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How You Can Make Incredibly Healthy, Tasty Meals at Home (Yes, You!)

Superfood_sweetpotatokale_400It’s the perfect time for many of us to set personal goals: The start of a new year has become synonymous either with rebooting or altering our focus on an area of life previously neglected—and there’s no surprise that the most common New Year’s resolution is related to health, particularly weight loss.

Keep your life balanced, have everything in moderation, and enjoy yourself when you should. But how do you transform your new health kick into a lifestyle rather than a 4-week block? Don’t worry, I’ve got your back.

What Should Be in Your Fridge
Nobody’s fridge or pantry should ever be the same as we all have our own favorites and easy go-to meals. However there are a few loveable ingredients that I think you should always leave room for:

• Meat: Chicken breasts and thighs, beef steaks (you can always freeze them)
• Spices: Cumin, coriander, paprika, pepper, salt
• Fruit: Frozen berries and seasonal fruits, lemons
• Sauces: Soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, coconut milk
• Veggies: Carrots, broccoli, sweet potatoes
• Oils/butter: Olive oil, grass-fed butter

Dan Churchill’s Pork Loin with Balsamic-Apple Sauce

Stock Your Kitchen with Superfoods
We hear all these talk about superfoods, but what are they? In short, they’re packed full of sooooo many epic nutrients; but what I find funny is how all of a sudden they seem to have popped out of thin air—even though they’ve always been around. As more people are becoming educated about their health and diet, they are being exposed to some amazingly awesome ingredients. There are interesting options, such as:

• Acai berries: a truckload of anti-oxidants and epic slow-release energy
• Maca powder: does wonders for your libido, reduces oxidative stress
• Lacuma powder: packed full of Vitamin B
• Cacao: contains the most anti-oxidants of any ingredient and tastes like wicked chocolate
• Quinoa: an ancient seed high in protein and plenty of slow-release carbohydrates

Then you have your more conventional superfood legends:

• Sweet potato: a complex carbohydrate providing plenty of daily energy
• Mushrooms: provide necessary immune-boosting micronutrients
• Kale: contains anti-inflammatory properties, ridding the body of possible illness
• Eggs: legendary muscle-builders, the only natural source to contain all 20 amino acids
• Berries: generate plenty of slow-release energy—and super tasty
• Bok choy: holds three times the amount of fiber as broccoli and also acts as an anti-inflammatory agent

What Your Plate Should Look Like
One of the biggest questions people ask me is how much of each food group they should be eating. I hate numbers. Your age doesn’t reflect how young you are, the digit on the scale doesn’t dictate how healthy you may be, and you should never have to do math every single time you sit down to enjoy a meal. Truth be told, I love math, but I once I make that wickedly delicious bowl of Kale Pesto Quinoa with Coconut-Poached Chicken I don’t want to be doing anything else other than smashing it. The best solution is to look down at your plate and see how many colors of the rainbow are involved.

DanChurchill_300

Two-thirds of your plate should be colorful fruits, veggies, and complex carbs (eg. quinoa, sweet potato). The remaining third should be your tender meat or protein source. If you are a vegetarian your plate will be stacked with so much color Picasso will want to use it as inspiration, and you should have something like sprinkled nuts or tofu for your added protein option.

You must cheat! Yep, be naughty, have chocolate, ice cream, a cookie, pasta… just know that this is a sometimes option. To leave this out altogether would mean you are neglecting the body of necessary hormones to promote your happiness—after all, happiness is the key to health, right?

My No. 1 rule is that whatever is on your plate, it must taste delicious. We never sacrifice flavor for what we believe to be best for our insides. If you don’t want to eat it your stomach won’t want to digest it! No steamed dry chicken and bland broccoli will be harmed in the making of these delicious cooking endeavors. I look forward to hearing about and seeing your cooking shenanigans beginning now. Remember, there is a little healthy cook in all of us.

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