Here is this month’s roundup of various questions I’ve been asked and answers I’ve written about everyday healthy eating and lifestyle challenges. In a nutshell, it all revolves around ‘how to eat healthy every day’.
Q1: How can I include more vegetables into my eating plan or daily diet?
- You can start by learning to cook nutritionally.
- Anyone can cook with vegetables, and categorically, that would be ‘healthy cooking’ or ‘eating healthy’.
- But nutritional cooking is a more long-lasting approach to bringing more vegetables (and other nutrition) into your daily diet. It requires you to think consciously about what vegetables to use for your dietary needs based on your goals, which should be based on these two factors:
- Health-building goals and intentions – Knowing what you would like to improve will indicate which type of vegetables to target and eat more of.
- Healing goals and intentions – Knowing your health conditions, will point the way to which vegetables you need to be consuming more of so that you can eat healthy every day.
- Nutritional cooking will also teach you how to cook in a healthy way, for example, using the right oils and fats to prepare those vegetables, so it builds health while getting nutrients from veggies. For example, cooking with Ghee (Omega 3) and Coconut oil (antimicrobial) as opposed to hydrogenated fats.
- If you cook nutritionally you’ll learn to meal prep in such a way that you consume more veggies throughout the day as opposed to just once a day with a main meal.
- So, make a note of what you want to build on and what you want to heal.
How to eat healthy every day and alleviate symptoms of disease?
- For example, if you want to improve heart health and improve fitness, you should incorporate more Beets and Red Cabbage in your diet. And you can incorporate it in many interesting culinary ways such as:
- Breakfast – Beet & Carrot Juice. Both are great for anti-inflammation (heart), it reduces cholesterol; Beets contain Nitrates which improves fitness performance.
- Mid-morning Snack – Carrot Sticks with Beetroot (Veg) Hummus. Here you’re doubling-down on vegetable intake.
- Lunch – Red Lentil soup. This can contain lentils, carrots, celery, kale, turmeric, and lots more; You’re maxing out your vegetable intake, plus these ingredients have incredible immune benefits (building up health) and anti-inflammation and blood pressure benefits.
- Afternoon-snack – Here you should focus on protein snacks and not carbs. But you can still consume veggies along with protein like cheese or yoghurt. Try Snacking Bell Peppers – delicious and the lowest in carbs.
- Dinner – If you don’t like eating veggies, the best strategy is to disguise it in meals. A few examples: Hide shredded Broccoli in a mac-n-cheese; Make a Beet or Red cabbage pasta sauce; Mix Kale into soup as a topping; Mash butternut, sweet potato, black beans into a taco topping; Use red cabbage and carrot slaw as a taco topping.
Another way to incorporate veggies, is through cravings:
- If you love potato chips, why not swap that out for Beet or Kale Chips.
- Chickpea Brownie
- Sweet potato waffles
- Avocado Ice Cream
They are very addictive and totally healthy!
Q2: How can I improve access to affordable and healthy food in my urban area?
Grow your own food. This can be done in a portable greenhouse, your background in vegetable beds or even in a confined space like your balcony.
Another excellent practice that’s trending right now is urban homesteading. It’s basically growing, canning and preserving your own foods.
Generally, it is practicing a lifestyle philosophy of zero waste and conservation in an effort to be able to live either off-the-grid or completely self-sustainably. So, if you love the idea of self-reliance in a time when resources and money is scarce, it can be a transformative process and very cost effective too!
I highly recommend you watch the video below about how to eat healthy on a budget. It’s helpful if you’re looking for something about eating healthy for beginners too.
It touches on all points of how to bring nutrition, a healthy lifestyle, and practicing zero waste and sustainability into an overall healthy lifestyle. So if this sounds like what you’re after, watch it now.
Here are 3 ways to increase access to cheap healthy foods:
- Buy what is available, in season and on sale.
- Grow your own fruits and vegetables so that access to healthy foods become closer – as opposed to far away that you have to drive or it increases carbon footprint.
- Learn nutritional cooking – learn about nutritional constituents of all whole foods and ingredients; when you understand nutrition science behind certain foods, what they can do for your health, you will learn about their cooking and storage potential too. This is where you’ll start getting creative with groceries and budget, and get it to start working in your financial and health-building favour.
2023 Guide: Budget Meal Plan for Healthy Eating
If you’re looking for a budget meal plan for healthy eating, the best place to start is by learning how to cook with healthy ingredients. Those that build health and heal or alleviate symptoms of allergies or disease.
Q3: How can I uplevel my cooking skills to create delicious meals that are also nutritious?
- You can start with nutritional cooking:
- Learn basic knife skills – culinary knife skills help you cut vegetables correctly so you reduce waste; extend the portion sizes of meals, making your food ‘stretch’; increase the taste appeal of fruits and veggies, making you want to eat more of them, even the ones you don’t like.
