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Healthy eating start at home

Updated: Feb 12, 2021

Healthy eating start at home

January 11, 2021 | Hui Hui Lee, RD/LD

Hello everyone! Happy 2021. A new year, a new hope, and a new you! Let’s gear up and start the year with the resolution of being healthy! As my mom always said, “your health is your wealth”! You and I both know nutrition plays an important role in our health. The types and amount of food/drinks we decide to put into our bodies will directly affect our overall health outcomes. It can be very overwhelming to make a healthy and balanced meal plan. A simple tip for that is to refer to MyPlate guidelines.

(Image credit: USDA My Plate, n.d.)

To successfully achieve a long-lasting behavioral change (adapting healthy eating), knowledge alone isn’t enough! It is your COMMITMENT that determines your success. Why is it so hard to make a permanent change in eating habits? To be honest, I do not have an exact answer for that question. What I will say is to focus on one thing at the time, start with a small goal.

To have a better control of the types/amount of food you eat, home cooked meals might be the best choice. I have a lot of clients/patients who share with me that making a home cooked meal is their biggest challenge. Home cooked meals do not have to be complicated. Most of the time, I think many of us “overthink” the process of meal prepping which leads to frustration. For those of you that are new to meal prepping, you just need to remember these simple tips:

1. Keep it simple;

2. Pick your favorite ingredients (types of vegetables, protein, and starchy/grain items);

3. Focus on nutrient balance

I generally spend one day to Meal Prep (for a week's worth of meals, generally lunch). Throughout my years of experience, I have learned to take shortcuts on cooking. For example, the idea of sheet pan meals, of which you only need to use a large baking sheet for cooking (and you cook everything in together at the same time). I like my food to be flavorful, so I would Prep different types of sauces/gravy that can easily go with my meals.

If you are interested in following my fool-proof meal prepped idea, feel free to take a look at these recipes.

Sauces/Gravies: I made 6 must-have sauces/gravies Zhoug yogurt sauce, teriyaki sauce, basic garlic butter tomato sauce, szechuan sauce (spicy), yum yum sauce, kale chimichurri. If you have time, I would suggest you spend one day preparing your sauces/gravies, then freeze some for another week.

Vegan tofu scramble: This tofu scramble is best for breakfast. It is simply a plant-based version of scrambled eggs. To yield the bright color, it takes a touch of turmeric powder. I prefer my tofu scramble to be a little more texture and flavorful. I added some chopped mushroom, bell pepper, and zucchini. I also seasoned it with some nutritional yeast, salt, and black pepper. I tried the dish with a few slices of avocado.

Teriyaki Salmon with Bok Choy: you can try this dish with either brown rice or quinoa.

Baked Chicken Shawarma Wrap: Grilled chicken shawarma wrap with some greens, pickled onions, red pepper, and drizzle with zhoug yogurt. It is a super flavorful wrap, I highly recommend this recipe!

Shawarma Bowl with Tofu (plant-based): Similar to the baked chicken shawarma, I make it into a vegan version. I season my tofu with the same spices/seasoning as chicken shawarma. And then, instead of wrapping it with pita/flatbread, I make it into a bowl. To assemble my bowl, I have baked tofu, cooked quinoa, Israeli salad, sliced avocado, and tomatoes.

Mexican Style Oaxacan Bowl (plant-based): This oaxacan bowl is super delicious, very filling! The recipe calls for purple cabbage slaw, which I learned if you want to keep it for a longer time, you can easily substitute it with just a handful of arugula (you want to pack it separately from the rest of the ingredients). To bring the dish to the next level, I recommend trying it with some cream-based sauce (I tried it with yum yum sauce and zhoug yogurt, it tasted super yummy).

You can prepare teriyaki salmon with bok choy, baked chicken, baked tofu, and an Oaxacan bowl in ONE large baking sheet. First preheat the oven to 350F, bake the marinated tofu for a few minutes, then place in the chicken and continue to bake for approximately 10 minutes. After that, place in the marinated salmon, bok choy, and shiitake mushrooms for approximately 10 minutes. Check that the chicken and salmon are thoroughly cooked (the internal temperature of chicken should reach 165F and salmon at 145F). If you have an extra few minutes, you can turn on your oven to broil setting, bring your baking sheet to the top layer, then broil for a few minutes until the salmon, chicken, and tofu are slightly crispy and brown. Remove the baking sheet immediately from the oven, then start assembling your dishes.

As for the Oaxacan bowl, you need to heat your oven to 400F, then place the onions, red pepper, and sweet potatoes on the same baking sheet. Roast the vegetables for approximately 20-30 minutes. About three-quarters through, you are going to give the vegetables a little bit of toss, place in the pecans, and bake for another 10-12 minutes. Roast your vegetables until tender and the pecans are lightly browned, then remove from the oven. NOW, you are ready to assemble the last dish (Oaxacan bowl).

*** All ingredients were contributed by the DRH food and nutrition department.


USDA My Plate (n.d.). My plate [Digital Image]. Retrieved from

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