I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. I don’t judge people for making them or anything, but I’m more of a believer in making a change as soon as you see the need for it, not waiting for some contrived start date. Plus, if my old gym was any indication, few people keep them. It was nuts there the first few weeks of January, then back to normal within a month.
HOWEVER, I know that lots of you are making resolutions right now, and I myself have definitely slipped into bad habits over the last few months. I’ve got to lock it down now. Every time I call the Chinese place I want to go all Becca on myself…
Here is my healthy manifesto, though:
1) Healthy doesn’t mean unsatisfying—I believe things can taste good AND be good for you.
2) This is NOT a diet, this is about making good choices most of the time. I don’t believe in diets. Diets involve deprivation, and when you tell yourself you can’t have something it just makes you want it more. They’re unsustainable and that means that eventually people revert to their old ways. Plus, they’re just not fun, and I believe in fun. (And food. I love food.)
3) Quality of food (i.e. packed with as many nutrients & as few chemicals as possible) is much more important than type, quantity, fat content, etc. And exercise is and always will be critical. Never underestimate the power of walking. Walking is amazing for body and soul.
So I’ve outlined some of my favorite healthy recipes below. This is as much for me as anyone else…for the last few months my schedule has been insane and I’ve been totally exhausted. That means I’ve been choosing convenience over everything else, eating out more often and have lacked the willpower to use portion control like I should. So now that I’ve had a week or so to decompress, I’m getting back to my good habits.
I really do believe that eating a good breakfast is one of the most important things you can do to keep your energy up, your metabolism going, and keep you from making worse choices later in the day. The breakfast recipes below are focused on things you can either make ahead of time and reheat, or smoothies (which are my favorite way to get fruit and veggies in the morning). Any kind of egg casserole dish is great because it reheats really well and you can put all sorts of veggies in there. Muffins, if made right, can be quite healthy.
Kale, Spinach, & Feta Casserole
Cheryl’s Healthy Morning Glory Muffins
Apple Almond Cinnamon Smoothie
Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Muffins
Kale, Egg, & Bacon Breakfast Casserole
All manner of frittatas—really, the sky’s the limit (a few of my faves here, here, and here)
Lunch & Dinner
I’m a big fan of leftovers. With the hours I work, there’s no way I’ll have the energy to cook when I get home, and leftovers also keep me from having to think about what I’m packing for lunch every day. The keys here are picking things that are high in fiber and protein, and wherever possible will make really good leftovers (whether for lunch at work or subsequent dinners). You’ll notice there are no salads below. For me, salad is not a meal, it’s a precursor to a meal, so you’ll have to go elsewhere for salad “recipes”.
Sides and veggies:
Parmesan Garlic Roasted Potatoes
Caramelized Shredded Brussels Sprouts
Cauliflower Leek Risotto (substitutes cauliflower for most of the rice)
Dynamite Grilled Chicken (can be pan-sauteed as well)
Kale & Walnut Pesto with Whole Wheat Pasta (can use regular pesto as well)
Easy Sesame Chicken with Veggies (use brown rice instead of jasmine for more fiber)
Black Bean, Spinach, & Chicken Quinoa Casserole
Pinterest’s Famous “Man-Pleasing” Chicken
Not great leftovers, but delicious for dinner:
Garlic & Rosemary Roasted Salmon
Desserts in a post all about eating healthy?? Heresy! Well, I think that’s silly. Like I said above, totally depriving yourself of what you want will usually lead to you going on a crazy binge, or getting too discouraged to continue. There are gobs of healthy and satisfying desserts out there, so long as portion control is there (and indulging in something richer from time to time isn’t a sin). I often adjust recipes to make them healthier because I actually like the way they taste. Substituting part or all whole wheat flour, cutting back on sugar or using a less-processed sugar—these kinds of things can really make a difference. So here are some of my favorites.
These pies (whole wheat crust, fruit, very little sugar)
Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Fresh Apple Cake or Pear Cake with Honey Glaze
Healthy Peach Crisp (can use frozen peaches in off-season)
Black Bean Brownies (gluten-free)
Healthier Deep-Dish Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie (gluten-free)
Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Mug Cake or Dark Chocolate Lava Mug Cake (because one serving is always a good idea)
Super Healthy Peanut Butter Banana “Ice Cream”
So good luck! I’m ready to knuckle down and get back to the delicious, healthy, nutritious food that makes me feel good! Let me know what your go-to healthy recipes are!
Great collection of recipes! I agree with you on the concept of “dieting.” And focusing less on the “amounts” of things in my food and more on the wholeness of the foods is also one of my goals for this year!