Hi friends! Happy Thursday.
Boy, do I have a treat for y’all. My friend Jane is taking over the blog today! She is doing an entire series for us about healthy eating! I’m SO excited for this because I NEED this. I’m going to be sharing the ones that I make on my Instagram stories. This is one area that Drew and I have talked about improving. I shared with him that I’m still 15 pounds heavier than my “normal weight” and while I’m not in a rush…I do want to take POSITIVE steps to achieve better health. Drew and I know that we could eat better, including LESS meat. The research strongly supports that plant based is best health wise (sorry hubs!).
Without further adieu, let’s meet Jane!
I’m Jane, a big fan of Amy’s work to help girls, women, moms, and all people feel strong in body, mind, and spirit. (Funnily, she used to read a blog I wrote in 2014 about the changes I was beginning to make to my daily plate – and I reconnected with her this year through my discovery of her brilliant Expecting and Empowered program!) Ames: Quick side note, when she says I used to read her blog…she means…I was a super huge fan girl! I literally waited for the next post to go up and when we reconnected on Instagram recently I had to play it cool like I didn’t know her whole life already 😉 hahaha. Also, it is easy to see her blogging skills stayed with her. This post and the coming posts were beautifully done!
I’m thrilled and honored that she’s asked me to share some healthy ideas for fueling your new year.
While I’m not a nutritionist, dietician, or holistic healer, I am someone who’s changed her body, mind, and spirit (all for the better!) through food. Here’s the short(ish) version:
I was in opposition with disordered eating for over a decade, beginning in high school and lasting well through my college, and newlywed years. I used food both as an object to control, and a force for release. Coupled with long, punishing daily workouts as a means to erase the perceived damage, I was in a cycle of damaging self abuse. I pledged every day that things would be different, but extricating myself from this secret, engrained, habitual pattern of behavior proved to be my most daunting challenge.
After ten years of this destructive, chaotic relationship with food and exercise, I flipped on a Netflix documentary called “Forks Over Knives.” Whole plant food, as fuel for sustained and balanced energy, was a new concept for my restriction-obsessed mindset, and I went on to devour more docs like “Hungry for Change,” “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead,” and “Fed Up.” Ames: I NEED to watch all of these! AH!
Switching to a plant-based diet shifted my focus from the foods that gave me fleeting nervous energy followed by the inevitable puffy, depleted crash (floury, sugary, salty, and fatty choices), to a world of foods that would finally fuel and balance my whole being with a powerful energy (colorful vegetables, beautiful fruits, nourishing whole grains, satisfying nuts, seeds, and spreads.) I began eating without worrying about calories or quantities, and enjoying all of the bright, bold options that bolstered my well-being.
Together with a profoundly impactful book (Brain over Binge by Kathryn Hansen), switching to a whole food plant-based diet transformed the way I relate to food; bringing in all the colors, flavors, and textures from nature worked to drown out the food noise I’d created around diet food, processed food, and junk food. Plus, making these changes transformed the way I looked, felt, thought, and acted. On this five year anniversary of my choice to be kinder and gentler with myself (and the planet + animals), I am more positive, confident, and calm than I’ve ever been – even with a toddler son and a baby girl due in less than three weeks!
I’m here, through a series of guest posts, to offer you a peek at the (quick, easy, simple, healthy, and tasty) breakfasts, lunches, and dinners that have fueled my body, balanced my mind, and given my spirit peace around food. If you are looking to improve your wellness, increase your longevity, fire up a sustained energy, sleep soundly, shed weight that’s inhibited you, and feel at ease around food, I invite you to try this plant-based approach with me in the new year.
I’m so happy to be here, and that you are too!
Where you can connect with Jane and her beautiful art:
Better for You Breakfasts
Breakfasts need to tick a lot of boxes:
- Quick (or make-ahead)
- Easy (no prep!)
- Simple (few ingredients that are used throughout the week’s meals)
- Healthy (whole food, plant-based, with minimal natural, low glycemic index sweeteners)
- Filling (high fiber and protein, slow complex carbs to keep you from peaking/crashing)
- Tasty (I haven’t eaten all night!)
Here are five options that meet all of the above requirements, and that share lots of ingredients, for all types of mornings at your house!
Gear note: We bought a few sizes of Glasslock containers for make-ahead breakfasts. This way, instead of making overnight oats or chia pudding every night before bed or each morning as you’re rushing, everything is ready for a straw or a spoon, right on the spot. Plus, this way there’s no mess from stirring up the ingredients; you just lock the lid on and shake hard for a few seconds. Done! Here’s a set that includes lots of sizes, for big and small items. Here is another set I use just for chia puddings and smaller snack versions of the below.
