Here we are – a new year, new resolutions. Sigh. Without fail, I always vow to be healthy and take care of myself. I think I usually choose that as my resolution because I feel so terrible about all of the carbs and sweets and alcohol and more carbs and more sweets I eat during the holiday season.
The fiance and I have been working on a healthier diet for awhile. Neither of us have the willpower to stick to anything specific and strict – no 21 Day Fix or Atkins or paleo for us. It seems to work better to make small, manageable, and easy-to-stick-to changes in our overall diet. We do still go out and get a big fancy steak dinner on special occasions, but we both pack healthy breakfasts and lunches on work days, and we cook at home more often than not. I still like my ice cream and chocolate cake, but I save those for special occasions, too.
Portion control has been REALLY important to us. Most cookbooks I have are designed for families, so the recipes are designed to feed 4-6 people. There are only two of us, but if there is 4-portions worth of food, we can probably eat all of it. Even if that is four portions of homemade stir fry or salad, that’s still too much food. Thanks to our cable-free life, we watch A LOT of PBS. One of our favorite shows is America’s Test Kitchen. I can’t say enough about how great it is! They give really helpful tips to make some really classic recipes. We bought their “Cooking for Two” cookbook and it changed everything. Not only does every recipe come with a ‘Why this recipe works’ section that explains why they suggest certain techniques or ingredients (all of their books have this – we have several. It might be an addiction…), but each recipe also tells you exactly how much of each ingredient you need. For example, I know now that in general, a serving of meat (chicken, pork, or beef) should be 6-8 ounces. When I shop for other meals, I know exactly how much I should buy to create reasonable portions for each person. We hardly ever over-eat when we cook at home anymore, and it is a really great feeling!
Another really healthy alternative to change up what you’re eating is to change the way you think of veggies. I never liked many veggies growing up, and I’ve only branched out a little bit since becoming an adult. But, the coolest thing we have in our kitchen right now is our Spiralizer. It takes veggies and fruits and turns them into noodles, or rice, or just different shapes that will change the way you cook them. We’ve made slaw out of spriralized broccoli stems and Granny Smith apples; we made ‘fried rice’ out of daikon radish; we’ve made noodles out of zucchini. We jazzed up the daikon rice with a roasted red pepper and avocado. The next night, I ate the leftovers with just the fried egg as the recipe suggested. (If you haven’t roasted a pepper in your house, you have to do it. What other excuse do you have to hold food over an open flame?!) But seriously, spiralizing has really changed the way I look at certain foods and what they taste like and what I can turn them into. Check out Inspiralized for some crazy awesome spiralized recipes. I’m looking forward to the daikon pad thai, personally!