Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Eating Healthily

One of my biggest goals with my family is to feed us healthy foods.  I know when I eat better, I feel better, and, as the female head of my home, I feel like the responsibility for most meals is mine.  I cringe when the "what's for dinner?" question comes my way and I'm not prepared:(  I'm working on getting an array of tasty, healthy meals in my cooking arsenal.

I spent a good part of the weekend researching past issues of Whole Living magazine and several cookbooks in an effort to find some NEW healthy recipes.  Whole Living featured a 3-week cleanse a few issues back, and while I'm not particularly interested in going that extreme, I wanted to try a few of the cleanse recipes because they featured food we don't normally eat, which contain loads of good-for-you ingredients.



I picked a couple recipes and came home with two bags full of groceries, mostly veggies.  


Also, since one of my favorite snacks is apples and peanut butter, I'm trying a natural peanut butter instead of my beloved low fat Jiffy.  I tasted the 365 version and it's good!  This is part of my effort at eating less processed food. (You can bet I'm not giving up my coffee and creamer though!) 


Some of my recipes called for things I'm not used to cooking with, like Tahini 


butternut squash (I went ahead and bought it already cut this time)


radishes


and these spices.


Also, since I really can't get James to eat veggies, I buy him these, which he calls JUICE, and he loves to drink. 


Some of you asked about my morning Greek yogurt (that I pair with granola when I'm not eating oatmeal), and Oikos honey is my favorite, even though I usually pour a little of the honey out so it's not too sweet.  It's got 13 grams of protein. 



The recipes I committed to trying this week are below.  I have to keep them listed on my fridge or I'll forget what I was going to make.  I might be losing my mind, or I'm the mother of a toddler, because I can't remember anything these days if I don't write it down.  Do you experience this?? 


And I just tore out the recipes from the magazine and stuck them on the fridge for easy reference this week. 


On Sunday, I made Orangette's Soba Noodles with Peanut Sauce (this wasn't from the magazine, but a recipe I've been wanting to try).

You combine thinly cut carrots, radishes, and strips of baby bok choy.  

Chopping these fresh vegetables made me feel so good.  Look how pretty they are!  I'm having to switch my mindset that our dinner must include a meat, starch and vegetable (something I grew up with).  Now, I'm realizing that dinner can be just a hearty salad or soup.  Add some bread and it feels more substantial.  


Make a peanut sauce: 

½ cup well-stirred natural peanut butter, such as Adams 100% Natural Creamy
1 ½ tsp. soy sauce
¼ tsp. pressed garlic (about 1 small clove)
½ cup fresh lime juice
½ tsp. sriracha or a similar hot sauce, or more to taste
½ tsp. chili garlic sauce or sambal oelek, or more to taste
2 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. water


Boil your noodles for 6-8 minutes, then rinse them in water. 


Add the cooked noodles to the peanut sauce.


Then combine the veggies.


I topped ours with salt and sesame seeds.  


I thought it was pretty good, but I actually like my jarred peanut sauce better- but perhaps I didn't get the sauce right, hers looked more "saucy" than mine!  My jarred peanut sauce (Bangkok Padang) was at work because I use it on my grilled chicken salads.  A lot of times for lunch at work, I take grilled chicken tenders and a bag of pre-washed lettuce and top with my peanut sauce and nuts. 


We'll see how the rest of the week goes. 
 If you have any healthy recipes, websites, or cookbooks you like, I'd love to hear. 

48 comments:

  1. I made a healthy dinner tonight from one of the blogs you pinned on Pinterest over the weekend. It was delicious! Thai Chicken Lettuce Cups with Mango Salsa, I tried so many new flavours that I don't normally like, but I really enjoyed it! Thank you. Also, I grew up with meat, vege and carb type dinners too and finding it hard to break out of that habit.

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  2. Ahhh this is literally ME yesterday! Same magazine and almost he same shopping list!

