We got back from our vacation at the lake and I was craving ALL the healthy things. I don’t know about you but shopping during the quarantine (once a week! during nap time!) got us into a shopping rut where we bought and ate the same things and tried hard to use up the things we had stocked up on. Then we went to the lake where we ate all the steak and cheese and crackers and simple, easy meals that were definitely low on veggies and quality snacks.
But now that we’re back to a regular routine I have been thinking about what helps keep me and my family on a healthy path. I stocked up with lots of proteins and veggies and made easy meals like this Salmon with Citrus, Fennel and Chiles for easy lunches for my husband and myself.
Having lots of veggies and easy healthy recipes to prepare them, getting good sleep and exercising has already helped me lose my vacation pounds. I wasn’t stressed about them because I knew I could lose them right away using some basic habits. Here are some keys that help me when I want to be healthy.
Find What Works For Your Body
Everyone’s body works differently and listening to your own body – or intuitive eating – is so important. What foods do you like and crave? What season are we in and what does that make you want to eat? What foods make you feel sluggish? For me it is overly processed foods. When I want to go on a health kick I try to cook from scratch and make lots of soups, roasted meat and veggies, and try to add flavor with herbs and spices. My body craves carbs too, and the diets where they are eliminated don’t work for me. I try to find delicious bite sized desserts or a gourmet pretzel that comes in the perfect bite size portions. I honor my craving with something delicious that is made from real ingredients. I think of food as fuel for your body, and I ask myself (and my kids, much to their chagrin) is this going to fuel my body? before I eat something.
I was definitely craving salmon this week.
This dish left me full for the whole day and the flavors – the heat from the jalapeño, the tart citrus, the mellow fennel – were so good I didn’t think I was eating ‘healthy’, just delicious.
Remember Moderation Is Key
When I’m trying to eat better, one of the most important things for me to remember is that moderation is key. For me the easiest way to moderate is to use smaller plates, wine glasses, or portion out my food before I eat it. I try not to look at any food as off limits. If I am craving something (see above) I take a bite, and see if it satisfies, and if I want more I’ll get a small serving. Making half of my plate veggies helps me to feel more full and naturally moderate what we’re eating. I need this reminder myself – it’s good to take a look at your plate every so often. There’s always going to be room for improvement and I don’t feel guilty when I lose track of what I’m really eating at a meal. I just try to pay attention and readjust.
I was totally full after this small plate.
Explore Different Cuisines
Most ethnic cuisines are based on the ingredients that grew locally, and the time tested recipes are delicious and use minimally processes ingredients. The olive oil and tomatoes in Mediterranean food, the slow cooked meat and salsas in South American food, the techniques in cooking meat and vegetables in French classic recipes. There are so many different cuisines out there to try, and so many different flavor combinations you can achieve. There’s always something incredible about tasting something for the first time that you haven’t tried before. This salmon with citrus is such a great example of this – I’ve never combined these delicate flavors and my heart and my belly were so happy after eating it.
Don’t Do Any Fad Dieting
I’ll never forget my college suite where all of my roommates filled our cupboards with low-fat cookies and crackers. Boxes of processed food and we thought the ‘low fat’ on the label was going to help us. Fast forward twenty years and now we know – eat the real thing if you’re craving it, in moderation.
Fad dieting is always going to be around, and a lot of people will buy into it in the hopes of achieving their weight loss goals. If you are doing it for other health benefits than more power to you and you probably have the motivation to stick with it in feeling better. But most of us do it for weightloss. The problem is fad diets aren’t easily maintained for long periods of time. I know when I cut out a food group that is all I am likely to crave (hello bread) and I don’t last long on it. That’s why many will only have short term results. It’s easier and has longer term results to use moderation and eating the right types of food that are needed for your body.
Ok, with that I’ll let you indulge in this delicious healthy recipe I just made this week from Bon Appetit. It’s fast and easy and so delicious. It’s delicious with mashed potatoes but could easily be served on couscous, rice, or as a salad or sandwich.
Happy Eating! Xoxo Katie
Slow-Roasted Salmon with Citrus, Fennel and Chiles
1 medium fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 blood or navel orange, very thinly sliced, seeds removed
1 Meyer or regular lemon, very thinly sliced, seeds removed
1 red Fresno chile or jalapeño, with seeds, thinly sliced
4 sprigs dill, plus more for serving
Kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper
2-lb. skinless salmon fillet, preferably center-cut (could also use a meaty white fish like cod or halibut)
1/2 cup olive oil
Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)
Preheat oven to 275°. Toss fennel, orange slices, lemon slices, chile, and 4 dill sprigs in a shallow 3-qt. baking dish (I used a sheet pan and it was fine); season with kosher salt and pepper. Season salmon with kosher salt and place on top of fennel mixture. Pour oil over.
Roast until salmon is just cooked through (the tip of a knife will slide through easily and flesh will be slightly opaque), 30–40 minutes for medium-rare.
Transfer salmon to a platter, breaking it into large pieces as you go. Spoon fennel mixture and oil from baking dish over; discard dill sprigs. Season with sea salt and pepper and top with fresh dill sprigs.
This recipe is adapted from Bon Appetit and is a collaborative post.