I’m always in the market for simple meal solutions and our family eats healthy-ish. I mean, you aren’t going to see me say no to a grilled cheese dinner (one of my girls’ favorites!), but you are going to see me add some spinach leaves to my grilled cheese sandwich. I gave up calling foods good or bad and started eating intuitively several years ago after many years of disordered eating.
Part of eating intuitively is being aware of what you want (whether it’s a specific food, a texture, a temperature) and eating what you want. Well, paying more attention to what food I want has also helped me pay more attention to what food makes me feel, during, and after eating it. Something I’ve noticed about myself is that I love when there is a balance to my meal. I’ll have a giant stack of pancakes, but top it with some fresh berries. I’ll order a salad for dinner, but I’ll probably order a side of fries too. I am wildly satisfied when every yin has a yang so to speak.
Over time, I’ve gotten pretty good at throwing in a healthy hack to my meals to get the balance that makes me feel best, without spending a bunch of time, and still eating something delicious. I am not a medical professional or nutritionist, or health coach, I’m just a mom that wants to be healthy-ish without making it complicated.
None of the things I’m sharing today are hard to add and implement into your meals. The hardest part about it is remembering to add it. Especially with mom brain, ladies! So after you read this list, share it with a friend, and bookmark it to remind yourself! Cheers.
I have a coworker who throws a giant handful of fresh spinach into any soup or chili she heats up. I admire her because truthfully I can’t do it. At least not with full giant leaves of spinach. When the full leaves of fresh spinach wilt the texture and smell really don’t jive with me. But it’s such an easy way to get greens in that I tried it a few times. Turns out, I was right, I can’t do it LOL. But I experimented a bit and it turns out I can do it if I cut the spinach into really fine strips. When I cut the spinach into thin strips I swear my brain thinks it’s an herb, not spinach. And I can eat it without a problem.
Once I discovered this, I went on a spree. And it’s surprisingly easy to add fresh spinach to most meals. Scrambled eggs, soup, chili, pasta dishes, sandwiches, or even added on top of baked fish like parsley. This is what mine looks like when I cut it to my thin standards.
If you can handle the full leaves, go for it! If you’re on the fence, promise me you’ll at least give the super thin cut version a try.
This is another easy way to give a little boost to your meal, collagen. Collagen is packed with protein and is said to improve your skin and support hair and nail growth. I have the flavorless powder from Vital Proteins, which means I can literally add it to anything, even water, and not taste it, but I usually add it to yogurt, smoothie, oatmeal, or coffee.
I probably add collagen to a meal or snack once a week, but I was especially into this when I was pregnant because I was always trying to increase my protein intake, especially for my snacks, like a smoothie or yogurt with granola. And I was also really into this when I went dairy-free to help my daughter’s reflux because most of the dairy-free yogurts don’t have the same protein so I would add a half scoop of Vital Proteins to achieve that same protein-packed snack I was looking for.
MCT Oil is a specific type of coconut oil (re: healthy fats). I first started using it when I did some research on brain health foods (Alzheimers runs in my family so this is something I’m always digging into) and bulletproof coffee came up. I still drink bulletproof coffee today, but I’ve switched to the all-in-one creamer that you can find on Amazon and makes the bulletproof coffee habit super easy. Anyways, the use of mct oil has stuck with me. I personally don’t think it has a strong taste, but like any oil, it might alter the way your food tastes slightly. It’s great to drizzle over your meal, especially if there is already a sauce on top or to incorporate into your salad dressing or sauce.
I love these little guys. Chia seeds are another good source of fat (omega 3 fatty acids) and fiber (it helps you go, for real). This one is probably going to be a yes or no for you based on texture. Chia seeds absorb water, like oats or rice do, and get a gel-like outer surface. They taste gooey on their own, but when mixed into something can add a slight crunch. If you can handle it, chia seeds are a game-changer to throw into yogurt, cereal, smoothies, and oatmeal or sprinkle over your salad (like you would a nut). I also like to use them as a topper when I make banana + peanut butter for a snack.
If you’re looking for a trial with chia seeds this overnight oats recipe from Fit Mitten Kitchen is one of my go-to breakfasts and a great way to get initiated into chia seeds (plus this recipe means breakfast is ready right when you wake up and I’m here for it).
Think about it, most of the meals you make for lunch and dinner could be served over a small bed of greens. Salmon for dinner, put it over mixed greens. Chicken salad? Over mixed greens. Chicken nuggets with your kiddos? Pair each nugget with a green or two. When I do this, I don’t make it a salad, I just grab a small handful, several pieces of green. A little can go a long way! And who knows, maybe you end up loving it and add a few more the next time.
I usually go for the spring mix, but I’m also a really big arugula fan so I mix that in as well.