I’ll admit it: My first attempts to eat healthy resulted in some tragic meals. I didn't think there was a way to change that because I was also stubborn and unwilling to learn. It was a combination of being overwhelmed and being lazy. I really thought the only way to eat the delicious kind of healthy meals was to hire a chef (I'm a bit of a drama queen), so I imagined my future self spending my entire paycheck to pay one, a rather bizarre way to live indeed, but I literally felt like there was no way I could learn!
My sister and her husband decided to do a prepared meal service in which they picked up their meals from a “healthy” chef twice a week. She said they lost a few pounds but the food was often flavorless and unexciting. I knew from eating at plenty of healthy and “trendy” restaurants that this was outrageous! Why couldn’t this chef make healthy eating delicious?
So I was patient with my learning, or rather, continued to pout about feeding myself, not even realizing as the knowledge trickled in. Today, as I still feel overwhelmed on what to eat and how to cook, I took a moment to reflect on where I started. Recalling some of those tragic meals from before made me realize how far I’ve come.
If you're struggling to make healthy eating enjoyable, make sure you aren't making these mistakes that I originally did:
1. No Flavor
Salt and pepper alone can’t create a dish. This world is full of exciting flavors for you to discover. Oh the joys of a fully stocked spice cabinet, assortment of oils and vinegars, and fresh herbs! Cook with recipes to learn when to use them and how to combine them!
2. Boring Salad Dressing
Find yourself a good dressing or two. I have eaten too many bad salads in my early days because of being cheap or lazy in dressing choice! Seriously, that bottled low-fat, non-fat junk, or just oil and vinegar? Gross and boring! Now my dressings make me look forward to my veggies! Nutritional yeast, beet juice, tahini, or better yet, just use hummus (preferably homemade) instead!
3. Old Veggies
I said it before, I'm cheap. So I would buy all these vegetables with good intentions, but sometimes I bought too much at once. It took all week to get to them and now I'm having a wilted salad with beets with no color left in them... Throw that stuff out, you deserve better and so do your taste buds!
Thank goodness the last few places I've lived have not even had a microwave. Back in the day, if I wasn't making bad salad, I was putting perfectly good asparagus and mushroom into a Tupperware and zapping the life out of it. I was too lazy to dirty pots and pans, and too amateur to add flavor. Perfectly ruined food!
Ok, the other four all feed into this one. I was doing all those things because I was too lazy to learn how to do it right. I don't know why I was so stubborn to dirty up the kitchen, I actually don't mind doing dishes. I can even recall cutting stuff in mid-air to not dirty a cutting board (I usually ended up cutting my hands!). I was full of excuses of not having the space, money, or time. Once you get over the initial learning curve, it really won’t require much effort to eat a delicious meal. You may even be inclined to invite others over and cook for them!
Today, I have finally prioritized my time and money into my health. I spend time reading cooking blogs and books and resolved to dirty as many dishes at once as possible! Once you begin to skim the surface, the learning becomes fun! You can cook all day or whip up something super quick. You might even be inviting your friends over for dinner soon.
Make priorities, make commitments, and be patient. Life's too short to be eating bad food!