Off the Road: With Gabriela Ramos

March 10, 2022 Updated: January 23, 2024

Get to know how our Administrative Officer, Gabriela Ramos, navigates healthy, low-waste eating with her family.

Last spring, my boyfriend and I were fortunate enough to buy a house in Boston. Our home needed several renovations, with the kitchen being one of the bigger projects. All of a sudden I no longer had a stove for my oh-so-popular cookies, or my homemade enchiladas, or a family favorite – homemade chicken tenders. I no longer had the luxury of a kitchen sink – or even a countertop for that matter. We are still living without a completed kitchen, which has brought its challenges both with what to cook and how to prioritize healthy foods with reducing food waste. I’ve learned asking myself these questions makes it easier:

1. How can I repurpose the batch of meat I’m cooking?

I have learned that as much as I would like to serve chicken fajitas one day, burgers the following, and beef enchiladas the next, our situation right now makes it more stressful to plan it that way. Instead, I cook a big batch of protein one day to use in different dishes for the next few days. 

2. How long will it take to cook?

The members of my household are big fans of ground turkey, and the good news about that is it’s quick to cook – even over a countertop electric stove. Once the turkey is cooked, we can make it last for a few dinners by turning it into meals like quesadillas, taco bowls, and lasagna. We have learned to love the family packs of protein because we can make them last, they are versatile in this way, and are usually priced at a lower price per pound. (And with a growing teen boy, it is easy for him to eat everything in sight, so ensuring there is enough protein and fiber to keep him full is key!). This includes a lot of planning at the beginning of the week with meal planning, prepping, and grocery lists, but it maximizes my time with limited kitchen usability and ensures we are consuming all the food that is being cooked.

3. Where can I add in veggies?

At first, I had a very hard time incorporating greens other than a typical salad because I was dreading turning on the electric countertop stove. For example, produce such as sweet potatoes and yucca would take hours to boil in the electric stove. We’ve been leaning towards produce that can be air-fried or quickly sautéed such as spinach, asparagus, mushrooms, broccoli, and peppers, because we know that’s what works for us. We have also learned to love the convenience of frozen veggies to get our greens in. They are easy to put in chili, quinoa, and mixed in with the ground meat. 

Once I started to make a meal plan for the week (which included having a plan for how I’d prepare the foods I had), cooking without a kitchen got a little more manageable. It has now been six months without a completed kitchen (though I’m assured the end of the project is in sight) and our family has learned valuable lessons on how to make quick, yet healthy meal choices. Lessons learned just in time because there will be even more meal planning and prepping in our future as we prepare to welcome a new member to our family come August 2022. We cannot wait to welcome Baby Pimentel Ramos come the summer! I am especially excited to venture into baby food making and introduce all the veggies and food textures. 

Learn more about Gabriela Ramos and the other members of Team Lovin’ on our staff page.

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