Take Back Dinnertime Week #1 and a Giveaway from Real Simple!

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It’s kind of ironic that week #1 of the Take Back Dinnertime Challenge is about getting healthy.  I have been trying to make an effort to eat better lately.  There was a time when I really focused on eating healthy and staying fit, but in the last few years, I have really struggled with my weight.  Part of the problem is my age.  The older you get, the less calories you need.  It’s obvious that I love food and it kills me that I can’t bake as often as I want.  If I eat dessert regularly, I put on weight so easily.

Another problem I have is spending a lot of time at the computer and not getting enough exercise.  Dave and I have taken walks around the neighborhood this summer when ever we can fit it in and I really love that time together.  But I need to make more of an effort to get on the tread mill when I’m not able to walk outside.

Blogging about food can be a challenge.  Sometimes I test out dessert recipes when I really don’t want to have it in my house.  That’s one of the reasons why I’ve added guest posts to my blog.  By having other people share their recipes here, it means less food for me to test out in my own kitchen.

Do you struggle with any of these issues?

Week 1:  Getting Healthy

Are you trying to eat healthier meals? Looking for good-for-you recipes that still taste great or need advice about healthy ingredients or cooking strategies? This week, we’re focusing on smart ways to make dinnertime better for you and your family, from skipping takeout pizza one night to introducing quinoa into your diet. Don’t miss the daily tips on RealSimple.com!

Real Simple editor Kristin van Ogtrop has a dilemma—she wants her family to eat less meat. Watch Food Director Allie Lewis Clapp’s tips and solutions, from tasty recipe ideas to vegetarian sources of protein.

Join our live Q & A

Need help cooking healthy meals? Confused about good-for-you ingredients or looking for tasty but healthy recipes? Join the live Q&A session on Thursday, August 25 from 3-4 p.m. with Food Director Allie Lewis Clapp to ask your questions and get expert answers instantly.

Visit the Take Back Dinnertime Blog Channel for daily updates!

Have you registered for the Take Back Dinnertime Challenge? Click on the button below and get started!

RealSimple.com will be giving away some great items during each week of the Take Back Dinnertime Challenge.  This week, they’re giving away 5 copies of Real Simple Dinner Tonight:  Done! to 5 of my readers!

If you’d like to enter, here’s what you need to do!


Mandatory Entry:  Tell me what you do to stay fit or tell me what you struggle with when it comes to eating or exercising.   Be sure to comment below.  Don’t forget to include your email address in the designated email box in your comment.

Optional Entries (eligible after completing the mandatory entry above) You can do any or all of the following entries below for one extra entry each. The only thing you can do every day is tweet the giveaway! Please leave a separate comment (below) for each that you have done.

2. Follow Real Simple on Facebook.

3.  Follow Real Simple on Twitter.   @Real_Simple

4.  Stumble this giveaway using the SU button at the top of the post.

5.  Follow me on Google Friend Connect.

6.  Subscribe to my blog via email and never miss a post!  (You’ll find it at the top of my sidebar.)

7.  Follow me on Twitter.   @JaneDoiron

8.  Tweet this giveaway using the button at the top of the post. (You can tweet once a day!)

9.  Become a fan of Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms on Facebook.

10.  Mention this giveaway on Facebook using the button at the top of the post.

11.  Follow me on Networked Blogs.

12.  Write a post about this giveaway on your blog. (Leave a link to your post.)

This giveaway will end on Friday, August 26th at 5:00 pm EST. It is open to the U.S. and Canada only.  The winner will be chosen by random.org and will be contacted by email. Please respond within 48 hours or a new winner will be chosen. To be fair to everyone, the comments not meeting the requirements will be deleted. Good luck!

*I received a free cookbook from Real Simple.  The comments in this post are 100% my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

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  1. 1


    My biggest challenge is I tend to eat too much! If I really like something, and there is more, I go for seconds. The willpower just isn’t there, especially lately – it’s been worse. I am trying to get it under control.

