Cutting Out Junk Food Without Cutting Out Flavor

I’ve heard it all before, excuses from clients and friends telling me (and convincing themselves) that eating healthy food is boring and tasteless. Or simply that they don’t know what to make or how to make it taste good! Well…I’m here to tell you now that eating healthily IS NOT boring and really does taste amazing! All it requires is a little creativity and planning :-)

image via weheartit.com

First things first, you need to be clear on exactly what healthy food is! The majority of food pyramids out there are still pretty old school, illustrating a diet consisting predominantly of cereals, grains and legumes; followed by fruits and veggies THEN meat, poultry, fish, dairy, nuts & seeds and finally fats and oils. All I can say is WRONG WRONG WRONG!! We should be eating closer to how our ancestors did, aka the Paleo way. To learn more about this and how I choose to eat, head over here.

I’m Too Tired To Think About What To Make For Dinner!

The other dilemma people run into is they want the cooking process to be easy without having to put too much thought into it. Time and time again I hear people complain about not knowing what to cook, or they can’t be bothered thinking about what to make for dinner after a long day at the office! It all just seems too hard so they go for a quick and easy option (takeaway, pasta, home delivery pizza!) or they stick to the same meat and three veg combo night after night until it gets so repetitive they give up and go back to eating takeaway! Sound familiar?

image via weheartit.com

I’m gonna be honest with you, the “can’t be bothered thinking” part, I’ve definitely been there myself…more than a few times! Lets’ face it; at times it can be bloody annoying having to put thought into “what am I going to eat for lunch today?” right? It would be so much easier having a nutritionist and professional chef (who specialises in raw food!) cooking for you every day! But unless you’re a celebrity or willing to pay for this luxury, this just isn’t a reality.

Stay with me, there’s still hope!

Initially guys, you will need to put some thought into your food choices and cooking – there’s really no getting around that one unless you pay for that amazing chef I just described! BUT, it really isn’t as hard as you think and the health benefits you’ll experience far outweigh a little bit of effort! You just need a few recipes up your sleeve to start with, then you can experiment with a new one every week until you have a nice collection of easy to make, delicious and healthy recipes that no longer take any thought!

Alrighty Then…So How Do I Attack The ‘Planning’?

What I like to do is pick a day on the weekend to plan out my week of meals. Then I’ll go to the organic grocer and supermarket to buy my ingredients and then spend an afternoon preparing what I can to have it ready for the working week. Sometimes this won’t work due to weekend activities, but prepare what you can given the time you have and do the rest throughout the week.

Things you should aim for:

  • buy plenty of protein (poultry, meat, fish) so you always have something in the fridge to cook!
  • batch and freeze. Either freeze portions of your uncooked meat, or better still, cook up your favourite curry, stew, stir fry etc, and then freeze it…just remember to take it out of the freezer on the day you want to eat it (or the night before)!
  • par-cooked ‘n’ frozen veggies – a great idea I got from Sarah Wilson’s amazing I Quit Sugar Cookbook! Simply stock up on a range of seasonal veggies (organic veggies can be really cheap at certain times of the year), and blanch them to 60% done using a pot with a steamer. Cool them off in iced water to stop the cooking process, then batch in portions and freeze! I like using kale, cauliflower, broccoli, green beans, pumpkin, sweet potato and spinach. Such a fantastic idea to save on prep time throughout the week! Just take your veggies out of the freezer when needed, and quickly sauté in a pan.
  • herbs & spices – this is what will make your meals flavoursome! You most definitely can get creative with your herbs & spices…you can’t really go wrong (unless trying to mix an Indian spice with an Italian herb!). For their health benefits and flavor, my favourites are: cinnamon, turmeric, fresh and ground coriander, cumin, parsley, himalayan salt, cayenne pepper, black pepper. I also love chinese spice with chicken and duck, moroccan spice with chicken and lots of mint and basil on my salads!
  • staples that are always in my cupboard/fridge and should be in yours too – coconut oil & macadamia oil for cooking & baking; almond flour, LSA and coconut flour for  baking/frying requirements; organic butter; olive oil; protein and plenty of veggies (of course!); stevia and rice malt syrup for natural sweeteners; organic cheddar & haloumi; coconut cream; homemade chicken stock/bone broth; activated almonds or other nuts & seeds (soak almonds for 12hrs to break down its enzyme inhibitors making it more easily digested, then roast in oven on a very low temperature around 65C or 140F for 8-24hrs…tastes sooo good!) and a range of superfoods to make my yummy superfood smoothies!

Junk Food Substitutes

It’s easy to think that starchy carbohydrates such as pasta, rice and bread are needed to make certain recipes…this isn’t the case! There are some great substitutes you can use to still make things like burgers, pizzas and pastas! Examples include:

  • mashed cauliflower or sweet potato instead of white potato mash and rice
  • quinoa instead of rice and cous cous
  • zucchini shredded, julienned or cut into ribbons instead of pasta
  • protein pizza bases and buns instead of bread/traditional pizza bases found at Paleo Porn’s facebook page

There are a few ideas to get you started with, but also remember you can still eat burgers and pasta just on their own!! I love having burger patties sans bun but with a side salad! Same goes for a bolognese sauce. Think outside the square a bit, get creative, plan your meals and get cooking! :-)

Please share your own ideas and recipes below! And stay tuned for some yummy recipes coming to this blog soon!

 

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