Healthy McHealthersons are always telling you to “listen to your body”, it will tell you what it needs. Good advice! But what about those days (weeks?) when your body is like “no! Listen to me! A bag of Milanos and a whole pizza is a perfectly reasonable dinner! And then feel free to mindlessly chow a whole bag of Sriracha flavored potato chips, and then you should probably eat an ice cream sandwich just to balance that out. I am YOUR BODY! You will listen to me!!”
This happens to me easily once a month. And also all winter.
Sometimes, though, something wonderful happens- I get sick of feeling salty and sticky, and a broken, weak little voice inside whispers, feebily, “…..vegetables!!! eat a vegetable!!!” and slowly, if I listen closely, it gets louder and soon I am totally on team veggie. I have a few go-to recipes* for when I need a serious veggie intervention. An interveggton, if you will.
*Note! Despite loving delicious food and coming from a family of people who enjoy cooking, I do not find great joy in the kitchen. I can get by, but my cooking skills are pretty lame. So… if you’re really good at kitchen-ing, please, please just look away. I’m a monster.
A part to our Kitchen Aid blender recently crumbled, and in a moment of being totally annoyed, I made a snap decision to treat myself to a ridiculous Ninja Ultima Blender. People, let me tell you- all other blenders in my life (aside from getting to use a VitaMix at a job) have been toys. TOYS!! This thing is a beast, and I would hug it if I wan’t afraid of all of it’s stabby parts. I have made full vegetable juices in this monster, but for breakfast, here’s my go-to combo that you could easily make in any ol’ blender (measurements are approximate because I am usually mostly asleep):
1 cup water
1 cup frozen fruit blend of your choice (I usually nuke it for about 30 seconds so it’s not rock-hard. You could also use fresh fruit + ice)
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 packet or 1/2 cup oatmeal
2-3 giant handfuls of spinach/kale mix or whatever greens I need to use up
Blend until you can’t stand the sound of it anymore (it is LOUD), then blend for 10 more seconds (about a minute on warp speed). This will usually keep me awake and energized enough for 2-3 clients, plus I can drink it in the car.
BREAKFAST THAT IS FOOD
There are maybe 2 days out of the week where I can, for the most part, wake up naturally. When this happens, I’m actually crazy hungry, and eating a real breakfast actually sounds good. A veggie scramble is super easy, and can power me through a beastie workout plus my first client or two before I need a snack.
Usually, I use a mix of fresh and frozen veggies- whatever I have lying around, but usually mushrooms, tiny tomatoes, broccoli or asparagus, and maybe a handful of greens. Saute your veggies up in a little bit of coconut oil and season them (I like Spike! seasoning). When the veggies are looking done (but not dead), throw in some eggs (2 beaten, or 1 whole egg + egg whites if that’s your thing) and scramble! When the eggs are almost set, I’ll stir in some feta cheese for extra deliciousness, cover it, and tend to my toast for a minute. Because let me tell you: avocado toast is REQUIRED. When you come back to your eggs, they’ll be all fluffy and the cheese will be a little melty and yum.
Actually I rarely eat a meal at lunch- I work better if I just snack between clients. Usually I will bring some raw veggies like pepper slices or tomatoes, some fruit, nuts or leftover chicken, or a turkey sandwich.
It’s a salad bar stir fry, y’all!! Ok- to call what I do “stir frying” is an afront to anyone who owns a wok. Actually, I DO own a wok! And it’s great! But it’s, like, waaaaaay back in the cupboard. So… this pan will have to do.
Cook some chicken! Or tofu or whatever protein you like in some coconut oil. I usually sprinkle some soy sauce over it and maybe some garlic powder because I always burn real garlic. Sigh. When the chicken is mostly done, I’ll add some stir fry sauce (I like this kind, but maybe you know how to make your own?) and a little water, and cover so that the chicken finishes cooking without drying out. Seems legit. Then, I start loading in my veggies, which I have usually gotten off the salad bar because I have some kind of block about buying a whole head of broccoli. I don’t know where this comes from!! Frozen veg will also work if it’s the middle of winter/past 8 and the salad bar is closed. Get whatever you like, but here’s my usual rundown:
Zucchini or yellow squash
Red/Orange/Yellow peppers (green are the devil)
Then also a handful or two of frozen edamame, a can of water chestnuts, sometimes I have some frozen cubes of butternut squash or asparagus that I’ll toss in… you get the idea.
Again, “stir fry” these things. Or just pile them (you know, in opposite order of how appealing they are to eat raw) in the pan on top of the chicken and let them kind of steam on each other. I think that’s what I’m really doing-steaming and hoping. I’ll add in more sauce and garlic, some soy sauce, and kind of just keep things moving around, nibbling on bits until everything is cooked enough but still nicely crunchy.
Here’s the part that is magic: turn off the heat, and stir in a generous blop of PEANUT BUTTER. Oh, hells yes! Some red pepper flakes are good here too. Stir around so everything is combined, and serve. You can put it on rice if you like, but usually there’s so much stuff packed in here, the rice just gets in the way, so we usually eat it as is. I would call this “4 servings”, by the way- usually MB and I each get a good sized bowl plus a few extra bites, with enough for one lunch the next day. I put all the info into a recipe builder site once and it came out to around 400 calories per serving, so EAT A LOT.
DINNER OPTION TWO, FOR WHEN YOU CAN’T EVEN
Sometimes that “stir fry” seems like… uuugh. Work. So my emergency “OMG YOU HAVE TO EAT VEGETABLES NOW BUT ALSO LAY ON THE COUCH AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE” meal? Grab all the vegetables (again, salad bar is a hero to you when feeling supremely lazy), swish them around in melty coconut oil and Spike, dump them on a sheet pan, and roast for about half an hour at 425-450 or so. Add a side of grocery store rotisserie chicken. SO LAZY. And let me tell you, roasted broccoli? It’s crazy good.
So, as we head off into the new year, let’s not go crazy about only eating lettuce leaves. Add some plants here and there. Build better habits overall. And hey, putting vegetables on that pizza? Totally counts.
What are your go-tos when it comes to quick and healthy meals? Tell me in the comments! Don’t make it too hard!!