Much like our busy lives, our meals have to fit a “grab it and run” style of preparation. The problem is, the quickest foods to access are often the least healthful. This post gives you no excuse for the time crunch you struggle with. Below are a few quick tips to help you eat well for your speedy lifestyle.
Shop and Cook Only Once a Week. At the beginning of each week I buy everything I will need to cook for the following week. For breakfast I use the same products – cereal, oatmeal, toast or eggs – so I simply restock. As for lunch, dinner, and the snacks in between, I cook and store them all for the week. This leads me to my next point.
Buy in Bulk. Eating well can be expensive. In order to eat what I want, I buy bulk sizes at the store. Bulk sizes are often cheaper than the regular sized product; however, this type of shopping can be tricky because sometimes prices are misleading. Check the “per unit” in the top right corner of the price label for a quick price comparison.
Pack, Pack, Pack! I use the freezer ziploc storage containers for anything that must be frozen and reheated. I have smaller containers for things like sliced tomatoes if I am going to have sandwiches for lunch during the week. If I am traveling – which is a constant thing for me – I will pack my food for the entire day the night before. This stress free preparation allows me to eat more cheaply and healthfully.
Don’t pack foods like chicken or eggs more than a day out because they can go bad quickly. If in doubt, stay on the safe side and look up the food storage life for the food of concern.
Additionally, I store leftover foods like an extra half an onion in the freezer. Store products that you consume on a daily basis with a measuring cup or teaspoon in the container. I do this with my oatmeal, sugar, and salad toppings if I am having salad during the week.
Yesterday I inducted several students at Maryetta Elementary School into the Food Wizard’s Club. They will complete several small actions that “do the trick”–making one healthy food swap each week. This week they are going to switch low-fat milk for whole milk. I am so proud of them for pledging to make good choices.
The question of the day, and really of the month, is “Are you at risk?” Take the Diabetes Risk Test at the below link to see if you possess risk factors of type 2 diabetes. Risk factors may include, but are not limited to, your family background and your age. The test is free and it is super easy. Also, Boar’s Head Brand will donate $5 to the American Diabetes Association for every person who takes the Diabetes Risk Test March 25th through April 25th. http://www.diabetes.org/risktest
Go Go Go!
I am “Nuts Over Cinnamon!” Cinnamon is known to be a good blood sugar stabilizer and I use it on almost everything sweet. I always love the smell of the cinnamon nuts at the mall but they can be loaded with sugar. I paired a sugar substitute with cinnamon and nuts for a quick snack that won’t kill your healthy ambitions. Additionally, nuts have protein, are high in good fats, and digest slowly. Below is my Sugar-Free Roasted Cinnamon Nut recipe:
3 C Nuts (almonds, pecans, cashews, or walnuts)
1 Egg White
1/2 tsp Salt
1 and 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/8 C Baking Splenda
Coat a baking sheet or pan with cooking spray. I place aluminum foil on top of the pan for easy cleaning. Bake at 275 degrees for 1 hour. Stir every 15 minutes.
I selected these toppings because they offer the biggest rewards for calorie content. At minimum these foods contain a good amount fiber, protein, flavor, or healthy fats which all contribute to satiety.
1. lean protein (2-3 ounces chicken or shrimp)
2. nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts, or pecans)
3. boiled eggs (about 75 calories/egg and 7 grams of protein)
4. lemon juice or balsamic vinegar (use as salad dressing)
5. 1/4 C part-skim mozzarella cheese (about 80 calories and 7 grams of protein)
6. herbs (basil and oregano add flavor without adding salt or calories)
7. black olives or 1 tsp EVOO (pair with balsamic vinegar for dressing)
8. broccoli and cucumbers (filling)
9. peppers (bell peppers, sweet peppers, and banana peppers)
10. 1/4 an avocado (contains healthy fats for less than 100 calories)
Yesterday I went to the Miss Collinsville Scholarship Pageant to help with the Rising Star Program (young girls mentored by women in the system.) The girls got to take their picture with the then current Miss Collinsville, Clara Gregory, and make frames for them. Somewhere along the way we had a moment to stretch for good posture and to use our hands to measure healthy amounts of food.
Warning: The below foods are high in processed sugar (energy) yet low in nutrients (vitamins and minerals.) Together these foods make up a mean of 388 Calories in your child’s daily diet.
1. Grain-Based Desserts 2. Soda/ Sugar-Fuel Sports Drinks 3. Pizza
Solution: Make one small substitution daily that encourage healthy eating. Examples of good substitutions:
1 apple instead of soda pop; OR A low-fat cheese stick for an oatmeal cream pie
Yesterday I bought a wok. It is a great cooking investment because it speeds the process of cooking healthy making vegetables cooked but crisp in 10 minutes or less. I love it! Below is the recipe I experimented with tonight. It can easily be tweaked to suit your taste buds.
1. Marinate and let set 20 minutes or longer:
4 chicken breasts (sliced in strips), 2 T reduced sodium soy sauce, 4 T cooking sherry, 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
4 C vegetables (I used 1 yellow onion, 1 small cabbage, and 2 bell peppers, and 5 to 10 cloves of garlic. Mushrooms and green onions are great too!)
3. Heat on medium high:
2 T peanut or sunflower seed oil and 1 T ground or minced ginger
4. Add chicken and cook until barely pink
5. Add vegetables
6. Mix in a small bowl:
1/2 C reduced sodium chicken stock, 2 T cornstarch, 2 T sugar or honey, 2 T reduced sodium soy sauce
7. Add sauce to the stir fry and serve immediately with brown rice or without. This is a great, low carb recipe with numerous health benefits.