Ok, you caught me. I don’t love eating healthy. I never crave kale. I (usually) don’t choose salad over pasta. If there were no consequences, I would eat carbs for at least 2/3 meals per day. After going away to college for a year and being responsible for my own meals (under the guise of a university meal plan- ick), I realized that I feel like crap when I eat crap. Especially since I was using a meal plan, even when I was eating healthy, the ingredients weren’t always the best and I just didn’t feel great. Being home this summer and having access to a fully stocked kitchen (thanks, Mom and Dad) where I can cook (and eat my mom’s cooking), I have been feeling so much better. And by better, I mean more energized and just overall good.
Eating healthier makes me feel great, even though I’d much rather be eating donuts all the time. Since I’m living in an apartment at school this year, I have been experimenting in the kitchen all summer to come up with some healthy meals I can make myself at school. I look for the balance of healthy and something that tastes good. Just because I’m eating healthy doesn’t mean I want to sacrifice eating the things that I like! I won’t be hoping on the Paleo, gluten free, dairy free train anytime soon. But I still like finding ways to have that balance and maybe eat healthy all day, then have a nice bowl of ice cream for dessert.
Today I want to share a few of my favorite things I’ve made this summer. All of these pictures were taken with my phone with the idea in the back of my head that I’d use them for a future blog post- so they’re not all the best quality. Most of these salads are things I just throw together based on what we have in the fridge on that given day and I love continuing to experiment and add new ingredients! Some of them are kind of similar/ repetitive so for that I apologize but I am a creature of habit and know what I like, I guess 😉
The salad at the beginning of the post is one of my favorite summer salads, especially with fresh Jersey tomatoes. This salad is perfect when I want pasta because it has all the essential Italian ingredients: tomatoes, mozzarella, balsamic and basil pesto! This is a spinach salad with grilled chicken, diced tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and Israeli couscous with basil pesto and topped with balsamic glaze. One of my tips for the unhealthy eater is create a mix of things you love with something new/ healthy that you might not like. For me, that was this salad. I love mozzarella cheese and tomatoes, but didn’t used to like spinach. By mixing things I liked with the spinach, I was able to work the new ingredient into my meals. Now, I eat spinach no problem and it’s just like any other green.
Another Italian meal, are you surprised? This one is a variation of avocado toast, something I’ve been having at least 3 times a week this summer. It’s just a piece of whole grain toast with mashed avocado, a little bit of lemon juice, then topped with mozzarella cheese and cherry tomatoes with a balsamic glaze drizzle. I put the piece of toast over a bed of arugula for some extra greens (and because that’s how my favorite restaurant for avocado toast does it, too).
I also love Mexican food, so I like to make at-home burrito bowls! We make these for dinner a lot, so this was just leftovers. I had a bowl of cilantro lime rice (just white rice with chopped cilantro and lime juice- it tastes just like chipotle!), homemade pico de gallo, homemade guacamole, grilled chicken, black beans, corn, grilled chicken and cheese. If you want to be even healthier, you can use brown rice instead.
And yet another Mexican-inspired bowl! This one is actually from one of my mom’s cookbooks, though. It’s a Turkey Santa Fe Taco Salad. It’s supposed to have an avocado creama, but I just sliced up some avocado instead. I put it over quinoa and added some shredded cheese. The turkey taco salad has ground turkey, black beans, tomatoes, onions, cilantro and corn. I also ate this later in the week as a burrito!
This was a quick lunch I just made that was arugula, tomatoes, corn, avocado, black beans, quinoa and grilled chicken with some balsamic dressing! Nothing super exciting, but yummy & all the protein keeps me energized all day long.
This is probably the most boring bowl in the list, but I wanted to share everything I’ve been eating recently, so here it is! Also, I liked it because as I was chopping the pepper, it made a heart, so naturally, I *had* to take a picture. It’s just greens, quinoa, grilled chicken, corn, red & yellow peppers, avocado and greek dressing.
I hope this post was somewhat helpful and inspires you to try something new in the kitchen this week! I am by no means an expert on eating healthy, but these are a few meals that I like it make. I’ve notoriously been a picky eater, so I’m trying to branch out and try new things. These are all very well within my comfort zone and in the future I am going to start trying new ingredients and recipes.
I am always all ears for new recipes, especially since I’m doing my own grocery shopping now for my kitchen in my apartment (can you tell I’m excited about living in an apartment this year?!). I am super close to Trader Joe’s, so if anyone has any special recommendations or favorite things to get there, let me know in the comments!
What are your favorite ways to eat healthy? Do you like this new kind of post and if so, is there some other wellness content you’d like to see here? Comment below!