E meals can be tough when you’re first starting out with THM, especially if you’re coming from a low-carb, Keto, or Paleo background! Sometimes it’s challenging to simply get over the hurdle of letting yourself eat carbs, much less having to be creative and come up with a variety of low fat, carb-rich options….and ideally, they even taste good!
Never fear, friends! I am a (reforming) carb-a-holic! Getting to eat carbs often (anchored in a protein-rich environment) is probably my favorite part of THM. Yup, E, or energizing, meals are my favorite! And I’d love to introduce to my favorites that are easy and tasty.
Why You NEED Carbs:
There are some great health benefits to eating complex carbohydrates, and I’ll dive into that deeper when I write about eating to beat adrenal fatigue. But, I want to give you a little teaser here with some great reasons to add carbs in your diet:
- As carbs break down, they stimulate the release of serotonin in the brain. If you’ve ever wondered why (pre-THM days) you just feel like you need a pastry to help you feel happy, here’s the culprit! Serotonin also breaks down into melatonin, so eating carbs (especially in an evening snack) can help you fall asleep more easily.
- Carbs can soothe the adrenal glands. If you have any issues with adrenal fatigue and/or are going through some stressful times (this includes illness, as sickness can wear on the adrenals), get some E meals in there! It’ll help your adrenals have a healthy stress response.
- Carbs are fun. Okay, I might be a little biased, but I really like actual bread and pancakes. I have yet to find an S-based bread or waffle recipe that I really, really love (send ’em to me if you’ve got ’em! I’d love to find one). Eating carbs and sinking my teeth into real bread products makes me happy. Haha, I guess I should just write, “See #1 again.”
If you’re coming from a strict keto background, you might need to repeat #3 to yourself every day for a week. Seriously, this is going to be fun! 🙂
So, here’s my favorite, easy E meals by meal type:
- Baked oatmeal, Greek yogurt, and berries (here’s my favorite pumpkin-style baked oatmeal)
- Stovetop Crunch Granola (First THM Cookbook, p. 255) over Greek yogurt and fruit
- Cottage cheese with fruit, 2 slices of sprouted toast with a smear of butter and topped with cinnamon and sweetener
- Oatmeal with blueberries, small slice of sprouted toast with a little butter, collagen tea (for added protein)
- Healthy McGriddles
- Egg white omelet with lots of veggies and one wedge of Laughing Cow cheese, 1-2 slices sprouted toast
- Sprouted French toast made with egg whites and a side of turkey bacon; or even easier– prep some Overnight Stuffed French Toast the night before and just pop it in the oven to bake the next day!
“E”xtra Easy Lunches:
- Sandwiches!!! This one word makes me so happy! For fillings, you can use lean deli meats, chicken breast, tuna salad (my recipe is coming, but I find it tastes the same if I sub fat free yogurt for mayo). I like some lettuce or fresh basil on mine, and sometimes I add a touch of hummus or Laughing Cow cheese for moisture and flavor. Pair with yogurt and fruit, just fruit, or crudites and low fat hummus.
- Lentil or black bean soup. Beans are an incomplete protein by themselves (they’re missing some essential amino acids) so you can use a small amount of brown rice to complete it. You can also add some chicken breast to the soup for a touch more protein. Depending on the carb amounts in your soup, you may be able to add a slice of toast or a piece of fruit.
- E supper leftovers. I love how incredibly easy this one is– just reheat and eat! I even portion out lunches into individuals servings after dinner to make lunch even quicker the following day.
- Stirfry. I love this one for the simplicity and variety! I usually google “low fat stirfry” and the majority of these recipes are low fat, and I put them over brown rice. This recipe from KitchMe for Chicken Fried Rice is one of our favs, but we divide it into 3 servings instead of the recommended 4 (it’s easier for me to stay full after an E meal if I eat enough protein and get close to the 45g carb maximum). The newest THM cookbook also has a great recipe for Chicken Fried Rice (page 53) that we love.
- I grew up eating simple suppers, and this one is pure comfort food for me. Bake sweet potatoes and white fish or chicken breast in the oven until done (about an hour for the sweet potatoes and 15-25 minutes for the fish at 400 degrees). We add a salad or another veggie as a side. I usually make extra sweet potatoes so I can have them in the Turkey, Black Bean, and Sweet Potato Chili below.
- Chili. To make this an E, use lean meat or rinse in hot water after cooking to flush out the fat and toxins. My chili recipe is coming, but the main parts are lots of beans, +/- a can of corn, tomato paste, and spices. You can top with some yogurt and reduced-fat cheese (or just a garnish of a higher-fat one).
We also love Turkey, Black Bean, and Sweet Potato Chili for a flavorful twist on a classic dish. It makes amazing leftovers!
- Trim train taco soup. Love this one! It makes a great big pot, so you can try it as an E meal, an S, or even a Fuel Pull! For an E, add some baked tortilla chips, beans, or brown rice for an “E”xtra touch of delicious!
- We just created this amazing Instant Pot dinner of Chipotle Chicken Bowls! You’ve got to try it! And you’ll love how it whittles your waist, keeps you full, and stabilizes your blood sugar levels!
A great E dessert makes my THM life complete!
- We love the Apple Crumble from the first Cookbook (p. 338), but I’m allergic to apples so we sub blueberries. It’s amazing with a squirt of FF Rediwhip on top!
- The Just Peachy Muffins from the first cookbook (p. 286) are delicious, especially when you use my Crave-Worthy Crumble Topping (recipe coming soon).
- Sprouted Cinnamon Rolls can make a nice treat, but they’re a bit more work than I usually do.
- In the fall, we love these Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies. To stick to THM recommendations, use old fashioned oats and no more than 3 cookies a serving.
- Whenever I have overripe bananas, you’ll find me making these delicious Banana Bread Bites. These little gems are amazing fresh from the oven, and you don’t even need a sweetener! Be sure to use rolled or old-fashioned oats, and to keep it an E, don’t add in any of the extras that she mentions. Stick to just 2-3 cookies (1/4 of the batch) to be within E guidelines.
For even more easy and filling E meals, check out my FREE one week, THM-friendly menu plan (you can sign up in the side bar, and be sure to check your promotional or spam folder ;). The menu is designed to keep you full and give you a great variety of E and S meals!
I hope this helps with your Energizing part of your THM journey! Was this list helpful?
Do you need more E recipes in your life?
What are your favorite, easy E meals? I’d love to hear from you!