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  3. I recently started eating a paleo diet which removes pretty much any processed food from our diet. (not always the most convenient but I feel a heck of a lot better on it). I bought a Vitamix blender and have been making the most amazing smoothies, sorbets, and soups all from fresh ingredients. My son starts his day with a smoothie that includes kale, cabbage, avocado, banana, coconut milk, blueberries, and grapes. The best part is he doesn't know there is veggies in it. The Vitamix is expensive but so worth the money if you are into healthy eating!

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  4. You are so organized!! I swear I decide the day of what I feel like cooking for dinner. Matt and I were just saying we need to eat healthier. Can't wait to see how your recipes turn out. and Sterling won't touch veggies either but loves the pouches!

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  5. Wow - so crazy I am totally doing this exact transition with our family... Organic whole foods... brown rice... less processed. One book, that I would say you should take out of the library... instead of buy... is simple foods for busy families... its a little overwhelming and it doesnt have to many recipes... but it gives you ideas how to layer... different foods to get all the nutrients for a balanced meal... lots of charts... Lol... I am actually waiting for the new forks over knifes cookbook... I bought the first book and has some nifty recipes... HAve you tried Veganiaise? I am always scared to mess with Mayo... but we made the switch to veganiaise for just a healthier alternative... we got the grapeseed one... and its really good! Anyway... If you want to chat feel free to email me nydia@nydiakehnlephotography.com

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  6. great post! I make a salad every single night. My three children will not eat veggies. So, I make my own salad dressing and puree veggies in the blender in the salad dressing (okay, so they will only eat ranch) and they have no idea they are eating raw veggies. I try to change up my cheese every night (feta, blue, fresh mozzarella, etc.). I add fruit and nuts to the salad sometimes too. Thank you for more ideas for healthy eating!

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  7. I have found myself addicted to cleaneatingmag.com. I to am trying to eat healthier and have tried several dishes that were delish. It looks like from the other comments that I am in the minority and have a little one that devours veggies (for now!), so I feel pretty fortunate for that :). It is amazing how much better you feel after you eat a fresh, healthy meal! Good luck with the new dishes!

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  8. I sometimes subscribe to emeals, a meal planning subscription service. They have a new clean eating program where there is no sugar, no flour, no processed foods...read about it here on their blog:
    http://blog.emeals.com/2012/04/what-is-clean-eating-2/

    The best thing is you not only get a weekly recipe plan but also a shopping list to take with you to the grocery store. Its minimal cost and you can google search for a coupon code (Dave Ramsey advertises them on his radio show and they had a discount code with him the last time I checked.)

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  9. I love the 365 peanut butter we go through almost two jars of it every month. We try to eliminate processed foods from our diet as well. Today I blogged about a DIY natural taco seasoning recipe and an awesome Mexican dish I found on Pinterest.
    http://www.colortransformedfamily.com/2012/05/01/jump-start-on-cinco-de-mayo/

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  10. Check out weelicious.com! Great, easy recipes that are geared toward children. I love the spaghetti pie and homemade graham crackers.

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  11. I use an email service similar to one of the other commenters where they send you a weekly meal plan with a shopping list and nutritional information. The one I use is called Fresh 20 and it has been great. (btw - love your blog and really find it inspiring!)

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  12. Wow. I am so impressed. I am an apples and peanut butter girl as well so maybe I will try this new peanut butter. I am a huge fan of that yogurt as well. I eat that with berries and granola. I am inspired to try some of these, Megan. Thank you!

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  13. Look at you, mama, changing things up!

    In terms of getting James to eat his greens, I agree with the commenter above. I make tons of green smoothie and dips with my Vitamix. It was so worth the investment...

    My boys gobble up carrot, butternut squash, and sweet potatoe fries... and will drink green smoothies and eat those green dips mentioned above...

    I use a lot of almond flour in baking, so it adds tons of protein. My almond flour pancakes keep me full for hours...

    Also try other nut butters as well. We love homemade cashew butter, and the sunbutter from Trader Joe's.

    If you can find it in your area, grass fed meat is loaded with omega 3s...just like salmon!

    I also don't cook with any vegetable oils anymore, I use coconut oil and ghee...{my skin looks so smooth now!}

    I could write a whole guest post on this, so I'll just stop. It's my passion really.

