071 Lesley Butler on Thats Total Mom Sense with Kanika Chadda-Gupta

071: Lesley Butler — What’s For Dinner? This Smart Oven Is Doing the Cooking

071: Lesley Butler — What’s For Dinner? This Smart Oven Is Doing the Cooking 1920 1080 Chase Jennings

Since the pandemic began, families have been opting to eat at home instead of dining out and premium delivery services have become not only ubiquitous, they’re necessary. This new food tech startup sends you premium meals with a subscription, but you get something else — your very own smart oven. It’s called Tovala. You simply scan the barcode and the oven knows exactly how much time to cook it for. What I was most fascinated about is that it can scan other bar codes like frozen foods from Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s.

On today’s episode, I interview Lesley Butler, CMO of Tovala. A proud Canadian, she holds a BComm from Queen’s University and an MBA from Harvard. She’s spent 15 years in consumer marketing, innovation, and strategy roles at Pepsico, Bain, and Kraft. Most recently at Pepsico, she co-led marketing for the Quaker brand and oversaw innovation, launching over 30 products generating $200MM in revenue. Tovala has become a dinnertime savior in her busy life with two young boys. Her favorite ingredient is basil.

Since joining Tovala in 2018, Lesley has helped drive 5x growth and deliver over 1MM meals to customers. At Tovala Lesley oversees all marketing efforts across the customer journey including new user acquisition, customer experience, brand and design.

Prior to joining Tovala, Lesley was founder of The Growth Project, a strategic marketing advisory business helping early stage food & beverage startups chart a consumer-led path to growth. Previously, Lesley spent nearly 15 years in the CPG Food & Beverage industry where she held a number of senior roles in marketing, innovation, and strategy at Pepsico, Bain & Company, and Kraft Foods. During her time at Pepsico she launched over 30 new products generating over $200MM in annual revenue.

Originally from Canada, Lesley holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and lives in Chicago with her husband and 2 young boys.

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weight gain kanika chadda gupta weight loss

Gain Weight During Lockdown? Here’s How to Regain Control

Gain Weight During Lockdown? Here’s How to Regain Control 1920 1080 Chase Jennings

weight gain kanika chadda gupta weight loss

Gain Weight on Lockdown? Here’s How to Regain Control

Over the last two months, much of the country has been in a state of self-isolation, and many of us have put on a few extra pounds. This unwelcome quarantine has led to stress, and, as we all know, stress can lead to overeating.

What Can I do?

If you’ve noticed the scale inching up as the days trudge on, remind yourself that lockdown is not going to last forever. Someday soon, you’ll be back out into the real world, and you’re going to want to look and feel your very best.

Fortunately, there are many ways to reverse the bad habits you may have picked up over the last 60 days. One of these is to adopt healthy stress-busting habits. This is especially important if you are a caregiver since, as Community Home Health Care points out, stress weighs heavily on those that care for others.

Look for new outlets, which might include blogging, exercise, or meditation. Note that none of these suggestions involve cooking or put you in a situation where you would eat as part of a social setting. When you learn to remove food as a comfort item, you won’t be tempted to ingest excess and unnecessary calories.

Next, reframe how you dine. Make a rule that food must be consumed in the kitchen or dining room, so you’ll be less likely to eat in between meals. You’ll also want to make a point to utilize the food you have in your pantry in the most healthful ways possible. A few great examples of healthy recipes you can put together without having to go to the grocery store include spinach tortellini soup and quesadillas made with untraditional ingredients, such as legumes. You also likely have a great base for soups and sandwiches as well as healthy casseroles.

Once you do begin to venture out again, prioritize nutritional foods, such as salads, fruits, and lean proteins. As far as vegetables go, you already know you’re supposed to be eating the rainbow. But if you are one of the many people who can’t stomach the earthy taste of greens, you’re going to need to put in some work retraining yourself on how to eat healthily. According to Precision Nutrition, there are three basic steps to make this happen. These are to challenge yourself to try things you don’t normally eat, pair them with something you do, and then look for ways to cushion the bitterness, which is likely your biggest turn off when it comes to things like kale and asparagus.

Finally, if you’re still having trouble mastering your food intake, it can help to hire a nutritionist. This is an individual, who may post their services on freelance job boards such as Upwork, who can work with your tastes and preferences to help you manage your caloric intake.

Diet and Exercise

Fitness buffs are happy to tell you that the only way to lose weight is to hit the gym and hit the gym hard. This is actually not the case, although exercise is crucial and can help bolster your weight-loss efforts. Even if you’re not used to working out, make a point to add at least 30 minutes of exercise to your day every day. Running, jump roping, and even activities such as kickboxing, are all great ways to lose weight, and come with the added benefit of letting you expel pent-up stress.

If you’ve gained a little weight, don’t worry. We are in the same boat. But if your ultimate goal is to waltz out of your house wearing your pre-pandemic pants, the time to take action is now. Remember, managing your weight starts with what you eat, so start in your pantry. When you reframe the way you look at food, you can make healthy and delicious meals with what you’ve got. And as quarantine comes to a close, remember to prioritize vegetables and other healthy options at the grocery store.


