Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Food Challenge! {From my Kitchen}

You all know I LOVE to cook and I also love to eat:).
I recently decided to take photos of most of what I purchased and prepared for our family to eat for dinner as a way to encourage others (via Facebook) to try out home cooked meals and infusing healthier options for themselves and their families. 

We all know that obesity in America has exploded over the past 20 years and that we HAVE to take action to regain our health and teach our children healthy eating habits 
as well as keeping an active lifestyle.

And, trust me-I speak from experience! In my twenties, I had life events that spiraled me into a depression and overeating. I gained nearly 40 pounds, and kept it on for YEARS!
Finally-I one day-I decided that I had had enough! After trying EVERY fad diet, pill, powder, drink, supplement and quick-fix, I joined a gym and changed my diet.

I started small and just got really committed to being healthier. I lost the weight and have kept it off (plus or minus 5-6 pounds after 4 pregnancies in 4 years-3 of which I gained 65 pounds each!) for the past 10 years. It is not easy, but it is worth it!

So, back to the Food Challenge. Here are a couple of pictures of what I bought. I did have to send my hubby back to the store for a few odds and ends later in the week, but this is most of it.
 We always buy a lot of fresh produce. I have found that washing it, cutting it and keeping it front and center in the fridge allows us to have minimal waste. We also pack a large snack bag to take with us where ever we go to reduce temptations while out and have healthy snacks to keep the kids happy.
We eat mainly lean chicken, fish and turkey with some shrimp added in. I will usually cook a beef meal for my husband 1 or 2 times per month. We may eat out 3 times a month-TOPS!
We do NOT ever eat fast food.  That's right, my kids have never had a "happy meal" from Mickey D's. But, they do get plenty of "healthy meals" at home and they seem pretty happy, LOL. 

 I couldn't wash off the fruit fast enough for these girls:)
 Sauteed cabbage with bell peppers, yellow squash and a tiny bit of turkey bacon for flavor. Topped with a splash of seasoned rice vingar-so good!
 Made chicken parmesan sandwiches using ground chicken.
 Served with a side of kale chips.
Grilled chicken, arugula, sun-dried tomato and provolone cheese Panini (no oil or butter). We normally only eat whole grain/wheat breads, but this was a "treat" for my hubby.
 This salad is so amazing! Arugula, spinach, watermelon, red onion and feta cheese drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. So, so good!
 The girls LOVE salad!
 This is a recipe I got from Skinny Taste. It was so good. Next time, I will use brown rice.
I firmly believe in training our kids taste buds from in the womb to prefer healthy foods. I make it a lot of fun and keep the girls involved in making our foods. Here, they are making Kale chips. Even the 1 year old, Ce Ce, loves to help out!
 Stir fry is so easy-just throw everything you have in a hot skillet or wok! I like to use a bit of sesame oil for the flavor. 

 You may have seen these before-we love them here. Roasted brussel sprouts with red grapes and toasted pecans in a balsamic vinegar glaze.
 I made a blue cheese cole slaw that was amazing!
 Getting ready to roast the chicken. Using lemon, onion and FRESH herbs really makes a big difference in the flavor!! Try it!


 The girls had a BLAST making their own pizzas from scratch!
We tried turkey pepperoni for the first time. We usually just use cheese. My husband and I loved it, our two youngest thought it was too spicy.
  3 ingredient sauteed broccoli. So easy, yet so, so good!

 I love to cook with organic coconut oil! It gives your food such a wonderful flavor! You only need a little bit, plus, it is really healthy for you, too!
 See, just a tiny bit is all you need!

 Made a healthy avocado cream sauce for the fish tacos. So easy and so good!
 Making mashed sweet potatoes. I also add a little pumpkin pie spice to it(not pictured).

 Fish taco with mango, pineapple chutney and avocado cream sauce. 

Healthier version of Peanut Pad Thai noodles with chicken and shrimp.
 Quick and easy tomato and cucumber salad. 
 Pan seared tilapia with pineapple, mango chutney.
 Low fat chicken picatta with skinny garlic mashed potatoes and broccoli.

Healthier mongolian beef with brown rice--so good!!

Here are a few additional food ideas I will share just to get your juices flowing.
 I made this with a lemon wine sauce. Shrimp with whole wheat linguine.
 Another winner from Skinnytaste.com. Pasta with garlic, broccoli and a little fresh parmesan. So good!
 Another awesome recipe. Mushroom chicken. 
 This was just OK until I added a bit of spicy asian chili sauce to it---then it was amazing!
 Stuffed chicken breasts with spinach. So good!

 One of my favorite cookbooks!
 One of our favorite "treat meals." 
 Maple roasted chicken with sweet potatoes. You can find the recipe here. I always season my chicken more than what the recipe calls for though.

Another winner from Skinnytaste.com. Spaghetti with zucchini, tomatoes and a tiny bit of cheese. 
Parmesan baked tilapia. Really simple and tastes really, really good!
Baked parmesan zucchini.
 Fish pan seared and simmered in a caper tomato sauce-so good! Served with a side of vegetable bake. 
 Homemade butternut squash soup with homemade brown bread and homemade pumpkin butter. Perfect fall or winter lunch!
 Homemade chicken pot pie with homemade crust.
 Brussel sprouts, brown rice, vegetable bake and asian chicken. Our middle daughters FAVORITE meal!
Adobe chicken with rice and peas. It was so good!

I certainly hope you are encouraged by all of the photos. I am passionate about cooking healthy foods that are fun, easy and most importantly, taste great!!!  You can do it too! It really is easy and you will feel good and save a lot of money, too.

Sooooo, will you take the challenge? Go back and write down everything you have eaten for dinner for the past week. How many times did you eat out(fast food, take out, drive through or dine at a restaurant)?? How many times did you eat processed foods? What small changes can you make for next week that will allow you to have simple, healthier foods to enjoy?

Please share any ideas, tips, recipes you have on healthy cooking! I would LOVE to hear from you!

Blessings,
Aria:)

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm up for the challenge! I think so many people feel healthy eating is not financially within their grasp. Do you mind sharing how much your family of five spends for healthy groceries? Do you have any tips for saving?

J A C Q U E L I N E said...

Go girl! All those pictures are making me want to eat! I hope the challenge goes well. I have my dad to thank because I always ate mostly veggie based meals and very little meat my whole life. So Thankfully eating healthy has not been an issue for us.... I am looking forward to hearing about the awesome benefits of your new cooking and eating.

3G=Growing Godly Girlz said...

Thank you for the comment, Anonymous. I will have to put together a future blog post with some tips for saving money. I know it is a challenge for us since produce hardly EVER has coupons!!!

Jacqueline--thank you, hun! I really appreciate you taking the time to comment. I am so glad to hear you are a healthy eater, too!! Please share any recipes you may have. I am always looking for new foods to try!

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