Why Not . . . Keep It Simple in the Kitchen?
As a personal goal, I have been doing my best to eat real food as much as possible. Which means I shop more often, my fridge and pantry are less cluttered and, if I stick to these eating habits, I feel better as well.
With the same approach to living simply luxuriously when it comes to making decisions, choosing your wardrobe or making your travel plans, how you eat can also be simplified and flavor and experience improved based on the quality of food you choose to eat.
Julia Child was on to something. Often we bring too much into our diets and neglect to focus on real, fresh, local (if possible) food. These three details can make a tremendous difference in our eating experience.
Today I've gathered up seven simple tricks I have been incorporating into my eating schedule - some for years and some for just a few months. Each idea's purpose is to provide a healthy, well-balanced, yet delicious meal.
1. A Simple, Delicious Dressing
Over the weekend, I shared with Instagram followers a simple side salad and mentioned it was dressed in one of my favorite go-to vinaigrettes. A tremendous thank you to Jamie Cat Callan for sharing this recipe in her latest book, I have been loyal ever since. Here is the recipe for 2-4 servings (all of it is approximate, but keep the proportions the same):
*1 1/2 teaspoons good extra virgin olive oil (look for a best by date - California and Oregon makes some great ones)
*1/2 teaspoon good balsamic vinegar (the thicker the better)
*a dash of fresh pepper
*1/8 tsp of Dijon mustard
Whisk these four ingredients together and place at the bottom of your salad bowl. When you're ready, toss greens (I love baby spinach or arugula) so that the salad is coated.
2. Create a Default Grocery List
Having a go-to weekly grocery list keeps your planning simple as you prepare for the work week. Now, you may have to stop by the store or market throughout the week to pick up fresh ingredients, but having a default list reduces stress as you will have all of the necessary ingredients on hand and ready to go no matter where your week takes you.
3. Roast the Vegetables
For every lunch or dinner, I usually have a green salad tossed in my favorite dressing (above) or roasted vegetables (fresh from the farmers' market if in season). Follow this recipe, and use any vegetable you prefer. Remember to use extra virgin olive oil, a dash of salt and pepper, and then toss before placing in the oven. With these simple ingredients, you will have enhanced flavor and have enjoyed eating your required vegetables.
4. Grab the Water
On the weekends, I will usually have a glass of wine with my dinner, but during the week, it's my go-to of choice - water. I never can seem to drink enough, and especially living in a dry climate, I need to hydrate. Remember, often when we think we are hungry, and it is actually our body asking for more water. So solve the problem by pairing your meal with a glass of chilled water with a slice of lemon.
5. Eat Leftovers for Lunch
Eating out for lunch can get expensive, and making a lunch each morning before you head out the door can take time that you may not have. As a solution, make an extra serving the night before, and store in to-go containers so you can take it with you to work in the morning.
6. Cut up Fruit and Veggies for the Week
I fell in love with this trick during this past summer when the fruit was fresh and left any candy found in the store in the dust when it came to satiating my sweet tooth. Each Sunday, I pick up the freshest berries I can find in the store or market, slice them up and put them in a large plastic container. Each morning before work I dish out a small helping to take to work and be enjoyed before lunch. Trust me, once you've had the best fruit of the season, that candy bar in the afternoon will taste far too sweet and unnatural.
7. Stick to the Same Breakfast
I don't know about you, but while I love my mornings, I want to keep the decisions to a minimum as my mind is still waking up. However, at the same time, I want to make sure I eat a meal that will fill me up and keep my energy strong until lunch. Whatever you prefer, come up with a go-to breakfast that includes some protein (eggs are my preference) and some fiber (which helps to maintain your energy levels - oatmeal works great). And skip the sweet pastries. They may be sold in the morning, but they are more of a dessert than a healthy start to the day.
Keeping your machine (your body) healthy and well-fed allows you to do what you want and need to do throughout the day. Keep the process simple and enjoyable - food you love and making time to enjoy it. After all, if we can learn anything from the French it is to see food as a pleasure-filled experience to be treasured and respected not another "have-to" on our to-do list. Choose wisely, respect your body and limit the "fake" food (processed). Not only will you welcome simplicity into your life, you will also begin to feel and look better as well.
~Join the discussion: What simple strategies do you use when it comes to eating well? Comment below or share on Facebook.
~A Book to Read: Full of dietary details and simple ideas for eating well - The French Twist
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