Even if your body isn't quite on the run these days, life is still moving at a rapid pace. Finding the time to grab a good bite before you have to dive into another task is still an issue for many people, even those working from home, especially if kids are involved.
If, on the other hand, life has slowed down, then there's never been a better time than right now to jump into a healthier lifestyle and eating nutritiously. We're spending far less time (or perhaps none at all, depending on where you live) running out to appointments and meetings, picking up the kids from school, or getting to the office on time.
The mandate to stay at home, or at least close to it, gives us more time and opportunity to adopt healthier habits. For example, starting a solo yoga practice or workout routine. Meditating or experimenting with mindfulness. Checking off some of those "must-read" books on your list. Taking some online courses. Eating smarter and healthier. Getting in closer touch with yourself and creating the kind of lifestyle that makes you thrive.
Indeed, now is an excellent time to learn more about nutrition, and that's what we're devoting a few months to. If you didn't see our first blog of 2021 on setting yourself up for success, you definitely want to check it out.
Batch cooking is an absolute must if you have young children. It's also incidental if you're cooking just for one. When you're going through the effort of washing, chopping, and preparing, you might as well make enough to get you through a few days. It requires a bit more time up front but will save you heaps day to day.
What meals are best for batch preparing and cooking? Stews, soups, casseroles, salads, taco fillings, pizza, curries, hummus, and more!
A few tips on batch cooking:
Plan your meals taking into account what fruits and vegetables are currently in season. Go for basic ingredients and aim for balance and variety to curb boredom.
Store your prepared and/or cooked food in airtight glass containers to maximum freshness.
Check your freezer to see what has been long forgotten and hasn't yet grown freezer hair. Use those things up first.
Take an entire day and go big with it. If your freezer can accommodate it, make enough meals for a month so all you have to do is defrost, heat, and serve.
Chips, biscuits, trail mix, and the dearly-disguised rice cracker are quick and satisfying fixes when the hunger beast flares up between meals. The problem is that they make you want more. The sugar or crunch factor keeps you trapped in a vicious cycle similar to that of an addict. Carb addiction is a thing. Everytime we go for quick carbs and simple sugars, we kick the brain's pleasure centers into high gear, and they're tricky to tame once unleashed.
That doesn't mean you shouldn't ever eat such yummy snacks, just minimize regular contact with them. If you find yourself perpetually snack-ish between meals, have some smarter stuff on hand that you can grab in a hurry.
Chopped veggies like carrot and celery sticks are great, but in many cases, they don't really satisfy. So, add something to them. Natural peanut butter or hummus or smashed avocado.
You can prepare your own chocolate peanut butter bombs too with a few simple ingredients and a mortar & pestle:
Smash out a desired amount, playing with the ratios. Then shape into balls and roll them in desiccated coconut. These balls contain good fats and protein so you'll find one is probably enough to curb your hunger until meal time.
Ditch the Plastic
Eco-health = our health. A healthy body is not separate from a healthy planet. The environmental-sustainability problems are many, but an easily resolvable one involves tender, organic lettuce leaves stashed in plastic bags. The bag is meant to preserve freshness, but it creates a lot of unnecessary waste.
Plastic-wrapped veggies are also a bit misleading. Many people believe they're getting a higher-quality, cleaner lettuce, kale, or veggie medley because it comes in a bag. This couldn't be further from the truth, and it's why so many of us pay the hefty price attached to such products. They require the same amount of cleaning as the locally-grown, high-quality organic produce lying naked on grocer's shelves--especially during pandemic times.
So, if washing is an issue in both cases, let's go for the naked lettuce. To thoroughly clean those crisp and tender leaves, crowns of broccoli, snap peas, brussels sprouts and more, submerge them in fresh water with baking soda (use 4 tsp to a liter of water). Soak for 5-10 minutes then rinse. Alternatively, you can use one of the many vegetable washes lining supermarket shelves these days, but honestly, don't waste your money.
A New Take On Fast Food
Nutritious fast food is becoming more popular, but we have yet to see drive-through salad bars that actually offer a range of quality, organic options presented as a forethought, rather than an afterthought. So, we have to choose the best from what's available or create better options for ourselves.
Next time you shop for food in a supermarket, keep your eye out for quick n' easy options already prepared and ready to eat. How can you do that at home but better, and without all the packaging?
Whatever approach you take to fast food eating, make sure it'∂s the most nutritious version possible. That doesn't mean you should never have that drive-through burger, but nine times out of ten, go for the gold.
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From our kitchen to yours, we wish fun times in the kitchen whipping up batches of wholesome bounty.