I am wrapping up a 3 month kitchen remodel that has forced me to scale back my cooking and I want to share what I have learned.
I was lucky enough to grow up with a mom who had the time to cook our meals from scratch. I didn’t even know things processed foods like boxed mashed potatoes existed until I was an adult! In college I continued cooking my own healthy food and had a full set of kitchen supplies. This remodel was the first time in my life I was without a kitchen for an extended period of time.
I realize that many of my patients had a different experience with food. Some were raised on processed foods and other just never learned how to cook meals from scratch. In our fast paced world it is a challenge to make the time to nourish our bodies. Small steps are important so I wanted to share my meals and short cuts from the past 3 months.
No cooking required:
I relied heavily on salads. I find it easiest to use a large container and pack my lunch salad the night before. When I have a kitchen I like to cook up vegetables and squash to use as toppings. This time I opted to buy broccoli sprouts, a variety of seeds and rotisserie chicken to use as my toppings. So these meals didn’t require any cooking. I used my favorite salad dressing that I make a home which is ½ balsamic vinegar ½ olive oil and a few TBS of dijon mustard.
I enjoy the soups made by Imagine brand. They come in larger containers and are dairy free. I would pour the soups in to single serving containers, add some frozen vegetables and stick it in the fridge. Then I would heat my lunch up at work. So quick and easy!
Utilize the premade food section at the co-op/whole foods. I love the dairy free chicken salad from my local co-op (Lakewinds). It’s more expensive to buy premade food but when you are in a pinch it’s worth it. I like to put the chicken salad in lettuce and roll it up for a tasty wrap.
I have a nutribullet blender and find that it’s the easiest way to make a quick smoothie breakfast. I can toss all my ingredients in, screw on the lid and let it blend while I get dressed. I get 2-3 servings of veggies out of this morning smoothie by adding spinach. My ‘recipe’ for smoothies is to start with a base of frozen avocado and ice then add unsweetened coconut milk, ground flax seeds, chocolate protein powder, cocoa powder and packed spinach to fill the container.
Some minimal cooking required:
‘One pot meals’ have been a favorite of mine long before I lost my kitchen. I discovered that one pot meals are even easier using my pressure cooker on the ‘brown’ setting. I add a ground meat and once it’s cooked I added frozen veggie mixes. I know what you might think, are frozen veggies actually good for you? Yes! Vegetables are often flash frozen and when you live in Minnesota they can be more ‘fresh’ than fresh produce! I like the stir fry veggie mix at the store and then add a premade sauce. In picking a sauce I look for clean oils and low sugar content.
I love dinner for breakfast and with just a small hot plate and a skillet I often made sautéed asparagus and scrambled eggs for dinner. Yum!
Full disclosure I also used my old kitchen to prepare a lot of meals ahead of time and freeze them before the remodel started. We have ended up eating out at restaurants more often than I intended but hey, it's hard living through a remodel!
I hope this offers some inspiration for quick and easy ways to eat a whole foods diet.