You're done at work and heading home, dreading the task of making dinner that lies ahead of you. You're exhausted, you're a little irritated (traffic/transit/the weather is just irksome today!), and you're famished.
The last thing that sounds like fun is making dinner: all of that prep and chopping and dish-doing is going to take up at least an hour you don't have. You're hungry now.
You recognize that a quick stop at Subway or the drive-thru would solve the problem not only quickly but economically, and you seriously consider the temptation to have someone else make you something instead of preparing it at home.
Then you stop and take a breath and realize that anything you make at home is going to be a better option in so many ways.
You'll know what's in it.
You'll have control over the proportions of ingredients, which impacts not only the health benefits but the taste.
You'll spend less money on the meal in total AND have leftovers for lunch.
You'll reaffirm how important your physical wellbeing is, which will make it even easier to repeat tomorrow. You choose not to cave to the supposed simplicity of a fast-food dinner and with renewed commitment to taking care of yourself, head home to make a meal -- reinforcing a great habit while you're at it!
GOOD FOR YOU. This is how we continue to make health-supportive practices a little simpler every time we do them, and the added bonus is that you get to high-five yourself every time you make something rad happen. YOU are doing this. YOU are in control of your food. I love how Joe Cross (of Fat Sick and Nearly Dead fame) puts it: "the last two feet of freedom [we have] are between our hand and our mouth." No one can force anything into your person -- isn't that refreshing? :)
If you plan ahead, this evening situation can be easily managed: you come home, you have good-for-you goodies handy and time set aside to prep them. Even better, you have some elements of your meal pre-made, which will allow you to easily throw together neutral ingredients to create a unique meal using the same set of staples several times... without feeling like you're eating the same meal seven times in a row (boof).
I love love love a recipe like this one - a meal bowl at its finest! - for exactly that reason. It's simple to put together, it's packed with variety (check out all that color!), and it's tremendously nourishing while also being filling (no skimpy salad for you... that's less than fun at the end of a long day, right?). It's packed with plant protein (buckwheat! lima beans!), tons of fiber (all those veggies!), and Vitamins A, C and K (more veggies!).
Jump back into that post-work situation for a second. Preparing this buckwheat bowl might play out two ways:
1. Ingredients aren't prepared in advance: you come home, drop your stuff, slice up your veggies and toss them in the oven/ put your buckwheat on to cook. While you wait, you unpack your work bag, you change, you shower, you tidy, you call your mother, you check Instagram to unwind, whatever it is you do to get your brain out of work mode. Your goodies finish cooking, you throw them together, you have dinner. Time will pass more quickly than you think (plus, you have to get all of that other stuff done anyways, so you might as well wait for science to make veggies warm while you do).
2. You have your ingredients prepared in advance: you come home, drop your stuff, you heat a skillet for 30 seconds, toss in your veggies and buckwheat. They heat up for 2-3 minutes, you transfer them to a bowl. You eat them.
Easy peasy panda, right?
Every time you choose to prioritize feeling awesome over the short-term convenience of I AM HUNGRY RIGHT NOW AND I DON'T HAVE TIME/ THE DESIRE/ THE SKILL TO COOK FOR MYSELF, you bolster a habit that will last far longer than the five minutes of Wendy's satisfaction. Take a few minutes this week to think about when you sacrifice your wellbeing for convenience and make a plan to fit a few feel-awesome steps into your day.
Perhaps this bowl could be a good place to start? Yum.
- olive oil
- 2 medium eggplant, cubed
- 1 red pepper, cut into 1/2" strips
- 1 large yellow squash, cut into 1/2" strips
- 1/2 cup buckwheat, soaked, rinsed and drained
- 1 1/2 cups shelled lima beans
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp dried thyme
- 4 leaves kale, large ribs removed, cut into ribbons
- 1. Preheat oven to 375F.
- 2. Toss red pepper and squash with olive oil, then lay on a large baking sheet lined with foil. Bake at 375F for ~40 minutes until softened and a little darker in color.
- 3. Once veggies have been in the oven for 10 minutes, put on the buckwheat. Combine with 1 cup water, cover and bring to a boil over medium heat. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cook ~15 minutes more, until water is absorbed. In the last 5 minutes of cooking, stir in kale and cover. Remove from heat when timer goes off and allow buckwheat to finish cooking while kale 'steams'.
- 4. Once you've stirred in your kale, bring 2 cups of water to a boil, add lima beans and cook 4-5 minutes tender. Remove from heat and drain.
- 5. Add wine, garlic powder, salt, pepper and thyme to buckwheat and stir well.
- 6. Remove veggies from oven and serve a scoop of buckwheat with some of each veggie + a 1/4 cup of lima beans.