I hope you’re all having a good week.
I’ve been doing a lot of research into food lately. For all the research I’ve done, I believe Michael Pollan said it best when talking about what we as humans should eat to be healthy:
Not too much.
This summary of the human diet sums up what we should be thinking to ourselves whenever we put something into our mouths – Is it food? Is it a lot of food? Does it contain plants or is plant-based?
The first question may seem a little strange – Is it food? For a lot of people, food has come to mean something that is far removed from what actually qualifies as food. A ready meal made in a plant and bought in a supermarket that is microwaved and ready in four or so minutes isn’t really food at all. Corporations have taken away this generation’s ability to truly understand what food is and how simple it is to cook a wholesome meal. Your meal shouldn’t be processed or packaged. Rather, it should be what food was to our grandparents – a combination of fresh ingredients combined to produce a dish with delightful taste and nutritional value.
The next question we should ask – is it a lot of food? – I will admit that I struggle with this. Portion control is my weakest area where healthy eating is concerned.
Even the right food in huge quantities is the wrong choice.
I was raised by my Nan in a household where you ate everything on your plate before you could leave the table. Of course, my Nan’s portions were measured and controlled. Mine, not so much. I remember when I cooked spaghetti bolognese for my husband and I years ago. I dished up a huge mountain of spaghetti which, of course, I ate without leaving a single morsel. In my defence, we’d only just moved in together and cooking was somewhat of a novelty to me. However, ten years later I still struggle with portion control, though not in the same league as the spaghetti.
Mostly plants – I’m trying to incorporate a lot more veggies into my meals rather than meat being the main focus. When my meals are pre-planned and prepped, this is easy. When the day doesn’t go according to plan, the following day always tends to suffer as a result of improper planning. This is when I would dash to the supermarket as most people do and pick up a ready meal. Not any more.
So, here is a recipe of my own for when this happens, when planning goes out of the window and all you have are a few essential ingredients. I’ve tried to ensure there are lots of plants in this recipe for full nutritional value. Having your pantry or store cupboard stocked for times like these goes a long way. The following recipe is for a single portion so adjust accordingly if you’re feeding your family too.
- 50g spaghetti
- passata or tinned tomatoes
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- handful of black olives
- handful of broccoli florets, pre-cooked (any leftover cooked veggies will work)
- 1 tin chickpeas
- olive oil
- dried basil or oregano
- In a large saucepan, cook the spaghetti according to packet instructions.
- While your spaghetti is cooking, drizzle some olive oil into a pan and place over a medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes until softened.
- Add passata, broccoli, chickpeas, olives and dried basil to the pan and stir to combine.
- When spaghetti has cooked, drain, then stir and combine with the other ingredients.
- Eat and enjoy!
It’s amazing the meals you can put together just by combining store cupboard ingredients. Everything in the ingredients list can be adjusted too so if you don’t have spaghetti but have pasta, cook the pasta. Only rice? Cook the rice. If you don’t have passata or tinned tomatoes but have a jar of pesto, use pesto. You don’t have to use chickpeas either – chicken, fish or turkey will all taste good and for an extra hit of heat, add some dried chilli flakes to the mix. There are so many options so don’t rely on store bought meals full of salt and sugar when you can cook up something much tastier for a fraction of the price and a much better return nutritionally.
Let the food experimenting begin!