Friday, May 3, 2019

trying to eat healthy

Trying to get more veg in your diet when you're generally tired, forgetful, and lazy like me (or just very busy like most other people) seems like a daunting problem. It's easy to keep your food spending lower if you rely on nothing but starches (breads, beans, bread-stuffed sausages, frozen pizzas, etc.). But what to do if you want to eat a bit healthier (and leaner)?

For me personally as a very lazy person, I've found it helpful to keep a supply of vegetables that keep a long time, like bags of green beans in the freezer and whole carrots in the fridge. Carrots will keep a surprisingly long time in the fridge, especially the bag of fat ones from Costco. 

But I also like to have some variety so I will also pick up fresh cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts, asparagus, eggplant, and chard from regular grocery stores. With these I've learned the hard way (more times than I will admit) that the critical thing is to cook them right away. Don't buy them until Saturday (or whatever day in your schedule works best for cooking) when you are more confident you'll have a chance to cook them within the next day or two. This is especially true for leafy greens like chard. Once you cook them up, you can then stick them in fridge and worry less about them going bad so fast (and ending up having wasted both food and money). Then you have cooked veggies waiting for you ready to heat during the week.

Here are my lazy person all-applicable recipes: 

For the tougher type veggies:
-Preheat oven to 375 degrees
-Take veggie of choice (carrots, green beans, cauliflower, broccoli, beets, summer squash, winter squash, brussel sprouts, asparagus, etc.) 
-Chop as needed or desired
-Place in a large bowl and drizzle a couple tbsp cooking oil and sprinkle a pinch or two of salt
-Add a light sprinkle of other spices as desired (pepper, curry spices, 5-spice, bbq rub, etc.)
-Toss in bowl with large spoons until everything is coated with oil and spices
-Spread on sheet pan and roast for 20 minutes
-Store in fridge and reheat during the week for lunches or dinners

For softer veggies:
-Pan on stove, set heat to medium-low (setting 3 or 3.5)
-Once pan is warm add cooking oil of choice or melt one tbsp butter
-Add in veg (tomato, cucumber, chard, kale, bok choy, etc. - chopped as needed)
-Stir and toss once every minute or two with pan-friendly utensils (such as wooden spoons)
-Sprinkle a pinch of salt, continue to stir and toss
-Add other spices as desired
-Remove from heat once veg is warm and slightly softened (probably about ten minutes, give or take a few depending on what veg you're cooking)
-Eat or store in fridge

*Tomatoes, cucumbers, and leafy greans also make great salads of course, but have your dressing ready and consume within a couple days of purchase.

For veggies with a short shelf life, the best practice for me seems to be to only buy one or two things a week to cook up for later and rely on the longer-keeping stuff otherwise.

Similar practice for fruit: apples and oranges keep comparatively long so those are nice to buy in larger supplies. Berries and bananas tend to fade faster so I buy those maybe once a week or two. 

With fruit I tend to be too lazy to bother doing much cooking with them so I typically just eat them fresh. DH however does like to toss blueberries into the pancake mix once in a while  which I can also recommend (Kodiak cake mix bought in bulk from Costco - seems a bit healthier than conventional pancake mix and certainly easier to make with no need for oil and eggs n stuff).

I also keep fish fillets in the freezer as they're both lean and quick and easy to cook (almost the same process as the veggies), to pair with the veggies. Although it's not uncommon for me to just cook up veggies to wrap up in a tortilla by themselves. 

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