I'm excited to share with all of you my favorite healthy food shortcuts. I think we often have this notion that in order to make consistently healthy meals we need to have a lot of time. If there is one thing people think they don't have enough of it's time. Let's dive right in to some timesavers that can always be found in my pantry and fridge so that we can eat healthy even when Brian and I don't have a lot of time. I know you'll find them helpful, too. Not only will they help you stay healthy or become healthier, they are also cost effective.
- Box of Spinach. One of my healthy eating mantras is, "When in doubt, throw spinach on it." Why? Because if there is one thing we all could eat more of on a daily basis it's leafy greens. It was eye opening for me when an herbalist suggested I try having leafy greens for breakfast because I was suffering from chronic fatigue. Whoa! And that has been so instrumental in improving my skin, my immune system, and my overall feeling good all day long mojo. Every day I have spinach with an egg and some potato for breakfast. Beyond breakfast, because the flavor of spinach compliments a lot of foods, you can toss it into pasta sauce, sauté it and throw it on top of grilled vegetables and meats, add it to lentils or rice, mix cooked spinach with feta cheese and spread it on toast, throw a handful into a fruit smoothie and blend it. I could go on and on. It's versatile. It also is a superfood, full of vitamins and nutrients that support everything from bone and heart health to skin and nail growth.
- Box of Spring Mix. We aim daily for two giant servings of leafy greens at our house. The first one comes from spinach, and the second one comes from a salad we have each night for dinner. A box of organic spring mix is $5 at our local grocery store and usually lasts us about four nights. We get eight servings of salad, which translates to 63 cents for a salad. Not only is it cost effective, it ensures we are getting leafy greens at dinner time. We usually top it with some celery, tomatoes, avocado, and, for Brian, cucumber, and then dress it with Brian's vinaigrette. It's another vitamin powerhouse with Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, and Folate in spades.
- Bulk pack of boneless, skinless chicken thighs. I have a confession. We don't really like chicken breasts around here, but chicken thighs are a big hit and are on the menu a couple of times each week either grilled or roasted. We usually buy over three pounds at once, divide it into thirds when we get home, and freeze what we are not going to use immediately. This keeps us from running to the store multiple times during the week. As an aside, the freezer is your friend. Doing the math, let's say we have 1.25 pounds of chicken grilled, and we always make four meals at dinner: two for dinner, and two for lunch the next day. That's more than enough chicken, about five ounces, for each of us, for each meal. The chicken is an excellent source of protein, riboflavin, niacin, and Vitamin B6.
- Prepped vegetables from Trader Joe's. I find cutting up a cauliflower frustrating. I end up with a bunch of pieces of various sizes, so that means they won't all cook evenly, and white vegetable particles all over my counter and floor. That's where Trader Joe's comes to the rescue by selling lots of organic vegetables already prepped, including cauliflower, green beans, and broccoli. Healthy and time saving? Sign me up! Roasting is a great way to bring out the delicious flavor of these vegetables and it couldn't be easier. For every pound of prepped veggies, toss it with two tablespoons of olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon each of freshly ground pepper and salt. Spread on a baking sheet and roast in an oven preheated to 425 degrees for approximately 20 minutes.
- Indian Simmer Sauces. I really enjoy the complex flavors of Indian food, but usually there's a lot of time involved in layering flavors to achieve that outcome. Maya Kaimal Indian Simmer Sauces are full of flavor, most are vegetarian or vegan or gluten free or all three, and all I have to do is dice some chicken thighs, open a bag of prepped vegetables from Trader Joe's, and throw them in a pan. In 20 minutes or so I have a delicious, healthy and flavorful dinner.