My Messy Mom Life

My Messy Mom Life: 8.21.19

Anybody grow up on sloppy joes only to give them up once you found out how much sugar they contained? If you follow my blog or cooking show, you know I am beyond passionate about kids eating healthy, but I also am a realist when it comes to creating recipes they actually will eat. Luckily, there are multiple ways to substitute nutrient-dense ingredients in your family’s favorite foods to make healthier versions that everyone will continue to enjoy.

For my take on this classic recipe, I eliminated the processed sugar by substituting better-for-you ingredients. I used a paleo ketchup from Primal Kitchen; you can order it at, where I have categorized tons of healthy ingredients to add to your pantry. And instead of brown sugar, I used coconut aminos, a sweet liquid made from aged coconut sap that has a low glycemic level and various health benefits, like immune support and lowering your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Used as an alternative to soy sauce (with about 65% less sodium!), it can be found at Trader Joe’s or on my site listed above. It just might make your kids beg for veggies.

The following sloppy joes recipe is formulated for your Instant Pot or pressure cooker. It also can be made in a slow cooker, which means a one-pot dump and zero mess for busy moms!

here’s what you need »

1 medium zucchini, finely chopped (I use my Ninja food chopper.)
1 yellow squash, finely chopped
2 shallots, chopped
2 cloves minced garlic
2 lb. grass-fed ground beef (It’s always worth paying more for grassfed beef. You skip the unnecessary hormones and get better health benefits.)

for the sauce »
3/4 c water
1 c paleo ketchup* (regular ketchup will work, too)
16 oz. can of organic tomato paste
1 T spicy mustard
1 T chili powder
¼ c coconut aminos
1 t salt
1 t pepper (adjust to taste)

*Paleo ketchup does not have added sugar like regular brands, so if you need some extra sweetness for your kids, add a little more coconut aminos or coconut sugar 1 T at a time.

directions »

» Sauté shallots and garlic in olive oil at the bottom of your pressure cooker or slow cooker.

» Add in ground beef and sauté until brown. There is no need to drain the beef, especially if using lean.

» In a separate bowl, combine all sauce ingredients, and pour over cooked ground beef. Close the pressure cooker and cook on medium for 30 minutes; in a slow cooker, cook on medium for 1 to 2 hours or on low for 5-plus hours. This also can be made in a deep sauté pan, simmering for 30-45 minutes, but the flavor may not be as bold.

» Serve on whole-grain buns or Brazilian cheese bread for a grain-free option. I love to serve these with Brazi Bites—the mini size is a super fun option for kids.

This will keep well in your fridge for three days. I served it plain in bowls with bread on the side for my little ones, and they gobbled it up without any questions. You also could try it over lettuce for a Whole30 and paleo-approved option! Enjoy.

Katelyn Young is a local mom of two (her #crumblycrew) who shares real moments of motherhood as it relates to fashion, food and fun! Follow her on Instagram at @_katelynyoung_ or follow her blog at