While Nat was in nutrition class at Bauman College, she developed a few ready-made answers for the inevitable question:
"So, what's the best thing to eat?"
If only it were that easy. Believe me, she’s been looking for that holy grail answer for a while now. Here’s the rub - there is no right answer.
More on why this is in a future post, but it doesn’t mean we can’t all do a little better. Here’s Nat's standard advice:
Eat more vegetables. A western diet is pretty heavy on everything else but vegetables. Say what you want about meat, grains, and legumes, but most people need to eat more vegetables.
We need everything all the time. Not just carbs, fats, and protein. Stuff like minerals, vitamins, good bacteria, and other nutrients. That’s why variety matters, too. Foods have vitamins and minerals balanced in different ways so our body can absorb them effectively.
Anyone can be allergic to anything. If something makes you feel bad, it’s probably best to avoid, even if it’s something people swear is healthy. That said, a lot of vegetables have bitter flavors which take time to get to know. Remember the first time you tried coffee? It can be the same with arugula, kale, radicchio, endive, and other greens.
Because veggies and variety are super important, we like to eat salads for lunch. Our routine with salads goes like this: 1) fill a spinner with chopped greens and store it in the fridge, 2) chop other ingredients right before serving, 3) sprinkle on some flavorful additions as toppings and add dressing. Then, every few weeks, we invent a new combo of flavors to try. Here’s how:
How to make any salad
- romaine, spinach, arugula, etc.
- carrot, cucumber, celery, radish, etc.
- Nuts, seeds, crunchy vegetables
- fresh fruit, dried fruit
- Citrus, zest, sauerkraut, cheese
- Dill, parsley, mint, cilantro
- Burgers, chicken, canned or smoked fish
- Olive oil and lemon or vinegar
- Leafy greens
Some type of protein
This guideline is a great starting place to enhance a salad that seems a little boring. Some orange zest (tangy) and hazelnuts (crunchy) will drastically improve some butter lettuce, carrot, and celery.
For an amazing compendium of what foods go well together, we turn to the Flavor Bible. It lists foods alphabetically, and displays about 30-100 common other ingredients that go well together.
Nectarine Avocado Salad
- 2 handfuls red leaf lettuce
- 1/2 fennel, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup red cabbage, chopped
- 1 endive, slice in half, then chopped
- 2-3 red radish, sliced
- 1 avocado, sliced
- 1 nectarine, sliced
- Olive oil and lemon for dressing
We plate these directly into our bowls when it's lunchtime. Here's how it goes:
- Divide - Place a handful of lettuce in each bowl.
- Chop and slice - remaining ingredients. Distribute evenly between each bowl.
- Dress - Top with olive oil and lemon
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