“Together we can heal our planet. It all begins with what we put on our plates.”
The food industry would like us to believe that the food we eat has no bearing on our overall health and that real food is expensive and difficult to cook. In my experience, when I went plant-based, cooking got a lot easier and, if sticking to basic staples, can be much cheaper, as well.
Parents have the unique ability to change the entire course of their health and their family’s health.
Successful change takes planning, though. Below, I have a few simple steps to keep in mind when getting back into the kitchen and taking control of your and your family’s health.
Guideline to Healthy Cooking
- Embrace cooking. Cooking and sharing meals with family and friends is an intense act of love and strengthens bonds amongst you and your loved ones. Cooking with your children teaches them important life skills, skills that can ensure their health and extend their life.
- Reestablish priorities. We have time for what we make time for. Time is the biggest reason I hear as to why people aren’t cooking. Monitor your time and see where you are spending it. You might be surprised at how a little tweaking offers up quite a bit of extra time. Cooking doesn’t have to be an all-day affair. Complicated doesn’t always mean more nutritious. Quick and simple can be just as nutritive, sometimes even more-so.
- Choose frozen foods when possible. Fresh is best, but not always possible. You can find an abundance of inexpensive organic fruits and vegetables in the freezer section of your grocery store. They are great for quick meals, soups and stews, or smoothies.
- Stock your pantry with the staples. Nut butters, nuts, non-dairy milks, beans, rice, vegetable stock, nutritional yeast, chia seeds, dried sea vegetables …. you can do a lot with a few staples. They are generally inexpensive as well, especially if you get these items from the bulk bins at your local health food store.
- Plan ahead – I menu plan for at least a week at a time and I ask family members if they have any special requests for those meals. On one side of a sheet of paper is my menu and on the other side are all the items I will need to purchase at the grocery store to make those meals. When shopping, stick to the list. Having a plan and a list deters those impulse (and usually unhealthy) purchases.
- Mess up – I have come up with some of my best recipes by goofing up another one. There are no such things as mistakes, right? It’s all learning! Which leads me to my next tip…
- Invite your kids in the kitchen with you – instead of shooing them away while you make dinner, invite them to help you. My kids don’t always want to help me, but a lot of times they do. This teaches them what real food and real nutrition is and it teaches them how to take control of their health. What a great learning experience for them as well, as they get to learn how to measure ingredients, cut vegetables (age appropriate, of course), and my favorite, help menu plan. Hey, no one complains about what is for dinner if they get to choose what it is!
The best way for you to start eating healthy, is to start cooking healthy. It all starts with making the decision.