated substances, prohibit individuals with a conflict of interests from serving as experts to evaluate scientific data, and create an office to reassess the safety of existing food additives and GRAS substances every three years.   

This bill could be a major win in promoting policies that protect consumer health. However, this solution is long-term as the food act must still receive congressional approval before being signed into law.  

Alternative Food Options   

Despite inflation elevating nearly all food prices, in the short-term consumers can look for alternative ingredients or categories that haven’t been hit quite as hard. For example, while fresh and frozen chicken parts have risen 17.8%, fresh fish and seafood, and uncooked ground beef have both only gone up by 7.8%.  

Similarly, all fruits aren’t created equal when it comes to price increases. The cost of oranges and tangerines costs have shot up 14.4% since august 2021 but apples have only risen 3.8% in the same timeframe.    

Households and individuals can also look to plant-based alternatives to get their nutritional needs where necessary. In the past 12 months, one of the steepest price increases was seen in the cost of eggs, which has gone up almost 40%. Instead of sacrificing breakfast, consumers can look to plant-based alternatives that offer similar nutritional value at a lower cost.   

Consumer Price Index: See the full food list on pg. 9-11.   

Quality Over Quality  

In addition to buying alternatives, shoppers can focus their budgets on higher quality foods instead of total quantity. One of the most interesting findings from research on the dietary impact of the Great Recession of 2008 was that even though households reported a lower caloric intake, their diets actually improved.   

Researchers speculate this may have been a result of consumers not only cutting back on food in general but also reducing the amount of highly processed or fast casual foods common with dining out. Considering the ‘typical’ American diet is high in fats and carbs, it’s not hard to connect the dots between diet and disease.   

According to the CDC, more than 40% of Americans are classified as obese. And those who struggle with obesity have a much greater risk of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. If our goal is to help support a healthier population and promote longevity while navigating economic uncertainty, cutting total calories while consuming organic and premium foods may hold the answer.  

E-Commerce As A Solution  

Although there are many variables influencing food inflation, one solution may be found in the rise of e-commerce food delivery services. While platforms like DoorDash and UberEats have capitalized on fast-food delivery, they tend to offer options that prioritize convenience over nutritional value. Since these services are sourcing orders from local restaurants the costs in addition to delivery and convenience fees often make them less affordable than groceries.   

In fact, our data shows 83% of participants are ordering less from these delivery apps as a result of increases in food prices. Still, the structure of these services may offer better alternatives to help make healthy food more accessible regardless of location and income level. Newly popularized meal delivery services in the Food & Beverage industry cut out the costs of employment and overhead locations that often get passed onto the consumer.   

At scale, these platforms can provide new avenues for accessing organic, high-quality ingredients at a more affordable cost to shoppers. Considering the financial strain many households are experiencing, these services may be able to fill in the gaps to provide consumers with the nutrition they need while avoiding breaking the bank.  

Organic Food Support and Subsidies   

Our research shows that due to considerable rises in food costs, 59% of Americans have had to stop buying organic or premium ingredients altogether. Although new technologies are improving the distribution of high-quality foods, prices are still being affected by a significant production bottleneck.   

Since 2008 the number of new farms making the switch to organic production has dropped by 71%. Today, organic food makes up 6% of total food sales but only 1% of farmland in the U.S. is in organic production.  

One potential solution can come in the form of subsidies or funding like the Organic Initiative Transition introduced earlier this year. The USDA announced it will invest up to $300 million to help farmers in the U.S. convert to organic produce. With more farms cultivating organic food, greater supply could help reduce costs for consumers.   

Final Thoughts   

The majority of Americans are struggling to afford food and it’s clear that the challenges presented by food inflation are both personal and pervasive. While shifting buying habits towards better food alternatives and using e-commerce technologies can help reduce costs in the short term, support for long-term solutions like the Organic Initiative Transition and Ensuring Safe and Toxic-Free Food Act are necessary.   

If left unchecked, food inflation could continue to cause significant repercussions including greater risks of food insecurity, forcing unhealthy tradeoffs among nearly every socio-economic in the U.S., and triggering a lasting negative impact on public health and well-being. Our hope is this data inspires positive action to prevent further physical and economic loss and make healthy food more accessible to the population at large.  

Deep Dive Into The Data

1. What is your household’s average monthly grocery bill?   

Less than $299 – 23.20%  

$300-599 – 48.67%  

$600-999 – 18.40%  

$1,000 – 1,499 – 6.00%  

$1,500+ – 3.73%  

Over 70% of Americans spend less than $600 monthly on groceries. Considering the median average household income in the U.S. is $70,784, consumers are spending around 10% of their earnings on food shopping. It is safe to assume, based upon the baseline data (income), that an increase in prices will create a decrease in quality based on a lack of resources to ‘buy organic’.   

As gas, energy and basic utilities and necessities are also on the rise, people are perhaps forgoing groceries to not forgo heating, driving to work, or rent as we’ve seen in some counties across the country. We also know from the remainder of the data that many American households are forgoing luxuries, so we can determine the primary reason they aren’t purchasing Healthy Food is not due to mismanagement of money – but due to the cost.   

2. With recent increases in grocery costs, do you think food is too expensive in the U.S.?  

Yes – 92.87%  

No – 7.13%   

With the average increase in the cost of food year-over-year rising 11.4%, almost 300 million are Americans are struggling with food prices. To cope with the higher expense many consumers are being forced to settle for lower quality foods. According to our data, this shift in behavior and diet is already impacting consumers in various ways including a decline in self-reported health.   

For comparison, in 2008’s financial crash, food inflation rose only 5.5% and food insecurity increased 3.2% respectively. As a result, American households cut their spending on groceries by an average 1.6%. However, with recent price increases we’re seeing the steepest rises in food cost in more than 40 years.  

Historically financial crisis and food insecurity impacts low-income communities disproportionately, nevertheless, with our findings reporting more than 90% of Americans are strained by the cost of groceries, it’s safe to assume price fluctuations are impacting American households at nearly every socio-economic level.   

3. How often do you shop for groceries?   

Once a week – 45.87%  

Twice a week – 31.13%  

Once a month – 10.27%   

Twice a month – 12.73%   

Almost half of Americans shop for groceries just once a week. Considering the vast majority are struggling with the price of food it’s clear that households are feeling the financial stress of rising prices multiple times a month. Taking into account 61% of households in the U.S. live paycheck to paycheck, even small price breaks or fluctuations can have a significant impact on quality life and the ability to afford healthy food.  

In order to cope with rising food costs, our data also shows consumers are shopping less in general. As discussed earlier, many communities across the U.S. are being forced to make tradeoffs between healthy food options, food quantity, and living expenses.    

4. Have you been taking less trips to the grocery store due to inflation/high prices?  

Yes – 65.93%  

No – 30.07%  

In addition to reducing the quality of food purchase, almost 2 out of 3 consumers are also reducing the quantity by taking less trips to the grocery store. Out of necessity, it seems shoppers can’t afford to buy with regularity the way they used to. However, this change in buying habits might end up costing them more.   

During the Great Recession of 2008, buyers were able to reduce the prices they paid by roughly 9% when they doubled their trips to the store, shopped for generic goods, and focused on money-saving strategies like couponing.   

Regardless of cost-savings, a reduction in both food quantity and quality has traditionally led to a drop in self-reported health. What we’re seeing in our data is Americans are already beginning to experience a decline in health as a result of changing their diets.  

5. Have you been dining out less as a result of rising food costs? 

Yes – 82.80%  

No – 17.20%  

8 out of 10 Americans have dramatically reduced the amount they dine out. In the face of rising food costs, consumers may categorize dining out as a gratuitous luxury, opting for the more affordable option of preparing meals at home.   

In combination with shoppers ordering less from meal delivery apps like DoorDash, this shift in behavior could negatively impact the restaurant industry at large. From 2006-2009 households reduced their spend on dining out by 12.9%. Although fast-food chains showed resilience due to “dollar-priced” menus, casual dining suffered the most.   

Considering more than 11 million people are employed by the restaurant industry, labor shortages, wage increases, and a decline in demand could put small businesses and workers at risk.   

