Food is a wonderful thing. Many of us put a lot of thought into the food we eat - what it is, where it comes from, how to prepare it, when and where to eat it, who to enjoy it with. Food is a huge part of our culture - the good and the not-so-good. I love food, and like to talk about it often. Admittedly, I probably spend too much time thinking about food.
For a few years now I've really been paying attention to what I eat, but even more so recently as I've attempted to spend more time in the kitchen experimenting with different grains, vegetables, fruits and combinations. Thank goodness Woody knew before he married me that I was not a gourmet chef, because I hardly spend any time in the kitchen. It is a bit difficult to cook grand meals in our tiny NYC kitchen but I've been doing more of it since the new year and it's been quite fun. Right now I'm trying to decide what to make for dinner tonight. Probably something fairly simple but healthful and definitely tasty.
Anyway, I wanted to share a few of my recent meals with you. You'll notice pretty quickly that I enjoy sandwiches! It never ceases to amaze me when I meet someone who does not like sandwiches, at all. It's like someone telling me they hate chocolate! What?!
I've been hearing a lot about Amazing Grass for a while and I wanted to give it a try. Not wanting to commit to a full jar, I picked up a single serving packet from Whole Foods last week and paired it with an apple for a mid-afternoon snack. Amazing Grass - Green Superfood provides "one serving gives you the antioxidant equivalent of 7 servings of fruits and vegetables and helps you hit your daily quota." Some people have said that they have felt so much stronger and healthier since they started drinking it every day. I'm all for that! Personally, I'm not sure if I felt any better, but I suppose I'd need to try it a few days in a row to know for sure. I also think I should have used my mixer to blend the powder with the water because there was quite a bit left on the bottom of the glass even though I stirred it quite a bit. Is this normal? The taste wasn't bad at all, but a bit grainy. I'm open to trying it a few more times, although it is expensive!
One of my favorite snacks as of late has been a simple fruit and veggie plate. I usually have this on the weekends when I tend to only eat two full meals (brunch after the morning workout and an early-ish dinner). Since I'm not usually hungry enough for a full meal, I want to make sure I get in some important nutrients and hit my fruit and veggie numbers! This is an easy and delicious mix - apple, carrots, zucchini with hummus and a little avocado.
Sunday afternoon I wasn't feeling to well. I was very emotional - the smallest things were bothering me more than normal - and I just didn't have much energy. Since the start of the year I have really cut down on meat to the point where I only have some every few weeks. And I have only had red meat once this year. Thinking I was in need of an iron infusion, I decided chicken would be on my menu for dinner. Woody was making some for his meal anyway, so he cooked up a chicken breast (homone/antibiotic free and grass fed) for me with jerk seasoning, I shreded half of it and put it on a sandwich thin with avocado and lettuce, then had a side of quinoa, black beans with onion and peppers, and a pear. I have to tell you, it's exactly what I needed. I was feeling so much better even before I finished eating! As I continue to reduce the amount of meat in my diet I do need to make sure I get sufficient amounts of iron. Doesn't this look great?
Yesterday I finished off some eggplant burgers I purchased at a health food store a few weeks ago. I admit that I purchased these too quickly without checking the ingredients. There are too many ingredients in these burgers, some of which I'm not too sure about, and I won't be buying them again. The taste was okay, but I think there are better options out there. I ate them because I didn't want to waste the money and I figured that a few burgers wouldn't do too much harm compared to the years of chips and chicken nuggets I ate as a child!
I'm trying to eat more veggies, so I had quite a few yesterday with my lunch. Frozen veggies are just as healthy, if not healthier, than fresh vegetables, so don't be afraid to get them at your grocery store. They're flash frozen when they are at their peak so they retain all the vital nutrients. I think they're a great way to easily add veggies into any meal, either as a side dish alone or add to omeletes, stews, chili, pasta sauce and so much more. This time I added a bit of chipotle seasoning and fresh ground pepper to add a little extra flavor.
I added a laughing cow cheese wedge and hummus onto the sandwich thin and had this enjoyable, mostly healthful lunch.This morning I added a little somethin-somethin' to my yogurt mess! I had a big bowl of Chobani fat free plain Greek yogurt, banana, kiwi, blackberries, mango, homemade granola, flax seeds, cinnamon and a tsp of chia seeds! The quick down low on Chia seeds: they have more omega-3's than flax seeds and are strong than flax seeds in that they do not need to be ground and last longer (do not need to be refrigerated). Chia seeds are also a good source of fiber, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin, and zinc. They added a little crunchiness to the yogurt mess but I wasn't really able to distinguish the taste, which means they can be added to many other recipes!
I do want to make sure you know that I don't eat perfectly healthy every meal. I do love sweets (but have been cutting back a lot) and indulgent foods, like cheese! A few weeks ago I was craving a grilled cheese sandwich. Not wanting to waste an indulgent meal on just a regular cheese and bread, I went out and got some good ingredients and put a bit of thought into it. The picture isn't great (our lighting is bad at night) but hopefully you can see it well enough! After the first bite, Woody declared that the sandwich was "very tasty" so I knew it worked out! Pumpernicle bread with gouda and roasted red peppers, sauteed kale and garlic and a pear on the side. It was decadent and fantastic. I will definitely use this combination again! (In case you're wondering, I did use Pam on the bread rather than butter, but I sauteed the kale and garlic in olive oil). This meal paired well with a nice glass of Malbec.
Then, just this afternoon I met up with a few local runners/bloggers/twitter friends to celebrate Pigtailsflying's Birthday with Pinkberry!
A healthy diet includes fun foods that feed the soul, too. Just in moderation!