This week, I recommend that you try to choose a healthy dinner or two to eat each day.
We’ve talked about the hearty salad and healthy breakfasts â€” this week, it’s healthy dinners. I suggest you take time now to pick one or two recipes, then go to the grocery store over the next day or two and start cooking them!
This is the slow change method that I advocate here on Sea Change. We’re not changing everything at once, we’re picking one meal to try out and we give ourselves a week or so to adjust to that, before starting another change. Over the course of a month, you might have adjusted all your meals â€” or at least made some progress towards that. All of this takes time, it takes adjusting, and it takes course correction. Don’t be discouraged if it’s not going as well as you’d hoped, or if it’s taking too long. That’s the process!
A Healthy Dinner
So what makes a healthy dinner? Simply put, it’s whatever “healthy” means to you. There are lots of different versions of healthy out there, from vegan to paleo to gluten-free to green juices and not much else.
I’ll tell you my idea of a healthy dinner:
- Start with vegetables. Let greens be the majority, but have other colors on the plate too. This might be fresh veggies, steamed, baked, sautÃ©ed.
- Then protein â€” for me, that’s usually beans, tofu or tempeh. For you that might be fish, eggs or poultry. I love beans because they not only have protein, they have lots of fiber, low in calories, and have other nutrients as well. And they’re cheap!
- Whole grain â€” I like brown rice most of the time. But I also do quinoa or other whole grains.
- A sauce â€” usually nut-based (see my recipe below). This adds flavor to the beans and veggies.
Other options you might consider:
- Chili with brown rice (my veggie version)
- Soup with lots of veggies, beans, whole-grain pasta, squash (my recipe)
- Salmon and steamed greens
- Pita with falafels, hummus and veggies
- Lentil soup with veggies
- Scrambled tofu with veggies (my recipe)
- Tofu stir-fry with peanut sauce
- Cuban black beans
- Black bean soup with quinoa
The main idea is to get as much nutrients in your dinners as possible. Scrap the empty calories as much as you can. You don’t have to be perfect â€” just get lots of fiber and nutrition.
Pick one or two to make this week. Make extra so you can eat leftovers for a night or two. One idea is to pick two healthy dinners, cook one tomorrow night, one the next night, and then eat leftovers for several nights after that. Easy!
My Favorite Dinner: Buddha Bowls
The term “Buddha bowl” doesn’t really mean anything, because there are a lot of variations. But here’s one of mine:
- 2 red bell peppers, slightly roasted in the oven (remove seeds and stems, roast at 400 degrees for like 5-10 minutes until slightly blackened at edges)
- almond butter, 2 Tbsp
- tahini, 1/4 to 1/2 cup
- lemon juice, 1-2 Tbsp
- maple syrup, 1 Tbsp
- chopped garlic, 2 tsp
- miso, 4 Tbsp
- salt, pepper, cayenne
Blend all these ingredients into a sauce. Pour 2-3 tablespoons of it over a bowl of brown rice, salad veggies, and black beans or garbanzo beans (drained from a can, rinsed, heated on the stove or in the microwave). Maybe some sliced avocados too!
The result might look something like this.
Give it a shot!