 6. What measures are you taking to combat inflation? (select all that apply)  

Dining Out Less

Respondents – 66.40%

Answers – 21.00%

Fewer Trips to the Grocery Store

Respondents – 49.53%

Answers – 15.67%

Buying Less Stuff at the Store

Respondents – 56.93%

Answers – 18.01%

Spending More Time at Home

Respondents – 54.67%

Answers – 17.29%

Buying Products in Bulks

Respondents – 39.67%

Answers – 12.55%

Shopping Used

Respondents – 17.60%

Answers – 12.55%

Buying Lower Quality Foods

Respondents – 31.33%

Answers – 9.91%

In addition to taking less trips to the grocery store and dining out less, consumers in the U.S. are choosing to buy in bulk and spend more time at home. Bearing in mind the cost of oil rose 25.6% in the past 12 months ended August, it would seem consumers are sacrificing the cost of going out in order to save by staying home. This behavioral change is also supported by American households reducing their spend on other luxuries but not on streaming services like Netflix.   

Additionally, more than half of respondents are buying less altogether in order to save. Since nearly 70% of our GDP in the U.S. is based on consumption, a major slowdown in spending, at scale could induce a recession similar to that of the Global Financial Crisis of 2008.   

7. What’s Your Preferred Diet Type?

A1 – Keto (Low Carb)


A2 – Paleo (No Artificial Foods)


A3 – Mediterranean Diet (Meat, Fish, Veggies)


A4 – Vegan (Plant-Based)


A5 – ‘Typical’ American (High Carb, High Fats)


A6 – Other


Over 40% of Americans still subscribe to a ‘typical’ high carb, high fat diet. This data may shed some light on why most consumers haven’t lessened the amount of cooking oils and breads/cereals they’re buying, instead choosing to reduce their meat and poultry intake, foods commonly higher in protein. Unfortunately, the traditional American diet has been associated with high rates of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and types of cancer.   

The silver lining of research found that almost 20% of Americans subscribe to the Mediterranean Diet. This particular way of eating is known for supporting longevity and cardiovascular health. While it’s encouraging to see a large subset following one of the healthiest diets, Americans may find it hard to sustain this lifestyle and afford the nutrition they need as higher quality ingredients stretch beyond their reach.  

Our data is also consistent with the growth of Veganism and plant-based dieters across the U.S. Compared to 2020, self-reported Vegans have grown from 3% to roughly 5% of the total population. Vegans may also have an advantage when it comes to affordability due to the naturally higher prices of meat and poultry.   

8. Do You Find Yourself Replacing Organic or Premium Ingredients (Such as Grass-Fed Steak, Cage-Free, Eggs, etc.) for Lower Quality Foods Because They’re More Affordable?

Yes – 57%

No – 43%

More than half of consumers in the U.S. are being forced to buy lower quality ingredients because they can’t afford better alternatives. A lack of access to high quality food combined with economic stress has historically caused a decline on the physical and mental health of the U.S. population as a whole.   

Organically-grown ingredients tend to contain more nutrients and Omega-3 fatty acids than non-organic produce. Naturally, foods free from pesticides, antibiotics, and genetic modification promote overall health and help consumers avoid preventable diseases related to nutrition. Considering up to 55% of preventable deaths in the U.S. are related to diet, according to the CDC, access to high quality ingredients is vital.   

However, if almost 60% of American households can’t afford foods that don’t contain potentially harmful substances, they may be putting themselves at unnecessary risk of diseases including heart disease and several types of cancers. As long as high quality nutrition continues to be unattainable for most Americans, there’s no question individual quality of life and public health will suffer.   

9. Would You Subscribe To a Healthier Diet (Ingredients, etc.) If You Could Afford It?

Yes – 74.60%

No – 25.40%

Almost 75% of Americans would eat healthier if they could. Considering more than half of consumers can’t afford to buy organic or premium quality ingredients, it’s doesn’t appear to be a matter of desire or knowledge but affordability that’s preventing Americans from eating a healthier diet.   

Taking into account over $730 million is spent treating preventable illness in the U.S., the potential fiscal and physical loss due to unhealthy eating habits are staggeringly high. While almost 40% of Americans subscribe to a high carb, high fat diet, they’re still in the minority when combining other diet lifestyles that target weight-loss, longevity, and sustainability.   

It stands to reason that most households in the U.S. prefer healthier and higher quality ingredients but simply don’t have the means to consistently purchase them. As explained earlier, even in communities that don’t demand a relatively high cost of living, the disparity between wages and food costs make healthier choices unobtainable.   

10. Since Changing The Way You Eat With Prices Going Up, Do You Feel:

During the last Great Recession, financial distress affected public health in various ways. On one hand we saw a predictable decline in self-reported health, along with an uptick in morbidity and psychological stress. The economic crisis also affected low-income individuals disproportionately.   

On the other hand, along with fruits and vegetables, Americans also reduced the quantity of sugary products, soft drinks, and other fast-food products that can contribute to poor health. The result was a mixed bag of positive and negative effects on consumer health.   

However, recent food inflation seems to be exclusively impacting public health negatively. Our findings show that dietary changes due to shoppers having to opt for smaller quantities of food and lower quality ingredients have resulted in around 50% of consumers reporting they feel worse than they did a year ago. Also, instead of affecting low-income earners disproportionately, the current fluctuations in food prices aren’t only impacting most Americans but also a population of a slightly higher than average earners. *   

11. Have You Canceled Subscriptions (Netflix, Amazon, Spotify, etc.) To Pay For Groceries?

No – 61.20%

Yes – 38.80

Consumers in the U.S. have taken many measures to combat food inflation including dining out less, buying in bulk, and buying less altogether, however the majority aren’t giving up at-home streaming and entertainment services.   

During the pandemic, streaming services received a massive tailwind surpassing 1 billion subscriptions globally. Since our data shows households are spending more time at home, it seems consumers have become more comfortable with at-home entertainment and see it as viable solution to avoid spending on gas, transportation, and eating out.   

12. Which Foods Are You Buying Less of Due To Inflation? (select all that apply)


A1 – Meat/Poultry

Respondents – 57.53%

Answers – 21.05%

A2 – Fish

Respondents – 36.53%

Answers – 13.37%

A3 – Fruit

Respondents – 29.80%

Answers – 10.91%

A4 – Vegetables

Respondents – 25.40%

Answers – 9.29%

A5 – Cereals/Grains/Bread

Respondents – 24.40%

Answers – 8.93%

A6 – Snacks

Respondents – 58.00%

Answers – 21.22%

A7 – Milk/Dairy

Respondents – 24.33%

Answers – 8.90%

A8 – Cooking Oils

Respondents – 17.27%

Answers – 6.32%

The largest categories that buyers in the U.S. are cutting back on are snacks and meat. Consumers may see snacks as unnecessary treats or luxuries, choosing to spend more on dietary staples. Meat and poultry-related items tend to be the most expensive categories and coincidentally were hit the hardest by inflation.   

In the past 12 months the cost of ground beef rose 8.6%, chicken rose 16.6%, and eggs rose 39.8%. Curiously, cereals and bread also experienced steep price increases, however, this category hasn’t seen a strong pullback in consumer spending. This may be due to bread and grains having a much lower overall cost compared to meat. Considering Russia and Ukraine collectively make up almost 30% of the global wheat export market, it’s fair to say recent geopolitical conflicts have also impacted prices for consumers.   

13. Have You Been Ordering More or Less Delivery (DoorDash, UberEats, etc.) As a Result of Food Price Increases?

More – 17%

Less – 83%

While roughly 2/3 of Americans reported food delivery was their preferred way of eating dinner, our research found that more than 80% of consumers are ordering less from services like DoorDash and UberEats. This steep decline in purchases from restaurants is common during economic downturns.   

Even with rising gas prices and increases in transportation costs, many of the “convenience fees” associated with food delivery apps tend to get passed onto consumers. It could be that consumers view these services as nonessential compared to the lower cost of preparing meals at home. Since around 70% of food delivery orders are for fast-casual meals, this shift in behavior may also indicate that households are reducing the total food quantity consumed including ‘unhealthy’ options.   

14. How Often Do You Meal Prep vs One Year Ago?

More than 70% of Americans meal prep daily or weekly. The biggest motivators for meal prep are saving time and eating healthier. However, rising food costs forcing consumers to forego high-quality ingredients could make it difficult for the vast majority to follow a healthy diet.   