  2. 6

    Cassie McBride says

    I would LOVE to have this book. I have two young boys as well who are VERY picky eaters. I would love more ways to get them to eat better or maybe “sneak” nutrition into their meals :-)

  3. 20

    Stacey says

    Unhealthy snacking is my biggest downfall. I always have to bring granola bars, pretzels, etc. to work or else I will spend my money on unhealthy foods like fries and cookies!

  4. 28

    jennifer says

    Working full time, I can’t wait to get home and take a walk with my toddler and dog. We usually eat something like an omelette or soup, then I put the baby to bed so I can quickly do laundry, clean up,pay bills greet my husband when he gets home at around 10pm and go to sleep.It would be nice to have more time to preplan meals.

  5. 47


    I am horrible about being on and off the wagon of diet and excercising. I figure it is better to try and fail than not try at all, but I have a lot of work to do. I can usually keep the 20 lbs. lost for half the year before it creeps back on but I would love to keep it off for good.

  6. 52

    Rhonda says

    I don;t eat regular meals, just when I get hungry, which is not good for a diabetic to start with. Some days my first bite of food may be at 8pm or later. Then seems like I want to eat more later. Other times i won’t hardly eat at all.

  7. 53


    I need to have more willpower and learn not have that second helping no matter how good the food taste. It’s that second helping that gets me in trouble. No matter how hard I try, I somehow give in to it.

  8. 55


    I bribe myself to get to the gym each week…if I get there four or five times in a week, I buy myself a small non-food treat, like a magazine.

  9. 56


    My biggest challenge is time. Well, more accurately, it’s planning that’s out to lunch (no pun intended). Plain & simple: I don’t keep the meal preps and exercise in my daily routines.

    Oh, I have all the systems in the world. At least one of them should work… right? Then, others’ priorities seem to crowd out my plans, and I keep thinking, “I’ll get to that… later.” However, “later” doesn’t fit into my day. Even last night, I woke up and remembered something important, and actually got out of bed to complete the task.

    I’m in the middle of a complete time overhaul, to get back on track and keep “serendipity” time in my schedule so I can roll with the sudden demands, intrusions, and others’ emergencies.

    However, since you’re asking me about this, this morning: The current struggle is with time management and maintaining a schedule that includes my top priorities, including exercise and meal preps.

  10. 58

    mary coleman says

    The only thing I do to stay fit right now is walk my dogs….I have a strong craving for carbs that I would love to know how to get a hold on. Would love to win your book. Thanks so much.

  11. 64

    Jill J says

    The thing I struggle with right now is finding/making the time to workout. I enjoy it and feel much better when I do, but working full time and going to school while raising two kids and a husband make it difficult right now.

  12. 74

    Kristin Clever says

    I have a hard time getting my family to try new things, I work full time and have a 2 year old daughter. I try to stay active by walking around the zoo (we have a year pass), it’s fun for my daughter and gets me some exercise, I also dance around the living room with fun music on–who said exercise had to be hard?

  13. 75

    Holly says

    I tend to cook healthymeals for my family, but I find it difficult to make or find time for exercise during the week. After working all day, homework, school/sporting events, church activities, etc., MY excercise time is gone (as well as my energy level!)

  14. 76

    Brynn Dexter says

    My husband and I try to keep most of our meals smaller and under 300 calories and try to find time to work out throughout the day. We keep healthy snacks in the house and lots of fresh fruit and vegetables so there isn’t temptations all around. It is hard sometimes and we obviously aren’t always perfect and fall victim to take out or soda and cookies and all those things we love but after implementing this program in our lives we have more energy, have lost weight and feel better about ourselves and are happier.

  15. 84


    My biggest struggle is ‘snacking’ and over eating. I also struggle with getting exercise! I HATE it!!! Or rather, I hate getting started!!!

  16. 117

    Angie B. says

    I struggle with the fact that when I get home from work around 1 o’clock in the afternoon I want to snack or whatever is in the fridge, which is a bad habit I can’t seem to stop.

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