Eating well isn’t just about nerding out on nutrition. The trick to making great health habits stick is in keeping meals as fun and beautiful as possible too.
Plant-based blogger, Sarah Britton of My New Roots, is on our wavelength. In fact, her cooking process is so pretty, she’s begun offering some of her favorite food and ingredient snaps as prints and we’re planning on filling our kitchens with them. (Enter to win one of Sarah’s prints on Insta today!)
We’re falling more in love with the process of cooking healthfully thanks to a few refreshers from Sarah of My New Roots below. These tips are amazing and prove our point that healthy eating can be beautiful, fun and gourmet too. Here’s Sarah…
My journey to healthful eating has been a long one, and the most surprising and rewarding experience of my life! I grew up eating microwaved hotdogs and thinking that candy was a food group. I entered my teens overweight, with a serious acne condition and crippling PMS. It wasn’t until I started working on an organic farm that things shifted.
Within two weeks of cutting out sugar and dairy, and eating just what we were growing on the land, I became a new person: finally awake, in tune with my body and connected to the natural environment around me. I started practicing yoga every day, hiking, cooking, finding ways to occupy myself other than behind a screen – and everything changed.
That was ten years ago, but I am still learning all the time and still challenging myself to be a better version of myself every day. “Health” is a constantly moving target, as our needs change with every passing minute. Therefore, I don’t think health should be seen as an end goal, but as a process to be fully engaged with and, most importantly, to savor!
Here are some kitchen tips that I live by – they’ve really helped improve the healthiness of my meals, and also the simplicity!
Use the oven to make soup
This is a super fast and easy way to make soup! Chop up some onions and carrots, parsnips, pumpkin, broccoli, sweet potato, peel a few cloves of garlic, toss everything in coconut oil, season with salt and bake in a 400°F/200°C oven for 25-30 minutes until tender and slightly charred. Transfer everything to a blender with enough hot vegetable broth to cover the veggies, blend on high until smooth and season to taste. No pots to wash!
Build your meal
I am often asked how I create recipes: It’s all about building! I start with a foundation, usually a green, a grain or a legume; make it interesting with veggies; drizzle a great sauce or dressing; and top it all off with fresh herbs, roasted nuts or pickled veggies!
Rollovers are your friend
Instead of cooking a number of meal elements every day, I intentionally make more than I need so that I have rollovers! Quinoa, brown rice, millet, lentils, chickpeas, beans etc. can be cooked and enjoyed up to five days later, or even frozen for up to three months! Creating meals becomes simply combining prepared elements so that you have healthy, easy choices all the time! Get some ‘rollover’ bowl ideas here.
Grow your own sprouts
Growing and eating sprouts is one of the easiest ways to add tons more protein, fiber, phytonutrients and enzymes to your diet. Soak your “seeds” overnight (lentils, beans, chickpeas, quinoa, wheat), drain and rinse the next morning, and keep inverted, rinsing 2-3 times daily for 3-4 days until a tail longer than the seed is present. Learn more about the process here.
Protect your olive oil
Olive oil’s delicate fats and nutrients stay potent and protected when kept cool. The fridge is optimal, but an alternative is a dark cupboard or pantry away from heat and light. If your olive oil solidifies in the fridge, keep a small bottle at room temperature with an amount you’d use up within two weeks. Dark glass is the best choice for container.
Add a little acid
If you ask most professional chefs what is missing in home-cooked meals, they will almost always say “acid.” Acidity gives food sourness, brightness and tang, but most importantly, balance! There are two ways to add acidity to food: citrus (lemon or lime juice) or vinegar (I love apple cider vinegar). It doesn’t require much to take your food from flat to fab!