Credit: Jasper Greek Golangco
The key to eating healthy on a regular basis is through advance planning. Especially if you are feeding a family, it is of utmost importance to have a meal program that revolves around approximately 20 go-to recipes. I prepare one meal from each of the categories below on the weekend to last my family throughout the week. The only one I prepare on the day of is the salad. Due to the variety of food that is on the table at each day's dinner, we do not feel like we have been eating the same thing all week.
As a rule, in my family, we do not keep meat, eggs or dairy in our fridge. We are primarily vegan in that sense, but we do occasionally eat these foods at a restaurant. We try to keep eating out to a minimum, usually no more than twice a month.
- Whole and, if at all possible, sprouted grains: Choose from brown rice, wild rice, bulgur, and quinoa. Quinoa and bulgur are especially versatile in that you can create a completely different dish by adding a different selection of vegetables. As an example, I prepare quinoa two different ways. In one I add raw tomato, cubanelle peppers, onion, cucumbers, and some lemon juice to make a Mediterranean Quinoa. In another recipe, I add black beans, corn, tomato, cilantro and guacamole to make a Southwestern Quinoa. You can substitute bulgur with quinoa and use exactly the same veggies.
- A vegetable dish: One kind or a combination of any of the following vegetables: Zucchini, squash, leeks, okra, green beans, peas, eggplant, cauliflower, cabbage, carrot, mushrooms, peppers, or broccoli. I usually sauté these Mediterranean style with a bit of olive oil. I most always use onion, tomato and garlic as a base in many of my veggie plates.
- A salad: Any combination of lettuce varieties, red cabbage, arugula, kale, spring onions, potatoes. May also use nuts, seeds, and olives or a selection of veggies, especially, onion, peppers, and tomato. My salad dressing is almost always lemon juice. Rarely, I may add olive oil. Sometimes I add fresh (or dried would work in a pinch) parsley, or mint.
- A legume dish: White beans, pinto beans, black beans, garbanzo beans (chickpeas), or green lentil. As opposed to what the meat and dairy industry would like you to believe, you can get the variety and amount of proteins you need from legumes and vegetables.
- A soup: I do not bring out soup every day. Usually only about once a week and only during the colder months. My go-to soups are broccoli, tomato, and red lentil soup.
- Wild salmon: This is the only meat I do cook at home. I buy it frozen from Trader Joe's, thaw in the fridge, grill and serve with lemon, salt, and black pepper. I make fish only once about every other week.
Having four different types of food every day and occasionally fish and soup for some added variety works great for my family. I make my kids eat (or at least sample) a minimum of two foods from the selection available each day.
For the days we are on the run or not feeling like setting the table for a whole dinner, I also keep varieties of hummus to whip up quick sandwiches using hummus, lettuce, and tomato on sprouted whole grain breads. My favorite brand of bread is Ezekiel.
Thanks for reading. Stay healthy!