Posts tagged with Lunch
If you started 2013 with the goal of eating better/more vegetables/more fruits/less junk/less processed food/less food in general, chances are that by now you've either settled in or seen your resolve take a nosedive.
It's impossible to tell on Jan. 1 which way the proverbial cookie might crumble (i.e. into the trash, or into your mouth), but you can always improve on what you've already done, even if all that qualifies is scampering backward into your old habits after a brief foray into "healthy eating."
And if you've survived this month with your healthy goals going strong, you may still have nagging thoughts about how you can keep it up. Maybe you've had a hard time converting your family, and thus, have been eating totally separate meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Or maybe you're just fine at home, but when you're out on the town or at a party, your resolve crumbles (like said cookie). Or maybe you just can't get through the day without feeling hungry and wonder if it has to be that way forever.
Nope, no it doesn't. See, the thing is, no matter where you are in your journey to health, you should be in it for the long run. You've got this body and you need to take care of it, not abuse it with food or with suffering while feeling hungry/leftover/stressed over the vat of chips and salsa on the table.
We're talking about a lifestyle here. Like, for life. If you do it right, it should become second nature, not total torture.
And, being a lifestyle, it's probably good to know some tips and tricks, no?
Okay, so here's one that I've used the past few years and has saved me a lot of grief: I have a salad every day for lunch.
Yes, pretty much every single day. It's very rare for me to have something other than a salad and it usually means I'm not in control of the menu.
And, no, I'm not starving an hour later. And I'm not looking longingly at my co-workers' lunches. And I'm not eating the same old thing over and over again like some sad little animatron.
There's actually an art to making a salad that will fill you up and leave you feeling good about your work day: It's all about HEFT.
If you started your healthy eating regime at the beginning of January wondering how the heck anybody eats only salad for a meal, chances are the salad you're picturing is one of those tiny "dinner" salads made from iceberg lettuce, a sad tomato and croutons.
Let me tell you, that is not a dinner salad. And it's certainly not a lunch salad either. And, yes, if you eat something that small and lacking in nutrients, you will be hungry. For sure. And you'll probably wreck your good intentions with an especially expensive trip to the vending machine.
So, here's exactly how I have a salad every day without going hungry or crazy or succumbing to the vending machine:
Step 1: Store salad greens in the work fridge.
On Mondays, I will usually bring a 5-ounce tub of mixed greens or baby spinach, put my initials on the outside and keep it in the fridge at work. That way, I always have my salad base right there and waiting. I don't put anything else in there with them, so that they stay fresher longer. Just the greens, by themselves. And the 5-ounce tub is a good size not to be too obtrusive in a normal-size fridge. (If you only have a mini-fridge in the office, you might have to adjust these recommendations.)
Step 2: Make sure to have hearty toppings
Either brought from home or store-bought, make sure to have a large amount (as is almost as big a container as your salad greens) of salad toppings to use during the week. To keep your salads from being weak, make sure to include one of each of the following items:
Protein: I usually pick one type of bean (garbanzo, black or kidney) and then maybe a bit of tofu to supplement. On the salad at the top of the page, you can see I've used curried tofu as my protein of choice. If you eat meat, you could buy some shredded chicken, tuna or turkey for your salad.
Vegetables: This time of year, I usually either make or buy roasted vegetables to include in my daily salads. I like to mix up a variety, so it's not like I feel like I'm eating the same thing all the time. Top favorites right now: roasted squash, roasted yams, roasted carrots, roasted zucchini or yellow squash. I also like to always add red onion to my salads, and often peas or beets.
Something savory and something sweet: To get by without a lot of added flavor from dressing, I like to always include a few items with a lot of flavor to my salads. Often this means adding kalamata olives (savory) and pickled red onions (sweet). I'll also usually add black pepper, maybe nutritional yeast (which has a cheesy flavor) and raisins or apple juice-sweetened cranberries for some extra kick. Oh, and I've also really loved marinated mushrooms on my salads these days. They add a lot of flavor with little effort.
Step 3: Pick your dressing
Here's where you can easily change the flavor of your salad from day to day. Depending on my mood, I like to use hummus, salsa (pineapple/mango salsa fresca is especially good) or guac as my salad toppers. If I have enough roasted veggies on there, I can just kind of mash everything together and get a lot of texture for very little "dressing." If this isn't your cup of tea, you could just keep one or two salad dressings in the work fridge and alternate them, depending on your mood. The point is: Have something ready, and have an alternate so you aren't sick of it by day three.
Tips to make this easier:
Store a large salad bowl and fork in your desk at work. (You may want to bring this along with your salad greens the first time you try this method, naturally.) I say "large" because, remember, this is a meal. It's not supposed to be a puny salad. You want it to fill you up.
Buy some or all of the ingredients on Mondays. I take a trip to the store on my lunchbreak during my first workday of the week and stock up on items from the salad bar/hot bar. It's expensive, but if you break it down over five meals, it's actually not too bad.
Don't beat yourself up if you don't have salad for lunch. Honestly, I make sure to have salad for lunch not only because I like salad, but because that way I'm not as pressured to make sure I have one at dinner. I usually do, but sometimes I can't, or it's too cold, or I just want something else. And I don't feel guilty, because I've already gotten in a large serving of vegetables in the middle of the day.