Daily – 29.73%

Weekly – 40.47%

Monthly – 8.67%

Never – 21.13%

*Important to note that these answers come from a slightly higher than average earner group (15% of individuals earn $75K or more, we have 35%) so these results would likely be worse in the aggregate of the wider population

**Relevant due to the costs still being high with buying for less people

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How to Eat Healthy on a Budget (Shopping List + Recipes) Sat, 12 Nov 2022 10:05:54 +0000 You can still eat healthy meals on a budget! Use this guide to find ways to stretch your dollar when you’re on a tight budget but still want to eat clean.

The post How to Eat Healthy on a Budget (Shopping List + Recipes) appeared first on Fresh n' Lean.



Food inflation makes it harder for consumers to afford healthy options at the grocery store. This guide will help you find more affordable options and alternatives to buy so you can still eat clean without breaking the bank.  

Nutritious, quality food can be pricey, even without inflation raising the prices even more. It seems easier and less costly to go for those grab-and-go snacks, especially when they’re at a 2-for-1 price. The good news is that healthy eating on a budget can be done!  

In fact, eating healthy only costs about $1.50 more per day than unhealthy eating! 

You can save money while still buying whole foods and other good-for-you ingredients using this helpful “how to eat healthy on a budget” guide.  

Table of Contents 
Groceries Least Affected By Inflation
Example Shopping List 
Tips for Planning Meals Ahead of Time 
Create Weekly Menus
Look for Recipes That Use Common Ingredients 
Let Someone Else Cook for You
Write a Grocery List & Stick to It 
Buy Whole Foods Whenever Possible 
Generic is Your Friend 
Replace Meat with Other High-Protein Foods 
Healthy Recipes Using Common Ingredients 

Groceries Least Affected by Inflation 

This is a list of foods that haven’t been hit nearly as hard by inflation as other foods have. They are extremely healthy and can be used in all types of cheap healthy food recipes for your weekly meal prep! 

· Rice 
· Whole vegetables (specifically onions and potatoes) 
· Whole fruits (specifically strawberries, cucumbers, bananas, apples) 
· Canned fish & seafood 
· Beef roast 
· Pork chops 
· Steak 

Example Shopping List 

Learning how to eat healthy on a budget starts with learning which ingredients are the most useful. While you might have a hard time making meals using only the above, this is an example shopping list you can use to stock up on healthy, affordable ingredients.  

Seasonal groceries: 

Apricots, avocados, pineapples, strawberries, broccoli, artichokes, asparagus, mushrooms, peas 

Blackberries, blueberries, cherries, peaches, plums, watermelon, eggplant, green beans, tomatoes, summer squash, zucchini, corn 

Grapes, kiwi, pears, Brussel sprouts, parsnips, sweet potatoes, turnips, kale, cauliflower, figs, mangoes 

Oranges, grapefruit, potatoes, winter squash, carrots, onions, cabbage, apples, lemons, pears 

Buy foods when they're in season to stay in budget.

· Chickpeas 
· Tofu 
· Frozen veggies 
· Whole grain bread 
· Dried pasta 
· Pasta sauce 
· Spices 
· Flour 
· Canned fish 
· Canned chicken 
· Canned or dried beans 
· Nuts and nut butters 
· Rolled oats 
· Whole grain wraps

Stock up on pantry staples like dry pasta, rice, canned tomatoes, frozen fruits and vegetables, onions, potatoes, spices, and flours. Eggs and chicken are also great to have on hand, but they are currently being affected by market inflation, and might be hard to fit into the weekly budget.  


Some foods are grown seasonally and buying them outside of their harvest will raise their prices. Try to buy foods during their season and stock up on year-round essentials.

Tips for Planning Meals Ahead of Time 

Planning is the key to success, so to make sure you succeed in eating healthy on a budget, knowing what you’re going to eat is the first step. Meal planning for the week will give you a clear picture of what you need to buy, prep, and how much time it will take to cook.  

Create Weekly Menus

Starting on Sunday, decide what you’ll be eating for the week. Making meals in bulk comes in handy for this, especially when you consider this is planning about 21 meals total! Creating a menu that uses similar ingredients can also help.  

Scan your cabinets and fridge to see what you already have so you’re not buying ingredients you already have. Make sure none are expired or going bad! 

Meal planning websites like Eat This Much can help you figure out meals you can eat that fit into your diet, if you’re looking for some new meal ideas! There is also My Fridge Food which lets you check off ingredients you have at home, and it will give you recipes you can make from what’s already in your fridge. 


Make use of what you already have and don’t double-buy ingredients. There are websites and apps that can help you come up with meals plans using things already available in your fridge.

Browse your cabinets and fridge to see what ingredients you already have when making your weekly meal plans.

Look for Recipes That Use Common Ingredients 

Using the same ingredients for multiple recipes reduces food waste and maximizes your grocery list to its fullest potential. Though the ingredients are the same, that doesn’t mean the meals have to be!

Spices, herbs, and methods of cooking can help you create many different dishes with unique flavors. To eat healthy on a budget, sometimes you have to get creative!

Cooking Shortcuts 

Cooking in large batches is also a great idea for saving time and money. Bulk items last for days (sometimes weeks!) and can be reused in recipes like stews, salads, and soups so you won’t get bored of your week-to-week menu.

Chicken, for example, is a great healthy ingredient that works well in many dishes, can be prepared ahead of time, refrigerated or frozen, and reheated for multiple meals. 

Let Someone Else Cook for You 

Meal subscriptions are inexpensive ways to have meal prep taken care of every week! Choose a meal plan like Protein+, Mediterranean, or Vegan to meet your budget AND nutrition needs with food costing as little as little as $8.99 a meal.

Plus, you save the time and gas it would take you to go to the store and meal prep, which puts even more money back in your pocket. 

Write a Grocery List & Stick to It 

Once you have an idea of what you want to make for the week, write out a grocery list! Include everything from spices to proteins and sides to make a complete meal you’ll enjoy eating.  

It’s easy to get distracted at the grocery store and pick grab-and-go snacks or other tempting items that will set you off-budget. As a rule, never go to the grocery store hungry!

Eating healthy on a budget is made easy when you have a plan!

Also try to go as early in the morning as you can, as this is the time when stores are fully stocked, are less crowded, and you aren’t as fatigued as you would be at the end of the day, which will lead to better food shopping decisions.  

If you’re on a tight budget, ordering your groceries for delivery can also help you stay on track without taking up too much time. Seeing the total before you check out is a great reminder to stay within your budget!  


Go grocery shopping in the morning, after you’ve eaten, and stick to your shopping list to stay within your budget.

Buy Whole Foods Whenever Possible  

Less processed foods like whole grains, canned beans, and fruit are often less expensive than say, white bread, refried canned beans, and canned fruit and are easier to buy in larger quantities for less!  

Some foods are more affordable in less processed forms. For example, a block of uncut cheddar is more affordable than bagged shredded cheddar because of the cellulose coating used to make packaged cheese look fresher on the store shelves. 

Whole, unprocessed foods are healthier and oftentimes more affordable.

Buying pre-cut or frozen veggies can cut prep time in half though they can sometimes cost more, so watch out! If you have the room in your budget for them, pre-prepared veggies and fruits are just as healthy as whole-bought so long as they aren’t preserved with any sugars or oils. 

In-season fruits and vegetables will also cost less, as there is more in stock, which lessens the demand. Go for in-season produce as often as you can. 


Whole foods (unprocessed, as close to their original natural state as possible) are the healthiest options, and are often more affordable than processed foods.

Generic is Your Friend 

The trick to eating healthy meals on a budget can go beyond coupon clipping and bargain-hunting (though those help too!) Name brand items are pricier than their generic counterparts. If you compare groceries, you’ll notice the generic brand is often more affordable and has the same ingredients as the name brand.

Almost all grocery stores will carry generic versions of popular name brands which can save you a lot in the end without sacrificing quality.

Replace Meat with Other High-Protein Foods 

Meat isn’t always in the budget, and market prices can inflate the cost of chicken, turkey, and other animal proteins. Eating other protein-rich foods like legumes, eggs, canned fish, and tofu are nutritious options that will keep you as full as meat does.  

Healthy Recipes Using Common Ingredients 

1. Healthy Tuna Bake 
Calories: 195 Fat: 11g Carbs: 18g Protein: 14g 

learning how to eat healthy on a budget involves making food with ingredients you already have at home.