    Have a lovely week and enjoy those meals.
    xoxo
    Nicolette

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  14. You're so smart for planning ahead for the week. You get to take advantage of fresh veggies and fruit...and keep health top-of-mind that way! :)

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  15. Good for you! We love 365 peanut butter. Since our daughter's migraine diagnosis we try to eat as little processed foods as possible and have switched many products to natural and organic. Have always been fortunate that my girls love fruit and veggies! We also found a fantastic lactose free yogurt at Whole Foods. Praying we can find it next fall near her college! She loves it!!

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  16. I'm so excited about all these comments and ideas using the vitamix! Thank you!! I will be checking out the references mentioned too.

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  17. I am totally going to try the soba noodles and peanut sauce! My honey loves anything asian inspired, and I love anything healthy and organic. I recently stumbled upon the hungry girl site (http://www.hungry-girl.com/chew) and she has some FABULOUS healthy substitutions so you can eat guilt free. One of my faves is her recipe for guac, substituting part of the avocado for mashed peas. You'll have to check it out!

    xo
    Becky
    http://www.cuphalffull-sf.blogspot.com/

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  18. I feel better when I eat healthy, too, although it's hard to do sometimes and definitely takes planning!

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  19. Looks very yummy and so colorful! I'm curious though, does anyone else's husband rebel when you try to make a meatless dish!!?? Even if I could change my train of thought I don't think my husband could handle it. He's all for eating "healthy" but that basically means meat and veggies and grain or something. Or soup...he loves soup.
    I also make green smoothies for breakfast (with spinach, pineapple, greek yogurt, banana, coconut) and my 18 month old daughter (and Husband!) LOVE it.

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  20. I've never heard of that magazine but I'll have to check it out - I am desperate to make a change. My kids are processed food junkies and I have no one to blame but my husband and I for buying it! We are trying to change but sometimes all I can think of is lettuce. :) I'm sure I'll find some resistance but they will thank me later, right? (..right???)

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  21. Oh you've got to check out 100daysofrealfood.com. Its dedicated to getting off if processed foods and has lots of great recipes, my favorite is the fajitas. Good luck!

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  22. you gotta let me know how that PB is...i need to give up my reduced fat jif, too :(

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  23. I agree with the gals talking about cleaneating mag. Tosca Reno also has a couple of books out and I have the Eat-Clean Diet Recharged. Excellent! My friend also just told me about a new website and I LOVE it. This gal is all about eating healthy, nourishing meals. It is www.thediva-dish.com
    I have made a couple of her recipes and they are great!

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  24. Good for you! I've been thinking along the sames lines as you- more veggies/healthier meals/etc. Thanks for sharing! I'd love to hear about the other recipes as well!

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  25. Hi Megan,

    For me, one of the best things about joining Pinterest has been finding awesome food blogs ( and finding yours too! :-)). I've been trying to eat better as well and have found some great recipes on the following blogs:

    http://www.skinnytaste.com/

    http://www.canyoustayfordinner.com/

    So far from what we've made our favorites are the Baked Potato Soup from Skinny Taste and the Vegetable Lo Mein from Can You Stay for Dinner

    I hope (if you don't already know about these, you enjoy!!)

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  26. Hi Megan! I am on the same page as you right now. Trying to make heslthier, less processed choices for our family. I am not giving up my coconut creamer though either! I have become a recent fan, and am learning a lot using Gwyneth Paltrow's cookbook "My Father's Daughter". We had the easy 9-hour roasted chicken tonight, and it was delish!

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  27. Can I just say how much I LOVE your handwriting?!

    Can't wait to see the other recipes you post! We have been trying to eat more healthy around here too!!

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  28. I made a few of these recipes from Whole Living when the issue first came back. So yummy! The butternut soup is to die for. Have fun with it:) P.S. No need to go all gung ho and do the entire cleanse - I tried it for a week and gained 6 lbs. No fun at all! That being said, the food is delicious!

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  29. Megan, you inspire me to try some new recipes! Everything sounds yummy. I am a fan of that yogurt and usually add some blueberries to it and it's the perfect snack. You are also wonderfully organized! I admire that.

