The Best Way to Eat Healthfully is to Cook at Home

December  2, 2015

I left a screening of Michael Pollan's new film In Defense of Food—based off his 2008 book with the same name and airing on PBS on December 30th—feeling overwhelmed.

Pollan's argument is that we don't need to jump on every hot dietary trend or study every piece of scientific literature: On the biological level, we know what to do ("Eat food, not too much, mostly plants," is how he sums it up) and we're actually bombarded with misinformation that persuades us to make harmful choices, often under the guise of health.

Photo by Bobbi Lin

But even if every individual has the innate programming to eat well, the problems are huge and systemic: They're cultural and corporate and socio-economic and evolutionary, and they're not going to be solved in a day (and Pollan says that the food movement is in need of litigators and community organizers, especially).

Photo by Mark Weinberg

In the meantime, what can we do? What can we do tonight?

We can cook! Cooking at home—using whole, minimally-processed ingredients and doing our best to think about what's in season and where it comes from—is the best way to support local food systems and to eat real food.

But elaborate, time-consuming meals aren't realistic. These 22 weeknight-ready recipes—full of vegetables, beans, grains, and the occasional meat/fish/chicken—provide real food fast, so you can do your small part to help (and help yourself in the process).

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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ErinM724 March 16, 2017
These are supposed to be quick weeknight recipes?? The very first one has you soaking beans overnight, then cooking them for 2 hours, then doing further cooking with more ingredients, of which you have to make your own spice paste, for 20 minutes. That's not exactly weeknight cooking, if you ask me.
Kat November 10, 2016
Love this article!
Mary B. October 29, 2016
Agree.....and hate seeing alllll the ads for processed food on your site 🙄
Kaila S. December 7, 2015
Where's the recipe for the first image of the noodle dish? I don't see it below in the recipe section.
Jalapenocheese December 30, 2015
Cold Vegetable and Noodle Salad with Ponzu Dressing<br />http://food52.com/recipes/36777-cold-vegetable-and-noodle-salad-with-ponzu-dressing
Debbie V. December 6, 2015
Michael Pollan's books have "inspired" so many and it is a great way to "wake up" to what we should be eating. His book about Joel Salatin was educational and inspirational. I am a huge fan of his. I actually visited Joel's farm Polyface which is why I am back into raising my own chickens. Michael is a very good writer as well as nutritionist. We need to take his advice for the health of ourselves and the animals if we do consume them.
Ellen J. December 6, 2015
Michael Pollan is a writer, not a nutritionist. He writes very well and very persuasively. But his ideas are opinions, not facts and are not necessarily true. Siting him as an authority seriously undermines the quality of what you present which I thought was supposed to be about cooking and food, not about a vegan or vegetarian life style.
auroramia December 6, 2015
I wish my husband would eat this.
Posie (. December 2, 2015
amen SJ. this is wonderful inspiration and a great reminder.