If you’re tired of looking at your kitchen at this point in the COVID-19 pandemic, maybe we can help. Making home cooked meals from scratch is a great way to stick to your healthy new year’s resolutions while keeping your immune system strong.
Taking a break from pre-packaged foods and takeout delivery services by whipping up something new in the kitchen can also help you save money, expand your culinary horizons and pass the time at home in a fun new way.
Anyone else fresh out of ideas for new dishes?
We’ve rounded up seven Charlotte food blogs to check out for nourishing recipes and cooking tips to inspire a delicious and healthy year. Whether you’re looking for meals to add to your weekly meal prep, for family dinner or your next Zoom dinner date, this roundup of bloggers and recipes will have you covered.
Who: Amee Livingston, Olympic weightlifting masters athlete, certified NASM trainer at Fight Back Performance and Recovery, cancer survivor and food blogger.
As a southerner and a masterclass athlete, Livingston is passionate about both delicious southern food culture and eating a diet full of all the nutrition she needs to perform. She doesn’t believe, however, that you have to sacrifice flavor to eat healthy.
“Eating better doesn’t require banishing specific foods or food groups, it’s about eating more nutrient-dense whole foods and making food choices that agree with your individual needs,” Livingston said.
Her recipes are inspired by family-style and traditional southern indulgences but are lightened up and packed with protein, fruits and veggies to make you feel satisfied and energized after your meals. She also features many gluten-free recipes on her site for those with food sensitivities.
A self proclaimed “chilihead,” Mike Hultquist is passionate about all things related to chili peppers and posts a wide range of internationally-inspired r
ecipes of all levels of heat made with whole foods, veggies, protein and of course, a hearty helping of chili.
“I like to focus more on the vegetables and leaner proteins when trying to eat healthier. Seafood like shrimp or white fish are typically lower in fat and calories than other proteins, and can make for a satisfying meal. Curries are perfect for those trying to enjoy a healthier lifestyle while also enjoying big flavor. You can easily incorporate your favorite vegetables and swap in other lean proteins, like chicken or tofu,” Hultquist said.
In addition to sharing his favorite recipes, you can also find a wealth of knowledge about different types of chili peppers and spicy seasonings, growing your own peppers and fun facts about spicy foods on his blog.
Who: Samantha Eaton, certified nutritional health coach and eating psychology coach.
Samantha Eaton is a Charlotte-based health coach who is passionate about helping women reach their health goals without dieting, restriction or deprivation. Eaton was inspired to become a health coach based on her own experiences feeling overwhelmed by the conflicting and unhealthy information about dieting and fitness. Her blog is filled with nourishing and nutritious recipes that you can enjoy year-round and tips to help cultivate a healthy and balanced attitude towards food and fitness.
“This time of year can feel so tempting to start restricting certain foods from your life to feel better, but that’s just not needed, sustainable or enjoyable. Instead, get back to basics and simplify. Focus on adding in lots of foods and ingredients that make you feel good, and include all types of macronutrients at your meals,” Eaton said.
Who: Tanya Harris, Charlotte attorney, food blogger and mom.
Tanya Harris creates quick and easy meals for the whole family. Her site has dozens of recipes for lightened up Southern comfort food you can whip up in an air fryer in place of deep frying, and meals that you can make in a pressure cooker to save time without skimping on flavor.
She also provides helpful tips for using various kitchen gadgets and meal planning, which she believes is a crucial step to make you eat healthy each week.
“Planning is the number one way to ensure you’re following a healthy diet. I like to plan our meals and snacks for the week to ensure we’re eating healthy each day. I’ll research new recipes I want to try and review my choices to make sure I’ve got a good balance of healthy recipes in our weekly meal plan,” Harris said.
Who: Krista Linares, a registered dietitian nutritionist who just moved from Charlotte to California.
Krista Linares creates recipes that are true to Latin heritage that also suit a variety of meal patterns with options appropriate for those with food allergies, diabetes and other dietary restrictions and preferences.
“I emphasize plant-based protein and creative ways to add vegetables to traditional dishes. I don’t believe you need to choose between the food you love and a meal pattern that supports your health,” Linares said.
Many of her recipes are made with traditional Latin foods that you may not be able to find at a conventional grocery store, but there are many international markets in Charlotte that are worth the trip.
“Charlotte has some great international markets that are my favorite spots to grocery spots in the city. La Unica Supermercado on Independence has a great produce selection so you can buy a lot of hard to find fruits and vegetables that are common in Latin food, and the juice stand has great healthy snack options like fruit cups with chamoy,” Linares said.
Who: Shay Jackson, full-time food and lifestyle blogger and graphic designer
Jackson develops easy-to-cook and healthy whole food recipes you can whip up with 10 ingredients or less — and you can probably make many of her recipes with ingredients you may already have in your fridge or pantry.
“If you’re looking for some new easy, healthy recipes to start your year off, consider cooking with fewer ingredients. Use simple ingredients to make a big impact on your diet. I love cooking with 10 ingredients or less because cooking shouldn’t be complicated,” Jackson said.
Once you’ve picked out a few recipes to try, keep browsing Jackson’s blog to find easy DIY crafts, and guides to Charlotte bakeries, restaurants and more.
Who: Shuang Shuang Liang, food blogger and creator of Shuangy’s Kitchen Sink
Shuang Shuang’s food blog, Shuangy’s Kitchen Sink, features lots of easy-to-prep and easy-to-freeze meals so you can have something healthy on hand at all times.
“From breakfast, snacks or dinner, most of the recipes on my websites are freezer friendly. Then when you are starving during a busy weekday, ready to call the pizza hotline and Insomnia Cookies, instead you can just pop your freezer healthy meal into the microwave, and dinner can be served in no time,” Shuang said.
The recipes on Shuangy’s Kitchen Sink are made with whole ingredients and even include healthy versions of favorite sweets such as cookies, muffins and cakes made with almond and cashew flours so you can treat yourself while fueling your body with nutritious food.
Who: Jess Bentley, food photographer, recipe designer and blogger.
Bentley develops recipes designed to “inspire you to cook with local, fresh produce and eat a more colorful plate.”
Her blog features a diverse range of recipes for special health centered diets such as the keto diet, Whole 30 and those interested in cooking with spiralized vegetable noodles, more decadent indulgent treats and everything in between.
“I’m a firm believer of balance when it comes to cooking. I love to revamp my favorite, indulgent meals with healthier ingredients or cooking methods. Making a few swaps is super easy, so don’t be afraid to get creative. I encourage you to get in your kitchen and whip up a little something special from scratch,” Bentley said.