BABBA Smoothie (Berry/Avo/Banana/Beet/Almond milk)
This one is full of colorful fruits and veggies, but leaves out the high sugar produce, and has loads of fiber and protein for feeling full and balanced. Bonus: this smoothie keeps in the fridge without losing its consistency! I make the below recipe (yielding a batch of three morning smoothies) so that half of my week is set to jet in one move. Adding a sprinkle of chia seeds or crushed pecans (or walnuts, or almonds, or whatever you’ve got on hand) makes it a parfait…bring your spoon!
1 bag mixed berries (blackberries, blueberries, raspberries – no strawberries)
1 beet (I buy mine already peeled and cooked – easy!)
1 ripe banana
1 glug of almond milk (I’m not a measurer – just give it a big splash)
+sprinkle of seeds or nuts as a topper
Blend the first five ingredients until smooth, pop equally into three glasses, cover two with tin foil in the fridge for later in the week, and top the third one with crunchy seeds or nuts for breakfast today!
Cinnamon Apple Maple Pecan Overnight Oats
Another morning option with endless possibilities to customize! This is another make-ahead, so your mornings can be mess-free and super efficient. The basics are rolled oats, milk, and something sweet, so you can decide if you’re feeling rich and indulgent (chocolate peanut butter ONO!) or light and fruity (blueberry banana ONO!) with each batch you make. Here’s one I love:
¾ cup rolled oats
1 cup almond milk
Big sprinkle of cinnamon
Swirl of maple syrup
Small Jazz apple, chopped (or any type you like)
Palmful of dry toasted, unsalted pecan pieces (or any nuts or seeds you’ve got)
Again, pop the first four ingredients in a small glasslock container and shake well to combine (or beat it all together in a mug!) and leave it overnight in the refrigerator for a super scrumptious ready-made breakfast. (I like mine cold but you can zap it in the microwave for :20 or :30 if you prefer it hot.) Top with fruit and nuts/seeds for a texture boost!
Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Breakfast Bars and Muffins
I make a couple of batches of these on Sunday (they take ten minutes from start to cleaned-up!), using an 8 or 9 inch baking pan for my husband (he likes them in sliced form, like little pieces of cake), and a muffin pan for me (to have a dozen on hand all week.) They keep well in the fridge and can be eaten for breakfast, as a snack, or dessert – they’re great topped with a little nut butter or alongside a glass of almond milk!
3 very ripe bananas
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup almond milk
½ cup peanut butter
⅓ cup dark chocolate chips (optional…these bars are also great with dried cherries!)
Mash the bananas, add in the rolled oats, milk, and peanut butter. Swirl together well and sprinkle in the chocolate chips. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes (for the 8 inch pan) or 30 minutes (for the muffin pan.) Let cool completely on the stove top. Slice the bars and wrap each in tin foil for grab-and-go breakfasts, or pop all 12 muffins into a freezer bag. (Keep all in fridge for the week, or freeze for microwaving on high for :20 throughout the month!)
Cocoa Chia Seed Pudding with Peanut Butter Bananas
This high protein, high fiber make-ahead breakfast can be customized with any flavors you like! The basics are chia seeds, milk, and something sweet. Here’s one version that I make multiples of on Sunday so we’re well stocked all week.
2 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp cocoa powder
½ cup almond milk
Swirl of maple syrup (a natural sweetener that keeps blood sugar levels from spiking)
Scoop of natural nut butter
Pop the first four ingredients into a small container and shake hard to mix them well (or just use a mug and beat it all with a salad fork!) Keep in the fridge overnight and top with half a sliced banana and a dollop of peanut butter for mixing in at breakfast!
Savory Saturday Scramble
When you’re feeling like something savory from the stove top, this recipe is colorful and filling – and loves a slice of sprouted grain toast on the side! We just used any veggies hanging around the fridge, so get into whatever you have on hand!
8 ounces extra-firm tofu (grab the sprouted kind – it’s A+)
Veggies, diced (tomato, peppers, mushrooms, onion, zucchini, scallions, spinach…etc.!)
1 or 2 tbsp olive oil
Sea salt and cracked pepper
2-4 slices sprouted grain toast (Ezekial is great!)
Drain and crumble the tofu. Peel and chop the veggies, then sautee the onion until translucent, adding the mushrooms next. Pop in the rest of the veggies, stirring to get everything to cook down. Toss in the tofu and mix everything together, sprinkling well with sea salt and fresh cracked pepper. Sprouted grain toast on the side and you’re set to jet!
How amazing are these? Let me know if you make any of them and we’re excited to bring you easy lunches and dinners too!
Thank you Jane!