How do you create a routine with healthy food when you’re constantly busy and on the go? A question I get very often is “What should I even make? What should I eat? Can you give me some recipes?” And to that I say, of course! Because I, like you, love recipes and they can be the perfect inspiration and catalyst to keep me motivated to consume healthier food on a regular basis!
There are SO MANY great recipes out there!! So many healthy recipes to choose from, many of them from world class chefs dedicating their lives to making healthy food as delightful as possible. And I love being in the kitchen, creating delicious recipes, I truly do. It’s so much fun to make delicious food with REAL food ingredients, especially fresh, plant based foods. So fun. And so super nutritious.
That being said, sometimes it totally stresses me out! I see that one amazing vegan recipe I just have to try tonight, but in order to make that recipe I have to go shopping and buy things I may rarely use in any other recipe, make a gigantic mess in my tiny little kitchen, everyone is hungry and just wants to eat and I have one million other things I need to get done today… Ugh. Stress. Stress just isn’t healthy, no matter how healthy that recipe may be, is it worth it?
Constantly trying new recipes can be kind of tough for a couple of different reasons. First of all, I always think about the ingredients I may need for that recipe. Will I use them again in other recipes? Or will I use them this once and then allow them to take up space in my kitchen cupboard for the rest of the year, totally forgetting about them? This isn’t super ideal for your grocery budget or for even just minimalist kitchen reasons.
Once you have your healthy eating down to a routine, feel free to settle into it! See what works for you! Saving new recipes for nights when guests come over or on the weekends. (Everyday Health has this to say about having a healthy routine that works for you and its effect on digestion). Eating a variety of healthy foods is important of course, but don’t let it totally stress you out. One of my current favorite podcast interviews covers this. Matt Frazier from No Meat Athlete asks Sid Garza Hillman about this and he replies, “No matter how healthily you’re eating, if it’s causing you stress to do so, you’re not eating healthily.” You can find this podcast series Here!
So for me, right now in my life, this means cutting down on the number of “new” recipes I’m making each week. I need to do this in order to stay sane, keep my kitchen clean so it doesn’t totally stress me out, and honestly, stay the healthiest and feel my best!
So if you’re just getting started and you DO need some recipe inspiration to even know how to begin cooking and eating in a healthy way in the first place, by all means, create a pinterest board for your new recipes or check out a cookbook from the library and copy down a few. It’s such a smart idea. But after you’ve established some favorites, it’s okay to have what you might call staple recipes in your diet! I can pretty much guarantee you it will reduce your stress. You don’t have to impress anyone.
If you’re starting a new healthy diet that is pretty new to you, make sure that you’re getting the nutrition you need, maybe keep track for a couple of days just to double check that you’re getting the necessary vitamins and minerals your body and brain need to function optimally, and then kind of set things on autopilot, and find out what works for you and your household!
What Does Stress-Free Eating look like in our home?
I focus on meal planning and preparation in advance to make sure I have less cooking time during the week. This equals cleaner kitchen (yay!) One or two days of meal planning and prepping instead of coming up with and making a big new recipe every single night from start to finish. Lifesaving.
We eat when we’re hungry! If you’re not hungry, you certainly don’t have to make a big gigantic meal for the whole family. Have fresh organic fruits and vegetables ready to be picked up and eaten when hunger hits! Eat until you’re satisfied and then put it away! This works very well for me and my family.
We don’t have all of our mealtimes together. Because of scheduling, it’s not possible for us to eat dinner together every evening, for example. But we are fine with that, and have adjusted, and it actually works quite well for our family. Sometimes we have breakfast together, sometimes it’s lunch, and a few times a week we are able to all sit down together and we do enjoy that very much.
I find that I am my absolute hungriest at 3 or 4 o clock in the afternoon. Strange? Maybe. You know how many of us feel that afternoon crash around that time? Well for me, that’s my body telling me its ready for dinner, usually. So I might go ahead and eat my larger meal then. At first this made me feel guilty and I thought to myself, “Is this okay? This seems wrong.” But no! I feel the freedom to do that because I’m listening to when my body is hungry! I find that if I eat well at that time, I’m pretty good to go for the evening, maybe just a handful of nuts at 7pm, and then I’m done for the day and I feel great.
Get into a good system where you find a set of recipes you can make consistently for a while, using up the ingredients you have. For example, on a Sunday I’ll prepare a pot of soup to heat up throughout the first couple days of the week. Or I’ll steam some quinoa or rice and put that in a large sealed container in the fridge and add that to salads or as a side throughout the week. In my freezer I ALWAYS have smoothie packs, bags of frozen bananas, and also bags of frozen beans that I’ve already soaked and boiled so they’re perfect for throwing into just about anything.
Right now I’m making lots of curries, soups, chili, and salads, and of course at least one smoothie a day. Smoothies are super versatile, of course. There are endless combinations of fruits and greens for loading into your smoothies. I never get bored of them.
For this next week I told my husband I would make some vegan breakfast burritos on sprouted wraps and throw those in the freezer for him to heat up on his early mornings so he doesn’t wake us all up with the blender at 5am! I’ll load these bad boy burritos up with potatoes, black beans, organic chipotle salsa and some vegetarian fat free refried beans to make them all stick inside, and they’ll be ready to go! Nix the additives, preservatives, oils, and hormone laden dairy products, and you have wholesome delicious wonderfulness.
This is the first of a three week series on how I make healthy eating easy and stress free in our family. So stay tuned!
What healthy habits or practical tips do you have for yourself or your family for healthy eating when life gets busy? Let me know below!
Lastly, maybe this is totally an unprofessional way to do this, but I have an AUDIO VERSION of this blog post available! If you’d like access to that, please contact me! I can easily email it to you for you to listen to on your PC or Smartphone. (I need to upgrade this site before I’m able to directly upload audio files! eek! But this is something I will be offering in the hopefully near future!)