Ingredients: Butternut squash, onion, garlic, olive oil, canned tuna, chopped tomatoes, spinach, feta, bay leaf, chives, tomato puree, sea salt, paprika

2. Pasta Puttanesca 
Calories: 132 Fat: 12g Carbs: 6g Protein: 2g 

You can make lots of hearty meals using cheap healthy food!

Ingredients: Tomato puree, olive oil, garlic, black olives, capers, anchovies, pasta, salt & pepper, crushed red pepper

3. Strawberry Baked Oatmeal 
Calories: 196 Fat: 5g Carbs: 33g Protein: 7g 

Meal planning sorts out what to eat at home, so you can resist the temptation of eating out!

Ingredients: Strawberries, milk, banana, rolled oats, chia seeds, cinnamon, vanilla extract 

4. Sweet Potato & Cauliflower Rice Bowl 
Calories: 344 Fat: 18.1 Carbs: 39g Protein: 10.7g 

The more ingredients, the merrier! Get creative with your budget meals to make tons of new and exciting flavors.

Ingredients: Sweet potato, olive oil, orange juice, lime juice, cilantro, garlic, cauliflower, black beans, avocado, Pico de Gallo sauce, cumin, oregano, salt & pepper

5. Vegetarian Enchilada Bake 
Calories: 286 Fat: 11g Carbs: 37g Protein: 12g 

Ingredients: Zucchini, red pepper, olive oil, garlic, corn, black beans, salsa, cilantro, tortillas, cheddar, spices 

6. Baked Pork Chops 
Calories: 302 Fat: 17g Carbs: 1g Protein: 34g 

Pork is cheaper than turkey and chicken right now! Take advantage and pack on protein with some pork chops.

Ingredients: Pork chops, paprika, garlic powder, cooking spray, salt & pepper

7. Crockpot Pot Roast 
Calories: 417 Fat: 12g Carbs: 23g Protein: 52g 

Slow cookers saves you time, and can help you make a juicy, delicious pot roast.

Ingredients: Lean eye of round beef roast, white onion, carrots, baby red potatoes, Worcestershire sauce, vegetable broth, parsley, thyme, garlic & onion powder, cornstarch, salt & pepper

To learn more about how to eat healthy on a budget, check out this blog on good milk alternatives to buy when dairy prices go up, even more healthy food recipes, strategies for succeeding on a Whole30 diet (which emphasizes eating whole foods including beef!), and examples of weekly meal plans and prepping.

The post How to Eat Healthy on a Budget (Shopping List + Recipes) appeared first on Fresh n' Lean.

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13 Easy Exercises to Lose Belly Fat Fast (Science-Backed) Wed, 02 Nov 2022 20:09:20 +0000 Losing visceral fat takes more than area-focused exercises like crunches or sit-ups. To lose belly fat fast, whole-body exercises, diet, and general weight loss will all work together to get you in shape.

The post 13 Easy Exercises to Lose Belly Fat Fast (Science-Backed) appeared first on Fresh n' Lean.



Doing 100 crunches every day is not the best way to lose belly fat fast! Learn these simple exercises to help get your midsection in better shape.  

When most people say they want to get in shape, the focus is on their midsection: having a toned stomach and a six-pack is the goal. And while many people have undesirable belly fat that they want to be rid of, especially as they get older, belly fat can also pose serious health risks.  

You may think doing abdominal exercises like crunches or sit-ups every day is the best way to get in shape, but it takes a bit more than that.  

Learning how to lose weight, particularly how to lose belly fat fast, is a common health goal, but it takes focused exercise and diet in order to target that area. These 13 exercises can help you reach your fitness goals in tandem with a healthy, balanced diet.  

Table of Contents 
What Causes Belly Fat? 
Types of Fat & Their Health Risks 
The Biggest Culprits That Cause Belly Fat 
How to Lose Belly Fat Fast: Overview 
Exercises To Lose Belly Fat Fast 
Example Workout Routine (60 min)

What Causes Belly Fat? 

There are many reasons people accumulate excess belly fat. Any combination of poor diet, lack of exercise, sedentary habits, stress, and hormones can contribute to a growing waistline. The main causes of belly fat, however, are contributed to poor diet, age, and your metabolism.  

The type of fat you accumulate can affect how fast and how easily you can lose belly fat. 

Types of Fat & Their Health Risks 

There are two kinds of belly fat: subcutaneous fat, which lies just under the skin, and visceral fat, which surrounds your organs. Women tend to accumulate more subcutaneous fat, and men tend to accumulate more visceral fat. 

The two types of belly fat: visceral and subcutaneous.

Subcutaneous fat is the kind of fat you can feel when you pinch your stomach and is not usually linked to many health issues like visceral fat is. However, it tends to be more “jiggly,” which bothers many people concerned about their weight.  

Having excess visceral fat tends to cause lots of health issues. It is linked to increased insulin resistance, which means a higher risk for diabetes. It has also been found to contribute to inflammation in the body which is linked to increased risk for heart disease, metabolic issues, diabetes, and other issues like depression and psoriasis.  

The Biggest Culprits That Cause Belly Fat 

Foods with trans fats are more likely to cause belly weight gain because they cause inflammation in the body and increase risk for metabolic syndrome, and which makes it difficult to burn fat.  

Trans fats cause inflammation in the body and contribute a lot to belly weight gain.

These foods are the biggest suspects for being high in trans fats: Store-bought baked goods 

· Sugary foods  
· Alcohol 
· Shortening and margarine 
· Frozen dinners 
· Fried food 
· Ice cream 
· Cake mixes and frosting 
· Microwave popcorn 
· Processed meat 
· Nondairy creamers 
· Snack foods (chips, crackers, and cookies, etc.) 

How to Lose Belly Fat Fast: Overview 

To lose belly fat, several adjustments might need to be made depending on what is causing the excess fat. To lose either of the two types of belly fat, exercise and diet are key. The good news is, when you start to lose belly fat, visceral is usually the first to go!  

But this does mean that subcutaneous fat is harder to burn off. Focusing on a low-fat diet, getting enough sleep, reducing stress, and doing fat-burning exercises like HIIT will help with losing subcutaneous fat.  

HIIT involves short periods of exercise alternated with intense bursts of anaerobic exercise and is a great fat burning workout. However, if you’re just starting out, you can start with these easier exercises and work your way up. 


Exercises To Lose Belly Fat Fast 

Your weekly exercise routine should include both strength exercises and cardio or aerobic exercises. Weight training helps you burn more calories every day and can improve your resting metabolism while cardio and aerobic exercises specifically burn visceral fat.  

Great cardio to aid with belly fat loss are running, biking, swimming, and cycling, but there are many kinds of exercises that can get your heart pumping. When choosing what cardio to do, make sure you pick something you’ll enjoy, so that it’s not something you’ll dread every time you work out. 

Exercising for at least 1 hour 4 times a week can do wonders for your overall health, including reducing your waistline. Try these 13 exercises to help with your belly fat loss:


Planks can strengthen your core and make it easier to do other workout that help you lose belly fat fast.

Lie flat on the floor and raise yourself onto your elbows and toes. Keep your back straight and core tight while you hold this position for as long as you can (aim for at least 30 seconds).


Burpees are a HIIT exercise that makes for great cardio!

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, bending your knees to move into a squat position. Place your hands on the ground at the sides of either foot. Push your hands against the floor and hop backwards until you end up in a plank position. Then, hop forward (with your hands still on the floor) until your feet are almost under your chest. Jump explosively into the air with your arms overhead. Repeat when you land. 

Mountain Climbers 

Another core exercise that can help you lose belly fat fast.

In a plank position, draw your right knee toward your chest. Then bring your body back into a plank position. Draw your left knee towards your chest and keep alternating your legs while keeping your plank position. 

Russian Twists 

Russian twists help with obliques and work as another core-strengthening exercise.

Sit on the floor with your legs out and raised just off the floor. Then slightly bend your knees while leaning backwards. Keep your legs raised, holding your torso at a 45-degree angle and turn your torso to the right. Pause here and focus on squeezing your obliques (move your torso and not just your arms!) Turn your torso to the left and repeat, alternating these movements on each side. 

Incline Running 

Running or even walking at an incline is affective cardio.

Walk or jog on an incline (either outdoors or on a treadmill) for 20-30 minutes. Alternate between jogging and walking every 5-10 minutes.


Remember, when it comes to losing belly fat, cardio is your friend!

Run as fast as you can for 20 seconds, then either slow down or rest for 40 seconds. Repeat for 10 minutes. This can also be done indoors on a treadmill.

