My love for food began in the first grade without me realizing it.
I came home from my first day of school and eagerly tore open my folder to show my mom what the teacher gave me. The most important was the blue lunch menu sheet with a list of all the lunches for the month of September. I took a marker and began circling certain days of the week.
Curious and surprised, my mom asked me what I was doing. I told her that I was choosing which daily lunches I was going to buy and which days I was going to bring from home. I limited myself to buying only two times a week, pizza every other Friday. Why? I honestly could not tell you. But I do know that same excitement about food has followed me as I get older whether it's reading the menu before choosing a restaurant to eat at or planning my meals before grocery shopping.
I certainly didn't grow up liking all foods and turned my nose away from vegetables for years opting for chicken fingers and fries instead. But overtime I started expanding my palate and realized how exciting it is to try new foods and experiment with flavors.
in recent years, my mom started seeing a nutritionist and makes it a habit to share with me what she learns. As a result, I became more conscious of what I ate as but more importantly what I didn't eat enough of. Rather than count calories, I make sure I roughly balance the amount of carbs I eat and make an effort to eat all the food groups: dairy, vegetables, fruits, protein, and grains.
My typical Trader Joe's grocery store haul.https://www.instagram.com/globalgrubb/
How do I stay excited about food? Pinterest!
This is how I find the majority of my recipes. Over time as you cook more, you begin to have a feel for different flavors and can be more flexible and innovative with what and how you cook.
For beginners or people who don't know what to do with vegetables lingering in the back of your fridge, use Pinterest to your advantage. Simply type in the names of the vegetables in the search bar, you don't need to have a recipe in mind, and let the app do its job. It helps if you have a general idea in mind about what you want. For example, if I have sweet potatoes, spinach, and black beans lying around I'll type them into the search bar along with "easy", and pages of easy recipes using all or some of the ingredients appear for me to choose from.
Be creative! Just because the recipe doesn't call for it, doesn't mean you can't add to it. The following are recipes with fairly basic ingredients we all have at home. For more inspiration follow my food instagram: @globalgrubb !
There's something about eggs and vegetables that starts my day off right.
Veggie fritatta with onions, broccoli, sweet potato, arugula, tomato, yellow pepper, with Parmesan and mozzarella, topped with micro greens and red pepper flakeshttps://www.instagram.com/globalgrubb/
Scrambled Eggs with Sauteed Veggies
I love a good runny egg; however, I've been into scrambled eggs lately. This is a great option if you want to incorporate vegetables but, like myself, are not the most skilled omelet flipper. Sautee veggies in vegetable oil, anything you have in your fridge will do. After about 5-8 minutes, I put them on a plate off to the side. Then, I scramble my eggs at a low temperature to allow them to get fluffy. Once my eggs are almost done cooking, I fold my vegetables into the eggs, add cheese, and cook for about 30 more seconds. My go to combination is mushrooms, spinach, and tomatoes because not only do they compliment each other, but there's no additional prep work involved.
Tip: I prefer to add my tomatoes at the end so they stay nice and juicy.
Fancy word right? Don't let it intimidate you, it's really just a crustless quiche and a great option if you're cooking for multiple people. If you don't like the vegetables in a specific frittata recipe or want to use up the vegetables in your fridge, use online recipes as a reference and substitute for the vegetables of your choice.
This is a quick and easy way to meal prep for the week or if you don't want to cook breakfast every morning. The trick to make them creamier is adding a splash of milk or creamer into the egg mixture. Wanna try something new? Add a teaspoon or two or Dijon mustard or pesto to your egg mix!
To Pasta or Not to Pasta
I'm not a big pasta eater, but in a pinch its a fast source of energy that compliments vegetables well . Some of my favorite fall vegetables sweet potatoes, kale, butternut squash, and peppers.
Veggie pesto pasta, w/ chicken sausage, sweet potato, spinach, tomato, and fetahttps://www.instagram.com/globalgrubb/
Whether your favorite pasta dish is chicken alfredo or spaghetti and meatball, veggie noodles are a light, low carb substitute for pasta. Spiralizers are cheap and simple, mostly used for zucchini, carrots, squash, and sweet potatoes.
If you're feeling more ambitious, try these pasta dishes that may sound daunting, but with a little prep, the oven does all the work to create cheesy goodness. Take a break from meat and make vegetables the star of the dish again!
Mom's Roasted Vegetables
Roasted vegetables are my not so guilty pleasure. They require a little more prep time, but it's an easy process and all you need is an oven preheated at 425 degrees, olive oil, salt, and pepper. I like to roast a whole pan of vegetables, for example potatoes, peppers, onions, brussels sprouts, and broccoli. Make sure you know how long each vegetable should be roasted for. For example, I heat my potatoes up in the microwave for a minute or two, before roasting them so that they are cooked on the inside, crispy on the outside. If your taste buds are feeling more adventurous, I also season with paprika, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes
Tip: Have leftovers? Add them to your scrambled eggs or omelet the next morning!
Cauliflower is like the versatile cousin of kale. It's high in vitamin C, low in sodium, fat and cholesterol free, and low in carbohydrates and calories!
3. Buffalo Cauliflower: This is my roommates trial and error recipe for a quick and delicious buffalo cauliflower bites.
Portions vary by serving size*
- Preheat the oven to 415 degrees.
- Rinse your cauliflower.
- Combine equal parts flour and water, ½ cup of flour and ½ cup of water.
- Add seasoning of your choice, she uses garlic powder, salt, pepper, and paprika.
- Coat the cauliflower pieces in the mixture.
- Bake cauliflower on a baking sheet for 20-25 minutes, flipping halfway through.
- While they cook, melt 2TBS of butter and add 2TBS of hot sauce (add more or less hot sauce depending on your heat preference)
- Coat cauliflower in sauce and bake for 10 minutes. Enjoy!
This low carb substitute for bread adds a crunchy and refreshing twist to your lunch and dinner favorites, as well as some of my favorite meals to get me in the cold fall weather mood.
PF Chang's Chicken Lettuce Wrapshttps://images.app.goo.gl/MidQD8XTbeZu7KXb8
Substitute Sweet Potato for Toast:
Stuffed Bell Peppers:
The next time you make a smoothie, try adding in a half a cup of spinach, you can't detect the taste! Or add half an avocado to give your smoothie a rich and creamy texture. I've found smoothies to be a filling way to incorporate your daily dose of fruit, dairy, and vegetables!
Strawberry, Spinach, Mango Smoothiehttps://images.app.goo.gl/7JGPMH8V2Aurbgxw9
Some of you might be thinking vegetables and desserts should not go together, and maybe you're right. A little treating yourself never hurt. But, if you're like me and need to reassure your conscience, no matter how legitimate the difference is, these are some healthier dessert options.
Chocolate Chip Avocado Brownieshttps://images.app.goo.gl/35MerH5hTaY4gy5Q8