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  30. Eating healthy is SUCH a challenge sometimes, but it feels so good when you can successfully pull it off.

    For me, the key is to prepare things ahead of time for the week ahead. When I get home from work, I'm either too tired to want to cook, or I need to go to the gym & don't have time to whip something up when I get back. Tonight was one of those gym days, but luckily I had some pre-prepared chicken & spinach stuffed enchiladas.

    Also, I'm in love with your handwriting! It's just gorgeous. You should make a font! (That's the nerd in me speaking).

    ofthepacific.com

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  31. Love your blog!
    We cook almost every day, and also do the shopping on Saturdays for the whole week. Jamie Oliver has some nice recipes (30 min recipes), but Nigella Lawson and Bill Granger are also great cooks, maybe you can check them out, http://www.bbc.co.uk/food

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  32. Hi Megan - one of my favorite sites is Everyday Paleo - lots of yummy recipes and no processed foods. Her southwestern frittata is great for breakfast - or dinner! :)

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  33. The recipes look good. Kudos to you for trying all of those new recipes. I get in one or two new ones a month.

    As for eating healthy, I gave up processed foods a few years back. That being said, I am always looking for ways to improve our diets. I'd suggest a few things:
    -Go organic as much as possible.
    -Pay attention to toxins (pesticides) in food and cookware and all cooking appliances. (Microwaves denature food, aluminum is linked to dementia and teflon is quite toxic to name a few and BPA is a hormone disruptor.)
    -For James, add vegetables in the dishes-for example, I make hamburgers with shredded carrots, shredded zucchini and grated yellow/green onions and meatloaf with organic beef 87/3 and put vegetables in there as well. I use all organic beef and chicken. You can make fruit smoothies and freeze them in popsicle forms and put them in the freezer. That way, when James wants ice cream on a hot day, he's having a frozen fruit smoothie. Get in the habit of offering him green smoothies or other smoothies-they are packed with nutrition and you can get a lot of things most people won't eat in there. Also, try kale chips or baked sweet potato chips instead of potato chipes. For kale chips, just chop kale into 1 inch pieces, toss in olive oil, sea salt and organic pepper and bake for 20 minutes until crispy. For sweet potato fries/chip-cut sweet potato into strips or chips then add olive oil and seasonings and bake in the oven until crispy.
    -Join a CSA-you'll get fresh vegetables/fruits to try. Go to LocalHarvest.org for information on a CSA in your area.They also have lots of classes that are fun for the family.
    -Get a bread machine. I have a Zojirushi Mini Home Bakery bread machine that makes the smaller one pound loaf. I've made all my own bread, pizza dough, hamburger buns, cinnamon rolls since 2008. I use the quick bake setting and a loaf is done in 2 hours.
    -Three books I like are: Nourishing Traditions-it will give you recipes, suggestions on cookware and talk about what nutrients you need to stay healthy. The second book is SuperFoods RX: 14 Foods That Will Change Your Life-they have some excellent recipes in there created by a chef at the Golden Door-the recipes use the super foods tha they discuss in the book. It's an older book but the nutrition super foods are pretty much the same-spinach, blueberries, etc. The third book is Never Be Sick Again-the reason I like this book is that it puts a framework or foundation around how to be healthy-it talks about nutrition, toxins, genetics, etc and the root causes of all disease.
    -And finally, do it a little at a time. I just started making my own pasta sauce (I use Giada's Simple Pasta Sauce recipe.) using organic ingredients. I cook it on the stove then blend it in my Blendtec blender. I use it in my meatloaf or to top pizza on my homemade dough. Getting a high performance blender like a Blendtec or Vitamix is crucial for good health. (I also make a great homemade ice cream in there using a family recipe so I never purchase store bought ice cream anymore.)

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  34. The recipes look good. Kudos to you for trying all of those new recipes. I get in one or two new ones a month.