So, there you have it. It's really not hard to make a salad for lunch every day. You can make it hearty, healthy and different, every day, just by varying toppings and doing a little planning at the beginning of the week.
It’s no secret that if you follow this blog, you know that this winter I’ve been digging the sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts combination. Steamed or roasted, I love putting them on salads or veggie burgers or just eating them as is. Those two foods are basically “winter” to me right now.
So, I was excited to find a new way to eat them. A very unexpected way, for me, for sure: chili. Yes, the thought of Brussels sprouts in chili sounds strange (maybe not sweet potatoes, so much), but, I assure you that even if you hate Brussels, chances are you might like this recipe.
As Example A as to why this is, I give you my husband, who, though he HATES Brussels, actually chose to make this recipe. He knew we had pretty much everything on hand and that I’d probably like it and thought he’d take one for the team. But, as it turned out, he liked it. And I’ll tell you why: This chili is so saucy, you can’t even taste the Brussels. I’m serious. Everything is so spicy and smoky and delicious because of the adobo peppers, that we could’ve thrown cardboard in there and been none the wiser.
This description probably doesn’t make this chili sound appealing, but it is. Really. And I think that if you have someone in the house who isn’t the biggest yam/Brussels fan (including yourself), but you want to push them because you know they have awesome nutrient value, then try this recipe.
Also, a word of caution: The adobo sauce and peppers are what makes this recipe really work, but you might want to be careful if you aren’t too keen on spice. We only used two of the three peppers, and it was still nearly too hot for us. We’re not total wusses, but still.
Chipotle Chili with Sweet Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 red onion, diced small
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon coriander seeds, crushed
2 teaspoons dried oregano
3 chipotles in adobo, seeded and chopped (we only used 2 and it was plenty spicy for us)
1 ½ pounds sweet potatoes (2 average-size), peeled and cut into ¾-inch pieces
12 ounces Brussels sprouts, quartered lengthwise (about 2 cups)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 cup water
1 (16-ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed (about 1 ½ cups)
1 ½ teaspoons salt
Freshly squeezed lime juice
In a 4-quart pot over medium heat, sauté the onion in the olive oil for 5 to 7 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic, coriander seeds, and oregano, and saute for a minute more. Add the remaining ingredients (except the lime juice). Mix well. The sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts will be peeking out of the tomato sauce, but don’t worry, they will cook down.
Cover the pot and bring it to a boil, then lower the heat to simmer and cook for about half an hour, stirring often, until the sweet potatoes are tender but not mushy. Squeeze in the lime juice to taste and adjust any other seasonings. Let the chili sit uncovered for at least 10 minutes before eating.
(Recipes from “Appetite for Reduction" by Isa Chandra Moskowitz)
If you're like me, you've got to restock to your fridge and pantry after the food explosion that is the holidays. My fridge has run the gamut over the past few days, going from empty-ish to stuffed to its frozen little gills to deflated and devoid of anything but leftovers.
If this sounds familiar, or if you're just planning your trip to the grocery store for the week, I highly recommend adding a pomegranate to your cart. This time of year, I can't get enough of these unusual superfruits. They're a great treat, and fantastic in nearly any application.
Back in November, I posted a Thanksgiving recipe for squash that featured pomegranate seeds. The seeds add a nice juiciness and crunch to that recipe, and they can do that to pretty much any other recipe you can dream up. Just this week, we had the seeds three different ways other than just eating them out of hand. Above is a breakfast bowl of 1 cup pomegranate seeds, 2 tablespoons pecans, 1 tablespoon hemp seeds and 1 teaspoon cacao nibs. While I was enjoying that, the hubby had pumpkin pancakes topped with the seeds.
But my favorite way this week is pairing the pomegranate seeds with squash yet again. This time, it's with kabocha squash we roasted in a spicy sauce and then used to top a simple salad. The result is as pretty as it is tasty.
But before we get to that recipe, a few details on the pomegranate, one of the world's oldest recorded fruits. One 4-inch pomegranate has 234 calories, 3 grams of fat, 11 grams of fiber (45 percent of your daily value), 5 grams of protein, 48 percent of your daily vitamin C and 5 percent of your daily iron.
Now to the really important information: How to open and seed the dang thing. The best way to seed a pomegranate is to plunge it underwater. Fill a mixing bowl with enough water that you can submerge your hands and the whole pomegranate. Next, cut the top off the fruit and score the outside into a few sections. Plunge the fruit into the water and then pull it apart along your score lines. Free the seeds with your thumbs and rub off the white pith. The pith will float and your seeds will sink. When all your seeds are free, rinse them in a colander to remove extra pith. Throw out any pale/strange-looking seeds along with the skin and the pith.
Pomegranate and Roasted Kabocha Squash Salad
1 large pomegranate or 2 small pomegranates, seeded
1 small kabocha squash, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch thick "C" shapes (no need to peel)
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons tamari
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place the squash pieces in a large bowl and set aside. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, tamari, cumin, sea salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cayenne. Pour the sauce mixture over the squash and stir to coat.
Put the coated slices on the baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, then turn them over and bake for 15 more minutes.
When the squash is finished, put together salad bowls that include baby spinach, 2 to 3 tablespoons pomegranate seeds, 2 to 3 tablespoons hummus and 1 tablespoon pecans. Top with warm squash. Serves 4.