Automatic (Healthy) Eating // Tip 3

>> Wednesday, December 4, 2013

I used to sit down with cookbooks or my recipe archives and set out to make all these amazing meals each week. Even back when I worked outside the house full time, I made meal planning + cooking a huge priority. I'd go through and meticulously write out the ingredients needed, write up my list, and take lots of time each day preparing food.

But just as setting unrealistic fitness goals can be overwhelming and defeating, so too can being overly ambitious in the kitchen. Even the best plans can be super organized, easy to follow, and even frugal. If they're too labor intensive, you'll likely fail -- and what's at stake isn't your ego, it's your health.

Or at least that's how it worked for me.

// TIP 3: Create Simple, Go-To Meals


Simple meals don't need to be boring. Instead, they need to be easy + fast to prepare AND feature healthy ingredients. That being said, if you're not used to assembling meals without recipes, it can take some practice to get into a good groove.

Mastering a few key recipes can be a fantastic use of your time. Focusing on a few to start is helpful if you're learning, but can get somewhat boring. Good news: Before too long, you'll gain more confidence and independence from books + blogs and be able to make your own no-fuss meals like a pro.

A well-stocked pantry is all you need. And maybe a few ideas . . .

BREAKFAST:

Oatmeal
Smoothies
Eggs + Toast
Banana Scramble
Breakfast Burrito
Homemade Freezer Waffles

LUNCH:

Avocado Egg Salad
Tofu Avocado Salad
Couscous Salad
Hummus Melts
Apple Melt
Other Salads
5-Minute Bruschetta Toast

DINNER:

Veggie Stir-Fries
Veggie Chili
Whole Wheat Pasta + 10-Minute Tomato Sauce
Anything with frozen veggies!
Stuffed Peppers
Slow Cooker Soups + Stews
Roasted Veggies w/ Baked Tofu


What these meals have in common is that they use relatively few ingredients and rely mostly on spices and seasonings to give them flair. I love roasting vegetables as a side for dinners because most just require preheating the oven to 400 degrees F, chopping, and drizzling with olive oil (and adding salt + pepper to taste). After roasting around 30 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes or so, they should be golden.

I like to keep beans on hand for hummus and soups. I use my slow cooker every Sunday to effortlessly simmer a delicious lunch chili. A little prep ahead of time -- hard boiling -- can make work-week egg salad a breeze. And when in doubt, we cook up tofu or tempeh and toss with some frozen or fresh veggies stir-fried with soy sauce and sesame oil.

Using ingredients in their most basic form + seasoning is the way to go.

What are your go-to meals? How do you make them healthy?

(If you're catching up, check out tip #1: stock up on frozen veggies + tip #2: buy greens and actually USE them.)

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