Of all the excuses I hear for eating healthy, time/convenience lead the pack. Yup, I totally get it.
While I don’t have children and the various activities associated with raising a family, I do work full time, teach, and run a busy private practice on the side. Oh yeah, and write this blog.
Everyone’s got their thing and sometimes making a healthy meal at 8PM after an exhausting day is #Z on the list of things we’d like to be doing. And while take-out every now and then is perfectly fine and expected, we run into problems when the occasional take-out becomes a weekly occurrence.
I personally practice and preach the idea of make-ahead cooking. Spending a few hours once a week to get your breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks organized is worth it so meals can come together in 30 minutes or less.
I usually spend a few hours on Sunday cooking grains, beans, chopping vegetables, blending sauces so that I can have dinner within 20 minutes of getting home from work. I actually enjoy this time; I catch up on hulu or netflix from the week and prep away!
Doing this also prevents dinner from being cereal, toast, or crackers.
My newest favorite make-ahead meal is salad!
I’m sure all of you could whip together an award-winning salad with your eyes closed…which is precisely my point!
Salads don’t need to be fancy. They don’t follow rules. Anything goes as long as you have some lettuce and a dressing.
This one was made by prepping ahead: sliced mushrooms, blanched broccoli, shredded carrots, sliced olives, black beans, while rice, and sliced radishes. All go into Tupperware containers or mixed into a large bowl if you will be eating this in the next day or so.
To assemble: grab a few large fistfuls of spinach, add already prepped ingredients, sprinkle on some sunflower seeds, and add a few slices of fresh tomato and avocado.
Ta-Da! Isn’t that easy? And delicious looking? And perfect? Much better than anything we could have found at the deli or fast food joint.
Let’s share & learn- what make ahead meals do you count on?
I’m back! Thanks for sticking with me as I took a little breather from our whirl-wind vacation. While we had the time of our lives, I was craving a bit more downtime from everything to rejuvenate and recharge. A week off was exactly what I needed to get back in the swing of everything.
I have so many fun things to share with you (if your interested!) from our trip abroad to fun-life changing events happening over the year! I will get to all of that in the next week or so as I begin to recreate some of my favorite foods and share stories and photos from our journey.
Today though, is all about freezer foods.
Frugal foodies, this one’s for you! If you are looking to stretch your grocery dollar and make dinner time a bit easier, consider the joy of freezing!
My guest post for Food & Nutrition Magazine discusses which foods are best to freeze and tips for preventing freezer burn & maintaining freshness.
Question of the day… what’s in your freezer right now? I’ve got lots of frozen fruit, homemade ice cream, way too many nuts and seeds for two people, a few bags of homemade sauce, and a freezer bag full of vegetable scraps for the next time I make stock.
I’ll be back tomorrow with a spin on everyone’s favorite muffin flavor… Lemon Poppy Seed Granola!
Green smoothies are a somewhat new thing for me. I’ve mentioned before that BL gave me my BlendTec for our 1st anniversary together and I was less than pleased.
Meh. I wasn’t into smoothies then and I would have much preferred a piece of jewlery or a vacation at that point. Just another example of how well he knows me… my BlendTec and I have been inseparable ever since. I prefer my Green Smoothies over most breakfasts (except avocado toasts, of course) and I recommend them to my clients as well.
Don’t you love getting a serving of vegetables in before 7AM?
The beauty of these smoothies is that you can customize them to your taste and needs. Enjoying before a workout? Choose water or juice over milk/yogurt. Post-run smoothie? Add a scoop of protein power (Vega Vanilla is my favorite). If you’re just starting out with green smoothies, start light: lettuce & spinach have a lighter flavor than kale and broccoli. If you have extra herbs in the drawer- add in! Parsley and basil taste great in green smoothies, especially paired with berries.
For a thicker smoothie, I love a frozen banana. Just peel when ripe, break in 1/2 and add to a freezer-bag. My usual combo: spinach, frozen mixed berries, 1/2 banana, 1 scoop vega, unsweetened almond milk.
What’s your favorite combo?
I’ve still got a few days to talk about Earth Day, right?
Sometimes I get it right for future post planning. Other times, not so much. Getting a round-up of appetizer favorites 2 weeks before the Superbowl? Excellent! The time I finally posted all my holiday favorites a day before Christmas… epic timing fail.
Well, here is another one to add to the list. My thoughts on Earth day and your diet, a good 5 days AFTER the holiday.
A dollar short and a day late. Or something like that.
Oh well, hopefully it’s not too late to chat about the subject because no matter what day it is, this is a pretty important topic.
I get asked about my dietary choices about 84329x per day so this is as good as a time as ever to chat about one of the biggest reasons I don’t do meat: planet earth.
Does it surprise you that our current food system is responsible for 1/3 of global greenhouse gas emissions?
I feel like this is one of those facts that we all “know”, we just don’t “know enough to change”. Or reduce. I’m not naive. While a good % of my clients are vegetarian, vegan or leaning that way- the rest are not. Not even close.
No worries, I don’t need to convert everyone to vegetarian or veganism. I don’t think that’s realistic and will lose the majority of folks on the way down. I am however a huge proponent of Meatless Monday, Tofukey Tuesday, or Vegan Before 6 campaigns. Simple ways that all of us can change our diets to help the earth, our health, and animals.
That’s really the main purpose of this blog/recipe corner. Making plant-based foods attractive, healthy and accessible. While reducing meat/cheese is one of the biggest impacts you can make to reduce your carbon footprint, it certainly isn’t the only one. In fact, our diets have just as much impact on the environment as the type of car we drive. Interested in decreasing your carbon footprint? Try one or all of the tips below:
- You bought it, you eat it.
About 25% of edible food is thrown away ever year! It’s enough to fill the Rose Bowl every single day. Planning ahead will help you reduce the amount of food you buy, so throw away less. If you find yourself with excess food, get creative! Most produce and made ahead meals can be frozen. You can throw extra produce into scrambles, stir-fry, pasta, or smoothies.
- Try to eat seasonally and regionally as often as you can.
Farmer’s Markets are a great source! If your food needs an airplane to get to you, it has a higher carbon footprint than local items. One of the biggest culprits: seafood and out of season produce. Not sure where your farmers market is located? Check out localharvest.org for a complete list of markets, CSA’s, and farm stands.
- Reduce your carbon footprint by reducing your consumption of beef and cheese.
Cows have a unique digestive system that generates methane, a greenhouse gas that’s 25% more powerful than carbon dioxide. Raising cattle also requires a significant amount of feed, water, and land. You don’t have to give up meat entirely to have an impact. If all Americans skipped meat and cheese once per week, it would be equivalent to taking 7.6 million cars off the road.
Not only are unprocessed foods better for you, they also contain less preservatives and wasteful packaging. Enjoy fruit, nuts, and seeds over processed snack mixes. Choose larger packaged options over small, individual sized servings. More bags, tags, and seals mean more waste in the landfills. A local co-op or bulk store is great for this! Bring mason jars or resuable bags and go to town on rice, quinoa, pasta, beans, and more. Not only do you save money in bulk, you also have the option to purchase only the amount you need. Perfect for trying out new recipes or tip #1!
What are your go-green tips? Let’s hear them!