    As for eating healthy, I gave up processed foods a few years back. That being said, I am always looking for ways to improve our diets. I'd suggest a few things:
    -Go organic as much as possible.
    -Pay attention to toxins (pesticides) in food and cookware and all cooking appliances. (Microwaves denature food, aluminum is linked to dementia and teflon is quite toxic to name a few and BPA is a hormone disruptor.)
    -For James, add vegetables in the dishes-for example, I make hamburgers with shredded carrots, shredded zucchini and grated yellow/green onions and meatloaf with organic beef 87/3 and put vegetables in there as well. I use all organic beef and chicken. You can make fruit smoothies and freeze them in popsicle forms and put them in the freezer. That way, when James wants ice cream on a hot day, he's having a frozen fruit smoothie. Get in the habit of offering him green smoothies or other smoothies-they are packed with nutrition and you can get a lot of things most people won't eat in there. Also, try kale chips or baked sweet potato chips instead of potato chipes. For kale chips, just chop kale into 1 inch pieces, toss in olive oil, sea salt and organic pepper and bake for 20 minutes until crispy. For sweet potato fries/chip-cut sweet potato into strips or chips then add olive oil and seasonings and bake in the oven until crispy.
    -Join a CSA-you'll get fresh vegetables/fruits to try. Go to LocalHarvest.org for information on a CSA in your area.They also have lots of classes that are fun for the family.
    -Get a bread machine. I have a Zojirushi Mini Home Bakery bread machine that makes the smaller one pound loaf. I've made all my own bread, pizza dough, hamburger buns, cinnamon rolls since 2008. I use the quick bake setting and a loaf is done in 2 hours.
    -Three books I like are: Nourishing Traditions-it will give you recipes, suggestions on cookware and talk about what nutrients you need to stay healthy. The second book is SuperFoods RX: 14 Foods That Will Change Your Life-they have some excellent recipes in there created by a chef at the Golden Door-the recipes use the super foods tha they discuss in the book. It's an older book but the nutrition super foods are pretty much the same-spinach, blueberries, etc. The third book is Never Be Sick Again-the reason I like this book is that it puts a framework or foundation around how to be healthy-it talks about nutrition, toxins, genetics, etc and the root causes of all disease.
    -And finally, do it a little at a time. I just started making my own pasta sauce (I use Giada's Simple Pasta Sauce recipe.) using organic ingredients. I cook it on the stove then blend it in my Blendtec blender. I use it in my meatloaf or to top pizza on my homemade dough. Getting a high performance blender like a Blendtec or Vitamix is crucial for good health. (I also make a great homemade ice cream in there using a family recipe so I never purchase store bought ice cream anymore.)

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  35. My two year old loves those little "squishy" things too. If he is begging for liquid spinach, I am not going to complain! Looks like you chose some great recipes here. My all time favorite family recipe is this one in case you want to try it!
    http://www.skinnymommy.com/?s=special+green+pasta

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  36. You've got to get rid of those small magnets on your fridge with a little one in the house! Kids can die (or at least have major surgery) if they swallow magnets...scary stuff! Wfaa news in dallas did a story on it. Better safe than sorry!

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  37. yummy! sounds delicious! I just posted a recipe on my blog today for a quick tilapia dinner - check it out, very easy and tasty!

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  38. Good for you for trying all of those recipes! They look delicious! I moved away from processed foods a few years back and try to make most things from scratch. It does take some time but overall, I can't seem to get over how simple most of it is.

