I saw a quote from Dr. Mark Hyman recently that said "If we want to save our planet and save our children we have to get our kids to fall in love with food and cooking." This really struck me not only because it is so important, also because it sounds so simple. You know what? It is, once you learn how to make it so.
We are busy, we have full-time jobs, families, extra curricular activities, other responsibilities, and countless reasons why eating out can be more convenient (and more fun) than cooking in. The truth is however, knowing what foods to buy and having them ready to go for cooking meals at home can be even more convenient than eating out. Think about it, deciding where to eat, having to get there (and if you live in Los Angeles like I do, driving anywhere is something to be avoided at all costs!), having to wait for your food to be prepared, served or delivered, and of course not knowing exactly what's in your food make eating out less than ideal. The latter is especially important for those of us that have food allergies and sensitivities, or whom need to avoid certain foods for other health reasons. Not to mention the slew of additives, preservatives and other chemicals that are often found in prepared foods, which have adverse effects on our health, as well as the added (and added in the perfect ratios to create addiction) sugar, fat and salt in many pre-prepared food items.
You may argue that fast food for example is cheaper (and faster) than eating whole real food and cooking at home. When you know how to shop for food, you'll learn that this doesn't have to be the case. Cooking, and eating healthy food at home rather than eating out can save money, and time!
Cooking does not have to be complicated. I'll be honest with you. I cook in probably about 95% of the time, maybe even more, and just about everything I make has three ingredients or less. No joke! Tasting the actual food as opposed to the spices and seasonings added to it is something I really enjoy. Do you even know what your food tastes like? I mean the actual vegetable, the piece of fish, chicken or meat? We tend to over salt and over sauce our foods, masking their true, delicious flavor, and instead of benefiting from the nutrients in the foods we do eat, our bodies are overloaded with salt, fat (the bad kind) and sugar found in most mixed seasonings and sauces (go ahead, check the labels). Using fewer ingredients also makes throwing meals together easier and less expensive. Often I cook with friends, and cooking with friends or family can be a fun activity! Cooking with your children, and instilling these values in them will benefit them, and their children for generations to come.
A favorite part of cooking for me is making extra so that I have it left over for additional meals. This can save money and time, and it can take the place of those quick, on the go less than healthy meal choices you might make during your busy day. That's because you can take your home cooked food with you instead when you are on the go.
How do you get started? Step one is stalking your kitchen and pantry with quality foods. Here's my free guide on ideas to do just that to get you started, and it lists my favorites and go tos.
If you need more assistance I can help you customize this list. I offer services geared toward shopping, and preparing healthier meals for you and your family.I am far from being a chef. Rather, I am just like you in that I have little time to shop for and prepare healthy meals. How do I do it? It does take some practice and know how, and that's what I can teach you. Easy breezy from there…
Jennifer, MPH, MS