I get so overwhelmed when I just glance at a complicated-looking recipe! When I look at a recipe that has a long list of directions…I just shut down, turn the page and move on to another! So one day, I thought to myself “If this bothers me (and I do this for a living) then I wonder how much it must bother people with diabetes that are trying to lead healthier lives while trying to make a living!”
Don’t misunderstand, there’s a time and place for lengthy, multiple-step recipes—on the weekends possibly. But on a regular day, I feel like recipes that are quick from start to finish with as few directions as possible are very important to stay on a healthy track.
The key is to “simplify”. It’s not just about simplifying the ingredients though; it’s about simplifying the steps it takes to put them together.
So I developed recipes with minimal directions that not only met the American Diabetes Association’s guidelines but were main stream and family-friendly, using simple ingredients that could be found in a local grocery store. In other words, “normal” ingredients! No separate meals, no shopping at specialty stores, and no hard-to-find ingredients.
One thing I discovered while creating these recipes was the importance of …
PLAN A BIT: When planning out your own recipes and menus, always ask yourself: “Now how can I make this easier on myself?” Here’s a few examples to get you started thinking:
- Take advantage of the already prepped and frozen products. (Choose unseasoned and “unsauced” varieties, such as peppers and onions, broccoli spears, even cooked brown rice and sweet potato fries!)
- Grab already prepped and canned products, especially the no-salt-added varieties. (No need to shy away from canned and frozen varieties, because the ingredients are picked and packed at their peak of freshness retaining their nutritional benefits.)
- Utilize a rotisserie chicken or two? (And keep one in freezer for a later use.)
- Pick up a few precooked items, such as hard boiled eggs or turkey pepperoni. (Great to toss in a lunch salad or as a protein snack.)
- Select some premade items, such as yogurt-based dressing/ dips or hummus. (For veggie-dipping, sandwich spreads and for wraps, too!)
- Make a stop in your grocer’s deli aisle, to have them thinly slice a variety of lean lunch meats and cheeses. (Keep on hand in small amounts to give added interest and protein to your sandwiches and salads without over-buying and without over-indulging!)
- Stock up your kitchen by keeping ingredients on hand in your freezer, fridge and pantry that you can always rely on for a few breakfasts, lunches, snacks and dinners. (It keeps you from calling for pizza and avoiding those fast food places…and it will be faster and healthier, too!)
EASE UP A BIT: Why mess up two dishes when you don’t have to. Whenever possible, use the bowl, skillet or pot to its fullest use. For example:
- Use the same pot you’ve cooked the pasta in to mix in the remaining ingredients (instead of using a separate bowl.
- Shred the meat that has been cooked in a slow cooker without taking it out, (shred it while in the pot
- Make a salad simpler by making the dressing in the actual salad bowl, then adding the lettuce, etc. and toss OR often you can top the salad in a salad bowl with the salad dressing ingredients (such as vinegar, oil, herbs, salt and pepper) and toss…they’ll mix together as you toss (so there’s no small bowl, whisk or separate container to wash!)
ON A FINAL NOTE: The main thing to remember is that the easier the directions are, the easier it will “feel” to make the dish…and if it feels easy, you’ll be more inclined to make it when your energies are low…and the more you make healthy dishes, the more you’ll stay on a healthy track…and isn’t that the whole point?
I hope you’re hungry!