Hectic can be an understatement when it comes to describing a day in the life of a parent. These simple tips can save time and energy when preparing meals, according to Applebee’s.

1. Get in the habit of meal planning. Planning a weekly menu can save a huge amount of time and stress. It streamlines the whole process.

2. Don’t try to imitate the chefs on TV. We would all love to cook like those celebrity chefs, but don’t hold yourself to impossible standards. If you want to wow your family with culinary masterpieces, consider some quick and easy takeout options.


Mushrooms: Gentle on the planet, healthy on the plate

Want to start making more eco-friendly food choices in the kitchen this season? Start with mushrooms, one of the most sustainably produced agricultural products, according to researchers.

Mushrooms are having a moment — popping up across food trend lists nationwide. This year, expect to see them incorporated into more products and meals.

Full of B vitamins, copper, potassium and riboflavin — a vitamin that plays an important role in the nervous system — mushrooms are low in calories, fat-free, cholesterol-free, gluten-free and low in sodium.

They’re not only healthy, they’re also Earth-friendly: One pound of mushrooms only requires 1.8 gallons of water, 1.0 kilowatt hours of energy and generates about 0.7 pounds of CO2-equivalent emissions. In one acre of land, up to 1 million pounds of mushrooms can be produced.

For ideas to add mushrooms to your diet, head over to http://www.mushroomcouncil.com/recipes.


6 snacks for busy moms

Life is busy with kids. Here are six easy nutrient-rich snack ideas ideal for busy moms on the go, according to Midwest Cheese:

1. Fruit: Consider portable options like apples and tangerines.

2. Nuts and seeds: Try raw, unsalted nuts and seeds. Stock up on almonds, walnuts or cashews.

3. Jerky: Beef and turkey jerky are long-lasting, protein-packed options.

4. Cereal: Opt for high-fiber, low-sugar varieties for you and the kids.

5. Cheese: Cheese is a satisfying snack, and it comes in a variety of flavors.

6. Edamame: Edamame is packed with protein and perfect for travel.

Also remember to keep your water bottle by your side, so you don’t confuse hunger with thirst.


Nanjing, China, offers tea experience

Few things are as closely associated with China as tea. Its long history as an indispensable part of daily life runs like a silk thread through everything from poetry to painting to calligraphy to medicine. Travelers seeking a deep exploration of tea can try the Chinese Tea Culture Experience in Nanjing.

During this four-hour activity, you’ll see the stunning and peaceful Xuanwu Lake Park, formerly an imperial garden, before you disappear into a secret interior passageway in the Nanjing City Wall to find the hidden, speakeasy-style Lao Cui Teahouse. There, you’ll learn about the importance of tea in the Chinese culture from a tea master, who will guide you in the ways of brewing a perfect cup of tea. Finally, you’ll learn the ancient art of Chinese woodblock printing and create your own as a keepsake of the experience.

— Brandpoint