The Flexible Chef and author of The Food You Want for the Life You Crave Nealy Fischer is on a mission to make healthy eating approachable and enjoyable. As a busy mother of four running a health and wellness brand, Fischer knows a thing or two about ditching perfectionism in order to get it all done while still making it fun. Follow her tried-and-true hacks for a delicious life.
Clean Eating: What does it mean to be a “flexible chef”?
Nealy Fisher: Becoming a flexible chef involves becoming masterful and “chef like” in your life. while remaining flexible along the way. Flexibility allows for bending without breaking when plans change, when bread flops, when life happens. Life isn’t perfect and sometimes we are too busy to dedicate time to creating exceptional healthy meals, being flexible allows you to bob and weave in life while creating the food you crave. It’s the best of both worlds, while allowing grace in the areas that may need some assistance.
CE: The pandemic turned a lot on its head from people’s diets, how we think about food, shop for it, cook and even enjoy it – not to mention we all indulged more than usual. What do you think that means for our relationship with food in the future?
NF: I am hoping that people continue to cook at home and eat sit-down meals with their families, something so many adopted out of necessity but the more we cook and control what goes into our meals, the cleaner we will eat and the happier we can become!
CE: You’re a busy mom of 4! How old are they? What are your tips for meal prepping for your brood?
NF: They are 8, 13, 17 and 19 (I’m shocked as I type this, time flies!). Honestly, the only way I stay sane is to plan, plan, plan and repeat. Groceries get ordered in advance, I keep running checklists and shopping lists updated in shared family apps daily. Food gets prepped and frozen, and menus are planned every Sunday. It’s a system for success!
CE: Got any budget-friendly hacks for feeding so many mouths?
NF: Totally. Focus on one dish and stretch it. The salad dressing today becomes a chicken marinade tomorrow. Nothing ever ever gets thrown away,which I feel is the biggest money sucker. Almost-toss-away fruits and veggies get dehydrated, blended, sautéed, frozen and more.
CE: Aside from adding the word “pizza” to a bunch of your recipes like the pizza soup you shared (below), what other tricks do you have up your sleeve for tricking littles ones into eating healthy?
NF: I’ve become a master at hiding ingredients to fool kids into eating healthy. Cauliflower rice seasoned well can fool anyone into thinking its traditional fried rice. You can even add spinach or kale to a milkshake and they will think the green color is cool. I also bribe them, I do! “Eat your veggies, then you get dessert”. And make sure whatever healthy creations you concoct actually taste great. Train those little taste buds to crave real foods.
CE: What’s the recipe on your site you’ve made the most?
NF: Ooh, I gotta say, just because I make it every day, it’s my one-pan eggs and veggie hash. Veggies get sautéed alongside 2 sunny side up eggs and I eat it straight from the pan every single morning!
CE: 2020 was the year of banana bread and sourdough, what food trends do you think will really take off in 2021?
NF: I think a global trend will be fast and easy home cooked anything really because we are appreciating and valuing the home cooked meal more than ever. Boards have also been trending and I think will pickup. I’m concocting everything from a taco board to a salad board for my family where everyone can mix and max and create their own magic.
Try these comfort dishes from The Flexible Chef, all laced with her signature secret ingredient: sneaky nutrition.