Guest post by Jennifer McGregor

Photo Credit: i yunami on Unsplash

Galit Laibow, Greg Fleishman, and Sarah Michelle Gellar, Foodstirs on That's Total Mom Sense with Kanika Chadda-Gupta

045: Galit Laibow, Greg Fleishman, and Sarah Michelle Gellar — Stirring the Pot with Junk-Free Sweet Treats

045: Galit Laibow, Greg Fleishman, and Sarah Michelle Gellar — Stirring the Pot with Junk-Free Sweet Treats 1024 512 Chase Jennings

045: Galit Laibow, Greg Fleishman, and Sarah Michelle Gellar — Stirring the Pot with Junk-Free Sweet Treats

Today’s episode is with the founders of Foodstirs. Foodstirs is an American cooking and lifestyle company that produces baking kits, mixes and grab and go sweet snacks for sale online, by subscription, and in select stores like Whole Foods. All products are organic, non-GMO ingredients and are intended to be “kid-friendly” to prepare.

Foodstirs Junk-Free Bakery was founded by Galit Laibow, Greg Fleishman, and Sarah Michelle Gellar in Santa Monica, California in 2014. Galit first came up with the idea and showed her baking kits to other parents (including Sarah Michelle) at her children’s school, which spurred her to become a co-founder. The two then presented the idea to Greg, which encouraged him to join as Co-founder and Co-CEO.

These three parents are determined to challenge the status quo and create better food experiences for everyone and are reinventing the multibillion dollar fresh baked goods food category. Over the years, Galit and the team have increased Foodstirs’ sales by more than 10 times and has successfully landed the brand’s USDA Organic baking mixes in more than 7,500 natural, conventional and big box retailers across the U.S. They say, “If you can’t pronounce it, we’re not making it. Because the only place for junk is in the drawer. When ingredients are awesome and steps are simple, we can create sweet experiences. Together we can all be Foodstirs.”

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How Busy Moms Can Also Keep Aging Parents Healthy and Happy

How Busy Moms Can Also Keep Aging Parents Healthy and Happy 1920 1282 Chase Jennings

Cheerful granny is treating her granddaughter with fresh baked Christmas cookies. Girl is taking one from tray with excitement

Taking care of a family is already such an immense responsibility, and when you are juggling those duties with tasks associated with caring for a senior parent, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Caregiver burnout can be a serious risk for children and grandchildren in this situation, but if you are a family caregiver who is feeling overly stressed by your responsibilities, there are some steps you can take to keep aging parents healthy and ease your feelings of stress.

Transitioning Senior Parents to Independent Living

If your parent is simply lonely and not in need of care, they may be better off moving into a local independent living community. In New York, the cost of independent senior living can range from $1,500 to $17,250 per month, and these communities can provide a smaller space and many social opportunities senior parents need to thrive. It may also help to understand that these independent living communities are very different from assisted living and nursing home facilities, in that they do not provide assistance with medical care or tasks of daily living. So, while an independent living community can be a favorable choice for well-abled seniors, it’s also important for family caregivers to be able to recognize when seniors need more care.

Incorporating Simple Exercises into Daily Care Routines

Seniors need regular exercise, like walking, to avoid falls, reduce disease, and fend off other physical ailments that can lead them to need more dedicated care from family members. If you can find time in your day, try to accompany your senior parent on daily walks to provide these health and wellness benefits. If you cannot squeeze a walk into your daily care routine, or if the weather is not favorable for outdoor activities, you can also help your loved one stay healthy with safe indoor exercises. Stretching, working out in a home gym, and following along with fitness videos can be a simple way for both busy moms and aging parents to stay in shape. And if your parent feels like getting out of the house, he/she can always burn calories by walking around a mall or museum, swimming at an indoor pool, or looking for indoor fitness classes.

Utilizing Meal & Grocery Delivery Services for Daily Meal Prep

In addition to providing your aging parents and young children with daily care, you also need to provide them with daily nutrition. That can be a major challenge for busy moms, especially when you cannot seem to find the time to even visit a grocery store, let alone prepare a healthy meal for your extended family. If you have a smartphone, however, you may be able to solve your shopping and meal prep dilemmas by using various food delivery services. For moms who still want to cook meals from scratch, local grocery delivery may be the best option for keeping seniors healthy and other family members happy. If you have a little more room in your budget, and less time in your day, family-friendly meal kits may be a more convenient choice.

Teaching Children About Responsibility By Having Them Help With Care

If you have older children, there’s no reason why they cannot contribute and help you care for your senior parent, as well as your household. For example, you can always ask your children to help with cooking, which will lighten your load and also provide a practical way to enhance their academic skills. Children who cook are learning valuable lessons in math, science, reading comprehension, and communication, in addition to gaining a skill that will better prepare them for adulthood. You can also write out a daily chore list that includes tasks that will make it easier for you to care for grandparents who live in your home, but be sure that the chores you assign to your children are appropriate for their age and abilities.

Living with senior parents when you are also trying to raise a family can come with unique challenges. If you can navigate these challenges and find ways to make your life easier, while keeping an aging parent healthy, you both can make the most of a multigenerational home.


Written by guest author, Karen Weeks

Photo by sk on Unsplash