Wondering how to create healthy homemade meals during these stressful times? I am here for you—whether it’s a new pantry recipe or a useful tip for your kitchen, here are some ideas to make things run a little more smoothly for you and your loved ones.
Organize Your Kitchen
Before any cooking, or even any food shopping,that makes it easy for you to show up every day, excited and ready to cook. Start by cleaning out your pantry and fridge of anything expired or unhealthy to make room for all of the fresh foods and staples that will be a part of your healthy cooking experience.
Make Healthy Substitutions
Incorporate the following swaps to your weekly routine and before you know it, you’ll notice that eating healthy is actually pretty easy — and enjoyable, too.
- If you love sandwiches, make lettuce wraps instead of using bread.
- Use non-dairy milk in your smoothies (and sneak in some spinach too)
- Love burgers? Great! Get a burger without the bun and cheese and instead of ketchup and mayo opt for mustard.
- Use cauliflower in place of rice, flour, meat and potatoes
- Try lettuce wraps in place of tortillas.
- Embrace the zoodle (and other veggie noodles instead of pasta)
Use better fats
Fats get a bad rap. Some of this is justified but not all fats are created equal. Some fats are better for you than others, and may even help to promote good health. Knowing the difference can help you determine which fats to avoid, and which to eat in moderation.
Discard generic vegetable oils like canola and soybean oils, and use olive oil, avocado oil and coconut oil when cooking. Vegetable oils contain linoleic acid and when oxidized — that is, heated — release unhealthy components that have been linked to heart disease, obesity and other chronic illnesses.
Avocado oil especially is flavor-neutral and has a high enough smoke point to support any cooking process you wish to use. Use extra virgin olive oil for salads or to finish dishes, and you can drizzle it on top of anything to give it a kick of flavor.
Plan Before You Go
A little preparation will dramatically shorten your trips to the store and your shopping time, while expanding your wallet and health. Make a shopping list and follow it!
Have a shopping list every time you go to the supermarket and stick to it. You will save your money and will be less tempted to buy junk foods. Keep this shopping list stored in your phone or somewhere you can always refer back to it. You will likely find yourself replenishing the same ingredients for the recipes you enjoy.
Plan Your Meals and Use Leftovers
If you have leftovers that cannot be successfully frozen, look ahead and plan where in your week you will use them. Make sure you have plenty of storage containers. Glass works best to preserve flavors (check out Pyrex for fridge to oven to table convenience). Take an extra few minutes to arrange your cupboards and refrigerator to reflect the order in which items will be used. It is helpful to have containers for all refrigerated items that go with a particular meal to be stored together and labeled.