Often times when we are looking for a recipe we’re on the hunt for a million healthy recipes.
We may already know of 10, 20, 30, and they’re all pinned to our Pinterest boards, but we still feel that we need more. Oh, and by the way… out of those 10, 20, 30 recipes, we’ve only tried 2.
I think there’s a lot of pressure around eating healthy these days to be totally “clean.” But hey! Where’s the fun?
What about all of our traditional favorite foods? Or our favorite foods growing up?
Last week as we were eating burgers my dad asked me “I wonder if this is still considered a junk food?” My dad’s been on a real healthy eating kick, which is awesome. His skin is great, his moods are great, he’s not craving sugar as much, he’s feeling good. He’s doing great all around. He’s getting informed, he’s cooking healthy meals, he’s eating tons of fruits & veggies, he’s dropped the soda, etc.
When my dad asked me that question, I said “Of course not. We made this from home, we got great ingredients, we literally just made those fries from chopping up the potato ourselves. They didn’t even come in a bag!”
Let’s get this straight, since it’s pretty simple. Junk food is (in my opinion):
- Highly processed snack foods that come in pretty shiny wrappings
- Fast foods
- Foods made quickly with cheap ingredients
- Pre-made, pre-packaged dinners (TV tray style)
- Greasy potato chips from huge corporate companies
- Most big corporate company foods… let’s be real
- Wonderbread and plastic wrapped cheese sandwiches
- McDonalds breakfast
- High ingredient list foods
- Processed fruit juice
We get the idea, right? Would you agree?
I think we feel so much pressure that when we’re cooking at home the ingredients need to be totally “clean”. But, what about normal food? What about our favorites? Can’t those still be on the menu?
Just make them at home. Upgrade your ingredients and cook with more patience and care.
Here are some normal food meal ideas so you can still have fun with your food too! You don’t have to eat egg whites and kale all day to be healthy. In fact, don’t! Have fun with your food, listen to your hunger signals, have more life-fun and you’ll do better!
1. When you’re craving McDonald’s breakfast sandwiches
Make one at home! Here, mine has:
- Two slices of Ezekiel
- Two whole eggs
- 2 slices of turkey sausage
- Kerrygold Irish butter on the toasted bread
This kept me full for about 4 hours, which allowed me to focus on fun things other than food! Yum!
2. When you’re craving a childhood Wonderbread grilled cheese with that plastic wrapped floppy cheese…
Make your own! This one has:
- Two slices of sourdough
- Kerrygold butter rubbed on the outside
- 1.5 slices of jack colby cheddar
- Mustard inside – because I love cheese, sourdough, and yellow mustard together!
Oh, and look! I even paired it with a green salad on the side. This salad was a combination of a bunch of chopped veggies mixed with Goddess dressing and a few sesame sticks from TJ’s for crunch.
This meal kept me satisfied from lunch to dinner (5 hours) so I could focus well on my work throughout the day. In between lunch and dinner, I sipped on a decaf black coffee and water.
3. When you’re craving a sandwich, but you feel like it’s “bad” to have a sandwich
First of all, recognize that it’s not bad to have a sandwich. I’m giving you permission right now to ENJOY your sandwich, and then wait until the next time you’re hungry to enjoy another delicious meal. Mine had:
- Sourdough (lightly toasted Ezekiel is great too!)
- A little bit of real mayo and yellow mustard
- sliced turkey
- fresh organic tomato and spinach leaves (if you like iceberg, go for it! Add a dark green salad to the side)
- sliced onion
And yep, I added a nice green salad to the side. This meal held me from lunch to dinner. I felt so satisfied mentally and physically that I was okay with not having a snack in between. I gave myself exactly what I wanted, and it felt hearty enough to be a meal.
4. When you’re craving a delicious pizza!
Don’t be fooled! Just because you’re eating healthy doesn’t mean you have to let go of the pizza. Look, I had three slices here for dinner, and I’m still okay 😉 Here’s what you can do:
- Invite your friends over, or make it with your family
- Buy your own dough, or better yet, make your own with this recipe (I bet you’ll be okay if you leave out the sugar)
- Buy fresh, organic veggies – pick 3-5 to put on top, keep it simple!
