It’s hard to give up your favorite foods, and the reality is that you don’t have to. Of course in the best situation possible you would never eat anything out of a box, and you’d only eat fruits, veggies, whole grains, and lean protein. This makes it easy to work up to that.
I want you to look at your favorite foods and look at how you can make them just a bit healthier.
Love spaghetti? Awesome! That has a potential to be a vitamin and mineral goldmine, you just have to do it right. Instead of using white pasta, switch to whole wheat. Instead of using table salt, use sea salt. The sodium is lower, plus the taste is a lot stronger, so you don’t need to use as much, so it’s doubly good for you. Use ground turkey instead of ground beef. And, even better, replace half of the amount of meat you would normally use with an equal amount of diced mushrooms. I promise you won’t even realize that there’s mushrooms in it. Not only does that lower the saturated fat from the meat, but mushrooms contain vitamin D.
It really isn’t that difficult if you take it piece by piece. It might seem overwhelming at first, but start with what you like, and go from there. For example, if you normally have canned corn with your spaghetti, don’t jump to raw broccoli if you can’t stand broccoli. Instead, go from canned corn to frozen corn. Even better: go for the organic frozen corn. If you shop in bulk at places like Costco, you won’t take a price hit, and it’ll be even better for you.
Here’s an example:
I’m not supposed to have gluten or dairy, so macaroni and cheese is pretty much a no go. But once in a while, I deal with the repercussions, and we have it. But it’s not your basic bad for you macaroni and cheese. We use Annie’s; our favorite is the one with white sauce on shells. Let me tell you: it is delicious. It tastes exactly like fettuccine alfredo, but it doesn’t have any added sugar, and the amount of dairy (aside from the cheese sauce) can be adjusted to your liking. It’s easy to substitute the butter with dairy free butter, and you can use almond milk in place of the dairy milk.
I boiled the noodles like usual, then put them in a strainer. The pot was put back on the stove with the heat on medium. In the pot avocado oil and diced onions.
Once the onions were soft, I added in diced tomato. Here I used fresh, but canned diced tomatoes could also be used.
This was cooked down together until the tomatoes were nice and soft. Then I tossed in some chopped broccoli.
This was followed by some milk, butter, and the cheese pouch. For seasoning, a dash of salt and garlic powder. We’re crazy garlic lovers in this house, so believe me when I say that I put in a lot of garlic powder.
I mixed it all together and continued stirring until the liquid had reduced (thickened) by about half. As a last touch, I chopped up some of my homemade chicken nuggets and stirred those in. Finally, I mixed in the noodles.
It was so darn tasty, and it didn’t take that much extra prep. I added in both tomatoes, broccoli, and garlic, all of which are super good for you. Plus the chicken added more protein, so it made it more filling. One pot, nutritious, and absolutely delicious. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Let the creative juices flow.
With just a little ingenuity and creativity, you can turn almost any meal into a nutritious, healthy (well, healthier, at least) one. It’s the first step to eating more whole foods, and learning how to enjoy them.
Be sure to try something new once in a while. Add steamed cauliflower to your potatoes. Add mushrooms into your ground turkey. Try roasted sweet potatoes in place of French fries.
It may seem intimidating if all you’ve grown up on are processed, packaged foods. But really it isn’t as scary as it seems when you start small, as I did here. Just do what you can, set goals, and be proud with any small step you make.
What meals have you healthified? Any struggles in particular you’re having?