We all know what a “Happy Meal” brings to mind, right? A plastic toy nestled into the bag alongside the fries and burger. But, ironically, it was anything but a happy meal. It was, and still is, the saddest meal on Earth. This is why I am creating you “Happy” Meals All Week – tons of recipes to make it easy for you.
So, what is a “sad” meal? Well, sad food, aside from the ethical and humane reasons for not wanting to eat factory-farmed meat, are sad because you wind up feeling sad after eating it. Have any of you seen the documentary Super Size Me, where Morgan Spurlock eats only Mc D’s food for 30 days? He not only winds up with a scary lab report, and horrendous physical symptoms, but he fees depressed. Low quality unhealthy food does just that – it makes you feel like crap. So why do we eat it, crave it, buy it with our hard-earned money? I was talking with my daughter about this today actually, and she just said that it tastes so good. Whether it’s a Domino Pizza or a Taco Bell, it’s (in her words), “Addictive”. She’s spot on. Food that is laden with cheap fat, sodium, hidden sugar, and MSG is indeed intended to be addictive. But foods that don’t nourish every cell of our body with goodness will always make us feel sad within a few hours of consumption.
Conversely a “Happy” meal – a really Happy Meal, is one that makes me feel happy as soon as I’ve eaten it, and for hours afterward. This is the reason that I eat healthy. It’s not because of any virtue, it’s simply because of vanity (who doesn’t want glowing skin and a great bod), and it’s because I choose to feel happy.
Now, even if you’re not at the drive thru category of eaters, you might still be loading your plate and cart with low-quality foods. Also, how often do you eat out? Food, unless from an extremely high-end, organic restaurant will probably serve foods coated with butter or cheap oils, and use as inexpensive ingredients as they can get away with. Restaurants have a hard time staying afloat, and because they’re watching their bottom line, they’ll cut corners quality wise, and dress it all up to look and taste great – nothing that a few sticks of butter won’t put right! This is why creating a truly “Happy” meal is way better done within the confines of your own cozy kitchen.
A really happy meal needs to be made from really happy ingredients. This means ingredients that are:
Ideally locally sourced
Ideally organic (because if it’s USDA certified organic, this also means that it will be GMO-free)
Super fresh (which goes hand-in-hand with locally sourced)
So, when you shop for ingredients for your next meal, ask yourself those 4 questions: Is this food really fresh? Is it organic? Is it locally-sourced, Is it minimally processed? For the first 3 questions, I am primarily talking about perishable food: produce, meat, dairy, eggs and fish. But it can also apply to a few pantry staples such as locally milled flour, locally canned beans, etc.
The minimally processed question concerns itself with looking for whole foods with as few additives as possible. Think 100% whole wheat bread instead of white bread, brown rice instead of white, whole wheat pasta instead of white pasta etc.
Can you commit to a week of Happy Meals this week? I will give you tons of recipes to help you along the way, and every single recipe will take no longer than 15 minutes to make. I truly believe that healthy meals shouldn’t take long to prepare, and shouldn’t have you standing trying to work out a complicated recipe. So stay tuned on my Facebook Page for a really Happy Meal each day of this week.
Here’s your first recipe.