Hi friends! Happy Thursday.
Boy oh boy, this has been quite the cold/flu season for the Kiefer household. Yesterday, I tested positive for influenza. SO, we’re trying to get mama healthy and keep the boys from getting sick over here. Wish us luck! 🙂 Drew and I were talking about all of the illnesses that I’ve experienced without much of a break between any (severe cold/sinus issues, ear infection, and now flu)…I told him, “It could be worse!” And he said, “Not this again, just say it sucks.” Always trying to find the positive spin. 😉
BEFORE I was sick with the flu, I had been ROCKING eating better. After each of our babies were born, I let myself eat more “loosely” than normal. If you don’t agree with that strategy, it is okay…cause it is my life. 😉 This means if a friend brought over pizza, I ate pizza. If Drew and I couldn’t fathom making dinner one night, we ate something fast and convenient.
About 6 weeks postpartum, I was ready to kick it into gear. I was able to start exercising more and I wanted to couple that with eating better. With just a few easy changes, I saw the scale move in the right direction (it had been stagnant for a couple weeks). Although y’all know I don’t believe in using weight as the only measure of health/fitness…I do want to travel back down toward my “normal” weight. A weight that I’ve literally been for a decade, so I know it is one healthy for my body. It was SUPER motivating that these changes helped!
Quick and Easy Tips for Better Eating:
- STOP the excuses. Most people are busy and tired, so that excuse isn’t going to work for me anymore. 😉 Sometimes you have to be firm with yourself.
- Portions. I’ll never be a calorie counter or do anything else intense. I do firmly believe that we should all be more intuitive with our eating though. SO, if I’m staving…I’m going to eat. If I’m satisfied after one serving of dinner, I’m not going to get another (no matter how good it is). It is changes like these that you have to make to see a difference. Let me just say that on occasion you have to be a little flexible to stay sane! Cheers to that extra taco on Monday!
- Late night no more. I had been having snacks after dinner. For a while it was a way to get some extra calories in because of the demands of breastfeeding. Now that I have the oversupply thing FLOWING, I don’t think I’m requiring anything extra. 😉 I’ve been conscious of not eating after dinner, unless I’m literally feeling hungry.
- Hydrate. Although I’d love to drink coffee all day, I know that I cannot. haha. I make sure I start the day with a full, big glass of water. Then I make sure my water is filled up all day long.
- Try NEW recipes or heck, even the meal prep thing. The whole point of Jane coming on the blog was so we/I could learn from her! I told her it was a REQUIREMENT that everything was easy to make. I think SUCH a hard part of better eating is if you have an overwhelming recipe that requires things you don’t have. SO thankful that she made these quick and easy meals! I cannot wait to make more of them.
Without further adieu, here is the last of Jane’s guest post series! I put this together while literally nibbling on her Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Breakfast Bars and Muffins. I’ll try to talk her into coming back on soon!
Better For You Dinners
Big news: Dinner also has to be just as jammed with goodness as Breakfast and Lunch:
- Quick (with most ingredients prepped ahead of time)
- Easy (tossed together with a toddler around)
- Simple (few ingredients that are used throughout the week’s meals)
- Healthy (whole food, plant-based)
- Filling (high fiber and protein, slow complex carbs)
- Tasty (time to celebrate the day!)
Loaded Sweet Potato and Black Bean Nachos
These are a huge hit, and if you’ve got a nacho purist (i.e. chips required), you can easily make two pans (one with sweet potato “chips” and the other with the tortilla variety), all topped the same way and ready to serve.
4 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced pretty thin
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 bowl guacamole (I make ours with avo, cilantro, white onion, tomato, jalepeno, lime juice, salt, but you can buy it ready to go for a fast fix.)
1 bowl salsa (I buy a container of medium Salsa Fresca, but make yours if you’re into it!)
Olive oil spray, sea salt
Preheat the oven to 375, line a cookie sheet with tin foil, spray it down with olive oil spray, arrange the potato slices in a single layer, and spray the tops with oil, too. Sea salt the whole thing and pop in the oven, checking every five minutes (they burn in a jiffy, so keep yours wits about you!) Once they’re done, top with black beans and pop back in the oven to warm everything together. (This is the time to do the same with your pan of blue corn chips if you’ve got a nacho purist in the house! Cheese eater? Add some almond cheese at this stage, too.) Give them a couple of minutes and then plate them, topped with guac, salsa, sea salt – and cilantro and limes if you’ve got them.
Supreme Veggie Flatbreads
These are a piece of cake! We use premade sprouted whole grain crusts (Angelic Bakehouse is sold in lots of stores, or Whole Foods has a whole grain ready-made crust, too), top with our favorite sauce (the same we use for pasta night), and load it all with every veggie we’ve got.
