When the lettuce and veges are cleaned and ready, you will be much more inclined to reach for and eat a salad Photo / 123Rf.
Eating healthy nutritious foods helps our body build immunity against disease while contributing to our overall wellbeing.
It is one of two major contributing factors towards stellar health. The other, of course, is
Nutrition impacts every single element of our lives. Our risk for disease, our body weight and energy levels and even the level of self-confidence we feel in how we look, are all impacted by the foods we consume.
We live in a fast-paced world and if we hope to enjoy healthy, nutritious, snacks and meals, we’d be wise to get a few smart food preparation habits under our belt. The fact is a big part of healthy eating is preparing to do so.
And that begins with our list. Never grocery shop without a list. Plan out what you will be cooking for the week before heading to the store. Creating a list beforehand helps us to avoid reaching for foods we should not be eating.
Here’s some food preparation habits that once adopted, make our life easier and our bodies healthier, while ensuring we never miss a beat on our diet plan. The first healthy prep habit to adopt and use as often as possible is replacing any oil or butter with some chicken broth.
For example, if mashed potatoes are on the menu, use lower sodium chicken broth. It slashes the fat and calories while adding a nice hint of flavour that most people enjoy. Roasting potatoes or vegetables? Substitute broth for melted butter or oil. It’s not only a healthier choice, but these little calorie savings add up over time.
If possible, designate one day weekly towards food preparation. Prepare as many meals as possible for the week ahead. This helps reduce the burden of cooking during busy weeknights. Adopt batch cooking and prep multiple meals at once. It saves time and energy rather than preparing single servings. Cook once – eat three times.
To avoid eating leftovers or the same meal two days in a row, freeze individual servings ahead of time. Most dishes freeze fine if placed in the proper type of freezer container. You’ll enjoy a great meal even on a day when there’s no time to cook, a far better option than turning to conventional, store-bought frozen dinners.
Hint – label your freezer containers with the date you froze them, so you will know what date they need to be eaten by. If they sit too long in the freezer, they are subject to freezer burn.
The number one excuse people use as to why they are not eating as many vegetables as they should is that they do not have time to cut and prepare them. To avoid this excuse, pre-chop vegetables as soon as you arrive home from the grocery store and place them in a container. Not only will they be ready for you to cook with, but they are also the perfect, healthy snack.
You can also puree your vegetables into a homemade sauce. Leave store-bought sauces and condiments on the grocery shelf and opt for fresh herbs first. Herbs add flavour to all dishes and work overtime providing our bodies excellent health benefits.
Replacing sauces with fresh herbs helps keep calories in check and can possibly reduce sugar or fat intake as well. Fresh herbs are best, but dried can be used in a “pinch”. To lighten up salads, transfer any dressings used to a spritzer bottle instead. Simply spritz the salad with it and you’ll consume far less dressing while ensuring you get an even distribution of flavour and taste.
When the lettuce and veges are cleaned and ready, you will be much more inclined to reach for and eat a salad. For a real vege challenge, prep a large salad first thing in the morning and try to finish eating the entire bowl by the end of the day.
Finally, the last great food prep tip is to remember to build your meals out of a foundation of protein and vegetables. Lean protein helps preserve muscle mass and combat hunger pains while vegetables add more bulk into our diet. This helps to fill us up and ensures we get our nutrient intake while keeping the calorie count low.
Once the protein and vegetables are in place, add some carbohydrates and healthy fats to complete the meal. A good rule of thumb? Fill 50 per cent of your plate with vegetables, 25 per cent with lean protein and the remaining 25 per cent can come from other foods.
Good nutrition is not that hard to understand and to implement if we stick to the basics and have a “plan”. Remember “those who fail to plan, plan to fail”.
Carolyn Hansen is co-owner of Anytime Fitness