Over the last few years I’ve simplified the way I cook at home.
I used to spend a lot of time cooking meals from scratch - homemade dressing, sauces, spice blends - you name it. Part of it stemmed from watching my dad cook from scratch over the years (he's a chef!) which gave me a deep appreciation for "slow food." I'll admit that I used to equate healthy food with "unprocessed food" so I made everything myself, right down to every dressing, sauce and nut milk.
Don't get me wrong - I still love experimenting in the kitchen, trying out interesting recipes, and cooking from scratch. I realized, though, that I was spending a lot of time planning, preparing, cooking, and cleaning up afterwards. Battling an autoimmune disease I've experienced ups and down with my health, and I began to understand that my time and energy is precious.
And I wanted to spend it doing other things.
Because I spend a little less time in the kitchen I can support my health in other ways like reading, yoga, walking my pup, and investing time in my private practice.
I recognize that I'm not the the only one who faces these struggles.
Living with chronic illness often means coping with physical and emotional challenges so getting a meal on the table can be difficult. Nourishing the body is a form of self-care and essential to support chronic illness and mental health, but if you struggle to do basic life “stuff” (like get out of bed in the morning), then cooking a meal can be a huge obstacle in the pursuit of feeling better.
What does it actually mean to cook simple?
Simplifying means focusing on common ingredients that are cooked properly and well seasoned with herbs or spices. For me this often looks like one pot meals, fewer ingredients, or less cook time. I like to rely on some frozen, canned or “short-cut” products like a jar of pasta sauce or can of black beans. Just because food has undergone processing, doesn't mean it's "bad" for you. I still aim to have all of the foods groups in a meal (carbs, protein, fat, veggies), but I often only use a handful of ingredients to create a meal.
And I want to share more uncomplicated, nourishing, accessible, and delicious recipes with you.
I'm excited to share my first ever "recipe round up" featuring the best quick + healthy meal inspiration from all around Instagram. I rounded up nine recipes from some of my favorite Registered Dietitians. I promise that you will love how simple, nourishing and flavorful they are. You'll find a variety of options to suit your taste buds including plant-forward, one pot and gluten-free meals.
Don't forget to click over to Instagram to find the ingredients & instructions!
Adult Lunchable by Lindsey Janeiro of Nutrition to Fit - Lindsey's easy, balanced lunch takes 5 minutes to throw together and has it all - sweet, salty, crunchy, crisp.
Roasted Veggie Black Bean Tostadas from my Instagram - These plant powered tostadas are ready in 15 minutes. Pile tostada with mashed black beans, sautéed veggies, chunky guacamole and a dash of hot sauce.
Quick Garlicky Tomato Basil Sauce from my Instagram - Rich tomato sauce with loads of fresh basil all done in about 20 minutes. Toss with your favorite pasta.
Sheet Pan Recipe by May Zuh of Nutrition Happens - May shares her standard sheet pan method for roasting colorful veggies and protein to get her through a busy week.
"Snack" Lunch Plate by Cara Harbstreet of Street Smart RD - More ‘no cook’ inspiration with this beautiful builder plate from Cara.
20 Minute Chicken Tikka Masala from my Instagram - A flavorful Indian-inspired meal with all the food groups - protein + veg + grain + sauce.
Open Face Chickpea Salad Sammie from Alexis Joseph of Hummusapien - A creative play on a classic, this lunch is ready in 4 easy steps.
Sweet Potato, Black Bean & Kale Skillet by Dawn Jackson Blatner - Dawn's one skillet meal is colorful, flavorful and filling.
5 Ingredient Noodle Stir-Fry from my Instagram - Head to the Asian section of your grocery store to find rice noodles and a delicious stir fry sauce and you’re all set.
Tell me, what are your favorite "throw together" meals at home?