Week 7: Simple, real food

I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts the week before this, and heard Sarah Adler of Simply Real Health interviewed. I love her passion for simple cooking – 5 ingredients or less most of the time! – with real, wholesome ingredients. Some of her tips are difficult when you’re on a budget (as with any time you want to buy organic or more health food items like coconut oil or chia seeds), but I think choosing whole fat above low fat options and reading ingredients to find the least processed options are easy to incorporate into your daily grocery shopping routine. Read on to see how I used one of her free sample meal plans to dictate my week!

Had in kitchen (leftover from other recipes/cooking staples): Butternut squash, loaf of bread, chopped walnuts, sliced almonds, dijon mustard, maple syrup, olive oil, salt and pepper

Bought: Butter lettuce, green apples, bananas, arugula, spaghetti squash, basil, lemon, eggplant, carrots, zucchini, red bell peppers, avocado, Italian sausage, tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, goat cheese, red wine vinegar, peanut butter, La Croix 12-pack, almond milk

Spent: $61.74 ($12.35/day)

Daily Breakfast: Open-faced peanut butter banana sandwich

MONDAY

Lunch: Leftover chili and cornbread from Sunday

Dinner: Fall Salad

Comments from Claire: I’m not a huge salad-for-a-meal person–even if there’s protein and it’s filling I just can’t get over eating the same bite over and over…and over again. But I have to say this was really delicious and hit the spot after I did a Class Pass trial workout that night. I had leftover chopped butternut squash so I roasted that instead of the sweet potatoes, and used sliced almonds instead of pumpkin seeds because I already had them in the house.

TUESDAY

Lunch: Fall Salad (right)

Dinner: Crustless Veggie + Chicken Sausage “Pizza” with Pesto Arugula Salad (see top photo)

Claire’s Quips: This had great flavor and tasted healthy but still filling and enjoyable. My only “quip” is that after it cooked in the oven it had a lot of excess liquid. Not sure if it was from the zucchini and eggplant (though I did saute them beforehand as it said) or the particular jarred tomato sauce I used, but I actually ended up using a slotted spoon to serve it!

WEDNESDAY

Lunch: Leftover Crustless ‘”Pizza”

Dinner: Takeout

Comments from Claire: I veered off the meal plan this day because I went out for last-minute drinks (whoops) and ended up getting takeout on my way home, so I cooked on Friday instead of eating out.

THURSDAY

Lunch: The bit of leftover crustless ‘pizza’ I still had and arugula

Dinner: Spaghetti Squash Aglio Olio (similar here, without swiss chard) + Pesto Roasted Veggies (red bell pepper, zucchini, and eggplant)

Comments from Claire: The pesto in this meal plan was an macadamia nut pesto dressing, but I just used walnuts because I had a small amount in my cabinet and macadamia nuts are expensive. I ended up just mixing the pesto and roasted veggies into the shredded spaghetti squash to make it like a faux-pasta dish. Came out pretty good and was definitely healthy!

FRIDAY

Lunch: Leftover Spaghetti Squash

Dinner: Rigatoni with these Butter-Roasted Canned Tomatoes 

Comments from Claire: This was an easy prep and was a delicious comfort food for the start of the weekend.

See you next week! To see what I’m eating in the meantime, follow me on Twitter or Instagram @ClaireLeaden

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