As a complement to yesterday’s protein post, I thought I’d share some of the things I pair with my proteins for breakfasts and lunches, aka the “in between” meals. You know, the meals that fall in between the good stuff, which is dinner.
But first, a word about veggies.
I am what they call a “super taster.” That means I have the active form for several genes that code to taste bitter chemicals in plants. These chemicals are what make broccoli and cauliflower, among other veggies, taste and smell like a disgusting garbage dump. Yep, I can taste them all. Add to that, I am also very texture sensitive. I shudder just thinking about raw carrots, but I love cooked carrots. The opposite is true with spinach. Raw spinach is delicious, but cooked spinach is slimy and inedible. I’m just wired that way.
Between my tasting genes and texture sensitivity, I wasn’t a fan of vegetables growing up. However, I have developed a taste for certain things over time, and I’ve also learned through trial and error how sourcing greatly influences taste and texture. For example, I grow cherry tomatoes in my garden, and I eat them right off the vine, they are so good! Store-bought organic tomatoes are pretty good, but I’m not as enthusiastic. They taste great cooked or used in recipes, but they aren’t awesome for salads or other raw dishes. Conventional tomatoes? Nope, not even. They are mealy and gross. There really IS a difference.
When I make my daily carb choices, they look a lot different from my spouse’s plate. He lacks all of the genes to taste those bitter chemicals, so he absolutely loves cauliflower and broccoli and asparagus and all the things. He also isn’t a texture weirdo, so he will eat raw carrots, etc. His choices are more expansive than mine, but we have found a handful of go-to carbs that we both like to eat on a daily basis.
Raw spinach is a mainstay at our house. When in doubt, make a salad. I like spinach better than lettuce, and he’s cool with spinach, so we just keep it around. Things we use to jazz up our salads: tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, cucumbers, banana peppers, sliced almonds, sunflower seeds, pulled chicken.
In summer I grow romaine and other lettuces, but our year round staple is spinach.
The fruits we always have in our fridge include blueberries, raspberries, cut up fresh pineapple, and clementines. I also add strawberries, kiwis, nectarines, plums, and apples to the rotation, but guaranteed we will have those first four at all times. Honestly, I think our fruit choices boil down to the fact that they require very little work to prepare and eat. Pineapple only requires the initial cutting. Clementies are super easy to peel and don’t make a mess. Berries are just there for the taking.
I like fresh fruit. A lot. It’s one of my staples.
Cucumbers & Bell Peppers
Another guaranteed item in the fridge is bell peppers. I would say that bell peppers are the most-eaten veggie in our house. The kids and husband love them. We like the red and yellow bells here. To me, the green ones taste metallic. *shrug* I told you I’m a taste weirdo.
I personally like cucumbers more than bell peppers. They are amazing raw, and they are also delicious when marinated in vinegar and spices. They just taste really good, and they’re easy to slice up and eat if you’re on the go. Cucumbers and bell peppers are also the perfect vehicles for hummus.
You may have noticed that everything I’ve discussed so far has been raw. That’s because we are lazy. If it takes time to cook, I’m not interested in eating it for lunch. Plus, fresh just usually tastes better.
In my protein post, I talked about leftovers, and this is how cooked veggies make it into our lunch rotation. Left over green beans, bok choy, roasted tomato and zucchini, whatever you had last night.
One thing that’s conspicuously absent from our lunches is starch. We just don’t do it, usually. If we have leftovers that include rice, then fine. Otherwise, we just avoid starches. We don’t eat pasta, we don’t do sandwiches, we don’t make potatoes. it’s just not something that’s part of our lifestyle anymore.
Sure, I’ll make something like udon noodles for dinner once in awhile. Or taquitos with flour tortillas. But really, we don’t consume starches on the level of a typical American diet. I had stomach problems my whole life, and they turned around completely when I stopped eating starches. My spouse and kids also have much happier gastrointestinal tracts when we eat this way.
I hope this post was helpful. I’m re-reading it now, and we sound like very boring eaters. I assure you that we’re not. We add a variety of ingredients and different foods here and there to change it up, but we also like what we like. I don’t like wasting money on food that won’t get eaten, so for our utility meals, we stick with what works.
I’m going to write a post about our food philosophy soon. Hope everyone is well and enjoying the new year! Cheers xoxo