I love to cook. To me it’s my way of giving my family something healthy and nutritious.My husband was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes when I was preganant with Jay, and we had to have a lifestyle overhaul. We had to make healthier choices and cut the salt big time. At the time it seemed like a difficult task, but 5 years later and about 100 pounds lost between us we are the better for it. Here are a few tips to shopping and cooking towards a healthier lifestyle. Cooking and Shopping the healthy way
Shopping for groceries is where healthy eating begins. The best way to shop healthy is to enter the store with a healthy mind set.
- Eat a snack. Have you ever entered the grocery store hungry? And then you proceed to buy junk because all you can think of is quick fast food that you can eat while walking around, or in the car? Before going shopping eat a snack and write out a list. Only put healthy options on the list, so when you go for the Oreos you can remind yourself that they may not be needed.
- Buy fresh produce that will last. I love to buy fresh herbs and spinach, but unless I cook with it within the week it goes bad. When I buy fresh vegetables and fruits that ripen fast I plan to use them immediately and I only buy what I need. Vegetables like carrots, cabbage, onions and garlic keep for a long time so I buy them in bulk. Buying fresh is best, and to make it cost efficient only buy what you need and make sure that you use it asap and store it correctly.
- When I am unable to buy fresh fruits and vegetables I buy frozen, in bulk. One of my secrets to cooking is to use frozen vegetables. I try to cook a main course/protein and then use frozen vegetables as my sides, to decrease my amount of cooking time. Frozen vegetables are better than can because they contain no salt. If you are going to use can vegetables then give them a rinse before cooking to remove the salt.
- Shop mainly in the perimeter of the store. The inside aisles contain mostly junk food. When shopping I stay far away from those aisles and that keeps me from buying cookies, candy and soda.
- Look up. Have you noticed all the sugary cereals are located at eye level. Those are the ones that our little guys can see and then beg to have. When shopping look above those well placed colorful boxes for healthier options.
Cooking at Home
I enjoy cooking. When I cook I know that I am giving my family food that is healthy, that is good for them. Here are a few ways that I create healthy meals for my family.
- Cut the salt PERIOD. My husband was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes when I was on bedrest with Jay. It totally changed our eating habits. He has changed his lifestyle so that he can be here for his children, and I support him by cooking healthier. That is what healthy eating is about. Yes we still have wings and drink beer, but we do not eat like that every day, and our wings are boneless and baked. IT TASTES THE SAME. I cook using little to no salt. We have an expansive seasonings collection that we update using World Market spices. Once you cut the salt you do not miss it.
- I know everyone does not like to cook. If you do not like to cook, or if you do not have time to cook then buy a Crockpot and make Crockpot meals. I have created a Pinterest board dedicated to Crockpots. Follow 3 Jacks and a Queen’s board Family Dinners on Pinterest.
- Build up your cooking base. This means add flavor to your food by adding lots of seasonings. Every meal I cook involves me flavoring the oil I am cooking with before adding the protein. I usually add an onion (yellow, red, or white) to olive oil with garlic. Sometimes I add in carrots, or celery and since I use dried herbs I crunch the herbs in my hand and then add them to warm, not burning oil, to release flavor. I then add my protein and season the protein again. This makes your food extra yummy and cuts down on the amount of salt needed to season.
- I mainly use olive oil when cooking. Sometimes I seasoning my olive oil with fresh herbs and use it for cooking. I seldom cook in butter. Olive oil it better for you. Coconut oil is also another healthy alternative.
- Although I love to cook sometimes I do not have the time, or energy. On days like that, we have healthy alternative such as buying a chicken from the deli and having a fresh salad, or some frozen vegetables. Or we buy a family meal from a place that serves healthy options. We limit the amount of fast food we eat. When we do eat at a fast food restaurant we order healthy options like fruits, salads and baked not fried options.
Eating healthy is about creating and maintaining a lifestyle that will keep you and your family healthy. I am not starving myself or denying me or my family. I was once told that my child was weird because he did not have fast food every weekend. Well I am happy that he is weird, and so is the rest of my family. I know that telling my sons that sodas are bad and that fast food is not an everyday occurrence will make them healthy adults, and that’s what matters to me. I do not buy sodas and seldomly buy sweets. I want to be healthy because I have a family I want to be here for. I would rather eat my turkey burger and kale chips then any fast food burger and fries. I want my family to be healthy and in shape, and I know that there is nothing wrong with that.