This is a sponsored post.
Have you ever wondered how simplicity and minimalism can help you eat a better? I know I talk mostly about tossing kitchen equipment and having fewer spatulas on this blog but I was recently asked to write about minimalism and diet and found some great ideas for simplifying your nutrition for better health. I would love it if you included any of your own tips in the comments. Many of these are easy to implement and immediate – no special appliance needed!
Minimalism and Your Diet
As a minimalist, you are probably looking for new areas to apply your minimalist philosophy beyond your closet and kitchen cupboards. How about applying minimalism to your diet? Eating less and eating foods with fewer ingredients can improve your health and minimize your environmental impact. Here are a few ideas to help you start looking for ways to simplify your food consumption.
Start With the Essentials
Start minimalizing your diet by thinking about the nutrients that are essential for living a healthy life. Getting the right balance of protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals in your daily diet will help you to be healthier, feel better in your skin, and have more energy to do the things you really want to do with your life. Your meals are how you provide your body with the building blocks it needs to renew itself. Think about food as fuel first, and pleasure second, and you will be on the right track towards applying minimalism to your diet.
This may seem obvious but a minimalist diet could simply start with snacking less. How many times per day do you eat? There are different approaches to how best to eat that depend on your current health status, your level of athletic activity, and your basic metabolism. If you are in reasonably good health and not training for a marathon, consider simplifying your eating by eating less. Create a little rule to guide your new habit, like replacing your afternoon snack with an invigorating walk, or no eating after eight in the evening – I’ve heard some people close their kitchen after the dinner dishes to discourage evening snacking. The right approach to eating less will vary from person to person, just look for somewhere that you could cut back.
Eat Foods with Fewer Ingredients
Simplicity can be found in a meal consisting of just a few pieces of real food: a lunch of an apple with cheese and bread or crackers. Read food labels and try to stick to foods whose ingredients you recognize, as well as eating foods with the smallest number of ingredients you can find. Ideal foods would be fruits and vegetables, which don’t even come with nutrition labels. Once you venture into processed foods, the minimalist approach may lead you to look for simpler alternatives to some of your favorites. Instead of bottled salad dressing, just sprinkle some oil and vinegar on your salad. Instead of the usual mayonnaise, try making your own from eggs and oil, or try Just Mayo from Hampton Creek, a vegan mayo alternative with recognizable ingredients.
Eat Lower on the Food Chain
Try minimizing the impact your diet has on the planet by going vegan for one day per week, or try Mark Bittman’s approach of going vegan before six in the evening. About 25 gallons of water are required to raise one pound of wheat, but 2,500 gallons of water are required to raise one pound of beef. Eating less meat, replacing it with vegetables and legumes, minimizes the strain our food production system puts on the environment.
Minimalism isn’t about being ascetic, it is about simplifying your life in ways that make sense to you. Having fewer things often means you can afford better things. This is a huge advantage with food. If you are eating less and wasting less, then you can buy higher quality foods. Buying high-quality locally grown produce will change the way you think about fruits and vegetables. Sweet summer vegetables from a farm 20 miles from your house picked earlier that day are so delicious that they require little preparation, and deliver high satisfaction. We’ve been buying vegetables and fruits through a local CSA and it’s not only introduced us to some new to us foods – fresh artichokes! – but the higher investment cost has made me even more mindful of food waste.
Prepare Simple Meals
Simplify your diet, and your life, by preparing simple meals. A protein, a starch, a vegetable, and some fat come together to create a delicious and simple dinner. Pan-fry a chicken breast in a little olive oil, make some rice, steam some broccoli, and dinner is done. Or prepare a big salad with lots of fruit and nuts to make it interesting. Multi-step recipes are great for weekends when you have more time to cook, but weeknight dinners are well suited to simple meals. Avoiding complicated recipes allows you to keep your kitchen equipment basic, as well. My family has a few week nights that are busy and I love serving up a tapas style meal of cut up fruits and vegetables with whatever else we have on hand: olives, cheese, hummus. Not having to turn the stove on or wash a pan is a real time saver and these healthy tapas style meals can be prepared quickly.
Applying a minimalist philosophy to your diet can be done in different ways, but they will all result in a simpler life. Eating less food of better quality that can be prepared simply and quickly will improve your health and free up your time for more of the things you really want to do. So include Meatless Mondays in your meal plan, cut out one snack per day, and enjoy the peace it brings you.