On Saturday afternoon I asked my partner if he had any special requests for our weekly meal plan.
"No, Bubs. You always do such a good job making sure we don't waste food and that we eat simple healthy meals,” he threw over his shoulder before hopping in the shower.
My first (internal) response: Yah, and it's a lot of f***ing work, so maybe you could step in and pitch an idea or two.
My second (external) response: Thank you for noticing the effort I put into our meal plan. It's important to me that we both use food as a tool to take care of our health.
The more professional my delivery, the greater my annoyance. But the message was valid.
I stopped eating gluten, sugar, and dairy (big time inflammatory foods) about four years ago. What began as a 30-day challenge through my local gym became a way of life that continues to benefit both my physical and mental health.
Truth Time: I kept a list of foods I missed in my journal during the 30-day challenge. RIP Baja fish burritos and maple bar donuts.
But I didn't have any desire to go back to my old food ways at the end of the challenge. The changes in my diet led to better sleep, clearer skin, and eradicated my often poorly-timed and therefore quite embarrassing tummy troubles. And, despite the list in my journal, I didn't feel deprived.
The biggest challenge of the first 30 days was answering the age-old question, "Ok, what DO I eat?"
Because I am a huge proponent of eating an anti-inflammatory diet, I want to make it easy for other people to incorporate more whole foods and less junk into their weekly meal plan. I'm not going to stand on a soapbox and yell about all the terrible shit that is happening to your body if you're eating processed foods. (You can go to this blog post for that info instead 😊).
Let's just recipe share and see if you want to get down with any of these meals in your own kitchen.
We are big fans of eating food in bowls at Apartment Quinnders. Overstuffed bowls are an easy way to incorporate lots of different flavors and nutrients. Bonus – because you're throwing a bunch of separate ingredients in a bowl, you can customize the balance based on your own tastes. Here are two bowl-meals (not to be confused with boll weevils) that we love.
This is not a food blog so prepare yourself for these recipes accordingly.
Greek Chicken Bowls 4 servings
½ cup quinoa
1 lb – 1 ½ lb (organic) chicken breasts – seasoned with lemon juice, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and harissa spice blend
1 head of cauliflower – seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and turmeric
6 oz bag of spinach
Kalamata olives or olive tapenade
Pre-heat the oven to 420. Prep the quinoa per package instructions while you wait.
Break the head of cauliflower into bite-sized florets. Bowl meals are not knife-friendly. Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and turmeric. Place on a sheet pan in a single layer.
Season the chicken breasts with lemon juice, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and harissa spice blend.
Chuck the cauliflower and the chicken in the oven. Check for doneness after 20 minutes. Chop chicken into bite-sized pieces when cool enough to handle.
Build your bowl! Start with spinach as your base. Add quinoa, chopped chicken breast, and cauliflower. Slice the cucumber and cherry tomatoes before sprinkling on top. Finally, dollop hummus and tapenade (or a small handful of olives) on top to get your healthy fats.
Salmon Roll Bowls 4 servings
½ cup brown rice
1 lb - 1 ½ lb (wild caught) salmon fillets – seasoned with lemon juice, freshly grated ginger, salt, and pepper
6 oz bag of spinach
Pickled ginger (this one is made without sugar)
Sauce for drizzling:
½ cup tamari (GF soy sauce)
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
Combine over medium heat, whisk as it comes to a boil. Reduce for no more than 3 minutes.
Set the oven to (high) broil. Make sure your rack is on the second rung from the top.
Prep rice per package instructions. While the rice cooks, season your salmon fillets. Place on a sheet pan under the broiler. Leave for roughly 10 minutes before checking for doneness.
Saute the spinach over medium heat with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Dice the cucumber, avocado, and some pickled ginger (how much ginger? However much you want! It's your bowl).
When everything is cooked, build your bowl. PLOT TWIST! Start with rice as your base. Add the sauteed spinach, salmon, diced cucumber, avocado, and pickled ginger. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Drizzle with sauce. Stuff your face.