Seeking Inspiration, Gaining a Plan
You will often hear me talk about common challenges that I hear from people trying to change their lifestyles to be a little bit healthier. One of these typical issues is that people fail to plan ahead, which leads them to making unhealthy last minute decisions. I get it... Your life is very busy! You might work a full-time job, maybe even on night shift. Maybe you have a significant other who is a little less than supportive of your decision to live healthier. Maybe you have children who only want to eat chicken nuggets and pizza and stick out their tongues at anything green. There's a possibility that you're in a pit of monotony, unable to see past hard boiled eggs for breakfast, nuts and seeds for lunch, and boiled chicken breast with steamed vegetables for dinner. Let me tell you that no matter your current situation, you are not alone. Instead of focusing on those challenges, let's turn our attention to one small step forward.
One form of planning ahead that can be a lot of fun either alone or with the ones you love and live with is revisiting (or in some casing, initially visiting) your various recipe sources. It's time to dust off that old cookbook! We eat with our eyes first, so it often does not take a lot of perusing through the recipes to find some inspiration. Just "dog ear" the ones that interest you. If you're anything like me, you have your "go-to" cookbooks and those that you've not said "hello" to in a while. Don't have any cookbooks? No problem with the internet! There are so many free websites that focus on quick and healthy meals. If you like to mainly use your phone, there are also recipe applications that you can use that can also filter for any specific diet you might be on.
Since I've had time off from my day job for the holidays, I've had even more time to look through my various cookbooks. I am excited to try a new minestrone recipe this week! Revisiting my vegetarian cookbooks, I was also surprised by all of the ingredients I was not familiar with and plan on trying something new more often (e.g. escarole, wheat berries, rattlesnake beans). My significant other sat with me as we made our grocery list based on the recipes that we wanted to try, and we will have fun cooking these new dishes together. By working together on the grocery list, we can ensure that we don't have what I call "lettuce soup" in the chill drawer of the refrigerator in two weeks. The goal is less eating out, less food waste, healthier meals, and delicious food while learning more about each other in the kitchen. As I've said from my first post, to learn a person's food preferences is to learn about them as a person- how they were raised, where all they've been, what experiences they are open to, and much more. Planning meals with your family should not only be fun but also cause a natural bonding effect, and with your significant other it can be romantic. Deciding what to eat and preparing it together is one of the oldest and most primal experiences we have left. Everyone in the household should have a say in what food is prepared, and everyone should be willing to compromise a bit. Also, I haven't forgotten that you're busy, but acknowledge that this whole process does not have to take a long time. Taking the time to plan your meals instead of winging it can keep you moving forward instead of improvising with a "whoopsie" meal or snack.
More than anything, I hope that you keep an open mind, curious taste buds, and the willingness to explore all the Earth has to offer as nutritious fuel for your body that has been so good to you. Message me to let me know what new recipe you tried!