Toe Taps 

Lose belly fat with more complex exercises that raise your heart rate more than ordinary crunches.

Lie down flat on the floor and raise your legs in the air until they are at a 90-degree angle. Curl upwards and try to touch your feet with your hands. Raise and lower yourself, trying to get as close to touching your toes as possible.  

Heel Touches 

This is great low impact ab exercise for beginners.

Lie down with your legs flexed upright and feet flat on the floor. Keeping your feet shoulder length apart, raise your head slightly and bend sideways to the right while trying to touch your right heel. Keep your head raised and bend sideways the other way while trying to touch your other heel.

Leg Raises 

Leg raises can help tone and firm your lower belly, strengthening your core.

Lie down flat with your legs straight out and your arms at your sides. Lift your feet off the floor until your body is at a 90-degree angle. Slowly bring your legs back down and right before they touch the floor, raise them again and repeat.


Kettlebell Swing 

This is also a great glute and thigh exercise! Heavier weights require more effort and will raise your heart rate faster.

While holding a kettlebell, bend at the hips with the kettlebell hanging straight downward. Rock your body back slightly and swing the kettlebell back between your legs. While squeezing your glutes, thrust your hips forward, swinging the kettlebell forward. Swing the kettlebell back and forth, keeping your glutes and core tight.  

Reverse Crunch 

Remember that crunches themselves will not help you burn belly fat! They are only meant to help build strength and get your heart rate up.

In a sitting position with your legs out, flex your knees and place your feet flat on the floor. Lean back and support your body with your elbows, then lift both legs off the floor. Bring your knees to your head, then bring your legs down to the starting position and repeat. 

High Knees 

High knees raise your heart rate as well as help strengthen your core.

Stand with your feet hip-width apart. While standing in place, bring your right knee as close to your chest as you can. Hop to your left foot and try to do the same.  Jog in place alternating legs, trying to bring each knee as high up as you can each time.

Jump Rope 

Finish (or begin) every workout with an engaging cardio workout like jumping rope.

Focus on skipping as long as you can while keeping your knees loose and your core engaged. 

Example Workout Routine (60 minutes) 

  1. Sprint on and off for 1 mile or jog lightly at an angle for 20 minutes 
  2. 10 burpees 
  3. 90 seconds of mountain climbers 
  4. 10 reverse crunches 
  5. 50 high knees 
  6. 25 Russian twists 
  7. 1 minute plank 
  8. 20 kettlebell swings 
  9. 50 toe touches 
  10. 100 jump rope skips  

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Best Easy Vegan Mac and Cheese Recipe (Under 20 min.) Wed, 26 Oct 2022 00:19:51 +0000 How can you make a dish with “cheese” in the title VEGAN? It can be done! With cashew and nut-free recipes, you can enjoy this childhood favorite two different ways in under 20 minutes.

The post Best Easy Vegan Mac and Cheese Recipe (Under 20 min.) appeared first on Fresh n' Lean.


We don’t know about you, but mac and cheese is one of those comfort dishes that’s hard to get tired of. But when you’re eating vegan, enjoying a cheesy dish needs a little workaround. You can still make mac and cheese on a vegan diet by combining a few strategic ingredients. (And for those that are allergic to nuts, we have a nut-free “cheese” sauce option, too!) 

And it’s not just mac and cheese you could be enjoying on a vegan diet. Our NEW Vegan menu is packed with even more plant-based dishes delivered weekly are indulgent, tasty, and filling. 

While it’s easy to think that melting vegan cheese in a pot and mixing with pasta is the simplest solution…it’s not the tastiest. Vegan cheese makes a great addition to any mac and cheese recipe, but to get that creamy texture, you’ll need a few more things. Give these easy recipes a shot! 

Table of Contents 
Regular Vegan “Cheese” Sauce
Nut-Free Vegan “Cheese” Sauce
For Cashew Based Vegan Mac and Cheese
For Nut-Free Vegan Mac and Cheese



12oz of macaroni (we recommend whole wheat!) 

Optional: Vegan panko breadcrumbs 

Regular Vegan “Cheese” Sauce: 

Blended cashews help make vegan mac and cheese sauce

½ cup raw, unsalted cashews 

1 medium (~72g) carrot, peeled, steamed 

¼ cup nutritional yeast 

1 tsp salt 

1 tsp garlic powder 

½ tsp turmeric 

½ clove garlic 

½ cup nut or oat milk (or other plant-based milk of choice) 

1 Tbsp vegan butter (or other buttery vegan spread) 

Nut-Free “Cheese” Sauce: 

Miso, coconut milk, and seasoning make a delicious nut free vegan cheese for your mac and cheese.

14 oz coconut milk 

½ cup raw sunflower seeds OR 1 cup cooked white beans  

½ cup nutritional yeast 

2 Tbsp miso paste (or chickpea miso for soy-free) 

1 tsp garlic powder 

1 tsp onion powder 

½ tsp salt 

¼ tsp smoked paprika 

1 tsp Dijon mustard 


For Cashew-Based Vegan Mac and Cheese: 

  1. Heat water for macaroni pasta according to box instructions. Boil until cooked to desired firmness. Drain and set aside. 
  2. Boil water and pour over cashews until they are completely submerged and let soak for at least 5 minutes 
  3. After the cashews have soaked and are soft, drain the water and let cool 
  4. Add boiled cashews, steamed carrot, yeast, salt, garlic powder, turmeric, garlic, milk, and “butter” to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. You don’t want ANY chunks! 
  5. In a bowl, combine cooked macaroni and sauce and mix until pasta is completely coated. 
  6. (Optional) Top with panko breadcrumbs if using 
  7. Enjoy!  

For Nut-Free Vegan Mac and Cheese: 

  1. Heat water for macaroni pasta according to box instructions. Boil until cooked to desired firmness. Drain and set aside. 
  2. Blend the rest of the ingredients (minus the panko) in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.  
  3. Mix the sauce and pasta in a bowl until combined 
  4. (Optional) Top with panko breadcrumbs if using 
  5. Enjoy!  

Creamy vegan mac and cheese ready fast!


  • If your vegan mac and cheese sauce is too thick, try adding a little bit of water 
  • If your vegan mac and cheese sauce is too watery, add more cashews or a little bit of flour to the mixture (almond flour, coconut flour, regular flour…your pick!) 
  • Adding melted vegan cheese into your sauce is a fast and easy way to enhance the texture and flavor of the dish

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Healthy and Cheap Protein Sources (2022) Wed, 19 Oct 2022 22:14:10 +0000 Stay healthy on a budget with these super healthy (and cheap) protein sources!

The post Healthy and Cheap Protein Sources (2022) appeared first on Fresh n' Lean.



With food inflation on the rise, consumers are looking for more affordable protein options. We ranked the top 15 choices for the cheapest sources to help you stay within budget. 

Protein is an important part of staying healthy. It helps you feel fuller for longer, it repairs muscles and bone cells, making hormones and enzymes, and other important bodily processes. Protein is also responsible for keeping you energized! Make sure you’re getting enough protein with our Protein+ plan 

Having enough protein in your diet is necessary, but with the rising cost of groceries getting even higher, having a budget in mind is also necessary. Try these 15 cheap protein sources that won’t break the bank. 

Table of Contents 
Black Beans 
Protein Powder 
Canned Tuna 
Plain Greek Yogurt 
Canned Salmon 
Peanut Butter 
Pea Milk 
Ground Turkey 
Cottage Cheese 


Average cost: $0.17 (dried, per pound) 

Chickpeas cost less than 20¢ per pound!

Chickpeas are a great resource for those looking for cheap vegetarian protein sources! In addition to having 19.5g of protein per half cup, chickpeas are also a healthy legume that can help lower blood pressure, manage blood sugar, and improve bone and heart health.  


Average cost: $0.33 (per pound) 

Whole grain oats are full of fiber and other nutrients in addition to protein.

This powerhouse grain packs a whopping 13g of protein per 100 grams when cooked! The protein content will change, however depending on what kind you get. Your best bet for the highest protein content is from steel cut because they retain all the nutritional value of whole grain oats (which are also packed with fiber). 

Black Beans  

Average cost: $0.39 (dry, per pound) 

Black beans are a great protein source for vegan and vegetarian diets because they keep you fuller, longer.

