Sticking to a healthy diet can be tricky. Between counting calories, “good carbs” and “bad carbs,” watching out for hidden additives, and all the hype about protein, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Certified health coach, vegan food blogger, and new mom, Ilene Godofsky Moreno, is hoping to simplify healthy eating with the release of her debut cookbook The Colorful Kitchen: Simple, Plant-Based Recipes for Vibrancy, Inside and Out, filled with recipes created with her cooking philosophy in mind: Colorful, not complicated.
Rather than keeping food journals and counting numbers, NYC-based Godofsky Moreno gets all of the necessary vitamins and nutrients just by building a rainbow on her plate. “I choose to go with things that are colorful as opposed to complicated because I don’t think you need the fancy kitchen gadgets, as much fun as those can be, you don’t need them or a whole lot of ingredients,” she says. The Colorful Kitchen, provides easy and nutritious vegan meal ideas that anyone can make with the tools and ingredients they already have in their homes.
Plant-based eating has seen a significant rise in popularity over the years, and the options go far beyond just boring salads. The Colorful Kitchen is filled with fun recipes like strawberry loaf with cream cheese glaze, spicy Kim chi and peanut stew, and Godofsky Moreno’s personal favorite, sweet potato and kale mac and cheese. Even though she has been eating a plant-based diet for the last 10 years, Godofsky Moreno says she still understands how difficult it can be to make changes to your diet. “The first time I declared myself a vegetarian I was 9 years old and I saw how lobsters are cooked, and that made me realize the connection between the meat on my plate and animals,” she says. “I went back and forth throughout the years though because I didn’t like any vegetables or fruits as a child. I was an incredibly picky eater.”
It wasn’t until college that Godofsky Moreno became a full-time vegetarian and later made the leap to being a vegan. She now works to spread the message that plant-based meals can be fun, flavorful, colorful and accessible to everyone. “Start with one meal a day and if that’s too much start with one meal a week,” she recommends. “Any kind of small step that you take will build up over time.”
As a new mother to an 11-month-old daughter, Godofsky Moreno has certainly experienced her own challenges when it comes to eating healthy and taking care of a newborn. “It’s definitely easier to order takeout than cook dinner some nights,” she says. “I think my best tactic is batch cooking. I’ll cook large batches of things at the beginning of the week so that they’re ready to go and that works really well for all of us.” For parents of picky eaters, Godofsky Moreno says persistence is key. “For my daughter, I repeatedly offered her foods that she didn’t like at first, and I found that some foods I had to offer to her 5-6 times before she would try it and eventually enjoy it.” She also recommends hiding greens in meals such as her chocolate avocado smoothie recipe as a great way to insure your kids are getting their daily dose of veggies. “My plan as my daughter gets older is to have her stay involved in the cooking process and I hope that it will cultivate a healthy relationship with food and foods that kids sometimes don’t enjoy.”
The Colorful Kitchen offers a fun and creative new way to prepare meals and look at healthy eating as a whole. “All of the recipes in the cookbook are recipes that I wish I had 10 years ago when I started eating plant-based foods,” Godofsky Moreno says. “They’re recipes that I make at home and that I want other people to have whether they’re starting out their journey on a plant-based diet or if they’ve been eating that way for a while.” Most of all, Godofsky Moreno hopes her cookbook will help readers be more creative with their food. “I hope that it will inspire them to come up with their own recipes and add more color to their plates no matter what they’re making.”
The Colorful Kitchen: Simple, Plant-Based Recipes for Vibrancy, Inside and Out, will be available for purchase this December. To learn more, visit thecolorfulkitchen.com!