2 sprouted grain crusts (or any good quality grainy ones you can find)
½ jar red sauce, pesto, hummus, or white bean sauce… whatever you fancy
Chopped veggies (tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers, olives, onions, artichokes, anything!)
Olive oil, sea salt, and red pepper flakes if you’ve got them
Preheat the oven according to the crust package, and pull out the racks you’re going to be using, placing them on your counter/table. Place the crusts on the racks and top with sauce, layering all of the veggies on next. Bake according to the crust package (we add five minutes, since ours are so loaded with veggies), and then let cool for a couple of minutes (the veggies settle a bit, making it easier to slice), cutting each pie into eighths. Sprinkle with sea salt, red pepper flakes, and a drizzle of olive oil.
Soba Bowls with Broccolini, Carrots, Garlic, and Scallions
These are beautiful and delicious – and take a couple more pans than the other dinners so we save them for Sunday nights sometimes. They’re loaded with nutrition and super satisfying on a cool night. (They’re all delicious after being refrigerated if it’s summer and you’re craving Soba!)
2 bundles soba noodles (they’re a rich, earthy, delicious buckwheat noodle!)
8-10 garlic cloves, peeled and diced
4 orange carrots, peeled and chopped
1 package broccolini, washed and sliced into thin strips
A few mushrooms, washed and sliced thinly
A few scallion/green onion stalks, sliced thinly
1 box Miso broth
Olive or sesame oil
Sautee the garlic in oil on medium heat until translucent. In a double boiler, steam the carrots and broccolini until bright in color, but not mushy. Plate the veggies in big bowls, and use their pot with fresh water to boil your soba noodles. Back in the garlic pan, pour in your Miso broth, mushrooms, and scallions, and turn the heat to low. Once the noodles are done, divide them into your veggies bowls, and ladle warm miso broth over all of it.
Brown Rice and Quinoa Pasta with Garden Vegetables
A great big bowl of pasta is guilt-free when the noodles are made entirely from brown rice and quinoa, red lentils, black beans, whole grains and veggies, or butternut squash (the one pictured above)! We buy these fun varieties at Trader Joe’s to make sure that dinner’s base is as nutrient-dense as the toppings. We throw in all the veggies we have hanging around – any you’ve got will work!
1 bag pasta (pick something super high in protein and fiber, like the above options)
Red, white, or yellow onion, peeled and diced
Prepared red sauce (We pick one really low in sugar, with lots of basil and garlic)
Peeled, chopped veggies (zucchini, carrots, tomato, mushrooms, olives, peppers…)
2 tbsp olive oil, sea salt
Sautee the onion in olive oil on medium heat until translucent. Add in all of your veggies and keep sauteeing with another swirl of olive oil. Toss your sauce over all of it, keeping things mixed. Prepare the pasta according to the package, drain it, throw it into the veggie pan. Toss it all together, sprinkle with sea salt, and serve. (Here are all the veggies I sauteed with red sauce the other night, below. They make for such a richer, more textured dinner!)
Curried Cauliflower, Carrots, Kale, and Sweet Potato with Ancient Grains
I’m a huge fan of finding a great (healthy) pre-made simmer sauce and using it to bring vegetables and grains together. Trader Joe’s has a big selection in their international aisle, like lots of stores! Our current favorite is the Red Curry sauce, paired with hearty veggies and ancient grains.
1 cup grains (any you like! Quinoa, farro, couscous, barley, brown rice, etc.)
½ – 1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
1 head cauliflower, split into bite size florets
4-6 carrots, peeled and chopped (I love the purple, white, yellow, and orange mix)
½ bag chopped kale (I like to extra finely chop it and toss any of the stems – too chewy)
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped (The purple are great for you!)
1 bottle simmer sauce (Red Curry is super warm, sweet, and tasty.)
1 cup of water, almond milk, or coconut milk (the milks make richer and a little creamy)
1 or 2 tbsp coconut oil (olive oil works too)
Prepare the grains according to the package. Sautee the onion in oil on medium until translucent. Add in all of your veggies, the bottle of simmer sauce, and then a refill of the empty simmer sauce bottle with water, almond or coconut milk. Cover the pan and keep it up on high, stirring occasionally, until veggies have softened. Plate the grains and top with veggies, pouring leftover sauce over the whole thing, sprinkled with sea salt.
(Like almost everything in the breakfast, lunch, and dinner guide, this one’s an easy prep-ahead; here’s the kit I brought to my mom’s house to make dinner a couple of weeks ago!)
Not a fan of curry? Neither were two dinner guests, so we made a deconstructed version with just olive oil and sea salt, served with the Fruits, Nuts and Greens salad from the lunch list.
Let me know if you make any of these!