|Monday's veggie haul. And then we bought about this much again on Wednesday!|
This week's health challenge was going to be all about small ways to be a little more active, but then it turns out that I have somehow (I have no idea!) sprained my foot! My doctor said I don't have to stay off it, but seeing as it hurts if I walk too much, this didn't feel like a good week to start trying to ramp up my activity levels, somehow. So instead, I have been trying to get more vegetables in my diet.
As it happens, I actually really love vegetables. Love 'em. And even more luckily, my kids like (most of) them too! But sometimes in the whirlwind of everyday life, it's quicker and easier to cook up some pasta with meat sauce and call it good than to wash and chop and prepare a plate of nutrient-rich veggies. Not to mention the fact that if you don't eat them fast enough, they start to wilt and mold in the fridge, which can be frustrating enough that you just don't really want to deal with the whole vegetable hoopla.
But they are so tasty and so good for you too, that I'm going to keep trying! Not only are they full of the nutrients we need to be healthy, they can also lower your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer(!), they can also improve your vision and gastrointestinal health too. You can read a little more about that here and here. Plus, the more healthy foods you eat, the less unhealthy foods you eat, if you know what I mean. You get a whole heck of a lot more strawberries out of 200 calories than you do peanut M&M's, if keeping track of calories is your thing.
So, this week I sat down and planned out a veggie-rich dinner menu, and this is what we had:
- Monday: Omelettes with salad and multigrain bread. The omelettes were filled with cubed ham, a little cheese, baby broccoli and tomatoes, and we ate it with a salad on the side. I've been really liking these chopped salad kits from Dole lately (because they're convenient and tasty, and I'm lazy), and the Sunflower Crunch kit worked really well with this meal.
- Tuesday: Tortilla crusted tilapia with rice and green beans. This is always a solid, complaint-free family dinner. The kids both like rice and green beans, and I serve them breaded fish cut into little fishy shapes (from Target! Good heavens, I'm not breading my own fish and cutting it into fun shapes) instead of the tilapia which can be a bit spicy. This meal was fairly light on the vegetables, but we had fish, which is so healthy that it makes up for a multitude of sins, right?
- Wednesday: Pasta bar! This is another dish that my family really likes, and it's a really simple one: I just cooked up some whole grain pasta and added about half a small jar of Alfredo sauce. Then I put a variety of toppings in little bowls on the table, like chopped tomatoes, sautéed bell peppers (I like the mini ones because you get a variety of colors in a bag and they're easy to chop), mushrooms, cubed ham, and the green beans left over from the night before (this is a great meal for busting through leftovers!) and everyone gets to top their pasta with whatever they want. A little sprinkling of parmesan cheese finishes the job.
- Thursday: Chicken noodle soup with multigrain rolls. I have a really great crockpot recipe (from this book) for chicken noodle soup, and it has a ton of veggies in it, including carrots, celery, mushrooms, onion and peas. Perfect for the grey weather we've been having lately, especially with a freshly baked roll on the side. And it makes a ton, so lunch is taken care of for a day or two.
- Friday: Cobb salad. Friday night is Espen's dinner night and when I asked him what he wanted to make, he said "bacon and salad". So we thought for a bit and came up with Cobb salad. We haven't made it yet (but we will as soon as I hit post), but our salad will have mixed lettuce, hardboiled eggs, chopped bacon, chicken, tomatoes, olives, green onions, avocados and a little cheddar cheese, which just happen to all be things that Espen likes (with the possible exception of the green onions).
The weekend is of course a little sketchier and harder to plan for because we're eating out on Saturday (I'm thinking Thai food or maybe it's time to try some Banh Mi!) and my lovely sister-in-law is cooking for us on Sunday, but I've been trying my best to eat salads and dinner leftovers for lunch, which certainly beats the two slices of toast I usually devour after the kids have been fed.
It definitely takes a some planning and work to eat more veggies, but I do feel like we've been eating really well this week. Everything has been tasty, and there have been moments when I have quietly patted myself on the back as my two year-old happily ate her salad with kale in it. And I think I've felt a bit more energized than usual too, especially in the afternoons when I usually have a big energy slump. I'm a little nervous that I'm going to run out of veggie-heavy recipes, though, so please feel free to share your favorites so I can add them to the rotation.
I'm going to try to keep up these little health goals every week, so I'll be back with a new one next week. Have a great weekend!