A big part of my path to healthier living has been the choice to cook more at home and to make healthier choices in ingredients. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: I love food. Eating out is easy (and we used to do it a lot). Before we joined the gym and started exercising, my husband and I decided we wanted to eat out MUCH less and make more of our own food. It was our ‘step one’ in this whole lifestyle shift. We had a lot of recipes that we liked, and we started by tweaking some of those with slightly healthier options. For example, my spaghetti sauce was updated to use ground turkey sausage instead of standard. My husband updated his meatloaf with a mixture of turkey and sausage instead of beef and sausage. Little tweaks.

We wanted more options though. That led us to go to the bookstore and check out some recipe books. We started with one Cooking Light book, and since the first one we have bought two more. We own Fresh Food Fast, Fresh Food Superfast, and The Essential Dinner Tonight Cookbook. Incredible. The recipes are usually quite easy, and they are low in fat and calories. And as you can infer from the titles, some of them are very quick to put together, so they are perfect for people like us who both work and don’t have hours to dedicate to cooking.

There are so many options. We already plan to buy more of those books, the ones we own get used practically every day. They are covered in splashes of sauce from cooking and post it notes from our weekly meal planning. It’s fun to meal plan with them too, each recipe has a photo so we browse through before our big grocery store trips as if it’s a delicious restaurant menu. The recipes are good as well; they aren’t misleading and they are easy to follow. Aside from one or two semi-lame ones, all the ones we have tried have been so yummy. Bonus: most of the recipes from these books are already preloaded into MyFitnessPal‘s database. Tracking the food remains simple.

Pinterest is another place I find recipes. Have to be honest, these can sometimes be hit or miss. But it’s a great resource for inspiration, and sometimes a real gem is found there. One of my favorite sites for cheap and easy recipes that I found as a result of pinterest is Budget Bytes (The dragon noodles are one of my favorite recipes!).

This takes effort, but the effort is more in the meal planning. My husband and I set aside a few minutes once or twice a week to plan out a few meals and hit up the grocery store to buy everything we need. If we are both tired after work, we already have the ingredients – that way there is no excuse.

We both like the way we feel after cutting out a lot of the over-processed fatty foods we had been eating regularly too. It’s funny, because now even when we do eat out we tend to try to find healthier options. When we have a random fast food meal we both get kind of sick afterwards. Not going into details, but it’s not pretty. Our bodies are clearly rejecting that junk. I feel like my body is running more efficiently, and even though I view food more as fuel these days it’s very tasty fuel!

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