Each January I find myself scanning the internet for new healthy food ideas. After indulging at family gatherings and holiday parties my body is ready for all the healthy food I can get my hands on. It can be a daunting task, making your way through recipes and the recommended new “it” thing to eat. Each eating plan seems to have its idea of the best types of carbs, lean proteins and vegetables to eat. But how do you choose? Start with a few great tasting, satisfying and simple go-to recipes. Find 5 or 6 that you really like and make those each week. Having a weekly menu along with a fridge packed with ready to heat and eat meals is the best way to start a new eating plan and stick to it.
Pick a designated day each week for grocery shopping. Next, make a list. Going grocery shopping without a plan can be disastrous and very expensive. Your list should include some staple items that you will need each week. Start by choosing some lean proteins like chicken, fish, or beef. If you are vegetarian or vegan, foods such as tempeh, tofu, seitan, and beans are an excellent source of protein. Healthy carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes, rice, and lentils will provide your body with lots of fuel to keep that fire burning and keep your energy level high all day. And last but certainly not least, stock up on vegetables like leafy greens, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli. Using dried herb mixes and fresh herbed toppings such as a gremolata will add amazing flavor without adding unnecessary calories.
Prepping your food is the most important step in your new healthy eating plan. As a chef I know that having all of your menu ingredients “prepped” is key to getting a great dish out to a diner quickly. Herbed oven roasted chicken breasts in the fridge along with yummy sweet potato and carrot mash and some roasted broccoli will be a welcomed sight after a long day. It’s also helpful to split the meals up into entrée size containers. I have 8 to 10 of them in my fridge each week. It’s so convenient to be able to take one to work for lunch and have another waiting in the fridge when you get home from the gym.
Having a healthy breakfast is another way to keep your energy up all day. An egg and veggie bake is quick and easy to make and serve. Just pop a piece in the microwave or toaster oven. With breakfast waiting for you each morning means you can hit that snooze button. Maybe twice. We are always wishing there were more hours in a day. Spending 2-3 hours once a week preparing meals that will last you all week long frees up some much needed family or “me” time. Eat well!!!
Bridgette’s Favorite Healthy Eating Apps:
Fooducate: This app lets you scan the barcode of a product or type in the name (or kind of food like “banana”) to uncover its total calories, fat, sodium, and other ingredients.
MyFitnessPal: Not only does it come with a handy food diary and access to calorie counts for more than 3 million foods, but it also lets you set fitness goals.
Caveman Feast 200: The 200+ Paleo recipes included in this app will help satisfy your cravings for delicious food. It also has amazing pictures of all the dishes.
Herbed Oven Roasted Chicken Breasts
4-5 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 Tablespoons coconut oil
3 Tablespoons of your favorite salt free dried spice mix (I make my own. 1/2 cup each of parsley, minced garlic, minced onion, and chives. Then 1/4 cup of salt free lemon pepper mix. Store in an air tight container such as a mason jar)
1/2 tsp of both kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
Pre heat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a large baking sheet with non-stick spray. I use coconut oil spray. Place chicken breasts in a large bowl, top with oil, dried herb mix and salt and pepper. Mix well, making sure the seasoning is well distributed. Place chicken on baking sheet and place in over for 25- 30 minutes. Internal temperature should read 165 degrees. Let chicken cool completely before putting it into a container. Will stay fresh for 5-6 days in the fridge. An 8 ounce serving has 280 calories.
Simple Roasted Broccoli
2-3 lbs. fresh broccoli florets
2 Tablespoons coconut oil
1 Tablespoon herb mix
Salt and Pepper
Preheat oven 425 degrees. Place broccoli in large mixing bowl, add coconut oil and herb mix. Toss thoroughly. Place broccoli on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper (this will help keep broccoli from sticking). Bake for 10-12 minutes. Broccoli should be slightly browned. Salt and pepper to taste. Top with fresh gremolata. Makes 6-8 servings (other veggies work just as well such as asparagus, green beans, and Brussels sprouts) Each 1/2 cup serving is 75 calories.
Carrot and Sweet Potato Smash
3 lbs. organic sweet potatoes
2 lbs. organic baby carrots
3 Tablespoons salted butter
Salt and pepper
Place peeled and quartered sweet potatoes and baby carrots in a 5-6-quart stock pot. Fill with cold water enough to cover potatoes and carrots. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until both are fork tender, about 20-30 minutes. Drain and place mixture back into stock pot. Add butter and smash mixture with a potato masher. A large firm whisk works great as well. Salt and pepper to taste. Makes 6-8 1/2 cup servings, each serving is 120 calories.
1 dozen organic large eggs
1 medium red pepper chopped
1 medium yellow pepper chopped
3 cups fresh spinach
1/2 cup of your favorite salsa
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl add 1 dozen cracked eggs, whisk until fluffy. Add in peppers, spinach, salad and 1/2 of the cheese. Mix well. Spray a 9×13 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Add egg mixture to baking dish and top with remaining cheese. Place in oven and bake for 25-30 minutes. Makes 12 servings. Each serving is 115 calories.
1 cup fresh Italian flat leaf parsley (washed and dried)
2 cloves of garlic
Zest of one large lemon
Finely chop parsley and garlic and place in a small bowl. Add the zest of the lemon into the bowl and mix well. Sprinkle on your favorite veggies.