Tag Archives: Cooking

Day 12 – All We are Saying, is Give Peas (and Kale) a Chance

Day 12’s tip of  31 Days of Healthy Ways to Enjoy the Holidays More is to make vegetables the star of your plate.  Keep holiday weight gain at bay and keep your immune system strong by fueling your body with plant foods.

Not only does eating lots of vegetables fill you up for few calories but they also keep your digestive system moving when it could otherwise get bogged down by all the goodies that find their way inside during the holidays.  You should plan to fill at least half your plate with vegetables.

We all know we should be doing this so why is it so hard sometimes?  Probably because of how much prep work that comes with eating vegetables. No one wants to come home from a long day at work and wash, chop and cook vegetables.  It’s so much easier just to slap a sandwich together or boil some pasta, right?  Here’s how to make veggies easier:

1.  When you come home from the grocery store, spend an hour washing, peeling and chopping all your veggies.  Put the prepared vegetables in storage containers in the fridge and you’ll be ready to cook when dinner rolls around.

2. Buy pre-washed salad greens, like the one’s by Olivia’s Organics.  No prep needed!

3.  Stock up on bags of frozen veggies.  Great to throw in to quick stir fries or soups.

The other reason we skimp on veggies when we’re busy is a lack of knowing how to prepare them so they don’t taste like cardboard.  Here are a few tasty & simple ways to prepare them:

1.  Salad bar time.  Stock up on pomegranates, pumpkin seeds, roasted chestnuts, olives, dried cranberries, avocado, sun dried tomatoes, sunflower seeds and other healthy goodies to top your salad with in a pinch.  Combine one or two of those things with the veggies you’ve pre washed and chopped, a little olive oil and lemon juice or vinegar and you have an awesome salad.

2.  Roast seasonal produce at 400 degrees with a drizzle of olive oil and a little sea salt until soft and lightly browned.  Try any combination of:  Brussels sprouts, beets, turnip, acorn squash, butternut squash, onions, garlic, carrots, parsnips, celery root, potatoes and sweet potatoes. Amazing.  I dare you not to like roasted veggies.  It’s vegetable candy for your mouth.

3. Steam cruciferous green bad boys like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, bok choy and spinach and drizzle with a little tamari and lemon juice.  Or top with a dollop of your favorite hummus.  Or chipotle spiked greek yogurt.

4.  Stir fry mushrooms, peas, scallions and cabbage in a little unrefined organic coconut oil.   Add some fresh ginger, garlic and a chili paste if you can handle the heat.  Add some coconut milk if you dig it. Done.

5. Leftover veggies from any one of these ideas?  Add chicken broth, maybe a can of organic diced tomatoes, some spices and protein and you’re good to go.

Serve any of these vegetable stars with the protein of your choice and maybe some whole grains like quinoa, brown rice or millet. Yum and done.   And you’ll probably have enough leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

Veggies don’t have to be hard if you’re willing to be creative and set aside a little time once a week to tackle them.  What are your favorite ways to eat your veggies?

Roasted vegetables don't taste healthy.

Roasted vegetables don’t taste healthy.

Day 6 – Cook Healthy Once A Week

Cook several meals at once each week.

Image courtesy of graur razvan ionut / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Day 6’s tip for my 31 Days of Healthy Ways to Enjoy the Holidays More is to spend some time each week cooking healthy meals that you can serve your family all week.

Daily commitments are at their peak during the holidays, in addition to being chauffeur for basketball practice, fundraiser organizer for the PTO, and managing the demands of your full time job, you’re also expected get holiday shopping done, attend cookie swaps, and sell your soul to the devil santa.  How does food fit into this picture?

Well if you’re not prepared, “food” can look like empty fast food containers, candy bars and frozen dinners during these busy times.  Yuck.  Hardly the stuff that’s going to give your body and mind the support you need right now. Don’t let fast food become your fuel source.

Set aside a few hours a week to prepare a few healthy simple meals that you can pull out on your craziest days and at least know that you’re putting good stuff in your body.   Prepare meals you already know well and are easy to make or seek out a few recipes that are mostly assembly (like this raw massaged kale salad) or can be made in the crock pot like this amazing New Mexican Stew with Turkey & Chiles. Yum!

Pop them in the fridge and sit back and relax for a few minutes before the week gets going!
Need some more inspiration?  Here are a few other ideas for you:

Chickpea Bajane
Baked Eggplant Parm Boats with Sausage
Indian Spiced Fire Roasted Tomato and Chickpea Soup
Chicken Stew

I’ve tried all the recipes on this page so I can vouch that they’re all delicious. The soups all freeze very well, as does the filling for the Eggplant boats.  Keep some bags of frozen veggies or salad greens on hand to serve with these meals and you’ll be well on your way to a healthy, more relaxed December.  You’ve got this!