3 Mostly-Healthy Meals to Ease You Into the New Year

Happy New Year, folks! I feel like you can’t talk about the New Year without being cliché in some capacity. Either you’re talking about your new resolutions and what you accomplished (aka, didn’t) last year, talking about how resolutions are stupid and pointless, or talking about how you know resolutions are stupid and pointless but you still do them because you like the idea of a refresh, etc. I suppose I’m close to the third variety, because I do think most of time people are way too hard on themselves about following them and it’s not realistic to think you can change that quickly, but at the same time I think self-reflection and self-improvement is really important and if there’s a certain time of year that everyone is reminded of that, is it really that bad?

I had some great memories last year and of course, hard ones too, but I definitely noticed growth which is what matters to me. I also did accomplish my “resolutions”: more activism (did more marches, phone calls to politicians and petitions, and community engagement. Not an insane amount, but more than usual); more mindfulness and calmness (started meditation, was really conscious about taking care of myself and being kind to myself each day); and less phone time (I didn’t do what I set out to which was putting the phone away two hours before bed, but I did read every night before bed instead of being on my phone, which was way different from last year).

I think the key is taking the small wins and not being so tough on yourself. Did I keep up with current events and political causes as much as I would’ve liked to? No. Did I completely master breathing techniques and stay calm in every stressful situation? Definitely not. But even if I was just a little bit better, that counts to me.

In the vein, I came back into the short week wanting to counteract some holiday diet indulgences (of course), but also not to go totally health crazy. These meals don’t feel like you’re missing out, but are still mostly healthy in that they involve veggies, whole grains, and lean protein. Enjoy!

The Well-Rounded Meal

I stole this meal from a friend – she’s gluten free and it’s her favorite go-to. She made it for me when I went over her house the other week and I thought it would be a perfect way to start out the week. I cooked the chicken my favorite way, (I honestly don’t even pound the chicken out and it still works fine) and seasoned it with a variety of spices including salt, pepper, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin and a little sprinkle of red pepper flakes. I chopped the veggies while the chicken was cooking (you can use anything you want, my friend used zucchini, squash and red onion, while I used green pepper, red onion and tomatoes), and also started the water boiling for the quinoa. When the chicken was done I put it to the side, sauteed the veggies in some of the chicken juice and spices left in the pan, and cooked the quinoa on the other burner. Just put everything in a bowl and top with some sliced avocado. Yum!

The Salad Excuse

Everyone is super into salads this time of year, for obvious reasons, but I honestly just HATE them. Like as a whole meal. I was in Newport, Rhode Island again for the holiday, and we ate at the White Horse Tavern there. I had eyed the chopped salad on their lunch menu but unfortunately they were only serving brunch. So I decided to make it myself! I ended up buying a chopped salad “kit” because I didn’t know how to get that texture on my own, and just tossed the dressing it came with and the extra bacon topping. I added the blue cheese, hard boiled egg, beets (which I bought already cooked but I wish I had roasted them as the texture wasn’t as good), cucumbers, pickled onion (I made my own earlier in the week), and topped with red wine vinegar and olive oil. It was yummy because it had all the “fun” toppings (egg, cheese, etc) but still felt healthy since it was a salad.

The Faux-Indulgent 

I was looking through old Cooking Light magazines and saw this recipe which seemed like the perfect way to end the week. I shredded half my chicken from Monday and used low-sodium chicken broth. It had veggies and was served on multigrain toast instead of pastry dough, but was still super comforting.

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

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