I never knew how to cook.
Technically, that’s not true. If you wanted Ramen or Mac n’ cheese, I got you boo. But anything that required any spices, or chopping, or mixing, or waiting? Nope. That was not my biggest skill! So dinners generally (always) were eaten out. Thankfully, we live in a town where there is every food imaginable near us. You want Yard House? Great, it’s a 3 minute walk away. Ice cream? Baskin Robbins is down the street. Cheesecake Factory? 5 minute drive. Seriously, there are so many restaurants in our 2 mile vicinity that it took us about 2 years of constant eating out to get tired of all the options!
Eating healthy was not a thing that seemed possible. I didn’t even really feel like it was necessary. I had heard the benefits, but I couldn’t quite get myself to care enough to change something.
A few months ago, Luke and I began a beta test of a program at church called Operation: Healthy Lives. It required us to work out, and to eat healthy. By eat healthy, I mean we literally could only eat fruit, veggies, nuts, and meat. No sugar, no dairy, no chips, no fries, no chocolate, no fast food. In all seriousness, I didn’t think I could do it.
But they made it so simple for us. They gave us a list of things that we could eat, which soon became our grocery list, and detailed out portion sizes. The next day I began cooking. And then I cooked the next day too. And the next day, and the next day, and the next day.
Pretty soon, I fell in love with cooking. We emptied our fridge and cupboards of everything unhealthy and filled them up with fruits and veggies and chicken. I was completely blown away at how easy it was, how much money we saved by eating in, and how much better I feel on a daily basis when I’m eating 3 full meals! On top of that, Luke ended up losing 20 pounds and started feeling great too! We knew we could never go back.
This was a lifestyle change for us that was so incredible. I had to share, so I’m starting a blog series with links to some of our favorite, simple recipes that I hope you’ll love as much as we did!
*Disclaimer – all of these are links to other people’s recipes, with some tips on how I modify it. I’m not at the point where I’m making my own yet, and I definitely don’t have all the pretty pictures of food that they have!
Healthy Roasted Chicken & Veggies – This is our favorite meal, and it is so easy! Instead of all the veggies listed though, (because I’m picky), I use chopped sweet potatoes and broccoli. The best part about this is that you can make a couple trays of it at once and have leftovers for lunch the next day or two!
Buffalo Chicken and Broccoli Bowls – Okay you guys – this recipe only requires 6 ingredients total, including the chicken and broccoli! We tried this for the first time last night and were so impressed. It is so tasty, and SO incredibly easy to make! Instead of butter, I substituted olive oil since I was already using it for the cauliflower rice. Oh! And I added garlic salt to the cauliflower rice for a little extra flavor. So yummy!
Spanish Chicken & Cauliflower Rice – This has been a staple in our house since I started cooking. You’ve gotta love cauliflower rice – tastes like rice but actually gives you the nutrients of veggies! And takes WAY less time to cook! I like to make double of this one too, although I had to buy a way bigger pan in order to do that! Also, a tip on cauliflower rice – you can actually buy huge bags of frozen riced cauliflower at Costco! I use a mini food processor to chop up cauliflower quickly, but if you don’t have that, I highly recommend buying it already riced. So much easier!