Thursday, May 28, 2015

Lazy Girl's Approach to Better Health

In the last few years I have gotten into some lazy habits. Cooking, for example. I used to cook healthy food almost every day. But I got out of the habit when I hooked up with someone who loves to go to cafes, and hates kale and other things I used to eat. We moved multiple times and I had my whole way of life disrupted. Eating out in new places is a lot of fun but we've lived in Chico three years or more so I can't really use that for an excuse. What's for supper? I don't know, I didn't plan ahead so we don't have the right ingredients, nothing interesting is already prepared, cheap Chinese food is just down the street and, despite the vegetables, that's not as healthy as you might think. Then menopause set in and changed my metabolism, the leeway I might have had in my youth is gone, and now none of my clothes fit.

:-(

This week I went clothes shopping, had the horrifying experience of standing in front of full-length mirrors with awful glaring lighting. . . and saw the awful glaring truth. Yikes!

I know, I know, love my body no matter what size but, still, there are health effects to be expected from this. Let's get real. It's time to re-incorporate some healthier habits into my life!

Big sighs. What are the "easiest" things I could do to generate the most healthful impact?

Thinking way back in time, I remember always planning a week's worth of meals in advance. I'd make sure I got all the ingredients for those meals instead of randomly filling my basket with whatever looked good. And I cooked every night and rarely went out to eat. Cooking from scratch every night, however, is no longer appealing so the current choice is to add in delicious home-cooked meals that will be delightful to eat a second or third time. Or prepared choices that I can mix and match the whole week through.

The first thing I made was a big bowl of salad with the ingredients that make salads start to look sad as time goes on--cut up tomatoes, avocados, etc.--prepared and kept in separate bowls. And a delicious marinated artichoke frittata--perfect for "lazy" cooks! Just mix the ingredients up, heat on the stove in a cast iron pan while you waste time on Facebook, add cheese and put under the broiler for a little bit more, and voila! You have a main dish for 3-5 meals, depending on who's eating. After that, I felt inspired so I added a pot of rice, made up a nice fruit salad, and opened up a ready-made bag of already cooked seasoned lentils (from Trader Joe's -- yum, highly recommend) and put it in a container so I can just spoon some out whenever I want some.  This doesn't sound like a lazy approach but trust me, one night of cooking and ingredient prep led to super easy breakfasts, lunches and dinners for several days after. Paul and I added some microwaved Indian dinners one night and fish with asparagus another but the more time-consuming items were already done. 15 minute dinners that make us feel like we were eating like kings was pretty awesome.