Cooked black beans have about 8g of protein per half cup. This is one of the more filling cheap protein sources because of their high fiber and carbohydrate content.  

Protein Powder 

Average cost: $1.47 (per serving) 

A simple way to up your protein intake is with plant or whey protein powder.

A simple and easy way to add protein to any meal is to incorporate a scoop of protein powder. This supplement can offer 20-30g of protein in each serving. When shopping, plant-based or whey protein powders are usually the best choices because they offer high levels of amino acids (for whey), and fiber and antioxidants, (for plant-based), which animal sources often lack. 


Average cost: $1.88 (whole, per pound) 

Chicken breasts have been a long-standing staple for high protein diets because its lean and heart-healthy.

A single, skinless chicken breast has about 54g of protein, while a cup of dark meat has about 36g of protein. White meat chicken also tends to be lower in calories and fat. Organic chicken breast has the same amount of protein as non-organic, however, organic chicken tends to be more heart-healthy, and is less likely to make you sick.  


Average cost: $2.00 (per pound) 

Vegan and vegetarian meals often use tofu as a protein substitute for recipes that call for meat.

Depending on the brand you go for, tofu can be quite affordable. Replacing animal-based protein with plant-based ones like tofu (which is made from soybeans) can keep you healthy on meat-restricted diets. Tofu has about 10g of protein per half cup and is also a great source of iron and fiber. PLUS, there’s so much you can do with it when cooking!  

Canned Tuna 

Average cost: $2.28 (per pound) 

Canned fish is always a great choice for cheap protein, especially if you're looking for a longer shelf life.

Canned tuna (in water, not oil!) is rich in protein and various vitamins and minerals. It’s also a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Each can of tuna has about 42g of complete protein. 

Plain Greek Yogurt 

Average cost: $2.33 (per 6oz container) 

Plain Greek yogurt flavored naturally with fruit will cut back your sugar content as well as boosting your protein macros.

Unflavored, non-fat Greek yogurt has about 17g of protein in a 6oz container. Eating more Greek yogurt is a great way to lower blood pressure, help you lose weight, improve gut health, and more

Canned Salmon  

Average cost: $2.42 (pink, per 7.5oz can) 

Salmon is a fatty fish rich in Omega-3s as well as protein.

You may think that you need to buy fresh filets in order to reap the benefits of salmon, but you don’t! Plus, salmon has a longer shelf life when it’s canned. Besides having about 20g of protein, canned salmon will also nourish your body with healthy Omega-3’s, potassium, vitamin D, and antioxidants. 

Peanut Butter  

Average cost:  $2.48 (per pound) 

Natural peanut butter is better than other types because it has less sugar!

Natural peanut butter (without added sugar!) has about 7 g of protein in 2 tablespoon servings. It’s also packed with Magnesium, Phosphorus, Zinc, Niacin, and vitamin B6. It can be a bit high in calories and sodium however, so it’s important to not overindulge! 


Average cost: $3.12 (large, per dozen) 

Eggs are heart healthy and a complete protein source.

On average, one large, whole egg holds about 6g of protein, and contains all nine essential amino acids. As a complete source of protein, eggs are extremely healthy, and despite misunderstandings, can be quite good for the heart

Pea Milk 

Average cost: ~$3.42 (per 48fl oz) 

Pea milk is actually higher in protein than most nut-based milks!

Milk alternatives in general are a great source of protein, but pea milk (Yes, P-E-A, don’t get it twisted!) seems to have the most when compared to other alternatives like nut and oat milk. One cup (8oz) of Ripple milk has about 8g of protein! And if you can get over the name, the taste is quite like any other milk alternative with a light, watery texture.  

Ground Turkey  

Average cost: $3.88 (patties, per pound) 

Turkey is slightly more costly than chicken, but is still very lean and high in protein.

One patty of cooked ground turkey will have about 22g of protein, and will also be low in carbs and fat. Turkey is also rich in vitamin B6 and other vitamins and minerals. Note that 85% – 99% lean ground turkey will cost you a little more per pound, but it will have even less fat content!   


Average cost: $3.99 (organic, per pound) 

Lentils can also help lower your cholesterol!

If you buy your lentils in bulk, the higher price will be worth it. Purchasing dried lentils at $3.99 a pound is about 57¢ per cooked cup! Lentils have about 18g of protein per cooked cup, and can help lower your cholesterol, add fiber to your diet, and contribute to your daily intake of potassium, folate, iron, and more.  

Cottage Cheese 

Average cost: $4.49 (per 16oz container) 

Cottage cheese is great for those that enjoy healthy dairy in their diets.

Every 4oz of cottage cheese has about 11g of protein, and is rich in calcium and vitamin B12, which help with nerve, muscle, and heart function, bone health, and red cell formations.  

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How Much Weight Can You lose in a Month? (Nutritionist Guide) Wed, 19 Oct 2022 00:08:10 +0000 You want to lose weight in a hurry, and you’re disappointed when you don’t. Learn what to realistically expect when you start your weight loss journey!

The post How Much Weight Can You lose in a Month? (Nutritionist Guide) appeared first on Fresh n' Lean.



Losing weight takes time, consistency, and patience! Losing it too quickly can actually be a health risk! Learning to have healthy weight loss expectations can shape your weight loss journey in a positive way. 

When you’re trying to lose weight, progress can feel slow or even non-existent. Wanting to drop 10-20 pounds in a month WOULD be great, but unfortunately, it’s not ideal. And losing weight too fast is neither good for your body, nor sustainable in the long run! To keep the weight off long-term while still staying healthy, steady, consistent progress should be maintained. But how to do this?  

This blog will teach you how to determine what safe amount of weight to lose in a month is, and how you can stay on track with your weight loss journey. 

How Much Weight Can You Ideally Lose in a Month? 

While the amount of weight you can lose will really depend on the person, commonly, you should expect to lose from 1 to 2 pounds a week, or about 4-8 pounds a month.  

Someone with a higher body weight might expect to lose more weight than someone with a higher body weight, but this may not always be the case. Genetics, diet, health conditions, hormones, biological sex, and level of physical activity play into weight loss.  

Men Vs. Women 

Men typically lose weight faster than women because they have a higher metabolic rate and more lean muscle mass than body fat. This contributes to how many calories they burn, and how much fat they burn per day.  

Weight loss works differently for men and women due to muscle mass, metabolism, and fat type differences.

Lean muscle mass and a fast metabolism will burn more calories, so when they start a weight loss diet, they usually drop weight faster because their body is getting less calories than it is used to getting. Men also tend to accumulate visceral fat (in the stomach), which is easier to lose. 

Meanwhile, women tend to have high body fat percentages, most of which is subcutaneous fat (in the butt, thighs, and hips), which is harder to burn off. 

Hormones & Weight Loss 

Because hormones play a large role in weight loss, you can expect your weight to fluctuate when your hormones do. This is why it’s also no surprise a menstrual cycle can cause fluctuations in weight, as can menopause.  

Some kinds of estrogen can play a role in your weight, which is why menopausal women tend to gain weight during that time of their life. Having a higher level of testosterone, meanwhile, can help with weight loss.  

Weight Fluctuations From Day-to-Day 

Weight gain can also be affected by the amount of water and salt in your body. Drinking too much water, not enough water, or loading up on salty foods can cause the scale to tip as much as 4lbs a day.  

Eating other foods that don’t agree with you like gluten, processed snacks, fried food, or sugary treats can also cause bloating and weight gain, if even for a short amount of time.  


Losing more than 2 pounds a week is not ideal. How much you lose can vary from person to person depending on muscle mass, fat percentage, metabolism, hormones, genetics, and biological sex.

How To Lose Weight in a Healthy Way 

Healthy weight loss balances calorie intake with proper nutrition.

Burning more calories than you consume is the best and most straightforward way to lose weight. One pound is equal to about 3,500 calories, which means you would have to eat 500-1,000 calories less per day than that to lose about a pound each week.  

As a general rule, you can expect to lose more weight in a month the more you cut back on calories:  

  • 500 daily calorie deficits: 1 pound per week 
  • 1,000 daily calorie deficits: 2 pounds per week 
  • 1,500 daily calorie deficits: 3 pounds per week 
  • 2,000 daily calorie deficits: 4 pounds per week 

But it’s not just about eating less calories (though that’s a big part of it!). Healthy weight loss involves a balanced diet, exercise, and making a few lifestyle choices. Making measurable and obtainable goals for your weight loss will guarantee your success. 

