How to Simplify Cooking
People nowadays are so busy. I totally get it when someone tells me they can’t find time to cook anymore. It took me years to realize that I must plan in advance or I’ll end up choosing some easy, processed excuse of a meal out of convenience.
Getting back into the kitchen and cooking real food is essential for our health and well being. It’s critical that we get our children eating real food too. Kids are growing up with altered tastebuds (see Have Your Tastebuds Been Hijacked?) and the health consequences are tremendous. We are seeing alarming rates of diabetes, high cholesterol and hypertension in children – all diseases related to their consumption of the Standard American Diet (S.A.D.).
Here are some strategies to help you find time to cook without being so overwhelming.
Plan meals for the week
Make a list of what meals you will need for the week. Keep in mind that making larger batches of food allows you to have leftovers and can count for more than one meal. You might also like to freeze half of what you cook and begin to build up some variety of quick, frozen meals for busier weeks. Make sure to include what you will need for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Once you make a list build your grocery list and keep it on the counter so you can add to it as you think of other items you need at the store. Knowing what you will make is half the battle. Check out all my Clean and Easy Recipes for quick, healthy options.
Schedule a time to shop for food
It sounds like a no-brainer but people very often don’t schedule a time on their calendar to shop for food. If you don’t have the food in the house it will be pretty hard to cook meals. Once you have your list write on your calendar when you plan to grocery shop. If you are really stuck for time try some of the home delivery services such as Instacart. Instacart will deliver from Whole Foods, Publix, Kroger and Costco and possibly different stores depending upon where you live. This service is well worth the small cost for delivery if you absolutely can’t get to the store. Some stores have mark-ups in prices so read the fine print for each service.
Prepare food in advance
Take some time on the weekend to prepare meals for several days. Afterall, who really wants to come home after a busy day at work and cook? If you can grab a few things already prepared it makes life a lot simpler. I tell all my clients to choose 2 new recipes each week to try. All my clients get access to clean and easy recipes with their Lifestyle Plan. If you are not a client I also have some really easy recipes on my website under Clean and Easy Recipes.
Throw something into the Crock Pot
I can’t tell you what a lifesaver using a Crock Pot. I have several Slow Cooker recipes on my website that are super easy too. I recommend you have one meal in the Crock Pot cooking while you are prepping some food on the weekend then plan for a mid week meal that is quick to throw in before you leave for your busy day. An example might be as simple as taking some chicken breasts, covering them with salsa and a few seasonings and letting it cook on low all day. Shred it up when you get home and you have several options on how to serve them. If you don’t own a slow cooker I highly recommend this one which also has a thermometer for when you cook meats.
Make cooking it a family activity
You always need ideas on how to entertain the kids right? And what better way than to teach them about food and nutrition? Get them involved and they are more likely to eat the meals you prepare and grow up with an understanding about real food and not just fast and processed food. Get your husband involved too. Time will fly as you chop and prepare foods together over a glass of wine.
Getting back in the kitchen and taking the time to prepare food can be daunting however, your health and your family’s health depend upon it. We can no longer pretend that eating fast and processed meal is nurturing our health. Follow these 5 easy strategies and I promise that cooking real food will become a normal part of your lifestyle.
Are you looking to transform your health? Mary works with clients all over the country developing personalized nutrition and exercise plans for weight loss and health. If you’re ready to get started on your journey to health and wellness contact her today!