Simply scrumptious: the building blocks of a healthy diet

It is so easy to find excuses for not sticking to a regular, balanced diet…the ingredients are too expensive, it takes too much time to prepare a healthy meal, I don’t know what to cook, healthy food is bland and boring!

I have been there, I have made all the excuses, and I have suffered from the guilt and self-depreciation that comes every time I give up on myself and my health. I have been through the cycles of committing, hitting a wall, and giving up sooo many times…and then I decided enough was enough. Instead of giving in to my doubts and excuses I started looking for solutions…

How can I reduce the cost and the time it takes to prepare my meals, while still creating tasty dishes that I actually want to eat? How can I make it so easy to whip up a delicious healthy meal, that I have absolutely no reason to revert back to bad habits?

It took some time for me to work out the answer to these questions (and I’ll be honest, I still doubt and question myself at times), but I have discovered a solution that is so simple I couldn’t wait to share it with you! The solution, my friends, is this:

Prepare the essentials

When you take an hour or so each week to prepare a few basic ‘building blocks’, you will find that you spend less money on unnecessary food items, less time preparing your meals throughout the week, and find less excuses as to why you can’t choose the healthy option. And instead of simply throwing together a chicken breast with a couple of broccoli stalks, you are actually able to add variety and inspiration into each dinner.

So what do I mean when I talk about ‘building blocks’? Basically they are healthy, nourishing components that you can mix and match, allowing you to create a range of delicious wholesome recipes at the drop of a hat. And now I’m going to share a few of my favourite essentials to help get you started.

1) Roast vege mix IMG_1450
Throw together some pumpkin, sweet potato, parsnip, carrot, red onion,
courgette…whatever tickles your fancy! Toss in a tbsp of olive oil, coat with fresh or dried herbs (my favourite combo is fresh thyme and rosemary, with a little bit of garlic salt) and oven bake for 25 minutes until golden.

Best uses:
– Add baby spinach and a vinaigrette for roast vege salad
– Have it as a side with dinner
– Whip up some eggs and create a delicious frittata

2) Cauliflower rice 
Now this may not seem like the most exciting ingredient, but it sure does form the base of some tasty meals! All you need to do is grate your cauliflower (or blitz it in a food processor) to create a fine ‘rice’ and then steam it lightly for 6-8 minutes with about half a cup of water. Drain the excess water and let it cool before storing in the fridge.
NOTE: this ‘rice’ will only last a few days, so if you aren’t planning to use it immediately I suggest freezing it until you need it.

Best uses:IMG_1449.jpg
– Toss through some mixed vegetables and a homemade soy dressing for a raw cauliflower ‘fried rice’ dish (I LOVE this one!)
– Create a cauliflower flat bread by mixing with an egg, 1/4 cup of almond meal and a handful of fresh herbs…press flat and bake for 15 minutes. Have this as a snack, or top with tomato paste and veges for a low-carb pizza
– Blend into a purée with some fresh thyme and a tsp of butter to use as a low-carb substitute for mashed potato

3) Toasted seed mix
A fresh seed mix is the perfect snack or topper. Combine sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds with a dash of coconut oil, raw maple syrup and a sprinkle of cinnamon, ginger and allspice. Toast in the oven for 15 minutes, and voila!

Best uses:
– Enjoy as a simple snack!
– Layer with yoghurt and fresh fruit to create a healthy parfait
– Sprinkle on a salad to add sweetness and flavour

4) Vegetable Sticks
Carrot, celery, capsicum, broccoli…whichever vegetables suit your taste, peel and slice them and have them ready and waiting in the fridge!

Best uses:
– Serve fresh with hummus
– Toss into a stir fry to add extra nutritional value
– Add to a salad to give some extra texture and flavour

It only takes a few simple steps to make a healthy lifestyle, and for me these nutritious building blocks have been essential to staying on track. I hope you find this as useful as I have!

Charlotte xx

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