National Nutrition Month Rainbow Salad & Veggies that Stay Fresh
As we close in on National Nutrition Month,
I am reminded of just how much truth this year’s Nutrition Month theme “Eat Right Bite by Bite” truly is. In the literal sense we are likely all eating a few more processed foods and definitely a lot more refined carbohydrates. It’s natural in the state of distress we are in right now. Not only do they last longer, but our bodies literally crave and utilize them better in times of physical and mental stress. So in looking at nutrition “bite by bite” we allow ourselves to stop worrying about how breakfast these past couple of weeks looks VERY different and a little sugary compared to what we typically have. We allow ourselves to stop counting, shaming, judging and choose to mindfully eat what we have as fuel because that is what is available to us in that moment. And maybe we can create a little more balance on our plate bite by bite.
Keep healthful ingredients on hand.
When we think of healthy, we often think fresh and perishable. While yes- real, whole produce gives us so many nutrients there are ways we can enjoy these in a longer lasting way. We can stock our freezer with frozen vegetables. These are picked at their peak and flash frozen to preserve all of the nutrients. Skip the ones with sauces and gravies and your frozen veggies are equally as nutritious as the fresh ones – and cheaper! Even if it’s frozen chicken pot pie night, throw in some of these veggies on the plate too.
Stock your pantry with beans, lentils and protein loaded pastas such as banza pasta or the soybean and black bean pastas. Each of these pantry stable foods will give your meal a punch of protein and fiber.
Practice proper home food safety.
Now more than ever it is important to keep our kitchens clean and safe for our families. I (like many of you) haven’t eaten all of my meals at home until now. And it’s making me recognize how often I truly need to sanitize the counters, containers and refrigerator. Move more perishable foods to the front to eat them first, and triple washing produce before eating it.
Share meals together when possible.
This is likely more possible now than ever – take advantage of it. Research shows that when we eat as a family we actually eat more nutritious meals. We also tend to eat more mindfully which helps us slow down, enjoy and be grateful.
Living alone and social distancing? Create a google hangout or group hangout for a meal a few times during the week. This will boost your social happy hormones and help you enjoy a more balanced meal.
Reduce food waste.
When we stocked up last Sunday on groceries we tried to purchase as much as possible with the least possible food waste. We spent more than we ever have on groceries, but it’s been 1 1/2 weeks and we still have plenty of fresh food! How? We meal planned. We took inventory before we left, we planned the majority of our dinners with a little wiggle room, and with this tool to choose produce that would last us as long as possible without wasting it.
Try New Flavors and Foods
I read a meme that said that 1/2 of us will come out of this as chefs. That can be YOU. Craving that favorite Thai restaurant, but it’s closed right now? Try whipping it up on your own. Use the leftovers and pantry staples to create something new so it doesn’t feel like the same meal every night. Be creative and have fun! Take this chance to spend time in your kitchen, because what else is there to do?
So there you have it, creating healthful meals one bite at a time.
And outside of the kitchen? Let’s take that bite by bite too. Keep healthful “ingredients” on hand. My healthful ingredients have been the good “at home” company I keep around me at all times to brighten my day and a basement gym/meditation space I’ve created. I’m choosing not to get too hung up on all of the cafe national nutrition month activities that I had planned and could not do. I’m choosing to be productive and loving in this new normal way, and you can too. Bite by bite.