Lately I've been making a concerted effort to make healthy meals at home.
(read about my health journey here)
I know many of us can get into a bad habit of eating out way too often, which is never a great idea for your health, let alone your monthly budget.
I've really been enjoying fresh local produce, yummy and filling salads, and easy hot meat and veggie dinners I can take to work.
Here are a few of my recent favourites.
Salads: I used to dread making and eating salads!
They always tasted the same. They never seemed filling or satisfying.
They never felt like a good, hearty meal.
I've been experimenting and here are a few tricks I've learned that are helping me to LOVE my lunchtime or supper salads.
Romaine Hearts - these crisp, dark green leafy lettuces have been my staple base for my salads. Romaine is packed with nutrients—vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and fiber!
They tend to stay crisp in my fridge for a week or two and can even replace taco shells or wraps for a change at meal times.
Bell Peppers - I never used to like peppers, but now I love the solid, tangy crunch these bright veggies add to my meal. I either dice them or I use my slicer (mandolin style, mine's from Epicure) to make thin strips (which can also be stored and used later sauteed for fajitas for stir frys!). Bell peppers are full of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory health benefits!
Tomatoes - Most summers I've tried to grow my own tomatoes. I had a decent crop this year of small cherry and romas and add a good 6-10 of these small fruits to my salads. Did you know that tomatoes have long been linked to heart health? Fresh tomatoes and tomato extracts have been shown to help lower total cholesterol!
I've also been enjoying using my slicer to add some more delicate slices of the more denser, hard veggies like carrots and radishes to my concoctions. (see photo above!)
I also have bulk bags of unsalted pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries in my freezer door and add a teaspoon or two of each to top off my lunch.
Some new toppers I've begun to incorporate are the Epicure brand nutritional yeasts—the Asian Umami or the Garlic & Onion. They contain inactive nutritional yeast offering a source of 8 essential vitamins & minerals. They have a rich almost cheesy flavour and have replaced my previous generous use of salt and pepper.
I'll also chop up an apple or add half a ripe avocado and finish off with some home made Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing (simple olive oil, balsamic vinaigrette and Epicure dry mix).
Protein at every meal is also important, so I've either been adding some chicken I've made the night before, or from a store-bought BBQ chicken, or even my own homemade meatballs!
Now, maybe this isn't the way you'd make a salad, or maybe you really want to tell me I'm doing it all wrong. But hey, it's working for me so far. I'm enthused about making and eating my lunchtime salads so back off and make your own.
No really, I encourage you to experiment and try out some new combinations for your salads. Add a fruit like a pear or mandarin oranges, add nuts or seeds like almonds or sunflower seeds.
I'd also encourage you to find out more about Epicure products. Not because I want to push selling them (yes, I do work for Epicure!), but because I am enjoying them so much! They all enhance your food in a healthy, clean-eating way. I've already had to clean out my pantry to add all my new Epicure spice blends and other products and I'm having a blast discovering new uses and flavours from all the products I have.
Happy cooking and healthy-eating!
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