I’d be lying if I said this #EatYourDaily10 challenge has been going easily for me. The first week, it was easy– as most things are when you’re just starting out. Last week, I didn’t prepare enough ahead of time, so I found myself snacking on crackers instead of sliced veggies, which just goes to show that I will always reach for whatever is the easiest option.
The key to staying on track, for me at least, is to make eating healthy food as easy as possible. If it takes too much time or effort, I won’t keep it up.
Despite my lack of perfection while following this challenge, I’m still doing my best to keep at it because that’s exactly the point– you don’t need to be perfect. If you feel like you’ve slipped up or fallen off the wagon, it’s no big deal. Pick up right where you left off by having a salad as your next meal, or a green smoothie, or maybe a baked sweet potato stuffed with some tasty sautéed veggies. The biggest lesson I’ve learned through the years is that you build new habits by practicing them, so jump right back in there and start practicing. Practice, practice, practice!
The worst thing you can do is procrastinate or wait for the perfect time to start making healthier choices. (Spoiler alert: There is no perfect time.) Something will ALWAYS come up, so you need to learn how to take care of yourself regardless of the situation.
Again, you don’t have to be perfect.
That’s why I thought it might be fun today to show you a peek at the fast options I’ve been reaching for lately. Some of them are convenience items from Trader Joe’s, but you could easily make a lot of these options yourself if you don’t have the option of buying them. I think I might start doing that myself to save money, because you always pay a price for convenience! (And I honestly think it would take less than 30 minutes to prepare a big batch for the week.)
I hope these ideas will help you the next time you’re feeling too busy to eat well.
Frozen Carrot Spirals. This is a new item in the freezer section at Trader Joe’s, and I think I like these veggie-based noodles better than spaghetti. Seriously! I’ve currently stashed several boxes of these frozen prepared “noodles” in my freezer for a fast meal, but I think I’ll try using the Inspiralizer to make my own carrot noodles next time to make them even more affordable. Organic carrots are pretty cheap!
Shredded cabbage. It may sound strange, but sautéed cabbage is ultra comforting to me. I use it to make my quick 2-ingredient Detox Spaghetti and the Skillet Breakfast Hash from my cookbook, No Excuses Detox. It’s a delicious low-carb and nutrient-rich alternative to traditional hash browns, and it’s readily available in 12-ounce bags at Trader Joe’s. (Though, again, you could easily shred a head of cabbage in your food processor or salad shooter to make it more cost-effective.)
Carrot Slaw. I love making slaw-type salads because they’re sturdy enough to make ahead and will last in the fridge for several days, even after they’ve been tossed in a salad dressing. The Carrot Raisin Slaw in No Excuses Detox has been a go-to meal for me this week, and if you don’t have that book, this dairy-free coleslaw recipe might make a good option, too. When you have a salad dressed and ready to go, you have NO EXCUSE not to eat your veggies! I use my salad shooter to shred carrots quickly.
Cauliflower Rice. I love buying riced cauliflower at the store, because I hate the hassle of dragging out my food processor and chopping the head of cauliflower. It’s a messy process. Trader Joe’s sells an organic bag of cauliflower rice in their freezer section, and I’ve been using it for everything lately– from making Cauliflower Fried Rice and Cauliflower Jambalaya, to even adding it in my smoothies. You can’t taste it at ALL in a smoothie, so it’s a great way to sneak an extra veggie into my family’s day.
Freezer Meals. If you don’t already have a copy of my latest cookbook, No Excuses Detox, you’re missing out on a LOT of my favorite freezer and make-ahead meals. Here’s what I’ve been eating this week from the book:
- Quinoa Pizza. I always make a double-batch of my Overnight Quinoa Pizza Crust so that I can have at least one spare crust in my freezer for a quick meal. I slice the extra crust into quarters so that I can top individual slices exactly how I want to, because my family doesn’t agree on toppings. I add my toppings directly to the frozen crust then heat it up at 350ºF until everything is hot and bubbly, about 10 to 12 minutes.
- Cauliflower Baked Ziti. This dish is my ultimate comfort food, and the leftovers are AMAZING even when they’re cold. I love eating it straight out of the fridge, and it solves any comfort food cravings that come up. You can make it as a “freezer dump meal” using the instructions in the book!
- Vegan Sloppy Joe Stuffed Sweet Potatoes. (Pictured at the top of this post) I made this recipe for dinner one night, and I love how the leftover filling can be used for other meals. I used it as a “bolognese” sauce over my carrot noodles one day for lunch, and then the next day I used it as a filling in a hand-held wrap when I needed an easy meal on the go.
- Freezer Waffles. These waffles are my family’s favorite, and they pack a sneaky serving of sweet potato in each bite. When I don’t have sweet potato on hand, I make them with banana and they’re equally as delicious! My waffle maker makes waffles that are too large to fit in my toaster, so I either have to split the waffle in half to squeeze it into a toaster slot, or I’ll place the frozen waffle on a baking sheet under the broiler for a minute or two to reheat.
Carry Out. When all else fails, dining out is always an option, too. We’ve been making an effort to save money and eat at home, but last weekend we caved and got Chipotle for lunch. My go-to order is usually the vegetarian salad with chopped romaine, black beans, fajita veggies, salsa, and guacamole. (Sometimes I add the cheese, too.) When I’m feeling extra hungry, I’ll get the burrito bowl with all of those same ingredients, but with rice, too. I’m finding that most restaurants have decent salads and vegetable side dishes, so you can almost always find a healthier option if you’re willing to look for it.
Knowing that a healthy meal is just minutes away can really help you meet your daily goals, so I hope this post is a helpful reminder of how easy it can be.
Reader Feedback: I’d love to hear your fast go-to meals, too! Let me know in the comments below.