- Learn about the nutritional content of whole foods, spices, adaptogens and superfoods. You can read articles about specific nutritional constituents in it and how you can cook with it. Once you know what it does and how it can build health or perhaps heal an ailment or symptoms of disease you can start including it in your recipes.
- Learn how to swap out ingredients in recipes; this will help you reconfigure existing recipes so that you can swap out / replace unhealthy ingredients for healthy ones (there’s a way to do that accurately); also it gives you the skill and inspiration to convert your favourite comfort foods and cravings into healthy ones – for example, learn how to swap out gluten for gluten-free, sugar for non-sugar or sugar alternatives, red meat for plant-based protein alternatives; great when you want to eat more foods the can reduce inflammation or maintain your gut health.
- Lastly, all the above forms part of healthy or nutritional cooking. You can learn how to do this and then apply it to your entire cooking repertoire.
- *While you are learning to cook nutritionally, don’t forget to tie this in with smart meal prep and planning. You will consume the right stuff and save! It will ensure your grocery budget stays economical with ZERO food waste. A trending topic right now 🙂
- To help you get started, you can download my two FREE guides for healthy swaps + ultimate list of pantry essentials specifically for healthy cooking.
Q4: What healthy breakfasts can boost my energy levels throughout my working day?
- Oats the still the number one breakfast that dieticians recommend. Oats are heart-healthy and gut-friendly. They are so high in fibre that the slow energy release (Low GI) keeps you fuller for longer and controls appetite. Not only does it provide the right kind of energy, but it’s also the right kind of healthy breakfast to lose weight.
- When you’re wondering what to eat for breakfast at home, Granola is amazing. It can be eaten with any plant-based milk. My version doesn’t get soggy because it’s toasted and coated with healthy maple syrup. It’s high in the right ‘good’ fats, is high in Omega 3 and fibre, and great for gut health.
- Smoothies are the easiest to prepare in a hurried morning. And just as easy to prep and freeze on a Sunday for the week ahead. You can inject smoothies with every nutrient and health-building ingredient you need for the day. Here’s an easy and delicious step formula for prepping smoothies that covers all the macro and micronutrients. And this is the perfect healthy breakfast idea for weight loss too.
- Healthy egg breakfast – Omelette with veggies. Make an omelette (egg white or with yolk) with fresh or leftover veggies from the night before. Eggs, though considered to contain allergens for some people, are still highly nutritious and a great source of iron and protein, amongst many other nutrients. One egg (60g) per day is sufficient. If you are eating more than that, I’d consider egg whites (only) to maintain a healthy cholesterol count.
- Baked oats with carrot are on every nutritional cook’s list of healthy breakfast ideas – there are so many variations on this. It’s an easy to prep one-dish-wonder.
- For more quick breakfast ideas on the go, you will enjoy this video.
Q5: What’s an effective strategy for curbing my cravings for unhealthy snacks or junk food?
Swap out your cravings, as they are in whole form or their specific ingredients, for healthier ones.
This applies to foods you’ve made like muffins, cupcakes, savoury bread, cakes, and pastries.
If you’re consuming store-bought processed chocolate bars, gummies, chips, etc. rather opt for homemade healthy versions or choose a store-bought version that has less sodium and sugar. Be aware that all the reduced sodium and sugar are usually replaced with another artificial ingredient to balance out the flavour profile. So, it’s not entirely ‘healthy’.
Eat more high fibre foods, it will keep you fuller for longer.
Don’t eat carbs for your mid-afternoon or pre-supper snack. Rather have protein. It will sustain you for longer and prevent binge eating.
As you can see from these questions, healthy eating challenges faced by most people run pretty much along the same lines. People want to know how they can include certain foods into their diet to become healthier or build on it.
But, more importantly, the issue of eating to heal, alleviate or improve an aspect of health and lifestyle is a common theme. It’s clear that people know there is a strong motivation to achieve health and self-improvement through food and healthy eating.
People understand that knowing how to eat healthy – and cook with nutritional foods -, can only have long-term positive effects for both physical as well as mental health.
Health-building and healing should be the motivational factor in the way you choose your foods and how you prepare them.
If you’re feeling inspired to cook and I hope you are, download my FREE Guide to Healthy Swaps. This is a great reference for cooking dishes that mimic your favorite cravings.
Download them now.
If you liked this blog post, you’ll love this article about healthy eating on a budget.
Get the free ebook to keep you inspired to boost your nutrition while staying on budget.
Feel free to leave a comment, I value your feedback.
*cravenutritionalcooking.com does not give medical advice. Where there is a reference to it, the phrasing is used to illustrate a point or give context to food and cooking for nutrition. It is not related to a specific condition or any specific individual. Always consult your healthcare professional for medical and dietetic advice before embarking on any type of eating plan or ingesting nutritional supplements.
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