Healthy eating sounds and looks like hard work. You need to know what to buy, how to prepare it and then you need to actually find the time to prepare it. Not all of us have luxuries such as time.
Thankfully, eating healthy is only getting easier. The more health trends that pop up, the more access we get to new ingredients, new recipes and new ways of eating. For many of us, eating healthy may just come down to enhancing the way that we already eat.
Reap what you sow
One of the best things about embracing healthy food is having the ability to grow your own. The opportunity to tap into your inner green thumb is one that should be met with enthusiasm, as while this task may take a bit of time, there’s every chance it’s far easier than you think.
To get you started let’s look at some of the easiest vegetables to grow.
Not only is lettuce one of the most versatile vegetables around, but it’s easy to grow and even easier to harvest. According to Lifehacker’s resident gardener Melanie Pinola, it “can even grow in containers, accompanied by flowers or tucked under taller plants.”
Arguably the most popular fruit in the veggie patch, tomatoes are great due to the wide variety of places they can grow, with hanging baskets and containers where they get lots of sun, chief among them. Pinola also points out that “if you plant basil next to tomato plants, you’ll naturally repel pests and even improve the flavour of the tomatoes.”
If you enjoy a bit more of a challenge, carrots are another good vegetable to try. Growing them is easy, however it’s can be tricky to achieve beautifully straight carrots, like from the market, this takes practice. You can have a lot of fun perfecting your carrot growing technique by adjusting their water, sunlight, the soil and, where you plant them.
Don’t blow the budget
An unfortunate side effect of health trends is the inevitable cost that follows. But thankfully if you’re smart about it, there are easy and affordable ways to eat healthy.
Here, are three cheap and easy foods that can be incorporated into almost any diet.
Packed full of vitamins and minerals, sweet potatoes are not only extremely healthy, but they are cheap to match, with a kilo’s worth currently setting you back just under $4. According to Healthline, “just one sweet potato provides 369% of your daily need for vitamin A, which plays an important role in eye health.” They also help lower the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer and diabetes – a true superfood. An easy, healthy and delicious side to any dinner is simply peeling and cutting a sweet potato into ‘chips’, and popping in the oven until they’re cooked through and crisp on the outside. Yum!
Boasting 4-9 grams of fibre per cup, lentils are another great and cheap option. They’re bursting at the seams nutritionally, full of essential vitamins and minerals yet probably most famous for their massive protein content which has made them a staple of many vegetarian diets. In one cup of cooked lentils you can expect around 12g of protein, however make sure you soak them before cooking to help increase absorption of nutrients. See 11 health benefits from lentils here
Did you know that plain popcorn is not only delicious but super cheap and easy to make? A bag of kernels is around $2 a packet and will last in your cupboard for many snacks.
Simply put a quarter of a cup of kernels in a brown paper bag, fold over and microwave for small increments until the popping slows down. Be careful not to leave unattended. There are endless healthy and low-cost seasonings you can use like garlic powder, olive oil, oregano, rosemary and thyme.
Easy as 1-2-3
Now comes the inevitable task of actually making the food. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as simply throwing all the foods we’ve talked about into a pot and hoping for the best – yet, thankfully it’s not much harder.
This healthy and easy recipe comes from dietician and nutritionist Lyndi Cohen.
One-tray Balsamic Pesto Chicken with Broccolini + Tomato Medley
- Prep time: 5 minutes
- Cooking time: 20 minutes
- Serves: 3-4
- Difficulty: Very Easy
- 400gchicken thighs, skin removed
- 1 bunchof broccolini (or bunch of asparagus)
- 1 punnet of tomato medley (about 300g)
- 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons of pesto
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons water
- Preheat oven to 190C. Mix up marinade. Pour half the marinade over the chicken in a small bowl to coat chicken.
- Place broccolini and tomatoes on a lined baking tray. Add chicken. Pour remaining marinade over vegetables.
- Place in oven and cook for 18 minutes. For the last two mins, turn the oven to 'grill' (watching that it doesn't burn)! This will help brown up chicken. You can turn over the veg if they are too brown.
If you like the sounds of this, visit Lyndi’s website as it’s filled with delicious, healthy, and, most importantly, simple recipes.
This is just the tip of the iceberg lettuce when it comes to making healthy eating easy. But once you’ve had a taste, you’ll want to have more.