Cooking at home, using quality ingredients is one of the key factors common in all the Blue Zones where longevity coupled with quality of life is the norm. Let’s use this information as inspiration and start sourcing out and stocking up on the best foods we can find. Many areas have year-round farmers markets and co-ops – organic delivery services that supply fresh produce superior to what most grocers offer and often at comparable prices. Some even offer shelf stable groceries. A google search, scan of local magazines or visit to your local health food store are great ways to source out the options.
Read on for some of my favorite ways to stick with my healthy eating intentions:
- Mix and match menus each day factoring in how to use left-overs from previous meals when possible saving cooking time. When prepping foods increase amounts to accommodate this and schedule in at least an hour or more of food prep each week.
- Flex as needed - recipes may need revising to meet dietary needs. Remember – nut /seed butter and hummus are great cheese alternatives: breads/wraps can be collard, romaine, kale, radicchio, etc. Proteins can be your choice of various meats, fish, tempeh, tofu, beans shitake mushrooms, seafood, ancient grains, nuts and seeds, etc…
- Ensure meals include a quality protein, healthy fats, whole food carbs / veggies (Lots)
- Add veggies to smoothies – greens, cucumbers, celery, avocado, carrots, beets etc…
- When possible enjoy fruit first (especially with cooked foods) or between meals.
Cook to appease your palate increasing or decreasing seasonings, and substituting ingredients as needed.
Simplicity is your motto for your breakfasts, lunches and dinners:
- When needed rely on commercial conveniences (stock your pantry and freezer). You can enhance them w/ additional vegetables, legumes, raw nuts and seeds etc. My fave easy and super-fast go to’s are: salsa, beans and greens for a salad or veggies or steamed edamame w/ sea salt and toasted sesame oil, hummus (a legume or nut/seed dip) and veggies for a snack. This proverbial dip often fills wraps or quesadillas or subs as cheese butter on a pizza. Pesto is a super staple as well, keep some on hand.
- Be sure to maximize on leftovers for quick lunches and recreated main courses.
- Fish or tofu/tempeh, pounded chicken or pork cooks up quickly with a veggie stir-fry. Quesadillas, tacos or nachos, Swiss chard, bell peppers, etc. are easy to stuff with the leftovers. Just add in additional veggies and an ancient grain if desired.
- Make up big batches of ancient grains, roasted veggies and legumes to use in stews, curries, stir-fries, salads, to fill vegetables or wraps, soup, pilafs etc....
- With the “make more for later” mode permeating…keep breakfasts simple (still healthy of course) and direct your energies to creating marvelous main courses in quantities that allow you to reuse for lunch, dinner remakes and yes, even brunch.
- Sub recipes w/ seasonal ingredients and eat MORE veggies. A power shake in the morning made with fruit and a sweetened protein powder is a good start yet you can make it better. Add in leafy greens and a whole-food, quality protein such as sprouted nuts, seeds or raw butters, non-GMO protein powder if desired and non-dairy milk.
- Eating out? Here are great ideas to eat plant-strong: Mexican – bean burritos with salsa; Indian - choose tomato based sauces instead of dairy; Italian – non cream sauces – stick with tomato sauce and order grilled veggies topped with tomato sauce or pesto, toasted nuts, etc. served over a bed of garlicky greens. At most restaurants main course salads are offered and these too can be topped with roasted or grilled veggies, animal protein or for vegans- mushrooms, beans, peppers, onions, eggplant, broccoli, spinach etc… Be sure to ask for what you want even if it’s not on the menu. I do this all the time and get fabulous meal options.
Teri’s EASY FOOD PREP
Use commercial-conveniences such as tomato or pasta or sauce, pesto or bean/veggie dips enhanced w/ chopped veggies and herbs, legumes, healthy fats (nuts and seeds etc...)
- Salsa, pesto or hummus w/ canned, or home-cooked beans over greens for a salad or as a dip w/ veggies like endive, Mary’s crackers and baby Romaine for a snack.
- Store-bought organic tomato sauce with roasted spaghetti squash, veggie spirals, black bean or rice pasta with added veggies and legumes. Not a pasta fan?
- Heat the sauce with chickpeas or lentils, add veggies and curry powder. Serve either option over a bed of spinach and you have a well-rounded meal.
- Hummus, cashew or avocado butter is great as the cheese on a pizza or wrap which can be an organic tortilla topped with pesto or tomato sauce, veggies, legumes, etc...
- Fish cooks up quickly with a veggie stir-fry as do quesadillas.
- Stir-fried or grilled veggies like mushrooms, peppers, onions, eggplant, broccoli, etc with tempeh and tofu... well-seasoned/marinated you'd be surprised how good it is. Try it!
More store-bought ideas – Choose organic tomato sauce or salsa paired with black bean or rice pasta, fresh or frozen veggies and legumes or warm the sauce with chickpeas or lentils, add veggies and seasoning like curry or jerk powder. Serve over a bed of spinach and you have a well-rounded meal in moments. Sub in any theme you like such as Italian, Mediterranean, Thai, Jamaican, Mexican, etc.
Stay on track:
Be prepared by keeping some essential basic staples on hand and chopping veggies in advance enables adherence to healthy eating objectives. . Grains and legumes are fabulous staples as they’re affordable, easily storable, travel/freeze well, are nutrient /protein/fiber dense and you can use them most any way your mind conceives as a foundational ingredient in your meals. Staying on track merely means, sticking with your intentions to eat better. Intend to master healthy home-made meals and you’re well on your way to doing just that.
For personalized lifestyle and dietary coaching / menu plans / detox programs / workshops and my favorite brands, contact me.