Healthy Eating 

Fad diets are not the way to go. When we say you need a healthy diet to lose weight, we mean balanced eating that gives your body what it needs by replacing less-than-good-for-you food with GREAT-for-you-food. Undereating usually leads to a slower metabolism, which does not help with weight loss.   

That means getting the right amount of carbs, protein, vitamins, minerals, calories, sodium, and other nutrients the body needs. Depriving yourself of food is definitely not a safe way to lose weight.  

Having meals prepped and ready will help you cut back on convenience food and can help with proportions. A meal delivery plan will even help you save time with cooking, so you don’t have to worry about portioning or hitting macros.  

Proper Nutrition 

Eating more whole foods like vegetables, fruits, lean meats, nuts, and seeds and less processed foods is the best way to stay healthy while getting the nutrition your body needs.  

Replacing refined carbs with complex carbs in general, will help you manage your hunger better while still staying within a healthy calorie thresh hold. Complex carbs keep you fuller for longer, and take longer to digest, which means the body can use them for energy and improve your metabolism.  

Balanced nutrition will keep you full, energized, and on track for your weight loss goals.

Here’s a great list of foods high in complex carbs: 

· Whole wheat bread 
· Whole grain pasta 
· Brown rice 
· Corn 
· Peas 
· Chickpeas 
· Millet 
· Whole grain oats 
· Quinoa 
· Beans 


The American Heart Association states that adults need a minimum of 150 minutes a week of moderate cardio activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous cardio activity.  

Moderate cardio activity includes:  

  • Water aerobics 
  • Tennis 
  • A brisk walk 
  • Riding a bike 
  • Doing yard work 

Vigorous activity can include: 

  • Jogging 
  • Running 
  • Swimming laps in a pool 
  • Riding a bike on hills 
  • Playing basketball 

Lifestyle Adjustments 

Getting more sleep can help with weight loss and in turn, sleep deprivation can lead to weight gain. When you’re tired, your body generates high levels of a hormone called ghrelin (the “hunger hormone”), and suppresses the hormone leptin which usually causes overeating.  

Getting enough sleep is an important part of staying healthy.

Similarly, stress releases cortisol in the body, which controls how your body uses fat, protein, and carbs for energy. Higher levels of cortisol can give you an appetite and cause you to crave sweets and fatty foods.  

Making sure you get enough sleep and finding ways to reduce stress will have a positive impact on your weight loss every month.  


The key to healthy weight loss is getting enough exercise and sleep, eating a nutritious diet that keeps you satisfied, reducing stress, and burning more calories than you eat.

Pitfalls to Avoid When Trying To Lose Weight 

Weight loss can be challenging, if only because you are your biggest enemy. Focusing only on the scale, or the way your pants fit can make you feel like you’re not moving forward.  

Don’t get discouraged! Noticeable weight loss can take a couple of weeks or months (and remember, your weight can fluctuate from day to day!), but as long as you stay on track, you will get results. If the number on the scale isn’t moving, move on to measuring your waist with a tape measure to see more accurate results.  

Empty calories and bored snacking can up your calorie intake FAST.

Other ways you can sabotage yourself are: 

· Exercising too much or too little 
· Choosing packaged food labelled “diet” or “low fat” 
· Overestimating how many calories you burn while exercising 
· Underestimating how many calories you’re eating every day 
· NOT counting your calories or keeping track of what you eat 
· Not eating enough protein or fiber 
· Snacking when bored 
· Eating “empty calories” 
· Drinking sugary beverages 
· Not reading food labels 


If you find yourself hitting a weight loss plateau, you may be underestimating the amount of calories you’re eating, overestimating how many you are burning, or not watching what you eat. Keeping track of these things will help you move forward.

The tried-and-true way to lose weight is to watch what you eat, eat less fast food, work out frequently, do cardio, and choose fresh, whole foods. But most importantly, setting goals you know you can reach will do you good in the long run. 

Weight loss is different for everybody and finding a plan that works for you will keep you moving forward.

The post How Much Weight Can You lose in a Month? (Nutritionist Guide) appeared first on Fresh n' Lean.

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How Fresh N Lean Compares to Competitors Fri, 07 Oct 2022 21:48:35 +0000 Food quality doesn’t just mean great taste and affordability, it also means trusting the food you eat. Fresh N Lean’s food safety culture is something we live by every day.

The post How Fresh N Lean Compares to Competitors appeared first on Fresh n' Lean.



We don’t cut corners to save time and money; it never even crossed our minds. Food safety is vital and necessary to make high quality, nutritious meals you can enjoy. We’ll never compromise on that. 

Let’s be honest, not everyone has access to healthy food. Navigating a world of healthier eating seems to get more difficult as time goes on: food insecurity, lack of proper nutritional education, and ever-rising grocery prices make positive dieting choices hard to make.  

With the concerning direction that much of the food industry is already heading in, there needs to be a solution to spending hundreds on organic produce or settling for majorly unhealthy drive-thru food.  

The future of healthy eating (and the key to affordable food) lies with Ready-to-Eat meal services. But first, this industry must take a unified approach to food safety, regulation, and handling. Otherwise, there is no better alternative, and we are yet another obstacle to accessing healthier, affordable food.   

Fresh N Lean lives by our food safety culture for this reason and believes the industry of Ready-to-Eat meals can avoid being a part of the problem through dedicated and thorough industry-wide food safety practices. 

Table of Contents 
Problems with sufficient regulation (or a lack thereof) 
Health issues due to lack of regulation 
What Fresh N Lean kitchens do to avoid contamination & foodborne illness 
HACCP Programs at Nutrition Corp 
Pre-Requisite Programs that make up our HACCP plans 
Supplier Approval Programs 
Environmental Programs 
Staff Training and Certification 
Carrier Monitoring
Delivering More Than Meals
Consumer trust through a food safety culture 

Problems with sufficient regulation
(or a lack thereof) 

Ready-to-Eat (or RTE) meal companies offer fully prepared, nutritional dishes that don’t break the bank and cut down on shopping time, food prep, and cooking. However, the benefits of these meal services vanish when the safety of the food itself is unreliable.  

Regulation is a part of food safety procedures.

Most meal delivery companies are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, nor are they held to the same standards like most other food businesses are – they occupy a “regulatory gray airspace” that lacks formal guidelines.  

This presents alarming issues concerning the quality of the food, the risk of contamination and foodborne illnesses, and other things like food fraud (altering food to change its quality while presenting it as authentic). Already, we have seen several health emergencies when food safety standards were not followed properly.  

Historical evidence proves strict food regulation is necessary to keep the public healthy 

The World Health Organization (WHO) links food safety with quality nutrition and
food security, so it’s safe to say that food industry practices have a large impact on public health. 

E. coli, listeria, and salmonella outbreaks are widespread with lax regulation.

Outbreaks of E. coli and other pathogens like Salmonella and the Norovirus are a major consequence resulting from lapses in safe food and sanitation practices. Over the years, there have been many cases of widespread illness due to foodborne pathogens: 

Other cases of major foodborne illnesses have been reported by the FDA, outlining the importance of proper food handling standards. A lack of healthy industry safety practices can lead to widespread outbreaks that hurt consumer health. 


Lapses in proper food regulation have led to many cases of foodborne illness outbreaks.

Health issues due to lack of regulation 

Foodborne illness can cause anything from cramps and nausea, to death.

Each year, 1 in 6 (48 million) people in the U.S. are affected by foodborne illnesses, with 3,000 of those cases ending in death. There are 31 known pathogens that the CDC cites as primary culprits for over 250 types of foodborne diseases with the most common including Norovirus, Campylobacter infections, and Salmonella, Clostridium perfringens, and Staph poisonings.  

These foodborne diseases usually cause diarrhea, stomach cramping, fever, body aches, vomiting, and nausea. Campylobacter bacteria in particular can also lead to more serious long-term complications like paralysis, irritable bowel syndrome, and arthritis. 

The CDC has identified over 31 pathogens that cause illness related to food safety issues.

The CDC also cites more serious pathogens that may require hospitalization including Clostridium botulinum (botulism), Listeria, E. coli, and Vibrio. These are more likely to result in major health complications from miscarriages and paralysis to kidney failure and death. Truly alarming! 

Studies have found that botulism outbreaks usually happen because of improper food preparation. 

