As published on My Swiss Story on January 15, 2021.
Most of us are stuck inside with no foreseeable plans to travel or eat out any time soon. Preparing multiple meals a day for ourselves and/or family (some who may be a bit pickier than others) can get a bit tedious. Trying to figure out what to cook, let alone something remotely healthy is enough to cause one to go mad or binge eat leftover Christmas chocolate.
The uncertainty and upheaval this new year brought with it, doesn’t mean you have to completely give up on your healthy eating goals.
What if instead of focusing so much on what to cook, we focused on getting back to basics. Simplifying the process. Actually enjoying less time in the kitchen and more time around the table eating healthy meals with our family.
Back to Basics
What does getting back to basics actually mean?
For starters it involves cooking real food, made from fresh, minimally processed and diverse range of ingredients. Less packaged products and more ingredients your great great grandmother would recognize as food.
Prior to moving to Switzerland, I thought everyone made Sunday pancakes from a mix. So much so that I had friends ship me over boxes of it (at a hefty price). I slowly learned that not only is it super easy to make amazing pancakes from scratch, but they are actually healthier for you. I was getting familiarized with the basics like flour, sugar, eggs and baking powder.
Most of us know the fundamentals of healthy eating: vegetables, fruit, whole grains, protein and a bit of healthy fat. Sounds simple enough right? But for most of us are missing many of these key milestones every day.
The truth is, eating healthy, why simple in theory can be very challenging in practice. So here are a few strategies to reduce the stress and increase the sauciness in the kitchen.
Minimalism and the Art of Meal Prep
Minimalism in the kitchen is simple, straightforward and helps reduce stress. We tend to think “complicated” meals are more deserving than the simple and easy route. Or even worse we make multiple meals for multiple picky mouths. Been there done that.
I often hear people complain that they just don’t have time to cook a healthy meal, let alone meal plan or meal prep. The truth of the matter is there are many ways to prepare meals in advance depending on your goals, your schedule and your cultural preference.
I’ll be the first to admit I was adamantly opposed to meal prepping for years until I realized all the benefits. Meal prep doesn’t mean spending an entire Sunday preparing meals, or filling your freezer with weeks worth of food. (That isn’t even an option with our breadbox size freezers here) . What I am trying to say is don’t knock it until you try it. Know there are simple strategies eating healthy that also take the guesswork and stress out of what to prepare.
Unless you have a private chef most of us are cooking anyways, so why not make life easier on yourself. Here is what a bit of meal planning / prepping can do for you:
- Save time preparing meals …
- Save money (less food waste) …
- Better manage your portion sizes. …
- Reduce your stress levels. …
- Create a better relationship with food and ultimately your family. …
- Less likely to eat unhealthy options
- More likely to eat healthier options – healthier you
Stick to a Consistent Schedule
Meal prepping works best when you stick to a regular schedule. Knowing when you’ll shop for groceries and prep your meals will help you form a good routine and make healthier eating a habit you can stick with long term.
For instance, you might reserve Friday mornings for grocery shopping and Saturday morning for meal prepping. Or you could select Monday evenings for making lunches for the rest of the week. Whatever works best for you.
The schedule is up to you and should fit your weekly routine. Keep in mind that picking specific times and sticking to them will simplify the decision-making process, freeing up mental space for other things.
Getting back to basics is KEY to your success towards a healthier, happier kitchen and a healthier and happier you! Meal prep and meal planning is something you usually only have to learn once, experimenting with what works best for you and your family. When you see the benefits there is usually no going back. Having guidance in the beginning is key to learning the tips and tricks for success, so you don’t fall back into old habits.
REAL FOOD REAL QUICK
If you are interested in learning more about how to cook healthy meals for your family in less time, I’ve got just the program for you.
I created the Real Food, Real Quick Bootcamp while on lockdown last year. This 21 day cooking bootcamp takes the guesswork out of how to cook healthy meals in a snap. You get three weeks’ worth of meal plans, complete with easy to follow recipes, shopping lists, pantry staples and meal prep guides.
Eating healthy doesn’t mean spending tons of extra time in the kitchen. Inside Real Food Real Quick I teach you how to batch cooking proteins and grains to be used multiple times throughout the week, the benefits of a slow cooker or pressure cooker, prepping breakfasts the night before, repurposing leftovers and so much more.
All meals on this program are budget-friendly and quick – no fancy ingredients or appliances necessary. You will gain confidence in the kitchen like never before.
Real Food Real Quick starts January 25th and costs less than $1 a day – to have healthy recipes, meal prep tips, live cooking demonstrations and more. Learn how you can prepare healthy delicious food in less time that it takes to order takeout.
“If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t. ”
– Michael Pollan