- Buy a high quality cheese and use a little bit less (I bet you’ll be surprised by how far a little cheese goes!)
- Add a side salad to the side
- Sit at the table and eat it as slow as you need to be able to enjoy it fully
- If you want more after you’ve had three, remind yourself that you can have more the very next time you’re hungry — I bet by then you’ll be craving something different (just a guess though!) 🙂
5. When you want tacos!
Go for it! Make tacos at home. Taco’s are super easy, fun, and you only need a few ingredients. Here, mine have:
- corn tortillas
- grilled salmon ripped up into little pieces
- a little bit of cheese
- a little bit of organic sour cream
- homemade salsa
- we didn’t have avocado, but obviously you’d want to add some avo 🙂
On the side I had some shredded sweet potato casserole that my Dad threw together
6. When you want a good burger and you’re tempted to go all out because “if you’re gonna have it,” you may as well get crazy and go to In-N-Out and order fries and a milkshake, too…
Calm down. You can have a burger and still feel good! Just make it at home! And heck, if you want fries, you can make those at home too! Here I enjoyed:
- whole wheat toasted bun
- turkey burger easily grilled on the George Foreman (you can use a regular burger if you’d like)
- 3/4 slice of cheese because the patty was tiny
- grilled (yes, grilled) avocado
- grilled onion
- fresh tomato sprinkled with sea salt
- an arugula salad on the side for some greenery
This was so good! Marco and I ate these outside for lunch on Monday when we were craving Red Robin. This option felt better, and was way easier on our pockets too (we’ve been saving money!). We were so satisfied afterwards and weren’t hungry again until dinner.
Yep! You can have tostada’s too! Make ’em at home! Here’s how we made ours:
- First, dad made homemade re-fried beans (I know not everyone will do this, and that’s okay)
- Then we mixed cooked steak, rice, and the beans together in a pot
- To serve yourself you simply get a tostada shell, layer on the beans, and add toppings
- Toppings: cabbage, cilantro, diced tomato, onions, cheese, avocado, salsa and organic sour cream
On the side we enjoyed grilled asparagus.
This was deeeelicous and kept me full for about 3 hours. If I had two I would have been full for the rest of the evening, but guess what? I wanted some room for ice cream after we rode our bikes to the jacuzzi, and I did just that.
8. When you want ice cream
Find a short ingredient list like Talenti, and the most important part – ENJOY IT!
If you’re not gonna enjoy it, don’t have it. It’s no fun to eat ice cream out of the container while standing up feeling guilty. Most people won’t sit down to eat their ice cream because then they really realize they’re eating ice cream (it feels like admitting defeat, but here’s the truth… learning how to enjoy ice cream in moderation is NOT defeat. So count it a success when you sit down to slowly enjoy it!). It’s okay to eat ice cream. Make yourself a comfortable serving, sit down, and fully enjoy it. Eat it as slow as you need to be left feeling satisfied and if you something more to help you to be satisfied from a small serving here’s my tip: change the flavor in your mouth – after your ice cream just take a bite of something totally different and your tastebuds will chill (it’s such a strange but workable trick to help you set yourself up to eat your ice cream and FEEL GOOD too).
9. Oh, and you can make leftovers too! AND eat burritos!
My Mom put these burrito’s together after our tostada dinner. She wrapped up the beans/rice/steak mix, stuck some cheese inside, and made 3 meals for later. Yum!!!
When I enjoyed this burrito, I cut it in half, heated it up so the cheese got extra melty, and fully enjoyed it with homemade salsa. I only ate half because I knew I’d be eating dinner again in about 3 hours and I also knew that if I ate the whole thing I’d be full for about 5 hours.
I’ve really gotten to know my hunger over the past few years just by listening. Sometimes my hunger surprises me, and that’s okay!
Did you like this post? Let me know in the comments! I would love to hear your take-aways! 🙂
I hope you got some great ideas and are excited to make some of your favorite traditional meals at home.