Welcome to Kitchn's new series My Favorite Healthy Recipes, where we show you how real people around the country (and even world) eat "healthy," however they choose to define that for themselves. Maybe you'll even find a few recipes to add to your own meal plan.
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Occupation: English teacher
Number of people in household: 2 (me and my partner)
What Does Healthy Mean to You?
I would love to be the kind of person who says that being healthy to me means "doing what my body tells me to do," but that's just not me. At 30, I'm grudgingly admitting to myself that what my body actually wants is a diet of caramel popcorn, hamburgers, and cinnamon buns. It can't be trusted to make the decisions. When I let myself have one cookie or one square of chocolate, my willpower goes out the window with the first bite.
So for me, the reality of healthy eating does mean restriction. I have a family history of PCOS and I've found through trial and error that I feel more energized when I stick to low-carb and low-sugar foods. I try not to be too militant about it because it's not a very fun way for me to live. Instead, I'll have weeks where I am super strict with making healthy choices if I know I have a vacation coming up, or I'll do healthy weekdays to allow myself free rein on the weekend. But my partner is Italian (so much delicious pizza and pasta) and I live in an extremely food- and drink-centered city, so it can be a struggle a lot of the time.
Figuring out how to stick with the habit of eating healthfully is a process, and one I'm still working on. What helps, though, is tricking my body into thinking I'm eating junk when really I've chosen healthy alternatives.
What Are Your Favorite "Healthy" Recipes?
1. Vanilla Bean Banana Crepes from Nutrition Stripped
If I'm organized enough to make some breakfasts ahead of time, I make these Paleo banana pancakes. The sweetness from the bananas makes syrup unnecessary, so I'll usually have a stack on their own or with some plain Greek yogurt. It's a nice treat on a cold weekday morning, and since they freeze well this dish usually requires no more than three minutes to prepare.
2. Roasted Broccoli with Nacho Toppings from Food52
This recipe is absolutely ingenious. It's just a pan of roasted broccoli with nacho ingredients dolloped generously on top, but it is completely deceptive in its healthiness and really makes you feel like you're indulging. I usually add some lean ground chicken or turkey with taco spices to up the protein factor.
3. Pizza Chicken from Melissa Clark
I was apprehensive about serving this recipe to my Italian partner because he doesn't love low-carb substitutions, and this is a variation on a cuisine he takes very seriously. But I shouldn't have worried — he scraped the pan clean the first time I made this recipe. I serve it with a big, fresh green salad garnished with herbs from our backyard. Thanks to the intense flavors of the chicken, that's all we need for a full and complete dinner.
4. Soda with Bitters from Kitchn
I got this idea from Kitchn many years ago and I still make this drink regularly when I feel like a weekday pick-me-up without actually indulging in alcohol (in fact, I have a glass beside me as I type this). A friend gifted us a SodaStream and I pick up different flavors of bitters when we travel (my favorites are a trio of flavors we bought at Chelsea Market in New York), which makes this drink easy, cheap, and fun to experiment with.
Thanks so much for sharing your favorite healthy recipes, Courtney! Want to share what healthy means to you? See how here.