Listeria outbreaks caused by produce have been connected to poorly sanitized processing machinery and cross-contamination while E. coli outbreaks have been linked to poor kitchen sanitation and undercooking meat


1 in 6 people in the U.S. are affected by a foodborne illness, making food safety a serious public health issue. Norovirus, Campylobacter, Salmonella, Clostridium perfringens, and Staph are the most common foodborne illness culprits which usually cause nausea and digestive problems. Listeria, E. coli, and Vibrio pathogens are more likely to cause serious illness like kidney failure and death.

The best defense against the dangers of foodborne diseases is better regulation 

Self-regulation of food handling practices even in a “gray area” industry that doesn’t legally need to do so is the best line of defense against the above dangers. Fresh N Lean’s Chief Operating Officer, Steve Passmore, emphasizes the conscientious manufacturing practices performed within the company. 

Steve Passmore leads the team in food safety culture.

I would put us up against any food manufacturer in the country.” 

Steve Passmore, Chief Operating Officer

Foodborne illness is the biggest danger in the RTE industry, but Steve Passmore is confident in the prevention and food safety systems Fresh N Lean has in place. 

What Fresh N Lean kitchens do to avoid food contamination and foodborne illness 

Steve Passmore and the rest of the manufacturing team at Fresh N Lean apply several programs outlining food safety systems in their everyday work. They allow for the identification, reduction, and prevention of potential sources of contamination in our food manufacturing facility that keep the public as protected as possible against pathogenic illness.   

HACCP Programs at Nutrition Corp 

Fresh N Lean has a USDA Grant of Inspection that ensures we are always following our HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points) program, SQF (Safe Quality Foods), and Pre-Requisite programs.  

Our HACCP program includes a(n): 

These programs are all in line with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), which was put in place in 2011 to better protect public health. FSMA rules help us focus on preventing food safety issues before they can happen.  

HACCP, SQF, and Pre-Requisite programs help kitchens in accordance with FSMA food safety standards.

Fresh N Lean holds Level 2 SQF certification with the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF), which is one of the highest levels for food manufacturers and is globally recognized under the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). It holds more specific guidelines than the FDA does, furthering Fresh N Lean’s efforts in a strong food safety culture. 


Fresh N Lean follows HACCP, SQF, and Pre-Requisite programs to make sure our kitchen meets food safety practices outlined by the FSMA.  


Pre-Requisite Programs that make up our HACCP plans 

Prerequisite programs for HACCP and food safety oversee the operations in Fresh N Lean kitchens, and other food manufacturing areas to keep every part of the system running safely.  

Fresh N Lean kitchens follow dedicated HACCP plans.

These programs verify all food safety operations including supplier approval programs, environmental monitoring programs, food defense, and food sampling procedures. For Fresh N Lean, this covers things like:  

· Making sure the net weight of our meals is accurate 
· The nutritional quality of our food is verified 
· Food samples are tested for allergens, pathogens, and other forms of contamination 
· Temperature, cooling, and cold storage monitoring 
· Equipment and machinery cleaning and sanitation procedures 
· Proper waste disposal 
· Customer complaint policies 
· Corrective action and control of nonconforming materials and equipment  
· Food safety training for staff 
· Overall Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) 
· Hold & Release programs 
· Monitoring machinery changeovers 
· Product Identification, Trace, Withdrawal, and Recall Plan 
· Equipment calibration and inspection 
· Ingredient supplier assessment and approval 
· Pest control 
· Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (SSOPs) 
· Metal Detection Procedures 
· Allergen Control 
· Accurate documentation for all of the above 


Pre-Requisite programs oversee food safety operations that keep food free from hazards. These include preventing cross contamination, safe food temperature storage, cleaning procedures, supplier safety, and nutritional accuracy.

Supplier Approval Programs 

Supply Chain Preventative Controls ensure we are not given ingredients that will put our customers’ health at risk. Fresh N Lean’s program assures that only high-quality, safely sourced ingredients are used in our products.  

We only work with suppliers that undergo recognized third-party audit programs performed by trusted agencies. Fresh N Lean also has a Supply Chain Food Safety program, which includes processes such as receiving Certificates of Analysis on all supplier ingredients to ensure they are genuine and high-quality.  

Supplier Chain Prevention Controls help keep track of our ingredient's quality standards.

We always follow the rules outlined by our three supplier approval programs:  

  • SQF-Approved Supplier Program 
  • FDA Supply-Chain-Applied Control Program 
  • USDA-Approved Supplier Program 

For suppliers that do not participate in third-party audits, we rely on the information supplied by the vendor. This includes looking at their food safety and quality plans, agricultural control descriptions, ingredient testing, and monitoring of conditions to make sure everything is satisfactory.  

TraceGains software makes keeping track of vendor information easy and organized.

Fresh N Lean uses TraceGains software to manage all the above, which helps us maintain and upkeep the most recent and up-to-date 3rd party audits, Certificates of Authenticity, and updated HACCAP programs from suppliers about their products.   


Suppliers and vendor qualifications are reviewed through third-party audit agencies to verify they have Certificates of Analysis for their ingredients, Certificates of Authenticity, and their own HACCAP programs and safety practices.

Environmental Programs 

Surfaces that come into contact with our food are monitored, cleaned, and tested regularly in Fresh N Lean kitchens. Machinery, tables, utensils, and other equipment are tested immediately using EnSure Touch monitoring systems. 

Food samples are routinely tested to monitor for foodborne illness and quality.

Food samples are also taken and sent to 3rd party labs to test for pathogens before meals are shipped out. Meals awaiting testing results are held onsite until they are cleared (as part of our Hold & Release programs), which prevents things like potential Listeria outbreaks from happening.  


Testing food samples helps monitor food and verify its quality before shipment. Thorough cleaning practices and
following a Hold & Release food program help prevent foodborne pathogens from developing.

Staff Training and Certification 

Anyone that handles our food ingredients or is involved in food preparation goes through significant food safety training. Kitchen staff are required to undergo a 3-day training orientation and 4-hour annual recertification in food safety, and we have experts on staff who are SQF practitioners and trainers.  

Access to food is also strictly monitored to prevent raw materials from being altered or affected. 


Kitchen staff are trained and certified in food safety practices.

Carrier Monitoring

During shipment, the highest risk occurs because once food leaves our facility, things like improper delivery handling can jeopardize the safety of our food. Fresh N Lean does the absolute best to have a Quality Assurance program and cold chain tracking to minimize any risk factors. 

Quality ingredients from reliable sources are important with carrier monitoring plans.

This is why we vacuum-seal our meals and transport them with cold packs in refrigerated trucks. These play their parts in preventing pathogenic bacteria from growing and stopping food from spoiling.  

All our transport vehicles have temperature trackers that keep cold chain records to make sure our meals are transported in properly refrigerated environments.  


Delivery and other transport vehicles are required to keep temperature logs to ensure food is transported in safe temperature zones.

Delivering more than meals 

The best course for our industry is to seek out and put systems in place that promote the healthiest, highest-quality food. Fresh N Lean believes in organic, premium RTE food that does good across the board – routine cleaned kitchens, thoroughly inspected ingredients, and Certificates of Analysis to prove the authenticity and nutritional value of every ingredient.  

Fresh N Lean delivers meals through Waste Not OC Coalition to reduce food waste and make healthy food more accessible.

These systems are a safeguard against food fraud, foodborne pathogens, and other outcomes that negatively impact public health and safety. 

Our confidence in our food allows us to feed high-quality, nutritional food to half a million people for free. By donating about 55,000 meals annually, we also aim to contribute to ending food insecurity and further closing the gap on unobtainable healthy food. 


Fresh N Lean delivers meals through Waste Not OC Coalition to help reduce food waste and make healthy food more accessible to everyone.

Consumer trust through a food safety culture 

The impact of RTE meal services can be positive if others in the industry do their part to go above and beyond when it comes to food safety. While the FDA works to strengthen food safety for online RTE meal companies, the industry itself must individually uphold exceptional health standards first.  

Food safety culture important in the ready to eat meal business.

Fresh N Lean lives by our food safety culture. Our customers deserve to feel confident that our meals will not make them sick, and if we want to change current attitudes about healthy eating, we can’t do that if the food is not safe. 

High-quality food is not made up of organic labels and expensive price tags, but safe and nutritional ingredients that keep people happy and healthy.  

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