Like most Mom’s my family’s health is one of my highest priorities. However, in a fast-paced world in which everyone is so time poor, striking a balance between health and speed and convenience can be a bit of a culinary minefield. There are many days on which I simply don’t have time to prepare the kind of wholesome, balanced meal that I would like to. On those occasions, it can be so tempting to succumb to the temptation of take-out or heavily processed foods with little preparation required. These options may be fast and convenient, but they are loaded with salt, fat, preservatives and synthetic additives that can wreak havoc with our families’ wellbeing. I thought I’d look at a few tricks that you can use to prepare easy, fast and healthful meals for your crew:
Great Quality Pots & Pans
The best quality cookware brands might be a little bit pricier, but they are worth every penny. Firstly, they will usually last you for years, so you will end up saving money over time. In addition, well-made pots and pans will usually not stick and distribute heat more efficiently over the entire surface. This means that you can cook with drastically less oil. In most cases, you will find that the barest splash will be perfectly sufficient for most jobs so you can reduce fat and kilojoules in your daily fare.
Let’s be clear; salt is an important element that we all need in our diet. Furthermore, most table salts that you buy at the grocery store contain iodine, which is an essential nutrient. Iodine deficiency affects billions of people worldwide and is one of the leading causes of intellectual disabilities. Having said that, the amount of salt, iodized or otherwise, that most people have in their diet is astronomically higher than what most people need. Ditching the heavily processed food and cooking with less salt, or using healthy salt alternatives can make a huge difference and help you and your family avoid chronic diseases such as hypertension.
Eat the Rainbow
If your dinner plate is usually dominated by the color brown, it’s likely that you are not getting enough vitamins, minerals and other important nutrients. Adding some extra colour in the way of fresh produce or foods created with them, will not only look great, it will be better for you. Avoid the temptation to rely too heavily on potatoes and try branching out with other veggies with which you might not be so familiar. Just one cautionary note, salsa and guacamole do NOT count as vegetables, so don’t even got me started there!
We all love sweet things, but in many cases, dessert can contain as many calories and fat as the rest of the meal. Fortunately, there are plenty of alternatives so that you can have your cake and eat it too! Try using applesauce as a sweetener in cakes, muffins and cookies. Consider naturally sweet foods such as dates as an ingredient, which will allow you to reduce or eliminate the amount of sugar that you need.
Despite the war on carbs, the truth is that whole grains can play an integral part in providing important nutrients, improving digestions, reducing cholesterol and blood pressure and assisting in weight loss. Look for foods that are clearly marked as containing whole grain and whole wheat, and that list the whole grain in the first three ingredients, and you won’t go wrong.
Cooking healthy meals every day doesn’t have to be overly complicated. By following a few quick steps, you too can create dishes that not only please the palette, but also contribute to improved health and wellbeing.