Thank goodness it’s Friday!! Although maybe I shouldn’t be saying that since it means we only have 1½ more days here in the tropics…No doubt, we are having the time of our lives, but family, our furry kiddos and home are definitely calling our names. To keep you occupied on your Friday morning, we have Jessi Haggerty of Bee Rooted with us to talk about good health. You may remember her from this post of yore, where I expressed my deepest thanks for her help in steering me in the right direction when it comes to my diet. Her advice has been invaluable and I am so pleased that she is here to share some more tips with you, my faithful, enthusiastic, creative readers. We’ve all made excuses for ignoring the facts when it comes to eating a balanced diet. She’s here today to kick those excuses to the curb and supply you with the motivation to get back on track.
At 13 years old, I learned how to make excuses for things before I even had to. Sitting in my room participating in some mindless activity like watching re-runs of Friends, or chatting on the phone with my best friend (she’s still my best friend, by the way), I knew to pause and make up an excuse after I heard my mom yell “JESS!” from the office downstairs. Despite what I thought at the time, I didn’t really have a whole lot going on so things like “I have to do my homework,” and “I have to apply for summer jobs” were sometimes sufficient. But usually, when my mom came to me with a simple chore like cleaning up the (already clean) bathroom, or picking up my shoes that trailed throughout the house, I would find a way to say “later” in its many forms: “Not now,” “in a bit,” “after I finish this…” etc. Yet, no matter what the excuse, she and I always ended up in the same place: Mom pointing out that in the time that I spent arguing and making excuses, the task could have been done already. Touche, Mom. Touche.
Ironically, today it seems like all I do is listen to lists and lists of excuses people have for eating unhealthfully. Most common excuses are that there’s not enough time, it’s too expensive, and I’m not a good cook. What I’ve learned from my experience as a 13-year-old is this – Most of the barriers to “doing my chores” were barriers I put there myself. So, in an effort to break these 3 simple barriers to good health, I decided to find solutions by teaching you a simple method to preparing healthy food fast and cheap, while implementing simple cooking techniques that you can apply to pretty much any meal.
Step 1: Keep your kitchen stocked with the following…AKA the cheapest grocery list you’ll ever follow.
- Whole Wheat Pasta (or any other whole grain like barley, quinoa or brown rice)
- Green Frozen Vegetable (spinach, kale, broccoli)
- Vegetable Broth
- Canned Diced Tomatoes
- Canned Beans (white beans have a nice neutral flavor that compliment most dishes)
- Garlic and Onion (perishable, but keep much longer than most vegetables)
- Salt, Pepper, Crushed Red Pepper
Step 2: Mise En Place.
A french term for having all of the ingredients in a recipe measured, chopped and in place before getting started. This little piece of advice was taken from Fiona Gubelmann (costar in the hit series Wilfred) in her interview in Vegetarian Times Magazine.
For amateur cooks, or avid kitchen experimenters like myself, this is SO KEY to preventing burning, forgetting and mis-stepping (like baking your cookies before you add the sugar). It makes my least favorite part (clean-up) a breeze and makes you feel like you’re on a hit day-time cooking show. The best part? Once all of the ingredients are measured out (which can be done pretty much at any time), putting your meal together takes no time at all!
For this meal: Chop 1 onion and 3 to 5 cloves of garlic, open all cans and spice containers and measure out about ¼ cup of vegetable broth. Place one large (empty pot) on the stove at medium heat, and 1 medium size pot filled with water for pasta or grain at medium heat. If cooking barley or rice, you will need 3 parts water to 1 part grain
Step 3: Prepare Your Quick Dinner
Saute onion and garlic in a hot pan in a few tablespoons of vegetable broth, until tender. Mix in a dash of salt, pepper and crushed red pepper. Add 1 can of diced tomatoes, cover and let simmer.
While that’s cooking, boil water and cook pasta or grain according to package. When tender, drain and add to tomatoes. Add 1 package of frozen greens and cover just until defrosted (over-cooking leads to nutrient degradation). Add can of beans, give it a quick stir so everything is mixed throughout. Top with optional parmesan or pecorrino cheese.
Serve and be proud of your 15-minute healthy meal.
It’s not rocket science, it’s faster than ordering out and all it requires is some inexpensive pantry items and the ability to boil water.
What are some of your barriers to good health? How do you overcome them?
Jessi is the creator of Bee Rooted a blog and business that offers a broader perspective on food and nutrition. “Healthy” is not defined by the nutrition facts label on the back of a grocery store item, but by the impact a food has from our earth, to your body. All of her advice and recipes are compiled together to provide you with solutions to sustain our earth and our food system, sustain your health and sustain your lifestyle – The ultimate definition of “sustainability.” With a love for food and knowledge, and passion for teaching others, she is always prepared with helpful tips, time-friendly, delicious recipes and creative life-management suggestions. Subscribe to her blog at www.BeeRooted.com or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.