Find Time to Make Healthy Eating a Priority
We live lightning-fast lives – constantly connected, constantly working, selfie-ing, sharing, tweeting, liking, commenting and more. According to Neilsen’s Total Audience Report adult Americans spent an average of eleven hours each day plugged in – watching TV, on the computer, chatting on our smart phones, or listening to music. The New Age has become an age of electronics.
We invest time looking at photos from that one guy we kind of knew in 7th grade’s vacation, checking stock shares, uploading pithy comments about politics, and creating cat memes, but we often don’t find the time to invest in preparing a quick, easy, healthy meal. In a 2012 poll, 52% of Americans (polled) stated doing taxes was easier than figuring out how to eat healthy; Americans consume 31% more packaged foods than fresh; and one in four Americans eat some kind of fast food every day. (Read More)
Shaving some of that time from the screen to give to our health, by taking time to prepare good meals for ourselves and our families, will bring not only focus back to our health but also will show our children the importance of sitting down at a table (not in front of the TV or in a car) to eat well, together.
Jamie Oliver came up with a brilliant 30-minute meal series to campaign for quick, delicious, healthy meals that are doable. A recent New York Times Article discusses whether to invest time or work and gets to the crux of the dilemma. “…[F]or everyday feed-the-family fare, you must be more efficient.” (Mark Bittman, When Cooking, Invest Time or Work. Not Both, nytimes.com)
The point is, we need to invest time – just a little bit – to become smart, methodical grocery shoppers and food preparers to be healthier. Do not despair! There are tips to make your meal planning, and preparing, easier. It’s so much easier to eat healthy than do taxes. Trust me!
- Read recipes in full before starting to plan. You don’t want to get to the last moment of your preparation and see you’re missing a key ingredient.
- Choose in-season fruits and vegetables! This is healthier and will save you time searching for blueberries in December.
- Plan meals for the week ahead. Shop your pantry and refrigerator! Take an inventory of what you have in your kitchen, then create a calendar of food and shopping needs. Write out a grocery list. It’s harder to figure out “what to cook” than cook what’s on the menu. Plus, this will save money and waste. Use what you have and complement it with other ingredients.
- Prepare your ingredients before starting to cook (like you see on those highly organized cooking shows). Chefs recommend using muffin tins or small bowls to have everything lined up and ready to go.
- Prepare large batches of sauces, beans, soups and freeze half of them for later. They won’t lose flavor or vitamins, and they’ll be a life-saver for a last-minute meal later on! (Or, if you eat lunch at work, portion into single-serving sized containers and be the envy of your office).
- Label your foods in the fridge and freezer! Take the surprise element out of what’s in the Tupperware.
- Clean as you go! It’s overwhelming to see piles of dishes at the end of a meal prep.
- Do you love morning smoothies? Prepare a large batch and freeze them in muffin tins to take out in the morning and throw in the blender for a great morning start. OR … bag up smoothie ingredients to just pop in the blender in the morning.
- While watching your favorite TV show, chop or spiral raw vegetables and store in containers for the week. (Tightly covered, they stay fresh 3 – 5 days in the fridge.)
- Don’t put your nose up at canned ingredients. Some foods – like canned beans – can save you hours of prep. Look for low-sodium beans and rinse them off before using them to reduce sodium content.
- Cook with your kids, your partner, your friends, your cat! Cook with the people you love to make this a family affair – a place where you can gather and share.
Take a little extra time to be healthy! You and your family deserve it.