Packing Veggies into Average Dinners

9:35 AM

I am starting to realize that my nutritional strategy for my own self and for my family is: eat what you want, add lots of good stuff to it. I just cannot get behind diets and health philosophies that cut out, or even overly limit, things like bacon, donuts, sweetened iced coffee.. okay, clearly this list is very specific to my life. Bottom line, I cannot fathom enjoying life if I had a perfect-10 body but no joy from food. (Oh my gosh, I totally just typed that as "phathom" .. I think a viewing of Phantom Menace is calling my name. Star Wars marathon anyone?)

When I plan meals for my family I do it based on what we love and then I make sure I'm packing it full of the good stuff. So, not a "Low Fat Dinners" Pinterest search but a, 'hey, how can we make philly cheesesteaks healthy??' brain-search. This works fabulously for us. We don't have to survive on endless plain oatmeal, with iceberg lettuce salads for lunch and underwhelming fish for dinner. And we don't have to, like, get scurvy and stuff. Win-win.

Here are some of my favourite strategies for pumping totally run of the mill, but yummy, dinners, full of healthful veggies. They're all relatively easy to make and not super expensive, or else they wouldn't make my list at all.

- Philly Cheesesteaks! Starting with the meal I mentioned above, since it's what I'm cooking for dinner tonight, this one is a hit. I season and grill some steak - it can be a cheaper, thin cut like flank or skirt, because you'll be slicing against the grain. Our favourite steak is striploin, if you see it on sale buy it. While the meat is resting (never, never cut your steak before resting please) I stirfry bell peppers, onions and mushrooms. Lots of them. Then I throw a whole grain bun for each person (2 for Cal! Only 1/2 one for Oliver. Yes, that means Dakota and I both eat a full!) topped with a little cheese, into the oven to broil. Once the cheese is melted and the bun is toasty I top it with sliced steak and stirfried veggies. Delish. Mashed avocado is a wonderful addition. You could also make a killer vegan version by grilling Maple Tempeh and using Daiya jack cheese.

- Perogies! There's something about a layer of perogies at the bottom of a plate that makes anyone able to eat a mound of vegetables. Cook up some broccoli, yellow zucchini, orange bell pepper, spring onions, portabello mushrooms, whatever you can think of. Place them on top of a layer of boiled perogies. Watch the magic.

- Baked pasta! If you stir up some cooked noodles (any type - whole wheat if you're fancy) with like 5 cups of frozen veggie mix - the broc/cauli one, the Asian one, pick your favourite - with a little melted cream cheese and a can or two of either tuna or salmon - this will bake up gorgeously in the oven.

- Homemade pizza

- Quiche

- Pot roast soup

- Stirfry

- Loaded sweet potatoes

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