    For James, put the vegetables in the food itself. I make hamburgers with organic lean ground beef 97/3 and add shredded carrots, shredded zucchini and diced onions; you can add veggies to meatloaf too (I use 97/3 here as well.). Get a bread machine and make your own bread. I like the Zojirushi bread machines and I have the smaller one that makes one pound loaves. I use the quick bread setting and put the ingredients in the morning and then I have bread two hours later. I use half whole wheat flour and half regular flour and the bread then has 3 grams of fiber/slice. I make pizza dough in there too (I divide the dough up once it's done and freeze some and put the rest in a ziplock bag in the refrigerator and use during the week.)You can cut the dough enough to make small individual pizzas and then James can help you add the ingredients on his own pizza. I put broccoli on mine but you could dice up zucchini for the pizza, along with onions, garlic, some fresh herbs and some cheese. I make my own sauce using Giada DiLaurenti's Simple Pasta Sauce recipe. You can also join a CSA (go to localharvest.org for ones in y our area) and you'll get a variety of fruits and vegetables that are in season and you can learn how to cook with them. In terms of health, there are three books that I like: Nourishing Traditions (follows the principles of Weston Price and tells you what nutrients are important and why you need them to be healthy,also talks about non-toxic cookware to use and has recipes), Super Foods RX-14 Foods That Will Change Your LIfe (talks about which foods pack the most nutrition but it has GREAT recipes at the back of the book created by the chef at the Golden Door using the super foods) and Never Be Sick Again which talks about how all disease has two causes (nutritional deficiency and toxicity) and six pathways (genetics, nutrition, etc.) but is a great book that lays a foundation on why it's not only important to get good nutrition (and eat organically for superior nutrition and lack of toxins) but also to help the reader understand the importance of toxins. For me, it helped create a framework for everything I was doing-using green, non-toxic cleaners was not only good for my family but was necessary for optimum health. I am sure this was more than you asked for, lol, but being healthy and eating well is important to me and my family. My son has some special needs so I have been working hard to create a diet that is not only healthy but has optimum nutrition. And finally, remember that everything takes time. Just doing one new thing here or there will get you headed in the right direction. It can be easy to get overwhelmed. I started making my own bread in 2008 and then went on to making my own pizza dough, hamburger buns, dough for cinnamon rolls (annual Christmas morning treat), etc. Just this year, I started making my own pizza sauce. A Blendtec or high performance blender is a good addition to your kitchen so you can make your own green smoothies. I make smoothies, blend sauces, make/blend soups and make my own homemade ice cream using a family recipe. Good luck. Hope this helps.

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  39. Oh, another great idea for James is to make fruit smoothies and put them into plastic popsicle forms and freeze them. Then when you want to give him a treat, he's got a frozen fruit smoothie instead of ice cream. He'll love it. Also, with a Blendtec blender, you can make applesauce for him that is delicious. I use 4 organic apples cored (ok to leave skins on just don't put the seeds in the blender), one orange and 1/4 tsp of cinnamon. You can get him involved with all of these things too.

    On localharvest.org, there will also be a section on events in your areas that are sponsored by local farms. He might enjoy those too.

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  40. I love a good peanut sauce, I make one with coconut milk and lime for chicken. My kids are also in the apple and peanut butter as a main snack, so yummy!

    Jessica
    stayathomeista.com

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  41. Dream Mom- Oh thank you so much for taking the time to leave such a detailed comment. I appreciate it so much. I actually thought of you when I bought our coconut oil at the store last week. But I'm not sure how to take it- just by itself or do you put it in a drink? How much do you think I should take- a teaspoon or tablespoon daily?? I can't believe I never thought to puree veggies for James before. I definitely need that Vitamix- I did buy the ingredients for veggie smoothies:) Thank you again for all your advice!

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  42. Anon- never thought about magnet danger. And I usually keep the fridge free and clear. Will definitely keep this in mind.

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  43. Amy- my husband would prefer meat too, but actually, he just wants me to cook anything, so he's pretty easy. He wants to eat healthier too and meat doesn't sit too well with him, so I think he's okay with meat free sometimes. We usually eat out on weekends, and he eats out at lunch a lot, so he's got lots of options.

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  44. Thanks for the handwriting love. That's one of the things I would definitely notice too:)

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  45. so...you work full-time, workout, and cook? How do you do it?! I struggle with the whole balance (especially since we moved and the house needs TLC too!) Usually something, typically working out, falls to only 30 minutes after my son goes to bed or not at all. What's your schedule like? I'd love to know!

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  46. The recipes sound very yummy. I use tahini when I make hummus, which is a very popular dip with all our "grands."
    ~CAS~

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  47. that all looks sooo good! So when can I come over and eat? ;-)

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  48. not sure if you have ever tried this but i've been enjoying powdered peanut butter lately (called PB2)...45 calories in 2 tablespoons!

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Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment, I read every one! I try to answer questions in the comment section since many readers are "no reply" and so everyone can benefit from the response- so please check back. :)

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