threatened promised to share more of my eating habits, but a food blogger I’m not and so I’ve refrained. Then I figured, that’s just plain silly; I may not have a pretty kitchen (quite the opposite, though we’re working on that part) or great light or any styling tools—and the majority of my meal photos are not taken with my DSLR but rather, simple iPhone snaps to document what I ate—but that’s all the more reason to divulge how me, just your average non-chef, keeps a relatively healthy and balanced lifestyle amid all the dining out and travel. Right?
If you follow me on Instagram, you’re probably under the illusion that all I do is eat fattening food at restaurants in Nashville and on the road (occasionally, yes, but that’s not really the norm). If you follow me on Snapchat (LunaticAtLarge), then you probably think that we eat pretty healthy when at home (this is a more accurate depiction of our real life). Since leaving my part-time office job, I’m now back to only eating out one day a week on average; the rest of the time, SVV and I are cooking up a storm in our little 1800s kitchen.
And while I haven’t done full-blown Whole30 since September, SVV and I switched to a mostly Paleo diet two years back. It makes cooking much easier, and I definitely feel better. Here’s a peek into our at-home eating style:
What We Keep in the Fridge/Pantry
- Unsalted Raw Cashews
- Sweet Potatoes
- Brussels Sprouts
- Shredded Coconut
- Fresh Ginger
- Fresh Garlic
- Thick Cut Bacon (the kind with the least preservatives)
- Unsweetened Coconut Milk (make sure it only has coconut, milk, guar gum)
- Super Seed Blend
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Light Olive Oil
- Coconut Oil
- Tri-Color Quinoa
- Vanilla Extract
- Almond or Cashew Butter
- Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt KIND Bars
- Assortment of Herbs (chili powder, mustard powder, garlic powder, cardamom, etc.)
I find that Trader Joe’s has a lot of great superfoods, quinoas and other staples for my pantry, but I really only make it there once a month (if that). Instead, we order many of our more regularly used ingredients like unsweetened coconut flakes in bulk from Amazon—we’ve pretty much done away with anything with preservatives, and the only real non-perishables we keep stocked are things like coconut milk that we go through pretty quickly (we also make our own coconut milk from unsweetened flakes if we have the time).
Of course, cooking with all fresh ingredients means a lot of trips to the grocery store—we probably go two to three times in a normal week—but we’re fortunate we have a decent, if small, supermarket just two minutes from our house by car.
What We Grow
Additionally, we have blueberry plants and fig and kiwi trees we planted last spring; they won’t fruit for another year or two, but we’re really excited for when that happens. This coming spring, we also plan to add ginger, kale, thyme, turmeric and dill to our garden. SVV has a certain knack for growing things, and I absolutely love weeding (I know), as well as picking ingredients fresh from the yard for dinner (or cocktails), so this has been a fun addition to our cooking adventures.
Kitchen Tools We Can’t Live Without
- Juicer. I used our wedding gift cards to buy this bad ass juicer six years ago, and it’s the best $150 of someone else’s money I’ve ever spent! I find that often the only way I get enough veggies and fruit is by juicing them, so this tool gets a whole lot of use in our house.
- Mini-food processor. We have a KitchenAid stand mixer, we have a KitchenAid full-size food processor; we rarely use either as we’re mostly cooking for just two. So last year, SVV bought this little guy, which is far easier to clean and makes the perfect portions for us.
- Mason jars. I used to purchase expensive juice cleanses until I realized I could make big batches of juice all at one time, then store them in mason jars to drink over the next three to four days. Game changer. (They also double as barware.)
- Herb keeper. I’m one of those people who thinks cilantro should go on everything, so when SVV discovered this method for keeping our herbs fresh for, literally, weeks, I wanted to marry him all over again.
- Sturdy plastic storage. This is clutch to us batch-making meals for the week; we’re partial to SnapWare, which holds up well in the washer and comes in a multitude of sizes.
- A personal cooler. If you take your lunch to work, it helps to have a cooler handy to take all your fixing along with you. My co-workers used to joke that I was harboring organs in mine, they were so used to me showing up with a cooler in hand!
- Onion chopper. The easier things are to make, the more likely I am to do it, which is why this little guy does the hard onion chopping for me. Tip: You can use this to chop garlic and other veggies, too.
How We Prep
We’ve found that what works for us is setting aside Sunday afternoon and evening to food prep for the week. This entails making things in batches—black beans and onions in the crock pot, quinoa, juice, some sort of meat, veggies like roasted carrots—and storing them in meal-sized Tupperware containers. Advance prep has been clutch for both of us: He no longer eats fast food like the rest of his office does every day for lunch, and I no longer skip meals because I’m too lazy to cook during the day.
Where I Find Recipes
For me, breakfast has by far turned into the easiest meal of the day. Many times, I’ll have juice that I’ve pre-made, but I’m also a fan of any egg dishes. A few I’ve found delicious and fulfilling:
- Orange, Carrot and Cardamom Juice (tip: I make this in bit batches and store individual juice servings in Mason jars)
- Fried Eggs over Black Beans, Mashed Sweet Potato, topped with Cilantro and Sriracha (tip: we pre-make the black beans)
- Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes (tip: I microwave instead of bake them)
- Two Fried Eggs and Bacon with Sriracha (couldn’t be easier)
- Sonoma Chicken Salad (we make our own Whole30 mayonnaise)
- Egg Salad (using the aforementioned Whole30 mayo)
- Quinoa Bowls (if you have pre-made quinoa, you can add anything you like to this, much like a salad)
- Roasted Vegetables (go-tos: Brussels, carrots, cauliflower, sweet potatoes)
- Burger Salads (ground beef patty over a bed of lettuce and a homemade chutney on top)
- Greek Yogurt Bowl with Granola and Super Seed Blend (can buy this online or at Trader Joe’s)
You can find more of my favorite healthy meals over on my Pinterest page; I have quite a few food boards divided up by topic where I save Paleo, Whole30, gluten-free, smoothies/juices and just everyday recipes that sound delicious.
More tips to come in future food posts, but I’d love to know what your go-to breakfast and lunch dishes are. I’m always looking to expand my repertoire of meal choices!
*I am not a dietitian; these are simply tips, tricks and recipes that have worked for me. No brands sponsored this post; it’s truly a collection of what we use and what we love. I would, however, be grateful if you’d use the above Affiliate links if purchasing anything from Amazon, as every little bit helps keep this site up and running! Hosting fees aren’t cheap, y’all.