It’s the most terrible day of the year!

Terrible? I guess not. Saddest day of the year? Perhaps. Back to work and school. Decorations begin coming down. It’s frowned upon to eat cookies and wine at every meal. On the other hand, there are 11 months to get your life together, before it falls apart again at Thanksgiving.

I’m excited to get back in the kitchen after a short hiatus. Here we go…all healthy choices, with many options for adding/subbing to meet your needs.

Monday: One Pot Spicy Thai Noodles– Vegetarian; to make gluten free use g-free pasta and liquid aminos, coconut aminos, or tamari instead of soy sauce; dairy free; can be vegan if you leave out the eggs. Chicken or shrimp could also be added.

Tuesday: Salad Bar- No recipe needed. Just load up that plate with veggies (and maybe some fruit and some lean protein). Vegetables are “free” foods…eat as much as you like! “Wow, she’s really put on the pounds.” “Must be all of that zucchini and tomatoes.”

I like to mix raw and cooked veggies, as it’s easier for my body to handle. Be careful not to load up on extras like sugar coated nuts, cheese, dried fruit (like Craisins, which all have added oil and sugar), and store bought dressings. Make your own dressing. Play around with recipes to find what you like. I like a mix of olive oil, pure Grade B maple syrup, mustard, apple cider vinegar, and spices. An avocado mixed with some greek yogurt, lactose free yogurt, or coconut cream (put a can of full fat coconut milk in the fridge for at least a day…open the can, and the solid stuff on top is the “cream”), some lemon juice, and spices all blended up is good too…if you need a creamy dressing.

Wednesday: Spicy Vegan Lentil Cakes with a side salad– Want to make a bunch of food? Great! This recipe is for you! Gluten free and vegan.

Thursday: “Thanksgiving” Salad– This is  my favorite. I made it for Thanksgiving, so these two will always be linked. Gluten free and vegetarian. Vegan if you leave out the brie, or use a vegan substitute. Feel free to use goat cheese instead, use a pear instead of an apple, use a sweet potato if you can find a squash, add chicken…I use dates instead of Craisins to avoid the extra junk. I also like to add roasted beets.

Friday: Paleo Empanadas with Guacamole – Gluten free and paleo. Can be vegan if you leave out the ground beef and add more veggies &/or beans/lentils/tofu for protein.

Saturday: Quinoa White Chicken Chili– Gluten free; can be vegan if you leave out the chicken and use veggie stock. This recipe uses homemade Salsa Verde, but you may be able to buy this already made.

Sunday: Sweet Potato, Beet, and Goat Cheese Galette– Gluten free and vegetarian, can be vegan if you leave out the cheese. Feel free to use your own crust recipe. Since this is a galette, you only need one crust (saves some calories), and galettes are supposed to look rustic, so don’t stress. If you can’t find fresh beets, buy a can of whole beets (make sure only water and salt are added), drain, rinse like crazy, and let them dry before you slice and add them. Serve this with a side salad to add more veggies and to make a whole meal.

 

I’m feeling this menu for the week. Remember: it’s not about restriction; it’s about filling yourself with healthy food. Eat food, not products. There is nothing here that comes out of a package…ok, pasta and quinoa do, but you know what I mean.

 

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