The following content is provided by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota.
Stressful days, activity-packed nights, and differing tastes can make cooking at home feel like another daunting task on the to-do list! Rest assured you’re not alone. It’s estimated that 80 percent of families don’t know what they’re having for dinner at 4:00 p.m., making less healthy take-out a tempting call. Healthy cooking doesn’t have to be time-intensive and pressure-packed. Try these simple tips to make healthy cooking a breeze.
Create a weekly meal plan to save time. Check out cookbooks, websites, and blogs for healthy recipe ideas. Strive to use whole, fresh, and in-season foods when possible, as well as lean meats, low-fat dairy, and unrefined grains. Use your meal plan to create a healthy shopping list.
KEEP A WELL-STOCKED KITCHEN
Keep your kitchen stocked with healthy ingredients to make throwing a meal together a snap! Have plenty of fruits and vegetables on hand. Frozen options are equally as healthy and convenient. Stock cabinets with healthy fats such as olive and canola oil; dried herbs for seasoning; vinegars for dressings and marinades; canned beans and tomatoes; whole-grains such as brown rice, quinoa, and whole-wheat pasta; and salsa to get started.
EQUIP WITH THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT
Healthy cooking can be easier with the right gear. From slow-cookers and choppers to sharp knives and food processors, these tools can cut back on prep and cook times.
Prep vegetables and fruit ahead of time. Once or twice a week, take time to wash, peel, and chop produce for upcoming meals. At the very least, prep the night before so you can quickly throw your evening meal together after a long day at work.
ENJOY THE PROCESS AS WELL AS THE MEAL
Cooking can be fun. Play music or light a candle. Get the family involved. Turn off all distractions, sit down, and enjoy your healthful meal. It’s a wonderful opportunity to connect with your family and help children develop lifelong healthful eating patterns!
-Make half og your plate fruit and vegetables )1/4 healthy protein and 1/4 whole-grain).
-Prepare a meal wtih at least three food groups.
-Add a salad to any meal. Just toss fresh, dark, leafy greens; vegetables of choice; chopped nuts; dried fruits; and a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, or fresh lemon or lime juice. Top with freshly ground pepper.
-Use a 9-inch plate to control portion sizes.
-Strive for 1-3 servings of fruits and vegetables at every meal and 1-2 at each snack to get your 5-9 servings each day.