Writers are not known for our great diets. We tend to sit at our computers for vast stretches of time, banging out articles, turning phrases and making deadlines with only seconds to spare. Our workspace is littered with beer bottles, empty coffee cups and the crumbs from a myriad of snack food containers. Cigarette ash coats the entire area like dirty snow.
The things that normal people do can become difficult when you’re a professional content writer, especially if you’re doing it on top of a day job. Exercise is the first to go, especially if your primary workspace is within the home. The next activity that usually gets cut is even more basic—cooking. While it’s true that we know preparing food made with fresh ingredients is healthy, few people know recipes that are actually easy to make. Cooking seems like a time consuming task; just ripping open a bag of chips seems like the better option.
However, cooking with healthy ingredients will make you think clearer, and, most importantly, it won’t take a lot of active cooking time (the amount of time you spend working on the meal as opposed to the time the food spends cooking while you’re in the other room). Furthermore, it doesn’t have to be too expensive. The first step in realizing how to accomplish this is to recognize the best ingredients for the job.
Kale may be one of the healthiest foods on the planet. It is also one of the most substantial leafy greens that you can buy. Whereas spinach and lettuce have delicate textures, kale is coarse and filling. One of the easiest ways to prepare kale is to eat it raw. To make it more tender, all you have to do is massage it with a little bit of salt and olive oil once you’ve washed it and torn it into bite size pieces. This is your base. Mix in some mango, avocado and coconut, and you have a refreshing salad that takes less than 15 minutes to make. Top it with a dressing comprised of the juice of one lime and a quarter cup of olive oil, and you’ll have a filling meal that cost around $6. This is just one idea; there are literally thousands of kale salads to be found on the Internet.
Cooked kale can also be very tasty. If you roast it in the oven with some salt, pepper and olive oil, the result will be kale chips. For an unknown reason, some company is now selling these things at what seems like a 1,000% markup, perhaps under the impression that no one knows how easy it is to make them. Either way, they are a great snack for people who like to munch on crunchy foods as they work their way through a project, but don’t want to pack on calories. If you want a meal instead of a snack, you can top the kale with coconut, soy sauce and sesame oil before it goes into the oven. Once it’s done, serve it over barley, rice or farro.
As most people know, cabbage is very often used in slaws. However, a slaw doesn’t have to be mayo-based. Using lime juice instead can create a very tangy alternative. Once you’ve mixed the lime with the raw red cabbage, toss in a little onion, cilantro, garlic, cumin and salt and pepper, and you’ll have the perfect topping for black bean tacos. This is an incredibly inexpensive meal. If you want to make it a little more filling, you can also add some roasted sweet potatoes. This meal is eaten at least once a week in my apartment.
Lentil soup is a favorite, too. There are thousands of iterations to be found out there, with perhaps half of them costing about $5 to make while yielding enough food for four. It would be difficult to pick a favorite because of how versatile the lentil can be, even for vegetarians. Furthermore, making soup is ideal for writers working in an apartment because the delicious aroma will fill your entire place as you work, and will serve as a great reward once you’ve finally finished your article.
Jay F is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.