Healthy Meal Preparation Fun, Fast & Easy by Roslyn Franken: Canadian Cancer Survivor/Motivational Speaker
When people think of preparing healthy meals, they often think that it’s just too much work. Instead, they opt for the fast, easy and convenient options that line the supermarket shelves or what is already in stock in their freezers or pantries. They’re often too tired or too lazy at the end of the day to even think of cooking from scratch. Does any of what I just described ring true for you?
The truth is that there are so many more choices of pre-packaged meals available than there were years ago. Many people think that why would anyone want to prepare a meal from scratch when you can just throw something in the microwave or oven and not have to do all that work? Or, better yet, why not just eat out or order in? That’s even easier and hey, you can save time and energy on washing dishes too by eating right out of the cardboard box. How about that?
Well, as easy as that may sound, especially when you’re overtired, many of the people who make this part of their regular eating habits may also be the same ones struggling with their weight and experiencing more weight related health issues. This is because of all the excess saturated fats, sodium, sugar and calories found in most of these store-bought, processed and fast foods. It’s certainly an understandable option because preparing a meal from scratch does require some time, planning and effort and after a challenging day, it is certainly tempting to just take the easy way out. However, if you’re unhappy with your weight and lifestyle, and your eating habits are not supporting good health and how you feel about yourself, then this article will help you gain some new insights and help you see what you can do to start shifting your attitudes toward healthy meal preparation.
I want to start by saying that people who plan and prepare healthy meals on a regular basis do not have any more hours in a day than those of you who don’t. So the excuse that there just isn’t enough time will not cut it. It really comes down to how you choose to spend the time you DO have WHEN you have it. It’s about deciding what your priorities are and then making the time for what is truly important and meaningful to you and making it fun. Preparing healthy meals doesn’t have to be overly difficult and have you slaving in the kitchen for hours every night, if you simply adjust your attitudes, get better organized for it and learn to plan better. Here are some tips.
Let’s start with making healthy dinners fun, fast and easy. That is the meal most people struggle with because it is the last meal of the day when you may have little energy to get started in the kitchen. Here are some hints for healthy, fast and tasty dinners:
1. If you’re really in a hurry, avoid turning to fast food, ordering in or popping a store-bought frozen dinner into the microwave. Remember, these choices are typically way too high in calories, fat, sodium, sugar, chemicals and preservatives. Instead, take a quick trip to the supermarket and pick up something that is healthy and ready to serve such as the following:
- A hot prepared fresh roasted or rotisserie chicken. These chickens are pre-seasoned, low in fat, and it’s hot and ready to go so all you have to do is bring it home and serve. Just be sure to avoid eating the skin as the skin contains too much unhealthy fat and calories. The seasoning may also be high in sodium so you want to avoid eating the skin for that reason too. It’s much healthier to remove the skin all together.
- Pick up some pre-cut fresh salad greens and vegetables that you can quickly toss into a nutritous and colourful salad. Try a new dressing that you never tried before to make it more fun and exciting.
- Go to the frozen food section and pick up some frozen vegetables that you can quickly steam. Add some toasted slivered almonds for a bit of extra crunch and nutrition.
- For your grain, pick up some whole wheat couscous that takes only 5 minutes to cook. Place equal amounts of couscous and boiling water into a bowl. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes then fluff with a fork. And voila you have a well balanced healthy meal.
Purchasing these foods at the supermarket will also save you money as you’ll have lots of leftovers that you can use for lunches the next day. It is a healthier way to eat for your body and for your pocketbook as well.
2. When you’re in less of a hurry and have more energy, especially over a weekend, take a few hours and prepare a series of healthy recipes that are highly nutritious, tasty and low in calories, sodium, fat, sugar, chemicals and preservatives. You’ll quicly see how much you can enjoy your whole food cooking and feel satisfied without the guilt.
Find recipes in books or on the internet that use lean meats, poultry or fish and lots of legumes, whole grains and vegetables. Once prepared, store them in meal size containers, label them and put them in the freezer so that you have a series of healthy meals that you can easily and quickly heat up when you don’t have time or energy to cook during the week. You can take them out of the freezer the day before and even bring leftovers for lunch the next day so it also makes your lunch meals fast and easy and way less expensive than eating out or ordering in.
The bottom line is that you need to become your own Personal Chef. You need to take responsibility for your own healthy meal preparation. You need to look at creative and fun ways that you can cut down on the preparation time by being more strategic in your planning and organizing and maximizing your trips to the supermarket.
Do what it takes to plan and prepare your healthy meals. It will be so worth your time and effort. You will feel so much better and by eating better, which means eating less pre-packaged store bought foods and fast foods, you will also have more energy. When you feel better and have more energy, this will in turn give you more energy to keep up this healthy habit. When you eat better and feel better you’ll also be more motivated to tackle other areas in your life where you could be improving your healthy lifestyle habits.