Okay, here are some meal ideas to get you started. Many of these were given to me by a friend nearly ten years ago and I've gone back to them many times while learning to eat whole foods.
Using a mixture of deep green lettuces/greens is a great base. Be creative and add chopped cabbage, grated carrots, bell peppers, onions and so on. I also like to have spinach salads with fruit such as oranges and/or strawberries. Newman's Own makes good, healthy dressings. Read labels and avoid MSG, high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils. Add an avocado and/or nuts for some protein.
Avocado, spicy brown mustard, tomato, and a whole grain bread is delish!
Nut Butter Sandwich
Almond or cashew butters are great (but expensive). As an economical compromise, we buy Smuckers Natural or Organic Peanut Butter (Peanuts grow a mold we probably shouldn't eat, but budget restraints mandate we go with PB for now, but if I could afford it, we wouldn't eat it). Avoid the regular brands, they often have hydrogenated oils. You have to get used to the natural kinds, since the oils don't mix in the same, but it's worth it.
You may have heard of hummus, it's ground garbanzo beans, aka chickpeas. I don't like garbanzo beans at all, but I like hummus. You can get it in decent sized health food stores, I just bought some at Central Market. It's mixed with some seasonings and sold in the bulk bins and probably packaged as well. I've bought it already mixed and didn't like it as well as my home mixed kind. If you buy it dry, mix it with olive oil, water, and some lime juice per the package instructions. Use the mixture as a replacement for lunch meat, and pile on the good stuff like sprouts, avocado, tomatoes, cucumber, whatever else you like.
You can buy this bread at the health food store, usually in the frozen food section. It's very heavy, nutritionally dense bread. My family loves it, but I've not bought it in a while since it's about $5 a loaf. I've found a recipe online and may try it soon. It's worth trying if you find some near you.
White or sweet, add cheese and butter for protein (well, cheese isn't so yummy on sweet potatoes, but butter and salt will do fine-one of Ashlyn's favorite meals).
Whole grain pastas (my family doesn't care for whole wheat, but there are other varieties to be discovered in your health food store) with veggies and Newman's Own dressing.
Saute onions & garlic, add a good meat (like free range beef-I don't think I have the wording down, but beef raised on a pasture, not a feed lot), then add canned diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Throw in some oregano, basil, etc. Serve with a whole grain pasta.
Beans & Rice
Use whole grain brown rice (no white, no instant). It takes longer, but it nutritionally worth it. I make red beans by boiling water, pouring over my rinsed & sorted beans (pick out the dirt and messed up beans). I cook this in my crock pot all day, adding salt in midway and letting Shane spice them since I never get the spices right. I don't really like beans, but have learned to love them with sour cream, cheese and rotel tomatoes mixed in. Cilantro put in at the end is great, too.
Make a basic green salad and add chili flavored beans (read labels to avoid the no-no's), corn, avocado, black olives, tomatoes and cheese. Of course, you could add good beef too. Serve on top of corn chips. You can find corn chips with just corn and salt, no hydrogenated oils, if you read labels. I buy them at Wal-Mart.
Use your favorite veggies, add any spices you like and serve on brown rice. You can buy something called Braggs Liquid Aminos at your health food store. It's like soy sauce in taste but doesn't have MSG. You can use it in this dish for the Chinese food flavor, put it on salad & baked potatoes.
Oven Fried Potatoes
Use red potatoes (washed well if not organic, since potatoes are bad about soaking in pesticides), with skin on and spices such as oregano, lemon pepper, garlic and so on. Mix all of it well in a bowl or big zip lock bag, spread on a cookie sheet and bake on 400 degrees for about 3o minutes.
Butter is hard to spread out of the fridge, so if you want to make a spread, mix equal parts of oil (olive oil is what I use) with butter in a food processor. It spreads easily even when cold and is much better for you than margarine.
2 large cans tomato sauce
2 large cans diced tomatoes
1 large chopped onion
whole corn (fresh or frozen)
frozen green beans
Your favorite spices such as oregano, basil, rosemary, cumin, garlic pepper.
Saute onion & garlic in olive oil, then dump it all in a crock pot for the day. Can add good meat if you desire. If you don't, be sure to add some protein from cheese, sour cream, and/or beans.
Saute one small chopped onion & 4 oz can chopped green chilies (optional on the chilies)
taco seasoning (I buy the McCormick that says "less sodium" since it is MSG free, but I want to make my own soon)
1 cup corn
3 cup stewed tomatoes
1 can kidney beans
1 can pinto beans
1 1/2 cup water
You can loosely follow this recipe, adding in whatever beans you have on hand. Throw it all together, heat thoroughly and serve with corn chips, cheese, & sour cream.
Bow Tie Pasta
Whole grain bow ties, cooked, drained, and rinsed in cool water. Toss with grape tomatoes, black olive slices, chopped green onion, feta cheese and Newman's Own Balsamic Vinaigrette. My kids' favorite meal-no kidding.
Easy Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
Whole grain pasta noodles
MSG free broth (I usually buy the big Swansen can and add equal parts water)
Natural chicken (okay, I buy the canned natural stuff...not economical but easy & cheap in the short-run)
Salt, pepper & oregano to taste.
Boil water & broth, add pasta, chicken, carrots and cook until carrots are tender.
There are many more I'd like to share with you, maybe I'll add more as we go along. I also have desserts, so stay tuned!